Finding Hope in the midst of Fear and Despair

It seems that the world is falling apart.  People are rioting in the streets due to the freedom of an election, there is death for the lost, friends that are ill, persecution of the saints and it’s getting colder with winter on it’s way.  I know that last part isn’t a reflection of the world falling apart, yet it reflects the desperation of my prayers.  For warmth and for my hope to become attainable!   Warmth in the kindness people could show one another, warmth in healing, warmth in the sun and warmth in the gentle arms of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Hope  in the protection of His wing when the wind blows fierce enough to try to knock me or those whom I love over.

Finding hope in a lost world can be a daunting task.  Looking around, there is so much more to be in despair about.  Hope seems to be something one has to convince himself/herself of,  not knowing if  hope is that which is to be attained.   Hope in healing, hope in kindness, hope in warmth, hope in love and hope in freedom.  Is it to be?  How can one be sure that  hope is going to become  reality?  Truth of the matter is one cannot be sure of a great deal.   For many, uncertainty becomes an unknown reality of which doesn’t deserve the time or effort of hope.   Hope seems too far in the reaching in a world which thrives in strife.   Sometimes it seems that by getting  hopes up, one will only have a dashed spirit when the outcome is not what was hoped for.  Completely understandable since disappointment is the human natural reaction to a  crushing blow .   Yet, for a Christian, this thought process seems unacceptable or improbable.   Is it really?  Unacceptable?  Improbable?  That sounds a bit irrational!   After all, human nature and the human spirit do not differentiate between that of a Christian and non Christian.   Right?

Wrong!  The definition of human nature tells us it’s the nature of humans; especially : the fundamental dispositions and traits of humans  (Websters).  Yet, for a Christian, there is something else to consider.  The indwelling of the Holy Spirit, hence the reaction of the human spirit.  The human spirit that experiences a knowledge in which human nature cannot compete with.  It’s the truth and knowledge that there is something much greater than ourselves at work.  Something revealed by the grace of the Lord which  is more powerful than that of human nature.  For a Christian, this knowledge is the understanding and acceptance that the will of man and the will of God are not always in sync.  That God always has a plan, that His will is perfect and that His timing is exactly that…His!  Knowing that although we are living in a world of continual unholy drama, we have trust and faith in that which we cannot control.  During illness, a Christian has hope that healing will come.  If healing is not to come, a Christian has the hope of eternal salvation that is yet to come.  If persecuted, a Christian knows that God’s plan is perfect and there is hope in knowing that all things work for His Glory!   In watching the destruction of the fallen world, a Christian has the knowledge that this is not the end, only the beginning.

(I need to pause here with a sidebar…I stopped at this point to take care of some family needs.  While I was waiting at an appointment I was unable to find my phone, which I usually take a look at during such times, so I picked up the book I had also brought.  It was my book that was to be finished by tonights book study with a friend.  As I was reading, I was once again struck with praise to the Lord for His care over my spiritual life.  Here I was, writing my blog prior to leaving the house and then I was reading the chapter that fit so well with the above.  I did not know this was going to be the case when I started writing, God knew.  He knew I would not need my phone as much as I needed to read that next chapter before continuing on.   Praises of Thanksgiving!)

Does this mean that we as Christians just have hope and go along in our daily lives not worrying about anything or doing anything about concerns that creep up?  Not at all.  What we do however,  through the grace of the Holy Spirit, is become driven to find resolve in the Word and through prayer.  We don’t sit by and say “there’s so much more, God has this covered, I just need to sit by and watch”.  Christians actively seek out and try to stay focused.  It’s not an easy thing for many.

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)

I mentioned how my reading of my book study was so compelling as an argument for what I’m trying to say here, that I just have to share the following notes from the book.  (Book: The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung; my notes and some of the quotes below are in italics.)

