In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Worthwhile read

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51C9yK9VzzL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgBeing Mortal by Atul Gwande.  

I would put this book on my top 20 books I've ever read list.

It matters not if a book is fiction or non-fiction, some books just make you feel elevated when you read them. This is one of those books.

For me, reading this book was an experience.  I cried.  I learned. I was inspired. I repeatedly wrote down quotes from the book because the way Dr. Gawande writes is so beautiful. His words resonate with me.

This book interested me because my mother is 92 years old, I'm a licensed nursing home administrator and, at age 56, I'm starting to realize that some day I'll be old. The book is about how people experience the end of their lives in America.  Gwande draws on his own experience with terminal patients. He also relates the discouraging research regarding nursing homes and assisted living facilities; but he reports some encouraging programs that have arisen in these sectors over the past couple of decades. He relates some of the important things he's learned from hospice and palliative care providers.

Here are just a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

p. 409
“At least two kinds of courage are required in aging and sickness.  The first is the courage to confront the reality of mortality – the courage to seek out the truth of what is to be feared and what is to be hoped.  Such courage is difficult enough. We have many reasons to shrink back from it. But even more daunting is the second kind of courage – the courage to act on the truth we find. The problem is that the wise course is so frequently unclear. For a long while, I thought that this was simply because of uncertainty. When it is hard to know what will happen, it is hard to know what to do. But the challenge, I’ve come to see, is more fundamental than that. One has to decide whether one’s fears or one’s hopes are what should matter most.”

p. 439
“Technological society has forgotten what scholars call the “dying role” and its importance to people as life approaches its end. People want to share memories, pass on wisdoms and keepsakes, settle relationships, establish their legacies, make peace with ‘god, and ensure that those left behind will be okay. They want to end their stories on their own terms. This role is, observers argue, among life’s most important, for both the dying and those left behind. And if it is, the way we deny people this role, out of obtuseness and neglect, is cause for everlasting shame. Over and over, we in medicine inflict deep gouges at the end of people’s lives and then stand oblivious to the harm done.”

p.484
“If to be human is to be limited, then the role of caring professions and institutions – from surgeons to nursing homes-ought to be aiding people in their struggle with those limits. Sometimes we can offer a cure, sometimes only a salve, sometimes not even that. But whatever we can offer, our interventions, and the risks and sacrifices they entail, are justified only if they serve the larger aims of a person’s life. When we forget that, the suffering we inflict can be barbaric. When we remember it the good we do can be breathtaking.”



Sunday, February 14, 2016

Praying

A friend and I are going to facilitate a Bible study on the Armor of God using Priscilla Schirer's book Armor of God.  It will be starting in a couple of weeks.  As I was praying about it I felt impressed to write out a prayer to begin praying over the women who'll be in the study. I also felt impressed to reference the prayer to the Word. Here's the prayer:



Oh heavenly Father may this be so much more than just another Bible study.  May this be a time when we come to You, abide in You, and have You change us.  May we know, after this study is over, that we have encountered the great, almighty God.  May we see changes within that we know could only come from You.

May we be women who are present, alert, and thoughtful in our daily lives. Open our eyes to see and recognize the spiritual sources of the challenges that come our way.  Empower us to stand firm in You each day. (A) 

May we be women who are strengthened with Your truth in our innermost being. Draw us to You and Your Word. Stir up within us a desire to diligently study Your Word and learn Your truth. Enable us to keep Your truth ever present in our thoughts.  Create in us hearts that recognize Your many blessings and live a lifestyle of thankfulness. Keep us from acting on lies. Produce in us the fruit of self discipline. (B)

May we be women who are firm in our right standing with You through Christ.  Help us guard our hearts from those things that distract and entrap us. Increase our application of Your truth in our lives.  Empower us to be women who live rightly. (C)

May we be women who walk in Your peace. Permeate within us a sense of wholeness, of everything coming together for good. Settle us down deep within our spirits.  Unite us together to spread Your peace everywhere we go. Take us where You want us to go.  Use us to touch the lives of the people You bring our way. (D)

May we be women who put our faith in Your faithfulness. Open our spiritual eyes and make us aware of what is really going on around us.  Teach us how to trust You deeper than we ever have before.  Bring back to our minds Your truth. Cause our lips to speak out Your truth.  Empower us to see and believe what You want for us in every situation.   When we feel like we just can’t deal with those things that come our way in life, rise up trust in You within us. (E)

