“On My Father’s Side”

My Uncle Rolle Rexilius died February 25th, 2014. I had the extreme privilege to give the eulogy at his funeral. He made a huge impact on my life and on my Christian faith. He was a praying man and he lived His life, completely sold out, to his Savior. He was another Rexilus man who left a lasting legacy of faith.

I’m thinking about him today because I received an email from my mom that said, “Rolle played this Easter song for me about 15 years ago. I listened to it today and wanted to pass it on.”

Although I know and believe that Jesus was both Son of man and Son of God I’ve never thought of it in this way before…

“Just a young boy in the temple one day
Shared with the scholars, they were so amazed
Never had they seen, one so young, speak so swift,
They asked Him many questions,
The conversation went like this…

WHAT’S YOUR NAME SON?
On my mother’s side, My name is Jesus
But on my Father’s side, they call Me Immanuel

shutterstock_359624462

HOW OLD ARE YOU?
On my Mother’s side, now I’m 12 years
But on my Father’s side, I’ve just always been

WHERE YOU FROM?
On my mother’s side, I’m from Bethlehem
But on my Father’s side, it’s New Jerusalem

WHAT’S YOUR PLAN?
On my mother’s side, I’ll be crucified
But on my Father’s side, in three days I will rise,
And I’ll sit at my Father’s side”

shutterstock_287666426

He was the Son of God, yet the Son of man.
And I can’t help but wonder,
What Joseph must have felt,
Through an open door that day,
He heard his son reply, He said,
You see, I ‘am the KING OF KINGS
That’s on My Father’s side.”
(The Barn Again Gang”)

We have an awesome God!  Who but He could have made such a plan for our salvation. Happy Easter! HE IS RISEN!

 

Creatures of Habit

When I was a little girl I have very vivid memories of my mom gathering us around before bedtime and reading us a book.  All of these books usually had important life-lessons. I loved listening to my mom read and when I became a mother I started this tradition with my own kids. It’s still one of our favorite things to do as a family.

One of the books my mom read to us was, “Where the Red Fern Grows.”  To this day it is still one of my favorite books. A book about a boy named Billy who dreamed of owning his own hound dogs. Unlike today, Billy didn’t have the option of entitlement or immediate gratification so he had to work hard and long days to buy the dogs he desired.  After a couple of years, he finally had enough money to buy his dogs and he named them, Old Dan and Little Ann. He was ready to teach them how to become coon trapping hound dogs.

shutterstock_139780012

One thing from this book that has stuck with me my entire life is the way Billy’s grandpa told him how he could catch a raccoon. First, find a log and drill a hole just big enough for the raccoon’s paw to fit inside. After drilling the hole, pound two nails diagonally into the log and drop a shiny object into the hole. This can also be done using a simple tin can and placing a shiny object into the can. Raccoons are curious animals and they are drawn to bright, radiant objects. That dazzling item is all that is needed to tempt the raccoon to reach his paw into the log or the tin can and wrap his fist around the object.

And just like that, the raccoon is trapped! Can He escape? Of course he can! But he chooses to remain trapped, because he is not willing to let go of the captivating object that lured him there. All he needs to do is open his hand, drop the object, and he’s free. However, the raccoon is often to stubborn to drop the object. He is obsessed with it and becomes a slave to an object that he doesn’t need. An object that steals his freedom and will eventually cost him is life.

racoon trap

Just like the raccoon, we can gaze upon a bright, shiny  object and all of a sudden find ourselves ensnared into a trap of slavery, a trap that steals our freedom and sometimes our lives. In Romans 1, Paul calls himself, “a slave to Christ,” not out of duty and fear but out of love and gratitude.

If we aren’t enslaved to Christ, we will find another luring, captivating object. It can be an eating disorder, pornography, bitterness, unforgiveness, greed. It can even be a  good object, that eventually replaces Christ and becomes an idol in our lives, such as our kids, our marriage, a job, etc. Again, in Romans, Paul says that people, “Exchanged the glory of God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” Our hands desire to be clenched around something, and if it’s not Christ, we will find ourselves in chains that trap us, control us, and steal our ultimate purpose of life; to love and serve our Creator.

If our hands are entwined around Christ and all that He encompasses we will live in absolute, perfect freedom. Beth Moore has said, “Christ is the only one who I can bind myself to and find freedom. He is the only one that frees while binding.”  

Unlike the raccoon, who is bound to a life-threatening object, I want to be bound to Christ. I want my fist wrapped so tightly around Him that I don’t ever want to let go. I want to say I am a slave to Christ. I need nothing more. He is enough. And it is here, bound to Christ that we can live in the freedom He intended for us.

shutterstock_28984678

 

 

The Million Dollar Running Foot

“The Million Dollar Foot” versus “The Million Dollar Arm.” In the movie, “The Million Dollar Arm,” 38,000 Indian hopefuls showed up for a shot at the American big leagues and a $100,000 prize. Rinku Singh won the contest and the runner-up was Dinesh Patel. Both were brought over to America to be developed and trained into MLB stars. This is in contrast to the million dollar foot. I feel as if I have actually given away a million dollars in time and money in order to heal my foot. In the last couple of years I have not developed into a better runner. I have not trained since 2014 and my last race was in April of 2014. The million dollar arm racked up money while the million dollar foot lost both time and money.

