There is much to be said about the word Peace. The dictionary gives the following definition for peace: freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility. Or, freedom from or the cessation of war or violence. There is a third however that is not written in the dictionary, and that is the kind of peace that only Christ can bestow upon his beloved. This peace is tranquil and quiet, yet it is also something else that I have yet to find the word for. It’s the kind of quiet that goes beyond just the noise around us. It’s a calming of the body, calming of the mind and calming of the soul.
Having peace in situations that are difficult, can be difficult in and of themselves, however, through prayer and scripture we see that peace is attainable when one has that relationship with our Lord and Savior. He gives that peace of knowledge that all will be well and all will be dealt with. That He and He alone can settle the most vile of offenses, most obnoxious behavior, and the results of such in observers.
As I have looked around the last year, it seems that the world has gone crazy. There is so much violence, there is so much heartache and people are just well….not behaving appropriately. It is very discouraging and could be very depressing. Knowing the Lord has helped me to focus more on Him and not so much on that which the world would like to throw at us and at me. Having some perspective and knowing that I cannot control people, their behavior or the world in which I live has given me peace. Why? Because it is a burden that is lifted when I read scripture and when I pray. A burden of feeling like I have to hold people accountable to their sin, or that I need to help the weak by taking on their troubles. God has a plan for each of us. He knows that which we are able to handle and that which will make us stronger in our faith and relationship with Him. He makes us stronger in the valley’s so that we can look up and see his glory at the top of the mountain. Waiting on Him to give us that peace is what I think is the most difficult. Sometimes, we feel that if there is not peace at that moment then we have to do something. Sometimes, we just need to sit back and watch, wait and listen. Allow God to be all that He is and let Him take over that which we are not capable.
Friends, I ask you to pray with me this day on the burdens that are around us. Pray that we can do what we can without feeling the burden of making “everything all right”. We are here to assist with what we can, love those who seek our love and learn to accept the peace from our everlasting Father.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.2 This man came to Jesusby night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born againhe cannot see the kingdom of God.”4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘Youmust be born again.’8 The windblows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Eternal life. Can it be imagined? With the difficulties on this earth it seems at times unhealthy to consider eternal life. Who wants to continue living with such sorrows and desperate situations. Who would want to live an eternity?
Well, with the Lord Jesus Christ we have in Him the desire to want more. More than this life on earth. There is a desire to live a life serving a most holy God. The eternity Christ is talking about is not like that which we observe today, it’s quite the opposite.
Revelation 21 (ESV)
The New Heaven and the New Earth
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”…….
Revelation 22 (ESV)
The River of Life
22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever……
We get a glimpse of what is yet to come in Revelation. Just a tad bit of info to wet the soul of his saints, to cling to his Word, wanting more, wanting that eternal life with Him. Very different than that which we have today. Something more. Something not yet seen.
Dear friends, it pains me to know that so many do not yet call upon His name. Please know that there is so much more. So much more to this world. Knowing God and seeing his providential care over your life gathers strength to get through the sorrows and the difficulties. Without Him beside us, we wither away into a depressive state of wandering. Wandering through the thicket of a forest which encapsulates it’s visitor, not allowing for an exit. Only through He that gives life does one find a way out. Only through time studying His word does one find hope.
It is with great prayer that this finds you well with your soul. If not, I pray that you may be inspired to learn more about the almighty who gave you life and who offers so much more.
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.
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.
God’s word is such an amazing gift. Never failing to assure me of His presence, His written word sustains my soul. It’s not easy to be reminded of my former self prior to my knowing the truth of the gospel, nor is it easy at times to keep myself standing firm. The worldly obstacles that pop up like gophers in the Whack the Gopher arcade games come when I least expect them. Yet, the Lord’s grace falls upon my quiet time and brings me closer to Him reminding me who I am now and the promise of what is yet to come.
In yesterdays quiet time study, I was reading Spurgeon’s morning devotional and it was from Galations 2:10, ‘Remember the poor’. As it started out asking the question of ‘Why does God allow so many of His children to be poor?’ my first answer prior to continuing on was “So that he can fill their hearts with Him and with treasurers of the written word.” I had stopped reading after the first question to contemplate the gifts that are offered to us from a God who has already given more than any of us on earth can give. He offers these gifts to those who he calls by name.
(John 10:3 – To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:7-9 “Truly truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved an will go in and out and find pasture.)
