Now that I am over fifty I can really look at things through my Mother’s eyes. My compassion has grown. My Faith & Trust in The Lord is immense and surely He has certainly Blessed me in a plethora of ways. It is such a gorgeous day. I know Mom would have loved this brilliant sunshine and stunning blue skies. Today we took her some beautiful flowers to place on her grave site. My Mom always loved fresh flowers, especially roses. She will always be alive in my heart. There are times that I miss her dearly; but I have peace knowing that she is resting and happily present with the Lord. I can look back and be thankful of the times I spent with her.
In her later years my Mom gradually began to say what I now call a “slow goodbye”.
My Mother was a very strong willed woman. I was her only daughter among my many brothers. I will always remember how she reminded me that she prayed that the Lord would give her a daughter. I am beyond thankful to say that I have always felt loved! It was actually just abreast a few months of her forth decade in life that I was born.
I believe that by this time she had a pretty good handle on being a parent since I was her ninth child and as I said before her first and only daughter.
My Father worked diligently many hours away from home providing for our family. My Mother adorned me with all the girly trimmings for as long as I can remember. Frilly Priscilla curtains festooned my bedroom windows along with my white high standing white wrought iron bed. I think I wore pink nylon and organza dresses with embroidered flowers with matching bloomers and pink satin ribbons to adorn my hair seems like forever to Church. Let’s not forget to mention how I had to stay up while she pinned curled my hair with bobby pins on Saturdays for long dangling curls on Sunday. This was almost until I was thirteen years old. I eventually was able to turn in my white socks for cinnamon colored stockings.
My Mother was born in the early 1900’s and that was the thing to do way back then for a girl child. I was especially elated that she spent many hours laboring at her much loved Singer Sewing machine fabricating me a plethora of uniquely designed everyday dresses. When school started there was one for each day of the week. She even made me a fashionable red plaid Dr. Kildare dress. She even allowed and encouraged me to design many of my own clothes. Every winter she purchased me a lovely camel & or wool coat. Quality and originality was something she always stressed and impressed upon me. “Quality you know it when you see it!” It was not so much the clothes but the love and concern that she had for me. She made sure that I yearly attended the Church conferences held during summer as a delegate and there was also my piano lessons and… These are just a few of the many things she did out of love. I can remember her up and about sewing more nights than I ever remember her sleeping and resting. I now realize the many sacrifices she made for me. Coming from humble yet compassionate beginnings makes you really appreciate the preciousness of time.
I have learned that time in fact, is really a precious priceless gift.
Years later on another occasion I can remember the day my husband asked her if he could marry me. Since we were so young I was a bit queasy as to how she would respond. He has always been very strong and certain of himself and never intimidated by anyone. Coming up in the midst of brothers makes you quite strong so I always admired this quality about him. He was always matured and he had actually graduated early from high school at sixteen. So I had chosen not to be present when he presented the proposal. My Mother was in her late 20’s when she married. Here I was a mere 17. I could only wonder what she would say. I had participated in advanced GATE classes since 3rd grade. She had already planned that I go on a college tour and………. But whatever my then, husband to be said to her, he won her heart over, from that moment on. He assured her that we both would continue on with our higher learning… It was at that time that they bonded. He became another son to her. We were engaged for one year. We married the following year.
When our very own daughter was born she adorned her with the same delicately made pink embroidered dresses. It was a Blessing that the Lord Blessed us with a girl first since I came up with so many brothers. Each time one of my children were born (we had four more sons) she came to our home for an extended visit. We spent many nights just enjoying the company of one another. I always appreciated the way she respected and loved our children and my husband. She was always so proud how well behaved they were and to see how well they also all excelled in school and loved to attend worship services. My husband was Minister of Music and he had also became an upper management executive with Pacific Bell at 21. Our parents were very proud of us. I knew somewhat, but it was not really until her “Home going” celebration that I realized just how special her relationship was with my husband. My husband paid a tribute to her by playing an organ solo of one of her favorite hymns “His Eye Is On The Sparrow>”. It was at that moment he shared with the many guests that were present, that in over thirty years there had never been a cross word between the two of them. My husband is a very strong compassionate man of God. I don’t know many son-in–laws that can say that! These are just a few of the many memories that I cherish to this day. There are so many many more.
Little did I know until much later on in life how those memories would get me through the changes, challenges and transitions that her life encountered. Age has a way of creeping up on you. It gradually robbed her of all her much adored independence, gifts, talents and strength that she profusely exuded. My Mom was always a strong figure in my life. I always felt as a child that she was so stern and protective but not overbearing. She did not “beat me.” Nor did my father ever raise a hand to me. I was taught to be feminine & ladylike. But this also made me see the benefits of being disciplined. This of course is understandable since I was her one and only daughter. She was a very intelligent an educated woman. She was well respected by her academic colleagues. It was when I was in Jr. High that she entered into teaching. She wore many hats as a wife, Mother, teacher and actively took on many roles and a list of responsibilities at her place of worship. She was an advisor and confidant to many pastors & elders. Let’s not forget her excellence as a seamstress, gourmet cooking skills and passion for reading and gardening!
