I am blessed to be a guest writer at Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood today in the first of a number of posts on caregiving. Please join me over there.
The LORD is where our strength rests. He has more than enough for each one of us who gives care to another. Our task, besides the giving of care, is to wait upon the LORD.
Oh, my! You may ask, “How can I wait when I have all of this to do? I don’t have time to wait.” He calls upon us to wait. upon. Him. He will give us all that we need, all that we don’t even know we need.
As I share pieces of what I know about caregiving each month, let’s make our walk together in a garden setting for there is peace and tranquility, beauty and quiet in such a place. We need these in order to wait upon the LORD for His direction. I will focus upon the giving of care to the elderly whether he or she be a spouse, parents, elderly relatives, but you may easily be able to transfer this information for any caregiving circumstance such as an ill child or one who has mentally challenges, each of whom depend upon us for their well-being.
Caring through Christ, ~ linda
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5
For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Philippians 2:3
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3
[[A Song of degrees of David.]] Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1
But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
Years of giving care to my Mama and greeting, hugging, touching, and talking with the many other residents of the senior places Mama lived, with my teaching career where I could offer loving teaching to young children, with my one-on-one tutoring now, through my teaching at senior centers for the city health department, and all the other ways God has used me to reach the very young and the very old, I truly feel blessed to have been allowed such moments with so many. There never feels like there is a gap between the ages or the relationships. I am grateful that He has graced me with His touch, His love, His peace.
Father, I pray that You use me as You desire in touching others for Christ. May I be the loving face, the gentle hands, the tender touch, the kind words, the compassionate heart towards each and all of those You place before me. May I be Christ to those who have never met Him. Take any fear away from me that keeps me from sharing the Good News that I know. May I love as You love, Father. In Your Son’s wonderful Name, I pray. Amen.
Photo with Scripture: from Heartlight.org Gallery – http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/2656.html
I am participating in a Bible study of Isaiah 54 written and facilitated by Dawn Boyer from Journeys in Grace. Dawn brings it to Soli Deo Sisterhood where I like to spend some of my blogging time. We are in week four. There are three sections to the study. Each one will conclude with a woman who epitomizes the verses we are studying. Hannah is the woman who brings to life these first verses.
Isaiah 54:1-4 ESV
“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
break forth into singing and cry aloud,
you who have not been in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities.
“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
God commands me to sing, to enlarge the place of my tent, to spread out, and not to fear. He calls for trusting Him in areas where I have insecurities, where I am full of fear, where I feel guilt, where I am self-conscious or selfish, where I am weak, where relationships have walls or hardening of the heart strings, where He calls me and I think I know better.
Dawn writes in Week One: “The reality is that we all have places where we are broken, barren, and full of fear. Isaiah 54 is a song that was written for those moments in our lives when we need to be rescued, redeemed and restored.”
I am barren as far as having children. I struggle with that at times, especially around Mother’s Day. I actually do not go to church any more on Mother’s Day because the churches I have attended over the years hand out flowers to mothers, celebrating motherhood. Church does not take into account those of us who are barren or who have lost a child in a miscarriage, having no other children. I no longer go.
But my barrenness goes beyond childlessness as Dawn points out. She has us look further into ourselves for areas where we feel barren, as of land which is too poor to produce much or any vegetation, a tree or plant unable to produce fruit or seed, places in one’s life that show no results, achievements, empty of meaning or value, or of a place or building that is bleak and lifeless (definition from dictionary). When barrenness dwells in one, the fruit of the soul is nil, nada. The life I live needs the refreshment from God’s Word, from drinking the Living Water of Jesus to grow and show the beautiful God-filled fruit.
Hannah was barren, childless. She prayed through her struggles, her pain, her feelings of not good enough in the eyes of others. She prayed silently and she prayed aloud. God heard her words and answered. God hears all my words too, even the ones that are filled with frustration or fear or other emotions. But it is through my prayers that God takes the barren areas and blesses me. I have faith that God hears me, just as Hannah did. Trust and obedience take me to Jesus. I must hear God and believe. Trust is faith and faith is believing what I cannot see. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 Reading His Word, spending time with my Creator, praying with the heart knowledge that He hears, listens, and answers. God says in verse four that by being obedient to His commands, I will not be ashamed nor confounded not disgraced, and I will no longer remember any shame from my youth or reproach of widowhood. Hallelujah!
As Hannah, I have to come before God fully trusting and obediently willing to His very call upon my life. “Full faith in barren situations yields faith-filled abundant harvest.” (Dawn Boyer)
Father God, I come to you humbly in prayer. I feel Your hand upon me. In my love for You, the God Who hears me, I place my life in Your hands and trust You for the fruit of my life. Teach me Your ways. Guide me to dig up those places of barrenness and to not be afraid of them. Bring an Aaron and a Hur alongside of me to hold my arms up when I grow weary, helping me enlarge the place of my tent, to stretch out my habitation, and not hold back. May I lengthen my cords and strengthen my stakes, that my place be strong and wide and willing and open and trusting in You, my God and my Redeemer. In the Strong Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Barren Woman by Adam Gatsi | Opal @ http://ecentries.blogspot.com/2011/05/sing-barren-woman.html
This is my first Five Minute Friday and the word is EXHALE.
Today is the 4th of July. In the United States, that means celebrating the independence we won back in the Revolutionary War of 1775 – 1783. It mean celebrating the freedoms afforded us living in this country. It often means family barbecues, watching fireworks, going to the beach.
For me, today, my celebration of freedom is that I am able to exhale the things that are not of Christ, the pieces of me that do not look like Him. I choose (because of this freedom) to exhale unforgiveness, anger, things that are not peaceful or gentle. I exhale bitterness, frustration, unloving attitudes, words that come across as mean or sarcastic or hurtful.
I choose to exhale so that I may inhale the love of Christ and the peace that is mine in Him. I choose to inhale Christ for He chose to exhale His last breath for me.
LORD, I thank You for setting me free from all the earthly things that hold me captive. May I walk without the chains and yokes. May I walk in Your Name and Your Name Alone. I ask these in Your Name. Amen.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16
(The photo and the words below are from ibibleverses. I could not say this any better. The prayer is from my heart.)
The Word of God Says in Jesus Christ…
We are faithful
We are God’s child
We have been justified
We are Christ’s friend
We belong to God
(1 Corinthians 6:20)
We are a member of Christ’s Body
(1 Corinthians 12:27)
We are confident that God will perfect the work He has begun in me
We are a citizen of heaven
We are hidden with Christ in God
We have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline
(2 Timothy 1:7)
We are blessed in the
heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing
We are adopted as his child
We are given God’s glorious grace lavishly and without restriction
We are in Him
(Ephesians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:30)
We have redemption
We are forgiven
(Ephesians 1:8; Colossians 1:14)
We have purpose
(Ephesians 1:9 & 3:11)
We have hope
We are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit
We are God’s coworker
(2 Corinthians 6:1)
We are alive with Christ
We are raised up with Christ
(Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:12)
We are God’s workmanship
We are dead to sin
We are not alone
We are His disciple
LORD, I truly love learning more and more about You and am finding my identity, my identity in You, my Precious LORD. You have given me every possible gift, drawing me to You. Oh, how very grateful I am to You for all that You have done for me. I was created by the hands of the Master Weaver in my mother’s womb. I was whole then, perfectly woven, but was born into this fallen world. Your sacrifice upon the Cross and my faith that You are The Resurrected Holy One have given me light and life. I am whole once more in You. Hallelujah! I stand before You as I live this life and begin to understand this identity that I have in You. Guide me as I take one step at a time, growing more and more like You. I praise Your Holy Name. Amen.
