Thursday, May 30, 2013

When Bad Things Happen To Good People

As members of the human race, we like to have answers to our questions.  We search for reasons, purposes, and understanding.  We feel best when good prevails!  It gives us a sense of comfort and security to be able to put our lives in order.   Two plus two equals four and all that.

Unfortunately, life does not always follow the rules. Evil sometimes wins, at least here on earth. 

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

A missionary and his plane went missing, never to be heard from again.

Two young girls here in our part of Iowa were kidnapped, one escaped the other is missing and evidence indicates that she is dead, even though they have not found her body. The man who is behind these horrific acts is now connected to the disappearance and death of  two other young girls last summer just forty miles from here. He killed himself before police could arrest him and find out what other evil secrets he held.

The father of a nine year old child puts out a SOS while on his boat near Key West.  His boat turns up grounded in Cuba with his lifeless body still tethered to it.

A man is wrongly accused of murder and spends eight years preparing to defend himself.  This week, to the shock of his family and friends, he was convicted of a murder he did not commit. 

Bad things happen to good people.

It  is endless............the evil that permeates our world.  We ask, we seek, we pray.  Yet on our broken sinful planet, bad things continue to happen to good people. 

We want answers.  Oh yes, we want answers.  We want to know the whys, and why-nots so we can put order into all the confusion.  But sometimes there are no answers that bring peace.

What do we do when bad things happen to good people?  To those we love?  To us?

We turn to God's Word and we remember.............we remember that God is faithful.  That God loves us.  That He is WITH US.  It is difficult at times, but we remember that God weeps when we weep.  We cling to the truth that we are never alone, and with Christ, through Christ we stand strong during any assault from the enemy that comes our way.  We keep our focus on Jesus and we anchor our faith in God's promises even when our experiences do not line up with what we read in Scripture.  With God's help we pitch our tents in the land of hope.

"I will pitch my tent in the land of hope".
Acts 2:26

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Finding Rest For Our Souls

"Remembering what God has done"
Joshua 4

This week I have spent a great deal of time attempting to stay calm as I traveled through doctor appointments, medical tests, an appointment with the eye specialist.  Two days of waiting for results had me tossed about like a boat without an anchor at times.  I kept thinking about the words of a favorite song..........."In the glory of your presence I find rest for my soul."  I wanted that peaceful rest that comes with trusting God no matter what we are experiencing.

It may seem odd to some of you readers that I become fearful when going to the doctor, but my medical history reads like a bad TV drama.  Lyme, Bartonella, Babesia, Erhlichia, Cancer, CFS, MCS, cataracts, glaucoma, Hashimoto's thyroid disease, PTS, arthritis, and the damage done by Lyme to organs and tissues  puts me in a category of, "Wow, it is amazing that you are still here and kicking?!"  Years of going to the doctor and getting bad news makes it hard for me to look forward to any visits to those who wear white coats.

This year I have seen too many of those white coats and the people who wear them.  I also had my annual physical Monday and it was a roller coaster ride of pokes, probes, good news, bad news, good news.  I was given the "you are at high risk of getting breast cancer" talk and a "hmmmmmm. there seems to be an extra beat here".  This came only a few weeks after hearing I have only 10% of my nerve fibers left and will lose my vision if those go.  I wanted to focus on the bad news and yet run from it.

The thing is, there was plenty of good news, outweighing and overriding the bad!  My mind still wanted to linger on the bad news.....the what ifs.   My reactions were over the top.  I know. 

Joel and I discussed it this morning.  My history haunts me.  My childhood history and my medical history.  It is the major difference between Joel and myself.  He remembers the good, my mind is drawn to the bad and then I worry about it.  Maybe it is a way of thinking I having some sort of control......the PTS way of keeping yourself on alert for what is coming.  The little girl who thinks she is on her own and focuses on the storm or perceived storm to try to control it instead of focusing on the One who calms the storm.  As a young child I did not believe He was there with me.  But I am no longer a child.

As an adult with faith in a loving God, this way of thinking does not align with God's Word.

In my attempt to rescue this post from being "all about me" I ask you readers who struggle with do you focus on God and not the problem?

