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.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Listen For God's Whispers

Have you ever listened to the whispers? I have a dear friend who has a very close relationship with our Father. She was told this last weekend, to tell me, to listen to His whispers. Now, i always try to keep my heart & mind open to what God has to say. And i've told you before, how i ask God for HIS words when i write my blog post. But have you ever tried to hear a whisper, when there is a lot of background noise?

"He says, 'Be still, & know that I am God;
 I will be exalted among the nations;
 I will be exalted in the earth.' "
Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

No wonder that we are instructed to BE STILL. This morning, there have been a lot of things on my heart, so this post may not "flow" well, but i pray that God's message will be clear. And with Easter coming, my mind is full things that are being whispered to me, that is just ready to spill out. 

There is a lot of rain in our area today & with that, comes a very high pain level for me. But this morning, as i'm whining to myself about my pain level, it was whispered to me, a reminder of the pain level that Jesus endured. I just can't imagine. And when i first saw "The Passion of Christ", even though i "knew" what Jesus went through, with the intensive picture on the big screen, it became so much more real for me. All i could do was sit there & cry. What an amazing love, that Jesus had, to endure so much for me! For you!! For every single person who is born on this earth!!!

He died for us!
He was buried in the tomb for us!
And up from the grave He arose for us!

Easter is about an empty tomb - not a full basket!!! Unless.....

I believed in the Easter Bunny when i was a kid. And i still think that Easter Bunnies are adorable. Most of us probably did believe in the Easter Bunny when we were young. I'm pretty confident too, saying that we all were taught & knew the real reason for Easter. There is something that is really weighing on me & if i offend anyone, i'm sorry. But i have to say this! The Easter Bunny was always at home & NOT at church.There are churches that have Easter Egg hunts following their Easter service. And i'm sorry, but in my opinion, the Easter Bunny should not be at church! How can we celebrate the most holiest of days during a worship service, during Sunday School, during Youth Church, etc., when all the young ones are excited about an Easter Egg Hunt & all the goodies they will find?! How do we teach them what's most important?!

Easter is "the rest of the story", as Paul Harvey would have said. It IS the rest of the Christmas story. I remember when stores started being open on Easter & companies stopped giving holiday pay for that day, because, they said, it was a "religious" holiday. I can remember my mom being as frustrated with that as i am with the Easter Bunny & Egg Hunts at church. She would say, "What the heck do they think Christmas is?!" Yes, Easter IS the rest of the Christmas story. Jesus was born so that He could die for us!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16-17 (NIV)

Now that IS the greatest story ever told AND the best ever love story. I do pray that you all will listen to God's whispers. And that this week, that God will touch your heart in ways that you never thought possible.

Monday, April 7, 2014

God's Love Can Empower You!

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one & only Son, so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal live.
John 3:16 (NIV)

We all know this verse, but when was the last time that you really thought about the degree of love that God had for each & everyone of us, when He sacrificed His son to bear our sins. Yet, we still sin. Do you ever find yourself doing something that you know you should not do? I admit it; i do.

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life & godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by Hi own glory & goodness."
2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

So true! He has given us His word to study & learn what we should & shouldn't do. But we do things we shouldn't anyway. The Bible says, that when we return to our vices again & again, we are like "dogs returning to our vomit". (Proverbs 26:1) YUCK!!! The thought of that alone should make us stop in our tracks before we do what we shouldn't do. So why do we return to our vices when we now that Jesus conquered sin our our be half? Sin has power & we enjoy it. It gives us something that we are searching for --pleasure,  escape, wealth, power, attention -- the list could go on & on. But sin always has consequences that we don't want. Unfortunately, those consequences don't over power the feel good moments.

So how can we overcome the sins that we have a love-hate relationship with? A powerful love! A surpassing love!! A greater love!!! It is the love that God has shown us when He gave His Son for US! This love comes with no hate, no guilt, & no shame. And the endless benefits - aka blessings - that are promised ARE delivered. This love IS more powerful than the allure of any sin. Immerse yourself in God's powerful love. Read about it regularly in His word. Drink it in. Pray for it. And see it work in your life. We can't help but love God back with all our hear, soul & minds. Immersing ourselves in the everlasting love of God, we become willing & able to walk away from our sins. Fill your mind & heart with God's Powerful Love & ask His forgiveness to the sins that you return to. And ask Him to empower your to walk away, with Him by your side.

