Saturday, June 25, 2022

Something to Bless Your Day Today

With all that is going on in our world we need the Lord and His Word to cheer us and encourage us.  Many of us are also experiencing difficult circumstances in our personal lives.   We also need the Lord and His Word to cheer and encourage us in those personal trials.

The beauties of spring and God's creation that are all around us can further help to uplift and cheer us.  I have been posting pictures on Facebook from time to time of flowers popping out on our yard.   I would like to feature some pictures today again on this post.  The only difference is that these pictures were taken a couple years ago.  May these pictures be a blessing!  Remember creation's beauties are God's love gifts to you!












Sunday, June 19, 2022

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day in the United States, so I am once again taking a bit of a break from my regular format.  I am thankful today for my Dad who showed an immense amount of patience and perseverance in his life.  He patiently endured the struggles that most farmers endure.  He always put his trust in the Lord during those moments.  I also saw his patience, perseverance, and trust in the Lord during those years of major health problems.  I still have a postcard that he sent me while he was in the hospital.  He wrote this that day, "I feel a little blue, but there is One Almighty above who loves and cares."  My Dad always read Scripture and prayed at the table as well.  His example helped me to persevere during some very difficult moments in my life like caring for my first husband, fighting breast cancer, and losing my husband to death.


Today I also am thankful for my first husband, Wayne, who was the father to my sons and now lives in Heaven.  His Godly example to his sons and his gentle and loving nature were wonderful examples to all who knew him.  He was a hard worker, and loved his family very much.  He also persevered until his death though some very difficult health problems.  In many ways he reminded me of my Dad.

Finally, I am thankful for Bob who became my husband nearly three years ago this coming July.  He is a loving and concerned father to his daughters and also grandpa to his grandchildren.  He is very concerned about their welfare.  He also cares about my children and their welfare.  He further loves me.  He often reminds me of God's blessings to us.

Today, dear reader, thank God for the blessing of Godly men in your life as well.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Choosing Gratitude


Gratitude is one of the most important attitudes that we should cultivate. When I was a family caregiver for my first husband, Wayne, it was difficult to be thankful in the chaos and drama of watching my husband's body deteriorate step by step.  Life became so very overwhelming at times. Life as a widow also involved moments of grief and challenge for me.  Although remarried, life continues to have struggles and challenges.  That is the nature of life on this earth.  

Yet there have been many awesome answers to prayer also in the last years in my life.  One of them is the recent successful life-giving surgery of my sister, Nancy.  God has worked in amazing ways in other struggles in my life in the last years as well.  He further daily brings blessings sometimes through the beauties of creation and sometimes through other people.  

When I begin to struggle with life's difficult moments, I have learned that the course of action that helps me most is to write down a few things each day for which I am thankful. This simple practice helps to open my eyes to the little wonders and love gifts of God which are still all around me in my life.  I now often write down things for which I am thankful that day based on the promises I find in the Bible in my morning devotions as well as other blessings that I see transpiring in my life.

I think gratitude has to go even further than writing down a few things for which I am thankful each day, however.  It has to be a heart attitude.  In the measure I  experience this heart attitude in spite of difficult circumstances, there will be joy and peace.

A few years ago I read a book by Nancy Leigh De Moss called Choosing Gratitude.  It is a book I would like to relocate and read again.  In one chapter she listed eight reasons for a grateful heart in spite of circumstances.  One reason is that gratitude is a matter of obedience.  It is commanded by God throughout His Word especially in the Psalms and the New Testament Epistles,  Gratitude also draws us closer to God.  When we long for a greater sense of God's nearness or life's stresses pile up, gratitude to the Lord is the gateway to the Lord's presence.

Gratitude is further the only sure path to peace.  Life difficulties can pile up and become overwhelming. Prayer is a good avenue of release, but it must be accompanied with gratitude (Philippians 4:6-7.) When gratitude combines with prayer and we open our eyes to God's blessings and mercies even in the midst of heartaches, peace follows.  When we thank God even when we can't understand what He is doing in our lives, there is peace.

Gratitude is also a gauge to our heart.  It is often easy to be thankful for the obvious blessings.  It is less easy to be thankful for the more difficult and hard to understand blessings.  If one is thankful in all things, it shows a heart which believes that God is always faithful and good and can be trusted. Giving thanks in all things is not acquired in a moment.  It is the result of many choices to be thankful even in difficult moments.

Gratitude is the will of God.  Choosing it is more important than choices we make about any other of life's decisions.  All other life decisions pale in comparison to choosing gratitude.  Gratitude is proof of being filled with the Holy Spirit.  It is evidence that we are yielding to His control. Gratitude further reflects Jesus' heart.  Even the night before Jesus was put on the cross He showed gratitude to the Heavenly Father in His prayers at the Last Supper.  He gratefully and willingly submitted to the Father's will in spite of the horrors of the cross just before Him.

Finally, gratitude prepares us for heaven.  Think of all the saints in heaven praising God before His throne.  My first husband is no longer suffering from his neurological disease, but he is praising God before His throne right now! So are other loved ones who have gone on before me.  I too can join in that praise by thanking and praising the Lord now.  Life is often difficult.  Yet in the measure we thank God in and even for the difficulties peace will follow.  Resolve with me to walk that path, dear reader.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

God's Love in Our Need

 


Perhaps you are overwhelmed with the situations in your life right now.  Maybe you are overwhelmed by family caregiving responsibilities, or perhaps there is another trial which is weighing you down.  Maybe you are simply burdened with your own sins and failures.  In life situations like this your needs and sins placed at His feet is the very thing that attracts God's love to you.

Ruth Meyers says this in her book, The Satisfied Life, "What qualifies you to receive God's love?  We qualify simply because we need it.  She then quotes C.S. Lewis who wrote this, "Our whole being, by its very nature, is one vast need, incomplete, preparatory. empty yet cluttered, crying out to Him who can untie things that are now knotted together and tie up things that are still dangling loose."

Jesus took upon Himself the horrors of punishment for all His people's sins past, present, and future.  If we are a child of God, can we not now then trust Him with all our needs and heartaches?  God's very heart is to love us as His children.  Instead of running around fretting and worrying when a new trial arises, should we not instead run to Him?  Should we not instead just bask in and enjoy His love?  Trials are never easy, but He tells us to run to Him and rest in Him (Matthew 11:28-30)

Dane Ortlund says this in the epilogue of his book, Gentle and Lowly, "Whatever is crumbling all around you in your life, wherever you feel stuck, this remains, undeflectable; His heart for you, the real you, is gentle and lowly.  So go to Him.  That place in your life where you feel most defeated, He is there; He lives there, right there, and His heart for you, not on the other side of it but in the darkness is gentle and lowly.  Your anguish is His home.  Go to Him." 

The Lord will be faithful to the end of your trials, each and everyone of them.  He will also be faithful to the end of your life and take you to live with Him in Heaven, if you are His child.  That is how great and enduring is His love for you as His child.  Dane Ortlund says this also in his book, "Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into glory.---In the coming age we will descend ever deeper into God's grace in kindness, into His very heart---"


Friday, May 27, 2022

Thank You, Lord, for Answered Prayer


Last week in my blog post I asked all my readers to be caregivers by your fervent prayers for my sister, Nancy.  Below is the link to my last week's blog post, if you did not get to read it.   https://christiancaregiving.blogspot.com/2022/05/requests-for-fervent-prayer.html  

For those who fervently prayed for Nancy I am happy to report that Nancy came through an intensive twelve hour plus surgery with flying colors on Wed, May 25.  She has to spend time in the IC for a few days and one to two weeks total in the hospital. Yet when we consider her having gone through this type surgery she is doing very well.  (She was given some blood on Friday, because of low blood levels, but otherwise she is doing well considering the circumstances.)  This is because of hundreds of prayers that were sent on her behalf.  Thank you for your prayers.  Please continue to pray for her in the months of recovery ahead.  This all also happened, because we have a faithful God.  Thank You, Lord!  Praise Your name!

If you want to read the caring bridge post my niece wrote the day after surgery in behalf of her Mom, my sister, you can click on the below link.  May you be encouraged in your faith, as you read it.

https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/nancyvandyke/journal/view/id/62901669cac2ec2ac87f4813?fbclid=IwAR0hOeW2GSzhxvGIwqt2gAuVW0FzthHG_qgqHMPosuEMIGZMhGajyESo3JQ

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Requests for Fervent Prayer


Because of my years of being a caregiver for my first husband, Wayne, I have a desire to encourage family caregivers.  In a sense we are all caregivers to someone we know and perhaps love. Caregiving can be an intense day after day endeavor for months or years like it was for me.  It can also involve stepping up and being a caregiver for a shorter term illness.  

Caregiving can also come through words of encouragement and prayer for people you know and love.   I am asking that you will do that today.  I am asking that you will pray for my sister, Nancy, her husband, her adult children and spouses, and her grandchildren.  Nancy was diagnosed about two years ago with colon cancer.   This cancer is also in the lining around her organs.  Nancy needs prayer and so does her family members who care about and for her.  She has already been in an intense battle against this cancer through chemo and surgery to remove a tumor which was ready to burst in her colon.  

The chemo is no longer working as it should.  So in a few days on Wednesday, May 25 Nancy is scheduled for a very serious surgery in a hospital a few hours from her home. She will need to stay in the hospital for seven to fourteen days after surgery, and there will be recovery time at home after that.  This surgery is serious and scary to those of us who love her.  It also gives us a sense of hope and excitement at the possibilities.  Will you please pray for her and her family?  Please pray that this surgery will take place as scheduled, and that it will produce great results.   Thank you ahead of time for your prayers.


(Below is Nancy's story in her own words.  It is a link to her latest Caring Bridge post concerning this upcoming surgery.)  

https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/nancyvandyke/journal/view/id/62815cb01c4e7bd91fad37f1?fbclid=IwAR1xZrdpxKrkOLd9vnezu2Z9SICGr9h0f4tj8RpNA_BC0bo5bbAKCVvzfu


Saturday, May 14, 2022

Faith


Faith is a beautiful thing.  Faith must be in the Lord alone, however.  Faith in anything else in this world will always fail us.  Faith in the Lord is the only true source of stability, hope, purpose, and refuge when life's difficult moments occur.  Faith in the Lord helps us face the realities of life when they become overwhelming.  In fact, faith demands that we face reality with its challenges both difficult and exciting.  We need to in faith pray to the Lord to help us accomplish this.

How do we hold on to faith when we feel overwhelmed by the problems all over the world and by the problems we see in our own lives and in the lives of those we love?  I have a sister who has been fighting serious cancer for about two years now.  My husband's sister-in-law just passed away from cancer.  Other family members in both Bob and my families are going through struggles as well.  Bob himself was and is on antibiotics.  How does one hold on to faith in the struggles of life?  

The answer is that we trust the Lord.  We know that He is in control.  We trust that He provides joy and strength even in the most difficult of situations.  We trust that His love for us is unending and limitless.  We trust that He will never forsake us.  We also trust that He will guide us through this life step by step and in the end take us to be with Him.

Also when we slow down enough in our hurrying and scurrying through life to recognize our many blessings and to recognize the goodness of God through it all, we grow in our faith and love for Him.  We then see how many prayers God has answered in our lives.  We recognize His daily provision and protection for us.  Then gratitude and joy follows replacing all the negative emotions.  Yes, sad emotions and lamenting are still often there, but our perspective changes.  It become an eternal and faith-filled perspective.

It is difficult at times to maintain that faith in the face of obstacles and heartaches.  Only the Lord can give us the faith we so desperately need.  Yet prayer, reading God's Word, and worship paves the way to this kind of abundant faith-filled life.  It is the means the Lord uses to guide us and walk with us throughout life and into Eternity.  There is no better friend then Him.