Friday, October 28, 2011

Don't Forget!

Yesterday, I was reading the account of Joseph in prison in Genesis 39 and 40. Talk about being unjustly treated! Joseph was in Egypt in the first place because his own brothers sold him into slavery there. Under God’s sovereign direction, Joseph was purchased by Potipher, Pharaoh’s “chief of police”, and made a slave in his household.
I love Joseph’s attitude. If he was going to be a slave, then he was going to be the best slave he could be! The Lord was with Joseph, as He always is with loyal hearts. He blessed Joseph in all he worked at, and his success was so apparent to his master, Potipher, that he made him overseer of his whole household. Joseph had access and direction over everything that belonged to this powerful official’s.
Well, it seems Potipher had trouble at home. His wife began to pursue Joseph as an object of her “affection.” Relentlessly. The passage says that she spoke to Joseph day by day about becoming her lover. There was some serious sexual harassment going on here!
Well, you know the story. Joseph continually and directly refused her verbal advances, until one day she got physical. Literally grabbing him in her pursuit to seduce him.
Our noble Joseph fled the scene, leaving his cloak in her sinister, unfaithful fingers.
Not to be undone, Mrs. Potipher saves her “evidence” until her husband comes home and then claims Joseph attacked her. This causes Joseph to find himself in the state prison, along with all the criminals. No fair!!
Once again Joseph’s godly character shines -if he is a prisoner, he’ll be the best prisoner he can be! The Lord again blessed Joseph and gave him favor with the prison keeper. Soon, he was in charge of all the prisoners! The keeper trusted him so much that he didn't even follow up on him. Another great example for us, Joseph.
As the account continues, Pharoah’s chief butler and baker offend him. Apparently the ruler had a temper and so he threw both of them in prison. The same prison as Joseph.
During their stay, the butler and baker have dreams and tell Joseph about them.
God has given Joseph the ability to interpret dreams that are from HIm and so he tells the meaning of them.
The butler’s dream has a favorable interpretation. Here is the bottom line:
“Now within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your place, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand according to the former manner, when you were his butler. 
Next, Joseph adds his request: 
But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house. For indeed I was stolen away from the land of the Hebrews; and also I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon.” Genesis 40:13-15
The baker on the other hand, will not fare so well. His dream indicates that will be hanged in three days.
Sure enough three days later , the events occur just as Joseph predicted, the butler in reinstated and the baker meets his demise,
The chief butler then runs to Pharoah and tells him of all the injustice that Joseph has incurred and how he is being wrongfully imprisoned.
Pharaoh delivers Joseph from prison. They have party, with balloons and cupcakes and everyone lives happily ever after.
The words that end this chapter strike my heart.
“Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” Genesis 40:23
Why did he forget him???
I think the answer lies in what Joseph said to the butler after interpreting his dream:

But remember me when it is well with you,”
He forgot because things had changed for him for the better.
He forgot because he was no longer in a crisis
He forgot because his life went back to normal
This same evening I received a publication from the Voice of the Martyrs-
a ministry that supports those Christians and their families who are being actively persecuted.
Daily, worldwide Christians like you and I are are being beaten, abused and like Joseph, imprisoned because they refuse to denounce the name of Jesus.
These are our front line warriors! These are our valiant defenders! These are our heroes of the faith!
The theme verse of Voice of the Martyrs in Hebrews 13:3-
Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.”
Here is a link to their website if you want more info on how to pray and support them.
Another things must not be overlooked here.
God never forgets his own.
Joseph’s situation looked pretty grim, yet God was completely involved and working all things together for good.
No matter where you are today, perhaps in a prison of your on making or one that you have been thrown into,  God is with you. Even if all others forget you, He never will.
His nail scarred hands are a continually reminder of His faithful love for you.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
Yet I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;..”
Isaiah 49:15-16a

