What Love Looks Like..

Currently, my husband and I are counseling a few folks regarding relationships. In the course of conversations, we hear similar themes play out time and again. The theme of “If he/she really loved me, they would not act this way, do this or that” .. To which, the other responds, “If you would stop doing this or that, I would stop too”… and around and around we go.. The blame game. The ole, if you do x, then I will do y song. The deal maker, the bargaining, negotiating etc.. You name it, we’ve really kind of heard it all. blame game

When I hear couples speak in such a way, I have to inwardly cringe, then, smile recalling that before I became grounded in the Lord, and put through some serious situations in my own relationship, my husband and I could and would act the same way!

Then I take a deep breath, pray and say what God has put on my heart to say to the individual, couple etc.. 

I am so very thankful that Jesus Christ did not play the blame game. I am grateful that He sacrificed Himself and gave up dimensions of His being that we may never know about! All because He extended to us LOVE in place of blame and took away our sin and shame! THAT is what LOVE looks like my friends. THAT is LOVE. To put aside pride, personal feelings and just forgive. To extend grace and mercy to those who don’t deserve it.

THAT is LOVE. Christ-like LOVE. 

Christ_CarryingCross

This photo is the closest I could find and doesn’t even come close to accurately depicting the suffering of Jesus according to scripture.

When I challenge folks with that kind of love.. I often hear.. “They did this and that to me! Could YOU forgive THAT?” To which, I respond, “Yes! Because, I have been forgiven, I too forgive those who trespass against me!” “I have and will continue to forgive because Jesus Christ, was taken to be scourged, beaten to the point that His face no longer bore any resemblance of a man, then the Roman soldiers wove a crown of thorns (not just rosebush kind of thorns) Jerusalem thorns which are very long, thick and sharp! Felt the need to smash it down on His already beaten and bloody head and brow…

THEN

made to carry a heavy wooden cross to the point of collapse so that Simon of Sirene had to take it up and carry it for Him! Then to be laid on said cross and NAILED to IT! Hanging there, scourged, beaten, practically disemboweled, lungs crushing under the weight of hanging there… He suffered in AGONY!

Let’s pause a minute.. I can’t see through my tears.. My heart is aching and burning, Forget the clean, peaceful looking crucifixes of Jesus on the cross.. They are not reality. In my very humble opinion, too much artistic license has been taken to “clean up the cross” so to speak. It gives a sanitary and far too watered down image. It does no one’s soul any good to look upon a peaceful Jesus hanging on a cross…  OK now back to the article…

And died for me. Me! Jesus Christ died BECAUSE OF ME and FOR ME! An undeserving, sinning, wretch! My sins helped hang Him on that cross” So YES!!! I CAN AND DO FORGIVE!! Anything less is unthinkable. Ilovedyouatyourdarkest

When we do not forgive others, we are telling God what He did, by sacrificing His son for us, wasn’t enough. Nope.. sorry God, not good enough… WHAT?! I would hate to be you when you stand in front of Him at the end of your days. (Just sayin’)

So now that I have painted that picture.. What do you think? You think you are still in a position to point a finger? Not forgive? Not live in peace with your loved ones? Friends? Even strangers? I will leave it there and let your own conscience and convictions take it from here…..

Selah (Think Upon These Things)

Until the spirit moves me again, Love one another in His name..

Patti (Yeshuazgirl) <><

 

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Weeds

Weeds; as a new gardener these plants are one of my worst enemies. Oh sure, some of them look pretty, we make wishes on the fluffy white ones, and children give the colorful ones to their parents for a nice present of “flowers”.

But as every gardener knows, these sometimes pretty looking plants are pretty nasty. Their roots go down deep and choke the roots of real flowers. So, instead of getting what you planted, you get a disorganized mess of things that don’t exactly look like the picture on your seed packets.

Sin works the same way. As believers in God we do our best to plant the seeds in ourselves by reading God’s Word and practicing it. However, every garden needs to weeded on a regular basis; especially spiritual gardens. In each of our lives there is at least one thing that we allow into our lifestyle that doesn’t match up with God’s Word. Something we’re addicted to, little “white lies” to soften the truth, looking at things we shouldn’t or gossiping. These things seem harmless on a small scale.

What can they really hurt? The answer is, a lot. 

Two things recently happened in my life that fit this description.

We are making various small improvements at the barn little by little as we are able. One such project was to excavate weeds from the front of the barn. The root of one weed was the size of a small tree stump!

