Sunday, February 18, 2018

Redeemed

photo courtesy of Rock Church


18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 (NIV)

The New Living Translation of 1 Peter 1:18-19 uses the word “ransomed” instead of redeemed.  18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you…19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”

Ransom:  Cost.  Price.  Penalty. 
Payment.  Redemption.
Rescue.

Did you know that you were rescued by God before you were ever born? That He loved you so much He was willing to sacrifice His One and Only Son?  His Child.  For you! 

Think about that.  I mean really, really THINK about that….

When is the last time you felt worthy of dying for?  I’m not sure I’ve EVER felt that way.  When is the last time you thought that Someone, anyone, would be beaten and punished and murdered so YOU could have a better life?

Well, it happened.  In a feedbox in Bethlehem.  On the road to Gethsemane.  At a place called Golgotha. 

Jesus, the One and Only, the Son of the One, True God, came to earth and lived and died so that YOU could be rescued; so that I could be redeemed.

I know that I am guilty of talking “down” to myself.  “Oh, Kerri, that was so stupid!”  “I can’t believe how dumb I am.”  “I’m such a loser.”

Are you willing to admit to any of those sounding familiar?  Well, I say to you, and to myself:  STOP. Just stop.  Stop demoralizing the person that Jesus bled and died for!  
What an insult to the Lamb of God! 

If YOU paid a million dollars for something you thought was flawless, priceless, and worthy to be paid for, how would you feel if anyone came by and treated it like trash? Would YOU take that million dollar possession and slam it to the ground and break it? 

Of course you wouldn’t.

Then stop doing it to yourself.  We need to start realizing that we are not our own.  We were BOUGHT and paid for by the God of the Universe.  And He hears our every thought.  He knows how we feel about ourselves, and what we say to ourselves.

And He probably weeps. 

Let’s start valuing ourselves.  Let’s start appreciating each other! Jesus died for you.  He died for me.  He died for your worst enemy. 
Let’s not make it for nothing.

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

©1995 Kingsway's Thank you Music
Words and Music by Stuart Townend

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross
My guilt upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished


I will not boast in anything 
No gifts, no powr's, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer

But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Being Thankful On Purpose


There are times in everyone's lives when you just plain have a bad day.  Even if things are going well, and you're feeling good... sometimes you still have a crappy attitude. (And when I say "you" I mean "me" too!)  So I'm challenging myself, and you, to be thankful on purpose. I have SO much to be thankful for, that sometimes I need to remind myself. 


1. I am thankful that God's mercies are new every morning. NO matter how badly I screw up, He will forgive, truly forget, and start every new day with a clean slate. That needs to be number one on EVERYONE'S thankful list.

2. I am thankful that we have a wood burner, and don't have to pay almost $4.00 a gallon for fuel oil to heat our house. I'm thankful we have woods all around us and don't have to pay for wood. I am thankful that Doug is able to get all the wood we need for winter without paying someone else to get it. Praise God!

3. I am thankful that my husband is a Christian man, has a good job, is hard working, faithful, trustworthy, loving, a wonderful provider and a great dad. (He's awfully cute too!)

4. I am thankful I have a beautiful, healthy, smart, loving, busy, crazy, amazing, gregarious, precocious, full-of-life son, when I thought I never could. Miracles happen, folks.  I'm living proof.

5. I am thankful for the friends that I have that I know I can count on for WHATever, WHENever. Thank you for letting me know that I can depend on you, call you in the middle of the night (only for an emergency, I promise!)…I love you and appreciate you more than you can know.

6. I am thankful I have a computer, and internet, because it allows me to keep in touch with everyone I love.

7. I am thankful for music. It moves me like nothing else can.

8. I am thankful that although I have health issues, I can see and hear. I can walk, and talk, maybe not perfectly, but I can.  I'm so, so, so thankful for the IonCleanse.  It has given me my life back.  Thank you, Lord!!

9. I am thankful that this life is not all we have. That when the time comes, I will be in the presence of God Almighty, and I long to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant." I will be whole again. There will be no more night. No more pain. No more tears. Hallelujah! I will be reunited with those gone before, and meet fellow Christian friends I have not had the privilege to meet in this lifetime.

10. I am thankful for YOU, yes you!  The one who is taking the time to read my words.  I am thankful you read this, and I want you to know you are loved.

May we all find something we are thankful for today. I'd love to hear what YOU'RE thankful for...leave a comment!

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
Psalm 95:1-3



Friday, February 9, 2018

Today is Monumental!!

Why, you ask? Well, it's Martin Luther's birthday.  (No, not Martin Luther King, just Martin Luther. If you don't know who that is, ask a Calvinist. LOL) That's lovely, but that's not why this day means SO much. 

And, on this day in 1943, Japanese troops evacuated Guadalcanal, which ended the epic WWII battle on the Solomon Islands in the Pacific.  But that's not it either. 

