LOVE Your Enemies

Ouch. This is a tall order.

But, Jesus Himself tells us to pray for and love our enemies. UGH.

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27, 28

At this time of great political dissension in the USA, not to mention riots, hate crimes, and general unrest, it is pertinent that we as Christians not only remember these direct words from Jesus, but that we actively participate in them daily. If there has ever been a time to love and pray for our enemies, it is now.

Our enemies range from ISIS to the “Frenemies” that permeate our daily lives. From that deadbeat Father that refuses to pay child support and tries to intimidate, to the head of a country who threatens nuclear war. Jesus makes no distinction. We must love and pray for them all.

Without fail.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

We did not deserve it, but He loved us anyway. And He loves us now and forever despite our constant shortcomings. We must think of loving our enemies in this way. We expect nothing in return, but give the unconditional love of God to those who don’t deserve it. It is only when we can turn our hearts from hatred to this kind of love that we can truly pray for our enemies and hope the very best for them – that they will also come to know the love and salvation of God on a personal level that will change them from the inside out.

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Regardless of our political views, we are to pray for our President and the leaders of the nations. Regardless of our personal disappointments and hurts, we are to pray for those who mistreat us.

This is truly a challenge. Will you take it with me? Will you commit to this kind of prayer and love? The world needs us now. Let us stand by humbling ourselves on our knees in authentic prayer and love for all.

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Slow to Anger

“STOP THAT! STOP BEING SO BAD!” she said as she smacked her child’s hand and grabbed him, continuing to pull him through the store aisle. He had been trying to grab a box of cereal from the shelf, like ALL kids do!

I must have seen that 5 times in my short grocery trip. Not one time did she stop what she was doing, look him in the eye and explain to him how she expected him to behave.

What a contrast with another Mom whose little girl did the exact same thing. The little girl grabbed something off the shelf, and with great poise and patience, her Mom put the package back on the shelf and stopped her cart. She knelt down and looked in her child’s eyes and said, “I know it’s so exciting to see things you like and it is tempting to grab them! But, when we shop I need you to keep your hands to yourself and be a good girl. Mommy loves you!” She ended with a hug and then they continued on her way.

That little girl held her head up high. She had been very gently reprimanded and she knew how much her Mommy loved her. By contrast the little boy who had been smacked and dragged through the store continued to grab things and never behaved properly. He pointed his eyes toward the floor and walked with a posture of anger and defeat.

Thankfully our God is like that second Mom! He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. He loves us and carefully and lovingly corrects us. He is patient and makes sure we know how much he cares for us. Imagine what life would be like if He were like that first Mom!

He wants us to be slow to anger and take time to process our circumstances before we act. I used to be much more of a “reactor” than a patient processor. With some time, usually the issue becomes much more manageable and seems less dramatic.

GraceYes, I am still perfecting this skill. The better I get at it, the less reparations I have to make in my relationships and the less stress I have to manage within myself. It is fabulous!

Let us all remember the great patience and love our Heavenly Father has for each and every one of us despite our glaring imperfections! And, let us pass this same grace on to others.

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Psalm 103:8 NIV

“For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.” Psalm 86:5 NASB

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Listen More, Speak Less

I struggle with this one. I am doing better the older I get, but I sometimes have this drive to win my case or be right above listening, understanding, and being compassionate. It is something I have to consciously fight against. Even if I am not right, I sometimes fight until I can make my case seem plausible. I am ashamed to admit it.

We are meant to listen to one another and show love and compassion to one another, not to constantly criticize and judge one another.

It seems that these days a lot of “Christian” organizations use a lot of time and expense to “fight” against issues that really should not concern them. We are all free to have our own opinions and causes, but I don’t believe God wants us to use our time and resources to fight against things that are truly not our concern while also putting Him and his people in a bad light.

Our energy should be put toward showing love, peace, patience, kindness, self-control: the fruits of our beliefs. It is by showing these things that we change the world. We don’t win by judging and criticizing, we win by listening, loving and caring enough for others to want what we have.

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Time and time again I see people and groups lashing out at other people and groups with whom they disagree. This takes so much energy! And it’s a waste. It’s a total veering off of the track set before us.

Billy Graham once said,“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and our job to love.”

Obviously the groups I am referring to are extremists and do not represent Christ or his true followers. But, I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we may see that in some small way we all do a bit of this. We may pick fights or take the time to side with fights that really give more ground to the enemy than gain it for Christ. (The NC bathroom law situation and Target stores for instance.) We may do this on a larger scale, and/or with the ones closest to us.

The main goal in the life of a Christ-follower should be to show love and compassion to others – to ALL others, even those with opposing views – and to live a life of example. Spending time and money to picket an abortion clinic for instance is not showing the love of Christ. Those women have been through enough and what they need is a hug and to know that Jesus loves them as much as he loved them before, and that nothing can change that. Those women know what they have done. What would it look like if we showed God’s love by standing outside a clinic to give hugs and share information about support groups? What if we invited them to come to church with us the next Sunday? Perhaps this behavior would show them compassion and cause them to make a different choice in the future, or influence an onlooker to make another choice. Then they would know there would be someone to love them through their choice, whatever that may be.

What would that look like? I think you get the idea.

None of us knows exactly what another’s set of life circumstances is. Our job is to listen,  show love and compassion. Period. God doesn’t “need” us to put people in their place – he knows our hearts, and that job is His.

How about this quote from Dale Carnegie in his book How To Win Friends & Influence People: “Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.”

If we want to show people another way, we do that by example and with love – not by spouting hate and judgment.

And even better, I’ll close with a few scriptures straight from God’s Word:

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” Romans 2:1

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Matthew 7:1

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GOD OF OUR FATHERS

“In You our ancestors put their trust; they trusted You and You delivered them.”  Psalm 22:4

We are in the week before our 4th of July celebrations…..more correctly known as Independence Day. Our forefathers fought against Great Britain who owned the colonies here. We wanted to be independent of another country and make our own laws and Constitution for every citizen to follow. (Interesting that now Great Britain is our closest ally).

Our forefathers were God-fearing men who read the Bible and prayed to the only One True God. Since 1776, as a Nation we have strayed away from God’s laws and have been swayed by foreign philosophies.

Let us remember to pray for our Country and leaders, and that God will give each one of us wisdom as we vote in our local and National elections.

In the hymn book there is a song entitled “God of Our Fathers” written by Daniel C. Roberts in 1876. (Evidently at our 100th birthday Mr. Roberts was already concerned about the turning away from the original hope of the Founding Fathers!)

God of our fathers, whose almighty hand leads forth in beauty all the starry band. Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies, our grateful songs before Thy Throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past; in this free land by Thee our lot is cast;  Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay, Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence, be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense; Thy true religion in our hearts increase, Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way; lead us from night to never ending day;  Fill all our hearts with love and grace divine; and glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.”

To that I say, AMEN !

America…..don’t let go of God’s hand.

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Equally = UNIQUE

Last Sunday morning the most deadly terror act since 911 happened on U.S. soil in Orlando, Florida at a dance club. 49 people were fatally shot and that many more wounded. Can you even imagine the terror? I was supposed to write a post for Monday, but I have been paralyzed all week due to my feelings about this senseless tragedy, and honestly my lack of faith in all humanity. How do I turn that into “Life Words?” Well, I’ve been aching and praying over it, so I’ll give it a shot. Please bear with me.  

I had already planned on writing about how unique every human being is – how utterly special and irreplaceable each one of us is. I have touched on this subject before as it amazes me how different we all are. Just like each snowflake, each blade of grass, each sand dollar. How amazing the variety that God has allowed within His creation since He started this earth spinning. Thousands upon thousands of years of DNA and gene pools mixing and changing, creating billions of unique human beings, each with special skills and a special purpose. Each created in the very image of God.  

