READ THIS FIRST

I am told that the truths that I share sometimes come across a bit too curt. Not that the truths shouldn’t be firmly held, but when I share them verbally my tone and expression and responses to the listener allow me to share the truth and the balance of grace at the same time (please listen to some of my audios for examples).

Whatever today’s topic, the full balance always involves the the following sweet coatings on the sometimes distasteful pill of truth of:

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

1. You are not alone, Dr. Verle Bell joins you as the chief of sinners and in no position to judge your worth, dignity, security, future, or God’s ability to help you.

2. There is Hope!

3. If you are a saved child of God, you have worth, strength, and hope just because. You can’t lose it or increase it, you have them just because Jesus died for you and loves you.

4. There are no have to‘s for us but there are a lot of sure-would-be-nice‘s. These blogs are to help you grab ahold of all the sure-would-be-nice’s God has for you in the present.

5. If you never change, grow, fight the good fight, etc, You are still a winner, for we are more than conquerors- we forever remain in his love!

Stop to think, how many people have passed through this world without confessing with God that they are a sinner in need of salvation, asking for that salvation based on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Since we have, as a result we are now immortals. The rest is just icing on the cake.

Now read on to get your share of the icing!

If you ask Him nicely, He might even let you lick out of the icing bowl, just as my Mom did when I helped her in the kitchen as a boy.

NEW IDEAS ON SERITONIN WASTAGE

To review, we use up our calming serotonin faster than we can replace it by:

  1. Circling on things we can’t change
  2. By making things bigger than they need to be
  3. Suppressing things we should look at,

Solution: Cast our cares on Him and move on.

The other day, I was talking to a friend and realized that there were a couple other ways we waste calming chemical in our heads.

Once we accept that we are powerless and can’t change something, then we move on to Resenting. We review the details of the problem, pointing out how unfair it all is. We wallow in the “if only”s and the “why me?”s.

We resent

  • Ourselves for not being able to handle everything
  • Others for not co-operating
  • Ultimately God for allowing it.

Sooner or later we will realize this leads nowhere, but, then accepting that we can’t fix it and there is no point to resenting, we:

  • Hop to another problem  and then to another.

It is as if we are addicted to observing and reviewing negatives.

The brain can’t support constant negatives. Hopping problems is just as draining as circling on the same one, but a little harder to feel the error of.

When I am talking with someone in this state, I keep asking them what I have come to believe is the most important question in mental health,

“So what are you supposed to do about that right now?”

“They then give me the “yes but, I can’t. But, it is a problem. And it is bad. And it is unfair”, OR they say, ” Well, here’s another problem!”

The way out? Remember your tool to say THANKS for this problem that I can’t fix! HELP me let go, SHOW ME what you want me to focus on instead.

HEART FEELING

Genesis 42:28
And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart FAILED them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us? Genesis 45:26 And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob’s heart FAINTED, for he believed them not .  Leviticus 26:16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause SORROW of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.

MORE ON BURNOUT

First, on a personal note, I pointed out that all caring godly people hit bottom and burnout sooner or later. I always have admired my dad for his faithful following of the Lord and service to the kingdom. He shared with me that there was a time not too long ago when he felt burned out. I know that about 6 years ago I was pretty depressed. I felt that, based on how my children were doing, I was a complete failure as a parent. The church did not want anything that I had to offer. Work just wanted a pill pusher, not a counselor, my back was always hurting. Whatever, I started to feel sorry for myself and could relate to Jonah, Moses, and Elijah, “God why don’t you just take me?” I knew that suicide was not an option and even that felt like being trapped.  It felt that everyone wanted me only for what they could get from me and not for myself.

So what helped. I guess I just kept walking and decided that Jesus was enough even if I never accomplished great things or had lots of people want to hang out with me. I am doing better at keeping my focus on the fulfillment that must wait till I see Him face to face.

In my last blog, I said that there are three ways that we use up our serotonin and become burned out. This week I spotted a fourth. So let me review and elaborate. First we circle round and round on things we can’t control. Second we make mountains out of small stuff. (I covered two tools for dealing with these. 1. ask the question, “Is it my job right now to do something about the circling concern?”2. bring problems down to size by continually noting things God has helped me do, things that others have done well and things that are just plain positive.

