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

 

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National Kick An Object Day!

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 For the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God.

James 1:20

I bet you didn’t know this day even existed. I didn’t until recently. An eight year old boy, I have the pleasure of working with, got angry because I said “No” to something he wanted. He ran away from where we were standing and ran straight to a small book case and kicked it. Then he turned to see what I was going to do. I asked him to have a seat at the table so we could talk later. He sat, but he also started yelling at me and one thing he yelled was, “well, didn’t you know that it’s National Kick An Object Day?”

When he calmed down, he explained that you kick an object to keep from kicking a person. I am pretty sure I was the intended person. “No” has a way of bringing out anger in this boy and sadly, it does the same to me. I can honestly say I have never kicked someone or even an object that I can remember. I do remember, though, how strangely satisfying it was one day to take a set of plates out to an open field and smash them into rocks. Not that much fun to clean up, however.

I haven’t felt the kind of anger that drove me to break a set of plates in a very long time. But lately, I feel a lot of anger. Some directed at myself, some at others and some at God. He didn’t heal me like I believed He would. I know, I sound as petulant as that boy who kicked the book shelf. I am not proud of this, just saying. Matthew Henry’s commentary says this about this verse:

Instead of blaming God under our trials, let us open our ears and hearts to learn what he teaches by them… We must yield ourselves to the word of God, with humble and teachable minds. Being willing to hear of our faults, taking it not only patiently, but thankfully. It is the design of the word of God to make us wise to salvation; and those who propose any mean or low ends in attending upon it, dishonour the gospel, and disappoint their own souls.

I have been borrowing prayers because I didn’t have any of my own, but I am willing to open my ears and my heart to learn what God is teaching me by this trial. I can pray that He would do just that.  I desire to be wise to salvation, not dishonoring it. I can’t go around claiming National Kick An Object Day every time I don’t get my way without disappointing my own soul and grieving the Holy Spirit of God who lives in me.

So Father God, help me to refrain from acting out in anger. Help me to be willing to go through this trial with an open mind and a willing heart to what you want to teach me through this. Help me to be a place where Your Spirit is pleased to dwell, a place of peace and humility and willingness to trust You when I don’t see the answers I want or think I need. I need Your grace for these things, because we both know, I don’t like the word “no” any better than my 8 year old friend. I ask in Jesus’ name, amen.

 

pic credit: gopixpic.com

 

The End From The Beginning

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I make known the end from the beginning…

Isaiah 46:10

I breed dogs. People that are considering adopting a puppy ask the same questions – what about genetic testing?  What kind of health guarantee do you offer? What if they get this disease or that one?  What they are looking for are reassurances that this puppy won’t become a financial or emotional burden to them over the next 15 years. I do the best I can to weed out these possibilities but I can’t really guarantee that no disease will befall their dog; I can’t see the end from the beginning.

But this verse in Isaiah tells us that God does. He knows how things will play out; there are no surprise endings for Him.

If we possessed that power, how much easier would major decisions become – do I marry this person, is this the right time to have a child, should I leave this job, start this business, should I have this surgery, etc.  But we don’t have that power; we can’t see the end from the beginning.

This makes me marvel all the more about God. On the day, some thirty years ago, when I asked Jesus to come into my life and into my heart, I didn’t know what I was getting into. But He did. He knew the times my love for Him would burn passionately and the times it would only smolder. He knew that my affections towards Him would wax and wane. He knew the times I would be so angry at Him that I couldn’t talk to Him for days and weeks and even months.  He knew the times I would grieve His Holy Spirit, the times I would hurt another child of His, the times I would hurt myself, and yet, He came in. He willingly entered into a relationship with me knowing He would be hurt, neglected and misunderstood. 

I don’t understand that kind of love. I marvel at that. He knew me, not just the now me, but the all the way into the future me, the past me, the me you don’t get to see, the me I’d rather not see and still He said yes at my invitation.

Jesus, I am humbled at the thought of Your response to my invitation. Knowing what You know about me, you still chose to come and live in me. What can I say to a love like that? Thank You, thank You, thank You  and please, please, please help me to be a place where You are pleased to dwell. Help me to be a habitation fit for a King, a Saviour or the very best friend a person could ever ask for. Thank You for loving me in spite of my unworthiness. Amen.

Sorry, Not Today

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You know that God anointed Jesus from Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.

Jesus went everywhere and did good things, such as healing everyone who was under the devil’s power.

Jesus did these things because God was with him.

Acts 10:38

I’ve looked. I can’t find it. Nowhere in the Bible, to my knowledge, does Jesus tell someone, “sorry, not today”. Nowhere do I see Him turning away someone who needed healing and saying sorry, I can’t help you, today. What I do read is that He went everywhere healing and doing good things and setting people free from bondages and chains, setting right what had become so horribly wrong.

What has gone horribly wrong in your life? A relationship, finances, a child, a diagnosis, a dream, a hope? Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever. The same Jesus that went about doing good and freeing people is still doing those same good works today.

What are the chains and bondages that hold you down? Addiction, fear, anxiety?  Jesus, the same, Jesus the Healer, Jesus the one who set captives free because God was with Him, is still moving among people, breaking off addictions, fear, anxiety. God is still with Him, still healing, still delivering His precious children from all forms of bondage. Could a loving Father do any less?

Can you imagine for a moment that you held the power to make everything right in your child’s life? That child that rebelled, returned home in safety. The child born with a disability, healed. The child that seems to be rejected by peers and bullied made to know his value and worth. The fatherless child embraced by a Father who will never leave, never forsake, never forget. Would you withhold healing to your child? Would you say, sorry, not today? No, you wouldn’t and neither would our Father in heaven withhold what is good from His precious children. He gave us Jesus, His precious son to bear our sins, our infirmities, our diseases, our lack so that we could live a life free of them. He is the same Father that went with Jesus doing good and healing everyone.

Father God, how it must grieve Your heart to see Your children suffer, to see them live in bondages and see fear run rampant in their lives. I hurt for the kids whose lives have been torn apart by the wrongs done to them and I can’t even begin to love them as You do. Help me to be an instrument of Your healing, Your deliverance, Your love to a broken child, no matter how old that child may be.  We will never be too old to be Your child, will we? Thank You, that in Your economy, sorry, not today isn’t even an option.  Thank You Father. Thank You Jesus. Amen.

picture credit: myartprints.com

Bay of Pigs

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A person plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

The Bay of Pigs invasion was apparently a poorly advised and planned invasion of Cuba designed to diminish Fidel Castro’s influence on the Cuban people. The newly elected President Kennedy had been advised by his military leaders that Cuba’s alliance with Russia posed a threat to the United States since Cuba was so close. The story of the invasion reads like a tragic comedy – American planes disguised to look like Cuban planes, loud speakers making noise on boats offshore to sound like gunfire to scare the people and using some 1400 Cuban refugees to lead the charge. Long story short, it failed:  some 1000 of the refugees were killed, hundreds were taken captive, America looked foolish and the popularity of Castro grew tremendously as did his connections with Communist Russia and he built nuclear missile plants in several places across Cuba. It cost the United States $53 million dollars in baby food ( I told you it read like a comedy) and medicine to buy back the exiles. Afterwards, President Kennedy took responsibility for the fiasco but commented that just because someone is a high-ranking military officer doesn’t mean they know that much about the military or something to that effect! He learned a valuable lesson – be careful whose advice you take.

So, let’s bring that closer to home. If you are going through a difficult time, have been given a horrible diagnosis, are in a relationship that is failing, whatever the hardship may be, be careful where you get your advice. Just because someone is a pastor, or a doctor, or a lawyer or a teacher or a parent or a friend or a bartender doesn’t mean they have the best advice, even though they are probably very willing to give it.

We can plot and plan and try to figure our way out of the situation which tends to lead to confusion and perhaps, a Bay of Pigs incident in our lives, where our best efforts only make the situation worse. Or we can learn to trust in the leading and the timing of God. How does God lead us?

Sometimes through His word – we could be reading along and all of a sudden a particular verse, even one we have read many times, just resonates within us and we know it is a fresh word from God for us.

Sometimes God uses other people, maybe through advice, but probably more through example or by inadvertently pointing us in a different direction.

Always, He leads us by His Holy Spirit, whispering in us, maybe sometimes shouting, nudging us, prompting us, bringing to our remembrance some scripture we read that applies to our situation now.

Always, He leads by peace. He is not the god of confusion and disorder, He is the God of order and peace and clarity. But we have to be still and listen.

