Wake Up Calls

Blood pressure measuring studio shot

The date was May 30, 2017. I was sitting in the waiting area of the doctor’s office before being called in for my appointment. I had what was most likely an infection in my body and would probably need an antibiotic. Going to the doctor always makes me a little nervous, so I had prayed that Jessica would be there. She is one of my doctor’s assistants and a genuinely caring person that has the type of positive, happy go lucky, friendly attitude that helps put people at ease. After a few minutes the door opened, and Jessica was there calling my name. She had me step onto the scale, and I inwardly cringed when I saw my weight. We happily chatted as we went into the examination room. It is a routine procedure to have your blood pressure checked at doctor’s visits, so I didn’t think anything of it when she put the cuff around my arm and began the procedure. I was watching Jessica performing her duty when I noticed the calm expression on her face turn to a look of concern. Then she mentioned that my blood pressure was kind of high. 178/108 to be exact.

I was not expecting this, and to be honest, it scared the liver out of me. I am unaware of anybody in my family with a history of high blood pressure, although my dad could have had it. He died of a massive heart attack at 56. My doctor did gave me an antibiotic, gave me some information on diet recommendations(lowering sodium intake mostly)and wanted to see me the next day for another blood pressure check.

I left the doctor’s office that day feeling like I had received a wake up call. How long had I had high blood pressure and was not even aware of it? I could have had a heart attack or stroke and died. I decided right then that I was going to change my diet and try to do what I could to get my blood pressure back to normal. My blood pressure was a little lower the following day but still well above normal. My doctor decided to treat the infection first, and then we would focus on the blood pressure. In the meantime, I was praying and doing what I could do diet wise to try to avoid going on blood pressure medication. After another week, I returned for a follow up visit with blood pressure that was still high. My doctor decided to put me on a low dose of blood pressure medication. To make a long story short, my blood pressure is pretty much back in normal range. My doctor decreased my medication dose, and I am praying and believing when I go back for a physical next month that I will get off the medication entirely.

As I was thinking of this whole scenario I saw how this could apply to a person spiritually. Sometimes God will allow things to happen in the life of a sinner or someone who has fallen away from Him to get their attention, so that they will turn to Him. Years ago there was a young man named Clint that came and visited one of our services. I found out later that he had been raised in church but had fallen away from God as a teenager. A few days before coming to our church, he had been involved in a horrible motorcycle accident, which had left him with a broken leg and a lot of bruises. Clint came several times to church, and I remember a time when after a service a group of us were standing around conversing, with Clint among us. He mentioned that he felt like his accident was a wake up call from God. He could have been killed, but God spared his life. He also stated that once his leg was healed up he would be shouting and running the aisles with the rest of us.

Unfortunately, we never saw that day come. I’m not sure what happened, but he did not continue coming to church. Is it possible that the fear he had when he first had his wreck wore off? As his physical condition improved did he let the cares of life, responsibilities or pleasures that this world offers hinder him from continuing to walk with God and serve Him?  I have seen many come to church that have had a near death experience or some kind of crisis in their life that caused them to realize that they need God. This is really the mercy of God reaching for a soul, and the Bible speaks about this in Psalm 107.

Psalm 107:8-15  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;
Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:
Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.
  Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.
Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

 

It is truly a tragic thing though when the crisis is past, God has come through and helped the individual, to see the fear they had seemingly wear off and they walk out on God and return to the way they were living before. Perhaps there is someone reading this who has had a spiritual wake up call. God has allowed a crisis to happen in your life to help you realize your need of Him. I want to encourage you to seek God in true repentance. Let that fear that brought you to Him cause you to turn to Him with all your heart and not just to seek Him for a temporary fix. He wants to do so much more than that. Let Him work in your life and change you so that you will be ready to go to heaven. He wants to see you saved through all eternity!

 

 

 

 

Write My Life

When I first surrendered all to You

it wasn’t clear to me,

that You became the author;

my life, Your poetry.

The pages of my life were dark.

You made them snowy white.

And then with mastery and skill

You began to write.

Each day a different style and form

something fresh and new

always timely and spot on

and never overdue.

 

So Lord, what will it be today

that flows from Your ready pen

across this chapter of my life

that will be read by men?

Will it be a monorhyme

of how You came through for me just in time?

Perhaps it’s an ottava rima

in perfect pentameter

that tells how my love for You

has grown deeper and much sweeter.

It just might be a ballad

with a tender and touching refrain

of how I stumbled and faltered

but You picked me back up again.

Could there be a principle

that I really need to learn

which You’ll write upon my life

as a repetitive quatern?

Since the furtherance of Your kingdom

is Your holy and noble tactic

perhaps You’ll craft in me

a revelatory didactic.

Diamante, tanka, limerick, haiku,

Lord, the choice is up to You.

Of all poetic forms that be

You know what to engrave on me.

Free verse or even hexaverse diminished

Dear God, please write on until my story is finished.

 

I learned several years ago from a minister that preached at our church that the Greek word for workmanship in the verse below is “poiema”, from which our English word “poem” is derived. This was my inspiration for this poem

Ephesians 2:10(KJV)  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

 

 For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].Ephesians 2:10(Amplified Bible)

Wondrous Joy!

O wondrous joy, Holy Ghost joy

descends upon my soul

discouragement,  it does destroy

again, I am made whole

of Your glory no tongue can tell

while drinking from salvation’s well

Of Your glory

Of Your glory

as in Your presence, I do dwell.

