Friday, October 11, 2013

STORY OF A MIRACLE - HEALED OF MELANOMA

My long winter season wasn't on the calendar, it was a series of hard experiences, coming one after the other. But that's not what I dwell on. What is important is that although I almost died twice, I am alive and regaining my health and it is time for me to share my story publicly.

MELANOMA
Probably every family is touched by cancer. Mine was melanoma, the kind that spreads quickly throughout the body. It started with skin cancer about 30 years ago, except I didn't know it was skin cancer and neither did the first three doctors I showed it to. Each one dismissed the itchy spot behind my right elbow as of no importance.

So, time passed and one night I woke up and the itchiness had become sharp pain. In the middle of the spot was a dark shiny spot that had grown since I first noticed it. It was hard to see because it was behind my elbow so I hadn't given it much thought, especially after seeing a string of doctors who had dismissed it. But now that it was hurting I became alarmed and made an appointment with another doctor right away.

When I saw this new doctor, she took one look at it and said I must have it cut out and immediately. She called a surgeon and he agreed to see me right away. She wanted me to go right that minute but my daughter would soon be getting off the school bus with no one to greet her or let her in so I set up the appointment for the next morning.

FAST FORWARD
Why am I writing all this now, almost three decades later? Because three years ago I had a growth appear under my right arm.  An ultra-sound showed it to "have no signs of malignancy." As the months passed it continued to grow so that surgery became necessary. The surgeon did another ultrasound with the same results: "no signs of malignancy." I asked him if he had noticed on the "Patient History" form that I had previously had a malignant melanoma skin cancer removed on that same arm. Despite that, he guaranteed me the growth was not malignant. My second guarantee.

The surgery was no big deal but the aftermath was. I have a history of reacting to drugs, especially if they cross the "brain barrier," and there was a list of everything I had ever reacted to on my hospital bracelet. But I had never been exposed to morphine before. What a trip! The result was out of this world. First off, it did nothing to stop the pain. From far, far away I heard a voice saying, "What is your pain level, from 1 to 10?" So I answered "7." She kept asking that same question and I kept giving the same answer. I felt stranger and stranger, like I was traveling through space. Finally I had the good sense to say, "No more pain medicine, no more!" While in that condition I had visitors standing around my bed. They all had on white tunic-like garments over jeans. One sat in a chair next to my head. As I reflected on that later, I realized she looked very much like my mother who died some time ago. They all carried on very quite conversation with me. To this day I can't remember a word they said but at one point, in my fatigue and confusion, I said to them, "You aren't real - you need to leave." They did leave but they came back and continued their quiet conversation. My nurse said I wasn't doing well enough to go home, and that was true. But I did not want to stay in this place that made me feel so bad and was praying God would help me get out of there. Despite my dizziness and disorientation, with my husband's help - and that of the mysterious visitors - I was able to walk out of the hospital. Much later I realized my white-clad visitors had been angels and I felt bad for rebuking them for talking. I am sure angels are not usually that talkative but I believe they were answering my prayer to make me alert so I could go home.

Because it took a while to recover, I didn't schedule the required follow-up visit right away. But the doctor's receptionist called and asked that I do that. I still didn't think I had anything to worry about. But I was wrong. It was hard for the doctor to tell me but the required lab test on the tissue he removed came back metastatic melanoma. For most people, that is a death sentence. But I didn't know that then. I just knew it was serious.

I am very much an internet junkie, using Google several times a day. But I did not search the internet, I did not frequent related chat rooms to research my condition. I just cried out to God. And one day I heard a loud voice speak these words to me: "You will not die but live, and you will bring glory to God." I knew right away that it was an angel speaking although I did not see one. I learned later that those words are found in Psalm 118. The words quieted my soul and brought faith to me.

My husband, unknown to me until after I got healed, did search the internet about Yervoy. He was dismayed to read that the average benefit of Yervoy at that time was estimated to be only an additional 6 months of life. He didn't tell me that until I was healed, for which I am very grateful!


MORE LUMPS
The lumps appeared two more times. The second time I had surgery again, but not the third time. When they re-appeared that time, my husband and I were in Redding, CA. We made the trip there because we heard that the Christians in that city had declared it a "no cancer zone" and were having great success in seeing those they prayed for healed of cancer. My oncologist had approved our trip but had told us to be back by a certain date.

After returning home, I had more scans. The results were not good - the melanoma had spread throughout my body. into my lungs and even into my bones. We had gone over the options available before but now my doctor added a new one, a new drug just released to the general public, specific to melanoma: Yervoy. She had been selected to use it on a test group and therefore was familiar with it.  But the public release had just happened and we didn't know if it would be covered by Medicare and our insurance.

