Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to Worry

I love the way the Lord created what we call a “day.”
Sunshine and light for activity and a moon to glow in the dark night to slow things down and ease us into rest.
We have definitely become adept to upsetting this gentle flow, as many of us have to work at night and sleep during the day. Kids are also great for putting a kink in our awake and sleep patterns!
It is commonplace now for stores to be open all night. Just to age me ( and maybe you,) I remember when stores closed by 8pm and many were not open on Sundays!. AND, get this: TV programming went off by midnight!
We have learned how to beat the clock!
Or have we?
There are just so many options available to keep us awake and our brains on high alert!
With more and more to think about, do and get, are we inadvertently allowing ourselves to be pick pocketed by the very things we are giving our attention to?
Listen to this sound advice given by “the man who had everything” -King Solomon in Psalm 127, verses 1 and 2
“Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.”
I love that the Lord doesn't want us to be stressed out basket cases! It is not Him who is pressing us to stay up all night and get up early to brood over things that concern us.
Instead, He invites us to cast all our cares on Him, because He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)
Isn’t it amazing that the God who spins the stars into place cares about the details of our lives?
Worry can feel like a roller coaster ride in your stomach. 
When we recognize it’s gnawing momentum, we can get off the ride by taking a couple of really practical steps.
1.Tell the Lord exactly what it is you are concerned about.
For some of you this is easy, You’re acutely aware of precisely what it is that eating you up.
For others, you know you have the disease of worry and will readily admit it, but the real thing you are concerned about is shrouded by the symptoms you have grown accustomed to feeling: a vague sense of queasy uneasiness.
Getting to the bottom line of what is causing us anxiety is important and freeing!
Ask yourself, “what am I really worried about right now?”
For example: Is it concern over being able to perform my tasks? 
Or is it a deeper fear over what someone might think about me if I don’t do them a certain way?
2. Live in the present.
Jesus said..”Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34
I love that Jesus didn’t negate the reality that there are things that we will be concerned about. He just told us today’s are enough for today!
I think that is the key to dealing with crippling worry. Not projecting all our “what if’s” into tomorrow.
In all these passages, I see the love of our Father reaching out to lift the burdens of His weary children. A touch made a reality because of Jesus.
It is He who cries out to us,Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Wherever you are right now, may you be deeply comforted by fact that He is right there  with you, awaiting to graciously lift off your weights of worry.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Now, to Him..

As Christmas Day approaches, it’s good to remember just whose birth it is we are celebrating.
The baby born in that humble manger over 2000 years ago, was not simply a good man, a great prophet or a son of God.
Jesus is God.
Evidences of His deity are splattered all over the pages of scriptures.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”  John 1:1-3
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..”John 1:14
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily..” Colossians 2:9
“And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.” Hebrews 1:3
Jesus, the Creator left heaven to come to earth and become like us, to ultimately give His perfect life, to pay the penalty due for our sins.
Jesus became fully man while remaining fully God.
Meekness and Majesty, manhood and Deity, all wrapped together in the best gift any of us could ever ever receive.
For me personally tonight, when considering the greatness of our God and Savior, this passage comes to mind:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:15-17
Today, the invisible God, visibly showed His hand at work in my life.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I must concur.
As the doctor handed me the images of my PET scan taken Friday, some things were missing when compared to my previous scan in Oct.
Where, I had 3 cancerous lymph nodes before, 2 “cannot be seen” and the remaining one has reduced in size.
The primary cancerous tumor in my lung, has gone from roughly 3 by 6 centimeters, down to approximately 2 by 2 cm.
The nurse said they were all jumping up and down in the back room and want to use me for a case study, as this is pretty significant change in a short period of tome.
When I told my son Chris that, he said, “Yeah, a case study in PRAYER!!”
I see prayer as a great act of love and sacrifice and I am forever humbled and grateful for every single one uttered on my behalf. 
I am also thankful for the medicine that has been used in this process.
BUT no prayer and no medicine, would ever have any effect were it not for the God who is Lord over every atom and every cell, as He holds all things together by His Mighty Power.
All Glory and Honor and praise to HIM, as I find myself this Christmas week rejoicing like the angels did that very first Christmas.... in awe at His appearing.
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”  Luke 2:14
May He be glorified in all things in our lives, as we receive the wonders of His great love for us each and every day, in every circumstance. He is faithful.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Eph. 3:20-21

