Tuesday, February 28, 2012

No condemnation

Romans 8: 1-2 "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." 

The simple truth of the gospel, "I am no longer in condemnation because of what Christ Jesus did on the cross."  But condemnation seems to be knocking at the door of my heart, consistently.  Lord there are areas in my life that I add to the gospel and feel that I must abide by the "law."  'After I work on this or that' is the attitude in my heart that I take; prior to preaching the truth of the gospel to myself.  And I frequently get exhausted. 

It is simple solution, by divine invitation for all;  Christ died taking all the condemnation I hear and then he crucified it.  Lord help me live free from the law of sin and death.  May I dispute condemnation and seek the truth of your word. 

Again I will remind myself of John 10:10,  "The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they (Jesus speaking to his flock) may have life, and have it to the full."

 Thank you and Amen. May each of you preach the truth of the gospel to your self today.  If you have any questions send me an e-mail.   

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A cry for help...can you hear it (warning this story may break your heart)

Manna, a 16 year old in India, wakes yet again to find herself in darkness, though she is not alone.   She can hear the soft cries from what seems to be from several other girls that are close by.  The smell of fecal matter is so strong that she is unable to eat what little food that she had pocketed from the night before. Her little body is broken from the abuse that she endured each day, in the brothel that she was sold into.  How did her story begin?   The International Justice Mission shares her story with us below. (IJM)

"When 14-year-old Manna* ran away
from her abusive home, she met a
woman who offered her a job selling
fabric. She accepted the position,
and the woman provided her a place
to sleep for the night. When Manna
awoke in the morning, the woman
was gone, and Manna discovered
that she was in a brothel. For the
next two years, she was held in the
brothel and raped by customers for
the profit of the brothel owners
She was freed when IJM investigators
discovered her captivity and
alerted local authorities, working
with them to release her and three
other young girls from the brothel.
The brothel owners each received
five-year sentences for their crimes,
and Manna was brought to an aftercare
home to heal in security."

Sadly she is among the other 2 million Children that are exploited in the global commercial sex trade (UNICEF). Today there are 27 million slaves in this world (UNICEF). 

Isn't slavery over?  Isn't this the 21st century? My heart breaks to know this. 

We just watched the movie "The Whistle blower" tonight and I can not sit in silence.  Tyler and I talk alot about being stirred but never changed; but guilt doesn't bring change.  Trust me I lived in guilt for many years tying to change, without much avail.  Instead I want to grow my affections for the things that God cares about and loves; including the things that break God's heart. 

Psalm 34:18. "The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit." 

Do you hear that!!  God is near to the broken hearted.  To be reminded Manna's story is true and that there are many other girls, boys, men and women living in such bondage and abuse breaks my heart.  But what is even more encouraging is that God is close to the broken hearted including those in slavery today, just like he was close to the isrealites in slavery in Egypt (end of Genesis and Exodus).  He has called me, and those that are followers of Christ to be his hands, to be an ambassador for the gospel of Christ.  Some additional ways I want to do this is to sponsor a third child from compassion internaltional (you can also do so here or find out more information Compassion).  Many organizations have proven that prevention is key to keeping children and families out of poverty and slavery.  An additional organization I want to support is the International Justice Mission or (IJM). 

"Lord may you break my heart with the things that break yours and then please draw near to me when I am unable."  Love your daughter, Alyson

Friday, February 24, 2012

An opportunity

I have been blessed with an opportunity to share my story with a group of women that I already love.  I'm going back to the community where I lived prior to Texas; where I first worked as a nurse, where my babies were born,  and where God began to reveal more deeply my depravity and need for him. 

When I first thought about sharing my story.  I immediately thought, "I am so not qualified, I still have a lot to work on," truth is we all have a lot to work on (can you hear the 3 P's in my voice). 

While continuing to read through the old testament; I have continued to be reminded that God uses broken, unqualified people.  Look at Moses and the Israelites; what a mess.  By the second month the Israelites are already complaining that they are no longer in Egypt and short on the food they had.  They wanted to go back to slavery!?  They had been rescued from slavery and when the going got tough they forgot God's promise of what was ahead (Exodus 16).  I love that God answers their prayer by providing food, but not an endless supply rather; just enough for that day. 

So yes; I too am quick forget God's blessings and start back on the path of the 3 P's (in some ways back to my slavery), but I am going to trust that God will provide just enough for each of my days, especially the opportunity to speak to the women in California at Sierra Bible Church.  I will trust God for just enough.  To pay for three tickets to California, rental car, confidence, time to prepare, and the right words to say.

For now I am clinging to the blessing in Numbers 6:24-26 and praying it for each of my readers,

"The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The best road is always rocky- by Tyler Jefferson

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:13,14

I so often live my life for comfort. Look at my life...200+ channels, entertainment at my fingertips, Ipads, 12mbps Internet, a full fridge, fine wine, golf clubs, pool membership, fill in the blank. What do I need? Most people in the world would look at my life and think that I'm so very rich. Really I have no needs at all...except Christ. Those things aren't bad in and of themselves. But they do take up my time and attention. There's only 24 hours in a day, I can use it to be entertained, comforted to death. Or I can use it for something more important. I can gauge my temperature for Christ based on how much the things of this world appeal to me. Let me try to give an example. Today I went to the gym and worked out. In fact I've been working out and getting much healthier in the past several months. When I got home I was hungry. But I wasn't hungry for potato chips, soda, or ice cream. I was hungry for fruits, protein, and water. I didn't “will my way” to this desire for healthy food. It was natural. In much the same way, when my heart yearns to be closer to Christ, turning off the TV and opening the bible becomes easier.