When I heard the bad news of the widespread melanoma in my body, I went through a really hard time. I cried a lot! I wrestled with God for several days, reminding him He had said I would live and not die. And now death was staring me in the face, a very painful death. Someone I respected, who was concerned about my downward spiral, told me that wrestling with God wasn't wise. I thought of Jacob in Genesis and continued to wrestle until I got my faith back. The dangerous place I was in didn't change what the angel told me: "I would live and not die." I determined to simply believe those words.

YERVOY
I started the Yervoy treatment and found that the treatment itself wasn't bad. They called it an infusion. Basically it was just an IV. The standard protocol was four treatments, one every three weeks, with less-frequent boosters after that.

The melanoma tumors continued to grow and I began to decline. It was my habit to walk every morning and evening. One day I began to have  trouble breathing on my morning walk. So I was put on oxygen 24-7. That worked for awhile but not for long. I was soon gasping for breath even with the oxygen. So I called my doctor and she recommended we stop the Yervoy and do immediate surgery, dangerous surgery. My third treatment with Yervoy was just days away. After praying with my husband, we decided I would not have surgery but would proceed with the scheduled infusion of Yervoy. So I went to bed and concentrated on taking one breath at a time. I couldn't exert myself much. I can't say I prayed beautiful prayers or made faith filled declarations. What I did do was  remind myself and the Lord of the angel's words. And I made it in to the clinic to have the scheduled treatment.

TUMORS GONE
A few days passed and I became aware that the external tumors under my right arm were shrinking. Every day they got smaller and were soon totally gone. I went in to see my oncologist not longer after. I showed her my smooth underarm, now absent the large tumors and asked her, "Have you ever seen anything like that?" And she said, "No!" The nurse that had administered the infusion was quick so say, "You got a miracle!"

TREATMENT REACTION
I wish I could say that was the end of my troubles but I had a severe reaction to the Yervoy. It acted as a host to an unusual and extreme case of ulcerative colitis. Except that we didn't know at first that was the problem. I became so nauseous I couldn't retain any food or drink. Various treatments were tried but nothing helped. In that state I quickly lost over 50 lbs. On my best day I could only keep down one or two boiled eggs. Things got worse instead of better and I collapsed and was hospitalized. A gastrologist was called in and he recognized what was wrong with me and began proper treatment. I was in the hospital for a month and back and forth between there and a nursing home. My wonderful husband then decided to bring me home and I began to very slowly regain my health. Only recently the gastrologist said this to me, "When I first saw you I said to myself, "this person is dying."

Once again, God chose life for me.

ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY
My oncologist continued to do regular scans routinely and nothing unusual showed up. After one year of clear scans she said this to me, "You would be dead now except you got a miracle."

TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY
My last checkup was also great. In six months I will have a PET scan and after that one is clear, there will be no more scans. YEAH!

HOW GOD BUILT FAITH
Many people rallied around me to pray, including my family, friends, church intercessors, Facebook friends and Healing Room ministers. Some spoke into my life in ways that brought faith and I am grateful to them all! Following is a testimony from my daughter-in-law Jenny about how God built her faith as she stood with me for healing. I didn't know about it until recently when I asked her to read over my testimony and she shared hers. The Mary she refers to is my daughter and Chris is my son, Jenny's husband.



I want to share what God did to maintain faith for your healing even when there were no outward signs of healing taking place.

On December 29, 2010 after you got your PET scan results, I called my friend Jennifer to pray with her on the phone. The most powerful thing we were both 
left with was, "We will believe the report of the Lord." After the call, I sat down to read my Bible (I was reading in Amos). I had an impression of Mary with child and I felt God say that "sign" of Mary with child would be a sign of your healing. I wrote it in my journal, and I shared it only with Jennifer, because I  wasn't sure if it was my own hope or God speaking  

MONTHS later, on June 5, 2011, Mary sent word that she was pregnant. I then jumped up and shared with Chris what I had heard and had been holding on to for six months. That was before there was any sign that the tumors were starting to shrink. Much to the contrary, you were struggling increasingly to breath even though you were on oxygen.

But that sign was enough for me. Jennifer and I continued to pray in faith for your healing, bringing before God the things He had already said and shown to you and to us.

Six weeks LATER you shared that the tumors had began to shrink!

And of course, that was before the second part of the battle for your life began.  But for me, that sign from God was unmistakable - and gave me such conviction that your healing was coming - and it helped me to pray in faith through the darkest days, with a KNOWING that I can't explain other 
than as a gift of faith. 

I can't even describe the joy that rose up when you shared about the tumors 
shrinking. 

Your battle was still far from over,but at that point I had seen enough 
and heard enough, that the enemy's taunts to cause unbelief just would not stick.  


 











 

















Saturday, May 02, 2009

A Texas Child's Version of Palm Sunday

My daughter's husband wondered if a new church they visited had a good children's program. He said when he went to pick up their son from class, the children were just playing games. I appreciated his concern and prayed the Lord would show us the truth of the matter.

