Armoured Up

Archive for the tag “Faith”

He Hears…He Sees…He Moves

I’m doing a bible study on prayer and in it, the author writes about the blind man who called out to Jesus.  I paused for a rabbit trail to think about this man who had heard about Jesus, who heard He was passing through and waited. The noise of the crowd told him Jesus was near and so he cried out for Jesus, and then cried even louder when he was hushed. Jesus’ response before He responded stood out to me…four words caught my attention. “And Jesus stood still…” He hears.  Mark 10:49 KJV

In a similar situation, He encountered a woman with a condition which had been plaguing her for years….one which had zapped her energy, depleted her funds and dirtied her name, leaving her homebound and hopeless. She too had heard about Jesus and took a chance, knowing that any attention would likely get her in trouble; however, she knew she needed to reach out to Jesus…just a touch would make a difference. Jesus’ response before He responded stood out to me. “Jesus turned and saw her…” He sees. Matthew 9:22

How is it that in a throng of people pushing and pulling and jockeying for His attention, He was able to hear Bartimaeus? How is it possible with so many tugging at Him and pressing into Him, He was able to sense her touch? What caused Him to move on behalf of those who could do nothing for Him, who had nothing to offer? It was compassion…Compassion moved Jesus, but we cannot overlook the fact that it was faith which stopped Him and caused Him to turn around in the first place.

I’m encouraged knowing that in the midst of noise, be it in the world around me or in my circumstances, He hears the cry of His daughter and stands still to hear my heart. I’m encouraged knowing that He is not too busy to turn to the sound of my voice; to direct His attention to me; to show Himself strong on my behalf…and so I will wait….as He moves.

I’m encouraging you today to cry out, call out, step out, reach out, no matter what, in spite of whatever, and know that the God of compassion, God of mercy, God of comfort is waiting to hear your voice today, waiting for you to reach out, and He is the same yesterday, today and forever. You are His son…You are His daughter!

He hears…He sees…He moves.

“I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.” Psalm 116:1-2 NLT

“I TOLD YOU SO….”

“And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart…But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”  Genesis 6:6,8

God’s eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth in order to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.  His eyes settled on Noah who was doing something right.  What could that have been?  We could guess by the way he was described, that he had a relationship with God and spoke of Him freely; we could surmise that as a family man, he ran a tight ship (no pun intended, but it works:); we see that he was obedient and most likely mocked and judged; probably considered the neighborhood loon.  Chances are better than great that he was accused of being judgmental, critical, hateful; and if he would have had a Facebook page, I know he would have had only four friends…maybe seven.  But guess what…Noah was right!  I wonder if as he floated away he screamed out of one of those portholes….”I TOLD YOU SO!!!.”

I was pontificating with my sister the other day  on the phone the other day with my sister, the same one I would spend hours on the phone with cussing and carrying on about our views on life and stuff and during this conversation we touched on how far we’ve come from those days…how much our views on life and stuff have changed only because we have changed…thank God, we have changed! 🙂

I lived hard for the devil before I said yes to Christ, so it’s not surprising to anyone who knew me back then to see me live hard for Jesus now.  I was passionate about every view I pontificated about; held them hard and fast and would step up to whomever disrespected (or even disagreed with me).  A pastor I know once talked about having “bull dog faith” and he related the story of how strong his dog’s jaws were when they locked onto something.  He would play tug of war with him and his dog would be lifted off of the ground in a spin and no matter how fast he was spun, he was not going to let go of that rag.  That was me before Jesus and not much has changed, except I’m on the winning side now!

The part of the scripture above that has stayed with me since we began our study on Genesis in our bible study is how grieved God was with man.  I was touched at how God had such high hopes for man from the beginning only to have man’s incessant desire to oppose God; man’s disregard and disrespect of God; man’s desire to be like God, keep him from experiencing life as God had intended.  How sad that not much has changed and how daunting the feeling that I have that a reset or “redo” is due.  Last week we touched on the Tower of Babel and how unity which opposed God’s direction had to be broken up, but how telling the strength of unity is when God Himself said, “Indeed, the people are one and they have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.”  Oh that we (His people who are called by His name) could say that to be the case regarding the full counsel of His word now.

How grieved God must be to see the body of Christ fractured once again, looking anything but united.  How grieved must He be to know that the Bible, His word speaking to us, remains the most popular book never read; never obeyed.  How grieved must He be to hear His people say, God’s choice will be the President,  when He’s given us the ability to choose and to do so with His heart and His will in mind as WE choose.  Last I heard, God doesn’t vote.  How grieved must He be when He raises men and women of the word to declare His word fully and they don’t or are afraid to do so for fear of losing what doesn’t belong to them anyway; and even more grieved when His word is twisted and not even believed by those He’s raised to shepherd HIS people!  How grieved must He be when we thumb our noses at His word which is really clear on marriage; on killing; on Israel, the Apple of His eye.  How grieved must He be?  Only time will tell just how grieved.

I’m praying…more fervently than ever that the remnant would arise and declare His word over our nation; our families; our churches; God’s people (all of them); that the righteous would rise up and be heard; that we stop grieving God, whose hand shall remain on our country; on our families; our churches; His people (all of them) as long as He can search the world and find someone He can show Himself strong on behalf of, whose heart is loyal to Him…will that someone be you?

“If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.  NOW my eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer offered in this place.”  2Chronicles 7:14-15 AMP

A Perfectly Woven Web

When God has His sights set on someone, there’s no changing His mind.  He will move heaven and dip into hell to free the one who’s lost; He’ll leave the 99 to go after the 1 and He’ll use you to do it.  I received a prayer request about a lost dog and I found myself praying like never before that Comet would be found.  “Lord, show Yourself strong on behalf of this situation; prove that You have heard their cry and bring back Comet.”  Well, He heard; He moved and Comet is back at home.  I revisited this prayer request and once again marveled at its request-or.  I smiled as I recalled how God put us together, once again recalling with amazement the perfectly woven web He created…too perfect to be regarded as coincidence.  So perfect, it could only be God!!

Earlier this year, I received a 911 call from Victoria, a sister from church, about her friend (who had just started attending our church) who had absolutely stretched her to the point where she felt her counsel would be fruitless.  She said she called me because of the counsel I had given her in the past and she looked up to me, etc. etc…you see where this is going too, huh?  She wanted to know if I knew “someone” who could minister to this fiery little Puerto Rican.  Victoria knew exactly what she was doing, but as I listened I wondered if I would be up for this challenge, since I was still licking my wounds from a hurt I had sustained.  (God saw this as a perfect opportunity for me to finally disengage from my pity party…hearing myself encourage someone else using His word would no doubt shake me out of my funk.)  Of course, I took her number and called her and we spoke for quite a while and though she quietly listened, I felt that I needed to see her and sensed a bit of urgency since Victoria informed me that she was off to see a “spiritual healer” later that week.  I switched some things around and met her at Starbucks where we met over coffee, tears and transparency.  She released a whole lot about herself, her past, her present and her uncertain future, all pointing to someone who was desperate, scared and wanting to change…needing to change, but not having a clue where to begin.  As she was talking there was a familiarity about her.  I figured it was that we were both Puerto Rican…both fast talkers (not in the shady way) and I knew all about the fire I was picking up from her…that stubbornness…strength…loyalty…genuineness…love of family.  Let the weaving begin…

I wanted to switch channels to give her a minute to recover so I asked her about her family…where they lived currently…where they were from in Puerto Rico.  Her response almost knocked me out of my chair.  Her family is currently living in Chicago (I have family spread out in Chicago and Indiana).  Her extended family on her mom’s side lives in a small (I mean super small town) in Puerto Rico…the kinda small that says that if you meet someone who is from there, the chances are great that you are related somehow)…well as it turns out, my parents are both from this small town as well (they are NOT related, thank you very much:) and we’ve narrowed it down to where we must be related on my dad’s side since we share the same family name.  Get outta here!!  God’s got jokes indeed.  Now, it has become personal and I am fully invested.  We say our goodbyes and I promise to keep in touch…Oh, you bet I did!!  And so the weaving continues..

