Dispossessed…

This morning my thoughts and prayers are turning to those who have gone through a storm and some multiple storms in this life. Many are dealing with the disorientation of starting life completely anew. Even if their insurance covers the damage, what about the memories and the loss and the time it takes to rebuild or repair. Again, we were asked to pray for someone who has lost everything in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Irma knocked us about and Hurricane Maria gave a concluding whack to Puerto Rico. We know full well this family is not the only one. Those who have lost everything may appear to be functioning, but there is a definite disorientation in the loss. Then we have the madness of the attack in Las Vegas, which has affected many families throughout the country. Major crises tend to disorient us for a long time. When Rick had the stroke, I was disoriented and still am. Dealing with the stress of the dispossession of all our worldly goods can be freeing in a sense, knowing we lived through it, but how in the world are we going to recover our balance.

Everyday we still pray for God’s guidance and wisdom in the endeavor to recover. This morning one of my neighbors was out raking the lawn of debris left behind from the trucks picking up the major downed tree debris. It took 5 huge trucks to gather the debris on our block (most of it anyway). 14 homes on this block, 6 on one side of the street had a huge mess. Our side of the street, just 2. The neighbor who was raking was doing another neighbor’s yard because they are elderly and didn’t need to be cleaning up what was left. Everyone has pitched in to help one another. Thank God we are not dispossessed of our friends.

We have made it this far by God’s grace, and the gracious loving care of God’s people. I don’t know how to thank them all. In the beginning I started writing thank you cards and went through about 10 boxes or more of them, but it’s not enough to express the depth of our heart’s gratitude. (We have received several hundred cards in the last 3 years) Caring for one another and praying for one another helps the sense of loss and the reality of loss.

Let us in our disorientation, turn to the Lord and find rest and peace and healing for our emotions, minds, spirits and our bodies, for others and for ourselves.

Psalm 107:20
He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.

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Work In Progress…

Talking about ‘WORK’ today with Rick. He mentioned to me that he was sorry that life was so much work for me. I love doing the work, because I love him. I don’t think of ‘work’ as a bad thing. Yes it can make you tired, usually does. Work if profitable, supplies and fulfills a need. Yes, sometimes work is like ‘hauling water to a desert’ and can be frustrating. In fact I’m writing this blog to avoid some work. I’ve already done 2 loads of laundry, cut Rick’s hair, vacuumed, fixed breakfast, prepared two portions of 3 different soups for the next 3 days, washed dishes, watered the tomato, spinach and lettuce starts, pulled a few weeds, all before 10 am. I am contemplating a ton of other things, including cleaning the newly laid vinyl planking in the dining/kitchen area. It’s got glue all over it. So it’s work.

My dad taught me a lot about work, good Dutchman that he was. “Don’t quit one job until you have another.” “If you don’t work, you don’t eat or make your car payment”, “If it needs doing, do it.” and the biggy… “It won’t kill you!” Mom made sure we knew ‘how to work’, organized and methodical and definitely hardworking. They prepared us well for being independent. They were good parents, hard-working, honest, hospitable and they trained us up in the way we should go…Proverbs 22:6. They trained us to be godly responsible people. I am grateful!

Work is good for what ails us. Work can keep us from clobbering someone in anger. (take the garbage out or go for a drive-Dad did this regularly) Work won’t give you the time or the energy to ‘protest’. Work will give you a sense of self-worth. Work can stimulate your mind and exercise your body for a fruitful purpose.

 I like Mike Rowe and his ‘Dirty Jobs’ show, it is a perfect example of the value of work and someone has to do it. Whether the work is physical or mental, it stimulates the person to be a better human being if the attitude and focus are purposeful. The first thing God did after creating Adam…was give him a mental job. “Name every living thing.” That’s a tall order and I’m sure it took a very long time. After they ate the forbidden fruit, well then we get a different kind of work, hard labor for what came easy before.

 1 Thessalonians 4:9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to EXCEL STILL MORE, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.

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Some Mornings they come together…

I can’t be unhappy, since in everything that happens to me, I see the loving hand of Jesus.”-Therese of Lisieux

Jesus wants us to love Him with our whole heart, undivided loyalty…He will guide us with His hand on us as we keep the sanctuary of our hearts clean and pure before Him. – Frances J. Roberts

God expects us to keep our home in order. We are His dwelling place. We are a house of God and He will take care of that house (you and me) if we keep it clean. Once you invite Jesus into your heart, He’s knocked, you opened…He resides. 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.You are not your own20 for you were bought with a price.So glorify God in your body. Our bodies need maintenance, but so does our spirit, the very heart of us. – “Keeping God in the Small Stuff” by Bruce and Stan.

I’m always amazed at how often the devotionals we read follow in the same channels. Our lives are not own once we give our hearts, minds and bodies…to His will and service. He will keep His loving hand us in all of our circumstances and our job is easy…keep the house clean! It’s a constant work. I vacuum and mop and do dishes and cook and do laundry in our physical home…why would I not do similar things in my soul and heart that will make a pleasant place for Jesus dwell? Suck out all that discontent and wash the garbage away and take it out with the trash. We don’t keep trash in the house, it stinks! That’s what outdoor bin is for. Why would we allow ‘trash’ in our spirit, heart and mind? Keep it clean and think on these things…

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passes understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

 

 

 

 

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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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