Thursday, October 29, 2015

God's Battle

While I was with my dear friend while she was in labor, there was a moment that changed the rest of the day.  She was standing up during a contraction and she started to faint.  Her husband tried to hold her up but she was crumbling, so he gently set her down. 

After that moment, it was hard for her to come back and finish the "battle".  Eventually, she had to be transferred to the nearest hospital and, within 30 minutes of arriving there, her sweet baby was born. 

Later on I was discussing this moment with her midwife.  We were reflecting on the birth and the midwife pointed out that she had many factors against her.  My friend had not slept since she started having active labor at midnight. She had not eaten anything other then a few bites AND She was exhausted from her labor of 12 hours.  She had no strength left. 

You can't drive a car if there is no gas. 

I shared this moment with you because this is a HUGE lesson to us as Christians. 

We have to be rested up for our daily fight. We must get the rest we need and the fuel we need. 

This fuel and rest comes through our prayer and dwelling in the Word. 
We must have a daily walk with God. Our ONLY power comes from God.

We will have battles, we will have to push through our trials, but on what strength will we depend?

The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. - Exodus 14:14

Psalms 28:7 -The LORD [is] my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

My sweet friend, you have to have the power of God on your life, because one day you will have a "life-contraction" that you can't handle.  It will only be the grace of God and His power on your life that holds you up.

Ps. 27:13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. - Rejoicing in the Present

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sisters in Christ

"Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." - Romans 12:15

NEVER has this verse had meaning, like it did this last week. One of my closest friends lost her husband, while another of my closest friends birthed her baby girl. 

It has been a week of pure exhaustion. It has made me hold my babies a little closer and sit down and patiently trust God a little more. 

I have wept like I never have this week.  I have wept in sadness and I have wept in gladness.  I have wept!

...and this is very appropriate. In fact, the Bible teaches us to do this. We are a family and we must support each other. 

There is way too much gossiping and tearing down of one another in the normal church scene...too much judging and criticism of other believers. It's sad and wrong.  How can we help our sisters in Christ if we are talking about their hem line or picking at other insignificant details?

I would encourage you as a sister and a friend to reach out to your sisters in Christ with gentleness and godliness.  Find out what is going on in their life, pray for them, love them and help them. 

I was SO encouraged by our church through this latest ordeal. People have come out of the woodwork to make meals and love our dear ladies. We have meals coming for all the families. We have had cards sent, money raised, gifts poured out and MANY prayers sent up. THIS...yes THIS is what a church should look like. Let us rejoice and weep with our sisters - Rejoicing in the Present

Friday, October 23, 2015


Death hurts.  My heart is hurting today as one of my brothers in Christ has gone to be with Jesus.  My eyes are swollen because of tears and my heart is heavy with the burden that my sweet friend, his wife, is caring.  We have been tormented as we have walked this path with them.  We didn't want to let him go, we wanted him with us, but God's will was different.

As we were standing around the hospital bed, my husband prayed over this dear couple. He couldn't continue as this man was a dear friend of his.  As he prayed, he mentioned the reminder that Job gives us.  He said "The Lord gives and sometimes He takes..." 

...and then Jer had to stop, he silently wept. He couldn't continue the prayer.

Then the wife of this dying man blurted out. "BLESSED be the name of the Lord."

I am weeping over this even as I write.  How does God give such peace to this young couple?  A couple who are very much in love, a couple who loved God and each other so much.

How can she have such peace?

The answer lies in the hope that she has and the promise that has been given her: that her love is being taken care of.   She knows that her husband is in the hands of the One who created him AND that if he passed away, Danny would be going home.

Before Jesus died on the cross, a sinner reached out to Him.  In Luke 23 it says "And he (the thief) said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."

“for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance".   - Jesus, Matthew 19:13

 “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” - John 3:16

When that thief on the cross reached out to Jesus, "Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."

Years ago, Danny reached out to Jesus and asked him to forgive his sins and "remember Him."  And Jesus did.  Jesus became His Savior and Friend.

