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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Giver and the Good Gifts He Gives

There are many ways to express yourself.  In expressing myself, I share myself; I organize my thoughts about something well enough to write them or speak them.  Sometimes my expressions are wordless.  Sometimes I express a part of me by singing or doing artwork.  Each mode of expression gives "voice" to something that's going on inside of me. 

My favorite form of expression would be writing and doing artwork.  I believe that God has given me these gifts to whatever degree I may claim them as mine.  I believe that surely He has gifted me (I cannot take credit for ANY gift that He has given) for my own benefit in that it is -  I believe - very healing to engage in your giftings.

If you have Parkinson's Disease, or any other disorder, take a little while and ponder, "What are my giftings?"  Some of us have more gifts than others, but I believe that God has given everybody something.  If your disease makes it hard to engage your gifts, then get creative!  Ask God  to show you how to put the gifts He has given you to good use for both yourself and for others.  He will do it.  And remember, even if your body won't cooperate with you, think of things you CAN do.

I knew a woman who was wheelchair bound.  The last year of her life she was bed-ridden.  She was completely paralyzed.  She couldn't even cough to clear her lungs.  She was a psychologist by trade and continued to counsel people professionally well into her last few months.  She decided she wanted to write a book, but that was going to be difficult since she couldn't write and she couldn't talk due to a tracheotomy.  I volunteered to write down - word for word - what she wanted her book to say - as she mouthed her words.  A dear friend of hers helped also.  We both did the transcribing, and the book was finished before she went home to be with the Lord.

Find a way to use your gifts.  Don't neglect using them and don't say you don't have any.  Show the Giver of all good gifts your gratitude by giving what you can. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Forgiveness


1/28/13



It hurts. It involves reliving the pain of a wound inflicted. It means even though I've decided to forgive and embraced the pain of forgiving – today – this hour – this minute - I am committed to doing so another 70 x 7s. Every time the ugy act is remembered – every time I am confronted with the pain of an undeserved blow that – like falling dominoes – multiplies as others are drawn into the fray; every time I am forced to rebuild a wall that someone has thoughtlessly torn down; whenever I am overcome with the anguish of betrayel – and like a lamb I was fattened for the kill; when lies were told against me resulting in the ruin of my reputation; when someone – out of meaness strikes a killing blow; even when no one cares – I must forgive.
NOT forget – but forgive. Only God can perfectly forget. To forgive does not mean that we forget the offense ever happened, and we go back to acting as if it never occurred. It means to bear the pain of the offense – give full recognition to the offense and still love, still refuse to retaliate, every time it comes to mind, even if that's 70 x 7 a day.
We are not to distinguish between what sins done against us are “manageable”, and which are overwhelmingly unbearable. Which are deserved – and which are not.
We are to forgive – love in spite of the pain. And if any one of us isn't sure what that means or what that looks like, then go to 1 Corinthians 13. Hold your thoughts, feelings and actions up against this chapter to see where you fall short. Forgiveness is not about sin, but it's about ME and how I react to sin.
Jesus was a man of sorrows – His life was filled with the pain of the betrayel of those He loved. And His response in the midst of that kind of pain – was – and still is – to forgive – to love.
Why did Jesus say that we are to forgive 70 x 7 times? Because He understood that the offense will come to mind 70 x 7 times (or more) and each time we must forgive. Forgiveness is not a one time event. It is 70 x 7.


There are 7 days in a week, and we are to forgive every day of the week – no exceptions. And just as the number 7 represents perfection or completeness, so forgiveness is God's love perfected in me and in you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

King of Kings and Lord of Lords

I just want to encourage and lift up those of you who are having a hard time right now.  You are not alone.  The whole world is aching.  Things are upside down out there. We are wounded and slowly bleeding out.   If you are a Believer, you are like a square trying to fit into a round hole!  I have just one word for you:  JESUS.  He is the truth, the light, the all knowing, all powerfull, kind and merciful, forgiver of sins, whose strength never runs out, who can make all things work together for good for His own, who is the revealer of all things hidden, whose understanding is unfathomable.... 

This world is not our home, and we are fast losing our freedom.  Our government does not protect us or even allow us to make wise choices.  Take heart precious one....  He will remove your fear....  In Him you will overcome ALL.  In Him you are safe.  Draw near to Him.  Walk in His shadow.  Never let go!  Don't be deceived.  He is EVERYTHING.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

God's Compassion for You

I have been fretting and hurting over some things.  All night I had disturbing dreams.  I am up early and just now, as I sat at the breakfast table having my first cup of coffee and doing devotions, I heard a cow's mournful bellowing in the pre dawn as it echoed back and forth across the space behind our house.  It was distressing and inspired my prayers for its relief.

Surely when our cries of distress rise up to God - He pauses to listen - He hears - and His compassion is forthcoming.  We can rest assured that His compassion is more easily provoked than our own.

The troubles stealing my peace are hidden under the very shallow surface of self-composure - and do tirelessly seeth and boil tearing away old landmarks of complacency like a steady flow of freshly spewn lava, all the while depositing new terrain.

The cow is still bellowing unheard by its lazy owner.  She is left alone to deal with her misfortune.  I am left to wonder what has befallen her. 

I hear an answering sound - a cry very much like the first, yet further away and in response.  Proof of compassion IN a creature FOR a creature... like its Creator - built to respond.

When distressed, we cry out.  That cry invokes the response of the Creator and oftimes comes through a fellow sojourner.  It is no less proof of His care and concern because it comes through an unexpected channel.

