“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God — who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly — and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord, being double-minded and unstable in all his ways.”
When I first fell about three weeks ago, my whole body was screaming with the worst pain I’d ever felt. I wanted more than anything to die. Throughout my agony in the hospital I cried and prayed for Jesus to please come take me Home and rescue me from this ordeal. Having already fallen flat on my face from a dead faint onto a hardwood floor back in November and miraculously only suffering painful bruising, a black eye, and bloody nose, then losing Mama and my precious sister Nancy, enduring vicious migraines every day, and fierce tension knots, I felt like this new affliction was the last straw. No way did I want to face this new trial.
~~Unlike King David, the man after God’s own heart, who, when God put through a dark trial, he faithfully prayed,
No, I was not good like David, for the very last thing I thought of was praising the Lord in my pain, alas. I screamed in bitter agony.
The Bible says that the dead praise not the living God, however He seeks a people who will praise and glorify Him despite their trials.
I learned that if I truly love the Lord I would endure despite the pain and continue to trust Him believing He will come through in the end. By His Almighty grace, I have determined to seek for ways that I can praise Him during this trial.
For His Word tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning, great is His faithfulness. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
One thing I will praise the Lord for is giving me such a wonderful husband. Ever since I fractured my humerus I’ve had to rely on Mark for assistance in doing everything ~~even doing my hair. Mark finds this task quite difficult and I must admit he has a gift for making really bad hairstyles. They are so awful that they are hilarious and make me laugh. I wish I had been documenting these crazy styles. Even JJ, our Yorkie, noticed him fixing my hair one day. Her little black eyes seemed to pop as she suddenly halted and hopped fast backwards out of the room, We both wish we could’ve documented her reaction on video.
Well, the night he made my hair look like I was wearing an ice bag, I could not stop laughing. I then said, “Honey, can’t you just manage a simple braid?”
I texted a friend about the issue. She told me that her daughter was really gifted at braiding hair and had her own website dedicated to braiding, and she gave me the URL.
I told Mark and sent him to the website. “Here is your chance, honey. Study her techniques and you will soon be braiding my hair!”
I was hopeful as I saw him intently studying two of the braiding videos. But when I noticed how complicated the braids were my heart sank.
Sure enough he soon gave up overwhelmed. Closing his laptop he looked at me and said, “You have two chances for me to ever braid your hair~ fat chance and no chance!”
I pouted. Why could he not have just chosen a video on how to do a simple braid?
Well, the next day the home health care nurse who comes to help me wash my hair and bathe said that she used to run her own hair braiding business on the side till she had her baby!
Would I like for her to braid my hair? She gave me two long beautiful French braids on either side of my head!
Here was my loving God giving me a chance to replace Mark’s fat chance and no chance!
How I praise Him for showing me His love and mercy in that special way!
And that wasn’t the end of the story either.
The next morning my Occupational Therapist came and wanted to braid my hair. She did a beautiful job. Once again, God demonstrated His love and mercy sending two people to braid my hair!
The dead praise not the living God but I will praise Him for these special ways He blessed me.
And the praising for His amazing blessings does not end there.
We went to the orthopedic doctor for a check up and while she did not see a great deal of improvement in the fracture as it was huge; she said it was going to take time and to be patient; after testing me she said I had no nerve damage!
This was very encouraging to me! She said with this kind of injury they sometimes see nerve damage in the hand so it was very good that I had none.
Glory to our wonderful God!
And today after Mark had graced me with another awful hairstyle last night that was truly hilarious, I went into the bathroom and prayed to be able to braid my own hair.
And God be praised~ He really helped me do it ~despite my broken arm!
Fat chance and no chance are God’s chances in the eternal realms of the Almighty.
“Lord, You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever!”
“Lord Help Me Endure To The End” is a prayer song inspired by a scripture verse that Jesus spoke to His disciples when He was talking to them about prophetic events of the dark last days.
Jesus said, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
Matthew 24:13 KJV
What does the word Jesus used for endure mean?
ὑπομένω hupomenō~~Thayer Definition:
1) to remain, 1a) to tarry behind, 2) to remain, i.e. abide, not recede or flee,
2a) to persevere under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ
2b) to endure, bear bravely and calmly: ill treatments
This verse with its word meaning has spoken volumes to me as I have studied and meditated over them.
I’m so thankful the Lord gave me this prayer song to encourage me to meditate on this verse as I seek Him in prayer and in His Word, especially now.
No stranger to affliction being a sufferer of chronic daily migraines and fibromyalgia, I was painting to distract myself from pain early one morning last month.
Mark reminded me of an appointment I had to get ready for so I got in a rush to print my painting and get ready for the day.
Alas, as I rounded the corner of my bed I tripped and fell backwards landing on my left side and crashed onto the hardwood floor.
Horrified, I saw my left arm detached from my body. In excruciating pain, I thought my hip and neck were broken, as they were hurting as much as my arm and shoulder, also I could not move. Talk about screaming. My beloved Mark was by my side in a second.
I had to be taken to the hospital where they did imaging. Not only did I have bruises all over the left part of my body, but the X-Rays and scans revealed that I’d severely fractured my left humerus. Thank the Lord I had broken nothing else. I returned home with my left arm in a heavy splint and sling. It was so heavy in fact, I could barely walk. The pain was unbearable. I learned how disabled one is made by such a severe injury.
At first I just felt manacled by that awful splint and was sent into panic mode in certain positions. I was in more pain than I’d ever been in my life and I begged God to take me to Heaven. He kept saying nope. Not only did I find the pain beyond my endurance, I couldn’t tolerate being so helpless and dependent on others for assistance in EVERYTHING.
The Lord said, “ENDURE.”
Hadn’t I suffered enough, I asked.
The Lord was not going to let me off the hook.
He reminded me of the prayer song He had given me, “Lord Help Me Endure To The End.”
He reminded me of the other prayer song with lyrics He had given me on my most recent release Paths of Faith, “I Will Lay Down My Life.”
Migraines flared up the agony in my fractured arm even more. The wretched splint caused huge tormenting tension knots in my back and neck. I could not get comfortable nor sleep in my bed but had to sleep in Mark’s recliner.
Despite my misery, the Lord showered me with rivers of His measureless mercy. He sent wonderful home healthcare people to assist me. They always ended up telling me about folks who were far worse off than I was and this would somehow comfort me because I not only then felt I was not alone in my pain, it motivated me to pray for people who suffered as I did.
Prayer was the only way I could lay my life down in love for others because of my disability, while others were laying their lives down in love for me. The Lord always sent me people with the most cheerful attitudes. They somehow could make me laugh despite my intense pain.
Our son flew home from LA to help my husband with my care.
Our daughter being tied up with myriad issues in Tucson did many wonderful things for us that we needed assistance with by ordering things we required and had them sent to us.
We were surrounded by love. God showed His mercy and faithfulness in so many ways that helped me to hang on when I thought I could not endure another moment of pain. Many from our church sent beautiful cards and prayers while our friend Sharon came and stayed with me twice so Mark could run some necessary errands.
Our Pastor came over and anointed me with oil and prayed for my healing. All of these beautiful expressions of God’s love comforted me, reminding me that our Heavenly Father still loved me despite my suffering.
One night after I finally fell asleep exhausted from the pain, I dreamed that the Lord Jesus Christ came down from Heaven and into my living room. He stood by the recliner where I lay sleeping and He checked on my arm as if He were a doctor checking on my progress. I dreamed this two nights in a row. I woke up very comforted both times, assured of His love for me.
But on days when the hours stretched by and my pain level stayed at a ten I became depressed and wept, praying for God’s mercy and repenting for everything I could think of that might have upset the Lord. For when we go through serial trials we can’t help but look up and ask the Lord, “What did I do wrong?”
Whenever I ask the Lord questions like that He refers me to His Word. From the Epistle of James: “My Christian friends, remember to be happy, even when many kinds of trouble happen to you. Troubles can help you. God wants to see if you really trust Him. Your faith in God will become stronger as a result of these troubles. So you should continue to trust God all the time. Then you will become stronger as a Christian. You will become completely how you should be. You will not need anything more.” James 1:2-4 (*Easy English Bible)
The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to comfort me and assure me that God is using my trials to enlarge my faith.
“We thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, because He is so good to us. As our Father, He is very kind to us. He is our God who comforts us in every way. Whenever we have trouble, He comforts us. Because of that, we ourselves can comfort other people. When they have any kind of trouble, we can comfort them, in the same way that God has comforted us. Christ himself received much pain, and God comforted Him. As Christ’s servants, we also receive the same kind of pain. But, God also comforts us very much, because we belong to Christ.”2 Corinthians 1:3-5 *(Easy English Bible)
Peter the Apostle wrote that we should expect to have suffering and trials as Christians.
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 KJV
Peter asserted that suffering and pain motivate the Christian to do God’s will instead of their own will, even as Christ did His Father’s will on earth.
“Christ had trouble and pain while He lived in His human body. So you should prepare yourselves to have trouble and pain too. Think about it in the same way that Christ did. If someone has trouble and pain in his body, he stops doing wrong things. As a result, that person will want to do what God wants him to do. In his life in this world, he will not want to do the bad things that people think are good.” 1 Peter 4:1-2 (*Easy English Bible)
“That is why we never give up.
Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.
For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT (*New Living Translation)
An innocent little six year old was mercilessly gunned down by someone in a fit of road rage recently.