We all went together to the church under discussion the Sunday before Easter. Sure enough, our grandson was playing a game when he was picked up. On the way home in the car, I asked him what they did in class. He said, "We sang some songs and played some games." I said, "Was there anything else?" He didn't remember that there was. So I said, "Wasn't there a Bible teaching?" "Nope," he said. I tried once more, "Was there a story?" "Oh, yeah," he said, "it was from Matthew 21." "Can you tell us what it was?" I asked.

We then got the story and you could tell it was one that excited him and he felt he knew it well. You see, Jesus told the disciples to go to the cavalry and get a donkey from them (not a cavalry horse with a saddle, but a cavalry donkey). And the cavalry said Yes and and they put clothes on the donkey and Jesus rode him to Jerusalem.

By the way, he does know "the rest of the story" -- that Jesus died on the cross at Calvary for his sins after he got to Jerusalem. But I could not convince him that Jesus did not ride a clothed cavalry donkey the week before. He knows what he heard in church!

And so that is the story of Palm Sunday as heard by an 8-year old Texas boy, right out of Matthew 21.

I want to add a little family trivia here: his interest in cavalry and horses are probably in his TX DNA. My great-grandfather was a scout in the cavalry. I often used his saddle, given to him when he mustered out, to ride the horses on the family farm in north central TX when I was growing up. We didn't have any donkeys on that farm but the horses were pets. My grandmother trained them and once was sanctioned by a doctor to take her trick horse Nell to cheer up an ailing neighbor in the hospital at his request. (The hospital allowed it and there was a photo and story in the Dallas Times Herald about it.) My mother was a champion barrel-racer. Despite my best efforts, I didn't get the horsewoman gene, but my daughter did. She was born loving horses. On one of her first times out, the wrangler said, "She's a natural!"

Monday, June 23, 2008

THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE HUMAN BODY



Watch for the left hook in this video. You may think you know what is being said but stay tuned for the big finish. You will be amazed!

The surprise is named laminin, and if you keep watching you will learn something known by few but obvious in scripture: Jesus holds us together.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Jesus Proclaimed at Headwaters of Guadalupe


Intercessors from multiple churches in Kerr County, Texas, gathered in unity April 28 at the headwaters of the Guadalupe River to pray, worship, and proclaim the name of Jesus over the river and all it touches as it flows outward. They also served communion to one another.

Come reign in Kerr County, Lord Jesus, and all the counties, communities and towns in contact with the Guadalupe. May the river of heaven flow through families and individuals, bringing your love, joy and peace. May you be glorified.


Let's Go Down to the River & Pray!


Where I live it is possible to cross over several pristine rivers in one day! The closest to me is the beautiful Guadalupe, which starts in our county and flows through many others into the Gulf of Mexico where it unites with the waters there and ultimately touches distant shores.

Rivers Symbolize the Life Flow of God

Since rivers in the Bible symbolize the life-giving flow of God in our lives by His Holy Spirit, they have a special meaning to the Church.

Praying at the Guadalupe Headwaters

Last Monday intercessors from several churches in the area united in prayer and worship and proclaimed the name of Jesus at the headwaters of the Guadalupe, declaring that He would touch all communities and families that the waters of the River touch as it flows outward from springs and seeps in the Texas Hill Country.

May the Spirit of God Flow Like a Mighty River

Today it was natural as I thought about what would be appropriate to mark this special occasion of our National Day of Prayer that the River of God came to mind. My prayer is that the Spirit of God flow like a mighty river through the families, churches and institutions of America in a powerful way, cleansing and restoring all that is touched, bringing His mercy, goodness and power to our land for His divine purpose.

Friday, March 21, 2008

WHY GOOD FRIDAY IS GOOD


BECAUSE OF JESUS WE CAN HAVE LIFE

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed;

By believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.
John 3:16-18 The Message//Remix

A WAY OUT OF SIN & INTO HIS PRESENCE

The first Good Friday showed us the depth of God's love for us. He made a way for us out of sin and into His presence, with His life flowing through us, when we believe Jesus is God and trust that what He did on the cross is sufficient to make us right with God.

Photo by DetroitDerek

Thursday, March 20, 2008

TODAY I PRAYED FOR YOU by Melissa Sullivan

Today's post is from guest blogger Melissa Sullivan. I read her wonderful poem on MyChurch.org, a social networking and blogging site for Christians and churches. Those of us online there inspire each other, pray for each other, and have a lot of fun together. Click here for the sign-in if you want to explore MyChurch; click here to see my profile page.

Now for Melissa's poem, Today I Prayed for You:

Today I prayed for you
while I was talking to God.

I asked Him to bless you

and I found it rather odd.

That as I prayed for you
the rejection you made me feel
began to disappear
and my heart began to heal.


The anger you have shown
doesn't matter anymore

The bitterness is gone
I'm not keeping score.

The persecution I encounter
pails in compare
To the love that I feel
when I come to Him in prayer.


The judgment that I sense
no longer stings,
the only regard that matters
Is that from my King.


I asked Him to soften your heart

so that you can perceive
the hurt I have endured
has brought me to my knees.


Your animosity gave me a glimpse
of what I could see

as He carried His cross

to Calvary.


MLS 3/20/08


But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:19

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

HILL COUNTRY ADVENTURES, in memory of Sarah

SARAH KUITHE

Born: December 10, 1942
Was found to be with her Lord: February 17, 2008

My friend Sarah was devoted to the Lord, was a serious student of his word and was a servant to many. She had a passion for missions and served many hours in support of that passion, including a trip to Mexico. She was also a very good neighbor, friend and sister in the Lord to my husband and I - and a member of our church, Impact Christian Fellowship. She died recently and after a time of grieving, I wanted to post this as a celebration of her life.

We worshipped together, attended meetings together, helped each other out here and there, and had many quiet walks together and some great adventures. She came to our family reunion and held the youngest member of our family while the rest of us helped the older children fish.

I shared the adventures below previously on a blog I write that is mostly about my life in Scenic Valley in the TX Hill Country, with occasional side trips.

SARAH SAVES BAMBI

Written 8-07-06

We were out for a drive to enjoy the rural countryside in Kerr County. Sarah, our friend and neighbor, was driving in her black SUV. Suddenly, we came upon a dramatic scene: on our left we saw a fawn running as if for its life. On our right two massive farm dogs of mixed breed were keeping pace with the fawn but were restrained by a sturdy fence.

OPEN GATE = DANGER

In the pasture with the dogs, someone was baling hay and the hay balers had left the gate open for easy access to the road. The fawn was safe as long as he kept going straight but for some reason he turned around and headed in the opposite direction. When he turned back, so did the dogs.

SARAH'S SUV FILLS THE GAP!

I thought Sarah had lost her mind when she quickly threw the car into reverse and started backing up on the public road fast as she could. Quick-thinking Sarah had immediately noticed the danger: the dogs were headed for the open gate. Once out, they could do as they pleased with the fawn, for the fence on his side of the road appeared impenetrable. He would be trapped.

Caught up in the fawn's emergency, we all called out to him, as if that would help! But Sarah did something better. That's why she was backing up the SUV as quick as she could. At first I thought she did it just to continue to see where the fawn was going but then I realized she meant to cut the dogs off. They were right alongside of us and it was a toss-up if we would get to the gate before they did. But we made it! Just in the nick of time, she backed into the gate, neatly closing the entrance so that the dogs could not get out.

FENCED OUT?

We thought the fawn was home free but, strangely, he turned around and headed back in the direction he came from. The dogs turned back that way, too, and since they were no longer interested in the gate, Sarah pulled out and drove slowly so we could continue to watch the fawn and encourage him (not that he knew that!). Since he wasn't very old I kept wondering where his mother was. My husband worried that as hot as it was and as small as he was, he could die of heat exhaustion if he continued to run back and forth with all his might, breathing heavily.

When he got to a certain section of the fence he turned back. We were afraid he was headed back to the danger of the open gate but instead he quickly double-backed again. He did this several times, going back and forth, back and forth, and it became obvious to us that he was looking for a way through the fence that he expected to be there.

It was a well-built fence designed to keep deer out and to us it looked like an impossible barrier to overcome. But he kept looking, certain of what he remembered and confident he would find it. We agonized with him and worried about the dogs and the open gate.

HOME FREE!

Then suddenly, he slipped underneath and was bounding on the other side, white tail waving. (Home to Momma, I thought.) Whew! We were thrilled but exhausted from living his adventure with him.

FIREWORKS IN THE SKY

Written 9-16-06

Last night Sarah and I walked at twilight. First we checked out the northwest side of the creek, where a deer herd feeds. Then we walked over the dam and inventoried the resident birds of our lake.

Our walks are never complete until we locate and count each one. Six swans? Check! Two domestic ducks? Check! Five mallards? Where? There!

It was dark when we ended our walk on her deck. Sarah's deck is up against the side of a hill that filters out light and is almost secluded so that it makes an excellent star-gazing platform. So we sat there, contemplating the clarity of the star-laden sky. Sarah says any night she is out star-gazing, she never fails to see a shooting star. She told me that when her husband died after a long illness, she would sit on the deck at night and fellowship with God and he would comfort her by showing her shooting stars.

She's good at spotting them (she was tutored by the Best!) and usually sees some that I don't. But not this night! I stretched out, face up and counted five. Wow! And the last one? Unbelievable. It was wide and long and burst into orange-red flames just as it came to the horizon. I've never seen anything like it! Lord, thank you for this beautiful and exciting night in Sarah's company.

Shooting Star photo by J P Stanley @flickrCC

deer photo by xtoq@fCC

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Flesh is Negative, Is Yours?

