Which came first? The Chicken or the egg?

Which came first? The Chicken or the egg?

A classic, arguable question that can be easily answered if one looks to the Word.  On the fifth day, God created “every winged bird according to its kind.” Genesis 1:21b. So, there you have it – he did not create all the eggs to hatch, but he created the winged bird first.

Who should reach out first when an offense has been made?

A tough question, but also easily answered if one looks to the Word.  Since the days following creation, God has been offended throughout history.  Yet, in love, He reached out with his Son, Jesus; John 3:16 explains – “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son…” – Why? So that all the offenders, of God the Father, could be forgiven and given the ability to go to heaven and have eternal life.  John 3:17 tells us what Jesus was NOT given for: with grace, “God did not send his Son into to the world to condemn the world, but to save the world.

God reached out first and that’s what we ought to do also…in love and in grace.

What kind of picture would humanity be in if God waited for the offenders (us) to reach out to him before he gave his only Son to die?  I know God would still be waiting, because we are naturally a stubborn people, and there would be no hope in this life. But no, and thank God, He did not wait.  HE LOVED US FIRST is what 1 John 4:19 tells us. Not because we deserved it, but because God is mercy.

“We love, because he first loved us.”

There you have it – We, who have been offended, must reach out first in love and in grace and offer continual love and mercy to the one who maybe doesn’t deserve it.

In this action, HOPE will prevail and relationships will be healed, as our broken humanity is healed through the blood & sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  May this New Year be a year of healing broken relationships:  between you and God, and between you and others, in love, grace, and mercy.

New Year Resolution: in HIS face!

 

CORAM  DEO

This is what I aim to stand on as far as a New Year resolution for 2018.

CORAM DEO = in the face of God; meaning ….. whatever I do,

  ….. whatever I say,

is in the face of God – done before Him in full view.

If I claim this one Latin phrase, all the change and goodness that I may desire for my life this coming New Year will then come forth.  If I consider every action & every word spoken is done with Jesus standing right before me, seeing and listening, cuz He is…omniscient and all… there is nowhere I can hide where He is not already there… then I hope that my choices of actions and words will be sifted out and carefully considered before I reveal them.

In essence – my goal is to please the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In this, I will hope to love as I have been loved, accept as I have been accepted, forgive as I have been forgiven, and get ready to be filled with the JOY & HOPE that will spring up!

Like Robin William’s once stood up proclaiming, Sieze the day!

 I stand up and say: CORAM DEO!

Will you join me?

I wish for each of you, a God Blessed New Year 2018 ahead!

 

 

WORD – Part 5: Expect Two Things

As I said, my WORD for 2017 is: LIFE.

Living my WORD, is not easy.  It’s a bit like being a mother.

As a mother, I know that I am loved by my husband and children, and I certainly do “being love” 24/7, even when it doesn’t appear that way. Once a baby comes out of a mother’s womb, there is little room for the “I”… and forgiveness is a constant flowing gift, both sought after, and offered,

because mothers deal with a lot of messes.

So, what of the “E” in LIFE?

“E” is for Expect.

Expect two things.

ONE: Expect to stumble. 

We will be unlovable.

We will not want to love others.

We will be selfish.

We will hold grudges.

Right? This is realistic because we are perfectly imperfect humans. WE WILL STUMBLE as we live LIFE out.

The Psalmist knew this well and encourages us:“…though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:24

so…TWO: Expect to be upheld.

Upheld conjures up a cradle image to me, cupped hands holding a soggy baby bird that fell from the safety of the nest due to the storm.

That is what the LORD does for us. And we can expect this loving care from him: to be held with gentleness.

This WORD: LIFE seems to have gone full circle…

You are loved.

Be love to others.

Get rid of the “I” and give dangerously.

Be forgiven and forgive others.

Expect, to stumble and expect to be upheld…and loved….round and round we go in this WORD: LIFE!

Love is the thread through it all.

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There is always a song of Hope to be sung!

Have you read my published song of HOPE?

Towdah, A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope is available on Amazon, just click on this title. Towdah, addresses key issues universally prominent in any kind of trial, even though this is a telling of my journey through cancer.

Happy New Year 2017

HOPE trumps ISIS

Two Days.