I wondered how was this possible?
The Lord led me to the story of Cain and Abel in the book of Genesis.
Cain and Abel were two brothers, the children of Eve, “the mother of all the living.”
When her first son was born, Eve called him “Cain,” a name related to a word for “lament” or “wail.” Eve said, “I have gotten a man from the Lord…”
BDB Definition: 11b) husband, 1c) human being, person (in contrast to God), 1f) champion, 1g) great man
The Bible says of Cain that he “…was a tiller of the ground.”
The word for tiller means: H5647 (Strong)
‛âbad, aw-bad’, A primitive root; to work (in any sense); by implication to serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.: be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, husbandman, keep, labour (-ing man), (be, become) servant (-s), transgress [from margin], (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper.Serve self
Where Eve seemed so filled with hope after Cain’s birth giving him a name that meant “Champion,” she seemed to have lost her faith sometime after his birth.
For she named her second son Abel which means:
BDB Definition: 1) to act emptily, become vain, be vain; 1a2) to be utterly vain;1b1) to cause to become vain; 1b2) to fill with vain hopes;
People who have lost their dream call faith “vain hope.”
Also, branding a child with such a name is akin to calling them hopeless, futile, or vanity.
It would not be any wonder then that Abel would find refuge out in the fields with his Father God while tending the sheep rather than with a family who considered him “… filled with vain hopes.”
Abel was given the name of someone whom his parents saw as having no expectations.
And this was surely to open the door for his brother to also adopt the same attitudes toward him as someone who was worthless.
It might not be difficult for a man to murder a brother whom he neither loved nor valued. For Cain had no love for his brother the Bible says.
“This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love each other. Don’t be like Cain. He belonged to the Evil One. Cain killed his brother. But why did he kill him? Because what Cain did was evil, and what his brother did was good.” 1 John 3:11-12 – ERV
“Cain and Abel both offered sacrifices to God. But Abel offered a better sacrifice to God because he had faith. God said he was pleased with what Abel offered. And so God called him a good man because he had faith. Abel died, but through his faith he is still speaking.” ~ Hebrews 11:4 – ERV
After Cain had killed his brother, the Lord asked him where Abel was. Cain sarcastically replied, “I don’t know, am I my brother’s keeper?”
BDB Definition: 1) to keep, guard, observe, give heed/ 2) 1a1) to keep, have charge of/ 3) 1a2) to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life/ 1a3) to watch for, wait for/ 1a4) to watch, observe/ 1a5) to keep, retain, treasure up (in memory)/1a6) to keep (within bounds), restrain/ 1a7) to observe, celebrate, keep (sabbath or covenant or commands), perform (vow)/ 1a8) to keep, preserve, protect/ 1b1) to be on one’s guard, take heed, take care, beware/ 1b2) to keep oneself, refrain,/ abstain/ 1b3) to be kept, be guarded
God revealed through the Lord Jesus Christ that we are indeed to be our brother’s keeper. We are to love and to lay our lives down for one another.
Abel was asked to sacrifice His will to God even as Christ would one day be asked to sacrifice His will to the Father that all might in Him be given eternal life through His sacrificial death.
Abel gave God what He asked of him. This pleased the Lord greatly.
For Abel like Christ in effect had said, “Father I want Thy will not my will…”
How did Abel know what God’s will was?
He spent all his time with the Lord every day in a close relationship with Him.
While working in the fields he was abiding in His Maker. He listened to God speak to his heart.
God wanted something that was difficult for Abel to give Him. Something that Abel loved, prized, and valued very much. The finest of his flocks.
Yet, what else was worth having if he kept it back from God and lost his intimacy with the Lord by withholding that thing which God had asked him to sacrifice?
What could be more important than his relationship with the Lord, his Creator?
Abel knew what God required of him, he knew and cared to do God’s will.
The Bible says that the ungodly don’t care to know about or to do God’s will. They just want to please themselves.
‘“At harvest time, Cain brought a gift to the Lord. He brought some of the food that he grew from the ground, but Abel brought some animals from his flock. He chose some of his best sheep and brought the best parts from them. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift.But He did not accept Cain and his offering. Cain was sad because of this and he became very angry.” ~ Genesis 4:3-5ERV
Cain offered to God the sacrifice of man; the sacrifice that insists on doing its own will and pleasure. Such a sacrifice may take a lot of time and effort to accomplish, and appear beautiful but it will not satisfy our Creator if it is not what He asked for.
God’s will is that we obey Him no matter what that obedience looks like, no matter how displeasing to us it seems. The Lord needs to know that His will matters to us more than our own our own will.
He created us to worship HIM. We were not created to please and worship ourselves.
Abel obeyed the Lord and offered the blood sacrifice He required. Cain did not.
