Facing the storms of life and nature gives Flux Capacity…

 

Flux- noun  1. the action or process of flowing or flowing out. 2. continuous change, changeability, variability, inconstancy, fluidity, instability, unsteadiness, fluctuation, variation, shift, movement, oscillation, alternation, rise and fall, seesawing, yo-yoing

From the movies we have heard of a ‘flux capacitor’. What that means is it can take anything available and change it into what is needed and necessary to continue. I like that concept especially after having been through some storms of nature.

Disaster- noun 1.a sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, that causes great damage or loss of life. 2.Catastrophe, calamity, cataclysm, tragedy, holocaust; accident, an event or fact that has unfortunate consequences

October 31 of 2014 my young 64 year old husband had a major brain stem stroke. He lived, when the neurologist didn’t think it was going to happen. Months later when we went to his office, he was surprised that Rick could walk, let alone stand. But we carry on with what we have and we work in ‘flux’ to gain what is not there yet. He does swallow now, not well, but working it daily and has had the ‘pour in feeding tube’ removed early this year after almost 2 years. We, meaning me, poured 8 cans of liquid nutrition in the tube 4 times a day. In September of 2015 my not so well 65 year old now had a foot of his colon removed because of cancer. Because the margins were clear all around he did not have to have chemo, but spent almost a month in the hospital (28 days, it wasn’t February!) So now we come to another ‘natural’ disaster. I love to garden. Over a year ago I was ‘tick’ bit AND ended up with Lyme disease. This is the short version of how we come to THE ‘natural disaster’ and the flux capacity.

Without our faith in God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit we would be buried alive in sorrow and depression. This last week has been another natural disaster, but we have shared it with many, many others. Two weeks before, hurricane Harvey decimated the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. This week we who lived in the path of hurricane IRMA, here in the U.S., are trying to gain our equilibrium, but several of the small islands have been entirely destroyed and had to be evacuated completely. While I am writing this the people of the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico are taking another hit from hurricane Maria. Jose wasn’t much of a bother, for which we thank God.

We have lived in Florida many years (close to 37). We lived through Charley, Francis and Jean in a sequence of every other week. Andrew, Ivan, Wilma and Frederick not quite as bad for us mid-state as for others on the east and west coasts. We have a comparison memory and really didn’t need the weather channel to tell us that this IRMA was a raging bull by comparison to a new born calf. We lived without power in one of the 2004 storms for about 12 hours and another for about 5. We were both younger and healthier.

Charley made the biggest mess. Two weeks later Frances, not so much and Jeanne two weeks later, there was not much trash left to blow around. Today September 20, 2017, there is trash (trees, shingles, tiles, metal siding) galore and more in every view, every trip around town. One block away there is a giant tree that fell directly between 2 homes. You can’t see the homes for dead foliage covering the view, but the tree didn’t damage the homes. Others were not so blessed. We have friends who 10 days later, still have no power. Small pockets of 12-20 homes are still without electricity, but their area wiring is having to be rebuilt from scratch.

How do you survive? I don’t know. It does affect everyone, but the best thing to help with your own recovery is to be Jesus to others. Do something that will help the other one. This morning I baked cookies for our mechanics family who have been without power 10 days already. His wife is a teacher and the kids are back in school, so for the daytime hours they will get some relief. We pray for them, but we DO something for them.

Our neighbors took their 3 small boys to Virginia for the duration, but sent a friend to bring us battery operated fans and lights. Which, when our power came on, we gave them to someone else, until they were given a generator, so then they gave the fans back and the fans were passed on to someone else.

Our faith in God’s goodness in all things has not really wavered, although I must admit the skyward glance and conversation (short on both parts) “You are kidding, right?” Keeping a kind heart and a kind word always ready is the best way to survive. Those around us are suffering too. Even without a ‘disaster of nature’, everyone is dealing with something. I deal with it by writing, telling a joke, working until I can’t move, digging in the dirt, buying a flower for the porch and then there is always the trusty ‘nap’.

