Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Thoughts from the Sick Bed

I have been home sick for the last four days.   I do not like being sick!!  Of course, I don't like the pain and discomfort that illness brings; however, that is not what bothers me the most.

What I really don't like about being sick is that I am missing out on life.  I have laid in the bed for 3 days and feel so useless.  I don't feel up to doing any of my favorite things:  blogging, playing the piano, ministering in various ways, and my keeping my sweet grandson.   I didn't get to go to church or meet some family for lunch.  I just missed out on life this week!  Right???

Wrong! God is in control even when trials come.  People usually accuse me of being someone that overthinks or thinks too deeply.  So, you can imagine that being home all week has provided plenty of time to think and pray.  Even in this sickness, God is teaching and growing me.  I have had many conversations with Him this week!  I want to share with you some thoughts from this forced sabbatical:

1.  Being at home sick is not a waste of time!

Now, I am not saying that I want to get sick again.  However, this week I've gotten the most sleep I've had in about 2 years; I kid you not.   I had forgotten how it feels to be truly rested.  Obviously my tired body needed to catch up.

2.  Being at home sick forced me to refocus on the simple yet important things.

I did ALOT of praying.   I did alot of resting.  I did alot of praying and resting.  Hmm...maybe I should rest and pray in a normal week.

3.  I am reminded about my true identity and value. 

My true identity is found in Christ and His love for me.  It is not in how busy I am nor how many blogs I can write.  It is not in how many people I can pray for or encourage.  It is not in what the scale says.  My identity and value is simply found in Jesus; He loves me unconditionally.

4.  I want to be more mindful of people that are sick and terminally or critically ill.

At times, I felt lonely, left-out, and dispensable this week.   The silence was sometimes painful.  I would look at Facebook and feel like life was passing me by.  Can you imagine how someone might feel being bedridden or home sick week after week?   A bowl of soup, a card, or a call can make a world of difference. Chad's mom brought me her famous Hunter Stew this week and I felt like it was Christmas.   Sometimes we are just too busy to notice others that are struggling.

5.  I can be very busy but that alone doesn't mean that I'm ministering as God would want.

If I'm running around like a chicken with it's head cut off, I am not taking time to breathe and be thankful.   I am not taking the time to write that thank you note or to call that sick person.  I am not taking the time to commune with God and let His words sink into my heart.  I'm too busy to take time with that unexpected visitor knocking on my door.  If I'm too busy to rest in the Lord, I am too busy.   I had a dear friend once tell me, "If you can not fit everything in your schedule, there is a big chance you are doing some things God hasn't led you to do".   God provides all the time we need to do HIS will.

Even though I am very thankful to be feeling better, I am also very thankful for the chance to just be still and remember He is God!

Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen; I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalm 46:10

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and i will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.
John 10:27

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Consider the Lilies

Do you ever wake up with a song on your heart?   I do often and sometimes it is a song that I haven’t heard in years.  Recently, I woke up with a song playing over and over in my mind that I had learned as a child.  A dear friend and her family had a singing group and they often invited me to sing with them.  One of their favorite songs was “Consider the Lilies” by Roger Hoffman:
Consider the lilies, they don’t toil nor spin
And there’s not a king with more splendor than them.
Consider the sparrows, they don’t plant nor sow,
But they’re fed by the Master who watches them grow.

We have a Heavenly Father above
With eyes so full of mercy
And a heart full of love.
He really cares when
Your head is bowed low.
Consider the lilies and then you will know.
What a message in that song!   Our Heavenly Father is not only in control of the whole universe but He personally cares for us.  He really cares if we hurt! Satan would love us to believe that God isn’t personal and that His love is conditional.  However, God’s love IS personal and He is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalms 34:18)  No matter what you are walking through today, be reminded that you have a Heavenly Father that loves and cares for you!  Your story is not over.  Be still and know that He is God and loves you personally. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Why so downcast?

Sitting here this morning with my cup of coffee....My mind is swirling with all the burdens on my heart; tragedies in my town, brokenness in my friend's hearts...pain and loss in this world.