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winter Wonder-land

Winter has never been my favorite season. Growing up in Albuquerque (yes, it gets cold there) and dealing with snow and frosted car windows, sliding through ice on the roadways, and all the time and hassle of having to bundle yourself and the kids up just so you can go outside...ugh!
Let’s just say for this, among many reasons, I am so thankful to live in Tucson!! 
Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy..:)
Adverse weather has a way of slowing things down. People are forced indoors more of the time as the circle of manageable activities tightens. As it does, household members are usually together more, which can be an opportunity to focus in on those relationships.
Adverse situations can change our pace too. In fact, I don’t see how they can’t. Our routines are shaken up when events out of our control take over. 
We can react to these situations by gritting our teeth and just making it through the storm until till things clear. Or, in the eye of the hurricane, we can take comfort and strength from God’s direction in Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”.
As the winter months bring a sense of stillness to nature, so can “winter” season in our lives.
Often, when this happens, we freak out! We simply are not used to a lack of busyness and activity. 
These times can be invaluable for stripping things down to evaluate what we really need to give our time and attention to.
As my daily routine has been “minimized” during this time, I have discovered that God doesn’t really want anything from me most the time. He just wants to be with me. To show me His love and His faithfulness. 
And then to let that flow through me to those around me.
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12
It truly is all about the Giver and not the gifts. Being present more than presents.
Today may you be stopped in your tracks by His avalanche of love for you. 
Hey, you are His favorite!

* I have PET/CT scan this Friday and a follow up appt. Monday the 19th with the doctor. I appreciate your prayers!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Water, Water Everywhere!

We’ve had quite a bit of moisture here here last couple of days. And not only in Tucson, Much of the west and southwest is experiencing the effects of a major storm off the coast of California. Winds were 90 mph in Los Angeles yesterday and clocked at 100 in parts of Utah. The storm brought snow to many regions, while we Tucsonans are getting wet with rain.
Rainy days can seem dreary, but the water they bring is essential to life and growth in the desert.
Storm waters can be destructive, but even after the greatest flood the world will ever know, the lives God preserved, emerged from the ark untouched. The promise and hope of a new life for Noah and his descendants was brightly painted in the sky as they beheld His striking visible promise-the rainbow.
Just like weather driven storms, storms in our personal lives can often strip away debris, leaving only what is immovable and unshakable.
The truth of God’s Word is the Rock that remains through all of life’s storms.
Listen to Jesus words regarding the importance of not only hearing but applying God’s word in Matthew 7:24-25: 
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”
Difficult times are inevitable in life. We will all face them to varying degrees. Running, away, hiding from or trembling in anticipation of their arrival won’t make them disappear.
Solidifying His truths in hearts daily, will help prepare our spiritual houses for their descent.
Since entering this “current trial” in my life, I have felt and (expressed) a million different emotions and have gone through some pretty physically challenging moments. Through them all, the faithful companion God has so graciously given me has held me, cried with me, (alot) prayed with me, encouraged me, walked with me, cooked for me, shopped for me and driven me when I couldn’t. 
There have been so many of you that have helped me in so many ways and I am so so grateful for you all and humbled beyond words. I simply couldn’t have done it this far without your prayers, encouragement and acts of generosity and kindness. Sincerely.
But this particular shout out goes to my sweet husband for so faithfully living up to that word. 
Solomon’s song, chapter 8, verse 7 says: 
Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can the floods drown it.”
True love withstands the tests and trials of life’s storms. It is not drowned out, diminished or discouraged. When the turbulent waters rise, it only grows to billowing swells that overcome each menacing wave.
If this day and age of unfaithfulness and selfishness, true love shines brightly like a welcoming lighthouse beam on the shore of hope, seen eagerly by those in the midst of a stormy sea.
So thank you, Robert.
And to all of you who daily and faithfully care for those you love by: giving, helping, hanging in there, laughing and crying with your loved ones...keep it up!
When the storms come, your boat will not be overtaken.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Cor, 13:13