For my followers who don't sign up as followers - and to the ones who did - I'm sorry I haven't kept up with this - life intervened. If you have been reading 3 chapters a day, you are caught up. If not, dive right in with this week's readings:
2/20 Num 21-22
21 Num 23-25
22 Num 26-27
23 Num28 -30
24 Num 31-32
25 Num 33-34
26 Num 35-36
27 Deut 1-2
I've been reading books about God, about our relationships with Him, and have been getting shaken up a bit, which is great! I love it when God won't let me stagnate, even tho I'm not out and about. I have been praying to know Him better, really know Him, deep down to my toes. This has resulted in my getting pricked by the goads I kick against (Acts) Here's a snatch of sound bites from my readings:
A quote from Henry Hendricks, a great teacher of the Word who just died " Everyone wants to be called a humble servant until they get treated like one."
Don't Call It a Comeback by Kevin De Young:
"People need to see that God is an all-consuming reality in our lives."
5 rules for sharing (in continuing relationship, especially with youth)
"Grab them with passion.
Win them with love.
Hold them with holiness
Challenge them with truth
Amaze them with God"
"Give them a God Who is holy, independent, and, unlike us, a God Who is good, just, full of wrath, and full of mercy. Give them a God Who is sovereign, powerful, tender and true. Give them a God with edges. Give them a God Who makes them feel cherished and safe, and small and uncomfortable, too. Give them a God Who works all things after the counsel of His will and for the glory of His name. Give them a God Whose love is lavish and free. Give them a God worthy of wonder and fear, a God big enough for all our faith, hope, and love."
The premise is knowing the Word enough to be able to communicate these things. To get beyond "Jesus died on the cross for us" and be able to tell others what your faith means to you, truly means to you. Why is it real? Why is it better than new age, or "spirituality", or other stuff ad infinitum. How has it changed your life? What is the challenge, once you're "saved and safe." Why is He worth following, serving, seeking?
The day Jesus came into my life I felt like I'd been shot out of a cannon! Everything changed - black and white became color. Joy flooded my life.
I'd always been God conscious. From my earliest memories I prayed and talked to God. I almost bled to death once, and I remember lying there with an IV in one arm and blood going in the other, having blood drip off the gurney with every movement and, with the calm clarity that often accompanies deep shock, looking at my life and knowing that it didn't measure up. I remember saying to God," I can't do anything to make myself acceptable to you right now, so I just give you myself and hope that's enough." I trusted Him to do what He had to do. And I think that was the night He claimed me.
Fast forward to the day the Holy Spirit set me on fire : I had no clue that you were supposed to invite Jesus into your life. I just knew that "old things passed away, all things had become new" - without knowing that was Scripture. Some friends had decided they wanted to learn basic guitar and had called me to see if they could come over - they had never had that desire before that night, never had it after. Another friend had sent a tape sharing his new found faith in Jesus. I thought he had gone over the edge! To my surprise, I found out the couple who had come over had become Christians, too - but they insisted they hadn't become fanatics, like my friend had. I said I was a Christian too, but this guy was a wacko! And then I played the tape for them.
It seems the moment I said,"I'm a Christian" He zapped me with the Holy Spirit - because as I played the fanatic's tape, every word made perfect sense!! Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, and tho I tried, I couldn't find anything on the tape that was "weird!" Nothing!
When they left, without having anyone tell me I needed to do it, I got down on my knees and gave Him my life.
By His grace, I have never looked back.
He has kept me whole through the deaths of 5 of the 7, including me, members of my family. He has upheld me throughout the 20+ years that have passed since 10/22/88 when I got sick. I have an illness that had just begun to be noticed - still not accepted as "real" to a large portion of MDs - and God sent my doc to a continuing ed class the night before I saw him with the topic of - of course - my illness. So when he saw me the next day, he knew immediately what was up and sent me to the right doc. I have acquaintances who are still not "officially" diagnosed - some of them after 10+ years of searching. When I could no longer work, I applied for disability - and I know a lot of folks with this disease that have been trying for 20 years to get accepted. It's hard. My doc even told me he thought he had ruined my chances - the disability doc said he thought I'd OD'd on tylenol (which I rarely took) and my doc went ballistic - he told the guy he knew I had it, that I fit the profile perfectly, and tylenol had nothing to do with it. He not only said it, he yelled it.
