The journey of life does continue, but what takes place in it is sometimes totally out of one’s control. My sis has suffered a stroke which has her lungs compromised and for the moment, she is on a ventilator. The extent of the stroke is unknown at this point. Wednesday or Thursday is likely when they will attempt to remove the ventilator to see what she is able to or not able to do. The journey does continue, but these happenings are certainly not what one would ever choose. The family seeks your prayers.
As I began my devotions this morning the first thing I read was titled: “Close to His Heart”. Bonnie is close to God’s heart as are her kids and grandkids. I took a picture of it and sent it to her sons. I also needed this reminder. God’s plan is sometimes difficult to handle, yet, He provides these little intimate moments to assure us He loves and cares deeply for you and me. What a blessed God we serve!
I always wonder for a moment, after having a week away from the consulting world, why I still do it? Then, as soon as I get to whatever district I’m working, it hits me, this is why I’m here. I’m feeling it this morning. My mind is filled with the potential needs of my sis. They have her on a ventilator to keep her calm while they attempt to diagnose what is going on. Nothing at this point has been determined. MRI’s are being done, but no news yet. She is a widow who lost her husband to a heart attack 3 years ago. There are likely big decisions to be made now for her own self. This weighs heavily on me as I know she didn’t want this to happen for herself. I can’t do anything but pray at this point. God keeps assuring me He Knows and He provides.
Our oldest grandson came for dinner last evening as he often does on Sunday. It is so nice to have him be so open with Grandma and me. He is preparing to go into the Air Force this coming year. He is seeing a great future there for him. We join him in his prayers that God is the One leading him in this direction. So far, the doors are very open.
My bible reading this morning tells of David seeking food from Nabal, I Samuel 25. Nabal was a self-centered, greedy man so he turned the offer away. His wife Abigail, however became aware of the request and quickly prepared food for David and his men. David was about to destroy Nabal’s little kingdom when Abigail arrived with the food and pleaded with David to accept her offer and not to follow through with what he might regret later. David did accept this and not so many days later, he witnessed what God did to take care of Nabal. A footnote in my bible reminds the reader to take heed to Abigail’s actions. She did what was right in God’s eyes in spite of what her husband said. To this day she is an example for all readers to heed God’s nudges and watch God fulfill His Work.
Today I do what I know I’m to do and not let the worry of tomorrow become what I do today.
Yesterday was filled with fun and then horrible news. The shopping and shaving ended with smiles. We even had a Harry Potter movie evening with popcorn. While shopping I received a call from yesterday’s prayer request gentleman. His need was totally taken care of. He appreciated the prayers!
In the middle of the movie I received a call that my sis just older than me in California fell and was on her way to the hospital in an ambulance. Her older son had found her. He went to her home since she wasn’t answering her phone. There are many complications the doctors are trying to unravel, none of which are good. I received 4 updates during the evening but nothing yet this morning. In moments like these I do hate being the age I am. It seems one can’t go very many days without another tragic moment from someone close. Bonnie is my sis’s name. She sure needs our prayers.
During my devotional time I was thanking Jesus for answered prayer and then asking for intervention for Bonnie. As I asked Jesus what he wanted me to know for today I was given the reminder that He is the God of this universe and He is also Bonnie’s God. There is nothing for which He is unaware. I can trust Him. At the moment I needed the reminder and thanked Him for this.
Today starts the Advent season. I’m so grateful for this season and the reminder of our Great Savior’s coming. I rest assured He is here. My heart hurts, but my confidence in Christ Jesus is well anchored.
I missed entering yesterday’s blog due to Black Friday shopping. We were up at 3:45 am so I could take 3 grandsons and Kathy could take granddaughters. Some of the grandkids spent the night so they would be here and ready. Of course we boys finished much earlier than the girls. I was home by noontime but Kathy didn’t arrive until evening. Both of us had great times with the kids, but my posting was neglected for the day.
