Category: Why I have confidence


Cancer?

Wow, it’s been a long time since I sat down to write anything, let alone something to put on a blog.  I have been on a journey lately, though, that I would like to share and hopefully, it will be helpful to some.

Some months ago, better part of a year by now, I began experiencing slight bleeding in places I shouldn’t oughta be bleeding from.  And by slight I mean, once in awhile, pale in color, just minute spots at first, then more often and a little more in quantity and darker in color.  It was then I realized this was by no means normal and it was early October that I first contacted my doctor for a preliminary appointment.  By the time the appointment took place, I had had to purchase panty liners as there was almost always more than just a small amount of bleeding going on and the color ranged from red to brown to red again.

Being post menopausal for many, many years, this was more than disconcerting!!  Not only that, but I knew there would have to be my least favorite physical procedure–a pap smear, UGH!, and the usual well-woman testing initially.  What followed after the test results came back was a round of more uncomfortable testing in mid November…a mammogram, bone density, and a trans-vaginal ultrasound.  Once those results came back, it was off to be examined by a gynecologist who then scheduled an appointment for a D and C under a local anesthetic (my choice).  Those results showing cancer lead to a gynecologic oncologist who, after his own examination and questioning, recommended surgery–a total hysterectomy including some lymph nodes and surrounding fatty tissue due to cancer being found in multiple fibroid tumors in the uterus.  Yay me.

The day after Christmas found me at the hospital doing pre-op testing to make sure I was strong enough for surgery and by New Year’s Day I was doing the proverbial colon cleanse (and may I say, YUCK, YUCK, YUCK, YUCK to that process.. but, on the up side, I bet I lost several pounds that day?!) in preparation for surgery the next day.

Arrival time was 9:30 a.m. with surgery to take place at 11:30. I arrived earlier than that, but they started right away to get me ready with the needles, tubes, saline water, meeting of the particulars (anesthetist, other doctors to be present, my own doctor, etc.).  At the appropriate time, I was wheeled out of the prep area and down the halls to the operating “theater”.

I seriously wish I could have had a video of the surgery itself because it was done robotically.  A new process called the daVinci System.  I barely saw the “robot” out of the corner of my eye when I was being moved into the operating room before it was lights out for hours!  The “machine” itself looks like a giant robotic spider operated by the surgeon from a nearby station with controls that he utilizes to make the 5 small incisions, do all the cutting, suturing etc. on the inside and then when the surgery is done, the incisions are closed with glue, usually.  Of course, it’s still major surgery, all the same things can go wrong as with regular hysterectomies, but there is less blood loss and supposedly a faster healing time, although that may be up for grabs in my opinion. Other physicians are there to assist with various portions of the surgery, as well as the anesthetist, but basically it’s a pretty cool concept.  Video games come to the operating room!  And, it’s already being used by physicians who may be traveling or living in other countries to operate long distance.  Wow!

According to my kids, who were frantic to get news of what was going on since they were unable to be at the hospital during the surgery, my  surgery had been placed on hold for a few hours due to complications with the person being operated on just prior to me.  But by about 7:00 pm I was in my own little hospital bed (I vaguely remember them transferring me off of one bed to the other) all hooked up to tubes and such, feeling very sore.

I decided, while being a resident in the hospital for 2 days, that it must be a rule in the hospital to annoy the victim patient by waking them up every hour for blood pressure and temperature checks, pills, and so forth.  I did have my own little button for morphine tho’… that was nice, but also disconcerting.  Felt a little like a junkie.  The food was less than to be desired.. beef boullion, coffee, cranberry juice, water, but oh, the strawberry Jello was to die for!!!  Spent the next day and a half on liquids until the doctor came in and said “Why is she on liquids?  Give her some food!”  Yay!!  And, of course, there’s always that one nurse who plays the devil’s advocate to get you up and walking, a lot.  Although I didn’t appreciate her right at that moment, she was my favorite overall…Linda. What a sweet heart and we had some really nice conversations before I left on Sunday afternoon, January 4th.

I am now home and although everything seems to have gone well, one of my incisions popped open early on and began dribbling clear liquid.  That went on for almost a week and a half, causing me to scramble to find a way to contain the liquid.  Maxi pads and tape to the rescue!  There’s more than one use for maxi pads!!  Since then I have had my first post-op appointment a week ago. It went well and one doctor complimented me on my ingenuity in the maxi pad thing because the incision looks good and is healing well.  As a whole, because of the size of the tumor, the doctor is keeping a close eye on me for the next two years at least, to make sure it doesn’t return.  Not only does that make me feel good, but the doctor and his whole office seem very open to questions and concerns by their patients.

