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.

Stewarding His Glory

Sunrise on the Glasgow Farm- Reminds me of His Glory!

Sunrise on the Glasgow Farm – Reminds me of His Glory!

“The Glory which You gave to Me I have given to them. . . that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them, as You have loved Me.” John 17:22-23

Last week I was at Proverb’s 31’s She Speaks conference. It was phenomenal!

Michael Hyatt was the keynote speaker Saturday night. One thing he said really struck me: “A goal without a date is a dream.” He told us before his last book was published that he set a date for it to become a New York Times bestseller. The date he wrote in his journal was two weeks after its release date.  It became a NYT bestseller on the very date he set!! How? He made a date and worked a plan for it to happen!

When I closed my eyes that night to go to sleep, I felt the Lord say to me: You must be just as intentional in stewarding My Glory as Michael was about his book. While driving my six hours home I couldn’t turn music on or anything. The concept kept burning within me.

I remembered people like D.L. Moody who set specific goals and followed through because they were intentional. One of Moody’s goals was to attempt to bring one person to Christ every day (he did more than that). He was a very busy man. Some days he would realize that he hadn’t done it and leave his house late at night to fulfill his deadline. Amazing stories followed his obedience, because he set defined parameters on his goals.

Jesus said that the same glory God gave Him, He gave us so that the world would know Him. This is huge. What am I doing with His Glory? How am I stewarding it? What goals am I setting to steward this amazing glory within?

Time is short. The things of this age will one day be gone, but how we steward His Glory will have eternal reward and significance for all eternity. In order to accomplish defined goals, we have to be focused and driven not to spend our lives on frivolous things. But in everything we do, we must do in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I love the story in I Kings 8:11 when the glory of the Lord (His presence) was so powerful in the House of the Lord that the priests couldn’t stand!  Wow! And now we believers house the very presence (His Glory) of the Lord within us! What a privilege and gift! What power and glory within us!!

When I stand before the throne of God and He opens the book of remembrance (the one He has for those who feared the Lord and meditated on His name – Malachi 3:16), I want to have been found faithful with everything He gave me.

The more trustworthy we are with what God gives us, the more He gives! In Matthew 25:23 “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

I want to be trusted with more—more of His Glory, His Presence, so that many will come to know Him and know that He loves them. What is He calling you to do? Do you have a daily, monthly and yearly plan to  fulfill it? Write it down, do everything to protect it and do it—if it will bring Him glory and bring others to Him remember that a goal without a date is a dream.

Our daughter Jennifer's 36"X40" Painting entitled, "Hold His Glory." It has been in public art shows in LA, CA and NYC. People who don't know Jesus want to know what His Glory is!

Our daughter Jennifer’s 36″X40″ painting entitled, “Holding His Glory” has traveled in art shows from LA, CA to NYC. People who don’t know Jesus want to know what the Glory is!

Overcoming Fear

Bunnies were all over my path this morning!

Bunnies were all over my path this morning- Elderberry bush over  bunny

This past weekend while mowing, I rode down the path that leads to the edge of the woods.  I turned off the motor and sat… I could hear a symphony of crickets and frogs making music.  I saw deer and bunnies grazing—it was breathtaking.  A year ago that very path had been where I walked and met God at the beginning of my day.  I could pray out loud and no one could hear or see me.  It was perfect—that is, until that day, last July.

I was enjoying my time with Him, when my cell phone rang.  No one ever calls that early in the morning… It was Dale.  He said, “Come to the house, now.”  Dale never talks like that, so I ran.  When I got to the house he was holding his leg and said, “It was a Copperhead snake.”  Immediately we both petitioned the Lord for healing for his leg.  Healing did come- that day. (Blog post- last July about the Copperhead)

There was only one lingering effect.  I stopped walking that path with Jesus.  I didn’t really give it much thought until this weekend, on the mower, when I saw the butterflies and bunnies crisscrossing in front of me.  I remembered how sweet that time was and realized that the fear of snakes kept me from going back.

The Lord led my thoughts to Ephesians 6.  It’s the one where Paul gives us a clear defense plan against the enemy.  He tells us about the armor that protects us.  Anytime we have an unhealthy fear of something, we need to face it with truth and investigate our line of defense in order to become overcomers of it.  This is true in the natural as well as in the spiritual.

I decided to walk my path again, but this time with armor on and a defense plan.  I’m wearing jeans, boots and carrying a shovel or a machete- just in case.  I’ve researched my enemy (snakes) and know where they hide, what time of day they’re out, and their mode of operation.  I’ll never forget the seriousness of a poisonous snake, but I will never again let it hinder me from living life to the fullest.

What do you fear?  Does it hinder you from enjoying life?  Satan (our greatest enemy) wants nothing more than for his prey to live in fear.  Fear always threatens freedom and peace.  Paul gives us truth in dealing with our enemy.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of the God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end, with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–“ Ephesians 6:10-18

I never want to be without my armor (my boots, jeans, and machete) when walking in snake territory.  But even more than that, I never want to be without the whole armor of God to defend and protect myself from the schemes of the devil.

And I’ll never be without a defensive weapon in dealing with the devil, which is; the sword of the Word.  When we use it- no weapon formed against us will prosper!  Jesus Himself used the Word of God as His defense against Satan- and so must I!

Every time I walk my beautiful path now, I am reminded that to enjoy life to the fullest, I must never let fear overcome me, but I must overcome it with truth!  God has given us offensive and defensive weapons- that in making ourselves keenly aware, we will effectively defeat the enemies ahead!  Let’s not allow fear to prevent us from moving forward in any aspect of our lives.  Let’s take up our holy armor and weapons… riding forth into the glorious places that God has already prepared for us- if we are willing to follow Him there.   We have good reason to be courageous!

Our Hospital Debt was PAID in FULL

 

IMG955116 (3) DAle in hospital 2011 mod lighterWinners of aprons announced at bottom of post!

An envelope was taped to our front door.   It was a warrant for us to appear in court for Dale’s unpaid hospital bill.  ( you  should read the story if you’re new to my blog).

The original bill was over $30,000. We had been waiting for the insurance company to settle the claim. Well, they decided not to pay it.  We called the hospital, told them what happened and they graciously lowered our bill by 50%.  But, they were pretty serious about the remaining balance and wouldn’t accept monthly payments.

So, the deal was- pay it by August or we’ll put a lien on your house.  PAY IT NOW was the answer.  Well, naturally we did the same thing you would have done.  We got on our knees and asked God to help and show us an answer.  We didn’t have the money, to say the least.

Every day we prayed, but answers to pay the debt were nowhere in sight.  So, we told God we were willing to sell the farm if He wanted us to get rid of the debt. We resigned ourselves that this may be the only answer.

That afternoon I called a dear friend and asked her to pray for us. The hospital debt wasn’t the only thing I  needed prayer for, we had other issues that were pressing. We talked for 5 minutes and then she prayed the sweetest prayer.

Within 30 minutes after we talked she called me back, I was in my garden.   It sounded like she was holding back tears when she first started to tell me that her and her husband had decided to pay our entire hospital bill!!!  I felt faint.  My head started to get whoozy.  I thought I was going to pass out!

I was in shock. This wasn’t a rich couple. They worked hard for the money they lived on. They weren’t independently wealthy people by any stretch of the imagination. They were people just like you and me, but they were willing to give $15,000 - to help us.

I said,But…“  She said, “Sharon it is our joy to give this. I had felt for several months now that I was supposed to do something for you and couldn’t figure out what He wanted me to do. I had even told my husband about it. Then when you called I knew and so did he.”  They were giving with joy.  She even giggled a couple of times while talking.

When I got off the phone I sat in my garden and cried and prayed.

With tears streaming down my cheeks I kept saying,  “Jesus, who am I that you are so mindful of?”  Never did I ever imagine a person paying off this debt for us!

After I got my composure, I ran into the house to tell Dale. I wish you could have seen his face.  With tears in his eyes, he thanked God and couldn’t stop thanking Him.

They don’t want anyone else to know who gave the money.  They’re humble people not looking for earthly rewards.

These verses are my prayers for this generous couple:

~”He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

~”For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.” Hebrews 6:10

~”Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

Lord, with the same measure they gave, give it back to them one hundred fold- shaken down and running over! Help me to fulfill the call of Christ just like they did for us.  Help me to bear others burdens by Your example on the cross!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

~ “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Winners of Aprons email me your address! Amie Moore posted comment at 9:01 on 7/8, Jane post 11:23 on 7/7, Lindsey Hislop and another Amie posted on 7/5 at 2:23

Does God still Work Miracles?

Chris and Haley were married on The Glasgow Farm two weeks ago!

Chris and Haley were married on The Glasgow Farm two weeks ago!

This past weekend standing at my kitchen door was a young man who had just been married on our farm two weeks ago. Chris told me that right after their wedding his mom( who was at the wedding)went into the ICU unit at the hospital. She had been in critical condition since. Just that morning the doctors conveyed bad news to the family—there was no brain activity and both kidneys were shutting down—what’s worse, they didn’t foresee her condition improving.

He was devastated. He said he had cried every tear he had. We prayed and asked God to do a miracle for his mom in Jesus’ name. We quoted the verse in Ephesians 1:19-20 that talks about the exceeding greatness of God’s power toward us who believe, according to His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.

Dale and I continued to pray that day along with friends and family.

Less than 24 hours later  Chris told us that his mom was able to do a few things on command, like stick her tongue out and wiggle her toes! Guess what the doctor’s new prognosis was? She will likely have a full recovery!

Does God still work miracles today? Yes, He does.  Lord, we give You the glory for her 180-degree turnaround! Thank You Jesus!

I’ve prayed for many people and I’ve seen many miracles,  I’ve also seen people die right in front of me while I prayed for the miracle! Why? Why doesn’t God heal everyone we pray for? WHY? I don’t know. But this I know, I will never stop believing that God can heal and does perform miracles.

George Muller said that there were some things that he had to ask God for 10,000 times before it was answered.

Don’t lose faith when circumstances seem impossible. Hebrews 11: 1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Don’t blame yourself or stop believing when God doesn’t answer the way you want or when you want.  Keep your faith in God strong — don’t let Satan mess with your mind!  We’ll never understand the timing of God or why some are healed and some are not. Job didn’t understand God’s ways either, but he remained faithful to trust Him even when it didn’t seem like God was listening (He was).

But there is nothing any more rewarding than living a life of faith.

Does God still work miracles today? Yes.

Malachi 3:6 says the LORD does not change.

He is he same God who parted the Red Sea, raised Jesus from the dead, brought brain activity back to Chris’ mom and the same God who will one day wipe away every tear from our eyes and proclaim no more death, no more crying, no more pain for the former things will pass away. He will make all things new, and to you who overcomes He will reward you with a great eternal inheritance!

Matthew 19:26, “But Jesus looked at them and said, With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God. [Gen. 18:14; Job 42:2.]

 

Chris and Haley sparkler send off!

Chris and Haley

 

A Life of Faith- George Muller

give away 002

What do you need more faith for today? Enter your answer in the comment section for a chance to win these two books!

There is no greater life than a life lived by faith.

It is so powerful that even with a tiny amount of it, nothing is impossible to us (Matthew 17:20). Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

A couple of months ago I gave you a list of 10 Invaluable Christian Books. In that list I included a book about George Muller. If you want to read about someone who lived his entire life by faith, read this book. When Muller first became a Christian he felt that God was leading him to be a missionary. He was Biblically trained in the best school, had the desire to preach and the ability to speak many languages. He was completely ready for the adventure.

But God detoured Muller and led him to open orphanages in Bristol, England.  From his latter 20’s to age 70 he took care of over 10,000 children with God’s help alone. Not once in all those years did he ask for financial help from anyone other than God Himself. There were days he didn’t have food to serve the kids, but he never doubted that God would provide.

And God did provide for them.  Miracle after miracle happened at the orphanage. Unexpected food would arrive at the door just in time for meals. People came by to give a gift, and many times it was the exact amount needed to pay a bill.  These things happened not because Muller told anyone his need, but because of God alone.

Rarely did they have money for the next week, but they lived on faith.  And not once in all those years did they go without food or shelter.  George Muller trusted God with a depth rarely seen.  His faith and generosity set a standard for Christians of all generations.

People from all over the world soon heard about the miraculous things happening because of the faith of Muller.  D.L. Moody was one of them.  He visited the orphanage when 1500 kids lived there and was inspired by the power of Muller’s faith and God’s ability to provide even though Muller never asked for money.

