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 ask 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 in the temptation to look at situations instead of God, and learn to think differently, keeping faith, believing 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. We needed each other.

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 gave 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, without the use of her diaphragm, thus preventing her from breathing on her own, causing a continual use of a respirator.

Within 24 hours Jenny mysteriously became quadriplegic.

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).

 

 

Water into Wine, Remembering my Journal entry. August 9, 2010

August 9, 2010. On this date, I knew there was a very large lump on my right breast, but I didn’t know what it was at this time.

I was keeping a Bible Journal at the time. Apparently I was in John 2:

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

That was a crisis for this wedding feast. And I was in “crisis” as well.

Jesus said her,”Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
John 2:4.

In my journal writing I wrote, “Can God be showing me what to do in my crisis?”

I wrote so many years ago, (7 years to be exact):

There were 6 water pots of stone about twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.”
Today feeling very empty and confused, He said, “fill the water pots with water.” Water in the Bible symbolizes the Holy Spirit. And at the wedding they ran out of wine and He said, “Fill the pots with water.”

My very first thought is, the Holy Spirit. I need to be filled with the Holy Spirit!

So, on that day, many years ago, God was showing me personally, intimately what I, Toni, needed to do to get through that day, and the days I didn’t even know were to come, (which included a cancer diagnosis, many doctor and surgeon visits, then chemo, surgery, hormone therapy, etc., etc.

The words of Mary ring so loud to me, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

Fill the pots with water.”

That’s what He said.

I knew I needed counsel. He answered me, “Fill your clay vessel with water.”

So, I went to the word about the Holy Spirit:
And not be drunk with wine which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the LORD, giving thanks always…,” Eph. 5:18.

Little did I know, but for me, to help me through and keep me standing on the Rock, to keep faith through all the chemo and chemicals, I would be turning the pages of Then Sings My Soul, by Robert Morgan.

Speaking the words of the hymns, and singing them as I learned them, I was transformed, from fear to courage.

I was continually being transformed- from fear to courage!

So today, a lot has changed. I am healthy and strong. But what’s amazing is the remedy for my crisis today still remains:

“Whatever He says to do, do it.”

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. John 2: 7-11.

Dear Lord, teach me to seek Your face and hear Your voice as I open your word to hear what You say.” In Jesus Name. 

Amen.

Have I forgotten, the horse goes before the cart?

The horse precedes the cart. Does it not? If it’s to move forward it must.

Am I guilty of putting the cart before the horse? Am I am guilty of lifting my hands in praise to my God, yet often forgetting to remember He is Holy. He is Just.

Have I forgotten? He knows every thought in my heart.

Do I come through God’s doors seeking blessing and peace? And yet expect perfection from others, not trusting, making lists of their wrongs, and then come to praise God, lift my hands. What is it I seek?

Our Father who is in Heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Do I even come close to understand the words I’m saying?

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors.

We all have debts, we all have debtors. God knows this world is hard and painful, but He breathed out His letters.

“As we have forgiven our debtors.” This is the method Jesus instructed we pray.  How sharp, and at the same time grace-full; instruction and warning yet, “always believing.” This the Lord’s, (not man’s) way. “Help my perceiving.”

I have forgiven. I have spent time in prayer. God knows I have, but then, am I being tempted that I haven’t?

The battle is great, my constitution weak: And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil.” (1)

I won’t for a minute longer try to celebrate the joy of the Lord, until I have first come, asking mercy, with a heart ready for surgery from His Word.

I come to the cross. Drawing near to God. He laid down His life. He took all my sin—my ugliness, my strife.

I must not worry about what others think,  I must first come to Jesus, and be willing to hear Him speak.

Tempted to run, but right here I’ll stay. Today must be a day of atonement for me.  To be at-one-with-God. To know Him and His love and His compassionate, gracious way.

So I look up atonement, and let God’s Word (and Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible on Leviticus 23), speak.

The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves,  and present an offering made to the LORD . . .
A time to be sorry for sin. For looking . . . in.
But then on the same page, in the same chapter and all, is a feast, a celebration, a joyous time. I continue to read in Spurgeon’s Devotional,
So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the LORD for seven days; . . . On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches . . . and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.

 

Sorrow for sin is the “horse” so to speak. The horse must precede the cart, or nothing gets moving.

Sorrow for sin is the hallway I must go through, before I enter the room of atonement. “If sin is sweet to my tastebuds and life, I will miss completely at-one-ment with Christ.”

The horse precedes the cart. This is the only way to move forward. This day of mourning and sadness for sin, leads on to gladsome feast and in the Lord, great rejoicing.

No work of mine. Not one thing I can do. Jesus did the work for me. And He paid it in full . . . for you.

We’ve all been broken. We’ve all fallen. We so often miss the mark. But He’s risen and alive! The day of atonement must come first. But then the joy of the Lord will move the cart.

Daily let us come to the cross and seek His grace. Receiving and believing, this moment, then . . . we wash the tears from our face.

Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible brought insight for this blog. Feb. 24—Evening, Leviticus XXIII.

(1) Matthew 6:9-13

 

A Rhyme for Mankind, for All of Time

 

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” This famous Mother Goose Rhyme has stood the test of time.

It’s much like the world’s daily news. Dark, sad, full of hopelessness. But our Father God, in heaven, is holy. He has a whole different story for each of us.

But how can we know unless we stop and take a look, with God given curiosity, and open up the Holy Book?

In the beginning,” it is written on page one, “God created . . .” And so, it’s documented how it all begun.

A,B,C, 1,2,3. The Book is a treasury—if only the human heart is willing to see. On the first page it’s hidden, in mystery style, man’s help and hope. Will you stop and consider for a short while?

God must have known that man might not turn the first page, so He cleverly, (by Masterful Design) includes the Remedy for every age.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (1) And He knows and is, even before it’s birth. But, there’s a struggle to agree—right from the first line,

but on page one, before verse four, is the hope for all of mankind.

The earth was without form and an empty waste.” And darkness was upon the great deep of the face. Yet the Spirit of God was moving, hovering still. And God said, “Let there be light.” And there was.  And always will.

Humpty Dumpty might have had a great fall, but God is greater and the ruler of all. If there is no help as you and I look around—we must look up and believe. God’s love is sufficient. Let’s finally, let go and receive.

The picture is clear. “In the beginning,” it’s recorded. Even if I never read to page three in God’s Book, I can see a great fall occurred everywhere I look.

A great fall occurred and I went down with it all. You, me, and all the people of the world. Our hearts are empty, void and covered in darkness.

My disordered ways had me filled with confusion and emptiness.

All the kings horses and all the kings men,” Oh, how we try to put ourselves together again, . . . and again.

But, the Spirit of God was hovering over my troubled waters. And He came to my rescue and helped me see His light.

The earth was without form and an empty waste.” And darkness was upon the great deep of the face. Yet the Spirit of God was moving, hovering still. And God said, “Let there be light.” And there was, and always will.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But God is greater and ruler of all. There is no help as we look around, but God’s love is sufficient. He has made us to stand on solid ground!

The exclamation point is for me and for you when we surrender our whole selves to the One who is able—to not only “fix,” but make us new.

While it is today, what is our response to God and His ways?
“Amen, Hallelujah! With our lives we give Him praise.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not just poetry. This is my story.

Could it be that man can’t see, until he (or she) find himself in a pit to be?Then in desperation, weakness, and shame He calls out that all-powerful Name.

And, power in the Name of Jesus is found – to restore, remake, and let salvation abound. The search for peace, joy, and rest is discovered – when we finally choose to lay our (destructive) “self” down.

This isn’t me “preaching” or being “holier than thou.” This is my story. I was destroying myself in my thoughts, and in my actions, somehow. “I can do this my self.”  But I was only heading . . .

d-

o-

w-

n.

– but God! With a Holy Book I was given years before, I read and I wept. God was turning me around.

He allowed all the hardship. My stubborn “self” was blind. But God. Yes, “but God,” He was, (and is still) here by my side.

Not with condemnation, did Jesus come. He met me and received me, bringing  s-a-l-v-a-t-i-o-n!

“If any man come after me, let him deny himself . . .” (1) I needed to deny my-self  my self-destructive choices. And instead hear God’s Word, instead of the critical voices.

“God is love.” (2) Did I even know what love is? Man’s best rendition seems at best, a big miss.

Could I even comprehend Love that reaches higher than the heavens? Man’s love, separated from the Source, reveals, (quite honestly), No positive connection!

