Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Joy to You"


I learned yesterday, that 'Greetings', in New Testament Greek, means "Joy to you"! 

'Greetings' has been a favorite way of starting a correspondence for some time- and now I like it even more!  

Currently, I am going to a Bible study with my daughter which is studying the New Testament of James- and it is led (via DVD) by Beth Moore.  We've only started, and last night we camped out on the first verse. 

James' name is actually an English translation of the name Jacob, which makes sense, as James/Jacob was a Jew by birth...his parents were famously- Mary and Joseph.  (Yes, that makes James the elder half-brother of Jesus.)  Although James didn't believe his half-brother to be Messiah until after Jesus' death and resurrection- he did come to believe in Jesus as Lord and the Messiah...  making James a 'Christian Jew', with a remarkable perspective.

Now I am beginning the next section of study for the upcoming lesson, and we are looking at James 1:2-4 "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be prefect and complete, lacking in nothing."

Yep- James doesn't beat around the bush- he hits us right where many of us are living: with various trials!  We could substitute any number of things in there as a trial: finances, health, relationships, dealing with doctors...just getting out of bed for an hour! 

Just there in verse one- James says 'Greetings' - Joy to you!- and goes right into 'considerate all joy'....all joy!  Even if today you feel crappy, the bills are mounting, no one seems to understand, you are lonely, you hurt, you are grieving....So many 'robbers' of joy stealing into your heart to try to make off with your treasure (perhaps more succinctly: a buried treasure)!  

The treasure my Dear One- is the joy of knowing that you are His Beloved!  That no matter what circumstances befall us- we are not truly alone; the LORD has promised to be faithful, and as He is present in us- then in Him we have peace, safety,!  Nothing in fact that any 'robber' is able to take from us- unless we give those things over to the robbers of discontent, fear, doubt... 

Our security must be rooted in knowing the Lord (Master) Jesus Christ (Messiah).  That 'know-that-I-know-that-I-know' kinda knowing.  Our default must be set on Him- not our emotions, not our circumstances- but on Him and His Word. 

Today- whatever kind of day it is for you; whatever the moment; whatever the circumstance- I say with my heart to yours-  GREETINGS!  Joy to you!  May the One Who Is Joy bless your heart/soul/mind in whatever travail you are experiencing-- as you give Him the sacrifice of your praise--may His Holy Spirit lift your's up, and fill you with His Joy~  may 'endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be prefect and complete, lacking in nothing' 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mary's Lasagna

Hhhhhmmmm, Mary's lasagna! 

Been overdoing the past couple weeks- in part to care for one of our daughters who came down with mono, strep, and on top of that had severe subluxation of her back/neck!  Otherwise, there were extra doctor visits, meetings...and, the fall garden produce push. 

I am thankful to be able at this point to participate in any of these activities- but I feel the 'teetering' each day of my body, and I don't have much margin built up in my immunity.  My mind says- plow forward, but my body says rest; more importantly, my gut tells me STOP-REST!  So, I am leaving the stack of things sit for now- and thought I'd spend a few moments with you~

Ok- back to Mary's lasagna (ha, with brain fog, you thought I'd forgotten what I started writing about, or did you forget? :) )

Over the course of the most intense months of treatments/reactions- Mary, from our Church Family, began to make our family a pan of lasagna.  Which, by the way, my family has declared to be The Best Lasagna ever!  She always includes a sweet treat along with the meal as well. 

It has been a wonderful blessing to have had one of Mary's Lasagna show up in timely fashion; just-the-day when making a good meal would've been 'too much', or to have a pan of her lasagna tucked in the freezer to go to when I needed the cooking break. 

Mary's Lasagna not only fed my family deliciously, but it also allowed me to save energy that I could now spend sitting with my family at the table, or resting , or getting at some other duty... 

Anytime Mary would get a clean pan back- it wouldn't be long and one full of lasagna would lovingly return to us.  This went on for months!  Once I was up to regularly preparing meals to a decent degree- I told her thank you again, and asked for her recipe.  She told me she'd rather not give me the recipe- because then I'd be compelled to make the lasagna, and she believed I wasn't that well yet  :) 

But, with my being able to do 'more' the lasagnas did slow- as I didn't have to pull them out of the freezer as often. 

As I said, the past few week's challenges have been just a tad more than my reserve- Mary had heard about the challenges of late, and here came a dish of her lasagna- much to the great delight of us all! It didn't even get into the freezer- it went  right to the table!  Timing was perfect!  What a blessing! 

(For those of you wondering if I'm following my 'Lyme diet'- no, I can't eat lasagna.  But I just make myself something to eat  that is easy.  Which is fine- because I'm not cooking a big meal- and can just sit with my family and enjoy being together.)

Mary still won't give me her recipe- but she is such a blessing!  Not only that she shares her talents in lasagna with us, but most of all- even after all this time in treatment, she is still 'tuned in' to our situation...she is faithful.  The biggest blessing~ 

Throughout this illness/treatment... I have camped out a lot in the Psalms.  This past week I've been lingering in the 111-117 Psalms.  Today I read in Psalm 116 "I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.  Because he bend down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! (vs1-2)   and Psalm 115 vs 1 "Not to us O LORD, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness."

It is such a comfort to know that the LORD hears my voice- in fact- He bends down to listen to me! My God cares!  I may not always feel like He hears/cares...but He is at work nonetheless- 

Before being diagnosed with Lyme- at one point, I almost died from being struck with the Norwalk virus and a precipitous Thyroid Storm-  The hospital was so full of sick patients for the mini-pandemic- the staff was very busy.  The next day after being admitted, I was feeling well enough to have had a lot of  questions formulate in my mind- I wanted to ask the doctor about them, but hadn't had one visit me since the ER doctor admitted me well over 24hrs ago~

I waited.  And waited... later that afternoon I asked my attendant again if I could talk to the doctor!  Finally, much later- a doctor came in.  I got to ask my questions-  and found out that at this hospital, there was a doctor out at the 'nurses station' 24/7.  He's been closely monitoring my situation/watching my telemetry....  I hadn't seen him, but he was there watching me, giving orders to those attending to me... 

This struck me, it is a bit like when we call out to the LORD- we may not always get to 'see Him', or hear back from Him in ways we'd like, or as quickly as we'd like...but we can be sure that He hears us, He sees us, He is taking care of us, He sends His servants to minister  us... He has the (very) big picture in view of what we truly need, and what those around us (truly) need- and how all these inter- mesh, even dimensionally....things well beyond my comprehension; I must rest in knowing He is God! 

Verses like Psalm 115 vs 1 sum it up- Not to us O LORD, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for you unfailing love and faithfulness."

And sometimes He chooses to show His unfailing love and faithfulness to me by sending a baking dish full of lasagna, covered by aluminum foil, ready to heat, extended to us by one of His dear, smiling, kind servants- Mary.