Remembering Jenny Part 1

Reasons

Sometimes I wonder why I want to write a book about Jenny. I feel in my heart that I have to. Perhaps the book is just for me. But maybe there’s someone else out there that needs to meet Jenny too. I know I needed her.

How could Jenny become completely paralyzed at only 34 years of age, lose the movement of every part of her body, not even be able to breathe on her own, and have the joy she did and a continuing faith to believe God?

She told me, from the very first day when she didn’t even know what was happening to her, she felt God had told her, “You’ll be able to walk again.”

And she believed those words and held on to them when she couldn’t hold on to anything. But hold on she did. They kept her faith strong even after 5 years of loss upon loss. God allowed us to be friends her last year on this earth, and I witnessed faith in champion proportions.

Do you know what she told me the first time I visited her at her house, while she sat in her chair. She said, “The very first day I was paralyzed, I asked God to help me get out of bed every day.”

I guess that’s why I’ll write the book. Because I need to stop complaining about my nothing in comparison problems, and fall into the temptation to look at mountains of situations, instead of looking to God.

Oh, that I might consistently  think differently. That, no matter what, I would keep my faith and believe God. Day after day, trial after trial, the way Jenny so victoriously did.

Beginnings

Jenny couldn’t hug her girls anymore. She couldn’t do so many things.

The girls were young.

And no-one will know what the Lord did in-and-through her and, for the both of us unless the words are written. God let us be friends.

There were days when, just thinking of her and the extreme challenges she had to face every minute of the day, got me out of bed some mornings.

I had suffered great loss. My heart physically felt it was bleeding. Did we even know that the heart can feel like it’s bleeding.

I needed a hero, a champion. Jenny was all that, but don’t think for a minute that Jenny’s the hero I’m writing about. Right from the start, the hero is God. I cried out to Him and He heard me. He answered prayer by giving me a friend.

I started praying for Jenny years before when on the very same week, on a February of 2008, I had a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. But Jenny became paralyzed, from the neck down within a 24 hour period—quadriplegic.

You better believe I end that sentence with an exclamation point. Jenny also lost the use of her diaphragm, thus preventing her from breathing on her own, causing a continual use of a respirator.

I had nothing to complain about. What is Rheumatoid Arthritis, swelling and pain when moving, to paralysis of every limb and chest.

Debilitating changes

It all happened so quickly. February, 2008 brought change for the both of us, but for Jenny, she couldn’t move anything.

Was sudden paralysis of the spine due to a virus? Did the medical team ever really know? There were so many questions for Jenny, her husband, and her three girls. Questions that couldn’t be answered.

I thought about Jenny every day even though I didn’t know her well when all the changes happened.

I would reach for a cup out of the cupboard after getting up and walking out of bed. Tempted to complain of difficulties of life and my RA pain, which seemed to come so naturally, but then I would stop.

Almost as if I was watching myself from the outside, I would fill the cup with water and give myself a drink, then I would think, . . .  “Remember Jenny.”

A young mom from the Y, with her girls on the same swim team as mine, and all of a sudden, word goes out, “Jenny’s paralyzed.

I was cured. Perspective is everything. I had no problems at all. Zero. None.

I can’t even imagine being 34 years old and not being able to move anything. Prayers went up to God for Jenny everywhere for her girls, her husband, and family.

Day after day.

Month after month.

Year after year.

I am not sure how long she was hospitalized, 8 months and more. And then training and preparation for life as a quadriplegic. A special chair was needed as well as 24/7 home health care. The house had to be renovated for the chair to go up stairs. A new van was purchased. The entire dynamics of the household was forever changed.

And Jenny couldn’t hug her girls anymore.

The girls would always smile when I waved as they walked into swim practice. What a great thing to have a pool to kick off all the stress and hardship of life for an hour. The girls were precious.

I remember watching her blow into a long straw-type tube to move her special wheel chair into the Y. We would have chats now and again.

I asked her, “Jenny, what’s the hardest part of all this?” Putting my hand on her hand. With great effort to catch breath, she answered me,

“People put their hands on my hand. They think they’ve touched me. I can’t feel my hands.”

