Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

Businessman holding a paper with a prisoner behind the bars on i
Some prisons are invisible! I know because, although I have never committed a crime, nor have I ever been incarcerated, I have most assuredly felt the suffocating bondage of being imprisoned just the same.

In fact, my step-father even used the term “home prison” to describe an extended, and overly harsh, punishment for a minor violation of household rules which I committed at the ripe-old age of fifteen. For about six months I was not allowed to use the telephone, go anywhere by myself (not even outdoors for fresh air) nor visit with friends ˗not that I had any back then anyway. If that sounds like overkill to you, trust me, this kind of thing was fairly typical in my broken family.

This wasn’t my first “prison” though. Even as a child, I lived in great bondage: one of fear, doubt, humiliation and abuse. By the age of two, I was already, “damaged goods,” or so I was told. The more time passed, the more damaged I became until my only means of “escape” was to shut myself off from the rest of the world, both physically and emotionally. Of course I went to school, but that was just another prison ˗ different type, much larger. Children have a way of identifying, then assailing any other child who is weak and wounded, thus I was trapped -emotionally imprisoned- by their ridicule and torment day-after-day.

Many years later I had a miraculous encounter with my Savior, Jesus Christ [You can read about that here: His Invisible Hand] and I was truly free for a while. Even so, I would experience an entirely different kind of “prison” just a few years later, despite being a Christian.

Sitting in church one evening, long ago, my pastor made one of those sweeping comments from the pulpit that no one had ever experienced prison before and didn’t know what it was like to be locked-up, having no freedom. My body language told him I did, in fact, know that feeling; and he acknowledged my silent declaration with his own expression and slight head-shake. Clearly, he assumed I had been incarcerated in a literal prison, but as I stated previously, some prisons are invisible. Little did he know that, because of the repeated personal attacks against me and my family right there, in his cherished little church, I felt the pangs of bondage afresh; I felt imprisoned yet again, and my family had to flee from there. Thank the Lord we did! I am only sharing this because I feel someone needs to hear it. Some of you have likewise experienced hurt and bondage in the church and you need to know that you are not alone.

Before you start thinking I am slamming the church, however, let me assure you that I am not. Not every church is godly and not every person in them is a true Christian. (See this week’s Polished Pearls post). People can be deeply hurt in those flawed churches (even the good ones, for that matter), but even those kinds of wounds can be healed.

What I am proclaiming is this: God is still on the throne and He still SETS THE CAPTIVE FREE! It doesn’t matter what type your (invisible) prison is, our King has made a way of escape! (see postscript)

I have told many people over the years that if they could have seen the person I was before I came to know Jesus Christ as my Savior and compare that to the person I am now, they certainly would believe in God! Even a professed atheist would have to admit that the transformation in me was nothing short of a divine, miraculous intervention.

If only time allowed, I could share numerous testimonies of God’s miraculous intervention in the lives of others as well. I know of people who have, just this week, been healed of terminal illnesses, delivered from drugs, received much-needed funds, food and shelter, and the list goes on-and-on.

Every one of those situations was, for the person experiencing them, an invisible prison. Some never thought they would escape, but Jesus Christ showed-up and SET THE CAPTIVE FREE!

Dear friend, I don’t know what you are experiencing this week, nor do I know what challenges await you in future, but I do know there is an answer –His name is Jesus! Whether you steadfastly pray, or whether you have never prayed one single prayer in your life, I want to encourage you to call upon Jesus. He still answers prayers, and He is still performs miracles!

Finally, I want to share one more thing, because, again, I feel that someone needs to hear it. Several years after having accepted Jesus as my Savior I prayed and asked that all-too-familiar question: WHY? Why had He allowed me to suffer so much pain and trauma in my life. He never answered my question, but He did speak clearly: “I cried every tear with you.”

Dear reader, like me, you may never understand why certain things happened in your life; why God allowed you to go through certain difficulties, but you can be sure of this, you weren’t alone. The important question is not why certain things happened, but rather, are you willing accept God’s working in your life and trust Him no matter what. I truly hope you will.

