not shaken

Even in the Night, I Will Not Be Shaken

Shaken to my Core

If you knew me in my young years, you know that I was considered the Dairy Poster Child. I grew up on a family dairy farm. Once I left the farm, it seemed that there was nothing to talk about but cows. There was nothing like a tall glass of fresh milk right from the bulk tank. It’s what I missed the most, I think. It took me a while to get past the taste of pasteurized milk and I didn’t dare drink 2% milk. When I visited a friend’s home, they offered milk, I would ask, “Is it whole milk?”

So when I learned I have osteoporosis. It was quite a shock to me. For a day or two, I really could not grasp how it could be that my bones are not strong; that I was at risk for fractures and breakage. Adding this to all my other diagnoses was more than I could bare. LIke David, I cried out to God, “How long, oh Lord? I can’t take any more problems. Please no more pain.”

God Speaks

Since I had morning appointments that day, I didn’t get to sit down with the Lord until that afternoon. (Maybe that is why I was so shaken… I had not invite Him into my day yet.) Anyway, began giving me messages all day. As I did my study with Gracefully Truthful, He said to me, “I will not leave you as an orphan. I will come to you.” (John 14:18) Thank you, Lord for this reassurance. I began singing this song the rest of the day.

Encouragement from Friends

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”

Proverbs 16:24 NIV

They may have not known that what they shared was for me, but it was. All through the day, I received gracious words just at the right time. Have you ever seen a cross section of a bone? It’s like a honeycomb. Unless you have osteoporosis… then it’s more like swiss cheese. See National Osteoporosis Foundation

The words of my friends were like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Friends offered up prayers. Sometimes it was just sharing a quote or a scripture. They had no idea that God inspired to share it for my purpose. That night my dear friend at Alabaster Girls post this prayer.

Father, I am loved by You, an extraordinary God, a good, good Father. Your love makes life worth living. Because of You I don’t have to be afraid of tomorrow.

You are my peace.

Thank You for Your grace that truly is sufficient to carry me through the difficult places. I don’t like the difficult places, Lord — You know that. And yet I find You there. You draw near and strengthen me. You pour out Your love on me and it quiets me, giving me strength.Help me keep my eyes on You, Lord.

In Your presence I find joy, courage, and the tenacity I need to keep moving forward.

Bless You, Lord. What a wonderful god You are.

In the Name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Nan Trammel Jones, The Alabaster Girls

But I Still Tossed and Turned for Many Nights

All these things and more I have known since my youth. I know that God will not abandon me. I know He will see me through. But I am tired andmy pain has been unbearable lately. Just the pain alone was waking my up and then my mind would start running away wondering what would happen next.

One of the girls from The Alabaster Girls group had friended me earlier that week but I was not “in the mood” to talk with a new person. She was from half way around the world. And I wasn’t share of her connection to me at that point. She kept gently prodding me to respond to her. But I like being the encourager and I didn’t have it in me to chat with someone new. Then she sent a audio clip… She sang “Pass me not, oh gentle Savior, hear my humble cry. While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.” And tears came to my eyes. It was my prayer. We chatted and I shared a bit of my story. She promised to pray for me.

Preaching to myself

On the second day, I saw the writing prompt for Five MInute Fridays – “STRONG”. I wondered, “Could I write about strong bones when it was so raw to me?” In the past, I have looked through my old posts to see if there was anything I could update and share. And there it was “When I am Weak, He is Strong“. As part of that post I shared an old hymn written by Annie Johnson Flint. I didn’t know it then, but Annie was orphaned as a child and but her teens suffered severe arthritis and was soon wheelchair bound. I’m learning more and more that it is those who go through great trial that have the most beautiful poetry and songs. Do you know her hymn, He Giveth More Grace”. That’s the grace God is giving me.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance

When our strength has failed ere the day is half done

when we reach the end of our hoarded resources

Our Father’s full giving is only begun

He GIveth More Grace, Annie Johnson Flint

I Will Not be Shaken

Finally, I stumbled on this scripture which woke me up to realize that God has got this. I do not need to be shaken. It is quite appropriate with words like: “even at night”, “my thoughts trouble me”, “I will not be shaken”, “my whole being rejoices”, “my body rests securely”, “You will not abandon me”, “You will not allow your faithful one to see decay”.

I will bless the Lord who counsels me—
even at night when my thoughts trouble me.
I always let the Lord guide me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad
and my whole being rejoices;
my body also rests securely.
10 For you will not abandon me to Sheol;
you will not allow your faithful one to see decay.
11 You reveal the path of life to me;
in your presence is abundant joy;
at your right hand are eternal pleasures.

