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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

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Week Six of the CPE Journey: Destination Ministry

For one to suggest that the CPE journey is not about the minister would be a major fallacy. The journey has much to do with introspection and adjustment. This adjustment, though, is not all about the chaplain. The adjustment certainly betters the chaplain but the adjustment is not solely for the chaplain but also for those to whom he ministers. And this is the point of chaplaincy; it is not to use the positional platform as a box from which to promote academic and ecclesiastical wares rather it is an opportunity to “extend the healing ministry of Christ” which is the mission of Huguley Hospital.

As I began to reflect on this past week as well as my experience at large in this program I realized that I was not just walking toward my destiny of ministry but that I am already engulfed with that thing I thought I was walking toward. Take for instance the case of a lady I had opportunity to minster to. Here was a wonderful person in the emergency room. This lady was steeped in domestic problems. Her boyfriend had all but told her to kill herself. Her self-esteem was already much lower than it needed to be. This is not to mention the fact that she was busy caring for others, including her adult children, but that there was no reciprocal action as to her care. As such she felt alone that nobody cared so that she was in the hospital as a cry for help. Her way out, at least in her mind, was suicide. Yet she knew that suicide was not the answer. So, here she came to a place seeking healing not for any physical ailment rather for a deeply wounded spirit.

And so as this patient “regurgitated” her heart onto me I sat, listened and engaged in what turned out to be an excellent visit. My gentle probing coupled with word of encouragement caused this patient to realize just how good she is. Now, I cannot say that my visit with this young lady eradicated thoughts and intentions of suicide yet I can say that at least for a short time she knew that somebody loved and cared for her. She also knew that I was not there to get something from her but rather to give something to her and that there was absolutely no need for reciprocation. So then it dawns on me that I no longer walking toward my destination. Instead I am already involved in that destiny of ministry.

Not all the ministry that is done has to do with those that find themselves in tough spiritual and emotional difficulties. I recall when I was on call a few weeks back and I was asked to visit a patient desiring to see a chaplain. After responding to the room the discouraged gentleman simply wanted to be read Scripture. I promptly went back to the office, collected my Bible and responded back to that kind gentleman. We talked for a while and then I began to read the Scripture. After reading the gentleman and I began to talk about what I just read. This form of ministry was similar to the lady mentioned above; he just wanted somebody to talk to and wanted to know that somebody genuinely cares.

In this I can say of a surety that I am no longer walking to my destiny rather destination ministry has already been accomplished. It is in this that I seek to encourage all. Sometimes we think that we are walking toward a certain thing but when we look we have already met the destination. Take for instance those of us that drive on highways – all too often when driving our minds go to other things. Sometimes we are involved in conversation or perhaps listening to the radio. As we engage in those things we pull closer to the destiny. And then we look up just to see that we are no long headed for our destinations; we are there.

I suspect this is part of the “pressing toward the mark” Paul discussed in Philippians 3:14. Paul worked earnestly to please God in that which he was called. And while he was pressing toward that mark it is interesting that Paul was already doing that which God wanted him to do. His destination of ministry had already been met yet he pressed even harder even while in the fullness of ministry.

So then those that do not see themselves as having met their destinies might do well to look and see where they are. It stands to reason that the pressing is so intent that the full realization of destination ministry may not be realized even while there may be an encamping of work around those seeking to do ministry. Now, as you press to further your destiny and it seems out of reach look up and you may not be close to your destiny but already in the midst of certain destination.

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Week Five of the CPE Journey: The Matter of Uncertainty

As I have been journeying through CPE I have learned that there is much to be learned not only in the academics of Clinical Pastoral Education but also the practical application thereof. Yes, I have learned much and there is much to be learned. Even there are times when questions are posed to me that the answer is not immediately obvious. It is for this reason that I struggled with writing for week five of the journey. I was simply uncertain about what to write about. The week entailed so much that expressing this part of the journey in about eight hundred words simply did not seem reasonable or even possible.

Let me explain. Part of my growth edge came from the discussion of pastoral resources as presented by Charles W. Taylor in The Skilled Pastor: Counseling as the Practice of Theology. Among the resources discussed with and by my peers was the matter of rites and or/rituals such as marriage, baptism, funerals and the like. While each of these is celebrated differently depending upon worldviews it is not incumbent upon me to know the specific practices each worldview. And this is the point I would like to stress; certain uncertainties are not only OK but that some ignorance is welcome depending on the circumstances.

