Appointments

Yesterday, as I was thinking of all the medical appointments we have had for Jerry these last six months (sometimes five a week), it became clear that we are constantly making appointments for the things that pertain to this life. All are to minister to our needs, as we desire wellness and what will benefit us physically. In addition to these, most calendars are filled with various appointments for children and the family, for education and amusements.

In the middle of these thoughts, I realized that the day was wearing on, and I had not had the time that I needed with the Lord. Our heavenly Father seeks those who worship Him in spirit and truth. I knew He was seeking me to come away from my busyness as a caregiver and a keeper at home, to spend time with Him.

Then I considered that if we can make appointments with everybody else, we ought to schedule more time in each day with Him.

How much time, we may ask, is needful?

Think about how much time we spend in our other appointments, whatever is required for lab work, for a doctor’s evaluation or treatment or for any other concern and relationship. We would do well to do an evaluation and comparison. Considering eternity in relation to the short time we have on this earth we should be spending more time on that which is eternal, especially with our heavenly Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ in prayer and in His Word; sometimes in quietness, waiting for Him to lead. The more time we spend with Him, the more precious it becomes, and the more natural it is to plan these times, and even spontaneously to be drawn to Him.

God’s Appointments
Consider that just as office personnel call to set up appointments for us, God has set up certain appointments for His creation.

He appointed seasons (Numbers 9:3 , 7,13 Psalm 104:19; Jeremiah 5:24).

He appointed cities of refuge (Joshua 20:2).

He appointed a place for his people (2 Samuel 7:10).

He appointed rulers, kings and the Levites for service in the temple.

He appointed prophets (Nehemiah 6:8)

He appointed the foundation of the earth (Proverbs 8:28).

He appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth (Jeremiah 33:25).

He appoints over the kingdom of men whomsoever He will (Daniel 5:21).

He appointed the end time (Daniel 11:27).

He appointed times, days and bounds (Job 14:5).

He appointed a law for Israel (Psalm 78:5).

He appointed a kingdom to the apostles (Luke 22:29).

He appointed times and bounds of men’s habitation (Acts 17:26).

He appoints our afflictions (1 Thessalonians 3:3).

He appointed His Son heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2).

He calls us to meet with Him to consider the more important things that pertain to eternity with Him.

He is not only the Great Physician, but a financial advisor, a consultant for all things, and Judge of all.

We do well to set all our appointments according to His.

Gracious Father, forgive us for focusing on ourselves, appointing times and things only for ourselves, and leaving little time for you. We praise you for your Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, your Son, who finds us, and draws us to you through Him. Call us regularly for the times you want with us. Let nothing keep us from our appointed times with you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

“Well done, good and faith servant…”
Matthew 25:21

Related article: Onward and Upward
Related article: Man’s Calling
Suggested reading: GOD is Our Goal

The Impact of One Act

A greeting card we received ten years ago stands on our computer desk. We received it from someone we did not know, who wrote, “Dear Fran and Jerry, We have you on our “permanent” prayer list and have been fervently praying for you regularly.”
A neighbor of ours had asked prayer at her church for Jerry, after his leg was amputated. The card was sent from someone who knew of his slow process of healing, saying, “We are so thankful for your Godly example in dealing with adversity and staying so faithful to trust in our Sovereign Lord. We will continue to lift you up! For His glory, Sarina and Michael Roth
This card was among many others, with emails from those who were praying, encouraging and supporting us during that difficult time, but this one stood out from all the rest because it came from a sister-in-Christ that we had never met.
It was over three years, and a third surgery, before Jerry’s wound from the amputation was healed. For nine years I kept the card in a special place. Last year, after I published TWO FULL PLATES ~ Learning to be a Caregiver, I took the card out of the envelope, read the message again, and was led to find Sarina on Facebook. I contacted her to let her know how much her card had meant to Jerry and me, that we were still blessed by reading it. I told her about the book and sent her a copy. In the process of our communication, I learned that Sarina is a photographer and creator of her own greeting cards (perhaps another reason this card was so special to us).
Since our connecting on Facebook, she and Michael were involved in a motorcycle accident. Both sustained injuries, both are recovering, but Sarina cannot yet use her hand for her photography. My prayers for her and Michael are fervent and daily for their healing.
When she sent her card to us so many years ago, she had no idea how her act of compassion toward us would impact our hearts and lives.
Jerry and I were actually impacted by two acts. First, Sarina prayed.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16
Then Sarina, in an act of kindness to us, encouraged us by letting us know that she was praying.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” Colossians 3:12
We should never doubt that an act of kindness, no matter how small, will make a difference in someone’s life, and that kindness be returned to us when we least expect it.
 Dear Father in heaven. We praise you for working in the hearts of your people to care for one another. Thank you for revealing your love everywhere, especially in our kindness to others. Thank you for the blessing of Sarina’s card so many years ago, that proves a love that recycles, and truly is evident “all around us.” I ask for your continued healing for Michael and Sarina; for Jerry, as he still needs our care, and your mercy for all in need of healing. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
~ Fran

Soaking in Grace

Over the decades we have learned what agents are effective for certain needs.
Jerry and I should have bought stock in The Clorox Company when we first married almost fifty-six years ago, since it is the most powerful solution for mildew and especially for bloodstains. If I can get Jerry’s tees and the sheets before the blood sets in, it will rinse out with cold water. But usually, they end up soaking in strong bleach water. His blood thinners are good for A-fib and other heart issues, but even a slight brush of the skin or a simple scratch causes unwanted bleeding.
As I was applying a little more bleach to some stains this morning, I was reminded of the power of God’s grace, in which I have learned to soak.  He brings me to His Word, and while I spend time there, His Spirit does His work to cleanse any stains from my heart, to revive my spirit, and brighten my hopes and joy in Him. He takes as much time with me to work His desired effect. I stand in wonder of His grace in my life and others who cherish His Word and spend time in communion with Him. He brings forth in us praise and adoration. The effectual working of His grace in our lives shows His humility and holiness ~ the witness of His presence and power to others.Gracious Father, you alone know our hearts and what we need to prepare us for your glory. Yours is the power of cleansing the devastating work of sin. Your grace alone is effectual to cleanse a leopard’s spots, making us holy in your Son, Jesus Christ. Have mercy upon us today and while shedding abroad your love in our hearts, let it spread to those around us. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole
I want Thee forever to live in my soul
Break down every idol, cast out every foe
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow
Refrain
Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow
Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat
I wait, blessèd Lord, at Thy crucified feet
By faith, for my cleansing, I see Thy blood flow
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow
Lord Jesus, Thou knowest I patiently wait
Come now, and within me a new heart create
To those who have sought Thee, Thou never saidst no
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow
Lord Jesus, let nothing unholy remain,
Apply Thine own blood and extract every stain;
To get this blest cleansing, I all things forego—
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
James L. Nicholson 1872
Image

Onward and Upward

Often I think of life as a simple “spiral.”
It circles, and as it turns, advances a little at the time.

Nothing is required for us to move in a downward spiral.
A natural downward spiral begins when we are born into this world. Our minds are set on things of this world, which draw us and drag us down. We are unable, of our own volition, to change our direction. Life never stays the same, and nature itself, by its gravity, keeps pulling us to its depths and the impending death that waits for us.

Those who are born into a culture that teaches Biblical principles may hear of God’s grace and His means of changing our direction, but we are at a loss to apply these principles in our own power.

The Bible teaches us that the direction of our lives change when we are reborn of the work of God’s Spirit in our heart and spirit (Ezekiel 36:26).   God gives us a new life through His Son, Jesus Christ, and by the power of His Spirit within us turns us, from the power of the downward spiral. By His kindness He brings us in repentance and faith to Himself (Acts 20:21; Romans 2:4). He continues through this life to bring us onward and upward, and to eternity with Him.

There is much more we could say in this short treatise about life here on earth, including sin and evil in this world, which is the reason for the downward spiral. The world has been in this downward deathly movement since the beginning of time, when our first parents turned from their Creator to make and take their own lives, and ours, in a different direction than His.

Are you aware of how you are turning, which way your life is going? Do you want to know this onward and upward movement in your life? Do you want to know the power of God’s Spirit working in you to bring you to Himself? No one can do an about-face, turning themselves. Many have tried, but to no avail. It requires the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit working through our spirit to give us a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26) This requires a new birth (John 3:3) which only He can give (John 1:12-13; 1 Peter 1:3). Regeneration, a new creation, and repentance is His spiritual work in us, and what a glorious experience to be turned and moving in the opposite direction from the world.

If you have yet to know this new life, I pray that you will reach for God’s Word, which He offers to you. Read the Holy Bible. If you have never read before, begin with the New Testament. Ask for His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13); pray and pour out your heart to Him. He knows where you are and what you need. Read and pray until He, by His Spirit, turns you to repentance and faith as a new creature in Christ. He gave His life to deliver us from the present evil age (Galatians 1:3).

If you have never heard the good news of God’s changing our lives and our direction, and want to hear more I would be blessed to tell you more. You can email me at f.rogers@bellsouth.net. There is oh, so much more of this glorious upward spiral that is ours in Christ through whom we, as God’s children, live.

I will end this post by saying that your wedding day will not be the most wonderful day of your life. Neither will the birth of your children be the greatest experience you can know. There is nothing as wonderful as being born of the Spirit of God and living every day in Christ, in light of His promises and hope. It is the most uplifting experience of this life as He is preparing us for eternity with Him.

Gracious Father, how can we tell someone what it is like to know you and what life is like as your children? It is impossible to share the width, the depth and the height of your love. You must do the work in each of us. I pray that you would shine your light and the life of Christ through us, and by your Spirit, draw and birth others into your house and kingdom. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Book Review ~ The Garden of GOD’S WORD

Book Review by Aaron Cerda

Last year I reviewed a delightful book by Fran Rogers called Two Full Plates. If you missed that review I would highly encourage you to go back and read it. You can find it hereThe Garden of God’s Word is another fine book by author Fran Rogers. Mrs. Rogers is a wife/caregiver to her husband of over 50 years, as well as a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, When someone of this stature sits down to write a book, we would all be wise to read it. On a personal note, I read Mrs. Roger’s books slowly (much slower than I read most books) because I want to absorb every word written by this dear saint.

As I sat down to read this book (the first time around) I was immediately struck by the chapter titles. The table of contents lays out a very clear trajectory for what lies ahead. The chapters outline the course which you will read for the next hour or so. It is there that we discover that Rogers will be leading us to discover that scripture Informs, Reforms, Transforms, Conforms, and allows God to Perform His work through us. In other words, to quote the author,

God, through His Word and His Holy Spirit, has done all the previous work ~ informing, reforming, transforming, and conforming us, so that He may perform His own work through us.

This is the message of The Garden of God’s Word — That the Word of God is sufficient to not only inform us of what we ought to believe and how we ought to behave, but it is also sufficient to equip us for this life as we are changed by its words into that which God has promised to complete in us. Mrs. Rogers doesn’t leave room for the ruggedly individualistic Christian who believes that he can reap the blessings of God’s word by sitting alone however, and she gives a wonderful explanation of how the unity of the body is achieved by participating in the life of the Word together:

This is the means of unity in the whole body; as each member studies, learns the truths, and joins in like mind and spirit to portray the image of Christ that is seen there.

As with Two Full Plates, The Garden of God’s Word is written in the wonderfully affectionate manner which you would expect to read from a dear friend. I would encourage everyone to pick up a copy of this extraordinary short book, grab the warm beverage of your choice and take the time to pour over this book as if you were reading it from a longtime friend.Take the words in this book seriously- there is a lot that we have to learn from Fran Rogers as she magnifies the glory of God by unfolding the wonderful garden that is the Word of God.

You can find The Garden of God’s Word at Amazon. The book is available in both paperback and ebook formats — both of which are very (VERY) reasonably priced.

You can read more about this review here.
~~~~~~~~~
You can find all our books on Amazon.
Fran

Jesus’ Words Are Not Suggestions

As I taught my grandchildren, we would all do well to HEAR, HIDE, and HEED the words of Christ. He came to declare the kingdom of God through His life and His words. He set the record straight for truth and life for humanity.

Only a few people of Jesus’ day could stomach His words.

Jesus asked, after other disciples left Him, “Will you also go away?” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:67-68

We would be blessed and filled with awe and life if we knew all His words, but in this short treatise, we want to express four particular things Jesus said about His words, and why we need to listen.

 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. John 12:47-48

In verses 49-50 Jesus states that He speaks on the authority of the Father, whose commandment through Him was for eternal life. His words bring life against judgment. Without them we will stand naked and without hope before God.

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. John 6:63

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

To abide means to spend time, to dwell in time through the truths that were set for us in the New Testament where His words are recorded. His words mean nothing if we do not take them in hand, read, study, meditate and memorize that which pertains to eternity. As we look at food on a table and do not eat, so to have God’s word given through His Son without receiving it in the heart and mind, leaves us without true life, now and for eternity.

 It is said that Jesus spoke more warnings than promises of the eternal kingdom. We receive the promises, the freedom and the life of Christ when we know and heed His words and His warnings. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart and mind.

Dear Father, I pray that today these references stand alone as you draw your people to Jesus, your Son, who came to speak the words of life. Give us your Spirit to quicken and enable us to hear what He says, recorded for eternity with your love, mercy and grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

Image: Pinterest

Healing From the Inside

Ten years ago I learned how to dress a horrible wound that was a result of Jerry’s left leg amputation. The wound left from Jerry’s surgery three weeks ago is somewhat different, but both would be described as an open hole. These kinds of wounds have to be treated and healed from the inside, with medicated packing, so that it does not close on its own and leave a cavity underneath the skin.
This one seems to be more difficult for me to handle than with the amputation; perhaps, because I watched a visiting health nurse do the dressing for several weeks. Jerry and I came home from the hospital this time with simple instructions for cleaning and dressing the incision. But after a week we noticed the difference in the top of the incision from the four inches below.
The next visit to the vascular surgeon confirmed the need for wound care, which she began in her office, and gave me supplies to care for it every day at home, with an appointment for a return visit each week.
My inadequacy for this has kept me awake, but finally, I think I am able to do this without anxiety.
During these last two weeks the thoughts came of how we are all born into this world wounded from the Fall due to our first parents’ disobedience. Though the fault is not ours, we have this hole in our soul that can only be healed from the inside.
Just as jerry cannot care for his own wound, and must depend on me for his care and healing, so we cannot cure ourselves. Our wound is much more serious than a physical one. There is no one who can apply what is needed except our heavenly Father, through the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to fill the void that sin has left in us all. He is able and promises the witness of our healing from grateful hearts as we submit to His working, His tender care and comfort. He is the great physician and able to bring complete healing of the heart and soul.
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for providing all things pertaining to life and godliness through your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none on earth I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart fail, but you are the strength of my heart and my portion forever. We praise you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.