Taste and See

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Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34:8

Recently, in an effort to be more organized, I went through a large stack of cooking magazines.  I glanced at the recipes and, if they looked good to me, I tore out the pages and filed them in a recipe binder. I threw away more recipes than I collected but still I had more than I would probably ever make.

Recipes are good to have and fun to peruse but looking at them doesn’t tell the story.

The story comes in the tasting.

In order to taste them, I have to make them.

This means a trip to the grocery store and time to prepare the food.  Nothing overwhelming about that at all, but just saying, reading about a recipe and tasting the outcome are two different things.

This verse leads me to think that there is more to our relationship with God then simply reading the Bible, though that is a great beginning.  But if our relationship ends there, we have missed tasting and seeing that He is good.  At some point, we have to internalize what the Bible says. We need to meditate on His word, let it soak deep into our hearts and allow the words He wrote to replace the words others have written in our hearts about Him.

God gets a fair amount of bad press. If we based our opinion of God on what others say about Him, we might not decide He is all that good. He gets blamed for sickness and death, floods and famine.  Even fair minded individuals may say things like, “well God allowed me to be sick, allowed my child to die, allowed my finances to be in the toilet, etc… to teach me something.”

It becomes all to easy to think God is good – sometimes, maybe for some people.  But to believe He is good all the time, even when bad things happen, well, that’s often difficult. Years of tasting God through His word, through His faithfulness, through His continual presence in my life (even when I don’t sense His presence) have helped me to see that He is indeed good.  I didn’t come to that conclusion after one pass through the Bible; I came by it the hard way, through years of seeking and searching and dare I say, tasting.

I don’t always get my prayers answered the way I think they should be. I was in constant physical pain for 22 years now and believed for my healing all that time and I, will be honest, often wondered if God is really good. If He was really good, why was I still in pain?

But the more time I spend in His word and in fellowship with other believers, the more convinced I am that He is indeed, good whether I am healed or not. He has healed me of fibromyalgia but I am still waiting on healing from arthritis.  Why one and not the other I don’t know but this I do know – God is good all the time!

Forgive me Father, for the times when I have doubted Your goodness.  Forgive me for questioning Your goodness when my prayers did not get answered the way I wanted.  I know You are a good God and a gracious, loving Father. Thank You for not giving up on me and for not turning away from me.  Help me to come to You, to feed on Your word, to seek Your presence, Your peace and Your goodness, especially when I don’t feel like doing so.  Amen. 

 

pic credit:  abelappleacres.com

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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. 

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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.  

 

 

 

 

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Reflected Light

 By your words I can see where I’m going;
    they throw a beam of light on my dark path.

Psalm 119:105

I’ve been looking for answers. Not just about this pain but about other areas of my life that I feel need changing. I  haven’t as yet gotten any definitive answers. But I am reminded of a teaching I heard Larry Huch give. He said the priest that entered the temple wore what is best described as diamonds or jewels on the shoulders of their robes. The light from the lampstand stand reflected off of those stones and onto the letters of the Hebrew alphabet that were on the lampstand. Every letter  (all 22) was on there. One letter would be illuminated at a time spelling out a word from God for the people. It was a way for them to discern God’s will.

I don’t have a lampstand or a robe with diamonds on it (would that I did!) I do, however, have God’s written word, His indwelling Spirit, and a heart to follow where He leads. He hasn’t lit my way with floodlights but He has illuminated my path, one step at a time. And for now, that is enough.

Through the maze of prescriptions and supplements and tests and diagnosis, I have at times been so lost that I couldn’t even tell which way to go. It was in those times when God’s word throws a beam of light on my dark path and I know the next step to take. One step at a time can be incredibly frustrating for a planner like me. I want answers and I tend to want them now, but that isn’t how this has been working for me. Among the many things I have learned about healing through this process, this may be the hardest. I’m not totally content with this one step at a time thing but a lamp or beam of light only illuminates a small portion of ground at a time and it moves as I move illuminating the next step.

Some years ago, at a Tim Story healing service, God told me that this was a complete healing. He said my body has been out of whack for a very long time and He is putting it back in whack (His words, really). I had no idea some 18 years later, I would still be looking for that healing to be completed. My body must be more out of whack than I thought! I hold on to His word and His faithfulness to His word and trust that as I take this one step, He will show the next.

