For This I Have Jesus – part 1

In an evangelistic meeting in Ireland, the speaker was explaining what it means to abide in Christ and to trust Him completely in every trial.  Concluding his message, he repeated several times, “It means that in every circumstance you can keep on saying, ‘For this I have Jesus.’ ”

The meeting was then opened for testimonies.  One young woman said, “Just a few minutes ago I was handed this telegram.  It reads, ‘Mother is very ill; take train home immediately.’ When I saw these words, I knew that tonight’s message was meant just for me.  My heart looked up and said, ‘For this I have Jesus.’ Instantly a peace and strength flooded my soul.”

Three or four weeks later the evangelist received a letter from this woman.  It read, “Thank you again for the message you gave that day.  Life has become an uninterrupted psalm on victory, for I have come to realize that no matter what life brings, for this I have Jesus.”

That believer in Christ had found in her Savior the One who would be with her “through fire and through water,” and who would bring her “out to rich fulfillment” (Ps. 66:12).

If you are enduring a great trial of affliction, remember – for this you have Jesus!

I’ve found a refuge from life’s care in Jesus,

I am hiding in His love divine;

He fully understands my soul’s deep longing,

And He whispers softly, “Thou art Mine.”


*today’s post taken from Our Daily Bread, April 6, Henry G. Bosch


A little over 2 years ago I spoke at a woman’s group at my mother-in-law’s church.  The topic:  my husband and I’s full time mission work in Ukraine.  At the time, we were still preparing our big move to Ukraine and I was making rounds at different churches and groups, sharing our vision, and soliciting supporters.  The group of women blessed me greatly and rallied around with open hearts and fervent prayers.

Today, I returned to the same group of women to do a book review/reading.  About 10 months ago,  when I was asked to do the book review, I hesitated…I did not want to face these women.  Shame, feelings of failure, and embarrassment still plagued me, even though I’d already been home  from Ukraine for about a year.  However, it was those same lowly feelings that urged me to say “yes”…i guess i thought that by agreeing to do the speech, I wouldn’t be disappointing them again.

I would love to say that I’m completely at peace about returning from Ukraine; that I’ve found the reason we’ve returned or discovered the purpose that we ever went in the first place.  I would LOVE to say that…and sometimes I do.  I’ve rationalized it to the point that I actually believe that I understand the divine purposes in our going and returning.  I KNOW all the Bible verses about purpose and trusting God.  And I thought that those verses moved from my head to my heart….but today, when asked (in front of the entire group), “Didn’t you go to Ukraine?” My stomach dropped and I had to hold in tears.

I responded with a simple “yes” and a polite smile.  But inside I was screaming, “PLEASE, NO MORE QUESTIONS!”

I’m tired of talking about it.  I’m tired of having to try and explain the situation, especially when I don’t fully understand it myself.  I’m still ashamed.  I’m still embarrassed.  I’m still deeply hurt. I still don’t understand.

But, because I do know the scriptures and have faith that God follows through on his promises, I hold on to them…no, I don’t hold onto them; I CLING to them like a scared child clings to his mother.  I know God has a purpose in my life – & that purpose is to SERVE HIM no matter where I live or what I’m doing as a career. I know everything’s going to be okay…in fact, my life is abundant with blessings.

But I’m still hurting.

My soul is in anguish.
How long, O LORD, how long?

~Psalm 6:3

A Doctor’s Praise

It all started a few years ago.  At first it was just an occasional tummy ache after eating.  But the pain began to increase and occur more often.  There were times, such as Christmas Day 2007, when, after eating the scrumptious steak, potato, and veggie dinner I was in such excrutiating pain that I spent the Christmas afternoon curled in a fetal position on the couch.  Despite my friends and family’s pleas, I refused to go to the doctor, perhaps out of fear or hope that it would just go away.

However, I could no longer ignore my ailment after what happened May 21, 2009.  Josh and I had just celebrated our 9th anniversary with dinner at Abuelos, a little shopping, and ice cream – all frequent staples in our life.  Just as I flopped into bed, it hit me…actually it was more like a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the gut.  The grueling pain filled my entire body.  Heartbeats sped up, breathing became difficult, and naseau ensued.  Even the sound of my sweet husband (who was a bit panicky and scared)  caused pain.  It was scary.  Very scary.  And although I still refused to be taken to the hospital that night, I did promise to finally go to the doctor. (I vaguely wrote about this in a few previous blogs that you read by clicking HERE and HERE.)

Over the last 6 months I’ve been poked, prodded, anesthetized, examined, and cross-examined by one of the best GI doctors in Dallas.  His diagnosis:  (drum roll please) “I DON’T KNOW.”  Every test and theory came back negative…there was no physical reason for my ailments.  So, he put me on an OTC drug just to see how my body would react…and then would determine how to proceed.

Here’s where “Hallelujah” comes into the story.  Today I had the follow-up appointment.  After friendly greetings, Dr. Rogoff tenderly asked, “How are you feeling?”  In his voice I sensed a genuine concern, but his eyes seemed almost sad, as if he expected a bad prognosis.  But, I smiled and said, “I feel GREAT!  Since being on the medicine my symptoms have practically disappeared.”

Dr. Rogoff, after his initial response of “really?”, began to laugh.  Then He said something that I did not expect to hear from my doctor… “HALLELUJAH”.  Dr. Rogoff’s first impulse was not to put focus on his wise medicine recommendation or on the wonders of the medicine itself, but to put focus on GOD!

Hallelujah!  Praise ye Jehovah!  Praise ye the LORD!

