Thursday, 26 January 2017

Update on My Family.

My granddaughters left to right: Hope, Faith and Cherish.

In my previous post, "The Meltdown of a Christian", I wrote about some trials my family is going through. I want to thank you for your prayers and tell you what is going on now.

My sister-in-law, Heather, is trusting in the Lord about her cancer. She knows he could heal her or allow her to die and has accepted that. She loves God and is close to him. She is living her life in faith, and for that we all rejoice.

My niece, who hurt herself at work, has received Worker's Compensation, and is slowly healing. She won't be able to work for at least three weeks, but hopefully she will be able to use her arm again.

My granddaughter, Hope, recovered from her dislocated kneecap. She didn't have much pain at all after the incident, for which I was extremely thankful. She stayed at my apartment all week and we had a lovely time together. She is a lot of fun. She has to strengthen her muscles or her knee will just come out again. She asked if they could operate, but they told her they only do that after multiple dislocations. She is pretty scared of doing it again. I told her to keep it wrapped or wear her knee brace all the time. That is hard news for a 21-year-old to hear. I'm sure she will start exercising when they tell her to start.

My grandson could not quit drugs cold-turkey, so he is going back to the Methadone Clinic. He was on that for two years and could work and function. This is better than the alternative, so we accept this and pray he will one day be off all drugs.

My husband saw his neurologist and will have back surgery and be off work for 6 months. But he is covered by insurance at work and will receive the same paycheck and we live in Canada so everything is paid for. I'm so thankful for all that. The surgery is not dangerous.

I wrote that one of my daughters needed money. Well, my mother, who has a bit of money, gave her $1,500. My daughter was so happy she was crying and then my mom started crying. My daughter doesn't like to take help from her, but like my mom said, "What am I going to do with my money? Take a trip? I can barely walk from my bedroom to the living room."

So, as usual, God has been with us all and helped us all through our problems and sorrows. He is an amazing God and powerful one who can come into our hearts and minds and give us peace and comfort.

"...I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever."

Psalm 73:23-26

Sunday, 22 January 2017

A Glimpse.

Sometimes I get a glimpse of what I would be like without God in my life. Last night, I had a terrible time getting to sleep. As soon as I would nod off, my brain would jerk me awake. This happened three times. I felt so upset and discouraged, I prayed and finally fell asleep.

This morning, my daughter and granddaughter came over at 11:00 am. They woke me (how nice, lol) and we were visiting in the living room. My granddaughter turned on the TV and there were some people on it who were laughing and enjoying themselves. I looked at them and thought, "Yeah, sure, laugh it up." I felt angry at their happiness.

I told my daughter what I was feeling and she was shocked. I said, "It's a good thing I pray each morning before I get up or I would be the biggest bitch in this city." My granddaughter laughed, but I know that is the truth. Without God, I would be angry, bitter, cynical and jealous of other people's happiness. Sheesh, what a mess I am.

The things I write on my blog about living a Christian life are concepts I ardently believe in. Living them is something else. I try, but of course I stumble and fall. The carnal part of me, as Joyce Meyer points out, sometimes takes over. But I know that when I stumble, it's a chance to learn something about myself that I can talk over with God. I don't let it discourage me anymore. It's a good thing to be humbled.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Jesus and Jacob Wrestling with God.

In my last post, I wrote about feeling overwhelmed. I said I thought Jesus was overwhelmed at Gethsemane when he pleaded with his Father to find another way to save the human race. Jesus felt the sins of the world pressing down upon him and felt like it was killing him. He said, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

 After Jesus continued praying and great drops of blood came from his forehead, God sent an angel to strengthen him. God will do this for all of us who are overwhelmed.

Jesus is our model of what to do when we feel afraid and desperate. What did he do? He prayed; he prayed until he received help. He didn't pray for awhile, get up and do something else. No, he stayed where he was and prayed until he could face what was happening.

