Tuesday Tidbit: Throw with ALL Your Might

Got anything you are worried about?

Prepare and gather your strength.

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With all you have, resist the temptation to keep it close.

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Once in motion, do not stop!   Throw with all your might …..

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“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”  1 Peter 5:7.

Just a visual tidbit today.

Do you have anything that is weighing heavy on your heart?

I do.

God, the maker of heaven and earth…the One who made you….desires that we cast ALL our worries, concerns, anxieties ONTO Him.  So, let’s say we do it!  Today.  Purpose your self to throw off and cast onto Jesus, all that weighs heavy on your heart. 

47 Things on Thursdays: The Proverbial Fence

I dread big family gatherings.  I have nothing against family gatherings; the food and activity is always enjoyable.  What I dread is the clean up afterward. How I long for someone to volunteer to do the dishes and commit to completing the entire clean up job.  Someone who will do what he says and perhaps even do more.  What a delight that would be!

V O L U N T E E R  &  C O M M I T M E N T

are two words that many stumble over; The idea of each seems to propel people into a frozen stance upon the proverbial fence. Should I, or shouldn’t I,..…that is always the question… isn’t it?

When is the last time YOU volunteered to do something…

        AND committed to it fully?

                         Have you ever stood before the LORD and said,

                                      “I volunteer.  I will do whatever you want.  Use me, LORD.” 

The moment came when I could not do anything BUT surrender to the LORD in my deepest pain and I said between sobs, “I am yours LORD, use me, even in my broken-ness, use me.”  Then and there, in the stillness of the night, I volunteered and committed.  God heard and He was true to His nature. 003 He does what He says He’ll do and more. All throughout Scripture there are stories that exhibit the character of our God always doing what He promised and doing even more.  I experienced the LORD just like this as He carried me through my trial with cancer and beyond.

Even before one of my days came to be, the LORD knew I would suffer with the disease called cancer.  I prayed for healing and I volunteered to be used by Him despite my weak and sick state so that I might glorify Him.  I called upon the LORD for healing — and He gave it.

Psalm 50 : 15 says: “…call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”

And….in the healing, He used me to honor Him.

He was true to His Word. He strengthened my trust and faith in Him and thereby used me to encourage others in their daily walk with Him, despite my weakness. He delivered me from the grip of cancer and He used me to glorify Him.  Done. Finis.  Right?

No.

God did not stop there.

The LORD continued because

HE DOES WHAT HE SAYS HE’LL DO AND MORE.

God put in me a desire to write. Effortlessly the words came; The Holy Spirit flowed through me.  God opened every door for the publishing of my book, Towdah, A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope.  ( http://www.amazon.com/Towdah-Cancer-Survivors-Song-Hope/dp/1938092155/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366855928&sr=1-1&keywords=towdah)         He equipped me and prepared me.  And when I went looking for rest, He opened the door for me to speak at a women’s conference.  In my sharing, I was blessed and refreshed.

The LORD healed me;

He did what He said He’d do.

He made me an author and a speaker.

I just asked for healing and to be used by Him.

He did even more.

In as much as I am always hoping for a volunteer to commit to washing dishes after a large family gathering, God is always hoping for His children to get off the proverbial fence and commit to saying,

Here I am!  Use me!  I volunteer!  

Will you?

Will you consider hopping off the proverbial fence ?

The LORD will delight in the commitment

and He will use you in ways you cannot even imagine.  

He does what He says He’ll do…and more!

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Tuesday Tidbit: I Did This on Purpose.

Where is the head of your bed?

Most people have the head of their beds against a wall.  I do not.  The head of my bed is in the middle of the room; it sits somewhat like an island.  As I lay upon my bed, I have direct viewing out a double set of windows which face east.  The morning sunshine pours in through the glass and tickles my face with a very pleasant, “good morning!”

Slowly I open my eyes and a contented smile comes over my face and I cannot resist the moment of thanking God for my cozy bed, the warm sun, and the new day.

 I did this on purpose.  I chucked all conventional rules of room arranging and specifically positioned my bed in this particular way so that I could always greet each day with a view out the windows at the tree tops and the sky.  Day or night, it is pleasing.  And, I feel peace.

The tidbit is this: We have to purpose ourselves and specifically arrange ourselves to turn toward the Lord Jesus Christ, author and perfecter of our faith.  Day or night, He is pleasing.  He is our Peace.

As the familiar old chorus calls us: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

…listen to this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO4uIyz_d90

Can you agree these are troubled times we live in?  And, there are troubled times sure to continue to come.  All the more reason to chuck conventional plodding along in this life, and TURN to face the Son….and be delighted as He shines into your every new day! 

