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Big Toe

Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4

courtesy of twitter@bigtoe.

After surgery, I learned I could only put “big toe” weight on my right leg for a month. That meant my left leg, supported by a walker, had to bear the load. In order to keep me from ending up with one weak, puny leg and one buffed one, I have non-load bearing PT exercises for the right one.

Did I mention this is a huge “adjustment”?

Why only big toe weight? Our big toes are big for a reason. Our bodies use them to balance. Ever watch a ballerina “on toe”? It provides the rest of the foot leverage. Without thinking about it, you put your weight mostly on your big toe when you lift off a chair. Go ahead, try it using any other toe or your heel instead. I’ll wait…

Back now? To continue…

For now, my right side is weak. The surgery on my right pelvis needs to heal. The pins need to knit into the plates and bone. So, I must rely on my left side.  But, without the walker or crutches, I’d be catawampus and fall down a lot.

That has made me think about how much I lean on God for support, especially when I am weak. But even if I feel strong, I should still use Him as support. I need to consistently practice this unique way of walking through this journey we call life. We all do.  It feels unnatural. Most of us don’t want to lean on a crutch. We were taught to stand on our own two feet.

I’m not saying Christians should be wimpy. Actually, it takes strength of character to admit you need assistance.  The winds of change in our culture are blowing hard. We can only stand if we press into God’s Word and prayer for support, and lean on His understanding, as it says in Proverbs 3:5, fulling trusting in His strength to bolster us. In the meantime, we can strengthen our stance by practicing our faith through the life exercises we are given. But as long as we exist in this cultural environment that wants to pull us out of balance, we need our Lord for support.

Christ gives us strength when we yoke to Him. (Philippians 4:13, Matthew 11:28-30).

He is my spiritual walker, and I don’t want to let go, lest I fall.

Oh, did God ever whack me over the head with His velvet-covered two-by-four today! Through two circumstances, God blared His truth in my ear. “It’s not what you are doing that is wrong, it is how.”

He has been tapping on my brain for several weeks, but I had failed to acknowledge it.

Another missionary gave me a card that says, “real missionary work is done on your knees.”  Nice, I thought. It didn’t really sink in.

Then, in a Bible study I am doing with ladies of my church, we read this in 2 Corinthians: Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. (verse 17a.)

BAM!  For over 18 months I have been trying everything I know how to do to raise financial partners as a missionary. And I have failed. The missionary society continues to fund me, even though I am not pulling my financial weight. That stresses me out. I so want to continue this work.

I could blame it on my being housebound for the most part. I cannot travel to meet and greet, which is the tried and true pattern for missionaries raising funds for their salary. I have only been able to contact folks digitally. But since my missionary work is solely in the realm of the internet though writing and editing for The Life Project, I figured raising support could be accomplished in the same way.

I have been fretting over not making my monthly ends meet instead of meeting with God’s will. If He wants me to continue touching lives over cyberspace then He will provide. I do not need to peddle my missionary work. I just need to be obedient and do the work He has called me to do.

Matthew 6:33 states to seek God’s righteousness first, above all else, and then everything else we need in life will follow. How easy it is to believe that in our brains but not follow through with our hearts.

God knows who my supporters will be. He also knows my physical limitations. My job is to keep the conduit open by delving more into His word and increasing my prayer time. He will open opportunities for me to speak to people and open their hearts to support my work.  By keeping in tune with His will, and trusting in His timing instead of my own, I can better serve Him and others.

I have placed that missionary’s card on my fridge where I can see it every day as a reminder of what my primary job is. If I keep filling my heart, mind, and soul with God, He will fill my fridge, my support list, and my bank account. That is the true profit.

If you feel as if a giant wall has loomed between you and what you think you are doing for God, perhaps He is telling you to sit down and ponder your motives. Really ponder. Are you doing it for your profit, or for His glory? It is so easy to confuse the two because it is in our human nature to do it. Spending more time on your knees can alter your perspective.

 


One way God has stretched me is to become a digital missionary with The Life Project. However, to continue to grow in this ministry, I need to become fully funded by partners who will pray and financially support me. Will you join my 20/20 Vision? I am seeking 20people who will pledge to provide  $20 a month.  You can learn more here.  Comment and I can send you more material to peruse so you know this cause is legitimate, why I am so passionate about it, and be assured your money will go to reach people around the world with the message of Hope in Jesus, one click at a time. Thank you for seriously praying about it.

Don’t Hit The Fan

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26

I watched through the windows of a friend’s house as several sparrows fluttered back and forth from the ground to lawn furniture on her veranda. They were chirping loudly. Then I saw why. Her dogs were crouched down, watching them.