In Old Testament times we read that God often had people build stone memorials to remember God's faithfulness to His people, to remember what He has done for His children. This is what Linny bases her Memorial Box Monday stories on over at  A Place Called Simplicity.  Ann Voskamp shares in her book, "One Thousand Gifts"  that when she took on  the challenge to write 1,000 things she was grateful for, she discovered that writing down every tiny gift from God each day began to strengthen her trust in Him.   Giving thanks and praise also takes the air out of fear's suffocating fog over our lives.  Andrew Wommack strongly urges people to stand on God's promises.  Go to the Word, trust it, stand on it.  God never lies to us.  He cannot and will not go back on His promises.

Being grateful.  Giving thinks.



Retraining our minds to focus on all the blessings and good news while turning over the bad news to our loving Papa God.   Remembering what he has done for us in the past.  Opening God's Word and standing on His promises.  Being grateful for each sunrise and the small and large gifts He brings into our lives.  Giving thanks and glory to our God.  He is a loving God.  He is faithful. Yes!! 

We live in a broken world.  We all have things in our lives that have the potential to break us.  We also serve a risen Lord.  We serve a God that heals.  We serve a God whose promises are yes and amen.  This is where we turn when we are challenged by history or life.  Being grateful.  Giving thanks.  Standing.  Remembering. 

Here is where we find rest for our souls.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Our Broken World Needs Prayer

While watching some of the news coverage last night on the tornado devastation in  Moore OK I saw a video of the destruction that someone taped with their phone....where I heard a man say, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." 

I have to tell you that anger rose up deep inside of me.  The children dying in the tornado, the children who survived the tornado only to then drown from a broken water main?  Do people really think this is God giving these precious little ones to their parents,  and then taking them away?  Do they believe this is God's will?  What kind of God would He be!

I do not have the concrete answers to why this storm destroyed a community, nor why all the children died in CT at the hands of one sick person.  I do not have the answers to why our hospitals are full of hurting and dying people, nor why children are abducted and killed.............or worse.  Except that the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeing who he can devour............and that we live in a broken world.

Here is what I do know deep in my heart.  When God's creation suffers, so does He.  When they weep, so does He.  What I do know is that the Word tells us God delights in us.  He loves us with a perfect love.  He heals all our diseases.  He binds up the wounds of the brokenhearted.  This is do know.

Lives are cut short.  Terrible things happen.  And all of it.............a.l.l. of it comes from the enemy, from Satan.  It does NOT from God. 

Some believe that God wants to heal some and others he does not want to heal.  Then tell me, IF God only heals whom He picks and chooses, then why go to the doctor at all?  Why take medications?  Why try to get well or stay alive just a bit longer IF God does not want you well?!

Some believe that tornadoes are an act of God.......that God sends destruction on people because they have sinned.  Well, God does not play favorites. So if he lets people be hurt or killed due to sin, we would all be experiencing it.  We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

God weeps with us.  He feels our pain.  He longs to comfort us.  He is saddened by His world gone awry.  Lately I have noticed that there seems to be more attacks from the enemy on the little ones.  More sickness, more senseless acts of violence, even a tornado hitting schools.  We need a battle plan.

Ann Voskamp speaks so well on this subject today over at her blog, A Holy Experience.  She talks too of how God weeps with those who weep.  He knows, He understands.

I feel strongly we are to pray especially for the little ones.  Those innocent children who depend on those they love to keep them safe.  We speak of the wars our country fights.....but I wonder how many of us realize we are in a spiritual war too....behind the scenes the enemy plots and schemes.  The war rages. Let us stand firm and remember to pray. 

Today we pray for those who have lost loved ones, their homes, their community.  Today we pray for all who are there to help care for the brokenhearted.   Our broken world, their broken community needs prayer. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Three Questions

I have been watching several teachings by Donna DeSilva, who is one of the creators of the inner healing ministry, Sozo.  During one question and answer session she was asked how to pray for knowledge when praying for someone in need of healing.  In her response she shared that when she prays for healing for someone she asks Holy Spirit three questions.

Is this physical?
Is this emotional?
Is this spiritual?

We are made up of spirit, soul, and body.  Even though we know sickness comes from the enemy, asking these questions makes sense to me. It is important to pray for the whole person while being guided by Holy Spirit.  Healing can be complicated and multifaceted.

 But the Healer is not.

The more Joel and I study healing~as a gift or a process~the more we feel we need to learn!  I guess as humans we look for a formula or just the right direction to take in order to be healed supernaturally.  But the way may not be so clear.

Yet the Healer is.

God guides us: 

"Your ears will hear a word behind you saying,
 'This is the way, walk in it.  whether you turn to the right or to the left."
Isaiah 30:21
"Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path"
Psalm 119:105
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 
In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make is paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5,6

God promises us,

 "By His stripes we are healed".
Isaiah 53:5
"I will give you back your health and heal your wounds, says The Lord."
Jeremiah 30:17
"Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find......."
Matthew 7:7 
"I am The Lord who heals."
Exodus 15:26 

Our present circumstances or experiences may not match with what God's Word promises, but God's Word is still the truth and the truth sets us free.  We ask the questions, we pray for answers and direction and we stand on the Word of God, knowing that He loves us and is working out a plan for our livcs.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Graham Cooke is an interesting Biblical teacher/evangelist.  I think you either like him or not although I cannot decide!  But when I googled the words, "entering His rest" I came up with a short video promoting his  series on "soaking".  I knew little about this, so I began doing research on the meaning behind the word. In researching I came across a book by Faith Blatchford entitled "Soaking 101". This small instructional book explains in simple language what it means to soak. Soaking basically  just means to "spend time with God."  I discovered that soaking is like meditation without the emptying of the mind, which can open the door to negative things.  Maybe you define it as quiet time with the Lord, or a time to listen.  However you define it, it is when you sit in God's presence.  It is a bit like going into the garden of my heart but without an agenda!  Just quietly waiting, praying, worshiping, and listening for Holy Spirit to speak to you.  Having a relationship with God is a priority for not only you but for God.  He delights in us after all! In response let us say:

"Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to You, Lord,
our Rock and our Redeemer".
Psalm 19:14
No matter what name you apply to your quiet time of listening and meditating, Faith Blanchard says the focus is on God and the goal is intimacy with God.  It is not about us, it is about our Father God.  Yet in His loving way, we are blessed beyond measure during these special times with Him.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Seat of Faith

"What if NOT fearing was the giant secret 
of really living?"
Ann Voskamp

If you visit my cyber home often, you know that fear has been a major player in areas of my life regarding safety.  It has not stopped me from living, but I believe it has affected my relationship with God.  To quote Ann Voskamp again, " God and I have trust issues."

For a long time I did not recognize this as being true for myself. My faith is strong......and yet interwoven with fear and distrust.  Since beginning my journey to wholeness, God has opened my eyes to this "issue". It isn't pretty.

Fear is one of the major weapons of warfare the enemy uses against us.  It opens the door to so many distractions and takes our eyes off of the King of kings.  Recently I listened to a woman speak and during her teaching she mentioned she felt that we pray from three different "seats".  A seat of faith, a seat of fear, or a seat of selfish ambition.  As I pondered this, I became very aware of Holy Spirit whispering with love~  "A seat of fear."   Yes, I often pray from a seat of fear..........For example, "Please take care of my children" (because I fear they will be harmed.....) comes from a place of fear.  This takes my eyes off of Jesus our provider, our healer, our protector and gives the enemy an open door.  It is like partnering with the enemy..... I know when aware of the choices. I desire to partner with Jesus and NOT with the Satan.  We all do!

Does God hear our prayers no matter what drives them?  Of course!  But I believe we empower the Holy Spirit within, and keep the enemy away when we make the choice to pray from the seat of faith......partnering with Jesus in prayer.  One way we keep ourselves on the seat of faith is through gratitude and thanksgiving. 

Today as I join others over at A Holy Experience I am so grateful to be able to partner with Jesus in prayer.  So grateful that when fear knocks we can send Jesus to answer the door.  I am so grateful that God promises to always be with us.   Grateful for those who teach, those who pray, and those who provide.  So grateful for the seat of faith that sustains us.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Flashlight Faith

This year has been filled with a few extra medical challenges.  Just a few weeks ago I was told the glaucoma has destroyed 90% of the nerve fibers in my eyes.  I am using beta blocker drops to keep the pressure down, and have been researching what foods and supplements may help.  I am doing what I can to save my eyesight.

Three months of infections....UTI and BV~relentless bacteria that antibiotics have worked to eliminate, have reared their ugly heads again or still.  Really?  Come on!

Something is out of is high......bacteria is thriving .......more antibiotics.  Double strength...double dose ...double trouble for a sensitive body system.

In two weeks I will have a physical, just to make sure nothing else is hiding behind the scenes. There is caution with good reason.  Then I go back to the eye doctor to see if the pressure has dropped.  For a person who does not like to take medication nor visit with her doctors, I am having to do both while at the same time praying, praying, praying.

I am so weary...but I am not alone.

A couple of days ago Joel and I went for a walk to the river.  I try to do this daily.  But this time, Holy Spirit spoke to Joel about 10 at night.  Where we live there are no street lights. The path and road to the river is mostly dark.  I am not fond of being outside at night.  A safety issue.  But when we hear something we obey, so off we went flashlight in hand on a moonless night.   I could not see far, but was alert to sounds.  I began to feel anxious, but Joel kept telling me to keep my eyes on the beam from the flashlight.  As I did so, I could relax and enjoy the fresh smells, night sounds, and companionship with the preacher walking beside me.

I am weary, but Jesus is leading the way.

On the way home Jesus reminded me,  "In the darkness, do not be afraid.  I am with you. I am the light that will guide you through." Yes, He is our light and our salvation, of whom shall we be afraid? (Isaiah 26:1)  The flashlight helped guide our steps a few at a time.  Yes, Lord.......  "Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path". (Psalm 119:105)

I am weary but there is rest for my soul.

Today has been a tough day.  Family issues, communication issues with the eye doctor on the drop dosage, some reactions to the antibiotics and I am ready to retreat to old behaviors letting fear and frustration take hold. I want to eat, weep, watch TV.  I feel like I am under spiritual attack and am tired of it all. 

Instead of letting fear reign, I am speaking to it.  Fear, I see you and I refuse to partner with you.  I send you back and I release peace and God's Word into my circumstances!  I am turning to Matthew 11:28-30 which God gave to me so many many times last fall.  That quiet place of rest, of trusting.

"Come to me all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens
And I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you.
  Let me teach you for I am gentle and humble of heart, 
and I will give you rest for your soul.  
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

Are you weary of circumstances that do not change?  Prayers that do not seem to be answered.  Are you weary of stumbling in the dark?  God's promises will sustain you as you walk through your own valleys of darkness.  We are never alone.  His Word is our guide along our journey, and on that journey we are able to move forward as He tells us,  walking as children of the Light.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Warrior Woman

This morning Joel and I spent time praying and meditating on a certain health issue I am dealing with on my healing journey. As I quieted my mind and entered into the garden of my heart I immediately saw myself in full armor wielding a sword.  This was a new vision for me and took me back somewhat.

I asked Jesus what this meant.  He replied, "Spiritual warfare. You are in a war. Guard your heart!"

I asked him how to do this, and He said, " With my Word."

Yes, I thought......Speak it, and use the Word of God as a weapon.

Joel finished meditating and as we talked he said he felt Holy Spirit tell him I was dealing (once again) with fear.  I needed to focus on God's Word.   I told him about my picture vision and he smiled and said, " I can see you in armor."  I asked him if it was gladiator style and he said, yes.  I told him that is was what I was seeing too!  It made us laugh.

Xena Warrior Princess morphs into Granny Warrior on a mission!  God's mission for my life.  We all have one.  A purpose, a plan, a mission from God, and He quips us for the journey.

That sword I was carrying....that sword I AM carrying......It is the sword of the spirit.  The Word of God that " is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edge sword..."  (Hebrews 4:12a).

It is important to wear the full armor of God, because the enemy does prowl around like a lion seeking whom he can devour.  He steals, kills, and destroys.  It is a war.  At times we are asked to let The Lord fight for us, and at other times we pick up the sword and fight, but we always wear the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the shoes of peace.  We carry the shield of faith, wear the helmet of salvation, and protect ourselves with the sword of the spirit!  (Ephesians 6).

I am still smiling over the Xena warrior attire, but I am not forgetting God's command to fight spiritual warfare with the Word.  That is one sword I plan to carry with me wherever I go.