“Really? What Does It Mean?”

Really?

These days you hear all kinds of words flying around, words of truth, gossip, lies (which are really the same as gossip), etc.  In a world where we could be more intelligent than ever, there is so much ignorance.  In an age where everyone wants to be accepting of everything, they are really accepting of nothing.  They want everyone to be tolerant but they are not tolerant themselves.  Accept me for who I am but do not expect me to accept that you don’t agree with me.

We live in a world where love is so misunderstood.  People don’t feel loved unless you agree with everything that they think is good and right.  They don’t feel loved by you if you have your own beliefs or standards of living that may be different than their own.  Unconditional love is unknown in this society.  The “love” of today is a selfish “love” it is not true love.

I remember when I was a kid my mom had a best friend.  Their lifestyles were totally different.  Each one was making different choices in life but they were still best friends and loved each other.  But today it is way different.  It is hard for me to even use the word love when speaking of our society.  There is this mentality, “Take care of me, accept my ways because they are right”, “love” me but I will only “love” you if you agree with me.  The fact is that you cannot really be a true Christian and not treat people with the true love of God.  But what does true Christ-like love look like?

Christ-like love

There are so many concepts out there as far as what Christ-like love looks like.  I think our human nature tends to take over and starts’ defining what we think Christ-likeness is.   But for the most part, it does not come even close to what Christ-likeness is all about.  So where do we even start?

What is unconditional love?  Is it a love that has no law or boundaries?  There is definitely a class of people that have that belief.  Is it a love that fences you in so tightly that you feel controlled?  And there is a class of people that also believe in this way as well.  And there are probably many other options out there.  But I believe Christ-like love is very difficult for us to comprehend.  It is beyond our scope of imagination.  But I believe the Bible gives us a perfect example that we can follow in the life of Jesus.  It is with His love and methods alone that we can win the hearts of men to true love.

You don’t have to agree with someone in their beliefs or ideas to love them.  True love is beyond self.  Self teaches, “You don’t love me unless you agree with all my ideas and beliefs.  Therefore I won’t love you and I will do what I can to destroy you.”  It is true that not everyone goes as far as to destroy someone’s reputation, business, family, etc.  We live in a society that makes us feel “poor me” if someone doesn’t agree with me.  But in reality, none of this is true love it is selfish love and is definitely not Christ-like love.

True Love

True love sighs and cries for the evils of this world, looks passed what things appear to be and sees the potential in each individual.  The only way that we can have this kind of love is to be filled with the love of God.  We are not capable of having this love with our own strength.  When we look at each individual we need to see Christ hanging on the Cross for them.  Christ died for every individual.

As Paul says in Romans 8:38, 39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  If nothing can separate a person from God’s love then why do we try to separate people from our love?  We may be the only “Jesus” they ever meet.  We should be so reflecting Christ that when people have been with us they should be able to say, “I felt like I have been with Jesus.”  And this is nothing of ourselves.  It is Jesus living in us and reflecting through us as we surrender all to Him.

True love does not condone sin and the standards of Christ.  But God gives everyone freedom of choice to choose and we should do the same.  One of my favorite stories is found in John 8:1-11.  This is a story worth reading and I would encourage you to do so.  Here is a couple of verses.  “When Jesus had lifted up himself and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, ‘Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?’  She said, ’No man, Lord.’  And Jesus said unto her, ’Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.’”  She had sinned but Jesus did not condemn her, He loved her.  But He did give her admonition to go and sin no more.

Forgiveness

Although all have to go to God for the forgiveness of their sins we do have a part to play in forgiving.  We can’t forgive someone’s sins for them but we can forgive them for the wrong that they have done to us.  And we can love them through the process.

How could Jesus endure the shame and suffering that He endured here on earth without the love of God?  And the amazing part is that He still showed love and pity to all those that were treating Him with disdain and cruelty.  The love of God is so deep and unexplainable but we can have that same love if we allow Christ to dwell within our hearts.

God loves us so much He has given us the freedom of choice.  We can accept Him and allow Him to change our lives into a character that is fit to live with Him.  Or we can choose our own desires and ways.  He still loves us although He does not accept sin.  His ways and law never change because His law is the essence of His character; it is a part of Himself.

“Tolerance”

Satan’s ways and those who follow his ways do not give every person freedom of choice. The devil only gives “freedom” of choice to those who follow his ways and that is not a true freedom of choice.  He wants to convince all that God is not giving you freedom.

Satan convinced Eve in the Garden of Eden that God was trying to keep something good from her.  But if she ate the fruit she could “know” everything, she could know good and evil.  Knowing evil was not a good thing and led this world into sin.  God never intended for us to know evil.  And what misery it has brought to us all.  But the devil wants to convince you differently.  Thus he brings contention and arguing to our world.  He brings “tolerance” into the equation but tolerance on his terms, which is not tolerance at all.  He is only tolerant of his ways.  When it comes to God’s ways he is not tolerant.  Thus you see the chaos in this world today.

God’s way

There are only two powers in this world of ours and we get to choose which power we want to follow.  We can choose the power of the evil one that is “tolerant” of all those that choose his ways.  Or we can choose God’s ways.

God’s way is a way of love, a love that came to die for you and for me so that we could live with Him forever.  He loves the sinner so much that He doesn’t want to leave them in a state of sin.  But while we were yet sinners He died for us (Romans 5:8).  He does not condone sin but He loves in spite of the sin.  He lovingly draws the heart of the sinner to repentance.  God’s love is so unconditional that He never gives up on you and me.  He sees potential in us.  His heart yearns to give us peace and happiness, which comes with repentance and forgiveness.  The freedom is so amazing.

I want to go with God’s way in my life.  Does that mean I am going to be perfect at it? Probably not, but I am going to strive to look at others as Jesus looks at them.  I want to see Christ dying on the cross for them and love them with Christ-like love.  A love that does not condemn.  I want to have a love that shows in my face when others are not tolerant of my choice to follow Christ’s ways.

As Christ was beaten, spat upon, and condemned to death He still showed love and pity for those around Him.  That is a love that is hard for our minds to comprehend but it is the love that we must have to be a follower of Christ.  And with the love of Christ that flows through us plant seeds that can bring change to the lives of many.  We can only do this as we allow the Lord to dwell in our hearts.  Judgment will come to those that want “tolerance” for themselves with no consideration for others.  My heart longs to plant as many seeds as possible so that each of those individuals will surrender their lives to Christ so that in the judgment they will have been forgiven with the blood of Christ and be saved.  What a glorious day that will be.

Dear Father,

We live in a sin-sick world that must grieve Your heart beyond words.  But You have an amazing love for all.  I pray for that love to flow through me so that others may see Your love.  You are waiting with open arms to save all who come to You surrendering to Your ways.  I want to praise You for Your ways of forgiveness, peace, and life.  The joy that comes to life with full surrender to You is so amazing.  Thank You for loving us with such amazing love.  Today I want to surrender my life to You again.  Prompt my heart to be more like You in showing your love to those around me.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Surrender your life to Jesus today.  Love all those around you with the true love of God, not with condoning sin or joining in with sin, but with a love that makes people know that they can come to Christ.  You may be the only “Jesus” they meet.  How are you representing Him?

Love you all!

Do you have a testimony of how the love of God has changed your life?  I would love to hear your story.  Share below.

 

“Ruth, You Were a Hero to Many!!”

Hero?