It grew so thick because it was allowed to grow completely out of control. It was like a small tree by the time we tried to take it down. We chopped off the branches without too much trouble, but then we were left with this stump that would make it easier for the weed to come back. The clippers weren’t working on it, so I picked up the shovel and started using it to chop it down.

Long story short, it was quite a while before it finally came down. The vibration of hitting the weed repeatedly and the jarring impact the shovel handle made with each shovel swing, left my hand numb, shaking, and in pain. Though I went through a great deal of pain and effort, the result was satisfying, we’ve yet to see the return of the giant weed after spraying the root with RoundUp. But I digress.

The second thing that happened was something sinful. I’m a writer by nature, and appreciate a good story (especially if I’m the one writing it). I do a bit of written roleplaying with a friend to keep my writing skills and character development sharp. It proved to be so much fun that I decided to try my hand at an actual online roleplaying game. I played it rather often and thought of little else. I forgot to appreciate each day and to renew my mind daily with God’s Word, to keep planting those good seeds and letting God grow me. I felt convicted of it but I enjoyed the game too much to give it up; that’s when I started making the excuses.
“It’s just a game, it can’t hurt anything.” “I’m supposed to get enjoyment out of life as well as work, right?”

Well it did hurt something, and I made it an object of obsession rather than just enjoyment, I also wasn’t living anymore.

I stopped letting God weed my spiritual garden and I began to feel the distance I had put between me and Him.

My attitude towards my family got worse than just the occasional disagreement. I was pushing them away too. That game had turned into a giant weed in my heart and was choking all the good things God was planting in me. That’s when my loving parents came and talked to me. They helped me to realize what I already knew deep down; I had to give it up. The separation was painful to an extent, but gaining back what I was losing was so much more rewarding. God is once more the gardener doing all the planting and weeding in my life.
So I encourage you, if you have these spiritual weeds in your life, get rid of them!

Sometimes we’re not strong enough to give it up without help, that’s why God gave us friends, family, and prayer.

I hope you enjoyed my first blog for my family’s ministry. Please feel free to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Until Next Time, God Bless!

Aubrey-Shea Cianflone

The Family Part 1: The Husband To The Wife

One of the greatest gifts besides Himself that God has given us is the Family! It is the basis of all society. Through the family, children are born and the next generation learns what it takes to survive and thrive in this world. It also should teach us what it means to serve the LORD and how to forgive.

Patti and Steve June 16, 1990 “Cake Smash Kiss”

The husband and wife are the driving force in a family. This union between a man and woman sets the course for the future. If this relationship is not strong, then the rest falls apart. God tells us in His word that the marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. They should work together seamlessly.

Yet it is this relationship that is so under attack and is undermined in many many ways. People today have forgotten what a marriage was supposed to be. We see the divorce rate ever increasing. Why you ask? Selfishness is the answer.

Instead of becoming “as one” in purpose and direction, each seeks to go their own way. Tearing apart the family, and leaving it shattered on the jagged rocks called self.

The head of this unit is neither the husband nor the wife. The head should be God. Just as the trinity is made up of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, the relationship of a marriage is God, the husband, and the wife. In the following passages we will see what this structure is supposed to look like.

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

These are the verses in scripture among many others that is to govern this beautiful relationship. It is often misused and misunderstood. If they were applied properly, a healthy marriage would grow. The problem is that the world says that it is outdated and man-centric. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let us look deeper at this to understand. I am going to do this in reverse because this is the order of things as ordained by God.

What is the most important thing to a marriage?

It is not the wife submitting, or the husband loving his wife. 1Corthians 11:3 says 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.  The husband submitting to Christ is the key to a marriage made in heaven. It is that submission that will allow Him to love His wife as Christ loves the church.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.

How many husbands can truly say they love their wives as Christ loves the church or even know what that is supposed to look like? I have been married 22 years and am still learning this.

So how does Christ love the church? Christ loves the church so much that He left the comfort of His Kingdom, was born into poverty, isolated, persecuted, bled, tortured, died, and was buried. He rose again three days later in victory over death.

He did not do this because the church was perfect or was better than anyone else. No He did this because He loved us.

This is the beginning of a marriage made in heaven.

Christ did this even though He knew the twist and turns the church would take throughout history. In His eyes she, the church, is perfect already. Do you see your wife as perfect? Yet that is how Jesus sees her ‘as perfect’ so should the husband see her the same way. Forgiving every mistake, and every challenge to your authority as a husband as many times as is necessary.

