Today finds me almost knee deep in snow with a hint of sunshine and very cold. I’m thankful for a day off from my job to be able to spend some time with my Lord and reflect and the past couple of months. Life is a journey whether you’re in the Lord or not. But when you walk with someone on her journey that isn’t in the Lord and this journey renders life or death it can be another dynamic. Evangelism is a very real part of my walk in Christ and I take my salvation as well as someone else’s very serious. In December I took a friend to the hospital for a pretty common surgery. A hysterectomy and bladder sling. As a woman I know many women who have had this done. As the anesthesiologist was putting the tube down her throat he discovered a tumor on her vocal cords. They called in an oncologist came up to the waiting room for direction and was given the ok to proceed with the surgery. We would deal with the results of the tumor after. Before the surgery was over we knew it was cancer. The next three to four weeks were filled with Dr. appointments and tests. During one test they discovered a spot on her colon. The next surgery was a little more complicated as they did a colonoscopy, a port and a feeding tube. Again as they began surgery the surgeon stopped and came to us in the waiting room to tell us that the mass in her throat had grown so big that to prevent suffocation he needed to put in an emergency tracheonomy. We had minutes before found out that the spot in her colon was indeed cancer. With permission the surgeon hurried back to surgery. As of now my friend is in a nursing home that takes her to her radiation treatments. A dr. has given a time frame of a month left for her to live. No one will tell her that her time is short. She doesn’t want to hear about salvation right now and my heart is breaking for her. My prayers continue for her and even though I’m not welcome in her room I know there is no distance in prayer and the Lord can go into her room and speak his love over her. I know we are given freedom of choice and that is an awesome grace from our God, but for her not to be told her time is short is taking that freedom from her. The scripture that I keep coming too is in 2 Corinthians 10:4 for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty for the pulling down of strongholds. Oh how thankful I am for the weapons of warfare that I have been given through my mighty Lord and Savor Jesus Christ. I’m fighting to end.
That’s what they say about this time of year from Thanksgiving to January 1st.Although I’d like to share with you that just because it titled “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year “ it doesn’t mean it is. Actually for more people than we will know it is the most depressing time of the year. Life doesn’t stop with bad news, tragedy or loss of any kind when the calendar turns to this time of the year. Quite the contrary, the bad news comes, tragedy hits and loss happens. For some loss has already happened and this time of the year makes it harder to bear. For those in mourning it doesn’t turn into laughter and joy just because the song is being sung. The loss of a loved one is a very real and traumatic thing that happens to us all. Whether it’s expected or unexpected it’s all trauma and it hurts. So what does one do during such a time as this when there is no joy? First of all it’s OK to cry. There is healing in tears and second don’t deny the pain and heartache you feel, for in denial one tends to withdraw within themselves. When this happens it’s much harder for one to reach out for the comfort that is so desperately needed. Lets reflect on a story in the scriptures that is a very good example. In John 11:17-45. This is the story of Martha and Mary when their brother Lazarus died. They both were very troubled and mourning his death when Jesus came back into town. In the story Jesus called forth Lazarus from the dead but that is not the part I want to talk about. It’s that place that yes they questioned where Jesus was and why he wasn’t there when their brother was dying but it’s also the part of the scripture that tells us how they in their loss and heartache allowed Jesus into that place to comfort them and help them. It’s that place that we so often close off to God and to others when we are hurting so bad that we can only see the darkness. Mourning the loss of a loved one is inevitable, we are humans living in a fallen world. It’s a part of being human, not the best part but most definitely a part. Before Jesus ascended to the Father he told us he would send us a comforter. Jesus himself said I will give you peace that passes all understanding. Jesus himself is peace. Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly. How then does the trauma of loss and bad news bring us such despair and rob us of life and peace, and keep us form being comforted?
Another example I would like to point out is when Jesus was on the cross and at that moment the he bore all of our sins on himself and the Father looked away because in him there is no sin. Jesus cried out in agony to the Father saying “My God My God why have you forsaken me?” It was the sin that separated Jesus from the Father and that brought the most agonizing reality to our savior because the presence of the Father wasn’t with him. Jesus died to reconcile us to the Father and nothing will stand in the way of that relationship unless we let it. We are loved with a perfect love and we are given the keys to the kingdom. We shouldn’t be moved away from that gift, that reality and that relationship by what happens here. Yes it hurts beyond words and yes it feels like the life has been sucked out of us. But it hasn’t if we don’t let it. Just like Mary and Martha, they took their sorrow, heartache and loss to Jesus. They still had questions but they allowed him into that place in their hearts. For me the holidays have brought great sorrow. My brother had big plans to join us on Thanksgiving after being away for several years in the service, and as the day grew closer and the excitement was mounting we lost him to a drunk driver in another state. During the holidays that was the most festive time for my mother. Her body could not fight the cancer and the battle was lost on new years day, and for my youngest sister of forty who was a widow and the mother of four young children, her battle to cancer was lost on January 29th. The lights still shine and the music still plays “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” and it doesn’t stop the loss and the heartache. But with my heart open to the one who is peace and the comforter whom Jesus sent to me. I’m one with the Father and yes it still hurts and yes I miss my family but my joy is complete and my life is full. I’ve been given the keys to the kingdom and lights are bright and the songs are being sung, because I’ve chosen life. Life here in the now and life eternal. For those who are mourning loss of any kind, its ok to cry, it’s ok to mourn and it’s ok to ask a question but take all of that to the one who came to give us life more abundant here and eternally. Be honest with yourself and with God so in that confession there is no denial and your heart opens up to the life giver. No matter what time of the year it is, it can be the most wonderful time if we allow ourselves life to overcome the loss. Blessings to you in whatever time of the year you are in and may you allow the giver of life into your life.
Good morning to you. This is Thanksgiving week and I’m sure most of you are busy with
Preparations. For me everyday is a day of thanksgiving, I am so very thankful for my family and friends as well as my church family but most of all so thankful for my saviour Jesus Christ. Without his sacrifice on the cross I would be doomed but now my hope and salvation is in him alone. What a glorious life everyday is with Jesus. I will be working retail again this year and from today until Saturday I will be very busy. Except of course Thursday. The retail place I work fortunately is closed all of Thursday. A blessing! I want to share with you a poem I wrote many years ago. I hope you enjoy it and it blesses you.
Forest of Love
In the wonder of the warmth, I stand in all my Glory grounded in richness,
Anchored in strength and clothed in the beauty that comes from within. The
Essence of my created form reaching to the heavens in an expression of praise
To the one who created me.
It’s in this season that the thickness of my nature hides life with-in, it is fed
Nurtured, protected and multiplied.
It is during mid-life that the beauty of my nature comes forth. I am arrayed
In the natural wonder of earthly color. The life with-in is preparing for the
Next stage of life.
It is at this stage that I stand bare before the world. My stature comes in many
Different forms. Tall and lean, short and round, bold and mighty. The life with-in
That has been so well hidden in my youth now stands exposed to all.
My glory and beauty that once waved praises to my creator, now lays blanketed
At my feet in solemn silence. My life is stilled for a time of rest, only to come
Vibrantly back to life-bearing testimony of my creator.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all may every day be a happy thanksgiving to our Lord Jesus! Blessings!
Today I’d like to talk about trusting the Lord. This is what you always hear when your struggling with something, like finances, addiction, marital problems, children, your job. All the areas of life. So how does something so cliché and simple work? Is it really as simple as trusting God? The things I mentioned above are only a few areas of the things we can trust God in. Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding”. The meaning of trust is the assured reliance on the strength, ability and truth of God and nothing else. I’ve been a believer for a long time and I thought I trusted my Lord in all the areas I needed to. But I just found out different. Oh how I love how the Holy Spirit continually reveals to me things that are keeping me from that fullness or complete relationship with my God. Let me explain with a visual that has helped me over the years. At salvation we ask Jesus into our lives and he comes to live in our hearts. So I’ve actually pictured the Lord in my heart. This is my literal sense of being. One day many years ago I was standing in my living room and It was as if I saw Jesus stand up on the inside of me and stretch his arms and legs out and say to me, “get the garbage out.” Wow that was interesting since Jesus forgives our sins and it’s removed, but at the same time I knew there were things in my life I was struggling with even with Jesus on the inside and he was telling me they were in his way. Or in his space, so to speak. Well obviously, it’s been years later and I’m still “getting the garbage out”. Oh how I am so thankful for grace and mercy. So periodically I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that is in the way of my relationship with my Lord, so I can deal with it and “get it out”. So here’s another visual that has helped me. I picture my heart as having many chambers. The chambers represent each area of my life. The scripture says to trust God with ALL your heart. As the Holy Spirit reveals an area in my heart that I’m not trusting God, He also reveals with such love my sin of not trusting God in that area and how I’ve been holding on to that area and in what ways. So the other day this happened. I was so shocked because I thought I was trusting God in this particular place. So after repentance and awe I gave that place or chamber up and let my Lord into that place in my heart. It’s an awesome feeling of Gods love, grace, mercy and peace when this happens. So I know now that Jesus my Lord is getting all my heart. It may be in pieces as it’s revealed to me but it’s my will for him to get it all. So you can ask the Holy Spirit also if there is an area in your life that is hindering your relationship with your Lord, so you also can let him into that place in your heart. And that’s living life.
While at work last night, two young men came into the store. Unlikely place for two young men, you see it’s a fabric store. As I was putting things back on the shelf they approached me. A little bashful and apologizing for interrupting my work, the one young man proceeded to ask me if I had pain in my body. Then quickly went on to say that they were Christians and walking through the mall wanting to pray for people. I quickly let my guard down knowing they weren’t trying to sell me anything or a cult, and began to talk. I told them, “for my age I thought I was doing pretty well but would always welcome prayer” and proceeded to ask for prayer for my husband. I began to share with them what a blessing they are to people and how they are honoring God. I went on too share with them that I have been a believer for over 40 years and how it’s a process to be Christ like. Speaking as the Holy Spirit led I was able to minister to them and encourage them in their journey with Jesus. I then got called away to take care of a customer. I was blessed for that God encounter with young believers, the one was a brand new Christian. That was surely a God moment that I embrace with thankfulness and blessing. So keep on in your journey with Jesus, he is the way the truth and the very life you breathe and live. For each step you encounter whether triumph or trial will be one more step bearing the image of Christ in your body soul and spirit. And that’s living life!
Oh my wonderful Jesus, he knows exactly what to say to make a point and to clarify and solidify what he’s saying to us. While reading the gospel of John the other day the very end of the book Jesus is talking to Peter. In John 21:15 Jesus begins to speak specifically to Peter and he asks him if he loves him, Peter would answer Jesus and then Jesus would ask the same question again. I can almost hear the frustration in Peters voice as he answers the question three times. Jesus was testing Peter’s heart before giving him the calling God had placed on his life. Jesus even went so far as to tell Peter what the end of his life would be like. I’m thinking that was part of the test also. To see if Peter would turn away, but Peter didn’t seem the least bit phased by what Jesus was telling him. There’s a song that comes to mind as I read the last part of what Jesus was telling Peter. The song is titled “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” one of the phrases goes ‘turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his glorious face.” In verse 19 Jesus said to Peter “follow me”. Then in verse 21 Peter was watching another disciple and said to Jesus “ Lord what about this man?” Jesus, full of grace and mercy and at this point I’m thinking much patience said to Peter, If I want him to remain until I come, “ What is that to you?” “ You follow me!” Oh what a wealth of descriptive knowledge we get in these scriptures. How many times do we hear “ keep your eyes on Jesus?” Peter was looking right into the eyes of our Savior and still he pointed to the guy next to him, basically saying to Jesus, “ well what about him, what’s he gonna do?” now that’s my own paraphrase but it fits. I’m sure Jesus gently but firmly made Peter look at him when he said, “ You! follow me!” Jesus points out that what he tells another to do has nothing to do with you, that person is my business not yours. These scriptures reveal how our sin nature is and how easy it is for us to take our eyes off of Jesus and look at someone else or even ourselves. We must turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in his glorious face to follow him, with all our heart and strength. Jesus had that conversation with Peter and I’m sure he’s had that same conversation with each of us, I know he has me, as we fulfill our calling on our lives to “Follow Him.”
For the past several weeks I have thought much about identity and names. This has me thinking about how important our name is and how much it’s linked to our identity. Proverbs 22:1 says that “ A good name is to be more desired that great riches.” Or in some translations “ a good name is greater than gold.” There are different scenarios in life concerning the name that seems to lead to the same equation of who you are and your identity. One scenario is a blessing for our family but at the same time sadness for another family. One of my sons married a wonderful woman many years ago. In this marriage she brought with her two beautiful young children. We immediately embraced them as our own and now they are grown adults. When our grandson was about to be married he came to my son and asked him to adopt him. This totally took us all by surprise because there is a bio father alive. Without hesitation my son began the process of adoption. It was not difficult because of our grandson being an adult. The adoption went through right before the wedding and we now have a grandson and granddaughter with our name. Soon another adoption went through and it was for our great-grandson who was our grand daughters son when they married. I have often thought about how traumatic of a choice that was for our grandson to relinquish his biological name to bear the name of his step father. All seem to be very happy and thriving in their new identity. Another scenario is a young adult who went through great trauma as a very young child and continued on through their early teens. The two people who gave them their name at birth left this earth when they were still a preschooler and then ended up in a very abusive home until their early teens. I have watched this person struggle in ways that tell they are holding on to the things that they think gives them their identity and security but at the same time they are so insecure and unhappy. These wounds were put on them by others in their young life and now as a young adult they bears the scars. My prayer for them is that they will cry out to the one who can give them true identity and security and that is Jesus. Another is a young teenager who has again been abandoned and neglected all through their formative years. They have an opportunity to be adopted but they aren’t sure about changing their name. They seem to be holding on to the only identity they know. My grandsons decision to change his name was a willful and thought through choice. He isn’t struggling with an identity crisis. The wonderful thing about him is he knows who loves him. The others however are struggling with who they are and they are needing to know they are loved. They don’t’ know what love feels like, looks like and seem to be holding on to a false love. Philippians 2:9 tells us that the name of Jesus is above all names. In him we will have first eternal salvation but peace and security. We will be one with him. In Jesus we will have a name, and know who we are, he tells us we are His. I pray for the walls that have been built up around these hearts, to keep true love out, will begin to crumble. So that they can begin to receive true love, identity and purpose that they were birthed for. To watch an identity crisis play out in one’s life in heartbreaking. It truly takes the love of God in one’s heart to break through the wall and let that person out. 1 Peter 4:8 says“ love covers a multitude of sins.” In these people I see deep wounding and rejection. It’s Gods love that covers sins but it also fills the heart. Opening ones heart to receive love from another human and even God is often a very difficult thing to do when one has been abused. But once we choose to love and be loved and choose forgiveness that love that Peter talks about covers those sins of abuse. Accepting Jesus as your savior is the beginning of eternally knowing Gods love and who we are in Christ and who he is in us. Then we will come to know who we are inside and out.