Tag Archives: God’s goodness

It’s Less About Us & More About Him

The message of the Cross is more about Jesus and less about us (in terms of qualifications or assets we may bring to the table).  The central theme of the Cross is God’s overwhelming and extravagant love for humanity. Hinged on that love, Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice was displayed for all of the world.

The compelling truth regarding the Cross is that you or I do not have to be “good” enough, as if that were even possible, to become sons and daughters of God.  In fact, we know that the Bible says that our righteousness (if there’s anything remotely good about us) is equal to that of filthy rags.  Wow.  Way to deflate the human ego.  But it’s true.  I think most of us already know that, if we are honest with ourselves anyway.

No, the message of the Cross is less about us and all about Jesus.  His character is compassionate, loving, kind, good, thoughtful, patient, longsuffering.

“The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.”  ~ Psalm 103:8

If we can just grasp those attributes and dwell on those for a moment…It’s overwhelming to consider that the Great God of the Universe thinks about you and me … and prays for us daily.  The Bible says He daily makes intercession for us!  (Romans 8:34)  That is a humbling thought right there, my friend.  He has time for me?  Well, the reality is that God transcends time and space.  His reality is not the same as the confines we, humans, operate in.  He is All Powerful and His power knows no limits, no boundaries.  That is something that is difficult for our finite minds to process.  We must simply believe.

The truth is that none of us are qualified to become followers of Jesus Christ.  Equally true, God calls the unqualified.  That right there should be a liberating thought, my friend.  Grace beckons to our soul to receive such an unattainable and unearned gift.  And because of this great gift, we are then able to show others such grace.  Not that we would become hoarders of God’s gift, but a sieve for it to then flow through.

There is room at the Cross for you today.  It doesn’t matter what your past is.  God can rewrite your life story and create a brand new future for you.  That’s what I love so much about God and the redemptive power of the Cross — It is transformational!

If you fully accept God’s gift of grace, it is impossible to remain the same.  Once you’ve accepted God’s love and understand the sacrifice of His Son, it makes you want to change!

The message of the Cross is all about the love of our Heavenly Father, poured out through Jesus Christ, to reconcile a lost world back to Him.  His message is still the same today.  He is Jehovah, “I Am”, the One Who is the Self-Existent One.  He never changes.  His promises never fail.  When we are faithless, He is faithful.  (Psalm 102)

Rather than focus on your own shortcomings, set your eyes on the unchanging character of God through His Word.  When we study God’s Word, it causes things to fall into the proper perspective.  It sheds light on our darkness.  It gives us wisdom to know which path to pursue.

No, we are not the message of the Cross.  We are merely the objects of God’s unending affection.  In that regard, it makes us kind of special.  But, it’s all about Him.  We are God’s creation and He is the Creator.  May we never allow pride to confuse the two.

“God saved you by His grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”  ~ Ephesians 2:8-9  NLT

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The Smell of Rain

The sliding glass door is open leading to the small balcony off the master bedroom.  Rain has been steadily falling since early this morning and the scent is refreshing.  Nothing like the smell of freshly fallen rain, except maybe crunching leaves in autumn up north.  But, today, it is Florida’s version of winter weather – although fairly mild, of course.

The showers not only replenish the earth but invigorate the senses.  This is not our typical rainy season that occurs during our hurricane season from June 1st through November 30th.  It has caused some dead tree limbs to be strewn across the lawn and our swimming pool to be pretty full.  The creek that runs behind our house has become rather full with water gushing as it makes its way over the large rocks, creating a small waterfall.  It’s always so peaceful to look out at the waterfall.

Water is so soothing, isn’t it?  I think of the ocean with its waves that ebb and flow.  Visitors flock to it and find relaxation.  I also think of a warm bath to calm the mind and body.  Waterfalls in the mountains.  People will hike miles just to catch a glimpse of the beauty of majestic waterfalls.  Perhaps the most famous of falls, Niagara Falls, is the destination of thousands of visitors each year.

God certainly knew water would bring mankind peace and nourishment against life’s stresses.

Although it’s very overcast and rainy today, I am thankful for the precipitation.  Everything has a season and today’s season is rain.

Some complain when the weather prevents them from participating in outdoor activities or dulls their mood.  Instead, why not take advantage of a rainy day to do something indoors that you’ve been putting off?  I like to turn on the lights and play some cheerful music on days like these.  It sends a signal to the mind that we still have cause to be happy, despite the weather.