Psalm 16:7-8

I Need to Memorize This Verse and Quote it in my Bed at Night

Interesting that just last year, verse 11 was my verse for the year. I should have read more of the context, eh?

A Word For You

Don’t allow the old devil to get you shaken. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus for in His presence we have abundant joy!

Mandy

foot care feature

Foot Care – How to Have Healthy, Happy Feet

We don’t often think about foot care until the pain is excruciating. I recently have acquired an issue with my feet. I suspected that RA was affecting my healthy, happy feet. So did my rheumatologist. There’s a thing called Rheumatoid Nodules. RA can cause painful nodules to develop on various parts of the body, including the feet. I visited my orthopedic specialist. He suspects a neuroma of the foot. “A neuroma is a painful condition, also referred to as a “pinched nerve” or a nerve tumor. It is a benign growth of nerve tissue frequently found between the third and fourth toes. It brings on pain, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot.” My orthopedic specialist focuses on knees and shoulders; so he has referred me to a foot specialist. So… we wait. {story of my life}

In the meantime, I started looking for ways to relieve the pain. My knees have been pretty painful as well so one evening I decided to take an Epson salt bath. It always relieves some of my Ra and Fibro pain. I was pleasantly surprised the next day that my foot pain was relieved as well… at least for the day. Then I purchased some Metatarsal gel footpads. These were very comfortable. Once I started walking, I never really felt them in my shoe. However, at the end of the day. I had a painful sore at the edge of the pad and between my toes where the hook had been. I only wore them one evening and the next day.

Foot Care Handbook

It turned out that NetGalley, the source I use for reviewing new books, had a new book by a reflexologist, Stephanie Tourles. It is a Foot Care Handbook. I downloaded the book to see if it might have some good advice for me. It’s a neat little handbook with five chapters.

Chapter 1 Greet Your Feet: Foot Care Basics

What would your feet tell you if they could speak to you? Probably something like, “You’re killing me! Quit wearing those ridiculous shoes!” There are basic things we should be doing for the health of your feet and, consequently, the rest of your body. Stephanie shares these basics with you and how to do them.

Did you know that you should be able to move each toe individually? It was news to me. I can only move my big toe separate from the others. I’m going to try to work on changing that!

Chapter 2: Foot Care Fitness: Stretching and Strengthening

Foot Fitness? Sure! Stephanie offers several great stretches and exercises for your feet. Foot care will relieve your pain in just a short time, I can tell you they are simple and profitable exercises.

Chapter 3: Foot Massage to Relax and Revive

The benefits of foot massage include reducing stress and anxiety, soothing the nervous system, and boosting circulation while minimizing any swelling. There’s more but I know this… It is helping my foot issues without having to get injections or surgery. A very good benefit.

She offers a recipe or two for homemade massage creams with essential oils! I didn’t have all the ingredients so I made do with what I had for the time being. Mary Kay’s Mint Energizing For Feet and Legs. Feels so good and relaxing, too.

Chapter 4: An Introduction to Foot Reflexology

I’ve always found it interesting that there are pressure points in your foot that create paths to all other parts of your body. Stephanie gives a great introduction to reflexology in this chapter. You might find you can relieve a lot of your pain and other issues if to study this chapter.

Chapter 5 Common Foot Problems, Uncommon Remedies

Here Stephanie talks about most of the common foot problems and offers suggestions on how to deal with them. An investment of $10-15 could save you lots of dollars for surgery and doctor visits.

Mandy

UPDATE: Finally, two weeks later, I saw the foot specialist. The massage and exercises must have helped because he said my movement was good. No stiffness in the ankle. He decided I wouldn’t even need an injection between my toes. (PTL!) He gave me a Hapad shoe insert to try and sent me on my way… well until six weeks is up.

PS. Wide size shoes have been a great help for me

I live in Skechers! Here are the ones I love! the STATEMENTS are very flexible. You can actually fold them! The GetAways have awesome memory foam support at the ball of your feet.



Foot Care Handbook

This book is set to publish in December 2021, but you can order in advance now.

I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. I have given my review freely and with honesty.

5 Steps Toward Joy in Adversity

It’s easy to lose our joy in the world we live in. 

Originally posted in ggmandy dot com on November 10, 2016 
 

Just watch the news or even just look at your own life, your failures, your unfulfilled dreams, the junk that life is throwing at you, and boom! you’ve fallen into the pit of despair. But I believe that we have a choice whether we stay there in the muck or find joy in the moment. The apostle Paul wrote of that joy sitting in a prison in Philippi. (Philippians 1:3-7) So if he can do it .. we can do it! Right? 

But how can we have joy in adversity? 

