book signing

This is for all residents of Pike and Orange Counties...On December 4th at 6:30 PM I will be having a book signing at the new Milford Library located on Harford Street in Milford. I really hope to get a good turnout....Please consider coming!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Enter His Gates



Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting .
And His faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100:4-5
This verse struck me.  Today is the Lord's Day and I will celebrate by going to church.  In church we always enter His gates and His courts with worship and praise.  We thank Him in prayer.  But do I do that in private?  Years ago, before I got married, I sang....sang as I cleaned the house or washed the dishes.  But my husband stopped that habit of mine.  He told me to be quiet every time I so much as hummed.  I sorely regret this loss.  Now it feels strange and beyond my reach to sing at home.  Sometimes, when my dad takes me to the doctor I bring my iPod and we sing together in the car.  That is the sweetest thing in the world to me.  My family used to go for rides as a form of entertainment, back when gas was inexpensive.  And we always sang in the car....all four of us....Dad, bass, mom, alto, my brother tenor, and me soprano.  The thought of those times makes me want to cry.  The song has died on my lips...the lyrics faded from memory.  Thank you very much honey.

But what about now? Can I sing?  I honestly don't know if I am even able to sing anymore.  Asthma and asthma medications have wreaked havoc with my voice. I know this from singing in church.

Are there other ways to approach with thanksgiving and praise and to bless His Name?  I could do it verbally.   I could write Him a psalm or a poem.  And when I speak to other people, His praise and m y thanksgiving should be on my lips.  And I wonder....is just repeating "Thank you Jesus" or "Praise you Jesus" sufficient?  It certainly is not creative ....It doesn't require much of me or of anyone else.    It comes dangerously close to "vain repetitions."  But often in those times of verbal praise I find myself at a loss.  I feel like an idiot just repeating those phrases.  I need to put my brain in gear and find other, more sincere, ways to thank and bless Him.

Here is my Sunday morning canticle of praise as I draw close.

Sweet Jesus, your birthday is approaching....the time when the Father sent  us the best gift...You.
Thank you for all the prayers I have seen answered of late.  Please hear my requests and new needs and answer them with the abundant mercy that you have shown in the past.  Father, help me to find worthiness in your eyes...You alone are worthy in your own merit.  As for me, I need the blood of Jesus to make me worthy in your eyes.  Thank you Jesus for that covering...please cover my sins with that same blood. Please bring my sins to my mind that I may confess them and stand  before you cleansed inside and  out.  
Thank you Jesus for my faith family with whom I will worship later today.  Cleanse us as a congregation. Pour out on us today a knowledge of  our sins and contrition for them. Cleanse us completely of gossip, lies, greed and gluttony, avarice and covetousness.  Purify us from sexual sin and infidelity.  In this season before Christmas, help us not to be consumed with the gifts...rather may we take joy in thinking about what fate you have saved us from.  Help us to add to our heavenly treasure and take great delight in doing so.
Thank you for this country which still allows us to gather and worship.  Help us to stand in the gap of your walls and guard them with prayer and civic duty.  Forgive us as a nation.  Pour out your Spirit on this land as you have promised to do in the latter days.  Help us to guard and cherish our freedom.
Thank you for those who founded this land based on your Word.  Forgive us, God, for the filth we speak and watch.  Thank you that in you there is remission of sin.
God you are big and we are so small.  Thank you for loving these specks of humanity.
God you are gracious and forgiving.....Thank you for saving us when we deserve eternal death.
God you meet our needs....you even come to our aid with little tiny needs that you gladly meet.  
God I bless your Holy name.  Help me to keep it holy. May it never cross my lips unless it is in reference to you...not a curse...and please forgive me for the times when I have fallen in that regard.  Help us all to cherish your Name and to keep it holy and set apart. 
Help me this day, YOUR day, to hear your voice and to ponder what you say in my heart.  
Speak Lord, your servant is listening.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Battle to Believe



I was reading an online devotional this morning and this phrase caught my attention, "The battle to believe,"
I remember as a teenager talking to a man who was friends with our family.  A man who called  himself a Christian...but was having major doubts.  He said to me  "Do you  really think, if it rained forty days that the water would cover Mt Everest?"  He simply could not believe that.  (and btw, I think that in the antediluvian days there were not any high mountains.  I believe that the trauma of the flood and plates shifting on the earth as a result, caused the high mountains to be formed as well as volcanic activity.   We saw recently in the Philippines that one major storm created rivers in the streets, covered the shacks people called home and washed people away just as must have happened in Noah's day.  But back then, as a teen, I did not have any explanations.  I simply believed.  I believed it was true because God said it was true.  Belief for a child is easy....

