Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
7:55 p.m. Today's project was to spend the day in koinonia, at church this morning and later this evening at Home Fellowship. This morning we heard a beautifully stern message from our pastor on the first commandment, Exodus 20:3, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." (KJV, the translation most of us were trained to memorize the Ten Commandments in). Pastor John brought out the fact that the ancient false gods of intellect, pleasure, and sensuality are still with us today, just not carved as idols to be carried about and placed in shrines.
The message hit home, because there were large altar calls prayed in at both second and third services. The great deluder Satan, the enemy of our souls, suffered a beat-down today at Calvary Chapel Moreno Valley!
Before the service, Steve and I had arrived at church in our borrowed car, and made our first destination the bookstore, where Stephanie, bookstore manager, had my Galatians: An Exploration of Faith and Freedom, ready for me to pick up. To my delight, and more importantly, a testimony to the power of the scriptures, she told me that she became engrossed in the study, not just checking for dotted i's and crossed t's! A few of my Piecemaker friends were in there, and were very excited to see the book, and encouraging to me as I enter the last steps to publication. In the sanctuary with several minutes to go before service started, I made a beeline to show it to ladies who had done the study two summers ago. One of them, Kathy Langtry, had done content edits for me. I also had a chance to talk with retired missionary Dottie Sedgwick who has been following the book's progress on Facebook.
So many friends share in the joy of this book's birthing!
After church, Steve and I had sweet conversations with our couples friends and picked up our tithe receipt. As we went around the corner, there was Carole Gift Page, author of 48 books and writing professor at Biola University, who had advised me early on and endorsed Galatians! She is currently encouraging me and giving guidance for my next book about Steve's experience with Alzheimer's. We also talked about how tough the publication industry has become. Despite setbacks that can occur, as Christians we can count on the Lord "being in our corner." Just as the Pharisee Gamaliel advised the Sanhedrin concerning the miracle-working early Church in Acts 5:38-39, I feel this assurance:If this plan or work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it.
Such a stellar day did not start out auspiciously. At 4 a.m., Steve sat up, took off his C-pap mask, and I disgruntedly figured he had to go to the bathroom. But no, he heard someone knocking on our bedroom door! Admittedly, I could have missed it with a fan running and earplugs in. It took him about a minute to locate the doorknob--give him credit for having enough sense not to turn on a light with his wife trying to get back to sleep! But there was no one there. It was a minor incident, but had major repercussions. Steve went back to sleep immediately, but I stayed awake for the next 90 minutes, praying to make the best use of my time. I didn't get back to sleep until I took an aspirin about 5:45 with a 6:30 wake up time...maybe we shouldn't have watched Alfred Hitchcock's suspenseful "Dial M for Murder" earlier that evening!
A refreshing nap strengthened me for driving in the rain to Home Fellowship. We spent an hour in prayer for one another's needs, had a beautiful dinner, and closed with an exhortation to love and forgive one another--our hurts, wrongs done, past issues when our own needs were not met. I have had several opportunities to do just that this week at home, and the glory goes to Jesus for the strength to truly forgive. And when a believer chooses to forgive, it blesses the heart of God, who has forgiven us all so much!
Whether it's God forgiving a lifetime of sin for a new believer; or spouses, parents and children forgiving one another in order to follow the Master's example, that is a work of the Holy Spirit, and it cannot be overthrown!
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
3:25 p.m. Today's project is to rejoice!
Not only am I rejoicing in Heidi and Pavel's wonderful engagement pictures , and the way the wedding elements are fitting into place, but am rejoicing in the way that the Lord is putting together the business aspects of my life in the smooth way He does things, rather than the agitated approach I was using two days ago! Absolutely every matter that had me up at night, whether forms to be mailed or arrangements to be put into place, lined up beautifully today. Praise the Lord!
Don't you just love the Lord our Provider, Healer, Leader, and above all, Savior? "With God, all things are possible,"Jesus said in Mark 10:27, whether that means the problems we have unknowingly avoided because of His mercy, or the troubles we've plunged into that He rescues us from.
This blog marked 500 posts in the last year and a half, posts that God has faithfully given me seven days a week, on every subject that the Holy Spirit brings to my attention by God's will for my life--for the edification and encouragement of believers, a witness to the unsaved, and ultimately, I pray, for His glory. I pray that Jesus' heart, His love, and His call to all people would shine through these articles.
When I use the word "rejoice," I am not necessarily denoting hilarity or a response to good news only, although I can rejoice as excitedly as anyone. ( Or more so!) The Greek language used in the New Testament has many nuances, some of which seem almost contradictory. Often Christians are exhorted and challenged in what we should be rejoicing in, as the following partial list from Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words demonstrates. Christians are to rejoice in:
- The Lord, Philippians 3:1
- His Incarnation (Jesus Christ coming to earth as a man), Luke 1:14
- His power, Luke 13:17
- His presence with the Father, John 14:28
- His presence with us, John 16:22
- His ultimate triumph, John 8:56
- Hearing the gospel, Acts 13:48
- Our salvation, Acts 8:39
- Receiving the Lord, Luke 19:6
- Our enrollment in heaven, Luke 10:20
- Our liberty in Christ, Acts 15:31
- Our hope, Romans 12:12
- Our prospect of reward, Matthew 5:12
- The obedience and godly conduct of fellow believers, Romans 16:19
I find those absolute reasons for daily rejoicing, but the following list not so much:
- Suffering with Christ, Acts 5:41
- Suffering in the cause of the gospel, 2 Corinthians 13:9
- In persecutions, trials and afflictions, Matthew 5:12
Yet, I am called to rejoice in all of these matters, and several hundred more, according to this dictionary! In fact, I am told in Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice."