What is a hero?  Is it someone famous, wealthy, known by millions, etc.?  The dictionary’s definition is, “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”  Probably your definition of a hero may be different than mine or even the dictionary.  We all have our own thought of what a hero is to us.  But most people if you were to ask them who their hero was they would have someone.  My definition of a hero is someone that is close to God.  And when you are around them you feel the love of God shining through them.  It doesn’t mean they are perfect but that they are striving for being the best person they can be with the help of God.

Life changes…

Life changes so quickly!!  We have lost another friend.  In one weekend we lost two friends.  This friend has lived a long life and was a very special lady.  She was an encouragement to all.  It would be hard to even put down on paper what she meant to all of us.  She was so kind and loving and accepting of all.  Thankfully she went peacefully and in a position she was very familiar with, prayer.

She was at our church for many a year.  But then moved away a few years ago so she could be near her family.  She came for a visit recently and it was so nice to see her.  As I ponder how she looked she didn’t really look any different, she looked great.  I am so thankful we all got to see her one last time and that we got to see her how we remember her, full of life.

Homeschooling

I remember years ago as I was struggling to homeschool my children.  It seemed that there was so much work that was given, especially in math.  There were so many problems to accomplish in a day that it would take up most of the morning.  It was tough and discouraging.

So as a homeschooling mom and Ruth being a retired teacher she was helpful.  I remember when she told me that as a teacher they never finished books.  She shared with me that they never did every math problem in each lesson.  That took such a stress off of me.  I would push my kids way beyond what was necessary so that we could finish the book.  And I guess mostly we still finished the book but we would skip some parts, especially in math.  What this special lady said to me helped my children and me.

My children

She so much cared for each one in our family as well as everyone around her.  When she was here for the visit recently she told me how she still had Valentine’s card that my son, Michael, gave to her.  She treasured it.  She got to tell my son as well, which was a blessing to him as he heard the news of her death.  Many years ago Michael remembers getting a letter from her that was in the shape of a fish he has fond memories of her.  She was so caring.

Jeffrey, Aaron, and Caleb also remember getting letters from her.  When I asked each one of my young people what they remembered about Ruth, the letters she wrote was their first response.  The other thing that stuck out in their minds was when she would preach.  She always gave out a paper to each one of the children with 3 or 4 words on it.  They were to keep track of how many times she said those words.  Then after the service, she would count them and see if they got all the times that she said them.  During the week they would get a little card from her with compliments on how they did.  It was special to them.

She loved children and helped out at many Vacation Bible Schools.  She told the Bible stories and the kids just loved it.  One of the things that Jeffrey and Aaron remember is that before she would tell her story she would tell all the children to look at her and stay looking at her.  She would point to the bridge of her nose and tell them to keep their eyes there.  When someone would quit looking at her she would stop talking until everyone’s full attention was on her.

She also headed up a family class at our church when there were not enough kids to have a division.  All the families with children gathered together and she taught them all. She was able to reach from the youngest to the oldest.  There was a presence about her that drew everyone’s attention without her saying a word.

My daughter does not remember as much about her as she was younger but one thing I remember is how she opened her home for a baby shower for my daughter.  She opened her home many times for many people.

Elderly

When we first got to know Ruth she was elderly, in her 70’s.  But she had a burden for the elderly.  She faithfully planned a service once a month at the local care center besides visiting there other times during the week.  It seemed to me that even though she had a heart for all people that the elderly had a special place in her heart.  I don’t think she really considered herself elderly.  She kept her mind until the end and even was still driving, not many can say that.

The other thing that she did was memorize scripture.  She could quote whole chapters from the Bible.  When she would go to a care center she would often quote from memory large portions Scripture.  I can’t remember what it was now but I do remember her quoting a lengthy portion from Scripture for a sermon once.  It was so amazing to watch.

Music

Ruth loved music.  She never wanted music to be left out.  And she loved to sing.  There was just one problem.  She could not carry a tune and she had no problem admitting to the fact.  Although she could not carry a tune I can say it still was not that difficult to sing next to her because she did not sing all over the board like some that can’t carry a tune.  She pretty much stuck to one note or maybe two.  But it did not stop her from praising the Lord.  I, along with many others, are looking forward to the day when we are before the throne of grace and we get to hear the most melodious voice of Ruth.  She will be singing with such gratitude to God for His love and mercy.

Being that Ruth was a teacher she was a planner.  She even had a plan for her memorial service.  Planned out was the songs she wanted, the speaker, the players, the singers, and some of what she wanted said.  My son, Caleb and I had the honor of being on her list to sing.  We added in my daughter, who Ruth never got a chance to hear sing.  When I was asked if we would be willing to sing, I told them how can I say no?  It was a great honor.

Praying

She was a praying woman, a person of great faith, and she prayed for many!!  I can’t imagine how much time she must have spent in prayer.  But it had to be a lot because she prayed for so many people.  I believe that is one reason she lived to be almost 96 years old.  She trusted God implicitly; at least that is how it seemed to me.  I’m sure she must have had her time of worry but she sure didn’t show it.

Prayer is the key that opens the storehouse of heaven where God is waiting and willing to pour out His blessings into our lives and Ruth knew that.  Even at the end of her life, she was found kneeling by her bed.  There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the last thing that she was doing before she died was praying.  And I believe all her prayers will ascend before the Father continually even though she is resting until He comes.

Hero

To me, Ruth was a true hero.  She never looked at herself as a hero or even considered herself anyone special.  But what made her a hero to me was her connection with Jesus.  She reflected the character of Jesus to those around her.  Was she perfect?  No, she made her mistakes.  But she would also humble herself when the Lord spoke to her heart. Humans are not perfect and we should never put people on a pedestal.  But sometimes the only Jesus people meet is the Jesus that is reflecting through us.  And Ruth was one of those people.  She reflected the love of Jesus to all.  People felt her love and felt accepted of her.  She is resting awaiting the voice of Jesus to call her name.  And I know that there are many of us that want to be there when her name is called.

Are you…

So the question is are you ready?  Are you reflecting the love of Jesus to others?  The connection that we have with our Heavenly Father is the most important connection that we can have.  I know that Ruth wants to see all those she loved in heaven with her.  But she also wants to see all those she has never even met.  That is just who Ruth was, she loved all.  What is our legacy going to be?  I pray that I can have a legacy of love.

Dear Father,

Comfort those who are hurting.  We all miss Ruth but I know her family is hurting the most because of this loss so give them extra special comfort.  Thank you for giving Ruth such a long life to share Your love with others.  May she rest in peace until You come.

In Jesus Name,

Amen.

Draw close to Jesus so that you can reflect His love to others.

Love you all.

Did you know Ruth?  How did she bless your life?

 

“The Question is, How Long Will He Live?”

Life…

There are so many people that are hurting today.  I am sure that as you read this you can think of someone in your circle of family and friends who are sick and dying or maybe has already died.

The older I get the more I realize that life is short.  We are not given that many years on this earth to live.  For some of us, the time is shorter than others.  But nonetheless, we have all been given the opportunity to live for a time.  Do we realize the importance of savoring every moment with those that we love?

Family

As I write this I have an Uncle who is dying.  It has been hard on my mom, as she has lost her family members one by one.  Although I have memories of my Uncle they are very few. We didn’t live close together so did not spend a lot of time with him.

One memory I have is going to my grandma’s and stacking wood.  I don’t remember my age but I do remember how much respect I had for my uncle.  We were tossing wood onto the stack.  My uncle threw a piece and as it landed on the stack a piece came back and hit him in the mouth.  It hurt really badly but he did not say a “word”.  It was so bad that it actually destroyed at least one tooth but it may have been two.  He was so calm about it despite his much pain.  It may have been because I was there but it still had an impact on me.

