Feeling Vulnerable

Over the past year our lives have changed dramatically. Once we were the typical family, dad rushing off to work, then working way too many hours, mom getting the lunches prepared for the children, getting them off to school, making sure that there was dinner on the table and clean clothes for everyone.

Then we saw the lump, that lump changed all things, it changed our view on life, and what we had once pursued. Stuff no longer held any importance, but relationships did, what was mediocre before now became a passion.

Well the lump was checked out and removed and we had a stay in Execution if you would, a stay of drugs, hospitals, doctors and the rest of the things that would throw your world upside down. Then another lump formed, I had to beg my husband to go in to see the doctor but he refused for almost a month, but I knew that something was wrong, unfortunately he did not want to face the reality.

When I finally did get him to go in and see the doctor the news was bad, multiple tumors had formed that were not there a year ago and further tests needed to be done. So, off we went, from one horrible and painful test to another until the doctor finally said, “The Lymphoma inside of you has transformed into a different aggressive kind and you will need treatment immediately”

Yes, that was not the news that we wanted to hear and to be honest it knocked our socks off a bit, but God who goes before us in all things, had people already praying for us, and throughout the tests and other procedures that my husband has had to endure, God has given us a peace, that truly passes all understanding, a strength that is hard to even explain and even a sense of joy as we walk through this valley of cancer.

My husband had his first treatment on Thursday, it was not the treatment that he wanted, but a stronger form of Chemo therapy, the one with all of the horrible side effects but God, again in his great mercy gave my girlfriends and I some wisdom and insight on praying for him. We asked the Lord to let the drugs do what they were meant to and that he would not have to suffer the debilitating side effects that come with it.

I want to tell you that; yes he has been tired, and yes he has vomited a couple of times, and experienced a little bit of pain, but nothing like the list of possible side effects stated! Our God is amazing!

I know that the reason for such a miracle has been because of prayer; many people from around the world have been praying for him and for the family and I can tell you, prayer most certainly works. God hears us and answers us when we cry out to him whether it is for ourselves or for others. He hears our cries.

I would like to share with you another instance of how great and awesome our God is, I had been praying and asking the lord for provision for the family during this time when my husband is not really up to working. I know that he is our provider but we still need to have faith believing that he will do what he says he will do. Then the other day as my girlfriends and I were praying for the situation, my husband received a call from his boss who told him that he had arranged for my husband to receive full payment of his salary during the duration of his chemo therapy sessions. When he told me I burst into tears, as I was amazed at how God had worked it out and that the provision he had for us was being released. My dear friends, this was such a relief and a burden lifted as we still have bills to pay regardless of the fact that my husband is ill.

I praise the Lord for His great provision and work on our behalf.

Then the lord gave me a little gift in the midst of all of this, I walked into my bedroom and my youngest child was sitting on the bed talking to her dad. Well I thought she was talking to him but in reality she was praying for him and she was full of faith asking the lord for His healing for her daddy.

I nearly broke down in tears, but I was so thankful to the Lord for giving me a little glimpse into the faith of a little child for her dad. Praise the lord!

This journey for us has just begun and I know that along the road there are going to be many different ups and downs and tears and joys, but I am so thankful that right in the beginning of this journey the lord prepared me by telling me that he would never leave nor forsake me. I can count on him to see me through all of it, but not only me but my entire family as well.

I know that each of us will grow, develop and become surer in our faith than what we have ever been before. This is not the kind of journey that I had in mind when I asked the lord to take me deeper with him, but it is the one that we are on and because we are I know that God has many treasures for us along the way, he has many things to teach us and much to develop in each one of us. Therefore I say, to God be the Glory for the great things he has done.

If you think of us in the coming months, please pray as I know that God hears and answers and brings deliverance when we need it most.

Thank you

 

Fear versus Peace

The Lord revealed a few great truths to me today, one that I hope will help you as you walk with him through the difficult times in your life.

A year ago, my husband of 20 years was diagnosed with non Hodgkins Lymphoma, and at the time they did surgery and we have been on a watch and wait scenario since then. Then about 2 months ago I noticed a lump growing on the side of his neck again and begged him to see the doctor to no avail. He did not want to face what could possibly be months and months of Chemotherapy and all of the nasty things that go with it.