It also means giving up what is important only to you and how you want to spend your time. Yes that can mean giving up Sunday football or watching your favorite guy type movies and hanging out with the boys. If these pursuits are what you wanted to follow and forsake your wife for, then why did you get married in the first place?

There was a time early in my marriage, before I was saved, that these things were more important to me than my wife. I would spend countless hours and days playing video games, watching sports, and the nightly television shows. I so neglected my wife to the point that she would tell people that she could parade herself in front of me and I would never notice. I would get mad at her and tell her that she was in the way moving around her to see the television or computer screen to continue doing what I was doing. At one point she took to only coming over to me when there was a commercial or a break in the game. Then she stopped coming over all together.

You may ask why did I do these things? That is what I saw and learned in my own house growing up watching my mother and father do this to each other. It did not make it right but this is why.

In a nutshell 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 tells us How Christ loves the church. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Men this is how you are to love your wives every moment of every day till death do you part!

You say how can I do this? The task is much too great! What about her submission to me?

Husbands understand this and it will help you to love your wife. God inspired Paul to write this, and this is how God created marriage, so that we would have to depend on Him. This is part of having a relationship with Him. We cannot do this on our own. But through Him all things are possible.

Also, forget what your wife’s part is in this. She is responsible to God just as you are responsible to Him for your part. You cannot make her submit to your authority any more than she can make you love her. God is not going to say husband it is okay that you did not love your wife as I asked because she did not submit to you. No He will remind you of 1 John 4:10 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Husbands no matter what your calling is in this life, this is your first missionary field. It is always your task first and foremost as a testimony of God’s love for the world to those around you! If you do not love your wife as Christ loves the church, and do not have the time for her as He does for the church then you should quit the other pursuits and take care of your wife first!

The world is watching and they want to see whether you are real or whether you are just another hypocrite. That is what Paul means when he writes in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Gentlemen see how great the task is? See why you must have a relationship with Christ? See how important this is? Oh and realize that not only do you have everyone outside of your house watching but the little eyes and ears, hands and feet are watching you and mimicking your actions too. It is these little blessings that make it even much more important.

Do not be discouraged or disheartened by this task. It takes a lifetime to be made into His image. Take each moment as it comes and have a very short memory of wrongs.  Lean on Jesus Christ to see you through the tough times and lean on Him even more during the good times so you do not become complacent. I have been married to my wife for 22 years. I have steadily grown in this role as husband and will grow even more in the next 22 and beyond.

I hope that this has been an encouragement to you all.

Stephen Cianflone

Steve’s Story

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

The above verse is the basis of our ministry to the families who love the LORD Jesus Christ. To heal the relationships forgive the past overcome the obstacles and seek victory through the hope that is only provided by our LORD.

Inside the body of Christ there are many abused, neglected, bullied and at-risk youth. Marriages that are in turmoil, and relationships between parents and kids that need to be healed. Through God’s word, and through the amazing horses He has created, we seek to be used by God to start the healing process that is so desperately needed.

My wife has already told you from her perspective of why she was called to do this. So I only think it fair to let you know why I am as well. For many years, as a child, I was bullied by those at school, in my own family and even by the church.  I also suffered debilitating allergies and asthma that isolated me even more from others even when I was not being bullied.

All of this caused me to walk away from God.

I began to live a life that was filled with self-gratification. I sought those who would accept me even if it harmed me and my future. No longer did God matter and the sheer mention of the existence of a God, that I felt had wronged me and even thought hated me for allowing all that I went through in my life angered me. 

Those feelings and a sense of isolation followed me into my marriage. It not only sought to destroy me, but also my wife and eventually our children.

Again I fully blamed God for all of this. Yet it is through my oldest child who was 4 years old at the time, that the Lord chose to reveal Himself through her and call me as one of His own.  At that time, things were the worst for my family that they had ever been. Divorce was most assured. Losing all that I said that I held dear, was going to happen.  I was brought to the end of myself. I was crying in the bedroom when my daughter came to me wrapped her arms around me and said, “God is going to make everything okay!” It was that sentence, which if it had been spoken by anyone else, that person would have met with my full wrath. But coming from this precious little one that I was about to lose ,changed everything.

In an instant I knew she was right. It was then the LORD started to show me why I had been allowed to go through what I had been through in my life , why I was still standing and how He was there with me.

 

The LORD, in a very short time healed my marriage, my relationship with my child,  many of my wounds, and allowed me to overcome many obstacles.  Using the experiences that God has brought us through, and gave us victory over, we will serve His children. This is the mission of The Lord’s Lead Line. To God Be All The Glory!