She couldn’t do anything. Not even breathe on her own. This is more loss than I can comprehend.

Time to say “Thank you Jenny”

Time went on. I had a cancer diagnosis. A cancer fight with the struggles of chemo, surgery, hormone block treatments, the ups the downs, the all-arounds. And I would “remember Jenny.”

November of 2012, and I was driving my kids to school.

This was first year of school for my elementary and middle school aged children. I was a home-educator for 21 years, however the stress involved and the weakness I was dealing with gave way to public education for my kids.

We were in the car and the radio announcer posed a question,

“Is there someone very important in your life, and they might not even know it? Let this Thanksgiving be the time to let them know.”

“Jenny” was my thought.

So I found Jenny’s phone number and I called. I remembered Jenny every day, and I began visiting her home periodically.

This was four and-a-half years after the paralysis began!

A friendship developed

The first time I visited Jenny was a bit uncomfortable as I waited at the door at 10:30 in the morning for what seemed like a long time. I stood at the door, but then one of the home-health nurses let me in.

They were blow-drying her hair. I can’t imagine the amount of work it is every day to tend to all the needs of a young woman who can’t move or breathe on her own.

Jenny seemed so happy to have a visitor. And I was happy to be finally visiting. I came with my guitar. She really didn’t know me at all except for a few conversations at the Y and the call for Thanksgiving.

I felt I needed to thank her for many things.

This woman got me out of bed. This woman gave me courage and perspective. This woman taught me to be thankful.

Quite honestly I wonder how many lives this woman actually saved? I know God used her to save me from my pitiful thinking. From thinking thoughts that would were faith-less and fret-full.

Jenny had a gentle spirit and joyful nature, even after almost five years of circumstantial loss. This was someone who couldn’t move a thing. She couldn’t pull her bangs down to fix them up. She couldn’t take a sip from a cup. She couldn’t do anything!

This is the woman that should be on the cover of magazines of what a “beautiful woman” is.

I brought my guitar for a time of worship and prayer. We sang. Jenny cried. Her respirator buzzer kept going off because of the extra air needed. And we prayed.

When Jenny spoke out of the abundance of her heart, you would think there would be bitterness, frustration, anger, and complaint. But I will tell you right here and now, out of the abundance of this woman’s heart, who had lost so much, was one thing, grace poured out.

Not complaint, but gracious words. She shared, “He’s going to heal me. He told me at the beginning, when this first happened. He said to my spirit, “You’re going to walk again.”

Jenny believed God. From day one to year five, completely paralyzed.

“The Lord has let my legs still have muscle tone. They aren’t supposed to have that. “I’m going to walk again,” she told me with complete faith.

I asked Jenny of her favorite memory verse.

“Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

She would joke how she spoke with God, “Lord, I’m not going anywhere!”

You probably think I’m writing nice words about a friend. No, I’m writing about seeing a miracle of God

This woman was overflowing with faith, and hope, and I haven’t even mentioned the love.

God did this.

He was present. I was a witness of a life filled with the Spirit and submitted to Him.

Jenny’s home health care ran out after a little over five and a half years. She found herself back in the very same hospital that she spent so many months in almost 6 years prior.

This was her greatest fear. At 40 years of age.

But God gave us time together in the hospital reading the Bible together and singing songs. The girls will never know what God did for both of us in opening His word together, I thought, unless I write the words.

So, letters for the girls were written. But they aren’t just for the girls. That’s why I’ll share them.

(to be continued, Part 2).

 

 

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Re-weave this tapestry

“Empty the impatience, empty the anxiety.” You, Lord, can read my heart as it cries,  “Give me a break!”

This tapestry of mine is frayed and torn and worn out, forlorn.

Then, I remember, when You walked this dry, barren land, officials with position put on Your head a thorny crown.

The words, “Give me a break,” come back to me, as I watch You in Your word, in silence You went, the way of the cross.

I have a payment owed. I can’t come close to pay it.

Death for my sin is the bottom line. To be separated forever from Your Love, for all time.

I am broken and frayed. I can’t meet the requirements. To be perfect and holy, there’s naturally, no way.

“I am willing.” Jesus answers. Not with words, but in action. The words of the pages bring the past into focus.  The words are today, for me, in the present.

“Show me!” I cry. And He answers before my eyes:

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.  The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe  and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.”  When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!

 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” (John 19:1-6, NIV).

 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” (John 19:7).

The word speaks with such sharpness. How the story often is blurred. But living, it speaks. To me, every word:

 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.  “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar . . .”

13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out, . . . “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

How can I read all this and not ask, “Who is this Man?”

Praying, “God, give me a break.” He shows me, “I AM.”

 

Deeply woven in me is a sense of justice. But, it’s not found in You.

Weaved inside my being are threads that life should be fair. That what’s “right” must prevail.

But, Jesus. You didn’t fight. You didn’t defend Your innocence.

You remained silent. You weave the word s-a-c-r-f-i-c-e in Your cloak of Love.

And in my tapestry, you find competition, comparisons, insecurities, and pride.

And, who am I kidding, rudeness and evil thoughts thread their way through, knit, naturally within my whole being.

Rip it all out Lord. Rip these threads from me. I believe Who You are. You came that I might be made free.

Weave in me, Your Scarlet thread. Death to myself and my own righteousness – and my needing control of the circumstance. Re-weave me.

I am broken and frayed. But I believe You came. Let my tapestry proclaim You.

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

 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 water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. (Revelation 21:5-7).

 

 

“Trusting God is always the right thing to do.” A happy birthday note to David.

“Trusting God is always the right thing to do.”

It might not always look like the “smartest” thing to do, but as each day dawns, if we seek the Lord with a yielded heart, doing the best we can, slippin’ and slidin’ along the way, He is our support.

His Hand is our hope and stay.

He offers grace, “unmerited favor,” and mercy, “not giving us what we deserve.” God is a faithful Father.

And God spoke from heaven in Luke 9:35, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”

There was a day I heard God say those words to me, so I spend time each day trying to do just that – to “hear Him”

 Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Matthew 19:14.

Perhaps I’ll spend my lifetime discovering what this verse is all about. But today I write because we celebrate the birthday of my 9th child, David.

Happy Birthday David! How can you actually be 17 years old today?

Born in the year 2000, I will never have to stop and do math to figure out your age. My 2000 baby.

David, you are such a blessing. Words could never express.

From the beginning, well, you did have a bit of a rough beginning, at least from my point of view – you were my biggest baby of the 11 at 8lbs 14 oz.

But for you, it was probably wonderful to be breathing well at birth because you had the chord wrapped around your neck during delivery. Thanks to the best midwife on the planet, Marylou Nalducci,

and our Lord Jesus, (who was watching out for you then and is watching out for you now,)

you recovered it all. The purple blue face for the first few days, all the prodding from the Neonatologist, the tests. And then later, coming home to a houseful of kids who couldn’t wait to hold you.

It is days like this when you can say with a heart skipping with joy, “It is always right to trust the Lord.”

And now to think, you will be approaching your Senior year in high school. And smart as can be. No damage done in that rough beginning, that’s for sure.

“Thank you Lord.”

David, 17 years later your mom and dad will still tell you, “It’s always right to trust the Lord.” We might not always say it with an outward “skip and a hop,” in our voice, but with a deep resound.

But God has shown himself faithful daily. To you, to me, to our entire family. That is why your mom and dad love the Lord so much David. Because He loves us first.

And He blessed us on June 3 with you! “Trusting God is always the right thing to do!”

But you have experienced and seen for yourself, in the 17 young years of your life, that “trusting God” in life is a bit like a marathon. It has it’s ups and downs and dizzy spells and muscle aches.

Sometimes “trusting God” just plain hurts. Especially if you feel you are on mile 17 of the run, or again on mile 26, with rubber knees and bleeding toes! ( I wouldn’t know from running specifically.)

