For the past 25 years I’ve been working at my parents’ trucking business. I’ve been known as Dale’s daughter, which I am completely ok with. I’m quite proud of my Dad & how hard he worked to build what he has. My Dad & I have worked quite closely over the years & I have picked up a lot of his mannerisms/ways; good & bad.
When I saw a picture of myself & my Dad, I was struck by how much I did resemble him & even stood like him. I had never paid attention to that before. I thought about that and wondered if people can tell I belong to God like they do my earthly father.
Does the world look at me and see Jesus? Does my voice, personality and the way I carry myself reflect Him? Do my words sound soft, holy and nice or just tired and grumpy? (I’ve been told I can be like a freight train when I talk: fast, charging, abrupt but meaning well.) Do they see a child of the King?
In Mark 9:33-37 the disciples are arguing about who among them would be the greatest. Can you imagine? You’re walking with Jesus, under his instruction all the time, seeing his miracles, power & authority & you’re arguing who’s his favorite. Man, aren’t we the same still today?
If only I could handle my disagreements, arguments, bad days like Jesus. Remember when the disciples were pushing away the children because they didn’t see their value, like we often do in today’s societies; but Jesus took a child into His arms saying that faith must be received like that of a child. Children just believe. They accept what you say & run with it while we adults have to analyze it to death. (But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14)
To be great in God’s kingdom we must become a servant. This is not how the world thinks but that is exactly how Christ came. He came to seek & save the lost. He came as a lowly carpenter’s son. His triumphal entry was not as a majestic king’s parade, but as one riding on a donkey. Jesus served people regardless of the cost. Mark 10:45 says, For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. We must be the same. John 12:26, Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
We should not be so busy that we can not take the time to stop, look and listen for what God wants us to do. Can you imagine the world if Jesus wouldn’t have stopped, touched, loved, healed, ministered to, taught, drove out demons, died on the cross because he was just too busy?
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and [d]rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our [g]griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
When you hear the word grace, what do you think of? I think of my Grandma. She was peaceful, humble, faithful, loving, honest, true…a Christian. I never heard her say a cross word about someone. I never heard her say a curse word. I always remember her with her bible on her lap reading or praying. She is who I look up to as a kingdom woman.
There’s beauty in grace. There’s peace in grace. Just saying the word grace brings calmness to the soul.
Grace is defined as the free, unmerited favor of God, manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. Merriam-Webster defines it as unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.
Unmerited. Undeserved. Unearned. You do nothing to receive it. You have done nothing to deserve or earn it. God, in his steadfast and abundant love, gives it to you freely; but to him it was costly. His son, Jesus, paid the penalty so that we did not have to. That’s the sufficiency of grace.
In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul writes about the thorn in his flesh & how he asked for it to be removed 3 times and God did not. Why? Verses 9-10 are the answer…But he said to me, “May grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ESV
Philippians 4:11b-13 says, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. NIV It is not of ourselves that we endure our sufferings. It is through the sufficiency (the plenty, abundance, having enough of) of His grace that we make it thru.
How do we obtain this? First, you must surrender yourself to Christ Jesus. You must believe that you are a sinner. We all are fallen. Admit your brokenness, your inability to save yourself, your transgressions and immorality. Believe that Christ came thru the shedding of his blood to pay the penalty of sin, death. Confess that you need Him; for He is the only way to heaven. Many choose not to believe in eternity. Wouldn’t you rather place your hope in Christ and heaven than nothing? Where is the hope in that?
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
(Grace That is Greater Than All Our Sin by Julia H. Johnston)
This Sunday at FBC-L, we are singing The Potter’s Hands by Hillsong. I woke up with that song playing through my head this morning. It’s a beautiful reflective piece if you sing the words from your heart and allow God to work as the words speak. It made me think of the passage below.
Jeremiah 18:1-6 the ERV says, This is the message that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: Jeremiah, go down to the potter’s house. I will give you my message there. So I went down to the potter’s house and saw him working with clay at the wheel. He was making a pot from clay. But there was something wrong with the pot. So the potter used that clay to make another pot. With his hands he shaped the pot the way he wanted it to be. Then this message from the Lord came to me: Family of Israel, you know that I can do the same thing with you you are like the clay in the potter’s hands and I am the potter.