“Change me!” was, (and remains to be) my cry. God hears. God is able. But first, I must “lose my life.”

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”(3) My ears were finally hearing, without restraint, God’s H-o-l-y Spirit.

The past is gone. All things are new. (4) God’s promises bring hope that I proclaim to you. Why is it important that I tell you my story? Because, you, me, and all of creation were created by God to give Him glory.

But Satan, he lies, and steals and destroys. He distracts, and confuses and fills our lives with noise. Sin entered in, by his deception back then. But God sent deliverance. God’s perfect love “never fails.”(5) He gave us His Son to allow sweet redemption.

Faith is what’s needed for God’s Spirit to breathe through our sails.

Believe in God? Then Jesus you’ll discover. He is the Word expressed from cover to cover. From Genesis to the Book of Revelation. The Alpha Omega, the Beginning and End.(6)

Perfect forgiveness offered by the blood of the Lamb.

Are you walking in the light of His great love today? Choose to let your “self” go and trust and follow His way.

This will not prove easy, but it will bring power and life. God’s word is the comfort through the world’s stress and strife.

His grace is sufficient. His love will never cease. Simply choose to turn to Jesus. Your eyes will see, and your heart will too proclaim, He is my Prince of Peace.

(1) Matthew 16:24,25, Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

(2) 1 John 4:8, Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

(3) Matthew 16:35

(4)1 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

(5) 1 Corinthians 13, (Love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;

(6) Revelation 21:1-5,6, 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.

 

Word Weavers International. A Wonderful World of Word Wrestling to Bring God’s Way and Glory Back into Light

Has God put on your heart to write? And specifically, to the glory of God?  If the answer is yes, check to see if there is a local Word Weavers chapter in your area.

There is in mine.

I love the name, “Word Weavers.” However, for me, (and perhaps you), preparing for the casual meetings to gather with local writers with a piece of no more than 1500 words, “Word Wrestler” is a more appropriate name.

Word Weavers will inspire, instruct, and encourage. No one goes home crying. However, you might feel the need to go home and wrestle.

After our time together with “cold-sandwich” critique, (meaning, after your piece is read), words are spoken of what’s “sweet,” then they get to the “meat” and a bit of “let us” too, with some wrapping up without leaving you pickled.

Word Weavers is community. It provides homework, produces commitment, and offers a calendar of opportunity.

Check out to see if there’s a local Word Weavers in your area. What was the purpose for my little “commercial?”

Well, if it be true that we are created in the image of God, and it’s apparent that something’s terribly wrong. And blaming God or others doesn’t bring constructive change.

Then those who treasure the Word breathed by Him, must take courage and declare God’s glory with their pen-or their keys, or etc. (You know what I mean.)

What if it’s true that we’re in the “last days?” And the warnings of God were never read because of man’s rage?
Let’s do it. Let’s write. God Himself has stirred us up.
If there be but one Door. (1) (Which often angers men and brings out their worst.) Let’s proclaim what’s written, and give God back His voice. Then those who take a minute to read, . . .
might find themselves transformed by a “renewing” of the mind.(2)
“His will be done, not yours, not mine.
Do you have a story that brings glory to God? A novel. Fiction, non-fiction, devotions. Poetry, Children’s stories and picture books too. Word Weavers will welcome you in a world of “weaving” and “wrestling” for some.
Join us.
Let’s write.
And enjoy a “cold-sandwich” or two.
In obedience and courage, we will proclaim light.
God gives us choice. (A great love-gift from Him.)
But, it’s time to persuade man to turn back to God, because “as in the days of Noah,” the door was closed tight.
I’ll end my rough poetry with Matthew 24. And I hope I’ve encouraged you to enter a Word Weaver’s door!
 But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,but only the Father.
 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;  and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.
 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.
 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? . . .“(3)
Faithful and wise?
Food for thought, for you and me, always.
 (1) John 10
(2) Romans 12:2
(3) Matthew 24: 36-46

What news are we investing time in?

We see and hear the news. Have we honestly been deceived in believing the daily news is of more value than the inspired Word of the God, who Loves and created us all?

With intelligence in technology, and language, and medicine, and law – have we really come to believe we can “live life without God?”

In Literature, we understand the best story has great conflict. Did we forget there’s an enemy that’s out to destroy? Did we forget he hates everyone? Satan deceives the world that God is the “kill joy.” When he, himself is the killer of all joy.