I got home and called my girlfriend who was busy preparing her message for a weekend retreat where she would be sharing her testimony.  She was excited at the prospect of my having met a potential family member and joined me in awe of that divine appointment.  She shared what she would be speaking on and as I listened I realized that her testimony was one that my newly acquired family member, “Mary,” needed to hear.  Rashayna would be able to speak to her and touch those areas that I would be unable to reach because she had the benefit of experience and had been to those places from which Mary was struggling to be freed.  Rashayna suggested that I invite Mary to the retreat (DUH, me) and I jumped on it!!  Remember Victoria the girl who called me to counsel Mary?  Well, I was reminded that she and Rashayna were former roommates and I later discovered that all three of these women worked for the same organization at one point.  Mary had heard of Rashayna.  Coincidence?  Nope…just part of that perfectly woven web.

I got “Mary’s” voicemail and left her a message inviting her to the retreat, telling her that I know that she’d be blessed by it.  I explained that I realized that it was super short notice and that she shouldn’t allow finances to affect her decision about going.  She would be covered.  I hung up the phone and prayed for her.  I knew the enemy was working overtime to keep her isolated.  I felt that she was probably regretting sharing all that she had with me and was most likely wishing that I’d just go away.  Rashayna and I began to pray for her.  Mary and I traded phone calls and we finally connected, she being prompted to trust me by Victoria (whose phone I was absolutely blowing up) trying to ensure that she get ahold of Mary since I couldn’t seem to get her to answer.  Persistence and I are one:)

I had to now brace myself for the retreat.  I wasn’t really too keen on going myself.  I didn’t want to process any pain in front of anyone…me and my hurt little self could handle it on our own as we usually did.  I knew this would not be the case now that Mary had agreed to join me.  I still wasn’t keen on going but now I had a purpose…oh silly me — who am I to think I have anything under control…the web was half way completed.

I couldn’t have been happier seeing Mary come out of the grocery store pulling her luggage, a look of uncertainty in her eye.  Her outward look matched mine; however, I wore mine on the inside…

I’m going to pause here and pick it up tomorrow.  I don’t want the length of this one to scare anyone away.  🙂

“For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.”  Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.  Than you will seek Me., inquire for, and require Me (as a vital necessity) and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found  by you, says the Lord, and I will release you from captivity…”Jeremiah 29:11-14a AMP

“Those words…those beautiful words…”

The word of God is living and powerful…it is able to reach into the darkest of places and bring light.  God showed this truth to me during a hospital visit and it served a dual purpose.  I received word from a friend’s sister that my friend had been hospitalized.  She was heavily sedated and would not even know I was there, but Marie thought it was important for me to know where my friend was, just in case.  With my bible in hand, I walked into her dark room and was met by her nurse who said I was welcome to visit, although my friend would be asleep throughout our time together.  Once we were alone, I approached my friend and I prayed for her and then decided to sit for a while with her.  She never moved as I pulled the chair across the floor to get closer to her.  I opened up my little book of healing scriptures and I began to declare the word of healing over her, personalizing each one.  It went something like this…

Ann, Jesus bore your sins in His body on the tree; therefore you are dead to sin and alive with God and by His stripes you are healed and made whole.  Ann, Jesus bore your sickness and carried your pain.  Therefore, you will give no place to such sickness or pain.  For God sent His Word and healed you.

I continued in this vain until I heard “Ann’s” voice.  It was groggy and soft, but I clearly heard her say…”Those words…those beautiful words…thank you.”  I approached her, encouraged her and then sat back down and read the rest of the book to her until she fell asleep again.

