Hello, It’s God Calling!

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I pushed the snooze button twice this morning. I don’t usually do that. But this morning, my bed was far more comfortable than usual, my pain level (normally an 8) was down to maybe 2 and the blankets were warm and the air coming in the window over my head was cool and it felt so right. Because of pain, bed is not always a comfortable place to be, but today it was all that.

I spent the time in quiet prayer. Just talking to God about nothing in particular, just whatever crossed my mind. Little kids at work come and sit in my lap and talk and talk about whatever is on their mind and this felt like that, like I was snuggling up in God’s lap and He was patiently listening.

For days leading up to this, I sensed a quiet cry in my heart to be comforted. I wanted desperately to be held and hugged. I never expressed my desire to be hugged to anyone, not even God, but of course, He knew.

When I did get up and read my devotional, this is what I read:

“Real worship is not mechanical or rote, nor is it habit or tradition. It is our inner response to the deepest callings of God on our lives”.

  James A. Davey

I have always thought of God’s callings as being something He draws us to so that we can do something for Him -ministry being one example. Being a performance oriented person, I never thought of God calling me just to comfort me.

What if these stirrings in my heart for the past few days were just that – God calling me to Himself?

At work, I make myself available to the kids that need snuggle time. I find a comfy chair, sit down and open my arms and invite them in. God makes Himself available to us as well, we just have to accept His offer to snuggle.

If, as Davey says, snuggling up in God’s lap and allowing Him to comfort me and hold me might  be my response to a deep calling of God, then snuggling with Him could be a form of worship.

If I view snuggling  that way, maybe approaching His open arms would come easier.

What about you?  Have you snuggled with God lately?

 

 

 

pic credit: comicbookfx.com

System Of Inequality and Divine Healing?!

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 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

3 John 2:2

I have been in hot pursuit of divine healing for upwards of twenty years. Healing is promised in the Bible and numerous verses can attest to that fact. I have read them and memorized them and confessed them and put my trust in them and still I am not healed. My pursuit continues.

I read this verse a while back. No doubt familiar to those in search of divine healing  – every book on the subject I have read has included it. But this day, I saw the promise differently.

Instead of seeing it as an iron clad promise of healing, I saw it as an algebraic equation. Weird, right? It struck me as a system of inequalities. On one side of the equation are the variables of prospering and being in good health. On the other side would be the variable of our soul which is our mind, our will and our emotions. Three variables on one side and two on the other.

The question becomes what symbol is between the two sides. Is it an equal sign or not equal, greater than, less than?

My desire to be free of physical pain has so occupied my quest for divine healing that I never even considered the other variables that combine to make my health, holistically speaking.

I simply didn’t care so much about the others; I wanted to live free of physical pain. But God, in His wisdom, knows how much I need all of these variables to be healed if I am going to live the life abundant that has been promised. He is a holistic healer.

I have had to relinquish my ideas about how my healing would manifest and give God permission to heal other areas of my life, even if that means I continue to live with chronic pain while He balances out the equation.

What about you? Are you in need of healing?  I would love to pray for you and join my faith with yours for your healing.

If you have a testimony of how God has healed you, I would love to share it here with others who need encouragement.  

pic credit: pinterest.com

I Have A Song

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When the world is up against me
When it seems I’ve lost it all
And my back’s against the wall
When my heart’s grown dry and empty
When the life that I had planned
Is slipping through my hands

I hear sweet music rise above it all
And when it seemed my hope had ended, I was wrong

I have a song
And I’m singing to my Savior
Singing to the One who set me free
I have a song
And my heart will ever praise Him
This world can never take this joy from me
When all else is gone
I have a song

When I cannot see tomorrow
When the questions flood my mind
Looking back on wasted time
When my soul is full of sorrow
When the pain won’t go away
And such brokenness remains

I join the music rising far above it all
It’s an anthem to my true and faithful God

I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
For His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me!

Lyrics by Shannon Wexelberg

Thank You Jesus, that in spite of it all, I do have a song. Let Your song rise up in me, help me to hear the song, to be moved by the song, to be lifted by the song and to share the song. Amen.

pic credit: groundedbygrace.wordpress.com

When God Says No

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Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 

II Corinthians 12:8

 Don’t we all just hate that word – “NO”.  It doesn’t matter the request, how reasonable, how mature or immature,  how ridiculous or necessary the request seems to be, no is just not the answer we want.  For reasons I may never know, I believe I have asked enough, I have prayed enough and healing doesn’t seem to be something that God is saying yes to, at least not right now, for me.

Whatever the thorn in Paul’s side was (and there are many possible explanations for it), Paul asked three times and the answer came back “No”.  So Paul moved on.  Our pastor did a beautiful sermon on this and he commented that these three times were just three asks, but three seasons of asking. And still the answer was no. And Paul did what I am trying now to do, move on, accept that this is what it is, until it isn’t, and rely on God’s grace to move on in spite of the pain.

When the pain first hit over five years ago, I met it with denial. Every night I went to bed believing that tomorrow I would be better; this is a pulled muscle, a cramp, I slept wrong, whatever, but it would be gone – tomorrow. That Scarlet O’Hara mentality never did serve me well.  When it became apparent that it wasn’t a temporary thing, I moved into the anger phase of grieving. I yelled, I cried, I pulled away from God, I threw fits. This didn’t serve me very well either. Then came bargaining – if I confess enough scriptures on healing, pray enough, have enough people lay hands on me, be anointed with oil enough, eat the right supplements, do enough juicing, rebounding, detoxing, cleanses etc., I will be healed. While those things did serve me better, they didn’t get me healed.

So my pastor comes along and says sometimes, we just need to accept that it is what it is. First time I heard someone say those words to me, I wanted to kick them in the shins. But this day, I heard those words with grace and compassion and I knew that it was time for me to accept that this is what it is. For days, I couldn’t stop the tears. Then for days, I could stop the tears, but I couldn’t talk to anyone for fear of tears starting again. Then the tears were finished and the emotional pain of being told no began to heal and I am moving on.

I still believe in diving healing, I still believe God’s desire and will is to heal and that He has the power to do so. But I know from being a parent that sometimes, the hardest answer I can tell my child is “no”. And sometimes for reasons that they may never understand, sometimes “no” is the answer that serves them best at this moment in their life, which doesn’t mean no forever.

Jesus, You know how I am struggling to accept this. I want to, I need to, You have led me to this point and I want to be willing and obey. But I also want to be healed, three or five years ago. Nevertheless, not my will but Yours be done. Help me to focus on You and the good things in my life that don’t always scream as loudly as the pain and grant me the grace to truly move on. I ask in Your gracious name, amen.

 

pic credit: emmanuelbangkok.org

God’s Prescription for Healing

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 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves

and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways,

then I will hear from heaven,

will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  

Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.

For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever,

and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 

II Chronicles 7:14-16

There it is – God’s prescription for healing. First, recognize that I am called by His name, I am His. Secondly, humble myself. I was real excited when I read this passage this morning. Until the word humble came along. I tripped on that, I had to look it up and then had to repent and have meditated on it all day. Basically, it means to submit to God all that I am in order for Him to be all that He is in my life. Sounds like an exchange that is definitely in my favor, so what’s the snag?

I googled “what does it mean to humble yourself” and found this answer by wfestrock: “I think humility is coming to grips with who and what you really are. A very weak and flawed being who is ever prone to evil and very insecure and fragile and vulnerable in ten thousand ways. If you could see the truth, humility would come very naturally.  When you humble yourself, you are beginning to see things as they really are”.

I read all kinds of other more sophisticated answers from Bible scholars but this one struck a nerve with me. I have felt so vulnerable lately as more and more, God shows me the weak and flawed aspects of me, aspects I would rather just not deal with. But I do want to healed of this chronic pain and arthritis, and so, I find myself in a conundrum. Go all the way for this healing, humble myself, own up to my flaws and insecurities and yuck and begin the process of unloading all that and be one step closer to healed or leave all this alone and look for another path. Problem is, there is no other path, this is the path God is leading me on.

I realized this morning, that I am the land God desires to heal. You are the land He desires to heal. The healing might just take a different path that the one I started on. God is a holistic healer and He, apparently, is not willing to simply heal my body without healing the rest of me.

The big help in all of this is His promise that if I will humble myself and pray and seek His face and turn from my ways that don’t honor Him, He will forgive me and heal me and His eyes and His ears will be upon me perpetually. What have I got to lose?

Gracious, heavenly Father, I submit to Your plan and Your purposes for my life, even Your pathway for this healing to manifest fully. Forgive me for all the times I have tried to have it my way, to do things the way that seems expedient to me, easiest to me, least painful to me when You have a more complete view of healing than I ever could have. Grant me the grace to humble myself and seek Your face and pray and please keep Your eyes and ears on me perpetually. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

picture credit: wmconnection.BlogSpot.com

My Eyes Are Open

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Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  

and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2: 9-11

Puppies are born with their eyelids tightly shut. You probably know this. They don’t start to open until around 14 days. This is a built-in safety measure designed to protect the eyes which are still developing and extremely fragile from things that would harm the eyes – such as dirt or pathogens or even too much light for their eyes to handle. So when the eyes are a little more able to deal with life, they open. A child asked me one time, why don’t we just open the eyes for the puppy?  I had to explain that until the eyes are ready to see, it would be harmful to force them to see.

Denial works a little like that. To some degree, it’s a healthy defense mechanism, protecting us from a truth we aren’t able to see and process. At some undefined point, however, it turns from being a healthy defense to an unhealthy one. At some point, good health demands that the eyes open.  Good health demands that we face those things that are so easy to hide from.

Someone I love got a diagnosis the other day, the kind that feels like a kick in the gut. Our heads are spinning; we are trying to wrap our brain around it, but it hasn’t been easy. It’s not life threatening, only incredibly life-altering and comes with no easy fix. We are developing strategies to better prepare ourselves for the reality of this diagnosis. Looking back over the past months, I see evidences that point to this diagnosis. Evidences I chose not to see until now when I have no choice. The doctor has spoken the words; I can’t pretend I didn’t hear them. Denial is no longer working in my favor. My eyes are open.

In the space of about 3 days, I went back and forth through the stages of grief – shock, denial, anger and acceptance. I may continue to do that for some time, but right now at this moment, I am grateful for the diagnosis. Grateful to know what we are dealing with instead of trying to ignore symptoms.

The verse above tells me, assures me, that at the name of Jesus every other name that is named must bow its knee. It’s good to have a name, a diagnosis, even better to know that that name will bow its knee to the name of Jesus. I choose to believe that while this may very well be a righteous diagnosis, there is a more righteous prognosis than what the doctor offers – Jesus, our Physician, will have the last word, this diagnosis has a name and that name will bow its knee to the name of my Healer, Jesus.

Jehovah Rapha, You are our healer. You are the Great Physician. Thank You for the doctors You are using in our lives and thank You for Your word which keeps us strong. Be our peace through this trial, our comfort, our defender, have the victory here, have the last word, show Yourself strong in our lives, I ask in Your mighty name, Amen.

 

Getting Out of the Gate

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…and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him.

II Chronicles 26:5

This is talking about Uzziah, a sixteen year old who became king and reigned for 52 years in Jerusalem. He started off on the right foot -he did right in the eyes of the Lord, he continued to seek God and this verse tells us that as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him. But something went horribly wrong because in verse 21 we are told that Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death and cut off from the house of the Lord.

We used to have race horses. Well, we had horses and some of them actually made it to the track. Mostly, they just made us broke. These were Thoroughbreds which means that most of their races were not sprints, they were bred for longer distances. Getting out of the gate in a sprint race has to be perfect, too much time out and it can’t be made up in a short race, but it can be made up sometimes in a longer one. A good start is crucial, but its the finish that counts.

Uzziah started well, and ended up poorly and if you read the story, you will see that his heart became proud because of victories won in battles and he stopped seeking the Lord and guess what? The Lord stopped prospering him.

When I started into this healing journey, I started on my own strength, that and help from the doctor and a wellness consultant. I had cried out to God for months and months to heal me or show me the way and He said NOTHING! At some unnoticeable point, I stopped seeking Him. The pills, the treatments, the supplements made some difference but I still had so much pain that I couldn’t deal with it any more. So I quit the prescriptions, the supplements, the treatments and decided to leave my healing in God’s hands totally. Either He healed me or I stayed this way.

I went back to seeking the Lord, which is how this blog began.  I started in search of physical healing but I have gained so much more. I have begun prospering in my life, not just financially, though that has improved, but mentally and emotionally and relationally and yes, physically. The only difference is that I sought the Lord through reading His word. That’s it, that’s all I did, and He has done the rest. In life, I don’t think our start in this life is as crucial as the finish as God allows us to start over daily, if need be. It’s the finish that counts in life, as in horse racing. And I hope, by His grace, that I finish strong and healthy and prospering.

Jesus, You paid for it all, my health, all of it, my mental and physical, financial, relational well-being are so important to You. I can’t attain to a level of health in any of these areas without seeking You and Your word and following hard after You. Thank You for turning me in my tracks back to the only source of healing for me. Thank you for the increase in my health in all areas of my life and please, please, help me to finish strong. In Your name, I ask. Amen.

picture credit: resaliens.com

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Algebra and Chemistry and Physics, Oh My!

 People learn from one another, just as iron sharpens iron.

Proverbs 27:17

Our son is homeschooled and I get to be his “teacher”. He is in ninth grade which means we are dealing with teenage stuff and subjects that I haven’t even thought of since I was in 9th grade some decades ago. To say that it is frying my brain is an understatement. I didn’t want to learn it then and I don’t want to learn it now. And yet, here we are everyday learning or attempting to learn about fusion and functions and changes of state and specific heat and variables…  UGH! I do have to admit though, the other night when we were watching Jeopardy as a family, my son and I could answer every question under the Periodic Table category and we both got a swelled head. Finally, some of this stuff came in handy for something!

It makes me think of the myriad of things I have not wanted clouding my brain. I have a hard enough time remembering the things I want to remember.  I have chosen a path I call Purposeful Ignorance and I tend to ignore or fail to learn or pay attention to things that I am not concerned about until I need them. It’s gotten me this far which may or may not be saying a lot. In my pursuit of healing, I have purposefully chosen not to read articles or listen to sermons or teachings from anyone who doesn’t believe as I do. I was concerned that their opposing beliefs might taint mine.

When I finally decided the tackle some of these writings and sermons, I found, to my surprise, that instead of tainting my theology on divine healing, it actually shored it up somewhat. I read and listened to their reasonings, dug more in the Bible and thought through their findings and discovered that my faith grew stronger because of applying myself to thinking through their positions. The proverb says that iron sharpens iron; that we learn from each other. Purposeful ignorance kept me from being willing to allow that process to build faith in me; to strengthen me. This is a process that is needed for me and others. We need each other, even if we don’t agree on everything. Or anything.  It is good for faith to be challenged because it can make it stronger. In spite of all I read, I still believe divine healing is for today and for all who come to Jesus for healing; I believe it is part of the atonement. And I believe my day is coming.

Jesus, thank You for taking my pains, my sicknesses, my sins upon Yourself and paying the price for them that I could not pay. I know You are my healer God.  I am so grateful for the naysayers You have put in my path that have helped build my faith. Today, would You touch those in need of healing, those who have put their trust in You, those who have believed in Your word, and those who have grown weary of waiting and bring about Your perfect plans and purposes in their lives?  Where there is doubt would You reveal truth, for those who have no hope, would You encourage them today?  Please be the lifter of their heads, I ask in Your mighty name, Amen.

A New Pillow or Four

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.

Keep on seeking, and you will find.

Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks, receives.

Everyone who seeks, finds.

And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7: 7-8

I had promised my son a new pillow.  I didn’t forget this promise, I just hadn’t made time to go get it. And, of course, he didn’t let me forget it. Many times over the period of 5 days, he reminded me. I found it rather annoying, to be honest. Did he just not believe me?

I went last night to Walmart and purposed to spend about $10 on a pillow for him. To my surprise, they were on sale and I was able to buy 4 for the price of one.  I got pillowcases as well. Right there in Walmart, I had this wonderful revelation of the giving nature of God. It felt so good to be able to give my son more than he had asked for, more than he was expecting, much more.  God isn’t limited by resources; He doesn’t need a sale at Walmart to bless His kids. And if I read this verse correctly, He isn’t annoyed by persistent asking. In fact, He tells us to do just that.  I don’t understand that, but I don’t have to. I didn’t write it; I only read it. Maybe, just maybe, what is standing in the way of my  miracle or yours is that, unlike my son, we give up. We just stop asking, or seeking, or knocking.  I mean, He heard us right? So why keep asking?  I don’t know, but I know this, God is looking for ways to bless His kids above and beyond our wildest imaginations and He tells us to keep on asking.

What have you given up on?

Have you stopped asking?

Perhaps it’s time to start again and see what only God can do.

I admit, Jesus, that I give up far too quickly. I don’t keep asking, I think I must be pestering You if  do. Forgive me for limiting You, for not taking this word and applying it passionately to my life. Help me to be persistent in my faith and in my pursuit of healing, not just for me, but for all those you have put in my path and laid on my heart. Bring Your healing, I ask, touch these lives as only You can do. I ask again, in Your name. Amen.

The Suffering of Christ

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Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,

if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:17

In many readings I’ve read and in discussions I have had with people, the subject of Christ’s suffering comes up. It is used to counter the belief that it is God’s will to heal all. I’ve heard people say that we are called to suffer with Christ and that the disease or ailment they have is the way they join with Christ in His suffering. These are sincere people who want God’s will in their lives but they see their suffering as something God called them to do.

I have a hard time with that. I believe we will suffer as Christ suffered if we are living as Christ lived; if we are disturbing our world the way He disturbed His. When I read through the New Testament though I don’t see Jesus suffering arthritis or chronic pain or allergies or cancer. Jesus suffered persecution, mocking, rejection, scorn and crucifixion. While many Christians around the world, may indeed suffer those things and we might also, our suffering diseases is not joining with Christ’s sufferings. I don’t see physical suffering as having a place in the kingdom of God, in heaven or in Jesus’ life. If suffering through a disease or chronic pain is something God wanted for us, then why did Jesus heal anyone?  And then say He was only doing what God told Him to do? And further tell us that if we have seen Jesus, we have seen our Father God? Why say and do any of that if it’s His will that we suffer with diseases and afflictions?

Can we honor God through our suffering a disease? Of course. Can He use our suffering for our good and His glory? Yes. But is that the same as suffering with Christ or for the sake of Christ? I don’t believe so. I am willing to enter into the sufferings Christ suffered, as God graces me to do so. I would love to rock my world the way Jesus rocked His and if I did, I could expect suffering and trust that God would see me through that. But I don’t believe that suffering would include physical afflictions.  And while I pray that God would use this suffering from arthritis and chronic pain for my good and His glory, I would not turn down healing. I believe I could do more for the kingdom of God if I were physically free from these pains.

Jesus, You showed us the compassion of our Father when You touched the infirmed and diseased and brought healing. You showed His heart of love when You healed the many and the all. Your word tells us You are the same, today, yesterday and forever. I believe it is Your will that I be free of this pain and I thank You for that. When I do experience suffering for Your sake, help me to remain faithful through it all, the way You did for me. I ask in Your glorious name. Amen.