Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thankful And Thoughtful Prayers

I have been thinking a lot about sharing some prayer requests once a week that can be open for others to pray for, while at the same time giving thanks for the many blessings God has given.

Today I am so thankful for the snow being gone, for having a good day health wise yesterday where I actually felt more "normal", for my sweet hubby Joel being able to preach for Lent,  for laughter, for tears, for walking, for resting, for the gift of prayer, for another day.


John and Mildred:  John needs a biopsy on his salivary gland
H.  In need of prayer for addiction
Shannon, Doug, and their children Ravenna, Parker, and Georgia: 
~Ravenna has just been diagnosed with a rare blood clotting disorder
~Parker has asthma
~Georgia has a weakened heart.  Needs a sedated MRI tomorrow.
Dominique who is in a severe relapse with her ME/CFS
Linny as she and others prepare for a trip to help the homeless boys of Uganda
A sweet boy in Russia who needs to go home with his adoptive family
Michele~ our DIL who had surgery on her finger
Ron who has colon cancer
Joe on kidney transplant list
Dr. V ~ keep her healthy and cancer free

Lord Jesus, we lift up to you all these people, your children, your faithful servants.  We ask that you reach out and touch each one of them and bring healing into their lives.  You are a God of miracles, a God of healing, our Jehovah Jehri ~ our provider.  We ask that you move mountains on behalf of them and grant them wholeness and peace.  In Jesus name.  Amen

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Lap for Levi

In the past couple of days our 11 yr old Miniature Schnauzer Levi has been feeling a bit out of sorts.  I know this because if I sit on the loveseat, he sits next to me.  If I am in the recliner, he often tries to climb in and lay with me.  Today when I said no to his attempt to jump up on my lap, he climbed into the chair right next to mind and tried to climb over the arm into my lap!  Persistence!  Levi definitely was looking for some TLC, and seeking assurance that all is well.

There are times we all are in need of a little TLC.  We may feel vulnerable or out of sorts.  Where to do we find the assurance we need?  From God of course!  He is there for us.  He is waiting for us to ask for help ~for some tender loving care, and unlike my response to Levi, he never says no to our need for assurance.  He promises to be with us always, and we can trust His promises.

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

Friday, March 25, 2011

Continually Pouring

"I can do all things through Christ who continually pours His strength into me"

Philippians 4:13

This is one of my favorite verses, shared with me by one of my online friends.  I find great comfort in knowing that God is giving me His strength to do all things. 

Just what does the word continually mean?  Webster's Dictionary defines it as "going on without interruption...unbroken."  And to pour?  "To cause to flow in a continuous flow freely."

What a powerful gift for us.  Christ's strength ~ His OWN strength flowing freely in a continuous stream without interruption into us, His children.  Unbroken flow. 

Oh, Lord, let us never take this for granted.  Let us never forget that when we feel weak and unable to keep moving forward, we are not alone on our journey. You have given us this precious promise ~ this amazing and powerful blessing.  Lord, having this knowledge, let us always call upon you and open our arms wide to receive your strength...continually...freely.   In Your name, Amen.

Please stop over to visit Ginger and Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays and read inspirational posts or link up your own.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

God's Amazing Love and Strength

A trip to the ER last week resulted in a trip to my specialist Monday, and a switch in one treatment plan for the Lyme Disease and a new plan put into place for my latest health issue ~ H-Pylori and Acid Reflux~ it all has me in my PJ's and under my Woolie (wool comforter).  The pain and weakness are not my biggest issues though, it is the discouragement I feel.  I told God today in our "Garden Time" that I was so tired of fighting all the bacteria in my body.  A quiet voice whispered, "Let me help you fight."

An hour later I turned to my online devotionals from Saddleback Church and Joel Osteen.  BOTH devotions today were about  God's strength in us.  Joel Osteen's entitled "God Is Strong In You" reminded me of the Holy Spirit within and the strength given to us through the Comforter.  So often we use so little of the Holy Spirit's power within us!

