Perspective on the Hard Temporary Stuff This Side of Heaven

(Photo posted with permission http://photoinspiration.weebly.com/index.html)

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a
funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless
man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a
pauper’s cemetery in the back country. As I was not familiar
with the backwoods, I got lost and
I didn’t take time to stop for directions.
I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently
gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the
diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch.
I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the
side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in
place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.
The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around.
I played
out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends.
I played like
I’ve never played before for this homeless man.
And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept,
I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes
and started for my car.
Though my head hung low, my heart was full.
As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say,
“I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in
septic tanks for twenty years.”

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“No matter how devastating our struggles, disappointments, and troubles are, they are only temporary. No matter what happens to you, no matter the depth of tragedy or pain you face, no matter how death stalks you and your loved ones, the Resurrection promises you a future of immeasurable good. “- Josh McDowell

 

Great reminder, huh?! None of the temporary stuff that bugs us here will be an issue whatsoever in Heaven.
Praising God from whom all blessings flow,
 
Paula (I love the quote below)

Attitude
By Charles Swindoll

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of
attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important
than facts. It is more important than the past, than
education, than money, than circumstances, than
failures, than successes, than what other people think
or say or do. It is more important than appearance,
giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a
company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is
we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we
will embrace for that day. We cannot change our
past… we cannot change the fact that people will act
in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable.
The only thing we can do is play on the string we have,
and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is
10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And
so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

 

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Easter Sunday sermon.

 

Four worms were placed into four separate jars.

The first worm was put into a container of alcohol.

The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke.

The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup.

The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.

At the conclusion of the sermon, the Minister reported the following results:

The first worm in alcohol – Dead

The second worm in cigarette smoke – Dead

Third worm in chocolate syrup – Dead

Fourth worm in good clean soil – Alive .

So the Minister asked the congregation –

What did you learn from this demonstration?

Maxine was sitting in the back, quickly raised her hand and said,

‘As long as you drink, smoke, and eat chocolate, you won’t have worms!’

That pretty much ended the service.  ;)

————————————————–

 

 

 

The true meaning of Easter in a nutshell taken from http://www.evantell.org/the-gospel :

“The gospel in its simplest form is ten words: “Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.”

The centrality of the gospel is not based on what we do for Christ, but what He did for us. He has provided a way for sinners to be pardoned instead of punished. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we can have a relationship with God that transforms our lives forever when we place our trust in Jesus alone.

John 3:16 offers a simple outline of the three things God wants us to know: His love, His gift, and His offer of salvation.

God’s Love – “For God so loved the world”

God’s love is so remarkable because He loves us not for who we are, but in spite of who we are. Harsh words, lies, selfishness—we are guilty of all of these and more. No matter what we’ve done, God still loves us. As sinners who have broken God’s commandments, we deserve His anger rather than his love. But God loves us so much that instead of turning His back on us, He turns His face toward us. Two thousand years ago, His love provided a gift only He could give.

God’s Gift – “that He gave His only begotten Son”

The gift is God’s Son—Jesus Christ. Because we have sinned, we deserve to die and be separated from God forever. The Bible identifies that place of separation as hell. But God gave His Son to take our punishment. Begotten means “one of a kind.” Jesus Christ is God’s unique son. He is perfect. Christ is our substitute. On a cross two thousand years ago, He died for our sins. As God, He came back to life, proving He had conquered sin and death once and for all.

Because the price for our sin has been paid, the way to God is clear and simple.

God’s Offer – “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Jesus did not mean “whoever goes to church, is baptized, helps the poor, or tries to live a good life.” Whoever is not just the wealthy business person, the pastor at church, the volunteer at school, the alcoholic, or the struggling single parent—it’s every single one of us.

The word believe means to “trust,” “depend,” or “rely on.” Knowing about Jesus is not enough. We have to place our trust in Jesus Christ alone to save us. That means we must trust Christ as our only way to heaven, the only way we can have a relationship with God.

There is nothing more important than your need to trust Christ. You can tell God you are trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior through a simple prayer. It is not a prayer that saves you; it is trusting Christ that saves. Prayer is simply how you tell God what you are doing.

Dear God, I know I’m a sinner. I know my sin deserves to be punished. I believe Christ died for me and rose from the grave. I trust Jesus Christ alone as my Savior. Thank you for the forgiveness and everlasting life I now have. In Jesus’ name, amen.

You can receive more info by contacting  gospel@evantell.org  

—From: http://www.evantell.org/the-gospel

 

Happy, happy, happy Easter, friends!  He is risen!

Because He lives,

Paula

 

Good Friday 2017

 

 

 

 

John 3:16New International Version (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 

Reason to be full of HOPE!

Letting Go of the Why and Remembering the WHO

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“God can’t change who we’re becoming until we let go of who we were.” –Bob Goff

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Katie Ganshert wrote:

 

 

“…Maybe it was time to stop trying to make the puzzle pieces fit. Maybe it was time to let go of the why and remember the Who.”

 

“Maybe comfort wasn’t to be found in the why.

Maybe comfort was to be found in the who.

A God who wept.”

 

———————————————————

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
-Isaiah 26:3-4

 

__________________________________

 

 

I find comfort and relief in the realization that, in His strength, I can choose to let go of the “whys” of tough stuff and instead concentrate and fix my eyes and heart on the WHO is right by my side, helping me and teaching me and growing me through each and every thing He allows in my life.

 

In The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp, I read:

“Grace waits in broken places. Grace waits at the bottom of things. Grace loves you when you are at your darkest worst, and wraps you in the best light. Grace seeps through the broken places and seeps into the lowest places, a balm for wounds.”

 

“Grace is grace when it gives us what we’d never ask for but always needed, and moves us to become what we always wanted. But hardly ever the way we wanted.”


Gratefully His,

 

Paula

 

“…And She Laughs Without Fear of the Future”

 

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A few days ago I read through an old blog that has been “retired”  http://blog.prayfordaisy.com/   that was written by the parents of a precious 8 year old girl who passed away years ago after three rounds of cancer.  The blog is overflowing with God’s grace and merciful, loving care in the midst of immense pain, heartache, and suffering.  Below are direct quotes from Kate Merrick in the blog that I found to be poignant and applicable to my life:

 


 

“Love. Love your babies, your husbands, mothers, sisters. Love each day like it’s your last. All you mamas out there, you have been entrusted with the precious gift of a human life who depends on you. Enjoy your gift. Breathe in the scent of your child’s hair, breath. Let them cook with you and make a mess of the kitchen. Play hide and seek with them, build sand castles with them, take them on picnics, read to them!  Listen to them, value and respect them, never shame them.  Your words they will carry with them their whole life and you have the power to give them wings or stunt their growth. Motherhood can be tough but it’s worth it. It can be exhausting, boring, tedious, but never for long. You blink and they’re grown.”—Kate Merrick

 

 

 

“Sometimes the feelings and fears and stresses of our struggle are overwhelming and my heart travels north, while other times mercifully it stays put, safely in the niche of my ribs.  This week has held much soul searching, much exhaustion of our circumstances.  Upon waking, tears escaped my eyes and slid into my hairline above my ears.  My much loved husband gently reminded me (much kinder than Westley disguised as the Dread Pirate Roberts so harshly says to Buttercup) that often, life is pain. It’s part of the human experience, and if you scratch the surface of anyone’s story you will find it.  No one is exempt.  We must face our fears, believing that we will be carried through and held up by the One who made us.  Do I only focus on what hurts and is hard and what is being withheld, or will I thank Him for what is good and right and given freely?  I must not believe God is my cosmic vending machine, spitting out only what I’ve inserted a crisp dollar for, but instead trusting God with where He takes us, not just with our desired outcome.  If I believe God is good and sovereign over my life as well as Daisy’s, circumstances need not dictate our general emotional state, need not cause us to roll into a ball and hide under the covers for longer than necessary.  God is my refuge and my strength. Yes, I’ve been singing this song for months, years; and this week I needed a fresh reminder.”—Kate Merrick

 

 

“…One last thought, as a parent and as a human being; opportunities to love surround us. When we take those opportunities time seems to stop, and in that timelessness is where memories are made and beauty is beheld.  We will never regret rising to the occasion.  I believe it has something to do with the fact that God is love and we are made in His image. Suffering isn’t what we are made for, but it can be fruitful in ways we could never imagine.  We love because He first loved us. “–Kate Merrick

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Good stuff, huh?

 After I read through highlights of that beautiful blog I found this link:  http://kmerrick.com/ to a trailer and the first chapter of a new book published that looks excellent, “And she still laughs: defiant joy in the depths of suffering” …… by Kate Merrick .  It looks like a great book.  John just ordered it for me.
 
 I appreciated this analogy and direct quote by Kate Merrick  from that first chapter in the link above.
 
———————————————————————————–
 
 
 
“…I realized that often I feel like one
of those baby birds. All scrawny and weak and feath-
erless and pathetic, unable to get my own nourishment,
mouth open wide, crying for something, anything. There
I am, sitting in shambles, poop everywhere, unable to fly,
crying out for something to get me through—to move
me beyond this state of helplessness. Jesus has been to
me like that mama bird: taking care of me, feeding me
tirelessly while I’m sitting scared and stuck. Day by day
he helps me to grow shiny feathers, until I will become
nourished by truth and ready to fly.”
—-Kate Merrick
“… So what shall I do? I shall look up,
open my mouth, and allow my All Sufficient One to feed my
soul. Looking to the Source I shall rejoice with laughing,
and mourn with weeping. I shall give from my emptiness;
I shall receive the offer of abundance. And I shall keep
right on going, moving ahead in life, taking steps of faith,
and keeping my eyes on the One who is invisible—who
has, in his generosity and continuous provision like that
mama bird, taught me to laugh without fear of the future.”
-Kate Merrick
—————————————————————————————

May we too, be like those little birds with mouths wide open to the All Sufficient One to feed our souls.

