Tomorrow, May 12th, is 2013 Fibromyalgia Awareness Day so I thought I’d simply share my previous post about this.
Understanding of fibromyalgia as a real chronic illness is recognized on this day each year with events held across the U.S. and around the world to raise awareness about fibromyalgia and its impact on individuals, families and communities.
The National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) stands ready to help you and/or your support group create a memorable event to make a difference in your community.
The theme this year is “CARE & Make Fibromyalgia Visible.” The acronym CARE stands for:
C – Contribute
A – Advocate
R – Research
E – Educate
The goal of this year’s campaign is to engage people outside of the fibromyalgia community to support and spread awareness for FM recognition to the general public.
To help you spread the word, the NFMCPA is providing FREE Fibromyalgia Awareness Day Event Kits for events of all sizes. Whether you’re one individual person who wants to get a proclamation signed by your legislators or a large group sponsoring a city-wide walk, they have the materials you will need, including posters, signs, instructions, step-by-step checklists and even raffle tickets and receipts.
Awareness Day and Fundraiser Event Kits available include:
- Community Picnic Events
- Table-Top Exhibits for Shopping Malls, Health Fairs, Farmers’ Markets, etc.
- Walk to Cure FM Events
- State Legislature Visits – Proclamation and Resolution Program
For more information or to order an event kit, visit the NFMCPA’s Awareness Day 2013 Web page.
[Shared from http://www.prohealth.com]
To read more about how fibromyalgia affects lives, please check out the Fibromyalgia Awareness Day tab on my Chronic Illness page.
- Fibromyalgia Awareness Day is Sunday May 12, 2013! (joaynn510.wordpress.com)
Yep, it’s Wednesday again. What’s so wonderful about that? It’s just another day to struggle with all that’s wrong in our lives, right?
Unemployment, sickness, finances. How to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. Why is it that we seem to be going through so many bad weather situations? And what about all the evil deeds going on in our world? Exactly where is God in all of this and why doesn’t He seem to care?
The other day I caught myself grumbling and complaining several times [can "several" mean less than 10? I sure hope so!] about how horrible I was feeling. I was having another reaction to mistakenly eating something with gluten in it, and this affects my entire body: migraine, nausea, mind-numbing fatigue… my body even itches horribly in a lot of places. When I get “glutenized,” it takes me days to recover. And all of this is on top of my normal migraines and fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms.
As I was praying that night, the Lord brought the day into sharp focus and all I could see was me complaining—sometimes to myself, sometimes to my hubby, sometimes to no one. And I was horrified at how much of a grumbler I had become. The Lord then brought to mind Philippians 2:14: “Do everything without grumbling or arguing…” I couldn’t believe how far my complaining heart had gone.
So what does this have to do with Wonderful Wednesday?
The first thing I did was ask the Lord to forgive my bad attitude and then I asked Him to help me overcome this tendency I have to moan and complain. I also talked to my sweet hubby about it and asked him to lovingly let me know when I fall back into that grumbling pattern.
And then I decided to do some Bible reading about grumbling and complaining, and that led me to search out passages about faith and trust. Not the usual verses about faith like Abraham’s that I’ve somewhat memorized. No, these are more about digging in and having faith that God is with me and at work:
and all around me…
even though I may not feel that He is. It is an unconditional trust that in spite of how I might feel about what’s going on with me, God is allowing certain things in my life to hone more of those rough edges. And that enables me to walk closer with Him.
That is the wonderful part. In spite of how much I’ve let my pain overshadow my joy—the joy of knowing Jesus and basking in the knowledge of His saving grace—He still loves me and has been patiently waiting for me to finally get it. And I do!
Here are a few passages that bring me a wonderful combination of comfort, peace and hope. The first one from Psalms is something the Lord pointed out to me in my daily Bible reading:
We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.
This next one from Habakkuk is the last few verses of that small book, what I call Habakkuk’s Statement of Faith. In the margin next to this passage is my handwritten note: “Habakkuk was scared, but waiting. Faith waits on God to take care of things.”
I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
And one more:
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming.
See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.
You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! —James 5:7-9
Thank you for allowing me to share this with you. In an attempt to keep things real, I wanted to make sure you understand that limping with joy through a difficult valley does not mean that I am satisfied and happy with this struggle. I am definitely not! But what it does mean is that I have found the only way to live with any of it and still have that peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
It’s a fine line I walk with this complaining issue. Sometimes I need to let Rick and others close to me know exactly what’s going on with me because I usually don’t look like I’m feeling horrible. As Rick is fond of telling me, “But you look so good!” So I’ve asked Rick to specifically let me know when sharing the facts of how I feel turn into complaining.
Beloved, what are you struggling with today? Have you found your hope in the one true God? The One who is your Strength and Salvation? Please contact me with any questions about any of this: annap at annapopescu dot com.
I am so thankful for the way God has carried me through some tough days over the past couple of weeks. Thank you to the many people who prayed for me. I definitely felt uplifted!
Today I am doubly thankful because my friend Patricia Knight has graciously allowed me to share another of her great devotionals with you. And I don’t think the subject of this devotional is a mere coincidence—more like what Pat and I call a “God-incidence.” Pat, I thank you, my dear, dear friend!
By Patricia Knight
Is there any place a child would rather be than hoisted up onto his father’s broad shoulders, with legs wrapped securely around his dad’s chest, held in his firm grasp? What a view from the child’s loving perch at the top of his world! The boy’s little hands run playfully through his dad’s hair until his father suddenly lunges forward, pretending to stumble. Suddenly the child reaches out in desperation as his once relaxed body contracts in fear. When his jerking hands instinctively reach to grasp something safe, he lands a choke hold on his father’s neck. Then his dad laughs uproariously, vowing to play no more tricks. The child relaxes once more in the shelter of his father’s love and protection. The playful ride continues until the father is happily exhausted.
Being lifted up and revered is not just child’s play. We all crave protection and the ability to view the world buoyed by the safety of our heavenly Father’s shoulders. “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders” (Deut. 33:12).
Our heavenly Father never stumbles nor will He ever carry us into dangerous territory. When times in our life are tough, God often carries us on His shoulders, the safest place in the world to be. Who among us doesn’t long for absolute security and safety? Moses reminded God’s people, “The Lord your God carried you as a father carries His son” (Deut 1:31).
Our ride of assurance by God is not a one-time, fun-time. “I’ve been carrying you on my back from the day you were born, and I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old. I’ll be there bearing you when you’re old and gray. I’ve done it and will keep on doing it, carrying you on my back, saving you” (Is 46:4, The Message).
Remember, when we attempt to navigate the seemingly insurmountable trappings of life, we are not alone. God, who created us, will sustain us. Relax your tight muscles of fear. Enjoy the promise of your Lord’s vast resources of peace and safety, love and kindness, faithfulness and forgiveness.
God’s shoulders are massive, supporting us when we are burdened with a load of care. He delights in His children, desiring to lavish all of us with His love and grace. Let us rejoice in the abundant encouragement God offers. Only then can we enjoy the ride through life, held securely on His shoulders.
Everything I Need
When every step is so hard to take
And all of my hope is fading away
When life is a mountain that I can not climb
You carry me, Jesus carry me.
You Are strength in my weakness
You are the refuge I seek
You are everything in my time of need
You are everything, You are everything I need
When every moment is more than I can take
And all of my strength is slipping away
When every breath gets harder me
You carry me, Jesus carry me.
You Are strength in my weakness
You are the refuge I seek
You are everything in my time of need
You are everything, You are everything I need
I need You
You are everything I need
I love everything about You
You Are strength in my weakness
You are the refuge I seek
You are everything in my time of need
You are everything, You are everything I need
I hope you feel as encouraged as I did when reading this. Like so many of us, Pat is very familiar with chronic daily pain but she doesn’t let it get her down. She knows she can count on Him to carry her on His shoulders when she needs Him the most.
How about you, Beloved? You can call on God ANYTIME to carry you through a tough time!
It may be strange to have a post about suffering on a Sweet Saturday, but if you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ this special message will be sweet to you in its truest sense.
I follow the Desiring God blog, and last week this particular post by Jonathan Parnell greatly spoke to me. This is the Philippians 3:7-8 passage to which Mr. Parnell refers:
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ… —Philippians 3:7-8
Beloved, I pray you are edified by Mr. Parnell’s words too.
How Christians Prepare for Suffering
By Jonathan Parnell | Mar 07, 2013 12:00 am
The apostle Paul suffered. Did he ever.
He was imprisoned. He was beaten, often near death. He took 195 total lashes from his Jewish kinsmen on five occasions. He took three pummels with rods. He was once stoned — and then also shipwrecked three times. Then there are the endless dangers of travel in the first century, plus countless other experiences mentioned and unmentioned in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 11:21–33).
It doesn’t take long until we wonder how in the world he did it. How did he take so much pain? So much loss? How did he prepare for suffering?
The answer is in Philippians 3:7–8.
Counting Everything As Loss
In the 1992 sermon “Called to Suffer and Rejoice: That We Might Gain Christ,” John Piper unfolds the significance of Paul counting his gain as loss. Basically, the apostle took a long look at his life apart from Christ. All the things that he valued — his Jewish pedigree, his place in the upper echelon of religious society, his law-keeping — he took a long look at this list and wrote “LOSS” over it with a giant Sharpie.
And then we went a step further.
It wasn’t just the past values of his personal life. It wasn’t just “whatever gain he had.” Paul looks out into the future and declares everything as loss. Everything out there that could pass as positive. Everything good that he has yet to experience and everything which he will never experience. Compared to Jesus, everything is loss.
This Is Normal Christianity
And lest we think this puts Paul on a pious pedestal, that he is at a spiritual level we’d never reach, Piper reminds us that this sort of reckoning is normal Christianity (Matthew 13:44; Luke 14:33). To consider Jesus better than everything else in the world is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian.
It may be worth reading that last sentence a couple more times, until it feels uncomfortable. Many of us are so quick to console our hearts when the least bit of unsettling winds blow through. But what about conviction? It’s a good thing not to be comfortable with a watered-down Christianity foreign to the Bible. It’s not works-righteousness to say that saving faith in Jesus means we have to really love him. It’s works-righteousness to think that our really loving him is the reason we’re saved. Paul said that everything is loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus. Paul said that and so should we.
Jesus Is Better
And that’s how Paul prepared for suffering. He saw Jesus as superior to everything else. Piper lays it out this way:
Suffering is nothing more than the taking away of bad things or good things that the world offers for our enjoyment — reputation, esteem among peers, job, money, spouse, sexual life, children, friends, health, strength, sight, hearing, success, etc. When these things are taken away (by force or by circumstance or by choice), we suffer. But if we have followed Paul and the teaching of Jesus and have already counted them as loss for the surpassing value of gaining Christ, then we are prepared to suffer.
This means that if we treasure Jesus, then every aspect of suffering in our lives is losing something we have already declared as loss.
If when you become a Christian you write a big red “LOSS” across all the things in the world except Christ, then when Christ calls you to forfeit some of those things, it is not strange or unexpected. The pain and the sorrow may be great. The tears may be many, as they were for Jesus in Gethsemane. But we will be prepared. We will know that the value of Christ surpasses all the things the world can offer and that in losing them we gain more of Christ.
Loving Him Today
None of us knows the sorrows that may meet us tomorrow and are sure to meet us if Jesus tarries. We don’t know what hardships God will call us to walk through. But even though we don’t know them, we can prepare for them. And the way we prepare for afflictions then is by gaining Jesus now.
It will not minimize the pain. Not at all. But we will know, even in the darkest night, that Jesus is our God and all, that he is our Rock and treasure, that he is enough.
The way we suit up for our sufferings tomorrow is by cultivating our love for Jesus today.
Exactly one year ago today, I enjoyed a day completely free of pain. I know this because it was so remarkable that I made a note of it on my calendar. Why? So that I would be able to express my thankfulness to God—every year on this day—for that special, pain-free day in 2012.
And to remember that it is good for me to be thankful for everything in my life.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. —Psalm 100:4
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. —Hebrews 12:28
While I’m in this thankful attitude, I’d like to update you a bit on my ongoing health issues. The new medication I started in December did absolutely nothing except make me feel worse, so I ended that trial run in mid-February. This is typically the way Rx meds work for me—they don’t! I believe that is part of the many sensitivities I have from FMS, which include light, sound and chemicals.
I was very discouraged by the failure of this medication, but more so because even though I was no longer taking it, I started feeling much worse—and I didn’t know that was even possible. Since last May, I have been eating gluten-free and dairy-free, and slowly discovered that I also cannot tolerate soy and peanuts. These foods cause extreme GI distress plus nauseous migraines.
My most recent gut-wrenching (literally) allergy discoveries were onions and garlic. Both my parents were born and raised in Italy and immigrated to the USA in the late 40′s. I was raised in an Italian household where tons of garlic and onions were included in the wonderful food Mom made for us. So I was very sad to have to give up these savory foods. How does one cook great Italian food without being able to add onions and garlic anyway?
Around that same time I had a very bad reaction to eating popped sorghum, which is very similar to popped corn but much better for me according to the glycemic index. And then I had a light bulb moment. I had been having several really bad days, so I searched through my food diary and realized I had eaten the popped sorghum for a snack two days in a row. And then on a hunch, I checked out the ingredients list of a crunchy cereal I have been eating practically every day since last May.When I saw that sorghum was the main ingredient, I knew I had been slowly poisoning my body with sorghum.
You see, sorghum flour is slightly sweet and a good addition to many gluten-free foods and baking mixes, and I had been adding a crunchy sorghum cereal to my regular cereal—I absolutely love me some major crunch in my cereal!
Most people who have to eat gluten-free can easily tolerate sorghum, but apparently not yours truly. I like to have cereal for breakfast because it is easy and doesn’t require any cooking—a must for this definitely UN-morning person! And the only time I vary that routine is if I’m away from home, which is not that often.
So I had been consuming some sorghum almost every single day for a good 10 months! Plus I had eaten the popped sorghum as a snack for several days in a row.
My body was absolutely rebelling, and now I know why.
It has been about 3 weeks since I stopped eating any kind of sorghum and I had to give away about a dozen different gluten-free baking mixes that contain sorghum. BUT what a huge improvement in how I feel! I still have migraines when we’re experiencing a nasty weather front up here in the mountains, but my energy level is improving and I am not sleeping as much of my life away these days.
I’m starting to feel like I have the “new normal” me back—you know, the one with those chronic illnesses but who is still able to get through most of my days without feeling like I am constantly being run over by a semi.
Thank You, Lord!
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. —1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Beloved, how about you? What are you thankful for today?
It’s been awhile but today I’d like to share with you another special devotional written by my friend and mentor, Patricia Knight. This is another of the devotionals in her book, REJOICE!
Victory Over Circumstances
Elijah was God’s prophet. The Old Testament tells us that Elijah alone challenged 450 prophets of the false god Baal. God’s people refused to help so Elijah faced the formidable adversaries with only his God on his side. Each opposing team of believers was to offer a sacrifice on an altar but not set fire to it. Baal’s prophets were to call on their god and Elijah called on the Lord. The one who answered by fire would be declared the true God. Baal, of course, was unresponsive in spite of shouting and pleading by his prophets. Elijah then prayed that God would let it be known that He was the only living and true God. “Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench” (1 Kings 18:38).
Elijah had just been triumphant against 450 prophets of a false god. He had believed in God and God was triumphant. One would think Elijah would be praising God and rejoicing after the victory. But, he had just received a message from wicked Queen Jezebel, saying she would kill him. God’s Word tells us Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. Other than being overtaken by fear Elijah was tired—just plain worn out. Imagine the energy he expended in the intense fighting against the vastly out-numbered prophets of Baal.
We cannot forget the all-powerful Jezebel, who was at that time threatening to do to Elijah what he had just done to the prophets of the false gods. 1 Kings 19:4 tells us, “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.” With God’s help he had just defeated all those men against all odds. Now we hear him pleading with God to take his life. “Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep” (1 Kings 19:5). Observe how God ministered to him. It appears that the cause of Elijah’s depression was lack of proper rest (vs. 5), improper eating habits (vs. 6), physical exhaustion (vs. 6), and loneliness (vs. 16). In the scene that is created for us of Elijah, God has sent an angel to minister to his needs. God healed Elijah by allowing him to rest, gave him food, and sent a friend for earthly companionship.
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. —1 Kings 19:4-9
Interestingly, God didn’t condemn Elijah and tell him to stop his foolishness and get on with life. God, in His wisdom knew that Elijah needed comfort and understanding. God knew that what He had asked Elijah had not been easy for him to do. With his multiple needs in mind, God ministered to Elijah to refresh him mentally and physically. God still had more work for Elijah to do; He needed a rested and nourished man for the days ahead. God even demonstrated to Elijah His presence in a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12).
There is nothing that we experience that God has not been through.
That is why He so readily understands our needs.
There was a time when God allowed Satan to test Jesus in the wilderness for forty days. Though Jesus did not sin, He knew the energy it took to resist constant temptation. That is why He can minister to us and completely meet our needs when we are worn out, over-worked, or have a long list of demands facing us.
Like Elijah, our typical response may be a desire to crawl into a corner and tell God and the world to go on without us.
“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” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
God does not expect us to be super heroes.