When a potter’s piece breaks, those pieces are called shards. Those pieces can’t be reused, but the dust from the shards can be worked back into the piece he is presently molding making it stronger, more secure and ready to hold or be used for what it was prepared for.
Our lives are a bit like shards…broken pieces that need put back together. If we allow God to mold us, re-purpose us into his masterpiece, if we were to live our lives thru his eyes, how amazing and different we would be.
Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Psalm 139:13-16 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for [b]I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
Isaiah 49:16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands
Beautiful Lord, wonderful saviour
I know for sure, all of my days are held in Your hands
Crafted into Your perfect plan
You gently call me, into Your presence
Guiding me by, Your Holy Spirit
Teach me dear Lord
To live all of my life through Your eyes
Take me, Mold me
Use me, Fill me
I give my life to the Potter’s hands
Hold me, Guide me
Lead me, Walk beside me
I give my life to the Potter’s hand
(The Potter’s Hand Hillsong
Songwriters: Darlene Joyce Zschech)
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5:5 (NKJV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries has an app called First 5. Presently the study is Daniel & we just finished chapter 6. This is the chapter where Daniel was thrown into the lions den. The following 2 paragraphs are an excerpt from today’s devotion by Marissa Henley.
Maybe today you’re still waiting for God’s rescue from your troubles. You’re still in the pit with no escape in sight. You hear the lions snarling, and your deliverance feels delayed. I’ve been there, and I know it’s a hard place to be.
But for those who are in Christ, we all have a rescue to celebrate. When Jesus suffered and died for us, He saved us from the devil’s power. God shut the mouth of the one who prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us. (1 Peter 5:8)
All these years reading about the lions den and in 1st Peter, I never put the two together. God still shuts the mouth of the roaring lion….thru Jesus. We have that power, the Holy Spirit, residing within us, once we have accepted Christ as Savior.
We do not need to live in fear. He has given us a spirit not of fear but of power, love & self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7) When we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, casting our anxieties upon him, we can be sober-minded, watchful and resist the lion; for we are firm in our faith. (1 Peter 5:6-9b)
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, annointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one that is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And of he’s committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:13-16
We must be people who pray in faith that they will be heard. We must pray with conviction and belief that God will answer. We must be repentant of our sins so that sin’s covering over us will be removed.
Prayer is hard, especially when we are struggling. But, prayer is a gift that we get to share with others and with God. There is power in the name of Jesus. There is power in prayer. Even through messages such as this. When we are gathered together thru whatever means in His name, God is there. Lift each other up instead of tearing down. When somebody reaches out for prayer, PRAY.
This was not my intended post but the burden of prayer was heavy on me this morning. I don’t know where these blogs will go. What I do know is that I cannot write them or make it through each day without Jesus. He has been my rock, my comforter, my friend in times when I felt I had none. He has been the one that I could just sit and cry my heart out to.
May he fill you today that your cup runneth over. May His presence be so strong that you can not deny Him. Today, may you call out, cry out for the One that died for you.
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
I’m going to be discussing prayer for a bit. I’ve had a strong conviction that we, myself included, need to dig deeper into our prayer life; maybe even develop one.
We have a responsibility to ourselves, our relationships, God, families, friends, church and our communities to pray. How can we expect to have a relationship, with anyone, if we never communicate with them?
I realize it may be intimidating to pray. It was for me at first and that’s ok. Just start. Our heavenly Father is there to listen. Maybe it will help to write down what you want to pray about. Prayer journaling is something I started doing last year. It does help to get your thoughts out on paper.
It may be difficult to just sit in the quiet and pray. Just don’t rattle everything off like a grocery list. Take time to speak your prayers and thought to God. Take the time to hear his response. You may not get your answer right then and lets be honest, that’s what we expect.