Paula

 

I hold you by your right hand- I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, “Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)

 

 

 

 

You Have Circled This Mountain Long Enough. Now Turn North.(Deut 2:3)

 

 

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Image result for humor photo weight loss

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Today was a nice-and-smooth-and- uneventful Herceptin infusion day.  🙂

Here are some notes that I took from a book that has been a blessing to me over the years. I am sharing them here in case there are others that might also find them helpful as I do.  I want to get back to healthy, trim, and fit and would very much appreciate specific prayer in this area.   Honestly, it was pretty disheartening to get re-diagnosed with cancer this time after getting back to a place that I was in excellent shape weight and exercise wise.  Over eating and turning to food when I am stressed  is an area of weakness for me but I know that in Him , I am a victorious over comer.  In my own strength I am weak and mess up but I’m not supposed to be trying to live this life in my own strength.  Like good ole’ Phil 4:13 says: 

13 I can do all things through Christ[ who strengthens me.

 

 “Go-To” scripts on pp 215-216 of “Made to Crave: Satisfying your deepest desire with God. not food”” by Lysa Terkeurst (Direct qutes):
” 1.God has given me power over my food choices. I’m supposed to consume food.
Food isn’t supposed to consume me:
 2 Cor 12: 9-10 His grace is sufficient. His power is made perfect in weakness. When we are  weak, then we are strong.
 2. I was made for more than to be stuck in a vicious cycle of defeat.
Deut 2:3 “You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north.”
 3. When I am considering a compromise, I will think past this moment and ask myself, “How will I feel about this choice tomorrow morning?”
 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you,
whom you have received from God? You are not your own: you were ought at a
price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Cor 6:19-20
4.When I am tempted, I either remove the temptation or remove myself from the situation.
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. No
temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee. 1 Cor 10:12-14
5. When there’s a special event, I can find other ways to celebrate rather than blowing my healthy eating plan.
 
See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. Rev 3:8
  
6. Struggling with my weight isn’t God’s mean curse on me, but an outside indication that internal changes are needed for me to function and feel well.
 Forget the former things: do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!   I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. is 43: 18-19
 
 
7. I have these boundaries in place not for restriction but rather to define the parameters of my freedom.
 
I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves.  Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. Romans 6:19″
I love it that even when we fail in an area, there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus but instead His arms are stretched open wide to His kids and that He always has practical help and hope for us.  I love it that He has fresh starts available 24/7/365!  We all struggle in various areas at various times, what a blessing that we can cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us.  We don’t have to fix ourselves up first and then come to Him but we can come to Him right where we are at no matter what the issue is.  In Him, we are victorious overcomers!
Gratefully His,
Paula

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redefining “Boring Romance”

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http://annvoskamp.com/2017/02/the-real-truth-about-romance-boring-men-and-the-women-who-love-them-redefining-boring-romance/

This is a great article about love and romance.  I am so very grateful for my dear husband.—Paula

1 Corinthians 13The Message (MSG)

The Way of Love

13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

 

My Father in Law’s Passing

Psalm 116:15

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his faithful servants.

Yesterday, January 16, 2017 my dear father-in-law met his Savior face to face. No more suffering, no more heartache, no more worn out body, no more anything that is not good…instead, he is forever in the presence of the One Who loves him and each of us the very most.

 

 

 

A lot of people have no idea of where they are going after they die. Even if a person lives to be a 100, time on this earth is a blink of the eye compared to eternity.  My FIL knew for sure where he was going.   I like the way that this link explains the way a person can get to Heaven and know for sure they are going there after they die.    http://www.evantell.org/the-gospel   It does not have to do with being a “good enough” person.  If it did, none of us would make it.  I have copied and pasted the message below.  John 3:16 is Good News for all of us!

 

 

 

“The gospel in its simplest form is ten words: “Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.”

 

 

 

The centrality of the gospel is not based on what we do for Christ, but what He did for us. He has provided a way for sinners to be pardoned instead of punished. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we can have a relationship with God that transforms our lives forever when we place our trust in Jesus alone.

 

 

 

John 3:16 offers a simple outline of the three things God wants us to know: His love, His gift, and His offer of salvation.

 

 

 

 

God’s Love – “For God so loved the world”

 

God’s love is so remarkable because He loves us not for who we are, but in spite of who we are. Harsh words, lies, selfishness—we are guilty of all of these and more. No matter what we’ve done, God still loves us. As sinners who have broken God’s commandments, we deserve His anger rather than his love. But God loves us so much that instead of turning His back on us, He turns His face toward us. Two thousand years ago, His love provided a gift only He could give.

