Friday, August 26, 2011

Shelter In The Storm

"God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the sea,
though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
 The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our stronghold."
Psalm 46: 1-3, 7

Watching all the news coverage on the hurricane bearing down on the East Coast has had me remembering when we lived in the Philippine Islands during the late 70's.  Typhoon season was in the late fall through November, and the first year we were there we went through several typhoons in just a matter of weeks.  One was particularly strong, and although our home was safe during the storm,  we ended up living several days without electricity or tap water.  Even with the continual warnings of what was coming, we were not well prepared and our first Thanksgiving dinner there consisted of jello, chips, and luncheon meat! 

There have been many times in my life where I have not been prepared for the storms that have blown in.  God's word gives us ample warnings of what could lie ahead, and also tells us how to prepare, but I have not always taking the warnings seriously, or completely trusted God to shelter me and walk with me through the storms.  The result was often unnecessary hardship interwoven with worry, fear and anxiety. 

It is so important to fill our minds with God's promises, rejoice in all circumstances, and lean on Him to see us through all the challenges that come our way.  We do not always have time to prepare for life's storms like we do for a hurricane, but if we stay close to God at all times and let Him be our shelter, we will be ready to weather what comes our way.  Believing in God's promises, we will be prepared.

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Miracles In The Making

I have been rejoicing over the miracles taking place in the lives of a young man named Karl ~ you can read his story at A Place Called Simplicity.  Karl was on his way to pick up his girlfriend for church when the actions of someone else brought him to the hospital fighting for his life.  The way God has orchestrated His plan for Karl's life and recovery from a motorcycle accident is amazing, humbling, and faith building.  What a might God we serve.

We are also giving thanks today for my son's friend and fellow police officer who was hit by a drunk driver while on duty,  and is in critical but stable condition right now.  He has a terrible head injury and we are so thankful he has survived and is getting excellent care. We continue to pray for Tron and for a miraculous recovery!

We lift up to God today with praise,  a past parishioner, Nick, who was in a strange accident where a nail went through his back and through an artery, through his liver and up into his heart and out again to lodge in his chest wall.  He was in critical condition and not expected to live, but he is defying the odds and God's response to the prayers of many are bringing him back to health! Thank you Jesus for this miracle!

We also lift up to you our friend Leon who has had a return of cancer after a miraculous disappearance of it several years ago.  Prayers are going up for another miracle!  And for his wife Marilyn who walks with him on this journey.

God is the God of miracles!  We have heard about quite a few this week....and we continue to petition for more. You have told us to "ask and we shall receive!"

We pray for more and more miracles, Lord.  We pray for Your healing in the lives of the people listed below.
Elaine and her husband
Dominique, Laurel, Gail, and Linda
Ruby Grace and Sarah Jane

Thank you Jehovah Rapha~ Our God of healing.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Porch Sitting

One of the blessings Joel and I have experienced while living with illness is the gift of porch sitting. We love to have our morning devotions and breakfast on our covered porch, and sometimes we take our mandatory naps there too.  We live in a quiet neighborhood and sitting on our porch in the silence brings us in touch with nature ~ with what we see, smell, and hear.  It is so relaxing and peaceful!

In our world of over planning, rushing, and doing more and more, people often do not take time to be still.  At one time Joel and I were a part of that, while Joel served as a pastor, I often worked outside the home or as a volunteer, and we raised 7 children. I am not sure we took much time to rest and enjoy our surroundings.  Then illness came calling.  God's command to "Be still and know that I am God" has taken on special meaning for us now, as we rest in the hope of restoring our bodies.  The time of resting has also renewed our spirits.  Porch sitting has become our favorite thing to do!

So, just why does a person wait for illness before taking God's advice?   Dont' you wonder? Throughout scriptures God speaks of how important it is to take time to renew our bodies, minds and spirits.  Maybe we are afraid of what we will find when we are still with our own thoughts...or maybe we live so unconsciously on the treadmill called life that we are not even aware of time passing.  Possibly we have the false believe that things just won't get done if we don't keep going.  We think about taking the time....but it "just gets away from us."  We are constantly busy and it seems always connected to some form of technology.