47 Things on Thursday: Strong and Gallant

The weight of the ball was more than I expected. I lifted it up as I eyed my target.  A few swift steps and I released the heavy sphere and it rolled quite aggressively down the lane! Bowling was such a gamble.  How much was really skill and how much was pure luck, I never really knew.  The ball explosively crashed into the rows of pins —  a spare: One pin STANDING!  UG.  I knew my next roll was a shot in the dark.  All my adrenaline halted within me as I stood gazing at the defiance of the solo pin proudly standing.  Alone. Strong. Gallant.

Isn’t this a great picture of God?  He is often the lone, strong, and gallant ONE standing when all else has fallen.  I experienced God this way as I endured my darkest moments of my Christian walk.  Many things have fallen in my life.  Jobs, homes, a baby, health — all these have been lost in devastating ways.  And yet….GOD

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GOD STANDS.  Simply. He never falls.

He says in the Scriptures,

“I am He; I am the first, and I am the last” (Isaiah 48:12).

and

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).

During Cancer treatments, as I lay in excruciating pain feeling like death was at my door, I knew that the LORD, and only the LORD was all I had left.  I knew HE was the only ONE left standing in my life.  Strong and Gallant is HE.

The LORD Himself tells us He is and was and always will be who He is.  the ALMIGHTY.  Yes.  Strong and Gallant.  The LORD stands!  He is ready to lift you, carry you, sustain you, and love you til the end.

Friends,  when all else is fallen around you — believe and trust that the LORD still

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Praise His Holy Name!

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See you next Tuesday!

Tuesday Tidbit: Fighting the Fight

So much has been said in regard to the Boston tragedy…I offer this tidbit :

“…There will be terrible times in the last days….brutal…treacherous…” (2 Timothy 3:1 – 4 excerpts)

The bombings were definitely brutal and treacherous — unfathomable, surreal, and beyond-words-hurtful.

“You, however, know all about my teaching….continue in what you have learned….the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  (2 Timothy 3: 10 – 16 excerpts)

Yet, we who know the LORD, must continue in what we know.  God and His Word has been and is always equipping us for such times as this.  We must share the love and the hope we have in Christ with those in need of comfort and healing.

” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  (2 Timothy 4:7)

As we reach out to those who were personally effected by yesterday’s tragedy we are

FIGHTING the FIGHT against evil.

As we use our resources and our spiritual connections to pray, we are

FIGHTING the FIGHT against evil.

Keep running the race and keep having faith in the all knowing and all powerful God to comfort and heal and carry out His good plan for each of us,  and all of us.

We do not always understand the events of this life — but we can always trust GOD to sustain us through whatever befalls us, and our loved ones, and our nation.

Enjoy and meditate on this beautiful song that my good friend dedicated for our uplifting and encouragement in these hard times. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQjLAQJsqK0&feature=share

47 Things on Thursday: Sick-Sense Squashed!

When was the last time the word W O N D E R F U L crossed your lips and broke the silent pause as you exhaled with pure contentment?

Sadly, I have to admit, the word wonderful does not cross my lips often enough. Instead I often use the idea of the word, wonder, to think.  I am chronically afflicted with a critical eye and a somewhat sick-sense (yes, sick — not sixth) of constantly trying to devise better ways to do things; I wonder why this…or why that…  Are you at all getting my drift?  Are you of the same sick-sense?

I never quite saw anything wrong with this outlook and behavior in regard to wonder, except for the fact it interrupted my ability to be content.  I struggled to be in-the-moment to enjoy what God placed before me in life.  I didn’t seem to be able to wonder for the sake of wonderment…to the point of seeing and experiencing something as wonderful.

That is…until I began to look over the things I knew and experienced about God during my fight with cancer.  I was surprised at the many ways God brought beauty into my journey: unexpectedly and often inexplicably.

God is purely

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The script and plain background of this section of my painting really does not do the meaning of this declaration justice!

Yet simply: God and His W O N D E R F U L – N E SS totally supersedes any possible thought on my part to wonder why or how to do it better….whatever IT is that God does.  God’s wonderful cannot be touched.  My sick-sense is squashed.

Scripture declares:

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

His strength, mercy, power, and ever present state exudes wonderful-ness.

I do believe it is why it was a natural flow out of my mouth, said with serene contentment, and a hint of a sigh, as I listed off the 47 things I knew about God.  All that He is…past, present, and future.

Yes.  God is simply and profoundly W O N D E R F U L.

