Magnified Wonder Guaranteed

Christmas is past, but the memories are imprinted on my brain like the home videos of my children throughout the years.

 Whenever I watch the video tapes of Christmas morning, my children didn’t run into the living room and grab their presents. They inched forward with wide eyes and gaping mouths as though they were in a dream.

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Colorfully-wrapped boxes, stacked like nursery blocks, surrounded a brightly-lit Christmas tree where sparkling ornaments dangled from pine-needle branches.

 A large stuffed animal or a bicycle parked beside the tree might as well have been Manna from Heaven.

Even stockings hung on chairs triggered awe as nimble fingers pulled out candy canes and tangerines.

Now that I’m an adult and my children are grown, I miss the Christmas magic that transforms a common room into Wonderland.

And yet, I expect Heaven will fill me with the same child-like wonder~~Only Magnified~~when I leave this earthly vessel and enter into God’s glorious presence.

Will my face glow in adoration? Will I be Son-struck by the nail-scarred hands of the Prince of Peace? Will I weep for joy the Lamb of God bore my sin and died for me? Will I raise my voice with angels and sing God’s praises?

Like the words from a song by Mercy Me…I Can Only Imagine.

20140103_115656However, I do know that God, who created and foreknew me, will conform me into the image of Christ, the first-born among many brethren. (Romans 8: 29)

My Spiritual Inheritance is more than a casual hope or wishful thinking. (Ephesians 1:14) I’m assured God’s Promise of eternal life is guaranteed.

My oldest son remembers a Christmas when he asked for the latest gaming system: a Nintendo 64. Oh, how his eyes shone as he unwrapped several Nintendo 64 video games.

However, store supply did not match consumer demand. There was no Nintendo 64 beneath the Christmas tree. No way to play the video games that day.

My son’s heart sank, but he trusted a mother’s promise that he’d receive the Nintendo 64. My son knew I loved him, and intended to keep my word. So my son felt assured he would receive his gift. And he did!

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As we head into a New Year, my prayer is that God will increase our faith to trust Him more even when circumstances and our wavering hearts try to persuade us otherwise.

Be assured, God is trustworthy. He intends to keep His promises!

So let us run the race with endurance and enter into God’s daily presence with the awestruck wonder and joy of a child on Christmas morning.

How Do You Cope with Chronic Pain?

OUCH is not the best word to define my PAIN last weekend.

With a bucket of sunflower seeds in my hand, I was walking up the slope of my backyard towards the bird feeder when a wasp flew between my left foot and the flip flop I was wearing.

My foot came down on the wasp, and his stinger went into the arch of my foot.

I’ve never been stung by a wasp. So despite my previous blog about fear, I have never feared wasps. Now I have a healthy respect for the venom in their sting.

I tried many remedies: baking soda, apple cider vinegar, soaking my foot in lavender water, but my foot would not be comforted. Sharp, prickling pain radiated throughout my whole foot. 

But what I learned from the circumstance is not …”avoid wasps.”

My lesson was the impact physical pain has on my mental welfare. (And I have a HIGH pain tolerance)

Weary of the pain, I took a Tylenol and went to bed, hoping a nap would help me escape. When I woke up, my foot still pulsated and I could not put weight on my foot.

I gave up the idea of yard work, but no leisure activity could distract me from the pain.

All I could think about was… the pain.

Like a prima donna,  pain took center stage, nagged me throughout the weekend, refused to be ignored.

So tell me, how do people live with chronic pain?

How does someone get up each morning knowing nothing has changed, and perhaps never will?

I knew my foot would improve. I just had to rest, and be patient especially when the next day came and my foot still throbbed.

But a wasp sting is nothing compared to the chronic pain resulting from surgery, back problems, or side effects of chemotherapy.

PAIN also describes grief which can incapacitate someone.

Revelations 21:4 offers hope. “He (GOD) shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain…”

But until that future day comes, this blogger wants to know….

  • How do you endure chronic pain?
  • How do you find emotional strength to carry on?
  • How do you rest in God’s promises in the midst of battle fatigue?

Do you know?

Remember When

Miles and miles of asphalt stretch like black ribbon across the arid land of southern Arizona.

As my vehicle transports me westward through Tucson, memory carries me backwards when I called this city home. Its mountain range was the scenic backdrop during the bulk of my childhood. I dream about it still.

If time wasn’t a factor, I’d spend the day searching for landmarks, hoping my memories remained reality. Is the rope swing still hanging from the tree? Are the neighbors the same? Would Buttons, our black and white cat, be sitting on the backyard fence?

Remembrance brings tears.  Wishing I could travel back in time. Knowing I can’t.

Sweet memories rise like creme to the surface, negating any bad remembrances. But is anything gained by looking at yesterday? Lessons learned? Friendships made? Turning points …

My heart flutters. Jesus Christ became my Lord and Savior when I lived in Tucson. It was here I received my first Bible: a white leather, King James Version, with my name engraved on the front cover. I remember the desire He planted in my twelve-year-old heart to follow Him, know Him.

Not remember?

How could I walk this earthly journey “by faith and not by sight” if I didn’t recall God’s faithfulness during my life?

His Word repeatedly says, “Remember”…

  • The deeds of the LORD and His miracles of long ago” (Psalm 77:11).
  • God is our Rock; that God Most High is our Redeemer” (Psalm 78:35).
  • Life is fleeting” (Psalm 89:47).
  • To obey God’s commands” (Numbers 15:40).
  • Words the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive‘ ” (Acts 20:35).
  • Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel…” (2 Tim. 2:8).
  • The poor” (Galatians 2:10).
  • Each other in prayer” (2 Tim. 1:3).
  • Those in prison” (Hebrews 13:3).
  • Your leaders, who spoke the Word of God to you...” (Heb. 13:7).

Plus the multitude of scripture which saysGod remembers.” He remembers His people, His covenant, His promises.

A highway patrol car passes on my left, pulling thoughts back to the moment. New homes and freeway overpasses show the city is expanding. In my mid-teens, I moved away. But Tucson isn’t a ghost town or stuck in the past. It’s progressing, thriving like me after all these years.

And God, the Redeemer who sought a twelve-year-old girl in Tucson, is still leading me on the highway of life.

Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end. 

That’s something to remember every day.

Remembering Him, even in this……

Homecoming

Announcement: Company is coming. Someone we haven’t seen in years is coming to spend the night.

Can’t wait to see him and reconnect our hearts.

Clear the calendar, plan a menu, purchase groceries, vacuum the house, put fresh sheets on the guest bed, and clean towels in the bathroom.

At last the sun sets, but it’s no ordinary day. Someone special is coming. He’ll be here at any moment.

Pumpkin pie bakes in the oven while the New England Pot Roast simmers in the crock pot. My mouth waters as I stir the Luau cocktail wieners bubbling on the stove.

As if there weren’t enough scents lingering in the air, I light the Evergreen scented candles on the mantle; the glow of their flickering flames emotes warmth and an invitation to relax. Husband turns on soft jazz while I turn on the front porch light, and ……

Wait at the kitchen window, searching for headlights to turn into the driveway. Heart flutters when the doorbell rings. He’s here!

Time is fleeting. We wave goodbye to Someone special and enter our home. Rooms feel empty, but hearts are full.

Announcement: I read the red-lettered words of Jesus in John 14:2, Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in MeIn My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

My heart flutters as I look out my window and search a clear blue sky. Someone Special is coming to take me home. I don’t know the hour, but I know HE will come, but first He must prepare a place for me.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself readyBlessed are the those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:7,9).

Meanwhile, we get ready and wait………………

 Resting on His promises, clinging to His Word: “I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:20)