Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What is Charity?

It's silence when your words would hurt.
It's patience when our neighbor is curt.
It's deafness when the scandal flows.
It's thoughtfulness for another's woes.
It's promptness when stern duty calls.
It's duty when misfortune falls.

--author unknown

Think Twice

Before you push a brother down, THINK TWICE.
Before at another's sin you frown, THINK TWICE.
For who are you in judgment hall
Your brother to the bar to call
Tomorrow you may slip and fall--THINK TWICE.

Before the stinging gibe and quip--THINK TWICE.
Lest you yourself should feel the ship--THINK TWICE.
Withhold the gossip's idle sneer,
The thrust that draws the bitter tear,
For Fortune's favoring gale and veer;  THINK TWICE.

Is charity a quickened art?  THINK TWICE
And does it thrill both hand and heart?  THINK TWICE
The mercy you to others show,
That mercy you should some day know;
With other's faults be kind, be slow--THINK TWICE.

--author unknown

The Difference

I got up early one morning
And rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
That I didn't have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me,
And heavier came each task;
"Why doesn't God help me?"
I wondered.
He answered, "You didn't ask."

I wanted to see joy and beauty,
But the day toiled on gay and bleak;
I wondered why God didn't show me.
He said, "But you didn't seek."

I tried to come into God's presence;
I used all my keys in the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
"My child, you didn't knock."

I woke up early this morning,
And paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish
That I had to take time to pray.

Author Unknown

Why God Made Hugs

Everyone was meant to share
God's all-abiding love and care;
He saw that we would need to know
A way to let these feelings show.

So God made hugs a special sign,
A symbol of his love divine,
A circle of our open arms
To hold in love and keep out harm.

One simple hug can do its part
To warm and cheer another's heart.
A hug's a bit of heaven above
That signifies His perfect love.

by Jill Wolf

He Answers Prayer

I believe God answers prayer,
Answers always, everywhere;
I may cast my anxious care,
Burdens I could never bear,
On the God who heareth prayer.
Never need my soul despair
Since He bids me boldly dare
To the secret place repair,
There to prove He answers prayer.

Open My Eyes

Open my eyes, that I may see
This one and that one needing thee:
Hearts that are dumb, unsatisfied;
Lives that are dark, for whom Christ died.

Open my eyes in sympathy
Clear into man's deep soul to see;
Wise with Thy wisdom to discern,
And with Thy heart of love to yearn.

Open my eyes in power, I pray
Give me the strength to speak today,
Some one to bring, dear Lord, to Thee;
Use me, O Lord, use even me.

--Betty Scott Stam

Who Prayed?

Did you think of us this morning
As you breathed a word of prayer?
Did you ask for strength to help us
All our heavy burdens bear?

Someone prayed, and strength was given
For the long and weary road,
Someone prayed and faith grew stronger
As we bent beneath our load.

Someone prayed--the way grew brighter,
And we walked all unafraid.
In our heart a song of gladness--
Tell me, was it you who prayed?

Author unknown


There are little eyes upon you,
And they're watching night and day;
There are little ears that quickly
Take in every word you say;
There are little hands all eager
To do everything you do,
And a little boy who's dreaming
Of the day he'll be like you.

You're the little fellow's idol;
You're the wisest of the wise;
In his little mind about you
No suspicions ever rise;
He believes in you devoutly,
Holds that all you say and do,
He will say and do in your way
When he's grown up just like you.

There's a wide eyed little fellow
Who believes you're always right,
And his ears are always open,
And he watches day and night.
You are setting an example
Every day in all you do,
For the little boy who's waiting
To grow up to be like you.

Author unknown

We Are His Channels Now

On far and lonely shores
Where cruel sin and hate
Obscure all peace and joy,
Vast multitudes await.
Some in deep lethargy
Plod in the old, old way;
Hopeless, they face the night,
Helpless, they wait the day.

Drums throb and terror grips
The hearts of man and child,
Whether in village hut
Or in the jungle wild,
Drums throb, as wicked cults
Relay the secret word;
Screams pierce the fetid air
And then no more are heard.

Can we, who dwell in peace
In God's own joyous hope,
Ignore the plight of these
His creatures too, who grope
Vainly for one bright star
To light their deepening night?
Can we avert our eyes
From such a piteous sight?

God loves these burdened ones.
He yearns their wounds to heal.
Then we, His hands, His feet,
Must to the lost reveal
The riches of his grace
And mighty saving power;
We are His channels now--
This year, this day, this hour.

by Dorothy Conant Stroud

Friday, November 4, 2011

His Joy in the Midst of Sorrows

As I logged onto my blog today I saw that the last post was of an article a friend of mine gave to me called, "The Pain of Motherhood".  My first thought was, "Wow, how fitting, I have just experienced the pain of motherhood, quite literally!"  Just as soon as that thought passed through my mind, I realised, it is not the pain of motherhood I have faced, but the joy of motherhood and even more, the joy of facing hard times with God as my Heavenly Father.  Today as I shared with my family doctor who is a Christian, what happened to me last Sunday, she said, "You should share that with others so it can be a blessing to them."  I share this, yes, to be a blessing, but also to remind myself how good God has been to me in these past several days.  One day I will need to be reminded of what God has done for me--It may be tomorrow!

This past Sunday my husband took me to the emergency room because I had experienced a sudden burst of intense pain in my lower abdomen.  After fainting in the waiting room 3 times (and yes it took 3 times because after the first time a nurse said, "Ok, we'll get you onto a stretcher, but this won't get you ahead of the line!  I guess she's seen people try anything so they don't have to wait!) the head nurse and a paramedic lifted me onto a stretcher and took me to be assessed.  My blood pressure was extremely low so an IV was immediately started in order to start putting back into my body what it had lost.  As I lay there on the stretcher I was in pain all the way up to my right shoulder and was having difficulty breathing.  The head nurse assessed my situation and within 20 to 30 minutes (which seemed like forever) the doctor on duty for the emergency department came to assess me.  She had a wonderful bedside manner in which was combined a sense of humor but also a great sense of compassion.  She took an ultra-sound of my abdominal area and confirmed that my internal organs were surrounded by free-standing blood.  Based on the facts of what had happened that day and the month or so previously she could safely assume that I had an ectopic pregnancy and the tube had ruptured.  This was pouring blood into the area around my major organs.  She explained that they would have to do immediate emergency surgery in order to save my life.  As I lay there on the stretcher with my husband holding my hand, I began to cry a little.  The kind doctor took my hand and said, "You'll be okay.  The doctor who happens to be on tonight to do your surgery is one of the best in her field.  We'll take care of you.  It's what we've trained for almost our whole lives."  I thanked her and while it was nice to know that the doctor was one of the best, I was more thankful to know the ONE who placed her on that particular shift that afternoon.  After thanking her I said, "My God is in control."  I've often wondered, in times of great fear and pain, if I would continue to trust my Loving Heavenly Father.  It was a great comfort to me to know He had me in His hands.  As I was being prepped for surgery I had to have a blood transfusion because I had lost so much blood.  This made me nervous for a minute as I thought about all of the diseases that are spread through the blood.  I just prayed that the Lord would protect me from receiving any bad blood.  The Lord helped me to be calm and surprisingly light hearted during the whole prep time immediately prior to surgery.  My husband was allowed to go with me to the last stop before the O.R.  There we met the anesthesiologist and the nurse that would be helping the doctor perform the surgery.  Just before I was wheeled away, my husband prayed with me one last time.  As I rode on my stretcher, watching the ceiling go by I could feel fear whelming up inside of me.  We have been memorizing the Psalm 23 with our children and had just a few hours before been reciting verses 1-5 on the way to church.  As I came to verse 4 I was comforted momentarily for I was passing through the valley of death.  Psalm 56:3 was the next scripture that God brought to me, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee."  The last verse God placed into my mind brought the greatest comfort to me.  The Bible says in Psalm 46:1, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."  The word "present" in particular was the greatest comfort to me.  As I lay there, the Lord had helped me to truly see that He was there with me and he would orchestrate everything.  Whatever was to happen would be His will.  I had no more anxiety.  I was ready for the "sleepy medicine".

Upon waking I was freezing cold.  It felt like nobody was helping me.  I know that my mind was probably effected by drugs, but there is one thing I know.  I WAS COLD!  They finally put a blanket on me that was supposed to fill up with hot air, but it filled up with cold air.  I remember laying there thinking, be patient, things like this probably need time to heat up.  I don't know how long I was "patient" but I finally said, "It feels like you filled it with air conditioning."  The nurse did something and it was instantly hot.  I was getting too hot, but I wasn't going to complain, because I had tried too hard to get them to understand how very, extremely, overwhelmingly cold I was.  After a few minutes I realised I couldn't see.  It was like my head was bandaged.  I think I was bugging the nurse who was trying to manage my pain medications.  She was giving me morphine through an IV and asking me to scale my pain from 1 to 10.  I always hate doing that.  Relativity is not my forte.  While she was doing this, I kept saying, "Am I allowed to see?"  "May I please see?"  "Why are my eyes covered?"  I was starting to feel claustrophobic because I had an oxygen mask over my nose and mouth and the rest of my head was wrapped up.  She finally took off the wrapping and explained that it was a heated blanket they had wrapped around my head when I was calling out through the oxygen mask how cold I was.

As I lay in the recovery room I realised I had a captive audience to the gospel.  I don't remember exactly how the conversation went, things are still a little foggy from that moment, but I do remember asking the nurse if she was religious at all.  She said she was and suddenly became very cold towards me.  I tried to tell her a few things after that, but suddenly she didn't sit next to my bed anymore.  She went and sat at a desk and watched a hockey game or something.  I couldn't quite make out what it was.  Though I tried to make opportunities to witness to the other nurses, I guess I wasn't sick enough to have them hang around long enough!  The last nurse I had was the friendliest--and she was already a Christian.