Recently, Ann and I were having some time in the word on the subject of prayer and I asked her if she recalled the above incident.  She said it sounded familiar, but she wasn’t sure.  On my way home from our time together I thought of the time my brother was on life support.  My sisters and I prayed together for his healing.  After we hung up, as I was washing the dishes I closed my eyes and saw my brother in a casket and I was shown who his pallbearers would be.  I immediately called my sister and told her we should change the direction of our prayer from healing to assurance of salvation.  I wanted to get that message to my other sister who was on her way to the hospital.  I wasn’t able to reach her but the Lord heard and later my sister told me that she had a strong unction to get in my brother’s ear and talk to him about Jesus.  His vitals had been on the decline, but while she was talking my brother was reacting, even though he wasn’t able to do so outwardly.  He passed away early the next morning and the Lord has shown us in many different ways that my brother heard and received.  This may be doctrinally challenging for some, but it has brought peace to our family.  When we met at my brother’s apartment to clean and pack his belongings, next to his favorite chair was a letter from me sharing my testimony and desire for him to come to Christ.  I know I will see my brother again.  Those words…those beautiful words!!!

The word is living and powerful…it is able to reach into the darkest of places and bring light.

Jehovah Rapha, My Healer

Exactly 11 years ago this month, I was living in the ‘burbs, as an at-home mommy to toddlers born 21 months apart. My baby was 14 months old. My husband was on the road a lot making it extremely difficult for me to get to church, which was quite a distance. My son was super busy and my daughter was super clingy and at the time, our church had no children’s church. The thought of schlepping all the way to church with two babies who I’d be chasing the entire time was not appealing so I was M.I.A. quite a bit. (I see clearly now the importance of a LOCAL church and it was by design that I eventually taught in children’s church, giving moms that much needed time in service to fill up!!) During that time, I found myself too busy and tired to even get in the word. After dealing with kids by myself all day and cleaning the house when they went down for the night, I would fall into a catatonic state in front of the tv night after night. My fire had definitely been put out. My first love was no longer first…He may have actually been at least fourth, before me, on a good day…and I can’t help but think that if He were keeping score, He would have felt used and tossed away. I had made Jesus my personal genie, benefitting from His goodness from the miracle births of my children to my staying at home with them to every other material blessing we received. He was now propped on a shelf somewhere, like my bible, if I could find it…collecting dust, I’m sure. It’s like I said, “I’ll take it from here, Lord,” and with a wink and a nod, I moved on and into a nightmare.

The Diagnosis

That day in August, I went to sleep feeling tired, but no more than usual and I woke up feeling strange. My legs felt cold, and like I had rubber bands fastened around them cutting off circulation. My feet were tingling. The symptoms progressed to where I lost feeling in my hands and my fingertips were now tingling. I would have what I call a feeling of “electricity” or a shock down my back whenever I bowed my head and I was exhausted….unnaturally exhausted. This went on for weeks without me sharing with anyone. When my husband finally came home in mid-September, he encouraged me to see a doctor. I was referred to a neurologist, but not just any neurologist!! I was referred to a spirit filled believer who put me through the most horrendous nerve conduction study before sharing the diagnosis with me. I was stricken with a mysterious neurological condition, called Guillain-Barre Syndrome…

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a serious disorder that occurs when the body’s defense (immune) system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. This leads to nerve inflammation that causes muscle weakness and other symptoms.

He had studied this disease, knew all about it and had even taught about it during his days as a professor. He said he had seen it pass through the system and there was nothing we could do except wait for that to occur. He would see me every three months. I asked him three questions…(1) Should I read up on it? “No.” (2) How long will it take for these symptoms to diminish? He responded, “Anywhere from now to up to 7 years.” (3) Will you pray for me? “I wouldn’t let you leave without first praying for you.” What a blessing to have my doctor lay his hands on my head and pray the prayer of faith over me.

I left his office that day and called my sister who works in the medical field to let her know how my appointment went. I mispronounced the diagnosis and heard her reaction followed by “Thank God you didn’t say Guillan-Barre. That’s a horrific condition.” She went on to tell me about patients she has seen with it. My legs got weak and I told her that was exactly what I had. Bless her heart…she tried backpedaling a bit, but it was too late. I know why my doctor didn’t want me to read up on it. He later confirmed that he didn’t want my faith to be shaken.