“There is nothing a man can do to liberate himself if his time of divine liberation has not come. But when the time comes, nothing can stop it.” -B. Olurotimi


postscript:  This author is, in no way, suggesting that the Lord God  will miraculously release someone from a lawful incarceration.  Obviously He could (and did in times past for certain innocent Christians who were locked-up for no other reason than their faith in Jesus Christ), but God is as just as He is merciful, requiring mankind to be accountable for their actions.  If someone is incarcerated for their crimes, they should, and will, serve their sentence.  However, if they place their trust in Jesus Christ, and repent of their sins, He can give them a peace which passes all understanding, no matter how long they are incarcerated.  Moreover, Jesus can save, heal, and deliver from all emotional bondage any time, any place, even prison.

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caring hands cropped

A Stroke of Providence

One-hundred-fifty years ago or so, Charles Spurgeon penned the following words: “I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary.” Heaven knows I have been afflicted more times than I can even recall, yet little did I know when I posted Spurgeon’s words one month ago that  they would be somewhat prophetic for what was soon to come; a mild stroke was on the horizon.

The emergency room doctor seemed very nonchalant about the whole thing. In all fairness, however, the waiting rooms were packed, and the good doctor did look like he had already been worn clean smooth, as they say in the south. A few questions and the compulsory, “Be sure to follow-up with your physician,” and off he went.

My physician seemed equally indifferent. Stroke damage is irreparable, he explained. When one has a stroke, that part of the brain that was damaged doesn’t ever come back to life. He also explained the probability for a future occurrence (which I don’t accept), prescribed a drug that “might” help lessen the odds, and sent me on my way.

Irreparable, my foot, I said to myself as I exited the building; I will come out on-top of this thing —watch me!

The damage was certainly noticeable, but not nearly as bad as it could have been. For a period of two weeks or so, I sounded like Porky the Pig. By way of explanation for international readers, Porky is a cartoon character who st-st-st-stutters. My thoughts were somewhat intact, but I couldn’t get my words to come out clearly for the life of me. What frustrated me the most, aside from not being able to clearly communicate, was that my left arm, which throbbed most of the time, lost all strength and tended to draw-up on me. There were other problems too, like migraines and repeated face numbness, but I kept reminding myself that God was still on His throne and that “this [challenge] too shall pass.”

I’m not taking the drug. As providence would have it, my family has been, for years, under the care of one of the best alternative wellness providers in the nation, a man who also happens to be one of the most godly men I know. He was, and is, working closely with me to find the root cause so that this doesn’t happen again. [Thanks again, Dr. Ben, I greatly appreciate you.]

I am also doing my part to expedite my healing. I reminded my body that I am more than a conqueror through Christ, my Lord (Romans 8:37) and I let my body know in no uncertain terms that I was going to call the shots, and not the other way around.

Day after day, I fumbled through tongue-twisters and other recitations, in order to force my thoughts and speech to connect. I also forced my arm to move, and work, even when it didn’t want to. It wasn’t always easy. I knocked a lot of things over, and spilled a lot, but still I persisted.

There is much more that I could say about this whole ordeal, but for time’s sake, I will jump to the good news; then share a few additional thoughts.

It has been just shy of one month since I had the stroke and I am currently feeling pretty good, almost back to normal. My speech may still have a few glitches in it, but I sound like myself again. My arm almost has full range of motion again, doesn’t throb and is regaining its strength, and the headaches are diminishing. God is faithful and He has acted on my behalf! I realize I still have a way to go, but I also know that He will continue to see me through. He who has begun a good work will be faithful to complete it.

And now, I want to share something interesting. In that first week or so following my trip to the emergency room, while I was st-str-struggling to get most words out, I could recite Scripture verses almost flawlessly. I marvel that the Word of God is more a part of me, than the very blood coursing through my veins.

I shared with my husband, through broken words, what was happening and how awesome I thought it was that my inner-spirit was not affected the way my body was. On the contrary, at a time when I could have easily been downcast, my faith effortlessly rose-up  in leaps and bounds.

My precious Lord showed me so many times, and in so many ways, through all of this that He was right there with me, communing with me, strengthening me. I had trouble remembering simple things, yet I easily remembered a great many verses to those old, beautiful hymns —verses that I hadn’t heard in many years. The Lord spoke to me, through those old hymns, especially. Song after song played through my mind effortlessly, as though I had  heard them only yesterday.

My theme song for those first few weeks was selected for me by my Heavenly Father. Time after time, I found myself singing or humming, Great is Thy Faithfulness.¹

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

I am not sharing all of this with you, dear reader, to boast of my spirituality —God forbid! No, I am sharing this with you to remind each and every one of you of God’s faithfulness. In fact, the song above was penned by Thomas Obediah Chisholm, a man whose health was so fragile that he was often confined to bed for long periods of time. The greatest hymns, it seems, were often penned by those who daily relied on God’s faithfulness to see them through great struggles and challenges.

Finally, dear reader, may I say that I do not believe that it is the Lord’s desire that His children suffer. I do, however, believe that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). I also believe that God can help us to draw upon our own experiences of suffering and trials in such a way that we can, in turn, be a blessing to others. Charles Spurgeon certainly understood that through our own afflictions, we gain the empathy to speak a word in season to another that is weary. May we follow in his footsteps.

¹Great is Thy Faithfulness. Words by Thomas Obediah Chisholm. 1923

fear not

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shipwreck survivor

3 John 1:2  Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

Blogging was already on my to-do list for this afternoon. However, as the day progressed quite differently than planned, so did today’s message. Pardon the personal nature of this post, but I feel prompted to share with you a few thoughts on sludge.

This morning, I awoke to a slightly sore throat and the distinct feeling of illness trying to take hold. In my home, we always try to kick everything naturally before we even consider a trip to the doctor’s office, so I downed some garlic capsules and started a vitamin C flush¹.

I don’t want to get too graphic here, but a  Vitamin C flush rapidly pulls toxins out of your body, so it is supposed to be done until you spend a sufficient amount of time in the bathroom to expel them. Let me just say, it didn’t take long for me to figure out that my gall bladder was clogged because I passed a ton of gall sludge. That being the case, I plan to do a gall bladder flush later this evening as well.

As a result of the C flush, my sore throat is already gone and I feel quite a bit better overall, but the gall bladder flush will help me feel better still, and far more energetic; I know this from experience. I am thankful for today’s symptoms, though, because they served to highlight the fact that my body was out-of-order and needed some immediate attention.

What does this have to do with God? You may ask. It is He that gives our bodies the various red-flags that call us to action. The same is true of our spiritual lives as well. Often times, our spiritual lives become so sludged with the everyday stuff of life that we cannot hear the voice of God as clearly as we used to. If left unchecked, this can create more serious problems, spiritual apathy, for example.

Obviously, spiritual sludge doesn’t manifest with a sore throat, but there are some noticeable symptoms when it is present. These may include such things as a decreased desire to pray and study, a lessening compassion towards others, a critical spirit or a bad attitude, etc.

These are all red flags, calling us to action. If you are feeling spiritually lethargic, dear reader; if you have that undeniable feeling that something is out-of-order, may I encourage you to immediately seek the Lord. Ask Him to show you what, if anything, needs to be flushed from your life –especially anything that is toxic, such as bitterness, strife or envy, etc.

Toxins can be ingested from external sources as well, such as inappropriate television programs and the like. Even so, it may be that you aren’t ingesting any of those, yet feel that your spiritual life isn’t quite healthy regardless. Like the physical body, our spiritual life is often ailing, not because we are allowing harmful things in, but rather because we are simply neglecting to put enough of the right ‘nutrients’ in. Our bodies need proper nutrition and so do our spirits.

Like a vitamin C flush, which blitzes the body with enough Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and minerals to flush toxins, and replenish these essentials; ingesting large amounts of Scripture blitzes our spirit with everything it needs to stay healthy and strong, while consistent prayer inhibits unhealthy sludge from clogging up our lives in the first place. But we don’t study and pray for medicinal purposes, we do so because we are in a covenant relationship with the Creator of the Universe and because we love Him. As C.S Lewis once said, “Every Christian would agree that a man’s spiritual health is exactly proportional to his love for God.”

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Cor 7:1).

¹  I use Professional Health Products Pro C Ascorbate for this flush.  Instructions for doing a Vitamin C flush may be read by clicking this link:  Vitamin C Flush

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photo credit: alatoni.com

Black olives may not please everyone’s palate, but my family –half of us, anyway– devour them like candy. In fact, whenever we have a build your own pizza night, my daughter’s pizza is usually black when she pops it in the oven due to serious olive overload. I can’t say I blame her; I’m one of the other olive lovers.