So whats the point?

I know lots of people read this blog. Some I know, some I don't. It would feel all nice and fuzzy to just finish this by saying that the more we love God, the more we put ourselves in a position to have communion with him. Unfortunately the things of the world really do steal my attention. I'm secretly addicted to whatever the “thing of the month” is. Recently it's been in researching a new car for our family. My car is 13 years old and squeaks constantly, it runs fine, except when it shuts off suddenly...so its time for a replacement. I hate to admit this, but something as superficial as picking the perfect car gets in the way of my spiritual walk. Does that remove me from the running for “super christian?” I wish my yearning for Christ was deeper. Unfortunately I'm still a sinner and I will always be one...except I'm not. I'm not a sinner. No I'm not a heretic. Nor am I delusional. But in God's eyes I'm no longer a sinner. By Christ's propitiation (see link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propitiation), I am pure and righteous. I have to be careful here to say that we can't use Christ as a “spiritual pill”. Just taking my dose of Christ every day doesn't mean I can ignore my sin. If your doctor tells you that you have high blood pressure and there's a pill to make it better. He also will tell you that you need to eat right and exercise or you will continue to get sicker and the pill will eventually not work. You'll need more pills.

So what am I saying here? I'm a sinner. I need help. I have help. His name is Jesus. I am forgiven. There are things that will try to steal my passion. I am still forgiven.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cloud and Townsend webniar- and a case of the 3 P's

So I am not doing counseling right now. Dont freak out...I havent lost it.  My parents gave me the gift of one year with Townsend and Cloud on a webinar. It is called life coaching. At first I was super overwhelmed because I feel like in the last year and a half I have made so many changes, it felt daunting to make more. I only got through the first 30 minutes and felt overwhelmed. It it took me two weeks to listen to the second half. How glad I am that I did.

In this webinar Dr Henry Cloud summarized so clearly the way I functioned for 30 years. It is called learned helplessness. It can be summarized by 3 P's. And careful, they can be contagious; a sickness of the mind. Under this learned helplessness I have been living most of my life out of control, with a sense that whatever I do there will be negative ramifications. We'll here is the first P - personal; I learned to take everything personal, someone saying no equalled something to the fact that I am a bad person. The second  P  is pervasive; that all of the things in my life are negative. The third and final P is permanent; that it will always be like this. I love that there isn't another 3 step process to correct this rather negative thinking. Instead, Dr Cloud's advice was to recognize it and ignore it! How wonderful to acknowledge the lie and move on to truth.

Oh boy, do you see the pattern? So depressing to think like that; and it was the dominant way of my thinking up to about a year ago!  I have already made some major changes but now I have a name for it and I can call my self out on it. I will even say, "Aly you are thinking the 3 P's" and then I intentionally ignore them and move on. How freeing to no longer keep telling myself lies. Sadly it is contagious.  My oldest who is 4 many times talks in much of the same ways, but God has revealed this to me, and I can help remind him of the truth. That things aren't personal, pervasive, and permanent; rather I can speak truth to him. 

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (ESV)

A God moment happened this morning when I talked with my mom about how meaningful it is to learn about the 3 P's and out of her heart spilled apologizes for passing the 3 P's on to me; and tears of forgiveness ran down my face. So it is contagious but there is a cure...Grace!  This is where the story continues...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

God was with him... God is with me

I have had some time to study Genesis and just finished with Joseph's story.  The favored son; Joseph, was not well recieved when he spoke his dreams to his brothers and father.  Jealousy began to breed anger in the hearts of his brothers.  Many are familiar with the story that Joseph ends up being sold into slavery; after a plot to murder is interupted, all by the hands of his brothers. He ends up reported as dead to his father. 

Here is the good news Genesis 39:2, "The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered..."  Interesting to think God was with him despite his circumstances that included; plotted to be killed, sold into slavery, in a different land and language (Egypt), betrayed by his own brothers.  My pattern would lead me to despair.  God are you really with me? 

Oh Joseph's story gets worse; falsely accused of adultery, thrown in prison for two years, and then finally redeemed.  vs 22 of Genesis 39 again says "the Lord was with him; and showed him kindness." Now I don't know if Jacob was aware of the fact that the Lord was with him and protecting him even in the destitute position of being in prison.  I do know that looking at his story with a readers hindsight you see the Lord's hand protecting him from murder by the hands of his brothers, and death from being falsely accused of adultery. 

