“God doesn’t promise us heaven on this sin-cursed earth.” Chuck Smith.

Today, for many is a very hard day. The aftermath of any storm is hard. And there are many kinds of storms. But it is during the aftermath of destruction that we are tempted to think, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life! Right! Maybe in some fairytale!

Chuck Smith, in his book, ‘Wisdom for Today’, spoke with wisdom when he reminded us that, “God doesn’t promise us heaven on this sin-cursed earth. But when by faith we see the spiritual dimension-the power of God, the hand of God, the love of God-we gain strength to endure.”

So, while we have to be here on this ‘sin-cursed earth’ and witness destruction and decay, and work our way in and through it,
AFTER the initial frustrations and even ‘suffering’, and then coming to realize, “this is not going to be over in a day, God has broken me.” Then finally in my surrender to Him, He gives me a ‘way of escape’. Somehow, He moves me, to a place in my heart where there is peace, somehow!It’s as if He gives me a pair of ‘rose colored’ glasses as a way to survive and get through it! So we carry on with our minds in the heavens! Kind of like being carried onto the ‘high chimney top where clouds are far behind me, in the song ‘Somewhere over the rainbow!.

Well, first of all, aren’t we instructed in Colossians 3 to ‘Set our minds on things above, not on earthly things?’ (vs.3) ‘For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.’
But wait, “the house is still destroyed”, you might say, or, “I can’t get out of this wheelchair.” or, “I have no idea how I’m going to pay next months rent.”

All of those things might be true, but can’t you see? The neighbor that you never had time to talk to,because life is so busy, is now coming over because they have power and want to offer you their stove or oven so you can cook, or even take a shower. That is the hand of God.

Conversations you would have NEVER had with some people, but since your storm, you make life long friendships. That is the love of God. All of a sudden, you can see the rainbow and you’re in it!

But the best part of all, is that your storm was so bad, you couldn’t fix it on your own- and you looked up! That is the power of God. And then you come to realize, “It is true. Goodness and mercy do follow me. They just look so different from how I imagined them to look.

But wait, “What about that messed up house?” you ask. Well, what we see looks pretty bad, and it might take a lot of work to get it back,or there is no getting it back – but we have to remember, what God told us beforehand that, ‘the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal(!)(2 Cor. 4:18) What we can see is decaying everyday, but what we can’t see knows NO decay- what we can’t see is what is REAL and LASTING!

So, how do we get through? Walk this earth,with your eyes up, and a song on your heart.
“The LORD is my strength and my song, And He has become my salvation.”(Ex. 15:2)It doesn’t say, The LORD is my strength and my sword, or my hammer, or my word- it says the LORD is my strength and my SONG- so while I walk this ‘sin-cursed earth, “Someday I wish upon a star (My bright and Morning Star), I’ll wake up where the clouds are far behind me, far behind me, (I’ll keep my mind in the heavens) ‘where troubles melt like lemon drops’ and ‘way up on the chimney tops is where you’ll find me, that’s where you’ll find me!’ Because my life is ‘hidden with Christ in God!’

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infirmity?…”that the works of God should be revealed”…in all of us!

Something gets in your eye. Everything stops. The immediate priority is to get that thing out!

There is a story of a man born blind from birth. In John 9:1-9, His disciples asked Him saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

Jesus changed everything that moment, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4,5).

 

 

When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.” (John 9:6).

He allowed… a painful trial, and a painful solution! An ‘anointing’ of spit and clay in the eye! Oh my!
John 9:7, ‘And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated , Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.

Jesus said, “Go wash in the pool of Sent!”

Because of pain and great irritation, we can be sure that the blind man went straight to the pool he was sent to! Spit and clay rubbed in the eye! … So, oftentimes for us as well, pain sends us to – His Word!

“What’s going on?” We ask God! “How can this be?” “This is hard and painful!” we cry to God! Pain then brings us to open the pages in the plain black and boring cover only to discover…

He washes away all the dirt and suddenly we can see the light of the world!

Jesus has said, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3,)

This ‘blind man’s world was forever changed one day, because Jesus put some spit and clay in his eye and Sent him to a pool.  God is being glorified today as we read this story because…our  ‘darkness’ and ‘walk in this dark world’ can be forever changed as well-when the pain of it all…sends us to the Comfort and Power and Truth and Life and ‘Light’ of God’s word!

‘While it is day…’ He is working! ‘While it it day’…may we simply ‘trust and obey’. Even perhaps, He has allowed pain and even ‘spit and clay’ as a solution! But may we go to where He has Sent us…“This is my comfort in my affliction, Your word has given me life.” (Psalm 119:50).

“I’m healed already!” (Ps. 18 continued)

I have a dear brother in Christ who has been battling cancer for quite some time now. And, quite a battle it has been, as many who battle this disease know. But he has said, “I’m healed already!” And he is! That is the beauty of being ‘In Him!’ Wow, I am so blessed by this comment. How can he have such peace? What is it that gives him this peace at such a hard time in his life?

I’m not sure the exact Scriptures that have spoken to his heart, but for me, they are Ps.18, yes, that same Psalm again, Psalm 18:28-42! I think if I lived in China and I was only allowed 1 page in the Bible, I would be fine forever, as long as I had the page with Psalm 18 on it!

Here is the truth that sets me free from fear every time:
“For You will light my lamp; the LORD will enlighten my darkness,…
I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them; Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed. I have wounded them, So that they were not able to rise; They have fallen under my feet. For You have armed with with strength for the battle; you have subdued under me those who rose up against me. You have also given me the necks of my enemies. (!)
I love that verse- even death has been conquered in Christ! We can just stand on the neck of that enemy!All because of Jesus’ obedience on the cross!

“they cried out, (the enemy) but there was none to save them, Even to the LORD, but He did not answer them. Then I beat them as fine as the dust before the wind; I cast them out like dirt in the streets.(!) (So much for the enemy!)
Yes, that is why my dear brother in the Lord can say, “I am healed already!”
We can ‘rejoice in the Lord, always.’

The Lord lives!
Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God who avenges me…He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; You have delivered me…
Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD,… and sing praises to Your name.
Great deliverance He gives… to David and his descendants forevermore.”
Now, don’t you just feel like singing?

“O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross, bids me come and die and find that I may truly live!”

What does a house built on the Rock look like? (Ps. 18 continued)

O, how we love beautiful houses! It brings us so much joy and wonder looking at detail and beauty in houses. But what does a house built on the Rock, Jesus Christ look like?

Yes, “I LOVE You, O LORD my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer; my God,my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my sronghold…”
makes a real fine foundation.
That is a strong foundation! Ps. 18: 1-3.
And in verses 4-15 we see a huge storm come its way! And in verses 16-27, we see the deliverer!(vs. 16)
He reached from on high, He took me, He drew me out of many waters…”

The house that will stand firm is seen in Jesus, (He’s the Rock.)

Have you ever wondered what Jesus was thinking when ‘the storm’ (so to speak) was hitting him? (the spitting, and the insults, and the punches to His face and the whippings, the nails in His hands, being lifted on the cross?)
Isaiah 53:3, “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…”
When I read Ps. 18:28-33, I think that is what He was thinking! I think these are the words that our Jesus was thinking as He was looking to His Father: (Amplified Version) “For You cause my lamp to be lighted and shine; the Lord my God illuminates my darkness. For by You I can run through a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect! The Word of the lord is tested and tried; He is a shield to all those who take refuge and put their trust in Him. For who is God except the Lord? Or who is a rock save our God, The God who girds me with strength, and makes my way perfect? He makes my feet like hinds’ feet (able to stand firmly and make progress on dangerous heights of testing and trouble); He sets me securely upon my high places.

This is how a house that stands firm looks like in my opinion. O, if we could just trust the Father like the Son did! I am thankful, though, that He shows us how!
Ps. 18: 46 “The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted!”

But, wait a minute! Right now, we just occupy tents! Jesus is preparing my place, in His Father’s house, and I hear it’s a mansion!
>John 14:1 “Let not our heart be troubled;you believe in God,believe also in Me. (I think if I memorized and thought of verses 28-33 of Ps. 18, more often, I would be troubled less!) “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

‘And when my heart is overwhelmed…

lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.’

I will never forget the day when walking into an oncology office and sensing the voice of the Lord speaking to me-“This is the way, walk in it.” To me, chemo was like a giant hurricane, just like so many, when a huge storm is heading your way, only you don’t ‘walk in it’, it simply comes crashing through.

Storms remind me of the story that Jesus told of the wise man who ‘built his house on the rock’,(Matthew 7:24-27)”and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house…” It wasn’t ‘if’ the storm  would come, it simply is ‘when’ the floods  would come.

So whether it is cancer, or a hurricane, or something else- there will be a storm.

The foundation of the wise man looks, to me,much  like Ps. 18:1-3, Amplified Version:

I LOVE You fervantly and devotedly, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my keen and firm strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.

That is a house built on a Rock!

And did you know that our storm is recorded in the Bible? It’s in there, in Psalm 18 vs. 4-16. Yes, it seems like a lot of verses, but some of us have a very long storm!  (And it is not ‘if’ but ‘when’ the storm happens) And if you ever wondered what chemo was like, here it is, or this might sum up the storm you are going through:

The chords or bands of death surrounded me, and the streams of ungodliness and torrents of ruin terrified me. The chords of Sheol(the place of the dead) surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me and came upon me. In my distress (when seemingly closed in ) I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God;

He heard my voice out of His temple (heavenly dwelling place), and my cry came before Him, to His (very) ears.

Then the earth quaked and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled, they moved and were shaken, because He was indignant and angry. There went up smoke from His nostrils, and lightning out of His mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and thick darkness was under His feet.

And He rode upon a cherub (a storm) and flew (swiftly); yes, He sped on with the wings of the wind. He made darkness His secret hiding place; as His pavilion (His canopy) round about Him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.

Out of the brightness before Him there broke forth through His thick clouds hailstones and coals of fire. And He sent His arrows, and scattered them; and He flashed forth lightnings, and put them to rout.

Then the beds of the sea appeared, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at Your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils. He reached from on high, He took me, He drew me out of many waters.’

These verses read like an exciting movie!  What a battle against the enemy.

But the Good News is in Ps. 18:17-19:

He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated and abhorred me; for they were too strong for me. The confronted and came upon me in the day of my calamity; but the Lord was my stay and support. He brought me forth also into a large place; He was delivering me, because He was pleased with me and delighted in me.

He was delivering me, because He was pleased with me and delighted in me –

(vs. 2o,) the Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness… wow, He knows everything about me, He is the Father of Lights,(He sees it all!) and He delights in His children(amazing but true), so He knows I mess up every day! I have anger, and fretfulness, and irritability, and despair!  Then I remember- ‘This is all my righteousness- Nothing But the Blood of Jesus!’

(vs. 21)” For I have kept the ways of the Lord,… ” O my, so far from true. But my Father who is in heaven is seeing me washed by the blood. My Father sees me …

(vs.23)…”upright before Him and blameless”…
Because of the cross, and believing on Him, my Rescuer sees me upright and blameless! Wow!
Praying the storm does for you what it did for me. It caused me to “Turn my eyes upon Jesus. To look full in His wonderful face. (and even though the storm is long and hard…

He will deliver (Ps. 18:27-30) an afflicted and humble people…For You cause my lamp to be lighted and shine; the Lord my God illuminates my darkness. For by You I can run through a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect! The word of the lord is tested and tried; He is a shield to all those who take refuge  and put their trust in Him.(!) Exclamation point, mine!

For the foolish man, he just didn’t, and I’m not sure where his house is?

Not again, more about singing?

 

Is. 54:1 “Sing, O barren, You who have not borne;”Break forth into into singing and cry aloud…”

Barren means lacking or unable to produce, or having no useful result, or lacking a desirable element- it means emptiness. Perhaps barrenness is being ashamed of the past, or feeling forsaken in the present, and being completely unsure of the future.

Sing, O barren? break forth into singing?

In Is. 54:7 God says, “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid my face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” Says the LORD, your Redeemer.

Every day, God keeps telling me the same thing, yet in a different way: “Sing, O barren”.

So once again I am reminded of the story in 2 Chronicles 20,

“A great multitude is coming against us…” (2 Chron. 20:2) King Jehoshaphat cries out.

“And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” (2 Chron. 20:3), then he spoke to God, (in my paraphrase)

Aren’t You God in heaven?Don’t You rule over everything? Isn’t there power and might in Your hand? Aren’t we Your people, didn’t we build You a temple to dwell in? and if disaster comes we will stand before You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.
“For we have no power against this great multitude coming against us, nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”(2 Chronicles20:12)

So, the  Spirit of the LORD came upon Hahaziel…the son of so and so, and the son of so and so, of the sons of Asaph! Asaph? Asaph  is the family of singers and players,( not sports, instruments!) and he said,” Don’t be afraid, don’t be discouraged because of this great multitude,

for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”((2 Chron 20:15)and verse 17 says,

“You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, Who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be discouraged,…”

(I am seeing that ‘do not fear, don’t be discouraged’  is written two times, yes, I know why! because when we are barren, when we feel forsaken in our present, and completely unsure of our future, we get afraid, we get discouraged!

“Believe in the LORD your God”… King Jehoshaphat proclaimed!

And do you  remember how they positioned themselves?

They appointed those who praise and sing to go on before the army saying: “Praise the LORD, For His mercy endures forever.”Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set up ambushes  and the enemy was DEFEATED! 2 Chron 20:22!

Over and over again the Lord is showing me that Praise is a weapon! It will destroy the enemy of depression and the spirit of despair! It opens up the  heavy curtain of darkness and allows the light to fill that ol’ barren space!

O my goodness, The hymn Leaning on His everlasting Arms is a perfect song to sing in barrenness:

vs.3 What have I to dread, what have I to fear? Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.

I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms. Leaning, I’m leaning,

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!

 

 

 

Somewhere, over the rainbow

My reading today, brought me a song.

So today I read in Rev. 4:1, “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven…” !

I have said this before, but when I was very sick from the chemo trying to kill the cancer, I truly felt that after the third treatment it was killing me! As I lay there,  I didn’t see lights, instead, I saw a door and it was open(!) and Jesus showed me His hands. Yes, His scars were still there. (I think of Thomas, the doubting disciple every time I think of this,  OK, so I’m like Thomas!)

Jesus was saying, “Toni, tell them about Me.” “Not all know Me as their King.”

Much of the time, God speaks to me from His word by giving me a song as well, today especially.

Today, in Rev. 4:2 , the Bible describes the throne of the King and what the King looked like: “And behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardus stone in appearance, and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.”

It is very true that the Jesus that is knocking at the door of our hearts does not actually look like the artist’s picture that is so familiar to us all!  He looks like precious stones. The jasper was clear, like a diamond! He is light. And a sardus stone, which is red- the atoning sacrifice. And there was a rainbow around the throne. Don’t you think of Noah and the ark, the rainbow was a sign of His promise not to destroy the earth with a worldwide flood again, it was a sign of His grace!

Here come the songs; and the One who sits on the throne is ‘the Father of light, and He delights in His children!’ and ‘it was my sin that nailed Him to a tree, it was His love that held Him there for me’, and around His throne is a rainbow-a sign of His grace, ‘Amazing Grace’. But there is a song that has been on my heart for quite some time now, that I simply must learn to play on my guitar. (Today in my spare time!)

