Free At Last!

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Since then the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.   Hebrews 2: 14-15

Jesus took on flesh and blood because of His desire to share in our humanity.  He took on the yucky things about being human – sin, sickness, disease, lack and even death, so that we could be set free from them. And free from the fear that comes with them.

 Ever notice when you are facing something scary – a new diagnosis, another round of tests, a new symptom, a financial turn, a relationship problem, when the doctor calls and says, “we need to talk” how quickly fear comes in, how loudly it can scream?

A little girl I worked with was scheduled for dental surgery and for the week leading up to the surgery she kept saying how scared she was about it all. I kept trying to encourage her and told her how it won’t be as bad as she fears but I nothing I said calmed her fears.  When she finally had the surgery done, she was so relieved.  It didn’t hurt like she thought, in fact, she said she hardly had any pain at all!  Her fear was greater than the actual surgery.  For me, that is always the case.  My fear of some impending doom has always been greater than the actual event.  I have heard fear defined as:

False Evidence Appearing Real.

A smoke screen.

We read in Eccelestiates that there is a time to be born and a time to die but we don’t have to live our lives in fear of death.  Every kind of pain, sickness, and disease are forms of death and God dealt with death when Jesus died on the cross and three days later rose to live forever. Death has lost its sting, we are free at last!  Yes, one day we will die, but until then by His grace, we can live without fear of what tomorrow holds.

Jesus, thank You, for taking on my humanity and all the yuckiness that sometimes means.  Thank You for carrying the burdens I can’t and for releasing me from the fear of them.  Help me to walk in light of that truth and when fear comes against me, whisper to me “fear not”, remind me that You are my pathway to peace.  When I think of how much You love me, I am in awe of You all over again.  Amen.

reprinted from my blog  godhappenings.wordpress.com

Just Close Your Mouth!

The other day, I was around several other women and all at once we began sneezing. It was the weirdest thing.  Two of the women started talking about their allergies and I listened for a few moments.  I started to put in on that conversation actually thinking I could trump them with all the allergies I have been diagnosed with but then I realized something.  If I am healed, if I believe that has been taken care of and it is a done deal, then the words that come out of my mouth should reflect that belief.  I thought of all the times I had spoken words calling them my allergies and had pretty much accepted that since I had had them all my life, I would no doubt have them for the rest of my life.  I kept my mouth shut and reminded myself that they aren’t my allergies – they belong to the devil and I will no longer sign for that package every time he tries to deliver it.  Healed is healed and while sometimes I have symptoms in my body that would tell me otherwise, I have only to look at the beaten body of Jesus to remember that by His stripes I am healed and the words of my mouth need to line up with that fact, not with these symptoms.

Our confessions are important, we are created in the image of the God who spoke the universe into being.  Our words have creative power.  My sister’s pastor is fond of saying that we are the prophets of our own lives.  How true!  Jesus didn’t say we would have what we feel; He said we would have what we say.

Proverbs 18: 20 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit”.  What fruit are you eating? What did you speak into existence?  What package did you sign for?

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Remember the saying from the movie “Bambi”  – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.  Well, my paraphrase of that would be – if you can’t speak words of life and healing, just close your mouth!

Father, help me to speak words of life.  Help me remember that my words have power and help me to use them wisely.  Help me also to remember that these symptoms are not “my” symptoms and that Jesus took care of those symptoms on the cross.  Thank You that because of Jesus I can walk in divine health.  Amen.

reprinted from my blog  godhappenings.wordpress.com

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.

Fickle Feelings

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When my daughters were young, one of them used the word feelers for feelings.  We thought it was cute and never corrected it, in fact, we all adopted that word.  When someone was hurt, they would say “that hurts my feelers”.  For young children it was cute to confuse feelings with feelers, but for an adult, it isn’t so cute.  Antennas or feelers are used by some animals to guide their path; to help them find their way.  It’s how God made them.  For me to use feelings as feelers though is not why God gave me feelings.  Feelings are a part of being human, good feelings and the not so good, but they aren’t intended to be what guides our life.

In the years since I became a Christian, there have been times when I have not felt saved, or redeemed or forgiven or even worthy of love. But feelings are not what guides my faith. The truth from the Bible is that I am saved, redeemed, forgiven and worthy of love only because of what Jesus did on my behalf. I have to take that by faith regardless of how I feel. In the same way, I have to take by faith that my body is healed regardless of the feelings it may have at the moment. So when pain rears its ugly head, I have to remember the truth and that is that Jesus is Jehovah Rapha, the God that healeth me!  The feelings I have are not the truth; feelings are fickle and subject to change.  God’s Word is the truth and if He says by His stripes I am healed, then I am healed and these feelings have to line up with that truth.  And I believe they will.

What about you?  Are you being led by feelings and not by faith?  Are you feeling unworthy, unlovable, unforgiven?  Can I just say that feelings aren’t a reliable guide to the truth about ourselves, but God’s word is and it changeth not.  God changes not.  He is the same – yesterday, today, forever.

“Being healed is being saved in a physical sense.”  F.F. Bosworth

Jehovah Rapha, my God who heals me. How merciful and gracious You are to me.  Thank You for Your unchanging Word, for Your unchanging character and Your unchanging love for me.  Thank You that my body lines up with the Word of God and I am healed.  Thank You that whether I feel forgiven or not, Your word tells me I am.  In Jesus’s name. Amen

reprinted from my blog  godhappenings.wordpress.com

God With You, God With Me

Emmanuel

Written by Bob McGee

Emmanuel, Emmanuel,

His name is called Emmanuel

God with us, revealed in us

His name is called Emmanuel.

P1060202This song reminds us of a promise of God.  The promise of His continual presence with us, in us, around us, for us.  That means everything He is is with us, with me, even now.  Last night was another sleepless night because of pain and when I got up to a beautiful Saturday, husband and son off fishing, I had so many wonderful ideas of what I could do with my free time.  But once again, pain redefined how I would spend my day.

I started to wallow in self-pity but then this song came to me.  God is with me.  How does that help me today when I am wracked with pain?  Just this – in the Old Testament, when the people of God were going out to do battle against their enemies, sometimes they sought the Lord and sometimes, they failed to do that.  When they had His presence with them, victory was theirs.  When they didn’t, well, they lost the battle.  Time and time again.

In the New Testament, whenever Jesus showed up on the scene, people were delivered from demonic possession and healed of ALL their diseases.  God with us bringing victory.  Jesus with us bringing healing.

Ok, so my plans were changed once again by pain I’d rather not have.  But it’s my choice whether I wallow in self-pity or meditate on the nearness of my Savior.  One brings me peace and one brings me anguish.  

So my new plan for today?  Spend time with my ever-present Savior, my Healer, my Friend.  My to do list will just have to wait. Today, I will just hang out, I will just be a child sitting on my Father’s lap.

Emmanuel, Can I just crawl up in Your lap today?  Will You just hold me?  I need to feel Your strong arms around me, lay my head against Your chest and hear Your heartbeat.  Pain has changed my plans once again, but as I sit with You,  will You redefine my day for me?   I need You; thank You for Your promise to always be with me.  In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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

reprinted from my blog  godhappenings.wordpress.com


					

Sunset Falls

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Yesterday, we took John and the grandkids to Sunset Falls.  The day didn’t start out promising, let me tell you.  It was overcast, but the weatherman had said the clouds would burn off by noon (they didn’t), I was in a tremendous amount of pain, enough to make me sick at my stomach, and what could have been a 45 minute drive turned into and hour and a half because we went the wrong way more than once.

I’ll admit, to my shame, that on the drive to the falls, I was feeling sorry for myself and wondering how on earth I was going to get through this day and when, oh when God, were You going to just heal me?  I continued in this line of thought for a lot longer than I would care to admit.  Once we arrived at the falls, we got busy staking out our spot and unloading the van.  The kids headed immediately to the falls which was down a somewhat steep embankment, I followed and promised myself that I would only walk up this embankment one more time – when we were leaving.

At one point, I had had enough of me and my whining and I went to the picnic table and laid my head down on it and begged God to help me get through this day.  I remembered the verse from the devotion I posted the day before where God says He will quicken us according to His word so I began thinking of verses to quicken me.  I could only think of a few, my brain was so clouded with me, me, me.  But then I looked up at the tall trees all around me and noticed that I heard the creek and the birds and not traffic and I began to start thanking God for these things.  I looked around and found more things to be grateful for – time with 3 of our 4 grandchildren, time with our son and time with my husband.  I was grateful that it was overcast because we had the place to ourselves.  My list grew longer and as it did, my attitude changed and then I noticed that my pain level changed also.  I walked back down the falls energized and spent the rest of the day exploring with the kids and gathering fire wood and watching as the kids and Bruce built a large rock sculpture.IMG_3210

We helped the kids build a fire to warm up with after their swim and enjoyed the heat it provided for us all.

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Before the day was over, I had walked up and down that embankment at least a dozen times.  All of these things were done pain free.  When I decided to enter into the present moment and quit focusing on me, my pain level decreased drastically and my enjoyment of the day radically increased.  Nothing else had changed except my attitude.  I ended up having an incredibly wonderful (albeit exhausting) day with my family and the gifts of nature at Sunset Falls.

I hope I remember that the difference between a bad day and a great day could just be my attitude.  Are you having a difficult day?  A difficult stretch of days?  Could I encourage you to find a quiet spot and pour out your heart to God and then look for one thing to be grateful for?  Maybe it won’t turn your day around like it did mine, but what if it did?

God of Wonder beyond our comprehension, how amazing are Your ways.  When my day seems doomed, You are there, waiting, ever-patient and ever-loving to hear my cries and touch my heart. How I need You.  Every minute, every hour, I need You.  Thank you for Sunset Falls, and family and the clouds that covered our day and the fire that warmed us.  Thank You that Your thoughts are not my thoughts, thank You.  Amen.

Put Me Together Again

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I am afflicted very much; quicken me, O LORD, according to Your word.    Psalm 119:107

Quicken means to spring to life, to come alive.  God’s word promises quickening to me and to you – revival and restoration and redemption from pain, sickness, disease, poverty and lack.

Charles Spurgeon wrote this about the above verse:

Jehovah alone can quicken; He has life in Himself, and therefore can communicate it readily; He can give us life at any moment, yea, at this present instant; for it is of the nature of the quickening to be quick in its operation.  The Lord has promised, prepared, and provided this blessing of renewed life for all his waiting servants: it is a covenant blessing and it is as obtainable as it is needful.  Our forebodings under trial are often very gloomy; let us entreat the Lord to deal with us, not according to our fears, but according to his own words.

In order to be revived according to His word, we need to know His word, we need His word in us and before us. We need to read and study and meditate on His word like taking our daily vitamin or medicine.

The Message Bible puts it like this:

By your words I can see where I’m going;

they throw a beam of light on my dark path.

I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back from living by your righteous order.

Everything’s falling apart on me, God;

put me together again with your Word.

Festoon me with your finest sayings, God; teach me your holy rules.

My life is as close as my own hands, but I don’t forget what you have revealed.

The wicked do their best to throw me off track, but I don’t swerve an inch from your course.

I inherited your book on living;

it’s mine forever— what a gift!

And how happy it makes me!

I concentrate on doing exactly what you say— I always have and always will.

Psalm 119:107 Message Bible

Heavenly Father, Your book is a wonderful gift, love letters from Your heart to mine.  How blessed am I to have You and Your word living and active in my life.  Bring these afflictions to naught and restore to me for the years the locust have eaten.  When everything seems to be falling apart on me, would You put me back together again by Your word? Thank You for throwing a beam of light on my sometimes seemingly dark path.  Amen.

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.

Never Run Dry

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How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3

I live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains.  A lot.  The ground is able to soak up the water and seldom is there standing water on the ground.  That’s good when it rains but not so good for my yard when it doesn’t.  It seems like my yard goes from lush and soft and green to pale and crunchy and yellow in no time at all when the hot weather hits.  I spend more time watering it than I would like and it doesn’t seem to make much difference.  Apparently, what my yard needs is rain to thrive.

I thought of this verse today as I was watering.   It tells me that if God’s Word is my focus day and night then I will be like my yard in the rainy season – growing abundantly and lush and vibrant.  There will be fruit in my life and whatever I do, I will prosper.  Apparently, what I need to thrive is daily waterings from the Word of God.

According to this verse I also need to watch who I give heed to.  I have learned the hard way that when you are believing God for a miracle based on His Word, it is wisdom to watch the company you keep.  Not everyone will be in agreement with you.  Not everyone needs an opportunity to voice their opinion about your faith.  Obviously don’t walk with sinners or follow after the counsel of the wicked but don’t sit with the scoffers either.  And some scoffers may be in the house of God.  Or your family.

The promise of prospering in this verse is contingent upon making careful choices about whose advice we follow and daily meditating on the Word of God.  Like my yard that needs rain from heaven to prosper, I need the daily and nightly washing of the Word if I am going to prosper.  Prosper means (among other things)  “to have a successful journey through life.”   The Hebrew word shalom  can be translated prosperous also; and carries the connotation of completeness, safety, health, soundness, and contentment.  Need any of that?  I know I do.  This verse tells me I can have these as I meditate of the Word of God and carefully chose who I go to for counsel.

Jehovah Shalom, You are my peace, my wisdom, my counselor, my soon and coming king, my closest friend, my healer and I thank You.  Your provision for my healing in all aspects of my life is more than I can fathom at times, thank You that your ways are so much higher than mine.  Help me as I meditate on Your word to delight in You and Your word.  Plant me as You will and cause me to be fruitful for Your purposes, I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen

Refreshment

For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.  Jeremiah 31: 25

Here is a beautiful promise of refreshment to God’s weary ones.   Everyone of us.  Languish means to lose or lack vitality, to grow weak, to fail to make progress or be successful. Any of that hit home with you?  It does with me. I am tired of doctor’s appointments, blood tests, changing diagnosis, tired of trying new prescriptions, new supplements, tired of the pain, the limitations, tired of complaining.  Just plain ol’ tired. Fortunately, the ways God refreshes us are as limitless as He is.

I’d like to share how He refreshed me one day.  I work with kids and today we were in the gym and it was warm.  The air smelled like warm, sweaty kids, you know that smell, it isn’t real refreshing.  Someone knocked on the door and I opened it to cool, moist, spring air (and the parent that knocked).  I just stood there soaking in the air and enjoying it.

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 One by one, kids starting walking over to see what I was doing and before long there was a crowd of us standing in the doorway,

taking in the fresh air and marveling at how wonderful it felt.

Wonderful and refreshing.

Not a big moment, to be sure, but refreshing and satisfying.

Sometimes, I think we get so caught up looking for the big answers that we fail to see the little ones right in front of us.

God promises to refresh us – to satisfy us.  I think our role is to be open to the myriad of ways He may choose to do that.  It could be a simple as fresh, spring air.

Father God, thank you for recognizing when I am languishing.  For knowing me so well and caring for me so deeply.  Thank you for providing refreshment for me.  Open my eyes, I pray, to the wonders around me, wonders that bring Your refreshing touch to my life.  Amen