I said all of this to give you a poignant illustration of what was… I can remember her telling me how she was beginning to feel strange in this body of hers. That that person looking back at her in the mirror was beginning to be quite interesting. How her body just would not do the simple tasks as she wanted. After she retired and well into my adult years she continued to sew, cook and garden. But her last few years on this side of Heaven; slowly and surely her strong physical stature begins to slightly so ever bow. I would drive up and spend the day with her often. I can remember her equilibrium suddenly changing and her many falls. Osteoporosis gradually began to take its toll on her ever shrinking frame. Her once tall and grand stance resembling a much shorter humbled bowing position. Which was relevant in a sense since she was a woman of much prayer. The occasional bruises on her arms and head. But thank God no fractures or broken bones! She would jokingly say her hard head now came in handy. But she remained determined. I can remember the garage door falling on her. I asked her “What were you thinking of? You don’t even drive!” Here our roles begin to reverse.
My Mom loved to write and faithfully would journal her daily thoughts and dissipating activities. Her memory filled cherished journals and her original Elementary Primers are my most treasured remnants. It was in her journals I have her recorded memories of her much expressed LOVE for me, her long gone sister, brothers and parents. Who all went on before her, expressions in regards of her many friends and acquaintances, as well as my brothers and especially her loving relationship and many visits with me, my husband and our children.
My Mom as I said was articulate and had no problem expressing herself, in anyway. She was strong yet humble and could even discuss the sports statistics with my husband; as well as discuss God’s Word or any current or past News topic. Her home filled with memorabilia and a library of books along with an assortment of brilliant various of well taken care of nursery foliage inside and out. As time began to take its toll she asked me in a very cognizant moment to promise to allow her to stay in her own home until the Lord called her home. She did not want to loose that part of her independence. Her home was a place for any and all to come to and enjoy her wonderful cooking, delicious cakes, pies, desserts and company. I lived an hour away so she would come for weeks and stay and visit with my family. But no matter how much she enjoyed herself “there was no place like home“. My mother never learned to drive therefore she had to be chauffeured and transported. I spent many hours up and down the freeway taking her to the Dr., shopping and to run errands. This is also how I also learned to be very independent. She enjoyed spending time at the design & Fabric shops. I had a brother who lived right around the corner from her and one that actually lived with her. But since I was her only daughter that would not do. At times it was okay. I did not mind because that was time I looked forward to spending with her.
As time passed her health began to decline. Her physical condition began to deteriorate after major surgery, to the place that she sometimes lost control of her bodily liquids. Rendering the necessity of subscribing to adult disposable undergarments just in case. This is what happens often when one reaches their later silver years, especially so after having bore eleven children. My adult son who lived fifteen minutes away would frequently drop off a supply for me from Costco and visit with her. He would also give me an update on her condition. I share this not to undermine her as a women but to again give a real picture of what life often presents.
Gradually Mom had succumb to cocooning and not venturing outdoors much. Her many falls finally made her yield to a cane. I can remember taking her to the Dr. for therapy so they could assist and teach her how to use a much dreaded walker. They stressed how she should try to walk uprightly as much as possible. I can still remember the day when I was taking her to the car and she suddenly began to fall. I immediately lowered myself under her to brace her impact with the driveway. It was then I knew that there would have to be more changes. Her eyesight began to dim and arthritis began to painfully embrace her hands. Then there was her eye surgery, and……. Sewing and needle work gradually had to be set aside. I can see in her journals the gradual shift in her once brilliant almost flawless penmanship. I can see etched on the pages fragments of broken words painfully scribed and thoughts left arrested in mid air.
After her series of mini strokes her posture changed again along with her hymn singing and speaking. Her voice used for the many altar prayers now quieted, and her singing voice now only emitting a brittle scratchy throaty noise. The walker now obsolete and the need for a much needed yet regretted wheelchair. Along with a shower and bath chair and all the other paraphernalia that are needed when one cannot easily attend to all of the personal hygiene necessities. I purchased a padded desk lap pad to try encouraging arts and simple crafts, along with a mini water fall to solicit a tranquil environment, with soft soothing music in the background. Her living room now begins to shift from her antique furniture to a comfy padded sofa for her to look out the window at her once lovingly attended garden. Her bed room now housed a hospital bed that she just could not get used to, her physical position gradually shifting from flowered bed linen to white. Life and her many once enjoyed pastimes became a thing of the past. Her once strong frame. Only a mere silhouette and her limbs delicately extended on her now almost immobile body. Although often a somewhat slight questioning frown. Yet, she would always smile when she saw me.
She would light up whenever I saw her. No longer was she able to call or I call and talk to her on the telephone. This is when her slow good bye became a reality.
Must my Mother come live with me? The doctors are now giving up on her she is now in her upper eighties. I can remember how impressed they were with her intelligence she could sail through all of their mental tests. She would tell them her name the date and current news. How many children she had, their names and where she was; then name all the presidents of the United States. But now gradually the signs of Alzheimer’s had begun to replace her many cherished memories. The Doctors now recommended that she be placed in a home. My live in brother now getting more and more frustrated. Which was really his warranted fears seeing our Mom gradually disappearing. The visits now fewer by her many friends. She can no longer attend her much loved worship services. She no longer enjoyed the walks around the block as I accompanied her in her wheel chair. So she was kept inside gradually becoming somewhat of a hermit in her much loved abode. All besides her family who knew her were able to remember her as she was. Although there were a few who could see that this once articulate poised woman was beginning to wear like a fine fabric. Her appetite had begun to diminish significantly as well. I got her a nifty bed table to straddle her lap. We would prop her up with pillows on each side. There were times when she just wouldn’t eat without assistance. How ironic after all those years of serving others. It was interesting to see what would suit her palette. Yes again the Doctors have now given up hope.
But yet Mom is still holding on. I always felt that she has really begun to say a slow goodbye.
I, along with much anxiety and ambivalence begin to go and look for a care home for Mom at my many brothers insistence. One closer to me so I could see her daily. I now know that some care homes are just dreadful. Some are seemingly peaceful on the surface. But I knew within moving her would only hasten her good bye. Her once strong voice was echoing in the corridors of my mind “There is no place like home.” My Mother had always told me if I remained strong then my brothers would have to follow my lead. I reluctantly wrote the much dreaded family letter to inform all of my brothers that this is where we are. What do we do? They have wanted me to put her in a home for sometime. A few had ideas but none came to fruition of course. My live in brother now hesitantly took care of her household finances. Since he never married or had children he opted to vacate his varied career. Therefore Mom was his occupation. He could do as he pleased and Mom had a family member there in the evenings. Whatever else she needed I would try to accommodate her. He would always call me and let me know her status when I was away. Sometime it worked and sometime it didn’t. So what do you do? I just wanted her to be as comfortable as possible.
Now again it is time to make more changes? My brother does not want someone to help in the house full time. What do I do? I am not able to care for her in our home. The Dr. says her care could run into the thousands and and …… So what do I do? Mom must have known that that was one decision that I just could not make nor did not want to make for her. That was one decision that I know she made with the Lord. So it was in her sleep, in her home late that night in January when my brother called and said; “Mom is gone.” I’m like, “gone where?” I suddenly remembered one day when she wanted to go back home.
She pointed out her window and told me she wanted to go home. “Mom you are home.” She wanted to see her “Papa.”
I took out a huge atlas I had purchased for her and showed her she was in California at home and Arkansas was very far away. She just looked away. Then it dawned on me. “Mom’s gone” my brother said again. I knew that Mom had starting leaving a little bit at a time. She was holding on, she really was just trying to give everyone a chance to adjust. I knew now that she had made the transition. She had gone on to be with the Lord and all of her other relatives that she had been missing. She had slept away at home peacefully; just like she wanted. Now she was at rest with the Lord.
My Mom had finally said Good bye……..
There are many issues around taking care of an elderly parent or parents. Who does what and when? Just enjoy them as much as you can while they are here. Try and let them make their own decisions for as long as they can responsibly do so. Treat them with respect and dignity although they become childlike. In the last days of course you will have some regrets knowing that they are leaving, and of course you will miss them? If you patiently treat them the way you would want to be treated you will have peace knowing that you did all you could do to make them comfortable. Remember you never know how your latter days will be? But they will and can be overshadowed by the many many cherished memories! And yes of course you will always miss them. So shower them with LOVE while they are still on this side of HEAVEN!
~ Lamentations ~ A case study in Sorrow & Grief
The book of Lamentations is a riveting historical narrative of the prophet Jeremiah’s agonizing heartfelt disconsolate melancholic despondency. Jeremiah scribes in detail an impressive account on the fall of Jerusalem. He candidly expresses his cavernous emotions and sorrowful laments of his soul. The Holy City has died! He is overwrought with pain from the tremendous losses not just for himself but for his people and the nation at large. Jeremiah is known as “the weeping prophet.” No doubt he was despondent over the devastation of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Temple as well as the disaster that was upon his people for their disobedience.
These Old Testament Laments are analogously written in the same rhythmic cadence of the ancient Jewish funeral songs. There are five dirges in Lamentations. Four of the five chapters contain 22 verses except chapter three that contains 66 verses. Here in Lamentations you will discover laments of wisdom, ritual and prophecy. Jeremiah reflects back on what has been. This elegy is laden with a plethora of depressive moments that takes us into the darkness of emotional pain. It is a definite funeral “dirge” reflective of the mournful end of what was. God’s people have rejected His will and His way and forsaken His principles to the point of utter pandemonium! Many of Jeremiah’s prophecies have fallen on deaf ear! He stands alone, sorrowful, isolated, misunderstood and rejected, his tears plenteous and bountiful due to his genuine care and concerns. It is only because of God’s mercy they have not been completely annihilated, yet carried away into Babylonian captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar.
This Old Testament treasure contains a wealth of spiritual wisdom that can help us better navigate through “the valley of the shadow of death” today. It provokes us to introspectively examine our own emotions and sins under the spiritual microscope via the Word of God. We must become cognizant of the things that are happening all around us, within our homes, our nation, the world at large and especially within God’s Church! We today can relate to what has happened here in Lamentations to degree right now. The calamities that we see happening today around us are a reflection of aberrant rebelliousness and the abandoning of God’s intended purpose for His Creation.
Sin separates us from God! To sin means that we have missed the mark. Let this passage of Scripture marinate in your mind as you ponder this narrative on Lamentations if you will. The Word of God teaches us “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, and are justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through Faith in His Blood. He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the One who justifies those who have FAITH in Jesus…” Romans 3
We can delve into the pain and extreme sorrow projected here in Lamentations emphatically. We can use this as a marvelous life lesson of what has been to help us now! We can learn much as we peer beyond the broken walls of Jerusalem. The Temple is gone, the king is gone the people are in exile and the city of Jerusalem has been destroyed and chaos abounds! The elders and religious leaders are also gone. The obliteration is humongous. Jeremiah’s tears are not for himself but for what was, what has been and what could be? This prophet of God was sorrowful most importantly because God has been grieved as well, thus Jeremiah laments. This is what Jeremiah says when he mourns about Jerusalem: “How deserted lies the city, once was so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was a queen among the provinces has now become a slave!” Lamentations 1
Truly God is faithful and His compassion and wisdom infinite! Confession and repentance are necessary for restoration. Only God can cleanse us from the wages of sin. Sin entices us away from what God has said not to do.
