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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Beauty Coming into Focus

It's a gloomy day. Earlier we had snow flurries and then some sleet mixed with rain. Yep, it's a gloomy day. The sun is hiding. This little body is sooooo done with winter! I'm warm and snug though. I'm at home. I have a few aches and pains, but things could be MUCH worse. So I'm grateful. Years ago, when I was strong and young being grateful didn't come nearly as easily as it does now. It's not until you lose something that you know just how much you appreciate it. Losing health is like that. You take for granted strength, grace and health. It seems to me that as earthly things grow dim, heavenly things come into focus.

You know, I think that soundness and beauty are not so much physical as they are invisible and can be found in a heart. Sometimes I feel beautiful.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Trust Me a Little Longer.......

I remember once when someone asked me how they could pray for me, and I replied, "I have Parkinson's Disease........ It gets in the way of my ministry...... I need healing." to which he replied, "I can't". He was saying that since he didn't know God's will concerning my health he couldn't pray for my healing in complete faith.

How could healing be wrong to pray for? After all, Scripture tells us: "Whatever you ask in my name, that will I do that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (John 14:13) and "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it" (John 14:14)

Scripture also tells us "You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures." (James 4:3)

"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray." (James 5:13)

I think the Bible is telling us to take the burden of sickness that you bear to Him. You can ask for healing, but understand that He may not heal you right away, and maybe not while you live on this earth. Your priority in prayer must be His will, not yours.

Remember in the garden of Gethsemene, Jesus prayed, "Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will, but thine be done." (Luke 22:42)

The Bible tells us that Jesus - "being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground" (Luke 22:44)

We should take our concerns to God in prayer ("Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phillippians 4:6,7)

And our attitude must be the same as Jesus (ready to accept the will of God).

I remember when in one of my lowest moments, I asked God to bring me home - to let me die. I simply couldn't bear the painful existence any more my life had become. He clearly (though not audibly) spoke to me in all tenderness, telling me that He knew I thought I had no purpose any longer, and that I was nothing but a problem to everyone around me. But the truth is that, though you cannot perceive it, you DO have purpose. I have never left you to go through this alone and I never will. I agonize with you in your pain. But can you trust me just a little longer?

God often does things in ways that seem to make no sense to us. It often seems to be the hard way. But listen for His question, "Can you trust me a little longer? I will accomplish my glorious will and I will fulfill your purpose in due time. Can you trust me a little longer?"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Memory Triggers

There are certain "things" we all have that serve as signals or warnings that something unpleasant is coming. It could be a tone of voice we hear in a conversation, or a look someone gives us. It could even be something like a sound or a scent that triggers a memory of something dreadful. This small thing can trigger our descent into fear, dread, pain or something equally as uncomfortable. It can steal your hope and be the first hint of depression. We will automatically go there if we have not prepared an alternate path.
This morning, as I was getting ready for the day ahead, I heard a sound that immediately (and without thinking) took me back in my memory to something unpleasant. Before I could stop it, I also remembered the difficulties and challenges to my faith that experience brought me. Before I could blink my eye, I had gone from cheerfulness to the invitation to despair. And I hadn't even left my bedroom yet!
It occured to me that instead of allowing myself to go down that path, I could turn the tables and let that same memory trigger be a call to worship. From now on, I will let that sound be a reminder to me that God is HUGE. He is LOVE. And He is LIGHT. He is the God Who rescues His people from giants (MEAN giants) and impossible situations. He is the God Who has parted the Red Sea for me when my back was up against the wall and I found myself in an impossibly bad situation. And He is the God Who brought those same waters down upon the head of my enemy and DELIVERED me!
Yes, from now on, every time I hear that sound, I will be encouraged and uplifted. It will be cause for joy.

Monday, March 28, 2011

God is Great, God is Good

If you hope to have courage in calamity and strength in times of stress and strain, then you must meditate on God's character in times of ease. Get used to remembering things like God parting the Red Sea, making the sun dial go backwards, tumbling down the walls of Jericho, sending the plagues on Egypt, causing Abraham and Sarah to have Isaac in their old age. And add to those, all of the times God has spoken to you personally. I find that if I do this, He can be quickly called to mind (without effort)and my problems stay in perspective much easier. I've already got a "vision" of the God for whom nothing is impossible. I can rest in total calm knowing that God is sovereign even over sin. His purposes will be accomplished, and nothing will thwart His plans.

Defeat Disaster

Our Heavenly Father knows what we don't know. He's in charge, and He has answers, even if He doesn't tell us what they are.
When you're on the edge of disaster..., just when your heart has been shattered by one more piece of bad news... when you're scared to death, and you don't know what's going to happen next, or when your worst nightmare is coming true, fall down before Him and worship. Offer up praise to Him. Remember what He has already done for you. Pull up your stones of remembrance and recall the giants He has slain. Speak your thanks to Him out loud. Don't doubt that He is ever with His children. Our God is mighty. And His children are overcomers.
Thank you, Jesus, for sending us the Holy Spirit to live within us, empowering us for everything.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Butterfly

Knowing heartache and having been challenged in faith, you are qualified to comfort others like no one else. You know the inadequacy of words in the face of deep sorrow. You know the need for validation and support. You also know that sorrow is a solitary journey. This is a road that must be traveled alone. Each of us sorrows in a different way and at a different pace and yes - we do need support but no one can walk, step by step through the pain and suffering for another. We stand by, prayerfully, ready to offer love in any form, but we can't do more than this. It's like a caterpillar in a cocoon. In order to emerge it must struggle for release from the bondage it is wrapped in. In due time new birth into something beautiful comes about, and the world is graced by just one more butterfly.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Where Angels Can't Go

"When God withdraws the light, He is trying to teach us that there is something better than light - faith." (a quote from Ronald Dunn's book called "When Heaven is Silent"

Faith is what enables us to hold onto God. It's how we please Him. Faith in Jesus Christ is what makes us righteous in the eyes of God. Faith is knowing the character of God. Faith doesn't make life easy, it defines it. According to my belief, I will live my life. When I don't have scientific proof of something that God says is true, then faith bridges that gap.

