I Still Believe

Yesterday things began churning within me. This is good. I had a spiritual dry spell for several days and that always makes me restless and dissatisfied but it also causes me to cry out to God for something. To cry out to Him for whatever it is He wants to speak to me or show me. I’ll be honest, there are times when I just don’t feel up to hearing what He may say (which is partly the cause of dry spells).

Sometimes it’s exciting and feels good to my soul. Other times it’s a humbling, arrow to the heart. Of course, His heart pricks always, ALWAYS, result in a beautiful end. I say end, but there is never an end with God. There is only eternity.

I sat in the pew at church Sunday and had a flashback to a fall day in 2009. My husband and I were driving Andrew to Shands Hospital in Gainesville. I clearly saw the scene replayed. I sat in the front passenger seat as my husband drove us. Andrew sat in the seat behind his dad so I could see him easily and assist him should he get sick on the drive. (If you have not been a reader of my blog, you may not know my twelve year old son, Andrew was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer in August 2009. He went on to Heaven that December.) I saw my Bible open to Psalm 97 and I was reading a passage aloud. I was calling upon all the courage and strength I had. I read and I encouraged Dannie and Andrew to believe that not only COULD God do a miracle to heal Andrew, but that He WOULD do it.

In the pew, I sat and remembered and saw it all again…and then God spoke to my heart. He showed me that for some of us who have had the faith to believe He would intervene, yet did not see it manifest here, our faith will still be rewarded in Heaven. In fact, our faith acts and words are recorded in Heaven. And one day, there will be a reward for that faith. For some their highest reward is the answered prayer here on earth and that is cause for great joy in the here and now. But for others their prayers were not answered in the way they hoped. Their faith was not made “unto sight” in the here and now, yet for eternity their joy shall be unquenchable and their hearts will display the faith they exhibited in God’s power to respond even though it was not seen in this time.

Tears filled my eyes as I saw this yesterday. I’m still weepy over it. Last night I took my art journal and created these two pages as an expression of that spiritual vision.

I Still Believe

There is a future blessing that will last for all of eternity for those who believe and have not seen…yet…

Are you believing for something? Keep the faith. It’s recorded and rewarded in Heaven, my dear friend.

 

Heaven & Andrew

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A Situation & My Last Good Nerve

 

So…IorangeOntree.jpg have this situation. It looms on the horizon. Every time the thought of it worms its way into my consciousness, I  heave a big sigh and try to muscle it to Back off, Jack!

For the most part, this strong-arm tactic works. But  last night I had this crazy dream. A nightmare, really. And I knew it was my anxiety over “the situation” trying to prove to me who’s boss and who can intrude whenever it very well pleases by showing up unannounced and unwelcome in my dreams.

When I told my husband about the very, scary dream, I recounted it as though it were a horror film! He even recoiled in terror. I may have over dramatized it. Slightly. He sighed heavily and grimaced. Then I sighed heavily (again) and grimaced, too (again).

I almost requested prayer on Facebook! But I’d have to be so vague. And people might worry. And make comments that don’t really apply to “the situation.” And then I might feel bad. And guilty. There’s always the guilt.

So I resisted the urge to raise a virtual hand on Facebook and ask all my friends, acquaintances and friends of friends to whisper a little prayer on my behalf – or a big, giant-sized prayer if they felt so led.

This morning I prayed and asked God to, “Please help me remember that because I belong to You, I have the Fruit of the Spirit.”

Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – these are the virtues characterized in the Bible as fruit.  The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the churches in the province of Galatia (a north-central region of Asia Minor) to teach them—and us—that we do not have to be led around by the nose by vices such as envy, anger, jealousy and selfishness. Those are just the PG ones!  You should read the rest! Paul calls them “works of the flesh.”

Eugene Peterson, in The Message, says these vices (the works of the flesh) lead to the kind of life that “develops out of trying to get your way all the time.”

In contrast, when we give our allegiance over to God to follow Jesus Christ, we are no longer prisoners to those kinds of dead, flesh attitudes and actions. Therefore, I can choose kindness and self-control. I can choose a good attitude over a bad one.  With each opportunity I have the option to make a positive choice. I can make a good choice even when my last good nerve snaps before I’ve even downed my first cup of coffee!

Sometimes it’s not a prayer request we need to make; sometimes it’s the discipline of a different response we need to take. (Tweet that.)

But we must be willing. Or at the very least, be willing to be willing. And honestly, sometimes a willingness to be willing is all I can muster.

I’ve learned this about the Fruit of the Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can produce love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That’s His job. But, my job? My job is to yield. To give way and allow the fruit to be produced in my life.

I’m willing. God, help me. I’m willing to make the good choices – though they’re often hard when you find yourself in a “situation.”

Because if, no matter what “the situation,” you and I can keep our fruit from spoiling—swat away the flies and keep away the worms —we win.

We win!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV). 

What about you? Are you facing a situation in which choosing the good is hard?

Will you pray with me?