Nowhere does He even hint at that. He only tells us to obey. A concise way to remember the importance of obedience when we can see neither the purpose nor the outcome is to recall this quote:
God takes full responsibility for the consequences of our obedience. —Anon
There will be a day, soon, when you will feel like smiling inwardly and outwardly. For now you need to rest and restore and renew. Only God can accomplish healing and in His precise time. It is not comfortable to be in a dry area. Look at all the great men of the Bible. They had their wilderness wanderings when God took them away from the crowd to teach and refine them. Moses was out in the fields where he escaped to Midian after murdering a man. He lived there for forty years until God called him to do his life’s work. Or, visualize Joseph in prison, wondering why God took him so far, to then have him forgotten by family and those to whom he was devoted. Job teaches us about physical and emotional suffering; he learned that he had no right to question God. In His time, God restored Job’s health and showered him with many more possessions than he had before. Even God’s own Son spent those forty days resisting Satan in the wilderness.
I have been in dry spiritual times and I have resisted greatly. It is neither fun nor a comfortable place to be. “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going… These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessing upon us forever and ever. So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever” (2 Corinthians, 4:8, 9, 17, 18, TLB).
The Psalmist David was named “a man after God’s own heart.” What a distinction and honor! Yet this is what he admitted, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1, 2). It is wonderful that God chose to write examples of very real and flawed people in His Word so that we can relate to those about whom we read and apply the lessons to our own lives.
When God sees us in the “pits,” He reaches down and lovingly rescues us, lifting us up to higher ground. Through Him, we are triumphant, like Elijah of centuries ago. Trust Him because He has already won the victory!
Pat, once again I thank you for allowing me to share your writing with my readers. You’re the best and once again, your writing has blessed us all! If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy of REJOICE! please let me know by commenting in the section below this post.
As some of you know, I have been struggling with health issues for years but the past several months have been worse than normal. Right now I’m trying out a new treatment that is either making me worse before I get better or—as has been typical for me for many years—my body is reacting in completely the opposite way than is usual for this med.
As I’ve been heard to say more than once, it’s not easy being me!
I love connecting with my readers but have been unable to keep up with my blog as much as I’d like to. So for the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some Bible verse or famous quotation images that have special meaning to me. Here’s the first one. Enjoy!
I guess 2013 started without my help but I’m here to let you know that I’m still alive and kicking… somewhat.
The last few months have been more difficult than usual as I have felt myself getting worse and worse. As I shared with you before, I am on a new supplement/med that causes you to feel worse before you start to feel better. Let me just say that, true to past experience with most meds, I not only feel worse…I feel WORSE!
The overwhelming fatigue has been the worst of my symptoms and I struggle to get even one “thing” done each day. Definition of “thing”: laundry, cooking, dusting, washing floors. In other words, taking care of my home and my man, two things I value a lot! Then there is this blog. I woke up this morning and remembered I hadn’t written anything in a couple of weeks, because my brief New Year’s post was written and scheduled about a week ahead of time.
The one thing I have not let go of is my alone time with the Lord but that took some doing. My daughter and I were discussing this very thing in emails earlier today. I used to be able to get up at what I call the crack of dark and sit down in my comfy chaise lounge with a cup of coffee and my Bible. It was the quietest and most serene time of day for me, something I looked forward to. These days, however, my brain does not fully come to life until I’ve been up for at least a couple of hours, and then I am struggling with what “thing” I can accomplish that day. As I prayed before falling asleep each night I would inevitably think Oh no! I missed reading my Bible again today!
A couple of months ago I decided to turn things around. I normally read for awhile before going to sleep at night but now I read my Bible first. And this time, I am reading intentionally. What do I mean by that? Well, I finally realized that I used to rush through my Bible reading so that I could cross it off my mental to-do list. There. Finished. I’ve read through many versions of the Bible over the years but how much have I retained of what I’ve read?
This image is an example of what my own Bible looks like. There are tons of handwritten notes, highlighted and underlined passages, and sticky notes all through my favorite NAS Bible. It was a birthday gift many years ago from Donna and I love the wide margins for all those notes. In spite of the other versions of the Bible I’ve read over the years, this is the one I keep coming back to for everyday reading, the one I always take to church and on trips.
So a couple of months ago, as I got ready to read through my NASB again, I decided to read it in chronological order, something I had never done. There are many web sites with schedules for different Bible reading methods, but I chose Back to the Bible. I copied and pasted the chronological list into a Word file because it is separated by month on the BTTB site, and then printed it out to keep in my Bible for daily reference.
I know there are a lot of you out there who have smart phones and use them to keep up with your Bible reading and I think that’s great. I do have a couple of Bible versions on my Nook Color, but I’m still old school (or should I just say old?) so that I prefer to read the paper version of the Bible—my trusty and beloved NASB—mostly because it’s easier for me to write notes in the margins.
I am so thankful for the Lord’s patience and grace in my life. If there is one thing I can always count on, it is that He is always ready and waiting for me to sit down with Him, read and contemplate His Word, and then talk to Him about it.
Beloved, I’ll be praying for all of us to enjoy a closer relationship with Jesus in 2013…
Ever since last week’s Newtown tragedy, I’ve been praying for the families of those killed. I’ve wanted to express how this whole thing makes me feel but could not come up with the right words because I thought there were no words for such a horror. A few minutes ago I read this and knew I had to share it with you.
This post is from http://ronbigblackgarrett.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/words-from-a-father-who-lost-his-daughter-in-columbine-12-years-ago/. Please take the time to read this and then share it!
Words from a Father who lost his daughter in COLUMBINE
12 YEARS AGO!!
Posted: December 17, 2012 in Articles, Constitution, Founding Fathers, Freedom, government, Liberty, Politics, Religion
Tags: Articles, Columbin, congress, Darrell Scott, Faith, God, gun-control, Jesus, politics
Guess our national leaders didn’t expect this. On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of…
Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness.. The following is a portion of the transcript:“Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.”
“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.”
“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent.”
“I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy, it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.”
Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!
“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.”
“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge.. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone! My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”
- Darrell Scott
Do what the media did not – – let the nation hear this man’s speech. Please send this out to everyone you can!!!
So many of us are hurting, mostly in ways not easily understood by our friends and family because we put on a good front. We don’t want to bother our loved ones with the details of how much pain we endure each day. Or we’re so busy caring for others in dire physical circumstances that we don’t have the time or inclination to think about how much we go through as we care for these dear ones. Perhaps we don’t know how we’ll pay the bills this month. When or how will we get our next paycheck—or meal?
Oh, we may have a deep and abiding faith in God because we know He loves us and cares about every single little detail of our lives…but these days we are clinging to that faith by our fingernails.
We are understandably so focused on our own pain and suffering or that of our loved ones that we’re afraid to confront our frustrations about a situation that never seems to end. How do we get through this Christmas season of joy when everything around us is in shambles?
Beloved, I’ll be writing more about this in the next days before Christmas, but today I want to share something with you that arrived in my inbox this morning. I pray you will be blessed by this as much as I am, and I will be praying for each and every hurting heart who reads this.
To Those Hurting This Christmas
by John Knight | December 9, 2012
I know some of you are praying you’ll make it through Christmas—just make it through—not anticipating anything good will come from gathering with extended family and friends. It has become a cliche—right next to the article on what second-graders are excited about for Christmas is the article on the rise in depression during this last month of the year.
You know the sadness is real. While you change the diaper of a teenager, or administer complicated medications, or prevent your non-verbal ten-year-old from hurting himself again, or explain yet again the complicated life of your five-year-old without a diagnosis for her disability, your nieces and nephews and young friends are playing and running and eating, happily talking about the toys they want or travel they’re excited about or things they are doing in school. They easily do things your child will never do, no matter how many therapies or medications or prayers are offered.
Or maybe the disability in your family member means you can’t gather with other loved ones, and the heartache is almost more than you can stand.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15, italics added)
More than that, he endured and is victorious!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1–2, italics added)
And there are some of you who can’t see it. There is still hope!
From Pastor John’s book, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy,
It is utterly crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise, strong hand of God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him. This is the way Paul thought of his own strivings. He said, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Philippians 3:12). The key thing to see in this verse is that all Paul’s efforts to grasp the fullness of joy in Christ are secured by Christ’s grasp of him. Never forget that your security rests on Christ’s faithfulness ﬁrst.
Our faith rises and falls. It has degrees. But our security does not rise and fall. It has no degrees. We must persevere in faith. That’s true. But there are times when our faith is the size of a mustard seed and barely visible. In fact, the darkest experience for the child of God is when his faith sinks out of his own sight. Not out of God’s sight, but his. Yes, it is possible to be so overwhelmed with darkness that you do not know if you are a Christian — and yet still be one. (216, italics added)
Jesus understands. Jesus is victorious. Jesus is the answer. May you find him, and in finding him, find hope and peace in these hard days.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
John Knight is Director of Development at Desiring God. He is married to Dianne and together they parent their four children: Paul, Hannah, Daniel, and Johnny. Paul lives with multiple disabilities including blindness, autism, cognitive impairments and a seizure disorder. John blogs on issues of disability, the Bible, and the church at The Works of God.