DIRTY LAUNDRY, CLEAN HEART

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I’ve published this before, but I felt like I wanted to read it again myself and thought you might like it too.

I took a pair of my work pants out of the basket and hung them on the line. I’d washed them and used lots of bleach. But when I pinned them up, sadness came over me and I started to get choked up.

 

There were dozens of paint spots and stains from all the recent projects. There were more than I even realized. I thought of how many stains are in our lives. No matter how we try to bleach them out, they remain a stain. And no matter how open we think we are about our lives, if we take an honest look, we’ve all got something to hide, something we don’t want shared.

 

God already knows every one of those things. The Lord was right there with me when I stole that makeup. He was there when I ganged up on that girl and threw her bike in the creek. He was there when I broke a friendship by saying something hurtful. God said to Jacob “but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins. Thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities” (Is. 43:24). Instinctively we know that God is omnipresent, but still we do stupid and wrong things in His presence. Why?

 

Because we don’t really BELIEVE He’s there. In our bedrooms, in the bathroom, at the bar, the casino…you name the place or situation, He’s there. The Lord is with each of us everywhere, whether we like it or not! There’s no hiding from God. “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there” (Ps. 139:7-8).

 

God sees all our stained laundry, but He loves us so much for believing in His son Jesus, that He’s willing to overlook all our sins and miraculously wipes them out, for His own sake! He doesn’t WANT to look at our stains. He only wants to see that we believed in His son Jesus and for that alone, He “blots out and cancels your transgressions, for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Is. 43:25).

 

I went out and got my painter’s pants off the line, smiled and breathed a sigh of relief. Yes they’re stained, but as clean as they can be for now. Though God was there when every splash of paint hit them, He doesn’t care. He only sees who wears them—me, the one He loves.

 

Love, Carolyn

I’m making good progress on WINGS Volume 2. Thanks for your prayers!

 

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JESUS AND _____. WHAT IS YOUR “AND”?

What are the things that sustain us?

We have Jesus, AND our own ability. We have Jesus, AND a fit body. We have Jesus, AND our lust for a mate. We have Jesus, AND a job that gets the bills paid. We have Jesus, AND our intellect. We have Jesus, AND . . .

 

It’s what comes after the “AND,” that we need to beware of. When we put what comes after the “AND” as a priority before our Lord, we’ve erroneously switched our allegiance. And don’t get all freaked out on me . . . It’s a lot easier to do than you’d think. And it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a Christian, we all still do it at times.

 

When the “AND” takes priority over Jesus, we get a little stubborn about it, after all, that thing seems to satisfy us in one way or another. But the Bible shows us over and over that when our priorities get mixed up, things aren’t going to go quite right and we won’t be the kings over our own lives like God intended.

 

1 Samuel 15:23 says, “Stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” It’s because we can’t really be a great king, when we’re following anything but the one and only true King of Kings.

 

Do you know why they tell you not to leave your digital TV on “pause” for very long? It’s because if you do, that image is burned into the TV screen. Everything you watch after that will be seen through the image you burned into the screen.

 

Do a quick experiment: Right now stare at an image in front of you, whether it be your devise, a book, a letter, a photograph, anything. Time yourself and keep staring at it for 45 seconds. Now close your eyes. You will see that image on the back of your eyelids.

 

What you look at gets “burned” onto your eyes and transfers to your brain, and you begin to see things as they filter through that image. God says, “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 26:1).

 

And “graven images” aren’t confined to physical objects. I’ll give you an example. Last summer someone from the underwriter company on my house insurance came to the house, without my knowledge, and took pictures of my roof. They sent the pictures to my local insurance group and said because of the roof, they weren’t going to insure my house. My local insurance agent called me in and I asked her if I could see the pictures. We agreed that my roof looked fine except for a couple different colored tiles and two small rust lines on the trim by my garage. She said she was going to take care of it and assured me it wasn’t going to be a problem. I believed her.

 

Then just recently it came up again, and by now I had less than 90 days to get it reconciled or they’d drop my insurance. I was very disturbed.

 

I have Jesus, AND I had a very old “graven image” pop up and steal my worship. The graven image, the idol I had, was none other than, myself. I stubbornly began to take this roof thing on as a personal battle. I began to see it through an image that was burned on my mind, “I always have to take care of things myself.” I was seeing things through that image and it was not going well. I was no longer a king under the true King. I was off on my own and going down a wrong path.

 

But as it says in 1 Samuel 16:7 “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” The Lord has changed my heart, so I have a good heart now and He woke me up to myself.

 

I switched back to looking at Jesus and not my own self. I trust in Him. He showed me exactly what to do and how to follow Him on this roof thing. He didn’t tell me where it will end, but I only know that it will be good.

 

Every once in a while we have get back to the basics of our faith and check out where we stand. Do we totally trust Jesus, the one who was tortured for us, died in our place and went to Hell itself just to be able to show people how they don’t have to go there?

 

Or do we still have places where we’ve been stubborn? Once we have Jesus as our Lord, we don’t have to be stubborn on our own behalf anymore.

 

Let’s take a good look at our lives. Is God still our number one priority? Is Jesus still our true Lord? Almighty God, the Creator of all we see and don’t see, made Jesus Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

 

This song was written in 1922. Let’s do like the song says:

 

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

 

“O soul, are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There’s light for a look at the Savior,

And life more abundant and free.

 

Through death into life everlasting

He passed, and we follow Him there;

O’er us sin no more hath dominion

For more than conqu’rors we are!

 

His word will not fail you, He promised;

Believe Him and all will be well;

Then go to a world that is dying,

His perfect salvation to tell.

 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA2VpysAvgk

 

I pray that the truth of the resurrection enlighten your whole life, in the name of the one and only Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Love, Carolyn

GOD OF MERCY

victory

Today I was working on a faux finish that will go on the outside of a building. I had to match a sample that I was given. I’ve been working on it but I just can’t seem to get it right. I started to feel the pressure this morning and I was getting more and more fearful as the day went on. The deadline was growing bigger than the possibility of a solution.

 

Finally, I had to get both my bosses outside to take a look at the pieces I’d done and get some suggestions. All the suggestions included mixing more paint, starting from scratch and going through all the steps again. Yikes!

 

But at least I was going to have help. We all went our separate ways for lunch and I took the opportunity to pray. I prayed for Jesus to help me. I really needed Him and I told Him so. I got the article out that I was currently editing. It’s on being comforted under the wings of God. I needed that myself! I read it and made a few corrections and then opened my Bible to the book of Ruth. As I was soaking in her story, the scripture came into my head, “Lift up the hands that hang down,” from Hebrews 12:12.

 

That scripture coming to my mind was evidence to me of the love of Jesus and the mercy of God to answer my cry for help.

 

I remembered that I’d posted an article about that in January of this year where I attached a link to a TED talk about nonverbal communication, where people were tested: if they lifted their hands up in a victory pose for just 2 minutes, their blood levels of testosterone went up and they felt more confident.

 

I decided now was the time to try it.

 

I went into the restroom. I laid down my cell phone on the sink and looked at the time. I lifted up my arms above my head as if I’d just won a race and I said out loud, “I have the victory through Jesus Christ, I have the victory through Jesus.” I snuck a look at my phone and I’d only done it for one minute, so I stretched out my arms a little more and said it a few more times till 2 minutes were up. I left the restroom and doggone it if I didn’t really feel more confident. I really did. I felt invigorated and even a little carefree.

 

It really worked! I lifted up my hands like it says in the Bible and like it was confirmed and demonstrated on the TED talk on the internet.

 

When my one boss came back from lunch he started working on the pieces with me and we had some good laughs as we both came up with almost the same exact colors. We took them outside to see how they looked against the sample; they were way off! We both looked at each other with wrinkled brows. We shrugged our shoulders and off we went to try again.

 

The goofy thing is that the piece we were looking at, appeared to have mustard color in it when we saw it outside, and the same color appeared reddish when we had it inside! We got out a fan deck of colors and took the piece outside to match it up, so I’m sure we’ll do better tomorrow.

 

I hope we come up with something super great. I really trust that we will. One thing’s for sure: I will have a better attitude and my hands will stay lifted up in victory.

 

Life is better with Jesus for sure and God’s kindness and mercy to me today was well appreciated. “With everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer” (Is. 54:8).

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands” (Heb. 12:11-12).

