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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Developing My Struggle Muscles
                                                             - Marsha Jordan -

Yesterday was one of those days. I was so pooped that I struggled to remain upright at the dining room table. It took supreme effort to hold my head up out of the soup bowl. Unfortunately, days like that are common for me. I have a connective tissue disease that causes chronic pain and -- what's even worse -- extreme fatigue.

If you've never experienced fatigue, you can't understand how debilitating it is. It's not the exhilarating tired you feel as you relax in a hot tub after aerobic exercising. Neither is it the contented tired you feel as you sip lemonade on the porch swing after gardening all day. It's more of a crash and burn, hit-the-wall, feel like you're dead or dying exhaustion. I imagine it's the way the coyote feels who not only chased the roadrunner all day but was also pulled through a wringer, hurled off a cliff, blown up with dynamite, run over by a truck, squeezed through a knothole, and then had an Acme safe dropped on his head -- all before lunch.

Exhaustion is that burn out toddlers experience when they've skipped their afternoon nap. I can relate when I see a two year old in a shopping mall throw himself to the floor sobbing. There are days I feel like doing that, only I lack the energy required to cry.

The worst thing about chronic fatigue is that even after a full night's sleep, I still don't feel refreshed. Most mornings I awake just as tired as I was when I went to bed the night before, and I go downhill from there. Fatigue is like a thirst that is never quenched or a hunger that's not satisfied. I rarely get "enough" rest.

Though I've had to cope with weakness and fatigue for years, it still frustrates me. I get angry when the most strenuous activity I can accomplish is breathing in place. And I hate having to cancel outings at the last minute because I need a crane to lift my body off the couch. It's infuriating that I can be perky and ambitious one day while the next day I need toothpicks to hold my eyes open, and I'm worn out just from dialing long distance. All this got me so upset recently that I decided to do something about it.

So I started complaining. That not only didn't help the situation, but focusing on the negative made me feel even more miserable.

Then I found this passage in the Bible about weariness. Isaiah 40:29 says that God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. It explains that those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, run without growing weary, and soar on wings like eagles. Hmmm. I don't feel strong or powerful. I certainly don't soar, and I can't remember when I ran last. Some days it takes all the energy I can muster just to move from lying to a sitting position. So what gives? Where's all this power that the Bible promises?

Here's a hint: God's not promising literal physical strength; but I'll bet you knew that already. In His perfect will, He knows what we really need and that's INNER strength.

And guess what. The best way to develop strength within is to deal with problems without – problems like physical ailments and fatigue. They may wear down the body, but they can build up the spiritual muscles which I call "struggle muscles." When God gives strength to the weary, it may be in the form of greater faith. We may not run faster, jump higher, or leap tall buildings in a single bound; but we can likely feel our hope and our relationship with Him grow stronger.

In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul wrote about being physically persecuted, hard pressed, perplexed, and struck down, yet he was not crushed, destroyed, or in despair. In the same way, even though my body isn't satisfied and renewed by physical rest, my soul is satisfied by God and He revives my weary spirit with spiritual strength.

Farther on in 2 Corinthians, in chapter 11, Paul lists some of his hardships which included being beaten with rods, shipwrecked, stoned, imprisoned, flogged repeatedly, and deprived of food, water, and sleep. He'd been naked, cold and afflicted with a "thorn" in his flesh. Even so, he could say he delighted in his weakness, hardships, and difficulties. He explained that God's grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in weakness. Paul wrote, "when I am weak, then I am strong."

So now I've (tried to) replace my whining "Why me" attitude with a more submissive "Whatever you want for me, Lord." With that new perspective, I still hope for the best; but I also prepare for the worst. And then I accept whatever God sends.

Though I am weak and tired, I can be strong in His power.


Thought For Today.....

Monday, January 28, 2013

When you really want something, sometimes you have to swim a little deeper. You can't give up just because things don't come easy..
You have to overcome the obstacles and face your fears..but if you believe in
yourself, you will always come through with flying colours.
Value friendship, love and faith and never under estimate yourself.
The most important is.. Believe in yourself !