Lord, You know how difficult this has been for me. Probably the worst has been all the unanswered questions and the not knowing when it will all end. I am not asking for those answers anymore, I am asking that You continue to guide me one step at a time until this body is back in whack and then even beyond that incredible day. I can’t make this journey without You or Your word, continue to illuminate my path and grant me the grace to take those steps in faith without complaining and murmuring. Forgive me for all the countless times, I have demanded answers. I ask in Your name, Jesus. Amen.

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Extreme Spoons

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A young boy I work with named Anthony was playing Extreme Spoons with a group of kids, mostly older ones.  This game is one I made up by tweaking the card game Spoons.  In this version, the spoons are arranged at the far side of the gym and the kids have to run to get them after discovering that someone has gotten a book of four cards.  Ordinarily, the spoons would be set on the table in front of them.  There would be one less spoon per kid so someone would not get one and lose that round.

Anthony is adorable and very athletic but still was no match against these older kids and try as he might, he couldn’t get there fast enough to get a spoon.  I decided to stack the deck in his favor.  I dealt the cards to everyone – 4 to each child.  I arranged that Anthony’s four cards would all be kings.  All he would have to do is get up and run to the spoons and he would win.  How could it fail?

It failed because when Anthony saw that he had 4 kings to start with, he started yelling and screaming about having a book.  He was so excited, he was jumping up and down and laughing and telling everyone about his kings, he was doing everything except running to get a spoon.  The other kids figured it out, ran to get their spoons and once again, Anthony lost.

I don’t know who was more disappointed, me or Anthony.

I can’t help but think that God stacks the deck in our favor.  All throughout scriptures are stories of God’s preparing and providing for His people’s victory.  Sometimes, they walk in that victory and sometimes, like Anthony, they stall out and fail to achieve all that God purposed for them.

I am like that, maybe you are too. 

Stalling out on a small issue and not being able to see that the deck has been stacked,

the victory won,

all I have to do is play the hand I have been dealt.

What would that mean on a day to day basis?  It might mean that I accept what I can not change. It might mean I keep my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of my faith.  How do I do that?  By reading what He says, looking at what He did, meditating on His promises, focusing on the answer, not the problem.  It might mean I keep doing those things until I see victory and not giving up because I don’t.  The victory I’m after is healing for my body, what victory are you in need of?

Thank You Lord that You have stacked the deck in my favor.  Open my eyes to what that truly means on a day to day basis.  Help me to walk in the victory You paid such a tremendous price for.  I praise You for Your goodness to me and my family and friends.  I praise You for the opportunity to play spoons with Anthony and all the other kids You have placed in my path.  Help me to love them as You would, to enjoy them as You would, to minister to them as You would.  In Your name, I pray.  Amen.

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Rest Area

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Jesus says  “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  Matthew 11:28 (Message Bible)

We just returned from a road trip to Montana and were so grateful to see rest areas provided.  It was great to get out of the van and stretch our legs and chat with other travelers. Bing dictionary defines rest as: stopping of work or activity: a state or period of refreshing freedom from exertion.  Our activity was driving and stopping for a few moments helped us continue on.  What’s your activity that is wearying you?  When I was first introduced to word of faith and the message of God being my Healer, I was presented with a list of things to do for my healing – confess healing scriptures to build my faith, listen to healing teachings, go to healing services, meditate on healing, etc.  These are good things, please don’t hear me wrong.  I did these things and did not get healed, so I did them some more and still didn’t get healed.  Perhaps, you know someone who experienced the same.  The problem for me doing these things was that they became a work – a form of religion without the power. I got tired, worn out, burned out on it all.  Seems it wasn’t the yoke Jesus had in mind for me when He said, “Come away with me and you’ll recover your life”.  He offered rest, real rest.  Rest feels like peace and it is in that peace that we recover our lives.

Because I write about diving healing, I get comments from time to time from people who are disappointed in God and in faith healers and tend to change their theology to match their experience and resign themselves to living with pain or illness or disease.  Can I just say that resignation and rest are not the same things?  Bing dictionary defines resignation as: unprotesting acceptance of something: agreement to something, usually given reluctantly but without protest.  Religion and resignation leave out grace – the unforced rhythms of grace.  Instead of religion and resignation what if we respond to Jesus’ invitation and simply come to Him.  What if, as He says, that by keeping company with Him, we will learn to live freely and lightly?  This blog is my journaling of that response to Jesus.  My daily coming to Jesus, meditating on His word and reflecting on His goodness have brought a measure of healing I couldn’t find anywhere else.  Am I totally healed?  No.  Will I keep coming to His rest area?  Yes.  What about you, could you use some rest today?

What a healing Jesus I found in You, what a healing Jesus, You refresh, restore, renew.  What a healing Jesus for such a time as this, arise on healing wings, Son of Righteousness. * Amen.

* these words are from a song written by:  Mary Brown

I Know His Name

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Psalm 9:10 says “And those who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee;  For Thou, O LORD, hast not forsaken those who seek Thee.

How exciting is that?

I know His name.

His name is Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals me.

He is the God that heals you.  And your loved ones!

How awesome is that?

Equally important is the fact that He knows our name.  He has engraved them on the palm of His hands.  He has counted the number of hairs on our heads.  He knows our thoughts from afar.  He is intimately acquainted with all our ways.

He knows the circumstances of your life, the difficulty you may be facing, the diagnosis that shook your life.

He knows the pain that seems to be my constant companion these days.  He knows the cause even when the doctors don’t.  He alone knows the day of my deliverance from this pain.

I have put my trust in Him.  And He has promised that as I seek Him, He will not forsake me.   He will not forsake me.  Me! As you continue to seek Him, He has promised He will not forsake you.

How awesome is that?

Jehovah Rapha, my God who heals me, bless Your holy name.  You have revealed to me Your character through Your name.  And you know mine.  That’s so hard to comprehend that I can only take that by faith.  Thank You for promising that as I seek You, You will not forsake me.  I know that You are my healer and You provided for my healing and for taking my pain through the sacrifice of Jesus.  Help me to keep my eyes on You, to seek You even when the pain screams louder than Your still small voice, help me to remember that You know my name and I know Yours.  Amen.

A Horse of a Different Color

imagesCAEKB98V  Years ago, when I lived in Montana, I bred Appaloosa horses.  Appaloosas weren’t all that popular then, at least not where I lived, and I took a good deal of ribbing about them.  They were seen as inferior by my friends who preferred Thoroughbreds or Quarter Horses or Arabians.  I didn’t mind; it was good fun and I loved the breed.  Besides, in the local competitions we were fond of, I invariably came home with more ribbons then they did, but it never silenced them.

One year, I was the source of many teasings because I bred a solid colored mare to a solid colored stud, fully expecting a loudly colored colt.  Everyone thought I was crazy and more than once or even twice, did they let me know this.  All in good fun, I think?! I hope!

“You’ll never get color out of that cross” is what they said.  Their tone sounded more like “are you nuts?”  A horse’s gestation period is 11 months and believe me I never heard the end of it until – that wonderful day when my filly was born.  All my hopes and expectations were fulfilled in that beautiful, incredibly colored baby.  All their jokes were silenced.

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Faith works like that.  Believing for what we can’t see; continuing to believe until we do. In spite of naysayers or evidences to the contrary, faith continues to hope, continues to hang on until the promise is fulfilled.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”.  When I bred that mare I was hoping for a colored colt and all I had to go on was my limited understanding of genetics and the mare and stud’s pedigree.  It was a big gamble; a solid colored colt would have been a very big disappointment.

In believing for physical healing what we have to go on is God’s Word.  Far more reliable than a limited understanding of genetics; He has spelled it out – I am the God who healeth Thee.  We need to settle that truth in our hearts and stand firm on that belief while we wait on the manifestation of our healing to come in our lives.  Sometimes, we will be misunderstood by those around us.  And sometimes, we may even be mocked.  But one day, if we remained fixed, our hopes and expectations will be fulfilled and their comments will be silenced.  Until then, we have the hope of our healing, the conviction of things not seen.  Either God was lying when He said He is our God who heals us or He is telling the truth and our healing is in His hands.

Jehovah Rapha, You are the God who heals me.  You have spoken Your word and I believe You to bring it to pass in my life in Your timing.  I fix my eyes on You and remain steadfast in faith, knowing that though I don’t see it now, I will, by Your grace.  Thank You for honoring my faith as I honor Your Word, in Jesus’s name, Amen.

Cast Your Cares

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.  I Peter 5: 6-7

I just finished a great book called “Teach Us To Sit Still”, written by Tim Parks.  The man is a self-proclaimed skeptic about religion and alternative methods of healing, but after living with constant pain for years, he stumbled upon some relief which he shares in this book.

A lot of his relief came from simply giving up the fight against the pain and learning to accept this present moment for what it is.  I discovered when I read it how much of my time and energy is spent trying to deny or ignore the pain as opposed to just accepting that it is what it is and finding my peace in God in these present moments.  The energy spent is fighting the pain only makes it worse.  It adds tension and fear and stress that rob me of joy and peace.

He talks a lot about being at peace with your body which he admits is a lot harder to do than it seems, especially when the body is wracked with pain.  I discovered this through his writings; I am not at all at peace with my body.  I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about my body, what I can do to make it better, what have I done to hurt it, etc.  Not exactly being at peace.  Now I am choosing to practice letting go of my need to rail against the pain and all the unknown concerns that go with it.  Not an easy thing to do.

What about you?  Do you spend a good deal of your precious now moments wishing away pain or disease or talking about it or feeling sorry for yourself because of it?  I know I have.

I have to purpose to let go of the fight.  I can by reminding myself that God is for me; He is infinitely involved in the small and large details of my life.  Nothing that has happened to me or will happen to me is beyond His knowledge or His ability to take care of.  Nothing. I can cast my cares on Him because He cares so much for me.  Is it easy?  No.  I am learning to take one step at a time.  To moment by moment recognize when my thoughts become so totally focused on me and my pain and not on Him and His care.  In those moments, I speak this verse over and over again as many times as I need to until I am once again, focused on Him.  And I have discovered that the pain has lessened when I do.

Father, teach me to be still.  To let go of my need for everything to be fixed right now.  Help me to cast my cares on You because You care so much for me.  When I am fighting against my pain, help me to remember that Jesus took that pain, the fight has been won and I can rest in Your peace.  Amen

Qualifying Pain

Ever feel like your pain – be it emotional, physical, relational or any other pain – is too small to bother God with?  I certainly have and I have heard others make comments like that.  Sounds humble doesn’t it?  The comment is usually backed up with acknowledging others who are so much worse off.  Let them go the altar; they need it more. The problem is that, though it sounds humble, that kind of thinking isn’t humble, in all likelihood that may be pride.  That thought could be roughly translated – I can handle this myself. Perhaps  it can also be translated – I don’t think God cares about the “little” details of my life.  It could also be translated – God may not be able to help those who need it more if I ask Him to help me.

Doesn’t sound quite so humble any more.

God cares about your pain.  He cares about mine.  And none of His caring for us limits the care He can give to all the hurting people all around the world.  Our pain doesn’t have to register 7.6 on the Richter scale to get His attention.

Remember the story of the sparrows Jesus told?

He said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  Yet not one of them is forgotten by God”.  He goes on to say, “Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows”.  Luke 12: 6-7

The Message Bible puts it like this  “What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.”

Bully talk allows us to talk ourselves out of meeting God at the altar and we should be able to recognize that those thoughts come from the father of lies and not from God.

You are worth so much that God sent His one and only Son, Jesus to pay for your healing, your deliverance, your peace of mind.  Don’t qualify pain.  Yours doesn’t have to be greater than someone else’s to matter to God.  I don’t have a father’s heart, but I do have a mother’s heart and I can tell you that anything, regardless of relative size, that hurts my children, hurts me.  I would move heaven and earth to heal their hurts.  Of course, I can’t, but the good news is that God who could move heaven and earth, did so on their behalf, on your behalf, on my behalf.

Qualifying our pain limits God.

Father in heaven,  thank You for keeping such a close watch on me and my loved ones.  Thank you that every pain of ours is noticed by You and You stand ready to heal us.  Your love for us is hard to comprehend, help us to embrace that love more freely and forgive us for the times we would limit You in our lives.  Amen.