Tell Your Storm: BE STILL

2023 seemed to come in like a storm. 

As if the previous years had not been hard enough from both a personal stance and in the earth, this new year came in like a hornet’s nest that had just been knocked to the ground. And you know how violent hornets can be when disturbed.

Destruction buzzed furiously as it crept out of hiding.

I felt like it didn’t matter that the few years before seemed intolerable and unrealistic. This year’s relentless assaults appeared immediately and with such determination that the previous years seemed like a baby’s lullaby in comparison.

Just look around you at the disasters, the deaths, the political madness that have been shouting throughout the earth, not to mention the personal woes that may have been trying to knock on your door. I have heard them try to knock on mine.

BUT…..YES, there is a but to this story!

If ANYONE has read the stories from the Gospels, you will recall the story of Jesus sleeping in a boat during a raging storm on the Sea of Galilee, as the disciples reacted in fear.

“Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.”   Matthew 28:4-26

The words that seemed to slip off the page and into my spirit were: “he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.”

Often we talk about we have little faith and/or how we must rest during a storm. These are great principles to live by. We should rise up in faith and rest in the Lord despite what we see, despite the storms raging in our midst.

But what was highlighted to me this time, was the concept to rise up and tell the winds and the waves – (the storms) – that are ravishing our lives: BE STILL.

How can we do that?

Jesus stated in John 14:12, “I can guarantee this truth: those who believe in me will do the things that I am doing. They will do even greater things because I am going to the Father.”  (GWT)

So how can we do greater things? He said we’d do greater things because when he went to the Father the Holy Spirit would come to the earth and fill his followers (and that includes you and me) with his power. (Acts 1:8)

But like Jesus we can do nothing on our own.  Jesus stated in John 5:19,20 that he could do nothing but what he sees his Father doing. He had spent a lot of quiet time, praying and learning to listen to his Father’s voice. (And we should follow that example. John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice…”)

With that in mind, each miracle of healing that Jesus performed was different. For some he only gave a word at a distance, others he touched, some he sought after, and in other circumstances people sought after him. Each event was directed by his Heavenly Father.

Like the healings, the seasons in his life differed, as well. While in the boat, during the storm, he rested. But in the garden before his crucifixion, he prayed and he asked his disciples, as they slumbered, “couldn’t you stay awake with me for an hour?”  He later suffered unimaginably on the cross, though because of that, he triumphed in victory!

There were seasons to rest, seasons to war, seasons to suffer and seasons to conquer. He perceived the times and heard the Father.

I say all this to say that there are times and seasons for everything as Solomon had expressed in Ecclesiastes . God is always on the move. He is not stagnant. He is alive and his words are alive. There are times the Lord may ask you to pray for a particular person and other times he will want you to remain quiet.

In this season of time (at least in my life) I believe the Lord is saying: “Tell the raging storms that are surrounding you: BE STILL.”

So today, I thought about the storms in my life and in the lives of my loved ones, and said, with authority: BE STILL.

A calm and a peace has followed.

I believe there is great victory on the horizon for God’s people. That is why the darkness seems to be invading and why wickedness seems to prevail and why the voices of evil are screaming so violently.

It is the last screams of the dying giants that used to mock you. It is the last scream of the lies that tormented your soul. It is the last scream of defeat and hopelessness anxiously calling your name.

Don’t be afraid of what you hear or what you see because the Lord is saying to the giants in the land: BE STILL. He is encouraging each of us to slay the giants and quiet the storms that taunt us (and the God we serve) just as David did when he slayed Goliath. God has given each of us the authority in HIM to rise up in prayer and declare to the giants and say to the storms that rage war against our souls: BE STILL!

What are your storms? Rise up and tell your storms: BE STILL!

Storms will come
They can be strong and fierce
They scream and twirl
And like a sword, they can pierce

Where can you find freedom
From a storm that rages?
Is there a hidden place
From the war it wages?

There is a place of rest
In the one who spoke peace
Who with words of authority
Made that violent storm cease.

I pray for peace in your midst
During the storms you may face
But also for great victory
So stillness can take its place.

Be still and know that HE is God. God bless.

The Lady Behind the Door

I am not sure of the year, but the event echoes in my mind. It was a warm day under the hot Nevada sun. I had heard about a home Bible study group that was in a small senior apartment complex in the southern part of Henderson, Nevada. I attended a large church in Vegas and thought it would be great to get into a smaller group to actually form relationships with other people, instead of just being part of an unknown crowd.

So, I typed in the address that I had found on the website, into my cell phone’s GPS. I found the apartment complex easy enough and parked in one of the many spaces available. I had the number of the building and of the apartment, but once I walked into the courtyard, I wasn’t clear which building was which.  I figured I would simply knock on a door with the same number in hopes that I was at the correct building.

An elderly lady came to the door. I asked her if this was the apartment that was hosting a Bible study. When she told me it wasn’t, I thanked her and began to turn around to continue my search. But instead, the frail old lady looking back at me through the crack in the door asked if I could please come in and help her. She had wanted to watch a movie but didn’t know how to work her remote, nor was she sure which remote went to which TV or DVD or VCR player.

I hesitated because I was already late but couldn’t ignore the pleading in her eyes. She pulled the door  wide open to welcome me into her home.  As my eyes began to adjust to the darkness of her home from the bright sun outside, I saw her despair. I cautiously walked behind her as she led me into her tiny studio apartment. In that one-room home was a small kitchen on one side and a mattress on the floor on the other side with one lone chair. It was positioned in front of two old CRT television sets, each sitting on separate portable metal stands. One had a VCR player connected to it and the other had a DVD player connected to it. And cluttered on all the open floor space was jumbled stacks and stacks and stacks of movies, some were VHS movies while others were DVDs.

She told me she had wanted to watch a particular movie but wasn’t sure which remote went to which TV and/or which video system. I am not real savvy but thought I could try to help her. She mentioned that she was going to have someone come by but wasn’t sure when they would be there. And so, I set my purse and my bible on the floor and tried to figure it out for her. After several minutes it was all sorted out and she thanked me and then wanted to just talk. I listened to her stories and found out that in her younger years she had actually been a cook for a time for BB King. She proudly pointed to a lone picture of the singer on the otherwise empty walls.

We chit chatted a bit more as she walked me the few steps back to the front door. Because I don’t believe there is ever a coincidence in a believer’s’ life, I asked her if she knew Jesus and if she wanted prayer. She said yes to both. So, in the small dark studio apartment we prayed together. Tears streamed down her cheeks. We hugged before she left, and she asked if I could stop by again sometime. I nodded in agreement, thinking I probably would be here again anyway.

Surprisingly as I turned around, after she closed the door behind me, I saw the number of the apartment I had been searching for in the beginning.

I thought I would return the next time I came to the Bible study. And I want to proudly say, “I did return, and we became close friends”.  Wasn’t this a “God ordained meeting”? But instead, I have to report that I never did go back. The meeting moved locations and busyness took my time from me. After several months I forgot and eventually moved away. Sometimes it really bothers me. How could I not return? How could I forget a lonely person that longed for companionship? I can only hope and pray that God heard her heart, and though I know God forgives me I was not the blessed person to meet her need.

Fast forward several years later to December 2022 and several states north. I am attending a small church in the great northwest and have had the opportunity to create lasting friendships. From those friendships I was invited to a Christmas painting party. I love to paint, especially with friends. It sounded marvelous. One of those friends offered to give me a ride. She had been to the house before, so I gladly accepted.

The snow blanketed the roads, so it was difficult to find parking. She remembered though that there was an open parking lot near the home that was hosting the party. That was convenient. So, we parked and marched through the heavy drifting snow. We were coming in a bit late, so instead of knocking on the door we thought we would just let ourselves into the home.

My friend went ahead of me and announced our presence. Except there was no party there. There were no people. Were they in the back of the house? And then we heard a lady frantically asking who was in her home.

“Oh no,” my friend said frantically, “this isn’t the right house!”

I was hysterical. Part of me was laughing uncontrollably. The other part was anxious, and I pushed my way in front of my friend running towards the front door, loudly whispering behind me, “hurry”!

She, on the other hand, was trying to apologize and explain our plight. I hurried out the front door and hopped like a bunny through the deep snow, which I had previously dredged through, back to the parking lot and back to the safety of her car.  My friend was trailing behind me at a slower pace. I was still laughing uncontrollably when I opened her passenger car door and ducked under the dash. We could hear the owner of the house holler from her front door,

 “Are you the people who were in my house?”

My friend apologized and said she thought it belonged to a friend and she was sorry.

We did eventually find the house, which was only a few houses over. After the party my friend thought it would be nice to bring over some cookies and apologize again. I was not in agreement but followed behind her. My thought, let bygones be bygones.  

We knocked this time and an elderly lady, in her pjs and pulling an oxygen tank behind her opened the door. As my friend apologized again offering her a peace-offering of cookies she also asked if she knew Jesus. The lady said she did, but she had to stay at home these days because of her health and the weather. She watched on TV or online but didn’t have many visitors. I suddenly remembered that tiny frail woman in Nevada who longed for companionship, who was deeply touched when I prayed for her.

My aloofness turned into compassionate boldness. This was my opportunity to pray.  After getting her permission, I came into her home (invited). I held her hand as I began to pray. This was an individual whom God loves and did not forget but I felt the weight of loneliness surround her. Tears filled her lonely eyes, and she thanked us.

What is the takeaway from this? For me there are many things.

  1. There are a lot of people in this world…a lot of people going through heartaches. I hope to return and visit this lady, and that is our plan. We NEED one another. Look for opportunities to spread hope.
  2. Be ready in season and out as found in 2 Timothy 4:2 ” Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.” (NIV)
  3. When or if you make a mistake, ask for forgiveness and move on. I would have loved to return to the lady at the door in Nevada. But, though I didn’t I believe God still comforted her, but I missed out on the blessing.
  4. 1 Corinthians 1:27 sure comes in play. “Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.” (NLT) Both of us looked so foolish but in the end the lady was blessed.

Know this: If he can use me, he sure can use you. Be ready.

Happy 2023.

God Bless.

Evil is not winning

I haven’t written in some time. So much seems to be twirling around in my life and so I put writing on the back burner.

But there is also so much craziness in the world and we need to encourage one another. There seems to be either a sense of hopelessness or anger or people are just ignoring the situation that is arising in our midst. Regardless there is a battle in the heavens. And the enemy appears to have become louder and more assertive. Like Goliath who taunted all of Israel, the evil voices today mock those who stand in their path.

But like David, we need to believe in something greater. I mean REALLY believe. We need FAITH.

Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  

Think of it like this: Having faith is like having a ball of energy in your hands. That ball is like “the substance of faith.” It is alive and ready to be activated. You look at that ball and inside are your hopes, whatever they may be. You don’t see the answer to your needs in the physical realm. But hope is alive in the realm of faith. You just need to activate it by completely surrendering and putting your confidence in your Lord. It’s like throwing that ball of faith into your situation no matter what you might see with your eyes. Unfortunately, many hold onto faith that never gets activated.

Again become like David, who trusted God when Goliath mocked all of Israel and the God they served. What he and others saw seemed impossible. Those around him looked at the size of the man before them who appeared as a giant and who had never lost a battle. Goliath begged to fight someone in their camp who was brave enough or perhaps foolish enough, to challenge him. David’s confidence did not waver. Instead, his trust in the Lord was so adamant that it knocked down that giant of a man. David put action to his faith. He faced the giant who was mocking him and knocked him down with a few stones. Then he used the giant’s own sword to chop off his head.

We NEED to put our trust, our faith, and our confidence into action. We, each of us, need to believe without always having to see our miracle in the physical world first. Believe in the unseen. Believe that God is fighting on our behalf. Believe that he hears our prayers. Though others cower in fear we need to walk in confidence as David did.

In John 20:29, Jesus replied, “Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe.” (CEB)

And that is what I am doing now. I am joining other believers in the land that are believing without necessarily seeing what they believe. We are believing that America will be saved and putting action to our faith by our words, by prayer, but taking a stand, by doing what God has called each of us, individually, to do by faith.

Amid all this: God is Faithful. He always has been throughout the ages, and he continues to be. He can supply our need, whether it is for gas money or food or whatever we are facing. None of this is new to him.

Personally, he has met so many of my needs even when I may have made foolish choices or when calamities knocked on my door. There has been time after time when I wondered how I got through situations that appeared bigger than me.

God is faithful. Wasn’t he faithful to meet the needs of those in the Bible who saw such calamity? Didn’t he feed the widow who was the middle of a famine? Her jars filled daily so she could make bread daily. (I Kings 17). God made sure there was food during the many years of famine in Egypt and the whole region by giving Joseph wisdom to store food for the days ahead. His action of faith saved many people. (Genesis 37-50). What about those who walked in the wilderness for 40 years? They had all their needs provided.

He is the same God today.

He is faithful to hear our prayers and meet the brokenness of our hearts. He is faithful to hide us under the shelter of his wings as found in PS 91. All of PS 91 is great. But listen to these words.

“He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” PS 91:4 (NLT)

We do not need to live in fear of tomorrow. We do not live in fear because God is not a god of fear but of love. He IS love.

His eyes are on those he loves.

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12 (ESV)

Lately I have been feeling like the gentle eyes of the Lord are on me. That may seem like a weird image to some. But it is like I see these gentle eyes on the world. He has the world in the palm of his hands, and he is watching those he loves.

You may see more evil screaming. It may even vex your soul. But evil is NOT winning. It is just being loud. We are not to shrink back in these days or compromise truth. We are to listen intently so we can follow the Lord’s lead. And then walk in peace, boldness, and confidence in our Lord who loves us unconditionally.

Become a David today.

God Bless.

God Hears

I sat quietly alone on my loveseat with the gas fireplace roaring beside me. Though the TV was on, it was set to mute as I considered my next move. I glanced at my injured foot which was now in a “boot” resting on the coffee table in front of me. I sighed. No one else was home. I just wanted something cold to drink but knew how difficult it would be to hobble with my crutches into the kitchen and return with a cold satisfying drink.

So, my dilemma, as simply as it was: Should I relax my newly broken foot or did I really need a refreshing drink. To myself, yet out loud, I said in despair, “there is no one here to help me”.

Immediately my mind raced to the story of the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda. It is found in the 5th chapter of the Gospel of John. Apparently the sick, the lame and the blind would sit by a pool of water. It was said to have had healing powers when it was stirred – some translations state that it was stirred by angels.

Some scholars believe the pools were at a pagan shrine or temple honoring the Greek god or demigod Asclepius, the god of medicine or medicinal powers. It was said that the healing snakes stirred the waters. And the scholars contribute the medicinal powers and stirring of the water from bubbles that arose from the mineral springs. Others debunk this theory.  Regardless, a man sat by this pool of water for 38 years with no one to help him get in. He must have come to a place of despair.

It reads like this from the NIV translation:

Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. John 5:1-9

What I found interesting about this story is that Jesus walked into the midst of a pagan shrine (if that was the case) not caring about the “protocol” of the day. According to scripture he only approached one individual and healed him, on the Sabbath mind you, which was also against Jewish tradition.

He heard the man’s heart even though the man never asked the Lord to help him. We have heard other stories where people called out to the Lord, but not in this circumstance.

God’s mercy and compassion for those in need, for those who cry out from their heart, is amazing.

It made me realize that he hears, even when we don’t speak. He hears even if an individual doesn’t realize who they are calling upon.

I don’t care if you are:

in a prison cell
amid a war-torn country
in a COVID ward
on center stage
looking in the wrong direction for help
rich and famous
poor and alone
amongst friends
amongst enemies
feeling lost
in a church family
in a cubical
homebound
living on the street
a drug addict
hopeless
or seem to have it together…. God hears the heart that cries to him.

Where do you find yourself today? What is your situation?

I am telling you DO NOT GIVE UP. DO NOT LOSE HEART. GOD HEARS!

Isaiah 65:24, “Before they call, I will answer. While they are still speaking, I will hear.” (NIV)

Psalm 139 explains that he knows everything about you and cares. He knew you before you did. And Romans 8 states that NOTHING can separate you from the love of God.

What are you waiting for? What can you lose?

Dear Lord, Hear those who are crying from their hearts, those in despair, those who are in need and even those who do not realize yet that they need you. Amen

By the way: I was able to grab that drink. I just had to guzzle it right there at the refrigerator. And then I hobbled on my crutches back to the loveseat to rest my foot on the coffee table.  And soon my family returned home. I am grateful that I have something to drink, a couch to sit on in a warm house, and for those who are caring for me, as I heal.

I am mostly grateful for God who will never leave or forsake me, who took the time to go out of his way to heal a paralyzed man thousands of years ago when he had no one to help him. God is the same yesterday, today and forever and so I am grateful that he continues to heal today.

Remember: He cares about every detail of your life…and loves you.

God bless.

Red Sea Impossibilities

As I entered the doors of the local hospital emergency room, once again, several different thoughts came to my mind. This hospital, the corridors, the ritual of checking in, the nurses and even the food, had become familiar for many reasons.

It was just a little over a year ago that I had taken my father to the ER, accompanied by my mother. He had battled heart issues for years and this time his implanted defibrillator went off with such strength it rocked him to the core. Since he had tested positive for that irritating pandemic, COVID, he stayed in the hospital. During those days, his defibrillator went off so many times he simply wanted to quit. But he fought hard so he could come home to his family that awaited his return.

After COVID he battled pneumonia and won! Though he did come home for a time he returned to the hospital because he became infected with MRSA (an infection that is caused by a type of staph bacteria). The infection demanded intense antibiotics which caused kidney failure. Eventually, during the cool of the season, with the trees turning multi-colors (his favorite season) he came home to hospice care.

It would only be a few months later that we would stand by his bed as he entered eternity.

Almost a year to the day that I first had taken my dad into the emergency room, I was driving my husband in. He had become ill with a high fever that lasted for a couple of days and didn’t seem to break, even with medication.

It would be a 10 day stay; first warding off sepsis that was trying to invade his body, and then going through several surgeries that would leave him without four of his toes. The first several days were crucial, but eventually I was allowed to take him home. He would have to remain off his foot for at least another month after he got home. I was becoming used to the daily care, thinking about the times I had helped my mother and sister with my father in the not too distant past. I was thanking God for sparing my husband’s life.

I thought this would be the last I would see of the hospital for some time.

But after work, as I pulled into my driveway, I got a phone call. My mother had gotten into a horrible car accident and was at the emergency room. I entered that familiar door and was led back to emergency rooms, again.

Despite that she lay in a neck brace and endured horrific bruises, she forced a smile. I thought. “I am glad she is alive!” Though bruised, a cracked rib and cracked pubic ramus, she was still alive! I was glad to drive her home that evening. She began to heal slowly while my sister and I watched her improve. Then one morning she complained about chest pains and here I was again, at the ER.

After many tests they discovered small blood clots had entered her heart and her lungs from the bruising in her legs. Not only had she survived the accident, but she had survived blood clots.

I sat by the bedside once again, trusting the God who had always been faithful.

The saying, “when it rains it pours” seemed to be appropriate.

PS 139 kept coming to my mind, especially the final verses.

 PS 139; 23-24 NLT
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

I was being shaken. Often people say that God won’t give you more than you can handle. Well, I don’t always agree with that statement. He often allows more that we can handle on our own. He just gives us more of HIS GRACE. I thought, “What was in my heart? “I want God to lead me along the path of everlasting life. He is faithful to do just that.

These are precarious days. Our country seems to be shaking! The events that are taking place are events that test the core of our beliefs. Events that are affecting our personal lives, events that are affecting the future of America and the world are taking place in these hours.

We must be prepared to hear the voice of God. We must be prepared to obey his leading. We must be prepared to bring in the harvest for salvation.

We don’t know our future. We don’t even know how many days we are going to be on the earth. But it is important that we make most of our time.

As my mother is resting her weary body while it heals and my husband is being restored, I rest in the comfort of the Lord. I know there will be many struggles. I have witnessed them personally and among friends and family. I see them in our nation, and the world, at large.

Heartache, death, disease, violence, and trials don’t seem to stop, it seems. But it is part of this life. Jesus even said that there would be many trials but to be of good cheer for he has overcome the world.

What did Paul say in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9?

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed”. (NLT)

God’s light always shines brighter in perilous times and impossible situations.

It has throughout history. I am SURE that when Moses reached the Red Sea and knew the Egyptian army was right behind them, he was wondering what God had up his sleeve. But he trusted God who delivered ALL of them, while their enemy perished.

I bet Esther was not expecting to have to plead for her people as Haman had declared that all the Jews should be slaughtered. It seemed impossible to have victory amid that disastrous proclamation. But God heard the cries of her heart and others. Not only did God deliver them, but Haman hung in the place of the one whom he threatened to have killed.

We can continue with Joseph who must have felt hopeless as he sat in a prison for years for a crime he never committed. He may have wondered how he was going to get out of this one. But God heard his cries and not only freed him but made him second in command of the nation.

What about Daniel, who was thrown into the lion’s den, David, who was sought by King Saul who wanted to kill him, or Noah who built a huge ship to be able to endured a flood that would not spare anyone but his family. God was faithful and saved each of them. And then there was Peter who was delivered from prison by an angel. We can go on and on.

Even in modern times we have heard testimonies of God’s faithfulness when all seemed lost. There are testimonies yet to be heard from places like Afganistan, China or North Korea where it takes the faith of God who still works in the impossible. DOES God hear his people?

Sometimes we must walk through things we thought we wouldn’t have to. Sometimes life seems hopeless. BUT GOD STILL hears our cries and delivers, ESPECIALLY when it seems impossible.

What are you going through? What thoughts are invading your mind? What trials are crossing your path that seem impossible and what fears may be knocking at your door.  What about the future of America? Has God heard the cries for this nation? I believe he is waiting for his timing for this nation and for your future. He is waiting for the impossible. When we reach the Red Sea of impossibilities, God WILL be glorified.

I pray that you trust him in the process of your journey. 

God bless!

Press Forward.

I cannot image the intense physical and psychological pressures that the firefighters are experiencing during these hours. Nor can I imagine the control or determination of doing the “right thing” in the face of threats and accusations that the police officers are facing.

But I do understand the wave of doubt and shaking that has tried to come upon the body of Christ as we continue to press in for our country and in our personal lives. I just keep pressing on, as are many others. I have seen worship breakout across the country outside the church buildings and rejoice. I know deep in my heart that our Lord is at work, regardless of what other things I may see or hear.

Paul saw and experienced many hardships but still saw beyond it and encouraged others. That is why he stated:

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.” Galatians 6:10 (AMP)

He was always encouraging his fellow believers during heartache or blessings, while in chains in prison or as a free man.

Today is no different. We need encouragement.

That is why when the Lord showed me a picture while I was in prayer (for my own personal family crisis and for the nation) I wanted to share it with the Christian community.

This is what I saw:

I saw a ship floating on the waters. The bow was beginning to break through what appeared to be a thick glass window. It was at least a foot thick. Chunks of glass began to break and fall as the ship pushed through. I hadn’t noticed that there was even a window in front of the ship until then.  It continued pushing with more force and more power. On the other side of the window one could see clearer.  

I realized then that we have not been really seeing with clarity like we thought we had. Our vision was somewhat cloudy. We have heard 2020 is supposed to be a year of clearer vision. I believe as we join in unity and push through, we will begin to see what Holy Spirit has been trying to show us.

The word that came to my heart: Do not give up. There is breakthrough right in front of you. You are breaking through with his power this hour.

As I am writing this, I am listening to a worship group on YouTube. Before the worship they stated that they kept trying to record live worship, but their equipment kept crashing. (I am assuming they were talking about electronics?) Anyway, they finally were able to record and this was their prayer: “we pray that everyone that sees this will have glass shattered in their lives. All the glass of insecurity, all the glass of pain, all the glass of doubt will shatter, and we will find that Jesus is Lord. May we look more and more like your Son.”

The timing was perfect!!! But of course, the timing with the Lord is ALWAYS perfect.

I encourage each person that is reading this to press forward. There is breakthrough in your lives. Your prayers are on the precept of breaking through for yourself or for others. There is breakthrough against the things that have been holding you back in your walk with Jesus. There is breakthrough for hope, for healing and for salvation; or whatever you have been praying for.  When you break through to the other side your vision will become clearer.

DO NOT GIVE UP!

Wake up! Rise Up! Pray! Assume your authority and then charge forward. The breakthrough is right in front of you.

The Lord has heard your cries, like he heard the cries of the children of Israel as they cried to him to be delivered from slavery in Egypt.

Keep praying. Keep believing. Keep trusting. Press forward.

God is our deliver and will show his hand of deliverance. He loves his own and will not give us up into the enemy’s hands at this hour.

The battle belongs to the Lord.

“This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15 (NIV)

Keep on keeping on. God bless.

It is well.

I could hear the sound of his heartbeat and the thunder of his voice echoing as I laid my head on his chest. Nothing mattered. I was in good hands. I was safe and secure. And so, I rested in his arms unafraid, without worry; filled with peace.

I must have been 3, 4 or 5 years of age at that specific time. Whatever age I was, that incident stuck with me. There were times that my parents would be visiting friends past my sister’s and my bedtime. I would fall asleep on the couch. Before leaving, my dad would pick me up and continue visiting while I was in his arms. As I lay my head on his chest his heartbeat and voice soothed me.

Today the Lord brought this memory back to my mind. He reminded me that He is my Father. I can rest in him as he wraps his arms around me. I like how the Passion Bible translates Psalm 91:4.

“His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you.
You can run under his covering of majesty and hide.
His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm” Ps 91: 4.

I can lay my head on his chest and listen to his heartbeat and his gentle yet thundering voice guiding my steps. But I cannot do that unless I spend time quieting my thoughts so I can listen to his voice with my heart.

During these times, more than ever, we must be able to hear the heartbeat of the Lord. We must be able to hear his voice thundering in our souls, so we can heed his leading.

“These are trying times.”

I have heard that statement and read it in different places on websites or store signs.

There are riots, lies, fear and anger that fill the airwaves, social media, stores, the workplace, and the streets. Hardened criminals are being released, innocent people are being harassed and our economic society is being squashed. This is not the land I remember as a child. This is not the land that people traveled to searching for a better opportunity, looking for refuge and hope. Instead it has become filled with unrighteousness, selfishness, jealousy, and controversy.

I, for one did not see this coming. Thankfully, God knew it in the beginning of time. He is taking this opportunity to teach us to trust him and prepare the hearts of the lost.

Learning to trust him with our personal lives is just as important as learning to trust him for our society at large.

Even our best made plans can take twists that we do not expect. It is there that we could begin to lose hope. Perhaps you lost a loved one, a job or a dream and your hope has begun to fall and wither away like leaves in an autumn wind.

The Lord spoke to my heart recently, “Do you love me even when your plans are not what you expected? Do you love me even when you thought things would be different than what you see? Do you? Do you trust me when the land you are standing on gives way, literally and socially and economically? Do you trust me? Can you rest?”

As I was driving to work the Lord put the song, “It Is Well With My Soul” on my heart. I listened to it everyday on my way to work for quite some time and wept as I began to understand what the Lord was asking. I realized that my circumstances personally and the circumstances of our great land cannot and should not dictate our hope or peace.

I have shared the song, “It is Well with my Soul” before on this blog. But if you are not familiar with the story behind that song let me share a short synopsis. In the 1870s Horatio Spafford and his wife had lost their young son to pneumonia while living in Chicago. He sent his wife and four daughters back to Europe with intentions to follow shortly. The ship he sent them on sunk and their four remaining children perished. Traveling the same route back to Europe and viewing the spot where the waters unforgivingly took his children’s lives, he wrote the lyrics to the song, “It is Well With My Soul”

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billow roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.”

I don’t even understand that kind of tragedy. But was I willing to surrender my life, my loved ones, my dreams, and my plans to Him and completely trust him? Could I really say, “whatever my lot, it is well with my soul?

I go back to the image of me resting in the arms of my father when I was a little child. I remember that peace and security. Our heavenly Father longs for each of us to trust him, to rest in him, to lay our heads on his chest and to hear his dreams for our lives. He longs to share his heartbeat for this world. He has not lost hope. His heart beats for you. His heart beats for the lost. There are still souls to win.

Can you hear his heartbeat? Can you hear his voice thunder from his chest telling you, “I love you. You are in my arms. Trust ME.”

Listen.

Psalm 91:1-2
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will REST in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I TRUST.”

God Bless

COVID-19

As I was thinking about the virus that has been sweeping the world, one nation at a time, the first thought that came to me was the scene in the Old Testament of a pole with a snake on it. I’m not sure why but that scene has not left my mind.

“But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

 Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.  The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So, Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.” Numbers 21: 4-8 (NIV)

According to https://biblestudentdaily.com bronze represents human nature. The Lord had Moses make a bronze snake (snake representing sin) on the pole. All that looked on it would not die from the poisonous snake bites that the Lord had sent because of their sin of speaking against Him. It wasn’t that the bronze snake itself, had any power, but God saw the repentant and obedient hearts. Faith rose up in the hearts of the people and healing and life sprung from that.

Even Jesus used the example of the serpent on the pole as he spoke about himself. He said in John 3:14, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness so the Son of Man must be lifted up that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” (NIV)

He spoke of how he would die. Anyone that looks on him and BELIEVES will be saved from eternal death. I believe John 3:16 must be one of the most popular verses of all time.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever BELIEVES on him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

He was sent to the cross to save us because we sinned against the Lord. He came to bring life out of death.

Then in Numbers 16 a plague came to the children of Israel again because they grumbled and opposed Moses and even God who was leading him. This time the Lord told Moses to direct Aaron to take his censor (which I might add was also made of bronze) and put incense in it along with burning coals from the altar and run into the midst of the assembly to make atonement for the people so the plague would stop. Aaron did as he was instructed and stood between the living and the dead and the plague stopped. But 14,700 died.

You might ask. What does this have to do with this virus that is creeping across the nations? This was thousands of years ago. Is the Lord sending this plague because of sin and unbelief? I am NOT saying that. It would be very dangerous for me to make that assumption.

BUT what I am saying is that the Lord CAN and will stop this virus IF we call upon him! There is power in prayer. There is power in coming before the God of creation and calling on him to intervene.

When the plagues hit Egypt, it was the blood of a sacrificed lamb that was posted on the doorway of each Israelite household that signaled the angel of death to pass over them. No one in that household would die.

There is so much more power in the blood of the LAMB. The blood that Jesus shed. I do not think we understand the power of the blood of Christ. It was by his stripes that we can be healed.

As the old hymn goes,
“There is power, power, wonder-working power in the blood of the Lamb.
There is power, power, wonder-working power in the Precious blood of the Lamb.”

I had a dream years ago that a lion was roaring in the forest. He was sniffing for people to devour. I knew my children were in that forest. I prayed that the Lord would cover them by his blood. I saw the lion come right up to them, sniffing, but he could not smell them, nor see them, because of the blood of Jesus.

It reminded me of the verse found in 1 Peter 5:8. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”

So, what is the takeaway?

  1. Run to the Lord. Look to him, like the Israelites looked at the snake on a pole. He is your protector. He is your deliverer. He is your savior. He will heal you. NONE of this is catching him off guard one single minute. He sees it all.
  2. There is POWER in prayer. There is POWER in the blood of Jesus. Believe it and stand firm in prayer. Pray for your family, your neighbor, your city and nation. And if there is sin: repent.
  3. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.” II Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) So rest in him. Trust him. He has you covered.

ABOVE ALL remember this scripture:

 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” John 14:1 (NLT)

Will You Dance With Me?

I saw a post the other day about dancing with the one you love. And suddenly I felt like the Lord said to me, “Will you dance with me?”

I thought that was strange and different.

Would I dance with him? What does that even look like?

Would I allow him to take me to a place where my heart does not look at the circumstances? Could I just look into my Lord’s eyes and see nothing else that swirls around my world? Could I spend quiet time with him and relax and enjoy the music that comes from his heart as I follow his lead?

“Will you dance with me?” he asked.

There were many seasons of victory when his children danced. I think of Miriam and the other women who danced victoriously after the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea. The Egyptians, who were in a mad chase close behind them, were determined to kill all of them. Instead they drowned and fell to the bottom of the sea. Afterwards praise and worship before the Lord filled the sojourners hearts as they worshiped the Lord in dance and song.

“Then Miriam, the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced.” Exodus 15:20 (NLV)

What about King David? This man, known for having a heart after the Lord, would often dance before his Lord. His heart was filled with gladness. He couldn’t dance enough before the God who rescued him time after time! God had been faithful to deliver him from a lion, a bear and from Goliath, the arrogant giant of a man. The Lord gave him victory on the battlefield over and over. He worshiped the God who forgave him for making a choice to sin and took him back as his own. He was in love with his Lord and his worship showed it!

Those dances were part of worshiping the Lord. What does it mean though, to dance with the Lord? The key word: “with”.

To dance as a unit takes a lot of time, a lot of practice. It takes getting to know your partner so intimately that you can flow as one, each hearing the rhythm of the music, yet stepping in unison. It takes learning the steps together and already knowing what your partner will do, trusting his every move. Your eyes become connected, as does your heart.

When one of my children was very young, a neighbor dog ripped open his leg with his sharp teeth. We rushed him to the emergency room where they had to stitch up the wound. The doctor told me to look into my son’s eyes and distract him so they could insert a shot into the wound to numb his leg. I got as close to him as I could, eye to eye, speaking gently and confidently to him. He never took his eyes off me and was able to endure the pain.

That is what Jesus wants for us. He wants us to keep our eyes on him, always!

The world around us may seem to be growing darker. But as we keep our eyes on him, all we see is his glory. That is what Peter experienced when he walked on the stormy waters towards his Lord. If he kept his eyes on Jesus, instead of the storm, he could walk on the water. (Matthew 14:22-23)

The Lord wants us to keep our eyes on him. He wants us to focus on him instead of the storms in our lives. He wants us to live in peace and hear the rhythm of his heartbeat.

If I am to be his dance partner, I must know him more deeply. I must learn to instinctively know his moves; keeping my eyes focused on him so I can follow his lead. And when he throws me into the air, I have to trust that he will catch me, as we have done throughout our time practicing together.

It takes dance partners time, practicing over and over, until they have learned to dance in harmony.

Those words came back to me. “Will you dance with me?”

My reply:

“Will I take the time to get to know you? Will I learn to follow your lead and the steps you have already prepared for me? Will I listen intently to the music that vibrates from your heartbeat into mine? Will I learn to keep my eyes on yours, trusting you wherever you lead me?

Will I spend time with you so we can learn to dance as one?”

My answer: “YES!”

What will your answer be?

The Lord asks, “Will you dance with me?”

Unstoppable

All of us have been through those middle school years. For some the transition may have been smooth. Then there was the other half, whose transition came with many obstacles. Either way your life was changed. You entered as a little kid out of elementary school and left as a teenager ready to meet the high school years. Not only was your body going through transformation, but so was your mind and emotions.

If you are a parent of middle school children, or should I say tweens who end up as teenagers, it can be like a riding a carnival ride. You want to have fun, but you also realize that the ride was put together in only a couple days. It can be a little unstable and perhaps a little scary.

During one of those tumultuous rides I have had the privilege of experiencing, I was having a very serious talk with the Lord. I was asking for wisdom and felt the Lord gave me three areas that I could spend time praying over.

  1. Revelation of God’s love.
  2. Loving Oneself.
  3. Understanding the power of honoring (or respecting) one’s mother and father.

That sounded simple enough. But as I was thinking about those concepts, I needed to make sure they were stable in my life. First, I needed to adjust my oxygen mask, so to speak, then through prayer I could help adjust my middle schooler’s.

REVELATION OF GOD’S LOVE-

That is simple enough. We know the Sunday School song, “Jesus Loves Me”. We’ve read the bumper stickers, “Smile God Loves You” that is inclusive of a smiley face. I know how cliché these words can sound without the leading of the Holy Spirit. I have been told that God loves me since I was a child. But it took me a LONG time to get the revelation.

In my youth I worked hard for that love so I could have a pat on the back. And as an adult I resolved to have a godly home. But it wasn’t always the case and when I would make unwise choices for my life, I would beat myself up. If I let someone down, especially my heavenly Father, I would be angry at myself.

But if I REALLY had the revelation of God’s love, it wouldn’t have been such a strenuous walk. There was a time while I was beaten down emotionally and spiritually when the Lord spoke to my spirit to trust him. My reply: but I don’t trust myself! I knew that I was imperfect and would make mistakes.

Then I heard him say, “I never told you to trust yourself, I said to trust ME.” It is hard for those of us who want to have control to let go and allow the Lord to work in our lives and in those around us. But it is necessary to allow him to display his love towards us. So, I chose to take the step to trust God’s love.

It was that same love that David experienced. Though he had made unwise choices at times, his heart was humble, and he was devoted to the Lord. God said about him, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will.” (Acts 13:22)

It was because of the revelation of God’s love that John could write, “the disciple that Jesus loved” about himself in the Gospel of John. He understood the deep love that the Lord had for him. It allowed him to stand with his Lord at the cross. It allowed him to endure suffering, as well. It also allowed him the honor to receive the visions to write the book of Revelation.

LOVE YOURSELF-

When I say to love yourself, I do not mean it to be a self-centered statement. It means to take genuine care of oneself. It’s concept: “I am worthy.” It gives a person the ability to make wise choices for themselves whether it is mentally, physically or even spiritually. It gives the individual the power to put up boundaries and surround themselves with positive input.

It loves the body you are in. It even makes it easier to consume the proper food, view clean content and make wise friendships and life influences. Believe me, this concept will keep you from much heartache.

Once you can love yourself, it will be easier to love those around you.

HONOR YOUR MOTHER AND FATHER –

Well, that is a nice statement and a great Bible verse. As parents is easy to want to share this one with our kids. But as I was meditating on it, the reality of its power became more evident.

“Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise; so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3 (NIV)

If you think about it, respecting authority creates peace. Respect for our elders, teachers, bosses, police officers, judges and our highest office –presidency, begins with honoring our parents. Those you see fighting police officers, destroying property in the name of protest, making rude jesters and comments towards those in authority probably never learned to respect their own parents when they were young. (Of course, perhaps no one took the time to teach them.) Regardless, honor brings peace, peace brings blessings. Blessings create the ability to enjoy your life with longevity.

Be Unstoppable-

Though there are many views and suggestions to help raise our children, tweens and teens, these three concepts are some of the tools they will need to face the giants that will try to defeat them. This isn’t just for the young. It’s for all of us.

There is transforming power in God’s love. We can only love him because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).

How can we share his love without the revelation of his love towards us? How we can love others if we do not first love ourselves.? How can we bring peace to our families and our societies if we do not first show them respect?

I pray that the youth today experience a God-encounter inclusive of the powerful revelation of HIS eternal love for them. I pray that they will take that revelation to their peers. I am believing and praying that the Holy Spirit will transform our children, tweens, teens, their parents and grandparents so that our land can rise up with the knowledge of God’s love.

Then we will be unstoppable and can spread his Gospel .

God bless