Tag Archives: friendship

The Love of a Brother

The Love of a Brother by Susan Browder
“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17

Jacob’s brother, Nick, has always been his brother’s keeper. Nick was in college at the time of Jacob’s injury. In November of 2014, Nick stayed with us a lot during this time. I went back to teaching in December of 2014. When Nick wasn’t in school, he was with Jacob. They went to therapy, rehab, and appointments together. Nick was such a comfort to us all. He always sees the “sunshine” when it’s raining. You will always see Nick wearing a broad, contagious smile no matter what. There are so many things that I adore about Nick but if I had to pick one, it would be his encouraging soul.
When Jacob lost every friend, Nick was there. Nick was his steady friend. He was there for pep talks every day and that kept me going. Life was so hard. We were use to a “full” house and Jacob constantly coming and going with such a busy and fun life. We were all so weary but every day, God got us through it with the love of a brother. Nick instilled in Jacob daily one simple thought. “Jacob, you are good enough for anyone. If people can’t see that, it’s their loss.” This kind of love that Nick had for his brother, drove out many fears that Jacob had. These “love of a brother” moments are gifts from God.
Nick and Jacob have always been close, but never like they are now. When one hurts, the other feels it. Their protection for one another now is on another level.

“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

 

 

Nick and Jacob have taught each other many things in life. In my opinion, the most valuable is to grip on to God and let him lead you. Don’t be fearful and to stick with each other no matter the circumstances.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:9-10
Counting My Blessings,
Susan Browder

 

Need to Breathe   ” Brother feat” Gavin DeGraw

https://youtu.be/61Wm_qlVD4Q  Brother feat Gavin DeGraw

Healing power of prayer

 

 

 

He Hears Us

“Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone happy? He should sing songs of thanks to God.  Is anyone among you sick? He should send for the church leaders and they should pray for him. They should pour oil on him in the name of the Lord.  The prayer given in faith will heal the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.  Tell your sins to each other. And pray for each other so you may be healed. The prayer from the heart of a man right with God has much power.”  James 5:13-16

After learning that my son, Jacob, had a severe head injury, we continued to get bad news.  We learned that he had five bleeds in his brain and Diffuse Axonal Injury, which means widespread damage.  Doctors told us that Jacob needed to wake up within a 48 hour window and if he didn’t, the odds were not in his favor.

Anyone who knows Jacob, knows he doesn’t do anything the easy way.  We stood over his bed for two days praying over him, talking to him, playing his favorite songs, and still nothing.

We played Aaron Keyes song, “Sovereign Over Us” night after night at Jacob’s bed.  I hung on to the words, “You are working in our waiting,” and Your plans are still to prosper, You have not forgotten us, You’re with us in the fire and the flood.”  So in the 47th and a half hour, I started screaming and shouting at him to wake up.  I had worked myself up into the biggest panic of my life.  As I walked out to the waiting room, my jaw dropped and I lost it.  The waiting room was filled with friends, students, and family.

https://youtu.be/VPkMbhydU9I Sovereign over us by Aaron Keyes

 

I don’t know how many were there, but it blew my mind.  Some were gathered in circles praying. Friends showed me on social media all of the schools that were praying before school, football teams wearing blue ribbons, and people wearing his football button.

Blue Ribbons Everywhere

 

Psalm 30:2 “LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.

Psalm 107:19-21 “Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them. he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.”

 

Psalms 41:2-3 “The LORD protects and preserves them-they are counted among the blessed in the land-he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.”

 

Jeremiah 17:14 “Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next phase was so slow.  We were so blessed to have two nurses in the family, Justin and Nikki, with us for the first two weeks nonstop.  They asked the hard questions and questions that I did not even know to ask.  I started keeping a notebook and a journal to keep track of things.  When Justin and Nikki had to return to work, my husband, Nicky, and son, Nick, tried to fill their roles.  Two weeks went by, and Jacob still had not awakened from his coma.  Doctors came in and out every day with the same routine.  They pinched and twisted on Jacob’s chest hoping to see what they call “purposeful movements.”

Surrounding communities were praying for Jacob. Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times.”

I was floored when I saw Jacob respond by twisting his arms inward and then pulling up.  My excited emotions quickly faded as doctors explained that what Jacob was doing was considered “posturing” and not purposeful movements.  Jacob’s posturing indicated severe brain injury and that he might not wake up.

One afternoon, in walks my cousin, Craig, with his Bible in hand and another one for us,  He talked about James 5 and the healing power of prayer.  He discussed with us the specifics of James 5 and asked us if we wanted to pray, confess our sins, and anoint Jacob with oil.  The next few moments are something that really can’t be put into words.  I had never witnessed anything that compares to it.  Craig read James 5, we did all that it said to do, and then Craig anointed Jacob with oil. Of course I had read James 5 before, but never thought of putting it into action in my life.  I know God sent Craig that day and I know that we were not in the hospital room alone.

This was the turning point for our family and this is what our next few days looked like:  Twitching of the eyes, then, eyes slightly peeking through, left leg moving, facial expressions, following commands (holding up fingers, sticking tongue out), fever down, oxygen levels improved, our first thumbs up, and then the word “stable” was said.  On day 13, his breathing tube came out.  I couldn’t watch because we were told if he didn’t start breathing on his own, the tube would go back in and we would be looking at a trach.  As I stood looking out of the window praying, my husband, Nicky, had turned around to watch the tube being taken out.  I felt Nicky take a deep breath and then put his arm around me.  Then Dr. Rutledge excitedly said, “He’s breathing mama!”  Another mountain moved for Jacob. All I could think was what a blessing this is and how thankful I am for a praying family, praying friends, and praying communities.

 

 

If you are still “Praying for Jacob Browder,” we are so thankful that you are.  My other favorite part of Aaron Keyes song is:

“Even what the enemy means for evil, You turn it for our good. You turn it for our good and for your glory.  Even in the valley You are faithful.  You’re working for our good. You’re working for our good and for your glory!”

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” – Corrie ten Boom

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. – Mark 11:24


Power Of Prayer – How do I tap into it?
The power of prayer is not the result of the person praying. Rather, the power resides in the God who is being prayed to. 1 John 5:14-15 tells us, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.”  No matter the person praying, the passion behind the prayer, or the purpose of the prayer – God answers prayers that are in agreement with His will.  His answers are not always yes, but are always in our best interest. When our desires line up with His will, we will come to understand that in time. When we pray passionately and purposefully, according to God’s will, God responds powerfully!  http://www.allaboutprayer.org/power-of-prayer.htm

Counting My Blessings,
Susan Browder

Discouragement, Failure and Disappointment

 

 

 

 


Live Like You’re Loved  by Hawk Nelson
https://youtu.be/Q_r47Xhkf20?list=RDQ_r47Xhkf20

John 21:1-3

After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way.  There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of His disciples.  Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing’.  They said to him, ‘We will also come with you’.  They went out, and got into the boat;  and that night they caught nothing.

We are on a journey through the resurrection (Easter) to the Day of Pentecost.  50 Days of Feast for Israel.   We have looked at the appearance of Jesus after His resurrection.

This week we see Jesus on the beach by the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus had met with His disciples before.  Peter was named particularly when Jesus told the women to tell the disciples and Peter to meet Him in Galilee.  Theologians think this very spot may have been where He expected to meet them.  Jesus had met with the disciples but now days may have passed and nothing more.  Our dear friend Peter, not known for his patience, decides he has had enough.  “I am going fishing!”   This probably was not just a decision to go for the day!  It was a return to a former life.  Jesus isn’t going to set up a kingdom.  He is not going to overthrow the Romans.  We saw Him after that Sunday morning but now he has disappeared again.  Peter, Peter, Peter.

Now not only does Peter return to fishing but others follow also.  Discouragement is contagious!

Jesus and Peter haven’t yet spoken about the night he denied him.  I would imagine that he has nursed and rehearsed that evening many times.  Have you ever let someone down?  Maybe you have been the person disappointed by another’s actions.

I want to focus on something that almost if not all of us have to deal with at some point in our life.  DISCOURAGEMENT, DISAPPOINTMENT, AND FAILURE.

Peter what a study in human behavior!

Impatient, outspoken, bold, prone to speaking before he thinks, jumps to conclusions!  Ever hurt anyone by your words?  Ever ignored, avoided or said something about someone to keep from getting in trouble?

Peter did! I have! I ventured to say you have too!

In the story today, Jesus fixes breakfast for them after they have fished all night and caught nothing.

#1.  Jesus is always waiting to restore relationships.

The day is breaking and the disciples see someone on the shore.  Jesus calls to them. “Caught anything?”   “No!”  “Put in on the other side.” The net is them filled with 153 fish. At this point, John recognizes it is Jesus.  As many times, John discerns the spiritual and Peter acts.  Peter wants to get to Jesus first. Whether he has already talked with Jesus and asks for forgiveness we can’t be sure.  Peter doesn’t even try to walk on water this time, he jumps in and swims to shore.

#2. We need to learn to be quick to seek or to give forgiveness.

Jesus prepares fish and bread.  Then turns to Peter. “Do you love me?”..

“You know I do, Lord.” Three times He asks Peter.  The theology of this passage has been discussed many times.  Jesus isn’t asking Peter because of insecurities about Peter’s love for Him.  He is making a point as He always did.

#3. Love is shown by actions.

You have a calling.  I want you to go, love and tend to my kingdom.  The new way of worship and serving Me is now going to be in your hands.  Not just in your hands Peter but in every person who believes in me.

Peter then asks Jesus, “What about him? (John)  Jesus quickly tells Peter, “You take care of your responsibilities and leave others to me.”

#4.  Focus on what Jesus is doing in you.

Gratitude leads to joy and joy is how God intended His people to live.

Discouragement, failure and disappointments are all stepping stones for a closer walk with Jesus.

Diamonds by Hawk Nelson

Treading Like I am Loved

Freda Reynolds

Mary Anoints Jesus Feet

By 125ed-magdalena2bunge2bpies2bde2bjesus CC BY-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Anointing Jesus Feet
Video of Scriptures Matthew 26:6-25
Mark 14:3-9  John 12:1-9

Mary of Bethany.  Sister to Martha and Lazarus.  She is a sweet soul, with a child-like heart:  she believed all He said.  She understood He was telling His disciples of His impending death, burial, and resurrection.  She believed Him because she had witnessed Him raise her very own brother from the grave and he should have already been decaying.  According to Vicki Kraft, an author for Bible.org, “Mary was the one who was spiritually in tune with Jesus.”  Oh, to be spiritually in tune with the Savior!  How I want this.   Could it be her life will reveal the clues of what is required to be “in tune?”   We know Mary of Bethany was willing to “sit at the feet of Jesus” to listen and learn.   Mary was quiet and thoughtful.  She grieved her brother’s death deeply.  “Deep grief is proof of deep love.”   Jesus “applauded her choice to learn from Him.”    In the story of Lazarus illness and death, I see she is deeply affected by Jesus delay and Jesus is “moved” by the grief she and Martha share.

It is following Lazarus resurrection,  we see Mary’s devotion to the Master expressed in the costliest of terms:  financially, socially, and emotionally.  Mary wears her heart on her sleeve.  I do this……. Her spiritual gift is mercy, giving, and service.  This public display of adoration, worship, and devotion in another’s home (Simon the Leper) makes the witnesses uncomfortable and they voice their displeasure with this “disciple” of Jesus.    Jesus on the other hand, defended her and made a promise:  Her unadulterated expression of worship would be forever remembered!

The gospel writers, Mark and John, tell us Mary anointed Jesus head and feet.    To anoint His head pointed to His kingship as oil was used in the coronation ceremonies.  This was often done by a priest or prophet as when Samuel anointed David as King.  Anointing Jesus feet “models service, discipleship, and love.”    Mary lavishes Jesus with a perfume costing a year’s wage.  Then, uses her hair as a towel.  Mary is the first to operate in Jesus kingdom of priests.   What is the significance of her using her hair?  It required her to kneel at Jesus feet and  to bow her face to the ground in total humility.   It was a picture of laying her “pride and glory” at His feet.  (I Cor. 11:15)  The fragrance permeated the room like incense in the temple.  It was this extravagance the enemy used to send Judas over the edge and off he scampered to “make a deal with the devil.”  He was not interested in the poor, he was only interested in being part of something BIG and Jesus was just keeping it too small;  Jesus was not interested in “moving on up” in society, He only wanted to move up in the hearts of His people.

Jesus sees Mary’s “act of worship as preparations for His burial.”    Jesus reminds His disciples they will not always have Him and said emphatically, “she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial.”   This anointing is a beautiful picture of the adoration of a Bride for her Bridegroom: the church for the Savior.  Intimacy.  Love.  Commitment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTUiLrsq5DU

 

Mary Anoints Jesus

Mary was not ashamed of following Jesus.  Her worship was both public and private.  She wanted to stay close to the Master.  She clung to every word.  She believed He was who He said He was: the Son of God.   She understood He would do what He said He was going to do.  Jesus was her teacher, her friend, and her Savior.  Mary adored the Lord.

Mary is not mentioned as being at the cross or at the tomb.  Lots of other Mary’s were there, but not Mary of Bethany.  Could it be, she saw no reason to subject herself to the horror show of Passover because He said He would rise in three days?  Was she confident when He arose she would see Him?  I think of all Jesus followers, Mary of Bethany understood not only WHO Jesus was, but what He came to accomplish.  Just think, a woman was the first to truly worship Jesus as LORD.  Women were of vital importance to the life, ministry, and mission of Jesus.  We still are!  The lesson here is to sit at the feet of Jesus.  Learn who He is and what He has done.  Get a glimpse of what He is asking you to do before you start “working” for Him.  Mary of Bethany, was highly commended by Jesus for choosing the right thing:  worshipping and learning.  Martha of Bethany He reprimanded for choosing the busyness.  When we listen and learn, worship and wait, we too will be commended by the Master.  Mary’s anointing of Jesus was a private moment of worship done publically.  In Mary’s mind no other person was in the room:  Just. Jesus.

Father, may we worship you in such a way that everything and everyone  fades completely from view.  May our hearts be “spiritually in tune to Jesus.”  Help us to hear His Word, follow Him, and choose the best thing.  May our worship flow from a heart of praise and thanksgiving for all You have done, all You are doing, and all You will do for You have said You are coming back!

https://youtu.be/CKYOFHfK9og

 #dailydevotions,  #worship, #Easter

 

Friends are like sheltering trees

 

#dailydevotions #friendships

https://youtu.be/aSmuGxxgjP8

I LOVE TREES!

Tree are one of God’s best pictures of how life really is.  Trees start their lives thin and wispy.  Sometimes I think that little twig will never make it in the wind.  But it begins to grow and put down deep roots.  It gets stronger as those roots go down deep.  On some, the roots go down as tall as the tree, at least I was told that by a great forester friend.

Trees go through different seasons.  They have times when they are majestic in their spread canopies.  Then comes the autumn where some give off their most brilliant colors but then they begin to lose their beautiful leaves and they fall to a barren dormant season.  Winter comes and they bare up under the harshest cold and storms.   But then comes the spring when new life emerges and life is good again.

Can you relate?  We all go through seasons in our lives too. God in his infinite wisdom created life this way.  We find in Genesis 1:14, “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and seasons and for days and years.”  God gives us seasons in life.

Today I end one season and tomorrow I begin a new season.  Retired!  Will I put out to pasture? Will I have adventures?  Will I go softly into the night?  These are questions yet to be answered.

All of life is an adventure!  The good times, the friends along the way, the hard times that teach us difficult lessons all are beneficial and under the hand of a loving guiding God.  Who sits like a silversmith ever watching to make sure we are not allowed to be destroy or become reprobate silver.

The song I posted with this blog is on my favorite list from Newsong.   Sheltering Trees – We all need sheltering trees- friends in our lives that get down on their knees.  Lifting us up to the King of Kings- We all need sheltering trees.

I have had such friends like this in my life for the last 10 years.  We have been family to each other, work friends, co-workers and  today I am leaving for a new season.  Our work lives become so much of who we are.  I appreciate them and all they have done to made me a better person and strengthen me in trying times.   These friendships have been like that sheltering tree.  There are others of you out there in blogger land that have also been part of the sheltering tree.  May we will continue to grow through our seasons.  May we will continue shelter each other through the storms in life.  May we will share the love of Christ and the gospel to those who come under our canopy.

To God be the glory for the wonderful things he has done.

Each day is a new beginning but yesterday memories provide us a look at where we have been and how we got here.  Today thank a friend for being that place to come and rest under a cool shading place in the summer and a shelter from the cold of winter.

Love you all,

Freda

Naaman and the Jordan River

 

naaman

As fascinating as all the names we find in Scripture are, I am more intrigued by the names that are missing; like the lady with the weeping womb.  Obscure individuals doing extraordinary acts of giving glory, praise, and honor to our God.  Great faith in action in spite of less than perfect conditions.  From the very young to the very old, God uses a willing heart for the great good of others and they in turn find Holy God to be all sufficient and powerful and kind.  His kingdom is extended.

In II Kings 5:1-4 we find one such individual.  A young damsel, snatched from her family during the invasion of Israel by the Syrian army.  Her master is the “commander in chief” of this army of Aram, king of Syria, and he took this young girl home to serve his wife.    Mary Hallet is quoted in Bible Gateway as writing, “one of the most amazing things about Bible stories is their sheer restraint.  With one or two deft strokes a scene is painted, a character is sketched, or an incident described.”  Indeed, in four short verses and we meet this young girl, see her character, feel her compassion, and witness her courage.  We are not told her name, but we see once again “all things work together for good to those who love the LORD and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)    We also observe how very wise this young girl was and how much her family poured into her life prior to her captivity (Proverbs 3:3, Colossians 3:12-14,17) for she is an example of all Paul wrote about in Ephesians 6:5-8, “Slaves, obey your masters; be eager to give them your very best. Serve them as you would Christ. 6-7 Don’t work hard only when your master is watching and then shirk when he isn’t looking; work hard and with gladness all the time, as though working for Christ, doing the will of God with all your hearts. 8 Remember, the Lord will pay you for each good thing you do, whether you are slave or free.” (NLT)  

Her master, Naaman, suffered from a skin condition known as leprosy.  In the Hebrew it is tsara’ath that means a “smiting.”  Leprosy in Scripture refers to a variety of skin conditions and may even extend to molds and mildew infecting clothing and homes.  Leprosy itself is a bacterial infection causing disfigurement, muscle weakness, permanent nerve damage and numbness which can lead to significant injury of fingers, toes, nose, ears and limbs due to the loss of sensation not a rotting away as some think.  It is a curable disease and only within the Jewish community were the sufferers isolated according to Levitical law (Leviticus 13-14).  It was considered an outward sign of spiritual corruption leading to the social stigma that persists to this day.    It is a contagious disease but not considered “highly contagious.”  It is transmitted through extended contact and coughing.  We see within the Syrian community Naaman was not living “outside the gates,” but was living at home.  The Jewish laws were given to the nation of Israel to end all the diseases of other nations and set Israel apart.  The laws were to provide health, healing, protection, safety, and longevity of life.  They were not meant as a punishment.

As with any chronic illness, much anxiety and concern surrounds not only the sufferer but the family as well.  This young maid was privy to the conversations between Naaman (name means pleasant, agreeable) and his wife while she served in their home.  This young girl knew Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals.  She had heard that Jehovah’s prophet was near.  To her credit, she shared her knowledge with her captor!  This young slave girl, took time out from slaving to share her faith in the God of Israel, the one true God.  No animosity toward her captor.  She cared about his health and his soul.  Naaman was desperate for a cure and was willing to listen to anyone, go anywhere for healing.  She was placed in his home for “such a time a this.”

The gospel is this– because a very young girl in adverse circumstances did the right thing, the person who had turned her life upside down found Yahweh, Jehovah, the LORD God of Heaven and Earth and became a worshipper of Jehovah.

Was she rewarded?  We are not told directly.  We are told Naaman tried to reward others involved in his healing and many heard and continue to “hear” of Naaman’s healing and faith.  Jesus refers to Naaman in Luke 4:23-27.  Other scriptures assure us of her rewards when we read I Corinthians 10:31 and Hebrews 6:10.

Today, are you a prisoner, a slave, in a time out not of your own making?  Can we look up and trust our God to keep us safe and use us to lead another to Christ and MAYBE just change the course of history?  God did not give us her name because He wanted us to focus on her circumstance–she is a slave!  Her body was in bondage but not her Spirit or her soul.  She was free:  Free to choose to serve God while indentured.  With God no situation is wasted.  He uses the most adverse circumstances to extend His grace not only to those who love Him but to those who do not yet know Him.  Can we today begin to see our circumstances as endless possibilities in the hands of the Master?  Does this mean slavery is the right way to treat people? NO it does not!  But should we someday find ourselves in this place, may we recall a young slave girl who chose to serve God regardless of her life status.  She was not always a slave.  She started her life free and loved.  One small act of kindness and she found a place in God’s Word!  May we too point others to Christ through the seemingly small and insignificant acts of love and kindness.

Throwing THE LIFE ring,

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
weep over the erring one, lift up the fallen,
tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
Refrain:
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
Though they are slighting him, still he is waiting,
waiting the penitent child to receive;
plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
he will forgive if they only believe. Refrain
Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
chords that were broken will vibrate once more. Refrain
Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
back to the narrow way patiently win them;
tell the poor wanderer a Savior has died. Refrain
Words: Frances Jane (Fanny) Crosby, 1870

Music: Rescue