We have freedom in the Lord to choose but there are consequences for those choices. If we say that we have not sinned the Word of God unveils us as liars. All of us need Jesus Christ as Savior & Lord! It is His Blood by which we can be cleansed from our sins. As we embrace and apply His Word to our lives we should begin to “sin less!” We are the saints of God! Yes indeed! There‘s POWER in the BLOOD! This is why it is important for us to know firsthand His Word! “The Lord is righteous, yet I rebelled against His command. Listen, all you peoples; look upon my suffering. My young men and maidens have gone into exile. My priests and my elders perished in the city while they searched for food to keep themselves alive. See, O Lord, how distressed I am! I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed, for I have been most rebellious. Outside, the sword bereaves; inside, there is only death. People have heard my groaning but there is no one to comfort me.” Lamentations 1 God used the Babylonians to punish His people for their rebelliousness. Today; Lord help us!
Here in Lamentations we learn that there is always Hope in the Lord! Jeremiah encourages the people to pour their hearts out to the Lord! Worship had become stale and ritualistic, false prophets and misleading oracles were given to the people. They embraced what they wanted to hear opposed to what God wanted them hear. No doubt Jeremiah’s prophecies where thought to be negative. We often shriek at the thought of what we perceive to be negative. Listen closely “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading.” Lamentations 2. Oh my! Perhaps some of this could have been avoided only if they had listened?
The streets of Jerusalem were laden with orphaned children and infants. The prophet Jeremiah’s heart was broken as he walked through the ruins of the city. He knew that God was faithful but they were yet experiencing the consequences for their choice to not listen. The few that remained faithful had to also experience the judgment brought on by the wrath of God. Jeremiah has a glimmer of hope; he too remained faithful to share God’s Word in the midst of much adversity. He was confident and knew that the prophecies given to him by God was true. Even though Jeremiah was thrown into the depths of a cistern and left there to die the Lord had favor upon him. He knew at some point he could count on the future restoration of Jerusalem. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your Faithfulness, I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait on Him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him. To the one who seeks HIM; it is good to wait patiently for the Salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3
While Jeremiah laments he is reminded of the fuming sulfur that destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah! Now the sins of the false prophets were apparent. All Jerusalem’s material goods that had not been taken for spoils lay before them marred or destroyed within the ruins of this collapsed wasteland. Many of the priests and prophets became defiled rather than maintain their dignity and duties of the Lord. They neglected their responsibility to be role models and examples to the people causing Jerusalem’s ultimate downfall; they conformed to the ways of the world! Before the elders, priests, judges, magistrates and leaders would sit at the gates and articulately discuss religion, politics, current issues and their business affairs. “Now desolate the jackals were prowling all over it” Lamentations 5. Here in this marvelous narrative Jeremiah captures the bitter, astringent longsuffering that this nation experienced all because they got caught up in sin and turned their back on God! We who confess to be God’s people must be willing to succumb to a Holy sadness of remorse whenever we are found to be in err. We must pray fervently and weep whenever necessary if we have sinned and then sincerely repent.
We must also PRAY for The United States of America & this world at large to REPENT… ONLY once Refreshed and refueled we can gracefully rise once again and obediently embrace the marvelous principles for life and living within the oracles of God through the Power of His Holy Spirit! As we walk in the principles of Your Divine & Holy Word; May Your Favor rest upon us Lord in Jesus Name! “To God Be The Glory!”
Lamentations concludes: “You, O LORD reign forever; Your throne endures from generation to generation. Why do You forsake us so long? Restore us to Yourself, O LORD, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless You have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure!” Lamentations 5
I start each day with; “This is the Day that The LORD has made! Let us REJOICE and be GLAD in it! O LORD SAVE us; O LORD grant us success. BLESSED is he who comes in the Name of the LORD. From the House of the LORD we BLESS you.The LORD is GOD and HE has made HIS Light to shine upon us.” It is interesting how we can sometimes take it for granted that there will be another day after today! Think about it for a moment! Who but GOD can make a DAY?
As each new year draws near and end I am quite Thankful! There have been many things to take place this year throughout the world! Many who started the year out with us have passed on to the other side! There have been numerous earthquakes and natural disasters that have ravaged the land! The magnitude of the world’s overall dwindling economy has reached catastrophic proportions! Many countries are suffering… Yes some have begun to rebound but the aftermath is residual. The plethora of terrorists attacks are insane… For many things will never be quite the same. The ongoing cycle of wars ending and wars beginning seem endless…
I realize that the holiday season can be a time of great anxiety for many! Memories of loved ones that have passed on and distressing times seek to vigilantly rob you of your joy! But look you are still here! You still have more time! Time is priceless! Try to think about some of the happier moments and times that you shared with them and dwell upon the fond, humorous, tender and warmhearted memories! Build new and cherished memories to hold on to! Honor their memory now as you keep them close to heart! Live live to its fullest. Set new goals and forge ahead seeking ways to accomplish your goals! Look forward to an improving quality of life no matter how long or short… Change is always on the horizon! Anything that does not change is dead. Celebrate life itself as you continue to move forward!
I can personally think of some very unpleasant moments, times of grief, illnesses, deaths, distresses and calamitous disasters that have taken place but I do not want to dwell there! Nor do I desire to camp in denial! I pray that the Lord will continue to open my eyes to TRUTH! Knowing that He will lead you or I as we are willing to submit to His Will & Way! I so want to continuously “Abide in the Shadow of the Almighty…! ” Psalm 91. This verse assures us that His protection is always available… Time waits on no one! Well I must say that The Lord can and did allow time to be turned back for a moment… “
King Hezekiah was a great example! Here we learn that God keeps His promises! With Him even the impossible is possible! “Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go to the Temple of The Lord on the third day from now?” Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what He has promised; shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?” “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.” The prophet Isaiah called upon the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.” II Kings 20.