Satan hates. Satan lies. And he’s deceived the world that God doesn’t care.

Our hearts and minds are naturally dark from the fall.

By page 3, in the Book, the Bible, by name – we can clearly see, that God didn’t bring the ruin we often give Him blame.  Where is the curiosity to “check it out for ourselves?” Do we really believe the modern “opinion” of what the Book’s all about.

Did we forget that all the words that flow through our brains is not truth. All the words we read are not fact. Satan hates. And He is in full attack!

The name of “Jesus” is an offense. “Whatever you do, don’t speak of His name.”

Can’t you see the smirk on Satan’s face, when in the name of “Jesus” Satan has to flee.

Run to the Word. Seek refuge in God. Yell at Him if you must. Tell Him your heart. God is big enough to take your pain and your anger.

He sent His Son. Your debt has been paid. Talk to Him about Jesus. Ask Him what it’s all about.

His word will bring healing to your heart.

When we turn in our disaster to His good and precious Word. When we seek Him in brokenness, He won’t turn away,

He hears . . .

He hears . . .

Are you seeking His face? He will pour down on you, His grace.

Satan hates for any to believe. If you get on your knees, he has to flee.

A Book in the Bible, Nehemiah by name, tells a story, that today many can relate. Nehemiah received news about the state of his homeland.

Those who survived the exile . . . are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” Nehemiah 1:3.

Turn and open the pages in the Book. Watch Nehemiah’s response, after receiving news of the day:

 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”   Then I said:

Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,  let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel.” (Nehemiah 1:4-6).

Have we forgotten God is the creator of heaven, and is the great and awesome God?

Have we believed all the words of deception, of  “Big Bang” evolution – even though every day we see that through time all material things break down.

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics – a universal law of decay. Yet book after book fill the libraries today that great systems evolved through eons of time.

Satan laughs through it all. He’s deceived God’s creation.

Back to Nehemiah, and his prayer. Could it be, that God will restore life and hope in the hearts of us all, if we simply open old, and sacred pages:

“I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.  We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations,  but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’” (Nehemiah 1:6-9).

Can we humble ourselves and admit “sin” anymore?

“O God, turn us around. Restore. Restore!”

What medicine ever “tastes” good and is “easy to take?” The remedy of “turning to God and admitting my wrong,” isn’t pleasant,

but that’s when the healing comes. Do hard things.

Can you and I admit that we’ve been unfaithful? That our hearts feel “scattered” and torn. Can you and I receive today, the promise in the return:

but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.” (Nehemiah 1:9).

I pray for a return of the children of God. Let’s pray “Revival.” And believe in our hearts that with God’s “great strength and mighty hand,” He will “gather” His children back and restore.

That the News of God’s Holy Word would be the priority above all things.

“Today, Our Father in heaven, in Whom we pray, and in the name of Jesus, Whom You gave to save, I humble and pray and seek Your face. Will You wipe away all my sin and disgrace? I believe healing, salvation and an outpouring of Your amazing grace. A new creation today, I’ll be. Thank you for gathering me, and setting me free. in Jesus name, Amen.”

 

 

 

 

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.”  

 

God Calls a Meeting

I wrote a piece yesterday for our Word Weaver’s (of Lexington) Meeting in the evening. I called it “A Child Can Teach Many Things.” After time with other writers and gentle critique, I share with you ideas in editing, so you might be encouraged to join us once a month that the words God has put on your heart would be written and shared. And God is in control of all that happens through the process.

God calls a meeting.

He’s tugging at my heart.

I’m hungry. I’m tired. My tapestry is unraveling.

I’m seeking, but not finding. There’s a Dead End again.

Where is this place of meeting? Does my heart yearn to go?

My thinking goes amiss. I think, “Before the meeting, I have to do this.”

“I have to get rid of that, but I can’t. I can’t. Or maybe, it’s more like, . . . I won’t.”

Is this how we think? Do we believe, “God doesn’t want to  meet with me, I’m way too lost. I’ve gone too far.”

God calls a meeting, time and time again. Do I continue to run the other way?

Do our minds spin out of control?

God saw me running. So He brought me a 3 year old. To simply watch and listen.

A child’s smile, the skip, the joy, the love. How we’re always changing, but some things never change.

