iBelieve

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Archive for the tag “Strength”

Meager Offering


I often feel like a five loaves of bread and two fish sort of person. I don’t have much, but when I hand it over to God, He can do miracles.

When Jesus heard that John the Baptist, his cousin, was beheaded, He boarded a boat to be alone. I can only imagine His thoughts about John. After all, he was preparing the way for Jesus by baptizing people. He was given the honorable task of baptizing Jesus.

John suffered a horrible death. His work on earth was done.

The crowds may not have realized the relationship between Jesus and John. They may not have known why Jesus pushed off shore for some alone time to grieve. What they did know about Jesus was his ability to heal. So they chased after Him and when He saw them, He had compassion on them and went ashore.

Jesus often told people around those whom he brought back to life, such as His friend Lazarus, to feed them. Jesus spent a good portion of the day healing and reviving those who sought His attention on that hillside.

It was time to feed the crowd that followed Jesus that day. To me, this indicated new life and giving His people strength to go forward to show others who may be nonbelievers, how to believe.

A young boy, who happened to be nearby, packed a little lunch for himself that morning not knowing he would be handing it over to Jesus. He had a meager offering of five loaves of bread and two fish and Jesus blessed it, multiplied it, fed the large crowd and had left overs.

What meager offering do you have to hand over to Jesus today?

I often feel like a five loaves of bread and two fish sort of person. I don’t have much, but when I hand it over to God, He can do miracles.

If Jesus healed you or a loved one, restored a sour relationship, or has given you peace over a situation out of your control, grab a bite to eat because you have been given new life. Celebrate and give God the glory He so deserves.

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

Mark 6:41-44

Late Night Visitor – More Visitors


When I wrote my first Late Night Visitor post on April 10, 2019, I didn’t know it would become so important in my grief process and become a series of posts. If you are grieving, I hope each entry has helped you in your walk with grief as it has helped me to get it out of my head.

In that first entry, grief came to me in the middle of the night, standing next to a large suitcase and without a return ticket from where it came.

Recently grief, ignoring the shelter-in-place orders and social distancing regulations, has invited anxiety and panic into my home. They follow me around and have been known to hold my hands, whisper lies in my ear, and wake me out of a sound sleep. So annoying.

As they hold my hands, I am not able to clasp them together to make praying hands. I cannot lift them up to the heavens to give God praise and honor He rightly deserves.

The whispers in my ears I know are blatant lies, but they are said over and over and over especially when I am alone. And during this pandemic, I am alone a lot of the time; I started to believe this negative one-way conversation. As they whisper in my ear, they grip my throat in a way that it tightens and my breathing becomes shallow.

From my experience, anxiety and panic are nocturnal too. Their most active time is around 2:30 in the morning while I am sound asleep. They poke and prod at me. They continue the negative whispers in my ear and in the silence of the night, it rings louder. I lose about 1.5 hours of sleep because of their active lifestyle.

I alone do not have the strength it takes to fight these enemies. I am weak and powerless on my own when grief and its friends, anxiety, and panic, gang up on me. But even when my hands are constrained and my throat feels tight and my breathing is shallow, I can find it within me to whisper four syllables, “Jesus, help me” and I am no longer alone.

Listen to my cry, for I am in need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name.

Psalm 142:6

Jesus brings His army of angels to fight these battles for me. They rush in and unbind my hands and they force the grip away from my throat.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Exodus 14:14

I cannot see the spiritual war going on around me, but I know angels are present and God’s peace covers me like a blanket. Suddenly my hands are lifted high as my heart and mind recall what I know about my relationship with God…

I am a child of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  I have Jesus Christ living inside of me. My God has promised to meet every one of my needs and He is right here with me at this moment.  

If you are bound by grief, anxiety, and panic, know that you too can cry out to Jesus for this same protection.  You are not alone.

 

Late Night Visitor – Grief and Joy


Living with grief takes a toll on one’s emotions, health, and spiritual life. There is a time to mourn just as there is a time to laugh; so I had an idea. I put grief and joy in the same room with me (with 6 feet separation and we are all wearing masks).  Here is what happened.

Grief:  “Hi Kristine, are you going to introduce me to your friend?”

Me:  “Hi Grief.  Yes, I am going to introduce you to my friend.  Grief, this is Joy, Joy this is Grief.”

(Neither can they shake hands, nor can they see a smile on each other’s face, so they nod to each other.)

Joy:  “Hello, Grief.

Grief:  “Hello, Joy.”

Me:  “Grief, Joy, I brought you two together because I need you to know that you both exist in my life. Grief, you and I were spending way too much time together and it was taking a toll on my concentration. I had some negative comments when you were at your peak, but not everyone knows how tight we have been and it just looked like I was not on my game.  I was reading the Bible one day and I met Joy.

