Thursday, April 26, 2012

All The Time

"In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe."
Psalm 4:8

When we adopted our son Kevin, he was three years old.  How scary it was for him to go home with a family he had only met once and spent little time with.  I can remember sitting by his bed at night and holding his hand until he fell asleep.  I would tell him he was safe and try to reassure him when fear turned his dreams into nightmares.  Even though he struggled with many deeply seeded issues in his short life, I think he felt safe in our home and I take comfort in that when I look back on his life.  He died at the age of 25 from congestive heart failure after a virus attacked his heart.

I understood his fears surrounding feeling safe.  I have spent most of my adult life praying for God to keep me and my family safe, the country, the world.  There were times I needed a word from God to calm my fears.  This verse has given me great comfort over the years as I exercised my faith and worked at releasing my fears.

I am not one who likes to stay alone at night.  When Joel has to be gone overnight, this verse helps me to stay at peace when silence fills this big ol house.  I take comfort in it because it reminds me that I am never alone.  God is right here with me.  All the time.  He never leaves me.   

I had one woman with severe Lyme Disease tell me that she put a chair next to her bed to remind her that when she was so ill she could not get out of that bed, she was not alone.  Jesus was sitting on that chair comforting, encouraging, sustaining, and holding vigil with her.  

Are there fears that sometimes keep you awake at night?  Do you struggle with worry?  If you are looking for peace during those times,  remember you are not alone.  Jesus sits beside you holding your hand and calming your fears.  He is right here, right now.  All the time. 


I am linking up to Spiritual Sundays.

Monday, April 23, 2012

MBM: Skunks, An Ambulance Ride And New Siding!

Looking back and remembering...God's faithfulness....God's provision....God's love.....that is what Memorial Box Monday posts are all about.  Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity created Memorial Box Mondays, so stop over and read others stories or link up your own.

This week I am sharing about something that happened just a few years ago.  Joel and I were in a car accident in June of 2007.  We were going 55mph on a country road when a family of skunks crossed in front of us and we had to brake hard.  A pickup pulling an end loader was following us too close and hit us from behind.  We ended up on individual stretchers holding hands in an ambulance as we were transported to a nearby hospital.  We were both okay, although Joel had some minor neck injuries.  But it seems this was not the first time this driver had been ticketed for driving too close and about three month after the accident we received a call that his insurance company wanted to "settle" with us.

Settle what?

It seems they were afraid we were going to sue them since this was the second accident this driver had been in with the company truck.  They knew something could come up later medically, so they did not want us to come back later and sue them for damages.  We assured them we were not going to sue anybody. They  just kept asking us how much we wanted to close things out.  We finally talked to someone with knowledge and they told us what was the "usual" settlement in this kind of situation, so we went ahead and they sent us a check.

Let me backtrack a little.  Our home was in need of siding.. it was beyond time! Some of the siding was actually rotten when we bought the house and we had financial difficulties that popped up that made it impossible for us to be able to afford to fix it right away, but it needed to be done ASAP.  All of a sudden we had an unexpected blessing with this settlement we did not pursue ~ and we were able to side the house!  Joel was also able to build a porch on the front which we use all the time.  In fact I don't think I would want a house without a porch ever again.

What we went through that day was stressful, but with the new siding and porch we are able to focus on the blessings that came from it.  I don't believe God orchestrated the accident, that is NOT God, but God used it for good answering our prayers for new siding in such a round about way, and like I said, working all things out for good...even an accident that sent us both to the hospital in our first (and hopefully last) ambulance ride!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Joel's Morning Surprise

"By His stripes we are healed."
Isaiah 53:5b

The past 10 weeks have been amazing!  I wanted to share in more detail what has been going on as it is exciting, encouraging, and shines of God's grace and goodness!  First let me back up some for those of you who do not know much about Joel's struggle with Lyme Disease.