The Fight

The scandal was that I was in for a fight and couldn’t even find my bible.   Although I had left my first love, He never left me. He orchestrated that meeting with my neurologist. He was so good to me even though I felt so undeserving. I recall that first night, putting the kids down and collapsing on the couch and saying “Lord, I know You didn’t give me these kids for someone else to raise. If You heal me, I will serve You all the days of my life.” Side note…”If” is the badge of doubt in a prayer when you know the will of God. It is His will that we prosper and be in health as our souls prosper!

I began to feed on every healing scripture I could find. The pain was tormenting and the enemy did his best to weaken my faith. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came so that I would have life and have it abundantly. You know when you are in the fight of your life, you have no time to put down your weaponry because at every turn, the enemy takes swipes. His tactic is to wear you down…to chip away at your armour…to catch you napping. I recognized the pattern from my last fight of faith and I would not be moved, but that does not mean it was a walk in the park!! On three separate occasions I took some shots. One day I was driving and listening to Focus on the Family. I love testimonies and was enjoying hearing a pastor speak of his return to God after his father was taken from him suddenly..a victim to Guillan-Barre. Ooh, that hurt. Weeks later, my brother died suddenly which provoked an onslaught of symptoms, namely the news literally taking my breath away. Thank God my husband was home to help calm me and I dodged that bullet. Several months later, I was still experiencing symptoms…on and off and they seemed to flare up every time I talked about being healed. I was having dinner with my sister and her friend, a hospice nurse. She spoke of a patient…a young man in his 30’s whom she had been ministering to and there was some urgency, since this man would not survive. He was hooked up to a ventilator and was unable to move anything except for his eyes. He suffered from a “mysterious neurological condition,” she said. I asked her if she knew the name of his condition. Of course, it was Guillan-Barre. As soon as I heard that, I lost my appetite and noticed the symptoms were back stronger than ever. Side Note: How interesting (or typical of the devil) that since that time I have yet to hear of anyone having that disease.

Enough is Enough!!!

The year is now 2008 and life has gone on. I’m not as tired anymore, but there are still flare ups and the occasional feeling that I’m all abuzz. I sat in my favorite chair one morning with my healing scriptures on my lap writing in my journal…crying out to God, asking Him when I would be completely healed. “Please Lord…I’m your daughter! Don’t you hear me? Why haven’t I been healed. It’s been SEVEN years now!!” Did you catch that? In a split second I was reminded of the doctor’s time frame when he said I could be healed immediately or it could take up to seven years. I clearly recall after he said that, I counted seven years and thought to myself “that’s not too bad…I could do that.” I quickly repented for my lack of faith..for being double minded.. and in tears I declared my healing at that moment in Jesus’ name. With my hand on my heart, I promise you that every symptom left and I stood up from that chair completely healed and have been symptom free now for 4 years, this month.

This was a long one, and I pray you stayed long enough to hear that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever and He is no respecter of persons. If He healed me, He is willing and able to heal you. Don’t put your confidence in man or in man’s opinion. Put your confidence in Him and trust Him now for your healing. Do the Hezekiah (as I like to call it) — turn your back on that negative doctor’s report and focus your attention on Jesus…the author and finisher of your faith. Jehovah Rapha, my healer – He is faithful and moves when words of faith are released. Try Him! As my blessed mother-in-law would say…the only thing He cannot do is fail…and I’d add to that that the other thing He cannot do is lie!

Be Encouraged!

This morning as I was praying, Philippians 1:6 kept coming up…”being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  I gladly took a break from laundry to post this bit of encouragement to all of you wounded warriors, the broken hearted, weary, disappointed, overwhelmed.  He’s the healer of the brokenhearted; He is your strength, your comforter, your joy, your peace.  Those of you who have fallen and are embarrassed, feeling judged or humiliated, please know that “The righteous may fall seven times and rise again.”  There is NOW (like right now) no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness!  Be encouraged!