Now, may I say, this whole experience makes me feel like I’ve been through a whirlwind!  I really have not experienced fear at the sound of the word “cancer” like some folks do.  Perhaps that is because I have such confidence in my Lord Jesus, that I know that cancer is just another thing that He has dominion and control over.  I gave Him my life at the age of 18 and this is just one more thing that belongs to Him.  I am in His loving Hands– and the two of us together can handle anything that comes my way.  He knew it was coming many, many, many years before I did, and He has a good plan for my life.  No matter what happens in the future, I can trust Him to walk with me through the storm and lead me in peace beside still waters.

You can trust Him too.  Have confidence in God because He loves you in ways you can’t even imagine.  Cancer?  No problem.  He’s got you!

 

When I first sat down to create this blog, I had in mind that I would have mountains of things to say, and could “produce” a post every week, at least, that would touch the hearts of men and women and win them to Jesus in droves.  However, reality quickly set in and I realized that not only did the droves not show up, at least not yet, and my creative ability was not as creative as I had hoped, nor were my lofty goals of at least one post per week not coming about, I was left thinking that I would merely share my thoughts one at a time, once in awhile, and maybe, just maybe, one or two people would be blessed by whatever I felt led to share.

Of course, this whole venture was based on the Lord and how, over many years, He has helped me to have confidence in Him so, He is in charge and I am following as He leads, to the best of my ability.  Come to think of it, tomorrow, August 27th, 2014, will be my 46th birthday in the Lord.  On this same date in 1968, coming home from my first introduction to a Bible Study/prayer meeting, I was introduced to Jesus Christ, Savior of the World, the Creator and Keeper of my life.

Happy Birthday to Me--Thank you, Jesus!

Happy Birthday to Me–Thank you, Jesus!

It was a simple, loving group of intelligent and talented college students mostly.  We met in a home on a Tuesday night for about two to three hours where we sang, shared prayer requests, and learned about Deuteronomy 18.  For those who are not familiar with this passage from Scripture, it has to do with God’s perspective on astrology, mediums, the occult in general.  I remembered this Bible study distinctly because for several years, I had fancied myself as having somewhat of a clairvoyant gift, and had been fascinated by this subject and anything that was “stranger than science” for some time. 

For a first time Bible study goer, this study couldn’t have been better designed for me if I had designed it myself.  There was much very interesting discussion with lots of other scriptural references, but the gist of the whole study was that God has a very strong displeasure for the whole subject of the occult and considers it an abomination.  I have to say, I was a bit stunned because I was not expecting this.  I was under the impression these were gifts from the Lord and was to find out that they are merely forgeries to God’s true gifts from 1 Corinthians 12-14.  Fortunately for me, my whole motivation in life is to honor and please the Lord, so once I heard the Truth in the Word of God (which I never would have found on my own I suspect), I was willing and eager to give it up immediately.  Ok, so now what do I do?

On the way home from the meeting, my soon-to-become-mama-in-the-Lord, Lynda, shared the basics of what Jesus did for me and how I could know Him personally.  Although I had been in a Methodist church for years with my parents, I never heard the Truth shared with such simplicity.  Being the shy person that I am, scaredy cat actually, I declined her generous offer to pray with me right there in her car, but once inside my home it all came out in a two word prayer, “God help!” 

Certainly not pretentious, wordy, or full of embellishments, but it did the trick!  I didn’t feel any differently exactly, but I knew that I had touched the Throne and had been heard by Somebody.  As the days, months, and years progressed, I learned more and more about this Jesus and what He did for me that night. 

I’m sure there are many of you out there who don’t know Jesus, other than hearing His Name as a swear word, or worse, but I can attest firsthand that He is real, He is loving, kind, gracious, ever present, and is the only source of Hope and Peace in this world.  He is Healing, Mercy, Provision, and so much

more.  If you need any of these things, reach out to Him.  He’s already reached out to you from the Cross.

As always, if I can be of any help to direct you to Him, please don’t hesitate to ask.  It would be my honor and privilege.

God Bless!

  

The Jeremiah Factor

 

“5 Thus says the Lord: Cursed [with great evil] is the strong man who trusts in and relies on frail man, making weak [human] flesh his arm, and whose mind and heart turn aside from the Lord.

