Tuesday, September 8, 2015

God as Your Guide

Is God your guide on the highway of life?

It amazes me over and over how no matter what road I take in life I'm never really alone - even when I make poor decisions. I think that we all try to navigate our way to a destination without a map or directions - doing it on our own - at times. But it would be so much easier if we'd just use the map. It's the same thing in life. We try to make our decisions without prayer...without our Guide through life. And many times we make a huge mess and get lost along the way.

I don't know about you, but I get really stressed if I am driving somewhere and I get lost - especially if I am alone. I feel that way even in life sometimes. When I make a wrong turn and end up somewhere I didn't plan to be in life it can get scary. But knowing that God is always with me helps to ease that fear and anxiety. Sure, I still worry about some things. But just knowing that God is faithful and always there to open a door and light the path in the direction I should go is such a huge comfort....it's settling to know He's on my side...even when I've made poor decisions.

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

The last several weeks have been tough on social media. I've seen so many that do not believe really attack in harsh ways the faith of those that do believe. I've read many things that have just really broken my heart. And many that just are adamant about not believing that God even exists. My heart breaks for them. When I see and hear people say that God does not exist I just cannot imagine a world without Him. No, I do not see Him with my physical eyes like I see my husband, my kids, my friends and family. But I see Him in everything around me. I see Him in my healed body. I see Him in my son that the enemy tried to steal from me multiple times already. I see Him every time a new door opens when I thought there was no other way. I see Him in the love I have for others and in the love in my relationships. I see Him in every sunrise. I see Him on every road I take in life. He is always, and has always been, the one constant that I could depend on. So it's difficult for me to understand why it is so hard for others to not see Him and not believe in His existence.

I've shared my past (well, a big part of it anyway) so it's no secret that I took a few wrong turns in my life. And it's no secret that I lived a life outside of a godly path. But I've also shared that now that I can look back on my life after taking those wrong turns I can see where God was with me and guiding me even when I didn't realize it. He never leaves us....He never left me. We just block Him out of our line of sight. But oh how wonderful it is when the path becomes clear...when we have a clear line of sight right to God.

I'm in a new transition in my professional life right now. And it could be a pretty scary transition. Yes, it makes me a little nervous. But what keeps me grounded is knowing that God is in the lead. He is guiding me every step of the way. It's up to me to listen and follow His lead though. I do not believe one door will close without God already having another cracked open, ready and waiting. So I look forward to what comes next. I look forward to how God is going to work and move in my life in this new season. And although it may stretch me a little (maybe even a lot), I'm going to breathe it all in, smile and just enjoy this new ride on this new road.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

What Is The Attraction?

Forewarning, this might step on some toes. And that's ok. Put your big girl panties or big boy britches on and read, think on it, pray about it, and try not to be so offended. :-)

In the first chapter of my book, Just Be!, I discuss the importance of finding a local church to be plugged into. Over the past several weeks it seems to have been the topic of discussion everywhere I turn. These questions keep coming up: What do you look for in a church? How do you know you've found the right church? What is important in a church? Why even be plugged in to a local church at all?

Excerpt from the book, Just Be! answers several of these questions but the rest is up to you: "Visit several. Pray about each one. Start attending regularly. Get to know the others that attend. Measure what is being taught and preached with the Word of God for accuracy. Once you find the church you feel most comfortable in you will find that the people you attend church with are like your very own brothers and sisters. They will become like family to you."

But I'd like to expand on this.

Acts 5:14 says: Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their numbers. This is from the NIV Life Application Study Bible. The footnotes to this reads as follows: "What makes Christianity attractive? It is easy to be drawn to churches because of programs, good speakers, size, beautiful facilities, or fellowship. People were attracted to the early church, however, by expressions of God's power at work, the generosity, sincerity, honesty, and unity of the members, and the character of the leaders. Have our standards slipped? God wants to add believers to his church, not just newer and better programs or larger and fancier facilities."

So in reading this, I see that this is directly in-line with many conversations I've not only had, but have read online and heard others talking about. There will always be folks who are attracted to the "entertainment" value in a church. There will always be folks who are attracted to the fancy and expensive buildings. There will always be folks who are attracted to the "programs" and the technology a church has. But is this really what church is all about?

