The Untold Plan

 

 

As Christians we believe that God has a unique plan for our lives.  We know that we are created for His Glory and that each one of us is set apart with singular gifting and pivotal ministries.

What a glorious recognition!

But what of the specific strategy the dark one has for each and every one of us?

 

 

 

If you are like me, you have wrestled over your lifetime with certain temptations and difficulties.   These struggles are deeply personal and mark some of our most desperate moments.  We keep them close to the vest and squirm uncomfortably when exposed for public consumption.

The cards dealt to me are different than those you hold in your palm.

Is this a coincidence?

No.

There is an eerie path that lies before each soul that few speak of.  It is the diabolical pathway and it is very, very real.  Indeed, the enemy carefully and quietly initiates this perverse process starting in our most tender childhood years.  Like a supernatural bloodhound, he seems to sniff out our divine appointment and then hand tailors a plan for our destruction.   Over time, the sinister, master mason methodically lays down the brickwork for our ultimate demise.   Each paver is positioned in a design of  textures and patterns: addiction, illness, abuse, emotional struggles, poverty, family dysfunction, racism, materialism, marital decay, and the list goes on and on.

Blindly, we carry on with our lives, breathing out a sigh of relief whenever we seem to dodge a passing bullet.  Yet without clear knowledge of  Satan’s precise intention for our undoing, we are in grave danger of never truly manifesting God’s desire for our time on earth.

So what’s the solution? 

An honest appraisal of your past will quickly illuminate how you’ve been positioned to remain in the devil’s playground.  It’s like turning around during a midnight sojourn and aiming your flashlight over your meandering footprints.   A pattern will emerge in those muddy areas where you have stumbled and fallen.  Each dark moment will ultimately be linked to another and suddenly the diabolical pathway for your soul is brought to light.

This illumination is a great gift for it will allow you to navigate your ship more successfully.   Most importantly, you must now tend to each and every vulnerable spot in your spiritual armor.  Rush to them as sailors would to open holes in the ship’s belly and board them up immediately lest your vessel sink.

Time is ebbing.  We are standing at the brink and as Christians we must be hyper-vigilant about our soft spots. Understand that as a Remnant Soldier, the enemy is particularly drawn to you.  You are valuable prey for if he can take you down he also takes down those souls who you might lead to God.

Beef up your spiritual practice precious comrade.  It is the time for ardent and frequent prayer, repentance, and fasting.  These are the jewels we offer up to heaven for the sake of self and others.  Pull away from all activities and people that threaten the sacred protection of Christ.  There is nothing worldly worth keeping if it costs you your salvation.

Please know that I pray for you and your walk.  Though we may never meet, you are spiritual kin.

May God bless you and keep you,

Cindy

Tempest Mine

There comes a time when all is to be questioned.  A time when our plans and self composed strategies are cast off like hot coals to soft flesh.  There comes a time when we must abandon ourselves to Him by becoming truly inter-dependent.

The time is here.  It has arrived.  We are no longer lingering in wait but at the moment of departure.  Climb aboard now or be left behind.

My current struggles with abandonment to Christ are just that.  My own.  They really are not of any import or interest other than to me and my solitary walk.   I look around, as you do, and I see the very same  pattern of confusion and unconscious rebellion in my Christian brothers and sisters.  In unison we seem to stumbling about in a haphazard trance.   All the while asking of ourselves and Our God, “what am I to do?”.

What am I to do?

Stuck again in the ‘ I ‘.   The little ‘ i ‘ and all that she affords me.  Which is very, very  little by the way.

For this present whirlwind of mind and heart is pervasive and having it’s way with the Remnant.  It is called the Confusion a midst the Storm and it is another ruse of the devil.  If the Flock remains befuddled and scattered, we are hardly in right form to take on the Great Battle.  Let alone be harbingers of the New Era.

