Monday, November 28, 2022

My Monday Prayer: Prayers and Promises for Caregivers: Part 8

My Monday Prayer: Prayers and Promises for Caregivers: Part 8
-Roy Lessin and Marina Bromley

 

My Monday Prayer: A Caregiver’s Reassurance
-Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow

God wants you to move through this day with a quiet heart,
An inward assurance that He is in control,
A peaceful certainty that your life is in His hands,
A deep trust in His plan and purposes,
A thankful disposition toward all that He allows.

It is important for a caregiver to know that God has not called you to the place of perfect service, but to the place of faithful service; not to the place of work without rest, but to the place of rest in your work; not to the place of making everyone happy, but to the place of pleasing Him.

“I will not give up as long as there is strength in His arm, tenderness in His heart, and truth in His promise.” William Gurnall


My Monday Prayer
-Marina Bromley

Father, let me not forget to exhibit a quiet heart, inward assurance, peaceful certainty, trusting in your plan, and with a thankful heart. With these things I know that I can remain faithful in serving those around me, resting in the work You have set before me, and remain in a place of pleasing You. May Your will be done in my life and in the lives of those I care for. Amen
…..

#meetinginthemeadow #mymondayprayer #caregiverappreciation #caregivers #devotional

©2022 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. Photo by Marina Bromley. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Like Those Who Dream: Chapter 32, Lose to Gain, Die to Live

Like Those Who Dream: Chapter 32
Lose to Gain, Die to Live
Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” John 12:24-26 NJKV

God ways are very different from our ways, His Spirit operates differently than our flesh, and His kingdom is completely upside down from the ways of the world. The world cries out, “Get all you can; gain all you can; be all you can be.” The kingdom of God proclaims, “Let go; lose your life; surrender all.”

The only way we can understand what it means to be like a grain of wheat that “falls into the ground and dies” is to go through something in life that brings about a death in us. We don’t “fall into the ground and die” theoretically, we “fall into the ground and die” experientially. We die to our own way, to independence, and to self-sufficiency. The Cross of Jesus Christ brings to an end everything about our old way of life—our good points and bad points, our pride and our plans, our reputation and our self-centered ambition, and even our timelines—The result is that real life, in all its fullness and fruitfulness in Christ, comes forth. 

In the late 80’s the Cross of Jesus Christ worked in me in a deeper way. God had to deal with some things that had entered my heart that were not right.  It happened slowly, over a period of time. Because of my position within the company, I tried to wrap my arms around all the creative writing that needed to be done. I had been doing this for sixteen years and I didn’t want to let it go. In a subtle way, I had shifted my worth and value to what I was doing and not to who I was in Christ. I began working for the approval of people instead of the approval of God. With this, came a great deal of striving in my work because I did not want to lose control.

God knew I needed to step away from what I was doing and He worked through some major changes in the business to deal with the issues of my heart. A process began that eventually took me out of the writing ministry at DaySpring.

I was devastated and couldn’t understand what was happening. A cloud settled over me and I found myself having difficulty going to work. There were times when all I could do was plop down on my bed and not move. Eventually, I came to a place in my heart where DaySpring died to me and I died to DaySpring. At that point it seemed like my time at the company was over. I thought I would never write again.

As I started to think about a new direction in my life, I was asked if I would be willing to work in a different division of the company called Best to You.

Best to You was a direct sales operation that sold products through a catalog. When the idea was first presented to me it did not sound appealing. I knew nothing about a catalog business and wondered what I could do there. When I was told I would write catalog sales copy, it sounded even less appealing. I was about to turn down the offer when I sensed the Spirit of God prompt me to say “Yes.”

This went against all my reasoning, but I knew it was better to obey God than to find something else to do on my own. Without any excitement or fanfare I reported to work.

Best to You was located in a large office area containing about 15 cubicles that were used primarily as customer service stations. At one end of the room were two private offices which were used by the leaders, Phil and Diane. There were no windows in the main office area and no place where you could get alone or have any privacy. Every cubicle was taken and the office was abuzz with activity.

The only place they could fit me in was located toward the back of the room. There was just enough space for a small desk and a chair. There I sat, surrounded by a roomful of women, in a place that was far different from my once private office that overlooked the meadow. The important thing was that I was at peace and content in the place God had put me.

I was very warmly welcomed into Best to You by the leaders and the women who worked in the main office area.  Phil was very honoring and Diane was extremely encouraging. The others in the department were friendly and very supportive. After settling into the new environment, I was given my first catalog assignment. I did the best I could and turned it in to be approved. To my surprise, everyone liked it. Catalog copy assignments continued to be sent my way and I was able to keep up with the pace and do an acceptable job, however, the work did not deeply excite me and I wasn’t sure how long I would continue. After a few months on the job something happened that changed everything.

Best to You was working with an out-of-state consultant from Colorado. During one of her visits she met with Phil and Diane and suggested they offer a premium for the upcoming catalog.  Her idea was to create a gift book and offer it for free with any order over a certain dollar amount. By the end of the meeting all of them not only agreed to do the gift book, but decided that I should write it. When I was offered the assignment I was thrilled. It was the fulfillment of a desire I had carried for years. The Lord, without any effort or striving on my part, dropped the devotional book opportunity into my lap.

As I sat in front of my computer screen and looked at the blank space on my word document, I became anxious about the book. It had been a long time since I had written anything for DaySpring and my experience of letting go of my creative writing was so complete that I thought I had nothing left to give.

“I don’t know if I can do this, Lord.” I prayed. By faith, I put my fingers on the keyboard and began to type. Before long I finished the first page, then the second and the third. Within a few weeks I had completed the manuscript and titled it Never Forgotten, Always Loved.

As I was writing Never Forgotten, Always Loved, I sensed the Spirit of God began to resurrect the writing gift that had died within me. It was during this time that God spoke something to my heart that transformed me as a writer…

God showed me a river. “What does this mean, Lord?” I asked.

“This is my creative river, and the river represents the Holy Spirit. The headwaters of my creative river begin at my throne and flow from there.”

“What do you want me to do?” I asked.

“I want you to get in.” He answered.

“That’s what I desire, but how do I get in?” I responded.

“By faith,” He said.

It was at that moment that I, by a simple act of faith, stepped into God’s creative river. I was amazed to discover the changes that began to happen in me as the days and weeks went by—I sensed the river wash over me, cleanse me, refresh me, and renew me.

The creative river of the Holy Spirit was always new. The water that touched me one moment was gone the next, only to be replaced by new water again. The river that touched me moved downstream to touch others. The river was on-going, never ending, and always in the moment.

Within God’s creative river there was no strife, only rest. I realized that everything that happened was because of the activity of the river. It was not up to me to make things happen. I noticed the width of the river and was amazed how much room there was for everyone who wanted to enter in. The idea of competition disappeared. There was room for every individual, every business, and every ministry that God had called. I knew that the depth of the river would take my writing to a whole new level and bring His heart to others in a way I had never known before. I found that my place in the river created a whole new expectation of faith within my spirit. It was as though my eyes were fixed upstream to see what the Holy Spirit would be sending my way. I realized that there were other things coming down the river that were not for me, and that I should not covet another person’s work or ministry, but rejoice that they were also receiving their work from the Holy Spirit as He chose to release it.

I took great joy in the experience of working in God’s creative river. I sensed God’s anointing and freedom in so many new ways. The first devotional book I did for the catalog turned out to be a success and I was asked to write another, then a third book, and then a fourth. (One of my greatest publishing joys came when a Messianic publishing ministry in Israel printed in Hebrew all four of the devotional books I had written for Best to You. After publication they distributed them to the soldiers in the Israeli Army.)

The creative opportunities continued to grow within Best to You, and in time, I became part of a creative team that developed exclusive product for the catalog. I was there for over three amazing years, and enjoying my best days creatively when things suddenly changed.


In the late 80’s DaySpring had been sold to David C. Cook, a Christian publishing company in Colorado Springs. In the early 90’s they decided to move Best to You to their plant in Colorado. It came as a big surprise to all of us on staff to discover that Best to You would be closing down and moving away from Arkansas. I had no idea what would be next. As I thought about other options I was contacted by DaySpring leadership.  

Once again, I was faced with a decision that created a struggle within me. Did God want me to return to DaySpring? Was God going to bring back to my life something that had come to an end? The opportunity was before me, but my heart was not drawing me that way. The more I talked about the possibility of returning to work at DaySpring, the more I struggled. I had several meetings with leadership but no progress was made. Rather than try and force something, I decided it would be best to turn down the offer.

As I was about to give DaySpring my final answer I was asked to have one more meeting with the new leader of the Product Development department. We met in my office at home and talked for over an hour. The more we talked the further apart we were in our views. I decided to end our meeting with a “no” when God stepped into the conversation. After a week of praying, talking, and thinking, I heard from the Lord for the first time on this matter. Once I heard His voice, further talking was no longer necessary. What I heard the Lord say was simple and clear, directing me to say, “Yes.”

Saying “Yes” meant that I would now be managing the Editorial Department. There were many things within the department that needed to be fixed. Although I was a company founder and had worked in the creative area for years, I had never officially worked in the capacity of a manager. It was new ground and I knew there would be new things to learn. I sought the Lord for His wisdom and direction and He began to direct me and give me wisdom. After a few months things started falling into place, and step by step the Editorial Department was returning to where it needed to be.

My work in the Editorial Department continued for two years. My interests in managing began to dry up, and the joy I had in doing the job started to fade. My desire to return to a more active writing ministry once again began to increase. I realized that when the Lord led me to manage the Editorial Department it was an assignment, but not a calling.

A short time later a new leader for the Editorial Department was raised up. He couldn’t have been a better choice. After mentoring him for a few months I was ready to move on.

(Join us next week as we continue this journey of Roy's memoir, Like Those Who Dream. The book is available through DaySpring and Christian retailers everywhere.)

#memoir #likethosewhodream #meetinginthemeadow #roylessin #roylessinmemoir #cofounderdayspring #dayspring 

©2022 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. ©2021 DaySpring, used with permission. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Prayers and Promises for Caregivers: Part 7, The Caregiver's Blessing

Prayers and Promises for Caregivers: Part 7
-Roy and Char Lessin

The Caregiver’s Blessing…
-Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow

May you have the power to understand…how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think (Ephesians 3:18-20 NLT).

#1: God cares for Caregivers.

#2: In weakness I find His strength.

#3: There is grace enough for today.

#4: Love never ends.



Char’s Story: Part 4
-Char Lessin

In spite of all the improvements I have experienced, I am left with limitations which are guidelines as to what I can and cannot do.

 

Each morning I am very aware of the Lords’ mercies which are new every morning—I receive daily of those mercies and live on them!  Without them I would not be able to go through the day, but He is faithful to give me His daily bread.

 

Having gone through my own weaknesses I am able to feel what many others go through in their needs. I do not forget what total loss of strength is. It is real, but the strength of the Lord is also real! I know my strength comes from Him every day.

 

In going through such an experience as Parkinson’s, the thing I have come to appreciate the most is when people listen. For me, a listening heart is most comforting.  I for one, have at times, been insensitive to peoples’ needs rather than being compassionate. I want to be a vessel of caring, because caring is healing to the one in need.

 

To be a caring person one needs to be emptied of selfishness and personal gain so we can be aware of what the Lord is doing in the lives of others. To give of oneself, wholly yielded to Him, gives the Holy Spirit freedom to flow.

 

The body of Christ has been such a blessing to me. My family and friends giving of themselves to my needs in such practical ways leaves me full of gratitude. They are servant-hearted people and this is their ministry. I can’t find the words to express what it means to be on the receiving end of a cup of water being handed to me, when I’ve been too weak to get it myself.

 

Each person knows the calling they’ve had in given moments to ‘minister to Char’! I have been on the receiving end, over and over, of someone’s beautiful hand reaching out to extend the hand of Jesus, and to hold me up in Jesus’ name.

 

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men (Colossians 3:23 NKJV).

…..

#caregivers #caregiverencouragement #parkinsonspatient #parkinsonsstory #charsstory #roylessin #charlessin #meetinginthemeadow #devotional 

©2022 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. Photo by Marina Bromley, used with permission. All rights reserved.


Monday, November 21, 2022

My Monday Prayer: Prayers and Promises for Caregivers: Part 6

My Monday Prayer: Prayers and Promises for Caregivers: Part 6
-Roy Lessin and Marina Bromley

 

My Monday Prayer: A Caregiver’s Resolve
-Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow

By God’s grace and the strength that the Holy Spirit supplies, I resolve:
To look upon this time as a caregiver, whether short or long, as God’s appointment.
To consider it an honor to be the extension of His love to someone in need.
To do what I do from a thankful heart, with all my heart, as unto to the Lord.
To be quick to extend forgiveness to others, and to guard my heart against bitterness or resentment.
To maintain a quiet spirit that trusts God fully.
To seek those times, whenever possible, to take breaks, be refreshed, and “come aside to rest awhile.”
To choose joy, and not lose the gift of laughter.
To seek God’s strength in my weakness, to receive His mercies when I have fallen short, to draw upon His grace in my inadequacy, to receive His refreshing when I have grown weary, and to keep the eyes of faith upon Him in all I do.

 


My Monday Prayer
-Marina Bromley

Father God, in all these ways equip me, change me, make and mold me. To resolve these things in my life seem so hard, maybe impossible—but with You all things are possible. May it be so…amen.

#meetinginthemeadow #roylessin #caregiver #caregivers #caregiverappreciation 

©2022 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. Photo by Marina Bromley, used with permission. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Like Those Who Dream: Chapters 30 and 31

Like Those Who Dream: Chapters 30 and 31
-Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow

Chapter 30: I Will Walk With You

God is with us, in good times and bad times; easy times and hard times; gentle times and turbulent times. When we face difficulties, God will sometimes remove them, sometimes He will show us the way to avoid them, and other times He will show us the way through them. Having God’s presence is more important than the circumstances we face or the people that are around us. We are much better off to face difficulties with God than to have an easy life without Him. When God tells you He will walk through something with you it means you have all you need—peace is there, strength is there, grace is there, love is there.  A sister in Christ once told me, “I have been through something that I never want to go through again. However, I am so thankful, because through it I have discovered how much Jesus loves me.”

A few years after developing my voice problem I faced another physical issue. I first noticed something unusual about my lungs after a winter storm. The storm had deposited a large amount of snow in our city and I decided to get a sled and take advantage of the opportunity. I took my sled to an area that had a long, steep hill with several curves. I positioned my sled at the top of the hill and jumped on. Within a few seconds the sled picked up an amazing amount of speed as I steered my way around the first curve. As the sled continued to accelerate, I took in deep breaths of the cold winter air. When I did, my lungs began to bother me. I thought it was due to the cold and shrugged it off as nothing unusual. Shortly after that experience, I began to wheeze when I went to bed. It seemed strange, but once again I didn’t pay much attention to it. Several weeks later, while I was driving into town, I got a tickle in my throat and started to cough. I put my hand over my mouth during my coughing spell and when I pulled my hand away it had blood on it. I knew then that something was seriously wrong.

I made an appointment with our local doctor and told him about the things I had been experiencing. He suggested I go to a specialist and take a test that would allow the doctor to observe my lungs through a device he would put down my throat. I couldn’t imagine such a thing, but I agreed to the test when I found out I would be medicated and wouldn’t remember a thing.  On a Friday, Char and I went to the hospital to meet the specialist. After the test, while I was recovering in another room, the specialist told Char his findings, “I’ve located a tumor that is in one of Roy’s bronchial tubes. I’m not sure if it’s malignant, but I’ve taken a biopsy of the tumor and sent it out to be tested. I won’t know anything until the first of next week. Please don’t say anything to Roy until we know more. I will call your doctor as soon as I get the results.”

I went home not knowing anything about the tumor and waited for the results of my test. The weekend was much harder on Char than it was on me. Here is her account of that weekend…

Probably one of the most emotional and heart wrenching moments I have had was when the doctor told me Roy had a tumor in the opening of one of his bronchial tubes. I was torn to pieces. I loved Roy so much and couldn’t bear him suffering. One day during this time, I stood in my laundry room and the questions came. Are there any cracks in God’s character? Does God make mistakes? Is there anything that goes past God that He doesn’t see? Is there anything that God misses concerning us? A couple of minutes later my answer came from the depths of my being (I could feel it rise up) and I said out loud, "NO! He does not make a mistake; no, there is nothing that slips past Him; no, there are no cracks!" Peace flooded my heart and being! A question the Lord asked me was "Am I enough?" A tough question in that moment as I did not know what the results were going to be from the tests. I answered “yes” and from that point on, to this day, He has revealed Himself to me in ways beyond what I could have thought—His presence, His inner-voice, all such a privilege to experience and know.

On Monday, I went back to my regular doctor to find out the results of my test. He told me about the tumor that was found and the biopsy that was taken. It was a good news and bad news report. The good news was that the tumor was not malignant; the bad news was that it was located in a very dangerous place and needed to come out.  When I asked what needed to be done, I was surprised to learn they would need to remove two-thirds of my left lung. I asked many questions and tried to explore other options, but surgery remained the only medical option. After praying and being prayed for, I sensed a peace from the Lord to go ahead and schedule the surgery. As the date drew near, I had the assurance from the Lord that He would hold my hand and walk through this surgery with me.

Apart from having my tonsils out as a young boy in New York, this was the first time I had been in a hospital for surgery. I was rather na├»ve about the whole procedure and was surprised by the amount of pain I experienced when the surgery was completed. It was a long, hard recovery and the pain lasted for months. I discovered later on that lung surgery is one of the most painful surgeries a person can experience. Before the surgery and afterwards, I spent time reading through the Psalms. I put together a collection of all the Scriptures that spoke to me about God’s promises for difficult times. That list of Scriptures was a source of great comfort and encouragement to me and was something I could pass on to others for their comfort.