 I wonder if God would hear from us more often if we were able to reach Him by email or a text!  Oh dear!  Oh, how God longs to hear from us.  How he longs for us to take the time to be still before Him.  He desires us to rest and restore our bodies and minds.   Psalm 23 says:

"He makes me lie down in green meadows
He leads me beside still waters
He restores mys soul"

Taking time to rest, renew, and restore ourselves is a good thing. May each of you find your own time for porch sitting!!!  I think God says it best!
"Come unto me ye who are heavy laden and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

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

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Prayers and Praises

"Devote yourself to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart."
Colossians 4:2

I like to post prayer requests and praises on Thursdays....and we have much to be thankful for this week...We are praising God that Karl is doing so well after his TBI from a motorcycle accident....we are praising God that Ravenna has so far tested negative for rare blood disorders....we are praising God for a financial gift that came today......and for beautiful weather and open windows and doors to let the fresh air in.  We give thanks for Joel coming out of a bad relapse, and we give thanks that my energy is returning!  I am praising God that I could cook a few meals, walk for a few minutes each day, and help Joel out this past week.  Oh, and thank you God for visits with our youngest daughter, and our middle daughter and her family.  Nothing like hugging grandkids to brighten our days!

Prayer requests:

Georgia~ serious heart concerns continue
Ravenna~ that doctors can discover why her blood clots so slowly
Shannon, Doug, and Parker~ strength and joy as everyone waits on the help needed for their sweet girls and sisters.
Karl~ continued prayers for his healing and praise for how far he has come
Ruby Grace~ gain wt so she can have surgery and come home to her forever family
Sarah Jane~ stay safe until comes home to her forever family
Joel ~ continued healing and interim position IF it is God's will
Renee~continued healing from stomach issues and Lyme
Dominique~ healing from severe relapse of ME/CFS
Gail, Laurel, and Linda~healing and strength with ME/CFS
Friend~ return of cancer
Friend~ heart issues
Ron~ stage 4 colon cancer
E. and husband~ health issues
All those who visit this blog~ strength, healing, deep joy and knowledge of how much God loves them!

We give thanks Lord for your gift of prayer and the power that is released in Your name when we pray. Thank you Jesus for the many blessings you bestow on us. Thank you Jesus for answering our prayers. Thank you Jesus for walking with us each and every day.

Lord Jesus, we lift up to you 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, our Jehovah Rapha~ our Lord of healing. We ask that you move mountains on behalf of them and grant each one healing, wholeness and peace.

In Jesus name

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Taffy Pull

The past few months I have been stretched one direction and then another by life as God has been teaching me about trusting Him in spite of, because of, and through my circumstances.  I have been learning more than ever to lean on God as He guides me.  Sometimes I have listened as I sat by His side, other times I have taken His hand as we walked together on an uphill path....and then again there have been times I have just sat in silence, not only at His feet but at the foot of a mountain while I contemplated how to get over, under or around it. 

Through it all I have never been left alone.  He has always been there for me...through thick and thin..through the tugging, stretching, and pulling.  It has reminded me of a taffy pull. The taffy needs to be stretched and pulled in order to become soft and pliable.  In order to become its best. 

So do I.  There have been moments where I have struggled with God's plan for me, but mostly I have taken comfort in feeling His presence every step of the way.  I have felt His deep love for me with every stretch and pull. His gentle hands molding and shaping me in order to become my best.  Shaping me to become more like stretch and pull at a time! 

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Gift of Fragility

The gift of fragility~ I read these words in a devotional book by Sarah Young recently and found myself wanted to disagree.  How can fragility or weakness be a gift?  And who would want such a gift?!
Certainly no one wants to be weak or fragile, although we all are in some way or is it possible to look at our weaknesses as gifts?  It did not take me long to start to shift my mindset. Our weaknesses draw us closer to God when we learn we cannot do things on our own.  Our weaknesses keep us from becoming arrogant or from having the mindset that we can are doing just fine without God's help.  Our weaknesses bring us into a deep relationship with our Mountain-moving God.

Paul shared in 2 Corinthians 12 that he had asked God to remove the "thorn" he lived with 3 different times, but each time Jesus responded with, "My grace is sufficient for you.  My power works best in weakness."  Paul's weakness, his thorn, was never removed.  Instead God gave him the grace and strength to preach the good news, bringing the gospel to all he came in contact with in spite of his weakness.

God's power is within us, too, enabling us to live the life God has planned.  Paul spoke again in Ephesians 3 about God's power within us.  Ephesians 3: 16-19 says:

"Pray that from His glorious unlimited resources he will empower you
with inner strength through his Spirit. 
Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in him. 
Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. 
And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should,
how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is, 
May you experience the love of Christ thought it is great to understand fully. 
 Then you will be made complete
with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God."

The power comes from God's love for and in us.   Philippians 4:13 (paraphrased) speaks more on this subject of strength.

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

Weakness~ fragility~ maybe it is a gift.  A gift that brings us closer to God and His abiding love for us.  A gift that lets God work in and through us to His glory.  A gift that is beyond our understanding, but makes us complete.....weaknesses and all.

Please stop over and visit Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays to read more posts or link up your own. 
I am still unable to leave comments on several blogs..hope this gets resolved soon!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Don't Look Back

I have been reading a great book the past week written by Eunice Nordby Simonson.  Eunice is the wife of Joel's cousin David Simonson who died last August.  David and Eunice were missionaries in Tanzania for over 50 years and Eunice and some of her family still live on the land in Africa that was given to them by the Massai tribe.  David is a legend in those parts and we have enjoyed reading about their lives for years.  

As much as I have enjoyed reading, I Count My Blessings,  I have felt it to be bittersweet too.  From the time I was 13 I have been fascinated with missionaries and the work they do.  Joel felt the same way as a teen, and when we met at Bible college and married two years later it was our plan to be missionaries in Africa.  Then the draft board called and Joel spent 8 years in the Air Force.  Four kids later Joel went to seminary and then we fell in love with Montana where he did his internship and spent a few years there....and then Minnesota...and then Iowa.  We had always struggled with putting our children in boarding schools after some of our friends shared with us what growing up as missionary kids. So we decided to wait until our kids were grown and then do mission work....and then Lyme Disease came into our lives.

We have periodically struggling with knowing if it was God's plan for us to go to Africa or just our dream.  We do know that God has blessed and used Joel's ministry to help others and that we have lived a good life.  We have wonderful kids and super fantastic grandkids (of course) and our special in-loves complete our family.
Reading about the Simonsons has once again stirred the pot.  Like Lot's wife, I have struggled with looking back.  Looking back and wondering...looking back and saying...what if....maybe we should have....It is not a comfortable place to be.   Well, we KNOW what happened to Lot's wife....she turned into a pillar of salt.  Stone cold. 

So, I am learning to let go of a life I once desired vs the life I now have.  I am letting go of dreams that did not come to pass and giving thanks for the life I have had....and even the life I live now mostly from my living room.  It is still a good life, and I mostly believe it is the life God had planned for us.  Well, minus a couple of ticks that have wrecked havoc in our bodies! 

We all need times like these to draw us closer to God, to learn and to grow as we question and reflect, but I certainly don't plan to spend the rest of my life looking back....wondering, mourning, questioning.  I just don't want to take the chance that I could turn into a pillar of salt!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Words Of My Mouth

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart
be pleasing to you oh Lord. my Rock and my Redeemer."
Psalm 19:14

Do you every say unkind things about others, or find it hard to forgive people who have hurt you, or treat them with love?  I confess that at times I am still a work in progress in these areas, but recently God spoke to me using this verse in a new way.  At the time I was beating myself up for not coping with an ongoing problem the way I thought I should.  I was blaming myself for circumstances beyond my control.  When I asked God to forgive my feelings of being overwhelmed, this verse came into my mind.  In my heart I knew God was telling me to speak kindly about myself.  God was telling me to love and forgive myself.  God was telling me to care for myself as much as I do others.