A question in the book asks, “how does the spirit work in us to make us to make us holy?”  Through various paragraphs my notes are such:

Prayer for Spiritual Strength

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,   (Ephesians 3:14-16 ESV)

Wisdom from the Spirit

6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.  ( 1 Cor. 2:6-16)

The Spirit is power and light!  

We can try to say all the right things to ourselves about how it will work out, yet are we going further to directly and actively seek the gospel truth in order to obtain the hope needed in persecution, illness, and fear?  

“But in the pursuit of holiness we need to look at  more than the past acts of redemption.  We have to look forward and trust in future grace.”

Because of the future promises of blessings, our passion for hope is fueled by the power and light of the Holy spirit.  

In closing, I may look crazy, sound like I’m not a realist (which happens quite often) , yet I am hopeful for a future blessing amongst the chaos that goes on around me.  I am not always happy, I am not always positive, yet I strive to do my best in such times of despair to seek the council of the Lord and to trust in the wisdom that He chooses to impart my way.  Am I always naturally secure in my hope?  In all honesty no.  However, that being said, my hope does not come through my own power of will, but through that of the Holy Spirit which gives me the strength to be secure.  To locate the hope of the future blessings that He has yet to reveal.  I pray that any and all adversities that I experience will be used for the greater good of sharing the gospel truth with those who may be in need.  In closing, the book mentioned a quote from Martyn Lloyd -Jones which I want to share:

The New Testament calls upon us to take action; it does not tell us that the work of sanctification is going to be done for us…We are in the ‘good fight of faith’, and we have to do the fighting.  But, thank God, we are enabled to do it; for the moment we believed and are justified by faith, and are born again of the Spirit of God, we have the ability.  So the New Testament method of sanctification is to remind us of that; and having reminded us of it, it says, ‘Now then, go and do it’.   (Marty Lloyd-Jones, Romans: Exposition of Chapter 6: The new Man)

Be well dear reader and go forth seeking hope for that which is yet to come.

Lost in my thoughts….

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Uncle Ron… Gosh, I wish I had more pictures.

I haven’t written once again and although I consider it I am lost in my thoughts without much to say.

I recently commented to a few individuals I respect, how much I cannot understand the sin of the world.  It dumb founds me.  I mean, I know it is because of the fall of man yet I see so much evil and sin around me that I just have a difficult time understanding it or wrapping my head around it.   I think that’s why I haven’t been able to write.  I just cannot seem to say what I want to.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16

As I sit here on this beautiful day, I praise God that my family is together, we respect one another, we praise and worship together and we stand by one another.  I thank God for saving me and capturing my heart, turning me away from the sin of the world and for saving my husband and children.  I know that we will make mistakes and be tempted as long as we are here on this earth, yet I also know that God has instilled in us the moral character of faithful Christians who will recognize temptation as it comes our way so that we will have the ability to turn away and turn toward Him.  Oh the blessing of His saving Grace and for His Word that sustains and leads.

Last night we said goodbye to another beloved family member.  It’s interesting how life works and how even when a loved one has turned away from God for the purpose of self indulgences, family still stands by out of love for that individual and can pray and weep in mourning together.   He may not have been perfect, he had his faults, yet he was loved by many.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Corinthians 13:7

Over the years I sat by and observed how my uncle loved his children and those around him.  He tried to be a part of their lives in so many ways.  His children unfortunately, no matter how hard he tried, walked away from him in either silence or defiance.  Their sin was repeatedly overlooked by him due to his love for them.  I never understood why he continued to try so hard only to be disappointed over and over.  In the last few years of his life, my uncle had let go of trying so hard and accepted his place in their lives, which by witnessing his lifestyle became apparent he had a hole in his heart he was trying to fill.

I was sitting here this afternoon, resting, eating my lunch, and watching the end of a movie, during which I was profoundly overcome with tears and joy over a discussion that took place in the movie.  Let me recap the conversation:

Man:  “Do you love me?”

Woman:  “What is your interest in me? What do you want?  I don’t get it?  I’m old, I’m broke, I can’t cook a decent meal, I’m fat…Why would you love a ruined person that ruins other people?”