On February 9, 1951, the St. Louis Browns signed pitcher Satchel Paige, aged 45.

But what is REALLY significant, in MY life, on THIS day??

It has been ONE YEAR since my last plasmapheresis treatment!!!!

Now if some of you don't know what plasmapheresis is, let me tell you.  (Warning, if you're squeamish, skip to the next paragraph!)  I used to have to go to the hospital two times, a day apart, every four weeks to have pheresis.  They would stick a large bore needle (like the size of a fork tine) into each arm.  Out of one needle they would draw out 150% of my blood volume, and run it through a machine (like a fancy centrifuge), spin out my plasma, add albumin synthesized from human plasma, and put my blood back into my body.  I have had this procedure done over ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED times in the last 17+ years.  Yes, 1,400!  If you're never had this, or dialysis, or anything like this, it's truly hard to imagine how hard this process is on your body.  And I had to have it that often just to *function*.
You can read more about plasmapheresis HERE.  (At the time of the post I could go *maybe* up to six weeks, but my function would decline.)

So how on earth have I managed to go an entire year, when normally I would have had at LEAST 26 of these treatments, you ask?  Let me tell you!!!  I was blessed, absolutely, 100% BLESSED to be part of a small, private, *INFORMAL* study by Debbie Norman with a machine called the IonCleanse by AMD.  (Click HERE to see the results of the study.)  Debbie asked ME to be part of this study.  The Lord led her to ask me, I just know it.  Well, I DO know, because I had the chance to meet her and ask her why!  Jacob said, "So we're going to meet the lady who gave you the keys to the lock to open the door to the rest of your life?"  Sigh.  I LOVE that boy. 

I thank God every single day for this machine that has transformed my life.  My miracle.  I cannot thank Debbie enough for listening to God's whispers when it came time to find participants for the study. God is GOOD.

So what is the IonCleanse by AMD you ask?  Well, it is an ionic footbath. Mmmm-hm.  That's what I said.  A foot bath.  You put your feet in a tub filled with good ol' tap water, put something called an array in the tub, connect it to the computer (machine) and plug it in. YES, we're talking water and electricity here.  That is why I can ONLY recommend the IonCleanse by AMD.  It has a 100% safety record, and it has been tested, and tested, and tested.  You can buy a knock off made in China for a LOT less money, but there is NO oversight, NO testing, NO safety record, and it's basically a glorified battery charger.

I. have. gotten. my. life. back.

Did you get that?? I got my life back! What dollar amount do you put on getting your life back??? I would have paid 10 times the amount!! I can drive to an appointment an hour away, with Jacob, go to the appointment, drive an hour home, and still be okay. For many of my 20 years with Myasthenia Gravis I could not drive at all.

I can walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes and not get out of breath.  I used to get out of breath going to the bathroom.

I can do laundry.  (Aren't you excited for me?!?)  I can vacuum.  The whole house. I can take off and put on sheets on my queen size bed.  BY MYSELF!!!! These may be trivial, monotonous chores for most folks, but if you couldn't do any of that for over 15 years???  Not even put one load of clothing in the washer?  You would understand what a big deal this is for me.

Last summer, for the *first* time since my son was born over 11 years ago, I looked at him and asked him where he wanted to go to do something just for fun.  I had NEVER been able to do that before in HIS entire life. My eyes tear up just writing this.  I've always wanted to be a mom...Always.  And I struggled raising him.  I struggled every. day. of. his. life.  

Until the IonCleanse.  HERE is the link where you can find out more information. I'll tell you right upfront it's expensive.  It's about $2000.  They have a 60 day, 100% money back guarantee if you're not absolutely enamored with this machine.  I noticed after about 6 weeks (well within the 60 day guarantee) how much better my depression was!  I had a teeny tiny hope that the IonCleanse would help with that, but I was resigned to having horrible depression my whole life. That's a whole separate post, and I WILL post more about this, but I don't want this to become a book. (Not right now anyway 😏 )

There is also a payment program that you can sign up for when you call IonCleanse by AMD.... It's kind of like rent-to-own. The people at AMD are amazingly helpful, and they all speak English!! AMD (A Major Difference) is an American company.  Just one MORE reason they are awesome! It's not like you call and get "Bob" from Pakistan to help you.  You may even talk to the President of the company!

Anyway.  I just wanted to share my amazing, happy news, that I have been able to go an entire year without the traumatic experience of getting all of my blood sucked out and put back in my body.  I am prayerfully hopeful that I will never need it again.

Thanks for reading and sharing in my joy. God is GOOD!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Becoming Real (repost)



"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." - The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams


I was not as familiar with this story as I am with other “children’s” stories.  But when I read this, the ears of my heart stood at attention.  My eyes filled with tears.  It's like God whispered right to me, as I read this, that sometimes, it takes losing your hair, or getting your joints messed up, or getting sick, or having to live in pain, or with a trach.... to become REAL.

Wow.  A message from the Lord of Hosts from a children’s book.  I always thought I was “real” before Myasthenia Gravis (MG).   I prided myself on being genuine.  But then I got sick.  I lost lots of friends.  I lost most of my independence. I had to depend on others for almost everything I needed, even the most basic of daily tasks. It was horrible.

Yet it was wonderful. I learned that dependence was not a bad thing; especially dependence on God.

I'm telling you I am not the same person I was before this disease.  I am Real now.  I don't mince words.  I don't flatter people if I don't mean it.  I used to just about panic over the smallest things that went wrong.  Now, I don't freak out about the little things in life that aren't going to matter a week from now let alone a year from now.

I value life.  I value friendships.  Because I know how delicate they can be.  I know how easily they can go away.  I love more deeply.  I love more freely.  I trust much.  Maybe too much.  But I'd rather be that way than all skeptical and critical inside.

Sometimes it takes getting a little shabby, having your "hair loved off", and going through the wringer of life's washing machine a time or two to become real.  God will take anything you have to set before Him, and make from your offering someone beautiful.  Loved.  Real.


“ ‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "
-The Velveteen Rabbit


And it does hurt.  But once you are Real, you don't want to go back, even though you may face further pain.  Because it's so much better to be Real.  And "once you are REAL, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

And you know what? There will always be people who don't understand.  And that's okay.  Because ugly is on the INSIDE, and Real is through and through.   Real is better, because Real doesn't happen to people who are easily broken. 

Real is strong.  And I am Real
.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10


Monday, February 5, 2018

At Hand

photo courtesy of whatsinthebible.com

I don’t know how many times I have read, said, or quoted Philippians 4:6.  “Do not be anxious about *anything*, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”   So what does that mean?  Well, very basically, it tells us to not worry, to pray, implore, plead, about everything with thanksgiving.

The other day I was reading this in the ESV of the Bible.  The end of verse 5 hit me like a sledge hammer.  I have always focused on verse six.  In the NIV, verse six starts with a capital letter.  Why is that important?

Well, in the ESV, the second part of verse five says, “The Lord is at hand;”…  Do you notice the semicolon?  Oh, how I love the semicolon! It is defined as:

“a punctuation mark (;) indicating a pause, typically between two main clauses, that is more pronounced than that indicated by a comma.”

The semicolon is a powerful little punctuation mark.  It means that the author could have chosen to end the sentence, but chose to continue.   It connects two main ideas. Why is that important in this context?  Because BOTH sides of the semicolon are equally important!  My friends, the Lord is at hand!

The term “at hand” means, Nearby; physically within one's reach.”  ( Yes, I know my “word nerd” is showing; please bear with me.) Think about what that means in the context of this passage!  God is physically nearby; do not be anxious about anything!  Pray about everything, and be thankful. 

The Amplified Bible says it this way: “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.”

The Lord is near.  He is right. next. to. you.  I used to think, how can I seriously pray about everything WITH thanksgiving??  “Thank you, God, for this disease.  I am so thankful for Myasthenia Gravis!”  But do you know what?  I AM thankful.  I honestly wouldn’t change anything.
 
When you start doing things the Lord’s way, your life will change…for the better.  Not even for the better!  For the best!  God wants YOU to have your BEST life.  And there’s only one way to do that. (Sorry, Oprah.)  That is through the cleansing, powerful blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

My dear brothers and sisters…I know this life is not easy.  But God is at hand!  He is with you always!  We do NOT need to worry.  I know this is tough stuff.  I’ve been at it 47 years and still forget.  God has your best in mind.  Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has plans for us!  Plans for good, and not for harm.  So how can having an incurable disease be for my good?  I mean, seriously?

I’ll tell you.  This disease changed the course of my life.  Before MG, I was a career woman.  I had a great albeit stressful job, made incredible money for a 28 year old kid, and worked really hard.  I played hard too.  I was NOT living my best life.  Not by a longshot.  Along comes MG, and suddenly I’m 100% dependent upon the Lord for everything.  Every hour.  Every minute.  Every second.  Every breath.

When you truly don’t know if you’re going to live or die, your perspective changes greatly.  Suddenly I wasn’t so worried about how much money I made.  I was more concerned about the side effects of the medication I was taking.  I wasn’t so much worried about keeping my house spotless, I was more concerned about keeping my trach super clean so I didn’t get an infection that would kill me.

I’m telling you from 20 years with this disease:  God IS near.  He IS the only way to peace.  Verse 7 of Philippians 4: “ And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Isn’t that what we all want? Peace?  Peace that we can’t even understand.  So don’t worry.  Pray about everything.  Be thankful.

Because God is at hand.