T. I. M. E.

I have at least three different things I’m working on writing, one of which I planned to finish and post this morning.  But after what has transpired this morning I just have to share what is on my heart.

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I often wonder…do we truly live each and everyday like it could be our last…or someone else’s last?  Do we live each day gratefully, or are we always striving to get to the next thing, missing what is right in front of us?  I know I fail on both counts.  I regret that.  I need to be…want to be more mindful.  More aware.  More thankful.  We can all come up with tons of reasons…excuses…why we don’t.  Time marches on and life just seems to get busier.  But the fact is…we can never get it (time) back.  So will we continue to just spend it, or will we invest it?  Invest it in the relationships God has given us.  Invest it in living lives of gratitude to God for the abundance He has blessed us with.  Or will we keep getting so easily irritated, complaining and wishing things were different?  If you are reading this…you and I have today.  Let’s make our lives count for the Kingdom and not just merely get through each day.  We were made for so much more than just “getting through” each day.  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, so we need to be living each day to its fullest, making a difference in the lives of those who God has put around us.

This morning as I was having my quiet time with the Lord, I thought of a dear saint from our church who had suffered a stroke a week and a half ago.  As I started to pray for her, I got an overwhelming sense that she was being ushered Home.  I asked God to please be gentle with her, and through tears continued to pray for strength and comfort for her family.

Shortly afterward, I got word of another, whose life is hanging in the balance.  More prayers for that one and his family.

I got word two or three hours later that the first one was in fact ushered Home this morning.  I was struck with the fact that, had I not been still to hear the Holy Spirit prompting me to pray…and how to pray at that moment…I would have missed out on one of this life’s greatest blessings.  I would have missed out on the privilege of interceding for families who needed God’s intervening strength and grace at that moment.  I would have missed out on the honored privilege of praying (with many others), a dear saint Home.  I am sadly so good at putzing around with other things instead of stopping to pray when I should.  I think that’s why this struck me so profoundly today.  How many other spiritual blessings have I missed out on simply because I don’t stop to pray?  It is the most important thing we can do.

From what I understand, God was gentle with her.  He had allowed her to “see her daddy” in preparation for her Homegoing.  Friends, God is so very good and kind, and yes, gentle (smile).

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    The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.  Psalm 145:9

Evening and morning and at noon will I pray, a cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.  Psalm 55:17

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  Psalm 95:2

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.  John 13:35

Love & Prayers for You,

Debbie

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A Woman Named Joyce

DSCN2873Joyce was a godly, optimistic woman who radiated love and kindness wherever she went.  She always looked for the best in others, and was ready with an encouraging word, a smile, or a warm hug and offer of prayer for whoever needed it…and you could always be sure she would follow through with it too.  Because of her sweet spirit and genuine love for others, she gained the respect and admiration of most all who knew her.

Now if you did not know Joyce, there was nothing about her appearance that would immediately draw attention to her.  She was a simple woman who dressed neatly and could have been referred to as pleasantly plump.  Her usually roller set hair was brown…if she chose to color it.  Otherwise it was salt and pepper gray.  She always wished she’d inherited her mother’s snow white hair.  When you were near her you could always smell a hint of White Diamonds…her favorite perfume.  Her thin hands and fingers showed signs of age but they were hands that worked hard, and conveyed so much love as they tirelessly cared for her family and friends.  When she laughed (which she did often), her soft brown eyes would squint as her head tilted back and her hands held her belly!  Her laughter was contagious.  You couldn’t help but laugh along with her until your sides hurt!  You could often hear her say; “Laughter is the best medicine!”                                                                                        DSCN2870

After Joyce retired, if she wasn’t at her church or one of her daughters’ homes, she could usually be found at the old farmhouse that she shared with her husband of forty-three years.  The place was old and rickety, but she did her best to make it warm and inviting.  It tended to be a bit cluttered with the things that brought her joy; mostly her many family photos and her books.  She loved to read and did so regularly.  She loved her family more, and spent every opportunity she could with them.  She was overjoyed every time her family grew.  It had expanded over the years from two daughters, to the addition of two sons-in-law, and eventually six grandsons.  Her children and grandchildren seemed to breathe life into her.  She enjoyed every moment with them.  She adored them…and they her.  If she wasn’t cooking some wonderful smelling food for her family, she was probably at her kitchen table with a cup of tea or coffee, reading her Bible.  Even more important than her family was her relationship with, and love for her Savior.  Her simple yet rich life showed abundant evidence of that.