Another memory was when I was so sick with Lyme disease.  I don’t remember how far I was into it but he came for a visit.  He came specifically to fast and pray for me, he has such a heart of gold.  In the two days that he spent with us, he spent most of the time praying for me.

I love him and it is hard to see him suffering.  As I write this I know that he may be gone before I actually submit this writing.  I pray that God will be merciful with him in his suffering.  I am looking forward to the day that I will see him again.

Friends

We have a dear friend, while I am writing, that has passed away.  We have known this family for over 30 years.  They have been a special part of our lives, although, in the last few years we have not spent as much time together.  It seems that when you don’t live as close or go to the same church each week you kind of lose touch with people.

Oh, what memories we have.  We visited him a few weeks ago and were reminiscing about things we did together.  One of those memories was snowmobiling.  When we were younger and only had a couple of kids we would go snowmobiling to a cabin with this couple.  There were 3 of us couples that would go once or twice a winter.  If I am remembering correctly it was a 30-mile ride to the cabin.  It was so beautiful.

We would arrive on a Friday evening.  This cabin was not a place that had all the conveniences.  There was a generator for electricity.  A wood stove for heating the place and a wood cookstove for cooking.  There was running water you could have after turning it on but no hot water.  There was no refrigerator but that was no problem because there was snow.  Our refrigerator was out the back door in the snowbank.  Also out the back door was a path to the outhouse.  When you went out to use the outhouse you had to scrape the frost off the toilet seat.

Time together

But what fun we had.  We would sit around and visit together on Friday evening while we warmed up next to the wood stove.  Our family slept upstairs and how hot it would get.  But once that fire went out it would get mighty cold.

The next day we would gather something together for a small lunch and then we would go out for a ride in nature.  The beauty was spectacular, to be able to look across the snow and see miles of white with the beauty of the green trees.  It reminded me of what Christ wants to do in our lives.  “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” Isaiah 1:18,19.

Sometimes we would eat out on the trail and sometimes come back and eat lunch and then go for a walk.  To be honest some of the memories are a little fuzzy but the reality is we had a great time.  Then Saturday night we would play games and just had an amazing time visiting.

Those were weekends I will never forget.  This man was an amazing person.  He may not have been old enough to be my dad but I felt the love of a dad from him.  He always wanted to be sure I was okay and taken care of.  My heartaches that distance and the business of life kept us from getting together much later on.  He will be missed greatly by many but most especially his wife and children.

More remembering

Another thing that we did with our friends one summer was going to Rosario Beach near Deception Pass.  My husband remembers this time as being a very special time for him.  I know we did several things together but I can’t remember what they all were.  But the real special times were just sitting around, in the little cabin they rented and visiting.  You could not be with these friends without having a great time.  We spent time in laughter!  It was always so great to spend time together.

The Lord was important to our friend.  He had not been a Christian all his life but when he allowed the Lord to change him, He shined through him.  He was always willing to help us when we had a need, which he did more than once.  And I know that he helped many others as well.  He was a leader in his church and always did his jobs faithfully.  I knew that he was in love with the Lord.

How long…

Once you find out someone has cancer the question always comes, how long will he or she live?  But what does this question mean and what part of the question is most important?  I believe the most important life is eternal.  Physically dying isn’t easy but if you are ready spiritually it is nothing to fear.  “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” Matthew 10:28.

There is no fear of death for my uncle because he is so close to God.  He knows that there is a better land.  There is nothing to fear when his physical body is gone.  He knows in whom he believes.  And when the time comes when he goes to sleep he will go to sleep in Jesus.  Our friend is now sleeping in Jesus.  He has no more pain or worries.  Although I know he didn’t want to leave behind those he loved he is now at peace.

So how long will my uncle and friend live?  I believe they will live for eternity.  Someday soon Jesus will come and raise up all those that have kept the faith.  This is the most important event and I want to be ready for it.  And I want to be reunited with all those that have gone before me.  I am looking forward to my daughter being placed in my arms.  It will be such a blessing to be reunited with grandparents, parents, family, and friends.  What a day that will be.  And I think it is closer than any of us realize.

God has promised us this amazing promise, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:  and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words” 1Thessalonians 4:16-17.  And I am looking forward to its fulfillment.

Dear Father,

How I long for the day of Your coming.  I am looking forward to no more pain or tears.  Please comfort those who are hurting.  We thank You for Your love and care.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Remember He knows your sorrows.  He will be carrying you.

How has the Lord helped you through losing a loved one?  Share words of comfort.

“Do You Know What I Just Heard?”

What?

“The President just said this…”. “Did you hear what Senator _______did?”  Oh yeah, and we can’t forget about the shooting in Texas, the Pastor that said this, the church that has split over that, or the Congresswoman who said…. I could go on and on and on.  I think you all know what I am talking about.  All the things that are happening every day worldwide are astounding and I hardly hear anything because I do not listen to the news or commentaries that talk about the news.

But you may be saying, “You need to keep up with what is happening because we need to be prepared for the crisis that is coming.”  Am I going to be prepared for the crisis if I am focusing on them?  How do I prepare for the crisis ahead?  What does it look like?  And does it matter if I know?

Truth

To me, the only way that we are going to be ready for any crisis is to be focused on the important things.  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” Philippians 4:8.  To me, this verse says it all and should be our criteria for everything that we listen to, watch, read, or think about.  I want to break it down a little and talk about each phrase in the verse.  I am not perfect at accomplishing this verse in my own life but I am striving for it.

“…Whatsoever things are true…”

So where do you get your information is it the news, a talk show guy, a friend, church leader, etc?  How do you know what you’re hearing is true?  I mean let’s face it; everything that probably comes to you has come through multiple people before it ever gets to you.  So how true is it when it does get to you?  And then there is the agenda that the person talking is trying to push so they are coming from their agenda’s perspective.

If you want to believe that there is no agenda and things passed down get accurately repeated then even if it is true does that mean we should be dwelling upon it?  Is dwelling upon these things going to get us prepared for heaven?  But what about…

“…Whatsoever things are honest…”

It seems that true and honest are the same thing.  There are similarities but there is also a difference.  This is where the agenda really falls into play.  Details are presented in such a way to deceive the people into believing that what is said is the truth.  You might call that propaganda.  You know if you tell a lie big enough and long enough eventually people believe it.  And as people believe it someone or something control them more.  And is what they are allowing to control them bringing them love, joy, peace, etc.

“…Whatsoever things are just…”

Is what we are filling our minds with upright (just)?  Is it approved and acceptable to God?  Do we have to dwell upon those things that are not just and right in order to know what is just and righteous?  We should be filling our minds with things that are innocent and holy. We should be doing those things that are innocent and holy.

Instead of focusing on the bad things that are happening in the world and within the Christian community and complaining about it, do Christ method.  It is His method alone that is going to win the hearts of the people.  And what is His method?  Keep reading.

“…Whatsoever things are pure…”

What does it even mean to be pure in our society today?  Everywhere you look purity has been thrown out the door.  I had someone say to me one day, and I don’t even know if he is a Christian, “Most of the TV programs and movies today are pornographic. I won’t even watch them.”

The fact is if what is on media today would have been shown in the ‘40s society would have put their foot down.  But it has come so gradually that people don’t even think about it.  I don’t really know what is on today but you don’t have to watch it to see advertisements plastered everywhere.  And to me, if we are watching those things we are condoning them.  We are in the getaway car so to speak.  If we were in the getaway car at a robbery we would be held just as guilty as the person robbing the bank.

