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Friday, March 24, 2017

EMBRACE LIFE

Gloria Phifer

Today, I am joining the bloggers of FMF. We write 5 minutes on one word...today it is "Embrace."







The word "embrace" conjures up thoughts of hugs,
and happiness.

 But in life there are many things and circumstances we do not want to, or do not know how to embrace.

I think one of my biggest challenges was to learn to love myself. To embrace who I am. 

It was the words I heard as I was growing up, and the actions that made me think negatively about who I was.

As I have written before, I asked Jesus in my life when I was 22. Some changes came right away.
But overcoming the lies ...sometimes the challenges are still there. Being able to comprehend the real truth of who I am.

One of the best things that happened was when The Lord told me I was born for Him. Born for My God. And He wanted me to study "Who I am In Christ." 

It was and is astonishing to me that God really "likes" me. That He created me to be "Me." 

I wasn't a mistake...He planned my life and He has a divine purpose for me.

Yes, I have been Embracing "life." I have been embracing that God loves me and I am still learning to love and embrace who he created me to be.

I want you to know that the negative thoughts you think about yourself are lies. The Bible says The Truth will set you free. 

You were not an accident. Read Psalm 139. Even in your mother's womb He saw you and loved you.
Embrace your God and embrace yourself.

"Jesus loves me this I know for The Bible tells me so." Embrace The Lord and Embrace the wonderful creation...you!!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A VIEW ON THE SHACK

Gloria Phifer





Spoiler alert!!! If you haven't seen the movie and plan to, you may not want to read my critique. 

I read the book, "The Shack" a number of years ago, when it first came out. 

Now there is a movie. There seems to be a lot of controversy concerning the movie...is it scriptural? 

I went to the theater this afternoon. Since I had read the book, I understood the story line. 

It begins with a young boy whose father is a leader in the church; but a violent alcoholic who beats his wife and his son. I am sure this brings up in the boy's mind...if my father is like this...what is God like? If I can't trust my father...how can I trust God?

He marries and has a lovely family. On a camping trip a tragedy happens. 

He is not able to help his family because of his own grief, anger and guilt of not being able to stop what happened. 

His wife calls God "Papa." 

One day, while snow blowing, he finds a note in his mail box. There are no footprints in the snow.

The note asks him to come to the shack and meet "Papa."

The shack is where this terrible thing happened. It is the last place on earth that he wants to go.

As he drives to his destination a truck barely misses him.

Reluctantly, he goes to the shack. It is dirty...disgusting...he hates it. he hates the person who caused the tragedy.He has a pistol. Thinking the man who caused the tragedy will show up.
  As he walks back up the trail...a young Jewish man is walking through the woods and tells the man to follow Him.

The trail becomes beautiful...into spring instead of winter.
(he has been in a winter in his soul...my take).

As he returns to the shack...it is transformed into a lovely home in the woods. He follows the young Jewish man into 'the shack." A black woman greets him, as if she knows him personally, and is so happy to see him.

There is another woman ( portrayed as a Asian woman). Her name means "Wind." 

(There is a lot of controversy of God being portrayed as a black woman. My take on it was, he did not trust his father and he wasn't ready to see God, The Father, as Papa.)

The man asks the black woman many hard questions. Where was God when the tragedy happened? Why wasn't it prevented?

She says he really doesn't know her. he is seeing her through his pain. (he is seeing God through his pain and he is angry at God.)

When she reaches out to him there is a nail scar in her wrist.  

(God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.)

The Asian woman (who is portrayed as The Holy Spirit) leads the man into a garden that is a mess... it is wild and beautiful. She begins working on the garden and he helps her in digging. he finds a "bitter root." ( my take...he has a bitter root within him that needs healed.) She then she tells him that the garden is him...his life. 

When the man is with the Jewish man...the man says to him, "I feel more comfortable with you." (This Jewish man also has scars in his wrists. )
 The Jewish man tells him he will meet him at the lake, that he can take the canoe out if he wants to.  The boat begins to rock...the water turns black...the boat is splitting apart and the dark water is coming in. The Jewish man appears on the water..."This  is not real...it is what is inside of you. Turn your eyes on Me away from the boat. " When the man looks at The Jewish Man the boat is fine. (My take...his own life is falling apart because of the dark pain he carries...it is destroying him...He must look to Jesus to be saved.)

One great part is when the Jewish man and he runs across the water together. 

The Jewish man takes him to a path that goes upward and tells him to keep on going. the man climbs up and pushes against the stone and the wall of stone opens into a dark room. There is one light shining on a woman on a throne. She says, she is wisdom. They talk about judgment...she asks him if he wants to be the judge and yes, he wants to. He sees flashes of a little boy being abused. The man says, "I can't judge him, he is a child." Wisdom says to him, "That child is your father." His two children stand before him and wisdom tells him of their faults and asks him to judge them...The man says no "take me in their place."  (Jesus gave Himself on the cross for us and took our judgement.)

There is a waterfall. He looks out and sees his little girl who has died (the tragedy). she is playing with other children and with The Jewish Man. She runs toward him. He puts his hands to his heart. She is alive...she is happy...she knows he is there...she throws him a kiss. He is assured that she is more than alright.

His heart is softening. he is crying more. 

There is a scene where he forgives his dad.

He wakes up the next morning. Papa is no longer a black woman, Papa is a man.(My take on this is, now that he has forgiven his dad he is ready to see God as "Papa" his Heavenly Father.

   Papa is going to take him to the hardest place.
That place is "forgiveness." he must forgive the man who killed his daughter (the tragedy). Papa says he will help him. The man must begin by saying he forgives. he finally gets the words out. Papa says he may have to say it 1,000 times before he feels it.

They go up into the mountain, where they find the body of his daughter hidden in some rocks. Papa helps him wrap her in linen. there is a burial service with all of them there...she is buried in the garden (the garden of his heart). The Asian woman, who has been collecting the man's tears...anoints the grave with oil and then with his tears and flowers bloom. Shooting up from the ground is a tree, which grows and spreads out before them. (My take is the tree of life grew in his garden.) he has had closure.

Now he is told he can stay with them or he can return to his family. He is also told that he is very valuable; everything he does affects others. 

he decides to go back to his family. He enters the car...begins driving and the truck (from before) slams into his vehicle.

He awakens in the hospital...his friend tells the man he never made it to the shack...he has been in the hospital the whole time. 

He ends up ministering to his family. He believes in God and trusts God.

It is an interesting film...Have to remember it is a allegory. 

There is a Trinity. God The Father, God The Son and God The Holy Spirit. God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. God wants a relationship with each one of us. Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life no one comes to The Father except through Him.

God is a God of judgement. The Bible talks about His wrath against evil. Jesus took God's wrath and judgment on Himself when He died on the cross...our judgement. When we accept Jesus as our Savior we are saved from wrath and judgment. Isaiah 52 and 53.





Friday, March 10, 2017

NEVER ABANDONED

Gloria Phifer

I am joining the Friday, Five minute bloggers. We write for five minutes on a word...the word this week is "Abandon."





Abandon. That word brings up a lot of memories to me. I was abandoned by a father I never knew, and a mother who was an alcoholic.

When you are abandoned, you contend with the fear of abandonment. Emotional buttons can be pushed to give you that feeling of loss or insecurity.

I became a born again Christian when I was 22 yrs old. I have received a lot of healing from The Lord. One of those healings is the realization that He will never abandon me. That was 50 years ago and I can affirm the fact that He has always been with me. 

I have had to learn to "trust." And I have found my trust in Jesus Christ has given me safety and security. God has become my Father.

With Jesus I am never...abandoned.

I recommend this relationship to anyone. He is faithful and true. He never abandons.


Friday, February 17, 2017

WHAT WEAKNESS???

Gloria Phifer

I am joining the Five Minute blogging group...we write for 5 minutes on one subject...this week it is "Weak."

Why are we so afraid of "weakness?" Is it because we are afraid we will not be in control?

We don't  want others to see our weakness, because it makes us vulnerable.

Our humanness wants to hang on. To fix whatever the problem is.

When Paul prayed to The Lord about "the thorn in his flesh;"

The Lord told him something that is hard for us to understand.

"My grace is sufficient for you: for My Strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor. 12:9

God's grace came toward Paul...undeserved favor. God's strength showed up the strongest when Paul was weak.

I have found this is my own life. I need The Lord's Strength. I need His grace. I can do nothing of lasting value without Him.

There are times I strive, only to wear myself out. When I finally tell the Lord, like a little child, "Papa God I cannot fix this" and I lay it at His feet, I am unburdened and He takes over. 

So do not despise weakness. I believe The lord is drawn to our weakness because then we see our need for Him. 

He is our Strength.

Friday, January 27, 2017

GIVING UP THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL

Gloria Phifer


IN HIS HAND...painted by Gloria Phifer


I was raised in a dysfunctional home. Alcohol, fights, moving almost every year.

I would tell myself how strong I was. That I could endure, laying in bed, waiting for the bar to close, so my mom would come home.

Taking care of my brother...though I was scared.

Being the new girl in a new school. Trying to fit it.

Nothing was in my control. 

Migraine headaches. arms and legs feeling weak. But yet, I told myself how strong I was.

During this time, I almost drowned, and a friend that was with me did drown. The question kept coming to me, "Would you have gone to Heaven?" I couldn't answer yes. 

A man, my mother had known, began stalking us. He sat in his car, on the corner, watching our house. I was afraid. I prayed and asked God for help.

As I was walking home from school, my feet dragging, the thought came into my mind..."Are you saved?" Saved? I began arguing with this thought. "I'm a good girl. I don't smoke, I don't drink...you should see my friends." Then, two verses of Scripture came in my mind. (Now you need to know we didn't go to church.) "IT is a straight and narrow way and you must be born again." 

I'm not sure if I knew how to be "born again." But I knew I wasn't on a straight and narrow way. I also had the knowing, that this was a commitment. It meant giving up control to Someone else. And I didn't want to do that. I wanted to control my own life. I was 15 at the time.

     I was watching Billy Graham. I was 18. When he gave the altar call, I knew I needed to accept Jesus.  You would think by now, after one of the worse summers of my life, I would release my control. But I didn't. I didn't know what He would do with my life?(I didn't know The Lord. I didn't know His character) And through everything I had been through...trust was not easy for me. I thought I could not trust anyone.

I did begin to try and read the Bible, but I ended up seeing judgments and demons and it scared me. I went to the Methodist Church and was sprinkled, hoping that would take care of it all...but it didn't.

I married at 19. We found out I was expecting. Almost as soon as we had the good news...I miscarried that baby. I yelled at the doctor, "I don't want to lose this baby!" 
I thought God was punishing me.

   My husband, who was in the air force, received orders for Alaska; on a base in isolation. I could not go with him. Another thing I could not control. 

   I came to Iowa to live with his parents. After he left, I realized I was expecting another baby. This was what brought me out of a depression. Our daughter was born in January. We moved into an apartment where I looked out at a brick wall. Some times I felt like I was really losing it. My daughter was my one joy in my life.

I was not living in Iowa!!! (Did I say I thought I was in control?) When my husband returned from Alaska, and his time in the air force was over, moving west, where I had come from, did not work out.

We moved to a town in Iowa. One neighbor, by our house, was a Baptist girl who invited me to church. On the other side was an Open Bible gal who had been raised in church.

I began going to the Baptist church with my neighbor. They told me to read the Book of John in my Bible. Every afternoon, while our daughter napped, I read. It was like water for a thirsty soul.

By this time, I realized I needed God. I needed this "Born again."
I realized, that without God, nothing was really in my control. Everything had been spiraling down.

 I had a husband and daughter I loved, and yet I fought fear and unhappiness. 

When our daughter was a year and half old...I accepted Jesus Christ into my life and was filled with The Holy Spirit. 

I let The One Who is in control...be in control. I thought to myself, "why didn't I do this earlier?" I found a Friend. A Savior. Someone Who knew me, loved me, cared about me. Someone I could trust. 

I was 22 years old when I finally gave it all to Jesus and asked Him into my life. That was 51 years ago.

A lot of times we want to hang on. To control. Only to find out...we really are not in control. I recommend my Jesus to you. I never knew peace and safety until I knew Him. Put yourself in His Hands you will be safe there.

Let's pray "Lord Jesus, I believe You died on the cross for me. I accept You as my Savior. Come into My life and take control. I put my trust in You, In Jesus Name Amen.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

BIG BIRTHDAY

Gloria Phifer

Yes, I am that "birthday girl" today.

73 years old to be exact.

"Where have the years gone"? I ask.

Lived one day at a time...

Gods time.

Because of Jesus Christ I will live forever,

even after my body of clay has faded away.

In Heaven, I have an incorruptible body, that will 

never feel pain. No partings with loved ones...

No more tears. no more fears...

Through Jesus Christ I have eternal life...

And an eternity to know and see what I have not known or seen

I will no longer look through a glass darkly...but I shall see face to face...I will know as I have been known...1 Corinthians 13.

 I will see my Savior...The One Who has loved me all of my years.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

THE CLAY BLEW AWAY

Gloria Phifer

The sun was hot that summer day. I scooped some dirt, mixed it with water and molded my "pottery
clay." They would dry up and the wind would  blow them away. 

"Ding Dong"...the doorbell rang. my mother and brother were taking afternoon naps. I made my way into the cool house and answered the door.

There on the step, were two men and one of our neighbors. Even though I told them my mother was napping they insisted on talking to her.

I woke her up. It was one of those frozen moments when time stands still.  I remember being in the doorway, as my mother screamed in disbelief. 
my step dad had been accidentally electrocuted on his job as a lineman for the Public Service of New Mexico. 

When you are 10 years old...how do you handle death? Despair? Deep sadness" Fear of the unknown?  the biggest change in a young life?

Blown away...by Gloria Phifer

A ten year old plays

on a warm summer day, molding dirt and water into pottery clay.

Awaken napping mother,
sad faces at the door.
Life is changed forevermore.

Flowered laden coffin will soon be past,
Gazing down at white, patent, leather shoes
on tailored green grass.

The pottery rests from no more play.
A child grew old...
on one summer day.

The wind has dried and blown the clay...

away...

away ...to God.