Believe and Receive

If God is So Good Official Picture (663x1024)Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.   —1 Timothy 1:15–16

When I first gave my life to the Lord, I had a conversation with a friend that confused me a bit. She believed in eternal life, in heaven with Jesus, after we died. That he really cared about our eternal life.

But she didn’t believe God was really much concerned about our day-to-day life. That we were pretty much on our own here on this earth, to muddle through this world as best we could.

I was pretty new to this whole Jesus thing, but that didn’t seem right to me. If Jesus loved me, if he cared enough for me to die for me, why would he want the only world I knew (at this point) to be anything less than his best for me?

And then one day I read a verse, “The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy, but I [ Jesus] have come to bring you life, to the full, in abundance” ( John 10:10).

I realized that living a “full/abundant” life wasn’t meant for life after death only, but for life in the here and now—in all aspects of our life:

  • physical
  • emotional
  • spiritual

And this abundant life starts with my belief system:

What do I believe?

If I believe a lie, I have distorted vision. I am seeing life through a veil of  deception

Think about this example. Your brother gets a BB gun for Christmas, but the one thing your mom makes you both promise is that you will not shoot it when no one is around. But one day, while your parents are at work, you talk your brother into bringing out the gun. You are playing around with it, and you accidently shoot yourself in the leg. You are petrified that what your parents will say, so you bribe your brother to silence, and you wear long pants until the hole in your leg heals over.

It doesn’t hurt that much. You can handle it. But even- tually, the BB causes much damage in your leg. It infects the tissue around it and your leg gets really sore and you can’t walk and then you spike a fever and you have to tell your mother the truth. You have to get that BB out. Your leg will never heal as long as it’s in there.

It hurts when the doctor removes that BB. And the healing process may take a bit of time, but gradually, the tissue where the BB was will heal and your leg will be whole again. Living with false belief systems inside you is the same concept. The lies will infect your spirit and affect your life. You will never be completely whole, healed, until you allow

Jesus to remove them and receive his healing from the inside out.

Your BB might be something as innocent as your brother calling you fat. And you aren’t, but that constant teasing has brought about in you a lifelong habit of eating disorders.

Or maybe you were molested as a child and you now live a life of shame and guilt. It wasn’t your fault, but you took on the burden, and you’ve carried it for years. As a result, it’s been very difficult for you to have a healthy relation- ship. You’ve been in and out of relationships your entire adult life.

Anybody have a parent tell you, “You’ll never amount to anything”? Well, sometimes we believe them. But if you remove the root of the lie (false belief ), then the healing process can truly begin.

Our physical body houses our emotions. When we begin believing truth and receiving truth, then healing occurs. And since our emotions and our spirit are connected to our physical bodies, when we fix the emotional, the spiritual and physical issues can heal as well.

How long does this take? The world may tell you, you can never heal. You have to learn to cope, you are a victim, and you will always be a victim. But that is not what God tells us.

Let’s look at another example: you are walking through your yard and you see a snake. You jump back. Your heart starts pounding, and fear overtakes you. But then you look closer; it is not a snake, it is a stick. And the fear (the lie) leaves you. Why? Because you know it is only a stick. It can’t hurt you. You are no longer afraid.

That is how quickly Jesus can heal. When he shines the light of truth into the darkness, the lies must  flee—immediately! It doesn’t take weeks, months, or years of therapy.

Excerpt from If God is So Good, Why Is My Life Such A Mess?  by Joyce Schneider 

Available on Amazon.com  

 

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Does Jesus Love Me (Part Two)

If God is So Good Official Picture (663x1024)If you are a mother, you understand this statement: a mother’s love begins for that new life, many times before it’s even conceived.

A newborn baby does nothing to earn love, yet the love that pours forth from a mother to her child at birth is intense and unconditional.

This is an example of the love Jesus gives to  us.

My mom brought me into this world, but Jesus actually brought me out of it, out of the world’s junk, out of its craziness and into a life of hope and peace that changed everything about me when I actually began to believe and receive his love!

I did nothing to deserve God’s love. In fact, the Bible tells us, “But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

 While we were sinners, Jesus died for us! That is huge!

