Love- The Antidote for The Poison of Unforgiveness

A Path on our farm where I sometimes walk and talk to the Lord

A Path on our farm where I sometimes walk and talk to the Lord

If you are visiting from P31′s devotion today, welcome!

Raging anger morphed him into someone I’d never seen.  It was horrible. Just minutes before, we were having a civilized conversation.

His body racked with pain.  Morphine,  alcohol, and other drugs were his best friends.  Doctors couldn’t find the source of his pain.  He looked desperately to me. “Help me, Sharon, I can’t live like this anymore.”

I prayed with him and when I opened my eyes, asked him the question that led to his rage, “Is there someone you need to forgive?”  He became fidgety.  His voice got stronger and assertive.  “Well, yes but that has nothing to do with, anything.

I asked, “Who can’t you forgive?”  He rolled his eyes, got out of his chair, and morphed into a mad man. Profanities shot from the secret place of his heart.

Gently I said, “Can you forgive them?”

“NO!”  He screamed. “Leave me the %^%$# alone! You have no idea what you are asking!”

With tears in my eyes, I said, “Yes, I do. I’ve had to forgive. . .”

When Satan gets a foothold (a door) into our life through anger, bitterness, or unforgiveness- it’s destructive.

He (Satan) wants to kill, steal, and destroy. Give him the opportunity and he’ll wreck our life; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Even the secular world knows that unforgiveness and bitterness can cause untold physical and mental issues.

What lives within the secret place of our soul, ultimately defines our life.

Every day, many times (even hourly) I have to go before with the Lord and give Him my burdens, grievances, and hurt.  I open the Word desperately searching for answers and He always provides.  He’s faithful.

The more time I spend in the secret place with Him and His Word, the more His attributes become mine.  I see others through His eyes and not my own. I can forgive as He forgives because He gives me His ability.  His love consumes me and I am able to live above my circumstances and not be controlled by them.

Oh, love- His love “is as strong as death. . . Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it” (Song of Songs 8:7a).  Bitterness, unforgiveness. . . can’t live in the presence of Jesus’ love.  It conquers all!

His love is the antidote for the poison of it.  The secret place of our heart is sacred to Jesus. We can’t let unforgiveness reside there.  It can cause serious issues.

In Matthew 15:18, Jesus tells us, “ what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart. . .”  If we bury resentment in the secret place of our heart, it will come out one way or the other.  What lives within the secret place of our soul- ultimately defines our life.

Is there someone you need to forgive?  Someone you can’t love?  Get alone in a room. Shut the door.

1. Ask Jesus to help you by the Helper, Holy Spirit 2. Forgive (meaning to release from judgement) them 3. Tell Satan (out-loud)- “In the Name that is above every other name JESUS… The Accuser (Satan) has no power over me and I’m free.  FREE INDEED!”

There’s also a test I use on my heart.  Think about the person that you may have an issue with. Pray that God will pour bountiful blessings on them and that He will prosper them in everything they do.  If you can’t pray that, go back to step #1.

If they live near by, bring them a plate of cookies (8 of my favorite recipes)or invite them to a homemade German Pot Roast dinner with all the trimmings! If they live far away, send a card or call them on the phone in a kind, humble spirit.  An act of love is powerful.

None of us are exempt from hardships with difficult people.  Injustices are worthy of anger.  It’s healthy to get angry over injustice.  But, anger can never be allowed to rule over us.  We can’t open the door of bitterness and unforgiveness to dwell within.  We must guard the secret place of our heart from everything that pollutes.

Now, to get back to the story with my friend…

He FORGAVE and is a new man!!  He was tormented for 40 years and is now free!  What lives within the secret place of his soul, now gloriously defines his life. He’s a new man with a peace that passes understanding!

Do you or someone in your life struggle with anger, bitterness or unforgiveness? Leave a one word comment below and we will pray. Your comment will enter you to win three of my favorite books, a DVD, the glass candle holders shown and seeds from my zinnia plants here: The Unburdened Heart  by Suzie Eller, A Tale of Three Kings  (A Study in Brokenness) and The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond and DVD Les Miserables. gift

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

3 Ways to Help Persecuted Christians of Iraq

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“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”Bonhoefer

My heart aches for our family (Christians) who are enduring the horrific persecution in Iraq by the terrorist organization called ISIS (an acronym for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).  The news stations (Fox News, CNN, Al Jazeera) have reported  brutal murders, beheadings, and tormenting acts against Christians living in the country of Iraq.  Most have had to flee their homes or risk rape and murder.  Many, upon fleeing their homes have died on the journey over the mountains because of starvation.  If they can’t leave their homes, they’re tortured and killed.  Mosul Iraq is said to be completely barren of Christians.

