Monthly Archives: March 2015

With Gratitude

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Oh, Give Thanks To The Lord

Last Friday my husband saw his oncologist and reported having some mild pain in the same general area where pain in 2013 had been the alert which led to the diagnosis of lymphoma.  The doctor examined Howard carefully and reassured him that a recurrence of cancer was unlikely.  A CT scan was ordered for the coming Tuesday, just to be careful and certain.     

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.   His love endures forever.”  Psalm 136:1                                                                                

Tuesday morning Howard had his scan and returned home to wait for a call from the doctor.  Late in the afternoon, the phone rang.  As I listened to my husband’s tone of voice and gazed at his demeanor, I knew the news was good.  There was no sign of cancer.  His new discomfort was blamed on some moderate degenerative joint disease in his spine.

We are filled with relief and gratitude.  As I thank God for his enduring love this afternoon, I am reminded of the last verse of the old hymn, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross*   –   “…Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”                                                                                                                               

 * arranged by Lowell Mason/Isaac Watts –  based on Gregorian Chant

 

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Hold Me

 

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“I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.”  Exodus 19:4

“You whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth….I have made you, and I will carry you.”  Isaiah 43: 3 and 4

My husband developed pain in his left hip last week.  Those of you who follow my blog, know that Howard had stage three lymphoma in 2013.  In light of his history, any little pain that might have been ignored, now has the capacity to arouse fear in both of us.  And we have been fearful as we await his routine three month check with the oncologist in a few days.

Last Sunday our Pastor was teaching from Exodus 34, teaching that the God of Moses seeks to be known, that he self-discloses.*  God said he is Hesed.  Some translations of Hesed are loving kindness, or steadfast love, or abounding in love. As Pastor Cody talked of trusting God’s love, he shared a story about his young daughter.  He asked her, “How do you know I love you.”  She replied, “Because you snuggle with me.”

How do I know that God extends his Hesed to me?  He snuggles with me.  He holds me.  He carries me.  He always has.  He always will.

In the quiet of worship, I decided it was a good week to really lean into my Daddy God, to let him hold me and calm me with his love.  As we drove home from church, in my mind, I kept hearing the words and music of the late Rich Mullins:  “Hold me Jesus.  I’m shaking like a leaf.  You have been my King of Glory.  Won’t you be my Prince of Peace?.”**

This morning during my quiet time with God, the words and music from Matt Maher came to mind: “I just want to be in your arms, moving ever closer to your heart.”***

Fears have been calmed.   Whatever lies ahead, all will be well, because of God’s Hesed.  I am being held.  My husband is being held.  We are in the everlasting arms of our Lord.

*You can listen to Pastor Cody Kargus’s sermon of 3/8/15  at www.maranthafree.com

** Hold Me Jesus by Rich Mullins

*** Letting Go by Matt Maher/Paul Moak

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Two Contrasting Images

As I continue my meditation on being conformed to the image of Christ (see my last two posts),  I ask, “What then do I mortify?”  –  “What constitutes my sinful nature?”.

In Colossians 3:5, Paul says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed which is idolatry.”  He further elaborates in the same chapter, verses 8-10.  “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Is it possible to follow Paul’s instructions in Colossians and still not fully reflect the image of Christ?  “Is there something more?”,  I ask.

In Philippians 2, as Paul calls us to humility, he reminds us that our Lord did not consider equality with God something to be grasped – that he made himself nothing, taking on the nature of a servant, the likeness of man – he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.   Luke reports in his gospel in chapter 23:34 that while in his agony on the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

To look like Jesus, to be conformed to his image in his death, means I must mortify my pride and my desire for revenge.  To reflect the image of the Savior I must surrender my will to the will of the Father, and I must forgive.

I recently watched the movie Philomena.  At the end of the movie there was a confrontation between Philomena and a nun that graphically illustrates how mortifying just the flesh alone will not result in conformity to our Lord Jesus.  The nun, who had put to death her sexual urges, held herself self-righteously above Philomena, who had been an unwed mother.   The nun lied without remorse and issued no apology for having prevented Philomena’s birth son from finding Philomena before his death. The confrontation between the two women ended with Philomena saying, “Well, I forgive you.”   The contrast between the two  women was stark.  The one woman looked like Jesus and the other one did not resemble him at all.

Dear Father,  I want to look like Jesus.  I want to be like him   Please help me mortify my pride and all desire for revenge.  Help me to forgive each time I am wounded.  Amen

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