Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Promise of Spring

Green Green_pastures_by_godislove.jpg photo

Sometimes like Mr. Tumnus in "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe", we feel as if it will be "always Winter; never Spring".  But let the Holy Spirit bring refreshment and encouragement to your heart this day.  For I don't know the circumstances you're going through, but He does.  And He loves you so much that He wants you to know that He's never left you, that He has you in the palm of His hand and you are under the shadow of His wing.  He is here to speak tenderly to you in your winter season.  And as a child of God, an heir of His salvation, He takes the time to send you an "Heir mail" message during your time of tribulation and trials. 

I found myself pondering the upcoming Winter season here in Michigan and how Winter has always been a very dark place for me emotionally.  In short, it's not my favorite season of the year.  Difficult driving, cold and gloomy days just don't create a happy place in my heart.

Yet, as I continued to ponder, a thought occurred that with Winter comes the promise of Spring; to look beyond Winter this year and focus on our upcoming Springtime.  I just love Spring!  As soon as the crocuses start popping their multi-colored heads through the snow and the mourning dove begins to coo, I know that Spring is almost ready to display her fresh, new, lush displays of colors from every color spectrum as flowers bloom, grasses green and trees bud.

One of my favorite verses is found in Song of Solomon, Chap. 2:10-13 "My beloved spoke, and said to me: 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.  For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.  The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land." 

And then we turn back to Ps. 23:1-2 "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul...."

The writer of Ecclesiastes puts it this way in Chap. 3:1, "To everything there is a season, a time for every matter or purpose under heaven;...."

After years and years of one trial after another, and much weariness, we are in a new season of our lives.  My oldest son is about to be married in the Spring.  We are overjoyed for them!  My youngest son is attending culinary school and seems to have never been happier.  After years of physical ailments and surgeries one after the other, I am finally pain free and off all narcotics!  The Lord seems to be ushering in a new season of life for our family, and I've been searching His heart in deeper measure.

I can't tell you that I prayed everyday during these many trials.  For four years I turned my back on the Lord, but by His grace and mercy, He restored me to Himself, and since that time, have continued to look to Him for His grace during my life.  I would pray, but my prayers seemed very weak and pitiful.  I thank God for the people in my life who prayed faithfully for me and my family over the past two decades during the dry, desert times...which were many and seemed unending.

But what I also learned through these times is how the Lord remembers that He made us out of dust. Jesus lived in an earthly body, so He knows how it feels to "go through life" on this earth.  He experienced much more than we ever have...unto the shedding of His blood...which we have not had to suffer.  But in understanding our human frailties, He now sits at the right hand of God, The Father, ever making intercession for the saints.  This means that no matter your circumstances, Jesus is praying for you before God, The Father.  I've also learned that "Jesus, Help!" is a prayer.  And I learned that when I was too weary, the Lord in His goodness, mercy and compassion, gave me scriptures to encourage my heart along the way.

But now, there is a shift.  Not just a change in events, but I sense a newness and a shift in my heart; that the Lord is doing a "new thing" in our lives.  Is. 43:18-19 states, "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing.  Now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?  I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."     

So as I reflected on our many, many years of trial, I thought of others who are experiencing tribulations and how sometimes, hope of emerging at all, let alone intact, seems less than a fading glimmer.  But He's here to encourage your heart.

I posted the following on Facebook yesterday:
"Sensing someone needs encouragement this day....For those of you whom God is taking you through a season of trials (months - years...getting through one trial only to surface as the next tidal wave hits), the Valley of Achor, the Valley of the Shadow of Death, "always Winter; never Spring", where there seems as if there will be no end....know that there will be a day coming of rich fulfillment. Our task is to stay obedient and...faithful to the Lord and not turn away as the devil would have us to do.

We have a choice in the Valley....we can choose to turn our back on God, or we can look to Him as one who sticks closer than a brother. For there WILL BE a day when He brings you OUT OF THE FIRE to rich fulfillment as is His promise in Ps. 66:10-13 (Amp.) "For You, O God, have proved us; You have tried us as silver is tried, refined, and purified. You brought us into the net (the prison fortress, the dungeon); You laid a heavy burden upon our loins. You caused men to ride over our heads [when we were prostrate]; we went through fire and through water, but You brought us out into a broad, moist place [to abundance and refreshment and the open air]." The NKJV describes this as a "place of fulfillment".

Rejoice and be glad for He has not forgotten you. You are in the palm of His hand, and as He takes you through His plan, no weapon formed against you shall prosper!"

Praise God and Praise God!  He alone is taking you through His plan for your life for His Kingdom Glory.  And while He takes you through, nothing, absolutely nothing separates you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. 

Isaiah 60:20 gives us hope in the midst of winter: "Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light and the days of your mourning shall be ended."

Rejoice and be glad dear child of the living God for He SHALL bring you into rich fulfillment and He gives you the promise of Spring in Jesus' Name.  Hallelujah!  Praise God!

Ever yours in Christ,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Under the Shadow of My Wing

I feel compelled of the Lord to write to you this morning to encourage your heart that the Lord has not left you for His promises are yea and amen.  One of His greatest promises to you is that He will never ever, no, not ever leave you or forsake you.  Heb. 13:5.  He IS with us always; even in our point of despair.

Let me share with you that my husband and I were in the midst of a very turbulent time in our marriage.  The traumatic experience triggered my PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and I went in to full blown anxiety and chemical depression.

Chemically in my body, I began to slide emotionally.  I struggled to keep myself together and continue to function in life and my piano teaching job, but life within me began to shut down in an attempt for self-preservation.  My anxieties grew to the point of being overwhelmed and life seemed like one big tidal wave slamming into my heart and emotions.  I wanted a place to escape, but could find none.  Fear gave way to panic.  Thoughts of suicide caused me to panic even more.  I knew that as a Christian, suicide was wrong and would send me to hell.  Yet, I felt increasingly unable to control my emotions let alone my actions.

It was at this point that I became so despondent, I didn't even know in my heart if God still loved me, because I'd bottomed out into such a deep pit...the deep pit of miry clay and despair.  I despaired of my life; no longer able to see beyond my overwhelming pain.  I felt so alone.  No one to really admit how I was feeling.  Oh yes, I called a couple very close friends to ask for prayer, but I never admitted how close to the edge I was....yet, they had figured it out anyhow.
(How I thank God for praying friends who will pray without being asked!!!)

I had driven to a small park down by the river wondering what it would be like to throw myself into the swirling rapids and drown.....Sitting there, I cried out to God, "PLEASE let me know that YOU LOVE ME!  It was within seconds of ending this prayer that a friend called me who lived 800 miles away.  My heart rejoiced!  The Lord answered by having Becky call me.  A glimmer of hope.  Thank You, Jesus for Your swift answer.  (He says to call to Him and He WILL answer. Jer. 33:3)

From there I attended our church's prayer service.  Kneeling and sobbing before the Lord, He said in His still small voice, "Crista, I shall keep you covered under the shadow of my wing and care for you as a mother hen cares for her chicks."  I continued to sob and sob from my great pain, but I knew God was in the midst of my storm.  Just as Jesus said when He looked out over Jerusalem, He was now comforting me with His promise from Ps. 91 that I was under the shadow of His wing. 

Why would I, a Spirit-filled believer in Jesus Christ, admit to such a thing?  Because sometimes we experience emotional pain to such a severity that we hardly dare to admit to ourself let alone someone else....Because sometimes our bodies take us into an emotional emergency due to chemical imbalances.  And like a heart attack or diabetic coma, we need emergent treatment.  (I'm not talking about a bad case of the blues, I am talking about full blown clinical depression out of which a person cannot bring themselves out.

Medical intervention for psychiatric problems does not connote faithlessness.
I believe quite the opposite is true.  It takes "Jesus Help!" faith to cry out to Him for help and then to do as He directs.  And for me, it was to a psychiatric hospital where I could get physical and emotional help in my time of need.  The pain of depression was as if  I'd entered an excruciating cocoon.  Hurting and feeling so alone.

I thank God I had the presence of mind to schedule an appointment with a therapist.  My husband and I were also meeting with our pastor, but with my body's chemistry now altered, I needed medical intervention.

At my first appointment, my therapist recommended that I enter an out-patient partial hospitalization program at the psychiatric hospital.  I packed my bag and moved in with friends for a week while I attended the hospital program. 

It was there that I came face to face with the diagnosis I'd heard before:
MDD....Major Depressive Disorder with anxiety.  This was my third hospitalization since 1990.  This type of depression has a genetic component, and I knew enough about my family history to know that my German birth mother and two sisters had suffered from depression and emotional issues.  Medication has now become a part of my life, just as my blood pressure and cholesterol medications.  I thank God for the medication He's provided to keep me in chemical balance.  I thank God for psychiatric care workers.  I thank God for my husband and praying friends who saw what I couldn't at the time.  It's been five months now since my hospitalization and I can truly say that I now feel well!  Hallelujah! 

In closing, this is God's promise to us that "He who dwells in the secret place shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Ps. 91:1 And in Ps. 91:4 "He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge."

Ps. 18:6 "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God.  He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears."

Deut. 33:26-27 "There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides the heavens to help you.  The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.  He will thrust out the enemy from before you, and will say, 'Destroy!' "

Know this, that no matter how deep your pit, Jesus is deeper still for nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from His love.

Be encouraged this day that no matter how much your storm is raging right now, that He is with you and will deliver you for He is no respector of persons.  What He did for me, He will do for you.  And by all means, if you need professional help, seek it. 

"Lord, please encourage the ones who find themselves in a raging storm.  Reach down from heaven to touch them, for your arm is not too short that it cannot save.  Lord, fulfill your promise that underneath are your everlasting arms and you cover these hurting ones with your feathers; for You will care for them as a mother hen cares for her chicks."  Thank You, Jesus.  Amen and amen."

Ever yours in His love and mine,

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Life After Brokenness

Dear Reader,
This morning the Lord was encouraging my heart after a year of heartbreak and personal issues.  I had grown weary, feeling broken and empty.  I asked the Lord to renew and refresh my spirit.

This morning, He said, "It is I who use your brokenness for My Glory.  As the woman who poured pure nard over my feet and washed them with her tears; she first broke the container.  Then the aroma filled the room.  So will I use your brokennes as a sweet smelling savor for My Glory.  Be of good cheer.  Stay the course.  I shall renew the places in your heart which feel void; for I am The One who takes nothing and makes something out of it for My good."

It was then that I read this current posting by my friend, Becky Porter.   I just love it when God confirms His prophetic word.  Read it and be encouraged.  God knows our brokenness and out of it, He will give new life.

Blessings and love always,

September 16, 2012
Healing, Brokenness and Transformation
By Becky Porter

I hear the Lord saying: You are in a season of healing, brokenness and transformation. You need to go through this refining process before I release you into the new places I have prepared for you. I know at times it has been very painful, but it is a necessary part of the process you must go through. If you realized all that has already been accomplished you would rejoice! Be encouraged, for you have made great progress and are much further along than you realize!

Excerpt from a prophetic Word the Lord gave me in 2004:

I see a vision of us in the spin cycle of a washing machine. As we spin around, the things of the flesh are being spun off (wrung out) of us, just as water is wrung out of clothes in a washing machine. This is nothing to fear, it just simply means that God is going to be setting us free from some things. The more quickly we submit and surrender to the Lord’s “surgery”, the more quickly we will pass the test and be able to move on to the next level that He has for us. Some people wrestle with God their entire lives and fight this embracing of the cross (the process of dying to the flesh), and because of this, God can never FULLY use these people, and they never truly fulfill all of the call and destiny that God has for them.

In John 12:24, the Lord says, “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Life is in the grain. However, there is a shell outside of the grain, a very powerful shell. As long as this shell does not break open, the grain cannot grow. “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies.” What is this death? It is the action of the temperature and moisture of the earth upon the grain, which results in the breaking of the shell. When the shell breaks, the grain grows. Therefore, it is not a matter of whether or not the grain has life, but whether the outer shell is broken. Just as with the alabaster flask that had to be broken open before the costly perfume could be poured forth, so it is with us. God has to break the hard and rigid shell of flesh off of us before His life can truly spring forth and be poured forth from our lives in purity. How does this breaking occur? God uses many various ways to get rid of our flesh, (our self-life) – He has a way of making the environment just right – He sets the flames to the exact right temperature as He “bakes” our clay vessels, and just when we feel it is too hot and we can’t take anymore, He lowers the temperature and lets us cool off and rest awhile before He takes the flames yet even higher. Is it painful? Yes, VERY painful! But the end result is that we become a pure vessel of honor that God can use for His glory! After God has removed the dross and impurities from our lives, His reflection, His glory, His goodness, His mercy, His compassion, His love, His authority and His power can now be seen, and the precious, costly, sweet fragrance of Christ is now able to pour forth freely from us - unhindered!

Becky Porter

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Of Humility and Faith

Dear Readers,
It is great to be back in writing mode after a long hiatus.  Medical issues and a hip replacement have complicated my writing time and thought processes, but I'm now back in the saddle and it feels good; for I've missed writing to you.

I've just finished reading a very compelling little book called, "Small Man of Nanataki", by Liam Nolan. (Available through  This is a true story of a Japanese Lutheran pastor, named "Uncle John" - Kiyoshi Watanabe, who risked his life to provide comfort and needed supplies to his country's enemies in POW camps.  It is not a long book, but quite short in comparison to the novels of our time.

Throughout the book, I have been impressed by two profound qualities of Uncle John: his humility and his faith in spite of his feelings.

Uncle John took no stock in himself or his own abilities.  When faced with someone who would thank him for his bravery, he would only give God the glory.  Why?  Because he was absolutely scared spitless and knew he could have only accomplished his assignment by the power of God. 

Uncle John was a Japanese civilian, recruited by his country's army to serve as a civilian interpreter during WWII.  The Japanese held their British POWs in absolute death camps; treating them less than animals, and Uncle John was assigned the task of translating some poor soldier's replies during many a tortuous beating. 

Thusly, he became ashamed of how his own countrymen treated the POWs.
God had already postured this man's heart as so humble before Him, that He knew He could use Uncle John to smuggle medical supplies and various other products into the POW camp which would serve to alleviate some of the suffering of the men.

Through the meeting of a British POW's wife, Nellie, Uncle John became acquainted with Dr. Selwyn-Clarke who secretly carried medical supplies for
the POW camp's infirmary.  It was during these smugglings that Uncle John issued only one request.  And that was for Nellie's three children to pray for him.  Not an adult, but the children.  I believe it is because he understood the purity and belief of a child's heart and thusly the power of their prayers.

It was the prayers of the children which carried Uncle John through every article he smuggled in for the POW's. He was scared beyond scared that he would be caught "in the act" by the Japanese soldiers minding the camp.  So scared in fact that his body would tremble and he would almost pass out from fear.  He knew what awaited a traitor's punishment if discovered.  Yet Uncle John's compassion for his country's enemies compelled him to continue time and again.

He would take no credit for any of his accomplished missions, but would silently leave a room while a POW opened his package of pen and paper on which to draw, or any of the others who would wish to bestow accolades of praise upon him.  He would always defer and give glory to God who made the mission possible.

I was so deeply impressed by his humility that I did a very short study of humility.  According to The American Heritage Dictionary, humility is:
1) Unselfish concern for the welfare of others
2) Total absence of arrogance, conceit, and haughtiness
3) Total abstinence from self, aggrandizement
(Aggrandizement means to make oneself greater - to promote oneself.)

And that's where I the word "aggrandizement" - the promoting of oneself.  Isn't that what we see today?  The commercial promotion of this ministry or that ministry; this person or that?  And somehow we come to the conclusion that if we don't reach this type of level in our own calling that somehow we have missed the proverbial boat.  When indeed, humility is the exact opposite of what we see today in who is being promoted at a certain conference or in the media.

We may think that the person who prays the loudest or has the most eloquent verbage in their prayers are the ones who pray the most anointed prayers.  We may think that only certain people are called when in fact we are all called to work together in the Body of Christ.

Let's look at 1 Cor. 12:22-23.  In this Chapter, the Apostle Paul is describing spiritual gifts and the Body of Christ.  He writes:  "No, much rather, those members of the body, which seem to be weaker are nesseary.  And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty."

In Philippians 2:5-7, the Apostle Paul writes about humility and the humility of Christ: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men."

We can conclude therefore, that since Christ humbled Himself, we too are to live humbly.  Humility is therefore to be a hallmark trait of all Christians. 
And hallmark means quality, excellence or conspicuous.

And finally faith....Most of us can quote Hebrews 11:1 about faith "being the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen", or Corinthians 5:7 "walking by faith and not by sight".

Uncle John did not have faith in himself.  He did not even have faith that he would succeed in his missions, but only as God so deemed.  As we look at Uncle John's life, he had faith in only One, God Himself.  He trusted God to do the impossible if God so desired. 

His compassion for his enemies compelled him to act.  Are we not to do the same?  Love our enemies, bless and do not curse, do not repay evil for evil, but in so far as it is possible, to live in peace with all men.

As Uncle John, may we so determine in our hearts to live in humility and faith.

"Father, where I have not been humble or looking to You, forgive me.  Cleanse my heart of any unrighteous attitudes before You.  Fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I may live in humility of heart and trusting only You to do the impossible in this life You've given me to fulfill on this earth for as long as You have so determined.  In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen."

Blessings always,

P.S If you are interested in further reading a compelling book about the injustices of the POW camps in Japan and finally redemption, there is also a book called, "Unbroken", by Lauren Hillenbrand.  It can be found at:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Must See - Nick Vijucic

Nick Vijucic, born without arms or legs, is an inspirational speaker and preacher.  He preaches the Word in might and power to deliver God's Truth.  Watching and listening to him, I knew where he'd "been"...the despair that can hit, but then repenting, turning to the Lord; for only the joy of the Lord is our strength.
For no matter our need, Jesus Christ is always The Answer for He Is THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.  No one person(s), things or activities can ever replace the fulfillment Jesus desires to be in our lives.  And He's always there to pull us back up to our feet when we have fallen; for He is our gentle Shepherd who desires that not one sheep be lost. 
Watching this video left my heart stirred to ask the Lord....What am I praying for....His will or mine?
"Lord, I ask You to bless and minister to the person watching this video today of Your servant, Nick.  Lord, I ask that You encourage their heart as only You are able to do.  Quicken their heart and bring life to the areas which have become deadened through hardship and trials.  Lord, where there is no hope, bring Hope.  Where there are hurts, bring healing.  Where there is a false understanding of who You are, bring Your Truth.  And Lord, in all things, we ask that You be glorified and magnified for Your Glory.  Amen and Amen."

Please watch and let the Holy Spirit minister to you as He so desires.

Blessings always,

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Dear Reader,
After the past two postings and the comments received and my own personal prayers that I've been praying, I sense in the Spirit that MANY in the Body of Christ have been praying prayers for years and have still not seen the long awaited breakthrough.  Many of you are holding God's promises in your hearts of what you have heard from the Lord and seen in visions which He has given you....and still you wait.  You KNOW that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD....and you wait.  I wait for answers to prayers too, just like you....some have been prayed for 15 years or more....

Well today...we're praying for BREAKTHROUGH!  Through Christ, we are His children and by the Blood of Christ, we may come boldly before His Throne in time of need.  Within many of us, He's put the yearning and the longing for expansion....for more than where we are right now....We know we are to be content in Christ; but there exists this passion within us to bless others in far greater measure than where we are right now.  As Jabez prayed, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!", you want this with your whole heart.  Jabez's name meant: "Pain".  His mother born him in pain, and named him pain.  Some of us feel as if all we've ever had to deal with is the pain of not being what we would have liked, the pain of our past staring us full in the heart, the pain of unanswered prayer....for hope deferred makes the heart sick.

God has given you a promise for expansion and even told you to enlarge the place of your tent, but you have YET to experience His promise that He gives us in Isaiah 54:1-4 "Sing, O barren, You who have not borne!  Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child!  For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman, says the Lord.  Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strenthen your stakes, for you shall expand to the right and to the left, ......" 

No longer are we content to hear.....we want to EXPERIENCE THE BLESSINGS OF GOD TO BLESS OTHERS IN GREATER MEASURE....IN OVERFLOW.   We are praying for breakthrough in that as the Song of Solomon states in Chapter 2:11-12...."For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.".....You want to hear the voice of the Lord afresh....You want to KNOW that the winter of your prayer time is over and now there will come forth A BURST OF NEW LIFE into the winter of your prayers!  You long to hear the voice of the turtledove announcing Springtime to the situation for which you have labored and travailed.  "GOD!  HEAR MY PRAYER!", you have cried.

As Psalm 123:1-3 declares, your heart cries out, "Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens.  Behold, as the eyes of the servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He has mercy on us.  Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us."

This morning, the Lord took me to the following verses from the Amplified:
Ps. 34:4 "I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him [of necessity and on the authority of His Word], and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears."
Ps. 33: 18-22 "Behold, the Lord's eye is upon those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe], who wait for Him and hope in His mercy and lovingkindness.  To deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.  Our inner selves wait [earnestly] for the Lord; He is our Help and our Shield.  For in Him does our heart rejoice, because we have trusted (relied on and been confident) in His holy name.  Let Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us, in proportion to our waiting and hoping for You." 

We have prayed....We have hoped....and now, we are going to go boldly before His Throne of grace this day, to pray for His breakthrough anointing in your life by the power of the Holy Spirit, because His Word in Zech. 4:4 declares, "Not by might nor power, but by My Spirit....says the Lord of hosts."

Let us pray:
"Father, I come boldly before Your Throne of Grace in time of need through the Name of Your Son Jesus Christ whose Blood redeemed us and paid for our sins. 
I come Father on behalf of Your Sons and Daughters and myself who have been praying long and travailing prayers for years.  Lord, we know that You are sovereign and we do not attempt to know Your plans, but Lord, You have given us promises....year after year...and we have yet to see the fulfillment of Your promises.  Lord, we have been faithful to ask, seek and knock....and to pray in the Spirit with groans that we cannot understand...but Lord, it has still remained winter to our prayers and we long to hear the turtledove once more in the land.  Lord, we long for Spring to come to our prayers for which we have labored.  Lord, You have told us to ask.  So Lord, we are asking.

In completion, as the priests raised the trumpets to their mouths and blew at the Lord's command through Joshua, so do I life the trumpet to my mouth to blow the wind of the Holy Spirit into your situation....I sound the trumpet to announce in the heavenly realm to our enemies that they ARE DEFEATED IN JESUS' NAME...THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES WHO HUMILIATED THEM AT THE CROSS IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM!  HALLELUJAH!  I BLOW THE TRUMPET - THE SHOFOR OVER YOU AND YOUR PRAYERS!!!!!

Father, I pray You loving-kindness and mercy be displayed to each and every person reading this prayer, this day, in Jesus' Name, so be it.  Amen and Amen, Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Amen.  To God be the Glory, both now and forevermore.  Amen!'

God bless you, dear one.  God bless you.
Ever yours in Christ,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Out of Your Belly Shall Flow Rivers of Living Water!

Sometimes we're just sailing along in life....and whoosh....the skies are blue, the breeze is gentle and the waters calm....and then something comes along to change all that....Now, I'm not talking about the turbulent, tornadic water spouts that spring up out of nowhere.....It's not that we find our boat capsized and we're choking on life's onslaught.....No, it is just those times in life that we take a time out and ask for God's clarification for His further direction. "Lord, am I on course?"

I'm talking about those nagging rubs which happen along the way in life where we stop to ask, "God? Am I really doing what You have intended for my life? Is this it?" Added to all of this is the fact that I'll be entering my next "mile marker decade" this year, and it has given me pause to consider the time the Lord will allow me to fullfill on this earth and what He wants from me....What do I do with today? Lord, am I fulfilling what YOU want....or just what pleases me?

For those who've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I am not an "expository" writer.  I don't take scripture and dissect it into little teeny, tiny pieces parts to examine every jot and tittle.  That is just NOT my calling....and I will leave that to the experts!  (Whew!  Thank you very much!)

I'm just not one of those persons who delights in diagramming a sentence.  Oh my goodness!  Poor Mrs. Hufnagle - our seventh grade English teacher.....Having to teach dissection of the written human language to teenagers!  I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy!  I'm sure I would cause heart palpitations to the the most precise writers of the English language!  But, please pardon me while my participles dangle and my adverbs jump the proverbial grammatical curbs!  (I think this is why I enjoy blogging....No editorial red lines!)

In fact, I'm reminded of Erma Bombeck's writings.  I cut my teeth as a mother on the humor of "Erm".  She was THE reason I subscribed to our local newspaper....What did Erma have to tell me today that would help me to laugh my way through diapers, teething and toddling?  There was a quality to Erma's writing that I thorougly enjoyed...and so did her multitudes of readers....We KNEW her, because she was us!  She wrote in a way that shared the pithiness and poignancy of life with "Bombeckian humor" that was uniquely hers.  She came "into her own".

Whether it be literature or film, music or canvas...we know there are those "artists" who are uniquely their own.  When we see or hear their particular style, there is something that lights up within us that goes "Aha....that's ___________" and a smile eases its way into our hearts as a soothing, warm, gently scented oil or with a grandiose fortissimo!

Well back to my opening thought...I think we can find comfort in those times of self-introspection and evaluation.  I think the Lord causes these "rubs" as I call them, to help us to know more fully our calling and sense of direction to which He's called us....for if we don't know....Well, as they say, "If you don't know where you're going....You'll never get there."  And it is the desire of my heart to one day hear the Lord say, "Well done, good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of your Lord."  And this has been one of those times....that I wanted to know that I know that I know that I know that I was "on track" and not missing the mark.

So it is that it has been just such a time....searching...asking....waiting for His answer.  Not agonizing...but waiting....And just as a summer breeze sweeps through the window to refresh our soul....sometimes almost unperceptible....the Lord brought His answer.
I was writing to a friend from church who'd prayed for me this past Sunday at the altar.  She specifically asked the Lord to reveal His answer within one week, and wrote yesterday to ask how I was doing....I replied that I was writing again after having not feeling well for about a month, and wrote that writing for me is as a composer would put to paper that which has been formulating in his mind and heart....perhaps not totally distinguishable, but in skeleton form, until the work begins...and that which seems elusive begins to evolve....melody and harmony in synch with one times in a minor times up an octave....dipping and curving....intertwining....until that which the composer had only at one point known needed to be expressed....even though perhaps not seeing the finished product at the time....took the step of faith to put pencil to paper and note at a time....until the piece slowed for its final ritardando....and final notes - whether sung as a solo....or in harmony with its musical companions.

I guess I realized in greater depth what a creative outlet writing really is for me...and what gives me the greatest sense of fulfillment is "writing from the gut"....coloring "outside the lines"....where the rawness of life meets the Glory of God...That place where God blows His Spirit into the dust of the earth and gives life and meaning the ashes of our lives....the miracles that are birthed out of the grit of a seeming void....that place where God creates....that place where we become His hands and His heart....His encouragement....His hope to someone who needs what He wants to give to them through us this day....because He knows they need a lifeline and He wants to use us to do it! 

I finished my email and clicked "send"....not fully realizing what the Lord had revealed to me...It wasn't until this morning that He brought His Word of make sure I really "got it".  (Oh...the long-suffering of the Lord!  His mercies are new every morning!)....And this morning it was that He wakened my sleep with this scripture from John 7:38 "....out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water."  Some versions use the word belly to describe...the gut....the core of our innermost being.
There was the completion to His answer!  It was as if the Lord said, "Now, just in case you missed it (which I had!), I'm going to give you My Word to confirm what I revealed to you yesterday." 

Maybe you're content in life....and you're doing just fine.  But maybe you've found yourself asking the same question of late.  And so I encourage you today....What is it that flows out of your innermost being?  What is it that you love to do?  What is it that gives you joy when you do that particular task?  What is it that "describes" you?  That is what the Lord has given you to do at this particular time in your life. 

So often, I believe especially as women....we compare ourselves to others....But may I encourage your heart to just be you....just you?  Maybe you love to clean (which is TOTALLY beyond my comprehension!)....and you would be able to help someone who has special needs....Maybe the Lord has called you to pray and love on your grandchildren in a special way for this time in their life....Perhaps you could be a helper to a single mother....or a mother who has no family members to call upon to give her some "time off".....

Whatever this may be for you....even if you don't know....perhaps you want to start by just listing a couple items....and title it: "Things I Like to Do".  Ask God to take those gifts that He's given just to you and to multiply them for His glory.
You know, Jabez prayed a prayer like that in I Chronicles 4:10 "And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!"  So God granted him what he requested."

So whatever your point in life, let's close in prayer together shall we.....trusting that as we come humbly before Him that He will hear and He will answer.

"Father, we come to You in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  And Lord, You see the gifts You have put within each one of us to bring glory to Your Name.  Lord, maybe we don't even see them right now, but You do.  Help us to know what You know fully well about who you made us to be.  As one snowflake is different from another, so have you made us.  Lord, our desire is to serve You.  We ask You Father to take these gifts and cause Your living water to flow out of us to others as You so desire.  Bless us indeed that You may bless others through us, that we may not cause anyone harm, but ever live to bring Glory to Your Name.  Amen."

Someone needs Him today...and He wants to use you to touch their lives and hearts for His Glory....You are the vessel He has chosen for such a time as this....for out of your belly shall flow rivers of His Living water.....
God bless you always~ 
Ever yours in Christ,
Numbers 6:24-26

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

She's Not Here, She Is Risen, Indeed!

What I'm about to write to you....well, I've never put in print before...but have told this to many a person.  Today...I feel I must write.

It was just a month ago that I drove to my hometown of Lowell, Michigan to attend the funeral of my sister-in-law's father.  Everything seemed to be going as expected....
Rolling down my window to find out where the parking attendant wanted me to park my car...."Hey, Don!  Great to see you!" I chatted.  (Always nice to be back in my hometown to see friendly folks that I hadn't seen in a long time.)
Don knew I was part of the family....It was my brother's wife's father who had passed away...."Hey Cris!  How's my girl?"....Now at my age, if anyone wants to call me a girl, I have absolutely no problem with that!  I'd known Don for years.  He was a close friend of my cousin and her husband, and he knew both my brother, Gary and I since we were just little squirts. 
"You going to the cemetery?"
"Sure am, Don."
"Well then, he said pointing to my left, "You just take your place behind this red truck where your brother will be."
This necessitated a U-turn in order to get my car into position.....but as I wheeled around, I was totally unprepared for what happened next..... the rear of the funeral home....sat the white hearse poised and stationed to carry Connie's father's body to his earthly resting place....And unexpectedly, I came stone cold face to face with the same white hearse that carried my mother's body 16 years prior.  In the flash of a nanosecond, I whirled back to her funeral.  It took all I had to keep myself together.  Fumbling for my keys and purse, I set about to enter the funeral home.  It was as if I were dazed and in shock; fighting back tears.  What had just happened?  Why?
My brother greeted me with his tender,  "Hey Sis, how ya' doing?"
Fighting back a flood of emotion, I choked, "Not too bad - until I saw that white hearse!  Gary, it brought it all back!"
Mom's funeral: April 24rd, 1996  So many people had gathered at her visitation....Business associates dating back 35 years....Townspeople who had known mom since personal friends....
And there was that white hearse...Couldn't the funeral home at least bought a different color since '96?  I don't even remember what kind of car we rode in to the cemetery....All I remember is those long two miles to her grave ite....and the back end of that hearse!

Remembering back.....In the Fall of 1995, I had just returned from a three week trip to Germany in August; during which time, my mother-in-law had passed away...."Don't come home", my husband told me.  "Mom wouldn't have wanted you to." 

My mother-in-law, Marg....One who had so faithfully prayed for my salvation. 
Lung cancer was diagnosed in the early part of the year....(She'd never been a smoker, but her deceased husband had.)  I was planning my trip to Germany to visit my birth family and friends.  I asked my husband, "What if your mother passes away while I'm gone."  "Oh, that's not going to happen." he replied nonchalantly.  Probably his own defense mechanism, but in my heart, I wasn't too sure.....One week after I arrived in Germany, I received the phone call that she'd passed into Heaven.
Mom Hull didn't want any one to come visit her after her diagnosis....I never got a chance to tell her how much she meant to me...or say "Good-bye", but I think she knew.

Now, less than a year later, I was burying my mother.....
About two week's after arriving back home from Germany that August, and still not quite recovered from my trip, I received a phone call that my mother had fallen and broken her shoulder.  Her cancer had now spread to her bones.  She not only required physical assistance, but my background in nursing to help with obtaining home medical equipment and care.
On top of all this, my father had also been diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer and required immediate surgery.
Life from that point on became a blur.  Hour long trips to Lowell to get mom settled into her "new" hospital bed.  The dining room became her bedroom.
As I wrote in a previous blog, this was when my mom accepted the Lord as her Savior; asking Jesus into her heart....My mother who never "needed" any one's help and would do just fine - alone, thank you very much....until she realized that she needed Jesus.
The looming sense of eternity smacked her full in the face....Where would she spend it?  Jesus came into her "bedroom" that evening in a gentle, tender way that is all His own, to invite my mother to take His hand and as a result, invite Him into her heart....She bent her heart before Him that evening to ask, "Jesus, come into my heart.  I need You."  The promise of a new, heavenly body and eternity in Heaven with Him now rested peacefully in her heart.
The months passed....My dad uncharacteristically slipping away out of the house when I came to care for mom....

We decided to give mom a surprise 75th birthday party in November and invited absolutely everyone we could think of!  It was such a joyous time!  She truly felt like "Queen for a Day".  We could think of no way better to honor her.
By December, neither mom or dad were doing very well, and I was afraid that they would both pass away during this time.  The blessing of having a caretaker in the house 24/7 relieved many a family's mind during this stressful time.  Dad had seen to it that mom had round the clock care since her September fall.
By Christmas, I was praying the Lord would not allow my mom to suffer; asking Him to take her Home before her condition deteriorated to the point of agony for both herself and our family.  During my prayer time, I saw Jesus walking toward my mother and saying simply, "Ida.  It's time to take My hand.  It's time to go Home now."  I felt such peace in my heart.
Comforted by this vision, I shared with mom what the Lord had shown me.  Yet ever the skeptic, she pointedly asked, "How will you know if you're right?"
"Well, mom.  I don't, but if the Lord wants me to know, I'm sure He'll do it somehow."

Wed., April 17th, 1996.  I made the hour drive for my weekly visit.  Our Hospice nurse would be making her rounds, and I wanted to be there.  The minute I went to my mother's bedside, she said, "Cristy, don't leave me."
"I won't, Mom." I assured her.  (I wasn't sure what she was telling me at the time, but it became clear within 24 hours.  A severe head injury from a car crash in 1972 left my mother's communication skills in a challenging state.)

Mom and I had quite the discussion that day.....Looking about her at the pool and spa that lay in the backyard and motioning to the vast expanse of their house, she remarked in the way a person who has seen Heaven would talk, "Cristy.  None of this means anything."...."I know, Mom....I know."......This, coming from the mouth of my mother who had wanted nothing more than to be a self-made millionaire in her life, had acknowledged that NONE of her earthly possessions amounted to a hill of beans.

We never really ever had a family....We had an existence in a house....and the business was always the reason for every disappointment. 

By Thursday morning, my mother announced after her meager breakfast of Jell-O and juice, "I want to say 'Good-bye'"...."You do, Mom?  To whom?"....."Everyone", came her matter of fact reply.
We called the family together.....

Later that Thursday evening in a scene that I shall never mother in a father sat reading at her bedside....spending time with my mother....That was the only thing in life she really ever wanted in their almost 50 years of marriage....and now, when it was too late...he sat with her....The agony and tragedy of it all.

That night I lay on the living room couch in the next room....listening as her breathing stopped...and then start again.....
Friday morning, mom's eyes were opened, but she was no longer seeing in this world.
"Mom.  What are you seeing?", I asked her gently.
"I see God.  I see the Lord," she replied.  My mother had never before in her life, ever used the term "the Lord".  I knew what she was seeing was real!
"Is He coming to get you?  Is He holding out His hand to you?"
"Yes." was all she replied.
"Then, Mom....take His hand and go."
Her eyes remained closed....she continued to breathe.....
By the next morning, her nurse's aid had arrived to care for her that day.....
As God is my witness, and Elizabeth (her Tech. who is also a Christian) who stood by, my mother stated in the most robotic voice I have ever heard, "I died.  I died yesterday."  Elizabeth and I just stared at each other at what we'd just heard.
Absolutely incredulous!  Elizabeth continued her care.
At 6:24 pm the next evening, my mother's body died....and the crystal on her best friend's watch broke.
The funeral visitation....the service....and procession to the cemetery....the graveside service....then time to walk away from her grave....Her life on earth was over.

And then the Lord spoke so clearly that I can still hear Him today...."Why do you seek the living among the dead?  She is not here.  She is risen.  She is risen, indeed!"
Oh....blessed assurance.  Thank You, Jesus!
"So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory."  "O Death, where is your sting?  O Hades, where is your victory."  I Cor. 15:54-55

"Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.  But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.  Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.  Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, 'Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen!'"  Luke 24:1-6

"I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live."  John 11:26

"I am He who lives and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.  Amen.  And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."  Revelation 1:18

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
Ever yours in Christ,

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Our Ever Present Help in Trouble!

It was May of 2010.  My husband, Steve, and I just sat facing one another in a type of shocked stillness.  We'd just received the report that his PSA was elevated - again!  And I was only days away from surgery to correct a severe spinal cord compression in my neck; the description from one of my physicians was that my spinal cord looked like "a twisted garden hose".  So when we received his news, we just sat staring at one another.  What now?  The potential of what we were facing at that immediate time seemed for both of 
I can't tell you that we calmly looked at each other; joining hands for a time of prayerful eloquence.  No, instead it was a Jesus "Help!" moment.  And in the twinkling of an eye, as the Holy Spirit gave it to me in an instant, I asked Steve to grab his Bible which sat next to his chair and turn to Psalm 57.  We had absolutely no idea what this Psalm said, but God did!
Psalm 57:1 "Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!  For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by."
This was most certainly a prayer of desperation!  The very exclamation marks themselves accentuated the intense need expressed in this prayer! 
Our hearts rejoiced at the compassion expressed to us by the Lord in such a suddenly.  Oh God!  Your goodness and your mercies fail not!  They are new every morning!  Our hearts were comforted in a nanosecond by God's goodness.  God renewed our confidence for the days ahead.....
And then it hit me - alone - in the stillness of the night...the time when our most pressing fears come upon us.......about three - five days before my spinal cord surgery....I became overcome with fear in the middle of the night.  Steve lay asleep by my side.  The seriousness of my approaching surgery put me into full panic mode.  My thoughts raced and swirled into a collage of scenes, and I just lie there rehearsing my funeral; seeing my husband and sons....I didn't even pray.  I was just plain scared spitless!
But all of a sudden, with absolutely no conscious intent on my part, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: "Psalm 118!"  
The Holy Spirit spoke with such a command in His voice to get up and read the Word He'd given me.  I had no conscious remembrance of Psalm 118 and wondered what this might be.  I felt my heart jump with anticipation.....Padding out to the living room and opening my Bible, I read the Lord's reassurance that His mercies endure forever and further encouragement not to fear.  I just felt in my heart...."yes..yes...yes" as I read along.

But then, there it was, verse 17!  "I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord."  Praise God!  Praise God!  Praise God!  There is was!  The reason the Lord got me up!  He knew my anxieties and calmed all my fears!  He answered a prayer....but it was not I who did the praying.  He did!  Jesus was praying for me when I was just an emotional wreck!  He ever lives to make intercession for the saints before the throne of God!
Dear Reader, This is Jesus.  His mercies and compassions they fail not; for they are new every morning.  He doesn't run out of mercy and compassion like we do....His are endless.  He is no respecter of persons.  He does not leave us, nor forsake us....even when we have nothing to offer Him, but this lump of clay in which we live.
Ps. 103:14 says, "For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." 
And aren't we thankful for that?!  He remembers that He made us out of dust.  Jesus came to the earth and lived in a human body and He knows what it is like to face the things we face and to walk through the things we do.
Ps. 46:1 states, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
O Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow!
Life just hits us and many are dealing with all sorts of troubles.  And truth be known, there are those times when we just feel helpless to pray.  But the Lord would say to you this day to, "Take heart, dear one, because there is One Who knows all your needs and His Name is Jesus Christ.   Look up, for Your Deliverer draws nigh!"
But before we go, let's pray, "Lord, I come before Your Throne of grace and mercy; before Your mercy seat, to find help in time of trouble.  You know my thoughts.  You know my anxieties and my fears.  Right now, I choose to cast them upon You for You care for me.  Thank You that You are with me always and You never leave me nor forsake me.  Thank You that You remember You made me out of dust.  Thank You that Your Holy Spirit resides within me through Jesus Christ, My Lord and Savior, and that even now, You are interceding before the Throne of God the Father on my behalf.  Thank You that when I don't see the solution, You do.  Thank You for Your mercy, grace and compassion upon me in my time of need to relieve all my fears.  And may the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.  Thank You, Jesus....Thank You.  Amen."
Love and blessings always,

Welcome ~

The purpose of this blog is to encourage our walk in Christ; together in Him; for as we develop our relationship with the Lord, we ARE more than conquerors through Christ Jesus! Praise God! My writings are mostly from an experiential standpoint; however sometimes this includes dreams and visions. (Comments are reviewed prior to posting.)