Ask for His wisdom, His plan, His purposes and be willing to listen and wait for His answer.

Lord, I have certainly had many Bay of Pigs disasters in my life as I followed advice from well-meaning people but You have never led me wrong. You always lead me in paths that are right for me and I thank You for that. I am grateful that in the midst of the cacophony of voices that would tell me how to live and what to do that You whisper to me, “here is the path, walk in it”. You are the great Counselor and I thank You. Help me to still the noise in my head and listen for Your still, small voice, I ask in Your name, Jesus, Amen.

Ok, But How?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,

faithfulness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

So having been recently made aware that failure to do what I believe is right in terms of my healing is tantamount to committing suicide*  and purposing to be more diligent in eating and exercise habits, my first thought then was “OK, I get it, but how?”   We are talking about me here, me who has little self control or maybe even none at times. How do I now implement a healthier regime and keep it up daily?

Then I read this verse and I see clearly what has escaped me before, self control is a fruit of the Spirit. That’s empowering news to me. I don’t have to rely on my self-control or muster it up or bite my lip and grit my teeth to pull this off. I only have to allow the fruit of the Spirit to grow in me.

And again, I ask “Ok, but how?”

Back in the day when my knees used to bend slightly, I gardened. Certain things need to be in place for a harvest to occur. Good soil, sunshine, water and pruning. If those conditions were met and my garden carefully tended, I could count on the fruit of my labors – fresh, organically grown vegetables. I believe it is the same way in my life and my walk with God. If I want the fruit of the Spirit to be evidenced in my life, I need to tend the garden. I need to plant the seed of God’s word, on good soil in my heart. I need to provide essential nutrients like daily feeding on the word, prayer, exercising faith and allowing God to prune the weeds out of my life. If these conditions are met, I can count on a harvest of the fruits of His Spirit – self-control being only one of them. One I desperately need now.

This is incredibly freeing to me. Not only does God give me the direction to take in this healing path, but He provides the self control needed to get there. All of my life, I have berated myself for my lack of self control. I have felt worthless and stupid and weak because of it and now I know that it isn’t a weakness in me that is meant to drive me to despair. It’s a weakness in me that’s meant to drive me to God; to allow Him to empower me by His fruit growing in the garden of my heart.

Once again Lord, You have blown me away with Your goodness and grace and mercy. It truly is never ending, isn’t it? I stand amazed. Thank You for Your word and for showing me these empowering truths. I don’t need self control; I need You. I can’t muster up self control, I can only lean on You. Grow Your fruit in me, continue the pruning You are doing and please continue showing me these powerful truths from Your word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

*see yesterday’s post

picture credit  fineartamerica.com

Who Is Accusing Me Now?

Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God,

bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

II Corinthians 10:5

 

Someone who was supposed to love me spent a lot of time in my face listing all the things about me that he thought were true – things like – you don’t deserve to breathe air and you are just wasting space on this planet and you are worthless and a real piece of work and a horrible wife and mother and so on. This was a regular occurrence. Things that before I came to know myself better through scriptures, I believed in part.

One day when he was yelling and in my  face with these accusations, the Holy Spirit rose up big in me and I heard myself say, “No, those things aren’t true of me and you can’t say them to me anymore”. He looked at me rather shocked and then like a balloon with a slow leak, he just deflated right in front of my eyes. He never again spoke to me like that.

The devil is called the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). He loves to remind us of all we have done wrong and he will use other people to help in that endeavor.

The purpose of the accusations is to make us think we can not approach God any more. Every time we are accused of our wrong doing, whether we are accusing ourselves or someone is doing it for us, it causes us to doubt that God’s acceptance and love and blessings (including healing) are for us. These accusations keep us under condemnation and guilt. The more guilt and condemnation we feel, the bigger the wall we put up between ourselves and God. But notice that it is we who are putting up the wall, God isn’t. He has chosen to forgive us and purposed to remove our sins far from us and not hold them against us. He’s not accusing us.

We need to see ourselves the way God sees us. We need to stand up against the thoughts that are contrary to who He says we are. We are His beloved, the apple of His eye, the crown jewel of creation, His children. If we don’t see ourselves that way, we can miss out on the good that God has planned and purposed for our lives from before the foundations of the world. Let’s don’t miss out just because someone is accusing us of something God has forgotten.

 

Thank You for Your word which tells me of Your great love and the forgiveness that has been extended to me. Thank You for helping me to see myself more and more the way You see me and helping me to say no, that’s not true, when accusations come my way. For the ways that I fail to see myself the way You do, would You continue to show me through Your word and help me to walk in the truth of what I read. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Been There, Done That!

“And these signs will follow those who believe:

…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 

Mark 16: 17-18

My first encounter with the word of faith teaching happened to coincide with my first encounter with chronic pain.  I didn’t know much about either, but I would spend the next eight years learning about them.  I was taught that once you had asked God for healing, had someone lay hands on you, been anointed with oil, that it would be a lack of faith to go forward for those things again.   It was all new to me as was living 24/7 with a pain that the doctors couldn’t diagnose or fix.

I needed healing and desperately wanted it but I was concerned about lack of my faith being evidenced by my repeated requests for prayer.  I had people of faith lay hands on me and pray and no healing.  I watched a 3-year-old girl lay hands on my son and ask Jesus to make him all better and watched as a hernia disappeared.  I hesitated when altar calls were given or people offered to pray for me.  Would my saying yes indicate low faith?  What went through my mind was been there, done that and don’t have the healing to prove it.

Years later, when new pain surfaced, I went to the Vancouver Healing Rooms for prayer and was encouraged to come back as often as I could until I got my healing.  This struck me as directly opposed to what I had been taught for 5 years.  To say that I was a double minded woman is putting it mildly.

Since it was Jesus who said to lay hands on the sick and promised they would recover, I thought it would be a good idea to see what else He may have to say in this area.  I found this familiar verse:

Keep on asking and it will be given you;

keep on seeking and you will find; 

keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.

For everyone who keeps on asking receives;

and he who keeps on seeking finds;

and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.

Matthew 7: 7-8  AMP

Until I read this in the Amplified Bible it read like ask once.  But it says keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking.  Not just once, but continually.  Until you receive, until you find, until the door is opened.  For me, that settles the issue, I will step forward in faith whenever an invitation for prayer for healing is offered.  Until I get my healing.  One day, I will say been there, done that and got the healing to prove it.

Your word says that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.  I confess I have been double minded about this issue.  Forgive me for that and for not looking to You more for answers.  Thank You for showing me in Your word where You stand on this.  Thank You for the people You have placed in my life that are willing to pray for me, over and over again, if need be.  Thank You again, for healing my son of that hernia.  Thank You that his healing came from the hands of a three-year old who does not boast of this, instead of mine, because I might be tempted to boast.  I know it is only through Your goodness and Your power that any healing comes.  Thank You for mine.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Doctor Diane

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However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come,

He will guide you into all truth…  

John 16:13

Ever get on the internet and google your symptoms?  I certainly have.  When we were trying to have our son, John, I was in my early forties and I didn’t conceive very quickly.  Twice when I did, I ended up miscarrying.  It was heartbreaking and I studied everything I could to find ways to increase my chances of conceiving and carrying full term.

I was addicted to caffeine at that time and there were conflicting reports in the books I read and on the internet about the effects of caffeine on conception and pregnancy.  Just enough confusion that I didn’t know whether to stop caffeine or not.  I’d like to say I prayed about it, but I don’t believe I did.  I could find one report that said it was good for us to have a little and then the next report would say it caused miscarriage.  I wanted a child but I wasn’t prepared to give up caffeine unless I was convinced I needed to in order to conceive.

One day as I was fixing to pour myself a dose of caffeine, the Holy Spirit quietly said, “Would you quit drinking it just because I asked you to?”  I was in a convenience store at the time and just froze in my tracks.  I threw the cup away and walked out of the store and gave up caffeine.  It wasn’t easy.  I got the withdrawal headache, but by God’s grace I did give it up.   And soon enough,  I conceived and carried our son full term!

What a gift to have the Spirit of truth resident inside of us.  He guides us into all truth.  He can sense of the conflicting reports out there.  If we will listen to that still small voice and be obedient to His promptings, He will lead us in the path of healing that is right for us.

Thank You Jesus for sending the Spirit of truth to guide me and lead me to victory.  Forgive me for the times I have looked for answers without consulting You first.  Thank You for directing my steps and showing me the path for my healing.  Help me to hear Your voice and  be obedient to Your word.  Amen.