Saturday, June 27, 2015

Being a Doer



Since having the stem cell treatments in May, one of the improvements both Larry and I have noticed is that my walking gait is different.  Instead of a big swing to the left side, every time I take a step, the half circle is much smaller and more in line with almost normal walking.  In order to take advantage of gaining strength and making improvements in the coming days, my doctor has written a prescription for physical therapy.  After three therapy appointments, it is obvious that I am going to need to retrain how I walk.  My physical therapist said he is going to have me do things way out of my comfort zone and really push me to make improvements for my balance, walking, strength, and other issues.  After three sessions, I can say that he speaks truthfully.  He has also given me exercises to do at home.  These times are tiring, challenging, and so worth it. 

The rehab place is set up to accommodate people who have MS, who are recovering from strokes, or who have other injuries.  The therapists have spent years studying, training, and preparing in order to know how to offer the best treatment for positive results.  Even with all of my therapist’s expertise, the only way I will benefit is if I make the commitment to hear what is prescribed, exercise every day, concentrate on what to pay attention to, and do it all to the best of my ability.

This week’s Bible readings have been big encouragements to me.  On Wednesday morning I read a passage in Hebrews 12 that I know I have read numerous times, but this time it had a special meaning and challenge for me.

Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Hebrews 12:12-13

And to add to that challenge and encouragement, on Friday morning I read James 1.  As a Christ follower, every day I also need to willingly make the commitment to read God’s Word, hear and listen to the instructions, and then put into action what it says.  At times it too may be tiring and challenging, but living obediently will be well worth it.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
James 1:22

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
James 1:25

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Family Reunions

This has been a wonderful week of reunions with family, church family, and extended family.  Chad and his family were in town for a little while this past weekend.  There was a sweet time when all five grandchildren were together for the very first time.  With all of the busy activity we didn’t take pictures, but that special moment is imprinted on my heart.  What joy to look forward to more adventures in the days and years ahead.

Vacation Bible School happened at church this week.  Even the rain didn’t dampen the joy and excitement.  Over 1,000 children and teachers spent the week learning about God’s love, care, and provision for them.  I have worked with the same people, recording the attendance and other assignments, for years now.  I look forward to the reunion and getting to spend time with them each summer. 

The 84th Hackney Reunion is this weekend.  There will be lots of hugging, laughing, eating, visiting, catching up on news, picture taking, remembering the ones who are no longer with us, and celebrating the new lives who have been added this year.  What a blessing to know great aunts and uncles, and second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth… generations of family.  I’m sure my great grandparents would be pleased to see that their Christian legacy has been embraced by their children and later generations.

And one day there will be a glorious reunion of people from every nation, tribe, and language with God in Heaven because of their acceptance of Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  That reunion will not be for a few hours, a weekend, or a week, but for eternity.  And we have the awesome privilege and responsibility of sharing and introducing people to Jesus so that all who respond to His invitation may be included in the celebration.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
Revelation 7:9

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Vacation Bible School and Camp



School is out!  Summer is here!  It’s now time for Vacation Bible School and Camp Tallowood.  Children and young people have been looking forward to these two events since their completion last year.  Throughout the year, preparations have been made.

Just a few of the reasons I love what happens during these two weeks each summer:

* Kids are prayed for before, during, and after camp and VBS.
* Teachers have been working for months planning, studying, and preparing the lessons and activities to share with the students.  Now they will see their work in action.
* Teamwork is a blessing.
* There is much excitement among the students and teachers.
* Children, young people, and adults hear and learn about God’s love for them and a way to have a relationship with Him through Jesus.
* Hearts and lives are changed.
* God’s Spirit is felt.
* God’s Word is heard, learned, memorized, and applied.
* Children joyfully and willingly give when they hear about a missions need.
* Whether it is camp or VBS, kids enjoy being with friends and relatives.
* Sometimes it’s easier to listen and concentrate when the everyday distractions are not present.
* Sleep and rest are welcomed gifts at the end of the day.

May we as students, both young and old, be intentional about remembering and applying what we have learned, experienced, and been challenged by during these weeks.  Until next year…

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
Psalm 105:1

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Psalm 122:1

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Thirsty



Even with the flooding, caused by the deluge of rain last week, the plants, grass, animals, rivers, and lakes are going to need rain or more water in the near future.  Although they had an overabundance of water in just a few short days, it will not be enough to sustain healthy growth and water activities for the month, rest of the summer, or year.

Liquids are beneficial for humans, too.  When we were in Cancun for my stem cell therapy, I had to fast for the two separate days of treatments.  There is nothing that makes you thirstier or hungrier than knowing you cannot have anything to drink or eat for a given amount of time.   I drank water at the last possible moment before the deadline in order to help with the process.  Due to possibly needing anesthesia, it was for my own best interest to follow the specific instructions that I had been given.  The IV helped hydrate my body, but it was with much gratitude that I accepted the bottle of water after the procedures had been completed.

As much as I thirsted for water waiting for my procedure, I know that God desires for me to thirst for fellowship with Him even more.  Once a week or on special days isn’t enough to sustain the relationship to keep it healthy and growing. Every day I have the choice to make that a priority by praying, reading His Word in the Bible, and living with faith, trust, and obedience.  Quenching that thirst isn’t dependent on the weather or a medical time schedule.  And when we thirst for God and his righteousness, he promises to fill us with life giving water. 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Matthew 5:6

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
Psalm 42:1-2

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
    and fills the hungry with good things.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
Psalm 107:8-9

I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.
Psalm 143:6

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
John 6:35

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
Revelation 22:17

Medical update:  I have been exercising every morning and afternoon this week.  I can tell I am gaining more energy and strength.  Before the treatment, my maximum time on the stationary bike was 5 minutes.  That would wear me out.  Now I am up to 10 minutes each morning and 12 minutes each evening, along with other exercises.  My legs are also not as stiff.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Overflowing



This week, the Houston area and several other parts of Texas and Oklahoma have had a record amount of rainfall, flooding, with overflowing water of roads, swimming pools, creeks, rivers, lakes, and retention ponds.  Usually a hurricane or tropical storm brings about this vast amount of water over several days, but this time the floods were caused by an abundance of rain falling in a short amount of time.  Because the areas were full and the ground was saturated, the water had no option but to overflow onto nearby areas.

In Noah’s day, God displayed His power by sending rain to flood the earth.  All lost their lives except Noah and his family.  Jesus came to give all who accept Him as Lord and Savior “Living Water” flowing from within.  Because of God’s love for us, Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, and His Spirit dwelling in us, our praise and thanksgiving should continually flow. 

Jesus modeled and taught the importance of serving and investing in the lives of others.  As humans, we overflow with the attributes in which we choose to fill our lives.

We need to be so full of God’s… 

          Joy
              Peace
                 Patience
                    Goodness
                       Compassion
                          Forgiveness
                          Faithfulness
                       Self-control
                    Gentleness
                 Kindness
              Grace
           Love

…that we overflow with those gifts to those around us.  And that kind of flooding will always be a welcomed blessing.

(Jesus said) “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
John 7:38

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Psalm 23:5

May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees.
Psalm 119:171

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
Romans 5:15

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:15

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
2 Corinthians 9:12

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
I Thessalonians 3:12