Called to Serve

Power-filled Positive Thinking—Chapter 12A Servant-Called to Serve

Over the past week, I had determined it was time as I placed mom on the waiting list for nursing home placement. For me a decision that has come with a great mix of emotion; but, after recognizing the frailty of my own health, a decision that mom had agreed would be best. Her greatest anxiety in life would be that something happen to me and no one would know how to take care of her. Once the decision was made, mom in her own world of anxiety born out of her bipolar disorder wanted to go now. As I said, “Mom, there is a waiting list that could take 6 months or even a year, so now, we leave it all in God’s hands. He knows the timing.” Well, as the events turned, mom became sick with the flu and off to the ER we had to go Wednesday night about 11. Mom was very weak and the stress of it all, her already very fragile mental status had failed and despite my suggesting her unsafe the ER doctor sent us home. We arrived back home about 3:30 am. By 4 am she had fallen and this time couldn’t get up; so with EMTs, fireman and all, she was safely loaded into the ambulance and off to the second hospital in town. Immediately the doctors at this hospital determined there is no way she could be safely sent home. They took the time to exam her, something the first doctor failed to do.

yskas0012IN Christ we are called to serve with kindness, humility, and love; as servants of the living God.

As I reflect back over the past 13 years, so often, I have had to be the advocate fighting for mom’s health when she couldn’t. For the past thirteen years, mom has been under my care. Oh, how I wish I could say I have always been the kind, gentle and loving care provider I should be during those 13 years. Sometimes, I have been irritable. Sometimes, I

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7 Steps to Realizing God’s Clear Direction for Your Life

Power-filled Positive Thinking—Chapter 11c—7 Steps to Realizing God’s Clear Direction

God has promised His wisdom to all who seek Him with all their heart (Proverbs 2:5-7). He has promised His clear guidance along this pilgrimage journey to all who are in Christ (Proverbs 3:5-7; John 16:13). Yet, how do we know what direction to take when life brings us a fork in the road? How do I know for certain that it is God directing me to pursue a different career or to make an important decision? This is a question I am asked often by friends. In my own life, it has been a question that I have had to ask as well.

brokenpicture is used by permission of Ronald Barba who owns the copyright ©2010

So what are the steps to knowing God’s will for my life?

1. Seek God first. We see that David throughout the Psalms would long for and seek after God. Psalm 42:1 is a beautiful illustration “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God”.

2. Ask God to reveal His Plan. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).

3. Trust in God’s Plan for life. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

4. Meditate on God’s Word. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:1-3).

5. Wait for Him to reveal His Plan. “4 For from of old no one has heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who works and shows Himself active on behalf of him who [earnestly] waits for Him” (Isaiah 64:4 AMP).

6. Step forward boldly, confidently. Once you have done the previous steps and you feel God drawing you, step forth. Trust that He has this even when it looks scary. “9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Ephesians 3).

7. Stand firm. “13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6)

Remember this, God is not going to let go of you—that is His Grace. He is the one who is holding you and has promised to complete his work in you. “23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand” (Psalm 37). “6 Being confident of this very thing that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1).

Let me end with this song, God Will Make A Way

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

©2015 Effie Darlene Barba

Original artwork is that of Ronald Barba.  For more information please go to http://fineartamerica.com/featured/broken-and-contrite-heart-ronald-barba.html

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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God Shines His Light of Knowledge

Power filled Positive Thinking—Chapter 11b-God Shines His Light of Knowledge

In Christ—we are enlightened with God’s wisdom so that we might know joy in Him throughout this pilgrimage journey on this earth. Look at Proverbs 2: (TLB) “6 For the Lord grants wisdom! His every word is a treasure of knowledge and understanding. 7-8 He grants good sense to the godly—his saints. He is their shield, protecting them and guarding their pathway. 9 He shows how to distinguish right from wrong, how to find the right decision every time. 10 For wisdom and truth will enter the very center of your being, filling your life with joy.”

revealing lightoriginal photo courtesy of Jim Peregoy

Indeed a large part of our journey here is designed by God to prepare us to see His wondrous Glory as even more glorious that we could otherwise see. He is teaching us how to revel and bathe in the overflowing fountain of God the Father’s love of His Son, Jesus Christ. Step by step He is guiding us to be able to experience the ecstatic Joy which is within the God-head.

It begins when our hearts are first illuminated to see, to desire, and to savor above all other treasure the Glory of God as portrayed in the face of Jesus Christ. For someone born blind from birth who suddenly is given sight by a skillful surgeons hands—that first ray of light awakens their desire to view and see more—a whole new world of possibilities opens. In that same manner God reaches down to shine that first ray of light into the dark, deadness of our blind hearts. There is where we first desire Him and recognize the magnificent beauty and treasure of Jesus Christ. With that first ray of light for each of us who accept Christ, a whole new world of possibilities opens. Look at 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

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Update for All my Friends

Well finally after a trip to the ER for IV fluids due to my severe dehydration, I am finally recovering.  But let me tell you of how wondrous my Heavenly Father has been.  As I began to recover from the severe pain and weakness, it dawned on me how wonderfully blessed I have been.  Those who have been following know that I was diagnosed with a very aggressive breast cancer in 1998.  I should have never survived more than 5 years by all statistics.  That was followed by the ulcerative colitis which again miraculously I did not succumb to it either despite it’s fury.  Then in late 2002 the doctors found a mass on the head of my pancreas which was ultimately diagnosed as autoimmune chronic pancreatitis.  For those who do not know much about the disease; most people are totally debilitated by the severe pain, diarrhea, insulin dependent diabetes and malnutrition.  I have been for the most part spared from this despite the fact that mine is rather advanced indicated by my chronically low lipase/amylase levels.  The truth is were it not for Grace, what I experienced these past three days would be every day of my life.  Amazing?  Yes.  It has been God’s magnificent plan to provide.  The fact that my pancreatitis is auto-immune does mean that I have greater than 40% chance of pancreatic cancer in my lifetime.  Pretty high odds for which I must schedule my follow up and get it checked out.  If I had not gotten sick, I had tended to forget the truths of my disease.  I am blessed beyond measure because I have already been given 17 miraculous years of life to watch my children marry, see my grandchildren and to meet some of the most incredible friends I had yet to know in this life.  Wow.  Just had to let you know and by tomorrow we will continue the next part of Chapter 11 to the book I want to give you all. 

 

© 2015 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to any brands, products or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides regarding the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Apology for Today

 

I must apologize that I have not been able to continue the next step of the series yesterday or today; but, I hope I will be able to continue by Monday. After all the years of illness in the past, I had been given a long reprieve of remarkable health. Perhaps, I had grown a little proud by my having always faced pain and continuing on. Then this year, one day I had to go to bed due to a sudden abdominal pain; but it eased with massaging and manipulating the bowels, then came shingles which wasn’t so bad. Suddenly then Thursday afternoon I developed severe abdominal pain, nausea and profuse diarrhea. Suddenly, I realized how fragile even my faith really is at times. This pain doesn’t seem to want to leave, along with the weakness and I have been brought to my knees. More than the pain and weakness I recognize that when we are in the midst of suffering it is so hard to be grateful as I should be. I tend to become so self-absorbed and want to pout. Why Lord? Why now? Yet, even this is part of His Sovereign plan for today. So let me share with you this word from

Joni Eareackson Tada

I have so much left to learn of God’s Grace, Love and Sovereignty.  I need to remember that even though when I am sick I feel so all alone—I am not alone.  He is right there beside me.

©2015 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Enlightened by God’s Wisdom

Power-filled Positive Thinking—Chapter 11A-Enlightened by God’s Wisdom

Suddenly I awoke at 4 am with the excruciating abdominal pain—well I say awoke as the night had been so filled with restlessness I am uncertain I had even slept. Scurrying toward the bathroom to begin this morning’s ordeal of severe pain, bloody diarrhea and no sleep. Ulcerative Colitis had become my constant, unwanted and uninvited companion since the summer of 1999 and now it was July, 2000 with no hope of remission. Despite high dose steroids, constant medications, cortisone enemas, suppositories and every possible dietary restriction I could place—nothing would slow it down and every morning at 4 am it ran a 4 hour cycle of severe pain and trips to the bathroom.  These morning ordeals had begun with a fury shorty after I had finished the chemotherapy for breast cancer and had been a daily occurrence ever since. The steroids had severely affected my body as well. My leg muscles were too weak to carry my body up a stairs and I would have to pull myself up the stairs clinging tight to the rails. Sleep was not even possible due to the very high doses of steroids I had to take.  The only exception was the one night in 3 that I allowed myself to take a sleeping pill. On those nights I slept about 5 hours.  I did not want to become dependent or addicted to the sleeping pills, so one night out of three I would take one. Additionally, I had grown a beard on the rounded moon shaped face. My eyes sunken deep within the roundness until I couldn’t even know myself in the mirror. The large buffalo hump had grown just below my neck, distorting my body further. Prayer room

At 4 am with all the pain and agony,  I did not want to awaken the children who were now young men getting ready to leave for college in the fall, so I had placed a large recliner in my walk-in closet. There I would sit and talk with God while reading my Bible.  There I learned of God’s love, joy and peace in the midst of tragedy.

I had finished my Master’s in Nursing and now was working as a Nurse Practitioner; but, the debts were overwhelming and there was this monstrous disease destroying my body.