During the night of the ‘eye of the storm’, I sat up and prayed…everyone we know and don’t know was interceded for in the dark howling storm. Those in authority in government, the peace of Israel, the Korean situation…all our friends and family who are lost without a relationship with Jesus, those whose health is not good, those suffering lose of a loved one…y’all got prayed for! It was a vicious and long storm. I also prayed for less damage to personal property. It is a mess, but God again has provided those who ministered to us. We had folks deliver some food. We had a place to go for refuge, but on the way were called to let us know the power was back. Someone fixed our roof and the broken window in the storage shed. AND we are safe. I am tired, but mostly that’s pretty normal, so I am grateful still for God’s faithfulness in providing ‘flux capacity’. Nap time now!

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Healing or Not…

Sunday September 3rd I was given the opportunity to teach the ‘Healing’ class. This may be a bit longer blog than usual or it may end up short and to the point. I sang to them for a starter..

Can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd, can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd, can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd, but you can be happy if you want to. All you have to do is put your mind to it, knuckle down, buckle down, do it, do it, do it! -compliments of Roger Miller.

From the very beginning what and how we think has been the problem. Eve thought for herself, ‘the fruit looks good, I’ll eat some’, and in the process calling God a liar and although she didn’t die physically the moment she took a bite, she did kill her soul. She blamed the serpent, Adam blamed Eve and we continue today to blame everyone but ourselves for our problems.

When I taught the class earlier in the summer, we talked about ‘Healing and Wholeness’ and I think I did blog that also. My final summation there was, “We must have a passion for the purposes of God.” My summation this time was, “We, me, you and I are the purpose of God.”

In the Old Testament we have many examples of people who were healed and those who were not. I started with King Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 26. He was a smart and good king until the accolades went to his head and he ‘thought’ he could do whatever he wanted. His sin against God’s purposes and laws got him a case of leprosy and eventual isolated death.

Abimelech in Genesis 20 unknowingly was going to commit sin, but God in His mercy stopped him from taking Abraham’s wife Sarah. In duplicity Abraham and Sarah about got the man killed, but God spared him and Abraham prayed for him.

Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20 hears directly, you are going to die and he begs for more time. He was a good king, but in the 15 years added to his life he sired the most wicked king of all, Mannasah.

The premise here…sometimes it IS our sin that gets us in a fix.  I could go on with examples, but their names are familiar to me and may not be to you; Samson, Miriam, Nebuchadnezzar, and my favorite is Jacob. Jacob would not let go of God’s messenger until he blessed him. Jacob got his hip displaced and walked with a limp the rest of his life. Some blessing if you ask me. BUT, he did get a new name and the beginning of God’s own people, the nation of Israel. So what was God’s purpose? To get Jacob aligned with it, God had to bless him and it was not in the most comfortable way and it was permanent.

The mystery here is that God uses us in our circumstances for His glory. The man born blind was 30+ years old. The disciples asked Jesus, “Who sinned, this man or his parents?” Jesus said, “No one, this is for God’s glory.” He healed him on the spot. Others Jesus also healed, sometimes saying directly to them, “Go and sin no more, lest a worse thing comes on you.”

Our circumstances and how we relate to them and deal with them, ARE the purpose of God in full view of a watching world. Continue in a passion for God’s purposes and even with a limp or a stroke or Lyme disease…He can receive glory.  We are His purpose!

Being humble and patient in weaknesses, God can and will work for His purpose and glory, to bring us into a more intimate relationship with Himself. He will use us for His glory, no matter how we see our circumstances. “The heart that remains true to the Lord, retains what God has given, even if the appearance has changed in our sight.” His gifts are without repentance. That means He doesn’t take them back, He still uses them .

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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Desire…

This afternoon some dear friends came to visit Rick while I ran errands. I desired a pedi-cure. I can see my toes when standing up, but when I get them to where I can reach them I can’t, even with my glasses on. Far sighted is good when driving, but wear ‘cheater’ glasses for anything up close.  I was going to Grove Park shopping center and wanted to stop in the health food store also. I asked Rick as I was planning my route if there was anything he desired while I was out. Immediately without a bit of hesitation he said, “Twinkies, Snowballs, frozen dark cherries”, etc. Things he has eaten in 3 years. I was able to stop at 7-11 and pick up a 2 pack of Twinkies and he was able to eat one with his supper. The sugar is not on his menu normally, but I love him and wanted him to have something of our younger healthier life. Which is ironic since it contributed to his health issues and I watch his intake like a hawk.

