Peace and Chaos

 

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I have to confess that I have not felt much peace this week. Our electricity keeps going off, sometimes for hours and sometimes for only a second or a minute.  Regardless, it is worrisome because it is so hot here in Virginia and I am asthmatic and need the air conditioning.  Which brings up another problem—our AC unit is very old and not working well.  Of course, we don’t have the money to replace it, so we put a asmall window unit in our bedroom so that it is cool enough to sleep.  The den, the room in which I stay most of the time, gets up to the 80’s most days.  Uncomfortable, yes, but I have been making do.  Next, my husband is taking his annual trip to his brother’s and will be gone for four days.  What’s the problem you may ask. Well, I am very spoiled and used to having him here to take care of me, especially since I had my stroke.  I have a special diet and he does all of the cooking for me.  Normally, I go somewhere when he is gone, like my daughter’s house (she is out of town now for a gymnastics competition) or to my sister’s condo which is a close drive away.  Well, there is another issue.  My sister told me this week that my husband and I are not welcome anywhere near her.  Her birthday is this week and I had called about when I could get her gifts to her.  She doesn’t want any gifts from me because I am a conservative, believe in pro-life and have a “holier than thou” attitude (all according to her).  Besides, my husband wrote something on Facebook that offended her.  So, after sobbing and praying for hours because my sister and I have been close for years, I accepted her mandate and determined just to save her gifts.  Finally, my grandchildren will be spending the next two weeks with us while their dad teaches summer school.  It’s a blessing to have them here, but it is also a stresser because my darling granddaughter is autistic and non-verbal.  I have to keep her from getting frustrated and biting herself since her favorite person in the whole world (my husband) will be gone for four days of her visit.  Also, she wanders during the night and turns on all the lights in the whole house.  And a friend from church is coming to stay with me so I won’t be alone.  It’s the only way my husband will leave me; he is good and caring and concerned about leaving me totally on my own.  I hope that Maribel can adjust to Iris’s insistence that the TV and lights stay on 24-7.  So, lots of worries, but nothing God can’t handle.  I think that is why He gave me this Scripture this morning.  And He gave me another one that is equally helpful.

2B4D19DC-AD5F-4C23-BECC-9F77A585C756.jpegSo I am holding on to these promises this week.  I hope that you, my faithful readers and believers in the goodness of God, will join me in prayer for peace and that God will work everything out.  I know that He can and He will!  Do you know that God is working on the chaos that is your life?  Know Him and know His peace.

Successful Plans

I have been thinking a lot about my future and where I would like to be and what I would like to be doing.  It all seems to go with the theme of our days are numbered.  So, these are the scriptures that God gave me today.  I told Him my heart, that I would really like to go back to our house in Pennsylvania.  It is a much nicer home and the plan is to live there a couple of years and then move to something smaller.  My husband wants to avoid the huge capital gains tax that we would pay if we sold it now and just moved to something smaller because we have been renting it for almost twenty years now.  Anyway, ultimately, I would like to live in a small home in Pennsylvania, central to my grandchildren and close to a good church.  I also dream of being in a neighborhood again and not living in a small house in the big woods which is where we are now.  But God says to commit my plans to Him and not to take a step without Him.  He will direct my steps if I let Him.  So, here I am, waiting for the Lord to tell me my next step.  I tend to try to make my plans and then rush into them.  This time, I am waiting for the Lord to open doors and tell me what to do and when.  It’s not just making the plans; timing is everything with God.  He is my Father and He knows what is best for me.  How about you?  Have you committed your plans to the Lord?  Are you letting Him direct your steps?  That is the only way to make sure that your plans succeed.  Let God lead!

Since our days are numbered

A0FEBD83-166C-4696-A0FA-FE20B60608E3God was about to judge all of Israel for their sins and then He remembered that their days were numbered.  He chose to turn away from His judgment on the whole nation because He knew that one day they would be gone from the earth.  Makes you think, doesn’t it?  Our lives are like a breath of wind to the Lord.  Another scripture says:  “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  (Psalm 90:12).   So, as I meditate on these verses, the Lord is reminding me that He has forgiven my sins and the eternal God of the Universe recognizes that I am not immortal as He is so He wants me to learn wisdom.  I remember when I was growing up and spending a lot of time with my grandparents that they looked forward to the arrival of the evening paper every day.  Pa would go out to the box and bring it in and the first thing he always turned to was the obituary section.  I was old enough to understand that he was reading aloud to Nanny the names of those who had died.  What I couldn’t understand at that time was why that was the most important part of the newspaper to him.  Now that I am older, I understand two things:  1)he was reading aloud the names of friends and acquaintances who had died; 2)he was reminding himself and Nanny of the fleeting passage of life.  Unlike Pa, I don’t scan the obituaries daily, but I do read the entire paper and pay attention to the obituaries of those I have been acquainted with.  As I get older, it seems that more people that I know are dying.   It makes me think and calls to my mind that I will one day go the way of my ancestors and pass away.  In the meantime, I have work to do for the Lord.  I need to learn wisdom, especially about what to say when to certain people.