From the recovery room I was taken to a private room for the remainder of my hospital stay.  As I was pushed down the corridor the nurse said, "Is that your husband?  Oh that's not your husband."  Since I cannot see very well at all without my glasses, I took her word for it.  As we nearly passed the man I realised it was my brother.  How thankful I was to see him as I knew my husband would have left as soon as the doctor said the surgery was complete and I was in recovery.  My husband has had to do many things out of his normal realm during this whole thing.  He has been amazing!  Love is truly revealed in times of hardship.  As I was being wheeled out of the recovery room, I knew he was home packing clothes for the kids to stay overnight with our friends.  My brother stayed with me until my husband came.  After being told he wasn't allowed to stay with me all night, my husband left me with his Bible and a book I've been wanting to read for a long time.

Sleep was difficult that night as I was experiencing a great deal of pain.  I did sleep some after being given some more pain medication, and when I awoke in the morning I felt as if I couldn't move.  God had a captive audience.  For the next several hours amongst nurses checking me and other such things, I had sweet communion with my Lord.  I thanked Him for saving my life.  I cannot begin to explain all of the things God was teaching me throughout that day.  I sensed though that this was only the beginning--that He was using this to prepare me.  He was setting me aside to gird up my loins in preparation for the difficult times ahead.  It was like the Lord had taken my face in his hands and said, "Look at me.  Don't stop looking at me.  No matter what I allow to come into your life, remember that I love you."  I didn't want that day to end.  I knew I would most likely be going home the next day and I didn't want the sweet, mostly undistracted time I was having with my Loving Heavenly Father to be over.  I had some visitors that evening and to be honest while I was thankful they came and they made me feel very loved, I couldn't wait to get alone with God again.

That night, it was God who helped me bare my sorrows--for I had lost my child.  Amidst the physical pain I had experienced, I realized this in my head, but it had not yet hit my heart.  I tried reading my Bible and praying and just going to sleep but the darkness and quietness made it more difficult.  As I lay there weeping for the loss of my child, I thanked God for answering our prayer and giving us a child.  I told Him that I didn't understand why He had seen fit to take our baby away, but I wanted to learn what He has to teach me.  Though there are many things I know the Lord wants to teach me through this, for there are many things I have learned, one was, I believe, in answer to a prayer I have been so earnestly praying in recent weeks.  This prayer was one I am ashamed to say I have not prayed as earnestly as I should have been the last 8 years.  I have been praying of late that the Lord would make me a godly mother, one who has spiritual discernment how to train her children, not just command them to jump like a bunch of little soldiers.  I realised that losing our baby had done this.  This had allowed the Lord to have uninterrupted fellowship with me to show me where I needed to repent and how I needed to change.  I am thankful that He has answered my prayer.  This event has changed the way my husband and I both interact with and train our children.

Since being released from the hospital 3 days ago, I have faced two more trials that look enormous.  We are still facing them.  One in particular, we cannot see where it will lead.  I am so grateful that we "have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities."  I thank God that He delights to show us His love and guidance.  We read in family devotions on Wednesday night that God wants to give us wisdom if we will but seek it.

Today I went to see my family doctor because I have had a low-grade fever for 3 days.  I was put on an antibiotic and told to stay in bed until Monday when I should call the OB/GYN who performed the surgery.  At that point I may have to have tests for internal infection.   My family doctor told me today that if I don't stay in bed, I could cause myself to have another surgery.  So, here I lie, watching my wonderful husband be mother and father to our four children.  Waiting, listening for whatever else the Lord would have me to learn.

To those of you who know me and have prayed for me since Sunday, I would like to say, "Thank you!" I know it is your prayers that are helping our family to face the several difficulties we are facing right now.  To those of you who do not know me.  I would like to ask you a question.  Do you know the Loving Heavenly Father I talk of?  The God Who loves me so much that He is longsuffering to teach me the things He wants me to learn, so I may bring glory to Him?  He loves you to.  If you are not already His child, He wants you to be.

You may ask, "How do I have this relationship with the loving God?"  It is very simple.  You must first admit honestly to God that you have sinned and disobeyed Him.  The Bible says in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."  In Romans 6:23 it says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

You must believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again.  His blood was shed to pay for your sins.  The Bible tells us in I Corinthians 15:3-4, ". . .Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, And the he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures."  In Romans 5:8 we are told, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  John 3:16 tells us, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish but have everlasting life."  Because Jesus loves you so much he took the punishment you and I deserved for our sins so we can be forgiven.

Lastly, you mush choose to trust Jesus alone for the forgiveness of your sins.  God promises in Romans 10:13, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."  He also tells us in John 3:18, "He that believeth on him is not condemned. . . ."  When you trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you, God forgives you!  You become His child, and He promises you a home in Heaven forever!  Put your trust in Jesus as your Saviour from sin.  Do it today, and begin to follow Him by obeying His Word the Bible.

I pray that if you are not a child of God and you have any questions that you would contact me.  If you decide today that you will accept Him as the sacrifice for your sins, I would love to know and to help you get started in the right direction building your relationship with Him!  With Him, even in the times of suffering and pain, we can have joy for we are, "Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness."  (Colossians 1:11)