Man:  “Is that it?  You think that because you screwed up once you don’t get a second chance?”

(Fast forward through the  description of his sinfulness of adultery etc.)

Man:  “My kids are still mad.  I get a calendar for Christmas.  It doesn’t matter if your kids love you or not…It’s not their job to love you….It’s your job to love them!  That’s why you were put here.  That’s why you’re their mom.  That’s why I’m my kids dad.  I love my kids so much….”

I thought of two things:

  1.  While my uncle had so may years of loving and forgiving his children for their own sin, his love for them was felt and known.  Whether or not they accepted it didn’t matter, they knew he loved them unconditionally.  He didn’t put prerequisites on their behavior in order for him to love them, he just did because he was their dad.   He forgave them time and time again, waiting patiently  for them to come to him while still showing them he loved them.  With sadness, he never got to witness their homecoming back into his life.  It was on his deathbed that one of his children stood over him holding his hand telling him he loved him.  His other child lives across the country so it’s unknown what their reaction was.  I am betting that there was soul searching and a broken heart.
  2.  I listened to the conversation, with ears hearing that of the Father who gave so much for his children out of unconditional love.    I know that the movie did not intend to portray that of scripture, yet for me it struck a chord and moved me to finally be able to write what I’m thinking.  As a parent, do we love our children unconditionally?  Do I love my children and look beyond their sin?  Do I show them how much I love them?   When I am departing this world will my children be able to say, “Mom loved me and gave me her all.  She wasn’t selfish in her own ambitions in life, she was not into self indulgences, she was a woman filled with the Word of God loving, serving and forgiving unconditionally”?

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  1John 4:7-11

I am sad for my uncle that he could not see how much his children loved him, yet, as spoken above, I think God has used and will continue to use the examples he set for others to perhaps take note and consider.   If not now, then perhaps when and or if the Lord calls them by name.   He loved unconditionally and he lived and died unknowing.  I will miss his love for my family, especially for my mom.  He was there for her from the beginning, always embracing the roll of the big brother,  protecting and supporting in some of her darkest moments of fear, rejection and loss.  His love for my own family over many years was amazing.  He took an interest….. I think that’s the part I have missed and will continue to miss the most.   I don’t know whether or not I will see my uncle again as I don’t know where he stood with God. Sadly he did not live a life dedicated to Jesus Christ according to His Word.  I only know that whatever relationship he had with God is between the two of them, and God has blessed me with the treasured memories of a predominantly selfless man that will have to last a lifetime.

Perhaps this is a bunch of jumbled thoughts to you dear reader, yet I hope that through my writing I have offered you something.  Either sparked a thought, sparked a conversation or sparked an interest in learning more of a loving Father and that in which we are created for on this earth.

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  1Timothy 1:5

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”  John 14:21

Who Are You?

I can remember in my younger years so desiring to be someone else.  I remember trying on several occasions to change my look, whether it was a new hair cut, new makeup, new clothes style, making friends with those I wouldn’t ordinarily choose to be friends  with or doing things and acting in ways that went beyond my personality.  I longed to have more friends and to be “popular”.  I was not very comfortable in my own skin so to speak.  In middle school I was taller than most of the other girls, and I did not spend the majority of my time in the bathroom doing my hair as the other girls did.  That being said, I remember the day I suddenly drew the attention of my classmates.  At the time I thought it was fabulous and I felt like I finally fit in.  Only in adulthood have I acknowledged that  I was becoming someone that I was not intended to be.  It was a long journey of trying to figure out who I truly was, yet thirty five years after that day,  I can say that I know who I am and I embrace it all.

Yes, even through illness, loss, grief, and often times loneliness, I embrace knowing that I can just be myself.  It’s rather freeing to not have to try to live by todays standards.  I don’t need a lot of friends to define who I am, and at times, I even leave the house without any makeup not caring about impressing anyone.  I find that the most important things in life are not found in the joys of earthly pleasures and in the view of those who subject themselves to secular viewpoints. I take joy in the fact that I am a wife, mother, sister in Christ to a great many who are like minded, and I am most of all a child of God.   I have hope in something greater than this world and a confidence in knowing that grace is promised to those whom have been called out of this life of sin.

As my daughter and I stayed home today due to her upcoming surgery and not wanting to subject her body to germs that she wouldn’t be exposed to if she stayed at home, we listened to the sermon from last week that we missed.  I was struck at God’s providential care in our walk with him and his encouragement in arranging this quiet time with Him, the message spoken and the tie in with my book study that I did  with a friend yesterday.

The message was based on 1Peter 1:13-16 and entitled Just Be Yourself.   (crbc.us sermons 9/18/2016)

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

In obedience, we are to be who we are called to be, leaving behind the passions of our old selves (“Ephesians 4:21-24  assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.)  so that we will have the hope (confidence) in grace (salvation)”.  What a wonderful, freeing, feeling it is to know that God has chosen for me who I am supposed to be.  I do not need to try to be someone else.  I do not need to fit into this world because I am not of this world.  (John 15:16   “You did not choose me, but I chose you… John 15:19   …because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world….”)  I accept that I am a child of God’s, destined to live a holy life before him, with contentment and thanksgiving.

Our study yesterday discussed the motivation of how to stay obedient in holiness, tying in nicely with the sermon.  Every child needs instruction and direction.  I am no different and neither are those who are predestined to serve in holiness.  (Ephesians 1:11   “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will”)

Our book (The Hole In Our Holiness) gave us a few ways the Bible motivates us to continue in our pursuit of holiness.  One of the questions asked us to identify which of them was meaningful to our individual needs living in a world of sin.  Mine were the following:

God knows all and sees all.  (Eccles. 12:14  “For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil”)

If every child knew that their parent was watching, would they try to do the opposite of what they were instructed to do?  My guess is that they would not and if they did, they would know that there would be a punishment waiting them.  Maybe they would think that the sin of disobedience would be worth the punishment.  Knowing that God’s punishment is death should make all christians reconsider that which they think they do in secret is actually in secret.

Assurance.  (2Peter 1:10  “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm you calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall”)

Knowing with surety that God has called me out of a life of sin keeps me humbled in obedience to his word.  For not everyone has been blessed with the knowledge of their own salvation as we know that there is no double predestination. Due to the fall of man through the sin of Adam, we are all at birth destined for death, yet through the calling of the Lord Jesus Christ there are those who are predestined  to be a part of life everlasting with him.

The world is not our home.  (1Peter 2:11  “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul”)

Pilgrims in a world  that does not understand.  Our time here is temporary.  Our permanent home is with the Lord.  An eternity serving a God who took mercy on his people to give them life.   Abstaining from the passions of the flesh is not easy as temptation today is far greater with technology, yet preparing our minds and hearts through the studying of the Word is our short leash to staying on the right path.

For the sake of our prayers. (1Peter 3:7  “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered”)

Living a hopeful life, following the words of a gracious God so that He may be glorified and we may be made righteous in his sight.  Marriage is not easy and life in this world is not easy.  However, by staying the course with love and understanding we are reminded of the joyful blessings that are shared.  Just as a couple becomes one in marriage, they become one with Christ.

The futility of sin.  (Matthew 6:27  “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”)

Do we really need to worry about that which we cannot control.  Our time should be spent in grateful prayers of thanksgiving for that which we have been blessed, leaving all of the “stuff” behind.

The folly of sin.  (Matthew 7:26-27  “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”)

The fall is not temporal.  The fall is eternal and is spent in the flames of hell rather than an eternal life of glory with the Lord.

The promise of future judgment.  (Romans 12:19  “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord'”)

God’s wrath is much greater than that which we could ever dream.  He gives the ultimate judgment over the sin abiding in this world.

The fear of future judgment.  (Hebrews 10:26-27  “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.”)

This does not need any explanation!

The fear of the Lord.  (2Corinthians 5:11a  “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.”)

We witness to those whom we love in hopes that they too will be called unto the Lord.  We know that the loving God so many talk about today is also a god of judgment and wrath.  Believers should not tempt the will of the Lord with gross misconduct in backslidden behavior just to appease the world we live in.  We should be the witness to the light that shines from following Him.

The love of the Lord.  (1John 4:11  “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”)

Loving our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is not just a suggestion but a command.

For the glory of God.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20  “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify god in your body.”)

Taking care to not sin and to praise the Lord of whom gave much to give us life.

Fullness of joy.  (John 15:10-11  “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full”)

JOY….to have joy in the Lord, in prayer and in ALL circumstances.  No matter what!  Finding the peace within ourselves to be joyful in the blessings that are not our own.  Through pain, illness, despair, loss, and storms that rage around us.

Our union with Christ.  (Romans 6:5-6  “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”) 

Oh to not be enslaved to sin.  To not be bound by the chains that cause strife and death.  Could any blessings be better?

I pray reader that you have read through all that I have shared in my journey and that you have been blessed this day with the words of the Lord.  I pray that you will joyfully praise  the loving God who has given you life and blessed you with the following of this blog.  Thank you for joining me down this path toward salvation.

 

I’m Coming Back…

The Lord has blessed us this summer with spending time with extended family, to our son’s trip to Scotland and competing in the Worlds and the safety and healing of Sydney’s ankle.  Now fall is here and I find that I have completely lost track of time and not written here for quite awhile.  When I think about it I consider my words and realize I don’t have much to say so I think about writing the next day only to forget.  Hence the problem with a blog that should be kept up weekly.  🙂

Anyway, moving forward I’m planning on spending more time here, especially with a new treatment plan coming for the Lyme and co-infections that are once again active and causing issues.  This disease is nothing short of interesting.  Plus, school is in session for our last child in HS .    Not to mention her healing and surgeries yet to come along with her rehab.  I’m sure the weather will keep us indoors shortly enough.  🙂

Anyway, if you find the time and could pray with me on my own health that would be wonderful.  I’m seeing a new doctor and looking into doing some traditional treatments for my Lyme.  Not sure if that means IV antibiotics or oral, I’ll find out in early Oct.  This means that even though I’m bad right now, it will only get worse as the little buggers die off and we work on getting my adrenals back in working order.  In the mean time I’m reading as much as I can on the meds used and making sure I understand each one.

I’m also seeing a cardiologist next week as I’ve been having some chest discomfort and some periodic pains that have been hanging around since July.  I know…I should have gone sooner.  Let’s just say it’s been a long summer and I have put myself on the back burner until now.  Since I had some heart surgery 23 years ago it’s enough of a concern that they are working me in next week and I’m limited as to what I can do right now.  No exercise and no walking long distance.  Of course that order went out the window last weekend when I had to walk from the RV to the stadium for the college football game while also pushing my daughter in the wheelchair.  Guess I’m still breathing and still moving around so all is well.  🙂  Praise God for the ability to keep on going and to keep focused on the things that really matter…like my family!

Anyway, I’ll try to keep up with the blogging if you would pray for my own personal healing as well.  Maybe we will find some great things come out of both.   🙂

 

 

Clinging to the only Peace that can Sustain

During times of disbelief over things of this world, I cling to the word more than any other time.  My prayer life seems to consume more minutes of my days than anything else.  I lay awake at night in prayerful thought, consideration and more desperation for the Lord Jesus Christ to hear my prayer.  At times I feel as though I am pleading for His will to line up with my hopes.  In the end, I trust He knows what’s best and He will take care to bring me closer to Him in my thoughts, and also in my prayers.

Psalm 119: 49-56

Remember you word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.  This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise give me life.  The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law.  When I think of you rules from of old, I take comfort, O Lord.  Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law.  Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.  I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law.  This blessing has fallen to me that I have kept your precepts.

As a great deal has plagued my thoughts and rocked my world this past two weeks, I find peace in Him and in the promises yet to come.  I find grace in the promises already given and I find hope in a creator who is perfect in every possible way.

Where do you find peace?  Do you look for worldly wonders and human nature to give you peace?  Or do you seek Jesus and the Word to sustain and keep you?  Again I ask, Where do You find peace?

 

Sufficiency of God

God’s care for his people is sufficient!  There can be no doubt.  Joy comes from knowing who He is, what He has done for us, what he has provided for us, and what we have to look forward to in serving Him.    I sat in amazement the other night in church as the teaching was on Approaching God from Psalm 131.  It was a very nice follow up to what I had previously that morning posted on my blog.  It wrapped up my thoughts and was like a gift handed back.  I just had to share it here with you.  Hope you will take the time to listen.

What Really Matters?

coffee pic

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.  Who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.        2 Corinthians 2:15-17

Watching the news can be traumatizing these days.  It seems the world is falling apart and no one has control over anything.  There is conflict everywhere.  War overseas, tensions amongst Americans, divorce between parents, millennials not knowing when adulthood begins, sexual confusion tearing at the seams of the fabric of creation, growing numbers of cases of disease and outright moral conflict between right and wrong.  Where in the world do we find peace and hope?  Is there any?

If you haven’t noticed, I have been out of the loop lately.  My blogging has been a bit sparse.  I blame it on quite a number of things, from loss, to health, to not knowing what to say in times of constant turmoil.  I mean, what I want to say and what I should say are not in conjunction with one another and finding the right words were not coming as easily as they normally do.  That is however, until today.  Well, that’s only partially true…I started stirring with “blogger” thoughts last week, today is the first day I’ve had time to sit down and put them on the board.

A friend and I began doing a book study together.  Something that we both were excited to start for a few months.  We finally began and I have to say, I am thrilled.  Anything that can bring me closer to the Lord in study is a joy.  It gets me out of the “what is happening in this world” mentality, and takes me to the “thank you Lord for saving me out of this world” mentality.  Those little reminders to thank the Lord for life, grace, and eternal salvation bring a smile to my face, hope in my thoughts, stamina to continue on and keep me grounded in purpose.

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:12-13

I often wonder what people think of when they consider their lives.  I mean, do they look at their lives and thank the Lord for what they have and for their future?  Or do they look at their lives and say, “I’m just not rich enough, happy enough, or wise enough so I need to make changes… so look out world here I come.  I don’t care who is in my way or who I destroy in the  mean time.  After all, my life is my life and I need to be happy and have it all.”  Crazy as that may sound, in my eyes, that is what I see in people when I look around.  I see it in relationships, in groups, in family, on TV and in movies.  I have wept, prayed, prayed some more and at times come close to shutting down, wanting to turn off all social media, electronics and lock the door from the world.   Right or wrong, it saddens me that the world is so brutal to human emotion.  That being said, as I write this it’s noticed that what was just said has one considering “I” and “me”.  This life isn’t about “me”, it’s about something greater than that.

The sadness I have felt over these issues however, has been overshadowed with joy in the last few weeks.  Why?  Well, its due to the simple fact that I am reminded,

For by grace you have been saved through faith.   And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.   Ephesians 2:8-10

In our study  we are reading about our purpose in this life.  Why were we created to be saved?  The answers are always present and sometimes it takes the nudge of the Lord during these times of distress to remind us of His plan for us and how we should be living.  Remembering this, takes the “me” out of living.