The Lords blessing is seen prospering him even in jail by finding favor of the warden, and then he was able to interpret Pharaoh's dreams saving thousands from famine.  If we only looked at the negative circumstances of Joseph life it would look very glum even depressing and all of this happened before his 37th birthday.  In Genesis 41 we see that Joseph had remembered God vs 16 Joseph has just been asked to interpret Pharaoh's dream and he replies, "I cannot do it, Joseph replied to Pharaoh, but God will give Pharaoh the answer..."  Had he experienced feelings of hopelessness, questioning the Lord?  The writer of Genesis doesn't give us insight to this we do know that when called upon to interpret Pharaoh's dreams he gives the credit to the Lord. 

How about when you look back at your hardships or even look at the ones you are in now?  Can you see that the Lord was and is with you?  I look back at my first suicidal time in DC where I planned to jump off the building in which I lived in the second year of marriage while my husband was at school.  I went outside at sat on a bench for 2 hours instead and waited for my husband to return home.  I'm sure he thought I was crazy.  But by God's hand I was admitted into nursing school after being on the waiting list; and met an amazing counselor (Megan) at my school for free.  The Lord was in that!!!  He provided support of a good counselor for free and a great recommendation to a psychiatrist (Dr Becker) and got I on Wellbutrin which I took for the next two years.  Though seeing the MD was $250 a visit and the cost of a prescription; God provided enough for two students not working to begin the journey of walking with God despite many years of hardships to follow.  Family would visit and pay for groceries or a gift card for Trader Joe's would come, Gods blessings made the finances work...even on a $35 dollar a week grocery budget.  It's amazing that once I have spent some time looking for God's hand in the dark times I see that he was there and has continued to be with me.  God is with me, has been, and will continue to be, and this can be true for you...  Take some time to look for his hand in your life even if it was an encouraging word at a dark time, a friend, your spouse, family, etc..

Thursday, February 9, 2012


This has been a season full of flowers as well as learning to trust God in a deeper way. Firstly I have been learning to listen to this whispers God puts on your heart. Though listening to them has brought some uncomfortable change it has also brought blessings.

I use to just ignore those whispers excepting God to "yell" what he wants me to do. 1 kings 19:11-13 reminds me that God isn't yelling what to do. Elisha is fleeing for his life and the lord speaks to him,"the lord said, go out and stand in the presence of the lord, for the lord is about to pas by." Right now in my lack of faith I would be asking the lord a lot to questions? Like God don't you know I'm hiding, why would I go out and stand on the mountain and I'm your talking to me why would I need to see you pass by. Well anyhow we don't know what what actually went through Elijah's mind but the verse continues, "then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the lord, but the lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the lord wasn't in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went and stood at the mouth of the cave.". Elijah knew that it was the lord. From there the Lord called him out of his hiding to return to make to his mission.

What a reminder that God could be in the whisper, in a lot of ways counter intuitive to what I have expected from God. I have found that when I am in His word listening quietly God lays out what I need to be doing. It seems that there are always people that disagree with what you are doing, but that has always been the story with those trusting in God. Look at Noah; never had the world seen rain yet he in obedient trust he built an ark because God told him to. Again it doesn't say if Noah questioned or not rather it does show in genesis 6:22 that "Noah did everything just as God commanded."

 A good friend was encouraged by her dad to read through the bible in 90 days, I thought what a great idea so here I go...however I think I may be on the 120 day plan. But just reading through Genesis so far I am encouraged by the perfenctly imperfect people that God used.   Many of the people in Genesis made terribly disobedient choices yet God continues to walk with them and use them for his purpose. They come back to trusting God's word and promises for their lives.  Lord help me in my complete imperfection trust in you and walk in what you ask me to do while carefully listening to your whispers.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fine by Jaymes Reunion

This is a song that Tyler and I have song and danced to in both low and high times.  Sometimes we would sing it through tears and other times with joy and dance.  This is how we have felt in our journey together through the trials of life.  I tried to add it to the songs played below but with out sucess so here is just the words:

Hello my friend
Can you teach me how to breathe again?
Can you teach me how to love?
Can you give me a life?

The problem begins
When I add it up and count again
I'm losing every fight
And I need some answers
Maybe it's alright and I'm gonna lend it.

You never really loved
Until you watch it fall apart
And you never really lived
Until you felt like you can die
And you never really stood
Until the weight has pushed you over
You're pickin' up the pieces just to find
You're doin' just fine
I'm scared to death
That I'll never find a me thats best
Every story's been told I feel like a loser
All these wounds are getting old
So I'm gonna lend it

Oh I'm spinin' out of control
Lookin' up as I fall
Colors that float around me
And oh I cut up my heart again
This freedom is nothing but sin
I know you know me better
So make it better

And I never really loved
Until I watched it fall apart
And I never really lived
Until I saw that I was dead
And I never really stood
Until the weight had pushed me over
I'm pickin' up the pieces just to find
(Everything's fine)

Fine, fine, fine, fine...
Fine, fine, fine, fine...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hard days...bring fear

I have had a few hard days...and it's hard not to get trapped into fear. Instead I need to chalk it up to a few bad days. I find my self over reacting to the children. Reminder is that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. I am thankful for hope and truth. And tomorrow is a new day, doesn't mean I am spiraling down again. Please pray that I don't sink into depression.