Finding Time To Be Loved By Jesus

 



When I was a college student, someone gave me a little booklet with the title, Quiet Time. Quiet time meant having quality time with Jesus–telling him about my struggles, asking him my questions, learning what his thoughts were, and most of all receiving his love. 

In order to do this, it was necessary to find a place where I could be alone, and I needed to put aside anything that distracted me. Then, I could focus on learning what Jesus had to say to me through Scripture and respond to him through prayer. 

When I was single and going to college, it was fairly easy for me to get up early and have an extended quality time with Jesus. I developed a daily habit of reading Scripture, journaling and praying.

After I got married and had children, it was NOT easy for me to continue that habit. They always seemed to wake up before I did. As they got older and slept longer, it still wasn’t possible for me to stick to my early morning habit all of the time. I experienced days of depression when my head felt too foggy in the morning to concentrate. In that condition, it was a struggle to read  Scripture. 

For years, I felt guilty if I did not have my early morning quiet time. I thought my whole day was ruined. One day, God reminded me that there’s no law stating: you must have a “Quiet time” first thing in the morning. It’s not one of the ten commandments.  It was a law which I made for myself.

I often compared myself with well known Christian women of the past or present, who seemed to be able to do this under circumstances more difficult than mine. Such comparisons were unhelpful. They filled my heart with unnecessary guilt.

I discovered that Jesus welcomes me with joy whenever I come to him. Although time management is a helpful skill (and I need to grow in it),  he is more concerned about my heart desire than my capacity for keeping track of time. 

In this stage of my life, I can, again, get up early and enjoy quality time with Jesus.  But my desire is much bigger than that. It’s to experience his love, grow strong in it, and let it flow through me throughout the day and night.


I’ll think about God when I awake,
Give thanks for mercies of the night,
Listen for his word to me,
Rise up and follow him.

Throughout day, I’ll search for time
Where we can talk, just he and I;
In my day I’ll find a place
For Jesus, my best friend.

I’ll tell him all that’s on my heart,
Then search in Scripture for his thought;
With his Word, I will agree.
I know he cares for me.

I’ll think about God and who He is,
Think about God and what He did,
Think about God all day long,
Think about God and live.

(Poem reprinted from Heart Connections: Finding Joy Through Openness with God by Jane Ault)

 

This entry was posted on February 16, 2018. 4 Comments

Finding a Personal Tempo of Joy and Productivity

 



When I was younger, one of my dreams was to run a marathon. That dream never materialized because I did nothing to prepare myself for running. Marathon running was not a heart desire. It was wishful thinking. Wishful thinking works like this: (1) I close my eyes and in my imagination see a picture of what I want. (2) I open my eyes and pouf! there it is!  No effort on my part is needed to make this happen. 

While I admire runners and regret that I had not chosen to be more physically active when I was younger,  my preferred tempo is walking. I am at peace with my decision to walk rather than run because I believe it’s the most beneficial exercise for me in this stage of my life.

I’ve discovered that walking is the tempo that brings me joy and makes me most productive. Now, I’m  using the word “walk” as a metaphor for the tempo which best facilitates my growth toward emotional and spiritual maturity. What makes walking so beneficial? It requires me to slow down and pay attention to my soul. My soul, according to John Ortberg author of Soul Keeping, is that invisible part of me that is designed for and longs to connect with God. 

I’ve been reading Ortberg’s book and participating in a group study of it. He emphasizes the importance of living an unhurried life. “Hurry”, he points out is a quality of our inward life. To be hurried is to live in a climate of inward stress. To be unhurried is to live in a climate of inward rest.    

An unhurried life is the kind of thing that John Greenleaf Whittier longs and prays for in these lines from his poem The Brewing of Soma, which is quoted in the hymn “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”. 

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace

I love this word picture of peace and beauty–the result of living an “ordered life”. God has a prize for each one of us at the end of life’s “race” but we can only attain it if we “walk” according to the tempo designed for us.

We can never discover our best tempo by comparing ourselves with other runners (or walkers) but only by listening to the voice of the Spirit. He, our patient coach, remains with us throughout our earthly journey, assuring us of ultimate victory. Still, we must choose to follow his instructions.


Questions for your reflection:

Describe the condition of your inner life?

If you feel hurried and stressed, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what step(s) you could take to find rest.

In your stage of life, do you need to move at a slower tempo or a faster tempo?

Ask Jesus to show you what it means for you to  “run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV).


This poem is my prayer.

Jesus, show me the tempo that I must run
To win the prize when the race is done;

Release my soul from self-centered ambition;
Teach me how to slow down and listen

With an intention to obey your command—
To follow through with what I have planned.

1/23/18 Jane Ault

 

This entry was posted on February 9, 2018. 8 Comments

Comfort for Imperfect Performers

 



 

My husband’s favorite snack mix is a mixture of Corn Chex, Rice Chex, and raisins, which he mixes with olive oil and peanut butter and then bakes in the oven. When he takes it out of the oven, it smells so good. I could eat quite a lot of it. He’s glad to share it with me, but sometimes I eat more than my share. 

This morning, I noticed that the snack mix was almost gone, so I put what remained of it in a cup, walked downstairs, sat in the rocker beside my husband, and said,”I’m eating the last of your snack mix.” (Pause) “But that’s okay because I didn’t eat much of the last batch; you ate most of it.”

“There, you justified yourself,” he said. We both laughed.

What does it mean to justify ourselves? It means that we try to cover up an action that we feel guilty about by making a legitimate (good-sounding) “reason” for our action. 

Did I need to prove to my husband that it was okay for me to finish off the snack mix? Not really. He’s very generous and willing to share. There must have been some doubt in my mind about my motives.

Although I’ve been a follower of Jesus for many years, I still tend to struggle with doubt. Not doubt about who Jesus is and what he did for me by his death and resurrection. Just doubt about me. Doubt about my performance as his follower. I want to be the “perfect” follower. 

When I feel impatient with my progress toward perfection, I might silently scold myself with these kinds of comments:

“By now, I should have learned that!”
“God must be disappointed in me.”

What does this self-accusation do for me? Nothing good!  It stirs up despair in my soul, it makes my body feel tense, and it causes me to become self-centered–so preoccupied with my performance that I can’t see the needs of those around me. 

One night, I was restless and could not sleep. These words of Scripture popped up in my mind: “It is God who justifies.” They were the comforting words given to followers of Jesus in the 8th chapter of Romans. To be justified means to be declared innocent and made acceptable.

God’s message to me was that I needed to stop worrying about my “performance” and put my confidence in his performance. Perfection is his work. The following Scripture verse states that so beautifully!

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.  All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen. (Jude 24 and 25 NLT)


Suggested Activity: Reflect on the above Scripture and the following poem. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Then, write your thoughts in a journal entry. 


Jesus, thank you for this day
Holy Spirit, help me stay

On the pathway you mark out
Shield my soul from fear and doubt

In your love, I will remain
By your power, I’ll refrain

From doing what in the past
Kept my soul from peace and rest

Quickly, show me when my mind
Receives a lie—any kind

Help me reject and replace
Deception’s voice with your grace—

And love-filled Truth! Patiently
You shepherd me—faithfully,

You’ll persist until that day
When before you I display

The perfect work you have done—
Most Holy God, Glorious One!

1/29/18 Jane Ault

This entry was posted on February 2, 2018. 8 Comments

The Mirror of Truth

 



I haven’t thrown away my hand mirror. It’s beautiful antique given to me by a friend, but I’m spending less time looking at my face than I used to do. At first, it was because I did not want to see the wrinkles there.  I’m not uptight about them, anymore.  I’ve accepted them as a normal part of aging. Hopefully, smile wrinkles outnumber worry lines.

More importantly, I finally understand the truth that “skin-beauty” is not nearly as important as what I call “heart-beauty”.  God sees beyond the condition of my face to the condition of my heart. I’ve learned that an unhappy, angry, or worried heart cannot be hidden behind beautiful skin. Whether I like it or not, the expression on my face reflects the condition of my heart.

God’s mirror of truth is Scripture. I love Scripture. When I look in this mirror the Holy Spirit shows me exactly what I am like. He shows me the wrinkles and blemishes in my heart—things such as worry-lines, anger-pimples, and ugly-acne–caused by my reaction to hurt. Sometimes it’s painful to see the truth about myself; I feel ashamed and want to hide.

