TCB

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…and having done everything, to stand firm.  Ephesians 6:13

When I was a kid, my Uncle Bob had a dog.  I can’t remember the dog’s name, only that it liked to chase kids and bite them.  Every time we were over there, Uncle Bob would remind us that when the dog charges, don’t run, just stand still.  The dog can’t chase if you don’t run.  Sounds like good advice, but I was never able to do that.  I ran every time the dog charged me.  I never got bit that I remember, but I remember dreading seeing that dog.  Each time I would repeat my uncle’s advice – stand still, stand still, stand still, but my feet ran anyway.

This verse is telling us that when we are being attacked by an enemy – be it sickness, lies, tormenting thoughts, disease, whatever – that there are things we can do and having done those things, all that is left is to stand firm.  Easier said than done. I know.  The things mentioned in this passage are the things referred to as the full armor of God.  Things in the spiritual realm.

In this time that I am in believing for a physical healing, in addition to putting on the full armor of God, there are things in the natural I can do.  I can choose to eat healthier foods, exercise more, learn ways of dealing with stress, and keep myself fed up on the Word of God.  In short, I have come to see that taking care of business means taking care of me.  This doesn’t come easy to me; I have taken care of other people all my life.  I was always on the bottom of the list and seldom were resources available for me by the time everyone else’s needs were met.

But I see it differently now.  I can’t take care of others if I won’t take care of me.  Expecting God to heal me when I won’t do my part is tantamount to tempting Him.  Ultimately, the end result is in His hands, but, by His grace,  I can take care of the business He shows me to take care of.

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Have you found it easy to neglect your needs to take care of others?  How has that worked for you?  What if we decide we are worth taking care of?  Would that be ok?

Thank You Lord, for showing me the importance of taking care of me.  Forgive me for all the years I have not done that.  Grant me the grace to change how I eat and exercise and anything else You show me to do.  I know You are my Healer God and I stand firm in that knowledge.  I will do my part, by Your grace and leave the outcome in Your hands, Amen.

Business as Usual

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 “Never, never, never, never give up.”

Winston Churchill

I was going to throw in the towel today on writing these devotions.  I was in pain and tired and quite frankly, becoming convinced that they were a waste of time.   Time I could better spend some other way.  I also have thought lately that they serve little purpose, in the sea of blogs and posts and books and written words, this is a plankton, who would miss it if I stopped writing?  Why not leave writing to the others who write so much better?

Sometime during the day though, I was reminded of this quote by Churchill.  I’ve often used this quote to help kids keep going when they want to quit but never really applied it to my life.  But then, I seldom set long term goals that stretch me like determining to write a devotion a day for a year.

I’ve used this quote, but I didn’t know the context until today when I looked it up.  Churchill said this after the Blitz.  The Blitz was a bombing campaign by the Germans primarily against England.  It lasted 10 months and killed about 15,000 people.  Addressing Harrow School, Churchill said, ” But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period — I am addressing myself to the School — surely from this period of ten months, this is the lesson: Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

The bombing was supposed to push Churchill into negotiations with Hitler, but they had the opposite effect largely in part to Churchill’s speeches like the one above.  The people were encouraged and became determined to make it through that difficult time without caving in.  They even put signs up on shop windows that read “Business as Usual”.  Churchill rallied the people and together they faced a difficult time.

My enemy seems small in comparison to Hitler.  My enemy doesn’t drop bombs on me, he just sits on my shoulder whispering thoughts designed to get me to cave in.  Thoughts like you’re not good enough, God isn’t going to heal you, no one cares what you write.  Maybe your enemy says similar things.  Regardless of the little bombs that come our way, the purpose is the same, to get us to give up.  Give up believing that good can come into our lives, that we can be loved and accepted, that we can walk without pain, find our perfect mate, see our wayward child come home, give up an addiction, get free from an abusive situation, etc.  Whatever the bombs, the answer is never give in.  Keep on believing, keep on looking to God, keep on believing the best is yet to come, keep on trusting.  Business as usual, never give in.

