I have been blessed over the last weeks to have many people praying for me. I am grateful for those prayers and for those who helped in many other ways.
I also think back to the nights in the hospital and even the times I woke up in the middle of the night once I was home. Those were times of being reminded by God of his tender care of me. The verses he would bring to my mind or the fragment of a hymn.
“Jesus the name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrow cease. ‘Tis music in the sinners ears. ‘Tis life and health and peace.”
Our world is in trouble right now. It is more than a physical sickness. It is a spiritual darkness that envelops many. We think especially of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, but there are many people hurting in many locations like Afghanistan and China. It seems hopeless, but we have a God who sees and hears. He still comforts those in trouble. He is at work even in the darkness. Our hope lies not in governments or leaders, but in the God who patiently waits for men to turn to Him. My prayer is that the current trouble causes such a turning.
My granddaughter, Arianna and I recorded this a couple of years ago. It was written by Emma and Stuart Townend. “I Am Here for You”.
For further study:
Deuteronomy 3:22 – “Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you.”
Isaiah 31:1 – “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, And trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!”
Isaiah 41:10, 13b – “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” “…Do not fear, I will help you.”
Jeremiah 31:3 – “…I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”
Matthew 28:20b – “lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
John 16:33b – “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
I John 4:10 – “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is interrupted or slowed. A clot forms, breaks off and damages part of the brain. Depending on where it happens and how long the brain is deprived of its blood supply determines the symptoms that affect the rest of the body.
Right now my body is in the process of healing or I like to describe it as waking up. It is wonderful to see God’s self-healing design at work.
I was reading Ephesians 1:19-23 today and was encouraged by “the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe”. I would encourage you to read the whole passage. It also talked about Christ being the head of all things.
Later in Colossians 1:18 “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.”
When Christ doesn’t have first place there is a disconnect. Our life will be out of order. The church will be out of order. Our world will be out of order.
My prayer is for my own life to be connected to Christ my head in every way. I pray the same for His church and each of your lives.
I’ll finish with a song that seems to relate to my present situation. I pray it will be a blessing to you.
Keith Green – Your Love Broke Through.
Just to let you know I had a stroke last Friday. It will be a few weeks until I can post anything. Slowly making progress.
“Jesus the name that calms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease.
Tis music in the sinner’s ear, tis life and health and peace.”
(April 7, 2014)
I broke my ankle two months ago. To say I’ve learned somethings is an understatement. I’ve watched as my five year old graddaughter, Arianna, mimics my movements. She holds one foot up and hops because I hold my foot up. She puts her foot on a pillow because I put my foot on a pillow. When I started doing exercises to strengthen my muscles she got down on the floor and did them with me. Saturday when my husband took us to town she insisted on wearing one boot and one shoe so she could be just like me.
I’ve started doing some walking without the crutches and I have a peculiar gait. Later in the day I noticed Arianna was walking just the same. The more we are together the more she acts like I act. She has become a disciple of how someone who has a broken ankle behaves. This behavior is not an outgrowth of duty, but of love.
That’s what a disciple does. They study the person who they want to emulate. They become like them, not so much from will power, but from simply being exposed to their manner of life and ways.
How else is Arianna acting like me?
- It is my habit to study and read my Bible before I get out of bed in the morning. Arianna will often join me there with her own books in tow. (This is a good thing.)
- I love chocolate. I have to limit how much is in the house or I would eat too much, too often. Arianna has that same love of chocolate. (Not such a good thing.)
- It is my habit to thank the Lord before I eat. One day when I took a bite before praying Arianna in a disturbed voice scolded. “YOU NEED TO THANK THE LORD!” (Good thing)
- I’m not always patient. When I hear Arianna say, “Oh, for stupid!” I know where she learned it. (Not a good thing)
I could go on, but don’t wish to incriminate myself any further.
Who am I acting like? What is coming out in my actions because of who or what I have been studying? Arianna’s watchful imitation reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 16:24 “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” It also reminds me of what Paul said in Colossians 3:3 “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
If I am a disciple of Jesus my life should be wrapped up in His. I should day by day look to His interests, not my own. Realizing that true life begins and ends with Christ. Knowing that there is no real life without Him and so there is no real sacrifice in living my life for Him. As I fix my gaze on Him He is transforming me into His image.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, jast as from the Lord, the Spirit.” II Corinthians 3:18
This post is dedicated to my oldest granddaughter, Ashlee. Too quickly you have grown from the little girl in this story to a beautiful young lady.
I firmly believe God gives us children and grandchildren, not so we can teach them, but so they can teach us. Ashlee, you are still one of my favorite people. Love, Grandma.
(First published January 2, 2014)
I know a rabbit named Baabaa. She had downy white fur with soft pink on the inside of her ears. Her eyes were bright and sparkling. She had an orange scarf around her neck. There was a zipper on her underside that opened to a little pocket that carried a tiny baby bunny.
Baabaa came to live with a little girl with red hair when she was just a baby and became her constant companion. When the little girl is tired or afraid she pulls Baabaa close to her face and whispers in the soft pink ears.
The scarf was lost long ago. The eyes are dull and scratched. The zipper is broken, and the tiny baby bunny has been put away for safe keeping. She has been washed so many times that her permanent color is grey. Her coat is matted and worn. The ears which once were so lovely are her roughest part. She has been held and dragged and kissed and loved until she is misshapen, stained and unrecognizable as a rabbit.
There was one horrible episode where she was lost in a store and the little girl spent the night crying… and worrying about where she was… and would she ever see her again. She was retrieved the next morning by the girl’s mother and quickly kissed and hugged and cried over with much relief. From that point on the little girl was more careful with her. She held her tighter when they ventured out.
What is Baabaa worth? Sadly, she would not fetch even 25 cents at a garage sale. Most people would throw her away if they found her, but to one little girl, with red hair, Baabaa’s price is far above rubies. Baabaa would be a very foolish rabbit indeed if she was proud and bragged about how valuable she was. Her value lies only in being loved by a little girl named Ashlee. Without Ashlee her value is less than nothing. There is nothing good or valuable in her.
We are like Baabaa. We are worn and bedraggled and misshapen. We have no worth, but there is someone who loves us and in that is our value. We would be foolish people indeed to brag about how good and valuable we are. No, our only value is in being loved by a good and merciful God. A God who chooses to use broken and weak people to do amazing things.
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” I Corinthians 1:26-31
(First published 12-17-13)
Even though Joseph was from a dysfunctional family he lived a life of integrity. Several times in scripture it mentions “the Lord was with him”. His life was anything but smooth sailing, but the Lord was with him.
The Lord was with him when he was thrown into a pit by his brothers.
The Lord was with him when his brothers sold him into slavery.
The Lord was with Him when He worked in Potiphar’s house.
The Lord was with him when he was falsely accused, by Potiphar’s wife.
The Lord was with him when he was in jail.
The Lord was with him when he interpreted dreams while in jail.
The Lord was with him when he was forgotten by men.
The Lord was with him when he worked for Pharaoh.
He did nothing to deserve trouble. Yet, God was kind to Joseph by being unkind.
God was kind to Joseph’s family by saving them from the famine, through Joseph.
God was kind to the Egyptians by saving them from starvation, through Joseph.
God was kind to Joseph by allowing him to be part of God’s plan to bring deliverance.
There is no mention of Joseph doubting God’s goodness. There is no hint of bitterness. After the death of his father Joseph reassures his brothers by telling them. “…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20)
Sometimes trouble comes to my life or your life. I don’t know why most things happen, but…
I do know God is kind.
I do know that God is sovereign.
I do know that sometimes God is up to something I don’t understand.
I do know that God is with me.
That simply needs to be enough.
For Further Study:
Genesis 37:4, 18-20
Genesis 39:1-5, 19-23
(Originally published 8-29-2013)
Softball was my least favorite sport.
It had a lot to do with how the game started…choosing sides.
I was little and skinny and usually chosen last. As I grew my coordination became worse which made me even more undesirable as a teammate. The only time I wasn’t chosen last was if there was someone smaller and skinnier than I was. (It didn’t happen often.)
On rare occasions one of the captains happened to be my Dad. I can still hear him say,
“I choose Karen!”
Not with reluctance, but with love and confidence. He chose me, not because of my great athletic ability, but because he loved me and wanted me on his team.
That’s how it is with God. I Thessalonians 1:4 says
“knowing brethren beloved by God, His choice of you.”
God has picked me! I’m weak and sinful and mess up often, but He loves me and wants me on His team. How can I help but love and serve such a God?
For further study:
I Corinthians 1:27-28; Colossians 3:12; I Peter 2:9
Hallelujah – Barlow Girl
Little Drummer Boy – King and Country
Welcome to Our World – Chris Rice
A Strange Way to Save the World – Mark Harris
Laura Story – Love is Here