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…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven,

and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 

Philippians 2:10

Some months ago, my doctor finally put a name on all the pain and confusion and sleeplessness I have experienced for the last eight years. Fibromyalgia. I expected as much; I had google this and come to the same conclusion. Even so, hearing the diagnosis hit like a ton of bricks. Years of going back and forth to doctors and trying this medication and that medication with the underlying hope that something, sometime would make a difference. One day I would live without pain, sleep without tossing all night, think clearly and move on with the hopes and dreams that have been put on back burner.

In his office, I knew better. I wouldn’t be getting better, not this side of heaven anyway, unless God intervened.

Having a name for this condition helped me because this verse tells me that the name of fibromyalgia must bow its knee to the name of Jesus.

God gave me an image one day. I saw the cross with Jesus still hanging. On the left side of the cross were small, thin rectangular shapes (grass or thin pieces of wood?) and on each blade was printed a name…cancer, lupus, arthritis, fibromyalgia, heart disease, etc.  The line of blades with names on extended far to the left of the cross.  On the right hand side of the cross, however, nothing was sticking out of the ground. While I was meditating on this, the blades on the left, in one accord, bowed down to the ground facing the cross.

In this image God gave me, diseases knew it was over for them. Their legal right to a believer’s body ended when Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Problem is, all too often, we don’t recognize that.  We receive a diagnosis or experience a new symptom or the recurrence of symptoms that have hung on for years and start to accept that this is what it is – the symptoms have won.

But this verse tells us differently.  This verse is a beautiful reminder that Jesus has the final say.

Because Jesus humbled Himself through the cross, God has exalted Him above all, so that all will submit to Jesus as Lord.

Philippians 2:8-9

In the image God gave me, there were no shoots sprouting from the ground on the right hand side of the cross.  Why?  I believe that is because the names that exalt themselves against the name of Jesus knew they had lost, the battle won.  The price was paid and Jesus won!

The only time these sicknesses have a right to our body is when we come into agreement with the diagnosis, the symptoms, the doctor’s report and allow them to stay.

So the question becomes, who are we going to join in agreement – Jesus and His word or the names that are named against us that have no legal standing to remain?

Thank You Jesus for settling the issue once and for all.  Thank You for showing me the image of the ugly names of diseases bowing before You.  When I slide into agreement with the symptoms and the doctor’s reports, would You remind me again that the battle for my healing was won and that by Your stripes I am healed. Be exalted in my life I pray. Amen.  

 

 

Salvation Coin

 

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Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why this gossipy whispering? Which do you think is simpler: to say, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or, ‘Get up and walk’?

Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both. . . .”

At this he turned to the paraplegic and said, “Get up. Take your bed and go home.”

And the man did it.

The crowd was awestruck, amazed and pleased that God had authorized Jesus to work among them this way.

Matthew 9:5 – 13  MSG

This is Jesus speaking. The crowds had witnessed Him healing countless people of physical afflictions and delivering so many people of the demons that tormented them.

But this was new and they couldn’t get their minds around it.

Jesus the healer.  Yes.

Jesus the Son of Man who has authority to forgive sins?  No.

I have been in churches almost all my 62 years and I am convinced that many churches have reversed that.  I have heard churches offer the salvation message and seldom does that invitation include physical healing for our bodies.  Often times, even communion is offered with no reference to the body beaten for our healing represented by the bread at the communion table.  This is not a criticism, just an observation. I didn’t think too much of that until recently when God gave me this image.

Pretend that I have laid a silver dollar in your outstretched hand.

Would it make any difference if that coin were placed heads up or tails up?

Would it spend any differently?

Of course, we know the answer is no.

But, imagine for a moment God placing a coin in your hand.

A coin He referred to as a Salvation Coin.

On one side is engraved the word “Saved”.

 On the other side, “Healed” is written.

Would it matter which side of that coin landed face up?

Would it spend any differently?

Again, the answer is no.

It wouldn’t matter.

The word sozo translated in our New Testament means “to save, deliver, protect, heal, preserve, do well, and be made whole”  according to Strong’s Concordance.

Jesus showed us the Kingdom of God while He walked on this earth. That kingdom includes the salvation of our souls but it also provides for the healing of our bodies.

Different sides of the same coin.

I have heard it said many times, if you have the faith to believe your sins are forgiven, you have the faith to be healed.

