February 27, 2014

Prayer Requests

Quite often people ask me if there is anything specific that I would like to be prayed for. Usually I don't have anything particular, but I appreciate their prayers for me in general. However, now I have special requests for prayer.

1 Pray that I might not bring dishonor to the name of God until my journey is completed. He is so worthy of our service and worship.

2. Pray for my dear wife Lena, that she would be given the strength, patience, and grace to take care of me.

3. Pray that I might continue to experience the peace, comfort and hope that are the fruits of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

4. Pray that I may be able to cope with the fear and anxiety that comes as I deal with breathing issues and choking episodes.


February 17, 2014

Another Tent Peg

The Apostle Paul often used the metaphor of a tent to illustrate the temporary, short term nature of our human body. A tent is a temporary dwelling, and it is often moved from place to place. That is why it is a good idea not to hammer the tent pegs in too deeply. My earthly tabernacle (tent) is slowly but surely being broken down, rope by rope, and peg by peg with the disease called ALS.

Body functions and abilities are slowly but steadily being taken away: walking, talking, using my arms and hands, the ability to drink, and chew. I get my hydration through a g tube inserted in my stomach. I have been eating pureed foods for the last year or so. But now this tent peg too must be pulled up. I don't seem to have the strength or the muscles to be able to swallow food very well. I am getting my food in a can now, Isosource 1.5 by g tube and an infusion pump. I have always enjoyed food, even the taste of it, but now I have to give that up too.

Although that makes me sad, and I have even mourned the loss of them, the Lord has given me the grace to submit to His way in my life and to kiss the rod of affliction. 

Moving forward and looking upward, not backward, for the best is yet to come!


February 12, 2014

Uplifting Gems

The following piece was borrowed from Grace Gems. I enjoyed reading them and thought I'd share them with you.
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The afflictions of the godly!
(The following choice excerpts have been gleaned from the writings of Thomas Watson. Today's post is longer--but it will be much appreciated by God's afflicted people. Be sure to meditate on each one--suck the honey out of these uplifting gems!)

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God's people have no charter of exemption from trouble in this life.
While the wicked are kept in sugar--the godly are often kept in brine
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A sick bed often teaches more than a sermon.
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We can best see the ugly visage of sin, in the looking-glass of affliction.
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What if we have more of the rough file--if we have less rust!
Afflictions carry away nothing but the dross of sin.
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Time is short (1 Corinthians 7:29). If our lives are short--then our trials cannot be long. 
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Afflictions quicken our pace in the way to Heaven.
Though the cross is heavy--we have but a little way to carry it. 
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Affliction is the touch-stone of sincerity. "You, O God, have proved us; You have tried us as silver is tried . . . You laid affliction upon us" (Psalm 66:10, 11). Hypocrites may embrace religion in prosperity--but he is a true Christian who will keep close to God in a time of suffering. "All this is come upon us--yet have we not forgotten You!" (Psalm 44:17).
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The stones which are cut out for a building are first hewn and squared. The godly are called "living stones" (1 Peter 2:5). God first hews and polishes them by affliction--that they may be fit for the heavenly building. The house of bondage prepares for the house not made with hands.
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Afflictions on the godly make them better--but afflictions on the wicked make them worse. The godly pray more (Psalm 130:1). The wicked blaspheme more, "Men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God" (Rev. 16:9). 
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Affliction of the godly is like bruising spices, which are most sweet and fragrant.
Affliction of the wicked is like pounding weeds, which makes them more unsavory.
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When affliction or death comes to a wicked man, it takes away his soul.
When it comes to a godly man, it only takes away his sin, "We are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world" (1 Corinthians 11:32).
Affliction works out sin--and works in grace.
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It is one heart-quieting consideration, in all the afflictions that befall us, that God has a special hand in them: "The Almighty has afflicted me!" (Ruth 1:21).
Instruments can no more stir until God gives them a commission--than the axe can cut of itself without a hand.
Job eyed God in his affliction--he does not say, "The Lord gave--and the devil took away;" but "The Lord gave--and the Lord has taken away." Whoever brings an affliction to us, it is God who sends it.

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Afflictions work for good. "It is good for me that I have been afflicted" (Psalm 119:71). Joseph's brethren throw him into a pit; afterwards they sell him; then he is cast into prison--yet all this worked for his good. "You thought evil against me--but God meant it unto good!"
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King Manasseh was bound in chains; this was sad to see--a crown of gold, exchanged for fetters. But it wrought for his good, for, "So the LORD sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the LORD his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed, the LORD listened to him and was moved by his request. So the LORD brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the LORD alone is God!" (2 Chr. 33:11-13)
Manasseh was more indebted to his iron chain, than to his golden crown!
The one made him proud--the other made him humble.

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God sweetens outward pain, with inward peace.
"Your sorrow shall be turned into joy" (John 16:20).
God's afflicting rod has honey at the end of it.
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David says, "My times are in Your hand" (Psalm 31:15).
If our times were in our own hand--we would have deliverance too soon.
If they were in our enemy's hand--we would have deliverance too late.
But my times are in God's hand--and God's time is ever best.
Deliverance may tarry beyond our time; but it will not tarry beyond God's time.
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Afflictions work for good, as they conform us to Christ. His life was a series of sufferings, "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). He wept, and bled.
Was His head crowned with thorns--and do we think to be crowned with roses?
It is good to be like Christ--though it be by sufferings.
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God loves a thankful Christian. Job thanked God when He took all away: "The Lord has taken away--blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). Many will thank God when He gives, Job thanks Him when He takes away, because he knew God would work good out of it.

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Every bird can sing in spring--but some birds will sing in the dead of winter.
A Christian will bless God, not only in the spring--but in the winter of affliction.
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"His mercies are new every morning" (Lam. 3:23). Mercy comes in as constantly as the tide; nay, how many tides of mercy do we see in one day!
We never eat--but mercy carves every bit to us;
we never drink--but in the golden cup of mercy;
we never go abroad--but mercy guards our steps;
we never lie down in bed--but mercy draws the curtains of protection close around us.
Shall we receive so many good things at the hand of God--and shall we not receive evil? (Job 2:10)
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Our mercies far outweigh our afflictions.
For one affliction--we have a thousand mercies!
The sea of God's mercy swallows up a few drops of affliction!
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Affliction quickens the spirit of prayer. Jonah was asleep in the ship--but at prayer in the whale's belly! Perhaps in a time of health and prosperity we pray in a cold and formal manner, we put no coals to the incense; we scarcely minded our own prayers, and how should God mind them?
Then God sends some cross or other affliction to make us take hold of Him. "They poured out a prayer, when Your chastening hand was upon them!" (Isaiah 26:15); now their prayer pierced the heavens! In times of trouble, we pray earnestly and fervently.

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When God puts His children to the school of the cross, He deals with them tenderly.
He will not lay a giant's burden upon a child's back.
Nor will He stretch the strings of the instrument too much, lest they should break.
If God sees it good to strike with one hand--He will support with the other.
Either He will make our faith stronger--or render the yoke lighter.
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God loves His people, when He is giving the bitter drink of affliction.
God's rod and God's love--they both stand together.
Let us feel God's hand--so that we may have His heart.
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Afflictions add to the saints' glory.
The more the diamond is cut--the more it sparkles.
The heavier the saints' cross is--the heavier shall be their crown!
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Feel free to forward these gems to others who may be encouraged or profited by them!

February 6, 2014

Our Great High Priest

Although the wording of this quotation is archaic, it expresses what I believe and experience.


                                                      Our Great High Priest
It is a comfortable consideration, that he with whom we have to do, our great High Priest, who once put away our sins by the sacrifice of himself, and now for ever appears in the presence of God for us, is not only possessed of sovereign authority and infinite power, but wears our very nature, and feels and exercises in the highest degree those tendernesses and commiserations, which I conceive are essential to humanity in its perfect state. The whole history of his wonderful life is full of inimitable instances of this kind. His bowels were moved before his arm was exerted: he condescended to mingle tears with mourners, and wept over distresses which he intended to relieve. He is still the same in his exalted state; compassions dwell within his heart. In a way inconceivable to us, but consistent with his supreme dignity and perfection of happiness and glory, he still feels for his people. When Saul persecuted the members upon earth, the Head complained from heaven; and sooner shall the most tender mother sit insensible and inattentive to the cries and wants of her infant, than the Lord Jesus be an unconcerned spectator of his suffering children. No, with the eye, and the ear, and the heart of a friend, he attends to their sorrows; he counts their sighs, puts their tears in his bottle; and when our spirits are overwhelmed within us, he knows our path, and adjusts the time, the measure of our trials, and every thing that is necessary for our present support and seasonable deliverance, with the same unerring wisdom and accuracy as he weighed the mountains in scales and hills in a balance, and meted out the heavens with a span. Still more, besides his benevolent, he has an experimental, sympathy. He knows our sorrows, not merely as he knows all things, but as one who has been in our situation, and who, though without sin himself, endured when upon earth inexpressibly more for us than he will ever lay upon us. He has sanctified poverty, pain, disgrace, temptation, and death, by passing through these states: and in whatever states his people are, they may by faith have fellowship with him in their sufferings, and he will by sympathy and love have fellowship and interest with them in theirs. What then shall we fear, or of what shall we complain; when all our concerns are written upon his heart, and their management, to the very hairs of our head, are under his care and providence; when he pities us more than we can do ourselves, and has engaged his almighty power to sustain and relieve us? However, as he is tender, he is wise also: he loves us, but especially with regard to our best interests. If there were not something in our hearts and our situation that required discipline and medicine, he so delights in our prosperity, that we should never be in heaviness. The innumerable comforts and mercies with which he enriches even those we call darker days, are sufficient proofs that he does not willingly grieve us: but when he sees a need-be for chastisement, he will not withhold it because he loves us; on the contrary, that is the very reason why he afflicts. He will put his silver into the fire to purify it; but he sits by the furnace as a refiner, to direct the process, and to secure the end he has in view, that we may neither suffer too much nor suffer in vain.

~John Newton~