When Muller was 70 years old God released him to do his lifelong dream—to go into all the world and preach the gospel.  For 17 years he spoke and traveled non-stop. He spoke on living a life of faith. He preached for Charles Spurgeon and inspired Hudson Taylor.  He spoke to over 3 million people and traveled to 42 countries, speaking at least once a day until he reached 87 years old.

He died at the age of 92. Tens of thousands of people showed up for his funeral. In his lifetime he read the Bible cover to cover almost 200 times (now that’s the secret to faith—know the promises and believe them). He never took a salary in 68 years of ministry but always trusted God to provide for him. He never took out a loan or went into debt for himself, the orphanage or his ministry abroad.

There is no greater life than a life lived by faith.

Faith is so powerful that even with a tiny amount of it, nothing is impossible to us.

God, increase our faith! May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven! In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you stopped by after reading my post on Karen Ehman’s site, thank you for hopping over to meet me! I’m doing a giveaway on her site and on mine. So you can leave a comment at both!  I’m giving away George Muller’s book and a copy of the new NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for women. I’m so excited about this Bible because I’ve got several devotions in it!! To enter the drawing just write the one thing you need faith for right now in the comment section!  We’ll pray for you! Name drawn Monday at noon EST. Winner revealed Tuesday.nifty thrifty graphic

A Legacy of Faith

barn. boardman wedding, bible 038

This week Proverbs 31 Ministries is focusing on women who have left a faith legacy in our lives. As you read about a woman who has inspired me, think about who has left a legacy in your life and whether you are leaving a faith legacy behind by the way you live.

The words we speak and the way we live can alter another person’s life for eternity.

I’ll never forget that night when I was 11 years old.  My aunt, uncle, and their four young children had traveled from Indiana to Virginia to visit with us.  It was a grand visit.  Right before they left, something happened that was grandest of all- forever engraved on my heart.

The night had come to a close.  I got into bed and my aunt came into the room. She looked very serious and made no small talk. “We’re leaving tomorrow and there is a verse in the Bible you MUST know. Bury it in your heart and never ever forget it.” She opened my Bible (which was lying next to me) to Luke 9:62. She read it out loud as if it was life and death to her.  And with a piercing look into my spirit, she left the room.

I got out of bed and read it for myself. “Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”  I knew this would be a defining scripture for my life.  I was just too young to understand fully what it meant at the time.

The next morning, they left before I woke.  That night in my room was the last time I ever saw my aunt.  Her heart stopped beating and her mortal body died soon after they got back to their home.

Countless testimonies were told about Aunt Helen and how she lived her life for Jesus. And the stories are still being recounted even after 40 years!  She was a shining light of His radiance and glory. She was the epitome of the Proverbs 31 woman.  From that day on, I decided I would emulate her and her walk with Christ.  I read that scripture she gave me every day till I went to Bible College (the same one she went to).  I determined in my heart to be a follower of Jesus at all costs, never looking back.

The verse she gave me had even greater meaning when I read the verses before it. Luke 9:57-62 are all about the cost of discipleship. Jesus is walking with three men here and tells them that to follow Him you must drop everything of the world.  When Peter, James, and John decided to follow Jesus- they literally dropped their fishing nets, got out of the boat, and followed Him. They didn’t look back!  That’s what He is telling these three guys to do if they are going to follow Him.  That’s what He says to us today.  To this day I am still convicted by that verse, the cost of discipleship, and the legacy Aunt Helen left to me.

What legacy will I leave behind to my family and friends?  What legacy will you leave behind? The words we speak and the way we live can alter another person’s life for eternity.

Proverbs 31 Ministries is doing a Legacy Campaign. Do you have someone in your life that has lived a faith legacy?  Proverbs 31 is giving you the perfect way to honor her.  Simply click on the Legacy button in my sidebar.  It’s that simple!

 

A Simple Family Passover (Seder) Supper

Our Seder Supper- First time ever without our girls!

Our Seder Supper- First time ever without our girls!

We celebrate the Passover (Seder) meal on Thursday or Friday evening before Easter.  We’ve made it simple so that it would never be too hard to do. A traditional Seder meal is long.  In celebrating this feast we are honoring a feast, instituted by God and celebrated by Jesus himself.  “Because Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed for us; therefore, let us observe the festival [Passover and Unleavened Bread]… with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7-8).  This is not to be done out of a religious spirit, or any form of “legalism,” but rather in a joyful, reflective, and instructional manner.  Enjoy!

Our Christian Passover Seder

Candles lit on the table: Representing Jesus, who is the light of the World

Food on table; Roasted lamb, unleavened bread, boiled egg, bitter herbs (horseradish), Charoseth (a sweet mixture of apples, cinnamon, grape-juice [or wine], and walnuts), salt water, parsley, and wine or grape juice

Children should know this is a special tradition.  Inform them ahead of time that the focus will be solely on the Passover and on Christ.  After the dinner they can talk about their day’s events and personal interests.

We start by reading Exodus 12:14, “So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations.”  This passage is directly discussing the Feast of Passover.

Then explain:

We celebrate this feast to help us remember that God rescued the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.  On the night before He delivered them, God told them to kill a lamb and to cover the top of their doorway with its blood.  Every Israelite family who did what God said was protected from the plague of death in their home.

Many years later, Jesus (God’s son) came to earth in human form and died on the cross- as a fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrifice.  He became the ultimate sacrificial lamb.  We no longer have to kill a lamb like they did under the Old Covenant for forgiveness of sin.  Jesus’ blood was shed so that all who receive Him as their savior are saved from sin and eternal death.  This sacrifice was all-sufficient, once for all.

Read Isaiah 53: 3-12…

In short, it says that Jesus was the lamb who was slain for all of our sins.  The chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed!  He poured out His soul unto death for us, so that we may be saved.

When we accept Christ as our personal Savior, His blood covers us- protecting us from eternal death and bondage.  The night before Christ died, He celebrated the Passover dinner with His disciples and said that from now on (until the end of the age) we are to partake of the Lords supper as a reminder of His death and resurrection until He comes again.   It is good for us to tell this story to our children, especially during the week of Passover, since it is a prophetic picture of what Christ accomplished for us on the cross.  Generation after generation will be instructed on the profound importance and meaning of Christ’s sacrifice, since He was/is the fulfillment of the Hebrew law (Matthew 5:17).

Read John 3:16.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

Pray a prayer of thanksgiving:  For the ultimate sacrifice of Christ’s blood that was shed for us all and His resurrection.  Also, thank Him for the food that is about to be partaken of.

At this time, the head of table passes each food item (one by one) and explains what they represent…

Platter of roasted Lamb:  We eat this in memory of the lamb that the Israelites sacrificed the night before they escaped out of Egypt.  Jesus was our final perfect Lamb who was sacrificed for us all.

Unleavened bread ( I made Gluten Free Matzo): Store bought Matzo can be used.  We eat this to remind us that the Israelites didn’t have time to wait for yeast bread to rise- rather they had to be ready to go when God said “GO.” At the Last Supper Jesus told us that the bread would represent His body that was broken for us.  We eat it in remembrance of His body that was slain for us.

Boiled Egg- (In Jewish tradition it is a roasted egg) the egg stands for renewal.  The Israelites were going to start a new life and we have new life in Christ because of what He did on the cross for us.

Bitter herbs-We serve horseradish as a reminder of the bitterness of the slavery in Egypt.  Jesus suffered greatly for us that we may be saved.  Remind them that on the cross He was given the bitter vinegar on the sponge to drink.

Charoseth- This is a mixture of chopped apples, walnuts, grape-juice (or wine), cinnamon, and brown sugar.  Symbolizes the mortar and bricks the Israelites used in making the bricks for the king of Egypt.

Karpas- We use parsley for this. These plants stay green all year and represent everlasting life because of Christ’s resurrection.

Small bowl of salt water- Tears of the Israelites in bondage. Today can represent our tears for those who haven’t accepted Christ as their personal savior.  Dip the parsley into the salt water bowl and eat it.

Grape juice or wine poured in glasses- At the Last Supper Jesus said that the wine represented His own blood, poured out for us all. Drink in remembrance of Him until He comes again.

Jesus is the Messiah who died on the cross and rose again on the third day!  He is alive today and all who accept Him become joint Heirs with Him.  Our inheritance is great.  We have been given not only life eternal but everlasting peace, authority in Jesus’ name, and the last will and testament that Jesus gave us- an inheritance that is vastly immeasurable (John 17: 20-26)!

There is no right or wrong way to celebrate this feast with your family. Just celebrate, fill your home with the glory of our risen Savior with praise, worship and adoration to Him who is, was and always will be!

Halleluyah!

And at this time, the meal is concluded!

Our family watches Jesus of Nazareth after the dinner.

Easter is usually the only time of year our family eats lamb. Typically I roast an entire leg of lamb the whole afternoon before the meal. I didn’t post my recipe because most people say to cook it rare. Ours always falls off the bone and is SO tender. This was the first time I’ve ever made lamb chops, next year I’ll go back to the larger piece and roast all afternoon. This was good!

Charoseth-3 chopped apples, 1 sliced banana, 2/3 cup plain yogart, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, dash cinnamon, couple tsp’s organic sugar or honey, 1 tsp vanilla-Mix all!

I made Gluten Free Matzo this year! Click here for recipe

The Seder Dinner

I got the plates here for a $1 each, the sterling silver platter for $3 and the brass candle sticks 2 for $1! Yep, thrift stores are amazing! I bought the glass dishes for pennies.

A Burning Fire in My Bones

In 1773 John Wesley preached the gospel to an audience of 32,000 people in an open field with no microphone at the age of 70! Can you imagine? God says to us today, “GO into all the world and preach the gospel” He’ll take care of everything else! This is just a photo to help you envision speaking to a crowd without a microphone!

 

 

This past weekend I spoke at three different churches.  As I walked to the podium at the first event I started to cry when I saw the large audience. Every time I speak I am reminded of where I came from and how He uses me in spite of myself.

I was painfully shy as a child.  I was so shy that I rarely spoke at school and had very few friends.  I mean in order to have friends, you’ve got to communicate, right?  I choose not to.  From the time I was in elementary school, I would envision myself with imaginary walls all around me and I liked those walls. Well, the school thought something was mentally wrong with me because I didn’t talk.  So, they put me in a class for retarded children.  I know, that’s a bad word but it was the word they used for us in that class.  I hated the class.  I didn’t want to be in it.   I knew I needed to get out– but I couldn’t overcome my fear of talking to people.

One night as I prayed and asked God to help me overcome these fears, I felt a surge of strength rise up in me.  I started to read the Word,  something started to  burn in my heart, I couldn’t hold in. Even though I was terrified of my next words I said, “Give me to strength to overcome my greatest fear and I will speak of You forever.”

Well, I got out of that class the next day.  I was only in 6th grade but I knew in my spirit that in my weakness He was made strong. The road ahead of me was terrifying, but through Him I was going to be a speaker for Him!

I’ve been speaking for Him ever since that day. You would never know it, but that introverted little girl is still inside me.  Every day I am reminded of Jesus’ command to all believers to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

In order to accomplish this, we will always have to go outside of our comfort zone.

No matter what my insecurities are, this is a mandate on my life- and every Christian.

Every time I speak for Him, I am brought to tears before I speak asking (God) that He would use me in spite of my weaknesses.

Over the weekend  I saw people weep as they came to Christ.  People made radical decisions to turn their lives around and others wept because they finally understood how much God loved them. Oh my goodness, it was the greatest!

One of the places where I spoke had three times more people show up for the event than had registered!

At another place, almost the entire audience came forward at the end of the service for prayer and decisions.

The Lord’s presence was powerful- long after the events were over and throughout the ministry time.

Oh my, I wish I could tell you all the exciting things that happened.

In between all the great things was the traveling… A flight was delayed.  The plane broke down and traveling time equaled 21 hours…  There were other circumstances that must go unmentioned.

But, God did what He wanted to do in spite of me or any other circumstance! Hallelujah!   That’s what I always find amazing: the harvest is great- He just needs us to “Go.”  He provides everything else; the words, the ability , the power, and the conviction on the listeners.

On my way home I read the biography of John Wesley.  He offered the hope of Christ to millions of people in the 1700’s.  He rode by horseback a quarter of a million miles, preaching forty thousand sermons in open fields, churches, and barns.  Oh my goodness, I want the Word to be like a burning fire within my bones like Wesley, unable to contain it.

 With no microphone he preached in open air to thirty-two thousand people!!! 

Jesus, set us on fire for You and for laboring in the harvest—for it is truly great!

 Somebody asked John Wesley,

“How can you impact so many lives through the Gospel?” Wesley responded,
“It’s simple, I set myself on fire and let the world see me burning.”

But His Word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, I could not.” Jeremiah 20:9