We can choose to be pure in what we allow into our minds.  The temptation is not a sin.  So when we see something that could be sinful it is not a sin unless we continue to look or dwell upon what we have seen.  I wish I could get young people today to understand this concept.  I seen something totally by accident when I was probably 10 and I still have that in my memory.  It comes in a lot quicker than it leaves.  It can be like a virus that destroys your life.  Guard yourselves as much as it is possible to do.  Dwell upon the things that are pure.

“…Whatsoever things are lovely…”

Oh, how pleasant it is to dwell upon the lovely things.  When I think about lovely it makes me think of nature, the birds, deer, trees, flowers, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, etc.  Also, the truths of God’s Word are lovely.  There are so many things within this world that are not lovely.

If every time you went to listen or watch something and you thought about whether it was lovely it would change the trend of what you do.  And I am not talking just about worldly things, like movies, news, and gossip, etc. I am also talking about religious things.  What are the Christians dwelling upon in their sermons, songs, gossip (yes, I mean gossip and it can be more poisonous than worldly gossip), etc.?  Is it lovely?  There may be things that happen in this world whether in the Christian community or the worldly community that is not worth dwelling upon or preaching about.  How do we deal with the crisis we are in today?  Christ method alone will reach the hearts of the people whether they are Christians or the ungodly.  And what is Christ’s method?  Keep reading.

“…Whatsoever things are of good report…”

Good report, something that is well-spoken and reputable, and something that is well thought of, highly regarded, well respected, respectable, and of good repute.

I like what it says in Psalms 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”  Words usually start with our thoughts.  If our thoughts are going in a line that is unacceptable it will eventually come out via our words.

We think with horror of the cannibal who feasts on the still warm and trembling flesh of his victim.  But here is the question.  Is the ruin caused by misrepresenting motive, blackening reputation, dissecting character any better?  In God’s eyes, I would think not.  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” Proverbs 18:21.  Those whom God accounts worthy to be citizens with Him is he that “walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.  He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour” Psalms 15:2, 3.

We need to close our ears to things that are not of good report and also do not speak those things that are not of good report.  Christ method alone will reach the people of this world whether in or out of the church.

“…If there be any virtue…”

We need to have a virtuous course of thought, feeling, and action.  And we need to be full of moral excellence, as modesty, and purity.  We cannot be virtuous in our thoughts, feelings, and actions if we are filling our minds with things that are not virtuous.  We need to guard our ears and our eyes.  What we listen to or see with our eyes affects whether or not our thoughts, feelings, or actions are morally excellent.  This is not easy to do in our society today.  We may be made fun of because we won’t take part in certain things.

I remember being told, as people laughed, “You were born under a rock.”  And this was as an adult.  I then became more “worldly-wise” and believe me it did not help me in my spiritual growth.  Of course, I am still not as “worldly-wise” as a lot of people but way more than I wish.  I was way better off in my innocence.  If I could say anything to young people it would be, “It is really okay not to fit in.”  Once you have made unwise choices life will never be the same.  And remember what did it get our first parents, Adam and Eve, to be more worldly-wise, knowing good and evil?  It got us where we are today and it is not pleasant!

“…And if there be any praise…”

Are the things that we are allowing into our lives praiseworthy?  If we keep our minds and hearts stayed on Jesus it doesn’t mean there will not be bad things that come or happen in our lives or in the lives of those we love.  But through all these things we can still praise His name because “…We know that all things work together for good to them that one God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28.  God has chosen all of us but not all of us choose Him.

The bottom line is we can’t control everything that comes into our lives but we should control those things that we can control.  We need to make sure the things we can control are praiseworthy.  If they are not praised worthy we should eliminate them.

“…Think on these things…”

If we are thinking about “…Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” Philippians 4:8, our lives will be reflecting Christ.

I believe as we choose to only allow these things into our thoughts and hearts we will have a joy that will reflect out to others.  We will have a joy that is overflowing with the love of Christ in our hearts.  There are so many things that the devil wants to use to distract us.  But if we stay focused on the genuine, Jesus Christ, He will be able to mold us into His image.  And we will be able to reach those around us with Christ method.

What is Christ method?

If they are hungry we should feed them, thirsty give them a drink, be kind to strangers, clothe those that are naked.  When there are those who are sick we should visit them, we should be reaching out to those that are in prison.  When we do for those that are in need we are doing for Christ.  This is what will draw people to Christ.

When He went through a town those that were sick were healed, whether they were emotionally or physically sick.  Now we can’t heal like Jesus did but we can help encourage and direct them to things that can bring healing to the body, mind, and soul.  This is my passion!  I want to teach people natural ways to live healthier despite disease, live emotionally vibrant and spiritually uplifted in the midst of depressing circumstances.

Christ method was to teach in such a way as to not condemn but to uplift those that needed Him.  They felt His love and compassion for them.  Sometimes the emotional or spiritual healing is needed more than the actual physical issues people may be dealing with.  And God can show us what is most important in reaching each person as we stay in connection with Him.

Dear Father,

We live in a time where we are bombarded with so many distractions.  Draw close to us and prompt us to stay focused on what You would have us stay focused on so that we can live a happier more productive life for others.  And as we do this it will bring more satisfaction into our own lives as well be more pleasing in Your sight.  Help us not to look at negative things or be condemning but to focus on what You have told us should be our focus so that we can bring joy and happiness not only to ourselves but to others.

Thank You for Your Word that brings hope and courage.  Help us and guide us as we read and study Your Word.  As we continue to study help us to grow in grace and truth.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

As you reach out to others keep in mind Christ method.  Read the Gospels to discover more about how He taught.  Make sure to examine your life and take those things from your life that does not fulfill those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report; and fill your mind with those things that are virtuous, and praiseworthy.

Love you all!

What has been your experience when you stay your mind on what God has in mind for us?  Share your experience below in the comments.  I would love to hear it.

 

“Is She Going to Make It?”

Anxious!

Have you ever had something occur in your life and you get really anxious over it?  I am sure you have.  We all have events that take place that gets us anxious.  There are things that take place where we need some answers but we don’t know what the answer is and we aren’t sure where to get it.

I recall an event in my life that led me to this anxious feeling.  As far as how old I was I am not really sure but I think I was around 14 or 15.  At that time my dad was traveling on the road for his work.  So he would leave on Monday and then arrive back home on Friday.  We lived in an old farmhouse that was built back in the 1800s.  I loved that house.  We had two little ponds with several apple trees around them.  When we moved into the place we acquired a male and female goose and also one male duck and two female ducks.  They were lots of fun, most of the time.

Devastated!

One morning when my dad was out of town, I went out to feed the animals.  One of the ducks never arrived for the feeding time.  I grew concerned and went looking for her.  I found her in the second pond.  She was out in the middle, soaking wet.  As you know when you see a duck, soaking wet you know that there is a problem.  I don’t rightly remember how I even was able to get her but I finally got her.

As I picked her up I saw that she had a big hole in the back of her neck.  It was around the size of a silver dollar.  I could see the tubes that run through the throat.  She also had received damage to her body and her oil glans.  Things did not look good for her.

Let her go.

My mom was trying to figure out how we could put her to sleep.  I was not in favor of having her put to sleep.  I am an animal lover and I will do whatever it takes to save an animal if I possibly can.  So I said to my mom that I wanted to talk to dad.

For those of you that are younger it is hard for you to believe but cellphones were not a thing then.  And because my dad was on the road we could not readily get a hold of him.  He called us each day, morning and evening.  I can’t remember for sure but it seems the time to talk to him had passed.

