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Fall is defintely in the air!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Hurry Up!



I had a near freak-out experience earlier this morning… Quite early… 2:00 AM to be precise!  I had gotten up to give my wife a scheduled dosage of one of her meds and when I proceeded to squeeze the applicator of medicine into her mouth, she promptly rolled it around her tongue and let it dribble out!  This happened a couple of times in a row and I was not a happy camper.  I was upset because I wasn’t sure how much of the medicine she actually swallowed.  That’s when it happened

After the second time, I lost it and promptly plopped down on my bed while letting out a silent scream.  Hah!  I even got the dog’s attention on that one as he sat up on his pillow and gave me that “Are you serious?” look!  I was still half asleep and was planning on this being a quick get up, give the medicine and jump back in bed situation.  Five minutes max… right?  NO!  So I did the next logical thing and began to complain to the Lord (like it was His fault…) and asked why He wasn’t helping me right then and there!  I wanted to say Hurry up Lord, I want to go back to bed!”  By then I was all primed to take advantage of the moment of weakness and slip right into a full-fledged pity party… after all… I deserved it… right?

Well, thank God that He had a better idea and my spiritual discernment stepped in and I caught myself before I could open my mouth again.  I quickly repented and slowly began to thank the Lord for His goodness and love for my wife and I.  Then I asked for directions.  And almost immediately He told me just how much more of the medicine I should give her.  When I returned to her bedside she swallowed the medicine without incident!  Praise the Lord!

But it wasn’t quite over yet!  As I went to return to the bathroom counter, I began to rehearse in my mind’s eye all the times Piper had rough nights and was tempted to worry that I may have given her either too much or too little medicine and that I could kiss my night’s rest goodbye!  But as quickly as those thoughts came in, I heard a familiar voice saying: “Are you going to trust my word or not?”

Well… Over the last nine or so years I’ve been around this block a time or two and didn’t require anymore prodding!  I instantly let go of the lies and agreed with Papa God and Piper slept soundly through the rest of the night and woke up peacefully – PTL!

Have you ever come to the place when it seems like nothing is working the way you need it to work?  Have you ever been tempted to cry out: “Hurry up Lord, I need You and I need You right NOW…”?  In Psalm 143:7 David made a similar cry to the Lord when he was facing a like situation in his life.  He cried out to the Lord declaring: “Hurry with your answer Lord!  I am nearly at the end of my rope.” (The Message Bible)  Another translation says: “Please hurry, Lord and answer my prayer…” (CEV) A few verses previous to this David prays: “I have given up all hope and I feel numb all over.” (Psalm 143:4 CEV)

In the midst of the current journey my wife have been on, I have witnessed firsthand those who have given up all hope of her healing and look to be numb.  In his Treasury of David commentary on the Psalms, Charles Spurgeon said in reference to verse eight of this Psalm that our sorrows make us deaf.  That thought made a lot of sense to me as there were many times where I would talk to these same folks and go away shaking my head because it seemed like they weren’t hearing a thing I said!  And later conversations actually proved that I was right!

In speaking of hearing the Lord in the morning, Spurgeon went on to eloquently state the verse in modern language saying: “there is one voice that can cheer me – cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness; for that music I would fain enjoy at once – cause me to hear it in the morning – at the first dawning hour…  Only God can take away from our weary ears the din (the noise, racket, babel, uproar, tumult, commotion) of our care, and charm them with the sweet notes of His love.”  

No wonder they didn’t hear with all that noise and clamor going on inside of them!  It also explains why they tended to stay away from us… I believe our joy and faith served to accentuate the noise of the sorrow they were needing to deal with.  After my experience last night, I can also attest to the validity of the noise that can block one from hearing from the Lord!  If I had let myself go into the self-pity mode being swamped with sorrow for my wife’s situation, I would have NEVER heard the Lord’s directions for me and my wife.

I could have cried out: “Hurry up Lord!” all night and I am pretty sure nothing would have happened!  Once I dealt with the noise that was trying to invade my personal space, I was able to HEAR His familiar voice and respond to His directions!

So what do you think?  What are you going to do when the noise of sorrow tries to invade your head or your heart?  Are you going to get impatient and cry out “Hurry up Lord!” or deal with the noise and listen for His voice?… which according to Spurgeon is cheerfully musical with the sweet notes of His love.  Hummm…. I know which way I like to go… Then I can say once more: “Gee, this stuff really works!”

Have a wonderful weekend, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose voice and whose music am I expecting to listen to today?”

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Stand Down!



I awoke this morning with an array of thoughts running rampant through my mind… and not all of them were positive!  So I immediately stepped into my scripture confession mode in order to quell those negative pictures.  But you know… it really didn’t help!  When I stepped into the dining room a few moments later though, I suddenly heard the words coming up from deep inside saying: “Tell your flesh to ‘Stand Down!’”

