The Righteous Judge

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Jesus told them a picture-story to show that men should always pray and not give up. He said, “There was a man in one of the cities who was head of the court. His work was to say if a person was guilty or not. This man was not afraid of God. He did not respect any man. 

In that city, there was a woman whose husband had died. She kept coming to him and saying, ‘Help me! There is someone who is working against me.’  For a while he would not help her. Then he began to think, ‘I am not afraid of God and I do not respect any man.  But I will see that this woman whose husband has died gets her rights because I get tired of her coming all the time.’”  

Then the Lord said, “Listen to the words of the sinful man who is head of the court. Will not God make the things that are right come to His chosen people who cry day and night to Him? Will He wait a long time to help them? I tell you, He will be quick to help them.

But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” 

Luke 18: 1-8

 

This is not a passage that is traditionally used to promote divine healing. Persistent prayer, yes, but healing, not so much.

One day, however, this passage became to me a rhema word from God and my healing was manifested within in a few days.

I was forty-two years old. My husband and I were trying to have a child. First pregnancy ended in miscarriage, second was an ectopic pregnancy which nearly cost me my life.

Up until the second miscarriage, I had the support of family and friends. When my life was threatened, I lost that support along with our child and a fallopian tube. They said, “give up.”

My doctor said impossible.  He made it very clear that, in his opinion, I would never conceive again.  He backed that up with – but if you do, you will never carry full term.  He said, “give up.”

While I was weighing out the advice of the doctor and family, I stumbled onto this passage and the story resonated deep within me.

I could relate to this woman. Clearly, someone was working against me and I had no desire to give up and let my enemy win.  Similarly, I had a judge to whom I could plead my case and who would hear my grievances.

She went before an unrighteous judge and that’s where our similarity ended.  I knew a Righteous Judge! I said a quiet prayer to Him.  I asked Him to bring justice on my behalf as I had been robbed of two children.

The Judge heard my prayer, rendered His decision and brought justice on my behalf!

Our son John was born ten months later!

 

Words can’t even express my gratitude Father.  You are indeed the Righteous Judge, always ready to hear my cry and move on our behalf.  I praise You for making a way for me to come boldly to Your throne and let my requests be heard.  Thank You, that when Your gavel goes down and Your decision is rendered, no man can stop You from performing Your word on our behalf.  Amen.

 

pic credit:  ucg.org

 

 

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Disease, You’re Going Down!

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…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven,

and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 

Philippians 2:10

Some months ago, my doctor finally put a name on all the pain and confusion and sleeplessness I have experienced for the last eight years. Fibromyalgia. I expected as much; I had google this and come to the same conclusion. Even so, hearing the diagnosis hit like a ton of bricks. Years of going back and forth to doctors and trying this medication and that medication with the underlying hope that something, sometime would make a difference. One day I would live without pain, sleep without tossing all night, think clearly and move on with the hopes and dreams that have been put on back burner.

In his office, I knew better. I wouldn’t be getting better, not this side of heaven anyway, unless God intervened.

Having a name for this condition helped me because this verse tells me that the name of fibromyalgia must bow its knee to the name of Jesus.

God gave me an image one day. I saw the cross with Jesus still hanging. On the left side of the cross were small, thin rectangular shapes (grass or thin pieces of wood?) and on each blade was printed a name…cancer, lupus, arthritis, fibromyalgia, heart disease, etc.  The line of blades with names on extended far to the left of the cross.  On the right hand side of the cross, however, nothing was sticking out of the ground. While I was meditating on this, the blades on the left, in one accord, bowed down to the ground facing the cross.

In this image God gave me, diseases knew it was over for them. Their legal right to a believer’s body ended when Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Problem is, all too often, we don’t recognize that.  We receive a diagnosis or experience a new symptom or the recurrence of symptoms that have hung on for years and start to accept that this is what it is – the symptoms have won.

But this verse tells us differently.  This verse is a beautiful reminder that Jesus has the final say.

Because Jesus humbled Himself through the cross, God has exalted Him above all, so that all will submit to Jesus as Lord.

Philippians 2:8-9

In the image God gave me, there were no shoots sprouting from the ground on the right hand side of the cross.  Why?  I believe that is because the names that exalt themselves against the name of Jesus knew they had lost, the battle won.  The price was paid and Jesus won!

The only time these sicknesses have a right to our body is when we come into agreement with the diagnosis, the symptoms, the doctor’s report and allow them to stay.

So the question becomes, who are we going to join in agreement – Jesus and His word or the names that are named against us that have no legal standing to remain?

Thank You Jesus for settling the issue once and for all.  Thank You for showing me the image of the ugly names of diseases bowing before You.  When I slide into agreement with the symptoms and the doctor’s reports, would You remind me again that the battle for my healing was won and that by Your stripes I am healed. Be exalted in my life I pray. Amen.  

 

 

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire!

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

You’re the only one.

I will be home right after work.

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

It’ll never happen again.

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

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

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

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

Be prepared.

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

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

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

Learn how to apply them.

You’ll need them throughout your life.

God’s Word is an indispensable weapon.

Ephesians 6: 13-18

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

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pic credit: 1 questionablechoicesinparenting.com

pic credit 2: wickershamsconscience@wordpress.com

pic credit 3: pinterest

The Voice of Truth

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Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
To the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He’s holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. ‘Boy, you’ll never win!’
“You’ll never win”

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says “Do not be afraid!”
And the voice of truth says “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a Sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

But the giant’s calling out my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again “boy, you’ll never win!
“You’ll never win”

But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don’t seem so high
From on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

This song by Casting Crowns has been playing a lot on the radio.  It is such a wonderful reminder that we are surrounded by voices inside our heads and outside of our heads and the truth is that, oftentimes, those voices are not the voice of truth. The voice of truth is often quiet, almost imperceptible in the myriad of voices we hear daily.

What is the step of faith you want to take? What are the giants telling you that it can’t be done, at least, not by you? Do you get reminders of the past, the times you let yourself down, the times you let others down? What would it take to silence the giants and stop the recording that plays your defeat song?

I love this phrase, “When I stop to listen to the sound of Jesus singing over me”.  Stop, look and listen. In my work with kids, this is the phrase I use to get their attention. Stop, look at me, and listen, really listen. What if we did that with Jesus. Stop, look intently at Him, and listen, really listen. Push pause on the track in your mind and just be still. Let the still, small voice of Jesus sing over you. Choose to listen, choose to believe His voice of truth. It comes down to a choice, and the choice is ours.

Lord, when the voices are drowning out Your voice, help me to be still and listen. Draw me to Your word, help me to read with fresh ears and a quiet heart. When the giants are telling me that I can’t, would You remind me that with You, I can.  Thank You Voice of Truth for being my constant companion and my Counselor. I choose to listen, I choose to believe, grant me the grace to do just that, I ask in Your name, Amen.

picture credit: sevennotesofgrace.com

Rock, Solid Truth or Not

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Truth or Consequences

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Remember that old game show?    In this game show people were randomly picked from the audience and asked a trivia question that was chosen to be unanswerable.  Contestants who could not answer the question were forced to pay the consequence which was to perform a stunt designed to be crazy and embarrassing.  It was funny and many contestants deliberately answered wrong just to get to do the consequence.

Throughout the Bible, God’s people were constantly going back and forth and back and forth in their decision to take the truth of God’s word and apply it into their lives and reject it (and God) and go their own way.  The consequences for rejecting truth were painful.  God no longer protected them from their enemies and they were defeated again and again and ultimately taken into captivity.  In spite of their stubbornness, God was constantly wooing them back through the prophets.  The prophets reminded them of God’s love and warned them of the consequences of rejecting His truth.  When the people turned back to God, He forgave them and welcomed them back only to watch them wander off again.  It reads like a bad novel at times, certainly not as funny as a game show.  The first time I read through the history of God’s people, I couldn’t help but wonder at the people who would turn away and equally, I marveled at the God who forgave and welcomed them back.

I couldn’t help but see myself in there.  I love God, I love His word and yet at times, I wander.  To date, I have not found anything that satisfies the deep yearnings of my heart like His Word and His presence do.  But yet…

There are consequences for wandering.  Just as the Israelites were left exposed to enemy attack, I become vulnerable also.  My enemy is not some invading clan of people, but it is arthritis, chronic pain, allergies, carpel tunnel, lack of peace, strife, stress, relational problems, financial problems, disease…  Am I saying that all these things leave the instant I begin to put God in His proper place in my life?  No, certainly not.  But I am better able to stand against the attacks of the enemy when my God is in my life big time.  Chris Tomlin’s popular song says, “I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, the God of angel armies is always on my side”.

Clinging to the truth of God’s word is far better than rejecting it and suffering the consequences alone.

God of angel armies, thank You for surrounding me with Your protection, thank You for purchasing my healing, my deliverance, my peace, my comfort, my joy and my ultimate victory by giving Your son to do battle in my behalf.  Thank You for the truth of Your word and Your faithfulness to Your word,  When I wander, please forgive me and please never stop wooing me back.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Fickle Feelings

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When my daughters were young, one of them used the word feelers for feelings.  We thought it was cute and never corrected it, in fact, we all adopted that word.  When someone was hurt, they would say “that hurts my feelers”.  For young children it was cute to confuse feelings with feelers, but for an adult, it isn’t so cute.  Antennas or feelers are used by some animals to guide their path; to help them find their way.  It’s how God made them.  For me to use feelings as feelers though is not why God gave me feelings.  Feelings are a part of being human, good feelings and the not so good, but they aren’t intended to be what guides our life.

In the years since I became a Christian, there have been times when I have not felt saved, or redeemed or forgiven or even worthy of love. But feelings are not what guides my faith. The truth from the Bible is that I am saved, redeemed, forgiven and worthy of love only because of what Jesus did on my behalf. I have to take that by faith regardless of how I feel. In the same way, I have to take by faith that my body is healed regardless of the feelings it may have at the moment. So when pain rears its ugly head, I have to remember the truth and that is that Jesus is Jehovah Rapha, the God that healeth me!  The feelings I have are not the truth; feelings are fickle and subject to change.  God’s Word is the truth and if He says by His stripes I am healed, then I am healed and these feelings have to line up with that truth.  And I believe they will.

What about you?  Are you being led by feelings and not by faith?  Are you feeling unworthy, unlovable, unforgiven?  Can I just say that feelings aren’t a reliable guide to the truth about ourselves, but God’s word is and it changeth not.  God changes not.  He is the same – yesterday, today, forever.

“Being healed is being saved in a physical sense.”  F.F. Bosworth

Jehovah Rapha, my God who heals me. How merciful and gracious You are to me.  Thank You for Your unchanging Word, for Your unchanging character and Your unchanging love for me.  Thank You that my body lines up with the Word of God and I am healed.  Thank You that whether I feel forgiven or not, Your word tells me I am.  In Jesus’s name. Amen

reprinted from my blog  godhappenings.wordpress.com

Happy Hour

Today, as I was driving to the river for a swim, I caught bits and pieces of a conversation that my son and his friend were having in the back seat.  What I heard went like this:

Khris:  When I used to live over here, I would walk there every day for Happy Hour.  Happy Hour was from 2:00 – 5:00.

John:  Yeah, I’ve been here for Happy Hour.

Khris:  They really have some good drinks here.

At this point, I am ready to slam on the brakes and get to the bottom of this story.  Why are they talking so freely about Happy Hour and I am sitting right here???!!!  These boys are 13 and 14 years old.  Happy Hour – really???!!!

But then John says:  I just love their cherry limeades.

Phew!

Turns out they were talking about the Sonic Drive In but I was too busy watching the road to notice it.

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Taking Bible scriptures out of context can lead to some wrong assumptions just as surely as overhearing that conversation led me astray.  It is funny to me now, but at the time, I didn’t think it was so funny.  When I was young and married to my first husband I didn’t know too much about the Bible.  My husband and his family did and they let me know this regularly.  They were of the belief that women should not cut their hair, should always wear dresses and that TV was of the devil.  I did cut my hair, I didn’t wear dresses and I loved TV so there were some disagreements.  I felt at times like the Bible was being used as a weapon not to conform me into the image of Christ, but to conform me to their image of the ideal wife and daughter-in-law.  I was too strong willed and rebellious to fall into some of their stuff but I bought more than did me good. Not knowing scriptures hurt me.  The Bible says that for a lack of knowledge, my people perish.

Without trying to be critical here, I would like to point out that that continues; people using the Bible to manipulate others and if we aren’t careful, we can be led astray.  Because I have been pursuing the topic of divine healing, I have read many articles, books, scriptures and encountered many different takes on the subject.  I am not an expert on the subject, but I have read enough to know this:  whatever  may be said about divine healing,  it behooves me to build my theology on the word of God and not exclusively on the teaching of others or on the experience or lack of experience of myself or others.  I need to know what the Bible says, what Jesus says and build my faith and my trust on that.  I need the whole counsel of the word of God, not just one or two verses of scripture pulled out to serve my purposes.  What I see when I read from Genesis to Revelations is a God who desires wholeness and healing for His people, those who have chosen Him to be their God.  He seems to be a God of restoration, healing, deliverance to those who call upon His name.  But don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself, please.

Father God, You have revealed Yourself to us in so many ways, reveal to me any truths I believe about You that simply aren’t true.  Teach me through Your word, help me to discern the truth when I am listening to others and grant me the grace to accurately handle Your Word as it brings truth and revelation and healing into my life.  In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Do What You Can, Captain!

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.  Ephesians 6:13  Message Bible

Years ago, we had a family reunion at a beach house on Galveston Island.  My nephew and niece were about 6 years old and they were standing looking out over the Gulf of Mexico with a telescope.  They were pretending to be on a ship that had encountered stormy weather and pirates.  Their dialogue went back and forth about the things they could do, and when those failed, what they could do next.  This went on for a while and it became obvious that their ship was in trouble and they were running out of solutions.  Finally, my niece turned to my nephew and said, “Do what you can, Captain”.  I can’t even count the number of times since then when I felt out of options that I have remembered those words and had to grin.

Whatever you are up against – financial pressure, physical limitations, relational problems, bad doctor’s reports, Ephesians 6: 13  tells you and tells me that we aren’t without weapons.  We have the Word of God and it is an indispensable weapon, but only if we use it.  It isn’t too effective laying on our table collecting dust.  Neither are truth and righteousness and faith if we don’t appropriate them.  Then after using the weapons, we stand firm.  Like my niece said “do what you can, Captain”.  Then let God do the rest.  Won’t it be awesome on that day when it is all over but the shouting and we are still standing?

Lord, be the Captain of my ship.  Deliver me safely through the storm, I pray.  Thank You for the weapons You have given me – peace, righteousness, truth and prayer.  Help me to learn how to use them so that You get the glory when my ship sails to safety.  Amen.