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


This last week or so as I have been waiting for the final test results necessary to start treatment, these words from Isaiah 30 have been running through my head:
“Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you...”
You may recall, if you read any of my earlier blogs. that these results had been delayed due to what I call a series of “human-ness-es” in the ordering process.
At this point there was the option given of just staring chemo, or waiting at least another 10 days and ordering the tests.
It’s hard to describe what feels like. Normally waiting 10 days for something would not be terrible. Perhaps uncomfortable or inconvenient, but not terrible. I remember waiting for my children to be born ( two of them were over two weeks late!) and thinking I was going to be eternally pregnant. But even in that situation, I could see a joyous end in sight.
WIth this experience, however every day was a battle to keep the thoughts at bay that this ravenous beast was taking over my body cell, by cell...with no defense.
Of course, we know that is not true, The Lord is always our defense.
“Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.” Psalm 62:2
I was reminded of the Red Sea incident. When God separated those waters so that the Israelites could go through on dry land. I felt that if God could hold back the Red Sea, He could hold back these cells from metastasizing, and I prayed just that!
After a long week, yesterday, we had our doctors appointment.
The results were all back and the good news is that I did test positive for a genetic marker mutation!
It sounds weird that I would be happy about that, but having this information is very valuable and, provides the doctors with different treatment options.
I will be starting a targeted gene therapy tonight. Unlike traditional chemo, it specifically targets this genetic anomaly. This is a very basic layman's explanation, but; in short, the cancer cells in my body are looking for a certain enzyme to grow. This medication is supposed to block the receptor sites for that enzyme on those cells. 
We are very very thankful to our precious Lord for this and are praying that all this can help many other people.
I know I will be doing this ALOT, but again, I just really want to thank all of you who have stood (and are standing with me) and Robert and my family in prayer. I know the Lord  has used you to lift my head at so many times. 
This medication is not without side affects and I covet your prayers!
In a way I feel like the battle is just beginning...again.
The fight to stop the cells is just starting (medically speaking), but we know Who fights our enemies for us and with us.
“You must not fear them, for the LORD your God Himself fights for you.” Duet. 3:22
As we were sitting in the  doctor’s office, praising the Lord with tears of relief, two nurses popped their heads in and one said, “its a good thing you waited.”
Sometimes people or situations may cause us to feel pressure to act quickly or to rush into something that we don’t have peace about.
There is definitely a time to move and often His Spirit directs us to!
But, I am solidified in my conviction that we should be cautious to act until we have God’s direction.
Though we may make mistakes, He graciously intervenes and continue to guide us.

If we follow His ways, we will discover His will.
The entirety of Isaiah 30:18 goes like this:
“Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him.
To Him be the glory in ALL things in ALL of our lives:
as we wait for HIm to direct us
as we wait for Him to show His hand of grace in and through our lives
and as we eagerly and faithfully await His return!
“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Rev 22: 20-21

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Freedom of Tossing It!

For the last couple of weeks, I have been on a mission to clean out and get rid of unnecessary things!
This all began with a couple of “angels” coming over and completely deconstructing and reorganizing my closet. Who knew that there would be no use for those empty shoe boxes or bags of tangled phone cords? 
Anyway, being able to find my clothes and shoes got me hooked, so I decided to clean out more and more closets! My sweet sister and amazing daughter came and helped. They both beautifully and effectively sorted, straightened and sifted all manner of stuff.

