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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Talents and Treasure

"For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap."   (Gal. 6:7)

To sow means to scatter on the ground for the purpose of growth and production (propagation) of a crop. Propagation means to extend by planting and establishing in places before destitute. 

I have been pondering the idea of sowing and reaping.  I think I always associated it with the negative idea that the evil we do will eventually effect us personally as well as effecting those around us.  But it also has positive implications.  As I "scatter" and sow God's word - the truth - then I am sharing the gospel and hoping for some kind of a harvest.  If I don't scatter and sow, I will be like the man who received the talent (Matt. 25:14-30) from his master, and instead of using it to make more money, he did nothing with it (he buried it). 
What are your talents?  If you think that because of your PD, you have no talents, you are wrong.  Even if God had not given you certain giftings, there is one thing that everyone can give - .  It is the priceless Word of God - the Bible.  You are here on this earth at this time to use what you have been given to further God's kingdom.  If you do nothing, you will have nothing to present to the Lord when you are called to account.  The Word of God is life itself.  You have access to the Bible, so you are without excuse if you do not "sow" the seed of the Gospel.  Isaiah 55:11 says: 
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
If we share the Word which has been entrusted to us, lives will be saved, hearts will be restored, and YOU will share a part in the glory of God!
Use whatever gift you have to share life with someone!  God has arranged for certain people to cross your path today - people who may not even know that they are hungry for the Word of God.  It may not be easy, but don't let that deter you. Listen to His prompting to share and speak what He gently prompts you to share.   Because this is a dark and sinful world we live in (where disease and all manner of evil exist) we are just like Adam who was told by God after he sinned, that he would work the ground by the sweat of his brow.  It won't be any different for us.  We will work and labor to scatter Seed and wait for the harvest to come.  And it shall surely come.
Beloved, you have access to the treasure everyone needs.  Don't bury it.  Give it away.  Scatter it.  I implore you....

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Stars and Night Bloomers

Have you heard the saying that it gets darker just before the light comes?  Is this what the Bible teaches?  Can we be encouraged in the midst of deepening darkness and gloom?  We know that the Hebrew day starts at sunset, as light is fleeing.  The darkness goes on for hours until the sun comes up.

We know that this world that we live in, started in darkness - formless and void.  But God established light in the midst of the darkness.   

God has given us light even within the darkness - the moon and stars.  These are pinpoints of light by which we navigate.  By seeing the position of the stars in the night sky, we can gauge where we are and plot where we need to be and whether or not we are on course.
The darker the sky is, the brighter the stars seem to shine, and countless multitudes more can be seen.

The stars look tiny from our viewpoint on this earth.  But in reality they are huge.  Though we cannot see it, we know they move around.   

Your day - today - has started in the darkness of Parkinson's Disease.  Or perhaps it is the darkness of loneliness, financial ruin, a reputation that has been destroyed, a betrayel, a family torn apart, fear of the unknown, or even persecution.  You may experience a deepening of the darkness as your day proceeds.  But don't be alarmed.  You are not alone.  Neither are you without the stars that remind you of the goodness to come. 

You may be unaware of God's presence with you, Believer, but if you look, you will find stars in your particular darkness that God has placed there for your encouragement. He wants you to know that the dawn is coming.  The night is going to break into day for His children.  Your stars might be particular people in your life; certain medical advancements that bring you relief;  the blessing of children; access to the Word of God, or many many other things.  You fill in the blanks.

God can create a beautiful world for you from the darkness you now endure. 

Just as the stars in your life may not appear large, know that they are bigger and greater than you can see.  There is SO MUCH goodness that God works for you - the Believer - that only faith can see.  Without faith (the belief and resulting actions) in God you cannot take hold of the hope He offers.  

You can't have belief in what you can't see, you say? Oh yes you can and you do.  Can you know the true size of a star as you look from earth?  No, not with the naked eye.  But we have scientists who have shared knowledge with us about the stars so that we CAN know the truth. Can you see the end of night from your particular spot in life today?  No.  Not without faith in the God who created the stars above.   And that is what I am sharing with you today.  I am sharing with you the hope that God has shown me so that you too can see the truth. 

Like night flowers, you can bloom in the darkness of PD or whatever your challenge is.  The beauty and fragrance of these unique flowers are essential to the life of others, just as you are.  Bloom in your darkness today!  Spread the fragrant hope that you have in the Creator and Sustainer of all things.  For darkness heralds the coming of the light.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

PD, Mephibosheth and Grace

I used to run the race of life on the front lines of the battle.  I was strong and it felt good to spend myself attaining not just satisfaction - but also gaining ground in nearing the proximity of my perceived goals.  As time passed, I found my goals were always changing, and I never reached the end of my struggle.  I ran, and ran, and ran accomplishing more but gaining nothing.  My speed was frantic - but for all my efforts, it was fast getting me nowhere. 
And then, long before the race was done, something broke.  Enter PD.  It slowed my forward progress, yet I was no less driven to win.  I was like the Israelites - in bondage - striving to make my quota of bricks - just barely keeping ahead of the demand when the straw - a necessary ingredient of bricks - was no longer given.  The demands for brick remained the same but without the straw given to me, it took more strength, more time, more skill.
I felt hedged in, troubled, oppressed in every way, perplexed and unable to find a way out, hard driven, alone, struck down to the ground - and in all things I felt the sentence of death to my mortal being.  Something had to give.  I needed either a new quota of bricks, a new task master, or renewed ability to perform. 
My ability was not renewed.  In fact it weakened and I became increasingly unable to perform.  The quota did not change.  The same was still required - the standard was not lowered.  The only way I was to survive was by grace.  Someone had to step into my place and make the bricks that were required.  The quota must be met.  The standard could not be lowered.  Someone needed to step in to do the things for me I could not do.
Here I was a failure in every way.  I had become an invalid.  I couldn't take care of myself and certainly not anyone else.  I could earn nothing, nor did I deserve any help based on my  accomplishments.  According to my performance, I was deficient.  Only grace could give me dignity.  Only an act of unmerited favor could raise me from the disgrace of total uselessness.  Only grace could put me into a position of honor.
King David once gave grace to a man named Mephibosheth, who was the son of an enemy and a cripple.  Mephibosheth was hiding in fear from the king in a place called Lo-Debar (which means no pasture), when the king invited him to eat at the king's table and be provided for all of his days. 
I am a picture of grace!  Even my name (Anna) means "grace".  Once I was broken and lost - useless - and an enemy to God. Like Mephibosheth, I was an invalid. I was without dignity or honor, existing like Mephibosheth in a terrible place where there was no pasture - no sustenance (it is equated with no Word of God.  We know that Jesus IS the Word, so we can conclude that we came from a place bereft of Jesus as Lord).  Jesus, my King, extended grace and took me in all of my brokeness, gave me dignity, and raised me to a place of honor.
If you want to understand grace, look at me.  Understand my earlier condition of disgrace.  Understand my need.  Then look and see what God has done for me. If you have never accepted all the love Jesus offers you - if you have never received the grace that He freely offers to you, then please stop to ponder it.  Do not walk away from this gift.  I encourage you to receive it as eagerly as you would receive a gift in beautiful wrapping!