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Sometimes my heart hears Jesus’s sweet voice gently directing me to be His voice, His hands, His embrace. My heart sounds like Moses or Jonah spilling forth all the reasons He should choose someone more capable.
And then my heart hears, “You. I, your Lord, am giving you the desire of your heart.”
“Delight yourself in the Lord;
And he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him and He will do it.”
Psalm 37:4-5 NASB
Well, my heart’s desire is to be His servant and to be a reflection of His love. He lives within me.
Heart’s desire: check.
Ability to do it: check.
He wants me to be His willing vessel.
Thankful, I hear Isaah’s voice from within my heart and I answer, “Here am I. Send me.”
He blesses the needy through these human hands and voice. But, my heart overflows with His abundant joy and blessings to me.
Revelation 5:11-14New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Angels Exalt the Lamb
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,
“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”
14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
The New American Standard Bible mentions hands 1550 times. Did you know the Lord states we are written onto His hands? The Orthodox Jewish Bible translates it as engraved into His hands. The following verse in several translations demonstrate this love for us.
Isaiah 49:16 (NASB)
Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;….
Isaiah 49:16 (VOICE)
Look here. I have made you a part of Me, written you on the palms of My hands.
Isaiah 49:16 (MSG)
I’d never forget you—never.
Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands
God wrote your name on His hand. He tattooed your name on the back of the hands that created all things. He promises never to forget you or abandon you. Will painful events occur in our lives? Yes, but God vows to never leaves us. He pours His love, His comfort, His strength, and His peace into us.
In December 2009, I asked the Lord for an anchor verse for 2010. He led me to Psalms 31:14-15 (NASB).
But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord,
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.
The Message paraphrases it as the following:
Desperate, I throw myself on you:
you are my God!
Hour by hour I place my days in your hand,
safe from the hands out to get me.
Four months later the doctor diagnosed me with stage two breast cancer. But God prepared me for this journey and I knew that He planned for me to experience His joy throughout. If my life here ended by cancer I knew my life in Heaven began. I anticipated blessings beyond measure as the Lord carried me on this venture and he poured them into my life.
Hands first touched us at our birth. But God’s hands wove us and formed us in our mothers’ wombs. His hands held us, comforted us, strengthened us. Throughout our lives His hands will continue embracing us in our joys, struggles, and sorrows. He holds us in His hands into which He engraved our names. He will never forget us. He will never abandon us. He loves us.
“Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.”
Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.”
The Voice (VOICE)
The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.
APRIL 22, 2016 BY JANKWILLISAUTHOR
CATEGORIES: BIBLE STUDY, CANCER, CHRISTIAN LIVING, CHRISTIAN SPEAKER, COMFORT, CONFIDENCE, DEPRESSION, DEVOTION, DEVOTIONS, EMOTIONAL, GOD’S HANDS, HANDS, HEALING, HEAVEN, HOPE, JOY, LIFE, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER, PAIN, PEACE, RELATIONSHIPS, SELF-WORTH, SORROW, STRESS, TRAUMA, TRAVEL, UNCATEGORIZED
TAGS: BIBLE STUDY, CANCER, CHRISTIAN SPEAKER, COMFORT, CONFIDENCE, DEPRESSION, DEVOTIONS, FAITH, GOD’S HANDS, HEAVEN, JOY, LIFE, LOVE, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER, PAIN, PEACE, RELATIONSHIPS, SORROW, STRENGTH, STRESS, SUICIDE, TRAVEL
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FOCUS ON LIVING IN CHRIST: FAITH, HOPE, HEALING
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The kid dove for cover inside a corner of the remaining shell of the bombed out building. Bullets whizzed past him, bombs falling one after another from the smoke-filled sky. The twenty-year-old man-boy trembled with fear. A grenade rolled into the room and his buddy jumped on it before it exploded, dying to save his fellow soldiers. Then calm descended amid the stench of burning flesh, and the acrid smell of explosives. The thunderous sounds were replaced with cries for help, moans of pain, and ear-piercing screams.
