A Time of Silence

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The past couple of days have been rather “silent” for me…after a flurry of busy days filled with deadlines and lists of “to dos”, all leading up to a scheduled event. Thanks to the Lord’s mercies, His strength, and the power of the Holy Spirit, the event was a success.  Yet it was not without personal struggles, little short-comings, and roadblocks to circumvent.  Now my body has decided it’s time for some down time. That’s often the way it is for me.  And it may be that way for you, too.  As it is for many who are disabled or who manage life with a chronic illness.

Flare-ups are common, especially after a flurry of activity or a bout with stress or increased demands on our body’s limited resources. “Down” times become necessary, as they are the body’s way of telling us it needs rest and restoration.  You may find yourself overly fatigued, having increased pain levels, or facing flare-ups of other symptoms.  It isn’t so much the pain or fatigue that down time brings which upsets me the most. It’s being unable to minister as I am called to do or unable to do some of the other things I love. And yet, the Lord is helping me to realize that these quiet times are a good opportunity to rest in Him, to pray, and to listen for His voice. God speaks to us in the stillnes- sometimes through our pain- and He will comfort us and draw us nearer to Him…if we allow Him

“Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

I have found that, often, during such times, His Spirit enables us to share what He’s placed in our hearts, according to His perfect timing. For me, it might be in the form of a letter, or perhaps an article or blog post, or through a video I’ve been given the time to produce. Your sharing may come in a similar form, or in a different way altogether.  He’s taught me that, in the stillness, if I will take time to listen, He will speak to my heart and often provide new, quite opportunities to minister to others, as He brings healing and restoration to my own body and spirit.  And He will do the same in you!

Sharing hope and the beautiful truth of God’s love are the greatest gifts of ministry- often revealing themselves via the most heart-touching and meaningful ways- in the silence.

Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (NIV)

John 14:26: “But the Comforter [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

May the Lord bless you abundantly as He guides you to becoming all He created you to be!

Angela

God’s Voice in the Darkness

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“I want to go back, Lord,” I said. “It’s familiar there.”

“No, my child,” God replied. “You must keep moving forward.”

“But I’m afraid, Lord. Please hold my hand,” I cried.

“I’m here child,” He assured.

“I want to go back, Lord,” I cried out again. “The pain is just too great.”

“My grace is sufficient,” God said. “You have my strength.”

“But I feel so alone,” I said. “Please don’t let go, Lord!”

“I’m here, my child,” His words came with comfort.

“Please take me back to where I was before,” again I pleaded.

“No, my child,” He whispered. “You must walk on.

I am here with you, every step of the way.

And I will never leave you,” He assured.

“Even if it were possible, turning back now would never allow you to

receive all the wonderful things I have planned for you.

Keep walking ahead, child, and listen to my voice,” God said.

“I will see you through this. And I will never leave you. You have my promise.”

I walked on through the darkness, my hand in His…until I could again see the light.

And as I reached the light, it’s rays of warmth seemed to pour over and into me, deep within my spirit.

The darkness could not defeat me for my LORD walked beside me. His light was always there, deep within my heart, for He was and is ever with me.

Now, in my heart, I know the darkness of this world can never defeat me. For, through Jesus, my Savior, God pierced the darkness with the light of His love and conquered it for all eternity!

~ Angela Hall Dobbins

John 8:12b: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Isaiah 41:13: For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

The Hospital Window

2865240756_55d6c2940c_zSometimes we find ourselves in overwhelming and painful circumstances.  It is during such times in our lives that giving to others seems to be the greatest challenge, even the farthest thing from our thoughts.  And yet, it is in letting go of our own will and the need to be “ministered to” and turning our focus upon Jesus and His infinite love and mercy, that we find the strength and capacity God has given us for sharing His love with others.  Before we know it, with one tiny step, we reach out to another whose need may be even greater than our own and something changes…it is in that moment we discover God’s love in a most healing way.  It is often in that one opportunity seized that we ourselves are ministered to the most.  This story is an example of such…

 

“The Hospital Window”

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it. In his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

Epilogue:
There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.

Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.

If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.

Today is a gift, that’s why it is called the present!

– Author Unknown

Strength for Today

Strength

 

by Angela Hall Dobbins © 2004

“Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over a gain, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose – not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.” ~Anne Sullivan

If some of you are like me, you may have been struggling lately to remain firmly rooted in your faith and not be blown away by the storms of life, and all the frustration and confusion that comes as their result. Jesus promised us an abundant life in and through Him, and I believe we can have that abundant life…right here and now… right where we live and in our immediate circumstances. We only have to remain focused on the LORD!

Now, I know that’s easier said than done. Most of us find that there are times when we eagerly begin the day, ready with Christian vigilance and a positive attitude, to conquer whatever life throws our way. But, somehow, about half way through the day, we begin to get a little weary. Those storms of life begin to beat down upon us and the winds begin to blow, until we find ourselves worn and tattered…at times barely able to make it through the remainder of the day. This is especially true of those of us who suffer from a chronic illness or pain. We despondently discover that we have little patience and joy left for our families and loved ones, perhaps even for others. And we feel we have even less for ourselves. We end up feeling weak, discouraged, and as though we’ve failed in our Christian walk.

I know you’ve had days like that. Haven’t you? I surely have. But, in looking back, most of the times when I ended up feeling like such a failure, I realized that, somehow during my day, I had stopped focusing upon God and was no longer standing on His promises. Instead, I was ashamed to find that, in most cases, I had lost sight of the Lord and had turned most of my focus toward my pain and discomfort, as well as the trials, circumstances, and pressures of life which hurled around me. I became like the Apostle Peter, who immediately started to sink when he took his eyes off Jesus.

And yet, amazingly, every time I’ve found myself wavering, stumbling, or even sinking, the Lord has always been right there to lift me up again and set my feet back on solid ground. Isn’t He Faithful and Wonderful!

Do you feel discouraged today? Are you tired and weary from worry and stress? Do you feel the desire for a closer walk with the Lord in your life, but you just can’t seem to attain it? Jesus promised us an abundant life, if we would only seek Him and keep our focus and trust upon Him. Whatever your circumstances, He understands and He cares.

Start each day reading God’s Word. This will give you strength for the day’s journey. Talk to the Lord throughout the day, asking for His continued strength and guidance… not just when you feel weak. Thank Him for His presence in all things and for every little blessing. And ask Him to keep your feet from stumbling. He’s right there beside you every step of the way, even when you forget to seek Him. He is not only our LORD, but He is our Friend. And His desire is to give us a life filled with joy, peace and victory!

Remember, if you do stumble… and all of us do… don’t stay beaten down and discouraged, considering yourself a failure. Take the Lord’s hand and let Him pull you right back up! No matter how many times it takes, you will eventually gain the victory over whatever trial you are facing at the time. Believe it! His Word says it and it’s TRUE!

Scripture References:

Lamentations 3:22-25, “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (KJV)

Romans 5:1-5, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (KJV)

1 Corinthians 15:57-58, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”  (KJV)