Strength for your heart

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” (Psalm 73:26, NLT)

Image result for free clip art of the bibleA word in season. I listened to my Audio Bible CD as I stopped the car at the drive-in window of the drug store. “Thank You, Lord,’ I breathed. “I finally get it. That’s the second time I’ve heard that loud and clear this weekend. Thank You for Your reassurance and Your peace.”

Another episode of paroxysmal atrial tachycardia (PAT) had come Friday night. And it lasted three hours this time. During those hours I prayed but I also heard fear hum in my head like swarming bees. The nurse at the cardiologist’s office had said “PATs are not dangerous.” She had told me to take a pill and that I could go to the ER if it did not stop.

Yes, the PAT finally stopped, but the buzzing fear had not – all weekend long. I had prayed, proclaimed God’s Word about healing, asked friends to pray, and tried to keep my mind occupied. I burst into hot tears when I asked for prayer in Sunday School. I was a mess!

Image result for free photo of wind in trees

God is working! But God was working it all out for my good. (Romans 8:28) Today, when I “coincidentally” heard that verse for the second time, something happened. God’s peace came in, slowly and gradually, as He gently reminded me:

  • He would never give me more than I could bear. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  • He would either heal me or give me grace and wisdom to handle it. (Hebrews 4:16)
  • He does not give us a spirit of fear but of power, of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

As I’ve prayed and pondered and sat with the Lord this afternoon, looking at the beautiful wind blowing through the trees, God gave me an idea for a book about overcoming fear. He also showed me how to resume writing this blog, something I had delayed for FIVE months – because of fear.

I have a lot to share in the coming weeks about fear. And this blog will change for the better. Stay tuned! I am going to enjoy seeing God work out this good thing that the enemy meant for evil! Woohoo! Go God!

He never leaves us, never forsakes us, is always for us, always thinks good thoughts about us, always has good plans for us – He is a good, loving, ALL powerful and faithful Father! Praise Him from whom all, all, ALL blessings flow over into our lives, “ … exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all we can ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20)!

He is the one who gives orders to the morning, the one who makes the clouds rise from the ends of the earth, the one who tells the eagle when to fly. How can we fear, oh we of little faith? Go God!!!Image result for free photo of eagle in clouds

 

My problem is NOT my problem!

Problems, problems. As I type, my knees bump into the four storage boxes residing under the smallish  table I use as a desk. I struggle to tune out neighbors’ voices seeping through thin walls as I try to concentrate. My back and eyes complain after 30 minutes of computer work although I worked at a desk for long hours throughout my life.

I could go on describing the obstacles to working on this blog and my other writing and editing. But, I recently re-learned, as Joyce Meyer so aptly phrased it “Your problem is not your problem!” I typed that, in calligraphy, size 18 font, and put it over my desk. “Help me, Lord! I must remember that attitude makes all the difference.) I look at that reminder now as I type this blog post. And I smile.

I must trust God, not my own strength or resources.  I listen to Joyce Meyer’s daily television show at 6:30 a.m. (See www.joycemeyer.org or the link below for powerful help for everyday life.)

http://bit.ly/2eBwNHC

The morning I heard “Your problem is not your problem!” I was exhausted because loud neighbors had kept me awake until 2:00 a.m.  However, the Word of God, which Joyce Meyer proclaims, is alive and has power to change us. That teaching from the Bible about keeping your focus right changed my attitude.  For too long excuses had delayed working on this blog – fatigue due to new health problems, cramped working space, etc. and etc. and etc. Yuk! I slowly began developing the habit of writing regularly again.

Keep the main thing the main thing. Since 1981, when I became a Christ follower, I have by God’s grace, endeavored to put God first in all things. When I’ve failed, things went badly until I refocused on seeking God hour by hour, day by day. God has faithfully provided all I’ve needed and so much more.  He promises this in Matthew 6:33 “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” (New Living Translation)

Free HQ Blue In The Mountains Wallpaper - Free HQ Wallpapers

Seek Him first … you’ll have all you need! He promises! Click on the link below to hear a gentle but life-giving chorus I’ve loved for years.  The majestic scenes of God’s beloved earth that accompany this chorus remind me of Who He is, who I am, how much He loves me, and how able He is to take care of little, insignificant me. Oh, how He loves His precious human beings!

https://yhoo.it/2eBuNzl

 

Hope when you fall down

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Encouragement from 12 words. The picture above is actually a greeting card I found more than 15 years ago. I framed it then hung it in the graduate students’ office I shared with three other students. The picture next adorned the wall over the desk in my own office where I worked as an educational researcher.  Now it hangs next to baby pictures of my two grandsons .  The card reads “I get up. I walk. I fall down.  Meanwhile I keep dancing.”

Returning to school in mid life included hard work, many bumps and many missteps. I needed daily, sometimes hourly, encouragement to persevere! Fortunately, by that stage in life I could find “joy in the journey” so I savored the process of learning , though those years were hard.

“Be strong and courageous”  Potholes and pitfalls also abound on my current path — becoming an established author. I think often of God’s words to Joshua, who faced the challenge of leading the nation of Israel into a land occupied by enemies. God told Joshua “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them [the enemies who occupied the land], for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6, New International Version.

” … hope and a future.”  How wonderful to be reassured that God is with us! How encouraging to remember, too, that He has good plans for our lives, as He says in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)  “ 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.”  When I remember that God has promised to always be with me, and that He has specific, wonderful plans for my life, I find the strength to get up, brush myself off, and keep enjoying this wonderful life of obeying and trusting God.

Waltz Dance Royalty Free Stock Image

In hard times, keep dancing!  Though I’ve rarely danced , I adore movies of older times when men and women in elegant attire glided around gilded ballrooms, swaying in flawless synchrony to a lilting waltz. I like to think that, when I get to heaven, I’ll dance with Jesus. And our first dance? A waltz!

Hope from a famous horse race

 

Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane? Do you make it leap like a locust, striking terror with its proud snorting? It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength, and charges into the fray.” (Job 39:19-21, NIV)\

 

Beauty inspires us. Is anything more beautiful than a running horse?  Its muscular chest thrust its powerful legs forward while its mighty hindquarters propel the rear legs in perfect symmetry.  Power and poetry, beauty beyond the telling.

Beauty inspires us. God designed us that way, and He filled the earth with beauty so that wherever we look in His creation, we  see His touch and feel pleasure in what He has created for us. Horses, in particular, inspire me, and one famous horse race in particular never fails to stir the embers of my hope, no matter how discouraged I may feel.

Secretariat at Claiborne Farm

A most famous race. On June 9, 1973, a race horse named Secretariat (or “Big Red” as his multitude of fans called him) won the Belmont Stakes in a world record time of 2 minutes 24 seconds. His record stands today.  Secretariat’s speed averaged 37.5 miles an hour. And he finished 31 lengths ahead of his nearest competitor.

As you watch this famous race at the link below, you will notice that the other horses stayed fairly close to Secretariat at first, but then that legendary horse pulled ahead. Then he was way out ahead, then he was “ … alone … moving like a tremendous machine!”

How can I not have hope? I liken Secretariat’s race to the way the enemy of our souls tries to outrun us.  He may keep up with us for a little while or even get ahead, just as Sham did with Secretariat. But when God’s power surges up in our hearts, we pull ahead further and further and further.  The enemy is totally defeated.  No contest whatsoever. He is not even in the running.

So, when the bills add up, when the body complains, when the everydayness of life gets me down, I watch Secretariat run this race. And I ponder the omnipotence of my loving heavenly Father.  How can I not have hope? The  One who created and sustains the universe loves me beyond the telling, and He is on my side. I’ve read the end of God’s book, the Bible, and we win!

http://yhoo.it/2drKcBD

His gift of hope in love songs

       


“Time, time rolls the hills along, makes the stars go round to the sky’s bright song
Time, time stirs the endless sea. Maybe time will bring you back to me.

The summer was golden, their love young and new, his bold arms her rendezvous,
But now leaves have fallen, and tears fill her eyes, his warm lips a memory
as she sighs.

 Time, time rolls the hills along, makes the stars go round to the sky’s bright song
Time, time stirs the endless sea. Maybe time will bring you back to me.

The snow’s come and gone now, and still, they’re apart. How empty her yearning heart!
But spring brings its promise and old memories burn, while she dreams that with summer, he’ll return.

Time, time rolls the hills along, makes the stars go round to the sky’s bright song
Time, time stirs the endless sea. Maybe time will bring you back to me … m
aybe time will bring you back to me.”

Songwriters: JOURDAN, MICHEL E/CANFORA, ARMAND F A/BASILE, JOE

The encouragement in music. In tender love songs I hear God loving me through the magic of music, the restful resonance of a baritone voice like that of Ed Ames, and lyrics that, like the ones above, make one ponder the imponderables: the hills, the sea,  the stars, the seasons, yearning, and love in its limitless forms.

When I hear “Time, time”, I change the last two lines to “One day time will surely set me free”, free to be with the One I love, my Jesus:

  • Who is the love in love songs,
  • Who paints the sky twice each day for me,
  • Who stirs the sea, moves the stars, and makes the sky sing,
  • Who fills His Word with reassurances of His tender, all-powerful care and concern for me,
  • Who hugs me and smiles at me through family and friends,
  • Who encourages me in the solitary silence of night,
  • Who gave me grandsons to put their warm little hands in mine as reminders of the trust I am to put in Him.

