Monday, September 15, 2014

Where Does Your Strength Come From?

" Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have strength to go in & take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to posses, & so that you may live long in the land that the Lord swore to your forefathers to give to them & their descendants, a land flowing with milk & honey."
Deuteronomy 11:8-9 (NIV)

In this passage, the Lord uses Moses to instruct the Israelites about entering the Promised Land. He reminds them that the only place they will find strength to enter & live in this land, flowing with milk & honey, was through obedience to Him.

We know that God wants us to be obedient to Him the big things as well as the small things. And daily obedience is where we find emotional strength to walk in His peace. In one week plus one day, i will have my second hip replacement. It's been a long year since i started having trouble getting around & dealing with pain everyday. And each week, little by little, i noticed my mobility & pain was getting worse & worse. Yes, it's been very frustrating most of the time. When we are frustrated, we can't really walk in God's peace. It's hard to find reasons to be joyful - even though there are many. Sometimes things feel hopeless - even though nothing is hopeless. All this negativity can really take a toll on anyone. 

But everyday, when we get up, no matter what is going on in our lives, we have a choice to make. We need to choose where our strength will come from. I know what my answer is but what about you? Will you rely on yourself, or God? I can tell you that i Fully Rely On God! I honestly don't know how i would have gotten through this past year without Him.

"I can do everything through Him who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

Whether your weakness is an actual physical one, or an emotional one - or BOTH, we can be spiritually strong by staying focused on the one & only ONE who is the real source of unending strength.

So, if you have been relying on your own strength, confess this to God & ask Him for His strength. Ask Him to help you be more obedient to Him. And admit to Him that you cannot do this on your own. They open up your heart to God's love & His strength.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How's You Patience?

Let's see who recognizes themselves today.
* Do you ever race through a yellow light because you don't want to wait on a red light? (I have.)
* Do you every look up your symptoms on a medical website before you call for a doctor's appointment, because you don't want to sit in a doctor's waiting room? (Done that.)
* Have you ever spent more money for something on line because you didn't want to take the time to drive to the store & wait in line? (I'll give an exception to Christmas shopping.)
* Have you ever eaten dessert first because you just couldn't wait until after dinner? (This, i can honestly say that i. have not done. But i have had dessert for a meal because it was easier.)

We want what we want when we want it. We live in a time of instant gratification. We want things & we want them NOW! We want results & we want them NOW! BUT the Bible tells us that patience should be a way of life for all Christians. We know that God is love. For us to love like God loves, requires patience. I know how patient He has been with me. And as a Christian, one of our main goals should be to love God as He loves us. After all, our ultimate goal in life is to please God & become like Him.

"We also pray that you will be strengthened with the glorious power so that you will have all the patience & endurance you need."
Colossians 1:11 (NLT)

Now, i know that throughout life, we have to deal with trying people or ungrateful child, an inattentive waitress, slow moving checkout lane, someone who takes what we do for granted, etc. It's definitely challenging to remain patient & have the ability to endure graciously.

"...he who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6b (NIV)

The Bible says that God will complete the good works that He has begun in us. That carries implication that there WILL be some "in the meantime" time. And in Ephesians 4:2, Paul instructs us to "Be completely  humble & gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love."

And not only do we need to be patient with each other, but we must also be patient with God as we wait for His plan to come to fruition. We must wait for answers to prayers, for Him to provide our needs, or just for Him to reveal His will. Let's face it, we have NO choice but to wait on these circumstances.  This i have truly learned this year as i've waited & received healing from my first hip replacement & now waiting for my second hip replacement. I do not have a choice in many things...simple things....taking care of my house, cooking, laundry, going for a walk & so much more. But when i do have a particular painful &/or frustrating day, it does help to remember how wonderfully patient that God has been with me. 

The development of patience may seem like a daunting task. But today, give it a try. No more racing through yellow lights. It dangerous! So, as you wait at the red light, keep the work "patience" in the forefront of your mind. Think about how becoming more patient would change your day, your outlook, your health, your relationships. Check that your temper is no where near as strong as your patience.

"May God, who gives this patience & encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus."
Romans 15:5 (NLT)


Monday, August 18, 2014

Whatever Is Negative, Whatever Is Positive

Do you know what one of the most annoying words in the English language is? WHATEVER! Can you hear it in your head right now? Maybe used in frustration - "WHAT-EVER!!!"- emphasis on both syllables.Or maybe you're picturing a teen rolling their eyes & grumbling "what-EV-rrr." And it can also be a very hurtful word when words, ideas, etc., are being dismissed & so is the person.

There's also the older version of "whatever". Do you remember "Whatever floats your boat". Used over & over, this too can become very annoying. But generally, it was not used in a stern, negative far as i can remember. 
Or, if you are a country music fan, you might remember The Statler Brothers & their humorous love song.:

Statler Brothers

I'll give you
Whatever bangs your shutter,
Whatever melts your butter,
Whatever, whatever pops your corn,
Or blows your horn.
Whatever peels your banana,
Whatever plays your piano,
Whatever, whatever mows your lawn.
Let's go on.

Whatever it takes to make it better for you,
Whatever it takes to make you happy, I'll do.

Whatever lights your candle,
Whatever turns your handle,
Whatever, whatever fries your chicken.
Let's do a little pickin'.


Whatever cocks your pistol,
Whatever toots your whistle,
Whatever, whatever sails your boat,
Or gets your goat.

Whatever plows your garden,
Whatever begs your pardon,
Whatever, whatever bakes your bread.
Let's go ahead.

Whatever you want, you can always count on me.
Whatever you need, you know I will always be.

Whatever slays your dragon,
Whatever paints your wagon,
Whatever it takes to show your stuff,
That's enough

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me (Paul), or seen in me - put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV)

Probably, Paul would not agree that "whatever" was one of the most annoying words. Instead, he wrote that "whatever" was a word that summed up all the good things in life. And he instructed to use the word in considering all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. Then he finished with the instruction to think about these wonderful qualities & put them into practice. In return, you will receive God's peace.

How do you use the word "whatever"?  I admit that i have used this word in an annoying way - a negative way. But have you ever thought that "whatever" can present us with a spiritual opportunity? We can use "whatever" as a dismissing - i'm going to ignore you, your ideas, you - etc. Instead, how about turning "whatever" to the positive side by looking for the positive side of people & circumstances. The choice is up to each one of us. 

One way to apply the positive side, is to make a list of things that are excellent & praiseworthy gifts from God... books, music, family, friends, etc. Then reflect on how these things enrich your life. Then think about your annoyances - or "whatevers" in your life. Ask God to help you to replace the annoyances with the thoughts of  "whatever" is lovely.

I think last night - or should i say early this morning, God was preparing me for this post today. I usually wake up when my pain pill wears off & that happened about 1:15 or so this morning. I got up, took another pill, went to the bathroom & came back to my recliner/bed. And, as usual, wasn't sure if i would be able to go back to sleep. When i can't get back to sleep in about an hour, i usually think "whatever" & get up. But last night, in my mind, i was singing, "Heaven came down & glory filled my soul. When at the cross, my savior made me whole.....". I don't remember exactly where in the song that i fell back to sleep. I just know that a negative "whatever" was turned into a positive "whatever".

(Today's post is dedicated to my friend Chris. She knows why.)

Monday, August 11, 2014

We Want What We Want When We Want It.....BUT....

As humans, we do tend to want what we want, when we want it. It's true! We sometimes grow impatient. So, we try to get it by ourselves, rather than wait on help, & things turn out bad. That has happened to me more times that i can remember.

Many of us are asking God for help, in many ways. We do our best to wait patiently for His perfect timing. But in the back of our mind, we sometimes think, maybe i should just go for it. Do you realize that when you don't wait for God's answer, you are doubting  Him? Not trusting Him? We really CAN trust that God is working on our behalf & has our best interest in mind.  Is there something that you feel, that if you could have  it in you life right now, your life would be so much Better? (If only____.)