Without going in detail last week I was asked a question by my CPE supervisor while we were behind closed doors with my peers. After less than a moment of contemplation my response was that I did not know. My supervisor politely responded that my lack of knowledge was not only honest but very welcoming. You see sometimes, especially those of us that minister professionally, think that we need to know everything. We often think that we not only need to know all answers but also have the ability to fix all problems. The reality is that neither of these can be accomplished. Further because neither of these can be accomplished we can trust in the Lord all the more.

The words “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” found in Proverbs 3:5 make it clear that our own understandings will often fail us. This is why the author broadly encourages his audience not to trust in their own understanding but rather that reliance and dependence on the Lord will bring about ultimate success. Perhaps this is why the matter of uncertainty becomes irrelevant to those trusting in the Lord. It is also a principle upon which Abram lived. You see he was completely uncertain about not only where he was to live but also his future. This, however, was not a hindrance rather a benefit.

Having said that of any reading this finds himself in a state of uncertainty concerning a certain matter perhaps it would be wise to lay aside the purported wisdom of man in lieu of leaning on and trusting the absolute wisdom of our Lord.


Week Four of the CPE Journey: About Goals

In week two of the CPE journey I brought about some discussion about introspection. Introspect serves a number of purposes and among the chief purposes is that the one looking inward looks honestly with the potential as well as probability of making positive changes for the future. However changes cannot be made unless goals are set in the life of the one looking inward.

The fact as that all need to have goals in their lives. Without goals there is a lack of motivation to effect positive change. For instance, in my own life I had an educational goal of completing college. My goal was originally to complete a degree in business. Once that goal was met my goal was challenged as I began to seek out other things to do with my life. However to complete long-term goals my academic career had to be furthered. Introspection caused me to not only work toward my distant goals but also to work on more immediate goals. It is because of the accomplishments of certain educational goals coupled with considerable introspection that I am now walking closer to my destiny both professionally and personally.

In conjunction with my academic goals I also have ministry goals. Among those goals is to plant a church. While I will not go into the specifics in this essay I will say that the large goal of planting a church comes with multiple other goals that will have the ultimate end of the local body. Yet once that work is done there are many other things that are goal related that will require considerable introspection and subsequent work in order to accomplish what is ahead. The fact is that the academic goals have placed me in position to fulfill not only my professional goals but also my ministry goals. Further it cannot be said loud enough that the goals that I have met and strive for as these words are being keyed come with much work. Even so the result of the work of meeting goals is rewarding within itself.

While God’s call to Habakkuk to “write the vision” (Habakkuk 2:2) is often attributed to churches and para-church ministries the fact is that the principles of writing visions (goals) can and should apply to individuals as well. Goals are the impetus of life’s victories without which nothing can be accomplished. Even more it becomes quite evident that God has goals for His people. Consider for a moment Jeremiah 29:11 wherein God succinctly states that He knows “the thoughts that I think toward you…thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

The text in Jeremiah clearly shows that God has plans and goals for His people. Even more of God’s goals are seen throughout biblical text. With that said if God has plans and goals for His people then the Christian ought to follow suit and have plans and goals. It is certain that goals cause one to relieve himself from his “holy righteousness” in order to get done what God has in store. With that dare I say to one and to all to take time out to look within and set goals that serve only to get you moving?


Asking for your help!

We have been able to manage most of the expense of my cancer up till now but bills are still coming in and we just learned that our insurance will not pay for the drugs used in my chemotherapy! This expense alone is over four thousand dollars. With all these expenses we have set up a fund raising effort. If you can spare a little money and would be interested in donating here is the link:Patricia’s Cancer Fund http://gfwd.at/W1QuPF
I can’t tell you how much it will be appreciated and I understand how difficult it is,especially with the economy so bad. If you can not donate, please keep me in your prayers! I have faith that whatever the outcome, God will still be there and that is truly what is important! God bless you and I love you all! Patricia aka loopyloo


Week Three of the CPE Journey: Two Sides of Ministry

There is no doubt that ministry is multifaceted. In a sense it means being all things to all people. It encompasses being available if only to show support. This weekend as I was on call at Huguley Hospital the idea of presence presented to me an area I had yet to experience. On the one hand my presence was to extend joy to a joyful family. On the other hand joy was hard to find yet presence became paramount in the ministry that was set before me.

As I started my tour of duty early Friday morning I met a family near the labor and delivery unit of the hospital. I could not help but here the talking and laughter. Using my position as chaplain I thought it reasonable to go speak with the people that were in a light form of celebration. I was so glad I did because the family did much for me. This was particularly true see how this was a military family with a young lass being born on the Fourth of July. What joy! What celebration! What a moment to be in the company of those who celebrate life while the tending to the presence that was learned in the first week of CPE.

