Zentangle Quilt

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In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.

Psalm 18:6

 

Our Creative Arts Life group made this Zentangle “quilt” .  Each tile represents an answered prayer. Our list of answered prayers was longer than the 18 tiles here, but we ran out of time to make them. This was a very rewarding project for me personally. I am believing for my healing, I’ve mentioned that before and I am not healed, not yet. I’ll admit, sometimes, that effects my prayer life. I have even, at times, found myself thinking, why bother, does prayer matter? Working on this quilt was a great reminder of the many prayers He has answered, some just in the past few months since I started this blog. 

Answers like:

Salvation for a loved one.

A home for single foster mom.

A place to be a part of community for someone who was alone.

Peace in a troubled situation.

Hope for a young boy with a terminal diagnosis.

Increased compassion for a hardened heart.

A new song for a young girl that was locked in grief.

Financial increase.

Provision for home repairs from mold damage.

God hears our prayers. Our voice makes it to His temple, even to His ears. True, the prayer requests keep coming to our prayer group’s attention and perhaps the requests at this point are more numerous than the answers. But the answers are coming. God responds to the cries of His people in His perfect timing. It isn’t easy to wait, I know this, but keeping track of the answers along the way served to build my faith that my prayers, your prayers, our prayers don’t fall on deaf ears. None is too small, none are too big and none escape the attention of our Father in heaven.  They don’t have to follow a formula, or be eloquent or even wordy. A simple “help” can suffice.

Thank You God, that You hear our prayers and respond to them. Thank You, for all the answered prayers in my family and in my church family. What an honor and a privilege to be able to come to You, to bring my needs and the needs of others to You and know that You are more than willing and more than able to come to our aid. For the women that made this quilt, would You use it to remind us that You answer prayers, would You use it to encourage us in our prayer life and would You open our eyes to see more and more of the answered prayers you send our way. I ask in the wonderful name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

Picture credit: Creative Arts Life Group at Rhapsody Church

 

 

 

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Closer To My Goal!

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Today, September 28 marks 4 months into this year long journey of mine.  I purposed to write a devotion daily about divine healing, mainly because I am in need. Sometimes my faith needs bolstering and I thought this may be a way to keep me steady.

One third of the way to my goal!  I had no expectations going in as to what this would do for me or anyone else for that matter.  But I have learned some things that have proven very valuable in other areas of my life.

1.   God’s word is not going to jump up off my shelf and force me to read it.

2.    Waiting stinks.

3.    Writing a daily devotional is hard work.

4.    I have wanted to bag the whole thing more times than I can count.

5.    My faith is stronger but my healing hasn’t come.

On the plus side:

1.    I have grown closer to God as a result of this blog.

2.    My blood pressure is down to a healthy range without medication for the first time in years.

3.    I sleep more nights than I don’t, which is the reverse of what was going on in May when I started this.

4.    Words of encouragement fall more easily from my lips.

5.    Most days, my pain level is radically reduced from what it was (I still have bad days).

6.    I have learned not to offer pat answers to someone who is going through a trial.

7.    I laugh more, cry less, and feel more at peace than I have in years.

8.    I have learned there is no better medicine than the word of God.

9.    Prayers roll off my tongue more easily.

10.  Praise rises freely in my heart more often.

There’s probably more that escapes my mind right now.  It’s been worth it.  If this blog has blessed you in any way, I sure would like to hear from you.

Thank You Lord, for the journey this blog has been.  Thank You for the encouraging words I have received from others and the people You have allowed me to meet because of this blog.  It’s only You, isn’t it?  The measure of healing that has come into my life has only come because of You and Your word and Your faithfulness to Your word.  I can’t wait to see what the next eight months bring; following You is a journey I would not want to miss.  Thanks from the bottom of my heart, Amen.

 

Good King, Bad King

I read the Bible for the first time in 1983. I was a brand new Christian and wanted to see what God had to say for Himself. I started at Genesis and read through to Revelation. It took about 3 months. When I closed the book I lay my head down and cried.

I grew up in a Presbyterian Church.  We went on Sunday mornings and almost every other time the doors were open.  I remember a lot of things but I don’t remember learning anything about God.  I am sure He was mentioned but I’m just saying, for me, church wasn’t where I discovered God.   I did, however, have an opinion of God. I envisioned Him with a large blackboard where with white chalk, He made tally marks of each of my sins.  Probably yours too, but in all honesty, I was way too self-absorbed to be concerned about your sins.  Mine scared me.  Terrified is a better word.  I lived in tremendous fear of His judgment.  I had no idea what His judgment would be like and I had no idea if it would be brought on by the sum total of my sins or one big, bad one that would tip the scale. Only that it was imminent.

