Under His Wings, you will find refuge.

Under His Wings, you will find refuge.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Standing strong through the storm

We all have those periods in our life when things happen that leave us feeling discouraged, defeated and without hope. Events overtake us and we find ourselves angry, frustrated, hurt and alone. We can often feel like God has deserted us.

We've been praying and praying for a certain situation for many years to no avail. Nothing has changed. We begin to beat ourselves up and turn on those closest to us. "Why Lord, why haven't you answered my prayer. I've been a faithful servant. Why haven't things changed" we ask Him.

I believe the answer to that lies in God's perfect timing. We just don't know what His plans are and how he is going to accomplish them. It is our job, as his faithful servants to believe. Believe that He knows exactly what He's doing. Spend our time in prayer and supplication. Spend our time praising him for what He's going to do whenever He decides to act.

Our lives work intricately together as part of His master plan. We don't know how all the pieces fit together, only He does. And believe me, He knows exactly what he's doing. That doesn't mean it's easy. Far from it. It is one of the hardest things in the world to sit back and let someone else take control of the situation because we think we can do a better job and a job that is much quicker. I mean, after all, we know all the details of the situation that is bothering us, we've been intricately involved from the beginning. No one else knows everything like we do, right?

That may be what we are thinking, but don't forget that the God of the universe knows every single little detail of our lives, each one of us. He hold us in the Palm of His Hands. He's watching from above, and he's seen everything that we've seen. He's cried right along with us during the toughest times of our lives.

I remember back in 1997 when I was going through my health crisis and the doctors were stumped. They didn't know what I had. I had been to doctor after specialist doctor, had test after test and still no answer from the men "practicing medicine."

My Dad was a huge source of strength during that time for all of us. He told my understandingly worried husband, " Steve, God created Nicki, you, me and everything and everybody on this earth, You think he can't take care of a little problem like this? Nicki's life is in his hands. We have to just keep praying."

Boy, was my Pop right. So often, we think WE have the answers to the problems we run up against in life. When really, often, we are clueless but we are just too proud to admit it. We are in way over our heads but we still think we have the best ideas. WRONG!

The Lord wants us to turn whatever is bothering us over to Him. He doesn't want us to worry or be fretful about things we can't control. Of course the great verse from Matthew 6:25-34 about worrying is one we all know well:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 

It's so true, isn't it? Can we add one hour to our life by worrying about anything?

Matthew 11:28-30 also reminds us to rest in Him.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

He wants us to stay focused on Him and Praise Him through the storm, thanking him for what we already know he is going to do. A great verse from the book of  Psalms is Psalms 50:15 …call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."

The main thing that will help any of us in the middle of any crisis is to stand strong with the Lord. He is faithful and He will not let you down. He will take your circumstance, whatever it may be, and turn it around for his glory if you let him. One of my absolute favorite verses in the bible is this one from the book of James:

James 1:2-4  "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
Cry out to Jesus in your distress! Listen to Praise music, read bible verses, pray and believe that He is going to deliver you or your loved one from the storm. Everything will be just fine in God's perfect timing. Stay Strong and Believe that He has everything under control.

My verses for today are above in red.

My prayer for today:

Lord Jesus

Help me, Help me to depend on you when the storms of life come. Help me to spend my time praising you, believing in you and your perfect timing. Let my life Glorify you in the midst of any trial I face.

I pray, 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Suffering and pain or death with dignity?

Recently, a Facebook friend of mine posted this question on her page? "What do you think about assisted suicide? Good or bad, give me your opinions..."

I wasn't surprised to see that many people who responded to her question felt that assisted suicide (in cases of the terminally ill or when someone is in a situation where that person is enduring tremendous chronic pain) is perfectly OK and is actually the right of the person to end their own life.

Death with dignity is the catch phrase used to end your own life on your own terms. Why should you suffer when you can end your life and be out of your pain. That phrase Death with Dignity made me think of one of my own favorite phrases.... "What would Jesus do'?

What does the Author of Life, God Almighty, think about anyone in his creation ending their lives in their own timing, not his?

It's a complicated subject and one that is highly charged, that is for sure. In all honesty as a person who has suffered greatly these past twenty years living with the progressive, debilitating disease multiple sclerosis, I would be a liar if I said that I hadn't at least thought about it on some of my worst days when I felt I just couldn't take it anymore.

It's very hard when you are in pain all day, every day. It's not for the faint of heart, that is certain. It's gotten harder as the years have gone by. Not being able to drive anymore and being home bound almost all the time now opens up new challenges. Having cognitive problems on top of that makes it doubly hard. But that is my life, and one that I have learned to accept. Besides, this life is only temporary, I'm just passing through on my way to be with Jesus.

Any of those deeply disturbing thoughts I've had about ending my own life, have been quickly overrun with what I think God would think about such an atrocity? How could I stand before Jesus and justify my actions? We all will account for every word and every action taken during our life at the judgement seat.

And what about my family? How could I do that to them? Having two family members of my husband end their life that way, I have witnessed first hand the devastation left behind for their loved ones to try and pick up.

And what about God's Grace? He gives us His Grace to help us in all situations, right? I certainly have found that to be very true.

I began to avidly search my "go-to" book of life, God's Word, the Bible. Any questions you have about life, the answers can be found within the pages of this treasured book. You need only seek, and truly, you will find.