And as the day went on I continued dealing with a number of issues. Then came a dramatic call late in the morning while I was being present with another patient. It was a “code blue” in the emergency room. A lady suffered a heart attack. By the time I arrived to the emergency room the patient was already deceased. I met the doctor as he explained the situation to me. We walked together with a nurse to the family room. To say the mood was somber is to place a major understatement on the matter. I sat quietly while the doctor explained to the loved ones what happened to the patient.

The doctor spoke to the family for a couple minutes as they began to grasp the fact that the person they loved would be no longer with them. The eldest sister was most expressive. She could not believe what had transpired. To my surprise the doctor offered to pray with the family and the family accepted the offer. So, the doctor and I got on one knee each in front of the grieving group and the doctor prayed a prayer of comfort. Meanwhile I had said very little but that my presence was important not only to the family but also to that most compassionate doctor. My perspective of doctors changed more positively as I simply maintained presence for the loved ones as well as the clinical staff.

There was much more that had to take place with those that loved the decedent. There was a need and desire to spend time with the one they would no longer be able to talk to. She, the decedent would no long ride her horse. Her voice was silenced forever. The family dinners would be met with an empty chair. Things just would not be same without this precious one. So I joined them in the room with the decedent. Again, while I did speak to the family I said very little. I simply was present. I was there just in case they needed me for something. And they did need me for a few things and I helped as much as I could to aid this grieving family. And I did just as the family asked me. I ran a couple errands and I grieved with them as much as I rejoiced with the family having a baby.

Hence the two sides of ministry are introduced. Scripture clearly teaches that the Christian is to weep with those that weep and rejoice with those that rejoice (Romans 12:15). These two side of ministry coupled with the idea of presence lend considerable credence to ministry. You see, many are under the impression that ministry is the continual onslaught of scripture coupled with homiletic diatribes that usually do little but inflate the ego of the one engaged in a senseless soliloquy. Laughing with those that laugh is a wonderful tool of ministry. Crying with those that cry is just as significant.

Certainly there are other sides of ministry yet the two sides described above show that the minister cares about those that he is ministering to. The fact is that people really don’t care what you know if they don’t know that you care. Ministry is more than an act of compassion rather the compassion is coupled with care. And while the terms “compassion” and “care” are often synonymous I would like to use some creative license to show that these two sides of ministry coupled with presence does more for those being ministered to than can be imagined.

In order to minister one need not wear the ecclesiastical cloak of the clergy rather all that is needed is the robe of concern and love for fellow men. With that I would urge all to minister not with head knowledge per se but rather from the idea of being present and willing to be quiet in that presence as we sharpen these two sides of ministry.


Declaration of independence 4th of July 1776


Cancer Update

First thing I want to do is to say thank you all for the prayers,the support,the hope and the love you all have shown for me. This is the very essence of what Christ asks of us! He also asks of us to give testimony of His work and share His word with others! I am honored to be able to share my testimony with all of you prayer warriors. Tue. I had a biopsy and the Dr.said that there was no sign of the cancer!!!
The way God has blessed us in the last six months has been amazing my friends! While there have been many bad days, the good ones and the blessings outweigh those.When I initially told you of the diagnosis and asked for prayer, I asked that you also pray that I would get out of the way and let God lead. Lead He did!!!! Every time I had a need it was answered! Sometimes before I was even aware that the need would be there!

Even from the very first visit to the Doctors, such as the receptionist telling me God bless you, the lab tech playing Christian music and talking about her church, the Doctors nurse telling me about her mission trip while she was taking my vitals,and so many other instances of faith in the people who were going to take part in my care.
My Sister in law is truly a woman who knows what love is and showed it in everything she did! She took care of me as if I were her child, even on some days that I would not wish on anyone. She made sure I ate healthy, took me to my treatments and Doctor visits, and was there for every need. Her prayers were always uplifting and filled with hope and believe me,she knows what it is like to lose a loved one to cancer, her husband died from cancer a few years ago.
There are so many things like this my friends, probably many that I am not even aware of. Please never doubt that prayer works or that God answers, it does and He does!

I don’t know what He has planned for my future but I am so thankful that He has given me so many blessings and that I am able to say thank you to Him and to all of you! God bless you my friends and I love you all!


Week Two of the CPE Journey: The Inward Look

All too often in this life the business of life often causes the lack of introspection. This is particularly true of those that are care givers and ministers. Much of the time of these dedicated people is spent on serving yet service falls far from those who care. Even more those that provide services specific to pastoral services need clear understandings of themselves so that when providing care to others their own worldviews play little role in providing that care. Let me explain.

