Monday, January 25, 2010
Read: John 16:17-24
You now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. --John 16:22
You may be familiar with the list of seven deadly sins that was formulated during the sixth century: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, vengeance, envy, and pride. But you may not know that the original list compiled during the fourth century also included the sin of sadness. Over the years, that emotion was omitted from the inventory.
Some people are blessed with a cheerful disposition. They always seem to be happy. They wear a perpetual smile almost as if they were advertising toothpaste. But then there are others who seem to be chronically sad. They continually complain about life and its burdens. And who can deny that afflictions are discouraging?
While we acknowledge that not everybody is blessed with a bright outlook on life, we need to remember that joy is one of the gifts Jesus promised to His followers. And we need to resist any tendency to let sadness dominate our emotional lives.
Jesus promised His disciples on the night Judas betrayed Him, "Your joy no one will take from you" (John 16:22). Remember that joy is the fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Let's ask the Lord to help us look beyond our sorrowful circumstances and encourage our hearts by the vision of joy that awaits us (Heb. 12:2). --Vernon Grounds
You alone, Lord Jesus, can true joy impart,
For You know the sorrow of the human heart;
You came here from glory that heart to win
And in love for sinners suffered once for sin. --Anon.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit that's always in season.
The Lord didn't bless me with a "cheery disposition." In fact, I've been called a pessimist more times than I care to think of. Personally, I see myself as more of a realist. You know, someone who KNOWS how bad things can go, and while hoping for the best, still prepares for the worst.
One of the many things God has blessed me with is the ability to pull myself of by my boot-straps, dust myself off, and to keep on going. I know that all things happen for a reason, though a whole lot of things are outside my range of understanding. And it's by faith that I look for the best in not only all situations, but in all people.
I know that being sad not only is a huge drain on me emotionally, but it definitely takes it's toll on me physically. When I'm sad, my health goes down hill quickly. So, on the days that my Fibro, Arthritis, and Lupus are all vying for rule over my body I slow way down and start counting my blessings.
1) When the muscles burn and the joints grind when I walk, I thank God I still can. And I thank Him extra hard when I can leave my cane (as pretty as it may be) leaning out of reach.
2) When I'm exhausted because I haven't slept from tossing and turning, I thank God that I'm already awake to see another sunrise over a brand new day.
3) When I have to take multitudes of medications, I thank God that I'm able to get those meds that really do help.
4) When my eyes won't quite focus, or they sting like crazy, I thank God that I haven't lost my sight again.
5) When money's extra tight because I can't go to work, I thank God that He has provided enough to keep a roof over my head, heat in my home, and water to bathe with. I thank Him extra hard for the blessing of my Mother who is glad to help and even more glad that she can.
The list goes on and on. Every hardship has a blessing in it. Sometimes they may be harder to find, but they are there. Today, I thank Him again for not only those things above, but also for this library computer that allows me to reach out and share His word and my thoughts. And I thank Him for SparkPeople, because I can know there are others who struggle and overcome every minute of every day, just as I do.
If you can't be happy today, it's ok. Just have faith that you will be again and know that someone is praying for you. God bless and take care!
Friday, January 22, 2010
Read: Genesis 39:1-10
The Lord was with Joseph. --Genesis 39:2
At the age of 16, pianist Leon Fleisher made his formal debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic. He went on to win prestigious international competitions and played in the world's finest concert halls. But at the age of 37, Fleisher was struck with dystonia, a neurological condition that crippled his right hand. After a period of despondency and withdrawal, he turned to teaching and conducting, because, as he said he loved music more than he loved the piano.
When our dreams are shattered how do we react? After Joseph, the favored son of Jacob, was sold as a slave by his brothers (Gen. 37:12-36), he could have given in to self-pity and self-indulgence. Instead, Joseph remained true to the Lord. Four times in Genesis 39, we read that "the LORD was with" Joseph (vv.2-3,21,23), and his actions revealed his own faithfulness to God. By his exemplary life, those he serve in Egypt recognized God's presence with him.
Do we love God more than our own dreams? Although Joseph must have grieved the loss of his past and what his life could have been, the Lord, led him to a calling he had never imagined. Today, the Lord longs to lead us. Are we willing to be redirected by Him? --David McCasland
My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But still I'll trust my Lord to lead
For He doth know the way. ~Overton
A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. --Proverbs 16:9
I read OurDailyBread every day to inspire me & to make me think deeper than I might otherwise. The above was January 20th's daily read and it touched me very much.
So many things I have planned and worked on over the years, only to have them "redirected." In 2005 I was sent to a specialist after having so many bizarre health problems and was treated for Systemic Lupus. I responded to treatment and things seemed to start to improve; for a while. In 2006 things were going crazy and in the late spring the Lupus started acting out on my heart. I was raising three children on my own (now all in Middle School and starting High School), working a full time work load (I took on 3 people's jobs at work) and caring for a son with severe neurological orders in a 30 hour work week, and trying desperately to keep up with the house/yard work and everything. I wore the heart monitor holter for a month, used the hand held one for two weeks, then did poorly on the stress-echo. It came down to dropping dead from a heart attack at work or my 3 kids, all before I got to 40, so I left my job of almost 8 years. I had no clue how we'd manage, but I had been praying for a way to start something entirely new for my family. Thinking Nursing School was the way, but no idea how to make it all happen. I truly believe God lined things up just perfect for me to do that and jumped at the opportunity. Lupus would be my blessing, not my disability. I should have realized it would be both!
I started Community College pulling straight A's for my required courses, got a very high score on the required Nursing Exam, and applied to the program with very high numbers. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. I was accepted to the program and began working my way through their beginning courses. Then on Halloween of 2007, while leaving classes and heading home, I came down very ill. I wasn't sure what was happening, and knew that I'd felt it before, but thought I could lay down to make it subside. My mother came and she and my 3 children tried to talk to me. The pain was so strange and severe, and the right side of my face felt like it was laying on my chest, and though I knew what to say those dumb words just would not come out of my mouth. Nothing would. Being "bull-headed" (according to my mother...I prefer strong willed :-) ) I refused to go to the ER. I finally did go see my Dr and according to the MRI, I'd had my first TIA before my 40th birthday. We also had a lovely MS scare that stemmed from not only the location of my brain lesions, but all of the symptoms I'd had for years now. So far so good though, no MS! Just some weird demyelinating disease.
I slowed down my class load like my Dr said and kept pushing ahead. I was determined to at least get through my classes and get that RN degree. God had other plans for me though as I had to leave school near the end of my Spring Semester of 2009. I was only 3 classes from my degree! But apparently some hospitals don't allow canes to be used, or other walking apparatus' in some areas of the hospital (like the ER or ICU)--it's a danger to not only your patient, but other staff and even yourself. Understandable. So, 3-1/2 years of college just ended, just short of my goal.
Since 2006 I have lost my health, my job, two of my children (the girls had to go to their Dad's during the MS scare due to my complications. But! One came back, the other still won't speak to me), my home, my fiancÚ (He turned out to be vicious), and then I tried to lose my life. What have I won? What have I found? I've found that God wasn't ready for me to bail out here and I won a second chance. I won my independence and freedom from a man I loved who loved to hurt me. I've found that I really am a nice person, and that's a good thing. I found my relationship with one of my daughters that seemed to be lost forever. I found I really want to like me and love life again. And I've found MySparkPeople who gives me hope that I could finally be getting on the right track. I've found hope again, and man! is it good!!!!
Good luck to all. I pray you will attain your goals. When things change, and it's tough to see the good in why, remember that it's there. It may be hidden for now, but it IS there.
God bless and take care!
Saturday, January 02, 2010
Behold, I am always with you and will keep you wherever you go. --Genesis 28:15
The highway that winds around the southern shore of Lake Michigan can be treacherous in the winter. One weekend as we were driving back to Grand Rapids from Chicago, a buildup of snow and ice slowed traffic, caused numerous accidents, and almost doubled our drive time. We were relieved as we eased off the expressway onto our final road. It was then that my husband said out loud, "Thanks, Lord. I think I can take it from here."
Just as he finished saying the words, our car spun around 180 degrees. As we came to a stop, hearts pounding, we could just imagine God saying: "Are you sure?"
Why do we sometimes try to go it alone in life when at every moment we have access to God? He said: "I am with you and will keep you wherever you go" (Gen. 28:15). And He assures us: "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Heb. 13:5).
Scottish mathematician, theologian, and preacher Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) wrote: "When I walk by the wayside, He is along with me. When I enter into company, amid all my forgetfulness of Him, He never forgets me, and cares for me."
What a comfort to know that God is always with us--we don't need to go through life alone!
--Cindy Hess Kasper
As I travel down life's pathway,
Jesus keeps me day by day;
And although the road is winding,
Yet, with Him I need not stray.
God's presence brings great comfort.
Friday, January 01, 2010
If you seek (wisdom) as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord. --Proverbs 2:4-5
On January 1, 2008, Keith Severin and his 7-year-old son, Adrien, agreed that they would spend at least 15 minutes every day that year searching together for treasure. Carlos Alcala's article in the Sacramento Bee described how they went out each day in every kind of weather to see what they could find. A year later their collection of coins, golf balls, recyclable bottles and cans, and various other items had yielded more than $1,000. In the process, they enjoyed many hours of companionship and fun.
If we decided to spend 15 minutes a day searching for treasure in the Bible, what would we find? Solomon wrote: "If you seek (wisdom) as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God....Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path" (Prov. 2:4-5,9).
Growth won't happen all at once. But gradually, day by day, we will be changed through reading God's Word and obeying Him. And think of the privilege and pleasure of spending time with our heavenly Father.
It begins with a willing commitment, continues with exciting discoveries, and leads to the treasure of wisdom and life.
Search the Scriptures' precious store-
As a miner digs for ore;
Search, and you will surely find
Treasures to enrich the mind.
Rich treasures of God's truth are waiting to be discovered.
As I said goodbye to 2009, which-like for many-was a terribly trying and tumultuous year, I prayed to see the positive in every day of 2010. I realized that if I treated every day as a treasure hunt for the positive in not just each day, but in myself, that I could regain my positive outlook on life & even me, again. I will reach my goals that I have set for myself. I will let no one, especially me, keep me from them and I will be happier for doing so. God didn't save me from death this past year to approach my second chance at life without knowing I could accomplish things, especially living and loving well.
This year's resolutions are quite different from the pasts. Or, maybe it's just me that is........
1) Gain better control on my health--Don't let the disease control my life. It's MY LIFE!
2) Seek the treasure in every day--Look past the trivial.
3) Treat each day as the blessing that it is--Even if all I can find that day is that God gave me another day to try to get a little bit closer to my goals.
4) Count my blessings as I walk, instead of calories or minutes. It's amazing how much I can shed then! I can lose weight from my shoulders, not just my back-side!
5) Appreciate all that I gain as I work so hard to lose!
Happy New Year, happy new day, and happy new life to all!!!!!
God bless and take care!!
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