SSB Gathering – April 19, 2015

Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

 by Kathi

 Venice windows

Luke 14: 1-14

One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts of the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away.

Then he asked them, “If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?” And they had nothing to say.

When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Then Jesus said to the host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

***


***

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.

***
Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

***

54 comments on “SSB Gathering – April 19, 2015

  1. For anyone who doesn’t know, my daughter, Joy is in the hospital as the staff there does everything they can to prevent her from going into labor after her water broke very prematurely. I was able to find out that she is not quite 23 weeks yet. The first 48 hours (24 down) are crucial. After that, the next ten days are required before steroids will be used to help Tiny Mikey’s lungs to develop. Right now she has an IV keeping her hydrated, and giving her antibiotics and muscle relaxers. They will be in the hospital until he is born one way or the other.

    Joy sounded very positive. She lost one baby years ago at 9 months old to SIDS. We all know that the outcome is in the hands of God with the knowledge that he is good in all things. Our days are numbered from the beginning. My kids are getting the best care possible including my son-in-law. They brought a bed for him into the room that Joy said she plans to call “home” for as long as possible.

    I am saddened that my own mother did not call me back as she said she would. I have many online friends praying for my kids, yet my family doesn’t seem to take this very seriously. I am so blessed to have this community.

    Blessings to all of you. Kathi, thank you for putting this message together. Although, I have no idea what the choir is singing it is so apparent they are rejoicing. I am praying for that window to stay open.

    Like

  2. Lifting up your family as well as you, sweet Brenda, in prayer this morning after viewing this beautiful church service. Our LORD is watching over and cares so deeply for all of you.

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  3. Brenda R

    Praying…

    This was a JOY to hear when you write…
    “Joy sounded very positive.”

    Praying… The JOY of the Lord to be Joy’s strength.
    Praying… The JOY of the Lord to be Brenda’s strength.

    Nehemiah 8:10
    …for this day is holy to our Lord…
    For the JOY of the LORD is your strength.

    Psalm 16:11
    You will show me the path of life:
    in your presence is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

    Psalm 30:4-5
    Sing to the LORD, O you saints of his,
    and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
    For his anger endures but for a moment;
    his favor is life:
    weeping may endure for a night,
    but JOY comes in the morning.

    Brenda – Be Blessed…
    And – Continue to be a blessing.

    I always appreciate how you lift up

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

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  4. Brenda, thank you for sharing more specifics about your daughter. I’m glad you are part of this community. I continue to lift your family in prayer.

    I found some of the lyrics in the comments of the Youth Choir video at the YouTube site. Beautiful!

    Ndikhokhele Bawo, zundi kokhele (Lead me oh Father [Lead me])
    Ndikhokhele mmeli wami (Lead me my savior)
    Ezintsizini, Zalomhlaba Bawo (in all the sorrows of this world Father)
    (Bawo, Bawo, Bawo) ( Father, Father, Father)
    Bawo ndiyabonga (Father I thank you)
    Ngoba wena usandigcinile (for you still protect/keep me)

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  5. Brenda – Praying for your daughter as well!

    And, I have no idea what the choir is singing either, but I thought it was beautiful. 🙂

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  6. Brenda, thanks for keeping us updated on Joy and Mikey. Will continue to pray, and I’m glad they’re in good spirits.

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  7. Julie Anne, that youth choir’s music is powerful and uplifting. Thank you. It reminds me of my daughter’s work with township children in South Africa.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Something happened this week that kind of scared me. Would appreciate your input.

    Wore my sweats to Target to do some grocery shopping. Came home and started putting things away. When something wouldn’t fit in the drawer, I started slamming it and having a temper tantrum. This is NOT AT ALL like me. So I got something to drink and sat down to calm down.

    While I was crying and thinking, I realized: Even though I left the church nearly seven years ago, I am still living every moment of my life in fear, waiting to be “zapped” by God for doing something wrong. That night, it was the sweats (Are they too tight? Immodest? Will someone think I’m enticing them?), the anger at the stuff that wouldn’t fit, and the curse words I’d used when dealing the the pastry cutter and potato masher. (Yes, really.)

    Other times, it’s spending money (Am I being a good steward of God’s funds? Will He think I’m being wasteful?), praying enough, or just being “good” enough. The list goes on and on.

    I am divorced, the single parent of a 20-year-old college sophomore who is a great kid. I also am self-employed and work out of my home. When I blew up the other night, I called a friend to talk, but I am alone a great part of the day. And that’s OK.

    I am so sad and surprised to find myself thinking this way after having been away from this for so long. I did go to counseling for six months when I left, and that’s where I first heard the term “spiritual abuse.”

    I am so tired of living in fear.

    Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

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  9. Isn’t it wonderful? Kathi found it and has been helping me by putting together the Sunday gatherings. What a tremendous help it is to me while I’m trying to keep my head above water at school.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. tlc3 – Healing takes time, and sometimes years, before some people are able to feel like they are past the abuse. It sounds like you are exhausted by your mind going back to “the rules” and the consequences of breaking those rules. If you are able to go back for some counseling, I would highly recommend that.

    I pray for peace for you to overcome the fear.

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  11. Thank you for your Sunday gatherings. I have enjoyed the posts and hearing what people are going through.

    I have been relying on my daughter a lot to help with my disabled sons. This weekend I have allowed her to stay at college, which is hard for me because it is only when she comes home can I go out and be among other adults since I have no other help with the boys. As I was saying, she is at college this weekend and I am home. It feels scary and wrong and refreshing to not have an accepted excuse that I am not at church and at the same time I haven’t been able to find a church that doesn’t have multiple triggers each time I attend.

    Again, thanks for being here.

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  12. A question for all of you….When I write out the verses, do you prefer to have the verse number or are you okay without them. Sometimes I like to do it without (such as today) because it reads more as a story, and I like that. But, if you prefer to see the verses as a reference, I can add that back in.

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  13. Brenda praying for your daughter. I do not post often but I do read your comments and have found them very encouraging.

    tlc3- I know what you are saying. I have moments of guilt from time to time; you are not crazy nor wrong. I think it is what has been ingrained into our psyche from our “religious” days. I cannot imagine going back into that situation whatsoever. I would have panic episodes. I went to a Methodist church a few Sundays ago to listen to a friend sing; it was a sweet church, but my mind was racing with some anxious thoughts. I hope and pray you start feeling the sense of peace and calm of the Holy Spirit again. He knows, cares, and does not condemn you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “Other times, it’s spending money (Am I being a good steward of God’s funds? Will He think I’m being wasteful?), praying enough, or just being “good” enough. The list goes on and on.”

    My friend, John Immel of Spiritual tyranny who was in the old SGM cult when it was People of Destiny, has some suggestions for this sort of guilt left over from the cults.

    Go out right away (in your sweats!) and buy yourself your favorite ice cream cone. Sound silly? After a while, you will see that God is not going to zap you for spending 4 bucks on treating yourself.

    It is not about defying God is it? The truth is you are defying lies you were told about yourself.

    It would be unwise to go out and buy yourself a Porsche. But look at how ingrained that teaching is for people who were immersed in it. God delights in you enjoying a simple ice cream. OTOH, He would be sad if you ate a gallon of it at a time because it would denote something else wrong that He wants to help overcome.

    When you are eating that ice cream (or perhaps your favorite coffee or tea?) Praise God for his gifts to us that we can enjoy. And thank Him for comfortable sweats, too. AFter all, us gals could be still wearing corsets.

    Small steps. One at a time. I am cheering you on! (Rocky Road!!!!~)

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  15. Anonymous – Thanks for joining us this morning! You’re always welcome – and you don’t have to change out of your jammies!

    Mod note: “Anonymous” has a new name: Hum a new song

    Like

  16. tlc3 – I was also thinking that if you don’t have a coping plan set already, that would be a good thing to do. When the triggers happen, and you know how you respond to them, what do you do? Calling a trusted friend is a good option, which you already do. But, what else do you find that is calming for you? Listening to music, journaling, exercising, drawing, gardening, taking a bath….whatever works for you, write it down and have a list of options to follow through on.

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  17. Hum a new song, I am praying for some decent people to come into your life to help you with yours sons.

    “As I was saying, she is at college this weekend and I am home. It feels scary and wrong and refreshing to not have an accepted excuse that I am not at church and at the same time I haven’t been able to find a church that doesn’t have multiple triggers each time I attend. ”

    What conflicting emotions! But it is a good step. My teens have this issue of needing an “accepted excuse” of why they were not at church when their church friends ask where they were. We talk about this all the time. I encourage them to simply say, thanks for thinking of me and change the subject. One reason is they really don’t want to get into the “real” reason they are not there. I can understand that because it is often best just to live at peace when you know it is giong to stir up trouble and no one really cares about the “real reason” anyway. And as teens they simply are not prepared to deal with the issues in such a convo. No matter what they say, it will come off as dissing the church/pastor, etc.

    And trying to come up with accepted excuses simply leads them into being deceptive. It is not a sin to not attend church. Actually, in my situation, it can be a sin to attend church!!! :o)

    Mod note: updated comment Hum a new song’s new name

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  18. I am in my jammies. Lol

    I have been trained so well that even though no one asks me any more, because no one has been willing to get close to me because they like the flowery language they hear from him, I still have to have an accepted excuse or I beat myself up. I don’t even need anyone else to contribute!

    Ok. I really do wish I could find a church near me without triggers. Makes life/thinking conflicting.

    Thank you for your prayers!

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  19. We both stayed home from church today as we are getting over the ick that is making the rounds in these parts.

    However, we did go out for lunch and the spousal unit had pancakes with tons of syrup. 🙂 And french toast! 🙂 I had eggs and sausage and I was happy with that because they were really good. 🙂

    Later we are going out to take some pictures of the spring flowering trees as it’s a beautiful day here.

    Yet, we stayed home from church. And it was nice 🙂

    Now, A good ice cream cone I could certainly go for….I like espresso coffee with chocolate covered espresso beans mixed it. And just a regular sugar cone. Or it’s good with that chocolate coating around the top part too.

    And definitely in sweats.

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  20. A question for all of you….When I write out the verses, do you prefer to have the verse number or are you okay without them.

    No preference here. It was nice how you did it today. But in general AFAIC, six of one….

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  21. Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement on behalf of my kids. I just talked to Joy. The neonatal doc was in this morning and told her they have every reason to be positive. Mikey’s heart is good, Joy’s blood sugar level is down and with all of the advances in this area the chances are 50% higher than even 5 years ago. We already know that divine intervention outweighs medical intervention any day.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Kathi,
    I vote that you do whatever you feel the Spirit leading you to do. I am just glad that you are willing to do this each week.

    Anon,
    I will pray that people will come along side of you to help you with your boys.

    tic3,
    I love that you went out in your sweats. I don’t believe that Jesus has anything against sweats at all and probably would have worn them while he walked this earth, but they were not invented yet. If I buy things and they won’t fit in the space I think they should go, I leave it in the bag on the floor until I figure something else out. That could be weeks. Over time I have learned that rewriting the lies in my head is important. I’m sure your sweats were not immodest, but you haven’t been able to rewrite the lies with truth. That takes time and consistently telling yourself what truth really is. I pray that you let go of the voices that tell you the lies and listen to the truth of who you are in Christ.

    JA,
    I am so glad that you found the translation for some of the words to the choir’s song. It makes it all the more beautiful

    Amos,
    Thank you for your words of “Joy”. : )

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  23. “Now, A good ice cream cone I could certainly go for….I like espresso coffee with chocolate covered espresso beans mixed it.”

    So, you prefer a big caffeine jolt in your ice cream! I prefer RRR. Rocky Road Rules. :0)

    CAn I brag on my daughter? You know, the one who is concerned about “acceptable excuses for missing church”?

    There is an eldery neighbor lady who lives alone that she often helps with heavy duty cleaning chores. But her schedule is so crazy she really has to juggle it only having a few hours during the week. Guess what! Sunday mornings are perfect for all concerned. And you know what? That would not be an acceptable excuse for most churches. And that is a crying shame.

    “The neonatal doc was in this morning and told her they have every reason to be positive. Mikey’s heart is good, Joy’s blood sugar level is down and with all of the advances in this area the chances are 50% higher than even 5 years ago. We already know that divine intervention outweighs medical intervention any day.”

    Brenda, Great news with lots of hope attached!~ Praise God for those people who made the medical advances and His intervening hand in it all.

    Like

  24. I think that anytime our children are helping the elderly should be perfectly ok with everyone else. If someone doesn’t like that they are missing church, perhaps they should step in and help out so they can do both. “If your ox or child falls in a well on the Sabbath, are you not going to rescue them.” I don’t remember where it is located, but do know it is Biblical.

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  25. So, you prefer a big caffeine jolt in your ice cream!

    Caffeine is the stuff of life. And it comes in so many delicious forms! 😀

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  26. The neonatal doc was in this morning and told her they have every reason to be positive. Mikey’s heart is good, Joy’s blood sugar level is down and with all of the advances in this area the chances are 50% higher than even 5 years ago.

    This is encouraging!

    Like

  27. While we are having ice cream. I will take a double chocolate fudge with dark chocolate topping. Mooney’s is far to close to where I live to be talking like this.

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  28. If you guys only knew how much time I live in my loungewear (jammies). LOL
    I’m wearing them now and I will probably not get dressed. This is a cramming homework day and I need to be comfortable.

    Brenda – I’m encouraged by the doctor’s report. They are able to do so much to save babies now. We’ll keep praying.

    tlc 3 – Thanks for sharing the internal struggles you have faced after leaving toxic church. I’ve done the $$ thing – ie, is it okay to go buy a new clothes when you still have clothes that fit, but the new one is more stylish? Or how about spending money on beverage of choice when you can drink water? There are starving children in Africa, you know. Ugh. I think it’s about balance. I recently spent $$ to get away with my boys. I could have saved the $$. But it was money well spent because I was refreshed and got to have good quality time with my kiddos.

    Anonymous – I’m glad you are here. A lot of us have church triggers and we get it.

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  29. Anonymous – – I just checked and realized that there are others who have used the name “Anonymous,” which can make it confusing for readers. Can you please pick something else so that we can get to know you by your own pseudonym? Thank you! I’ll change the other comments to whatever name you choose.

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  30. Anonymous is a good name but it only goes so far. 🙂

    I want strawberry ice cream with a bit of milk on top to make ice crystals.

    Brenda, praying for little mikey.

    Mod note: Thanks! I’ll change your older Anonymous posts to reflect your new pseudonym. ~ja 🙂

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  31. tlc3, I am with dash on this one. God will provide in His timing and you will have the benefit of a strong support system here. Praying for you as well.

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  32. Brenda, I’ve prayed for Joy and her baby. I was in the hospital for a out a week with very high BP and preterm labor with Witch Hazel eighteen years ago, at 31 weeks. I know how scary that sort of thing can be. I’m so glad the report was positive this morning!

    tlc3, I wanted to ask whether you feel not-lonely most of the time. I ask because I’m struggling with great loneliness in the aftermath of my divorce. I have two wonderful friends, but they have some pretty enormous struggles in their own lives and we can’t always be there for each other (and one lives far away). I’m very much an introvert so I don’t need, or want, a million ‘friendly aquaintances.’ But I do wish I had a few more heart-level friends. How do you cope with your solitude? How do you feel about it?

    Speaking in generalities, we had a pretty good week. I signed my divorce papers, WH had a birthday, and I got to spend time with both of my dear friends. But I’m also having anxiety about money (haven’t worked in over eighteen years, and have disability problems now), and struggling a LOT with worries about God.

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  33. What a beautiful group today. Brenda, thank you for telling us more about your daughter! She is lucky to have a good mom. I know you will be excited to hold that new grandchild in your arms!
    tlc, Boy do I connect with emotions that sneak up on me! I also live often in fear (different issues), which makes life feel out of control. Was there a reason you quit therapy? Spiritual abuse and trauma can have lasting effects and having some type of support can be helpful when life feels unmanageable! You are in my prayers.
    Anonymous, I pray for you, your sons and daughter. I hope you are able to find some long term relief to help you get some much needed rest.
    I am thankful for everyone who is here today. I often struggle with God and question why he allows so much suffering and pain. I find this to be a safe place to share in these struggles. Kathi and JA, you have provided a wonderful place.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Hum a new song:
    I like that name much better than Anonymous and like the idea of starting a new thing. The strawberry ice cream sounds good, but Chocolate is my favorite food group.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Thanks, everyone, for your wisdom and support. I sat down and re-read Galatians today, and am taking great comfort in Paul’s words in spite of my “foolishness.” I need to remember what I often tell people: you won’t find God in the rules.

    Dash and Persephone: I do not feel lonely most of the time. I have some great friends around me who are very supportive, as well as a few family members. The friends are in the same city and are usually available. My biggest problem is that I’m a night owl and no one stays up as late as I do, so I have to remember to call early. Also, as my friends and I get older, they are less willing to try new things and that gets a bit frustrating.

    I love working at home and skipping most of the drama and politics of most workplaces. Right now, I am so swamped with work I don’t have time to be lonely.

    Persephone: I got divorced more than 15 years ago, when my son was 3. I knew I wouldn’t have much money to go out and there wasn’t much to do here anyway, so I had learn to enjoy being at home. Then, as now, I have to work to remember to get out and do things. Sometimes I rally the girls, and sometimes I find things to do on my own — especially if I am doing photography. I am also involved in a couple of online communities and it helps to reach out to those friends, too. I’m on Facebook a lot for work and play and have a good network there. I also do a lot of networking for my business, which forces me to get out and meet new people.

    Notice I don’t talk much about family. We had a blowup over a wedding about five years ago, and I found out that my parents and most of my siblings do not supoort me in being self-employed. Between that and other things that were said, I do not trust them and no longer count on them to be there for me.

    It’s tough to meet new people and make friends. I suggest finding a small group of people who share a hobby or interest, and getting to know them through that shared interest. For example, there are 35 people in my networking group that meets on Fridays, but there are a few women who have become friends, and I focus on those relationships. When I got divorced, I was in a support group for people in similar circumstances and that really helped, too.

    Hope all this helps.

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  36. Thank you all for your prayers. Joy lost the baby during the night. He was too small for them to try oxygen or to survive. They were able to hold him for a little while before the staff took him away. I know that God is good through it all, We don’t understand, only God knows why.

    Like

  37. Kathi,
    My heart and prayers go out to you and your daughter. I have had numerous miscarriages and it breaks a mothers heart but, as I’ve told my kids, the brother is now having the ultimate homeschool experience with God as his teacher.

    Like

  38. I am so very sorry Brenda.

    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God 2 Corin 1

    Like

  39. Hum,
    Joy now has 2 sons in that home school with Jesus. She doesn’t have hope of having any other children.

    I thank all of you for your continued prayers. I wish I could be with the kids right now. They live 2k miles away. I so desperately want to hug them.

    Like

  40. Oh, Brenda, after yesterday’s report, I had hope. I’m so sorry to hear about your family’s loss. I’m sure you do want to hug them. That’s so sad. Hugs to you!

    Like

  41. Brenda, My heart breaks for you and your daughter. Losing a baby is devastating. I hope you continue to check in. I think I speak for most of us when I say we want to be a community of love and support for you. Words are insufficient.

    Like

  42. I feel so much love and support from my online family, more than I have my church family. The kids have to go to make the final arrangements for Mikey this morning. They plan to have him cremated privately and take him home.

    They are closing on a house in a couple of weeks. Since Joy won’t be up and around for a while, that leaves Mike with a lot of work to do in preparing for the move. I am sure he is up to the task.

    Thank you all for your love, hugs and prayers. May the Lord’s blessings shower down upon you.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. tlc3 :

    Hello, friend. I think we can all relate in one way or another to the bad juju you struggle with, along with other frustrations. Coincidentally, I was looking for something to occupy my time on my flight to and from LA last weekend and found John Eldredge’s “Free to Live” on the discount rack. The book is a treasure that beautifully highlights our Lord’s desire to free us of the very issues you referenced – and how to claim and walk in that freedom. The book is exceptional and a true life-changer. There is no way any summary I would offer here can do it justice. I think it might be just what you are looking for.

    All the best,

    Cindy

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Brenda and family,
    So sorry to learn of your mourning this afternoon. Am joining the others here via SSB church at the foot of the cross in praying for you, and precious Joy and family. May Jesus be with all of you.

    Liked by 1 person

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