His gift of hope that lives in love songs. Yes, time will one day set me free to be with Jesus but until then I have His loving presence in the magic of music, in His love through people, and in His gift of tender hope that speaks to me in love songs, like this one – “Time, time”

http://yhoo.it/2deNwoj

parenting concept

How many times can God renew hope?

Shimmering, glimmering leaves in the wind –  let me so yield to whatever You send!

In bright golden times and dark, dreary days – let me so live that my living gives praise!

Running out of hope. This morning, like most mornings, I had coffee while looking at the large oak growing beside the patio door. An early gentle wind of autumn blew through the leaves, making them glint like ripples shining on a lake.

It had been a hard month, with challenging medical and financial news, not one but two bouts with a cold, a flat tire, and on and on I could go with things of the world that had too often stolen my peace.

“Lord, I need Your help every moment now more than ever it seems. This growing older is hard! I am tired of having to work so hard to have a good attitude about it all!  It is so hard not to get discouraged as one thing after another pops up with my health and as I see every day why folks complain about a fixed income.  And then there’s all that is happening in the world …” 

Nature speaks. I carried on like that a little longer. Then, slowly, the beauty and simplicity of nature began calming my pessimistic and destructive thoughts. Those leaves twisting in the wind would soon be gone and replaced next spring with tiny green shoots. Some of the smaller branches in the tree would be blown down by strong winds. The leaves and the branches yielded to the wind, silently playing their part in the grand scheme of nature. The tiny chipping sparrow clinging tightly to the swaying branch would live a few years and then be gone.

Renewed hope. But God says He knows when each sparrow falls. And He says I should not worry because I am worth more than many sparrows.

“Oh, Lord! Forgive me for complaining yet again.  Help me remember that You love me much more than many sparrows, that everyone living has problems, and that You have good plans for my life. Thank You for speaking through creation. Thank You for hope that rises every morning, faithful as the sun!”

“His Eye Is On The Sparrow” by Sandy Patti    http://yhoo.it/2cE2tRd

When you’re tired of hoping …

... male cardinal dsc 0344b Free Wallpaper Male Cardinal Birds Desktop

Freedom from worry?? Late afternoon sun glinted off the pickup truck parked outside my tiny patio. I took a sip of iced decaf, twined my fingers through Barny’s velvety tummy fur, and read, again, Joyce Meyer’s comments on Hebrews 4:3 “Rest is freedom from excessive reasoning, struggle, fear, inner turmoil, worry, and frustration, which develop because of our working to do what only God can do.” (The Everyday Bible, featuring notes and commentary by Joyce Meyer.)

Peace-stealers.  “I am” I said to myself, “once again trying to do what only God can do.” It had been a rough few days.  Some new financial issues had to be researched, paperwork had to be put in order, and consultations had to be arranged – and precisely when I needed new glasses, my back was acting up, it looked like I might need even more dental work, that pesky rash would not leave, and on and on and on.

Reminders of joy. I sighed, kept praying, kept reading the Word. The crimson of the dollar store cardinal caught my eye.  The tiny bird perched on my work table, propped against a beloved picture of my father and daughter.  My oldest grandson and I had had the most wonderful time imaginable last Christmas. He had jumped up and down, putting paper mache soldiers, glittery stars, miniature trees, and much more into our cart at the dollar store. That perky cardinal on my work table reminded me of what was truly important. I felt peace start to bubble up.

God knows what we need. I stroked Barny, my beloved Tonkinese rescue, stretched full length, belly up, across my writing papers.  Like his predecessor, he is my constant, loving shadow. As a long-term single person, caressing his silky fur and holding him close is a particular and blessed comfort.

“I need to be still  and let my God love me.Thank You, Father, for loving me so much, over and over and always and always, no matter how weak and frail my mind and emotions are sometimes. My head knows You are working in all these apparent problems. I know that! You have done miracle after miracle for the 35 years I’ve known You as Lord and Savior. I’m truly sorry for letting doubt and fear settle in again. Forgive me, Lord.

Thank You for reminding me of the love You’ve poured into my life. Thank You for, once again, reminding me that You long to cover me with Your peace and all I have to do is to be still, think about unseen, eternal things, and let You love me.  Just like the song I heard so long ago …

http://yhoo.it/2aMA5Zf

God gave me love . . .

Thank You, dear Father in heaven, for my beautiful plants!  You know how each one delights me as I sit with You at sunrise and again at sunset. I see the fingers of Your dawn through a feathery fern, heart shaped ivy leaves, and the clustered leaves of my poinsettia. I see the last wistful glimmers of sun each evening through the scraggly arms of a plant I found by the dumpster but which has survived. 

And I am reminded of my own life.  You took what was a wrecked and painful heart and made it live and grow.  You gave me love, just like the song that led me to give my heart to You, Jesus.

And dear One, as I look up that song on the internet, tears flow at Your deep and tender stirring.  I remember that night, 35 years ago, as I cried out for help to I knew not who – and You answered with this song by B.J. Thomas on the car radio. 

Thank You, dearest Father, for healing all that pain and  bringing so much joy through all of these years.  Thank You for giving me a place of service, through writing, for others who need your love. Help them see that–though they may feel as undesirable and broken as a plant tossed in the trash–You long to heal them and make them whole and to fill them with Your peace and joy. 

Help them also learn to let Your love shine through them to reach other hurting souls. Show them that Your full love and Your full beauty reside in each heart given to Your service, no matter the outward appearance of the earthly tabernacle in which that heart dwells. 

Dear friend, listen to this song.  You will feel God’s love . . .

http://yhoo.it/29R9U4Z

Leaf in the Rain 3 1

Seven Reasons to Be Grateful. . . Every Day

Blue Sky

Everyone I know has problems, and sometimes they seem overwhelming. My personality type tends to fret and worry and see the negative – about everything!  But that is merely a tendency, and by the grace of God, I am getting better at replacing that negativity with a grateful attitude.

How I wish I had overcome this habit of mind years earlier!  Recent clinical research is repeatedly showing strong linkages between heart disease and negative states of mind, such as depression and anxiety. But I choose to look ahead, not behind. I am striving to do as the apostle Paul said in Phillipians 3:12, to “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Jesus came so that we may have abundant life – not one filled with sorrow, sadness, and worry!

So, this day, although it is blisteringly hot in Texas and the world in general seems a dark place at this point in history, I am grateful that:

  1. God sent His beloved and only Son Jesus to save me from my sins and give me eternal life. (John 3:16)
  2. God promises to never leave me or forsake me – never, no never!
  3. God always empowers us to do whatever He tells us to do. Jesus said, “Be of good cheer because I have overcome the world!” We CAN have an upbeat attitude!
  4. God has given clear guidance in the Bible on how to live a blessed joyous life – I only have to study and apply what I learn.
  5. When I have doubts about how my life is turning out, I can rely on the promise in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him [act like you know Him—my words] and He will direct your path.”
  6. James 1:5 reassures us that “If any of you lack wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Verses 6 through 8 tell us that we must believe and not doubt that God will give us wisdom. Remember: He empowers us to do what He tells us to.
  7. Finally, when doing the things listed above seems hard, I read Psalm 103 over and over and over. I especially focus on verses 11 through 14:  

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.  As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.

As I gaze at the clear blue sky, that vast expanse of moisture that cradles the earth, I marvel at God’s unavoidable reminder of His love and compassion for us. He has placed His blue heavens over every human being on our planet, just like a human father tenderly places a soft blanket over his sleeping child. How dare I doubt His love?

Blue Sky

 

The Blessing of a Health Scare – Post 1 of ?

At first glance, serious health scares are just plain bad.  Yet mine has been a great blessing . . . because it clarified priorities.

Now in my early sixties, I’ve lived super healthy since my Dad’s fatal heart attack in 1986 and my Mom’s early strokes soon after. Last March, a cardiologist explained three fairly serious issues with my heart.  I stared, unseeing, at the yellow legal pad in my lap, unable to ask the questions I’d prepared. Could the sterile white walls and glinting chrome in my doctor’s office soon be replaced with the even starker sterility of a hospital room, pungent with antiseptics?

Later, the gifted counselor I see monthly to prevent the return of depression suggested that I ask, “What would I do if I knew I had six months to live?” She had asked herself that question after her own health scare wake-up call.

So, what did I do? First, I made all my habits even healthier.  Immediately!

Second, I began getting my affairs in order, starting long-delayed tasks such as letters to my loved ones and planning my own funeral.

Third, I pondered priorities for however long I remained on this earth, be it six months, six years, or whatever.  Four clear goals emerged:

  • improve my relationship with God
  • live as healthy a lifestyle as possible
  • invest more time in people and relationships
  • resume the writing and blogging I had put on hold shortly before learning about the heart issues.

Yes, these had been my goals before but now. . .now I REALLY focused. My dear Heavenly Father led me by the hand with each goal, just as I hold my grandsons’ warm little hands to guide them and keep them close while we walk together.  In the next few posts, I look forward to sharing the paths we have taken together.

May God richly bless you and yours,

Freda