Quote for October
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Last week I was reading in the book of Job. I went there because I was finishing up writing And Then God 2008. I needed to quote a passage from Job 33:19 and following. The passage starts out being about pain, then moves into healing.
"Yet if there is an angel on her side
one out of a thousand
to tell a woman what is right for her,
to be gracious to her and say,
'Spare her from going down to the pit;
I have found a ransom for her'--
then her flesh is renewed like a child's;
it is restored as in the days of her youth.
She prays to God and finds favor with Him,
she sees God's face and shouts for joy;
she is restored by God to her righteous state."
It says "one in a thousand" may have an angel that mediates for her before God, and God brings her back from being skin and bones and restores her to the strength of her youth.
So I started looking up all the references to angels in God's Heavenly Council. Of course, in Job chapters 1 and 2, the angels are presenting themselves before the Lord, when Satan comes in from walking back and forth across the Earth. There were references about beings coming before God in 1Kings 22:19, Psalms 89:5-7, Isaiah 6*, and others. (This is often how I study new things in the Bible. I find a reference that intrigues me, and start following the footnotes.)
*(Todd Agnew has a great song titled "Isaiah 6" that quotes that chapter.)
Anywho, it was in 1 Kings 22:19-29 that the footnote commented that back in those days a prophet was considered to be the real deal, if he had seen the Lord seated on His throne in a vision. I thought I'd be scared out of my wits if I had a vision of God on His throne; I prefer it when I see Jesus in my room. I had a vision like that last December.
It was December 26, 2008. I was writing on my computer and reflecting on what my cancer doctors had said that month. Suddenly, I realized the oncologist had sent me home with medication and hadn't said anything about future treatment. It dawned on me that he thought all we could do was treat my symptoms. He thought I was not curable. Probably because when carcinoid cancer goes to the liver, people don't survive. The cancer causes liver dysfunction, then cardiac insufficiency, and then death. (Maybe one out of a thousand survives?)
I went into my bedroom to read in Hebrews 10-12 where I had been reading that week. Reading didn't help, and I could barely see for all my tears. When I tried to pray, I couldn't put three sentences together. I cried out, "How can I comfort myself? Comfort me, Jesus!" All the bravery I had at other times was gone.
He told me, "Listen to music."
That was perfect!
I looked at the new CDs on my nightstand by Jeremy Camp and Kutlass. No, nothing seemed appropriate on Jeremy's CD. I played snatches of three songs on the Kutlass CD. No, nothing fit. Then I dug farther down in the stack. Aha! DAVID CROWDER*BAND--Remedy; last year's Christmas present. The first song states,
At the start He was there.
He was there.
At the end He'll be there.
He'll be there.
Also, a song that says God never lets go. Perfect. Calming. Reassuring.
I tried to sing along in my head, but I was too distraught. So I just laid there wanting Jesus. After about 4 songs played, I realized I was totally at peace. I asked, "How did you do that, Jesus?" Just like a child, "How did you do that, Jesus?" Then he showed me in a picture I could understand. It was just like the Sunday School pictures that I used to see when I was a little girl in Baptist Sunday School classes.
I was lying face down, with my head near the foot of the bed on the right edge. Jesus was leaning over me, with his hand stroking my hair. Just like a mother would stroke her child's hair. Jesus was wearing a light-colored robe, with a rose-colored cloak over his shoulder.
When I cry out to God in my greatest distress, He answers with the greatest response. It happened in church 2 years ago during a church service, when Gerry saw Jesus come down from the platform to comfort me. It happened in the hospital after surgery and it happened when my doctor lost all hope that I could be cured. (Incidentally, every time He appears, Jesus is on my right, like the reference in Revelation about the His sheep being on the right.)
I began seeing visions several years ago, when I asked God what it was like for my babies in heaven. He showed me how my babies were received into God's nursery, and my grandparents and other relatives came to meet them. It was wonderful. It is as if a call goes out to all the relatives to come receive the baby. A nursery worker handed my baby to my Grandma Laizure--who was in the lead. Then Grandma sat down in a rocking chair holding the baby while the others crowded around to see Sharon's baby. I could see Grandpa Laizure, my cousin Jimmy, my great-grandma Emma, and another 20 people following them down the wide steps behind them.
My grandpa Laizure went to heaven for a short time when he was in the hospital after having colon surgery. I believe that visions do come from God, and I'm always interested in their interpretation. A vision is different from something in your imagination. You don't put any affort into thinking about it. Also, for me they usually show up when I ask God a question or cry out to Him for help. He helps me see (with other eyes) what is going on.