Joel was diagnosed with Lyme nearly three years ago, even though we believe he was infected in 1998. During that summer he became very ill with a mysterious illness and was off from work for several weeks.  It took him a year to fully recover.  We feel his immune system was able to fight the Lyme and it went into remission.  Five years ago was a stressful and exhausting time for us both with several events over 2 years bringing Joel to a state of exhaustion, and the Lyme reactivated.   With treatment, Joel ended up on disability due to the extreme fatigue he experienced.  The Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome took a big toll on him. He first took antibiotics for around 18 months before switching over to an intensive herbal antibiotic regime.  Slowly he improved, until last August when he went backwards and could no longer work part time.  We are not sure why that happened but we know it does.  He added Earthing, which is balancing the electrons in our body that are affected by the Electro-magnetic fields.  Much to our surprise, it was very helpful and many neurological symptoms decreased significantly by January.

A week after our last Lyme Doctor appointment in January 2012, we started watching a Biblical teacher a friend of mine had  recommended. Andrew Wommack believes, like many who have healing ministries, that the power we need to heal is already in us through the Holy Spirit which is given to us at baptism or when baptised in the Holy Spirit.  Let me add here that the pastor's teachings are not something we would have sought out on our own, and we don't agree with everything he teaches, and yet we have learned so much from this man of God. We have taken the meat of what he shares and tossed away the bones so to speak.  He is very Biblical and sincere in what he teaches. He is the first of many teachers we have discovered on this an amazing journey.

The first night we watched Wommack's teaching called "God Wants You Well",  I asked Joel if he thought we would be healed here on earth and if he thought what Wommack spoke was Biblical and the truth.  Joel's response was, "I find him very theologically sound, but "I don't know" about the healing.  This man had challenged Joel's beliefs and God was speaking to Joel's heart.  When Joel went to bed that night he prayed for healing, commanding his body to heal by the authority given to him and in him.  At 4am Joel woke up and immediately knew he was healed.  He said outloud with surprise, "I am healed!  God blessed him right then with a confirmation of his healing.

I have shared this before, but will share again if you missed that.  Joel decided to test this healing.  He doubled his walking time that first problem.  He walked even longer..for over an hour.  No fatigue at all.  He knew the pain he had experienced in his hips and other areas was gone and his brain fog had lessened.  He decided to test things out and rode his bike 1 miles. (He had NOT been able to ride at all for 3 yrs).  He then rode his bike 3 miles...5 miles....8 miles with NO fatigue, no relapse, no problems!  Shortly after this, he had an ordination to attend at our former church.  He decided to see if the balance issues would occur when he was among a crowd with loud noises and several people talking at once.  He could not even be with our family at Christmas without balance issues.  Nothing happened.  He then went to a wedding and reception a few days later and he was able to be there 5 hours with no affects on him.  The neurological  balance issues are completely gone.  G. O. N. E.

We have seen improvements in other areas coming since this time in January.  He has steadily improved except for a day or two of fatigue and getting rid of toxins that occurred a couple of week into February.  He STILL needs to nap once a day but only for a half hour instead of the three hours before!  He is now taking only half of the thyroid meds he was on before and he is taking very few herbs.  He plans to be off them in a couple of weeks.  The gluten intolerance is still a problem.  And he is still going to be 66 in June.  He can't seem to command THAT to change! Ha~

This is Joel's journey to healing.  It is amazing and yet should it be?  We are so very thankful that he is able to work again part time as a pastor and be exercising, visiting family and friends again, and just all around live a normal life.  THANK YOU JESUS!

Monday, April 16, 2012

MBM: A Pair Of High-Top Tennies

Memorial Box Monday was created by Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity for bloggers to share their stories about God's faithfulness and provision.  Looking back, we remember how in the past God watched over us, and it gives us strength and hope for the future.  This week I wanted to share a story about how God's provision came to us in a pair of special tennis shoes. 

When our oldest son, Matt, was in high school he played on the basketball team.  He went to a large high school near the Twin Cities. Their colors were red, black, and white so their uniforms were those colors too.  During this time Niki came out with red, black, and white high tops and all the players had them....except for our son!  We had no idea!

At the first game we went to, I looked at the team and quickly saw that Matt was the only one not wearing the Niki high tops.  He stuck out like a sore thumb.  I had tears in my eyes as I realized that Matt had not asked us for these shoes because of their expense.  He knew we struggled to make ends meet with our big family, and he did not want to add to that by asking for the high tops.