I also had no idea of what sin actually was. I had enough knowledge of the Ten Commandments to know that I wasn’t supposed to steal, or murder or commit adultery and I wasn’t doing those things. But still I felt those tally marks being made and I had no idea how to stop them from being made or how to erase them. I lived with condemnation and fear that was crippling.

But then I read the Bible.

It was the kings of Judah and Israel that helped me see God.

And myself.

Reading through I and II Kings was an emotional roller coaster ride for me.

These books record the history of the reign of kings over the Israelites.

Some were good and some were exceedingly bad.

A chapter might begin something like this:

“Now Ahaziah was twenty -two years old when he became king…and he did evil in the sight of the Lord”  II Kings 8:26-27 .  

And I would cringe.

And then a new king would come to power and it would read like this:

“Then Jehoash became king and …. he did right in the sight of the Lord all his days”  II Kings12: 1-2.  

And I could breathe again.

But then the next king would come to power and it would read like this:

“Jehoahaz …became king and… he did evil in the sight of the Lord”   II Kings 13:1-2 

And I would fear for them.

This continued for chapters and chapters and years and years and years of their history.

And I couldn’t take it.

I just knew the tally marks were winning and they were doomed.

Like me.

Each time an evil king came on the scene I would want to scream at them the way I might do watching thriller movie when someone is in danger and doesn’t see it.

I wanted them to stop their sinning; I wanted to believe it was possible.

For them; for me.

I didn’t want to see what God would do to them because whatever God would do to them wouldn’t He surely do the same to me when my tally marks exceeded His limits?

What God did do surprised me.

He allowed consequences for their sin; sin always has consequences but His heart for them was always merciful, compassionate.

He stood with open arms to welcome them back.

To forgive them, to wipe away the tally marks.

Listen to His heart in this passage from Isaiah:

“For the mountains may be removed

and the hills may shake,

but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you,

and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,”

says the Lord who has compassion on you”

Isaiah 54:10

God isn’t watching over me to keep track of my sins; He is watching over me to find ways to tell me once again just how much He loves me.

Is it any wonder I cried?

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It Will Be Well

And he (her husband) said, “Why will you go to him (the prophet) today?  It is neither new moon nor sabbath?”  And she said, “It will be well.”  II Kings 4:23

We aren’t told her name.  Only that she was a Shunnamite and had no child.  Elisha the prophet told her she would have a child and sure enough, she did.  The story tells us that when the child was grown, he developed a headache and died in his mother’s lap.  She laid the boy on Elisha’s bed and set out to find the prophet.  She told her husband she was going to find the prophet and hence the question of why.  I find it interesting that she did not tell him about their son.  The only words she had to say in response to his question were “It will be well”.

What incredible faith!  How can one say it will be well when their son has just died?  Commentaries point out that for believers even in death we can say it will be well and we can; we know heaven is real.  But I don’t believe this is where this woman’s faith was directed.  I believe she was believing that the God who promised her a son could resurrect her son.

She also showed wisdom.   She didn’t faint, scream, yell, start making arrangements.  She didn’t even tell anyone, not even her husband.  Wow!  I am not advocating keeping something like this from your husband, but there are times when we are believing for a miracle that it is wisdom to be very careful with our sharing.  She responded to his question with words of faith and went in search of Elisha.  Too many times when we are given bad news, well-meaning people, family and friends begin the questions – what are you going to do?   What’s the prognosis?  We tend to want to talk the problem, not the solution.  It is OK to say, it will be well even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

This woman saved her words for the prophet, the one who could stand with her in faith, believing for a miracle.

indesElisha came to the house, prayed to the Lord and stretched himself out on the boy and the boy’s flesh became warm. Elisha got up walked back and forth in the house one time, stretched himself out on the boy again.  This time the boy sneezed 7 times and opened his eyes!

Elisha turns to the woman and says, “take up your son”.

The woman receives back her son and worships God.

I can’t even begin to imagine that scene.  The faith this woman demonstrates is remarkable.  Her wisdom, admirable.  We can learn from her.  She knew who to turn to when bad news hit.  She knew to keep her eyes and her thoughts on the solution, not the problem, even a problem as huge as a son’s death.  And her faith became sight and she took up her son and went home!

Thank You Lord, that You are the same yesterday, today and forever.  You are still in the miracle-working business, still bringing life out of death.  Touch areas of my life that need new life, I pray.  Point me to people who can stand with me in faith and help me to be someone others can trust when bad news comes.  Help me to stand in faith, to speak what is necessary and no more and to use wisdom while I wait for my day to take up what has been taken from me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Watch Those Promises

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Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my Word to perform it”.  Jeremiah 1:12

God doesn’t give His word lightly.  He doesn’t make promises and then change His mind.  I have learned the hard way how difficult it can be to keep promises.  My son reminds me from time to time of promises I’ve made that have slipped my mind.  They don’t slip his mind, let me tell you.  He definitely watches over my word to see me perform it.  I am held accountable for what I promised and I have learned not to make promises anymore but to just say, we will see when the time comes.  That drives him nuts, but it keeps me out of trouble.

God’s memory functions better than mine; He remembers His promises.  He actually watches over His word to see it come to life in us, to produce what He sent it to produce in the appropriate time.  Somewhere it is written that we need to put God in remembrance of His word but I think it is more likely that we need to put ourselves in remembrance of what He has spoken.  That’s where memorizing and confessing scriptures can help us.   Here are just a few of His many promises:

Proverbs 1:33
“But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.

Psalms 46:1
 GOD is our refuge and strength, and ever present help in trouble.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

The joy of the Lord is my strength.  Nehemiah 8:10

Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.  I John 4:4

Goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Psalm 23

I, the Lord, am your Healer.  Exodus 15:26

Whatever you may be going through right now, I encourage you to find what God says about it.  Let His word sink deeply into your heart and meditate on it.  He is watching over it to perform it in your life, to help you through the times you’d rather not have to go through.  Pick a promise that speaks to you, that touches you deep in your heart and hold on to it, knowing that the God who spoke it meant it, He can be trusted to keep His word.

Faithful God, how I love Your word.  It is my meditation all throughout the day.  Thank You for watching over Your word to perform it in my live and in the lives of my loved ones.  You are so gracious and kind and merciful to even consider me and my needs.  Like a child believing his parents’ promises, I am believing Yours.  I trust You with the timing of them coming to pass in my life.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Comfort

imagesCAS72L6RSurely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me. Psalm 131:2

Justin did a face plant the other day in the gym.  He is six years old and so adorable; I just love, love, love this kid.  I helped him up and walked him to the sidelines and sat in a chair.  He crawled up in my lap and lay his head on my shoulder. I rubbed his back and whispered sweet reassurances and rocked him while he cried his hurt away.  After about 5 minutes, he crawled down and returned to the game.

While it was a tender moment for sure, I didn’t think too much of it until later that day when I shared that story with his grandmother. She was shocked. She explained that Justin never allows anyone, including his mother to comfort him. He usually deals with pain by getting mad and stomping out of the room only to return when the pain and anger are gone. None of their attempts at offering comfort are accepted by him. None.

This made me wonder about the incident all the more.

As I reading Psalms, I came upon this verse that instantly spoke to me about Justin and comfort and me.

I liked very much comforting Justin.  I would comfort other kids, but most of the time they are happier with a bandaid or an ice pack.  I find myself to be that way.  In need of comfort from someone but more comfortable receiving my comfort from an ice pack or a hot bath or a good book or a quiet room.   But I have to admit that sometimes, like Justin, I would love to crawl up in a safe, warm lap and have someone rub my back and whisper sweet reassurances to me and rock me while I cried my hurt away.  In moments like these, I don’t want to be fixed, or given advice; I don’t even need words, I just want to be held.

This makes me marvel all the more at that incident with Justin.  Why allow me to comfort him and not his own mother?  Why don’t I allow God and others to comfort me more often?  I came up with these answers though there are probably more:

Being able to receive comfort involves a couple of things, I think.  It involves admitting I am hurting which is not always easy for me.  It means recognizing that there is a source of comfort – be it God, my husband, or someone else who cares about me. Sometimes, I fail to see that.  It also means humbling myself enough to ask for comfort.  Also not so easy for me.  It also means I need to be able to define what comfort I am in need of; a kind of setting boundaries.  One more thing I stink at.

I find it to be much easier to give than to receive, but giving requires that there is a receiver.  Someone humble enough to take freely of what is offered.   I hope to learn from Justin how to do just that.  What about you?  Do you find it hard to ask for comfort?

God of all comfort, I need You now.  Hold me, please. I am hurting and I just want to hear You whisper sweet reassurances to me.  Thank You for being a safe place for me to run to when I need comfort.  Help me to recognize my need for comfort and help me to humble myself enough to ask for it.  Amen

Are you in need of healing?  Can I pray for you?  Please let me know.

God With You, God With Me

Emmanuel

Written by Bob McGee

Emmanuel, Emmanuel,

His name is called Emmanuel

God with us, revealed in us

His name is called Emmanuel.

P1060202This song reminds us of a promise of God.  The promise of His continual presence with us, in us, around us, for us.  That means everything He is is with us, with me, even now.  Last night was another sleepless night because of pain and when I got up to a beautiful Saturday, husband and son off fishing, I had so many wonderful ideas of what I could do with my free time.  But once again, pain redefined how I would spend my day.

I started to wallow in self-pity but then this song came to me.  God is with me.  How does that help me today when I am wracked with pain?  Just this – in the Old Testament, when the people of God were going out to do battle against their enemies, sometimes they sought the Lord and sometimes, they failed to do that.  When they had His presence with them, victory was theirs.  When they didn’t, well, they lost the battle.  Time and time again.

In the New Testament, whenever Jesus showed up on the scene, people were delivered from demonic possession and healed of ALL their diseases.  God with us bringing victory.  Jesus with us bringing healing.

Ok, so my plans were changed once again by pain I’d rather not have.  But it’s my choice whether I wallow in self-pity or meditate on the nearness of my Savior.  One brings me peace and one brings me anguish.  

So my new plan for today?  Spend time with my ever-present Savior, my Healer, my Friend.  My to do list will just have to wait. Today, I will just hang out, I will just be a child sitting on my Father’s lap.

Emmanuel, Can I just crawl up in Your lap today?  Will You just hold me?  I need to feel Your strong arms around me, lay my head against Your chest and hear Your heartbeat.  Pain has changed my plans once again, but as I sit with You,  will You redefine my day for me?   I need You; thank You for Your promise to always be with me.  In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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

reprinted from my blog  godhappenings.wordpress.com


					

Remember?

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“Remember the day when we first met?  I do. 

I remember the sunshine and the sound of the creek as it rolled by. 

I remember your tears. 

I saw your pain, your confusion. 

You lost all hope that day, remember?

But you called out to me, remember that?  You called out through the tears.  Your words were barely audible, but I heard them.

And when you were out of words and out of tears remember how I held you?

Remember the peace we shared that day – sweet, heavy, lingering? 

Did you hear the angels in heaven rejoicing that day?  I did.  I remember it like it was yesterday.

You began reading my letters afterwards, remember that?

You couldn’t put them down.  You hung on my every word.  Sometimes you smiled and sometimes you cried and sometimes you just sat there in silence holding my letter to your heart.  Do you remember?

Can I just say that I miss you?  Can I say that that time was special to me?  That everyday I looked forward to our time together? 

I loved how you forgot to eat sometimes and how you let chores go undone you were so intent on reading and rereading my letters. 

Remember that one day when you never even got out of bed – you just read my letters over and over again as the day slipped into evening?  I remember.

Can I just say that I miss you?”

I was washing dishes one day when God spoke these words to me.  Whispered is more like it.  I do remember those days, how long ago now?  Why is so easy to slip into a routine that leaves God waiting?  At the end of yet another day, when the  tyranny of the urgent screamed louder than that still, small voice of my Savior, guess which voice I responded to?  I am not proud of this.  I purpose daily to do differently.  Perhaps you do too.

Whatever the concerns of our life, however, pressing they may be, putting Jesus first, changes our perspective.  Problems lose a little of their power to dominate our thoughts and peace has a chance of prevailing in our lives.  In that peace, we can find a clarity we may miss when our thoughts are primarily on the problem.  Problems come and go, pain, sickness, relationship issues, financial problems,  these are sometimes part and parcel of our lives, but they don’t need to be the dominating factor in our lives.  Jesus knows our need, our wants, our deepest, sometimes unspoken hopes and He says to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (His way of doing things) and ALL these things shall be added unto us.

I do remember, Lord, when You were my highest priority.  I remember hating to put Your word down, looking forward to every minute I could spend with You.  I want to return to You in that way, forgive me and help me, I pray.  Thank You for being faithful to me even when I am not faithful to You.  As I seek to put You first, I will rest in the knowledge that You know the need, and are willing to provide for me.  I am grateful.  Amen.

God Knows

I woke up Sunday morning with these words running through my mind – God knows. It hit me like fresh revelation and I just kept meditating on those words over and over again. God knows.  God knows what?  He knows I am having a hard time getting out of bed today. He knows the pain I am in and the uncertainty I have about the future.  He knows my deepest need, my unspoken dreams, my most crippling fears. He knows what tickles me and what gets my blood boiling.  He knows what path to lead me on, what doors to open and what doors to close.  He knows just the right words to whisper to my heart.  He knows the part of me that I won’t show you, the part of me I’d rather not see.  He knows that I need Him much more than I realize.  He knows the condition of my heart – the good, the bad, the ugly.

He tells me this in Psalm 139:  O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me.  Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up;  Thou dost understand my thought from afar.  Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, And art intimately acquainted with all ways. 

Yes, God knows.  He knows my pain and He knows the day of my deliverance from this pain.  He knows what is causing in and what it takes to heal it.  For reasons only He knows, He hasn’t chosen to tell me and believe me, I have asked.  Repeatedly.

Can I rest in His promises even I don’t have answers?  Can I trust Him when the pain tells me – not today? Can it just be enough that He knows?  Can I find peace in the midst of the pain?  Can I just stop asking the questions and focus on my Healer and His promises?

God who knows the end from the beginning hasn’t lost track of me and my suffering and in His infinite, He has chosen the perfect day for my pain to come to an end.  I don’t know but God does.  And that’s good enough for me.

Infinite, All Powerful, All Knowing God thank You for noticing me.  For knowing me as intimately as You do, for even desiring that kind of intimacy with me.  Thank You for showing me what You are like through the person of Jesus Christ who healed people by Your power and in Your name.  Thank You that my day of deliverance is written on Your calendar and You alone know that date.  Help me to trust and be patient until that day that You deliver me in Jesus’s name.  Amen.

Are you in need of 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

Chloe – My Therapy Dog

And David was prospering in all his ways for the Lord was with him.   I Samuel 18:14

David was being pursued by Saul – his enemy.  Not because any fault of David’s, but because his enemy knew he had favor with God.

What is the enemy that is pursuing you?  Pain, sickness, disease, lingering illness? These things don’t come because of some failing of ours but because we have a very real enemy whose purpose is to steal, kill and destroy and if it weren’t for the Lord being with us, we might be destroyed.

But God made the way for us to be continually in His presence.  In fact, He made the way for us to be the place of His presence here on earth by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We can expect to prosper, even in the face of enemy, as David did, simply because the Lord is with us.

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My dog Chloe has an intuitive nature; she would make a great therapy dog.  We were in the woods the other day trying to climb a sharp incline, which wouldn’t cause a problem if my knees could bend the way they are supposed to.  Chloe, knowing I needed help, would take one step ahead and wait for me to take that step.  Then she would take another one and wait for me.  All this on a loose leash.  She continued this, one step at a time,  until we made it to the top at which point she began tugging on the leash like she usually does.  It was amazing; my dog who is so eager to run, took one step at a time to help me when I needed it.

Even more amazing is that God is with us, step by step, leading us to victory.  Ever patient, ever present, leading, guiding, supporting. What is the sharp incline you are trying to scale?  What seems insurmountable to you?  Can you take comfort in knowing that the God of the universe loves you enough to slow down and stay with you every minute, every step, every day?

Prospering in all our ways includes prospering in our bodily health.  Pain, sickness, disease, – these are tactics of the enemy.  Jesus defeated the enemy on our behalf on the cross and ultimately, we will see the victory in our lives.  Until then, we can take by faith, that we are prospering in all areas of our lives because the Lord is with us.  Expect to prosper.  Expect healing.

Thank you Father for choosing to be with me, for wanting that kind of a place in my life.  Thank You for causing me to prosper in my health.  Forgive me for the times I see the enemy as bigger than I see You, open my eyes to see You more clearly and thank You that as I face obstacles in my path that would hinder me, that You are ever present, ever patient as You lead, guide, and support me, step by step to victory in Jesus’ name.  Amen