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.  

 

 

 

 

pic credit:  clipartfest

 

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All Increase of Life

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…the seed is the word of God.

Luke 8:11

My seedlings are coming up. I planted kale, lettuce and tomatoes. I’ll have cucumbers and spinach before I’m done. I am always fascinated by seeds. How they grow (even with me). There’s a determination in them to grow to fruition – to produce what they promise. Jesus told a parable about seeds and sowing and harvesting seeds. He ended by explaining that the seed in the parable is the Word of God.

Seed is peculiar, I can leave it in the bag unopened, stuffed away in a drawer and it remains the same. But once I have opened it and planted it, something amazing happens. New life springs up. It’s an amazing phenomenon, actually.

God’s word is like that. I can leave it alone, file it away and forget all about it or I can plant it like seeds. I need a harvest of healing in my life in my family members’ lives and I can’t expect a harvest where no seed has been planted. God’s word on healing needs to be planted, settled in my heart. I can’t just think I know, I can’t just hope it’s His will to heal, I must know for myself, that it is God’s will to heal, everyone, all, the many and my family and me. I need His word, His seed planted in the soil of my heart, not just once, but daily.

Notes I have scrawled in my Bible for this parable read like this:

Word – seed – the source of all saving life and growth possibilities transmitted from the Father to mankind.

All increase of life within His love comes by His word as human response gives place for His blessing.

I wish I knew who said that, but I don’t, probably notes I took years ago at Bible school. Could you use an increase of life in your body, your relationships, your finances, your heart?  I know I could. Whoever wrote this knew that God’s word can bring life only where we give place for it, only where we give response to it.   His blessings are the harvest of the seed of His word. Is it planted in you?

Heavenly Father, I  thank You for the seed – Your word and the life it has produced in me. Thank You for the life it will produce in me and the harvest of Your blessings I will see as Your word brings forth fruit in my life and in my family members’ lives.  Be my gardener, till the stony ground of my heart, gently water seed that has been planted in me and watch over it, I pray to perform it in my life and the lives of those I love. I ask in the name of Your gracious Son, Jesus. Amen.

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.

picture credit: flicker.com

A New Pillow or Four

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.

Keep on seeking, and you will find.

Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks, receives.

Everyone who seeks, finds.

And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7: 7-8

I had promised my son a new pillow.  I didn’t forget this promise, I just hadn’t made time to go get it. And, of course, he didn’t let me forget it. Many times over the period of 5 days, he reminded me. I found it rather annoying, to be honest. Did he just not believe me?

I went last night to Walmart and purposed to spend about $10 on a pillow for him. To my surprise, they were on sale and I was able to buy 4 for the price of one.  I got pillowcases as well. Right there in Walmart, I had this wonderful revelation of the giving nature of God. It felt so good to be able to give my son more than he had asked for, more than he was expecting, much more.  God isn’t limited by resources; He doesn’t need a sale at Walmart to bless His kids. And if I read this verse correctly, He isn’t annoyed by persistent asking. In fact, He tells us to do just that.  I don’t understand that, but I don’t have to. I didn’t write it; I only read it. Maybe, just maybe, what is standing in the way of my  miracle or yours is that, unlike my son, we give up. We just stop asking, or seeking, or knocking.  I mean, He heard us right? So why keep asking?  I don’t know, but I know this, God is looking for ways to bless His kids above and beyond our wildest imaginations and He tells us to keep on asking.

What have you given up on?

Have you stopped asking?

Perhaps it’s time to start again and see what only God can do.

I admit, Jesus, that I give up far too quickly. I don’t keep asking, I think I must be pestering You if  do. Forgive me for limiting You, for not taking this word and applying it passionately to my life. Help me to be persistent in my faith and in my pursuit of healing, not just for me, but for all those you have put in my path and laid on my heart. Bring Your healing, I ask, touch these lives as only You can do. I ask again, in Your name. Amen.

The Puppy and the Peanut Butter

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“Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.”   
     Voltaire

As I write this, our Goldendoodle puppy Sadie is persistently attempting to clean the insides of an empty peanut butter jar. She has the top part really clean but hasn’t figured out how to get her face and tongue far enough down to clean the bottom.  She has been working on this for over half an hour! She has gotten the label all the way off and has bent back the edges of the plastic jar enough to get her face further down, but there is still peanut butter to be had.  Watching her determination is funny and heartwarming and sometimes, makes me think that maybe she isn’t all that smart.  Or maybe she’s smart enough to know that persistence pays off. Even if to others it looks like a lost cause.

I think that sometimes of my pursuit of healing. Why not just give up and accept that this is what it is and move one?  I would bet that to others that my determination may at times seems odd and, at times, may seem heartwarming, and maybe at other times, it just seems like, well, maybe she just isn’t all that smart. To me, though, there is something bigger at stake than getting the last bite of peanut butter. My healing, your healing is worth pursuing. It has been paid for and the price was high: Jesus taking all our diseases on the cross with Him to put an end to their destruction in our lives.

God made it clear in scriptures that Jesus came to do the will of God and Jesus went about healing all. ALL.  I am sure that sometimes, these people who came were to Jesus looking for healing were viewed as odd. I mean, who tears a hole in a roof to let someone down into the house on a pallet? That’s major league cutting in line, not to mention just plain odd. But they persisted and the man was healed. If I had been willing to say enough is enough and move on when we were believing for our son John, I am not so sure he’d be here today. I can’t help but wonder what other miracles I have missed because I was unwilling to persist to the end.  I don’t want to quit believing for my healing any more than Sadie wants to give up on that last bit of peanut butter, regardless of how it looks to others (and myself at times).

Jesus, You know the struggles I have had with faith, how it waxes and wanes, how some days faith comes easy and others, not so easy. Help me to be steady, to be persistent to the end when I see this promise of Yours manifested in my life. I’m not resting in my ability to believe, but resting in the faithfulness of Your love, Your character and Your word.  Thank You for bringing our promised son, John into our lives when it seemed impossible, and thank You for this healing You bring into my life even when, at times, it seems impossible. Forever Your humble follower, I thank You. Amen.

Full Moon

God’s Message, from the God who lights up the day with sun and
    brightens the night with moon and stars,
Who whips the ocean into a billowy froth,
    whose name is God-of-the-Angel-Armies:

 “If this ordered cosmos ever fell to pieces,
    fell into chaos before me”—God’s Decree—
“Then and only then might Israel fall apart
    and disappear as a nation before me.”

Jeremiah 31:35-36

Last Friday night, there was full moon. We watched it rise, starting out huge and yellow as it made its way up the night sky, getting smaller and whiter in appearance. I was reminded of this verse. It tells me of God’s faithfulness to His people. If the moon rose in the wrong place, or the sun refused to set or the stars collided and fell, we would have cause to doubt God’s faithfulness. I haven’t seen that happen, have you?

If God can keep the “ordered cosmos” from falling to pieces, if He can keep the nation Israel from falling apart and disappearing as a nation, then surely He can keep His promises to me.  And to you.  How about these promises?

He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:29-31

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.“They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,

for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

Matthew 11:28-29

As beautiful a sight as the full moon is, to me, what is more beautiful is the faithfulness of God it points to.  God has great and wonderful promises for us. Promises He stands behind and promises we can stand upon.  Need healing? Rest? Are you weary and burdened? Does your future look dim, are you weak and powerless?

His promises cover our weaknesses. We can trust in them and every time the moon rises and the sun sets at their appointed time, we can be reminded of His faithfulness to His word.

Your ordered cosmos is a beautiful sight to see and such a wonderful reminder that You stand by Your word and You hold all things in the palms of Your hands. I need the reminder of the full moon because sometimes, I forget that You are in control. How often do I try to take that control back? Forgive me, help me lay my burdens down and rest in the knowledge that You and only You can make something beautiful out of my life. Thank You for the good plans You have for my life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

The Cart Before the Horse

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Mark 11:24

If I had a dollar for every time I have read this or heard teaching on it, I could take everyone of you who reads this to Starbuck’s for a coffee!  Don’t head out just yet, I said IF! But the other day, I got it.  Call it revelation or an AH HA! moment, but I realized how my thinking had been wrong in this area.  Oh, I believe that I am healed; that it is a done deal but still there were thoughts that camped out in my mind that went along the lines of “when I am healed…”.  I was measuring my healing by symptoms and after only a few moments of being awake, I would know, not today, maybe tomorrow. Having no pain would be evidence of my healing for sure and then I would know that my faith had worked. But that is like putting the cart before the horse. My faith comes first, then my healing, then no pain. In that order.

Reading Kenneth Hagin’s book I saw it more clearly.  He writes

 “When you pray, you have to believe that you receive healing, and then you will have healing.

When are you going to have healing?

After you believe you receive it.

When do you believe you receive healing?

Before you have it.

Faith feels like resting. Not wrestling. Faith is assurance; doubt is constantly looking for reassurance. I was looking for reassurance; looking for evidences that my healing had come. I certainly haven’t been resting. Not the rest of faith. And I was wrestling  – asking would this help? what if I did this? or didn’t do that? Would anything I did help?

I believe the only thing I can do that will help is to believe. Believe in spite of the evidences to the contrary. Believe even when it seems useless. Believe even when I feel like giving up. Believe that my prayer of faith intersected my healing. Believe that the Savior who came to heal me meant it when He said, “It is finished”.

Jesus, my Savior, my Healer, my Comforter, my Friend, my Great Physician, I believe. I believe You paid the price for me to be sin-free and pain-free. You took it all upon Yourself on that cross. The stripes You took were for me; the blood that You shed, You shed for me. For me! And all You asked of me was that I believe. Jesus, I believe and once again, I marvel at Your goodness and am humbled by Your presence in my life. Thank You is inadequate, but I do thank You, from the bottom of my heart. Thank You, my Jesus. Amen.

The Children’s Bread

I have dogs. Four of them. They love our leftovers and any crumbs that fall to the ground are fair game. Fastest to get to the spoils wins. More than anything, though, they would dearly love to just take our plate and have first pick of what’s there. But they are dogs and get crumbs.

Matthew 15 tells the story of a woman who was outside of a relationship with Jesus. She was a Canaanite and while she had probably heard stories about Him, she didn’t have a relationship with Him. Her daughter though, was “cruelly demon-possessed” and she had no where else to turn. So she approached Jesus. At first, He didn’t even answer her request for mercy and then when He did respond, He told her that “it isn’t good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs”.

Oddly enough, she persisted. He just called her a dog (Gentiles were referred to as dogs at that time) and she responded with, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master’s table”. He commended her for her faith and healed her daughter.

I don’t know about your home but bread is pretty much a staple around here. Regardless of the grocery budget, there is bread in the house. It’s a rather common, easily found sustenance. And Jesus related healing to bread and not just bread but bread crumbs. Healing isn’t meant to be something reserved for special people at special times and only under special circumstances. Healing is as common in the kingdom of God as bread is to the American diet.

Healing is the children’s bread. Jesus said so and so it must be true. This woman picked up what He was laying down and her daughter got healed as a result of her faith. She was persistent in pressing in for her daughter’s healing. We should be so persistent.

Lord, I humbly come to You today looking for my daily bread. My healing that You promise. I have no where else to go and just like the woman in this story, I will, by Your grace, be persistent in pursuit of my healing. I am grateful for the work You are doing in me through this trial and I am grateful for Your continuing presence in my life. And I am grateful now for the day to come when my healing is evident. Thank You Jesus, thank You Jesus, thank You Jesus. Amen.

And The Answer is….Who

 

Why God, why?

When God, when?

How God, how?

Where God, where?

Ever cry out to God with questions like that?  I certainly have.  One night during a time of chronic pain that lasted 8 years, I had this dream:

I was sitting down face to face with Jesus.  I was asking him all my questions about healing.  He patiently answered every single one and it took a very long time.  I knew I would never be able to remember all of this and I really wanted to; it was so amazing.  I needed to write the  answers down; other people would want to know this.  So I found a scroll of papyrus and began writing and writing and writing.  But as soon as I wrote the roll began disintegrating.  I wrote faster; it disintegrated faster and I wrote faster still and it just disintegrated faster still. I was getting frantic.  How could I be healed if I couldn’t remember what He said.  How could I tell people all of this if I couldn’t keep the paper intact.  Finally, the scroll just dissolved.

All the answers were gone -vanished.  None even remained in my memory. I looked up from my empty hands and saw Jesus sitting there smiling at me.

Then I woke up.

Seems I had been asking the wrong questions. 

Instead of asking why, how, when, where, I should have been asking who. 

And the answer is Jesus.  When all else fades away, the answer is Jesus. 

When the doctors can’t answer my questions, the answer is Jesus.

Too many times when the diagnosis comes, or the pain comes, or the symptoms are screaming at me, I tend to ask all the wrong questions. Instead of asking why, how, when, where, I should be asking who.  And the answer is Jesus.   I tend to look at everything but Jesus. My focus becomes on me, on my pain, on my limitations, on my symptoms, on my ability to do all the spiritual disciplines the faith healers tell me I need to do to build my faith so that I will have enough faith to be healed. Enough!

 I don’t need the answers written on that scroll – the answers He gave me that night in my dream.

I need to remember one answer and one answer only:

    JESUS

And all the other questions will be silenced.

Jesus, You were then and You still are today the only answer that satisfies the unanswerable questions in my life.  Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever.  The God that healed me then and the God that heals me now, thank You. All that is good and right and healed about my life is because of You and words like thank You sound so inadequate.  How do I thank Someone for saving my life -for giving meaning to my life?  Thank You for being the answer to the deepest longings of my heart.  Amen.

P.S.  I did receive healing for that pain.  If interested, you can read about it in my post entitled “The Miracle of Blogging”.

 

 

It Feels Like Heaven

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Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:

“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously”.  Matthew 10:7-8  Message Bible

A fifth grade boy I work with is extremely sensitive to the Spirit of God.  He makes comments sometimes that amaze me.  He doesn’t talk about God; I have no idea if he is a Christian or not, but I do know he is spiritually perceptive.  One day, he was working on a word search puzzle, bent over his paper and I came up to say hi.  I placed both of my hands gently on his shoulders.  He turned around quickly.  His eyes were big as saucers and he said, “don’t touch me”.  He has never refused a hug or a pat on the back so I asked him why.  He said, “when you touch me, it feels like heaven”.  I asked why that felt bad to him and he couldn’t answer.  I wasn’t sure what to make of that.

We, as Christ followers, filled with His Spirit, have the ability to touch others for heaven’s sake.  A touch that isn’t always welcome. We are to be the harvest hands of Jesus sent out with a charge.  A charge to tell people that the kingdom of God is here.  A charge that includes bringing health to the sick among other things.  People aren’t always so comfortable with the kingdom of God, even some Christians, especially when it comes to divine healing.  Divine healing is a divisive issue in some Christian circles.  I know people who have been hurt by other Christians when their healing didn’t manifest according to their schedule.  Jesus made it very clear here, however, that we are to bring health to the sick.  Health He would purchase on the cross.

If you are believing for a healing that hasn’t yet manifested, you may have to look beyond church doctrines, beyond well-meaning people of faith, beyond present experiences and look to Jesus.  What does He say about healing?  He said it is part of the kingdom of God that is here.  Now.

Thank You Jesus for thinking of me when You were headed to the cross.  Thank You for showing me what the kingdom of God looks like and showing me that it is for me here and now as well as for an eternity.  Help me to keep my eyes on You through this healing process and help me to bring health to the sick as I proclaim Your kingdom.  Amen.

Do you need healing?  I would love to pray with you and for you.  Please let me know.

Do you have a healing testimony?  I would love to hear it and share it with others.