However, the good news is, that eleven months after surgery my achilles is ONE-HUNDRED percent healed. The scar from surgery is almost invisible. And although there is still a little swelling around the achilles, the recent MRI shows that there isn’t any build-up of scar tissue and all looks good. Boy, do I want to run!!

Unfortunately, I still can’t go out and pound the pavement. The reason I had to have another MRI is because I am still having pain along my foot. The MRI revealed that I have some other issues going on, the biggest one includes acute FHL tenosynovitis. The FHL tendon lies deep behind the achilles tendon and tendonitis in this tendon is usually seen quite frequently in ballet dancers. Thus, it has become known as dancer’s tendonitis.

shutterstock_55991770

For anyone who knows me, they would agree that I am quite clumsy. While I am pretty good at running in a straight line I also tend to trip and fall A LOT, and it’s usually on smooth pavement!? So obviously, I am not a person who emulates elegance, grace, or rhythm. So unless I’ve been BALLET DANCING in my sleep, both the doctor and I are a bit confused why there is such a collection of inflammation and fluid around this tendon.

I just received a cortisone injection and will start physical therapy tomorrow in hopes that this new issue of pain will resolve. I am also scheduled to see another foot and ankle specialist the first week of March. I want to have a second opinion to make sure everything on the MRI was interpreted correctly and that this is the best course of action.

Lastly, I was told once again to REST. It’s hard for me to rest. I like being active. I like feeling fit and strong. I don’t want to rest. However, it’s been in the resting that I have found a new and closer love and passion for my Savior. I love how Jesus meets us right where we need Him too. I just opened up a small devotional book only to read these words;

Thank ME for the conditions that are requiring you to be STILL. Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again. Some of the greatest works in MY Kingdom have been done from sick beds and prison cells. Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for MY way in the midst of these very circumstances. Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to ME. Although, you feel cut off from the activity of the world, your quiet trust makes a powerful statement in the spiritual realm. My Strength and Power show themselves most effective in weakness.” (Jesus Calling)

I know there are many people struggling with far worse ordeals than an injured foot, but God keeps reminding me that no matter what the struggle is, He is with us ALWAYS and if we are willing to submit to His ways, He will bring us through stronger and closer to Him.

shutterstock_124684798-001

Words To Ponder

shutterstock_140531740

This is one of my favorite poems and when I read it today it was the last line that really struck me. “The Treasure that Thou art in life, what will Thou be in death?” In my life I have been a recipient of God’s grace and mercy and forgiveness and love over and over again. Try as we might, there are not any words that can fully describe the love that encompasses our Savior. A Love that took our place. A Love so pure and holy. A Love unblemished and spotless. A Love willing to become dirty and stained with the sins of the world. A Love willing to carry God’s wrath upon His shoulders. A Love willing to give His life to save our lives. A Love that we know on earth but how much sweeter will we know it in death!?

“I can only imagine when that day comes, and I find myself standing in the Son…Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel? Will I dance for you Jesus, Or in awe of you be still? Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall? Will I sing hallelujah? Will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine…I can only imagine.”     (Mercy Me)

Words To Ponder

1-shutterstock_290306318

“Thus, if we think we require some good thing that God has withheld from us, in reality we don’t absolutely need it. It also means that if we feel our life has been ruined by some bad thing, in reality it is playing some very important role in our lives. It is teaching us, molding us, enriching us, humbling us, and so on.” (Timothy Keller Romans 8-16)

“10,000 Reasons”

Today I woke up thinking these words, “The sun comes up, It’s a new day dawning, It’s time to sing Your song again, Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me, Let me be singing when the evening comes.”

It’s been another hard week for us as we mourn the death of Grandma Marie Ryan.  She was a big part of our lives and words can not express how greatly we will miss her.  I am thankful for the time we were able to share with her in this life, and I am so thankful that I know and believe, “God’s name is Great and His heart is kind. For all His goodness I will keep on singing, Ten Thousand reasons for my heart to find.” He is the blessed controller of all things. “Sing like never before, O my soul, I’ll worship Your holy name.”

The next few days will be very hard as we attend Grandma’s viewing and funeral but it just reminds us once again, this world is not our home, we are just passing through, patiently awaiting our real home, heaven and eternity with Jesus. “Still my soul will sing Your praise unending, Ten thousand years and then forevermore. I’ll worship your holy name, Jesus I’ll worship  your holy name.”

