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Friday, April 29, 2011

Knowledge

Knowledge...... It can be a good thing or a bad thing. In the Garden of Eden, Satan tempted Eve to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil by telling her she would not die and that she would be like God. 2 Timothy 3:7 talks about "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth". There is knowledge that doesn't lead you to the truth.

In 2 Peter 1:2,3 Scripture tells us, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence." There is knowledge that is good.

There are lots of great sites out there and very good information about Parkinson's Disease available to educate yourself with. I think it's a very good thing to learn what you can about this terrible disease. But be careful that you don't base your hope on knowledge of man and new technologies instead of Jesus Christ. I believe that what we do know about this disease has ultimately been given to us as a gift by God. He has given hope and help through new technologies (I of all people know this) like deep brain stimulation (this surgery was the means of my freedom from many of the chains of P.D.) and the many different medications that help us to function.

There are new developments with knowledge in the realm of genetics. Do educate yourselves. But what I'm saying is don't forget where the knowledge comes from and don't confuse knowledge of the disease in the hands of capable doctors, with The God who has the answers.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gifts of knowledge you have given us to help us manage this disease. Thank you for every movement I CAN make. Thank you that there is relief and help, and we recognized that You are the giver of good gifts.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Curses, Life and Abundance

We were never created for disease and strife, pain and heartbreak. When God created this world and man, it was all good. He put man in a place of heaven on earth. Man enjoyed the company of God. He walked with Him and had conversations with Him. It couldn't have been better......until....... the man and the woman sinned. They disobeyed God. It was then and only then (a result of man's action) that things got hard. Because of this sin, God said to the man and the woman: "Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, because from it you were taken, for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.' Genesis 3:17-19). God made all things good. Man messed it up. I'm sure God did not deliver this news to man with anything but tender compassion and heartbroken empathy. He knew what lay ahead for all of us who live in this world.

But God has done a wonderful thing. Man's sin could not be undone, so what could be done? John 10:10 says, "... I come that they might have life, and might have it abundantly." Who is speaking here? It's Jesus. Jesus came to give us life (the enjoyment or blessings of this present life) - in the midst of this world gone bad - where bad things happen. And not JUST life, but abundant life. Abundant means having in great quantity, overflowing with, abounding.

God wants us all to have abundant life in the midst of this dark world. He is a God of deliverance as well as the Rock upon which the children of God stand in the midst of the worst storms and disasters.

I think the miracle is more that we overcome whatever may be against us and eventually we are delivered, than instant deliverance. Deliverance will come to the child of God, but until then, we have the abundant life Jesus came to the cursed earth to give those who belong to Him.

Have you made a decision to give your life to Jesus? He offers it to all who will come. Come, weary one - tired of treading the waters of heartbreak. Come.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hurry Up - Or Wait

Parkinson's Disease imposes many restrictions. One is that I am slowed down a great deal. I cannot initiate quick movements. Even my tongue has slowed down and it's sometimes so frustrating to not be able to roll the words off of my tongue like I used to so effortlessly do. It certainly could be worse though. No one has a problem understanding me.

But I have had to develope patience. It takes me much longer to make the bed or write a sentence than it does for most people. If I'm not careful I can start to listen to that inner nagging voice that says, "Hurry! Everyone is tired of waiting for you! You are SOOOO slow! Don't even try if you can't do better than that". This is a voice that I need to ignore. This is not the gentle voice of God. He is patient and kind. There have been times in the past when I opted not to try, thinking my slow response would be worse than no response at all, but I came to see that this is not true. I learned to recognize which voice was God's voice. And I came to see that He does not impose on me tasks which I'm too slow to do. Perhaps the task is one that is best done slowly and one that takes the persistance of a slow and deliberate person. His voice always encourages and gives hope. And most important of all, I learned that He waits for me! What a beautiful thing............. God waiting on me...........

Looking Beyond What At First I See

At first glance, if you lived when Jesus walked the earth, what would your gut reaction be to the crucifiction? What would you think when you saw the badly beaten body of Jesus - barely recognizable as human - torn and bleeding? What would you think as you heard the taunts and the hateful mocking words hurled at him. What would you think as he was humiliated in His nakedness as the soldiers cast lots to see who got to take His clothing?

I think we could safely say that nearly all of us would shrink back from such a terrible sight, not wishing this fate on anyone. Not even our worst enemy!

I don't think I would have been able to see anything at all that was even remotely good about the whole thing. But, as it turns out, to gaze upon my Lord hanging on that cross is to come face to face with a love so radical; so complete; so beautiful that never before nor since have we seen the likes of it. This is my salvation. It is the ultimate good - a necessary sacrifice - so I could be set free from darkness and sin.