Father,

Help us in our situations, our difficulties and our challenges. Help us to remember that we have the Holy Spirit within us to produce good fruit in our lives. Give us strength to make the good choice even when it’s hard.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

(Linking to Titus 2 Tuesdays)

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“Questions, Answers and God” Like the Grains of Sand

Read the first part of “Questions, Answers and God” here.

Sand You’re asking the wrong question.

Just two days earlier on this same stretch of sand along the Gulf of Mexico I had gone for a run. In an effort to quiet my mind and unburden my heart I talked to God as I ran. I rehearsed my current situation telling God what He already knew about my frustration and hurt feelings, my desire to do the right thing and my fear that this season would last longer than I could.

“How can we turn this around?” I’d asked.

His immediate and loving response, “I’ve been waiting for you to ask that” was not at all what I expected. I had hoped He would reveal a plan of action a la “Three Steps to Calm Your Storm” or “Five Stones to Slay Your Giant.”

I was waiting for a heavenly to do list from his hand to my head. Instead He began to reveal His character and His heart of unfailing love for me. I glimpsed His Creator knowledge of every fiber of my being known in the same way He knows each grain of sand on the beach I run.

God was waiting on me. Not impatiently but lovingly. He was in no rush for me to arrive at the place of humility. Up until then I had tried to do the right thing in this new thing in the strength of my own willpower and sense of fairness. But my own strength was no match for the current I was trying to swim against. And fairness in this broken world? That concept only exists in the minds of naive children.

That day a different perspective was to be slowly revealed like the waves of the Gulf waters rolling in gently on a still day.

So how did I ask the “right” question, the fitting question to then only get it wrong a couple of days later?

I think the answer is found in my default nature which wants to figure things out and fix what’s wrong. Set a goal and have a plan.

In other words my flesh response is found in doing while in this season God is teaching me the Spirit Life fulfillment in being.

Sometimes the hardest lessons to learn – the ones that go against our nature, our natural self – are the ones that take us the most time to learn. The waves roll in and the waves roll out. God is in no hurry. He waits til we learn our lessons by heart.

(There’s more to come.)

Edited to add this link. Twenty-four hours or so after posting the story above, I came across this website quite by “accident”. You must see these amazing pictures of grains of sand greatly magnified. It gives deeper meaning to my statement, “I glimpsed His Creator knowledge of every fiber of my being known in the same way He knows each grain of sand on the beach I run.”

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Questions, Answers and God

Mel at Office  solitude

My “Office”

I have not been feeling very good about myself lately.

To explain why is tricky. Suffice to say something happened and I stepped in to help and now it’s resulted in a major change to which I’m not adjusting very well. I’m trying but the process of adjustment is just that – a process.

Thus I have been on a daily quest of escape which mostly drives me to my office – the one with the ocean view. I usually take my Bible, notes, and current writing project with me. I also get in a workout. I either run barefoot on the beach or I take my paddleboard – the ultimate escape. Thankfully the dress code allows for swim skirts and I don’t have to wait for Casual Friday to wear my flip-flops.

Paddle board sail boat pm

“Board” Meeting at the Office

 

 

 

 

A few days ago while I was on the water I asked God a question regarding my current season – a season that has perplexed me and resulted in a resigned sense of what the future holds. (I wish that feeling of “resignation” were not so.)

Storm rolling in

Storm rolling in

“What are we going to do?” I asked God.

I believe God speaks today. He speaks to the heart. He speaks or thinks His thoughts in us. His words may be many or few and they may come like flashes of light or enlightened images. He can say a lot in a little bit of time but His words are weighty and full of glory. Knowing the voice of God requires time and intimacy – relationship – with God. I have learned that if I am in a state of high stress, in the midst of too much noise or clutter (mental or environmental) it can prohibit me from hearing Him speak.

I asked God what are we going to do phrased in the way I often ask Him when I feel I need a course of action. He and I are working together in a spiritual Father-Daughter partnership of sorts and that’s often the way I talk to Him.

The revelation of my growth in grace is the way in which I look upon obedience. We have to rescue the word “obedience” from the mire. Obedience is only possible between equals; it is the relationship between father  and son, not between maser and servant. “I and my Father are one.” “Though he were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” The Son’s obedience was as Redeemer, because He was Son, not in order to be Son.

~ Oswald Chambers

My question exits my mind and God’s answer enters.

You’re asking the wrong question.

Tears slide from beneath my over-sized sunglasses.

Yes, God. I’m asking the wrong question.

 

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Your Grace Story

The following is an excerpt from the bible study I am writing, “Life in the Key of G ~ Grace & Glory.”

source ~ Robert Broughton

“For far too long a performance based mindset had its way with me. I had no clue how to set boundaries and was terrified that if I did, the fall-out would be more than I could control. For years I said, “Yes” to things I didn’t really want to do and the natural consequence was a heart of resentment. After all, my driving motivation was “impression management,” what John Ortberg describes in The Life You’ve Always Wanted as the need to manage the impression others have of you.