Third is to suppress issues we should see’ accept the reality of, and move on.                                                                                                                          In regards to the present: we procrastinate, in regards to the past: we bury, in regards to the future: we stick our heads in the sand . ” I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it” I know that we are not to WORRY about tomorrow but it is OK to prepare and do today things that are relevant to tomorrow.Proverbs 22:3A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Don’t procrastinate. My daughter Cheri is wise beyond my years. A while ago I was thrilled to have the chance to teach a sunday school class. I’ve been going to this church for over a year and finally had a chance to contribute something out of my God design. I prepared well and thought I did a good job and was excited about continued oportunity to give to my brethren. The next week pastor called and said to Lois, “Have Verle bring back the teachers manual we won’t need him to teach again.” Being the fagile person I am, I was feeling hurt and was going to take the rest of the week to build up to asking pastor what I’d done wrong. That would have used up enormous amounts of serotonin to suppress my feeling, gotten in the way of performing well at work and then I would have wound up dealing with a bigger problem come sunday. Cheri encouraged me to check with pastor and not procrastinate. I called him and he was just thinking that I was a busy doctor and he’d appreciated my help and found someone else to cover.

Next blog I’ll cover the fourth way I squander my serotonin. Meanwhile let’s let go of, fussing with things we can’t control, let’s  find positives three times a day and not suppress issues.

A word of caution: before opening up memories of past abuse. you must be prepared to bring healing truth into the memory and it is wise to have a pastor or counselor help you. If you just uncover things and get agitated and stop thinking about them. they will go back into your memory more poisonous then they were.

COMMENTS ON CHRISTMAS MEDITATION

The monkey story reminds me on how people like to go swimming, but only put their feet in, they don’t want to get wet even though they enjoy dancing in the rain.
 “they enjoy the fun worship but are terrified they would drown if they gave themselves over to fully trustin and being fully immersed in Jesus” (quote by myself Verle Bell).
 If only they would get in they then would truly know what it means to fully enjoy the water.
At times in our christian lives we want to have that fullness of Christ in relationship, but we only put part of our body into the water not our full selves. We make limitations/ barriers on ourselves to safeguard ourselves so that we do not get hurt.
 “Can you believe that we fear that God, having given us His Son would not also with Him freely give us all things? That God would rob us of our identity after He so brilliantly crafted us? That He somehow intends our hurt? That we would be better at safeguarding ourselves?” (quotes be Verle)
 If only we would only put our full trust in Him, then we would become the person He made us to be.
   Paul stepped out and got into the “water”. If he had held back, feeling unworthy as the Chief of Sinners, what kind of witness would he have been? He knew in the process that there may be things he would not enjoy; mostly though, he knew that in the outcome he would bring glory to, and have a close Relationship with, Christ and the Father. 
    I like the fact that you tied everything together in the main point, WE WERE GIVEN A GIFT THAT WE HAVE NOT FULLY OPENED.

 The main question we have to ask ourselves is when and how are we going to open it? Today is the day of salvation and today ought to be the day that we rip the rest of the wrapping off and enjoy the gift fully.

By Danny Ray Sturgill Lois and Verle’s son in law and a youth minister.

BELL’S CHRISTMAS LETTER

OPEN YOUR PRESENT.     I recently heard a pastor encourage us to take the present we’ve had for 2000 years and open it and play with it, already!

Jesus bought us the gift of forgiveness of sins and power to do the opposite of our natural inclination.

Once a group of monkeys, raised in cages, was released to the wild. Their cages were put into a clearing, bananas were placed in the clearing to draw them out, and the gates to their cages were opened. The monkeys clung to the back of the cages in terror of the gift of freedom. Jesus bought our freedom to live abundantly, not so that we could sing about freedom and stay in our cages.

Remember the lady who, being defiled, chose to touch Jesus’ robe?   She was a profound theologian. Before Jesus, every time dirty touched clean-the dirty stayed dirty and the clean was defiled. She realized that when her dirtiness touched his clean-He would stay clean and she would be cleansed!

This had happened before in a one cell embryo. When the godhead merged with human genes, boy did it have some dirtiness to clean up! Jesus was now a descendant of Adam! The scriptures say in Hebrews 7:9,10 that we did what our ancestors did! Fortunately He was still fully God and His infinite purity overcame the enormous inherited sin and cleansed it. 2Corinthians 5:21 He who knew no sin BECAME SIN for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God.

Look at His first ancestors Adam and Eve and right down the line: rebelling against having to ask God the Father as to what is right and wrong, enticing others to join into our own rebellion, failing to set limits on other sinners because we don’t want their displeasure, blaming God for tempting us, blaming others for our behavior, not facing up to what we’ve done and trying to hide our sin. And that’s just Adam and Eve! If you continue down His line of ancestors you find: lying to protect yourself, talking others into lying, trying to gain God’s favor through deceiving relatives, adultery, murder, prostitution, judgmentality, favoritism, trusting self rather than God, pride, etc .etc.

Jesus took on all these sins and overcame them and then paid for the sins of the whole human race and stands ready tol produce not only our cleansing but empowerment to do the opposite.

He did the opposite. He did not think His own thoughts but only what the Father told him “not my will but thine”, He draws others into submission to His Father, He spoke out clearly against sin, He was always completely open and honest, never used relationships to others’ hurt, brought the dead to life, judged evil not personal worth or hope, was not a respecter of one person over another, and trusted His Fathers judgment in all things.

It’s Christmas-time to open your GIFT and delight in and revel in and act in the cleansing and power He bought for us. Don’t just sing about, drive it, play with it, wear it, and rest in it.

 

BELL NEWS: New granddaughter, Cheri and Michael Fields and their other 5 children are all delighting in the new little girl HOPE. She is nine months and thinks her grandfather is worth bouncing up and down for when she sees him-so pretty smart. Robert and Cathy are living in Wisconsin where she is a professor at the university, having earned her doctorate. Robert’s job appreciated him so much that they allow him to work for his Texas firm from Wisconsin. William is living in California and we hear from him about every three months in his struggle to find stability. Debra and Danny Sturgill are expecting their second child and their first one, Ray was born two months early. Lois was able to go to Columbus Ohio and sit in the neonatal intensive care unit and spell Debra until little Ray was well enough to go home. Deborah is having some difficulties with the new one and must lie around for a couple months. Not an easy task for her as she is always on the go. Mary and Jay Kumar are in Kalamazoo. They enjoyed a visit from his parents this summer, all the way from southern India. We enjoyed meeting them but communication was difficult. They liked American ice-cream so we enjoyed a walk to a local Coldstone ice-cream store and when Jay was there he interpreted.

Lois and I were told by our condo that they did not want renters anymore, so buy or get out. The Lord provided a small cottage a block from work and we have decided to sell the farm and live near work. I have severe arthritis in the right hip so the farm is impractical and Lois’ diabetes makes her anxious about retiring to the farm anyhow. Old age need its own special grace to handle change. I’m a little tired from the move and haven’t been keeping up on the posts. Please forgive me and stay tuned for more consistancy as things settle down.

The Lord also talked to me about putting the time that the hobby-farm would have taken, into improving my blog. Look for improvements in the blog and hopefully some audio and video work. I am even reading Blogging for Dummies to try to drag myself into the modern age.

Please check out LASTINGVICTORY.COM Any and all comments on the blog will be gratefully received.

Also check out Cheri’s blog CREATIONSCIENCE4KIDS.COM which is full of fascinating facts and ideas and aimed to equip young people to stand their ground with knowledge to defend the truth of scripture.

FURTHER RESPONSE TO CHRISTIANS AND SIN

Please forgive the additions,in bold type, I hope that you can see the struggle the apostle John and others have in trying to get us out of works and to stop being tense about being strong and perfect YET wanting us to have the blessing of living an obedient life by finding strength in Him to do so. 

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them, and hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Which are given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That you may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. God’s truth will show you your sins, search you and find the anxious thoughts, divide asunder soul and spirit, then reprove, correct and go beyond that to equip you . My little children these things write we unto you,

that your joy may be full, and.that ye sin not. YES, YES, YES both are our heritage.

 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (Written to christians) But don’t hide your sins, instead, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. No, it’s not OK to sin but, if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins. But it’s about relationship so confess and accept forgiveness and walk closer to the Lord. If you’ve sinned you must have taken your eyes off the Lord,and hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. It’s not about fixing yourself and paying for your sin so that you can be acceptable. It’s about abiding in Him and talking with him and bringing your focus back to Him. Then you too will walk on the water of ceasing to sin. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to,let Him live through us in order to, love one another. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me

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RESPONSE TO CHRISTIANS AND SIN

COMMENTER 1:It’s how we ask for forgiveness. Are we truly sorry (contrite), do we hate our sin, do we fight against it more every day? By faith in Christ we are justified (He looks upon us in love as if we had never sinned). By His Spirit we are sanctified (more and more we reflect His image by being good stewards of His gifts and blessings). When we live in the Vine we produce good fruit – and we will resist the devil and sin. Does that fit the question?

COMMENTER 2:God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: He makes saints out of sinners.
― The Journals of Kierkegaard
Yes God is an enabler! He enables me to resist sin and when I fall, to ask for His forgiveness.”

COMMENTER 3.I sin every day even with a thought.” I am sinful but I don’t think that my thoughts make me sinful. James 1: 14-15 says we are tempted and drawn away by our own lust. Thoughts will come to me but it is my choice to act/not act on the thought. If I reject the thought I have not sinned, rather I’ve had a victory.

VERLE: The apostle of love, JOHN struggled with this balance, as have christians through the years. On difficult discussions like this, I find analogies better than words and ideas. Let’s start with the kindest best father that you know and remember that if he,(being evil) can be good to his children–how much more would our father in heaven be kind and good to us his children?

At the very least a good father will not disown his children for struggling and struggling with their attitudes and behaviors. However when those attitudes and behaviors get in the way of a good relationship with him, or cause danger and damage to the loved child; he offers help that they “sin not”. He works to restore relationship and to heal damage and to lead beyond healing to equip them for all life situations.