Monday, March 24, 2014

God's Extreme Makeover - I Can Only Imagine

First i must apologize to you - my readers & friends - for not posting last Monday. Between the pain & sleep deprivation, i just could not focus on anything. But i'm sleeping better now, only it's in the recliner instead of the bed. But at least i'm sleeping.

Yesterday at church, we closed the service with one of my favorite songs, "When We All Get To Heaven" I'm sure that the majority of you know, at least, the chorus....

"When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We'll sing & shout the victory."

When i sing this song, i can't help but imagine being reunited with many loved one who have passed. Plus, meeting my little brother, who had a life span of only a few hours. Maybe this reunion with those i miss is in the forefront of my self conscience, because last Friday was the anniversary of my dad's farm accident, that took his life, 33 years ago. I was an only child & definitely a Daddy's girl. I still miss him every single day.  But enough about that.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Revelation 21:4 (NIV)

This "old order" is characterized by the debilitating effects of sin, suffering, sorrow, death, mourning, & pain. All of these things will be gone forever! Hallelujah! God will wipe away ALL tears & death will be NO MORE! Now THAT'S a victory!!!

Do you picture yourself in Heaven like this? I do. "When We All Get To Heaven" was written in 1898. I don't think that it's a coincidence that just a little over 100 years later, a song for this age was recorded. In 1999, the group Mercy Me recorded "I Can Only Imagine". Again, i'm sure that most of you at least know the chorus.

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my hear feel,
Will I dance with You, Jesus, or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall,
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all.
I can only imagine."

We CAN ONLY imagine. But i want to share with you a "God Moment" that i had with this beautiful song. Last fall, was when my arthritis really began to get painful. The pain was not 24/7 like it is now, but really was becoming an issue. On the way to church on a beautiful fall Sunday morning, i realized that i had not put the CD of music for the service in my purse. (OHHHHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!) Well, church is about 7 miles away from home in a neighboring town. So hubby got out of the truck at church & i high-tailed it back home. The radio was on our local Christian station & i was singing along, hurrying back home. guessed it..."I Can Only Imagine" cam on the air. I was singing as loud as i could, because i LOVE that song! And i felt the Spirit with me. I KNEW that i would make it home & back to church in time & without incident. Singing the chorus, filled with the Spirit, i KNEW that Jesus was listening. And after the chorus, i also knew that "to my knees will I fall". I have had issues with my knees since High School & i'm not telling you how many years ago that was. I can't remember the last time that i was actually able to get on my knees & pray. But i KNOW that "When We All Get To Heaven"..."on my knees will i fall". What an awesome EXTREME MAKEOVER!

What extreme makeover are you looking forward to the most? As we wait for that time, & live the lives that God has blessed us with, we CAN look forward to that day, that we meet Jesus face to face. Or as the last verse of "When We All Get To Heaven" says....

"Onward to the prize before us!
Soon His beauty will behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open;
We shall tread the streets of gold."

See you there!!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Friends Are Blessings & What We Can Do For Them

As most of you know, i've been dealing with physical pain & lack of mobility for awhile now. But do you know that i am very thankful for this affliction? I am! I'm thankful, that i have learned how many people really do care for me & are praying for me. I've always known that i have been blessed by a wonderful circle of friends that have always been a great support system & i thank God for them every day. But i never realized, until recently, how large that circle has grown. I can never thank God enough for so many blessings!

Reflecting on all this today, it made me think of how we pray for our friends. Very often, i just say thank You & ask for God's blessings on them. There's nothing wrong with that. Often, we don't know what's really going on with our friends & that's fine too. God knows. But yesterday, i read something that was placed on my heart to share with you today.

In Colossians, Chapter 1, Paul sends a powerful prayer for his fellow Christians. Now, i don't know how many times i have read this passage. And i'm sure that i am not the only one who may read some scripture & then just go on. But today, i'm asking you today to read this prayer as i did yesterday & i have broken it down just that way.

"...Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you & asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom & understanding.

"And we pray this in order that you may have a life worthy of the Lord & may please Him in every way:

"bearing fruit in every good work,

"growing in the knowledge of God,

"being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance & patience,

"and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

"For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness & brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves

"in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
Colossians 1:9-12 (NIV)

I hope that you felt the power of this prayer as i did.

Yes, we can always go to Jesus in our time of need & in our friends' time of need. We ARE connected to the One who has authority over ALL things....knows ALL things...loves us UNCONDITIONALLY. He wants to hear our hearts' desires, & bless us with His wisdom & strength to walk in His ways. And He wants that for your friends too! Just as you do. Think about someone whose eternal life you are concerned about. Then, using Paul's powerful example, daily pray & petition God to work in that person's life. There are several people that i have been concerned about their eternal life. So, i am vowing to do this - to intercede for some dear friends. And in faith, i KNOW that i'm going to watch & see how God changes their lives & experience the blessings of His good works.

Monday, March 3, 2014

After Stretching - Exercise....Meditation

Last week, i talked about stretching for God. Carving time out of your day for your Bible Study & Prayer Stretches. I pray that you are feeling more Spiritually fit already! Now it's time to really start exercising. Don't worry. You can handle it! Just keep your stretches at the forefront. Those are you basic preparation for you exercising.

This week's exercise is MEDITATION.

"Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the sea of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, 
and on His laws he meditates day & night."
Psalm 1:1-2 (NIV)
By keeping God's word on your heart & in your mind, your reassured that God is right there with you all day long. What a wonderful comfort that is. Knowing that you are never alone.

There are many ways to meditate on God's Word. And it is more simple than it sounds. Do you remember those memory verses from Sunday School &/or Bible School? Yep! That's how to begin. Take time to read a passage of scripture over & over & over again, & memorize all, or part of it. It will always be in your heart. Then quiet your hear & listen. Ask & allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through scripture. Have you every read a passage of scripture that you became emotional about? AWESOME! Allow yourself to feel what God wants you to feel. In an adult Sunday School class, that i used to lead, we were always in awe of how a passage of scripture, can give us a different message at different times in our lives. THAT is allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you through scripture.

"I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your law is within my heart."
Psalm 40:8 (NIV)

If you want to know the will of God for the future, be disciplined. When the time is right, your Spiritual senses will be alert to the perfect will of our loving Father.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Spiritual Stretching

There are so many things that we prepare for. We prepare for vacations, make grocery lists, to do lists, job interviews, doctor's appointments, etc. Some blogger prepare ahead of time what they are going to write about WAY ahead of time. That doesn't work for me. For one, i'm not THAT organized & for two, i do enjoy sitting down on Mondays, praying for God to give me His message & going through scripture to find just the right passages, as well as just the right creation on Etsy, which i randomly. That's how i prepare to write my weekly blog posts.

Preparation is an important part of realizing God's will also. As humans, we want to know God's will & we want to know it NOW. But we need to prepare to know & obey what God has planned for us. Are you ready to follow when God makes it clear what He wants for you? First, you meed to do some spiritual stretching & exercising. Ick!!!...Exercising!!! I debated whether to use that word or not. But these are good exercises that will prepare you for everlasting life. Just like we - or some of us - exercise for a healthier life here on Earth. Even, with my lack of mobility, i have exercises to do for strengthening.

Bible Study Stretch
"That copy of the laws shall be his constant companion. He must read from it every day of his life so that he will learn to respect the Lord his God by obeying all of His commands."
Deuteronomy 17:19 (LB)
Obviously, according to this verse, we ARE to read our Bible, every day of our life! For those of you who are already in a Bible Study group, or have a Bible Study plan, that's awesome. And you are right on the mark! For those of you who don't, you may ask, "Where do I start?" This is only my opinion, but i recommend starting with Psalms. That's were i started many years ago & they taught me how to praise & showed me that i wasn't the only one who needed help. Many others would say to start with the Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John - learn about Jesus & His life & His death. And my hubby will suggest that you start with Proverbs, that are full of life principles. It doesn't really matter WHERE you begin, just begin.

Prayer Stretch
"Pray without ceasing"
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Yes! WITHOUT CEASING! Has someone been on your mind lately, but you don't know why? Say a prayer for them. Just stop for a moment & ask God to bless this person. Granted, we don't know what's going on with this person, but God does. And it doesn't matter if it's out loud or silently. Did you & your neighbor say "hi" this morning? Thank God for blessing you with nice neighbors.....for a roof over your to eat....the blessing list is endless. But, to me, the most special prayer time is when you have time alone with God. Quiet prayer time is as important of spiritual stretch as Bible Study. It's time that you set aside for just you & God. I've heard people say that they don't know how to pray. Do you know how to carry on a conversation with your BFF? Then you can talk to God. Just clear your mind & start talking. God listens to ALL prayers.

"I desire to do Your will, O my God:
Your law is withing my heart."
Psalm 40:8 (NIV)

These are your spiritual stretching exercises. Pretty simple, huh? I challenge everyone who reads this to start your stretching this week, if you don't already do this daily. The best way to prepare for a race is by stretching. Life on this earth is not a race, but it IS a marathon.