Thank you Father, that your salvation is all inclusive.  Thank you for the love that sent Jesus to the cross on my behalf that I may be healed and saved and preserved and made whole.  In the times when I  don’t feel these provisions, help me to remember that the price has been paid, my salvation is a done deal. I receive by faith all that Jesus’ sacrifice purchased for me.  Praise Your holy name.  Amen. 

pic credit:  gcastd.org

Lottery Ticket

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The school where I work is holding their annual plastic drive. Families bring in plastic trash and the classroom with the highest weight of recyclable plastic wins.  The school in the district with the highest weight wins. Last year, our school won and the kids would like to win again.

I brought in a large bag (4 feet tall by 2 1/2 feet wide) stuffed with plastic.  All of the kids wanted to take that to their class but only one bag so, in an effort to be fair, we decided on lottery tickets. I put kid’s names on tickets and placed them in a bowl and drew out one lucky winner.  Kids that did not hear their name called were disappointed for themselves but happy for the winner.  Probably slightly more disappointed for themselves. These are elementary aged children! We, as adults, would never act that way! Right?

I recently shared with a friend that God had healed me of fibromyalgia.  He has been in pain for years and has had countless surgeries and still not completely healed. I hoped to encourage him to not give up on God.

All he said was, “lucky you”.

Then he added, “congratulations”.

I wanted to say this wasn’t a lottery. Healing doesn’t depend on luck. God promises that what He has done for one, He will do for all. He is no respecter of persons. But he had that closed off look people get when they don’t want to hear any more.

I understand giving up on God. My healing didn’t come after one prayer, or one time of being anointed with oil, or one week of confessing healing scriptures. This blog is testimony to the time I have spent waiting on a healing and the posts only cover four years. I lived with chronic pain for over 22 years and then one day, the pain was gone. I can’t explain that but I know luck deserves no credit whatsoever.

I remember all too well hearing testimonies of people being healed and feeling sad for myself because I wasn’t. I didn’t credit this to luck as much to thinking I had done something wrong. Didn’t have enough faith or something like that. Maybe I waivered in my faith too much or didn’t confess enough.

There was a tremendous amount of torment in waiting for a healing that didn’t seem to be coming. And so I gave up. I gave up blogging and searching for answers. I gave up confessing scriptures and seeking God for a healing.

I never gave up believing, however, that God is a healer and that healing is the children’s bread. I simply gave up letting that quest dominate my prayer life and my thinking.

And one day I realized I hadn’t taken any pain meds in quite a while.

I couldn’t remember the last time I couldn’t sleep because of pain.

The pain that had been a part of my life 24/7 was gone.

That’s not luck, that’s God!

Abba Father, thank You.  Thank You for touching my body and bringing the long awaited healing. I praise You for not forgetting about me or giving up on me or turning Your back on me.  For those who are waiting on a healing, Lord, I ask that You touch them in a palpable way, remind them of Your love and grace and mercy.  And please, let Your healing flow to them.  In Jesus’ name, amen.  

 

 

 

 

pic credit:  clipartfest

 

Do Not Worry – No, Really, Do Not Worry

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Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.

Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

Are you not much more valuable than they?  

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Matthew 6:25-27

I could be a professional worrier. I used to have an odd believe that crept up on me unawares, I believed that if I worried about something enough, it couldn’t happen.  Odd, I know. When my oldest daughter began driving, I worried about her getting in a wreck because of the roads being bad (Montana ice and snow roads) and I worried that she would drink and drive and I worried that someone else would drink and drive and an accident would occur and on and on. Seemed to be no shortage of things I could worry about regarding her driving. There was something addicting and oddly comforting about worrying. Surely those things couldn’t happen because I worried about them enough.

When her car became airborne and hit a power pole several feet up in the air, none of those reasons were the cause. A neighbor chose to check his mail by parking on the wrong side of the road and when my daughter came around the turn, she saw headlights in what she thought was the other lane. She drove to the right of them, right into a power pole.

My worrying had accomplished nothing. Even in my wildest worrying imaginings, I couldn’t have come up with this scenario. I’d like to say I learned my lesson about worrying, about what a waste of time it is, but alas, I didn’t.  My worrying had no power to prevent anything. Worry only stole from me. Worry stole my peace and my ability to enjoy the present moment. Worry gave me nothing in return.

“When God tells us in the Bible not to worry,

it isn’t a suggestion.  It’s a command.

Worry and/or anxiety is specifically mentioned twenty-five times in the New Testament alone as something we should avoid.”  

Joanna Weaver

Apparently God takes this “Do not worry” command seriously and understands our propensity we humans have towards worrying.

