2Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
Ever wonder why things happen and what to do about it? It seems lately that we’re under a spiritual attack. Things going wrong with the house, someone tried to break into our garage and our front door. Just yesterday someone actually stole our recycle bins – really? Last week a coworker had her home broken into and they stole a lot of valuables and sentimental items. Another coworker has been having heart issues which has at times prevented him from going about his daily routine. Sometimes it’s just small little things that add up to annoyances. Whatever your situation is today, remember some of God’s promises.
1John 5:19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
2Samuel 22:3-4 my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. 4 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies
It’s been about two weeks ago that we took our 8-yr-old golden retriever Cali to the vet for what was supposed to be an operation to remove a large lump on her stomach and to have her spayed at the same time. According to the two vets we saw at different clinics, since we chose to not have her spayed at an early age (we were going to breed her but that ended up not happening) the lump was most likely cancerous but they wouldn’t know unless they took a biopsy and/or removed the large mass, about the size of a baseball. We decided to make her more comfortable and have it removed and then biopsied but one surgeon suggested having the spay take place at another time so that if it were cancerous it wouldn’t spread to the area that was being spayed.
Fast forward, from the first and second vet opinions – we decided to take her into the first vet and get both procedures done at once and it was also about $500 less at an estimated amount of $900 to $1400 with the second estimate starting at $1500+. We had been praying about this situation as well as asking others to pray for Cali and were comfortable with getting her the surgery but knowing our finances we would not put her through chemo but try to keep her as comfortable as possible. Cali never complained, she was alway happy and wanting to please, still going on walks and coming when called. She would try to play but not as playful as in the past, although she still fetched her favorite football squeaky toy. She was eating fine and all in all it didn’t appear that she had any problems when you looked at her.
We decided to apply for a Care Connection credit card to pay for the surgery and right after the second opinion we were told that the mass might break through in the next week but if wouldn’t remove all of what was in there. Cali would like at the lump and the day before the surgery, not only was she in heat, but the lump started to bleed slightly. We were relieved that the surgery was going to be the next day and thought even if it is cancer at least she will be comfortable for a bit and we’d have a few more months with her.
On Monday we said our goodbyes as Cali was escorted to the vet my husband said she whined upon entering the vet’s office, which she didn’t do before and usually only does when she wants to go play with people or dogs that she sees – she was a typical golden, sociable and lovable. Only difference was there was no one else in the vet’s office besides the receptionist and no other dogs/animals so this was a different type of whining. When my husband turned to leave Cali in the vet’s office she barked at him to turn around and to not leave her there. Hubby turned to Cali and said, “stay” – which she knew her master’s voice and was obedient even though she didn’t want to.
Now you may be thinking that’s normal for a dog but I had just taken Cali to another vet a few days before for a second opinion and she never made whining noises without wanting to go and play with the strangers and other dogs. She also wasn’t making a fuss when the vet tech took her “behind” closed doors to weigh her and to do xrays. That’s said, we’re sure she knew something was going to happen at this office and she didn’t want to be left there. What a horrible feeling for an owner and pet to go through, but you think to yourself that it’s for her best so you trust that when you leave your pet in the hands of a professional that they would do their best.
I don’t want to relive this point but I’ll write it here, it’s part of the healing process. I was at work and my husband got several calls from the vet, there was a problem and Cali was bleeding internally. The vet said she was fine but he wanted to open her up again to see the cause. We were told by the second vet that we needed to be cautious of the amount of anesthesia that she was given because the second vet found by the xrays that Cali’s kidney was small for a dog her size, she was 72 lbs. The first vet, doing the surgery said he couldn’t read the xrays – not sure why as I saw them with the second vet who read them in front of me, pointed out Cali’s organs and told me that the mass had not spread to her lungs, then made a copy of the xray. That was a concern that the first vet may have had some other issues. He later admitted to my husband there was a “cut” that he made during the spaying part of the surgery which he did first and that was the reason that she most likely died. It was horrifying that as I went home (5 minutes away) to go to the vet’s office with my husband and stepdaughter that we got another call – Cali was gone.