Here are a couple of verses I found that popped right up to me.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Psalm 34:17-20

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

2nd Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

For me, the answers were clear and simple. Life is something given by God. Life is something to be treasured and protected at all costs, no matter what the circumstances. God can use your suffering and trials, if you let him. But you must seek His will to do that.

I certainly can understand and even empathize with those suffering through life living with chronic pain and living without hope. But the Lord doesn't want anyone to be without hope. He is the Hope of the World. Only He can bring Hope to a seemingly hopeless situation. He is the light of our lives.

The Bible points the way to anyone who is searching:

Romans 5:2-5 

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

I try everyday to take my suffering and use it to bring Glory to God. I'm sure I don't always succeed, but that is my goal. Suffering is part of this life. If we want a pain free life and body, we have to wait until we get to heaven. And anyway, why should I be sparred from suffering during my time here on earth when my Lord and Savior was nailed to a tree and died a horrifying brutal death? Kinda puts everything in perspective doesn't it? Sometimes I feel silly even complaining the least little bit about anything I've had to endure when I think about the suffering of Jesus.

He is the one who gives me the strength I need to face each new day, no matter what it may bring. I cling to this verse to help me on my toughest days:

1 Peter 4:12-19:

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 

Thank you Lord for giving me the strength to get through even the toughest of days. Help me to continue to strive to bring you Glory, through it all.

My verses for today are above in red.

My prayer for today:

Lord Jesus, 

I pray today for those living without hope. I pray for those suffering in life without having you by their side. Ease their pain Lord. Be with them Lord, open their hearts to you. Give them the strength they need to reach out to you Lord, for we know that you are our only Hope. Thank you Lord for each new day.


Friday, April 14, 2017

What Easter means to me

Why did He do it? Why was he born? Why did He live on this earth a short 33 years only to be brutally beaten, humiliated. and spit at, Matthew 26:67 says "They spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, "Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?" They made fun of him and He died a brutal death nailed to a cross. But Why? Why would He endure all this?

He did it for us. He did it for you and for me. Jesus Christ, son of God the Father Almighty, was born into this world of the virgin Mary for one purpose and one purpose alone. He was born to die. He was born to be a sacrifice for our sins. It was prophesied many times in the bible. Isaiah 53:7 told us "He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter…” 

He came because He fulfilled God's Holy Word  John 3:16 tells us this holy truth: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Easter is the holiest day in the Christian calendar. It's what our faith is all about. We have hope because Jesus came, He lived and He died according to His Father's holy plan. He fulfilled the Scripture for us. 

Jesus was fully God and fully human. He knew and felt all the same emotions that you and I feel. 

He knew exactly what was going to happen to him. He knew he was going to be sacrificed for our sins but He obeyed His Father and did things according to His plan.

He could have said no. He could have turned His back and run in the other direction. But he didn't. He fulfilled the Holy Scripture and endured the horror of it all for us .Matthew 25:35 "And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots."

So what does all this mean to us? It means Hope. It means New Life. It means all things broken and torn down can become new again. 

Spring is a wonderful, blessed time of the year. Everything is new, everything is fresh and everything that has been dead all winter comes back to life. To me, it's not coincidental that Easter happens in Spring time.

Jesus, who suffered greatly, who endured the most horrific kind of death, was buried and on Easter Sunday He rose again from the dead. He rose to show us that we too, can have new life if we believe in Him. 

That is what gives me Hope. As I endure these increasingly difficult days living with the relentless disease of multiple sclerosis that is ravaging my body, I find my only true hope comes from the One who knows what suffering is all about.

In my MS prayer group, a Facebook friend of mine posted that she was discouraged by her advancing MS. She understandingly felt bitter about what MS had stolen from her and as her disease advanced she was certain that it was only going to get much worse and she would be a bitter old woman. I surely can relate. If I stop and look at how my life has changed over the course of these last almost 20 years since my MS diagnosis, I could go absolutely mad thinking about about how my life has declined from what it used to be. 

But those changes are in the comparison of what the world may expect from me. They have nothing at all to do with the Lord expects from me. He can use me in anyway, at anytime as long as I have breath in my body. I have to slap myself sometimes to remind myself of what is really important. 

To encourage my sweet friend, I told her that as believers we have Easter and Easter is about Hope. We may be suffering now, but one day our suffering will end and we will have brand new, undamaged bodies that we can walk with, and dance with and enjoy everything we are missing now. I reminded her that Satan wants her to feel defeated and will throw lies and anything he else he can think of to make her feel that way. Don't let him win I said!!!!

We have this Amazing Hope of Easter because Jesus came and died for us. He endured a horrible death and things that are surely unimaginable to us, so that we could have the promise of Hope, and the promise of New Life. 

If you are facing things in your life to seem insurmountable to you, stop. Stop and think about what Jesus faced. Turn your troubles over to Him and you too can have a New Life in Christ.Your troubles may not go away, but you will have the Creator of the Universe by your side to help you every step of the way and that makes all the difference in the world.

My verses for today are above in red.

My prayer for today:

Dear Lord:

Thank you for your son. Thank you for what he did for us on that cross. Thank you for sending Him to save us from our sins. I'm so grateful that He fulfilled your plan of salvation and endured horrible pain so that we may have new life. 

Help me to live each day for you. Help me to be a beacon on a hill that others may look to to see your glory. Help me to never complain because Lord I know I am surely blessed in spite of this nasty disease. Thank you for your Amazing Grace that gets me through each day.

In Jesus name I pray,