I already had on my list of desires for the day…meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  I think I can sympathize with the Israelites and the manna business. Rick can’t have a lot of sugar and swallowing is still a ‘buster’ some days. He is making progress, but it’s slow.  I can’t have a lot of different foods because of the Lyme, potatoes is not on the list and neither is gravy…beef is okay.  Almost everyday since May 8th I have had a salad and vegetable beef soup. It is tasty, but how much soup can one eat? I asked the doctor about cheating. He said, “it’s okay once in awhile, otherwise you won’t stick to the diet, and you will know in your body in pretty short order, what you can and how much you can, get away with.” He was right. Last Sunday after church I had pancakes with syrup and a sausage patty, it took about 3 days to recover and the pain to lessen.

We train our desires by how we live our lives. Recently someone we love finally collapsed from alcoholism and ended up in ICU for quite a few days and then rehab for a few more, then after the DT’s  decided to try to stay dry. Spent 2 days in a rehab program and decided it wasn’t for him. There is discipline and hard work involved in curbing our desires. The world is raging with the ‘desire fever’ to have it their way no matter what, no matter who it effects. Desire is a ‘fluid’ thing. Good desires for righteousness and Godly endeavor are slim these days. Rampant desire for ‘self-fulfillment’, unchained perversion, uncontrolled behavior, is the call of day in world we live in.

The people of Texas today desire safety from the hurricane. My mashed potatoes, meatloaf and gravy, don’t quite make the grade by comparison. Let our desire be a passion for God’s purposes in this world. Not the ‘god’ of this world, but our Heavenly Father who loves, provides, protects, heals and saves, is still looking for us to desire Him more than anything.

Back to soup and salad…meatloaf

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Hot Cakes & Sausage…

This morning after Church we drove through McDonald’s and picked up Hot cakes & sausage. I also ordered a mocha frappe for myself and a vanilla shake for Rick for lunch in another hour or so. This is a serious infringement on the rules of my eating habits. Because of the Lyme disease, sugar is not advisable. The doctor said I could cheat on occasion, because if I didn’t I might not stick to the medically prescribed diet, a diet which has helped my pain and energy level considerably. Having come from church my mind was already in spiritual gear and I thought about my sins. Sin is not like sugar or fried foods. I may pay for breakfast this morning in my body and yes sin does evidence itself in our body also, but really influences our mind and our spirit. The inner us, the interior human soul, when committing an offense against God’s prescribed behavior, gets hardened and crusty. We don’t always see it or feel it right away. Not unlike the hot cakes with syrup and butter, and the sausage which tastes really good in the moment, but causes increased pain somewhere else in the body as it digests. Sin against God is not always instantly retributed. 

Genesis 2:16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

The pancakes won’t kill me, but eventually SIN, unrepentant sin will kill. The day Adam and Eve partook of that fruit their eternal physical bodies began to die. We were created to live forever.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion… 

I/we need to consider our ‘cheating’, our ‘sinning’ and remember our Creator in whose image we were created.

Numbers 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

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A Word from…

Today we were encouraged again that even a small word, given in love can make a difference in someones ability to ‘hear’ or ‘listen’ to the voice of God. Life isn’t always what we would like it to be. Loved ones leave, mentally, physically and yes even spiritually. They disconnect from their life and their faith. Sometimes they have been disconnected for a long time and no one could see it. I believe that God still answers the heart cry for those who are trying to ‘listen’ or ‘hear’.

Sometimes we don’t want to listen to those close to us. It’s too much of a ‘downer’…but what is it for the other person? We must be Jesus with skin on to them. Slow down, listen to them and to the Lord. The less we say, the better we can hear. Everyone needs a ‘word’ now and then. Not everyone can give a good word, but those who have been keeping their focus on an intimate relationship with Father God, Son Jesus and Comforter Holy Spirit and truly are watching and listening are better able to give a ‘fitting’ and encouraging word in the time of need.

Jesus said, in Matthew 5:2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the POOR IN SPIRIT, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are THOSE WHO MOURN, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

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Getting acquainted with Grief…

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

Today as I am writing, we are, and quite a few loved ones, are in deep grief over the loss of a loved one. It is shock and tragedy. The only light we have is dimmed by our great sorrow. How do we become ‘acquainted with grief’ and not be overcome by it? Don’t ask me, I have been overcome by it on many an occasion! I do know that turning to Jesus for strength in this time and continuing in His presence does change the immense weight of the sorrow, over time.

