What is Your Value?

How do you determine your value? Do you determine it by how others treat you? Do you determine it by what others say to you or about you?

Maybe you determine your value by your regretful past. Or maybe by how you look, what you do, or what you own.

A long time ago I heard a statement that has stuck with me all of these years. I think I may have heard while watching Antique Road Show.

The statement is, “The value of an item is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it.”

Now, let me tell you how valuable you are.

You are so valuable that the creator of heaven, earth, and all living things gave His one and only Son, whom He loves, to die for you. In dying for you Jesus paid the price to redeem you from a life of slavery to sin and to give you eternal life with Him [Romans 6:23].

That may sound cliche to you but when you consider how much Jesus excruciatingly suffered in order to pay that price to set you free and give you eternal life, you will realize that you are priceless to God.

Isaiah 53:3-10

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds, we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of the people, he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

I know those were a lot of scriptures but read them again. Slowly this time. Allow them to soak into your heart and mind.

When you get a full grasp of what Jesus went through for you; you will realize that the only thing that makes you valuable is what God through Jesus was willing to pay for you.

They gave everything for you. You are priceless!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Intentional Pain

Many of you know that 2 weeks ago I underwent my last breast cancer radiation treatment. Unfortunately, I recently had to return to my oncologist due to the excessive pain and burning of my skin.

The condition of my skin was worsening. I was told that it would get worse but in my mind, there was no way it should be this bad.

The oncologist said that yes my skin was worse than what most radiation patients experience but for my particular situation the condition of my skin was normal. He said that he intentionally wanted my skin to burn this bad and that I may be suffering now but I’d be thanking him later.

The statement my oncologist made really got me thinking about intentional suffering resulting in a better tomorrow for ourselves or for others. In particular, how God allows suffering for a greater purpose.

Noah endured over 100 years of hard work, ridicule, and opposition to build an ark that God told him to build in order to save himself, his family, and the animals from being destroyed in the flood [Genesis 6-8].

Through Noah’s intended suffering, God saved the human race and the animals and we are here today to read about Noah’s faith and be encouraged by it.

Joseph was hated by his brothers. They sold him as a slave and he was taken to Egypt. While there, he was falsely accused of rape and spent many years in prison. Later he found favor in the eyes of Pharaoh and was placed in charge of all of Egypt; saving the world from starvation [Genesis 37-41].

In Genesis 50:20 Joseph says to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Ruth, a Moabite, married into a Jewish family. Her father-in-law died, her brother-in-law died, and her own husband died. She had a choice to make. Go back to her Moabite family or go with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to a foreign country to start over.

Ruth chose to stay with Naomi. In a foreign land, she worked hard gleaning grain so she and Naomi could eat. That’s when she met Boaz. They ended up getting married and having a son named Obed; the grandfather of David [Ruth 1-4].

God intentionally allowed Ruth’s suffering so that through her David would be born. We are still learning many lessons from the life and faith of both Ruth and David. Not to mention, Jesus is in their genealogy [Matthew 1:1-17].

Jesus was born to die. He left His place in heaven, came to earth, and was born of a virgin. He lived a life of obedience to His Heavenly Father. His life and death were a sacrifice for all of us. Because of His sacrificial death on the cross, we have forgiveness of sins and eternal life [Colossians 1:13-14].

Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death, hell, and the grave. Through Him, believers, also have victory over death, hell, and the grave [1 Corinthians 15:54-57, Revelation 1:18].

Oh, that’s not all, Jesus then ascended to the Father where He sits at His right hand forever living to make intercession for us [Romans 8:34].

And not only that, He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell within every believer; filling them with the Spirit of the Lord, wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, and the fear of God [Isaiah 11:2].

God intentionally allowed Jesus to suffer for the benefit of the whole world.

Isaiah 53:10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

What pain are you currently going through? Maybe, like Noah, you are being ridiculed for your faith. Maybe people think you are foolish as you obey God and walk in His ways day after day.

Maybe, like Joseph, you are hated or have been betrayed by those closest to you. Maybe your own family. Maybe you’ve been wrongly accused of something and are being punished for something you didn’t do.

Maybe, like Ruth, you have lost a spouse and with them your provision or hope for starting your own family. Maybe you’ve had to move to a strange place with strange people and strange customs. Maybe you have to work a back-breaking job every day to feed yourself and a loved one.

Have you considered that God has intentionally allowed your suffering for a greater purpose?

What do Noah, Joseph, Ruth, and Jesus have in common? They all obeyed God and trusted Him and His plan. And that’s what we have to do.

We have to resist self-pity and stay focused on God and His word. We have to keep moving forward and never give up hope for a better tomorrow.

Romans 8:18, 28 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey/Week 4

Last week I underwent a lumpectomy leaving me scarred and in pain. Just one more scar to add to my life-collection of scars.

I have acquired a lot of scars in my lifetime; as I’m sure most of you have. Some are a result of bringing life into the world and some to save my own life. Others are a result of repairing damaged body parts. And still, others are scars on my heart, emotions, and memory that only God can see.

Do you sometimes hear a song and think to yourself, “Wow! This really speaks to me and my current situation.” In this case, the song I am referring to is Scars, by I Am They.

One chorus goes like this: So I’m thankful for the scars – ‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart – And I know they’ll always tell of who You are – So forever I am thankful for the scars

It’s uncommon to be thankful for scars. They aren’t exactly a pretty sight. Being thankful for scars goes against all human logic. Plus, there is pain associated with scars. No one wants to be reminded of the pain.

Each seen or unseen scar is evidence that we have lived. The pain and scars are part of life. They come with the territory.

Hardships in this life will do one of two things; draw us closer to God or further away from Him.

I have learned from personal experience that when I view my painful circumstances and scars from a godly perspective my faith, joy, and character grows and I become a better person.

But when I blame God and become angry with Him for allowing the circumstances that result in pain; I become bitter and turn away from Him.

During difficult times, we have to remember that God is sovereign and that He knows what He is doing. He knows the end from the beginning. And He sees the positive results of our pain that we cannot yet see (Isaiah 46:10).

God allows our pain and suffering as an opportunity for us to run to Him, to know Him better, and to trust Him more. In reality, He is the only one that can help us get through it and make us better on the other side of it.

We can become better instead of bitter.

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Though it’s hard to do, we can remain joyful as we look forward to the spiritual growth and maturity that results from pain and suffering.

It’s not if we suffer. We will all suffer in this life. But it’s about how we suffer that counts. That’s what makes all the difference in becoming better or bitter.

Back to the song I mentioned earlier. There is another chorus that goes like this: I’m thankful for Your scars – ‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart – And with my life, I’ll tell of who You are – So forever I am thankful

We will never know the suffering Jesus suffered. He still bears the scars of His suffering. He endured the pain of the scourging and the cross in our place. He did it all so we can be in relationship with Him for eternity.

Hebrews 12:2 Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus’ scars are a reminder of His love for us and the relationship He desires with us. Those scars reveal His heart for His Father and for us. And the only way we can say thank you for all that He has done for us is to live a life that glorifies Him.

When we embrace the pain and suffering God has allowed in our lives with a good attitude we are living a life of gratitude that glorifies Him and points others to Him.

Do you have scars that remind you of your suffering and pain? Have you allowed those scars to make you better or bitter? Do you blame God for your pain or do you run to Him for the help and the comfort that He alone provides in the midst of pain?

Will you allow your scars to be exposed in order to help others, encourage others, and glorify God?

Don’t allow your pain and scars to stay hidden. Put them in the Lord’s hands and watch Him do amazing things with them.

Isaiah 61:3 God will provide for those who grieve-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Me?

Wow! It’s been quite an emotional couple of weeks. Some moments have left me speechless. Others have left me angry. And still, others have left me in tears.

The expression, “When it rains it pours,” comes to mind.

Transparency isn’t always easy for me. Some may say it’s rooted in pride and they would probably be right. However, as I have been praying about whether or not to share my latest health issues with you, I sense the Lord prompting me to do so in the anticipation that my struggles will encourage and help someone else.

If I share my struggles with you, and you happen to be going through a similar situation or know someone who is, and what I share with you encourages you in some way or causes your faith in God to grow then my struggle and transparency will have all been worth it.

2 Corinthians 1:6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

Most importantly God is glorified when we humbly admit that when we are weak, He is strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

So, it is by God’s grace, for His glory, and for the good of others I share this with you.

On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, I went to the hospital for a follow-up mammogram. Follow-up, because 6 months ago I had a surgical biopsy that turned out to be benign.

Leading up to and the day of the mammogram, I never once considered that there would be an issue. After all, I had just been there 6 months prior and all that had been determined to be cause for concern had been removed.

For one quick moment, while driving into the parking lot, a fleeting thought came to me about a possibility of an issue but I quickly dismissed that negative little thought and proceeded.

Once inside and all checked in, I didn’t have to wait long to begin the procedure. After the images were taken, I was directed to wait in the waiting area until further instruction was given.

I was sitting there interacting with the women around me, prepared for opportunities to be an encouragement to them or possibly pray with anyone who had received a negative diagnosis.

To my shock and amazement, the one receiving a negative diagnosis that day was me. As I was guided back into the imaging room and shown the images that had just been taken, I was numb and confused.

Many questions were going through my mind and my mouth was searching for words. How could this have happened in such a short amount of time? Why is this happening to Me? What is it? Is it cancer?

I was trying to trust God and resist the temptation to fear at the same time. I have to admit a little fear snuck in.

More images were taken and more waiting as instructed. All I could think was, “I have to tell my husband.” I went to my locker to find my phone.

While sending him a text, there was a woman standing beside me. She said something leading me to believe she may be a Christian. I asked her if she was a praying person and she responded that she was. She asked me if I was a Christian and I responded that I was.

As I cried, I told her about my situation and we prayed. She was done with her mammogram and was free to go but she wanted to stay with me as long as she could.

I had arrived there that morning prepared for God to use me to comfort someone in need and that person in need turned out to be me. He provided exactly what I needed at the exact time I needed it. He is our on-time God!

From there, I had a consultation with the radiologist about my area of concern and the need for a biopsy. I went upstairs to see my doctor and surgery was scheduled for the next week, Tuesday, May 28th.

In between that time and my surgery, I had many people praying for me. Everyone had encouraging and positive words for me.

To be honest, I was saying positive things and I was praying and asking God to cause this to all turn out to be nothing, as it had been before, but in the back of my mind, I sensed that this time may be different. But I was still hopeful.

I had the surgery and all went well. The area of concern had been sent off to the lab. I had no pain and no nausea. Glory to God! Post-surgery nausea has always been a problem for me in the past. Thankfully, not this time!

My surgery was on Tuesday the 28th. Thursday the 30th I received the call from my doctor with the lab results. I was hoping to hear, “I have good news, the area of concern is benign,” just as I had 6 months ago. To my dismay, that wasn’t the case this time.

Instead, he told me I have early-stage breast cancer. As the doctor informed me of my next steps, my head was spinning.

Honestly, I never thought that I would ever hear my name and the word cancer in the same sentence. I was shocked!

As I cried, I began to mentally review my “good deeds” resume’ with God. You know the one; I eat healthily, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I go to church (even on Wednesdays), I volunteer at my church, I read and study the bible, I pray for others and share the gospel with others. I don’t deserve this! Why is this happening to me?

Then the Lord reminded me that He is love. He is good. And He is sovereign.

He doesn’t love me because I do good things. He isn’t good to me because I do good things. He loves me and is good to me because it’s who He is. I can’t earn His love and goodness.

He didn’t stop loving me that day. He didn’t stop being good to me that day. He didn’t leave me that day. He didn’t fall off of the throne that day.

Once all of that was settled in my spirit, the fear left and the peace of God came. 1 John 4:18a There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.

God allows suffering in the lives of believers. We can see it throughout the Bible. For example, look at the lives of Joseph, Job, Peter, John, Paul, and of course Jesus.

