Saturday, November 21, 2015

Life is...

Recently, while taking a long car drive, l listened to a book on tape by Chris Favry entitled Dogwood. It is a character driven story of sacrifice and redemption with some shaking revelations and plot twists that totally took me "off guard". I loved it, so much so I listened to it another 9 hours worth! HIghly recommend you get a copy. But "praising" the book is not exactly what I want to share but rather something I read in it.

In the book there is a character named Ruthie who is witty, a bit eccentric, and definitely wise. I have taken the liberty of paraphasing her view of life thinking it may just put a smile on your face and for maybe a moment lift a burden. "A glad heart makes a happy face..." Proverbs 1:13a

Ruthie says life is a dance through a field of cow manure. Most people just dance around the edges, always trying to avoid life's smelly messes, afraid of the struggles. In so doing they miss the patches of rich green grass only the fertilizing manure can produce. And tucked in the patches of green grass are beautiful flowers that only can be seen in the middle of the field. Instead of just hugging the fence posts Ruthie advises one to put on hip boots and waltze through the cowpies! Love this "picture", probably because I grew up on a farm and can relate to this scene.

The challenging field I am facing is posted with a sign Parkinson's Disease. Recently I have been trying to juggle new medication and its side effects with diet issues. I already have given up dairy, wheat, sugar, and processed foods, & now I have to add to that list avocados, bananas, dried meats, and all fermented and aged foods because of their levels of tyramine which could cause higher than normal blood pressure interacting with the medication. 
It seems daily I am seeing greater levels of manure in this field so simply sitting down beside a fence post seems a good option. It is easy to let discouragement set in BUT I really want to see the flowers among the patches of rich, green grass, so will you join me in putting on your hip boots and skipping through the cowpies? Your field will have a different posted sign but the cow manure is the same in every field, as is the green grass and flowers!

I am reminded that going with us through that field is the Lord himself.
Deuteronomy 31:8
"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged."

Bring on the manure!!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

God is at work in the dark places!

While paging through the Bible, on my way to Hebrews, I glanced at Philemon and noticed I had written these words at the top of the page: "God is at work in the dark places." Then under the title Philemon was penned the phrase: "letter of encouragement". I was instantly intrigued since several of my friends are in what I would definately call a "dark" place in their lives right now. So I set out to read this one-page book and discovered a real gem hidden between Titus and Hebrews. 
This is one of Paul's prison letters,written while he was under house arrest in Rome, chained to a Roman guard 24/7.  Paul's positive attitude through years of sufferng is a model to follow but it is not possible except through the power of Christ. First we receive Grace {God's riches at Christ's expense} then we are flooded with God's peace no matter what our circumstance. vs. 3 "Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
What do we do while in the dark places in our lives? We give thanks, we pray, and we encourage others. In following through on these seemingly difficult tasks we reap joy and encouragement ourselves and find our hearts refreshed. vs. 7 "Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother have refreshed the hearts of the Lord's people."
Today I had the joy of watching three of my grandchildren run and jump into a pile of fallen leaves. They squealed with  laughter as their Daddy buried them only to pop up laughiing, their colorful jackets matching their big smiles. Reflecting on that moment I realize they were a picture of a christian's joy found in the "dead" and dark places of life as we turn to Him. 
Dear friends of mine; look for the joy in your dark place and "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." vs. 23