Christian, Uncategorized

The Heart

Hearts in Concrete

Sunday would be a day like no other. My family left for church ahead of me, something that a family in ministry sometimes does, because we all have to be at church at different times. With limited time during the week, sometimes grabbing that last minute coffee , throwing a load of laundry into the machine or spending a little more time with the dogs, needs to be done.

Just for a little backdrop, we live out in the country and it takes quite a bit of time to get to our home or to get to one of the main roads. Just recently, the water company began construction on a new water line that needed to be added to our community so that it can provide the new homes or future homes with water. These new zones have come with road closures and detours. So what would normally take about 5 minutes to get to our house from the main entrance of our neighborhood, now takes about 10 minutes. The closest EMT station is about 30 minutes away, then you add on the construction and you are looking at 40 minutes. Well, Christy, this is not that big of a difference. And in the big scheme of things, it probably isn’t, unless it means the difference between life and death because the new construction might become an obstacle for the EMT’s, firemen, or police officers  who have not traveled that route and have to get to people that are in dire need. And on this day, God knew that I was going to need them in the area sooner.

I had woken up a bit more tired than usual, but did not think too much about it, mainly because I am a very active person and I always seem to be on the move. Going to sleep late and waking up early have become a norm for me, so again, nothing unusual about me being a little tired. I said goodbye to my kids who left before my husband and then said goodbye to my husband who left before me.  I then began a mental countdown of how much time I had left before I began my drive to church. I was already dressed for the day and went outside to throw away the recycled items.  As I turned to head back inside the house, is when a curtain of black fell over my right eye, leaving me completely blind. I also began to feel rather dizzy and sick to my stomach all at once. Little did I know that my blood pressure was at an all time high. My normal numbers are 90/60, so them climbing to 152/88 was extremely high for me or for anyone really. My pupils were highly dilated and I became helpless.

I was able to get to my phone, call 911, call my husband and daughter during this entire process. Praise the Lord that I made it inside the house, because the concrete outside would not have been forgiving if I fell on it. I pondered driving myself to the doctor, thank goodness that I did not. Remember earlier when I said that all of the new construction might thwart time, and what would normally take the EMT’s 30 minutes to get to our home, only took 5 from the time that I spoke with them to them pounding on my door. They said that they were already in the area because of another call and were able to get to me right away. Coincidence? I think not. Thank You Lord for knowing that I was going to need them on that day and sooner than later. Not too long after the EMT’s arrived and shared that I needed to get to the hospital right away, my husband came on the scene and of course, he is the one that I wanted to take me to the doctor. In hindsight, I really did not think that the situation was as bad as it could have been or it actually was.

We arrived to the hospital and not even a minute later, I was bombarded by doctors and nurses that were flocking in from all over the place. Every speciality was there and they began to work up what seemed like a mountain of assessments. I was poked and prodded in every location and direction that they could get a hold of. I was then wheeled to Ophthalmology, the eye doctor, where my eyes were put through a slew of numbing dilations to see if there was any sign of hemorrhaging in my eye. To their surprise, everything appeared to be in tact and working normally. Test after test were run and a shadow fell over me and them as to what could be causing this abnormal loss of sight.

Just when I thought all of the testing was coming to and end, a slew of others would begin. The next machine that they rolled into my room, the one that I think really had me realize just how precious my life really is, admire the creation of God and see a piece of how He has intricately knitted me together, was the echogram machine. This magnificent machine was rather large in size and the work that it did could magnify something within us that is so small onto a screen so clearly. It was such an amazing machine, that it didn’t have any need or use of the measly little EKG lines that were placed upon my chest when I arrived at the hospital. This machine came with its own wiring and gadgets needed to go a little deeper than what the EKG could pick up on.

It was here when the technician began looking for any probable cause as to what might check me into a luxury stay at the local hospital. It was then that I saw it. Not only was it clear as day, it was right in front of me, shouting, here I am, look. No, I am not talking about what caused my vision loss or the aneurysm that I would later find out that I had. It was in this moment that I saw something so magnificent as the machine that was magnifying it. It was the radiance of God found in this one location that “for of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever…” rests (Romans 11:36). It is the place that daily pumps the blood of joy, sorrow, pain, love, and regret straight to a person that calls Jesus their Lord and Savior. It is the place where Jesus draws us near to Him and offers forgiveness of sins for a life that is undeserving and gives His life freely for the ransom of my sins.  It is the place that houses the Holy Spirit and according to Ephesians 3:16-19 is a place “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” It is a place where time can flow for the next 10 years or for only the next few seconds leaving the question, if it were to stop today, do you know if you would spend eternity with Him?

As I continued to lay on the hospital bed, watching the blood flow through each chamber, I was quickly reminded of just how precious life is and how short our numbered days are. I woke up that morning thinking it was a day like any other day and after being tossed into a reality check, I was quickly mistaken. Sometimes, God needs to get our attention, and most of the time, He does so in a still small voice. Other times, He needs to get us off of our feet and remind us that we can do nothing apart from Him. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End to everything, including this fragile life.  Have I done all that I can to share with my family and friends about God and His wonderful heart, that out of it flows love (oh, so much love), joy, peace, patience (oh so much patience), kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that He sent His Son to die a death, a death that He did not deserve, and offered Him up freely for you and for me, “…that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)?

Father, I am so humbled by Your great Love that flows down from Heaven and into my life. Thank you for letting me physically see the love that went into creating me and the love that flows from a heart that was once broken in sin, but has a redemptive purpose to live in this life for as long as that is thanks to Your Son Jesus. I didn’t die that day in a hospital room and I am not sure what day You will call me home, but until then, until my heart stops pumping the blood through my entire body, I will continue to live and serve You my Lord and do it giving You all of the honor, glory and praise. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

 

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December 2008

Look at your guage

Story of the day:  Look at your gauge

In a boiler room, it is impossible to look into the boiler to see how much water it contains.  But running up beside it is a tiny glass tube, that serves as a gauge.  As the water stands in the little tube, so it stands in the great boiler.  When the tube is half full, the boiler is half full; if empty, so is the boiler.  How do you know you love God?  You believe you love Him, but you want to know.  Look at the gauge.  Your love for your brother is the measure of your love for God. Michael P. Green

Quote of the day:  Patrick Morley

“The height of our love for God will never exceed the depth of our love for one another.”

Bible verse of the day:  1 John 4:11

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for loving me so much.  I pray that Your love for me and the love that I have for You can be shared with those around me and that they will know it comes from You.  Father, my heart seeks to know You better and I pray that the eyes of my heart continue to open and the love spills out!  I thank You for this blessed day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

September 2008

Unconditional Love

Story of the day:  Unconditional Love

     One Sunday a little boy looked up at his dad and asked, “Daddy, how does God love us?”  His father answered, “Son, God loves us with an unconditional love.”

     The lad thought for a moment and then asked, “Daddy, what kind of love is unconditional love?”  After a few minutes of silence his father answered, “Do you remember the two boys who used to live next door to us and the cute little puppy they got last Christmas?” “Yes.”  “Do you remember how they used to tease it, throw sticks and even rocks at it?”  “Yes.”  “Do you also remember how the puppy would always greet them with a wagging tail and would try to lick their faces?”  “Yes.”  “Well, that puppy had an unconditional love for those two boys.  they certainly didn’t deserve his love for them because they were mean to him.  But, he loved them anyway.”

     The father then made his point:  “God’s love for us is also unconditional.  Men throw rocks at his Son, Jesus, and hit him with sticks.  They even killed him.  But, Jesus loved them anyway.”

Quote of the day:  Vonette Bright

“You can be sure you are abiding in Christ if you are able to have a Christlike love toward the people that irritate you the most.”

Bible verse of the day:  Romans 13:10

“Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I have been praying to open my heart to love others the way that You love me.  The love that You have shared with me to give to others is beyond what I could ever imagine.  Thank You for loving me this much.  The Love that You have is so great that even when one drop spills over from Heaven, it has saturated my life and touched me to my very core.  I can’t express how grateful I am to You for it.  I pray that the love that I have will spill over into compassion that I show towards others while doing Your Will.  Open the eyes of my heart, that I may see others the way that You do, and that is with eyes of Love.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

August 2008

Why does God allow suffering?

Story of the day:  Why does God allow suffering?

     On one of our many trips this summer, Jeff and I were asked the following question:  “Why does God allow suffering?”  This isn’t the first time that we have been asked this question.  Billy Graham writes that “it isn’t an easy issue, because it goes to the heart of our deepest questions about God.  After all, (the argument runs), how could a loving and gracious God allow suffering?  To put it another way, if God lets us suffer, He must not love us–and the proof is the suffering He allowed His Son to endure on the Cross. 

     So what then is the answer to this age-old question?”  The following answer comes from a “Christian man who has been an invalid all his life, one of those lonely and obscure people who live in constant pain, who do not know what it means to be able to use their physical body in any way without pain and suffering.

     “Lonliness is not a thing of itself, not an evil sent to rob us of the joys of life.  Loneliness, loss, pain, sorrow, suffering, these are disicplines, God’s gifts to drive us to His very heart, to increase our capacity for Him, to sharpen our sensitivities and understanding, to temper our spirtitual lives so that they may become channels of His mercy to others and to bear fruit for His Kingdom.  But these disciplines must be seized upon and used, not thwarted or opposed.  They must not be seen as excuses for living in the shadow of half-lives, but as messengers, however painful, to bring our souls into vital contact with the living God, that our lives may be filled to overflowing with Himself in ways that may, perhaps, be impossible who know less of life’s darkness.”

Quote of the day:  Yiddish proverb

“He who can’t endure the bad will not live to see the good.”

Bible verse of the day:  Job 37:1

“At this also my heart trembles, and my heart leaps from its place.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

We all have questions, and as much as my little mind can’t understand things sometimes, it is very clear to me from Your Word that just as You laid the foundations of the earth, I wasn’t there helping You plan things!  I wasn’t there helping You determine the earth’s measurements or where to place it.  Father, I pray to not be conformed to this world.  I pray to see beyond this world and that the things that I am doing while here on earth on done with an eternal mindset.  Thank You for all the safe travels that You have given to me and my family over this summer.  Thank You for opening many doors and showing us Your steps and guidance throughout this move.  Father, as we continue forward with Your plans, may we not get distracted by lures that can quickly throw us off course.  May we continue individually and as family to bring our prayers to Your feet that they may be heard.  I thank You for this blessed day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

June 2008

God is ready to restore you

Story of the day:  God is ready to restore you

   “Christians have every reason to be optimistic about life.  As Billy Graham observed, “Christ can put a spring in your step and a thrill in your heart.  Optimism and cheerfulness are products of knowing Christ.”  But sometimes, when we are tired or frustrated, optimism and cheerfulness seem like distant promises.  They are not.  Thankfully, our God stands ready to restore us.

   Today, accept the new spirit that God seeks to infuse into your heart.  Think optimistically about yourself, your friends, your family, your place of employment, and your world.  Rejoice in this glorious day that the Lord has given you, and share your optimism with your family, your friends, and your co-workers.  Your enthusiasm will be contagious.  And your words will bring healing and comfort to a world that needs both.” (Family Christian Press)

Quote of the day:  Warren Wiersbe

“With the peace of God to guard us and the God of peace to guide us–why worry?”

Bible verse of the day:  Ezekiel 36:26a

“I will give you a new heart and put anew spirit within you;”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for creating me to be a cheerful person.  Father, I do know at times when I get frustrated or really tired that the part of me that wants to remain cheerful can become somewhat difficult.  I ask that during these times that I can stop and see the blessings that I am missing out on when I give in to the flesh and react out of frustration or sleepiness and that You restore me in all that I do.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

 

 

May 2008

Keep things humorous.

                                                                                                                     Story of the day:  Keep things humorous

   Chuck Swindoll wrote an interesting piece in his book titled Finishing Touch.  He touches on an important topic that I just love.  He asks in this book, “How is your sense of humor?  Are the times in which we live beginning to be reflected in your attitude, your face, your outlook?  Solomon talks straight, friend.  He (under the Holy Spirit’s direction) says three things will occur when we have lost our sense of humor:  a broken spirit, a lack of inner healing, and dried-up-bones (Prov. 15:13, 15; 17:22).  What a barren portrait!

   Have you begun to shrivel into a bitter, impatient, critical Christian?  The Lord tells us that the solution is simple:  “A joyful heart” is what we need…and if we ever needed it, it is now.

   By a sense of humor I am not referring to distasteful or vulgar jesting, nor to foolish and silly talk that is ill-timed, offensive, and tactless.  I mean that necessary ingredient of wit:  those humorous, enjoyable, and delightful expressions or thoughts that lift our spirits and lighten our day.  When we lose our ability to laugh–I mean really laugh–life’s oppressive assaults confine us to the dark dungeon of defeat. 

    Humor is not a sin.  It is a God-given escape hatch, a safety valve.  Being able to see the lighter side of life is rare, vital virtue.  Personally, I think a healthy sense of humor is determined by at least four abilities:

   The ability to laugh at our own mistakes.  The ability to accept justified criticism–and get over it!  The ability to interject (or at least enjoy) wholesome humor when surrounded by a tense heated situation.  The ability to control those statements that would be unfit–even though they may be funny.

   James M. Gray and William Houghton were two great, godly men of the Word.  Dr.  Houghton writes of an occasion when he and Dr. Gray were praying together.  Dr. Grey, though getting up in years, was still interested in being an effective witness and expositor.  He concluded his prayer by saying:  “And, Lord, keep me cheerful.  Keep me from becoming a cranky, old man!”

   You and I should pray the same prayer.”

Quote of the day:  Fred Allen

“It is bad to suppress your laughter because when you do, it goes back down and spreads to your hips.”

Bible verse of the day:  Proverbs 15:13

“A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that You continue to teach me how to laugh!!  I want to enjoy life in every way possible and do so in a way that honors You.  Father, joy and laughter is something that is dear to my heart and at times, I may tend to lose sight of that funny side of me.  Father, I don’t want to be cranky the older I get.  Instead, I want to embrace all the moments of life that have made me smile and laugh and share them with others.  I pray for wisdom in knowing when to be funny and when not to be.  I don’t want the portrait of my life to be portrayed as a life that was a broken spirit to all that I came across.   Instead may I be remembered as one that always laughed and enjoyed the life that You have blessed me with!  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen