Browsing Category: Salvation

A Time of Sorrow…

A few years back our community was  saddened 

English: Comfort in Grief

by the deaths of four people, all suddenly and all within a week. In a community of approximately 6,500, you realize that the loss of four people (who were a vital part of the community) is significant. This created heavy sadness as we were all grieved at the loss we all felt here. 

Most people–if in our thirties upward–are usually jogged when the loss takes a woman in her early forties, a woman and man in their fifties and a sixty year old man suddenly. We are shocked and suddenly drawn to ponder the brevity of life. That probably is not such a bad thing to do once in a while but it is difficult on the heels of four deaths in a row. 

The first death was extremely sudden and the gentleman was a custodian in our schools. A good man and loved by the kids and staff as well. He leaves a wife and several children. His funeral was even at the High School where he spent so much of his time. My daughter went to school with his son and stepdaughter and she even made it home to attend his funeral. 

While preparing to come home for that funeral, my daughter also got word of the death of one of her best friend’s sister. She had been hospitalized suddenly a few weeks prior and given a short time to live. Friends, she was only forty-two, a wife and mother of two young men! My daughter being so concerned for her dear friend was beside herself. Needless to say she planned to return home once again to attend another funeral. This one was a bit more personal because she had known the family since a young age. 

The man in his sixties was unknown to me but many others knew him. I don’t really know anything about him but I believe that sixty is just too young! I have a friend whose husband was impacted by his death because they graduated together. How hard it is when we begin to see people our own age die. 

Finally, I want to mention the life of a vivacious woman who I had the privilege of knowing (as many others did) because she was dedicated to helping people achieve their college degrees. Several years prior she was dealt the blow of cancer and survived only to have it return again and take her. She left a husband, daughter and many people who loved her for her kindness and fun personality, but mostly because she seemed to genuinely care. Her life has had an impact on many because of the job she held at our community college. 

Death is an interesting process that we will all have to go through as the life process completes. It will come to all of us! It will have an affect on the people in our sphere of influence and most probably on our families. To those in the process of grieving the loss of someone it can just be so difficult to process through. We miss those who are taken at such a young age and unexpectedly. We wonder about all the “what if’s” and what could have been done differently, and all the things we should have said to that one who leaves us so suddenly. Chances are good that for a time we will change the way we look at life as we see it a bit shorter than we did previously. 

I recently had my own epiphany regarding life and its brevity. My belief in Jesus Christ has given me a fresh outlook on life and one thing I know is that it is the Lord who gives and takes away. His hand is providential and He guides us along the way. Yes, things like cancer and poor health can come along and zap us but the Lord permits all things to happen to His children. Not one thing happens that hasn’t been run through His loving hand, and He is aware of everything that affects our life. 

In the third chapter of Ecclesiastes we read from the pen of King Solomon (the wisest of men) that there is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

A time to be born, And a time to die;

A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;

A time to kill, And a time to heal;

A time to break down, And a time to build up;

A time to weep, And a time to laugh;

A time to mourn, And a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;

A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to gain, And a time to lose;

A time to keep, And a time to throw away;

A time to tear, And a time to sew;

A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;

A time to love, And a time to hate;

A time of war, And a time of peace. (:2-8 NKJ) 

How is your life today? Like me you might choose to run about, harried with too much to do—without much thought about tomorrow. But let me encourage you to look out beyond yourself today. If we could just make a difference for one person each day we have on the face of this earth,  we will make a significant difference and be remembered for how we loved God and loved each other! I continue to say that I want to finish this earthly race strong. Whether in sickness or in health I can make a difference within my sphere of influence. 

Friend, how about you? How is your heart today? Will you look beyond yourself and see others the way God sees them? 

Father, show me who it is today that needs an extra touch of kindness. Let me be the one who will do something kind for someone who needs help today. Use my words of encouragement to help that struggling one to go another day! Let me bring words of hope that will make a difference, in Jesus Name, amen.

What Will You do for Mom?

Momma and her girls 2009

My little mother (she is only five feet tall to my five foot eight) reminds me frequently of how she picked my name. My given name is Kimberly. Apparently my father was not too convinced, but mom hung in there. Being a bit of a trend setter in her day, she always did things a bit out of the ordinary. I would call her creative. I am not so sure that I understand being named after a diamond mine in South Africa but…far be it from me to argue with the one who fought hard to give me that name. (After all, it is better than Kimberly Clark, the Kleenex manufacturer.)

At fifteen years of age, I ran away from home for the second and final time. I needed an alias to go by, so I gave myself the name of Dawn. I liked it because of the beautiful morning sky. Since then I have used Dawn as my first name. When finally reunited with my mom after three years, my mother was not very happy to find out that I had changed my name but had to resign herself to the fact I was now Dawn. I have a couple of those Biblical name cards and the one for Dawn says “The Break of Day” and has the Scripture from Psalm 18:2 “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.” (which I love.) Mom, on the other hand, loved to tell people (when I would introduce her), “Her real name is Kimberly!” That really used to bug me something fierce.

I have watched my mother climb into her 80’s and struggle with her health since her late 70’s, and I began to asked the Lord to show me what part I could play in her coming to Christ and have peace in her heart (after all, I pray diligently for her salvation.)  The Lord spoke to my heart a couple of years back and said to just love, serve and bless her. Okay, Lord, show me how because You know how strong willed and independent this little woman is. Unfortunately, as she is aging she is also losing her vision from macular degeneration and because of that she has been forced to give up much of her independence. For those of you who know what I’m talking about, that can be very trying for the one going through it and some other issues that are a bit humiliating for her to contend with. Hey, life can get difficult as we age! 

One summer (mom tries to stays with us in the summer months when she is feeling well enough) on the first day she was here she injured her leg exercising her “I don’t need any help” attitude. She fell off a counter and gouged her leg up terribly and we ended up in the ER. This became a very unique opportunity for me to do ‘hands on’ care for ‘Miss Independent’. I had to change her dressing twice a day throughout most of the summer. It took four months for this wound to heal! But, in the process, I was able to care for her tenderly with that thing we all love and that is human touch. At one point I even asked her if I could anoint her with oil and pray for her healing and amazingly she said yes! When I was done, she had tears in her eyes and could not explain why. God is indeed up to something, don’t you think? 

It was fall and my program was beginning it’s fifth year and I like to do something new each new year to keep things fresh. So I asked the guys what they would think if I changed my on air name to Kimberly Dawn. (It was such a God thing that I would even go there.)  They liked the newness of it and said go for it. This was a real blessing to my mom and she periodically asks if I am still going by that name and I am always so pleased to tell her “Of course!” The funny thing is that I am actually enjoying being called by that name, as well, although I do not expect those that only know me as Dawn to change how they address me unless they want to. A little side note – my boss and former boss always teased me by calling me Kimberly Dawn now and again. Here is what Kimberly means – “From the Royal Meadow.” Nice, huh? And the Scripture is also delightful from Psalm 119:73 (NASB) “Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.” I just know this is softening my mom’s heart and I am believing that God is making a way into her heart where there seems to be no way! 

Please pray with me that God will continue to show me ways that I can be Jesus to her and that she will come to know the One Who will never leave her or forsake her and Who will love her with His everlasting love. I am believing the Holy Spirit is wooing her and that it will not be long now for her to take her rightful place in God’s Kingdom. And I thank God for bringing me to a place where I would want to be obedient even to the point of going back to a name I did not care for!

Shackled by a Heavy Burden?

“Shackled by a heavy burden,
‘neath a load of guilt and shame…”
The the hand of Jesus touched me,
And now I am no longer the same.”

The Gaither Vocal Band wrote the lyrics to this gospel song, which after a walk in the woods one morning with the pup, kept coming to mind and I began to sing it.  I was admiring the beauty of the freshly fallen snow but as I glanced at the trees they were so heavy laden with that thick weighty load bearing upon the branches.  I am sure that some of them were close to breaking and I thought of how familiar that is to us when we are full of unconfessed sin.

Sin is a very heavy load to bear, after all, the Father didn’t design us to carry that kind of a weight around!  It is a weight that will eventually cause damage physically and spiritually. Physically we hide our sin and by hiding or stashing it we become unhealthy in our actions trying to cover up our mess.  And what about the guilt that we carry around because of our sin? It could be from something we’ve done or said or we might live in denial pretending that we have done nothing wrong yet wonder why our happiness and joy is stifled, only a facade.

Spiritually speaking, we might do likewise as we pretend that our walk is just fine and that all is well.  When in fact we for some reason have a difficult time with people, you know, those certain ones who remind of us of a place we would rather not visit.  Or those especially nice ones who make us uncomfortable because they seem so clean and right. Finally, there is a void when we don’t know Jesus and He doesn’t reside or dwell within, don’t you just want peace with yourself and with others!

“Then the hand of Jesus touched me,
And now I am no longer the same…”

I have learned that sin is a weight that is not intended to be carried. My sin and guilt was so overwhelming that I wanted to die…my load of guilt was nearly unbearable! I am unable to soar bearing its load.  God created me and you to fly like an eagle and soar to great heights. But by carrying an unnecessary burden, I become handicapped so to speak, unable to attain those things that God has destined for me!  But there is a remedy…

Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart–these, O God, You will not despise.” (NKJ)

God delights when we turn from sin! There is no degree of one sin over another, it is all unacceptable to Him. And there is nothing sweeter than being released from that burden which stood in the way as a road block between me and God! No more guilt, no more shame and one thing is for sure, the world takes on a whole new look when it isn’t skewed with our sin and guilt!  You see, God provides enough grace and mercy daily for every wrong we confess.  After all, He delights in our fellowship and right standing with Him because of the sacrifice His Son Jesus made on the cross.  When Jesus rose from the grave on Resurrection morning, He made a way for us to have life and a relationship with Father God. It was extreme love, given for us!

John 15:13 says it clearly, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (NKJ)

And like the song continues…

“He touched me, oh He touched me,

And oh the joy that floods my soul!

Something happened and now I know,

He touched me and made me whole.” 

So if it is unforgiveness, adultery, abuse, a besetting sin, the sin of unbelief, you just name it and give Him your burden, don’t delay, it belongs at the foot of the cross! Jesus blood covers it and God has already forgiven it!

Visit Grace and Truth for more encouragement.

An Ultimate Sacrifice

I love to enjoy the Northern Minnesota outdoors.A adult Sandhill Crane with a chick

Now, I would do the camping thing, but unless it was around a lovely lake that is not heavily populated, I would just as soon not go camping.  And I love to see God’s handiwork when I am out in the woods.  Wild flowers and their pungent smells and the bonus of seeing wildlife thoroughly make my day.  For instance, I  saw my first Sandhill cranes this year as they nested in or near a neighbor’s field – noisy guys and fun to observe.  I hear they are making a comeback and can now be hunted in some areas of Minnesota-not that I would do that!

Every now and again Elsa (my Schnauzer) and I get to see something that she thinks would make great chase material.  But, if the truth be told, she tends to be a bit schizoid and has the natural tendency to chase, although she is scared to bits of any loud noises or sudden moves.  Skittles would have been a more accurate description of her personality, but I wanted her to have a good German name since she is a good German dog.

One morning Elsa and I headed out for our walk through our property to a snowmobile trail we use every day.  We went up the east side of our ravine and she startled a bit when she heard something in the brush.  I didn’t think anything of it, as this is common with her.  As we neared a large balsam tree, she jumped, landing into my legs.  As I glanced back, I saw a small dark thing chasing us.  I yipped and ran ahead, then slowed to look back again to see just what was on our heels.  Here was a grouse, all fluffed up and out, with her wings making her look as big as she could as she ran after us.  She did finally quit and fly off, but I thought,  “That crazy bird – if my Elsa weren’t so afraid, she could have taken that grouse down in a heartbeat. (I do walk her on a leash, however, so that she can’t go running off.)  The scenario kept playing over and over in my mind and I would laugh out loud every time I would think about the event that had just taken place.

Later that week, I was visiting with a retired DNR guy who stopped in at the radio station and I told him about our experience.  He said to me that the grouse would risk her own life for those chicks she was guarding!  I thought that must be true because she is pretty small and my little girl being a standard was more than big enough to rip her to smithereens!  The grouse obviously would do anything to distract whatever was threatening her brood. (I wish I could have seen those cute little chicks, but not at the expense of having a mad grouse jumping at me!)

In the book of John, we read a verse from Chapter 15:13 that lets us know just how prized we are to Jesus.  “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  As I ponder this verse and then look at that familiar John 3:16  that says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life,” I can see the expanse of the Father’s love for us, His children.  I think that most of us as parents would naturally lay down our lives for our children.  If they were in danger, we would do what we could to save them, not even thinking about the risk we could be taking.  In a  tiny little snippet of real life, I saw that picture so clearly illustrated with momma grouse.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vmY2ztb5xc]

You might not feel worthy of the Father’s sacrifice, as it was for me at one time, but there will 
come a time when I trust you will.  As we receive the greatest gift ever given, by understanding the greatest sacrifice that was ever made, I believe we should be overwhelmed by the Father’s love that was poured out just for us.  The Father gave His Son for you and for me and there is no greater response than to humbly receive it, trusting the rest of our lives into His care!

When the Bootstraps Break!

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Desperate for the Sonshine

Visiting over at Grace & Truth today just in case you need encouragement!

Most of us know the saying “pick yourself up by your bootstraps”–a saying that basically means “quit feeling sorry for yourself and get on with your life.”  From a worldly perspective, it sounds like the right thing to do; but it can sure put a guilt trip on those who–hard as they tug–are not strong enough to handle life and its stresses.  Let me just say that there are times when life is just challenging and stuff happens.  So where do we run when it does?

As a young girl I learned early on to fend for myself.  I developed the tendency to depend on no one but me.  I left home at the early age of 15, became a mother at 17 and thought I was getting along just fine.  However, God did not design us to live independently and apart from Him!  I continued to mooch off others and be involved in relationships that were rather one-sided because of my selfish, me first survival mentality.  I learned that if I were going to survive, I would have to keep picking myself up and moving along.

My world came crashing down around me as my first marriage crumbled into adultery and alcoholism in an effort to find true love.  I became overwhelmed by the fact that I was insufficient as a wife, mother and human being; I was miserable.  The only way I could see out of my hopelessness was to take my life.  After all, I had made a genuine mess of everything.  That became a turning point for me as, thankfully, God began stirring my heart and I finally began to think about somebody besides myself.  What would happen to my children?

For the next few years, I sought help by going to church.  I felt the arms of Jesus through the sweet women of the church who reached out to me and encouraged me along.  My wild, spirited youngest son would run up and down the isles of church and I would just cry because I could not make him behave.  A dear saint would gently stop him by scooping him up and holding him through the rest of the service while I sat there blubbering over my inability to control him.  Oh, how those women made me feel loved and ‘church’ became a comfortable place to be.

However, this warm and fuzzy place to be did not fill the longing in my heart.  I began to do a lot of thinking Nyborg  0022about church and what this all meant as far as the Bible and what role it would play in my life.  I could not really understand most of it and the more I questioned the more confused I seemed to get.

It was during that time that I began to periodically listen to Focus on the Family during the noon hour.  I would even tell my youngest son that he had to have quiet time for that half hour just so I could listen.  The help for hurting families began to pique my curiosity, so that I would look forward to fitting that half hour into my day as a stay-at-home mom.

Then I discovered Christian television and the 700 Club.  When I heard the stories of how Christ had  intervened in the lives of people just like me, I began to have hope.  I wanted to be helped just like they had been.  The turning point in my life came when I prayed with Pat Robertson, extending my hand toward the television and I received Christ as I prayed the sinner’s prayer.  This profound moment came at the age of 30.

The most notable difference to me was that the Bible, when I would read it, came alive for me.  I also learned through trial and error that I was better off to grab the extended hand of my God instead of the boot straps that kept breaking when I would pull, trying to pick myself up!

Jesus has rocked my world and the process of being turned right-side up from wrong-side down has been a wild journey thus far, not easy a lot of the time but so worth the journey.  God has filled me with peace and joy even when the road has been rough and rocky.

Friend, if you are tired of trying to make life work, will you grab the extended hand of the Father? He is waiting.  I am not saying it will be easy, but you will begin a journey that you will never regret as you begin a new life in Christ!

When You Don’t “Feel” Worthy

Do you have days when you just don’t feel like you are loved?

There used to be days when it was hard to imagine that I was really loved. Because of the many messes in my early years and the fallout, I struggled to believe that I was worthy of being loved.

Have you ever questioned how you could be worthy of love?

I want you to know that God has a heart for you!  When you are in Christ you are the apple of His eye!

“Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.  

Let Israel be glad in his Maker; Let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King.  

Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.  

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.”

These are the first four verses of Psalm 149 (NASB) and I want you to especially pay attention to the fourth verse.  In Christ we can count on the fact that God takes pleasure in us!

2 Cor 5-21

Do you suffer with anything?  Could be illness, loneliness, abandonment, grief, depression, confusion?  Please, take heart. The above Word says that God will beautify you, with salvation.  Look what the Lord has done!  By keeping your eye on the prize, and your gaze on Christ, God is glorifying Himself in you!  You are precious in His sight! But, you must believe it.  Say this with me, “I am the righteousness of Christ.”  Then keep saying it again and again until you truly begin to ‘walk’ in that reality!

The ESV translates verse four like this:

“For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.”

Maybe you are like me in thinking that God only wants perfect people. Oh friend that just ain’t so because there aren’t any perfect people, nope, we are all in process!

This process we are in could include our issues or afflictions that God uses to keep us humble and wholly dependent upon Him.  The hardest thing we can do is to embrace where God has us today! In so doing we will be ready for a promise to come, tomorrow.

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I want to give you some truth to counter the doubts you feel when you are in a low spot, when you are not feeling worthy…

Worthy of being loved…I have declared you forgiven of all your sins…Romans 5:1

…I see you as a holy one, a saint…Ephesians 1:1

…your life is complete in Christ…Colossians 2:10

I am significant…I empower you by My Spirit to be my witness…Acts 1:8

…You are a branch of the true vine, infused with life…John 15:1,5

…I designed and crafted you to do good works…Ephesians 2:10

I am totally secure…I have freed you forever from condemnation…Romans 8:1-2

…I have made you a citizen of heaven…Philippians 3:20

…I will complete to perfection the work I began in you…Philippians 1:6

Now what? Say to yourself, I believe! This is who I am, because God has said so for His Word has proved it. God will not renege on His Word. He can’t, it is who He is…”The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Will you trust God to lead you into believing that His Word is truth?

In so doing, you can trust Him to fulfill His promises.

You can walk unencumbered by doubt that kept you from believing that you matter. You are filled with value and precious because you are loved by God!