So, today I will enjoy the fresh scent of the rain.  Tomorrow it will be gone.  The sun will be out along with a few clouds, but the rain will be over.

Ah, to breathe in this invigorating fragrance is a beautiful blessing!  You see, there is beauty in the rain.  Yes, unpleasantness too.  Like when you step into a deep puddle.  Isn’t that life?  You take the good and the bad, mix it all together and it is a beautiful gift.

 

 

 

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Cause and Effect

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Ever since dad came over to our house for lunch last Sunday, I’ve been very concerned about his gait and equilibrium.  So many factors come into play with this issue.  Is he overmedicated?  Is the UTI that caused the recent sepsis returning?  Is his fractured foot not healing properly?  He’s also on a blood thinner, which means a fall could prove fatal.  And if not fatal, could mean months in a rehab facility.  The other thought I had was he’s been at home for three months recovering whereas normally he’d be busy with his volunteer work at the church.  So, he has severely lacked extensive mobility in recent months.

So, off to the Dr. we went yesterday.  I guess there’s a reason I’m not a doctor.  Actually, there are many!  First of all, I can’t stand the sight of blood or yucky bodily fluids!  They’d have to pick me up off the floor.  Haha.  I wouldn’t be of much use.  That said, my “honorary” nursing skills were put to the test yesterday at the doctor’s office.  Apparently, when my dad showed the Dr. what he thought was a mole on his back, the usually stoic Dr. was duly impressed by the infected cyst.  *Ewww*

I stood beside dad on the one side of the examination table while the Dr. was on the other during this procedure.  The Dr. excitedly motioned for me to take a look at the area when I explained that I might wind up on the floor if I did.  A few minutes later, I thought I was hearing things when the Dr. asked me to put on a pair of gloves and apply pressure to the area until the nurse came in to dress the wound.  (He graciously covered the area so I didn’t have to see anything. ) Excuse me?  They don’t pay me around here.  Is this the new norm?  Fewer staff.  Trained professionals have even less time to spend with the patient.  *Sigh*  I really didn’t mind (too much) helping out, but I must admit, I was taken aback.  The nurse finally made it into the room about ten to fifteen minutes later, much to my dad’s joy.  His left arm had fallen asleep as they had him turned almost on his stomach in an awkward position.  Poor fella.  The examination table is fairly narrow and my dad’s a big guy.  He’s over six feet tall and a healthy weight.  I don’t know how the Dr. got him over on his side, but I was of little to no help with my injured elbow.  The Dr. said the infection could be a cause of his weakness, but that physical therapy would be helpful to regain strength in his legs.  He said dad’s at the “use it or lose it” stage with walking.  As one ages, it’s incredible how quickly muscle tone can be lost when no demand is placed on it.  Well, that’s all dad had to hear and he is totally on board with the physical therapy!

The question is, is there life outside of physical therapy??  We’re all still doing physical therapy from our car accident three days a week.  Next week, we’ll be re-evaluated and go from there.  I guess on our “off” days, I’ll take dad to his therapy.  The chiropractor showed me some neck stretches to do to help ease the intense trapezoid muscle knots I have, particularly after driving so much.  Those will definitely be needed.  And this is the time I wish I had a twin.

Dad has so many needs.  He needs to see the podiatrist, urologist, now the physical therapist and the lab for routine blood work every 1-2 weeks lately.  My three siblings all live many miles away and this caregiver is feeling a little stretched.  Okay, a lot.  I’ve been down this path before with him.  This is when I remind myself to take things one day at a time.  Don’t get too far ahead of myself thinking about all that needs attending to.  One day.  One step.  God’s grace will be there to meet me every inch of the journey.  He’s never failed me yet.  Nor will He ever.  It’s not in His character, nor in His realm.  Ever faithful is He.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

The other take-away from all of this is … Always, always, ever always … Drink lots of water!

What?  What does H2O have to do with this topic?  Well, you see, my dad’s primary source of fluids prior to his hospitalization was Pepsi.  To him, water was something you drink to take medicine with and that’s it.  I honestly don’t know how his system has endured all of the neglect.  Oh, and he drank iced tea too.  Both of which contain caffeine, which are diuretics.  Not good.  This is the cause of his urinary tract infection that resulted in sepsis, which is fatal in many cases.  This is when bacteria gets into the blood stream and your body is in shock and nearly begins to shut down.  Fortunately, the hospital has a very aggressive approach to responding to sepsis and he was able to recover.

