Sharing our Meds

Since turning 82 in April, Jerry has met new doctors and added more meds. He and I have lived much longer than we expected. (His mother died at the age of 59, and his dad, at the age of 71.) Since the wound on his foot has finally healed after eighteen months treatment, he is in physical therapy for strength and conditioning. After not being able to put pressure on his foot, our goal is for him to walk again with a diabetic shoe, an adjusted prosthetic, and a walker. In the meantime, he is being referred to a rheumatologist for further counseling after testing positive for lupus; and to a hematologist for abnormal protein in his blood.

Where does it end? Eventually, we all, excepting for a few, will contract something from this world that will cause our demise.

Jerry is now on twelve different medications that seem to alleviate his symptoms, but it would not be lawful for him to share any of these. He is not sure, at this point, if he will accept any more prescriptions.

In this last age and stage, we want to share different meds, those that are lawful to give others, and eternal; those that do not require a doctor’s prescription.

Medications and Meditations
These words are spelled the same except for one letter; they both are effective, but only one is prescribed by our Great Physician. They are both held in the hand; one to be given to children, continued until death. Both are taken with water; one physically, the other with the Holy Spirit. One is taken by mouth; the other through the spirit, mind and heart.

With every development in Jerry’s physical health, the Lord is here to add meaning to everything, guiding and strengthening with wisdom and grace for every new trial. Beginning this new month of July, and the last half of 2018, we will begin something else new. We will be sharing meditations with medications; a meditation each day as he takes his medications. We cannot and would not want to give anyone the meds Jerry is taking by mouth, but we will share meditations from a source we have in our files.

Words of Life
Several years ago, we began a project titled Words of Life ~ From A to Z, The Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian. Taking from Strong’s Concordance a list of words from the Bible that are common to the Christian faith, we had hoped to publish a simple guidebook (or devotional), unlike the Concordance that includes every word from the Bible.  From abhor to Zion, this would be a highlight of what our heavenly Father would want us to focus on; to meditate and base our lives on. Meditation on His Word is His means of addressing and prescribing His grace and truth to our basic and profound needs; for spiritual strength and conditioning. This would not negate the usual reading and studying the whole Bible, but these are extra blessings for those who meditate on the references that apply to each word.

The first one we share with you today is abhor, with the concept at the start, to use this as a meditation for a week. From this first word to the last, Zion, we find a striking difference in the things of God’s word and His kingdom, and the vocabulary and kingdom of this world. We welcome your comments.

Abhor
In the Old Testament, Concordance H1602 defines the word abhor (ga ‘al) as to detest; by implication to reject.  The word is used in the KJV Bible for abhor, fail, lothe, vilely cast away.  We find this word in the Old Testament relating both to God and man.

God describes His plan for His relationship with the people of Israel in Leviticus 26:11, And I set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.” 

In Deuteronomy 7:26, they are instructed to detest and abhor the “cursed things.”

“Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.

Though the references from the Old Testament speak of the history of God’s relationship with the nation of Israel they are an example for His people today.

David in Psalm 119:163 said:   I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.”
Here he speaks of the opposite of the word abhor, which is love.
This is echoed in the New Testament in Romans 12:9,

Abhor in the New Testament  (Strong’s Greek 655, from 575 and the base of G4767) is apostygeo, meaning to detest utterly. Apostasy is turning away from the gospel, the truth of God’s word, the act of despising, rejecting and abhorring it.

Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Romans 12:9

As children of the heavenly Father we are to abhor (despise and reject) what He despises.
We are to love what He loves.  To know the difference in the two ~ what He loves and what He hates ~ we must search His word; we must receive, read and love His law.

Dear Father, as we begin to share these meditations, make us to know their full meaning, so that we know how to live in accordance with your word and your will.  Work in us to receive your written word ~ your law for our lives ~ even as we receive Christ, the living word, by your Spirit, to live within us and teach us your law of liberty in Him. For your glory, write your law on our hearts and in our minds so that we will love your law even as you teach us to love you. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

The Reason and Season for Contentment

Jesus is the reason and the season for contentment. We cannot say this strongly enough.
We looked at the role of God, the Father, last week. We will look at the role of the Holy Spirit next week.

Why are we centering on Jesus, the second person of the Trinity? There are many reasons.
(I have to, at this point say as I remind myself, everything I write is something the Lord is teaching me. At this point in our writing about contentment, I am excited about what we are learning.)

Our last post on Jesus could not be enough. Remember John’s last statement of his gospel, “the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” So, if you want to be richer and content with what God has prepared for us as His children, don’t skim this article, but stay with me to hear what He wants us to know.

With a Christian worldview, we see through the eyes of the church, the body of Christ. He is the head and we are growing up into Him as we continue in His Word. We are set free from the bondage of ignorance, the power of death and sin, of fear and the world’s influence.

How is this possible without Jesus Christ? We would still be in our sin, and in the chaotic upheaval of the world. I doubt that the world would still be here. At the precise time that was planned, He was born into this world to fulfill the promises that had been made. (Galatians 4:4-7)

Why are Jesus’ followers not rioting, and complaining? Jesus makes the difference.

How the Trinue God Works His Plan and Power on Earth

Let’s look at how His plan is established in Jesus His Son. God, the Father sent His Son to make the difference ~ between the world and His kingdom ~ a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy.

Jesus lived a perfect life of righteousness under the law, fulfilling every jot and tittle.:) His life is the center point of God’s plan.
He is the Son, whose life we are given through his death and resurrection (1 Peter 1:3). Since His ascension and ruling at the right hand of the Father on our behalf, He is calling those who are His to live in union with Him. This life is a new life, a supernatural life, in a new relationship with Him and the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit working all things according to His will and covenant with His people.

Let’s look more closely: God, the Father  + God, the Son + God, the Spirit = The Trinity.

Take away God, the Son ~ We would not know God the Father, nor would the Holy Spirit have been sent to us.

From all the Biblical references we see how the Father focuses all things on His Son. We understand that the whole of God’s Word, from beginning to end, is about Jesus Christ, the promised, living, dying, living, ruling and reigning Messiah. He is the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega.trinity

We do not have room or time to include all references to Christ, but only a few that relate to His role, His relationship to the Father, the Holy Spirit and to us. I would ask that you reply with the references that you know.

The first promise of the Messiah, Conqueror, and Savior ~ Genesis 3:15
Promise of a Son ~ Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23

He is the image of the invisible God ~ “for by Him were all things created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And He is before all things and in him all things hold together.”  Colossians 1:15-20

 “Making known to us the mystery of his will,
according to his purpose,
which he set forth in Christ

as a plan for the fullness of time,
to unite all things in him,
things in heaven and things on earth.
Ephesians 1:9-10

John, the Baptist’s witness of the Son ~ Matthew 3:11
The Father’s witness of His Son ~ Matthew 3:17; 11:27; 17:5; 1 John 5:6-12;  John 17:1-7, 24;
The Holy Spirit’s witness of the Son ~ John 14:26; John 15;26; John 16:7, 12-15

“He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine
and declare it to you.

All that the Father has is mine;
therefore I said that he will take what is mine
and declare it to you.
John 16:14-15

We have only begun to scratch the surface. There is layer and layer, precept upon precept of “the way, the truth, and the life” that is ours in Jesus Christ, our Lord. All that we need for life, godliness and contentment is all rolled up in this one “ball of wax” and beyond us, to discover what is ours in Him. He is the center and root of all things blessed and beautiful, filling and overflowing with the goodness and grace for all that we need. All that is precious, amazing, and fathomless is promised in Him, revealed and fulfilled in those who are His children.

The Season for Contentment

Because Jesus Christ holds the secret, the means and the power for all things for contentment, we must continue to keep our eyes, ears and all our senses on Him. He is the reason for our contentment. Therefore, the season for our contentment in Him is year-round, never ending, now and forever.8a98b22c4e447787d8764dd91bbbad54

Gracious Father, We thank you for your plan for true life, in and through Jesus Christ, who is to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, who upholds all things by the word of His power, who sits at your right ruling and reigning until you have put all things under His feet. We praise you that your greatness and power in Him is unsearchable. Thank you for this unspeakable gift of grace and life in Him, now and for eternity. Open our eyes to see and live in the wonder of who and what He is to us as your people. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Reminders for the New School Year ~ (Part 2) ~ Asking

7129253_origJesus was not here on earth to bring us suggestions that might help us succeed in this life. He came on a mission ~ The Mission For Success ~ in this life and the next. He came to bring the knowledge that we need to strive, survive and thrive. Man’s wisdom and knowledge fail to bring God’s creatures to attain the excellence and the stature that He has planned for us.

Jesus instructed us to ask the Father, to pray to the Father, and to expect from our heavenly Father what we need. He is exceedingly abundantly able to do more than we can ask or think according to the power at work in us. (Ephesians 3:20)

Listen to how He has instructed us to think and ask, “according to the power at work in us.”

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:13

The power at work is the Spirit of God in us. We have no means on our own of learning from Him, understanding or living as He desires us to. The Holy Spirit is the constant teacher, through God’s Word, dwelling in us, teaching and writing on our hearts and in our memory what we learn and live by. Without His Spirit our children and we are simply puppets living by our own desires as our culture dictates.

We can learn and earn as many diplomas and degrees as we want in this world and still remain ignorant and fail in the pursuit of true life.  A formal education may give us the means to achieve the standards that men set for us, and totally miss the mark that our heavenly Father and Creator has set for us and calls us to.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 2 Peter 1:3-4

The Spirit of God is His divine power in and through His Word, His text book, The Holy Bible, where we are taught of Him. He is the writer of the knowledge of God and the teacher given to all who ask of Him. He comes by the will of the Father to testify of Christ, His Son.

When we take our children to school, or we go to school, we are asking the teachers by their wisdom and knowledge to prepare our children, or us, for life here on earth.  When we come to God and His Word in the power if His Holy Spirit we are asking Him to prepare us and His children for His glory and eternal life with Him.  Are we asking in the right places and for the right things in this life? As His children we have the access to wisdom and knowledge that the world does not have. Are we flourishing and teaching our children what it means to strive for the excellence that is ours in Christ? Consider how many hours and years they learn from the spirit of the world how to live the life of the world. How many hours and years will be spent to accumulate in their minds and hearts how to live for eternity?  Only this preparation will bring true success here and eternally.

Why should we listen to what Jesus says? Why should we depend on God’s Word for living a successful life? Paul prayed for the church at Colossae for them “to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ ……………..

col-2-3-In-whom-all-the-treasures-of-wisdom-and-knowledge-are-hiddenWisdom Given Generously

 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

In humility we ask, admitting that we lack wisdom. If we ask for wisdom what can we expect from God? It will be the divine power of His Holy Spirit bringing Christ to live and reign in our spirit, soul, and body, in our hearts, our minds, our wills, our impressions, our affections, our emotions, and our expressions. He is the way, the truth, and the life that God has planned for His children. Anything less than following in His footsteps will only produce a deception ~ at best, an imitation.

Dear Father, the wisdom of the world, comes from the world to achieve its own purposes. You teach us the difference when you teach us of Christ. So fill us with your Spirit that your continual presence be the test of what is genuine in this life.  Separate what is of you and what is of the world. Thank you for your divine power to destroy the strongholds, imaginations and false teachings of our culture. Enable us to teach our children about you, to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Sincerely Wrong

On this date in 1992 God did a work in my heart that has been growing and changing my perspective of all of life. On that day I knew that I had a new heart and a new spirit. I was a babe in Christ, delivered from the power of darkness into His kingdom (Colossians 1:13). He has fed me and led me, brought me and taught me. He has reformed my thinking and continues to transform me by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). Sounds like a miracle, right? And it is.

To this day I am still amazed at who He is; of the Son that our heavenly Father has given to His children, to which He has drawn me; and the power of the Holy Spirit that is at work in the world today bringing His kingdom into hearts and lives, and His will being done. I did not say, just to me; although at times I, like Elijah, in special times think that I am His only child.

He has so blessed that I have been able to teach my grandchildren things that I did not teach my own children. I did not know these things. I had not grown up in the deep things of God. What I knew of God I had learned in the kiddies’ pool. Never learning to swim I always stayed in the shallow end. But I could speak as loud as all the others of what I knew and stood firmly on it.

img_20130213_091842-1-e1360744480225As He has taken me by my right hand and is guiding me with His counsel, preparing me for His glory (Psalm 73) I am still learning. As my Shepherd, He is still teaching me of His protection, His direction, and His correction. This role for His people, His sheep, comes with the promise of all three. We usually want the first two, but not the last.

From our prideful nature we never think we can be wrong. We hate to be wrong about anything. And as the followers of Christ we think we have everything down pat; so we tend as sheep to stand on our back legs and argue our points. The most powerful means of our growth as lambs is to be corrected; either by the reading or preaching of His word, or by another Christian.

The rod and staff are His means of keeping us on the right path; even if it means humiliation. This is the example set by our Lord. “He learned obedience by the things He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

If we are to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18) we must be humble and open to what other people are saying; but with a discerning mind and heart. We pray daily that He speak to us through His word, through our circumstances and through others. I have discovered myself to be sincerely wrong at times; and grateful that the Lord did not leave me in my ignorance.

The Center and the Periphery
How do we have an open mind and yet guard our hearts with a sure foundation of faith? The center of all things is the most important. If that is sure then everything that revolves around it will be brought into the right perspective. When we are in Christ, and Christ is in us, His Spirit is our counselor enabling us to see everything from His point of view. He is our peace and wisdom in all things. The things closest to Him and His heart are revealed to us. The things on the periphery may not be so sure, but we are not entangled nor our faith disrupted by these things. We can calmly listen; agree; or disagree when it is done in love and humility.

From Christ, His wisdom and perception we are free to open our minds to those who are in Christ. We can discern where they are coming from. It is those who are humble and who share their faith in Christ that we want to listen to. Even if they are sincerely wrong we can, from our center in Christ, reason through as we pray for His guidance. There is no sense in trying to convince others of any point if Christ is not the center. We can get through only when there is an open door. He must open the door of other hearts.

Staying focused through His word and prayer is the key to love and humility. This is the secret to our training, our growing, and the light that draws others from the periphery to the center of all of life, Jesus Christ.

 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:
and be ready always to give an answer to every man
that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you
with meekness and fear:”
1 Peter 3:15

 “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?
let him shew out of a good conversation his works
with meekness of wisdom.”
James 3:13

 Dear Father, sanctify our minds, hearts and tongues today. Fill them with Christ, the truth, your will and your way. In Jesus’ name I pray.

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Life in Death

Beautiful-ButterflySleep did not come easily last night.  My flesh was warring against my spirit.  My joy and peace had been disturbed by yesterday’s activities.  This old soul is no longer able to handle a lot of stimuli; and last night brought to mind many things, good and bad.

It was Emma’s birthday.  The youngest of our six grandchildren, she turned to a beautiful eleven years.  Since we had overslept the morning hour when we usually call I had to keep reminding myself that we still needed to wish her a happy birthday.  Later when we called she had not gotten home from school.

Lee returned my call after work to talk about celebrating on Saturday.  The conversation turned to the latest report from Brad’s uncle Mike, concerning his wife, Brad’s aunt, Zoe, who is dying of cancer.  Her family and friends were talking  about Mike’s Facebook posting about the ordeal they have been going through.  While he has always been private about his personal life he is now speaking freely about things that perhaps Zoe should read.  He speaks so well of her and her Christian faith since he knew her at the age of fourteen.

Jerry has a Facebook account that he never uses, but whenever there is something that we need to know we have access.   As I read I was impressed by Mike’s writings, and, at the same time, my thoughts of losing my family members were beginning to recycle.

During the evening we tried two other times to reach Emma; and it wasn’t until later, after Jerry had gone to bed, that Lee called us from Zaxby’s.  Sadness turned to joy again as we sang “Happy Birthday” and talked to Emma.

As I lay down to sleep my thoughts of Zoe and Emma intermingled ~ thoughts of the older and the younger; thoughts of death and life.

Zoe celebrated her 62nd birthday in January.  Two months later Emma is celebrating her eleventh.  As I have thought about these two girls I remember Zoe from her own witness of life in Christ.  I had never known anyone with this name; and as names have fascinated me I looked up the meaning of Zoe when I first met her.

“Zoe means “life” in Greek. From early times it was adopted by Hellenized Jews as a translation of Eve. It was borne by two early Christian saints, one martyred under emperor Hadrian, the other martyred under Diocletian. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by a ruling empress of the 11th century. As an English name, Zoe has only been in use since the 19th century. It has generally been more common among Eastern Christians (in various spellings).”