What are you saying; King Hezekiah was faithful to the Lord! He became sick and to the point of death. He turned his face to the wall and humbly and sincerely prayed to the Lord asking the Lord to heal him! As a sign he asked if the shadow could go back ten steps! The stairway of Ahaz is a sundial. The Egyptians made their sundials in the form of miniature staircase. Shadows moved up and down to tell the time! The Lord honored Hezekiah’s request! “On the third day from now you will go up to the Temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life…” II Kings 20. Here we can see that time belongs to GOD! Evidently Hezekiah had not yet fulfilled his purpose on this side of heaven and the Lord extended his time! He granted Hezekiah another fifteen years of life!
My point here is that time is so precious and sometimes we just never know from moment to moment what will be… Even in the face of death we can turn to the Lord! We can begin to relish each moment and seek to have happier moments! To sincerely make an attempt to deal with life responsively even when it becomes unpleasant despite what is going on about us! To live life to its fullest! I believe if you reach deep enough inside, and think broad enough anyone can find something to be thankful for no matter how infinitesimally small it might be! Life itself is a precious gift! Our good days can outweigh the rough times… You may have to take it moment by moment during the difficult days when you can’t see your way through… Just know someone somewhere has more or less yet, no matter how large or small or seemingly insignificant we can express thanks! Memories are priceless! God is bigger and beyond anyone, anything or any situation we may ever encounter! He will see you through!
If you have been depressed for a long time, it’s time for things to change! God really does the FRUIT of HIS SPIRIT to flourish within all of our lives daily! Know that it is the devil who wants to keep you bogged down in regrets, fear, doubt, shame and hopelessness. To make you feel so bad that the pains of life have you down and overwhelmed! To separate you from the Lord and to get you to focus on your pain! Don’t let your emotions continue to get the best of you. Exercise some self-control! Reach out to the Lord! Cry out to Him He can meet you right where you are! There is light at the end of the tunnel you may feel lonely but you are not alone! God can reach over your abyss of torment and bring you through to start anew! Know that today is a gift from Him!
God sent His Son Jesus Christ to save us from sin. Sin is anything that separates us from GOD! Jesus came to earth to give us hope for a better life with the Lord! He never sinned and did many marvelous miraculous healings, signs and wonders! He even fed thousands of people with a small lunch of fish and bread shared by a generous young boy! The Book of John even tells us that the world could not contain the books of all the miraculous things that Jesus did WOW! Look at GOD! HE IS AMAZING! Although JESUS helped many, He was still horrendously mistreated! He was beaten, spit upon then nailed to the cross and placed in a borrowed tomb! It was borrowed because He did not plan to stay there! What happened to Him was a part of God’s plan for us! Jesus redeemed us and paid the price for the sins of the world with His life! He arose with all power from the grave declaring power over sin and death! GOD IS AWESOME!
“But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was IMPOSSIBLE for death the KEEP its hold on HIM. David said about Him:
“I saw the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue REJOICES; my body also will live in HOPE, because you will not abandon Me to the grave. Nor will you let your HOLY ONE see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with JOY in Your presence!” Acts 2.
Today is a gift from God! Draw closer to the Lord and shift your focus to Him! He will and can make all the difference in the world in your life! Everyone who is willing to invite Him into their heart can receive His Holy Spirit! He is the Inner Teacher, Guide, Wonderful Counselor and Comforter! Do not let life just pass you by! Ask the Lord to fill your heart and lift you from despair and fill you with His JOY!
No one can be a better you than you! Don’t allow man to take you down the primrose path that leads to destruction… Don’t allow the devil to make you live in regrets… What has happened cannot be undone! But you can always choose to go forward from where you are with the hope of building a better tomorrow! You can live eternally with the Lord! Don’t let anyone or anything rob you of Hope! Seek God for yourself! We can always have Hope in the LORD! Faith is what inspires Hope! Trust GOD! This is why an ongoing intimate personal relationship with The Lord is so very important! God is Love! He is the Great Equalizer! This is why He gave us His Son JESUS CHRIST! To accept Him into our hearts and let Him become our personal SAVIOR & LORD! With Him your age, race, address, bank account, medical condition, state of mind, societal status, IQ, what you have or do not have, does not change His Love for You! In Him you can discover everything that you will ever need! He can help you be the best you! He can fill your inner void and give you His PEACE that surpasses the understanding of man! PRAISE GOD!!!
God has created each of us for a purpose! “And we KNOW that in ALL things GOD works together for the GOOD” Romans 8. In HIS time! Life is about living and discovering whatever that purpose may be. All the signs of the last days are all about us! “ “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:25-28. Knowing this we can be thankful as time draws near! Prepare today! JESUS IS COMING SOON!
In Him we can have blessed assurance! It is “in HIM we live and move and have our being!” Acts 17. Yes be Aware! Yes express your doubts and fears! However make Him your focus! Not in a legalistic religious way! God wants us to enjoy life on this side of heaven! Spend time in His presence, meditating upon His Word! Allow Him to write His Word upon the tables of your heart and trust Him to bring it to your memory when needed! His Word is precious Spiritual Food for our souls! You have as much time as you need with the Lord, because time belongs to Him! Draw closer to the Him regardless of what is happening or not happening about you! Despite what is happening in this world know that He is still in control! His Word is being fulfilled!
