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Monday, May 25, 2015

Jonah and Parkinson's Disease

Jonah and Parkinson's Disease

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with battle fatigue. Sometimes it seems that for every battle fought and won, there are several new fights to be fought. Sometimes winning consists of nothing more than still being standing when all of the dust settles. And the question that I ask is, “Does it make a difference? Am I wasting my time? Does my life make a difference to those I know and love?”

I am not given to depression, nor do I enjoy feeling sorry for myself (it sucks the life out of me), but at the end of the day, I realize my clothes are in tatters and the smell of the battle sticks to me like smoke from a fire. These days, there doesn't seem to be a place of rest to slip away to from the attackers and invaders that are the enemy's best.

It reminds me of the story of Jonah. This man was running from God and thought to hide in a boat bound for another place. God was giving him a task that he simply could not find the heart to do (like living with PD). So, after he had boarded the boat, and they were on their way, a huge storm came up. It was the worst the crew of the ship had ever encountered. The ship was barely holding together, and being no help at all, Jonah had actually fallen asleep down in the lowest parts of the ship. The crew had thrown all of their cargo overboard to lighten their load. This storm had cost them all that they had, and it was still raging. Everything they tried only made things worse.

It struck me at this point in the story that here I am, and here you are fighting a storm that God has allowed in our lives.... For many of us, it is Hurricane Parkinson. We don't want to fight this typhoon and as silly as it is – we are running from it. And we are trying to outrun God by staying ahead of Him. If it were up to us, there would be no storm, and no loss of cargo. But He is as big as the whole sea and impervious to our best efforts of choosing our own path.

When the crew found out that Jonah was a Hebrew, they were terrified, knowing that he worshiped and belonged to the One True God. So they asked him what they must do to quiet the storm and save their lives. He told them that they must throw him overboard – out into the storm. “So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea and the sea ceased from its raging.” (Jonah 1:15)

In the same way, mankind had been trying to hide from God since the Garden of Eden because of his sin. The predicament we find ourselves in is that we are caught in the storm of sin with only one way of making it through alive: We had to throw Jesus like Jonah out into the raging sea, (upon the cross) and only then would the sea become calm. Only His life thrown into Hell's storm of man's sin – to pay for the sins of the world – would calm this tempest.

Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. - (death held Jesus three days and three nights). Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish's belly. And he said: I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction and He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried. And You heard my voice. For You cast me into the deep. Into the heart of the seas. And the floods surrounded me. All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. Then I said, 'I have been cast out of Your sight; yes, I will look again toward Your holy temple. The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me. Weeds were wrapped around my head. I went down to the moorings of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed around me forever. Yet you have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God. When my strength fainted within me, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple. Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice to you with the voice of thanksgiving. I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”

We live in a sin cursed world at the present time, and we fight battles. But we live by faith, believing that it has all been straightened out – that Messiah has come and fulfilled His purpose (salvation has come through Him), and though we do not see it now, all things will be made perfect, and the corruptible will be done away with and the incorruptable will established.

One of the present day battles we fight is disease. We will live through this disease by faith, knowing for sure that one day (very soon I think) healing comes. Perfection will rule and all things will be subject to He who paid the price and cancelled sin's effect.

Don't fall asleep, like Jonah did on the boat. Look up for your redemption draweth nigh!

And know that Jesus has already calmed the sea and defeated death. We will SEE this on the appointed day! There will be no more disease. We will not just know that this good day is coming, but we will see it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It Is the Potter's Choice

But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?” Romans 9:20-21

With Parkinson's Disease, there are some days that are better than others. These days, I don't have the strength I did a few years ago – or even a year ago. It's not just that. My speech is slow and sometimes I don't breathe properly when speaking. I sound clumsy and hesitant, as if I am confused (which I am not). Sometimes people ask if I'm OK, and when I say yes, they politely look away as if they believed me. It's hard dealing with a body which doesn't act right. There is a list of things that at one time I did well – things that I no longer can do. Perhaps the most distressing thing is that I am not as sharp of mind as I used to be. I have talked to God a lot about this, shrinking from the humiliation of feeblemindedness. The best way of dealing with it is to face it head on, without complaining and be grateful for all that I do have.

