Happy Sabbath everyone. I am so glad that God has granted us a day each week to spend drawing closer to Him. This world is so hectic, and as we draw closer to the final battle it is amazing how many trials and tribulations the devil is sending our ways in hopes of keeping us too busy to look up and behold how little daylight is left.
As we near the finish line, the roar of the lion is definitely growing more fierce as he seeks with all his might to take our eyes off the prize of salvation and refocus them on the fleeting things of this world. As the signs point out that the miles between us and Heaven are fast disappearing, like the great deceiver that he is, he is busily seeking to point our eyes towards his empty hand, promising us that hidden within his palms are jewels of far greater value than eternal life and a heart washed clean from the stain of sin.
Knowing that he has but a few hours left to deceive and tempt, he is doubling his efforts and stirring up as much trouble and tribulation as he can so that our hearts might be overrun with care and the fight to earn enough to fill our bellies and secure a roof over our heads that we might be tempted to doubt the promises of God. That we might become too busy to spend time upon our knees and in the word of God filling our lamps so that we might safely make our way past his many minefields and man devouring tar pits.
As I listen to the news and hear of the many warnings of disease, famine, and war, I cannot help but think of the warnings of Christ that before he comes there will be wars and rumors of war, pestilence, and other fearful wonders that are now coming to pass. I cannot help but think of the story of the wise and foolish virgins, and with trembling heart I plead with the Lord that He will keep the oil in my lamp full and overflowing, lest in the last moment of earth’s history my light should go out. And on the very shore of victory, I should be found wanting and lose that which is worth more than all of earth’s riches.
It is my prayer that this humble Bible game will help you in your effort to hide the word of God in your heart, so that your lamp will burn ever brighter, and that you will be ready to meet the Lord when He comes.
I hope that this Sabbath has proven to be a blessing. That you have enjoyed the blessing of spending time with your brothers and sisters in Christ, and have taken time to draw nearer to Jesus. That you have spent some time in your prayer closet communing with your Savior so that the things of this world may grow strangely dim and the promise of things yet unseen become more precious to you than all the gold and silver in this world.
Today, as the tears of heartache and worry for Happy who was so sick that he stopped eating, drinking, and walking for over 12 hours. We have already lost at least 9 family members, including my father and grandmother, in less than 3 years. This year my mother has been in and out of the hospital multiple times with uncontrolled blood pressure that was climbing over 200. Last month both of her sibling gave us a scare after ending up in the hospital within a couple of weeks of each other. And once more, before we had a chance to recuperate from one loss, we were facing the very real possibility of losing our little Happy pup. With a sea of tears we have been presenting our petition to God day and night that He might, if it would not cause Happy greater harm, raise him up, and give us more time with him.
Over and over we lifted our hearts up to God as we poured out the unspoken sorrow of our heart to His patient ear. Even though we trust Him, it has been a struggle to place Happy fully in God’s hands. When we looked at the heartbreak of the past couple of years, coming so close that one scar could not heal before another wound pierced our heart, it was so easy to hold back and say Lord, you must heal Happy. To point to our many losses, our financial insecurity, and say Lord, how can you let us endure another blow. If you love us, You have to heal Happy.
But would that really be putting things in God’s hands? No, sadly that would be saying God, even though You know what is best, You can do what you know is best as long as it what we think is best. For a moment this might work out. For a moment it might save us from the sea of tears caused by the ache that was tearing our heart to pieces. But in the long run, when the danger or sorrow that the Lord was trying to save us finally came our way, the little ache of today, would be a thousand fold worse.
Hard as it was, we had to remind ourselves that God, tender father that He is, longs to keep us from heartache. And that before He allows any sorrow to come our way, He weighs it out to determine what we can handle, and what is for our best and the best of those around us. That unlike us, He sees the beginning from the end, and sometimes He like he did with King Hezekiah, He makes painful choices. How much better would things have been for Hezekiah, who at the time was a hero of faith, if like King David, he had bowed his head in acceptance of God’s word.
Oh how hard it must have been for Him to hear the sad proclamation that he was going to die from his ailment, especially knowing that he was without an heir. But at that moment he would have died with an untarnished record of faith. His record would have been one of trust and faith in His Lord in a time of great trial and tribulation.
But instead of trusting that the God who knows the beginning from the end, might be trying to save him from some unseen danger, pointed to his record as reason to why God should answer my prayer. King Hezekiah got his way. He got 15 more years of life, but at what cost? God knew that King Hezekiah was in danger of losing his faith. Flushed with his great victory of faith, King Hezekiah probably felt invincible. At that moment he might honestly have believed that nothing could get between him and God. And he might have imagined all the things He could and would do should God raise Him.
But while he did not see his danger, God did. And preferring to have a sleeping saint rather than a live sinner, God had made the hard choice to say no to healing him from his disease. It must have been with a heavy heart that God answered Hezekiah’s petition to look at his record and raise him up. He knew that when the cutting test of pride came his way, Hezekiah would fail.