Make it a point to spend time in His presence today! Be Thankful today because tomorrow is not promised! We know from His Word that even when your days may be few if it is His will He can extend time! If your Faith is dwindling and your heart troubled ask the Lord to rekindle your FAITH! Surrender your anxiety, depression, sadness,doubt, regrets or sickness to Him and let Him restore your JOY! Recommit or commit to His will and His way! God is our Protector, Healer and Deliverer we must continuously learn to entrust our wellbeing to HIM! Allow Him to be your Refuge and Fortress! God has already given us the Greatest Gift ever which is JESUS CHRIST!! We can Celebrate Christmas, New Years, Easter, Thanksgiving , Anniversaries, Birthdays, Holidays and everyday knowing that “”The earth is the LORD’S and everything in it the world and them that dwell therein!” Psalm 24. Trust God for brighter moments, days and precious memories ahead! He CAN and will supply ALL of your needs in CHRIST JESUS! GOD TRULY IS ABLE!! Prayer and Faith go together! Each day is a day to be Thankful! “This is the Day that The LORD has MADE! Let us REJOICE and be GLAD in it!” GOD BLESS YOU!
If you listen closely to the prophets in the Bible they often forewarn the people about things that are going to happen as well as proclaim God’s Word. The word prophet in Hebrew means; spokesperson. God’s people were quite deep into sin, disobedience, civic confusion and rebellion. Isaiah reminds us that our actions have consequences!
More often than not the people did not want to hear what God had to say. Right now in this 21st century things really are Not TOO much different from what was going on then!
Whenever I read Isaiah, I can feel the anguish and heart wrenching despair that intensively emits forth from his soul as the Prophet Isaiah speaks forth an oracle! Isaiah had a difficult mission. Quite often when you speak Truth you can expect to be labeled as “negative” or the bearer of “bad news.” Along with a lot of other flavorful words that I do not subscribe to. Isaiah was a visionary! He had the arduous task of speaking to a group of despondent people. Isaiah passionately shares of the purity of God, how powerful and loving God is and that God is a Holy God! Isaiah exalts God! He vehemently proclaims to the community at large the pitfalls of evil. Yet in return he is called everything but a child of God. He told them that the land was becoming a wasteland! He pleaded with them to turn Back to GOD!
Isaiah did not have some morbid desire to make anyone unhappy. He did not try to tell them anything just for the sake of making them feel bad! He was not a lunatic, neurotic, uncaring, self centered or mentally challenged in any way! It was because he was obedient to the call God had placed on his life. Although hurtful at times he did it to bring about good. To promote change and encourage the people to move towards God’s Way of life.
Today our country is slowly recovering from a recession! Our government even “SHUT DOWN” because President Obama and Congress were not able to agree! LORD HELP US!
We are always on alert for terrorists both foreign and domestic, properties values fell drastically and are now on the rise, homes have been lost, corporations have closed, careers lost, unemployment rates at an all time high, stock devalued, pensions lost, divorce at an all time high, families being pulled and torn apart, murder, crime you name it. I will not even begin to talk about the manipulation and underhanded, orchestrated schemes to undermine people’s integrity and misconstrue their character! Racial discrimination; no wonder the many protests! The moral decline is unspeakable as well. Everybody knows it and no one wants to say it! GOD IS SPEAKING! You can only ignore Him as The Creator for so long! Pandemonium and mayhem have really set in! But wait there is Hope! And yes there is still Joy! “Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles….” Isaiah 40
This is Prime time for the Word of God to be shouted from the roof tops. It was never meant to just be confined to a brick and mortar building anyway. Please don’t misinterpret what I am saying. There are some beautiful fabulous cathedrals, temples, worships centers and meeting places for the Church! But God never intended that they be full of people who are unhappy, hopeless and full of despair. He never intended for us to just go to church and go right back to another way of life! Nor did He want us to live legalistically unhappy! He intended for His Church to be an international universal family! Jesus came to fulfill the law. He sacrificed His life so we could be Free. FREE to WORSHIP HIM! “In Spirit and in TRUTH! ” To Praise Him through whatever trials, tests, obstacles or land mines the enemy tries to put in your path.
There is nothing I enjoy more than a marvelous Spirit filled Worship service! I Thank & Praise God for His Word Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit! Truly God is the Most High God!
At some time we all are going to experience anxiety, conflict, disappointment, grief or turmoil at some point in our lifetime. As followers of Jesus Christ we are going to have tribulations while in this world. Knowing this in advance will help you to prepare ahead. To acquire some preventative coping skills so you can be better prepared as you go through and not become stagnated and stay in. God has promised to be with us always!
Once the enemy knows and realizes that you “GET IT” that you are aware of his many entrapments, he will do all he can to harness and undermine your good intentions! He will use those who are weak but close to you, to try and pull you down! Remember he loves darkness. Therefore he slips around behind you in the dark lurking to undermine your sincere efforts to shed LIGHT to a world that is ignorant of his many devices. But get this; he can not do anymore than the Lord allows! HALLELUJAH!!! So if you are going through; You have to TRUST GOD! He may try to take everything that you have. But TRUST GOD! He may try to take your health or take the health of your love ones, But TRUST GOD! He may try to divide your home, your marriage and your family, to uproot your children, But TRUST GOD! He may even try to take your life, But TRUST GOD! Always remember he can not do anymore than God allows! But know this when you are God’s child know that when its all said and done in the end WE WIN! PRAISE GOD!