I did end up reading the rest of Spurgeons morning devotional and he took the study in a different direction, reminding that the Lord has all the control in the world to give his children all their wants and riches, yet he holds back, ‘allowing them to suffer want’. The reason for this is explained by Spurgeon that God wants to ‘give us, who are favored with enough, an opportunity of showing our love to Jesus’. Through prayer, song and ministering of the truth to the poor in spirit, we have the opportunity to show God’s love through the caring of the poor. Leading with a loving heart toward the riches of salvation and an eternity with an everlasting loving Shepherd.
As I continued on to the study I have been working on in Psalm 119. I read Psalm 119: 9-16 and was overwhelmed at the words before me and their correlation to the devotional…
9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. 10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! 11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12 Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! 13 With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. 14 In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. 16 I will delight indoor statutes; I will not forget your word.
I read Calvins’ commentary and then Mathew Henrys’. Although I gleaned a greater understanding of the Psalm passage through both authors, I was particularly struck by Henry it’s relationship to my morning reading by Spurgeon. Here are some of my take aways:
v. 9 – Making the word of God the rule, following it, studying it, and making it a priority in youth and in life protects and guards, cleansing oneself more than any other form
charting ones own course only end up steering self into a course of destruction; lost; empty;
comfort comes from following the course set out by the Lord; through the trust and faith of His word, and all that He sets before us; our path may be winding and narrow, yet He is our guide; the written word should not be taken lightly and without ponder
v. 10 – pleasure comes from the keeping of God’s commandments; we will wander less off the path if we stay focused on preserving what is before us in the written word
v. 11 – (this one particularly struck me and kept me thinking all day…) Hiding the word in our heart; knowing it, preserving it’s truth and living it out; by hiding it in the heart it cannot be stolen, lost; ‘It’s a treasure worth laying up.’ (Henry’s words) (A treasure…hidden in one self; so that even if the mind fails, it’s held within the heart and kept safe.)
(again, Henrys’ words) Good men are afraid of sin, and are in care to prevent it; the most effectual way to prevent is to hide God’s word in our hearts that we may answer every temptation, as ourMaster did, with, It is written.
v. 12 – continually pray that the Lord will teach and provide; praise Him for His continued blessings
v. 13-16 – the filling of the word in the heart allows for the sharing of the word; (Henrys’ words) Those whose hearts are fed with the bread of life should with their lips feed many. ; obedience brings rejoicing; truth in the gospel brings ‘riches in Christ’.
(Henrys’ words) Good thoughts produce good works and good intentions in them ; mediation on God’s word provides a safety net without fear or danger in forgetting.
The Riches in Christ are from the study, perseverance and preservation of God’s word. The promises are complete, unwavering and secure for those He calls by name. What a blessing that no matter how poor we are in status on this earth or how poor we are in spirit, we have a guide and a guidebook that can walk us through every step of the way. As the sheep who are called to follow, and as those who are already rich with the truth overflowing, and preserved in the security of our hearts, we can share the riches of Christ and the sustaining truth with others who do not know the comfort and peace otherwise.
To God be the glory in all things. Be blessed sweet reader as you go forth in this troubling world and know that there is peace if it is sought, held tight and hidden away in the heart.
“I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.”(Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring)
22 years and counting.
I love you sweetheart, happy anniversary. Through thick and thin, through moves, job changes, illness, raising children, youth to middle age, and many more adventures, we have stuck it out, loving one another and supporting one another. That’s how we’ve made it thus far.
Not through our own doing, yet through the hands of the Lord who considers us worthy to be counted amongst his children. A heavenly Father who has guided us, secured us, and holds us close. We praise the Lord Jesus for the strength to carry on through it all. May those of you who are reading this be as blessed and be carried as far in your marriages. Trusting in His plan for your lives. Nothing is by accident, everything is by divine design, by only He who has created you.
If you have a wonderful anniversary story to share or a praise of the years you’ve celebrated, I welcome to hear them.
Until next time….I’m off to celebrate with the love of my life, the husband of my youth. 🙂 Cheers –
Just as my own posts touch some and slide by others, there are posts from fellow bloggers that I read over and over and then there are those that I skim. Some have meaning to me and some do not. I try to be compassionate to the writer by reading as much as I can and trying to take an interest, just as I hope others do for my writing. In a busy world it’s not always easy.
All that being said, when I see a post that absolutely should be shared with others and is thought provoking, I try to share it here. Not often enough, yet I make efforts when I can.
The last three days there have been some posts that I think are worth sharing here and I hope will be opened and read and shared again. Thought provoking and well written.
Kindness and integrity are something that are rarely seen today. I know the answer to the why question is sin. It still astounds me however, that even as “cultured”, well rounded, and advanced we are as a society and in our understanding of the world and one another we seem to lack kindness and integrity. Lost somewhere between the “all about me” and “life is good” mentality.
Last week I received an invitation from a former doctors office (of which I left 3 years ago). The invitation was for classes that were coming up called “Eliminate Bottom Feeders”. The minute I saw the title I was stunned. Reading more of it I was flabbergasted at the “all about me” instruction I was invited to. It read:
How miserable are you with the toxic people in your life? ARE YOU READY TO BE A BETTER YOU in every life situation no matter who is in front of you?……..instructions to transform your life into one of simplicity and freedom……Best of all, you’ll learn the proven methods to attract positive, loving, and inspiring people into your world today.
I cannot write any more of what is on this flyer. I’m frustrated just writing it. Seriously? The all about “me” worldly viewpoint once again protruding off the page. Call me old fashioned, call me old or call me anything, however, this is down right what is wrong with our society and world as a whole. We fight for ideology, we fight for justice (as long as it benefits us) and we fight for happiness (our own). What ever happened to fighting for others for no good reason or for justice just because it’s morally the right thing to do. Our culture seems to enjoy reality shows where people are glamified in their sins and any redeeming quality that does exist is overshadowed by laughter, criticism and hatefulness.
Is this what is wrong with our youth? Is the next generation going to serve a purposeful place in society? The questions should be considered.
There are several situations that have recently transpired in in the last week where I’ve had to look around and consider how to handle individuals that have taken the “me” attitude. In dealing with those situations, with those individuals I have considered just turning them away because as the class title states, they were bottom feeders. Anyone who knows me however, knows that doing that is not in my personality. I have had to consider in each situation the attempt to overshadow the “me” concept with love, forgiveness and kindness. I’ve prayed over my own heart and asked for guidance in my reactions. In order to understand more clearly I also looked up “bottom feeder” and this is what it said:
bottom feeder – leech, or in other words a total lack of responsibility to provide for oneself. Relies heavily upon friends, neighbors or anyone really for sustenance.
This of course allowed something to lay upon my heart with great pressure. That if someone is a bottom feeder, and they are going to rely on others for sustenance, can’t we assist them by being a good example and steward in what it means to give back? I mean, if they are going to rely on us, perhaps that is God’s way of blessing us with opportunity. Perhaps, that is where He will use us in our service to Him. Just maybe, that person is someone that needs to see kindness so that they too may go out one day and bless another with the same. What if we as a society, stopped watching all of the “me” media and reality shows with our children and rather, began to outsource our energy to brighten someone else’s day with a kind gesture, a kind word, or a smile. What about a meal for someone who is unable to cook, weeding someones garden because they aren’t able, taking in a neighbors garbage can when it blows in the street or even opening a door for someone who is struggling whether it be due to little children or a disability? What about a prayer and an email to someone you know needs the encouragement? Most of all what about forgiveness? The posibilities are endless. Remember, bottom feeder are also the ones that are cleaning the tanks. They are of value and they could be your blessing.
Our culture also tries to make our children and one another believe that every relationship is a fairytale. That every day you wake up you should be singing, laughing and never complaining. I’m sorry to say that you can read self help books till the cow’s come home and you will never find that to be true. If all that is taught is what is in the movies or on reality TV about what they call “true” happiness, one is surely to be disappointed. In fact, maybe that’s why so many people are on antidepressant drugs. Perhaps, rather than instructing one another on how to rid ourselves of people who drag us down, maybe we should begin sharing with one another how we have dealt with struggles in our own lives. You never know, it just may assist in the mind set of someone who has a lack of coping skills. Life is full of challenges and we cannot escape them, we need to learn to cope with them.
John 16:33English Standard Version (ESV)
33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Now, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. There are boundaries to everything, and there are priorities. We should not be forsaking our families attention for that of others. We do not put our families on hold so that we can attempt to “save the world”. However, we should be able to balance our families and others who maybe don’t know what it means to not be selfish. Even the example of serving our families can be seen by others. When I was in College, one of our classes required us to read a book called, Give A Man A Fish and He Will Eat For A Day, Teach A Man To Fish and He Will Eat For A LifeTime. A concept we have long forgotten.
As I ponder this week how I may assist in showing that which I know to be good stewardship to all those I encounter, I consider also what it means to be content. Content with this life on this earth. Contentment with illness, with family, with friends, with volunteering my time and with contentment in all things. I hope that you too will consider where our society is today and the culture that is vastly becoming all of our reality. How can we play a part in transforming just one person from being a “me” thinking individual to being a “difference maker”.
(I personally would like to have my own class…6 weeks in teaching others how to go beyond themselves in behavior and in thought.) ha ha ha
ESV — 1 Timothy 6:1-10 6 Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants1 regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. 2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.
False Teachers and True Contentment
Teach and urge these things. 3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound 2 words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and3 we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Over the past year and a half, I’ve used my blog as a tool to express my thoughts, my recipes, my frustrations etc. It was an avenue to express myself and to have communication with others when I otherwise felt alone and secluded. I have met many other wonderful bloggers who have since become my friends. Two of those delightful friends had recently inquired about my blogging as it seems I have nearly fallen off the “grid”. My posts have become less in frequency and not quite full of “heart”. My excuse, if there is one, is that I have been pondering a great amount lately. Much of which I have chosen to keep unwaveringly close to the breast so to speak. I have not felt inspired, nor have I felt that I had anything worth contributing. That is until today….
Much of what has been on my mind has been about parenting, being a wife, a daughter and a friend and being a woman of God. Am I doing a good job? Am I standing up for what we as a Christian family believe in? Am I acting as a worthy steward and servant that gives glory to our Father? Am I all that I need to be? As I ponder all of these questions and consider how to put into words my thoughts, I glanced up at my husbands book shelf and see a book called Decisions, Decisions by Dave Swavely. That’s it! For the past few months I have been considering not all of the above, but “decisions”. Decisions based on every area of my life and in every aspect of every relationship I have. Decisions that always have an outcome and a consequence. Decisions that affect everything and anyone in the path of their being made. That being said, my mind swirled with inspiration and I feel like I have something to contribute.
I have always told my children two things, delivery will get you every time and make sure that whatever you do in life you are an upright moral human being serving God first and doing the best you can at whatever it is you do. Doing that will ensure your success in a world that has become immune to insanity, adultery, murder, idol worship, acceptance, and sin. Knowing what it says in 1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
As I look around at my own personal relationships, whether it be with my children, my spouse, my parents, friends and neighbors, I realize that even the smallest decision I make in those relationships can have an impact in the future. That impact can either play out in a positive way or in a negative way. It all depends upon how and I why I make certain decisions to begin with. Was I making the decision based on self gratification? Was I making the decision based on guilt? Was I making a decision on resentment or out of anger? Was I making a decision that was for someone else? And finally, what was it that provoked a decision to be made and how did I come to that decision? What avenue did I seek out in making that decision? Did I consult with others? Did I have a knee jerk reaction and make a decision based on an incident without knowing all the facts? Did I take it to the One that called me out of this world to serve? Did I pray about it and seek out His counsel? So many things to consider when making a decision. I wonder how many people actually consider their decision making and the outcomes that may follow based on their reasoning for their decisions.
For me, I ponder my own decisions in this life and to a fault I have also pondered decisions that others have made for the themselves. That is what troubles my inner being and something that I am delighted to report I have been praying over. Decisions that seem so small can have a large impact in the end, with some very disturbing consequences. As I began reading the aforementioned book above, the author wrote If you are a believer in Christ, the resulting effects in your life should not be your only motivation, or even your primary one, to make good decisions. Taking 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 into account about the judgment that holds us accountable in decisions we make. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.The apostle Paul does not only speak to the Corinthians, he speaks also to us. He reminds us that our salvation came at a price and that although we are saved by grace, we are also judged according to our behavior and the decisions we make. A consideration that worldly viewpoints overlook. Although, we as Christians understand that God has not revealed His truth to those who are held captive to their blindness. To no fault of their own, their decisions that are decapitating to self are inevitable.