Remarkably, like all human maladies there is a spiritual solution.  This particular fever responds to the clarity of the Holy Spirit and at times a swift kick to the posterior.  For me it often comes through another struggling  comrade who unwittingly slaps me into right thinking.   With one or several words, I suddenly am restored to my saddle.  Galloping once again, with full vigor, towards my Lord and my God.

For this reason, and many others, we must stay glued to one another.  The oppressor has unleashed so much upon us that it is very difficult to make one’s way through the menacing fog.  We must grab the coat tails of the man in front of us while offering the same to the soldier behind.  Entwined together in this perilous storm, we have a chance of finding our way to He Who Awaits Us.

After all, He gave us one another for this hurricane of all hurricanes. 

We cannot succumb to going it alone.  It is a death wish to forge off in solitude as we once did.  I urge you to purge yourself of your old ideals of rugged independence and cling to the safety of the holy fraternity.  This is not a mild suggestion but an exhortation.

Do what is necessary now.  Identify your true Christian confidants and have daily contact as if your life depended on it.  Be eager to ask the tough questions and bow your head in silence when a fellow Christian offers sage advice.   Pray fervently with one another and allow sacred community to be whatever the Lords affords you this one day.

The time of sorrows is upon us and we must be One Under God.  Stand with me  little sparrow soul and know that my own smallness is made that much greater by your magnificent presence.

 

As the Comrade behind you, I remain in awe of your steadfastness,

Cindy

Leaping Backwards and Other Feats of Valor

Now is the time for radical change.   Folks are seemingly making rash life decisions and  family and friends may be none too happy.  Seized with a baffling inner conviction, surrounding objections go unheeded.  Without looking back, the hero jumps.  In mid-flight, he realizes he has no clue where his feet will land.

How spectacular a sight.   For acts of true courage are irrational and remind us that martyrdom comes in many colors.

Look around.  Christians are committing massive acts of the heart every single day.  Some are forfeiting lucrative jobs to pursue personal ministries that offer no steady income.  Still others, guided by Godly conviction, are taking leave of house and hearth to follow the Spirit.  Young Christians are consistently defying peer pressure by embracing chastity and piety.   A steady stream of holy acts is encircling us as the Faithful choose God.  Especially when it does not make sense.

We all know that dying for Jesus is a great honor.  Yet holy martyrdom is multidimensional, so do not assume the worst. One day you may be asked to shed blood for Him.  On the other hand, you may be prompted to suddenly go where it hurts most.  Such as:

Your wallet.

Your sense of security.

Your desire for acceptance and prestige.

These invitations of the Holy Spirit never cease to amaze me.   His descent is not just some ancient movement witnessed at the first Pentecost.  Oh how He is working right now!  The constant companion of Our Lord and harbinger of the Great News is manifesting among us at record speed.   Again and again, we the downtrodden are being lifted up by His steady hand only to find ourselves opting for a new skin.

In this unprecedented house cleaning, many of us are being reappointed in preparation for what lies ahead.  It appears that in order to be of maximum use to Our Creator, we must move beyond our comfort zone.  If this is your reality, consider yourself chosen.

Our 12 Star General knows what He is up to.   Not one of us will be left out of the change-game as His troops are readied for battle.  The question is not whether you will have to stretch beyond yourself.  That is a given and no noble metamorphosis comes without seismic struggle.  Instead take note of your personal unveiling before the eyes of the Lord.

Therein lies true beauty.

For now, we march together with each soul humming a singular note.  Unknowingly, our individual offerings of bravery converge as a great orchestration before the throne of  God.  It  is our earthly gift to Jesus at this time.

Carry on Good Comrade.  You are not alone.

 

Your Sister in Christ,

Cindy

Confessions of A Dog Owner

dog photoThere are moments when you want to just scream.  When so much is going on around you that it becomes surreal and you feel you landed a bit part in a Fellini movie.  It matters not the type of chaos that suddenly erupts whether it be a massive snow storm, sudden illness, or erratic human behavior at the office.  The end product is the same.  You feel confused, vulnerable and more than a little lost.

My spiritual advisor calls it ‘swirling’.  Yep.  Last week was swirling all right.  Ironically, the only one in my life who is seemingly unaffected is my dog, Biscuit.  He seems to handle the current times with great aplomb, impervious to the turbulence that surrounds him.  In fact, Wee Biscuit (as he is known to those in his inner circle), is the epitome of normalcy and calm.

Let’s talk shop for a minute shall we?

We are in the Time of Testing.  A resounding cry is welling up among the Christian corridors and it has the same hue throughout. Whether we follow contemporary Christian prophecy, point to scriptural warnings, or have inner discernment; the Body of Christ is acutely aware we reside in chaotic waters.

Even the New Age barista who works at the local Starbucks is scrambling to account for a world off kilter.  He recently told me, as he kindly handed over my cup of joe, that we are in the ‘age of Aquarius’.  I had to smile at his sincerity but without a Christian backdrop, he like so many, is lost at sea.

And then there is us.  The Christian Remnant.  How well are we handling the nearly constant battering of our sails?

Let me start by exposing last week’s internal dialog:

Ugh.   Help.   Are you serious?   Get a grip.   Just a minor set back.   Chin up!    Ah, this ain’t good.   Hmm.  What in tarnation is going on?   Help.   Could I opt for another generation?   Jesus, help.    No really…help.

So now you know that my mental chamber is far from being that of a Rhodes Scholar.   Yet my recent cognitive thrashing is not too far off from what I suspect other Christians are experiencing.  Yes, the climate is changing.  Yes, the global economy is spiraling downward.  Yes, moral decay abounds.  None of this is too surprising for those of us who closely follow Jesus and His Word.

Yet something much more insidious is at play when the Remnant’s mental and emotional realm comes under attack.  The confusion in the self is very real and must be exposed for what it is.  There is a reason that the faces around you are melding into a collage of bewilderment and confusion.

Satan has significantly ramped up his attack on our psychology.

This is not a reference to a tragic descent into mental illness.  I am speaking of one of the enemy’s primary strategies to oppress the Army of God.  Our foe is cunning and has deployed evil forces to hinder the minds of those who work for the Holy Kingdom.  He will use whatever means within his gnarly grasp to coerce us into a state of spiritual immobilization.  A Christian Soldier, who becomes baffled and befuddled, is easy to topple over.

This is serious business.  As a Christian, you must be extremely vigilant over your thoughts and feelings.   Prayer, fasting, and immersion in The Word will offer you the grace of Divine Protection.  It matters not how solid you think you are in Jesus, the devil is presently engaged in an all-out assault of mankind.  Especially the Remnant.  This is not the time to rest on one’s laurels.   You must not let down your guard of prayer.  Ever.

Jesus is good.  He knows when we have lost our grip and has a gentle way of stitching up our tattered seams.  However, the Lord has given us spiritual tools to fight the evil one and we must ardently employ them in this Final Hour.

You are a Soldier for the Most High.  I beseech you to move into your spiritual practice with renewed fervor and do not deter.  This is a tall order but you were created for this very moment; there are no mistakes in God’s Creation.

As always, I am astounded by your courage, faith, and love.

Your Comrade in Christ,

Cindy (and Wee Biscuit)

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Kaleidoscope Eyes

It people dont see things...is true.  You are a die-hard Christian and there are times you feel as if you’ve been beamed down on some alien planet.  The problem is that it’s inhabitants are none to happy with your arrival.  Persona non grata that you are; you look for others of your kind.  They exist but are far and few.  You comfort yourself in the knowledge that Jesus has your back.

Or does He?

Oh Oh.

Has that thought ever entered your mind?   If you have been hammered lately by financial hardships, societal decay, and cold weather; join the club.  It is R-O-U-G-H out there and the devil is licking his chops waiting for the opportunity to slip doubt and skepticism into your beautiful, rebel brain.  It is no secret that the darkest kingpin parties hardy every time a Remnant Soldier questions the Lord’s Faithfulness.

