Saturday, February 16, 2013

He’s watching. He’s listening.

This year, I'm sharing my "Treasures" of my study of my "Ponder the Morsels" book. I've picked 31 Psalms to study throughout 2013. Today I studied Psalm 11. Here is what I learned.

The Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord sits on his throne in heaven. He sees what people do [His eyes watch]; ·he keeps his eye on them [his gaze examines/tests people]. Psalm 11:4 (EXB)

The Lord is sitting in his sacred temple on his throne in heaven. He knows everything we do because he sees us all. Psalm 11:4 (CEV)

His eyes watch. He keeps His eye on them. He sees us all. 

Understanding the knowledge that God sees me at all times, can be both comforting and well, scary—depending on my relationship with Him, and the activity I’m involved in at any given moment. 

It’s like when we were kids. If we knew our parents were watching us, we’d behave and do as we were told. But as soon as we thought they weren’t looking..... well look out! We’d try to get away with everything from stealing the cookies out of the cookie jar to fighting with our brothers/sisters.
The knowledge that someone was watching had a direct effect on our behavior. Knowing that God is watching should be comforting in that He knows exactly what is happening in my life. However, if I’m involved in something that is sinful, than I should be fearful just in knowing that the Holy God is watching me. But this verse goes beyond just my actions. God knows my thoughts, and my motives. What am I thinking? Why am I doing what I’m doing? 
"His eyes behold," etc. Consider that God not only sees into all you do, but he sees it to that very end that he may examine and search into it. He doth not only behold you with a common and indifferent look, but with a searching, watchful, and inquisitive eye: he pries into the reasons, the motives, the ends of all your actions. Ezekiel Hopkins, D.D.
God sees all. God knows all. God in His infinite greatness sees each of us. He’s watching... what is He seeing? He’s listening to our thoughts... what is He hearing? 

God loves me with a love beyond comprehension. He gave His son to die on the cross to take the punishment for my sin. Yet, I fall short in loving God and obeying Him. Knowing that God is watching me, should have a great impact on my thoughts and actions. My desire should be to please Him and honor Him. And when I do fall short and sin, I need to confess it before God and make the necessary changes in my life so that when faced with a temptation to sin, I can resist it. 

God is watching. What am I doing? Am I living a life so that my thoughts, actions, and motives make Him smile? Or am I causing God disappointment and sadness because I’ve chosen sin?

To create a positive day is not about doing what “feels good” or doing what I want. Rather, the only way to truly create a positive day is by obeying the almighty God and making Him smile.
He’s watching. He’s listening.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Update on Spinal Stimulator Trial

On Jan 31, 2013 I had a Spinal Implant Stimulator wire inserted in the epidural space to see if we could get a new spinal stimulator to help reduce my leg pain. The Dr had a difficult time inserting the wire due to the old stimulator paddle and scar tissue.

We were able to get the wire placed with some stim in the leg. I was able to "play" with the stim settings for several days to evaluate if it helped or caused more pain. The wire was removed on Feb 5th. 

We learned a few things from the trial:
  1. There is scar tissue near the paddle (how much, we don't know)
  2. The wire has to be EXACTLY mid-line in the back and at a higher level (T6 area)
  3. If the wire is even slightly left or right, the stim moves to the front & creates pain. 
Since the removal of the wire on Feb 5, my pain level has been much higher. Not sure if the scar tissue is now pressing nerves, or if the nerves were just irritated by the wire/stim. My Pain Management Dr has been out of the office this week, but one of her Associates was able to get stronger pain med. I plan on talking with my Dr this next week (Feb 18-22) as to what, if anything we can do to lower the pain level at least back to "normal". 

What have I learned during this time?
  • That God doesn't change depending on my pain level. 
  • That even though I cannot do anything (moving hurts!), I can still pray for people. 
  • That music with the right message is important to my "soul health" which is vital in tolerating the physical pain. (My Ponder Morsel for Feb 14, 2013)
  • That it's okay to say "ouch" once and awhile. I usually try to be very strong and don't want to be a "complainer". But saying "ouch" is just stating a fact. I'm not complaining.
Where do I go from here? The first step is to see if we can get the pain level back to my "normal" level (which is plenty high enough). Then I have a few options as to what to do regarding the Spinal Stimulator.
  • One option is to have another trial, which would be a "partial permanent implant" trial. That means the Dr would implant the wire/paddle and secure it in place. Part of the wire would be worn externally for a week or two to see if I'd get any relief. If the placement is correct and it works, the Dr. would disconnect the external wiring and connect new wires implanting the wires and new battery pack (IPG). If it did not work, the Dr. would remove the implant and wiring. 
  • Another option is to have the old stimulator wiring and battery pack (IPG) removed. And 'give up' on using a Spinal Stimulator Implant for pain relief. 
  • The last option is to see if the old stimulator wiring, battery pack (IPG) and paddle can be removed. Removing the paddle may not be easy due to the placement on the spinal cord and the scar tissue in that area. This would also be 'giving up' on using a Spinal Stimulator Implant for pain relief. 
How do I "feel" about all this?
  • I'm thankful for some answers regarding the Spinal Stimulator Implant. We know that for me to get any relief the wire/paddle has to be exactly mid-line and higher. 
  • I don't like the increased pain. And I have to take that into consideration as I make my decision on another implant trial. Each time I have surgery I will grow more scar tissue and that can irritate more nerves. 
  • I'm thankful for the stronger pain medications, but don't like the side-effects. 
Right now I'm in the "waiting room". And as many of you know, I'm not a very good "waiter". But I'm trying to learn that waiting is not a bad thing. As I wait, I can continue to pray about my decision and continue to research my options. 
Thank you for your prayers as I "wait". God is good all the time! And all the time God is good! 

Creating a positive day isn't easy when the pain level is extreme. But I'm learning that the day can be very positive if I keep my focus on what God is doing, and allow God to teach me and use me to help others. 

Remembering Me & Caring for Me

Throughout this year, each day of the month, I'm "Treasure Hunting" in a Psalm. I've created a "Ponder Every Morsel of Truth" Book to record the truths as I learn them. The fifteen of each month, I'm studying Psalm 8. Here's what Treasure I found today.

But why are people even important to you [What are people that you remember them]? Why do you take care of ·human beings [the son of man]? Psalm 8: 4 (EXB)

What (but why): what is there (common) to me and to thee?, what end, to what purpose.
Man (people): a mortal, humanity, miserable man; man in his fallen state, full of infirmity, ignorance, and sin.
That: expressing consecution, especially after a question implying surprise
Art mindful (remember): recall, call to mind, usually as affecting present feeling, thought, or action.
Son of man: the son of Adam, the sinful son of a sinful father, his son by likeness of disposition.
Visitest him (care): pay attention to, observe with care, practical interest, give a charge, commit, to attend to.

To fully understand Psalm 8:4, you have to read Psalm 8:3: 
I look at your heavens, ·which you made with [the work of] your fingers. I see the moon and stars, which you ·created. (MSG)

When one compares the vast expanse and greatness of the Heavens and all that God created, to mere man— why would God even bother with us? Look at the finite universe in which we live. We are but “ants”  in comparison to the immenseness of all creation. It’s humbling to realize that the Almighty God, Creator of all, remembers mankind—and more importantly, remembers individuals. And God know only remembers each of us, He cares for each of us. 

“[Are not…?] Five sparrows are sold for only two pennies [Greek: assaria; copper coins of very low value], ·and [yet] God does not forget any of them. But ·God even knows how many hairs you have on your head [even the hairs on your head have all been numbered]. Don’t be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6, 7 (EXB)

Can you grasp that fact? God KNOWS exactly how many hairs are on my head. That means that God knows MORE about me than I know about myself! And not only does God KNOW about me, He CARES about me!

"This is a marvelous thing, that God thinks upon men, and remembers them continually." John Calvin

To create a positive day, I simply need to remember that the Almighty God, Creator of all, is remembering me, and caring for me. 

Poor Me to Praise God!

This year, I'm sharing my "Treasures" of my study of my "Ponder the Morsels" book. I've picked 31 Psalms to study throughout 2013. Today I studied Psalm 150. Here is what I learned.

What? Who? Where? Why? How? Five questions journalists include when writing a news report. On January 14, 2013, I shared the answers to the first four of these questions. Today, I’ll look at “How?”.

Praise with a blast on the trumpet, praise by strumming soft strings; Praise him with castanets and dance, praise him with banjo and flute; Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum, praise him with fiddles and mandolin. Psalm 150:3-5 (MSG)

The Trumpet is the loudest and used  to make an announcement. It get’s everyone’s attention.  The strings are softer and more personal, requiring the strumming of the fingers. The castanets and dancing are results of the overflowing joy of praise. Praising God cannot, and should not, be contained The banjo and flute, using touch and our ‘wind’ to make harmonious music of praise. The cymbals and a big bass drum, loud and strong add to the harmony of praising God. 

As I thought about praising God with music, I couldn’t help but think of what music does. 1) allows me to express my joy and praise 2) changes my attitude to that of one of joy and praise. 

When I’m in a “good mood” and happy, singing and praising God is almost automatic. I find myself humming a song, or singing (when no one is around). Music is a natural outcome of being happy and joyous. 

Yet, when I’m in a “bad mood” I don’t feel much like singing. However, if I listen to praise and joyous songs, the music lifts me up and changes my attitude to one of praise to God. 

How should I praise God? With music. For music is an expression of my feelings—my heart and soul. If I don’t feel much like praising God, then I need to change my feelings—heart and soul and get “turned around” and music can do that was well. 

I have several artists which I enjoy listening to if I’m in a “praising mood” their songs help me express my praise to God. If I’m in a “poor me” mood, their songs give me an “attitude adjustment” and change my poor me into Praise God! The artists I enjoy are (in no particular order) Damaris Carbaugh; Bryan Duncan; Don Moen; The Ball Brothers; 4 Him; Philips, Craig & Dean.  

The music I listen to, the TV shows I watch, the books I read, all have an impact on “how I feel” and my attitude. What I feed my mind is what comes out. I continue to learn that on days I having a harder time praising God, I need to make sure I’m feeding my heart and soul “praiseworthy materials”. For praiseworthy materials will produce praise and joyous expression to my amazing almighty God. 

To create a positive day, when I don’t feel very positive, I need to listen to praiseworthy material so that I’ll change my attitude from “poor me” to “PRAISE GOD”! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Heaped up in Happiness

Throughout this year, each day of the month, I'm "Treasure Hunting" in a Psalm. I've created a "Ponder Every Morsel of Truth" Book to record the truths as I learn them. The thirteenth of each month, I'm studying Psalm 146. Here's what Treasure I found today.

Blessed are those who receive help from the God of Jacob. Their hope rests on the Lord their God. Psalm 146:5 (GW)

Happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) is he who has the God of [special revelation to] Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God. Psalm 146:5 (AMP)

Blessed: be blessed, happy, how happy!
God: the Almighty, power, strong, God of thy fathers.
Jacob: a son of Isaac.
Help: Protect or aid.
Hope: expectation—hope, by implication (of watching) to expect (with hope and patience).
In: according to, after.
Lord: of deity Yahweh.
God: Elohim, supreme God, mighty God.

Think of what this verse is saying: The almighty God, the supreme God, the all-powerful God, is my protector and helper, my hope is secure in the one-true God and that fact creates an overflowing abundance of happiness and joy.  

"Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help." Heaped up is his happiness. He has happiness indeed: the true and the real delight is with him. He is happy in help for the present and in hope for the future, who has placed all his confidence in Jehovah, who is his God by a covenant of salt. Happy is he when others are despairing! Happiest shall he be in that very hour when others are discovering the depths of agony. We have here a statement which we have personally tried and proved: resting in the Lord, we know a happiness which is beyond description, beyond comparison, beyond conception. O how blessed a thing it is to know that God is our present help, and our eternal hope. Full assurance is more than heaven in the bud, the flower has begun to open. We would not exchange with Caesar; his sceptre is a bauble, but our bliss is true treasure. The Treasury of David

I like that phrase, “heaped up in His happiness”. Happiness piled so high.... well there is no end. Reminds me of a pile of leaves... as you run and jump in and the leaves fly everywhere, and anyone nearby enjoys a deep belly laugh. That’s one thing about being “heaped up in his happiness”— those around you want to enjoy the happiness too!
But unlike that pile leaves, the source of true happiness is God, and He is eternal, so our happiness doesn’t depend upon the Season, or upon ourselves. Rather, our happiness and joy is from the Almighty, Eternal, Supreme God!  

O for a heart full of joyful gratitude, that we may run, and leap, and glorify God. The Treasury of David

When my heart is full of joyful gratitude, when I’m heaped up in happiness, that creates a positive day indeed!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Abandonment vs An Ever-Present God

This year, I'm sharing my "Treasures" of my study of my "Ponder the Morsels" book. I've picked 31 Psalms to study throughout 2013. Today I studied Psalm 138. Here is what I learned.

Lord, you ·do everything [fulfill/accomplish your plan] for me. Lord, your ·love [loyalty] continues forever. Do not ·leave [abandon; forsake] us, ·whom you made [L the work of your hands]. Psalm 138:8 (EXB)

Jehovah will perfect that which concerneth me: Thy lovingkindness, O Jehovah, endureth for ever; Forsake not the works of thine own hands. Psalm 138:8 (ASV)

Lord: of deity Yahweh.
Will perfect: complete, accomplish, in the sense of completion, come to an end.
That which concerneth: on behalf of, at by means of, for.
Lovingkindness: Beauty -- favor, good deed, mercy.
Forever: indefinite futurity, continuous existence, indefinite, unending future.
Forsake: to slacken, abate, cease, be slothful, idle, leave, let alone.
Not: nay, neither, never, no, nothing, nought.
Works: business, deed, do(-ing), labor, thing made, possession, accomplishments, achievements.
Of thine hands: indicating power, means, direction.

Forsaken. Abandoned. Left alone. Ever feel that way? I know that living with chronic pain can cause isolation. Can’t leave the apartment, because it hurts to much to move. No one stops by, because they are busy, or are embarrassed because they can’t make it better. Abandoned. 

Satan likes us to focus on “being abandoned”. When we think we are abandoned, that opens the door for Satan to turn our thoughts from God and what God is doing, to doubts, fears, and self-pity. 

But the truth is—God will not abandon His children. Because His lovingkindness is indefinite—an unending future. Plus, we are God’s business! He created us. He loves us. He provided a way of salvation for us. We are His children. He will not abandon us. We might walk away from Him and do our own thing, but God is waiting for us. He will not, no never, leave us. 

Abandonment vs An Ever-Present God.
Which will I chose? 
God is concerned in all that concerns his servants. He will see to it that none of their precious things shall fail of completion; their life, their strength, their hopes, their graces, their pilgrimage, shall each and all be perfected. The Treasury of David

I have a choice to make. I can allow Satan to fill my mind with a sense of abandonment, fears, doubts and self-pity, or I can claim God’s lovingkindness and rest assured that He has not and will not abandon me and rest in that truth.
To create a positive day, I must chose God’s lovingkindness knowing full-well that God is at work in my life and that He is EVER-PRESENT!

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Rock-Solid Guarantee!

Throughout this year, each day of the month, I'm "Treasure Hunting" in a Psalm. I've created a "Ponder Every Morsel of Truth" Book to record the truths as I learn them. The eleventh of each month, I'm studying Psalm 117. Here's what Treasure I found today.

His mercy toward us is powerful. The Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Psalm 117:2 (GW)

For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Psalm 117:2 (NIV)

Faithfulness: establish, steadfast, reliability, sureness, stability, continuance, right, sure, true, truth.

As I heal from my latest back procedure, and as I think about how to move forward, there is one factor that I wish I could change—the fact that there are no guarantees in medicine. Before each procedure/surgery I have had to sign many forms. On one form there is a statement that I have to initial, to make sure I read it and understand it: “No guarantees have been given.”

No guarantees. No assurance that the procedure or surgery will work, or that it won’t make me worse. No guarantees that this procedure will be the “cure all” I’m seeking. No guarantees—period. 

As I read Psalm 117 this morning, the word that was flashing like a neon sign, was “faithfulness”. The steadfastness of God endures forever. That is a guarantee. 

What does the guarantee of God’s faithfulness include? So much!
  • God’s faithfulness is the foundation for His promises. He can make and keep all His promises, because He is faithful.
  • God’s faithfulness is the foundation of His love. He can love with an unconditional everlasting love, because He is faithful.
  • God’s faithfulness is the foundation of His grace. He provided a way of salvation and everlasting life, because He is faithful.
  • God’s faithfulness is the foundation of His mercy. His mercies are new every morning..... there is an never-ending supply, because He is faithful. 

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! Lamentations 3:22-24(MSG)

No guarantees. That means that the person or product is not sure of an outcome. No idea if it will work. How long it will last. If it will cause additional problems. No guarantees. 

Yet, God has a guarantee—His faithfulness assures it! His way of salvation will work. His love, mercy, and grace is everlasting. God’s guarantee comes with many additional benefits! A rock-solid guarantee.

The Lord’s faithfulness endures forever—that is one guarantee that makes for a very positive day!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

F = W = GU = D = PxEE

This year, I'm sharing my "Treasures" of my study of my "Ponder the Morsels" book. I've picked 31 Psalms to study throughout 2013. Today I studied Psalm 111. Here is what I learned.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Good sense is shown by everyone who follows God’s guiding principles. His praise continues forever. Psalm 111:10 (GW)

Fear: reverence, inspire reverence, godly fear, and awe, put in fearful reverence.
Lord: of deity Yahweh.
Beginning: chiefest, the first, in place, time, order or rank, forefront.
Wisdom: skilful, wisdom, wisely, wit.
Good: to be pleasing, be (do) better, beautiful, best, better.
Understanding: prudence, insight, good sense, discretion, knowledge, wisdom, wise.
Have all (is shown): to complete -- (make) perfect, in all manner.
Do (follow): accomplish, exercise, commit, observe, be occupied, yield,
Praise: adoration, thanksgiving.
Endures (continues): abide, dwell, establish,  be employed, remain.
Forever: perpetuity, eternity, everlasting, old, perpetually.

F = W = GU = D = PxEE
There are several parts to this equation: 
F: Fear. This an action required of me. I am to be in awe and put in fear of God Almighty.
W: Wisdom. Fear of God equals wisdom, to be wise.
GU: Good Understanding. The best insight wisdom (based upon the fear of God).
D: Doing. The wisdom and understanding produces action.
PxEE: Praise Endures Eternity: The action produced by the wisdom and understanding is praise, adoration which endures for all eternity. 

Action ultimately produces eternal action! My responsibility is to FEAR God Almighty. That fear of God will result in wisdom and understanding of His will and since I fear God, I’ll want to DO His will and thus will worship Him with my praise and adoration for all eternity. 

Actions speak louder than words. I can say that I fear God. But if I’m not living my life in accordance to God’s Word, am I really fearing God Almighty? If my actions aren’t reflecting my fear of God, than I need to stop and go back to the beginning—fearing God. That begins with knowing Who God is. When I realize Who God is, that should produce a fear of God. For although God is love, He is also holy, just, supreme, righteous, merciful, all-powerful, all-knowing, absolute truth, and faithful... and the list continues.

Fearing God is the first step to wisdom and understanding, and that first step leads to doing God’s will, and that leads to praising God. The equation to creating a positive day is: F = W = GU = D = PxEE!