Life had not always been easy for Joyce.  She carried burdens most never knew, and dealt with what seemed to be more than her fair share of trials.  But she never complained.  There were times her heart was breaking, and she would shed many tears to the Lord in prayer, and rely on her faith in Him and the promises in His Word to strengthen her and carry her through.  At no time was this more evident than when the diagnosis came.  December.  1998.  Pancreatic cancer.  Through the intense pain, the hair loss from chemo, the exhaustion, surgeries and constant trips to the doctor, hospital and cancer treatment center, she always maintained her sense of humor and positive attitude.  She would manage a smile and reassure the family and friends that God was still in control and still good.  When it was obvious she was in pain, you’d hear her say; “This too shall pass”, or “There’s always someone worse off than me. God will get me through this.”  People would visit to cheer and comfort her and they ended up being the ones blessed.  She truly was the epitome of grace and dignity.  Loved, adored, and highly respected everyone whose life she touched.

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I myself had overwhelming love and respect for this woman named Joyce.  Though I would never wish her back from the presence of Jesus, there is a void in my life that will never again be filled.  She was my biggest cheerleader.  She would make me laugh when I was taking life a bit too seriously.  She was my best friend.  I believe with my whole heart I am the woman I am today because of her faithful prayers for me, and her godly example.  She was my mother.

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Mom, in exactly two months from Mother’s Day, you have been gone from us and with Jesus for 15 years.  Here I am crying again as I write this.  I still miss you so much.  But I am so thankful DSCN2867for your influence in my life.  I’m thankful for the memories.  I treasure them.  You always told me I was a writer, and I never believed you.  I still don’t sometimes, but I’m being obedient to God and trying to do something with it.  It’s all for Jesus Mom.  I know your proud of your kid.  You always were.  Happy Mother’s Day Mommy…and thank you again…for everything.  I’ll always love you, and look forward to the day when I’ll see you again.  You can take me by the hand to see Jesus.  Love you Much,  Your Debbie-Do 🙂

 

The Gift of Sight

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I am mostly a visual learner.  Please don’t tell me directions.  Write them down.  Better yet, draw me a map…with landmarks…then I am sure to find my way without stress!  That is also why I dislike clutter.  I cannot just look past it.  It stresses me, so I like things neat and orderly.  That can sometimes be a detriment given the pain and fatigue of fibro because things simply cannot always look the way I’d like them too.

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I believe a major benefit to being such a visual learner is that I am able to extremely appreciate the beauty that God has created.  That’s why I love; the outdoors, large windows, porches…you get the idea.  Most of my morning today was spent on my back patio enjoying a leisurely quiet time with God.  Here is a little of what I was blessed to enjoy this morning:

  • The clearest blue sky with the slightest wisp of clouds.
  • The brightest red cardinal that keeps dropping by for a visit.
  • A mourning dove cooing as he sits on the roof ridge.
  • My little buddy sunning himself.
  • Glorious colors of red, yellow, purple and pure white in the pots of flowers my granddaughter helped to plant.
  • Majestic green trees reaching toward the sky, their branches swaying in the breeze.
  • A mean looking bee that temporarily chased me out of my seat!

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And as I was thoroughly enjoying all of it, I was being serenaded by the most beautiful and varied songs of the birds!  Sometimes…we just need to stop, enjoy, and be thankful for the simple things we are blessed to have been given.

Psalm 19:1-4

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
 Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
 There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
 Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.
In them He has placed a tent for the sun.

 

 

Enjoy your Blessings!

Debbie

Don’t Trudge – Run!

 

DSCN2789A few days ago I was asking God to give me a word of encouragement for my husband.  His job has been extremely stressful, and so fast paced that he barely has time to breathe.  God did, and I was encouraged and blessed that I was able (through God), to help him gain his perspective and breathe.  It was also a good reminder for myself, and one I believe we all probably need.

Take a look at what 2 Timothy 2:4 says from the NASB; “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.”  I love the thought…a soldier in active service, needs to keep his focus on what he’s been called to do, and not let all the other things in life around him screaming for attention distract him from his purpose.  As a Christian, we are in the Lord’s army.  We are soldiers of Christ, daily fighting battles all around us…but with one purpose…to let our lives… the way we live them…point always to Him, that others may come to know Him through us, and that we would please the One who has called us…enlisted us…saved us.

So what does it mean to get entangled in the affairs of this life?  I believe we can get entangled many ways, many times without even realizing it’s happening.  We are all busy…in many different ways.  We all have responsibilities.  We all have different loads to bear.  But, I believe that whatever good we are doing, whatever stressful or busy circumstance we are in, if we are focusing all of our time and energy on that we become entangled.  We get so caught up in “the affairs of this life”, the tyranny of the urgent, that we lose perspective of what is truly important.  God, and any time with Him at all gets completely crowded out and we can no longer hear that still, small voice beckoning us to come.

This is so simplistic, but…sometimes a visual helps:  DSCN2849

A very long time ago, I remember hearing; “If satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy”.  Boundaries. Margins.  We all need them.  No matter how many good and important things are screaming for us to tend to them, we need to prioritize. We need to spend time…even a few moments with God daily and let Him breathe some wisdom and discernment into our lives.

Take a look at John 10:10:  “The thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  Think about that for a moment in terms of our daily life.  What is being destroyed in your life right now?  What is satan (pardon me, call me crazy, I just don’t like giving his name a capital letter), trying to steal from you?  Is he stealing your confidence, your joy, your peace?  Time with God first…puts all the craziness into perspective. We have to learn to let go of some things…maybe many good things…for what is best.

As for my husband (how I love that man!),  I simply reminded him that he cannot put out everyone’s fires all day, every day and still do his job (entangled).  I reminded him of how he used to love what he does (God has truly gifted him and given him a talent, with a strong sense of integrity to go along with it.), and God has allowed him to make a decent living from it.  Because of many things in his line of work that go on, satan has used it all to steal his joy, and nearly destroy his spirit in the process.  Life has a way of beating us down if we let it, and satan loves nothing better than to jump on that opportunity when we are already overworked, overburdened, stressed and tired.  Let’s not allow the deceiver steal and even destroy what we know, without a doubt, that God has given to us.

So, where does that title come from you might wonder?  So glad you asked!  Hebrews 12:1 tells us; “…let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles (there’s that word again!). And let us run with perseverance the race marked out before us.” 

See, in all of our crazy, busy, chaotic and wonderfully blessed lives, we need to remember…if we are followers of Christ…that we are first – soldiers of Christ.  If we are not looking to Him to set our priorities, they get out of whack.  Then all the responsibilities, relationships, health problems, etc. (back to my little drawing), can actually hinder us from what God wants for us to do.  When we allow all these things in our lives (good or bad), to become our main focus, it can become sin.  For some, work can become an idol.  For others, simply dwelling too much on a hurt or injustice can consume and discourage us.  We become negative instead of thankful.  There are many ways we can get entangled.  We end up trudging through our days stressed, tired, without joy or thankfulness.  We are to run with perseverance the race God has marked out before us!  Life is a challenge.  Are you up for it?  Sometimes our circumstances in this life really stink.  No doubt about it.  Life can and does get horribly hard and at one time or another we all have to walk a hard road.  But we don’t have to trudge through our days when we have Christ at our side.  We can run the race He has marked out before us with joy…and a thankful heart.  When we fix our eyes on Him, not on the problem, He will help us to run…above those problems in a supernatural way that cannot be explained.

Keep gazing toward the Son…fixing your eyes on Him.

 

Joyfully His,

Debbie