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Spiritual Rehydration

The idea of persevering wears me out. I get very scared that I’ll have to live in this body for several more years. I wonder if I can handle it. I know perseverance builds character, and character builds hope (Romans 5:3-4), but some days I just don’t feel like I have the energy to keep exercising my character muscles. I get so weary. Even as I began to write this post I felt so discouraged, but something told me to push through. I sat and looked at the screen wondering what I was going to say. Then Psalm 23 came to mind.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. — Psalm 23:1-2

It’s so easy for me to forget where my strength and peace comes from. In my flesh, I am incapable of dealing with the worries and troubles of this world. The weights that we all carry on our shoulders zap our strength and dehydrate us. Only God can refresh our soul.

Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. — Psalm 1:1-3

I have low blood pressure as a result of my injury. If I don’t stay hydrated, I can pass out sitting in my chair. It can be very dangerous. In the same way, if I don’t meditate on the right things, I experience a spiritual drought. There is no fruit in my life, my leaf withers, and I don’t prosper emotionally. It’s a bad place to be. I find myself in this drought when I am more focused on the troubles of this world and the worries about tomorrow. I find myself in this drought when I allow myself to be guided by negative emotions rather than by God’s strong arm. God is my only hope for contentment and peace. And for this reason I can persevere one more day.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. — Psalm 73:24-27

Gentle Love

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I’ve had a rough few weeks. I have been battling God on the idea of whether or not I can handle this life journey as a paralyzed person. I have said repeatedly in my blogs that I believe my accident has a greater purpose. And yet each morning when I wake up I am frustrated when I open my eyes. I wonder how I can live through another 24 hours in this dead body. I get angry and I get afraid, but I look to God’s word for comfort. He always speaks to me gently.

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. — Psalm 139:1-4 (NIV)

Psalm 139 is a love story. It describes how intimately I am known and loved by God. He knows how I feel. He knows exactly what I can or can’t handle. He knows when I feel worthless. He knows when I am deeply discouraged. He knows when I rejoice. This Psalm teaches me I am not alone in my feelings.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. — Psalm 139:7-10 (NIV)

Not only does God know how I feel at all times, I can never escape him. On my worst day, God does not leave my side. I cannot out run him (nor does he want me to). Over the last year and a half, when I felt like he was punishing me or he had abandoned me, he was right by my side holding my hand. He was guiding me back to the truth about his loving and unchanging character.

I often question God’s decision making and what he’s allowed to occur in my life. I often get angry because I don’t want to endure it. Sometimes it feels like his love hurts. And yet he still stands by me through all of these emotions. He knows I am resisting. He knows I am weary. He knows I am mad. But none of this changes his perfect, unshakable, all-knowing love for me.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. — Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV)

Jesus Among Us

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I’ve just returned from a six day stint in the hospital. Five of those days were spent in the ICU. What started out as a cold for me turned into a collapsed lung and a pulmonary embolism. Needless to say, I survived and am back on my beloved laptop wasting no time to share with you what I’ve learned.

During the entire six days at the hospital there was a steady stream of family and friends coming through my room. People prayed for me, with me, and while away from me. I was shown encouragement and love by people with the heart of Jesus. All I could think about was the passage below.

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” – Mark 2:1 – 5 (NLT)

This Scripture teaches me that Jesus saw their faith (friends of the paralyzed man) and the man’s sins were forgiven. And the friends weren’t shy about it either. In the house where Jesus was preaching, there was no standing room. But these determined young men lowered the paralyzed man right down into Jesus’ face! My guess is people had pieces of the roof falling on their heads and in their eyes when they looked up to see a man coming down on a mat. They had no choice but to back up five steps and let the man be seen by Jesus.

Have you ever prayed for other people and wondered if it makes a difference? I have. I wasn’t praying much myself during this ICU visit. My thoughts went from I’m having a hard time breathing to I’m just waiting to die! And although I was allowing the devil to needle away at my thoughts instead of praying, others were praying for me. Not only were my personal friends and family praying for me, I was on prayer lists, Facebook updates and more. I believe that even people I’ve never met were praying. And God honors their prayers. He honors our prayers. When we pray together Jesus is among us. Can you imagine that? I can now.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.

– Matthew 18:20 (KJB)