Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lessons learned from the ER

Well the last 2 days have been a blur to say the least.

It actually all started about 2 weeks ago when my wife was diagnosed with a sinus infection. she went to the doctor and was given a prescription to take care of that. She was supposed to take the prescription with food, but noticed a pain in her stomach every time she took the pill. We thought it was a reaction to the medication, so after 8 days of this we finally went back to the doctor.

Thinking it was a reaction to the medication, the doctor gave my wife a new prescription and was told that she should start feeling better in about a week. So back home we went to try this new medication.

She did begin to feel better after about 5 or 6 days, so she thought she would try eating more regularly, but quickly realized that this was not going to work. The pain not only came back, but intensified. She was in such pain Thursday night that she knew we would have to call the doctor the next morning.

The doctor suggested going to the ER to have a certain procedure done, so we went, only to realize after several hours of waiting that the procedure the doctor thought she needed could not be done in the ER. Needless to say I was getting quite frustrated with the whole thing. Why would a doctor send us to the ER knowing that they would not be able to do what she wanted them to do?

The ER doctor then ordered a CT scan. The waiting only continued. Finally the time came for the CT scan and the result appeared to be an internal intestinal hernia. The doctor was confident that with surgery this could be taken care of without any problem. So we wait again to be admitted and then we wait and wait again for the surgery to take place.

When she finally got into the OR it was discovered that the problem was very different then first diagnosed from the CT scan. The surgeon simply altered his plans and took care of the problem without missing a beat.

As I write this my wife is resting comfortable in the hospital bed beside me, something she has not done in over 2 weeks.

Even though this was not our plan. Nor was it our plan to celebrate our Saviors birth from a hospital room, we are praising God for his protection and His healing.

Several thoughts have gone through my mind in the last 48 hours. Why did we have to go through all this agony for 2 weeks only to have to wait hours in the ER before having surgery? Why could this not have been checked earlier? Why would a doctor send us the the ER for a procedure that could not be done in the ER?

The same answer keeps coming to my mind...

Isaiah 55:8 - “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.

As it turned out we had one of the best surgeons in the area to perform this surgery. Could it be that he would not have been available to do the surgery last week? Was this God's way of protecting my wife and allowing her to be seen by this surgeon?

Though I may never know the answer to these questions, I am content to know that God has a good plan for my life and for my wife and that He is always causing things to work together for my good.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Attempt the Impossible

What is a more common first reaction when you face an obstacle: making excuses or stepping out in faith?

Jesus said in Matthew 19:26 - "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (NASB)

In Matthew 14:13-21 all 12 of the disciples watched as Jesus feed thousands of people with just a little boys lunch. And sometimes I think that only Peter was paying attention and learned the lesson that Jesus can do the impossible.

Later in that same chapter we read that Peter and the other disciples were out in the boat when Jesus came walking towards them on the water. (Matthew 14:22-33)

When Peter saw he jumped out of the boat and began to walk on the water to Jesus. Now I realize that Peter is often criticized for taking his eyes off of Jesus and sinking, but the bigger failure that night was made by the other disciples who did nothing and staying in the boat.

The greatest failure is failure to try. We don't try, because we don't trust.

Ron Dunn, in his book Faith Crisis, wrote: "If we are spiritually impoverished, it is not because the hand of grace is tight-fisted; it is because the hand of faith is too weak."

What is God asking you to do that seems impossible?

Are you willing to get out of the boat and attempt the impossible with God or are you content to remain weak in your faith and stay in the boat?

You think about that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Born to Die

It's hard to believe, but Christmas is only 28 days away. By now most of us have started decorating our houses and have put up the Christmas tree.

In our house we like to decorate early.  We usually put the tree up and decorate the inside of the house the Saturday after Halloween, but with being sick and then trying to get ready for family coming we never got around to it until last night.

As we got out the big box that holds our tree, the girls started separating the branches by size so that we could put the tree together. As my middle daughter would pick up a branch to bring it to me she would wave it in the air and say, "Hosanna, Hosanna". She did this with every single branch.

Now of course we recognize waving palm branches and shouting "Hosanna" as part of the Palm Sunday/Easter Celebration. But as I thought about what she was doing I had this thought:

The reason for Christmas is irrevocably linked to the redemption of our sins. Bethlehem’s baby only makes sense in light of Calvary’s crucified Savior. 

The Apostle Paul captured the essence of the Incarnation when he wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst.”

So as you enjoy this Christmas season with all the lights and decorations. Remember that the birth we celebrate is the birth of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

He was born to die!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

God Is Still God

Well, we have elected a president and here are some of the things I have been reading on FaceBook today.

"I am sick today..I am so disappointed that we do not have a new President"

"It's a sad day for America"

"We will mourn for America tonight"

"So sad and disappointing"

In light of all this I would like to consider the following verse:

Psalms 42:11 - Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

Here is what I know to be true and will always be true regardless of your political views.

1. God will still be on His throne

Psalms 47:8 - God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne.

2. The Bible will still have all the answers to every problem.

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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Peter 1:3 - His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

3. Prayer will still make a difference and God will still answer prayer.
1 John 5:14-15 - This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

Jeremiah 33:3 - Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

4. The cross, not the government, will still be our salvation.

Psalms 62:1-2 - My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

Psalms 62:5-11 - My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath. Do not trust in oppression And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them. Once God has spoken; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.

5. God will still be with us always - He will never leave us or forsake us.

Joshua 1:9 - Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Hebrews 13:5-6 - Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we confidently say, "the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?"

Again I remind you of Psalms 20:7Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Where do you place your trust, in government or in God?

You think about that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Vote Your Values

Over the past few months we have been bombarded with political ads telling us way we should or should not vote for a certain candidate. Usually these ads tell us very little about what the candidate stands for it only tells us why they think we should not vote for the other candidate.

