Fly

I missed yesterday, must have been that nice long nap I took.

God gives us wings to fly. Not literally, through the sky, but freedom from our sins, from our bad habits, the things that weigh us down. He takes it all away.

God the Father tends to get a bad rap these days, like he is all wrath and anger. But it was His plan from the beginning to send His Son to die for our sins. He felt the pain of His Son on the cross and the separation had to be as painful for Him as it was for Christ. Yet He did it for us.

Christ died for ALL our sins. Every single one of them.

God the Father initiated all the covenants in the Bible knowing we couldn’t meet the conditions. He made the conditional covenants unconditional by promising to keep the conditions Himself. Because He knows we are but dust and unable to keep the ourselves.

We are able to resist sin because Christ died to give us that freedom. Before Christ we could not have resisted and wouldn’t have wanted to resist. But now we can resist, we can walk away. And even when we do sin, Christ has still obtained forgiveness for all our present and future sins as well.

We need to remember this and trust God, He knows what He is doing. He is making us like His Son. And He is lifting the weights off of our backs, the things that tie us down, the reasons we fall. He is removing all of them so we can fly!

 

(I had a whole post but hackers (hiss, boo, die all of you) are wreaking havoc on my blog and I lost it. Argh!!!! I hope this one at least conveys some of what my first pass said.)

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Patience

Hahahahaha, this is funny.

My Long Term Disability and Social Security Disability decisions have been “extended” or “delayed” until mid November or December. But my Short Term Disability expired this week so I am supposed to go back to work. I’m counting up my vacation days today and the will get me closer to the LTD date of 11/15. But really, make up your mind. I have stage 4 of a rare terminal cancer, what’s so difficult about the decision?

So, I am struggling to be patient about this process 🙂 And here I am writing about patience.

My reading on this is not that we are asking God to make us more patience. We are really asking Him for His patience. He wants us to be completely dependent on Him, and this is one area where He really wants us to fall on Him. Trust in His patience and His timing and then the problem goes away.But we are living sacrifices and the problem with a living sacrifice is they crawl back off the altar too often.

We hand things over to God and say “your will be done, your timing” and then 5 minutes later we’re worrying about the issue again, and trying to manipulate things so it will hurry up and happen. Now I’m not talking about doing the duties required to keep processes moving. I’m talking about trying to manipulate the event to come about sooner than God’s plan.

Abraham did that a few times, and it didn’t work out for Abraham or Sarah or Hagar (or Ishmael).

Job complained about the unfairness of the world and the events that were taking him down. But God showed up and said “so what? Did you make the world? Do you know the events I have planned and the timing I have set up for them?” Job said “I’m speechless” as most people do when faced with the living God. He has it under control and it will likely take longer than we want. Live with it.

So, today I will make sure I claim correctly for vacation or sick days (chemo and eye doctor appointment seem to qualify) and I will leave the LTD and SSD to God’s timing. He is good, all the time. And all the time He i good. Trust Him. Trust his power and sovereignty and goodness.

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Storm

I am in the middle of a storm. There are days the waves come crashing in and seem so high that I’m going to drown. And then there are days we get into a quiet cove and the storm doesn’t actually touch us.

But Christ is present in both places. He’s taking care of us in the midst of the stormy mess and he’s giving us rest in the quiet cove.

I know others who are in storms, or maybe just rainy spots and they turn to Christ even then for support and encouragement and peace. It’s scary to be in the middle of a storm sometimes. It’s exhilarating to be in the middle of a storm sometimes.

I entered a new phase of our storm when I shaved my head Friday night (well, Anthony did the actual shaving). I’m glad I gained some weight before I had to do that. I could handle the ghoul low weight look OR the balk look, but not sure how I’d feel about both together. 🙂

A friend brought hats, another front bought more hats. Then another friend brought soft cotton caps that I can wear out of the house. And I spent money on a few more caps that I can wear around or outside the house. Partly to cover the baldness, but mostly to keep me warm. I don’t mind people seeing me bald, although I know it would be a shock to them to see it, because it’s still a shock to me every time I look in the mirror. But for weddings and church, I needed a scarf and hat to look good and not distract.

Although for the wedding I wore my ao dai so I was a bit of a distraction anyway, but in a good way. And the bride was still in white, so she still got the main attention.

Storms can be good. They can shake us out of our complacency or our comfort zone (the coach on Beach Body was talking about that today). We need that. How can we transform into the likeness of Christ if we stay the same all the time? We have to change. And He will change us, with our cooperation or not. So better to be open to those trials and count it all joy because it is God at work in my life to CHANGE ME! And boy do I need to be changed.