Yesterday, we finally went in to see the Doctor and were given the bad news, the lymphoma had spread and it was time to start treatment. To say that we were in shock and that our world turned upside is pretty much an understatement, but the Lord filled me with his peace all day long and I was able to be a strong shoulder for my dear husband to cry on.

Then today, the Lord I believe showed me a couple of things that have left me feeling once again in awe of Him and His great Mercy and love for us.

He revealed to me, that last year when my husband was first diagnosed I felt like a victim, we all did, like this was a nightmare and we were victims and needed everyone to rush in and rescue us but this year, it is a different story, we no longer feel like victims, but like over comers, able to walk into this with a whole new perspective and having grown stronger in the Lord since then and we are now able to bring His hope to others, instead of just feeling so overwhelmed by it all.

This is a huge growth for us, because when you feel like a victim of your circumstances you are not really able to go forward and overcome the obstacles before you, they become weights to you, things that tie you down and could actually destroy you.

But God!!!!! In his great mercy, has been growing and strengthening us in this walk and now we are way more prepared.

Then the Lord showed me another great revelation that I am most grateful for, I am sure that you have heard many people say to you, that you have to stay positive, you need to have a good attitude as it will help you in all aspects of your life.

Well it is true, if you have a good attitude about life and living you do tend to do better, but it is not what gets you through those deep pits that we sometimes find ourselves in. God alone meets us in those deep pits and gives us hope and a way out with him as our guide.

What if though you are filled with fear about the situation that you find yourself in and it consumes you and gives you no peace, trying to have a good attitude when fear is present is like trying to shore up the hoover dam with a toothpick when it bursts.

When you are faced with a diagnosis such as cancer and all that it implies, the first thing that most people think about is “Oh my Goodness, I am going to die” then the fear really sets in.

Why would we as Christians ever feel fear of dying, which is the ultimate goal is it not, to be like Christ and one day spend eternity with him in heaven. So why do we get scared then of the final outcome of our lives, death?

I believe it is because of two things, unbelief in God and his promises for us and un-confessed sin in our lives.

We know that the bible wants us to be sin free, yet there are things that linger, that hold onto us even after we have believed that Jesus is the Son of God, and asked him to be our Lord and Savior.

It is these un-confessed and enjoyed sins that rise up within us and make us fearful of the end.

That fear brings with it, all of its buddies, doubt, confusion, anger, disillusionment and despair.

I realized that if my husband and I were to walk through the next 6 months of treatments and doctors’ visits and needles and every other thing that is in store for us, we needed to have the peace of God which transcends all understanding.

So the next step was obvious, sin that had been clinging on to us, needed to be confessed and released to the Lord so that He could forgive us and send us times of refreshing .

What a revelation, that if we harbor sin in our hearts the minute we go into a life or death situation we will be tormented by our fears of not actually getting to spend eternity in heaven.

Since we have prayed, both my husband and I have felt more peaceful and felt a greater strength to tackle the unknown road before us.

I am sure that from time to time Fear will come and roar it’s ugly head at us, but we can with all assurance tell it to get lost, because of three key verses in the bible;

1John 1:9

 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness

Romans 8:15

 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to son ship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

1John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

My dear friends

If you find yourselves in a place where positive thinking and all other methods of calming yourself down and facing the uncertain future are not helping you, it is time to turn to the Lord.

He is truly the only source of strength and help and peace and comfort out there. All other things, meditation, yoga, repeating things over and over again and any other thing out there meant to bring you inner peace never will.

Only God can, His is called the Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9:6-7

 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.   Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. 

So, if you find yourself in a situation that you feel is out of your control (which most of every situation is) and you need his peace, examine your heart, repent of any sin that he shows you and watch and see how the Lord will refresh you and give you a new perspective on the situation that you face.

Blessings to you my friends

In Jesus Precious and Holy Name

The bend in the road

Like most young people I too dreamt of my knight in shining armor coming along with his white horse to rescue me from all of the ordinary things in my life. Thankfully for me, a knight did come along and at first I did not recognize him to be my savior but as time went on I was grateful for his love, devotion, and protection and input into my life.

My knight in shining armor’s name was Jesus. He came in, assured me of his love for me, forgave all of my foolish choices, turned my heart towards him and to be honest I have never looked back, or longed for the life I had before he revealed himself to me.