As the Bible states in Ecclesiastes 3:4 it is okay that both of you are in my life.  The verse says, “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance”.  I don’t always want to be sad and I don’t always feel like laughing or dancing, but whatever emotion I want to feel, I need you two to respect, as well as, get out of the way of the other.  I would like to send you away, Grief, but Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble, but He has overcome the world and that is why Joy needs to step in between us more often. I am hanging onto Jesus’s promises rather than settling in with sadness. Jesus overcoming this world is really good news for me because I cannot do this alone or with my own strength.”

Living with grief takes a toll on one’s emotions, health, and spiritual life.  Let Jesus in with the joy He has in store for you and watch your emotions, health, and spiritual life be rejuvenated.

 

Late Night Visitor – Time Travel


Today we drove 5 hours, round trip, to celebrate the life of my brother-in-law.  I did not know very many of the people there, but it was a nice turn out of family and friends who were touched by his life.  Although drugs consumed a big part of his life, the bigger part was when he met Jesus on his own road to Demascus.  He was on fire for the Lord and that makes my heart happy.  Distance and finances had kept us from really getting to know each other, but I do recall one Easter brunch in a restaurant several years ago, I had the opportunity to sit next to him and we talked “God”.  It was a refreshing conversation, especially on Easter, my favorite holiday of the year. We had a few telephone conversations after that brunch and we shared God stories.  I love sharing God stories.

I recall when my niece, Jill, passed away a little over three years ago.  My brother-in-law heard the news and called me while I was at the funeral home with hundreds of people paying their respects to her and my family.  He shared the love of Jesus with me and comforted me with his prayers for peace. He shared Easter with me in December.

In the last leg of our journey home this evening, we passed the bus station.  The dark evening sky and the lights inside the station made it so I could see the bench that my two sisters and I sat on as we waited for a bus to transport one of my sisters back home after the funeral for Jill.  I remember how I did not want my sister to leave.  The closeness of family is the only thing I can grasp onto at such times and sitting on the bench made me want to stop time and keep my sister here with me.

Death is a wake up call.  We feel close to those we love; we cling to those we love that are still with us.  But as time moves forward, we hit a snooze button and “forget” we had that closeness.  Life moves on.

Even though we know we will all one day die, death is a shock.  Recent posts on Facebook of death notices include the familiar comment, “remember to spend time with your loved ones as you never know when someone will be called home”.  Why do we have to be reminded to spend time with those we love?

Funerals are the one occassion we stop what we are doing and pay our respects.  Our pictures and stories become extra special as we recall the relationships that have suddenly ended.  Distance doesn’t seem to matter when there is a death.  Most funerals are held only when everyone can be there that needs to be there.  We take the time to travel to be there.  Whether it is a 5 hour round trip or a bus ride across a few states; we make the time because we know love.  This love is what Jesus taught us.

Godspeed to the newly deceased.  To be absent from the body means they are present with our Lord.  Rest in peace dear brother-in-law, great is your reward.

John 3:16 (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Late Night Visitor – Grief is Like…


See the first grief post here.

Read more…

The One About Impairment


Take a moment to think about an impairment you have experienced, are currently experiencing, or know is coming.   Read more…

Maundy Thursday Service


For the second year in a row, a member of my church read the poem below written by Lucy Nanson, from New Zealand, at the Maundy Thursday service. Following this reading, everyone was invited to form two lines up in the center aisle to have one of two pastors pour water on our hands from a bowl at the front of church while making the sign of the cross on our palms. Next to each bowl were little wash cloths, neatly rolled up in a basket, to dry the hands.

Just like last year, my emotions were heightened and I had tears in my eyes while I listened to the poem and thought about how my hands fit many of the descriptions.

Maundy Thursday: Wash My Hands

Wash my hands on Maundy Thursday

not my feet

My hands peel potatoes, wipe messes from the floor

change dirty nappies, clean the grease from pots and pans

have pointed in anger and pushed away in tears

in years past they’ve smacked a child and raised a fist

fumbled with nervousness, shaken with fear

I’ve wrung them when waiting for news to come

crushed a letter I’d rather forget

covered my mouth when I’ve been caught out

touched forbidden things, childhood memories do not grow dim

These hands have dug gardens, planted seeds

picked fruit and berries, weeded out and pruned trees

found bleeding from the rose’s thorns

dirt and blood mix together

when washed before a cup of tea

Love expressed by them

asks for your respect

in the hand-shake of warm greeting,

the gentle rubbing of a child’s bump

the caressing of a lover, the softness of a baby’s cheek

sounds of music played by them in tunes upon a flute

they’ve held a frightened teenager,

touched a father in his death

where cold skin tells the end of life has come

but not the end of love,

comforted a mother losing agility and health.