Think about this the enemy wants to steal your JOY! He will use any and everything to do just that! He wants to pull you down emotionally, physically and to lower your standard of living by compromising your principles! Your godly principles are the most INVALUABLE thing you possess! While going through you must open your spiritual eyes and ears!Those you have helped will often get selective amnesia. I often wondered where were all those people that Jesus helped when they crucified Him! It truly is much spiritual warfare about us. Our world and our country is in trouble! But our weapons are not carnal. Is your armor together?
Know God intimately! Pray daily for His Precious Holy Spirit to fill you with His Presence. Then what ever comes your way as it gets too heavy. Do all you can do, then give it to Him and then STAND! TRUST GOD! Regardless of what happens the enemy can’t take your JOY! He will try so do not give it to him! When you know God intimately His Word becomes woven and deeply embedded into the fabric of who you are! “Your WORD have I hidden in my heart so I may not sin against YOU.” If you have let the shade be pulled down over your life and the enemy has inserted, regrets, depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders, compulsive behaviors, addictions, manipulation, and anything else in as your daily companions that are not of Him. Let it or them go! You have the authority! Use it! Tell them they are not welcomed. Praise GOD!
God is the Ultimate Father, readily accessible to ALL who call upon Him sincerely, believe that His Son Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, then begin implementing His principles in their life. His gift to you is His Precious Holy Spirit and His gift of Eternal life! No one or nobody can change that. Don’t try to be like someone else! Be the best you, you can be! Everywhere you are He is. So if you have let your JOY go because…. Take it back. “Though you have not seen Him, you LOVE Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious JOY, for you are receiving the goal of your FAITH, the SALVATION of your souls.” I PETER 1
One thing that you can always count on is God is everywhere you are. The question is do you invite His presence? Did you know that it really is “in Him we move and live and have our being.” To better understand this it is important to begin building an ongoing relationship with Him. Just think when something happens; don’t you prefer to talk to someone you know? God is not far away. He in fact is so close that you do not even have to say a Word for Him to hear you. He even knows your every thought! Our little finite minds cannot really conceive of God and all His fullness. But through FAITH we can develop our TRUST in Him.
When a trial comes you are still able to experience that Joy! As a matter of fact Isaiah says; “God will keep you in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on HIM.” In order for this to be so you must learn to Trust Him. This trust grows as you develop an intimate personal relationship with Him! As you begin to think about God as the ultimate Father your possibilities are limitless. This is why it is so important to have the Lord in your life. As you focus on Him while going through God will then give you His peace to go through the conflict. God is a God of Peace and JOY!
There is a song that I want to share with you. If you are ever down and need a pick up! The Words are so profound and I am sure that wherever you are you will find the words helpful.This is one of the worship songs from the “Gospel Music Workshop of America”
I GOT MY JOY BACK
“I got my Joy back. I got a new lease on life. I got my Joy back, down in my soul. Since I let Him have full control. I’ll will let nothing separate me from His Love again. He restored my Joy and revived my soul again! Just like the prodigal son. I found myself in the hog pen. Oh, you know how satan can dress up sin, satan will make wrong seem right. That’s why we’ve got to stay Prayed up, and Focused, and keep looking to the LIGHT
God has been so good to me. I thought I was exempted from trials and tests. From a little child I’ve been abundantly blessed. Every materialistic thing, I wanted, My Mother had it for me there. But I Thank God she NEVER forgot to lead me to the House of Prayer. But when my test came, I stumbled, but I did not fall, I had the Holy Ghost, embedded within me. In God I did REJOICE. That He would lead me, and guide me, when I couldn’t see my way. Yes, He restored my JOY, and He revived my soul again!”
God can give you the “PEACE that surpasses understanding!” Patience is not a hallmark of our society! Sometimes we have to wait; Then Like an eagle we can soar high above the clouds! Its time to move towards getting your JOY BACK!
Whenever you or a love one experiences a significant loss, serious illness or death it is normal to experience grief. There are many other types of losses that occur in life that can result in grief as well. Recovery issues, divorce, financial, relocation, career change, natural disasters as well as a miscarriage or abortion can all trigger one to experience a degree of grief. The initial reaction to any of the above is usually shock accompanied by a feeling of numbness. Grief can often result in one feeling a deep sense of hopelessness and or abandonment. It is also possible to ask “why me?” Anger and resentment may result in feelings of ambivalence. Initially the above symptoms are natural. The passing of time is a partial salve that can and will eventually anesthetize your deep pain.
If you are a Christian, finding solace in God’s Word during grief is a great resource to help you maneuver through a plethora of emotions. It is during grief you can actually learn to embrace God’s spiritual comfort. The deep void that one experiences during grief is often unexplainable. So if you don’t feel like talking try spending some time with God. As you truly and earnestly seek God who is the ultimate “Comforter” you can experience His abiding presence. If you are a believer you should know that God’s Word is true. Not some of it but all of it. His promise to “never leave us nor forsake us” must be faithfully embraced in your hour of need.
Grieving is an emotionally painful process. Allowing the one that is grieving to talk freely about how they are feeling is healthy and consoling. Many become depressed and can have a deep sense of guilt. There are two types of guilt; normal and neurotic guilt. Neurotic guilt is based on unrealistic expectations or situations. Helping the one that is grieving to face the reality of loss is helpful. It is healthy to allow them the freedom to talk about their love one. Enabling is never healthy. Allowing them to work through their emotions by being active is a good thing. Taking a walk, run or jogging may even be relaxing and release some inner tension. During an opportune moment try telling them a humorous story or a funny joke can help lift their spirit momentarily. Encourage them in their walk with the Lord. Helping them to freely express their feelings and concerns are healthy. Remember everyone is different. Just because you do not see them crying does not mean they are not grieving. Some people elect to privately grieve. Some time just doing nothing is good. A good friend will be patient, sensitive, caring and compassionate and understanding at this time. Just knowing you are there for them can be a great sense of comfort.