When I lost my father, the sorrow was more the time of watching him die from cancer that grieved me. When he was gone, I knew he would be with Jesus. In fact, before he lost consciousness, he asked mom to play Jesus loves me on the piano and sing all the verses. His last words, still almost a week before he died, were; “Yes He does love me!” We all cried. I don’t know how many people came to his viewing, but I saw people whose lives he had touched from every walk of life. My high school friends, business people, work friends, church family; I think there were something like 700+ folks that walked through to give their condolences for a kind, loving, ‘never knew a stranger’, helping, funny guy who died a month before his 67th birthday.  For 20 years I still wanted to call him every Saturday morning for our weekly joke. The loss was there and the sorrow, but the ‘grief I had become acquainted with’ subsided. There are some acquaintances that you are aware of, but don’t hang with consistently. Sometimes they move away. You don’t forget them, but distance and time do make a difference in the weight.

When my best friend Carol died of cancer, it was nearly the same, but again time and distance has made the sorrow somehow sweeter in the memories for both Carol and my dad. When my mom passed I was not able to participate in the passing of her life because we had grief living in our home. Rick had had a stroke and we couldn’t be there for her, but others in the family were. She was good to go, and they all did a tremendous job of making her last days as comfortable and well loved as possible.

Living with grief is another story. Acquainted now and in our bag! How do we handle the grief and the sorrow? One day at a time. We pray ‘a lot’! But we have found that selfish prayers (all about us) don’t really cut it. Praying for others is what gives us the grace to live here pretty much secluded from society and life as we once knew it. If and when God heals us or takes us home, I am convinced that without grief and sorrow as we know it through living day by day, throughout all the grief and sorrow that comes our way, we would not be as useful to others or to God’s plan, whatever that may be. He, Jesus, has brought us peace in the midst. Looking to Him the author and finisher of our faith, most days with some tears, but always rejoicing in His provision and grace for the day.

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Are you rich enough…

…to Live Forever?

It’s been a very rough week for me. The cartilage in both my ears has swollen until the ear canal is almost closed. AND is very painful. The last dose of Advil (3 gelcaps) were served with a glass of wine before bed last night so I could sleep. I’m not fond of wine, although not necessarily anti-wine. (I have some in the house.) I did do a lot of whining. Monday when I woke up my right ear felt like a nasty bug had bit me or a boil of some kind had made it’s home. Wednesday the left ear started. No sinus problems or sore throat, just the ears. I hear fine, but the sides of my head are still blazing. I took 2 aspirin a few minutes ago.

Here’s the scoop, I really don’t like to leave my sweetheart alone, so last night as I was contemplating going to the Urgent Care I ended up taking the drastic measures mentioned above…this morning the Urgent Care was open at 8am, I was 3rd in line. I left Rick home alone eating his breakfast. In the exam room waiting for the doctor, I looked up and caught sight of a magazine, (don’t remember the name) and this was the title of content of importance… “Are you rich enough to live forever?” I think I got an earache JUST so I could read that!

I am going to live forever and I don’t have to worry about $$$$$! Our Father gives us our daily bread (provision) and when I die, and I will as you will, I will live forever with Him and all those loved ones of His and mine who have gone on before. Sometimes I am tempted to worry about $, but then I see God’s hand at work. No charge for the walk-in today, (medicare). Then at the pharmacy, the antibiotic ear drops were going to be $186…but ended up being $43 with my GoodRx discount. Earlier this week I had to get some cash out and took it out of the savings since payday is still a week away. After stopping at the grocery store using my debit card to pay for the groceries, I find that the clerk at the bank had taken the $50 out of my checking instead of savings and I was down to $10 and a few cents, but not overdrawn. Whew! We got gas in the van on June 9-it’s July 22 and I still have a quarter tank. It always amazes me, ‘that provision’ at just the right time, not too much, not to little, just right! It’s so much more than most of the world and we are so grateful.

YES, I can say that we ARE rich enough to live forever. We live in God’s grace and favor. Thanks be to God for His great Love, mercy and daily provision!

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