Crucial point:  You are an irreplaceable member of the RESISTANCE.  Therefore, expect continuous and increasing oppression from the enemy.  You are an outsider in this secular morass.  Like the proverbial gem in the 5 and dime store, your presence is notable and undeniable.  Standing front and center for Jesus, you stick out like a sore thumb on a hand that insists it does not need you.

But we do need you…

You are one who can rightly see and hear by the fortifying power of Christ.  That makes you a divine tuning fork for The Kingdom.  Those gifts of the Holy Spirit, you have tucked up your sleeve, are tailored for this very moment in history.  Because you are here among us, this age of encroaching darkness is down a notch.  You matter and then some.  The testimony of your prayers, fasting, and worship heralds God’s Ultimate Triumph and Victory over evil.  One day soon we will stand united together in His Divine Company.

These are my words for you this day.  Take comfort in knowing that you are of singular nature and destiny.

You are different.

You matter.

Don’t stop.

Your Comrade in Christ,

Cindy

Rockin the Body

'Awesome Jesus Bus, Front Shot' photo (c) 2011, Joe Wolf - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/Some days I just wanna go ‘Partridge Family’ and get me a Jesus Bus and tear up Route 1.  I’d talk to anyone and everyone.  I’d yap up Jesus so hard that my jaw muscles would lock up in a permanent charlie horse.

Are you hearing me Brothers and Sisters !?

Despite my attempts to get my most ardent, Jesus-lovin buddies to weigh in on my pipe dream, they remain unmoved.  No biggie.  Like Noah, I’d scurry about, filling up the seats with every type of Christian.  2 by 2.  This heaven-bound heap of metal would tote every ecumenical flavor.  We’d be one big happy family going gospel for the Kingdom.

< silent pause >

You say we might dissolve into endless bickering over doctrinal differences?

You know where I am going with this.  It is about being One in Christ.  You love Him.  I love Him.  He loves Us.  That makes us brothers and sisters under One God.   So why is it so difficult for us to all get along?

There is something afoot with the fragmentation of the Divine Body.  It has the markings of Slewfoot and I don’t like it one iota.  The devil has a serious upper hand when the Christian Army is disenfranchised.  This jockeying for supremacy hails all the way back to the road at Capernaum (Luke 9:46, Mark 9:33).  Jesus attempted to quell that little brush fire with scant success.  The in-fighting continued prompting Paul to later appeal for Christian unity in his First Letter to the Corinthians.

Fast forward 2000 years and such appeals still persist.  Pope Francis apparently rang in on this topic just the other day.

…our communities continue to experience divisions, which are a scandal.  There is no other word for it: the divisions between Christians are a scandal…because they used Christ’s name to separate themselves from others within the Christian community.  But the name of Christ creates communion and unity, not division!  Baptism and the Cross are central elements in our common Christian discipleship.  Divisions, on the other hand, weaken the credibility and effectiveness of our commitment to evangelization…                                 Pope Francis – General Audience – 22 January 2014

Prayer Week for Christian Unity just flew by in a whisper.  Ashamedly, I confess having just learned of this initiative that is well over a hundred years old.  In accordance with Christ’s will “that they may all be one”, it serves as an ecumenical prayer-fest for the unity of all baptized persons.  What a beautiful way to storm heaven with a universal song.

Let’s face it, beautiful Remnant Family, we have to roll up our sleeves and get to work.  The surrounding territory is increasingly hostile.  American Christians, like many of our international comrades, may one day face overt persecution.  In a sweep of the hand, cloaked communion will become the order of the day and the colors of the Christian rainbow will commingle out of necessity.

Collectively we comprise the Body of Christ and have been given one another for this time of trials.

Just as geese trailing south overhead in the sky, the Faithful seeks a fixed form.  It seems that Jesus may be holding His Divine Breath; only to exhale once His Remnant Body is finally realized.

May this day come soon.

Until then, I remain.

Your Comrade in Christ,

Cindy

The Choice

'Don't Speak!' photo (c) 2011, Kristin Schmit - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Cry out with a thousand tongues!  I see that the world is rotten because of 

                                                                   silence.

Saint Catherine of Siena (1347 – 1380)

One Nation Under Selfie

selfie 1Vanity.  The blight of the beautiful and even the not-so-comely.  Some say it is the hallmark of youth and others claim women champion the cause.   Seems to me that we are in a world of increased self absorption whether it has to do with how one looks, what one eats, or whether one is breathing or not.

Please someone tell me what in tarnation is going on with this selfie movement?  Admittedly, I am old and more than a bit tarnished.  The only selfie you are ever going to see of me is right here in my recent wardrobe acquisition.

Taking pictures of yourself with your kids, family, and friends for the sake of posterity is not a moral crime.  I, for one, cherish the pictures I have of my friends and family.  Yet our country has become obsessed with pictorial diaries of every conceivable human moment, action, and whim.  Facebook pages seem to volley for who is having the most fabulous, selfie-consumed existence.  As a psychologist, I don’t believe for one cotton-pickin minute that everyone is having a glorious, toothy-smiled life.  If that is the case, explain to me the ever increasing rates of suicide, domestic abuse, self-cutting, depression, and anxiety in our nation.  Need I go on?

So what does Jesus think about all these selfies?

Oh…here is a clue:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”                                                      1 Samuel 16: 7

Evidently humanity has always been seduced by the outer shell.  It doesn’t help that the devil is all about luring us away from holy love of self and others.  He is the consummate “poser” and entices us into the same.  If we don’t actively resist the temptation, we spend our days building a shrine to self.

The art of navel gazing precludes the expression of God’s love in our lives.  Recently, in prayer, it was put on my heart that charity is the sure antidote to vanity.  What a beautiful thought.  Funny but I don’t worry about my wrinkles or dreaded muffin top when I am giving a hoagie to a hungry person.   It is true.  Charity to others propels us out of self-absorption at rocket-speed.

Enter Mother Teresa stage right.  No one disputes that this tiny woman gave herself over, hook-line-and-sinker, to loving others.  It was all she did.  So powerful was her life testimony, that she remains our cultural icon of charity.  And here is the kicker.  This tiny, living verb of service to others, privately endured the pain of a spiritual vacuum.  Posthumous letters detail this Saint’s interior disconnect from Jesus while endlessly doling out blankets, soup, and prayers.  Now that is sobering. 

If Mother Teresa was able to avoid the pitfalls of selfiedom without feeling the love of Christ, what is our excuse?  You and I are Remnant Soldiers.  There is no time to waste.  We must resist the red tide of self-absorption that is consuming our planet.  We may not be magazine-cover material in the world’s eyes but we are BEAUTIFUL to the One Who Comes.

Now get up and do something amazing for someone in need.  I dare you…you beautiful, magnificent Christian Warrior.

Your Comrade in Christ,

Cindy

Triumph in the Fallen Garden

'Child Hiding' photo (c) 2006, D. Sharon Pruitt - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/My father died 11 days ago.

There are no words in any language to describe what it feels like when someone you love dies.  There are also no well-intended platitudes, spiritual rhetoric or flower bouquets to lessen your despair.  You suffer through it like a fly glued to sticky paper.  You writhe, groan, and spasm.

Have you felt true grief before?  If you have, you know exactly what I speak of.  It is life changing.  If you don’t believe me look at the before and after photos of soldiers’ faces from the Iraqi war.  Grief can literally etch itself upon your countenance and impact you at the cellular level.  The physical body screams out in agony.  When you take a breath, you fear you will explode. When you exhale, you wonder if it is the last.  It takes all the sufferings from your past and puts them in a box called Not Grief.  It suddenly casts you into an abyss of alienation from normalcy.

