Power and Mercy

Power without mercy is like
a locomotive without brakes.

It destroys everything in its path;

And eventually destroys itself.

Power With Mercy
Power with mercy brings things together, unites, and bears the fruit of its own working. Such was the purpose of the coming of Jesus Christ, to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8); to restore what His Father had created in their image.

All God’s creatures have power ~ power that was given when He created the first man. It is a latent power in each of us. How we use it depends on who harnesses it. Jesus Christ gives the Holy Spirit to those who believe in and follow Him so as to turn the power within us by His grace, to live in Him, and through Him. The fruit of His grace through us is mercy toward others, even those who continue under the power of the enemy.

Paul prayed for the first Christians:
“that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, (are) being rooted and grounded in love.” Ephesians 1:16-17

being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:11-14

Dear Father in heaven, as you watch your creatures here on earth, please have mercy upon us. Rend the heavens and come down; as the melting fire burneth, make your name known among the adversaries. Fill us with your Spirit of grace; unite us as your children that we may be light in this darkness. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Breakthrough

In February, Jerry and I were waiting in the podiatrist’s exam room for him to have his foot x-rayed. So as to encourage him, I said, “There is light at the end of the tunnel.”

His response was, “Are you sure it is not a locomotive?”

I said, gently, “Yes, I am sure.”

There was no definite meaning, nor explanation for my words, just sharing the spirit of God’s grace as we have experienced His presence through all our difficulties in the past.

The nurse wheeled him out, leaving me alone with my own thoughts in the cold, tiny room.

The still, small voice to which I have become accustomed in quiet times, asked, “Am I your God?’

Humbly, I answered, “Yes, Lord.”

“Then, trust Me.”

As simple as that, without audible conversation, I knew that however long this new episode would last, the Lord was assuring me of His presence and power with us.

Six Months Later
We have waited, as in times past, for healing, not only for treatment for the diabetic ulcer that podiatrists started in February, but for tests and an eventual stent for an aneurysm in his leg in April, to allow blood flow to the foot. Added to this was another wound from that incision

In July this wound closed after treatment with a wound vac. The same treatment did not work for the foot. This was their last resort after trying provadine, skin grafts, collagen, and foot baths. So, they sent us to the wound healing center thirty minutes away.

In this first visit last week, they took a culture that showed MRSA, a staph infection, for which they prescribed clindamycin. Yesterday, for our second visit, we were encouraged with the wound half the size as last week. The wound specialist believes this to be the reason for lack of healing, assuring us of complete healing soon.

At the outset of this sore, the primary care physician prescribed two rounds of antibiotics, but he, nor the podiatrist did a culture. There were no visible signs of infection while under the care of the podiatrist.

We are not resentful that they did not do a culture, but glad that it was done last week, believing that all things are revealed and healed in God’s timing.

Hidden Infection
This all reminds me of how things can be hidden. Just as we all carry the infection of sin within us, not knowing that we need healing, it manifests itself in different ways. Relationships are broken, families are torn apart, life can be emotionally and physically unhealthy because of hidden sin.

It is when we come to the only one who can do a culture for us that we know our sin, and accept the prescription, believing that He is able to bring total healing.

Jesus Christ came to earth as the Great Physician over 2000 years ago, He was, and still is, our breakthrough.

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you for all things; for Christ, your Son, whom you sent to reveal our sin and to heal broken lives. We thank you for wisdom given to men to solve physical problems and to provide healing, believing that all healing is from you, for your glory and for the purpose of our serving you, living in praise and thanksgiving for your mercy, your grace, your goodness and power in our hearts and lives. Thank you for the encouragement that Jerry might soon be able to wear his prosthesis, and that we will be able to worship with your people again. We ask for your healing for others who are ill, in need of physical and spiritual healing. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Christ in the Heart of a Caregiver

Today marks our fifty-sixth anniversary. If you knew how we started, and what we had to work through, you would wonder how we made it this far. Had it not been for the Lord Jesus Christ, I would not be here, and being a servant to my husband would not have been an option. During this last valley we have been going through, the question has been asked, “If you knew what you know now, would you have married Jerry?”