It broke this mother's heart and I decided right then and there he was getting those shoes.  Unfortunately, they were hard to come by where we lived due to all the teams purchasing them.

Thus began my quest for a pair of size 9 (small feet) Niki high tops.  I called every store in the area with no luck.  I kept calling and praying, determined to find a pair.  Finally one store joined me in the search and called several stores.  Good news!!!  They had found 1 pair of red, black, and white high tops in a size 9 in a suburb of the Twin Cities!  We lived an hour northwest of the cities and I needed to drive to the other side of the Twin Cities...SE St. Paul.  It ended up being nearly a two hour drive one way, but I hopped in the car and drove to get those shoes and happily drove right back to the school just in time for practice that day.  I will never forget the look on Matt's face.

I am so thankful that there just "happened" to be a size 9 pair of high tops for our son.  Do you know, this made an impact on him too.  He likes to share the story of how his mom searched for these shoes and drove a long distance to get them for him.  God provided those shoes I have no doubt!  Yes, they are so special to Matt that nearly 25 yrs later our son, married with three kids of his own, still has them tucked away in his memory box.  It is not only a good reminder for me of God's love and provision, but  also for our son.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

God's Big Umbrella

Must be Spring!  Last night my husband Joel went out on our covered porch to sit for awhile and listen to the rain as a storm passed through our area.  We live in a long established association that has a country feel with lots of paths, green areas, and very few lights.  At night it reminds Joel of "home", the farm where he grew up.  When rain comes, it nourishes the earth and his soul.

It was also time to take Levi outside for his nightly business.  Unfortunately, Levi thinks he will melt if he has to go out in the rain. He tip-toes out into the grass and always stands with his head drooping and tail down looking at us with forlorn eyes.  How could we do this to him?  Make him go out in the rain.  Last night I heard Joel encouraging him to venture out, have courage!  Finally Joel came in and got the umbrella and he and Levi went out together into the rain.  Levi trusted Joel and was willing to go with him.

Listening to this event play out made me think about God's umbrella over us.  So often we go about our business and all goes well until a storm comes........or it is raining hard on our parade and we feel so forlorn and just do not want to get wet.  We want to stay where we feel safe and dry.  God encourages us to just move forward, trust Him and all will go well.  We will be safe.  We will be protected, but we still are unable to take that step.  So, God gets out His big umbrella and covers us with His many promises, shielding us from the rain coming down, and guiding us along the way.

I just love knowing how much God cares for each and every one of us.  We are blessed to have his big umbrella of promises in His Word.  We need never be afraid.  We are always protected.  We are always sheltered by Him.  We are blessed by that big umbrella of God's promises and love!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Praise Your Way Through

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
I Thessalonians 5:18

When God guided me to study the word "obedience" this year, I expected to see the word popping up all over the place. Instead, I keep running into two other words ~TRUST and PRAISE.  A couple of days ago I was reflecting on this and scolding myself for not researching Biblical references to obedience, when it came to me~~Trusting God and praising Him were ways of being obedient to Him.  Obedience is the foundation for the trusting and praising!  Today I want to share my thoughts on praise.

Praising God has always been a part of my life, but the sacrifice of praise...truly praising God in the midst of my physical pain or my sorrows has been harder to do.  I would rather weep and question and pray for release.  But God in His wisdom knows that praising Him takes our focus off of our circumstances and shifts our mindset.  We are truly able to look around and say, "Even in our worst, we are blessed."  And we do this in obedience to God who tells us throughout the Bible to give praise.

In Paul L. King's book, "God's Healing Arsenal" his writes in detail about the purposes behind praise .  He shares that God inhabits our praises and that praise puts the focus on God and off of us. Praise dethrones Satan and stops the invasion of doubt and fear.  Praise builds our faith and releases the power of the Holy Spirit within us.  Giving thanks brings peace and creates miracles. One statement he made spoke loudly to me. When we are struggling,"praise your way through".  Praise your way through.  So simple and yet so important.

I truly had not realized the depth of what praise does in and for our lives and the lives of others.  God knew.  And he knew that right now at this time in my life I needed to obey Him and praise Him as he has continually let me know over the past 6 months:  In His word, in devotionals, in the whispers I have heard in my heart, in the words shared by a dear friend, and now King's book~  God has been patiently and consistently instructing me. Praise Him.

I questioned the sacrifice of praise until I understood it.  I was obedient but without understanding.  Now I understand.  A couple of months ago a friend called me when I was going through a breast biopsy and worried the cancer had returned.  She was given three words by God for me.  "Just praise Me".  It brought me through the biopsy and the waiting for results which were benign.  When the nerve pain had me unable to sleep and needing relief from the constant burning and pins and needles sensations all over my body, I understood the sacrifice of praise.  I understood that praising God brought me a sense of peace, took the focus off my pain and got me through.  "Praise your way through".

We all go through difficult challenges that try us.  God with His deep abiding and compassionate love reminds us to praise Him in all cirmstances.  Praise Him!  It is healing to the soul.  Just praise your way through!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Full Armor

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 
Ephesians 6:10-18

Lately I have been studying this passage in Ephesians. Dr. Paul L. King wrote in his book, "God's Healing Arsenal" about a prayer on this scripture that he learned at a seminar by Larry Lea.  While Dr. Paul King was going through cancer treatment and healing, he prayed this prayer daily over himself and his family.

I am not one who likes to dwell on spiritual warfare, but I cannot deny it exists and must be taken seriously.  We are told by Paul that Satan goes around like a roaring lion and we need to protect ourselves from him.  I like what one Biblical teacher said~ Satan may go around like a hungry lion seeing who he can devour, BUT he is a toothless lion!  The truth is, we have nothing to fear with Jesus on our side.

Still, we do need to remember that we live in a broken world where Satan tries in anyway he can to draw us away from God.  One way to protect ourselves and be prepared  is to remember the verses in Ephesians, claim them, and even pray them over our families and ourselves.  Isn't it wonderful that God provides just what we need when we need it!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Three Words

Three words. 

Three words that changed the world

Three words that fulfilled
God's promises

Three words that
made eternal life
possible for
all of us!

Read inspirational posts or link up your own over at Spiritual Sundays

Friday, April 6, 2012

His Blood Shed For Us

This Holy Week I have been reflecting on the importance of forgiveness.  It was not of my own choosing, I believe it was placed on my heart by God.  Jesus speaks to it throughout the Gospels, and in The Lord's Prayer. He spoke of it on the cross.

"Jesus said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.
Luke 23:34


While on the cross, in the midst of his deep indescribable suffering for the sins of this world, he still could ask his Father to forgive those who crucified Him.  He knew he was fulfilling His purpose.  He died for us.  For the forgiveness of our sins. 


Do you have trouble forgiving yourselves?  When you kneel at the altar on bended knee and the pastor tells you that your sins are forgiven do you truly take it in.  Do you truly believe it.  Do you let them go?  Because THIS is why Jesus died on the cross.  His blood was shed for your sins.  As Marci Alborghetti expressed in the Daily Guidepost devotional, we are letting go of what is no longer ours~~what Jesus went through to take from us.  


This is my blood
shed for

Thursday, April 5, 2012

This Is My Blood.....

"Now the Festival of the Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover lamb in sacrificed.   Jesus sent Peter and John ahead saying, 'Go and prepare the Passover meal so we can eat it together."
Luke 22:7,8

"Then he took some bread, broke it and gave thanks for it saying, 'This is my body given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.".........After supper he took another cup of wine and said, 'This cup is the new covenant between God and His people~ an agreement confirmed with my blood which is poured out as a sacrifice for you."
Luke 22:19,20

Maunday Thursday is a time for us to remember when Jesus gathered with his disciples for the Passover~ a time together before his suffering began.  I agree with Marci Alborghetti, who shared in the Daily Guidepost devotional that often Maunday Thursday gets overshadowed by the sorrow of Good Friday.  But on this day, there was foot washing~ showing love and service to others, and there was the Lord's Supper when those who gathered listened to Jesus speak the words......This is my body.....This is my blood......These words have become so very familiar to all of us who partake in the Lord's Supper during our times of worship.

