Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Patience My Dear...Patience

Oooh, the word that nearly makes me shiver every time I hear it. It brings back such horrible memories of my sophomore year in college. I had being praying for patience that summer and wouldn't you know that my roommate that year was the test to help me with that prayer request. It was a horrific experience and since then I promise that I have NEVER prayed for patience.
So this morning when I opened up my Beth Moore study and saw that I was getting ready to start the fruit of the Spirit - PATIENCE - my heart sank and I nearly skipped over it. I didn't though and now I am thrilled at how God spoke to me.
So, patience means to persevere or endure things or circumstances. And in 1 Thessalonians, it tells us that hope-desiring something good and expecting it- is what inspired their endurance (I like this word better than patience so I am using it from here on out). Job also displayed endurance under crazy hard circumstances that was inspired by his hope.
Check this out...Job 23:8-10 says essentially that when Job could not find God anywhere, his comfort was knowing that God knew exactly where he was. He was able to endure his testing because he knew he would come forth as gold. Job knew that his trials would result in refinement in God. He had hope that God was at work, that God would come to earth one day, that he himself would have a new healthy body and that he would see God's face.
Now if Job can have the kind of hope that inspired his endurance, then why can't we? Here is a man who lost EVERYTHING except his life and wife yet we don't have the endurance to wait for God to work it all out for the good like He promised in Romans. Job did not even have the Bible like we do that is full of His promises to us yet he still listended to and trusted God to work it all out for his benefit.
So the next time I am having a hard day with my kids not behaving and whining ALL DAY LONG, or nothing going as I had planned for it to, or just being completely disappointed in something, I will persevere because of the hope that one day...
1. I will receive all that God has promised (Hebrews 10:35-36)
2. I will have joy awaiting me (Hebrews 12:1-2)
3. I will be perfect and complete when my endurance is fully developed (James 1:2-4)
4. I always have my salvation and eternal glory in Christ (2 Timothy 2:10)
5. I will reign with Him one day (2 Timothy 2:12)

And just because I think this verse rocks and I want to make sure you read it...I wanted to type out #4. 2 Timothy 2:10 - So I am willing to endure ANYTHING if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Small Changes Make A Big Difference

As I sit here at 6:15 AM on Saturday writing this blog, I cannot help but be uber excited about how amazingly loving and wonderful God is. This is the second morning in a row that God has provided EXACTLY the right words for me, and the perfect, and I mean PERFECT timing.
Since traveling and being away from my group of Godly influences here and then Kate's death, I just haven't been in my normal mode. And honestly, I haven't even wanted to. I haven't wanted to pick up my Bible, talk to God, or do anything. And of course we all know that leads to no where good. I was getting into a terrible rut! So Tuesday afternoon, I went to my friend/mentor's house for a playdate and that's when the change started. I talked about all of these things with her and she encouraged me to start waking up at 5:00 AM for my quiet time...before anyone else got up and the craziness of the day started. She even told me where to start as far as what sermon I needed to hear. So, I went home and the next morning I woke up and did my quiet time. It was nice, but not GREAT (and no, it wasn't the sermon she told me about...I couldn't find it anywhere to download). And then, Friday happened. OH MY GOODNESS!!!
I just need to say 2 words....John Piper.

So, going back a bit...
On Thursday afternoon, I downloaded a ton of sermons onto my IPOD and John Piper's happened to be one of them. I chose this one not because I knew who he was exactly, but because I liked the title of his sermon...SUBJECTED TO HOPE.
So, Friday morning, I popped in the earphones (after first grabbing my large cup of coffee), grabbed my Bible and pushed play. The text is from Romans 8:18-25 so if you want to read it before you go any further, go grab your Bible and do so because this message references the text a lot.

Now, brace yourselves for an amazing message of hope...or at least what I got out of this message and why it was so perfectly timed for me.