This reminded me of Jacob, who was afraid of dying by his brother's hand. The Bible says he was in great fear and distress. He was alone by the river. A man came and touched him; Jacob thought he was an enemy and wrestled with him, but as the night wore on, he realized it was a holy person.

 Then he (God) said, "Let me go, for the dawn is breaking." But Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."

Then the man (God) said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome."   Genesis 32:28
"I will not let thee go, except thou bless me,"—It is evident that Jacob was aware of the character of Him with whom he wrestled; and, believing that His power, though by far superior to human, was yet limited by His promise to do him good, he determined not to lose the golden opportunity of securing a blessing. And nothing gives God greater pleasure than to see the hearts of His people firmly adhering to Him.

One Bible commentator wrote that Jacob had believed in God previously, but also trusted in his own strength to get things done. That night by the river, Jacob knew he could do nothing to help himself. God had to do everything for him so he and his family could live. That is why he wouldn't let go. He had to know God would save them.

I have a lot to learn about the power of prayer. I am no example to anyone on the subject of prayer. But a few times, when I was severely depressed, I did say to God, "I'm not getting out of bed, and I'm not going to stop praying and reading the Bible until I feel better."  Previously, I had been forcing myself to get up and face the day. Well, that prayer always ended up with me feeling better about the coming day. The Lord did bless my perseverance.

Some of us don't have the luxury of not getting out of bed in the morning. Lol  I do because I'm retired. So, for those who are working, taking care of children, doing housework and yard work, I would say, pray as often as you can and as long as you can when you are overwhelmed. Pray while you are working at home, pray at your lunch hour, pray when the kids are in bed. Keep praying, God will bless you. No doubt about it.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Melt-Down of a Christian.

From the end of the earth, I will call to you, when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 

For You have been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy.

Let me dwell in Your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. 

Psalm 61:2-4

Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; My heart is appalled within me.

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands.

I stretch out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, as a parched land. 

Psalm 146:3-6

For the first time in a very long time, today I was thinking about death with longing in my heart. I looked at the sunset, and wished I never had to see another one. These are familiar thoughts for me, but because of Joyce Meyer's teachings, I haven't had them for a long time. 

My heart has been overwhelmed this week. As the Psalmist said, my heart has been appalled within me. So, I began looking up Scripture, like the two verses above. I quoted Scripture, and remembered how God had helped me through these things in the past, and I felt at peace. 

When my emotions had calmed down, I talked with God about how I never seem to get used to the fact I live in a fallen, sinful world where people die and get hurt; I'm continually shocked when I read the newspaper at how horrible this world can be. How many years do I have to live here before life doesn't shock or depress me? 

My family is going through some trials right now. I don't mind going through trials myself, (well, I do) but I loathe seeing anyone else suffering. It feels like my heart is breaking. Right now, my sweet sister-in-law of my sister Liz, has been told her cancerous tumor has shrunk, but it is still at stage 4, which is terminal. 

My niece was injured at work last week. She works for a TV show doing hair and make-up. She was loading the truck with her stuff when the driver lurched forward. Her arm was stuck and it was pulled and wrenched and she can't use it now. I hope it will heal completely, but who knows?

Yesterday, my granddaughter's kneecap was pulled sideways out of its socket. She was screaming in pain and the paramedics had to knock her out to get her into the ambulance. They gave her pain pills that put her in a delirium. She thought she was in Interstellar with Matthew Mcconaughy.  Then she came out of it, they wrapped her knee and she went home. Later she had a panic attack and had to go back to the hospital. She is scared stiff the knee will come out again. They put a splint on it. She can't move for a week. She is coming to my place for me to take care of while her boyfriend is at work.

My youngest daughter had to move to Lethbridge, Alberta from Princeton, BC in JANUARY- in CANADA!  If you live in Canada, you know what that can mean. Well, the weather was good until the last two hours when a blizzard hit. She couldn't see the sides of the road through the mountains. She was following her husband's car and she felt he was going too fast so she just broke down and sobbed and sobbed while driving until they reached Lethbridge. At least she made it, but I worry about her poor psyche.

My grandson is still trying to get off drugs and is having a terrible time. He went to rehab, left and now had decided to take a drug at a drug clinic that may help him get off his drugs. His mom has been staying with him for the last month, trying to help him cut back, get clean etc. She looks like she has been through hell - and she has. I went with her to his place when he was in rehab for a day and a night. There are cigarette burns everywhere - all over his new sofa, all over his bed and on the new carpet. I was horrified, and wondered why the place hadn't gone up in flames by now. I guess I can thank God and fire-retardant chemicals for that. His mom told me when he is doing his drug of choice he falls asleep when he is smoking.

My husband has bones rubbing together and has to have back surgery soon. I have fibromyalgia every day and I've had a horrible cold for two weeks and have had to sit up to sleep for a week. One of my daughters needs money and we have none to give her. My mom lives with us and is extremely weak and frail.

There. I could go on, but I'll spare you if you have made it down the page this far. Yes, I feel overwhelmed and my heart hurts.

Thinking of how God has helped me in the past, I remember he saw me through the death of my other grandson, he gave me strength to take care of my mother when she was much sicker than she is now, he was with me through my husband's cancer and subsequent illnesses, he has helped me with fibromyalgia.

God has led me to the rock that is higher than I - Jesus. I look at his courage and his steadfast life with his Father and I know he can help me. He was assailed from many directions but he kept his peace. I can't see Jesus running around wondering what to do. No, he wasn't like that.

Jesus did feel overwhelmed in the garden of Gethsemane. God sent an angel to strengthen him, and God does that for us today. And he himself stands beside us to give us hope and strength. The Bible says he holds us by our right hand.  

"For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you.'"  Isaiah 41:13

One thing God brought to my mind this morning,is to live one day at a time. I should not look ahead to wonder how well I can look after Hope or how long my sweet sister Heather will live. Jesus told us, "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:34

Thursday, 12 January 2017

A Slow Burn.

I had never heard of Francois Fenelon (1651- 1715) until last week. He was an archbishop in the Catholic Church. I came across a letter he had written to a close friend. I immediately related to its content. For years I used to wonder why God didn't make me good/perfect as soon as I gave my life to him. I thought my obedience was important to God and I wanted to be good/perfect, so why wouldn't he do it?

Eventually, I learned from the Bible that our growth in Christ is a slow growth. Jesus said, "First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens."  Mark 4:26

 I concluded that perfect obedience was not as important to God as it was to me. Or, perfect obedience must come through learning and learning takes time.  

I think the reason I wanted to be perfect is so I could be sure of going to heaven. I thought if I sinned I might not be able to go. I had a lot to learn about God and Salvation.

Here is the letter:

"Do you wonder why God has to make it so hard on you? Why doesn’t He make you good without making you miserable in the meantime? Of course He could, but He does not choose to do so. He wants you to grow a little at a time and not burst into instant maturity. This is what He has decided and you can only adore His wisdom— even when you don’t understand it.

I am awed by what suffering can produce. You and I are nothing without the cross. I agonize and cry when the cross is working within me, but when it is over I look back in admiration for what God has accomplished. Of course I am then ashamed that I bore it so poorly. I have learned so much from my foolish reactions.

You yourself must endure the painful process of change. There is much more at work here than your instant maturity. God wants to build a relationship with you that is based on faith and trust and not on glamorous miracles.

God uses the disappointments, disillusionments, and failures of your life to take your trust away from yourself and help you put your trust in Him. It is like being burned in a slow fire, but you would rather be burned up in a blaze of glory, wouldn’t you? How would this fast burn detach you from yourself? Thus God prepares events to detach you from yourself and from others.

God is your Father, do you think He would ever hurt you? He just cuts you off from those things you love in the wrong way. You cry like a baby when God removes something or someone from your life, but you would cry a lot more if you saw the eternal harm your wrong attachments cause you.

You do not see with the eyes of eternity. God knows everything. Nothing happens without His consent. You are upset by small losses, but do not see eternal gains! Don’t dwell on your suffering. Your over-sensitivity makes your trials worse. Abandon yourself to God.

Everything in you that is not already a part of the established kingdom of God needs the cross. When you accept the cross in love, His kingdom begins to come to life within you. You must bear the cross and be satisfied with what pleases God. You have need of the cross. The faithful Giver of every good gift gives the cross to you with His own hand. I pray you will come to see how blessed it is to be corrected for your own good.

My God, help us to see Jesus as our model in all suffering. You nailed Him to the cross for us. You made Him a man of sorrows to teach us how useful sorrow is. Give us a heart to turn our backs on ourselves and trust only in You."

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Shall I Wring My Hands, Cry with Fear, or Trust God?

Photograph: Luis GarcĂ­a (Zaqarbal), 

In ancient Judah there was a king named Jehoshaphat. Unlike some kings before him, he believed in God. One day 3 kings from 3 other countries decided to join together to war against Jehoshaophat, take his city and country and share the riches.

Jehoshaphat called all the people together to the city and the temple of God. He prayed about their situation and ended his prayer with, "Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

After the prayer, a prophet named Jahaziel told everyone God had heard their prayers, he said:

“Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s."

"Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel.

"You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’ ”

The ending to this story will be the ending of our life stories if we praise God and wait for him to fight our battles and to defend us from our enemies.
As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
“Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.”
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah to this day.

Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.

The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side."

The key lesson is trust God and praise him as you are trusting. This is all God asked of the king and his people. Don't wring your hands and wonder why God is letting this thing happen to you. I used to do that and there is no good in it. Trusting and praising God brings power, peace and happiness.  

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

God and Our Hearts.

The following verse was written about Jesus.

"And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth..."  Isaiah 11:3,4

Most of us judge a person by what they do and what they say. Some of us think we are great judges of character, but honestly, we're not. We simply don't have enough information.

"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."  1 Samuel 16:7  

God judges by seeing a person's heart. What is their intent? What childhood and background did this person have and how did it affect his actions and thoughts? 

I've written about my grandson, Craig, who died one night after drinking too much. He also had a trace of cocaine in his system. He lay face down on a sofa and smothered. He was 21, and a young man full of emotional pain. 

I have said I believe my grandson was saved by Jesus because in his heart he wanted to live better. He wanted to tell teens at high schools not to go on drugs, even though he was doing them himself. He told his brother he wanted to one day have a wife and kids and he wanted the same for his brother so they could always be close and their children grow up together. He was attracted to what was good.

 At his funeral, we were amazed by how many people he helped in his short life. People came who had been in elementary school with him and told us of how Craig had helped them - with school work and also coping with life.

But there was a dark side to Craig, his pain also made him lash out at people. He did some really bad things. He told me once, "I regret so many things I did."  But the problem was, he kept doing them.

Well, the point of me writing this is that one day this year, I was on a Christian site and a man there took a dislike to me. (How is that possible?) lol  He read my post on Craig and came back to the Christian site and said, "This woman believes drug addicts will be saved!"   

The church I grew up in would probably say that a drug addict would have to change before he could be saved. But since our standing with God is not by our works but by our belief in him, I do believe people who are doing wrong will be saved because as the Scriptures say, God looks on the heart. It is our heart we will take to heaven with us when Jesus comes. If our heart loves what is good, (even if we can't do it) we will be very happy in heaven where all is good and beautiful. 

My grandson had a friend who wore spikes around his neck and arms and was pierced on his face. He wore black all the time and I guess some people would be afraid of him. But he was one of Craig's nicest friends. His father was a Hell's Angel and had beaten him all his childhood. All of Craig's friends either had no fathers or mean ones. When you see a young person who looks scary, remember that God sees his childhood and his heart. 

Let's not judge people by what they do, what they look like or what they say. Let's leave all judging to God. Only he is wise enough to judge a human heart.