For the past few years my wife and I have lived our daily lives by following a pretty strict schedule. To be honest, our daily activities are planned around my wife’s medication and meal times! I have learned that she does much better when we follow this process each day. Therefore we have specific times to accomplish the different things we do throughout each and every day. That means that I only have certain windows of opportunities to work on inside or outside house projects, shop, clean, and so on… or even spend time on the phone or computer.
My life is centered on Piper’s care and needs and it usually takes precedence over everything else. Most folks who we interact with on a regular basis understand my wife’s needs and flow with us in our seemingly unusual schedule. But then for whatever reason, there are a few individuals who still call at inopportune times or suggest activities that they should know are not possible for my wife and I to engage in due to her physical limitations.
But you know… I have come to the place where I tend to shrug it off and focus my attention on making my wife’s life to be and go as easy as possible. This is the schedule or lifestyle that works best for her needs and I do all that I can to not allow outside interruptions to dictate how we should be living our lives at this time, under these unique circumstances.
I realized yesterday when I read the scriptures before I Thessalonians 5:18 that Papa God also has a schedule or lifestyle that He desires us to live or follow in our daily lives. In His lovingkindness and care for our well-being He instructs us to “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. (And) In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 KJV)
Now does that mean that we walk around 24/7 verbally giving thanks to the Lord, stay on our knees in prayer or continually thank God for everything that happens to and around us? NO! What it does mean though, is that we make these three activities to be a personal lifestyle that we choose to live no matter what happens around us, to us or even through us.
First of all we have an attitude of PRAISE to God throughout each and every day. Next we stay in an attitude of PRAYER, never really losing our daily connection with Him, and then we joyously THANK GOD in the midst of everything that happens to us, because our whole-hearted trust is in Him and the truth of His Word – not because He may have caused the incident, but because He is THE ONE who can turn it around for us!
Just like I work diligently to stay on our daily schedule because I know it to be best for my wife, Paul tells us that we should work diligently to live God’s lifestyle of continual PRAISE, PRAYER, and THANKSGIVING because Papa God has told us that it is the best way for us to live!
My earliest recollections of my wife date back to our junior year in High School, a year before we started dating when she and I were part of a group of friends that hung out together. What caught my attention was her radiant smile, easy going personality and her constant encouraging and happy disposition. As I look back now at those early days as well as the last 47 years of our relationship, I understand that she has always lived her life with an attitude of PRAISE, PRAYER, and THANKSGIVING.
I haven’t necessarily seen this unique and constant quality in the rest of her family. I am sure that part of it is because of her individual personality style, but more importantly, I believe that at some point in her life (possibly when she received Jesus as her personal Savior and Lord at eight years old) she made the irreversible decision to live the lifestyle that Jesus has instructed us to live through the words of the Apostle Paul in I Thessalonians.
When we first began to deal in earnest with the attack of Alzheimer’s in Piper, I received many “warnings” from people who honestly thought they were doing the right thing by telling me of relatives and/or friends of theirs who had become angry with violent tendencies when strickened with this form of dementia. But I always told them the same thing, that I know what is inside Piper’s spirit, and she will never react in that fearful manner. And you know what… as her cognizant abilities began to diminish, she did not become angry, but even more joyful than she was before! Her response to other people’s fears and insensitivity was to laugh and encourage them!
Now you may be thinking “Why is this?” Well, I believe it is because she was always a consistent student of the Word of God. In John 17:17 Jesus prayed to His Father just before Calvary, “Sanctify them (Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ) through thy truth; they word is truth.” As I’ve noted before, the word “sanctify” means “to separate from profane things and dedicate to God.” (Thayer’s) You see, from an early age, Piper has separated herself from the dictates of the world through the truth of God’s Word. Then when the attacks came, she was set apart and is responding according to God’s ways and not the world. I love the way that The Message paraphrase of the Bible states the previous verse by recalling Jesus’ prayer to His Father “They are no more defined by the world than I am defined by the world!” (John 17:16)
So think about that this weekend… God not only calls us to a lifestyle of PRAISE, PRAYER, and THANKSGIVING but also gives us the tools in and by His Word to accomplish this feat! Pretty cool wouldn’t you agree! So then… why don’t we do it? I believe that it all starts with that irreversible decision to trust Him and His Word… no matter what!
Have a great weekend! We are supposed to get some thunder showers, but I am okay with it as we planted some flowers in our front yard and the cooler weather and rain should help the young plants to establish themselves! But however your weather is and whatever you do, I encourage you to make the decision to live His lifestyle… A lifestyle and/or schedule of PRAISE, PRAYER and THANKSGIVING… and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What attitude am I expecting to live my day with today?