Am I speaking about you?  Do you have the hope needed to continue on in this life?  Consider it.  Consider where you are.  Consider how you are living.  Consider what could be holy vs. worldly.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought  life and immortality to light through the gospel…  2 Timothy 8-11

Does suffering for the gospel mean that we are unhappy?  No.  We don’t have the need for the fancy car, the perfect spouse, the perfect house, perfect job, perfect health, etc. etc.  Looking at the fact that God called his people out of a life of sin brings joy to believers, and a peace that nothing can compare to.  Just as I said above, we may get sad over the thought of the destruction of this world that was created so beautifully by God, yet we have joy knowing that there is so much more.

Prayerfully, my thoughts will continue to swell with blog worthy writing and a sweeping message of hope will be captured for others to embrace.   Have a blessed week/weekend and enjoy the sun this summer day.

There Is Hope and Help…

For many of us with Lyme disease, it’s so difficult for others to understand.  One minute we are doing everything that seems “normal” and the next we are in crash mode.  Our bodies just don’t operate with any consistency.  As I watched Under Our Skin again last week, I was reminded of how so many of us outwardly look “normal” to others, yet inside we are writhing in pain, exhaustion, and discomfort.  What is seen on the outside is quite different than what is going on inside.  While the outside looks content and at peace, on the inside there is a battle.  A battle of immunity vs. borreliosis.  A battle that isn’t won by either, as long as there is treatment, yet a battle that drags on without end in sight, so it would seem.  One side trying to overtake the other.

I remember watching the attached when I was early diagnosed and I wept.  I wept thinking there was not an end in sight for me either and that I would be just as bad as Krista.  Fortunately, at the end of the story, I found hope and was encouraged to look toward healing with a positive attitude.  It reminded me that what I was experiencing was nothing in comparison.  I looked at her age and thanked God that I had achieved 20+ years longer than she before crashing.  Her story is quite extreme, with some additional co-infections that riddled her body for several years prior to them finding out the cause.  It’s difficult to watch, yet it’s so real.  Her story is similar to Julie’s, in my last post, in that their co-infections and symptoms mimic one another.  If, you have the heart to watch, please do so with tissue and with the reminder that there is healing.

Lyme is nothing to mess around with, yet it is not something to be terrified of.  With the rates rising of Lyme disease, everyone should be aware of what kind of symptoms can be observed from just a tiny little tick.  The bacteria that can make a body deteriorate quickly may be small, yet they are definitely a large scale concern.  I encourage everyone to please understand Lyme, it’s affects on the body, learn how to recognize the symptoms early.  Before thousands of dollars are spent on trying to come up with a diagnosis.

Please remember also, when someone is diagnosed with Lyme, we don’t want to be defined by it, yet we want people to understand that every day is a balancing act.  Every day is a new day.  We cling to hope, even though we get frustrated, and we pray knowing that only God will get us through.  With my own experience with Lyme, I have said that I hope I can help someone else someday.  I hope that my own journey will be an example to someone else in a positive sense and that none of what I have experienced will be wasted.   Just as Krista has endured and shared, she also has educated which is what I am trying to do as well with this blog.   Thanks for taking the time to read and to watch.

Grace Abounding – Julies Story

It has been a pleasure to know Julie and her husband Steve.  I met Julie through our blogging and have since then been able to meet her in person on two occasions, and have had the pleasure of reading scripture and praying with her nearly every Thursday night through Skype for the last year and a half.  I adore her upbeat attitude when life seems to try to keep her down and her love for our gracious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I have witnessed first hand some of the episodes that take Julie’s body to an extremely vulnerable place and have also seen her rebound back to a smile a few moments later.  She credits her strength to the only one who gives it in such times, making her all the more someone to look up to.  Hugs and smiles to you Julie…. 🙂   (Wish my picture would download…)

Here is her story and I hope that you will also check out her blog for more on her struggle with Lyme.