He fractured his foot because he was so weak from the sepsis.  And now, here we are with his walking issues because of poor hydration.  It’s a life lesson.  Always drink lots of water!!  Learn from another’s mistake, please.  Our bodies are not as invincible as we tend to believe, and particularly as we age.  They’re far less forgiving.  Good nutrition and hydration habits when you’re young will greatly help you in every stage of your life.  Afterall, our bodies consist of more than sixty percent water!

I think I’m going to get a tall glass of water …

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Praise Report! … and food for thought

“I am confident to see the goodness of the Lord”  ~  Psalm 37

This has been my mantra since our car accident a little over two weeks ago.  I will see God’s grace and mercy revealed even in this!  What the enemy intended for evil, God will turn it around and cause it to be a blessing and a testimony for His glory and His alone!

Well, in previous posts I have outlined other praise reports related to the accident, but today I have two more!

1.) The drunk driver was underinsured to cover all of the losses (of course) and so we filed the claim through our insurance company.  Well, our insurance co. has decided to waive our deductible since the other insurance company has assumed liability!  Let me tell you what a huge blessing this is to our family!  We were looking at paying up to a $500 deductible when we pick up our SUV from the repair shop.  While it would’ve been reimbursed down the road, it’s a blessing not to have to pay it at all!!  So, this is a tremendous relief!  (Good news, my teenagers, you get to eat for the next two weeks!  Haha!)  God is good!

2.) Our vehicle was the only one out of the four involved that was not a total loss.  This is amazing considering our vehicle is the oldest (12 yrs. old!) out of all of them!  One was a shiny 2014, with a value of $30,000 at least; yet it was totaled.  That means three other families are shopping for vehicles.  Again, we are just thankful that our SUV is repairable and I always say that it will last until we’re ready to buy another vehicle.  The night of the accident, my husband was joking that it would last ten more years.  We both laughed, but, who knows?

We all stand in awe at the goodness of God in protecting us that night!  I believe the Lord dispatched angels from heaven to guard us and keep us safe.  There’s no human explanation of how our vehicle absorbed so much of the damage, yet totaled the mini van in front of us.  We were rear ended by a car and the offending SUV with an impact of at least 65 miles per hour!  It was the loudest crash you ever heard and the most unexpected!  We were sitting at a red light.  Everyone is supposed to stop.  Except those who cannot because they’re so impaired due to alcohol that they no longer have appropriate reflexes and are unable to process what red means, that is.

… I just searched online how many beers it takes for a 200 lb. man to exceed the legal limit.  It appears to be 4.  Wow.  Of course, many factors can affect this number.  For instance, interactions with prescription drugs, etc.  But, how one can decide it’s safe to climb behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming that much alcohol is beyond me.  Of course, I do not know the weight/size of the man who plowed into us, but am merely offering an example.  The greater the body weight, the more alcohol it requires to exceed the legal limit.  So, the scenario worsens.

According to the U.S. CDC, every 48 minutes someone dies as a result of a drunk driver.  It said that in “2010 nearly 1/3 of all automobile deaths were related to alcohol impaired driving.”  Those are staggering statistics.  Thankfully and mercifully, we lived.  Many don’t.

My daughter brought up an interesting note … She said, “Do you know how many people this one accident has affected?”  I’d been talking about the decision of one man to drink injured ten other people, in addition to himself.  She added: the first responders (who were so awesome that night!!), the helicopter pilot, hospital staff at two hospitals, those who were re-routed on the highway after it was shut down for hours, law enforcement, judges/staff, jurors, replacements in jobs that may have been hired while the injured recovered, families and friends of those injured, insurance agents/adjusters/staff, auto body shops, towing companies, Dr. offices, physical therapy and radiology facilities, churches, and the list is possibly endless.  I mention churches because during our recovery, we are unable to continue our volunteer work at our church.  Think of this replicated ten times over, potentially.  One alcohol related accident.  Affects hundreds of people, maybe a thousand.

This is an intriguing path because it demonstrates how no man is an island unto himself.  Truly.  Our decisions in life greatly impact others, even when we don’t realize it.  Perhaps none so dramatic, but influence nonetheless.  Now, that’s food for thought.

 

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