Sometimes it's hard to feel encouraged.  Sometimes I want to hide in the house away from the sadness in the world. 
The psalmist in Psalms 43 says: Why so downcast oh my soul, put your hope in God.  Being downcast means we are human...putting our hope in God is a game-changer. When I remember HIS heart of love, although i dont understand all the pain in this life, I can trust Him. 

Yes, we can be encouraged today...we can have hope because of Christ.  He loves us and is waiting for us to cry out to Him.

Monday, October 15, 2018

That Perfect Outfit

Do you ever have one of those mornings that you can't decide what to wear?  You tried on that favorite pair of pants that suddenly are too tight.  Or perhaps, you grabbed a favorite shirt only to notice there was a stain right on the front!  Or maybe you pull out an outfit and wonder if it is out of style. However, in the Bible we are instructed to wear something that never goes out of style!  Colossians. 3:12 says: Since God chose you to be the holy (set apart) people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience never go out of style.  In addition to that, the Bible tells us what we should wear to bring the whole ensemble together; love.  Colossians 3:14 says: Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

So, this morning when you are trying to put together that "perfect outfit", don't forget what God wants us to wear!  In fact, when we "wear" love, mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, we will be beautiful no matter what we choose out of our closet!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The LOVE Series-A Marriage Story

God's love looks very different than the world's kind of love.  We see God's kind of love in the Bible and we see the world's kind of love on the evening news.   God's love is thinking of the needs of others and the world's kind of love says to look out for number 1.  In this world, we hear alot of sad and heartbreaking marriage stories.  However, today I want to share with you a story that is an example of God's type of love.  Although the names have been changed, this is a true story and shows the power of God's love and mercy in a family's life.

Greg and Grace had been married for 10 years with several children.  Greg was an executive who worked long hours at his job.  Grace worked outside the home as well and was often very tired and slightly overwhelmed.  Even with the long hours, children and other pressure, they had a good relationship.  They were both Christians and attended church weekly.  However, unbeknownst to Grace, Greg began to compromise.  He felt he was too busy to read his Bible, much less spend quiet time with God.  He was feeling very restless.  Instead of turning to God, however,  he began to read a book that offered ungodly teaching and advice for his restlessness.  He took his focus off of God and his family. Although Grace knew Greg was going through a dry spell, she wasn't prepared for what happened next.  One day while at work, Grace got a call from Greg letting her know he had someone else.  Not only that, but was leaving with her that day to take a trip together.  Grace was shocked, devastated, and crushed.   Needless to say, they separated and prepared for divorce.

Meanwhile many family members and Christian friends began to pray.  This was a nightmare.  Greg knew almost instantly he had made a huge mistake.  Grace was very broken and not sure what step to take.  Then after about a month, Grace got another call.  However, this call was quite different.  Greg was broken and asking for restoration as he knew he made a tragic mistake. Grace felt many emotions inside.  She said she needed time.  Some of Grace's friends gave some well-meaning advice and said "if he did it once, he will do it again".  The Bible even said it was a reason for divorce. However, Grace wanted and needed to hear from God.  She took a few days to pray and seek God.  God reminded her that Greg came to her directly.  Also, that this was totally out of Greg's normal character.  Out of ten years he didn't as much as flirt with anyone as much as cheat.  He was passionate about God for many years in the past.  The Lord reminded Grace how they had both put other things before their relationship with the Lord.  Also,  that they had allowed unforgiveness of past hurts to go unchecked.  Before long, Grace found herself shedding tears of her own repentance.  She repented of neglecting her relationship with the Lord and allowing bitterness to creep in.   She surrendered her life, relationships, and plans once again to the Lord.  After seeking God, Grace felt in her heart that she wanted to give Greg another chance.  She asked him to agree to go to counseling for at least a month before moving back in.  Humbly, he agreed.

Today, Grace and Greg have been married over 40 years.   They have children and grandchildren that look up to them as Godly examples.  Grace knew that she had biblical grounds for divorce, but out of the love that God gave her, she tried again; she is so happy she did. To me, this is an example of God's love.  He forgives and gives second chances.  Grace could of easily moved on, but didn't.  Instead,  they sought God for repentance and together are leaving a legacy of a Godly family.  

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  1 Corithians 13:4-7