There’s Medicine in the Butter Container

“Oh rejoice in the Lord, He makes no mistake”

If your from the south you might be familiar with that strange door inside of your fridge that is supposed to house the butter. (We southerners just love our butter) This door usually houses the butter, but in other cases it may house other items that just so happen to fit.

In our fridge however, it houses medicine. In the fall of 2016 my wife came down with some strange symptoms and after months of hospital stays, tests, and much confusion in the medical world, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It is in this butter door that her medicine seems to fit perfectly into. The syringes must be refrigerated until at least the week that they are going to be used. It was only an act of God that allowed us to be able to find the issue that confounded doctors and led my wife and I on one of the hardest emotional journeys we have ever been on.
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Each month I receive a text from the drug company reminding me to call them and reschedule a shipment of medicine from them. As the previous months supply dwindles down to only a week, I call the company and ultimately reschedule the shipment to be delivered when we only have 1-2 syringes left.

When it I arrives, I usually bring it in the house and tell my wife I have a surprise for her to which her reaction is one of joy and then immediate sadness. You see although this medicine is necessary for her general well being, its not like taking a simple pill everyday. This medicine is administered with an auto-eject (similar to an epi pen) to the fatty part of the different injection sites to which there are six. The back of the upper arms, the side hip area, and the tops of the upper thigh. The injection is made three times a week and you must remember to: not use the same site as before, rotate to the different sites, ensure the depth of the syringe is not to deep (feels funny), not to shallow (extreme pain), clean the site, hold a cotton ball to the area (so the medicine doesn’t leak out), hold the pin at the correct angle, make sure that it is pressed down at the correct pressure and so on.

Each and every week my wife endures the needle, but she says that the needle in comparison  is nothing compared to the burn that the medicine brings. The arms are the worst. With each click of the pin I watch my wife cringe in suffering. Without the medicine the disease would take over he body eventually.

The quote from above is from a song by Ron Hamilton and the first verse says “God never moves without purpose or plan.” We can rest knowing that God has a purpose and plan for each life that He has given and each trial He allows.

The purpose of this blog is to bring help, comfort and encouragement to pastors and help others to understand their pastors better.

Pastors, There seems to be an unspoken code that we cannot share our pain with those we shepherd and to some extent this is true. When you stand in the pulpit it is your opportunity to exhort individuals, point them to Christ, and worship God, but you do not stand in that pulpit every moment of every day. When you step down you can share your burdens with others as the body of Christ is suppose to do. Bind together, pray together, help one another as the first church did.

The pastor must be careful that he isn’t talking about himself all the time. The main goal of a pastor is to shepherd the flock of God, not the other way around.

Congregations, Your shepherd has been sent from God and placed into a position over you. We all have struggles that Satan knows and will play off those struggles. How much more that the man of God who is on display before sinful people, he must be lifted up in prayer and encouragement.

Satan knows the desires of the heart. He knows what will draw you away from God the easiest and just like Job was allowed to be tempted by Satan, he will find our weakness and exploit it. Has there ever been a trial in your life when you just can’t shake the thought that if God were real He wouldn’t allow this, if God would only take you out of this struggle you will serve Him no matter what.

Congratulations you have found your worst trial to date. Satan will use any opportunity he has to pull you away from your faith in God.

Expect there to be more. The purpose of God allowing you to go through these challenges is to make you more like His Son, strengthen your faith, and/or bring you closer than you have ever been before. When one challenge is done and Satan feels as though he cannot use that issue in your life anymore he will relent, but more will come.

Stay close to God, Be steadfast, immovable.

Monday’s are Hard Days

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“If once they get through this initial dryness successfully, they become mush less dependent on emotion and therefore much harder to tempt.” C.S. Lewis

Monday began a new week for us, but not after it had kept the remnants of its past close at hand. Sun light forced its way in like the ever looming tax day every April. It had been coming and you even had a calendar reminder, but you want no part of it.

The beginning of my day was not as different as many other, but would develop into “a difficult day.” I usually begin my day by getting Judah up which allows Rebekah to rest, wake up gradually, and have her devotions before starting the day. This is like most other days, but as I said before the remnants of the past week were still looming. The end of the prior week was met with a horrible stomach virus or food poisoning, it is still unclear which. The effects of which were quite unpleasant and a reminder of how much someone can hate eating. Thankfully by the time Monday came we were able to put down more than toast. By the time Rebekah was up, I was ready to tackle the day and achieve a new level in my ever lengthening to-do list. As I proceeded to near the end of the second item on my list for the day I could hear Judah screaming and crying at everything. (Father, I ask that you would now help me to live a life worthy of the Gospel and to show my strong-willed child the same mercy and grace that you show me every moment of everyday.)

Monday was also the day that our church had scheduled a Ladies Fellowship event which they asked those that attended to bring some snack items.

Say goodbye to my to-do list for the day.

For the rest of the day we worked on finding things to keep Judah busy and things to make for the Ladies fellowship. Cider and sugar encrusted pecans were sure to be a hit! As we began to look for the ingredients for the pecans we realized that pecans are not the cheapest nuts in the world (those are buckeyes (thats a Calvary Baptist Church in Toccoa joke). We then altered our plan to have carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Throughout the rest of the day we cooked the cider and cupcakes. My wife did most of the work, but as 1:00pm began to near it was time for Judah… and Rebekah to nap. Rebekah is on a similar schedule to Judah. She needs a nap at least once per day, not because she gets cranky like Judah, but because of her Multiple Sclerosis. This disease tires you out like an unconditioned marathon runner and therefore she must nap.

Thankfully while we were out getting snacks I was able to get a few supplies for my to-do list. So throughout nap time I was able to finish a few more things.