That is the question. And that is what I have been searching for this year. Let me share a few steps I am learning to take … 

1. Understand that joy and happiness are NOT the same things. 

You can have both or you can have one but not the other. The difference is the source. Happiness is a result of some outside force. It is dependent on our “happenstance”. We are happy because of what is “happening” to us. We are happy the day we graduate or get married or when we receive a gift. But joy is much different. It comes from inside of us. The scripture says … 

 The Lord is my strength and shield. 

    I trust him with all my heart. 

He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. 

    I burst out in songs of thanksgiving 

Psalm 28:7 (NLT) 

If you take a look at the context of this verse (as with many of the Psalms) you will find that David was crying out to God. His circumstances were anything but good. He had enemies all around him, yet .. he was “bursting out in songs of thanksgiving”. Wow! Just knowing that the Lord was with him was enough to sustain him, to keep his joy. 

Steps Toward Joy Through Adversity: Understand #Joy and #Happiness are NOT the same Click To Tweet

2. Read a Psalm every day. 

As I mentioned before, nearly every Psalm begins with distress, speaking out the trouble he was in; but before he gets done, he is praising the Lord. There is nothing better for us than having an example set before us and the Psalms are it. Read one every day and you will be reminded of how awesome our God is. How much He loves you. 

3. Praise the Lord. 

We were created for praise. God made us for this sole purpose.

Psalm 148 says ” let every created being praise the Lord.”

Praise opens the door of communication with God. And that is what He desires. Being in His presence, in communication with Him fills us with joy. If we start looking for something to praise the Lord for, we will find it. There is always something to praise him for. I am reminded of a song the Imperials sang many years ago. “Praise the Lord“. It said,

‘When you’re up against a struggle that shatters all your dreams … Praise the Lord.” Every word of this song is on target. 

Praise the Lord by The Imperials

Let’s go back to that prison in Philippi.

Paul and Silas began praising the Lord. What happened next? An earthquake opened the prison doors, broke their chains, and ultimately the prison guard and his family were saved. That’s what happens when others see us being victorious in and through our struggles. We are always wanting God to take us out of the situation, but maybe God has placed us there to bring others to Him. 

4. Additionally, Give Joy to Others. 

shut-in crochet joy in adversity

I recall when I was single and lived far from home and family. I would get lonesome and depressed. So I would call home. Mom told me time and again, to get out and do something for someone else and it would help. You see when you give joy to others it comes right back to you. It’s one of those “reap what you sew” ideals. If we go around complaining and grumbling, we get grumbling and complaining in return. When we start doing for others and see the joy it gives them, guess what, we find that the joy rubs off on us! 

Since my health began to fail, I took up crocheting again. I learn to crochet way back in high school through the 4-H program. Never really got the hang of it. But I decided to give it a try once again. But I need a reason to crochet. So I started looking for who I could make something for. First there was a new baby, then a wedding. Then I decided I would make a shawl for all our shut-ins. That has kept me plenty busy. But here’s the catch … the absolute best part. When I finish a shawl. I can hardly wait to give it away. I am beside myself while I watch them open the package and take out the gift. And it’s not just a blessing that one moment. every time I see them, they speak again of how they love the shawl! And there it is .. abundant joy! 

5. Finally, some practical advice … 

A. Eat right. I know we don’t like to hear it; however, our tendency when we get down is to go eat a bucket of ice cream! Come on , you know it’s true. And I’m not saying that you can never eat ice cream. But do it with moderation. Slow down and eat a few bites. Be sure to enjoy it. And then get right back to eating right. 

B. Get your vitamins. Most of us are vitamin and nutrient deficient. So eat those fruits and vegetables. Resist the grains, bread, sugary desserts. You may need to have your doctor check some of those vitamin levels, such as Vitamin Bs and D. 

C. Spend some time outside EVERY day. Soak up some natural vitamin D. Take in God’s beautiful world. 

D. Do what your doctor says. Take you medications faithfully. 

E. Exercise. (Did I have to mention that one?)  Sorry. But it can help you feel better! 

Okay. I am #preachingtomyself here. But maybe you can come along for the ride and find your joy too! 

images created in canva for free
swollen knees

Diagnosis Knees – Osteoarthritis or RA

more diagnoses knees
created in canva for free

Once I finally had a diagnosis, I was able to get on a regimen of Savella. This relieved the majority of my pain. At least I was able to move about. We started working on reducing my 40mg of prednisone down to a more acceptable level. This was no easy feat. The pain would return with just a slight decrease. If I remember, we had to reduce by 5 mg, and then later only 1 mg. (I only recently was able to get completely off the usage of prednisone. It took me ten years!)

It’s Off to the Orthopedic Surgeon

But it only took a few months for my knees to begin to swell and be painful. So, we headed to Hughston Clinic. After x-rays and MRIs, the doctor determined that I had a torn meniscus. So we scheduled surgery. How wonderful that Dr. Collins is a Christian. By his request, he had prayer with me before we went into the OR. His staff is amazing. They checked on me several times after the surgery. I highly recommend Hughston Clinic if you live in SW Georgia.

The surgery went well, he was able to repair damage and clean out a lot of arthritis. He took pictures that showed a lot of gnarly mess. So when we met with him again, he said he would send me back to Mayo Clinic because he wasn’t certain that it was just osteoarthritis.

Back to Mayo Clinic

Already established at Mayo, it wasn’t as difficult to get an appointment. I saw my rheumatologist. He looked at the pictures and said, “This is severe osteoarthritis”. OK. No Surprise here. I was very accident-prone on the dairy farm. As a child, I was always incurring stupid injuries that weren’t too severe. I figured then that one day, I would have plenty of arthritis.

While he felt the diagnosis for knees was osteoarthritis, he decided to run the tests for rheumatoid arthritis again. Low and behold, this time it came back as R.A. We had caught it early so I was able to take Methotrexate rather than a biologic.

Why Didn’t It Show Up Before?

Apparently, the prednisone was masking the RA. I had been concerned this would be a problem all along. The steroid helped me “feel” pretty darn good, But in fact, steroids are an anti-inflammatory drug. So the numbers in the blood work came back good. I figured the steroids caused my numbers to be all over the place when I was tested back home.

swollen knees - steroids hide the real problem
photos from pixabay-Bolova59

The Methotrexate has kept the RA pretty much under control these 10 years. Osteoarthritis of the knees continues to be aggravating on a daily basis. Other fibromyalgia pains and other issues keep popping up now (10 years later). So, we are considering other medication options.

This brings us up to the Spring of 2013. Stay tuned for another addition to Mandy’s Journey with Pain or click here to see what you may have missed.

-Mandy

city on a hill

USA – Are We Still a “City on a Hill”?

In 1630, a ship called Arbella came across the Atlantic and landed at what is now known as Boston. Rev John Winthrop was a passenger along with those whom we know as the Puritans. While still on board, he gave a sermon, called “A Model of Christian Charity“, which was a challenge to the people that they would create a new nation that would be “a City on a Hill” – a light to the world. Winthrop’s sermon expounded that America was divinely purposed by God to “hold world-historical importance”. Their success would only come with “the commitment to a higher cause and the dedication to God”. [Perry Miller]

No politician had turned to this sermon as the origin of America by quoting it until Perry Miller wrote about it in 1960. Then nearly every president to hold office quoted this one thing – We were to be a “City on a Hill”.

Winthrop’s sermon gradually became the key text defining and explaining the development of American literature from its origins to the present day. By 1979, this text opened and anchored The Norton Anthology of American Literature, the most dominant anthology on the market. Countless students still read it today.

How America Became “A City Upon a Hill” | The National Endowment for the Humanities (neh.gov)

But Are We Still a City on a Hill?

We may be still a city on a hill that the world looks to for many things. But what are we pointing them towards? I fear that somewhere along the way, we have left God in the dust. We have returned to our idols and selfish desires.

Sometimes I feel like the weeping prophet, Jeremiah.

    … my eyes will weep bitterly,

overflowing with tears,

    because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive.

Jeremiah 13:17

I look at how far the United States has fallen. My heart breaks at how we have turned away from God in so many ways. We have allowed sex, greed, pride, entertainment, and more to become our gods.

I was reminded while reading Jonathan Cahn this week that there is still hope. Cahn has been writing for years now on The Harbingers, the warnings that God has been sending us. Even before 9/11, God has been telling us that we have turned away from Him. But as He has always promised…

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:!4

The Call is to Christians

Notice that God is not speaking to the sinners here. He is calling His People, the Christians to humble themselves, pray, seek His face. You and I need to get serious about the fate of our country.

city on a hill

We need to:

  1. fall on our faces in prayer.
  2. pray for Christian leaders who will take a stand against sin.
  3. call on our country to pray.
  4. pray for all our leaders that they would turn to God as well.

It’s our only chance for survival.

Cahn points out in his book, Harbinger II: The Return, that it is not too late… yet. Time is short but prayer and fasting have saved this country in the past. It can happen again if we get serious about revival.

Were you aware that the union army was struggling to win until Abraham Lincoln called our nation to prayer?

And that very day, the tide began to turn.

Another Call to Prayer in our Nation’s History

There was another time since then that our nation was saved because the president called the nation to prayer. I remember my parents saying that this president had delayed the coming judgment on our country. Ronald Reagan called us to prayer.

I said before that the most sublime picture in American history is of George Washington on his knees in the snow at Valley Forge. That image personifies a people who know that it’s not enough to depend on our own courage and goodness. We must also seek help from God our Father and Preserver.

Abraham Lincoln said once that he would be the most foolish man on this footstool we call earth if he thought for one minute he could fulfill the duties that faced him if he did not have the help of One who is wiser than all others.

Ronald Reagan, 1982 New York Times
Reagan - city on a hill

Read Reagan’s complete speech in the New York Times

Focus on the Good

Eric Metaxas reminds us in His book, If You Can Keep It, that we must look for the good and stop focusing on all the wrong. We need to be proud of our nation. Love of our Nation needs to take precedence again. Between social media and the news, we are only hearing about the wrong things that have happened or are happening. What if we were to focus on the good things?

Like with our children, if we are constantly saying, “You are bad”, “You won’t amount to anything”. It is likely that they will indeed not amount to anything.” This is not to say that we don’t correct the wrong. But we need to find the good things and brag on those things. Then likely a child (or a nation) would begin to believe in themselves and begin doing more good.

Love not Hate

We need to love our country and the good things it has done. It’s not to say that we are perfect. No! The Preamble of the Constitution says,

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Preamble of the constitution

“… to form a more perfect union”.

That is, that we would work to make things better and better; not necessarily PERFECT but more perfect. When we realize that we are doing something wrong, we do what it takes to make them right. I am proud of how far we have come when it comes to slavery, racism, democracy. I am proud of how our country has gone and fought for the freedoms of others in other nations. We have done many things right. And we have led the way towards establishing justice, tranquility, and liberty. Like no other country… EVER.

We are Blessed

Psalm 33:12  a city on a hill

God has blessed this country immensely. We have been a “city on a hill” leading the way for so much good. But we have turned and now are leading the way in the wrong direction. (family values, abortion, greed, pride, selfishness) The Bible says “Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord.” As a nation, we are failing to keep God as our Lord. I fear there is little time left. We need to get humble, get praying and get right with God before it is too late.

Maybe God will hear and forgive us once more.

JOel 2:14 a city on a Hill

A Call to Repentance

12 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
13 So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
14 Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God?

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;
16 Gather the people,
Sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and nursing babes;
Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber,
And the bride from her dressing room.
17 Let the priests, who minister to the Lord,
Weep between the porch and the altar;
Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord,
And do not give Your heritage to reproach,
That the nations should rule over them.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’ ”

Sincerely from a God-loving Patriot,

Mandy

Learn More About the Founding of America

at AMERICAN REWRITTEN

Other Resources

If You Can Keep It by Eric Metaxas

Harbinger II: The Return

Wallbuilders

Teaching American History

National Endowment for the Humanities

Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

Take Your Medicine

You might expect that once you get your diagnosis, you can breathe again. But many times, this is when the fight really begins. This is when you start seeing the specialists, doing the therapy and adjusting the medications.

Medicine is a great thing. Think of all the discoveries that have been made which have saved so many lives. But there is also a price to pay. And I’m not talking about the cost of the medication, which in itself can be a challenge. I’ve often thought when I see commercials for medications and you hear all the side effects, that maybe, you are just trading one problem for another. 

medicine
image from Pixabay


I had such a regiment of medications, at times, it was hard to keep it all straight and not miss a dosage. I found an app on my phone (Med Helper) that would remind me throughout the day to take medications. Everyone around me knew my ringtone for medications! 


Steroids are excellent for reducing swelling and pain; they were “wonderful” for me.  I could walk around and do all kinds of things but I worried about what it was covering up. What was the real problem and was I damaging my body more by taking the steroids.  Not to mention the rapid weight gain. I had just recently lost weight to my lowest weight since before pregnancy.; but now, I am back to my highest weight ever. Also, there are more severe effects on your organs if used for a long time.

syringe
 OpenClipart-Vectors at Pixabay

By the time, I was diagnosed, I had already been on high dosages of prednisone for 6 months. I was placed on the right drug for the fibromyalgia pain and we began trying to reduce the steroids. But it would take a long time as we had to do this very slowly. The slightest reduction of steroids would cause my pain to return with a vengeance. [It took me nearly 10 years to get completely off the steroids.]

Even with Medication… There is Still Pain

Now I want you to understand that these medications only take the edge off of the pain. They bring the patient to a place where one can function .. at least a bit. When I visit the doctor or the therapist, they ask what your level of pain is on a scale of 1 to 10. Mine averages out at around 5 or 6. When the weather is bad, it might be 8 or 9.

Laughter Helps

I have learned there is a mental attitude you need to keep the pain at bay. It’s a big job, but having a positive attitude does make a big difference in how you can handle it all. Of course, there are days that are just plain bad, but if I work at it most days can be bearable. 

A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. 

