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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Strange diseases…

I have seen often posts on Facebook of people who face diseases or maladies that are not visible to the eye. Some are noticeable because of walkers or wheelchairs. Others may look very normal and still have something they deal with everyday. Since I myself am now among the many with a disease that cannot be seen, my attitude is still rather strict.

I make myself do what I don’t feel like doing, usually. Well, this week I’m giving myself some grace and mercy, although keeping up with the bare necessities. Lyme has raised it’s ugly head and I have been in constant pain since Monday, today is Friday. Aspirin and Advil don’t really stop the pain, just dulls it a bit. If I sleep (if I can get to sleep) it does help some. I don’t know enough about this ‘tyrant’ called Lyme, but it seems to have a life of it’s own in my body. I know 2 people who are dear to me who have had Lyme and been misdiagnosed for such a lengthy period that they are at their wits end and broke trying to get fixed. The bacteria is relentless and at this point cannot be killed in the body. They have found a way to kill it on a ‘slide’ in the lab, but it doesn’t work in the body so far.

I try to pray, but get distracted by the pain. Trying odd things to make it better, but no go so far. I know that God is with us. Both Rick and I wonder about God’s purpose in our circumstances. We are grateful for His provision, His children who come to visit, who help us with odd errands and for all the prayers that go up for us day by day.

This week I wanted to seriously retype our prayer list. It is lengthy and so many needs I can’t even categorize them and get them on one sheet single spaced; marriages gone awry, cancer, Lyme, heart problems, aging problems, financial, loved ones who do not Jesus as their Savior, missionaries around the world, families in times of testing with children or parents, dealing with loss of a loved one, loneliness, those in hospice, and the list goes on. Our circumstances seem minimal to me. We have a roof over our head, no one is going to kill us for our faith yet, we have a good church home and a family that cares for us.

I pray that our perseverance in the face of these small issues of ours, we will still give testimony to our trust in God and bring Him glory with our daily walk. Keep us in your prayers. Some days are better than others. This one has not been.

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What do you seek???

I was awake very early in the morning (4am) up for a bathroom break. It always takes more time than I like to get back to sleep, so I take the time to pray and listen. Not much inspiration coming these days to write in the night. Quite tired from several angles. The Lyme disease is not much fun. I can function but just. Getting a bit older doesn’t help and caring for my husband who really does a lot for himself still takes its toll. While listening and praying for Rick in particular, I felt like God was asking ‘What do you seek?” That’s a really loaded question. The scripture came to me from the resurrected Savior speaking to Mary…”Who do you seek?”

What am I looking for in life? Who am I looking for? To be honest, the answer to question number one is ‘some relief’. The second is also as easy to answer. I really am looking to Jesus for strength, courage, wisdom and guidance. BUT, am I seeking Him for Himself? Am I as in love with Jesus as I was when younger?  I believe more, but when you get older the tenor of a love relationship changes. It’s not all flutter and sweetness, sometimes there are circumstances that deepen the love and trust to maturity, but the tender heart should still be there.

There is a chorus we sing…’seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you’. I am so very grateful to the Lord for His care and attention, but I sometimes become ‘unaware’ and have to pull myself back to the recognition that, ‘He is with me’ at all times. I do rest and get relief in Him. He has provided all we need and inspires us to continue in fellowship and worship with others even when we can’t get out of the house. It’s been a long time since we were able to get to church, but we have a fellowship group here and prayer with/for folks every day of the week, and the church brings us communion regularly. We may be shut-in, but not shut-out of fellowship.

What I seek Lord is more awareness of Your sweet presence in my life, in our home; and the courage to carry on in faith everyday to Your glory and praise.

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A syncopated life…

syn·co·pate – verb
past tense: syncopated; past participle: syncopated
  1. displace the beats or accents in (music or a rhythm) so that ‘strong beats become weak‘ and vice versa.

    Rick loves jazz. He can knock out perfectly a 5/4, 11/4 or 13/4 signature without a hitch. Well he used to. He has interviewed Count Basie, Maynard Ferguson and Stan Kenton. He was a DJ at a radio station, working nights when we met. I loved the music, couldn’t keep the beat. I can’t even clap a decent 3/4.

The past couple days I have been thinking about syncopation. It’s not the norm. Most of life and music has a regular rhythm. Our hearts better not be beating in syncopation or we are in serious trouble physically. That’s how you end us on medication and having a ‘pacemaker’ installed. It made me consider ‘the stroke’. There is a disconnect or damage from the head to the body. The rhythm gets messed up, and ‘it ain’t purdy’ like jazz. When there is damage between the head and the body, the body does not function or communicate in unison, proper rhythm or coordination. The example I have before me daily; Rick’s tear ducts dried up, his sinus’ won’t quit running, his swallow is still faltering, he can no longer touch type, speech is impaired (although the pipes are still there when he pushes the air into his conversation), his gait is weak and halting and he has a runaway pendulum in his head. “Strong things became weak”.

The same is with the body of Christ. When there is damage between the head, Jesus Christ and His body the church; things don’t work in unison. Our rebellion along life’s way has a way of  ‘syncopating’ our behavior. It’s called ‘doing it my way’. That doesn’t really work in God’s economy. It’s like singing a congregational hymn syncopated or too fast or too slow. Or praying the Lord’s prayer syncopated, without unity with the rest of the body present. The unity and unison of worship within the body seems disconnected, at least to those who are around us. That may be just my opinion because God is listening to each of us and in all of the worship throughout the world on any given time zone or day, but He is the head we are the body.

I don’t know how we get healed spiritually or physically. If we continue to do things the same, we get the same results. If we don’t do what we know to do to change our circumstances, we are stuck in a syncopation that is not going to change, and it will keep us off balance. I pray that when I am not working in the rhythm with the headship of Jesus Christ in my life, He will give me a loving and gentle nudge to get in unison with His purposes.

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Finally and Therefore…

Finally…2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Therefore…2 Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

I had to have a nap both morning and afternoon for a couple of days in a row. I have been in pain in my back, shoulders and neck, along with extreme tiredness again. Haven’t quit the diet or stopped medication.  Somewhere along the way these scriptures came to me, along with a nap-dream today. In my dream I saw Rick walking without the walker, like a tightrope walker, first backwards and then forwards in the house from the living room windows to the kitchen door and then doing it again laughing. He was shaking but strong and his walker was next to his chair in the dining room.

What do the scriptures and the dream say……??? I have not lost heart, I have not yet finished . We continue the good fight, the race, the faith. We may not see it yet, but the good God is not finished with us yet. He continues to give us strength as we listen to His voice, in the scriptures, through godly speakers and teachers. We pray, we worship, we stand. In His presence day and night in our home we call on God to give us ‘this day’ to be His love and presence for others.

Whether the dream becomes a reality with great joy or we see Jesus first, we will fight, run the race and keep the faith, until we see His appearing, the ‘One our hearts love’.

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