God allows suffering for His greater purpose, His greater plan, and His greater good; a purpose, a plan, and goodness we don’t always see or understand right away.

I heard Joyce Meyer say once, “We live life forward but we understand it backward.” That’s so true!

What should we do when we don’t understand?

Trust the One who does!

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

I may not understand why or how this is happening to me, but I am determined, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to trust God and to submit to His will for me. I know He will lead me to victory; whatever that may look like.

I don’t know where this journey will take me but I’m honored and humbled to be able to share it with you. One thing I do know is that no matter what happens, God will be glorified. That, after all, is my purpose.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you do with your Pain?

What do you do with your pain? What do you do when someone hurts you? How do you react when, out of nowhere, someone becomes Mr. Hyde?

What do you say when someone makes you feel insignificant…again? It’s hard, isn’t it? Especially when it comes from someone close to you.

Just as when incurring a physical injury, our first instinct is to recoil from what is causing us pain. No one keeps their hand in the fire once they have been burned.

It’s normal to draw back from pain. But once we recover from the shock, realize what has happened, and access the damage, then what?

Should we confront the person who has hurt us? Should we retaliate? Would telling others about it help? Should we ostracize them? What should we do with our pain?

If it is possible to approach the person to discuss the situation as two mature individuals, then, of course, we should try to resolve the issue. But what if we can’t go to the person that has hurt us and confront them? What if they are unreasonable?

What if we do approach them but they only blame us for the situation or deny responsibility and never apologize; causing more pain? What then?

Initially, we have a couple of choices to make: we could either lash out in anger, making things worse or remain calm, letting the incident go, until we have had time to think things through.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

When we don’t know what to do we should always go to God in prayer to ask for help and go to His word for guidance. Just like a good father, God always knows what’s best.

Unfortunately, God seldom gives us a convenient or comfortable way out of this sort of dilemma. He usually asks us to do something that is completely contrary to normal human behavior.

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”

In these painful situations, our human nature wants to retaliate, speak negatively about the person to others, shun them and refuse to forgive them. But that’s not how God says we should handle these types of situations.

Instead of retaliating against a person, Jesus instructs us to love them, do good to them and pray for them.

Luke 6:32-33, 35 Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? But love your enemies, do good to them.”

Instead of telling others about a person’s hurtful ways, tarnishing their reputation, God’s word tells us to show love towards them by remaining quiet about what they’ve done.

Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.

Instead of shunning a person who mistreats us, God tells us to make peace with them and treat them well.

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Instead of refusing to forgive those who inflict pain, God tells us to…you guessed it; forgive them.

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

These are all very difficult tasks. When I am faced with a challenging assignment, I often remind myself that it may be tough but it’s not impossible. With God, all things are possible [Matthew 19:26]!

Through the power of God’s Spirit, we can accomplish God’s will.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.

What if we remain quiet about the person’s hurtful deeds or words, pray for them, do good to them, forgive them and make peace with them but we still have a broken heart? What if after all of that we are still hurting? What then?

We continue doing what God has told us to do in His word and trust Him to heal our broken hearts. We do our part and God always does His part.

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

God’s instructions may be difficult but they do not go without reward. The rewards of obedience to God and His word are blessings and spiritual growth.

Psalm 128:1 blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to Him. Romans 5:3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

When I find it grueling to follow God’s instructions on what to do when someone hurts me, I remember what Jesus did and said while He was being mistreated in the hours before He was put to death.

First He washed Judas’ feet knowing Judas would soon betray Him. During His “so-called trial” many false accusations were made against Him but He did not defend Himself.

Jesus was beaten, mocked and whipped and never complained. He had committed no sin or wrong and yet did not resist being nailed to a cross. And, after all of that, before dying, He prayed for those who had hurt Him saying, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do [Luke 23:34].”

No matter what anyone has done to you or me, we have never endured the sort of pain, rejection, or humiliation that Jesus has endured. He had every right to defend Himself or retaliate the wrong that had been done to Him but instead, He chose to forgive. How much more should we?

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.