Hebrews 9 explains that under the Law that without the shedding of blood there was no forgiveness of sins. A blood sacrifice was required for the atonement of the sins people had committed. That was just how it was. We may not like it or understand it. But that was why Jesus Christ, God’s Son had to die to shed His spotless blood for the sins of all humanity to redeem us and put a fallen world back in right relationship with God. This is the truth. Cain refused to believe this truth of the need for the blood sacrifice to atone for his sins to be made right with God. He would do his own work and labor to please and satisfy God. Yet, God only wanted the sacrifice of an innocent pure lamb to atone for the man’s sins. He need only go to his brother and procure a sheep to sacrifice to the Lord. It was that easy. Cain made things hard in his unbelief.
Cain was furious when he saw that God was pleased with Abel’s sacrifice and not with his own.
The Lord asked Cain, “Why are you angry? Why does your face look sad? You know that if you do what is right, I will accept you. But if you don’t, sin is ready to attack you. That sin will want to control you, but you must control it.”~ Genesis 4:6-7 – ERV
God up and told Cain His will and the man simply ignored the holy revelation! It went right over Cain’s head because he had no regard for the Lord any more than he valued his brother’s life.
If he had loved and feared the Lord then he would have obeyed Him. Christ equated love for our Lord with our obedience to Him.
Jesus said to His disciples: “If you love Me, you will do what I command.
Those who really love Me are the ones who not only know My commands but also obey them. My Father will love such people, and I will love them. I will make Myself known to them.”
…All who love Me will obey My teaching. My Father will love them. My Father and I will come to them and live with them.
But anyone who does not love Me does not obey My teaching. This teaching that you hear is not really Mine. It is from my Father who sent Me.” ~ John 14:15,21,23-24 – ERV
The rest of the story is a very sad one.
Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” So they went to the field. Then Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Later, the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
Cain answered, “I don’t know. Is it my job to watch over my brother?”
Then the Lord said, “What have you done? You killed your brother and the ground opened up to take his blood from your hands. Now his blood is shouting to Me from the ground.So you will be cursed from this ground. Now when you work the soil, the ground will not help your plants grow. You will not have a home in this land. You will wander from place to place.”~Genesis 4:8-10,12 – ERV
The price Cain paid for his sin was enormous. Cain’s former gift of being able to till the soil successfully became a curse as God said, “Now when you work the soil, the ground will not help your plants grow.
Whereas Cain had been the family’s hope for success and prosperity, “their champion,” he now became the disappointment, the one who was truly filled with “vain hopes;”one who could no longer produce. The Lord not only took away all former expectations of success, but also drove him away, branding him with the indelible mark of a murderer, condemning him to the life of a wanderer. (*See Genesis 4:13-16)
Have we ever stopped to think of what we give up when we ignore the Lord’s voice, giving in to our stubbornness, anger, own desires, and lack of faith over simply obeying the Lord’s will?
First we must like Abel abide in Christ to love God and to know His will.
Second we must care to obey His will once He reveals that will to us.
If we don’t love others, we won’t love, honor and value our God. When we do not love and value others we disobey God’s will.
Christ said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35 – KJV
Jesus once told a religious ruler that the two greatest commandments upon which hung the whole Law were the first two: Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” ~ Matthew 22:37-40 – KJV
The Apostle John wrote, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20-21 – KJV
In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus let us know that in God’s eyes, everyone is our brother and sister. Not just people in our religious affiliations, our fellowships and social cliques. The Lord does not see as we see according to the teaching Christ gave us in that parable.
As I contemplated the enraged man who’d gunned down the innocent child on the freeway, I couldn’t help but wonder if he, like Cain, had lost his love and value for human life made in God’s holy image ~that life of which God says we are to be his keeper, his guardian, and to keep ourselves from harming.
Would that people knew God’s will and would do it!
Then I thought are we not too like that furious man when we explode like a seething time bomb with bitter words; words like lethal verbal weapons, over everything under the sun, ever finding fault, seeking to destroy with bitter criticism, accusation, and judgment, ever so quick to assume false conclusions without having all the facts? The internet and social media are daily inundated with these incidents of “virtual road rage.”
And if we regard not the life of our neighbor, resisting God’s will to be our brother’s and sister’s keeper, we absolutely do not love, fear, nor honor God our Heavenly Father, the Bible declares. (*See 1 John 4:20-21)
Jesus said, “…the bad things people say with their mouth come from the way they think. And that’s what can make people wrong. All these bad things begin in the mind: evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual sins, stealing, lying, and insulting people. These are the things that make people wrong.” Matthew 15:18-20 – ERV
“Heavenly Father, may You give us Thy divine love for one another, that we may also love and honor Thee, in Jesus’ name, amen.