P.S. After I first published this my younger sister told me about the visions she has had. She said our mother also had visions and was told things by the Lord about her life. Now I understand why Mom spent such a long time sitting in an easy chair after reading her Bible. She was spending time with God, and He was speaking to her.
I wonder what causes people to see pictures that God sends them? Is it just an open heart? I take the vision of my baby in heaven as a picture God sent to comfort me. 12/29/09
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I had this all written in my head on Sunday when I was thrown off course by a nasty virus, but I am better now. Instead of gardening and grading, as I planned to be doing now, I'm reading and writing. I'm getting blessings from becoming a fan of John Piper on Facebook. I hope there is gardening and grading by Thursday.
For Christmas I received a CD of Christmas music by Casting Crowns. I love the CD because of some new songs and new versions of older songs . I don't often hear "Sweet Little Jesus Boy" or "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" (an instrumental version.) The female members of Casting Crowns sing more songs on this CD than on others. Lovely harmonies.
However, I'm disturbed by a line in one song that says baby Jesus was wrapped in dirty rags because there was no room for them in the inn. I'm sending this blog to some men who have studied Greek and Hebrew to see if that is literally true. I have always seen swaddling clothes as being narrow strips of fabric that were wrapped around the baby. I imagine they might be old, soft pieces of fabric from old clothes. You wouldn't put new fabric on a baby since the baby has no bowel control.
Therefore, I have written this account of what happened at Christ's birth. It is divided into three sections.
1. Mary was Not an Idiot.
2. What Happened in the Inn the Next Morning
3. Shepherds have Big Mouths
1. Mary was Not an Idiot. Mary and all her relatives knew she was pregnant when she and Joseph left for Bethlehem. The Bible says she was great with child, therefore I think all her female relatives tried to help prepare her. Riding for days on the back of a donkey sounds like it surely might induce labor. At the least, Mary would have carried the swaddling clothes to wrap her new baby in, probably amplified by one or two blankets.
2. What Happened in the Inn the Next Morning.
The innkeeper's wife is speaking, " She had a baby last night!? Abram, you told me the girl in the stable was pregnant! You did not say she was about to give birth! There's a big difference! Lord have mercy!"
"Josiah, come here and fill this mattress with fresh hay! Take it out to the stable. "
"I'll find some blankets."
"Abram, is the family from Capernaum leaving today? They can have that room." Hurrying down the hallway. "She's going to need to drink plenty of liquids..."
3. Shepherds have Big Mouths
Luke 2:15-20. And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing which has happened which the Lord has made known to us." And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph and the baby as He lay in the manger. And when they had seen this, they made known the statement which they had been told about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
Clearly, the shepherds went back and told others what they had seen. I'm sure the marvel and wonder of it all brought people to their knees. I don't know how they could have kept people from going to the stable to see the baby.
And people would have brought gifts to the baby, in awe that he was or might be the Messiah. They might not have been sure of the significance of the Christ, but I think all the mothers realized that Joseph and Mary needed food to eat. Someone might have brought two barley loaves; another half of the fish he caught for dinner. Another woman would have brought clothes her babies didn't need any more.
Additionally, when Jesus was presented in the Temple, Simeon and Anna recognized the Messiah. I don't know how many days had to pass before their purification were complete, but Jesus was still a small baby. The Bible says Anna didn't leave the Temple, but she told everyone about Him who were looking for the redemption of Israel. Simeon most likely had a family and friends nearby. It's hard for me to believe that people didn't reach out to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus with whatever friendship or goods they could supply.
I am probably just trying to comfort myself that Mary and Jesus didn't suffer so badly when He was born; I'm trying to make it better. However, as a mom, I can't believe other mothers didn't reach out to Mary as soon as they saw her predicament. I realize Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger; I just don't want Him to stay there for weeks.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
A week ago I got the report back from the pelvic ultrasound. It shows a cyst 1.6cm long that is fluid-filled. It probably was a follicle that ruptured, but the fluid didn't leave as it should have. The pain decreased after 10 days, so I am doing much better.
My biggest concern was that I might have to have a laparoscopy to remove the cyst. I emailed a bunch of friends asking for prayer. Within 1.5 hours, I could feel the weight of anxiety lifted off my shoulders. We were at "Christmas on Euclid" where our daughter's choir from Colony H.S. was going to perform when I could feel peace surrounding me. Thank you for praying!
I saw my oncologist on December 15. More good news! My cancer marker, Chromogranin A is down to 25 again; so it's staying between 20 and 50. That has never happened before. My gastrin level was almost normal-- it was only 139. Normal fasting gastrin is under 100, but my previous numbers have been more like 200, so this is good. So we have two indicators that my tumors are staying small.
It's a school night, so I can't say much. Vacation starts on Saturday for two weeks. Yay!