What about a Christian who claims himself saved and is trying to follow God? Sometimes it is the shame of our churches and leadership that they are not guiding their flocks in the truth of the gospel. With all of the “extras” to get numbers in the door, they fail to teach the word as it is written. Adding in man made “traditions” and “additions” to aspire to others that “Christ loves everyone”. I have been one of those Christians. I have walked in those shoes. I have through the grace of God been pulled out of heresy and been shown that only God’s Word stands true. The Bible is more than just a book to read on Sunday, it is the creators instruction book to an everlasting life. Not to be changed to suit a sermon, nor added to or taken away to fulfill numbers. It is a way of life that needs to be taken seriously.
It is with great hope and prayer that if you have chosen to read to the end, that you will consider, as I have, all of the decisions you make in your life. That you will consider prayer first, asking God for guidance and trusting in Him to have a better plan than the one you may think you need. Keeping with the Spirit, seeking out what scripture says on the matter and realizing the truth behind decision making. Asking the why and taking into consideration how.
Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Sitting in a chair facing my friend, who sits reclined back comfortably in her recliner we discuss our new book and what a wonderful author John Bunyan is. His incredible allegory of the walk of a Christian in Pilgrims Progress. We usually meet once a week at her home (she is completely home bound and unable to do anything for herself anymore) and read a chapter or two of a book. This week, we began a new book and because we both were enjoying it so much, decided to throw in a second day. Our visits over the last 6 months have been pretty much the same, we visit first, her husband sweetly confirms she is comfortable and as he exits to his “man cave” office, she and I share a little more of our week and I begin to read.
As we began our new book, we were thrown a curve ball. I began reading and when I finished page 16, I began reading what I thought was page 17 only to realize that the story didn’t make any sense at all. I looked up to see that the page after 16 was actually page 23. Now, keep in mind that I cannot read on my own without having to read one page several times due to my Lymes and my friend cannot read at all and depending upon the day may have issues with processing information due to her corticobasil degeneration. That being said, you can just imagine my dismay to find that in a neatly hardbound book there were no pages ripped out and yet pages 17-22 were missing. We both sat there laughing not quite sure what to do. We quickly realized that our time together that day may be cut short by a error in the binding of the book.
Upon further investigation, I found the rest of the pages… 10 pages further into the book. So, as if it isn’t funny enough that we are reading Pilgrims Progress together, both of us having cognitive issues and both of us being more tired in the afternoon, I now was challenged with reading from right to left rather than left to right and my friend had to endure me stopping at critical parts of the story just to find my place. Honestly, I kept thinking it would have made for a great home video recording.
Well, as it is with my memory these days, I completely forgot this when I went over to read to her the second day. So of course, I began reading where I left off and of course ended up reading some of what we had already read earlier in the week amongst the new pages of the story. Once again, we had to laugh and I had to regroup and figure out where my next pages were. Were they 10 pages forward or 2 pages back.
Having Lyme makes life so interesting! Seriously, I can relate to the frustration that was felt in the movie Still Alice… I am physically so much better than last year that I am not complaining at all. Last year at this time I could not walk up a flight of steps without nearly passing out and I could not do anything for myself except maybe a shower, and that was not daily as I just didn’t have the energy for it. I was in constant pain, my exhaustion was unexplainable and my energy level was at best good for only about an hour. By mid afternoon my brain was so foggy that I could not process information, I was unable to drive as I forgot where I was going and when I drove I completely blanked out and couldn’t remember I had driven at all. To go anywhere that needed walking I had to use a wheelchair.
After 10 months I had serious doubts I’d recover from this illness. You can imagine my my excitement when I found the doctor and protocol I had been looking for since being first diagnosed. So in early May, my Integrative doctor agreed to let me try the protocol of the other doctor I found and by June I was going to the Highland games with the family and the wheelchair stayed in the garage. I’m not saying it didn’t need to be brought out from time to time, but overall I was seeing improvements. By July I was able to make an 8 hour drive to our cottage alone with my daughter and by September I was driving to CA with the kids. The pain subsided within that first month and slowly my energy level began to increase. The brain fog has also improved, unless of course I am extremely tired and have not slept well. Learning my limitations, keeping track of my symptoms and making adjustments with my meds has been such a help. Having two doctors who look beyond, listen to me with all ears and keep an open mind to the research I also do has been a blessing.
