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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Healing

Noah Webster defines "heal" like this: to restore to soundness; to purify from corruptions; to restore purity to; to remove feculence or foreign matter; to cure moral disease and restore soundness.
Yesterday I prayed for a woman who I heard was healed just hours after I prayed........... It would seem to make sense to ask, "When does healing come?"
We suffer when our physical bodies have disease. Our suffering leads us to seek relief and healing. Can a person's soul or spirit be diseased? I believe so.
I wonder sometimes if physical health could be a picture in worldly terms of our spiritual health. I know that without healing our spirits will be dead, just as without healing, the body will be overtaken by disease and death.
Much is written and said about the times we live in. This is a time of uncertainty. There is a sense of caution and instability in this country that invades all areas of the life we have known. Our jobs are insecure, our marriages are falling apart, the food we eat and the water we drink poisons us. Everything we buy is designed to wear out. Nobody really knows what the government is doing, nor do we understand how the man that is heading it got elected. We don't even know where he came from.
There is a tension that is ever present, co-existing with our very lives. All the while, this is going on, technology races ahead making us more knowledgeable than at any other time in history. It's true that we have more facts and figures at our fingertips than we could ever sift through in a lifetime. In contrast, we know less and less about each other and how to live together in relationships.
In simpler times we knew who made us and the rules of living a good life. We knew what "good" was, and we were sure what wrong and evil looked like.
There are as many answers to the important questions about life as there are people.
We wonder - is there even such a thing as truth - absolute truth? Does anyone really care?
Those of us who remember better days see and know just how great the gap is between then and now.
I feel I'm an unwilling witness to this tidal wave of change, being pulled away and receeding from the land that is familiar, out into the endless unknown.
In ALL of this, however, there is one Voice - one Presence that is steady and true. He is like the immovable lighthouse that beams forth the powerful ray of light in the midst of the storm-tossed sea. He guides the lost to safe harbor and home. Just like the lighthouse, He doesn't move or change. His voice is truth. His position is truth. All who come to Him arrive at truth. He IS truth.
Who is this one I speak of? He created everything there is. He knows how to save us all from the coming storm. Plainly put you may have heard His name.................. It's Jesus - the Son of God......................... He is known as THE truth.
Stop now! Hear me!
Here is the Truth: God sent His Son into the world as a man. He lived a perfect life, never sinning once. The world didn't recognize Him. They crucified Him. He let them do it - because it was here - at the cross - that His death paid the price my sin demanded - a price I couldn't pay.
All anyone has to do to receive God's forgiveness is to call out your need to Him and admit that you are a sinner. Accept that you cannot be forgiven any other way but this. Then you must commit the rest of your life to Him.
If you do this - you will find that regardless of the storm that threatens, you will make it home - you will be safe. You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

How to Comfort

One thing Parkinson's Disease has taught me is how to better comfort others who are suffering. There is so much suffering in this world. It doesn't matter whether you are a christian or not - you ARE gonna suffer. It is excruciating to watch someone you love slowly die away; to lose their abilities little by little; to see the body daily weakening.
But don't turn away! It's ok that you don't have all the answers. No one does. What matters is that you care enough to be by the side of this dear one. It's enough that you don't leave them alone. Look them in the eye and touch them. They need to know they matter. You can stand by them but you can only watch as they come face to face with the hard questions and harsh realities that inevitably come. And don't neglect to share the hope and wisdom that God has given you. It is a treasure of great worth.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Attack.......

When the body attacks itself as it does with arthritus and other diseases, it's called an auto-immune disease. It does damage to its own body as if it were an enemy. I don't know why this happens. It is senseless and self-defeating.
I see this within the body of Christ. What makes a member of the body of Christ attack another member? The whole body suffers including the clueless member who causes it all.
It's so hard knowing how to deal with this. I know that Jesus says to forgive and to pray for our enemies. He loves the one lamb who has wandered away from the ninety-nine. Indeed, there have been times that I wandered and I am thankful to the good Shepherd for coming after me.
I've heard it said that when there is a wayward lamb that continually wanders and by example teaches the other sheep to follow suit, that the shepherd will break that lamb's legs and then carry it on his shoulders until it is mended. The lamb's heart is knit to the shepherd's heart by then.
I know one thing: to turn against the body is seriously divisive and injurious, but to then turn and attack the attacker will only compound the damage.
Dear Jesus, give me that love that knows no limits for the attacker of the body. It is impossible in my humaness to love someone like that, but Your love is extravagant and endless. I end with Ephesians 4:1-6: "I...entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My Body the Temple of the Holy Spirit

Did you know that if you are a Christian you have become the temple of the Holy Spirit? You are God's dwelling place or abode here on earth. I thank God that I am more - much more than a person living inside of a body that is diseased. In light of this truth, I ponder the question of how am I taking care of myself - this place God calls His home on earth? You might ask yourself the same question. 2 Peter 1:5-8 says, "...make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self control, perseverance; and to peseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love."
I make sure that I feed myself with the Word (" Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." - Matt. 4:4). Other things are important as well. Resting in His finished work means accepting His grace and admitting that I cannot work to earn salvation. Praying keeps me in relationship with Him. These are just a few of the things that keep this temple a fit place for God's Holy Spirit.
Then there's the other side of the coin, which is a list of things I must keep away from (I must be careful to have healthy boundaries; for instance I will not lie). I can see that damage or defilement follow unhealthy practices or false beliefs just as poison creates havoc in my body.
Dear Lord, help me to honor You by doing my part in keeping this soul - this heart - this life clean, just as diligently as I keep my body clean and healthy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What it Takes to Grow