Proverbs 17:22
medicine is good medicine

 The best medicine for that is laughter. So I try to find ways to keep laughter around me. Here are a few ideas …

  1. Share a joke or something funny on Facebook every day.
  2. Watch funny sitcoms. I like the old re-runs that are much cleaner.
  3. Watch comedy movies.
  4. Christian Comedian DVD’s [Tim Hawkins, Mark Lowry, Ken Davis, Etc]
  5. Reminisce about the good old days.
  6. Invite your funny friends over for a visit.
  7. The hardest thing to do is to talk positively. Don’t tell everyone all about your aches and pains.  Of course, DO tell your health care people, but try to keep a positive attitude around your friends. It helps you and honestly, your friends don’t really want to hear about it.

What Medicine of Laughter do You Use?

Mandy

Learn more about Mandy’s Journey with Chronic Pain.

I’m trying to write and share about my experiences. Just click here for a Table of Contents of what I have written so far.

God Chose the weak

Be Confident: God Calls the Weak

Our Confidence is in Giving God What we Have

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 

God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. 

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. 

Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

God Chooses the Weak

God chose the weak

 Referring to verse 26, Lady Huntington, the rich and influential friend of Whitefield and Wesley, said she was going to heaven by an “m”: it isn’t any noble; instead, it is not many noble. Indeed, Jesus said it too when He expressed the point that it is difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 19:24)

It’s pretty obvious that God calls the weak.

He doesn’t look for the great or the wise. He chooses those who desperately need to depend on Him to make His call happen.

Consider the Patriarchs of the Bible.

  • Abraham was not even serving God when He was called.
  • Moses was a murderer and had a speech impediment.
  • Gideon was the youngest of the smallest and least important tribe of Israel but God used him in a mighty way to save the Israelites.
  • King Saul hid in the baggage when Saul announced him as the first king of Israel,
  • King David was a young boy when Samuel anointed him as the next king. Samuel thought his older brothers would make great kings, but God had other plans.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Who Did Jesus Select to be Disciples?

Peter – a fisherman with no education who was always sticking his foot in his mouth. But God transformed him into a great leader and speaker.

James & John – brothers who fussed over who was the greatest. But God used them to write portions of scripture.

Matthew – a tax collector who overcharged his own people for his own benefit until Jesus got ahold of his life.

Who is Wise? Who is Foolish?

1 corinthians 1:17 God chose the Weak
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But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 

1 Corinthians 1:27

Early in life, I had no confidence in myself. I felt that God could not use me… even though I did have many talents. Surprisingly, when I married my pastor-husband, it somehow gave me “license” to speak; that maybe now as a pastor’s wife people might listen to my teaching. It gave me confidence. After my diagnosis of R.A. and chronic pain, I was again disturbed that now I really couldn’t serve God. But I felt I wasn’t finished. But I did still have something in my hands to give him … my mind, my computer, my knowledge was still available for Him to use.

God will use anyone who is willing. Just give him what you have.

When He called Moses, He asked him, “What do you have in your hand?” Moses replied, “a stick.” And wow! Did God ever use that stick? What do you have in your hand. Give God your stick! He’ll use it!

When God calls you, just say, "YES!" He'll take care of the rest. #confidence #answerthecall #legacylinkup Click To Tweet

-Mandy

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It’s Your Turn

We’re sharing about heros this month. Have you written about anyone who gave the little they had and gave it to God for great results?

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living to please God

How to Live in Order to Please God

Additionally then, brothers and sisters, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received instruction from us on how you should live and please God—as you are doing—do this even more. 

For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

For this is God’s will, your sanctification.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-3a

What does God’s Will; Your Sanctification Mean?

God’s desire, His will for us, is more than just forgiveness. It’s more than fire insurance saving you from Hell. He wants to restore us to His image. God created us in His image. And while that was ruined by the fall of man, God still instructed us to “be holy as He is holy“; God still wants to restore His image in each of us and He offers that to all who are saved. (Colossians 3:9-10

Colossians 3:9-10 Living to Please God
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Sanctification is a big, confusing word. It can also be translated as “holiness” or “set apart.” Thus, God’s will for us is to live holy lives to be set apart. When we live holy lives, we are becoming more and more like Him.  

His Holy Spirit Helps us

Upon salvation, His Holy Spirit enables us to “participate in the divine nature” of God. (2 Peter 1:3-4) Peter urges us in the following verses to do our part… “make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” 2 Peter 1:5-9 NIV and again to “make every effort to confirm your calling and election…” (2 Peter 1:10-11)  If we are “to make every effort”, then certainly there is a part for us to play in becoming like Him.

Through salvation and out of thankfulness and humility toward God, we should want to live holy lives; doing our best to exemplify the character of Christ. His Holy Spirit directs us and gives us all we need to do this. When we participate in His work, we are then READY to enter His Kingdom. 

