The Last Will be First.

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 I’m reading a book called, “The Parables of Jesus,” by George A. Buttrick. It was published in 1928. It’s a wonderful book that gives deep insights into the parables of Jesus. One that impressed me this morning was on the parable of, The Vineyard Owner and the Laborers.

The story is of a man who needs laborers and goes early to the marketplace to hire some. He finds men standing around waiting for work and hires them. They agree on a wage of a denarius for a day’s work.  The man goes back many times during the day because he needs more help. Finally, he goes at 5pm and asks the men there, “Why are you idle?”  They answer him, “Because no one has hired us.” He says, “You go too into my vineyard.”

At the end of the day, the owner pays them all the same wage – a denarius. The ones who worked the longest were angry. They questioned why those who didn’t work as hard or as long got the same amount they did. The owner said, “Friend, I am not wronging you. Can I not do what I please with what is mine? Have you a grudge because I am generous?”

Jesus finished the story by saying this, “So the last will be first, and the first last.”

He told this story after Peter had reminded Jesus that he and the other disciples had left everything and followed him. “What shall we get for this?” was his question.

The author writes, “Life, lived abundantly, does not ask, “What shall we get?” God is not the Keeper of a ledger entering a credit or debit account, according as a man observes or fails to observe certain holy regulations…”God has subtler tests than the piece-measure and the time-clock. Everlastingly, the motive of a man’s life proclaims his worth.”

The author proposes the early workers are those who greet each day with strength and resolution. They perhaps have great talent, a keen mind and a healthy body.  “But others drag crippling chains of inheritance, or beat against confining walls of circumstances. Who will hire them? They would like to serve God, but cannot serve him as they would like to. “No man has hired us.” But their intention is accepted as their deed!”

“Though they cannot claim saintliness, though in unrealized hopes they must be content to offer hospitality to the prophet and saint, they are not forgotten in the appraisals of the kingdom: “He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward.”

After reading this chapter, I thought of what I said to my husband once after we had been members at a church for a long time. “We aren’t like most of these people. We are damaged goods. We could never be an evangelist or preacher.”

We had both been horribly abused when we were children. Because of that, we both had a lot of emotional problems. Sometimes I felt like I was hanging on to God by my fingertips. What help could I be to someone else? And my hubby had anger issues because of all the beatings he endured. Neither of us were the picture-postcard of a Christian.

Reading this parable explained, I understand now that it is okay to be the last in the vineyard! Hallelujah! I’m happy with that position. I’m glad God is pleased with whatever I can do for him, even if it is very small.

Nehemiah Told Us What to Do on A Holy Day.

Whether you believe the Sabbath is on Saturday or Sunday, it is a day considered holy. It should be considered that since God has made it so.

 “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”  Exodus 20:11

 “So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”  Genesis 2:3

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I was reading Nehemiah, and noticed that Ezra told the people how to act on a holy day. The priest had read the law to all of Israel and the people began to weep because they saw how badly they had been acting. They saw the beauty of God’s law and were sorry they had not followed it.

Then Nehemiah…said to them all, “This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.”

“Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.”   Nehemiah 8:9-12

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I think this is example is very important. Yes, we need to acknowledge our sins, but then rejoice immediately by a feast celebration and go on to do good to others by sharing our food. It would be wonderful if every church did this on Sabbath.

Sadness saps our strength,

Joy strengthens us.

Choose joy.

Lazy Eye.

Hi Everyone, I saw my eye surgeon and I am seeing double because I have a, “lazy eye,” along with the cataract. Apparently, my left eye cannot keep up with my right eye. It lags behind. Sort of how my brain doesn’t always keep up with my mouth. Lol  It is kind of disconcerting to see cars on top of each other – the same car, I mean.

This photo by the Marine Corps is called, “Double Vision.” It is kind of like that, only not so faded.Double_Vision_(6896219888)

I’m very happy it wasn’t a mini-stroke. But I’m still going to continue taking a low-dose aspirin every day. Old people like me are supposed to do that; so says the teeny-bopper-emergency doctor. 

My mom is in the rehabilitation facility again, but she is refusing to exercise. She says all she wants to do is stay in bed and sleep. I’m afraid she is depressed, but I have to admire her spunk in saying a big “No” every time they try to get her to exercise. I don’t blame her at all. She is 90 yrs. old and just wants to rest. I think she will be booted out soon for insubordination. Lol   Well, then she will be in a beautiful nursing home and I’ll be seeing her almost every day, just like now. I hope she will like it once she is there.

I asked her nurse to get her a psych consult to see if they can help her with depression. The only other time I’ve seen her depressed was when my brother died in 1973. She is eating, but not much. I read to her and buy her chocolate bars,  and she likes that. I actually got her to go outside for a “wheelchair bocce” game today.  She wouldn’t play, but she did say she enjoyed watching the others play. This was a good sign. They served ice cream and lemonade afterwards. The people at this place have been very kind since we have come back.

Meanwhile, back in the spiritual realm, God has been a rock, a strong tower, my shield and sword. I have found shelter under the shadow of his wings. I don’t fear evil, for he is with me. His rod and his staff comfort me. The Bible does not lie. As long as we pour out our hearts to him, all the promises of his comfort and strength come true.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”   Isaiah 41:10

Eye Troubles.

Hi Everyone. Well, I’m  having a lot of trouble with my left eye. I’ve  been seeing double and had some pain in it. My eye doctor is away, so I went to emergency after I visited my mother. They did some tests for a mini stroke but didn’t  find anything, thank God. 