You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made would say to its maker, "He did not make me"; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, "He has no understanding ?” Isaiah 29:16
I am cut to the quick when I read this. Earth's brief period of temporal favor – temporary blessings – are meaningless and though once enjoyed, have been spent and no longer have even momentary value. These “blessings” are but a memory. Trying to hold onto them is rather like an old woman trying to look young. It is futile and heartbreaking to have pride in what I once could do, or to be proud of how I once looked. I used to feel capable of almost anything, but this “list” narrows it down a lot.

Strong and quick of mind, I never doubted my abilities. My voice did not waver or fade away in the middle of a sentence, nor was the sight of me unpleasant and there was no stiffness or any muscles pulling the wrong way, making my body crooked. my gate once graceful, now can be labored and without rhythm – out of time and beat; I feel I am ugly............ heard only by those who see beyond all the clutter of once pleasant attributes that make the truth attractive. Like an unfaithful friend, these are all gone – the list of things I cannot do.- they are like a vapor this image I thought was me. Like an abandoned wife, I feel like I am worthless and ill suited for any worldly cause at all. My pride is still clinging to the old garments of self. I have found myself cradling yesterday's rotten clothes desperate to be that ghost.

The Lord said: Israel, you have no right to argue with your Creator. You are merely a clay pot shaped by a potter. The clay doesn’t ask, “Why did you make me this way? Where are the handles?” Isaiah 45:9
Even time is fleeting. To what end? Once spent, forever gone and even memories fade
If this is all there is, then I am with nothing. Give me something to replace the longing I feel for Egypt.

Creator – Maker – Help me!!!! I am missing Egypt. and feeling sorry for myself. How do I yield to Your right to do with me what You will? How do I surrender completely to You, being willing to lose all things for Your sake? Paul got there. He said,But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,… “ Philippians 3:8

Diving into the deep end of the pool of water that You are, it is at first bitter. I know that eventually it will sweeten. But there is no “half in and half out”. I can see clearly that though it feels all wrong and perhaps even hopeless, this is the way that matters. I choose to plunge my whole self into the cold icy truth. I am what You have made me – I have what You have given me – I agree to dream only those dreams that You allow; I give up my own ideas wholeheartedly, holding back nothing, knowing that the only place for me – the only life that I can have is what You choose; what pleases You. I know that You are in authority over me. At my invitation, You will break away what resists. You will decide if I glorify Your name in power or weakness, beautiful or practical, graceful or not, healthy or sick..........You are the potter and I am the clay. With Your hands, You will work truth and beauty into my substance – kneed it til it's ready. Then another process begins. Until I am done. On this earth there will be the burning away of what is impure, useless or unyielding, and I choose not to fight this. It is a daily decision to die to what I wish and what I want. In the end, You are really all that I could want. You are what I need.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

O, Sleeper, Wake Up!

My hands and arms are tingling and feeling numb. They are going to sleep. As I was thinking on this, I couldn't help but think about my spiritual body. And as a member of a larger spiritual body – the Church – there is a lesson in here for all of us.

We are in perilous times. It is not a time we would want to be found falling asleep on the job. If any one of us – as a member of Christ's body – is asleep, then we must know that this will cause pain and discomfort for the other members. By falling asleep, I can most certainly open the way for the enemy to come in and attack - to wound -up close. As a Body, our work will be of a poor quality, because some of us are asleep! Some of us can be wounded when other members are asleep. It is being a slacker . It is not believing the signs that God has told us to watch for. He doesn't want anyone to be surprised by the fierce and deadly attacks of the devil and his hordes upon Believers. He gives us many warnings in Scripture. But if anyone is not reading and studying God's Word, he is sleeping.

What does it mean to fall asleep spiritually? It means that when I am supposed to be on the lookout for danger and being prepared for whatever may come so that I can warn encourage and equip other members, I am asleep.

Wake up, Sleeper! The signs of the times are appearing on the horizon and rushing past us as never before. We don't know exactly when we will pass by the markers that are events we are told are coming, but we KNOW they are COMING and where once they were as a tiny dot on an uncluttered horizon, they are upon us now as giants on an anthill. Wake up, Sleeper! Do your job!

It is only in God's strength that we overcome. And when (not if) we see storm clouds approaching, but do not warn, then the resulting breach in the wall is on our heads. God will not be mocked. His judgement is coming and He will not be lenient upon our enemy who seeks to maim, kill and destroy, or the sins that sent Jesus to the cross. Don't think that any sin is so small that it does not need to be confessed and repented of. Don't sleep while there is still time to get out of bed, and be about the business of the Lord.

