Obedience

Obedience is one of those words like “discipline.”  Not popular either one of them, yet both separate the whining cry babies from the mature adults amongst us.  For believers in Jesus Christ, obedience matures our faith and transforms us into the image of Christ (a work never completed during our lifetimes).  In our humanity our flesh tugs at us to rebel or be tempted in directions other than the leading of the Holy Spirit.  But by focusing on His incredible gift of grace, studying His holy Word, and submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit we will end in a better place for sure.  I have seen it in my own life and in the lives of others.  His will is best.  His timing is best.  Why?  Because He loves us and because He is God!

These thoughts came to me after reading an interview of Ravi Zacharias in the RZIM Summer 2015 newsletter and listening to a message by Pastor Paul Mowery of Harvest Fellowship in Leo, Indiana.  At the close of his message on Romans 11, Pastor Paul encourages us to “be about worship,” praising His great name for having mercy on us as recipients of the Lord’s grace.  We are not to dwell on what each of us may have done that draws attention to ourselves.  We are to be about Him: worshipping our Father God.

Lately I am struggling with these themes.  Many of my posts here have tried to pull something meaningful out of the challenges of a wretched illness.  As the days wear on with the setbacks of late, I have found myself literally screaming out my anger at God with the wails that accompany the convulsive seizures.  “Why do you hate me?”  Oh yeah, it’s bad.  Even my beloved Steve who has been at my side during a fair amount of this hell admits his anger at God.  And we are convinced that this is an o.k. thing to do.  It is not an o.k. place to stay, however.  And it is certainly not an acceptable attitude to act upon.

You simply cannot be angry at someone whom you do not love dearly.  Such is our dilemma.  We both love the Lord, Jesus Christ, and are humbled, grateful for His mercies in each of our lives.  We have so much goodness between us!  We are grateful for so much!  And in our humanity we are broken and don’t like the brokenness.  Way down deep we are hurting and it is this hurt that fuels the anger.  Admitting this will be the way out, the way back to fellowship, the discipline that will bring obedience, the song of worship yet to come . . .

So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
    during the time of testing in the wilderness, (Hebrews 3)

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Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.  (Hebrews 3)

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being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 1)

Today with the faith of a mustard seed (that I understand is rich in nutrients of which I am needing anyways!) I will choose to honor and worship the Lord, my King.  He has built this frame in which I dwell and within it dwells the Holy Spirit.  Broken or not, it is the vessel from which I will praise His name all of my days.  I lay my angst on His mighty throne of grace, with great expectation of His promise to redeem it for His glory.

obedience, endurance, waiting on the Lord, discipline, redemption, redeeming grace, redeem

May He be glorified in all.  My Jesus.  My all in all.  Worthy of our praise.  Worthy is this Lamb of God!  JJ

a question of character: no April’s fool.

Learning from one’s mistakes is a given for any reasonable person.  We must learn from our mistakes or we will sucuumb to foolishness in due time.  Learning from the unforeseen negative consequences of a reasonable decision is more difficult yet still a given for any reasonable person.  Figuring out how to do this is, well, rarely given!

In the event a reasonable person makes a difficult decision after heartbreaking circumstances leading up the decision, and the outcome is good, we all celebrate.  In the event a reasonable person makes a difficult decision after the heartbreaking circumstance and the outcome is not good, we all are either:  1) sad and hang in there anyways or 2) indifferent then simply walk away from the painful truth for a time.  And it could be a long time, in my observation.  Some folks watching you may never return.  When folks have left my life my response has wavered from “let them go” to “seeya next time.”  Both are the same really and have served to preserve my ego, my character.

How I feel about the good or bad of the total circumstances must not drive who I choose to be.  In other words my identity must not become destroyed by the mistake, the misfortune.  My character must remain fixed on the fact that I am who Christ has made me to be.  He knows me, love me, leads me, and will be there whatever the outcome of a situation may be, long before I ever know about it.  So using the insight of John Maxwell and applying it to my ramblings this April Fool’s Day, no matter what may come I must go forth with wisdom.  The best source of wisdom is the Bible and the words of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Here’s some I like today:

10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”   Job 2

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  Proverbs 1

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:1

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Philippians 1

Well cool beans.  Now that I have settled the matter at least in my own mind, I will put my feelings of foolishness aside.  I mean, how could I have known that a painful, expensive dental procedure that I had researched for 9 months would only get rid of wretched convulsions for a couple of days?  Holy cow.  Or is it holy crap?  Crapolaski?  (I’m Polish dontcha know.)  Of course right away I wanted to share my joy with the online world and posted the news everywhere!  You are my peeps these days, my tribe during these years of relative isolation.

So there you go:  the truth.  My “Hope Beyond” must remain in the Lord Jesus Christ and not in my circumstances.  He will use this for His glory:  the good, the bad, the ugly.  My character remains despite my misfortune, despite my weakened and pained frame.  And this Sunday I will rejoice with 2 fewer root-canaled teeth the promise we Christians remember at Easter.  Christ is risen and He will come again in glory!  On this we can be certain.  As for my situation, I probably just need more time to heal these fried nerve endings.

It is still a beautiful day outside and my garden is coming back to life.  Hang tough, Gentle Reader.  In due time, I AM GOING TO BE WELL!  Just Julie

It is here!

HOPE eBook CoverIt is here!  I am grateful to announce that my new eBook is now available!   Simply use the coupon code UR45T for your free copy beginning November 1st at:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/371334

The first year enduring and battling a serious illness can test everything we thought we knew about coping with the trials of life.  In this ebook, I invite you to share the more meaningful moments of my journey as I seek to draw strength from outside of myself to endure the trials of my particular story.  My hope is that you, too, will find strength and hope that transcends your day-to-day experience.  I also hope that you will consider the hope found in God though a personal relationship with His Son.  His presence in One’s life makes a difference in where a person lands when this particular journey of life is over.  Will we have peace or will we have despair?

With a sincere heart, it is my privilege to share my journey with you.  Let not these trials of ours be wasted, eh?  Gentle Reader, are you ready for enduring hope beyond what we can see?  If your answer is, “Yes!”  then I invite you to read, Hope Beyond Lyme:  The First Year.  With extra bonus pages and the most meaningful and encouraging vignettes updated from this blog, may it uplift you, knowing that you are not alone, not today, not ever.  :J

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While I would never compare my experiences these past 2 years to the incredible suffering of the apostle Paul of the Bible, I draw encouragement from his words as noted below.  My prayer on my most wretched of days was that there would be some greater purpose for this illness, that something meaningful would come from it.  I hoped that my writing would not be a rant that went no where.  I did not want to end each posting with more anger, hurt, sadness, or negativity than when I began either.  My hope is that I would leave you with more good than not-so-good.  To encourage others, well, that would be awesome as well as pose a tremendous responsibility to get it right as a matter of stewardship.  The Lord gave me a voice and my hope was that I would use it to glorify Him most of all.

If you like what you see here, would you kindly share it with others?  The free coupon special won’t last long!  And thank you for being with me along this journey thus far.  Shall we continue the adventure another year together?  Oh I hope so!  Take care Gentle Reader,  Just Julie

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12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.  (Philippians)

To Blog or Not to Blog, That is the Question

Shall I blog for my own aggrandizement or to edify the Lord?

If I sign my name and not His with His Word, have I turned the attention to my finite mind and wisdom instead of His omniscience?

Will the cutsy comics and quips create a stir in the moment and not an eternal fire in the hearts of men and women?

Can coping for the moment or finding the next cure become a substitute for finishing the race of life well no matter what, for His glory, His purpose, His plan?

If suffering is my best result in this life, will it still be wasted if I do not see the fruit of my labors and toils in the next 24 to 48 hours?

The apostle Paul wrote many letters inspired by God while in chains, in prison, in recovery from tortuous beatings and deplorable conditions.  If we own a computer and can read this, we will not be able to fully understand how God used this broken man to change the world forever.  He had His own infirmities on top of this such that others had to record the words for him so that we would know the heart of God centuries later.  God’s Word, though Paul inspires me to look beyond the blog, the news headline, the Facebook posting for real, enduring answers and truth.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.  (Phil 1)

The questions noted earlier are among the important questions for Christian bloggers no matter what the topic of conversation.  I doubt that each of us will ever really know the answer to the question, “why do I blog?”  Oh we might think we have a purpose, a theme, a mission for our works .  .  .  I just hope that for me, my words have little to do with my drama and more to do with the One who created me!

24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:     that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,     justice and righteousness on earth,     for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.  (Jer 9, NIV)

Your thoughts?

Kermit the Frog Here

Kermit

James 1 reminds me:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

These words have guided me for years during many trials by fire and extreme life makeovers!  As I have said many times this past week:  “If I did not have my faith in Jesus Christ, I’d be lost.”

Wow.  That is a testimony of sorts I guess.  I give the Lord credit for the presence of mind to utter those words after seizure attacks during various health appointments and when communicating with non-believers on Lyme-specific Facebook pages.  I said it because it is true.

To God be the glory for the things He hath done in my life, for the good that may come.  I’m going to hang in there for, as Paul Harvey put it, “the rest of the story.”  Or better yet as the apostle Paul wrote when bound in chains in his letter to the Philippians:

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1).

Now that’s a promise for which to hang in there, eh?  Turn to Jesus and He will carry you too!