My first thought was of some military or police program on TV where the leader commands his men to “Stand Down,” and I smiled at the thought: “What am I a movie character now!”  But then I was reminded of the Apostle Paul as he told the Corinthian’s that “I keep under my body, and bring IT into subjection…” (I Corinthians 9:27 KJV)  In modern vernacular he was telling his body, his flesh, the man on the outside to “Stand Down!”

Paul makes it clear that his body is now under the control of his reborn spirit man on the inside.  He also makes it clear that his outward man, his body, is not the real Paul anymore.  Notice that he declares that “I… bring IT into subjection.”  He doesn’t say that I bring “Me” into subjection!  In Romans 8:12 he teaches his followers: “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.” (KJV)  Then he continues to explain: “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify, the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons (and daughters) of God.” (Romans 8:13-14 KJV)

So I did what I was told to do and commanded my flesh driven thoughts to stand down… and they subsided!  But a few minutes later I had another opportunity to reinforce my directions to my flesh!  When I went back into the bedroom and was helping my wife to get ready for the day, things did not work as smoothly as they usually do.  Somehow I got some of her clothes in a twist and was having a difficult time getting them into the proper positioning on her!

And to make matters worse, I was getting physically hot through all the close contact with her as well as with the dog pressing in at our feet and I began to sweat… a lot!  That caused me to get a little irritated and frustrated and it began to accentuate the problem.  Then I heard it again: “Tell your flesh to ‘Stand Down!’”

So  I immediately paused in mid-action, commanded my flesh to “Stand Down” and quickly felt His peace come into the midst of all the action.  Then I was miraculously able to find a handle (sort of say…) on her clothes and slide them perfectly into place!  And with that I gently placed her in her chair and sat on the floor in front of her for a few moments while I caught my breath, thought about what had just happened, and wiped the sweat off my neck!  (Oh yeah… and pushed back the dog who was trying his best to help cool me off by licking my arms!)

When I rolled Piper into the dining room I had to giggle a little as I declared one of our family’s favorite saying when it comes to the things of God… “Gee, this stuff really works!
And that would be my encouragement to each of you today!  Do what His Word instructs you to do and then proclaim in thanksgiving: “Gee, this stuff really works!”  When we don’t allow the pressures and directives of the world and/or the flesh to guide and dominate us, but instead continually be led by the Spirit of God inside us (ie; the REAL you and me!), we will see victory EVERY time!

So go forth with that in mind today!  Know and Act as the real man or women on the inside and allow His power to work in, for and through you to others today!  Have a great day, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Which part of me am I expecting to take the lead over my flesh today?”

Monday, September 26, 2016

What's Your Story?



With the recent changes in my wife’s medications schedule, I have not been able to get my morning Bible study in before I help her up for the day.  I am up a few more times during the night to assist her and we now get up earlier in order to meet the adjusted schedule.  Therefore I still get up before her but only have time to get ready for the day, take the dog out, get the coffee brewing and prepare everything in the dining room for her arrival! Then once she is up and dressed, has taken her morning meds and starts to enjoy a little breakfast, I can hit the books while she nods off to catch a few more winks!

I have to admit that it feels a bit funny not to have some Word before I attend to my wife’s needs, but then it’s not like we normally have to rush off anywhere, so I am still getting my morning “vitamins” before the day really starts off!  There have been a few times though, like this morning, where I could tell the difference…

While Piper was seated on the edge of the bed and I was helping her to get dressed, you know who… yep, the pooch, decided that he had to be involved in the action and squeezed in between Piper and I and the other bed!  And not only did he want to lay there, he wanted to let Piper know of his affection for her by licking her hands, her leg and any other part of her he could reach!

So, you get the picture of the scene that was unfolding… and to make matters even more confusing was that Piper was kind of weak this morning and wanted to roll off the bed onto the floor!  So, there I am trying to get my wife dressed while holding her up and pushing the dog away at the same time!  At that point I began to feel the “steam” rising up inside of me and I immediately started to wish that I had gotten some encouragement from the Word BEFORE I started this adventure!  But thank the Lord that I keep a spiritual reserve in place and was able to renounce the frustration and that urge to get upset, speak of His praises and laugh it off!

But as soon as I had Piper set up at the table, I could hardly wait to sit down with the Lord!  When I glanced over to my Bible study note book which I keep open on the table it was like a pressure release valve as I read: “Wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice… Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears; all eyes before you.” (Psalm 143:8 The Message Bible)  The sense of His gentle, sweet, melodic voice speaking to me must have been like when Jesus was in the boat and spoke to the wind and the waves that were beating against the vessel and there was an instant calm!

Suddenly the frustration and inner steam seamed to melt away in the presence of His calming, refocusing voice!  It was like order was instantly reinstated in our home!  Nothing else seemed to be important anymore.  His voice, His direction and His peace was all I heard.  Suddenly I was all ears and all eyes before Him.  The Bible in Basic English refers to this as “the story of His mercy (or loving kindness) coming to us in the morning!”

His Word in the morning is the story that replaces any other story that is being told at the moment!  His story overrode the story line that was being written in our bedroom earlier in the day!  His story is a time proven classic that surpasses events, feelings or bad reports!  It is the ONLY story that I want to lead me throughout each and every day!  It is the ONLY story that brings daily peace, clear guidance and a joy that results in strength for anything we may have to face.

What was the story that He gave to you this morning?  Are you allowing that story to be your guide in the midst of everything you have to do today?  I sure hope so… for it is the ONLY story that will bring a happy ending to your efforts and activities.  

Have a great day!  And as you do, keep asking yourself… Whose story am I expecting to be a character in today?

Friday, September 23, 2016

A New Season... and a New Song!



Yesterday I realized that you can actually know the exact moment when summer ends and fall begins!  I came across an article discussing the seasonal change and it declared that the autumn season would officially begin at 10:21 AM ET.  It seems that this event called the September equinox is based on a specific, reoccurring event with the movement of the sun across the sky.  Fall begins the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator which is the imaginary line in the sky above the earth’s equator – from north to south.  This happens either on September 22, 23, or 24 – every year! (See:  https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/september-equinox.html)

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a way to accurately predict when the seasons in our lives would change?  With the coming of the autumn season I have begun to think about the cooler days and nights and all that this entails… Like, I have to get some kerosene for the new portable heater I purchased at the end of winter last year!  Suddenly the thoughts of a small generator for those days when the power goes out rise up in priority.  Do I need to get a snow shovel this year?  Are the cars winterized?  What must I do to protect the plants from frost?  How is Piper going to handle the colder months ahead…

But on the other hand, with the coming of fall we will be able to enjoy relaxing on the back deck without the summer heat and humidity that causes sweat and an abundance of gnats that just seem to love to buzz around your ears, eyes and neck.  Then there’s the reduction of the frequency of summer rains!  I guess every season has its lists of positive and negative events.

Looking back now, I can attest that I never imagined how much our lives were about to change when we went off to Bible school back at the end of 2006.  In many respects it was like jumping from the heat of summer into the freezing cold that occurs in the heart of the winter months.  It became evident very quickly that there was not going to be any transition seasons like spring or fall!  Our season changed… and it changed VERY rapidly!

Our home life changed, some of our family relationships made a drastic turn from positive to negative, our church changed, and our friendships changed, which in reality was the best thing for us as we learned who our true friends were.  Jobs and incomes changed, vehicles changed and with the advances of the attacks on my wife’s health, my whole outlook and priorities in life changed!  Suddenly the things I planned, hoped and dreamed for upon our return from school dulled to the needs of giving first class care, concern and prayer to her.
But once more… every season also presents its positive aspects.  For us it has been a time of drawing closer and closer in an intimate, experiential knowledge of the love of Christ and a clearer understanding of Papa God, His Word, His leadings, and of His power!

And through it all, “He placed a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our
God.  Many will see this and worship (him).  They will trust the Lord.”
(Psalm 40:3 God’s Word ©)  This was one of the main scriptures that helped to lift, direct and give us the earnest expectation of God’s best for us and our family throughout the 1990’s.  Lately it has come back to me as a demonstration of Papa God’s constant care, nurture and love for us in this new season.  I am beginning to see that with each new season, He also will give us a new song… as we seek Him first in the midst of all the changes.

In the next verse the Lord gives us a vote of confidence for the path we chose from the moment we stepped back onto California soil in 2009.  It declares “Blessed is the person who places his confidence (or expectation) in the Lord and does not rely in arrogant people or those who follow lies.” (Psalm 40:4 God’s Word ©)  I was flabbergasted when I looked up this verse in the Apostolic Bible Polyglot Version (an English translation with a Greek interlinear gloss and is keyed to a concordance) for a couple of the words it uses specifically explains what we experienced.  It describes those who the blessed individual did not choose to follow as those who look to “follies and false frenzies.”
 
According to Dictionary.com this refers to people who are “devoid of truth and appropriateness” and yield to “craziness and madness!”  These were some of the exact words that I used in my attempts to explain and understand some of the comments we received when we sought to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 MKJV) instead of yielding to the fears that encapsulated some near to us.

Then the Psalmist writes of the praise and thanksgiving unto Papa God that we have been proclaiming in recent months in response to the outcome of our staying the course to the two previous verses declaring: “You have done many miraculous things, O Lord my God.  You have made many wonderful plans for us.  No one compares to you!  I will tell others about your miracles, which are more than I can count.” (Psalm 40:5 God’s Word ©)

Are you going through a new season in your life today?  If so, have confidence in the fact that Papa God has your back!  He desires to walk you through it, to give you a new song and a testimony of His lovingkindness that you will broadcast throughout the course of your daily lives.  Remember“Blessed is the person who places his confident expectations in the Lord…” and not in people who might just steer you wrong!  No one knows your specific situation and needs better than He does!

Have a great weekend, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Who am I expecting to give me a NEW SONG today?”