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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

God-Sightings

This phrase was introduced to me last week…and I suddenly knew this is what I have been searching for.  What is a God-Sighting?  It is Hope.  It is Hope for Life.  Not the life as is, but everlasting Hope.

It is when everything seems hopeless and God in His Greatness makes His Presence known and gives us a glimpse of His Eternal Hope.  Suddenly we no longer feel hopeless.  And we know joy once more – not the world kind of temporary joy, but the everlasting soul-deep joy that contains unending well of peace.

 I remember a journey to my Dad’s side after a heart attack. I made the six hour’s drive alone.  My husband told me one thing that I remember to this day…almost 40 years ago.  He will be OK, either way.”  I pondered those words.  There was more to learn on that trip. As Mother and I sat beside Dad’s bedside and the sun fell, Mother told me she was going home to sleep.  I asked Mom, How can you sleep?  She answered with this verse: In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.  Psalm 4:8. 

Now after experiencing the death of my parents, one brother, a son and a grandchild, I understand.  When we live in God’s love -- whether on this earth or go to an everlasting home with God – it IS OK.  That brings peace to the heart.  For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves.  If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.  Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.  Romans 14:7-9

Just what is a God-Sighting?  A God-Sighting can be a miracle.  It can be a smile that brings us hope and comfort.  It can be a scripture that reminds us of the love of God.  It can be a plate of pumpkin bars or a bowl of fruit.  It can be a kindness, a gift of time or a caring act.

Jesus performed miracles during his three-year of ministry…God-Sightings that amazed all the people who saw and knew Jesus.  Feeding of the five thousand people, changing of water into wine at the wedding feast, stilling the waves, walking on water, healing the lame, the blind and raising Lazarus from the dead.  Each of these is not in the realm of possibility for us according to science, but Jesus created both water and us.   He created the world, therefore with Him it is possible.  He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”  Luke 18:27

What can a God-Sighting do?  Being aware of a God-Sighting at any time, gives us an expectant point of view.  It is the kind of living that doesn’t look back with regret but looks forward to a God-filled future.  My Mother, after losing her husband, going through cancer surgery, and finally selling her home to move to our city to be near to us had a comment.  Every morning when I wake up, I ask God what He has for me to do today?” 

Being available and alert helps us not to miss a God-Sighting.  Being available to serve God gives us an expectant outlook.  Letting God lead our lives is not planning a steel – bound schedule that locks us in to a focus on our own plans and goals.  Being ‘busy’ is a way of life for most people…then we cannot be available to our Lord.  And it is our excuse for not being available to see a God-Sighting. 

Remember the story of the Good Samaritan, despised by Jews, came upon a Jew lying in the ditch after an attack from bandit …and helped him.    This was after a Priest and a Temple Assistant came by and walked on the other side, not stopping to help.  These men were not available to God.

When will we find a God-Sighting?  When things seem the most hopeless and there is nowhere to turn.  If you think that the only thing is praying, then you know that is the first thing to be done.  God waits for us to ask.  God waits with love and forgiveness and hope to let us know He cares.  His Presence is always there…waiting for us to realize how much we need Him. 

Once, in a Bible Study, we discussed an answer to prayer.  That is when someone with a quiet prayer commented, “We did pray, didn’t we?” 

Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.  They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.  Psalm 112:4, 7-8

This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.  I John 1:5

From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  In fact, “My light shines most brightly through believers who trust Me in the dark.  That kind of trust is supernatural: a production of His indwelling Spirit.”

When we search for God-Sightings in a hopeless situation, we grow our faith and belief in God.  And most of all, we trust Him.  Living in God’s Light brings us Joy and a praise unending in God, the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. 

How can I say thanks for the things -You have done for me?
Things so undeserved yet You gave -To prove Your love for me
The voices of a million angels - Could not express my gratitude
All that I am, and ever hope to be - I owe it all to Thee

To God be the glory - For the things He has done
With His blood He has saved me - With His power He has raised me
To God be the glory - For the things He has done
        My Tribute by Andrae Crouch - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsSlY8jEKW8





Comments? eacombs@eacombs@cox.net

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Gift of Presence

The day that our son learned of the death of his son in another state, is etched in my memory.  The very next day, our daughter, Anna, boarded a plane expected to arrive from California at 8:30 pm.  When she missed her flight in Dallas by minutes, she booked a flight to Chicago, rented a car and arrived at 2:14 am, Wednesday am.  A gift of presence.

That same day our younger son and his wife, as well as his daughters, traveled to another state to be a gift of presence to his older brother.  Our daughter helped me with the care of her Dad – even to helping him enter a place that he could receive 24/7 care before she flew back to her own family.

As I pondered ‘the gifts of their presence’ whenever needed within the family, I realized the depth of the need for relationships within a family.  A deep and glorious gift of time and sacrifice just to be there, is all that is needed.  No words are needed, just concern and prayer. 

Our church family reached out and provided lunch for us as our oldest son stopped in, and continued on his way home to another state.  Another relationship, another outpouring of love in a tangible way.  Prayers come from China, parts of United States and to the Netherlands.  The presence of prayer is powerful. 

After everyone is safely home, I realize deeply the power of another Presence unseen continues.  I may not always be aware of this relationship.  But now, with everyone gone, I realize the thickness of silence and the golden presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the true Gift of Grace, Peace and Joy.  I miss the daily presence of my husband of almost 64 years in another 12 days. 

I remember the deaths of my Grandpa and my Dad, and now I walk in the shoes of my Grandma and my Mother.  Others around me have had this same walk with the finality of death.  My husband has not yet succumbed to his disease, but that tenuous hold on to life looms before me.

Then the lyrics rise to my mind: Where could I go but to the Lord – Where could I go - where could I go - Seeking the refuge for my soul - Needing a friend to save me in the end -  Won’t you tell me - Where could I go but to the Lord.

Yes, where can I go?  God wants us to trust completely and lean on Him.  He is teaching me slowly but surely to rely solely on Him, Who is Able.
Then I read in Psalm 16:11 - You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. 

David knew the way to Peace in God….the rest of the Psalm 16 says this:
Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.  I said to the Lord, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” The godly people in the land are my true heroes!  I take pleasure in them!  Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods.
Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me.  I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.  No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.  For you will not leave my soul among the dead  or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

How can we be certain that we are in the presence of God?  How can we come into his presence and know the joy and hope that is in Him?  Reading His Word…  Studying and most of all - living His Word. 

  Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 13:14a
  Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.  Ephesians 3:12
  You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence. Acts 2:28
  There is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents. Luke 15:10
  Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father. Matthew 18:10

Three more verses make me rejoice, and greet each new day with This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Psalm 118.24
Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.  Romans 5:2-5


As my Mom would often sing… Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Amen!

Comments? eacombs@att.net

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Just three and a half years ago, I began giving care to my husband…after his diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia.  With the usual enthusiasm, I began learning all I could, seeing the different levels, understanding what was ahead for both of us.  We moved to be close to one of our children, knowing it was not possible to stay where we had been and expect others from the church to help us. 

We went through many stages from wandering, the sun-downing of wanting to go home, the hallucinations, to modifying his diet, feeding him and dressing him and giving him his medications.  My husband has been independent all his life so being dependent is not his style.

Now, I listen for him night and day, ready to jump up at any moment to tend to his needs, talk to him and listen as his speech becomes softer.  The day he asked me where my family was and where I live, I knew it was true, he forgot who I am, his wife.  When one of his children comes over, he asks, ‘Who are you’?

Then his eyesight became impaired.  Now he cannot see the food on his plate and doesn’t want to use a utensil.  He has fallen several times, usually without hurting himself, and then I need help to get him up at any hour of the day or the night.  Our son always comes to help. 

He went from walking unsteadily to using the walker and recently is not able to walk and needs to use the wheelchair.  I know eventually he will not even be able to function well enough to manage to ‘pull himself up’, to transfer him to the bed or wheel chair or the commode.

I began praying at night with my husband just before he goes to sleep.  I prayed for sweet dreams, and assured him of God’s unfailing love to hold him in his sleep and keep him safe.  He hears as I pray for each family member to remind him of his family who all love him.

As I kiss him goodnight, and he repeats after me, Good night, Babe, I love you!  I know that part of him remembers me, and our life together.  Some part of my husband understands his faith in God and in that understanding is lucidity for a moment. Those moments are precious to me.

One evening as I delayed my evening meal to feed him and get him ready for bed…I realized something.  God is our Care-Giver.  How is He our caregiver?

He knows that each of us are sin-sick.  We are ailing.  We are too independent having swallowed the myth of being #One, pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and being our own man.

When some try to erase God from our lives, they have forgotten that we are created by God to serve Him, love Him and follow Him.  God hovers over us to check every step we make, correcting our path to follow us just as a mother does her child.  Through Jesus Christ, God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell with us.  He walks with us and permeates every situation we live with his peace and comfort. 

 Jesus said He has prepared a home for us to go to after death.  When we ‘sun-down’, wandering through this life, He has prepared a blessed home that we can travel through faith in Him.  He has asked us to follow Him.  Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”  John 8:12

God takes care of our worries and cares for us and about us.  Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.  I Peter 5:7.  And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? Luke 12:28
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

 As a caregiver, my strength is weak.  Though I wanted to care for my husband to the end, I struggle with not keeping my commitment, but I know someone who is faithful.  Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.  God will make this happen, for He who calls you is faithful.  I Thessalonians 5:23-24
What can we do?   
Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.  Ephesians 5:10  Now he cares for you more than ever when he remembers the way all of you obeyed him and welcomed him with such fear and deep respect.  2 Corinthians 7:15

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.  Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  Ephesians 3:16-18


God is our faithful and strong CareGiver.  Trust in Him!


Comments? eacombs@att.net