Tuesday, January 22, 2013
When I was growing up, we didn't worry about UV rays. I had my share of sunburns - not too many, as I think I learned well from the first serious one. Unlike my sisters, I never really tried to tan anyway - just didn't like to lie around doing NOTHING...
Of course, now we know better - and besides that, the hole in the ozone and all that . When I've gone to the jungle regions of Peru, I've used sunscreen or umbrella against the more direct rays, and usually escaped sunburn except perhaps a slight blush to cheek or nose.
Well, I'd gone to a dermatologist 7 years ago and returned yesterday (which is why I know the last time was that long ago), because one of my sisters had a biopsy of a suspicious bit of skin, and the doctor had told me to keep an eye on a bit I had on my temple. So yesterday he decided it would be a good idea to get it biopsied.
Skin cancer is no laughing matter. But in Christ I have perfect peace. Oh, I'd want all my affairs to be in order to make things easier for my kids when I go to my eternal home. And I'd like Levi to be able to comeup here first and enjoy some experiences in "the Promised Land." But - I'm not worried. If the biopsy shows up positive, all right, what's our next step? If not - praise God, let's press on. Today, I am blessed. I'll be proctoring an exit during the mid-terms, and writing letters to loved ones in Quito, Ecuador. When I finish THAT pack of letters, I'll start some to folks in Iquitos, Peru. I'll continue to speak of the Son of God and encourage them in Him.
Life is good - Eternal life is better.
Monday, January 21, 2013
In my "sparking" I have read many an interesting article. One mentioned the importance of moving around - that even if a person does the recommended amount of cardio in a day, if he/she spent the rest of the day just sitting around, they still risked health problems. It was recommended one moved around every 15 minutes or so. I'd been setting my timer for 30 minutes, and noticed I wasn't as stiff as a result. But after reading that, I began to set the timer for 15-20 minutes.
Okay, so I'm good about following the recommendations for the health of this body. But as close as I get to my "ideal weight" and as fit as I may become, EVENTUALLY I'm going to die. The effects of following healthy advice can only go so far.
But God's word is rich in recommendations for a healthy soul and spirit. Here's just a small example from the book of Ephesians, chapter 5 -
"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord."
Uy, that "greedy" part hits home, from my days of being inattentive to how I ate. Food can be an idol! As much as possible, I want to be a doer of God's word - because the result will last eternally. My soul and spirit will continue after this flesh is gone. James exhorts us in chapter 1- " Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do."
Hey - I want to be blessed!
Saturday, January 19, 2013
The following testimony is very personal. I just finished - for the second time - the Setting Captives Free (settingcaptivesfree.com) course on Purity. I am sharing it here because I know that "no temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man."(1 Cor 10:13), and I know that sometimes food issues are closely tied to sexual issues.
For years I had been in bondage to the sin of self-gratification. My father had porn around the house and this affected my understanding of what was normal. When I received the Lord, fantasizing and self-gratification was still a stronghold, but I was uninformed, ignorant. The Lord was dealing with other issues in my life. After I was married, even though my husband and I had a good enough relationship, I still resorted to self-gratification if I did not feel completely satisfied. But the Spirit began to convict me that this was not pleasing to God, and so it became a struggle as I wanted to cease, but could not. There came a time when my husband's illness and disability contributed to the problem, and I tried to rationalize that self-gratification was better than adultery. But of course, I was committing adultery in my heart! When a brother in Christ (fallible like me!) saw my vulnerability because of my marital problems, and nearly seduced me, it alarmed me because the flesh wanted so much to give in. Later I confessed the matter to my pastors and my husband, who forgave me, and I became desperate to be free from the mental porn I had accumulated, from the thing that interfered with my relationship with the Lord. The Holy Spirit was preparing the way, through sermons about giving up "hidden sins" (I knew they were not hidden from the Lord).There was an opportunity at church to go forward for prayer for deliverance, and so I did. I began to experience a breakthrough at that time -- and soon after, I was referred to the site Setting Captives Free. Through this Bible study course more light was shed on just what it is I was battling. I was especially smitten when I realized my self-gratification was spiritual adultery against my Lord Jesus who endured so much to save me! Through prayer I had been delivered, but through the course I had learned to walk in that liberty. The accountabilty, bringing everything to light, sharing that with my husband...the principles I learned here have been so valuable. I continued in freedom, going on to be a mentor,for about two years. After my husband passed away in 2011, I made a return mission trip to Peru. There a long-standing friendship blossomed into something more. I only had a few days with my new love, and wondered if we could take a short-cut to marriage. The Peruvian government only recognizes civil marriages, and I did not have any of the necessary documents for one. My fiance's father was a pastor, and I asked if we could at least be married in the eyes of the Lord in an informal ceremony, until the following year when I could return with all necessary documents to please the civil authorities. Eager to have his daughter-in-law, he agreed. So Levi and I consummated our committment. When I returned to the States, I let myself return to self-gratification, justifying it by saying that since we were apart, and my body was his, and his was mine, in his proxy I could gratify myself. (The improvement being that I fantasized of him alone) But God is too good to let me continue in self deception. When I returned, we discovered we STILL needed a couple of documents and could not have the civil ceremony. We still had relations, and I considered myself married to him in God's eyes, but finally Levi said we could not expect blessings if we did not do everything in order. Well, I returned, STILL unmarried, to the states, and occasionally gratified myself, but finally was convicted that if I was not really his wife, I needed to be restored to purity and put self-gratification out once and for all. I returned to the Purity course to help me break free again, reviewing the principles. I want to go back to the mentor course and help others too. No excuses! I have such overflowing gratitude and worship to the One Who set me free and through His grace brought me into closer fellowship with Him!