Things are not always what they appear to be. Parkinson's Disease is like that. At first glance it is a detestable, horrible tragedy. I can see nothing at all even remotely good about it. But if I look, I can see the beauty brought forth in my own life from the depths of this disease. It doesn't have to be a tragedy and nothing more. I don't like it, but if I choose not to let it snuff out the light that is within me - the light that emanates from God's children - then grace and beauty have the last word!

I will go toe to toe and nose to nose with this disease and I will allow grace to do its work. Grace grows in the mire of pain and misery - whether that be a disease or some other heartache. You fill in the blank: Where ______ increases, grace abounds!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Know My Limits, Now I Must Respect Them

I've been pretty sick this week with bronchitis and a sinus infection. It appears that I got it from my grandson who fared with it better than I. Somehow I came into contact with these germs (is that word archaic?) and it resulted in a full-blown sickness. I felt bad all over.

I wonder if it is the same with spiritual things...... We might touch something unclean or dirty and before you know it, we're bound up in sickness. If we sin, are we exposing ourselves to spiritual "germs"? (I'll just tell this one tiny little white lie; I'll just take this one little thing that does not belong to me; etc.) Does my spiritual health have anything to do with my exposures to evil? If so, it is imperative that I set boundaries and stay within the safety of those boundaries. This is for my own good (does the alcoholic go into a bar or does he steer clear of temptation by refusing to step within it?). But if I do step beyond my spiritual safety zone and go where I have no business going - ( we could compare it to taking a walk through a hospital ward of sick and dying people who have been quarantined, and I wind up ill), then the Lord promises we can confess and repent and He will forgive us and cleanse us. He is like the antibiotic that floods our entire body and makes us well.

These are just my thoughts this morning..................

It's interesting how life with Parkinson's Disease has openned up a whole new way of thinking about things............

Heavenly Father, give me the wisdom today to choose the right path. Protect me from the decietfulness of sin. Give me a healthy appetite for the things that are good, and make me a blessing and an example of grace before all who cross my path today. Thank you for this new day and another opportunity to love you through my actions.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Answered Prayer

Thank you, Heavenly Father that You are faithful! You keep Your word. There are some things/people I have prayed fervently for more than 35 yrs. I'm starting to see Your miraculous answers as they unfold so beautifully.

There were times I was tempted to give up hope or to believe that You would never bring Your glory to pass within my specific requests. There were times when I rested from my prayers when I should have remained faithful in waiting with assurance for You to move. But YOU, Oh God, are totally FAITHFUL. You know the beginning from the end, and You will not stop bringing glory to Your name in our lives as a result of our prayers, until there is an end (if there is such a thing).

I have discovered one more time and on one more level, that You are Who You say You are and You do what You say you will do. I am comforted.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hidden in the Moment

The here and now is what we have. The past is gone and the future has not come yet. I used to spend most of my time agonizing over past mistakes and dreaming of a bright future. Some of us find the present to be painful, so we remove ourselves from the pain by dreaming. Oh, dreams are good and necessary, but if we are missing opportunities in the present because of them, then we are out of balance.

I don't know about anyone else, but I don't want to miss a single thing that my Heavenly Father has planned that I would accomplish. In love He has chosen works for me. He wants me to see the opportunities that he has hidden in the day,like a person on a treasure hunt. He wants me to step forward and embrace the moment.

Living in painful circumstances, with people who hurt you may be your reality. But even so, there are good deeds waiting to be done, people needing comfort or encouragement, words that need speaking and time to be spent with someone in particular. Each moment has potential that we might never have imagined. Start going through your day LOOKING for these moments God designed for you to participate it and stop looking inward at your own needs. What a joy life will BE (in the present).

What Does Five Loaves and Two Fish Have To Do With Anything?

Since God's "divine power has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us" (2 Peter 1:3), and since " the things impossible with men are possible with God." (Luke 18:27), we know that we are able to walk in the good works that He created for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). We may feel challenged and "ungifted" but the truth is that we all have purpose and that was determined before time began. It's God's job to bring forth results and it's our job to show up with five loaves of bread and two fish (Matt. 14:17-20). Yesterday I wrote about using your talents. Well today I'm telling you that's sometimes a step of faith in the face of all that says, "It's impossible! Don't waste your time and everyone else's too! You're laughable!" Just do what you can. God will see it to fruition.

Friday, April 15, 2011

One Measley Talent or Many?

