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Living Without Hope


HOPE in darkness

How can you live without hope?

I have been pondering this question lately.  I don’t have a reference point for not having hope. As a child even when I was sick I always believed that I was well.  I remember one time when I was in eighth grade and suffering from something the doctors were puzzled about. I had to spend time in the hospital for tests, back then they made you stay in the hospital for as many days as it took to give you all the tests to figure out what was wrong. When I got out my mother was so glad that she bought me new pants. For us that was a really big thing. You only got new clothes when you totally wore the old ones out or outgrew them.

Through good and bad times I have been blessed with a faith in God. So I don’t understand those who do not believe in Him. I don’t know how to live without knowing Him. Daily I feel compassion toward those who do not know Him or have rejected Him because of what others have told them. I grieve over the many people who embrace ways to escape from the reality of this life just to survive another day. Is that really living? I say that it is not.

There will always be times of fear and doubt and times when things are really dark, but in those times we should always remember that we have HOPE as long as we believe in God and what Jesus did for us on that cross. Jesus did not come to the world to become a celebrity. He came to make a way where there seemed to be no way for salvation. He came to bring forgiveness because He knew the nature of man. He came to give us HOPE for an eternal life with Him and the Father.

It is much easier to live rather than just surviving another day when in the midst of the darkness you can see a light that directs you. If we could see what God sees we would be able to understand everything, however God does not show us everything so we have to trust in what He has given us and believe in the promise of our future with Him.

Join me in asking God for His perspective and to show His light in the midst of any darkness. Our world is full of darkness but we are called to be the light. My prayer this week is that we will provide the light to the world that is too dark for comfort.  I will be back next week with more.

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Solar Eclipse, Earthquake, Hurricane, Flooding — Oh My.


IMG_1746This has been an eventful week. We have seen and are seeing so many different natural phenomenons in a short period of time. The solar eclipse caused so many people to gather and have a unified experience. It meant different things to different people but what we could all agree on was that it was monumental, especially for those who were in the path of totality. For me I got to very briefly look through some glasses at the sun about 35 minutes before it was at its fullest in my area, which was only 75%. I also got to see the crescent shaped shadows I remembered from childhood.

I also reflected back to what I have read in the bible that there was a total darkness when Jesus died on the cross. It was a good reminder of the One who gave His life for us so we could be saved from eternal damnation. I rejoice in that.

Then there was a 3.1 magnitude earthquake on Friday morning on my way to work. I did not feel it but it happened at 6:41am and had I been at work then I probably would have felt it. One person described it as a thunder clap and then a rolling of the ground. That took me back to the one’s I had experienced at my previous job, just like that.  Now compared to California earthquakes this was nothing but since we have not been having them here for too long it really is an event. And wouldn’t you know it around the time that Jesus died on the cross the earth shook too.

And of course Hurricane Harvey in the Gulf of Mexico made landfall and is still wreaking havoc as I write, although it has been downgraded to a tropical storm. The devastation of this category 4 hurricane and the subsequent flooding is tremendous. I saw pictures from Port Aransas where we vacationed two years ago, and my daughter just came back from, it is not good. That flooding brings to mind Noah and the 40 day flood. We cannot even imagine the devastation that was brought on by that flood.

Certainly my prayers will go up for all the victims of the disastrous hurricane. All these events stand as a reminder that we should be vigilant because nature will take its course and there will be disasters but we must hold strong to our faith and be the hands of God on this earth to give help where it is needed. To share what we can with those in need remembering that we are here to give Glory to God.

Some events are amazing and some are terrible but they all give us opportunity to show others that we and God love them. Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

Don’t Ignore the Signs


IMG_1740Every day, all around us there are signs of things going wrong. How many of us ignore the signs that something has gone wrong, hoping the problem will fix itself? I know that I have. Take for example, this flower that my daughter gave me this year. It looked gorgeous and Bob hung it outside where I could see it from my seat in the living room. One day 2 weeks ago I looked out and it looked like this. IMG_1739

This is definitely a sign that there is something wrong. I admit I might have ignored it for a while thinking Bob would fix it. Then without any understanding of what had gone wrong I tried to fix this with water, but it did not help.  Bob also tried to fix it to no avail. However today after doing a little research I found out that it might have a fungus from the humid weather we have been having. So even though the label says it can take the heat, it cannot take a fungal infection.

My husband and I usually notice things and try our best to take care of what is within our wheelhouse to do. But there are things that are so much bigger than us that we have no idea what to do to fix them. An example is when I look around at the people in the news; I wonder what went wrong to shape the thinking that they have. And why is our news filled with so many people who ignore the obvious to entertain the ridiculous? It seems the ridiculous has become the norm and you better not call it what it is.

I know from personal experience that most of the people I encounter have some sort of common sense and understand that you cannot ignore what is obviously wrong and call it right. I will take a TV show for example “Orange is the new Black”, I honestly had no idea what that meant until I looked it up today. To me orange is orange and black is black. Dogs are dogs and cats are cats, a frog is not a polar bear and a giraffe is not a snake. Deception is not good.  It may sound funny for a while and it may be entertaining but it is not reality. The fact that many people have begun to believe these deceptions is a sign of how dark our society has become.

Malachi 2:17

You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, “How have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”

Are there people in our world doing evil and being told that it is good in God’s eyes? Yes, this has been happening for many years. The worldly view is that anything goes and as long as you mean well God will delight in you. But scripture does not bear that thinking out. Just like my plant that might have a fungus attacking it, if it is not dealt with the plant will die. If the Body of Christ does not address the darkness, it will take over.

You might ask, “But what can we do when there is darkness around us?” Shine the light of Jesus into the darkness. Watch and listen to what is going on and take it to God in prayer. This world will not be changed by those who do not act. It will be set free by those who do their part with prayer.

Pray for those who don’t see the truth to have their eyes opened and pray for those who see the truth to have the strength to follow and share it.

Enjoy every moment that God gives you. I will be back next week with more.

A Long Commitment


IMG_1605I am in the midst of experiencing pain, excitement and down time. After years of problems with my foot and months of trying everything short of surgery I was told that surgery was my only option left to relieve the pain. So, somewhat reluctantly, I got on board and started this process for healing. My surgery was on Friday May 5th and I am at home for a while healing. I have a three sided hard cast with a soft top on for now and then I will wear the boot again and then slowly back to normal walking with physical therapy. I have been told that it could take up to a year before my foot feels normal.

This is a long commitment but not any longer than the pain that I have experienced in the past. The doctor says that what he did should give me relief from the pain after I heal from the surgery. I will be honest with you, I did not hear him say this because I was out of it but I trust my husband and what he has told me.

As with anything, preparation is the key to making it work. I thank God that my husband agreed we should buy a knee scooter two weeks before the surgery,  which enabled me to get used to it. It made a big difference. I am not going fast or far but I am able to go around the house as needed. I also had to prepare my mind in order to be able to make it through this time.

  • First I had to realize that the pain in my foot was getting worse, all my other options had been taken and I was willing to put up with temporary pain in order to achieve my goal of healing.
  • Then I had to decide that I believed the doctor could do what he had promised.
  • Then I had to spiritually embrace the surgery and possible long road to recovery knowing that GOD is in control and I can trust Him. (Believe me I had been praying for a miraculous recovery all the way up to surgery, but since that did not happen I moved forward. Just like I am now praying for a miraculously quick recovery.)

These decisions parallel my salvation:

  • First I had to decide that I wanted to be saved from my sins and gain eternal life no matter what that meant in my daily life.
    • John 3:16 (NASB)For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
  • Next I had to decide that I believed Jesus could save me no matter what I had done or was doing.
    • Luke 1:37 (NASB)
      For nothing will be impossible with God.
  • And lastly I had to spiritually embrace the life changing decision, give up my control and know that I could handle anything that came my way because GOD is in control.
    • Philippians 4:13 (NASB)
      I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

I hope my journey is an encourgement to those who read this blog. My main purpose is to share real life experiences that could encourage others to continue in their faith. Enjoy your week and I will be back this weekend with more.

H.O.P.E.


I know the seasons are changing because everything in my body is hurting. It is amazing how each little piece of the body plays such a big role in the overall well being of the individual. I am reminded daily that my ankle, foot, and hip are very important to the ability to get around.  Let’s just say that I will not win any races for being the fastest mover.

The challenge is really trying to figure out if this pace is the best there is or if God will heal me of these inconvenient pains. I have been working on getting relief with the help of doctors but this is not showing results so far. I can be patient if I am given hope.

Just like in the Bible God gives us hope that we can be saved and he gave hope to the Israelite nation that they would get the Promised Land.

hope

 

HOPE is Having Our Prospective Enlarged. You might notice that in times when you do not have hope you are looking at things only from the perspective that you can see and not looking at a bigger picture. Faith in God and His promises helps us look at a bigger picture. Prayer to God can open our minds to the bigger picture. If we live just to make it through today we might not have enough hope for our future to endure the pain and struggle.

I wrote about “living in the moment”. I believe that we need to live in the moment we are in and truly embrace it with the perspective that there is a future and a hope in front of that moment. We need to enjoy this life because it is short and keep pressing into God for His perspective so that we can endure the hard times.

If I think that suffering is all that will happen in my life and live only by the pain I feel then I will sink into depression and not want to move forward. That is the trap that has been set, but from God’s perspective this suffering is only for a season, no matter how long, and if I persevere through it embracing the good things that come I will win the race and finish the course. In perseverance I will influence others who struggle and set the captives free through the grace of God. This is a spiritual battle and must be won in the spirit.

balloon basketFor me the bigger perspective is handing down a legacy of love to the next generations. I look at my grandchildren and see that they need their elders to help guide them through this mixed up darkness that we live in. So my hope is that I can pass on courage and strength for them to follow God with all their hearts and meet me in eternity at the end of this life.

I know that many people are suffering with pain and illness. I pray today that each one who reads this will persevere through and see that God is in control right there with you. Ask God to show you more of His plan for you each day to give you encouragement to move forward. Find your HOPE and live in it.

Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

GPS and God


psalm-37-23-frozen-treeHappy New year!!!! The end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 have been a whirl wind for me. I haven’t been able to sit long enough to write a blog until now.  With the New Year came an arctic front that brought just enough snow and ice to this southern location to cause a commuting mess. Needless to say long commutes got a lot longer because of ice on the roads.

Leaving work early is usually a treat but this afternoon it was not. Bundling up in my heaviest jacket and gloves I headed into the cold. With the GPS already telling me it would take at least 2 hours to get home, which is only 36 miles, I settled my mind for a long slow drive. Before leaving the parking lot I set the GPS and briefly checked the unusual route, knowing that it would probably change a few times before I made my way home. After speaking to Bob briefly I started on the trip.

The parking lot was ok, no ice. I looked at my first road and realized that there was a long line—which I have never seen before. A truck let me onto the road and immediately my car began to slide.  Calming myself I began to repeat to myself, don’t touch the brakes on ice, don’t accelerate quickly. I love my little mustang but it has a tendency to slide easily on wet pavement, so I knew ice would be a problem.

Usually I get a bit nervous when the GPS keeps changing my route and at first this was the case however I believe it took me the quickest route. There was a lot of ice on bridges and overpasses and on streets, under trees and ramps. My route changed several times and I drove on some streets in the city that I have never taken. I passed near the interstate a few times and even got on once just to get right back off onto another side street that was moving faster.

In the two hours it took to get to my house I saw several wrecked vehicles on the slick roads. The first one I saw was a pickup truck with a trailer that had jackknifed in the left lane, then there was the car turned backwards at the beginning of a high ramp and many others as I drove on. Each incident made me a little more cautious.

As I drove I prayed for safety for myself and Bob. I wanted us both to make it home safely and relax. Despite high stress levels while driving in these conditions we both made it home safely and for that I praise God.

Spending that intense time just listening to the GPS for further direction to get me through that tough drive is like what we should be doing with God. We have all had tough times where we feel danger lurking and see the carnage of life all around us. In these times it is important that we do like I did to get home, get in the driver’s seat, turn on our engines and move forward while listening to God to show us the best path to get to our desired destination.

Psalm 37:23 (NASB)

23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.

Enjoy your winter wonderland and I will be back next week with more.

In The Face of Tragedy


IMG_0725This has been a tough week. Any week where there is a tragedy is difficult but this one was too close to home. My husband let me know what was going on as soon as I opened my eyes on Friday morning. It took me a long time to wrap my mind around what he told me. And over time the facts were clarified and some initial fears were calmed.  The shooting that killed five police officers and injured six others was so wrong and unnecessary. What has gone wrong? What can we do?

In my nature I want to fix things. I want know the right thing to do to change what is wrong and make it right, but this isn’t always possible. So then I have to reign in my thoughts and figure out what I can do. I could sit around all day and wonder how we got here, but in reality this does not help me at all. So I need to live in this moment of time and figure out how I can help.

For this I can rely on past experience for help. When I was a housing and credit counselor I would spend my days helping people realize where they were financially and regardless of how they got there help them find a way to deal with their situation. Then we would work on building good financial habits moving forward.

Similarly as a Christian we accept people where they are and help them move forward toward God. It is up to them and God to deal with everything else. In the situation we find ourselves in today with shootings and bombings and just general destruction and disregard for life, what does God want?

I believe God wants to see how we will handle this. He is looking for the character of Christ in our actions and reactions. He is watching what is going on and wondering who will step up and cry out to Him for help. He is looking for prayer warriors and people with passion and compassion for others to step up and show the love of God in our society. He is looking to see who will shrink in fear and go into hiding. He is looking for those who will reach out and help those in fear to step out and be the light. He is looking for soldiers who will fight the good fight and keep their faith despite what happens around them. He is looking for those who get closer to Him and not further away.

Now the question becomes, which one of these will I be? I really want to run away from the situation and forget it happened, but that is impossible. When I am not sure what to do I can always find direction by looking at what not to do. Bringing God glory and pleasing Him is my number one priority. In Proverbs 6:16-19 we can see a list of things that show us what not to do.

Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV (my note)

There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:

  1. haughty eyes, (pride)
  2. a lying tongue,
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that devises wicked schemes,
  5. feet that are quick to rush into evil,
  6. a false witness who pours out lies
  7. and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

By avoiding what God hates I will be doing the right thing.

I resolve to:

  1. Be a light in the darkness by not allowing my actions and words to be what God hates.
  2. Show God’s love to everyone around me
  3. Help others walk away from actions that will incite more violence.

Will you join me in this quest? Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

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