Courage to Be Unoffendable Part 2

  “And anyone who is not offended because of Me is blessed.” 

                                      Luke 7:23

      A good friend invited us to visit her church a few months ago. We finally got a chance to go last Wednesday night since our church has not been having services this summer on Wednesdays.  Our visit was the beginning catalyst for these posts on being unoffendable. We came in on the next to last week of a study that they had been doing together based on the book The Prisoner in the Third Cell  by Gene Edwards. Just that morning I had prayed about a situation that had occurred; I thought I had resolved any ill feelings over it. Sadly, a fresh feeling of rejection reared it’s little head. I actually caught the potential offense quickly. I set out to put all my feelings on paper in the form of a prayer and to try to objectively look at each possible side of the my situation. Just writing out my thoughts was very cathartic to my soul. It helped to see things in a broader perspective and not have tunnel vision about the incident. Yet and still the sting lingered a bit. I digress, so back to the story…

       We were very graciously welcomed by our friend and the fellowship she attends! They began by meeting corporately and a Pastor introducing the topic. Afterwards we broke into small groups that I later found out were based on gifting. We had a great discussion time and then reconvened as a large group for more discussion and teaching. Imagine my surprise when the scripture from Luke 7:23 was the main scripture and the topic was John the Baptist.

     Foe some background, a little bit about John’s story…Recently imprisoned and with the threat of death upon his head literally; John asked friends to seek out Jesus and ask “When the men reached Him, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to ask You, ‘Are You the One who is to come, or should we look for someone else?’” Luke 7:20. We don’t really know exactly why John asked this but it doesn’t take much imagination to wonder if John’s unexpected imprisonment and the threat of death made him question his beliefs. After all, he was sent to prepare the way for Jesus the Messiah. Jesus was just getting started in ministry and John may have been questioning if he had really understood how things were to go. If Jesus was truly the foretold Messiah.

    Many believed when the Messiah came that His rule would be a governmental rule; an earthly kingdom. God had other plans. They were looking for relief from the Roman rulers of the day and a kingdom of their own.  Isn’t that just like us as humans? We try to understand God in human terms rather than accept Him on His own terms. We put God in a box that we can understand rather than accepting that His ways are not ours. If you will allow me leeway here, we make Him a god in our own image often times rather than truly studying His character by studying His Word.  If we are not careful, we loose track of  Isaiah’s words in  Isaiah 55:8-9 (NET Bible): “Indeed, my plans are not like your plans and my deeds are not like your deeds, for just as the sky is higher than the earth, so my deeds are superior to your deeds and my plans superior to your plans.  (many translations use the word higher when describing God’s ways and plans)  As Creator, He is sovereign; supreme ruler, ultimate power, not controlled by outside forces. There is no higher authority than God.

      John’s friends found Jesus and relayed John’s question to Him. Later they returned to see John with the answer,  “Go and report to John the things you have seen and heard: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news.   Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”   Luke 7:22-23  These scriptures were the springboard for a spirited discussion on what we would want to take care of if our death was imminent; questions we might have about or for God;  why offense might come and the reasons we become offended. Lastly, a question about our potential reaction when thinking we have been given a task by God and taking on the belief that we will be the one to see it to fruition. Is it possible that the very supposition can be or is a challenge to the authority of God in our lives?  The immediate thought that came to my mind was God calling Abraham the “Father of many nations” only to later tell him to go and sacrifice his only child as an offering. Then what if Abraham had carried it out to the finish and had not heard and obeyed when God said “Stop” and provided the ram instead. SurelyAbraham had a hard time understanding God’s directions and yet he listened and obeyed. His faith was unwavering despite his circumstances. How about ours?

       Do we really want a God we can completely understand? One that always act as we expect  him to act? One that grants us our every wish? Do we really want a God who answers every question we have? Not me! I have asked for things that in hindsight would have been very bad for me. I have asked questions that God in His sovereignty has not answered and I am glad He did not answer. I am wise enough now to understand that I could not have handled that information at the time I asked! Is our faith in God and His ways (His sovereignty) enough to accept those things we do not understand and continue to trust Him? Does it hold up even when our pain seems unbearable? How about when our loss seems too much to bear? What happens when tragedy strikes? And finally, do we really want a God that always or only meets our expectations? Again, not me! Sometimes my expectations are not the best answer and more often than not God exceeds my expectations on the flip side. Blessed are we if we are not offended on His account!

