Living on…”the rest”

maxresdefault-you-have-enoughThis morning my pastor talked about the poor widow in 2 Kings 4:1-7.  After her husband died, the creditors were coming to take her two sons as slaves because she couldn’t pay her debt. Because this woman feared the Lord, she called on His prophet, Elisha for help.

Elisha asked this widow what she had.  She only had a pot of oil.

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Elisha instructed her to borrow all the empty vessels she could from her neighbors, gather her sons and shut the door, and pour the oil into the vessels.  She kept pouring until all the vessels were full, then the oil stopped. This widow went outside and reported to Elisha she had done as he said.

He then told her to go sell the oil, pay her debt, and, “…live thou and thy children of the rest.” Our pastor pointed out that when we believe on Jesus, the biggest problem we will ever have is solved. Our salvation is sealed and we are given eternal life.

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However, as believers, we will have tribulation and adversity just like anybody else.  Sometimes we will have more because the devil fights us to destroy our testimonies, our influence for good in the lives of others, and the spread of the gospel.

But one of the best promises the Lord has given us is that He will never leave us and that He will supply our every need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Hebrews 13:5, Philippians 4:19)

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God doesn’t just save our souls and then leave us to figure the rest of life out on our own.  He continues to supply our every need as we seek, ask, trust, and depend on Him. His coffers are full and He faithfully supplies “the rest” until our days here are no more.

My husband went to heaven 21 months ago today.  Although I have so much more than the poor widow in 2 Kings,  a lot of my security left with my husband.  But I can testify that God has been so very faithful to supply my every  need.

He has sent many “Elisha’s” and neighbors my way when I’ve had trouble and needed help. I have gotten money in the mail anonymously, help with house and car repairs, wood cut and stacked for the winter and countless other random acts of kindness that lifted me up when I was in need or discouraged.  I am living on “the rest” and believe me, there is plenty there!

My prayer is that I long for His presence in my life more than anything or anyone else and that I will trust Him for the unknown future. I want a deeper understanding of who He is and the depth of His love. I hope this is your prayer too. Have a blessed day!

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

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Gigi and the “Little Chipmunk” 09-2016

What’s the Bottom Line?

 

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Where is your path of life leading you?

What’s the bottom line in this life? We know there is a lot of uncertainty in this life, but we don’t know how many days we have. So to me, having confidence in what will happen after this life is the bottom line. This determines how we live our lives, what choices we make, how we spend our time, and what is most important to us.

We can say we believe a lot of things, but the way we live proves what we really believe…..unless we are side tracked and distracted by this world and the devil.  We can say our family is one of the most important things in our lives, but are we living in a way that validates that? It’s easy to get busy doing things that really don’t matter at all and neglecting the people who matter most.

Have you ever thought about what you are going to think about on your death bed? As you realize your opportunities to have a positive influence, serve God,  and love others are coming to an end, how will you feel? Will you feel good about how you’ve spent your precious time here and the things you’ve accomplished?

The first Scripture we taught our children to memorize was John 14: 6.

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Why? We wanted to make sure our children would be with us in heaven for eternity.

 

 

 

Ephesians 6:1 was another memory verse early on.

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We knew if our children didn’t honor and respect us as their parents, they wouldn’t honor or respect God as their heavenly father.

 

John 3:16-18 soon followed…

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For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The other day I was with a lady who knows she probably doesn’t have much time left here. I wanted to make sure she was placing her faith in Jesus Christ and was at peace about dying.

As we talked, she said, I don’t know my Bible as well as you do, but I’ve been taught… Then she asked me what denomination I belonged to. I said, I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I believe the Bible. I am placing my faith in Jesus and the truth in this book. Denominations don’t mean much to me.

It is easy to live our lives believing what we’ve been taught, but is our faith good enough to die by? I don’t want to risk my eternal well-being on what someone else has taught me! When I repented of my sin and placed my faith and trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit came to live inside of me.  He is the one who convicts me of sin, confirms to me what is right and wrong, teaches and comforts me.

I recently went away for a few days to visit my family in NC. I left my son with some specific instructions before I left. When I came home I found that he had followed most of them, but had left a few undone.  The To Do list was lying in front of us. When I confronted him about it, he didn’t have a good reason for not following my requests and apologized.

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Some of my NC family…from left to right, Cordell (dad), Mary (mom), Nick (nephew) John (brother-in-law) Faye (twin sister), Faith (niece) Bethany (daughter), Wesley (son-in-law) 2-16-2016

I said, Nathan, this is what it’s going to be like when we face Jesus and give an account of how we’ve lived. I imagine God will say something like this, I left you instructions. They are right there in the Bible. I told you what I expected. We won’t have a leg to stand on. There will be no good excuse for disobeying Him.