After awhile he sent another, a man who would walk beside me as my companion, best friend, part provider (Jesus provided the rest) and of course life mate. There were many a time where I have to admit I was not always grateful for this companion of mine because he had just as many flaws as I did, but before long we were truly in love with each other and settled into a comfortable life side by side.

 

 

Then last year, tragedy struck, my husband of 20 years had been diagnosed with Non Hodgkins lymphoma (cancer to the rest of us). We could hardly comprehend what this would mean for our family, our marriage, our relationship. The doctors acted quickly and he was operated on and the lump removed.

We then had a one year reprieve, where no other lumps or tumors grew out of control, until now.

What to do, what to think, how to feel, I don’t even have the words, which is strange for me but it is true, it is hard to comprehend that someone that you have loved, encouraged and walked beside for all these years will soon have to undergo treatment that might render him bed ridden, nauseous, and just plain miserable.

I have to admit that with all of this looming I was starting to feel very alone, I even believed it for a while, thinking that I did not want to bother my friends, becoming a burden to them as we struggle through this, I felt that Jesus had left too and I truly had to bear the weight of all of this on my own.

Yes, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.

But then I prayed, asking the lord for a fresh revelation of himself to me at this time and for him to please lay me and my husband onto the hearts of our friends and family to pray for us. This is one journey I don’t think I am strong enough to walk through alone.

Later that morning, I heard the Lord’s wonderful voice whisper into my heart; “ I will be with you to the end of the age!” (Matthew 28:20)

I nearly jumped up and down with glee. The lord had heard my cry that morning, he came to answer me, assuring that he would be with me until the end, then I started reading in my devotional book that I had been using and it spoke of Immanuel, God with us and again I hear the lord speak to my heart, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” My knight in shining armor, assuring me of his presence, his strength and his rescue. My friends, I cannot even begin to explain to you how I felt at that moment, but I knew from that moment on that, no matter what this cancer journey looks like for us, God will be with us, leading, guiding and strengthening us all of the way. I felt his peace wrap around me like a blanket of reassurance.

It was such an amazing feeling to know without a doubt that I would not have to face these challenges alone.

Not long after this, my spiritual mom called to say that she had been thinking about me and felt that she needed to call and make sure I was ok!!!!!!

I had asked the lord, not two hours previously  to lay me on the heart of my friends and family so that they would pray for me, and I also said to him that I really missed my mom and wished that she was here to help me out with all of this and then He has my spiritual mom call me.

I nearly lost it in tears trust me, the Lord heard, and he answered me swiftly and I was safely in his arms.

All I wanted to do was shout, Yay God!!!!!!

My dear friends, don’t feel sorry for me, pray for us as we walk this road with a bend in it, so that we would be able to mine out the treasures hidden along the road, pray that we will be able to bring the love of God to all whom we encounter, that we will be strengthened and encouraged and have our hearts and minds wholeheartedly fixed on the Lord as he walks through this new phase of our lives.

Thank You

Brenda

Rest for the Weary

Rest, what does that mean, in this fast paced world that we live in, with appointments, expectations, face book, twitter, cell phones, television, ipad’s, computers, how on earth are we supposed to rest. People work long hours, doing jobs that most hate, just to make the ends meet at the end of the month.  There is running after children, who are in many different activities, supper to cook, housework to be done, television to watch, home work to help with, laundry and a vast number of other things that demand our attention.

Where is there time for family, friends, or even for ourselves and how on earth do you find rest in the midst of all of this chaos?

One solution is to sell it all, and go and live in a cabin on a mountain somewhere, but this is neither a good solution or viable for most people.

So what drives us to perform so hard? Why do we need all of the latest gadgets and toys on the market today? Why do we need to upgrade vehicles every two to three years even if there is nothing wrong with it? Why do we need to live in the best house, have designer furniture and clothing? What makes us so discontent that we drive ourselves crazy in the pursuit of it all?

I think one of the answers to all of the above questions is Greed and a Lust for More.

Yes it is true; we have this insatiable appetite for all that we do not possess. We then work harder, and longer, to possess more of what we do not have right now.

The end result is that we are ticking time bombs, for disease, heart attacks, and pure exhaustion.