There are times with prayers that God seems to answer "no"....or at the very least "not now". For me, right now, i'm waiting on having my second hip replacement surgery. When i first saw my orthopedist, i had to wait 6 weeks for my surgery. So, when i go back in to have my stitches out, two weeks after surgery, i knew i wanted to get the second one done. Imagined how shocked & yes, frustrated, i was when i found out that i would have to wait ELEVEN weeks this time, for surgery. But God opened my eyes & made me see that by waiting so long, if i keep up my exercises, my right leg (with the old hip) will be stronger to begin with. Which in turn, will make for a quicker & easier recovery.

"Then He touched their eye & said, 'According to your faith will it be done to you.' "
Matthew 9:29 (NIV)

You need to believe that God will answer your prayer. Are you willing to surrender you will for God's will? That means that you give up your own ideas of how things should be. You need to have faith & trust God & His will. Also, ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in how to pray. If you lack faith, then ask God to help your unbelief. In Mark 9:23-24, the father said, "Lord I believe; help my unbelief!" Jesus DID answer this prayer. He just needed to ask.

"Every good & perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
James 1:17 (NIV)

I have seen God's gifts in my life. And i have learned to wait - as patiently as possible - on His perfect timing. I've learned to keep my heart & mind open, for His "no's" & "not yet's". And believe me, life is a whole lot better since i've learned this. I don't worry, because i know that God will take care of it. I'm not stressed , because i know that God will take care of it. And i always ask for HIS will to be done in ALL things. Because i know that HIS way is ALWAYS THE BEST WAY. You can have this too! Ask Jesus to help you with this. As in the preceding paragraph, you just need to ask.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Could You Have Done More?

This morning, i received an email from a long-time friend & learned that her mom is in the final stages of Alzheimer's. This, of course, saddened me. I know that her mom hadn't been well for quite some time & my friend has been a very courageous & long-term caregiver for her mom. This brought back memories of myself. I think most of us, when we look back at a situations like this, we tend to remember that we did do for these loved ones, but we could have done more.  And i am no exception to that. I could have done more. But i didn't & now, that's water, long under the bridge. I did what i thought i could do & all i did was done in love.

"Three things will last forever - faith, hop, & love -- and the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)

Whether it's a parent, a family member, a special person that is loved, we can all do better.  As my mobility remains not so mobile, i may not be able to spend much time with certain loved ones, but i can do the next best thing. I can pick up the phone & call them. I can write a note/letter using a real pen & paper....or send an email. =)  

"Love each other in the same way I have loved your"
John 15:12b (NLT)

We are commanded to love as we have been loved. I do understand how hectic life can get  & i understand how time can get away from us. But i must strongly remind you that life is short. None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow. Is there someone you need to spend more time with?

"The most important thing that should totally absorb our lives down here is the practice of REAL love. Why? Because love lasts. Love will be the only thing that matter in eternity."
Jill Brisco, author of Love That Lasts

Reading this quote, i hope that you all realize that this includes every one in your life. From your children, to your spouse, parents, grandparents, other family members & friends. Schedule this time into your life, if you have to.....write it in you planner. Here's a few suggestions to get you started:
* Write a little note & leave it in an unexpected place for someone to find
* Give time, make dates, with no strings attached - lunch, movie, or just sit & chat away from any distractions.
* Touch is a great way of showing love too, especially if someone special is older & has lost their spouse. Hold their hands, give them a REAL hug. This is good for everyone!
* Affirm & always be encouraging & complimentary. Tell them at least one positive thing that you believe about them.

I'm not really sure where God is taking me with this post today. Usually, i have a pretty good ending flowing about now. =) I just know that this is what He has laid on my heart. If you've read my posts before, you probably already know that before i start writing i ask God to give me HIS message & HIS words, that the post will touch someone's heart. And at this point, i pray that my list of suggestions to get you started will open your mind & inspire you to make time for those you love.

Monday, July 28, 2014

R-E-S-P-E-C-T Find Out What It Means To...Everyone!

Last night, Hubby & i were watching "Chopped" on the Food Network. Usually, as the show progresses, i end up rooting for one of the 4 chefs & usually, i root for a chef without an ego & an attitude. Last night was no exception. Of the 4 chefs, one of them seemed VERY pompous & even boasted that HE was the best, before the competition even began. Another chef, called a very humble lady "an old timer" & another chef, "the old guy". I realize that this IS a competition. But you can have a sense of competition & have respect for each other.

