Sunday, July 20, 2014

Trusting God Through Tragedy

I would like to introduce you to my sister, Mindi. This is a guest blog about her in her own words.
It really helps to have good things in your head before the dark times come when you need them. 
Claiming verses and singing songs. God wants to hear you sing....when despair is all you see.... Helping to remember who is in control and already knows the end.
Reminds me of, "Rejoice in The Lord. He makes no mistakes. He knoweth the end of each path that I take. For when I am tried and purified, I shall come forth as gold...." Ron Hamilton
My husband had had pain issues for the past 10+ years. In February, it finally reached the point where he could stand it no longer. After trying chiropractic, natural and very strong doses of pain meds, muscle relaxers, and more, it was discovered that the bone spurs growing into his spine (C3-C4 area) were going to have to be removed, or the wrong move could paralyze him or worse.
He was out of work from February on as he could no longer stand the pain enough to do his job. His surgery was scheduled for May 20th. We were told that it was a standard procedure. They do them multiple times per day, etc etc etc. He was supposed to be back up walking within 4 hours, and home the next day. The surgery was to take about 30 minutes.
On the day of surgery, I prayed and waited, and waited, and waited. We arrived by7am, the surgery didn’t start until almost 1pm. I sat in the waiting room expecting that phone call to say they were done. Listening to everyone else complain about how their lives were going, and I thought to myself “Well, I’m glad I’m so calm” (even though it had by that point been 3 hours). At four hours, my prayers really started picking up, but I still hadn’t panicked yet.  At 5pm, they told me the surgery was successful, even though they had to modify what they had initially planned to do because of his difficult anatomy, but that they were still waiting for him to “wake up”. A little after 8pm, they came to tell me they were moving him over into Surgical ICU (SICU) and that I could stay with him while they waited for the anesthesia to wear off. He did not wake up.
By the next morning, I started getting worried. This was one situation where everything was out of my control. I moved his arms and legs (cause you can’t just lay there) and I had to have something to do, but again… the hours seemed endless. I definitely prayed more in those first few days then I’ve ever prayed in such a short period of time. By the fourth day, they’d done an MRI and CT and told me about his brain damage (Anoxic Brain Injury) to both sides of his brain, but worse on the right and that he potentially might not ever wake up, or could be mentally impaired, lying in a bed for the rest of his life, etc. They couldn’t give any predictions. As the days passed, and he didn’t wake up, they had less hope to give, and started talking about moving him to a long term care nursing home. The story is long, so I won’t take the time to go through everything again. Shortest story, coma for 18 days, then woke -  not able to speak, move anything other than eyes, or even swallow.
Currently, we’re in the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA doing intensive rehab. The hope is that eventually he will be ready to come home and continue his therapy as an outpatient. He is still fed through a tube in his stomach. Lacks control of many of the normal bodily functions that we take for granted every day. The doctors don’t think he’ll ever be mentally back to where he was; it’s also probably that he won’t ever get back to physically where he was. He likely won’t be able to work a normal job, etc etc etc.
This morning, we were watching our church via the live stream. Appreciated hearing Pastor Danny Farley, especially touched by the Sunday School message about Ecclesiastes and how everything we do, we can do either with God, or without God (when it’s all vanity). I certainly don’t want to leave God out of my life. I know for sure, these last few months would have certainly been a torment, rather than "knowing the peace that passeth all understanding" if I was going through this without Him.

To read more about Dave and Mindi's journey, or to help them out, please visit their site at youcaring.

Mindi's Testimony:

When I was young, I gave my life to Jesus Christ and accepted him as my Savior (in a suburb of Toledo, OH). A few years before that, my now husband Dave did the same thing a few miles north in Livonia (Detroit) Michigan. Fast forward to 1995 when Dave decided to come down to Pensacola Bible Institute, where I grew up and was also a student. We met on my 16th birthday. (no, it really wasn’t love at first sight ;-)
A few years later, after being told we’d most likely never be able to have kids, and if we wanted some, to be prepared for a lot of medical intervention, we got married June 5, 1999.
Imagine my surprise, on my 20th birthday (Sept 1999) to discover that I was pregnant. 15 years later, we have 5 children. (Rebecca - 14, Iris - 13, Alyssa - 9, Evelyn - 7, and Tobias <Toby> - 3) - Yes, just one boy. And, it’s totally up to God as to whether we’re “done” or not. 
Fast forward to 2014 - My biggest problem is that I’m a worrier. Yep, I have to micromanage everything, and if I’m not in control, I stress BIG TIME. You know those procrastinators that wait until the last minute and then rush, rush, rush trying to get things done? Well, that’s so NOT me. I’m the person who does it the first night and then “fixes” it over and over until it’s “perfect” <read as “I drive myself crazy trying to get it just right”> and wants to turn it in early. I work a lot, don’t have any energy, often tired and crabby, really just frustrated at life, and what seemed like a never ending cycle.The worrying over bills, diabetes, kids, …. every little thing was really dragging me down.
Not to get into details, but as you can imagine, on very little sleep and mega doses of stress, my health hasn’t been that great. After months of trying many different medicines and natural remedies as well, I had surgery to help correct at least some of the problems. I did miss a bit of work, but was working most of the time (thankfully from home) while I was supposed to be off my feet in bed, and then on “light” activity for 6 weeks.
Both of us have been off work for an extended period of time, God has provided. There have been trials and things popping up left and right, some times God takes it right down to the wire, but he’s always right on time. There are many things still to be worked out, finances, jobs, medical bills, a wheelchair friendly vehicle, and the list goes on.
I do not know the reasons for everything that we’ve went through, but I can tell you what I know so far…
I’ve definitely been blessed.
  • Personally, I’ve had more peace during this most chaotic time in my life, than I had in the previous year.  Philippians 4:7 - Claimed and Proven (I stole it from a sermon where an old saint had written that “code” over and over next to verses in her Bible). How crazy was I to stress and worry over small things like how to pay a bill, when I should have been counting my blessings: my husband, children, pets, sufficient food to eat - some times provided in obscure ways or even at that “last minute”, but if it wasn’t one thing, I had found something else to worry about. Now, I’ve finally learned that if I just give it over to God and let him worry about it, if the worst happens…. well, I trusted God and rested; when the miracles happen, I was trusting in God and resting…. In the end, when all is said and done. God is in control. He’s seen this from beginning to end. He’s involved in every tiny aspect of my life, and there’s no better person to trust in control. That doesn’t mean that I don’t do anything. Only that I do what I need to do today, and trust God to take care of tomorrow (while taking care of today as well).
  • I no longer take my family, health, life for granted. I’m thankful for the time that I have with them. I realize it is precious, and could be gone in an instant.
  • I’ve learned so many spiritual lessons during this time: thankfulness, pride, selfishness, life is a vapor, worry is sin (not trusting God to be in control), bickering/backbiting/gossip - what are we really accomplishing in our petty little squabbles that we have other than destroying ourselves and each other, and most likely innocent by-standers like our children. I could go on and on with the lessons I’ve been dealt with on. I am by no means “cured” of these, only more aware of them and determined to make that conscious effort to do better with God’s help and grace. 
  • With Dave, I’ve seen more spiritual and emotional changes in Dave in the last two months than ever before. He now has the softest heart, wants to read his Bible more, talk about God more, pray more. His love and appreciation for our children and myself is now expressed verbally many times over. Every time he prays, he thanks God verbally for allowing him another day to live. He’s even thanked God multiple times for this “accident” and everything he’s going through. (The Bible says, In everything give thanks for this is the will of God…. - we’ve claimed it)  I’ve listened to him tell God, I’d really like to ____ (multiple things), but if you (God) never want me to again, I’ll be happy with that. He just wants God’s will for his life.  Romans 8:28, James 1, Romans 5. He’s fully surrendered to God. To have a spiritually strong husband, or a physically strong husband…. for a Christian wife and mother, there’s no contest which one is better.
  • Philippians 4:13 - Dave’s verse that he exercises to. We’ve claimed this verse over and over. God does keep providing the strength to get through. He didn’t give us more than we could handle. He hands out the strength, mercy and grace as they’re needed. Handfuls of purpose...
If you had described to me on December 31, 2013 everything that we’ve been through, I would have told you there was no way that we could survive it, or possibly even that my faith would survive. Well, it didn’t just survive, it thrived. God was able to prove his promises over and over. He really does give peace in the midst of the storm, every need supplied, and so much more.
We are looking forward to finishing this rehab, getting back to Milton, Florida, back to our church ( which I’m thankful to have had the privilege to attend virtually thanks to live streaming on the internet), and back to living our lives full steam ahead for God. We don’t know what forms that might take, where the path will lead us, but …
I know God is with us every step of the way. He knows the beginning and the end. He loves my children, Dave and myself more than I or anyone else ever could. He only wants the absolute best for us, and He knows exactly what that is.
I’m excited to see what’s in our future.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Healthy Minute- Vitamin D

