Gifts of affliction, seizures, deliverance and hope

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December 2012 669

2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (ESV)

“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”

This Valentines’s Day we give thanks for the gift of affliction,  the gift of seizures, the gift of being burdened beyond our strength, the gift of deliverance, and the gift of hope.  Amazing, Hannah Moriah is a wonderful, loving, and gifted young girl who has been seizure free for almost 4 years.  I repost the link for our story that it may remind someone to set their hope in God, who will deliver again and again and again!

A Year with Epilepsy (Click on this link, or tab above to read, or re-read the story of God’s grace in our lives.)

 

A Sweet Goodbye…for now

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Last week, I enjoyed the most delicious strawberries for lunch! It was not the just the strawberries that were sweet, but the absence of sugar that made them sweeter! Since the new year, I have cut out most sugar from my diet, except for my coffee creamer!

When we fill our lives with the extra “goodies” of this world, we really miss out on the sweetness of God’s Word and a real walk with Him.  I am tempted to be reading too many books, which takes away time from his Word.  I am tempted to be doing too many things, which takes away from sweet time with a young family.  I am tempted to fill my heart with things rather than the richness of God’s treasures in His Word. I am tempted to capture my life and family in this perfect little blog, rather than experience life to the fullness together, with all the messes included.

So I am ready to make some more changes for a while to make my life sweeter and me a sweeter person to be around.  I am saying good-bye ( hard to type!) to the blog world for now. I hope to come back someday….

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103

Mark Devotional: The Appointing

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Mark 3:13-19 (The Message)

 13-19He climbed a mountain and invited those he wanted with him. They climbed together. He settled on twelve, and designated them apostles. The plan was that they would be with him, and he would send them out to proclaim the Word and give them authority to banish demons. These are the Twelve:

   Simon (Jesus later named him Peter, meaning “Rock”),
   James, son of Zebedee,
   John, brother of James (Jesus nicknamed the Zebedee brothers Boanerges, meaning “Sons of Thunder”),
   Andrew,
   Philip,
   Bartholomew,
   Matthew,
   Thomas,
   James, son of Alphaeus,
   Thaddaeus,
   Simon the Canaanite,
   Judas Iscariot (who betrayed him).

 I love the way the message describes this appointing of the 12 men as a climbing up the mountain.  We may have a huge obstacle in our way, a mountain we need to climb.   Jesus invites us to closer discipleship with him, to climb the mountain. He has already been on the climb preparing the way and knows the other side.  But He calls to us to follow, and when we accept, He climbs together with us!  

One of the first job of the disciple listed was to be with Jesus, then to go preach and go drive out demons.  You have to be with Him to know what to preach about and how to heal.  It is easy to evaluate our discipleship on how well we are preaching, serving, doing, helping, but just being is also a requirement.

And lastly, reading through the list of names of those unique men reminds me of His extravagant grace to choose me.  In Peter’s life, I see the call of Jesus transformed Him to be greatly used for Him. May it be so in my life! Then James and John, even in their passionate personalities, they are included in the smaller inner circle.  From Andrew to Simon we have listed some average men who walked with Jesus.  Lastly, one He chose knowing the outcome.  What do I want said of me in the parenthesis? 

A Hug, a Kiss and a Good-bye

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There is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son that transcends all other affections of the heart.

– Washington Irving , writer

 

Not sure how time passed so fast, but Elim started preschool this week.  We both had a quiet ride on Wednesday to school.  We had visited, we had talked, and now the reality of the moment was hitting both of us.  I was  kinda glad to be with my thoughts for some of the ride, trying to hold back tears even before I dropped him off. 

But after walking him to his room and waiting for his friends to arrive, especially Anna, he quietly gave me a side hug, a gentle kiss, and a sweet “good-bye.”   Glad he made it easy on both of us.

He had a good day, especially riding the elevator to the gym! He was ready to go back today. 

So with a hug, a kiss, and a good-bye we finally leave one stage of childhood behind and look forward to new things to come for tomorrow. 

We also enjoyed going to see the train station at Florence this week.

Boys do not grow up gradually.

They move forward in spurts like the hands of clocks in railway stations.


– Cyril Connolly

Path, Presence, & Pleasures…Psalm 16

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Guest Post, from our MOPS devotional, shared by Paola Jones, one of the MOPS Steering Team,  this past Monday.

Psalm 16:11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Matthew 6:24 (NIV)

 So, I like to shop…can anyone here relate? Shopping is relaxing.  A sort of escape….that’s until I have to go to the check out and actually give my money away! If you know me you, you know that I’m on a budget. My wonderful husband has been making a budget for us for the last almost 11 years. I can’t stand it. I do better some months than others but for the most part..I don’t like to stick with my budget. Before I know it, I’m scraping the bottom of my cute wallet two weeks before the end of the month.

 Well, not too long ago we decided it was time to get a hold of our finances. It was time to do right by God by becoming good stewards with our money. We read Dave Ramsey’s book and began our first steps. You would assume that having had to stick to a budget for so many years meant that we were doing pretty well on our finances. Well, we weren’t.  Between student loans, car loan, credit card and a mortgage we have accrued a lot of debt! Most importantly we were not tithing like we knew we should.

 We have since realized that we have been serving money over our loving and gracious God.  It was truly a slap-in-the-face to not only realize to what degree we were dishonoring Him, but how far we had to go to make things right – that is to say, to gain control over our money, give adequately to God’s church and build the kind of wealth that would allow us to further serve beyond tithing.

 Initially, it seemed our first step should be to payoff some debt.  Instead, we trusted scripture and moved first to give a 10% tithe knowing there is no possible way to out-give God.  While it seemed so counterintuitive to attack our debt by adding a ‘payment’ if you will, this small step would quickly prove God’s plan.  

 So, with a plan in place and through God’s guidance, we can say we will be free of debt other than our mortgage by the end of the year and well on our way to true financial freedom. We know it won’t be an easy road…our choices won’t be the most popular… but we are now excited to serve the Lord with what He has so graciously given us. Instead of buying pleasures on earth, we are filled with the joy of His presence and motivated by the eternal pleasures to come at His right hand.

Thanks, Paola, for allowing me to share your devotion. I was so refreshing to see tears in her eyes as she read the last few lines– truly from a humble heart that has found her deepest joy in His presence. 

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Mark Devotion: Getting in the Way or His Will?

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Let’s go back to Mark 1 for one more important lesson, then on to Mark 3 next week. 

40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

 41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

 43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

My disobedience can have an impact on Jesus’ effectiveness in the lives of other. Powerful truth. 

A song from a couple of Sundays ago that really express this truth. Enjoy.