Saturday, April 18, 2015

Praying, Knowing Your Worth and Loving the Law

Hi, friends.  I hope you are having a wonderful week!  Here are a couple pieces I thought you might enjoy.  But first, the links to the children's devotions.  Ask your Daddy (a piece on prayer) and God Can Use You (knowing your worth.  The intros for the grown-up devos are below.
Rejection hurts. We want to be a chosen one. 
Do you remember gym classes with team captains who chose members?  If you were not athletic, it was a time of humiliation and rejection.  Then, adulthood delivers more opportunities for rejection: looking for a job, losing a job, finding a mate, enduring a divorce, raising teen-agers.  Rejection stains every life, producing ugly fruit: shame, more rejection, fear and a burning desire to control others—so you can avoid more rejection.  MORE...

Blue Star
Have you read Leviticus lately?  Most would have to say, “No.”  Many would say, “I don’t need to; I don’t live under law. I live under grace.”  I say, “You don’t know what you are missing!  There is great joy to be found in those pages.  The light shines from the Law.”
 Leviticus 5:1-5 offers an eye-opening look at the desperate need for grace.  When is the last time you heard that hearing or seeing another sin brings that sin onto you?  Or when did you last consider that touching sin defiles?  Later in the chapter, we read that “not knowing it is sin” does not cancel our responsibility for sin.  The reality of life is this: we cannot spend one hour in public without hearing, seeing or touching something sin-soaked. MORE...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Some reading possibilities!

I feel like I neglect you, my friends, who signed up on this blog!  I am busy writing and wanted to share some excerpts with you.  I will try to do this on a regular basis with past articles--and the four I write each week.  If the opening piques your interest, jump on over to the website.

A “Walk of faith” is a powerful metaphor to consider.  A walk implies progress, movement and purpose.  In the natural world, a walk offers multi-faceted blessings: the beauty of nature, the health of physical activity, the quieting of the Out for a walktypical frantic pace.  Though I know those things are truth, the primary reason I walk is our 70-pound Boxer.  One of his favorite things in the world is walking.  Well, what he considers walking anyway.  A walk for him is a joyous exploration of sights, sounds and possibilities.  “What’s that smell?  Who has been here?  What’s that over there? Oh, look, people who want to pet me!”

For the rest of the article: 

Faith Workout

Our GPS is an excellent guide; she and I just don’t get along.  It’s not her fault.  We’re often out of sync with one another–or more accurately, I am out of sync with her.  She gives an order, and I obey—too soon and end up on a wrong road.  Or the street she insists on doesn’t fit my recall, so I ignore her—and end up on a wrong road.  She patiently and persistently redirects me.  Best of all:  my struggles with the GPS help me see my problems with a bigger and better guide:  God Himself.

The rest of this piece can be found here:  God as Guide:  the Ultimate GPS

And I just began writing for children as well.  Here is the first of that series.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Does Jesus Still Heal?

Most all believers readily acknowledge that Jesus did heal and can heal.  The doubt always enters in with “if it be thy will.”  His ways are so far higher than ours; we cannot know the intricacies of His purposes.  Or can we? 

The passion of Father God was, is and always will be personal relationship with each of us.  God loves to share mysteries with those who seek His face.  He uses the natural to reveal the spiritual.  I do not believe that means we can eliminate illness or struggling.  Christ Himself endured suffering to perfect his human body.  Healing is always for the glory of God; sometimes greater glory may come from not healing.  I believe there will be times we are not be able to sort through the purposes of God; in those times, we must like, Job, choose faith.  But those times should not stop us from asking or seeking!

I also believe God uses our bodies to get our attention.  I do believe our bodies become unhealthy from unholy choices…and that God loves when we seek Him to eliminate each and everything that hinders us from enjoying His gifts to the full.  This year, through my church, I have had the privilege of participating in a series of Healing Training workshops aimed at preparing us to minister more effectively in our community.  The instructor ministers extensively to individuals with various illnesses and life traumas.  The testimonies of changed lives are inspiring.

The ministry process begins with the parable of the unmerciful servant and rests upon reconciliation—first with God, then with self and finally with others.  Many of those who come to him have failed to find a medical solution.  The ministry sessions help them hear God and find strength to walk out truth that brings healing.  It is beautiful to watch individuals come face-to-face with the One who perfectly administers grace and justice in love! 

This past week offered me a fascinating glimpse of the tangible truths in the process.  For several months I have battled significant low-back issues.  Although I had minimal pain, continual discomfort and extreme stiffness characterized every day.  Wrapping up a session, I asked for insights on possible spiritual roots of the issue.  Through his years of ministry and research, Sean has identified patterns with many illnesses.  With my stubborn refusal to visit a doctor’s office and obtain a clear diagnosis, I only had the ‘guess’ of a PT friend:  degenerating discs.  Given that, he quickly responded:  ‘Typically that would relate to envy and jealousy.  Ask the Spirit to show you if any is hidden from your view.”  We packed up and went separate ways.

As I drove to the office, I pondered his words.  My relationship with God felt great; I had nothing in my conscious mind that felt envious.  Knowing sin hides well, I asked the Holy Spirit for clarity and quickly knew.  

Envy/jealousy of those who hear God in ways I do not…with clarity that I do not did periodically plague me!  

Prior to this, I just dismissed such thoughts as immature and went on with my life…never thinking it could be a door to blessing if I would just walk through it!  As quick as I confessed the envy, I also confessed the fault as mine and sought forgiveness.  God is so gracious; He understood that receiving is hard for me…that I am comfortable working for my rewards.  He waited until I was ready to receive the ‘much more’ He is always willing to give.

Hearing that quiet ‘walk this way’ in the midst of a storm is pure faith and grace; no traces of doing enter into that receiving.  That level of hearing is a necessity in the Healing Ministry.   I know how to study and prepare what to say.  I even know how to pray and wait for an answer over time.  Trusting God will reveal what I need to share in the midst of a ministry session (or perhaps more powerfully even in the moment-to-moment of living) is a new level of faith for me.  It was clear to me that God was saying, “Ask and it will be given to you.  There is no need to envy.”  SO…I confessed and asked for His mercy and went on with my day.

The next morning, my devotion time was sweet like usual.  I spent some time looking at what Scripture had to say about bones.  One of those 84 verses came from David’s great prayer of confession in Psalm 51.  David begged God to cleanse his soul, rebuild His spirit, and ‘help him hear with joy and gladness that the bones you (God) have broken will be restored.’  I created a Scripture Prescription for myself and went about the day.

Rejoicing in the spiritual clarity, I hesitated to believe that physically I was moving better.  But it became undeniable.  I was…I am.  It has been four full days; I can lift my left foot to tie my shoe; I (almost) stand straight when I get up J.  It has been the neatest thing.  I believe God wants our bodies to point us to Him as much as He wants our souls (mind, will and emotion).  I have enjoyed his healing of my soul for many years now; I’m excited to be learning about the physical healing as well.  I hope you enjoyed a different look at healing.  I’d love to hear what you think!  Blessings, Billie Jo