Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Building A Courageous Life With God

Deuteronomy 31:6  "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

         Today's blog is about how God has built courage in me through opportunities of learning to trust in Him, above all else.  I want to give a few examples from my life, without going in great detail of each one.  "Regardless of what today may bring or the trouble you are now going through, don’t forget that your God is stronger than anything in your life. So, be confident! The shadow of His all-prevailing presence guarantees that His power can turn even the worst situation into something good." [odb.org]

        Let's begin at age 5, when I started showing symptoms of something wrong, like falling and my right foot turning in.  I had a surgical biopsy of my thigh muscle and had to spend the night at Arkansas Children's Hospital.  Way back then, 1976, children were put in a ward and parents weren't allowed to stay overnight with their kids.  My parents say they left, but returned to peek in the window.  I don't remember a lot, other than the surgery and getting 2 stuffed puppies from the nurses.  I'm sure I was scared and it was a courage building and trust in God opportunity to learn from.

       Let's go on to age 10, when I had a real surgery on my right foot called a tendon transfer.  After this surgery, I had to manage on crutches with a cast on my leg for 6 weeks.  I'm sure it was a scary time for both me and my parents, as to whether I would ever walk again.  After an an ample time without the cast and just crutches, my fear had the best of me.  One day when my dad was out of town, my mom put my crutches in another room away from me.  It was a courage-calling and God-calling moment...'Help me Lord, because you are all I have to trust and depend on.'  Do you recall moments like that in your own life?

       Let's skip to age 22, when I was married and living in Arlington, TX.  I got a phone call from my husband at work in the Navy, where they had a Naval Air Station.  He was getting an early discharge from the Navy and we were going to move to Chicago, so he could start working for his dad and his business.   CHICAGO????  I literally thought it was a death sentence with the weather they had up there.  It took a lot of courage to do what I had vowed to do and follow my husband's lead.  It also took a whole lot of courage to find the right college to meet all of my needs to finish my degree and graduate a year and a half later, in Aug. 1994.   I trusted God to provide and He did for all my needs, including courage thru it all.

        There are many, many other life moments that required both courage and trust that have brought me here to age 48.   It has been quite the beautiful ride, sometimes a smooth sail and others a roller-coaster.

       "We spend much of our time working or engaging in pleasurable pursuits of our own choosing. However, God wants our priorities to reflect His purposes—namely, to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love others through a life of service and sacrifice (Matt. 22:37-40).  We can protect our future by yielding to the Spirit’s control and living out what Scripture considers most valuable: knowing God and obediently serving Him. Make sure that you put Him in charge of your mind, will, emotions, and appetite."  [ intouch.org]

       "Perhaps we dread poor health, financial problems, the loss of a loved one, or uncertainty about the future. Or maybe we’re afraid of failure because we feel weak and inadequate for a particular task or challenge. Whatever our fears may be, we must learn how to face them as God desires—with courage."
      If you want to profit from struggles, be sustained in them, and come through with joy and victory, you must understand the following truths:  [intouch.org]

1. God’s in full control of the timing and intensity of your trial, and He won’t let it go beyond the boundaries He has set.
2. He has a specific purpose for your suffering, which you may not understand until it is over.
3. This trial will be profitable if you submit to God and trust Him through it.
4. A trying situation is a chance for faith to prove genuine and grow stronger.
5. When you endure extreme pressure with unexplainable peace and joy, the Lord will demonstrate His sustaining power to a watching world.
6. The Father will use your difficulties to produce Christ-like character.
7. God will walk with you through trials.
8. The Holy Spirit will enable you to survive this and to come out a conqueror.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Vacation Destin..ation

             I want to share with you all some of my thoughts from my recent vacation to Destin, Florida.  This was our third trip to  Camp Gulf in Destin and I think it was our best trip yet.  The weather was perfect with sunshine everyday, so there was no worry about having to do certain activities on a particular day.  After a very difficult year health-wise, God was merciful and gave me this vacation with pretty good health overall.  God answered my prayers by not only making it possible for this trip to happen, but it was all in His timing.  We were delayed from our original August date and were unsure about when to leave up until the day before we left.  When the Psalms say, "I will tell of your wonderful deeds", I say, "Amen, Yes, I will too."  I praise God for this much needed trip and for the healing over the past months that led up to it.

        "The Lord knows the kind of comfort we need when we’re grieving. He knows even better than we do. All we have to do is call on him. We don’t need to give him instructions. We don’t even have to tell him what’s wrong. All we have to do is say, “Lord, I need you,” and he will be right by our side.  
        The first step in becoming a truly “good” person as a follower of Christ is to stop pretending that we’re good on our own and to ask God to make us as good as we can be. We will fail many times, but He will keep growing us and changing us. God is faithful and—in His time and in His way—He’ll do it."  [odb.org]

         I think vacation is like a micro-time of where our fruits of the Spirit, either shine thru or fail.  Fruits of the Spirit are “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).  On vacation, we are out of our norm and comfort space, so the test of showing our Christian character begins.  How do we respond to the ungodly, the irritants, the pressures of this failing world?  

       "God not only notices us, He is with us at all times. We are to keep ourselves in God’s love, whether we feel Him or not. By praying and filling our minds with God’s truth, His love will grow in us and through us. Then we won’t be so consumed with wanting others to notice us. We will become people who notice others and let God’s love shine on them. Jude 1:20-21, “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (NIV)."  [odb.org]

       Matthew 7:24-25, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” (NIV)

        My vacation motto is "Faith over fear and Do It, If Possible."   Our trip didn't go without adjustment, and modification too.  I got to go on a 35 minute helicopter ride with my personal assistant/friend and my portable air machine.  I got to sit in a beach chair with the waves crashing against me, because my feeding tube was protected by two layers of ClingWrap...no joke.  "with God all things are possible.”  

 “Seven Things That Can Be Done Only In This Life.”
This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good reminder of how God wants us to live and what He wants us to do.  [intouch.org]

1. Love and pray for your enemies (Matthew 5:44).
2. Walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
3. Love God by enduring temptation (James 1:12).
4. Through love serve one another (Galatians 5:13).
5. Lay up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20).
6. Share the gospel with the lost (Matthew 28:19-20).
7. Exercise your spiritual gifts (Romans 12:6-8).