Saturday, August 1, 2009

Spiritual Sundays

Romans 12

Living Sacrifices

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

This scripture hit me this week in a whole new way~ but isn't that the way of the Lord! He will take His word and allow it to speak to you as HE so desires! There was a day this past week that I was struggling. I was REALLY missing being at home and just about everything was a struggle. Well, when I talked to my husband he was quick to jump into my "pity" party with me. *Let me just say right here this post is NOT against him AT ALL* It is about seeking GODS WILL. His~ good pleasing and perfect will.

I am the type of person & friend, who will tell you the truth. I have been told by some.....I tell it like it is. But I also in return want that same thing. Don't sugar coat it, don't try and make me "feel" good. Even if it's gonna hurt~ tell me. I know some personalities tend to go toward the negative, while others are positive and upbeat. I am married to a melancholy and He will be the first to tell you how the Lord has helped him to see things in a more positive way. He has learned to allow the Lord to help him NOT conform to the patterns of this world and to renew his mind. This example is alot of how I have viewed this scripture until this week.

While having my pity party~ there was something I knew before I made the phone call to my husband. I knew he would be completely on my side and jump in wholeheartedly with me. I also knew that this would be "no good" for me and would make things worse. You see, I needed him to encourage me to stay strong. I shared this with him and knew I needed to renew MY mind & to seek the LORD in this situation! Which I did!!! During my prayer time I didn't experience the release or the peace that I needed but I knew that I had surrendered and laid it all at the feet of Jesus. Early the next morning in the Word the first words I read were "Peace and JOY" and continued on to read Romans 5. The Lord was showing me to continue on, to continue to renew my mind and to have peace and joy!

You see, when we are having struggles our flesh wants to be stroked, or to be fed. Sometimes, this is done merely by people agreeing with you. (even if it is your sweet husband who is just trying to be there for you in the way he knows how sometimes) Surrounding yourself with "YES" people will not prove to be a good thing at all! God tell us where there is TRUTH, there is freedom. Sometimes the truth hurts but it will ALWAYS set you free if you allow it to. Conforming to the patterns of this world, will feed your flesh and be the easy path, while renewing your mind and allowing the Lord to speak truth into you will set you on the path to HIS will. HIS GOOD PLEASING AND PERFECT WILL!

for other Spiritual Sunday posts go here

Dads note within a note :)

Doug Woods: The Sandpiper
This week has been a good week for Dad as you will read in "his" note. I have made plans to go home on the 10th of Aug so that I can get my kids ready for school. Now that the plans are made it seems time is moving so quickly and I am even more aware of how special time here with my dad is. The Lord has shown me so many things during this time and I know this is one Life lesson that I will use for HIS glory! I thank each of you for your continued prayers for my dad. We covet each one.
Dad wrote a short note himself and then shared a story his secretary gave him. She is a sweet lady and has done so much for dad during this time and I am ever so grateful to her!

Here is Dad
Once again, this week‘s medical treatments were very similar to last week’s. I finished 5 more radiation treatments (bringing the total to 13 of the planned 28) and another chemotherapy treatment (for a total of 3 of the planned 4). One of my doctors – I have three now – told me that she thought that I would continue the chemotherapy treatments as long as the radiation treatments so I may have as many as 6 or 7 chemotherapy treatments. I’ll find out next Thursday when I meet with my oncologist.

So far, I feel good and haven’t suffered any significant side-effects from the chemotherapy. The only side-effect I am beginning to feel is coming from the radiation treatments. My throat is starting to get sore. It’s a side-effect they told me would come during week three or four. They said it will last a couple of weeks and that I will be hard to swallow. For me the swallowing is a little tough, but the worst thing is they said I need to avoid spicy foods, which means no Mexican food. In my world, that is the penultimate sacrifice. Besides that, I am still very grateful that everything has gone as well as it has.

I may have seen a breakthrough too. After yesterday’s chemotherapy treatment and radiation treatment, I noticed that my cough was not nearly as bad as it had been. For most of last night, I hardly coughed. I am cautiously optimistic. It was not bad again today, which was another positive sign. This may be the first positive sign to come from all of the treatments.

The following is not my writing. It is a story my assistant, GG, sent me. Actually, GG runs the division and I work for her. This story says it better than I would. I hope you enjoy the Sandpiper by Robert Peterson…

The Sandpiper
by Robert Peterson

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live.
I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world
begins to close in on me.

She was building a sand castle or something
and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.
"Hello," she said. ;
I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.
"I'm building," she said.
"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not really caring.
"Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand."
That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes.
A sandpiper glided by.
"That's a joy," the child said.
"It's a what?"
"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy."
The bird went gliding down the beach. Good-bye joy, I muttered to myself,
Hello pain, and turned to walk on. I was depressed, my life seemed
completely out of balance.
"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.
"Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson."
"Mine's Wendy.... I'm six."
“Hi, Wendy."
She giggled. "You're funny," she said.
In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on.
Her musical giggle followed me.
Come again, Mr. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."
The next few days consisted of a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings,
and an ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out
of the dishwater. I need a sandpiper, I said to myself, gathering up my coat.
The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was
chilly but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed.
"Hello, Mr. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"
"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.
"I don't know. You say."
"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.
The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."
"Then let's just walk."
Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face.
"Where do you live?" I asked.
"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages.
Strange, I thought, in winter.
"Where do you go to school?"
"I don't go to school.. Mommy says we're on vacation"
She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was
on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day.
Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.
Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no
mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt
like demanding she keep her child at home.
"Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd
rather be alone today." She seemed unusually pale and out of breath.
"Why?" she asked.
I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought,
My God, why was I saying this to a little child?
"Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."
"Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and -- oh, go away!"
"Did it hurt?" she inquired.
"Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.
"When she died?"
"Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding,
wrapped up in myself. I strode off.
A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there.
Feeling guilty, ashamed, and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up
to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking
young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.
"Hello," I said, "I'm Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today
and wondered where she was."
"Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much.
I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance,
please, accept my apologies."
"Not at all! She's a delightful child." I said, suddenly realizing
that I meant what I had just said.
"Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia
Maybe she didn't tell you."
Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.
"She loved this beach, so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no.
She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days.
But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..." Her voice faltered, "She left
something for you, if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?"
I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young
woman. She handed me a smeared envelope with "MR. P" printed in bold
childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues -- a yellow beach,
a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed:

Tears welled up in my eyes and a heart that had almost forgotten to love
opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry,
I'm so sorry," I uttered over and over, and we wept together.

The precious little
picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words -- one for each year
of her life -- that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love.
A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the color of sand
-- who taught me the gift of love.

NOTE: This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It happened over 20
years ago and the incident changed his life forever. It serves as a reminder
to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life and each other.
The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.
Life is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of everyday traumas
can make us lose focus about what is truly important
or what is only a momentary setback or crisis.
This week, be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug, and by all means,
take a moment... even if it is only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses.
This comes from someone's heart, and is read by many
and now I share it with you...

May God Bless everyone who receives this! Never brush aside anyone as insignificant. Who knows what they can teach us?

I wish for you, a Sandpiper."
Doug Woods

love and blessings to you,