Pursuing the abundance of a closer walk with Christ

Posts tagged ‘love’

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.

 

 

Wedding Ready


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Dreams of distinction are worth taking the time to discern.  Have you awakened from a dream filled with hope and joyful expectation? A dream so vivid it seemed real and you thought you were alive because you could feel emotions, see vibrant colors and experience a physical environment.

Such was the dream I had a few nights ago.

I was standing in the middle of a room or chamber built of dark brown rustic timbers, similar to the the wood used on the interior of my garage and on the inside of the walls of my house .(I can’t imagine why the family that built the house I live in would use such beautiful wood to insulate it let alone adorn the garage with it.)

I was wearing a mantle of golden yellow satin and was getting dressed to be married. My mother(who is in Heaven) brought me a piece missing from my outfit, but I thought, this little thing isn’t going to cover my body. It was binding like a tube top and she helped me put it over my head.

Like magic, the dress turned into a beautiful soft hand stitched yellow silk gown with an empire waist, a designer dress that was the only one of its kind. Flowers of lavender and periwinkle blue suddenly appeared in a showering fashion, decorating the draped fabric. There were pleated folds on the front and back of the garment causing it to stand out from the bodice. It reminded me of a nun’s attire from the 50’s or the pleat in military jacket.

I looked at myself in a mirror and made the remark of how it must be a designer dress because it hid all my flaws and made me look the size I would like to be.

Now I was ready and waiting to go in! I was getting married, but not just me. Many were going in to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. To be joined forever more with the Bridegroom, Jesus! Yet I was elated, happy, excited, full of joy! I felt what a bride would feel on her wedding day. I Was Getting MARRIED and I anticipated the celebration with an abundance of emotion.

And I had to wake up! I liked this dream so much I told several people about it the next day. I think this is a prelude type dream of what is to come. And I know the Bible says we will be given white linen robes to wear in Heaven, but in this dream, I wore a dress hand made and designed for me.

Wedding Ready is a daily walk with Christ, trusting in His Saving Grace, abiding in His love and waiting for Bridegroom, Jesus, to come for His Bride, The Church.

 

The picture above of white flowers are the sprays of Mock Orange or Virgin’s Bower from my back yard, a Sweet Bay Magnolia leaf stem. and the red rose bud from my brother’s rose bush.

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 Pomegranate of Love


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The spelling of pomegranate throws me, I want to spell it another way, “pommegranite” , which is incorrect.
However you spell or read it, don’t miss the delight within.
Why would a fruit such as this be used in The Song Of Solomon, incorporated into the ancient method of tanning in the city of Fez Morocco to this day, embroidered in the weave of the Hebrew Priest’s robe, used in decorating the Temple built by King Solomon and considered to be one of the fruit trees in the Garden Of Eden? The abundance of information would fill the pages in a magazine article or a chapter in a book. But I’d like you to consider a different aspect within the fruit and seeds.

Today was the first day I’ve eaten from the spicy-sweet seeds tucked within walls of delicate fiber, which are much like the grapefruit or orange pith. In the past, I  have used the pomegranate in floral design and once collected it from a lady’s tree while visiting family in AZ. I brought her gift home to dry and preserve for decoration. Seems strange that I would buy the beautiful, exotic, red fruit  year after year during the Christmas Season and set them in a bowl just to look at. I didn’t know how to use them.

The juicy seeds burst as I tried to dig them out a few at a time. Mm, each red, succulent, crunchy,  spicy-sweet seed dazzled my senses. Thirst quenching and satisfying sums it up. It’s not quite like the sweet tang of black raspberry. The pomegranate is far more delightful when eaten.

The healthful qualities derived when eating this fruit are quite beneficial. It’s filled with antioxidants, vitamins, bio-flavonoids and tannin. I immediately felt refreshed from the dry, sub-zero effects of wintry weather I had been out in this morning. I  became energized as I absorbed the essence from this marvelous fruit created by an Amazing God. And, it’s not forbidden!

Pomegranate 2 (2)

Some would say the pomegranate resembles a crown, it certainly is a fruit fit for a King. The exterior is like supple leather and protects the juicy delicate fruit and seeds within.

What if each jeweled seed in this Pomegranate of Love were that representing the Gospel. If we were to take the seed of the Gospel and plant that seed in the lives of others so they may come to know, love and receive Jesus as their Savior, then someday that jeweled seed representing their soul will adorn a crown, a crown given us one day. A crown humbly placed at  the feet of Jesus. He is the victor of our souls.

I treasure the things of God and hope you treasure what He has given us, s well. His commission to spread the Gospel to people in our life, the individuals we have a burden to pray for, call, write, visit and talk with about the amazing love He has for all mankind.

Remember the illustration of the pomegranate, don’t leave it lying around as I did in my lifetime… Share the fruit of the message of the Gospel, plant the seeds and reap the harvest.

 

And this is to my Father’s Glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples indeed.” (John 15:8) NIV

 

 

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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