About Julie

The Hope Beyond story began after kayaking in the Cedarville Reservoir in Leo, Indiana on October 11, 2011. What a great time I had with my husband, Steve, and the Fort Wayne Kayaking Group including enjoyment of Louise’s fabulous cookies afterwards! The only problem with our paddle that night was a few sanitary mistakes I made that led to a devastating bout of hepatitis, trip to the emergency room and over a month of wretched illness. The Lord healed me enough to enjoy a family trip over Thanksgiving weekend then symptoms returned thereafter and never really abated.

By January of 2012, my doctor was looking for other causes of the ongoing illness. He identified Chronic Lyme Disease largely by exclusion and clinical presentation; I may have had it for years! Treatment for Chronic Lyme Disease began with oral antibiotics and immediately I was exceedingly miserable. By March I was no longer able to work in my profession as an occupational therapist. We invested in Rife technology coupled with low dose antibiotics, compounded medications, and specific pharm-grade supplements. Daily seizure attack episodes began shortly thereafter and escalated to an unbelieveable level. (See more on my You Tube Channel.) A year later in January of 2013 Steve and I learned that mold in our home was contributing to these neurological complications. We fast-tracked the mold remediation of our home in three months so I could continue to live there! It turns out that the blue-green algae in the Cedarville Reservoir and mold exposures are both “biotoxins.” Then as 2014 began the big focus was on resolving a systemic Candida infection with even more restrictive dietary changes. Sish.

2014 ended with the bombshell news that underlying all of this illness was mercury toxicity!!! I investigated chelation then pursued the best mercury speciation testing and detoxification protocol I could find thanks to my chiropractor, family practice physician, and Quicksilver Scientific. Removal of 2 problematic, root-canaled teeth followed. While the journey of recovery continues to be difficult over four years down the road, I recognize the many cool little life lessons along the way that have served to grow my faith in the Lord no matter what happens to me! And now with my mercury burden down, my beloved Steve and I are hopeful that I AM GOING TO GET WELL!!!

The Lord, Jesus Christ has provided for our needs during this time and directed us through Steve’s leadership, love, and care. The tremendous trials have also brought Steve and I closer to each other and to the His throne of grace. When the isolation of this disease got unbearable, He brought me a local Lyme Support Group, Skype Bible Prayer Group, new friends, my own eBook (Hope Beyond Lyme: The First Year), and meaningful connections with others online including this blog! Somehow I became an Advanced Master Gardener along the way. A new hobby kept my hands busy when I couldn’t sleep and led me to open then sell my jewelry shop on http://www.Etsy.com called, Trinity Jewelry by Design. Although I attempted to write a second eBook (Caring for the Sandwich Generation at Home) and develop a unique home safety product for Two Step Solutions LLC, the severity of the complications rendered me bed-ridden this past summer, many days per week. These projects are on hold for now but not forgotten!

UPDATE: January of 2016 began the time to revisit the diagnosis of Chronic Lyme Disease with IV antibiotics, experimental treatment for a fungal infection (protomyxzoa rheumatica or FL1953), and genetic coaching by a naturopathic physician. Gratefully I am tolerating everything a bit better than when this journey began 4 years ago. Overcoming a complex illness takes time and persistence; I am grateful to report that the wretched episodes are finally starting to diminish! KNOW THAT I HAVE NOT GIVEN UP! I hope that you will see evidence of this in my posts here. The Lord continues to provide comfort and hope from my Heavenly Husband and gracious Father: awake with me in the middle of the night as well as in the light of the day, now and evermore. There is even a little bit of dirt under my fingernails from a wee bit o’ gardening too!

At some other life-changing points in my life, the Lord gave me these promises from His Word:

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Romans 8 (NIV)

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Philippians 1:12 (NIV)

12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.

Gentle Reader: join me on this amazing journey! I know that the suffering during this part of my life will not be wasted. My prayer is that it edifies the Lord and is constructive for others too. Click on the “FOLLOW ME” button along the right hand column or at the bottom of your screen. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this blog and for your support. May the Lord bless you and lead you to Himself . . . a journey always worth taking! :JJ

https://justjuliewrites.com

 

Proverbs 31:10-31

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