More about the Polymyalgia Rheumatica

So, after really thinking about this “condition,” I’m starting to wonder if it started years ago. The TIA I had in 2016 could have triggered it I suppose, although the things that are making me wonder about when it started didn’t appear till 2013.

That was the year I started gaining weight. My doctor attributed it to my age and slowing metabolism, but I started gaining a pound a month. I finally started eating more protein and complex carbs and got it under control, but I still haven’t lost those pesky pounds.

It was the next Summer I noticed my hips started hurting.  I didn’t even tell the docs about this one! I assumed it was because I’m over 50. They didn’t really hurt that bad. It was a little difficult to put pants on some days, but never horrible. I remember the date because in 2013 I walked all night for our Relay for Life Team, but that year I couldn’t.  I had to take a lot of breaks.

It was the next year I noticed my hands didn’t work the way I wanted them to from time to time.  It was most evident in my handwriting. I really like the way I write, and I just didn’t seem to have the control I’d always had. I had a little bit of numbness now and then, but no pain really. So, again, I never told a doctor.

Right around Easter of 2016 I had a horrific bout with what seemed to be sciatica. It was excruciating! I went to a chiropractor, had some x-rays taken and got some exercises from a Physical Therapist. This seriously may have just been a problem with my sciatic nerve but now I have to wonder.

It was that same year that my stomach felt funny a lot and my shoulders began to hurt a bit. Neither was anything I considered to be major. I attributed them to my age. But the shoulders especially may have been the beginning of all this.

By the end of the year, I felt exhausted all of the time. My brain was in a fog a lot. I even told my neurologist and PCP. Both thought I needed to exercise more (and I probably do)

The most disconcerting thing is that I got till I have problems singing. My throat feels tight and weak all the time. The ENT gave me Flonase and said some of it was caused by Acid Reflux, but even after taking care of those two problems, I can’t count on my voice to be strong.

Finally, last fall, I remember thinking if I don’t figure out a way to exercise my eyelids, I’m going to have to have surgery to keep them open. I attributed it to being tired all the time, but now I have to wonder, are my eyelids heavy because I’m tired or do I feel tired because the muscles in my eyelids are effected.

I still have no idea how much of this is related to the way I feel now, but I think some of this is more than coincidence.

I and an EMG (Electro Myography) this week. It looks like all of my nerves are working OK. I see Doc in June to get the results . . . until then . . .

I got to review Craig Groeschel’s new book

“Hope in the Dark” is scheduled to release on Aug 21, 2018. I highly recommend it.

There are no good answers to why bad things happen to good people, but “Hope in the  Dark” may be the best attempt I’ve ever read. This book is honest, sometimes painfully so. The truth is we don’t want to hear that bad things are going to come, but Groeschel’s honest handling of the truth is amazing.  He uses Habakkuk to give example after example of how to trust in God even when things aren’t going well. (And I love the book of Habakkuk) I hope everyone who feels like they’re walking in a dark valley will read this book and find the hope Jesus Christ means for us to have! #HopeInTheDark #NetGalley

The Devil is a Liar

It’s true . . . The Devil is a Liar.

But you probably knew that.

I’m pretty sure everyone has heard that Lucifer lies, and for the most part, I think Christians, even nominal ones, believe it. But something I’ve learned over the years is that humans don’t often live what they say they believe.

Many years ago I attended a retreat once or twice a year. We were not allowed to mention occupations during the entire retreat, so at the end we had to tell folks our name and something about ourselves. I remember one time a bunch of clergy wives were there. The first one said her name and said, “I sleep with my pastor!” The room busted, and several of us followed suit, “I sleep with my pastor, too!” It was fun!  We also went on to tell about our day job or our children.

I’ve had a number of day jobs, from waitress to receptionist, store clerk, layout designer and more.  But at the time I wanted to sing. I was performing a few times each month with a band, and soon after I was doing solo concerts. So I decided to start introducing myself like that, “Hi, I’m Lynne. I’m a singer/songwriter.” I knew if I wanted that to be who I was I needed to embrace that identity myself. I obviously wouldn’t e able to convince anyone else I was a singer/songwriter if I didn’t believe it.

