My Mother is Home.

I’m happy to say my mother moved back in with us. She had gotten a lot stronger the last three weeks at the rehabilitation center. She could get out of bed, use her walker, go to the bathroom by herself, and had gained weight.

As I saw her getting better, I prayed she would be able to read and watch TV again, if it was God’s will. She can! Not only that, she can play Yahtzee. It is absolutely amazing. The doctors and nurses don’t understand how this happened. They had decided she needed to live in a nursing home and have lots of help. Her short-term memory was terrible, but it is much better now. They don’t know why.

I think it was some of the pills she was on. They took her off everything for awhile and then put her back on the most essential pills at a low dose. I think that was the problem. She is easy to take care of now; I can do it with no problem. She is very happy and so am I. I feel relaxed now, since I can make sure she is happy and well-fed. She has an appetite now, which she lost almost 2 years ago.

I called my sister and told her; she called later and said, “I asked God, “What was THAT all about???  She didn’t understand why we all had to go through all this: Mom’s broken hip, her infection, her living with me when she needed turning in bed every 20 minutes or so, back to rehab where she was so unhappy, and then me having a mental breakdown.

I told her I wasn’t sure why it all happened, but I trusted God there was a good reason. For one thing, I got more practice trusting God – not begging him to do what I wanted, just telling him I trusted Him in what was happening. I’ve only learned to do this off and on the last 5 years or so. It feels good to me and I’m sure I pleased my Father, which also makes me feel good.

It could also be that my younger daughter learned to trust God more. She is a bigger worrier than I am. But the Lord spoke to her, and I’m sure she is closer to him than she was before. Perhaps my mom learned something through her ordeal. I don’t know, but one day I will. I do know one thing. None of us learns anything when life is wonderful, except maybe gratitude. 

 

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The Breaking of my Mind.

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”   1 Cor. 10:13

When I was younger, I thought this verse meant God would never let anything happen to you that you couldn’t handle. I was wrong. I kind of missed the word, “temptation.”  I assumed somehow the verse included problems and trials.

The first time I had a mental breakdown, I thought of this verse and realized my interpretation was wrong. A lot of our interpretations of the Bible are wrong – not that anyone ever wants to admit that.

So, a few days ago, I could tell I was falling apart mentally once again. I felt weak, my head fuzzy, my stomach upset. I felt myself sort of leaving myself and becoming two. Yep. I needed help and I needed rest.

I called my counselor of old (2 years ago), sweet Barb, and made an appointment. She saw me the very next day. My husband went to the nursing home and told my mother because I couldn’t come and visit for awhile. She was so kind and good about it. She is used to the place now and says she is happy. Thank you, God. Thank you dear Father.

It has been a sad and difficult year. My mother broke her hip, was in the hospital for a month, came home for a month, I injured myself caring for her, she went back in the hospital because I couldn’t take care of her, the hospital was mad – said she wasn’t sick, which wasn’t true. She almost died twice in the hospital. They put her in rehabilitation while she was still weak and sick. She couldn’t even keep her head up waiting for meals. She lay her head on the table, yet they said she wasn’t sick. Fuck. that is what I have to say about that.

Now, she has finally gotten stronger and is eating normally. I’ve been to see her constantly until I had a cold and couldn’t come for 2 weeks. Finally, the cold is gone. She is strong enough to take to dinner. Hallelujah! I take her out to lunch, out for dinner, her memory is getting better.

So NOW is when my brain says, “Okay, that’s it. She is okay now and you can shut down and quit working.”  At least, that is what I am guessing my brain is saying. I slept 12 hours last night. I’m like Elijah running from Jezebel. I need to sleep and eat and then sleep and eat again. And if that is okay for Elijah, it’s okay for me.

What can I say about the Lord now? That he is wonderful, he is marvelous, he is a great friend, comforter, father, brother, king and God. He is here, right beside me like always, holding my hand and giving me peace and joy, even though I am sick. It has taken me a long time to see God in the hard times, but I’m finally doing it. He is smiling with me right now, as I write this. He sent a message to me through my daughter. He said, “Your mother will be saved.” I had been worrying about that because of how strange she had been acting. Everyone said it was dementia, but I wasn’t sure. Now, I’m sure. God has graciously told me Mom is fine. She is sealed by the Holy Spirit. I will live with her in heaven. Thank you, Father.

 

Who is God in His Core Being?

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I was listening to a sermon the other day and the preacher asked, “Who do you think God is at his core being?”  Coming from a legalistic church, my first thought was, “Righteous.”  I asked my sister what she thought and she said, “Love, because the Bible says God is love.”  I said, “Well you are closer to what he said than me. He said, “God is family.”