What are you going to do today? Have you made a plan, or will you just wing-it? Either way,I want to encourage you to engage your talents - use the gifts God has given you. Ephesians 2:10 says: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." What better way to walk in those good works that God prepared for us, so long ago,than to use your talents to do so. We can all do something well, or at least better than some others can. Look for opportunities to be kind and loving with what you do well. Don't hide away wasting what God has entrusted to you. We know from the parable of the talents that He takes a dim view of not using your gifts. You may not feel very talented in any way, but be warned! Don't follow the example of the servant who was given only one talent, so he buried it. God clearly has things for us to do today and He has equipped us to do so. Hunt for opportunities to walk in the good works God has already prepared for you!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Appetite

I am aware that the way I eat is not always so healthy. There is too much processed food with preservatives and who knows what additives in my diet. One of the problems is that I'm used to it and actually like it. But I'm aware that I need to form new habits and break old ones. Otherwise, my body will run poorly.
Isn't sin like that? We are so used to thinking and acting in unhealthy ways, we have developed a taste for it.
Well, what do I do about this? The first thing is to become aware of it. If you're like me the thoughts of changing overwhelm me. I feel like I could never turn this around. And if I could how would I go about it? Even just getting to the point where I no longer have a taste for what is unhealthy seems an impossibility. My will power is easily disregarded when it comes to some things. So here is my starting point: prayer.

Heavenly Father, I know I need to change, but I don't know how. I don't even have an appetite for what's good. Please put Your good and perfect desires within me. Give me an appetite for precisely what my body/spirit needs. I know we are all unique and I know that what one person needs might not be MY greatest need, so please give me the knowledge and wisdom that I need to live a holy and healthy life today and every day. Help me to take care of this body you have given me.

I confess that I am discouraged with the thought that a change for me is too late and won't do any good. But I give this to you and ask for the hope I need and belief in Your goodness and wisdom to inspire me to pursue what You have provided for my strength and clarity of mind.

Thank you, Lord.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

To Hide My Sin...or Not

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed." James 5:16

If my goal is to make others think highly of me, and I hide the truth about what i am really like without the redeeming grace freely offered to me as a child of God then I must not preach the gospel - that is to say I must not mention the dreadful and shameful death on a cross that my Saviour had to die. You can't have it both ways. Either my depravity sent Jesus Christ to the cross or His death was not necessary. We must not shrink from the exposure that the cross uncomfortably puts us through. His horrible death was necessary to save me and I must not allow pride to make light of His gift or deny the truth about it.

He endured shameful exposure before the world - for me - and for you.

Let us then not hide our issues with ongoing sins, but instead pray for one another and receive Godly counsel. This is healing.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Morning Prayer

Morning has come. Thank you, Lord for all of the opportunities you will give me to live by faith and please you. Thank you for planting in the day ahead, new opportunities to be an overcomer. I know I'll be tempted to live according to what I see, but when that happens, remind me of what You have done and who I am. Help me to relax into Your arms and be like the trees I see outside of my window. The wind blows and gusts with sheets of rain bending them before it all. They don't resist the tempest, but trust in their roots to hold them securely and keep them from blowing away. I trust You, Lord and though the wind may howl and the storm may beat against me, I will not blow away. The fight is not mine, but Yours.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Gloomy Day

I'm tired of waking up to the sound of rain and of cold temperatures. I'm weary of knowing the sun is behind a cloud and feeling the unsatisfied ache for light. The sight of bare unfruitful trees and a landscape devoid of life enforces the feeling that spring will never come.

I am tempted to let all that I see set the tone of my day. But somewhere deep inside comes the cry, "This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!" God planned this day before the creation of time. In His wisdom He set up the seasons. He will work all things so that good comes to the ones who love Him and are called according to His purposes. The one who knows the beginning from the end is in charge! Nothing is left to chance. He knows best.

So, when I awake to another day of the same sickness; the same pain; the very same problems; and everything I see just looks like more of the same, I will remember, though it doesn't feel like it - it's all good. It's all according to plan. I don't have to see it to believe it! This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Praise Him in the Night

It's one thing to praise God when things are going the way you want them to. It's easy to praise when things are agreeable to you. But to praise God in the night - the night of sickness; the night of loneliness; or the long night of fear.... to praise in the darkness of pain or need; to praise when all you can see is confusing and discouraging - this is faith. This is pleasing to God. God's enemies will flee and He will draw near.

"Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who serve in the Lord's temple during the night. Lift your hands toward the sanctuary and praise the Lord...." (Psalms 134)

Friday, April 1, 2011

The World and our Walk

I read this morning that we have been saved to pray and that prayer is part of the reason God saves us. Sometimes life gets crazy between medical issues, appointments, tests, evaluations, non-medical issues, etc., but if we develop the habit of connecting with God in the midst of all those things, then we are facing the world WITH Him. It doesn't really work too well to try and clear a space for Him somewhere in our busy day. But if we walk through it all in His company, and stand with Him when need be, constantly listening for His voice, then we have fellowship with Him. The world sees our walk with Jesus.

Lord,
I invite you to walk with me all through this day. Let my ears be tuned to Your voice. Thank you, Jesus.