Here’s something from Isaiah 55:6-11: Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near? let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than yours and my thoughts than your thoughts. Far as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out of my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and shall succeed the thing for which I sent it.
You see, His mind is not like ours. We are not wired as his because we are sinners. Our thoughts are not always pure, true and holy but His are. They are higher than we can comprehend. His language is of love, power and kingship…YET he reaches us right where we are.
He waits to hear from us. He want us to tell him how we feel and what our needs are. He wants us to be honest with him. Like your best friend that sits and listens, we also need to do the same by practicing to wait. Wait for his will to prevail and fall upon us if we are truly seeking it.
Be still my soul, be still. Be still my soul be still.
Today is Bob the brain tumors 19th anniversary . On August 16th, 2000 our worlds were turned upside down when it was discovered that Ashton had very large brain tumor.
I can remember that day very clearly. We had a MRI earlier that morning. Her doctor noticed neurological issues and thought best she have one. She had several strep infections that spring and summer with the last leaving her walking strangely. That is why we went to the doctor.
I went back to work. I’m sitting at my desk and Danny McFarlin calls. I specifically remember looking at the clock, it was 4:10 pm, because I thought it odd he would call. Dad was sitting over at the other desk. Danny told me that I had to get Ashton to St Louis Children’s now. I asked what was going on. Linda, he said, just get her to the hospital now. What’s wrong I kept asking and he said she has a very large lesion in her brain. I asked what that was and he said they’ll explain everything there. He said to stop by Hillsboro Hospital get the MRI scan and take it with us, but leave now.
I started freaking out. My dad asked me what was going on and I told him. I said we have to go now, we have to go now. My Grandma Grace was staying with Mom and dad at that time so they had to make arrangements that she would be taken care of. Dad went home to get Mom and I went to pick up Ashton from the babysitters. Ashton and I were in the backseat as we drove to get her MRI scan and head to St Louis.
Mom tried looking at it but she couldn’t understand it. I was just out of my mind with worry. So we go to Cardinal Glennon first and we were at the wrong hospital. They sent us over to Children’s by Barnes. We were admitted through the ER and the doctors came in to talk to her. She told them all kinds of things that I never knew. She was seeing double and was dizzy a lot. She never complained. They then took me and Dad out to see the scans.
She had a grapefruit sized tumor attached to her brain stem. They were admitting her and doing surgery. I fell apart again in my Dad’s arms. Of course I had notified Mike McKinney at Fillmore Baptist what was going on, it was a Wednesday so they were praying for us. I couldn’t reach my sister Diana but she was told at church.
The next day we met her neurosurgery team. Dr. Jeffrey Ojemann was lead surgeon.. The next day at 7 a.m. they told us that she would be in surgery.
You have no idea how devastating it is watching them wheel your child away with no clue what will happen. My entire family came to the hospital. It was a 12-hour surgery. I knew something was wrong cause we hadn’t received our calls from the nurse.
At 3 p.m. the surgeon came to speak to me and said he has to do emergency surgery and needed my permission. She had developed three blood clots and two had combined. She had a stroke on the table.
Around 8 p.m. dad and I were allowed to see her. Her head was swollen . She couldn’t move and had no reflex functions. I again fell into my dad’s arms crying. She was in ICU for a week and moved to the neuro floor.
It was another week before she woke up. When she did, the first thing she asked was “Where is Papa”, my Dad. God has blessed me with wonderful, supportive parents and family. God knew what I needed way before I did.
Ashton was in the hospital for two months with very intense rehab. She had one year of PT, OT and speech therapy three times a week. Since then she has had three more brain surgeries, over eight years of chemo and radiation. She still has functional deficits and is 60% blind in both eyes.
By the grace of God you would never know that she had problems. This young woman is a true miracle of God and his great work that he can. You have no idea how many times we were told she wasn’t going to make it or she would never live to this day. She has surpassed each one.
So today as I sit during her MRI and wait for the results at Costas, I thank God for Bob the brain tumor. If we had never found him, Ashton would not be here today. So, happy anniversary Bob. You have been a big part of our lives for a long time. You can go away now. 😋