God is family. That threw me at first. But then he went on to prove it from the Bible and I could see it and I felt really happy about that. God is about relationships through family. How nice. How truly lovely. I’ve always wanted deep, close relationships with each member of my family.

The preacher said that when God came here to create a new world, he created the man differently than anything else. The animals and inanimate objects, he spoke and they came into being. But with the man, he shaped him out of clay and then leaned down and breathed into his mouth the breath of life. It is a moving picture of love.

Then God made Eve; he did not speak her into existence, he took a part of Adam and shaped that part into Eve. Adam said, “This is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bones.” The Bible says they were now one. God then told them to have children, make a bigger family. Those children would come out of their flesh also, and you can’t get much closer than that!

All through the Old Testament, God called his people his children or sons.

 “…for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.”  Jeremiah 3:19

“You are the sons of the LORD your God. You shall not cut yourselves or make any baldness on your foreheads for the dead.  Deuteronomy 14:1

“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me.”  Isaiah 1:2

As always, the New Testament agrees with the Old. The first miracle Jesus performed was at a wedding. All his family and friends were there. His presence shows us the importance of a new family being made.

Here are some verses from the New Testament on us being the children of God:

 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”  1 John 3:1

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.  Romans 8:17,18

 “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:13

The Angels are also the sons of God.

“For they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”  Luke 20:36

Son of man.

Jesus called himself the, “Son of Man,” more than any other title or name. That name shows how he considers himself one of us, and not just when he was here, but for eternity. He calls us his brothers and sisters. He is part of our family and we are part of his. The Father and the Holy Spirit are one with us and Jesus is one with them. John 17

I love the last thing Jesus said to us, in the book of Revelation:

“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Yes, I am coming soon.”

Let us be drawn to Jesus and go to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”   Revelation 19:9

Discontent Leads to All Sins.

I am writing on the book, “The Art of Divine Contentment,” by Thomas Watson. I’ve learned a lot about myself in this book and how I have let discontent sometimes rule my life.

Mr. Watson writes that the first sin in the universe came from discontent. Lucifer and his angel friends became discontented with their stations.

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—“ Jude 6

Lucifer (Satan) was quite dissatisfied with his place in heaven. His discontent turned into rebellion against God – though God had done nothing to him.

“How you have fallen from heaven,

morning star, son of the dawn! (Lucifer)

 You have been cast down to the earth,

you who once laid low the nations!

 You said in your heart,

“I will ascend to the heavens;

I will raise my throne

above the stars of God;

I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,

on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.

 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High.”

But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,

to the depths of the pit.”  Isaiah 14:12-15

When Satan met Eve in the garden, he told her God was withholding a wonderful thing from her, the knowledge of good and evil. He said, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

 

Eve must have felt some discontent in not having the same knowledge as God. She must have wanted what God had and decided to get it. So, she believed God was a liar and sinned against him.

 In his book, Watson says that discontentment leads to every other sin. Every single one!

 I thought about myself. I thought about the years I had been so depressed, suicidal and lonely. Was that because of discontentment? Yes, it was. I could see it clearly. I was discontented with my past, with my childhood all the way through adulthood.

 I was angry I had a mental illness, that I wasn’t like other people, that I couldn’t work without having a breakdown, that my husband and I didn’t have what other people had because their wives worked and they had extra money. I was not content with this life God had given me. I thought I had suffered too much. That it wasn’t fair, that God wasn’t fair.

 Yes, I was the epitome of discontent. I was its poster child. I was no better than Eve, or heaven-forbid, Satan himself. Whoa. Scary.

 So, this week, I had been feeling down and upset and didn’t realize why. I asked myself, “Are you discontented about something?”  Yes, I was. I didn’t like it that my mom was in a nursing home instead of with me. I felt terribly sorry for her that her memory was bad now. She couldn’t read, watch TV or walk any longer.

 Mom told me she had wanted to die, but she didn’t die. She told me she hates being in a home. She told me she is angry, helpless and hopeless. I felt sick when she said these things. I don’t want this kind of empty life for her either.

 But, during this, I did remember how when I trust God I always find there is a very good reason for everything that happens. I’ve been trying to give all my feelings about Mom to him. He has been helping me a lot. But I need to do it every day, or the discontent will creep up on me and I’ll be depressed again.

 I believe Mr. Watson is right. All sins do come from discontentment. Now that I know this, I will talk with God about it, pray about it and because God is my Savior and partner, I believe I will gain the victory over my discontentment.

Spiritual Things Go Against Nature.

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In my last post, I wrote about learning about God and how important that is. I thought I would continue writing about this as found in the book, “The Art of Divine Contentment,” by Thomas Watson. There are many lessons in this book that I think are helpful to Christians. 

The author says there are two main reasons why we must study the Bible and study what God is like.