When most people think of Vitamin D they think sun. It may bring a scene to your mind of the beach, or a pool, or even a lounge chair. But Vitamin D is much more than something we soak up from the sun.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin- meaning you have to ingest it with some form of fat to be able to absorb it. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, so it helps your bones to be strong. But, Vitamin D, also, is needed for muscles, nerves, digestion, and it helps keep you from getting sick!
We get Vitamin D from certain foods that contain fat- salmon, liver, cheese, egg yolks, mushrooms,etc. And, yes, we can absorb Vitamin D from the sun (well, it's a lot more scientific and technical than that, but being in the sun is part of it). Our bodies won't absorb Vitamin D through windows, so sitting inside by a window won't cut it! You actually have to go outside. Sunscreen will also block the absorption of Vitamin D from the sun- so get a few minutes outside before applying it!
Most people are taught that without enough Vitamin D you can get rickets (bone softening). But, Vitamin D deficiency can also cause bone pain, muscle weakness, and even other vitamin deficiencies since Vitamin D helps your body absorb magnesium, phosphate, iron, and zinc along with calcium. Vitamin D deficiency has also been noted in elderly psychiatric patients.
Synthetic vitamins all come with a risk of overdose, so the best way to get Vitamin D is through our food and the sun. Give yourself 15 minutes outside on a sunny day without any sunscreen, or add fatty fish (salmon, tuna, etc) to your diet once or twice a week. Or add cod liver oil to your diet.
For more information, watch the video below:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Believer's Heritage- James Gilmour

James Gilmour was born in Cathkin, Scotland on June 12, 1843. He came from a long heritage of Christians. His mother use to gather him and his brothers around her and tell them missionary and Bible stories, this is probably what began his interest in the mission field. Being raised in a farming community, he loved to explore the woods and fields.
James did very well in school, and went on to attend Glasgow University. It was here that he called on the Lord to save him. He used his time and money wisely, and was known for his godliness. Once, he poured out a fellow students beer onto the ground. As he was doing so, he replied, "Better on God's earth than in His image." Meaning it would be better to pour it onto the ground than to put it your body.
He set his sights on the mission field. He said, "The soul of an Indian seemed as precious as the soul of an Englishman." The London Missionary Society sent him to Chestnut College for further training as a missionary. His ministry started where ever he was with street preaching and personal witness.
He set sail for Mongolia from Liverpool in 1870. His ministry didn't stop while on the trip, though. He was made chaplain of the sailing vessel and held Bible studies with the crew.
After 3 months sailing, he reached Peking and began studying the Chinese language. About a month after his arrival, there was a massacre of 13 French Catholic missionaries in one of Peking's port cities. His response to this was "our death may further the cause of Christ more than our live could do." Though the threat of their death was always possible, God protected James as he studied to go to Mongolia.
As he endeavored to enter Mongolia, however, there was trouble with his passport. He had to obtain another one from Peking. He stayed with a Scotch trader in Kiachta while trying to get this fixed.
By the end of 1870, he had decided to share a tent with a Mongol. He spent 3 months with this man and was able to learn much of the Mongol language. Living with an actual person from that culture gave James the advantage of learning the customs and thinking of the native to which he would soon be ministering. Within a year, he could read the Bible in Mongolian and write the language.
In 1872, James and another man, Mr. Edkins, visited the Mongol holy city of Woo Tai Shan. He was amazed by the carnality of this place. And, though he tried with all his might to teach these people of the Lord Jesus Christ, by the end of 1874, he still couldn't claim one convert.
During this lonely and trying time, James decided to ask the Lord for a wife to help him in his labors. He often visited the home of Mr. Meech in Peking. He saw a picture of Mrs. Meech's sister on the wall. Though he had never met or talked to her, he wrote her a letter asking her to marry him and help him in Mongolia. A week after her arrival, they married. James found that Emily Prankard was a true Christian in word and deed, and a great help to him in the ministry.
They spent a year in Peking, and then in 1876 took their first steps into the terrain of Mongolia. Mrs. Emily Gilmour picked up the language quickly and was very happy serving the Lord in the hard place. The deserts of Mongolia were a very rough place, and lonely. The Gilmour's found that they needed to often return to Peking and recouperate.
This furlough to Peking was not a vacation from his ministry. While there, James would seek out Mongols and talk to them of Salvation. He also worked on witnessing materials. He even visited Hsiao Chang during a famine and preached Christ to them. Everywhere he found an ear to listen, he would put the gospel forth.
Many visiting Mongols took the gospel back to their communities from the city of Peking because of James' witness. But, his main open door was medicine. He was able to talk to many through their need from relief of ailments.
In 1882, he took a trip back home to England. He published a book telling of his labors entitled Among The Mongols. The book captured the attention of many who likened him and his adventures to that of Robinson Crusoe.
At the end of 1883, he and Emily returned to Peking.
In 1884, he packed a bag and took a journey into Mongolia. He lived liked one of them, and it was in this way that after 14 years he finally was able to claim one convert. After miles of walking, he finally reached a remote community of huts. The mandarin of the little village met him and invited him into his hut for tea.
James began witnessing to the mandarin, who had heard about Christ before. The man said that he wanted to accept Him as his Savior.
James noted that even though the population of Mongolia was very small that it was very hard to have a private conversation with anyone. Wherever he would witness, there would be family sitting close by or lying nearby in beds. Anyone within range of the conversation would just jump in as if it were normal to comment. If you tried to lock them out, you'd be accused of plotting, leave for a talk and walk and you'd be accused of worse.
Amid this wonderful blessing came a darkness. Emily had become very sick and in September 1885, she passed away. James was alone again.
He continued preaching, witnessing, and praying for the Mongolian people. He became a vegetarian, dressed like them, and lived like them in order to win some. The Mongols had never seen a foreigner who lived as they did. His average daily living expense was about 6 cents.
During one month, it was estimated that he saw around 6,000 people in need of medicine, traveled over 1,800 miles, gave out about 4,500 tracts, and preached to more than 24,000 people.
When he took another furlough to England in 1889, he was so sickly thin that his friends couldn't recognize him. While here, he wrote another book, Gilmour And His Boys, about his time with his children after Emily's death.
His burden for the people of Mongolia was still strong in his heart. He returned to North China in 1891, where he contracted Typhus Fever. He died on May 21st. Wherever news of his death arrived in Mongolia, men would cry that "their Gilmour was dead".
Only God knows the extent of James Gilmour's reach. His life may not have shown much by way of professing converts, but everywhere he went people heard about the Lord. James truly fulfilled the great commission!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Attempt Great Things (video sermon)

Expect great things from God; Attempt great things for God. -William Carey, missionary to India
To attempt great things for God you have to stand your ground. You can't expect God to do great things through you if you aren't willing to go out and attempt something for Him.
There's going to be doubters. There's going to be trouble makers. There's those who are going to hold on to the past and don't want to change. But God wants us to move forward. God will increase what we give to Him, but we have to give it first. We can't let the "nay sayers" sway us.
What do you think a soul is worth to Christ? Christ thought it was worth His life! He doesn't want us to spare when there's a field white unto harvest. It's worth doing and it's worth doing right! You might not see the results, but God does. Do you think it's worth the cost? God does!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Nutrition & Physical Degeneration book review

I know the title sounds like a mouthful, but this is a great book! Dr. Weston Price was a dentist in the 1930's who wanted to study the teeth of indigenous peoples to see how diet would relate to their dental health. What he found was amazing!
Our nutritional intake determines our health- our bones, our blood, our skin, and our teeth. Dr. Price found that people who had a "primitive" diet had an amazing skeletal structure and virtually no cavities in their teeth. Though these cultures ate vastly different foods, they all had one thing in common- good health.
The best part about this book is how it is written. It's not like a medical textbook, but more like an anthropological journal. You get to read about their culture, some of their history, how they live day-to-day lives, and how they viewed and cultivated, or captured, food.
This book will open your eyes to the true meaning of nutrition. It's not found on a label on the side of some package at the grocery store. It's not written on a chart on the wall or drawn out on some plate or pyramid. It's found in real food!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Funny Happenings- Teaching Our Children

I try so very hard to teach my children as much as I can. They get little snippets about health, proper English, science, and other things all the time. I'm especially known for yelling out "That's a lie!" whenever something about evolution comes on the television.
Evolution is being pumped into our children through school, cartoons, movies, and even commercials. Whenever it starts talking about millions of years ago my kids know I'm about to reprove the tv.
I am also very big on health. I buy this natural salt that hasn't been bleached. It has these really pretty flecks of blue and pink and other colors in the container. The outside of the container, however, is filled with junk about how this salt was made through millions of years of blah, blah, blah.
One day, we came to the table for dinner to find that my oldest daughter had taken a permanent marker to the salt container. My husband picked it up, looked at it and said, "Why did you do this?"
My daughter responds, "Because it was full of evolution lies."
My husband just kinda blinked at her and then turns to see me with tears in my eyes. "And what's wrong with you!?!" he asks.
I squeaked out, "I'm just so proud of her right now!"