During the holidays when there are many festive celebrations this can also be a reminder to many of their time of loss. After the holidays pass and all the seasonal excitement has dissipated there may be a resurgence of grief. This too is a natural response. Again try to allow yourself to think of some of the happier times you shared together. Depression and sickness can be spawned in the midst of grief. Emotional pain when not dealt with properly can trigger physical illness. Where, what and whom you focus on will make a world of difference. In spite of all the painful things that can happen or has happened in life, there is always something good to think about. God still has you here for a purpose. Some days you might have to take it a moment at a time. Again, please allow yourself to think about some of the cheerful experiences you shared with your love ones. God tells us in Ecclesiastes that there is a time for everything.Suffering is a part of life. Just think if we did not know sorrow how would we know joy?
Your love one is really in a much better place. They have actually transcended suffering. When you focus on God you can have joy in the midst of your grieving. This is why it is so important to develop an intimate personal relationship with Him. God does not take pleasure in seeing us suffer. Grief and sorrow are a result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. When they disobeyed they chose sin and grief as a way of life for mankind. This is why it is important to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Because of His death and resurrection we now have direct access to the Father. God’s joy is not contingent on the approval of others or on our situation. Joy runs deep when you know that God is your source of strength. Joy is a by product of focusing on God which will give you a peaceful sense of well-being. When you spend time daily in prayer, praising and studying God’s Word I guarantee you, you will experience great joy! It will give you a different perspective in your time of need.
The Apostle Paul endured many adversities. Yet he chose to use those adversities to develop a deeper relationship with the Lord. God’s grace was fully sufficient for Paul. Paul grasped something that few people ever really understand or attain. Paul delighted and found joy in the Lord regardless of what was going on about him. From an outward appearance this was not always apparent to his onlookers. Paul and Silas together sang and prayed so fervently that even the doors to prison were opened for them. This is one of the many examples of the difference God makes in our life. God’s presence and comfort is available. Believing, knowing and applying God’s Word will transform your mind to think spiritually when faced with grief or any trial or situation that comes into your life. Now this does not mean being in denial, quite the contrary. Knowing the Truth is so very powerful. Man looks on the outside. God looks at the heart. According to God’s Word spiritual things can not be understood by the natural or carnal man. Seeking the Truth brings Light into our lives. Allow God’s Light to shine in your heart, mind and soul in the midst of grief. Let Him direct and comfort you. God’s Word will be a Light unto your path.
God’s Word says; “Now this I say, brethren that Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has out on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory…” Revelation 15: 50-55. When a believer dies he/she goes to heaven. As a believer death is not to be feared. Romans tell us there is absolutely nothing that can separate you from the love of God, not even death. God is awesome!
We will never fully understand many things. There are many world wide tragedies about us. God said that before the end of time many will be deceived and believe a lie. That many would take pleasure in unrighteousness. The Scriptures are being fulfilled. Many are grieving the loss of love ones daily due to death, suicide, violence, crime, war, hurricanes, floods and the latest furious Tsunami. Thousands have died. Just imagine what the original flood was like. God is speaking. Keep in mind we know through God’s Word that the end of time as we know it will not be via water. God sets the rainbow in the sky as a reminder of His promise. We also know that God is fully aware of everything that happens. God has promised that He would always be with us. Knowing and focusing on God during your grief or any other difficult situation you may be going through will result favorably. This does not mean you will not be hurt, saddened or feel abandoned. It is how you feel that let’s you know you are alive. God already knows our hearts. Begin to partake in His spiritual fruit. The fruit of God’s Spirit are accessible. Self control will help you not to be controlled by your thinking, despair or feelings. God’s Word tells us we can even be angry yet not sin. We must yearn to yield to God’s way of reacting and responding. Every Word of God is true. One must only learn how to use and properly apply it wisely. Wisdom comes from God. We have the victory even in death. How is that? Jesus has overcome. Begin thinking and looking from a spiritual perspective. God’s children are the “apple of His eye.” God loved us so much that He allowed His only begotten Son to die for us. God is so much more than our little finite minds can imagine. God wants to walk with you through this valley of the shadow of death.
Nothing happens in any of our lives and in the world that gets by God. God our Father and Creator always has everything under His control! Carefully read the story of Job. This is why it is so very important to accept “Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior!” Jesus is the only door to heaven. God’s Word tells us that there is no other name by which you can be saved. You must accept Jesus into your heart if you plan to spend eternity with God. Living out His Word daily will give you the strength to go through this valley of the shadow of death. It is the duty of man to “fear God and keep His commandments.” Life here on earth is just a mere passage way to our soul’s eternal resting place. When your heart is heavy try singing, praying, praising and or giving thanks to God. This will also help you to focus on Him instead of your grief or situation at hand. Your security and significance must rely in God. We never know what each day may bring. Living for God is not just a Sunday thing. It is a lifestyle. Salvation is truly God’s wonderful plan for us. It secures our heavenly residence and can give us hope in the midst of grief, persecution and longsuffering. “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, but beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you to salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Thessalonians 2: 13-14. This is why His Word says in everything give thanks!