Two Months Later

I can’t believe that it has been two+ months since I have written. I’m sorry that this may not be the most cohesive writing. God has been at work and I know I cannot completely communicate what he’s doing. I’m so grateful for the work He is doing in my life and in the lives of others. He is allowing my chemo to work and the cancer is being held in place. He is allowing me to feel good and to continue being able to do most of what I have committed to do. I pray he has been at work in your life too.

Here’s what he’s teaching me. He has more for me! He wants more for me than I want for myself. Second Peter 1: 5-8 says, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance, and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.”

Sometimes we can get so focused on one of these elements that we miss out on the rest. During a diet we focus on our self-control. During a time of study knowledge reigns supreme. During a time of struggle our faith is questioned. Yet, the desire of God is that we would “posses these qualities in increasing measure.” Why? So we won’t be ineffective or unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we have knowledge without faith…we are ineffective. If we have faith without deeds… we are unproductive. If we don’t seek more of God in private we won’t be effective in public. You can only fake kindness for so long. You can only be self-controlled for  a little bit. We have to be focused on the LORD to make a difference in this world. Prayer and God’s word change things! His Word doesn’t go out void and prayer spurs things into action.

Thank you faithful prayer warriors. I know you are praying for me and the Lord is answering. He is giving me strength, peace, faith, and love. He is pouring out on me His portion for me and it is good. I pray you are receiving all that He has for you and that it is good!

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Ultimate Healing…Salvation

Salvation is the ultimate healing. The best thing anyone can ask for is forgiveness for all of his or her dark, evil sin by the Holy and Righteous God. That all someone has to do is believe, ask and receive is even more amazing and yet that is it.

Romans 10:9-10, 13: “if you confess with your mouth Jesus Christ as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses resulting in salvation … For WHOEVER will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” NASB

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Fifteen Days Later…Fear must die and Faith must grow

Well it has been fifteen days since surgery and I’m still recuperating. I wear down quickly. The first five days after surgery I rested, the next seven days I needed out of the house and did one thing a day. But these past three days have been filled with doctor appointments, fun activities with the kids and a few loads of laundry. I’m so thankful to all the friends who brought meals so that I didn’t have to spend my energy thinking about what we would eat each day.

My thinking has not be entirely healthy lately. Honestly, what I’ve been doing more likely falls into the category of worry more than thinking. I worry about ever ache and pain. I worry about the hurt my family is experiencing. I worry about friends that I haven’t spoken to in years. You name it and I’ve tried my best to be anxious about it. But today I read something that challenged me in a new way to cast all my cares of Him.

“Move from Fear to FAITH! (Replace Fear with Faith). Change your mindset. Stop focusing on the False, Evidence, Appearing, Real (FEAR)…your thoughts of the unknown. And begin to focus on Forsaking, All, I, Trust, HIM (FAITH)! Now FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things (we) hope for, being the proof of things (we) do not see and the conviction of their reality (faith perceiving as real fact what’s not revealed to the senses)…Hebrews 11:1” From Grace for the Journey by Deborah S. Tulay

Fear is my biggest struggle with cancer. Yet, God’s word says that He did not give me a spirit of fear. Over and over the Lord instructs “do not be afraid”. So I will walk on. I will climb the mountain that lies in front of me. For God goes with me. I will meet with Him along the way and sit at his feet when we reach the top. Seeking Him and I will not give in to Satan and crumble in fear. Instead I will walk in faith and in the healing God has given me. He is faithful and He is good.

Will you join me in saying “Goodbye fear! You have no place here.”? God has work for you and me to do. I will not allow fear to keep me from it. I hope you won’t either.

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Praying the same thing over and over…

It seems that for the past two years and two months my prayer has been the same. “Lord, please heal this cancer”. Sometimes the words have changed to “kill this cancer” or “remove the cancer”, but the gist is the same. I wonder if the repetition means that I lack faith or does it mean that I am the old lady going to the judge and begging to be heard. (Luke 18:5) Sometimes it might even be a little bit of both. Either way, I pray Psalm 86:3 “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.” and into the night. God is faithful to hear my cry. He shows up with the perfect scripture at just the right moment to encourage me. He takes care of all the details months before we even need Him to as we’ve recently learned.

Surgery is scheduled for July 8. So next week will be busy; Pre-op blood work and CT Scan to assist the surgeon in making sure he gets the right lymph nodes will all be needed. The original date for surgery was going to be in August, but was moved up when chemo stopped working as effectively as they hoped. So now surgery is scheduled for the same week as camp for my older two kids and for Hayden who will chaperone one of the camps. Here’s the God part. For the first time in five years we decided to change the locations of the camp. It is less than an hour from the hospital. We are also taking one more chaperone than the camp required so the children will be well covered. All of this took place before this cancer was even discovered. God knew in advance that the surgery would need to come early and he took care of all the details for Hayden to be able to go to camp with Grace and for Hayden to be able to be with me for the surgery. My mom and dad are coming up to be with us. So I’ll have help before and after surgery. One of my dearest friends, who is also a nurse, is going to be able to spend the night with me in the hospital. I will receive double the great care while in the hospital. God is in the details especially when life is hard. He shows mercy even before we ask for it. Our God is so good!

What about you? Could you use some of God’s mercy? undeserved favor? grace? love? forgiveness? Are you crying out for the same thing over and over? I hope you will choose to focus on Jesus and not the circumstances of life. Look for His mercy in the midst of the trials. What has God already given? Where is He at work? God is bigger than the greatest struggle and He is able to bring mercy to any situation.

 

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Seasons of Service and Change

Have you ever been in a season of change? I’ve recently been through one. The Lord has asked me to give up leadership of a group that I’ve been a part of for eight years. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed preparing for each meeting and guiding the group in its prayer time. But, freshly committed to total obedience, I said “Yes, Lord. Who should I ask to step in and take the helm?” Right away he gave me the name of a woman who I knew would do a great job with our prayer group. When I asked, she didn’t hesitate. She responded “Yes!” God had already had her go through the needed training. God is so good! The group will not miss a beat and I believe it will grow and flourish under God’s guidance and her leadership.

After the transition went so well, Satan tried lying to me by saying God was asking me to give these things up because I won’t be around next year. Thank goodness the Lord had renewed my mind and my commitment to believe truth earlier that day. The simple truth is God is moving and He has other things for me to be a part of and He’s already revealing some new opportunities. His desire is for not for us to grow stagnate but to be willing. He longs us to willing to do whatever He desires us to do.

Is the Lord asking you to make a change? Is He asking you to give up something you love? Is He asking you to give up something you feel totally responsible for doing? Acts 17:25 states “and human hands can’t serve His needs, for He has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything and He satisfies every need.” God designed us to work. He wants us to serve to meet the needs of others and in doing so He fulfills a need in us. He gives us purpose. Where are you serving? Where does He want you to be? How will you get there?

Lord, I pray you will help us to keep serving. You have work for each one of us to do, work that you created for us before time began. Help us meet the needs of others as we strive to be abundantly yours. In Christ’s Name and by His power, Amen.

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Meeting Goals

Those of you who have followed this blog for any length of time know that I am a goal setter. I love writing down a list of things to accomplish and it is absolutely thrilling to be able to mark a “big” one off the list when it is complete. The problem is that for the past three years the “big” one is still on my list. I simply can’t seem to get it finished. I’ve tried setting smaller goals to help finish it, but I still haven’t been able to cross it off the list. My passion for it simply waxes and wanes.

Why does the project remain incomplete? The simple answer seems to be that I lack determination, focus, and a passion for it. Or maybe I’m too busy, it’s not the most important thing in my life right now or there are too many other things vying for my attention. Who knows what the real reason is, but one thing is for sure it is not too big a goal. For with God all things are possible.

Can you relate? If so, join me in answering a few questions. Is the project something in which God wants me to be involved? Is it going to help me grow? Will it help me show respect for God, my family, other authorities in my life, and myself? If the answers are yes then, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2-3. Fixing our eyes on Jesus who for the joy set before him endured much more than you or I will ever have to suffer and considering Him who finished the task that he came to earth to do will encourage us to get to work and complete the task that he has called us to do.

Lord, I pray you will renew our passions for the work you’ve called us to do. If we are to make a change, reveal it to us and point us in the right direction. Help us fix our eyes on you and not turn our gaze elsewhere. In your name Jesus and by your power, Amen.

 

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Guard Your Soul, Mind, Heart and Mouth

I’m being direct in this post because I was reminded yesterday that life is but a vapor and we will all wither away one day. I’m also using several verses today because there is power in God’s Word, it doesn’t go out void and it holds the wisdom we need. Proverbs 4:5 reads, “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.” Proverbs 4:13 encourages us to “Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.”

Therefore, Guard your soul. It is the only thing that goes with you when you die. Ask Jesus into your life if you haven’t yet. If you have asked him into your life and are not following His leadership right now then stop wasting time living for yourself and start living for Him. I Peter 1:24-25 “For, All men are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”

Once you accept Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior you are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Therefore live by the Spirit and guard your mind. The devil wants to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10a) and yet once you know Jesus you are sealed, saved for the day of redemption by His Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:20) “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4: 22-24)  Our minds are the devil’s play ground. Guard your mind. What you feed it changes your actions. Philippians 4:4-8 teaches us to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything but in everything; by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think on these things.”

Guard your heart, “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the well spring of life.” Proverbs 4:23. The well spring of life is where the outflow of our lives comes. Jesus said, “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean’.” Mark 7:20-23

Finally, guard your mouth. Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Yesterday, as I received chemo the lady seated closest to me was using language that I didn’t care to hear. I apologized to Erin, the friend who had brought me, because I thought it might be offending her as well. She said, “I’m blocking it out” and then she said, “she may not know Jesus but she just found out that her chemo is not working anymore and she is going to die sooner than she wanted.” I had been out of the room as all this came to light. I prayed that the Lord would save her and help her have the right amount of time with her daughter. I prayed that he would guard my mouth and that I would not displease him with the words I said for the rest of the day.

Life is but a vapor and yet the Lord wants us to have abundant life. (John 10:10b) So be on guard. “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” I Corinthians 15:58. Be abundantly His!

 

 

 

 

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