Sunday, December 20, 2015


I wrote "For All You Give" as a dedication to the men and women who bravely serve and protect our nation, whether they are serving in the military or law enforcement. May we always remember and pray for these dedicated men and women and their families who do what they do, so we may do what we do...live our lives in peace.


FOR ALL YOU GIVE

In 1776, George Washington and two
Commissioned a flag of red, white and blue.

Red for the shedding of blood for liberty
Blue for freedom and opposing tyranny.

White for innocence taken by violence and war
Sacrifices made for peace and freedom, evermore.

The American flag - symbol of a united effort by all
To preserve our treasured freedoms, lest we fall…

Fall to tyranny and loss of tear and blood stained freedoms
Marring memories of fallen officers, soldiers, airmen, and seamen.

Freedom comes at a very great cost;
Lives are marred and lives are lost.

But what greater gift can a man or woman give,
Then to lay down their life, so that others may live.

Didn't our Savior, so many years ago
Sacrifice all, as His red blood flowed?

The sacrifices you make from day to day,
Are sacrifices that we can never repay.

May these words express an immense gratitude,
For all you give to preserve the red, white, and blue.

Know that you are remembered by many who care
And for you, we lift our voices and hearts in prayer.

May God watch over and protect as you serve,
Knowing those at home are the lives you preserve.

Joy Bollinger
Christmas 2015


Monday, December 14, 2015

THE PAIN OF REJECTION

He was despised and rejected by men; a Man of sorrows,
And acquainted with grief;
 And as One from whom men hide their faces He was despised,
 And we esteemed Him not  (Isaiah 53:3).

Jesus, a Jew, who was called the Christ, Lord, Master, Son of David, the Word, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Lamb of God, the Light of the World, King of the Jews, Rabboni, Rabbi, and the Chosen One, came to His own (the Jewish people) who would not receive Him (John 1:11). He was rejected, hated, and despised by many, but that didn't prevent Him from healing and teaching, all who would listen, how to enter the Kingdom of God (Matt. 5:20; 7:21). He would ultimately become the sacrificial Lamb, bearing the sins of the world, so that we might have eternal life.

The Word tells us that those who follow Christ will be hated and misunderstood by the world. Therefore, we should not be surprised by persecution and rejection. Jesus warned that in the last days, even family and friends would reject us.

Rejection is defined as the spurning of a person's affections. It means to be rebuffed, dismissed, scorned, treated with contempt and disdain, to give someone the cold shoulder, or to ignore. Rejection negatively communicates that we are not worthy of being accepted, loved, wanted, and valued as a person.

All of us have experienced the crushing sting of rejection. Maybe that rejection came from a parent, a family member, a sibling, a best friend, a co-worker, teacher, classmate, a spouse, our own child, a grandchild, or an in-law? Rejection cuts and wounds deeper than a knife. It is even more painful, when we don't know why we have been rebuffed.

Why do people reject others? Some of the more basic reasons are fear, hatred, misunderstanding, prejudice, unforgiveness, judgment, insecurity, jealousy, criticism, fear of intimacy, or simple boredom with the relationship. In some cases, the person rejecting might feel uncomfortable and unqualified to deal with the other person's problems.

The Lord, who is the great Physician, is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers [us] out of them all (Psalm 34:18-19).

When we suffer the pain of rejection and misunderstanding, the Lord wants us turn to Him and to His Word. Psalm 139 comforts and reveals our true value and how we are beheld in the eyes of our Heavenly Father:

O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.

You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high; I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You (Psalm 139:1-18).

The Lord is acquainted with all of our ways. He is aware of our every thought, and His thoughts toward us are precious and uncountable. Whether we are asleep or awake, He is with us. He knows us better than any human could possibly know us, because He formed us in our mother's womb. He knows our hearts, our intentions, our deepest secrets and desires, our failures and our successes, and our fears and insecurities. Yet His great love, mercy, and acceptance of us are limitless. We can always go to Him, knowing that He will never reject us; He accepts and loves us with all of our imperfections.

Many of us strive for that elusive perfection in ourself in hopes of pleasing others and garnering acceptance. However, we are incapable of maintaining perfection. Often, we fall short in our striving, because the perfect person doesn't exist.

Family television in the 1950's showcased perfect families with perfect parents, who had perfect children who always took responsibility for their mistakes and apologized. Those children would then marry and have adorable, perfect grandchildren. For most, that was a wonderful fantasy. Unfortunately, life isn't perfect and simple. Life is messy, because humans are flawed and imperfect. For that reason, we cannot determine our worth by the opinions or actions of others. 

We are made "perfect" and "flawless" in God's love as we read His Word and communicate with Him in prayer. "Herein is love made perfect in us, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment, because as He is, even so are we in this world" (John 4:17.)

We all need acceptance, love, grace, mercy, hope, compassion, and forgiveness. When we look for those qualities in others, we are often disappointed. Only Jesus Christ consistently and flawlessly provides those attributes. As Christ followers, we are called to extend love, grace, mercy and forgiveness to ourselves so that we can then give it to others. If we don't, we are rejecting the Perfect One who came to this earth in human form and allowed Himself to be rejected, so we could be accepted into His Kingdom.

Therefore, if anyone be in Christ, they are a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new. 
(2 Corinthians 5:17)









Monday, December 7, 2015


AN ENTITLEMENT MINDSET

[Jesus] grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him,
    nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem.

Surely He took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered Him punished by God,
    stricken by Him, and afflicted.

But He was pierced for our transgressions,
    He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
    and by His wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:2-5 NIV).


Do you have a person or persons around you who challenge your patience and faith? Isaiah prophesied that many people who surrounded Jesus would be difficult and ungrateful. He would eventually be rejected and killed. The Gospels reveal the fulfillment of that prophesy. 

God's Word tells us to "Consecrate [ourselves] in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove [the devoted things] (Joshua 7:13).  Although this was a Word to Israel, it is also a lesson for us.

The King James Version translates "devoted" things as detestable things. "Detestable" means anything that is abhorrent or repugnant. There are many things that humans worship and do that are abhorrent to God, but He views unforgiveness as a repugnant sin. Why? Because one of the last acts of love that Jesus Christ did was to say on our behalf, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." He willingly became the sacrificial Lamb, so that all could receive the gift of forgiveness.

Yes, I have written about forgiveness before, but I have not discussed "an entitlement mindset," which is something that often prevents us from moving forward in the gift of forgiveness.

What is an entitlement mindset and what does it have to do with forgiveness? Entitlement is defined as a right, prerogative, claim, or privilege. Mindset is defined as having an established set of attitudes about someone or something. As long as we believe that we are entitled to certain things, which might include respect, gratitude, appreciation, an apology, an acknowledgment, or anything that makes us feel better about ourselves, then we will always be offended and will live in a prison of hurt, pain disappointment, and unforgiveness.

Forgiveness embraces the lovable and the unlovable. We were imperfect sinners whom Jesus forgave and embraced us with His unmerited love. How can we do less for others who are hurting and broken by life's struggles and challenges.

Unforgiveness is often based on a mindset of preconceived opinions, ideas, or beliefs formed about a person or situation without knowing the offender's personal journey or the intent or  motivation behind their actions. Many times people hurt people because they are hurting. Sometimes, they speak or act without thinking about the consequences. There are many reasons that cause people to intentionally or unintentionally hurt others. What must be remembered is that none of us are perfect; we all make mistakes; and we have all hurt someone.

God calls us to be "practitioners" of His Word by His love that we carry within us. He wants us to extend grace and forgiveness to others. He also requires repentance for not doing ALL that He calls us to do for His kingdom. Until we do those things, the blessings that He promised cannot come to pass in our lives. For obedience is better than sacrifice (I Samuel 15:22).

Forgiveness is a choice; it's not a feeling. We choose to forgive, because Christ forgave us. Forgiveness does not agree with the sin of the offender. Forgiveness releases the offended from the offender and gives the offender over to God.

Not only are we to forgive others, we are to forgive ourselves. Often we are hard on ourselves because of regrets, mistakes and poor choices that we have made. Fortunately through Jesus Christ, there is redemption, if we will only surrender all to Him.

I was able to forgive my ex-husband and others who had hurt me, but I was struggling with a family member, who had an ungrateful attitude and would constantly reopen wounds with cruel barbs and criticisms. The Lord spoke to my spirit and said, "You can't have an entitlement mindset and serve me. That kind of thinking demands gratitude, acknowledgment, respect, and appreciation. Do you think that everyone appreciated and respected Me? Do you think that I was always thanked when I healed people or drove out demons? People spoke all kinds of evil against Me and said things that were untrue. My response was, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'  If you want your life filled with My blessings, then learn to forgive, for forgiveness releases My blessings into your life and frees you from that prison of unforgiveness. Know that holding onto unforgiveness will rob you of My promised blessings. You cannot stand against the enemy with unforgiveness in your heart. Be quick to forgive and release those who have hurt you to Me. Then you will be free to receive ALL that I have for you."

We must "stand." The book of I Sam 24 reveals to us the heart of David. He was a man who would rather stand on God's promises and suffer in that season of his life then lose his anointing. When Saul came to kill David, David had the element of surprise and could have easily killed Saul. However, David respected God's anointing on Saul. Despite Saul's jealousy, brutality and unwarranted and unjustified behavior towards David, David chose to forgive Saul. David was able to master his feelings and his priorities, and for that, his destiny as king was eventually fulfilled.

Saul chased David, without good cause, but David took the high road and refused to react to Saul's unfair and unwarranted pursuit of him. Our job is to show love, kindness, and mercy. The Holy Spirit will convict that person of their sin and reward us at the same time. God rewarded David and made him king. The enemy will pursue us, hoping to wear us down. He used Saul to test David's mettle, and David passed the test. 

God puts us where the darkness is, so that we may Let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). The Lord orders our steps (Psalm 37:23). We are to be a light in the darkness. If we take time to shine our light of love, kindness, and respect, then the Holy Spirit will do the rest.

When we turn on a flashlight in a very dark night, we can see for a great distance. However, if we turn the same flashlight on in the daylight, we can't see the light emanating from the flashlight. The flashlight was designed to work in the darkness. That's where we can really see the true purpose of the light. We are the light of Christ. God sends us into the dark places to show the brilliance and purpose of His light.

We must be ever mindful of the example that we are setting for others? People can't see God, but they can see us. What message do our lives send?

As we enter into this holiday season of giving, we remember that the greatest Gift given was the Son of God. Though He was and is a King, He came as a humble servant and Redeemer who taught us to love and forgive others. When He returns, He will come as a conquering King whom all will see.

Satan will use the ones closest to us to test us in areas of forgiveness. He knows we have an innate interest in what family, friends, and others may think about us, because we need to feel loved and validated. When that doesn't happen, we feel pain and rejection. Fortunately, God will never reject us.

We can either choose to forgive and receive all that God has for us, or we can hold fast to an entitlement mindset. God promised us wonderful things, and His promises are a gift ready to be unwrapped; however, until we can forgive, we are not allowed to open those gifts that were purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ and wrapped in His love.

My prayer must always be, "Lord, I choose to love and forgive (name), just as You have forgiven me and continue to forgive me, according to Your mercy."