Does Cancer Scare You?

The word “cancer” can strike fear in your heart.  Recently, my daughter was telling me about  a lady who just learned she has the same type of aggressive breast cancer that I had (Triple Negative).  She said, “Mom, I’m sure glad we’re over that!” I told her I would never be “over” it.  There are follow up doctor visits and although I don’t worry about the cancer recurring, it is always in the back of my mind.

I’m sitting in the oncology waiting room as I write this.  As my eyes scan the room, I feel out of place and am disturbed.  It is obvious there are some very sick people here.  After multiple visits and four years later, it is still surreal.

I’ve had a chest x-ray and blood drawn.  I’m waiting to see the doctor and hear the test results. Even when I received the cancer diagnosis, I did not have any symptoms except for a pea-size lump.  Now, after all the chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, my body feels the same.  Because I feel physically fine, it doesn’t make sense to me that the doctor can either give me a clean bill of health or report that the cancer has returned.

How is one to cope with this? My husband used to say, “People feel sorry for me because they know I don’t have much longer to live. They don’t seem to realize they could die before I do. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. I’m just more aware of it.”  We may think we have a measure of control in this life, but we don’t.  We couldn’t take our next breath but for the grace of God.  But don’t let this scare you! Our times are in God’s very capable hands. He is a good, good Father and loves us very much. We can rest in Him and trust His best for us as we walk closely with Him.  Cancer doesn’t scare God and we don’t have to let it scare us.

There are much worse things than cancer.  People who live selfishly to obtain things in this life have the worst disease of all!  They are missing out on real joy-filled living. I can’t imagine even getting out of bed in the morning if I did not have the love of Jesus in my heart and the assurance that His peace, grace, and mercy would cover me through the day.

Every time I come to this waiting room, so many questions flood my mind…Why did God bring me through the cancer journey basically unscathed?  Why would God choose to give me more opportunities to serve Him, when I fail Him so miserably every day? Why was I spared when so many of my cancer friends were not?

As I walk by the treatment room, I would rather look away and forget, but I feel obliged to absorb the scene.  I need to remember the uncertainty and fear I experienced while sitting in those chairs receiving poison in my veins.  Do these people know the peace only Jesus can give during this most gut-wrenching time of their lives? They need my empathy and my prayers.

After all the questions, my conclusion is always the same… I don’t know.  This is what I do know….

  • God is always good.
  • His way is perfect.
  • He will walk through every valley with me.
  • He is God and I am not.
  • I can trust Him.

I know I will come face to face with God one day and thank Him for using cancer to remove some of the fog of materialism and vain distractions from my heart so His purposes for my life could be more clearly seen and accomplished.

So with tears in my eyes and joy in my heart, I am thanking God for leaving me here to witness my last homeschooler (Nathan) graduate high school, Abigail receive her college diploma, Anna and Bethany marry their awesome husbands, and for having the privilege of enjoying my little grandson, Destin.  And I could go on and on.

Nathan graduating from high school (2017)

Abigail graduating from BJU (2017)

Bethany and Wesley Crews married 8-03-14

Anna and Danilo Vara married 9-27-14

 

Anna, Bethany, and Abigail (9-27-14)

Destin Vara as a newborn (9-24-16)

With a broad smile on her face, my sweet doctor just reported that my tests results were great! If my life ended today, I’ve been far more blessed than I’ll ever deserve.  It thrills me to know I’ll have all eternity to thank and worship my Lord and Savior for daily showering me with His gifts!

No, we don’t have to be afraid of cancer. We have a mighty God.  If we know Him and  find our life coming to an end here, we have a much better place to go where we will live like never before!  We can enjoy the presence of God for all eternity. Don’t let cancer scare you.  It can be a gift in disguise!