 

 

 

 

God’s Gift – “that He gave His only begotten Son”

 

The gift is God’s Son—Jesus Christ. Because we have sinned, we deserve to die and be separated from God forever. The Bible identifies that place of separation as hell. But God gave His Son to take our punishment. Begotten means “one of a kind.” Jesus Christ is God’s unique son. He is perfect. Christ is our substitute. On a cross two thousand years ago, He died for our sins. As God, He came back to life, proving He had conquered sin and death once and for all.

 

 

Because the price for our sin has been paid, the way to God is clear and simple.

 

 

 

God’s Offer – “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

 

 

Jesus did not mean “whoever goes to church, is baptized, helps the poor, or tries to live a good life.” Whoever is not just the wealthy business person, the pastor at church, the volunteer at school, the alcoholic, or the struggling single parent—it’s every single one of us.

 

 

 

The word believe means to “trust,” “depend,” or “rely on.” Knowing about Jesus is not enough. We have to place our trust in Jesus Christ alone to save us. That means we must trust Christ as our only way to heaven, the only way we can have a relationship with God.

 

 

 

There is nothing more important than your need to trust Christ. You can tell God you are trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior through a simple prayer. It is not a prayer that saves you; it is trusting Christ that saves. Prayer is simply how you tell God what you are doing.

 

 

 

Dear God, I know I’m a sinner. I know my sin deserves to be punished. I believe Christ died for me and rose from the grave. I trust Jesus Christ alone as my Savior. Thank you for the forgiveness and everlasting life I now have. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

Me and Alexander on our Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days

Image result for humor photo weight loss

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I crashed last night about  9:30 PM after a throwing up after chemo kind of evening  and am now wide awake in the wee hours. Yesterday was a really tough day on multiple fronts. It was one of those all-day-long stressful, rough days with one thing after another after another that I would have preferred to have gone differently. Remember “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” story from when you were a little kid? My husband and I  had one of those in an adult version.  I guess we should move to Australia like Alexander wanted to, huh?   Ha, ha 😉

 

 

 

Here’s the book read aloud if you want a refresher from your youth:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3R0q7whkp3I

 

 

 

 I’ve been thinking about that “Please God, make this count” prayer that I read about and shared here a couple days ago.   I am  seeing more clearly in the nitty gritties of life that God does not want to waste anything, including the stuff I don’t like: big stuff, little stuff, and all the in-between stuff. In all the “stuff” we can hang our hats on the truth of Romans 8:28:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 

 

 

On a happier note, I will count a few of my many blessings of yesterday as well (I guess it wasn’t a completely terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day after all!):

 

 

My family are some of my “Chemo Angels” and during this journey with cancer they have looked for ways to be a special encouragement to me , especially on treatment days.  I am indeed blessed.

 

 

 

 

John surprised me with a second “Squirrel Buster” bird feeder that I’ve been hoping for. I am also grateful that my husband and I could be there for each other through the stresses of yesterday and the challenges ahead.      Hannah drew me a lovely picture and wrote a precious note and we had a great talk. I got to chat with Nicholas on line which is a treat.

 

 

Joy shared these quotes with me yesterday morning:

“On particularly rough days when I am sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is a 100% and that’s pretty good.”

“Hey, Beautiful One, You knew today would be a little tricky.  Hang tight, Love.  You are walking in the right direction. Just keep walking.” And her reminder,  “The Lord will never leave or forsake you, Sweet Sweets”.

 

 

How very thankful I am for family and friends!

 

 

I also had a wonderful visit with a nice woman next to me getting an iron infusion.  It was a “Divine Appointment” I’m glad I could be part of.  Neato!

 

 

 

Even though we crawled along I-4 for miles and got off early to detour the bumper to bumper traffic which resulted in being an hour late for my doctor’s appointment before chemo and Herceptin, we got there safely.

 

 

 

I would appreciate specific prayer for chemo related neuropathy and the latest: burning and tingling on my lips, around my mouth, and tongue during and after chemo.  Even the tip of my nose felt weird yesterday. The numbness in my feet and toes continues to be constant. Because of the neuropathy, there is a chance that yesterday was my last chemo treatment rather than what is scheduled in two weeks. It is not yet decided. We will see how the next two weeks goes with the neuropathy. We need God’s wisdom and guidance and help.

 

 

 

Also please pray for the many details and bumps along the way revolving around my elderly father in law who is progressively going down hill health-wise and is moving down from South Carolina to an Assisted Living Facility near us this weekend.  Thanks for praying!

 

 

I’m learning to lean harder on the Everlasting Arms which are wrapped around me, holding me tight.

 

Love,

Paula