While on this earth, we humans have the opportunity to do something that angels can only gaze at with a sense of wonderment as we go about living by faith and pleasing God. They live in the presence of God and SEE Him, so there is no need for faith. You see, it's only in the darkness - when we can't see - that faith is employed. Now while we live in the darkness of this fallen earth, for such a very short while, we have many many opportunities to live out God's truth in the face of all doubt or "evidence" otherwise. One day, we will pass from faith, across the bridge of death, into sight, and there will be no more need for faith.

Adversity and affliction give us opportunity to exercise our faith. It is the belief at midnight that the Creator will bring about the dawn. Practice your faith in God while there is still opportunity.

To Have a Heart After God's Own Heart

Today I am perplexed, frustrated and anxious over some issues I have concerning some relationships I am in. It's nothing new, but the same old problems which keep creeping back. I suppose that's because they are not resolved. I haven't moved on past what's wrong. Oh, believe me, I've tried, but my desire for the truth to come out so healing can begin is not reciprocated. So, like a car stuck in mud, my efforts to resolve these problems more closely resemble spinning wheels that wear themselves out getting nowhere, than the car on firm footing which advances.

I've tried every way to communicate my take on this problem. I've tried talking directly with the person in question. I've tried patiently waiting for that person to be willing to talk with me and seek resolution. I've sufferend through name calling and unjust accusations. I've prayed. I've read Scripture. I've read Christian books. I've shared with someone I thought I could trust to possess the wisdom I need to hear. I've tried stuffing it all. I've even tried yelling back....

So, what do I do now? How do I stop the problem from going on and on? The only choices I have in all of this are about my own actions, words, and thoughts. I cannot control anyone else or make them do good. So, right now.....this morning..... I get down on my knees....
Dear Heavenly Father, my heart is broken and weary. I am constantly battling ungodly thoughts. You know the wrongs that have been done to me. I invite You into this situation and I ask that You help me to be the person You made me to be. I confess to you my tendency to react sinfully when I am attacked. Please bless this dear one so close to me, and yet so hurtful, with Your love and grace. Minister to this one through me. I offer myself up to You through my decision to serve this hurtful person. That's what You did for me. I pray this prayer through Jesus my Savior. Please help me to walk lovingly today, not taking into account a wrong suffered.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Need to Hear the Gospel

At no time am I more likely to love other people, than when I have been preaching the gospel to myself. I never get tired of hearing it! There is never a time when I don't need to be reminded that while I was a sinner - a dweller in the darkness -, and an enemy of God, He loved me and forgave me of all my sin through Jesus Christ, His Son. There was nothing worthy or beautiful about me, and I certainly didn't deserve His forgiveness. It was His gift to me. I could never have done enough to earn it.

How then can I not pass on this same forgiveness to others? What about someone who has slandered me? What about someone who has ridiculed me and gone out of their way to hurt me? And what about the one who has stolen from me, then told lies to cover it up?

Well what about it? There's really no debate here. There is one answer and one alone for the believer. FORGIVE.

We pass on what has been given to us. It's simple. But what if my feelings are that I don't like this person or trust this one who has been so hurtful to me? Let your mind - not your feelings - tell you what to do. Listen to your conscience and DO the right and loving thing. Fake it until you make it. You don't have to trust the one who has betrayed you.... Look at the example we have in King David. Saul treated him unjustly and even tried to murder David. But David refused to reciprocate that kind of hatred. He treated Saul with the respect that a king deserved. David was a man after God's own heart regardless of what anybody else did.

Set Your Course

This morning I have set my course. I read in Galations 5:22-23, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." This is enough to be joyful over! God has promised to produce joy in His children. Even though I go through uncomfortable moments, frightening experiences, doubts, temptations to despair, pain, loneliness, discouragement, abandonment, betrayel, ridicule or whatever else Satan or the world may throw at me, I can choose to believe God and be joyful. James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials; knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." Circumstances cannot steal away my joy. It is the fruit that is produced in me by God.
I find that the more I read God's Word, the more sure I am that He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do. Is this not cause for rejoicing? The Master and Creator of the universe loves me, and has made promises to me! He is my joy and nothing but nothing can separate me from Him!

As I meditate on these things, I am strengthened and fore-armed against Satan's deceptions and the empty and vain philosophy of the world. We are bombarded all day every day with lies that would steal our joy. Take time this morning to read God's Word and set your course. You will be fruitful and develope the endurance needed to survive in this dark world.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Courage Under Fire

We never know what tomorrow will bring, and we are not to worry about it. Those of us who belong to God are to trust Him to protect us, and guide us through whatever comes.

These are perilous times, and we can be sure of nothing outside of the fact that God is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do.

This doesn't mean we're not going to have hard times (as you already know) but that WHEN hard times come, He will help His children through it all. He will give us the strength we need, but that doesn't mean we won't feel the stretch and ache of our spiritual muscles. It doesn't mean we won't strain with effort, and tremble in our overworked spiritual selves.

He will give us the courage we need to face whatever giants shake their fists at us and taunt us with their lies, but that doesn't mean fear will be absent. It means God will supply the will to take the NEXT step. It many not be easy, but God makes it possible to conquer in the midst of fear.

Find out who God says He is and what He says He will do for those who belong to Him. Then when your feelings tell you to start worrying, you'll know they aren't telling the truth.

Anna's DBS Presentation