Claiming Peace

As I continue on my journey of being diagnosed with an early form of breast cancer, peace can seem illusive.  When I allow my mind to go down path A, B or C there are so many variables I can worry about.  At this point I am waiting for the results of an MRI. I do not know what path I will walk down. I need to wait for the next step, not think about 3 steps down the road.

A friend of mine talked about claiming peace.  I think we get stuck on God giving it – thinking somehow He is going to miraculously make us feel good.  God promises to give peace. I think we need to remember to take it. God doesn’t force His free gift of salvation on us.  He isn’t going to force us to take the peace He offers.  I definitely need the help of the Holy Spirit to make the wise choice.  But I shouldn’t blame God when I have chosen to be anxious.  That choice is NOT God’s fault.  That choice is mine.

As I work at taking one day at a time, I am going to ask God’s help to claim the peace He so readily offers.  Peace is a great gift from a loving Heavenly Father.  It is mine for the taking.

Dear Heavenly Father, my mind and heart are so prone to anxiety.  Please forgive me for my lack of trust.  Please help me to claim the peace You so freely give.  Thank you for such a great gift that is mine for the taking.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Thankfulness to Heal

I know I can struggle with being thankful.  This week was extra hard.  Work is tough with our new computer system issues and I had a coworker out on vacation.  I also faced a health issue that went a direction I didn’t want.  I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ.  It sounds kind of scary, but in situ is my new favorite term.  It means the carcinoma is believed to be contained. I will be facing surgery to remove the tumor and possibly some other treatment after (to be determined based on surgery results).

As I faced this week, I knew I would need God’s grace.  This was my first mammogram, and I knew I was likely to need a biopsy.  Not an easy thing for this introvert.  There is also the emotion of dread if the results are bad.  I struggle counting trials joy because it can feel like we have to lie.  Brutal honesty – the biopsy wasn’t exactly fun.  There were several hard things for my introverted personality during the tests.  I didn’t want to take my worry out on the medical professionals providing my care.  I spent a lot of time praying, both before and during the appointment.  I asked God to show me His grace and make me aware of the ways He sent it.  God came through with His usual generosity.  My interactions with the medical professionals that day and after have been wonderful.  They showed great compassion and care.

When I find it hard to thank God for a mammogram and biopsy or a diagnosis that requires surgery, I can easily thank God for the many evidences of His grace through trials. Medical research shows that thankfulness helps with healing.  I will need that in the next weeks.  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the kindness, care and compassion that You sent through medical professionals this week.  Thank You for friends and family who are joining me on this journey.  Thank you for the joy and comfort Your grace provides.  Please help me to honor You throughout this journey.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Different Kinds of Love

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends!  This time of year brings lots of messages of love.  Many of them focus on romantic love.  However, there are many aspects of love talked about in the Bible.  The Greek word agape means affection or benevolence.  The Bible commands us to love (1 Peter 1:22, Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 4:2, John 13:35).  1 Corinthians 13 is a thorough list of how we can show love to one another.

This Valentine’s Day we need to look for ways to show love to everyone we meet.  The Bible gives us direction on how we can do that. 

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to live these character traits in front of the people I meet.  Please help me to encourage others to do the same.  Thank You for sending Jesus to show the ultimate love sacrifice by giving His life.  Thank You for the love You show every day.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Do the Next Thing

1. From an old English parsonage, down by the sea,
There came in the twilight a message for me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
It has, seems to me, God’s teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours the quiet words ring,
Like a low inspiration: “DO THE NEXT THING.”

2. Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt has its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus. DO THE NEXT THING.

3. Do it immediately; do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing Christ’s hand
Who placed it before you with earnest command,
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all resultings. DO THE NEXT THING.

4. Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, let this be your demeanor.
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
Let the light of Christ’s countenance be your psalm.
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing!
Then, as He commands you, DO THE NEXT THING.

Author Unknown

This poem was popularized by Elizabeth Elliot.  It is loaded with truth.  There are difficulties in life.  We will not be 100% free from them while we live.  God has given us tools to keep moving forward.  He has given us His word and other believers to help us along the way.  All we need to do is cling to Him and “do the next thing”.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for providing a way to do the next thing.  I ask for Your help as many of us are weary and don’t feel as though we can continue.  Please give us strength and help us to honor You.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

So Many Choices

Two weeks ago, I talked about the many things outside of our control.  Today I want to focus on what is within our control.  We have many choices to make and the Bible tells us that there are natural consequences to our choices. Galatians 6:7-8 reminds us that fleshly choices bring what is bad.  Choices made with the Holy Spirit’s help bring eternal good.

Bad choices come easily to our sin nature.  However, we can have hope that God will take care of us and direct us towards good choices.  We still need to allow God to lead.  I think too often Christians assume they are doing what is right without allowing the Holy Spirit to lead.  My friend, please make sure God is leading you.

Dear Heavenly Father, we struggle with the choices we do have.  Please guide us to the right choices for Your honor and glory.

I pray this in Jesus name.

God is so good.

I Don’t Like to Suffer

I don’t think any of us likes suffering – of any kind.  The reality is that suffering happens.  The Bible reminds us that it will. While suffering is not what we want, God uses it to shape and mold His people (James 1).  The pain of the suffering is worth knowing what will come from it.

It doesn’t matter how great the pressure is. What really matters is where the pressure lies – whether it comes between you and God, or whether it presses you nearer His heart. 

-Hudson Taylor

I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me against the Rock of Ages. 

-Charles Spurgeon

God has a purpose and never makes a mistake.  We will survive the suffering in this life for a greater purpose in the next.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for having a purpose for me in suffering.  Please give the strength to endure and encourage others in their own troubles.

I pray this in Jesus’ Name.

God is so good.

Control or Not

In a world that seems out of control, we need to understand what we do have control over and what we don’t.  We do have the ability to make many choices and we need to take responsibility for our decisions.  We do not have control over other people’s decisions. 

Ultimately, God is in control.  We have choices, but God determines where we go. This is a huge relief.  The burden of taking responsibility that is not our own is heavy…a weight we were never meant to bear. 

In the midst of chaos, remember the God of the Bible IS in control.  He allows bad things, but He has a purpose.  God wants to draw people to Himself.  Unfortunately, as stubborn as most of us are it takes a lot to get our attention.  God uses many tools to teach us the gospel. 

The gospel simply tells us that we are sinners and Jesus died, was buried and rose again to pay the penalty for that sin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for having purpose in the chaos we see.  Thank You for sending Jesus to pay the penalty.  Please help me to share the truth of Your word with others.  We all need more of You.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

What is Right?

My church started a new Bible study in Judges on Wednesday evening.  I can find many correlations between the world then and now.  We read that, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes,” (Judges 17:6; 21:25).  The same is going on in our world today.  The only remedy is to find a proper foundation.  The Bible tell us that people are sinful.  It isn’t hard to believe that when we look at what we see.  Unfortunately, we find it much easier to look at someone else through our own viewpoint to see their flaws instead of looking for our own.  If we were to work on our own flaws first, we might see a change for the better in society.  The only way to do that is to have a proper foundation.

God’s way is perfect.  The God of the Bible, not the gods so many have made up. The verse today reminds us that God’s word has been proven to be true.  Too many don’t want to believe in God without verifying what He has done.  God is faithful, good, true, perfect.  All good character traits when we see them correctly. 

I continue to pray that those who know God through Jesus Christ remember to seek God’s way.  I pray for those who don’t know God to learn Who He truly is.  He is worthy and worth it.

Dear Heavenly Father, please guide us to Your way.  Thank You for the truth and perfection of Your way.  Please help me to share Your truth often. 

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

What Will This Year Be Like?

Happy 2021, my friends!  While I don’t really feel sorrow at the end of 2020, I don’t want to pretend that this year will be all smiles and happiness.  While I am praying for a great year, I know there will be challenges ahead. 

Whether this year is better than last year or not, God is still good.  I plan on focusing on the gospel in my writing for 2021.  The gospel is our only hope for a positive future.  The beauty is that we have hope for now, but also a hope for all eternity. 

I have shared many times that the book of Romans in the Bible tells us that we are all sinners and that brings eternal punishment.  Jesus Christ came to die on the cross to save us from the penalty of our sin. 

Friend, if you do not know about the gospel and the joy it brings please do not wait. Find out today.  If you do already know the joy of knowing Jesus Christ, remember that no matter what this year brings the gospel provides security. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending so many reminders of the gospel.  Thank You for letting me learn this at an early age and keeping me through my life. Please help me to share the gospel often.  I want others to know the security and joy of a relationship with Your son, Jesus Christ. 

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Christmas Truth

I fear the concept of truth has been taking hits for many years.  We confuse opinion with truth.  We have to form opinions – it is in our nature, but I think we need to be careful about the basis for our opinions. 

One thing I know for sure is that Jesus, Who is God, came to earth to be born as a baby.  He grew up to die to save us from our sins.  Many in the world today do not know the truth of Jesus. This has caused us to be at war with each other.  If we were to focus on and cling to Jesus Christ, we could stop the warring.  Jesus is the only way to peace.

I enjoy Christmas songs that remind us of this truth.  One is the song “Glorious Light” by Keith & Kristyn Getty and Ian Hannah. 

Glorious light! see the dawn of Salvation:
Angels in white fill the skies with their wondrous song;
Awakening earth with news of His birth;
Join the hymn of the highest heavens!

Long has the world fought the song of the angels.
Heavenly music is drowned by a warring world;
Yet hope burns a light, that shatters the night;
Turn your heart to the call of glory!

Glory to God in the highest!
Peace to men on earth.
Come and adore Him with wonder –
Christ Lord of Heaven and earth.

Keith & Kristyn Getty and Ian Hannah

As I have said before, I pray you know Jesus.  He is the only way to have peace and joy.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus. Thank You for the beautiful music many have written about Your Son.  Please open eyes to the truth of Who Jesus truly is.  Please help me to be an instrument of that truth.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.