I don’t hide because the mirror of Truth is held in the hand of a Loving Savior. Jesus does not condemn me. He simply wants to give me the kind of loving, generous, and good heart that he has. When I receive his words of truth, he heals the hurts in my heart and cleanses it from all ugliness.

Why do I spend more time in front of God’s mirror than I do my bathroom mirror? It’s so much more rewarding!


Suggested Activity

Reflect on the following Scripture and poem. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Then, write out your thoughts in the form of a prayer. Share it with a friend, if you want to do so.


Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. (Psalm 19:12)
Search me, O God, and know my heart. (Psalm 139:23a)

Just as I am
I come to you, Lord.

I don’t understand the confusion within.
(Of what am I guilty? How have I sinned?)

Search my heart
Not, in a condemning
Introspective way, as I have done.

I’ve taken too many painful trips into the past,
Discovering only despair;

With the power and sweetness of your Grace,
Correct my distorted vision.

Cut my attachment to falsehood.
Bond my soul with truth.

1/23/2018 Jane Ault

This entry was posted on January 26, 2018. 8 Comments

Cooperating with the Holy Spirit for Personal Transformation

 



I grew up in a traditional church where every Sunday at the end of the service, I joined the rest of the congregation in singing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”. Yet, I had no idea of who the Holy Ghost (another name for the Holy Spirit) was. He seemed, indeed, like a ghost, hiding somewhere in the church. In some mysterious way he was related to God, but  I did not think of the Holy Spirit as my personal teacher.

However, in the Gospel of John, Jesus said that that is exactly who the Spirit is for those who follow him. These are his words: “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name . . . will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26) 

Over the years, I’ve gradually learned to recognize the Holy Spirit’s voice, and I’ve discovered that he is an amazing teacher, wonderful friend, and ever-present helper. It is impossible for us to develop the character of Christ without his assistance. 

With his x-ray vision, he sees the abscess of unhealthy thoughts and destructive behaviors that we hide from ourselves and others. A true friend, he loves us enough to speak the truth even when it’s painful for us to hear it.  A compassionate physician, he offers help but does not overpower us and force us to comply with his directions. A wise counselor, he does not do for us what we can do for ourselves, but he gives us the power to do impossible things. 

In my book, Emotional Freedom: The Choices We Must Make, I describe cooperation with the Holy Spirit as a dance and I describe it in this way:

The concept of dancing with God delights me. I call this dance with Jesus “Choosing Grace.” It has two basic steps—grace and responsibility. Grace is God’s step of love toward me. Responsibility is my step of love toward God. Jesus said, “If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love” (John 15:10 MSG). 

Choosing grace is about dancing in such a close relationship with Jesus that his nature becomes a part of us, motivating our decisions and empowering our behavioral changes. Here is a clear Biblical statement describing the interaction between grace and responsibility: “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12–13 NIV).

My poem, today, is a tribute to the Holy Spirit and an expression of gratitude to Jesus for this wonderful gift.


The Holy Spirit is your gift
He helps me so I do not drift

From the pathway you’ve laid out
Into lanes of fear and doubt

He tells me things I do not know
And he’s patient when I’m slow

Allowing me to try once more—
When my performance has been poor

Never does he leave my side
From his eyes, I cannot hide

For this, I’m thankful everyday—
Here I laugh and here I play

Songs of joy and hymns of praise
Reflecting on your splendid ways

Jesus, you are purest Light
In your presence, I delight

Of your goodness, let me tell
In every virtue, you excel

Beyond measure is your grace
How I long to see your face

Lord, in my remaining days
May what I do reflect your ways

May who I am resemble you
Holy Spirit, keep me true

1/12/2018 Jane Ault


Questions for Reflection

  1. In your “dance of choosing grace”, which step are you stronger in? receiving grace or accepting responsibility
  2. If you have difficulty receiving grace, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what the barriers might be.
  3. If you have difficulty accepting responsibility, ask the Holy Spirit to show you who he might have in mind to help you. 

 

 

This entry was posted on January 16, 2018. 3 Comments

What is God Calling You to Create in 2018?

 



“I’m not creative like you are; I could never write a poem.” 

When someone says something like that to me, I feel very sad. Not because I expect everyone to love writing poetry or to have the ability to do so, but because of what that statement implies.

