When you are reading here whether you found me intentionally or accidently, please take time to leave a comment and let me know where you are and what you are thinking. I love feed back. Vondi

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rachael and Michael came last evening and brought me a Starbucks. I asked for it because the coffee here is pure crap! It really is awful. The first couple meals I asked for it but then I gave up. It is just not worth drinking. But I regretted that coffee, as good as it was, all night long. I must have gone to the bathroom six times between 9:30 pm and 7:00 am! Good grief!
I’ve been thinking this morning about what in the world people must do when they don’t have a connection to the Lord. The occupational therapist came in yesterday and was commenting on how well I was doing. I told her I have been doing a lot of praying. She answered that I must have a direct line to God! And you know, I’ve never thought of that before, but it is absolutely true! I didn’t have any response to make except "Yes, I do."
Such a simple answer, but so full of meaning. I hoped at the time that she didn’t perceive it as arrogant or self righteous because there was simply no other answer! connection is so great to know. It is such a simple thing. Yes, I do have a direct line to the throne of God. I can come boldly before his throne to ask for help in time of need.
The world doesn’t have that assurance. Many of them do go to God in time of need, but they have no assurance about His answer. The have faith of a sort, but it is a blind faith; it is one of flinging a prayer into the air and hoping some eternal Being hears it and hoping they intervene in answer to it.
This surgery has been a fantastic open door to talking about what the Lord can do. Every one comments on the fact that my surgery was only a few days ago—three now. I can walk on the knee! It is stiff but it holds up longer than the right one which wasn’t operated on. The pain is less than what I have lived with for the last six years or so. This pain is not that bad. We have a fantastic God. I’ve thought sometimes, why doesn’t the Lord just heal this and have it over with. Well, now I know. Just look at the number of people who have found out what God can do for His Own!

Friday, April 15, 2011

It is a lovely windy night. There is a fresh breeze coming in the window. I had my bath and washed my hair. That felt so good. I hadn’t had my hair washed since Monday night, nor had a bath since Tuesday morning. I was feeling very grungy. Now I feel wonderful. 
My surgery happened at six thirty Tuesday morning. I am full of rejoicing at how the Lord has taken care of me through this whole thing. I have to say the surgery was a snap!--which is strange, because so many people were telling me how nasty it was. It went quickly and I was in recovery by eight thirty. I guess I was a little loopy afterwards, but still surprisingly, it was no more than I had expected. I left St. Anne’s on Thursday afternoon and came to Manor Care for rehab.
It seems as though I’ve been here for weeks. The staff are great. There is a nurse on duty at all times and the aides are excellent. They are generally prompt to answer when you call them and pleasant no matter how ridiculous your request. I feel as though I am imposing on people to ask them to do things for me that I ordinarily do for myself. Reaching the light cord or lifting my sore leg onto the bed. Or doing some other thing I should be able to do for myself but because of the surgery I can’t. I hate asking someone else to help me do those things
I was assisted with my shower by a nice young woman who gave me a lot of confidence in my being able to depend on her to hold me should I fall during the process. Some of the others worry me because I do know how heavy I am and when I out-weigh my helper by two or even three times, I’m not real sure they can hold me. Lisa is about my size and I knew that she could counterbalance my weight.
Shawnti was my aide the night when I first arrived. She is a perky young lady from West Virginia who was very willing to help me with any stupid thing I needed. I was happy to see her again tonight, even though she was working on the other end of the hall.
Becky is a very pretty woman who is of Ethiopian descent. She is the one who worries me most about counterbalancing. She is tiny and pretty. It seems like she should have some exotic difficult for me to pronounce name instead of something as mundane as “Becky.” She is probably my favorite.
Then there have been several others through, too. My first nurse was Gaye, a very heavy woman but patient and concerned. The lady coming on for morning shift is Connie; she is the opposite of Gaye. As heavy as Gaye is, Connie is thin. She, too, is caring and patient, if a little more organized and sprite. Osas came on shift at seven this evening. He is a young black man with a lovely accent, very well organized and caring too. I seem to be using the word ‘caring’ over and over, but that is imply the way they are.
My Physical Therapist is named Marcia. And she pronounces her name the way I have always thought it should be spoken: Mar-cee-a. I wasn’t allowed to walk around until she had done her assessment but once it was done she was very pleased with my progress. My bend angle was 71 degrees, up form 51 then 57! That apparently is very good for someone only3 days out of total knee replacement surgery!
Marcia took me outside and allowed me to sit in the pavilion this afternoon for a while. I enjoyed it, but would have liked it even more if I weren’t so very tired. Connie said the fatigue is a result of the surgery and everything I have been through the last few days. I’m sure that’s true, but I am just SO exhausted. I will be sitting and talking with someone and simply fall asleep in mid-sentence almost!
Speaking of that, I need to stop here or I’ll drop my laptop on the floor!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

