Sunday, June 14, 2009

To His Glory! (Number 35 in a series)

“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3 (King James Version)

When I first arrived at my sister’s house to help care for my mother, Mama was not doing well. She required nearly round-the-clock care, was hallucinating, incontinent and pretty helpless.

Eight months later, we are rejoicing in Mama’s rebuilt strength and capacity. She is able to attend church services now and go to the hairdresser to have her hair done. She can walk around with the aid of her walker and we have outfitted the bathtub with a tub transfer bench so that she can shower instead of being limited to sponge baths. Wearing incontinence control underwear frees her from the tyranny of needing to remain close to a toilet. Mama is not self-sufficient, but she is much less dependent on us for moment-to-moment activities.

In those first few weeks, I was worn out from lack of sleep and being unable to relax totally for fear I wouldn’t hear Mama if she needed me. I worried about making a mistake in her care through exhaustion. What if I didn’t measure her medicine correctly or gave it more often than I should? What if I stumbled while trying to help her ambulate and she fell?

God’s still small voice reminded me of many things in those days. He reinforced to me that He was the source of my strength. His love for Mama exceeded mine. He called to my mind the systems of care I had learned so many years ago, first as a candy striper and later as a home health aide. And we made it through those terrible days.

Now we have settled into a routine. The danger is the potential lack of attention to detail which often accompanies routine. How do I overcome this? Each morning, I rise and commit my day’s activities to God’s glory – the best antidote I know for the mind-numbing effects of the monotony of repetition.

How do you cope with the day-after-day routine of life? Do you seek escape through artificial means such as alcohol or drugs? Do you hide in another world, like video games? Or do you take each step in the company of the God who created you and loves you so much He sent His Son for you. He’ll gladly walk with you and make everything you do special because it glorifies Him.

Father, thank you for the opportunity of service to You through serving our fellow man in any honest capacity. Give us strength and wisdom as we work. Take the efforts of our hands and use them to turn people toward You and Your glory.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hold Fast to the Truth (Number 34 in a series)

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4 (KJV)

To be unemployed is a real eye-opener. My checkbook is under new scrutiny and everything I spend is weighed strictly against what I can expect to come in. My time is at the same time valueless (in terms of earnings) and precious (because I can spend time with my mother and sister and her family). Job hunting is now my occupation.

The world has a huge tendency to judge our value in life by what we “do” for a living. In that value system, I am a failure, a waste, a loser. And oh, does the Deceiver latch on to that refrain. Fortunately, I have the God of Truth to tell me differently.

Satan says “You are useless.” God says “I have a plan for you.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“You should worry about your finances – they aren’t getting any better,” points out Satan.

“Don’t be afraid,” God says. “I’ve loved you since before you were born.” (Isaiah 44; Psalm 139)

When Satan says that no one wants me, God reminds me that He loves me so much that He gave His Son for me (John 3:16).

As the group Casting Crowns points out in their wonderful song “The Voice of Truth,” I can choose which voice to heed. Each of us has that choice as we face the world and its voices of fear, accusation and disdain.

Who will you listen to? Who will you believe? Will you let the world tear you down? Or will you, as Casting Crowns sings, choose “to listen and believe the Voice of Truth?”

Father, thank You for being the voice of truth in a world of lies and accusations. Help me to always tune my ear to Your words and my heart to Your love.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Is It Relative? (Number 33 in a series)

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 (KJV)

Some things are relative. Take speed, for example: 55 mph on an Interstate highway can seem relatively tame, compared to the other traffic on the road. That same 55 mph can feel insanely fast on a twisting, turning mountain back road.

Spice is another “relative” term. Your perception of ‘mildly seasoned’ may be over my comfort threshold. Neither of us is right or wrong in the flavor we like – it’s simply a matter of personal preference.

Other things are absolute. There are no ‘sometimes,’ ‘maybe’ or personal preference aspects up for discussion. Human beings absolutely must have an appropriate amount of oxygen in the air they breathe, or they die. They must take in enough nourishment or they waste away and eventually starve to death. They must take in enough fluid or they will dehydrate and die. There are certain non-negotiable elements to life. You may be able to hold your breath for a certain length of time or survive for a little while on no food or water, but death will come.

Jesus is another of those non-negotiable elements. He said it Himself: nobody comes to God without going through Him. All sorts of discussions have been raised about ‘sincere’ people and ‘good’ people and other paths. Jesus didn’t say “nobody except really sincere people comes to God but by Me.” He didn’t say anything about alternate paths or honestly held (even if wrong) beliefs.

Maintaining life isn’t relative. Neither is eternal life. Some things are simple, straightforward and absolute.

Which road are you on? Is it the one leading to eternal life with Him? Or is it some other road? Are you looking at eternity in relative terms or are you absolutely sure of where you’re going?

Father, we thank You for loving us so much that You gave Jesus to come and tell us in clear terms how we could come to You. Thank you for Your absolute promise of eternity with You, if we will follow the right road.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee