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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Junk Food or Health Food?

Recently I've been paying attention to what I eat. I've cut out certain things and added others. I'm not taking in less food. In fact, I'm taking in more of the right kinds of food. I've had to change my shopping habits which was an effort, but do you know, I am experiencing more energy, less pain and a more positive outlook! It's making a big difference!

Could we draw a spiritual analogy here? I think that it's safe to say that we should definitely pay attention to what we eat spiritually. I'm sure we'll see that there are certain things we are spiritually taking in that must be cut out. And there are definitly some things that should be added to our spiritual diet. This will require a change of our habits. But if you try it, I'm certain that you'll notice benefits. This feels GOOD.

Our spirits cannot maintain good health on a steady diet of junk foods. We must take in Scripture and digest it (memorize it and meditate on it). And we must cut out the junk foods ( fillers and substitutes). This could be anything that we spend our time doing instead of choosing to be with God. You may not think that you are a junk food junkey, but do this simple test: log the time you spend in Scripture each day this week and on the other side of the paper log the time you spend doing other things (even good things, like cooking and taking care of your home, or carpooling your children). Be honest. You don't have to let anyone see this. Do this every waking hour for a week. You may be shocked by the end of the week.

You may have to make some adjustments in how you spend your time. All of us will one day give an accounting of the time we have been given here on this earth and how we invested it.

Oh, and by the way, eating properly for my body, made it easier to make the spiritual changes that needed to be made. I have a clearer mind when I have more energy and less pain (or no pain).

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Way to Victory

When we are physically compromised, we have to get used to things like not having enough energy, or being clumsy where once we had grace of movement, and other things. PD stresses the body in ways that can cause a worsening of the symptoms that you have.
Life these days is like that. We are under all kinds of stress. We have so many worries, we don't even really remember when it wasn't like that. But don't get discouraged! We are at war.... At war with PD; at war with rulers, powers, and world forces of darkness. We war with spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).
We are going to get tired. Let me encourage you, Reader, keep striving to finish the race! We know that God is the Victor and in the end, when all the battles have been fought, and when all of the dust has settled, the Lord's banner will be seen flying high. He wins! And so do we, if we belong to Him.
We will not strive forever!
God has put you here where you are, at this particular time for a reason. Fight for all you're worth! Think of the prize set before you. Jesus is coming back very soon. Having that hope, fight your battles with single-mindedness. Hold back nothing, but spend yourself wherever you are. We will soon rest our weary selves and we will fight no more.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Real Battle

Someone recently asked me if I have become better able to fend off attacks like depression, self-deprecating thoughts, doubts, anxiety, or fear. I had to say, "Yes, I'm able to stand and resist the attacks of the enemy (the devil) much better now than before". I look back several years and I see the things that used to send me into a tailspin are now not so intimidating.

The reason for this is first of all that I have learned to recognize an attack. The attack is not so much the unknown that suddenly bursts upon me, or the calamity that happens, but it is the lying voice of the enemy that trys to rush in upon me along with the unknown or the calamity. It is that nagging suspicion that I'm not able to stand; that I don't possess the wisdom to get through the trial at hand; it is the echo of voices from my past that chant my unsuitability to overcome difficulties and my inability to make a difference or to have any purpose at all.

It has taken a lifetime of learning to recognize lies. And once I have identified the attack, I must take my stand and resist the lies. It is not me standing alone -fighting giants, but it is me taking my place in the battle line-up while God defeats my formidable foe. Zechariah 4:6 says, "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts."

Here is what we need to know when battle is impending: "Thou dost light my lamp; the Lord my God illumines my darkness. For by Thee I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall.... The word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God but the Lord? And who is a rock except our God, the God who girds me with strength, and make my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds feet, and sets me upon my high places. He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation, and Thy right hand upholds me; and Thy gentleness makes me great. Thou dost enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped." (Psalm 18:28-36).

Those of us who have PD KNOW what it's like to have no strength, to shuffle instead of being nimble and quick on our feet, to be so weak in the arms that we cannot lift a fork, to not be able to sit upright with the correct posture, and to fall because our steps are wrong. But O, beloved Reader, see that this is our training ground! We must know our weaknesses in order to experience God's Spirit that strengthens. It is for our good that He puts us through the boot camp of PD! We must practice our resistance to the voice of evil. It is NOT easy, but God is SO gentle and wants to bring us safely home with as many as we can bring.

God loves you,Reader. His way is good. Put your energies into fighting against the real enemy - not against He who loves you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

God's Personal Will for You

The third way to discern God's will for you is to determine God's personal will for you personally. If what I want to do is in agreement with 1) God's Providential will and 2)does not violate God's moral will, then I put the question before God by prayer and reading His Word. Tell Him you want to do His will. Ask Him to make it clear to you what He wants you to do. Wait on Him for the answer. Be like Jacob who wrestled with God and would not let go until God blessed him. If the answer seems slow in coming, then keep waiting. Have faith that God will answer. You don't know WHAT His answer will be, but you know it's coming!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

God's Moral Will

The 2nd way you can figure out God's will for you is that God's moral law must not be violated. For instance, if you were considering a move to a bigger house you might ask yourself can I pay a larger mortgage payment and still faithfully pay my credit card debts on time? If the answer is no, then you know it can't be God's will.
What if you have violated God's moral will in the past, all the while knowing that you were sinning? Well, I would venture to say that there is not a person alive who has not done that. You would confess this sin to God and He will extend mercy and pour out grace and forgive you.
So far, we have mentioned 1) the providential will of God and 2) the moral will of God. Tomorrow we will look at the 3rd.

How to Know How to Live

It is my desire to obey the Lord, not stepping off the path he has laid before me. This is probably your desire as well. But sometimes just figuring out what the will of God is can be unclear. It was explained to me in a very simple way (figuring out His will for my life on a daily basis) and I'll try to explain it to you.

First: Every action, thought and word must be in agreement with the Providential will of God. His Providential will is what is unchangeable. There is no room for another way. For ex.: It is God's will that Jesus Christ came to earth as a man, was without sin, and by His death on the cross, paid for our sins. Does my action or word or thought agree with that truth? If I go ahead with my plan, will it in any way deny this truth? Does my plan take into consideration that Jesus took my sin upon Himself - took the punishment that was due me - and instead saved me with His blood, gave me life, and set me free from all sin? My words and actions should show my gratitude to Him for this incredible gift by living like it.

Hold your plans up against the Providential will of God today, and you will see if you are in agreement with His truth. Ask Him to help you see His truth.

"I cried with all my heart; answer me, O Lord! I will observe Thy statutes. I cried to Thee; save me and I shall keep Thy testimonies. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Thy words...." (Psalm 119:145-147)

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Lord, our Protector

Well God brought us through the crisis........... The anniversary of September 11th has come and gone without incident. Praise His name!

"'Had it not been the Lord who was on our side,' let Israel now say. 'Had it not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us; then they would have swallowed us alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then the waters would have engulfed us. The stream would have swept over our soul; Then the raging waters would have swept over our soul. Blessed be the Lord, Who has not given us to be torn by their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper; the snare is broken and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth." (Psalm 124)

Don't doubt for a minute that we are safe right now because God protected us. And now that we have passed that danger, we must work not to let our guard down. We need His presence and protection every day. Don't be lulled into thinking you can handle the next crisis on your own. Call on the Lord and lean on Him.

Psalm 123:1-2 says, "To Thee I lift up my eyes. O Thou who art enthroned in the heavens. Behold as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He shall be gracious to us."

Finally, Psalm 127:1 says, "Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain."

Thank the Lord with me for His graciousness and patience. Let us remember together that He is not willing that any should perish........

Saturday, September 10, 2011

War Front

Do you feel the uncertainty of life in this world these days? I do too. As soon as I start to think about everything that goes wrong out there and how dangerous life can be, I wind up letting those thoughts go to the bottom of the pile and my mind goes somewhere else - somewhere to a time when things like 911 didn't happen. I am distracted and thoughts like that scare me.