When nap time was over Rebekah started getting ready for her ladies fellowship. As I was playing with Judah on the floor I could hear her frustration in the bathroom while she was fixing her hair. She just couldn’t get it quite right. I offered to help, but at that point she decided to try a different approach. A few minuets later I again was under the impression that she was not getting it quite right. I poked my head in to see if there was anyway I could help with the one piece of hair that defied her verbal commands and several layers of hair spray. She finally relented and offered me a bobby pin to pin it in place with to which she remarked “it’s sad that I need my husband to do my hair for me.”

It frustrates her that her disease can depress her ability to sometimes even do her own hair. When we received the news about her M.S. we were so happy that we finally had a diagnosis for why her body seemed to slowly be letting go of her motor functions. Today we are struggling with the normal fine motor stills of putting in a bobby pin with the looming 3x’s weekly shot coming up after her fellowship.

Pastors,

Life is going to get busy and we may not always like the circumstances that surround us. As men of God that are to be leaders in their homes and church bodies, we must remember that people always matter more than the things on our to-do list. Slow down look at the people you interact with through the lenses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Show them how to live out the Gospel even things are busy and may not get done in our time frame. Circumstances will always change, there is hardly an item in our lives that will never change. Remember that He is the God of everything and that He orchestrates all things to His honor. Give Him the honor that He designed in you to give in those hard circumstances in your life.

Others,

Pastors are people just like the rest of us. Yes, we are to be the spiritual leaders that God has set before you to show you the correct path God has. As men we have struggles and temptations just like others. Please be patient with us, bear us up on wings of prayer to a God who is ready and willing to give wisdom and aid to those that ask.

Please remember that Pastors have families, wives, children, and extended family that take time and care just like yours does. Each person in their life is watching them, some are just waiting for them to fall so that they can say they that told you so. It is enormous burden to bear being a man of God. It never pains a pastor more than to see his flock outside of the will of God and tearing him down every chance they get.

Goodness

Psalms 107:15, 21, 31

Three verses in the same chapter that all say the same thing.

When I was beginning my college career I was required to take a class called Freshman Introduction. In this class were many Freshman things that were very boring. But one particular topic was study skills. A specific study skill that was taught was that if a teacher repeats something they are emphasizing it. Turns out that Biblical writers employ the same technique. Repeat something to add emphasis.

Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Three times the Psalmist says the same phrase. Three times the Psalmist cries out to his readers to praise the LORD for His goodness and wonderful works! Three times the Psalmist asks his readers to confess to Jehovah His kindness and His wonders.

There is one particular component to prayer that is key when seeking God that is missed to often. The part of prayer that should have the most quantity is that of thankfulness. Thankfulness is part of worship, thankfulness is reminding yourself of what God has done for you. Thankfulness is to remind you of all the mighty things that God has done for you in the past, present, and what He will do in the future.

The book of Jeremiah records a prayer that is a great example of thankfulness. Almost the entire prayer is devoted to thankfulness. Thanking God for what He has done, is doing, and will do. The Psalmist cries out to the LORD asking men to praise God for all that He has done. This should be our focus in prayer. When this becomes our focus there is no more room for a discontent spirit. Thankfulness teaches our spirit to rely on the Lord for His timing and His plan.

Be thankful for all His Goodness today.

Salty Rain

One month ago today, Rebekah and I were packing to make the biggest change in our lives so far. Possibly ever.

God has allowed us to move safely and quickly almost 3,000 mi. across the country to a new town with new people and new customs. It has been difficult, but has brought us closer to our Savior.

The name of today’s blog comes from our new location and today’s passage. Washington state falls in the top 7 for the most rainy cities in America. Today is no exception. Cloudy with showers most of the day. I have been told that the weather tends to wear on people as time goes on. We will have to test that out over the next few months and let you know.

The second part of the name comes from tonight youth group focus. Salt. In Matthew 5 Jesus tells the multitudes they are “the salt of the earth: but if they salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot by men.” As of late I have had trouble coming up with what to challenge the teens with. The list of passages is endless and God’s Word is powerful, but what would I say about His word to challenge the teens to become closer to the Savior? I would pray and pray for God to give me the words to speak. These prayers were sometimes answered with little or even no reply… Lord, I am trying to feed your sheep with Your word, what would you have me say to them?

I am still not sure what God is trying to teach me, except the fact that His word must be handled carefully and allowed to steep with time. The Bible says many times to meditate on His word. Not to read a verse and expect supernaturally to be able to exposite a 15 minute lesson. Meditate on God’s word and with time allow it to permeate your life, then you will know what to say.

Salt is good for two things: preservation and flavor. As believers we are to be the preservation and flavor of this world. Most would take the preservation aspect of this passage and say that we are to preserve the world from evil. Which I am sure is correct, but the story that come to mind is that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Three angels come to tell Abraham of the cities coming destruction. Abraham goes to God and begs that the city be saved for fifty. If there is fifty righteous will you save the city? The Father relents to this request. Abraham comes back to God several more times and the number of righteous drops from 50 down to 10. If there are ten righteous will you save the city? Again, the Father relents to this request, but not even ten are found withing the city.

Believers are here preserving the destruction of this world. If there were no believers within the world would the earth still stand?

Believers are the flavor, believers are the best within the world. Where there is hate, we are to love (even our enemies). Where there is lying, we are to be honest. Where there is violence we are to be the peacemakers. We are to be the flavor, the best of the world.

Have we as believers lost our purpose?

Have we lost our righteousness because of sin that we cling to?

The one thing about sticky notes is that after you stick them to something once or twice what happens? You cannot use them anymore. The sticky part of them is filled with to much junk. They have lost their purpose.

Be righteous today. Reclaim your flavor today.

Get back up and reclaim your purpose believer.