Impossible? Of course it is, in my own mind and heart! But let me return, by faith, to Jesus' words in Mark 10:27 :
WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Last year was the first time I had full responsibility for this task, because Steve couldn't do it any more. He used to do a stellar job, carefully documenting the numbers from the forms and packets I would supply for him. Of course, I would gather and copy down the figures for my Mary Kay business. The only thing I ever knew him to leave out was our car registration fees for 2007. Our former tax man Mr. Massoud quickly caught it and I delivered the information the next day.
With Heidi getting married, we can definitely use our refund, so I am starting early with the documents I have. The form says we don't have to have every last piece of information on hand to make an appointment, so I set it for next Tuesday after Bible study. This way, I won't procrastinate. I keep myself on a short leash these days... I'll need to exercise that fruit of the Spirit, self control (Galatians 5:23), because there are way too many distractions, and I have many little hobbies and tasks each day that turn morning into afternoon before I know it!
I Peter 1:13 (NLT) tells us, "Think clearly and exercise self control."
For medical mileage, I went through the 2010 calendar for all of our doctor, audiologist, colonoscopy, neurologist, pharmacy and optometrist appointments. I included my appointments at the Brightstar eldercare agency, too. Steve had 11 appointments alone, to my one! Between his Alzheimers, his odd weight loss, hearing difficulties at times, sleep apnea tests and equipment fitting, I can answer the question, "Now that you're retired, what do you do all day?" pretty easily. (That's why I retired!) But God has provided the health coverage (tax deductible also) that makes this high level of care possible, so, with the Apostle Paul, let me say, "with food and clothing, let us be content" (I Timothy 6:8) Nothing to complain about here.
Volunteer miles came next, so I noted the ministry activities that happened separately from services and studies we would have attended anyway. Our women's helps team delivered meals to a bedridden sister for a few months, and we helped another family, too. Exciting Moms' Morning and Heart to Home planning meetings came into view on pages at the beginning of the year. Last October's annual Panhellenic Home Tour saw me greeting long-time Riverside patrons. December brought wonderful opportunities to host our church's ladies and their guests, and our widows as well.
Along with the deductible events and projects came the fun family times, like helping Kriss and Marisela move into their apartment, dinners with our oldest son and fiancee, and with Heather's in-laws. We gave Heidi and Pavel an engagement party; got all of the siblings together at Sean's; traveled to Fresno a couple of times to see Steven. Heidi's future father-in-law built a fence section for us after a random wind blew it down. (Hmmm...a deductible home repair expense that our insurance didn't cover!) Our August party was a real blowout--one of the biggest ever. Lots of family to visit and have over to our home come December, too. The San Diego Civic Youth Ballet's staging of "The Nutcracker" gave us the opportunity to applaud our great niece Cameron and visit with our nephews and niece. Kriss and his wife Marisela both got the jobs they applied for, as noted by the scribbles to pray on critical dates. And Steven's spiritual growth has been astounding at Fresno Pacific, as has his ministry at the People's Church, along with his physical development to bodybuilding competition shape. We really enjoyed his competition in May, where he took a respectable 5th place heavyweight in the state of California!
We had sad times in our family, too. Giving up our RV was hard, because we had enjoyed traveling around the country with our grandsons. But finances were not able to support the large payment. Little Cody, 4, our great nephew, was diagnosed with a cancerous lump that had to be removed, and he still gets treatment at CHOC. Steve's brother Larry went to be with the Lord in December. Heidi struggled to make ends meet as a pinkslipped substitute teacher until today, when she got a full time job at her favorite school beginning tomorrow!! She has been obedient to Psalm 37:4, her life verse: "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Praise the Lord for the way He cares for us, even when we can tend to get discouraged. He's teaching and training us, every day!
Steve and I were abundantly blessed with friends and fellowship last year: an RV trip to Lake Havasu for a spectacular fireworks display; Sunday evening Home Fellowship and Thursday night couples' Bible study at Jeff and Monica's in Woodcrest. Praise the Lord! All of these believers have prayed us through a tough year, and we've done the same for them.
We'll be looking for tax summary reports from one of my pensions, our rental business in Wyoming, our own home mortgage, interest on the RV payments, our church's tithe receipt, and documentation from other charities we support. Student loan interest forms for both Steven and me are on their way, too. But it's not money or numbers that have made up the last year, it's the people, the experiences, the sights and sounds that make up: life.
And with the Lord, be the events sad or exhilarating, it's a wonderful life! I recalled my life verse, Philippians 1:6 just now:
Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.