Updated Update on Mom – 1/31/2012

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My Beloved Readers, Followers, Friends, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

My mother suffered a mild heart attack last night. Please continue to pray for Mom, my sister, and me. Mom is really having a difficult time, with the dementia, loss of independence, and failing health. She must be so scared. It breaks my heart, because I love her so much, and I hate to see her suffering.

My sister also needs your prayers and love. She is carrying a lot on her plate, between caring for Mom, as her POA, and work, and her family. Please pray that she feels the Lord’s love, strength and comfort during this difficult time.

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Please also continue to pray for me… I love both my sister and my mom very much, and want to be there for them and help them as much as possible, but pain is hindering me. Please pray for the Lord’s strength so I can be there with them and help them both.

I’m going to try to rest some now – much love to you all. I am so thankful to be a part of this great family of believers, who continue to edify and pray for me though we have never seen one another face to face. Much love to you all!

God bless you,
Cheryl

Update on Mom – 1/31/2013

My beloved friends and brothers and sisters in Christ,

Thank you for the prayers that you are lifting for my mother. We didn’t have a good day today. It started off pretty good, but it soon took a turn for the worst.

Mom became very angry and frustrated, and I became frustrated and hurt too, because she wouldn’t let me help her. She said some hateful things, and I let it get to me… In hindsight, I now know that she was starting to feel worse, and she was getting frustrated, because she wasn’t able to do the things that we all take for granted, like feeding herself and caring for her own personal needs. She was feeling weak and probably frightened, which caused her to snap at those closest to her… my sister this morning, and me this afternoon.

Because of our past history, I took it personally, and missed what was really going on. Tonight, at around 9:30, she went into acute distress, having difficulty breathing. She had to have another breathing treatment, and more tests and meds.

Please continue to pray for Mom, my sister, and me. Pray that the Lord gives me wisdom to recognize what is really going on, so that I don’t take things so personally, when she says hurtful things. I love her, and I know she loves my sister and me too. This dementia can be both a blessing and a curse.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers… I know that the fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much, and if two or more will touch and agree, according to God’s will, it will be done.

Much love to you all,
Cheryl

Religion vs. Spirituality vs. Christianity

Religion and spirituality are man’s attempt to reach God…

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Christianity is God looking down on mankind, and seeing that we were desperately lost in sin. Knowing that the wages of sin is death, He reached down to mankind. God knew that there was not one man who ever had lived, nor would ever live who was without sin – no, not even one. So God, who loved the world so much that He gave His One and Only Son, so that whosoever believed in Him (Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God), should not perish, but have everlasting life. Christianity is knowing and recognizing that apart from Christ, we are dead in our transgressions.

Christianity is confessing with our mouth, right out loud, for the world to hear, and for us to hear, that Jesus is Lord. It is believing in our heart that God raised Him from the dead. It is having the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. He made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. Because of this, God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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To be a Christian is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterward. It is knowing that every man, woman and child who was, is and is to become a part of His eternal Kingdom, that is every Christian (who is a true worshiper), is the joy that was set before Him.

It knowing that Jesus is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven, and thinking about all He endured when sinful people did such terrible things to Him, so that we who love Him, don’t become weary and give up. Christianity is believing that Jesus Christ, the One who paid the debt that every man, woman and child owed (the debt that I owed), so that we who believe would become His beloved bride, His church (not the four walls of a building, but we, His beloved people), could spend eternity with Him.

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Christianity is knowing and believing that the same Jesus who was crucified on the cross, died, and was buried, rose from the grave and ascended into heaven on a cloud. It is believing that Christ is preparing a place for His people… His beloved… His bride… and knowing that if He is preparing a place for us, then He will return for us, so that we may be where He is, reigning and ruling with Him for eternity.

Christianity is sharing this Good News… this Gospel with others. It is loving God, first and foremost. It is loving our neighbor as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us… It is loving our enemies… If we love Him and obey His commands (to love the Lord, our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves), then we will abide in Him, and He will abide in us…

Update on Mom

My beloved readers, followers and friends,

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It’s about 1:15am on Wednesday, January 30, 2013, and I am getting ready for bed, but I just wanted to give you a quick update on my mom. Her fever is down, praise God! However, she still has some “crackling” in her lungs, and she is coughing now. My sister and I are praying and believing that the coughing is a good thing, because it is breaking up the fluid in her lungs. 

Please continue to pray for her. She asked me if Dad came to see her last night, and I said no, and then, later today, she asked my sister why Dad hasn’t been to see her. My sister didn’t want her to think that Dad didn’t care for her, so she reminded mom (who has dementia) that Dad had passed away.

Please pray for my sister too, because I know that was hard for her to do, and she really misses Dad (who died more than a year ago) too. I love her. She is a good, strong woman, who has been a good daughter to Mom and Dad, taking care of them on her own, when I couldn’t be there for them. I pray that the Lord will let me be a blessing to both my sister and my mother.

At any rate, this has been a difficult day for Mom. Dementia can sometimes be both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing, because Mom is able to forget her grief a lot of the time, but it’s also a curse, because whenever she is reminded of Dad’s passing, it’s as though she begins to grieve all over, and for her, it’s like it just happened.

