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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Forgiven

I remember the first time I felt God tugging at my heart.

I was in third grade and sitting in a small church my father pastored in Montana. What was said I don't recall, but the thought kept running through my head and heart, "How could such a great God care for me?"

By age 12 I had made a profession of faith and was baptized. But my heart was trying to live in two different worlds. My behavior belied my supposed belief. My sin was laid bare to the Lord, but I would be terribly embarrassed to enumerate them here.

Jesus' sacrifice on behalf of my sin still cuts me to the quick when I stop long enough to think about it. My gratitude is what pushes me to service and to share. Fifty some years after that first perceived tug, I still struggle with how such a great God could love me. I have to rely on what Scripture says. That isn't easy, since "faith" scores lowest on my spiritual gifts assessment.

If I should ever lose my memory, please just sing this song to me as a reminder that I am forgiven and loved.

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
We are weak, but He is strong.

Yes! Jesus loves me.
Yes! Jesus loves me.
Yes! Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Steps

The face of radio is changing.

Calling all prayer warriors!

Well, that was not what we expected!

If you read our Christmas 2018 "letter" you probably noticed that we were ready to kick 2018 out the door. What we DIDN'T expect was that 2019 would kick us down the stairs so soon.

Don't get me wrong. We trust the hand of God, no matter where He leads. But it isn't always pleasant.

First of all, we've been blessed with income and insurance for the 4 ½ years since Mark's "departure" from WMBI and transition to WYLL. (The astute reader will no doubt figure out where this is headed.) And Mark has no doubt been used by God in ways that we cannot see on this side of life, both through his opportunities to speak in public and primarily through his daily radio talk show on WYLL.

So it came as quite a shock when Mark was given a handshake and a final check on Friday, January 4, with no forewarning or explanation. Corporate HR departments being what they are, I guess this covers everyone.

Yes, Mark is 67. Yes, Mark has been in radio since 1975 (earlier if you count his media presence in the Air Force). And no, we don't agree that it is "time to retire" as long as God gives strength and presence of mind. So the question is ...

What are the next steps?
  • First: would you pray with us that we would remember God's sovereignty and presence? You've heard it before, but nothing takes God by surprise. So we want to be reminded that this has been sifted through His love, His wisdom, His power, and His plan for us. Fear stalks me regularly, but "Fear, you are not welcome here!"
  • Second: would you pray that we would be open to wherever God leads? I have a tendency to put my foot down if the "wherever" doesn't include wherever the grandkids are. This includes the question, "Is it time for me to go back to full time work?"
  • Third: would you pray that the Spirit would protect our emotions and witness? This may sound like a repeat, but we need protection from the darkness of "woe is me." God has provided ample opportunity during the last year for us to draw close to Him. This is certainly another.
  • Fourth: would you pray for our physical health? Emotions can play havoc with the body, and although we plan to get Mark signed up for Medicare immediately (to take the place of the employment insurance), I do not qualify yet. This means I either take my chances until I turn 65, or we have to find something incredibly affordable. Given my health issue in 2018, I'm not sure which to pray for more. And there are those pesky prescriptions ...
  • Fifth: would you pray for doors to open that we cannot even fathom at the moment?
  • And finally: would you respond with words of encouragement for Mark? Not sympathy, thanks. But true encouragement. Words of affirmation rank right up there in his love language profile.


It's hard to take the next step when you cannot see it. But we are doing what we know to do. Sharing. Praying. Following through with practical needs.

In the meantime, stay tuned for some fun Facebook live broadcasts and a possible YouTube channel. Suggestions are welcome!

Thank you, friends.

We will be held by the strong arms of the Savior.


Sunday, January 06, 2019

The Ss of (Weight) Success

We are almost a week into the new year. Did you make any resolutions? I did not. But my hubby and I did decide that it would be prudent for us to divest of some of our stuff (okay, a LOT of our stuff) and to get our weight in order, so that we might ease off of some medications (that cost money).

Long ago and far away, I taught a class that was more on the "why" of weight control (notice I didn't say "loss" since some people have issues in the opposite direction.). That leads to the HOW of weight control.

First off, understand that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are no longer perfect, like Adam and Eve, but God has put certain systems into our bodies that give us signals as to what we need.

1. Stomach hunger: When one's blood sugar drops, it sends signals to the brain to start the stomach growling. Some of us may have never allowed ourselves to get to the growling stage. Perhaps you are even afraid of it. But remember, God has put this system in place so that we get what we need when we need it. For those who overeat, it is important to wait for the growl. For those who under-eat, it is important not to ignore that sign.
   
     When you wait for stomach hunger, you are more able to discern what it is your body is calling for. Is it protein of some sort? Do you need a piece of toast? What is it that is the "need?"

2. Small portions: Unless you are super self controlled, starting with a small bread plate might be wise. You will be eating from a full plate ... just a smaller one. And take small bites. Your stomach really isn't that large, so eating small portions will not only help with self control, but also with digestion.

3. Slow down: One bite at a time. Put that utensil down between bites. And if you would normally be eating all finger foods, start using a fork and knife to cut those small bites. It will slow you down and show you just how long you can enjoy this small portion.

4. Savor the bite: Since it is a blessing that God gives us delicious options for food, savor those bites. If you are alone, I'd suggest you close your eyes and thank God as you slowly chew. If it helps, also pay attention to your swallowing and feeling the food make its way to your stomach. From experience, I know that you can feel cold foods especially!

5. Sip between bites: You may have heard that sometimes what we mistake for hunger is actually thirst. Your body needs a lot of clear liquids. Not only is sipping between bites slowing you down, but it is getting that water (or other non-sugar drink) into your system to help get the nutrients into your blood stream and trigger the "stop" signal.

6. Stop when satisfied (not full): As long as you are doing the above, it is much easier to discern when you have had "just enough." Eating fast bypasses the natural signals to stop. So let that blood sugar and brain catch up.

********
And finally, the spiritual underpinnings of all this. Are you heading for food (like I do) for every little thing that happens in your life? Anger. Anxiety. Bitterness. Boredom. Happiness. Peer pressure. Or just because the clock says it's time to eat. None of these are reasons God gave us food to enjoy. It is a blessing that He allows us to enjoy something that we need every day. But if we are eating for any other reason than "need" it's time to turn to Him and ask, "Why am I doing this? What do You want to teach me while I wait for the need?"

Stay tuned ... to the body God gave you.

End of preaching to myself. Thanks for going along for the ride.