I have had the privilege of being a stay home mom for all of my married life, the lord has blessed the work of my husband’s hands. We have not had a lot of money, but we managed to have a comfortable lifestyle.

Having said that I tend to be the kind of person that whatever I put my hand to, I also engage my full heart to it as well, which has created a bit of a monster in my life, I work myself to the bone doing all things as well as I can.

So, when a few months ago, my husband of 19 years was diagnosed with Lymphoma, my natural instinct was to pray harder, to work harder at tending to his every need, to ensure that my kids were walking through this ordeal reasonably well. I tried to put some control back into my rapidly spiraling out of control life.

Then I felt the lord say to me, that I needed to learn to rest in him, let him take care of my husband and children throughout all of this process and let him take care of me.

Rest for the weary!

This was then confirmed to me, by a few other people who had been praying for me, and also felt that the lord wanted me to rest.

My question was how? How do I go from being over active in the care of my family, and my friends and all whom I felt God had called me to minister for this season, and give it over to God and learn to rest in Him?

This friend was no easy task, and I am still learning how to do it. The first thing that I had to do was to actually ask the lord to forgive me for trying to play super Christian and God in everyone’s life. Ouch that one hurt!

When I played God in their lives, I did not leave room for God to work, as I was trying to control and manipulate all that happened for them.

Next I needed to recognize that I was not responsible for their care, God was, and he was a way better care taker of them, than I was.

Then I needed to learn that sometimes it was ok to go for a walk in the middle of the day, when the snow was falling or the sun was warming everything up. It was ok to read a book that had nothing to do with anything, just for the pure enjoyment of it.

I needed to learn that if I was tired, that taking a twenty minute nap to perk me up was ok, and I did not need to feel guilty about it.

 I also needed to learn that I was my own worst enemy when it came to resting and really enjoying a moment that I had been given.

Instead of fretting about all the things I had not done yet, I could take a moment and thank God for the sun that was shining and the beauty that surrounds me. I could praise him that I had a house to live in and food to eat, clothes to wear, and that my children were well and safe. I could find rest in the fact that he had blessed me with a wonderful husband, who loved me, because I was me, not for anything I could do for him, or anything else, I could just be me.

There is rest and comfort in knowing these things.

Then the lord taught me, that I could even find rest in the work that he had given me to do, whether it was writing or quilting or caring for the needs of my family, I could rest in the knowledge that he was helping me to fulfill all of the tasks before me.

If I asked him, he would give me great ideas for meals, creative ideas for quilting and writing, and he would enable me to do it all without much effort. There is rest in that knowledge.

Something that has evolved out of this journey is that my husband and I purposely take an hour each day to have lunch together and enjoy each other’s company and we have chosen a day of the week to go and play. We don’t do anything very spectacular, but we do something  that we would not ordinarily do, like go to a restaurant that we have never tried before, or look around stores that we had never ventured into before, or even have a nap together. It does not matter what we do, it matters that we take the time to unplug from the world around us and allow ourselves a moment to rest.

I praise the lord that he has been teaching me this lesson, as I was way to up tight for too many years, but now I can honestly say, that the more I learn to rest in the lord, and his provision and promises for me and my life, the more joy I feel bubbling up from deep within me. The more hope I feel for the future and the more satisfaction I get from the work I do have to do.

The lord says that if we come to him and give him our burdens then he will take them upon himself and give us rest.

Matthew 11:28 – 30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

My dear friends, this is so very true, Jesus does indeed take on our burdens, worries and concerns, he takes our stress and in the midst of it all, He gives us rest.

If you find yourself on the same treadmill of over achievement and burnout as I did, why not take a few moments right now and ask the lord to teach you to rest in him. Your rest may look different to my rest, and that is ok, but remember this, God did not make us to run around like crazy people, always working and striving and being miserable.

He wants us to rest in the knowledge that he will take care of us, refreshing us and giving us the right priorities so that we do not wear ourselves out.