condemnation and conviction

Although a lot of times these two words are used interchangeably, biblically we find there is a subtle but vital difference between them. I’ve been studying on them this morning, prompted by a devotional study someone sent me. The devotion presented the story of the woman who broke the alabaster box to demonstrate that There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus Rom. 8:1. But we need to look deeper into the word to find the full meaning of that phrase.
We are told, And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.. . . Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. Luke 7:37-48 ( KJV)
We don’t know much about the woman in this story except that she lived a sinful life. The Bible doesn’t specify what her sin was, which illustrates the beauty of God’s love for us, demonstrating that whatever the sin it does not put us outside of God’s mercy.
When we come to the Lord with our sin and present ourselves openly to Him we receive His forgiveness. He doesn’t bring it up again or write it down for everyone to see. He forgives it and it’s gone.
That’s one lesson we can learn from this story. If you are wrestling with some guilt or condemnation for something that happened in your past that you’ve already laid before the Lord, the condemnation is not from God. He does not keep reminding us of the sins of our past. He has forgiven them and remembers them no more. If we have come to Him repenting and claiming the blood of Christ as our sacrifice for sin, our sins have been forgiven and God remembers them no more. That is the foundation for the transforming power of Salvation.
Now there is an extension of this lesson that many like to over look or set aside for their own convenience. We see clearly here that the sins of the past are forgiven; but the popular teaching today is that any future sins we may commit are also forgiven. Very often this teaching produces sincere believers who are filled with guilt and condemnation. They have no victory in the Lord and are constantly filled with a sense of failure in their walk with the Lord. When they speak with a pastor or mentor regarding that guilt and condemnation these scriptures are pulled out and dusted off. The young believer takes them to heart and endeavors to live for the Lord trying to believe that his sense of guilt is only Satan oppressing him.
I have a dear relative who lives constantly with the sense of failure in his Christian walk. He speaks the words of rejoicing and joy, but there is no depth of feeling or inner glow to back up the words. When we speak of joy in the Christian life, all he can express is his own unworthiness before God. And that was true once. Before we are born again in God’s sight we are most certainly unworthy. But the cleansing power of Salvation makes us worthy of the blessings God bestows on us.
We find the example of this in the story of the prodigal son. Remember the young man demanded his inheritance and then left home to live in profligate abandon. Then when his substance was gone he came to himself sitting in a pig pen and eating of the scraps given to the swine. He decided to return to the Father. We find that he acknowledged that he was unworthy to be a Son at all. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But once that acknowledgement of unworthiness had been made, all was forgiven. The heart of the Father overflowed in love and he lifted him up to the position of son-ship again.
The Father made him worthy. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 3And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. Luke 15: 21-24
Praise the Lord! We were totally unworthy of God’s grace! But in His Mercy He raised us up and made us worthy to be called heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ Rom. 8:17 How glorious is that! We are no longer unworthy, but we are sons of God! It just thrills my soul to its very depth!
But my relative can never experience that joy. He continues in his intermittent sin, believing the damnable teaching that we can never live without sinning and yet always convicted of his sin. He must realize there is a deep difference between the condemnation that our sins might bring upon us and the conviction that the Lord allows to rest on the heart that needs to repent of sin.
If you are still burdened by teachings that bring you no joy and only a constant sense of failure and unworthiness I beg you to seek God’s face privately. Don’t consult with ministers or teachers or anyone other than the Holy Spirit. This freedom from sin is a promise of God to His people! Set aside all the teaching you have known from a child or since you began to follow God. Look into the Word and find the promises of God.
Remember the Lord never requires of us anything that He does not supply the power to accomplish. Knowing that we can look at the directions Jesus Himself gave in the book of John and the Holy Spirit directed to be written in other places. John 5:14. . . Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. (John 5:14) and . . .Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:11) We see clearly here the direction is to ‘go and sin no more.'  How then can we justify the teaching that we are all bound by sin in flesh and human frailties?
It is true! There is no condemnation for sins repented of and forgotten by God. But when sins committed in our present life rise up we find ourselves ‘convicted by our own conscience’ John 8:9 And in that small phrase we find the difference between condemnation and conviction.  Conviction rests in the knowledge of unforgiven committed sin.  Condemnation is the judicial finding that accuses one of wrong doing, in Christ there is no longer any accusation of wrong doing over past sins.  There can only be conviction when sin is committed in the present.
. . .Let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.  He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin (I John 3:7-9)

it's over!

The good news is that we all survived Rachael's spring cleaning!  Our house is painted and scrubbed and re-arranged to her satisfaction!  I was exiled to the living room for only one afternoon and returned to a room that had been turned end for end and scrubbed to within 'an inch of its life.' 

The dogs and cats were totally confused for a couple days.  Nothing was where it was supposed to be!  The bed was on the wrong side of the room.  My chair sat facing a different direction, in the wrong place.  The dog beds had gone up to the washing machine for a well-deserved laundering so they were completely gone!  Cloudy's hidey hole behind the bureau was gone.  The bureau was in the opposite corner and Rachael had pushed it so close to the wall that he couldn't get behind it.  (Last  night, in defense of my beautiful bamboo plant and the photograph opposite it, I pulled the bureau out a couple inches, so that Cloudy could squeeze behind it.  He fits through a very skinny opening, but the little dogs require a wider one!  )  Chaos had torn thorugh their well ordered world.

Now everything is back in place, by which I mean, all my animals have gotten used to the new arrangements.   The dog beds have come back all clean and spiffy.  Zee ate two baby rats at one sitting and all is right with my world! 

My knee replacement is now six days away...