Photo credit: Kristin Coke

Photo credit: Kristin Coke

So, through my tears of anguish after last Sunday’s events, I am connecting that thought of individual uniqueness with the aftermath of such an evil event, while doing my best to represent my God, myself, my family bloggers, and all groups of humankind with dignity and grace. That is my deepest intention as I sort through this array of emotion.  

First, I must say that I have been happy to see many people who generally spread hate against the LGBT community empathizing with their fellow humans who have lost loved ones and the terror that the survivors must endure. Progress. However, I have also seen people jumping on the anti-muslim train as that must be the “worse of the evils” in this scenario. However you look at it, it’s all stemmed from hate, fear, and ignorance, not love.  

One bad, misguided (probably confused, lonely and isolated) man took innocent lives and lost his own. Yes, we MUST reform our gun laws properly in order to get a handle on this violence. But, we MUST NOT fall into the trap of lumping groups of people into categories. Jesus would not do this if he were still here walking the earth. What would Jesus do?  

People love to spout out Scripture verses and speak on behalf of God. So many people do that to try to back up whatever they feel passionately about. We see this all the time. (In fact, the only groups that Jesus actually got angry with when he walked the earth were those who used Scripture to back up their own agenda of religious rules rather than being compassionate and loving their fellow man).  

Let’s look at some of the red letter text attributed to Jesus himself rather than haphazardly spouting out laws and regulations pulled from various books of the Old Testament without context. Perhaps we can gain some insight into what he would do, and what he expects us to do.  

In Luke 6:27, 28 he says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” 

In Luke 6:37, 38 he says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you….For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” 

In Luke 6:43-45 he says, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit….The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” 

From that I get that even a person who “claims Christ” but speaks hatefully toward any other human being is a bad tree who bears bad fruit. The fruit speaks for itself. And the commandments say that hatred in our hearts is equal to murder. 

He says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 

No matter what terror we face on earth by other evil humans, we must not live in fear. We must not return hate for hate, but we must do what we can to live in and at peace.  

Even on the cross as he was about to die for the sins of ALL MANKIND Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23: 34  

Nowhere does it say that Jesus died for SOME of us. ALL of us were made in His image, ALL of us fall short and are sinners, and ALL of us are able to receive his gift of eternal life if we want it. 

And what did Jesus say was THE MOST IMPORTANT thing – he says it many times, and here in one passage he says it twice:

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love…. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: LOVE EACH OTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:9-13

Then he says it again in John 15:17, “This is my command: Love each other.” 

So, through these few passages attributed to Jesus himself, we see his nature, we see how he treats others and expects us to treat one another. He clearly states that we will not all agree on everything as we will have enemies and friends, but that we must love one another equally. He NEVER qualifies his statements of love. He never excludes any person or group. He clearly COMMANDS that we LOVE EACH OTHER, refrain from judgment, live at peace, bear good fruit, pray for one another, and give selflessly to one another.  

Nowhere does Jesus say to shun those who live a different lifestyle than we do, or believe a different way than we do. God gave us all the freedom to choose. Why are we so threatened by people with whom we disagree? We should all find security in our own relationship with God and peace within ourselves and the way we treat others. The judgment of each individual heart is up to God and God alone. Tolerance does not mean we have to agree with everyone, it just means we need to treat everyone with the same respect and dignity that we want to be treated with.  

Don’t you remember? DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU. 

Again, no qualifier listed. We are all created equal and deserve to be treated as such. 

I heard a pundit say yesterday that if all the peaceful muslims of the world would get together, we could end radical islam within months. Oh, if that were only true. Evil people have always existed and always will – within every creed, race and social structure. 

