Pursuing the Presence, Purpose and Power of a closer walk with Christ

Posts tagged ‘God’

Billy Graham-The World’s Spiritual Patriarch


November 7, 1918 – February 21, 2018

America, for the past century, has been shepherded by the greatest spiritual leader, evangelist, and minister ever known.

The Reverend Billy Graham’s ministry will continue to reach to the far corners of the world with his sermons, books, teachings and ministry.

He accomplished much because he gave all of his life to Christ.

His words, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, encouraged and compelled men, women, and children of many nations to accept God’s forgiveness, repent of their sins, and surrender their whole life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

And yes, many more will accept Christ, even until Jesus returns.

I, for one, have benefited from his counseling and have been inspired by his sermons.

 

A quote from Billy Graham is a clear reflection of how he lived out his life and direction on how we should live as well:

                 “Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.”

 

Though his passing from this world to Heaven leaves a void in many hearts, in Heaven there is great rejoicing!

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for blessing us with your servant, Billy Graham, and with his lasting legacy of living a Christ-like life.

May the family, friends, loved ones and those who loved the Reverend Graham be comforted, strengthened and challenged to follow his example of serving God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.

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TBI and Us or IN ALL THINGS


March is TBI Awareness Month.  The picture of a brain was a difficult puzzle given to us at the Cr3ative Expressions Support Group meeting to help us focus. It  stumped me,  but Rachel, my daughter who sustained a brain injury, was the first to finish hers in the group and then worked on my unfinished puzzle at home as pictured here in less than one minute. GO FIGURE!?

This post features a poem written and recited by me for the Cr3ative Expressions TBI Support Group.

TBI and Us (or IN ALL THINGS) Page 1

by Virginia Cradlebaugh

The Fourteenth of July, Two-thousand-one,

Was a perfect summer’s day.

Dad, Mom and Rachel, our quaint family,

Drove the car Medina’s way.

It certainly wasn’t our desire,

Nor was it God’s plan or will,

To end up in a ditch, rammed by a car,

By one who had almost killed.

Dear Dad was knocked out and sustained whiplash,

The wreck crushed Mom’s vertebrae.

Rachel unresponsive, had been thrown ’bout,

In earnest I bowed and prayed.

Just passing through, A father and son came,

It wasn’t a coincidence.

The son was a doctor and brought his bag,

Just right for her circumstance.

Shallow she breathed and blood flowed from her ear,

From a sleep she might not wake.

On pins and needles I hovered nearby

Continued to pray for her sake.

The father spoke to me with words of peace,

My son will guard her with care.”

I watched the Life-flight take Rachel upward

My heart heavy with despair.

Page 2

I know you see this, you know everything,

What gives?”, my query to Him.

In a clear, audible voice I discerned,

A verse that should be a hymn.

And we know that IN ALL THINGS God works for

the good of those who love him,

Who have been called according to His purpose.”

Not once, but twice I heard this.

Romans Eight: Twenty-eight I’ll not forget,

No more questions would I implore.

IN All THINGS had arranged for the best place,

that Rachel’s care could afford.

I knew that Jesus held her close to his heart

Carried in His arms as a lamb.

For three days I battled in prayer prostrate,

The outcome was in God’s hands.

The Lord gave to me a gift of faith,

Great peace in my heart remained.

IN ALL THINGS the doctors came with the news,

The pressure too much for her brain.

Page 3

A last ditch effort was made to save her,

An operation on her skull.

In deep freeze the bone was carefully placed,

Till the swelling came to null.

ICU struggled hard to bring her through,

Tweaking meds both day and night.

Two weeks later came her fifteenth birthday,

ICU joined the delight.

The next day by ambulance we left Metro,

To a Rehab on the hill,

The intensive, extensive care she needed,

IN ALL THINGS, this was God’s will.

From a vegetative state she made progress,

As a young babe would learn new things.

The trache and g-tube removed paved the way,

To swallow, eat, and dress; what blessings!

Her drawn up limbs placed in casts to straighten,

Walking remained a hurdle.

Staff pressed her on with many therapies,

At times it seemed slow as a turtle.

Page 4

For months I longed to hear Rachel’s sweet voice,

She spoke to her nurse the name Tex.

God is good, she remembers and does speak,

It was more than I could expect.

The next week she recited the Lord’s prayer,

Her faith in God had remained.

She quoted Psalms Twenty-three, I welled with tears,

And friends from church did the same.

Discharged before Christmas she returned home,

OUT-PATIENT Care was her need.

Edwin Shaw, Children’s, next Akron General.

Her favorite was PT.

From wheelchair to walker, then a gait belt,

But without a cane she’d move.

Fifteen years recovering a TBI,

It was God who helped her improve.

Midway through this long TBI journey,

Dad underwent neck surgery.

For two weeks he felt much better, UNTIL,

A blood clot sent him to Glory.

Page 5

Each year in Autumn we grieve his absence,

Support and prayer bring us through.

There’s a void in our life which only he filled,

One day we’ll all meet, it’s true.

In mysterious ways our God does work,

In wonders and miracles too.

IN ALL THINGS, challenges are for our good,

To God all glory is due.

I’m sure there are struggles we too have shared,

relating to a TBI

Care giving, therapies, doctors, and falls,

IN ALL THINGS on God rely.

Perseverance to Harvesting Hope


Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5: 3-5 (NIV)
   We all need encouraging.
   I think the Lord may have wanted to encourage me this morning as I opened my Bible to the book of Romans.
“You’re encouraging me to persevere? Haven’t I been persevering? Or do I need to grow beyond the recurring challenges in my life?”
   The Lord sees what is in my heart. He sees what is hidden from my eyes, and what may be hidden from the view of others as well.
   Life can be both beautiful and difficult.
   Each day is filled with wonderful blessings from God. There are also days that include hardships. Hardships as tall as brick walls that you run into and they can become discouraging road blocks. Have you had struggles in your  journey that lasted way longer than you expected? Have you been hindered or delayed from reaching your goals, calling or duty?
   In 2001, an automobile accident interrupted the lives of our family. In fact, it more than interrupted, it changed our lives forever. My husband, Jerry, was knocked unconscious and suffered whiplash. Eight years later, the effects of the untreated whiplash progressed to spinal stenosis in his neck and required surgery to correct it. The surgery went well, but tragically, a blood clot caused his death two weeks later.
   The detour of our automobile crash occurred just two weeks before my daughter Rachel’s fifteenth birthday. She suffered much more than my husband or I. Her head injury quite severe. She needed an emergency last-ditch brain surgery to save her life.  Afterwards, she remained in the hospital five months to relearn how to swallow, eat, speak, dress and eventually walk.  The near fatal accident impacted her emotionally, mentally, and physically.
   It has been a challenge balancing the responsibilities of a full-time caregiver, mother, and guardian throughout her miraculous recovery these past fifteen years. More so has been widowhood these last seven years. I have struggled to care for an older home set in beautiful park-like surroundings as I’ve juggled the special care she requires long-term.
   Sometimes I’m able to accomplish what I need and/or want during the week within the few hours she is away at a supervised work or recreational care facility.  Others times, the reality of living with the effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury break-up that much-needed respite. I should be used to the setbacks. I should be a pro by now, right?
   Recently, I hit a “chuck-hole” in my journey and discovered I needed more perseverance. Last week, I bought paint for the exterior window trim. The next day, I re-injured my foot and strained the tendons in the back of my knee as I reached out to help some one.  Really?!  I waited a year as my foot healed and gradually returned to physical activity. It had only been a month since I was able to walk on the soft cushion of the lawn and ride my bike up and down the road for 20 minutes.
    The hobbling saga aside, the windows needed attention three or four years ago. The neglected wood trim was weathered and had dry rot in places. The caulking was cracked and falling off. The scraping, repair and painting of the window trim I planned to get done, was pushed aside while I attempted to manage the bump in the road consisting of phone calls from nurses and staff regarding the “seizure-quo” activity occurring in the last few days. My daughter began to grieve the loss of her step-dad with the onset of seizures.
   Thank God the reality of our ongoing circumstances have been wonderfully sustained with the abundance of his strength and grace. For the next couple of weeks, I continued with the management of her care by: talking with the doctors via phone, consulting with staff who care for her during the day, scheduling and attending appointments with specialists, transporting her to counseling and testing, making extra pharmacy trips for new seizure meds, providing home skill requirements and recreation, and dealing with the red-tape of tedious paperwork. (“Jesus, take me away!”)
   I tend to drive myself hard in order to finish tasks, and as a result, at times I’ve become burned out, depleted of joy, discouraged and parched. This detailed explanation sheds light on the poem, “Listen to the Rain” previously posted on A Beautiful Life website.
   I need to grow spiritually, grow more into Christ likeness, instead of complaining about my circumstances. I need to consistently praise God because, He is aware of all that goes on in my life. He doesn’t give me more than I can bear, after-all, he bears my burdens. His yoke is easy and his burden light. Matthew 11:28-30 (ref.) I need to respond with the power that is available to me through close communication with him. With his power, I’m able to have a mature attitude. Not an attitude with a capital A. Not a ranting, crying out to God for help in a dysfunctional way, as I try to cope with the challenges.
   My response of humble repentance has yielded a quiet character that hopes. My heart is renewed and filled with love poured out from God through the Holy Spirit.
   From perseverance to harvesting hope.
   It’s harvest time. When we harvest hope, others can also hope to grow into the person God intended them to be. Beautiful inside and out, because God desires to make something beautiful out of our lives.
   Let us be an encouragement to one another. Have you been challenged recently with road blocks in your life? Have you repaired any windows lately? Perhaps you’ve a story to share of how God closed one door and opened a window of opportunity.
   Incidentally, I finished most of the front windows of the house without breaking them or falling. Praise the Lord!