Originally posted 2013-05-03 12:08:44 from http://ibibleverses.christianpost.com/bible-verses-images/our-identity-is-found-in-christ
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the LORD has commanded the blessing,
Dwelling in unity is good and pleasant, precious and priceless, refreshing and a blessing.
It is through God’s love that we are able to live in unity.
It is by the grace of God.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Father, my prayer today is that we would live wholly as Your children, live as You want us to live…together in unity and in love. I ask for Your forgiveness when we fight, bicker, hold jealousy, envy another, ignore or make fun of one of our own brothers or sisters. I thank You for loving us so that we would be able to love each other. I am grateful that You love me so very much. May I spread Your love to those You place in my path. May I give that which You call me to give whenever You ask me to do so. I want to live in unity and am so very grateful for the blessed marriage You have given me, one where we truly do walk in unity. He is not only my husband but my brother in Christ. Praising You, Father. I ask You to open our eyes and our ears that we would be obedient to You as You call us to live in unity. What better way to show the world who Christians are, Who You are, Who Jesus is. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Calligraphy by Conni Jones done for Dr. Stephen L. Cook’s Psalms course @ Virginia Theological Seminary, found on his blog @ http://biblische.blogspot.com/2006/06/interpretation-of-psalm-133.html
Photo with Scripture: http://www.terilynneunderwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/DSC_0170.jpg
By humility and the fear of the LORD
Are riches and honor and life. NKJV
The reward for humility and fear of the LORD
is riches and honor and life. ESV
The reward of humility and the fear (reverence) of the LORD
Are riches, honor and life. NASB
Honor, my One Word for 2014…this verse in Proverbs points to rewards for behaving as God wants me to. He wants humility from me… meekness, gentleness, lowly mind, modesty. To walk humbly before the LORD also takes fear, I believe. This fear looks like reverence, respect, obedience, submission to His discipline, worship of Him in awe. God’s character is majestic, powerful, mighty, just, holy, good, merciful, never changing, and I have barely begun. Because of Who He is, He is Who I am to bow before in complete awe. His authority is due all respect and obedience. He is God. I honor Him with my all.
As I am humbled before my great God, I read that I can receive rewards. They may come as earthly ones, but God has spiritual blessings for me as I learn to walk in His ways, in the humility which He calls me to walk. Riches, His honor, promises and privileges by the covenant of grace, and eternal life are His to give to me. Those are what I seek more than any thing, more than any one. By this, I am honored. I do receive His honor and love when I walk the path He calls for me. There is a price for this honor and one I am most willing to give.
Honor means so much ~
Father, I am honored to be able to come to You at any time, for I want to know You, and seek Your face. I know, Father, that I am loved and Yours. I so want to be the child I was created to be…obedient, lowly and gentle as Your Son, filled with respect. I want these for myself, not for any rewards, but because I love You so dearly. I want the earthly one here pecking away on this keyboard to be mindful of only You and not of me. I am not of this earth any longer, but am Yours and a sojourner in this place. Forgive me when I error off of Your path. You know I need Your steering often. You walk with me and I know that, LORD. You hold me near and guide my steps, for which I am so very grateful. I am loved for You loved me first. In the Beautiful Name of Jesus. Amen.
We love Him, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
I praise, You, my Lord!
I praise You, my Lord, O my soul!
I will praise You as long as I live;
I will sing praises to You, my God, while I have my being.
I will not put my trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
I am blessed for my help is the God of Jacob,
my hope is in the Lord, my God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
You keep faith forever;
You execute justice for the oppressed,
You give food to the hungry.
Lord, You set the prisoners free;
You open the eyes of the blind.
My Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
and You love the righteous.
You watch over the sojourners;
You upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked You bring to ruin.
Lord, You will reign forever,
and be our God, O Zion, to all generations.
I praise the Lord!
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12: 1-2
May I present myself to You, my God, to You alone. You teach me why and how I am to present myself to You and that is my desire, LORD. Amen.