I think in all the excitement of building new buildings, adding new technology, creating new programs for every group of people you can imagine, we've lost sight of what church is really about. It's about Jesus. HE is the heart of the church. HE is the foundation of the church. HE is what it's all about. HE set the example and it was not with flash and show and a group of backup singers, smoke, fog and lights. I couldn't care at all about the technology a church has, the size of its membership, or how fancy the building may or may not be. And I certainly do not care about the entertainment provided. We all should be seeking out a church that teaches and preaches the Word of God. A church that puts Jesus as the center of it all, not a building or a program or the size of a worship team or the amount of technology used. A church that is more focused on what Jesus started than it is on what the next piece of technology will be is what we all should be seeking.

(another topic in the book, Just Be!) I remember very well going to church with my great grandmother when I was a little girl. I remember Sunday School. I remember the lessons. I even remember the smell (and yes, taste LOL) of the paste we used to make our little Bible story pictures. I remember the songs we sang. And then I am so disheartened to see that in todays churches we don't have any of this anymore. We have videos. We have contemporary songs that the kids don't really care to learn or hear. I'm "old school". I still believe in teaching the kids using an actual, real, printed Bible where they learn to actually use it (what the Bible is, how it is divided, how to use the concordance, how to look up passages). I'm all for not having electronic Bibles in the children's church program. I'm all for having the children take turns reading passages from the Bible for the lesson. I'm all for having real live discussions about the passages we just read. I'm all for actually bringing the Bible to life for our young kids so that they can actually see and hear and feel and know that the Bible is real and relevant today. I cannot describe to you the pure joy and excitement that you get when having a conversation with a child and see and know that they get it....that they actually understood the lesson you've just taught ("old school" style). I cannot describe the pure joy you feel when a child has come to know and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Without these real teachings, without these real conversations....how are we actually teaching our children about Jesus? How are we leading them to Him? How are we discipling them?

Now, so that you don't think that I am totally against "mega churches"...I began reading a book called Radical by David Platt. He is a preacher of what would be considered a "mega church". And he talks extensively about how our focus in church has shifted from Jesus to big fancy buildings, the lifestyles that we live and other things of this world including how we measure "success" in the church. Great read that I think many can relate to.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sharing is Not Always Easy

It wasn't easy to write my first book. It wasn't easy to share some of my life stories in it either. Are people going to really buy this book? If they do, what will they say? What will people think? Will they just critique the "typos" they may find? Will they be judgmental of me and others who shared in the book? Will they like it? Love it? Hate it? How will I handle negative reviews - not everyone is going to be thrilled? These are all questions that played through my mind, especially as I got closer to publishing.

And honestly, there are days when I wonder if I even got it right. Did I tell the life stories of my own and those that others have shared with me in a way that glorifies God? Did I share the stories in a way that gets His message across? I came to realize these were all just ways in which the enemy was trying to discourage me from writing. I know that now.

But I also think it is human nature to have doubts about pretty much everything in life. But when doubts arise...when the enemy tries stopping you from doing the good things God has set you out to accomplish, there is always someone or something that will help to reconfirm to you that the right decision was made.

And that is absolutely the case with Just Be! Every time I have a doubt that I've shared what God would have me share in a way that is pleasing to Him, I get a message, or an email, or even a phone call that is encouraging. People that have read Just Be! and have found encouragement or confirmation or just whatever it is that they needed at the time within the words of this book would somehow contact me and convey to me just what they've received from it. And it melts my heart every time. The floodgates of tears open up (yes, I'm an emotional person who cries with not just sorrow, but tears of joy as well).

Every time I receive a message from a reader I shed tears of joy. And I thank God for setting me out on this journey. Little do the folks that have read my book, and shared their thoughts and feelings with me, know but they are encouragement to me. It brings such joy to know that God has not only used me, but has allowed me to touch someone's life or be the encouragement someone may need. And He's allowed me to see the good that comes from it.

I think the most surprising thing through this experience is that men have not only read Just Be! but many of them have also been touched by it. Why is this surprising? I had a general audience in mind when I wrote the book. I had hoped and prayed it would impact the lives of women all over the world. I never imagined it would have any impact at all on men. Not to be ugly....I just didn't. It was intended for women. But I am so thankful that God has allowed others that I never imagined to read the book and to be moved by the words within.

So my point in all of this is twofold...... First, share your story as God prompts you to do so. Someone else was meant to hear it. Give God the glory in all that you do and say.

