Thursday, December 31, 2015

Finding Fulfillment & Avoiding Conflict

Hey Girls, 


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!



As a kind of fresh start, I wanted to talk about the idea of why it is important to have a true relationship with Jesus before we can have healthy relationships with others. 
One of the most profound things I've ever heard Kayla G. talk about was the idea of Fulfillment. A few years ago she talked to us about the need for us to find Fulfillment in Jesus, not our spouse, significant, friends, or family. As awesome as those special people are, they do not have the ability to take care of our spiritual needs - only the Lord can do this. 

An engaged couple recently sought advice from my husband & me. As I prayed about what to say to them, this idea came back to me.
So many times I make problems in my own relationship. Problems that seem shallow, but that truly have a deeper, spiritual issue. For instance, if I feel uncertain about where the future will lead us, I go into over-planning mode to compensate - creating back-up plans for my back-up plans & having  a short temper when my husband doesn't share my level of pathological concern. At the end of the day, only God knows our path. & He has proven that He will guide our journey. As much as my husband loves me, he knows just as much as I do. He must put his trust in the Lord as well.
We all were made by God to be relational beings (God Himself is three different Entities in One Person). We were designed to FIRST have a relationship with the Almighty God, THEN have relationships with each other that is based on & strengthened by the Holy Spirit. When we deviate from this design, we create problems.

Our relationship with Jesus must be stronger than our relationship with our person (whatever context fits for you. Mine is a marriage). This means we have to talk to Him. A lot. Try something like this next time...


Whether you feel like it or not, THANK GOD FOR YOUR SPOUSE. Remember that marriage is a holy & sacred union, one that God does not take lightly. If you are Christians, God created you for each other. This can help you put things into perspective & can relieve resentment.

Even if you feel like the victim, ASK THE LORD FOR CONVICTION. This is the hard part. Are you doing something wrong? Are you asking them to carry a burden that is too heavy for them? No matter how deep their love is for you, there will be things that they simply won't understand because God made you differently - & perfectly. Ask for grace to not be offended when they don't share every opinion or feel every emotion. This will break through some of the pride we feel when we are hurt by others.

PRAY FOR EMPATHY FOR YOUR PERSON. What if the situation was reversed? What if they asked this of you? What if they said those words to you? I look at my husband like he is Superman, but I also have to remember that he is not invincible & that I have the ability to hurt him. Pray for a tender heart for your person - & for yourself.

Though you may have been wronged, INTERCEDE FOR THEM. Pray for God to grant wisdom, compassion, understanding, empathy to your spouse. Pray without bias, no matter how you feel. Don't tell God what to do or how to do it, but trust that He knows the answers.

Finally, whatever it is you are asking of your person, ASK JESUS INSTEAD. Don't separate the "spiritual things" from the "non-spiritual things - as Christians there is no differentiation. No matter how superficial it seems, ask Him. Are you seeking understanding? Jesus already knows the desires of your heart & hears the groaning of your spirit when we can't find the words. Are you seeking compassion and comfort? Jesus is touched by your infirmities & He weeps when you hurt. Are you seeking security & safety? Jesus promises to cover you with His feathers & to keep you from evil.



When we become truly vulnerable & ask Jesus for healing & not our spouse, we find the spiritual Fulfillment we need.
And we learn how to be a better help to others, as well.

I know that 2016 will hold great things for you! 
I pray that you all find true & complete Fulfillment in Jesus Christ, the only One who is truly able! 

Love,
Deems


The meek shall eat and be satisfied. They shall praise the Lord that seek Him. Your heart shall live for ever.     - Psalm 22.26

Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.     - Psalm 37.4 (Our Marriage Verse)

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.     - James 1.19

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.     - Philippians 2.4

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and glamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.     - Ephesians 4.31-32

Sunday, December 13, 2015

How to Biblically Pay it Forward

Hi Ladies,


Congratulations to Laura who is getting married this week!!
For those of you who didn't already know this about her, she has a passion and a burden for mission work. I can see the longing she has to go back to the people she ministered to and I can tell her heart breaks and is put back together by the love she has for them. There is something solemn and deeply stirring about living in someone else's reality, especially when they are in need. Not to mention when they live in a different culture than you do. I've also experienced mission work and that's something Laura and I have bonded over the last two years!

I was reminded of this when I read this verse about the Virtuous Woman...

Proverbs 31.20

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.


"Stretcheth" This assumes that the poor are far away from her. Maybe they are physically far from her or maybe they live in a vastly different way.
How often do we go out of our comfort zone to help someone in need?
Are we willing to stretch ourselves to a place we never thought we would go in order to show God's Love?

"Reacheth" This assumes that she will then bring them in close to her.
Are we willing to open our homes, literally or metaphorically, to someone who may not be able to give anything in return?

"Her hands..." This assumes that the Virtuous Woman was actively engaged with those in need.
Anyone who has experienced mission work understands the blessings YOU receive when you personally touch someone else's life.

For example, my family has sponsored a little girl in El Salvador for years. We feel so much joy in reading her letters and sending love through our words and assistance. Yet, even that does not compare to the feeling of holding a small child in Honduras, telling them about Jesus and hearing them talk about His blessings. There is something profoundly different about the experience of Giving when it is through your hands.

Disclaimer: I used to have grand ideas of "mission work", thinking I had to go to seminary, learn another language, and travel the world to do this. God has shown me what it looks like to minister where I am. Our Bible study the last few years is the perfect example. Being able to share what God has shown me and hearing your amazing stories has given me that same awe-struck wonder in God that I felt in a third-world country.
The idea is to ask the Lord where He wants you to stretch forth your hand. Who does He want you to reach out for? Think about those Gifts He has given and pray about how you can use them!

Who are the Poor and Needy?

  • Those with a disability or affliction, someone in distress. 
    • For the girls in our Bible study, we have been given a gift to help those who are  physically oppressed through our education and skill set as physical therapists. Read Ashton's Story for an example.
"... But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee..."     - Jesus, Luke 14.13-14

  • Those who are defenseless, e.g. widows and orphans.
    • Solomon's mother advises him to care for the defenseless though judgment (fairly assessing and acting upon a need). 
"Open thy mouth for the dumb (unable to speak) in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy."     - Solomon's mother, Proverbs 31.8-9

  • Those considered social outcasts.
    • Jesus was known for hanging with the "outcasts." Remember that the person sitting across from you or standing on the street corner is also God's creation. He loves them with an infinite and unapproachable Love, the same way He loves you. 
"For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment, and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, 'Sit thou here in a good place,' and say to the poor, 'Stand thou there,' or 'Sit here under my footstool,' are ye not then partial in yourselves and are become judges of evil thoughts?"     - James 2.2-4

  • Those who are spiritually oppressed. 
    • You may not be materially rich, but you may be richly blessed in a spiritual sense. If you know Jesus Christ, no amount of worldly possessions can equal the Love and Security of a relationship with Him. It's our job to minister to the spiritual needs of others, sharing what He has done for us.
"The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them."     - Jesus, Matthew 11.5
It was just as important to Jesus to give the gospel as it was to give life.

What if we, as PTs, only allowed patients with no comorbidities and no physical impairments onto our caseload. It would not make sense at all. Our job is to help those with limitations, those who are in pain. Jesus was the same way...

"They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."     - Jesus, Mark 2.17

To those who know Jesus, remember that we were once poor and needy in a spiritual sense. Jesus has saved us, given us eternity and peace for the moment.
Now it's our turn to pay it forward!

"... For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."     - Jesus, Luke 12.48

Love, 
Deems


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Gifts are Meant to be Given

Hello Girls,

A sweet lady at my church recently started a ministry with the teenage girls - a sewing ministry! They get together once a week and learned how to use a sewing machine while they heard about Jesus. After a month or so they all came to church wearing the skirts they made with their own hands! What a unique way for my sweet friend to use a God-given gift to bless those girls...and teach them a skill!

Did you know that sewing is actually Biblical...

Proverbs 31.19
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.


Definition: A spindle is used to spin thread from wool or flax (link), which is held on a distaff.

In a spiritual sense, the Virtuous Woman has progressed from obtaining the wool, symbolizing the sacrifice Jesus made, to creating something beautiful to show others the Beauty of her Savior.

The Virtuous Woman is creative.
"Oh no," some of you are thinking. "Give me a math equation any day, but not a paintbrush." For those sisters out there who have never been to Michael's, look a little deeper into these verses - you might be more creative than you think...

And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen.     - Exodus 35.25

This is recounting the acts of the Jewish women when the first tabernacle was being made for God. Does this mean that to be a wise woman we should all start spinning with our hands? Knowing the character of our Lord, I think there is a deeper meaning here...

Their creations were BLUE...
Blue represents service to God and godly living.

PURPLE...
Purple represents royalty, prosperity, and wealth, both materially and spiritually.

SCARLET...
Scarlet represents blood from Jesus sacrifice that cleanses our sin and makes us pure.

and made of FINE LINEN...
Fine linen represents God's truth and purity that comes from accepting Him.

These women were intentional in creating adornments for the Lord's house, everything had a meaning. They used their gifts wisely. As the people entered the tabernacle and admired the fine linen dyed scarlet they remembered the greatest truth, that God has covered their sin and there is now no condemnation.* As they see the ornate purple curtains they realize that, though they may be wandering in the wilderness, they are still part of God's royal family and they lack nothing. Finally, the blue wall hangings encourage them to remember their loyalty to the One who gave them Life.

What has God gifted you with?
Whatever that awesome gift is, figure out how you can use it to show Love to others, and ultimately to God! **
That gift is meant to be given :)


Love, 
Deems

* There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.     Romans 8.1

** Neglect not the gift that is in thee...     1 Timothy 4.14