Father,

I pray that today, you will teach each one of us how to truly rest in you and your ways for us, help us to get off the treadmill of overachievement and allow you to show us your perfect way for us. Thank you that you desire us to work as well as enjoy our lives while we are on this earth. Bless the work of our hands, O Lord, and strengthen us today. Lord, we surrender our whole lives to you today and ask that you will lead us into your rest. Thank you heavenly father,

Amen

 

In Sickness and in Health

When a bride and groom stand together at the alter and proclaim their vows to one another, I am not sure that they totally understand what they mean for the long term.  Recently my husband of 19 years was diagnosed with Lymphoma and as scary as that is, one of the things that I was not prepared for was my own reaction to all of it.

I have been walking with the lord for a very long time and over the years he has been training me up to take my thoughts captive, so that I would not dwell on evil, but instead choose to fill my mind with the goodness of God so that I can think on things that will bring life to me instead.

With the news of the disease, I found myself thinking, that this was a result of him not walking close enough to the lord, and maybe this was God’s way of teaching him to become more dependent on him, I found myself entertaining the thought of finally my prayers have been answered. (I write this paragraph with his permission by the way)

I entertained these thoughts for a while and even had a friend voice what I was thinking, then a week or so later, I finally voiced what I had been thinking all along; that this was a result of him not walking as closely to God as he should have. (Yes I know, you are waiting for the, oh Brenda, God is not going to let you get away with that kind of thinking!)

You would be right, because even as I was thinking it and then eventually voicing my opinion the lord was working on my heart, bringing conviction that I was not in the right, or being fair to my husband. I would love to tell you that I immediately went to the lord and repented for my thoughts, and spoken word, but I would be lying, needless to say, it took a little while to realize that this train of thought was not only a lie, but destructive to our relationship and destructive to my relationship with God if I harbor sin in my life.

I realized the error of my ways a couple of days ago and asked the lord to forgive me, I also asked my husband for forgiveness as well. He forgave me and told me that he understood as my emotions were all over the place. It still did not make it right though.

I now needed to find out what the bible taught about this kind of thought process and what God had said to the people about it. The lord reminded me of the story of a man who was born blind, and when Jesus healed the man the people wanted to know who was at fault, was it the parents who had sinned or the man? The people knew that sin was a root cause of disease; therefore it was easy to point a finger. Just like I did!

John 9:1-7

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.   As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.   “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

There are many other instances throughout the gospels of Jesus healing the sick and for various reasons they were sick, but in each case when Jesus saw them he had compassion on them and with great love and mercy healed them. He did not stand on the side lines saying, “well now let see, you have done this and that and you did not do this, so that is why you are sick” No, he had mercy on them and healed them knowing that their hearts were sinful and that they would eventually turn on him and having him crucified.

That my friend is merciful and great compassion, by showing kindness to someone, knowing that someday they would reject you and have you hung on a cross.

Then the lord brought my mind back to that verse that I learnt as a child, do not judge! You do not know the whole story and what I am doing; you cannot make judgment on someone else’s life. Ouch!

In the book of Luke Jesus taught the people to be merciful to one another as God is merciful to us, he taught that we are to show love, compassion and grace to one another. We want the grace ourselves but find it hard to give it to another person. 

Luke 6:36-42

 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.   “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?  A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.  “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?   How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

The bible is pretty clear about how I am to treat a fellow brother and sister in Christ, and my husband is my brother in Christ, so for me to stand in judgment against him, for what I perceive to be his sin is wrong.

I praise the Lord though that he showed me this, and of course it came about in a roundabout way that my heart was exposed to the light, but I am very grateful that it was. Like I have said in the previous articles, I do not want to walk in sin through this trial in my life; instead, I would like to walk in integrity and honesty becoming more and more like Christ, as he transforms me into his likeness.

Please understand, I did not write this article out of pride, but I believe that God has literally hounded me all week since I discovered the error of my ways to write it out for you. I believe that he has lessons to teach us all as we walk this path together.

Therefore, the moral of the story is, we cannot judge another man or woman, for the state that they are in, because we honestly do not know what God is trying to do or accomplish on their behalf. Another lesson of course is that we need to be merciful to others instead of being ready to throw stones at them for their “sin” and we need to check our heart and see what is lying around there, are we any different to them, do we need to repent for our pride and arrogance as well, especially when assuming something about them.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, even though this was a Sunday school lesson that I learnt a long time ago, it is valid today and if you find yourself in a position of judgment, against another brother or sister in Christ because of their behavior I urge you to heed the warning and repent. Asking the lord to forgive you is essential to keeping that relationship with him open and real.

If you have opened your mouth and actually uttered your thoughts, maybe you will need to go to that person and ask them to forgive you for judging them. It is a hard thing to do, but humbling yourself before the person, as well as before the lord is the right thing to do.

Remember the lord says that he draws near to the humble but opposes the prideful. If you are anything like me, I am sure that you do not want the lord literally fighting against you because of your prideful attitude. Repent today and let the Lord restore you to him once again.

My prayer for you today is that the lord will continue to bless you, to surround you with his favor like a shield and to draw your heart into a deeper walk with him.

Blessings

 To view the previous article in this series, click here:

 

To view article number 2 in this series click here

Justifying ourselves in the midst of adversity

Have you ever found yourself in a really hard place, physically, emotionally and even spiritually and thought to yourself, “well I am drowning anyway, so what would be the harm to do …. Or say ….. or feel ….. ?”

That is what I was hit with yesterday when I went to church; my husband and I are currently walking through the unknown  territory of Cancer at the moment, as he has recently been diagnosed and to be honest it is the hardest road that we have ever had to travel  as a couple before.

Our life together could be over before we know it, and it is a scary thought.

In the midst of this great trial in our lives I believe that God has been sharing with us some fundamental truths in order to navigate through this rough time and on Sunday when I went to church this was another one of those truths that he wanted to get through to me.

The pastor was teaching from the book of James, the first chapter, Read it below and then we will get into what I believe the pastor and God was teaching me.

James 1:1 – 16

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. 

The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.  But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.  For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business. 

 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 

Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.   Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. 

Lessons from this Passage:

  • As a Christian I must consider it pure joy when I do under go trials and tests as it strengthens my faith in Christ Jesus and it develops perseverance.(You might be thinking to yourself as you read that statement, Yeah Right! But I have found that in the midst of this great trial, I have not only experienced a peace that I cannot explain, but great joy as well, as I know that God is the one who is fighting for us, he is the one that is leading the way and He knew that this would happen one day, and in his great love for my husband and I, has been preparing us spiritually for a long time, to be able to walk through it. Therefore I can confidently feel joy as I walk through this trial.)
  • If we undergo trials it is to produce in us a maturity that only comes from having walked through something that was really hard. (Christ’s ultimate goal is to make us Christ like. He wants us to reflect him, lean on him, learn to go to him when things are both good and bad. He wants us to develop good character, so that the world around us will see that he lives within us. The unbelievers are watching the believers, and they will recognize when we handle situations differently than they do.)
  • If I lack wisdom while going through this trial I can ask God for it and he will give it to me liberally.
  • When I ask for the wisdom for my situation, I must not doubt that God will give it to me, sometimes God’s wisdom for a situation may look completely different to the wisdom that we would have thought was needed for that situation, but we need to trust that he who can see the future and what is best for us, knows exactly what we need.
  • When I have persevered through the trial I will have received the crown of life as my great reward that is eternal life. This is a great incentive to get through the trials of life in a way that is pleasing to God, as we know that he has an internal inheritance waiting for us.
  • When we are tempted to sin in the midst of the trial that we face, we should not think that it is God who is tempting us to sin; he can never do that, nor would he.
  • If we find ourselves in sin during this time, it is because we have allowed our sinful and evil desires to lead us down that path. We need to remember that sin when given a foothold in our lives gives birth to death, plain and simple; it leads us to the path of destruction.

 The pastor spoke on all of the facets of facing trials in our lives, that we should expect it, because we live in a fallen world. That it produces maturity in us as believers and that we can ask for wisdom in the midst of it all so that we will be able to understand God’s perfect will for us in the midst of the difficult situation.

Then he reminded us that we cannot allow ourselves to justify any kind of sin, when we are in the midst of a trial.

 This truth hit me like a ton of bricks.

I realized that it is so easy for us, to justify sin, when we are in a hard place. For instance, if I was poor, I could justify stealing something because my situation was rough, poor and hard.

 I felt the need to prepare my heart, so that I would guard against this happening to me as I walk with my husband on this road.

 For instance, one way that I can easily fall into sin, is feeling sorry for myself, or allowing the situation to become too overwhelming, or even getting mad at God and blaming him for my misfortune.