I think we Christians need to do the same thing.

We need to embrace our identity in Christ and begin to say it out loud even if we don’t believe it.

The enemy reminds us constantly of our faults and failures. We bury the past, and he digs it up like a dog that’s found a bone in the backyard. That bully can smell our insecurities, and he plays on them.

But just like a human bully, the best thing we can do is ignore him or stand up to him.

When you hear your spiritual bully whisper those lies in your ear, I want you to ask yourself, “What do I know to be true?”

Here are a few truths to get your started:

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

Colossians 1:21-22 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation

1 Peter 2:10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

I am near God. I am Light. I am holy. I have no blemishes. No one has any reason to accuse me of anything (not even me). I’ve received mercy and pardon. I am loved by the Creator of the Universe.

The enemy needs reminded often of these truths. When we hear the lies of the enemy, it’s imperative we begin to speak these truths over our lives. Say them out loud so the enemy can hear! Remind him of whose you are!

And until you believe you are who Christ says you are, perhaps listening to this song over and over will help you:  Matthew West, Child of the One True King

 

Polymyalgia Rheumatica – I’d never heard of it before

Yesterday I got confirmation that the pain I had for about a month has a name, Polymyalgia Rheumatica. It’s an auto-immune disease. Which basically means no one can figure out why your body turned on you all of a sudden.

Mine started February 21, 2018 . . . or perhaps a few years ago, and that’s the day it got real, but I’ll explain that more later.

I woke up that Wednesday sore. I’d bowled on Sunday and moved furniture on Monday and Tuesday, so there was a chance it was just overused muscles. I ignored it and didn’t worry about it too much. But then my right trapezius (shoulder) started feeling as though someone was ripping it in two.  Ibuprofen didn’t touch it.

So finally on March 17 I went to the doctor about it. She gave me some pain meds and muscle relaxers, but it just kept getting worse. By March 24 I couldn’t climb stairs and getting in my hubby’s 4×4 truck was next to impossible.  So, back to the doctor the next Monday.

I can’t begin to tell you how bad the pain was. From my neck to my knees every muscle ached, and just got progressively worse. I got weaker and weaker. It was hard to get out of a chair, and getting in and out of the vehicle was torturous. During the whole ordeal I was painting and decorating, getting our new church building ready for Easter. So it didn’t stop me, but it did slow me down and it was excruciating (although not as bad as the Sciatica pain I had a couple of years ago).

My maternal grandmother died of Lupus and grandpa of Colagen disease, both auto-immune diseases. Five others in my family have Rheumatoid Arthritis. So, I was starting to get a bit concerned. And after blood tests and two days on Prednisone, the diagnosis was confirmed. I’ve joined the auto immune club in the family.

I couldn’t believe how fast the Prednisone worked. In less than 24 hours I went from not being able to roll over in bed to being up early and feeling great! However, enough of my family has been on this miracle drug to know there are a lot of reasons NOT to stay on it. I got a bit worried Saturday because I forgot to take it in the morning, and by afternoon, I could feel the symptoms coming back.

I’m not sure where this will go, but I do know there isn’t much information about it, so I thought I’d chronicle my journey.  So stop back often, leave a question or two and journey with me.

 

 

 

More on Guns

So many folks have asked my opinion about guns lately. They did it on Facebook, so I’m not sure they meant it. I started to reply to two people, but decided to put it here instead so those who wanted to read it could, and perhaps I wouldn’t get the hate replies I’d see otherwise.

One friend understands a total ban of guns isn’t the answer, and she mentions love, hope and faith.

My thoughts . . . banning guns won’t make a difference. Stricter laws won’t make a difference. Most of the ones used are gained illegally. They are breaking the law to take the gun on school property.
 
This friend is correct, we’ve lost our center of love, faith, and hope. Throughout history, when that center has been Yahweh and then Yeshua there has been care for the neglected and forgotten. In every time period, the people who respected life the most were true followers of Yahweh and Yeshua.
 