But experientially, your mom and dad can say, David, It’s always right to trust the Lord. You see, He is the One who directs your steps through the rough terrain and the smooth.

He’s there at the beginning. He waits for us to believe. He hears us when we bleed. He helps us persevere. And in Him, He helps us succeed.

Seek His face as you wake. Hear His voice in His word. Talk to Him throughout your day.

Trust God. He is faithful. Always.

David, before you get out of bed, take a hold of your Father’s hand – your Father in heaven, and follow His lead. He will show you the way.

I love you, forever,

mom

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5,6.

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8.

“Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the LORD’S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?” Deuteronomy 10:12-13.

Fact, not feelings: “As thy day, thy strength shall be”

Feelings aren’t facts. But they are very real.

Feelings can whirl with tornado-type style. They make havoc of the present moments and solid things even fly wild.

Based on facts of circumstances and realities in this life, our hearts become ripped up in the midst of overwhelming feelings.

But all the while, one thing remains, though we can’t feel Him,

Jesus Christ stays.

We leave.

We mis-perceive.

But He’s present. God doesn’t change.

“Afflicted soul, to Jesus dear, Thy Savior’s gracious promise hear; His faithful word declares to thee That, “as thy day, thy strength shall be.” 

“Let not thy heart despond, and say, How shall I stand the trying day? He has engaged, by firm decree, That, “as thy day; thy strength shall be.”  (Poem found in CH Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible, p.142, based on Deuteronomy 22:35).

“Why should I continue to read,”some will say in the midst of the storm, “Why do you state that Jesus is God? Why does Jesus have to be in the mix? I can do fine with just God in all this.”

Others will say, “I need a lot more than Jesus right now. Get out! I really don’t want to hear you right now!”

The fact remains, God stays the same. Whether we believe or not – Jesus loves, period. You are precious, period. Yesterday this was true. Today this fact stands. Forever, He is God.

God is love.

Can we come close to understand?

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13. Words breathed from God in the Old Testament persuading, but not only that, these living words provide peace that’s alive. Living bread for a hungry soul.

Comfort true. Comfort whole.

“Let not thy heart despond, and say, How shall I stand the trying day? He has engaged, by firm decree, That, “as thy day; thy strength shall be.”  

“Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be.” These are verses from the Living Word. When the Book is open to Deuteronomy. Chapter 33:25, and by chance one will open the dull looking Book, only to discover precious breath within each word.

For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.“Deuteronomy 32:47.

As thy day, thy strength shall be . . .”  Will you believe?

Abide in Me.

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,

 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord

and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom;

from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:1-6.

Who was it that came down and rebuked the winds and the sea became sound?

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.  Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him! (Matthew 8:23-27).

“Afflicted soul, to Jesus dear, Thy Savior’s gracious promise hear; His faithful word declares to thee That, “as thy day, thy strength shall be.” 

“Let not thy heart despond, and say, How shall I stand the trying day? He has engaged, by firm decree, That, “as thy day; thy strength shall be.”  

 

Get up! And fight with Hymn and Psalm

Crisis comes. The “fight” begins.  The battle is greatest against thoughts of fear and uncertainty. “The Lord is on thy side,” the old hymn reminds. But these words feel far removed at this time.

Be Still My soul.” The words learned during past trial, now echo from deep below. “Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side. Bear patiently, the cross of grief or pain.”

“Patiently.” That word. Who would ever choose that word?

Bear in l-o-n-g – s-u-f-f-e-r-i-n-g are my thoughts’ reasoning.  And, like a thread of continuation, “Love suffers long and is kind” pops in head.

“1 Corinthians 13 is impossible with man!” is my next exclamation. “I need a Savior.” is my heart’s cry.

Sorrow and fatigue leave me by a “Slough of Despond,” Just as in the old classic I have read. But, the Hymn of faith fights to bring truth to my lips,  “Leave to Thy God, to order and provide. In every change, He faithful will remain. Be still my soul.”

The battle rages against doubt and more doubt: “I can’t do this.” “God’s plan is not for good.”

“Why did He allow this?” My heart fails, only to remind me of a verse hidden there:

“My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26.

Remembrance is as if picking up a sword, and doubt flees. “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73: 25, 26 reminded me what I forgot.

Forever. That includes today.

But God is

“Be still my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend, through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”

So, I take up a hymn and a Psalm for strength. I breath the words that my heart and mind have learned and I speak aloud that my whole being hears the sound:

“Be still my soul. Thy God doth undertake. To guide thy future, as He has the past. Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake,

in every change, he faithful will remain. Be still my soul. The waves and wind still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.”

Faith restored, I open up God’s word. Psalm 73 speaks so personal to me: “Truly God is good to Israel. To such as are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped…”

“Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind. I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. NeverthelessI am continually with You;”

“You hold me by my right hand.”

“You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”

“Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail;”

“But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:1,2,21-26.

My “forever” begins this minute, right now. Let us fight this battle with faith.

Join me? Let’s get up and get going in His strength. The Lord is on our side!

 

 

 

 

The Gift Giver

Freedom to choose. Freedom to love. These are given to man from God, our Creator above.

The Author of life, with an eye for design, gained pleasure with color and sound, shape, and line.

But His greatest joy, I believe I have learned, is when we choose to believe, receive and love Him back in return.

Then a song develops deep in our heart, and abiding in Him, strengthened by Him, joy returns with each day’s new start.

He’s a gift giver, our Father in heaven, reaches out His great hand. He sees, He knows, He is able … and He waits … ’till we reach out to Him.

If we don’t, we won’t see – that our Father in heaven sent Jesus to save us and the Holy Spirit of promise to keep, comfort, and help us.

The gift of God is gloriously expressed in heavenly sunsets, and sunrises. He is the Master Artist, the Author of life, and patient as He waits … for us to call Him beside us.

He’s the Creator of all that we see. He is Great. He is God. And we all have a choice. To live in the Spirit in fellowship with Him, or walk away from Him and follow the lead of our own voice.

Freedom to choose. God, the greatest gift giver.  Freedom to love. When we choose Jesus, we bring God complete pleasure.

Revelation 3:20, Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

John 1:12,  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—

 

Struggling to see light this Christmas . . .

“O soul are you weary and troubled. No light in the darkness you see. There’s a light for a look at the Savior and life more abundant and free.” (1)

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, a hymn quite familiar to many, speaks compassion and comfort for the brokenhearted and lonely. God says, “Speak of the hymns,” in His Book of Ephesians. So, speak we will, seeking a light for a look at the Great Physician.

Others are praying in this time of great pain. Prayers going out during this dark of night. But greater still – Jesus is praying – He, the giver and keeper of Life itself.  The King greater than all other Kings, He’s praying for us. The prayers, “Through these tears – “O Lord,Give us sight, through this  darkness and night.”

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. (2)

“Behold the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him, Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him. He will feed His flock like as shepherd; He will gather His lambs in His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.” this is Isaiah Chapter 40 verse 10 and 11. These are words breathed out straight from heaven.

Chapter 30 verse 5 in the Book of Psalms:  “For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

“Oh Lord God, give us sight. Give some relief as we wait and are tempted to wonder, ‘why.‘ Open our eyes for spiritual things. We are weak, our mouths are so dry . . .

“The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.” The LORD speaks, He is our Immanuel, yesterday and today. He is near, forever.

“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God. “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the LORD’s hand Double (forgiveness) for all her sins.” (3) This is the word that will not fail, this is the Word of our Immanuel.

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, And every mountain and hill shall be made low …” (4)

Oh, how we need to be reminded that God, the Creator of the Universe – He’s in control.

“The crooked places shall be made straight, And the rough places smooth; The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”(5)

These are promises given for our hearts to take hold. When there’s darkness and pain and endless oppression, we must remind ourselves, ‘the mouth of the LORD has spoken.’

All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, …but the word of our God stands forever. O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain, . . . You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities, . . . “Behold your God!” (6)

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!

“Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (7)

There’s a light for a look at the Savior . . . His word shall not fail you, He’s promised . . . Over us sin no more hath dominion – For more than conquerors we are!

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (8)

The light has been given, the weak hands that hang down, are strengthened to hold the sword of God’s word. Nothing has changed, save the spirit inside us, now transformed and encouraged to hope and have faith and to love – Victorious!

 There’s a light for a look at the Savior. A light, so abundant and free : God’s love never fails … For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. (9)

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

 (1) Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

(2) John 10:11

(3) Isaiah 40:1,2.

(4) Isaiah 40:3,4a.

(5) Isaiah 40:4b,5.

(6) Isaiah 40:6-9.

(7) Romans 8:34.

(8) Romans 8:37-39.

(9) 1 Corinthians 13:8,12).

Guilty. But, Jesus

Adultery? Are we all guilty? We, believers in God through the Son He has sent- we are the  Bride of Christ. We are the Church. If Jesus is the Bridegroom, then aren’t we guilty of adultery as well, putting so much attention on stuff in this world and not giving attention to the wedding at hand?

So, the story is told in the Book of John, chapter 8,  that God has come into the temple, And He, Jesus in fact,  begins to write in the dirt: “This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  John 8:6. Two thousand years before, it was the finger of God who wrote on stone tablets, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14.

The Religious Leaders came as policemen asking  about the punishment this woman, caught in adultery, should receive.  Jesus spoke: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

One by one, they slipped away, beginning with the oldest even to the last. (Yes, this is how it is written in John 8 verse 9). ‘And Jesus was left alone – with the woman standing in the midst. “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

This is the voice of the Lord.  And she answered, “No one, Lord.”

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (These are the words of Jesus, no pointing of the finger in John chapter 8 verse 11.)

Do you think the woman lifted her head to look in His eyes?  Jesus comes today to forgive our sin.

Am I willing to hear Him and lift up my head? Am I willing to receive his forgiveness and go – and walk in the light? No more hiding in the night.

If Jesus is the Bridegroom, and we are the Bride if Christ, shall we go now giving attention to the wedding at hand?

“The marriage feast of the Lamb ” (Revelation 19:6) is coming! Is the Bride making herself ready? Our Bridegroom, Jesus – does He have first place in our heart?

 We’ve all failed to be faithful! We’ve all missed the mark. What are we to do? We must hear the voice of our Lord:

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord requires of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

Are our ears open to hear His gentle and compassionate voice: “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

I pray for myself, I pray for you, that we lift up our chins and make this very choice.

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
    the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
    and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
    and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
    with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said  to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” This is in the Book of Revelation, the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The Story is written, the invitations are going out! Revelation 19 reminds us: Let us be glad and rejoice, for the marriage supper of the Lamb has come.

Let us be a Bride that makes herself ready! Yes, no? We all have the choice.

 

What we believe, matters.

The call has come. There’s not much time.

We’ve all been taken captive, bound up by sin. Even though this word is not ‘politically correct’, we’re all bound; and deep down, we know it inside.

Just as the research for many, many years went out to discover that smoking ‘kills’. But the words that came to the public ears, written even on the boxes themselves: ‘smoking may be hazardous to your health.’

Did we not know – these words were just lies.

So, what if in fact, “truth is not what you make it?” But truth has been told -in the Book of old.

Does what we believe really matter at all? Does smoking actually, ‘kill’? Or simply give you a cough.

So much better than ‘good advice’ is the gospel message of Jesus Christ. You see, the chains will be broken.  Chains that have you stagnant and hurting.

There’s a wash inside-out, a free ticket home, and the power to breathe with God’s living hope.

Hey, The Book is the same from page one to the last. In the beginning God created. Many can’t get past that. You see, faith is required and what you believe really matters.

Believe in yourself, and see where you get. But keep your eyes on those who put their hope in the One, that each page of The Book was written about.

The whole Book, really, is about the Lamb. Remember Adam and Eve, making the choice for us all. (And don’t fret about it, if it were any of us,  we would’ve also made the fall).

We do, everyday. And in every way, we are like just them now:  “Do something! Let’s hide from God. Let’s cover ourselves in leaves that bring pain.

Now they knew they were naked. Just as we know we’ve messed up. They were anxious and afraid. The bottom line – they disobeyed their Love.

But what we believe matters. If we stop reading the story, we miss the full picture of the Hand of God reaching. A spotless lamb slain, that they might be covered at last, not by their own efforts and strain, but in softness and gentleness of wool of an innocent Lamb.

Yes, there was blood. Yes, there was death. But it didn’t come from them. It came in the Lamb that was sent. The only work for Adam and Eve to do that day in the garden, was to take off the old garments of prickly thorns they’d sewn on their own, and receive the covering that God offered them.

“No thank You God, we like the pain. You keep the Lambskin. I’m going my way.”

We all have a choice, to believe God, or not. To believe in His Son, to spend time in His word. To receive His great love, to walk in His Way, to accept new life and obey His truth.

God is in control. He created this world. But it’s broken and fallen. The Story is told. From beginning to end. Genesis to Revelation. The Lamb has come to ‘take away the sins of the world.’ In John 1 verse 29, it can be read in black and white,

but these words are living and even sharper than a sword. They cut to the heart, because you are loved by the Lord.

What we believe, matters. Everlasting life forever is offered to those, who take off the old and receive  – new life that’s given.

Lambs skin over thorny leaves … put on Christ, and see God’s Hand take the lead.

Please let someone know that you believe in the Son. But first, even right now, talk to God in your heart, or even better, out loud and make a new start. With God, nothing is impossible. He heals. He restores.

And He has a plan for you that is better than you can know. Keep your eyes up, and in His Love may we each day grow.

 

Today, is new!

Today, I wake up turned around in my thinking. Today is a new day. The enemy of God hates me and my family, but God … O how He watches over our way.

Do you believe? The lies of the enemy or the truth and strength and hope of our Lord? The liar, the accuser fills us with doubt and fear for the day and even hatred and pride and words that destroy.

Do we hurt inside and then turn to hurt those beside us? Let us let go of what’s past and take hold of today, that God might breathe new hope and life for tomorrow. Let us stop. Let us be still – and … hear the voice of the Lord:

“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” reads Psalm 27:14.

The truth of the matter, is after going it ‘my own way,’ I am left weak, weary, and lean. That’s when we must take courage in God, and know what He has to say. Because the accuser, the hater of God and of man is quick to speak in our ear, “God wants nothing to do with you, my friend.”

“In that day,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.  This is what the Lord says:

“Those who survive the coming destruction
    will find blessings even in the barren land,
    for I will give rest to the people of Israel.”

 Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
    With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
 I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel.
    You will again be happy
    and dance merrily with your tambourines.
Again you will plant your vineyards on the mountains of Samaria
    and eat from your own gardens there.”(1)

This is the word of the Lord for the one, who no longer does things in his own schemes, but makes the choice to be ‘Governed by God!’ That is what the name Israel means. We no longer have to be weak, weary and lean. We can take courage when we put our eyes on the Lord.

Do you see Him? He laid down His life for all who are bitten. And for that matter, we all have been – there has been none that has escaped! So what do we do? We open our ears to hear. We STOP. We, ‘Be Still’ and hear the voice of the Lord:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (2)

 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (3)

Today can be your first prayer of salvation, or just a refreshing of what we have in us still: For God so loves you, He laid down His life, and He is with you now, and forever will.

“Psalm 40:1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.” 

God has ears that hear the voice that call out His name. Don’t let the enemy have any more gain. Call out to Jesus … “Indeed, none of those who wait for Him, will be ashamed…” (4)

For God so loved you, that He gave His only Son, …” (5) Remember today, remember tomorrow, the song you sang as a young one: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little one’s to Him belong, they are weak,…

but He is strong.” 

Today is new. I am changed inside. “Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.”

(1) Jeremiah 31:1-5.

(2) John 3:14,15.

(3) John 3:17.

(4) Psalm 25:3.

(5) John 3:16.