Will you please take some time to think about what the bottom line is in your life? What really matters? Should it matter?  Your faith may be good enough to live by, but will it be good enough to die by?

This song reflects my faith,

The Solid Rock

My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found;

Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

Standing on the Rock,

Gaye Hughes

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My sister, Faye, and me and the big fish we caught….NOT! 🙂

 

 

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What Do I Have to Complain About?

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While visiting the nursing homes, I see many sad circumstances. I usually walk away ashamed of myself for complaining about anything in my life.  So many of these people are happy and content when they have been stripped of most of life’s daily pleasures and left with the bare bones of life.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep your chin up. I’m still grieving the loss of my spouse.  I often feel consumed by this….like it’s going to swallow me up.  I’ll shamefully admit, sometimes I feel cheated that we only had twenty-five years together.  Visiting the nursing home is helping me keep the right perspective.

Most of the people I visit there lost their spouses years ago, but they have also lost many other things that I often take for granted. Many never leave the building. They have lost their freedom to come and go as they please. That’s a biggie.

One sweet lady recently had to sell her car knowing she will never drive again. Even though she is in her late eighties, this was and still is a difficult step for her.  Her home will be the next thing she gives up. In her home are several antiques from her grandparents that hold special memories for her. They will have to go too along with the many little spoons she collected that remind her of the many wonderful vacations she took with her husband who went to be with the Lord about five years ago.

My friend, Mrs. Helen age 78, whom I often visit in the local nursing home, is an amazing person.  She inspires me in how she has made the most of her situation. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Both her husband and son have gone to be with the Lord and  she rarely hears from her other son who lives a good distance away. You would never know it though. She is always happy to see me and is quite outgoing.  She has made a point to learn the names and history of all the residents and workers in the nursing home!

She used to be the pianist in a large church in Atlanta, Georgia.  This lady is very talented, but her fingers do not work as well now due to a stroke some years ago. So she enjoys listening to classical music now.  She also reads large volumes to keep her mind sharp.

Recently, Mrs. Helen’s best friend in the nursing home went to be with the Lord. She has given up several of her friends in this way. She says she doesn’t cry on the outside, but her heart cries on the inside. She is trying to be a strong woman and is putting on a happy face. I can relate to that.

Mrs. Brenda is in her late forty’s and is suffering from a muscle disease. I’m sure she was quite beautiful at one time.  I’ve never seen her out of bed. She can’t walk or eat food.  She has a feeding tube and is very skinny. She sleeps a lot. I’ve never seen anyone visit her. She tells me how nice I look in my regular clothes while she wears a hospital gown. I feel guilty that our lives are so vastly different.  I ask myself, “Why am I  standing by her bed instead of lying in her bed?” Our lots in life could easily be reversed. I immediately know I can take no credit for this. Her current condition was and is completely out of her control.  I flat out do not deserve my tons of blessings.

Mrs. Jo is one of the sweetest ladies you will ever meet.  She cannot enunciate very well so most people smile, nod, and just keep going when she speaks.  She is always smiling and gets so excited when anyone acknowledges her.  It makes me uncomfortable to listen to Mrs. Jo because I’m afraid I won’t be able to understand her and will frustrate her efforts. But I’m learning that when I take time to stop talking and really listen, not only to Mrs. Jo but to others also, I come away much more blessed.

Mrs. Ruby, is another dear soul in the nursing home who spends most of her time in bed.  She is almost blind so unlike Mrs. Helen, she doesn’t have the luxury of passing the lonely hours reading. However, this lady always lights up the room with her bright smile. Could I be so cheery in such a predicament?

When asked, “How are you today?” a dear friend of mine, Marvin Davenport, often says, “I’m upright and breathing so it’s a good day!”  I love that spunky attitude! But what if one day I find myself with one of those being absent? Yes, I’m breathing, but I’m not upright.  I’m bedridden and lonely. What will keep a smile on my face?

How can these unsung heroines in the nursing home be so content with so little?  What makes life worth living when one has had to give up their independence, car, home, spouse, children, parents, career, health, and eye sight?   Maybe they have learned the secret to what life is really all about…a relationship with Jesus!

Jesus makes life worth living!  Period. Why? “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalm 18:2) “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul.(Hebrews 6:19)

Jesus is the only stable thing in this world.  “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)  Jesus and His love never changes or quits or gives up on us.  “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Jesus is the One who made us and gives us the next breath and with that breath, a unique purpose for living. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)

He has a plan for each day we live. Jesus gives meaning to life when nothing else makes sense.

One of my goals is to be able say with the Apostle Paul, I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11)

I can say with Job, I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God;

So no matter where I find myself in this life, I can live in complete confidence knowing that my God has gone before me and is waiting for me to join Him in heaven.  I can smile because I have a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24) I pray you can say the same. Be blessed.

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

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