 The truth of the matter is that God said that there will be trials, and that he will never leave me, nor forsake me. That he will provide for me and his grace and love will be sufficient for me, regardless of how rough the road is.

 Now for me to go off into a self-pity party would be sin. I know that there will be times where I will be tempted to go into the woe is me party, but I want to walk with integrity and honor through this trial, so that when I have stood the test, I will gain the crown of life that God has promised for all those whom he loves.

 I am sure that as we walk along this particular path, there will be many temptations along the way to fall into sin, but to guard against falling into the trap of those temptations, I will need to keep in prayer,  reading my bible, allowing God to fight for me and trusting him that even though those temptations come if I surrender my heart to him completely he will help me through.

 I want to encourage you that if you find yourself in a tough spot at the moment, know that God knows where you are at, he knows the difficulties that you are facing and know that you are loved by him.

 Proverbs 10:9

The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.

 I want to be like the man in proverbs that walks securely because he has integrity, he can have confidence because none of his ways are devious and so can stand with confidence before the lord even in the midst of a great trial.

 My prayer for you is that when you face a trial in your life that you will look to the lord to be your refuge and strong hold. I pray that he will strengthen you and enable you to recognize any traps that would lead to you be tempted to sin against him. I pray that he will grow your faith in him and that you will walk out of the trial, stronger in faith than ever.

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Oil and the Oil Press

By Asher Intrater

The name Gethsemane in Hebrew is “Gat Shmanim,” meaning “Oil Press.” It is the place where olives are brought and crushed; the skin and pit are strained and separated. The result is pure olive oil. Oil is a consistent biblical symbol for the anointing of the Holy Spirit. There is little doubt that Yeshua chose this place with this name on purpose.

 We all want the oil; we want the anointing; the power of the Holy Spirit. The anointing oil brings protection, provision, and prosperity (Psalm 23:5), wisdom and authority to rule (I Samuel 16:13), joy (Psalm 45:7, Hebrews 1:9), healing and deliverance (Mark 6:13, James 5:14), light and revelation (Exodus 25:6, I John 2:27, Revelation 3:18); ability to preach and prophecy (Isaiah 61:1), intimacy in worship (Song of Solomon 1:3, Matthew 25:3, Mark 14:3), and much more.

 There is a dynamic relationship between the oil and the press. They are opposites that balance out one another. At Gat Shmanim Yeshua embraced the cross. He forced His will to submit (Matthew 26:39). It is a place of darkness, depression, and difficulty (Matthew 26:37). It is a place of self denial (Matthew 16:24); a place to be crushed; to obey unto death; to be tested; to pass through humiliation and suffering; to intercede to the point of blood, sweat, and tears.

 The oil certainly seems more attractive than the oil press. Yet there is no oil without the press. The oil is produced at the oil press. There is no other way to produce true oil. On the other hand, the purpose of the press is to obtain the oil. To suffer in obedience without obtaining that oil is not according the heart of God. The press is for the oil. The oil comes from the press.

 

A service of Frangipane
Ministries, Inc.
Copyright (c) 2012
All rights reserved.
Unless
otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations were taken from the
NASB.

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Web Bug from http://go.netatlantic.com/db/25394004/72639762/1.gifDear Brothers and sisters in Christ

Some of you may know from my previous article that my precious husband of 19 years has recently been diagnosed with Cancer, to say that we were scared and bewildered would be an understatement but due to the fact the God has lovingly poured out His great love for us, through his children and his comforting words in the Holy Bible, and given us his peace and joy inspite of the storm, we are doing OK.

For many years, and more recently in the past few months I have been asking the lord to go into a deeper walk with him, I wanted to know him, I wanted to be filled with more of his annointing to fullfill what I believe that he has called me to do.

I realise that on my own strength, I cannot do anything, but with him working through me, I can accomplish so much more. I have read of others, going deeper with God and with great longing asked for the same. Often though we are unprepared for what going deeper with God can mean to us.

In my walk with the lord over the years I have gone through many trials, gone over hills and valleys and with each difficulty God has been there, leading, guiding and strengthening me each step of the way. Through each of these difficult times, I realise that I have been in his oil press, to refine me so that I may look more like him in my character and my life.