Chapter 31: The Ministry of Writing

I am convinced that we don’t have a ministry because we decide to have one; we have a ministry because God gives us one. Our calling, our work, and the fruit that comes from it is God’s doing, not ours. Our privilege is to obey what God tells us to do; our responsibility is to serve Him faithfully and obediently, whether it is a hidden place or a public place. His blessing and His anointing comes to us when we are living in agreement with His will. We cannot manufacture God’s blessing and anointing simply by being ambitious, highly motivated, or hard working.  The anointing and blessing of God come through the work of the Holy Spirit, not through our own efforts. An ounce of obedience is worth more than a pound of strife and a ton of self-effort.

My office at DaySpring was located at the edge of a meadow. There were three large windows on the outside wall of the office that provided a perfect view of the meadow and the trees that bordered it. It was a great place to work, not only because of the view, but also because of the quietness of the location. One day, our local newspaper wanted to do a feature article about me and my work. When the reporter came to see me she was immediately impressed with the location of my office and the setting. She started off her interview by asking me if the meadow was the source of my inspiration. I told her that I enjoyed the view of the meadow, but that it had nothing to do with my inspiration to write—inspiration can take place anywhere, on a plane, in a car, at home, and even in an old Arcade building in Covina, California. 

“My inspiration doesn’t come from things, but from the Holy Spirit,” I explained. “He can speak to me at anytime, anywhere, about any matter.” I then went on to explain the importance of Scripture in my writing and that without it I would have nothing to say. The interview was a good reminder to me that my ministry of writing was not about my talent, but it was about a gift that God had given me to make His heart known to others through the ministry of hope and encouragement.

By the mid-80s DaySpring made a major decision to become a full service greeting card company. The biggest difference was we began selling card footage (permanent card displays) into the stores instead of just individual cards or card lines. Card assignments kept landing on my desk and my writing assignments increased to about sixty cards a month.

As I sat in my office one afternoon I was handed a folder with a job ticket requesting a general birthday message that could be sent to anyone. I had written many birthday cards over the years and wondered what I could write that would be new and different. I had recently been thinking about the teaching of evolution and the impact it was having on people’s lives. “There are so many people who find life meaningless,” I thought, “they need to know that life is not by chance and that God has created them for a purpose that can be known and fulfilled in their generation.” I decided to write a card message that would address the need of meaning and purpose in someone’s life. The message was titled Just Think.

Just think, you’re here not by chance, but by God’s choosing.
His hand formed you and made you the person you are.
He compares you to no one else—you are one of a kind.
You lack nothing that His grace can’t give you.
He has allowed you to be here at this time in history
to fulfill His special purpose for this generation.
 

Just Think can be divided into three main sections and each section is based upon a key Bible passage:

Section 1:
Just think, you’re here not by chance, but by God’s choosing. His hand formed you and made you the person you are. He compares you to no one else—you are one of a kind.

Psalm 139:13-15 NLT, You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.”

Section 2:
You lack nothing that His grace can’t give you.

2 Corinthians 9:8 NKJV, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

Section 3:
He has allowed you to be here at this time in history
to fulfill His special purpose for this generation.

Acts 13:36 KJV, For David…served his own generation by the will of God…”

 *

When the Christmas season came around I needed to write some new Christmas card messages for an upcoming card development. As I began to work on the assignment I went back to Scripture to read the accounts of the birth of Jesus. I decided to write a card that would focus on the reason why God sent His Son to be born of a virgin and live among us. I realized that the message needed to address the deepest need within the human heart, and not the superficial needs the world puts the focus on during the Christmas season. The result was a message called God Sent Us a Savior which was based upon Luke 1:11, “ For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

God Sent Us a Savior

If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.
If  our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness, So God sent us a Savior.

*

What excites me about writing is not the style or ability to write, but the subject matter (the content) of writing. I have been given the privilege of writing about the heart of God expressed through the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. This is, without question, the greatest subject anyone could ever write about, and it is a subject that can never be fully expressed or explored.  “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25 NKJV

(Join us next week as we continue this journey of Roy's memoir, Like Those Who Dream. The book is available through DaySpring and Christian retailers everywhere.)

#memoir #likethosewhodream #meetinginthemeadow #roylessin #roylessinmemoir #cofounderdayspring #dayspring 

©2022 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. ©2021 DaySpring, used with permission.