For he shall be like a shrub or a person naked and destitute in the desert; and he shall not see any good come, but shall dwell in the parched places in the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is.

For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; and it shall not see and fear when heat comes; but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?

10 I the Lord search the mind, I try the heart, even to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.

11 Like the partridge that gathers a brood which she did not hatch and sits on eggs which she has not laid, so is he who gets riches by unjust means and not by right. He will leave them, or they will leave him, in the midst of his days, and at his end he will be a fool.”  Jeremiah 17: 5 -11  The Amplified Version

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I hate being sick.  I’ve been sick for the better part of 4 days now with a bad cold, bronchitis, or whatever it is.  I’m getting better and spiritually I know that by Jesus’ stripes, I’m healed.  But still, it takes some diligence to fight the good fight of faith, and when you don’t feel good, it’s just too easy to give up, quit, and give in to the illness…or even bad circumstances, whatever they might entail.  Perhaps more on this later….. in the meantime, I receive the healing You bought for me on the Cross!  Sickness, be hanged!

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I’ve had the above scripture on my heart for several weeks now and wasn’t sure where to go with it nor was there any clue as to what God wanted to say to us.  You may wish to go to the Bible and read the whole context, but for brevity sake, I’ve only included a small part.  But it starts out with God being pretty perturbed with the tribe of Judah and He is quite blunt about what will happen to them if they don’t get their act together and give up their sin.  He also makes the point that the human heart is deceitful, perverse and corrupt without God being the center of the human experience.  After all, any of us could attest to that.  All we have to do is watch the evening news and recognize that what used to be very infrequent, bizarre occurrences are now much more commonplace and not bizarre at all.  We’ve become accustomed to sin.  And much of the time anymore, we don’t even recognize sin as being sin.  “We’ve come a long way, Baby!” Lion Of Judah

Now, Judah was a very treasured tribe by the Lord, the one who eventually sired the Messiah, Jesus, the Savior of the World, The Lion of Judah, through Mary, a young teenage girl.  He loved His people.  The tribe’s very name meant “the praise of God”.  How disappointing must it have been to see His people acting like a bunch of out of control children.  And, as he mentions, nothing good ever comes from relying on the arm of flesh, our own human capabilities and skills.  When we do that, we stop relying on God, become filled with pride in our own selves and accomplishments, and eventually, we’ll fall on our faces in shame and disgrace after reaching what we think we wanted only to find out, we didn’t want it after all, or it wasn’t what we thought it would be.  We must recognize that He is the One who has given us all we will ever need to survive and thrive in this world, and that those skills, gifts and talents we have are to be used for Him.  For His purposes, to benefit whoever He directs us to help.

But notice in the middle of all the discipline God speaks out to Judah, He gives the encouraging words that let the tribe know that if they will turn from their sin and trust Him again, rely on Him again, He will bless them.  He still loves them, He still is there for them.  They have not been totally abandoned.  I don’t know about you, but if I were guilty of what they were guilty of, and I’m sure I have been at some point in thought, word or deed, I would want words of comfort and a “get-out-of-jail-free-card”. The Nativity

I guess basically, this section of scripture just speaks to me of the love of my Heavenly Father.  He sees and knows our very hearts, He disciplines us for being self-centered, selfish, prideful, and a whole host of other bad things, but in the end, He extends the olive branch. “I still love you, I sent my Son this Christmas Day so you would have hope.  Just trust Me, rely on Me, have confidence in what I have planned for you.  You will be blessed beyond your wildest imaginations.”

Yes Lord, I will trust You.  I will rely on Your strength, your grace, your mercy and favor to guide me through all of life’s struggles and trials.  Help me to trust You more and use whatever gifts you’ve entrusted to me for Your Glory.
 

 

 

My hope is built on nothing less,

than Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name.

Refrain:

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

Standing at the bus stop tonight, this old hymn just overwhelmed me in the few minutes I had to wait for my bus ride home.  Hoping I could be alone for a few minutes to write, I was surprised, but not really, that no one was home as is often not the case.  The TV was silent, the dog and cat quiet and sleeping and I am alone with my thoughts.

I wonder how many of us think about what we stand on.  Do we stand on the Solid Rock, Jesus Christ, or do we stand on sinking sand…the theories, the philosophies of our society?  Do we stand on our careers, our own earthly hopes and dreams, on the economy?