This is my first post here since Christmas. At that time I felt prompted to take a break from writing. Perhaps it was becoming too much like work! I don't know if I'm back or not but I know I felt a stirring in me to write this for myself if for no one else, after a statement on Jenily's blog on MyChurch grabbed my attention. (I'd put a link to the article but her site is closed to non-friends). She said something like this:

When I choose to rule over my flesh, I immediately exalt my spirit.

She then referenced Philemon 6. In the King James Version of the Bible, it reads like this:

That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

If you are wondering what "communicating" my faith has to do with overcoming my flesh, Jenily's main point was that many Christians think there is nothing good inside them and that Philemon 6 disproves that way of thinking because it clearly states that our faith becomes effectual (starts working) by knowing the good things present in our spirit. If we turn the verse around, it says that if we don't know what is in our spirit man, our faith won't work.

ABIDE IN CHRIST

Graham Cooke just taught at my home church on overcoming negativity through resting in Christ. A main point was that any kind of negative action or thought, even toward myself attracts negative things to me. What Jenily wrote was a continuation of the larger theme the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me about guarding against negativity of any kind. If your flesh is like mine, it is very negative! For my immediate need, I am going to think of it this way:

When I choose to rule over negativity, I exalt my spirit.

or

I strengthen my spirit by ruling over negativity.

PHILEMON 6

As I normally do, I looked at several versions and paid special attention to the Amplified Version as I crafted this prayer for myself:

I pray that the practice of participating in and sharing my faith will produce and promote full recognition, appreciation, understanding and precise knowledge of every good thing that is mine because of my identification with Christ, for his glory.

Graham Cooke's Interactive Journal Crafted Prayer is available here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

THE CHRISTMAS GIFT

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isa 9:6 KJV

May your Christmas season be a blessed one.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

THE WORD RELEASED WORKS

The Lord gives the word of power;
the women who bear and publish the news are a great host.
The kings of the enemies' armies, they flee, they flee!
She who tarries at home divides the spoil left behind.

Ps. 68:11 & 12

This is an updated version of my first post on this site March 21, 2006. It explains the circumstances that caused me to name this blog "Releasing the Word."

A SIGNIFICANT HOMEBODY?

The first time I read Ps 68:11 & 12 in the Amplified Bible I was in a season of my life where I was home full-time. And what I read surprised me. Was God really saying I could have a powerful life that impacted others even though I was a "homebody"? I didn't have to be a foreign missionary? Or president of the PTA, or march in the street, or head a corporation in order to be significant?

Yes, that's what it says -- a woman who "tarries at home" (vs. 12) can have a life of power that causes the enemy to flee. She can plunder from him and divide the spoils with those around her.

GOD GIVES THE WORD

The key is that God gives the word. The principle works for men and women, in any location. It's His word entrusted to us that provides the power. Publish here means to proclaim, to announce, to make known. As we bear (or carry) his word and release it, His power is released. In this way we partner with God in a unique and personal way. Through this partnership, victories are won -- victories that not only benefit the one carrying the word but others as well.

How do we get this empowering word? By fellowshipping with God, by submitting to Him in prayer, by making time with Him a priority. Some people call this "tarrying" with God. Whatever we call it, the life-changing word comes out of personal relationship with Him. And it is available to all who make time to draw near to him, not just homebodies. Sometime after I first got this principle, I learned desktop publishing and started a publishing services company. Now I'm in a new season and home-based again. Along the way I've learned that whatever the season -- it is still the time spent alone with Him that brings victory and power to my life.

GOD'S WORD RELEASED WORKS

I prayed about what would be appropriate to share here as a relevant example. This is the memory that came to me: My sister and I were traveling together in Arizona vacationing together on a "sister trip." We began to fellowship around Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our healer, and proclaim scriptures out loud such as "By His stripes I am healed" (Isaiah 53:5) and "He forgives all my sins; He heals all my diseases" (Psalm 103:3). We spent the third night of our journey in a tiny log cabin perched on the edge of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Sometime in the night I awoke when my sister cried out. She had gotten up to go to the bathroom and, in that moment, God had restored sight to her blind right eye.

Now back to Psalm 68:11 and 12 for a summary: God had given the word of power. We had carried His word with us and published it (proclaimed it, released it, shared it with each other.) The result was victory over darkness and disease. My sister literally "saw" the results! Later God healed her of MS, a healing verified by an MRI that showed the lesions noted by previous MRIs gone. She testified to that, prayed for others and saw more healing take place, in perfect demonstration of our scripture verse.

A year and a half since I first wrote this post, my sister has had another MRI that again verified she no longer has MS.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

THE BRIDEGROOM

At a wedding reception I attended recently, the groom came up to me and asked how I thought the ceremony went. I told him what a lovely service it was and repeated some phrases the minister said that I particularly liked. Then I asked him what part he liked the best. With a light in his eyes he began to speak not of the wedding but of the wonderful qualities of his bride. It was clear he thought she was something special and he was excited and happy to have found her.

GOD AS BRIDEGROOM

I was really blessed by his enthusiastic delight in his bride and it reminded me of Isa 62:5B:[as] the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, [so] shall thy God rejoice over thee.

