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Posts Tagged ‘Julie Cosgrove’

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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

 

It happened…like it always does, I suppose. Murphy’s Law in motion. With a deep smile, I tuned in to TV program I’d been wanting to watch for weeks and in a split second–nothing.

No lights, no electricity, no sound.

I became enveloped in darkness. No street lamp shown through my living room window. I pulled back the curtains to see the whole neighborhood shrouded in black. For almost four hours…on a crystal clear moonless night.

I rarely think about how much I am dependent upon electricity. Most of the time I don’t give it a second thought. I enter the room and flick on the wall switch. I ask my Google mini to play the radio station and boot up my computer to check my emails. I adjust the room thermostat and nuke my food while getting cold water from the fridge. I recharge my phone and my tablet as I sleep. Electrical power is an essential part of my life.

But that night, nothing worked. No power came through the wires. I felt blind and helpless. I sat on the couch for several minutes trying to get my brain to kick in and solve the situation.  After a half hour, I realized the lights were not coming back on anytime soon. There must be a major outage. All I could do was wait. My phone only had 20% power, even on battery saver.  I had no entertainment options. No computer, music or lights. I reminded me of the time I rode out a hurricane. What did I do then? Ah.

I used the flashlight on my phone to dig out the battery-operated lantern, and then located a shoebox of candles in my closet. I lit a few (ignoring the prohibition of their use in my apartment complex, but I doubted the manager would swoop in at eight at night and evict me.) Recalling that if they are placed high up they let off a larger glow, I set them on top of bookcases and countertops. Much better. A soft yellow glow penetrated my apartment.

I prayed a while and mentally went through my prayer list of folks. Still no lights returned, though a few times the power tried to gin back up only to go back down again within a few seconds.  My phone was almost dead so I couldn’t pull up my Bible app. I went to the bookcase, found my old study Bible, blew off the dust, and began to read as my cat curled in my lap. Memories of an elementary school teacher explaining how Abe Lincoln studied to be a lawyer by firelight etched my mind.  I think it was in reference to there being no excuse for us not doing our homework. Funny how things like that surface.

Then Romans 1:20 jumped off the page.  It’s words whacked me in the heart.

How often do I take God’s power for granted? I deeply rely on it. Whenever I need Him, I flick on my prayers and He comes. I plug into His strength when I feel mine diminishing. I seek His warmth when the world feels too cold and harsh. I lean on His love as a widow who, being housebound, often goes for days without any human touch. Without my Lord, I am powerless. I need daily recharging, just like my phone. I rely on His light.

 

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to not have God’s power in your life? Do you expect it to be there whenever you need it, like turning on a  lamp?

Rest assured, unlike the electric company, the power of our loving Lord never goes out. We can always tap into it, and we should…throughout our day and our night.

 

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Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you as though something strange were happening to you.  I Peter 4:12

piron-guillaume4 – unsplash.com

In a few days I will undergo a surgical procedure that entails burning seven nerve endings in order to relieve the chronic pain I have suffered with the past two years. The nerves will grow back in a few months but if this brings me any relief, it will be indicative to the insurance carrier that I am a candidate for the major surgery three specialists agree I need to permanently resolve the situation.

The idea of them burning things inside my body doesn’t sound very pleasant. Talk about a fiery ordeal! But I know that, even though I will be uncomfortable for a few days, it is for my welfare.

It makes me ponder about the fiery tests God sometimes puts us through for our own good.

Sometimes parents must show their love by allowing their children to suffer. I recall my mom saying, “This will hurt me worse than it hurts you” while tugging on a band-aid or digging out a splinter, or the few times she had to paddle my behind. When I became a mother, I finally understood what she meant.

It’s not that parents like to see their children suffer, and I don’t think God, our Father, does either. However, anyone who has been a parent realizes pain has to happen, at times, for their child’s betterment. Such as slapping their hand to keep them from touching a hot stove, or allowing them to wobble, fall and skin their knee as they learn to balance on a two-wheeler. Or living with the consequences of a bad decision.

Sometimes we have to experience hurt for our own good. God allows that pain in order to squelch a worse one, or to correct something that has gone awry, potentially causing us harm. Despite what our “pain-free” society tries to persuade us, pain can be a good indicator that something is not right. And often, we must endure a bit of suffering in order to experience the blessings of healing.

If we truly believe God can purpose all things for good (Romans 8:28) then we must suffer embarrassment and heartache to come before the throne on our knees to be cleansed of our sins, the way the sting of hydrogen peroxide must bubble up on a cut to disinfect it. Or the twinges of pain as a stitched incision heals. Enduring the uncomfortable feeling for a while is worth it in the end.

I will try to remember to be thankful as they wheel me into the operating room. After all, this procedure is to help me. Praise God it exists.

And the next time God decides what I am going through is worth the pain, let me be thankful that I am in His loving and competent hands. All will be good.


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. We truly are fulfilling the Great Commission to go into all nations. Want to journey with us? You can volunteer as an online mentor to those searching (don’t panic we will train you and you set your own hours) , or you can pray, or you can support the effort with a donation. 

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courtesy of brianna-santellan unsplash

A friend drove me to do my weekly shopping, but by the time we got there all  the handicapped spots were occupied. (Many of you know I have to use a walker, so even grocery shopping is a chore.) As we pondered whether she should circle around to drop me at the door then go find a place to park, a car began to back out across the way, right near the entrance. I immediately lifted my hands. “Thank you, Lord.” My driver agreed.

 

I recalled someone asking me if I truly thought God did little things like provide parking spots. My reply? “Why not give God the glory?”

Then, in my Bible reading I ran across Psalm 34. It starts out with a phenomenal faith statement: I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. (vs.1)

At all times? Not just when I think He has shown me favor? Would I say “thank you, Lord” if the only parking spot had been 100 yards away and my friend had not been able to take me? Would I have blessed Him when the pain shot down my leg and my foot scraped the ground as I tried to hobble back to my car after a half hour of walking through grocery aisles because all the scooters were being used? Would I thank Him if I’d gotten to the register and discovered some hacker had drained my account when my refrigerator had an echo in it and my cupboards were bare?

Paul put it a different way in his letter to the Philippians. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (4:4).  Always. In every circumstance. Good or bad.

I don’t think it means we shouldn’t get angry in response to injustice. Yes, we may feel frustration.  Our heart may jolt at a strange sound or coil at a perceived danger. It is in our nature to react. But we shouldn’t let it gnaw the edges of our faith.

A singer in an older Christian contemporary song states that whatever happens in life has already passed through God’s hands.  Very true. He knows long before we can. And He is always there, ready to make it a lesson for us. Ready to send helpers to comfort us, and His Spirit to guide us. Even in bad times, “God is good all the time”, as the chant states.

Today, I found a lesson from God in a parking slot and a psalm.

Dearest Lord, I will try harder to live out Psalm 34:1 and Philippians 4:4. If King David, who had to run for his life and hole up in caves, or Paul who suffered whippings and Roman prisons, could, why can’t I? Forgive me when I do not acknowledge You moving in my life. Amen.

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