Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Burning Hut

I thought I would share a story I came across again in some of my notes. It is a good reminder of how God often uses our circumstances to "grace us".

The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. He eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food he arrived home to find his hut in flames, with smoke rolling up into the sky. The worst had happened, and now everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out to God, "How could you do this to me?" He eventually fell into an exhausted sleep.

Early the next morning he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island. It had come to rescue him! When the rescuers came ashore he asked how they knew he was here. "We saw your smoke signal" they said.

The moral of the story: It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we need not lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Remember the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground, it just may be the smoke signal God is using to rescue you!
To read or share inspirational posts, please visit Ginger and Charlotte over at Spiritual Sundays.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Memorial Box Monday: God's Perfect Plan

My story for Memorial Box Monday is really one of looking back and seeing the aha moments. Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity has a link on Mondays where people connect and share stories showing God's love and faithfulness in their lives. Remembering strengthens our faith and inspires others. Join us at MBM, to read or share your own stories.

Four years ago my husband Joel felt God's urging to look for another church to serve. Reluctantly, he put his name in with our synod and waited. He received an inquiry, and interviewed at a large church an hour from here, where he was offered the position of Senior Pastor. His salary would increase quite a bit, although that was never an important issue for us. (We had taken calls that gave us less money in the past because we felt called to the congregation.) He did accept this call, and we prepared to sell our home and move.
I have shared before how we bought a house over in the other town where the church was located but due to a hidden chemical smell I was never able to live in it for more than one month. This present house had an offer that fell through so we were able to move back to a "safe" home for me. Unfortunately Joel had to commute the 104 miles daily for 3 years, or stay overnight there sleeping in the church office. It was a very stressful situation due to my poor health, and we spent much time in prayer never understanding why we were in this situation. Did we misread God's call? Did he really want us to be apart so much of the time? So many times God provided money for us to make the two house payments, etc. until the other house sold 15 months later. Still, we wondered if we had made a costly mistake.....until....recently when things came together.

You see, Joel is on disability due to also being diagnosed with Lyme Disease and co-infections. Around 14 months ago he took 3 months off to concentrating on improving his health and then planned to go back to work, once again commuting. His health did not improve and our doctor told him he was not healthy enough to work. He eventually resigned his call and 3 months later at the exact time the doctor said he could go back to working 15-20 hrs a interim position came up ONLY 9 miles from where we live! They already knew Joel, and were very happy about having him fill in for their pastor who had just left. So, Joel's disability covers 70% of his salary, and the part time call covers the rest of what he was making as Senior Pastor. He has been there now for 10 months and it is going well. Praise God and His perfect timing!

Now, here is the aha moment ~ IF he had stayed at our other congregation and not taken the new call, our salary would have been considerably less and we would not have been able to cover medical costs, etc. and stay in our home. The call as Senior Pastor was a big increase in his salary....and God KNEW we would need that to stay afloat with Lyme treatment medical costs that are mostly NOT covered by insurance.

Isn't God awesome? I am going to put a picture of the congregation where Joel was called in my memorial box, to remind us of how when we are confused or questioning what God has allowed into our lives, we are able to hang on to the fact that God knows the future for all of us, and we can TRUST God will work all things out for good for those who love Him!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Blend Of Sorrows, Trials, And Joy

We don't begin to understand all the whys and how-to's of the plans God has for our lives, but we do know from experience that life is a blend of sorrow and joy.

There are many who talk about the journey of life being in our control. The New Age mantras talk of the Law of Attraction and the "fact" that we create our own destiny. We make ourselves sick and we can make ourselves well. There are evangelists and pastors who preach the gospel of prosperity, and tell us that if we desire it, we can have it because God's favor is upon His children. Just think positive! Just believe. There are others who say it is an honor to "suffer" for God. They may see God in His kitchen, dumping a quart of sorrow, a cup or two of trials, and a few drops of joy into His big blender in the sky~ when it is all blended together, out pours our life. If you get the mixture with more sorrow than others, be thankful. You are blessed to suffer for God. My husband, among others, believes that mostly because we live in a fallen world, there is suffering. The question might not be, "Why me?"...but... "Why not me."

More than likely in some degree or another, the reasons for our trials and sorrows lie in all the above. Sometimes our choices cause us undo suffering, sometimes the fallen world dumps junk on us, and some of our trials are to teach us and glorify God. I don't believe God mixes up a blender full for each life, but He does allow suffering to occur in our lives. I don't understand all the whys, and am not sure I ever will or need to while here on earth. Trusting God means we don't need to have all the answers.

