Friday, September 30, 2016

What Is Right With People?

We are saying good-bye to September today.  The months seem to blend together and yet are divided by the elements and events of our lives.  Last September I was one week out of cancer surgery and recovering well at home.  This past year has been a bit of a roller coaster ride and continues I must say with all that comes at us from the political arena and the shootings, the stabbings, the bombs, the train and plane crashes. The police, the lone gunman, the radicalized, the broken all fill our screens and our minds with images we would rather forget.  My words are often an echo from one day to the next..........."What is wrong with people!?!"

It is too easy to focus on the worst of the worst laid out before us, so today I need to ask, what is right with people?  I can't help but think about the people in the most recent tragedy in New Jersey, who reached out quickly to help others even though they believed the glass ceiling was coming down and could land on them.  I remember the Somali citizens coming together in St. Cloud to condemn what one of their community had done in the mall that night...stabbing innocent people as he acted out his own twisted thinking on people shopping.  I remember those who went around in their cars praying over Charlotte, N.C. while other church leaders came between the police and those protesting and rioting.  I even remember our family during this political season, who gather together as one, yet vote both "sides" in the elections.  We don't always understand each other's perspectives, but we do respect each other and the right to vote each person holds.

What is right with people?  On Friday nights Steve Hartman always has a short segment at the end of the CBS national news that warms our hearts as he shares a story of what is right with people in our country. Joel and I try not to miss it.  It leaves us with a smile and a renewed hope for our country.

Forgiveness, honesty, understanding, service, love, peace, respect, encouragement, and so much more.  This is what is right with people.  And we need to center ourselves in the midst of all that. There are so many good, honest, loving, faith-full, forgiving, serving, respectful people in our country, in our world.  Oh, Lord, let me be listed among them.

Today, as I deliberately shifted my thinking from what is wrong with people to what is right with people the world came into balance once again, and my equilibrium returned.  It is a good place to be.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The River Reference

God has been highlighting Ezekiel 47 to Joel and me the past week.  In this chapter the prophet Ezekiel is shown by an angel the water flowing from God's Temple.  The angel first shows Ezekiel where it is coming from, and then he measures it..... first ankle deep, then knee deep, then chest deep, and then over his head.  On either side of this river 12 fruit trees are growing and they produce new fruit every month of the year because they are watered by the Temple river.  The leaves on these trees are used for medicine. It is a very interesting prophetic vision given to the prophet Ezekiel for Israel.

 God's references to a river first started on September 19th, a few days before our river flooded here in town. While meditating  I saw Joel by a river, fishing on the side of the bank.  He then put his pole down and took off his boots and socks, rolled up his pants and got into the river.  He waded around for a while and then immersed himself in the river.  While in the water Joel noticed a small waterfall where a fresh stream was flowing into the river.  He climbed out and started walking up the hill to find its source.  He came up to a huge boulder flecked with gold that was at least a 60 feet high. The water reflected off the dark colored rocks as it trickled down, forming a stream and then ending up in the river.  I then saw God's hands come out from the rock and He laid them on Joel's head.  As He did so I noticed that Joel's hair was dark black, like when he was young.  I heard "I have anointed you to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead."  Joel then turned around and he could see his life from this starting place and as it went down to the river.  On either side he could see things that he had been protected from, and as his life journey progressed the path got wider and wider.  At the end the path split looking like arms raised in praise to God.  I then heard the prayer of Jabez..."Oh Lord, that you would bless me indeed.  Enlarge my territory.  Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." (And God granted him his request.)   

What God showed me that morning led me to read Ezekiel 47 again.and then another devotional we read mentioned the river of God.  I remembered something similar in Heidi Baker's book, "Birthing the Miraculous" so Joel and I went back and read the chapter "Deeper Still", based on Ezekiel 47. We prayed that God would keep revealing to us what He wanted us to know about this river, because when we get the same message more than 2-3 times we know we are to pay attention.

Later that same day I went to Bethel Church's site and noticed that they were premiering the movie "Holy Spirit Reborn", so Joel and I decided to watch it.  I mentioned it in a previous post.  About half way through an evangelist from a South African villages spoke about how God came to him as a boy and led him to become a Christian.  He spent his time bringing Jesus and His healing power to the villages.  He talked about how Holy Spirit came into his life, sharing that Holy Spirit is like a flowing river.  He went on to that that when we are in a river we cannot control where it takes us, the current does that....and it is the same with Holy Spirit.  He takes us with Him and we are not in control, but we can trust Him with the journey.  He ended by saying "God is our Father and Creator, Jesus is our Savior, and Holy Spirit has been placed here in us and on earth now to empower and love us.   He wants us to surrender and let Him work through us in others."   Powerful.

So we know when we are just wading in a river ankle deep we can be in control of what is going on. When we are in knee deep we still have that control.  Waist deep as and it gets harder to go where we want to go.  Then when the water is up to our necks, we are not in control of where the river current takes us.  It is also the same with Holy Spirit.  When God asks us to surrender to Him and His plans for our lives, do we just wade in that, or do we immerse ourselves, trusting God to take us where He desires us to go.....trusting Holy Spirit as He blesses us.  Loving us, empowering us with that river of Living Water to be used by God for His plan and purpose.

I am sure God is not through teaching us about all the river references He has sent our way.  We keep asking for Him to reveal all He wants us to learn, difficult as it may be.

Pastor Seth Dahl says that Holy Spirit is never shown to be a depersonalized force.  He is God.  He wants an intimate relationship with us. He is not an "it".  He is Holy.  Part of the Trinity.  Not a wind.....but God's breath, living, powerful, and personal.  When Jesus left this earth he told the disciples that God was sending them someone to help them do even more than He had done.  Come Holy Spirit, come.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Showering Us With His Affection

What happens when God's way of communicating with us becomes new and somewhat mysterious?  I recall nearly three years ago when Holy Spirit made Himself known in a powerful way.  I had never experienced this kind of encounter and did not know anyone then who had, but during a time of worship in our home, He came like a heavy blanket over me.  It lasted for 4 months.   The first two weeks were intense and my body felt the Presence in such a physical manner that at times I needed Joel's support to walk.  Now, stay with me here, as I speak with honesty, because this is what I experienced.  This kind of physical and spiritual encounter continued at a lower level for over 3 more months, subsiding greatly by the end of the 4th month.  And then it was over.  It is hard to describe, but we definitely knew it was from God.  It put us on a quest to understand the experience more of course, and we have read about others with similar encounters since then.

 Saturday while watching the movie "Holy Spirit Reborn" a pastor asked this question..."Why is the church so afraid of Holy Spirit?"  With tears in his eyes he truly wondered why people are afraid to experience the Presence of God in ways where Holy Spirit is in control.  Well, I know I had little idea what I was doing when I asked God for "more" of His Presence.  I certainly was surprised when He gave me what I asked for and beyond!  I thought I had it all wrapped up tightly in a bow and I thought I knew how it would present itself.  Surprise!   BUT I would not have missed it for the world.  Not. for. the. world.  At the end of those 4 months I felt God's love for me in a way I never had before, I became good friends with Holy Spirit, and inner healing was a "side effect" of those wrap around, come on down, I desire all of you days.  I did not want it to end.

I have longed for that same season once again, but have not experienced it at that level.  I pondered why until I heard someone say that there are hundreds of ways to communicate with God and I realized I need to be open to how Jesus/Holy/God wants to communicate with me now in this new season of my life.

Through the scriptures we learn that Jesus wants a close relationship with us.  For each of us that will look differently, and we won't all experience His presence in the same way.  Still, He longs to talk with us and have us talk with Him the way friends do.  He walks with us through every minute of every day.  He is not found just inside the walls of a church, He is found in you, around you.

Abi Strumwell, a Bethel church teacher says, "A relationship with Jesus is not about is about having many different ways to bond with Him."  In nature, in music, in dance, in art, in laughter, in tears, in quietness, in loudness, in encounters that shake our world."

Holy Spirit is a gentleman and will not make Himself known in us unless we give Him permission, but He wants to draw us closer to our God and in doing so it will shake up our world.   Our God is without boundaries, limitless, and crazy about His children.  Yes.  He is crazy about us.  He wants to make Himself known in us and I believe He gave us a new Spirit to love and empower us as we welcome Him.  He wants to shower us with His affection in a variety of ways.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our soggy, wet, flooded corner of the world.  We have had quite a few days of heavy rain and storms resulting in major river flooding in our city and worries that the water standing in our yard would seep in to the basement.  So much rain.......The river came about 2/3 way up our hill to our cul-de-sac, but never made it to the top.  It completely covered the river road we walk and the association's prairie grasses and borders on the south side.  A few trees were lost in town, one in our association, but for us it was branches and twigs as winds were so strong.  It took Joel over 3 hours to clear the yard after the storms.  We have had a brief break today which has helped the yard to dry out some and the river to go down.  More rain is forecast for tonight and tomorrow morning and then with several days of sunshine forecast we hope to dry out here.

Park flooding

Speaking of drying out, one the reasons we love fall is it is dryer and that is not happening much here.  My body just feels better in a dryer climate, it was on our list for why we were moving to Arizona.  I even sleep better when it is dryer.    I keep wondering if this is the new normal....these heavy rain events.....flooding, high humidity and dew points.

Flooded East Park

We also were to be in WI right now watching our oldest grandson play football Friday night and Saturday morning, go apple picking, and see a place called "Holy Hill".  This "flood event" as they are calling it, is keeping us close to home to keep an eye on our house.  We were half packed, food prepared, and even had our hair cut.......we were looking good.....all ready for a fall adventure.  Very disappointing.

View of river from bridge

View of river road we walk along....
all road.

I have strong feelings about our media.  Have you noticed the changes in the tone of voice or intensity when the news in reported.  I have noticed it in the evening news, and have gone to watching only CBS because I don't feel wired up after watching.  I am sensitive to it all, and have noticed that fear, worry, and anger our news channels work hard that "selling" that to keep or gain customers.  This election is an example.  

Fall premieres have started this week, with NCIS (original) at the top of our list.  There are plenty of new shows but most of them appear to just be more of the immoral, unethical, fast paced kinda junk that fills up so many hours on the tube.   Last weekend we tried to rent a movie and could not even find one that held our interest!    We do want to see the new movie "Sully".  What do you enjoy watching?  

Last Sunday we worshiped at a nearby church.  It is a nice, but after going their twice we don't think it is for us.  Most of the time Joel is filling in somewhere, so he goes off early in the morning to preach to a congregation filled with people he does not know, and I stay home.  He loves to teach and preach, and we are both thankful he can, but..........but we are longing for our own church home where we are comfortable and have a sense of belonging.  There are lots of great churches........this quest is more about us than any congregation.  

Speaking of preaching, we heard this week about the death of a pastor friend.  When we met Lane he was in the military with Joel.  They were both stationed in Duluth together and we used to have him over for a meal.  He played a mean banjo!  He eventually left the military and became a Lutheran pastor.  Sadly, he died at the young age of 66.  It made us think of two friends from the Lutheran Bible Institute where we attended in the 60's, who both became pastors.   We have lost track of them over the years.  Time for a google search!

Speaking of, don't you just love Google.  I can type in a couple of words of a BIble verse and have the verses pop right up.  I often do Biblical word searches with Google and get good results.  I think God uses Google!  Just sayin......

We watched Bethel and the movie Holy Spirit Reborn, shown at Bethel.  It was intriguing.  I am still reading "Lioness Arising" by Lisa Bevere and have done some coloring this week to works!  

Until next time...............

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Voice Heeded

1970 Gold Nova

We spent close to two years in The Philippine Islands where Joel was stationed at Clark Air Base as a meteorologist.  When it was getting close to the time when we would leave, we decided to sell our 1970 gold Nova that had been shipped over when we left the states.  Except for the Americans, cars were few and far between in the country, and being it was only 6 years old, so we could get a good price for it.  We prayed for God to send us the right buyer and protect us in the process.

 After posting a for sale sign, Joel heard from two Filipino men who wanted to test drive the car and check it out.  He picked them up, one climbed in up front and one got in the back seat behind him.  As Joel was driving around Angeles City, they kept giving directions to him on where to drive.  As he was waiting to turn down a sparsely populated road they had directed him to, he heard a voice in his head say firmly, "Do NOT turn here."  He hesitated and he heard it again.  "Do NOT turn here."  Realizing quickly that he was not safe, he did as the Voice directed and drove straight ahead, pulled over in a busy area and jumped out of the car.  As he did so, one of the men reached over and snatched Joel's small calculator that had been on the seat.  Joel stayed a distance from the men and told them to get out of the car and leave the calculator behind. They did so and Joel got back in, locked the doors, and drove home.

Two days later he heard about a military man who was showing his car to two men who wanted to buy it.  They directed him to a remote area and robbed him, stabbed him and left him for dead, stealing his vehicle.  He was hospitalized and did recover.

As you can imagine, we were very thankful that God had kept Joel safe, speaking clearly to him at that moment in time, and most likely saving him from the same fate as the other officer.  We eventually did sell our car, being careful to have someone go along with Joel and stay in populated areas for the test drives!

Sometimes we hear God speak to us through His written Word, through the words of others, through devotionals, or our own thoughts.  There is the rare occasion we hear the audible voice of God. The point being made here is that I believe God is always speaking to us.  Through nature, through friends, strangers, books, the Bible, in our hearts and dreams and sometimes as a voice that comes out of no where while we are driving a car.  Today, Lord, let me listen for your voice!  Joel heard a voice....whether it was the voice of an angel or of God, he heard a voice and he heeded that voice.  In doing so it kept him from harm that day and for that we are so grateful.

Monday, September 19, 2016

His No Fear Plan

Watching the news Sunday night took me back to September 11, 2001 and the months following.  In April 2002, 7 months after 9-11 Joel headed to New York City as a representative from his Iowa Synod office. Lutherans were gathering together to unite in worship and to give pastors in NYC and the surrounding areas a well earned break.  Our son Matt, who is a police officer, went along with his dad on the 5 day trip, partly because he did not want him going there alone.  Joel was able to serve in the oldest church in New York state, taking a commuter train to get there.  It was a special time for both of them.   He and Matt also took in some sites like the statue of Liberty and ground zero.

This came to mind because of how quickly NYC officers responded to the latest bombing.  I remember Matt saying to me after he had been to NYC, that he thought it was the safest city in the country now.  He had noticed a police officer positioned at least every half block.  When we were there in 2013 I felt the same way.  Police were everywhere you looked.  E.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.

And yet in just 24 hours..............bombs go off in Manhattan and New Jersey............lone radicals stab people in a St. Cloud Minnesota mall we have shopped in ourselves............ It is all enough to give fear residence.

We once lived with a threat of violence in our home sometimes keeping Joel or myself alert into the morning hours. We lived with a threat of violence outside our home resulting in undercover police sitting in our church pews and years of extra precautions regarding our children.  We lived in a third world country with bars on our windows and security guards with shotguns walking our streets.  It was enough to give fear a home.

There is a healthy fear that is necessary, but living in fear can leave us breathless while feeling helpless to what is "out there" or "in here".  Having danced a waltz with fear in the past, I get it.  Yet, God..........

Yet God tells us we have not been given a spirit of fear....but of power, love, and a sound mind.  God tells us His perfect love casts out fear, to be still people.  Trust.  We do what we can within reason to protect ourselves and our family, but to live continually in response to fear is not part of God's plan for His children.  He has a no fear plan for us.

So much easier said than done, but God understands.  He has told us at least 365 times in His Word "Do not be afraid".  One for every day of the year.  He knew us before we were formed in our mother's womb.  He would not give us a command we cannot follow.  "Do not be afraid."  Yes, He has a no fear plan for our lives.

Do you have things in your lives that cause fear to take up residence.  Maybe those radicals carrying out acts of terror here in our own country, in our malls, on our streets.  Maybe it is hard not to pick up and carry the fear the media fuels for their own purposes.  Maybe it is a situation you deal with closer to home or a doctor's report that makes you forget to breath for a moment.

It is all out there.  It is a broken world we live in, and it feels like things are escalating along with our heart beat.  But God............

God says "I will fight for you, just stay calm."  "Be still and know that I am God"  "I am the Lord who heals you." "Remember.........."  Remembering what God has told us, remembering what he has done for us,  remembering what His Word tells us, activates the no fear plan for our lives.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday's Scribbles

A part of our walking paths

Good Saturday to you from our corner of the world where Fall is showing off with dryer, cooler temperatures and some trees changing colors.  It has been great to walk this past week and in the picture above you can see a part of a path we take here in our association.  It is a lovely place and I feel so blessed to have safe, quiet, beautiful walking paths.  Although on day last week a huge Malamute dog was on a skinny leash was barking and growling at us as we passed.  Not nice. Mostly we do not see dogs out on leashes in their yards.  Rules are pretty strict around here, except for the geese who ignore all the rules and like to slow down traffic while bathing in the street puddles!

We headed up to a suburb in Minneapolis, Minnesota Wednesday visiting with my sister who raised me, Gr. Jo to our kids, and taking her to PT for the fractured back.  We picked up take out lunch and headed to her place afterwards where we were able to help her get out her winter clothes and store the summer ones and do some purging.  There is always purging to do in our house it seems, although we did a lot of that when we thought we were heading to AZ.  Food for thought:  There is a bit of purging we can always be doing inside of us too!  That is much harder in my way of thinking.

Speaking of purging...grin.....the election can't come too soon.  I keep wondering what the media will do for drama and sensationalism once we have a new President in office.  I expect they will find something.  Drama and bad news sells.  I avoid as much of it as possible on the TV, radio, or social fact I just stop following those who continually speak hate, disrespect, or out right lies about the candidate they are not voting for.   I admire their passion, but don't agree with the negativity.

We had hoped to head up north this weekend to the 140th Anniversary of a country church where Joel served for 6 1/2 years.  Unfortunately neither one of us felt very good Thursday and even though we are still active at home, the funkyness continues.  We have good memories of our time at that church.  Delightful people!

Have you seen that commercial on TV with the dogs doing synchronized swimming?  We don't watch commercials often and always mute them, but this one had us laughing.  Speaking of muting...don't you love the mute button on our remotes?  So easy to shut off what we don't want to hear.  I wonder if God ever wants to push our mute button when we speak.  Sobering thought......Back to the dogs......if you need a good laugh seek it out.  Funnnnnny!

Last Saturday night we went to a musical with friends at Stebens Children Theater.  It was called "Smoke On The Mountain" and was about a pastor and the traveling family that comes to perform at their church.  It was funny and fun!  Have you ever been in a play?  I have not, but think it would be an adventure.  I do like to sing, but don't have a great voice like our son-in-law or grands.

Speaking of son-in-laws, our oldest son-in-love is having a birthday today.  He is a blessing for our family for sure.  He is a hard working, solid man who loves the Lord deeply, adores his wife and kids, is faithful and caring to his family and friends and serves his community and church.  Happy birthday Kevin!

Last night we drove over to our favorite Iowa lake and hung out.  It is quiet there now with most of the tourists gone for the season.  A couple of years ago we were going a few times a week to take in the hustle and bustle, and the great views, but this year we have been over there only a couple of times.  Sunsets are so pretty we decided to take one in.  Joel took these with my phone.

We have continued to watch Bethel's and Charis Bible College teachings, read aloud from the Azuza Street Miracles book, and get our daily devotions in.  Joel has done more writing than me as he edits his book on healing......

So what have you all been up to?  Any good books to share?

Until next time...............

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Autumn: What's Not To Like?!

signs of fall on a rainy day.....

In the midst of a heat wave, someone on Facebook asked an interesting question a few weeks ago....."What sound do you like?" The question brought to mind my favorite time of year.......Fall!  I love the sounds, colors and smells of fall, so I decided to spend time thinking about my favorite season.

I don't think I could ever tire of the beautiful sounds that come with Autumn.  The sounds of the crisp yellow, gold and brown leaves blowing in the wind have their own song.  The squirrels running through the grass blanketed by leaves causes a distinct rustling noise.  The geese flying overhead give fair warning of what is coming.  Even the wind sounds different to me in the fall.  It is a time of year I wish lasted for 6 months, but there is purpose for the four seasons.  It is one of the special gifts of living in the Midwest, having four different seasons every year.

Winter brings it's own silence.  Snow falls quietly, the mounds of white seem to insulate us from too many sounds, but the howling winds in a storm, and the crunch of snow under our feet.  We often hunker down here, bringing out afghans, wool slippers, and warm clothes, along with puzzles, books waiting for attention, and the TV.

Spring is usually damp and sloppy, but welcomed!  Birds return and grace us with their special greetings and the squirrels run across our roofs at random.  Rain is heard as it nourishes the land and soaks into the thawing ground.  An owl hoots outside our window at night.  The trees bud and lilacs bloom.  Neighbors shake off their winter doldrums and seek the out of doors once again.  Greetings are often more of a conversation, instead of a quick hi as we rush inside.

Summer explodes with color, fresh air, planting and growing. The birds chatter and sing constantly, delighted to grace our world with the creator's goodness. We have a resident wren that delights us here with songs of love and new life. The sound of children playing reminds me of when our kids were young and embracing the freedom of lazy, hazy days.  Porch sitting makes the sounds of summer enjoyable, except when the heat and humidity drives us inside where we listen to the hum of the air conditioner.

We are in the beginning of Fall now with the crisp nights and dry warm days.  I love it~!  Most snow birds who live in the heat of the desert leave when temperatures hit 100.  They head back to summer green and cooler temps but I think I would prefer coming back in the fall when I could enjoy my favorite season of all.  Autumn.  It brings with it a deep sigh and the question....."what's not to like"??

Monday, September 12, 2016

Living in Obedience

"I don't want to preach or teach anything 
that does not make someone want to crucify me".
Bill Johnson

My response to Bill's radical statement is, "No worry there, Bill."  Some call Bill Johnson a healer. Some call Bill Johnson an anti-Christ.  Some call him a cult leader.  Some call him pastor.  It never ceases to amaze me how some "crucify" what scares them.....or what they don't understand, or believe. Verbal crucifixion......not to take away from what our Savior went through.   Whatever this 5th generation pastor is labeled, I think it comes from the filters the "some" use to live life.  We all view life through filters.  Joel and I have listened to him for 4 years now, and have not found anything that would make us feel he is not Biblically sound and authentic.  We don't always agree with everything he preaches, but we have seen a humble man who love the Lord with all His heart and is obedient to God.

But some are quick to condemn.  To criticize.  To judge.  Some are especially eager to judge if someone is sharing a new way of thinking, outside of their areas of comfort.  Joel and I have worked hard to be discerning when hearing something out of our comfort zone.  We ask Holy Spirit for guidance and affirmation of what we are hearing. God is always teaching us more and we are eager to learn, but it is not always easy to keep criticism out of the equation.

Getting back to what Bill Johnson said about what he is called to...............revival and the healing movement.  They have a membership of around 8,000 in Bethel Church, Redding CA, but also have people come from around the country and the world on a weekly basis.  Several of their staff speak and teach around the world.  It was not always so.  When Bill took over the church 20 years ago, he felt God tell him this church was about revival, Holy Spirit, and healing.  Many people in the church disagreed with him.  One long time elder told him, "I know that what is happening here is from God, but I just can't handle it."  He left along with about 1,000 other church members.  Bill stood his ground and slowly they saw the church thrive, healing come, and the presence of God respond in powerful ways.  Bill, Kris Vallotton, and others still take a lot of flak, but they prayerfully continue forward in their desire to serve God and His people.  What they teach as a whole is Biblically sound, but it would be a full time job to answer the questions of critics, according to Bill.  He is obedient to God not man.   I have to respect that.  We have seen that on a smaller level in another church out in CT.  Pastor Teske was healed by God and told to bring healing and Holy Spirit into his Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. He often had healing gatherings where no one showed up, but he continued to be obedient to God and now has a thriving congregation which even holds its own healing conference.  We went there in 2013.  Bethel is next on our list.

I believe Joel is like Bill Johnson and Paul Teske.  I know, I know, I'm kind of prejudice....but that is okay.  He is obedient in telling his healing story.  He is obedient in sharing his strong convictions about Holy Spirit, and on healing and deliverance being connected to salvation.  He has unwavering belief even when he sees his wife challenged by sickness. He does not let what others think or say get in the way of speaking his beliefs and praying for others.

When he feels a nudging by Holy Spirit, he obeys.  Like the time we were in a Amish touristy type store in southern Iowa and as we were browsing the aisles, Joel turns to me and says, "I have to go back and pray for that woman."  "What woman" I asked?  "The woman back there having lunch", Joel responded.  In all my great confidence and faith I replied...."Okay, then, you go ahead and I will wait here." Yeah.....not my best moment.  After wrestling a few minutes with my own thoughts, I decided to go support Joel.  He was already on his way back to me....... He had asked her if he could pray, explaining that he noticed her head shaking and that he felt God wanted him to pray for her.  She cautiously said yes.  So he did.  A brief prayer at which time her head shaking went down to barely noticeable.  It did not totally go away, but he felt he had done what God had asked him to do and he moved on.  Just like that.    He has prayed with a stranger in the aisle of Menard's.  He has prayed in tongues over someone who wanted speaking in tongues defined and then to hear it.  He prayed and the man felt heat go into his body.  Thank you Jesus.  He is always courteous and respectful, asking permission first.  He often tells his healing story.  He also tells people they can speak to their own health problems in Jesus name and by His authority.  He has had people think that we believe our prayers are better than theirs.  Not a chance of us believing that, but he does want to share what we learned about healing and prayer.  He has not had out right criticism to his face, here in the Midwest things come across sideways....but it would not stop him if he did.

So I have been pondering what Bill said today.  Do I write and speak in a way that would make others want to "crucify" me?  I know when I write about healing or Holy Spirit manifesting, people get stirred up, but sometimes I am too careful in what I for thought.

As Christians we know ISIS would love to kill us all.  Does it stop us from proclaiming Christ? What about Kayla Mueller who was kidnapped, tortured, and killed by ISIS over in Syria.  The second in command of that terrorist group told other captives she had converted to Islam but she adamantly denied it.  She was made a sex slave to this leader, and eventually killed when Jordan bombed the place she was staying. She would not give up her beliefs even to stop the torture. She died faithful to God.

We do not have to worry about such things here, and we may never be challenged as Bill Johnson and Paul Teske are, but maybe, just maybe, we need to step out boldly and speak what we believe without worrying about being criticized or "crucified" by the "some". Maybe we need to be a voice.   Maybe we need to speak and live out our faith with courage and love, and most importantly out of obedience to Jesus, who is not only our Savior, but Lord over our lives.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of rainy damp Iowa.  I think round 4 inches fell in the last 36 hours and with the rivers already full and the ground saturated, our park here in town is flooded and some ditches are full.  We had a lot of humidity and high dew points again, and then that plummeted and thankfully colder air came the rain can leave....and today it had.  The sun is shining and that makes both of us here happy!

Last weekend at my class reunion, one friend said they were heading back to Arizona the next morning.  He could hardly wait to leave the damp humid weather behind, preferring 100 degrees in a dry climate.  I agree.  So does my body.  Speaking of reunion, it was great fun to get together and see familiar faces once again.  My friend Lana had a lovely luncheon before the dinner and program that night.  We were back home in our own bed by midnight.

Sunday we headed over to our favorite and only area lake and spent a couple of hours at the fun annual "Antiques in the Park" event.  It was packed.  We went to one of our favorite venders and found an end table for our living room.  We needed one more and searched for the right width and cost....praying if there was one there that we would spot it.  We did a couple of minutes later and it is working out perfectly!  It is an old sewing machine table with drawers.  We love all these refurbished treasures and enjoy finding something with a history.

New end table

Labor day we got together with my sister and her hubby for lunch and a long afternoon visit.  Tuesday Joel and I decided to clean this 2750 square foot house with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms all in one day.  I ended up having to clean one small bathroom and the kitchen on Wednesday...I pooped out before I got everything done on my list.  One more time I will say..........this house is TOO big for TWO people.  Thursday was the physical and whole mammogram drama (read here) which I am still recovering from.  Friday rain and more rain and a lot of sitting and writing.  Tonight we head to a play at the Stebens Children Theater here in town.  Should be fun!

A few teachings, a powerful sermon on church and government at Bethel Church, and America's Got Talent kept us occupied and entertained this week.  I am astounded by the talent people exhibit.  I will say there is one couple that are "clairvoyants" that give Joel and I really bad vibs.....They are very talented and good at reading minds, and we are truthfully thinking their abilities are not from God. Just sayin'.  

I'm still reading Lisa Bevere's book and also meditating on Joshua and Caleb's journey into the promised land....  What are you reading?  And what is your "promised land"??

Friday, September 9, 2016

Angels In Red

I went for my physical and mammogram yesterday.  I am always hoping I won't here any bad news, but usually something crops up, and it did.  Minor things really, but frustrating and requiring something further.  Moving on from the doctor I headed over to the imaging center for a mammogram.  Yesterday Joel told me he had been praying about my mammogram and God had shown him a picture in his mind of the word "clear" over my right breast.  I paused and said, "I have two breasts you know..."  Two to pray for.  So when the tech told me I needed more pictures on my left breast a fear gripped my heart.  Was God telling us something?  I focused on one of God's promises to me from 4 years ago......

"I will give you back your health and heal your wounds"  
                  Jeremiah 30:17

Then the tech came back and said the Dr. wanted an make sure that what he sees is all there is...... and again as I waited and waited for a last minute ultrasound,  I prayed and spoke the verse God had been sending me all week...

"The Lord will fight for you...........just stay calm".
Exodus 14:14

Just stay calm.  He knows me well.  God knows I don't stay very calm with health issues.  I fought Lyme 27 years, cancer twice, and glaucoma for several years.  The Lyme was healed by prayer, the cancers by God using doctors and radiation.  The glaucoma is still awaiting it's healing and is managed with drops.  You would think I would be used to things not going smoothly, but I am not.  I still can become a slave to fear as I go through tests, procedures, etc.  I still have a love-hate relationship with doctors, hospitals, etc.

As I waited I talked to God about my fears, declaring I was over this medical crap!  Enough already....I asked for His help on this one.  I thanked Him for fighting for me.  He quietly and patiently listened, I'm sure.  I texted with Joel what was happening as he sat in the waiting room, and he sent me encouraging texts back.  Time went by.

The ultrasound went well, with a new tech chatting with me as she worked.  She shared she was going to a Bible study that night....I had said nothing about my faith.  I asked her what church she went to, and she said she was raised Lutheran but now was just a Jesus lover.  She had gone to a Holy Spirit conference at our son's church in the Twin Cities....we talked about that a bit and I shared that Joel was a pastor.  She went to take her results to the radiologist....once you have had breast cancer there is no waiting for following day results.  They are given to you before you leave the building.

She came back and said it still looks round, smooth, and has no markers for cancer.  Thank. you. Jesus.  She told me I would need to come back in 6 months for a recheck and asked if there was anything else she could do for me....I said, "Well, can you make it go away"  She said, "I can pray for you..."  I told her I would like that, and she did pray for me and for healing, and as she did tears fell on both our hands clasped together.  After she finished I told her that God had provided me with a gift today....her.  I briefly shared Joel's healing story.  She said to me, "It had been a long rough day" she said,  and she felt God blessed her with having me for her last patient."   We closed the place down, there was no one else left in the clinic as we hugged and Joel and I said good-bye.

Isn't God amazing?  He provides for us in the most amazing ways.  Certainly I desire to walk in divine health.  Certainly I want to hear only good news when I go to the doctor.  It is on my "bucket list"!!  But we are never alone on our journeys through life and God sends His angels to help us along the way.  Some of them wearing red hospital uniforms!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken

"So, since we find ourselves fashioned 
into all these excellently formed 
and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, 
let us just go ahead and be what we were made to be, 
without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves 
with each other , 
or trying to be something we are not. "
Romans 12:5,6 (Message)

YOU are unique, created by our Creator to be so.  Unique is defined as being the sole example of, only one, without equal or rival.  Do we really get that?  I have been told by doctors for more years than I can remember that my body is "special".  Unique in how it functions, responds, acts.  It was not a compliment and I hated hearing it.  I just wanted to be "normal", whatever that was.  I just wanted to be like everyone else.

Reading Lisa Bevere's latest book and NY Bestseller, "Without Rival" I am getting a different perspective on this "unique" me.  It has been enlightening, comforting, educating to read what God whispered in her ear about His daughters.  What He wanted her to share with His children.  We hear over and over we are not what we do, how we look, where we live, but the secular world defines us as such.  We define ourselves by what we accomplish, comparing ourselves to others to see what standard we should uphold or reach for.  Yeah.

What a waste of God's handiwork as He with His Potter's hands lovingly shaped and formed each of us uniquely. Because we hear we need to be more "Christ-like" we seek to be someone else, someone better, stronger, more loving, etc.  And yet we are told in the Bible that Holy Spirit changes us, our own efforts are really fruitless.  So how do we seek to be more "Christ-like" while accepting ourselves.  We begin by embracing who God created us to be. By loving the person you see in the mirror.  Our identity comes from God, not what we do, how we look, or how we live.  Our uniqueness is from God.  As we love ourselves, we are giving thanks to our Creator who loves us beyond our understanding.

"God loves each of us as if there was only one of us."
St. Augustine 

God loves each of us as if there was only one of us because there is only one of us.  It blesses and pleases God when we don't compare ourselves to others, or try to be someone else.  Just be ourselves.

So we ask the question, "Who are we?"  Our identity comes from God and who HE says we are.  We are God's child, a daughter or son of the King.  We are uniquely created by our Creator.  Who does God say we are?  Who does God say you are?  Sit quietly and listen to what He puts in your heart.  Let Him speak to His beloved and remind you who you are. Embrace and love yourself, be yourself, because everyone else is already taken!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

We Were Created For Relationships

Going to my class reunion this past weekend brought up quite a few memories.  Some good, some not good....Junior High and High School are often tumultuous, but there were always friends you could rely on.  I spent most of my H.S. years "going steady" with one guy, and I worked part time at a nursing home, so I sometimes missed out on friends and school activities.  But those friends were always there.  There were slumber parties, dances, games to attend, phone calls, and church activities since most of my friends attended the same large church in our city, St. Olaf Lutheran.  It takes up nearly a city block and when I attended they had several pastors working with the congregation.  It was the beginning of the baby boomers.....lots of kids.....lots.  I can "see" other baby boomers nodding their heads in agreement!

The house I lived in with my older sister and her family, is gone now, as that whole area tended to flood with the winding river visible from our backyards. Things changed in the family dynamics, and life moved on.  I have pondered why my ties there do not draw me back, but I realized it is partly because Joel did not attend the same school as I did. He is not from my "home town" either.  It makes a difference.  And we have never gone to Joel's reunions, since he had only a couple friends in H.S., and was more of a loner (which is hard to imagine when he is such an extrovert).  He spent most of his spare time helping his brothers on the farm and his mom who went back to work because his dad died and that shifted his priorities.

Having moved 22 times, Joel and I learned to "move on" after leaving a place~ good or bad it is what it is.  The military taught us that along with the ministry.  When you leave a church, you don't often go back to visit, especially in the early years, because the congregation is adjusting and hugging on a new pastor.  So going back or longing for what was has never been part of our lifestyle.  We have a few precious long distance friends we have hung on to from the past 48 years but mostly pastors lead lonely lives in the friend department.  Then came kids, sickness, choices, life. All that being said,  I pondered as I observed the strong connections with people at the reunion.
Speaking of life, I asked Joel what he would really miss about Mason City if we left here, and he shared three things.  Then he asked me and I had two things...well not things, but people.  My sister and her hubby, even though we don't see them too often, and the friends we connect with at times.  I know I would miss other things like our neighborhood, the walking paths,  and all the people we know.  So we asked ourselves if that was enough to keep us here.  (Our children and their families don't live here.)   As you can see, the issue of moving or staying has not been settled...:-)

I asked what was a priority for moving?  Joel said, "God's will" and we added to that, friends, and a church where we feel we belong.

So why bring all this up?  Because healthy, loving relationships are vital for our health. I saw that being lived out at my reunion.  The hugs, laughter, patience, tolerance, compassion, the love. I saw that when the Quilts of Valor organization came and handed out quilts to the vets in our class.  Many had been to Viet Nam and were treated poorly when they returned.  A standing ovation and presentation of quilts brought tears to the eyes of many, including those from our round table of friends who stood proudly before the class.  Tears flowed in classmates with gratitude and love.

