Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year, Some Humor, & The Sobering Significance of 2020

"Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."
Isaiah 43:19
(KJV)


Our God is doing something NEW on this brand-new New Year's Day!!
He is making a way in our individual wildernesses.  He is making rivers in our deserts.
He is the WAYMAKER.

I cannot get enough of this song lately.


Waymaker - Michael W. Smith with Vanessa Campagna & Madelyn Berry

I wanted to say a big, huge thank you to all who sent such kind, thoughtful birthday wishes to dear Zach.  They meant so much to all of us!  I am still in shock that our dear boy is 19 years old.  I haven't been able to even talk about the ending of our homeschool journey this past summer because I am still trying to absorb and accept it.  Some things are just too hard to talk about, and while we are beyond proud of him and all of his accomplishments, it was an exceedingly emotional moment to hand him his diploma and watch him graduate from our precious 13-year homeschool journey.  I will never forget it, and how I praise God for allowing me to be this dear boy's mama and for blessing me to homeschool him from day one of Kindergarten to the very last day of 12th grade!  Raising and homeschooling Zach are absolutely the two crowning achievements of my life, and I do not have words to praise my dear Lord enough for every moment He has given and still gives me to spend with him.  All glory to Jesus forevermore.

I am also so very grateful to all of you for your comforting words concerning my up-close-and-personal-meeting with the bottom of our stairs!  The more I hear from others, I realize even more how very blessed I am that "The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him and delivers them."  Psalm 34:7  

Oh, how faithful He has been and still is to me!  The things He has spared me from and helped me get through!  As I pondered this most recent fall, I recalled that a similar thing happened to me a while back.  It was dark, and I, in complete rebellion to my dear husband's and son's warnings and pleas, was trying to carry a box down our two outside flights of stairs IN THE DARK.  Yes, I know.  Completely ridiculous and SO unwise!  But, I was doing my utmost to "help" our minimizing endeavors and was attempting to take a box of things to put in the trunk of the car.  Well, you guessed it.  I missed that bottom step AGAIN, but this time, the fall was on to our concrete outside landing AND to top it all, there were two very large columns - one on each side of the stairs, each one with a sharp, pointed wooden sculpting at the bottom.  The only explanation for how I didn't hit my head on one of them was the pure mercies of God.  Kevin has often remarked since then how amazing it was that I did not hit my head on the pillars and get hurt or worse.  As I relived the mishap right after the fall, I remember thinking how blessed I was to be able to stand up and find NO broken bones or serious injuries at all.  I am eternally grateful to God for His kindness to me in spite of my complete lack of wisdom and foolish decisions, at times.

Speaking of falling—does anyone else find it humorous when they or someone else falls?  Sweet Karen commented in my last post about this, and it got me thinking about a couple of funny stories I should share with you to lighten things up a bit.

All.  My.  Life.  I have had an issue with finding it abundantly comical to watch someone fall.  I know.  It is very weird and it probably has a clinical name, but it is what it is.  My dear Mom had the same problem, and she and I experienced this "disorder" one time in a very embarrassing, cringe-worthy way!  Let me explain.

My Papaw had moved to Oklahoma a few years earlier, after marrying a woman who was from there, and as he began to suffer from declining health, he decided he would like to come stay in our home for his remaining days on earth.  Mom, my uncles, and I loaded up in a motor home and made the long trip from Ohio to Oklahoma to pick him up and bring him back to our home.  One day, after getting him settled in, a minister who Papaw had mentored and had been friends with for years, came to visit and spend some time with him.  It was the dead of winter, we had a huge snow on the ground, and our sidewalk was covered with ice.  After saying his good-byes to Papaw, Mom, and me, the minister walked down the couple of steps at the end of our front porch and was walking down the sidewalk toward the driveway where his car was parked.  All of a sudden, as Mom and I looked on from the open front door, his feet went straight out from under him, flew upward into the air, and he found himself sprawled on the sidewalk!  But, not for long!  I had never seen him move so quickly as he literally jumped back up on to his feet and hurriedly walked to his car without so much as a backward glance —at least not that I can remember.  Mom and I?  We stood in that front doorway literally laughing our heads off.  We could NOT stop laughing —even as Mom attempted to open the front door to call to him and ask if he was okay.  All we could do was laugh.  The mere sight of him losing his composure like that, well, it was just too much.  We were overcome by our very warped sense of humor, and simply could not hold back our laughter.  Embarrassing, indeed, but totally unpreventable.

Another time, it was actually Mom who was on the receiving end of my laughter.  It happened like this.  She and I were walking across a parking lot toward a restaurant, chatting away, and not really paying close attention to where we were stepping.  All of a sudden, Mom's foot stepped into an indentation in the parking lot, and down she went.  Right there.  In front of the passing cars and onlooking shoppers.  The worst part was, I didn't notice at first that Mom had fallen.  I was so absorbed in our talk, it took me a bit to realize Mom was no longer walking beside me.  I turned around to see her sprawled on the ground, struggling to get back up on her feet.  Praise the Lord, nothing was hurt except her pride.  It was a hard pill to swallow when a family saw her fall, then circled the parking lot to come back around to check on her.  As soon as possible, she was back on her feet, and she and I were hustling to get inside the restaurant where she could put the unlikely event behind her.  I felt SO bad —laughing at Mom like that.  Bless her heart.  Thankfully, she fully understood since she had the same odd sense of humor herself!

On a more serious note, I can't believe another year has passed and gone and is now in the history books.  It is unbelievable to me how quickly time flies by.  I try to cherish each moment.  I do my utmost to cling to them with all my might.  But, while I try to hold on to them for dear life, they slip right through my fingers, and then they are gone.

~2020~  
Does the impact of that number hit anyone else as hard as it is hitting me?

God has been showing me lately that He is extremely interested in numbers.  If you think about it, dates and numbers are all through the Bible.  I never paid real close attention to that fact until some recent, very personal events in our lives unfolded where He made numbers and dates SO blatantly visible to us there was no mistaking how important they really are to Him. 
I'll save that story for another day, another time, another post —maybe?😉

I keep seeing things about "2020" being the year of "perfect vision," and it occurred to me that my longing for perfect spiritual vision is more heightened and pronounced than I ever remember it being before.  If ever we NEEDED a clear spiritual vision, it is NOW.  If ever we needed the Holy Spirit to have more control and a broader spectrum of reign and guidance in our lives, it is surely today.  I feel such a need for clarity - a clear, precise spiritual vision—20/20 grade vision of what has always been and still is the perfect will of God.

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."  Romans 12:2 (KJV)

I think often of the Scripture found in I Chronicles 12:32,
"Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command."  (ESV)

A clear understanding of the times.
Wisdom to know what ought to be done.
A unified body of Christ working toward the common goal of preserving truth.

It is the truth that is in peril of being undefended if we lose our spiritual vision, my friends.  We can no longer sit on the sidelines hoping someone else will pick up the mantle and carry the torch forward.  True Christianity, its values, and the pure, unadulterated Gospel of Christ is under violent and relentless attack.  Those we thought would never cave, crumble, and compromise are changing course, re-thinking long-held convictions, and coming up with their own "version" and modern "brand" of what it means to follow Jesus.  Watered-down, sugar-coated cheapening to better suit the palates of those who want to "be called by His name only to take away their reproach" (Isaiah 4:1) will never stand the Judgment shock.  We cannot allow our vision to become dimmed and clouded just because it feels like the whole world around us is weakening and blurring the lines.  We cannot afford to conform to this world.  God is depending on us to prove and live out His will in our daily lives, regardless what it costs us or how hard it is to swim upstream.

Jesus gave His ALL to redeem us and enable us to live holy lives.  If we lose our vision of what that looks like, if our spiritual vision becomes clouded and out of focus, we are at peril of following those who are veering off track and never even realizing we have become deceived.  "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."  Proverbs 29:18

The enemy of our souls never sleeps, never stops scheming, never stops pacing, never stops trying to find the weakest link and way of inroad.  "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."  I Peter 5:8

My prayer for 2020 is that we, the collective body of Jesus Christ, take heed to Revelation 3:18,
and "anoint our eyes with eye salve, that we may see."  May we seek God for a renewed revelation of what holy living truly is.  May we allow Him to correct our vision in all necessary ways and bring our eyesight into clear, precise focus of pure heart holiness.  May we "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."  Jude 1:3

If our vision becomes 20/20 perfectly aligned with the original intent of Jesus, our Lord and Master, we will walk as He walked.  We will talk as He talked.  We will cry out against sin as He did.  We will refuse to bow to anything inferior and less than the perfect will of His Father.  We will pick up our spiritual weapons and fight against pressure to conform, no matter where that pressure is coming from —even if it is coming to us from the inside walls of "the church."  The enemy is sly.  He will work through any channel —even any person who will allow him to.

God is doing a "new thing," and I am pretty sure it involves spiritual revival like you and I have never personally seen or experienced.
May it start right here—in my heart—and yours!

"And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."  2 Kings 6:17

"Open our eyes, dear Lord!  Give us 20/20 vision for 2020!
In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen."

25 comments:

  1. Amen, Cheryl! May this year be the one when all of us can perfectly see God's will for our lives, and stand strong for His Word and His Truth.
    And thank you for the funny stories, too. We all need laughter and joy in our lives, even if that laughter is triggered by unusual circumstances. Things in our world are often so grim and disheartening, so it's wonderful to have an opportunity to lighten our hearts.
    Blessings!

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    1. Oh, isn't it the truth! We could all use some comic relief from time to time! Even if it is at our own expense! It never hurts to laugh at ourselves and our own silliness. The world is way too grim, indeed. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Martha. Many blessings to you in this new year, and may we all stand strong for His truth together, shoulder-to-shoulder!

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  2. "God is doing a "new thing," and I am pretty sure it involves spiritual revival like you and I have never personally seen or experienced."

    I believe this too. BIG!

    "And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." 2 Kings 6:17

    WOO! Sorry to be all caps screaming so much, but yes, yes, and yes!

    "Open our eyes, dear Lord!l

    Yes...

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    1. Amen, sister! I totally understand the need to scream about something we feel so strongly about! So thankful for your encouragement and enthusiasm. Many blessings to you in this new year of spiritual vision!

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  3. Praying for your safety, rejoicing in your triumphs, and grateful that God goes before us, lighting the way into 2020.

    Bless you, dear Cheryl ...

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda. You are a precious blessing to me and so many others! God be with you in this new year, my friend!

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  4. I'm praying you have an amazing year in service to Our one True God.
    I enjoyed the stories of your Mom and you and your shared sense of humor. My Mom was one of the most hilarious women I've ever known and I surely miss the sound of her laughter.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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    1. Aw, I am sure you do miss your dear Mom, sweet friend. It seems we miss them more and more as we grow older. It will soon be eight years since my precious Mom went to be with Jesus, and I know your Mom has been gone far longer than that. God bless you always, my dear friend.

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  5. Amen, may I allow Him to put that salve on my own eyes to keep my vision focused on Him also! I am so thankful that you have been so protected during this past year, dear friend! And Happy Birthday to your dear Zach! May the Lord bless your coming year with fullness and overflowing joy!

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    1. Oh, thank you so much for your kind words and birthday wishes for Zach! I trust the Lord will bless you richly in this new year, too, and may He send the healing you so desperately need, my friend!

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  6. You certainly have been spared during your falls, my friend! Thank you for sharing your honesty through your humorous stories!! Mothers and daughters do share a special bond, unlike any other.
    I like the idea of 2020 being of vision. May my eyes continue to be opened to Our Lord. Happy New Year to you and your dear family.

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    1. You are so right - we surely have such dear bonds with our mothers. I know you miss your sweet Mom, too, and have so many precious memories with her. I am so thankful you enjoyed the post and am so grateful for your friendship and kind words, my friend!

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  7. Happy New Year, 2020, dear friend. May this be a year of blessings beyond measure.

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    1. Thank you so much, dear friend! May it be the same for you! I hope all is well with you and am praying for you!

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  8. Wishing you and your family all the best this year and beyond.

    God bless.

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    1. The same to you, Victor! Many blessings to you and yours in this new year!

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  9. Such a beautiful encouraging post dear Cheryl! I enjoyed listening to Waymaker as I read through your post, what a powerful song it is! He is the waymaker! So thankful you didn't have any lasting problems from your fall, and for the lessons that you took away from it, God is so faithful! It is so hard to believe Zach is 19, and I know too well how hard those changes come when they reach adulthood, but it is comforting to know you've raised him in the fear of the Lord, and I look forward to how he will dedicate his life for the Lord! Praying for all of you in this new year, and that the precious blessings of the Lord will be forthcoming, powerful and amazing for you in this year of perfect 20/20 vision! Much love to you sweet friend!

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    1. Thank you, sweet friend! Oh, my, I know what you mean. I feel so much anointing on that song, and I play it SO often especially right now. Yes, the dear Lord is SO faithful to heal and protect us, isn't He? I do not know what I would do without dear Jesus, and I don't even want to think about it. Thankfully, we don't have to figure out what we would do without Him because He will always be with us. I can't believe Zach is 19, either. OH, my, where do the years go? I know you understand all too well what all of this feels like. I am looking forward to seeing how God blesses Zach and your children throughout life and how He uses them and their gifts! You will never know how much we appreciate your prayers, and we are surely praying for you, too! I believe God has such amazing things in store for you and your family this year. Sending much love and many blessings back to you today!

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  10. Thank you Cheryl for this wonderful post. I really appreciate how you encourage us sisters in the Lord and we all encourage you too!

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    1. Yes, you surely do encourage me, Regina. Thank you for every, single time you have done that! I so appreciate your kind words today!

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  11. Cheryl, I always feel encouraged when I drop by to visit. Your post is filled with so much warmth and love. What a beautiful ministry of homeschooling your son for thirteen years, to God be the glory! I am so glad you weren’t hurt badly from your fall. As I have gotten older, I fear falling and breaking something. Oh I so agree that I want my heart to be renewed with 20-20 vision this year. God is making a way when there seems to be no way! Wishing you an abundant year of ministry, health, and overflowing joy!

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    1. Thank you ever so much for your sweet visit and kind words, Pam! YES, to God be ALL the glory, indeed! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wishes for us this year, and I send those blessings back to you a hundredfold, dear friend!

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  12. Oh dear friend! I love your sense of humor! I was sitting with color on my hair at my hairdressers when I read this post and had to contain my laughter as I read your stories! Like I said, lol, I have a real problem just like you! lol. I'm in wonderful company!

    I had not heard that before about 2020 being the year of "perfect vision". I confess when I read that I didn't put two and two together or should I say 20 and 20 together, lol, but then I was like "ohhh! That makes sense!" Thank you so much for all the encouraging Scripture verses and your Godly insights which call us to put OUR perfect vision on the PERFECT ONE.

    You are such a dear blessing to the blogging world. I love and appreciate you so much!

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