Cheri knew and believed the promise that, since Danny believed in His Savior, Danny will not perish, but have everlasting life.

What peace, what hope, what a Savior!

My heart grieves for Cheri, but I am doing a happy dance for Danny.  His life is really good!   No more pain, no more tears, no more sin struggles, no more drama.  :-)  Life is good in Heaven!

I don't know how people manage life that don't  know the Savior, that have no hope of a future in heaven or of seeing their loved ones again. 

I am so grateful that this is not my home, this is not my final destination, this is not "it".  I have hope today!  If you don't know our Savior, I pray you will come to know Him and have this Hope too!

 - Rejoicing in the Present

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

??? WHY ???

Struggling through what life has laid in front of me, I have wrestled with the question “Why?” 

I know that God is good and that His plan is the best, but I just don’t understand why He is taking home to heaven some people who are especially precious to me.   I don’t understand why he has caused one of my dearest friends to become a widow at a young age.  I don’t understand.

I haven’t lost trust in Him.  I haven’t even lost my hope; I am just asking Him for some insight.  I stumbled upon this on a friend’s blog.  She posted an article from Elisabeth Eliott and I love it!

Now is it a sin to ask God why? It’s always best to go first for our answers to Jesus Himself. He cried out on the cross, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ It was a human cry; a cry of desperation springing from His heart’s agony at the prospect of being put into the hands of wicked men and actually becoming sin for you and me. We can never suffer anything like that, yet we do at times feel forsaken, don’t we? It’s quite natural for us to cry, ‘Why, Lord?’

The psalmist asked why. Job, a blameless man suffering horrible torments on an ash heap, asked why. It doesn’t seem to me to be sinful to ask the question. What is sinful is resentment against God and His dealings with us. When we begin to doubt His love and imagine that He is cheating us of something we have a right to, we are guilty as Adam and Eve were guilty. They took the snake at his word rather than God.

The same snake comes to us repeatedly with the same suggestions. ‘Does God love you? Does He really want the best for you? Is His Word trustworthy? Isn’t He cheating you? Forget His promises. You’d be better off if you’d do it your way.’

I’ve often asked why. Many things have happened which I didn’t plan and which human rationality could not explain. In the darkness of my perplexity and sorrow, I have heard God say quietly, ‘Trust Me.’ He knew that my question was not the challenge of unbelief or of resentment.

I don’t understand Him, but then I’m not asked to understand, only to trust. Bitterness dissolves when I remember the kind of love with which He has loved me–He gave Himself for me. He gave Himself for me. He gave Himself for me. Whatever He is doing now, therefore, is not cause for bitterness. It has to be designed for good, because He loved me and gave Himself for me.

"He knew that my question was not the challenge of unbelief or of resentment"  Yes, I could not have said it better. I know He loves me. I know He is working things out. 

Trust, my child. TRUST! I'm so thankful for a God we can trust! - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Big Picture - Part 2

If you were to go into my basement bathroom, you would see about a foot and a half of dirt piled up on the concrete floors. You would see a huge hole that has been drilled into the concrete and you would definitely known there is some construction going on. MY HOUSE IS A MESS!

There is a toilet, 2 vanities and a bathtub sitting in my living room. I have one working toilet in the house and no shower or vanities. MY HOUSE IS A MESS!

We just redid the kitchen but there is now a hole in the side of the wall where the bathroom construction got a little messy.

I have suitcases and dirty clothes piled up, from a weekend away from the house. I am mopping while construction workers and plumbers track in dirt. Have I mentioned that MY HOUSE IS A MESS?

Construction is messy!

I wrote about this before, A Dirty House but these same thoughts are coming to my mind...

This is like my spiritual life. I know there are issues I need to clean out and fix up, but it's work and it's DIRTY. It's going to hurt, it's going to be embarrassing and I am going to lose things that I have held on to.

When Jesus cleaned out the temple, He made a mess. He overturned tables and stirred up some dust. When He died on the cross, it was HORRIBLY painful and messy.

When we give up that sin habit, there will be withdrawal pains. When we make it right with that person, our pride will feel stomped on. When we decided to put aside _________ to make time for our devotions, we are going to have to give something up, or at least put it off.

Construction is not fun. Revival is not fun! It's often painful! I really dislike my house right now, but there is a MUCH LARGER PICTURE and my dad reminded me of this recently.

"Dirt can be cleaned up but look at those new pipes. THIS IS EXCITING! Look at what has been done." He said. "Look at the brand new bathroom that is being built; look at what is being done. Get your eyes on the end result."

I will be honest. I see A HOT MESS right now. I see the pain of moving everything around, the disrupted house, the dirt everywhere, the inconvenience without working bathrooms. But there is a big picture. There is a construction worker and an electrician and a plumber who are working together to give me the bathroom of my dreams. It's going to be amazing and I can't wait to show it to you all. I am so blessed!

I am blessed that there is a pile of dirt in my basement bathroom because that means my bathroom is being fixed.

I am blessed that I have BRAND NEW fixtures sitting in my living room, waiting to be installed. I AM SO BLESSED.

I am blessed that I have holes in my walls, which will eventually be fixed. They mean that work is in progress. I AM SO BLESSED.

I am blessed to have dirt to clean up, because that means some one is working on the problem. I AM BLESSED.

Let's look at the big picture. -Rejoicing in the Present

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Big Picture - Part 1

Bathroom messes, new baby coming, ordination preparations and a brain tumor among many other stresses have been my life. It's mind boggling to be so excited about one friend whose precious new baby is due any day, and at the same time, crying over the phone over another friend who's husband is in ICU in a coma because brain tumor surgery became complicated. 

LIFE IS STRESSFUL!  It's full of surprises--some we love, some we hate.  It's full of memories--some beautiful, some torturous.  It's full of questions and sometimes no answers. 

Recently, I was talking to a friend on the phone about our dear friend who's husband is suffering due to this surgery.  The surgery was supposed to be pretty routine.  I mean we all knew that something bad COULD happen, since it's the brain, but we never expected this. In fact, many of us were praying that God would just take the tumor away.  So I half expected for the surgeons to go in  and everything be gone and healed. 

So when I received news to the contrary, that it was really bad, I was shaken.   WHAT?  This isn't what was supposed to happen. It was all supposed to be gone. 

So we chatted about that and she reminded me that there is a big picture.  I don't know the complete plan. ...but I do know the One in control of the plan and I have seen His working and the results before.

He's "got it"!  I just need to remind myself of that. If He can control nature, heal the sick and conquer death, don't you think He's "got it"? 

"Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you." - I Peter 5:7

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." -Prov. 3:5-6

"As for God, his way is perfect;" - 2 Sam 22:31

"The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower." - Psalms 18:2

I honestly don't get it right now, but I know that He has got it! - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Parenting Race.

I thought that I would dig up some old blog posts that you might enjoy.... This is a lesson that I am still learning. :-)

I noticed that after my husband watches my son for an extended period, the little guy usually comes back to me with a better attitude. This has happened on a number of different occasions, so the other day, I approached hubby and asked him what his secret was.

He commented that he doesn't focus his eyes on the immediate fix, instead he focuses on the end product. 

It wasn't a profound statement but it was something that clicked with me. I know I've heard it before, I'm sure I've read it a thousand times but THAT time it spoke to me.

As you may know, I live with fibromyalgia and one of the big symptoms of it is nerve pain. When I'm having a bad fibro day, my nerves are SHOT.  Thus, when my child cries or wines, it literally hurts my body.  So, I tend sometimes to just focus on the immediate fix. 

How do I get her to stop crying?  Pick her up, soothe her, rock her...?

Why is he whining? Give it to him? Shut him up? Discipline out of anger because I'm annoyed? How do I respond?

Many times I don't respond right. This is why my husband's comment was so valuable. It reminded me to not look at the quick fix.  Not to just "get them to be quiet," but to decide what I want in the end and to slowly pursue that goal. 

This may mean that I need to move my whinny child to another room until he can ask properly for the item or so that I can calm down before I discipline him. 

It also may mean that I need to turn off the baby monitor while my child is crying herself to sleep.  She is learning to self-soothe and I have to be able to give her those tools that will help her in life.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Parenting is a race, not the 100-yard dash, but a marathon.  It takes LOTS of patience and comes with many trials and weights. We have to put those aside and look to Jesus. 

We have to see the goal, the finish line, and keep our eyes set on that. We can't throw our hands up, fall down and cry when life gets us down. We have to focus our minds on what we want and persevere to the end. 

If our eyes are on Jesus and the goals He has for us, it makes it a little easier to respond to our children even when it's hard.  

Maybe that means that you need to take a breather and walk away for a second. 

 Don't hand it to your child right away.  

Teach them.  

Whatever it is, go against your instinct for the quick fix. In the long run, it will be worth it. - Rejoicing in the Present

Friday, October 2, 2015

"Occupy Till I Come"

Jesus tells us a parable in Luke 19: 12...

"He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, 
-Occupy till I come.-
But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? 
And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him."

In this story, the master of the house gave his servants a gift that they were supposed to grow. They were supposed to use it.  Whatever it was, they were supposed to take and use it to grow the master's wealth/kingdom.
We see that several of the servants did this, but we also see that one servant took his pound and hid it.  He didn't even try to grow it at all, didn't even take it to the bank to get interest. 
Let's back up a little bit.  Notice at the beginning of the story, the master tells the servants one thing.  "OCCUPY"  This word means to do business, to trade "to bear much fruit." 
Does this sound familiar at all?
As Christians we are to occupy this world. We are to be in this world but not OF this World. This is our living area but this is not our home. 
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." - John 15:19
What kind of occupying should we be doing?
What do you think the master would have done if that servant had taken that pound and used it for himself, to better himself? 
Well, that pound was not for the servant--it was for the master and so I believe that the master would have been angry. That gift that the master gave the servant was to grow the kingdom. It was to enlarge the wealth of the Master. 
My dear sister in Christ, God has given us each talents and gifts. Some of us he has given physical strength.  For some it's wealth, others musical or teaching ability. There are A LOT OF GIFTS.
He has given you a gift as well as me. What are you doing with that gift? 
Are you bettering the kingdom? Are you growing the kingdom? Are you enlarging the Master's kingdom?
He didn't give that gift for me to make my life more comfortable. He didn't give you that gift to hide in a napkin until He comes back. He gave us gifts to grow His kingdom.
It is for His glory and His honor and His kingdom. 
Are we bearing fruit?
Are you enjoying the fruits of other saints who have gone before you?
What am I doing for Christ and His Kingdom?
Are we "occupying"? 
 - Rejoicing in the Present

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Luke 18:1

One of the best things that happened to me, this year, was getting a team of ladies together to study the Bible and pray. We all were friends and we all desired to go further in our walk. We also needed encouragement and accountability. We came from all walks of life. We ALL had unique situations and trials of which we were apart.  It started as a group to encourage us to study the Word, but it has turned into something beautiful. It has become oxygen to my life. It is the place where I can go pour our my burdens and where my dear friends will grab my hand and pray over me.

We have some huge burdens in that group, from serious health issues to serious relationship abuse.  We lift our prayers to the heavens, where He is listening. There is not a more precious time than our prayer time. Before we end our time together, we come together in a circle, holding each others' hands, and we pray. Sometimes we pray for the person next to us. Sometimes, we pray for ourselves. 

We cry, we laugh, we talk and we pour out our hearts to the only One that can do something about our burdens. What a blessing it has been to my life!

I woke up on Monday and my life-struggles seemed so overwhelming. I felt I could not bear up under the burden. I was so stressed. During my quiet time, I opened the Word to study and this BEAUTIFUL scripture was the first verse in my Bible study for the day. 

Men ought always to pray and not to faint.”
Luke 18:1
God knew exactly what I needed for the day! It was oxygen to my life and medicine to my stressed self. 

I Peter 5:7 " Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."

So thankful for the One who cares. - Rejoicing