L. B. Cowman (Streams in the Desert) says it like this:  "Onto the pages of every trial there are narrow shafts of light that shine.  Thorns will not prick you until you lean against them, and no one will touch you without God knowing.  The words that hurt you, the letter that caused you pain, the cruelty of your closest friend, your financial need - they are all known to Him.  He sympathizes as no one else can, and watches to see if through it all, you will dare to trust Him completely."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Rock That Does Not Change

Change can be troubling.  It is like shifting sand.  Time and circumstance changes things we thought would never change.  For instance, friends can become like family - then as we journey through time and pass through the landscape of hills and valleys, they slowly fade from sight.  We switch our dependence on them to someone or something else.  The storms of life change things - indeed change US.  They strike indescriminantly in both the valleys and mountain-tops - often with little or no warning.  We are forced to look in different places to fulfill what once was not a need.

An example of this wound be the death of someone dear to you.  Or perhaps the rejection of someone who once loved you.  In such cases everything changes.  In such cases even our beliefs of who God really is can be challenged.  We may arrive at false conclusions or lose our bearings completely - not knowing which way to lean.  It's very painful to go through these winds of change - these storms of life.  It IS inevitable, however.  Ours is not a perfect world.

At one time it was - but those days are forever gone.  When sin entered the world, all of creation was cursed.  We were hopelessly bound to strive - to pursue life by the sweat of our brow and yet never quite reach fulfillment. 

What kind of God would leave us in such a hopeless condition?  Not a good God!  Not  OUR God!  In the midst of a changing world filled with changing people amidst changing values, we have a ROCK.  One that is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  HE is my stability in the shifting sands of the desert of human allegiences, human understanding, human needs, human judgements and all other variables.

I rejoice with the Psalmist who writes, "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  I call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies."   Psalm 18:2

And like the psalmist:  the next time the cords of death encompass me, and the torrents of ungodliness terrify me, or the cords of Sheol surround me, and the snares of death confront me - the next time I am stung by cruel words or rejected by a friend, or devoured by the ravages of disease - in my distress I will call upon the Lord and cry to Him for help - because His love and His kindness and mercy never change....

He is my ROCK.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Radical Calling

More and more, I am convinced that I am called to give my time to prayer.  I'm not talking about praying a list of requests or any other list, but something quite different.  I'm talking about praying God's heart.  I'm talking about spending time with Him just LEARNING His heart.  We don't know how to pray and left on our own we often pray amiss, asking for things that are not His will though we think so.  Praying God's heart is a radical thing.  It requires a radical faith.  It can be a lonely place where self is not rewarded or honored. 

I thank God that I have TIME to pray.  Since I can't work outside of my home, I HAVE the time.  There is no higher calling than to know God's heart and to express it back to Him. 

No one knows what I pray.  No one knows what place I frequent in prayer.  No one knows what darkness recedes or what evil is bound because I pray.  No one knows whose heart is won or who is brought into the light because I pray.  No one knows what secrets are revealed to me or how I am nourished in prayer.  No one knows what protective walls are built nor what battles are won because I pray.  No one.

Miracles happen, and evil is paralyzed because I pray.  God is moved when I pray.

O, Lord, I pray for light in this home - I invite You and welcome You to come in - to reside forever and do as You please.  Strike down the enemy and inflict defeat on all the enemy who dares to plan against those who are Yours within this home.  Make this a safe house for all who belong to You.  Let love and light reign.

And let it be so for those You have called to read this.

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Bee Without Wings

Sometimes we - who have Parkinson's Disease - or some other heartbreaking disorder - come to feel, and certainly to believe that we are without worth - useless - without purpose.  The only thought we have is that we are a burden and unwanted.  We may even doubt that our loved ones truly cherish us nor feel any joy in us, amidst the many duties that in their goodness they have come to take upon themselves on our behalf. 

This is the WORST feeling; in fact a deadly feeling, if not countered with truth.  If you are a Believer, then you are the recipient of God's grace.  It is true that His grace is the all-inclusive gift to His children in a measure that cannot be measured or counted.  It is manifested in many ways, one of which is His Charity towards us.  Charity is the expression of God's love for us as evidenced by His behavior towards us and inspired by His love for us.

But let me give you a much clearer picture of what Charity is and how it affects you.  This is a quote from a book I came across on my bookshelf just this morning:  "The Egyptian hieroglyphic representing charity is a naked child, with a heart in his hand, and giving honey to a bee without wings.  The child represents the humility of charity, the heart in its hand the cheerfulness of charity, giving honey to a bee without wings represents the worthiness and helpfulness of the object of charity."

Precious ones - you who have been struck down with Parkinson's Disease - you are that bee without wings!  You are precious in His sight and He sees you as worthy, valuable, loved!!!  Today meditate on this tender and wonderful truth and refuse any thoughts counter to this.

It is not the honey that makes the bee valuable, but the bee without even the honey is valued!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What If....

To what degree would you say you believe what God says?  100%?  Maybe 99%?  Or perhaps you might say 80%....  You might even say lower than that.

What if - for one day - just for today - you acted like you believed everything God has promised you?  Lets take Romans 8:28 for instance:  "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes."

Could you go through your day responding to every hurt, every disappointment, every dead end, every changed plan, every emotionally draining thing that happens as if you believed what God promises?  Would even your thoughts agree with what God says?  Would your heart sing His praises?

Would you be able to rest in the knowledge that God is causing your Parkinson's Disease (or any other malady) to work together for your good - indeed for the good of everyone who loves Him and who is called according to His purposes?  If you REALLY believe that He means what He says and that you can count on it, then you COULD  rest in belief.

What if you know that you don't have that kind of belief in your heart, but you want to trust Him - you want to believe Him?  Then confess your unbelief to Him and ask Him to help you to believe Him.

Do you believe with Paul when he says "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)?

What about Romans 8:35?  "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword?"  Would you add Parkinson's Disease to that list and do you believe that's true?

What if you went through the whole day believing Romans 8:36 and acting like it?  "  For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.  But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

What if - today - you acted like you believe God?