Friday, June 29, 2012

Scripture & A Snapshot

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

I only had a blood test this year.  I figured my body was tested thoroughly last year.  It turned out that my blood was positive for an auto-immunity disease.  Yikes!  My doctor sent me to a rheumatologist (after recommending ibuprofen and a chiropractor).  What I have is arthritis, which the young rheumatologist was excited to point out.  She kept asking, "Does this hurt?"  

I'd reply, "No."  

"You have arthritis here.  I'm surprised it doesn't hurt."

I was also diagnosed with Sjogren's (sho-grin).  Problem is, I don't have the symptoms (dry mouth and eyes)...  So that's a mystery.  If symptoms show up I'll know what to do.  

The next few days I spent thinking about how my knees, elbows and wrists hurt.  "...distracted by so many things," I felt pain.  Then I realized if it didn't hurt before it probably isn't that painful now.  So I rode the bike for 20 minutes.  Pain gone : ) 

Sitting and worrying is one of the worst things to do.  I wonder if we're too smart for our own good these days...  Martha was worried about fixing dinner for Jesus and the disciples. Her sister Mary sat at Jesus' feet listening to His every word.  Jesus was most pleased with Mary.  This prayer has been attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr.  

Serenity Prayer

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Sort of puts things in perspective.  I prayed for wisdom as to what to do.   Today, I walked on a local trail and lifted weights, "accept the things that can't be changed... change the things that can..."  Exercise and prayer are great medicine.  Focus on the Lord, read and listen to His Word.  A little chocolate helps too : )

Challenge sponsored by Katie Lloyd Photography.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Scripture & A Snapshot

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

A surfer looks at a scene like this and thinks, "Surfs up dude," and grabs his surfboard. I look at it, see the dark sky and think, "Could be a rip tide. This is a dangerous situation."  I'd imagine the undercurrents pulling me out to sea.  I grew up in Huntington Beach, California.  I could body surf but could NOT stay on top of a surfboard : )  Still have to remind myself the sun rises in New Jersey, and sets in California...  It's supposed to be dark.

Fear is good when it's based on rational thoughts that keeps us out of danger.  It can also be bondage when it comes from the imagination.  We're getting ready for a vacation next month.  There's one family member we'll be visiting that says things that make me feel knee high to a grasshopper.  Every time I think about it, my hands start sweating and I get this muscle spasm in my back.  I prayed and asked God for wisdom and counsel.

What came to mind was a quote, "There is nothing to fear, but fear itself."  Theodore Roosevelt  
Err... I usually get Bible verses when I ask for wisdom, guess the Lord likes this quote too : )

I repeated it over and over and realized I was being silly.  She won't eat me, or cause permanent damage.  She's just not good with words.  I need to keep this in perspective.

The context of this verse is where Peter was warning against being taken by false teachers.  I've always loved it because it's true of so many things.  If I am overcome by: fear, addiction, doubt, belittling myself, lies about God, or other people's opinions of me, then I am in bondage.  That's not what Jesus intended for us.  

I found some more favorite verses that always help me.

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. 
Proverbs 29:25

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:36
Looking up instead of just inside, is always good.

Feel free to comment if something comes to mind : )

Challenge sponsored by Katie Lloyd Photography.

Challenge sponsored by Internet Cafe Devotions.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Scripture & A Snapshot

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

If I could make plum blossoms from scratch, I would.  But, I can't.  I can plant a seed and water it.  I can take a photo, or paint a picture.  But I can't make something out of nothing.  Except maybe when my husband and I are having a disagreement.  

God can make something out of nothing literally.  He made the whole universe : )  He made us.  There's no way I can do enough to save my own soul.  Although it is easy to think doing a good thing should give me a little boost up in the Heavens.  It's not like that.  We're not in a competition.  We all win by having faith in Jesus and accepting His gift, even when we feel like nothing.  The Bible and prayer help us grow strong and bloom.  And as the rain helps the flowers grow, trouble can help me grow when I don't give up.

So cool God designed so many different flowers, and different people too.  Wouldn't it be boring if we all looked and acted the same?  He has quite an imagination.  The ultimate Creator, our Savior.

Challenge sponsored by Katie Lloyd Photography.

Challenge sponsored by Internet Cafe Devotions.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Law & love

One of my Pastors said, "Never forget the people's pain."  After my last post I felt confused about how abortion could happen like this and how to react.  I tried to put myself in the shoes of the women who would do this.  All sorts of reasons came to mind: a young girl trying to undo a horrible mistake with a boyfriend, a family with barely enough food on the table for all the kids they have.  Despair and heartbreak.  There are other options.  Marriage and having children, used to be so easy to understand.  Now it's a topic of debate.  We have a message to share.  God loves and forgives.  He restores.  People are of great value to Him.  So much so, God became a sacrifice to save us.  

I respect God's laws and know they were given to us out of love, to protect and prosper us.  God intended us to obey the law and to have compassion for others.

Burying my head in the sand just doesn't seem right.  This song says it well Jesus Friend of Sinners (link) .

John 5

After the paralytic told the leaders who healed him, Jesus didn't run and hide.

16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
I imagine Jesus being calm at this point.  He had said before, "I and the Father are one."  But, how did the leaders miss the miracle?  They must've been blinded by their passion to follow the law.

18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.
As I read the story of the religious leaders, I imagine people who feel they need to keep everyone under control.  They were so worried about making sure people followed the law, they became obsessed.  They even told the paralytic he couldn't carry his mat on the Sabbath!!?  They should've been rejoicing that God had healed him.  Wow!  I believe these things are written for us today.  It's so easy to judge others, but we've all sinned.  Point one finger at someone else and 3 point at me...  One of the hardest things with faith is believing God can and will help another person.

This is a favorite story of mine, the explanation of how the law and love work together is so great.  I imagine a perfectly dressed man that sounds like his nose is pinched when he talks, "Teacher."  Sorta like the show off in grade school.

Luke 10:25-37
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Speaks volumes about the stuff we're facing today, doesn't it?

Feel free to comment if something comes to mind. : )

Edits 6-9-12 Changed the title and added explanation of what I meant.  Thanks so much for feedback : )

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Scripture & A Snapshot

Oops!  The actual verse is John 14:1
sorry about that!
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Jesus said we'd have days like these.  I guess, I sorta hoped, I wouldn't have to experience them... Women's health now includes abortion and contraception.  I heard some clinics are allowing women to have an abortion if the baby inside isn't the gender they want.  There's not much talk about the effects of abortion on women or men (physical or emotional) after the fact.  It can't be good for our health- it's not natural.  The News said that there are more male babies than female in some areas of the USA now.  A world with just men won't last long.  It must break God's heart.

It's an election year here.  Lots of finger pointing.   So, basically anything goes.  It seems like our President supports it all, just vote for him.  Our country has always had crazy political stuff during elections.  It's not new at all.  But this is getting scary.  I don't know whether I should watch for a lightening bolt or just avoid the TV all together.  

In my heart, I know God is on His throne.  This stuff doesn't please Him.  I was feeling a bit depressed and read the verse above in my quiet time.  It was like a warm blanket on a winter morning.  


Then Jesus goes on to say, "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:2

Jesus is Truth.  Even though He said there'd be days like this, and it's shocking.  I mustn't forget the good news.  He's preparing a place for us.  It's a good time to pray hard- for all the nations.  

Challenge sponsored by Katie Lloyd Photography.

Feel free to comment if something comes to mind.