But what about when you watch your best friend die?  Or your child?  Or you suffer crippling pain?  Is it so easy to believe then?  When Job lost family and belongings and riches....he refused to stop trusting God. ("Though he slay me, yet will I trust him")  But he DID question God.  He questioned God so much that God came to him in a whirlwind and asked him some tough questions.  He asked Job questions about Creation and Nature...things that Job could not answer.  And God showed him that just as in  Nature there are mysteries, so God's dealings with us are sometimes inscrutable.  And truly "it is not for us to reason why".  Some answers belong to God alone and we DO need to call on the faith of our inner child.  That unquestioning, "You said it, so I will believe it" faith.

Some people have more trouble believing without question than others do.  I have a friend who is a physicist and although the wonders of science have shown clearly the evidence of a Supreme hand governing all things and creating inexplicable wonders....just as his background affirms God, it also causes him to question.  Scientists do not easily believe without question.   But that does  not mean that God does not have an answer that he does not choose to reveal to us now.  It just means that  God's answers are too big for our minds to comprehend, regardless of how high our IQ''s are.

I have many illnesses...most of them are caused by a wacky immune system.  These diseases have robbed me of a normal life.  They keep me up  night after night in terrible pain.  And yet, even now,  I do not question God's reasons. I just trust that he has one and someday from the vantage point of eternity, I will see clearly what he was "thinking of" when he wrote my medical chart.  And it will be a wonderful reason---one so good that I will be moved to gratitude for the privilege of having lived these illnesses.  But until then....I walk one aching step at a time,....waiting for the completion of all things when these questions will all be answered.

Monday, November 17, 2014

How God Cured my Anxiety

"Let us make war, not with other people, but with our own unbelief. It is the root of anxiety, which, in turn, is the root of so many other sins." Pastor John Piper

Micky....a shining example of God's Grace in old age
 I have been exercising and eating healthfully for several weeks now...(with the exception of the fried fish I accidentally ordered at Perkins yesterday..)  And as I strive to make this weak, painful, overweight body strong and healthy and thin, I find myself asking the question, " do I really want to live longer?"  Partly the answer to that question depends on how healthy I am able to get.  If  I am still in terrible pain and facing joints which become deformed and unable to move properly without horrible pain....then no.  I really do not wish to reach a "ripe old age."  If I am still trapped in a loveless marriage for another 25 years....what then?  Same answer.

When I look into my future I can become quite anxious.  Years ago I fought against horrific attacks of anxiety which usually occurred just as I got into bed for the night.  Visions of disasters --financial, medical and catastrophic would float through my head and I responded with terror.  I read everything I could find on anxiety and fear and had a whole file of articles and booklets on the topic.  Yet nothing I read helped me to overcome it.

Finally one day the Spirit of the Lord put it into my mind to make a list of all the miraculous things God had done in my life up to that point.  The list was impressive..  I was shocked to see how active God had been in his provision and protection of me--meeting needs and keeping me safe.   I decided that when ever those fears came, I would re-read that notebook..  And I would remind myself that God never changes.  If he could deal with the needs in my past; then he can deal with the needs in my future.  And I've found in all these years that what God does not keep me from, he brings me through.

In the time since I've conquered those fears with the help of God....I've been through 2 hurricanes and flooded basements, a medical diagnosis that led to crippling pain and lack of function of many of my joints.  I was to have almost died from major infections.  I narrowly escaped being institutionalized in a horrible psychiatric institution for the remainder of my life.  We have had major financial needs....and always , always. God has been faithful.

So my fears of growing old and more disabled and more isolated and despised by my husband? What of those?  Here is a verse I've found that has comforted me incredibly.

 “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4). 

The promises in this verse are powerful.  Whether I am healthy or crippled; whether my marriage recovers or remains a hell....whether the house falls down around our ears or whether God provides the funds to care for it.....God is here.  He is faithful. and he has promised to care for my needs.