Two Names.

Hope trumps ISIS.

It is true that the horrors of this life induce all kinds of emotion: anger, fear, sadness, and defeat.  I believe many were sick to their stomach’s as they read the article on social media yesterday about children in Iraq being sold for “whatever” purposes the buyer desires; I know I felt sick.  ISIS is reveling in victory, so they say.

Yet I know that Victory with the capital “V” belongs to Someone else.

Two days have passed and two more Names of God were given to us at my church to study:

The Alpha & Omega and the Blessed and Only Ruler.

Alpha & Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet – a metaphorical symbol used in regard to God.  This means He is the first and the last – the One from the beginning and the One who will be at the end – He is complete and He completes everything.

“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

Friends – this life is not it; there is more. The full revelation has not come yet. There is HOPE.

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The Blessed and only Ruler is in control; He is sovereign and His plan will be revealed in His time.

“…which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,” 1 Timothy 6:15

This is another verse caught in midair, leaving us with the question of what this “which” is referring to…well back up in the Word and you will see in verse 14 that this refers to “the appearing of our LORD Jesus Christ.” V. 14b.  God, the Blessed and only Ruler will bring about the return of Jesus in His own time.

Friends – this life is not it; there is more. The full revelation has not come yet.  There is HOPE.

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And this is the HOPE that trumps ISIS!

There is no justification for evil ever – in any degree or form.  Yet the truth is, this life we currently live in is guaranteed to be full of evil; we cannot physically escape that.  WHY, is always the question. Why does God allow these horrors to begin with! Where is He?

Be forewarned: dwelling on the WHY question can paralyze a person in anger, fear, sadness, and defeat.

 Here, ISIS wins, temporarily.

However, we can spiritually escape the horrors by believing the Words of scripture and having a right understanding of who God is.

He is alive: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is,”…

He is El Shaddai:  the one who blesses and helps; the Almighty.

He is complete and His plan is unfolding: “…which God will bring about in his own time…”

He is the ONE over all – sovereign: “God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,”

In knowing this about God, we can have HOPE.

Here ISIS loses.

HOPE trumps ISIS;

HOPE trumps all the evil in this life.

The very essence and substance of the Almighty, the Alpha & Omega, and the blessed and only Ruler is HOPE.

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Friends, dwell on Jesus and join me in prayer and in praise to Jesus, our LORD and Savior!

Victory, with the capital “V” belongs to Jesus!

 “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

Give Hope: Weep and Laugh

JUST BE THERE.

Don’t try to change things.  Don’t try to ignore things.  Don’t make excuses for things.

Just be there. Fully and genuinely.

When a friend or loved one is suffering, they just simply need you to be there on their side, in their corner, with them in the present moment.

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King Solomon clearly said,

“There is a time for everything….a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3: 1a & 4

Being there is not always easy.

It takes effort to clear the schedule and make the time to be there.

It takes courage to join a suffer-er in their space and be open to the moment of just being there.

It takes love to sit in silence and hold a hand, to weep, to laugh, to mourn, and to dance in the being there.

BUT – please have confidence that you can do it.  

This is probably the one thing that meant the most to me as I was enduring my battle with cancer.

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“David walked into the room and took me in his arms.  Without words, I drew close to him, leaned against his chest and hugged him. We swayed gently to the music….no words. Emotions gave way with an ever so gentle explosion of sighs and tears….I felt so loved, so uplifted, and strangely refreshed.  Through the reach of my husband, God comforted me….” p. 34 & 35 Towdah, A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope

A time to weep….

“Walking across  the parking lot on a short shopping outing, my girls chuckled along with me as my shoe flipped off flying ten feet in front of us!” p. 68 Towdah

A time to laugh…

Joining in and engaging with me was the most precious of all things that helped ease my pains, both physically and mentally.  In these moments, HOPE reigned because there was love in the being there with me, no matter what the moments held.

 

Suffering is all around us.  Many are afflicted.  I pray that  you will trust in God’s equipping you to find ways to ease the pain of a friend or loved one this Christmas season.

Be His hands and lips and feet.  

Carry the burdens,

intercede,

encourage,

do good and share,

and love by just being there in the moment.