Keep looking up,

Gaye

May 2017

 

 

When God is Silent

psalm62v7I was talking  to a very polite lady from my insurance company yesterday. We both knew it was going to take quite awhile to answer all my questions. She was having to do a lot of typing and searching for information.  It was then I heard this sweet comment, “There may be times of silence, but I am here.” It may as well been God himself speaking. My heart had been anxious, but suddenly comfort flooded my soul!

The thoughtfulness of this stranger touched me deeply.  She knew absolutely nothing about me, had never seen me, yet she cared enough to reassure me she was there to help me in spite of the many miles separating us.

Isn’t God’s unconditional love just like that? Yet, He does know me…all my yucky and chose to send His son, Jesus to die in my place even while I was yet a rebellious, unrepentant sinner!

Have there been times in your life when you wondered where God was? Did you doubt He was even aware of your situation? Have you cried out for answers and it seemed your prayers were bouncing off the clouds? Have you wondered just how many prayers it was going to take to get a response from God?  Have you been so desperate that you would gladly accept a, “No” rather  than not hear from Him at all? I have.

I think of poor Joseph that was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery only to then be lied about by Potiphar’s wife. Then he endured the long, lonely nights in the prison when he had been wrongly accused.  (Genesis 37-39) Surely he often wondered, What in the world are you doing, God?  Where are You? But one day EVERYTHING changed and Joseph went from being a prisoner to second in command of Egypt!

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Oh, and think of the thousands of Israelites who lived their whole lives crying out to God for deliverance from the hard bondage in Egypt! Can you image  trying to explain to your children the importance of continuing to pray for God to do a mighty work when they knew their parents,grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. had prayed for generations for exactly the same thing only to have their situation worsen? That took faith! BUT, there came a day God broke the silence and parted the Red Sea, killed their enemies, gave them water from a rock, and bread and meat from the sky.

And then there are the situations we don’t have the luxury of time to wait and pray. Have you been in that situation?   A decision has to be made quickly, as in Queen Esther’s case.  She and her people were about to be annihilated.   When the easiest thing to do would have been to panic , she asked everyone she knew to fast and pray with her for three days and nights. God came through and turned things around for her in a most amazing way!

Although David was a man after God’s own heart, he evidently experienced God’s silence.  Psalm 28:1 begins, Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.  But something soon happened because of what he says in verses 6 and 7,

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Blessed by the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

I think this verse contains  the key to turning our weakness into strength, our helplessness into hopefulness, our sadness into joy, and our torment into praise.

MY HEART TRUSTED IN HIM…. When we turn our focus off of our problems and onto the only One who can solve them, we are helped. Sounds easy enough, right?  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

One thing is for sure, although God’s silence can feel like an ominous cloud and be misunderstood, we can be sure  He is there, quietly working.  This quote is in my house,

I believe….

  • in the Sun even when it is not shining
  • in Love even when I cannot feel it
  • in God even when He is silent

He will NEVER, EVER, leave us alone. When everything in you is screaming differently, you can bank on God’s promises. He is there even when we don’t understand and can’t feel Him. He has promised to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  As that lady reminded me yesterday, There may be times of silence, but I am here!

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

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It’s never too early to teach your grandbaby!

Twisted Knee, Twisted Plans

33959e628ecfd5472ed22c7e5777d230Nathan (my 17 year old son) walked in the door last week after riding dirt bikes with his friend.  They got some water, chatted briefly and left. But when he entered the house a few hours later, he was noticeably limping, had this “look” on his face, and said, Mommy, I have to tell you something.  My heart sank and I immediately wondered how earth shattering this information was going to be.

I had a wreck on my dirt bike and I’ve hurt my knee. (He had a helmet on, thank goodness.) He was riding down the steep hill behind our house in fifth gear (going about 45 mph) and let the clutch out not realizing the engine had died. The back wheel immediately locked up sending the motorcycle sliding down the hill in front of him. When his leg hit the ground he heard and felt his knee pop as his lower leg twisted backwards. This was Friday evening and in our house, unless you’re bleeding to death, you don’t visit the emergency room on the weekend. So we went to an orthopedic surgeon the following Monday.