May we be women who protect our minds.  Create in us a deep assurance of Your salvation. Grow us in understanding of Your salvation. Produce in us lives that are entrenched in the reality of what You’ve done for us. Make us mighty warriors who trust in Your salvation and do not give in to discouragement and doubt. (F)

May we be women who use Your Word to go on the offensive against the devil. Draw us to Your Word. Empower us to study, learn and memorize it.  Teach us to speak Your Word.  Give us the self discipline to practice Your word. (G)

May we be women of prayer. Energize us to spend time in intercession. Empower us to do battle on behalf of ourselves and the ones we love. (H)

A. Ephesians 6:12-13
2 Corinthians 10:3-6
Galatians 5:16-18
1 Thessalonians 5:4-8
1 Peter 5:8-9

B. Ephesians 6:14a
Psalm 106;13-15
John 8:31
John 17:13-19; especially verse 17
Galatians 5:22-26; especially verse 23b

C. Ephesians 6:14b
Romans 8:1-4
Proverbs 4:23
2 Corinthians 5:17-21; especially verse 21
1 Corinthians 15:30-34; read in both KJV & The Message paraphrase and note verse 34

D. Ephesians 6:15
Romans 10:11-15; especially verse 15b
Philippians 4:4-7; especially out of The Message paraphrase
Ephesians 4:1-16
Acts 20:22-24
John 14:27

E. Ephesians 6:16
Hebrews 11:1-2
2 Timothy 2:11-13
Romans 1:11-17
Romans 4:16-25
Ephesians 2:8-9
1 John 5:1-5; especially verse 4
Psalm 33:20-22

F. Ephesians 6:17
John 10:22-30
Ephesians 1;3-14
2 Corinthians 10:5
Romans 12:1-2

G. Ephesians 6:18
2 Timothy 2:15
Romans 15:4
2 Timothy 5:10-17

H. Ephesians 6:19  
1 Timothy 2:1-3
1 John 5:14-16
Matthew 6:6
Colossians 4:2


Saturday, February 6, 2016

My focus keeps me from God's blessing

Photo from Intuitively Yours
I'm convinced that frequently in life I miss the blessing simply because I'm looking the wrong way.  It's like
God IS blessing me, but I'm so busy focusing on what is hard, wrong, or not exactly as I want it, that I miss seeing the blessings right in front of me.

This is a life theme for me.

I've all too often put my focus in the wrong direction.

Logically, this makes sense.  There are so many Scriptures that tell me that we've already received numerous blessings from God.  Here's just a few of these verses:

Ephesians 1:1-14 talks at length about all that is ALREADY mine as God's follower.  It can't get any more clear then the way the KJV puts the 3rd verse:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ

1 Corinthians 1:4-9 makes it clear that we ALREADY are blessed.  This thought is especially clear in Peterson's paraphrasing of the 5th through 8th verses in the MSG:

there’s no end to what has happened in you—it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.
7-9 Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. 

2 Peter 1:3-11 tells me that God has ALREADY given me everything I need.  Verse 3 out of ASV is poinant:

 seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue

I'm convinced that the reason I don't experience all these blessings every day is because of my brain.  Specifically, how and where I'm allowing my mind to focus.  I'm reminded of these passages from Scripture:


Isaiah 26:1-10 ; I'm especially drawn to the way the 3rd verse reads in the NIV:

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.


Romans 12:1-6; the way Peterson paraphrases my old favorites of the second half of the 1st verse through the 2nd verse, brings this old favorite to a new light:

Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Philemon 1:4-7; that 6th verse in the NIV really underscores the truth of what makes the difference:

 I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. 

My understanding of the blessings He has already given me deepens as I chose to:
* Spend time in His presence
* Read aloud His Word
* Ponder on His Truth
* Chose to set my mind on Him, His Word, and His Truth and not get distracted 

As my understanding deepens, and my focus is on God and His blessings, I experience those blessings.  I don't want to sound like one of those "word faith-ers" and talk about activating my faith, but there is truth in that line of thinking.

Oh Heavenly Father, thank You that You put up with me.  I'm so sorry for my selfishness, laziness, lack of discipline and discontent.  Oh Father, only You can change me.  Thank You for not giving up on me.  Please work in my heart and mind, draw me more into Your presence, help me remember to read Your word aloud, ponder Your Truth and set my mind on You.  You are so great and wonderful and worthy.  I can never thank You enough. 



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