What we can do during times of trials is talk to God about them, sharing our honest feelings, praying for healing, for release, and for understanding. We can spend our time focusing on His love for us, His promises given in Scriptures, and deliberately search out and identify all the joys of each and every day. We can wake up each day and say, "Good morning Lord!" or we can say, "Good Lord, it's morning!" That is a choice we do have control over.

Yes, life is pretty much a blend of sorrows, trials, and joys. Along the way we are blessed not to be on this journey alone, for God often says in His Word,

"And lo I am with you always, even to the end of the world."
Matthew 28:20

Stop over and visit Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays to read inspirational posts or share one.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday Wonders of Nature

We took these photos in S.E. Minnesota this week on our way to our Lyme Doctor. I am always amazed how we can go a short distance and leave flat farm land behind for cliffs, valleys, and winding roads. God has created a vast universe with such a variety of beauty to enjoy. The views below remind me of the hymn that starts out~
"For the beauty of the earth....
For the glory of the skies....."

Minnesota farm
Down in the Valley
Rugged beauty

Lake in town where we had a picnic lunch
There is so much beauty around us to enjoy. May you find beauty in your corner of the world today and have the time to enjoy it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Memorial Box Monday: Winning The Battle

What I am sharing for Memorial Box Monday just happened today. It may seem insignificant to some, but not to me. It is God's way of letting me know I am not fighting my battle with Lyme Disease alone. I often feel like I am in a war and never sure who is "winning". Today God assured me the victory is His.

The past two months have been very difficult with nerve pain so intense that there have been times I have asked God to either heal me or let me die. My hair has been falling out, fluid has been forming pockets in my lower legs, headaches have been intense at times, I broke out in sores all over my chest, arms, and back that are still visible 5 weeks later, my body has continual tremors, and the all over neuropathy has caused even clothing to feel raw on my skin. This has all been from die off of Lyme and Bartonella bacteria in my body. Nasty stuff.

I need to go back and say that I did not call my Lyme Doctor when all this was going on, I just assumed I needed to tough it out and get to the other side where things would get better. I chose to go it alone.

On my way to my 3 month Lyme appointment today I found myself very anxious, not knowing what was ahead. I have felt so exhausted from fighting this enemy within for the past 3 years, especially after going through cancer surgery this past spring. My husband also has Lyme disease and is on part time disablility because of it.
I brought our devotion books along on the 3 hour ride, and when I opened the Daily Guidepost to today's devotional, this verse was at the top of the page.

"Don't be afraid of your enemies, always be courageous, and this will prove to them that they will lose, and that you will win. because it is God who gives you the victory."

Philippians 1:28

As soon as I read this verse, tears filled my eyes and peace filled my soul. God was telling me not to be afraid of the Lyme and what it could do to my body. He reassured me that I do not need to fight this battle alone...that I cannot fight it alone.....but I CAN win because God is going to give me victory. He has provided us with the best doctor ever, who as a Christian brings God into her practice on a daily basis. She has survived both cancer and Lyme herself just like me, and she has deep concern for her patients.

Today my Lyme doctor told me I was fighting too hard on my own. That we could win this as a team, with a little patience, a lot less medication, and a lot less intense die off. The relief I feel is palpable. She gently reminded me that she is there for me and not to wait to get help next time. God reminded me that she is using her gifts to help her patients and I need to let her!
This is not the first time God has had to remind me that I need to trust Him and surrender to His plan for my life. It is not the first time that He has reminded me that the victory is His in defeating the enemies we face ~ whatever they may be. He brought me through cancer surgery and He will walk with me through this too. I don't have to do this alone ~ He has provided so many people to help me win this battle.....and the victory will be His. He reminded me that I have already won the victory through with when His son died for my sins.
I think I will put a written copy of this verse in my Memorial Box along with a little toy soldier to remind me that the victory is the Lord's.

Stop over and visit Linny at to read other Memorial Box Monday stories of God's faithfulness or link up your own.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Extravagant Love

This past week I have been thinking about God's love and remembering the many times He has revealed it to me in powerful ways. I have been in awe of His guidance and grace in my life and the lives of those I hold close. After reading a post last week by one of the Spiritual Sunday bloggers, one phrase has been resonating in my mind. "We may not feel worthy of God's extravagant love, but He thinks we are!"

Isn't that amazing? Doesn't it feel beyond description to know that God, the Creator of this vast universe has a deep, abiding, and extravagant love for us?

He loves us so much He sacrificed His only Son, Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. He loves us so much He knows how many hairs are on our heads. He loves us so much He has written a book to guide our lives. He loves us so much He provides for all our needs and even knows what we need before we do.

When we realize how much God loves us it deepens our relationship with Him and empowers us to not only love and trust Him completely, but also truly love others as He commanded.

My friend Linny has a phrase she uses to describe God and I am going to borrow it to share it with you~ We serve a Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God! How blessed we are to do so. How blessed we are to be loved by a Miracle-making, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God!

**Stop by and visit Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays to read inspirational posts or link up your own.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Memorial Box Monday: Extravagant Love

This week Linny, over at A Place Called Simplicity, decided to to have Memorial Box Monday on Wednesday, as many who visit her blog are fasting and praying for the orphan this day and she is linking the two together. MBM is a way of looking back and remembering the many times in our lives we have been blessed by God's love and faithfulness. I have been praying about what to write and today's story happened just this week.

Recently I have been praying,meditating, and "working" on issues from my past that would bring about inner healing. One of those issues involves feeling unworthy. a trapped emotion that has caused some stress periodically.

Just this week I began to realize I needed to completely let go and let God heal me of this negative feeling..... and God agrees with me! The past couple of days I have received affirmations from God on this issue. One email devotional by Joel Osteen spoke about how much God loves us and thinks we are of great value, so valuable He sacrificed His son for us! A blog post I read on Monday spoke about how a person "may not feel worthy of God's extravagant love, but He believes we are worthy".
The words that have come my way have deeply blessed me and reminded me that God loves me with an amazing and extravagant love. As His child I am worthy of that love and forgiveness. God also brought to mind the many times as a child and adult that His love protected me from harm, and how He works all things out for good for me.

How does this connect to orphans? There is more than one way to be an orphan. During one period of time in my life after my father had died, and my mother was having difficulty coping with life, I was very lonely and did not feel safe, loved or wanted. God laid on my heart today that this is what the orphans feel too on a much deeper level. They harbor a deep desire for a safe home, for someone to love them, and to be wanted. As Linny says, God has a deep love and compassion for the orphan, and He reveals that in the scriptures. We need to pay attention.

Today, I ask anyone who reads this post to pray for the orphans and for the families who desire to bring them home. And I ask that if you are unable to bring home an orphan, that you would be willing to open your hearts and pocketbooks, and find an organization that supports them.

I will need to add something special to my Memorial Box to remind me of God's love for me.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

God's Faithful Servants

"Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations

Baptising them in the name of the

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

Matthew 28:19

On August 16, 2010 Rev. David Simonson died at his home in Arusha Tanzania, with his wife Eunice holding him in her arms. He was 80 years old. His death has caused merely a ripple in the world at large, but for his family and loved ones, the Massai people, Tanzania, and Africa as a whole, they are grieving the loss of a great man of God. We have followed their lives closely, not only because it was our dream to be missionaries in Africa, but because David was my husband Joel's second cousin.

David and Eunice were missionaries in Africa for nearly 50 years, and retired there on land given to them by the Massai tribe out of their great love for them. They worked hard to bring the tribal people to Christ, establishing churches, a clinic/hospital, and many schools for the Massai boys, and the first schools for the Massai girls too! Operation Bootstrap began that work in 1995 and continues today. They strongly believed that meeting the needs of the people was part of their calling along with proclaiming Christ as Savior.

David was a large, robust man, a character who sometimes was like a bull to be reckoned with. It served him well on the mission field. His "first" task as a missionary gave him the opportunity to be welcomed into the villages he evangelized. And what was that task? To kill a man-eating lion that was "rogue" and killing cattle and people alike. You can read about their lives in Tanzania in Jim Klobuchar's book, The Cross Under The Acacia Tree. A fascinating read.

The missionaries who serve our world are servants of God called to a special task. As Christians we are all called by God to serve in special ways. If you have a passion that God has placed in your heart, and it is according to His plan for your life, He will give you the strength to fullfill it, just as he did for David and Eunice Simonson.

Join Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays to read inspirational posts and share your own too! is waiting for you to visit.