One little bird flew toward the whirring ceiling fan instead of joining the others in their frantic dance. I held my breath, knowing there was no time to bang on the window and divert the little thing from flying headlong into danger. I watched with my teeth tucked into my lower lip, and yeah, I said a prayer.

But the bird was savvy. It knew how to fly above the turbulence caused by the blades and land securely on top — safe from harm of the fan and from the dogs below. Then I noticed a small tangle of grass and twigs. It was building its nest there! Smart critter.

God lesson: In Matthew 6, Jesus talks about how the Father cares for the birds of the air, and how much more He will care for us.

We can fret on the ground about things that are beyond our control, hopping around like chirping sparrows. We can sense the danger and feel helpless to do anything about it. It can overwhelm us with worry so much that our judgment is clouded. We may even just freeze, close our eyes, and pray we’ll come out unscathed as our knees crumble and our teeth chatter.

Or we can soar above the turbulence in life and nest safely in our Father’s love. We can ask Him to give us the way to lift ourselves above it all as we follow His voice and trust that He will either lead us out of the peril or armor us with the smarts to get through it by His mercy.

In I Samuel 17, David slung a stone and whacked Goliath smack dab in the one place that would fell him. He used his expertise in scaring off wild animals from his flocks, a talent God had developed in him for such a time as this. Just as God taught that little bird to judge the wind currents so he then could navigate the whooshes of the ceiling fan.

God is preparing you and me for His purpose. He knows what is going to happen and has our best interests at heart. He will provide the equipment we need to face any challenge or show us a route to safety.

So, before you think your life is going to hit the fan, seek the Father to give you both the strength in your wings and the knowledge you need to lift you above it all. He is faithful to do so — if you look to Him and not your situation.

Rock Solid

There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” I Samuel 2:2

Back in the day, everyone had Pet Rocks. Whoever thought of keeping a piece of stone in a cardboard cage became a very wealthy person. It spoke to some basic human needs. These hard pieces of earth provided companionship and represented something solid and lasting. Rocks don’t have heartbeats, so they don’t die. They don’t have legs, so they can’t get up and leave.

Now I have a different rock— a prayer rock. A smooth stone with a cross carved into it that fits in the palm of my hand. I can grasp it in my fist and feel comfort in its solidarity. When nothing seems within my power to grasp, I can hold on to this rock and feel a calmness oozing into my veins.

However, when I let the rock sit on my side table, it grows cold. It gathers dust. It is useless. I must pick it up, draw it to me, and wrap my fingers around it before it takes on warmth. Once it does, the warmth, though fleeting, remains for a while. Much better to carry it in my pocket or hand as a constant reminder Christ is with me.

Faith is like that. If we do not use it, it grows icy and useless. We need to constantly draw God’s Word to us and grasp it tightly to feel His warmth, solidity and everlasting love. Observing faith from a distance, assuming it is always there if we need it doesn’t work as well as constantly holding on to it, even when we don’t feel a need for it.

How often do we shelf God, as if He is something to reach for only when we feel out of control? No wonder He feels cold to so many people.  To experience His warmth, we must mesh our heartbeat to His strength. Our flesh, mind, and spirit to His grace. Our lives to His mercy.

Hang onto the Rock. He offers comfort, solid promises that will last into eternity, and oh, so much more.

Fall on the Lamb

A dear friend of mine relayed a story to the rest of us in our women’s Bible study.

In Scotland, two men were thatching a roof. One slipped and fell off.

The other heard him cry out but couldn’t reach out fast enough to save his friend. As he inched toward the edge, the second man heard a thud.  Then an eerie silence. Fearing the worse, the other man was overcome with a feeling of helplessness. His coworker was gone.

He crawled down from the roof and walked around to the side where his friend has fallen.  There the first man stood! Upright, brushing the dirt and thatch from his clothes. He wasn’t even bleeding.

“What happened?” the other man called out in disbelief. “You fell!”

“I know. But just then a herd of sheep sauntered by.” The man pointed to a white lump on the ground behind him.”I fell on that lamb. It took the brunt of my fall. It died to save my life.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

What a graphic story of redemption. Christ, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, sacrifices Himself for each of us. But here is the catch (pardon the pun.)  He does that each time we slip and fall from God’s grace…if we let Him.

David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great . . .” 2 Samuel 24:2

Are you like the man who fell? Do you feel on the edge, teetering? Fall into the arms of Jesus. He is there to catch you if you cry out to Him.

Perhaps you relate to the other man in the story. Do you feel helpless as you watch a loved one plummet into a bad situation? Pray for Jesus to catch them. They might come away with a few scrapes, but they will be saved.

We all want to “do things” in times of crisis. But the best we can do is fall – fall on Christ who will always be there, arms outstretched to receive us. He is the only one who can take the brunt and save us, or any others we know.

The other man couldn’t help his friend. My guess is he gasped a prayer in a moment of distress.

So can we. Each and every time – for ourselves, or those we love.

 


What is a digital ministry? My passion. My mission field is my keyboard, which reaches hundreds of thousands over the internet every month through Power to Change’s websites called  Issues I Face and The Life. We truly are fulfilling the Great Commission to go into all nations over the internet. Want to journey with us?  Sign up for free devotionals sent to your inbox each day. You can volunteer as an online mentor to those searching (don’t panic we will train you and you set your own hours),  you can pray, and you can support the effort with a donation.  

Stirred, Not Shaken

“I have set the Lord continually before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8

I watched, a smile etching over my lips. A little girl in front of me stood with her daddy as she waited her turn on the merry-go-round at a local fair. The other kids’ squeals fascinated her as they straddled the up and down steeds. The loud calliope music added to the excitement along with their squeals of laughter. The mirrors and colors swirled by. Her eyes kept widening, stirred by the sounds and motions.

At last the ride slowed to a halt. Kids climbed off and it was her turn to get on. He lifted her onto the pink one. Then, oh so carefully, a shaky little hand groped for her father’s strong one—just to make sure, before he stepped back. The whole time, her daddy stood by her, resting his hand on the plastic horse’s rump, his eyes focused on his daughter as her face changed from worry to wonder.

Then next time, she scrambled to get on, all smiles. Even so, her father resumed his stance. Even though she now enjoyed the ride, he never was more than an arm’s reach from her.

Her dad obviously knew about merry-go-rounds. He understood the joy and the risks, and was prepared for his daughter’s reactions.  He stood by ready to steady her or comfort her. Or to share her laughter. And above all else, to ensure her safety.

For me, that’s God. He is always right there, watching, guiding, protecting me. Whether I am anxious or anticipating something with joy, He never steps away. He lets me experience things, but always under His watchful eye. As life moves up and down, slows and then goes faster, He stays the same. Always within reach. Always ready for me to grab hold and squeeze tight.

Because that is what a loving father does for his daughter.

My heart is stirred…but never shaken.

 


One way God has stretched me is to become a digital missionary with The Life Project. However, to continue to grow in this ministry, I need to become fully funded by partners who will pray and financially support me. Will you join my 20/20 Vision? I am seeking 20people who will pledge to provide  $20 a month.  You can learn more here.  Comment and I can send you more material to peruse so you know this cause is legitimate, why I am so passionate about it, and be assured your money will go to reach people around the world with the message of Hope in Jesus, one click at a time. Thank you for seriously praying about it.

Unaware

“Am I not present everywhere, whether seen or unseen?” Jeremiah 23:23

I had to have surgery, which meant undergoing anesthesia. For a natural control freak like me, not knowing what is happening is a huge leap in trust. Especially when I went under with an IV in my left hand and woke up with one in my right.  It freaked me out because I didn’t recall even getting drowsy after they positioned me on the operating table, and then woke up in a different room realizing time had passed without me being aware of it.

Not to mention trusting the anesthesiologist and the surgical team to do what they said they would in my interest, all the while monitoring my vital signs. I had visions of them laughing at my cellulite. But of course, they are way too professional, right? Even so, being unconscious and naked under a flimsy no-size-fits-anyone surgical garb is a bit daunting. Did I mention I have a strong sense of modesty?

Where did I find God in all of this? Not to say I go through my day unconscious, but I do walk through my life with very limited insight.  There is a lot happening that I am not aware of in both the physical and spiritual realms. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12 that our battles are not always of this reality. There are dominions and principalities in constant spiritual warfare. And we go about our day totally clueless of all the ways we are being guarded and monitored.

Amy Grant recorded a song, “Angels Watching Over Me”, back in the 1990s. She sang about how so many things are orchestrated to protect her that she never sees. All was for her benefit and had a purpose, even though she remained unaware of it.

Perhaps you hit every single red light on the way into work, so you’d not be in the blind spot of the weaving-through-traffic driver three blocks up. Maybe while you waited in line at the grocery store as the coupon queen made sure she had one for each purchase, the dry cleaners you were headed to next was being robbed. We never know—which may be a good thing, in a way.

If I can trust the surgical team to do best by me even when I am not aware of what they are doing, then how much more should I trust my loving Lord?  Quite frankly, as controlling in nature as I tend to be, I’m glad to not always be aware of what is happening outside of my vision. But I hope I do not neglect to thank God anyway.

This past week my life was in the hands of competent individuals. Every day my life rests in the eternal hands who gave those people their abilities. And I’m grateful my surgeon believes it as well.

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