Quote for October

A Prayer for the Ephesians Eph. 3:14-21

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!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Life is Changing

May 22, 2010

I read the book Captivating several years ago. I remember getting to a section near the end of the book and feeling my eyes fill with tears. It occurred when Stasi Eldredge wrote about a friend named Tammy. This is how it goes:

“My friend Tammy has been a leader in women’s ministry for decades. She is a gifted woman, totally sold out to God. And a few years ago, God invited her to come away with him and sit at His feet. Alone. He called her o leave her position on the church staff. He called her to quit leading her small group, her Bible study, her accountability group. He asked her to become a woman of “one thing” – to become a Mary, a woman devoted to worship. To minister to the heart of God.

Tammy chose to say “yes” to God and followed his lead into the sacred realm of his heart. Her friends thought she was nuts. The church leaders chastised her publicly for abandoning the Great Commission. She was accused and misunderstood. It hurt. But God had captured Tammy’s heart and has been capturing it ever more deeply since. She has been captivated by his beauty. And his radiant beauty shines forth from her countenance.

Tammy became a worshiper, and her life of pouring her adoring devotion onto Jesus has become a beacon and a call to countless women to do the same—to attain to the high and holy calling of ministering to the heart of God and to discover ever more the treasure of who he is.”

At the time I read this, I had never heard of ministering to the heart of God. I didn’t know God needed or wanted that. Since then I have sung two songs that mention the heart of God, but it’s not discussed in Bible study or sermons. So I emailed my pastor, and he wrote back confirming what it meant to be a person of one thing. It was a real option—not just something Stasi made up. (That's a joke.)

In the last five years, I have returned to that passage a few times and felt the same yearning each time. I would get tears in my eyes. When I read tonight, though, there were no tears. I don’t have to yearn for this anymore. I can do this now. I am going to retire from teaching middle school, so I can worship God the way I want to worship Him.

During the last three months, I have felt concern over not being able to use my gifts of healing and prophecy. They seemed to be dormant. Then recently, we have been praying for each other during our church services. I have begun to feel revived again, and I’m back at the front of the church singing, so that I can’t do anything except worship Him.

When I prayed about wanting more of Him, God told me it was my ever-more-demanding life as a schoolteacher that was keeping me from worshipping Him the way I wanted to worship Him. I can’t get down on my face and praise Him in the morning without being late to work. I don’t get enough sleep during the week to get up any earlier. And I have the weird idea the living things in my house have higher priority than paperwork. It’s time to retire.

My school district helped by proposing an Early Retirement Incentive Package and giving me medical insurance until I turn 65. The decision was easy to make, and I have been very happy with it.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I'm Making a Big Change


Many things have changed in the last 12 days. The school district I work for offered an Early Retirement Incentive Package (ERIP). If it goes through, this would offer me more money per month after I retire. It's not a great offer. My principal said it's not a Golden Handshake; it's just something to help some of us to retire a year or two earlier. I would have to work another year to reach the amount of income that I would receive from the incentive package.

Also, my health benefits would continue for 8 years. That's not in the ERIP, that is in our Collective Bargaining Agreement. Boy, an I glad I'm a union member! If I wasn't, I could not qualify for the ERIP or the health benefits. It more than compensates for all the months I've wondered what my $93 was going for.

So, I am going to retire. God has been calling me and changing my heart since April. I would leave today. I never would have said that before. I believe this is the time He was waiting for when He told me 5 years ago, "I'm waiting for you."

I look forward to a time of rest and contemplation as I await God showing me the way I am to go. I have the advantage of having Joyce Meyer's account of how she changed from being a minister in an established church to having her own ministry. I don't plan to do what she did, but it's good to see how someone went through a similar situation.

I love these verses: Job 23:8-10.

But if I go to the east, He is not there;

if I go to the west, I do not find Him.

When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him;
when He turns to the south, I get no glimpse of Him.

But He knows that way that I take;
when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.

All the Best!
Sharon Joy

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Things are OK


I seem to be OK, but I have to be really, really careful not to raise my blood sugar. My blood test came back with a fasting sugar of 97 and a 2-hour sugar of 126. Those sugars are not diabetic, but the doctor checked something called Hemoglobin A1c. That's a new test that shows what my blood sugars were during the last 6 weeks to 3 months. My reading was 6.1, and diabetes is at 6.5. So I cannot risk raising my sugar any higher. I am continuing to get thinner.

My physical therapy was approved! When I was discouraged last month, I said I wouldn't start until June, but I got in on April 30. Thank You, Father for working that out. I have the same sweet physical therapist at Brockton physical therapy. It's going to make it hard to go to Curves twice a week, but I will try.

I saw a list of doctors in the last 10 days. The cardiologist wants a stress test done because I finally remembered to tell him how I can't climb three flights of stairs anymore. Somehow it was significant to him that I literally can't go any farther than 2.75 flights without having to stop completely. He kept asking me if I would get out of breath, and I said it was as if I run out of gas and cannot even go one more step.

My cancer symptoms are so minor that my digestion has changed. How do I put this delicately? Carcinoid is a digestive cancer, and diarrhea is a normal symptom. I'm taking Sandostatin (Octreotide) injections to counteract the tumors. Evidently, the drug is suppressing the tumors so well that I have to change my diet to to compensate. I've been eating Fiber 1 cereal for months. Now I'm eating the Fiber 1 granola bars, too. The chocolate and oat ones are my favorite. With 10 grams of sugar, they are going to become my favorite dessert.

So now cancer is the least of my symptoms. I wonder how I will be able to tell when I am healed?

I saw the Lord always before me,
Because He is always at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices,
My body also will live in hope.
Acts 2:25-26