Unfortunately, this kind of disrespect goes on every day. It goes on at the workplace, home, schools, public places & even at churches. CHURCHES?! Yes, in churches - not all churches, but it does happen in God's house. I just seems that society as a whole has lost respect for one another. 

"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord"
Leviticus 19:18 (NIV)

Our love & respect for God should make us all want to follow His commands. We should automatically share an encouraging word, rather than spitting out a rude comment. And a lot of times, those who spit out those rude comments have little respect for themselves. So, they use rude comments, among other things, to make themselves look better. Unfortunately, they don't realize that it has the opposite effect.

Think about it. Thinkabout what this world would be like if we would just obey God's command. ALL spouses would respect each other. ALL children would honor their parents. There would be so much more learning in schools. Laws would be obeyed. No co-worker would be out to discredit anyone. Laws would be obeyed. And in churches, no one's personal agenda would even be thought of...only GOD'S plan! That would be a different world - a WONDERFUL world! Common courtesy would be the norm, instead of seeming like the exception. Can you imagine the difference in your next trip to Walmart!!! We would all know our neighbors & be willing to lend a helping hand to a stranger. How many videos have we seen of people being bystanders - who would rather watch something happen as if it's entertainment, then lend a hand?!  Our language would even change. Instead of talking about fears & anxieties & yes - even stress - those feelings would be replaced with amazing peace & goodwill, by being & receiving so many blessings.

This type of world may seem like a fantasy. But we can ALL work toward making it a reality. One step at time. Each & every one of us has that power! The power to CHOOSE to follow God's command - to respect - as HE intended us too. 

Now, i mentioned your next trip to Walmart. I have to confess that i used to DREAD going there! People were rude & cranky. But one day, i realized that it was ME that was becoming cranky & rude. I feel that i was that way, because i refused to be pushed around - so to speak. So i asked God to take control of me & my shopping trip. I asked HIM to let HIS light shine through me to everyone i met. What a different Walmart trip THAT was!!! And after i got home, i had an entirely different attitude. You can have that too & not just at Walmart, but every day, every where! Like they say, it's the little things that count. Share a smile with everyone whose eye meet yours. Hold the door for a stranger. Listen - really listen - when someone is talking to you. But first & foremost, ask God to help you obey His command.

"The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "
Galatians 5:14 (NIV)

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Letter to My Readers

Hello to my wonderful Readers!

As i decided to get my so called "schedule" on track this week. I realized that i hadn't done a blog post since the Monday after Easter. And Easter Sunday was the last time that i was able to attend our church. I have posted in the past of my issue with severe arthritis & lack of mobility, that i have been going through this year. Well, that Sunday morning, my pain level was extremely high. But i was bound & determined that i was going to church for Easter. By the time church was over, the pain was horrendous! Unfortunately, it was downhill even more after that.

But thankfully, things are looking up! PRAISE THE LORD!!! On June 24th, i had a full hip replacement. And now, after 4 weeks, i can say that i am doing very well. The way that i feel now compared to after surgery, is nothing short than miraculous!!! My pain level now is only about a third of what it was. There are no more tears due to pain & those were coming at least once a day. And each & every day, i get stronger & am able to do more things. It's such a wonderful feeling!

And i have faith that the miracles will continue. In September, i am scheduled to have the other hip done. With the replacement that i just had, i now have one leg that's about an inch longer than the other one. So i'm a little bit lopsided right now. But i am sure that when things get evened out, my mobility will be even better & strength will increase even more. 

I am so thankful for answered prayers & for all those prayers that were said on my behalf. The Great Physician has certainly had His healing hands on me -- both physically & emotionally. I am really feeling like myself emotionally. And i know that with this other surgery, i'll be on the road to "getting my life back". Compared to where i was in April, i am experiencing miracle after miracle. 

Yes! Miracles do happen! Every day!!!

I pray that you all have a week of blessings....more than you could ever imagine.