So why am I exercising and eating well?  Because it is my responsibility to do so,  God can bring me home to be with him at any time...healthy or weak.  I cannot sway that predetermined time when my life on this earth is over.  And that is  a comfort to me.  I would hate to get so healthy that I was to live on to an old age fraught with horrible difficulty if that was not God's plan.  And I needn't worry about that because it is impossible for e to do that.  God has the final word.  And  until that time, he will meet my needs and provide strength for the day.

22 It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.  Lamentations 2:22,23

Saturday, November 15, 2014

When the Future is Frightening---Walking in the Valley

"I know who holds my future, and I know he holds my hand"....Remember that song?  Back in the 1970's it was popular, but that line is one that I have "pondered in (my) heart" many times since.  My future is rather bleak with an illness that is destroying all my joints and constant back pain from a degenerative spine as well as the damage caused by psoriatic spondylitis.  Walking is getting more and more painful.  Assisted living  is not an option due to lack of finances.  I also face possible widowhood because of my husband's cardiac issues.           

But I know Who holds my future....and I know He holds my hand.   We were not promised comfort in this life.  In fact we are told that we would struggle and that people would hate us.  People on the other side of the globe have had to leave their homes and belongings and flee, often with just the clothes on their backs because they worship the Lord Jesus.  When I think of their suffering, I feel encouraged.   If they can keep their faith under such pressure, then certainly I can.  And if God  provides for them, then certainly, He will provide for me.

I am honored that God found me worthy to share in the sufferings of his Son.  I pray that in them, he would perfect me: that my faith would grow strong and immovable; that I would respond with sensitivity to those I encounter who suffer and struggle; that I would do everything possible to encourage the Persecuted Church;  that I would only see my blessings and that my suffering would pale next to the joy given to me by my Savior; that God would enable me to finish my second book and that it would be of great comfort to others who suffer disability and illness.

I do not mean to set myself up as some kind of martyr.  I am far from perfect and I do not yet have this suffering thing "down" yet. ...I get impatient. I struggle with self pity.  I am not patient with myself nor with others.  I think my word of the month should be "Yield"...yield my rights.  yield my worry.  yield my impatience....just simply "hand it over."  I do not have any "rights" - I am not excused from suffering.  I cannot expect anything from others and the sooner I learn that, the happier I will be.

I need to lean hard on my Partner in Suffering: Jesus the Messiah.  He can show me how it's done.  And the best thing is that I know that no matter what I go through in this life...what kind of pain or injustice....he is here.  He is holding my hand.

24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.

Psalm 37:24 (NASB)

26 “There is none like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to your help,
And through the skies in His majesty.
27 “The eternal God is a dwelling place,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
  
Deuteronomy 33:26-28 (NASB)
 
With promises like that, where is there any room for fear or anxiety?
 

 


           
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Update

I get report after report of people who have gotten their hands on my book and who have been mesmerized by my story.  They say they cannot put it down.  To me that is incomprehensible.  Of course, I've lived with the book for four years so to me, some of its "magic" has palled.  But I am delighted when I hear of how it is challenging, encouraging, and educating people as they enter my world through my story.  Sometimes I wonder if I was foolish to self publish....maybe the book would have gotten more readers had I gone to a traditional publisher.   And yet, it so much seemed to be God's leading to self publish when I got a phone call one day from a friend who said that God put it on her heart to pay for me to publish my story.  So I have to just trust that this is the road God has opened for me to travel.  I do not know how it is faring on Amazon or Xulon or Barnes and Noble's sites.  I get reports here and there of people buying the book....sometimes buying two books, one for them and one to share.

This is amazing to me that God has taken my words and my story and is touching the lives of those who read it. 

I have a second book begun...it's in its infancy but I think it will be a powerful book as well.  It is a devotional written for married couples when one of the partners suffers from chronic illness.  I confess that I have not worked on it nearly enough yet.  So far it  is just a "fleshy" outline.  Maybe I should take these early morning hours when I'm waiting for the rest of the world to wake up and use them to work on that project.

Anyway.  If you have purchased "Treasures:" thank  you.  Spread the word about it, if you would.  I am praying that God would put it in the hands of those people who need to read it.  And if you live in the NE PA area, on Dec 4th at the Pike County Public Library at 6;30 PM, I am holding a book signing and reading.  Come out and join the fun!  If you already have a copy of the book, bring it with  you and I will sign it....or you may purchase it there at the signing.