Wednesday, August 17, 2011

one plus one = One

one day up
  one day down
    one day a water-walker
      one day tossed by the waves


          one day holding on
            one day losing grip
              one day full of sunshine
                one day fighting shadows
  
      The One constant is Jesus 
   The One Who walked before and understands
  The One Guardian of all my "one days"
   The One Who champions my soul

                      can anyone relate?


Because of Him and Unto Him

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Seeing God Through the Fog

It's a perfect-weather, crystal clear morning on the beach a couple of blocks from my house. The air is unusually sweet and humid free, causing me to take in deep breaths and let out long sighs. Connecticut looks so close - like you can reach out and touch its shoreline - even though it's 22 miles across the Sound. It is a beautiful morning to worship The LORD. I walk and sing songs of thanksgiving, letting all my cares roll out to sea with each gentle ebb of the tide, leaving me feeling light and burden-free.

Because I was concentrating on God, I hadn't noticed that Connecticut was becoming shrouded in the mystery of a sudden fog. Suddenly, my eyes were drawn to Connecticut's shoreline. Gasp! With our neighboring state now undercover, the billows of fog start inching their way across the Sound straight for Long Island's shore where I was enjoying the Presence of God.

With my gasp, I allow my attention and all my senses to be diverted to the incoming fog. What does it mean?! Is there a storm coming?  I let what I see and hear dictate my thoughts.  A moment ago, I was peaceful and calm; but now, white caps are dotting the sea over on Connecticut's side and those dots are growing into angry waves on the New York side. So, my thoughts are no longer peaceful and full of thanksgiving.  Now they are anxious-filled and self-centered.

The fog is moving in closer to me.  The wind is kicking around my head and I start to shiver.  Maybe I should run home?  Will there be thunder and lightening?  Will the storm cause the tide to rush in higher leaving no beach to get home on?

Looking around, I'm as alone as I was before, but my peace and worshipful heart seems to have escaped with the oncoming weather.  I let the "impending storm" take my heart off of Jesus.  How quick I let circumstances cause me to stop being thankful! How quick my mind raced with thoughts of, "What if..."  In my head, I was already picturing the storm of storms.

"Peace.  My peace I give unto you", God's Word interrupts my anxious heart. I decide to sit and wait a little bit, but keep my eyes and ears on the "signs" written on the water - instead of Heaven.  I hunkered down into the sand and wrapped my arms around my legs to keep warm as the wet fog engulfed me. In a matter of minutes fog had overtaken the sunshine and fear my peace. Lord, am I stupid for staying here?!  

So, it is in life.  One minute we're at peace and full of faith to climb any mountain Satan would put in our path. The next minute we allow ourselves to become engulfed in fear's fog. We become fearful when we cannot "see" what is around us or ahead of us.  God's love, protection, grace, healing, and delivering power is still here. I just may not be seeing it clearly because my eyes are on the fog that has rolled in. However, if I allow faith to be faith, it will be evident when the fog finally lifts. Worshipful, thankful hearts keep our eyes on Jesus and His Word even through the patches of fear-laced fog.

As suddenly as the fog rolled in, it was rolling down the beach toward the east.  Sun rays broke through, as if Heaven's gateway was opening for God to speak, "See, Diane? Fear was for naught. No storm, just some fog.  See the lights on the Connecticut side?  Soon, the Connecticut horizon will be crystal clear again. Trust Me."


When fear comes billowing in to engulf us, the plan is to cause our eyes to be diverted from Jesus and His Promises to us and our circumstances. But, if we hunker down and allow faith to be faith within us, we will "see" the Hand of God move, no matter how dense the fog might get. The sun will come shining through once again.  Peace and calm will be restored because God is God of His Word.  He does not lie, nor twist or turn.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In that we can have trust and give thanks no matter how foggy the weather might be.






Because of Him and Unto Him

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Major Life Lesson


FEAR


 IS NOT


A STOP SIGN!

 So, Do It Afraid!   
~ Joyce Meyer
                                                     
Because of Him and Unto Him

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Empty But Full

There was an empty chair at Bible study today.  One of the senior citizens is going to be stepping through Heaven's glorious threshold soon now and she is totally prepared to do so. Marie is ready spiritually, plus she took care of arrangements in the natural.  She made her funeral plans and lined up people who will take care of her home and help her husband of over 50 years cope with life without her.  What strength...what love!

Marie has been battling the ravages of chemotherapy for a year or so. But, she has been an ever faithful, joyful presence at our weekly group.  Nothing has stopped Marie from coming to learn about God's Word, nor from smiling and blessing us with laughter - until today.  Others in the group reported that Marie has "taken to her bed" and Hospice is now tending to her.

Marie is a special, much-loved woman. Up until very recently she actively served her church, community, and her family. Her servanthood was the natural flow of the river of love in her heart for Jesus. (She reminds me very much of my wonderful mother-in-law.) So, today we prayed for Marie once again - this time for her journey Home and for the family she will be leaving behind.

Her empty chair was a strong reminder that we need to be ready to meet God, which "just so happened" was the topic of our study today. Together we shared tears and laughed with joy talking of of Marie's servanthood, family, and the joy and peace she had in Jesus. The joy of The LORD truly has been the strength of her life and her love for God's Word a testament to her faith.

Marie is giving up her chair at our Bible study. But, she is on the brink of getting her recompense from living a life of love and servanthood unto Jesus.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in Heaven. ~Jesus Christ, as recorded in Matthew 5:12
Oh, the expectancy of what it will be like for her...we can only imagine!


Because of Him and Unto Him

Friday, August 5, 2011

Wowzers!

Lisa was a bubbly, outgoing seven year old. Her three year old sister, Gina, was cute-as-a-button, but very shy. Gina was a regular at our church's Nursery. Being raised by their grandparents, these girls seemed happy, but there were abandonment issues that cut deep crevices within the soul of this family.  The nursery staff and I continually lifted our Nursery children up in prayer, but little Gina had a special place in my heart. There was just something "pull-at-your-heartstrings" about her. I not only prayed for her family situation and welfare, but I prayed for what the future would hold for this precious child.

One Sunday, as the three and four year old's sat at the Nursery kitchen tables for snack, I asked if any of the children would like to pray.  A little arm shot straight up. "I will," Gina said almost inaudibly and much to our surprise. Wow!

All the children bowed their heads. From Gina's precious little lips came the most gut-wrenching prayer, "Jesus, help my mommy. Please, Jesus, help my mommy get off drugs." She always spoke so softly so I stood close enough to hear her words. It wasn't begging. Gina prayed almost unemotionally, just stating what she wanted - like she knew that whatever she asked for Jesus would do for her. She finished her prayer and the children turned their attention to their snacks totally unaware of the tears streaming down my face.  I turned my back to them to compose myself. Kathy, the other Nursery worker, walked into the other room so the children wouldn't see her crying. Gina's sweet, innocent, child-like but bold faith touched the both of us deeply. I don't think Kathy nor I will ever forgot that moment. It was a Scripture-come-alive moment.
And then they brought young children to Him that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those that brought them.  But, when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displease and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me and do not forbid them; for of such is the Kingdom of God. Assuredly I say to you, "Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, will by no means enter it." And He took them in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them.     ~Mark 10:13-16

Months later, Lisa and Gina's mom walked through the doors of the church, gave her life to The Lord, and entered a drug rehab facility.  Little Gina bounded into Nursery that Sunday. Her shyness seemed to evaporate. "Mommy is here!", she said over and over, jumping around as if her little body was bursting with joy. Kathy and I stared at each other with our mouths open - literally. Wow!

I have not seen or heard about those girls in about 18 years.  Today, in the midst of utter chaos in my home, the phone rang.

"Miss Diane?"  Hhmmm...that rang an old, familiar chord.  "Miss Diane" was my official Nursery name.

"Yes", which was more of a question than a statement.

"This is Lisa."  Wow!

Lisa had a need and thought maybe I could help in some way.  I told her I would see what I could find out and I would call her next week.  I asked about her family.  "Gina is a Missionary and has traveled all over and she's in college."  Wow!
"And all things, whatever you ask in faith, believing, you will receive", says Jesus Christ (Matt. 21:22) - something three-year old Gina seemed to know intuitively. 

Wow! Wow! Wow!  Thank You, Jesus!


Because of Him and Unto Him,
Diane


~~~


This post is shared over on Tell Me A True Story. Please stop by there and read all the stories.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Creation's Sabbath

sunrise
sunset
high tide
low tide
perpetual movement


don't you long to rest?

Because of Him and Unto Him

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Driving Destination of Suffering

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials...  ~James 1:2
Years ago, this Scripture used to make my mind glitch.  I could never understand how one can be joyful in the midst of a trial, since most trials involve suffering of some kind - whether it be physical, mental, or emotional. One day, The Holy Spirit spoke this to my heart, as I was studying the Epistle of James in light of my own affliction at the time,
"There does come a joy known to those who suffer with Me.  But, that is not the result of the suffering; but, the result of the close intimacy with Me, to which the suffering drove you." 
Human beings suffer - that is a fact.  However, we are not meant to suffer the agony of our situation alone.  If we include Jesus Christ into our suffering, He bears us up; gives us grace and strength to endure until the trial is over. The intimacy we have with Him will more than sustain us because suffering is meant to produce something in our lives. It does have purpose:
My brethren, count in all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  ~James 1:2-3.  
The word "patience" in the original Greek means: cheerful or hopeful endurance, constancy, enduring, and patient continuance.  If our suffering drives us to Jesus Christ and we become more and more intimate with Him, there is an inner joy that is unspeakable and full of glory giving us the ability to endure and be constant in our faith.

May the suffering you are going through right now draw you closer and closer to Jesus. He will be your joy and your strength, which is your "today" testimony.  Tomorrow's testimony might be that the suffering and this trial is all over. Hallelujah!               

Dedicated to Martha, an example of one full of joy in the midst of physical suffering

Because of Him and Unto Him