WHY IS THERE SUFFERING IN THE WORLD?
* The world was subjected to futility, not willingly and not because He wanted it that way, but because it was right.
* God sentenced the world to what it is today in response to sin. Not a specific sin that you or I did, but because of sin in general...the fall of man. Many people, including myself, tend to automatically think when something terrible happens that it happened because of unrepented sin. One of my first thoughts when I first was diagnosed with BC was "what sin have I not confessed? what have I done to cause this?"
* the ultimate worldly meaning of suffering is that sin is SERIOUS...but, there is HOPE!

* After the suffering, glory will be revealed and we will be with Jesus.
* We will be revealed as sons/daughters of God (v19). Right now, we are walking around this earth as sons of God in disguise and hopefully we are displaying the fruits of the Spirit. But one day, that disguise will come off and we will be revealed!!!
* When things seem useless, we cannot forget that we are here in hope.
* Death and suffering is no longer the curse. Death becomes purifying and a passageway on to glory (thank you Lord!)
* Dying was originally given by God as a curse, but now in Christ, the stinger is pulled out of death. Now it is the door to paradise and the suffering becomes used by God in Fatherly care to purify. (Heb 12)
* The miseries of the universe are NOT death throws, but labor pains (this one was weird for me at first). Pain can bring life and pain can bring death. Death and suffering really are like birth pains because we are going right into life...eternal life with Jesus!

So why was all of this so perfect in its timing for me? Well, Kate's memorial is today. I've been having a hard time with her passing but not for the reason you would think. I haven't really grieved like I thought I would. Have I been sad? YES!!! Have I teared up at random times during the week and just felt "off?" YES!!! Have I had an odd peace though? FOR SURE!!! The main thing that has been on the forefront of my mind is questioning her salvation. I was never assured by her that she was a Christian. HOWEVER, I know without a doubt God ordained this sermon for me as comfort that Kate is with Him today. That yes, she suffered while on this imperfect Earth, but that now she has gone through the door to paradise and eternal life. And there is NO better place that she, nor you, nor I could be! I'm thrilled that she is NOT deaf, blind, or lying in her bed anymore with IV drips going into her body. I'm thrilled that she is now made whole again and is sitting at the feet of Jesus. Ooooh, I KNOW I will see her again and THAT my friends is where my peace is coming from. Thanks be to God for this sermon and it's timing. I'm always amazed at how perfect His timing is and how wonderfully comforting it is when He speaks to me.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

She Is Gone

My heart is full of grief and heaviness as I type this entry. Kate, one of my best friends throughout this past year, lost her life to breast cancer today. She was one of the happiest, liveliest, most beautiful people I have been blessed to know and call friend. Her heart was bigger than you could ever imagine and she lit up a room when she walked in. She has left a wonderful legacy.

Here is the post that her husband put on her facebook page. It is beautifully written and I want you all to see her through his eyes too. Before I post it though, please know I cherish every single one of you and the prayers that you have offered on behalf of Kate and her family. I know that they have felt the love and peace that only Christ can give. With that being said...

Dear Family and Friends,

I regret to inform you that my wife Kate has lost her yearlong battle with Breast Cancer – Saturday, March 6 2010. She went peacefully and without pain or suffering. She was well taken care of and given lots of love from her family and friends. She will be extremely missed and I feel lucky to have had the past 12 years together. I know she will be with me, in my heart and soul, for the rest of my life. To know her is to love her.

Everyone she met she immediately charmed with her smile and bubbly happy attitude toward life. Her passion for life was unlike anyone I have ever met. She has done more in her 34 years than most people have done in a lifetime. For such a small cute person she was fearless and open to new things and embraced challenges. I am a better person today for knowing her and so is everyone else she has ever met. I can go on forever singing her praises but I don’t think my heart can take it right now.

Know that all of your support and friendship through this time truly has helped Kate’s family and I through this trying time. I cannot thank all of you enough for the prayers and well wishes. I have hugged and kissed Kate for all of you.

Thank you all, Regretfully Tim