Stephen Cianflone

Do You Get it?

I am 44 years old now and just decided what I wanted to be when I grew up.

How many of you are with me? OK put your hands down 🙂 I can’t see them anyway. But, a vast majority of you probably either physically or mentally just shook your head in agreement right? yep thought so.. I know, I’m good.. *smile*

Anyway, why the heck does it take so many twists and turns in life to finally “get it”?

THAT IS IF WE EVER GET IT... Some sadly, never do….

Well, after much pondering and soul searching. I have come to one conclusion. We cannot decide because we are too busy being busy! I mean, think about it. From the time we enter kindergarten – well.. now it’s pre-school! That means school before school! what?!…

We’re too busy figuring out how to go to school, how to fit in when we get there, completing tasks set forth by others, finishing school, find a job, make a living, pay for school, find a spouse….. we’re always busy! Mostly about what others want us to do…

We’re hardly ever resting. Resting in what God has planned for your life.

My husband and I are finally resting. No we’re not unemployed or beach bums somewhere, nor are we back packing across the Himilayas. What we ARE doing, is we are heeding God’s calling on our lives to start this ministry for Him. To help care for and nurture and heal His glorious equines and those whom He calls His children. For His purposes and glory.

Currently, my husband is still working and getting recognition for good work at work. He even recently received a raise and promotion.  But, he realizes that man’s praise and goals are empty. He does the right thing because it is what God would have Him do. He loves the Lord and so do I. We are finally getting “it”. To live for Him and what He has called us to do with the lives He has blessed us with.

Do you have a calling on your life? Are you currently busy about other people’s work and goals? If so, I challenge you to evaluate where you are. To start, just sit still and be quiet. Listen to His still small voice and pray. Pray about what blessings God would have for you if you just stop being busy and be still.

My husband leads us in a home study of the bible on a regular basis. We are in my favorite book. Ecclesiastes. The Lord had me in this book for two years until I finally “got it”. This verse in particular really struck me..

Ecclesiastes 3:14

New King James Version (NKJV)

14 I know that whatever God does,
It shall be forever.
Nothing can be added to it,
And nothing taken from it.
God does it, that men should fear before Him.

OK take that first line. Whoa.. “Whatever God does shall be forever”

Yep it’s true! Simple example “old as dirt” check.. ok dirt is forever 🙂

Nothing can be added to it. – Can you make what God made better? Umm the answer is no. Staying with the dirt example, here is a favorite joke of mine.

One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God.

So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.

The scientist walked up to God and said, “God, we’ve decided that we no longer need you. We’re to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don’t you just go on and get lost.”

God listened very patiently and kindly to the man and after the scientist was done talking, God said, “Very well, how about this, let’s say we have a man making contest.” To which the scientist replied, “OK, great!”

But God added, “Now, we’re going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam.”

The scientist said, “Sure, no problem” and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.

God just looked at him and said, “No, no, no. You go get your own dirt!”

Ha! Simple truth.. right there. Something we walk on every day. God made for us to plant in, play in, make houses out of, heal bee stings, throw at your little brother.. uh.. scratch that last one…. *grin*

And nothing taken from it. – Self explanatory 🙂

God does it, that men should fear before Him. – God’s word says that the beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD.

Anyway, you see? God took care of it all. He owns it all, made it all to bless us. His children.

Now I am not advocating quitting your job, eating just beans, making your own clothes out of animal hides and wearing tissue boxes on your feet. No, I am simply asking you, challenging you to sit still and ask yourself and God, “Is this what I am called to do with my life?” If you’re not sure, then seek hard after what it is that you ARE called to do.

You my friend, are missing out on huge blessings not living for Him! I know that you’ll figure it out in time just like we did. Whenever I prayed, I prayed specifically and told God (like He didn’t know already) that I’m a little thick and a lot hard of hearing Lord, so could you make your plan reallllyy clear?! So I don’t mistake it for my own selfish nature and go down the wrong path? OK Thanks.

Then I would get a “sign” something someone said, a divine appointment, a word in the Bible.. then I would be like Gideon and ask God for more and more signs. Finally God gave me the ultimate sign. He put so many people in my life to help kick start this ministry all at once, that there was no denying that YES. This IS what He wants for my family’s life!

So with that, I will end my little story and remember, be still, pray, seek, be still, pray, seek. I’ll be praying that you “get it” too!

All the best & God Bless!

Patti