Evening News

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I’m overwhelmed with sorrow!     

sunk in a swamp of despair!

I’m like someone who goes to the garden to pick cabbages and carrots and corn

 and returns empty-handed,    

 finds nothing for soup or sandwich or salad.

There’s not a decent person in sight.     

Right-living humans are extinct.

They’re all out for one another’s blood,    

 animals preying on each other.

They’ve all become experts in evil.     

Corrupt leaders demand bribes.

The powerful rich make sure they get what they want. 

The best and brightest are thistles.     

The top of the line is crabgrass.

But no longer: It’s exam time.     

Look at them slinking away in disgrace!

Don’t trust your neighbor, don’t confide in your friend.

Watch your words, even with your spouse.

Neighborhoods and families are falling to pieces.     

The closer they are—sons, daughters, in-laws—

The worse they can be.     

Your own family is the enemy.

But me, I’m not giving up.     

I’m sticking around to see what God will do.

I’m waiting for God to make things right.    

 I’m counting on God to listen to me.

Micah 7:7-8

Although this was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born, it reads like today’s news. When I first moved to Vancouver from Montana, I was struck by the news at night. One channel from Portland had an hour program and the first 30-40 minutes were devoted to listing the robberies, rapes, murders, etc. They would tell what neighborhoods the crimes happened in and being new to the area,  I would wonder if that was anywhere near me.  My husband was still in Montana and I was here with our son for several months before Bruce could join us. These news stories put fear in me. So I just stopped watching. If the world was falling apart all around me, I’d just as soon not know about it. Have I mentioned before that I am quite fond of denial?

I can’t keep myself from seeing and hearing about the evil things taking place in our world. I am surrounded by it and it is my duty, I think as a Christian, to be light in that darkness. I can’t do that if I pull the covers over my head and think it isn’t happening.

Whatever the events that are bringing fear into your life, into my life, God isn’t ignoring them or us. He hasn’t pulled the covers over His head and chosen to live in denial.  He will make things right, in His time.

There is a “but” in this verse; a turning point in the prophet’s news report. He claims he is not giving up, he is going to stick around to see what God will do.  That strikes me as a good plan. Wait and see the deliverance God will bring. We don’t have to live in fear, no matter the news, no matter the diagnosis, no matter the destruction that is around us. Our God hears our prayers and we can count on that.

Heavenly Father, the news is often scary, the diagnosis is overwhelming and fear rises in me at times. I know I don’t need to fear, but sometimes, I forget that. Would You remind me to fear not? Would You help me to wait in faith to see what only You can do? I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

pic credit: informativostv.com

 

 

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Glimpses of Heaven

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 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven”…

Matthew 6: 9-10

Years ago, when I was part of an intercessory prayer team, a mother asked us to pray for her daughter.  Her little girl was 4 and couldn’t walk.  She had numerous other issues and I forget what the diagnosis was but the prognosis was that she didn’t have long to live.  We prayed and then shared what we believed God had given us for this little girl.  Everyone shared that they saw her healed here on earth.  I didn’t share that because that wasn’t what I saw.  I saw a little girl about four years old skipping down a street paved with gold.  Every once in a while, she would turn her head back and smile at someone who was behind her.  Her smile and her face radiated joy and peace and happiness.  She was beautiful and full of life.  I didn’t share it because that wasn’t what the mother wanted to hear just then and I sincerely hoped I was wrong.  Unfortunately, the day came when she said goodbye to her precious daughter and released her to God and heaven.   Some time later, I shared that vision with her and it brought her a great deal of comfort.

Jesus Himself tells us to pray that God’s will would come to pass here on earth as it is in heaven.  Here and now, on earth.  I hear so many people talk of the future healing that will take place in heaven and it sounds, well, heavenly.  But Jesus, not Joe Blow, not some anchorman, not some politician, but Jesus said to pray this way.  Why, unless the beauty of heaven is to be released here on earth?  Now.  Not just later.

I’ve read about heaven but I can’t imagine it.  What I saw on that little girl’s face though convinces me that in heaven, legs that couldn’t walk here on earth will walk and skip pain free.  People whose lives were full of issues will be issue-free. Faces that showed pain here on earth would radiate peace and joy and happiness.  I’m sure there’s way more, but that right there is awesome.

And Jesus said, we are to pray for those things to come here on earth as they are in heaven.

How I long to have legs that will walk and skip with no pain and I believe it is Your will that that takes place here and now on earth as it will one day in heaven.  So I thank You. More than that though I long to see joy and peace and happiness all over the faces of those that call You Friend and Savior.  In Your mercy and Your grace You have provided for our healing here and a future that we can only imagine later and forever.  Thank You for reminding me of this little girl and her healing.  When her mother is feeling sad, would You remind her that her little girl is safe in the arms of love and living fully without issues and pain.  In Your name, I pray. Amen.

pic credit: forcatholiceducators.com

I Have A Dream

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When I was a child, I dreamed of being a National Geographic photographer when I grew up, or a missionary, or a famous scientist or a writer living on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  I wanted to “work for God” but not in the nursery or making quilts and there were no other women in my life working for God in any other capacity to be my role models.  There were no go to people in life I could discuss this with and so I never could figure out where and how I could “work for God”.

When I was asked to leave home at sixteen, I stopped dreaming.

Life became about survival and getting by and working and finding the next party.  And then recovering from the last party.  Dreams didn’t come.  I quit thinking about one day and what I might be when I grow up and how I could work for God.  People say dreams die hard, but I don’t agree, this dream crashed and burned and was over with- in an instant.

It began to stir in me, somewhat years later, when I attended Bible school.  I was surrounded with people who had dreams – big dreams.  Dreams of working for God, of making a difference in people’s lives, of being a part of bringing about the kingdom of God.  And they could put feet to these dreams.  They knew they were going to start a church or go to this mission field or launch this ministry.  Me, I knew nothing.  Try as I might, I couldn’t conjure up a dream.  But I was aware that there was an emptiness inside me, a dream size emptiness; I just couldn’t find the dream to fill it.

Until now.  Now my dream is just this – I want to see people walking in all that God purchased for them by sending Jesus to the cross.  I want to see people living victorious and joyful lives and not just trudging through.  I want to see people healed – physically, mentally, emotionally and able to enjoy every day of the days they have been given on earth.  And I want to see all my family, friends, neighbors, kids I work with, and co-workers when I get to heaven.  The party to end all parties!

This blog is a small step towards that dream.   What about you, do you have a dream you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear about it.

Jesus, You are the resurrection.  The One who resurrects dreams, the One who gives dreams and helps us to bring them to pass.  Raise up the dreams You have placed in Your people, stir them up and help us to put feet to them.  However You define working for You, help me to do with joy.  In Your name, I pray, Amen.

Perfect Storm? Perfect Peace!

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Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!”

And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.  But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”   Mark 4:39-40

I grew up in Houston, Texas and we spent summers in Galveston.  Hurricane season was nothing to be taken lightly down there.  But as a kid, I remember some fun things about them.  I remember playing in the streets when the water in them was flooded to knee deep.  Once driving from Galveston to Houston trying to beat a hurricane, I remember seeing water from the freeway coming into the floorboard of our car, it was so deep.  Cars all around us were stalled and my mom’s hands were white from gripping the steering wheel, but if she was scared, she never said a word.  I thought it was crazy fun!  It was fun being in the house with flashlights and candles because the power went out and windows boarded up and best of all, school closures.  As a kid, wow, hurricanes were all that!

I’ve grown up; I don’t think hurricanes are much fun anymore.  I understand now the terror they can strike in a person’s heart and the fear and worry they produce, even in a place like Houston which is relatively prepared for them.

Storms happen.  Storms could be these acts of nature or they could be more personal – financial concerns, declining health, a child on drugs, a mate that leaves, or a diagnosis that just leaves one blindsided.  Storms tend to change the course of our lives.  One minute we know where we are going and the next – we’re just lost and struggling to keep going.

We are no different from the disciples. We can know from past experiences that Jesus can calm any storm that blows our way.  But, like the disciples, we can forget that when another storm hits.  The disciples had witnessed miracles and listened to Jesus teach and still were afraid and their faith was shaken.  And Jesus was visibly in the boat!  Sleeping, yes, but He was right there! It is all too easy in the midst of a storm to lose sight of our anchor – Jesus.

Jesus calmed that storm with just three words, “Peace, be still!”

Jesus, the calmer of our storms, still uses His words to bring peace in our lives.  The question is, will we take Him at His word when the storm hits? Or like the disciples, will we tremble with fear?

Jesus, thank You for all the storms You have calmed on my behalf.  Thank You for all the times You were with me in those storms, even when I didn’t see You as big enough, loving enough, kind enough to be my peace through them.  Sometimes, I forget that when You are with me I do not need to be afraid.  Sometimes, I forget that You are with me always.  Sometimes, I forget that Your words have power enough to bring peace into any situation I face. Forgive me, I pray, and thank You for being all that for me. Amen.

Anxious Thoughts

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When my anxious thoughts multiply within me; Your consolations delight my soul.  Psalm 94:19

I’d like to say that I am breezing through this chronic pain with joy and grace and peace, but alas, that’s not true.  Oh, sometimes, it is.  Maybe even most of the time.  But often, in the wee hours of the morning when sleep has once again evaded me because of pain, my thoughts become anxious and they multiply within me.

Thoughts like when God when, why God why and please God tell me how to get through this.  When my brain is filled with the noise of pain and lack and the frustrations of not being able to do all I think I need to do, I lose sleep and peace.  How about you?  Ever lost sleep or peace over anxious thoughts that seem to multiply, sometimes exponentially?

In those moments, I have to purpose to “bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”.  I have to make a conscious effort to think on the character and goodness of God and reflect on His promises.  When I am able to do this, I find peace and sometimes drift back to sleep easily.  Sometimes, it is a song that consoles me, other times, it might be a Bible verse I have memorized.  Sometimes I just start listing the things that are good and right in my life. And I am consoled.

Father, help me to remember that Your consolations delight my soul; that Your word brings me peace and Your promises are Yeah and Amen.  I delight in Your word and the peace that it brings me surpasses comprehension.  You truly do exceedingly abundantly above all I dare ask or think and I praise You.  Thank You for rocking me to sleep on those nights when sleep is evasive.  Thank You for being my pathway to peace.  Amen.

The Serenity Prayer

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God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; 

courage to change the things I can; 

and wisdom to know the difference.

I don’t know about you but I didn’t get up one day and say “wow, I would really like to be in pain for years”.  I didn’t do that and I am sure that whatever you are going through, it wasn’t by your choice.  And yet…

Some time ago, God led me through a grief process.  At first,  I was in denial – believing everyday that today would be it, the last day of the pain.  And of course, it wasn’t.  Then I grieved over my life that had been redefined by pain, grieved over all the things I could not do anymore, things that had filled my life and my days and I wasn’t prepared to give them up. This led me in and out of anger for quite some time.  Anger directed at doctors and myself and even God.  When I finally confessed that anger and let God deal with it, then there was the bargaining stage.  What if I do this or don’t do that?  There was a lot of mental torment in that trying to find the right combination of things I could do or not do to bring about relief. I can write this in one paragraph but this was a year-long process and I moved back and forth between the stages.

Finally, I reached the stage of acceptance.   I have come to know that there is nothing I can do to relieve the pain.  I can’t change it but by God’s grace I can accept it.  For now.  Not as a permanent guest because I still believe that by His stripes I am healed.  But just for now, I can accept that this is what it is and I can find peace in that.  I can see the myriad of good things in my life that pain hasn’t stolen from me and I can rest in the assurance that God is God and He is good and the day of my deliverance is coming on His timetable.  How about you?  Can you, just for now, find peace in the circumstances you find yourself in and trust the outcome to God?

Lord, You are a great and merciful God and Your compassions fail not.  Your faithfulness to me is humbling and fills me with such gratitude.  Who am I that  You should even take notice of me and yet You do.  Minute by minute You are watching over me and providing for me and healing me at my greatest point of need.  Help me to accept the things I can not change and rest in Your peace while You work on my behalf.  Thank You, thank You, thank You.  Amen

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

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

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches, For Thou hast been my help, and in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to Thee; Thy right hand upholds me. Psalm 63: 6-8

What are the thoughts that run through your mind when you lay down to sleep at night?  Mine used to be tormenting.  I would review my day trying to find the link between something I ate or didn’t eat, some supplement I took or didn’t take, some activity I’d done or some environmental toxin that I may have been exposed to and the pain I was experiencing.  I was convinced there was a link or links and if I could determine which of the variable was responsible for the pain, I could eliminate it and get well.  I don’t know which was worse, the pain or the mental torment but both robbed me, not only of sleep, but peace as well.

Then I began purposing to remember Jesus – to meditate on Him and His promises, His faithfulness, His goodness.  I would pick a short, simple phrase like “Thou hast been my help” and repeat it to myself over and over again like a mantra.    Has that taken away the pain?  Not so much, but it has given me relief from mental torment.  I find that pain loses a lot of its ability to destroy my life if I can be at peace and not in fear or torment.  When I meditate on Him and not the variables that may or may not be contributing to my pain, I can be at peace.  How about you?  What thoughts rob you of sleep and peace?  Could meditating on Jesus be a help to you?

Jesus, You have been my help, You are my help, You will always be my help.  When the tormenting thoughts keep me awake, nudge me, I pray so that I can meditate on You.  My soul clings to Thee, whom have I but You?  Thank You for Your presence in my life, Your right hand that upholds me and Your peace that rocks me to sleep.  Amen.