I cannot pinpoint a specific day or moment in time when finally I had enough – enough of myself! I was sick of me and I longed for freedom but I knew it meant a death was in order and no one else had the responsibility to crucify my flesh but me. Sounds quite dramatic, doesn’t it? The truth is there was a lot of drama and it was all playing out on the stage of my own heart.”

The above excerpt is a little peek into my “grace” story and I’d like to include some of yours, too. Would you share a personal example of how you have been empowered by the grace of God?

Have you:
*Been surprised by His grace?
*Seen how His grace has been sufficient for you?
*Gained strength in weakness from His grace?

If you’ve got a story to share, I’d love to hear it and hopefully (with your permission) include it in the bible study I’m writing. A one liner, a short paragraph or even more would be great! Don’t worry if you do not consider yourself a writer. I can proofread and edit as necessary. I just need your story. Anything I include would be tagged with your first name only and your state. Need more info before you share? Email me at mdorsey@tampabay.rr.com

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Well Watered

(Edited: You can listen to my radio interview “Surviving Cancer” on Encouragement Cafe by clicking HERE. You’ll hear how the Living Word of God has sustained my life.)

Isn’t that hydrangea lovely? You should have seen it yesterday. Too bad I didn’t take that picture. The heads of the blooms were hanging down and the “pink” was fading away. My husband bought this for me four days ago. It sat on the front porch in the plastic container and neither of us thought to water “her.” For two days she sat outside the front door taking in the heat from a Florida sun. Even still she was pretty in pink. For a while.

On the third day I stepped out to walk the dog and I saw her. I actually gasped!

Wilted. Forlorn. Dry.

The dog would  have to wait. I grabbed a plastic  tumbler, filled it and watered her. Later in the day I checked and saw no change.

I was afraid we had lost her.

Five thirty and my husband came home from work. I met him at the door and pointed out the obvious. He frowned.

“I know. I forgot to water. It doesn’t take long to dry out in this heat.”

Quickly I replied, “I added a large tumbler full of water this morning.”

“Oh, it  needs a lot more water than that.” He filled an empty gallon sized container and started pouring.

“When it’s full, it’ll drain out,” he added, just as a small puddle  of water escaped from the bottom of the plastic container.

This morning I stepped out the door, leash in hand, dog at foot. I had forgotten about our little casualty on the porch

“Good morning!” she seemed to greet me as the brilliance of her blooms caught my attention.

“Wow!” I exclaimed. And again, “Wow!” Truly, I was stunned at the change in her appearance.

After returning from the curb, I grabbed the camera and Hydrangea posed prettily in her pink frock highlighted by her dark green accessories.

As I snapped a few pictures, I reflected on the first few months after Andrew passed. I had no appetite, I lost weight and I was drowning in my clothes. My face was gaunt and I walked stooped over from the weight of grief. Physically I was undernourished and my physical condition mirrored my spiritual one. I found it hard to read my bible and pray. One afternoon I cried out to God and experienced a spiritual intervention. As a result, I made some physical and spiritual changes. Two of which were to run again and start a scripture memorization plan. Soon I regained my appetite for food and for His word.

Though not an overnight transformation like that of my pretty pink hydrangea, transformation has occurred nonetheless. Somehow…some SUPERnatural HOW, God’s word transforms us. But WE must take it in.

  • We must be people of the Word but we must also be people IN the Word.
  • When we neglect the watering of the Word, over time we become malnourished.
  • Our spiritual lives droop and lose color when our “soil” is dry.
  • We were made BY the Word, made FOR the Word and we are maintained IN the Word.

I’ll be sharing more on the “water of the Word” – perhaps in a short video.

Christ gave Himself for us that He might sanctify and cleanse us with the washing of water by the word.

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God With Us

Since I was just a little girl I’ve loved God. It was at a tender age I accepted Christ as my Savior, and still there are many things I do not know about God. A few years ago I had arrived at a place where I thought I had some real answers about God and His ways.

But when our son was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer and did not receive the miraculous intervention we had prayed for and expected, I realized I no longer had all the answers. I only had one answer ~ Jesus Christ.

I suspect that you, too, have questions about God.

  • Why do the innocent suffer?
  • Why do bad things happen to godly people?
  • Why am I alone?
  • Why does God intervene in some situations and not others?

What if you got the answer to what I call the big question? Would it be enough to satisfy you? I’m not sure the answer to why my beautiful son, Andrew, was not healed would change anything for me or my husband or Andrew’s big brother and big sister.

In preparing to speak one week before the 2nd anniversary of our son’s passing on December 15, 2009, the Holy Spirit inspired me with a passage from Matthew 1:23.

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated God with us.”

God with us. Just three little words but what great and eternal impact in three little words. God with us. You see, “God with us” assures us that God enters into life with us. He does life with us.

Despite the answers to the hard questions that we do not have, all we really need to know about God exists in the name Immanuel ~ God with us. The only question we really need answered is, “God, are You with us? God are You with me?”

I hope this short excerpt from my Christmas message will be a help to you.

 

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