Friday, January 18, 2013
The subject of what we would do in the event of a sudden influx of money has entered my conversations lately. I had to face this kind of decision when my first husband passed away, and I had the insurance money. Well, we had a large credit debt, and the Bible says " the wicked borrow but do not repay"(Prov. 37:21) I don't want to be counted among the wicked, so it was an easy decision to get rid of THAT. The proverb also goes on to say "but the righteous give generously" And I do like to do this. Through my mission trips I have encountered a LOT of need. One could indebt oneself again trying to meet everyone's needs. BUT, that's not my job nor my calling. However, I AM called to visitation and encouragement. I already had funds for the airfare THERE, and what was left from the insurance helped to cover other incidental costs - giving of MYSELF. I would want to do more of this.
I have thought about things I'd like to do to the house. But as far as adding to my possessions - that's just not where my treasure is. I don't care for a lot of "stuff." I have a computer not because I want a computer and all the latest gadgets, but because it helps me "visit" vicariously and encourage from a distance. I value it for its intangible benefits. I don't have to have the latest and the greatest with all the whistles and beeps (my first husband acknowledged his love for shiney gadgets and fancy buttons, so he let ME choose, knowing I'd be more practical : the Frugal Scott!) It just has to work. And while I was never terribly materialistic before, upon coming to Christ my affections for "things of earth" fell off even more. I like clothes that fit and that let me work without having to worry about them. As such I am a total fashion washout. I can admire how other women dress, especially on Sundays at church or at restaurants. But it is so not ME. If I need to "dress up" I usually turn to my daughter for help. Gimme a pair of jeans, or maybe a denim skirt, and a cotton tee-shirt, and I'm good! I can't be worrying about "getting dirty."
And I certainly don't want to acquire more STUFF, because my hope is eventually to move to Peru and establish a permanent work there when traveling around by bus, "combi" (a modified minivan in which you cram as many people as you possibly can), motokar, "lancha" (large boat) or peque-peque (motorized canoe) gets too difficult for my old bones. (And through Spark I can delay that!) My father was a real packrat. He owned this house before me, and when he moved out, he left a lot of stuff - bicycle and tv parts, stuff I had NO idea what it was - and it's been a long time getting things cleared out of basement and attic. I don't want to do that to my kids, and I certainly don't want to be bothered when I'm finally ready to sell this house.
The best thing, I think, is to invest in the Kingdom of God. This could be in ways to extend it - supporting missions or missionaries; helping established ministries here or abroad; helping others fulfill their calling.
So "if I were a rich [woman]", I wouldn't be like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pl7BVr36bbs Some exercise equipment would be nice - not to have STUFF but because it would be strengthening this body " to do good works, which God prepared in advance for [me] to do."(Eph. 2:10) Some GOOD shoes, for my flat feet, so I can do the same...But I think I would want to save for more mission trips and eventually that permanent work.
After all, I'm just passing through here. Eventually all I have HERE will be dust. So, I want to lay up treasure that will last. www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC617kE1maU "
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt 6:19-21
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Not too long before my husband passed away, I talked to him about the possibility of a mission trip that summer. The concern is always having enough in the account for the summer bills, whether I go or not - mine is a ten month job. Usually the tax return gets us through and then some. I already had enough donations held by the church to pay for the airfare. Of course there were the concerns for my husband's health and medical expenses, but we'd seen God come through time and time again. And I was sensing the urging of the Holy Spirit that it was time to go. Still, I didn't want to just cut and run. If my husband preferred me to stay home because of how he was feeling, I was willing. And I was submitted.
Well, the same man who a few years ago had told me he was proud of what I did when our senior pastor accompanied me, glad that the pastor could see me in action, so to speak, this time said to me, "I think you're obsessed." It took me aback. I told him I did not agree, BUT, I was willing to go to our pastors to get an objective look at this. I told him I was submitted to his authority and would stay, but I was pretty sure that I had a CALLING, and if I did not go again while he lived, I would answer the call after he passed away.
We never ended up going to the pastors - the Lord called him home. I DID bring the matter before them - and they were in agreement with me, as long as I met other financial obligations such as the credit debt that had risen largely due to his health issues This I was able to do from the insurance I went that year..and unexpectedly reconnected with Levi.
I still long to return. I love to share about Christ, whether it's from a church pulpit, or in a home. But I know I have something else to do this year, which is get this hip taken care of. And I know that wherever I am, whatever I do - whether working at the school, "driving Miss Daisy," or recovering from hip surgery - I'll be following hard after the Lord.
HE is my obsession, "the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc."(from dictionary.com). And He is magnificent! www.youtube.com/watch?v=cel_O-qy0i0
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