It's cold and drizzling today. There is no sign of the sun except for what has seeped through the clouds. It's that time of year when the rain comes often, and everything begins budding. I think disease must be something like that. It feels bad......It looks gloomy......but it's necessary in order for growth to happen.
If plants don't get the minimum number of days of freezing, wet darkness, they won't bloom. If plants don't get pruned growth will be weak and the plant will be spindly. Do you suppose that it works the same way with us? Do you think that God in His wisdom ALLOWS suffering in order to give us life and even abundant life? I find this to be true.
Thank you, dear Father for keeping me in the wet, freezing darkness only as long as it takes for me to bloom. Thank you. I trust in Your perfect love for me.........Love that will not leave me barren or unfruitful, but with life bursting with passion - love and beauty.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Adversity and Truth

Adversity either refines and strengthens our faith or destroys it. Parkinson's Disease has been the fire that has refined, purified and strengthened my faith. It has sent me running to the Bible to search out who this God of ours really is. I had to know what I could believe about Him and what was fiction. Then once I knew what the Bible revealed to be as truth about Him, I claimed it in faith (not feelings), and acted out that belief. There have been some terrible trials through the years to be sure. During these times of testing, I was tempted to despair and slip through the cracks of fear, unbelief, confusion and doubt. It seemed as if every truth I learned and tried to hang onto, was challenged by the author of fear himself. Knowing that there was no light or comfort within myself, I clutched the Truth to my heart as if it were a life-jacket in a stormy sea. My illusions fell away like the skin that a snake sheds. Indeed, the skin of the devil himself (ideas and beliefs that God is not Who He says He is, and He will not do what He says He will do) was shed to reveal untruth.
I would never want to repeat a moment of the trials that I have endured, but the blessings are rich and the promises are deep that I now embrace. Though they are freely given it has not been without cost.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Am Grateful

Parkinson's Disease has taught me how to be grateful for what I once took for granted. It has shown me that no matter what the state of my life may be at any given time, things could ALWAYS get worse. It has taught me to focus in every situation on what is right instead of what is wrong. There certainly are times when I fail to do this, but for the most part it is easier to think in terms of what I'm grateful for than keeping track of what's wrong.
I have to say that Parkinson's Disease is detestable in every way, but I find it to be a very good teacher, or catalyst in ordering my priorities. What my enemy meant for my destruction, God meant for my good..........

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Communicating

When you have Parkinson's Disease, some parts of the body are not communicating properly with other parts. As a result, the body jerks and trembles, gets stiff and can't move at all, and many other unpleasant things.
The same thing can happen within the body of Christ. If some of the members are "broken" and can no longer communicate with other parts of the body, pain and dysfunction rule. The body cannot accomplish anything when its members are all speaking different languages.
We must be able to communicate clearly with other members, being good stewards of our abilities.
Ask yourself: Do I listen to other members.........I mean REALLY listen? Do I always speak truth? Do I speak in a way that makes it easy for other members to get my message? What I mean is, am I polite? What does my tone of voice communicate? Is it pleasant or is it abrasive or too loud? Do I interrupt? Do I start talking and keep on talking not allowing anyone else to interject? Do I make the same point more than once?
Some members of the body are better at communicating than others. Do YOUR part today in leaving an honest impression of God on others. Prayerfully consider ways to yield to others, be soft spoken and not loud or repetitive.
Consider what you are saying about God and to others by your gestures, facial expressions, tone, and by your consideration for others.

Freedom from Gravity

I am lethargic today. I've been a little unsteady on my feet. I've just finished eating dinner (treated to a night out by my mother-in-law) and even though I didn't eat that much, I feel miserably full. I just feel like gravity has a death grip on me.
I'm no theologian, but I'm thinking that this is what the dead weight of that old man (the one who existed under the law of sin and death) must feel like to the new creature in Christ that I am. It's heavy and makes us unsteady on our feet, but we don't notice it because we can't remember a time when it wasn't there. Perhaps that's what Paul meant when he said to throw aside everything that encumbers (everything that would slow us down or keep us from running the race set before us).
Look to the future when we will be given new bodies and be in heaven with Jesus! Meanwhile, our spiritual service of worship is to give our bodies as a spiritual sacrifice to God our Creator.
Last night someone posed the question to me, "What if after believing in heaven and God our whole lives, we find out none of it is true?" With calm assurance I replied, "It IS true. By the word of my testimony, I am telling you what I know to be true. I know because of the memories I have of His voice, and the many times He has miraculously answered my prayers or acted on my behalf. I have to accept that fact by faith............. Not blind faith, but faith based on solid facts. God has proven Himself to me, and now I testify of His existence and love to you.
It is also by faith that I know I have been born again into new life in Christ Jesus and reconciled to God through Him. The "old man" no longer lives, but Christ in me.
If you don't believe me, then look around at what has been made. See the wonder of design - proof of the Designer.
One day I will not feel disease dragging my body down. And one day I will not feel the pull of my sinful nature. Lord, praise You, and give me patience in the wait.