 “For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.” 

2 Peter 1:11

Defining the Big Words About Salvation

Defining big Christian Words; living to please God
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We receive many graces when we are saved. The first of these is justification – the forgiveness of sins. I like to explain it this way… It is “Just as if I’d never sinned“. Romans 5:9-18 

But grace does not stop there. The next thing God does is give us new life! We call this regeneration. Easton’s Bible Dictionary explains regeneration as a change of heart. (Titus 3:4-8); becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17); a renewal of the mind (Romans 12:1-2). This is nothing man does but rather it is the work of the Holy Spirit within us. 

Thirdly, God adopts us as His child!  (John 1:12-13We are His heirs

Finally, we are given the Holy Spirit, who teaches us to live more and more like Jesus. As we grow in Him, this holiness (sanctification) becomes the doing and living of our salvation. Dr. David Jeremiah, Turning Point, says “it is the proof of our faith… the example of our faith… and the action of our faith.” (Crosswalk) 

Surrendering everything to Him is the best way to live a pleasing life for God. Years ago, I learned that we must give the “Unkown Bundle” to God. That is, we give him our yesterdays and our today, but also our tomorrows. Like signing a contract without getting to read it. We sign an empty page and hand it to God to fill it with His will for us. We say to God, “Whatever You want, is what I want”. Like Jesus said in the garden, “Not my will, but yours”. Luke 22:42

Will you Give Him the Unknown Bundle of Your Life?

~Mandy

*This devotion is excerpted from a study of 1 Thessalonians, written by Mandy for Gracefully Truthful – a Women’s Online Bible study journey. You can read it in it’s entirety on the website.

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IT’S YOUR TURN

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Stop, Look, & Listen SLOW

It’s Time to Slow – Stop, Look & Listen

Published February 25, 2017 on my closed blog ggmandy dot com

Inspired by FMF prompt: SLOW

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” 

Matthew 11:28-30 NLT 

Have you ever felt like you have been run down by a speeding train? 

photo by Malventosa @ Pixabay 

Did you know? “There’s an app for that! 🙂 When I was a kid, we were taught that when you come to a railroad track, STOP, LOOK, & LISTEN. Trains can only go where there are tracks, so pay attention. Don’t proceed until you come to a complete stop, then look and see if anything is coming, then listen for anything that might be coming down the tracks.

I wonder … 

Do you

STOP, LOOK  AND LISTEN before you proceed into your life?

The scriptures are full of examples and admonitions for us to slow and spend time with the Lord. Right from the beginning, God came in the cool of the day to speak with Adam (Genesis 3:8). Even before that God Himself rested after 6 days of work (Hebrews 4:4). Even Jesus would often withdraw from the crowds to pray. (Matthew 14:13-21)

And yet, we act as if we don’t really need to slow down. 

We jump out of bed in the morning, throw on some clothes, down a cup of coffee, and run out the door. Never once thinking of even a quick hello to the Lord or an invitation to Him to walk beside us throughout the day. It’s no wonder, we feel worn and weary.  

Matthew 11:28  Slow
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How Do We Slow Ourselves to Rest?

And what about our Sundays?  

When I was growing up, we did only what had to be done on Sundays. Even when the hay was ready to bale, it stayed on the ground for a day. Sundays were for attending church and resting. The most we ever did was maybe a “Sunday afternoon drive” or visiting family. 

I recall asking Dad once, 

cow  slow

“Why couldn’t the Lord allow the cows to give twice the milk on Saturday so that we wouldn’t have to milk them on Sunday as God did with providing manna to the Israelites?”  

His answer pricked my heart. 

“God might be willing to do that if we were willing to REALLY give Him the Sabbath.”  

You see, what I wanted was to be able to go and play and have fun, not to actually take the day to slow down and worship God. It seems that when we “slow down” we are still filling our lives with stimulants that do not allow us the opportunity to rest and to fellowship with God.  

There is little to no room for God.  

We come home from work or play and immediately, we turn on our radios, TV, and internet. 

No quiet for him to even get a word in edgewise. 

Take a look from a practical point of view. Phyllis Korkki, at the New York Times, says 

 “A growing body of evidence shows that taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity — and that skipping breaks can lead to stress and exhaustion … and may even lead to bad health.”

I know for myself when I was working, I would get where I seemed to not be making progress in my work. The best thing I could do was to go take a walk around the block.  Breaks are helpful, so long as we aren’t using them to procrastinate. 

What about meditation? 

