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. 

 

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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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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.

 

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Holistic Healing

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  I thought when I began this journey towards healing, that all I needed was physical healing. I was in search of physical healing when I began this blog. I received a tremendous amount of physical healing, but somewhere along the way, the journey took a turn I hadn’t expected. About 10 months into this blog, I encountered this verse for the hundredth time, but this time I saw it differently:

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

 3 John 1:2

It is a promise that appears in just about every book on healing I have read. But this day, in my reading, I saw it differently. I saw it as an algebraic equation – a system of equalities or inequalities.  Think back to your algebra days – remember that on either side of the = sign were variables. Your job was to determine if they were  indeed equal or not. In this equation, “even as” could be the  =  sign. The variables on one side are prospering and being in health. The variables on the other are soul (defined as mind, will and emotions).

It could be written like this:

My  prospering and my  health  is =  to or  not  =  to the degree that my mind, my will and my emotions prosper.

I wasn’t particularly interested in anything other than my body not hurting. I had no desire to go digging around in the soul area. I thought all would be just fine if I could just walk, sleep and function without pain. But God knew otherwise. He knew, like many other holistic healers, that there is a link between our emotional health and our physical health. It is a good God that wants all parts of me healed. This has turned this journey into something I hadn’t expected: lots of digging around in past issues and learning new ways of relating to people and monitoring my thought life better than ever. None of this has been easy, fun or something I would have chosen. But God knew that if I wanted to walk in the fullness of all that He has for me, I can’t carry around baggage that slows me down or cripples my ability to move easily. All of this has been as much work for me and as little fun for me as algebra was in school.  I can relate to the kids who cry out saying, “why do I have to learn this stuff, I will never use it?”

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Now I know that healing is much more than just the taking away of physical pain, the relief from symptoms or the reversal of a diagnosis. It involves all of me and God, in His grace, is showing me that every thing that affects my mind, my will, my emotions can affect my body as well. I am grateful for His loving care and the hope that each day, I grow more and more whole.

Does it help you to know that God cares about all of your hurts and pains and wants to see you walk and prosper in health and mind and will and emotions?

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The Terror in the Hallway

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The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
   he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

Psalm 23: 1-4

 

When we were kids, we loved to watch Alfred Hitchcock and Twilight Zone.  We would all (except mom who didn’t like TV) gather in the family room and watch and tremble and get sooooo scared.  At some point, Dad would sneak out and hide.  We had a long, dark hallway that led from the family room to the bedrooms and we would have to walk down this hallway right after watching one of these shows.  We knew Dad had snuck out, we knew he was just waiting to jump out at us and scare the daylights out of us, but we loved it and walked right into anyway. He would jump out at us and we would scream and run in opposite directions. It was great fun.

It would be nice, as an adult, if the things that jumped out in the dark were anticipated; if it was staged and all in fun and no harm, no foul, just a massive adrenaline rush and lots of laughter.  But alas, that doesn’t seem to be the case most times. We are caught unawares, blindsided at times. And no one is laughing anymore.

This beautiful Psalm, a favorite of so many, is such a comfort and brings a wonderful promise. No matter how long the dark hallway, no matter what jumps out at me, no matter what diagnosis, bad report, pitfall, set-back is waiting to jump out at me, I don’t need to fear. My Shepherd is with me.

The role of the shepherd was to lead his flock safely to grazing places and watering holes and then safely lead them back to their safe place for the night. The shepherd protected the sheep from wolves and stayed on constant alert for any sign of danger approaching the flock.

Jesus is our Shepherd, watching over us, leading us, guiding us not only to safety but to places that feed and comfort us, protecting us from whatever may jump out at us. He never sleeps,  He never slumbers, He is never caught off-guard.

Whatever the long, dark hallway you may be going through, Jesus is with you, every step of the way.  You do not need to fear; I do not need to fear. How amazing is that?

Jesus, my Shepherd, thank You. Right now the hallway looks long, dark and is full of so many things just waiting to jump out at me. It’s not fun now like it was when I was a kid. I don’t want to walk down this hallway, I don’t want to be scared. Thank You for being with me, for promising me Your presence and Your comfort. Lead me beside the still waters, refresh my soul and cause me to lie down in green pastures. I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Thank You Jesus, I love You, Amen.

 

 

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If…Then…

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea’, and it will happen. 

But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in you heart.

I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. 

But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”  

Mark 11:22

If I believe…then the mountain will move. Speaking to the mountain is not a superstitious exercise. If our faith is in God and in alignment with His will and His word, it becomes an applied release of God’s creative word of promise. When I was in Bible school and first learning anything about faith as a means to an end, I saw a number of misapplications, at least, I thought they were misapplications. One time, while driving to a women’s prison to hold a Bible study, a man riding with us pointed to a newer Cadillac and claimed it as his. For all I know, he is driving one now but it seems contrary to what I have read in the Bible. Our faith needs to align with God’s word and His will. I don’t think this is a carte blanche opportunity to go around speaking to everything and commanding it to become ours or to disappear altogether.

But, we are told by none other than Jesus Himself that if we have the God kind of faith we can move mountains. What are the mountains in your life right now? Disease, financial lack, a relationship gone sour, a child who is rebellious? Would having the faith in God’s ability to keep His word move that mountain?

What are some of those promises that could move mountains?

God has promised that His grace is sufficient for us.

God has promised that His children will not be overtaken with temptation.

God has promised us victory over death.

God has promised to supply every need we have.

God has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully.

God has promised that those who confess Jesus as Lord shall be saved.

God has promised His people eternal life.

God has promised to be with us always.

God has promised that no weapon formed against us shall prosper.

God has promised to lead us and guide us and provide for us and heal us and love us and love us and love us.

Surely faith in those promises could the mountains that seem unmovable.

Father, You tell me in Your word that the grass withers and the flower fades, but Your word stands forever. Your word of power is unshakeable and the power of Your word is undeniable. Thank You for all that You have promised me, thank You for loving me with an ever-lasting love. I pray for healing, for myself, for Bruce, for my children, for Roy and Kathy and Janice. Forgive me for my sins and if I am holding unforgiveness towards anyone, would You reveal that to me? In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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A Balanced Equation

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Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 

3 John 1:2

I am relearning Algebra. Not by choice, but in an attempt to help our 9th grade son with his school work.  One thing I learned is that equations need to be balanced.  For example 2 +5 = 10-3 is a balanced equation.  You probably remember from high school that what you do to one side of that equation, you have to do to the other side to keep it balanced. An equation can be unbalanced if you don’t do to the other side what you do to the one side.

When I looked at this verse recently, I saw it as an equation.  What if it could be written like this:  prospering and being in good health = your soul (mind, will and emotions) prospering. What if the power and the truth of that verse lie in the balancing of that equation?

One aspect of the meaning of prospering is that nothing is missing and nothing is lacking. Having what is necessary to have a successful journey here on earth. Money is part of it, but it encompasses so much more. What is lacking in your life? Joy, peace, forgiveness, health, love…?

If, and this might be a big if, our mind – our thinking patterns, the tapes we play over and over in our head, our outlook on life, lined up more and more each day with the word of God, wouldn’t that affect our will and our emotions positively?  And if that happened on that side of this equation, wouldn’t it cause for more prospering and health on the other side of the equation?

Too many times, it is easy to allow feelings and emotions to guide our thinking and our behaviors, but what if we reversed that? What if our feelings followed our thinking and our thinking followed the word of God?  Wouldn’t there be healing in that area of our life?

If one side of this equation effects the other, then my soul prospering will raise the level of prospering and health I experience in other areas of my life, like my finances and my body and my relationships.  I think that’s kind of exciting and a worthy goal, to have my soul prosper and my life follow that. How do I do this? By reading the word of God, meditating on it, and applying what I learn in my life by God’s freely given grace. Daily.