Offer HOPE.

TOWDAH

Be the first to comment on my blog today and I will send you a free autographed copy of my book and  a letter of encouragement to your friend or loved one who is suffering this Christmas season.  Message me on FB with your address & details – just click on my name below:

Sheryl

Merry Christmas!

Give Hope: Send Balloons!

“I fought depression during  the last and worst days of my chemo cycle.  A dear friend sent me a dozen helium balloons in bouquet fashion.  Clipped to the string of colorful ribbon were encouraging words calling me back to Hope: ‘When you stick to what you know, the what-if’s don’t matter.’ ”   p. 118, Towdah, A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope

I am a frugal shopper and I know.

A dozen helium balloons, delivered, is not acquired via pocket change.

This dear friend did not consider the cost of the gift – she thought more highly of the effect of encouragement this gift would have on my struggling heart.

“And do not forget to do good and share with others,

for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Hebrews 13:16

“Stick to what you know” — such wise words delivered so cheerfully!  This was good and it was shared from the heart; I am sure the sacrifice pleased God!

This gift lifted me immediately out of the slippery slope I was on and reminded me to stand on the promises of God.  Sounds a little trite, but it was true.  I began to recall all the ways God had upheld me and carried me through my struggling days, weeks, and months.  I knew a lot about God and it was ALL graciously good!

One moment was all it took.

One moment for my friend to decide she was going to do good and share.

One moment for me to receive the balloon bouquet.

One moment for me to take to heart the gift

and be transformed in my thinking by remember all I knew about God and sticking to it!

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HOPE was restored for me.

What about you?  Are you willing to make sacrifice to do good and share with the one you know is suffering during this Christmas season?

TOWDAH

Be the first to comment on my blog today and I will send you a free autographed copy of my book and  a letter of encouragement to your friend or loved one who is suffering this Christmas season.  Message me on FB with your address & details – just click on my name below:

Sheryl

Merry Christmas!

Created to Crave

A good story brings such satisfaction!  

I suppose that is why so much of my family’s tradition includes Christmas stories.

From Dr. Seuss’, The Grinch to O.Henry’s, The Gift of the Magi, there is much delight.  Troubles and problems are taken care of by mysterious changing of hearts and amazing and sacrificial offerings of love.

Heart and love are key elements woven into the best of stories.  It’s no wonder my family holds so much anticipation for the same stories re-read and re-read, year after year.  Whether on pages or on the screen, we line up the stories and dig into the reading and viewing from Thanksgiving eve to Christmas Day.

I believe we are created to crave the resolution of conflict with a changed heart that has been turned around by love.

 It is God’s way.

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It is the whole of the Christmas story; Jesus  in the flesh, come to earth to be born. Why? To change hearts by way of His sacrificial love for us.  And so, we love to hear that theme over and over… on the pages of books and on the screen in the movies.

HOPE resounds! And we all love HOPE.

May I suggest a new read, or perhaps a re-read of a story that was crafted by me and eight other author friends: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt.

Kick off your Christmas story season with this tale – you won’t be disappointed.

 

Give Hope: Be His Hands, Lips, and Feet

Enduring prolonged illness can be lonely.

Life, as it use to be, seems to halt for the one suffering while life for everyone else seems to just keep moving on.  During my many months of isolation from fellowship, I remember wondering…does anyone remember me?

God knew my wondering and he prompted the hands and lips and feet of many saints to write and call and visit.  THIS is another way to ease the pain of loneliness of a friend or loved one who is suffering prolonged illness or disease during the holidays.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,” Thessalonians 5:11

Hope prevails

Hope prevails

You see…

When someone is going through a difficult time and enduring hurt, pain, or suffering from circumstances, disease, or illness….hopelessness is not far from the thinking.  In hopelessness here is certain loneliness.

Friends, you can spur the suffer-er on!

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These were blessings I received – perhaps  you are equipped to bless your friend or loved one similarly:

WRITINGS:   “I had nearly one hundred cards layered and hung, on six strands of ribbons…” p. 44 Towdah, A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope

CALLS:   “Jesus came in the form of two dear friends over the phone, caressing me with caring words.” p.100 Towdah

VISITS:   “Twenty or so of my friends lined up an down my stony front walk, displaying all varieties and designs of pipe cleaner antennae on their heads! A myriad of voices were singing, ‘ The ants go marching!’ p. 77 Towdah.

I was so encouraged and so built up in my time of weakness!

I am praying that  you will take the time to be God’s hands and lips and feet TODAY. 

Do you know anyone who is suffering during this season of HOPE?

Then by all means, encourage them!

TOWDAH

Be the first to comment on my blog today and I will send you a free autographed copy of my book and  a letter of encouragement to your friend or loved one who is suffering this Christmas season.  Message me on FB with your address & details – just click on my name below:

Sheryl

Merry Christmas!

Give Hope: Dump an Omelet in the Trash!

The Holy Spirit works in amazing ways and sometimes

may call you to do the most unexpected thing!

Several months into my journey of treatments and surgeries related to my cancer, I found myself suffering and unable to eat for days – yes – days, not hours.  The phone rang  and then this happened:

” He said, ‘I just have to tell you…’ ”

“He said he heard the Holy Spirit prompt him to stop, not eat his omelet (which he had just labored to make), and throw it away……with confidence, this brother declared, ‘The Holy Spirit wanted me to share in your suffering today.’ ”

“I only share this with you to encourage you…to let you know the Holy Spirit is working and that you are prayed for.”  Excerpts from; Towdah, A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope — p. 110 – 111

End of phone call.

I was speechless.  I was stunned.  

I was filled with an immediate sense of the fullness of God himself!

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Intercessory prayer is powerful.  

The second way you can help ease the pain and suffering of a loved one this holiday season

is to pray for them.  

Deeply.

Pray for them deeply and with compassion.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for the saints.”  Ephesians 6:18

Peer into the space your loved one occupies in his suffering and listen to how the Spirit directs you to pray.  You may not have to dump an omelet in the trash…yet, the Spirit may call you to do something else equally as stunning as is fitting to your loved one in need!

Deliver HOPE by telling the one who suffers that you are praying for them.  

Bless them with that moment of knowing they are loved immensely.

TOWDAH

Be the first to comment on my blog today and I will send you a free autographed copy of my book and  a letter of encouragement to your friend or loved one who is suffering this Christmas season.  Message me on FB with your address & details – just click on my name below:

Sheryl

Merry Christmas!

Give Hope: Carry!

Traditions, and everything-as-usual, flies out the window when you are suffering with illness or disease during the holiday season. I should know because I suffered greatly through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter in 2010 & 11.  I am a cancer survivor.

Over the next five days, I want to share with you how you can help ease the sadness and pain of a suffering friend or loved one during this holiday season.  God has equipped you for this good work: you have opportunity to be His hands and feet and give the comfort that is so dearly needed.

“Carry each other’s burden, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:2

Illness is  a burden.

Disease is a burden.

Both renders  the one afflicted, weak.

And the one afflicted needs help carrying the weight of the every day life that is suddenly too heavy to carry alone.

What does this mean?

Meet your loved one at their level of  need.  Often times that means making yourself available to do the mundane – the physical load that they are too weak to do.

The laundry, the dishes, the shopping, the meals.  There is no mystery about it.  It is the daily-do’s.

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“…we received at least one hundred and four meals,…my hands could not run under cold water or manipulate knives very safely,and as my nausea and fatigue plastered me to the couch more days than I liked, I was blessed by the hands of many, many people who prepared and labored to ensure that my family had good meals to eat.” P.47 Towdah:A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope

The simple act of offering a meal had more impact than you might think.

 It gave me peace of mind; one less thing for me to think about.

I was able to take that nap I needed.

The burden of meal making was lifted off of me!

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Do you know someone who needs a burden carried this holiday season?

Pray.

Consider how God has equipped you to help carry the burden. Be God’s hands and feet.

In this simple act you will fulfill the law of Christ, loving your neighbor as yourself, and give hope to the one who is suffering.

TOWDAH

Be the first to comment on my blog today and I will send you a free autographed copy of my book and  a letter of encouragement to your friend or loved one who is suffering this Christmas season.  Message me on FB with your address & details –

Sheryl

Merry Christmas!