I need to go to bed now, but thank you for praying, and please don’t stop. We all need your prayers.

I pray that the Lord continues to bless each one of you, my beloved brothers and sisters, for sacrificing your time to pray for my family…

One final thing – although I hadn’t planned to write anything today, the Lord gave me a strong word, which I posted a few minutes ago. Please pray for the word that He released through me tonight, that it will touch the hearts of each one who reads it, and accomplish all that He has sent it to accomplish.

Much love to you all,
Cheryl

Words of Jesus – “Not Everyone Who Says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ Shall Enter The Kingdom of Heaven…” Part 2

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ 

(Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV)

How well do you know God? I’m not talking about how much you know about Him. There are many people who know a whole lot of Scriptures, but they don’t know God.

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Just because you read a book about someone doesn’t mean that you know him/her. Because you read something written by an author does not mean that you actually know him/her. Many of you who read my posts do not know me, even though what I’ve written has come straight from my heart and reveals much about me; while others who read my posts have come to know me very well. How is it that you all read the same words that I have written, and perhaps even follow my blog, and yet, only a few know me?

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The answer has to do with relationship and intimacy. Some, who have read my words, respond to me, the author of those words. They talk to me, via their comments, and I respond to them. As we begin responding to one another, we come to know and love one another. We become intimate. As we become intimate with one another, both listening and hearing what the other is saying, we begin to see one another’s heart, and as we open up to one another, we come to love one another.

We also learn to see the flaws that each of us have, because we are still human after all, but those flaws do not change our love for one another. If anything, when we see the sin in our brothers and sisters, we hurt and we ache for our brothers and sisters, crying out for their release from the sin, which like a cancer, can destroy them. The knowledge of the sin in our brothers’ or sisters’ lives does not cause us to love them any less; rather it causes us to love them all the more, while we hate that sin which is destroying them, and wage war against it…

In this same way, many who read and study the Word of God do not know Him, because they fail to respond to Him, the Author of those words. Now some may admire and respect His Word, and may know more about His words than others, but they have missed the most important thing. You see, although they admire those words, they have failed to respond to the Author of those words. Rather than taking the time to respond to Him, and listen to His response to them, they just admire Him from afar.

Some people believe the words that He has written, and they apply them to their lives, just as some have admired Socrates and live by his words…

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

Socrates

Others admire Ghandi and live by his words…

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Ghandi

Still others admire Plato and live by his words…

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.

Plato

While people may admire these philosophers and live by what they say, the people do not actually know them. In the same way, while many people know Jesus and admire Him, many even try to live according to the Ten Commandments, this does not mean that they actually know Him personally, and intimacy is the very foundation of Christianity. This is why Jesus said:

“Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to Me as ‘Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey My Father in heaven. On judgment day many will tell Me, ‘Lord, Lord, we prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.’

(Matthew 7:21-23 NLT)

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So, what does Jesus mean when He says we must obey His Father in heaven? How do we know if we really do know Jesus? He makes it plain for us in His word:

 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

(John 15:10-14 NKJV)

Do you see that? If we obey Jesus’ commandments, we will abide in His love… By this we will know that we are saved… So what does He command us to do?

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

(John 15:12 NKJV)

What is the greatest command that God gave us… the one that all of the Law and the prophets is based on?

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

(Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV)

Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ, my friends? Do you love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength? Do you love your neighbor as yourself?

I didn’t ask you if you love church, or the bible, or TBN or the God Channel. I asked if you love Jesus… Do you love Him first and best? Remember, the greatest command is to Love God.

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How about your neighbor? You know who I mean… Do you love your lazy co-worker who leaves you to pick up after him? Do you love your nosy neighbor who all the time sticks her nose into your business? Do you love your neighbor who says he loves you to your face, then stabs you in the back when you’re not looking? Do you love your neighbor, who is also your enemy? Remember… Jesus tells us to love one another as He loved us…

Do you know how wide and how long, how high and how deep His love for you really is? Let me remind you… While you and I were still sinners, doing the things that pleased ourselves, without a thought of Christ, He loved us. When you and I turned our backs on Him and rejected Him, Jesus still loved us. When you and I stumble and fall, Jesus still loves us. When we denied Him, He loved us still… In all of the sins we committed against Him, He not only kept on loving us, He forgave us! Not only did He forgive us… He picked us up and cleaned up our mess…

Now, I’ll ask you again, do you love God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost? Do you love your neighbor the same way Jesus loves us?

If your answer to either of those questions is no, then you, my friend truly don’t know Christ, and if you don’t know Him, you don’t know the Father… And if you don’t know them, then when Jesus returns, it doesn’t matter how many good deeds you’ve done, He will say to you, I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.” (Matthew 7:23b NLT)

It’s up to you, my beloved readers and followers… Do you want to know the Author of these 66 books we call the bible? Respond to Him. Develop a relationship with Him by talking to Him and listening to Him, as He speaks to you through His Word. My prayer for each one who reads these words of mine is that when Jesus returns, He will look at you and say, “Come here, My beloved. I’m so glad we’ve come to know one another, and that you did everything I authorized you to do!”

Please Pray

Please pray for my mother, who is in the hospital. You never realize how much you love someone, until they are sick. I may not be posting much this week due to her illness, but I’ve already written the Share the Love post, which I will post on Friday, Feb. 1.

Much love to you all, and thank you in advance for your prayers!

Love,
Cheryl

Church-bus

Daily Prompt: Ode to a Playground

A place from your past or childhood, one that you’re fond of, is destroyed. Write it a memorial.
Daily Prompt: Ode to a Playground

I couldn’t believe it when I heard it on the news. I must have misunderstood what was said. Surely the church of my childhood… the church that held such happy memories for me… the church where I first came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior couldn’t have burned. I hadn’t been there since I was around fifteen or sixteen years old, but I always had such fond memories of it.

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I remember the first Sunday I attended Gethsemane United Methodist Church, in Reliance, MD as though it were yesterday. The day before, some stranger and his wife came to visit my mother and father, and invited my sister and me to ride on a church bus to this church. I couldn’t believe my parents said yes! They didn’t even know these people, and they had agreed to let them take my sister and me on this bus.

Although I was only around ten or eleven at the time, I had a vivid imagination, and I was very distrustful of people and their motives. I was certain these seemingly nice people were going to get my sister and me on that bus, then kidnap and murder us. The whole ride to church, as the bus would stop and pick up more and more children along the way, Mr. W. stood at the front of the bus, singing songs about Jesus and laughing and smiling. It was really a lot of fun, but I wasn’t about to let my guard down. I didn’t trust these strangers, not one little bit.

I was surprised and relieved when we reached the church, but I was still suspicious. “They probably brought us here in case our parents call to check up on them,” I thought to myself. “They’re probably going to kill us on the way home from church.” Praise God, they obviously didn’t kill any of us, or I wouldn’t be sitting here writing my story for you. Nevertheless, when we were safely delivered to our house that afternoon, after enjoying Sunday School, church and snacks afterward, I continued to be suspicious of them. Perhaps their plan was to win our parents’ confidence, and then, after several months, they would kill us. I remember, I was so distrustful, that I imagined different scenarios of our kidnapping and murder, and I would daydream, imagining different ways in which we might escape.

Eventually, over the months, I began to let my guard down and trust these people, who seemed to genuinely love us and care for us. I couldn’t believe that they really cared for me… my sister, yes, because she was cute and sweet and everything that I wasn’t. I remember how I hung out with some of the tougher girls, those who at the tender young age of twelve or thirteen had already had many boyfriends — and some of their boyfriends were actually men, not boys. I remember that I envied those girls, because they were so much prettier than me, attracting grown men!

As I reflect on these memories now, I am grateful to the Lord for guarding and protecting me, at a time in my life when I was so vulnerable and needy. I remember cursing and swearing with one of the girls, and going behind the community house to smoke cigarettes, because I so wanted to be cool and fit in… and be liked by the boys. I tried to act tough like one of the other girls in particular, whose name, like mine, was Cheryl, and I would be so disrespectful, because I needed to be accepted by someone… And there on that church bus, was Mr. and Mrs. W., who continually showered their love on me.

No matter how bad or disrespectful I was, they treated me with love. I can remember Mrs. W. looking up at me one time, when I had behaved so terribly, with such a look of unguarded love on her face, that it left me feeling ashamed… She acted like she really loved me, but how could that be? At home, when I was bad, my own parents cursed me and called me stupid, dumb@$$, worthless… But here, at church, when I really behaved terribly, Mrs. W. still acted like she loved me. When I misbehaved, she didn’t act like she was angry with me at all… Instead, she looked at me with her pretty, expressive brown eyes that looked as though she was hurt and ready to cry, and continued to love me.

I didn’t understand these church people, but I admired them and loved them, and I wanted to be like them. I remember one Sunday in church, when I was around twelve or thirteen years old, the minister preached a message, and I was compelled to move forward toward the altar, while the hymn, Just As I Am, was being sung by the congregation. There, at that wooden altar, with the red velvet cushions, I knelt on my knees, and asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me and deliver me from evil.

That afternoon, I couldn’t wait to get off the church bus and share the good news with my parents. I remember running into the house and breathlessly telling my mom that I was born again. That really irritated her, and she told me that if I was going to start acting religious like Mr. and Mrs. W., she wasn’t going to let me go to that church anymore. I was devastated. Mr. and Mrs. W. were good, loving people. Why shouldn’t I be like them?  I didn’t talk about Jesus to my mom and dad until many, many years later, when I was a grown woman.

I have such fond memories of Gethsemane United Methodist Church, in Reliance, MD, and although the fire completely destroyed the church on May 11, 1998, my memories of it remain intact. A couple of years later, the church was rebuilt, not on the same site as the original structure, but across the street from it. The new church is quite lovely, and although it is a brick structure, it bears no resemblance to the original. Nor does it invoke the same feelings that the original one did.

I pray that the people in this new Gethsemane will impact the lives of men, women and children as the people from the old one changed my life. To the old structure, I reluctantly bid a fond farewell.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers