Friday, October 28, 2011

Let Our Light Shine

"For God who said, 'Let there be light in darkness', has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ."
2 Corinthians 4:6

Recently my husband Joel went out in the dark and took pictures of the flowers in our yard.  Everything looked dark when he focused the camera on this hot pink geranium, but when the light from the camera flash hit the flower, it's beauty was visible. What a difference the light made!

It is the same for us who come to know Christ.  The darkness of sin, the broken world we live in, and the emptiness we feel all leaves when we let Christ into our hearts.  Our sins are forgiven and we become people who live in the world but are no longer of the world.  With His light shining on and in us, our beauty becomes visible too! 

A chorus that comes to mind for me..
"Let our light shine is glory....glory
Let our light shine in glory to the Lord

Stop over and visit Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays to read more inspirational posts or link up your own.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Power of Words

As a child I remember hearing this phrase ~ " Sticks and stone may brake my bones but words will never hurt me."  I don't know who wrote this, but they were not very enlightened!  Words are powerful and can be very hurtful.  You cannot take them back once they come out of our mouths.  They have the power to build up and the power to break down.  Words can be as cutting as a sword, or as healing as medicine.  They are a precious gift to be used with care....they tell people alot about who we are and whose we are.

As children of God, we have the privilege to use our words to pray. To lift up our voices in praise and in petition before our heavenly Father. Today I am giving thanks for a sweet little girl who wants to help orphans (she herself having been one).  Ravenna has a web site where her mom is helping her to raise money again this year to help buy food and Bibles for children who live in an orphanage in Mexico.  You can find her story here at   Kids Blessing Kids.  I am giving thanks for Ruby Grace now officially belonging to her forever family, for a visit with my sister Jan and her husband, for being able to wish our daughter happy birthday, for continued healing for Nick, Tron, Karl, Ruby, Ravenna, Georgia, Jubilee, and many others.  Thank you Lord for the words of others that encourage and express love and for your written words ~ The WORD of God, the Bible.

We lift up to you today, those in need of healing...physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.  We lift up to you today ourselves, surrendering our will for Yours, surrendering our plans for Yours,   surrendering our life to You.  Thank you Jesus, our Jehovah Jehri ( provider) our Jehovah Rapha ( our healer).  With the words you lay on our heart, may we be a blessing to others.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Son Is Shining!

Good Sunday morning to you from our corner of the world in the Midwest!  The sun is shining and we are heading for a nice fall day with temperatures rising into the lower sixties.  Nice for mid October! 

It is also Sonday morning here~ Being homebound, I enjoy worshiping God from my living room...watching morning services on TV and later on the Internet with Rick Warren.  The music, the scripture readings, and the sermons all glorify us pure SONshine to fill our souls. 

The  sermon I heard today spoke of remembering, recognizing, recounting and rejoicing over all the miracles God has brought into our lives. Like Joshua, we need to remember and rejoice over what God has done for us.  It is a wonderful way to bring SONshine into our souls.  How can we help but smile when we look back at the precious promises of God coming true for us and those we care about.  Thank you Jesus!

Today, as sunshine fills our homes, let us give thanks for the SONshine that fills our home too. We are richly blessed!

Let the Sunshine....let the SONshine!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Resting On His Promises

As I sat before my Lord, petitioning in prayer for the many requests that come my way, I was humbled and grateful that God asks us to bring all our burdens to him.  So grateful that He bends a listening ear and promises to answer our prayers.  We can rest on His promises as we bring before our Lord needs and the needs of others.  We can rejoice in the knowledge that He is there for us....always.

I am giving thanks for Karl who is doing so well after His brain injury, for Tron who has been able to come back to his hometown now and be near family during his brain injury recovery.  Prayers of praise for Nick who is doing so very well after his accident that I wrote about a few weeks ago....for Georgia who continues to do well.....for Leon who is still living life to the fullest, for our Sarah who had successful surgery, for God bringing Andrew off the ventilator and into recovery, for God protecting our friend Linny from being grabbed as she was walking back to the guest house in Uganda, for a visit with old friends. I am rejoicing and giving thanks that Linny has been able to get through all the paperwork for adopting Ruby Grace and she is now officially theirs to bring home from Uganda~!

We come before you lifting up the following people Lord~

Dominique's dad ~ full healing from heart surgery
Ravenna ~ a rare blood disorder
Deb's mom over at Jeremiah 29:11 blog
Leon ~ cancer
My brother and family

We rest on Your promises.   Lord we ask that we may your holy name...Amen

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How Then Shall We Live?

There is a time to be born and a time to die....
Ecc. 3:2

I have been reading a book by Wayne Mueller entitled, "How Then Shall I Live?" and today's chapter asked the question,
 "Knowing we will die, how shall we live?" 

 Pastor Wayne Mueller works with many people who are at the end of their life from cancer, kidney failure, AIDS, etc. and he found that they changed how they viewed life once they knew they were dying. Suddenly everything they did in their remaining days becomes precious.  Relationships became very important and such things as money and material goods did not.

The thing is, we are all going to die. We just don't know when or how.  So living each day from the perspective of knowing that we will die makes every sunrise amazing.  Like many of you who have faced illness, when I got cancer in early 2010 I was frightened.  I already felt like I was fighting for my life with Lyme Disease, and then along came the big "C".  Life became more precious.  Oh, it has taken me awhile to not live in fear of it returning and there are still times I become anxious about that possibility.  It took awhile for me to not be looking behind me, or running into the future trying to grab hold of all life has to hold.  I am learning to accept where I am on my journey with Lyme Disease and as a cancer survivor.  Slowly I am learning that today is all I have and it is precious from the moment the sun rises until it sets in the evening.  Mindful living.  Focused on God and those I love and care about.  It is a process during which I am finding this book and its questions very helpful.

Maybe we need to ask ourselves some important questions?  How do we want to live the rest of our lives?  Do we want to be kinder?  Do we want to be more loving?  Do we desire to serve Jesus in a special way?  Do we hunger to worry less and laugh more?  So many questions for us to answer as we contemplate the fact that death will come to all of us. 

So, I ask the question one more time....

Knowing we will die, how shall we live?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tugging On God's Arm

"Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, "This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left."
Isaiah 30:21

A year ago Joel and I decided it was time to make plans for our retirement move.  Joel is on ELCA disability until he is 66 due to Lyme Disease and CFS, so we thought it was a good time to move.  We started talking about where to retire, packed a box here and there, and prayed hard for direction, asking for this house to sell and the right house to buy.We made the decision to move back to Joel's home town to be close to his aging mother, and contacted his cousin and a realtor. We prayed, read scripture, and prayed some more all the while working hard at moving forward in our plan.  We were sure we would be moving this summer and we just knew God was on board!

Even though we were looking online at houses, not one felt "right".  Then the end of May I had a strong reaction to a new treatment that kept me mostly horizontal for 2 months. I finally started to get better in August and at my last appointment the doctor was seeing good improvements in me ~ and Joel?  He had regressed and our doctor suggested he not work even 15 hrs a week.  We know treating chronic Lyme is a roller coaster ride, but we were still very disappointed.

We began to reassess our plans.  Sitting still before God this week, we suddenly could clearly see how we each were acting like an impatient child ~ you know~ a child who has hold of his or her daddy's hand and is trying hard to pull them forward.  "Come on Dad...hurry up!"  A child that was impatient to get where he or she wanted to go. 

With the patience and guidance of a loving Father, we had an aha moment of understanding and came to a place of acceptance.  This is where God wants us to be for now.  From a practical point of view it makes sense.  The economy is down, the housing market is bad here, our health is still at a challenging level, and if Joel does get well enough to take another pastoral interim position, this would be a good place for that.  More importantly for us is God's point of view.......HIS plan.  And we believe His plan is for us to stay put.  Sometimes God must just shake His head at how hard we try to "make things happen"!

Certainly, we all have times in our lives where are impatient for our plans to fall into place.  Sometimes we believe we are in God's will, and find out later that our own desires were getting in the way. Maybe we are so eager to move forward that we don't take the time to sit quietly before God, and listen for His guidance.  Thankfully, if we are asking for His guidance He will close doors and open windows,  as He tells us to "go to the left...or go to the right...or "be still".  He does know best. 

"Be still and know that I am God"
Psalm 46:10
Guess it is time to unpack those Christmas dishes!  And I plan to sing praises while doing so~ believing that we are right where we are supposed to be, and in His perfect ways when it is time to move He will lead the way.  I am guessing we won't need to tug on His arm at all!

Stop over and visit Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays and read inspirational posts or link up your own.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Laughter Lightens The Load

"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy."

Psalm 126:2a

Joel and I deliberately bring laughter into every day.  Life can get pretty heavy at times with our health issues, finances, loss of ministry work, our country's economical crisis and loss of unity, and then there is the world at large.  Oh, boy!  It is endless drama and so easy to get caught up in it.

Laughter lightens the load.  It boosts the serotonin levels in our body, it changes our perception of life, and it is just plain good for a person. When we do something ridiculous or forget something we usually just sigh, say..."Lyme brain" and laugh it off.  We tease each other often, and last night Joel did something that could only be attributed to brain fog and we giggled about it for most of the night. No one else would find it funny and some would think, "oh no, dementia is not far behind..."  We laughed....and laughed....and laughed!   Somewhat like the people below that did a laughing meditation at their Christian Bible camp!   Remember laughter is good for the soul!

Friday, October 7, 2011

You Will Hear A Voice

"Your own ears will hear him,
right behind you a voice will say,
"This is the way yo should go,
whether to the right or to the left." 
 Isaiah 30: 21

In 1976 we were living in The Philippine Islands where Joel was stationed as a meteorologist with the US Air Force.  We would soon be leaving Clark AFB and heading home, so selling our car was a priority and we listed it in the base paper that was also read by local Filipinos.  Cars were hard to come by and we knew it would be easier and smarter to sell it rather than ship it back home to the states.

Joel and I had prayed about selling the car, asking God to guide and direct us in the process.  Shortly after placing the for sale notice, Joel received a call at work that someone wanted to look at our car, so he set up a time and place to meet the prospective buyer in Angeles City outside the base.  Two men got in the car ~ one in front and one in back and Joel began driving to let them see how the car was working.  They started giving Joel directions on where to go, and when they came to an area that was unfamiliar to Joel and somewhat isolated,  one of the men said, "Turn left here.".  As Joel prepared to turn he heard a voice say from deep inside, "DO NOT TURN."  He hesitated and he heard again, "Go NOT turn."  The voice was so clear in his head he knew it was God speaking, so he went straight and drove into a heavily populated area and parked the car, quickly getting out and asking the men to leave the vehicle.   The men did leave, stealing the calculator Joel had in the front seat.  He firmly told them to put it back, sensing he needed to keep his distance from them as he spoke.  They complied and left, at which point Joel got back in the car and drove home.

A couple of days later Joel heard about an officer who was in the hospital after being stabbed repeatedly by two men who he thought were going to check out his car for purchase.  They had given him directions on where to drive and he ended up in an isolated area alone with the two men.   It was sobering to realize that this could have been Joel.  The men were able to steal this officer's car and had left him for dead. 

There are times when hearing God's voice and obeying it can save our lives in a dramatic way.  God gave Joel specific directions and Joel listened to the voice of God, which kept him from harm.  We never forgot this, and have tried to be obedient to God's voice whether it comes loudly or in a whisper. He knows our future and He knows what is best for us.   Just like that day so long ago, it is  a comfort to know that God is with us just as He promised, hearing our prayers, guiding our steps, and watching over us night and day.

Please stop over and visit Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays to read inspirational posts or link up your own.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mountain Moving Miracles

Moving a mountain is impossible for anyone but God,
but nothing is impossible for God!

Lately Joel and I have been praising God for some amazing mountain-moving miracles!  A former parishner, Nick, had only a small chance to live after a horrible accident that damaged many organs and required 90 units of blood. (that is right, 90)  His recovery has astounded the Mayo Clinic doctors and they are calling him a walking miracle.  Karl continues to heal from his traumatic brain injury after a bad accident, thanks to God's mercy, and the two month prayer vigil involving people from around the world.  My son's friend and fellow police officer, Tron, continues to recover from a severe head injury and resulting stroke even though doctors told his wife he would probably not make it.  Mountains moving!!   Our friend Linny is over in Uganda bringing home two precious daughters to add to their loving family, and the way God has moved to bring this to pass can only be called a miracle! Sweet little Jubilee Promise had surgery to remove tumors in her head....BUT they could find none when they went inside! 

Mountains were moved. Boulders crumbled.  The earth shook under God's command.

Dominique is back to being active and even dancing after 8 months of being homebound and very ill ~ move mountains, move!  Sweet little Georgia (side bar)  has her parents doing the happy dance with the changes in her since her heart procedure.  The doctors went in and opened up a valve that was nearly closed and Georgia is becoming healthier every day.  This surgery was very risky, but all is well.  A mountain moved!  Our neighbor Roger was diagnosed with Leukemia and had his first PET scan after only a few weeks of the months of chemo ahead...there is NO SIGN OF CANCER!  Doctors are amazed!  Praise God for another mountain-moving miracle!!!

God is mighty to save.  God is our Jehovah Rapha.  God is a mountain-moving God!  On bended knee I give thanks for His loving mercy and the hope it gives all of us.  Let us never forget the words of Ephesians 3:20 in The Message.
"God can do anything you know....far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request
in your wildest dreams."
Ephesians 3: 20

Please stop over and visit Spiritual Sundays to read inspirational posts or link up your own.