Sometimes we are hardest on ourselves, aren't we.  But God does not make junk.  God does not make mistakes.  He created you just as you are and He loves and delights in you, His creation.  Words have power, and we need to make a decision on whether we are going to speak words of kindness and love, or words of negativity and hate over ourselves.

We certainly are not where we need to be in our walk with Jesus, but we are not where we used to be either...and how we treat ourselves will make a difference on our journey.

This week Joyce Meyer spoke about how she knew that Jesus died for her sins and set her free from any condemnation.  She made a commitment to not put herself down any longer or treat herself unkindly.  She made a commitment to let go of all her guilt and forgive herself the way God has forgiven her.  Amen!

Let the words you speak about yourself and others from your mouth be acceptable to God.  Let what you dwell on in your heart be acceptable to God.  He will be pleased, and you will be more at peace.

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

PS:  I am having trouble leaving comments at certain blogs, so if you do not hear from me as a friend in Spiritual Sundays or other days of the week, just know I am reading your posts but cannot comment!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Gift of Prayer

"Devote yourself to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart."
Colossians 4:2

As I read this verse today, I felt God speaking to me about spending more time in prayer.  I think I probably have more time than many due to having to sit in my recliner so much.  It is a great opportunity to devote myself to prayer.  Unfortunately I often get caught up in a book, the TV or my own symptoms and can easily neglect this precious gift God has given us.  Today I would like to lift up some people for your prayers.

Georgia and Ravenna continue to need prayer.  Georgia's heart symptoms may be due to a pulmanary valve...continued prayers for the doctors to figure this out and get it taken care of!  Ravenna is still going through testing as blood disorders are eliminated and the search continues on.  These two sisters and their parents Shannon and Doug, and brother Parker need prayer.

Karl needs continued prayers as his body works to restore itself due to a serious motorcycle accident.  He needs to respond to more than one command from doctors and needs prayers for recovery from surgery he had again today.  Prayers for Autumn, his girlfriend, and his family too.

Marlene needs prayers for uterus biopsies to rule out cancer.

Dominique needs continued prayers for severe ME/CFS and how it has affected her eyes.  She is living in darkness most of the time now.

Linda needs prayers for an immediate new place to live as her caregiver fell and broke her hip.  Linda has severe Fibromyalgia and is bedridden.

Friends Leon and Marilyn need prayers for their health issues. We ask for healing, Lord!

Gail, Laurel, Tonja, Rose, and Karen, all need healing from severe ME/CFS.

E. and her husband need prayers for health issues.

Roger needs prayers for the chemo to get rid of his cancer.

Ron who has stage 4 colon cancer.

Ruby Grace who is being adopted by Linny and Dw (A Place Called Simplicity) and needs healing and surgery for enlarged head with fluid.

We give thanks Lord for your gift of prayer and the power that is released in Your name when we pray.  Thank you Jesus for the many blessings you bestow on us.  Thank you Jesus for answering our prayers.  Thank you Jesus for walking with us each and every day.

Lord Jesus, we lift up to you 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, our Jehovah Rapha~ our Lord of healing. We ask that you move mountains on behalf of them and grant each one healing, wholeness and peace.

In Jesus name

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


"Don't take a single day for granted.
Take delight
in each

Ecclesiastes 11:8

Our son and grandkids came for a short visit on Monday while our DIL was working.  Visits with our children are few and far between due to distance, busyness, and our health issues.  When one of our sweet families comes to visit, we are delighted!  We find ourselves smiling all day long and for days after. Catching up on hugs and chatting is such a joy.

In my Jesus Calling devotional today, which is written as if Jesus was talking, Jesus said he is blessed when we come into His presence.  That He is glorified when we delight in Him.  I pondered this wondering if I show delight in Him like I do with my children and grandchildren.  If my joy is expressed with those I love and care about, and I love the Lord ~ I need to express that love, not taking one single day for granted.  Taking pure delight in each Light(Jesus)filled day!