As Christian Soldiers we must find a way to cope with suffering, death, and the resulting grief.  If not, we will become emotionally and spiritually immobilized. Our desperate attempts to quell the pain via drugs, alcohol, sex, money, and food will be of no avail.  We will thrash about in a befuddled state and be of little use to the Remnant Army.  This is exactly what the devil desires.  Don’t let him win; you must embrace your grief.  I mean it.  There is no band-aid for human anguish.  You must honor it, feel it, and allow it to move through your being.  It will hurt like the dickens but you must walk through it.  And therein lies the good news.  You can walk though grief and journey to the other side.

God has a beautiful way of providing us with support during our trial of tears.  Don’t be surprised at how healing may manifest.  It may be predictable in the form of a close friend, pastor, priest, or grief counselor.  On the other hand, God may lead you into the unexpected.  You may find yourself suddenly writing poetry, endlessly sipping tea, stealing cat naps, or hiking alone in the woods.  Allow Jesus to offer you a very personal prescription for recovery.  You are a unique soul and the Lord knows exactly how you best be mended.

It is vital you be patient with your personal response to the loss of a cherished other.  There is no perfect way to grieve.  The moment I learned of my father’s passing, I felt completely cut off from God.  It was horrible.  My daily religious practice simply unraveled with the exception of robotic Church attendance.  I was the woman sobbing in the back pew.  The few words I could squeak out to Jesus were steeped in anger and despair.  Thankfully, my Christian friends immediately came to my aid, offering prayers up for my grief-striken family.  Don’t be shy about asking others to pray for you.  They are a precious gift from God for times such as these.  When you can talk to Jesus, do so.  Be honest with Him.  Jesus knows what you are going through and besides being a Just God, He is also a God of Mercy and Divine Love.

Time can take some of the sting out of death.  However, I have to wonder if the soul ever truly heals from the ravages of human decay and loss.  It is, after all, the gift that keeps on giving per the hands of our enemy.  Yet Jesus can heal even the deepest of wounds.  He provides us with Grace sufficient to rise us up so that we may engage in the battle once again.

My dad was a good man.  I want my remaining days here on earth to be a testimony to his spirit and his life.  His years of suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and final descent into death cannot be the end of the story.  Satan cannot have the final say.  It is in moments like this that we must choose.  We can retreat into misery, isolation, and inertia or pick up our spiritual weaponry and fight the prince of darkness who brought death and suffering to the human race.

Today, I choose to fight for the hour is at hand.

Please join me as the Remnant needs you.

Your Comrade in Christ,

Cindy

Can you hear Him from the Cross?

'' photo (c) 2011, Daniel Oines - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/You are a Remnant Soldier.  You gave your life to Christ and you live within that reality.  Yet life has a funny way of getting us off track.  The kids need to get new braces, the boss is on our back, we are low on milk, and we have to get the oil changed in the truck.  Such is the background noise of a busy life.

But there is more.  You know it and I know it.  It wells up in our hearts despite our hectic schedules and crazy to-do lists. It is the Voice of Christ pleading for us to go out and fight for Him and His Holy Word.  He is being crucified and vilified at every turn.  All you have to do is read Yahoo news or turn on the TV.  The evidence is in every direction and mounting.  It breaks your heart and makes you feel sick to your stomach.  Then life starts up again with its sundry demands and your focus goes elsewhere.

He is calling you.  YOU.  The closer you get to the foot of the Cross, the clearer His Voice.  Lately, it has not been a whisper but a desperate cry.  Am I alone in this?  I think not.  Jesus is begging us to do His Work in a world that is spiraling out of control.  I dare you to literally go outside and stare up at the heavens and ask Jesus what He needs.  Better yet, get on your knees, stretch out your arms, and let Him speak to your Remnant heart.

You are given the most important mission of all time.  Regardless of your circumstances, you are here on earth to FIGHT. 

Deep in your heart you know this is the truth.  It is not a coincidence that you were born into this generation.  You were created for this very moment in human history.  You are the hope of Christ in this crumbling world.  True business.  You and I are the Christian Army.  If we don’t fight, who will?

May we make way for His Return,

Cindy

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