There are changes that scare us because we don’t know what is coming. And there are changes that annoy us because they get in our way while we’re trying to live life (think remodeling the kitchen). And there are changes we get excited about, a fun trip or a new class or skill.

We should approach God’s transformation of us through trials and storms, as the latter. I know we don’t know exactly what He’s doing, but we know the end goal is to make us like His Son. That is a good purpose and end goal. So we should be better at just trusting that He has it under control and go along with it.

Do we trust that God is sovereign – He has the power to actually do what He says He will do?

Do we believe that God is good. He will not be a tyrant or hurt us, but will only and always do things that are for our ultimate good, and good purpose of transforming us?

If we believe both of those, then we should joyfully jump into whatever He sends our way knowing it will change us for the better! We’ll learn something or change something that will make us a better person.

God is good, all the time.

And all the time, God is good.

And He is able to do what He has promised us He will do. Trust and rest in His plans for you. Count it all joy, even in the middle of a big nasty storm!

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Rest

What a great topic for a Sunday. I’m writing this on Saturday since I will be busy or resting on Sunday. Church, then a holy nap after lunch, then choir rehearsal makes for a full day.

Rest makes me think of the wilderness. Because God promised to bring His people in from the wilderness into His rest. At the time it was the land of Israel, with crops already planted and houses already built. And the people refused to go.

But eternally His rest is eternal life with Him. If we trust in Him, that is where we are going.

For today, it means we can rest in Him. We can turn to Him with all our questions and problems and He will listen and provide wisdom (James says so).

So, today and the rest of this week, Rest in Him. Turn to Him constantly (pray without ceasing, Paul says so) and He will hear you and be with you. That’s why the Holy Spirit is given to all believers, so God is present 24/7/365. There is no moment when God is not with you and taking care of all the little and big details of your life. Trust Him with all of it.

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Ready

Of course, this word makes me think of Paul’s advice to Timothy to be ready in season and out of season to share the truth of the gospel as he had learned it.

There is also being ready for life going sideways. I was reading Teach us to Want by Jen Michele Pollock and she referred to a book by Joan Didion (who I had vaguely heard of) about life going sideways the year her daughter was in a coma and then her husband died at the dinner table.  That is going sideways people, hard to top that one.

So I was reading this book Teach Us to Want and making note to pick up the book by Joan Didion from the library while I was waiting to have my CT scan done back in April. Which is when my life went sideways. As I’m driving home, my doctor calls me to tell me it’s cancer. He’s already getting an appointment scheduled with a gynecologic oncologist because it looks like ovarian cancer.

Only she gets in there and sees the cancer is everywhere in the abdominal area, the mass is actually pressing on the large intestine and the small intestine, and the test shows it’s a very rare cancer called signet ring cell carcinoma.

il_fullxfull.334990757This is a signet ring, so the cell is squashed a bit to form this kind of shape instead of the normal round shape. At least that’s what they tell me. Survival is median 4 years after diagnosis. I am pretty sure I had it 6 months before the diagnosis, so I’m already a year into that median.

That doesn’t mean we’re giving up, just that I’ll be on maintenance chemo for the rest of my life. And my life won’t be that long. My sister says 8 years was the longest she’s found on the internet. Or maybe signet ring cell folks don’t advertise.

Anyway, back to being ready. My faith was strong the day I got the diagnosis and the day I was told it was actually a rare and deadly (read terminal) type of cancer. I am ready to go Home if that’s what He plans. Or ready to stay here if that’s what He plans. When we decided to try chemo to see if I would respond and then I did respond really well with much of the tumor gone and other thickening gone, I kind of felt like I had traded in my “get out of jail free” card. But I am willing to leave the events to God and just focus on my duties.

To live is Christ and to die is gain. Paul follows that up with that it would be better for them if he stayed so he suspects he’ll be spared and get to stay. For now the only time I get sad is when I think of the people I’ll leave behind who will be hurt by my death. My husband, my aunt, my friends, my church.

But we are just taking one step after another and going ahead. We’ll let God worry about the actual timing. My faith is in Him and I know where I’m eternally headed and I like the thought of that. I still cry at the drop of a hat but not from sadness or depression. More from emotional release I guess. The story of Christ on the cross is so precious to me these days that it always brings tears to my eyes. Hearing people I love pray for me to be healed brings tears. Maybe that is God’s plan, but for now I have to assume He gave me a terminal cancer because He’s taking me home soon.

But I don’t worry about long term plans. I just keep walking one step in front of the other. He is a light until my feet and lamp to my way. He only gives me enough light for the next step, not for the next 60 steps, as much as I would like that assurance of what’s next.

Trying to say, that I hope that whatever comes, I’m ready!

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Friday freedom

No topic for today so I’ll do Tracie Miles blog prompts. Here are the 3 prompts:

Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

Psalm 39:5-6

Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!
Selah
Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;

And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest”

I totally agree with the first statement. And I am being sanctified in how I react to things. Especially at work, I tend to overreact, get frustrated, it’s not pretty. I am trying to not go back to work but my manager is dragging his feet on his part, so I may end up working some next week or doing something. I’m sure I have vacation days I can take and I have to get on my manager to do his part. Become a pain until doing the paperwork is easier than listening to me 🙂

The verses from Psalm 39 are interesting. Teach us to number our days, we know they are really as nothing. Even if we live to be 109, it is still just a drop in the bucket and there is no lasting impact left behind.The last one is the kicker. We’re in turmoil, all upset and agitated, for nothing. A lot like the vanity of vanities of Ecclesiastes. Faith in God is the only thing that counts in the truly long run. When this life is over, and it will be over quickly for all of us, what do we have left? That is what counts. And eternal life with our Savior is the only good answer to that.

The third one is great. Of course here he’s speaking to the Israelites, not us. But there places in the Bible confirm that He is continually with us as well. We can rest in that, we can be assured by that. We can trust in that. No matter how dark it gets, the God of light is with us every step of the way. The Holy Spirit indwells us if we have confessed Christ sour Lord and Master. He is with us all the time. God is never far away.

Rest in the Lord today. Know that He is present. Be convicted as necessary and repent of sin as necessary. Rejoice and be assured by this fact. It is a beautiful thing.

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Purple

Hm…tough topic. But let’s go with purple being the color of royalty, which is what Christ is. The Son of the Almighty God, He is our King.

As the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it:

Q. 23. What offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer?
A. Christ, as our Redeemer, executeth the offices of a prophet, priest, and king.

Q. 26. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?

A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to him- self, in ruling and defending us,y and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.z

Q. 27. Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?

A. Christ’s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.

Jesus Christ is our King, he subdues us to serve Him, that includes freedom from the sin that enslaves us before we know Him. He rules us – a benevolent ruler who is truly looking out for our best interests. And He restrains and conquers all of His and our enemies. All of them conquered, gone, done away with.  We can trust Him to rule us well, and to handle the enemies that attack us and Him. Our flesh, satan, the World.

Turn to Him, He is always present, always waiting for you to turn, and ready to welcome you as his subject and sibling. Granted all the inheritance that is ours, already here in the known world and even moreso in the world to come! Amen, and come Lord Jesus!

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Love

In a month when I’m studying “hesed” love, how awesome that one of the topics for my blog is love.

The book A Loving Life by Paul Miller is a great study of the book of Ruth from the Bible and the type of love that Ruth shows Naomi, which is also the love Jesus shows us in our redemption.

Hesed love is a sacrificial love, a love with no exit. You don’t just leave when you don’t feel love any more. This is about making a commitment and sticking to it. Even when it’s hard and messy. Love and relationships are messy. You don’t get to just walk away and take the “easy” way out.

It means not getting bitter or critical when the person you love doesn’t do something exactly the way you want. Or even when they screw up real bad. You just love them. Sometimes they are really broken by some circumstance or event, a death, a diagnosis, a financial failure. At that time, how do you allow them to grieve. In the book, Paul Miller does a good job of talking about the time needed to lament. That lamenting isn’t a bad thing. We seem to draw lines so far away from the actual cliff edge to make us “safer”, but by refusing to allow any lament for fear of blaspheming God, we’ve lost something precious.

He points out the Israelites were all in God’s face, all the time. Naomi knows God is in control of her situation and the cause of her loss of husband and sons. She knows God is good and what He does will benefit her in some way. What she can’t see is how her loss does that. So she declares God is attacking her and warns her daughters -in-law away from her so they aren’t impacted. They wail and cry with her, in lament. They don’t try to argue differently, Naomi is right about what is involved in they stay or go with her.

But they grieve with her openly. They don’t feel the need to speak or make excuses, etc. They just cry with her. A friend was telling me about her dry and cold marriage where her husband probably suffers from depression but isn’t doing anything about it. I felt the warmth of my husband cherishing me and I cried for my friend who doesn’t have that, maybe has never had that. She asked if I was crying for her and I had to admit I was. I grieved for and with her. I think that is what she needed at that time. It was all I could do. I couldn’t fix her husband or change her marriage or give any other advice at that time. But I could lament for her.

The lament psalms usually end with hope. And even Naomi’s lament has hope, she is heading home. She isn’t sure what she’ll find there but she is returning, in obedience to God. And God gives her Ruth to show hHs love and care for her. She rather passionately states her plans to stick with Naomi even beyond death. And she walks along with her even when Naomi becomes speechless and doesn’t even thank her or acknowledge her when she gets to Bethlehem. Ruth just sticks to her and doesn’t look to get any appreciation back.

That is my struggle. I want acknowledgment and appreciation. “Hey, I did this and I did it well.” But hesed love doesn’t work that way.  A good area to look fir sanctifying work by my friend the Holy Spirit.

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Possible

I am using Dr. Horton’s reading plan for my Bible reading right now. I started about 40 days ago and have missed a few days so yesterday was day 35.

I was in Mark chapter 7 which quotes a lot from Isaiah and my commentary pointed out many would recognize the words and quotes he used as being from Isaiah 35, which of course was the next chapter in my reading plan 🙂

The words he quotes are about people with hard hearts who refuse to hear the truth and turn. I have a few friends I pray for almost daily because their hearts are turned away from God and I want them to know Him and love Him and live for Him so when they die they will be with Him (and me).

Is it possible? They seem pretty stuck where they are and confident of their position. But with prayer, all things are possible. So I keep praying and reminding God of my love for these people. He listens and in His own time He will do whatever He has decreed from the beginning of time. But for now, He has put these people on my heart and instructed me to pray for them, so I do.

This morning at Bible Study where we’re studying A Loving Life by Paul Miller (as you probably remember), we were talking about how Ruth felt when she turned her back on her homeland to follow Naomi and Naomi’s God. I pointed out that sometimes “hesed” love is difficult and takes effort to make that sacrifice and even better, not moan about the sacrifice.

But sometimes we love that person so much that we do all kinds of big things without feeling any sacrifice at all. Our love covers over any feelings of losing out or making an unfair exchange. Maybe Ruth loved Naomi (and God) that much.

Thanks for checking in.

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Home

Monday’s word is Home.

And Tracie Miles had her blog hopping Friday with these prompts.

  • Peace is not a matter of life or circumstances, it’s a matter of the heart
  • Whether we want to admit it or not, we need God. We simply cannot do it alone.
  • The disease of stress cannot be ignored, because in the worst case scenario, doing so could have fatal consequences.
  • He gives strength to those who grow tired and increases the strength of those who are weak. Isaiah 40:29 (GW)

I love this week’s prompts. My favorite topic is self-sufficiency. Because I suffer from it, BIG TIME. I always take off full speed ahead on my own schedule because I think I’m self-sufficient. I found a word in The Marrow last year, non-sufficiency. Not only am I insufficient, which I struggle with as it is. But I actually come with deficits, deficiencies, weaknesses, that make me non-sufficient. I need Him just to exist. He gives me my every single breath. And I screw things up with my sin every time, even when I get it right I didn’t get it perfect.

So get your heart right, realize you can’t do anything on your own. And realize, too, that He wants you to turn to Him. To depend on Him for everything! Pray without ceasing is a good clue that He is fine with our calling on Him all the time.

As for stress, it is a disease and can get out of control. But if you rest in Christ and rely on Him to handle events while you just go about your duties, being obedient, then you will have much less stress. And that’s what Tracie’s book is about, the stressed-less life. We should all strive for that.

He will give you strength when you are tired and weary. In fact, sometimes, He may just tell you to get some sleep or get away for some rest.

I have some rest coming up.. Our annual women’s beach retreat for church is coming up. I have two high school friends coming, too! And I’m working on the Bible Study. It will be such a wonderful time of rest and recuperation, even if I do have to work the TPN bag every night. (Leigh will be there, she’s a nurse and can take care of some of the steps if I need her to.)  When will you get some rest and what can you say No to and what should you say Yes to? Reduce your stress, increase your dependence!

What does any of this have to do with home? Well, I think we are our most self-sufficient in the home or doing home chores and duties. And I know that I’ve spent a lot of time in my home the past few months and He has dealt very well with my self-sufficiency. Cancer and the things that come with it are BIG. Bigger than anything I can deal with. I’ve had to turn the event of my death over to Him. Whatever His timing is. Same with Long Term Disability and Social Security Disability. I fill out the forms and send them in, He controls what happens next. All while sitting at my kitchen table at home.

(I’m publishing this one early o I can get on Tracie’s blog hopping links)

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