Monday, January 10, 2022

It Is Not A Race

 


Ten days into the New Year I am thinking, maybe I am more like a Turtle than a Rabbit. Thoughts of reading through the bible this next year has brought no results, yet! I mean I could catch up or just jump in on that day, the way I do my daily devotional read when I miss a day or two or a week or two. I mark my devotional book with the day I read that section with the date. Example, New Morning Mercies is my daily devotional book and the days I read it I write the year in the corner. The last time I read page January 10 was 2020 so I missed reading it in 2021.  

Early in my walk with God I somehow thought life was a race and we either grow like a turtle or a rabbit.  My personality is like a rabbit and I grew fast those first few years.  The church we were in was a working church, you work out your faith by doing, teaching, working in nursery, work a bus route bringing people, kids mostly to church to Sunday school and children church,  giving, witnessing, etc.  My husband and I were involved all the time in the doings of the church.  But, I am grateful that doing was part of my foundation of how much God loved me.  Not only did He say He would die for my sins, He actually did it.   

As I have aged, those doing years have decreased and changed through the years.  I grow more like a turtle now.  I have time to dig deep into the Word and and research the meanings I know I missed when I was a young child of God.  It has not been easy to go from a rabbit to a turtle but it's the season of my life.  

I am not racing now, I am pacing myself, slowing things down and realizing the guilt that comes from that is not from the Lord.  Oh, I know, some are still going at rabbit pace and if I was into comparing and not being content I would keep looking back to what we use to do.  The use to do days are over,  and I am enjoying the new mercies that my devotional books is all about. Below is something I read recently that has helped me to deal with it when I fail to others expectations of me.  

 Guilt, The Crippling Emotion

Guilt. Rarely has one small word been so widely misunderstood. Guilt is frequently viewed as a virtue, as a high sense of responsibility and morality. The truth, however, is that guilt is the greatest destroyer of emotional energy. It leaves you feeling immobilized in the present by something that has already occurred.

Now don’t misunderstand me: Human beings need to have a conscience. According to Webster’s Third Dictionary a conscience is “the sense of right or wrong within the individual.” Without a conscience we would have no compunction about hurting one another, and the world would be less safe. When your conscience tells you that you have done something wrong, it is important to face it, make amends and learn from your mistake. Staying consumed with guilt, however, will keep you from moving forward in a positive and productive way.

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I still have not started my bible reading for this year.   But, I refuse to live in guilt since I know God does not love me because of how much I read my bible or what bible I read, NOTHING can separate me from the love of God.  Now that is pure grace living.    

How was your start to the new year.  



Monday, December 20, 2021

Nailed to a tree...




Nothing like a wrapped present to build excitement in the heart of a child.  
 Ace and I get excited too for we know what the presents are and we know they will love them.    They did not shop for their gifts or pay for it,  we did, it's theirs, free and clear.  We don't expect them to pay us back, or buy us something in return.  

You know I am still excited over the gift I opened on Oct. 20th,  1980. In fact I want to give this gift to all I meet.  Instead of being under a tree this gift was nailed to a old rugged cross,  it's package of flesh torn and bleeding.  The bow made into a crown of thorns dug into the wrapping.  There was nothing pretty about the package and the way it was presented.  Yet it contain everything to give me eternal life. 

 I believe God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit gets excited when ever this gift is presented to someone.  They wait, hoping it will be accepted.  

There is no plainer truth taught in the Word of God than salvation being a “free gift” (Romans 5:15,18; 6:23). If I were to offer you a Christmas present, but with the stipulation that you must be willing to take a bath, it would not be a gift. Why? Because I have clearly implied that I expect you to take a bath to get the present. A gift is defined as something given voluntarily without any payment in return. 

The thief had nails through both hands, so that he could not work; and a nail through each foot, so that he could not run errands for the Lord; he could not lift a hand or a foot toward his salvation, and yet Christ offered him the gift of God; and he took it. Christ threw him a passport, and took him into Paradise. D.L. Moody (don't you just love this quote?)

 Quote from Mary DeMuth book, Everything. 

