and the One who walks with me on it.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Clean Clothes

       It was 1:00 am on the morning we were going to my brother’s place for three days and two loads of laundry had to be done.  Of course, I didn’t know that until hubby told me that morning he had no clean clothes; then I was busy all day and forgot, finally relaxing to watch a movie after supper clean up and didn’t remember until after midnight.  Oops!   Well, that last load was drying at 1:00 and all was well by morning.  It’s important to have clean clothes when visiting.  In fact, imagine going to meet the Prime Minister or President: would you wear filthy or ripped up, mismatched clothes?  Not unless it was all you owned in life.

       In fact, some Christians feel strongly about wearing our best clothes for God when we go to the local church.  It is meant to be a sign of respect, one I can’t fault if the intentions are truly noble.  However, we should not judge others for what they choose to wear for they may have different noble reasons for the way they dress (it must only be modest).  Anyway, I think if we want to honour God, perhaps a better sign of respect would be in order.

Is this what we look 
like on the inside?
or is this?
       Instead of making sure we toss our clothes in the laundry to clean them up, perhaps we should ‘toss’ ourselves into the refining fire, in the water of the Word, or into the blood of Jesus to clean us up from the inside before we appear in the local church and try to relate to our brothers and sisters- better yet, before we even appear in His presence.  Would that not be the best sign of respect we could offer?  Instead of our arrogance in assuming He is okay with our continual sin, worldliness and fleshly living without personal effort to try to change, perhaps we should do our best to change our actions of all we are able to as proof we love God more than ourselves.

Just a though anyway…

Behold, I have refined you… Is. 48:10
Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, Ep. 5:25,26
the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1Jh. 1:7

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Graduation Day

       Four years of driving my son to his city bus stop and picking him up after so he could attend an out of district arts school, my son is finally graduating high school.  Tonight I get to watch him walk across a stage and receive a rolled up blank piece of paper, the symbol of his diploma that he’ll receive later, shake a few hands, flip his tassel, probably do something funny, and walk off the stage.  For a parent, this is a huge milestone as we are the ones who dealt with the complaints about homework, studying, and all the other myriad of school issues over the years.  But I have no complaint because he finished well, even getting 90’s in a couple courses.

       This day will be busy for us.  I have a study to attend, an afternoon visiting with my awesome mom in law, and a rushed evening of getting to the ceremony with everyone involved.  I’m wondering if it will seem that kind of rushed on the day we graduate from this earth to the eternal kingdom our Lord has prepared for us.

Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions (3438); if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, so that where I am, you may be also. Jh 14:1-3
Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word. And My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode (3438) with him. Jh. 14:23

       There are only two places the Greek word mone is used and they are both in John 14.  The word means staying, abode or dwelling as in a place these take place.  So here we find out that Jesus has prepared a place for us somewhere other than here, but while we are still on earth and born again, they come and make a place to be in us!  Wow!  Even before we ‘graduate’ from this corrupt system in which we live, the Creators of the universe come to live in us.

       After we are finished with this corrupt and troubled place, there is a new incorruptible place prepared for us to go.  When we finish the fight, this course (2Tm. 4:7), and run this race (Hb. 12:1) so that we may obtain the prize (1Cr. 9:24), we have an eternal home with the Godhead in which we will live… eternally with them, not just ‘in our hearts’ but ‘in the flesh’ or our new incorruptible flesh that is.  So one day between the now and the then, we will graduate from this place of stress and work and be able to see how it is worth all the effort and strain over the years to obtain the prize.  And we won’t be ‘walking off this stage’ with a blank piece of paper, but with the most valuable prize ever- eternity face to face with our Beloved Father, Son and Spirit.

       Lord of glory, help all Your children run with You beside us constantly, cheered on by those before us so that we may live with You eternally where sin abides no more, and graduate this place to hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.
(Mt. 25:21,23)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Peace in the Pain

       What do I know of pain, I’m only 47… right?  It’s funny how some people attribute problems to age, especially doctors, “Well, you are getting older, you know…”  Age seems to give them an excuse to not delve deeper into the real problems we have.  When I was very young it seemed that most of the people suffering physical issues were over 65 whereas these days there are many in their 30’s and 40’s living in pain every day.  Forgetfulness is also plaguing the younger generation.  Where is the research into these problems?

       One thing is sure, I know pain.  There were times in my first 18 years that I got migraines.  It would hurt so bad (pills didn’t help much) that I would cry which would make it hurt worse!  Fortunately they were few and far between.  In my 20’s plus I would occasionally have abscesses in my mouth- indicating the need for a root canal.  These were extremely painful; barely survivable with strong painkillers.  During these episodes, the pains of my past seemed like nothing, like zero on the pain scale and this new pain was a 10.  Though I was sure (but never had experience) abscess pain was worse than childbirth, it took my neighbor and one other person to confirm this belief.

       Then in 2007 the doctors told me the second round of chemo could cause bone pain and I thought ‘Whatever.  I’ve had pain from abscesses, how much worse can it get?’  Well, I was soon to find out.  That abscess pain dropped to a 0 in comparison as I learned new realms of pain- so bad that nothing helped- in my whole body all the time.  By the last treatment I was in so much pain (12 out of 10) I couldn’t do anything (sit, stand, lean, etc) for longer than a minute.  There is no way to truly describe such horrible pain.  Thankfully, most of it disappeared within three weeks of my last treatment (pain in feet lasted 6 mon.), and life without pain became the norm again.

       The past few years have brought a return of pain.  This year’s been the worst, though because of the previous bone pain, I would only put the levels at 3 out of 10.  Every day, from base of skull to bottoms of feet with the occasional extra issues thrown in, the pain is just there.  

       I pray and there is no healing.  Does God hear me?  Of course (Ps. 30:2).  Does He know what I am going through?  Yes (Is. 53).  Then why doesn’t He heal me when He is perfectly able to do so (Ps. 103:3)?  I DON’T KNOW.  And it doesn’t matter anymore if I understand or not.  The Lord is allowing it in my life and walking with me through it, so all is well, not with my body but with my soul.

I know that God will heal me, if not in this life, in the end.
I am Jehovah who heals you. Ex. 15:26
And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying out, nor will there be any more pain; for the first things passed away. Rv. 21:4
I know that God is with me every painful step.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… Is. 43:2
He has said, "Not at all will I leave you, not at all will I forsake you, never!" Hb. 13:5
I know that by His strength I can get through another day, and still have His peace and joy.
He gives power to the weary; and to him with no vigor; He increases strength. Is. 40:29
No temptation (affliction) has taken you but what is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted (tested) above what you are able, but with the temptation also will make a way to escape, so that you may be able to bear it. 1Cr. 10:13
I know that His love for me will never change or disappear.
For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rm. 8:38,39

       I know that I can still do great things for Him if I am willing (Is. 1:19) no matter what state I am in.  It is not through my might or my power, but through God and His Spirit (Zc. 4:6) that I can still fulfill His plan for my life, and that He gives me the strength to continue every step, every day (Php. 4:13).  He is why I have peace (Jh. 14:27) in the pain.  And pain or no pain (preferably the latter) I will let my actions bring Him glory as much as possible for I am eternally grateful for His salvation.

And everything, whatever you do in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.
Cl. 3:17

whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1Cr. 10: 31

Monday, June 23, 2014

Unhappy People

       It occurs to me that people are becoming more and more unhappy with each other and with life, or maybe because they are more unhappy with life they are becoming more unhappy with people.  Today I was pondering my ‘easy to be frustrated with people’ issues of late, when I realized it has become a problem that needs to be solved.  It was then I realized that most of the people I see seem unhappy.  Growing up, there were many smiling faces, and now there’s just stress.  It’s sad to say for all our advances in science, technology and discoveries that none of it has made us a happier people.

       Truth is, there was a time and place when I was one of the unhappiest people around.  I was a Christian of 22ish years and in the fiercest trial of my life- one I couldn’t predict we’d come out alive- literally.  Anyway, as is typical in my past, I was angry at God for not fixing the problem and so the problem became bigger than I could handle.  Eventually on my knees before a mighty God, I finally surrendered all- of me, my dreams and hopes, my family, my reputation, my very life and the life of my family.  That was when I KNEW some of the greatest verses in Scripture REALLY are true!