But I need more tests this coming week. My husband says I should stay off my tablet and laptop because he has been told at work they put a strain on the eyes. So, I will be taking a break from reading your blogs and writing mine.

I’m  sure going to miss all of you and your interesting posts. I will be back when everything  is sorted out. Love to all.

Joni.

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I just finished reading Joni Eareckson Tada’s book, 31 Days Toward Overcoming Adversity. It is a wonderful book, full of wisdom. She writes about our walk with God, and how we should consider the hard times. Here is an excerpt:

“Okay, so there was the Lord Jesus giving Paul his route. “The road I want you to take, Paul, is the one that’s going to Rome. Keep heading in that direction no matter what. You can’t miss it.” 

 With Jesus Himself as travel agent, you’d expect a first-class trip, right? Not so. For two years on that long road to Rome, Paul faced more than his fair share of bypasses, ruts, hazards, and roadblocks. The journey featured constant trouble, murderous plots, and imprisonments.

 Then there was the long detour when a hurricane tossed him around the Mediterranean for fourteen days. Until his ship finally hit a sandbar. And broke into pieces. After which he managed to swim to an island. After which he was bitten by a poisonous snake. An easy road? Hey, the Roman Road was no freeway. 

 The tolls were unbelievably high. And yet this was the very road Jesus told him to take! Ah, but Paul trusted his Friend. Though the road was rugged — even vicious at times — Paul trusted. If the Lord Jesus had set him on the road to adversity, then he knew that, no matter what, it was the best road to heaven he could possibly find. No matter what happened to Him — smooth passage or storm — live or die — he was completely safe.”

 It took me a long time to realize my life would not be trouble-free as I walked with God. Everyone in this world of sin suffers in one way or another. And as Paul says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”  Romans 5:3-5

I take heart in the knowledge that the people of the Bible suffered also and yet found hope in God. He is our only hope in this world.

 

 

Mom Fell Down.

Mom has been very comfortable in the hospital, but they continue to want her to walk. She woke in the middle of the night and was confused. She is supposed to ring for help. She didn’t, and she fell trying to reach the bathroom.

The fall was a hard one. She hit the back of her head, which tore and she was bleeding. I’m not sure how long she lay there since she doesn’t know either. They taped the skin together and put a large, turban-like bandage around her head. They called me in the morning and I went to see her right away. She isn’t in any pain, not even a headache. I’m very glad. They put a sensor on her that will give an alarm if she tries to get out of bed by herself again. I wish they had put it on her from the beginning. I think they should put one on every old person there. She is still cold most of the time and her hands are icy.

My cousin and his wife came to stay with us for 6 days. They knew I was feeling upset and it was wonderful to see them. They took us out for drives in the country and for dinner every night. I really appreciate what they did.

My daughter had a meeting with two representatives from Interior Health and they told her Mom didn’t have to go back to our home. I guess all the letter-writing I did paid off and of course God was working for us. 

I went to a chiropractor about my foot. He used Shock-Wave Therapy on it and told me to buy Birkinstock sandals. My cousin bought the sandals and I could walk better by evening. Each day my foot got better and now I don’t even need the cane. I’m so happy. I get two more treatments on that foot and then three on the left foot, which is sore when I walk, but not horribly so.

Thank you all so much for your prayers. It means a lot to me to know people are praying for Mom and the family.

The Hospital.

It has been a roller coaster ride with my mother the past month. She is now back in the hospital because I injured myself and can barely walk. I’m using her cane now, which is kind of ironic.

While taking care of my mom, my feet started to hurt. I thought it was just more fibromyalgia, but it turned out to be Plantar Fasciitis. It was quite painful, but manageable. Then a few days ago, I twisted my foot while helping Mom. A pain shot up my leg and that was it – I couldn’t walk.

Mom rarely slept more than 1-2 hours at a time. She needed to be turned over constantly. That night, my husband stayed up and took care of her. We sent for an ambulance in the morning to take her to the hospital because we had no one to take care of her. The hospital wasn’t too happy, ( as in, “Don’t you know the hospital is for sick people!) but there was nothing else we could do.

The people at the hospital thought Mom wasn’t sick, just recuperating from her hip operation. But she was sick – very sick. Even her doctor wouldn’t believe me until Mom stayed overnight, and the nurses told everyone how sick Mom was. Her tests came back normal – that’s why they wouldn’t believe me. Well, tests or not, I knew she was very sick and dying. I mean, they knew she wasn’t eating, hadn’t been eating enough for many months. Don’t you die when you stop eating? She would drink a bit of Boost, but not enough to keep well.

The second night she was there, someone made a mistake and she was given two sleeping pills. She went into kidney failure. They actually admitted to me they almost killed her! I was surprised by the admission.

We went to see her again today. She is the same, except she was shivering all over because she was cold. We got three more blankets for her and she finally warmed up. She told us the nurses were all wonderful and very kind. I was happy to hear that.

I read  Psalm 139 to my mom when I visited. She loved it so much. Here it is:

You have searched me, Lord,

and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue

you, Lord, know it completely.

You hem me in behind and before,

and you lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too lofty for me to attain.

 

Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

 

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

and the light become night around me,”

even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you.

 

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

 

How precious to me are your thoughts, God!

How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand—

when I awake, I am still with you.

Search me, God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.