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Nathan giving his sister, Anna, a ride in March 2016

An x-ray showed no broken bones, but after an examination the doctor said, Well, he ouches at all the right times for a torn meniscus. He needs an MRI and will probably have to have surgery. The doctor went on to explain that the insurance companies are getting more and more difficult to work with concerning testing, but they would give it their best shot.

Thankfully, I received a call first thing the next morning that the insurance had approved the MRI and the doctor had scheduled one. I then talked to my friend whose husband is a physical therapist. He informed me that he thought it would be in Nathan’s best interest to get a doctor who specialized in working with youth.  I told him I appreciated his advice, but I didn’t know any other orthopedic surgeons.  He said he would try to locate one for me.

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Then I realized I had accepted an appointment to review the MRI results on a day I was going to be out of town so I carefully dialed the doctor’s number to reschedule. I heard this familiar voice and asked, Is this the doctor’s office? It was a friend from my church! I was confused because I don’t have any services on my home phone that would have dialed that number and his number wasn’t even remotely close to the doctor’s office number. Anyway, he asked me how Nathan was doing and I told him Nathan would probably have to have surgery.

He said, I have had all kinds of knee and foot surgeries.  There is a really good doctor who specializes in working with youth that I highly recommend. I thanked him and felt like God had dialed his number for me.

I then got a call from my physical therapist friend who said, Hey, I’ve been doing some checking around and I got a name of a good doctor; his name is__________. I recognized it as the same name my other friend had just suggested! This doctor is located in a big city so I took this as God confirming that we needed this doctor. I called right away and they said they would see Nathan.

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At the same time this was going on, I found out I had to be at an appointment out of state (that I could not reschedule) on the same day I was to begin my first day at my new job. (I have been a homeschooling homemaker for twenty-six years and have not worked outside the home with the exception of teaching piano lessons. Now, I’m excited to be a  preschool teacher at Muse Montessori.)

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Andrea Muse, Ashlee Bitton and I praying for all involved with Muse Montessori.

I had a knot in my stomach just thinking about having to tell my boss that it was impossible for me to be at work on my first day. This beginning date was set two months ago! I took a deep breath as I picked up the phone to explain my dilemma. When I told my boss I wouldn’t be able to make it Monday, she laughed out loud. I was bewildered.  Gaye, none of your students are going to be able to come Monday! I was getting ready to call you. The mothers want them to begin Tuesday.  You are fine. Don’t worry about it.

This brought tears to my eyes and I was so humbled to see how God was going before me and working out all the details of my problems. Walking with God doesn’t mean we won’t ever have difficulties.  Quite the contrary, Jesus told us to count the cost as we consider taking up His cross and following Him. BUT, the most cool thing is, that no matter what we have to deal with in this life, He is always right there with us…walking through our storms with us…carrying us much of the time…AND loving us all the way!

9e9d4b67fe3ecf46972e94a2eec251ecWhy am I amazed when God does what only He can do?  When I see Him work for the umpteenth time in my life?  When He delights in doing things like this for me?  When He holds this whole world in His very capable hands?  When He tells the sun and moon when to shine?  When the king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whitersoever he will. (Prov. 21:1) Why? Because I’m human, forgetful, and lack the necessary faith and trust in my awesome God. He is so deserving of our praise.

Hoping you are having a praise-filled day!

Gaye Hughes

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Nathan, my hero!

 

 

Are You in the Furnace of Affliction?

126cbee9c44f9497dcd44895df12620180a7b2bf“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one that feared God, and shunned evil.” (Job 1:1) Doesn’t this sound like a fairytale? But it isn’t! Job was a real man who walked on the same earth we do!I’d like to share some definitions according to Webster’s Dictionary….

blameless: without fault

upright: having or showing a strict regard for what is morally right, honest, fair, making a conscious choice and regularly practicing what is right.

shun: to avoid deliberately and especially habitually.