I was once followed into the prayer room at church by a young adult who came in to sign up to bring a dish to an upcoming prayer meeting/fellowship.  I picked up that there was something else going on with her and when I probed, sadness spilled from her.  She had a lot going on and life was getting to her.  She ended by saying that she felt she had no purpose and stopped short of saying that she no longer wanted to live.  I spotted a doorstop steps away from where we were standing and I walked over to it, picked it up and brought it to her.  I shared that “everything has a purpose.  This doorstop was created with a purpose; this rug we are standing on has a purpose…how much more purpose do you have…having been created in His image and likeness; having the mind of Christ; having Him housed within your temple.  Please believe that you have purpose!”

And so do you…and so do I.  The trials and troubles we endure will not shake us from our firm foundation.  Do not grow weary in your well doing.  He is the healer of all things broken.   I encourage you to arise, take up your sword and continue to fight the good fight of faith.  Press on to the mark of your high calling and recognize that “God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.  (He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.) Romans 11:29 AMP  The greater One resides on the inside of you prompting you, guiding you.  The angel of the Lord is encamped around you protecting you.  He is your sustainer, your healer, your provider, your protector, your redeemer, the lover of your soul and with long life He will satisfy you!   If the enemy could have ended your life, he would have done it already!  Be encouraged!

“Arise (from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you – rise to a new life)!  Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!” Isaiah 60:1 AMP  Lift up your eyes all around and see.

What If?…I just believed!

It’s been sweltering here in the valley. We have had a pretty decent summer, weather-wise until the last few days where the temperature has shot up to the 100’s. Late last week, I was in our yard in a chair under a tree just listening and enjoying some quiet time. I thanked God, among other things for our air conditioner which hasn’t failed us in this heat. Uh, later that night, the unthinkable occurred. Our unfailing air conditioner failed. The following day, our a/c guy showed up and the prognosis was grim. It would need to be replaced for a sizable amount or repaired for half that amount. He could also bandage the problem which MAY take us to the end of summer..he couldn’t guarantee that though. He made sure to repeat that part at least 3 or 4 times. I opted for my last choice, giving me time to do some research before we go the more expensive route. Daniel put the fix on and then we were cool again:) The fact that he couldn’t guarantee the bandaid stayed with me. What if this thing fails again before summer’s end? Uggghhh!!!

Yesterday I took the kids out for dinner since my honey is out of town and cooking in this heat was so not gonna happen. I checked for the ump-teenth time to make sure there was cool air coming from the vents, opened the door to make sure I could hear the unit on the side of the house and before I shut it down, I had a feeling it had broken down again, since I couldn’t hear it. That’s what paranoia looks like, folks. We left for dinner and that worry left with us. I got turned around on our way to dinner and when we finally arrived I was barely present…my mind going over all of the what ifs. I took the kids for ice cream afterwards and once again, the conversations are foggy; however, I can recite all of the what ifs going through my mind. I really did want to take them skating…it was family night, but instead I rushed back home to see about something I had no control over.

So, I was wrong and all of the scenarios playing through my mind were put to rest when I hit the cool button and all was well. I know better than to zero in on the possibility of the negative report…I’ve handled bad news before and have been able to stretch my faith to oppose the negative report. I’ve had many victories in faith. This weekend I wasted time worrying about something that could’ve happened, but didn’t and even if it had, I had no control over it. I allowed “what if” to control me and it stole time that could have been better spent with my kids, engaging with them, sharing, laughing, skating. All of that eclipsed by a “what if” that was not.

It’s those “what ifs” that really stop us from moving forward. Those “what ifs” that become stumbling blocks; set up to disturb our peace; distract us from our goals; remove us from the game. ** What if I don’t get the job; what if I do? What if the doctor is right? What if I lose my job? What if I can’t pay my bills? What if he leaves? What if I don’t get married**…on and on with the “what ifs.” They just don’t stop unless you stop ’em with a “What if I just believe God…that He loves me, has a great plan for me; has my future secured; meets all my needs. What if I believe I’m complete in Him; that He’ll never leave me; never fail me; always love me? What if I just believe?” So easy to say, not always easy to do.