I actually walked out the door when I heard the phone ring on my husband’s phone as if that would have made any news go away. I couldn’t believe it, I was angry and a part of me is still angry – at myself, the vet and wondering “if only”. It’s too late now for the if only statements, our baby girl (youngest of our once three dogs – our eldest Nala passed less than a year ago at 14) was gone.
I won’t go into the details as I’m near tears now, but all we could do as a family is grieve. I’ll end here for now, maybe another day I’ll be able to write about the rest of this event but it’s still too fresh, too painful, too sad. If you’d like to read the post I wrote on the life lessons I learned from our Cali – click on this link: Cali lessons of a golden retriever.
There is always a sense of newness, resolution, gone with the past – when we enter a new year. What’s different for you this year? This week’s devotional (thanks to Alan Lyle) we’re reminded of the top four goals we should set for the new year. You may already have in mind some of your goals for this coming year, but why not spend some time in prayer. Ask God for direction, seek His will, and guidance for each step into 2015.
4 Goals for the New Year
- Spiritual – John 15:15 abide in the vine of Christ. Read His Word daily, get involved in a Bible study. Share your faith with someone, set a goal of how many people you will minister to this year.
- Mind – Engage your mind. Proverbs 1:5 “let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” NIV – Learn something new, teach/share with others what you learn.
- Emotional relationships – Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3 talks about Rules for Holy living. 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
- Physical – taking care of your ‘temple’. Set goals for a healthier lifestyle. I Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
My challenges change and develop over the year, but I need to start somewhere so I’m praying for direction and setting up plans for:
- Growing the ministry I work in to increase the number of people we reach out to 100 new people this year. Invest time/resources into a new church start-up. Balance time in ministry, family, work ministry and taking care of myself.
- Be a better listener, share/teach others what I have learned and pray about teaching a course online or workshop. Also praying about teaching within a local home school coop.
- Follow the Rules of Holy living.
- Stay active regularly. I started using the RunKeeper app training program to work up to jogging continuously in a 5k by Feb 2015. By eating healthily and moving regularly (walk/jog 3x week and gym 2-3x week – or going to Disney and walking 7 miles!) I can prevent the ailments that plague our family and society. I’ll track my health through routine blood lab results, weight and health checks in general.
I can walk a 5k easily, however my husband runs 5 and 10k races and I don’t like running. In order to challenge myself physically, although I have trained and completed two Tinman Triathlons in Hawaii, since moving to Orlando I haven’t been able to adjust to the environment well enough to want to compete. I still bike and swim but bad knees have held me back from jogging.
- I will train 3 times a week to walk/jog and eventually full jog the entire 5k on March 7.
- I will train 3 times a week to walk/jog and complete a 5k w/my husband at the Clermont Waterfront park run by end of Feb.
- I will continue training 3 times a week and jog the entire 5k by end of March at the Clermont parkrun. (Free weekly 5k timed runs)
What are your 4 Goals for this coming year?
If you haven’t set any yet, take some time to pray about it and ask for God’s guidance.
Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
By now if you’re a fan of those little yellow men called Minions you have this song rolling in your head like the words from the “It’s a small world” ride at Disney. This is the Christian Rap by Pharrell Williams – “Happy” (the Gospel Remix – with Adam & Kid). My hubby has it playing on repeat constantly so I’m sharing it with everyone here. Love it.
Embed from Getty ImagesPersonal Testimony Page
My Life Before Christ
As a child, I was a good kid. Peers, family, and teachers liked me. My life was what I would consider average. My goals were to have fun, and spend time with my family and friends. There were no major traumas or upsets in my young life that I hold on to. However, I didn’t have anything else to compare it.
Looking back I remember that my father’s side of the family were non-practicing Catholics. My mom’s side was Protestant. I don’t remember anyone close to our family who claimed to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Since my mom is Part-Hawaiian and raised in the Hawaiian culture, we were taught that there is one “main” God. However, the Hawaiian culture has many gods, rituals, and superstitions.
How I Came to Know Jesus Personally
Occasionally, I attended a Pentecostal church with my mom. I went to prayer revivals; and I was also baptized in water. However, I never knew what it meant to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior. When I was 12, my mom began attending a church with my Aunt Charlotte. My mom knew my Aunt for over 30 years before they both accepted Christ into their lives. I noticed something was changing in my mom over the next few weeks and every week she would ask my dad and us kids if we wanted to go with her and we all said, “No”.
However, one week, I really wanted to go to church with her. Nevertheless, my pride was telling me to wait for her to ask. If she did not ask this week, then I was not going. John 6:44 says, “No one can come to me (Jesus) unless the Father, who sent me draws him.” By God’s grace, my mom asked if I wanted to go to church. What is interesting is when I said yes, my two brothers also came with us. I do not remember the message, only that at the end of the service there was an alter call; it was one week before my 13th birthday. I felt led to go before the Lord, ask to have my sins forgiven, and be accepted as a child of God. My life has never been the same. My Aunt Charlotte gave me my first Bible. I loved going to her woman’s small group Bible study. Although I was the only “kid”, she allowed me to participate in the group prayer, Bible reading, and ask questions, so that I too, could learn God’s Word.
Evidence of a Changed Life
Since Jesus Christ became my Lord and Savior, things began to change in my life. I was still hanging around the wrong type of friends, who were a poor influence. I had one foot in the church and one foot out. I was trying to get my life on track. I started to go to church regularly and read the Bible. One of the major life changes for me was when I felt the Lord leading me to give up my non-Christian friends. With obedience comes growth. There was a sense of peace in having a purpose and guidance in my life.
As I read the Bible, I became aware that there is only one true God and He does not want us to worship any other god(s)/idols. Fortunately, my mom was also learning the scriptures. We no longer participated in the Hawaiian rituals which can be seen as idol worship.
I believe that my life has changed from self-focused to Christ-centered. A key scripture in my life is, Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” During difficult periods of my life, instead of going into a panic, if I go to the Lord first – He gives me peace and a comfort that I do not understand. – Philippians 4:7
When I feel lost and confused, I can rest assured that if I, “Trust in the Lord, and lean not on my own understanding, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight”. – Proverbs 3:5-6
When life’s challenges come my way, I seek counsel in other mature-minded Christians, not to gossip, but for prayer and guidance in His word. Having prayer partners worldwide increases my faith and helps me to encourage others in their ministry.
I am thankful for the grace and forgiveness of God, who gave us his only Son, who died for our sins, that we might have everlasting life. -B2B
There’s an old song by a group called, The Byrds, who sang a tune called, Turn, Turn, Turn. I grew up hearing this song as my parents listened to an oldies channel and I worked at two oldies radio stations – not by choice it just happened to be the place that had a job while I was going to school. Anyway, I vaguely remember the song went something like, “with every season there’s a purpose under the sun.” You can watch the video & listen to the lyrics here.
After becoming a Christian I heard that this song is actually scripture in pop culture music of the 1960’s. It was not just an old folk song (I don’ t mean old people although that could be applied, but folk music – is a genre – you can look it up). So this morning as it came to my thoughts I looked up Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NLT (see below) It’s assumed that King Solomon, son of David wrote the book of Ecclesiastes during a time of seeking meaning to life. Throughout the book it seems so dark and gloomy, like a rich king who has everything he could ever want and had lost his purpose. God had blessed Solomon as the wisest man to ever live, yet with his many riches, wives and wisdom he was in a funk.
If you’re one of those people who think, yes I wonder what my purpose in live is too, read Ecclesiastes by clicking here. You’ll find it hard to read his whining tone and may get a bit depressed yourself, but read on, move through his emotion and find that there is hope, there is a purpose to everything under the sun and there is a God that can bring light to your purpose for being here on this earth. ~B2B
A Time for Everything
3 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
-When church leaders fall-
“If all sin is evil and we are all sinners, what’s Proverbs 13:6 mean? “Godliness guards the path of the blameless, but the evil are misled by sin.”