Saul (Paul) was under the persuasion that the Christians of his day were anti-God. This was because if his worldview of Judaism. As such Saul sought to silence and punish those that he perceived to be the antithesis to what he thought to be correct. Then Saul’s worldview was challenged. While on the road to Damascus Saul was knocked off his horse (both literally and figuratively) having caused Saul to consider his ways. Yes, Saul was very educated and sat at the feet of the best teachers yet his worldview was the thing that hindered him in the ministry.

The point is that as ministers and even as lay members of the church often the things that have been placed in us over the years impact the way we minster. The things in us have not only impacted our worldviews but also the way we handle ourselves in situations as they arise. This can be a good or not so good thing depending upon the individual and the way matters are handled. It is for this reason regular introspection is imperative. It is very necessary that continual inward looks be made not only for the sake of ministry but also to insure that the Christian remains on the path of holiness.

In his second letter to the church in Corinth the converted Saul urged his audience to “examine” or test themselves in order to see if they remained in the faith (II Corinthians 13:5). This examination was to be juxtaposed with the things that were taught be Jesus and re-taught by the disciples and apostles. This examination meant that there had to be a continual and constant self-reflection which allowed the Christians to be mindful of worldviews that might be in conflict with the teachings of Christ. As such the chaplaincy is not about the views and perspectives of the chaplain rather it is about pouring the love of God into the recipient of healing. It is about laying aside the desire to impose one’s views and give way to the spiritual needs of the hurt.

Often when introspection occurs there are found things that the one looking in does not like or may even take issue with. These things could be attributed to the individual’s worldview or the things found might be the results of negative occurrences have happened in his life. In either case there comes a point in which those things within must be challenged so that ministry to others might be beneficial first to the growth with the one looking inward and then to the one to be ministered to. The fact is that healing must begin with the “physician” who can then be in a place to present healing to those under his care. With this it becomes evident that inward reflection becomes paramount in the lives of those providing care.

The Pauline charge becomes abundantly clear in the Amplified Bible with the translation, “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing proper fruits of it.” The term “evaluate” seeks only to highlight the idea of an inward look. The look inward serves to consider not only the actions of the self examination but also motives and attitudes. With this said the importance of faith pushes the examination process beyond the expectations of man rather the requirements of our Father. If the exam proves that there are items lacking then the examiner will do well to seek out prescriptions designed to heal himself so that he will be better able to work in the healing process of others.

True inward looking requires absolute honesty. Without honesty introspection is worthless. As such I would urge all to take that look inward in order to determine if worldviews are in conflict with the one faith. If there are conflicts resolutions are necessary for growth and healing of all concerned.


Week One of the CPE Journey: Presence

The week started off with a quiet bang. I was quickly reminded of the text in I Kings chapter eight wherein the glory of the Lord was revealed in a cloud. The cloud was such that the people were not able to stand by reason of the cloud. In fact the presence of the Lord was in the place where the people came to worship. The worship brought in the closeness of the Lord thereby creating a presence that would not allow the people to remain upright.

This was the idea presented in the first worship service for the chaplain residents and interns at Huguley Hospital. The basic premise is that in order to bring about healing and other ministerial acts there needs to be a closeness by which the recipient is able to feel the love of Christ through His servants. It is impossible to have such a presence unless one is in the room. It is in presence that healing takes place. It is in presence that comfort is made. This is the presence that brings the sin sick soul to a place repentance, healing and deliverance.

I am reminded of one lady I was allowed to minister to. She is oppressed with depression. As she began to speak it became more than evident that there were deep seated hurts that had been there for some time. When I took occasion to pray for her the welling of her tears were such that it was impossible for the tears not to come pouring down her face. This was because all this lady needed to know was that she was loved not only by humanity but also that the ever-present God of the universe counted her to be much.

There was another lady today on staff of the hospital who saw herself as less than worthy. As some of my co-laborers and I were “blessing hands’ today there stood off to the side this lovely young lady who saw herself as just a linen worker. I took time to let her know that she was just as important as everybody else and that she, too, was welcomed to have her hands “blessed.” So she came and I cannot express the gratitude this young lady showed.

The point that I am seeking to express is that most seem to think that it takes wondrous works to help the downtrodden. Sometimes all it takes is a mere presence. Sometimes people just need to know that they are loved and appreciated. It does not take much simply to be present for those that need just one person to let them know that they are loved. So, as I journey through this journey of CPE training I will endeavour to be present with those in need so that the glory of our Lord can rest on His people. As I am present professionally perhaps you can be present in the life of that one that just needs an encouraging word, a hug or a simple pat on the back. Yes, it is time we all became a bit more present.

 


When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength Isaiah 41,43 Hebrew meaning

This song reminded of a dream, I was standing in the midst of a great ocean with no strength left, but God was there taking me by the hand. I overcame every raging storm before me and deadly waves as if they were nothing. The Lord strengthened me and lifted me up. This dream gave me understanding to the verse in Isaiah, 41:10; “The Lord renews my strength”. May God give you hope and understanding in this amazing promise.

 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

          The word wait in this verse is the Hebrew word Quvah. Quvah means to bind together of strings made on a cord or bound primitive root, to bind together by twisting.  The verse still is correct in using the word wait, but the Lord explained this verse further to me in a dream I am sharing here. It probably didn’t make sense to say those who cord or bind with strings on the Lord shall renew their strength, but I can explain it further. I suddenly understood this verse after the dream I had-  when I read the hebrew meaning that replaced the word wait- quvah- I jumped for joy! I got it! It’s like finding ancient buried treasure. I hope you find joy in this revelation as well :)

        I had a dream…….

         I was standing on the sand before a great ocean. As I looked out onto the waters, I could see stepping-stones on top of all the waters. I knew that I was to walk a straight path on these steps across the waters. Although there were other stepping-stones around me to the right and left, I knew the straight path before me was the best way to go and the way I was supposed to go. Above my right hand was bound cord or rope that was my help. It height went up to the heavens and was always there for me to grab on to for help or strength as I walked through storms and trials.

stepping stones on ocean with my path prepared. Deeper and darker watersI began to walk upon the stones that were on the water.  Upon each stone were words or writing in another language that I did not understand. I knew each stone represented a trial, test, or tribulation, but I did not know the language written upon the stone. (it was written in black and looked Arabic or Hebrew)

the deeper I got, the darker and more rought and choppy the waters became.

As I started out along the shallow waters, my walk was easy. I stepped upon each stone and kept on and on as I walked further out to sea. I knew above me was a cord/rope/ bound string that came from heaven. At the end of this cord/ rope was a round attachment so that I could hold on to it in order to receive my help and strength . It seemed to follow along side of me.This rope/ help was always next to me, always close enough for me to grab on to.

 Sometimes I held on to this help I had available, but other times I just wanted to walk on my own strength. The further I walked out to sea, the more intense and trying the trials and tests became. When I continued to walk on my own strength, I could not move. I stood and struggled and struggled to get further, to get to the next stone, but it was like wrestling a wall. When I reached up and held on to my Help from Heaven, I walked as if there were no trial. I could easily walk in peace through each storm and test as if there were none.
However, many times I wanted to go on my own. I would let go at times and try to walk in my own strength. There I was, in the middle of a dark and stormy ocean. I stood with dark skies above me and raging waves fighting me. I said to God: “Why can’t I just walk on the water without these trials? It would be so much easier if I could just walk on water” with that, I lifted my arm, grabbed on to the help the Lord gave me and kept walking easily again.
The stones were a a light beige, round, smooth with writing on them. The stepping stone covered the waters and the stones got further and further apart as I went further. I had walked very far out into the sea. I could not longer see land and the waters were getting dark and the waves were getting ferocious and terrifying.  The trials and tests that I walked upon became stronger and too big for me. I tried to fight them on my own, but I realized that when I tried to get through these trials on my own, I sat there longer. I couldn’t move further. I would fight and wrestle to get to my next stepping stone, but my strength was no match, and my strength was for nothing. I had to keep reminding myself to reach up and take the help that was there for me. When I would reach up and grab my help from heaven, I was reneewed and strengthened and could easily walk forward over m,y troubles as if it were nothing. I knew I had to keep going- for there was land ahead- even though I was in the middle of the ocean and had a long way to go. There was always hope ahead, there was alway help by my side. I wouldn’t be there forever.     

  I realized that is the way it is here on earth. We wrestle and struggle with our problems, our trials, our tribulations- to no avail. It is worthless to struggle on our own. We are weak without the Lord. Reach out and grab your help from above. It’s right there for you. Put on your weapons of warfare, they are before you. Fall on your knees before Him, He waits for you.

