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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Everyday… Really? You Mean Like Everyday?!

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This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth;

but you shall meditate therein day and night,

that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein:

for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.

Joshua 1:8

 

Are you prospering right now? Do you have what you need in life for a successful journey? I am not talking about money here, although that is part of it. I am talking about other things – wisdom, love, joy, contentment. What about your heart? Is it filled with hurt, anger, bitterness? What about your body? Does it function as it should, are you crippled by things that have come your way, does the doctor say this will just be part of your life now, accept it?

If you could describe your life in one word, would that word be prosperous? *

If not, maybe this verse has a prescription for you. 

I am reading a great book, The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has purposed to make changes in their life and found that it isn’t too long before the resolution fades away.

Jeff Olson says this, “The right choices and wrong choices you make at the moment will have little or no noticeable impact on how your day goes for you. Nor tomorrow, not the next day. No applause, no cheers, no screams, no life or death results played out in Technicolor. But it is precisely those very same, undramatic, seemingly insignificant actions that, when compounded over time, will dramatically affect how your life turns out.”

Reading the Bible today may not make a huge impact on your day, but reading daily, can, over time,  greatly impact your life.  Jeff Olson writes that this is the secret to success, daily making those simple decisions that are easy to make and equally easy to not make.

Seems the writer of Joshua is saying the same thing. Having what we need for a successful journey begins with one simple, seemingly insignificant decision – to read the Bible everyday and meditate on what was read. Simple to do right? Simple also not to do. The choice is ours.

 

*Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary defines prosper:

1. (v. t.) To favor; to render successful.

2. (v. i.) To be successful; to succeed; to be fortunate or prosperous; to thrive; to make gain.

3. (v. i.) To grow; to increase.

 

 

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Liar, Liar Pants on Fire!

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His teeth were slightly crooked on the top. I thought that only added to his sweet, charming countenance. He explained that he was in a fight (you know, should have seen the other guy kinda tale) and that his teeth got crooked from that. I believed him, I mean, who wouldn’t? He was cute and so charismatic and he was pouring it all out on me. It would be years before I learned the truth, that his dad simply couldn’t afford braces.  By the time I learned that was a lie, it seemed minimal in comparison to the others that had mounted over the years:

You’re the only one.

I will be home right after work.

You are my life, my world, the best thing that has ever happened to me.

It’ll never happen again.

No, I mean it, it’ll never happen again.

Would that all liars were like Pinocchio and their noses would grow longer right there in front of us!

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I was young – 15 and really wanted to believe him. I mean, in my defense, I had grown up on fairy tales, I believed in happy endings. I also believed that one day, these things would be true. I am older now, a lot older and maybe wiser. I no longer believe in fairy tales and I am not so sure about happy endings. This fairy tale didn’t end in a happy ending some 23 years later, but I learned from it, that truth is often times clouded by what we want to believe. We are good at ignoring facts all around us – good ones and bad and so much of our present experiences are filtered through the beliefs we picked up from the past – whether those beliefs were true or not.

Perhaps that is why we are admonished in God’s word to put on truth, to wear it as a shield, a defensive weapon against lies, the lies we tell ourselves and the lies others would tell us.

Be prepared.

You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own.

Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet.

Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words.

Learn how to apply them.

You’ll need them throughout your life.

God’s Word is an indispensable weapon.

Ephesians 6: 13-18

When it’s all over but the shouting, wouldn’t you like to still be on your feet? Standing firm in the truth and prepared to deflect any lies that come your way? I know I would. I didn’t know this about truth so many years ago, maybe things would have turned out differently, who knows? But I know this, it doesn’t matter where the lies come from, how cute the messenger, or how subtle, or how in my face, or  how devious, or how respectable they may seem, a lie is a lie is a lie and every lie we believe imprisons us and keeps us that much further from the truth that can set us free.

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Who You Gonna Call?

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People with their minds set on you,
    you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet,
    because they keep at it and don’t quit.
Depend on God and keep at it
    because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.

Isaiah 26:3

Test and wait and more tests and more waiting. Then trying to read the doctor’s report and make sense of it. Then, of course, there’s Google and the neighbor next door, and the man at work, and the latest report on the news. Everyone has a report; everyone has an opinion, almost everyone knows someone, who knows someone who had this disease and, well, died. Cancer, there, I’ve said it.  My husband is waiting for more tests, having completed the biopsy and read the results, the doctor’s recommendation now is a full-body Cat scan and full-body MRI. Meanwhile, he’s listening to other reports as well. Reports abound everywhere.

It reminds me of when I was pregnant and everyone had a pregnancy story to tell. Some were even encouraging! Most, however, were not. Most were of the things that went wrong, some horribly wrong. They produced fear in me. I finally had to ask people to not tell me their less than ideal ending stories. My husband will hopefully get to that point also. So far, though, the stories have all had not-so-great endings and he is mulling these over in his mind.

I tried to remind him this morning that there is only one report that matters; only one story that is worth dwelling on and that story is the one written by God. This verse reminds us that even in the midst of a multitude of reports, we have to choose which to listen to, and only those who keep their minds set on God will be completely whole. We are to depend on God and not quit depending upon Him.  Disease doesn’t take a vacation and neither should we in our purposeful, intentional setting our minds on God.  Reports don’t stop coming; people are all too eager to share their stories, but we can decide what report to dwell on. In God we have a sure thing. That’s helpful to remember in the midst of testing and waiting.

Father, Yours, is the only report that matters. Thank You, that in the midst of the waiting and the other reports, You are aware of us and what is going on here and Your report prevails. Please surround us with Your peace, help us to keep our minds set on You and to remain steady. Thank You, that in You, we have a sure thing. Thank You for a report that lines up with Your will and Your word.  Amen.

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Give Me Life

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I have been greatly humbled, Lord Jehovah;

give me life according to your word.

Psalm 119:107

Pain, lack, limitations, broken relationships, financial pressures are all humbling experiences. I tend to have emotions that run the gamut from fear to peace and back again.  When my emotions try to get the best of me, I turn to the Psalms. The writer’s of these psalms wrote of their emotions, our emotions. They, too, knew what it was like to be humbled by circumstances beyond their control. They understood the emotional upheaval it can cause. These are some of the emotions expressed in the psalms:

fear, joy, abandonment,

betrayal, despair, sadness,

blessedness, joy, gladness,

pain, grief, anger, fear,

anxiety, guilt, shame, reverence

What I find so interesting about the Psalms is that most of these psalms relating humbling circumstances and painful emotions end in praise. Somewhere in there, there is a turn, an and yet… or a but.. and the psalmist breaks out into praise and a purposeful, intentional, looking at God. So, if they can do it, we can too, when circumstances are causing our emotions to run amuck.

“The Psalms challenge our shallow experience of God. How deficient we are in expressing everything to God – our joys, sorrows, frustrations, and fears. God wants us to tell him everything. Every emotion and every experience can be the context of worship when expressed to God.

The Psalms are the prayers of Christ. As a faithful Jew, Jesus would have prayed these regularly. The Psalms would shape his faith and practice. Even more, every Psalm speaks of Jesus. In his humanity, he fully experienced every one of these emotions-complete identification with humanity. What greater reason could we have to make these prayers our own-patterning our prayers after them!

The Psalms teach us what it means to experience God with our whole being in every circumstance. We discover that true prayer involves speaking to God in every situation and with every emotional expression. To close part of ourselves to God is to fail to worship God truly and fully. God wants the expression of all our heart – mind, will, and emotions – in every situation to be an act of worship. Only when we fully embrace all we know, feel, and do and express everything to God – the good, bad, and the ugly – do we truly worship!” *

I think this is where the but… or the and yet… came in. The psalmist felt free to express his emotions to God, the good, the bad and the ugly.  And when they acknowledged these painful emotions and prayed them out, worship exploded inside them. They were revived.

When we are willing to tell God of our difficult emotions during trying times, He hears, He cares, He isn’t judging us, condemning us for feeling that way, or even turning aside until we get over ourselves. He is waiting patiently, knowing that in the end, His word will have its perfect work in our life and we will be revived according to that word.

How truly grateful I am that I can bring my emotions to You. I don’t have to hide them for fear You will be angry with me. It is so good to know You love me enough to be my “dumping grounds” where I can dump my feelings while, together, You and I sort through them. Your word has revived me so many times in the past, and I know Your word will continue to be my source of life in good times and in bad. Thank You for Your word and the life it brings me. Amen.