Why is it so hard for us to be still?  With nearly half a century of living completed, I  am still learning how to be still before God.  I am learning that in the stillness, I find contentment.  I find the ability to wonder and delight in the moment of W O N D E R F U L that He so lovingly surrounds me with…Himself.  God is purely wonderful!

Be still my friend.  And know – not only is He God.  But He is

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Wouldya Look at it Wednesday? Guest Blogger: Julie Marx

The Love Cliché – Busted!

Have you ever viewed clichés as a weapon?  Think of a truthful saying that starts out full of power. If it’s over-spoken and over-taught, our minds and eyes will soon gloss over it.

“Yeah, yeah. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.”

The passage I’m thinking of gets recited at weddings. Clergymen of all denominations teach on it.  Many of us could recite it and give it minimal thought. No passion.  Yet this passage was intended — IS intended — to empower us to change the world.

Did you catch that?

I’ll say it one more time…

EMPOWERED TO CHANGE THE WORLD

(Why do I think you’re not listening?)

If you feel you lack power and influence within your sphere of influence…

Then pray aloud:

“Lord God, give me a fresh revelation of Your character.”

Now reconsider I Corinthians 13 (amp) without glossing over it.

If God IS love, then . . .

GOD is PATIENT and kind

GOD is NEVER ENVIOUS

GOD is NOT BOASTFUL or vainglorious. (He’s confident in who He is.)

If God IS love . . .

GOD is NOT ARROGANT

GOD is NOT RUDE and does not act unbecomingly.

GOD does NOT INSIST on His own rights or His own way. He doesn’t have to…

He just is the way, the truth and the life.

No room for argument.

No amount of human insistence can change absolute Truth.

We were not designed for existential thinking

If God IS love, then . . .

GOD is NOT SELF-SEEKING (He sacrificed His worthy life for an unworthy creation)

GOD is NOT FRETFUL or RESENTFUL

GOD KEEPS NO ACCOUNT of the evil done to Him [“Father, forgive them…”)

GOD does NOT REJOICE at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. (He’s the entire, fanatic cheering squad on your side)

Love:

God bears up under anything and everything that comes His way;

He is always ready to believe the best of every person,

His hope is fadeless under all circumstances,

He endures everything without weakening.

He is our perfect strength;

He has no weakness

He never fails

Never fades out

Never becomes obsolete

Never comes to an end.

Love never fails because

God is Love

AFTER I read that passage, the Holy Spirit had me state the opposite of each verse (the implied lack of love), and then search my heart with a magnifying glass:

The opposites:

v.4 I’m easily rubbed the wrong way, easily irritated and impatient.

I’m envious of friends/co-workers who get promoted or sign a big contract. I’m not confident in who I am or in my purpose.

v.5 People tell me I display a superior or exaggerated opinion of my importance. I roll my eyes inside at annoying people and push to the front of the line. I cut other drivers off so I can reach the light first.

When I don’t get my way, I sulk.

I get frustrated when things are not done my way. My way is best and I’ll manipulate others to make it happen.

I feel insecure

I keep score with people, even those I love. I struggle giving unconditional acceptance

v.6 I laugh when an opponent or co-worker falls from grace.

Did any part of the above prick your heart?

“I want to be empowered by Love. But how?”

I Corinthians 13 Love lives in me; The Holy Spirit, whom He as poured out in me lives through me.

Because He lives in me, I can and MUST love in this way.

Mini prayers:

“You live in me, and You’re on my side. Make me confident.”

“I am but human. Take away my arrogance.”

“You have provided everything and promise to complete in me the work You started. Help me to seek the interest of others instead of be self-seeking.”

“You forgave an entire community, race, and world of its combined wretchedness. Help me forgive________” (Create a list: the driver who cut me off; my spouse for cheating on me; the man who shot my son; the doctor who mistakenly misdiagnosed and killed my…) Be transparent with Love.

“Instead of rehashing societal evil, help me rejoice when truth prevails. Whatever is pure, lovely, right…I’ll think on such things.”

And so

Faith, Hope, & Love abide

Faith — conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things;

Hope — joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation;

Love — true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us,

But the GREATEST of these IS LOVE!

The way of the Embattled Spirit

Marx head

A speculative suspense author, J.A. Marx writes from Texas where she lives with her husband. They have two grown children and a grandchild on the way. Her debut novel, Destiny Defied, the first book in The Destiny Series, will release April 17th. Available online at Amazon.com and other channels.
Visit J.A. at http://jamarx.net/

Julie Marx and I met by way of our mutual publisher,Tracy Ruckman, owner of Write Integrity Press and PixNPens.  http://writeintegrity.blogspot.com/  and  http://pixnpenspub.blogspot.com/

Tuesday Tidbit: What Do You Say?