Second, when you read a book that touches you, or gives you encouragement or support or confirmation....or whatever it is you gain from reading the book, write the author or publisher.....or leave your positive reviews for them to see wherever you can. It can make a difference in their lives too.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Nurturing the Talents

From the moment of conception we want nothing but the best for our children. We often wonder what they will be when they grow up. What will their interests be? Will they follow their dreams? And what will those dreams be?

I believe we should nurture the natural abilities and interests our children have from a young age. These interests and abilities come natural to them. And when we force them to be something they're not or do something they don't want (career path) they will end up being miserable......every now and then there might be a happy adult that comes out of that. BUT, what if we were to watch them, learn from them, observe them using their interests and abilities during play time.....and then, we help to nurture those interests and abilities....those talents and gifts!!

I manufacture bath and body products, and I work in the nail care industry specializing in diabetic foot care. Why is this important? Well, when I was a young girl I used to take my mother's perfumes, powders and lotions and lock myself in the bathroom to create my own concoctions. This would be an early interest in what I am doing today with the bath and body products. I've always enjoyed caring for people. I did work in the health care industry but wasn't fond of that. So being a Nail Tech specializing in diabetic foot care (and providing in home services to folks who are home bound) gives me that same opportunity to take care of others. I knew at a young age that I enjoyed creating scented products and helping people. But I never expressed that to my parents or anyone else (thus, locking myself away in the bathroom to make my concoctions). Had I made it known I know that my parents would have nurtured that in me. Thankfully, I found my way to a career that I love.

My next example is one of my own children....my oldest son, Anthony. He expressed to me when he was 12/13 years old that he wanted to be a Chef. I put my own things on hold and we opened a chocolate business for my son so that he could get some experience in the food biz. Of course, this wasn't a full blown restaurant (we didn't have the finances for that so we did what we could with our budget...which was chocolates and coffees). I remember so many people telling me how crazy I was because my son would change his mind many times by the time he is actually an adult. I remember people telling me I was wasting our financial resources and our time on doing this for him. I have news for all those who claimed I was wasting resources.......he is now a Sous Chef and he is nearly 25 years old. He might not care much for making chocolates anymore, LOL, but that experience helped to nurture what was natural for him....what he enjoyed doing. Then he went on to college and seeking out his own path into the culinary industry on his own. I take no credit for his abilities, talents and gifts.....that's all God and my son.

But the point here is this, nurture the interests, abilities, talents and gifts in your children when they are young.

And just for kicks, and to show that this story about my son is true....here's a link to a news article about it. http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/110679/

Monday, May 4, 2015

Work In Progress

I am willfully disobedient every single day. I am, in fact, nothing but a sinner.

Yes, you read that right.... My true confession. I'd also be able to add "liar" to that statement if I said I did not sin every day. We all sin. And one sin is not greater than the other. God doesn't love me more because my sin was "better" or your sin was "worse". Sin is sin is sin all day every day. One sin is not greater or lesser, better or worse, than the other.

Someone walks into church and they are expected to be sin free from that moment on? Or they are saved and automatically they are living a sin free life from that point on? Are you kidding me? I don't know about you but I need forgiveness daily. My flesh is weak. I break down and sin ..... Even with the things I know to be sinful (that's where the willful disobedience comes in). Truth is that God is always working on me. I'm His little hot mess. Yes, that's me. I'm sure there are days He'd like to just throw His hands in the air, walk away and just give up on me. But I am surely thankful that He hasn't done that yet.

I have tried to see this as being the case for others too. When I see and hear some of the things people do and say I sometimes start to get a little bit of a haughty attitude. Then I remember where I came from. I remember how willfully disobedient I can be at times. I remember how God loved me through it. I also remember how the changes in me happened over YEARS. And I know that God worked on me one sin at a time (and continues to work on me, which is why I say that I am a "work in progress"). I know God is not done with me yet. So then, I also know He's not done with you yet either.

The next time you look at someone and see they aren't living as they should (cheating, lying, drug addict, sex addict, homosexual, stealing, gossiping.....or any other number of sinful ways) remember that they are a child of God too. And they, too, may just be a work in progress. And it's not your place to tell them they aren't up to the speed you think they should be (calling out sinful behavior to a fellow believer is a different story for a different day). That's up to God. It's your job to love, guide and lead by example. And it's ok to admit that you are a work in progress also. We all have our weakness and temptations to deal with.

The next time you decide that you are going to judge someone else for their "sin", pick up a mirror and take a long hard look at yourself. You are responsible for YOU. I am responsible for ME. It is not our place to decide what sin the Holy Spirit should be working on in someone's life.....not one of us has been given Divine permission to dictate the order in which the Holy Spirit deals with sin in others. We are all just a "work in progress".

I'm just a work in progress. And I'm thankful that my Father is the Potter and can mend whatever is broken in this vessel. I am thankful for the sacrifice He made so that I may be forgiven, so that I may be saved. I am thankful for His grace and that it is available to me every single day of my life.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Wrong Path Part 2

So the other day I posted about the pagan times of my life. And to just recap quickly.....While I was on that part of my life's journey I realized that the majority of the people that I met were just as confused and hurt as I was with regards to the Christian life. Most had been hurt by other Christians in one way or another. This hurt inspired them to lash out against God, against the Bible and what it stands for, and more than anything they lashed out against what they viewed as "organized religion". In doing this they were grasping onto anything that made them feel better, that seemingly gave them more control over their lives, and anything that would show in a very public way that they were against anything "Christian". These are people that have been hurt by the ones that SHOULD have been showing them love.

*Edit*I've stated many times with my business of manufacturing bath and body products that believe in complete transparency and full disclosure. Well that also continues on over into my personal life and my work in ministry as well. I have nothing to hide. And my experiences can hopefully help someone else going through the same thing. I believe tha tin order to help others that one must also be willing to be open and honest about themselves to start with. And that is where I'm coming from and sharing my life as it was when I was living as a pagan.

Now on to the not so pretty side of things.......and yes, it's more confession time for me here.

You see, while I was hurt by many Christians which led me to live as a pagan to begin with, I was also hurt by people who called themselves my friends who were also pagan. This opened my eyes to the fact that even Christians are just human and will make mistakes and are capable of hurting others.

I was involved in a coven - yes, the witchy wiccan kind. I was the coven scribe. That just means that I kept record of everything from every gathering we had. We had our circles for every pagan holiday you can think of. We attended every pagan gathering and festival that was close enough to drive to. And yes, I dragged my husband and children to these events with me. We met some very different people at these events. And now that I look back on those times I feel so very sorry for many of the people I saw. Many of them are under the dilution that they are actually fairies. They believe they do real magic (the hocus pocus kind you see on TV). I anyone or any living thing. But there were some that practiced what they called "dark magick".

And that leads me to the most horrific experience of my life. A little background first.....within our "coven" we had a set of rules. One of the main rules was that none of us were to bring in an outsider without prior consent from the whole group. If even one of us was uncomfortable with someone they were not brought in. This was for the safety of everyone involved. So noone would know where we lived, where we gathered, etc. And you will soon see why that rule was so important.

One night we had a coven gathering at my home. The lady who was considered the "high priestess" took it upon herself to bring in someone that we did not know and that had not been voted on. My dog (a Rottie) went absolutely crazy as soon as this man got out of his car. If she could have gone straight through the fence to get him she would have. He also was obviously very scared of her. Without making this story too long let's just say that the so called "leader" of our little group decided she didn't like me anymore. I was best friends with her father and step-mother though. That night when we wrapped things up and everyone left. Her step-mom called me because she had a very bad feeling about something. She felt that something bad was going to happen to me and that it involved her step-daughter and this man. She called me to warn me.

That night I found myself in my own personal "hell". Around 11pm strange phone calls started. The person on the other end had used a device to alter their voice so that I could not recognize who it was. The phone number appeared as a blocked number. They were calling every 5-10 minutes. The calls were threatening in every possible way. They knew things about my life that only our "coven" members knew (such as my husband was out of town, where he was, when he would be back, my children's names and ages, where their bedrooms were in the house, etc). I didn't have visitors to my home other than these people. We lived out in the boonies (which is why we had our gatherings at my house). And I did not share personal information with anyone except those in my closest circle of friends, which, at that time, was my coven friends.

The calls escalated to brutal and very cruel threats of violence against my children and my husband as they stated the purpose was all for me to watch so that I could be punished. These calls continued until around 4am the next morning. During this time I called the police multiple times. I was upfront and honest with them about the situation. And I found that by doing so they were unwilling to come to my aid. Now mind you, I had 4 children in the house and my husband was not home at this time and the police were made very aware of this. I had all the calls recorded on voicemail as I stopped answering them and letting them go straight to voicemail. This was the most helpless that I had ever felt in my life.

Now you want to know who I cried out to for help? Who it was that was my first thought when the police failed me? GOD!! Yes, I was on my knees begging Him to rescue me and my family.....to keep us safe. It wasn't the pagan gods that I prayed to. It was the One and Only Almighty God, my Heavenly Father that I cried out to.

After getting off my knees I had the strength to answer the phone one more time. I remembered at that moment that my dog did not like this man and that he was very afraid of my dog. When I answered I did not give him the time to speak. I just spoke to him and reminded him that my dog didn't like him, that he wouldn't make it past my door frame, and that I did have other means to defend myself. I didn't have the strength to stand up to this person prior to calling out to God. I didn't have the courage either. But in that moment of prayer God poured out His peace, His courage and His strength onto me.

The police finally arrived the following evening....yes, you read that correctly....it was nearly 24 hours after the fact that they finally decided to show up. They sat and listened to every gruesome threat (the caller was very detailed in what he was going to do to my family while making me watch and then what he would do to me when he was done....very very detailed down to the last drop of blood in our bodies). They recorded the messages. I gave them every phone number and address for the ones I knew were involved. They also had this girl's family's information. They had everything they needed to handle this. But, sadly, they dropped it and never did a thing. So once again, I was crushed and felt defeated.

I would love to say that at that point I turned back to the church and to God. But it was brief....in the moment. I continued on my journey. Met a few others that were not quite as bad as these people but still bad in other ways. But it was the same story with each of them, they were deeply hurt by people who called themselves Christians. Hurt people hurt people.

We ultimately moved out of the area and while I was not really what you would consider a "practicing witch" anymore, I also had not turned fully back to God. Not until that friend of mine invited me to her church (the one I speak of in the previous post).

I can assure you, though, that I never once witnessed the divine healing and deliverance during these pagan days of mine like I have that comes from Almighty God. And having experienced divine healing myself (yes, even prior to this time on my pagan journey) I know there is nothing like this to be found in the pagan world. The "spells" are prayers to their gods. They cry out to their gods but there is never an answer.

So now, as I reflect back on this time of my life, I see all the many many times that God had me protected. So many situations that could have ended very badly for me and my family. So many dangers lurking in that world, in the pagan world. It wasn't the false gods that rescued me, that protected me, that gave me strength and courage. No. It was my Abba Father. It was the Almighty God of the Bible.

I tell you all this to convey this message....... Even when you do not think God is with you, He is. Even when you think He has left you and abandoned you, He hasn't. Even when you think there is something more, something better out there, there isn't. Even when you are confused and don't know what to do, He still has a plan for you. Even when you feel unloved and left out, He still loves you. Even when you are not acting and behaving in a way that pleases Him, He still loves and accepts you. Even when you are broken, battered and bruised, He is your healer. And no matter what you've done, no matter what you've said, no matter what company you keep, when you cry out to Him, He is there and He will answer. God is God. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is unchanging. He is forgiving. He is loving. He is kind. He is our everything. And there is nothing and no-one in this world that loves you more than He does.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Wrong Path

We all go through so many ups and downs in this thing called "life". And God is with us every step of the way, even when we aren't fully aware because we are just hurting so much and can't see past the tears, or because we are just in a place where we CHOOSE not to be aware of His presence. Either way, He is always with us.

In my book, Just Be!, I share part of my testimony. This part covers a 7 year jaunt down a pagan path. I shared in the book my view of others prior to this path. It was one of pure judgmental attitude towards those that lived different than me. I would go from one extreme (in my wild young adult years) to the other extreme of being literally a "hateful, judgmental Christian". I thought I was doing the right thing. Yes, I was telling people about Christ and His sacrifice for us. But I wasn't doing it with much love. But I didn't realize that back then, in the moment. It wasn't until a move, having no family and friends around other than my husband and children, that I really began to understand that my behavior was wrong.

When I turned to walk down that path of paganism it was because I had now been on the receiving end of the judgement that I was so quick to dish out before our move. It was this judgmental attitude that was shown towards me and my family that caused me to walk away from the church, the people in God's house. I had some very deep hurts to deal with. And the ones that accepted me completely and fully as myself with no judgement and no condemnation were the pagans in the community. They took me in and loved me and allowed me to see the hurt they too had been through at the hands of other Christians.

Don't get me wrong, there were some very hateful and cruel folks that I met while on that path as well. But I had the opportunity to see how much love the majority of them have to share. More than that, though, I was able to see and hear the "WHY" to each of their stories. This was a learning experience for me. And one that ultimately led me closer to the Lord and helped to strengthen the relationship that I once had with Him. It helped me to see how much He really loves me and how He will never let go of me and never leave me alone unguarded and unprotected.

I'll share a little more about some specific things that took place that really showed me His love and protection through this time in another post. What I want to share today is more about the people that I met on this journey of mine.

You see, most of the pagans I met and had the opportunity to grow close to during this time were in the same place as me for the same reason......they were deeply hurt by someone or many someones that called themselves Christians. They were looking for the love and acceptance that they SHOULD have been able to find in their own community of other believers. They were looking to fill a void with human love that can only be filled with the love of God. They were blinded to the love of God by the judgment of other believers. If you were to ask any one of them what they don't like about Christianity their answer will be "the people". Almost always it's the people. And since "the people" are a reflection of the God we serve what, then, do you think their perception of God is? They were confused just as I was.

Confused? Yes, confused. You see, when God's people act in an ugly and hateful and judgmental way toward others it causes pain which leads to confusion. Why you ask? Simple, if we are to be Christ-like, as the title Christian implies, then why are we not actually being Christ-like? Why aren't we loving others regardless of where they are in life or what they have or are going through? Why are we judging so many based on what we see with our own eyes when we really truly do not have the full and clear picture as God does? Why are we picking and choosing the parts of the Bible that WE ourselves live out in our lives and then criticize others for what we perceive as being sinful? Why are we making one sin out to be worse than another? Why are we just teaching the wrath of God and not at all the love He has for every single one of His children?

So the Bible tells us that Christ came to redeem us, that we are ALL sinners, we ALL fall short of the glory of God.....but that God has such a deep passionate love for ALL of us that He gave up His one and only Son to pay the price of our sins. And then you have people who call themselves by His name that behave in an opposite manner. Yes, that is confusing. And yes, it causes people to turn away from the "church" and seek out a community of people that will accept them for who they are no questions asked.

You see, most of the pagans that I have met have made their decision about God based on the words and actions of the people who call themselves by His name. They have been judged and hurt and shunned by the very people that are supposed to be the "salt and the light" to this world (Matthew 5:13-16). How can we be the salt and the light in this world if we are so busy being judgmental and hateful and cruel to both believers and non-believers?

Something that I learned while on this path is that while they may believe different than Christians do, they are still people. They have feelings. They have love in their hearts. They are still God's children. Even if they don't know it yet.

What did it take for me to find my way back to the Lord? I never really turned away from God completely. I wasn't able to abandon the truth that I really truly knew deep down in my heart. I wasn't able to abandon the knowledge that Christ gave His life for my salvation. But I wasn't ready to deal with His people. And I was walking the pagan walk, talking the pagan talk. It wasn't until a very dear friend of mine reached out to me in love. She extended her hand to me and extended the invitation to go visit her church. She knew what I believed. She knew the life I was living. Incidentally, at that time I had only known her for a few months when she did reach out to me. The point is, she loved me for me and was able to see past the life I was living. She invited me without judgment to experience God's love once again.

Now there are some who would be so bold as to say that God would never love a pagan.....that God would never accept a pagan back into His family. These are all lies of the enemy. The enemy wants you to believe that your place is in a world void of God. The enemy wants you to believe that God does not love you and that you can only be accepted by those that have turned away from Him. The enemy wants you to remain in a state of confusion. But I'm here to tell you different. God has fully accepted me back into His family. He has never stopped loving me. He has never stopped being my Heavenly Father. And the same goes for every single person that has taken a wrong turn in life. God loves you still. And He is waiting for your return.

So what's my point in all this? LOVE LOVE LOVE People, wake up and realize that others are never going to see the love of God in and through you if you aren't willing to just love them. Share the truth of Christ's redemptive work on the cross and then just love them and let God sort it all out. It's not our job to "make" someone believe or to "make" someone do what we think they ought to be doing. It is our job to spread the Gospel and to be the salt and the light of this world. We cannot do that if we are always sitting in the seat of judgement that is not even ours to sit in.

Later this week I will also be posting about some of the dangers of paganism. It wasn't all a bed of roses. And yes, there were some painful times during those 7 years. I don't want to leave anyone thinking this is a good path to go down because it's not. But I do hope that believers who do read this will take into consideration that others are not seeing the love God has to offer when His people are the ones doing the hurting.