Sunday, November 26, 2017

Risk/Reward Situation

Joshua 1:9  "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

1 Corinthians 16:13  "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong."

       Courage is a desire of all of us, but it can waver based on the situation at hand.  It is the act of follow through that turns a brave and bold talk into a courageous walk.  What binds the two together is trust alone.  With whom does your trust begin and end?  God said in Revelation 22:13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." 
      "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear" — N. Mandela
      "Courage is about doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared. Have the courage to act instead of react." — Oliver Wendell Holmes
       If you've been following my blog lately, then you know I am facing kidney stone surgery next month.  Will I be fearful, brave, and courageous?  Yes, to all.  My doctor told me that this is a risk/reward situation, meaning the reward outweighs the risks involved.  My reward is having the stone removed before it causes severe pain, blockage, infection and sepsis.  The risks are breathing complications, nerve damage, anesthesia problems, and just general surgery dangers.  My courage and strength comes from only one source, God's promise of "for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  In my conscious life, I can falsely assume that I have some sort of control over what happens to me but this surgery will have me totally and physically surrendered.  I think God puts situations into our lives to remind us and reinforce that His authority over us is unwavering and totally in control.  God wants our total trust in Him, not ourselves or anyone else.  
         Do you realize that you yourself are in a risk/reward situation at this very moment?  The risk of following the world for a reward of temporary pleasure OR the risk of obeying God for a reward of eternal life?  Only you can choose, a faith that can move mountains or a worldly whim that changes with the wind.  God's Word never changes so the risk of following Him is a guaranteed win for those who see Him as The Way, The Truth and The Life.
        "A Christian should be fixed in the faith of the gospel, and never desert nor renounce it. It is by this faith alone that he will be able to keep his ground in an hour of temptation; it is by faith that we stand (2 Cor. 1:24); it is by this that we must overcome the world (1 John 5:4), both when it fawns and when it frowns, when it tempts and when it terrifies. We must stand therefore in the faith of the gospel, if we would maintain our integrity."[M. Henry]

4 Signs of Courage

1] Overcoming Fear Enough to Act
2] Faith Led Decision Making
3] Persevering in Adversity

4] Going Beyond What's Comfortable

Courage doesn't guarantee success, but faith always does.

Sure it takes a lot of courage to put things in God’s hands,
To give ourselves completely, our lives, our hopes, our plans;
To follow where He leads us and make His will our own;
But all it takes is foolishness to go the way alone! —Kline

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Psalm 25:5  "Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."

Psalm 33:20  "We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield."

Psalm 42:5  "Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

Psalm 71:14  "As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more."

Romans 12:12  "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."

Romans 15:13  "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

         According to Wikipedia, Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one's life.  According to the Bible, hope is a promise to believers that our bodies will be redeemed by the grace of God and given eternal life.

         Romans 8:23-25  "Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."
         We can cling to hope as believers because we know that our hope is not limited to what happens in this life.  Hope makes our trials easier to bear, because we have won the victory over death through Jesus Christ. Romans 5:3-5  " Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
      We also have hope that our trial will work out and not call us Home yet.  We glorify God when He uses us as an example in suffering.  Hope is displayed in our prayers, in our service to the suffering, and in our trust of God's faithfulness.  "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
        Have you heard about the guy who was terminally ill, but still bought green bananas?  Why wouldn't he buy yellow bananas that are ready to eat without a wait?  Because, he still had hope in his heart that God would see him through a few more days to see them ripen.  As for myself, my green bananas are the Alan Jackson concert tickets for Jan. 20th that I'm going to buy soon.  I have hope that whether I see Alan or God in the coming days, it's going to be a great time.

When trouble seeks to rob your very breath, When tragedy hits hard and steals your days, Recall that Christ endured the sting of death; He gives us hope, and merits all our praise. —Gustafson

4 Ways To Help Yourself During a Trial []

1. Believe and trust God. Only by viewing life from a biblical perspective can we understand His purposes in our trials and trust His wisdom in allowing them.

2. Accept the situation as coming from the Lord. If we truly believe He’s working for our good, we can choose to receive each difficulty as from His loving hand, whether it was directly sent or permissively allowed. Then we can say “Thank You.”
3. Submit to God in the circumstance. Although we may not like the situation, knowing that God is good and does good allows us to confidently place our life under His authority. 
4. Draw from Him the strength to endure. No one has the ability within himself to endure hardships with gratefulness. Only by relying on the Lord can believers go through adversity with an appreciative heart.

Tenth Avenue North song w/lyrics  "I Have This Hope"   

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Watch It


     How many times have we thought 'I wish I hadn't said that' but it's too late.  Once it is out there, it can't be retracted.  We often don't think before we speak.
     My friend went to a new doctor that was on-call and whatever he said was taken both harshly and rudely.  Her and her mother thought 'I can't believe he just said that.'  Are your words ever taken like that?
     Proverbs 18:21  ''The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.''  We can do both harm or good by what we say.  Our words can both condemn or intercede for another.  The power of the tongue should not be underestimated.
     Our tongue is a voluntary muscle so we can control it, if we want to.  James 3; 10  ''Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.''
     Here are 10 truths on taming your tongue......

1. And my tongue shall talk of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long. ~ Psalms 35:28
2. The mouth of the righteous talk of wisdom, And his tongue speaketh justice.
~ Psalms 37:30
3. My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the daylong. ~ Psalms 71:24.
4. The tongue of the wise utters knowledge aright; but the mouths of fools pour out folly. ~ Proverbs 15:2
5. A gentle tongue is a tree of life; but perverseness therein is a breaking of the spirit. ~ Proverbs 15:4
6. Whoso keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from troubles. ~ Proverbs 21:23
7. By long forbearing is a ruler persuaded, And a soft tongue breaks the bone.
~ Proverbs 25:15
8. The north wind brings forth rain: So doth backbiting tongue an angry countenance. ~ Proverbs 25:23
9. Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile. ~ Psalms 34:13
10. Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. ~ Proverbs 18:21


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Trust, Faithfulness and Mercy

Joshua 1:9:  "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

         This blog is going to be a little different than my normal, because I need this message as a reminder to myself right now.  This blog is broken down into 3 areas that we should consider during all times, but especially in a personal crisis: Trusting God, God's Faithfulness, and The Mercy of God.  I, personally, am dealing with the struggle of deciding which path of treatment to take for my 2cm [20mm] size kidney stone.

Trusting God
        It's a lot easier to trust God when things are going as you might expect, right?  Then there are moments that are like life's sucker punches.  They are unexpected, cause fear and hurt, usually require a decision, and make your immediate [not eternal] future unknown.  Trusting God is a measure of your faith in His 'total' control over you and all situations you will face in this life.  John 16:33  "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."  John Piper's following quote comforts me, as I have felt guilty for being scared and doubtful in my current struggle...
       "When anxiety strikes and blurs our vision of God’s glory and the greatness of the future that he plans for us, this does not mean that we are faithless, or that we will not make it to heaven. It means our faith is being attacked.  At first blow, our belief in God’s promises may sputter and swerve. But whether we stay on track and make it to the finish line depends on whether, by grace, we set in motion a process of resistance — whether we fight back against the unbelief of anxiety.  Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”  Notice: it does not say, “I never struggle with fear.” Fear strikes, and the battle begins. So the Bible does not assume that true believers will have no anxieties. Instead, the Bible tells us how to fight when they strike."
         When we put our trust in God alone... we are secure in His presence with us, His protection over us, His completion of the work He started in us, and His knowing what is best for us ultimately.

There’s so much now I cannot see,
My eyesight’s far too dim;
But come what may, I’ll simply trust
And leave it all to Him. —Overton

God's Faithfulness

Daniel 9:4  “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments."

      Unless we are struggling with a threat of illness or danger, we usually trust God when we go to sleep to wake us up without much or any thought.  We trust Him because He has been faithful every day.  So when we face a crisis, we need to remind ourselves of God's faithful track record thus far--100% of the time He has carried me through every struggle I have encountered.
      "Most churchgoers easily claim, “I’ve yielded my life to Christ.” To actually live out those words, however, is more difficult. We want to cling to a measure of control in case God doesn’t work events to our satisfaction. Too many Christians are content merely to dip their toes into faith because they fear life might not turn out according to their plan. But how much greater their loss will be if life doesn’t turn out according to God’s plan. He can do much more with a surrendered existence than a sheltered one." []
        As for myself, I love the 'On this Day' feature of Facebook.  It shows me my posts, which are my thoughts, during previous hard times and the faithfulness of God time after time.  I'm not saying God did exactly what I wanted but He provided for all my needs.  He was with me always and never forsake me, just as He promised.

