Thursday, December 8, 2016

Luke 2:11-11; Nehemiah 8:10b - "Joy To The World/Shout For Joy"

The Lord started me praying last night for people to have His joy through this holiday season. Too many get caught up in the financial stresses of the season and allow the enemy to steal their joy. Calendars get added events due to the season and that also can steal their joy. I saw an old saying the other day that really needs remembered this time of year...
The extra events, travel, expenses, etc. do not have to steal our joy. Our focus needs to stay of the Lord in order to be who He desires of us. Being snippy in our conversations, crabby in our attitude and stressed out will not bring glory to God. Instead it will pull us down emotionally and everyone around us. If we desire for people to see Jesus in us, then we must allow Him to be in us. We do not have to do everything unless the Lord directs us to. We do not have to spend money we don't have. We do not have to spread ourselves thin physically, emotionally, financially or mentally. All we have to do is make sure our spiritual tank stays full. That may mean giving up some traditions or even things we would like to do. Our relationship with Him is much more important than a gift, party, etc. In order to experience true joy we must experience True Joy, Jesus. One must remember to put Jesus first, Others second and Yourselves third. True Joy is found in realizing one can never be content in their knowledge of Christ. True Joy is living and breathing in His presence as one not only hears His voice but follows it. True Joy is understanding what the angel said in Luke 2:10-11, "Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today, in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Jesus was born for all of us so He could die for all of us. If there is nothing else going right in the world, that should be enough to bring joy into our hearts. This morning I am praying for...
  • many to find True Joy in their hearts today
  • those who are going through this season after losing a loved one to be able to seek the Lord for True Joy
  • those who are suffering in their physical bodies with disease and illness to seek healing in their spirits as they go through tough days
  • those who have traveling to do over this season for safe travel mercies
  • those who are alone to have someone spend time with them
  • those who are separated from loved ones such as those deployed and their families to feel His strength
There are so many in my prayers who are in relationship with Him yet they have not surrendered wholly to Him. My heart breaks to see them in such distress. I remember those days and they were not fun. I remember being snappy in my conversation and then feeling terrible afterward. I remember spending way too much money for gifts and then having to figure out how to pay for them afterward. I remember trying to fit everything into my schedule and being physically and emotionally drained. I am grateful for the Nehemiah 8:10b that tells me "The joy of the Lord is your strength." Woo hoo!

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for yesterday with the first treatment going well. Thank You for today as the second treatment will also go well. Lord, may You shine brightly through me today. May You fill me to overflowing with more of You so people will see You when they see me. May Your words me on my lips so people hear You when they hear me. Lord, would You please do something supernatural through me today? Would You 'show off' Yourself through me today? I am so grateful for the way You have taken me deeper in my walk with You. I know there is no way I could handle everything going on with the move to South Carolina and C if I were doing it on my own strength. You are so awesome! Thank You Jesus for depth! Thank You for being born just to die! Thank You for loving me so greatly that a few years ago You knew what I needed in order to live in Your Peace and Your Joy today! Thank You Jesus for being My True Joy! Amen.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Psalm 118:24 - "Oceans (Where Feet May Fall)"

I woke up thinking about the words of Psalm 118:24. I have much to rejoice about and pray for those who cannot rejoice. Everyone has a choice in life to see the cup half empty or to see it half full. One can either give up in a tough situation or fight in the Lord's strength. There is always someone who is going through a tougher time than the one you are going through. I think of an old friend who just lost her mother a few weeks ago and the ones who lost their mother yesterday. They are facing their first Christmas without Momma around. I praise the Lord my Momma is still with us. I think of the one who is discouraged about their cancer treatment scheduling being messed up and am grateful mine will begin today with a known completion date. Most of all I wonder how anyone can ever survive the mountains and valleys of life without the Lord. I am grateful for my relationship with Him. Someone asked me not long ago why I go through so much with my great faith. My response was, "My great faith is because He is with me every step of the way." If life were perfect, one wouldn't need the Lord. If there were never any trials to figure out, I would have all the answers. Therefore, I would have no need for His guidance. I am grateful for the trials in life bring me deeper in my walk with Him. 

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the promptness of the radiation mapping! Thank You for the peace You have given us with going this direction. Lord, I pray You will be so very real to me today as I go for the first treatment. I also pray for people who are not in relationship with You to come to know You. I pray for those who are pretending their relationship is OK when in fact they need to surrender some of the things in their life to You. Lord, use me to make a difference in people's spiritual lives. Fill me to overflowing so people will see and hear You through me. I love You so much and am so grateful for the way You love on me! Thank You for being My Everything! Amen.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Luke 1:29; 2:19 - "Sweet, Sweet Spirit"

I felt the presence of the Lord as I lay snuggled under the warm blankets this morning and prayed. The old song "Sweet, Sweet Spirit" came to my mind. It was one of those warm, fuzzy moments of life. I remember singing this one in church as a young teen. Wow, God! I love when this type of memory comes back to me! But this morning I wasn't in 'church' but yet I was in 'church' because 'church' does not have to be a building. 'Church' is where we meet to worship Him. I know Doc was still sound asleep as I was praying but there were two of us gathered and "There's a sweet, sweet spirit in this place...." Oh my goodness! I truly can say I could "feel the presence of the Lord"! I love how the song continues...

Sweet Holy Spirit
Sweet heavenly dove
Stay right here with us
Filling us with your love
And for these blessings
We lift our hearts in praise
Without out a doubt we'll know
That we have been revived
When we shall leave this place

The most exciting part of the morning was when the Lord reminded me that I never have to leave His presence! I live in His presence 24/7. I have found that is where true peace is found. It is also where I feel the most content in life. I don't have to make any decisions without Him. I don't have to worry about how the $2500+ medical bills will be paid. I don't have to fret over a church building. I don't have to fret over family health issues. It doesn't mean I am not concerned but instead it means I pray and give everything to Him. I loved Dr. Eddy's sermon last night in how he discussed how Christmas has different meanings for different people who are in different seasons of life. I could relate to Mary. Yesterday I was asked by a group how they could pray for me. I immediately wrote:

This is a new season of life for my husband/pastor and I. The Lord called us to South Carolina which meant we left family in Ohio. Our plan was to go back to celebrate with family after Christmas but instead I am dealing with radiation for breast cancer. Prayers appreciated for the Lord to be glorified through 'C' and for it not to be a distraction! Blessings...

I anticipated Thanksgiving Day was going to be a day of crying over not being with family. But instead we made some memories of doing some new things...'firsts' on this adventure He has us on. It does not mean I didn't miss things such as making ornaments with my grand babies, getting hugs from everyone, etc. But it means I was at peace with where the Lord has us. When I first found out we couldn't go to Ohio, I was devastated and cried. Dr. Eddy reminded me last night of how Mary reacted to her situation. In the first chapter of Luke Mary was described as being "troubled" and she "wondered" but then in the second chapter she "treasured" and "pondered." When I first was told they found cancer in my breast, I was devastated. It was as if I couldn't believe it. I remember saying, "But you told me Wednesday there wasn't any cancer..." The doctor's reply was something along the lines of "pathology showed different." Those words changed my life. They changed my physical life by having the testing, surgeries and treatment that follow. They changed my emotional life by causing hurt that I could not go to Ohio for Thanksgiving and because I had to tell my family I was joining the C club in the family. They changed my spiritual life by taking me deeper in my walk with the Lord. I was "troubled" and "wondered" about the future. Now I "treasure" and "pondered" what the Lord is doing in and for me. 

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the safe travels last night to the Pastor's Christmas dinner. Thank You for new friends who enabled me to not feel alone in the large group of people. Lord, I pray for whatever/whoever was involved in the bad accident as we were trying to leave town. I also pray for the ones involved in the two other accidents we saw on the way. Would You please also wrap Your arms around the family who lost a dear mother/grandmother/sister/friend last night? My heart breaks for them and oh how I wish we were there to minister to them. Since we are not I pray You will put people in their path to love on them through these tough days. I also pray for my Momma and her health along with other family members who are going through tough days in their physical bodies. I pray they will have an enlightening in their spiritual bodies through these times. Once again I want to thank You for Your presence in my life. Thank You for showing me how You have been with me every step of the way with C. I know You are the only reason I am where I am today. Thank You for being My Sweet Holy Spirit! Amen.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Nehemiah 8:2-3 - "I Give You My Heart"

I love the word picture given in Nehemiah 8. It shows how I believe it should be when we gather together to worship as a corporate body of believers. A worship service needs to honor God. It needs to be where people come prepared to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In verse three it says "And all the people listened attentively..." It seems many times people are distracted by thinking about what they are going to be doing later in the day or by the child in front of them that is being disruptive. But when we prepare our hearts for worship those distractions will not happen. I was reminded of our situation of not having our own building as I read these verses. They were meeting in "the square before the Water Gate" and not in a building. They would have had to set up the altar just as we have to set-up our altar. God met with them in the street by the Water Gate. They did not have to be in the Temple to worship Him. We need to learn from them that we can worship God anywhere we are. I think of a few weeks back when we had church at the park. God was there and it was awesome! This chapter shows how they worshiped Him in a different way that people think today. Many people believe you have to be in a church building with a certain type of music and a certain order of worship. My God desires worship in whatever form we create and wherever we are. Woo hoo! I love verse twelve of this chapter where it describes how the people celebrated when they left worship. They didn't just celebrate when they worshiped but even after they left! That is the true picture of worship. People who don't believe in the Lord or are teetering in their faith need to see believers celebrate! Even in tough times we need to celebrate because we are here on this earth to proclaim the Good News! The way to be able to celebrate not only the 'good' times but the 'tough' times is by living a life of holiness. One must be sold out to the Lord in order to live a holy life. He must be first in order to live out the desires of His heart. The more we die to self and allow Him to fill us, the more we will celebrate. I did not feel like celebrating last night with the pain I was in but yet I had to in order to not give the enemy an open door. My God is greater than the pain. My God is greater than the feeling of desperation. My God is greater than anything that comes my way. Woo hoo! I will worship Him throughout this day with gladness in the midst of pain. I will worship Him today even though I am not in a church building because He lives in me. Plain and simple, I will worship Him not matter where I am or how I may feel.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for yesterday! I praise You for the opportunity to lead worship! I praise You for the opportunity to share from the pulpit! I praise You for the opportunity to experience the Christmas parade with my church family! Lord, You are so awesome! I pray today for You to be glorified through this pain I am experiencing. Lord, use it to strengthen me. I pray for those who are going through pain to seek You through it. I pray for those who are discouraged with their physical bodies to be encouraged through You. Father, fill me to overflowing with more of You so people see and hear You in me. Thank You Jesus for being The One I Worship. Amen.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Nehemiah 8:10 - "It Is Well"

As I went back into the scan yesterday, he was explaining what was going to happen and I thought 'boy am I glad I have been through this type of thing before with my MS.' I can't even begin to imagine how scared people are who have never gone through such things. Then I almost laughed out loud at that thought. Here I was putting up a praise for my MS. Doc said he could hear the technician and I laughing clear from the outer office. Last night when we were downtown I was so happy to see my favorite surgery nurse Nancy. In our conversation she said the last time I was in the other nurses were asking why we were laughing when I was in there because of C. Her reply was, "Why not? It helps!" The old saying of 'laughter is good medicine' is so true. Yes there are times I cry but there are also times I laugh, especially when I know others will see the Lord's strength in me through my laughter. I think of Nehemiah 8:10 when Nehemiah told those who had heard and understood the reading of the Law what they were to do. They no longer had to be grieving over being in captivity but could rejoice in the Lord. That is exactly what I need to remember. I do not have to be held captive by C. I need to be joyful in knowing His strength is my strength. When I accept His strength and not allow C to be a distraction, He will be glorified. That is what I ultimately desire...the Lord to be glorified! I took this picture in front of the cancer center Thursday before my appointment. As I look at it this morning, I see a beautiful flower and lots of buds. I will be that beautiful flower that will allow people (buds) who do not know Him to come into relationship with Him. I also will be one to show those who already are believers how to have His peace through such tough times. The only way to have complete peace is through living a life of holiness. That sounds impossible to a lot of people because they don't want to give up 'things' but when one gives total control to the Lord the peace comes in abundance even in situations such as C. I was so disappointed when I left my Thursday appointment. I thought I would have a detailed plan of treatment. NOT! Then when I left my Friday appointment once again I started to be disappointed and then it hit me. 'I' was coming into play. 'I wanted to know'....whoops! I prayed for the Lord to give me peace in not knowing the weeks ahead. Doc told me something my Mother told me a few weeks ago about how I always want to plan ahead. That is a good thing when the Lord is in charge but not when it is just what 'I' want. I was so hoping to know this week when we would be able to go to Ohio to have Christmas with family. Even though that is still unknown I have peace because I know it will happen someday. It may be January or February but it will happen. The Lord taught me years ago celebrations do not have to happen on a certain day. When the Israelites who were no longer captive gathered in Jerusalem and heard the Law, Nehemiah told them to be joyful. They no longer had to be dealing with being in exile but instead needed to accept the Lord's strength in the days ahead. I have refused to be captive to MS for twenty-two plus years and I refuse to be captive to C. My God is greater than C just as He has been greater than MS. Woo hoo! I like the way Nehemiah says to celebrate..."choice food and sweet drinks"...yep, BBQ and sweet of the perks to living in the south! What a blessing to have friends treat us yesterday to it!

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for being the strength in not only my physical body but most importantly in my spiritual body. Thank You for last night with the downtown event. It was so much fun to walk around with Crackers and hand out candy and our church information. It was also hard physically and I am thankful You enabled me to have the strength to do it. Lord, my desire is to be that 'beautiful flower' that enables the 'buds' to bloom. I pray for You to be glorified in all I do. Lord, fill me to overflowing with more of You so people will see and hear You in me. Thank You for tough times that draw me closer to You! Thank You for MS and C that enable me to become more aware of what You desire of and for me! Thank You for being My Strength! Amen.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Matthew 1:18-25 - "A Strange Way To Save The World"

December is that even possible? It sure doesn't feel like it with having high 70's for temps these last few days. But I do need to remind myself I do live in South Carolina now. I've been reading where my Ohio friends and family are having warmer than normal temps. I am thankful my body no longer has to deal with the huge swings in temperatures as in Ohio. As I reflect on past December 1, it was my 'original' due date to have Paul. I believe it is the first time in the last twenty seven years to not be a 'hunting widow' this week. Last night I talked with the boys at church about the significance of December 1. How when we turn the calendar over to December we start getting excited to celebrate Jesus' birth. As I thought about that, I thought about all of the craziness that comes with this time of year. The money that is spent, the calendar that is crammed full, the emotions that go crazy, etc. Peace is so needed in people's lives. True Peace. The kind of peace that comes only from being in intimate relationship with God where one can hear His voice. Too many times distractions make it be that we can't hear Him. Many times those distractions come from the enemy because he does not like the headway we are making for the Kingdom. We must be intentional in living in His Presence, especially this time of year. Sometimes that means letting go of traditions such as making 25 dozen cookies to share. Sometimes that means not going to every event that we desire to go to. Sometimes that means snuggling up with a cup of hot chocolate and reading His Word instead of watching another Christmas movie. Sometimes that means looking around and finding people who have no one to love on them and opening our home for a meal and time of fellowship. This morning I woke up after only four hours of sleep feeling crabby. My head hurts and I just want to sleep yet I can't. I asked God if there was someone to pray for and He said, "many." So I waited for Him to tell me who but nothing else came. After a half hour I got up and turned on my computer and found out who...

  • a man in ER with intense pain
  • a little guy who continues to be tested for possible leukemia
  • words for one who is going through something tough in life..."The mountain ahead is a mole hill to your Heavenly Father"
  • words for one who asked for pray as she seeks God's will..."Prayers for you to not be so distracted that you miss His voice"
  • words for one who is dealing with ill health in a loved one who she is responsible for..."praying for discernment"
  • a teen with diabetes who her parents almost lost last week
  • a daddy getting ready to go back to work after being home for the birth of their baby girl
  • a daddy who is anxious to come home to his family after being deployed
  • a daddy who just left on deployment and his family as he is away
  • a man with intense hip pain
  • a woman who had a lumpectomy yesterday...oh how I pray pathology reports will be clean
  • the one distraught over her church situation
  • one making a major decision
Then He brought to my mind "A Strange Way To Save The World" and I thought 'well now God, what does this have to do with anything?' He told me, "I will use you, Daughter, in ways you may not like or understand but as long as You have a willing spirit You will be blessed mightily." Wow! In this song it explains how He used Joseph in being Jesus' earthly father. If Joseph would have had a choice, his son would not have born in a stable with the animals. He probably wouldn't have chose to have a pregnant woman for his betrothed. But Joseph had a willing spirit. Not only did he have a willing spirit but he also was not distracted by all that was happening so he was able to hear His voice. If Joseph would not have been willing to do things he didn't like or wanted to do, life would be so different today. In the first chapter of Matthew it reads:

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
   23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for giving me a heart to serve You. Thank You for all the ways You used me yesterday to share Your love with others. I pray for the opportunities that are ahead today to do just that. I also pray against distractions that will not allow me to hear You. Father, today the appointment with the oncologist is on my mind. But once again I am so thankful for the way You go before me and already know the outcome. Bless all of my medical providers with wisdom. Most of all I pray they will see You in me. Just as I prayed yesterday...fill me to overflowing with Yourself and may You see Your reflection when You see me. Thank You for being My Reflection! Amen.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Revelation 5:12 - "I Will Rise"

Five years ago today I wrote these words... 

meditated on Rev 5:12
In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"
I woke up this morning to the song “I Will Rise”…awww….love when the Lord wakes me up singing. The first part of this song is one I can relate to….”There’s a peace I’ve come to know...I can say ‘It is well’” Woo hoo! Thank You Jesus for Your peace. Even though I fall apart in the midst of storms I still have peace that the Lord is with me. I’m thankful for promises He gives to me to encourage me to keep on keepin’ on! I’m thankful for the knowledge that “I will rise when He calls my name”. I’m also thankful “There’s a day that’s drawing near” when there will be “No more sorrow, no more pain”. Woo hoo! Thank You Jesus for being the Anchor of my soul!

I'm not sure what 'storm' I was going through at the time but I am grateful He continues to be My Anchor through all that comes before me. Dan Bohi talked on the conference call yesterday about how his wife along with other ministry leaders wives get hit in their physical body the more their ministry goes deeper in doing God's will. He discussed James 1 which is one of my favorite chapters to read in times of trials. When we are going through the storms of life, we must persevere. Not only must we persevere but we also must ask God to give us wisdom through the storms. That is where I am right now...seeking His wisdom on further treatment. Many have given me their opinion on what I should or shouldn't do with C. Some have been nice about it while others have not. I am thankful people are not who I have to listen to. God is. I know He speaks to people at times to give a word to others. But if people are just speaking on their own then they are not the ones I need to listen to. I am thankful for the peace He has given me along this path. That peace is not attainable in the world. It is only attainable through living in the supernatural power of God. As Dan mentioned yesterday, we need to seek His wisdom on how He can be glorified in our circumstances. That is all I want. The desire of my heart is for Him to be glorified through C just as much as I want Him to be glorified through MS. The more I allow Him to shine through me, the more He will be glorified! Woo hoo! Jesus was glorified through being faithful to His Father. As I become more like Him, My Heavenly Father will also be glorified. I like what a friend of Dan's said, "Lord, purify me until all you see is Your reflection." Yes! Oh how I desire for this to happen in my life. I know the more I reflect Him on the road of suffering, the more He will be glorified!

Dear Jesus,
Thank You once again for another good pathology report. Lord, You continue to give me opportunities to be a witness with my testimony and I thank You for that. Father, peace is needed in so many lives. But I know that peace is not attainable without purification. I pray for those who do not know You to come into relationship with You. I also pray for those who know You but are not living in Your supernatural empowerment to grasp that. I pray for more "power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" to be realized in my own life. Lord, You brought us here to Beaufort to be Your servants. You took us away from family and a comfortable life to find Your will for us. May it be so. May we gain a greater depth of You in these days. I pray for Debbie Bohi, Beth Ann Jones and Judy Jellison as they are on their own road of suffering. My road of suffering in my physical body over these last few months has been hard but I know You are with me every step of the way.
I pray for more people to come into a relationship with You that is only attainable through a life of holiness so their road of suffering will glorify You. Lord, be my words, my actions and my attitude throughout these days. I pray not only for people to see You in me but most importantly I pray for You to see You in me. Thank You Jesus for being My Peace. Amen.