Hate is a strong word and as Christians it isn’t one that should be used in most circumstances. But when it comes to cancer it is more than justified because it is a sin and we can hate sin just as God hates sin. The urge to write this came this morning. Last night I learned of the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, age 43, best known for bringing the super hero Black Panther to life. He had reportedly been battling colon cancer for the past four years. I didn’t know Chadwick personally so I don’t propose to have unique knowledge of his struggle with the disease. I do know that I had the same kick in the gut feeling I first experienced in 1978 when my maternal grandmother succumbed to lung cancer and again in 2005 when my mother died of gastric cancer only five months after being diagnosed. In between and since this period of time others in my life have sat with a doctor and received the news no one wants to hear. Some have emerged as survivors in the battle against it. Others lost their gallant fight. I hate cancer.
Cancer is an evil, a scourge, is unforgiving, merciless, a taker and a hater. The list of negative descriptors could go on and on but in the end, even as I shout figuratively and literally at the top of my lungs about my disdain for cancer, I know that it will continue to claim the hopes and dreams of it’s victims. It will continue to make family members and friends grieve at the loss of loved ones. Children will be left parentless. Many contributions that could have been made toward the betterment of society will be lost. I hate cancer.
So as I end this, with cancer hopefully knowing how much I hate it, I won’t sit idlily by and let it think it has won. Because it hasn’t won and will never win. I will continue to study my Bible, pray and hopefully and faithfully wait for Jesus’ return to this world. At that time all suffering will end (for all other diseases and sin) and we won’t have to cry anymore. There will be no more trials and pain. The world will be beautiful!
We can find more about Jesus’ final coming in the Book of Revelation. When I initially read it I can say that it frightened me. Some of the imagery was scary. But as I have grown in my walk with Jesus, my trust, faith and belief has also grown. His promises are real and when he comes, nothing, not even cancer, will remain. So I will wait and say to cancer now “I don’t hate you anymore because you aren’t worth the time. My God is more powerful than you and even though you can take our earthly lives, you can’t take our eternal lives. Not from those who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. So there!”
Being married can be wonderful in that you get to share your life with “your person”. But sometimes there can be a bit too much sharing. I say this because many nights I can’t get to sleep in the bed I share with my husband. Why? Because he snores steadily and loudly throughout the night. There’s a sleep apnea machine on the floor that goes unused the majority of nights. He’s says it’s too uncomfortable. Suggestions from the doctor such as losing weight haven’t come to fruition. Then where does that leave me? I love him but I also love and a good night’s sleep.
Many couples are choosing sleep divorces where they sleep in separate beds in the same room or different rooms entirely. Improved sleep can lead to improved energy, mood, overall health and a better relationship. But is this the route I should take? I’m not sure. But something has to change. I’m not willing to sacrifice my health and well-being anymore but at the same time I wonder how my husband will feel about my departure from the bed we’ve shared for over twenty-five years.
I’ll write an update soon. Possibly in the middle of the night because I can’t sleep.
Lately it seems that all we see and hear about on the news is Coronavirus 19. News casts are dedicating nearly every minute to the pandemic. They report on the rising number of confirmed cases and unfortunately deaths from this invisible enemy. Recently we have learned to “social distance” ourselves and that hand sanitizer is a hot commodity. That we need hoards of toilet paper, cleaning products and non-perishables to survive. Even if this means that others will go without.
It’s easy to get discouraged and feel afraid when the world that we know has turned upside town. We can’t go about our lives as freely as before and must learn a new way of living. It’s no longer about what’s best for the individual but what’s best for us all. Especially our most vulnerable populations.
Trials can be difficult and we would prefer not to have them. But trials are necessary to help us to grow. They bring our focus back to what’s important. We learn to endure when we experience trials which make us stronger and better ready for others that will surely come. They build our spiritual muscles.
Here are some ways to remain steady in our Hope and Faith in God right now:
Make prayer a priority each day. Choose a dedicated time if you can and let God know how grateful you are for his love and mercy. Give thanks for all that’s been given by him. Pray for our leaders in government and church and for the world. Pray for your loved ones and friends.
Listen to worship and praise music. Sing along and/or dance if you would like.
Pray with other believers. In person may not be possible now but you can arrange a conference call, a video chat or set a specific time when you can agree to pray at the same time. Matthew 18:20 – “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”.
Don’t let your mind focus on the negative. What we put our energy into will grow.
Look for ways to help others. Grocery shop for someone who can’t go out or donate to a charity that helps the less fortunate. Many will become food and housing insecure as jobs are lost due to pandemic management.
