Death Has Lost Its Sting

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Image courtesy of SweetCrisis at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I don’t want to freak you out if you’re a hypochondriac, but did you know that having cancer cells in your body is normal?    Even healthy bodies produce thousands of cancer cells every day.  However, since our body’s immune system  is designed to manage and kill these cells, many people don’t actually get cancer even if they have cancer cells in their bloodstream.  It’s basically when your body stops working properly that it allows cancer cells to grow and create problems.  In that regard, cancer is a symptom of your body’s immune system not functioning properly.

Similarly, we all have a sinful nature running through our veins.  Some of us choose to pray and trust God to help us overcome it.  Others allow that sinful nature to chew at their soul until there is nothing left…like a cancer.  You might then say that sinning is a symptom of a malfunction in our relationship with God… similar to our body’s immune system malfunctioning and not protecting us from cancer.

There is a song that we sing in church called Marvelous Light, by Charlie Hall that says, “Sin has lost its power, death has lost its sting…”  Since we sang that song last week, those ten words have constantly been in my mind.  Not being able to shake the thought, I figured I would write my blog about it this week and work it out on paper. Then maybe I could stop it from repeating in my mind all the time.  It’s way cheaper than a counselor and much less inconvenient!

I’ve had a lot of people check-in on me to see how I am and how things are going.  I have been happy to report that as a result of prayer and God’s protection, I feel great!  I truly have peace that surpasses all understanding.  I realize though that there might be some tough days ahead; I’m human.  However, I am blessed by the way God is taking me through this and I am convinced that I have peace because God, my spiritual immune system, is at work in my life.  I am overcoming my need to focus on woe is me as a victim and am being shown how God is taking me through as a victor.

We all have a choice.  Do we allow the sin and dark thoughts to win or do we stay focused on God and trust Him when we face a challenge in life? The words, “Sin has lost its power” have come to life for me this past week.  It is not worth it for me to fall into the darkness anymore and not trust God.  To me, that would be sinful.  I have tasted of the sweetness of my Lord and Savior and no matter how much I must suffer, I will continue to call on God to protect me.  Sin has lost its appeal.

Whether I overcome my physical issues is irrelevant.  God’s plan for me is unfolding and whatever the outcome, it is His will for my life.  He is teaching me in an intimate way that I can trust Him through EVERYTHING that this life leads me through.  I don’t have to succumb to my carnal ways and entertain fear and anger; rather, I just need to trust and believe.  If I win the physical battle, I will praise Him for healing me.  If I lose the physical battle, I will praise Him for seeing me through to the end.  Either way, I see it as a win…death has lost its sting. When you know this life isn’t your home and there is something waiting for you on the other side far greater than you could ever imagine, it is easy to praise and thank God for whatever challenge you might be facing.

I’ve said having cancer is like wrestling an alligator.  Some days you’re on top and others it whisks you to the bottom of the swamp before you know it.  However, even the bottom of the swamp can be OK when you know the Savior Who created the universe and everything in it has your back.  So today I choose to follow, trust and give Him my life whatever that may look like for the rest of my days on this earth.

If you don’t have a relationship with God that you know He will see you through anything you face, pray and ask Him to come into your life today.  Ask Him for ways to overcome the sin and temptations that you may be experiencing and take away the fears that cripple you.  Trust Him to see you through…all the way to the end.  As His servant and witness, I can truly say, “He is faithful.  You can put your trust in Him.”

1Corinthians 15:55-58 (NIV)  “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Psalm 56:3-4 (NKJV)  Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?

If You Would Like to Enjoy the Song, Marvelous Light, Click Here!  *

*Disclaimer: Since this directs you to YouTube, I cannot be responsible for the advertising the video might have previous to it playing.

Reflections of a 49 year, 363 Day Old Woman

I originally had Reflections of a 50 Year Old Woman as my title, but since I want to hang onto the 49 year old badge as long as I can, I decided to change it a bit!  It’s hard for me to believe that I can actually be that old!  It seems as though being the baby of the family I thought I would never get old.  I thought my siblings only did since they are all much older than me, but not me. However, this is affecting me, as now I feel as though I’m joining the old lady club or something!  Last week I even took a knitting class because I want to be the best old lady I can be and it just seemed fitting I should know how to knit!

Approaching such a huge milestone in my life, I have been spending some time looking back on my life and reviewing.  What am I happy with?  What could I have done better?  What is it I still need to do?  I am typically one of those people who live with little regrets, but even then I have some.  Most of the time, if I want to do something, I find a way to make it happen.  If I feel God telling me to do something, I try to be obedient.  If I have a problem with something or someone, I try to resolve it so that I can get on with my life and not be bogged down by the little things.