Your likely wondering why I went from reading Pilgrims Progress to my health. Well, as we read on Thursday, I couldn’t help but to think about the characters in the story, what they stood for and how even though the book was first published in 1678, the allegory is so powerful for us today. No wonder it is the second most widely published book in world to this day, second only to the Bible. Although I enjoyed the book a few years ago when the kids and I read it together and studied it, I think after the last year I am enjoying it even more.
On Thursday we read about Christian meeting the Interpreter and what he finds in the Palace prior to going any further on his journey. Within the Palace there are a number of rooms. One of the rooms was rather small and introduced were two children, Passion and Patience. The characteristics of the two were such:
Passion was seen as being discontent; wanting of all things now, and at that momentPatience was quiet; willing to wait for that which is yet to come
In the story, theInterpreter explains: “These two lads are Figures; Passion of the men of this World, and Patience of the men of That which is to come: For as here thou seest, Passion will have all now, this year; that is to say, in this world; so are the men of this world: they must have all their good things now, they cannot stay till next year, that is, until the next World, for their portion of good. That proverb, A Bird in the Hand is worth two in the Bush, is of more authority with them, than are all the Divine testimonies of the Good of the World to come. But as thou sawest, that he had quickly lavished all away, and had presently left him nothing but rags; so will it be with all such men at the End of this world.
Christian replies: Now I see that Patience has the best Wisdom, and that upon many accounts. 1. Because he stays for the best things. 2. And also because he will have the Glory of his, when the other has nothing but rags.
Interpreter: Nay, you may add another, to wit, the Glory of the next World will never wear out; but these are suddenly gone. Therefore Passion had not so much reason to laugh at Patience, because he had his good things first, as Patience will have to laugh at Passion, because he had his best things last; for firstmust give place to last, because last must have its time to come; but last gives place to nothing; for there is not another to succeed: He therefore that hath his portion first, must needs have a Time to spend it; but he that has his portion last, must have it lastingly: Therefore it is said of Dives, In thy Lifetime thou receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou are tormented.
Christian: Then I perceive it is not best to covet things that are now, but to wait for things to come.
And in conclusion, I want to end with the beginning of what Interpreter has to say next: “You say truth: For the things that are seen are Temporal; but the things that are not seen are Eternal:
I have to admit that last year when I was diagnosed, I wanted my body to heal and for my life to go back as it used to be. I wanted to go back to being the super mom who could get up in the morning, make breakfast, school the kids, drive them around town for their activities, pull weeds out of the garden, help my friends paint their houses, stop for groceries and spend long hours in the kitchen preparing dinners for my family, all in one day. I wanted to be able to plan out events for the homeschool community or prepare classes as I once had in our co-op classes. I wanted to be organized without losing things. I wanted healing at that moment. I tried to be patient, and I even prayed that the Lord use my illness for His good will. Yet internally, my mind wanted desperately to have my life back.
In reading the above exchange between Christian and Interpreter, I was seeing myself as being like that of Passion. Although my heart longs to be more like Patience, I know that my human nature as a sinner is more like that of Passion. As the months drew on and now another year, I am learning more and more the importance of the lessons of Patience. The story has resonated in my mind ever since our reading on Thursday and I know it’s through the Providence of God that He continues to teach this weary being of lessons He needs for me to learn, sanctifying me so that perfection may still yet be seen.
If I had received the blessing of quick healing, would I have followed the leading of my heart to go see my friend who was already home bound? Would I have understood what it was like for those who have no or limited social interaction with others? Would I be reading Pilgrims Progress with a friend who needs to be reminded of the eternal blessings yet to come? Would I have understood that I truly had sisters that took time out of their days to help me cope in my own loneliness?
Honestly, I think not. If God had allowed me to follow my own way, just as Passion, then I am quite certain my short lived illness would have been placed in a box on a shelf where dust would settle only to be forgotten. I would have gone on with my days wanting to be something more and someone more than I am meant to be. I would have likely filled my days with things that have no real meaning other than for self. My friend would still be sitting in her recliner, yet I would have missed the blessings of seeing her smile, her sense of humor with her husband and our wonderful discussions that come out of our readings. I would have missed an opportunity to serve another who was and is desperate for her own healing and for understanding as to why her life has taken the turn it has.
As I continue to read through Pilgrims Progress I look forward to seeing what the Lord once again has to show me. I hope that as you read this post, you too may consider reading along with us. I promise, you will not be disappointed.
Luke 8:15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.