I can’t readily remember how we got a hold of him.  But it seems that we had to call the main office.  He called into the office more than once a day at times and then, of course, when he got the message he would have to use a payphone.  He finally called us and I was so grateful.  When it came to animals my dad has the same heart I do.  And the reality is that God has the same concern for His creatures.  He sees when the Sparrow falls!  He loves the creatures that He has created.  My dad told me to call a vet and see what they suggested.

What?

Remember no Internet.  I had to grab a phone book and start looking in the yellow pages.  When I dialed the first vet I was shocked at the response from the receptionist.  She started laughing.  There was no sympathy or concern.  She let me know that they didn’t treat ducks.  I got the same response from one or two more vets.  At that point, I felt discouraged but unwilling to give up.

I finally got a sympathetic receptionist and doctor.  They let me know what cream I could get to put around the edges of the hole as well as her body.  It would take some work putting it on, keeping her warm, and getting her dry.  I did have concerns about her oil glans but the vet assured me that he felt they should heal without a problem if I just followed the directions.  There was still a little question but it was so worth trying.

Preparing

Some of the memories have gone from me, but my mom must have taken me in somewhere so we could get what we needed and get started with the treatment.  We also were able to find a large box to put in the house to place her in.  Somehow we put some heat in the box to help get her warm and try to get her dry.  You wouldn’t think it would be that difficult to get her dry but it was not easy.  It was amazing to be able to learn what those glans do to protect them.  And realizing how the oils coming from the glans keep the water from soaking in and sheds the water was so fascinating.

…Stomach

It did require a strong stomach in order to treat the duck.  I did not really want to do it before or right after eating.  As I recall my mom did not want to do it at all.  We had bought this cream and the vet said to take it and smear it around the opening of the hole.  It amazes me that the hole was not bloody.  So it was not to terribly difficult to smear it on.  I did wear gloves to do it though.

Now when it came to her back and wing area it was bloody.  It wasn’t massive amounts though, thankfully.  I can’t remember for sure but I think I used the same cream on them as well.  If I am remembering correctly it was a process that I did more than once a day.  The poor baby was so scared but seemed to know that I was helping her.  She allowed me to do what I needed to do without any complaint.

Healing

I don’t remember how long it took but her glans started to heal and the oils started to work again.  There was a question as to how long or if the glans would heal.  When we took her out to the pond for a test run I was so grateful that she did not get all soaked again.

It took quite a while for the hole to heal and fill in again.  But it finally did.  It amazes me at the healing power that God has put within our bodies and the bodies of an animal if we give it the right conditions.  God has made everything with amazing wonder.  And as I study more and more about our bodies I am even more amazed.  We definitely did not get here by chance.  All of creation was designed with such amazing intricacy it is impossible to be put together by chance.  We serve such an amazing God.

Thinking…

I started thinking about this experience a few days ago and it made me think of our lives in relation to God.  To most of those around us, we may look like an impossibility.  Our lives are full of holes and so many wounds that they may think for us to be made whole again is out of the question and fully impossible.  How can all those wounds be healed?  How can there be any hope?  I mean they are soaked in sin.  They are bleeding and fearful, which is covered with anger.

They don’t reach out to someone for help because of their fear of rejection.  So you try to find someone that can reach out to them.  Everyone you turn to laughs at you.  “You have got to be kidding me, you really think there is hope for them?  We don’t work on those kinds.”

But then you finally find Someone (the right Vet) that gives you some help in knowing where to turn.  He tells you about this amazing Salve that can help to heal the wounds.  There is no guarantee that the wounds will be healed because there is a factor that can keep those wounds from healing.

Choice…

The most amazing salve that can help heal the wounds of the most wounded soul is God’s Word.  There are a couple of factors that can stop the healing.  First, it has to be applied with prayer.  Because the healing is brought about by the power of the Word as it is applied through the power of the Holy Spirit.  And the second factor is the power of choice.  The person that is wounded has the choice to be helped or not.  Some people reject help.  They are so used to going through life with holes in their heart and with bloody wounds that they feel uncomfortable being out of their “comfort zone”.

They also need to be surrounded by those that are allowing the Word to work in their own lives.  People who have allowed the Word to so pray their lives that they have a warmth that will draw and warm those who are cold.  Assembling ourselves together with others helps to keep all of us warm.  It is like a lump of coal, if you take it out of the fire it will become cold.  Or if you take a cold piece of coal and lay it in a fire it will start to warm and glow like all the others.  Again it is still a choice.  You can’t force someone to join in and be close to those that can warm him or her.  But we can continue to love and to draw them.

Faith

It does require us to have a strong “stomach” (Faith).  Reaching out to people that are wounded requires a faith that will withstand the wounds that may lash out at us.  Wounded people can be full of so much anger that they lash out at those that even love them.  But on the same token we can be so turned off by the way they portray themselves because of their wounds that we may not want to even be around them.

By faith, we need to claim the promises of God and know that the “Salve” (Prayer & the Word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit) will accomplish the healing.  It may take longer than we think but we need to continue to be consistent.

The healing may take time and may not happen depending on their choice but never give up.  If the duck had fought me and resisted she would have never lived.  The same is true as we work with wounded people.  But we should never give up.  Even if they will not accept anything we can pray for them.

Also, remember as people surround us that there are those that we don’t even realize are wounded.  So we need to be sure that as we interact with those around us that we are much in prayer.  We need to be as Jesus was when He was here on earth.  The method that Christ used on those around Him is how we should treat all around us.  It is His method that will when the heart of each person.  Remember it is not about us and what we think it is about Christ and what He thinks. As you look at people see Christ hanging on the cross for them.  Love them with a Christ-like love that only He can give as we surrender self to Him.

Healing

Healing can take time.  But the most amazing thing is that it will happen and they can be the most amazing people when their wounds are healed.  They become stronger than they have ever been as they cling to the Word and allow the Holy Spirit to wash them clean.

Maybe you who are reading this are the wounded one.  Let people love you.  Read God’s Word and claim the promises that He has for you.  Spend time in prayer pleading for God’s blessing.  Do not let Him go until He has blessed you.  There may be those around you that will hurt you, even those who claim to be Christians.  But don’t get discouraged because no matter what people think God loves you with an everlasting love.

Dear Father,

I ask for Your wisdom, as a Christian.  Help me reflect You to others.  I pray that each of us will see the value to work with others as Christ worked.  Help us to set self aside and only see You.  And allow You to work through our lives.

Lord, I also pray for those who are wounded.  I prayer that You will wrap reaches arms around them and that they will feel those loving arms.  Forgive us if we have wounded a hurting and fragile person.  Keep us focused on You and the love that You would have us spread to these hurting ones.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Remember to draw close to Jesus; He is the healer and reach out to those around you.

Love you all!

Do you have an experience to share about how God has helped in your healing process?  Or maybe it has been a person who has helped you?  Comment below about your experience.

If you are hurting and have no one around you to reach out to, reach out here.

“What happened to the House?!!”

Things…

This seems to be a topic I keep coming back to but I think it is so important.  We take so many things for granted every day.  We live as if life will always be the same.  You never know when life can change forever.  We need to be grateful to God each day for what we do have.

Beginning…

Many years ago when my husband and I got married we had our dreams.  We started by buying the property.  We could not afford much so we placed an old mobile home on the property and lived hauling water for 2 years.  Our dream was to live in a mobile home for a small amount of time and then build a house.