Maybe one antidote to worrying is found in this verse in the question – “are you not much more valuable than they?”

 The more I believe in God’s love for me, the more I can trust in His care for me.  

I am more valuable than the birds in the air and He feeds them. He will feed me.

He watches over them. He will watch over me.

 He created them and designed them to be unique.

 He created me and designed me to be unique.

He hasn’t turned his back on the birds. He won’t turn His back on me.

Heavenly Father, how gracious You are. You know me intimately. You know the minutes, OK the hours, I spend worrying when I could be talking to You. You have proven Your love to me over and over again. Please forgive me for the times I allow worry to preoccupy my mind and my time and my affections. Thank You that my life is in Your hands and You lovingly watch over me and mine.  You are truly  a good God.  Amen.

 

In The Presence Of My Enemies

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“Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies”.

Psalm 23: 5

I  wonder what good food would do for me in the presence of my enemies. Am I going to pelt my enemies with spaghetti and meatballs?  Do I poke their eyes out with bread sticks? This part of Psalm 23 didn’t really make sense to me and I would ordinarily skim right past.

But recently, I saw this verse differently. The table He has prepared is laden with everything I have inherited through Christ – every spiritual blessing, every physical blessing, every weapon I will ever need, every provision I will ever need. All there – laid out for me. When I am in the presence of my enemies there I will find my weapon. The God who spoke this world into existence and created the many species and ecosystems and gave each exactly what they needed not only for survival but also to work in relation to other ecosystems for mutual survival, prepared a table for us! An orderly, lavishly decorated table with everything we have need of in the face of enemies.

When the enemy of fear comes against me, all I have to do is look at the table prepared before me and find what God has provided to combat fear – peace, truth, the spirit of power and a sound mind.

When the enemy of pain or sickness comes against me, I can find on this table the healing Christ paid for on the cross.

When the enemy of worry comes against me,  there on the table lays the  peace that passes all understanding.

When the enemy of rejection comes against me, I browse the table until I find the adoption papers that assure me that I am His.

 

All these and more are piled to overflowing on this banquet prepared by the Lord. And all I have to do is believe and feast on His provision.

 

 

picture credit: weddingbuffet.net

 

God’s Economy

 

 

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Years ago, when I lived in Montana, I had a wonderful gelding named Apache. The whole family loved that horse. Anyone could ride him; he was totally trustworthy. I especially liked taking him out on short jaunts in the woods. Fearless, smart and oh, how he loved to run, but there was one thing he would not do. He would not jump over anything. No, not ever, which most of the time was fine. But sometimes, in the woods, when a tree had fallen across the trail it would have been nice if he would have just jumped it. But alas, he would not.

One day, I came across a fallen log in our path. Way too big for him to step over and no way to go around the log. I sure didn’t want to turn around and go home and he sure didn’t want to jump it. I got off and studied the situation. I got behind him and pushed him on his rump. He glanced back and me and switched me with his tail. Out of frustration, I kicked the log and, to my surprise, the formidable roadblock  just caved in.

Dust flew upward and pieces of bark fell downward. Where the log had crumbled, I noticed tiny evidences of life. Intrigued, I bent down for a closer look. The log which had appeared to be dead, totally useless, too rotten for even good firewood, concealed underneath it an entirely new ecosystem. The sprouts were white from lack of sun exposure and unidentifiable to me.

At the time of this trail ride, I had just ended a 23 year marriage to a man who preferred drinking to sobriety, other women to me and being gone from home more than being at home. I spent a lot of days kicking myself for what I called wasted years.

But, while I studied this undergrowth, the Holy Spirit spoke these words to me, “In God’s economy, there is no such thing as waste.”

Hope blew across me like a gentle breeze.

What wonderful news this is when we are going through a time of limitations. A time when we say no more often than we are able to say yes. Ever feel like this time of being sick or being in pain or hanging onto a relationship that destroys your life is such a waste? I certainly have. Then I remember this story and I am comforted to know that God doesn’t call those times a waste. He is able to bring new life out of old and even in the midst of our waiting and wondering, He is able to use us and our seemingly wasted years for our  ultimate good and His incredible glory. That’s good news, isn’t it?

 

pic credit:  Diane Reid

 

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

Hurricane Ike Band

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He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.

Psalm 107:29

In September of 2008, my son and I flew to Houston for a weekend. My daughter flew down from Montana and we all stayed at my sister’s house.  We made these reservations long before we knew Hurricane Ike was headed right towards Houston.  Having grown up in Houston and being very familiar with hurricanes, we began the work of preparing for possible disaster.

We bought food and water and put things up that were outside and boarded up what windows we could, rounded up flashlights and batteries and the radio.  All that was left to do was pray and wait.  Hurricane Ike hit Houston in the middle of the night.  The winds were howling, rain was pouring and all power went out and the city was dark.  When we got up the next morning, we surveyed the damage and realized we were housebound for several days along with the rest of the city as workers worked to get roads open and power on.

My sister has two guitars, a piano and a keyboard that didn’t require electricity and we started playing songs.  We spent a long time singing and playing instruments and laughing at our not so good songs and marveling at our great ones. We called ourselves the Hurricane Ike Band!  It was a wonderful, memorable time together waiting out the storm.

You may not be going through an actual hurricane.  I certainly hope not, but what storm howls at your door and causes you sleepless nights? What answer are you waiting on?  Are you in need of divine healing that hasn’t come? Waiting stinks, but it doesn’t have to.  We could have huddled over the radio listening to all kinds of bad reports and wrung our hands and made ourselves sick with worry, but we chose instead to create music.  Peace in a storm is possible.  Remember when Jesus was sleeping on the boat when the storm hit the lake and the disciples freaked out?  Jesus woke up, calmed the storm and the disciples were left scratching their heads.  Who is this Jesus?

Jesus is the calmer of the storm, the peace in the midst of bad reports, the Comforter who holds us through difficult times.  Whatever the storm of your life is, He is greater and He is for you not against you.  Isn’t that something to sing about!

Jesus, calmer of my storms, thank You.  You are always present, always here for me no matter what the circumstances of my life may be and I am so grateful.  Thank You for keeping me safe through the storm and giving me new songs to sing.  Help me, I pray, to remember that when the storm comes I can count on You. Amen.

 

pic credit: texascoastgeology.com

Why Doesn’t God Heal Him?

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“Could not this man,

who opened the eyes of the blind man,

have kept this man also from dying?”

John 11:37

Our dog Molly gave birth to 9 beautiful puppies. People had placed their deposits and were anxiously counting down the days until they could take their puppy home. Names had been chosen, collars and leashes and toys and puppy chow all lay in wait for the puppies to come to their new home. All systems were go, and then, one day, for no explicable reason, 3 puppies could not use their back legs. They were belly crawling around on the ground and crying. Not from pain, from just not being able to get to mom and nurse. As if that weren’t enough, a fourth puppy was having issues with his front legs; they were terribly bowed out and clearly not supporting him very well. I took one puppy to the vet and she ran many xrays and sent them off to be examined by an Orthopedic Surgeon and several days later came back with this report, “We don’t know”.

We were heartsick. It was terrible to see these puppies like this and to think of breaking the bad news to the families who were expecting their pups in just 3 weeks. But, there was more to it. These puppies are our means of support. Four puppies that we had to return deposits on was a severe financial blow.

My husband mentioned this to people at church and they prayed for these puppies. The pastor and his wife and many good people prayed. Within a week, all four puppies were upright and walking like they were designed to walk! We were all so excited and grateful.

That week, at the Life Group we attended, a man who had prayed for the puppies shared the testimony. Everyone agreed it was a wonderful miracle. Later in the evening, a man shared of his life experiences with physical pain beginning when he was 14. He spoke of morphine and suicide attempts (3) and how the pain had redefined his life and how, at times, he was angry with God for leaving him like this. Everyone agreed it was a horrible way to live.

Driving home that night I couldn’t help but wonder at the irony there. God healed 4 pups that had been alive only 5 weeks, did not serve Him, did not acknowledge Him but left a man who did serve Him, who did acknowledge Him unhealed for decades.

Too many times I have heard pat answers – he doesn’t have enough faith or there is sin in His life. I have been on the giving and receiving end of pat answers to the question – why doesn’t God heal him? Why heal puppies and not this man? Pat answers offer no comfort and usually end up hurting the one who receives them.

I have severe arthritis in my knees that has been there for 41 years and God hasn’t healed me. But He healed the puppies. Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for those puppies being healed, but it does beg the question – why them and not this man? Why them and not me?

After 20 years of actively pursuing divine healing, I have come to the same conclusion that those vets came to – I don’t know. I just don’t know. But I know this: I know who my Healer is and He is enough.

P.S. Our prayer group at church is believing for a notable miracle in this man’s life – feel free to join us in prayer for him if you’d like.