Business as Usual

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 “Never, never, never, never give up.”

Winston Churchill

I was going to throw in the towel today on writing these devotions.  I was in pain and tired and quite frankly, becoming convinced that they were a waste of time.   Time I could better spend some other way.  I also have thought lately that they serve little purpose, in the sea of blogs and posts and books and written words, this is a plankton, who would miss it if I stopped writing?  Why not leave writing to the others who write so much better?

Sometime during the day though, I was reminded of this quote by Churchill.  I’ve often used this quote to help kids keep going when they want to quit but never really applied it to my life.  But then, I seldom set long term goals that stretch me like determining to write a devotion a day for a year.

I’ve used this quote, but I didn’t know the context until today when I looked it up.  Churchill said this after the Blitz.  The Blitz was a bombing campaign by the Germans primarily against England.  It lasted 10 months and killed about 15,000 people.  Addressing Harrow School, Churchill said, ” But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period — I am addressing myself to the School — surely from this period of ten months, this is the lesson: Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

The bombing was supposed to push Churchill into negotiations with Hitler, but they had the opposite effect largely in part to Churchill’s speeches like the one above.  The people were encouraged and became determined to make it through that difficult time without caving in.  They even put signs up on shop windows that read “Business as Usual”.  Churchill rallied the people and together they faced a difficult time.

My enemy seems small in comparison to Hitler.  My enemy doesn’t drop bombs on me, he just sits on my shoulder whispering thoughts designed to get me to cave in.  Thoughts like you’re not good enough, God isn’t going to heal you, no one cares what you write.  Maybe your enemy says similar things.  Regardless of the little bombs that come our way, the purpose is the same, to get us to give up.  Give up believing that good can come into our lives, that we can be loved and accepted, that we can walk without pain, find our perfect mate, see our wayward child come home, give up an addiction, get free from an abusive situation, etc.  Whatever the bombs, the answer is never give in.  Keep on believing, keep on looking to God, keep on believing the best is yet to come, keep on trusting.  Business as usual, never give in.

Lord, thank You for encouraging me today, I needed that.  Help me to be an encouragement to others as You lead.  Help me to keep walking the walk of faith, to refuse to give in to the bombing thoughts of my enemy.  Thank You for the victory I have in You, Amen.

 

Free At Last!

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Since then the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.   Hebrews 2: 14-15

Jesus took on flesh and blood because of His desire to share in our humanity.  He took on the yucky things about being human – sin, sickness, disease, lack and even death, so that we could be set free from them. And free from the fear that comes with them.

 Ever notice when you are facing something scary – a new diagnosis, another round of tests, a new symptom, a financial turn, a relationship problem, when the doctor calls and says, “we need to talk” how quickly fear comes in, how loudly it can scream?

A little girl I worked with was scheduled for dental surgery and for the week leading up to the surgery she kept saying how scared she was about it all. I kept trying to encourage her and told her how it won’t be as bad as she fears but I nothing I said calmed her fears.  When she finally had the surgery done, she was so relieved.  It didn’t hurt like she thought, in fact, she said she hardly had any pain at all!  Her fear was greater than the actual surgery.  For me, that is always the case.  My fear of some impending doom has always been greater than the actual event.  I have heard fear defined as:

False Evidence Appearing Real.

A smoke screen.

We read in Eccelestiates that there is a time to be born and a time to die but we don’t have to live our lives in fear of death.  Every kind of pain, sickness, and disease are forms of death and God dealt with death when Jesus died on the cross and three days later rose to live forever. Death has lost its sting, we are free at last!  Yes, one day we will die, but until then by His grace, we can live without fear of what tomorrow holds.

Jesus, thank You, for taking on my humanity and all the yuckiness that sometimes means.  Thank You for carrying the burdens I can’t and for releasing me from the fear of them.  Help me to walk in light of that truth and when fear comes against me, whisper to me “fear not”, remind me that You are my pathway to peace.  When I think of how much You love me, I am in awe of You all over again.  Amen.

reprinted from my blog  godhappenings.wordpress.com

The Serenity Prayer

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God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; 

courage to change the things I can; 

and wisdom to know the difference.

