Christ-Light

Though it may rain outside,


I radiate the Son from my heart ~

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Even though I walk through the valley

of the shadow of death, I fear no evil,

for Thou art with me…

Ephphatha

Hear the Voice of God ; Speak the Language of Love

I Thirst

jesus painting photo: i thirst ithirst-1.jpg

If thou art willing to suffer no adversity,

how wilt thou be the friend of Christ?

                                   Thomas à Kempis

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

Overeating Sugar Plums: Part 2

'A Boy and His Cookies' photo (c) 2007, CJ Sorg - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

It is the Christmas countdown.  This can be such an amazing time of year.  Yes?  Personally, I love the beauty that Christmas can bring out of the human heart.  The dude at my favorite coffee shop winks at me, my typically stressed out hair dresser is giddy with joy, and even the dog seems to have learned a new dance step.  The world just seems…nicer.

So with that said, Jesus’ birthday is not the time for a sprinkle of self-hatred and a dab of distress.   Yet if you struggle with overeating, Christmas celebrations are likely a mixed bag.  Mustering optimism, you commit to gain control after New Year’s.  You try to pace yourself at the desert table.  Is it working?

Fear not for you can let go of trying to find the perfect diet to start on January 1st.  You can also ditch your food lists and weight charts.  Time to focus on what works.  The longterm solution lies in your relationship to Jesus and allowing Him to help you.  He can control your eating….if you let Him.

First off, never forget that the devil is lurking behind your struggle with food.  For overeaters, Genesis is disturbingly familiar.  It started with an apple and went downhill from there.   Hence, why you must be decked out, 24-7, in your spiritual armor; especially when you go toe-to-toe with a pecan pie.  Ultimately, there are three critical aspects of suiting up for this type of battle; prayer, fasting, and repentance.

Prayer is exceedingly personal.  Some folks opt for specific devotionals and others ad lib.  No biggie.  Just do what comes naturally for you and cry out to the Lord.  If your heart is in it, He will hear.  Be a shrewd Soldier and call upon our Triune God; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Take time early in the morning to beseech Jesus to release you from bondage to food.  Actively pray before each meal.  This means more than a perfunctory mealtime prayer and then diving headfirst into the sweet potatoes.  Honestly open yourself up to the Holy Spirit while you eat and unholy spirits will fall to the wayside.  You can do this in the silence of your heart without anyone knowing. Then send up a little prayer of thanks when you finish eating.  Jesus deserves our praise!

Fasting is an indispensable tool for the Christian Warrior as well as remarkably healing for overeaters.  If you know you will be feasting on ham and cranberry sauce on Christmas Day, consider fasting for part of Christmas Eve or maybe even for a couple of hours on Christmas morning.   The goal of such fasts is twofold: alignment with God’s Divine Will and preparation for the upcoming temptation of holiday fare.  In my opinion, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to fasting.  A person who has celiac or Type II diabetes cannot fast solely on bread and water.  Bad idea.   Your Savior knows how you should fast; approach Him prayerfully and you may be surprised by His Guidance.  You could be prompted to conduct juice fasts, mono-food fasts, or to fast from a specific activity.  It is common for our fasts to change in type and duration over time.  Jesus knows what is best for you.  Trust Him.

Society overall does not view overeating as a spiritual misstep.  In fact, overeating is condoned and encouraged throughout Christmas and beyond.  Diets, not repentance, are touted as the panacea for overeating.  Not true.  Repentance is the healing balm when we slip back into old patterns.  How you repent is based on the shade of Christianity you embrace.  Just know that for us humans, gluttony leads to demoralization, self-hatred, and separation from Jesus.  It is no good.  Furthermore, the enemy makes great strides when we refuse to repent to Our Lord.  Saying your sorry will put your eating back into the Hands of God.  Just do it and move on.

You are a Christian Soldier.  The Army of God needs you.   I am here for you.

Your Comrade in Christ,

Cindy

You Are Rare

'bemused!' photo (c) 2013, Rajarshi MITRA - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

…as well as… Exquisite.  Incomparable.  Miraculous. Astonishing. Precious.

and above all…

Holy.

You are an impeccable Light for Christ in a dimly lit world.  As a light for Christ you stand out like a sore thumb.  The enemy is none too happy with you and without prayer you are a sitting duck at a gun show.

If there is no one devoutly praying for you at this time, this has to change.

That is why I set up the prayer request page here at RemnantREFUGE.  Look up and you will see it is now on the Menu Bar.  This is the real deal.  No matter what your situation, myself and several other Christian souls will deeply pray and fast on your behalf.

I, for one, used to feel awkward asking folks to pray for me.  It felt self-indulgent and a tad narcissistic but not anymore.  The Lord worked that kink out of my armor and I garner prayers wherever I can get them.   As Christians, we know all about the power of prayer.  Pray, pray, pray and when in doubt, pray some more!

So add us to your list along with the folks at Church who pray for you and your sweet mama who has been praying for your soul since the day you were born.  We only ask for your first name and you can use a pseudonym if that is more comfortable.   You will also be notified by email, if you like, of the day and time that prayer and fasting was offered up for you and your needs.

You are that important.

There is nothing left to say.

Your Comrade in Christ,

Cindy

Coping with the New Normal

'Soldier' photo (c) 2012, Moyan Brenn - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

As a Christian Soldier you know we are in funky times.  You may have walked with Christ for a long time or just recently committed to the Good Fight.  No matter.  You have enlisted in the Christian Army and you now work for the Remnant.  Yep.  That is right.  You have your ear to the ground and almost every day you see signs of the Great Battle emerging at both the personal and global front.  Possibly a dear friend or family member is attacking you or your finances are in a downward spiral.  You could be fighting some serious illness or your marriage is in the pits.  These  personal difficulties seem to dance in step with the increase in global shifts: natural disasters, war, random crime, and economic decay. Blah, blah, blah.  It just never stops.

So how do we cope with the new normal?

Chatting up other Christian Soldiers can validate our experience but we need more than that.   We need peace.  Without peace in your heart, you will struggle to cope with the spiritual battle that now surrounds you.  So take a deep breath, focus, and get back to basics.

Talk. Listen. Act.

Being on Active Duty for Christ requires continuous contact.  Remember Noah and the flood?  Noah talked to God, listened to Him, and then he obeyed.  It really was that simple.

First, keep your eyes on Jesus all day long.  Talk to Jesus about everything and I mean everything, offering up the good and the bad of your entire day.  Greet Our Lord as soon as your feet hit the floor.  Talk to him while you brush your teeth, shower, and decide what to wear.  Ask Him continually if you are doing what He wants you to do.  At night, make sure you chat Him up again and ask for protection while you sleep.  Sleeping soldiers are vulnerable to attack.  Never forget this. 

Secondly, listen to His Voice within your heart. Isn’t it amazing how hard this is sometimes?  Many of us will send up our joys and sorrows to Jesus but hearing Him talk back can be challenging.  Yet this is vital for the Remnant. How can you move forward in murky waters if you have no direction?  You can’t.  You will drown.  It won’t be pretty.  So set aside time for daily prayer and regular fasting.  Be patient and allow yourself to become quiet.  He will respond.  Every general communicates with his troops.  Persist and He will come.

Lastly, act on His Direction.  You might be guided to get into your Bible, go back to Church, pray a special prayer or devotion, ring up your preacher or priest, or simply calm down.  His communication will be highly personal to you and your need.  Not some generic stuff.  It is critical that you act upon His Direction as soon as possible.  Don’t put it off as Jesus is not messing around.  If what you hear seems weird, then pray deeply for discernment and get sound Christian counsel.  No solider fights a battle singlehandedly and the enemy will try to weasel his perverse voice into your mind.  Do not fret.  Typically when the enemy is badgering you that is proof you are on the right track.

As you practice reaching out to Jesus, listening to His voice, and acting upon His directives, you’ll get really good at handling your heavenly walkie-talkie.  Bottom line is that you can cope with anything if you are in constant contact with the Lord.  The new normal will still seem bizarre but you can handle it when you are literally walking with Christ.

Remember you are not alone.  Jesus and the heavenly realm is totally in your corner.

May Christ’s peace be with you always,

Cindy

My First Letter to You

'Mailbox, Old' photo (c) 2010, Ann Larie Valentine - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/Dear Christian Soldier,

Every blog deserves some form of introduction. I guess from the header you have gathered that this is a blog for Christians looking for a little warm and fuzzy. You are correct. This is a refuge for you during the trials that you sense are now at your doorstep.  TLC is tough to find especially nowadays. We live smack dab in the middle of electronic mayhem. Folks make more eye contact with their gadgets than with each other.  The news bombards us with a steady stream of information that is unsettling if not downright frightening. Whether we are fretting over the global economy or wondering if we’ll still be employed next month, the stress is on. Let’s face it. A strange coldness has swept over the land.

Things are getting strange out there.

So here is my message. You matter. You matter so, so, so much.  I can’t see you but I know you. You work your behind off striving to be a good person, to do what God asks of you and some days you don’t know if you can keep going. You doubt yourself at moments and then you get up the next morning and you jump back into the soup. You may or may not go to church but you still ache for a deeper Christian community.  The enemy seems to trip you up, especially lately, and you fear he is gaining ground.  You read your Bible. You pray. You strain to hear the Lord’s voice in your soul.  When the room finally empties out, you are left with your love for Jesus and that strange heaviness in your chest.  You know what that is? You ache for His Return. So do I. That makes us comrades. We are the Remnant.

So here it is.  Remnant REFUGE.  If this blog is the Lord’s Will then I promise to do my part.  Know that I am praying for you daily.  Cross my heart~

Your Comrade In Christ,
Cindy

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