If Job could live this way, without the Bible to read, then  it’s possible for us to live this way today. If it wasn’t for Job’s example, I would wonder if this kind of lifestyle is even possible in today’s world. But Job’s example gives me hope that it is possible to make good choices everyday and please God.

Job was serious about his faith. He prayed often.  He confessed not only his own sin, but for any unconfessed sin his children may have overlooked. He did all the right things and God richly blessed him with a wife, ten children, several servants, land, and thousands of animals.  He was respected and the most influential man in the East.

Life was good! Then in one single day, within minutes, without warning,  the rug was ripped out from under him and he lost almost everything he held dear in his life. Through a series of events, he lost everything except his life, his wife, and four servants.  I think the servants were only spared so they could bring him the bad news.

Job’s response to his tragedy reveals  his character and devotion to God. He fell to the ground, and worshiped. Then he said,

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Job must have been shocked and numb with grief, yet these are the words that immediately came from his lips. First, I’m amazed at Job’s impressive walk with God. Then, I’m blown away with his righteous response to adversity. But it gets even better!

No one can ignore the way all this came about. One day the angels came to present themselves to God and Satan came with them. (Job 1:6) Have you ever thought about Satan having access to God? Anyway, God asked Satan what he had been doing. (The Bible is clear that God is omniscient so He didn’t ask because He didn’t know.)

Satan said he had been walking around in the earth. I Peter 5:8 warns us to be on guard that the devil is our adversary and as a roaring lion, he walks around seeking whom he may devour. He wants to chew us up and spit us out. You can bet he is still doing that today!

God asked Satan if he had considered Job, an upright man that feared God and deliberately avoided evil. God even said there wasn’t another one like him on earth. (Job 1:8) The devil said that wasn’t anything special.  Why wouldn’t Job love God? God had protected him, blessed Job’s work and made him rich. Satan suggested if all Job’s things were gone, Job would curse God to His face. (vs. 11) So God gave Satan the go-ahead to mess with all Job’s stuff, but forbade him to touch his body. This tells us that God has power over Satan.

I don’t know about you, but this is hard for me to swallow. It appears God is ratting Job out. Why? Doesn’t God bless us for loving and obeying Him? He sure does. He had blessed Job. He blessed Abraham, but then asked him to give up his son. God has much bigger plans than we can understand.

So Satan probably quickly and happily skipped away whistling, planning how he could most torment Job. Although Satan had his hay day, Job faithfully stayed devoted to God and did not sin.

We don’t know how much time passed, but there was yet another day Satan appeared with the angels before God and the conversation was almost verbatim. (Job 2:1)

Satan told God a man would do anything to save his life and if Job’s health was gone, Job would curse God to His face. So God gave him permission to touch Job’s body, but ordered him to not take his life.

That’s when Satan gave Job boils that covered his whole body. Job was in constant torment with itching, oozing sores from head to toe.  Many of you know this truth all too well; Continual, poor health can be one of the biggest trials! It wears even the spiritually strongest people down.  It is frustrating and discouraging. But Job knew a better day was coming.  (see Job 23:10 in pic)

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Many speculate why Job’s wife was spared….maybe to further torture him.  At this point, she suggested Job curse God and die. In the first round of tragedy, Job 1:22 says, Job neither sinned or wrongly accused God in it all. However, after round two when he lost his health, Job clearly attributes his affliction to God. (Job 19) And I have to agree with him. God did allow it. So Job wasn’t wrong in saying that.

When Job’s friends came to “help” him, they just made it all worse. They reasoned that Job clearly had unconfessed sin in his life and if he would just admit it and repent, God would quit punishing him. Job assured them he had already done that. Wow! This amazes me! I don’t feel like I could ever say that I could not think of even one unconfessed sin!

In chapter 29 Job verbally makes an impressive list of how he has lived.

  • He made a covenant with his eyes to not sin with them
  • He had earned respect with those who knew him
  • He relieved the poor
  • He opened his home to travelers
  • He helped orphans, widows, and  the helpless
  • He helped the blind, lame, and abused
  • He visited the bereaved
  • He defended the weak

Job couldn’t understand why God had allowed all this turmoil and he was desperate for answers.  Job had two requests from God. (Job 13;20-22) He asked,

1) That God would lay off the afflictions

2) That God would directly address him, break the silence, and answer him

God did both.  Out of a whirlwind (storm), God asked Job a series of questions. Here are some of my favorites….

  • Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? 
  • Have you ever ordered the morning?
  • Do you know where Light comes from and where Darkness lives?
  • Have you ever been where snow is made?
  • Where do I launch the lightning?
  • Who is the father of rain and dew, the mother of ice and frost?
  • Do you know the first thing about how the sky’s constellations affect things on Earth?
  • Can you get the attention of the clouds and command a shower of rain?
  • Did you teach the eagle to build her nest on the cliff?

Job was humbled,  said he was vile, admitted he had talked too much, and would shut up and listen. God went on to say He was in charge of the universe and basically told Job that He was God and Job wasn’t. Job admitted he had second-guessed God’s purposes and was wrong for doing that and promised to never do it again.

Job repented and asked God to forgive him. God rebuked Job’s friends, but He praised Job for his honesty and sincerity. After Job prayed for his friends God restored his health and doubled his wealth and gave him ten more children. Job lived another 140 years and was able to see four generations before he died a contented, old man.

The Bible doesn’t say that Job ever got an answer to why the trials came, but after he heard from God, that was enough to satisfy him. After feeling so alone in his pain, God broke the silence. Feeling God’s presence is enough to get us through the toughest of days.

As Vance Havner said,

God marks across some of our days, ‘Will explain later.’

That “later” is sometimes not until we get to heaven.

Could it be that God knew He could trust Job to come out on top? I think so. I don’t think God just used Job to get one up on Satan. That would be sin and God is holy.  Just think of all the people down through the ages that have been encouraged by Job’s life to keep going when their world crumbled around them! His life has inspired thousands if not millions.

At the time, Job felt like no one understood and not many knew what he was going through.  He even commented, Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! (Job 19:23) Job had no idea that they WOULD be written down and that thousands would read his story, and as a result,  be inspired to trust God and cling to Him during their trials.

Are you feeling the heat from your furnace of affliction today?  Be encouraged and stay strong. God knows you can walk through this fire and come out on the other side a vessel that He can use and be glorified through. Pain is never wasted if we turn to God through it.

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

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Are You on The Rock or the Roller Coaster?

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“For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?

 

 

 

 

Last month I began getting pretty upset because two of my girls hadn’t been communicating with me very well.  I felt neglected and it bothered me.

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Danilo and Anna 9-27-14

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Wesley and Bethany 8-3-14

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Danilo and Anna Vara 8-2015

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Wesley and Bethany Crews 8-2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know these newlyweds are busy, but when too much time goes by between calls and texts, it gets rough. I long to be involved in their lives even if it is from afar.  Recently,  I started complaining to my friends,  Is a 10 minute, uninterrupted, weekly phone call too much to ask?!!!

BibleThen I wondered how many times I make God feel that way.  Ouch! He knows what I’m doing, but He wants to hear from me.

My mind wanders too much while I’m reading my Bible.  I often get distracted while praying.   And though I talk to Him often throughout the day, I often don’t linger long enough to hear what He might want to say to me.

I had decided my girls had pretty much forgotten about me and I was going to have to be content knowing they were independent and happy.  Bethany and Wesley had let me know they were coming for a visit so I was looking forward to that.  I knew I would at least be able to talk to them that weekend!

They arrived on a Friday afternoon and it was really good to see them. After we greeted each other, Anna suddenly appeared!  Bethany and Wesley had arranged to swing by the airport and pick up Anna as they were driving in.  I got an even bigger surprise that evening after dinner when Anna handed me a gift. Inside was a little onesie and an ultrasound picture of her tiny baby!

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Anna, Baby Vara, and Grandmommy 3-11-16

 

My girls had intentionally avoided talking to me because they were afraid they would let it slip about the baby or the surprise visit!  I had totally misread the circumstances! Again, I was reminded of how dangerous it is to trust my feelings instead of the facts.  Deep down I knew my girls cared about me, but when the evidence didn’t appear to support that, I denied what I knew to be true and began focusing on my ever-changing feelings….which is NEVER a good idea!

 

 

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This is a battle we all face every day.  Life happens and we can get discouraged.  Sometimes things seem hopeless, but God is often working behind the scenes. This is where our faith needs to kick in.  Like Peter, when we start focusing on our storm (problems) and taking our eyes off of Jesus by not reminding ourselves of His promises,  we begin to sink emotionally! (Matthew 14:27-33)

jesus-rescuing-peter-from-drowningWe must not trust our feelings, but the facts of who God is and what He has promised to do for those who believe in Him.  When we can’t see Him or feel Him, we must remember what He has promised.  He is still with us. When our emotions begin to get the best of us, we must anchor our minds in God’s Word, the Bible….the truth.

In John 14:27 Jesus said, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth,  give I unto you.  LET NOT your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The LET NOT tells me that we have to work at allowing God’s peace in our lives. I think Jesus knew worrying and being anxious would be our natural default.  He tells us to  make a conscious choice to not allow ourselves to be troubled, worried, or afraid.

Notice there aren’t any exceptions made here.  We have to decide to trust Jesus instead of ourselves every time to have Jesus’ peace.  The peace is there for the taking, but we must work for it.  So when you find yourself on an emotional rollercoaster, find your footing on the Rock (Jesus) and drop your anchor in God’s Word, the truth.

Keep looking up,

Gaye

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Back- Wesley and Abigail Front- Nathan, Bethany, Gaye, Anna 3-11-16

 

Resting in the Lord

6453ac28ca60bd6d5fa9ea3977533b06Recently two of my friends have told me the Lord had been speaking to them about resting in Him. They have been meditating on Scripture and trying to learn what that looks like in everyday life.

I haven’t heard many sermons on this subject, but as I’ve thought about it, I’ve realized this is an important principle to grasp…one I want to understand better. Sometimes when I’m having a hard time figuring out what something is, it is easier to think about what it isn’t.  I would say the opposite of rest is work, sleeplessness, being anxious, and worrying.

My friends realize resting isn’t just about the physical.  God wants us to work. We need to provide for our families, wash clothes, clean the house and fulfill a multitude of other responsibilities.  And the Bible is pretty clear about how God feels about laziness and wasting time.

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Both of my friends are grieving  their moms’ recent home-going to be with the Lord.  While these sweet mothers were ready to meet their Maker and the God whom they loved, it must be so hard for their daughters to not be able to walk down the hall or pick up the phone to talk with them.

In addition, these homeschooling moms are dealing with the last of their birdies leaving the nest, their children getting married and moving away, cancer, job loss, etc.  It’s no wonder they are seeking rest!

Jesus has already taken the brunt of our grief and sorrow. In Isaiah 53: 4 it says, Surely he hath borne our griefs (sicknesses), and carried our sorrows (pain). He took the worst of it on the cross when He died for the sins of the world.  But, we still are confronted with pain and sorrow in this sin-cursed world in which we live. So He wants us to even carry the leftover heartache to Him.

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In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said, Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek (gentle and humble) and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

So how do we stay calm and rest in our spirit when we’re being constantly bombarded by some heavy cares in this world? I think it means every time those uneasy feelings of worry, anxiety, and fear arise, we have to speak truth to ourselves from God’s Word. We talk to God about it and then refuse to worry about it anymore.

It’s like the game where the little heads keep popping up and you have to quickly hammer them back down. We crush fear, worry, uncertainty, anxiety, grief and pain with verses like….

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

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Psalm 34: 17-19 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth them, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite (grieving and penitent for sin or shortcoming- Websters Dictionary) spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

Ephesians 3:20, 21 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen!

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Rest in God, in His goodness, knowing He is faithful to see you through although your storm is raging right now.  You can trust Him.

Behold the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.  Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. (Psalm 33:18-20)

I would love to hear from you, Readers!  What have you learned about resting in Him?

Keep looking up,

Gaye

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When Your World Falls Apart

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What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? What or who do you think you cannot live without? What makes life worth living for you?

Now that you’ve answered those questions, what if that thing or person was taken away? What then? What would then motivate you to keep on living?

Would your remaining family be enough? Would your favorite hobby be enough? Would your church family be enough? Would your health and money be enough? How about your work, sports, shopping?

That’s a difficult question to answer if you haven’t had that thing or person taken from you. It’s hard to imagine life without them or it. But personally, I don’t think any of those things are enough to keep us going when it feels like our world has fallen apart.

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And this hope and strength comes from Jesus!

Allow me to share Haratio Spafford’s (1828-1888)  story and how his world fell apart. He was a successful lawyer in Chicago.  He was a devout Christian man who enjoyed the friendships of Dwight L. Moody and Ira Sanky. He and his wife had a lovely home, one son, and four daughters.

Spafford and his wife, Anna, lost their young son and soon afterwards lost most of their real estate investments in the Great Chicago Fires on October 8, 1871. To help he and his family to cope with the tragedies, a family trip to Europe was planned.  Having some unexpected last minute business to take care of, Spafford sent his wife and daughters on the boat ahead of him.

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There was a boat collision and several days later he got word from his wife, Saved alone. When he came to the spot in the ocean where it was believed his daughters perished, he penned the words to, It is Well With My Soul. That was the bottom line for him.

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For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)

Could you say that, if you were in that situation?  If you don’t know Jesus or have a good relationship with Him, will you please make that a priority today? None of us know how many days we have left in this life. Life is short and unsure.

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But we can have peace and hope even in these uncertain times if we know Jesus as our Savior. He is willing and waiting for you with open arms. You can’t be too bad for Him to not accept you and you can’t be good enough without Him.

 

 

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I believe with all my heart that the ONLY thing or person that is truly enough in this life is Jesus Christ!  We can be lulled into thinking things or people in this life is all we need. But we all have a deep seated spot in our hearts that only Jesus can fill and satisfy.  He wants to be there for us. The question is, “Do we want Him?” If every last comfort and security is taken from the believer,  God is enough! He gives and is enough.. strength, hope, and love to be all we need in this life.

Paul told the Corinthians, Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; (2 Cor. 3:5)

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This is what I found when I looked up the definition of sufficient in the Webster’s Dictionary.

sufficient– enough to meet the needs of a situation or a proposed end.  ENOUGH, ADEQUATE, COMPETENT mean being what is necessary or desirable, SUFFICIENT suggests a close meeting of a need; ENOUGH is less exact in suggestion than SUFFICIENT;  ADEQUATE may imply barely meeting a requirement; COMPETENT suggests measuring up to all requirements without question or being adequately adapted to an end.

During the most difficult days of my life, the one thing that has kept me going is to believe God has a reason and purpose for giving me breath. I want to use that breath and life to fulfill His purpose for me.  I try to do something, anything to help someone every single day because I know that is what God calls every believer to do…to love others. That will last for eternity! Love never fails. It always works. It is always a good thing.

There you have it folks! God is more than adequate to meet us where we are. He made us and only He knows what we need.  And only He can fill those needs in our lives. Won’t you trust Him to do that for you today?

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

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When It Doesn’t Make Sense

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The Bible intrigues me! So many times God asks people to step out in faith to obey Him when it makes no sense to the human mind. That is what faith is…the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)  When we put aside our doubts, and step out in faith, believing God, He does amazing things!

I Kings 17:8-16 tells how God told His prophet, Elijah to go Zarephath because He had commanded a widow to feed him.  There was a severe famine in the land and God asked this widow to do a very hard thing…to provide lunch for a stranger while she and her son were hungry and her food supply was almost diminished.

When Elijah asks her to use the last of her oil and meal to make him a cake first, the woman responds,

“I have not a cake, but a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse (pitcher): and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress (prepare) it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” Elijah tells her to not be afraid, but to go and make him a little cake first!

Can you believe the audacity of such a request?  I’m sure this mother loved her son. If a stranger told most women this, they would say, “In your dreams Buddy!” And I’m afraid I would have been one of those women in this case!

Elijah assures this widow she will have a  supply of meal and oil until the Lord sends rain.   By faith, she did and as he asked a result,  the LORD kept His promise and she, her son, and Elijah ate many days after that until the Lord sent the rain.

If she hadn’t had the faith to obey, God would not have had the opportunity to reward her faith.

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In 2 Kings 5:10-14, Naaman, captain of the Syrian army, had leprosy.  God tells His prophet, Elisha to tell him to go dip in the dirty Jordan River seven times.  That made no sense to this captain.  Naaman’s pride got in the way.  First, he was offended that this man of God didn’t even come out and speak to him face to face, but sent his servant to give the solution to his disease.

Then, he couldn’t understand why his cleaner river back home wouldn’t be the better option. Naaman was trusting in the water to heal him and not in the God who made the water. Naaman was ready to leave, when his servants begged him to give it a try.

Because Naaman obeyed, although unwillingly, God honored His word and healed the captain.  What if Naaman had walked away without obeying?  He would not have been healed.  How many times do I walk away because God’s word doesn’t make sense to me?

Here’s another one. Jesus said in Luke 6:38

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.  For with the same measure that ye mete (use) withal it shall be measured to you again.”

How can we give and end up with more than we gave?  It does not make sense. This is one of the glorious characteristics about God! This is what makes Him so awesome! This is what makes Him God and not me!

God works miracles when we exhibit faith.  This goes against every grain in our earthly, sinful body.  We think we are smart and can figure things out for ourselves. Blessed is every man, woman, and child who realizes they cannot figure this life out without the help of Almighty God! “With men it is impossible, but not with God:  for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10 27)

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder to them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

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In Matthew 10:38-39 Jesus said,

“And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it:  and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

To me, these verses mean we must each lay down our hopes and dreams and be willing to trust God with our future. When we do, a lot of times are hopes and dreams do come true.  God knows us better than we know ourselves and He wants the very best for us. We may think we know what we want, but we really don’t.

God knows the end from the beginning.  We don’t have to fret and worry and try to figure things out and make things happen.  Jesus is asking us to let Him carry our burdens in this life, to trust Him, to rest in Him, and to wait on Him.

When we take our eyes off ourselves and give to God and others, we are dying to ourselves to gain true life. This song pretty much sums up what I’ve been trying to say. May this be the prayer of our heart.

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Instrument of Peace

Where there is hatred, let me bring love
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith
Where there is falsehood, let me bring truth
Where there is pain, I’ll comfort you
Where there is silence, let me sing praise
Where there’s despair, let me bring hope
Where there is blindness, let me bring sight
Where there is darkness, let me bring light
And with these words I speak
Grant that I may not seek
To be heard but to hear
To be consoled but to console,
Not to be seen, but to see
To be loved but to love
For when we give love we will receive
When we forgive love, we’ll find reprieve
It is in dying we’ll be released
Make me an instrument of peace

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

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