I miss communing with others at church, but with my illnesses it has not been an option.  I have been blessed to participate in the Lord's Supper at home because my husband Joel is a pastor.  Recently we began having communion as part of our healing journey after reading Paul L King's book, "God's Healing Arsenal"   King had communion every night while battling cancer.  He felt Jesus was not only cleansing his sins, but healing his disease.  By HIS blood we are His blood we are healed.  Paul Stone calls it "the meal that heals".  It is by grace we come to the Table.

Maunday Thursday was a time of joy and love, which gave the disciples the strength to stand with Jesus for what was to come.  It is so with us too.  As we remember today the Feast of the Unleavened Bread and the Lord's Supper, let us be filled with the strength to stand with Jesus for what is to come.  Good Friday.......a time of great sacrifice and suffering..........for our own times of suffering.  Thank you Jesus.

I am linking up to Grace Cafe today.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Some Things Never Change

When I was growing up Holy Week and Spring Break were at the same time.  During Holy Week churches held services every night and on Good Friday many of the churches held 3 hour services with 7 messages given on the last seven words of Jesus.  It was a time to reflect, to quietly ponder what Christ had done for us.

Easter Sunday for our family meant spending the whole morning at church.  One of us was either singing in a choir at one of the many services or sitting in the pew with the family.  As we got older we were active in the Easter breakfast that the youth put on.  I always thought of the church as my second home and was very comfortable there even though it was three stories high and spread out in length over half a city block.  I think we had 5 pastors, 3 Sunday Schools, and 5 choirs.  It still felt intimate and familiar to me, and I have fond memories of all that occurred inside its walls, including our wedding.

Our town's population was around 30,000 and most of the downtown would close up during those three hours on Good Friday.  Of course nothing was open on Sunday!  I don't remember when it started to change...certainly not while I was still at home.  But change it did.

Most Spring breaks take place at some time other than Holy Week so families can take vacations and so every religion is treated equally.  Church on Good Friday is not usually 3 hours long and the stores do not close down for anything.  Not even on Easter.  The need to make money prevails.

There are some things that have not changed though.  We still remember that Jesus still was worshiped on Palm Sunday and crucified on Good Friday.  He still had Passover and spoke to His disciples about what was coming.  Jesus still died for all our sins and for our diseases.  Jesus still rose from the dead.

Jesus is still our Savior and we still shed tears on Good Friday thinking of all He suffered....and we still rejoice and sing praises as we worship on Easter morning celebrating His resurrection from the dead.

Yes, some things never change.  Thank you God for sending your son.  Thank you Jesus.

"For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, 
that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, 
but have everlasting life."
John 3:16

Monday, April 2, 2012

An Attitude of Mercy

"Then Peter came to him and asked, "Lord how often should I forgive someone who sins agains me?  Seven times?  "No,not seven times, Jesus replied, but seventy times seven!"
Matthew 18:21-22

I was watching Joyce Meyer this morning and what she spoke about forgiveness really resonated with me. She asked a few questions of her audience too ~What are your expectations for others? Are you legalistic or merciful in your relationships? Are you quick to forgive, believing the best of people?

I believe I am a forgiving person, but when I dig down into the deep corners of myself, there are a few stored resentments and hurts that I want to hang on to. Maybe I think they are justified. Maybe they are..people do hurt us in many different ways...we hurt others too. BUT I know that forgiveness is important for my health and for my relationships with others and with God. Across the board no matter what your religion or your beliefs, forgiveness plays an important role. I will add that that does not mean we always forget what has occurred~ there are certainly terrible things that happen that require setting boundaries and taking care of ourselves. But forgiveness? Sometimes difficult, always necessary.

I am also pondering here today, a question I have for all of us. Do we forgive ourselves as easily as we forgive others? Do we have an attitude of mercy toward "moi"? Are we legalistic or merciful in our relationship WITH OURSELVES? 

Forgiveness~ treating others with kindness...treating ourselves with kindness...treating others with mercy...treating ourselves with mercy...treating others with love and respect...treating ourselves with love and respect. It is so necessary for our health, for our relationships.  Jesus answers Peter's question of how often do we forgive with a strong response.  We are to forgive seventy times other words as much as we need to....over and over again.  Having an attitude of mercy.