Monday, September 26, 2016

A Change Coming

I woke up this morning, and pulled on my hoodie. It's the first time I've done that this fall. It felt so comfy and warm on this cool morning. There's a change coming, in the weather.

The first presidential debate is today. Whoever gets elected, we will have a new leader next year. There's a change coming, in the government.

People are staying away from churches. They don't want to have anything to do with God. Children are growing up with no knowledge of the Bible. There's a change coming, in the church.

We don't spend time with our families any more. It's not a priority. We've turned into roommates and strangers. There's a change coming, in our homes.

It's foolish to think we're fine as we are. We have no need for a Savior; we believe we can manage our own lives. There's a change coming, in our hearts.

***

Notable Quote:


Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 (KJV) To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bravely Onward


The day I started work at Rainbows United, I took the exit ramp onto K96 and encountered this billboard. Somehow, I felt that God had placed it there just for me.

I know that Fidelity Bank in Wichita has a publicity campaign that encourages business owners and citizens to fight back against the perilous economic times we are facing.

Our business had closed three months before, and I really needed a job. The billing specialist position at RUI came as a complete surprise. I knew their reputation and jumped in with both feet. Still, I was nervous. Could I do it? Was I strong enough?

The billboard is still there, and I ask myself the same question every morning.

What will I do?

***

Notable Quote:

"To go back is nothing but death; to go forward is fear of death, and life everlasting beyond it. I will yet go forward."--John Bunyan

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Shepherd

The Shepherd by the uber-talented Danice Sweet
The Shepherd was meant to be a gift for my 50th birthday, but it ended up being so much more.

I found the painting while visiting a friend in our new local hospital. They have a small gallery of local artists' work. When I rounded a corner and saw it for the first time, I was mesmerized. A small flock of sheep were led down a tree-lined path by their shepherd, while a sneaky fox peeked out from behind a nearby tree.

Never leaving my memory for long, I contemplated the painting and its meaning. I even dreamt of walking down that tree-lined pathway. The price was very dear, so I knew it was not meant for me to own this beautiful work of art.

When February 2012 came, I had my usual well-woman exam and mammogram. However, the breast exam showed abnormalities, so I had to have a follow-up needle biopsy. Being diagnosed with breast cancer on my 50th birthday was a bit of a cruel joke. Honestly, I can't remember much about the rest of that day. There was definitely no party.

Soon there were many doctor's appointments and tests and surgeries to set up. One day, while driving home from an appointment in Wichita, the Hubster and I discussed how I really didn't have a birthday and that there was no present from him. He said, "I wanted to give you that painting you love."

It had been months since I had seen the painting at the hospital, so I felt sure it was already sold. The Hubster suggested we stop by on the drive home and check it out. It was still there, and within minutes, it was on the way home with us.

We hung the painting on the wall next to our bed. Every time I got in or out of the covers, The Shepherd was there to greet me. When the steroids didn't allow me to sleep, I lay and looked at this scene, praying that God my Shepherd give me grace and mercy to get through this season of healing.

Over the next 14 months, I went through multiple grueling medical tests, three major surgeries, six rounds of chemo, 35 doses of radiation and countless flights from Wichita to Chicago. 

I treasure the presence of The Shepherd in my home and all the symbolism it holds. What a privilege to daily view a representation of how much God loves and protects His children.

***

Notable Quote:

 Psalm 23:1-6 (KJV) The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Withered Tree

Habakkuk 3:17-18 (KJV) Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Problems were pretty basic when I was younger, and even when I was a young parent. Something would come up, I prayed about it, and God solved the problem. Simple, right?

But God isn't a genie, and everything can't be resolved in a flash. Sometimes, God doesn't change the circumstances. Instead, He changes our perspective.

How we handle what has been handed to us is the true test of our faith. Is it an active, vibrant thing, or superficial and lifeless?

I can't control what happens in my life, but I can control how I react. A positive outlook and faithful determination will keep me moving forward in my walk with Christ.

***

Notable Quote:

In a rapidly ascending balloon were two men.
One watched the earth getting farther and farther away.
One watched the stars getting nearer and nearer.
~George Jean Nathan, "Viewpoint," A Book Without a Title, 1918

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Uncomfortable Word

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (KJV) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

I've had a lot of mammograms. Some women say they are uncomfortable--even painful. A few moments of mild discomfort. When I get the results and know that I am truly clear and clean of any disease, it's so worth it.

Sitting in the pew on Sunday morning, we tend to squirm in our seats when the preacher says something that pricks our conscience. We believe we keep our sins secret; no one can see what we do. But when the Word uncovers our shame, our pride is wounded and tender. Strong medicine is the only thing that kills what ails you--sin.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.


The Bible is meant to reprove and rebuke sinners, and to tell the truth; no matter the pain. It is a mirror. The Word should be an encouragement to our souls, but it must also shine a light on the dark places where we hide our pet transgressions.

As Christ Followers, we must be willing to do the hard work of cleaning every dark and dirty corner of our lives--with His Word as the cleanser.

***

Notable Quote:

"The Bible is God's chart for you to steer by, to keep you from the bottom of the sea, and to show you where the harbor is, and how to reach it without running on rocks or bars."--Henry Ward Beecher

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Inconvenient Jesus



It is inconvenient to get up before 10 a.m. every Sunday morning, shower, dress and leave the house. How easy it would be to sleep in, read the paper and eat brunch.

How many times do we rise early on a Sunday, pack up the family, and head for the lake for a day of fishing, boating and swimming? We soothe our spirits by saying we can worship God wherever we are and being outdoors in His creation is worship enough? God’s Word says otherwise, by the way.

In times past, Christians were burned at the stake or fed to the lions for sharing their faith; and yet they were obedient to the Gospel and spoke out. Modern-day followers are concerned with being culturally insensitive. Let’s face it—it is scary to witness Jesus. We risk losing credibility and acceptance.

The Gospel of Christ is inconvenient. Talking about Jesus “gets in the way” of normal conversation, we say. We don’t want to offend anyone, we say. Yet we use His name in vain and tell offensive jokes, without caution.

Colossians 4:5-6 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
It is best to follow Christ’s example; be soft-spoken, open-hearted and a good listener when witnessing to unbelievers. If they can sense our genuine love, it could move them closer to Jesus, rather than pounding them over the head with a Bible.

We represent Jesus in this world and the best way to share His Gospel with others is by telling them what He has done for us. Did He change your life? Why keep it to yourself?

***

Female in Motion Health Update: Our household has been playing tag-team health crisis lately. My medical tests came back normal, although I am having some minor premature ventricular contractions, due to stress. I was advised to increase my exercise and decrease caffeine. The Hubster has been suffering from an upper-respiratory infection that suddenly worsened over the weekend. We took him to the ER, where he received IV fluids, breathing treatments, blood work and chest x-rays. Praise God, he does not have pneumonia again. He will have to take another week off work and rest. We covet your prayers.

***

Notable Quote:

"Let's be honest--the gospel of Christ is offensive. It tells the most religious that even on their best days, they're just whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bones. It calls both the morally corrupt and seemingly morally elite to a place of humility and dependence on God."--Jeff Goins