I was honest in answering, “No, I don’t think I would.” My vision of marriage was like most other twenty-two-year-olds. He was the man I wanted to spend my whole life with, but no thoughts of ill health for either of us was in my mind. I was selfish then, and had I known, I would not have committed to such a marriage that would require being a servant for the rest of my life.

The True Meaning of Life
Years of learning the true meaning of life brought me through different stages of serving others, then to the point eleven years ago, with his amputation, to the reality that I would be Jerry’s caregiver for the remainder of his life.

It was before then that the Lord changed my heart and my life, so that I would be willing and ready to give my life to serve Jerry, “as unto the Lord.”

Unless the Lord brought me to this place, I would never have known the joy of being His servant.

With this said, I want to share how our Lord Jesus Christ dwells in my heart, strengthens and supplies all our needs “according to His riches in glory.”

Promises From God’s Word
References are from Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 3:16-17; and Colossians 1:11.

“To them (His saints, His people) God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

This is the means of our hope ~ Christ living within, in whom is all our hope for now and for eternity.

“that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—…” Ephesians 3:16-17

This is my life. Two main areas of service are Jerry, first, and then, Home. Everything else falls into the category of Other.

Christ is the center of all, shouldering all for me that Jerry needs.  He is our strength and shield.

Under the Almighty arms of Jesus are all we need for the care of our home. And according to His will working in us, we are enabled to care for the other things. Some of these may be ongoing; others may be on the spur of the moment. Except for posts on this blog, writing was put on hold this year. According to His will, and in His timing we will continue publishing our books.

When asked, “How do you do what you do, joyfully?”  ~ Joy and praise are part of a life of thanksgiving for all that Christ has done for us. Sacrifice for Jerry and others is the only reasonable response.

Gracious Father, thank you for this opportunity to witness of your grace in a world that seeks its own desires. We praise you for choosing the role of servant and caregiver for me and making it a joyful experience. Thank you for the fruitful years that you have provided for Jerry, for me and our family. We praise you for your continued wisdom, strength and grace for the days ahead. We never know where you will lead us, but we are assured of your presence, even as you have always dealt bountifully with me. Thank you for Christ, your Son, who lives within us, and in whom we live, as we dwell in the secret place of the most high, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty. Keep me humble in HimIn Jesus’ name we thank you and praise you. Amen,

images: Google

After the Storm ~ Peace

Jerry and I are just coming through another one. Though still not where we hope to be (Jerry has not walked since January), as we wait for a reasonable recovery, we are resting in the will of the Lord where we are now.

We have been through many storms such as these, and expect that we may go through others before we get to the end of this life.

He has proven that storms are good for us (Romans 8;28-29).

They take us away from our home base.
They scatter our hopes for anything in this world.
They bring us in touch with people we have never known, some who have been hit worse than we have.
Through these times, He gives us hope and encouragement for others we meet, and find others whose hope is in Him.

We experience the Lord’s presence like no other time in our lives.

Just as Jesus’ disciples looked to Him and He spoke to the storm, He is with us through it and speaks peace to it in His exact timing.

Peace is never as real and powerful as when He brings us through.

Our love for Him is never stronger than when He endures with us.

Our joy is never greater; our faith never deeper planted in Him than through these times.

The sun is never brighter than when we come to a resting place in Him.

Our faith increases during these times.

Endurance, hope, strength, grace, and wisdom grow through these adversities.

The doors of heaven are opened for us, beyond our circumstances, to see the One who created us and redeemed us for Himself, so as to keep us by His power for eternity with Him.
The peace of our Lord is promised to all who endure the storms of this life for a life beyond this one.
He does not allow us to be overcome, but enables us to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

Gracious heavenly Father, we give you thanks for your grace, power and presence with us during the storms of life. You have always been faithful to keep us through all our circumstances, no matter how difficult they seem. There are many who are struggling. Please be with these; guide them and give them peace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Related post: God is Greater Than

images: google

The Patience That Leads to Contentment

The title for this post came as Jerry and I waited for the nurse to bring his discharge papers late last Monday afternoon.
He was admitted as an outpatient early Wednesday morning and discharged as an inpatient late Monday afternoon.
Wednesday, we waited two hours before they took him to have a stent inserted in an aneurysm in his right leg.
After the procedure, we waited while they applied pressure to stop the bleeding where a sheaf was used to insert the stent. He had to stay overnight to be sure there would be no more bleeding.
Thursday, we waited for the results of an ultrasound that showed the artery had not sealed and for the news that Jerry would need major surgery to seal the artery.
Then we waited for the results of an EKG and ultrasound of his heart to determine if he could endure the surgery.
Friday, we waited for the outcome of the surgery.
Saturday and Sunday, we stayed while a wound vac was used to suction drainage from the four-inch incision.
Monday we waited until the vascular surgeon removed the wound vac.
Now at home, we both wait for Jerry’s healing and our strength to return, so that we may continue to serve Him.
We have indeed experienced many blessings everyday, as the Lord continues to show us His mercy and grace. It is in these difficult times that He continues to grow us in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Before I began this post early this morning, my thoughts were centered in how to describe the true Christian life. The words, faithful, obedient, and steadfast, were a few that came to mind. Patience is not always the first that we think of, but if we look to the last book of God’s Word, in Revelation 13:10 and 14:12 (KJV) these both speak of “the patience of the saints.” The English Standard Version translates patience as endurance.
“If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”
When I think of waiting in the circumstances of this life, it in no way compares to the terms of “taken captive” or “slain with the sword.”
In Revelation 14:12-13 we find again the word endurance related to faithfulness and faith of the saints in Jesus.
“Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
It is amazing what the Lord does during our times of adversity. Waiting is linked to patiently enduring whatever He has planned for us, working all things for our good, as He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29) even as He is faithful to us in all that He is and does.
Three main thoughts came during those six days in the hospital (this is our third visit since it opened three years ago):
God, our Father, is always faithful, even when we are not. He promises to complete the work He has begun in us.
Blessings are hidden in the places we would rather avoid.
We mature when we endure.
Contentment was the only sense that I experienced as we waited for Jerry’s discharge papers Monday afternoon, the fruit of the Lord’s working in my heart during those six days.
Dear Father, we thank you for continuing to fill us with your grace, wrapped in your glory, so that you will not fail to bring us through this life in Christ, even as you are preparing us for your eternal glory. We praise you that you never fail, able always to hold us, strengthen, and grow us as your children. Fill us with your Spirit today and through us, witness to others of your goodness. In Jesus’ name we thank you and praise you. Amen.

Living and Leaving a Legacy

 In Christ, we, as God’s children, have an inheritance, imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us. (1 Peter 1:4) We learn of this inheritance in His last will and testament. In Christ, His death and resurrection, He has secured His own inheritance for us. (Hebrews 9:15) A child does not work for a parent’s blessing. It is the legacy given from one generation to the next.

Through us God gives physical life, but we cannot give the blessing of eternal life to our children; so how can we leave this legacy to them? It must be by example and sample. We can only leave the imprint of what we have learned and point them to the will that is recorded in God’s Word for all His children.

Footprints and Handprints
We leave footprints wherever we go. Children and other people see these. We can lead them to where Christ is in His Word, in His worship, in His service.   We leave handprints on what we touch, in how we touch others, holding forth the word of life; touching them with our hands and arms gently and lovingly in their times of need.

Heartprints
The greatest and most lasting impression is the heartprint. 0003KDWe may, in passing speak a word or leave a loving touch; this is but a sample. But the time spent with our children gives them assurance of who we are as God’s children, and the inheritance that we have in Christ. The example we set before them in a lifetime is proof of the work of God in our hearts. The light that is shined into our hearts shines through us revealing who God is and who we are. This is the work of God’s heart in and through ours that proves that we are His. This heartprint is left in different ways; four of which we will mention here ~ in humility, contentment, joy, endurance.

Humility
There is no pride in the legacy that is ours. We have not worked for it; nor do we deserve it. The only means of knowing and receiving this promise of inheritance in and with Christ is by His own desire; through grace, revealing and giving us a new heart through which He pours into us His own love for us. Recently in reading Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, The Meek and Lowly One, I realized that the love of God would never have been known, or available to us, except through Christ’s meekness and lowliness of heart. Others will not see the love of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, except through our humble estate in Christ. We may speak and read God’s Word to our children, but they must see it in us, alive and active through humble hearts and lives.

Contentment
We, who have this legacy, are content in all of this life, living in faith and trust, for the inheritance that is promised for the future. Children learn that true life is not in this world, nor the things of this world. With our seeking those things above where Christ is seated at the right heand of God; our affections set on things above, not on the things of the earth they see what the world cannot promise, nor be to them. They learn to look for life and contentment beyond the world and themselves.

Joy
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;”  Philippians 4:4-5

There is no true joy apart from Christ; not in ourselves, others, or anything in this world. When Christ fills our every longing; when He is all and everything to us; when He is our life there is joy beyond what the world knows. He is the joy of our legacy. We joy in what we have; and Christ is the greatest joy in heaven and earth, for us who know of our inheritance in him.

Endurance
The legacy of ours in Christ includes perseverance. Who would not endure to the end of this life, through thick and thin, that has the promise of such an inheritance waiting for us. Those who are wealthy according to the world’s standards are known by their wealth and how they spend it. Children of wealthy parents live in hope of their legacy. You know them by who they are and how they live.

Paul prayed for the early Christians that God would reveal His legacy to them, “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,” Ephesians 1:18

God’s children know the promise that Christ spoke to His disciples.

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  (Luke 12:32) There is enough of His kingdom and His glory to share with all His children. In response to His will we seek His kingdom and His righteousness.

If we are to live it we must continue in faith to know Him and the legacy that is promised. We don’t dawdle away our time and assets that He gives us here. We live it, we even fight for it; and teach our children, so that they can, in God’s timing and His way, know, and with a new heart respond in faith and repentance; and receive the promise.

 “As long as there is breath in our bodies, let us serve Christ; as long as we can think, as long as we can speak, as long as we can work, let us serve him, let us even serve him with our last gasp; and, if it be possible, let us try to set some work going that will glorify him when we are dead and gone. Let us scatter some seed that may spring up when we are sleeping beneath the hillock in the cemetery.” Charles Spurgeon

Dear Father, enable us to continue in faith and obedience to your will, to live and teach what you have promised us as your children. Let us live as children whose Father supplies all our needs according to your riches in glory, which is only a sample of what you have promised. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Finish Line

JB-run2-300x225
Why is the last course the hardest?

It seems uphill the rest of the way.

 

 

~ So that you will know that nothing has been of your own strength.

It has been only by the will of the Father, the promise and calling of the Son, and the power of the Holy Spirit that you have breathed, moved and had any being in this world. (Acts 17:28)

In the whole of life endurance comes only by His working His strength in your weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)  You can continue on as you rest your weariness on Him.

When you cannot move He will carry you the remainder of the way.

 To the Israelites He said, “I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.” Exodus 19:4

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God:
I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;
yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Isaiah 41:10 

“Are not the angels all ministering spirits  sent out in the service
of those who are to inherit salvation?”
Hebrews 1:14

Dear Father, thank you that your grace is sufficient, and that your strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.  Let us be content in our infirmities knowing that the power of Christ rests on us, as your people.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.