Posts Tagged ‘reflecting’

Biblical Perseverance:  All of my February Morning Munch Spots in one place!

Morning Munch Monday February 10th

Morning Munch Tuesday February 11th

Morning Munch Wednesday February 12th

Morning Munch Thursday February 13th

Morning Munch Friday February 14th

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I thought that I would post some of the encouraging comments from Allana’s Caringbridge site.  I obviously could not post them all (the web page has had almost 13,000 hits!).  We are thankful to every person who has expressed support in so many different ways!

The Beginning

Allana, I believe God has something very, very special planned for you, he must have because look at all the tests he has and continues to place in your path and the path of your family.You are an inspiration to all of us, your strength and faith are amazing. I can only hope that one day I will have half the strength and faith you have.Since you have came into my life and I have watched and read your posts, notes etc. I can honestly say I have more faith in God than ever before.
Your sweet Nisa Faith is such a beautiful little girl, what a joy she must bring into you and Sam’s life. If God can make such a precious gift possible, surely he can help you beat this fight against leukemia.Keep up the fight girl, you can do anything with His help.
You and your family are in my prayers daily and in my thoughts often. Love to you and yours.

 

Sam, Allana, Emily, Robert, Sami, Chayla, Nisa,
We love you all and praying constantly for each of you.
I woke up this morning and literally the very first words that came to mind were:
 “Let faith arise! Let faith arise! Open my eyes! Open my eyes! Be still there is a healer. His love is deeper than the sea. His mercy is unfailing. His arms a fortress for the weak.” (Chris Tomlin)
I’m singing and praying this over you today.
What a beautiful and God glorifying entry. My husband heard the word, Leukemia 13 years ago after our first son was born. We know all too well the horrible haze of cancer but have also experienced tremendous grace in the midst of it. In this haze and fog, you will emerge fully aware and completely overwhelmed by the capable hands of God that have been carrying you thru. We will be lifting your family before the mercy seat of God and claim healing in Jesus’ name. God bless you and always hold on to the One who is holding you.
A few years ago, G and I were searching through the Bible looking for a verse to share on a school friend’s caringbridge site. Like you, he had been diagnosed with leukemia. We stumbled on this verse in Psalms from the Message Bible. Since then this verse has found its way to several more caringbridge sites as we have seen friends walk these unexpected journeys in life. And I cannot think of a better word for you today!

God’s love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic. Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks. Psalm 36:5-6

You know, I said stumbled upon this verse and yet I know with God, there is no such thing as stumbling. What an amazing God that in all that he is, nothing slips through the cracks. Today his love for you  lights up the sky like the brightest meteor and he holds you tenderly in the palm of his hand.

We love you and are praying for you!

You all are in my prayers as you walk through trying to wrap your heads around the reality of this.

I am praying for wisdom for your treatment team, and supernatural strength for the fight.

I have a friend that has survived AML; she is now going on 11-12 years ago this year that she received her life-saving bone marrow transplant.   She, too had a young baby at the time of her diagnosis.  It was touch and go for her for many months.

Keep immersing yourselves in Scripture, and allow your brother and ssisters in the Lord to hold up your weary hands in the battle.

To actually see the word, “dying” makes this so startlingly clear of the harsh reality of the situation for Allana and her family. It makes my heart physically ache. I am praying so hard! Stay as strong as God will help you to be. Stay positive….and I can see you guys are so strong in your faith and I can tell you guys are seeing the silver lining, even in this. Love you, Allana. I want so badly to be there to hold your hand, to hug your family…but I’m going to continue to pray with all my might, because where I.cannot do, I’ll always pray.

 

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Nisa Faith was born on 12-16-2012 at 9:40 pm.  She was 7 lbs. 3 oz. and 20.5 in. long.  Yet those simple statistics do not in any way define the miracle of faith that she is to this family.  A physical living expression of the journey that God has taken this family on over the past decade.  I have been literally overwhelmed by her presence in our lives and not just by the usual intensity of life with a new baby.  I am going to re-post my blog from July 31st because today I stand with the realization of that post in my arms:

                  (Nisa- Miracle)

Faith

Guidry

We have prayed for this day for 9 years.  We have ached for the losses and doubted our faith.  We refused to give up even when we were labeled as a “Chronic Miscarriage” case.  When the entire world (and even God himself from a purely worldly standpoint) seemed to be saying emphatically NO, the Holy Spirit whispered in our ears to leave it in the Father’s hands.  So we did.  Don’t get me wrong we cried, we wailed, we begged over and over again.  We wanted at times to throw in the towel and act out of our own understanding.  We still do not completely understand, but understand this:  We have a mighty heavenly Father who cares for us in ways that I cannot begin to fathom.  He loves us in a way that is so far beyond my understanding that I only touch the edges of what AGAPE really means!

Several weeks ago while in prayer God gave me the name Nisa Faith.  Indeed she is a miracle of faith, not the simple faith of a single prayer or even the cry for healing but the faith of a 9 year journey.  She represents to us the faith of Abraham as he led his entire family to Canaan.  She represents the faith of Joseph as he waited in slavery, in prison for God to act.  She is even now, yet in the womb that miracle, an incredible act of God.

The difficult part to grasp is that my statement about our Father’s love for us is not just true because Nisa is healthy and strong.  It is an eternal truth that is expressed in both the tragic and the joyful.  He does not love us more now than he did on the very days that we miscarried our other seven precious babies.  The reality is that our journey to the fulfillment of the call that He had placed on our lives led us directly through David’s “Valley of the Shadow of Death”.  While we might prefer a detour around the Valley, God does not promise that.  He does promise that he will be with us, standing by us with His rod and staff and even more importantly for New Testament believers dwelling in us.  Many times it is not until after we are through the Valley that we are able to look back and see that God wielded His rod and staff on our behalf as we walked that  difficult road.

Even more than she represents the miracle of life to us, she is the miracle of faith itself.  Perhaps a better way to say it is that she is an expression of miraculous faith.  Faith inspired by the ongoing presence of God in our lives.  It is the faith that kept Abraham going on his 400 mile journey.  It is the faith that kept him in relationship with God even when he arrived only to face famine.  It is the faith that saw the birth of Isaac and the substitution of a ram for his only child on the mountain before God.  It is not a faith of the perfect life or of perfect people. It is a faith that traverses pitfalls and carries us through our own mistakes; faith that originates not with us but in the very heart of God and comes to us as a gift from the hands of our heavenly Father.  It is Nisa Faith.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lied down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.  Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

PSALM 23

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We had our baby shower for Nisa Faith on Friday.  It was a joyous occasion!  She is truly a miracle of faith.  As I watched our many friends and brothers and sisters in Christ who came to celebrate Nisa with us I considered the nature of the miraculous.  It came to me that as wonderful and amazing as miracles are in our lives they are born from, take place in the midst of and birth burden, or a weight upon our lives.  Consider a story very much apropos to our situation, Hannah and Samuel.  The miraculous event of Samuel’s birth was born out of the burden of Hannah’s barren state, born into the burden of a Spiritual vacuum in Israel and birthed the prophetic burden and kingly burden that would eventually be carried by the house of David and eventually and eternally by Jesus Christ.

It is with incredible joy and godly heaviness of heart that I look at the burden that set the stage for our miracle child.  The burden that miracles are born out of consists of suffering.  It would suggest a corollary for the Christian, for all who have a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  That is that all suffering is simply the path to the miraculous for those who are followers of Jesus.  The final assurance of Romans 8:28, “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.”  This promise seemed stale and far away when we were in the midst of the burden.  Just as the promise of God’s intervention must have seemed distant to a mourning and desperate Hannah as she endured the initial reaction of Eli the priest.  David felt the burden and the distance when he penned Psalm 22, pouring out his soul in verse and weaving a prophetic tapestry of the Messiah under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

“My God, my god, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? 

My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.”  (vs 1-2)

David ends this Psalm with a recognition of the burden/miracle relationship and his own rendition of Romans 8:28:

“Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord.  They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn:  He has done it!”  (vs. 30-31)

He Has Done It!

Next: In the Midst of Burden

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“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children… My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner’s wand informs them; For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray, And they have played the harlot, departing from their God. They offer sacrifices on the tops of the mountains And burn incense on the hills, Under oak, poplar and terebinth, Because their shade is pleasant. Therefore your daughters play the harlot And your brides commit adultery.”  Hosea 4:6, 12-13

As you may have noticed I am studying Hosea.  I would like to thank Dr. Stephen Dempster of Crandall University for recommending Douglas Stuart’s works on Hosea and the Minor prophets. I came across these Characteristics of Idolatry in Word Biblical Themes Hosea-Jonah.  The parallels to modern life and modern Christianity are unmistakable.  While we may disdain the ancient Peoples who worshiped gods of wood, metal and stone I wonder how really far removed we are from them.

1.  Idolatry claimed to offer results that were guaranteed

2.  Idolatry indulged the selfish interests of people

3.  Idolatry was easy

4.  Idolatry was convenient

5.  Idolatry was normal

6.  Idolatry seemed logical

7.  Idolatry was pleasing to the senses

8.  Idolatry was indulgent

9.  Idolatry was erotic

The world has not changed so much in the last 3000 years in the way that it entices God’s people to abandon their covenant with him and in the way that it seeks to prevent the lost from finding Him.  The allure of idolatry is just as strong (if not stronger) today for God’s Church as it was for God’s People in the days of Hosea.  How we respond to the siren song of Neo-idolatry shapes our relationship to God on both a personal and corporate level.

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Joe is one of the homeless guys that frequent TLH for a meal and a place to sit for a few minutes.  He is perhaps one of the most difficult of the people in our community to deal with and he just might be the most honest.  From the title you might think that Joe has been hateful, rude or mean to me or even destructive to TLH.  This could not be further from the truth.  Joe is appreciative of the meals we provide and the moments of rest and relaxation that he experiences in his otherwise very mobile day.  He has always been mostly polite, at least by his own standards (on occasion his colorful language and energetic demeanor has worried my immediate neighbors that he is being less than kind).  Even when he arrives less than sober he has always been respectful to me and the property.  So then why is Joe so difficult for me?  Joe hates God.

He clearly believes in God.  On more than one occasion he has acknowledged my relationship with God asking me to present to Him the long list of wrongs that plague Joe’s life.  He blames God for everything negative that has ever happened to him and sees only a cruel being who refuses to intervene in any kind of positive way in his life.  While this type of external locus of control is not unusual in today’s society, I have not run into too many people who so squarely place their animosity on God.

So then what do I do with this man?  What would I do with someone who hated my wife with a deep-seated passionate hatred?  This man literally hates the purpose of my entire life.  He hates the Spirit that indwells me and the savior to whom I owe everything.  It would perhaps be easier if my wife or myself or even my children were the object of his animosity.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you:  Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matthew 5:43-48

I have often heard that last phrase pulled out of context and misused.  Jesus is specifically referring to love.  He is establishing a concept that John would later develop as a major theme of all his writings.  God is love.  The Greek word here for perfect is τελειος which carries the idea of completeness.  God’s love is complete, without gaps, without limitations and without exceptions and more importantly we are called to love in the same way.

So as Joe walked away and yelled @#$%% you God, even as my heart cringed and my pride bristled at this man’s arrogance  I was quietly corrected by the Holy Spirit, “Sam, forgive him, he does not know what he is doing.”  My pride deflated and my heart melted as the heart of God for this man flooded me.  “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Thank you Lord for continuing to teach me, for continuing to bear with me.  Give me your love for all the “Joe’s” out there.  Develop in me Your heart and Your perfection at Loving the Haters.

If you can, add Joe to your daily prayer list.  He has a hard life and maybe it needs to get harder before he can see the truth.  Pray that his heart is softened and that whether it is through TLH or another godly place he receives the truth that will penetrate the fog of deception that he is surrounded by.

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This message came to me several days ago.  I heard it but I wasn’t really listening.  As I often do when God lays a message on my heart I immediately wanted to get the message out.  I sat down I tried to compose this very blog.  Much to my frustration it just wouldn’t come together.  So I pushed it to the side and almost relegated to indigestion.    I had moved my eyes from the source to the message.  I had heard God, but I had not listened.  Several days later during a Bible Study when my body, soul and spirit was focused on Him, I received the clear “OK now” and shared this message with the group.  There was an immediate feeling of peace and fulfillment. It is in this process of hearing and listening that maturity comes.  One without the other leads to frustration, fear and even despair.  For me it has opened the door to a new season of growth in my walk with Him.  This is going to be a season of positioning myself to hear Him and focusing on His face to Listen.  It is going to be a season of speaking His word and reflecting His face.

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