Number One: Because spiritual things are against nature. “For men to be justified by the righteousness of another, to become a fool that he may be wise, to have all by losing all; this is against nature.”

“For a man to deny his own wisdom, and see himself blind; to deny his own will and have it melted into the will of God…crucifying that sin that is dearest to his heart; for a man to be dead to the world, and in the midst of want to abound; for him to take up the cross, and follow Jesus…this is against nature and therefore must be learned.”

Number 2: Because spiritual things are far above nature.

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

“Only God’s Spirit can light our candle here,” writes Watson. Like the man in the chariot, who needed Philip to explain the scriptures to him, so we need the Holy Spirit to enlighten our mind. “We  cannot learn till the Spirit of God shines into our hearts.”

 “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.”  Psalm 25:5

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”  John 14:26

I’m going to add my own thoughts here. I’ll call it my number 3 reason for studying the Bible.

Number 3:

In order to love God, we need to know him. We cannot feel close to a stranger. We cannot  admire someone we don’t know. If we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, we must know him.

Every book in the Bible tells us something about God. If we have trouble understanding what we read about him, then ask him for guidance and perhaps read some Commentaries on the Bible that try to explain each verse. I have found that very helpful. There are good Commentaries on Bible Hub online. They are written by man, so realize they could be off the mark. But knowing the culture of the ancient people helps us understand why God dealt with them the way he did.

Students in God’s School.

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Gutenberg Bible

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”  Philippians 4:12

In his book, “The Art of Divine Contentment,” Thomas Watson writes, “It is not enough for Christians to hear their duty, but they must learn their duty. It is one thing to hear, and another thing to learn.” Paul said, “I have learned.” He also cites the parable of the sower and how there was only one good ground; there were many hearers of the gospel, but few learners.

Watson says there are two things that keep us from learning: Slighting and forgetting. In slighting the word of God, we give it little importance. In forgetting, we do not “examine the scriptures.”  Acts 17:11

If we go to school and take a class, reading or listening once to the teacher will not help us pass the course.  If we wish to really learn the information and not forget, we must read it again and again; we must make notes on the subject. If we do this, we will pass the test when it comes.

We need to understand the importance of listening to God, either by reading the Bible or by listening to it read to us. There is a wonderful site online that is called, Daily Audio Bible. Each day, Brian reads parts from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. It is lovely to put earphones in and hear someone read the Bible. I get more out of the verses than when I read it myself.

Jesus spoke to his disciples about listening carefully to what he had to say. Here are some verses:

“So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.”  Luke 8:18

“Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” Luke 9:44  The disciples did not listen and understand. It was something they did not want to hear.

And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  Mark 4:9

After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand… Mark 7:14

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.  Matthew 7:24

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:29

We need the Holy Spirit to help us learn of God. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”  John 14:26

In my own life, I have noticed the more time I spend reading the Bible, the more God’s words come into my mind as I go through my day and encounter different trials or problems. Then I can say that verse and be comforted and strengthened.

“Your word I have treasured in my heart that I may not sin against you.”  Psalm 119:11

 

James 1:27

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I just finished reading a very good book entitled, “Speak Life,” by Brady Boyd. His message is how we need to learn how to speak only that which is good. I learned a lot from this book.

 But one of the most moving parts of this book for me was when Boyd wrote about how God impressed him to follow James 1:27. This is something all churches should do. To help widows and orphans is something God asks from us all through the Bible, in the Old Testament as well as the New. This is the first time I have ever read of a church making concrete decisions on this verse and my heart was lifted up in joy and thanksgiving. Here is an excerpt from the book:

“Many years prior, during a quiet time with the Lord, he sealed a verse in my mind and heart that would direct my ministry endeavors for decades to come. The verse was James 1:27, which says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

I’d read and reread that verse, I’d memorized it, and I’d preached on the fact that those words were my official “life verse,” and yet during the darkest moments of my ministry, I’d forgotten what that verse instructed me to do.

I now know that whenever I can’t hear the voice of God, it would serve me well to review the last input I received from him to see whether I’ve tied up all the loose ends…

So, as a church, we opened a health clinic for under-insured moms; we launched an effort to find every orphan in the care of the State of Colorado a loving Christian home; and we purchased and renovated an apartment complex so that single moms and their children would have a safe, clean place to live rather than living on the streets or in the backs of their cars. Only then could I expect God to chat with me again – only after I’d fulfilled the instructions he’d already sent my way.”

What a blessing from God this church is! There are so many homeless and people without hope out on the streets. It would be wonderful if many churches followed Brady Boyd’s compassionate outreach.

I know many churches give away food, clothing and many other things. My sister, who lives in Washington State, has told me of the kindnesses and open hands of some churches there.