Whose life is this anyway?

Most would indignantly say, “My own, of course!”  What do you say?

Yet, I find that, as a follower of the LORD, I can only live rightly by living my life for HIM. So, in essence, my life is His.  The plans I make are mine; yet it is the LORD who enables the plans to unfold.  Sometimes He let’s me have my way – but sometimes He has a better plan and so he interrupts my plans with His gentle hand by way of interruptions & disruptions.  I am learning to be content IF these occur and try to see the hand of God in them.

Protection. Pause. Unexpected Delights. Lessons.

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These are all things that come when I willingly submit to the days unfolding with eyes choosing to see that this is God’s best for me today.

Proverbs 3: 5 – 6  

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

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Join me tomorrow for a new style post:  “Would ya Look at it Wednesday!”  I will be hosting a guest blogger!

47 Things on Thursdays: A Brilliant Masterpiece

Flutterbys and Sinderwills.

These were two compound words that my six year old brain mixed up.  My utterances made my mother smile.  The kind of mother-smile that came across her face when she was “in-the-moment” totally enjoying her child. She knew what I meant. Butterflies and Windowsills, of course!

Compound words.  Two words, when put together, form a new thing or idea. Brilliant!

I experienced two Truths during my fight with cancer, that when put together, creates one brilliant masterpiece. 

Truth # 1: GOD…

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GOD gave His Son for me.  Gave? Yes, He gave His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross – freely given… for me.

Truth # 2: He…

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He (GOD) has a PLAN.  I write that in CAPS because it is properly HIS grand PLAN.  His PLAN is that all people will come to Him and receive His gift – His Son – whom He gave.

During my battle with cancer, I wrestled with the depth and meaning of these Truths.

“I am a sinner.  I am saved; I had accepted God’s free gift of salvation.  Wasn’t that enough?  Is it enough?  I had to decide” (p. 15 Towdah: A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope).

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  Yes, He gave His Son for me!  I finally decided that Salvation was enough.  Whether I lived or whether I died during the battle of cancer, Salvation was enough because I had Jesus.  I had Salvation.  What more could God do for me?

Later, on p. 113 of Towdah: “I exclaimed with some disdain, Really Lord! This day was ordained for me?  This pain-filled day was appointed for me?  With exasperation and tears, I cried,Why?”     Believe it or not, even in my pain, I resolved  to offer thanksgiving: “Thank you for thinking of me and planning what is best for me” (p. 114).  In my thanksgiving, I was being changed and brought into a deeper understanding and acceptance of God’s PLAN of Salvation. 

God has a Plan for me.  He has a Plan for you. The execution is known only to Him.  Yet, we know that His PLANS for us are good.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”  Jeremiah 29:11. 

The giving of His Son + the PLAN He has for each of us together creates the brilliant masterpiece called Salvation. These two Truths about God sustained me as I endured the battle of cancer.  

Have you secured these Truths for  yourself?

Flutterbys and Sinderwills made my mother smile.  I suppose then, that claiming Valsation just might make the Father smile. If I had know the word Salvation when I was six, I just may have called it “Valsation!”   Wrestle if you need to.  I guarantee though, that you will find Salvation IS enough and His PLAN is brilliant.  A brilliant masterpiece!

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CHECK OUT my book here: Towdah: A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope http://www.amazon.com/Towdah-Cancer-Survivors-Song-Hope/dp/1938092155/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1365075457&sr=1-1&keywords=towdah

Tuesday Tidbit: Once upon a bunch of lettuce….

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Fully grown. Green. Ripe. Full of lively enzymes and ready for the eating.  It is cut.

Chopped off it’s root.

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Cut down but….002NOT destroyed.  Placed in some water….it begins to grow….and grow….

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4 days later…still growing……

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about ten days later…..grown enough to be chopped down and eaten again.

I was amazed.  And yet, not totally surprised.  Mostly, I was lamenting over all the stumps of lettuce I had thrown out over the years(!).  What a cool picture of us…

We are often cut down, cut off, chopped…..yet, we are not destroyed either.  When we place our wounded, cut down self in the Living waters: the care of the Holy Spirit and the living WORD….we grow.  We are restored to life again….we grow and grow and grow…and eventually, we are ready for use again.  We are restored and able to be used by God; healthy and stronger.  Like the new baby leaves of the lettuce stump, we are sweeter, and tender, and made new.

Are you feeling like a cut down stump of lettuce – often readily thrown to the garbage heap?  Plunk yourself in the Living Word and drink-in it’s life…and don’t be surprised when you begin to grow.  It is God’s delight to grow you!

Psalm 1: 3; John 4:14