Heed God’s Instructions

“Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.” Proverbs 10:17 — Crossway Bibles (2018-05-19). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (p. 534). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Our Witness is Important

If our private lives don’t match our public lives, our writing suffers. More importantly, we have people tune out the message of Jesus Christ because of our witness. They label us as just another religious hypocrite.

One of the most significant and miraculous things in life is to heed God’s voice. It is when we fully trust and follow in His ways.

How to Know the Ways and Instructions of God

I know what you are thinking, how can you know the ways and instruction of God?

You ask God through prayer. You spend time in His Word, that is the Bible, by reading, meditating on and memorizing Scripture, and attending a Christian Writer’s Conference. You listen to God’s herald. This would be listening to sermons as you attend church.

You might be thinking, but you don’t know me. I have really failed. I have broken so many of God’s teachings. How can He ever use me?

God is a forgiving God. 1 John 1:9 King James Version (KJV) tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV) teaches, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God Has a Plan for Your Life

Never forget that God knows your heart. He even knows your most secret thoughts, feelings, and sins. God knows the number of hairs on your head. God knows everything!

Maybe you think you have everything under control. If you think that, you are wrong. Only God has everything under control.

Maybe you are feeling confused and just need direction in your life. Maybe the struggles of daily living and just meeting life’s expenses have you down. You feel spiritually broken.

One thing we can do in times of brokenness and confusion is looking at and praying for our needs. Don’t forget to thank and praise God when He meets your needs!

An example of God’s provision from my life when I began writing fulltime was finding a large unopened and undamaged package with twenty rolls of toilet paper in the middle of the highway. I stopped, picked it up, and took it home. My late wife shared she hadn’t purchased any that week when she bought groceries but had been looking for some on sale as our finances were tight.

God met this everyday need in our life. Another example could be a friend calls and speaks words of reassurance or encouragement when you feel depressed or hopeless.

God Uses Christian Writers

Christian writers are used by God to meet needs in other’s lives. We do this through the written word, through our speaking words of encouragement, and through the example of our lives.

We need to heed God’s instructions where others will listen to what God is saying through our writing and speaking ministry. When we fail to walk with God, our witness doesn’t point others to Christ, but can actually lead them astray.


Photo Source: Pixabay

Hope for the Caregiver – Chapter Eleven

As most know who are reading this, I’m writing the first draft of a book with the working title, “Hope for the Caregiver” as a weekly blog post. I’m sharing my experience and lessons learned from my ten-year journey of being the caregiver for my parents and my wife. All three are now deceased. The blog post isn’t the polished, finished product. In fact, I find myself at times struggling for the best way to tell the story. The struggle is why sometimes the voice is a little different when I write a chapter. Here’s this week’s chapter.

Managing Worry

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness is managing worry. You’ll be worried about their health and future as well as your ability to care for them.

My Story

I couldn’t help but worry about my wife’s diagnosis with neuroendocrine cancer in December 2013. I also questioned my ability to care for her. Scared describes my feelings along with anger.

Miss Benita (yes, I called her Miss Benita with the Miss in front of her name) had had stomach and bowel issues for several years. The doctors hadn’t been able to determine the cause of her pain. Then in late 2013, they found she had a malrotated intestine. While that’s not good, we at least thought they had found the cause. Yea!

Her gastro endocrinologist recommended one of the best surgeons in the southwestern USA. The surgeon agreed with the diagnosis. A date was scheduled for the surgery. At least she’ll get this fixed and be able to get on with life without pain was my thought. 

In the pre-operation tests, all looked okay. The surgeon commented that at least we didn’t have to worry about cancer. CT scans, x-rays, PET Scans, and endoscopy procedures had shown no indicators of cancer.

You guessed it. When the doctor briefs me following the surgery he mentioned a mass he found that hadn’t shown on any of the tests. It grew into the organs in such a way it couldn’t be removed. He had taken a biopsy. With the surgery being a few days before Christmas it would take until the first week of the new year to get the results. It came back positive for neuroendocrine carcinoid. 

The surgeon explained neuroendocrine carcinoid as the same type of cancer that had just killed Steve Jobs of Apple Computer.

Fast forward to late spring 2015. Miss Benita was diagnosed with a second cancer, Stage III Melanoma.

I had a pity party for myself. I was worried about how I would be able to handle caring for her as I was told this cancer would kill her. The oncological surgeon was very clear on that point giving her a very low chance to survive more than three years. And if by some miracle of God the Melanoma didn’t kill her, the neuroendocrine carcinoid would.

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness is managing worry. 

I found myself facing worry from two points of view. I was concerned about the health and future of my wife. Worrying about a loved one is a natural response. I also found myself worried about my ability to care for her and pay the medical bills.

I found myself turning to my faith in God and trusting Him to make it through each day. I am a Christian. My Christian faith is foundational for managing the emotional challenges. I find comfort from reading the Holy Bible, applying the Bible verses to daily life, and praying using the Bible verse(s) as my prayer. This same comfort is available to you.

The Bible Says

Matthew 6:34 (KJV), “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

The Meaning Of The Bible Verse

What the verse is saying in today’s English is give your entire attention to God. Look for what He is doing in your life today. With the focus in the here and now you avoid becoming worried or worked up over what may or may not happen tomorrow.

There’s a reason why you shouldn’t get worked up. The reason?

God will help you deal with whatever comes your way, no matter how challenging or difficult they trials are.