As I read the above article this morning, I realised that once again I am in the oil press, the pressure is hard, and it is squeezing the life out of me, but I know that through the process, as the droplets of oil start to flow, I will become more and more surrendered to my saviour, and I will become more and more like him.

Even though the road that I now trod is not one that I would have chosen, I praise the lord nevertheless, as I realise that I am in his loving care, and that my precious husband is too and together we will produce more annointed oil, through this process.

I praise the lord that he promises that he will work together for the good all things for those who love him. So, even though this is a tough road to walk on, I know that God promises that he will never leave us, that he will always bring good out of what we see as bad, and that the fruit that this journey will produce will be invaluable not only to us, but also for the future plans of what God has instore for us.

Oh How I praise him for the oil presses of life.

 

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A Change of Season

Over the last month, my life has literally taken a 360 degree turn. I was happy, everyone had what they needed in the family, we had food on the table, I was pursuing writing, and encouraging people in the lord. The lord was pouring into me, teaching me, stretching me, and growing my faith and relationship with him.

Then the bomb went off. For about six months now, my dear husband has not felt so well, I couldn’t put a finger on what the problem was, and thought that it was something to do with the cholesterol medication that he takes daily.

Well about a month ago, we discovered that he had developed a lump on the side of his neck. It wasn’t too alarming at first, due to the fact that the kids were getting sick with the flu and we thought it was a gland that was swollen.

After further testing we were referred to a specialist and he diagnosed my husband with Non Hodgkins lymphoma. To say that we were in shock is a vast understatement. It felt like the wind had been blown out of our sails and we were drifting in the vast expanse called Cancer.

The shock turned to tears and then it turned to numbness. The doctor wanted to operate immediately and remove the lump, and we had to not only consent to it, but also we had to prepare ourselves for all that is to come.

We grieved, I have not grieved that hard since my precious parents passed away a number of years ago, we told our children, they too grieved. Then we told our friends and family.

I have to tell you that I was totally unprepared for the outpouring of love, concern, prayer and financial contributions to our household. I was literally blown away by the kindness of the people that God has strategically placed in our lives for such a time as this.

I am so overwhelmed by the love of God, through his children, that my heart is literally bursting. I could almost do a happy dance.

Throughout this time, I have felt the prayers of the people, and have felt the peace of God sweep over myself and my husband. I have also seen that same peace flow into my children, which to me is amazing. Although they grieved alongside us, they have come to realize that God loves them, and he has their dad in the palm of his hand and he will take care of them.

When I was reading my bible this morning, the lord led me to the book of Romans, it is a very familiar book to me, with many inspiring scriptures, but he brought my attention to a few verses that really spoke to my heart.

Romans 8:26-28

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.   And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.  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. 

I felt the lord reassure me that even when I felt overwhelmed by the grief of the diagnosis, the Holy Spirit was interceding on my behalf. Not only on my behalf, but for my children and husband as well.  He also reminded me that all of the people he had placed in my life were lifting us up as well. The lord is so faithful and kind, and so very caring to his children.

He then reminded me of a Psalm that he had led us to read this week and it is so appropriate for what he was doing behind the scenes, read this Psalm with me and be encouraged.

Psalm 20:1-9

 For the director of music. A psalm of David.

May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.   May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.   May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. Selah   May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.   We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests.   Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand.  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.   They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.   O LORD, save the king! Answer us when we call! 

Oh the joy and comfort, of knowing that God loves us so very much, that he sends his people to show his practical love, he himself intercedes for us and then he promises us that He will save us, and send us his help from heaven. He reminded me that my trust must be in him, and not on what man, can or cannot do for my husband. The lord is trust worthy and full of power and is more than able to take care of us.

As this journey progresses I know that the lord has many things to teach us, but I know that without a doubt we will learn to trust in the Lord our God in a deeper way than ever before.

My prayer for you today is this, that if you face uncertainty in your future and you feel like the storm is raging higher than you ever thought possible. I want to encourage you to look to God, to allow him to comfort your heart, allow him to show you through his word and the people that he has placed in your life, that he loves you and is trustworthy, regardless of the storm that blows your way.

I realize that we are at the beginning of the journey, but I know that God has given me a confidence that He is in control, that he will lead the way and that we will come to see his love and power through all of this. I wait in eager anticipation for all that he has for me and my family through this.

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