I can't see..

For years I was plagued with migraine headaches.  I came by them genetically - my mother had them, my great grandmother had them - back in her day, they just called them "sick" headaches.  My mother remembers Mamma Mattie retiring to her bedroom with all the lights off and a cool cloth for her head.  Sounds like a migraine to me.

My migraines never came at a good time.... a time when we didn't have plans for the day - guess there weren't many of those days when our children were little!  One such Saturday morning we had a fun day of canoeing planned with a group of friends.  The evening before had brought terrential rains, so the river was too high to canoe.  Our group met together and decided to head down to the Falls of Ohio - a great place to hike, to find fossils, and to enjoy a picnic.  It was to be a great family day. or so we thought.  Within moments of our arrival, I knew I was in trouble.  The bright sun was my enemy causing me to quickly drop to my knees grasping my temples and trying to cover my eyes with a jacket.  Frank was [sadly] accustomed to our protocol.  With a little understandable frustration, the girls gathered our belongings, and we headed to the van.  By this time, I could not open my eyes at all, so as was our norm, Frank led me to the car stopping just long enough for me to get sick about every fourth step.

Thankfully we had been at this a while, so we knew, if we could just get home, the needed medicine awaited.  The radio was turned off, the kids were reminded to play the "silent" game, and Frank drove like a maniac.  Frank was always so gentle and gracious as we arrived home - he ushered me upstairs and quickly retrieved my medicine.  At that time the best option our doctor had for me was medicine administered with a syringe - quicker entry.  Frank had become quite an expert at giving me the shot. Within thirty minutes I would have enough relief to lie down.  The next several hours would be spent in quiet darkness.  There would eventually be less pain, and then a day or two of slow recovery... until the next event.

We have been studying Acts each week, and today we walked with Saul as he was struck blind on the road to Damascus when he met Jesus.  We agreed that a fear he had never experienced must have gripped him as he remembered the recent stoning of Stephen that he led.  He didn't know the outcome of his moment of blindness.  We know it lasted for three days, and then the Lord sent Ananias to pray with him and through the power of the Holy Spirit, heal him.  From that moment his life was forever changed.

With each migraine I experienced, the medicine was sure; and with new research over several years, there were improved medicines.  I certainly wouldn't dream of comparing my migraines to the Saul's conversion experience, but I can relate at least a little to the startled unexpected onset of the experience.  As I walked away from our study this morning, I was struck to remember the relief and thankfulness I experienced each time I recovered and began again with a new day.

Saul's response to his experience was simply this:  After he was healed, "He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength... and began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God." Acts 9:19-20

I can tell you that once I found a medicine that really made a difference in my migraines, I couldn't wait to share this good news with someone else who needed it - this good news had changed my life - truly!

The good news of Jesus has changed my eternity - everyone needs that news.

His grace is sufficient for all!  His mercy endures forever!

Have I told you lately...

Dear dear friends...

As I titled this post... like many of you my mind immediately raced back to 1993....

"Have I told you lately that I love you, have I told you there's no one else above you?  You fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness... ease my troubles - that's what you do.."

Can you remember the artist.... Rod Stewart - so you don't have to google it.  I did a little research.  It was written in 1945 and was recorded in 1989 by Vann Morrison.  I listened to his version... Rod definitely is etched in my memory!
My research also told me it was originally written as a prayer... not sure I had every even really heard the line, "there's a love that's divine, and it's yours and mine, like the sun.  And at the end of the day we should give thanks and pray to the ONE... to the ONE!
If you just have to listen to it like I did, click below....  But come back - that isn't my point today!

Have I told you lately that I love you?

 Okay, so if you listened, I know you are enjoying the sweetness of the love song, but here's what I really want to ask you...
 Have I told you lately how much Jesus loves you?
Have I told you lately that HE is the plan for your salvation?
Have I told you lately He is all that you need?
Have I told you lately He promised to walk with you every moment of every day?

Almost every week my plan is write about how Jesus affects and influenced my life, my circumstances, my decisions as I seek HIS will, HIS wisdom and HIS direction for my life and for that of others that I get to watch or even experience with them.  But have I told you lately just how much HE loves YOU and ME?  Do you know Him?  Are you walking with Him each day... Not just today and tomorrow, but forever?  

Oh dear Jesus, don't ever let anyone know me without knowing YOU!

Sweet friends, that really is what it is all about... eternity with Jesus in Heaven.

Our tender love letter from God, the Bible, spends 66 books teaching us about that love.  I don't claim to have or any many of the answers to all the questions that this life brings to us, but I do believe with all my heart that God loves each of us and that He designed us for a relationship with Him through Jesus.
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.  John 3:16

  We just can't be perfect no matter how hard we try.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23

So God, in His loving mercy and grace, sent Jesus to die.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

We simply choose to confess our belief and ask for His forgiveness.
If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9-10

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith - and this is not from yourseselves, it is the GIFT of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:8-10

Oh friends, HE loves you and made a way, the only way, His perfect way to save you!  Is there someone you need to ask that same question.... Have I told you lately?  And even if I have told you, I want to tell you again.

I have been reminded just today of the brevity of this life - a mist or a vapor the Bible says.  We have the good news, the great news, the saving news to share!

Who do you need to tell... TODAY?!

Below you can click on the link to hear my "short" story of faith in Jesus.

What do I do with grace?

This time last year I wrote about two illustrations that God walked me through over the past years that offered me just a glimpse of the story of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.  I would love to share those moments with you through this link...

by faith and coffee April/2014 Her scarred hands couldn't compare

As we enjoyed a beautiful time this past week at the beach and took a few minutes to reflect... not just on the Resurrection story, but on our own lives, we are simply thankful... thankful and challenged.

You see, every time I remember the cross, Jesus' pain, Jesus' suffering, God's perfect plan for my salvation, I am grateful.  We've heard the story over and over, HE took our sin... my sin, so that I can be forgiven.  That fact overwhelms me with thankfulness that I cannot begin to express in words.

And then... I am challenged... as I try to respond to my own question... what do I do with grace?  The grace and mercy that have been offered to me, not because of anything I did.... well, maybe because of everything I did - everything I did and will do that could separate me from God - let's just name it here - my sin, my selfishness, my thoughtlessness, my pride, my disobedience.  Undeserved mercy and grace.

Part of our enjoyment at the beach was the fact that we got to spend a good part of the week watching our grand boys, and their parents, enjoy some fun time there, too.  I watched in amazement as each boy learned at some level to skimboard just at the edge of the ocean.  Each had his own strategy to master this skill.

Caden is six, the oldest and the one who always goes full steam ahead into any given task.  He is a natural athlete, so with just a few tries, he was on his way to many successful rides.

Charlie will soon be five, and he approaches a task with grand intention and serious calculations.  He watched a fourteen-year-old pro with a keen eye to determine just the right placement of his foot during his approach.  His thoughtful caution served him well as he begin to catch just the right timing for his mount on his board.

Corey, at almost three, was content to toss his skimboard and jump hard with both feet right on top.  He didn't see much "skimming" action, but he was satisfied to just hop on... as long as he kept his sunglasses in place for his ride.  :)

As I watched all three of these boys, I was so very proud of each of them... not that they rode their boards the same way, or that they were leading the competition in turns and spins (although that is coming!), just that they were willing to join the journey - to learn at their own pace, to watch others and learn, to see their goal.. and keep at it.  There were some tears, some definite frustrations, a little competition, and some tender moments of encouragement and even coaching among them.

 Do you see a parallel??  We believers have been given the same grace, the absolute forgiveness of sin, and the incredible love that God, through Jesus, offers us.  Are we doing anything with this marvelous grace? 

 Like Corey, we can just hop on board... thankful that we get to ride.

Like Caden we can push on with full steam ahead with our eyes and ears possibly missing an opportunity along the way.

Like Charlie, we may get a little bogged down in the details of the "how" we journey, so that we are unaware of the joy in simply walking along with Jesus.

The take away for me was how these boys did realize that we were not alone.  As the afternoon wore on, they began to stop and watch each other, not needing to be first.  Not only did they stop to watch, but also they found encouraging words to offer to one another... I heard, "way to go, Char, that was awesome!",  "Corey, you did great!",  even a, "Hey, let me show you what worked for me!"

So, friends, we have the opportunity every day in our homes, in our churches, in our workplace... hey, in the grocery store, to offer a word of encouragement in the journey.  So often there is sister... or a brother, who just simply needs to hear the words, "hang in there... you are doing great!"

So what will I do with this grace... because I am thankful, I will join the writer of Hebrews in chapter 10:23-24, because we have hope...

 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.