Where does our hope lie?  What can we have true confidence in?  Can we truly trust in our government, our leaders, religious or otherwise, our friends and family?  Is there anything or anyone that never waivers and never changes with the tides, holds steady in the storm and does not ever collapse as does a house built on sand.

This grand old hymn says it best I think.  For me, at least, my hope, my confidence is built on Jesus, His blood shed for me, and His righteousness that never fails and never fades.  He keeps me, guides me, shows me what is right and what is wrong…and helps me to do right if I’m headed in the wrong direction.

The words go on to say:

When Darkness veils His lovely face,

I rest on His unchanging Grace.

In every high and stormy gale,

MY anchor holds withing the veil.

Refrain

His oath, His covenant, His Blood

Supports me in the whelming flood.

When all around my soul gives way,

He then is all my Hope and Stay.

Refrain

When He shall come with trumpet sound,

O may I then in Him be found!

Dressed in His righteousness alone,

faultless to stand before the Throne! 

Refrain

As the song says, there are times when we can’t see His face, when we think all is lost, that He has abandoned us, that there is no hope.  This is the time to hang on tighter than you ever thought you could.  He is there, He hasn’t left you.  This is the time when He carries you through even though you can’t feel Him or see Him.  That darkness is not permanent for the child of God.  It is only temporary and one day, when the Trumpet of God sounds, we’ll see Him when He comes to take us Home!

If you are struggling today, maybe this is for you.  I just knew that this song was meaningful to me tonight and I hope it will encourage you as well.  You are blessed, you are dearly loved by the Lord, and He wants you to know that He has done all He can and will do to secure your eternity and your abundant life when He sent His only Son to sacrifice His life for yours.  Pretty fair trade I’d say.  You can have confidence in Him and your hope can be built on Jesus, the Rock.

Uganda Bound!

Last time we shared Tami’s Story, one that I hope you have taken the opportunity to read and check out the link provided and let God speak to your heart as to what He wants  to do through you:  pray, give, correspond, or something else that will benefit those suffering through a cancer diagnosis.

However, since then, I received an email from another dear friend I don’t often hear from and this is what she had to say:

Dear Family and Friends,  

Am I ever surprised!! God is sending me to Uganda for the month of October to help out in a Christian orphanage. Yes, I am excited and pleased beyond what words can express!! I am pinching myself to be sure this is really happening to me, a 67 year old homemaker from Citrus Heights. I’d better back up and fill you in on how all of this came about. 

As a child I dreamed of travel and seeing new and unusual places, studied geography and collected stamps. After college graduation I planned to visit Europe with friends and meet my Austrian pen pal in Vienna. The Lord had other plans; instead three days after graduation I married the man of my dreams. Over the next 45 years I read missionary stories and was inspired and awed by these amazing adventures of God doing the impossible through human lives. However fearfulness and caution ruled my life. There was absolutely no way I could imagine leaving my comfort zone! 

During the last few years I have been deeply challenged and affected by our Pastor’s messages and the Word of God as I have studied the scriptures at a whole new level in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). My faith has grown and I am ready to take the leap! I desperately want to be a world changer beyond anything I have ever done. 

So why am I going to Uganda? Well, I met an amazing woman while attending a seminar sponsored by BSF in 2012. She shared that she and her husband had started an orphanage in Uganda in 2006. I was all ears and eager to read about her adventure in her book Twinomujuni, Uganda Chronicles. I fell in love with Uganda and the people, completely mesmerized by her captivating journey. She invited me to go along on their next trip; Fred agreed that I should go! (Please keep him in your prayers. He is the one who will sacrifice the most.) I have my passport, (first one ever), am getting my shots, shopping for suitcases and skirts, and most importantly planning activities for the children. I will be paying my own way. However I could use extra funds to buy the children toys and craft items. If you can help with this, even a few dollars would be welcomed. I also ask for your prayers. International travel and living in a third world country will not be easy. I need God’s physical strengthening. I also desire for His love to pour through me to the precious people of Uganda. I pray for opportunities to pray for the brokenhearted and physically ill, to speak words of comfort and encouragement, and to serve in any capacity the Lord opens to me. 

I’d better close for now. Thank you for taking time to read this and to support me in any way you feel led. 

With a heart for Uganda, 

Judy”

So, what does that have to do with anything, you might ask?  For me, this was a challenge from the Lord:  “What are YOU (me) going to do about this opportunity I’ve placed in front of you?  She is your friend.”   (I chose to help in any way I could so this is why I’m sharing her story with you as well as helping as God directs with the toy fund.)