Once again, I am renewed in my mind by reading Your word. Once again, I feel hope arise in me. I desire to prosper and be in good health, I desire to finish the course You have set before me and I need Your resources to do that. I need Your word and Your grace and Your provisions. I need good health. Help me to feed upon Your word, to allow it to have its perfect work in me and help me to be fruitful in every good work. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Refreshment

For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.  Jeremiah 31: 25

Here is a beautiful promise of refreshment to God’s weary ones.   Everyone of us.  Languish means to lose or lack vitality, to grow weak, to fail to make progress or be successful. Any of that hit home with you?  It does with me. I am tired of doctor’s appointments, blood tests, changing diagnosis, tired of trying new prescriptions, new supplements, tired of the pain, the limitations, tired of complaining.  Just plain ol’ tired. Fortunately, the ways God refreshes us are as limitless as He is.

I’d like to share how He refreshed me one day.  I work with kids and today we were in the gym and it was warm.  The air smelled like warm, sweaty kids, you know that smell, it isn’t real refreshing.  Someone knocked on the door and I opened it to cool, moist, spring air (and the parent that knocked).  I just stood there soaking in the air and enjoying it.

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 One by one, kids starting walking over to see what I was doing and before long there was a crowd of us standing in the doorway,

taking in the fresh air and marveling at how wonderful it felt.

Wonderful and refreshing.

Not a big moment, to be sure, but refreshing and satisfying.

Sometimes, I think we get so caught up looking for the big answers that we fail to see the little ones right in front of us.

God promises to refresh us – to satisfy us.  I think our role is to be open to the myriad of ways He may choose to do that.  It could be a simple as fresh, spring air.

Father God, thank you for recognizing when I am languishing.  For knowing me so well and caring for me so deeply.  Thank you for providing refreshment for me.  Open my eyes, I pray, to the wonders around me, wonders that bring Your refreshing touch to my life.  Amen

Turning Cartwheels

Not all of my days go the way I planned them.  Some fall short of my expectations.  Sometimes pain interrupts my plans.  Sometimes it is because of something I did or did not do; sometimes it is because of something someone else did or did not do.  Sometimes my long term projects fall short of completion.  Sometimes my goals, my hopes, my desires get lost in the shuffle of today and all that it offers.  This verse speaks to me for those days:

Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen,

Though the apples are worm-eaten  and the wheat fields stunted,

Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty,

I’m singing joyful praise to God.  I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.

Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,  I take heart and gain strength.

I run like a deer.   I feel like I’m king of the mountain!

Habakkuk 3: 17-19  Message Bible

Would it be ok if I put that into my translation, in terms I can relate to?

Though my body is aching and my joints are rebelling,

Though my plans didn’t work out and the doctor had bad news,

Though the bank account is dwindling and the bills are stacking higher,

I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.

Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,  I take heart and gain strength.

I run like a deer.  I feel like I’m queen of the mountain!

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Praise is at times an overflowing from the abundance of my heart, other times it is a sacrifice: a decision I make in spite of circumstances.  Praise is acknowledging God for what He has done on my behalf.  Even if today I have doubts and can’t think of what those things are He remains the same – loving me, healing me, watching over me, forgiving me, providing for me, reassuring me, upholding me in His righteous right hand.  Even on days when I forget to sing joyfully, He still dances over me with joy!

Praise doesn’t have to loud and extravagant, but it can be.

Sometimes it can be a simple, heartfelt thank you.

Father, I am counting on Your rule to prevail in my life, in my body, in my finances, in my will.  I surrender to Your plans for my day and Your provision for this day.  This is the day You have made and I will rejoice in it.  If my plans fail to go my way, will you please have them go Yours?  Thank You that I take heart and gain strength as I wait on You.  Amen.

Do you need healing?  Can I pray for you, with you?  Please let me know.

If you have a healing testimony, I would love to share it.

reprinted from my blog  godhappenings.wordpress.com