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Posts Tagged ‘Where did you find God today’

Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; for thou shalt not be cured. Jeremiah 46:11

It’s word time again! This time, I made a typo in a work in progress. I meant to type salve and it came out slave. Yep, the brain went into gear again as the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear.  God can teach us from our boo-boos.

When the L and A flip, the meaning become almost the opposite. One is frightening, the other calming. One is horrid, the other welcomed. So what are the L and A?

I see it as the “L” as Lord/love and the “A” as Anxiety/Anger/Anguish. Follow along, now.

We can be slaves to our negative emotions so quickly. It is as if a little elevator in us suddenly rises when the button is pressed. Either anger surfaces or anxiety levels raise when we are transported out of our comfort zones by circumstances we didn’t foresee. Maybe both ride up our esophagus together, pressing against our heart on the way! It “lords” over us. The A pushes past the L. When we choose our anxiety, anger, or anguish to rule, it enslaves us.  It never goes away. It keeps resurfacing, or it festers deep within us and ferments into bitterness.

But turn to the Lord and give Him our “a”s in life, and the experience can become a salve, not only for ourselves but for others as well. We see it through His eyes and love, rubbing deep into our souls and our tenseness, blood pressure, and worry plummets. He is the cure, our Great Physician. Prayer brings the Lord’s answer. His peace can be the salve that soothes. The Balm of Gilead mentioned in Jeremiah.  In the ancient world, this balm from Gilead was known as a rare perfume oil that was used on all sorts of ailments from headaches to sprains to stomach aches to mental disturbances.  It literally was thought to soothe the soul. The A is followed by the L, changing our reaction.

It is an established fact in the medical and psychological community that the healing capability is often linked with the mental state of the patient. Patients with a positive outlook and a deep faith handle their diseases much better. In fact, quite a few miracles have been documented.

Not that faith heals us physically every time, or when an illness isn’t healed it is due to a lack of faith.  We are, after all, temporal beings. But how we face the adversities of life can make a huge difference in our mental, spiritual and physical health.

So, you choose what will follow after the circumstance presents itself. SLAVE or SALVE.  Does the Lord follow the anxiety or anger and calm it down, or do the anxiety and anger chase after the faith and love we know about and pushes them out of the way?

 

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Bubble lights are one of my favorite holiday decorations. They are glass cylinders filled with a colored liquid that slip into a base, each of which houses a small Christmas bulb as the heat source. As the cylinders heat, the liquid inside begins to bubble. When I see one bubble up, it makes me smile and lift my spirits.

The ones that are the closest to the plug seems to heat up and bubble faster than the ones at the end of the string. I guess it takes time for the energy to get to them. And even then, sometimes I have to thunk them with my fingernail and thumbnail to get them to start effervescing.

I can relate. There are times I feel downright bubbly for Jesus. I feel close to Him as the source of my energy. Maybe it is a passage I read in my Bible that truly spoke into my life. A hymn or song on the radio. A friend who has a prayer answered.

Other times, it may take a thunk to get me going. The energy takes a while to make it’s way to me. I fell distanced from my Savior, at the end of the receiving line of His grace. When will it be my turn?

Of course, I know it is all a matter of perception. God’s circuit never wavers. It is the same for all of us, all the time. I’m the one who is blocking the flow. My emotions get in the way — jealousies, anger, hurt.  I confuse faith with feelings.

So God needs to take His holy thumb and gently thunks me to get me bubbling. And each time, though it may jolt me a bit, I am thankful He does. Why?  Because then others notice my faith effervescing. It makes them smile — and maybe, that lifts their spirits as well as my own.

This new year, may I continue to bubble up, long after the tree and lights are packed away and Christmas is another memory.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew  5:16

 

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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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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.  

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“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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