 

*I found this excerpt on theocentric.com.

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Surgical Power of the Word of God

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For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword,

and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit,

of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

Right now we are waiting on results from a biopsy done on my husband. The needle punch test, according to the doctor, is not all that reliable and so while we wait on those results, he has already scheduled another biopsy, a more intense, apparently more accurate test. In this test, they will put him out and do some cutting on the enlarged lymph node and explore around in him. They are, of course, thinking they will find cancer in his body. But, they said, it could be just an infection. Who knows?

Well, God knows. Even if the doctors instruments and tests provide little answers, even if their probing and digger leaves them wondering, God’s word penetrates to where their best technology and best tests can’t. If there is disease in him God’s word can reach it and bring healing. It is sharper than their sharpest knife, more delicate than their sophisticated tools and able to reach all the way into the joints and marrow of his body. And everywhere the word goes, it brings healing!

I want to share this that Derek Prince wrote:

What is important is that we take God’s word the way He Himself requires that we take it. We must take it with our undivided attention and with a humble, teachable attitude. We must lay down our barriers of prejudice and preconception and look at it with a single, sincere, wholehearted eye. We do not want to quibble, we do not want to theorize too much. We must take it as meaning what it says. We must lay down the barriers of rationalization and sophistication, and then we can let it enter and do its work.

It’s actually pretty simple. God said it. Either I believe it or I don’t. I choose to believe.

I believe that right now, God’s word is penetrating my husband’s body, removing anything and everything that doesn’t belong there and bringing healing to every cell, every tissue, every muscle, every joint and every bone. From the top of his head to the bottoms of his feet. That’s what I believe.

Lord, I believe Your word is working in Bruce’s body even now. You sent Your word and healed our disease.  I send Your word of healing to Bruce’s body right now. Infection or cancer or anything in between has no place in him. Dig out whatever in his body doesn’t line up with Your word. Be his Great Physician and be his peace. I ask in Jesus’ name. 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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Rock, Solid Truth or Not

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Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

This part of this song by Hillsong United got stuck in my head. Day and night, I was singing this, only sometimes out loud.  I changed a word in it inadvertently. I sang where my faith is without borders.  Over and over and over again.  One day I heard the song on the radio and heard them sing “my trust is without borders” and my first thought was – they must be wrong. Right – the people that wrote the song, sang the song and made it famous got the words wrong. I held onto some of that thinking until I got home and looked up the lyrics and realized I had been wrong. By this time, however, I had sung that song so many times that it was hard to break the habit of saying faith instead of trust. Not really such a big deal, but it made me think of other times when I am wrong in my thinking and don’t realize how deeply ingrained in me that thinking is.

I think that sometimes, my approach to God’s word is a little like that. Perhaps I hear someone teach on a particular passage, perhaps I hear that preaching from other people over the years and I accept it as true. When I read something though, in the Bible that doesn’t jive with that teaching, sometimes my first thought is well, I must be reading it wrong, or maybe God is wrong. It takes a while for my thinking to move from that to accepting that perhaps the teachings weren’t spot on and I have believed wrongly.

The way that we think about something, especially if we think it over and over again, becomes so ingrained in us that it is hard to see it as wrong sometimes. When confronted with the truth we tend to defend our position rather than consider we might be wrong.

The importance of lining our thoughts up with truth is critical to our successful journey on this earth. We are told to that we need to be “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”  I Corinthians 10:5

I think one thing I have learned in this healing journey is that I can’t think wrongly about God’s word and have it work in my life the way God intended it to work. I have to bring every thought captive and ask, does it line up with the word of God or not? If the doctor says you have a congenital problem here, but God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made, which comment will play again and again in my mind until I accept it as rock, solid truth?

Lord, I know Your word to be what preserves my life, what sustains me, what strengthens me and heals me. I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. Thank You for standing behind Your word. Help me to bring every thought captive so that it becomes obedient to You, to Your word. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who leads and guides me in truth and for Your rod and Your staff that comfort me. Amen.

The Girdled Tree

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I have never had to have a tree removed; I don’t need to, I have a puppy who has destroyed three already.  They were young and she was young and I hoped they would outgrow her but that wasn’t the case.  It was pretty easy to determine that the tree was dead. The leaves were gone and the branches chewed off. I have heard though of a method for killing off invasive or unwanted trees called girdling.  Girdling is done by stripping off a band of bark from the tree. This removes the part of the tree that transports sugars necessary for growth basically stopping its food supply. The tree dies over a period of time. It won’t, however, look dead for all of  this time frame. There will be evidence of life for a while. But because it has been girdled, it is easy to picture the tree as dead in spite of evidence to the contrary. It time, the evidence of death will be obvious.  Sighted evidence will line up with faith that the tree is indeed dead.

Believing I am healed in the midst of evidence to the contrary is much like watching that tree only in reverse.  It requires that I look beyond the evidence.  I have to look at what is not seen. What I can see with my eyes is not the whole story. I have to see with eyes of faith. See my knees bending properly, see my neck and shoulders moving freely, see my hands and fingers functioning unhindered.  I have to see life where there seems to be death. One day, sighted evidence will line up with faith that I am healed, if I keep believing.

F.F. Bosworth writes, “The process of faith which brings the healing is a far greater blessing than the healing itself.

…When we have learned the process of faith for receiving healing,

we have learned how to receive everything else God promises us in His word”.

I believe he is right. Putting our faith in God’s promises is not manipulating God, it is trusting God. It is taking Him at His word and not letting go until we see the manifestation of what we are believing for take place.  Can you see what you are believing for in the midst of evidence that says forget it? Can you continue to see past the evidence to the trustworthy promises of God?

Too many times, I have a hard time seeing beyond the evidence. I can count the years I have waited and hoped and prayed and still not seen the healing and I consider giving up. Forgive me, for placing more faith in evidence than I do in Your word. You purchased my healing, You prophesized my healing, You promised my healing, You provided for my healing, what tremendous love is that? Thank You for caring so much about me and doing so much for me. When I am tempted to look for evidence, would You nudge me back to Your word? I ask in Your trustworthy name Jesus. Amen.

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Daily Bread

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I’ll be honest here, sometimes, days go by and I haven’t picked up the Bible one time. There have also been weeks and months when that happened.  I can say I treasure the Word of God, that I believe in the Word of God, that I have been transformed by the Word of God, that I have been healed by the Word of God, but sometimes, it’s just easy to put it aside.  There, I’ve said it. Rick Warren has this incredible reminder for me:

“The Bible is far more than a doctrinal guidebook.

God’s Word generates life,

creates faith,

produces change,

frightens the Devil,

causes miracles,

heals hurts,

builds character,

transforms circumstances,

imparts joy,

overcomes adversity,

defeats temptation,

infuses hope,

releases power,

cleanses our minds,

brings things into being,

and guarantees our future forever!

We cannot live without the Word of God!

Never take it for granted.

You should consider it as essential to your life as food.

Job said, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread”. 

I have to confess that I have taken it for granted. Confess and ask for forgiveness and maybe ask the hard question of myself – why is it so easy to put aside?  What is really more important to me? I am actually stumped on that.  I have had times when I didn’t read the Bible because I was miffed at God or downright angry or disappointed. I am none of those right now and yet… I can’t blame it on busyness, because sometimes I find time to watch episodes of Breaking Bad when I could have used the time to read the Bible. I wouldn’t dream of missing a meal and yet I should consider it as essential to my life as food is. More than essential.  

Perhaps, reading the Bible and studying it and praying and meditating on God’s Word are called spiritual disciplines because we have to discipline ourselves to make use of them. I believe every word of what Rick Warren wrote about the Word of God and I know I cannot live without it but I am lacking in discipline. I remember, though, when I first became a Christian, that I couldn’t put His Word down. It was new to me and I was enthralled and curious. I lack that passion now and I dearly want it back. More important than my physical healing is my spiritual renewal.  I want to return to my first love with a passion I haven’t had in years. What about you? Do you find it easy to put off getting into God’s Word? Are other things more urgent and pressing? Do you have advice that would help me? I would love to hear it.

Lord, You know my heart so much better than I ever could. If there is something there keeping me from Your Word would You cause me to see it? Would You also forgive me for being lukewarm and being so easily distracted from spending time in Your Word. Help me, not to just purpose to read, but help me to fall in love with Your Word all over again. Please. Amen.