‘Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high,

There’s a land that I’ve heard of , once in a lullaby. (Yes, heaven, but I learned about it from a great Book I like to read!)

Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.

Someday I’ll wish upon a star (I’ll turn my eyes upon Jesus!) and wake up where the clouds are far behind me. Where troubles melt like lemon drops and way above the chimney tops is where you’ll find me, that’s where you’ll find me.

Some where over the rainbow, little bluebirds fly, (the beautiful bluebirds, those very  special people in our lives that are already there, in that land that that we’ve heard of, way up high.)

Little bluebirds fly over the rainbow, why, well oh why can’t I?

Where troubles melt like lemon drops and way above the chimney tops, that’s where you’ll find me, that’s where you’ll find me, if happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, Why? o why, can’t I?

So today, I will set my mind on things above, not on things of the earth,(way up on those chimney tops where troubles melt like lemon drops), because ‘I died and my life is hidden with Christ in God! And when Christ who is my life appears, then I will appear with Him in glory!  Somewhere, over the rainbow.

“I just can’t praise Him now.”

Exactly, that is why it is a ‘sacrifice’ at times.

Being a children’s worship leader there are times when the kids come in and I can see by their posture that their heart is saying, “Yea, make me sing.”

I am sure that many a Sunday morning this is what the worship leader faces from the congregation of the early service.

Sometimes it is a sacrifice to ‘Praise the LORD’, but I am reminded of the words of Jesus, “Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation”, when  the disciples were supposed to be watching Him, literally, surrender His will, to that of His Father’s  will in prayer before facing the cross. If we can remember the incredible SACRIFICE He made for us  – His very life,

then can’t we choose to make a ‘sacrifice of praise’ in the house of the LORD?(Jer. 33: 11)

It is very hard at times, and even painful. What about when everything is going wrong?Or if there is no money in the bank? Or after the loss of a loved one? What if the doctors can’t do any more for you? These are hard times. We can pray, but praise?

But you see after Paul and Silas were beaten with rods  with many stripes, and their feet were put into stocks, I am sure they were hurting, and even discouraged in heart, but here is the picture (Acts 16:25-27)”But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so the foundations of the prison were shaken…”

I have personally seen the ‘foundations of the prisons of fear, pain, worry,and despairing sadness shaken down’ when I chose to make a sacrifice of praise, in my heart, and especially in the house of the LORD!

And when things are at their worst, I have found power in the Hymns. So even though you might not have a willing heart, ask Him to give you one.

Consider meditating on these words on your lowest of days- How Great Thou Art. Trust me, your circumstances might not be different, but your heart, soul and mind will!

O LORD my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made; I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art! Then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing, Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in; That on the cross my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died To take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art! Then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art!

When Christ shall come With shout of acclamation And take me home, What joy shall fill my heart! Then I shall bow In humble adoration, And there proclaim, “My God, how great Thou art!”

Then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art! then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art!

“Gird up! Get up!”

After 37 excruciating  chapters of suffering in the life of Job, God finally speaks, the Yahweh, the LORD, the I AM WHO I AM,the Alpha and the Omega, the One that is the same yesterday, today and forever:

“Gird up thy loins like a man!”

Do you know what picture I see when I hear these words, “Gird up!”  I think of a moment in the movie, ‘Bambi’ (and very often at that). Near the end of the story, Bambi is sleeping and there is fire everywhere around him- then The Buck, (the Father, all knowing and wise) yes, the Buck runs through the fire to get to Bambi.

“Get up!” he says, “Get UP”, with a bit more intensity, as Bambi groggily awakens.  “GET UP!” he says for a third time.

God used cancer in my life to be that fire-to wake me up to LIFE. You see, my vision was horizontal, yes, I had the Lord, but I was heavy-hearted and focused on the trouble more than focusing on the Lord. The fruit in my life was being ‘choked’ because of the weeds of worry and the thorns of sorrow.

My Father in heaven, in the midst of this cancer fight spoke in His words, “Gird up!”, “Get up!”

“Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Eph. 5:14,15)

“Walk circumspectly!” Eph. 5 says, or in other words, look around you-“Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully, not as unwise and witless, but as wise- sensible, intelligent people,(this is the Amplified Bible!) making the very most of the time- buying up each opportunity- because the days are evil.”

What about Paul the Apostle?  In Eph. 1:1, he wrote of being a prisoner (which he was),  but he proclaimed himself a prisoner of Jesus Christ. So he  wrote, (much of the New Testament) because his eyes were vertical, not horizontal. He didn’t focus on the prison gates and the bad food, he focused on the Lord and wrote of unsearchable riches in Christ.

And what about John Bunyun who was put in prison as well? He  wrote the wonderful journey of Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress. Or what about the prison that Joni Ericson Tada is in? Her own body being paralyzed and now even struck with cancer? Yet, she  shares her joy of the Lord to so many- HOW?

By having vision!

But wait, Fanny Crosby couldn’t see, she was blind! But what vision she had, writing Hymns with gladness and hope like Blessed Assurance. Words like,”Perfect submission, perfect delight! Visions of rapture now burst at my sight! …this is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.”

The days are very difficult and very hard. And we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but the One who is the same yesterday, today and forever is speaking as the fires seem to be blazing all around, and He is saying, “Gird up!” “Get up!”

“High King of Heaven, my victory won, May I reach heaven’s joys, Bright heaven’s Son! Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my vision, O Ruler of All.” (from Be Thou My Vision)

 

 

 

“Lord, give me this Good Nerve Damage!”

From what I can see as I follow Jesus through the gospels, I am amazed that He wasn’t affected by sin. And He wasn’t affected by tensions, and worries, and anxiety.

He was the incredible Prince of peace.  It seems that Jesus didn’t have NERVES!

(Well, there was this one time; I’m thinking of the time when He turned the tables at the Temple Marketplace- so glad for the verse, ‘Zeal for the LORD has eaten me up!’ Here He simply had passion to stand up for what was right.)

However, He wasn’t affected by sin. But I am! Unfortunately,  I have all my NERVES it seems!

‘Lord help me!

This is when it is hard to pray the ‘search me O God, and know my heart’ prayer, because I can see that my heart is angry. ‘Try me and know my thoughts’ is not really on the tip of my tongue at this moment! This is all-out war going on inside me! I am affected by the sins of others and even their tensions. ‘See if there is any wicked way in  me,’ O my goodness, He does not have to look far from the thoughts in my mind and the frustration in my voice! AND ‘LEAD ME IN THE WAY ‘… the fruit of the Spirit is …self-control!

I am thankful for the Holy Spirit to remind me that ‘the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy (not giving others what they deserve)…!

I am also very thankful to the Lord for giving me an incredible mentor that I was able to watch as he simply walked in the nature of Jesus – he seemed to not be affected by sin and tensions-he is known as Pastor Gary! I have given a term for this ability not to be affected by sin and tensions-it is ‘Good Nerve Damage!’

I used to say to the Lord, “Lord, I think Pastor Gary has some nerves missing! He has ‘Good Nerve Damage’ and that is what I need- Give me ‘Good Nerve Damage!” I would watch him deal with many different situations involving kids young and old, and maintain a calm spirit in the midst of chaos! Yes, ‘Good Nerve Damage is what I have been asking for , for years now! Even though what it actually is is an empowering of the Holy Spirit!

I am a mom of many children not because I’m an exemplary mom-no, I make all the mistakes, and over and over, as my ‘day of small things’ continues!

Maybe that is why I love my Jesus so much- because ‘he,(or she, as in my case) who  is forgiven much, loves much!

Empower us moms with the Holy Spirit Lord! Give us ‘Good Nerve Damage!’

SONGS:..’And I, I’m desperate for You.  and I, I’m lost without You! …

‘Pour out Your Spirit Lord, I want to be like Jesus…’

‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning, Great is Thy Faithfulness O LORD, Great is Thy Faithfulness!’