Then there is the debates. We have had three opportunities to see the two presidential candidates debate the issues with one another, but this usually turns into just another political ad telling us why they think we should not vote for the other candidate.

There are so many issues out there that people are concerned. The economy, health insurance, jobs, these are just a few. And though I believe  they are important issues, I do not trust any man or woman with my future. I chose rather to trust God with my future.

As a Christian I chose to vote my values. I chose to stand on the principles and standard found in the Word of God and cast my vote for the candidate that most closely aligns with those values. Now I understand that no one is perfect and no matter who I vote for they will probably make mistakes along the way. But I would rather vote based on my values as a Christian and leave the economy to God. After all He knows best anyway and He has never let me down.

Maybe some of you have already participated in early voting, I did just this morning. If you haven't voted yet, watch this video and VOTE YOUR VALUES!

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Hunger and Thirst for God

Since I have started training for my marathon, I have really enjoyed running. I wake up most mornings looking forward to my run. My running schedule this week should have been as follows:

Monday - 5 miles
Tuesday - 8 miles
Wednesday - 5 miles
Friday - 16 miles

But since I was unable to run on Monday it left me to run 5 miles on Tuesday. I then came down sick Tuesday night and Wednesday and therefore did not run on Wednesday. I also did not run make it up on Thursday as I was still recovering from being sick.

All of that said I was not looking forward to running this morning, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I knew that if I put it off I might not get back to it again.

Was it easy to get up and run this morning? Certainly not! Were there times during the run that I wanted to turn around and go home before I had finished the 16 miles? Absolutely. But I did not quit! I finished the 16 miles and I am glad I did.

This got me to thinking how many times our walk with God might be the same way.

We miss a few days with God in His Word or communicating with Him through prayer and even though we know it is the right thing to do and we will be better off for it, it's hard to get back in the habit again. The longer we go the less hunger for God's Word we become.

I want to be like the person described in Psalms 42:1-2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?

Stay hungry and thirsty for God. And if it's been a few days, don't quit. Get back in the Word!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Reaffirming your commitment

This year a couple in our church celebrated 15 years of marriage and tomorrow they will reaffirm their commitment to each other by renewing their wedding vows. 

This got me thinking about the commitments we make to God. How many times have we said, "God I promise..." or "God I am committed to..." only to find that those commitments fade and we forget about about the promises made.

Maybe it's time to reaffirm your commitment to God today.

Psalms 37:4-6 says, Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Commit all your ways to God and trust Him to do what is best. He always will!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What are you Expecting?

Disappointment – we all know the feeling of frustrated expectations. We want life to unfold in a certain way, but circumstances refuse to cooperate. God doesn't do what we hoped He would do. He could open a door; instead he sends a detour. What will we do? 

Maybe we begin to play church, pretending to follow God and His ways. Our love for the Lord may grow cold. We may drift, finding faith irrelevant to daily living. 

Whatever the cause and whichever path we follow, part of the solution is to consider how God’s detours lead us to places more glorious than we ever imagined. 

Consider how the people responded when they were finally introduced to the long waited Messiah.

In John 1:29 John see Jesus coming and says, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." In essence John is saying, “You have been looking for the Messiah, well here He is.” 

But as we read through the gospels we see that Jesus, the Messiah,  was rejected time and time again.

The people wanted a Messiah. But a Lamb was not what they expected. They wanted a savior for their success, not a Savior from their sins.

God did not provide what the Jews expected and they rejected the Messiah. 

What doors are you expecting God to open? How will you respond when He sends a detour?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Easy Yoke

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.  (Matthew 11:28-30  NASB)

The yoke was apart of the plow that two oxen put their heads in to pull the plow.

How many of you feel like you are pulling the plow by yourself? Maybe you are.

If you feel tired in your walk with the Lord, maybe you need to be yoked together with Jesus. When you are yoked together with Jesus, He does most of the pulling and you will find rest.

Jesus says, " Take My yoke upon you and...YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS ."

Don't bear the burdens you were never meant to bear alone. Let Jesus bear your burdens and receive the rest He offers.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Endurance for Running

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

These verses were running through my mind this morning during my 9 mile run. Some of you know that I am training to run a marathon. As I thought of these verses this morning, I couldn't help but think of the many comparisons between physical running and spiritual running.

1. We must run unhindered.

"...let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us..."

When I decided I was going to run again, I went out and bought some really nice, light weight running shoes, some light weight running shorts and shirts. I didn't want any extra weight to slow me down while I was running. 

In our spiritual race we must make sure that we get rid of the things that slow is down and keep us from running the way God intended. That certainly involves getting rid of the sin in our lives, but it also means that anything, even "good things", which distract us from being all that God wants us to be.

2. We must have endurance.

"...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..."

A marathon is 26.2 miles. The longest I have run in my training is 9 miles, but  if I go out and sprint the first mile, I will never be able to finish the race, not the best I can anyway. I need to slow my pace down and run to finish well.

In our spiritual race it is not about starting the race well, but finishing well. Often times when we first come to Christ we are very excited, but if we are not careful, we lose the excitement and do not finish the race well.

3. We must keep our eyes on Jesus.

"...fixing our eyes on Jesus..."

While I run, I wear a GPS watch. This helps me to know how far I have run, how long I have been running, and what pace I am running. This goes back to the endurance aspect. I am able to run and run well if I can stay on pace.

In John chapter 1 Jesus is referred to as "The Word" and in Psalms 119:105 it tells us that the Word is a "lamp" and a "light". Keeping our eyes on Jesus helps us to stay on the right path and run the right pace. 

It is important to me to run well, both physically and spiritually. 

How are you running your race?