Sadly, when the Babylonian representatives came to find out more about the miracle of the sundial moving backwards 10 degrees, Hezekiah forgot all about God. Instead of pointing them to the Great Healer, and telling them about the mighty maker of heaven and earth who not only had the power to hold the sun in place for a whole day or move it backwards 10 degrees, but also had the power to change men’s hearts, he showed them his great wealth.
Hezekiah had been given one of the greatest witnessing opportunities ever given to man. What other king, including King Solomon, had such a prestigious delegation from a budding super power knocking at their door practically begging to hear a sermon? Truly this was one of those moments when we could set back and wonder how different this world’s history might have been if King Hezekiah had proven true instead of giving way to pride and without one word of thanks or gratitude to God, squandered a golden opportunity to witness to the leader of the kingdom who would a few years latter be represented by the head of gold!
How different might the history of our world been if instead of showing off his wealth, King Hezekiah had spoken of the greatness of the God who raised him from his death bed and as a token of his word moved back the sundial by 10 degrees as easily as one leads a puppy. Never before or after was there such a moment to touch hearts as when that delegation, awed by the great miracle, were actively seeking to learn about a God so powerful that he could alter the course of time. At that moment their hearts were open to hearing and being impressed by the words of life. If Hezekiah had remained grateful, and spoken words of praise and gratitude to God, who knows how many members of that prestigious delegation might have given their heart to God. What a mighty witness for truth Hezekiah could have been. Only when the books of Heaven are opened, and God pulls back the curtain of history to reveal what might have been if that delegation had been able to bring back words of life to their king instead of visions of silver and gold, will we find out how the history of Israel and Babylon might have been forever altered. Instead of becoming an enemy of God and his people from which the call must be made Babylon is fallen, is fallen, come out of her my people, Babylon might have become a bastion of truth.
While this is a more sever example of the dangers of demanding God give way to our wants and desires, there is always great danger in seeking to pull things out of God’s hands and trying to force Him to do our will. Like Job in his suffering, he had no way of knowing that his misery was due to the cruel desire of the devil to bring him to his knees and tear him from the side of God. Right now the curtain between our world and the Heavenly realm is closed to us, and we cannot see how the hard the devil like a thief is seeking to pass the wall of protection that God has raised up so that he might steal us from God’s side. As overwhelming as today’s tears might seem, we have no way of knowing what greater pain and suffering the devil is longing to bring upon us if given the opportunity.
It is not easy to accept the tears of today. When faces with the painful, but purifying fire of tribulation, it is very easy to do as King Hezekiah and say Lord I want you to do things my way. It is so easy to lose sight of the fact that in this moment of pain, we are not the only ones shedding tears. But that as tender and loving father, the arms of God are wrapped around us, holding us up, even carrying us through the trial. And that His tears are mingled with our own.
I hope that you are enjoying the wondrous blessing of the Sabbath. In these increasingly perilous times it is so helpful to have a day to pull apart and spend time with our source of strength. To take time from the struggle to earn our daily bread and remember that one day soon the struggles and burdens of this life will be laid down. And remind ourselves that the things of this life are temporary and that we need to set our hearts upon the things which really matter. To take the focus off ourselves and place them firmly upon Jesus, our true source of hope and salvation.
Yesterday we took Happy to the vet and they said that his sugar was low, therefore we should not give him insulin until this morning. After dinner my sister made his poultice and we settled in for a relaxing evening. Around 9 PM I happened to turn and look at Happy to find him trying to eat his poultice plastic and all. In that moment I knew it was going to be a long sleepless night because Happy’s sugar has spiked.
After a nearly sleepless night, giving Happy water, taking him out, and trying to keep him from jumping off the chair, we were counting down the moments until he got his insulin and settled down. I was never so grateful to crawl off the sofa to give him is insulin so we could finally get some much needed rest. Unfortunately it did nothing. If anything Happy’s condition deteriorated as he went from being able to lay down for 20 or 30 minutes at a time to barely tolerating 5.
By the afternoon God had impressed upon us that we needed to take him to the vet. Fortunately, even though my mother had missed a lot of sleep, she had been able to get more rest than us and was able to drive Happy and my sister to the vet who worried that Happy’s sugar was so high that he was in ketoacidosis and might have to be hospitalized. She told my mother and sister that if we had waited a few hours more, Happy might not have made it.
Thankfully, while his sugar was seriously high, he was not in ketoacidosis. Strangely enough, even though he had drunk 15 or more bowls of water in less than 10 hours, he was dehydrated and had to receive a some fluids and nausea meds before being sent home. Thanks to the medicine he has finally been able to get some sleep. But it does not take much to upset his stomach and cause him to pass the floor.
The worrisome part is that the doctors are not sure why his sugar is suddenly spiking from very low to off the charts high. They are considering sending him so a specialist, but we are bit concerned about where we will get the funds. We are already trying to move to find something more affordable because our budget was wearing thin.
Yet what do we do? We really love Happy. And especially since the death of my father, he has been the life of our home. Cheering us up when loneliness and uncertainty was threatening to wear us down.