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Seven Reasons to Rejoice as God’s Heir

Power-filled Positive Thinking—Chapter 10c  Seven Reasons to Rejoice as God’s Heir

In Christ, we are heirs of the kingdom of God, heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Does that mean I inherit the world with all its possessions since God owns the whole world? It does. But hold up for a second before you run out the door to claim that car or house you’ve been wanting hear me out through the rest of this. If you think those material items here and now are the most splendorous part of our inheritance; then, you truly are a pauper. Material possessions bring merely counterfeit pleasures that have no lasting joy and will never satisfy your heart.

Rejoice my soul

Our inheritance as God’s Chosen, Redeemed, Blessed and Beloved Child in Christ is bigger and grander than anything you could ever imagine or hope for. So what is the inheritance of Christ?

Let us look at John 17 where Christ prays to God the Father shortly before He was to go to the cross to purchase our inheritance. There we will find 7 items of this inheritance which Christ shares with us.

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God’s Gift of a Friend

God’s Gift of A Friend

by Effie Darlene Barba

So precious the gift, when God gives you a friend

To lift you, to guide you, to cheer to the end

Like Angels of hope when skies turn to gray

They know where you’ve been and they’ve chosen to stay

When sorrows would try to invade for a while

They know the right words to make your heart smile

They have taken the time to know who you are

Beneath all the pain, beneath all the scar

They know who you are and who you can be

And know the right words to set your heart free

They shine in your life like beacons of light

That ward off the fear and the darkness of night

When fiery trials of life must come your way

They know what to do and know what to say

They reach forth their hand and quench all the flame

While joyously laugh, “all is well” they proclaim

They enter our lives like a whisper, a prayer

We never do know just how long they’ll be there

Yet, so precious a gift of God’s love and His grace

Is shown in their eyes and shown in their face

You never do know what tomorrow may bring

So today is the day to dance and to sing

Their journey may lead them to far, far away

So cherish this moment and cherish this day

©2015 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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What does it mean to be an heir of God?

Power-filled Positive Thinking—Chapter 10B-What does it mean to be an heir of God?

As we have looked at the true positions of who we are in Christ; we have learned that we are His redeemed. We are declared saints. We are His Beloved, Blessed Children and as such we are heirs of the Kingdom. Does that mean that whatever financially I want is mine? Or is that a part of the prosperity idea that whatever I name becomes mine? What does being an heir to the kingdom have to do with earthly possessions? We need to go back to scripture to learn what it means to say that in Christ we are heirs of the kingdom of God and joint heirs with Christ.

Ephesians 1 13ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

We see here that when we accept Christ as our Savior, in Christ we are sealed by the Holy Spirit which is the earnest (the down payment, the security deposit of our inheritance until the full redemption of both body and soul occur. Therefore, part of the inheritance is that we will one day be perfectly righteous; until that day we are clothed with Christ’s righteousness.

This speaks about the inheritance in our future; but, what about now?

iris with versephoto

courtesy of Sarah Barba whose photos can be found on fineart america 

God has promised to be our provider of all that we need. He knows what we need which may be different than what we want. Because He is our provider we should not be worried about our provisions.

Galatians 3 says”28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” In Christ we are recipients of all

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When God takes it all that we might find Greater Treasure

Power-filled Positive Thinking-Chapter 10A Heir of the Kingdom-When God takes it all that we might find Greater Treasure

It was late December, 1994 when I left Mexico to travel to Missouri to join my sons for Christmas. Pete had died in late July which had begun my incessant journeys from central Mexico to Missouri. I had taken Ronald and Alberto ahead to Missouri to stay with mom so they could start school on time. Yet, I had so much to finish in Mexico; from legally securing the land they had inherited from their father, selling our possessions, and moving our personal possessions back to Missouri. I had traveled these roads through Mexico as a widowed female alone driving a van and pulling a trailer back and forth. I would spend one month in Missouri and one month in Mexico. Mom wasn’t emotionally handling things very well and I knew the boys needed me there as much as I could be. I just needed all the legal stuff in Mexico to end so I could stay with my sons. On this trip in late December, I flew to Laredo because in storage there was Pete’s Porsche Carrera IV which he had loved. When I pulled out the car, it needed new tires and some work on the ignition so there I awaited the repairs. I tried to get insurance; however, I had no Texas address and no one would sell me insurance on such an expensive car. I found out that Pete had let the insurance lapse over a year prior to his death, making it impossible for me to obtain insurance. I had to go on ahead and hope to get the insurance once I arrived in Missouri. It was late on December 22 and 2000 dollars later, when I finally pulled out of Laredo heading north.

Treasure unveiledoriginal photos courtesy of Gregory Adams and Cheryl Delashmit

As I neared Austin, I felt a sense of dread and fear which I tried to shake off. Something kept telling me to stop for the night. My gas tank was low and I felt a sense of panic that something bad could happen if I stopped for gas that late alone with this expensive car.  I had driven back and forth through Mexico alone without fear and now I was terrified. I whispered a prayer as I pulled into the Doubletree Hotel.

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