Pray Using the Bible Verse

I thank you for the promise that you will help me deal with whatever hard things are in my future where I will be as ready as possible when the time comes.

I ask for the grace to handle today.

I trust tomorrow to the Lord.

Applying the Verse to Receive God’s Hope for the Caregiver

Father in Heaven, help me to focus on today. Help me see you and your activity in my life.

Lord Jesus, help me not to get too worried or concerned about what may or may not happen tomorrow.

Almighty Father, teach me how to trust in you and let you take control of my life.


Photo Source: Pixabay

The Family Reunion

 

The Family Reunion

The setting was an old wood framed church house.
Built by a tree on the crest of a gently sloping hill.
Its wood siding all faded and weather-worn.
The brass church bell for years had been still.

He walked up the hill to the church house.
With each step, old long-past years reappeared.
Soon in his mind, he could hear the congregation singing.
Then down his cheeks streamed the warm, wet tears.

Once again, the old song leader was his Grandpa.
His young Mama on a pump organ played.
Packed on the third pew were his mischievous boy cousins.
Standing by the back door to the music his dear Daddy swayed.

And old remembrances flooded his being.
A grand family reunion was well underway.
Hearing again the stories of King Jesus,
He couldn’t hold the tears at bay.

Then he moved from the little wooden church house.
Walked down the hill on the path just ahead.
The music and memories slowly fading in the distance.
He arrived at a cemetery with the graves of his family long dead.

There will be a great reunion in heaven in the future,
They’ll all be reunited one wonderful day.
They were all Believers in Jesus,
He’s the Light, the Truth, and the Way.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
December 2015

Picture Credit: Pixabay

 

Hope for the Caregiver – Chapter Ten

God Has Our Days Numbered

We need to remember God has our days numbered. God is in control. 

My Story

The day I originally wrote today’s thought was on Monday evening June 19, 2017.  It was three days before my father’s ninetieth birthday. My wife, grown children, and I all had a day of vacation scheduled for a big birthday bash for dad on Thursday of that week. Thursday was June 22, 2017. My dad was looking as forward to his ninetieth birthday celebration as we were. 

God had different plans.

That very Monday night around 7:30 PM dad calls me. He said, “Jim, this is your dad. I’ve fallen and can’t get up. Don’t call 911. I need you to come and help me.”

I drove the forty-five miles through Dallas, Texas traffic to his house with all sorts of thoughts racing through my mind. I admit I was weary of caring for him since my mother had passed away in December 2014. My father was becoming more and more high maintenance. He refused to move in with me or my brother. 

I never thought this would be an event that would lead to his death. What I learned when I took him to the hospital was that he had suffered a heart attack. In less than thirty-six hours he passed away. He died on June 21, 2017. It was one day before his ninetieth birthday. I knew he was okay spiritually. He and I had spoken on the subject often. His last words to me were, “I love Jesus.” And I cried and cried.

God’s plans superseded our plans.

The Bible Says

James 4:13-16 (KJV), “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”

The Meaning of the Bible Verse

Our future is in God’s hands and plans.

Pray Using the Bible Verse

  1. Heavenly Father, we thank You for every day of life and especially for the opportunity of being the caregiver for our loved one.
  2. We acknowledge God as the giver of life. We acknowledge that God has both our days numbered and the days of the one for whom we are providing caring.
  3. Lord Jesus, we trust You know what is best for our loved one and us. We pray Thy Will Be Done for our (the caregiver and the one receiving care) lives. 

Applying the Verse to Receive God’s Hope for the Caregiver

  1. Have you told God thank you for allowing you the opportunity of being the caregiver? Why not thank Him for allowing you to care for them?
  2. Have you accepted the fact that your mission is to give comfort care for your loved one? Comfort Care refers to the care plan for the patient focused on symptom control, pain relief, and quality of life (this includes spiritual care). Pray that God will help you accept your role in this care plan.
  3. Have you been willing to let go and let God have control of your caregiving and your loved one? Why not pray to acknowledge that God is in control. After all, both your and your loved one’s future is under God’s control.

Photo Source: Pixaby

Seven Biblical Principles on How to Hang On

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. — 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

Seven Biblical Principles on How to Hang On

Is life getting you down? Do you feel like you’re at the end of your rope? Here are seven Biblical principles on how to hang on when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.

Principle One: Remember God Loves You

  • Don’t lose heart! – Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. — 2 Corinthians 4:1 (NIV)
  • I am what I am – But by the grace of God I am what I am, … — 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NIV)
  • It’s not who we are. It’s whose we are! – Remember our performance does not give us our worth.
  • God’s grace gives us the power to start over. – Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. — Romans 8:37

Principle Two: Keep a Clear Conscience

  • Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. — 2 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)
  • We must have integrity.
  • We must have character.

Principle Three: It’s Not All About You

  • For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. — 2 Corinthians 4:5 (NIV)
  • Your ego will only take you so far.

Principle Four: You Cannot Do It All

  • But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. — 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)
  • We must pace ourselves. Life is a journey, not a sprint.

Principle Five: Love, Love, Love

  • All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. — 2 Corinthians 4:15 (NIV)
  • Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever. — Psalm 136:26 
  • The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. — Zephaniah 3:17
  • For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. — John 3:16

Principle Six: Learn to Refresh, Renew,  and Revive

  • Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. — 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)

Principle Seven: Keep Your Eyes on the Goal

  • For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. — 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)

Remember — You’re less likely to create if you don’t face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal.


Photo Credit: Pixabay