Posts Tagged With: Spiritual

THAT H.O.G. MOMENT


And call upon me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you, and you will honor me.
(Psalm 50:15)

Have you ever heard of a “Hog” moment? I hadn’t until several months ago when it was explained to me that “H.O.G.” stands for Hand of God. “Oh, right”, I thought. “That makes perfect sense.” It is the moment/moments in one’s life when the light bulb comes on and the handiwork of God in a life situation, is clearly seen. I think it is something all Christians can relate to. In truth, nothing happens by chance in this life. Our God controls the lives of Christians and non-Christians alike.

The problem is that we sometimes become so focused on the divine that we fail to recognize His presence in the form of physical help. I would like to relay a story about this exact type of situation to you. It is a story you may have already heard from a pastor or Christian friend, but maybe some have not. It is an old Christian fable very similar to the type of stories Jesus told during His ministry. The man in this story was so focused on expecting a miracle from God, that he didn’t recognize the hand of God in the help that was being offered and he lost his life because of it. It goes as follows:

God Will Save Me
A terrible storm came into a town and local officials sent out an emergency warning that the riverbanks would soon overflow and flood the nearby homes. They ordered everyone in the town to evacuate immediately.
A faithful Christian man heard the warning and decided to stay, saying to himself, “I will trust God and if I am in danger, then God will send a divine miracle to save me.”
The neighbors came by his house and said to him, “We’re leaving and there is room for you in our car, please come with us!” But the man declined. “I have faith that God will save me.”
As the man stood on his porch watching the water rise up the steps, a man in a canoe paddled by and called to him, “Hurry and come into my canoe, the waters are rising quickly!” But the man again said, “No thanks, God will save me.”
The floodwaters rose higher pouring water into his living room and the man had to retreat to the second floor. A police motorboat came by and saw him at the window. “We will come up and rescue you!” they shouted. But the man refused, waving them off saying, “Use your time to save someone else! I have faith that God will save me!”
The flood waters rose higher and higher and the man had to climb up to his rooftop.
A helicopter spotted him and dropped a rope ladder. A rescue officer came down the ladder and pleaded with the man, “Grab my hand and I will pull you up!” But the man STILL refused, folding his arms tightly to his body. “No thank you! God will save me!”
Shortly after, the house broke up and the floodwaters swept the man away and he drowned.
When in Heaven, the man stood before God and asked, “I put all of my faith in You. Why didn’t You come and save me?”
And God said, “Son, I sent you a warning. I sent you a car. I sent you a canoe. I sent you a motorboat. I sent you a helicopter. What more were you looking for?”

Can any of you relate to this? This story is rather extreme, but I believe there are times in each of our lives when God uses physical means to rescue us from difficult situations and we miss the help He is offering because we are only focused on the divine. We expect “all” from God or “nothing”. We fail to see His helping hand right before us because we are expecting Divine Intervention rather than trusting in His Divine Providence, and sometimes he allows the situation to require of us a little effort and common sense of our own.

Robert 2

Before illness

I have experienced this in my own life recently. My son who is 40 years old, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in April of 2016. At the time we were informed of the treatments offered. The first step was to remove the tumor as best they could. Following surgery he would undergo radiation for 6 weeks along with chemotherapy. That was Phase One. He would then get a 1-month break after which Phase Two would begin. Phase Two includes a maintenance dose of Chemotherapy for 1 year, and a treatment they call “Optune”.

Robert before surgery

Before Surgery

The Chemo is the easy part, or it seemed so at the time. Optune is a different story. It involves time, help from a caregiver, and finances. The following link is an explanation of Optune:

Robert after surgery

After Surgery

Optune

Basically Optune uses electricity to interrupt the growth of cancer cells in the brain. The patient must shave his/her head completely and wear a “cap”. The cap contains electrodes that direct electrical charges to the section/sections of the brain where the cancer is located and must be activated 18 hours per day in order to be effective. It is an optional treatment, but it is proven to be effective. It has improved the statistical survival rate of 2 years, by 50%. It is not a cure, but it offers hope and may buy time for patients until a cure can be found. The cost of Optune per patient is $21,000 per month, but financial assistance is offered and according to the above link, no patient is ever denied the treatment.

After bandage removal

After bandage removal

So what does this all have to do with a H.O.G. moment?

With Optune

With Optune

Well, overall the treatment sounds very overwhelming and difficult. When it was offered to my son right after his surgery, we both agreed fully that he should try it. When it was almost time to start it though, we dragged our feet a little. It sounded difficult to do, and the commitment of time, and care sounded huge. And would it even work? My question posed to the Oncologist was this; if this was you or one of your family members, would you recommend it? Without hesitation she answered; I would do it, hands down! That pretty much made the decision for us.

We had been praying for a miracle from God. We were hoping that God with His almighty power would heal Roberts brain of the cancer, and certainly He could, if it were His will to do so. But finally the light bulb switched on in my brain and I realized that maybe Optune is the “car”, the “canoe” the “motorboat” or the “helicopter” that God is sending to save Robert’s life. This could be the miracle we have been praying for and we almost missed it because our human minds were expecting/hoping for divine intervention. We almost turned away from the help offered because it was going to take a little effort on our part. God gives good gifts. His never ending grace is free and Jesus did the work, but He doesn’t always allow earthly gifts to just fall into our lap. God gives us choices and sometimes those choices require prayerfully considering the means He is setting before us.

Robert is now undergoing the Optune treatment along with Chemotherapy. He is doing well with it. He has not had any adverse reactions and it is not as difficult to use as it sounds. The “cap” stays on for three days. (I had pictured having to remove and replace it every 18 hours.) He carries a battery pack over his shoulder which he is getting used to. He can turn it off after 18 hours or leave it on continually. After 3 days I peel it off his head and he is able to wash his head and be without it for up to 6 hours. He then shaves his head and the “cap is replaced by a new one. He will never have hair again, but the “cap” generates heat so it will keep his head warm in the winter. And how important is hair in light of living or dying? I would encourage anyone in a similar situation to give Optune a try. Only time will tell if it is working for Robert, but in the meantime we are living life as normal as possible.

Miniature golf

Life as Normal

 

Optune is not a cure, but it is a treatment that will hopefully extend his life. We thank God for medical technology. We will accept whatever the future holds knowing that we have a powerful and almighty God who loves us and will never leave us to face these difficult times alone. For Robert it is a win win situation. If he lives he gets to stay here with us. If the Lord calls him home, he will be forever with God in the mansions prepared for him by Jesus.

Kevin Toree Caitlyn 2016

Three of his special people

In the end, I am beginning to see that Optune, rather than Chemo is the easy part. Chemotherapy is exhausting for the patient. Of the two, I think I would rather have to deal with Optune the rest of my life than Chemo.

The apostle Paul encourages us; Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Heavenly Father,
Remind us each day of your presence in our lives and help us to remember that nothing happens by chance. There are many situations in life which are completely out of our control. At these times, remind us that you ARE in control and that you always have a plan, in which all the pieces of the puzzle will fit together perfectly for the good of your children.
In Jesus name we pray,
Amen

To God be all glory!

by Christine

 

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Categories: Eternity, Faith, Family, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Spiritual I.D.


Baptismal Certificate

Baptismal Certificate

 

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43: 1)

Do you have a legal document that tells others who you are? In the U.S. every child born receives a social security number and a birth certificate. Your birth certificate and SS number are proof of who you are.
Your birth certificate lists your time and date of birth, the hospital and city where you were born, how much you weighed at birth, and the names and address/addresses of each of your parents.
Your SS number is unique to you alone. There is no other person in the U.S. or anywhere in the world for that matter, who shares that number with you. It identifies who you are. You will be asked to present it for any legal document you submit to anyone, and for all important paperwork.
The most widely used I.D. people in the U.S. carry however is a driver’s License. Your driver’s license is a laminated card which contains a picture of you, shows your date of birth, weight, sex, and the address where you live. Most young people here in the U.S. obtain a driver’s license at the age of 16 after they pass their driver’s training course. It is something they will carry with them their entire life. Your driver’s license is legal proof of who you are, no matter where you go.
As a young teen getting my first driver’s license, I can still hear my mother instructing me; don’t ever go anywhere without it! It tells others who you are. If you get in an accident and aren’t able to speak the police will be able to identify you and notify your family.
I took the instructions my mother gave me seriously and always obediently made sure I had my license whenever I went out, even if I wasn’t driving. But there was one time when I forgot it. I was out of state spending time with my cousin in Phoenix, AZ. I was new to the area and the evening after I arrived, she took me out and introduced me to some of the local gathering places for young people. For whatever reason (I have no idea why, but maybe I just forgot it) I didn’t take my purse.
My cousin was driving and as she pulled into one of the city parks, a police officer pulled up beside her. She had not been driving recklessly or broken any laws, but I think he just randomly pulled her over, maybe because she was young and it was a Saturday night. He was just being cautious and making us aware of his presence. Of course he asked each of us for our I.D. and I didn’t have mine. I honestly don’t think he believed me when I told him I had forgotten it at home. I’m sure he thought we were up to some kind of “no good”, but he finally let us go and told us to go straight home. I couldn’t believe it! The one time I didn’t have it with me, I get caught! Now, forty some odd years later, I don’t recall ever having repeated that mistake again.
We should each recognize that our I.D. is a very important document because it is proof of who we are. I am not aware of what laws and regulations are in effect in other countries, but pretty much everyone in the U.S. over the age of 16 has and needs some type of picture I.D. If you don’t drive you may have what we call a State I.D. or maybe if you are a student you have your Student I.D. But do you have a Spiritual I.D.? Do you know what a Spiritual I.D. is? Do you know where/how to get one? Let’s talk about it.
I obtained my Spiritual I.D. on April 23, 1950. That is the day my parents brought me to baptism. I was one month old. We are all born into this world sinful. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5). We inherit the virus of sin from our parents, and their parents, and so on down the line. Many people feel that babies are sweet and innocent and don’t sin, but they are wrong. They may be sweet, and they are innocent in that they

My Spiritual I.D.

My Spiritual I.D.

aren’t aware of their sin and don’t know any better, but still they ARE sinners. As little sinners, they need God’s forgiveness in order to be fit for heaven. They need to be washed in the blood of Jesus through faith in order to be saved. I tell you the truth; no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit (John 3: 5, 6).
At one month of age, even though I was too little to understand it all, I was born again through my baptism and became alive in Christ. I now belonged to His family of believers. Through the waters of baptism connected to God’s Word, The Holy Spirit put faith in my tiny little heart and I was washed clean of my sin and reborn into a new life. There was rejoicing in heaven that day! There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10). The angels rejoice jubilantly over each person on earth who is forgiven through faith. God loves all people and doesn’t wish that anyone would go to Hell. He [God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3: 9).

Faith comes from hearing the Word. Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ (Romans 10: 17). But it also comes to us through the Sacraments ie: Baptism and Holy Communion. A newborn baby is too little to read the written Word and understand what it means for his/her soul. The Holy Spirit, through baptism, places faith in the hearts of babies and little children who are too young to understand. Through baptism their sins are forgiven. Through baptism God showers His never ending grace upon each little child so that when He looks at him/her He no longer sees a sinful little human, but the holiness of Jesus.
Many people have the mistaken idea that baptism is something we do for God. They feel it is something we should let our children decide upon when they become old enough to understand. Baptism is not our commitment to God. On the contrary, baptism is God’s commitment and gift to us. It is His way of saying; I love you and you are Mine! I promise I will never leave you. I will watch over you and protect you. I will bring you home to be with me forever when your life here on earth of over.
Parents, it is your God-given responsibility to bring your child to baptism. Jesus himself tells us; Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (Luke 18: 16).
My baptism certificate is my Spiritual I.D. It is the I.D. which says I belong to God. It tells me I am saved through the blood of Jesus shed for me on the cross so many years ago. It is proof that I am His forgiven child. All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3: 27). I carry His name with me every day that I live. It is not a guarantee that I will never leave Him, but it IS His guarantee to me that He will never leave me. I pray that he will watch over me and keep me in my baptismal grace until the day He calls me from this earth.
Unlike my driver’s license or state I.D. I will not need to present my spiritual I.D. for legal documents here in this life. I won’t need to present it when I stand before God on the last day either because he has a record of it in His Book of Life. However do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven (Luke 10: 20).
Have you obtained your Spiritual I.D, yet? Have you been baptized for the forgiveness of sins? Are you an heir to His eternal kingdom? Have your children been baptized? If you and/or your children haven’t been baptized and you are interested in finding out more about it, feel free to email me at grandmapoz@yahoo.com. I will try to direct you to someone in your area who can tell you more about it and help you make it happen.
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children (Acts 2: 38, 39) Goria Dei!

by Christine

Special note to parents:

God does not tell us in His word what happens to little babies who are killed through abortion or who die before birth or before there is time for baptism. It is not my intent to put fear in the hearts of already grieving parents who have lost children to death before baptism. For your comfort, remember that our God is a just God, but He is also a merciful, fair and loving God. We can trust that in His almighty wisdom He takes special care for the souls of helpless infants. All life is precious to Him.
He does command baptism however, and entrusts these little lives to us as parents, to be cared for and nurtured. It is our responsibility to make sure they have all that they need, not only for their bodies (their physical good), but especially for their souls (their eternal good). Eternity is forever. Therefore why would we not, when it is within our power to do so, want to afford ourselves the comfort of knowing for sure that their souls are safe in His loving arms?

Categories: Sacraments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

SOUL FOOD


“Soul Food”

It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4: 4)

We all know how important it is to have food for our bodies. In order to stay healthy and strong, we need to eat nutritious food every day. Where I live here in the U.S.A. there is an abundance food. Most of us eat three meals a day and snacks in-between. The problem for a lot of us is that we eat the wrong kinds of food. We love foods that are filled with saturated fat, cholesterol, salt and carbohydrates. These ingredients are all good for us when eaten in moderation, but we tend to overdo it and we become fat, lazy and lethargic.

Many people in our country are overweight due to eating too much food or the wrong kinds of food. Because of our busy lifestyles and sometimes simply because we are lazy, Americans love fast food. We love McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell and Arby’s just to mention a few. We love our French Fries and deep fried fish. We love our hamburgers, ice cream and donuts.

Fast food is okay on occasion, but when it becomes an everyday thing it is bad for my health. It fills my stomach, but doesn’t necessarily give my body what it truly needs to remain healthy and strong. But no matter what kind of food I eat, within a matter hours my stomach will begin to growl and gurgle at me letting me know that I need to eat again.

Just as my body needs good nutritious food to stay healthy and strong, my soul needs to be fed also. My soul needs to be fed daily with the life giving Word of God. Without “soul” food I will lose my focus on what is important in life. I will wander away from God and forget that I need Him. I will begin to trust in my own abilities and think I can get through life on my own. My focus will be on my own agenda and I will get caught up in the material things of this life – my job, money, a beautiful home, computers, iPods, smart phones, cars, vacations etc. I won’t take time for God. I will be too tired to get up and go to church on Sunday and I won’t make time for daily devotion, prayer and Bible Study.

Before I know it my soul begins to suffer. Unlike my body, my empty soul doesn’t cause me to have physical “hunger” pains. As it begins to feel the need for food, I may just feel a little down in the dumps or sad. In order to lift my spirits I might go out and buy something new – maybe a TV for example. That fills the void for awhile, but when the newness wears off I become sad again. Okay so maybe I will give my house a face lift – a new kitchen and new bathrooms or maybe I will paint the bedrooms, add on a great room and put in new floors throughout. I’ll build a deck in my back yard and put in a pool and hot tub. I’ll buy a new car. What more could I possibly want? I should be happy now right? But eventually the sadness and emptiness resurfaces again.

I still don’t quite get it though. Something is missing in my life, but what could it be. I have everything I could possibly need, but yet I want more – Maybe I’ll move! A new house and new surroundings will lift my spirits! I’ll find a new and bigger home in a nicer neighborhood. That will make me happy for sure…

As God observes my actions from His throne on high, He shakes His head in sadness. He loves me deeply and doesn’t want to see me in pain, but the time has come for Him to take action. I need to be shocked back into reality because I have forgotten what is most important in life. I have lost my focus on what is best for my eternal good.

My yearly visit to the Doctor reveals a serious problem. The cancer is terminal. I have been given 6 months to live. All of a sudden my “stuff” doesn’t matter anymore. I can’t take my TV, new car, or hot tub with me when I leave this life. Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart (Job 1:21). My possessions no longer have meaning. They will be left here for others when I am called from this earth.

God now has my undivided attention. Where I will spend eternity has become a reality to me. I sit up and take notice of what is truly important in life. I finally realize that the new car, the new house, the hot tub, pool and all the electronic devices didn’t bring me any lasting happiness. I open my Bible to John 6: 27, 35, 41 where Jesus reminds me; Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life…He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty …I am the bread that came down from heaven.

I have finally become aware that it is my soul that is hungry and not my body. All this time I have been trying to feed my soul with physical food (material possessions) and all I found was emptiness. My soul needs Jesus. He is my eternal food.

Have you been feeding your soul? Have you been present on Sunday for worship lately? The writer to the Hebrews reminds us that we need the support and love of fellow Christians to help keep our faith strong and focused. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).

Aside from fellowship, worship also offers us the opportunity to praise and thank God for the many blessings He showers upon us daily and along with “food” for our souls, it offers us “rest” for our souls. Jesus instructs us; Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28, 29).

How about at home? Do you feed your soul at home by spending time in prayer and God’s word? But in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4: 6, 7). Take the time to say a short prayer before you run out the door to start your day. Ask God to be present with you and lead you to make good decisions and choices throughout the day – decisions and choices which reflect His love and allow the people you meet to see and know that you belong to Him.

Yes, I need food for my body while here on this earth. My body is a gift from God. It is the tent He has given me to live in while I am here. I seldom forget to feed it because it tells me when it needs food and water and it tells me when it needs sleep. I will care for it and remember that it is His temple. But more importantly, I need to remember to feed my soul. I need to feed it with eternal food and not the junk food of this life. I need to feed it through prayer and worship. I need to feed it through study of His precious word. I need to take God with me every day.

What a comfort it is to know that even though I may forget to feed my soul, God will never leave me. He will keep me from wandering away from Him and getting lost in the things of this world. When I walk away from Him and begin to fill my soul with junk food, He will according to His good and perfect will, remind me of what is important for my eternal good.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand (John 10:27, 28).

Gloria Dei!

By Christine

Categories: Eternity, Faith | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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