As the years passed and the children were coming, we did not have the room we needed.  We only had a single wide 2-bedroom mobile home and the one-bedroom we have always referred to as the postage stamp room.

I remember having two kids in a bunk bed in the postage stamp room.  We had a baby in our room and a toddler bed in the living room under the overhanging counter from the kitchen.

Addition…

We finally built on an addition so we had more room.  We designed it in such a way that we could pull away the mobile home and build our house.  The design included an area for taking care of my parents when needed.  This has been the master bedroom, office, music room, etc. But we are coming up to our 30th year of marriage and we do not foresee a house coming into the picture any time soon.

There have been many changes over the years.  In 1995 we put a new kitchen in our old mobile home.  Since my husband is a cabinetmaker and we have our own business it seemed logical.

I don’t even remember the year but we qualified for assistance in making the mobile home better insulated.  They came and replaced all our mobile home windows to really nice windows.  And they sealed up the bottom of the mobile home with more insulation.  It made such a difference in the winter.  One year we remodeled the bathroom, which made such a difference.  We even had a solid surface countertop, leftovers from a cabinet job we did.

Then we remodeled the back bedroom furred out the walls a little and put in more insulation.  I am not kidding when I say, when we pulled the paneling away there were areas that were just paneling space and outside metal, no insulation.  This mobile home was built in the ’60s and they saved money on insulation, Lol!  And another year we remodeled the postage stamp room and made it just a little smaller so it could get better insulation.

Difficulties!

I remember when we first moved the mobile home up to our 10 acres.  We had no clue the amount of snow we would get.  It was a mild winter and we actually moved it on the property in the winter.  And into the snow belt non-the less.

We discovered very quickly the next year that mobile homes, especially old ones, do not hold up to the snow load.  So needless to say our roof was damaged.  Our ceiling started sagging with the water load and we would put holes in the ceiling so the water could drain out.  It also did damage to the roof’s structure.  So we had to build a roof over the top.

But then…

Even though we have had difficulties it has been a roof over us and kept us warm.  It has not been our dream and we still dream of having a house someday but at least we have a place to call our own to live in.  Too many times we are not grateful for what we have and we are always looking on the other side of the fence because we think it is greener.

But then a few weeks ago the reality really hit me how much I appreciate my home even though it isn’t my dream.  We almost lost our house.

We were all gone except one of my sons.  He was working in our cabinet shop and came into the house for something.  He smelt electrical and was going around the house to see where it was coming from but he could not figure it out.  As he was standing in the kitchen, suddenly flames started coming up from behind the gas range.  Thankfully he was able to grab the extinguisher and put the fire out.  But if he hadn’t been in the house it would have been gone.

Grateful

We tend to go through life taking everything for granted.  The thought of gratefulness each day that we have a house to come home to doesn’t really cross our minds.  We don’t think about the fact that we made it to and from work, school, shopping, etc., safely.  It just seems that most of the time we take it all for granted.

A lot of us may even pray before we leave our home asking for safety but do we send up a prayer of thanksgiving when we arrive home safely.  Maybe I am the only one that forgets to be grateful but I have a feeling that is not the case.  We get so caught up in everyday life we take life for granted.

Christians

As Christians, we should always be grateful.  We should understand the sovereignty of God and the life that He sustains us with every day.  I think we often use Him as a puppet.  We expect Him to provide and do in our lives what we expect and how we think our lives should go.

Then when things come along in life that is unexpected it is harder to keep our faith.  But the reality is we need to be so close to God that when those things come it makes our faith in Him stronger.  Because we trust Him so implicitly we can go on with joy in our hearts even in sorrow.

Jesus is our example!  “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” Hebrews 12:2.

Christ

I believe the Father’s presence surrounded Christ when He was here on earth and that nothing was allowed but that infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world.  This was actually Christ’s source of strength. And it can be the same for us.  When we are imbued with the Spirit of Christ we abide in Christ.  So every blow that is aimed at us falls on our wonderful Savior, who surrounds us with His presence.  Everything that comes to us comes from Christ.  The most wonderful thing is that Christ is our defense.  And even greater NOTHING can touch us except by our Lord and Savior’s permission.  We have this wonderful promise that He has given us, “All things” that are permitted “work together for good to them that love God” Romans 8:28.

We can be so grateful for the promises that God has given us to cling to.  And also for His Word that we have available to us at this time.  We need to treasure it.  We never know when we may not have the privilege of having the Word.  But we can hide it in our hearts and minds so we will always have it with us, no one can take that away from us.

Dear Father,

Your love abounds and is beyond our comprehension.  Thank You for Your unfailing love.  You are always there for us for which I am grateful.  Remind me each day, Lord, that without You sustaining my life and I would not be here.  I need You to remind me that You care even when the sparrow falls.  So how much more You care for me when I fail or have any difficulties.

Remind me of the lilies of the field and the birds of the air and how You take care of them and they don’t worry as I do.  I can claim the promises You have given me that You will take care of me.  You will give me a way of escape in time of temptation.  In the time of crisis, You will work all things together for my good and the good of those around me.  I am forgetful, Lord, so I am asking You to do whatever it takes to help me remember.  Prompt me and guide me with Your presence.  Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer for not only myself but for each one of us.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Don’t take life for granted!  Be grateful each day!  And give all your worries and trials to Him.

Love you all!

What evidence has God given you that He cares?  It doesn’t matter how big or small I would love to hear your story.

 

“She’s Gone!!”

Life!

As humans, we tend to get so involved with our lives and what is going on around us that we take it for granted.  We leave for work or school each day just planning to come home to our family.  We don’t expect or even think about coming home and someone is missing.  I am not meaning that we should live in fear but I do think we need to take every day more seriously.  Every day we need to be grateful.

There is a family that lost their daughter recently.  They have been fighting for her life for several months.  I am sure their lives were going on as normal every day.  They may have even taken life for granted, I don’t know.  But then one day they woke up and life changed.  Suddenly house, money, work, etc., no longer meant very much to them.  All they wanted to do is save their daughter’s life.  They spent all their money and time finding ways to save her life because she meant more than anything else.

Now she is….

It is true that they made all this effort and now she is gone.  But they do not need to have regrets because they did all they could.  They sacrificed so much but it was so worth every effort.  They may feel regrets, which are only natural, but for all of us looking on we can see differently.

The pain they feel now is not explainable.  The emptiness will be difficult and the ache so real.  They need to be surrounded by love because even though the battle is over for their daughter it is not over for them.  There will be many days of sadness.

I never met this girl personally.  But through watching Facebook post I could see she loved the Lord.  She had Jesus in her heart.  She had the most important thing that anyone can have, faith and trust in her Saviour.  This is something that every Christian parent prays to see in his or her children.

Hope

As Christians, there is a hope that we have.  The pain is still enormous!  The emptiness remains real!  But I cannot imagine what it would have been like when I lost my daughter if I had not had hope.  Here are some verses that became a real promise for me.

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  

For this, we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16

There are several songs that have blessed my heart over the years.  But there is one that sticks out.  It is a very powerful song and every time I sing it the chills it brings to me is amazing.  We have hope!

“We have this hope that burns within our heart,

Hope in the coming of the Lord.

We have this faith that Christ alone imparts,

Faith in the promise of His Word.

We believe the time is here,

When the nations far and near

Shall awake, and shout and sing

Hallelujah Christ is King!

We have this hope that burns within our hearts,

Hope in the coming of the Lord.”