I had invited a man I’ve known since he was a boy to join us for Thanksgiving. He had only met Kathy and my oldest daughter one time many years ago. As I took him home that evening he was telling me what kind and thoughtful kids and grandkids I have. He said he’d never felt so comfortable and welcome in a new environment as he did that day. It was so nice to hear this. I know the goodness of my family, but I also know our flaws–since many of them came from me! However, it is good to know the heart of our family is kind and thoughtful. This same man called me last night and truly needs prayer today. He doesn’t even know about this blog so I ask any reader to remember him today if God lays this request on your heart.
I get to show my second oldest grandson how to shave later today. He has an electric one, but he wants to know how to use the traditional razor. He hasn’t had a dad in his home much of his life so I’ve had the privilege of filling this gap in many ways. We bought the shaving items yesterday while shopping and just the two of us as going again today. So following our shopping we will have our shaving lesson. It seems silly, but this is one more reason I’m a grateful grandpa. It is fun to be asked for little things like this. Isn’t God good!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Today I feel far more grateful than I do happy. As soon as the grandkids bound into the house from whichever entrance they choose, happy is then the word. Happy and energy go hand in hand and the grandkids are full of energy which instantly surfaces happiness. At this moment I am grateful.
Yesterday I finished a book entitled, Educated. It is an autobiography of the author’s life growing up in eastern Idaho in an ultra-conservative family who never allowed her to enter public school and even instilled in her and her siblings that public school is evil. The book moves from one haunting moment to another. My Oklahoma daughter and Kathy had both read it and said I should too. In finishing it I can’t help but process the similarities. Abuse is different for everyone, but the outcome it leaves has so much in common. One of the most crippling commonalities is the distorted view of life and what one does to attempt to coverup what one begins to realize about oneself vs the rest of the world. The book leaves me most grateful for God’s mercy in not leaving me in the state I was in so many years ago. God is relentless and gently patient with us as He day by day steers us to His Healing Light.
Today, I pray each of us will be filled with abundant thanksgiving to God, His Son Jesus and The Holy Spirit. I pray too each one will be open to receive thanks given to you. Give and receive–this completes the thanksgiving circle of love modeled for us by God our Father.
Today is Thanksgiving eve. A natural part of me likes to step back and reflect and that is what writing this blog allows me to do. Each morning at this point in time I take a moment to reflect on what yesterday held, how was it, and listen for The Holy Spirit’s voice. I then process what I’ve heard from the morning’s devotional and bible reading for their applications and learning. Writing this down each day in my journal and then here allows me to be better grounded.
Tomorrow being Thanksgiving is the day for giving thanks. I can and will be glad to have our immediate family together and very thankful that we are all well and can be together. In spite of all the turmoil and unrest our country/world is facing, when I reflect for a moment on God my Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the precious Gift of The Holy Spirit, I become most thankful. All the unrest there is cannot penetrate the peace that passeth all understanding which is only found in these MIGHTY THREE: God the Father, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit. How GRATEFUL I am!
Our God is such an Amazing God! All the details of yesterday were addressed and the outcomes were better than I’d hoped. I thank Him for this.
This morning I have freedom on my mind. I lived so many years in the mental bondage of abuse and I craved freedom from it. I always thought freedom would be the absence of the bondage and that absence meant removal of the memories. Somehow, I hoped God, in His miraculous ways, would remove all of the memories and their torments. Over the past decade God has shown me/taught me that there’s no ministry in removal of memories. It might be a miracle, but then I couldn’t use the memories as freedom weapons to share with others. With all of that, I came to know freedom as having the memories but not being in bondage to them.
As I consider the broader picture of freedom I awaken to the freedom we have in America vs the lack of freedom so much of our world yearns for. I realize that finding freedom as we have in America was a war and hundreds of battles. To maintain the freedom means continuing the battles. For me to maintain the freedom I personally have, I need to continue to fight battles. Jesus Christ won the war, but I need to be ready for battle. God gave me His Armor as found in Ephesians 6. The armor is protection with the exception of the Sword of the Spirit–the Word of God. All of this makes so much sense today.