Lord, I pray that our faith would be strengthened as we continue to learn to rely, adhere to, lean on and cling to Your word; I pray that we not be overtaken by the negative reports we face and learn to release Your word over our situation, trusting that You hear the cry of the righteous and move to the sound of our faith. I lift up every person reading these words and join my faith with theirs trusting in You who never fails, never changes, always loves; that You would show Yourself strong in their circumstances; be their healer, deliverer, strongtower, refuge, defender, provider in Jesus’ matchless name..Amen!

A Charger, an Extension Cord and the Truth…The Whole Truth, Nothing but the Truth…God Help Me!!!

I like lists…I like five point messages…when I pray, I string along at least three scriptures…more if I’m in the zone.  Just thought I’d point out my grouping tendencies, just in case you haven’t noticed.  You’ll never figure out the subject matter of this post by its title.  It very much described today…a special day for my daughter and me.  She and my son were gone for a couple of days to camp with our church’s youth and she returned tired and talkative and best of all, so happy to see me.  Yesterday we had some prayer time, she shared her pictures and we hung out in the pool and spent most of the day together.  Later in the day, she pulled out her journal to read what the Holy Spirit dropped in her heart during worship over the weekend.  I was tearing up as she shared her heart with me.  This morning she woke up looking for me again.  After we completed our chores, she watched as I squeezed lemons for lemonade and then followed me back to the living room asking me when we were going to start reading the books we recently ordered from Amazon.  She’s open and wanting to engage.  I watched her when she wasn’t looking.  I thought how blessed my daughter was to have someone to pour into her, life’s lessons; how blessed she was to know Jesus this intimately at such a young age; and then I thought of the huge responsibility on my shoulders.  I relaxed as I remembered that it not only was a shared responsibility with my husband, SomeOne much bigger, wiser, more loving and faithful than either of us was in control.

For the longest time I’ve known that today would come; I’ve sorta been preparing, but was not prepared, really.  I had cruised around this topic before, ducking her pointed questions on more than one occasion, recognizing that timing was everything and her immaturity would time after time prolong the inevitable.  Today was the day…the time had come…it had to be done and I had to be the one and she was ready so ready or not…I took a deep breath….and then started thinking about me at that age and how no one ever broke anything down to me.  Good grief, this was a joke.  What I learned, I learned from giggly, misinformed cousins and conversations overheard and possibly a book or two from a classmate.  I came out of that reverie, ready to take the plunge and I began by talking to her about hormones, body image, touch. I thought I’d break into a sweat when it came time to go in for the kill; break it down; seal the deal, especially when I noticed her looking out the window in a trance.  I tried to ask leading questions to see what she knew, but she wasn’t biting.  She did admit to having heard some things on tv which made her wonder.  As she was talking, I spotted my computer charger and an extension cord and was able to diffuse any discomfort by using my props to conjure up the image of women as receivers and men as givers.  I was swimming now, not flopping around and I had her complete attention.  I shocked myself with the words I was using…nothing X rated, but certainly “R” :).  I told her stories of my upbringing and then the lesson was over for now.  I kissed her and promised that she could trust me; that I would tell her the truth, the whole truth at all times.  She kissed me and thanked me and promised to trust me.  I walked away thinking about everything I said and all that I didn’t say and the rest that I need to say.  Ours will be an ongoing discussion…I’m believing that will be the case.

As uncomfortable the notion of going there was, I felt that it was time and I was much more self assured than I thought I’d be.  She was ready, more mature and I surely didn’t want her learning on the fly as I did.  I didn’t follow any prescribed method or five point message; I didn’t get any advice from Dr. Leman or anyone else.  I was led by the Holy Spirit who nudged me today…the timing was right…her heart was yielded…we got through it…it’s done.  For today anyway!

Whew!!  What a day!!

My Friend Ruth

I was blessed with an opportunity to teach at our church’s school of ministry on the subject of prayer, one of my favorite subjects ever!

Pause for a bunny trail…you know if you ever wonder what your strength is or what your calling is, take a look at your book shelf for a hint.  If you were to take a peek at mine, you’d see mostly books on prayer.  I love prayer…I see my prayers…I see myself in the throne room; I see myself seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.  I love prayer…I’ll probably touch that subject another time…back on track now.

