Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chew that Cud!



I bought a book yesterday on memorizing  large portions of scripture.Memorization of the Bible has always  been close to my heart.  I memorized MASSIVE amounts of scripture in order to get a free week at a Christian camp in New Hampshire.  I did that several years in a row. As a result I know more scripture by heart than anyone I know , Including my pastors.  One mistakes I have made is that I picked and chose verses and memorized them out of context.  This book says never to do that.  Memorize whole chapters and then memorize whole books. The longest passage I ever memorized was 1 Cor.  13, the "love chapter"  I did that when motivated by a childhood boyfriend.

Today I ordered a compact large print  NASB  Bible to use solely for my memorization. I will be memorizing 1 John for my first project.  It should take me roughly 4 months.  I'm quite excited by this project.  Even in the verse I was memorizing today I can see that there is much I do not know about Scripture despite all my memory work and reading the whole Bible through in devotions.  This will enable me to "chew the cud"and really ruminate over the true guts of the passages. As I have "preached" at church about the critical task of giving God's Spirit a megaphone and a vocabulary, God's Spirit has OFTEN spoken to me via Scripture I'd memorized decades ago and thought I'd forgotten but in my moment of need, there it was.

I'm hoping in the memorization of these books that I will be able to mull over concepts and truly get all the 'nutrients' from God's Word.

Do you need another reason to undertake a project this massive? How about God commands it?

Get the book by Andrew M Davis called An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture...He presents an  indestructible argument for the case of this undertaking as commanded by God's Word.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dear Penny

I dug up  this "gem" from the annals of a different blog I used to keep active. I wanted to share this with you as it holds some keys to my attitude toward the pain a life can bring and why God sometimes sees fit to let us walk through the depths.

Dear Penny:
golden pennies

The following post is a “Comment” in response to a blog post  written by a blogger friend of mine who is going through some major struggles at this time in her life.  I started to write this comment on her blog…and it got so completely out of hand, that I see it needs to be  whole post of its own…so here goes nothing….and everything….
hi Penny,
It’s 1:45 AM,….thought I’d drop in on your blog, as I’ve spent a lot of tonight praying for you.
I had a couple of thoughts as I read your post:


If God can move a mountain, then moving you or things in your life to get them where He wants them to  be (where, btw, they will also be BEST for you) is not beyond him.


The other thing that came to mind when I read your post is the parable Jesus told in Mt. 20:1-16. (It is too long a passage to quote here so you will have to look it up, sorry about that.)

Jesus’ dealing with each one of us is going to be different than it is with others.  I too used to struggle as I watched all these bubbly, happy Christians and then looked at the sorrow and pain and struggle of my own life.  It seemed to be so unfair.  And how could I love a God like that; who would be “kind” to them and “unkind” to me?
Then I learned that in my struggle Jesus was blessing me.
He was having me “go deep” in the things of God…while these happy-go-lucks were only skimming the surface.  and the answers that satisfied them, did NOT satisfy me…so I was forced to dig and to plummet more deeply into his grace; to drink of a well whose waters came straight from the earth’s core….  But my friend…those  waters will refresh and invigorate and give life to you in ways that casual “praise the Lord anyways” will never bring you.  And you will be blessed to know a Jesus of whom they will never even in their wildest dreams catch a glimpse.

Do NOT compare yourself or your walk or your lot in life with others.  It is yours . God has entrusted YOU with it and no one else.  Those are the terms he has given you to accept or to leave…not them.  He is God, the Lord Almighty…we can’t question his ways…and you can scream and cry about the unfairness of it…or you can take what he offers you and find out just WHY it was that that was the manner in which he presented himself to you in that way.
And that finding out is a journey that may take you for the rest of your life.

But one thing is sure; it will grow deeper and sweeter, every minute that you give yourself to him…that you entrust yourself to his hands.  That doesn’t mean you won’t have some “hell and high water” to go through on the way; Lord knows, I certainly have.  But I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Because the Jesus  I am honored to know today is someone that NO ONE ELSE in the world knows the same way I do.  And that is a direct result of the hard road I’ve walked…and the fact that it was God alone, who got me through it.

And his love is so deep and so wide that every believer can say the same thing if they are sincere in their pursuit of him…and the same will be true for them…He cannot be tapped out, overextended or exaggerated….He is too big, too deep and too wide to ever come up short…..
So, yeah. It may be hard.  It may not feel satisfying now…or even for the next year or even several years.
But I can swear to you with all the sincerity that is in me and with the knowledge that comes with walking with Jesus for 45 years brings me (and yeah, I took a 15 year “break” from that walk to fall down my private rabbit hole…but you get the idea)–that it will be worth every aching moment of it when one day you get a glimpse of who he is and what he’s been doing of you in these struggles…and you see how he will begin to bless and reward you for being faithful “through it all”….
God bless and keep you in his mighty arms…today and every day….and every lonely night.
your sister in suffering,
And friend in joy,
“C”

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fearless

I was reading the words of the27 year old son of my friend. This young man has a disease (which name escapes me now) that causes he horrific pain when he eats.And just two weeks ago he was in a car accident and nearly died, sustaining a shattered hip and multiple spinal fractures. His thoughts subsequent to the car accident? He said, "If I can deal with my disease and the pain of these injuries, then basically, I can endure anything." 

We live "in fear" of violence. But you know what? Some bodies sustain violence every minute of every day. I just went through what has been said to be the most painful surgery and recovery that exists.  I was scared going into it, I confess. But I woke up and yeah, it hurts, but it didn't make me succumb to screams of pain.  RAtherI was thinking, "Yeah?  This is it?  Maybe it's the rehab that is so painful."And yes, the rehab was very painful....but it did not throw me. It did not make me shrink back.  I've been through 6 hip dislocations and Ican honestly tell you , that is the worst pain I've experienced...outdoing even a difficult child-birth. 

One thing I have discovered about myself is that with each subsequent pain I am less and less thrown by it. I ask myself...if I were kidnapped by radical Muslims and tortured and beaten....would I buckle? I do not think so. I think I now understand pain. I have learned to endure just about the worst pains possible. And no,I have not experienced the pain of the Roman flogging and crucifixion...and I will not be blasphemous and say that I could endure what He did....because certainly, I cannot; and because He did, I do not have to.

I have a very painful disease.  There is something about the fact that I am never without pain that is especially cruel; especially daunting. But I do not "curse God and die." Rather "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away....blessed be the name of the Lord." And Sometimes, the gift is in the giving --as in having a passel of healthy children and sometimes the curse is in the giving, as in the assignment of painful disease....and then the gift is in the removing --or the pain is in the loss. I have come to understand the pain of the giving. And less understood the pain of the loss.I do not think that the lessons I learned in the behest will apply in the losing.They are very different types of pain. The only pain of loss that I suffer is the absence of a loving husband.That pain has made me hard. calloused and at the same time it hurts with the intensity of being boiled in oil.No. I cannot brag that I have cracked the code of pain.Nor have I defeated chronic severe depression.That is a hell all its own. I did not defeat it...NOR however, did it defeat me. So we are tied.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

God Shed His Grace on Me

Grace.
Unmerited favor.
God extends grace to us....and expects us to extend grace to others. If you haven't guessed by now,through reading my thoughts in this blog, I am not always the most gracious person. I speak hastily...and I can be critical of people.
I hate this about myself.
I have decided to think about grace; to read up on what Scripture says about Grace; and to ask God to develop his grace in me toward others.

Sometimes I read my words in this blog and I cringe.
It's amazing that anyone still wants to read my thoughts here. I read the blogs of other Christian writers....and they are so gracious and sweet.  I can sometimes come down hard on them...claiming that they are putting on a nice face but that it is only skin deep.   How do I know that?  Is not skin-deep grace better than NO Grace???

I don't think, in "real life" that I am as harsh as I can come across in this blog.  I pray with my friends who are going through some tough times. I pray for them with tears.  I pray with them on the phone or in person.  And God gives me grace then. He has given me a sensitive heart for the sufferings of others.

Lately, since I got my Kindle Fire for Christmas, I have a
"Prayer Warrior" app on it....and it has REALLY helped me to keep my promises to people to pray for them. And thus far, I have seen some answers.

Just the day before yesterday I got word about a minister friend, who has been attending my church while he is preparing to take on a new ministry and pastor a new church. Well, somehow, he fell off of a ladder and severely injured his spine and his tongue (I'm gathering that he bit his tongue badly)....I don't know what other injuries he has but do know that he was transferred from a local hospital to a larger medical center.  My heart breaks for him and his wife.  I don't know what their financial needs are or whether they have adequate medical insurance.  But please pray for my friend.  His name is Don.

And pray also for  my friend whose husband shot and killed himself a couple of months ago and for her 27 year old so who was in a serious car accident and required a hip replacement and two braces because of spinal fractures. Please pray for Mary and Matt.  They have serious financial needs and now desperately need a car for Mary to get to her new job.

Grace.
America....America God shed his grace on thee. There are so many heartaches surrounding us.  SO many needs that break my heart. God we do need your Grace.  Make it abundant in my life. May my words be full of grace.   May my prayers exude grace.  Thank you for your goodness and please meet the needs of those who suffer.  Temper my harshness...grant me gentleness.  Amen.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Did God Really Say that?

Did someone ever take a verse out of context and wave it at you like a flag?  There is a verse that people have quoted to me over and over,along with the absurd statement that"you are already healed....you just have to claim it"?  And they never fail in their prayers to use this verse and demand that God meet his promise through it, that every person who is sick and injured,if they are a believer, are already healed in Christ's name by his blood.

Here is the verse:

and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
1 Peter 2:24

Now can you tell me after reading that verse that God was talking about a physical healing? No  he was not.He was talking about the "disease" of sin and death.  And our sin was nailed to that cross in the body of our beloved Savior,Jesus Christ. That "plague" that leads mankind to eternal death is the reason Christ was slaughtered on that cross and his blood has washed away our sin.
 I do appreciate the hearts of those who have prayed for me - but I do believe that if God intended to heal me he would have done so a long time and thousands of prayers ago. When you pray for me,pray for me things that I can really use!

  • Pray that I will have strength to get through each day.
  • Pray that I will be kind to my husband even though I'm leveled by pain.
  • Pray for the medicine I'm taking to start working
  • Pray that my illness will give me opportunities to tell others about the goodness of Jesus.
  • Pray that the pain would either diminish or that God would give me the courage to face it.
 Please do not take God's Word out of context to claim promises he did not make.Yes, God heals....but he  does not heal everyone all the time.  I desperately need prayer,but in other areas....if you still want to pray for my healing you  may do so, but use God's Word rightly and save some time for those other prayers which God HAS promised to answer.