God made us to interact with others and most importantly with Him!  A good place to do that is church.  I often hear "I don't need organized religion..... but those same people are deep into organized sports.  I went without contact with people for so long, and let me tell you, I was l.o.n.l.e.y.  Isolated.  I was missing something vital in my life then, and I treasure being "back in the world" now.  Oh, people, don't take it for granted.  And don't take for granted our freedom to gather together to hear his Word, the teachings of others, and to worship freely.  Cherish family, even if you don't agree.....cherish friends......cherish the ability to walk into the doors of a church and give praise to our Lord.  Cherish the knowledge that God wants a relationship with us.  Always.  We were created for relationships.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Saturday's Scribbles

It is Saturday morning here in our corner of the world......oh, is Monday isn't it.  Well, today the rain, humidity and rising dew point is back....but the past few days have been so nice with good fall weather making us smile.  I love fall....I love the dryer body is happy with the dry air.......yeah....I was meant for fall.

Speaking of my body, I fell on Thursday and the details can be found HERE.  I am doing much better than we thought I would.  A couple of bruises on my knees, one a bit swollen, muscle aches in arms and upper legs....but nothing to dwell on.  Soon after it happened I mixed coconut oil and lavandar together and massaged it on my arms, back, shoulders, legs and knees.  It was helpful I think. I walked nearly a mile the next day with no issues!  I am thinking I had some angelic protection as I hit the ground!

Last Saturday we had friends over who always challenge us to laugh more and be better people. Sunday Joel went off to preach at two churches in NE Iowa again and I was at home with Internet worship.  He went for a long bike ride on a great trail up in the area, seeing the prairies and rolling hills that make Iowa a pretty place to live.

I have been doing some research on my family history at  I have found some pretty good info, and I even found a bit more just by googling a family ancestor's name.  I love google!  I am looking into Joel's family now.  He had is DNA tested to see what is in his lineage.  Mostly what he thought, but a few surprises too.....we think those Vikings got around a lot!

On Saturday we went to my 50th H.S. class reunion in southern MN.  We went to my friend Lana's for a ladies luncheon...where Joel joined us!  Ha...Then off to the country club for a dinner and program with many classmates.  It was fun, and our table of 12 had lots to catch up on.  I actually recognized a few people I had not seen for a long time, but most were a reflection of us...grayer, older, and hard to identify .....thankfully we had name tags!  There were a few classmates that look to be about 10 years younger than us...and some looked older......Now getting past the outside, it was fun to hear where people are in their lives, give out some hugs, and catch up on their lives.

I have been finishing up a book detailing some of the miracles that took place on Azuza Street in CA in the early 1900's.  It is quite amazing to read about.  "True Stories Of The Miracles of Azuza Street and Beyond is a very inspiring book!  I have watched a few teachings, Joel and I have been reading Hebrews and discussing that together, and I am still working to finish "Lioness Arising".

Until next time................

Thursday, September 1, 2016

I Refuse To Partner With It!

I fell this morning.  I was ready to go walking, and went out the back garage door to find Joel.  The step there is awkward and I fell off the step going down on my knees hard on the cement.  I did not stop there though, as gravity quickly took me down on my hands and arms into the rocks.  On the way down I started yelling "nooooooo" but was still stunned to find myself laying flat, or as flat as you can with my belly and top half.  I had to yell for Joel because I knew I could not get up by myself.  My core strength is weak, and it would have been a challenge with nothing to support me.

My first reaction was to cry.  Yep.  I'm a cryer.....and then I just got mad.  After the anger came a bit of fear for the "what ifs" and then along came poor me.....The poor me person likes to visit if I am not careful.

After a brief check to make sure no bones were broken, Joel got me into the house and on the sofa where we went over a check list.  No broken twisted ankles......Knees red and right one swelling...bruises quickly forming.   When I knew nothing was broken, I said to Joel.  "I refuse to partner with this!"  I am walking and he said he would go along.......just in case.  Well, I got only half a mile in, but I walked.  Came home and iced my knee and tried to ignore the arms and wrists aching and the pelvic bones that hold arthritis talking loudly.  After a rest, my upper left arm is complaining when I lift it above a certain level, a few muscle aches are settling in.   All from a little ol' fall.  It causes me to pause and take stock of this broken body....So much of it has healed, but it still has further to go.

It would be easy to get discouraged.  It has been a rough week, heck, it has been a rough year.  IF I focus on all the situations we have found ourselves in......but that is not where we are to put our focus.  Today I am refusing to partner with any of that anymore.

Refusing to partner......I first heard that from Bethel church in CA.  It is usually used to combat the spirit realm.  Before you feel creeped out, remember the scriptures that tell us specifically with warning that we are not fighting with people but with principalities in the spirit realm.  That nasty devil is real.  His co-horts are real. No details given here, but Joel and I have encountered enough of the dark side of the spirit realm to not take it lightly.  But there is another spirit realm.....the good guys!  Angels that watch over us......Jesus and His power that lives in us ~ saves and heals us........Holy and His comfort and "dunamis"power that empowers us....God and His love and wisdom.  Yeah those are the good guys.  The Word says Jesus never refused to heal anyone.  Jesus said to speak to your mountains just like He did.  He told us He never did anything the Father did not tell him to do.  Jesus said He would send us a comforter...a dynamite Spirit that empowers.

It helps me to speak it aloud, what I am rejecting.  Refusing to partner with a bad attitude, a spirit of fear, the ranting of politicians, the bad reports on TV.  I refuse to partner with sickness or disease.  I refuse.

So today I refuse to partner with all that has gone on, is going on, and keeps demanding attention in our world or my broken body.  I refuse to walk in fear or pity or anger.  I speak to it all, commanding with the authority given to me by Jesus.   I remember His Word and take it to heart.  I refuse to partner with it.