At the very least, it implies these two things: 1) creativity is a genetic trait, which a few people inherit and most do not. 2) In order for me to be creative, I must be like some “recognized” creative personality and mimic what that person does. God makes no clones.

These are self-damaging and God-dishonoring lies. They keep us from developing the creative gift that each one of us has been given. And they keep us from connecting with the supportive people we need in our lives in order to receive affirmation, instruction, and not become discouraged. 

I’m immensely grateful for the teachers, counselors, mentors, and friends that God has given me over the years. Without them, I would never have written much. Without them, I would not have had the courage to publish anything. Without them, I would have thrown out valuable manuscripts. 

Without their help, I would not have recognized my own creative gift or even believed that I had one.  I hope that this year you will believe that you are a creative person and that you will develop your creativity for your own enjoyment, for the blessing of others, and for the glory of God. 

As usual, I can best say these things through the words of a poem. The word “poem” is a metaphor for who you are–a magnificent creation of God.


God took a simple speck of dust
And with his breath, fashioned us.
With joy, he viewed his finished task—
created beauty, pure, unmasked.

Though we’ve fallen from that place
God forms anew, with saving grace.
In hope, our wounded spirits rise
as he with faith anoints our eyes.

Oh, hallelujah, praise the Lamb
God’s happy poem of love, I am.
He gives us each a special name.
We are alike, yet not the same.

Each one of us is one of His.
May we know unhindered bliss,
God’s fellowship throughout our days,
His holiness, in all our ways.

He stamped his image on YOUR soul.
May you reach his chosen goal
that when before His throne you stand
with joy, you’ll touch His pierced hand.

And hear him say, “My child, well done!”
“You look exactly like my Son.”
“I like your work, your finished “poem”.
“Come in my child, welcome home.”


Questions for your reflection:
1) What is your creative gift?
2) In what way(s)have you developed it?
3) What is God calling you create this year?
4) Who are the people that you will look to for affirmation, support, and accountability?

This entry was posted on January 12, 2018. 6 Comments

How to Not “Lose Heart”


My husband and I have back problems, and it’s been a challenge to find a bed in which we can comfortably sleep. For several months, we’ve been playing “musical beds”–similar to the game of musical chairs.  Finally, I think we’ve come up with the solution that will enable both of us to sleep with relative comfort.

We also are renewing our commitment to walk and to do the exercises we must do to strengthen our bodies. Maintaining physical fitness not only benefits us but also honors God. Nevertheless, the reality is that our physical bodies are “wearing away” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

This could cause us to become discouraged–lose heart. But we need not do so, for at the same time “our inner person is being renewed”  . . . This is our focus: “we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4: 17-18).

Focusing on the unseen but lasting treasures of God’s kingdom rather than the temporary displeasures of aging motivates us to continue doing the work that God has called us to do. It’s making a difference in how we spend our retirement years, as reflected in the following poem.


When the beauty of youth has diminished
And the strength of my back is gone;
When my reaction time is slower
And my eyes can’t read the fine print;

When my children are standing above me
And they no longer need my help;
In the challenging years called “retirement”—
Is there something God’s calling me to?

There are words yet to be spoken
Of wisdom, of comfort, of hope;
There are songs yet to be written
Of encouragement, love, and praise;

There are prayers yet to be uttered,
For those lost, those tired, those weak;
There are promises yet to be kept
Unto him who strengthens my days.

When reading and learning take longer
And I can’t remember some names;
When my joints have lost some cushioning
And my diet is somewhat restricted;

When the world around me is different,
And I don’t understand all the words;
In the challenging years called “retirement”—
Is there something God’s calling me to?

There’s a world needing forgiveness—
Those dying who still haven’t heard;
There’s a world needing God’s mercy—
Those lonely, those weary, those hurt.

There’s a world bent toward destruction—
Those lost who need to come home;
There’s a God waiting in heaven
For a church to obey his command.

So whatever may be my calling,
I will pursue it with all of my heart.
With my eyes focused on Jesus,
I will finish that chosen work.