As I was watching a child at play, it was like a first day of spring. It was like a sky with fun, puffy clouds.

I was running from God, so He brought me a child. So I could see with my eyes, something I knew of before. Of forgiveness and grace, gentleness, and noise. Of making a mess, but having a second chance – of two sides of a coin.

God called a meeting and I kept putting it off, until He brought a child in my view.

I heard the song coming from their heart during play, “A,B, C, D . . .” So accomplished and confident. So, I broke in and asked, “What’s your favorite song?”

She began to sing: “Jesus loves me . . .”

I watched a tender faith. I witnessed a confident trust. I knew these words. They were hidden deep down in my heart.

“Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”

My heart was pierced, that very moment. I forgot what was true.

I forgot what I knew.

As sheep often do.

I left from following the Shepherd. I thought I had to “plow on through.” By myself. On my own.

I became like the prodigal. Hungry, far. With pig slop for food. It was when that child sang,  “Jesus loves, . . . ” That I heard, “Remember Me.”

The child sang, “this I know . . .”

My thought, “No, I don’t know anymore.”

The Lord kept His appointment. He spoke:  “Remember Me.”

Gentle and kind. God used a little child to remind. To remind me it’s not “Do this.” “Don’t do that.”

Simply, “Jesus loves.”

How I forgot.

So, I turned around that moment. That moment was new. Because, in my heart, instead of my back, I turned to face the Lord. Inside my heart was bursting.

I held it all in, but, if I didn’t I would have a face filled with tears.

Immediately, . . .

I felt hope.

Out of a child’s praise, I remembered God’s amazing grace.

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord, . . .” Jeremiah 29:12-14. 

See God's Hand

God calls a meeting.

He’s tugging at my heart.

I’m hungry. I’m tired. My tapestry is unraveling.

I’m seeking, but not finding. There’s a Dead End again.

Where is this place of meeting? Does my heart yearn to go?

My thinking goes amiss. I think, “Before the meeting, I have to do this.”

“I have to get rid of that, but I can’t. I can’t. Or maybe, it’s more like, . . . I won’t.”

Is this how we think? Do we believe, “God doesn’t want to  meet with me, I’m way too lost. I’ve gone too far.”

God calls a meeting, time and time again. Do I continue to run the other way?

Do our minds spin out of control?

God saw me running. So He brought me a 3 year old. To simply watch and listen.

A child’s smile, the skip, the joy, the love. How we’re always…

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United sound brings a sweet fragrance/ Amazing Grace

Common knowledge learned, in the reach to smell a rose is, “Every rose has its thorns.”

“Ouch!”

How this world with vast beauty and joy, is also sharp and prickly. It punctures and so often, brings about so much more than a “whine”.

Yet,”For God so loves the world.

How can it be? There are days I can’t “love” anything.

I feel so far from smelling the roses. The “thorns” seem to be, like weeds, surrr-rrrou-nnn-ding.

The darkness of nursery rhymes come to the surface, “Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posies. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

“Whoever wrote these rhymes anyway? Though the origins are argued, we must believe, it was a day of “thorns” in a struggle to smell the rose.

Common knowledge. Community. Comforts and joy in the reciting. Children gather, hand in hand. Going around and ’round, making familiar sounds. “Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”

Amidst dark clouds, and thoughts of ashes – being together, gathering around, common words chimed – heaviness dashes.

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.”

The song is sung and we all join along, even if the tone is completely wrong. The melody flows from all lips with a smile. In full agreement, hearts receive the gracious love God freely gives.

There’s no strife when hearts unify. There’s no disagreement in the “wretch” that we each be. The thirst seems quenched. The heart instantly warmed.

The smell of roses comes vibrantly alive, when we put sound on our voice and in a common hymn sing! This is where God abides. This is where He dwells. We can all agree. Yes, we agree and somehow our blindness is made to flee:

“‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.”

As if time stops. Glory invites. “For God,” gave His Son, that we might overcome. The song, is sung. And we agree together, and sing along:

“Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.”

Jesus can turn water to wine. Jesus can heal. Jesus can restore. The fragrance of joy is smelled. Let us put sound on our voice. And join together and sing.

Let us unify. Let us give thanks. Let us worship our King.

“Praise God. Praise God. Praise God. Praise God!