Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In "Other" Words Tuesdays - Soul Wounds

Esthermay at The Heart of a Pastor's Wife is hosting In "Other" Words Tuesdays this week. She has given us a great quote to think and ponder on.
“For most of this century we have wrongly defined soul wounds as psychological disorders and delegated their treatment to trained specialists. Damaged psyches aren’t the problem. The problem is disconnected souls.”
by Larry Crabb -
Connecting:Healing Ourselves and Our Relationships

Can You Define Me?
I think it is important for us to gain a biblical understanding of two important words found in the Bible. Four times throughout the Psalms in the NIV Bible, the phrase downcast soul is used. Psalm 42:5, Psalm 42:6, Psalm 42:11, and Psalm 43:5. It seems the Psalmist knew a thing or four about hurting, hmmm?

In each case, the Hebrew word for downcast is shachach. This verb is transliterated to mean:

1) to bow, crouch, bow down, be bowed down
a) (Qal)
1) to be bowed down, be prostrated, be humbled
2) to bow (in homage)
3) to bow (of mourner)
4) to crouch (of wild beast in lair)
b) (Niphal) to be prostrated, be humbled, be reduced, be weakened, proceed humbly, be bowed down
c) (Hiphil) to prostrate, lay low, bow down
d) (Hithpolel) to be cast down, be despairing

Downcast does not refer to separation. The soul mentioned in the verses above isn't cast out, it feels cast down.

The Hebrew word for soul used in all four of the verses above is nephesh. This noun is transliterated to mean:

1) soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion
a) that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul, the inner being of man
b) living being
c) living being (with life in the blood)
d) the man himself, self, person or individual
e) seat of the appetites
f) seat of emotions and passions
g) activity of mind
1) dubious
h) activity of the will
1) dubious
i) activity of the character
1) dubious

Obviously the soul refers to every living aspect of a person here. I would lean more toward inner than outer, but the definition does mention life and breath, so I think it's a very encompassing word to describe the center of our being as humans.

Is Your Soul Wounded?

Going back to the quote above, what would you say are soul wounds? I haven't read the book, but I would venture to say that it refers to a spiritual pain. Obviously it speaks to the damage our souls receive in relation to disconnecting from God.

Sin is the main cause of the feeling of separation from God. We came into this world damaged by the sin of the Curse given by God to Adam, Eve and the earth in the beginning, referenced in Genesis, when sin entered the world. However, we were redeemed by the blood shed on the Cross for our sins when we believed in Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." ~ John 3:16-17 (NIV)

Is Spiritual Disconnection Possible?

I would highly agree that spiritual disconnection is possible for those who have not accepted Christ as their personal Savior, but once we are His, we are His forever. I submit that we feel disconnect rather than become disconnected.

"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" ~ Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)

I learned a long time ago not to trust my feelings. My soul may feel spiritually disconnected, but God's Word tells me that this can never happen.

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." ~ John 10:27-29 (NIV)

So What's the Problem?

I would venture to say anything that causes harm or a feeling of discontent or downcast, if you will, to the soul as in the above-mentioned definitions based on the Word of God is a soul wound.

Are soul wounds and damaged psyches be the same thing? Based on the definition above, our souls can be harmed by psychological disorders like depression or by the damage inflicted upon our hearts and minds from abuse. Abuses to us on any level damages not only our psyche but our souls in the form of feeling hurt and pain and anguish on very personal levels. We may be told to get over it and live in the now but unless you've been through it and walked out on the other side, you don't know how long it takes to get there. What takes one person eleven months to recover from may take another eleven years. What injures you day in and day out for eleven years may be healed after a moment of prayer or it may be the thorn in your flesh forever. It may be the thing God uses to keep you where He wants you or He may heal you from it in days, weeks, months or years after beginning counsel.

Although these abuses may be one of the causes of a feeling of spiritual disconnect, is not the only cause. Sin in our own lives is the main cause of disconnected souls. We know the remedy for that. (If you don't, please email me at sisterchick1@yahoo.com)

Is There a Doctor in the House?

To call soul wounds psychological disorders is like calling gray charcoal. It depends on how you see it. I believe our souls are wounded when we feel separated from God, feeling that disconnection, no matter what the cause. Whether it's psychological or a crisis of faith, the feeling remains.

How do we treat it? The only remedy for both is reconnection to God.

Today I am going to the doctor for a knee injury I sustained sometime last week. I'm not seeing a dentist for it. He couldn't help me. By the same token, I wouldn't expect my pastor to be able to fix my knee nor my doctor to be able to counsel me on how to repent of my sins and ask forgiveness. The one thing I have in common between the two is God. I can go to Him for all matters involved and trust that He will work His will in my life.

Does this mean I neither seek the counsel of doctor or pastor? No! It means that I supplement it, not out of distrust to God but out of the wisdom He has given me to utilize the gifts and skill He has given man.

I suffer from depression. I cannot blame this depression on my alcoholic father (he's recovered now) and I can't blame feeling separated from God on my injured knee. It's likely that the depression is a result of a chemical imbalance in my body that was diagnosed at the age of 9. Emotional and verbal abuse were just gravy. It's likely that my lack of quiet time is because I spent too much time watching NCIS and reading for pleasure (not that spending time with God isn't a pleasure but you know what I mean...). Sin. Not that NCIS and reading for pleasure are sin, but I didn't put God first. Instead I ate fried rice and relaxed my knee. Sin. I don't need my psychiatrist to tell me that I've sinned, but I don't need my pastor to tell me that I have depression, generalized anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, IBS and fibrocystic disease. It would be a waste of each one's time to counsel and treat me in what they are not specialized in. Not to mention my own. My pastor has better things to do than listen to me go on about how my older sister has abandoned the family and how that makes me feel. My doctor really wants to hear more about my knee injury than my questions on why bad things happen (illnesses) to good, very good people.

What's Your Point?

Oh, I do seem to be rambling, don't I?

I'm wrapping it up. Bear with me.

When we're feeling spiritually disconnected we aren't. Nothing can separate us from Christ. The truth is that we have just moved to a point to where we aren't communicating with Him and seeing Him at work in our lives. When this happens, we need to find out why. Is it because of sin or is it because of something hurting our souls more on a realm of a physical nature? Making use of the proper resources God has given us will go a long way in rectifying the matter. If you aren't sure where to start, start with your husband, then your pastor. If your pastor recommends counseling for depression or seeing a doctor for a check-up, glean from that wisdom. But if you know in your heart of hearts, your soul, that you are depressed or experiencing an emotional trauma not relating to your relationship to God, by all means, make a doctor's appointment and feel good about it. Remember: Luke was a doctor. He attended Paul through many of his travels and I'm sure he provided great counsel and friendship to him as well as medical treatment.

This was a hard post to write. I have so many feelings regarding this issue that it's impossible to put in one post. I was probably about as clear as mud but I would really like to read this book to get a better idea of where the author was coming from. It is so going on my TBR list!
For more IOWT, click here.


Welcome to Tuesday's Together in the Word, hosted by DeeDee at I Have No Greater Joy... We are a group of women reading through parts of the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs this year, using a reading plan posted on DeeDee's site. Please join in. No need to start from the beginning. Just join us where we are!

Nuggets gleaned from this week's reading...

The Apple of Our Eye

In his warning about adultery, the King Solomon had some wise wise words for us to heed. Much instruction is given regarding adultery in the Bible. Simply put, don't do it, don't think it. We know it's wrong. We think surely it will never happen to us and we would never engage in a physical affair, but there also emotional affairs to be on guard against. One wayward look his way, one sensitive and kind word from him, and the potential for an emotional affair flares up quicker than a fire doused with a drop of gasoline! How do we keep from it, though?

"Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart." ~ Proverbs 7:2-3 (NIV)
Beloved, guard that heart that lives inside you and don't listen to the Deceptor who will tempt you to go down a path you will find hard to come back from.
We are to keep God's commands so that we don't enter into the death that affairs can cause. The Hebrew word for keep and guard is the verb shamar. It's meaning is rich with how to keep.
1) to keep, guard, observe, give heed
a) (Qal)
1) to keep, have charge of
2) to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life
a) watch, watchman (participle)
3) to watch for, wait for
4) to watch, observe
5) to keep, retain, treasure up (in memory)
6) to keep (within bounds), restrain
7) to observe, celebrate, keep (sabbath or covenant or commands), perform (vow)
8) to keep, preserve, protect
9) to keep, reserve
b) (Niphal)
1) to be on one's guard, take heed, take care, beware
2) to keep oneself, refrain, abstain
3) to be kept, be guarded
c) (Piel) to keep, pay heed
d) (Hithpael) to keep oneself from
I love these definitions because it just draws to the surface how important the word keep is! Keep, guard, observe, give heed, pay heed, keep oneself from, abstain, observe, protect, restrain......We truly must keep God's commands in all these ways, not only to avoid potential affairs but to be on the lookout for sin in general. There is one commandment in particular that addresses this. It's so important that the seventh of the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses.
"You shall not commit adultery." ~ Exodus 20:14 (NIV)
We are to guard these teachings as the apple of our eyes. The eye is an important part of the body. With it we take in the things that surround us and process the images in our brain.
The Hebrew word for apple does not refer to a fruit at all. 'Iyshown means:
1) pupil of the eye
2) middle of the night (that is the deepest blackness)
The pupil of the eye is in the center. Center. Bells went off for me there. The Hebrew word for eye is interesting to me. `Ayin means:
1) eye
a) eye
1) of physical eye
2) as showing mental qualities
3) of mental and spiritual faculties (fig.)
2) spring, fountain
We have the physical and mental eye. From there it seems to go to the heart. But remember.
"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" ~ Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)
We cannot trust our hearts when a gesture is made from someone else when we're feeling neglected. When our husbands don't seem to understand us, we cannot and should not pour our hearts out to a willing male listener, sensitive though he might be. Our marriages should remain pure. When we married, the two became one. There is no room for another suitor in our lives. Emotional affairs are just as wrong as physical ones.
Women of Worth
I love Titus 2. It's the heart of At the Well. I would encourage you to visit this site if you haven't and be encouraged by women who are learning and doing what this Scripture teaches.
"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." ~ Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)
The older ladies had to be taught how to live so they could teach the younger ones. Having mentors is important. Back in the day, the women at the well connected, I suppose, like we do in our life groups or Sunday School classes. While they were busy at work and likely didn't have time for coffee at the well, they did have time to chat as they drew water for their needs at home.

To me, being a Titus 2 woman means incorporating the admonitions in the verses above into my daily life, weaving them into the fabric of my being and hopefully passing on what I've learned to others younger than I. I can do this through example, through writing, through speaking and the like. The most effective way I've learned to lead is by example, and it's one of the best ways that I'm taught. I love good teaching, don't get me wrong, but my prayer is that as I see women put "self-control" and "loving their husbands" and "kindness" into action that it spur me on to imitate this behavior until it becomes as natural as my heartbeat.
Just Read It
Like the popular shoe company's slogan, "Just Do It", I would encourage you to click here and read Psalm 32 and especially Psalm 33. I cannot tell you how I was encouraged by the verses contained therein.
"May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you." ~ Psalm 33:22 (NIV)
Is your hope in God? His unfailing love does rest upon you. I feel it in my bones and in my heart and soul. It's a privelege to know that His unfailing love rests upon us. Do you feel it?
The Hebrew word for unfailing love is checed. It means:
1) goodness, kindness, faithfulness
2) a reproach, shame
I need both 1 and 2 in my life. I need His goodness, kindness, and faithfulness, but I also need that shame and reproach, that feeling of guilt, when I've sinned so that I can confess and repent and receive His forgiveness.
I really need to stop here. My post is too long already. I've blown out my knee somehow and now my foot is swollen and cold. I will be heading to the doctor soon to find out what's what. If I don't visit soon, that means I'm elevating and icepacking it, I'm sure. Oh the joys of this earthly body. One day soon I'll have a resurrected body with which to worship my Savior. I was thinking about this last night. Usually when I climb into bed I put my right knee on the bed first. I cannot put any weight on it and I keep forgetting that each night, so I go through pain and then remember to sit and swing my legs into bed. Wilson, our 4 year old toy poodle, thinks that I'm playing when I cry out. It's quite comical. In my resurrected body, though, I will be able bow on my knees and cry, "Holy!" without any pain. Oh, what a day that will be!


Monday, March 30, 2009

Praise for the Most High God

Jenifer, at By His Grace, is hosting this week's At the Well. The topic is Praise for the Most High God.

"The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory. All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols - worship him, all you gods! Zion hears and rejoices and the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments, O LORD. For you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name." ~ Psalm 97:1-12 (NIV)

Sometimes life on earth causes us to block out the true majesty of God described in the Psalm above. Truly our God is the Most High God and is worthy of all glory and honor and power and praise. He is to be exalted above anything or anyone in our lives.
My eyes teared up when I read this Scripture. Just last night I was talking with Him in prayer about a family member's illness. I just don't understand why he has to keep fighting melanoma. One treatment works and he stays cancer free for years and it comes back. Then he stays cancer free for less almost a year and it returns. Then he stays cancer free for way less than a year and it returns. And it has returned again. Jimmy's biopsy on his neck came back with the dreaded word, malignant.
I didn't know this Saturday night and I celebrated at my aunt's wedding just like nothing was wrong. I rejoiced at the happiness she and her new husband, Chuck, shared and would share in the years to follow.
Sunday I thought, how could I have celebrated? Today I realize, how could I not have celebrated?
God is God all by Himself. He deserves to be praised no matter what the circumstances of our life are. There is nothing on earth that is higher than Him and He is worthy of worship and praise. Do I love Him any less because Jimmy's cancer has returned? No. I trust Him even more.
Through the tears this morning I am praising God because He is God Most High and that God's status does not depend on a diagnosis. When the news is good, who God is does not change. He is still on His throne and there is still no other God but Him. It's the same when the news is bad. It doesn't diminish God's majesty.
So I praise You, God, and worship Your holiness. I truly love You and desire nothing besides You. There is nothing on earth that is above You and no other God but You. My praise for You will not waiver. It's not dependant on the circumstances of my life or anyone else's but on Your Holy Name.
~Who or what is “most high” in your mind and heart today?
While God is the One I worship and praise, admittedly I have some concerns. However, I was reminded by reading this Psalm not to let those concerns outweigh praise for my God.
"For you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods." ~ Psalm 97:9 (NIV)
The Hebrew word for exalted is a verb. The transliterated meaning is:
1) to go up, ascend, climb
a) (Qal)
1) to go up, ascend
2) to meet, visit, follow, depart, withdraw, retreat
3) to go up, come up (of animals)
4) to spring up, grow, shoot forth (of vegetation)
5) to go up, go up over, rise (of natural phenomenon)
6) to come up (before God)
7) to go up, go up over, extend (of boundary)
8) to excel, be superior to
b) (Niphal)
1) to be taken up, be brought up, be taken away
2) to take oneself away
3) to be exalted
c) (Hiphil)
1) to bring up, cause to ascend or climb, cause to go up
2) to bring up, bring against, take away
3) to bring up, draw up, train
4) to cause to ascend
5) to rouse, stir up (mentally)
6) to offer, bring up (of gifts)
7) to exalt
8) to cause to ascend, offer
d) (Hophal)
1) to be carried away, be led up
2) to be taken up into, be inserted in
3) to be offered
e) (Hithpael) to lift oneself
Exalting God truly is a verb. These were my favorite meanings for today.
"to go up, go up over, rise (of natural phenomenon)"
"to go up, go up over, extend (of boundary)"
"to meet, visit, follow, depart, withdraw, retreat"
"to cause to ascend"
"to rouse, stir up (mentally)"
This is how I am exalting Him today!

~Is it the Most High, or someone or something else?

How could it be anything but God? I cannot imagine putting anything higher than God. My concerns are but a blip on the radar of this world. While my concerns are valid and not to be ignored or taken lightly, in the grand scheme of things we are only on this world for a minute. While we should make every second count for Him, making sure others know about Him and glorifying Him, this world is not our home. There should be nothing on this earth above Him. There is nothing on this world above God.
"Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail." ~ Isaiah 51:6 (NIV)

Come on over to the Well and visit. Link up and share your thoughts on Praise for the Most High God, too.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Night To Remember, A Night to Reflect
Welcome to the Family, Uncle Chuck!
It's official. March 28, 2009, at 6:30 p.m., our family welcomed a new member to the fold. My mother's sister, Melanie, married Chuck.
Melanie and Chuck met over a year ago and Chuck moved to Mississippi from California a few months ago. He's a great guy. Funny, sensitive and very caring about others.
The ceremony was beautiful. It took place outside and although it was a bit nippy, it was bearable. The harpist played some beautiful music, including one of my favorites, The Prayer. One of my favorite versions of this song is sung by Charlotte Church and Josh Groban. Melanie's five year old granddaughter, Gracie, was the flower girl, and she was just precious! She couldn't figure out which lane to walk down to scatter the rose petals. There were three possiblities and we finally got her pointed in the right direction. Brooke, Melanie's daughter, was her maid of honor, and Chuck's Father was here from California as his son's best man. My cousin Brett, Melanie's middle child, who is 25, read Colossians 3:12-17.
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
This is a precious Scripture to me, and quickened in my heart as I heard it read. I think it's a very beautiful Scripture and an awesome one for a wedding. Great thoughts to think on for husband and wife. I will be meditating on this in the weeks to come, posting some of my personal thoughts here.
My son-in-love was the official wedding photographer but had to leave to do another job (his actual employment is as a photographer and one of the photographers was in the hospital, so he had to do a prom later in the evening.) He did a great a great job. He left Kristyn, my bonus daughter, with the camera and she finished up. He got all the way through with the cutting of the cake and drinking of the punch. I think it may have been champagne, not sure. I wasn't in there for those pictures. There were so many people there and it was a great time to visit with family and meet Chuck's family as we mingled over food. Food? Okay - TONS of food. Delicious food.
The wedding was at a beautiful home where events like this take place. It's current owners bought it and restored it in 2003. The gardens were beautiful and the home and reception hall were beautifully decorated. After dark it looked like something out of a fairy tale, it was so beautiful.
Other than spending time with the bride and groom, some of my favorite parts of the evening were talking with Brett and his fiance Casey and my Aunt Susan and Uncle Jimmy. Jimmy is headed to M. D. Anderson next week regarding the issue mentioned in this post. Jimmy has been reading my blog and asked me when I was going to write a book. Hah hah. Dreams do come true and I suppose I will attempt a devotional one day. Their twin boys, James and John, age 8, were the Program Attendants. They did an excellent job handing out programs. To connect the dots, Momma, Melanie & Jimmy are siblings, in that order of birth.
I loved getting to spend some more time with my Mother and Jennifer, too.
I'm reminded how precious marriage is and pray that as we come up on celebrating our 18th year together that we'll be having our 50th anniversary at the same house Melanie and Chuck were married in. Praying praying praying.
My bonus for the evening was also seeing my grandbabies, 18 month old Nolan and 5 month old Liam. Big boys. Oh how precious they are! We took them to Ma-Maw Jean's, Kristyn's grandmother on her mother's side, for the evening and picked them up on the way home. They were having a birthday celebration for Kristyn's Ma-Maw and Kristyn's bonus dad, Daniel. All the kids there are growing up so quickly, just like Nolie and Fish. They don't stay little long! I can remember when Kristyn's 19 year old brother was Nolie's age! She also has Jacob, age 13 and Luke, age 10. Kristyn's aunt and uncle were there with their two, Anna Claire, age 6, and Adah, age 16 months. Oh my, where does time go?
Magee didn't look too bad in light of the current weather situation. A tornado hit Thursday morning and was pretty destructive. It was an F-3, I think. Although they are still under a boil water notice, I saw lots of electicrity back on, and we saw some pretty high water just off the highway where there usually isn't water, which shows they got even more rain than we did. 9 inches were recorded for our town for the month of March, and I think we probably got 5 of them last week. We could see where the cleanup has started and are praying for those who were so hard hit.
Yes, this was definitely a night to remember and a night for reflection.