And the next day I was notified that my claim had been accepted.
Over and over, Red Seas parted before me - from approved claims to parking places by the door - and I myself still wasn't convinced I had it! I kept thinking if I tried harder to do stuff, if I wasn't so lazy, if only...
It's hard to lose a profession that you love (Nursing). I'd grown up watching my beloved Grandmother as she nursed and cared for people, and I was enthralled - medicine was my fave thing from an early age. And my chosen specialty of obstetrics was ground-breaking! I had the privilege of working in the hospital where the first fetal monitor was developed - and no one knew what the patterns meant. Every movement of the mom, every related incident was carefully noted, and gradually the patterns became recognizable.
The first fetal monitors, in the days before transistorized components, were 5 feet tall, and when they were wheeled in it was like a robot approached! The first fetal scalp monitors were heavy metal - conspicuous care had to be taken when applying them, unlike the safe hairlike leads of today.
New syndromes were being documented - HELLP syndrome, a variant of pre-eclampsia, was being recognized, and physician reluctance to accept it was my first introduction to what I would face with my illness. The physiology of pregnancy is so amazingly precise, the changes in body functions, in fetal reactions, the whole specialty was alive with fascinating developments, not the least of which entailed the treatment of perinatal death (from conception to newborn). I loved every second - and suddenly I found there were days when I couldn't recognize some symptom sets. But the same thing wasn't missing two days in a row. I'd never had a headache in my life - and suddenly they were occurring daily, overpowering me, and yet every test came back negative. It was when I realized I was no longer safe on the unit that I gave in, and gave up my work.
The paradigm shift from AB to CI was difficult. And yet God in His wisdom had exposed me to severe pain from the age of 9 - severe bleeding episodes, several surgeries, and almost bleeding to death continued until my hysterectomy at age 30 - and even then there were complications. Looking back I can see His hand preparing me - having to back out of social plans, needing to go to the hospital when the pain became unbearable, losing friends, being on a date and being attacked by pain and having to go home cost me many a boyfriend - especially on first dates! Guys had no clue.
But nothing prepares you for disability. One by one, friends disappeared. After having to cancel plans repeatedly, no one wanted to chance it. Phone calls stopped. It's hard to watch friends and family getting to go on trips and hikes and excursions, going to concerts and theaters and movies while you sit at home. Things that ABs don't think twice about were impossible feats of physical endurance for me - like walking any distance or sitting in a darkened theater with a bright white screen flashing before you.
"But God..." That phrase appears many many times in the Word of God. And it always means God intervenes and conquers. And so it is in my life. God intervenes. Things that could not be borne are suddenly livable. I can truthfully say that I never felt abandoned. He was always there, always - teaching me what it means to trust Him, to truly give Him the reins of my life. And tho I failed time and time again to live out His love, each time He picked me up and dusted me off and put my feet back on the Way. He never condemned my spoiled brat attitude. He patiently changed me bit by bit - tho the spoiled brat persona continually raises it's self-centered head. It's a great temptation to see only your side when you're in the grips of an illness - even to expect someone else to understand. They don't . Until God presents you with something you can't escape, that changes the way you live from that moment on, it's impossible to comprehend what a CI can do to you.
Having said that, I can also truthfully say, that I wouldn't change it if I could. When He is in the CI, everything changes. I began to know Hm in a way that I never would have glimpsed, had it not been for my illness. A legion of others say the same thing. While we hate the limitations imposed upon us, we thrill to the closeness of an unfathomable Being, Who loves without condition or limitation, Who knows better than I ever will what severe pain feels like, Who models endurance and trust and enables you to conquer things you never in a million years thought you could.
He is Awesome - and reveals Himself to me in a thousand, intimate, ways that truly makes me "feel cherished and safe, but small and uncomfortable, too." It's an exciting life when the King of the Universe is your BFF!
It is my prayer that anyone who stumbles on this blog would yearn to have Him as your BFF, too.