As I look back, my teens were fun but filled with things I can’t mention in this blog.  I was all about the social life and parties, etc.  Then in my 20’s I found myself married with two kids and just trying to raise my young family.  I remember when I turned 29, it was a traumatic time…I lost a lot of weight, spiked my hair, etc.  I would say that was my year for a crisis!  Luckily it was short lived and then I was fine!  In my 30’s I was building my business and all about being successful.  When I was 36, my husband left and I was divorced, so my 40’s literally brought me into a new beginning!  When I was 40, I married my husband, Jim, and moved to Cincinnati to join him and his two kids since mine were grown and moved out or off to college.  In 6 short months from the time we met, I had a new town, new husband, 2 more kids, new home, and a new job!  I remember driving towards downtown Cincinnati in the mornings towards my job and being in shock as to how I got there in this big city with all this traffic.  Sometimes I can be so spontaneous it even catches me off guard!

Now as I am entering into my 50’s, I’m feeling the need to reflect.  I’ve been scanning my bucket list in my mind wondering if there was anything I haven’t done yet that was on it!  One of my hearts desires for many years was to write a book.  This past year, God slowed me down a lot and in the process, I finished my first writing!  It is being looked over by some trusted advisors and I hope to soon have it out for everyone to enjoy!  As a matter of fact, I’ve already begun thinking about my next book and am trying to compile the outline for it so I can begin it soon.  I’ve spent all these years dreaming, but now it is finally becoming a reality.  Soon there will be another checkmark on my bucket list!

I had a dream last night that I was a passenger in a boat and someone else was guiding me through treacherous waters.  Every so many feet, a shark or other scary creature would come up and make an ugly face at me to try to scare me.  Typically I would be screaming, but in the dream, I was just as calm as could be as the driver of the boat took me through the sea of monsters. I watched as we weaved in and out of all kinds of obstacles, keeping afloat all the way. When I woke up this morning, I knew today was my day to blog and as I reflected on my dream, I knew exactly what it meant.

When I was 16, I went to the Bahamas with my parents and a friend for a week.  On that trip, we went deep-sea fishing.  How I love to fish out on the open ocean!  It’s so much fun!  That particular trip, I actually caught a shark—one of the most dangerous creatures of the sea.  It took me quite some time to reel in the 6 foot baby, mon-eating shark.  That’s not a typo.  I was in the Bahamas, and that’s what the guy called it—not a man-eating; rather, a mon-eating!  I was so excited to finally get the shark up to the boat only to find out our guide would not let me bring it in the boat.  I kept begging him to let me take it back, but he wouldn’t.  I wanted one of those pictures of me on the dock with this dangerous fish that was bigger than me hanging upside-down so I could show all of my friends!  He said it could attack one of us so he put it back into the waters after all that work of me fighting the beast and finally reeling it in.  That was my first experience with sharks.  As a young person, it was exciting to be face to face with such an exciting animal.  Even though I felt fear, I had more excitement than anything since the part of my brain that says, this animal might hurt you wasn’t fully developed at that point!  This somewhat reflected all of my life decisions being made at that point.

Then in my mid 20’s to 30’s, I became well aware of sharks and their dangers.  Not in a literal way though this time.  But as we were raising a family and building a business, I was swimming with sharks daily.  They were trying to devour me every step I took, but I just pushed though with persistence and tenacity to get to the other side without them hurting me.  I would spend long hours awake some nights worrying and strategizing about out how I was going to win against them in the days ahead.  When I entered my 40’s I was still fighting them, but I was beginning to depend less on my abilities and look more towards God’s guidance and protection.  I was learning that even though I might fight and fight, I get nowhere without God.  He had shown me in the past few years, how I can depend on Him for all things that came my way—the big sharks and baby sharks alike.

Now as I am entering my 50’s, I think I have it figured out.  No longer do I need to fight off the enemy or swim faster to escape harm.  I just simply find myself in the boat–God’s boat. He’s driving and I’m here for the ride. Yes, it is scary because there are sharks circling all around, even as I am writing this morning.   I have even shed a few tears as I write with the knowledge that my son’s troops leave for the Middle East tomorrow–this being one of my biggest sharks right now.  However, I know that God has all of my sharks under control.  I need not worry or be afraid as He is guiding me to the shores of safety along with my son too.

So when I reflect, am I happy with what I find?  Of course there are always things I wish I would’ve done differently.  I know in my heart I mostly tried to do what I thought was right and I just can’t dwell in the past.  I have found that if I stay in one place for long, that’s for sure going to be where the sharks start nibbling and even attacking me!  However, if I keep moving, with God as my guide, the sharks can bite and snarl all around me and I will not fear.  I’ve been 50 years learning how God works and now I can honestly say that even though the waves are crashing all around filled with mon-eating sharks, I am going to be OK.  I trust that God will be here no matter what the threat. No longer do I have the desire to bring the shark in the boat; nor do I worry about what the shark is going to do to me tomorrow.  I am just trusting that God will fight the battles for me if I simply trust.

Psalm 56:3 (NKJV)  Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.

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