Lord, thank You for encouraging me today, I needed that.  Help me to be an encouragement to others as You lead.  Help me to keep walking the walk of faith, to refuse to give in to the bombing thoughts of my enemy.  Thank You for the victory I have in You, Amen.

 

First Round Draft Choice

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If God is for us, who can be against us?   Romans 8:31

Sometimes, I will admit, that when I come home from a doctor’s appointment, I question whether or not the doctor really heard me.  Is he/she really on my side?  Or am I just one of so many patients they try to cram into one day and move along?  More times than not, I have not been helped by doctors.  Seldom can I even get two doctors to agree on the same diagnosis and treatment.  Frustrating, to say the least.

This verse is a refreshing reminder that God is on my side.  He is not just sitting on the sidelines cheering me on, although I believe He is, but He is actively leading and guiding me on my own particular healing path.  As my coach and my cheerleader and my biggest fan; He’s my game changer!

Because God is for me, nothing that can come against me can stand against me.  Not pain, not sickness, not disease, not allergies, not carpal tunnel.  Regardless of the symptoms that may be raging in my body, I know who wins the game.  And it is not over until He says it is over!

How can God be on my side?  Because of the price Jesus paid on the cross, He took on everything the enemy could rightfully put on me so that I would not have to bear them.  You might say I was His first round draft choice, as were you and He wants us in the game.  Not because we are such great players, but because He wanted us on His team and wanted to bestow upon us all of heaven’s resources, including healing for our bodies – whatever is necessary to keep us in the game.  I can’t earn this; it is a gift of grace.  How amazing is that?

I am in awe of Your amazing grace, Father.  I am so grateful that Jesus took my infirmities and pains and sorrows and sickness so that I could be free of them.  What incredible grace! Thank You for being my biggest fan, my loudest cheerleader, my All-Wise and All-Knowing coach.  Thank You for placing me on Your team and assuring me of the victory, Amen.

 

Cheerful Disposition

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A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. Proverbs 17:22

Everyday at work, I greet parents as they drop off their children.  I ask how are you doing and invariably I get the same responses, “not bad for a Monday, well, it’s Wednesday, I’d be better if it were Friday, or just “ok”.  I listen as people speak gloom and doom over their days and their lives.  I commented to one woman that she must have really great weekends to dread Mondays and Tuesdays and all the other days and she said, no not really but at least she wasn’t at work.  And I thought how sad.

I listen to people a lot.  Standing in line at the grocery store, in the doctor’s office waiting room, my co-workers and the parents I encounter daily as they drop off their kids.  I hear gloom and doom and marvel at the things I hear them say – well, its allergy season, I guess I’ll be sick for months, I got a raise but I bet taxes will eat it up, my mom died of cancer, I suspect I will too, my kids are teens now, I am sure they will do drugs and get in trouble and on and on.

They look tired, they sound tired and this verse tells us why.  They have spoken words over their lives that have left them bone-tired.  Words that would better left unspoken.

What kind of words are you speaking over your life?  Words that create a cheerful disposition or words that create bone-tiredness.  It’s not easy to speak cheerful words all the time but it is a habit that can be developed.

Stop and listen to yourself, to others and see if there is room in your conversation for cheerful words that are good for your health.

Thank you Father that my joy is not dependent upon circumstances or on how I feel.  I choose to be cheerful, I choose to watch my words, help me to be a minister of words that heal and dispel gloom and doom, and where I have spoken ill-thought out words over myself or someone else would you bring them to nought?  I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Kingdom of God

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… and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you”.   Luke 10:9

When Jesus sent disciples out to minister to people, He made it clear that the kingdom of God and healing are inseparable.  Healing in His kingdom is a given.  I am a child of the kingdom – the kingdom where there is no pain, no sickness, no disease, no cancer, no arthritis, no immune system disorders, none.

Jesus prayed, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”.  One of the purposes of sending Jesus to us was to open our eyes to see the kingdom of God here on earth. This was the “good news” that He gave us through Jesus, that His kingdom was being established on earth.  But how and where?  Certainly not in big buildings or governments establishments or even in the best of churches.  Mike Wilkins says this of the kingdom of God:  “The disciples could say to the people,  “the kingdom has come near you”, because it had. It had come near in the way that they were behaving.  The kingdom is a kingdom of blessing, of friendship with God and His people, and it is a kingdom of healing – physical, emotional, spiritual and even cosmic or environmental healing”.

The disciples part in this was to just believe and step out in faith.  That’s our part too, isn’t it?  Believe in His word and step out in faith.  And watch His kingdom explode here on earth!  How exciting is that?

Jesus, Thank You for showing us glimpses of the kingdom.  Let Your kingdom come here on earth; the kingdom You have invited us into.  Thank You for making the way possible for us to draw near to our Father God and receive all that He has planned for us, including healing.  Help my unbelief when it rears it’s ugly head and forgive me for it and help me to step out in faith to do all that You have called me to do. In Your name I pray,   Amen.

Pleasant Words

    untitled (27)Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  Proverbs 16: 24

Pleasant words – words that encourage and lift up, words that minister life and grace and love and mercy.  Heard many of those lately?  Spoken many of those lately?  Sometimes, I have to admit, I am careless in my speech.  I speak from habit and convention.  People ask, “How are you? and I say “fine” whether I am or not.  And no one seems to really care.  And I think what difference does it make?

The woman at the counter at Walgreen’s knows me better than that though.  I can’t dismiss her concern; it is genuine.  I find myself being honest with her and she is honest with me.  We are both in pain more hours of the days and nights than we care to count anymore. How refreshing that honesty is and it opens the door for pleasant words to flow back and forth.

Because we can be honest with each other, I can encourage her and she can encourage me.  It is a pleasant exchange, but Proverbs would lead me to believe it is much more than just that.  It is actually sweet to my soul and healing to my bones. And hers.

It is good for us to have those people in our lives who speak pleasant words and it is good for us to be those people in other’s lives.  Who, but God, knows what kind of healing we could bring to others just from saying pleasant words?  What about you?  When you aren’t “fine”, do you have someone you can receive encouraging words from,  someone who is open and honest with you?  Can you be that kind of person to someone God puts in your path today?

Lord, forgive me for the times I have been careless in my speech.  Or worse, forgive me for the times I have been indifferent.  Help me to minister to others with pleasant words.  Help me to speak to myself with pleasant words.  Help me when I am harried, or anxious or in pain to remember that one word can make a difference if it is spoken in love and it is pleasant.  Amen.

Now Choose Life!

I woke up the other morning in a terrible funk.  It was 1 am and I had difficulty returning to sleep.  The problem was severe pain in my left hand.  Enough pain to nauseate me and keep me awake and cause me once again to question divine healing.  I have been reading a book entitled “You Can Be Healed – How to Believe God for Your Healing”  by Billy Joe Daugherty.  He was our pastor in Tulsa for five years.  I loved him and loved that church. The problem in those early morning hours was one that had been darting in and out of my mind for days.  One of the last chapters in the book is called “How to Live Longer”.  He wrote about Psalm 90:10 which says’ “The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years” and numerous other verses that promise long life. He talked about making our words line up with the Word of God and building our faith and such.  He wrote about how death is our giving up our breath, not succumbing to disease that takes us out early.  All good stuff.  All Biblical stuff.   The stumbling block to me that week and that early am was just this….  Pastor Billy Joe died before he was 60 of cancer.

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As I lay there that morning my thoughts ran like this – if God didn’t heal him, a pastor, who devoted his life to ministering to people, ushering countless thousands of people into the kingdom of God and witnessing miracles of healing too numerous to count, then what chance did I have of being healed?  I am a homemaker, a mother, a wife, a grandmother.  My greatest success in a day is getting dinner done and not leaving the kitchen totally trashed.  And some days even that doesn’t happen.