This morning we openned the newspaper to a big picture on the front page of armed men stationed at the train station just minutes away from our home on Long Island in New York. It looks like a war is going on. Texas is an inferno. New Jersey is devastated with flooding. New Orleans still has not come back from Hurricane Katrina. And that's just here in the United States.

What's going on? Well I suggest that we all open our Bibles and start reading and praying. Current events, like Parkinson's Disease, are overwhelming. But ignoring them will not make them go away any more than a wish can heal you.

Remember the story of Noah's Ark? The Bible said the people were going about their business as usual - marrying, buying, and selling - right up to the end when the floods overtook them. The warnings had been sounded, but only Noah took heed.

I believe the warnings are sounding now. Take heed! But remember this: If you are a believer who is born again, you belong to the One Who can keep you safe. Like those armed men at the train station, God has stationed YOU in precisely the place He wants you. You have everything you need for life and godliness according to 2 Peter 1:3. Ephesians 6 tells us who we are at war with. We have been stationed in the Valley of Parkinson's Disease to war with the evil one by living out a life of grace before the world - grace in Parkinson's Disease. Paul actually compares our personal battle fronts with a race set before us. Don't be encumbered with unecessary pockets of unforgivness or bitterness. Don't haul around selfishness or hard-heartedness. Throw these things away. Now is the time to put all of our effort into finishing our race.

Like Esther (Esther 4:14)- in her time long ago - you were born for just such a time as this!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Answers

Questions.............. There are so many questions I have. I wonder about things that have happened and things that will in the future happen. I wonder about the way things happen and I wonder why some things never happen.
Answers......... I have way less answers than I would like to have.
Does this stop me from living my life? No. I forge ahead today, based upon the answers that I have (today) and the understanding I have. My information is incomplete, but I take what I know and go from there.
Some of my questions are about disease and how that relates to performance, expectations of myself, and also of others, and attitude to name a few. And I do have some of those answers albeit incomplete.
The "why" questions are particularly maddening. But the good thing about all of this is that I know the One Who does have complete knowledge and has all of the answers. I have a relationship with Him and I can trust Him for guidance when I ask. Because I know His character (through relationship and through reading His Word - the Bible) I can rely on Him to steer me the right way.
Don't let incomplete knowledge, or the "whys" that you have keep you from the joy and satisfaction of trusting in Him.
To know Him better is to trust Him more.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Glacier or Brook?

When a person is conceived, a very tiny life begins to grow within a mother's womb. It grows according to the blueprint in the DNA of this tiny life. It is a body of flesh, and though it is at an immature stage of development, should not be considered less than a life. In the same line of reasoning, a 6 year old child should not be discounted as less than alive because he or she has not reached the heigth of learning and development.

Along with this flesh we inherit genetic predispositions toward certain infirmities, and sometimes even deformities. This is not what God intended originally when He created man in the flesh.

Are we less than alive because we are imperfect or malfunctioning? Do we matter less because we have a disease that challenges us or demands that we do things a different way because to us the "normal" way is impossible? Can we possibly be a blessing to others even though we suffer abnormalities?

The answer is yes! God is able to take a good thing somehow broken, or useless to another, and bring something beautiful and unique from it. Just as the frigid, jagged, frozen glacier that is not safe to inhabit, becomes streams of living water, so it can be with you.

Don't despair because you have a disease or some tragedy that is attached to you that can never be undone which makes you feel tainted. Let God apply the warmth of His love and become someone beautifully unique. The process may be painful. Like the glacier you may feel frozen and useless. But God will use the heat of PD or MS or any other heartache to turn what was solid and unuseable-immovable- into something
beautiful beyond description! You can be like the wild and free water that first rushes down brooks, then pools in quiet seclusion, home and haven to others.

Scripture has this to say about those who open their lives up to Jesus: "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'" (John 7:38)

You were created to be a life giver. Never mind the challenges and roadblocks of the enemy. Allow Jesus to make you into someone who matters. You are made for loveliness. He will leave the print of love on your life.