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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February-Joy-Dare

Join me in counting gifts: February-Joy-Dare

88. Doctor says: Cancer free
89. Feeding Molly an apple
90. Dinner at home
91. Line item deduct when you can
92. Barking dogs
93. Praise the Lord!
94. be strong i the Lord and in his strength.
95. Yaweh-nissi
96. Keep it simple sister
97. Missing LEGO pieces
98. Purring cat
99. Dog water bowl
100. prayer quilt
101. Coat hooks on wall
102. Shawl
103. First calf of the year
104. Frozen water troughs
105. Hooting owls
106. Painted red toe nails
107. Coffee mug
108. Sewing patches on red AWANA vest
109. Toilet
110. Toilet
111. A purse
112. Laundry at 3 am, sick little boy
113. Quiet time: alone
114. A vacation
115. A child
116. My husband
117. Random people in a crowd
118. Satisfaction
119. Discipline
120. Patience
121. Sabbath rest
122. Marital communication
123. Reading Radical Together
124. Solitude
125. A ocean view
126. Son - waiting for our return
127. Loyalty found in the eyes of a four-legged pooch starring at you.
128. Prayers of the saints
129. The warmth of a heating blanket - enveloping me
130. Time
131. Words to write
132. Cooking food
133. a flower
134. Cob webs
135. Darkness
136. Old papers
137. A smile
138. Fulfillment
139. A chance to pray
140. Gospel driven obedience produces Gospel filled joy
141. The word of God will accomplish the work of God among the people of God.
142. Leaders do not exist to provides services - they exist to serve people.
143. Not following my speaking notes
144. Videos not playing on cue
145. Camping out with Dustin
146. The sound of rice Krispies "Snap, Crackle & Pop"
147. Leftovers
148. A new project discussed
149. A blanket of fresh snow
150. Folded white towels
151. Flour
152. Sale items
153. Rain
154. Ash Wednesday
155. Old watering can
156. Flower vase
157. Old rugged cross
158. Hay stacked in the barn
159. Mama cows nursing calves
160. Ticking clock
161. Old coveralls
162. Sweater
163. Tattered Bible
164. Trees
165. Clouds
166. Faces
167. Manure - outside in piles and inside my heart
168. Dirty socks
169. Green smoothies
170. Strength when needed
171. Extra measure of faith
172. Promises found in the Word
173. Reading a book to Dustin
174. Saying I'm sorry
175. Crock Pot dinner

Friday, February 24, 2012

You Are Beloved

 Sometimes I need a gentle reminder of who I am in Christ.  I don't want to live a day without remembering what Christ has done for me and for every whosoever.  Life can get going, spinning out of control crazy, exhausting and flat out unpredictable.  In Christ I am who I am because He is the Great I Am.  I believe that Christ came to earth in the flesh, He became the living Word.  He died for my sins and His blood covers me, clothing me in His righteousness.  It wasn't earned or bought it was offered as a free gift to me to open and unwrap.  I have spent many years unwrapping the amazing gift of Christ.  I have discovered how loved I am by a crazy relentless God who is jealous for me.  His love is unconditional.  Yet deep in my Spirit I want to love Him back with the same kind of crazy love.  The more I read and study scripture the more I begin to gain understanding and knowledge about this Love God.  Our Father said this about His only son Jesus,

 "And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!'" 
Luke 9:35

As the Father loves his son, so does Jesus love his children.  I am a child of God.  I am His beloved.  Just saying the words fills my heart and encourages my Spirit. 

"Beloved, now we are children of God;"
1 John 3:2a

 We are part of the Beloved family of God, for now and for eternity.  How sweet it is to be family.  Love motivates us to action.  Our faith responds with denial of self and an attitude of servant hood.  We believe so we act.  This is the heart of James, half brother to Jesus.  Faith alone is dead if it does not have works as evident fruit.

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also 
ought to love one another."
1 John 4:11

The word beloved in the Greek is agapetos, which means: beloved, esteemed, dear, favorite, worthy of love.


I have happiness in Christ.
I have strength in Christ
I have unspeakable joy in Christ.
I have freedom in Christ.
I have purpose in Christ.
I have self-control in Christ.
I have hope in Christ.
I have peace in Christ.
I have wisdom in Christ.
I have forgiveness in Christ.

I am beloved in Christ. You are Beloved. Choose to believe.

