Monthly Archives: August 2019

Hardscrabble Life

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arid barren clay cracks

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It’s a hardscrabble life.

Sometimes you just get blind-sided and have to right yourself. If you don’t have God to right you, what do you do? Where do you go? Who do you turn to?

I love (not really) how my health always seems to take a turn for the worse all at once.

“You have to have your stent blown out, or get a new one,” says my Cardiologist. The weird thing is, I never have any symptoms so statements like this come as a shock.

“Does your back hurt?” My Hematologist-Oncologist (Hem-Onc) asks.

“No, why?”

“The CT shows some new lesions and one is on your L3.”

My cancer is back. Active. No longer “stable and dormant” which I’d gotten used to saying when people asked me how I was doing.

A PET scan is ordered. A couple lesions in my lungs and one on my spine . . . confirmed.

Sigh. I’d been doing so well for the last year or so.

I close myself off in my room. “Lord?” I whisper. “Do we have to go through this again?”

I don’t hear anything, but He is close, I can tell. That comforts me.

We’ve been through this before, He and I. Then (in 2015) He settled me in His quieting, amazing, and profound peace and I know He will again.

Truthfully, I didn’t think I’d ever want for His peace again. I thought that once it was given, I’d always have it. And I probably do, it’s just that it’s been buried. Down deep in my soul. Covered by the good times, the glory days.

But I find that I do want no, need . . . no, crave . . . the everlasting peace of my Savior. I need it now. I need to be immersed in it again.

In John 14 Jesus is talking to the disciples in the Upper Room when He says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” (v. 14:27a)

Jesus gives us His peace. It’s no secret. There is no magic word to bring you the peace. He gives it. Freely. All we have to do is ask for it.

But what kind of peace does Jesus offer us?

In one of my favorite stories of the Bible, Jesus is asleep in the boat while the disciples are fighting a great windstorm that threatens to capsize the boat and kill them. They wake Jesus up wondering how He can be sleeping while they are about to perish. Jesus stands, maybe even yawns, and looks out to the storm saying, “Peace. Be still.” (Mark 4:39) The wind calms and the waves die down.

That, my friends, is some mighty awesome peace.

And that is the peace that Jesus gives us when we ask Him. When we think we’re drowning, when we can’t imagine the outcome, when all hope looks lost, when the winds threaten to capsize us.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” ~ John 14:27

I need your peace now, Lord. Thank you.

 

All of today’s Scripture references came from the ESV.

Old Clothes

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assorted clothes

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Isn’t it weird that we change what we wear based on where we live? Or is that just me?

I’m culling through a storage closet that I’ve had since I moved to Florida and finding clothing that has meaning from days gone by. These leather gloves with fringe I wore in Colorado. That suede jacket was my go-to winter coat in Arizona—unless it was raining. A black duster that today would be suggestive of a school yard shooter but that I wrapped around me for warmth on many a high mountain night.

I knew I was moving to Florida. I was smart enough to sell all my “Western-style” furniture. Why did I even bring these items along? Of course I thought I would eventually return to the West. But as the years stream by, that seems more and more unlikely.

College took me to Colorado and once there, I knew I wouldn’t leave. But I did, 15 years later I moved to Arizona. More Western wear – less weight. Still, I hung on to the gloves and the scarves and the hat and the duster and the boots from my days in the Colorado Rockies.

Deep into the bins I dig, each object taking me back into my past. To another place … to another me.

Even if I never leave Florida while on this earth, there will yet be another me.

The me I will become in heaven. My truest me. When it matters not all the clothes I’ve ever had in my life, I’ll be dressed in white. A bride for my groom.

And once again I’ll have changed my clothes based on where I live.

And I won’t be alone.

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands … ~ Rev 7:9 (NASB)

 

Salt ~ A Devo

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aerial photo of boat on sea

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I walked out of my South Florida home this morning and immediately realized that something was different. By the time I got to my car I was licking my lips. Salt. Through some strange atmospheric condition, the air was laden with salt from the Atlantic Ocean.

I drove all the way to church licking my lips and thinking about salt. Jesus told us we were to be salt and light to others (Matthew 5). It’s easy to know what being ‘light’ is, but how do I be salt? Salt melts snow. Salt seasons food.

Imagine my surprise when, during the service, the pastor zeroed in on Colossians 4 verses 5 and 6. “Be extraordinarily different from the world,” he said.

Considering the salt was on my lips, I believe God was reminding me about my speech. I silently thanked Him for reminding me to speak to everyone with grace and love. I looked around the church. It’s easy to be salt to other Christians. I need to be salt to every person I come in contact with. How delightful that He should remind me to be salt to others.

Memory verse:

Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. ~ Colossians 4:6 (HCSB)

Prayer Prompt:

Lord, help me to be salt in this world. Help me learn how to speak to others graciously and with your wisdom. Amen.