Later as I reflected on the experience and the scripture, I remembered one of my favorite books, The Divine Romance by Gene Edwards, subtitled "The most beautiful love story ever told." In the Prologue Edwards says this about God and why he created humankind: "He was Love. Passionate, emotional, expressive ... love." He also said, "Of all love stories I find this one unequaled."

BIBLICAL BRIDEGROOMS

After history's first wedding, performed by God, Adam, also was a happy bridegroom. First God let him experience bachelorhood, then he said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him." I've heard it said that Adam's response to Eve in Genesis 2:23 was the equivalent of "Wow!"

I continued thinking of biblical examples of bridegrooms and of weddings. In the Song of Songs, the bridegroom (the One Who Loves) is considered by many to represent Christ and the bride (the Beloved) is thought to represent the Church, the bride of Christ. I think that must be true. After all, Jesus' first miracle was performed at a wedding. His miraculous gift of wine allowed the celebration to continue, proving he had a special love not only for the bride and groom but for wedding celebrations.

LIVING EXAMPLES

The definition of bridegroom is simply, "husband of the bride." Which brings me to this question: Are there husbands among us today who reflect Christ's love for his bride, the church? Several come to mind, one in particular. Many times I heard the bride say she wanted a husband like her Dad, who has loved his wife and children with unconditional and sacrificial love. (I can testify to the truth of that statement, not as observer but as wife.)

We, the bride's father and I, also think the bridegroom in this story is off to a good start. When the minister asked, "Who gives this woman in marriage?" the confident response was, "Her mother and I."

A PERSONAL NOTE

We are pleased to say to our son-in-law, "Welcome to the family." And to our daughter, "Good choice!"

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. O!


Two are better than one,

and a chord of three strands
is not easily broken. Eccl 4:9&12


Thursday, October 04, 2007

GLORIOUS SUNSET IN SCENIC VALLEY


The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.

Psalms 19:1 NKJ

This glorious sunset is what I saw on my walk last night.
Isn't God good?

For more photos from Scenic Valley, click here.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 01, 2007

How Do You Define God?

I've been thinking about the nature of God lately. It's not that we can define him, my title is misleading in that sense. But I want to get my head around a few of his qualities that are unique to him. After all, Isaiah 26:3 says that the mind set on him will be kept in perfect peace. It's a big subject (!!) and I need help because I'm stumped.

JOT OF HIS OIL

Specifically I have been trying to remember something I once knew that has gotten fuzzy. I was taught the acronym JOT OF HIS OIL as a way to remember God's unique qualities. The emphasis is on qualities that only he possesses.

The "O's" - the "J" - and the "L"

I'm pretty sure I have all three of the "O's" down: Omnipotent (all-powerful); Omniscient (all-knowing); Omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time).

And the "L" has to be Love, specifically agape.

What About the "J"?

Surely the "J" is for Just because all his decisions are right and true. If you have a better idea, please let me know.

What's Left?

Okay, this is what's left: T from JOT, F from OF. Then there's H I and S from HIS. After that I need to fill in the I from OIL.

Who can help me out with these? Guesses are acceptable. And if someone out there knows who originated the original JOT OF HIS OIL acronym and what it said, I would really appreciate the input.

Friday, August 31, 2007

WHAT'S WRONG WITH US?

What is the problem with the human race? What is it we have all done wrong?

Not all have murdered or committed adultery or stolen. But Isaiah 53:6 says "All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, everyone, to his own way." God calls this tendency to choose our own way rather than his "iniquity." Today we would probably call it rebellion. Derek Prince in his book Atonement sums it up this way: "The root problem of humanity is rebellion against God."

THE CROSS IS THE SOLUTION

We see in this verse not only the problem but the solution. God laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all on the cross. But what does this mean to you and me us as we live out our lives in today's culture?

The Hebrew word for iniquity is avon. This word means not only rebellion but all the evil consequences of rebellion. It is a comprehensive word including the punishment that falls on those who disobey God's law. This same word is used in Genesis 4:13, 1 Samuel 28:10, Lamentations 4:6 & 22. In each of these instances the Hebrew word avon is interpreted as punishment.

AVON = REBELLION & ITS CONSEQUENCES

Derek Prince in Atonement lets scripture interpret scripture and comes to this conclusion: the Hebrew word avon means rebellion, the punishment for rebellion, and the evil consequences of rebellion. In Genesis 4:13 we see that Cain's iniquity and its punishment were both included in the one word: avon. 1 Samuel 28:10 shows Saul using avon to assure the witch that she would not be held guilty, nor would she be punished. Lamentations 4:6 uses avon to mean punishment or punishment of the iniquity. Lamentations 4:22 also uses the word avon to mean the punishment of the iniquity.

DIVINE EXCHANGE ON THE CROSS

He further concludes that a divine exchange took place on the cross that unlocks all the treasures of God's provision: "All the evil due by justice to come to us came on Jesus, so that all the good due to Jesus, earned by His sinless obedience, might be made available to us." A future post will name the nine specific exchanges that took place on the cross and give scripture references for each.

Photo by DetroitDerek

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

THINK ABOUT IT!

The deeds of God reveal God's ability;
His ways reveal His intentions.

That's my "thought for the day" from Eddie Smith's Insight newsletter.

I'm posting from the San Fernando Valley outside Los Angeles rather than my beloved Hill Country of Texas. There are some things that are similar. For instance, it gets hot during the day here and cools off at night just like at home. I walk every morning while it is cool and enjoy the lush vegetation. I see lovely things growing large in the yards here that I usually see only as pot plants elsewhere. There's not as much animal life here, of course, since this is a very urban area, but there was a squirrel chiding me from a tree this morning for invading his territory and I met a nice dog named Molly who shared the sidewalk with me.

May God bless your day!



Friday, August 10, 2007

Why Did Jesus Come?


Jesus with little one
Originally uploaded by freestone
Over the years I have made a list of scriptural answers to this question. Here's one from Hebrews 2:14: to identify with the flesh and blood children and through his death destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.

Now I'm asking you to name a verse that tells why Jesus came to earth. Please include the scripture reference; however, photos aren't required :)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

ATONEMENT: God's Extravagant Provision, Part 2


THE CROSS PROVIDES ALL OUR NEEDS

Atonement: Your Appointment With God,
by Derek Prince has as its theme the work of Calvary as God's extravagant provision for all our needs. In Chapter one we learn that the word atonement refers to God and the sinner being reconciled to each other through the cross. That is, God and the sinner are brought into a relationship in which they are at one, or at-one-ment.

At this point Derek writes about the Bible diagnosis of sin as the problem of mankind. And states that the Bible remedy for sin is atonement.

CONTRASTS IN THE TWO TESTAMENTS

Old Testament Sacrifices Temporarily Covered Sin

Derek then explains the difference between the Hebrew word kippur translated atonement in the Old Testament and the Greek word translated atonement in the New Testament. Kippur actually means covering. The sacrifices offered on the Day of Atonement covered the sins of the people for one year, and only for one year. Instead of providing a permanent solution for sins, they were merely temporarily covered until the Day of Atonement arrived again each year.

New Testament Sacrifice Takes Away Sin

The New Testament gives a completely different picture. Hebrews 10:3-4 tells us that the blood of bulls and goats as sacrifices in the Old Testament could not take away sins. Hebrews 9:26 contrasts the death of Jesus and the Old Testament sacrifices by saying, "But now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." In John 1:29 John the Baptist introduced Jesus as, "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

So we see the huge difference between what atonement meant in the Old Testament and what it meant in the new. Old Testament sacrifices rather than taking away sin actually reminded the people of the problem of sin. Sins were merely covered from one year to the next. Jesus took away sin so that for New Testament believers who have accepted his sacrifice, there remains no further sacrifice for sins.

We Are Perfected Forever

A key scripture in this book is Hebrews 10:14: "By one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified." Hebrews 9:13-14 tells us that Christ was without blemish as he offered himself through the eternal Spirit. Unlike the animal sacrifices, he was totally pure. And the involvement of the eternal Spirit indicates that his substitutionary death on the cross transcends the limits of time. The inference here is that He took on Himself the sins of all people past, present and future.

THE CROSS IS OUR ONLY SOURCE OF POWER

There is much good advice given in Christian circles and in the Bible itself, but the cross is the only source of absolute forgiveness, grace and power to make all the other good advice work. As Derek writes, "No one will ever live out the Sermon on the Mount without the power of the cross in his or her life."

Next time we will look at what Derek calls the "Divine Exchanges."

Friday, July 27, 2007

FIND THE SURPRISE!!


Can you find the surprise the caption refers to?

On another blog where I often write about the nature and wildlife experiences I have here in my beloved Texas Hill Country, I posted this photo as "Hill Country Sunrise." However, since this blog is primarily for "church folks," I changed the wording a little. Did you find the "surprise?

Special thanks to my good friend and prayer partner Jean Eastes for sharing this photo.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

ATONEMENT: God's Extravagant Provision

Over the years I have read many books that impacted me, but if I could only have one book in addition to the Bible, it would be this one by Derek Prince: Atonement, Your Appointment With God, published by Chosen in 2000. Above the title on the front page are these words, "Discover God's extravagant provision for all your needs." The back cover adds this information, "Look at what is ours through Christ's atoning work!"

DEREK PRINCE: AUTHOR, TEACHER

If you aren't familiar with Derek Prince (1915-2003), he was an internationally-known Bible teacher whose daily radio program once broadcast to half the population of the world in various languages. His presentation of Bible texts was clear and concise. People of all denominations found his teaching to be relevant and insightful. He authored over 40 books and more than 500 audio and 150 video teaching cassettes. He had a Ph.D. from Cambridge University and a Fellowship in Philosophy at King's College, Cambridge. In addition, while at Cambridge, he was an avowed atheist. But his former life brought no satisfaction to him, only depression. After an encounter with Jesus, his life was transformed.