I continued along in this line of thought no doubt because of pain and low serotonin until I started building a case against me being able to receive healing from God. But when I got out of bed that morning I opened my devotional and read this verse: Romans 8:32 -He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

I gotta say it brought me to my knees and to my senses.  God is not holding back on me.  I can’t answer why I still have so much pain when I believe (most of the time) for my healing.  And I can’t answer why Pastor Billy Joe died before 60 but I do know that I can choose to look at the stumbling blocks that cause me to doubt or I can look at the promises God gave me in His Word.  But I can’t do both.  The choice is mine.

untitled (8)In Deuteronomy,  the people of God are given the choice of choosing life or choosing death.  Seems like a no brainer, but God knew it wasn’t.  He gave the answer, choose life.  “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live”

Looking at the unhealed, cataloging the pain,  listing evidences that would tell me that God doesn’t heal today or won’t heal today is choosing death.  Looking at the promises of God is choosing life and the choice is mine.  Today,  I choose life. Among the first words Pastor Billy Joe’s wife Sharon said publicly after his death were words spoken in connection with diving healing.  She said, “I still believe”.

In spite of the pain that would tell me otherwise, I too, still believe.

Father forgive me for doubting Your goodness and Your willingness to give me all things?  Even healing.  You didn’t hold back Your own son and You are not holding back on me now.  Help me to look beyond the stumbling blocks and the unanswered questions so that I can fix my faith on You and goodness.  Amen.

Healer or Healing?

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“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” – Matthew 6:33.

For the past 4 years, I have been in pain and suffering from intense insomnia, racing thoughts, depression, anxiety and if that weren’t enough, severe arthritis in my knees, ankles, and toes.   I have been diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica and chronic pain syndrome was prescribed high blood pressure medication, morphine, steroids and sleeping pills.  After declining all the above treatment options, I called my sister Janice.

She and her husband are nutritional consultant gurus and started me on a path of healing through nutrition.  Going this route for healing takes time, not just the time to wait for natural cures to work,  and time to figure out which of the natural cures are going to work for me, but time to do what is necessary for that healing:   preparing fresh veggies, making foods from scratch to avoid processed foods,  determining food sensitivities and allergies, juicing, finding the right supplements, exercising, studying to understand what she is telling me and why  and still doing everything else I was attempting to do before in my roles as mom, wife, sister, employee.   I do these things because I want to become well, so much so that, in all honesty, becoming well has become like an idol to me.  I am focused on it, probably obsessed with it and now becoming well has become like an all-consuming god.   I tell myself that being a good steward of my body is godly and question how can I serve God and take care of my family if I don’t first take care of myself and these things are true.  But there is a higher truth and that is that God is my Healer.  Somewhere in the midst of seeking healing, I lost sight of the Healer.  Not so much because I doubt He is my Healer; that truth is settled in my heart as I have received several miraculous healings by His grace.  No, I lost sight of Him because I didn’t seek Him first.  I was too busy taking care of me and focusing on all the things I need to do just to get through this day and one more probably sleepless night.

Today when the pastor talked about worship, I knew that no matter when or if my healing manifests this side of heaven, God is worthy of my worship.   He is worthy of my seeking Him first.  Sometimes, I’ll be honest, I sought Him out for what He can and will do for me and I think that is ok, after all,  He says He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.  But lately, I have wanted my healing more than I have wanted my Healer and that is not ok.

His word says that if I will seek Him first, He will add all these things unto me.  I am not sure what all these things entail but I sense that if I diligently seek Him, some of the “all these things” just might not matter so much anymore.

Jesus, I know You are my Healer.  Forgive me for the times I have placed my faith elsewhere.  Help me to balance out all the things I need to do in my day for my family and for my health remembering to put You first.  Thank You for showing me the things I need to do for good health and for granting me the grace to do them.  Amen.

Do you need healing?  Can I pray for you?  Please let me know.

reprinted from my blog godhappenings.wordpress.com

Happy Hour

Today, as I was driving to the river for a swim, I caught bits and pieces of a conversation that my son and his friend were having in the back seat.  What I heard went like this:

Khris:  When I used to live over here, I would walk there every day for Happy Hour.  Happy Hour was from 2:00 – 5:00.

John:  Yeah, I’ve been here for Happy Hour.

Khris:  They really have some good drinks here.

At this point, I am ready to slam on the brakes and get to the bottom of this story.  Why are they talking so freely about Happy Hour and I am sitting right here???!!!  These boys are 13 and 14 years old.  Happy Hour – really???!!!