A woman hobbled into the building, flailing her arms, wailing, grasping the kid by the arm, and begging in rapid German, but repeating, “Come! Come!” Sweeping together his pack he followed her into a nearby smouldering building and she pointed to a body in a puddle of blood, knees drawn, rolling side to side, and sobbing. The kid rolled the form to face him, gasped, and terror paralysed his thinking. Shrapnel pierced her womb and he understood her baby was coming.
He was an army medic, trained to treat the wounded of the war, but he knew nothing about delivering a baby. Recovering from his surprise he communicated using sign language, broken English and broken German with the other woman asking her to find the local nuns to assist him. His medical trained mind returned and he proceeded with saving both the mother and her unborn child. The nuns arrived and attended to delivering the baby. The kid focused on removing the shrapnel, stopping the bleeding, preventing infection and saving the mother’s life. Both mother and child survived.
This is one story of many of my daddy’s life serving in the United States Army, marching across Europe during World War II. He saved the lives of both Allies and enemies. He held the dying, comforted them, and wept for them. His unit in the 409th Battalion under Patton also freed the prisoners from a Nazi prison camp at the end of the war. This is a simple snapshot of my favorite military hero. I’m proud to be the daughter of Ralph Stuart Kaney, an American hero.
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We are not alone
Some of us living with depression slip into believing the lies we are alone, no one cares, and the world would better if we died. Some of you heard this favorite lie, “It’s a sin to be depressed.” The truth is we are not alone, we are loved, and our lives have purpose. It is not a sin to have an illness. Remember George in the movie It’s A Wonderful Life? He believed the lies and the angel showed him how worse life would be for those he loved if he died. Our lives have purpose for good. We are unique works of art crafted by the greatest of all creators, God.
Depression leading cause of disability
I scanned several recent health documents on the subject of depression and I learned some amazing facts. According to the World Health Organization there is an estimated 350 million individuals with some form of depression and it is the leading cause of disability worldwide.1 Nope. Not alone. Recognize any of these names: Beyoncé, Terry Bradshaw, Drew Carey, Harrison Ford, Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga, Dolly Parton, Brad Pitt, Mike Tyson, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon? Yep. They all live or lived with depression. They reached out for help. They lead successful lives with their unique talents and personalities.2
Depression is a treatable illness.
Find a doctor you trust. The majority of us living with depression will enter into remission with proper treatment. Medications help the body heal and cope. Diabetics depend on medication. Those with crippling arthritis live functional lives on medication. There is a medication or a combination of medications if necessary to bring balance to the chemicals in our brains to assist us to live our lives to our fullest potential. There are almost more medicines for treating depression than we can count.
Take the first step
There are counselors who will help you learn life skills to deal with the issues that cause you pain. Go to your doctor, your pastor, your most trusted friend, the county mental health department where you live or family member. If the first attempt at reaching out is brushed aside, go tell someone else. But take the first step. Seek help. You are more valuable than all the precious metals or jewels in the world. You are the only one of you there is and you are loved.
Last fall I heard on the news of a college sophomore who died after he jumped off a building because he had lost all hope. He felt his life too painful to live. He felt there was no one he could tell. I wept for him as if he had been my child. I wept for his parents who loved him. I wept for his friends who didn’t see his pain. I wept for me because maybe my story may have helped him. In my next column I will start at the beginning of my story of my living with depression.
1 WHO, October, 2015, Depression Fact Sheet
2 Wikipedia contributors, “List of people with major depressive disorder,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_people_with_major_depressive_disorder&oldid=708650078 (Revised March 6, 2016).
Have you found yourself snickering at a toddler’s mispronunciation of a word or phrase? Rather than tell me she had an ear infection my granddaughter said, “Mimi, I got a ear confection.” My grandson gave the scripture reference on obedience to parents as “E-cheese-uns 6:1.” Then he chanted, “Chew-ren, obay yo pare-wents in da Lawd fa dis is wite. Dis is da fust commanant wif uh pro mus, so it will be gud fa yo.”
This started me thinking about my relationship with Christ. When I gave my life to God and asked Christ to live in my heart and reign as Lord, I became His child. “Child” and “children” are mentioned approximately 2000 times in the Bible. When I read that statistic I felt a nudge to examine my obedience and define what that entailed. The apostle Paul recorded this over 2000 years ago for us.