The Grace and Mercy of God

Though danger lurks on every side,
In Christ our Lord we will abide;
Our God is strong, our hope is sure—
In Him alone we are secure! —Fitzhugh

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

      Sometimes we do our best to make the right decisions, but things don't play out as we had hoped.  The grace and mercy of God can trump our plans, according to God's will, for our ultimate, eternal benefit.
      As for myself, I want to be wise yet humble in my decision making.  I know that my eternal destination is waiting for me and only God knows if He will use me here or there, sooner or later.  I pray for His will to be done, here on earth as it is in Heaven.  Amen! 


, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
Daniel 9:4

Friday, November 10, 2017

Go With the Flow


Phil.3:6-7:  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus." 

Isaiah 40:31:  "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." 

Isaiah 41:10:  "They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.  They will mount up with wings like eagles.  They will run and not be weary; they will walk and not faint."

Joshua 1:9:  "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

     I like order and routine but life is often disrupted by chaos.  How do we handle it and react to it?  Often it is best to just go with the flow.  ''No matter how much structure we create in our lives, no matter how many good habits we build, there will always be things that we cannot control — and if we let them, these things can be a huge source of anger, frustration and stress.''  ''What is going with the flow? It’s rolling with the punches. It’s accepting change without getting angry or frustrated. It’s taking what life gives you, rather than trying to mold life to be exactly as you want it to be.''
     The best way to go with the flow is to recognize Who is in control of your life.  The caption's picture above symbolizes 'surrendering' to me.  Whatever comes my way, I know God brought me to it and will bring me through it.  Does my anxiety, worry, or doubts help me?  No, but the peace of God does.
     May we learn to be calm, relaxed and patient in the bumps that interfere with our smooth flow in life.  Hand it all over to the One in control of it all.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Suffering in Stride

Psalm 119:50  "My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life."

         Suffering is an unpleasant experience with a threat of harm to an individual.  We try to avoid it at all costs, but sometimes it's just part of the plan God has for us.  Acts 14:22 “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”  We do not suffer in vain.  All that we suffer through has a purpose. It is intended to help us to rely on God more and less on ourselves.
        There are two ways to respond to suffering: question, blame, and curse God while you suffer OR praise and thank God for the suffering that drew you closer to Him.  Job 2:9-10 is a good example.."His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”  In all this, Job did not sin in what he said."
       Suffering makes our hope in God's promises all the more powerful and meaningful to our hearts, minds and souls.  2 Corinthians 4:17-18  "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
        Are you going through a tough time? Take heart. The Lord is sovereign and He controls all adversity in our lives. That’s why it’s important to remember how much He loves us. If He allows us to go through pain, suffering, or loss, then He has something good He wants to accomplish in us. []
        As for myself, my personal suffering is God's way of keeping me focused on Him and His promises.  If CMT [Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease] had not been my 'thorn', where would my spiritual state be?  The struggles make you stronger, and the changes make you wise, but to God none of it is a surprise.  God is my all in all, every step of the way.

7 Truths About Suffering [C. Stanley;]

  1. Adversity is universal. It’s everywhere and can affect any area of our lives.
  2. It’s impartial. Because we live in a fallen world, trouble comes to all of us—even believers, no matter what our financial, social, or educational status.
  3. Adversity is painful. The pain can be physical, emotional, or relational, but whatever the source, it hurts.
  4. Sometimes adversity comes suddenly. Life could be going on as normal when an accident or a negative report from the doctor leaves us unexpectedly devastated.
  5. Times of adversity may be prolonged. Sometimes the emotional or physical pain continues for years.
  6. It may be intense. We may hurt so badly that even those who try to bring comfort feel the pain.
  7. Adversity is often beyond our control. We may feel helpless and have no answer for why God would allow us to go through it.