God really is with us through everything- even the really bad parts:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; nor shall the flame kindle on you. Is. 43:2
God remains with us when our hearts are hurting:
Jehovah is near to the broken-hearted; and saves those who are of a contrite spirit. Ps. 34:18
Joy, peace, and hope will remain if God remains with us, even in times of great distress:
And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Rm. 15:13
God will comfort us when the aching is painful and the heart is shattering:
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, He comforting us in all our trouble… 2Cr. 1:3,4
When we can’t stand anymore, His strength can bear us up:
Therefore I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am powerful. 2Cr. 12:10
There are always troubles, but peace in Him is possible through them all, and He wins in the end so we do to:
I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. Jh. 16:33
We still have that final hope of glory one day where there is no more pain, sickness, grief, etc:
Through Him we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice on the hope of the glory of God. Rm. 5:2
We can have joy in Him, because of Him- who He is, even in the worst times possible- for He is with us always:
whom having not seen, you love; in whom not yet seeing, but believing in Him you exult with unspeakable joy, and having been glorified, 1Pt. 1:8
And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen. Mt. 28:20

       Most people are unhappy because they are not born again and so have no true relationship with God, the Father- Jesus- Holy Spirit.  Without them in our lives, our lives are too difficult to get through, boring, stressful, hopeless, callous, lonely, miserable, painful- basically troubled, unhappy times.  Christians ought not be that way.  With them and through them we have all sorts of promises that can keep us going… so the more we surrender to the Lord of glory, the Creator of us all, the more of the promises we will see fulfilled in our lives.  Maybe then we will shine the peace, love and joy of the Lord on our faces even in the toughest of times.

Lord, every day help me to surrender even more of my life to You, and let nothing (from me) remain between us to stop us from getting closer!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

That Smells/ Looks Good Enough to Eat

       That’s where it all starts in the digestive system that our Lord chose to give us.  We see or smell food and it starts the saliva flowing in our mouths; it mixes with the food we chew and helps aid digestion.  Once broken up and softened, the food moves down our esophagus into the stomach which: stores the food, breaks it down, and slowly empties it into small intestine using strong wall muscles and gastric juices.

       There, with help from three friends- pancreas, liver and gallbladder, it is broken down more so nutrients can be absorbed into your blood (which then feeds your body).  From the small intestine to blood can take up to four hours.  The nutrient rich blood then goes to the liver which filters bad things out, decides where nutrients go and sends the waste to the large intestine- and you know where it goes from there!

       They say we can help our digestive system by eating healthy, rich in fiber foods and drinking lots of water.  Not other liquids, just lots of water!!!  Without a digestive system, we couldn’t get the nutrients we need to grow properly and stay healthy. (Info summary from website)  Ponder these verses that relate food to the Word of God:

How sweet are Your Words to my taste! More than honey to my mouth! Ps. 119:103
Your Words were found, and I ate them; and Your Word was to me the joy and gladness of my heart… Jr. 15:16
desire the sincere (pure) milk of the Word, as newborn babes, so that you may grow by it; 1Pt. 2:2
For everyone partaking of milk is unskillful in the Word of RighteousnessBut solid food belongs to those who are of full age, even those who because of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hb. 5:13,14
Ezekiel and John both had to eat scrolls given by the Lord (Ez. 3:1-3; Rv. 10:9)

       So the Lord Himself uses food as a metaphor for ‘eating’ the Word for nourishment.  If we put that in context of our digestive system, that means having our appetites whetted for the Word by what we hear, share, and see.  That will get our spiritual juices flowing.  As we read, study and meditate on the Word, we begin ‘breaking down’ and swallowing the food getting it inside our stomachs where it breaks down further.  Three friends help (Father, Son, and Spirit) help us by making the nutrients more absorbable into our blood to feed our bodies- making us healthy, strong and encouraging spiritual growth.

       What happens if we eat mostly junk food (hear, share, see mostly ungodly or worldly things) or neglect to drink enough pure water? (Ep. 5:26)  Our body has nothing healthy to digest and nourish us.  Starving ourselves of the nutrition of the Word is a sure path to spiritual death.  What we need to consume is healthy, rich in ‘solid food’ and pure water.  That will give us the most nutrient packed bang into our ‘blood’ in order to promote growth.

       Let us be thankful that we have an abundance of good food to eat here and enjoy every healthy meal of the Word we can get.  People in some countries cannot even own a Bible which must seem to them as a famine, “Behold, the days come, says the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine in the land; not a famine of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Words of Jehovah.(Am. 8:11)  We should not starve ourselves when we have a plentiful supply of food to eat, so let's get that spiritual nutrition flowing in our blood- for the advance of God’s kingdom and His glory!

Think on this: Ten years from now it won’t matter if you remember what you ate today, but it will matter that you were nourished enough for health and growth.