Undertake, Not Undertaker

Some days I am productive. Today is not that day.

Some days I am bursting with vitality. Today is not that day.

I am recovering from the last round of Prednisone. Usually, I eat everything in sight. This time? I couldn’t sleep. The longer I was on it, the less sleep I got. I averaged 4 hours a night during the last week.

Now that the Prednisone is out of my system, my body is rebelling to the lack of rest: headaches, drowsiness, etc. I know I will just have to go to bed early…

until Christmas!

Two members of the band were still gone today and I had to play their parts. It turned cold and my thumb cracked open. I put a butterfly strip on it to pull it closed and wrapped it in paper tape. (The crack was not on the surface that hits the keys.)

When we arrived at church, it was 60 degrees inside. (I carry fingerless gloves for just such times.) The heat was turned on, but it took an hour for it to warm up.

It’s raining and the changes in barometric pressure wreaks havoc on my sinuses.

Both vaporizers broke.

When I read today’s verse I was looking forward to a nap, not a challenge.

Deuteronomy 12:18, “…And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all that you undertake.” ESV

But, when I entered in to worship, I got the strength I needed to do what God has called me to do.

I rejoice that my thumb is healing and it won’t rain forever. I have a warm bed to sleep in; and David went out and bought a new vaporizer!

My favorite song is “Dance Again”…

“Praise him when your heart is breaking; when your strength is almost gone, lift up your song and praise him, through the fire and fury, in the dark night of your soul. Your God is in control…”  Life Worship, Uk

Dear Lord,

Thank you that I never undertake anything alone. Thank you for bringing healing through worship.

Amen

 

From Each Its Best Part

I slowly pushed myself up in 15 half push-ups. After the last one, I collapsed on the floor, panting as if I had just run a 5K.

I was doing the “No Excuses Workout” that I learned from Jonathan Roche at www.bootcamphub.com. Jonathan is a personal trainer who encourages alternating brief, intense exercise, with brief periods of rest.

After the first exercise, I decided I needed to rest. I slowly counted to 15.

Shoving my feet under the couch, I proceeded to do 15 sit-ups. These were harder! I had to count backwards to trick myself into completing them.

I collapsed back on the floor again, counting even more slowly to 15 for a period of rest.

The “fly aways” were easier, but I still had to take a break. I finished up with the 15 knee bends and prayed no one could see me through the window. I am so out of shape that my balance is off and I looked like I had been drinking.

(I don’t drink.)

In 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul said, “I discipline my body and keep it under control…” (ESV) The King James version says, “I buffet my body.” I felt like I had been beat up! When I squatted down, my thighs told me I was not getting back up ever again.

For years, I started my day reading my Bible before breakfast. The only problem is, I can dig into it for a couple of hours. When I finished, I would be starving and still in my pajamas.

Last week, I switched it up: eat, exercise, dress, and then read my Bible. I was amazed how much I was getting out of my studying after I met the needs of my body and then brought it under control through exercise. I went from writing 2-3 hours a day to writing up to 6 hours.

Our bodies are to be living sacrifices to God as recorded in Romans 12:1. Exercising was definitely a sacrifice! By offering my sacrifice first in my day, I am giving my best and God has blessed me for my obedience.

Numbers 18:29, “Out of all the gifts to you, you shall present every contribution due to the Lord; from each its best part is to be dedicated.” (ESV)

Dear Lord,

Thank you for fresh insight.

Amen

No Sleep…But Rested

I’ve been on Prednisone for a few weeks now and it has drastically reduced my sleep. I find it difficult to settle down and am staying up later.

I will sleep for two hours, battle insomnia for two hours, and then sleep for a few hours more. No matter what, my internal rooster crows before six!

How am I surviving? I take power naps, 10-15 minutes at a time, throughout the day. But the most important thing I do is to stop completely on Sunday. After church, I put on exercising pants, a tee-shirt and go to bed.

I may not sleep, but I don’t work. I will eat lunch & dinner in bed and spend the hours reading or watching TV. (The rest of the family are engrossed in ball games.)

Since I’ve made the habit of resting on Sunday, I’ve found I have an incredible amount of energy on Monday.

I’m guarding my health and extending my life as instructed in today’s verse.

Jeremiah 17:21, “If you value your lives, don’t do any work on the Sabbath…”

Refresh Your LIfe With His Love

“Dear Diary,

It was too hot to swim sleep last night…The Prednisone wakes me up after four hours. I took Benadryl, hoping to sleep longer. I was still ready to go after four hours…except my eyelids…they rolled up at four a.m. I was ready for a nap when Bethany and Olivia arrived at six. She is recovering from surgery. I wanted to keep her hydrated. I filled Olivia’s sippy cup, screwed the lid on, and then handed it to Bethany to drink…Bubble bath at seven p.m. Whitney Went to bed.”

Yesterday I started weaning off of Prednisone…today a storm rolled in. The change in barometric pressure brought sinus pressure. For a fleeting second, I thought I might be getting sick….

…and then I read today’s verses.

Zephaniah 3:12, 13, “But I, the Lord, won’t destroy any of your people who are truly humble and turn to me for safety.”

Zephaniah 3:15-18, “…Your Lord is King of Israel and stands at your side; you don’t have to worry about any more troubles. The Lord your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with his love. The Lord has promised: Your sorrow has ended, and you can celebrate.”

God Has Got This!

It’s 5:00 a.m. and the peanut butter cookies are cooling. My daughter-in-law is having surgery today and these are her favorites. I meant to bake them yesterday, but it warmed up outside. I waited to do it in the cool of the morning.

I decided to read my Bible while they cooled and I was encouraged with many verses in these chapters. God knew about the surgery and it was in His plan for me to read these chapters today.

Isaiah 34:3, 4, “Here is a message for all who are weak, trembling, and worried: ‘Cheer up! Don’t be afraid. Your God is coming to punish your enemies. God will take revenge on them and rescue you.'”

Isaiah 40:1, “Our God has said: ‘Encourage my people! Give them comfort.'”

Isaiah 40: 11, “The Lord cares for his nation, just as shepherds care for their flocks. He carries the lambs in his arms, while gently leading the mother sheep.”

Isaiah 40:28, 29, “Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The Lord is the eternal God, Creator of the earth. He never gets weary or tired; his wisdom cannot be measured. The Lord gives strength to those who are weary.”

Isaiah 40:31, “But those who trust the Lord will find new strength. They will be strong like eagles soaring upward on wings; they will walk and run without getting tired.

Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong as I protect you with my arm and give you victories.”

Isaiah 41:13, “I am the Lord your God. I am holding your hand, so don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”

I think I will go take a nap before my grand-daughter arrives. That little lamb and I will be painting, playing with Play-Doh, playing the piano, cooking homemade marina, dressing up, playing with Barbie Dolls. Her aunt will be taking her to play in the park and Pa is planing on taking her to the library tomorrow. We won’t even worry about mommy because we know, “God has got this!”

 

Kept Safe, Calm and Strong

Isaiah 30:15, “The holy Lord God of Israel had told all of you, ‘I will keep you safe if you turn back to me and calm down. I will make you strong if you quietly trust me.'”

I play the piano at church on Sunday morning and Whitney plays the other sounds: pads, strings, synthesizer, organ, etc. She is battling a health issue more serious than mine.

We held service in the Expo room yesterday because another group was set up for a matinée in the auditorium. We joked about not falling off of the platform.

During the second song, Whitney started to feel ill. She quietly and calmly walked off of the platform and went to lie down. Just as the Lord promised, she safely got off of the platform and God brought strength to her.

When I realized she was gone, I slipped from the keyboard I was playing and played her part on the last two worship songs because it was more needed than the piano.

When I went to check on her she was feeling better. She thanked me for covering for her. I flippantly said she may have to cover for me in September when we are to play at an outdoor concert. I joked about my eyes swelling shut.

This morning I felt convicted. I sent a message to her saying, “I take it back. You won’t have to cover for me in the fall. I’m sick of being sick and Satan trying to stop us. Have a healthy day.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I read today’s verse!

Isaiah 33:24, “The Lord will forgive your sins, and none of you will say, ‘I feel sick.'”

 

God Says “Trust Me”

This spring has been as miserable as Ragweed season. The combination of a long winter and frequent rain caused the grass to release pollen the same time as the trees. That double whammy made me want to stay inside completely.

I have been attending church twice a week and going to worship practice. I was ready to decrease my time outside by missing Wednesday evening services. But God kept saying to me, “Trust me.”

Isaiah 7:9, “…and if Ahaz and his officials don’t trust me, they will be defeated.”

The NIV version of the same verse says, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”

I guess I’m going to church tonight!

Isaiah 8:17, “Meanwhile, I patiently trust the Lord…”

“The Stand” – Hillsong

YOU KNOW MY STORY

I keep a daily journal. In it I write down my happiest moments and my deepest griefs. There is something cathartic about writing down the pains and sorrows.

It is like someone else shares my burden. And when I record the births and triumphs, someone shares my joy.

Job’s wish was that his words would be recorded.

Job 19:23, 24, “I wish that my words could be written down or chiseled into rock.”

His words were recorded many years later and we are not sure who recorded them. His words bring comfort to us when we are sick, despairing of life, suffering a financial down turn, or at the very worst, lose a child. We can identify with the pain and emotions in Job’s words.

“You Know My Name” – Detour 180

WHEN GOOD PEOPLE SUFFER

A week from today is April Fool’s Day. For most it will be a day of practical jokes and laughter.

But for Wayland and Tara, it will be a painful day of remembrance. You see, a year ago they lost two daughters in a horrible train/car accident.

It shook the family, the community, and the county. It is so difficult to understand such a horrible tragedy.

We just can’t.

The book of Job is one of the writings of wisdom, along with Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

“This unknown author probably had access to a tradition (oral or written) about an ancient righteous man who endured great suffering with remarkable ‘perseverance’ (see James 5:11) and without turning against God (see Ezekiel 14:14, 20)…The composition of the book…could be dated anytime from the reign of Solomon to the time of Israel’s exile in Babylonia.” NIV Study Bible Notes

Since Solomon wrote the other books on wisdom: Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, I decided we should read this third book on wisdom at the same time.

“…he intended his story to be told to godly sufferers who, like Job, were struggling with the crisis of faith brought on by prolonged, bitter suffering…And he knows that the godly sufferers of his day have also heard the ‘wisdom’ of the learned and have internalized it as the wisdom of the ages. But he also knows what ‘miserable’ comfort (16:2) that so-called wisdom gives – that it rubs salt in the wounds and creates a stumbling block for faith…But he has a story to tell that challenges it at its very roots and speaks to the struggling faith of the sufferer…

When good people suffer, the human spirit struggles to understand….The relationship between God and humans is not exclusive and closed. Among God’s creatures there is the great adversary (see chapters 1, 2)…As tempter he seeks to alienate humans from God (see Genesis 3; Matthew 4:1); as accuser…he seeks to alienate God from humans (see Zechariah 1:3; Revelations 12:9-10)…one of humankind’s greatest temptations: to love the gifts rather than the Giver to try to please God merely for the sake of his benefits, to be ‘religious’ and ‘good’ only because it pays.

In the end the adversary is silenced. Job’s friends are silenced. Job is silenced. God is not.” NIV Study Bible Notes

The most amazing thing to me is found in today’s verse.

Job 1:1, “Many years ago, a man named Job lived in the land of Uz. He was truly a good person, who respected God and refused to do evil.”

“…he did not belong to the people of Israel…” CEV Bible Notes

The entire Bible is written about the Hebrews or Jews. But this one book was written about a foreigner.

“No Other Name”

 

 

LIFE IS EASY GOING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN

Our lives are like hiking through the mountains. We struggle to climb a mountain: pay off a debt, endure an illness, suffer a job loss. When we reach the peak life is easier: the debt is paid, health restored, we find employment.

Going down the mountain is a piece of cake compared to climbing up. But at the end is another valley: another trial, challenge, problem, etc. The answer is at the top of the next mountain and we start climbing and struggling again.

We foolishly think the top of the mountain is a plateau and we will always be this well off. We are totally shocked when the next challenge comes.

We need to live expecting challenges:

  • Be frugal; and save as much money as possible.
  • Take care of our bodies.
  • Work hard at our present job.

Only God knows what is ahead.

Ecclesiastes 7:14, “When times are good, you should be cheerful; when times are bad, think what it means. God makes them both to keep us from knowing what will happen next.”

“Blessed Be the Name of the Lord”