We cannot fully satisfy a holy God. Our redemption is an outrageous, initiating act accomplished by God alone. He pursued humanity to such an extent that His feet landed on earth, and He chased after us until He rescued us at the cross. We did not climb onto those wooden beams. We could not receive the nails that pierced those holy hands. We who are not kingly wore no crown. We could not drink the cup of God wrath. "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Rom. 5:6. God did what we could not . He sent His beautifully sinless Son to take our place, to satisfy for all time God's wrath upon sin. "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. II Cor. 5:21

God transforms, He creates, He  thinks otherworldly thoughts,  He dares to redeem an obstinate world. If we camp in that place, remembering the gift we could never, ever pay back, we will live astonished lives, and our growth will be the best kind---the kind that emerges from gratitude, from thinking rightly about God.


What a gift!
.  

   I pray you have already opened this gift and with a thankful heart will celebrate Him this Christmas. 

Monday, December 13, 2021

Assignment


“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”~~C.S. Lewi(my facebook post today)

Several commented on my post from C.S. Lewis.  The one that got my attention was from a sweet friend of mine.   She began to suffer with crippling  rheumatoid arthritis a little over two years ago after her oldest son died from a heart condition.   She went from a very active, committed Christian working mother of three, to being held captive often by her health issues on top of her grief.   Below is her comment to my post.  

Well, then, what am I missing? 

🥺 (He has been shouting for a long time, and I guess I don’t understand the assignment. 😔

 CommenWell, then, what am I missingeM

Below is my reply to her heart felt question:

When things are great one hardly ever thinks of death, but when pain comes it’s hard not to think of death. Just take the recent Covid pandemic, and how it has forced us to think of death more often. 

 We can live with our head buried in clouds until a raging storm comes then we seek shelter. Every pain we suffer is the means to draw deeper into Him, to learn of Him, the one who suffered the most pain ever for the whole world. 

Pain will mature our faith in Him or turn our focus inward.  Maturity brings courage to reach outside our self to others. Our trials and pain may be with us though out our life here on earth, but we believers know something a non-believer does not know.  We leave all our earthly suffering and pain when we leave this earthly abode.  

So, what is our assignment till then? That was Julie's question, wasn't it?  Nothing makes us question our purpose more than pain.   

Jesus used very few words when He gave it out to His followers.  Mark 16: 15 Go tell…by mouth, by social media, by whatever means is available to us. When we allow our pain to be a means to share Jesus all heaven shouts and anyone around us is helped. Does our pain decrease when we allow God to use it?  Sometimes but not always. 

 The pain is not the focus, only a tool in the hands of a loving God. 

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Like everyone else I have had my share of pain, both physcial and emotionally.   There have been times I allowed it to make me bitter and it has left a few scars on me.  Since becoming a believer at age 35 and studying the Bible I have to come to realize God wants to use my pain.  He never promised me a life free of pain.  He doesn't want me to waste it, or drive me to into a pity party. I know people who are hard to be around due to their pain and grief and the pity party they live in.    

Self-pity is a way to escape the pain of sadness by trying to make others feel sadness for us. Chip Dodd.

How does this quote speak to your heart.? Have you been stuck in self -pity before and how did you get out of it?

Monday, November 22, 2021

Rhythm of life.

The creation story in Genesis 1 has rhythm. The passage of day into night is a constant rhythm. The passing of seasons, the changing of tides. We are surrounded by rhythms in nature. Rhythms that sustain the life of our entire planet. affect our metabolism, our cognitive abilities. We create new life rhythmically. Our body keeps its beat through the constancy of our pumping hearts. 

What happens when those rhythms are interrupted? When we interrupt the circadian rhythms that sustain us by not sleeping enough of being over caffeinated? When the rhythms of the seasons are disrupted by climate change? When the rhythms of daily life are obliterated by violence and war? 

I can still remember the first time I read through the book of Ecclesiastes and how encouraged I was. It took away some of my fears, changed my expectations, changed my attitude toward change.

Ecclesiastes invites us to find rhythm in all things, so that we can be at peace with how life is constantly changing. We are also invited to honor those rhythms rather than dominating them when they can be inconvenient for us. With this passage we can embrace that life is, indeed, a part of death; that peace always should follow war; that there are times when we experience sorrow, but that sorrow is followed by joy and laughter.

Anxiety is bound to happen when the rhythm of our lives is changed. I have sure been experiencing my share of this lately. I don't question it anymore because I do believe it's even a part of the rhythm. Out of anxiety we can see our need for the Lord and learn trusting Him for all life brings. Thankful God put Ecclesiastes in the bible for us to draw from during hard times. Age comes to all of us, and with age comes ailments that change the rhythms of our life. I am learning a new song lately, finding the joy of the Lord wrapped up sometimes even in the pains of life.

How the rhythm of your life going?






Sunday, November 14, 2021

Kneeling Love

If you ask a man if he should kneel when proposing, they will probably say yes – but why? It’s likely for one of two reasons: either because tradition dictates that males propose with marriage on bended knee or because they want to express humility before their future wife. Some people feel as though a proposal by kneeling signifies more than just submission; rather, it shows respect, and an intent to put the bride before himself.  

Fifty seven years ago my husband ask me to marry him and he did not get down on one knee.  Honestly, I did not even think to ask him too.  In fact until recently I had not given it a thought. 

On 20th of Oct., our 57th anniversary,  I had surgery to repair my bladder. All went well.   Four  hours afterward the doctor declared it safe for me to go home and start recovery. I would see him in two days to get the catheter out.  Ok, I thought, I can do this. 

Had a good night, all was well until early afternoon that next day when I started to have intense pain.  From my experience of having several kidney stones I thought I was trying to pass one.  I developed a low grade fever and throwing up.  Back to the hospital where the surgery was done.  After a few test, x-rays they said I had a blockage but could not tell what it was from.  They tried to put a stint from my kidney to my bladder but it would not go.  Since they could do no more due to lack of personnel they sent me to Fargo, North Dakota, three hour ambulance ride.  

There they did same test, got same conclusions.  To keep me from losing the 30 percent of my kidney I have they put a tube into it to drain into a bag outside my body.  

Every since I started having kidney issue, I have dreaded this might happen to me someday.  The kidney is not repairable when it dies.   A transplant can be done if there is a donor and if the body will accept it.   What is left then is dialysis 3-5 times a week.  Back in December 2020 my kidneys shut down because of Covid. It was at that time I was told one of my kidneys was not working and only 30 person of the other one was.  So, you can see how the dread would build, the quest to keep that 30 percent going.  

Ok, enough about the medical background for this post.  

My husband has taken on the total responsibility of doing all it takes to keep the tube cleaned, put new bandages on the site of where the tube goes into my kidney, flushing the tube every other day.    To take a shower requires lots of work making sure the site keeps dry.  I was so weak when I first came home I could not even dress myself, he did that.  There is more to this but again enough is enough.     

 At one point in order to help me he had to get down on his knees.  I teased him that he did not even get on his knees to ask me to marry him.    I think I started crying somewhere after that as it hit me how much my husband cares for me.  He is so careful to make sure he gets it right and keeps me as healthy as he can.  

This post is not about how sick I am,  It's about how very hard times require a love that goes way beyond that knee he could taken when asking for marriage.  Way beyond even the vows we say, way beyond the romance, and intimacy that comes with marriage.  

This love I have been experiencing comes from a man who knows God loves him.  And whatever trials comes it has to go through that supernatural love.  It's the love Jesus had for us as He hung on the cross. That kind of love will give courage when needed to do the hard stuff. 

Psalm 95:6  Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our making. 

On the 18th I head back to hospital to see if the blockage is all gone and if I still need a tube or a stint or surgery.  Please pray.  




Tuesday, November 9, 2021

What's On Your Mind?

 

What's on my mind facebook ask.

Everyday I must meditate on the absolute perfection and completeness of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is nothing we could do ever think, desire, say, or do that could in any way add to the forgiveness and acceptance that you received from God based on Christ's work. You are perfect in the eyes of God because the perfect righteousness of Jesus has been attributed to your spiritual account. Paul Tripp

This truth motivates me to say I'm sorry when I am wrong, change my attitude when I am being selfish. This truth helps me to trust Him to work in me to become more like Him. If I start focusing on my sins, past and present instead of on the forgiveness bought on Calvary for all sins I will become self focused which leads to a comparison trap which leads to either pride or depression. There lies the battle front...God help me to be courageous and drop my self reliance and rest in the finished work of your Son.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Power of One Vowel

 


"The verbs for a particular African language consistently end in one of three vowels...i, a, and u."  But the word for "love" was only found with i and a.  Why no u?"

The missionary asked the most influential community leaders.  "Could you dvi your wife?"
Yes, that would mean that the wife had been loved, but the love was gone. 

Could you dva your wife?
Yes. That kind of love depends on the wife's actions.  She would be loved as long as she remained faithful and cared for her husband well. 

Could you dvu your wife?
 Of course not!, They all laughed.  If you said that, you would have to keep loving your wife no matter what she did, even if she never got you water and never made you meals. Even if she committed adultery, you would have to just keep on loving her. No, we would never say, dvu. It just doesn't exist. 

The missionary sat quietly for a while, thinking about John 3:16, and then he asked, "Could God dvu people"?

There was complete silence for three of four minutes; then tears started to trickle down the weathered faces of the elderly men of the community. 

Finally, they responded, "Do you know what this would mean? This would mean that God kept loving us over and over, while all that time we rejected His great love. He would be compelled to love us, even though we have sinned more than any people."

Changing one vowel changed the meaning from, "I love you based on what you do and who you are" to "I love you based on who I am. I love you because of me and not because of you."

Encoded in this African language, but unused for centuries, lay a perfect picture of Christ's unconditional love.  Ethnos360

In the English language there is only one word for love.  We use it to express all kinds of things we love, I love my husband, I love potato chips, I love my cat, I love whatever.  We don't change any of the letters in the word to express our love for different things.  In almost every other language they have several word variation for love. 

One of the Hebrew words for "love" is hesed, (pronounced kheh=ed ), which is actually a difficult word to translate into English.  That is because there is a range of meaning for hesed, which means a completely undeserved kindness and generosity.  Isaiah 54:10 Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love (hesed) for will not be shaken.   Hesed is not just a feeling, but an action. It "intervenes on behalf of loved ones and comes to their rescue". 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  



Monday, October 11, 2021




 ,

I am into my 74th year by tenth months, two
weeks, and a few days day so there is a lot of, "day after's" , that have passed. Which is why I like this quote because it's so easy to lose sight of a day after in the middle of a struggle.


Just the reminder of Sept 11th, 2001, that horrible day is a good example to

think about how many mornings we have woke up since that fateful day. Every day, in the last 20 years we have woke up to a new day. Some of those days are filled with the memories of horrible events but some of those days are been good ones too.

There was time I did not think I would survive the abusive home I grew up in. Thank God there was a day after for that part of my life. God has healed those emotional wounds and used them to help others.

Getting married and having children was the goal of my life. It took 12 years of marriage and 6 miscarriages to have our first child.

Some of us think holding on to our loss makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go. – Herman Hesse

Remembering and holding on are two different ways of handling the pain of loss. Listening and reading testimony after testimony from those who lost someone on 9/11 was encouraging in this way. Most told of how they had went on with life, changed into a new normal. Of course they would wish those they lost back, wished that awful day did not happen. Of course. They're days after, became something to thank God for, a day to be more loving, more aware of others, tp became focus in searching for a purpose for the rest of our days. There is a progression to loss and grief.

The bible is clear, there is a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance, and a time to die. Life goes on no matter how we deal with the pain. Our days when we mourned are some of the most teachable times we have. Our hearts are raw from the pain and we just want it to go away, for things to go back to what was before the hurt hit. If we live in the day our pain started and do not travel to the day after we will be miserable and those around us miserable too.

Loss and grief is a normal part of life and there is lots of helps from those who have lived past their pain. Loss escapes no one. Everyone faces some kind of loss as they journey through this world. There is no loss so great that God cannot reach and help us with.

en Someone You Love is Dying by Kopp, R. & Sorenson, S. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan (1985).

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Kushner, Harold Schocken Books (1981).

Learning to Say Good-bye: When a Parent Dies by LeShan, Eda New York: Avon (1988).

Remembering with Love: Messages of Hope for the First Year of Grieving and Beyond. by Levang, E. & Ilse, S. Minneapolis, MN: Deaconess Press (1992).

Mind over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think by D. Greenberger & C.A. Padesky (New York: The Guilford Press, 1995).

Seven Choices: Taking the Steps to a New Life after Losing Someone You Love by Neeld, E. New York: Delacorte (1992).

How to go on Living When Someone You Love Dies by Rando, Therese New York: Bantam (1991).

Beyond grief: A Guide for Recovering From the Death of a Loved One. by Staudacher, C. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger (1987).

Necessary Losses by Viorst, Judith New York: Fawcett Gold Medal (1986).




Saturday, October 2, 2021

Promise


What the dictionary says a promise is:

  • promise (noun) a verbal commitment by one person to another agreeing to do (or not to do) something in the future
  • promise, hope (verb) grounds for feeling hopeful about the future “there is little or no promise that he will recover”

It would be easier to write about the promises made to me that have been broken. But I cannot do that without thinking about the promises I have made and did not keep.

Matthew 5:33-37 –  “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

First, promising something an not coming through with it hurts relationships. When we don’t keep our promises it destroys trust and trust is what healthy relationships are built upon
Honesty helps us grow in our relationships with Christ and with others
Eph. 4:15 – Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

I read this today and conviction sliced to the core of my heart. Because Christ lives in me, I want to be known as a person who keeps her promises and does not lie.

Ask yourself these questions:

“Who has not been startled to hear yourself say something that is an exaggeration without even thinking about it. It is not that you began the conversation with the intention of saying something that was not quite true, but before you knew it you found yourself embellishing a story.

Are you honest about your age?
Have you been thoroughly honest with your taxes?
Have you ever been dishonest about the time you claimed you worked, or not given an honest day’s work for an honest day’s wage?
Have you ever cheated on a test?
Have you ever lied to get out of trouble?
Have you ever complimented someone when you didn’t mean it?
Have you ever kept silent when you should have told the truth?
Made yourself appear better than you are?
Lied to gain an advantage or get your way?
Misled someone to save face?”

Eph. 4:25 – Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor…)

Knowing I have failed at times to be honest, and true to my word makes me grateful for His grace. He makes it possible to not live under condemnation through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, His Son. He died for the times I fail to keep my promise and gives me chance after chance to right it and try again.

Let me close with two quotes that I think are profound.

No legacy is so rich as honesty.” – William Shakespeare

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Common Sense...

 



Common sense is sound practical judgment concerning everyday matters, or a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge that is shared by ("common to") nearly all people. The first type of common sense, good sense, can be described as "the knack for seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.


The above definition caused me to wonder what God says about having common sense. 

Biblically, common sense can be thought of as a combination of wisdom and discretion.  Wisdom is knowing what to do; discretion is knowing when and where to do it. Proverbs 3:21; 8:12-14

So, without common sense then one will act like a fool.  One must think first like a fool to act like a fool.  The KJV puts it as being void of understanding.  (Proverbs 7:7; 8:24-30)

Proverbs 3:13-14 says it best.  Wisdom allows us to see life the way God does. When we seek God's perspective, we can make decisions based upon their eternal significance rather than selfish interest. When we choose to make decision based on wisdom alone, we are exercising  common sense. 

The desire for instant gratification is the enemy of common sense. We all make bad decisions sometimes.  We go on our feelings instead of wisdom.  We made decisions when upset instead of allowing our feelings to calm down.  

Common sense is often developed by learning from the consequences of such poor choice, the school of hard knocks teach the best.  Some never learn from their mistakes which makes them continue to make foolish decisions.  Wisdom helps us learn from our mistakes so we won't make them again.  

Wisdom and common sense should be continually pursued in order to experience the best God has for us (Proverbs 2:1–8

 A little common sense test...how would you answer the question below??