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.

 

September 2008

Descending like a dove

Story of the day:  Descending like a dove

     As I was driving Christen to school today, we both saw a beautiful white dove.  It flew right past the car and landed in the park on a wooden fence.  We both looked at each other and with great excitement, said, “look, a dove!”  As it made it’s descent onto the wooden fence, I couldn’t help but think about the beauty that a dove radiates.  In the Bible, a dove usually means peace.  For example one may say that the dove that Noah sent out of the ark after the flood is a symbol of peace, “that the flood rains were over” (Genesis 8:10-11).  A dove may also represent the Holy Spirit.  In Matthew 3:16, Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist.  In this instance the three persons of the trinity are seen in one form or another. God’s voice is heard from Heaven, Jesus is being baptized, and the Holy Spirit (a.k.a. the Holy Ghost) is seen in the form of a dove.

      As Jeff and I have been moving forward with the next phase of this ministry, I began to feel a little overwhelmed about how everything is going to get done or be done.  I believe that God sent that little dove into my path, as a reminder that the Holy Spirit within me, is there as my helper, always encouraging me, watching over me and restoring the hope and faith in my life about what is to come.  God always supplies all the tools needed for His Work and often through the Power of the Holy Spirit.  That little dove this morning was a confirmation that we are doing what God is asking of us and that if we rest in that, then we will find peace. 

Quote of the day:  Michael P. Green

“When you see a man who is at work for God and producing results, recognize that it is the Holy Spirit working through him, not the man’s efforts that are giving results.  All he has to do–and all you have to do–is keep your hand on the handle.”

Bible verse of the day:  Matthew 3:16

“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the Heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for sending me a helper that not only recognizes when I need help, but is there to encourage me, restore me, and watch over me.  Father, sometimes I can get overwhelmed by thinking about all that needs to be done for Your church.  I pray to remember that You are in total control of that and I am but Your vessel to carry it out.  I am thankful that You know exactly what and when things need to be done and share it with me only when the time is right.  I can find rest and peace through that little dove that You placed right into my path today.  Something so small, as a dove, has so much meaning to me because of the timing of when You sent it.  That little dove is a gift from You to me in that it confirmed that we are moving in the right direction and that Your Will is going to be done.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

September 2008

God’s seal of approval

Story of the day:  God’s seal of approval

    Have you ever gone to a notary to have an important document signed.  A notary is a person that is empowered to authorize contracts.  The notary watches as you sign your name on a piece of paper, and verifies that you are who you say you are.  Once you have completed signing your name, the notary then places the seal on your document, which then certifies its’ validity.  And to make sure that auditors can trace the time and date of when this took place, you are then asked to sign a log, so that if there is a discrepancy, the auditors can find when and if the seal is valid.  

     Just as a notary can place a seal on a piece of paper authorizing authority, “God places a seal on us when we receive Christ.  And that seal is a person–the Holy Spirit.  By the Spirit’s presence God gives us security and establishes His ownership over us.

     The Spirit is also God’s pledge.  He not only seals the arrangement, but He represents God’s commitment to see us through.  And fellowship with the Spirit is a sample of what we can expect when we come into our inheritance in Heaven. 

     Finally, the Spirit witnesses to us, by the Scriptures and within our hearts, that Christ died for us, and by faith in Him we have become God’s children.

     What a wonderful thing to know the Holy Spirit has been given to us a seal–a pledge–and a witness!  May each of these give us new assurance of God’s unchanging love for us, and give us confidence as we seek to live for Him.” (Billy Graham)

Quote of the day:  J. B. Phillips

“Every time we say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” we mean that we believe that there is a living God able and willing to enter human personality and change it.”

Bible verse of the day:  Ephesians 1:13

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for all the Grace that You given to me and that You continue to give.  Thank You for sealing me with the Holy Spirit of promise, making me a child of You.  As I head into my day, I pray for wisdom and revelation of You and to do the work that You are calling me to do.  I pray that You use my body as vessel to witness to those around me and to share the Truth with those in need.  I pray that You give me the exact words, at the exact moment, to speak into the life of someone, the Truth, and then hand the reigns over to You, so that You can place Your Seal on them as You did for me.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

April 2008

My Father gave it to me.

Story of the day:  My Father gave it to me . 

“A young man named sinner once received from his Father a beautiful, bright-red convertible.  He named it Salvation-sparking, new, clean, modern, powerful.

   It delighted the young man so much, especially because it was a gift.  He could never have afforded it.  So delighted, the boy even changed his name fron Sinner to Saved.

   He polished his car every week.  Took pictures of it.  Sent it to friends.  Looked it over–front, back, under top, bottom, inside out.  Never-never tired of telling others about the gift.  “My Father gave it to me.  It was free!”

   Some days later Saved was seen on the highway, pushing Salvation.  An individual named Helper walked up and introduced Himself and asked if He could assist.

   “Oh, no thanks.  Just out enjoying my new car,” as he wiped the sweat off his face.  “Just had a little trouble because my bumper kept cutting my hands, especially on these hills.  But then a nice man helped me.  Showed me how to mount little rubber cushions right here, underneath the bumper, and now I can push this thing for hours without a blister.  Also, i’ve been trying something new lately.  They use it over in England.  You put your back against the car, lift, and it works like a charm, especially on muddy roads.”

   Helper asked, “Have you pushed the car very far?”

   “Well, about 200 miles altogether.  It’s been hard, but since it was a gift from my Father, that the least I can do in return to thank Him.”

   Helper opened the door on the right side and said, “Get in.”

   After hesitation, he decided it was worth a try and he slid in on the passenger side and rested for the first time since he’d been given the car.  Helper walked around, opened the door, slid behind the wheel, and started the car.

   “What’s all that noise?”  he said.  Moments later they were moving down the highway quietly, at fifty, sixty miles an hour.  he was taken aback.  It all seemed to fall into place.  It was even exciting.  he knew he needed this Salvation Car to be admitted through the gate at the end of the highway.  But somehow he felt that getting there was his responsibility.” (Larry Christenson)

Quote of the day:  Vance Havner

“You can become a Christian by going to church just about as easily as you can become an automobile by sleeping in a garage.”

Bible verse of the day:  Acts 1:8

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

How many times in my Christian drive, have I wanted to take the reigns from You and try to, as the story today illustrates, “push my car”, when I could be letting You lead me in this drive.  Father, as we are driving down this road of life, I pray that You help me steer clear of distractions and temptations so that I may honor You with my prayers.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen