29 February 2012

The Promise of Provision by Derek Prince

After too many years of receiving more teaching in church about finances and prosperity than about God Himself I am admittedly wary about reading, hearing and talking about abundance and provision. But I couldn’t resist Derek Prince’s promise of new revelation about the subject in The Promise of Provision: Living and Giving from God's Abundant Supply:
God longs for you to have fruitfulness in every area of your life. God is a God of abundance. I pray that He will grant that revelation to you as you read.
I know that Jesus said He came to give us abundant life:
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).  John 10:10 Amplified
I believe with all my mind, heart and spirit that Jesus was speaking about more than money, though too often this has been applied simply to finances. I appreciated Prince’s remark:
As we consider abundance, let’s take our focus away from the idea of having a lot of money in the bank. Abundance does not necessarily indicate possessions of large sums of money or property. But it does suggest something that is the opposite of poverty, want and failure.
Prince dives into scripture to show us what God has said about His promises and how we must claim them as our own, now, today. As I continued reading, I found myself asking the Lord to reveal His truth, His way, fearing once again the slant of human understanding.

I find myself wishing that God could erase the blackboard in my mind, giving me a clean slate that holds no bias one way or another about contrversial topics, that I could read His Word without recalling the various ways other people have interpreted it.

I cannot blame my discomfort on the author.  Derek Prince seems to genuinely desire his readers to receive fresh revelation from the Lord about a subject that has long been misunderstood.  I will return to this text many times, I'm sure, prayerfully requesting the Lord to speak.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Chosen Book a division of Baker Publishing Group.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
 

The Essential Guide to Healing by B Johnson & R Clark

I have just completed two books that I received from Chosen Books a division of Baker Publishing Group. Both address issues I once thought I understood, but in the last couple of years I have found myself questioning.

The Essential Guide to Healing  Equipping All Christians to Pray for the Sick by Bill Johnson and Randy Clark contends that:
God’s miraculous healing is part of the Good News, and you, too, can become a powerful conduit for the healing power He loves to manifest.
Both Clark and Johnson share personal stories about witnessing God’s healing power.

The middle section of the book uses scripture to explain and at times defend that healing demonstrates the gospel of the Kingdom of God, as applicable today as it was two thousand years ago. I know this is true, and even though this covers a supernatural subject I can’t help sensing the bias of the author’s human understanding.  Far too often we interpret God's Word to suit our own beliefs instead of our beliefs being shaped by the Word itself.

The third part of the book is practical teaching on the practice of healing. Once again I found myself disturbed as I read about following patterns that have worked for others or that were successful in the past. I don’t believe that Jesus followed a particular set of rules or patterns when He healed, in fact scripture shows us that He healed the same ailments (blindness for example) in a variety of ways.

The idea that the ministry of healing is not reserved for a select few is appealing indeed. We all want to feel that God would choose to move through us. It is important however to remember that God is the only One Who heals even when He uses our hands.

I will return to this book again as I continue to seek God’s heart and understanding about this topic. I have much to learn, but desire that the majority of that teaching comes directly from the Master.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Chosen Books. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

I shall be back soon with my review of The Promise of Provision by Derek Prince.

 

28 February 2012

Choosing to obey

Ready to burst and bloom, yet waiting
For a long time now my bio has described me as:
a sold out disciple of Jesus Christ learning more each day what it means to abide in Him; desiring to walk in radical obedience to His voice and praying that my life brings glory to The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit
I choose to obey because I have tasted the sweetness of the blessings that accompany bowing to His direction, His will, His ways.  With each new act of surrender, there is a breaking, a shifting and a settling.  The more I give up of myself, the deeper the peace that descends and envelopes me.

As hard as it is sometimes to go when He says "go" speak when He says "speak" or jump if He says "jump" it is far more difficult for me to be still.

Yet this is indeed where I now find myself, quiet, listening and awaiting His command.

So when my words are few, I pray you will understand.  I have books reviews to post shortly and then will write whatever He inspires.

What about you?  Is it easier for you to move or remain still?


 

25 February 2012

He reigns

Top of Murchison Falls, Uganda, Africa
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude,
like the roar of rushing waters
and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

“Hallelujah!

For our Lord God Almighty reigns


Giving him glory at Deidra's today as we unite our praises

 

23 February 2012

Faithful to Himself

This week Bonnie asks us - "What is one quality that attracts you to Jesus today?"

How do I choose one quality only when the One Who Is the subject of my choosing is almost beyond knowing even as He calls for us to know Him?  He Is all that is good, all that is worthy of mention.

Faithfullness.  A very particular sort of faithfullness.

I could write about His faithfullness to me, but that isn't exactly what I'm drawn to here.

It is His faithfullness to be exactly Who He says He Is, true to His Word at all times.

Among people, words are spoken freely, tossed about, falling easily from tongues.  The same words are often recanted or contradicted with scarce a second thought.

Often I have heard others, and sadly, I must admit, often I have heard myself say "Oh, I didn't really mean that"

Jesus means each and every word He says, none are false and none are wasted.  Every word is true to Who He Is.  What He says can be trusted, just as He can be trusted, now and always.  Faithful.

For Jesus doesn't change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he's always totally himself. Hebrews 13:8 The Message

  
Joining Bonnie as we continue to unwrap love

 

20 February 2012

Cravings

The saying is true that we want what we cannot have.

Today and tomorrow are prep days for the gastroscopy and colonoscopy I am scheduled for on Wednesday morning.  Nothing to chew - clear liquids only.

Knowing I cannot eat makes me immediately hungry.  This is, of course, my mind and not my body, whining, shouting and pouting.

The grass on the other side of the fence
the fruit that is forbidden
just a taste, a tiny little taste...

This is the time to take thoughts captive, not allowing them to bounce off the walls, surging in power, making taste buds salivate.

No temptation more than I can bear, I know this too.

I have liquids, fresh water when billions do not, even my drug of choice is allowed, caffeine in black coffees and teas.  So I have no cause to complain...

well, maybe the tiniest bit....

Prayers are welcomed as my insides are explored, the things God knit together for His glory.

And go enjoy a snack, for me.

 

16 February 2012

No masks

It is by choice
by deliberate design
that I walk in this world
unmasked

I have chosen
to know
and be known
a quest that hiding hinders

I have gone beyond wearing my "heart on my sleeve"
beyond naked
to skin glowing thin enough to be transparent
nothing much to peel away

when arrows come
and come they do
the piercing is all the more profound
for the aim is at who I really am
not someone I pretend to be

just me
spotted, wrinkled,
a work in His hands

I used to beat myself up
call myself names
self-accused for my vulnerability
for laying my heart on the line
again and again
instead of vowing "never"

then I heard Him whisper
I created that heart
to be seen and to be shared
and when it breaks
I will repair it
so be not afraid

So here I am
holding on to Him
reaching out to you....
 
Joining Bonnie and others talking about vulnerability as we continue to unwrap love
 

15 February 2012

Let go to hold on

I keep trying to grasp hold of time
and the intro to the old soap opera repeats in my brain
"like sand through an hourglass, so are the days of our lives"

I keep trying to grasp hold
I keep trying to
grasp
and it slips
slips faster
my fingers stretched tight
strained, tension cramping every fibre

yet in the Kingdom of my citizenship
the place that seems so twisted,
upside down
when compared to this world
I have so much to learn

for here
one must let go
to hold on

trying to grasp hold
of anything
but Him
is like attempting
to trap
the wind

and He is always
here, right here
in my hand
in my heart
no stretch, no strain

palms open

breathe
 
Sharing with Jennifer and others who see His hand moving...

 

14 February 2012

True Valentine

For Christmas I wrapped a present for Jesus.  For Valentine's Day I wrote Him a love letter.  As the true lover of my soul, He wrote back, words like:

Is it hard for you to understand My ways? I spoke to My disciples in parables. But let Me be clear now. My love is here and My love is true. Nothing will change My love for you.

Click here to read more, where I'm sharing about love letters today at Internet Cafe Devotions

 

11 February 2012

Sunday offering

We must offer ourselves to God
like a clean, smooth canvas
and not worry ourselves
about what God may choose to paint on it,
but at each moment,
feel only the stroke of His brush.
-- Jean Pierre de Caussade

Beginning the week with worship, thanksgiving and surrender

 
Joining Deidra's Sunday choir to glorify His name.
 

Hush

Rare, this moment
His night orb yet bright
in the dawning of the day

We have been hushed by the same moon, the same God, the same love

 
Joining Sandy in the stillness...

 

10 February 2012

Love came late

Love came late, hard
not a babe, no, fully formed.
With so much time already wasted
Yahweh-jireh, the One Who provided
urged me to jump, dive in deep
unwrap the gift of my beloved
the man He chose, sealed as mine.
Here am I still, submerged
giddy with wonder, joy
untying ribbons to learn more each day
the secrets of who Rick is
who I am
and Who He Is
Who brought me to this moment
lovesick in time.

 
Joining Bonnie as we unwrap love this month

 

08 February 2012

The Voice New Testament - Ecclesia Bible Society

If you look around our house, you will find bibles of every shape, size, colour and translation. We simply love The Word of God. I use Biblegateway.com when I am writing or preparing a message because it is an easy way to compare texts and discover which version best captures exactly what I am trying to convey. I am always eager to acquire a translation I don’t have. When I read the following words by the publisher about The Voice New Testament by Ecclesia Bible Society I admit I was both intrigued and a bit uncertain:
The Voice™ Bible translation is a faithful dynamic translation of the Scriptures done as a collage of compelling narratives, poetry, song, truth, and wisdom. The Voice calls the reader to step into the whole story of Scripture and experience the joy and wonder of God’s revelation. Created for and by a church in great transition, The Voice uniquely represents collaboration among scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists, giving great attention to the beauty of the narrative. The heart of The Voice is retelling the story of the Bible in a form as fluid as modern literary works yet remaining painstakingly true to the original manuscripts. This translation promotes the public reading of longer sections of Scripture—followed by thoughtful engagement with the biblical narrative in its richness and fullness and dramatic flow.
I sat down with this new volume and my NIV study Bible, a New King James Bible and an Amplified Bible and I was delighted to find that although the words are not the same, the team of writers and artists have indeed remained true to original manuscripts. Unlike The Message, (which I do enjoy and quote often) I find The Voice better able to stand on its own without my needing to check it constantly for the faithfulness of its translation.

There is information added in italics that will help readers in these modern times understand what the original readers would have known. The in-text commentaries add cultural and historical information that I also find quite valuable. The introductions to each Book are well written and helpful as well.

God longs to speak into the heart of His people. I believe this will be a powerful tool to enable many hearts to hear His voice.

New Testament has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson

The opinions I have expressed are my own.


 

07 February 2012

My true romance...

I have a confession to make. Here, among friends I can trust, I need to be open and transparent. Today, while  we are talking about romance, I will be brave:

My husband Rick does not have sole ownership of my heart. My thoughts stray.   There is another romance that invades my thoughts, sleeping and waking.  Yes, my mind wanders, in dreams and in visions.

I can see myself walking beside another, reaching out to grasp his hand as our legs step in unison. We are on a windswept beach, or in a meadow, or climbing rolling hills. I look into his eyes and know that they gaze directly into my heart. There is nothing he cannot see and in that knowledge of total exposure comes unexpected freedom. I have nothing to hide. I am simply who I am, and loved despite my faults. He knows my questions before I ask and answers with wisdom and truth. He is the one I come to with my fears and my sorrows. I pour myself out in his presence and he picks me up and puts me back together.

He doesn’t mind that am I married to Rick, in fact, he has blessed our union. Yet he continues to make plans for another wedding. A feast. A celebration unlike any ever known before. He himself will be the bridegroom and his desire is for me to be a perfect, spotless bride.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready Revelation 19:7 NIV

I am awestruck that he would choose me. I am lovesick. This One, this Jesus, has captivated me and He is my Lord.

Who has ownership of your heart today? If you have not given all of yourself to Christ, try it today. You will soon discover that you have more to give to your husband and to your marriage as well.


Joining Peter Pollock and the rest of the crowd where the word is romance.

 

04 February 2012

Every breath of life...

Let everything that has breath
and every breath of life praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
(Hallelujah!)


 

Open ears

My Mom - who has unimpaired ears!
I have known for quite a long time (as have many of you who engage in face to face conversation with me) that I have struggled with hearing loss in my left ear.  Too often I need to ask for words to be repeated and even then I often give up in frustration before truly understanding what is being said. 

I have attributed this to aging and genetics and grown somewhat used to turning my good right ear toward sounds I am trying to capture.  I've gotten accustomed to missing much of what is said in movies or on television.  I've even used the impairment to my advantage, pressing my good ear hard into the pillow at night so I don't hear Faith when she goes on a barking spree.

I have both complained and made jokes about the problem.  It was only when the ringing and roaring in my ear became a constant distraction that I decided to seek help.

A visit with an ear, nose and throat specialist confirmed my difficulties.  Monday's testing with an audiologist measured the extent of the problem.  Something has damaged the nerve, the loss is defined as permanent and an MRI is scheduled for the end of May to investigate the cause.

It seems like a long time to wait and ponder.  I will continue to release all of this into His hands, willing to be a sign and a wonder if He should choose to restore what has been called unrecoverable.

I will continue to open the ears of my spirit, which operate on a different wavelength.  Hearing His voice doesn't need my damaged nerve, it simply needs my hungry heart.

 

Awakening

Slow
morning fills
with His fire
colours glow

 
 
Breathing in the stillness with Sandy today...

 

03 February 2012

He knew where home was...

Some of you know the story of my first face-to-face encounter with my beloved.  I have posted the tale in parts, but it is a story I love repeating. so here we go again...

My bags were packed; plans were made for my mother to drive me to the airport. It was the night before my flight, and there was nothing left to do but talk with Rick on the phone and sleep. I was excited, but also nervous and listening yet again to fear and doubt, words that were not coming from the mouth of God.

“What if you decide I'm too ugly” I asked “I'm scared. I'm sure of God but not sure of me.”

“Why don't you take a tranquilizer or sleeping pill if you have one” he said. “You need to get some rest tonight and not worry so. Unless you develop Elephant Man disease overnight, there is nothing to worry about.”

Somehow his words and the time we spent in prayer together soothed me and I was able to get a little bit of sleep. I rose ready to face whatever the Lord was about to do.

When my mother was dropping me off at the airport, she asked “Are you going to come back married?”

“Maybe so” I answered, not wanting to admit that they had already planned for that.

“Will you call when you get there, to let us know you're safe?”

“Of course I will Mom, and don't worry.” A quick hug and kiss goodbye and I walked into the airport terminal and a new beginning.

Once the plane had reached cruising altitude I did what came naturally. I pulled out my journal and began to write:
It is so bright up here in God's light. Surrounded by the light this morning on the first part of journey. But.. I have had His light around me for weeks now. I am so sure of Him, in a way I had not previously felt. 
Oh my precious Father, what new words can I find to praise You? How to best let Your name be glorified? Let Your light shine through me, Lord, for every living soul to see Your reflection in me.

I ask for guidance this morning Father, trusting that You will lead me where You want me, but not quite trusting myself. Let me not chase after my own desires, but continue to seek what You desire of me.
The time spent in prayer and reflection soothed my spirit. Stashing the journal back in my carry on, I was ready for the plane to land and to walk into the arms of the man who waited for me.

I stood in the immigration services line with my passport, thinking it odd that Canada was a foreign country. When I was called to the desk, the officer asked me “What is the purpose of your visit, business or pleasure?”

“Pleasure. Definitely pleasure” I replied, while thinking “and about my Father's business”

The officer stamped my passport and I was free to retrieve my bags when they came around on the carousel. The two suitcases were bulky and hard to handle and I felt foolish for packing so much.

One more line to wait in for the customs agent, who simply took my declaration card and said “Welcome to Canada” and I walked through the doors to find Rick, wearing the hat he said he would wear so I would recognize him, just in case he looked different than his picture.

After weeks of imagining what it would feel like, I was held tight in his embrace. Then he whispered very clearly in my ear “a hundred and ten percent, baby.”

I remembered his words to his pastor when he had asked Rick how he could be so sure I was the right woman for him. “I'm 99 percent sure now. When I meet her at the airport I'll be a hundred percent sure.”

“Hundred and ten, eh?” I laughed, feeling every bit of apprehension drain from my being. I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be, at last.

It was a 3-1/2 hour ride from Winnipeg to Rick’s home town. We talked and laughed as if we had known each other all our lives and were continuing a conversation where we had left off. There was a comfort and familiarity between us that surprised us both.

Rick told me a story about his coworker trying to convince him that I was probably some weirdo who had undergone a sex change. While he was laughing, I turned to him, with quite suddenly a very serious look on my face.

“Oh rats! Now you know! I was hoping to keep it a secret.” I said sternly, but I couldn't maintain the serious expression and started to giggle, then chuckle, then laugh heartily.

“I'll have to check it out for myself then” Rick snickered.

“Not until we're married” I warned, wagging my finger at him “And by then it will be too late.”

The laughter felt wonderful, from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. Joy filled the car. With the joy came the peace that only God could provide.

Every time Rick had to pause at a stop light he would lean over to kiss me. There was a new kind of thrill that moved through my blood, different than any man had caused before. If someone had asked me to describe it, I would not have had words. I simply knew that this was stronger, deeper, more right than any touch from my past.

Once we got away from the city, the highway narrowed to one lane each direction. There was very little traffic. It was unusually warm for so early in May as if God had shifted weather patterns to make for an enjoyable day of traveling. Rick named off the towns as we moved through them, and I watched the unfamiliar landscape passing outside the open window.

There was mile upon mile upon endless mile of open fields. Farmers, using various kinds of large equipment that I did not yet know the names of, were busy preparing the ground for the coming season of planting. Barns, and old farm houses and grain storage bins reached out into the fields.

“There's nothing but land” I exclaimed. “Land extending out forever no matter where I look. It's unbelievable.”

"Yep” Rick nodded, smiling. “I'd expect that reaction from a city girl.”

There was space, blue sky, bright sun and fresh air. I inhaled deeply and let everything inside myself settle. “I'm here” I thought silently “here where you've sent me Lord.”

We were getting closer to his home town, approaching a lake that he wanted me to see. Rick asked if it would make me nervous if he pulled off onto a side road.

"Well, if you're going to kill me now, have at it” I laughed. “I've trusted you and come this far, why stop now.”

He slowed and pulled the car to a stop, parking near the driveway of a beautiful home.

“If we go to the beach from here we don't have to pay to get in and park” he said, taking hold of my hand, and we started walking.

It felt good to be out of the car and stretch. I noticed that we walked in the same rhythm, legs moving in unison. We were walking on a well trodden path through bushes and trees. Rick stopped frequently to pull me into his embrace and kiss me with all the passion that had been building up over the past weeks.

"Wow! I guess I hadn't needed to worry about chemistry” I said, my knees weakening at his touch.

When we emerged from the path onto the beach I erupted with delight.

“Did I ever tell you how much I've always loved the water?”

“I don't believe you did” Rick replied, shaking his head. “There's lots of things we have to learn about each other, and we'll have lots of time to learn them.”

Linking up with Jennifer at Getting Down with Jesus and The High Calling Blogs where we're talking about both the joys and struggles of  marriage.


 

Surfacing...

I was hit hard
blindsided by pain
dragged down by some unknown virus
submerged

Unable to concentrate
focus blurred
words scurried away
even my prayers mere groanings

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.  Romans 8:26 The Message

I am just now
surfacing
breathing in fresh air
allowing Him to renew my strength

Posts that were partly done, half done, almost done will appear here shortly.  If their order seems choppy, so were the seas I've been sailing on this week.

 
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