Thursday, May 29, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
(play the above music while reading!)
My father-in-law had a stroke. God has been amazing in the way His hand has shown his loving care in all of this and through all of this. My father-in-law's name is Bob. On Sat. night he awoke realizing his left side wouldn't move. He managed to get himself to the doorway of his condo and yell for help. God had (in his providence) had him move to these condos about a year ago because of his wife's failing health. The disbility and special needs organization here in town just "happened" to buy condos right in his building. They just "happened" to have their office 2 yards from his doorway. Someone is there all night long and awake. They heard him and called an ambulance and the ambulance got there within minutes! They were able to give him meds and oxygen immediately. They beat my husband there and we only lives 2 blocks away.
God kept sending Christians at the hospital to be part of his care! The ultrasound done in his room was done by a Christian from our church who "happened" to be working that weekend. The speech therapist who came was substituting for the regular one and she too is a wonderful Christian from our church!! AND she will be doing his speech therapy at the Rehab unit he has now been moved to! She works over there full time. Then one of his nurses at the hospital just "happened" to have been one that went on a mission trip to hondurus with my daughter and husband (and they have not seen her since that trip 8 years ago!).
He was moved to the Rehab unite yesterday and the nurse there just "happens" to be a lady that Bob taught at school, many years ago in a town 45 minutes away.
God keeps showing his care and love for him (so no matter what happens, God has demonstrated His wonderful love and presence.) BUT ON TOP of this Bob had been praying that He would know and feel more of the love of God. He loved Him with his mind but wanted to love Him more with His heart. He says that God touched Him with his love and presence in such a powerful way that if he had had any more time feeling it he would have been unable to endure it! Blessed be God for His great love that is beyond our fathoming--the length and height and depth and breadth which we will never really understand!
Ps. And my oldest son was at a men's retreat when he got word. My son specifically prayed that God would Physically touch Him in a powerful way---basically this is just what my father-in-law felt when God's love overwhelmed him!
Monday, May 19, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
“Everyone gets their identity, their sense of being distinct and valuable, from somewhere or something.”
“In more traditional cultures, the sense of worth and identity comes from fulfilling duties to family and giving service to society. In our contemporary individualistic culture, we tend to look to our achievements, our social status, our talents, or our love relationships. There are an infinite variety of identity bases. Some get their sense of ‘self’ from gaining and wielding power, others from human approval, others from self-discipline and control. But everyone is building their identity on something.”
“Identity apart from God is inherently unstable.” “Kierkegaard asserts that human beings were made not only to believe in God in some general way, but to love him supremely, center their lives on him above anything else, and build their very identities on him. Anything other than this is sin.”
“…sin is not just the doing of bad things, but the making of good things into ultimate things. It is seeking to establish a sense of self by making something else more central to your significance, purpose, and happiness than your relationship to God.”
“Our need for worth is so powerful that whatever we base our identity and value on we essentially ‘deify.’” He points out that when we do this it sets the “stage for continual disappointment. Everything else that we try to base our identity on will at some point fail. When anything threatens our identity it will make us anxious and can even cause us to be paralyzed with fear. “An identity not based on God also leads inevitably to deep forms of addiction. When we turn good things into ultimate things, we are, as it were, spiritually addicted. If we take our meaning in life from our family, our work, a cause, or some achievement other than God, they enslave us…….As in all addiction, we are in denial about the degree to which we are controlled by our god-substitutes.”
“A life not centered on God leads to emptiness.”
So he concludes, “Sin is not simply doing bad things, it is putting good things in the place of God [even our pet doctrines he mentions]. So the only solution is not simply to change our behavior, but to reorient and center the entire heart and life on God.”
He asks, “Does that scare you? Does it sound stifling? Remember this—if you don’t live for Jesus you will live for something else.”
“If Jesus is your center and Lord and you fail him, he will forgive you. Your career can’t die for your sins. You might say, ‘If I were a Christian I’d be going around pursued by Guilt all the time!’ But we all are being pursued by guilt because we must have an identity and there must be some standard to live up to by which we get that identity. Whatever you base your life on—you, have to live up to that. Jesus is the one Lord you can live for who died for you—who breathed his last breath for you. Does that sound oppressive?”
“If Jesus is the Creator-Lord, then by definition nothing could satisfy you like he can, even if you are successful. Even the most successful careers and families cannot give the significance, security, and affirmation that the author of glory and love can.”
“Everybody has to live for something. Whatever that something is becomes ‘Lord of your life,’ whether you think of it that way or not. Jesus is the only Lord who, if you receive him, will fulfill you completely, and if you fail him, will forgive you eternally.”
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
I was blown away this Sunday by a Sermon from John 17--Jesus' prayer for us. I have often meditated on this prayer and used it in my own prayers!! But I failed to really get a grasp on 17:23 --it overwhelms me--utterly.
It says: "I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me."
That last part--you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.-----God loves us in the same way He loves His own son. As much as He loves His own son.
As one commentary online states:
To underscore this equality of love, notice how other Bible translations handle the word "as." They use words like "even as," "just as," "in the same way," "with the same love as," "as much as," and "just as much as." All emphasize the equality of the Father's love."
"On the authority of Jesus Christ, the same Jesus who has been with God forever, we know the Father loves us as much as He loves Jesus—no more, no less. If we consider how much He must love Christ after spending billions of years working together in perfect harmony, that is exactly how much He loves us. The true depth of that love is definitely beyond our comprehension. It takes faith to believe this simple statement of fact."
IT IS SO HARD TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND THIS LOVE---I CONTINUE TO PRAY THAT I MAY KNOW THE HEIGHT AND DEPTH AND LENGTH AND WIDTH OF HIS LOVE (EPH 3)
OH, AND thinking more on this, this puts a whole new spin on loving my neighbor as myself. God loves us as much as His Son (who is God)---so is it a stretch to say He loves us as himself. He commands us to do what He is doing. I wonder.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I forgot also to mention that I celebrated my birthday in Seattle. I like this thought on aging--it is "Living out the life we were fully destined to live"---in other words--it isn't just aging or getting old--but I am developing into the person God has planned. Not in a fatalistic way; but I am growing into all that God has for me as a person. (pooooweee--I am not good at explaining what is in my heart--that will be one advantage of heaven, eh!!! YES!! we will be able to communicate perfectly!!! WOW--what a thought!