Why My Bible Is My BFF

My Bible is my best friend. Does that sound crazy to you? I have had many friends in my life and I am grateful for each one, however I consider the Bible to be my “Best Friend Forever” or BFF in “tween” language. It has proven a faithful and trustworthy friend through every season of my life. When times are good, it is with me. When times are bad it stays beside me. When others betray, it remains true. The reason for this is, my Bible is alive (See Hebrews 4:12). It is not the words and works of men who are dead but the Living Word, the very breath of God. One of my very favorite (ok, I confess I have many)  passages in the Bible, is found in the book of John in Chapter 1, it reads: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and theWord was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:1-4) It continues, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” and “For the  law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
My God is the Living Word who became a man, taking on a body to secure my eternal salvation. Amazing love indeed! He did it for Jew and Gentile alike. He did it for every culture, race and creed. (Acts 10:34-35) He planned it before time and secured it forever. He did it for me and He did it for you! It is as exciting to me now, maybe moreso, as it was in the beginning when I first began to grasp it. In one of my favorite books (Ok, I confess I love them all) of the bible, Colossians it says: “He is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation. For by him all things were created…” (Read Colossians 1:15-20).
I don’t want to give you the impression it is one specific version or material item. This Word is not bound by paper, binding or translation. It cannot be. It supercedes all and does not itself comply to that which is temporal. It is holy, pure, timeless and unchanging. It contains truth, is truth and will always be truth. (Revelation 1:4-8)
My trustworthy friend has surpassed all other loves in my life and yet this love alone leads me to greater love and compassion for those around me. I recall a time of extreme trial on my bed in tears, unable to even open the book and instead laying my head upon it while the tears stained the pages. A faithful friend. I remember training a certain jewish client who had confessed to an affair and how, with my BFF in my hand, while working out in a gym, God led us both to the specific scriptures which were able to convict and birth right there at the moment. A merciful friend. I can still see myself staying up all night devouring scripture in my hunger for truth and enjoying joyful discoveries and satisfying fellowship. A wise friend. I’ve clutched it close and layed it aside, yet this friend is a firm foundation which can be fully relied on. A reliable friend. I can recall the time I opened my Bible to the book of Jeremiah and how the words jumped off the page and pierced my heart as I tried to figure out whose heart was “deceitful above all things & desperately wicked”, Boyfriend #1 or Boyfriend # 2 when I  finally realized the Word was speaking to ME about ME and calling me to intimacy with himself, alone. (Jeremiah 17:5-10) That took me a little bit of time to get. But the word did it’s work as I learned to study, trust and put my full confidence in that which was revealed in scripture…the WHO behind it all. Like all relationships there was a time of testing as I built the trust in this friend. There were times I did not want to hear what my BFF had to say, but eventually I learned that this friend was always loving and truthful. Unwavering. Flawless. Beautiful. This friend would never be satisfied to leave me alone, even when I turned my back. I rarely am without it. It serves to remind me of my purpose. Although I hide the Word in my heart (Psalm 119:11) I like to keep a “hard copy” with me in my purse, bag, office or car. You never know when you might need your BFF. Trust me, my friend often introduces me to new friends wherever I go. That’s what friends are for!
Happy 4th of July, friends and Keep digging beneath the surface!
For further Reading: Genesis esp. Ch.1) , John (esp. Ch. 1 & Ch. 14), Colossians Ch. 1-3 oh, may as well read the whole thing!), Revelation (esp. 19:13)

Journal from the 90’s.
Rev. 19:13, John 1:1, Genesis 1:1

Too Many Lives(Part 2): The Journals

A trunk full of the stories of my many lives!
 Healing comes in many forms. It also sometimes comes in bits and pieces, sometimes instead of all at once. My journals hold within the pages stories of the many lives I have lived and at times the power to heal. 

Writing to me has been the one thing which is constant, like the breath
It is the one thing  that I have done for so long it is part of who I am.
 There are many activities that have come and gone but from early on I picked up a pen, put it to paper and revealed, revered and reflected the soul that I was. The voice that resonated in time, captured on the pages for better and for worse, staring back up for all to see. There have been times when I have considered holding a “Journal Burning” party, but after further consideration I have held back. 
The one time this idea became exceedingly strong was shortly after being introduced to my Savior. I wanted to burn every thing written on those pages because of the very stark reality portrayed. Captured under the microscope were lurid details of my very nature. It was not pretty at times. I did not hold back, there I was staring back up from the pages at myself as when one looks upon their reflection in still water. 
Clear, sharp intriguing and bare was I – 
no hiding from those pages jealousy, anger, selfishness, and fickleness.
Yet there was also an authenticity on those pages that would not be denied. 
A rawness, that staked a claim which would not be refused. 
Here in these pages there was a voice longing to be heard but beneath the surface there was yet another still, small voice which was yet to be released. 
At one point I did throw away my journals – these were from my teen years and I did it impulsively as much of what I did in my early years. But as fate would have it or by God’s design, depending on your perspective, I soon began to pour out my heart and soul once more on paper at the requirement of a professor for a Human Relations class I took at 18 years of age. The wonderful and challenging thing about this was that we were expected to journal on specific hypothetical questions as well as reflect on the class and our experiences personally. Well that was all it took, from this point on I picked my pen back up and have never put it down. I continued to journal my life journey and put on paper “the good, the bad and the ugly” as well as the big kahuna philosophical inquiry into life’s deeper meaning.
 Enter Jesus Christ
My pen became a vehicle for the underlying voice which was birthed on that day. 
As I wrote at times I felt the Spirit move within me and the pages began to be transformed by the power of His Spirit. Years passed and much was recorded on the pages.
 There in those pages emerged a new voice…there was no doubt. But the old voice was also there, questioning, pleading and at times accusing. But still, hidden among the rambles, a Light was beginning to shine (John 8:12) . A light that would not be snuffed. Amidst the foolishness, there it was…Wisdom, a wisdom that was not my own and one which I had no claim to but instead which laid claim to me. There slowly the pages began to show a relationship instead of only my thoughts, feelings and activities. Emerging out of the darkness was a voice which revealed wisdom, hope and clarity. So you see I could not burn those books, after all. They became precious to me as they revealed the heart of the one who came to bring light, life and truth. This same one promises that in time, everything unworthy will be burned up. But, for now I will keep these journals, because I never want to forget exactly who I am apart from my God and his amazing grace. I need to remember, even as I, with Paul, press on to that which Christ has taken hold of in me… that depth which I have come from- to keep me from the sin of the Pharisees and the blindness of pride. 
In these journals there is  healing, supernatural birth and transformation better than any “Transformers”, Superhero or action movie. In these journals there is the power and presence of a Living God as He relates to me and I to Him. 
I am thankful that I didn’t follow through and burn those books. 
Because in them is the mind of my Savior and the transformation of one sinner to saint.
Until next time, Keep digging beneath the surface,

For further reflection:  John 1:1-14, Colossians 2:3, 1 John 1:5, 
                                  1 Corinthians 2:6-16,  2 Corinthians 4:6

Too Many Lives I Have Lived (Part 1)

I have been called many things in my life, but one that rings truest to me is the one a client spoke to me one day during our session. As I put her through her moves at the gym where I was working at the time, she turned to me thoughtfully and said  “You are an ‘old soul’. “
I asked her what she meant and she thought about how she wanted to articulate clearly this description before she continued.
Old Soul...hmmm, to me it meant I had lived too many lives.
My conclusion lately is indeed I have, lived too many lives, and I am self-admittedly in agreement with this lovely woman’s observation, which actually took place many years ago.

I have seen too much, experienced too much,
 loved too freely and lived beyond the reach of my years.

I have spent myself in too many directions and have found the wisdom of Solomon to be true:

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the teacher.
 “Everything is meaningless!”

I remember sitting in my East Side apartment high in the trees, gazing out the window over the city and pondering the words in Ecclesiastes for months as God began doing a deep surgery on the inner being of my heart. I was so immersed in the world around me at the time and in danger of drowning in my own existence. Really, things were looking good from a worldly perspective. I was working with some of the most affluential people in our state. Money, came and went and came again. I enjoyed the people I worked with and had success. I dealt with those who were jealous as well as those who seemed to want to put me on a pedestal I had no desire to be on.

  But things were being stirred up 
just beneath the surface. 

Then there were those things I experienced earlier in my life…some that were beyond my control. As a child – sexual abuse, divorce, many moves, rejection, abandonment, ADHD intervention and fatherlessness. By the time I headed into my teen years I was a prime candidate for most likely to not live beyond 20. As a teen- running away from home, abortion, quitting school, and generally rebelling and rejecting every authority and establishment possible was added to my list of “accomplishments”.
Did I mention drugs & alcohol?  They were in the mix, but I was always a thinker and they could not hold me, as I was drawn to thinking deeply and I enjoyed engaging others in philosophical conversations…when I wasn’t being completely wild, wacky or under the influence myself.
I did not like how people focused (myself as well) on certain drugs/alcohol and I saw so how they consumed those who became intrigued by them.
  A hatred grew within me toward anything that would seek mastery of me.
This, in itself, would become my biggest obstacle to overcome in my life of faith. It still is.
Wasted years?
In many ways, yes.
But in the hands of a Redeeming God, no way.
Too many lives I have lived- yes indeed.
Sometimes I cannot keep the facts straight, in all honesty.
But living out the years I have now, available to Him in compassion, humility, joy, peace and power, by his grace for his glory by the means he chooses is Wisdom of The Ages.
It is knowledge beyond me.
How He gives beauty for ashes is my story.
And no man, or woman, can ever mess with that.
Take it to the bank. The Eternal bank, that is!

Verses to Ponder: Colossians 1:13-14 & 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ; 2:14,15
I am still reflecting and thinking of my friend, Steve (last post). Remembering him is what prompted my writing today.
He is one of the most significant people in my life that I have lost. I just have not had many people yet go from this life. He has taken  piece of my heart with him…and I am not the same. That is just the way it is. I did not even realize it until now.
More to come, as I continue to level the land and dig Beneath the Surface,
Thank you for stopping by,
In His Amazing Grace,

A Grief Observed – With Hope

I am a bit stunned tonight. 
At a loss.
 I am pulled into memories of teen years and a special friend.
 A very rare, real and special friend.
 We remained friends throughout our lives although we did not stay in continuous contact as our lives led us in different directions. My mind is racing as I am trying to remember our last conversations.
 I am at a loss as I try to piece together the meaning of the timing of his death as well as our chance meeting once again just prior. I have been scrambling through my journals, e-mails and call history and replaying in my head the last time I saw him, one year ago. It was at the Stop and Shop right down the street from my house. I was not sure it was him as he looked heavier and was a bit of a distance away. As I fumbled for my cell phone and called him, for some reason the phone did not make the connection- but when I finally spoke with him, he said he wished we could have talked, he was feeling down on that particular afternoon. I am humbled as I contemplate these things, my friend has left this life. 
He has entered eternity. 
My heart longs for the assurance of Heaven for him. 
We met as teenagers. We had many great times together and my memories are filled with laughter, smalltown fun and drama as well as youthful rebellions. We dated on and off but our friendship remained the most consistent. He proved himself a loyal friend, although we both had not come to know the Lord yet. He was one of the kindest, gentlest souls I have known. 
I remember one time he let me borrow his car and I was having so much fun driving, while listening to “The Police” (the band- not being pursued by them!) I sideswiped something, badly damaging his car, and he took it all in stride, never wanting me to feel badly! Through the years we would come and go in and out of each other’s lives knowing we had a friend and welcome place for our hearts to visit. 
A drop by on Thanksgiving, getting together and going out, and occasionally seeing him play out with his band. He was a much better friend to me than I to him.  I am grateful to have known him.
 It saddens me to think I won’t see him…it is difficult, even though I have rarely seen him over these past years. Just knowing some friends are around, and doing ok is enough.
 Knowing he had children and remembering his family breaks my heart. 
What is saddest, is I found out now-1 year from the date of his death! My mom saw a one year anniversary of his death in a local paper- and asked me. I immediately searched and found to my sadness his obituary for June 25th 2010. 

I wish I had a chance to say good-bye for now. 
I wish I had a chance to say one more thing.

 To hug him as we always did with that warm, hug of friendship and acceptance. Our last correspondence had been on again as the Lord crossed our paths once more. He shared with me he was going through difficult times and was really down on himself. I can’t remember everything we said but I do have our last e-mails. I let him know how God was able to redeem me and I was certain He could do the same for Him by relationship with Jesus and through His Word. He expressed he was happy how my life was turning out and I was hopeful for him and hoped we would get together to talk about all God was doing in our lives and also to encourage him in what seemed to be new life in Christ. I wanted to I invite him to our church as he was feeling isolated. I am really finding it hard to believe, my friend is gone. Images and memories are going through my head. Tears now. I so want to see this friend in Heaven. I so want to rejoice with him. I so want to know he made that one defining decision. I am trying so hard to remember. I believe he did. As I look back at my journals so far I found his name under my evening prayer list for the date: June 27th 2010- apparently he had been on my heart to pray for at that time. Usually if someone is brought to my mind by the Holy Spirit, out of the blue, I write it down. This was one of those times. It was also a busy time so although I did not write it until that time it is obvious the Spirit was moving. 
Oh, Lord may I not ever miss that.
“There is a place I long to be,
It is a place I cannot yet see.”
In memory of my friend Steve, I want to share these words by William Penn:
“I shall pass through this world only once.
If therefore there’s any kindness I can show
or any good thing I can do let me do it now.
Let me not defer or neglect it,
for I shall not pass this way again.”
Dear Steve,
I am hoping to see you in Heaven and trusting you are already in the arms of our Savior.
I look forward to seeing you then,
I will miss knowing you are here in the meantime.
I will pray for your children and family.
I will hold you in my heart, until we meet again.
Lord, I trust and hope in you alone.
Let me not defer or neglect that which you call me to,
for I too shall not pass this way again.
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