Questions for Reflection:

  • What has God gifted you for and called you to do?
  • In the stage of life that you are now in, how can you best accomplish that work?
  • In what ways are you renewing your spirit so that you do not become discouraged?
This entry was posted on January 5, 2018. 10 Comments

Not Yet Sages . . . a Challenge to Keep Learning

 


 

 


You will understand it better by and by was one of my father’s favorite expressions. Now, I understand more clearly what he was talking about. Hopefully, I’ve gained a bit of wisdom. The Old Testament saint, Job,  said, “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.” 

Unfortunately, wisdom is not automatically connected with aging. Nor is the number of megabits of information stored in our brains an accurate measurement of the wisdom we possess. Wisdom is not necessarily related to IQ. The kind of learning that makes a difference is not how much we know but what we do with what we know. 

 Wise people, according to the Gospel of Luke, are the ones who are just, righteous or godly.  (Luke 1:16,17) And, according to Jesus, greatness is related to being childlike. (Matthew 18)

Yet, keeping up with the changes and understanding how to navigate my way in an ever-changing world is still brings me some anxiety. Apparently, this is a common fear. (My post with the most views for 2017 was Freedom From the Fear of Aging. )

My plan for 2018 is the keep on learning, to gain a wisdom by diligently putting into practice the knowledge that I, by diligent study and God’s grace, have been given. I do not want to be included with the leaders whom Dallas Willard, in his book The Great Omission, says “do not finish well”. 

In the following poem, I express something of what that means for those of us who are seniors. In future posts, I will share more about what it takes to “finish well”.


 Lord, as we face many changes
We need help; we’re not yet sages.
We can’t assume that we’ve made it
And need no more to be aided.

When our bodies don’t feel as strong,
We find that we can’t get along
On just your word for yesterday;
We need fresh insight for today.

Might there be new ways we could think;
Yet with the old remain in sync?
Could we adapt and learn to say
What still is true another way?

Before we judge the younger folk
We need for you to take a look
At us! Is our journey complete?
Assuming so would bring us defeat.

Perhaps there’s more than just our spine
That can get swollen—out of line.
Oh Lord, we greatly need your grace—
Your hand to help us in this space—

This short gap between birth and death
In which we’ve been given breath.
We thank you, Lord, for all of life–
Love, laughter, hardship, strife.

You’ve brought us safely through each storm,
And we will trust in your strong arm
To keep us in our senior years
Steadfast in faith and free of cares.

10/5/2017 Jane Ault

Christmas Irony

 


My husband John has written some amazing poems. He graciously agreed to let me share the following one, today.

It’s one of my favorites, portraying a more realistic concept of the birth of Christ than what most of our Christmas cards and programs depict.

More of his poems can be found here


 Christmas Irony

Shepherds
Palestinian rednecks, society’s repugnant rejects with reputations so revolting they were 
forbidden to testify in courts of law.
Unlikely witnesses, chosen by God to catch a glimpse of His Glory
And testify in the world’s court to the birth of His Son.

Magicians from Iraq
Hated and feared by Jews then as much as now.
Following stars, not controlling, simply confessing a king is born.
Signs engraved in the expanding explosive universe. 
Trajectories targeted together and mapped out by the Creator Designer billions of years ago,
So that ants walking on this speck of dust could look to the heavens and know
That God, not Hallmark, cared enough to send the very best.

Herod
Puppet King, arrogant, pompous,
Filled with greed and lust for power. 
Matched only by his fear. 
Fear that what he had stolen from others would be ripped from his own hands
By someone more wicked and crafty than himself.
Having killed his wife and three of his sons, unjustified paranoia,
Caesar said, “It’s safer to be Herod’s pig than his son.”
Nothing would stop his blood-stained conscience from killing dozens of babes
In hope of destroying the coming Messiah.

Caesar Augustus.
Ruler of the Empire
Satisfying his every whim,
Conducting a world-wide census to appease his desires for more power and wealth.
All the time, not knowing that the Real Emperor was channeling Caesar’s greed–disrupting the schedule of everyone, simply to guarantee the birthplace of this coming 
King.

Joseph
A just man, but just a man.
Torn between his love and pain.
Unwilling to find revenge,
Equally unwilling to parent someone else’s supposed one-night stand.
He accepted the unacceptable. Believed the unbelievable,
And faded back into anonymity
Faithfully playing out his bit part to honor Divinity.

