“Then he turned to his host. ‘When you put on a wedding banquet,’ he said, ‘don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of righteousness, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.” Luke 14
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ~ Matthew 28:20 KJV
So my life has been a whirlwind. I essentially have been going just about every day for over a month now and I don’t know when it will let up. I’m underslept and even breaking out with a cold sore from it all. In everything though God has shown Himself SO faithful! There was an exam yesterday to be certified in emergencies while delivering babies and in the drill where two people tested me on my hands on knowledge (a fake scenario), I received 99/100 points! THAT was Jesus. Because of all of my stress, I actually have had an incredibly hard time studying and ended up cooking most of the last few nights like a crazy woman to help me cope with it. Praise God for His faithfulness! Praise God for blessing me with being able to have a good sense of what would be tested. Praise God for helping me in my time of trouble. For truly being with me always because I do my best (even though I do fail at times!) to observe what He has commanded me.
Thank You Jesus for helping me and for being with me in this life as I know it.
So, my roommate and I got back safely from Florida. I tried to post this several days ago (via phone because my antiquated computer was having an antisocial day), but then my phone decided the antisocial game looked like fun too and just like that my post was thwarted. Well played, technology, well played. If you were following along, God was doing big things in my friend Scott’s life. He has been hospitalized for the better part of 7 months now, and is finally home but has a long road back. God has been telling me for awhile that someone needed to lay hands on him and pray for a healing – both physical and spiritual. I had a hard time facilitating this from New York, with him living in Orlando, but when I was there in person for 10 whole nights, it was game on. If you were one of the many praying for us, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Anyway, the prayer for Scott happened. The results didn’t. I could feel God moving in those moments, I could feel things getting shaken up, but nothing actually physically happened. It was sort of anticlimactic really. I am trying to shed this part of myself that looks for results when I obey and serve, but part of me still totally does it. If I’m told to lay hands on someone and pray, told repeatedly for months, I want to lay hands on that person and have them be healed. I want the disabled to get up and walk. I want my friend Scott, who has been ventilator-dependent since 1989 or so, to suddenly breathe on his own. Or at least stop feeling like he isn’t getting enough air even though he is. I want results. I want miracles. I know God is able to do these things. So I want Him to go ahead and do them. And I want to see it happen. Maybe it’s an area of unbelief in my heart. Maybe it’s a pride thing, wanting to be the one to ‘usher in’ the miracle when I know full well I have nothing to do with it. Probably it’s both.
Either way, I am working on shedding this desire, to serve for serving’s sake. After all, I’m just delighted to be His, to love Him and be loved by Him and to let that love pour out onto the world. It doesn’t really matter what I accomplish in the meantime. Right? Right.
Since I have yet to convince my heart of this, and still have a desire to see that pesky proof, doing the work without the results is frustrating. Coming home from Orlando, with Scott still heavy on my heart, I drove my roommate in to work. Several weeks ago I’d had the chance to chat with and pray for two homeless men. Wouldn’t you know, God sent both men back into my path on this day. One was a bit disillusioned that his circumstances hadn’t really changed despite our prayer and my delivering a word from God to him. The other man was asleep but by the looks of him, his circumstances hadn’t changed much either. I know, I know, these things take time. But it still sort of tied in with my ‘results’ theme of late.
So it was that a few days later (this brings us to yesterday), I was riding home from the nursing home after visiting my roommate’s mother (she had a tough day – something was wrong and she was clearly uncomfortable but we couldn’t get to the bottom of it no matter what I did). The weather was nasty, that need for visible results was pecking away at my heart and brain, I felt bad that I couldn’t help Jimmy’s mother, and I admit it: I had a bit of a moment. A sort of “why am I here if everything I do is useless?” moment. I mean, yes I obey. But surely God would be better served with someone who actually has success when they obey?
Yes, I know better. Like I said, it was a moment. Lord forgive my unbelief.
In that moment of despondency, however, I happened to look out the window, back towards the city. And in the midst of the storm clouds, still surrounded by storm on all sides in fact, a window of clear skies opened up over the skyline. With storm clouds to the horizon in all directions, there was in that one spot, the one place I’d been told to come to and where I hear God’s voice the most clearly, the sun came out and shone over Manhattan. Sunlight in the storm. Just what I needed to see.
Yes, logically, I know that weather patterns are not formed specifically to brighten my moods. But in that moment, I could totally hear God saying “See? I’m still here. I’ve still got this. Nothing to worry about.”
That, my friends, is the mercy and attention of the God we serve. Even when I’m learning the lesson of not relying on physical results to gauge my success in Him, He still sends me little signs of encouragement. Who else can give sunshine in the storm? Every day His love continues to amaze me.
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. ~Ex 20:12
So I have a confession to make: in everything that has happened in my life I’m pretty successful on paper, but I have had one HUGE, MAJOR flaw. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dad, but I’ve treated him pretty horrible in the past. I just have this pre-set tendency to be angry and to yell at him. Do I have reasons for this- yes. I honestly feel like he doesn’t hear me. I’m not even talking physically, I mean I feel like he shuts me out when I’m speaking. So earlier this morning, my mom sat me down and we had a discussion about it. With tears in her eyes, she was pleading with me to treat my dad right. For anyone who knows me, they know that I love my parents SO much. I praise them often and, in my mind, I think respect them. God has used my mom (and kind of my brother) to open my eyes to the fact that I haven’t been. Of every one in my life, my mom is THE person to get through to me and for God to have her essentially crying before me… it ripped up my heart a little.
It is never right for a child to yell at her father. Even if she’s saying “Mashed potatoes. Hey dad, I want mashed potatoes. Just tell mom I want mashed potatoes! DAD, TWO WORDS- MASHED POTATOES YOU CAN SAY THAT TO HER! WHY WON’T YOU JUST LISTEN AND TELL HER THOSE TWO WORDS?! MASHED. POTATOES.” lol At the end of the day if I had just opened the car door and said it to my mom versus yelling at my dad (who was getting out of the car) to relay those words when all he kept saying in response was “tell your mother,” what’s the difference?
I realized the difference and why I didn’t just go the more peaceful route is because I just feel unheard. And in thinking about it, I realized that I HATE feeling like I’m not heard. For so long, a huge part of my life, I felt SO ignored and looked down upon. Not necessary by my parents, but I have had moments where I felt I had no voice and the memory of that feeling has never left me.
So as time has gone on and more and more incidents have occurred that left me feeling like I’m not heard (not always by my dad), it caused me to become quick to anger and yell at my dad. Was it right? NO. A big “N.” “O.” Am I justifying my actions? No because I have truly broken one of the 10 commandments. I have endeavored from this day forward to honor my father even when I feel like he doesn’t hear my words. However, I am saying that the biggest key in everything that happened today was to recognize within myself the “WHY” behind my actions.
I sat down with both my parents earlier today to talk things through and my dad actually literally did EXACTLY what I said was the reasoning behind why I acted the way I did- he shut me out. He literally would not hear my words. I was saying “I’m sorry for how I acted, it was unacceptable behavior and I’m sorry. I reflected and realized it was because for so long now, I have felt as if you don’t hear me and I’m sorry that my frustration about that has come out as yelling.” His response? To say that I’m moving in a few short days so it doesn’t really matter and all I was saying to him was that yet once again, it’s his fault- always his fault- none of mine. Miracle of miracles though- even though he was literally proving my point- I didn’t yell. I actually prayed. “God, give me wisdom to know how to reach my dad. Help me mend this bridge that I have broken with my anger and yelling. Forgive me and help me honor him.”
Sometimes we’re called to swallow our pride and just keep apologizing until the other person accepts it. If that never happens though- I know that today, I honored my father like I never have before and I know that God is smiling. So dear readers, pray for my dad? I know he loves me, but I also know that he has SUCH a weight on him from everything else going on and this only added to it. I allowed myself to be an instrument of further burden to my dad. My brother’s job has been in the balance lately, my “sister” has been in a spiritual battle, I’m moving away officially… there’s a lot weighing on his heart. He needs God’s peace. He needs God’s love to shine on him more than ever. So in advance, I thank you for your prayers for peace over my dad and I pray you all do a better job at honor your parents than I have done in my past 🙂
In Him and to a new future of truly honoring my parents,
“For they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” -2 Kings 6:16.
If you read my last post, This Too Shall Pass, you know that I’ve been struggling a bit recently. I have a ways to go, but God is fighting a mighty battle for me. Truly, the Lord is doing a wonderful work to restore peace in my life and give me new hope.
Last night I had a dream. In this dream a man began quoting Scripture to me. I did not immediately recognize it as something out of the Bible because the man was speaking in another language that I have pretty limited knowledge of. When I awoke, I used Google Translate to plug in the sounds I heard to try to get a frame of reference around the words I already knew. Working to put this puzzle together, it suddenly occurred to me that it sounded a bit like Scripture. So I pulled up biblegateway.com and began plugging in the words there. And I found it! I found what the man spoke to me in the dream!!
It was these verses from Leviticus 26:6-8:
“I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. and five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.”
It’s amazing. I can’t even wrap my mind around the goodness of the Lord!! He gave me Scripture in a dream that speaks directly to my situation! I am personalizing and holding on to the promises in these verses:
- I will have peace in the land.
- I will lie down to sleep without fear.
- God will rid the beasts out of my life.
- I will chase the enemies (not the other way around).
- The enemy will fall before me.
- Five of us (my prayer & support team) will put a hundred to flight!
When I struggle this week I am going to remind myself of these Scriptures. I am going to remind the devil of them too. Rejoice with me. We serve a wonderful God!
In His Love,
This weekend, I have learned yet once again that He is faithful. Let’s all pray this “praise prayer” together (even if you use your own words 😉 ).
I praise You for being faithful. I worship You that in all times, You are good! Thank You Jesus for turning tides. Thank You Jesus for being my constant, wonderful companion who knows best. Thank You that all things are safe in Your hands! There is none like You! There is no greater love, no greater power, and no greater friend than You!!! Thank You for dying for me. Thank You for rising again in power. Thank You for sending Your wonderful gift of living in our hearts as the Holy Ghost!! You are the Lord, the famous one, great is Your name in all the earth!!!
With a grateful heart,
Editor’s Note: Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other. “Being Isaac” is in response to our growing number of male readers. We think it’s important that there’s a male reply to our female’s call to live in passionate pursuit of Christ. Thanks Bill from Unshakable Hope for submitting an amazing post that reminds us that heaven is our destination and it will be more than just a dream. 🙂
I had a vivid dream last night – In this dream I was completely healed and whole.
The dream began with me simply stepping out of bed, which is something I haven’t been able to do in over 15 years. I could walk, talk, eat, dress myself and do everything else that I was once able to do. Mary and I were so excited that we began calling all of our family and friends and then we began visiting people at their homes and offices (Mary drove the car because I don’t have a driver’s license and the only thing I’ve driven in last 15 years is a wheelchair).
The dream was so real-to-life that I was telling Mary all the places I wanted to travel to and all the restaurants I wanted to try. I was even making practical plans like getting a driver’s license and making an appointment with the doctor to have my feeding tube removed etc. As you can probably imagine, this was so exciting; more so than winning a billion dollar lottery! But that incredible excitement soon turned to great disappointment when I awoke from this vivid dream at 4:15 this morning and realized I couldn’t even uncross my feet, let alone get out of bed.
Then my great disappointment turned back into incredible excitement when I remembered that, regardless of what happens in this life, one day I KNOW that I WILL be healed and whole! One day “…there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain…” (Revelation 21:4)
There was a time in my life that I feared death and the unknown in general. I later found out that these fears are quite common. But, as strange as it might sound, ever since I committed to following Christ and began believing the promises of God’s word, my fear of death has been replaced with an excitement of what lies in store for me after this brief and fragile life is over. Christ died and rose again to free us from sin AND from the fear of what lies ahead – “…only by dying could He (Jesus) break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.” (Hebrews 2:14-15 NLT)
In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his Unshakablehope blog he shares a message of hope in Christ.
See the original post at http://unshakablehope.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/more-than-just-a-dream/
Being that today is Mother’s day, Rebekah A and I felt we’d like to make a joint post sharing a story each of our mothers 🙂
Rebekah M- When I think about my mom, I can’t help but think of how much she rejoices and weeps with me through the times in my life. I received news that I failed one part (of two) of the medical boards in early December. It became a test of faith. Without passing, certain residency programs would no longer rank me for their program. More over, I only had a small window in which to re-take the test and it was crucial to graduating on time. It wasn’t until January until a new spot opened up for me to re-take the test. As I went through my second round of testing, I was nervous and part of me wished that I had had greater faith in the midst of that time, but I survived and at the worst of the stress, my prayers to Him who could calm my heart from breaking down in tears worked. When I received an email in early March saying that the results were posted online, I quickly called my mom. As I opened up to the results I was able to say to her that I passed. She immediately started breaking out in praise to God. I could hear her tears through the phone as she wept and gave God praise. What an amazing mother! Not only am I certain of her MANY prayers on my behalf that I would pass, she continued to encourage me to hold to His steadfast mercy and grace. To know that if this was God’s road for me, all would be well. Even if she had doubts swimming within her mind, she still pushed me to trust Him and clearly, it was well founded. Praise God for such a mother!!
Rebekah A – “Pal Time”. That’s what my mom and I used to call our morning routine when I was younger. I’d wake up at 5 every morning. Mom would get up too, make tea (tea for me – coffee for her and lots of it!), and join me. In a house full of people, every morning it was just the two of us. She called me her pal, and we talked about everything. As the years have gone by, there have been many ups and downs in my family. My mom is the one who kept us together throughout it all, and has supported me through so much. Success or failure, good times or bad, she met every situation with her unconditional love. No matter what was going on, she was my confidant. To this day she is my best friend. I don’t get to see her as often, but when I do, we still enjoy having the early morning to ourselves, we still have tea (and coffee) together, and we still talk about everything. I thank God every day for my mother – and my first and very favorite pal.
We wish you all a very happy Mother’s Day.
~Rebekah M & Rebekah A
This is one of my favorite movies ever since it combined two of my greatest loves: Jesus and football. There are some pretty powerful concepts in here- one of my favorites talks about a concept similar to the story going around the internet about how a church decided to gather together and pray for rain in the midst of a drought, but only one little boy brought his umbrella (they use a different example in the movie). Do you have your umbrella ready for God’s miracles? Will you truly act on your faith when you pray or do you come umbrella-less? Enjoy the movie! 🙂
Yesterday I was incredibly sick with what I’m guessing was a 24 hour bug. Throwing up every hour on the half hour for what felt like an eternity and then when that stopped I had full on body aches and a high fever. Even running my hands through my hair hurt on a level like I don’t ever remember it hurting. Through it all though, something in my heart still gave praise to God. There were short windows where I would feel well, about 30-45 mins each and during one of those windows I played a song that I newly learned. Part of the lyrics say “in my weakness you are merciful” and I started to cry as I sang them out loud.
It is so true. In our moments of weakness, physical or spiritual, God is still merciful, He is still good. I was blessed beyond measure to have it happen while I was home visiting family so that my mom could take care of me. Just a few years shy of thirty and I was lucky enough to still have my mom nurse me back to health. She quickly went out to get ingredients for chicken soup, sugar free jello (I’m diabetic), low carb Gatorade, and saltine crackers. At one point when my fever was raging high and I could barely move from pain, she actually spoon fed me some jello and gave me Gatorade through a straw because I hadn’t had anything for a bit.
God gives us what we need when we need it! Even more, the doctor I’m working with this month told me I could take today and tomorrow off to get better and come back on Weds. What blessings! What mercy! God, You truly outdo what I am worthy of! Thank You Jesus!!
Thank You Jesus that in my weakness, You truly are merciful! Thank You Jesus that in all times, You are good! Thank You Jesus that there is none like You and You truly do watch over us 🙂 Praise You Jesus! Praise You God for Your little miracles 🙂