Lastly, today, my devotional talks about the freedom to surrender. What man ever found freedom by surrendering? It seems to be an oxymoron. However, the best freedom of all in Christ Jesus is surrendering to Him and letting Him lead your life, your choices, your actions. In so doing, we find PEACE. The best thing about freedom is living in peace. In Christ Jesus this is found through surrender. Today, I surrender.
God works in so many ways. One cannot grasp them all or even begin to do so. I can’t even keep up with my prayer list and how God is working with each one on it. Every morning as I kneel to pray for the ones on it I am reminded that, “Oh yes, I don’t want to forget this need or that hurt or this problem.” By the time the next morning comes around I find myself thinking the same thing all over again. I’m so glad God is not like this! He doesn’t forget and He also has the entire universe on His Mind. To think we are created in His Image is impossible to fathom, yet He says we are and I do believe it. I look forward with tremendous anticipation for the day to come when the limitations of this sinful world are lifted. Then, we will know and understand SO MUCH MORE.
Today several important chores are being addressed. In taking care of them I don’t want to lose sight of Almighty God in the midst of them. I thank Him ahead of time for already having the details addressed for which I stew over in my mind. I also want to thank Him for being the same God who will take care of every detail listed on my prayer list and the prayer lists throughout this world. He must smile wondering why it takes us so long to let go and allow Him to be GOD of this universe!
The scripture I mentioned yesterday, I Corinthians 6:18-19, says, “…Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” The sexual sins of my brother against me have always been difficult for me to address/admit. He was a troubled young man having learning difficulties and a dad who was humiliated by them. So, dad would beat him unmercifully and I’d see this over and over. Dad would also verbally beat him up the same. Even though I received many of the beatings from dad both physically and verbally, I would steel myself saying I’d not let them get to me the way they did to Rich or to my older brothers. But, truth be known, both got to me deeply and once I began to admit this, I was helpless to do anything about them until Celebrate Recovery and the years of counseling and therapy. The class, Mending the Soul, also helped me to see what happened when mom stayed silent all those years.
The book, I Give You Authority, reveals the evil possession sexual sin has within us and outside us. I’ve never wanted to believe that I’d ever do to someone else what was done to me. However, the evil possession in me was keeping me believing I had no value to God contrary to what scripture tells. I wasn’t going to hurt someone else, I would, all these years, continue to hurt myself with the lies I believed stemmed from my childhood. I’m finding that facing this reality isn’t a small thing. I can’t face it as I did a couple days ago and live easily in it’s freedom. I’m finding that I need to keep fighting the evil lies which want to return each day. This I will do because now God’s truth is stronger in me than the lies had been. Glory be to God my Father!
Yesterday’s message was brief. As I began to write it a gentleman I meet with weekly arrived EARLY. He is the one I’ve been going through the book, I Give You Authority. The chapter we were to address was one for which I wanted to skip. It seemed to have no relevance to me, however, my friend had found much relevance in it so we went ahead and began. It didn’t take me very long to begin to see that blinders had been built in my mind which I needed to address. The blinders were like brick walls I’d built from childhood for which I’d never known to address. I won’t go into great detail, but I will say it ties to Paul’s writings in I Corinthians 6:18-20. Sexual sin impacts us in ways other sin doesn’t. God created us as sexual beings to enjoy with our chosen spouse. Outside of marriage, sex is sin. In these cases the impact of this sin type “affects us within and against our bodies”. This sin gives Satan inroads to our minds and our beliefs. All of this made perfect sense as God began to shed His Light into the sexual sin of my brother with me tied to my dad’s criticisms of the person I was. All of this fueled a belief system in me for which I’ve fought all my life until most recently.
Oswald Chambers said in his devotional today: “We should quit asking ourselves, ‘Am I of any use?’ and accept the truth that we really are not of much use to Him. The issue is never of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself.” This truth that we are each of value to God has never been real for me until recently. Now God is removing for me the “why’s” this wasn’t real. Yesterday I was able to Recognize this lie, Rebuke it, and then Replace it with the truth that God loves me dearly and I am of value to Him.
This value is so true for each of us. If you have struggled as I have, I pray God’s Light will shine brilliantly for you as it is now doing in this arena for me.