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Amid the struggles, quarrels, and trials you face in life,
may Thanksgiving be a time
to celebrate the Lord who has been gracious to all.
In life, the reality is not "whether" or not we will teach others, but "what" we will teach them. We teach by the testimony of our lives through the decisions we make. Please realize today every action you make is being viewed by others. You are either helping them travel more confidently the right path or encouraging them to walk the road of destruction. You might not believe it, but others are learning through your words and actions today.
This should give you pause for reflection, to examine your own lifestyle and choices. However, it should also empower you to understand the influence you have on the world around you. For better or for worse, you can make a difference.
I am exceedingly happy to report that Dave's side lump has completely disappeared as of this week. Honestly, I am so surprised by it's disappearance, and I know God must have done it. That's the way our God works... sometimes a large obstacle seems to consume your life one moment. Then as you surrender to the Lord, it slowly fades until one day you realize it is completely gone. You're not sure exactly how it left, when it left, or even where it went, but at the same time, you don't really care. It's enough to simply rest in the relief that the problem is gone. Praying today that you are able to experience divine relief from a disheartening situation too.
I wrote about the events that happened Dave originally on September 17th. Today I wanted to give you an update. It's been a little more than a week now. I can say that just by acknowledging my struggle aloud, I felt a release in my heart. Then as I meditated and prayed about the situation, asking God to continue to heal my mistrust or lack of acceptance to His plans, I felt a peace grow inside my heart. It took less than a day.
Then, on the next day, my husband said, "Wow, Dave's lump has really gone down." I'd shaved the area before trying to drain it the week before, so the lump had been extremely obvious against his bare skin. Skeptical, I looked at Dave and sure enough, the lump had decreased in size by half overnight. Dave's lump had been visible about four days before I tried to drain it initially, believing it was a growing abscess. Many may not know, but for several years I was a veterinary technician at several clinics and studied as an undergrad preparing to attend Vet School. Fixing minor issues like the draining or cleaning of wounds was nothing new to me. My experience in this field is why I chose to try to initially drain the wound.
As I examined Dave, I wondered how much his current situation was created to make me aware of my internal faith issue that God wanted to deal with for my healing. Over the next couple of days, the lump has continued to decrease in size. It is currently the size of a shooter marble. I continue to pray for Dave's complete healing from this issue, whatever it may be. And now I also have a peace that regardless of whatever comes in the future, that God has a good plan for me and Dave. I am honestly a little surprised to feel this constant assurance where once my broken heart had only skepticism. I know this is the power of the Living God working within me. And I know, given the chance, He will do the same for you!
On Thursday a week ago, my dog Dave had this huge lump about the size of an egg suddenly appear on his side, by his ribs. Believing he may have simply had an infection, we ruled out an abscess the next day after lancing it. After research and cost projections for simply finding out what type of lump it is, let alone treating it, it became obvious there was no way I could afford to take him to the vet. The minimum exploratory bill was projected at $700-$1,200.
I can't tell you how angry I was to be poor, knowing this potential minimum cost. The cost ranges almost 3/4 of what we live on in a month. I also can't express the sorrow I felt about the prospect of losing Dave so young (he's my favorite dog). Upon researching the veterinarian sites, one of the major symptoms of cancer in a young dog is a fast growing tumor on the side by the rib. A friend asked me, if I could rob Peter to pay Paul to get Dave to the vet. I think at this point, I've gone through all 12 apostles. Unfortunately none of her suggestions were realistic options for me, and I said with a very heavy heart, "No, I only have Jesus to help me with Dave."
I'd been reflecting on my earlier comment the entire day, with a lot of guilt I might add.
"I only have Jesus..."
So forlorn did I say it. It was as if Jesus was my last choice for healing help, and money for veterinary care was my first. All day I've been pondering my statement wondering, "why on earth I could think, Jesus isn't enough?" The God of the Universe, awesome in power, creator of dogs everywhere... and I dare to think for a moment that somehow He couldn't be enough to heal Dave just because I don't have money to take him to the vet. Or that somehow God couldn't provide the money for me to take Dave to the vet miraculously even.
The truth is, I have no idea what Dave's lump is, or if it could be treated medically even if I had all the money in the world. Part of me, like many of you, doesn't like to admit moments like this in my walk of faith. Thankfully, I've grown bigger than that prideful part of me. I'm able to examine my faults honestly to find the strength Jesus wants me to have instead of those weaknesses. It doesn't matter if others judge me as less for confessing a weakness, because Jesus said "to His own master a servant stands or falls" (Romans 14:4). Jesus is able to fix any issues I have with faith.
The truth is I have great faith in many areas of my life, but after losing Renvek, such a precious little boy, to a disease I couldn't comprehend could be stronger than Jesus, my reservations aren't in my faith in God's ability to heal that are weak. My hesitation is in my lack of knowledge in what's God's plan is versus my own desires for healing. If Christians were brutally honest (as I usually am), we should be able to admit statements of feeling like praying to Jesus is our last option. Then at least we can face that sad reality and hopefully grow out of it.
Unfortunately, I've had many of those experiences over the years, including just this past February when Gracie was diagnosed with that brain tumor. It's okay to admit when we're weak, that our hearts wish for an earthly, immediate help we can see, touch, and comprehend. It's okay to acknowledge that often our bets are on the doctors, the hospitals with great reputations, EMTs, police, firefighters, or other professionals to help alleviate our problems and needs. Sure we also include God in that mix, but rarely is ALL our hope ONLY in Him. We pray, but if we're honest it's not always our first go-to option, and many times it's the last resort.
Oh, for the faith to go to God first, every time, with absolute assurance!
I don't know what will happen with Dave, but I do know I will be seeking the Lord not only for his healing but for mine as well. I just wanted to share my experience with you in case you are in the middle of a difficult trial and feeling overwhelmed or hopeless because you're poor or unable to help yourself or someone you love have what they need. Thankfully, the strength we need lies not in our hands, but in His.
Remember, you're never alone.
It's going to be okay... and whatever happens, God has it, just trust Him!
Last night an amazing event happened. My van had a different mechanical problem and my daughter called me concerned. My sister drove me in to pick up the van, and she followed me home with my daughter in her car. While I was driving the van in front of them, I heard the strangest sound. It was like the sound of a scream of terror, or for those of you who know are familiar with being in the woods in Alaska, it reminded me of a moose or black bear screaming. The sound wasn't really a traditional sound either. The experience was so unusual that it took me a moment to process the scream was not external. Meaning, I felt the sound rather than heard it with my ears. Immediately, I got this bad feeling in my stomach, one of serious warning. Familiar with this this "troubling" inside my stomach from previous experiences, I recognized it as a warning from the Holy Spirit and slowed down and started to pray. I was on my headset on the phone with my sister and told her about this odd sound/feeling briefly. Just as we drove into Palmer, before the speed limit changes from 55 to 45, the feeling intensified. On instinct, I took my foot off the gas and my van slowed down to 40 mph in the 55 just before the 45 speed limit side by the Fairgrounds, which is of course a no passing area. Less than half a second later, for some unknown reason, a car swerved out in front of me to pass the traffic coming head-on in the other lane. I literally had less than a second to swerve to the left and over the white line, as his car came inches from mine. It swerved back over the yellow line and into his lane right behind me and in front of my sister and daughter following behind me. Mind you, this as 11pm at night and everyone had headlights. There was no way the other drive had not seen my van before he swerved head-on into my lane.
I cannot emphasize enough the value of listening to the Holy Spirit at every moment of our lives! Last night, the Holy Spirit saved my life and most likely the lives of my sister, daughter, and the idiot in the other car too. However, many people when they get a word of warning simply shrug it off or ignore it. Many talk themselves out of obeying by saying, "that doesn't make sense" or the brain starts to think, "logically there's no evidence for me to do something else, just keep doing what you're doing." But, in moments when you receive a spiritual warning, never listen to your mind. Always, listen to your spirit who is in direct communication with the Holy Spirit. There was no logical reason I should have heard that scream of terror in my spirit. There was no evidence before the event that I should even slow down so drastically in the 55 preparing for the 45. Slowing to 45 would have been the normal and logical thing to do. But at the leading of the Spirit, I took my foot off the gas completely, allowing the van to slowed to a speed that gave me the time to react and get out of the way of a head-on car accident. Because I was directly in front of my sister and daughter, my abrupt change in speed caused them to slow as well and saved them from hitting that reckless driver too.
"How do you know for certain it's the Holy Spirit leading you?" you might ask? Well, after you listen and follow through, you'll feel the release of the situation. Immediately after that car served in front of me and passed behind me, the feeling of warning/dread suddenly left my stomach. While my heart was pounding from the shock of the experience, my spirit felt immediately at peace. The event my spirit had been anticipating was over. It's funny to me that our minds and bodies take longer to react and calm down than our spirits. Once the moment of danger passes, the feeling of peace floods in to reassure and confirm the God's Holy Spirit leading with you. The more you follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, the more you know the voice of God and the faster you can respond the next time. Like any muscle being exercised, faith gets stronger and more reliable the more you use it.
Also, the Holy Spirit never leads you into danger. If you feel an unction that encourages do perform a dangerous or sinful act, that's not God's leading. That's either your flesh or Satan motivating you. Don't follow through! While God's leading has an urgency to it, and if you immediately go into prayer, there is direction given and that direction will not lead to harm. The Spirit of God will never lead you to harm anyone else or yourself.
The Holy Spirit is our defender, our protector, and our teacher. Learning to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit and discerning its divine voice from your flesh and the enemy of your soul is critical in your life.
An Alaskan Author, Prospector, Homeschool Teacher, Ordained Minister,
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