Jesus Christ has been proven to change the hearts of people, yet, even Christianity today isn’t what it should be. We water it down to make it palatable, and it becomes destructive. Again, proven through history. Many nations embraced Christianity, but they had to make it work for their society, and when they changed Christianity to meet their needs, their nation crumbled. They tried to “win people to Christ” by means with which Christ never asked them to, and gave Christianity a bad name.
 
Today, in America, a nation who tolerates Christians at best, people don’t feel loved. They don’t understand respect.
 
Even if you take out the Christian aspect, if children were just taught to respect others, much of this would stop. I read a statistic from Japan about their “deaths by gun” (which I believe is skewed because it’s an unbelievably low number) and one thing in that country that would create a lower percentage is that they instill utmost respect for others into their children.
 
Even those with terrible mental health . . . if value of life had been instilled in them at a young age, taking a gun and killing others would not be one of their early instincts. There would be so many other signs that it would be much more obvious there was a danger. There’d still be a few cases that would slip through, but by and large, what is instilled in us as children is difficult for us to overcome . . . bad and good.  The mentally ill who have been learned to value life and respect others will take their own life before they will take another.
But today, kids are given war games as early as six years old. Life is something that regenerates and killing and blood are nothing. We have a desensitized population.
Respect is a bad word, unless of course you are under 20 and the one being “disrepected.” Didn’t anyone ever tell those kids they don’t deserve respect. They deserve to be treated with love, with compassion, but not respect. Respect is earned, and sometimes it’s earned through title . . . teacher, principal, doctor, president.  These titles get my respect even when the person holding them hasn’t earned my trust.
And more and more folks want to ban guns or types of weapons. That was the lament of my second friend.  As much as I’d like to agree because I don’t think they are necessary, I believe this is a dangerous practice. History has proven that if a government is given too much absolute power it will become corrupt (or it is corrupt if it seeks that kind of power). If the people are unarmed they become susceptible to an evil government. Most tyrannical leaders and governments who were able to wield any power in the past have begun with disarmed citizens.
I understand it’s a delicate topic, but let’s take the focus off the weapon!  Stop it! Find ways to help those who are so disturbed they feel the need to take a weapon to a school.  How badly have they been hurt, even unintentionally, in that place to feel like that’s the place to begin their killing spree.
Put a great counselor/psychologist in every school, someone who will meet with every child in the school every quarter and be available to show love and compassion to those who aren’t getting it at home.
Force parents to show respect to teachers, even those they don’t like. The schools should quit bending to parents who think their child should get their own way every time.  Force parents to force their children to follow the rules. No excuses. I’ve seen kids with ADHD follow the rules, yes, they need a bit more understanding, but they showed me respect and I could tell they were doing their best to follow the rules even when their bodies were rejecting sitting still.
A person willing to kill children in a school has been emotionally scarred.  Let’s stop that!  Let’s enforce policies which don’t allow one teacher to be with one student. Let’s help children understand that is never allowed no matter what the teacher says. Let’s give more love to children who don’t know where they have to go each night after school because they have a split family and go to grandma’s house two nights a week, dad’s one night and mom’s another.  Let’s keep an eye on kids who are with babysitters a lot. When they show signs of even a little abuse, let’s investigate.
Why aren’t there free clinics for those who feel like they need to kill someone. Why don’t I see billboards for that as often as I see ones for those who want to quit gambling.  I’m pretty sure the casinos are required to put up those billboards, let’s start a free hotline and ask the gun companies to fund those billboards (I bet they would – without legislation).
There are a lot of things that could happen to help this situation, but the focus is so skewed toward gun regulation that the people who need help aren’t getting it.
Stop discussing guns!!!
Start discussing humans!!!

Relationships – Part three – Restoration

You can read part one of this article HERE

Another misnomer about forgiveness is the restoration of the relationship. Some folks won’t forgive because they think the relationship must be restored to its original status, and they are afraid of being betrayed again.

This is tricky. Because it’s easy in our humanness to decide we’ve been hurt beyond repair. We won’t allow the relationship to be healed. But the truth is oftentimes relationships are able to be healed if both parties are willing. Unless the offender has betrayed or abused you, and you know the betrayal and abuse will not stop, there’s a good chance restoration is an option.

Especially if you are being abused, the relationship does not have to be restored until the abuser has taken all the steps necessary to get help and you know you are safe. Forgiveness is still important for your health, but restoration can’t come until the abuser is willing to admit his or her problem and get lots of help and healing. Not even the promise of counseling is enough to walk back into an abusive relationship.

Even God has standards for restoration. In order for us to be restored to the relationship humans had with our Creator in the Garden of Eden, we first have to be made new by accepting Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. God forgives long before we ask, but the restoration occurs when we meet his conditions. Human relationships can be the same.

Not that it gives us permission to set up unrealistic conditions and expectations. We don’t get to be dictators or give ultimatums on what has to happen for a relationship to be restored, but in the case of abuse or betrayal, we are allowed to protect ourselves and those around us before a relationship is restored.

There are offenses which are less drastic, though. In fact, most relationship busters are not abusive, most don’t include betrayal. Most are caused by misunderstanding and human error. Many are set off by difference of opinions or judgement. In each of these cases, full restoration is possible if both parties are willing to admit their part in the problem and then offer full and unconditional forgiveness.  But both of those things are hard.

Relationships aren’t easy. But they’re worth it if you’re willing to work on it a bit.

Relationships – Part Two

If you stumbled upon this post and haven’t read part one, you can read it HERE.

Another thing I’ve discovered about relationships is that they require us to understand we are in community with other human beings. There are going to be problems. I am not going to like every thing every single person in my circle does every single day.  Even the most well meaning human being will let us down from time to time. We’ll get our feelings hurt or be offended. It’s gonna happen! The thing that makes for a successful or unsuccessful relationship is how it’s handled. Once a person comes to that realization, they’ll have a much better time making relationships work.

The last time I talked about each person taking responsibility for his or her part in the schism. But what’s next? And by next, I mean first . . .

Even before the other person takes responsibility for his or her actions, I have to forgive, just let it go, don’t take offense. It’s easier when I remember I’ve probably offended someone else in a similar way, and I hope they’ve forgiven me. And it’s one hundred times easier since I’ve come to the realization that all my faults caused Christ to be crucified, and He forgave me, loves me and wants a fully restored relationship with me.

But forgiveness is hard. I know.

One of the main things people need to understand is that forgiveness does not excuse the offense, it merely removes it’s hold on YOU. You forgiving is NOT the same as saying, “It’s OK, do it again.” It’s simply saying, “I don’t want this to cause me anymore pain, so I’m releasing it. I’m no longer going to hold it against you.” I think that makes some forgiveness a little easier. So many people believe that forgiveness excuses a person or gives them permission to cause the offense again. It doesn’t. Even Jesus told the woman, “Go and sin no more.” She was forgiven, but He didn’t want her to returning to the life that caused her need for forgiveness.

Holding on to unforgiveness is like grasping the end of chains that are anchored to a wall and refusing to let go. Those chains hold you, but by your choice. You are bound, just like a prisoner, except you could let go. Sin is much the same, except sin puts us in shackles, and Jesus’ death on the cross holds the key to loose them. But either way, you’re stuck. You may as well be the one who committed the offense because whether you are the offender or the one offended, without forgiveness, both are bound by chains that keep them from the true peace and freedom Christ came to bring.

This article is continued HERE

 

Relationships

The topic of relationships has come up a lot lately. So I thought I’d share my views on what it takes to have a healthy relationship here.

The most difficult thing about relationships is they require two individuals who might have different views and ideas to get along. In nearly every growing relationship, there will come a time when there’s a disagreement, someone’s hurt or misunderstood and division happens. But there is one major thing I’ve discovered about reconciliation in a relationship:

If you want true relationship, you have to take responsibility for your part in any disagreement.
Matthew 5:23-24 says:
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

It doesn’t tell us, “If you did something wrong on purpose.” It says, “If your brother or sister has something against you.”  And if that’s the case, we’re supposed to make the first move. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Don’t assume it will blow over, and most especially, don’t tell yourself you’ve nothing to apologize for.

Whether it’s real or perceived, if your friend feels wronged, you need to take responsibility. Just apologize . . . sincerely. I’ve decided even if the problem is someone took my words wrong or out of context, I need to admit that I probably wasn’t paying attention to God or to their feelings. Not only do I need to apologize to my friend, I also need to talk to my heavenly Father, because if I’d been paying attention, He’d have kept me from saying the wrong thing or helped me form my sentences in such a way they wouldn’t offend.

The major problem with this part of the reconciliation is that in order for the relationship to be wholly restored, both parties have to be willing to admit they’re part of the problem. It takes two to fight.

Perhaps you feel like you were the one wronged. Maybe it’s the other person who said all of those offensive words. Is there a chance you misunderstood? Were you hurt by something that was said when other pressures were the real issue? Did you forget to stop and see the situation from the other person’s perspective? Each and every one of those things (and more) are reasons to take responsibility for part of the problem. Too many times we’re quick to take offense when no offense was intended. Not everyone says exactly what they mean, and even if they always do, sometimes our ears don’t hear it the way it was meant. If you are quick to take offense, take responsibility for that! When someone comes to apologize, and even if they don’t, reciprocate the apology. Take responsibility for your part of the schism and begin the healing process.

So often I see wonderful relationships thrown away because one person chose to hold on to the offense or put all the blame on the other person.  Time and time again I’ve witnessed one person apologizing for everything, even things that weren’t their fault, while the second person allows them to take all the blame. And you’d think that might work, you’d think as long as one person was willing to accept all the blame and apologize for it, the other could just maintain their innocence and move forward.

But it doesn’t work! I’ve never, ever seen it mend relationship.

Until both people are willing to admit they made a mistake, even if it was innocent and unintentional, the relationship will never be truly whole. It may have a bandage for a while, but the gangrene will grow, and eventually any kind of connection you had with the other person will disintegrate.

The only time there’s any chance of that working is in the case of abuse. If you are being abused or have been abused, please don’t look for your part in the abuse. You will never do anything to deserve to be beaten or verbally attacked. Yes, there may be other things you’ll need to take responsibility for to be whole yourself, but there is nothing anyone can ever do or say that constitutes or excuses abuse. And if you are a person who has to belittle someone with words, explodes when you’re angry or causes someone else pain to make your point, get help! You are an abuser, take responsibility so you can restore your relationships.

So, step number one in keeping a healthy relationship – recognize you aren’t perfect. Take responsibility for those times when your words or actions have caused a rift in the relationship. Acknowledge those occasions you’ve taken offense when no offense was intended. Apologize and forgive, and remember the one you’re in relationship with is just as human as you.

This article continues HERE

How To Make Sure We’re Blessed

This is the manuscript from a sermon I preached on November 5, 2017

We who live in the Upper Ohio Valley are blessed. With all the natural disasters that have happened in the last few months, if you don’t feel blessed, there’s a good chance you aren’t paying attention. Five hurricanes, two earthquakes, wildfires, and we’ve been safe. We get very little flooding and tornados and blizzards are rare. Why are we so blessed? Is it because we’re better people? Does God love us more?

I really don’t think so. These hills we’ve chosen to surround ourselves with protect us from the severe weather, and we live too far away from the ocean to get much trouble from hurricanes. I believe we are weather blessed because we have positioned ourselves in a place to be blessed.

And it’s really the same way with the Christian life. Everyone wants to live under the protection of God’s blessings, but very few want to move to a place where they can be blessed. Yesterday when I was reading my devotions by John Wesley, he pretty much said we shouldn’t even tell people about God’s blessings until they are ready to live where God is blessing. He said, Those who “pour out their souls before God . . . these are the person unto whom we are to apply the great and precious promises. Not to the ignorant [those who are knew to the faith] . . . Much less to the impenitent sinner.”

So, our job is to make sure we aren’t “ignorant.” We have to learn how to position ourselves so we can receive all of God’s blessings.

God started telling people how to be blessed from the beginning. Adam and Eve just had to stay away from that one tree. The tree seemed innocent, but God knew it wasn’t good for them. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve didn’t trust that God knew what was best. They didn’t love Him enough to obey and get the blessing.

Over and over God told His people how to be blessed. In the bulletin, I put a list of just some of the Bible verses that tell us how to be blessed. Listen to what He told people about being blessed.