   “And anyone who is not offended because of Me is blessed.” Jesus Christ

Grace and Peace to you!


Friends, I highly recommend the above book. I read it cover to cover over the holiday weekend. The chapters are short and it is only eighty-one pages but it is quite thought provoking and challenging! 



Days of Grace-Day 20

      Grace, defined as unmerited favor by some; a gift of something we did not earn or deserve others will say. A little surfing the net, here are a few of the definitions I found:

  •       Beauty of Form
  •       Good Will
  •       Favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence
  •       To give beauty, excellence or charm to
  •       Divine love, protection; freely given
  •       Excellence or power granted by God
  •       Effortless movement
  •       A condition of protection or sanctification by the favor of God
  •       Reprieve, pardon
  •       Mercy

      It has been twenty days since I felt challenged in my spirit to study this word grace.  Many people of faith observe Lent each year. Lent is a forty day period leading up to Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the tomb.  According to About.com Christianity, it is a time of “fasting, repentance,  moderation, and spiritual discipline” that is observed by some but not all Christians. I was not very familiar with Lent though I had heard numerous friends over the years talk about giving something up for Lent or fasting.  Being curious, as it approached and I was around their conversations, I studied the concept. As I said earlier, I felt a still small challenge to focus each day on Grace. As it happened, when I looked at the calendar it was Ash Wednesday, which is the traditional starting day. I counted the days and determined it would be forty-five days and then Easter. So here we are on Day 20.  So far it has been an interesting journey for me and hopefully for those who have been walking it with me via this blog.

      Today’s grace verse comes from Acts 11: 23. On day 18 and 19 we looked at Stephen. After his trial and sentence, he was killed and persecution broke out among the followers of Christ’s teachings. Despite persecution, the church grew in strength and number. There also arose some confusion about the differences between the Jewish believers and the Gentile believers that were coming into their fellowship. Peter had a vision in chapter 10. Actually, he had it three different times.  Peter was perplexed and just after the last vision, some men came looking for him. They had been sent to Peter by a man named Cornelius so that they could request that he come to Cornelius’ home. Cornelius was a God-fearing centurion and a gentile (those who were not of the Jewish nation).  Peter accepted his invitation and went to him; there Peter told Cornelius and all his household and people about Jesus.  The Holy Spirit moved in power and they all believed and received the Holy Spirit. Next they were all baptized and this was the beginning of the gospel going out to the gentile nations.  Their cultural difference is what began the confusion previously mentioned. Questions over whether or not they were free to just follow Jesus or would have to conform to the Jewish traditions as well were the topic. Peter returns to Jerusalem and hears about the questions and concerns. Peter tells them all about his visions and all that had happened while he was with Cornelius. He told them how the Holy Spirit had moved in power and how they had received the Holy Spirit and then requested to be baptized right away. Peter said to the Jewish believers, “Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”  When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” Acts 11:17-18  This ended the confusion and questions from within  for now but the persecution from outside continued. The believers were now scattering because of the persecution of the church. Some scattered to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone.  Others went to Cyprus and Cyrene speaking to the gentiles (Greeks) preaching the gospel of Jesus.

Acts 11:21-23  (NAS) “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch.  Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord.”

      Because of the work of the Holy Spirit, the obedience of Jesus,  and  gracious hand of His  Father; salvation, freedom, healing and deliverance was not just for the Jewish people but for all people. Secondly, due to the persecution many went out from Jerusalem into different areas spreading the word, remaining faithful to God and bringing many people to the realization of what was available by living a life for Christ. Once again we see the Grace of God abounding in His people lives even in the middle of trials and struggles. Stephen paid a high price but he graduated into God’s presence. Persecution came and caused chaos and havoc, yet if we look closely… We have seen examples of good will, Peter going to Cornelius. Possibly, that would even be considered indulgence; favor rendered by one who need not do so…but God. We see divine love and protection as people leave their home and are scattered. We also see excellence, power granted by God in the movement of the Holy Spirit. There is good will, mercy and reprieve handed to Cornelius’ household and to all the gentile people. We see God’s grace extended, His kingdom expanded and His glory revealed to all people and it is marvelous in our sight!

Grace and peace to you!

Days of Grace-Day 16

Grace and peace to you! I hope you are blessed with sunshine on this first day of spring.  It is beautiful here but still pretty chilly. Today we will be exploring the first chapter of John as we continue our grace journey. It is my prayer that you are enjoying observing all the different ways grace manifests in people, their lives and in their different circumstances as we have walked through the scriptures. Because of grace, God did not completely wipe out the earth; we saw a family taken out before a city was destroyed; God continued with the Israelites because one man, Moses, found God’s favor; we saw Gideon hiding out become the mighty warrior that God knew he could be; we have seen the redemption and restoration in Ruth and Naomi’s life; and we have seen a barren woman’s greatest desire realized just in our first six days together. What a difference a little grace can make in our lives! Today, we will look in the book of John.

John starts from verse one with the powerful declaration: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1-5 NASB. Before telling Jesus life purpose and story, John wants to make His deity and who He was clear making sure his readers know that Jesus was at God’s side when the world was created; when the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters in Genesis 1:2, Jesus was there! It says He was the Word (logos- spoken word uttered by a living voice), the Word was with God, and He was God.

Let’s peek at today’s passage. John 1:14-18 tells us:  “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'” For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. (John 1:14-18 NASB)

Four times in today’s passage we see the word grace (Charis) and in two times it is pared with the word truth. For anyone joining us for the first time, here is a link defining this Greek word Charis:

http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/charis.html.

First, Jesus is described as being full of grace and truth. Jesus came full of grace and truth and of His fullness, the fullness of who He was(grace and truth); we have all received  grace upon grace. Moses gave the law, but grace and truth are realized through Jesus. Alrighty, so what exactly does that mean to us, or for us? I really can not say, but I can explain what it means in my heart and to me personally. Jesus came to earth carrying that which brought joy, delight, good will, loving-kindness, favor, and merciful kindness of God to us and truth. His purpose was to restore all that was lost or stolen in the Garden of Eden at the fall of man. Enmity came between mankind and God when Adam and Eve disobeyed. There was a division, a separation, sin entered because of man’s disobedience and mankind could no longer coexist with God’s Holiness. Did God stop loving mankind? No! It was His desire to be in relationship with man. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, we still struggled keeping them all. Israel was given additional laws, not to punish or hinder their fun, but for their protection. Things that were for their best interest for having a blessed and satisfying life. Yet, man struggled with obedience.

Jesus came to earth to bridge the gap between God and mankind. It had been God’s plan from the beginning. He came and fulfilled every single bit of the law, something we could not accomplish.  He came because of the loving-kindness, mercy, favor and compassion of His Father, to bridge the gap; to do what we humans could not, to restore that which had been lost at the fall of man and due to the sin of man throughout the ages. He set the example of living a sinless life full of grace and goodwill. Jesus also set an example of love and speaking the truth in love. He was gentle yet firm with people as He taught them the way to walk. Because He loved, He corrected and taught. He did so in a loving way, always direct but only getting harsh with those who were religious leaders; who knew the law and the prophets; expected the people to follow but thought themselves above it. Jesus lived in a manner that completely pleased the Father, knowing at the end of His time here on earth that He would be betrayed, beaten and killed for our sin, sickness, shame, and deliverance.  This gracious man came from His gracious Father to walk a perfect path to the cross. He took for us all our iniquity and traded His life for ours; His right standing for our failures. It cost Him everything and us nothing! That is grace! Then He arose defeating the last of our enemies, death and the grave. Grace accomplished the work, it is done.  Grace is available to us and freely given. We are free to choose Grace or reject it. Jesus is Grace and when we choose Him, our lives are transformed, never the same!

 

Frozen With Fear Or Standing Firm In Faith

Like clockwork about three a.m. this morning, completely cooperating with the predictions of weather forecasters  over the last four days, the pinging of sleet announced it’s arrival. Most of Georgia is officially in a winter weather warning or watch for either an ice storm or heavy snow. For many this is a normal occurrence during the winter months, but not so for Georgians. I can count on less than two hands the times we have experienced any more than the occasional dusting of snow to possibly an inch or two. Of the few times we have had more generous amounts or actually experience the rare ice storm, 1973 stands out as the worst in my mind. I was barely eleven at the time and it made an impression on me in so very many ways. Many lessons were set before me that are still very precious today.

I will first share a little background about the storm. It began in early January and in a short time there was ice accumulations of up to four inches in some parts of northern Georgia. We lived just outside of Atlanta and not far from Hartsfield Airport. It was not long before the weight of the ice began to cause widespread power outages. There were as many as 300,000 people without power. Our family was without power for a full week, despite living only 20 minutes from downtown Atlanta, some further out in rural areas were without for longer. When I think about that storm, I can still hear those snap, crackle and pops of the ice dangling from those lines and trees. For a child, the glistening ice was beautiful-it looked like a winter wonderland on a postcard. It was also a bit scary, because in the quiet of the night with no street lights, no flood lights or porch lights it seemed that the crackling and popping ice sounded much more ominous as branches and limbs overweighted with ice began to break. As I said above, this storm made a great impression on me in a number of ways, and I am still very grateful for ’til this day for lessons learned!

Lesson one, we were blessed. Lesson two, be prepared. Our family lived in a small suburban home at a time when all-electric homes were becoming more and more popular. Our home was a little older, maybe about thirteen or fourteen years old and we thankfully had a gas stove before pilotless ignition.  We also had gas floor furnaces which required absolutely no electricity to run. We had a separate freezer and enough food in it to keep it cold until we could freeze jugs of water to add in to keep it cold and it was cold enough to freeze it outside! We also had lots of quilts, a couple of heaters, camping stoves and several oil lamps and lanterns for camping. We were equipped and were blessed with extra that we could share with a couple of families who had all-electric homes, one of which had recently returned home with their new-born. We were also blessed to have water longer because the floor furnaces kept our pipes warm, many were left with pipes burst and later water lines froze for many between the meters and the houses because of extreme cold.

Lesson three, Philippians 6-7.  ” Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life!”. Remember those scary sounds in the night?? They got scarier! The crackling ice, breaking icicles, snapping branches, gave away to a huge snapping sound followed by an enormous thud, not once but twice during the middle of the night. Oh how I prayed that night, not one but two very good size pine trees uprooted completely and came down. Fortunately, neither hit our home or the home of our friends next door and damage was limited to the fence, the bumper of their car and the shell cover on the back of their truck. I was blessed to have learned at an early age to pray and pray I had done all through that night as the sound of falling trees continued throughout the night and throughout the week until the thaw finally came. Thankfully, most were in the woods across the street and caused no property damage. By the way, this possibly made the biggest impression to me as a child.  To this day when I hear of a storm coming, I begin to immediately pray! It doesn’t matter if it is ice, thunder, lightening, flooding, tornado or hurricane. Prayer changes things and fear is a waste of time. Be anxious about nothing, pray about everything! The peace of God which passes understanding will come if we stand in faith. Speak to fear telling it to go!! Pray, believe, if necessary pray for help with our unbelief, and STAND!

There were probably many other lessons learned that week such as how to have fun without electricity or t.v., get along with and help others, and it is probably where I began to love reading books and the Word. Reminiscing over it today, I can’t help but to think of how much our world has changed since then we have made some great progress since 1973 but we have also tended to become more busy and less connected. Many of us don’t know our neighbors like we did in previous years but only know them on the surface to say hi, if we even know them at all. We had a park over a block away and there were mommas on that road that knew me and the kids next door and if she saw us at the park she would ask, “do your parents know you are here?” Now we are hard pressed to let kids walk two doors down without us right by their side because we live in a much different world.

Imagine if everyone who has faith even as small as a mustard seed resolved to:

Pray for protection and provision for ALL those in the path all of the storms in life, especially the elderly and children and the many people who are working and on call to keep us safe…police, firemen, military, national guard, coast guard, public safety workers, EMT’s, doctors, nurses, transportation workers, and for their families. What if we did it daily, not just when storms are predicted or overwhelm us in their wake? What if we choose to take a few minutes a day to stand in the gap out of compassion and gratitude and believe without doubt that not only is god willing but God is able! Storms and trials may still come but how much better equipped to weather them would we be? How much easier to face them just knowing we are uplifting each other before, during and following the threats that come?

Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (AMP) Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).

Making Room

Today’s Bible reading passage in the plan I am using is Isaiah 54, or at least I thought it was… until I looked later and found I jumped ahead a chapter. Perhaps I was subconsciously eager because it is one of my many favorites in Isaiah. It is right on the heels of another favorite, Isaiah 53 which is the prophecy of the coming Suffering Servant, Jesus Christ. There are great promises for Israel in this chapter, I personally believe there are lessons for the Christian also in these words and perhaps some of the promises apply to us as also. Based on Galatians 3: 13-14 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree ”) in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:13, 14, 27-29 NET).

The first attention getter for me was verse two. It says to enlarge your tents, spread out the wall, stretch your boundaries. Then one translations says don’t hold back; another says spare no effort; and lastly another says spare no expense. It goes on to say lengthen your ropes and pound your steaks deep. Many commentaries agree that this refers to the time after Christ when the gospel would be shared with both Jews and Gentile. As I considered the passage this morning I felt impressed that it could also be very applicable in my life and the lives of others. Maybe for our day, it is saying make room for God and all that He desires to do in our lives. Make space for Him, for the assignment He has for our life, and for the blessings He wants to give us. Be diligent and prepare even when it may seem nothing is actually happening right now. Keep trusting God and being expectant of what He has planned for it will come to pass in His timing. His timing is always perfect and right on time. His plans for us are good, believe and trust He is for us!

Don’t be afraid, for you will not be put to shame! Don’t be intimidated, for you will not be humiliated! You will forget about the shame you experienced in your youth; you will no longer remember the disgrace of your abandonment. (Isaiah 54:4 NET). Trials, troubles from the past that cause shame will no longer haunt you, they will be forgotten was my next big take away. We all have an experience or two in our lives that haunts us, one we want to forget. That is exactly why Jesus came (Isaiah 53 & 61:1-4) to bear our sickness, disease, sin and shame. Also He came to encourage the poor, heal the broken hearted, bring liberty to captives, freedom to prisoners, and relief and joy to those who mourn! We are neither limited nor do we have to be defined by our past, we can move past the things that shamed, intimidated, humiliated and held us back in the past!

Though the mountains move and the hills shake, My love will not be removed from you and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says your compassionate Lord. (Isaiah 54:10 HCSB) Our Heavenly Father loves us and nothing can change that. Those In Christ have been given right standing with Him. His love is unwavering and His covenant of peace will not be shaken!

I also love verses thirteen and fourteen, that our children will be taught of The Lord and prosper and that we can live oppression free and far from terror. Followed up by: ‘No weapon forged to be used against you will succeed; you will refute everyone who tries to accuse you. This is what the Lord will do for his servants – I will vindicate them,” says the Lord’.(Isaiah 54:17 NET) I certainly am no theologian, just a simple follower of Jesus. One who, based on many experiences in my own life, has witnessed the goodness of God and His promises in even the toughest of times and the loss of some of the people dearest to me. I can attest to His great love, His mercy and grace in the hard places in life even in the times He seems absent or silent, He is there working, loving and watching over you. May you be blessed this day and may His goodness and mercy follow you!

Struggles…

This morning as I begin my day, I looked to see what my s.o.a.p chapter for the day would be. (Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer).  It would be Deuteronomy 34, the last chapter and one of my favorite stories of the Old Testament. Next, I opened You Version, an electronic app for Bible. Up on the screen popped their verse of the day. My thought was alright I will read this real quick and move on to my s.o.a.p, reading. I was stunned by what I read next:

Proverbs 3:7,8 Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.

Don’t assume that you know it all! Run to God! Run from evil!  Your body will glow with health, your very

bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own;

give Him the first and the best.

I am just going to be completely transparent as I begin. I have been wrestling with somethings for a while. this last week it intensified and it has consumed larger chunks of my days. After trying to reason things out and get answers mostly on my own, I finally wised up and sought council with the Only One that could actually give me both insight and wisdom on the matter. I can’t say that my prayers got a quick and fix all answer, but gently and lovingly over the last few days God has been guiding me in His Word and leading me to answers. I will share a bit of that today in hope that it might help someone else who is struggling…

To get back on track, I was stunned by this verse because first of all in the struggles I had been pondering two or three directly affected me (one was health related) and the rest affected some of my loved ones and this verse quickly and concisely addressed what I had been doing…trying to figure out things on my own. Oh yes, I had prayed about them on the surface but until Wednesday, I had not truly prayed over them asking and seeking real answers and furthermore never left them at the feet of Jesus. Instead, even though I should know better, I would pick them right back up in a few minutes or a few hours. Now I have to admit I had a mixed response at first: “Oh wow, this verse popped up just for me”; then, “no, they have a verse everyday, it is a coincidence it speaks to me on these specific issues in my life”; lastly, ” no, not a coincidence, it is too personal to what is going on in my life,  it addresses both my trying to figure things out, seeking God out instead of reasoning  that these both lead to health which in my case is suffering a little right now.” Yes, I was reasoning and over-thinking again already! As I told myself, stop; I felt a nudge to go and read the full chapter. Amazing… would you believe it was just what I needed to hear?

Do I have all the answers to the questions that I have been struggling with? No, some are more clear and others, not so clear.  There was not instantaneous answer to everything, but there was aclear-cut mandate: God has this, “don’t loose a grip on Love and Loyalty”, trust Him from the bottom of your heart and DO NOT try to figure this out on your own, seek Him!! Listen for His voice in everything you do and where ever you go. These will bring health and a viberant life. Seek wisdom and insight for these are the tree of life to those who embrace them, holding onto them bring blessing! Clear thinking and common sense are where we need to live; worry, wondering, speculating on what may or may not be are not helpful and do not add but detract from our lives.

My take away today is to recommit myself to these principles, quit trying to figure out things on my own and seek God for wisdom and for understanding on these things, lay them down and trust in Him to bring the right answers, direction and guidance. When we wait on God and His timing, He will answer.  I fully believe that God was able to speak to David through Nathan; Balaam through his donkey; to the people of Israel through the prophets; and to us today  by any means He chooses. After all, the Word of God says He is the same yesterday, today and forever!! Our job is to trust, believe, hope in Him; read His Word; seek Him and His guidance; and listen and act on what He says as long as it agrees with His Word.

As for Deuteronomy 34, I made it there but that is a story for another time!  Be Blessed!!

Celebrating a Blessing

  Bless the Lord, oh my soul and all that is within me Bless His holy name!! For Lord, there is nothing too big for You! You never leave or forsake us and Your ways are always good!  You have a purpose and a plan, a reason for everything that You do and it is always for our good and for our best!

   This morning I awoke from an unusual dream. I am not sure why but in the context of the dream I was very anxious and alone standing near a doorway. A strong yet ethereal hand reached out and drew me toward and then through the doorway and I hesitantly took hold and followed. At the other end of that arm was what I presume to be my Savior… the presence of total and complete love, like no earthly love was all around and overwhelming. It was a place of perfect peace, joy and total well-being, like nothing I have ever experienced. This sense carried over into my waking moments.

    As I carried on my morning, within about an hour, I received a phone call from an Emory phone number. It was my doctor with the results of a CT scan I had yesterday. A little back story, in May my primary physician had me have a test to access my heart because my parents both died from sudden heart attacks at a fairly young age.  This test resulted in finding an aortic enlargement. The finding knocked the breath out of me; I knew instinctively that this was actually what is known as an aneurysm. I also, was very aware how dangerous and life threatening this condition could be and a specialist should be consulted. I did and had additional testing which lead to the repeat CT yesterday and this morning’s phone call.       

     In the meantime, we have been praying for healing and many have joined us!  Before I go any further in my story, I want to explain my thoughts on healing and the Healer. I believe in a Sovereign God, the Creator of all that exists. He is all-knowing, all-sufficient and again Sovereign. He knows best. I fully believe He heals and not always in the same way. Sometimes it is instant, other times progressive. I believe He uses doctors if He desires and in some cases, our healing may be to enter His presence and our heavenly reward if we are His children.  I don’t believe illness is His desire for us but a result of a fallen and broken world because when Jesus walked the earth, He went about healing all who were sick and oppressed.  He desire is for our wholeness: spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally!! He came to set us free and restore what was lost because of the entrance of sin into the earth and we have a choice to make, simply to accept what He offers or reject it. He sets before us life and death, blessing and cursing and asks us to choose life. (Isaiah 61-1-3)(Deuteronomy 13:19)           

     Today, my doctor is puzzled at the differences in the two scans. Based on his words to me, I doubt they normally see the decreasing of an enlarged aorta, but I am rejoicing. My CT results, according to the report, show the aorta at 3.8cm at its greatest dimension which he said was considered normal in some people.  I am standing on the belief that the Lord, Himself is healing this and that what began as a reading of 4.2cm has reduced to 3.8 and will continue until the artery is exactly the size it should be whether that is right as it is or a lesser measurement! I am so grateful for faithful prayer warriors who have lifted and continue to lift me up before the throne of Grace, for evidence of answered prayer and most of all to my faithful and gracious God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit; for the One who never leaves or forsakes us; goes before us; walks with us; and who is our rear guard!

     Would I feel the same had the news been different? I believe I would. Why? Because He is able to do exceeding, abundantly above and beyond all we can ask or imagine. Would I still believe in His goodness, absolutely! Why? Because He provides the availability of medical management of this problem and surgical repair options. Besides, as much as I love my family and friends and  as much as I enjoy living, loving, and serving in this life; I know Who holds my future  and life as we know it here on earth is but a shadow of the real life that awaits in His everlasting Kingdom!!