It was a challenging week as we started it by finding out through social media that the pastor of a church we used to attend some years ago had stepped down. The news was due to ‘moral failure’. It was heartbreaking to say the least. News spread quickly among the congregation and the news media. Speculation, assumptions, talk, what happened? What was he thinking? There’s no confirmation, but talk from a blog and rumors. The church’s website had an ‘official statement’ as people gathered for an special Sunday afternoon announcement, the pastor wasn’t present. It just goes to show you that we cannot place all of our trust in man, but in Christ. Fortunately, this particular church has many great members and leaders and the pastor did teach them from the scripture for many years that we all fall short of God’s glory.
No matter what, it’s still going to be a challenge but the outlook of many have said that the church will go on. And for those who choose to say that they will leave, are bitter, and inconsolable, well that too is a choice. We’ll be praying for that pastor and his wife and children. He’s not alone in his choices and he’s paying with severe consequences. However it all comes down, God is sovereign and He is in control. We’ll just take this one step at a time and go on. We have much to be thankful for and the ministry that this man started will go on. The next chapter is yet to be written and prayerfully those remaining will pick up the pieces and good will come from poor choices.
Although I wouldn’t call the person evil, the sin during a moment of weakness is evil – for this scripture just gives us some direction in Proverbs that we all need to take heed and seek God in all we do and take it all to God in prayer. ~B2B
This is my lil Nala, she was born on Jan 5, 2000 and sadly passed in my arms on March 23, 2014. She was 14 years old, but if you multiple that by doggie years she was 98!
I adopted her from a care home operator in Pearl City Hawaii when she was a little over six months old as the prior owner said Nala’s mom was expecting again and she had too many chi’s.
Nala’s been with me through several moves and major life events over the 14 years of her little life. She traveled well on her first plane ride from Honolulu to Michigan and her final destination of Florida, while fortunately riding in the cabin of the plane, I knew once we left Hawaii she would not return with me. Her tiny teacup body was at times a hefty 4.5 lbs but she averaged 4 lbs for many years, and as she aged went down to 3.
She had attitude and style and was always admired by those who saw her and fawned upon her. She loved the attention of adults and the admiration of adoring fans. She was a princess, even though that wasn’t my intention, she just was. She just had a personality all her own and rule the house as the littlest of our canines.
I will miss her dearly. Although the Bible doesn’t clearly state that our pets will go to heaven, I would like to believe that God knows what would give us joy and I’m hoping to see all of my pets who gave and taught me of unconditional love. The same type of love that Jesus has for us, His children.
If you’re interested in what the Bible says, “Do pets/animals go to heaven” you can go to http://www.qotguestions.org and check it out. http://www.compellingtruth.org/do-pets-go-to-heaven.html
Should Christians celebrate Christmas? This could be a hotly debated topic as various aspect of the American Christmas has nothing to do with what Christians believe in, that this may not be the exact date of Christ’s birth, but it is a time to rejoice over the birth of our Savior. In one case, based on the interpretation of the Bible and trees decorated in our homes, one could look at the scriptures and say, we should not have a Christmas tree as this is a form of idol worship. What? You may say, you’ve never heard of this in Sunday service, why hasn’t the pastor taught on this and why do they have trees all around our church? Well, it’s up to debate but this is what GotQuestions.org has to say about it and more importantly, we need to seek God and the scriptures for our own convictions.
An excerpt from GotQuestions.org says, “Another argument against Christmas, especially having a Christmas tree, is that the Bible forbids bringing trees into our homes and decorating them. The passage often cited is Jeremiah 10:1-16, but this passage refers to cutting down trees, chiseling the wood to make an idol, and then decorating the idol with silver and gold for the purpose of bowing down before it to worship it (see also Isaiah 44:9-18). The passage in Jeremiah cannot be taken out of its context and used to make a legitimate argument against Christmas trees. Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-Christmas.html#ixzz2oOtRiXRK
What’s your thoughts? Sound off in the comments section below.