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Don't Quit (poem)

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, 
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, 
When the funds are low and the debts are high, 
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh, 
When care is pressing you down a bit, 
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns, 
As every one of us sometimes learns, 
And many a failure turns about, 
When he might have won had he stuck it out; 
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow– 
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than 
It seems to a faint and faltering man, 
Often the struggler has given up, 
When he might have captured the victor’s cup, 
And he learned too late when the night slipped down, 
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out– 
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt, 
And you never can tell how close you are, 
It may be near when it seems so far, 
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit– 
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
-Author Unknown

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ham with potatoes and carrots recipe

7-8 lb fully cooked ham
8-10 russett potatoes, peeled and diced
10-12 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 lb bacon
1 small can pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350*. Place ham into a large roasting pan and bake, covered, for 1 hour.
Coat the potatoes and carrots in olive oil.
Remove the pan from the oven and take the ham out. Place the potatoes and carrots into the pan, in the drippings. Place ham back in the pan on top of potatoes and carrots. Cover, and cook for 45 minutes longer.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Coat the ham with the brown sugar. Layer the bacon on top of the brown sugar coated ham.
Pour the pineapple juice on top of the bacon. Place the roasting pan back in the oven, without the lid. Bake until the bacon is crispy, around 30 to 45 minutes longer.

Note: This recipe will not make the potatoes or carrots extremely sweet. There will only be a slight hint of sweetness.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Moses' Wife

There was a movie put out a while back about Moses. He and his wife stand before Pharaoh, and, eventually, the children of Israel leave Egypt. Moses' wife and sister are singing and praising the Lord.
While this is a lovely sentiment, it is not how the story actually goes.
After Moses meets with God in the burning bush, he goes back to pack up his family and head to Egypt.
Exodus 4:24- And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.
Wait! What? God just met with him and shewed him signs and wonders. He was told a new name for God and even commissioned by God for a job. Why would God seek to kill him?
Well, Moses has been with his new family for 40 years now. He has a wife and 2 sons. Being a Jew, he followed the Jewish law and had his first son circumcised. However, he didn't circumcise his second son.
I'm not sure if Moses thought he was never going back to Egypt and so he didn't have to follow the Hebrew custom, but I do know that his wife was the one who was against it.
Exodus 4:25-26- Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.
Moses' wife was against this bloody Jewish ritual. She didn't want her son circumcised. In fact, she knew why the Lord was going after Moses. She was the one who saved him by performing the circumcision.
But, notice her attitude. She called him a "bloody husband". She was angry. She didn't want it done. And she didn't go with Moses to Egypt because of it!
Exodus 18:1-6- When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt; Then Jethro, Moses' father in law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her back, And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land: And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh: And Jethro, Moses' father in law, came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God: And he said unto Moses, I thy father in law Jethro am come unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her.
Why did Moses have her go back to her father? Was it, perhaps, because she was so angry with him that she would have only been a hindrence to his obeying God?
She was more than willing to leave. She had bitterness in her heart that caused her to miss her husband become the great man of God that he did. She missed witnessing the wonders of the great I AM against the country of Egypt. She didn't see Moses become the friend of God with whom God talked face to face.
How many men out there could do amazing things for God if only their wives would let them? I am afraid to say that there are many who will stand before God and hear him say, "I wanted to do great things through your husband, and I couldn't because of you!"
Now, I'm not casting all the blame on the women. Moses could have gone back with his wife and God would have sent deliverance through another. Each man has a choice whether to obey God or to pacify his wife. Each man will give an account before God for the things he didn't do because he would rather please his wife than God. But, the women will also give account of how they hindered, held back, and whined into compliance.
2 Corinthians 5:9-11- Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
Paul says that we will give account, and he points out the terror of the Lord during that time. This isn't a reverencing fear. This isn't a sweaty palm nervousness. This is a fall on your face trembling, and don't move terror!
I pray that God allows me to swallow my pride and the thoughts of what my rights are and that I step aside to allow my husband to follow the Lord's will for his life!