Mary
A young woman mature in faith far beyond her years,
Accepting the Eternal Seed that would fill millions of hearts with hope and joy,
And hers with pain.

The Innkeeper
Unfairly maligned, providing what he could.
Even his nice rooms being more like a stable than a Holiday Inn.
Helping satisfy God’s sense of humor and irony:
The Savior and King of the Universe, born in a stable.

This entry was posted on December 15, 2017. 8 Comments

What Would Happen if Christmas Meant . . .

 



What would happen in a world like this
If we stopped cursing and started to bless

Those who have hurt us, those we fear?
Who would do this? Who would dare?

What would happen if we took a stand
Against injustice in our land

By looking first at our own hearts?
Who could then throw judgment darts?

What would happen if we de-cluttered our homes,
Sang more songs and wrote more poems,

Listened far more and said far less?
What would we gain? What would we miss?

What would happen if we were less prepared
For our own emergency and we shared

Half of our stash with those who had none?
How would we feel when we were done?

What would happen if we took down fences,
Stopped looking through distorted lenses,

Saw every child as God’s creation?
What would happen in our world and nation?

What would happen if Christmas meant
A lifestyle change instead of an event?


Christmas Gift Suggestion

During Christmas season, at least for a day, many people set aside anger, temporarily let go of grudges, and forgive those who’ve hurt them.  Making this a lifestyle change is more challenging. 

It requires cooperation with God.  My hashtag “choosing grace” refers to the effective combination of interaction with God’s grace and personal responsibility which brings about lasting change. 

Chapter seven in Emotional Freedom (“A Dynamic Dance with the Gardener”) explains what it means to “Choose Grace.” 

When we are choosing, day-by-day, to live in a close relationship with Jesus—relying on his favor, depending on him to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, and trusting him to meet our needs—God’s grace empowers us so that we can overcome our destructive and addictive desires and emotions. (p.51 Emotional Freedom)

This book would be a great gift for those who want to start the New Year by learning how to habitually

(1) choose self-control instead of destructive anger,

(2) move from resentment into joy and 

(3) extend mercy instead of clinging to unforgiveness. 

Buy here.

 

 

 

This entry was posted on December 4, 2017. 6 Comments

Our Ultimate Hope

 



Around Thanksgiving Day, I asked my grandchildren to send me a Christmas wish list. They have great expectations and hope to receive everything on their list. I’ve been working to fulfill some of their desires. Hopefully, they will not be disappointed.

Guess what! By next Christmas, they will probably be tired of or have outgrown this year’s gifts and want something else. The best gift that I can offer my grandchildren is the gift of myself.

The gift of himself is what Jesus brought to the world at Christmas.


Around 2000 years ago, near the time of Jesus’ birth, the world was about as messed up as it is today, yet the people of Israel had great expectations. They were waiting for a promised Messiah—a King who would make life easier on this earth, according to this O.T. promise:

“The heir to David’s throne will come,
and he will rule over the Gentiles.
They will place their hope on him” (Romans 15:12 NLT).

Their hope was that Jesus would overthrow the corrupt government and set them free them from poverty, unjust taxes, and bondage to the Roman Empire.

Guess what! He could have given them these things but that would not have brought them ultimate joy. 

Instead of a King who would change the world around them, Jesus came as a Savior to change the “world” within them. This is reflected in the angel’s word to Joseph concerning the Virgin Mary:

“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”(Matthew 1:21 NLT).

Today, Jesus still offers to change our inner world—to set us free from our own destructive urges which make us slaves to the devil and the world.

When we put our hope in him, we will not be disappointed. As Jesus’ follower, Paul said,“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 5:5 NET)

Jesus’ disciple John tells us that when we invite him to rule our lives, he transforms us so that we become like him. He said, “Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that whenever it is revealed we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is. And everyone who has this hope focused on him purifies himself, just as Jesus is pure” (1 John 3:2, 3 NET).

This motivates us to action. And even though we are imperfect in our behavior, we know that when Jesus returns or we go to be with him, he will finish the work that he’s started in us. 

Jesus came once as Savior to change our inner world, and he is coming again as a King to transform our outer world.