12 If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors. 13 He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and olive oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. 14 You will be blessed more than any other people – Deuteronomy 7:12-14

God starts out talking about the Ten Commandments. If we honor Him, worship Him, Trust Him and Him alone; if we don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t murder and more then we will be blessed. And it extends to other commands God gives us. But did you catch verse 14?

14 You will be blessed more than any other people

And God repeated this several more times in Deuteronomy.
Then 100’s of years later King David wrote about what it means to be blessed.

1 Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the LORD does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit. – Psalm 32:1-2

One of the cool things about King David is that as far as I can tell, He was the first person to truly repent. He was narcissistic and deceitful. He committed adultery and schemed to kill a friend to cover it up. Up until King David, everyone just made excuses for their sin, including Moses and Abraham. David however, was the first to say, “I have sinned against God.” He made no excuses, he repented and God said, “You are forgiven.”

I’m not sure whether David wrote this before or after his encounter with Bathsheba, but either way, the man knew the best way to be blessed. He understood that the one who was forgiven was blessed. The one who has no deceit is blessed. That’s what John Wesley was talking about. “Those who pour out their souls before God are the ones who the promises are for . . . “ When we are obedient and repentant we begin to experience the blessings of God.

But there’s more ! Jeremiah 17:7 says:

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. – Jeremiah 17:7

Do you fully trust in God? It’s a difficult thing to do, to just put your life in the hands of Jesus Christ, but that’s what it takes if you want all of the blessings of God.
One way to tell if you are fully trusting God is to see how you handle your finances. That’s one of the most difficult places to trust Him.

But it says in Malachi:

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. – Malachi 3:10

Do you trust God with your tithe? Can you bring 10% of your total income into the house of the Lord? Tithing is a measure of trust. We don’t tithe because God needs our money. We tithe to learn to trust God, to show Him we trust Him. And God promises that when we trust Him enough to give bring 10% into His house He will pour out so much blessing there won’t be enough room to store it.

And that’s just in the Old Testament. You’ll recognize these verses from the New Testament

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5: 3-11

That short passage can be a whole sermon in itself. But in a nutshell . . .
You are blessed when you realize you are spiritually poor, when you grieve because of your spiritual poverty and when it humbles you. When you can’t get enough of scripture, prayer and growing in Christ, you are blessed. When you have mercy for people who used to cause you to judge and when you are considerate of others so there’s more peace, you are blessed.

Blessed doesn’t mean problems won’t come. We still have to live on this earth, so we’ll still face troubles. But James tells us:

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12

When you keep going even during the trials and trust Jesus to get you through them, you are blessed!
And James 1:25

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. – James 1:25

James goes right back to what we talked about at the beginning. God needs us to obey the law. He knows that the rules He’s created are for our own good. Everyone whose ever taken care of a child has set down a rule that the kid didn’t like, but it was in the child’s best interest. That’s what God does for us, and when we obey His rules, when we don’t forget the things He’s told us, we have freedom and we are blessed.

There are times you won’t feel blessed even when you’re completely devoted to following Christ. But we can’t trust our feelings and sometimes we have to look for the blessings.
We also have to remember that sin has consequences, and sometimes the consequences follow us. Even King David, the man after God’s own heart, faced the consequences of his sin until the day he died. And his sin effected his children.

Disobedience steals your blessings and it effects those around you. In fact some of the trials you face are the result of someone else’s sin. Sometimes when we feel less than blessed it’s because those we’ve positioned around us aren’t walking in a way that God will bless.

I want to be blessed and I want you to be blessed. One of the things I’ve become convinced of as I read scripture is that if we want to be blessed we have to be obedient. The more I trust Christ, the more I receive blessing. And as John Wesley said, if we’re ignorant about what God’s requirements are, all of those promises Christians brag about aren’t for us. We need to know what the scripture says if we want to be really blessed.

The Bible is clear. Salvation is for everyone who asks, and you can lived the “just saved” life and probably make it to heaven. But it’s still a hard life . . . not the one God intended for us. We were created to walk in the Garden with Him. Sin messed that up, but more than anything else God wants to have a relationship with us. Jesus died so we can have more than just heaven. He came to restore our relationship with the Father.