This is an uncomfortable message, but if you are reading it, it is meant for you – today. It is no accident that His message has come to me – today – and I have brought it to you. Ask God for help where you need it. Call on His name for help. Clean things up and leave no spot or wrinkle unattended to. He is a loving God, and His mercies are new each and every day. O, Sleeper, wake up!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Worship is setting aside time..........chores...........things...........and other people so I can lift God up to His rightful place in my life. It's so I can give back to Him the love I have received. Last week – all week – I was more aware of being a pilgrim in this foreign world. I consistently chose God over the TV, the phone, the computer and even house work. I deliberately kept my eyes on Him. I let my imagination kick in as well. Reading the Bible not only renews my mind. It stimulates my thought processes. I don't mean to sound so dry and matter-of-fact, but the really fun stuff comes AFTER the foundation work of good choices.
When I decide I want to start my day with Jesus – there I am, in my mind – pulling the other rocking chair up close so He'll be near.
Throughout the day, I choose to bring my Lord and Savior up close. I remember to admire Him and ponder His ways. Much of our time together is in silence, and I am learning the timber and tone of His voice - it is different from anyone else's. O, and we laugh together – sometimes uproarously, holding our sides. I've learned to expect small tokens of His love all day. And I've learned to give Him the same. Sometimes my gifts are like a child's drawing - simple and colored occassionally out of the lines.
Strangely enough though, it's the scaryness of this unsteady world, the mean people, the disappointments and the pain that pulls me in closest to Him.

With every choice inside of a day, I grow one way or the other - into Him or away from Him. This week I chose to make more of every day just worship, and I found comfort when He was near. When He is the center of my world, and I am not – all's well.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

From the Old Home Bound for the New

From the Old Home, Bound for the New

Today, I am beset with worries, and my thoughts only make me fear. Perhaps today is the same for you. Well, this is nothing new, and many many people who have gone before us faced unsettling issues and problems for which they could find no answers. There have been more heartaches than anyone can count. Without saying more about that.........I will say this: God has things well in hand. He knows our trouble and it has come as no surprise to Him. He has come to put our feet on the right track and walk us through danger, through trouble, through disease, through the camp of giants, and any other thing that may threaten us or hold us back from all the good He has planned for us. He knows the way through to safety. It is not our way. It is not what we wanted or where we went when the road forked. But it is HIS way. It is the ONLY way.

At the beginning of time, when Adam rejected God and because of sin, could not walk with Him in the garden, a rift was created between ourselves and God. A veil was drawn over our eyes so that to us wrong seems right, and right seems wrong. If we will throw away our pride and admit that we are lost and cannot find our way back to Him, we can receive His help. But we must trust Him to help us.

In our case, among other things, this means He will help us through this disease on this day even though we don't have any strength; even though we think we cannot stand another minute of this humiliation; even though we cannot scrape together the remnants of the joy we once had; even though we have bourne the loss of things we thought we could never live without; even though it feels like life is over and we want no part of what's left.

King David was right there. He sang of it. He opened his heart up to God and held back nothing within it from the Lord. Here is some of what he wrote:

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength has failed because of my iniquity, and my body has wasted away. Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind. I am like a broken vessel....”

Now we get to the “hope” part.............

I trust in Thee, O Lord. I say, 'Thou art my God.' My times are in Thy hand;” …... “Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant; Save me in Thy lovingkindness. Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I call upon Thee;”................”How great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast stored up for those who fear Thee, which Thou hast wrought for those who take refuge in Thee, before the sons of men! Thou dost hide them in the secret place of Thy presence from the conspiracies of man; Thou dost keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the Lord, for He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a beseiged city....” Or we might say, in a beseiged body........ “ As for me, I said in my alarm, 'I am cut off from before Thine eyes; nevertheless Thou didst hear the voice of my supplications when I cried to Thee, O, love the Lord all you His godly ones! The Lord preserves the faithful.... Be strong, and let your heart take courage all you who hope in the Lord.” taken from Psalm 31 NAS

There is no avoiding trouble in life. But there is a way through. We may make it to the finish line, torn and bruised, weary and hurt, but God has it all under control. He gave us the beautiful gift of life with blessing. Our ancestors brought sin into this perfect world, and we were all lost to His blessings. Then He provided a way – the only way – to get through our once perfect world that was ruined. The way is not easy, and doesn't always make sense. It sometimes hurts – because medicine can be bitter. But He has not cut us off from the way out – the way back to Him.

If you think you can commit to halfway following Him and the other half to doing things your own way, then you'd better think again. He will not be dishonored or disbelieved that way. It would be better to reject Him outright than to pretend to belong to Him and to pretend to love Him.

Don't be afraid. Live this life for Him, and headed for the beautiful home He has made for you. It's almost ready.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Help Us, Lord

The fact that we have awakened to a new day, means that there is hope to be grasped in this day. I pray that we would  all be helped to grab onto it through Jesus the Lord.  Through Him all things were made and FOR Him all things were made.  IN Him all things hold together.  There is no hope or truth outside of Him.

O, Heavenly Father, we present ourselves to You, this morning, for service in Your kingdom.  Lord, we do confess our unworthiness before You to receive anything good.  We do not deserve Your help.  In fact we have sinned against You - our God - and our brothers and sisters in Christ - as well as the world of people who are lost.  We are no better than they, and do not deserve Your mercy or forgiveness.  But in Your kindness, You have made a place for each of us, that is in Your Presence.  In that place, You have provided opportunity to examine ourselves, and allow You to take away from us the sins that we embrace, as well as those we do not even know we have committed.  Keep us today, Lord, in the place of the 23rd Psalm.
Take our hearts and cleanse them and give us clean hands this day.

We pray for our country today, and the men and women who are governing it. Most specifically we lift up to You our president.   Please put Your desires into their hearts and guide them in Your ways.  Just as Abraham asked God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if there were only 10 righteous people in those cities, we also ask that for the sake of Your people that you spare this country and us with our families.

We also pray for leadership in our cities and towns.  Show them the way of salvation today, and give them wisdom to lead us into Truth.

I pray that You will protect families and communities here.  Save the loved ones in our families who are lost.  Preserve us, Lord and protect us.  We will perish in our sinful ways if You do not help us.  Give us Your desires and increase our love for You.  Forgive our selfishness.  Inhabit these temples - these bodies of ours after we are cleansed and consecrated.

In the Name of Jesus Amen

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Warning

This is a warning.  Don't leave yourself open to the enemy.  He is looking for places that will be a foothold for him so he can scale the wall that separates he and you. Don't think that you are without sin.  If that's what you think you are calling God a liar. Don't be lulled by comfort or quiet.........  If we could see into the spirit world right now, I believe we would be dismayed at the huge increase of activity there.  The enemy is working very hard to deceive the world and everyone in it.  And, believe me, there are many who have fallen, or are at risk of losing all.

Believers are called to finish the race; to throw away everything that encumbers, to not hold dear anything of this world; to not fear man or devil; to overcome;  to be strong in His strength; to judge ourselves and confess our sins, though we have already done so (we must never consider ourselves above sin - as pride has shown us it is no respecter of persons).

We must know how to judge a person's words and actions (but never their heart) so that we are not unaware of the enemy around us.  We are to love radically, forgiving all, but not forsaking all we have learned.  Forgive, but don't throw away caution.  And know that forgiveness is not the same as trust.  Only God can be fully trusted.  Man will disappoint, fall short and fail.  It is God who provides what we need and protects us.

The enemy is very sly, and will attack in ways that you do not even know.  You will think that you imagined your fear and that it was a groundless warning  more due to chance than to God's wisdom imparted to you.  He specializes in attacking you while dressed as an angel of light.  He is a wolf among sheep.  Make no mistake.  He comes to kill, maim and destroy.  There is no middle ground.  Pay attention when the red flags wave in your spirit.

The enemy is the voice that says, "God is great - but I am greater;  God is powerful, but I am more so; God makes things better, but I know best; God can feed you, but with me you will feast..........  The grass that always looks greener is not real.  It is a mirage.  And after you have succumbed to the lie, he will shame you and condemn you.  He will not offer redemption or forgiveness like our God does...........

It is not too late, to agree with God.  He is a merciful God.  He does not merely dispense mercy, but He IS mercy.  If we will humble ourselves, confess our sins and admit our need for a saviour who is Jesus Christ - God's own Son - He will hear from His holy habitation and will come and save.

Do not be deceived.  God is not mocked.  We will all reap what we have sown whether that be condemnation and punishment or mercy and the removal of our sins.  Bow down before Him and repent.  God is coming soon and He has warned and warned and warned.  It should come as no surprise, but to many it will.  Today hear His voice as He calls your name.  While it is still today, receive Him.  To all those who are weary and heavey laden, come to the Son whose burden is light.
Shalom (may we destroy the power that fuels chaos).