With my hands outstretched before you

I stand humbled and in awe

your gentle washing in water, the softness of the towel

symbolizing a cleansing

the servant-hood of Christ.

Wash my hands on Maundy Thursday

and not my feet.

At the end of the service all lights went out in the church and the final moments of light at dusk was nearly the only light available to aid a handful of church members as they stripped the altar while my Pastor sang Psalm 22. For on this evening, Jesus is going to be betrayed by one of his disciples.

I was listening to a talk show on Moody Radio yesterday called Chris Fabry Live, and a caller mentioned that two people that night actually betrayed Jesus. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss and Peter denied knowing Him after His arrest.

This caller made me think about all the times I betrayed Jesus in my life. Judas could have asked for forgiveness and it would have been given. This breaks my heart to know that out of the guilt he felt, he hung himself without any attempt to seek forgiveness. Peter, on the other hand, recalled Jesus’s words predicting his betrayal, and he wept, asked for forgiveness, was granted it and used this as a stepping stone to witness for Christ.

Friends, it is not too late for you to ask for forgiveness for denying or betraying Jesus in your lifetime. As the events unfold for Jesus on this Good Friday, His arms will stretch out as wide as they can on the cross. His arms are opened wide for everyone to fit inside His embrace which never lets go.

Psalm 22:7 “Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver–let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”

Lunch with Jesus


Read more…

Memory Lane circa 4.2.09


Call me a late-bloomer. In my early 40s, I marched in step, while dancing in my heart, to the band playing Pomp and Circumstance for the college graduating class of 2009. I worked hard for this glorious milestone. While employed full-time for 14 years with the same company, I attended evening and Saturday classes taking anywhere from 3 to 9 credit hours each semester for 6 years. Many late nights were spent reading textbooks and writing papers. I am the youngest of five in my family, and the first to graduate college.

Having made the Dean’s List 3 times and excelling in the capstone classes with A+ as my final grade, I was bursting with confidence. Bursting with confidence, even though a month before my graduation I was blind-sided with a 60-day notice that my job was being eliminated. The blind-side was softened by promises that the Human Resources Department would assist me in finding another position within the company.

In October, 2008, God called home the president of the division, whom I supported for five years. Understandably, a shift in management ensued and my job became redundant when the newly-appointed president decided to retain his current assistant. I cried on my husband’s shoulder that evening the day the bomb dropped on me. This news stung my pride like a very angry bee. As the last step of our debt-snowball, we had planned to pay off our house the following year and this unexpected news was forcing us to recalculate our timing and finances.

During my 60-day sentence, the Human Resources Department proved not as agreeable in assisting my job search within the company as promised. However, I was blessed with a temporary boss that knew my situation and he allowed me the freedom to network within the company. I felt like a door-to-door salesman selling my work ethic, job skills and experience, and of course, highlighting my new degree to management throughout the company.

Time moved forward and the new president rearranged his corner office and I regretfully trained his assistant. Word spread that my days were numbered. Often asked how I was coping with this news and transition, I was able to witness confidently that God has a plan for my life and I was not at all worried.

My inter-company networking and salesmanship paid off and I was the first of many candidates interviewed for a position on that final week of my employment. I knew I was over-qualified, but my confidence was still running high and I really wanted to stay with the company. After all, 14 years was a long time to give up without a fight.

I was invited to lunch every day of that last week by co-worker-turned-friends. Everyone in my department held a special lunch in my honor on the final Friday. I was given an over-sized homemade card signed by the team along with gifts, balloons, and a sugar-high from the icing on the farewell cake. At 4:30pm that day, after everyone left to begin their weekend, I waited by the office phone in anticipation of a call from Human Resources to either invite me to the exit interview or extend a job offer.

The phone rang and I heard myself accepting the job offer. Humbled by the love shown to me from so many on that final week, I likened it to being at my own funeral and popping out of the casket and asking everyone what was going on because I was simply taking a nap.

In my mind’s eye, I replay this time when I juggled a full-time job, late nights reading textbooks, writing papers, and trying to keep up with house and husband. I know God carried me through it all. I never gave in to worry the day after the bomb dropped on me. I believed God’s promises written in Romans 5:3-5 (NRSV),

”And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

Even as a late-bloomer, I never gave up on God because he never gives up on me.

Alpha Strength


I dropped Mojo off at the vet one morning before work. Read more…

Post Navigation