Memorial Day – This is a Soldier

In honor of our Military and all the sacrifices they have made and continue to make I wanted to share the following statistics that were printed in Community Fellowship’s Bulletin, Sunday May 26th, as well as the video they played at the end of the Church Service.

“Did you know…?

– There are over 425,000 veterans in the greater Chicago area alone and over 2 million people in Illinois who are members of a military family

– Over 300,000 vets suffer from PTSD and many of them do not seek treatment

– About 67,000 vets will be homeless tonight and twice that many will experience homelessness at some point this year

– The unemployment rate of veterans is significantly higher than the national average

– A veteran takes his/her life every 80 minutes”

I hope that as a Church we will never stop praying for our veterans and soldiers. May we always remember to honor the sacrifices that they have made and continue to make to keep our country free. May we also never forget the adversities and afflictions that many of them encounter. And may we always be forever thankful…

“THIS IS A SOLDIER”

This is a Soldier

No Fear

Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, bombings, bomb threats, school shootings, shootings at work, shooting at the theater, shootings anywhere, anyplace, cancer, disease, suicide, death, the unknown…

 It would be easy to retreat and live in fear, overwhelming,  paralyzing, immobilizing fear.

But I am reminded that there are over 300 scripture verses that have to do with fear. I think of the words in;

Psalm 90 – “He will cover you with feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.  DO NOT BE AFRAID  of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.”

 Isaiah 41:10 –  “DO NOT FEAR, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.

John 14:27 –  “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give, SO DO NOT BE TROUBLED OR AFRAID.”

2 Timothy 1:7 –  “I HAVE NOT GIVEN YOU A SPIRIT OF FEAR or timidity but of power, love and self-discipline.”

Joshua 1:9 – “This is my command – be strong and courageous! DO NOT BE AFRAID or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

And one of my favorites,  

2 Kings 6 – “DO NOT BE AFRAID”, the prophet answered, “those who are with us are more than who are with them”…In the next instant the servant saw that the hills surrounding the city were full of horses – and these weren’t the enemy’s horses. They were surrounded by chariots of fire. God’s army of angels was all around, protecting Elisha and the servant.”

Chris Tomlin writes,

“You hear me when I call , You are my morning song

Though darkness fills the night, It cannot hide the light.

WHOM SHALL I FEAR?

You crush the enemy, Underneath my feet

You are my Sword and Shield, though troubles linger still.

WHOM SHALL I FEAR?

I know Who goes before me, I know Who stands behind

The God of angel armies, is always by my side

The One who reigns forever, He is a friend of mine.”

What more could I need? The God of angel armies is always by my side!

There’s a peace, the world cannot give, but Christ, and this peace comes when I stop focusing on my circumstances and look up at the Controller of all things. And then, I can honestly say,  “The Lord is my light and my salvation; WHOM SHALL I FEAR?  (Psalm 27)

Travis Cottrell sings,

“In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my life, my strength, my song.

This cornerstone, this solid rock, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace, when FEARS ARE STILLED and striving’s cease!

My comforter, my all in all, here in the love of Christ I stand.

No guilt in life, NOR FEAR IN DEATH, this is the power of Christ in me.

From life’s first cry, to my final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.

No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand.

Till He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand…

On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand,

ALL other ground is sinking sand…”

I’ve had my share of struggles, some were brought upon me and others I brought upon myself. Too many times, I’ve tried to work through the valleys, focusing on my circumstances and my fear. But, I am learning to release, let go, all that concerns me and place it at the feet of Christ.  What a waste it would be for me to live in fear and anxiety when God promises me peace and courage.  I do not know what the next day, the next hour, or even the next minutes will bring, but I FEAR NOT, knowing that God holds all of my tomorrows in His gracious, loving hand. “From life’s first cry, to my final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.”

“Prone to Wander…”

January 1st 2013

I turn to the first page of my new journal…

A clean sheet of paper

A blank canvas

So pristine, unblemished, and expectant.

I hesitate to write the first word.

Intimidation stares back at me in fear that making the first mark will ruin it’s purity.

It reminds me of the New Year.

Even with the best of intentions, it doesn’t take me long to take something completely flawless and stain it with mistakes and failures.

I’m thankful that the Creator of the Universe gives me more than just a New Year to start over. He surely knows that I need more than that!

With a New Year I’m given twelve new months to start over,

and with each month I have four new weeks to start fresh,

and with each week I have seven new days to make better choices,

and with each day I have twenty-four hours to wipe the slate clean,

and with each hour I have sixty minutes to start again.

A New Year

A New Month

A New Week

A New Day

A New Hour

A New Minute

This year leaves me with many, many new beginnings and choices to start over. This isn’t an excuse to rationalize sin. It is Christ’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  I have a choice that comes year to year, month to month, hour to hour, minute to minute to live for myself and temporal gain or to pick up my cross daily and live for Christ and the eternal.

I leave 2012 in the past, with my mistakes and my regrets and start 2013 with these words…

“O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”