 

O wondrous joy, Holy Ghost joy

saturates  my being

God’s praises, my tongue does employ

despair  swiftly fleeing

from  deep within the well does flow

the  wonder on my face does show

from  deep within

from  deep within

His help, he does bestow.

 

O wondrous joy, Holy Ghost joy

joy beyond compare

blessed above measure to enjoy

Your beauty, O so rare

down in my heart, a change takes place

as I receive a touch of grace

down in my heart

down in my heart

new strength to run this race!

 

3/27/17

This type of poem is called a Trijan Refrain. Click the link to see how to write one.

http://www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/trijanrefrain.html

Isaiah 12:2,3  Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

 

John 4:14  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

 

Psalm 16:11  Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

 

Nehemiah 8:10  Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

 

Romans 14:17  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

 

 

 

 

The Little Man That Made A Big Change

zacchaeus

Zacchaeus was a short man that was probably looked down upon by a lot of people(no pun intended)for his profession as a tax collector. However, he had heard about Jesus, had a desire to see him, and he came up with an unconventional way to accomplish his goal. He climbed up in a sycamore tree.

Jesus, as he was passing by, looked up, called Zacchaeus by name and told him to come down because he would be going to his house that day. Zacchaeus was instant to do what Jesus had commanded. Although the Bible gives us no record of what happened in the home of Zacchaeus, we can read that he(Zacchaeus) indicated he was going to be making some changes in his life. There were things in his life that he knew were wrong, and he was determined to make them right and then some!

A real encounter with Jesus, when we are not living right, can and should produce in us a desire to repent and even make restitution as needed. Zacchaeus took this first important step in having a right relationship with God. This “wee little man” that many of us first learned about in Sunday school has an important lesson to teach us.  When Jesus “comes to our house” through way of a sermon or something that convicts us of sin in our lives, may we respond to it rightly as Zacchaeus did.

 

Mini Monoverse Tribute To Zacchaeus

 

Trek began

short guy ran

had a plan

crowd to scan

find God-man.

 

Carefully

climb a tree

patiently

wait to see

this, the key.

 

Jesus came

called Zac’s name

not to blame

or to shame

love, His aim.

 

Without flack

down came Zac

they went back

to his shack

had a snack.

 

And so thence

Zac was tense

soon relents

then repents

his offense.

 

Did restore

to the poor

stole no more

settled score

evermore.

 

 

 

2/16/17

 

Luke 19:1-10  And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 

And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 

And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 

  And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 

And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 

And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 

And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 

And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. 

 

 

 

You Might Be On An Extended Fast If…..

You’re at work and 3 people graciously decide on the same day to bring donuts for everyone.

 

The food in the dog bowl is actually looking and smelling pretty good.

 

You’re a woman going through menopause, and you suddenly start having “cold flashes.”

 

The refrigerator is on lock down.

 

Hot water is what you’re drinking just to keep warm.

 

While at a client’s house, you smell something sumptuous cooking in the oven.

 

Your baby face suddenly starts to disappear.

 

And the list goes on .On the more serious side, our church just recently completed an extended fast(for those who were physically able to do it)coupled with prayer, and God is already blessing the sacrifice. We know the Bible has a lot to say about the subject of fasting, but I also found some insightful quotes about fasting too, that I will share here. Believe me, fasting is not one of my favorite things to do, but I know it does make a difference for me personally, and I have seen in the past after a season of prayer and fasting how God has given us spiritual breakthroughs that we desperately needed. I’m thankful that God honors the sacrifice  of prayer and fasting!

 

Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in Him a source of sustenance beyond food.

Dallas Willard

 

Is fasting ever a bribe to get God to pay more attention to the petitions ? No, a thousand times no. It is simply a way to make clear that we sufficiently reverence the amazing opportunity to ask help from the everlasting God, the Creator of the universe, to choose to put everything else aside and concentrate on worshiping, asking forgiveness, and making our requests known-considering His help more important than anything we could do ourselves in our own strength and with our own ideas.

Edith Schaeffer

 

Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.

Andrew Murray

 

Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.

Andrew Murray

 

In Shansi I found Chinese Christians who were accustomed to spend time in fasting and prayer. They recognized that this fasting, which so many dislike, which requires faith in God, since it makes one feel weak and poorly, is really a Divinely appointed means of grace. Perhaps the greatest hindrance to our work is our own imagined strength; and in fasting we learn what poor, weak creatures we are – dependent on a meal of meat for the little strength which we are so apt to lean upon.

James Hudson Taylor

 

Our greatest victories are won on our knees and with empty stomachs.

Julio C. Ruibal

 

When the devil, the foe and the tyrant, sees a man bearing this weapon [fasting], he is straight-away frightened and he recollects and considers that defeat which he suffered in the wilderness at the hands of the Saviour; at once his strength is shattered and the very sight of this weapon, given us by our Commander-in-chief, burns him.

Isaac of Syria

 

Do you have a hunger for God? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God. Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is the path of pleasant pain called fasting.

John Piper

 

The Touch That Changed Everything

The Touch That Changed Everything

 

Desperately she crawled through the crowd

At the end of her rope, last hope

Reached out and trembling, touched

Border of his garment

Knowing in herself

At that instant

With no doubt

She was

Whole.

 

10/13/16

 

Matthew 9:20-22  And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:

For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

 

This type of poem is called a Nonet. Click the link to see how to write one.

http://www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/nonet.html