—Wayne Hooper—

I believe the coming of the Lord is sooner than most of us realize.  The things of this world are falling apart rapidly.  The time is near and I am looking forward to being reunited with those I love, especially my daughter.

Time is…

Life can change in a moment and time is precious.  We tend to take time, life, people, etc., for granted.  Just remember we never know when we wake up what could happen that could change our lives forever. Keep your family and friends close.  Don’t take any time or people for granted.  You never know when today may be your last and you are leaving behind those you love.   Just love, love, love all around you.  Yes, it is more painful when they are gone but then you can live with no regrets.  You know that you loved them and showed it daily.

Giving all

This family that lost their daughter has given all to save her life.  And it has been worth every moment they have had with her.  They loved her so much that the temporal things of this earth meant nothing.  How much do you love those around you?  There is more than one way to lose a loved one.  Remember the things of this earth are not as important as those we love.

It also makes me think and ask the question how much do I love Jesus.  I should love Him more than anyone or anything.  What am I willing to give up for Him?  He should be more important than anything in life.  He is the One that brings true happiness even in the midst of the worst circumstances.  Give all to Him today and cling to His promises as you go through each day.  Just like these parents were willing to give all to save their daughter’s life we should be willing to give all to save our lives.  So that we can be with Jesus, the One who gave all that we may live for eternity.

Dear Father,

I pray for comfort for the family who lost their daughter.  You are the only One that can bring real comfort.  There may be others that read this that may be suffering, bring comfort to them also.  May all of us cling to the promises that You have in Your Word.  We long for the day when You shall wipe away all tears from our eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4.  Lord, we long for this quickly but we trust You with the timing.  I know You long to have as many as possible come to You.  Thank You for Your unfailing love.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Draw close to the One that gave all for you so that you can live eternally.  Also, stay close to those you love.  You never know when it will be the last day of either one of you.

Love you all!

From your life experiences, what encouragement can you give this family who is suffering from their loss?  Please write below.

Note to my readers:  Even though their daughter is gone the money they have put out has been overwhelming.  If you can at all possible help them financially pay these medical expenses please donate at this link. Help this family

“The Challenge!”

Challenge!

We have all embarked on a challenge in our life at one time or another.  It might have been the challenge of getting a college degree.  Or maybe you have challenged yourself to some physical achievement.  Whatever the challenge is you have to prepare for it.  And when you think you are ready for the challenge some times it is more challenging than you imagined.  My son did a challenge recently.  It was the challenge of climbing a local mountain the equivalent high of Mt Everest from sea level to the top, which is 29,029 feet.  He planned to do it straight.

Why?

Many people would wonder why in the world would he do such a thing.  He had decided that he wanted to do an Everest challenge but wanted to raise money for a local institution.  He had thought about raising money for a place that helps kids that suffer from learning disabilities because of his own struggles with learning.  But he could not find a place that he could involve.

Then he started thinking about a friend who at the age of 22 had committed suicide. Maybe he could find a local place that helps people that deal with mental health issues and help prevent suicides.  He found a local place and they were excited about the idea of being able to receive money.  They do a lot of free help and they need donations to keep going.  And then my brother committed suicide.  At that point, he made the push forward to make this happen.

His desire was suicide awareness.  Suicide is on the rise and we need to be aware.  And there are places that people can reach out to and get help.  A lot of times people won’t reach out to their family or friends.  But there are places that they can reach out to for help.  And he wanted to raise money to help this local crisis center.

Getting started

We got up before 3 a.m. the first morning.  By the time we packed up and got there he was able to start hiking around 5 am.  He had picked the steepest trail of the mountain because it would be fewer miles for the elevation.

We set up an aid station ready to do whatever he needed when he would arrive back after each ascent.  It didn’t take long for us to discover what foods were best for him and what foods did not work well.  One round he ended up sick and threw up because of what he had eaten.  From that time on we kept things very simple.  There were only like 3 or 4 things that he would eat.  He made sure to stay hydrated and kept his electrolytes up.  Another thing that he did was take a complex that helps support the joints and muscles with the discomfort and also a cream that he put on his knees and legs.  He also took a natural energy and stamina complex that helped with endurance.

Enduring

Any time someone enters into a challenge I think if they really knew what was ahead they may not choose to do it.  But thankfully we don’t know.  The hardest part for my son was hiking in the dark.  He was very fatigued and hiking alone.  In those moments he had to keep his mind focused.  Your thoughts can run wild and if you don’t stay focused a person could give up altogether.

When he started his journey his average for one round was about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  But as time went on and he got more fatigued it took him 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Before he ended it was taking him more like 1 hour and 45 minutes.  In order to reach the elevation, he was aiming for he had to hike up and down 16 1/2 times.

Support

As he hiked through the night we were there for him each time he came down.  But I also talked with him as he walked via the phone during those hardest times.  The next morning I decided to go up the mountain on his 15th time to meet him.  I met him halfway up the hill and came down with him.  And then I went up for his last trip, which he only had to go half way up.

I couldn’t imagine doing this challenge myself it was so grueling.  By the time he was done he had hiked for 28-1/2 hours, ascended and descended a little more than 29,029 feet, with only a 30-minute nap in over 30 hours.  It was tough!  What kept him going?  He had to keep his eye on the goal.  If he had wavered on the goal he would have failed.  Yes, he was discouraged at times but he still kept going, keeping his eye on the goal.

Another kind of…

There is another kind of challenge.  This challenge is achieving a higher elevation than 29,029 feet.  And each one of us as Christians has chosen this challenge.  Our goal is heaven.  It is like climbing a mountain.  There are times that it is so “steep” we don’t know if we can keep going.  Then as we get through those grueling times we have a mountain top experience.  And then we have a descent in our lives.

You know how it is when you go hiking.  You’re climbing a path and you’re getting tired you can’t wait to start down.  So you get there and what beauty there is at the top.  You start your journey down and it does not take long to realize that your knees can hardly take it.  Your knees become so painful.

Why?

When we become Christians we may be asked why.  There may be family and friends that question why we would give up the “fun” life and become a Christian.  Why would you want to go up that grueling mountain of “rules and regulations”?

The reasons are similar to the goal of an athlete/mountain climber.  It is to win!  It is to accomplish a goal that has been set.  The difference is that the Christian wants to win the race of life so that he or she can live eternally.  We don’t get a gold medal like here on earth.  But to me what we do get is the best trophy ever.  We get to be with Jesus who gave His very life so that we can be in a world without sin and sorrow.

Getting started

So when it comes to the goal for the Christian how do you get started?  What are the steps to success?  Just like my son started in the early morning for the success of his goal, started early with God is the way to start.  Each day we should start our day with God, reading His Word and in prayer.  We should be communing with Him throughout our day.  Each evening opening our hearts to God asking Him to reveal any sins that we have committed during the day.  As He reveals to us we can confess and forsake those sins.  Sin is a burden that makes our journey harder.

Enduring

In order to make our goal as a Christian, we need to endure until the end.  The journey can be grueling at times.  When we have a mountain top experience in our Christian walk it feels great.  We have struggled and as we get to the top the beauty is spectacular.  But then things happen that start us on a downturn.

We may start to realize that something is not right.  Our “knees”(experience) seem to be “aching” but what is the problem.  The reality is that we have started down from our mountain top experience.  At this point, we need to fall on our knees asking God to show us how to continuing in our journey for the goal of heaven.  And He will help us.  We need to keep our focus on the goal.

Support

We cannot make it in the Christian race without a support team and we have the greatest support team ever, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

It is great to have a human support team.  Having a church family is great for support.  But they will not always be there for us.  We need to have our full trust in God.  God is the greatest support.  We can “call” any time and talk, during the good and bad times.