When we participate in communion, we are reminded of this: He said,“ For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.” (1 Cor. 11:26 NLT)


OUR ULTIMATE HOPE

No more sorrow, no more pain
No more failure, no more shame

No more sickness, no more death
No more robbery or threat

No miscarriage or stillbirth
No pollution on the earth

No more tears, no depression
No slavery or oppression

No abuse, no betrayal
No government, unstable

No injustice, not one liar
No treacherous advisor

No more struggles with the flesh
No more thoughts, devilish

This our hope and strong assurance
Christ will return and keep his promise

11/28/17 Jane Ault
This entry was posted on December 1, 2017. 6 Comments

Gratitude for Hearing

 



In her nineties, my husband’s grandmother was still in fairly good health. But she had did not hear very well. Feeling frustrated about this one day, John said, “Grandma, you need some hearing aids.”

                “I have some,” she said.

                “Where are they?”

                “Right here in my pocket,” she said, as she pulled them out.

At the time, I felt annoyed at Grandma for not wearing her hearing aids. Now, I understand why she put them in her pocket. A few years ago, I did the same thing. Not long after purchasing a set of hearing aids, I discovered they were not the “magical” solution that I thought they would be. So, I quit wearing them and stored them in my jewelry box.

Sometime later I flew to California to visit my grandchildren and sadly discovered that I was probably missing 75% of what they said. I felt very sad–isolated like a lone heron on a rock in the wilderness.

After talking with a friend who has hearing loss and discovering that well-fit hearing aids made a huge difference for her, I decided to try again. With updated hearing aids my hearing, although not perfect, is much improved. This brings me joy because participating in conversations is much easier.

Even if your hearing is perfect, I hope that you will read my blog so that you can encourage your friends or relatives who do have hearing losses to accept the reality of it and seek help.

And if you do have some hearing loss, I hope that you will not feel embarrassed about it. I admit that I have been; that’s why it’s taken me a year to publish this blog. I’ve decided to no longer hide the truth. It’s no different than wearing glasses.

Hearing loss is quite common. These are the statistics.  About 30-35 percent of adults between the ages of 65 and 75 years have a hearing loss. It is estimated that 40-50 percent of people 75 and older have a hearing loss. 

These are the symptoms of hearing loss

  • The speech of others seems mumbled or slurred.
  • High-pitched sounds such as “s” and “th” are difficult to hear and tell apart.
  • Conversations are difficult to understand, especially when there is background noise.
  • A man’s voice is easier to hear than the higher pitches of a woman’s voice.
  • Certain sounds seem annoying or overly loud.
  • Tinnitus (a ringing, roaring, or hissing sound in one or both ears) may also occur.

These are potential effects of hearing loss.

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Social isolation
  • An increased risk of dementia

As a senior, I am doing all I can to avoid these effects of hearing loss.  While I believe that God still performs miracles and he could restore my hearing, he hasn’t instructed me to throw out my hearing aids. I’m thankful for them.

I’m thankful for the knowledge and understanding that he’s given to physicians and hearing specialists, and I’m wearing my hearing aids so that I can participate in conversations with my neighbors, friends, and relatives. 

If you think you have some hearing loss, I hope that you will admit it. You might even add “hearing aids” to your Christmas wish list. If you have perfect hearing, you might assist some friend or relative in purchasing hearing aids.


Owning hearing aids does not automatically mean that I can hear well. I must choose to place them in my ears. Although I’ve been known to put them in my pocket like John’s grandma, most of the time I put them in my ears. 

Still, my hearing aids will not work if they blocked by ear wax. I must keep them clean.

It’s wonderful to be able to hear with my physical ears, but there’s another kind of hearing that’s much more valuable–the ability to hear with my spiritual ears. That too is a choice. Jesus indicated this when he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Mark 4:9)

Later in this conversation, Jesus said that our spiritual ears can also become blocked–not by hardened wax but by a hardened heart. According to the writer of Hebrews, the primary cause of a hardened heart is the unbelief that causes us to distrust God; consequently, we get stuck in cycles of destructive (sinful) behavior. (Hebrews 3:12, 13)


When we chose spiritual hardness of hearing and hardness of heart, we often get stuck in bitter resentment. But God who is merciful and forgiving offers us freedom and joy.

In Emotional Freedom, there’s a  simple diagram which describes how to find this freedom. It’s available here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on November 17, 2017. 4 Comments