Romans 8:14-17 (VOICE)
14 If the Spirit of God is leading you, then take comfort in knowing you are His children. 15 You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we would address a loving daddy. 16 Through that prayer, God’s Spirit confirms in our spirits that we are His children. 17 If we are God’s children, that means we are His heirs along with the Anointed, set to inherit everything that is His. If we share His sufferings, we know that we will ultimately share in His glory.
When asked what commandments were the greatest Jesus focused on love. God is love.
Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT)
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
I experienced a sense of wonder. I share an inheritance with Christ as his sibling. Love encompasses all the commandments for a child obeying the Father. He said he loved God first with all he was and he loved others more than he loved himself. He spoke it and he demonstrated it. Even though equal to God he chose obedience to God, even to dying on a cross.
Philippians 2:8 (NASB)
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Embracing the truth God is the Father of Christ and me, I reflected on the commandments Christ gave. As a child of God I obey by loving my Heavenly Father first and loving others as he loves me.
Ephesians 6:1-3 (NLT)
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do… This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you….”
(Insert your name), obey God. Love God. Love others. This is right. Loving is good for me.
The Voice (VOICE)
The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
New Living Translation (NLT). Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Sharing Treasures and Spreading His Love
After giving my life to Christ an entire library opened for me. Lauraine Snelling, Traci Peterson, Francine Rivers, Robin Lee Hatcher, Chuck Swindoll, Rick Warren, James Dobson, Susan May Warren, Karen Kingsbury, Barbara Johnson, Carol Mayhall, Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, Max Lucado, John MacArthur and others represent one percent or less of men and women whose faithfulness to God changed my life. Christ took their teachings, stories and encouragement to point me to look to him and seek to become more like him.
But in the last year the Lord brought hundreds more godly men and women into my life who obeyed his call to write and speak. Eva Marie Everson, James Watkins, Cindy Sproles, Andy Lee, Edie Melson, Lori Hatcher, Bob Hostetler, Torry Martin, Andrea Merrill, Vonda Skelton, Elizabeth Brickman, Elaine Potts, Debbie Webb McDaniel, Darla Bell, Katy Kauffman, Erin Elizabeth Austin, and each one from BRMCWC, CCC and Boot Camp.
My humble thanks to each of you. Critiquing and editing this I realize my lists ramble, but sometimes you have to break the rules. I wanted to continue them, but practiced restraint, not much, but some.
Name your imaginary friends from your childhood. I spent most of my time with Jan. My shadow and I spent countless hours climbing trees and riding bikes. On rainy days we created bunny families and towns with paper and scissors. We explored for hidden treasures at low tide off Bay Street near the bridge over the inter-coastal waterway. We managed to sneak away to my friend’s house only to have her mom meet us at the door and tell us Momma called and return home.
But some of my best friends met me on the pages of books. When the librarian tells you not to bring back books the same day you checked them out and wait until the next day, you devise creative ways to immerse yourself in literature. Living next to the library as a child, I hopped the fence, entered the quiet sanctuary, found a book, curled up in a corner and read until closing. That worked well many days unless Momma called and the librarian sent me home. The characters in books breathed. I wanted to be Polly Pepper and live in a house with a dirt floor and be loved by the entire town. I wanted to be Jo in Little Women and not have to act like a prissy girl. I wanted to be Florence Nightingale, Louisa May Alcott, Marie Curie, Anne Frank, and hundreds of others.
Ask me and the details of my school libraries will carry you there. You will see the rows of blue covered biographies of which I read every one. You may feel the sand against your legs as you sit on the floor, ankles crossed and the pressing of the edges of the shelves against your spine. You may feel the need to squirm from sitting in the hard oak chair, elbows propped on the table and your chin resting on the palms of your hands. You may hear the quiet. Read with me and become a character in the book with me. Sweet, treasuered memories.
Read Friday’s post and find where these friendships carried me.
Pre-surgery for broken arm
Vera before the Princess and Daddy Ball
Ashley and Tabitha circa 1982
Butterfly hitching a bicycle ride
Record of spending time with my friend, Sam B. Colt.
Even 1565 tastes better when shared with Jesus
Sweet reminders of grands: Butterfly stickers on the granite counter top