I don’t know about you but I didn’t get up one day and say “wow, I would really like to be in pain for years”.  I didn’t do that and I am sure that whatever you are going through, it wasn’t by your choice.  And yet…

Some time ago, God led me through a grief process.  At first,  I was in denial – believing everyday that today would be it, the last day of the pain.  And of course, it wasn’t.  Then I grieved over my life that had been redefined by pain, grieved over all the things I could not do anymore, things that had filled my life and my days and I wasn’t prepared to give them up. This led me in and out of anger for quite some time.  Anger directed at doctors and myself and even God.  When I finally confessed that anger and let God deal with it, then there was the bargaining stage.  What if I do this or don’t do that?  There was a lot of mental torment in that trying to find the right combination of things I could do or not do to bring about relief. I can write this in one paragraph but this was a year-long process and I moved back and forth between the stages.

Finally, I reached the stage of acceptance.   I have come to know that there is nothing I can do to relieve the pain.  I can’t change it but by God’s grace I can accept it.  For now.  Not as a permanent guest because I still believe that by His stripes I am healed.  But just for now, I can accept that this is what it is and I can find peace in that.  I can see the myriad of good things in my life that pain hasn’t stolen from me and I can rest in the assurance that God is God and He is good and the day of my deliverance is coming on His timetable.  How about you?  Can you, just for now, find peace in the circumstances you find yourself in and trust the outcome to God?

Lord, You are a great and merciful God and Your compassions fail not.  Your faithfulness to me is humbling and fills me with such gratitude.  Who am I that  You should even take notice of me and yet You do.  Minute by minute You are watching over me and providing for me and healing me at my greatest point of need.  Help me to accept the things I can not change and rest in Your peace while You work on my behalf.  Thank You, thank You, thank You.  Amen

Do you need prayer for healing?  I would love to pray with and for you, please let me know.

Do you have a healing testimony?  I would love to hear it and post it to share with others.

It Feels Like Heaven

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Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:

“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously”.  Matthew 10:7-8  Message Bible

A fifth grade boy I work with is extremely sensitive to the Spirit of God.  He makes comments sometimes that amaze me.  He doesn’t talk about God; I have no idea if he is a Christian or not, but I do know he is spiritually perceptive.  One day, he was working on a word search puzzle, bent over his paper and I came up to say hi.  I placed both of my hands gently on his shoulders.  He turned around quickly.  His eyes were big as saucers and he said, “don’t touch me”.  He has never refused a hug or a pat on the back so I asked him why.  He said, “when you touch me, it feels like heaven”.  I asked why that felt bad to him and he couldn’t answer.  I wasn’t sure what to make of that.

We, as Christ followers, filled with His Spirit, have the ability to touch others for heaven’s sake.  A touch that isn’t always welcome. We are to be the harvest hands of Jesus sent out with a charge.  A charge to tell people that the kingdom of God is here.  A charge that includes bringing health to the sick among other things.  People aren’t always so comfortable with the kingdom of God, even some Christians, especially when it comes to divine healing.  Divine healing is a divisive issue in some Christian circles.  I know people who have been hurt by other Christians when their healing didn’t manifest according to their schedule.  Jesus made it very clear here, however, that we are to bring health to the sick.  Health He would purchase on the cross.

If you are believing for a healing that hasn’t yet manifested, you may have to look beyond church doctrines, beyond well-meaning people of faith, beyond present experiences and look to Jesus.  What does He say about healing?  He said it is part of the kingdom of God that is here.  Now.

Thank You Jesus for thinking of me when You were headed to the cross.  Thank You for showing me what the kingdom of God looks like and showing me that it is for me here and now as well as for an eternity.  Help me to keep my eyes on You through this healing process and help me to bring health to the sick as I proclaim Your kingdom.  Amen.

Do you need healing?  I would love to pray with you and for you.  Please let me know.

Do you have a healing testimony?  I would love to hear it and share it with others.