 

If you didn’t get to watch the TED talk before, here’s the link. I think it’s less than 10 minutes long. Enjoy.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks-_Mh1QhMc

 

Love, Carolyn

 

WINGS: Volume 1 and several sample books on different subjects: http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=aps&keywords=WINGS%20Carolyn%20molica&linkCode=ur2&tag=jmbcsds-20&linkId=XQMVLVZYNBLYAGEM

PEANUT’S NEW SHIRT AND THE $100.00 BILL

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I thought you might enjoy this one today. I’ve added a few questions for you at the end. Happy Palm Sunday!

Summer 2014: Lightening, thunder, wind, rain in sheets and big drops. 15 minutes of torrential rain blowing hard in every direction, then done. That’s our typical summer storm here in Las Vegas and we had one this Sunday.

 

On Monday I came home from shopping, got out of my car and walked across the lawn toward the new water dish I put out for the wild birds. I wanted to see if the rain had filled it up. I looked down and there in front of the dish was a neatly folded $100.00 dollar bill. My instinct made me look around quickly to see if anyone was looking for it, but there was no one around. I picked it up and put it into my pocket. I’ve picked up pennies and even quarters, but never a $100.00 bill. I smiled.

 

Someone must have lost it in the storm, but no one was coming around to claim it. And I found it just in time, because a few minutes later my lawn guys came and they would have either found and kept the money, or chopped it up in a million little pieces in the lawn mower.

 

I tried to figure out why God would drop me the $100.00 but I couldn’t connect it to anything at all. I don’t believe in coincidence. Saying something is a coincidence is man’s attempt to explain away what he has no control over. I tried to tie it to some good deed, but everything I could think of fell flat and the Lord wasn’t talking. It wasn’t until 2 days later that I understood.

 

I was buying dog food and bought Peanut, my little dog, a shirt just because I love the little guy and I thought he’d like it. Then it dawned on me that my $100.00 bill had come to me the same way. The Lord gave it to me just because He loves me and He thought I’d like it. And He was right. I liked it a lot.

 

We receive God’s grace, not just because we are desperate, or because we pray so hard or any of those other religious things we do. We can pray and believe and fast and a lot of other things, but then there’s the extra blessings God sends “just because He wants to.” He doesn’t have to wait for a holiday or birthday. Any day will do. It’s kind of like random acts of kindness. We have the opportunity to follow His example and drop a special blessing on someone every once in a while. It’s fun.

 

God told Moses, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy” (Exodus 33:19).

 

Keep it up Lord! And thank you so much!”

 

It’s been more than a year since this happened and Peanut has outgrown his shirt but I still enjoy the memory of finding the neatly folded $100.00!

 

Love, Carolyn

 

QUESTIONS AND EASY CHALLENGES

  1. Have you ever received a random gift when it wasn’t your birthday or a special occasion? Describe it. Why do you think you remember it?
  2. Have you ever given a gift randomly to someone just because you love them?
  3. How about giving a gift to someone you don’t know, just because the Lord Jesus loves them?

 

WINGS VOLUME 1

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THE WISDOM OF A FRIEND

I am a responsible person, but maybe like some of you, I sometimes take on responsibility that doesn’t belong to me, and it can get me in trouble.

 

When we fall prey to weaknesses in our personalities, it’s great to have a wise spiritual friend to turn to—someone we can trust, who will listen to our problems and tell us the truth.

 

My best friend Jane is that person. So many times I’ve said “Everyone needs a Jane.” She is extremely wise. She’s like a scout in the frontier days. She knows my capabilities and my weaknesses and she can also spot the traps.

 

When we lived in South Africa we learned about water buffalo and how, when they know they are being hunted, they circle back and hunt the hunter. Jane’s like a spiritual tracker, who could see what that buffalo is doing and then get out of its way and to safety.

 

I almost fell into the “taking on someone else’s responsibility” trap this week.

 

I started to fill out some paperwork I was given and I didn’t feel at peace with it. Something just wasn’t right and I didn’t know what it was. I mulled it over for three days and it was still bothering me so I told the story to Jane.

 

She instantly saw it for what it was spiritually – a trap!