0292AF4E-85FA-4139-8469-3AAF10D85CF6.jpegLike many people, I have a tendency to try to evoke my feelings on others.  According to the scriptures, what I am supposed to be doing is listening and rejoicing if they are rejoicing and mourn if they are mourning.  I am not the most important person on the planet, although sometimes you wouldn’t know that by my attitude and words around others.  What we humans need is someone to walk by our side and laugh when we are laughing and cry when we are crying.  Sometimes, we, including me, are too proud to admit that we have a need.  God looks down and knows that we are “here today and gone tomorrow” so he extends to us mercy and grace.  Unfortunately, I sometimes forget my mortality and that of others and have higher expectations of them than the Father would.  I encourage you today to appreciate the day that God has given you and to look for ways to help others in their journey through life.  We are God’s chosen people and He chose us for the purpose of extending His Kingdom by telling others of God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness.  No matter what we are going through or how close we are to the end of our lives, we need to remember that we are Christ’s ambassadors and reach out to others.  No one knows how long their life will be, but this we do know:  We are to live for Christ and to do the kind acts that He would do if he were still walking around on earth.  Live, Go, Love!  

Remember

God wanted the Israelites to always remember what He had done for them.  In fact, He told them to tell their children for all generations about how He led them out of captivity to the Egyptians and into a land flowing with milk and honey.  Well, I was never held captive and enslaved by an evil nation, but I have a lot of memories about what the Lord has done for me.  It’s like the old song, “Count Your Blessings” that is a good thing to sing at night as you fall asleep.  Now, there is a new song by Steven Curtis Chapman that I want to share with you.  It’s called “Remember to Remember.”  I think that in the midst of our suffering and daily trials that sometimes we forget to remember how far God has already brought us and all He has already done for us.  I bless God’s Holy Name for His love for me and His taking care of me through everything in my life.  I hope that this song will help you to remember as well.

 

Mr. Chapman and his music are very special to me because it is the last concert that I attended before I had a stroke.  Because I am now hypersensitive to sound since my stroke, I cannot attend concerts, but I will always remember this one and this man and his testimony.  God has carried him through some really hard times, including the death of his beloved daughter Maria when she was only 4-5 years old.  He has since established a charity for parents who want to adopt children and need help doing so.  He is a wonderful example of someone who does a good job of remembering.  If you want to know more about his charity, go to www.showhope.org.

Review of BEFORE AND AGAIN by Barbara Delinsky

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Maggie is living well in a little town called Devon that is more like a resort town than a neighborhood.  She works as the make-up artist at The Inn, where many of the rich and famous come to vacation.  She is actually in hiding from her real self, a mother who ran a stop sign and killed her young daughter in the accident.  The resulting publicity destroyed her marriage to Edward Cooper, so she has changed her name and run to Devon as her haven.  The action increases when Edward comes to Devon, intent on starting a new business there and running The Inn, since he has become the new owner.  This is the main story line.  There are many others, like the mom who won’t tell her son who his father is and the son who is subsequently arrested for hacking.  The whole story has one theme, that of reconciliation.  I had to keep reading to find out what happens with Maggie and Edward; it was such a great and satisfying book!  The ending was a surprise, one that you won’t see coming.  The events of the story were so realistic and soul-stirring that it made me want to make sure that all of my relationships are straight and that there is nothing standing between me and those I love.

Disclaimer

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

God’s Provision

135AAACB-A5CD-4CB0-9AD1-3C2CB3FB249A.jpegWhen you ask God for anything, it is important that you believe that you will receive it.  And why should you ask for wisdom?  Joyce Meyer says, “Wisdom helps us make choices now that we will be happy with later.”  Your future depends on the choices you make today, so ask God for the wisdom that you need to have the future that He wants you to have.

