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Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Battle Must be Fought

It's good to be informed.  But if knowing facts and having the latest information is not balanced with the knowledge of God, it is a dangerous thing.  We must be able to process and evaluate what is happening in our world in light of the God we serve.  When we hear a bad report our reaction could easily be to give up hope or slide into depression and give up trying to resist evil. 
Sometimes what we don't know can be the condition which makes possible a full blown defeat.  Adam and Eve had no experience with deception.  They had no knowledge of lies or of the author of lies - the devil who was their enemy.  And as it turned out they were no match for the lurking evil that sought their demise and plotted their destruction.  This is a case where their lack of knowledge left them wide open to defeat.  But if they had stepped back when the enemy approached, and remembered who their God is - that He is love, truth and life - and met  those bad reports with what is true, everything would be different.
When we were given the bad report that we have Parkinson's Disease - or whatever disease you may be suffering from - or whatever hopeless word you have been given, how did you react?  Did you immediately step into the Presence of the All Powerful, All Knowing, Loving Creator Who has only your best interest at heart? 
Did you consider that this might be an attack by the evil which is always in pursuit?  Could this situation have been planned by the enemy that the Bible warns us about?   If so, then ignorance of this evil one is like an open door to him.  If we don't know what the weapons of our warfare are, nor know how to use them, then we are doomed. 
Some people say to educate ourselves about our evil enemy is to give him undue respect.  Not so!  To ignore what God says and pretend that we have no spiritual enemies is DISRESPECT.  Adam and Eve's innocence were no match for the serpent. 
Be prepared for any attack that may come, for surely it will approach you, and it will be in a moment of vulnerability.  Be prepared for sudden unknown calamity.  Be prepared for repetitive disasters (one right after another), and be prepared for the inconceivable.  How? 

1.  Know God.  Know Who He is and what He has done.  Know His promises to you.  And know what He says is right and good and just.
2.  Know that you have an enemy.  Know what God says about him and know his tactics.  Be proficient in the use of the weapons He gives us.
3.  Make it your practice to RUN into God's arms whenever attack comes.

Consider the story in the book of Esther:  The enemy (Haman) of God's people (the Jews) (this included the King's queen who was a Jew) plotted destruction of the Jews and tried to force the king's hand to unknowingly seal their doom.  The plot was discovered, Haman and all of his family were executed, and in the ensuing battle, the King empowered the Jews and gave them the right to defend themselves against any who dared to attack them.

Notice that Haman was found out and executed before the battles ever took place.  Still, the battles had to be fought.  But the final outcome was assured.  The Jews only had to take up their legal arms and defend themselves.

Balance knowledge with knowing Who the God of the Bible is.  Knowledge alone is not enough.  Knowing that there is a God is not enough.  We must be aware of the reality we walk in and we must look at that reality in light of Who God is.  Follow the example of Queen Esther, who approached her King, told him her plight and sought His help.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Are Gifts Logical?

This morning I awoke with the idea that someone who will be reading this needs to hear what I'm about to write:  Here's the truth:  No matter what we say we believe, no matter how we were brought up, no matter what justifies the way we act, we all have this in common:  we have sinned.  We have sinned against God and against others. 
You say there isn't a God?  Well logic tells you there IS.  All of creation didn't just happen.  What are the odds that everything just fell together in such a way that all life came into being?  Impossible!  Ponder just one part of you and apply logic and see if you have the faith to believe in faceless, random, impersonal chance....  Let's take the human eye. 
The human eye allows vision.  It reacts to light, differentiates between colors and perceives depth.  It can distinguish about a million different colors!  Read up on it.  It is an exquisite organ.
That's JUST ONE part of the body we have.  ALL of our parts work TOGETHER.  That's more than I can say for the people of the world....
SOMEBODY had to have created the world and the people in it.  It matters not that I do or do not understand it all.  Logic can take me THAT far.
Which brings me to the topic of the season:  Easter.  This is a time when we celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who came to set us free from all of our sins.  He paid the penalty for the sins that you and I committed.  There is a punishment for every sin and I will be held liable for that debt, unless.........somebody steps in, takes my place, and takes the punishment that was mine.  This is a gift from God.  We don't deserve it, we didn't earn it, nor do we understand it.  It's a GIFT.  Love is at the center of a gift.  It cannot be explained as efficient or earned.  You  just hold your hand out and receive it with gratitude in humility.
Jesus, God's Son, became a man, lived a perfect life, then let all the blame for all our sin fall on Himself.  He paid.  We will never understand it.  It's a gift motivated by love. 
If you do not accept this beautiful gift, then you will live this life in senseless toil, senseless heartache and doubt, never having tasted real freedom. 
I accepted this gift at the age of 12.  I have not lived a perfect life since then, but I am on the right track.  My sins have been paid for and I am free.  Jesus, my Lord came into my heart and my life when I invited Him.  I was born again.  That means my spirit which was dead due to sin, received life and was resurrected from the dead.  Jesus was resurrected from the dead.  I have received this beautiful gift because He paid, He died, and He defeated death when He rose up.
You'll never understand it.  Just receive it.  Be grateful for it.  You will be changed. 
Don't refuse this gift.  It is the only way to a clean and beautiful life.  Let Him give you life while you still can.  The gift is no longer possible when we have already died.  Why would you refuse it?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

From You to Me

I have  run out of words.  Several times I have started out writing, but it quickly tapers off and  then my well of words runs dry.  Maybe YOU can write and share it with me.  I want to ask your help.    As you are resting today, fix your mind on this Scripture: "The Rock!  His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a trustworthy God who does no wrong.  He is righteous and straight."   Deuteronomy 32:4

Write out all that you can discern from this verse about God.  Consider how this verse might be related to your health.  Tell me what your observations lead you to conclude about God and yourself.  Write as much as you can and ask God to open your eyes to a specific truth that means something to you. 

Then, would you share it with me?  Thank you.  I look forward to reading what you glean.

 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Emma's Life

Emma's story goes beyond her life and death.  She was a little girl born with a rare genetic disorder that shortened her life.  She was a candle not long lit - a heavenly baby....  Not meant  too long for this world.  But long enough to make a difference. 
What I learn from Emma's short life is this:  She is like our cherished dream - our treasure, our Isaac - given by God - but taken away. 
Don't tell me that earthly sorrows don't have purpose.  Don't think what makes us cry or breaks our hearts is only tragedy.  That would be to snip the bud before it blossums.  It's true there are tragedies, but allowed to go beyond that cheerless place of darkness there is victory.  Our struggle brings life for others.  A seed must die first - then be raised to life.  Life comes through death. 
O, Death, your reign nears the end, and then we will say, "Where is your sting?"
Beloved, don't get stuck on trajedy.  Go beyond the pain of loss - the idea of senseless poverty.  To stop there will rob you of victory - will take away purpose - will make it all senseless.
Is your health gone?  Is your hope gone?  Has there been a death?  Go beyond....  Ask God to help you see the life beyond the death....

Friday, March 15, 2013

My Dreams

Part of life is having dreams....  Dreams for myself, dreams for my children, dreams for the world.  All dreams seem good at the time they are conceived.  Not all dreams survive the daily grind that wears away at their heart.
My most precious and tightly held dreams would be those that I have concerning my children.  As a parent I only want what is best for them.  My own happiness is tightly bound to them.  Good or bad, that's the truth.
My fondest dreams for them fuel my prayers.  My prayers are fervent and constant.  In the waiting for those answers, my hope resides.  There is joy without bounds when answers arrive and become an established fact.  The answers do not come all at once.  For some the waiting times seem interminable.  For others results come sooner.  But at the core of all hopes and all desires is my belief in the Creator God.(the God of the Bible).  He is the giver of hope.  He is the Maker of dreams.  He is the One who has the power to feed a dream and then birth it.  He is a promise maker and a promise keeper.
I once had dreams of my own.  They were for good things.  I wanted to be a mother, a wife, and I wanted to be the best that I could be.  But I was young and my heart was unproven.  I wanted those things for ME.  It wasn't God that I wanted so much as it was what I wanted FROM God.  Dreams in and of themselves are fleeting and exist only so long as does the dreamer.  But the dreams God has for each one of us has substance, and are real possibilities.  On our own we can never dream the great things God wants for us, for our children and for the world.  Our vision is too limited and we are too self-centered.
But with our eyes on Jesus, and yielded to His perfect will, with trust in His love for us, there is a life indescribable.  A life that can be lived here on this earth.  A victory that is indisputable.  And there is joy in this. 
God's dreams are much grander than our greatest desire. 
You may be wondering what happened to MY dreams.  Well I will  tell you that in His tender mercy and great love for me that is above all else, He went to work on me.  He allowed me to cling to my small dreams until one by one they fell apart.  They had looked truly good and solid.  But outside of Him there is nothing permanent or real.  I knew in the aftermath that dreams by themselves are only as strong and reliable as the dreamer.  In place of my own dreams He offered Himself.  And now just as He once told His Father, "Not my will, but Thine." I can echo these powerful words.  I can embrace what He had planned for me and for my children before the foundation of the world.
What does this have to do with my health and Parkinson's Disease?  I will trust Him to leave me in the fire of PD only as long as He sees it necessary.  I can embrace His dream for me of a life that is whole - without the reality of disease.  I don't have to know when or how.  I just have to know HIM and trust in His perfect love.