Just like my son struggled in the darkest hour of the night we as Christians sometimes struggle.  In those darkest hours, God is there and all we need to do is “call” Him and He will see us through.  He will feed us from His Word and give us encouraging thoughts that He brings into our minds.  He encourages us to rest in Him.  This journey can be very tiring if we are not resting in Him.

Dear Father,

Thank You that You are always there as a support team for anyone that will accept it.  Help us in keeping our eyes focused on the goal of heaven.  Keep our minds on You bringing Your Word to our minds throughout the day.  Give us the strength that we need by empowering us with Your Holy Spirit.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Keep your eyes on the goal and don’t waver.

Love you all.

Do you have an experience that you have been through where you know that God was there beside you and seen you through?  Please share your experience below.  I would love to hear it.

Note to my readers:  Due to my limited time, I will be cutting back on how many times I am writing per month.  Instead of writing once a week I am going to start by doing one every other week and see how that goes.  I pray you are blessed by my experiences and what God shows me through those experiences.

“Preparing for the Challenge”

Challenge!

We all have had something in life that we have had to prepare for that has been a challenge.  Maybe you had a test a school that you had to prepare for.  If you are athletic maybe you had to prepare for a race or sports event.  There are also things that you may have to prepare for at work, whether a report or solving some problem.  Every day no matter where we are and what we do we have challenges that we have to prepare for.

As I write my son is preparing for the biggest challenge of his life.  It is something that he has never done or faced before.  He is planning to hike a local mountain the same elevation of Mt. Everest from sea level to the top, which is 29,029 feet.  How can a person really prepare for such an event?  And why would someone do something so crazy?

It may seem crazy but for my son, it is remembering.  After losing a friend to suicide and then his uncle he wanted to do something to help raise awareness to mental health needs.  And to bring awareness to the fact that there are places available for people to go for help.  Depression and suicide are on the rise everywhere you turn.  And it happens to those that you least expect.  And with this challenge he wants you to help by donating to a local crisis center that helps people who are dealing with mental health issues that could lead to suicide.

Preparing

How do you exactly prepare for such an event?  There is a lot of physical, mental, and emotional preparation.  You have to be eating healthy.  And figure out how to sustain your body through the physical push that you put your body through to do such an event.

My son has been physically training every chance that he gets, hiking, running, climbing, etc.  And making a list of those things that he should be eating or drinking during that time.  He needs to have things that are high calorie but also healthy.  You can get high-calorie items that are so unhealthy that it defeats the purpose.  Many do it but in the long run, what it does to their health brings disaster later.

Another challenge

There is another kind of challenge that came to my mind as we were preparing for this physical challenge.  This challenge is of a spiritual nature.  The Christian walk is a challenge.  When a person decides to become a Christian there are things you need to do to be able to meet the challenges.  And to accomplish the goal, heaven.  Just like we had to know the best food for my son to eat to keep his strength up to endure, we need to keep ourselves fed spiritually.  We need strength each day to endure the testing and trials that may come our way.    We need fuel to keep up our strength.  And it needs to be the right kind of fuel.

Preparing

When you are doing something that is challenging physically fueling with the correct things can help you endure and come out successful.  But if you don’t it can be disastrous.  The same is true of our Christian walk.  Our refueling needs to be something that truly strengthens us in our spiritual walk.  Reading God’s Word and prayer are the key components.  There may be other things that we think could be good to strengthen us but in the long run, it is destroying.  Just like in the physical world you need to be intentional about what you use for fuel so in the spiritual.

Dear Father,

It can be so easy to get distracted and start fueling with things that are detrimental.  Keep prompting our hearts to stay connected with You through Your Word and prayer.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Remember to keep refueling!  And make sure it is of a nature that will strengthen you spiritually and not drag you down.

Love you all.

What challenges have you had spiritually or physically?  What did you do to refuel?

 

“The Sun That Shines!!”

A day…

There is nothing like a day where the sun shines.  It makes everyone more pleasant.  And it seems that more people smile.  There is something the sun gives that changes the life.

A couple of days ago was just such a day.  I was home alone for a few hours, which is unheard of.  We had just had a downpour just the day before so everything was green.  And now the sun was shining brightly.  It made for a wonderful morning.  I actually went out and laid on our trampoline in the bright sunshine.  It felt so amazing!  As I lay there soaking up the sunshine I was also listening to the nature sounds.  Many birds were singing and I could hear the buzz of many bugs.  It was so peaceful and pleasant.

But then…

The day was so pleasant you would think that nothing could change it.  But then I heard it thunder.  I was looking to see where it was coming from because the sky was so blue.  In the distance, there were some dark clouds coming my way.  I watched in amazement as those clouds came closer and the thunder got louder.  And what was so amazing?  It was the split between the sunshine with blue sky and the dark clouds.  There was a definite contrast.  On one side of the sky were the dark ugly clouds and on the other side the beautiful blue sky.

I was inside the house at this point.  And then it happened.  The burst of rain!  It poured rain!!  The rain was coming down so hard and fast that puddles were forming in seconds.  And yet I could still see some blue sky and the sunshine peeking through.  It is not often you see both together.  But there is the bright side.  The rain watered the earth and made things green.

Fear factor…

There is always the fear factor every time we have with thunder and lightning.  There is a fear of fire.  It seems that even though we are only into June things are drying out so quickly.  It would only take one strike of that lightning to cause a fire that could destroy everything.  I can say I don’t always think about it.  But when I do I pray for rain, because as the clouds burst forth with the rain and waters the earth it helps keeps the fire danger down.  And if a strike did happen the rain puts it out as quickly as it started.  We have been saved more than one time from fire, that we know about, and probably multiple times that we don’t know about because the rain came and put it out.

What about…

Then it made me start to think.  What about our lives?  Are there days that the Son is shining and the “sky” (our lives) is blue (going smoothly)?  Life is going great!!  We feel close to God and go on in life with no thought of anything changing.  Everything is so beautiful.  But there is this unsuspecting cloud coming that we are unaware of because we are basking in the Presence of God.

And then we hear the rumbles of a trial.  Sometimes we can see a trial coming and other times it is a total shock.  But there are those times where you sense or can see a forthcoming trial.  Sometimes we get more prepared other times we ignore it but it still comes.  We start to see the “lightning” and hear the “thunder”.  And it continues to draw closer and closer to us.

Fear factor…

Then comes the fear factor.  We wonder if we are going to be struck with “lightning” (succumb to the trial or temptation).  Is an evil “fire” going to start that will burn up our spiritual lives?  Have we become so dry that nothing can stop it from burning?  Are we going to get discouraged or reach out for more support and help?

We have to realize that there is help and we don’t have to succumb to discouragement or give in to temptations.  All we need to do is to call out for a power higher than ourselves.  We need to cry out to God.  And as we cry out to God “rain” (Holy Spirit) will come with power and will squelch out any spark of a “fire”.  God is our strength and He will fight for us.

Dear Father,

Thank You for always being there for us.  We are a forgetful people.  It is hard for us to give up our control and to allow You to control.  Continue to show us our need of You.  And help us in the process of surrendering to You in the good times as well as in the time of trial and temptation.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Make sure to reach out and stay connected with God at all times.  So that when the trials and temptations come it will be automatic to turn to God.

Love you all.

We have all had trial and temptations.  But is there one that has happened in your life where you called out to God and you have seen His work?  I would love to hear your story.  Share below.