Now, as she mentioned in the email, my dear friend has had quite the bout with fear over the years and the fact that she is going to a foreign country absolutely astounds me!  To God be the glory!  Outside of all the things God has done in my own life, this is a yet another great example of why I’ve got confidence in Him!  He gives us strength in our weakness and heals us in every area of our lives as we give Him permission.

Secondly, I wanted to let you know that we will be following up with Judy for more of her story as the weeks progress.  She will be sending her personal experiences during her stay there, if she can, and I’ll be sharing them with you on this blog along with photos when possible.   In the meantime, she suggested a couple of books that have been inspirational and helpful to her, which you might find of interest as well.  Twinomujuni, Uganda Chronicles by April Dobbs or her website:  http://www.shepherdslove.com/.  In addition, you may wish to read further on another blog about Uganda:  http://www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/  as well as a book by the same name, Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis.

I hope that you will hang in there with me to hear more about Judy’s incredible adventure.  I know God will do great things through her!  Should you be interested in hearing more, contributing to her toy fund, or praying for her, please let me know and I would be happy to forward your information to her.

God is so good and loves you and all the people of all countries so much that He is even seeing fit to send a grandma from California to minister His love to a few children thousands of miles away from her secure home!  Wow!  I know she would appreciate your prayers and encouragement as well.

Let’s go with her and see what God will do!

.

A New Beginning

Seagulls on the beach

How many of you have ever wanted to start over, begin again, get a fresh new perspective in life? Surely all of us have felt that way at one time or another. Many of us maybe more than once! We feel like we’re on a roller coaster, a merry-go-round, a tread mill that’s stuck and can’t be stopped, or some relationship that keeps us hanging on to the old ways of doing things and seemingly forbids us from moving forward, leaving the pain and suffering, the problems or insurmountable issues behind us.

 

Well, I’m here to tell you there is hope for a new beginning! But more about that in a little bit.

 

For me, this blog and another that was started yesterday ( http://ivegotconfidencetwo.blogspot.com/ ) are new beginnings I guess. I was just plugging along, living my life as best I could from day to day, struggling financially, physically, spiritually, yet knowing there had to be more.

 

I’ve long thought that I must be created for some good reason, some better purpose other than just barely making it through life, but never could lock on to why. I can remember thinking in high school, and actually verbalizing to a friend in biology in freshman year, “What are we here for?” I figured if anyone would know she probably would because her sister was a nun somewhere overseas. Her answer, which I don’t even remember, didn’t satisfy me in the slightest. So, I continued to wonder.

 

Some years later, after high school, I was to find out more about new beginnings and gain insight as to the purpose of my being on this big rock we so lovingly call Earth as it whirls around through space and time.

 

Although I’m sure it probably started long before this, I like to think it all started with a a friend’s church-hosted ice cream social. Innocent enough, I suppose. But during the course of that “social” I met a few people from a different church, also invited by my friend, that literally would become life long friends and closer than flesh and blood siblings. They all changed my life forever!

 

As a result of that encounter, I would be invited to Bible studies, prayer meetings and so forth. The subject under discussion at my first Bible study “coincidentally” was tailormade for my interests, which at that time included the occult, ouija boards, stranger-than-fiction stories, mediums, supernatural events, and the like.

 

My interest in them, fortunately, was not too well developed and serious, but rather a curiosity more than anything. The thought of becoming more intimately involved in that sort of thing repulsed me and I think I sensed that pursuing the occult further could lead down a dark hole from which I might not easily be extricated. The memory of a phrase heard in childhood: “curiosity killed the cat” kept me from delving too deeply.

 

I remember distinctly that we discussed Deuteronomy 18, sharing God’s opinion of the occult, mediums, astrology and the like which fascinated me because I had no clue that God even had an opinion about such things. But, as I was to learn later, He is intimately involved in loving, warning, and protecting His children from everything that could potentially harm their eternal souls.

 

That evening on the ride home I was given the opportunity of a lifetime! You can personally know the Creator of the Universe–God Himself, through Jesus His Son. “Can I pray with you right now to receive Jesus into your heart?”, my friend’s friend said. “Uh, no, I think I’ll do it by myself” ..I said. She said “Ok.” and I made my escape from the car and into my house. There, I knelt by a chair and said a prayer, the only words of which I can remember were “God help!” New Beginning? It was for me!

 

Everything from that point on, at least until I began to take God for granted, was fresh and new. The grass was greener, the sky was bluer, He was real and living in me. As the scripture says, “Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether) the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!” 2Corinthians 5:17 The Amplified Version

 

The key that I’ve found for starting over, beginning again, is going back to the beginning where it all started. He was there in the beginning, you know. You will find Him there, waiting for you to ask Him to help you to start over, begin anew, afresh, maybe for the first time. Maybe for the second or third, fifth, or hundreth time. It doesn’t matter. But, if you are needing a new beginning, like I have been many times since that first time, Jesus is the key! After accepting that, repentance is next, for truly we cannot begin again without realizing we’ve blown it on a myriad of levels, and then make things right with Him. For ultimately, it is God that we have offended by our life choices.

 

Do you need a new start? If you have never accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, I challenge you to take that step. If you have received Him a long time ago, but got lost in the muck and mire that is our world, go back to the beginning. Ask Him to help you begin again, only this time with Him as the Boss. Let me know how it goes. I’d love to celebrate with you!

 

A New Beginning is waiting for you!

 

Betrayed!!

Have you ever felt betrayed?  Have you ever felt the pain of trusting someone or something and had them turn on you when you least expected it?  Maybe it was a boyfriend or girlfriend, a husband or wife, a friend or relative, boss or coworker, or maybe you have even believed that it was God Himself that let you down when you felt you needed Him the most!

He came to Jerusalem as the perfect Lamb of God

He came to Jerusalem as the perfect Lamb of God

I’m sure we have all experienced betrayal at some point in our lives.  I know I have.  I have expected a situation to go a certain way or a person to act a certain way and then, out of the blue, they had a totally illogical reaction to the circumstances at hand.

A perceived word spoken out of turn, or a misplaced hand gesture, a text gone awry, the tone of one’s voice, all lend themselves to misunderstanding the intentions of the ones doing the speaking, and before long a communication break down occurs, which eventually leads to feelings of betrayal on the part of the ones doing the perceiving.

Perhaps it was an all out assault on your personhood, your integrity as a man or a woman…someone you trusted cheated….or lied.

Even though I’d like to think I’m an honest person, and my son has told me in no uncertain terms that I’m too honest, I know in my heart of hearts there are times when I am not fully honest or truthful with myself or others about certain things in my life.  Being human, I guess that sort of comes with the territory.  (Please do not misunderstand, this is not a cop out, just the truth!)  We lie to make ourselves look good to others, to ourselves, or just to get a leg up over the other guy!

The same actually goes with cheating.  People cheat on exams, homework, in the work place, on taxes, and worst of all, people cheat on each other with other people!  Why?  Believe it or not, cheating is just another form of lying, being false, deceptive, disloyal.  Betrayal.

One of the definitions I found of betray is “to deliver into the hands of an enemy in violation of a trust or allegiance”.  I thought this was an exeptional way of putting it because when we lie and cheat, we are in fact turning over to our spiritual enemy some part of us that God has created for Himself and has entrusted to us to use for our benefit, His Glory, and the help of others around us.

He is Risen!

He is Risen!

So what am I saying here?  Well, sometimes I wonder if we aren’t experiencing a little of God’s pain when we ourselves are betrayed.  Can we betray God?  Yes.  How? How many times have we said no to Jesus, lied about Him, stabbed Him in the back by attributing His works to ourselves or nature, cheated on Him with any number of worldly pleasures that I could name here but won’t for lack of space!!   How many times have we lead others astray by our life style? How many times have we sold Him down the proverbial river so that we can have our way and do what we want to do? How many times have we failed Him?

This time of year, Palm Sunday (where Jesus was joyfully received into Jerusalem as the people’s soon coming king and praised as their deliverer) and Easter (or Resurrection Day as I prefer to call it, where He rose from the dead after being put to death by those same people), brings into perspective how much He did for us and solidifies for me at least, how trust worthy He is.  He went all the way for us!  He told the Truth. He was betrayed, by Judas for 30 pieces of silver and by us for ignoring Him and His Word, but the fantastic news is that He forgave.  He did what He said, and continues to do so, especially for those who choose Him as Lord and Savior, His kids.

Please consider on this Palm Sunday, or any day hereafter that you are allowed to take breath on this earth, choosing to commit to follow Jesus.  He can be trusted and you can have confidence in Him, no matter what!

My Parents

My Parents

Huh?  What does that mean?  Your guess is as good as mine!

I just came back from vacation where I spent some time visiting my 96 year old mother who has Alzheimer’s.  She resides in a lovely group home where she is cared for 24/7 by loving Christian people who consider her a treasure.  Truely, she is that.   Mostly she sleeps or keeps her eyes closed.  But occasionally, and some days quite often, she’ll blurt out sentences that make absolutely no sense to those within earshot, hence the title above.  Sometimes she just makes babbling sounds, other times just meaningless words.  At least they seem meaningless to us.

Unfortunately, Mom no longer recognizes me, or anyone else for that matter, but that has been coming on for quite some time.  It is sad to watch as she was always so vibrant and caring, loving and concerned about everyone as a parent, a wife, a friend.  But, since I know she has accepted the Lord Jesus as her Savior and Lord many years ago, her conversations, however odd they seem to us, make perfect sense to Him.  She will see Him in person before long I suspect, and will get to share in His Glory.  But what happens in the meantime?

I have confidence that the same God who created me, allowed me to live and be adopted and raised in a loving home, will continue to guard and care for my little mommy, in spite of Alzheimer’s or any other sickness or disease that might try to afflict her until it’s His time for her to go Home.  She is His child, from the womb to the tomb, and His loving hand has ever been on her life.  She has not asked for much in this life, but received the love and devotion of a wonderful man for 41 years.  She is loved by many and regarded as “saintly” by several.  Mom’s not rich in monetary terms, but is very wealthy in what really matters in life.

The hospice social worker says she’s just getting things off her chest when she does speak.  Getting ready to go home.  Well, I don’t know about that, but I do know that the One who created her and helped make her who she is, understands every word.  Maybe he’s preparing her for what she’ll be doing in Heaven.

We may not understand why ugly things happen to those we love, but in Mom’s case I know that she is blessed and adored by the One who loves and cares for us all.  Our understanding is so finite, so limited….but His is not.  He sees past all our reasonings, our thoughts, our schemes, our plans and brings His will to light.  If we could only dream bigger, look up instead of down, climb higher, and trust God with our everyday lives, how much happier and more fulfilled we would be.

“I have not lost sight of my plan for you, the Lord says, and it is your welfare I have in mind, not your undoing; for you, too, I have a destiny and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11  Knox Bible (KNOX)

What is God’s good plan for you?

One of millions of tapestries created throughout the millenia–beautiful!

Have you ever desperately prayed for or wanted something for a long time, or just wished that somehow things would change in your life for the better? But the answer seemed to take forever to come, or didn’t come at all or not in the way you expected? Well, I’m guessing that you’re right there with me on this one. Why is it that there seems to be such a delay? Where are you God? What is Your problem???? It’s a simple request. Surely, since you supposedly can move Heaven and Earth for other people, you can do the same for me! All I want is _________________!!!! Why is it so hard to give me what I want and am asking You for? Am I not good enough or smart enough to handle it?

From our perspective, our request just seems so logical and easy a task for God to perform…He is all powerful, all knowing, everywhere at once, isn’t He? So??? What’s the hang up?

Well, from past experience I can surmise that we are the hang up.

One of the main reasons I have such confidence in God is because He doesn’t bow to my demands in prayer, which often come out of pure childishness (the stomp-my-feet-if-I-don’t-get-what-I-want kind of childishness). He doesn’t answer when I’m in panic mode out of fear, He doesn’t even answer when I’m ever so sure I need whatever I’m asking for, or that it would be really cool if He worked out the scenario the way I think it should be handled. He answers only after He takes the entire context of the situation into account and the answer will benefit everyone involved. He answers when everthing we try in the natural fails, to show us that He knows more and better than we do and that He’s in control here..not us. He answers in the fulness of time, just as He brought Jesus to earth as a baby. When the time in right….on His time table, not ours. And, He answers, usually, in a manner that we didn’t even consider, but makes so much sense when we take the time to look back on it.

Because He is all knowing, all wise, everywhere at once, and all powerful, He knows more than we do and sees the end from the beginning. It’s sort of like us looking up from underneath a loom in a rug maker’s shop at a tapestry in progress: a myriad of different colored strings and messy stitches, irregular, no pattern at all. But, from His perspective, from the top, He sees a gorgeous rug that is sheer perfection, beautiful, useful, a treasure to behold, and everything is in its’ place.

Like the underside of that tapestry, our world is a big jumble of lives that seem out of control and meaningless, rushing here and there, frantic for the meaning of life but looking in all the wrong places. But, for those of us who know Jesus as Savior and Lord, and for those who would like to know Him, we can be confident that God has everything under control. He has given His Word to us which encompasses His will for all mankind, the Bible, to lead and guide us through the chaos in which we live. He’s given us many thousands of promises on which to anchor our souls.

If you have been disappointed with your life, or with the answers to prayer that didn’t happen like you thought they should, don’t abandon your confidence in God. He has something better and more fulfilling for you, and if you’ll stay the course, you will receive that bigger and better sooner than you think. He loves you more than you will ever know, at least on this earth, and wants you to have the very best, in abundance. He is not interested in letting you settle for second best, especially when, if you will remain true and faithful to Him and obedient to His Word, the best is just around the corner!

Don’t give up, don’t give in, don’t look back as if back there was better. God’s on the move and He wants you to go with Him, but you must trust that He is able to take care of everything that concerns you. You may not get everything you want when you want it, but He promised you will never lack for anything.

1John 5:14, 15 in the Amplified Version of the Bible says:

And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to {and} hears us.  and if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.

Have confidence in God!

Misunderstood

The main prop in our 6th grade play

As I thought about what to write earlier this week, I heard this word in my heart…misunderstood.  Not knowing for sure how  to interpret it, and yet knowing what it could mean to others and has meant to me, I mulled it over in my mind for a week to get some clarity and see what God might want to say.

I remembered an incident as a child, somewhere around the 6th grade I believe, when I was picked to be in a school play.  It was a fairly short play, written by the students, if memory serves, involving a mother, a father, a handsome son (played by THE CUTEST BOY in the WHOLE SCHOOL!!!!!!!) a broken toaster, and the rest of the story is a blur.

Mine was to be a small part as I remember, which was fine with me because I didn’t like being in front of people in the first place (still don’t) and certainly didn’t want to be on stage for any length of time anyway.

Within days of the first rehearsal, however, I was informed there was to be a change in the roles and I’d been chosen to replace the original “mother” and therefore would be one of the leads in the play.  How scary is that!!  What made it worse was that I would be replacing my best friend who, as it turned out according to my teacher/director, was not as capable in the acting department as I was apparently.  Whether lack of  enunciation, enthusiasm, or what might have been missing from her stage presence and ability, I have no idea.  But, she would be doing something else to have some kind of involvement in the play, I was told.

I was quite flattered to say the least, scared to death, and devastated all at the same time.  Not only did I not want to be a “star”, but I was being put into a position that hurt my very best friend!  And, she let me know about it too!  She was very upset and called me to tell me off.  I became so upset about this whole situation that within a day or two out from the play’s viewing by the whole school at a special rally, I got sick and couldn’t talk! At the last minute, I had to bow out and couldn’t even go to school for a few days.

I was misunderstood by my friend and it wasn’t even my doing.  Oh, sure, I was enjoying the idea that my amateur acting skills, such as they were at the age of 12, were noticed and appreciated, but that was not worth the loss of my best friend….  We never again were friends after the play.

Since then, there have been several times of being misunderstood and I mourn the loss of some relationships that were important to me, but there was no way for me to retrieve them when untruths and misperceptions stood in the way, no matter how hard I tried to get them to understand the situation from my point of view.

Have you ever suffered being misunderstood for things you said or did, or didn’t say or didn’t do?  Or, have you been misunderstood for things people mistakenly thought you did?  Have your motives been called into question too?

God understands

I am so everlastingly thankful we have a God who understands everything we go through on this earth because Jesus suffered all those same hurts too.  He was misunderstood, maligned, yelled at, mistreated, yet He was able to give all of those hurts over to His Heavenly Father and move forward to complete the journey He began as a babe in a manger and ended on the Cross, taking our sins upon Himself to show us God’s magnificent and forever love.

May I encourage you to surrender your hurts, and the pain they have caused, to Jesus.  Accept Jesus’ love and forgiveness for the things you’ve done that are wrong, receive Him into your heart and let Him heal and restore you.  He understands you, even when others do not.

Perhaps this word from the Bible will encourage your heart.  “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”  Proverbs 16:7  The Amplified Bible

As you focus on pleasing God by following Him and His Word, He will cause those with whom you are at odds to be at peace with you.  That is an awesome promise to hold on to!  It doesn’t mean things will go back to being the same as they once were however, but it does mean that things will be better because God will be in charge of making your relationships what they should be.

Just remember, God is good and He loves you!  You are blessed!

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