Happy Birthday!


Today, in this crazy backwards world, it would be rare to hear of an individual stating that they are celebrating their Spiritual Birthday. It was on this day, August 23rd, 1998, that I was delivered from a 26 year addiction. An addiction that I am glad to be free of. I was miraculously delivered from tobacco.

Research shows it is one of the most addictive substances. That is why I know it was and still is a miracle. I had no desire to return to the habit in all these 18 free years!

I could not quit on my own, though I tried many times and as many different solutions that I could think of to stop.

It happened at an altar of prayer. I asked a dear Pastor to pray with me after the church service that morning.

But, before the miracle, came one defeated woman asking, seeking and knocking. The night before, I said to God, “God, You parted the Red Sea, You raised Your Son, Jesus, from the dead, where is my miracle? If you don’t help me with this bondage of addiction, I will be lost forever!”

I would not recommend being so bold as to ask in the manner that I did almost two decades ago, but I was desperate.

God is so good. He didn’t turn away from my unholy way of asking. He mercifully saw my heart of despair and had compassion on me.

After praying, I could feel the bands of thick, heavy, rusted, iron bracelets pop off my wrists! I felt lighter than air. I thought, “There really is a magic carpet and I’m riding on an invisible carpet ride of Jesus!”

Then, there was a thick force shield, like the holograph-type you may have seen in a Star Wars film or some Sci-Fi movie, that went completely around me in circle fashion and nothing could penetrate it. No longer did I have the urge to puff on one of those cancer sticks!

Jesus broke the chains of  my slavery to cigarettes and set me free in a way that defines who I am forever.

I am His child, saved from the penalty of sin that He bore on the cross as He died for me. Free to love and serve Him. Free to worship with out the hindrance of  something that was between us. Free to receive the abundance of His love and goodness as I daily walk with Him.

Yes, I am able say that I am 18, because it was eighteen years ago that I was delivered and set free. I was born again, and am a new creation indeed!

“So if the Son sets you free, will be free indeed.” John 8 36 (NIV)

Thank you, Jesus, for your mercy, grace, love, sacrifice and for delivering me from sin and addiction.

I hope you find these words to be encouraging. If you have a story of a miracle that Lord has done in your life, feel free to share it here.

 

 

A New Heart Of Song


Art Heart

I’m forgiven, all sin is gone

I’m forgiven, held the past too long

This day is new, I live in you

I’m forgiven, give glory to God

 

At times my past came to haunt me with shame

For trespasses done though Jesus did save

The secret’s surrendered-under His blood

It flowed to the sea forgotten by God

 

I’m forgiven, all sin is gone

I’m forgiven, no burden I don

In love and peace I stay all day

I’m forgiven, give glory to God

 

Does someone have a sorrowful soul?