I could see the Father's love everwhere I went.
Father, thank You for bringing Uncle Chuck into Aunt Melanie's life. She's so happy with him and I'm so glad to see how happy they are together. Please bless their union and help them to continue to grow in love and happiness. Protect them as they travel to the mountains for their honeymoon and give Chuck's family traveling mercies, too, as they make their way back to California and Georgia. Help me to remember how important the vows Steve and I made before You are, and to honor them in my heart always. Help me to take the above Scripture to heart and to make it be for Your glory. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Keeping a Pure Heart
Hyssop is a plant that was used in the Bible for purification ritualt. It was first mentioned in the Bible in the Passover ritual. They used it to sprinkle the blood on the doors and doorposts. Hyssop was also used to...
To finish reading this devotion, join me over At the Well for Reflections on His Truth about keeping a pure heart. Visit by clicking on the button below.

Blessings & Hugs,


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gone but Not So Much
A tornado ripped through a town where most of my family on Momma's side lives. It hit about 1:30 last night/this morning. 60 homes damaged; 20 injuries. No deaths reported that I know of. Gripping story. One man was retrieved from a tree about 12 ft. high, another lady, his wife if I'm not mistaken, was thrown 200 yards.
One church totally destroyed.

Can you imagine? This photo was taken by Mark McCall.

I titled my post Gone but Not So Much because despite the devastation, God remains on His throne and the people of this community can build back another church in which to worship.

The church may be gone, but the Church will never be gone until Christ calls us home to Heaven. What a glorious day that will be indeed!

Please pray for Magee, MS. Other areas of the state of Mississippi were hit but none so close to my heart.

My family is safe. Without power or water, but safe. All because God's hand surrounded them and kept them safe. While I was sleeping peacefully in my bed some 45 miles away they could have been gone in an instant.

But God....

I cannot wait to see how the community recovers from this and hear the stories of how people have worked so hard to provide for their immediate needs. Help has been there practically since it hit. Help will remain in the form of God's servants, rebuilding, rescuing, restoring electricity.

My aunt is getting married Saturday night in this city. I'm praying power is on by then and that all the water is boiled for whatever punch is served at the reception, LOL! They have guests in from California, where her fiance, my future Uncle Chuck, is from. What a way for Mississippi to greet them. We are supposed to be known as the Hospitality State! (Trying to find humor in the midst of this.)

For more information and photos go to http://www.mageenews.com/. And click on the picture for a post about that Scripture. It's become even more real to me now as I pray the hand of God will quiet the hurting there with His love and they will know how He delights in them in the midst of such devastation.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Random

"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words." ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

On this Thankful Thursday, I am so thankful for the promise that one day we will be with the Lord in Heaven forever.

I believe that our generation will be the one that sees Christ's return. It is imperative to be about our Father's business, not being idle, but sharing with others how to be sure of where they will spend eternity. Who better to spend eternity with than our God? Think of walking with Jesus, just as the disciples and His followers walked with Him, learning from Him and growing in spiritual maturity in Heaven or on the New Earth.

I cannot describe to you the feeling of comfort it gives me to know that should I not die by accident or illness or natural causes first, that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when I hear that trumpet call of God I can look up and see my Redemption truly drawing nigh.

To see the dead in Christ rise first and then know I will be on my way is quite the thrill!

This passage of Scripture used to scare the socks off me. I didn't want to be around in the last days, but I find myself living in them. Seeing prophecy fulfilled, so much of it in our lifetime, is truly a privelege and honor. I wouldn't recognize it were it not for the Word of God and the teaching of God's anointed preachers and teachers.

Descending for Us

The Greek word for descend is katabainō. It means:

1) to go down, come down, descend
a) the place from which one has come down from
b) to come down
1) as from the temple at Jerusalem, from the city of Jerusalem
2) of celestial beings coming down to earth
c) to be cast down
2) of things
a) to come (i.e. be sent) down
b) to come (i.e. fall) down
1) from the upper regions of the air
3) metaph. to (go i.e.) be cast down to the lowest state of wretchedness and shame

Who are we that He would descend for us?! What humbling truth and feeling to know how great the love of the Lord is.

He descended once when the Word was made flesh. He came to Earth in the form of a human, born of a Virgin by the power of God the Father. As a child He grew in wisdom and favor with God and men.

"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." ~ Luke 2:52 (NIV)
He lived His life among humans, teaching and preaching and performing many wonders and miracles.

Christ descended even farther, if possible, through death on the cross, bearing our sins.

"And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!" ~ Philippians 2:8 (NIV)

Bearing our sins, He gave His life for us. For us who believe, we look forward to the second time He descends.

The Shout, the Voice and the Trumpet

Can you imagine just about your daily business or perhaps being asleep in your bed and hearing a shout, the voice of the archangel and the trumpet blast? What a holy sound that must be to hear. It shall be music to my waiting ears.

The Greek word for shout is the noun keleusma. It means:

1) an order, command, spec. a stimulating cry, either that by which animals are roused and urged on by man, as horses by charioteers, hounds by hunters, etc., or that by which a signal is given to men, e.g. to rowers by the master of a ship, to soldiers by a commander (with a loud summons, a trumpet call)

Are you listening for the signal?

The Greek word for voice is phōnē, a noun that means:

1) a sound, a tone
a) of inanimate things, as musical instruments
2) a voice
a) of the sound of uttered words
3) speech
a) of a language, tongue

Surely it will be in our native tongue, no matter what our dialect is. Easily recognizable and understandable. No mistaking the sound, the voice, the language or words that are spoken.