It was God, wasn’t it?  It was God who gave me strength to endure the pain for years.  It was God who walked with me through the dark times.  It was God who guided me to Dr. Rogoff, and God who gave him the intelligence and wisdom to treat my sickness.  It was God who protected me from worse diseases.  It was God…and still is God who deserves my praise FIRST.

1Praise the LORD. (Hallelujah)
I will extol the LORD with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.

2 Great are the works of the LORD;
they are pondered by all who delight in them

3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.

4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the LORD is gracious and compassionate.

5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.

6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.

7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.

8 They are steadfast for ever and ever,
done in faithfulness and uprightness.

9 He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is his name.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.

~Psalm 111 (emphasis mine)

When chaos thrives

It seems that almost everyone I know, including myself, currently faces difficult situations in our lives.  From illnesses, loss of jobs, stressful family situations, and other sources of discouragement and pain, it seems that nothing is turning out right and blessings are few and far between.

Humanly speaking, we have every reason to rush to judgments, panic, bitterness, unforgiveness, and anger. We quickly look at our circumstances and wonder why these situations continue to come.  It is easy to look at all the chaos around us and become discouraged.  But discouragement, when allowed to fester, can have detrmintal results in our lives. God may seem distant, uncaring, or perhaps even absent. We forget that we are fearfully & wonderfully made and created with a purpose.

However, the truth is that, as Children of God, we are to “Walk by Faith, Not by Sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7)  And we walk by faith by trusting God – remembering that He is our Sovereign Lord.  He knows what is happening in our lives – he allowed these things to happen!  God is in all our life’s circumstances (the good and the bad), working for us, not against us.  God is at work, despite the difficulty of your situation and even when you can’t see or understand what He’s doing.

And beyond that…He gives us Wisdom and strength to face our circumstances with victory. When we take our eyes off our situations, place our focus on Him, and strive to Know Him, we become full of His truth.  Psalm 119:105 says that “His Word is a lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path.” By meditating on His Word and then applying it to our lives, we will lead us through these times of trials and straight into where He wants us to be. He is Faithful to show us what we need to do!

But it’s all a choice.  A choice to meditate on Truth or listen to the lies that bring us down.  A choice to praise & thank God during the hard times.  A choice in our attitudes, actions, and thoughts.  Choose today to engulf yourself with the Promises of God and meditate upon his many blessings!

This morning on the radio, I heard a devotional that speaks directly on this topic.  The following paragraph is from God to you.

Draw Near To Me with a thankful heart, aware that your cup is overflowing with blessings.  Gratitude enables you to perceive Me more clearly and to rejoice in our love-relationship.  Nothing can separate you from My loving Presence!  That is the basis of your security.  Whenever you start to feel anxious, remind yourself that your security rests in Me alone, and I am totally trustworthy.

You will never be in control of your circumstances, but you can relax and trust in My control.  Instead of striving for a predictable, safe lifestyle, seek to know Me in greater depth and breadth.  I long to make your life a glorious adventure, but you must stop clinging to old ways.  I am always doing something new within My beloved ones.  Be on the lookout for all that I have prepared for you.

Reflections on Psalm 139: 1-6

O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Many people would freak out if someone was watching & scrutinizing their every thought, action, and word.  It portrays a creepy stalker who lurks around, breaking all bounds of privacy, but I have different picture; an image of a young boy enamored by a creature behind a glass cage.  As the creature moves, the boy presses his nose against the glass in awe-struck wonder.  He listens closely for sounds and analyzes every movement.  The boy loves the creature and desires to know everything there is to know about it.  It’s with that love and awe that God watches us – but His love is deeper & he already understands all, for He created us with the utmost thought and care.

God has joy in watching us grow & delights in our lives, but he is not an inactive observer.  He guides and protects, as the verses reveal.  Hedge means to completely enclose or surround.  As I read this, I imagine a perfect protective shield surrounding me, an impenetrable barrier made of diamonds – the strongest stone, beautiful & priceless to match the true jewel of worth that it protects.  A glorious light shimmers off these walls as a warning that I, a Child of God, cannot be touched.  But, the most important protection, that which guards my head, is God’s own hand.  It hovers above me, guarding my thoughts, my eyes, my ears.    And each time I see his Hand, I am reminded that it was He who created me into the person that I am today.  It is He who guides me, teaches me, molds me.  It is He who has called me wonderful, even when I cannot see it for myself.

tree by rivers of water

Blessed is the mantree by rivers of water
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

I have been meditating upon these verses of Psalm 1 over the last few days. There is one phrase that is stuck in my mind, which I take as the Holy Spirit wanting me to focus upon. It’s the phrase, “That brings forth fruit in its season.”

I have a tendency, probably like many people, to want to see productivity and success flourish at all times. I feel I must always be on top of my game, seeing results and “fruit”. Yes, God promises us that we will be blessed and will prosper…but we forget this phrase “in its season.”

Fruit comes seasonally. We know that fall is best for pumpkins and apples. Winter brings forth some of the sweetest grapefruit ever tasted (esp. if they’re from S. Texas). Summer produces succulent berries, while spring brings us mango and pineapple. Our grocery stores find ways to keep many of these fruits all year long, but they are poorer in taste and not at their sweetest. But bite into a sweet, ripe strawberry in spring and, MMM, you’ve got fruit perfection. God created the fruit to naturally grow its best during one season of the year.

So, why do we expect to see our “fruits” all the time? When we don’t, we become frustrated, depressed, isolated, and throw our own big pity-party. We give up too easily and question God’s will in our lives, or if we are fulfilling His purpose.

We must remember that we have to have seasons of growth if we want to see the best fruit.

Allow the living water of God’s word to refresh your spirit, to revitalize your passion for Him, and soothe your wounds. In time, we will again taste the sweetness and goodness of God.