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Letter From God
To Women

When I created the heavens and the earth, I spoke them into being. When I created man, I formed him and breathed life into his nostrils. But you woman, I fashioned after I breathed the breath of life into man because your nostrils are too delicate. I allowed a deep sleep to come over him so I could patiently and perfectly fashion you. Man was put to sleep so that he could not interfere with the creativity. From one bone I fashioned you. I chose the bone that protects his heart and his lungs and supports him, as you are meant to do. Around this one bone I shaped you. I modeled you. I created you perfectly and beautifully. Your characteristics are as the rib, strong yet delicate and fragile. You provide protection for the most delicate organ in man, his heart. His heart is the center of his being; his lungs hold the breath of life. The rib cage will allow itself to be broken before it will allow damage to the heart. Support the man as the rib cage supports the body. You were not taken from his feet, to be under him, nor were you taken from his head, to be above him. You were taken from his side, to stand beside him and be held close to his side. You are My perfect angel. You are My beautiful little girl. You have grown to be a splendid woman of excellence, and My eyes fill when I see the virtues in your heart. Your eyes – don’t change them. Your lips – how lovely when they part in prayer. Your nose, so perfect in form, your hands so gentle in touch. I’ve caressed your face in your deepest sleep; I’ve held your heart close to mine. Of all that lives and breathes, you are the most like Me. Adam walked with Me in the cool of the day and yet he was lonely. He could not see Me or touch Me. He could only feel Me. So everything I wanted Adam to share and experience with Me, I fashioned in you: My holiness, My strength, My purity, My love, My protection and support. You are special because you are the extension of Me. Man represents My image, woman My emotions. Together you represent the totality of God. So man – treat woman well. Love her, respect her, for she is fragile. In hurting her, you hurt Me. What you do to her, you do to Me. In crushing her, you only damage your own heart, the heart of your Father, and the heart of her Father. Woman, support man. In humility, show him the power of emotion I have given you. In gentle quietness show your strength. In love, show him that you are the rib that protects his inner self.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Lonely Ember

The Lonely Ember

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services
regularly, stopped going.

After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening.
The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing
the reason for his pastor's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair
near the fireplace and waited.

The pastor made himself comfortable but said nothing. In the grave silence, he
contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes,
the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and
placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair,
still silent.

The host watched all this in quiet fascination. As the one lone ember's flame
diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more.
Soon it was cold and "dead as a doornail."
Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. Just before the pastor was
ready to leave, he picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle
of the fire. Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the
burning coals around it. As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said,
"Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon.
I shall be back in church next Sunday."

-- Author Unknown --

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Beauty of the Spirit

The Beauty of the Spirit

By Joseph J. Mazzella

I was walking towards the store when I first saw her. She was between eighty and ninety years old. Her hair was thin, sparse, and as white as the snow on the sidewalk outside. Her face was red, chapped, and wrinkled from a lifetime of use. Her mouth was missing most of its teeth. Her gnarled hands each carried a bag full of groceries. She wore work boots that had clearly seen better days. As she shuffled slowly towards the door she stopped only once to put down her bags and button her thin, wool jacket.
I hurried my pace and opened the door for her. She smiled at me with her few remaining teeth and said, "Thank you young man." I touched my gray hair and smiled at being thought of as a young man again. Then I watched as this ancient angel slowly walked to the food drive collection bin and lifted the heavier of her two bags up to put into it. She made one last stop on her way out to say "hi" to a young mother she knew. The mother had her baby girl in her arms and the elderly woman gently reached down and tickled the child under her chin. The little girl laughed with joy and kicked her feet. The old lady laughed as well in her cracked voice and then continued happily on her way. I stood there watching her and thought to myself: "That was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen."
I am so thankful to God for teaching me over the years how to see clearly. I no longer look at the world through the eyes of society with its plastic surgery view of what is beautiful and what is not. God has showed me through His love, His grace, and His guidance to see with the eyes of my soul and to recognize the beauty of the spirit in each of us.
I hope that lovely old woman continues to touch others with her gentleness, kindness, and joy for years to come. May her beauty, love, and light shine bright on Earth and in Heaven.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10


Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

New International Version (NIV)
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labour:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013