So interesting how throwing things away and simplifying gives you a sense of lightness and freedom, not to mention, the great benefit of knowing where things are!
This whole thing got me thinking about Hebrews 12:1
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,....”
The Race
I think Paul defines “the race” of for us perfectly in Philippians 3
 “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” 
The Goal
The excellence of the knowledge of Christ.” vs 8.  Knowing Jesus is the goal for us as Christians.
The Process
Both these passages speak of the need of getting rid of things that slow us down in our race towards our goal. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “lay aside” ( literally to “cast off”) these things, and Paul in Philippians proclaims that anything that was gain to him, but getting in the way of him knowing Jesus more, was rubbish! Trash- that needs to be tossed out.
What are those things in our lives that keep us from knowing Him and experiencing His fellowship daily?
Well, the first and most glaring thing is sin. Basically, to sin is to violate God’s law or to wander form His path. Obviously if we are in opposition to God, we can’t really enjoy a relationship with Him. You know what it’s like to be in a quarrel with someone, the vibe is not so great. There is tension and churning in our hearts, emotions and often our stomachs. And that is just on a human level. Being at odds with the Creator is not a place of peace and definitely a huge deterrence to running with and towards Him.
Secondly, the more subtle weights that slow us down are those things that, as the apostle Paul put it, are lawful but not profitable.
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Cor. 6:12
"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify." 1 Cor. 10:23
I don’t think my shoe box piles were sin, but they kept me from seeing what I needed to in order to run swiftly through my morning routine!
The Heart of the Matter
Spiritually speaking, these concrete shoes can take many forms and are probably different in practicality for each of us. To avoid legalism, we must evaluate these things in our own lives, and not make a blanket rule for everyone. I.e. internet usage, money etc.
But, Mark 4 tells us that our hearts are the real issue in receiving the Word of God,  our runner’s manual. These are some things that need to be tossed from them daily. 
*hardness of heart
*an unwillingness to endure persecution or tribulation for Jesus’ sake
*the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things 
The Cost 
Bottom line is, knowing Jesus is costly. Paul said he wanted to know Him in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering. Both experiences are necessary if we are going to truly know our Savior and will often cost us our comfort and our own ambitions.
The Reward
Jesus is our exceedingly great reward and there is just simply NOTHING in the world or ourselves that is not worth tossing out to know Him more!
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Escape to Reality

Doctors and waiting and tests... oh my!! Last Friday the 14th, I hit the medical wall. I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, navigating through an area where there might be lions and tigers and bears, when she exclaimed ,” I don’t like this forest... it’s dark and creepy!”
At 10:40 a.m, Robert and I decided to catch a 12:40 flight to San Diego. After a whirlwind hour of preparations, we made it to the airport in time, and off we flew into the wild blue yonder.
The weekend was just great. We rode bikes, ate, laughed, ate, sang, took goofy pictures and oh, did I mention we ate? The Lord truly provided for and blessed us every step of the way and we felt His strong hand of grace upon us. His still small voice reassured me that His eye is on me and that I am the apple of it! “....for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.” Zech. 2:8
The way we see things is important. Our perspective can certainly affect our decisions and our reactions.
In high school, before I started wearing contacts, I had a bad depth perception problem. I would park my car near the curb by my house and in the morning come out to discover I was several feet from it!
I thought I was all lined up, but in reality, I was way off the mark.
More important then even driving, when navigating our lives, we need crystal clear vision!
Spiritually speaking,we can be so far sighted that we miss important truths that are right under our noses.
Or, our nearsightedness can keep us from seeing the bigger picture, causing us to trip  over insignificant details that can appear larger than life.
We must then ask ourselves, “through what lens, am I viewing this situation? Or this person? Or myself?
Does my vision line up with the direction given in the only real GPS- God’s Word? (Global Positioning System, you know)
His Word is readily available, but what can keep it from penetrating our hearts and making a difference in the way we walk down the path set before us?
The way I see it,  (no pun intended, well, yes it was..:)
there are two main factors that help us look through the glasses of God’s word effectively.
1.Light-Psalm 119:30 says,”The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.”
If you go out walking at night, you need a flashlight. If we just carry it around and never press the on button, it is pretty much useless. We can all “know” the truths found in God’s word, but not apply them in our present situations.
Let’s be honest, have you ever had someone share a verse with you and your first inner response is “I know... I know that?” Well, KNOWING something intellectually is not the same as letting it light up your life!
We have to let those timeless, powerful truths enter our hearts. Again and again. Today, tomorrow and the next day.
For example, how about this well known verse: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 . Take a second and think of that thing that you are most concerned about. 
Then, allow this spotlight of truth to penetrate your heart and shine on your present situation.
If we truly believe it, then we have NOTHING to worry about. It really is all good.
2.Love -A favorite verse of mine is Jude 21. It says, ..”keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
If we believe the lie that God doesn’t love us, every minute of the day..and even on our worst days, we can struggle with applying His Word, because we can think we are excluded from the club that it applies too. Our thinking can resemble this, “yeah that verse is true, but is is for ________ not me because I am so________ and they are really good.”
Not so, Christian! “...there is no partiality with God” Romans 2:11
He truly loves each of us as if there was only one of us.
Above all realities, become CONVINCED daily of God’s love for you.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:4-8

*So, my great escape vaca came to an end Monday night. Yesterday, Tuesday morning , I had to have another PET scan so they can have a baseline to start treatment.
I am waiting for the results of the genetic marker test and the PET results to start treatment. I’ll be honest, I am sick of waiting and the anxiety over beginning to kill this thing is hard to keep at bay. I would appreciate your specific requests for God to intervene in the medical staff’s hearts and minds and direct them to His will for me.
In the meantime, today and everyday, I’ll be gazing at the reality of His Word and praying with the psalmist, 
“Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,
From the wicked who oppress me,
From my deadly enemies who surround me.” Psalm 17:8-9

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Delays of Love

On Tuesday morning, before the doctor’s appointment in which I was to find out all the test results and learn the prescribed course of action to kill this cancer, I got up and picked up my BIble. I started reading where I had last left off in Genesis 29. This chapter carries the account of Jacob traveling to Padan Aram in search of a wife from his mother’s people. Jacob sees and meets Rachel and experiences love at first sight! He then goes and meets her family. Her father Laban offers him employment and asks Jacob what he wants for his wages. Jacob says,  “ I will serve you seven years for Rachel your youngest daughter”.  (Gen. 29:18) They agree and the next verse says that “...Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed like only a few because of he love he had for her.”  ( Gen. 29:30) Awwwww..... Sweet love story.
Well, many of you know that’s not how it goes for Jacob. He does faithfully serve the seven years he promised to for Rachel; but, on the wedding night Laban pulls a fast one. He brings his other daughter Leah to Jacob. It must have been VERY DARK, because it was not until morning that Jacob discovers his bride is not Rachel, but rather her older sister Leah.
Outraged by this deceit and betrayal, Jacob confronts his father-in-law, who basically tell him casually that it is their custom to marry off the oldest before the youngest.
Wow! Really??
He then tells Jacob he WILL give him Rachel for another seven years of service.
Jacob’s in love. He fulfills the seven years of service and in the end gets Rachel as his beloved wife.
As I was driving to the appointment I was thinking, “why did Jacob come up with those conditions for marrying Rachel in the first place? Why didn’t  he just say, ‘I want to marry your daughter,  can i do it now?’, instead of offering to work for seven years that turned into fourteen?”
Anyway, off to the appointment and full of hope and ready to get after this thing!
I was met with, shall we say, a huge disappointment. In a series of Human-ness-es, the genetic marker tests had not been ordered...properly. So, the results were not back.
Sparing you the details, it was to say the least devastating.
After much confusion, the orders were given to order the tests and the decision made to wait until they get back to proceed with treatment. This could mean another 13-14 days.
Later, when  got home I was just really pondering and processing how this occurred. There were phone calls made, the right questions were asked as to whether or not they had been ordered and it seemed everything was in place,
The  account of Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus came to mind.
These were Jesus’ friends from the town of Bethany, which is about two miles from Jerusalem.
Lazurus was sick and dying.
Jesus heard he was dying and this was his response. ”Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.” John 11:5-6
Why didn’t Jesus drop everything and rush to his friends side? Or just send the word for him to be healed from afar, like he did with the centurions servant?
After the two days, He tells his disciples they are going to this area because, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” John 11:11
When Jesus gets there, He is first met by Martha and here is how their exchange goes: 
“Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”  John 11:21-27
Next He meets Mary, she falls at His feet and also tells Him:
“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:32

I love this statement that both of these sisters made. It declares their absolute confidence that if Jesus enters a situation, He will take care of it. His absence is what they didn’t understand.
After Jesus saw Mary and the Jews that are with her weeping, John tells us 
“Jesus wept.” John 11:35 
They assume it is because of Lazurus, but Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazurus from the dead.
No. Jesus wept because Mary and his friends were so grieved and troubled. And He loved them.
Mary and Martha didn’t understand why Jesus waited, but His waiting produced more than a healing. It created an opportunity for a resurrection. When Jesus did raise Lazurus from the dead, many believed.
Oftentimes we don’t understand why we have to continue waiting for God to move and it can seem that He unaware, detached and simply out of pocket. Like He is taking His  time. Well, He is. And that is a good thing!
Psalm 31:5 says “My times are in Your hands.”
God is working behind the scenes in ways and for reasons we don’t always understand. But He is working.
This passage has come my way a few times this week..
I leave it with you!
Psalm 40
I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
2  He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
3  He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the LORD.
4  Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust,
And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
5  Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered.
6  Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
My ears You have opened.
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
7  Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
8  I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.”
9  I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness
In the great assembly;
Indeed, I do not restrain my lips,
O LORD, You Yourself know.
10  I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth
From the great assembly.
11  Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O LORD;
Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.
12  For innumerable evils have surrounded me;
My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up;
They are more than the hairs of my head;
Therefore my heart fails me.
13  Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me;
O LORD, make haste to help me!
14  Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion
Who seek to destroy my life;
Let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor
Who wish me evil.
15  Let them be confounded because of their shame,
Who say to me, “Aha, aha!”
16  Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let such as love Your salvation say continually,
“The LORD be magnified!”
17  But I am poor and needy;
Yet the LORD thinks upon me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God.
Like Jacob who waited for his beloved and Mary and Martha whose wait resulted in the witness of a resurrection, we will wait and watch for more than we hoped for, knowing that His delays are always delays of love.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

For Goodness Sake

The book of Ruth begins with a narrative about a little family from Bethlehem who move to Moab because a famine has swept through their homeland. Elimelech, Naomi and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion make a home for themselves in this new country/ 
While in Moab, Elimelech dies, leaving Naomi a widow. Her sons then marry Moabite women: Ruth and Orpah. Things go pretty good for about ten years and then both of her sons die, leaving her in a desperate financial and social situation.
Naomi hears that God has blessed Bethlehem again with food, so she sets off, back to her home town for the same reason she left it. Hope of survival. Not wanting her daughters in law to suffer with her, having no promise of security of income for herself or them, she urges both young women to stay in Moab and remarry. Orpah decides to do just that, saying goodbye to her mother-in-law with a kiss. Ruth, on the other hand refuses to leave Naomi and makes a strong statement of fierce loyalty, declaring she will stick by Naomi wherever she goes, until only death parts them.
Ruth is an inspiring selfless character to say the least,  but I want to look a bit closer at Naomi’s story today.
When she enters back into Bethlehem, her family and friends are excited to see her and the women begin to buzz with the news that Naomi has returned from Moab.
Naomi responds to this welcoming committee by saying, “Do not call me Naomi; ( pleasant) call me Mara, (bitter) for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” 
Ruth 1:20-21
Naomi joins a long line of sufferers whom the BIble allows us a glimpse into their lives.
There is Job, Jeremiah and Paul to name a few, but the list goes on.  
What can we learn about how and how not to respond to suffering by looking at Naomi’s response to her plight?
Naomi is bitter because of her circumstances, her losses. 
Her logic appears to go something like this: God is the One true God. Therefore, He is Sovereign and in control. If then, He is in control, He is the One who has brought this suffering into my life. And, since He is the One who has brought this into my life, then my anger, frustration and resentment are towards Him. Naomi is bitter because she believes God was quite capable of altering her circumstances, but He didn’t.
Sound logical? Logical, maybe. But she has forgotten some key elements.
While Naomi exhibits faith that God is the one true God, in control and big enough to solve any problem, she falsely concludes that He is against her. She questions God’s character. 
This is always what the enemy wants us to do. He began this tactic way back in the garden. He causes Eve to question why God would not want her to eat of that fruit. In essence, “why would a good God hold this good thing back from you? Hmmmm.. He must not be all that good.”
Can I just say.... Phooey!?
God is good. And, as one of my friends add..”all the time, even when it hurts.”
Listen to how Psalm 145:8-9 describes God:
“The LORD is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.
The LORD is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.”
Our suffering has nothing to do with God’s goodness. We live in an imperfect and fallen world as a result of that first bite of forbidden fruit. These bodies are temporary. They age and are subject to illness and frailty. This world is not our home. But, our Father has not abandoned or neglected us. He intervenes in our imperfect world’s in perfect ways to show His power, His redemption and His care for us. 
Back to Naomi’s story.
Through a series of “God-incidences”, Ruth gets married to a rich land owner named Boaz, who redeems Naomi’s family land and thus, Naomi and Ruth as well.
Boaz and Ruth have a baby! Awww....
But who is this baby? 
“Boaz begot Obed; Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.” Ruth 4:21-22
The grandfather of King David. Impressive, right? But even more impressive is the fact that this is the lineage of our Savior, Jesus, through his earthly father Joseph. ( Matt. 1)
God used a grieving mother and widow’s loss to get her in a position to be part of the biggest blessing the world has ever seen-the birth of Jesus Christ.
As Naomi coddled and cooed with her grandson, I wonder if she knew what her love and care of that little one would mean in generations to come. No, she couldn’t have. 
But, she was no longer bitter. God had intervened in her circumstances by giving her security and a purpose all wrapped up in the blessing of a new life.
God is not the One causing your pain. He is the One that delivers you out of it. Or sustains you through it. He is the light in the darkness. The gentle hand that strengthens and guides. The Father who never takes His eyes off His little one.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Let’s look for and count on His goodness today!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Never Alone

Firstly, praise the Lord and thank you all for your prayers yesterday. I had a WAY better experience with my endocscopy/ biopsy yesterday then last weeks procedure. I came out of it great, with no side affects and I am so Yay for that!
As I was being situated in the procedure room, Ellen, the 40 year veteran anesthesiologist nurse, began to say to me, “I’ll be with you all the way, I’ll be right here with you.”
These were among the last words I remembered as I drifted off.......
Later that evening, I was watching a TV show, and the main character, (an ex -soldier), told someone who was trying to discourage his crippling tendency for solitude, “You see what you learn is - that in the end, we’re all alone and no one is coming to rescue you.”
This comment struck me and a huge “NO, not true!” resounded within me.
Both these contrasting experiences caused a huge torrent of truth to rise out of my innermost being:
Jesus’ empowering promise to those who are His. “I will never leave you or forsake you”
Never ever ever. Not through difficulties. Not in good times. Not in times that you think you are doing great on your own, not when you drift. Not in depression, anxiety ,joy laughter, grief, fear, fullness or want. Not when you’ve failed or when you have great success. Not when everyone else is gone.
You can walk away from Jesus but He will never be the One to step away from you.
“If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
Even if you don’t feel like this is true, (and few people feel God’s presence consistently) this is a promise you can take to the bank daily. Moment by moment. He is near.
So close, that if you turned around you would run into Him!
So, where are you today? Burdened? scared? running? Come or come back to the faithful One. Just begin talking to HIm. Tell Him everything.
He is right there. Right now. With you.
Let His presence and promise strengthen you. Comfort you. Encourage you and challenge you to make choices that magnify Him, by bringing His amazing presence clearer and more visible into the lives of those around you.
If you have a verse that has encouraged you as to God’s faithfulness, please share it with us in the comment box. We all need reminders of His presence in our lives!
And purpose to reject any thought that you are ever alone!
“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.”
Psalm 139:7-12
  • The preliminary biopsy done in the hospital yesterday showed the node they biopsied to be positive for cancer. The next step for me on this journey is to meet with my Oncologist on Tuesday. She should have ALL the formal tests results back then and we can discuss a treatment plan.
             Please pray for God’s direction and wisdom to be over all aspects of this appointment.
             Thank you!!