I don’t Live for Bananas

I heard of a young man named Ray Hoo, who had just graduated from Iowa State University. He returned to his native Jamaica where he tried to find a job. His brother arranged for him to have an interview with the chairman of the Jamaican banana industry. Things went well during the interview and the chairman decided to make an opening for Hoo, even though there wasn’t one.

Then the chairman asked Hoo how he would like to spend his spare time. Ray said that he liked reading and sports, particularly soccer and basketball, and added, “I also spend a lot of time in Christian activities because I hope to someday give my life to Christian missions.” Upon hearing that, the chairman decided that he could not spend money to train a new man only to have him leave for the mission field. He said, “Young man, your ambitions are noble; but we want men who will give their lives to bananas.”

Whatever you give your life to is what your heart dwells on.

Is it mygoal to give my life to bananas?

All around me people dedicate themselves to bananas, or oil, or technology, or whatever they do.

Life is too short.  I won’t give my life to bananas. 

I have given it to  Christ.

In The Bonds of Calvary,

They Didn’t Even Smell Like Smoke

They had been kidnapped, taken from their homes and families, ripped from the culture and their heritage.

Even something as fundamental as their names were changed to reflect their captor’s heathen concepts….

 

I have been studying these Hebrew boys as I read their story in the Book of Daniel.

Just think about it…three powerless youths, trapped in hostile, foreign territory were being confronted by the most powerful man on earth and threatened with a horrible, fiery death unless they performed the simple act of bowing to this statue.

What would I have done?

I might have rationalized, or compromised.

 

So, you think these guys would be at least nervous?

Their response to the king is one of the greatest examples of faith and courage found in scripture.

So how did they do it? What made them stand up for God like that?

 

They Had God’s Word, They Had Each Other, They Had an Example, most of all, They Had Faith.

 

What about me? I have a decision to make today? I have every advantage right here and now. I’ve got God’s Word, we’ve got each other for support, I have Christian examples all around me, and God is ready and waiting to give me the faith and courage to do what I know His Spirit is leading me to do.

“They would not bow…..”

“They didn’t even smell like smoke…..”

 

I want to stand for God like that don’t you?

 

In the Bonds of Calvary,

Challenges Are Opportunities

I see the challenges in my life  as the opportunies in which God can demonstrate His power.

I should never feel weak, alone or timid when my loyalty is being tested. I have learned it is exactly at this point that God exhibits His faithfulness.

And, when I stay true in  the face of adversity it translates into being a better witness for the Lord.

My loyalty is often challenged in the area of my values. The way I live seems to indicate the depth of my faith.

Sooooo, my faith must be strong. I must hold to godly values. When I do this  become a better witness.

Somehow, I must be able to reflect the presence of God within.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

What’s New?

The wise man Solomon wrote that there is nothing new under the sun.

I think what he meant to say was that there is nothing in the world that God did not already know about from the beginning, and provide a way for us to hold to the unchanging truth in spite of the changes that are going on around us.

What we must do is use our God given common sense, call out to Him when we are in a quandary, and learn to do what is right.

We cannot depend on human wisdom. Human wisdom has too many flaws.

We have too many filters that have been established by bad experiences, and false information.

We have to go to a greater source of wisdom.

We have to go to the only source of pure wisdom, and that is God given.

In all of this we must presuppose that God does exist and that He has a perfect plan for His creation.

Once we can accept that, we can also have the confidence that there is nothing in this world that is too difficult for Him, or beyond His reach.

And, I am going to keep trusting Him….Through it all.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

Caregiver and/or Comforter?

I am prompted to share a few more thoughts (not intended to be exhaustive) about care-giving.

Almost immediately after posting my most recent blog I received numerous calls and  forty e-mails with a plethora of comments. The comments ranged from “bless you” to “If people only knew”.

Now I am more intrigued than ever. I thought that I had learned much of what caregivers have been going through. Wrong again! I haven’t even scratched the surface of learning of the incredible numbers of tasks of those called to the duty of care-giving.

I am now committed to doing research in an effort to learn more about the challenges so that my findings may be able to offer some comfort to the caregiver.

The demands on the caregiver are endless. I remember sitting with my father when he passed away. Later, I was there when my mother left this life. Over the years, I have been with countless families during periods of grief. I wasn’t the caregiver, I was there to bring comfort…. and there is a difference.

May God bless you today as you care for an ailing mother, wife, husband or child. It is a special calling and I promise God will give you strength. I know! I am walking it with you.

I will address this subject again in subsequent posts.

If you have been there….if you are there now…..let me know……

I don’t want you to be alone.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

I Have Become Aware

Until now I have never realized the monumental task that a caregiver faces.

I write this post knowing full well that it may sound like I am complaining. I am not! I have become aware.

I am sure that there are degrees of care giving ranging from caring for a loved one who is suffering with a cold or the flu to waiting helplessly while watching a loved one pass from this life. I really thought that I understood all that but during the last week I found out how little I knew.

Care-giving is a manifestation of devoted love. It stretches the caregiver beyond anything ever experienced. And when the patient is resting or sleeping the caregiver not only has to clean but also prepare  for future care.

Now I know why the caregiver is  often stretched to fatigue and stress. Many other emotions erupt. Frequently these emotions are brought on by sleeplessness  and lack of nutritional care. Life, as it was once known, stops. Times for prayer and devotional opportunities are increasingly more difficult to etch out.

Today my heart and my prayers go out to every caregiver who is working at the bedside of someone they love.  You have my respect. You have my love and my prayers as well as my permission to call me anytime that you need me.

I have been thinking about some caregivers who have had to go through a difficult situation  all by themselves. 

I never want that to happen again!

In the Bonds of Calvary,

“……..But Joy Comes in the Morning”

Yesterday seemed like it would never end. Sandy’s pain was completely out of control.

And, somehow it was my fault. There was a sense of frustration and helplessness but I knew that many people were praying and any minute God would intervene.

My associate, Jay Jethro, was here with us during the late afternoon and we prayed. Then, a pastor friend from Indiana, Ron Ragan and his wife Sharon (who is having surgery this morning) came by and we had prayer again. The Holy Spirit flooded the room and touched Sandy as she was praying in the Holy Ghost. Pastor Ragan testified to Sandy about his miraculous healing. Again we waited for God to touch her and relieve the incredible pain that she was enduring.

At about 9:00 PM she sat up and confessed that her pain level was at three ( 1 being the best and 10 being the worst). She was able to get up and walk and speak coherently without grimacing in pain. She fell asleep at about eleven PM and slept through the night.

The doctors have decided that if they are able to maintain her pain level with oral pain medication and she continues to have a good day today she will be discharged later today.

I will forever be grateful for your prayers and compassionate care for us during this stressful season.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

Update on Sandy

Yesterday Sandy was transferred from ICU to the sixth floor. Once again , it seemed like a questionable call since she continued to be in severe pain and could not get the same degree of attention that she was afforded in ICU. All the professionals seem to think that she needs to endure the pain. One of the nurses suggested that ” it’s just part of the deal” when one has spinal surgery.

She was able to sleep through much of the night but today is experiencing severe pain once again. The surgeon has called for a “Pain Control Team” to see if the pain can be controlled.

We were just informed that they are planning to send her home tomorrow (at least the parking is free at my house) if they can control the degree of pain.

Health care nurses will assist.

Once again, thank you for being there for us. Your prayers, visits, telephone call,texts, and e-mails have made a big difference.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

We Are Making Progress

Sandy had a good night and remained in the Neuro ICU.

This morning she was in a lot of pain again as the doctors continue to experiment with different drugs to relieve the pain. Though they had stopped giving her the Oxycondin they decided to prescribe it again.

She was on her feet for the first time since the surgery a few minutes ago. Surprisingly she was able to sit in the wheel chair as they transported her to another floor in the hospital.

Thank you again for your prayers and your support

In the Bonds of Calvary,

Finally, A Little Rest

At about 1:30PM Sandy was able to relax enough to go to sleep. After almost twenty-four hours of crying and writhing in pain the doctors were able to give her something that dulled the pain.

As I understand it, the oxygen levels had become messed up. The carbon dioxide levels were seriously elevated. The result was that no pain medicine could be administered because it would add to the already serious respitory problem.

It seems that the best choice was to fix the respitory situation even though that meant Sandys pain could not be controlled . It seemed like a lousy choice but we had to trust the professional, not withstanding that prayer was continuing  to be offerd to give the doctors wisdom.

Thank you for your prayers, your calls, and your messages. It is so encouraging to know that men and women of God were standing with us.

While Sandy is resting so is the family . Trying to catch up on a little sleep. I am with Sandy now and will probably nod off myself in a few minutes.

Thanks again for giving us the comfort that you have.

In thge Bonds of Calvary,

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