Ultimately our hope is that the Lord will hear our prayers and if it is for God’s glory and Happy’s best, He will put His healing hands upon Happy. Therefore we are putting Happy’s health and life in God’s hands. And if you could, we would appreciate it if you could take a moment to ask God to do what is best for our beloved four footed family member. And that if it is for Happy’s best, God will restore that sweet, cheerful, and uplifting smile back to our grieving home.
Happy Sabbath. It is hard to believe that we are now 2 weeks into October. Sometimes it is amazing how fast time can slip by, and even more somber should be the thought that with each passing day we are drawing ever closer to the closer or probation and the return of our Savior. May we all be found ready and waiting and may this Bible based find the difference puzzle help you build the faith that you will need to help you stand.
Finally a little taste of fall has arrived with lows dipping into the mid to upper 60’s. It has been so wonderful to be able to turn off the air conditioner and enjoy a couple of hours of fresh air and sit outside for a few minutes a day without feeling like the sun is trying to broil my skin.
Between the summer heat and almost daily migraines everything has been slow going. So many days I have opened my laptop with the intention of writing a short blog, creating a digital pack for Etsy, or making a book for KDP and within a few minutes found myself opening up a simple game or even closing my laptop so I could curl up and pray that my migraine would go away.
Sadly, as much as I would like to be one of those miracle one day wonders who open a their shop and within weeks are earning hundreds and then thousands of dollars, that is not going to be my experience. As much as I would like to take off like a rocket, I have to settle for the slow and steady march of a tortoise or even the slow crawl of a snail.
The good news is that slow but steady has resulted in my first 10 sales on Etsy! The bad news is that 10 sales over 3-4 months is certainly a million miles short of making a living. But at least it is a start. Like the saying of old that the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step, so my journey to financial independence has to start with making my first dollar. And while I wish that I could reach my goal of self-sufficiency sooner, it is amazing how good it feels each time I see that occasional lonesome sale.
My journey is still to new to speak about the pros and cons of creating an Etsy shop, the best SEO strategies, and such. But I can tell you that there is something quite wonderful about knowing that you have made a product that someone felt was worth spending some of their hard earned money on. And the satisfaction of those few, hard won pennies is hard to beat.
If you are considering starting your own Etsy journey, you can use this link to get 40 free listing for your shop.
Sometimes, as I study my life, as I look upon all my short comings and failures, as I count up the truckload of disappointments that life has thrown my way, I am tempted to lose hope. But then, praise the Lord, as discouragement seeks to swallow me up, the Lord in His mercy points my eyes heavenward. With the tender love of a father, He reminds me that this life is not my source of joy and hope. He reminds me that my days upon this earth are like the falling sands of an hour glass. For a moment they stand at the edge, and in a blink of an eye they fall to the bottom and are lost sight of. So it is with the sorrows and pains of this life. Right now, if we set our eyes upon the things of this earth, even the smallest trial can seem like a matter of vital importance. But thankfully our earthly trials are only for a moment, because Jesus is coming.
The signs of the times are shouting that He is coming. The increasing birth pains of earth are screaming to us look up, because your faith is not in vain, and your redemption draweth nigh. Praise the Lord, our days of wandering are soon to draw to an end. This world with all of its fearful trials is not our hope. Our truckloads of missed dreams need not be mourned over as if all hope is gone. Because heaven with its endless ages of wonder is around the corner. Today may be full of tears. The news with all of its fearful tales of want and woe may fill our heart with anxiety for the future, yet we need not be overwhelmed.
Because Jesus is coming! He is coming to rescue us. He is coming to put an end to sin and death. He is coming to take us to a land where sickness, fear, disappointment, hunger, want, sorrow, loss, theft, intense cold or heat, destruction, and the many traumas of sin are unknown. In that blessed land, where the angels lift their voice in praise to God, we shall lay forever lay down our burdens.
With bodies made new, free of the taint of sin, we shall walk, jump, and run with the energy of a young child. For endless ages our minds will have the privilege to explore the vast universe that God has created. Our minds will thrill with delight as we dive into the depths of the sea to swim with sharks or climb to the top of the loftiest tree to hang out with the birds.
Every cell, down to the tiniest molecule will work with perfect order. No longer held back by aching back or knees, no longer kept on the sideline by anemia, migraines, MS, or any other debilitating disease, we will march along the streets of gold. We will build houses and gardens without any worry that the tax bill will prove to be too great a burden or that some stranger will find a way to claim our home and turn us out into the streets.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfTs6Tt4gNo&list=TLPQMDExMDIwMjJRkNBBXIwdEw&index=1As I consider the wonder of that great day, my pen feels so inadequate. In vain I long for a way to share a hundredth of its hope and glory so that the hearts of all might instantly be stirred to action. If only for a few moments I could sing like an angel so that your heart might be stirred so that with all of your heart you would desire to be part of the redeemed. If only I could say something that would encourage all to long for and take solace in the good news, that Jesus is coming. And He is coming very soon.