Happy day after Christmas! I pray that you all were able to enjoy family, friends and whatever else makes you happy.
Our Christmas celebration began with calls to and from my sisters and brothers up north. It continued with candlelight services at church on Saturday night, then with Sunday church service and sharing a wonderful meal with family that we love dearly. We had our granddaughter home from college and our grandson home on leave from the Air Force, so it was an extra special day for us! I thank God every day for our many blessings!
There are so many who aren’t so fortunate. Maybe there are no family members to share with. (You are ALWAYS welcome to share our Christmas if you don’t!) You may have met unexpected circumstances that changed the outlook of your holiday, as a couple in our church family did when they were in an automobile accident on Christmas Eve. Or, you may have had a change in health that changed your life, as you knew it. We have seen friends dealing with cancer, strokes, heart issues and many other health situations.
There is a common thread here that can pull all of these situations together. In good and in trying times, God is waiting for us to call on Him. I don’t know what His ultimate plan is and I’ve learned that I really don’t have to. I still have to remind myself sometimes that HE is much more capable of handling any situation than I am and He really wants to!
Sometimes, I still find myself asking “Why, God?” Sometimes, when you are overcome with grief, pain or fear, you just can’t help but ask why. I have no theological background to base this on, but I do believe that God wants us to reach out to Him. I believe he wants us to cry out and share our deepest fears, hurts and questions with Him. I believe He understands fully and wants us to turn to Him. When I doubt that, I turn to the Psalms. David cried out to God quite often. My cries may not compare to David’s, but I believe they are still important to our Lord.
Philippians 4:13 is well-known and has always been one of my favorites, but another one that I rely on frequently is Psalms 46:10. “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Sometimes, I need to just sit and “be still” to really hear whatever God may be trying to tell me.
What about you? Is your world perfect? Or just maybe there is something you are struggling with too. If so, know God is with you, even when you can’t see His plan. May He give you comfort in whatever you may be struggling with.
In His light,
God is With You Through Chronic Illness
What’s it like when you get the news that you have an incurable illness? Despite eating well and being fit, Saddleback’s Karate Ministry leader, Manny Johnston knew something was wrong. “Simple movements and tasks felt as though I was moving in quicksand,” he says. “Along with the physical issues were a marked slowing of speech, stuttering, difficulty expressing my thoughts, and memory recall.” In 2014 came the diagnosis, Parkinson’s, for which there is no cure.
“Karate training can be beneficial for people who suffer with Parkinson’s,” he said. “Karate develops the mind, body, and spirit, and it has also strengthened my walk with Christ. That walk has been the cornerstone of my daily experience to thrive in spite of the diagnosis. If I had not received the grace of Christ, I don’t know how I would have dealt with this new challenge in my life,” he added.
“Three times Paul pleaded with the Lord to take his affliction away from him. But Jesus said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, Paul exclaimed that he would boast all the more gladly in his weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest on him. Paul added, “That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10. “
The Karate master experienced the same lesson saying, “I have learned not to depend on my own strength but to draw on the unlimited strength from Christ.”
For others struggling with chronic illness, we encourage you to meditate on scripture. Philippians 4: 13 is a good one to start with: “I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me.” Say it over and over every day. It will give you the vigor you need to cope with what ails you, as Manny experienced.
The Daniel Plan is also helpful. Its emphasis on focus promotes the practice of using your brain and the exercise segment is essential to basic fitness. The Support Groups help one cope as well.
“Jesus wants us to love and help each other,” Manny confided. “When your health is a daily battle, the Daniel Plan ministry can help support you on all fronts: faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends.”