What’s Your Motivation?

I did an in-depth study many years ago and reached a very important conclusion.

WHAT I do is important. Getting into God’s Word, learning what He wants me to do, and making sure I do the right thing… Important. But even more important than WHAT I do is WHY I do it.

In other words, motivation is everything. God doesn’t just want our actions to be right, our appearance and performance to be acceptable; He wants our hearts to be right. I can go to church, hug my neighbors, raise my hands in worship, give liberally in the offering… but if my heart isn’t in it, if I’m only going through the motions so I’ll look good to others or satisfy some legalistic need inside of me, I’M WRONG.

And if I’m wrong, the only thing I need to be doing is getting right. It’s time for me to go to Him and ask for His forgiveness and help, to pray with the psalmist, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” [Psalm 51:10 (KJV)]

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

PS: The verse in the graphic is from the NLT.

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“I can tell you he’s not brain dead.”

No one wants to hear the words “brain dead” in relation to anyone they know. No one wants to think about the implications. Not wanting something doesn’t keep it from happening.

On Sunday evening, April 30th, my husband inhaled his dinner and nothing I tried helped. The EMTs got there quickly, and shortly after they got him into the ambulance the food obstructed his airway completely and he went into cardiac arrest.

I learned this after I arrived at the hospital, where I was told that the EMT’s had been doing CPR on him when he arrived, and they had his heart beating again within two to three minutes after getting him into the ER. They’d also removed the obstruction and intubated him. I’m ignorant – was ignorant – enough about such matters that I didn’t realize what wasn’t being said until two hours later.

Mind you, I got people praying right away!

Roughly two hours later, the Intinsivist called me aside and explained the situation. For a young man in good health, you have about 2 minutes of oxygen loss to the brain before you have to worry about brain damage. For a man Jack’s age, and with his medical history, you have 11-12 seconds. They’d been working on him for somewhere between two and six minutes. Also, Jack had yet to regain consciousness, his pupils were dilated, and they were only sluggishly responding to light.

In other words, the doctor wasn’t telling me Jack might have brain damage. He was telling he would have brain damage; it was only a matter of how much. This was when he told me, “I can tell you he’s not brain dead. We have seen signs of brain activity.”

I can’t even begin to explain what I felt at that point. I went to see him as they prepared to chill his body to alleviate the damage as much as possible. They were prepping for other things as well, so I got ready for a move to the ICU waiting room.

Again, prayer warriors were lifting him up. Also, I had some strong support in the room with me, which was good since it was 12:30 AM before we heard anything else.

At that point, another doctor came and got my sister and me. He asked if I knew what all they’d planned to do and I gave him the list, ending with, “and…put him on ice.” (I still can’t remember what they called it.)

“Yes,” he responded, nodding. “On that, there’s been a change of plan. We’ve had him sedated, of course, because of the intubation, but a little while ago he awoke on his own. He’s groggy, but responding to our commands. We won’t be instituting ________ protocols.”

I HAD to clarify. “You’re saying you see no reason to think there’s brain damage.”

“Right,” he agreed as he opened the door.

His ICU nurse told me repeatedly, “You have no idea how lucky he is!” Jack was one of three of the five choking patients they’d had recently who had lived. The two they lost died because of the very lack of oxygen Jack experienced. But…

By 4:00 the next afternoon, he had been moved to a regular room. Two days later, he was transported to rehab. Seven days after that, I took him home. Yesterday, on May 17, the man they expected to either die or come out of this a vegetable walked into church.

But. God.

May 20 EDIT/ADDITION

We saw his primary care today. I’d texted him immediately after my first meeting with the nurse. 

He looked at Jack and said, “What I did not tell your wife is that, when I got that first text, I knew you were gone.”

And again I say…

But. God. 

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Just as the Lord had Commanded

In reading Exodus 15:16-32, we see one phrase repeated many times.

…just as the Lord had commanded him.

Moses is setting up the Tabernacle and we see in these words that he has learned a great truth. We aren’t called simply to do what God tells us to; we are called to do it “just as the Lord has commanded.” It is for us to live our lives not by our own standards, but by His.

Because Moses paid such close attention to God’s commands…

Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle because the cloud had settled down over it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.

Oh, that we could reach this place!

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

The Next Show Starts In…

You walk in the door carrying your take-out coffee and get offended when you’re told you’ll have to leave it outside. You let your cell phone ring repeatedly. You let your child wander around. When you can tell it’s getting close to the end you start gathering your stuff together, and right before the official end you walk out the door.

It’s all pretty standard behavior in a movie theater, but I’m talking about church. I’ve seen all of this through the years, and much more, and it sickens me that we’ve reached a place culturally where such behavior is acceptable (by some) even in God’s house.

People leaving during the altar call is the worst. There are souls hanging in the balance. If we really are Christians we should be praying for those around us. Unfortunately too many seem to think they’re in a theater and the altar call is like the credits: Let’s leave now to beat the rush.

Celebrating Jesus anyway!

Tammy C

Meditations: James 4:6-7

Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014
Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014

James 4:6-7
KJV

6But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith,
God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

     Pride has no place in God’s kingdom. “God resisteth the proud,” we are warned, and if we are wise we heed the warning. The word “pride” does not only apply to that person who stands off from others with his nose in the air. It applies when we grow prideful of our accomplishments and forgetful of the fact that we attain nothing without Him. It applies when we look at others and pridefully assume that we have traveled further down the road of righteousness. It applies when we determine that our offering is better, our position of ministry more worthy, etc. The word applies much too often, I’m afraid.

Oh, but when we humble ourselves…then He gives us grace. And how can we not humble ourselves when we consider Him? In Him we have all things, can do all things and can be all things, but only IN HIM. Step outside of Him and we are nothing – no better than the sin-filled scum we were before He saved us. When one meditates on this, can one not be humbled? Being so humbled by the reality of all He is compared to all we are not without Him, the next reasonable step is to submit one’s self to Him.

The one who can say they are God’s bond-servant – one who has willingly turned himself completely over to God – receives the fullness of God’s grace. This one also receives something else – a promise.

 

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

The one who has fully submitted himself to God can resist the devil; indeed, this one is commanded to resist him! And when this one resists, the devil will flee; it is inevitable. Why?

I tend to visualize things, and I have this picture of me standing sure and proud against the devil as a child of God who has been given the authority. But this is not all. Behind me, towering over me and radiating ultimate authority, is my heavenly Father. Only a complete idiot challenges Him.

Only when I’ve put down pride, humbled myself, and submitted to Him, do I have that authority; only then does He stand behind me so.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Meditations: Hebrews 10:22

Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014
Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014

 

Hebrews 10:22
NKJV

…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

 

A lawyer type once said that Hebrews 10:16-31 is written like a contract, with verses 16-21 sharing God’s part, 22-25 sharing our part and 26-31 sharing the consequences of our breaking the contract. God, of course, does not break contracts.

Bearing this in mind, verses 22 through 25 become vitally important to the believer. Verse 22 first calls for us to draw near to God. In my experience, this is one of the most consistently disobeyed commands God gives. It is one thing to think, “I love God,” or “I live for God,” and another thing entirely to climb up into his lap like a child does with his father. Why? Time is an obvious excuse. We fill our lives so completely that we effectively push God right out of them, repeatedly promising to get with Him later. In too many cases, later never comes.

Another obvious reason for our failure is that when we draw close to God our faults become entirely too obvious for our own selves’ comfort. Indeed, Scripture commands us not only to draw near to Him, but to come with true hearts, a thing that requires self-judgment and humility. Too, we are to come in “full assurance of faith.” Few children have the nerve to approach their fathers, to draw truly near to them, when they’ve done wrong. Their hearts are not pure and they know it; they cannot come in “full assurance of faith” because they know they’ve earned punishment rather than their father’s loving touch. So it is with us; flesh shrinks back, drawing away from God rather than straining towards Him, so we must deal with the flesh first. We must put it down so we can exalt Him.

But oh the rewards that come when we judge ourselves, repent of our sins, and are able once again to draw near to Him, when we do take the time and put forth the effort to draw near to Him. As a little girl, climbing up into my earthly father’s lap might have been a wonderful thing, but climbing up into my heavenly Father’s lap is so far beyond this earthly experience that it denies the comparison.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

If It Were My Funeral

I swiped the idea for this post from one I once posted to a blog I shut down ages ago. That post was prompted by hearing a minister say, at a funeral, “If _____ were here right now, he would say…”

Why, I wondered, should things I would say wait until my funeral to be said? So, if this were my funeral, I would say…

I hope you miss me, because that will mean I’ve touched your life, but you have no need to mourn. Finally, at last, I am where I’ve longed to be for so very long. I love you, and I’ve loved the life we’ve shared, but I love my God so much – so very much – more. Sometimes, especially in recent years, the homesickness for Heaven has been almost painful.

“I knew you before you were in your mother’s womb,” He says. I’ve believed this for years, and believed that I knew Him that early as well, that I was with Him in Heaven before ever being sent to Earth – and I’ve longed to go back. Paul said, “For me to die is gain.” YES! For the longest time, I’ve totally gotten what he meant by those words!

Loss is hard, and I get that too. “Losing” Mother was painful, but it helped when a friend pointed out that in reality she’d only moved away to a place I couldn’t go yet, that though we would be separated for a while I’d see her again when I made the same move. I’ve really been looking forward to seeing her again, and Daddy, and Granny and Grandaddy, and Mema and Pepa, and…

Now I ask you, please prepare to come meet us again too. If you’ve never accepted Jesus as your Savior, don’t know Him as your Lord, accept Him today. I look forward to visiting you in your mansion.

If it were my funeral, I think that’s pretty much what I would say.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C