Wonder- Hillsong United

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

OVERCOMER

I am an overcomer. The Bible says that I am....therefore it is true.  I've overcome a lot in my lifetime.  I overcame my schizophrenia so that instead of being in the hospital every time I turned around, this June makes 2 years since my last (relatively short) hospital stay.  

Because of aggressive treatment with steroids to treat the asthma that was killing me, I gained large amounts of weight.  And each time, I LOST that weight.  However I have been overweight for 4 years now.  But once again, I'm losing it.  I've lost 38 pounds so far.  In my lifetime I have lost hundreds of pounds of weight.  I sometimes wonder why I bother striving so hard to lose it each time when it only keeps coming back?  It's because if I did not lose that weight, I would probably weigh over 400 lbs.  So, giving up is not an option.

And also due to the steroids, I was in a wheelchair for two years...and was told I would never walk again.  But I fought hard.  I struggled. And I walked.

I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called "Psoriatic Arthritis" and I daily deal with terrible pain in almost all of my joints, and immense fatigue.  I also have had many many surgeries as a result of this also.  This is not something that I can overcome by sheer force of will. Rather, I overcome by leaning hard on my Lord...even as I lean on my cane or crutches.  He walks me through each day and keeps encouraging me not to give up.

I could not have overcome even one of these things without my Jesus.  He gives me the strength and the hope to keep on going, when things seem their most hopeless and I feel my weakest.

This verse says it well: 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom 12:21 NASB

Do not allow the bad things to overcome you, but overcome them with good.  And the good is?  The Lord, he is good.  And he gives good gifts. And some of those gifts are armor to protect us, a sword to defend us, sustenance to feed us, his Word to guide us, friends to cheer us, homes to cover us.....the list could go on and on.  And if I am living a life of gratitude to the Lord who gave me these things, then, THAT, right there, is overcoming the evil with good.  And if I can keep my sights set on that, then discouragement and the desire to quit, cannot overtake me.  I cannot lose.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A Place of Rest


It has been suggested to me by some hopeful readers of this blog that maybe I could publish occasional articles here just to keep it going, albeit at a slower pace.  I'm game to try it.

Today I struggled badly with anxiety earlier in the day.  I thought of looming health struggles with a portent for disaster.  Finances.  Poor fiscal decisions.  A house badly in need of maintenance and repair.  Increasing disability and helplessness for my part.  I think of things that need to be done and I wonder "who will take care of this?" and the unwelcome answer: no one in plain sight anyway.

I did my monthly budget today and the news is not good. It seems that I seriously have more expenses than I do income. And the major culprit is my medical expense. This month I have four MD appointments.  That right there is $ 160 in copays.  I have another medical bill to pay and also medication to pay for.  Plus I have to pay a housekeeper to come in twice a month to clean because it is impossible for me to do.

In all that and feeling hemmed in and stuck...God whispered to me "Joshua chapter 1" 

"The Lord your God is giving you a place of rest. v13b

"I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you1
 “Be strong and courageous, 5b-6a

"This is my command—be strong and courageous!
Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”v9

A friend of mine is moving to Florida to be with her children as her husband just went to heaven recently. I wrote some of these verses in her card...but I do believe they are for me too.
This is especially true of verse 9.  It will require courage to stay here in this house, in this disintegrating body and to face head on the challenges to come.  Catastrophe can come but the Lord has promised to be near me. Fear and discouragement have  no place in the life of a believer because the Lord God, King of Heaven and Earth is PRESENT with me wherever we go. 

He said in 13b he is giving me a place of rest.  Snuggled there in his strong arms in a mental and spiritual oasis of calmness and peace; in a place where there is no room for anxiety, where every need is met by the Father who loves me.

Does all this good stuff automatically come to every one who calls himself a "child of God"?
If you read the whole passage,  you see that constantly meditating on God's word and being obedient to what it says is crucial before God will be ready to hand out the blessings he mentioned in this passage. There is a cost. There are prerequisites. And there is also Grace, Mercy and forgiveness when we fail and when we fall.

Meditation and even prayer have cheap imitations this day and age. And in God's definition there is no room for mantras or for emptying your mind of every thought and believing that is the way to peace. Christian meditation is completely different. It is to be FILLED with his Spirit and his words. To mull over the word and ask God to show you how to apply it is the essence of meditation.  For me, the best way to meditate is to memorize.  How better to get his words inside you?  However, and as my pastor talked about today, meditation can be just using our sanctified imaginations to know that he is there, listening and loving us.  And we receive this love and express our love toward him.  Sometimes he speaks and sometimes we sit in the comfortable silence of close friends, spouses or families. 

God's Spirit has work to do inside of us. There are areas that need purification and to be made Holy.  There are deeply embedded areas of sin that we may not even be conscious of.  God has to shine his spotlight as we look into the mirror of the Word...he illuminates those sins so that we can see them as the hideous beasts that they are.  And when we see that? We will beg and plead for him to remove them, to purify us, to make us holy as he is holy.  We will ask for him to take them and for us to never be tempted by them again...to keep them far from us, buried in the sea of his forgetfulness.


That is not to say we will never fail and never sin again...but when a heart is pure and there comes an ugly smirch of sin, we will see it and rush to be rid of it...as a woman attempts to keep a house she has just worked hard to make it clean, spotless and free of dirt. 

And once we have confessed and are forgiven? Pure peace is ours... Peace that no one and nothing can take away...not sin, not circumstance, not critical or evil people...We can walk in that peace and there find rest



Sunday, May 28, 2017

In Conclusion

In August this blog will celebrate its 8th anniversary.  It has been a large part of my life and I hope at least a small part in yours.  To date it has hosted 148,161 guests from all over the world.

However, as much as I have enjoyed this aspect of my life, of late it has become difficult for me to come up with material.  I'm disabled and most of the time am at home alone.  It is challenging to come up with material worth your time.  I don't wish to be boring. Or trite.  Or redundant.  I rarely get visitors.  I rarely go anywhere except to Walmart where I scooter around getting groceries.  And with such a limited life--well who wants to read about that?

So my inclination right now is to bow out gracefully.  I've recently had a huge reduction in my daily traffic...for years I had about 200+ page views in a day. Now I'm lucky to hit 30.  This is a fairly recent development but I totally understand it. And I think it is another sign that I need to return to handwritten journals... where I can be as boring as I want because no one else needs to read it.

I will leave the blog here for you to come back and read...the archives are voluminous...dig in...especially look at some of the early years of the blog....There is some good stuff there (if I do say so myself).

I had a practice of every year, in January, having a book made of my blog entries. (there is a company called Blog2Print.com who for a fairly inexpensive price, will print a blog from whatever span of time you designate.). I now have 7 books which contain each entry in the years that had passed.  Maybe someday  I will get so bored I will actually read through these volumes...and will look back at those years of recent past and will be reminded of things that are lost to my conscious memory now.  I wish there was a way to mass produce all of these and to make them available to you but as far as I can tell, that is not possible.  Maybe some day I will select the "best of..." the posts and make a book from them.

May God bless you and bring you to an intimate knowledge of Himself if you do not already know him.  And if you do, then may he bless your days and keep you in his care.  Thank you for walking this road with me.  If you would, would you please leave me a comment about how this blog maybe helped you or what you liked about it?  That would be wonderful for me to read.

In His Love,
Cynthia Lott Vogel