INFORMATION ABOUT THIS BOOK

There are four divisions to this book of 223 pages: Part 1: The Cross at the Center; Part 2: The Nine Exchanges; Part 3: Five Aspects of Deliverance; Part 4: How to Appropriate What God Has Provided. Because I think this book is so important, I am going to write this review in several parts, presenting pertinent information along the way.

CONSIDER THE WORK OF CALVARY

The introduction opens with Derek in a military hospital in Egypt with an incurable skin disease. He is also depressed. Sovereignly God moves to give him direction to "consider the work of Calvary: a perfect work, perfect in every respect, perfect in every aspect." With these words, he is directed to the answer to his problems. He understood he was to focus on the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. As he did this, he received a complete and permanent healing. For the remainder of his life he continued in the same manner and received many additional blessings.

In the rest of the book, Derek shares God's extravagant provision through the cross of Jesus for every need in human life. In his own words, "The essence of my discovery was this: On the cross a divinely ordained exchange was enacted in which all the evil due to our sinfulness came on Jesus, that in return all the good due to His spotless righteousness might be made available to us."

MORE NEXT TIME

So, the stage is set. Next post on this topic will go in more depth about God's amazing provision through the cross.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

THINK IT OVER

Right now I'm plenty busy and don't have much to say but I really liked what a friend of mine sent and thought I would share. It's this:

Stop telling God how big your storm is.
Instead, tell the storm how big your God is!

Talk about a paradigm shift!

Monday, July 02, 2007

ONLY IN GOD



This beautiful video of John Michael Talbot performing Only in God has gotten 1,500 hits on YouTube so far, and is rated at the top level: 5 stars. It is from a concert he gave in Florida.

I asked permission from the JMT Public Relations people to use it on this blog. I also learned that John Michael has recorded his 50th album, which will be released next month. It's called Living Water and will be in the solo meditative style shown here.

I told the JMT people I would ask how many of my readers are John Michael Talbot fans. So if you are, please drop me a line. If I get a good response maybe they will let me run more of his videos!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

TEARS IN A BOTTLE

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
Ps 56:8 NLT

CRYING IS CHILDLIKE

Emotions are very personal and sometimes irrational. I don't always cry when it's appropriate and sometimes I cry when it's not. If that happens in public - if I'm the only one crying, I get embarrassed and feel a little weird and childlike. Then I think about this scripture and tell myself that God considers all my tears - and all my sorrows - important. And if he is the only one, that's okay.

EMOTIONS ARE REACTORS

Recently I read something else that made me feel better in Beyond the Lie by Alice Smith. She said that our emotions only react; they can’t think, organize or plan. Emotions are involuntary responders to circumstances. She also noted that our emotional responses correspond to our personalities. They demonstrate how strongly we feel about an issue and trigger our will to act.

OUR AUSTERITY IS NOT STORED

Kenny Innes in his recent blog Tears are Cool says this: "When someone around us cries, it shatters the facade of "emotional maturity" and shouts out, 'I feel...'" He continues: "It's interesting that God does not store our austerity or ability to conceal our feelings in front of people ... Perhaps it's because God loves it when we feel - when we engage emotions that are deeply held, honestly pouring them out before Him."

BEING CHILDLIKE HAS VALUE

Our Father obviously sees being childlike as a good thing, even a "great" thing. In Matthew 18:4 it is linked with humility. Proverbs 29:23 says that pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor. Now that's a new idea to me - that my tears could actually bring me honor. But if God honors each one enough to put it in a bottle and record it, if each tear is that important to him, it follows that my attitude needs to line up with his.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

KNOWING GOD


GOD IS GALATIANS 5:22-23


I'm always on a quest to know God better so I often think about who he is and what his nature is. In the midst of one of those times, it dawned on me that the scripture in Galatians about the fruit of the Spirit was a perfect description of God. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..."

WHO IS HE?

Now, maybe that's not new to you. Maybe you're going, "Duh?" But it was a wonderful revelation to me and I'm sharing it for others who, like myself, need to be told in plain language that the only way our Father God reveals himself to those of us who are blessed to be his children is ...

by loving us,
finding joy in his relationship with us,
speaking peace to us and seeking to create peace in us,
suffering long with us when we are unloving to others,
being kind to us in all things,
bringing good into our lives,
faithfully doing what he said he would do,
never being rude to us but gentle instead,
and
exercising self-control when we are rude to him and others

ASK HIM

If you can't imagine God in this way, then now is a good time to ask him to reveal himself to you according to Galatians 5:22 and 23. He will be faithful to do so: that's his job description!

Photo by Clay Irving