One report said, “Christianity in Mosul is dead, and a Christian holocaust is in our midst,” said Mark Arabo, a Californian businessman and Chaldean-American leader. In an interview with CNN’s Jonathan Mann, he called what’s happening in Iraq a “Christian genocide” and said “children are being beheaded, mothers are being raped and killed, and fathers are being hung. The world hasn’t seen an evil like this for generations.”

The writer of Hebrews (in chapter 13 verse 3) tells us, “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”

Jesus knew that His followers would endure persecution. He endured so much persecution for us.  The early church endured persecution at such an intensity that most of us have a hard time relating to it.  But, this was the situation from which Jesus gave instructions to His followers by saying, “And He said to all, ‘If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me’” (Luke 9:23).

I want to be equipped and ready to follow the Lord, to deny myself and take up my cross to follow Him just like the Christians of Iraq. Oh my goodness friends, could you do what they are doing? Yes, we could. But it would be grueling, oh how they need our support!

Paul said in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death…”

Paul wasn’t speaking figuratively.  He was prepared to die for the King of Glory, who had literally laid down His physical body for him. These blessed Christians in Iraq are willingly sharing in the sufferings of Christ. For Christ they are willing to die, to be mutilated, to suffer. My heart explodes for them as I know yours does.

Three Ways  to Help Persecuted Christians of Iraq

  1. Increase awareness on social media about the persecution in Iraq. Many are putting up a symbol nunsymbol1on their social media, it’s the Arabic letter “nun.” It’s the first letter in the word Nazarene.  It is being painted on properties owned by Christians so that the terrorists can identify them.  The people are using this symbol as profile pictures, so as to “identify” or “remember” those who are suffering in Iraq- and even boldly associate themselves with those  Christians.  This is a brave act of “remembering those who are suffering as if you, yourself were suffering.
  2. Pray privately and corporately for the deliverance of the people of Iraq, from the terrible advancement of ISIS and its extreme Islamic goals for mass conversion or death for Christians across this region. Gather a small group together for the sole purpose of prayer for the persecuted. “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.…”  Let’s gather together and lift up the Christians of Iraq.

3. Support a trustworthy organization working to help persecuted Christians who have been hurt or are without shelter or food. Voice of the Martyrs,Crisis Response International Samaritans Purse  and Christian Aid are just of few that I know who are working the field diligently and need our support to help those in need.

Jesus himself prophesied of “wars and rumors of wars…” (Matthew 24:6a) but he adds instruction for us in this- “See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.”

Winners of “The Best Yes” book drawing!

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Winners of last weeks “Best Yes” drawing! Email me with your address!

Marla posted on08/11/2014 at 4:22,

Amma Bilson-Ogoe

Maile posted on 08/12/2014 at 4:17 

Fran who posted on 08/14/2014 at 8:44 

Jennifer Dougan

 

On her Death Bed She Received Eternal Life

God reminds us of His promises-He is Faithful

God reminded us last night through this rainbow that He is faithful to His Promises

She was alone, dying and in pain. She had no family or friends. She asked the nursing home to call a minister to come pray with her.

It was dinner time when I got the call. The smell of grilled, bacon wrapped stuffed chicken filled my house, the sides were ready, mouths were watering, plates were set at the table. The person on the phone said it was urgent that I get there.

“Can I come after dinner? I asked. The woman on the phone said, “You should come now.”

I didn’t know her, I’d never met her. I looked into her eyes, although she couldn’t see me, she was blind, instantly love bubbled  up inside me for her. I held her weak hands in mine. I asked her a few questions and then she said,“I’m dying, I want you to pray for me.”

I asked her, “What do you want me to pray?” I paused and waited. Her cloudy blue eyes welled with tears and trickled onto our hands. She said nothing.

I said nothing.

I waited for the Holy Spirit to direct me. Then, I asked her, “Tell me about the day you received Christ as your personal Savior. Were you a little girl or an older woman when you first knew Jesus?”

She didn’t say anything, for a while. I knew to be silent, she was processing. Oh how the Holy Spirit speaks volumes when we’re silent. Finally she said, “I don’t know. I went to church when I was little, I was always a good person. But I never, really  knew Jesus, personally. “

“Aw” I said. I thought to myself, I knew where we’re going, now. “Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God?” She nodded, yes.  I continued, “He died on the cross for your sins and rose again on the third day so that you can have eternal life with Him. Eternal life is a free gift, we do nothing to earn it. He loves you that much, Bertha! He wants you to spend eternity with Him. He’s been waiting for you to make this decision.

John 3:16 says, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.’ “ Tears streamed down her cheeks.

“Would you pray with me?” She asked. I said, “Yes. Time is running out, you’ve  got’a get your name written in the Lambs book of Life.” I smiled with my voice. ” With tears streaming, she said, “Yes!”

We prayed a simple prayer together. I can’t remember the exact words, it was something like:

“God, I’m sorry for my sins and the life I’ve lived. I want  Your forgiveness.

I believe that Your only Son, Jesus Christ shed His blood for me on the cross and died for my sins, I want to turn from my sin.

You said in Romans 10:9 that if we confess that Jesus is our Lord and that You, God raised Him from the dead, we can be saved. I confess that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, that He died for me and that according to Your Word, I am saved.

Thank You Jesus for dying for me and giving me the free gift of eternal life. My physical body may die today, but I will live forever with YOU. In Jesus’ name AMEN.

We hugged. She said, “What now?” I said, “Well, Jesus’ last words to His disciples was, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ I’ll see if we can baptize you!”

Bertha passed on into glory with her Lord and Savior. No, she wasn’t baptized. I thought of the thief on the cross who accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior minutes before he died.

Bertha was no longer alone, fully alive and no longer in pain- for all eternity!

Thank You Jesus for the free gift of eternal life. Oh the day it will be, when all those who received You, gather at the party of all parties, the wedding supper of the Lamb!! Holy, Holy, Holy are You Lord God Almighty!!!!

John  6:47 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.”

John 11:25, 26″Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ ”

1 John 2:25 “And this is the promise that He has promised us – eternal life.”

The Best Yes

Lysa and me at her house last month before She Speaks conference

Lysa and me at her house last month before She Speaks conference.

I’m so excited to be a part of my dear friend Lysa Terkeurst’sThe Best Yesblog tour!!

Exhaustion is not a condition I’ve been accustomed to in my life. I’ve proudly wore the badge called, TIRELESS. I thought I had successfully made it through the most exhausting years- raising five daughters, homeschooling, managing our own business, living on a farm, ministry. . . until this year.

This past year has been a banner year. The Lord has used me to minister to literally hundreds of THOUSANDS of people all over the WORLD. I traveled and spoke at more retreats and conferences than ever, seen more people accept Christ as their personal Savior than EVER and ministered to at least 80,000 people a month on my blog. The word phenomenal doesn’t describe all of what I’ve seen Jesus do in middle of it all. I am speechless and overcome by what He is doing RIGHT NOW. Jesus’ second coming is at hand and He is preparing His bride all over the world. What an honor to be used by Him at this hour in history.

Simultaneously we opened The Glasgow Farm to do business as a wedding/party venue. It has taken off at lightening speed and challenges my by ability to keep up many days. Dale and I are working harder than we’ve ever worked in our life, physically on the farm. A couple of weeks ago I moved 4000 pounds of dirt in one day, preparing the spot for a wedding. I won’t bore you with the thousand other assignments that go along with it.

I’m not tireless, I’m exhausted. So I’ve been asking the Lord, what’s The Best Yes for this next season of my life. Every day I’ve sought His answer to this question. I’ve had the honor of working under the leadership of Lysa Terkeurst with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her newest book, The Best Yes, Making wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands has been so practical in helping me to narrow down the best yes, today.

In the second chapter she talks about us not hearing God’s direction clearly when we’re too busy with life and that’s where confusion gets us in trouble. “Have you ever heard that amazing verse from Isaiah that says, ‘Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’ (30:21)? I love this verse! I want it to be true for me! I want my ears to hear God say, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ I want that with every fiber of my being. Don’t you? Can you imagine how much angst and pain we could save ourselves if we were really that in tune with God? It is possible. . . “ (pg 11-12) Read Lysa’s book for the rest!

Last week on my most exhausted day, the Lord answered my prayer. A young woman of God, Rachel Moberley, came and asked to assist me in the ministry. I’ve never had an assistant, I haven’t had the money to hire one. She is willing to work like a missionary.
How did all of this come to be?  She was seeking the Lord diligently for His will for her life and The Best Yes became loud and clear.  I was seeking the Lord diligently for His Best Yes in my life and He made it clear.
When The Best Yes is chosen, the best of who we are can emerge. I anticipate the Lord superseding my wildest imagination this coming year in ministry.

“We have to slow the rhythm of rush in our lives so the best of who we are can emerge.” What has “rushing” stolen from you. (pgs 7-18) Lysa Terkeurst

Do you need the Lord to help you with The Best Yes in your life? Tell me in one word what you need prayer for in the comment section, it will enter your name in the drawing to win The Best Yes be Best book to help you out. There will be five winners!sharon

WhenTrials Hit Every Area of Your Life

Sunset after the rain last night

Sunset after the rain last night

Are trials literally hitting every  area of your life?

Often when we suffer, it’s the life of our self-nature that causes us pain. When we are dead, we don’t suffer. If we were completely dead to our old nature we would no longer feel many of the pains that bother us . . .

God prepares a cross for us that must be embraced without thought of self-preservation. The cross is painful . . . The hardest thing about suffering is not knowing how great it will be or how long it will last. So often we want to set limits on our suffering.

We can’t reject the full work of the cross within us. If we do, we are forced to go over the same ground again and again. Worse yet, we will suffer much, but the suffering be for no purpose.

Lord help me never fall into the state in which the cross is not at work within me!

God most often doesn’t transform us on a bed of light, life, and grace. His transformation is usually done on the cross in darkness, poverty, and death. He uses disappointments and failures of our life to take our trust away from self and help us put our trust in Him.  It is like being burned in a slow fire.  Wouldn’t we  rather be burned up in a blaze of glory? Aw but a fast burn wouldn’t detach us from ourselves and others.

We must endure the painful process. There is much more at work here than instant maturity. Through the process we will die to self and through relying on Christ and not-self we gain immeasurable faith, love, and trust in Him.

Paraphrased excerpts from the book, 100 Days in the Secret Place-Gene Edwards.

He’s the only answer we need in middle of the trial. We MUST have alone time with Him everyday- no matter what. Forget the pile of dishes, weeds in the garden, social media or watching a movie.  Lets run to Him and sit in His presence.  That’s where I’m headed right now!  Lord, I don’t want to have to keep going through the same trial because I wouldn’t surrender all!

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed– always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you . . . Therefore do not lose heart. even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. for our light afflictions, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal wight of eternal glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”II Corinthians 4: 7-18

Don’t Leave an Open Door for Your Enemy

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I thought I was all alone but there were noises coming from the cellar.  I was too afraid to open the door. . . so I didn’t. I continued to type and then from the corner of my eye, I saw something move.  I gulped and bravely looked to see him staring at me from the cellar door.

Fear grabbed me and then I ran outside and screamed for Dale. The six-foot snake still hung from the top of the door staring at me.  The tip of its tail clung firmly to the top for security. Bare handedly Dale grabbed the snake with both hands.  The snake was holding on for dear life!  He firmly pulled him off the door.  Its head stood straight up and body seemed bigger than life as Dale juggled his weight toward the front door.  All along I watched from my standing position on the table top.  Dale looked at me as if to wonder if I was just going to stand there or help him. He said, “I NEED YOU TO OPEN THE DOOR!”  Then, he flung the snake out into the grass.

I gathered myself and sat back down to work.  My daughter came into the kitchen a few minutes later and calmly pointed at the same door and said, “Mom, there’s another one.” I gulped and turned to see the second huge snake staring right at me.

This one was determined not to get caught.  He slithered behind the large freezer.  Us girls were undone with adrenaline and disgust.  Dale told us to get a grip and help him.  The third snake appeared…

We all took a deep breath after the third snake was caught and sighed in relief, believing that it was all over.  It was getting late, Ellie (16 yrs old)and I were washing dishes together and she made a proclamation, “I will never, ever sleep in this home again. I’m moving in with Becca.  They don’t have snakes!” As I handed her the rinsed plate to be dried off, I assured her that there were no more snakes and that she would not move in with her friend Becca.

Calmly she said,”Mom, there’s one coming from the cellar door right now.” I  said, “Ellie, don’t be silly.” I turned just to make sure she was kidding but she was right!  Number five and six came last and we’ve never seen another snake in the house since.  Ellie never moved in with Becca.

We’ve lived in our house for twenty years and never had a snake before that or after.  Dale had left the crawl space door under the house open in the fall and forgot to close it. The snakes saw it as a welcome sign for winter dwelling and took up residence. Winter was over and they were looking for their way out…

That night as I laid in bed, the verse from Ephesians 4 came to mind, “Don’t give Satan a foothold.” What’s a foothold? An open door to be invited in.  Satan looks for open doors of opportunity- footholds into our life.  We open doors to him when we have un-forgiveness, anger, fear or we constantly dwell on conflict we have with others. . . (just to name a few ways he slithers his way in).

We don’t even realize he’s gotten a foothold sometimes until  fear or anxiety stare us in the eye and say “here I am, now what are you gonna do about it?”  We can choose to ignore it, be too afraid to face it- or engage in the battle that will define our life.  I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live with snakes in my home.

It’s MY home and God has not given me the spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of sound mind.  Negligence in this battle is costly.  Imagine what my house would be like if I didn’t get rid of the snakes or left the door open all year long.  I wouldn’t want to live here!

If Jesus is Lord of our life, than we have the weapon we need.  The Word of God will defend us!  We need to read it, believe it, and live it.  Jesus promises to help us!  Ask the Lord to reveal any open doors in your life that have allowed the enemy to have a foothold. Clean your house and shut the door to snakes!

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8

Take up the sword of the Lord which is the Word of God and rebuke the enemy with TRUTH!

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Rerouting Wrong Thoughts-OUT

Our newest family members on The Glasgow Farm

Our newest family members on The Glasgow Farm

The screaming and fighting in the back seat was brutal!  It was a fight to the death.  As I slung my arms toward the back seat, the car swerved off the road.  Semi trucks were passing me, going 80 miles an hour. I pulled over to stop the fight.  I’m sure people thought I was mercilessly beating my children when they saw my arms flailing.

Yesterday I drove the beautiful Appalachian Mountains and picked up our newest family members- a Royal Palm Turkey and a Red Bourbon Turkey.  They were not happy about being confined to a vehicle, nor being confined next to each other.  Hence, it was a fight to the death in my back seat.  The Red Bourbon decided to cure his displeasure with lashing out in anger.  He decided to kill the Royal Palm, literally.  He hopped on top of him and went for the neck!

I called 911 (Dale).  He said, “Reroute their thinking.  Turkeys aren’t the smartest and they’re thinking gets stuck.  You’ve got to reroute it.  Scream and hit the cage.”  I screamed, hit the cage and they stopped for 10 minutes.  It started again.  I screamed, hit the cage and clapped my hands.  It stopped.  30 minutes later the fight started again.  I screamed, hit the cage and clapped my hands.  It finally stopped for good. We all made it home alive and now they’re best friends.

I could sense the Lord say to my heart this is no different from people. When our circumstances aren’t what we want, our thinking gets stuck on the negative.  If we get stuck on the negative, we react wrong. We’ve got to be aware that negative thoughts can destroy and learn how to re-route them- OUT.

Every time a negative thought repeats in our mind over the course of a day, we should be reminded of the turkey’s lesson.

“For the weapons of our warfare  are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

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The Royal Palm Turkey- He’ll be stunning when his tail feathers come back in

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—mediate on these things. “Philippians 4:8

The Genuineness of Your Faith

Sparky in the snow covered field at sunrise

Sparky in the snow covered field at sunrise

I’ve been married to Dale for 33 years, I thought I knew everything there was to know about this man, not so. For two weeks straight I’ve watched him endure  the pain of a kidney stone, it was so great that he couldn’t sleep for 36 hours at a time. In his greatest hours of pain (Scale of 1-10, pain was a 10) I witnessed something indescribably priceless, he worshipped the Lord. He would pace for 10 hours straight glorifying his Lord and Savior.  I’m talking non-stop walking and praising!

Kidney stone  pain isn’t like a contraction where you experience great pain and then you get a two minute reprieve. It’s straight pain with no reprieve. With no reprieve from the pain, he worshipped. I would follow him while he paced the floor, you would have thought I would’ve been the one with great strength leading him in prayer, but he was leading me.

When the pain was  bearable he would turn worship music. When it was intense he turned it off, the only way to endure it was to converse with the Lord audibly in prayer. What a testimony to watch Dale suffer such a painful trial and see Jesus glorified and honored every hour of it!!

I saw in my husband a man stronger than I had ever seen before, and I thought I had already seen strong!  In his greatest hour of pain, he  remained unoffended at Jesus and embraced Him, all the more. Peter says that fiery trials test the genuineness of our faith which is of greater worth than gold. Trials  heighten our spiritual alertness and prepare us for greater purposes in Him.

Thank you for praying for Dale. The stone has been broken, but  hasn’t passed-yet.

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” I Peter 1: 6-7

When the Storms Rage and the Winds Blow on Your House

Hartwood_snow_modThe howling, frigid wind whipped and beat the house mercilessly last night. The old spruce tree bent and screeched against the house so much I couldn’t go back to sleep.   

Sometimes it’s good to be awakened in middle of a storm and listen. Listen to what you can’t normally hear. You know, the deep things, things you can’t hear on a quiet, calm night.

So, I talked to Him.

 I should reword that…I was pleading with Him and it had nothing to do with the storm outside my window.

You know, like the disciples did when the windstorm came down on the lake and the boat they were in filled with water.

The storm raged and the disciples were afraid. They pleaded with Jesus to help them, and He did. (Luke 8)

He calmed the storm and then asked, “Where is your faith?”

I felt like Jacob struggling and fighting my petitions before Him last night.  Then, His words were clear. “Where is your faith?” I sensed Him say.  I stopped struggling and asked, “Why, why does it have to be so hard?”

No answer. 

God uses hardships, disappointments and failures to strip our self-reliance away so that we will put our trust in Him alone.   Sometimes the process is grueling.

At the close of Jesus’ sermon on the mount He said,  ”Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

But everyone who hears theses sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

The storms, floods and winds will beat on our house, but we will not fall.   He is always faithful.

Sometimes it’s good to be awakened in middle of a storm and listen. Listen to what you can’t normally hear. You know, the deep things- things you can’t hear on a quiet, calm night.

 New Year’s resolution:  Memorize Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7). He says that for those who hear His sayings and do them they will not fall when the floods come  and winds blow and beat on our house.   

Years later–I’m living my Dream

 

Horizon at the break of day

Horizon at the break of day

 

When I was a little girl I had this recurring dream, that I was on a huge battlefield amongst thousands of dying and wounded people. I would wake up in the morning feeling like I had worked all night bringing life and healing to those who were perishing.

This dream became my thoughts in the daytime. I would stare out the window and recall my dream from the night before- it consumed me. I knew God was calling me. I would be a nurse and go into the mission field to bring life.

Well, chemistry class proved that I wasn’t called to go into the medical profession. I passed that class by the skin of my teeth, literally. This confused me, because I knew you had to be good in science to be a nurse. I continued to dream about bringing life and healing to thousands on the battlefield in my sleep. My passion and calling actually intensified.

As most of you know, I’m a speaker and writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Last week they announced our “Join Us on the Front Lines” campaign.  When I read those words I recalled the dream that I had dreamt hundreds and hundreds of times in years past– Endless numbers of people sprawled out on an open field waiting for urgent care.

I’ve had the privilege of writing devotions for P31 that go out to nearly a half million people a day.  This past fall I traveled almost every weekend as an ambassador  carrying the gospel to the sick and dying.

Halleluiah- I don’t need chemistry to be on the battlefield! We’re bringing life and healing to those who are perishing every day! I’m on the front lines administering care with Proverbs 31 Ministries under the leadership of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

I’ve seen more people receive Christ as their personal Savior this year than ever before!

I’ve received hundreds and hundreds of emails from families saying their marriages have been restored, broken lives mended, crushed spirits made whole, parents given hope and more because of our devotions, books, speaking, radio, Bible studies and more!  Oh my goodness I wish you could see all of what God is doing in the field.

We’re on the front lines of the battlefield ministering to millions of women around the world.  I want you to be a part of it!  Pray for us, the battlefield is vast and it cost money to go into all the world and preach the gospel—bringing life and healing to those who are perishing.

The dream I dreamt when I was a little girl has come true. I’m overcome by the awesome opportunity to minister to millions with Proverbs 31 ministries. Will you join us on the front lines? Have you had dreams of helping those whom you’ve never met? Would you like to help support P31?  

Renee Swope and Sharon

Renee Swope and Sharon

 

My amazing friend and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa Terkerust
My amazing friend and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa Terkerust

 

He Gives His Angels Charge to Protect You

AngelIt was nearly midnight as I rolled into the gas station in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. I opened the gas cap  to pump the gas and a group of motorcycle riders surrounded me. They wore leather vests and jackets with symbols I didn’t understand. The one who spoke had scars all over his face with fingerless leather gloves and chains hung from under his vest. He demanded that I fill the tank and then they would take a ride with me, I was mortified to say the least.  At that point the gas wouldn’t pump, happy I told them it wasn’t working and that I needed to go inside and get help.

Inside the station a man dressed just like the bikers sat behind the counter. I told him the gas pump wasn’t working  and apprehensively told him about my offenders outside. Without looking up he turned the pump on and said, “You’re on your own.”

As I pumped gas they came in closer and I felt a knife touch the back of my neck. Another knife drew in front of me. I prayed as I pumped the gas that the Lord would rescue me. The gas station closed, the lights went off-my hope for another car to pull up was over.

He told me to get in and they would tell me where to drive—I got in.  They opened the other three doors, but as they arched their bodies to get in- they jumped back and started to run away. They ran to their motorcycles. While they ran I drove off with the doors still open. Bam, bam the doors hit the concrete posts that protect the gas tanks.

Shaking I drove home thanking the Lord for protecting me. A couple of times I looked in the back seat wondering what they had seen. What had they seen that caused them to run? Angels ?

Rarely are we allowed to see the unseen realm of angelic protection defending us. But we know that the Word of the Lord is true and in Psalm 91: 11-15 He says;

“He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up…Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.”

That incident happened when I was in college, I’ll never forget how God protected me.

Dale and I often read or quote Psalm 91 before going to sleep at night because, he who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty!  He is our refuge and our fortress in Him we put our trust.

Be blessed this weekend in the power and strength of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who was and is and is to come!!!!

To read Entertaining Angels Unaware post click here.

The Overflow of His Shekinah Glory

This was the sunrise that Jesus and I shared in North Dakota

This was the sunrise that Jesus and I shared in North Dakota

His Presence is like a radiant fire of joy within us that overflows because He is uncontainable!  The Hebrew word for the dwelling (or Presence of God) is Sh’cheenah or as we pronounce it Shekinah.  That Presence is what Jesus says dwells within Him and He in us, we who are His disciple’s.

This past weekend I traveled to North Dakota to speak at Crystal Springs Baptist Camp Retreat.  The overflow of His Shekinah Glory was powerful.

I had been waiting in airports all day from weather delays.  It was late and they finally cancelled all departing flights.

I found a flight for the next day, going into a different city and to a hotel!  It was late.  I proceeded to the long cab line, opened my cab door, threw in my bags, shut the door and all of a sudden the glory of the Lord filled the cab.  I mean, we hadn’t even driven 20 feet from the curb and we were giving testimony to the power of His glory!  The cab driver was from Nigeria and for the next hour we were worshipping together the glory of the One who filled us! We had revival right there in the cab! Oh my, the overflow of His Shekinah Glory!

After a few hours of sleep, I got in another taxi.  This time I shared the cab with a Jewish man and an Ethiopian driver.  God’s presence immediately filled the cab. I felt this overwhelming love (Jesus’ love) for the two men.  We talked non-stop for an hour- when we got to the airport it was like saying goodbye to best friends.  I got to share the power of Jesus’ name, and it was good. Oh my- the overflow of Shekinah Glory!

I got into the airport and noticed my flight was delayed, again.  Wall to wall people stood waiting for flights. With no available seat I stood in a corner, opened my Bible and noticed a man looking at me.  I looked up and made eye contact.  He said, “What are you reading?” I said, “The Bible.” He waited for my next words.  I said, “Do you know Jesus?” He said, “No, I’m Hindu.”

Immediately the Lord took us to the deepest places of His heart. I was blown away at how fast we were going to His heart. I looked up and saw that my flight had been delayed another half hour.  I thought to myself I’ll never make it to my destination, today.  Then the Hindu said, “Will you pray for me?” Jesus! I said to myself!!  You are amazing me!!  I said, “Yes!” and we prayed! It was powerful! Oh my, the overflow of His Shekinah Glory!

I got to the retreat ON TIME to speak to speak for my first session. The power of His presence filled that campsite!

At the close of the retreat, women came forward weeping.  They wept because He so overflowed within them that there was no other emotion than tears because of the inexpressible joy.  The overflow of His Shekinah Glory!

The retreat attendees all left, going into all parts of North Dakota, some parts of South Dakota and Minnesota.  I sat alone with the Lord at sunset and imagined the fire of revival traveling with them.  It was good.

I sensed the Lord’s glory in my sleep.  He woke me when it was still dark outside.  All the ladies were gone.  I was alone with Him.  I started to worship Him, loudly!  No one could hear me.  It got intense.  I felt like I needed to go outside.  Typically, I would have been afraid to go outside- I mean what kind of wild animals lurk before dawn in ND?  Bears, coyotes, snakes? I didn’t know, but I had to go out.  I started to run around like a little girl who was totally freed from all inhibition and worshipped.  I wept tears from the inexpressible joy that was exploding in me. Who can contain it?!  His Shekinah Glory!

 2 Chronicles 7:2-3″And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the LORD, saying: “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever.”

Paul told us in Roman’s “Know ye not that you are the temple of God?” If we confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved. Then, His Presence fills us. God’s ultimate goal was always that He would dwell within His people (Jer.31:31-33). When we accept Jesus we become the temple of His Shekinah GLORY!

It is interesting that when the children of Israel had experienced the glory of the Lord coming down they were overcome and praised Him.

His presence, His Shekinah Glory compels us to proclaim:

  ”For He is good, for His mercy endures forever.”

The overflow of His Shekinah Glory goes before and around us- Many times filling cabs, airports and everywhere along our journey. We are conduits of His Shekinah Glory! Halleluiah!!

With Every Great Endeavor there’s Manure to Shovel

DSC_0232Farm life lives up to its nostalgic romantic ideology most days.  Other times it’s stinking hard! Like the days you have to shovel manure. . . The scenic farm with sheep grazing on luscious green fields, cows milked in scrupulously clean barns, and chickens nesting on fresh hay bundles- are the product of unseen hard work.

Shoveling manure is one of my least favorite farm chores.  Yesterday, Dale and I shoveled the goat house.  If you’ve never done it, there’s no way to describe it.

A pitch fork is needed to get under the old matted hay and then you start lifting layers off. Each layer gets heavier with saturated dense manure.  At first you don’t want to touch the stuff, but by the end you just want to get the job done.  So with gloves on, you start supporting the heavier mounds onto the pitch fork and hauling it out onto the back of the tractor.

It’s horribly smelly. You see bugs you wish you’d never seen.  You’re filthier than you ever thought possible and your back feels the weight of the day by the last shovel full-but it’s a requirement on a good farm. The goat house is vitally important to us.  Our goats give us an abundant harvest of delicious, organic milk every day.

With every great endeavor there’s manure to shovel.

Proverbs 14:4 says, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.”

This proverb has a lesson for us all. Whether you’re a mom, business owner, missionary, student, laborer or farmer—the principle is the same, without taking care of the hard stuff there’s no reward.

The farm that lives up to its nostalgic romantic ideology takes care of the hard stuff first and then all enjoy the by-product of its labor.  The same is true for you.  No matter what you’re going through, you must take care of the unmentionables.  These are the things no one else see’s, the harder things.  Keep plowing forward with grace and strength- and in due season you (and many others) will see the fruit of all your labor.

“Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. “Proverbs 31:25

The goat houses all clean, today!

Clean goat houses

Farm life is nostalgic and romantic indeed but never idle

Farm life is nostalgic and romantic indeed but never idle

Ann Peterson is the winner of the drawing last week! She chose morning glories for her prize! Ann- send me your address and I’ll send you the seeds from my morning glory vine!

Morning glory seeds from our vines

Morning glory seeds from our vines- Winner- Ann Peterson!

If You are My Disciple- You will Deny Self, Pick up Your Cross and Follow Me

Wildflower garden on our path this morning--Planted and arranged by God

Wildflower garden on our path this morning–Planted and arranged by God

The winner’s from last week’s apron drawing: Christi  8/29 at 3:09PM and Rebecca  8/28 at 2:16 PM.

Thank you for praying for Jonathan. He is doing wonderfully well! It is a slow recovery but he couldn’t be doing better. You have no idea what peace I had knowing YOU were praying!!

A good word from David Wilkerson:

Never once does our Lord say, Stoop down and let me lay a cross on you.” Jesus is not in the drafting business; his army is all volunteer. Not all Christians carry crosses. You can be a believer without carrying a cross, but you cannot be a disciple.

I see many believers rejecting the way of the cross. They have opted for the good life with its prosperity, its material gain, its popularity and success. I’m sure that many of them will make it to heaven—they will have saved their skins—but they will not have learned Christ. Having rejected the suffering and sorrow of the cross, they will not have the capacity to know and enjoy Him in eternity, as will the cross-bearing saints who have entered into the fellowship of suffering.

You will have to carry your cross until you learn to deny. Deny what? The one thing that constantly hinders God’s work in our lives—self. Jesus said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). We are misinterpreting this message if we emphasize self-denial, that is the rejection of material or unlawful things. Jesus was not calling upon us to learn self-discipline before we take up our cross. It is far more severe than that. Jesus is asking that we deny ourselves. This means to deny your own ability to carry any cross in your own strength. In other words, “Don’t take up your cross until you are ready to reject any and every thought of becoming a holy disciple as a result of your own effort.”

Millions of professing Christians boast of their self-denial. They don’t drink, smoke, curse or fornicate—they are examples of tremendous self-disciple. But not in a hundred years would they admit it was accomplished by anything other than their own willpower. They are practicing self -denial, but they have never denied self. In some ways, we are all like that. We experience “spurts” of holiness, accompanied by feelings of purity. Good works usually produce good feelings, but God will not allow us to think our good works and clean habits can save us. That is why we need the cross.

I believe Jesus is actually saying to us, “Before you take up your cross, be ready to face a moment of truth. Be ready to experience a crisis by which you will learn to deny your self-will, your self-righteousness, your self-sufficiency, your self-authority. You can rise up and follow Me as a true disciple only when you admit you can do nothing in your own strength—you cannot overcome sin through your own willpower—your temptations cannot be overcome by your self-efforts alone—you cannot work things out by your own intellect.

Your love for Jesus can put you on your knees but your cross will put you on your face.

 

David Wilkerson was the founder of World Challenge,  best known for his early days in ministry to drug addicts and gang members in New York City. Best selling book and movie  about his life is called The Cross and the Switchblade.