It’s one thing to say you would give your life for someone you love, someone who loves you back. I have to be honest with you, there are not too many people that I would die for—my boys, Bobby, maybe a couple of my good friends, but maybe not.

But Jesus died for me while I had nothing to do with him—no acknowledgement whatsoever while I went about living my own life, the way I wanted to live it. And Jesus knew I would do that. He knew I would deny him, yet he still died for me! And he still died for you!

I must have some knowledge of Jesus, or I wouldn’t be writing this book about him. If I was standing in front of you, you might think I’ve been a follower of Jesus all my life—I actually clean up fairly well. But I haven’t. In fact, the little girl who ran from Jesus kept right on running.  For forty years I ran. But then one day, I stopped running, and Jesus was right there, waiting for me. I gave my life to him, and everything changed. And I lived happily ever after. End of story. But not quite.

There is much in between that I want to share with you. Because just maybe, you were like that little girl who was running, and Jesus is waiting for you too!

Excerpt from If God is So Good, Why Is My Life Such A Mess?  by Joyce Schneider 

Available on Amazon.com  

Does Jesus Love Me?

If God is So Good Official Picture (663x1024)For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  —John 3:16

Jesus loves, me this I know, For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to him belong, they are weak, but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

“Jesus Loves Me” was one of the first songs I learned in Sunday school as a child. But the words were never real to me. They were in my head, but not in my heart. Truthfully, I didn’t believe I could ever be good enough for Jesus to really love me, so I spent the next forty years of my life running away from him.

When the boys were younger, flag football was the deal at our house. The boys played, and Bobby coached. We spent a couple nights a week at practice and then played Saturday games. Both the boys played the position of running back. They both scored touchdowns on a regu- lar basis.

One Saturday, I was in Orlando at a conference, and I missed their games. I thought about them at the time they were playing and was praying for them that they’d have a good day.

But when I called that day to check on them, Bobby told me that they not only hadn’t won their games, but neither boy had scored a touchdown.

Chase came on the phone, and I asked him how he’d done, and he said, “Not so good.” I heard Bobby saying in the background, “Say it was because Mommy wasn’t here cheering you on.”

Why do men do that to us? Not fair, not fair at all.

So, of course Chase repeated that, and I said to him,

“Honey, I was cheering you on in my heart.”

And his reply was so sweet. “But I couldn’t hear you, Mommy!”

That’s how my life was before I let Jesus into my heart.

He was always cheering me on, but I couldn’t hear him!

Excerpt from If God Is So Good, Why Is My Life Such A Mess?  by Joyce Schneider 

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com

 

Chocolate, Bunnies, Eggs and Jesus

216123_10150227693931098_1587212_nI was in Wal-Mart yesterday and there was this giant section marked EASTER, and in it were aisles and aisles of candy, chocolate, bunnies, baskets and egg decorating supplies.  They had bags of candy for baskets, candy for dishes, candy for kids, candy for adults, lollipops, M&M’s, peeps, bunnies and jelly beans in every flavor you could possible imagine including popcorn and cotton candy.  It was truly amazing, and as someone who really enjoys chocolate, almost more than even I could fathom.  There was chocolate in every variety, shape and size, even a giant solid chocolate bunny, at least two feet tall!

But as I walked up and down the aisles, I saw no sign of Jesus.

Somehow, the story of our Savior’s death on a cross and subsequent most amazing, most wonderful, rising from the grave three days later, has turned into a story of a big white bunny that brings baskets of colored eggs and candy to kids. But sometimes he doesn’t fill the baskets but rather hides eggs filled with candy all around yards and the kids have to go in search of the eggs.  And it becomes this amazing adventure to see who can get the biggest basket of eggs and little kids actually beat each other up trying to get the most eggs in their basket.

As much as I enjoy bunnies, they are soft and cuddly, they don’t lay eggs.  They have nothing to do with eggs.  Chickens lay eggs.  If you want to be technically correct on this whole egg deal, there should be an Easter Chicken.  At least that would be a little more realistic. A chicken should be delivering these eggs.  And no one loves chocolate more than I do but where does it really fit into this whole bunny – egg scenario?

Today at church I gave away chocolate in little colored eggs, I don’t have a problem with candy or eggs, but we didn’t go to church today to eat candy or hunt eggs.  We went to church to celebrate our Risen Savior, Jesus.

