Chasing after the One who loves me

In Equip (the weekly Bible Study at Courage Church) we’ve been reading/studying the wonderful, timeless book…
The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer. (pictured below)

Just a few quick, basic comments about classic book…

– It’s written in the 1948 so the language is worded differently than
we’d use today, but it makes me stop & think about the real meaning

– It’s been translated into 19 languages.

– Tozer wrote the entire book on an over-night train trip.

– It’s words line up with with scripture.

– The more its truths stir my passion to know God,
the more distractions I face… usually a good
sign, if you know what I mean.

– I read a chapter a week in the hard copy…
Yes, I really like holding a “real” book in my hands
and high-lighting, understanding and making notes
like a crazy woman!

– I also listen to the weekly chapter on on audiobook.
It’s kinda strange sounding, but I’ve learned to
just focus on the words, not the voice.

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Currently Reading “The Pursuit of God”
by A.W. Tozer

Click HERE for a free Audio book

My blog is “challenged” right now and I’ve had to close the comments,
but if you want to comment in any way, please email me.
Realnetta@gmail.com

Thanks for reading!

I Love & Hate that Word!

“Patience…” the word we hate putting into practice, but
certainly love it when others “have a little” when dealing
with us. Right?

photo

Peter speaks of PATIENCE in the 1 Peter chapters 1 & 2.
Here’s a few thoughts I jotted down in my journal recently.

————————————————————–
The PATIENCE that Peter speaks of
in 1st Peter 1 & 2 is the kind of Patience that…

– doesn’t need to understand in order to obey God

– loves others, even when their behavior is unfair &
uncalled for (and is OK with “loving from far away”
if that helps keep peace)

– prays for authorities instead of spouting off about them

– trusts God & knows that He sees everything and
handles everything perfectly
—————————————————————-

Nothing profoundly new… but horribly challenging to do.
The more I spend time with our patient, compassionate God
the easier this list becomes!

We Don’t Really…

 

We don’t really understand what we never have to experience.

This explains why the phrase, “Oh, I totally understand what you’re going through,” is SO
frustrating.

HOWEVER… just because someone has not walked in our exact pair of shoes does not
mean that they are unable to offer guidence, insight and assistance.

If someone “who just doesn’t understand you”  but is in a position to
help you, attempts to share insight with you and it totally annoys you,
then perhaps the real issue lies within your heart….
and that you’d rather wait for someone to tell you what you want to hear
than listen to wisdom.

Make plans by seeking advice…”  Proverbs 20:18

Hmm, yeah. I think sometimes the problem is NOT that others “don’t really understand,”
but that we don’t really want to hear anything but our own thoughts & ideas.

 

 

Whoa vs. Wow

 

A humble, “broken” heart (the kind that God speaks of in scripture)
is NOT a heart that walks about feeling crumby & putting itself down.

It’s a heart that is aware of its own faults & inheirent sinfulness,
but depends on God for forgiveness, strength & joy!

 

Instead of saying, “Whoooa is me!” it says…

“Wow! God!”

 

The people who recognize their need for God are blessed.

 

 

Mom… and Ruth!

Mom & Me. It's an older pic, but I really like it.

 

 

Ruth… the lady in the Bible with a book named after her. She’s one of only two with that honor, you know.

Mom… well, my Mom! The lady who raised me & still loves me, prays for me & cares.

They are both dedicated, faithful ladies. Hard workers with a work ethic that far exceeds that of other people. Both ladies have helped shape my life… past, present & future.

In honor of Mother’s Day I’m sharing a few thoughts from my journal; just some notes I’d jotted down after reading the book of Ruth; notes that reflect BOTH of these women. 🙂

————————————-

Be faithful to God in the “everyday” stuff.
Then, when a crisis arises, you’ll be equipped.

Our struggles with faithLESSness, when added to
God’s unending faithFULness,
causes the everyday and the ordinary to have
breathtaking, eternal results.

Society calls it, “paying it forward,” but
God calls it, “Loving like Jesus.”
Be a giver, sharer, friend, encourager!

————————————-

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!  I love you!

 

 

 

A New Psalm

Wait?
What?
Could it be true? Did he really say that?
Did our Pastor  just give us homework?  How dare he! 🙂 
But he most certainly did just that… On Sunday he asked us to write our own PSALM!

Oh, wait… I totally like “homework”, cuz it challenges me & helps me apply the truth!

The following did not start out as the “assigned Psalm,” it was just a few lines of praise that I started writing in my journal after reading the WORD and talking with Jesus. But then… more came.

 

My Own Psalm

Lord God, You speak to Your people, to me.
You see me where I am and understand the mess I often find myself in.

You help me look up, to see You,
to see Your face, to hear Your voice,
to know You are there.

Yes, You see where I am, but you don’t leave me there,
neither do You shake your head in disgust.
My cries for help make Your heart leap.
My prayers of submission cause You to rejoice.

Then You swoop down into my mess and
surround me with Your powerful but tender hands,
walking me through the hardship.

All the while You’re changing things –
not always the situation at first,
but I can count on You to change my heart-
the heart & attitude of me, Your child.

Hey everyone who is called by His name,
praise the Lord God!
He alone hears us and is able to manage our lives
according to His purpose.

Yes, please speak Your purpose to me, Lord,
for You hear me and see me.

I love you, Lord Jesus!

 

Some other people have linked up their Psalms, too. Click here to read them.

 

AM and PM

From the moment I wake up I’m making a point to talk to Jesus about His great love…
even before I settle down to read His Word…
it’ll keep me my motives & attitudes on track
and cause me to be quicker to share His love with other people.

As I fall asleep I’m purposely praising Jesus for the specific ways He was faithful to me.
(Note: If it were possible for me to actually remember ALL His faithful ways
I’d be awake all night…
but I’m doing my best to gratefully list them until I drift off to sleep in His arms.)

Psalm 92:1-2

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to the Most High.
It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,
your faithfulness in the evening”

It Was a Friday

 

Good Friday, 1997:

We’d just arrived at our hotel with 180+ teenagers in tow. It was the Ohio Youth convention that we’d looked forward to for months. Chilly was the speaker & a bunch of our students were involved in a detailed illustrated sermon that very evening. Chilly had just been to the front desk to get everyones’ room keys when he pulled me aside with a weird look on his face.

“Netta, Courtney is in the hospital. She has pneumonia.”

“That’s not funny, Chilly.”

“I’m NOT kidding, Netta. She’s really, really sick.”

Through teary eyes  we began searching for someone who would be willing to drive the 5 hrs back to Youngstown with me. No takers. Chilly was calm but going insane on the inside. He wanted more than anything to drive back. But he was the speaker and we decided that he would drive back right after the service.

I wasn’t waiting around. I got in my green minivan and began the drive home. Praying. Praying like never before!  Thankfully, my cell phone, which hadn’t worked when we were driving the 5 hours away from little Courtney, started working (cell phones were pretty new back then). Our doctor was a trusted friend and attended the same church we did. I spoke many times to her during that drive. She gave me very little detail… and rightly so.  At some point I was told that they were preparing to life-flight her to Akron Children’s Hospital. I really don’t know when I learned that part of it. I just needed to be with her!

Amazingly, the 5 hours went quickly. I’d like to say that I drove the speed limit, but I have no idea. As I sprinted into the ICU room where my baby girl  was lying, I couldn’t stop the tears. Our little one year old was only wearing a diaper and was covered in tubes and wires. The most startling thing, however, was the deep cave in her chest that came with every breath. Dr. Anne Stover gently told me that she was struggling to breath and needed to be moved to Children’s hospital. She was going by ambulance. Our dear friends were standing there, too. Mary said I could ride to Akron with them.

“Thank you, Mary. But I’m going with Courtney!  I just drove 5 hours. I will not leave her side!!!”

Every nurse & doctor in the place abruptly and swiftly told me, “Oh NO. That is NOT allowed!”

“YES!  I’m going with her!”

Thank you, Jesus, for Dr. Stover. She knew me. She spoke softly to the others in the room and before I knew it I was riding in an ambulance, next to my seriously ill little Courtney. I held my breath as I waited for each of her’s. Praying & remaining calm, I realized that at any moment the situation could turn and I’d have to sit helplessly as the medics worked. I prayed. and Prayed. That “peace from Jesus that doesn’t make any sense to your mind, but total sense to your heart” held me tightly.

Meanwhile, Chilly and the 180+ teenagers were also praying, and calling everyone they knew. As they prepared to go on stage and minister to 4000+ teenagers, their thoughts were with Courtney. But God honored their faithfulness. Back stage, my husband was on his face, begging God for healing. Then he stood, went out & delivered a powerful & creative message of Jesus’s love. Hundreds of students committed their lives to JESUS that night!  Then Chilly got in a van & two of those students drove through the night to the hospital in Akron.

In the early morning, Chilly burst into Courtney’s ICU room and told me that he’s prayed all the way there, and that God told him we would taking Courtney home!  Since I was a tired mess, he sent me to the waiting room where our precious & loyal friend, Mary, hugged and encouraged me. Chilly’s next few moments were not as encouraging. The nurse, apparently surprised by his calmness, pulled him aside.

“Mr. Chilton, I don’t think you understand the seriousness of your daughter’s illness. It’ VERY, very serious. You need to prepare yourself for the worst.”

“No, on my drive here God assured me that we would take Courtney home.”

“Sir, really. You need to face the reality of the situation and be prepared for what may come.”

That was Friday.

 

Jump ahead to EASTER MORNING 1997:

Our oldest daughter, Mariah, attended Easter morning services with our friends who graciously kept her that weekend. Chilly and I waited in the hospital…. waited for that final word. And then it came….

“Mr. & Mrs. Chilton, you may take Courtney home!  We’re amazed at how her situation has drasticlly  improved.”

OH, THANK YOU, JESUS!

On Friday, near death.  On EASTER… ALIVE & going HOME!!!!

MIRACLE!!!

Any & EVERY time I think of this miracle my heart bursts with JOY and THANKFULNESS!  OH, THANK YOU, JESUS!
Your death, on that Good Friday so long ago, brought life & healing!  THANK YOU, JESUS!

That was 15 years ago.

 

GOOD FRIDAY, 2012:

Courtney is no longer a baby. She’s a gorgeous 16 yr old who has her own beautiful relationship with Jesus. Now today, Good Friday, we’re facing another need for healing. She’s experienced strange symptoms and has had several tests already. Nothing is known yet. The next course of action requires specialist. We’re grateful for doctors, and God has always provided us with wonderful, trust-worthy medical professionals. But we’re praying for another MIRACLE! You may be facing a difficult situation, too. Jesus is BIGGER! GREATER! ABLE to do more than we can think or imagine!

Some of you who are reading this actually remember when the Easter miracle of 1997 took place. You were at that convention, or hospital, or you’re the one who drove the late-night van, or you may even the doctor. (Hi Anne.)  We know that God can do anything! Let this true story remind you of God’s true story of FORGIVENESS & GRACE; of His GREATNESS!  We serve a RISEN SAVIOR!  Let’s tell people! Let’s live with that JOY and HOPE that only JESUS gives!

 

 

 

Talk to Myself Tuesday

My family says I talk to myself, but I prefer to think of it as thinking out loud. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about lately.

 

– The new little “prayer system” I’ve recently adopted, motivates and encourages me. (I’ll blog about that later)

– As I remember, nearly every springtime I get incredibly tired out. Not sure why. But I just push on & before I know it I’m feeling energetic again.

– When friends disappoint us it’s possible that they’re doing to us the same things we’ve done to them or others in the past… and that’s why we’re sensitive to it

– This is the first Spring in a while that hasn’t left our yard totally soggy. It’s so nice.

– The RC United group I’m a part of is SO wonderful. Ladies. Friends. Encouraging & praying for each other. Every Saturday morning. Texting & praying for each other all week long.

– Knowing a secret that’s happy… So fun! It feels kinda like a mystery show. 🙂

– I guess I can’t get to upset when my little boys say, “crap.” … since they may or may not have learned it from their mom. (Clean it up, Mom!)

– The story of Ruth is such a favorite. Such loyalty, love, dedication, God’s provision. Love it!

– Beginning the Stories of Saul & King David make me excited. No matter how many times I’ve read them there’s always something new to be learned… cuz God’s Word is alive & active! For sure!

– Making cookies & cupcakes for special events this week at Real Church!  Yippee!  So thankful that we can use any abilities to  serve others…even random skills from my kitchen!

– The Good Friday event at Real Church begins with a local art show at 6pm entitled, “Christ, The Cross & the City”  Then songs, poetry, worship, a band, The Word.  Such a unique and personal way to celebrate Christ’s sacrifice for us!! Wanna join us?