Friday, March 27, 2015

About Face

Some of you may have noticed that I posted and then removed two other articles....both regarding a rude telephone call I received yesterday. It was vicious and uncalled for, and I confess it completely knocked me off my pins. Even this morning, I woke with the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I did not feel like reading my normal Scripture reading this morning but I knew I needed it.  Penicillin for the soul. Here is a portion of what I read this morning:

Psalm 143
Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,
    for my depression deepens.
Don’t turn away from me,
    or I will die.
Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
    for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
    for I give myself to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
    I run to you to hide me.
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
    on a firm footing.
11 For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life.
    Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.
12 In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies
    and destroy all my foes,
    for I am your servant.

I had just been thinking recently as I read all of the Psalms that refer to David's enemies.  I recall thinking, "I do not think I have any enemies--other than demonic ones of course. "  But here. Yesterday, God showed me that I do have people who do not wish me well.  And it was a hard thing to handle.  But he also showed me that the God in me, will rise above the rancor in her...and he will grant me the victory and the courage to rise above the feigned friendship and thinly veiled animosity from this woman.

He also showed me that I was wrong in my initial belief that this one attack negated all my years of being obedient to God's command to me to express myself in this Blog, in articles and in my book....This woman simply does not have the authority to cancel all the benefit I have been to others...And truly I have had MANY more expressions of gratitude and blessing than I have had by this one jealous woman.

So I removed the first two posts (although if you subscribe by email you may have received them anyway).  My father put it succinctly.  "HOGWASH" when he read my second article from yesterday.  So I felt that I needed to close the circle and let you know that once more, GOD reigns in my life --not that He didn't yesterday...but it's kind of hard to see His majesty when you are face-down in the mud.

The important thing is that I know she is wrong.  God knows she is wrong. And now I know that when she calls again, she will be getting my voice mail.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Praying for Shalom

Picture:  Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of his arrest, on the eve of his death....praying fervently to the Father to take the "cup" from him. Jesus, the human, was scared to the point that he sweat droplets of blood from his forehead.  With each request to his Father to please find another way, he yielded his will and submitted to the Father's plan, yet still desperately longing to bypass what lie ahead.  Jesus asked for the support and prayers of his friends/disciples on his behalf...yet found them time after time snoozing.   Finally he realizes that in this, he was truly alone. In his last session with his Father before the mob arrived to arrest him, again, there seemed to  be silence on the part of the Father.  But according to Hebrews, that was not the case.

Hebrews 5:7New Living Translation (NLT)

While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.

How was this the case? As we all know, the Father did not make another path for the salvation of mankind....Jesus was tortured and died a horrendous death.  How was he heard?

I believe that the Jesus who sobbed out his fear, who in terror sweat drops of blood, who begged his Father for mercy....was not the same man who  moments later faced a lynch mob with calmness and strength.  He was heard.  And somehow, mysteriously,  he was strengthened and emboldened to carry out his part in the violence and pain to come.

I am reading a book called The Mystery of God by Steven D Boyer and Christopher A. Hall and it is from my reading there that I am presenting my thoughts to you here --thoughts that were born in this book.

The authors say that our prayers must be shaped to best bring back to earth the "Shalom" of God.  "Shalom" means peace --but it means more than that. It means wholeness, wellness, kinship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It means to live in the manner that God initially dreamed for mankind to dwell.  The Shalom on Earth was destroyed by the sin of Adam and Eve....and it has taken all this time for God to unfold his plan to restore the Shalom.  This did not come cheaply or easily.  It came at the cost of the death of the Son.  And even then, even after the resurrection, although the coming of Shalom was guaranteed by that death and resurrection, it did not bring it immediately.  In fact, here we are 2000 years later, still battling the sin in our own hearts; still striving to display the love and mercy of God to a world that wants no part of him.  And believers, daily, give up their lives and their families to the hands of brute forces who in the insane pursuit of pleasing their god...are murdering and pillaging and killing and imprisoning thousands of Christians each year....and with every year that goes by, the numbers increase.

Surely, this cannot be God's plan! ...can it?
It is freedom, bought at a huge price.   As was the freedom purchased on the Cross.  How is it freedom you ask?  Every blood drop of a God-loving believer, is working to bring about the Shalom of God back to this war-torn planet.

How then, shall we pray?
I propose that we pray like Jesus did, "Father, Abba, if there is any other way, please bring it to pass.  If the lives of one or many can be saved on this earth, than do so.  But God if your plans are bigger than what we can see now,  then Lord, carry them out and do not let us, your flawed children, get in the way or work against your plans.  Grant those who suffer, courage.  Comfort the widows and orphans and provide for their needs.  Let love for their captors well up in the hearts of those who are hurting and dying at their hands.  Lord bring about Shalom. And may it hasten.  Come quickly, Lord Jesus!! Restore, Rule, Reign  Here. Soon."

Are your prayers full of the "Gimme's"?  Gimme this and gimme that?  I challenge you today to stop working against the plans of God on earth.  Partner with Him instead.  Pray for those who are buying Shalom at the high price of their bloody deaths.  And ask God to make you willing to pay your two cents as well...in whatever way God shows you that you are to work for Shalom, then ask for courage to do it.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

One thing and Another

It has been a while since I've written.  There is not that much going on.  I am reading a good book called "The Mystery of God"...it is quite an undertaking. It has words in it that I have to look up--and that rarely happens.  I have a pretty good vocabulary so I am always delighted to find a book that challenges me and teaches me some new words.  I love the feature in Kindle where you just tap a word and up pops the definition.  I used to keep a notebook with words in it that I'd encountered but did not know...and I would look up the definitions in my huge Websters and then look over them from time to time to review. That's the only problem with the Kindle....you only get one chance to learn the word...you cannot review it. And also the very act of writing out the definition helps with recollection.  Maybe I should still keep the  notebook...only skip lugging out the Websters...just use the Kindle definitions but write them out.  I'm going to look for that notebook today.

I got new glasses.  THREE pair of new glasses!  I wanted to get progressives however I have prisms in my lenses because I have double vision...and for each level, closeup, intermediate (computer), and distance, there were a different number of diopters --so progressives were impossible.  I did get the Transition lenses in my distance glasses....so I could do away with sunglasses.  And these lenses maintain a slight tint which the doctor said would be good for my eyes and the glaucoma. The doctor, a nice young blonde lady, gave me the sense that she was very sympathetic.  I think she knows how bad my eyes are and that they are only going to get worse.  I bombed out of another field vision test.

Because I am continually switching glasses and need to have them at hand at all times, I bought these very pretty doohickeys that attach to your clothing with a powerful magnet and they have a loop on them to hold your glasses.  I got two loops (and one of the loops comes with three different designs for the outside of my shirt) so those will hold two pairs and my face will hold the other pair :)  I have been wearing my glasses all the time now, which I never used to (never since high school anyway).  Now I am so blind that it is really no longer an option not to wear them.

What are my feelings about losing my vision?
I'm scared to death.  I can deal with being in a wheelchair....I've done that before.  But being blind is a whole different story.  I think it will be terrifying...and especially so because my hearing is not good either.  I had encephala/spinal meningitis and it damaged my vision as well as my hearing....and it left me with a drooping eyelid and a crooked smile.  But I guess I should not complain....I very nearly died, so I should be grateful to be alive.  ( I should --not that I am). I don't know if there are places a newly blind person can go to learn how to manage...like a school for the Blind.  Would I learn Braille? I suppose I should...however my fingers are partly numb from peripheral neuropathy...and I don't know if they are sensitive enough to be able to distinguish the letters. I know I should install Dragon software on my computer and learn how to use it while I still have vision.  But I haven't done it.  Somehow that would be making it seem too real.  Too imminent. 

well I need to go and get ready for church.  Have a blessed Sunday.