Additionally make sure that you include activities that promote health and wellness.
Take a walk outside, practice yoga or dance by yourself or with family and friends.
Don’t zone out on the sofa watching television. Pick-up a book, play a board game or complete a puzzle.
Eat three balanced meals a day with a healthy snack. Don’t overindulge on junk food.
Drink enough water to stay hydrated.
Keep a regular routine. Get up and go to bed around the same time. Avoid watching television or trolling social media right before bed. Don’t let the last thing you see or read about be negative. This can cause restlessness.
Practice meditation. There are plenty of Apps for phones and videos on the internet where sessions can be accessed. Many are free or low cost.
Make sure you smile and engage in laughter. There’s an old saying that goes: “Laughter is the best medicine”.
Keep a positive attitude.
God is here with us and on his throne. He’s in control. Let’s remember this so our fears don’t overtake us.
Waiting can be difficult. It seems that everyday we have to wait whether it’s in slow traffic, in line at the grocery store or for our name to be called at our favorite coffee place. While it may seem eternal it isn’t. If we stop and think about it we know it really isn’t that long at all.
But what about when we are waiting to hear from God. When you have been praying for years about your health, an unsaved loved one or a mate and nothing has changed. You’ve been told that all things will happen in God’s time. But when is that? How do you continue to move forward in life, maintain a good attitude and hold on to hope?
Psalm 37:34 says “Wait for the Lord and keep His way and he will exalt you to inherit the land. When the wicked cut you off you will see it.” But how long?
Micah 7:7 says “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” But how long?
Isaiah 40:31 “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weary.” But how long?
While bringing comfort the above scriptures and others written in the Bible urge us to remain strong and courageous during our trials and lean into the Lord. We should continue to pray and have faith that we will receive the answers we want and all of this is definitely true. I am just being real at this moment and saying it’s not always easy. I know that I have grown weary many times. I also know we may not get an answer in this life whether it be what we want or not.
Just a few of my prayers include when will I obtain a job that doesn’t cause the level of stress my current one does? How about the depression and anxiety that engulfs me, my children and other family members? When will this darkness be defeated? Will my son get his life on track and come back to the Lord? I try not to worry about him but I’m his mother. There will always be some level of worry when something involves my children.
So, what should we do? I strongly urge you to continue to stay in God’s word through daily Bible reading and meditation. Keep a gratitude journal to identify what you are thankful for every day. Engage in a small group and develop relationships through being open and honest about your struggles with your faith. Talk to God. Tell him how you are feeling although he already knows. God wants to hear us. Don’t be afraid to be respectfully but openly forthcoming.
Wow. It’s so amazing that an entire year has passed and it’s Christmas Eve once again. Many of us may still be shopping for last minute gifts, wrapping presents or getting ready to attend a church service tonight. If you have young children you may be prepping for a long night of assembling doll houses or bicycles. Many may be curious as to what gifts await them under the Christmas tree. Will I really get what I asked or hoped for this year?
Unfortunately many may be disappointed as they go to the tree on Christmas morning and not find what they were expecting. Or if they do the impact and excitement over receiving something dissipates by noon. Has this ever happened to you? Well fortunately this wasn’t the case for the shepherds who heard of the impending birth of Jesus and set out on a journey to find him.
What had the shepherds been told? Luke 2: 9-12 says ” An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2: 16-18; 20 says“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them…. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
What has the shepherds been told? They were told by an angel that the greatest gift to this world…a Savior for us all was being born and they should go, see and then tell others of this gift. Fortunately for them and the rest of us this gift was there as promised and this gift continues to give to us to this day. This is one gift that you don’t have to worry about being able to afford or that it will run-out. This gift is available to anyone who admits to the Lord that they have sinned and they want to accept Christ as their Savior; therefore being granted eternal life as opposed to death.
As recipients of this great gift we as beneficiaries should see it as a duty to do as the shepherds did and tell others of what we have been given. Sharing the Good News is the a priceless act that ensures that all of the world can learn of the goodness of our Christ Jesus.
So, as this Christmas comes and passes, don’t forget about the gift of Jesus like we may other presents we receive. Keep him with you always, live your life in a manner that reflects his virtues and tell others whenever you can. This may not always feel comfortable but a few seconds of discomfort on our part could spare someone an eternity of being separated from Christ in Heaven.
Have you ever had a person or people in your life whose love seemed conditional? Are they happy with you as long as you are meeting their expectations but upset when you don’t? If this is or has occurred what should or did you do? I asked myself this question just last week. You see I experience depression and at times it becomes so severe I don’t want to get out of bed. I’ve had to miss work off and on and my husband doesn’t seem to understand. Even though he works in the mental health field (we both do); when it comes to me he can’t seem to give me the support that I need when needed. He shuts down and isolates himself from me and becomes overall irritated with everyone at home. When I get better he’s better.
As I stated above this happened again last week. I thought long and hard about what to do about it. I just am tired at this point of not getting what I need when I need it from him. After all when he’s down and out I continue to be a cheerleader. I don’t become resentful because he isn’t fulfilling his typical duties. Shouldn’t I expect the same in return?
The answer to that question is “No”. We can’t expect anything from other people because we have all fallen short and can’t one hundred percent provide unconditional love. Some of us certainly provide more then others but never one hundred percent. As I was completing my devotional this morning I came upon Isaiah 54:5. This verse says “For Your Maker is your husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.”
Well there it is. My answer. God is the only one we can depend upon for truly unconditional love, encouragement and guidance. He has promised to never forsake us and to be a rock and cover for us in times of trouble. We can cast our cares on him and know that the things of this world are temporary. Heaven is our permanent home. So although we will continue to be disappointed by those close and not so close to us personally, we have hope in knowing that our Maker and Redeemer will never leave us. Amen to that.
Yesterday was election day in Virginia and in other parts of the country. There were hotly contested elections on both the state and local level in many of these areas. While monitoring the results last night it was evident that many voters in my state were overjoyed with the final outcome. On the state level the Democratic Party regained control of the General Assembly (the Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia). This has created a trifecta because they are now leading all three branches including the governor’s office. From what I understand this hasn’t happened in some decades. Locally in Fairfax County, VA the Board of Supervisors and School Board have become majority Democratic also.
Many whose candidate(s) weren’t elected may be fretting this morning. What will this mean? Will a progressive agenda now come to fruition in Virginia? I don’t know the answers but I do know one thing. Don’t spend your time worrying about it. God is in control and still on the throne. Pray for our leaders regularly and show them respect. Ask God to turn everyone of their hearts and minds to him and to follow his ways.
Also avoid social media and opinion cable network news or other type broadcasts whose main purpose is to sow division. Follow what God’s word says in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”
Have you ever had dreams, bad dreams, about things that have caused you great distress or even worse trauma? I’ve heard it said that dreams are the window to our soul. What we don’t understand or want to process during the waking hours manifest while we sleep. Every so often I dream about being in one or both of my childhood homes. These “visits” very rarely feel happy but rather frightful, chaotic, angry and lonely. A pretty good reflection of my life during that time. I always had to be on egg shells wondering when my father was going to explode. Would it be someone dropping a pan or the telephone ringing or simply asking him a question? What mistake would I make to be called names or made fun of? Or if it was my mother when would she give me the silent treatment for disobeying or tell me that no one would want to marry me because I was damaged goods? So much negativity which I absorbed like a sponge and has continued to impact my life up until a few days ago when I decided I’d had enough and didn’t want to be controlled by pass memories.
But what could I do to move forward? How or who could help me to not be afraid of being in those places that caused so much pain while growing up? I thought about God and then forgiveness. Forgiving can set us free from our pain. It won’t erase what happened but forgiveness will allow us to move away from it and start anew. Knowing that God forgives and he has forgiven me made this easier to do. None of us are perfect and we need to remember that when others hurt us. People who hurt, hurt others. Being a forgiving person can take away the power of the devil’s lies that tell us we are who or what people say we are instead of God says. Colossians 3:13 says “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
This post comes on the heels of yet two more mass shootings over the past weekend as well as countless other single shooting deaths that may or may not have made the news all over the country. When tragedy occurs we all may feel shocked at first and ask the inevitable “Why?”. I know the answer to this question and it’s because we live in a fallen world and until Jesus returns there will continue to be great sin and depravity amongst men.
This is the same answer to the question I have posed for this blog “When will we finally stop splitting hairs when it comes to God’s commands?”. The focus of the shootings and subsequent level of outrage shouldn’t be based on the “Why” of why people were killed i.e. race, religion, ethnicity, political views, ect.. but that these actions go against God’s command of “Thou shall not kill”. That’s what needs to be driven home.
So what can we do as Christians while we wait for Jesus to return? Spread the Gospel as much as you can whenever you can. Show God’s love to others and that there is a better path that we can follow in this life. Whatever is happening now is only temporary and this isn’t our eternal home. Heaven is our eternal home. 1st Peter 1:25 says: “But the word of the Lord remains forever. And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.”