The trumpet will sound and what beautiful music that will be. Trumpets were often used in biblical times to signal people to movement toward a set task. Our task, my friend, will be but to rise and meet our Savior in the air!

The Rising

After the dead in Christ rise, we who are alive and remain will also rise.

I confess this part baffles me a little.

The Greek word for alive is zaō. This verb means:

1) to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)
2) to enjoy real life
a) to have true life and worthy of the name
b) active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God
3) to live i.e. pass life, in the manner of the living and acting
a) of mortals or character
4) living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul
5) metaph. to be in full vigour
a) to be fresh, strong, efficient,
b) as adj. active, powerful, efficacious
This implies that we are living a life worthy of the name of the Lord, that we have accepted Christ as our Savior.

The Greek word for remain is different, though. Perileipomai, also a verb, means:
1) to leave over
2) to remain over, to survive

Vines says: ""to leave over," is used in the Passive Voice in 1Th 4:15, 17, RV, "that are left" (AV, "that remain"), lit., "left over," i.e., the living believers at the Lord's return. See REMAIN."

I need to do some more studying on that. What I'm understanding it to mean (and I'm no theologian) is that maybe it is just a different form of the world alive. Maybe for emphasis? I'd love to know more about this if anyone does know or has heard a sermon on this.

All Caught Up

Have you ever heard the phrase "all dressed up and nowhere to go"? We have somewhere to go when we hear the command, my friend. In fact, we'll have no choice in the matter if we are Christians. Who would want to be left on the Earth when God's people are called home to Heaven? Not me!

The Greek word for caught up is harpazō. This verb means:

1) to seize, carry off by force
2) to seize on, claim for one's self eagerly
3) to snatch out or away

Can you imagine your feet leaving earth and rising to meet the Lord? What a wonderful feeling that will be.
Forever and Ever With Him
Our lives will just be beginning. The Greek word forever is pantote. It means just what it implies.

1) at all times, always, ever

My finite mind can hardly fathom it. I just know it's what I want. To be with the Lord forever. We won't be passively sitting on clouds and strumming harps. That's another post. We will be with the Lord!

Spread the Word

Knowing that we will spend eternity with Christ and will rise to meet Him if we are still alive when He returns is one thing. Our future is set and we will be so complete and content. Can you say the same for your family and friends?

We are admonished by Paul to encourage one another with the words of this verse.

The Greek word for encourage is parakaleō. It means:
1) to call to one's side, call for, summon
2) to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.
a) to admonish, exhort
b) to beg, entreat, beseech
1) to strive to appease by entreaty
c) to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort
1) to receive consolation, be comforted
d) to encourage, strengthen
e) exhorting and comforting and encouraging
f) to instruct, teach

We must share the gospel with others. Whatever your chosen method of spreading the word is, I encourage you to do it. Email, blogging, evangelizing, mission work...we must literally beg those who have not made a decision to make it. I know it can be off-putting, but there are ways we can encourage others without turning them off. Those ways are mentioned above in the definition. Perhaps most of the begging will be to the Lord in prayer to soften their hearts to receive Him.

People watch us more than we are aware so we need to really be conscious of our actions. We must live lives that are holy and pleasing to the Lord.
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NIV)

Look Up

I believe it's time to look up. Christ is coming soon! Spread the Word and invite others to join you in Heaven on that day.

Father, how I long for the appearing of Your Son to bring us Home to You. You have promised that we will be with You forever, and there is so much in Your Word that describes what life will be like with You in Heaven. I cannot wait. Continue to give me a thirst and hunger for Your Word, so that I might learn more and be able to share more intelligently about the return. May no one be left behind because I was to fearful to speak up. Use me, Lord, however You will. Thank You so much for the promise of the verses above and the promise of Your Word. In Jesus' Name I pray, Maranatha!

Are you Ready?

Are you ready? What if the call came tonight?

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. " ~ Matthew 24:36-44 (NIV)

While we cannot know the day or hour, we can be aware of the signs pointing to Christ's return. I believe that's why He gave them. Are you ready? If you are afraid that you will be one of the ones left behind as described in the words of Christ above, please email me at sisterchick1@yahoo.com and let me tell you about my Savior. He is mighty to save and you can have assurance of eternal life and the hope that if we are live when Christ returns that you will be flying right by me, on the way up to be with Him forever.

Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage is hosting Thankful Thursday for the month of March. Be sure and visit her by clicking on the button below for more Thankful Thursday posts and to link up and share your own list of thankfuls.


Melly Update (WFW post below)

Melly went in for her biopsy results on the mass on her lungs. No cancer! Praise the Lord with me! Thank you for being so faithful to pray for her.

Blessings & Hugs,

WFW - Never Fear

The Promise

This promise, originally given to Joshua as he accepted the mantle from Moses to lead the children of Israel into the land promised by God to be theirs, is one that I have found comfort in many times.

Life isn't always easy. No matter how many people surround you, it seems that feelings of isolation and lonlieness can creep in. Feelings of fear or discouragement crop up from time to time in our lives. Whatever the circumstance that allows these feelings to invade, perhaps times of illness or a crisis with family or friends, a crisis in a marriage, or even a crisis of faith, we can be encouraged by the Lord's promise to Joshua. It rings true for us, too, as with so many promises to the men and women whose stories are recorded for all time in the Bible.

Blazing the Trail

It's true that the Lord goes before us, blazing the trail of the path He has placed us on in life. While it's true that there is one narrow road that leads to eternity, I've found myself either in the ditch or wandering off in a cul de sac from time to time.

The Hebrew word for goes is halak, a verb that means:

1) to go, walk, come
a) (Qal)
1) to go, walk, come, depart, proceed, move, go away
2) to die, live, manner of life (fig.)
b) (Piel)
1) to walk
2) to walk (fig.)
c) (Hithpael)
1) to traverse
2) to walk about
d) (Niphal) to lead, bring, lead away, carry, cause to walk

The Hebrew root word of before is the verb panah, which means:

1) to turn
a) (Qal)
1) to turn toward or from or away
2) to turn and do
3) to turn, decline (of day)
4) to turn toward, approach (of evening)
5) to turn and look, look, look back or at or after or for
b) (Piel) to turn away, put out of the way, make clear, clear away
c) (Hiphil)
1) to turn
2) to make a turn, show signs of turning, turn back
d) (Hophal) to be turned back

The rest of the word, paniym, means:

1) face
a) face, faces
b) presence, person
c) face (of seraphim or cherubim)
d) face (of animals)
e) face, surface (of ground)
f) as adv of loc/temp
1) before and behind, toward, in front of, forward, formerly, from beforetime, before
g) with prep
1) in front of, before, to the front of, in the presence of, in the face of, at the face or front of, from the presence of, from before, from before the face of

I found these meanings to be very interesting. When I wander off the beaten path, it's often because my eyes are on my circumstances and not on God, who goes before me. My Savior died for me, so that I could follow Him into eternity. Truly that is the road that I am traveling here on earth, the road to eternity. I can be sure that I'm never alone. I must follow the One who knows the turns, the One who is actually before and behind, toward, in front of, and has ever present with me. As long as my eyes are on God, I can truly trust that He is leading me, actually surrounding me, guiding me. There is not a place on this road of life that He Himself has not been, is not now, nor will be in the future. How comforting is that?

As a young child I would follow behind my earthly father as he walked in the garden. One fond memory I have is a superstition that he would tell me every time I was in the freshly plowed garden with me. "Don't step in my footsteps. It will give me a headache." I laugh every time I think about it. It's probably one his father passed down to him, but our God wants us to walk in the steps He has made for us. We can be sure that we will never trip if we place our feet where we can see His feet have been. How can we find these footsteps? Surely they are not visible; however, by praying, staying in the Word, and being aware, we can find them. He truly does go before us and the evidence of His footsteps are visible more than we realize.

Never Alone

Another part of this verse that comforts me is that God will be with me. He will not leave or forsake me. When I feel forsaken by this world, I can always count on God.

The Hebrew word for His always being with us and never leaving us is raphah. It means:

1) to sink, relax, sink down, let drop, be disheartened
a) (Qal)
1) to sink down
2) to sink, drop
3) to sink, relax, abate
4) to relax, withdraw
b) (Niphal) idle (participle)
c) (Piel) to let drop
d) (Hiphil)
1) to let drop, abandon, relax, refrain, forsake
2) to let go
3) to refrain, let alone
4) to be quiet
e) (Hithpael) to show oneself slack

Truly we are never alone! He never sinks, (think Jesus walking on the water), never relaxes His walk, never abandons us or drops us. He never disheartens us. What a comfort!

I remember being at the state fair one year when I was a small child. Pre-elephant phobia, I had stopped to look at a white elephant piggy bank, and when I looked up a crowd had filled the gap between Momma and my grandparents. Ya'll, I was never so happy to see the back of my grandfather's head in my life! They would have realized I was gone in a second and would have been back for me but the loudness of the crowd drowned out my cry, "Paw Paw!" I ran to catch up and asked why they left me. They never realized I was gone but Paw Paw, laughing, pulled out his handkerchief, dried my tears and held my six or seven year old hand. I stuck close to them the rest of the afternoon. I didn't stop to look at anything unless they stopped, you can be sure of that.

One thing we can be confident of is that God will never lose sight of us. Not for a minute! Just as I held my grandfather's hand, spiritually I hold the Father's hand as often as possible so I don't get sidetracked and look to the things of this world. When I do, He never loses sight of me and I find that so amazing and personal. In a sea of a billion faces on this earth, His eyes are watching me, His footsteps are there for me to follow in, and He never let's go of my hand, even though I might try to wriggle free in unintentional distraction. When I do, just as my Momma and grandparents did, He dries my tears and forgives me for halting, and does remind me to keep up.

High But Not Dry

Another promise of God in this verse is that He will never forsake us. Forsake is just a funny word to me. I know it basically means abandon or turn your back on, because I have been forsaken by people here on earth. Let's look at the Hebrew meaning, though. `Azab is a verb that means:

1) to leave, loose, forsake
a) (Qal) to leave
1) to depart from, leave behind, leave, let alone
2) to leave, abandon, forsake, neglect, apostatise
3) to let loose, set free, let go, free
b) (Niphal)
1) to be left to
2) to be forsaken
c) (Pual) to be deserted
2) to restore, repair
a) (Qal) to repair

I love this. To be able to trust in the Almighty God's promise that He will never leave us, cut us loose, depart from us, leave behind, neglect, or desert us is a promise I cleave to. I have it in my heart and know that no matter what happens to me in life (smooth road vs. ditch or cul de sac) that I will never be cast from His presence or left high and dry. How great is that?!

Never Fear
Because of these promises, we can rest assured and have confidence. Fear is just not an option. When feelings of isolation or abandonment kick in, try to identify what's at the root. Is it something disturbing you've seen on television? Change the channel. Is it because you've limited your options at being around people due to illness? Reach out across cyberspace. Perhaps it's depression or a chronic illness. Seek treatment. Is it a horrible circumstance because of the loss of a loved one or an illness in the family? Share your heartache with others and let others help you bear the burden. Whatever the problem, God's Word tells us that we should never fear or be dismayed.

The Hebrew word for fear is yare'. It means:

1) to fear, revere, be afraid
a) (Qal)
1) to fear, be afraid
2) to stand in awe of, be awed
3) to fear, reverence, honour, respect
b) (Niphal)
1) to be fearful, be dreadful, be feared
2) to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe
3) to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe
c) (Piel) to make afraid, terrify
2) (TWOT) to shoot, pour

While we should honor and reverence God, I think the fear that the writer of Deuteronomy was trying to get across was plain old fear and being terrified.

We can always count on God. As He goes before us, promising never to leave or forsake us, we can count on this promise that we can rest easy and not be filled with a sense of dread of isolation or lonlineness. Isn't this wonderful?

The Hebrew word for dismayed speaks even stronger to this. We are not to be discouraged as God goes before us. We can trust that He is always there. Chathath, also a verb, means:

1) to be shattered, be dismayed, be broken, be abolished, be afraid
a) (Qal)
1) to be shattered, be broken
2) to be dismayed
b) (Niphal) to be broken, be dismayed
c) (Piel) to be shattered, be dismayed, be scared
d) (Hiphil)
1) to cause to be dismayed
2) to dismay, terrify
3) to shatter

Have you ever felt this? I have. When we lost Sydney to miscarriage July 20, 1998, was the time I felt it most strongly. Not with God but just the absence of the baby I was carrying. Somehow I knew in my heart of hearts that I would never conceive again, though we didn't stop trying for another year. I was completely broken and scared, terrified at the lonliness I felt. In the radiology department I was left alone for a long period of time while the nurse who was doing my ultrasound went down to the ER to speak with the doctor about the case she had before me. She asked me if I would be okay alone and I said, "Sure." After quite some time had passed, I said, "I'm not okay being alone anymore." I said it out loud, as if anyone could hear. God heard me and began healing me right then. The Holy Spirit spoke so loudly to my heart that He may as well have spoken audibly. He said, in essence, "You're not alone. I'm with you." I remember turning my face to the side, my pillow wet, and looking around for a second, and then settling down into the most peaceful sleep I would have before the sleepless week I would endure ahead. In fact, I would not sleep that peacefully again until late March, 2000, when I had my hysterectomy.

In Closing
No matter how alone we may feel, the fact is that we are never alone in this world. We are not lost among a sea of people. God is so personal and real to us. If you have accepted Him as your personal Savior, you need not ever fear. If you haven't made Him Lord of your life, please email me at sisterchick1@yahoo.com, and let me tell you about my Jesus.

You need never be lonely again.

Questions for Reflection: What verses remind you to fear not? Do you ever feel lonely and forsaken? If so, what can you do to get your sense of security back?

Verse for the Day: "But now, this is what the LORD says - he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." ~ Isaiah 43:1-2 (NIV)

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for blazing the trails before me in life. I praise You for the paths You have set before me. Help me keep my eyes on You and to never feel forsaken or alone. I know that discouragement comes from taking my eyes off You and I never want to do that. Help me not to be distracted with the things of this world, which are here today and gone tomorrow, but to look to You and Your strength always. Thank You for the promise of never leaving me alone. Help me minister to other women and help them find the joy in knowing that we are safe when we are on the path You lay before us. Thank You for Your grace through Your Son Jesus Christ. I praise You eternally for His death, burial and resurrection and the power that is found in Him. Thank You for the promise that we need fear not. In His Name I pray, amen.

F - Focus on God rather than the things of this world. "My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek." ~ Psalm 27:8 (NIV)

E - Embrace God's love for you. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." ~ 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

A - Accept that God is always beside you. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." ~ Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

R - Remember the promises of God given in the Bible. "Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. " ~ Psalm 119:49-50 (NIV)

N - Never fear being forsaken or forgotten by God. "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." ~ John 10:27-29 (NIV)

O - Open your heart to receive and store the truths of God's promises. "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees." ~ Psalm 119:11-12 (NIV)

T - Take captive every thought to Christ, and cast down the negative feelings of isolation the devil or your own self gives you. "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

The purpose of Word Filled Wednesday is to share the Word of God through photo's and Scripture. Amydeanne, over at The 160 Acre Woods, is our hostess. Be sure to link up and share your own, and drop her a thank you for hosting this wonderful meme each week. It always blesses my heart to read all the posts and see the photos and verses. This is a wonderful way to minister to others and to be ministered to by reading others posts. Please visit by clicking on the button below.