What about the hate that is preached from so many pulpits? How about the pastor in Southern California who said from his pulpit just hours after this tragedy of death and violence that, “the real tragedy is more of them didn’t die” and “Orlando is a little safer today because 50 pedafiles died.” WHAT? Statistics show there are more pedafiles amongst “straight white ‘Christian’ men” than there are in the LGBT community. How did he even make that leap? To invoke fear and hatred amongst his congregation. Those people should be taking a stand and not supporting that ungodly man. If you want to see sexual deviance you need not look further than higher-ups hiding inside of some of the church community of the world. Where is the outrage from Christians against that?  

This does not represent the God of love that I serve. And why don’t all the Christians of the world unite to end that radical hatred that so many are preaching?  

Do you know how many gay and transgender people in the world suffer from overt hatred and exclusion? Do you know how many muslim people are ridiculed and shunned by “Christians” especially after events like this where one evil extremist man terrorizes innocent people?

Jesus never excluded any person, and he never will. He welcomes all to enter into relationship with him. By his example, we must set aside all our fear and hatred and treat EVERY human with love and respect. We are all on our own path and God is ultimately in control. If we truly believe that, we can set aside our differences, be kind to one another and love one another as we love ourselves.

NO EXCEPTIONS. 

We are all created in the image of God. We are all on our own journey and path in this life. We cannot force our own beliefs on others. If we believe in love and peace, then our own words and actions will reflect that and others will see our beliefs in action, prompting them to inquire about the source.

Respect all human life. Don’t allow bullying or hatred to be spoken or shown without taking a stand against it when you can. This is our great challenge, and it is imperative to showing the true nature and love of Christ.  

Use your uniqueness as your platform to stand for love and truth in this troubled world. You are one of a kind, and your story matters. There are people who will cross your path that only you can reach with God’s love.  

“In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:10

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GOD’S VOICE

The older I get, the more I find how many deep hurts most people have from their past.  In the last two days three people have opened their hearts and mouths to spill out their deepest pain to me.

My heart is broken with the facts of life and the struggles we all deal with.  We are not immune to the deception of the enemy of our souls who constantly seeks to devour us.

All I can do is listen, encourage, and pray.

It seems when Satan the accuser does his dirty work on someone’s mind and stirs up old wounds, it weakens even those who seem, by all appearances, to be strong in the Lord.  The feelings of unworthiness take over and hope disappears.

Beloved ones……DO NOT LISTEN TO THE LIAR’S VOICE.

As I wrote in my May 2nd blog, Jesus says in the 10th chapter of the book of John, my sheep know my voice and will not listen or follow another.  Can you hear Him now?

Can you hear Him calling you to repentance and forgiveness and healing of memories that consume you, and who and what you think you are?

YOU ARE WORTH THE PRICE JESUS PAID ON CALVARY.  Don’t listen to the enemy of your soul who tells you Jesus couldn’t love you that much.  He did…He does…He will.

Trust God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit to help you on this journey of life.  No one else can do it for you……this is between you and God.

Find a believer in Christ to pray with you.  Seek out some verses of scripture that will sustain you every moment of everyday…..write them on a 3×5 card and keep them before you.  You will gain strength, and victory will be yours.  That’s a promise from God, and He does not break his promises!

LISTEN TO HIS VOICE………CAN YOU HEAR HIM NOW?

Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ “Night sky praise

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But you promised…

God has given me promises and sometimes I think, “Are they ever going to happen?”

I have been in 2 weddings this year and I just went to a third wedding this past weekend. These weddings have been of very dear friends of mine and I am over the moon excited for each of them to marry the love of their lives. Each couple has put God first and he is at the center of their relationship. It’s a beautiful, yet rare thing to see in this world. But this is how God intended marriage. Marriage is a gift given to us by God to be a representation of his love for the church. We are his bride and he is the bridegroom. Marriage on earth is a taste of what it’s like between us and God.

Marriage is a beautiful thing and something I strongly desire to be apart of. I am single at the moment but I think, dream, and pray for the man I am going to marry.

In 2013, God gave me a vision of my wedding day. I saw myself radiant and I was looking up into the eyes of my husband but I couldn’t see his face. All I could see was myself and light shining brightly all around us.

In 2014, God told me attributes about my husband and what our relationship would represent and told me to pray for him every day.

In 2015, I wrote out everything I want in a husband, prayed over the list and made room for God to add to it. I sealed the list in an envelope. I stopped praying for him every day and only when I thought of it.

In 2016, God gave me a new perspective about marriage and another promise to hold onto. He told me that this marriage will not only be for me and my husband but for so many others around us. This made me look at the bigger picture. It’s not just about me. It’s about so many others. With all of this in store for the marriage I will have one day, I am willing to wait as long as God intends. He has a master plan and sometimes we get stuck on the little things and never take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture. I will continue to pray for my husband.

God gives us promises to keep our focus on him. He tells us what we need to hear at the time to keep us on track. He has a plan behind it all. And I know one day He will cross the paths of my journey and my future husband’s journey and it will be unlike anything I could ever dream or imagine. I tell this to you as an encouragement, especially to all the single ladies and men out there. God knows. He has a plan. Someone of you will be married to someone here on earth. Others of you have a marriage with Christ (this is to all). He is waiting to take your hand and have a relationship with you.

Give God your heart and he will fulfill his promises to you.

The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you an oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways.” Deuteronomy 28:9

You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.” 1 Kings 8:24

(There are over 3,000 promises in the Bible.)

God's Promise                   Marriage

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Freedom in Death

I was thinking about my last post on freedom and God was reminding me that the only way we have freedom is through death; the death of his son Jesus. Today is Good Friday, the day we remember the crucifixion of Jesus.

You may be thinking; why would a father send his son to die for so many unworthy people? God loves his son, Jesus, but told him he was to die for ordinary people like you and me. Why would he do something like that?

FREEDOM.

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God knew a sacrifice needed to be made because the devil had a grip on us. We deserve to die and go to hell, but Jesus died in our place so that we would have the choice to experience freedom.

But why would God do this?

Because we are his children. We were created in the image of God. God sacrificed his son in order for the rest of his children to experience freedom.

“So God created mankind in his own image; in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1

But freedom doesn’t only come through the death of Jesus, but through the RESURRECTION! Jesus is ALIVE!

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” John 11:25

He conquered death for us and came out victoriously over the evil one. Through victory comes freedom. This freedom is in Jesus and because of Jesus. This freedom is not something that is forced upon us. It is a gift. We can make the decision to receive this freedom or not.

If a friend gives you a gift, do you reject it?

I don’t. I love gifts! Who doesn’t?

Why would we treat this gift of freedom any differently? And yet we do. We think we can live this life on our own, but the devil is still out there. He is still after God’s children. It is our choice to make the decision to stand in the freedom given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” 2 Cor 3:17

Now let’s celebrate FREEDOM not only this weekend but for the rest of our lives here on this earth!

 

Happy Easter!

He has risen!

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Another Year Gone By

Another year has gone by. How did that happen?? Seriously! This past year has gone by so fast! It seems like I just got back from my 11 month trip but that was over a year ago now. So much has happened since then and God continues to amaze me.

 

When I came back from the World Race, I wanted to continue living a life of taking risks and living in boldness for Jesus. It hasn’t been easy, but as a look back in this past year I see God’s faithfulness and persistence. And when I look at the times I was obedient and took a risk, I was blessed beyond words and God was with me and gave me the strength I needed. He continues to blow my mind and blow my expectations out of the water!

 

Here are some of the things God has taught me this past year:

 

God hears us and answers our prayers, even if they seem small (I was shopping for a bridesmaid dress for hours and then I prayed and God told me to go to a specific store and I found the dress I needed in the exact color I needed it in! WOW!).

 

God wants us to pray specific prayers.

 

God does miracles and uses people like you and me as his hands (God used me to pray healing over a friend’s knees who were in pain and he healed her! WOW!).

 

God gives us strength when we are weak (I did a 3 day fast only drinking water and I had so much energy and joy it only could have come from God!).

 

God ALWAYS provides.

 

When we take a leap of faith, God will catch us and walk with us.

 

God loves to make us laugh (I laugh when I experience the Holy Spirit!).

 

God is always there to comfort us. When we cry, he cries.

 

God cares about what is important to us.

 

God stands in front of us with open arms waiting for us to run to him.

 

God is continuing to teach me how to see people through his eyes and when I do I see them as his children.

 

God gives us His light in order to be tangible lights to been seen by people in the physical realm.

 

God LOVES me and He LOVES you UNCONDITIONALLY.

 

 

As you move forward into this next year, take time to sit and think of the ways God has shown up in your life in the past year and thank him. Make a goal for yourself in this next year to step out in faith and live more of risk-taking life for Jesus. You will not be disappointed. : )

 

Happy New Year!

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(On our way home from the World Race around this time last year,

November 2014)

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Make Each Moment Count

I cannot believe another year is coming to a close! In a few days we will celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and then in a week we will start 2016!

As I reflect on the past year, one thing stands out to me.

Being present.
Here. Now.

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I am trying to learn this skill. It takes some of us more practice than others.

As a society we are all so caught up in our schedules, phones and devices that we tend to only be “half-present” when we are in the actual company of other human beings – thinking about what we have to do next, or what is happening on social media. Studies even show that having a phone, even when it is off, sitting on the table when you are dining with others or having a meeting makes the other person(s) feel as if you are not fully present with them.

I have a friend in stage 4 breast cancer. 3 1/2 years ago they gave her 6 months, and she is still with us even though the cancer has spread to her bones and now into her liver. She continues to defy everything the medical community has said to her. She still jogs, swims, leads a Bible Study group,  does her hobbies, and remains positive. She continues to try new treatments to hold the cancer back as long as possible. She is an enigma to her doctors.

I have visited with her a couple times this year. And here is what I have learned from her about being present and making each moment “count.” I believe this is why she is still thriving despite the cancer cells present throughout her body. She wakes up every morning appreciating the fact that she has been given another day to make a difference in someone’s life. Somehow, without being morbid, she impresses on each person she comes in contact with that we are not promised tomorrow. None of us are. We are in fact here on this earth for a purpose, and only God knows the number of our days, hours, seconds. Our job is simply to live in the moment we are given. To share our faith, joy and love with everyone we meet. To be grateful for each and every second given us. She uplifts every person she meets by being 100% “present” in that moment – her focus is entirely on that person and their interaction.

Apparently many people with terminal illnesses say that they have actually enjoyed life much more than they did prior to being diagnosed. This is a story I’ve heard many times, both from people who have been diagnosed early and are beating cancer, and from people like my dear friend who one day had a pain in her shoulder, and the next learned that she was already in stage 4. She tells me often that cancer is not the enemy, Satan himself is the enemy. She challenges me to remember this as difficulties come up in my life. He wants us to be distracted by ill health, gossip, disappointment – but these things are not our enemy, for we do not fight against flesh and blood.

So, it is up to each of us to gain a new perspective on life. Will we be those who are constantly feeling defeated by life and its trials? Will we be those so caught up in what’s happening next or the notifications on our devices?

Or will we be those, like my friend who continues to defy all human logic knowing God can heal her completely if He chooses to do so, and live a life of gratitude and triumph in every moment we have? Will we be those who fully engage with the people in our presence?

So, as you enjoy Christmas, the last week of 2015, and bounce your way into the New Year – remember to be present. Savor each moment with your loved ones. Make sure each of them feels that you are 100% “there” with them. This means more than all the presents, goodies and smiley photo posts you can make. For we truly do not know what day will be our last. All we have is now.

Rejoice and be glad IN THIS MOMENT and treasure it! Celebrate this life God has given you, and Jesus who died to give you eternal life as well. Share life, joy and love with all you meet!

Here’s to 2016!

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