Of sin you committed a long time ago

Believe in His word, it’s true what it says

Just forgive yourself and go on in His stead

 

You’re forgiven, all sin is gone

You’re forgiven, held the burden too long

This day is new, now live in His Truth

You’re forgiven, give glory to God

 

Perhaps there’s a soul who needs to be free

The wrong in your life, it binds and deceives

Confess and repent, make a one-eighty

Jesus died for you, won the victory

 

We’re forgiven, all sin is gone

We’re forgiven, a new heart of song

This day is new, we live in His truth

We’re forgiven, to praise and serve God!

 

Dear Readers,

I hope this poem-song blesses you. It is a testimony of God’s work  in my life and of how much He loves you and me.

 

 

 

 

 

Love in Many Forms


half apple twin seed shape heart pic (2)

Apples are one of my favorite fresh fruit that I try to eat daily. We know the famous cliché  associated with this important staple of our diets. Some of the other reasons I choose to eat them are convenience and flavor. Recently, I began to cut an apple in half  for my daughter’s lunch and discovered two seeds so close together  they appeared as twins, but in the shape of a heart.

Heart Shape Twin Apple seeds (2)

Whenever I find hearts occurring in nature, I am reminded of God’s love for us all. He loves us so much He sent his only son, not to condemn us, but to save us through Him. (John 3:17 paraphrased)

Wonders like this displayed in my everyday life continue to amaze me. We serve an awesome God!

How about you? Please share one of the special moments in your life that He has blessed.

The Heart of Hope


The Heart Of Hope

The Heart Of Hope

 

When searching for an illustration depicting hope, I clicked on Google Images and viewed a large number of various pictures and a few quotes. From an unknown author, a profound expression of vision; “Hope sees the Invisible, Feels the Intangible, and achieves the Impossible.”

One image in the group representing the category of hope showed soil so parched it cracked leaving deep furrows. It reminded me of  the desert in the Death Valley Days western series, yet in this visual, the life of a tiny seeding grew in the midst of an impossible environment.

My quest to provide a picture of Hope brought to mind a few of the Bible verses I’ve committed to memory over the years. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”. When confirming the reference of verse in my Bible,  I realized there was more from Proverbs 13:12  I didn’t include, “ but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

In this post, I chose to include  the image of an open book illustrating Hope, the inner pages folded toward the center to form the shape of a heart. I would venture to say the book shown here is the Holy Bible.

I can see much more that the graphics of the photo. I see God’s love perfectly binding the pages together with Promise, Wisdom, Truth, Light,  Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness, Salvation through His Son, Jesus, Deliverance, Restoration, Life, Liberty, Peace, Joy, Direction, Purpose and Hope.  I have come to experience a deep wealth of this abundance after accepting Christ as my Savior and as I continue to grow in a daily walk with Him.

Another encouraging verse of hope I memorized was from the Davonne Lee Hide and Keep Ministries. It’s catchy tune plays a melody of blessing in my thoughts and heart from time to time. “The Lord delights in those who fear Him, Who put their Hope in His unfailing love.” (Psalms 147:11 NIV)

Hope in His UNFAILING LOVE! The heart of hope is putting our trust in His Son, Jesus! He is the Heart of Hope and His Word is filled with the Heart of Hope. And He never Fails!

“For God so loved the World He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have ETERNAL LIFE.”  John 3:16 (NIV)

While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The Heart of Hope is there for us before we are aware of our sin, but, we are not condemned by Jesus!

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. John 3:17(NIV)

Once we realize we are in need of a remedy for the sickness caused by sin in our life, God’s Grace and Mercy leads us to the Cross on which Jesus died for our sins. The forgiveness He lavishes on us also cleanses us from sin.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and purify (cleanse) us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9 (NIV)

Our Creator has placed a longing in our hearts to know Him, love Him completely,  serve and follow Him. More simply put, a relationship with the HEART OF HOPE.

We can be one with our Savior, the Lamb of God, the Creator of everything, who is All-knowing, All -powerful, Omnipresent, Wonderful Counselor, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, best friend ever. Forever!

 

 

“…But a longing fulfilled is a tree of Life.”    

Dear Reader,

Welcome me back to the writing of my blog.

I hope you know and trust the Heart of Hope, Jesus. What better way to begin a New Year than rejoicing together, helping each other and sharing in the Family of God!

I encourage you to grow into His Grace like the tiny seedling mentioned earlier in this post and mature into a tree of Life, where the Heart of Hope lives within.

Blessed to be a Blessing,

 

Greenginger

                       

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