This is the real story behind Easter:  God wanted us to know how much he loved us.  So he sent his son, Jesus, to the earth, to live as a man, to teach us about God, to help us understand God’s great love for us.  But some of the people didn’t like Jesus; they didn’t believe he was the Son of God.  And they beat him to a pulp and nailed him to a cross.  And Jesus died, but on the third day, he rose from the grave.

We celebrate the fact that Jesus overcame death, and in doing so, gave everyone the same opportunity. If we believe in him, if we surrender our lives to him, we will live forever with him. For me, that is cause for celebration!

So, I don’t want you to think I have anything against chocolate or bunnies or eggs, because I don’t.  But as you pop another little chocolate egg into your mouth, remember who really is the reason for this amazing celebration!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.   – John 3:16,17

 

 

 

The In Between

in betweenToday is the day in between.  In between the death and resurrection of Jesus.  We observe Good Friday as the day Jesus died on the cross for us.  We celebrate Resurrection Sunday (Easter) as the day he rose from the dead.  But what happened in between?

In the in between, Jesus was overcoming death.  In the in between He was very busy on our behalf.  I really don’t know the logistics of how.  And honestly, I don’t need to know right now.  Someday I will know.  The Apostle Paul tells us:  For we know in part and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.  (I Corinthians 13:9-10)

But what I do know is that even when it seemed to His disciples that nothing was happening, he was working behind the scenes for their (our) behalf.

Sometimes we are in the death day.  Sometimes we are in the life day.  And sometimes we are in the in between.  And it seems like nothing is happening.  But know that Jesus is always working behind the scenes on your behalf!

 

Introduction

If God is So Good Official Picture (663x1024)I was telling a couple of friends the other day the title of this book, and it reminded me of a story. I shared it with them, and they encouraged me to share it with you, so  here goes.

Several years ago, on Valentine’s Day, I gave birth to my stillborn son, Chance Daniel Schneider. It broke my heart and my spirit, and even though I loved Jesus, my heart just couldn’t bear the pain.

I tried to believe all the good Christian statements that people told me: “God has a plan” and “God knows best.” But truthfully, at the time, all I could see or feel was pain.

And I didn’t like it. I wanted to escape it. I had prescriptions for Valium and sleeping pills, and I took them faithfully. And the pain was a bit numbed. But I had a history with substance abuse and addictions, and I knew if I continued taking the pills, I would. And things would not go well in my life. But I really didn’t care. The pain was too deep.

But one day, God told me to throw away the pills, that it was time to heal, not escape. I didn’t want to, but I obeyed him. And I started healing. But as in all healing processes, if you pick the scab, the healing will be hindered, and I picked my scab. All the time.

I just couldn’t quit thinking about Chance, and I couldn’t release  the  pain  to  God. And  one  day, I  decided  I  didn’t want to. I wanted the pain because I wanted to feel my baby, and it was all I had left.

I had been in a counseling session one morning, but nothing was clicking in my mind, and I left that day, headed straight to refill my prescriptions. I knew where this path would take me, but I just didn’t care. I was too consumed with my pain to think clearly or rationally. A friend tried to convince me that “only God…” But I wasn’t listening or receiving.

At the grocery store, there was a long line at the pharmacy, and I didn’t feel like standing still, so I headed over to the deli counter with the intention of picking up some sandwich meat and then getting the scripts filled.

There was a line at the deli as well, so as I took my number, and as I looked around, I saw a book rack nearby. One of the books caught my eye, If God Is so Good, Why Do I Hurt So Bad? Boy, isn’t that the truth? I thought. I picked up the book and started reading. And the words on those pages were like a salve to my broken heart. I could not put that book down, and fifteen minutes later, when my purchase was handed to me, I put the book in my cart and walked past the pharmacy and headed home.

I read every page in that book that day, and God used the words to comfort and heal my broken heart. I never refilled those medications. I never went back to numbing the pain away. I allowed God to work; I allowed him to heal me.

I sat down that day and wrote how I was feeling, and in the writing, the pain was released. Those pages went on   to become part of my first book, Chili and Chocolate Cake,  a book that has helped so many through the pain of loss through abortions, miscarriage, or stillbirths.

When I was thinking about the title of this book, God brought that book back to my memory and gave me this, If God is so Good, Why is My Life Such a Mess? title. God is really good, but for so long, my life was really a mess! Why? And if that is my story, how many others share the same story? And how many others will find healing and hope through these pages?

So this is my prayer: that the title of this book caught your eye and you picked it up and in reading it, God is healing your hurting heart and helping you to be whole and complete, through his great love!

Excerpt from If God Is So Good, Why Is My Life Such A Mess?  by Joyce Schneider 

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com

Biting The Hand That Feeds You

If God is So Good Official Picture (663x1024)God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  —John 3:17

I remember a couple of years ago, it was the last day of school and there was an air of excitement as we headed to the school bus. Beginning of summer vacation is always a special time, and the boys were wound for sound. My plan was to put them on the bus and then head off to work, hoping to be done early to spend the afternoon with them. Things went really well up to the point where the boys got on the bus, and I was heading back to my truck. But then I took a detour from my usual routine and, as they say, best laid plans.

I noticed that the other school bus mom was leaning over the drainage ditch looking at something. She called me over, and I discovered a kitty trapped down under the steel grate. We tried to lift the grate up so the cat could escape, but it was pretty heavy. At one point, she had it up and I was trying to grab the kitty, and it ran from me and fell into the cesspool that was in the back of the ditch. The poor thing was squealing and crying and drowning, and we were desperate to save it. It finally found its way out of the murk and was crouched on the edge of the pool.

We found a big stone to wedge under the grate, and once more, I attempted to dislodge the kitty. My hand was the only one that fit in the opening hence I was elected to grab the cat. I reached for it again, and this time, I got a hold on it by the back of the neck and lifted it out. I was wondering what I was going to do with it when all of a sud- den I got my answer. It flipped its head around, grabbed my finger, and bit me very hard in my knuckle, scratching and clawing me in the process. And I did what came naturally: I dropped that cat and grabbed my finger. But the damage was done. Blood was gushing everywhere, and the cat had disappeared into the woods.

As I saw it running off, it occurred to me that I had not rescued someone’s pet but rather a wild cat, and immedi- ately, the thought of rabies ran across my mind. Oh my. There I stood, on the street corner, with my finger bleeding terribly and the cat gone and the other mom looked at me and said I better get my finger looked at, then she left me there to fend for myself.

I’m not so good with blood, and I figured I’d probably faint, so I knew I had to get home. I jumped in my truck and dashed home, running up the stairs and into the kitchen to run water over my wound. One look at the blood pouring out, and my head got all woozy, and I made it to the couch just in time to make a quick call to my neighbor for help,   and then I passed   out.

My  neighbor  came  over  and  doctored  me  up;  then I decided that I best go see the real doctor. I kept having visions of that scrawny little kitten biting me and the question “What if it had rabies?” just wouldn’t leave my mind. It was not a house pet, it lived in the woods, and who knew what disease it might carry? I needed to get my finger checked  out.

The good news: no rabies shots. The doctor did want me to go on an antibiotic; cats carry a lot of bacteria, and infection is prevalent in their bites. My finger hurt for a long time. The cat had got me right in my knuckle, but no infection, no rabies came from it.

I couldn’t help but think how I had saved that little kit- ty’s life, and then it had turned around and bit me. And if it had given me a chance, I probably would have brought it home and taken care of it. I wasn’t going to leave it in the street. I had wanted to make sure it was okay. But it hadn’t given me the opportunity. It had turned on me and attacked me.

And at first I was really annoyed. That cat had really put a damper on my day. Instead of heading off to work, I had to go to the doctor’s. Instead of excitement for the day ahead, I was concerned about the damage the cat had done to my finger, praying that there would be no long- term consequences.

But then I started thinking about the way I treat Jesus.

He died on the cross for me. So that I could have life eternal with him. And no, I didn’t physically bite him, but I hurt him worse with my rejection. I would not acknowledge him or let him into my life. He had so much for me, but I ran away from him.

I was just like that kitty, ungrateful to my Savior.

I’ve forgiven the cat. I’m so thankful Jesus forgave me.

Excerpt from If God is So Good, Why Is My Life Such A Mess?  by Joyce Schneider 

Available on Amazon.com