Towards the end of the class I was sharing about prayer hindrances, unforgiveness being one such hindrance.  I told a story of a friend who had called me for prayer.  I knew that she and another friend of ours were involved in a scrape of some sort and I listened as she shared her prayer request, noticing that it was something that she had been anguishing over for some time.  I told her to get her bible and turn to Mark 11:23-24 “For assuredly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”  She was squealing with delight as she read these scriptures aloud and I could hear her highlighter screeching across the page.  I then asked her to read the next verse...”And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”  “Hello, hello, are you still there?”  <silence>.  Exactly!!!  I shared with the class that I didn’t know if she ever “got it.”  She claimed she and our friend had settled their differences…I knew they hadn’t at the time.  I encouraged my class to pursue peace, seek forgiveness early…release in order to receive.

After class, there were people who stayed behind for prayer mostly and I noticed a woman in her seat watching me.  She got up from her seat when everyone else had left and asked me if she could speak to me.  She told me her name was Ruth.  She was a petite woman and I towered over her in my heels and my instinct was to remove my heels to come down a little closer to her.  She was crying as she asked me to forgive her.  Huh?  I asked her whether we knew each other.  No, she said, but I have talked about you, I’ve said mean things about you.  I was a bit surprised.  This was a first for me.  “Have we met?  Have I been mean to you?”  She said, “No, you asked me to move over a seat in church.”  I asked her if I was rude and she said I was not and she realized it was her…all her.  I just melted as I listened to her ask for forgiveness as she tried to make sense out of something so senseless.  We embraced and I took her hands and we prayed and of course I released her.  That took some boldness.  Ruth is my hero!!  I have made it a point to look for her at church to squeeze her.  Ruth has become one of my greatest encouragers.  She has no idea, unless she reads this, that the Lord used her in a mighty way to encourage me.  She had grown accustomed to seeing me in a particular seat during a particular service.  She had not seen me and reached out on more than one occasion to encourage me and to reiterate how much she missed seeing me in my normal spot.  She was looking for me…she was missing me.  I’ll not forget that!  Thank you Ruth, mi hermana!!  Te quiero mucho!!! ❤

And when you least expect it, you find yourself forgiving someone for something only they were being tormented over; and when you least expect it, you release and encourage a new friend; and when you least expect it your new friend becomes one of your biggest blessings.

Forgiveness….necessary…empowering…strengthening…healing…building.

“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.” James 5:16 The Message Bible

“Be…quick to forgive an offense.  Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 The Message Bible

Me and my friend and sister, Ruth

Me and my friend and sister, Ruth

Perspective

Perspective:  a way of regarding situations, facts, etc., and judging their relative importance.

Perspective is a really interesting thing.  Interesting in that the same thing can be viewed by multiple people and each individual can pull from it a perspective completely different from everyone else’s.  People view situations from their perch bringing to the party their opinions born from their life experiences, their upbringing, their hurts, etc.  Perspectives can shift or change based on how often we do…at least this has been my experience.

Two major life changes turned my life upside down altering my perspective on a lot of things.  The first occurred in 1996 when I made the decision to make Christ the Lord over all that pertained to me (aka, I was born again or “saved” ) and the second came shortly thereafter when my children were born.

Having kids has opened my eyes to my perspective on things, especially in light of my desire to live a life pleasing to the Lord.  It’s been a process to put away the old patterns of thinking, behaving, relating, remembering…a process which has gotten easier with time as I have decreased and Christ in me has increased.  I find myself making a concerted effort to check myself when I  sense that I have or am about to “color outside the lines.”  I bite my tongue and catch myself before I slip into moments of past learned behavior, always choosing to do better since I know better and my kiddies deserve better.  So do I deny my past experiences – the hurts which have formed the person I am or the one I was?  No, I simply choose to not share my perspective so as to not alter theirs.  My memories or past hurts have dimmed quite a bit, replaced by the light of Him in me causing me to see myself, my circumstances and those around me in a more positive, loving, embracing, forgiving, compassionate light.  I see me as He sees me making my perspective a lot more positive which benefits me and those around me greatly.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:1-2 The Message Bible

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