Watch this music video by Jason Grey "Remind Me of Who I Am"


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Finding a Lonely Place

It is good to rest.  Take a Sabbath rest and not work.  I am learning this.  It really isn't that hard to actually do.  What is hard is saying no to the mile long list of other things I could be doing.  A chord is struck in my Spirit as I read Mark chapter 1.  I picture it like a real movie, lots of drama, passion and action.  Capernaum must have been a busy city in it's day.  Full of life and activities. Jesus spent time at the synagogue teaching, casting out evil spirits, and healing the sick. Word about his activities spread and many gathered to hear what he had to say. His days were long. Yet he was committed to the Father's will.

 "In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there." Mark 1:35

His compassion for others was birthed out of intimacy with the Father.  This wasn't his agenda but the will of the Father's.  He did not seek his own glory.  His words carried compassion and conviction piercing hearts and saving souls.  Why long before dawn?  Why a lonely place?  Long before dawn the world sleeps deep; unaware and still.  A lonely place away from others forces relationship; communication in prayer with the Father.  When alone you have your thoughts (or do they have you?) to contend with.  A choice stands in front of you.  As Jesus models for us, the lonely place is a safe place to lay down the thoughts in holy conversation.  It is a time to fuel up and re-charge.  To better equip oneself for the Great Commission of making disciples. This place transforms our thoughts to his thoughts.  We are then able to continue with the long list of to-dos, face the heaping piles of laundry, and participate in life around us.  It is in this quiet time that we find our purpose and ability in Christ to have compassion for others, not self.

"For in him we live and move and have our being." 
Acts 17:28
 I have just returned from Hawaii.  I know please don't be mad.  I wish I could have taken you all with me.  But then that would not have really been a vacation, right?  It was just me and my husband.  For the last 13 years we have not done this for ourselves.  We kept putting it off...later.  Later finally came.  We really didn't do a lot while there.  Lot's of sitting, napping and talking walks together.  It was very peaceful.  Sometimes the lonely place requires a change of scenery.  That sofa you always sit in to read your morning devotionals needs a makeover.  Maybe Hawaii is just too far away (and expensive!).  Take a drive, go for a walk and find a new place.  I found that a change in scenery is good for the body, mind and Spirit.  Get up early one morning, in the dark and go find a lonely place. Trust me, you won't regret it.

The amazing view from our 30th floor hotel room!

Anna & Daniel
I finished reading two books while away.  The first one is Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  The second is Radical Together by David Platt.  I would recommend both of them.  They are both challenging and require an openness to see things differently.  As I was reading I was making notes for myself and trying to digest all I was taking in.  My surroundings were different allowing me to see things in a new light.  In Hawaii there are so many people -- so many different people.  It is estimated that there are over 6,ooo people groups around the world who have not heard about Jesus (David Platt).  Wow.  As one sits along the shore of the vast ocean you realize how small you really are and how big God really is.  Yet, he cares for me and all these people around me.  All of them.  I was overwhelmed.  I needed no Internet to show me pictures using Hubble Telescope of stars and galaxies millions of light years away.  The simple fact that God is God and He loves us. Francis Chan states, " The greatest knowledge we can ever have is knowing God treasures us."  He made a place beautiful like Hawaii for his glory so men are with out excuse.  I had some quiet moments to ponder what I had been reading and reflect upon his Word.  This is a good thing. God speaks in these moments. He did speak.  David Platt says, "The Word of God is key to being productive for God both as individuals and for the church. Gospel driven obedience produces gospel filled joy.  "

"Faith expressing itself in love is what counts." 
Galatians 5:6

It's a choice to find these lonely places and have these God moments.  I admit I need to do this more often.  Good thing  it doesn't require a trip to Hawaii!  That would break to bank!  It does require some planning and commitment on my part.  I love Him, He is worth the effort.  "People who are obsessed with God have an intimate relationship with Him.  They are nourished by God's Word throughout the day because they know that forty minutes on Sunday is not enough to sustain them for a whole week, especially when they will encounter so many distractions and alternative messages." Francis Chan.



"In solitude, we can slowly unmask the illusion of our possessiveness and discover in the center of our own self that we are not what we can conquer, but what is given to us.  In solitude we can listen to the voice of him who spoke to us before we could speak a word, who healed us before we could make any gesture to help, who set us free long before we could free others, and who loved us long before we could give love to anyone.  It is in this solitude that we discover that being is more important than having, and that we are worth more that the result of our efforts.  In solitude we discover that our life is not a possession to be defended, but a gift to be shared.  It's there we recognize that the healing words we speak are not just our own, but are given to us; that the love we can express is part of a greater love, and that the new life we bring forth is not a property to cling to, but a gift to be received."   Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Seven Times for Victory


I have been pondering the victory of beating the odds stacked against me.  The victory is bitter-sweet.  Everything has been focused on my health and well-being.  So much effort placed on achieving victory over cancer.   Standing on this side of the biggest mountain in my life I can honestly say I have victory.   I wish I could say the same for the rest of life's challenges.  It's not easy to conquer ones fears.  My personal character flaws and the desire to live the Spirit filled abundant life are at war.  I wrestle continually with a God who engages with me and for me in the battle.


"That’s what it says at the top of the page: Habbakuk. The name means wrestler.
To wrestle with God because the hard times are holy times. To not escape time, but stubbornly, fully embrace time, because this is how we stay engaged with God. When we don’t know how to hang on in hard times, to just grip hard to God.
The only ones who can rest in God are the one who have wrestled with GodI will not let you go until I you bless me.
That is what the pastor said: There is no tighter embrace than the grip of the wrestle."
Taken from Ann Voskamp What to Do in Hard Times 2/6/12.

Taken from Celebrate Recovery program:
(text in italics are my comments, regular font is CR material, Bible verses in italics and bold)

VICTORY

Principle 5:  Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.
Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires. Matthew 5:6
I must want to change...

Step 7: We humbly asked him to remove all our shortcomings.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:9
Daily I must ask for forgiveness, maybe even several times a day? For a righteous [man] may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. Proverbs24:16

Voluntarily submit
Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him...let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Romans 12:1-2
The key here is letting God into my secret places where I tend to hide my "junk."

Identify character defects
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
This list of my character defects is long.  Yet I am reminded to only work on one at a time.

Change your mind
Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
In order to renew my mind I must replace it with good things like: scripture, worship music and thanksgiving.

Turn over character defects
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 
2 Thessalonians 3:3
Oh that pesky voice of the enemy who seeks to kill, steal and destroy! I am a child of the most high God. I choose to stand my ground.

One day at a time
So don't be anxious about tomorrow, God will take care of your tomorrow too.  Live one day at a time. Matthew 6:34
Serenity prayer...memorized (see prayer to the right of this post)

Recovery is a process

And I am sure that God who began a good work within you will keep on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns. Philippians 1:6
Old habits die hard and new ones take time to build. Practice makes perfect.  I am learning this as I am teaching myself to play the guitar...


You must choose to change
God gives strength to the humble,...So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. An when you draw close to God. God will draw close to you. James 4:6-8
Quality time not the quantity.  I am trying to not be legalistic in my quiet times.  Yet I must make it a priority.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

All Clear

Those sweet words I have been longing to hear for the last 9 months: no cancer detected...assumption is you are cancer free.  Ahhhh.  If there was ever a time for dancing...please dance with me!

The Lord himself will fight for you,  just stay calm. 
Exodus 14:14

The Lord is my strength and my song he has given me victory.  This is my God and I will praise him! 
Exodus 15:2

Waiting is the hardest thing.  Twelve rounds of chemotherapy later and here we are.  On the other side of my worst nightmare, now standing in awe. It's true cancer changes you.  Everything is different.  How can I go back to what "normal" was?  What is "normal" anyway?  Who determines what that is?  I know this: I am changed for a reason.  His ways are too wonderful to understand. Reminding myself to just stay calm.  Watch and wait.  He is always working no matter how grim it may appear.  Believe me I know grim.  Cancer does make you stronger.  Stronger because of Christ in me.   

Many friends have stood beside me over these last few months.  They have been kind and patient with me during this ordeal.  I can't say thank you enough.  Many meals have been prepared, floors cleaned and prayers sent up on my behalf.  They have not gone un-noticed.   My family thanks you.

The nurses and staff at MSTI are amazing.  I need more photos of them!  I just fell in love with these people who everyday deal with sick cancer patients.  What a calling!  Their attitudes and words of encouragement every week was so uplifting.  I can't say thank you enough to a great team of care givers.

Dave the MSTI pharmacist with me on my last treatment.
I have lots of ideas for what to focus on next.  So far I know I need to stay the course of wellness.  That is the one thing that is certain.  I want to get back to swimming again.  My energy level and stamina will take some time to bounce back.  With farming season fast approaching I have no time to waste.  I am all ready dreaming of my garden!  The seed catalogs keep arriving in my mailbox to tempt me.  So far I think relaxing and taking it easy are good plans.  Just stay calm and watch what the Lord does next.