 

It was not any of my business to handle the paperwork. It was given to me by a new worker, and being “responsible,” I took it. When Jane pointed that out, I realized that although the paperwork wasn’t given to the wrong person on purpose, and even though I could have easily filled it out, it wasn’t my job. I sure didn’t want to put a rift between my boss and myself over a silly piece of paperwork.

 

When we can see things clearly, as to what our true responsibility is and what it’s not, we stay free from anxiety and stress in that area. From now on, if I’m approached with a task that belongs to my boss, I will just say, “See Larry, he’ll handle it.” It will make my life so much easier.

 

Jane helped me with that. If you don’t have a spiritual scout to watch out for you and who will listen and honestly help you, you can certainly pray for someone to come your way and I’ll pray with you. You’ll be truly blessed.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

Check out my first book, WINGS: A JOURNEY IN FAITH http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=aps&keywords=WINGS%20Carolyn%20molica&linkCode=ur2&tag=jmbcsds-20&linkId=XQMVLVZYNBLYAGEM

GETTING OUT OF THE MUD

He lifted his knees up as far as he could and crawled slowly out of the quicksand. Then he stood up immediately and took off all his clothes.

 

I saw this story on TV and it reminded me of something Jesus said to his disciples: “Whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them” (Luke 9:5). The disciples listened.

 

Paul and Barnabas were being thrown out of an entire area. They did exactly what Jesus told them to do. They moved on. “They shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium” (Acts 13:51).

 

When we let something go, we have room for something else to replace it. Shaking off the grit leaves an empty spot. The survivalist who crawled out of the quicksand barely made it out and he had to expose himself. He got naked.

 

When we’re trapped in something, part of our deliverance may include being exposed. If we’re leaving something, we may not be assured of what we are going to. We may turn our backs to being overly involved with certain people or certain organizations and when we go, we sometimes don’t quite know what to do.

 

We let other people and groups give us our identity and without them we may not be absolutely sure of who we are. But Jesus knows who we are and when we’ve lost something, or have just crawled out of the quicksand and are standing there naked—well that’s the perfect time to turn to Him. He is more than willing to show us the way. I love that verse in Revelation 3:20 where Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

 

Sometimes I feel like we just stay in the quicksand or we get out and then just stand there naked, instead of just going to the door and letting Jesus in to have a chit-chat over dinner and figure out our next move.

 

Most of the time we seem to stay in negative situations longer than we should. Some of the reasons could be: We honestly don’t realize how bad they are. We know how bad they are but we don’t want to acknowledge it. We are too afraid or too tired to think about having to change. We don’t have much hope in what’s ahead.

 

Or maybe we’re scheduled to leave but need to stay a while longer in the situation. Often that’s the hardest position to be in, holding out till we actually reach the exit.

 

In the show about the guy in the quicksand, he had to have presence of mind to just keep focused on what he needed to do—crawl slowly to the edge. He couldn’t really move too fast or he would be sucked down. So what do we do? We get discouraged or angry or fearful and stay put. But we need to just keep moving toward our goals, even if it’s only a little at a time.

 

When we have to stay in the mud hole until the right time to get out, a good way to stay healthy is to open that Revelation 3:20 door to the Lord and ask every day that He show us something new, teach us something we can use, give us some way to bless someone before we leave, things like that—things that keep our minds and hearts from being bitter. Instead of focusing entirely on the situation we’re in, we can focus on what He’s showing us, without being a part of it.

 

I remember when I was about a month away from moving back to the States from South Africa. I worked at an insurance company doing some filing. Every day was drudgery. It was horrible and literally was making me sick and weak. I didn’t need the money. So why did I stay? Obligation? Loyalty? Habit? I have no idea, but when it was over, I was kicking myself for not leaving sooner.

 

Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off and went to the next town. That’s what Jesus taught them to do and Jesus really does know the best solutions for every problem. The survivalist shook and scraped off the quicksand, put his clothes back on and took off for the next adventure.

 

I have several friends who have taken on new adventures over the past year and I am so proud of them for having the boldness to move on. I pray they open the door for the real Jesus to come in, spend time with them and talk things over, then lead them in the next step of their lives.

 

Everyone is going to end up in some kind of quicksand at one point or another. But we have the ability to trust in Jesus to see us naked, clean us up, clothe us and lead us on. Let’s be courageous.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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