He gives you strength and Power:

  • Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Is 41
  • Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD! Ps 27:14
  • When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. Isaiah 43
  • Wait on the Lord, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land… But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble.  And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him. Ps 37
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4” 13
  • Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10
  • Wisdom strengthens the wise More than ten rulers of the city. Eccl 7:9

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 In 2 Samuel 22, David wrote:
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence.
 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies. 
When the waves of death surrounded me,
The floods of ungodliness made me afraid
The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me. 
In my distress I called upon the Lord, And cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry entered His ears.
He sent from above, He took me, He drew me out of many waters
He delivered me from my strong enemy, From those who hated me;
For they were too strong for me
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my support. 
He also brought me out into a broad place;
He delivered me because He delighted in me.
“The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. 
For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
And have not wickedly departed from my God. 
For all His judgments were before me;
And as for His statutes, I did not depart from them.

But those who (cling to the Lord) wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 41 30

Qavah to wait, to cling to:  learn how to wait on the Lord. Hebrew word “קוה” (qavah).  The literal meaning of the word is “to bind together like a cord.”making a rope (cord) by twisting or weaving (binding) thin threads together to form the rope.


Offense or Defense

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:17 http://bit.ly/RS8KAx
Do you ever stop to wonder that the one weapon we have in our armor is a weapon that can be used for offense as well as defense? While the rest of our armor is for protection, we are told the sword is used to penetrate and divide, even to judge – Hebrews 4:12
We are told to stand fast and not yield, but are we not also to advance when we have the opportunity?


Cancer Update

I want to update you on my status and share the good news! The Dr said Monday that the pet scan does not show any cancer and he thinks it is all gone! He does want me to have a biopsy in about a month just to make sure, so I will have that done!
God is great my friends and I have had so many instances of Him working on my behalf these last few months! From the very beginning of this journey and finding the cancer early, to the Doctors, the prayers from all of you wonderful prayer warriors and things like a free washer and dryer just when we needed them, gas money and food at a time when we were broke, and our wonderful family who supported us in sin many ways. I will never be able to tell them how much they helped,and I will never forget the wonderful help and support from all of you!
God bless you all my friends and never forget that your prayers reach God and He listens! Love you all and God bless you!


Endangering Children

Migrant Children Moved to Okla. Military Base

More than 600 unaccompanied migrant children are being relocated to a military base in Oklahoma this week.

The majority of the children being sent to Fort Sill for temporary housing are from Central American countries and Mexico.

The children will be housed in a building used as training facilities so they’ll have beds, bathrooms and recreational areas.

Educational supervisors will remain with the children until they’re either reunited with their families or placed with a host family temporarily.

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., calls the plan to relocate the children “a breakdown that ‘incentivizes’ illegal immigration.”

Arizona is also expecting hundreds of children by the end of the week, but the state is already overwhelmed by approximately 700 kids who spent last Friday night in a warehouse sleeping on plastic cots.

The number of unaccompanied minors who enter the U.S. illegally is expected to rise to 66,000 this year “

This story from CBN is disturbing on so many levels!  Our government seems to be encouraging the migration and immigration of children into this country, without taking into consideration of the welfare and future that they are facing. I understand the desire of their families, but so many of them are to young to even know what they are coming here for much less what kind of future they may have. These children are basically being trafficked by our government and put at risk for all kinds of abuse. Anytime you have that many children in  containment you run the risk of sexual abuse, assault, disease and any number of other problems.
Why are they encouraging even more? And what kind of impact will this have on our already fragile economy, schools,and healthcare? What about the millions of young people who are looking for jobs and are going to lose out even more because the resources are going to be shifted to care for the children coming across the border?
It is easy to say, “If you are truly Christian, you should welcome all these people!”,but is that true? Is it love to encourage children to place themselves in danger? Is it an act of love to turn a blind eye to the probabilities of sexual abuse and enslavery of the weak and uneducated? What is going to happen to all of these children?
Please pray for enlightenment for our government who are encouraging this and for God to watch over these children and protect them.


Pentecost

 When Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Passover, came, all the believers were together in one place.  Suddenly, a sound like a violently blowing wind came from the sky and filled the whole house where they were staying.  Tongues that looked like fire appeared to them. The tongues arranged themselves so that one came to rest on each believer.  All the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak. Devout Jewish men from every nation were living in Jerusalem.  They gathered when they heard the wind. Each person was startled to recognize his own dialect when the disciples spoke. Stunned and amazed, the people in the crowd said, “All of these men who are speaking are Galileans.  Why do we hear them speaking in our native dialects?  We’re Parthians, Medes, and Elamites. We’re people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia,  Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the country near Cyrene in Libya. We’re Jewish people, converts to Judaism, and visitors from Rome,  Crete, and Arabia. We hear these men in our own languages as they tell about the miracles that God has done.” All of these devout men were stunned and puzzled. They asked each other, “What can this mean?”  Others said jokingly, “They’re drunk on sweet wine.” Then Peter stood up with the eleven apostles. In a loud voice he said to them, “Men of Judea and everyone living in Jerusalem! You must understand this, so pay attention to what I say.  These men are not drunk as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning.  Rather, this is what the prophet Joel spoke about:I will pour my Spirit on everyone.I will pour my Spirit on my servants, on both men and women.blood, fire, and clouds of smoke.and the moon will become as red as blood Then whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ “Men of Israel, listen to what I say: Jesus from Nazareth was a man whom God brought to your attention. You know that through this man God worked miracles, did amazing things, and gave signs.  By using men who don’t acknowledge Moses’ Teachings, you crucified Jesus, who was given over to death by a plan that God had determined in advance.  But God brought him from death back to life and destroyed the pains of death, because death had no power to hold him.  This is what David meant when he said about Jesus:My body also rests securely because you do not abandon my soul to the grave You make the path of life known to me. “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that our ancestor David died and was buried and that his tomb is here to this day.  David was a prophet and knew that God had promised with an oath that he would place one of David’s descendants on his throne.  David knew that the Messiah would come back to life, and he spoke about that before it ever happened. He said that the Messiah wouldn’t be left in the grave and that his body wouldn’t decay. “God brought this man Jesus back to life. We are all witnesses to that.  God used his power to give Jesus the highest position. Jesus has also received and has poured out the Holy Spirit as the Father had promised, and this is what you’re seeing and hearing.  David didn’t go up to heaven, but he said, until I put your enemies under your control.”’ “All the people of Israel should know beyond a doubt that God made Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” When the people heard this, they were deeply upset. They asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter answered them, “All of you must turn to God and change the way you think and act, and each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins will be forgiven. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift.  This promise belongs to you and to your children and to everyone who is far away. It belongs to everyone who worships the Lord our God.” Peter said much more to warn them. He urged, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”  Those who accepted what Peter said were baptized. That day about 3,000 people were added to the group. – Acts 2:1-41 http://bit.ly/14CWoEc


Anchored By His Word

Originally posted on In Love With The Lord Poetry and Prose:

holding hands

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”   Matthew 14:29-36

I just heard a young veteran, a born again Christian, speak of his time in Afghanistan.    He was injured badly there, losing both legs as he did his job . . . securing a building without knowing he was standing on a bomb.

He said that he didn’t feel the pain and thus didn’t have fear of losing his legs.  He said that he felt the Holy Spirit within him and felt assured he would go on and life would be good.  Maybe different but good and perhaps better than before.  Then he heard his…

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The Good News

 Christ didn’t send me to baptize. Instead, he sent me to spread the Good News. I didn’t use intellectual arguments. That would have made the cross of Christ lose its meaning. The message about the cross is nonsense to those who are being destroyed, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.  Scripture says, Where is the wise person? Where is the scholar? Where is the persuasive speaker of our time? Hasn’t God turned the wisdom of the world into nonsense?  The world with its wisdom was unable to recognize God in terms of his own wisdom. So God decided to use the nonsense of the Good News we speak to save those who believe.  Jews ask for miraculous signs, and Greeks look for wisdom,  but our message is that Christ was crucified. This offends Jewish people and makes no sense to people who are not Jewish.  But to those Jews and Greeks who are called, he is Christ, God’s power and God’s wisdom.  God’s nonsense is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, consider what you were when God called you to be Christians. Not many of you were wise from a human point of view. You were not in powerful positions or in the upper social classes.  But God chose what the world considers nonsense to put wise people to shame. God chose what the world considers weak to put what is strong to shame.  God chose what the world considers ordinary and what it despises—what it considers to be nothing—in order to destroy what it considers to be something.  As a result, no one can brag in God’s presence.  You are partners with Christ Jesus because of God. Jesus has become our wisdom sent from God, our approval, our holiness, and our ransom from sin.  As Scripture says, “Whoever brags must brag about what the Lord has done.” – 1 Corinthians 1:17-31 http://bit.ly/1nmENZR


A Word About Words

     Stop! Listen. Do you hear that? There are words everywhere. There are people on cell phones and land-line phones. There are people screaming and some speaking softly. There are words being uttered in languages known and unknown to us. Listen; listen to the words that are being put in the atmosphere never to return. Promises are being made and vows are broken with words. Life is being advanced and death encouraged all with what comes from the mouth – words.

     This is why the Scripture is careful to point out the significance of words. You see, there are many that use words as a mere covers for what is actually going on in the heart. With words lies are being told that need not be told. For instance, there are many that say that they love God however their actions are far from loving. Jesus points this out in Mark 7:6 with the words, “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” This is to say that they profess God with all the words they can muster yet the reality is that there is no love for God at all. Such people need to be very careful what comes from their mouths in that it is very dangerous to profess one thing while living another.

     James was one that clearly understood what words could do. In chapter one of the epistle the words “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” are found in verse twenty-six. This was written because so many that count themselves as followers of God find it impossible to carefully choose their words. Excuses are made on every hand because of the lack of discipline in controlling the unruly member we call the tongue.

     It becomes abundantly clear that Christians need to be able to control what comes out of their mouths. This is because it is not what goes into a man that defiles him rather that which comes out of him (Matthew 15:11). Yet many choose to use their mouths to put down others, lie on friends, neighbors and family, slander and even use expletives even while they count themselves as Christians. Well, let it be said that those that act in such a manner have deceived themselves. The unbridled tongue of such people is a clear mark of the hypocrisy born deep within them. This is a dangerous place to be because James clearly shows that the religion, or worship, of such people is null and void.

     And still the mouths of ungodly people purport promises in which there is no intent to follow through. Promises to return phone calls or letters go unmet. Promises to make purchases are made only for the good feeling of the moment. Marital vows are broken for reasons that fall far short of good reason. And all this is done with uttered words. Words; with our mouths much is made with them yet all too often there is no follow through. There is no action taken. The words then cause one’s entire life to become vain because the religion of one that cannot control an untruthful tongue is vain.

     The fact of the matter is that words do matter. They matter when there are corresponding works and they matter where there are no works. This is why it is better to be quiet (I Thessalonians 4:11) than to open one’s mouth wide with devastating results.


What has God done through Christ

 God has rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of his Son, whom he loves.  His Son paid the price to free us, which means that our sins are forgiven. He is the image of the invisible God, He created all things in heaven and on earth,and holds everything together.He is the beginning, God was pleased to have all of himself live in Christ.  God was also pleased to bring everything on earth and in heaven back to himself through Christ. He did this by making peace through Christ’s blood sacrificed on the cross. Once you were separated from God. The evil things you did showed your hostile attitude.  But now Christ has brought you back to God by dying in his physical body. He did this so that you could come into God’s presence without sin, fault, or blame.  This is on the condition that you continue in faith without being moved from the solid foundation of the hope that the Good News contains. You’ve heard this Good News of which I, Paul, became a servant. It has been spread throughout all creation under heaven. – Colossians 1:13-23 http://bit.ly/17nIbly


Hope

 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 http://bit.ly/TBQCAz

The pain of losing those we love never goes away but it does lessen with time, but we have the assurance that they will not be left behind. So no matter the pain and loss of now, we can rest in the hope of a better tomorrow and know that God always keeps His promises!


Out Of The Darkness

Originally posted on In Love With The Lord Poetry and Prose:

An eye is not an eye at all

Without a healthy heart

To direct its focus.

For alone,

it is simply an orb

Ah,

But when the heart opens the door

To Light,

Darkness departs

forever gone from memory,

And God’s love all the eye can see!

By Martha L Shaw – © 4-29-2014

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Annie Needs Your Help and Prayer

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/xfl4/annie-s-autoimmunty-and-rey-s-move-fund

Our friend Annie is in desperate need of help! If you can help financially, please go to the link above. If you are not, please add her and her husband to your prayers. God does listen and answer. I don’t know what His plans are for Annie and Rey, but I know He does have a plan for them. God bless you my friends!


In Memory II

Originally posted on Armor of God:

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Every year on Memorial Day we honor our fallen soldiers that gave their life that we might be free! Today more than ever we need reminded that freedom isn’t free. With each day our liberties are being eaten away by a voracious government that seems determined to decide for us every minute detail of our lives.

This country’s Constitution states that our rights are given to us by God, and the Bible tells us that what He gives, no man can take away. They may kill our bodies, but our souls belong to the Creator. We can choose to keep those rights that our men and women died for, or we can give them up. So if we should lose those rights, it is only because we weren’t willing to…

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Remember the sacrifice of our men and women


A Memorial Day Tribute to those who paid the Ultimate Price for Our Freedom

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Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you…

Jesus Christ

The American G.I.

One died for your Soul, the others died for your Freedom

sad-day

Make the most of those Freedoms this Memorial Day…

Worship God

Defend your Freedoms

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ANY QUESTIONS?

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letho18


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