But then John says:  I just love their cherry limeades.

Phew!

Turns out they were talking about the Sonic Drive In but I was too busy watching the road to notice it.

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Taking Bible scriptures out of context can lead to some wrong assumptions just as surely as overhearing that conversation led me astray.  It is funny to me now, but at the time, I didn’t think it was so funny.  When I was young and married to my first husband I didn’t know too much about the Bible.  My husband and his family did and they let me know this regularly.  They were of the belief that women should not cut their hair, should always wear dresses and that TV was of the devil.  I did cut my hair, I didn’t wear dresses and I loved TV so there were some disagreements.  I felt at times like the Bible was being used as a weapon not to conform me into the image of Christ, but to conform me to their image of the ideal wife and daughter-in-law.  I was too strong willed and rebellious to fall into some of their stuff but I bought more than did me good. Not knowing scriptures hurt me.  The Bible says that for a lack of knowledge, my people perish.

Without trying to be critical here, I would like to point out that that continues; people using the Bible to manipulate others and if we aren’t careful, we can be led astray.  Because I have been pursuing the topic of divine healing, I have read many articles, books, scriptures and encountered many different takes on the subject.  I am not an expert on the subject, but I have read enough to know this:  whatever  may be said about divine healing,  it behooves me to build my theology on the word of God and not exclusively on the teaching of others or on the experience or lack of experience of myself or others.  I need to know what the Bible says, what Jesus says and build my faith and my trust on that.  I need the whole counsel of the word of God, not just one or two verses of scripture pulled out to serve my purposes.  What I see when I read from Genesis to Revelations is a God who desires wholeness and healing for His people, those who have chosen Him to be their God.  He seems to be a God of restoration, healing, deliverance to those who call upon His name.  But don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself, please.

Father God, You have revealed Yourself to us in so many ways, reveal to me any truths I believe about You that simply aren’t true.  Teach me through Your word, help me to discern the truth when I am listening to others and grant me the grace to accurately handle Your Word as it brings truth and revelation and healing into my life.  In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Turning Cartwheels

Not all of my days go the way I planned them.  Some fall short of my expectations.  Sometimes pain interrupts my plans.  Sometimes it is because of something I did or did not do; sometimes it is because of something someone else did or did not do.  Sometimes my long term projects fall short of completion.  Sometimes my goals, my hopes, my desires get lost in the shuffle of today and all that it offers.  This verse speaks to me for those days:

Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen,

Though the apples are worm-eaten  and the wheat fields stunted,

Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty,

I’m singing joyful praise to God.  I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.

Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,  I take heart and gain strength.

I run like a deer.   I feel like I’m king of the mountain!

Habakkuk 3: 17-19  Message Bible

Would it be ok if I put that into my translation, in terms I can relate to?

Though my body is aching and my joints are rebelling,

Though my plans didn’t work out and the doctor had bad news,

Though the bank account is dwindling and the bills are stacking higher,

I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.

Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,  I take heart and gain strength.

I run like a deer.  I feel like I’m queen of the mountain!

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Praise is at times an overflowing from the abundance of my heart, other times it is a sacrifice: a decision I make in spite of circumstances.  Praise is acknowledging God for what He has done on my behalf.  Even if today I have doubts and can’t think of what those things are He remains the same – loving me, healing me, watching over me, forgiving me, providing for me, reassuring me, upholding me in His righteous right hand.  Even on days when I forget to sing joyfully, He still dances over me with joy!

Praise doesn’t have to loud and extravagant, but it can be.

Sometimes it can be a simple, heartfelt thank you.

Father, I am counting on Your rule to prevail in my life, in my body, in my finances, in my will.  I surrender to Your plans for my day and Your provision for this day.  This is the day You have made and I will rejoice in it.  If my plans fail to go my way, will you please have them go Yours?  Thank You that I take heart and gain strength as I wait on You.  Amen.

Do you need healing?  Can I pray for you, with you?  Please let me know.

If you have a healing testimony, I would love to share it.

reprinted from my blog  godhappenings.wordpress.com