Just as God provides wisdom when we ask, He also provides for our physical needs.  If He can get water from a rock for Moses and the Israelites and feed Elijah with a raven, don’t you think that He can take care of our physical needs, too?  God does not  think that Moses or Elijah is more important and deserves more than you and I.  That is why He keeps His promises and provides for us.  Now, back to the first scripture:  we have to believe in order to receive and we have to use wisdom in what we ask God to provide.  I mean, let’s face it, a big house with a beautiful garden and a nice luxury car in the garage would be nice.  But, is that what God wants for me?  He wants me to be content with what He provides, no matter what it is.  When my husband and I attended YWAM for a year, the food there was atrocious!  For example, we called the soup “chicken fly soup” because the chicken may have flown over the soup but there was no actual chicken in it.  But you know what?  We were thankful for the soup and other provisions that we had there because each day our spirit was being filled with truth from God’s Word.  The food did nourish us physically, and it kept us strong enough to listen attentively to the lectures that day about God and His love for us and the world.  Are you asking God for wisdom and then for His provision?  Be wise and prioritize your prayers so you are lining them up with God’s will for you.  Trust Him!  He loves you and will not disappoint you.

Prayer Requests

As the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 34, I have been young and now I am old and I have never seen the righteous forsaken.  I call myself righteous because I am in right-standing with God through the blood of Jesus Christ.  There is nothing I could do or have ever done to merit God’s grace and mercy.  Jesus paid the price for me on the cross, so I know that God considers me righteous.  Based on that premise, I come before the Lord and have prayer requests for Him that I am sharing with you, my faithful readers.  I hope that you will join me in prayer for these individuals and for our nations.  1)We have a loving, kind, elderly gentleman in our church named William who was recently diagnosed with metastatic cancer in his colon and liver.  He is having surgery this Thursday for an aneurysm in his abdomen.  Please pray for  the surgery to be successful and for William to be healed.  2)Bob, another elderly man in our church is having difficulty with his lungs and breathing.  He has congestive heart failure.  He, too, needs a touch from the Lord.  3)Walt, a member of our church had a stroke about two months ago and is still in a nursing home, without any use of his right side or the ability to speak.  I had a stroke that affected the same things, paralysis of my right side and loss of speech, so I know what he is going through.  The difference is that I got a clot-busting shot and recovered fully.  Walt is not doing well, and since I know that God is no respecter of persons, I am asking for God to touch Walt just as He touched me.  4)Bobby, a former member of our church, moved to be closer to a medical center at which he could get the care he needed.  He has been diagnosed with brain cancer.  Again, I have experience with this diagnosis since my beloved grandfather died from brain cancer some twenty years ago.  So, Bobby, like my other church friends, needs prayer and a miracle.  I am trusting that you will join me in praying for these dear men who have served the Lord well and who have family members who cherish them.  5)Pray for our nations, no matter where you are from.  We need Godly leaders who will make wise and right choices for the country and its people.  We need leaders who will lead in a manner that will help people to turn back to the Lord.  Please pray, knowing that God instructs us in His word to pray for our leaders.

I look forward to sharing in the coming weeks and months the answers to these prayers that I am requesting.  God is good, and He hears our prayers.  I know that His answer can be Yes, No or Wait.  So, I am waiting for the Lord to answer, and I hope that you will wait with me.  God bless you for reading this and for your earnest prayers.

Passing On Our Knowledge

When I became a Christian, I had a neighbor who introduced me to the Lord. She invited me to church and I learned church history and more of the gospel from my dear pastor, Dean Harvey. Now I am aging quickly, and I know that more of my life is behind me than before me. So I feel the urgency to share the knowledge that I have of God to the next generation. It’s not a head knowledge or a book knowledge that I have. I have many stories, testimonies of God’s faithfulness and love to me through the years. This is what I need to pass on. What is your story that you can pass on to your children and grandchildren? Let them know that God loves them and sent His Son to die for them. That’s the good news that is my legacy! I hope that it’s yours, too.

Miracles

Today I am meditating on the miracles of God.  Starting with creation and moving on to the parting of the Red Sea, the birth of a Savior by a virgin, and the death and resurrection of that Savior, God has done miracles since the beginning of the ages.  But to make it more personal, what miracles has He done and is He doing in your life?  My life seems so mundane these days that I have been forgetting to look for God’s love and the miracles that are all around me.  I sit and have my cat near me.  She is a beloved companion who sits in my lap and comforts me when I am sad.  It is a miracle that I can be around a cat since I have had awful allergies my whole life.  We had a cat previously, but Misty was a “loner.”  She never wanted to cuddle and be petted; however, Daisy craves attention as much as I crave her companionship.  God has provided her for me and has taken care of my allergies so that I can cuddle her.  Seeing the sun come up each day is a miracle.  There was a time in my life when. I did not want to go on because I had had a stroke and I was so discouraged with all that I could not do.  Slowly, God restored my health and worked on my attitude.  He sent my daughter to encourage me, and He showed me that I could live with all of the restrictions that have now become part of my daily life.  A month after my stroke, my youngest son and his wife had their first child.  I remember being in ICU after my stroke and just wanting to live to see and hold the new baby of my youngest child.  God heard the cries of my heart and delivered me from that hospital, helped me though weeks of physical therapy and allowed me to see little Penny three weeks after she was born and less than two months after my stroke.  Since then, I have had the joy of welcoming two more grandchildren into my arms:  little Teagan and little Evie.  I consider each of my grandchildren a miracle, but I especially consider it miraculous that I have lived to see each of them.  God has watched over me for so long that I have begun to take it for granted.   God is a God who wants a relationship with His people; yes, He does miracles.   I remember lying in that emergency room without any feeling on my right side; I remember praying in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.  I remember the percentages that the specialist gave my husband and me that the clot-busting shot would work or it could kill me.  We prayed; we took that chance believing that God could and would do a miracle, and here I am, living  to tell the story of my survival and to thank God for the miracle that is my life and the blessing that I have to spend time with my grandchildren.

 

Let God Be God

A912BF60-188B-49C6-A9F3-FB9CC066EEF2.jpegThere is no God like the God of the Bible.  He is the one true God who always keeps His promises and continues to show His love to those of us who have chosen to serve Him.  Lauren Daigle’s song says that even though the mountain is not moved or the water is not parted or the answer does not come when we cry out, I will “Trust in You.”  My beautiful granddaughters sing this lovely song and are learning at a very young age to trust in the Lord.  What happiness it gives my heart to see these young ones praying and trusting God.  When my youngest granddaughter was very ill recently and having difficulty breathing, I shared with ten year-old Teryn that Evie was very ill and was only a few weeks old.  Her immediate response was that she would pray for her.  I have no doubt that she did so because her little heart is tender towards the Lord and she knows that He will answer her prayers. I want to have the faith and trust of a little child.  Instead, I have the faith that God has instilled in me since I was in my twenties, to know that He is trustworthy and that His love will not fail me.  It is not always instant and totally trusting as that of a child like Teryn, but that is my goal for my faith in the Lord’s unfailing love.

C08D60A4-79F4-4FEA-827C-6BDB2302C4CB.jpegMy hope is in the Lord who made Heaven and earth.  I just read in I Kings 10 this morning that the great king Solomon made 500 shields out of gold.  As he married all of his pagan wives, he seemed to lose his total trust and devotion to the Lord and trusted in his own power instead.  I pray that I will never get to the point where I think that my own power or knowledge can save me from the darkness that is in our world.  I read God’s Word daily for the strength and wisdom that I find it in it.  But I also read it because I want to start each day with peace in my heart,  with the knowledge deep within me that no matter what happens that day, God is in control.  I hope that each of you reading this knows the peace that comes from knowing God’s love and peace deep within your heart.  He truly wants to be your sword and shield.  He doesn’t answer every prayer with an immediate “yes” because He is the God of the Universe, not a genie in the bottle that you wish upon and all of your wishes are granted.  For example, maybe you are praying for a sunny day because you plan to go to the beach.  But someone else, in another house, is on his knees praying for rain because the corn they are growing to make a living is dying from lack of rain.  God, who sees all and knows all, answers the prayer for rain and you think He didn’t answer your prayer and so you get in a huff against God.  God is the Lord of many people over all the earth, and He is wise enough to know when and how to answer your prayers.  Your sunny day will come, but in God’s timing, not always in yours.   So, I have learned through the years to just pray and trust God for the outcome.  I hope that you have learned that valuable lesson, too.  God is our refuge and shield and shows unfailing love to us, if we just let Him be God in our lives.