"And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness....."
Romans 8:26

The devotional sent by Saddleback Church was entitled, "God Is Stronger Than You Think" and spoke of how as Christians we often feel we can do all things through Christ...on our own.  Not so.  God within us gives us the strength we need in our weaknesses.  He continually pours His strength into us.

"But the Lord stood by my side and gave me strength..."
2 Timothy 4:17

Today as I rest in my PJ's under my Woolie, I can be assured that God is fighting this battle within me...both the physical and the emotional.  Discouragement has no place when God's amazing love blesses us in such wonderful ways.  Health issues have no power when God's super strength gives us what we need to move forward....or rest in His loving arms.  God's love provided me with a specialist who understands and cares, a treatment plan to help heal, but also the words not only whispered in my prayers but written in two seperate devotionals.  It is humbling and so reassuring.  Thank you Jesus.

May you, too, find comfort in these words today.    

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Our Own Breath

"God is as near to you as your own breath." 

Father Tim

I came across this saying in Jan Karon's book, "In The Company of Others".  It gave me pause and I found myself pondering these words. 

Our breath is what keeps us alive.  We rely on our breath to sleep, rest, move, talk, laugh, cry, to exist.  It is so much a part of us that we don't even think about it, unless we live with asthma or another condition that affects our breathing. 

God is interwoven with breath.  We have heard such sayings as  "He who gives us breath"  "Breathe on me breath of life".   Genesis 2: 7 says, " The Lord formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a human being."  Beautiful. 

Our breath comes from God.  He gave man breath.  He is as near as our breath. 

When God feels far away.....when turmoil fills your world...... when you cry out in need with your very own breath...Remember ~God is as near to you as your own breath. 




Life giving





Stop over to Spiritual Sundays to visit Ginger and Charlotte.  Read inspirational posts or link up your own.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An Old Irish Prayer

Deep peace of the running waves to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the smiling stars to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.

Deep peace of the watching shepherds to you
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Whispers And Shouts

Sometimes God whispers to us, and sometimes He shouts.  Today is one of those shouting days...I .guess I really needed to hear the message.

During my morning time with God as I visualized sitting at His feet, I asked God what I needed to do concerning a certain situation.  I just did not know what to do anymore.... What came to my mind were these words ~ "But you do know what to do."   I sat with that awhile trying to figure it out....."I really don't, God" was my response.....BUT After spending more time visualizing and meditating on these words, "Forgive" came into my mind.  One word.  Forgive.

A short time later Joel and I had our morning devotions together.  We read from 3 different daily devotional books and spend time reading Max Lucado's book, "Outlive Your Life".  As we began each devotion today, either the scripture or the devotions itself were ALL about forgiveness.  When we opened to the 3rd chapter in Lucado's book the verse was about forgiveness of sins.  Could it be any clearer???

Forgiveness.  I need to forgive others and I need to forgive myself.  This will bring healing and change into my life and it seems I better start working on it right now.  I got the message God. 

Sometimes God whispers, but when necessary He shouts~ loudly!  Over and over! 

Thank you Lord for Your patience, Your love, and Your forgiveness.  As I bring others and myself before you and openly and willingly repent and forgive, heal me in the deep places of my soul.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A First Taste Of God

I have been reading Jan Karon's latest book in her Father Tim series.  There is so much to like about these books, including the fact that they teach us much about life, and often challenge our beliefs while strengthening our faith.

In Karon's book, "In The Company of Others" she takes us back to Ireland with Father Tim and his wife Cynthia. During one of their conversations Cynthia talks about a teacher she had as a young girl, and how this teacher gave her encouragement and love when she needed it most.  She says, "I think she was my first taste of God". 

There are always people in our lives who give us a "first taste of God".  Often it is our parents, but there are those who need to find it elsewhere....or does it find them?  When I read this sentence, I thought about who gave me my first taste of God and one person that came to mind very quickly was a pastor from my church ~ Pastor Hauge. He was a gentle man who radiated love and kindness. I can still visualize him handing me one of my first Confirmation papers back with a bright and shiny A written across the top.  He quietly praised me for my good work and gave my much needed self esteem a boost.  He is my first memory of church, which came to be my second home.  He was in many ways my first taste of God.  He also worked behind the scenes to encourage my mom to let me live with my oldest sister and her family.  You see, my mom was a practicing alcoholic when I was a child, and I was in need of a safe place to live.  Years later I ran into Pastor Hauge in a church far from our original home town.  He asked me about my mother.  I was able to tell him she had stopped drinking when I was 20, our relationship was restored, and more importantly my mother was healthy and whole again.  Pastor Hauge dropped his head and shook it from side to side.  He sighed deeply and said with the wisdom and humility of an 85 yr old Christian man, "I gave up on your mother, but God never did!"  Those words were a taste of God too.  God brought us back together and reminded us both that he hears our prayers and is faithful.

So, I ask, who in your life has given you "a first taste of God"?  Have you been that first taste of God for someone else?  Every small and simple gesture can be used by God to show His love to someone who needs it.  He desire to use His children to be the first taste of God to others.

 Lord, keep us open to being used by you, and if I may so humbly ask, let me be the first taste of God to someone else. Amen

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

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Weeds of Worry

As I just shared, for several weeks I have been taking time in the mornings to visualize myself going into a garden to sit with Jesus.  Often it is a time to experience His love, or just listen for His voice through thoughts that come into my mind.  I also visualize myself going through a door of healing and "explore" what is inside this door.  It is really a gate and when I walk through it I enter a beautiful garden.  Usually there are flowers everywhere, lots of trees, birds, etc. 

About two weeks ago I thought to myself, hmmm...I always go to the right when I enter this place, so I looked to the left and saw it was not very light on this side of the path.  No sunshine to speak of and very little green areas. There were few trees but the ground was broken up, kind of brown, and not easy to walk on.  I felt strongly that this was a place in me that needed healing.

Switching gears for a moment ~ This past Sunday I watched the early morning service with Rick Warren online and he spoke on the parable of the 4 kinds of soils.  One thing he said really stood out for me~ the fact that the one healthy soil took in seeds, but the weeds overtook the soil and nothing grew well.  He went on to say that weeds keep us from hearing the voice of God speak to us.  One of the biggest weeds in our lives he share, was worry.  That got my attention.

Now, moving ahead to this morning, I did my usual prayers and scriptures and then visited Jesus in the garden...I posed a question to Him today ~How do I get rid of my fears, Lord?  It came to my mind~ one fear at a time ~ Then I went through the door of healing.  When I entered I noticed once again the bright sunny area that fills me with joy and then behind me the darker area with the lumpy ground.  As I looked down at this ground it took my breath away.  I finally got it!  What I had been seeing all this time were weeds.  The weeds of worry, fear, etc. in my life.  I realized that I could not turn my back on these weeds, that I needed to take the time to remove them one by one. Otherwise they would just follow me into the future and interfere with what God wants for my life.

Weeds of worry.  We may all have them.  I find this habit of worrying has kept me from God's best for far too long and I am going to start removing these weeds of worry one at a time.  Weeding is hard work, but it is worth the results.

Isn't God's love for us wonderful!  He speaks to us in the most amazing ways. 

Amazing grace. Oh, grace me again and again, Lord!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Get Up Girl!

The Lord and I have been having quite a few conversations lately while I visualize sitting at His feet in a beautiful garden.  I find myself often asking for His forgiveness as I continue to learn the difficult process of letting go of fears when they play a mighty drum in my head and heart.  God and I know that this has been my biggest "issue" since I was a young child.  Yet, in His deep and endless love He continues to treat me with grace and kindness as I walk this journey.  I am determined to not live another year worrying about what will come.  I am speaking today with what a friend calls, "simple transparency" to bring light into these dark places in my life and possibly some of yours.  I have certainly learned over the years that fear is a huge weapon Satan uses in the lives of many people.

I have shared here before that fear has had a stronghold over me in two areas of my life..... 1. Fears of health issues (ahh the irony ~ since I live with chronic illnesses and am now a cancer survivor).  and 2.  Fears of not being safe.  Lately the first one has lifted its ugly head. The past 10 days I have been given a truckload of encouragement and support from several devotionals, blog posts, a dear friend, my practitioner, my husband, and scriptures.  All provided by God.  Amazing grace. 

I found one from the Daily Guidepost 2011 devotional very helpful and hope some of you do too.
Written by Julie Garmon, she shares:

"I have this theory.  I think most of us struggle with one big thing in life.  For me it is fear.  It trips me up over and over...If I allow even one pip-squeak of fear to tip-toe into my thoughts, it stirs up others.  What if my mind goes blank when I speak in from of a crowd?  What if that mole is not really a mole....What if.....what if....."

Sometimes, many times I write in my prayer journal ~ Jesus I know I must be wearing you out with the same old same old.  And I sense Him smiling at me, laughing in a kind, relaxing way. As I read these words from John 5:18 I can almost hear Him say~

"Get up, pick up your pallet and walk Julie.  You don't have to stay in fear all huddled under the sheets today.  You have been stuck here on your pallet before, remember?  Get up, girl.  Get out of that sickbed. You have a life to live.  There is freedom if you want it."

"When I take hold of Jesus' hand the fear scrams.  Every time."

The words Julie shared as from Jesus really spoke to me!  I do have a life to live and I desire the freedom that comes with being letting go of those things that separate us from God's best for us.  Don't you?!

"Get up, girl!"

 Amazing grace!   Grace me again, Lord!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Circling These Mountains.

"You have circled these mountains long enough,
Turn to the north!"

Deuteronomy 2:3

Do you ever feel like you are going in circles?  Going over the same ground time and time again and not really getting anywhere?  Maybe you have gone to God with the same prayers for a long time and you still keep hearing the words....wait....or be patient.....or sometimes just silence.  How long Lord?  How long?

What I noticed about this verse is that eventually the Israelites are given instructions to take action!  Turn to the north.  That time does come....but it will be good for us only if it is done in God's timing.  His timing is perfect.  His plan is best.

My husband Joel and I have been talking about retirement for quite awhile now.  Lately we have felt an urgency about purging and packing, even though we don't know where we are not completely sure of where we are going, or when!?!   We are definitely circling some mountains.  I find it comforting to know that when the time is right God will give us direction.  Relying on God gives us such a solid foundation for our lives, doesn't it.

Sometimes the answers to our prayers for guidance come quickly in one swift response from God, and sometimes they take time and nurturing.  Either way, with God leading the way, we cannot go wrong.  He timing and will for our lives is always best.

Join Charlotte and Ginger over at Spiritual Sundays to read more inspirational posts or link up you own.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Lord Is My Peace

A friend put this paraphrased version of Psalm 23 on Facebook today and it was so wonderful I thought I would share it with everyone.  Author Judy Booth paraphrased this version for times of anxiety in our lives.

The Lord is my peace,  I shall not live in anxiety.
He puts me under His wings of comfort and calms
My spirit within me,
He takes all my anxieties on Himself
 and helps me focus on Him.
Yes, though I walk through a time of grave uncertainties and fierce anxieties
I will not fret ~ for you are my God.
Your Word and Your presence calm me now.
You hold my uncertainties in the palm of Your hand
You soothe my anxious mind
You smooth my wrinkled brow
Surely serenity and trust in You
shall fill all the days of my life,
and I shall keep my mind stayed on YOU forever.
Psalm 23