Because Zoe had done seminars for caregivers she was helpful to me when I knew that we would be taking care of my mother who had Alzheimer’s disease.  Then she and I were in counsel together to help Mr. Roney, a member of my church, when he needed to find help to care for his wife.
She and I both were caring for our mothers at the same time.

Zoe’s body is giving way to death.  She is not walking in the “valley of the shadow of death;” but is now experiencing the darkness of the cavern of death. Christ has lived in her as His own witness. The life of Christ within her is carrying her through to eternal life with Him.

Zoe’s life in the flesh is waning.  Emma’s life is only beginning, and we have seen the same life of Christ within her since a very young age.  She has expressed her faith verbally and through her obedience to Him; in her desire for His word, in prayer and in her relationships with others.  Like Zoe she is comfortable with speaking to others about her faith, and in putting hands and feet to her faith by helping others.
She and her sisters, with Lee, have helped Zoe with cleaning since she has been too ill to do things on her own.

Sony Camera 1st roll 010_2Emma was with us two days a week when Mother was living with us.  Even at the age of three Emma knew how to comfort Mother when she was sad.  She has a wisdom that only God could give.

When Jerry had the three surgeries on his leg, including his amputation, she was as helpful and gracious as any adult would have been.  Nothing was bothersome to her.  She always took these things in stride, even watching the wound treatment and dressings.  She, like her mother, and like Zoe, have many friends.  We all see something rare in her; a life that only God can give; life in Christ, which transcends all of death.

Christ came to overcome death with life. The enemy wanted death for us.  Through it God brings us to Him for eternity.

It is natural that death would keep us thinking about death; but the Spirit of life in Christ brings us beyond those thoughts to think of Him.

We can rejoice in Him even as we think of losing Zoe.  I will always remember her and her part in my own life; and continue to watch what He is doing in Emma and the lives of our family, our church, and within this world; for His own glory and our joy. 

God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
He that hath the Son hath life;
1 John 5:11-12


(As I was writing this Lee called.  I thought she was going to say that Zoe had died.  Instead, her news was about a worse death.  A friend and neighbor she had known since middle school had killed herself.  Because of this and two other suicides of people I knew in the last few months I will share a follow up with another article that I wrote two weeks ago entitled Self-Destruction.)

A Burst of Grace

Adversities and events of the last several years kept me wondering if Jerry and I would celebrate a 50th year together.  Even as we planned and neared that day on July 28 it was with a little anxiety.  Lee, our daughter, called two days before all the family was to meet in S.C. for the weekend —Olivia had strep, and Emma, her younger sister had broken her arm.  Not to worry—Olivia was getting a prescription for an antibiotic, and Emma had an appointment to get her cast early on Friday morning; in time for them to arrive at our destination before Jerry and I got there. We had a blessed weekend with our family, returning home in time for the Lord’s Day morning worship. (To respond to the questions,  “What do you think about being married 50 years?”  “What is your secret?”  “What words of wisdom would you give us who are younger?” would require another post.)

On Monday my 72nd marker was passed; and for every milestone that I reach, there is a new, or renewed, vision of what may be ahead. When, by God’s grace, he gives another day it is usually accepted with a heart of gratitude, and a determination to know and to do His will that was not evident in my younger years.  We used to count years, then decades; now we “number our days” desiring to “gain a heart of wisdom” for the time we have left here.

These are all days of grace, and even with the grace that is given I often do not have the energy to accomplish all that I need to do.  Fulfilling my role as Jerry’s caregiver, keeping the home, cooking, gardening, shopping, etc. requires something beyond my capabilities.  When I look back on each day at what was done, I know, and praise the Lord, that it was by His grace.

There are special times, that, without any notice beforehand, I have a sudden strengthening to go about a task, and with a glad heart accomplish it with ease. From the first time this happened I described it as a “burst of grace.”  There have not been many; and now I pray for them, so that I can stop looking at something that needs to be done, and cross it off my list.

I think that the Lord may be planning to bless me with another “burst.”  Looking at windows that need to be cleaned, especially the kitchen windows, I see myself doing this.  Over and over, when I am at the sink during the day I picture how I will go about this; and so my prayer is for this “burst of grace” which, when it comes I know it will be of Him, and for Him—for His glory, and for my joy.

Amazed by His grace; caught up in His Glory  ~   Fran