Studies show that regular meditation is a very beneficial activity. Anastasia Stephens lists seven benefits of meditation :

  • Increased Immunity 
  • Emotional Balance 
  • Increased Fertility 
  • Relieves Irritable bowel syndrome 
  • Lowers blood pressure 
  •  Anti-inflammatory 
  • Calmness 

Now, who couldn’t use a few of those benefits!  

God told Joshua, 

“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” 

So, if we want to prosper, we MUST spend time meditating on the Word of God. 

Musical Rests

rest slow

WHAT if THERE WERE NO RESTS IN MUSIC?

What kind of song would we get if only notes were played without regard to rests? 

I was a percussionist in the high school band. While the bells were my favorite, I also played the timpani. But many times there were long measures of rests between notes. This was no fun. Just counting beats.  

But these rests left time for tuning the instrument to the right note

And THEN, at the right moment, what an awesome timpani sound rolled out. 

We need these times of rest in our lives as well to tune ourselves to the drumbeat of God. 

John Ruskins said, 

“If we sorrowfully say to ourselves, ‘There is no music in a rest,’ let us not forget that the rest is part of the making of the music. The process is often slow and painful in this life, yet how patiently God works to teach us! And how long He waits for us to learn the lesson!”3 

God can only speak to us in the quiet.  

stop, look, & Listen  slow
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If we never slow down and listen, there is no chance for God to minister to us.  

Oh, how He loves us and wants us to come and fellowship with Him. He wants to tell us so much.

If we would but stop, look and listen

Mandy

journey with chronic pain

How I Found Refuge as a Chronic Pain Warrior

This God—his way is perfect;
    the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

2 Samuel 22:31 You really need to read the whole chapter

Where are my Friends?

When we are hit with a trial, our first response is to run to a friend or someone’s shoulder to cry on. We may experience loneliness; friends don’t come to our aid. For me, those shoulders (my parents, siblings, life friends) were many miles away… literally in different states. I wanted one of them to be near me, but there was no chance of that. They had their own lives, jobs, families to take care of. I know they wanted to be near me, but it was not feasible.

But would they have been able to give me true comfort?  

What I needed was to run to God.

2 Samuel 22:31 refuge

During those first few months, I spent a lot of time really getting to know God in a real way. There was nowhere else to go. And He was so attentive to my needs. He showed me that He knows what pain is all about. He knows my pain, physically and emotionally. I learned that it doesn’t really matter what the trial is….


“Jesus has been there done that.”


Jesus has felt physical pain. He has been rejected. He has been ignored. He’s been broke. He’s had no place to live. You name it, He’s been there. And through that, He became my closest friend. He was the only one that could truly understand what I was going through.

My Immediate Family Are Rare Jewels

Yes, I had my husband and my children who were there with me 24/7. They were there serving me. Wow! Did they ever serve me.

Every morning, my husband gingerly helped me to the bathroom and helped me with all those personal hygiene items. (We’ll talk about the loss of dignity later.) Then took me back and propped me up in the bed so that I could read while he and my daughter prepared my breakfast. Michael moved us down to the first floor of our home to our guest room because I couldn’t go up the stairs. He served me selflessly for months until I was able to do some of these things myself. He did all this while continuing to preach 3 times a week and even took on some of the things I did for the church. Tears come to my eyes as I type this that he would care for me this way.

 My daughter who was a home school student gave up many things during her entire high school years so that she could cook, clean, and do the laundry for our family while continuing her schooling. As I was able to get out, she became my chauffeur. While she and I grew to have a wonderful friendship, she gave up all the normalcies of teenage life.

No one can REALLY understand the pain

But with all that, they were at a loss because they couldn’t feel my pain. They didn’t know how to help. They didn’t know what to do for me to ease my pain. Their hearts ached because there was nothing they could do. When they did try to help, many times it was painful. But Jesus knew my pain.

Jesus became the one I ran to in trouble. Those months and years developed a routine to finding Him first each day. Now I still start my day with Him and I take Him with me throughout my day as my shield. Sort of a portable refuge, if you will.

Learning to Establish a Relationship with God

What I learned was I need to establish a relationship with God, the Friend, the Healer; the Protector; so that, the first place I want to run was to Him. Building a relationship is a two-way street. I talk to Him; He talks to me. This is called prayer and meditation with Him.

prayer Loneliness Chronic Pain
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God is My Refuge 

Finding a refuge entails, getting down behind the protector.

  • get down on your knees to hide.
  • You get quiet so that the enemy cannot find you.
  • You listen for your ally.  

This is called prayer.

Through this ordeal in my life, I have found him to be a refuge … a place to run to … but also now as I return to a new kind of normal; He is my shield. And because He is my shield, I don’t have to run to a refuge. He, The Shield, is my Refuge.

Where or Who is Your Refuge?

-Mandy

Are you Caught up on Mandy’s Journey w/Pain?