You can only imagine how elated I was the first time I realized my relatives, who lived in Phoenix, had several black olive trees growing in their back yard. “Go ahead, eat as many as you want,” my cousin told me.

Anxiously, I bit into the first one with great expectation. But I spit it out with disgust. Unbeknownst to me, those pleasant-looking fruit are bitter enough to turn your teeth inside out –until they are cured in lye, that is. Yes, I said lye.

Do you have any idea how hazardous lye can be? It can cause chemical burns, scarring, blindness, or respiratory failure; and probably even death under certain circumstances. Yep, that sounds like the kind of substance we need to treat our food with (Uh- NOT). I was stunned further to learn that manufacturers use lye to treat several other foods as well. But let’s talk about olives for a moment.

Did you know that olives are really good for our bodies? Not only do they contain a fair amount of iron, vitamin E, copper (an essential mineral) and fiber, they also have phytonutrients,  the organic components of plants which promote human health. Olives are said to:

 Contain antioxidants to fight disease.
 Have anti-inflammatory properties.
 Help decrease high blood pressure.
 Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
 Lower bad cholesterol.
 and more

It really boggles my mind that something as caustic as lye can take the bitterness right out of the olive fruit. What astounds me even more is that the caustic attacks of other people can take the bitterness right out of us.

How? First we must understand that “The building of character is the most important business of life. It matters little what works a man may leave in the world; his real success is measured by what he has wrought along the years in his own being…. True character must be built after divine patterns…” J.R. Miller, 1894

Jesus Christ is our divine pattern. What did he teach?

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44).

Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which spitefully use you (Luke 6:28).

More profound still,  while Jesus Christ, who was falsely accused, was being led to Mount Calvary to face an unjust crucifixion, he demonstrated for us the most noble of character:

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth (Isaiah 53:7).

Why would the Son of God allow Himself to be beaten, spat upon, and ultimately murdered, without speaking one word in His own defense? It is because our Heavenly Father had a plan. Jesus Christ, our LORD and Savior, was absolutely perfect as both man and God. But with His every word and action, Jesus gave us a pattern of how to live so that we might be perfected into His own image.

However, we are mere mortal men and we fail. Sometimes we allow the unjust actions of others to cause bitterness deep within our hearts. It is in times like these, I believe, that God allows caustic men and women to “crucify” us so that we may be “cured” and our fruit (the fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23) may be sweet.  And more importantly, so that this sweetened fruit may then be used as a catalyst to help heal the spiritual diseases of others.

Dear reader, the next time you or I encounter a caustic, abrasive person, let us remember the words of our precious LORD and pray for him (or her). And in so doing, may he or she see the character of God through us.

In closing, I offer this final thought; relationship battles can often be won through peace– I wouldn’t lie.

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What happened to spring? I guess I’ve been so busy with all the extra tasks of preparing for summer that it just crept up on me without noticing –until the blast of triple digits hit me in the face that is.

No matter how hot it gets though, I just can’t bring myself to use Chicken Poop™ on my lips. Granted, this oddly named lip balm doesn’t really contain any barnyard waste, but the name itself is a bit of a
turn-off. Obviously, you can’t judge a book by its cover but still….

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Although my face scrunches at the thought of putting Chicken Poop™ on my lips, I can’t help but enjoy the expressions on my dinner guests’ faces when they find out I use chicken feet in my matzah ball soup. Apparently, the thought of a chicken’s feet is nearly as distasteful as the thought of its poop.

So why use them? “Chicken feet – gnarly, repulsive and disturbing – make for the very best stock. Devoid of little else but tendons, bone and cartilage (sound appetizing yet?), chicken feet produce a fine golden broth that’s rich in all those obscure nutrients that make a good stock so nourishing: glucosamine chondroitin, collagen and trace minerals…” and “an excellent source of
calcium …” (Nourished Kitchen).

Additionally, chicken broth made with the feet is tastier! If you’re like most, that statement leaves you a bit skeptical, but the proof is in the pudding -or in this case the broth. You’ll have to try it for yourself. Most importantly, it is well-known that chicken broth has natural healing properties.

Today I plan to make soup for dinner because some members of my household are dealing with sinus infections and we always try the natural remedies first. However, we would be greatly amiss if we did not prioritize our healing efforts with the most natural and most essential medicine of all – the word of God.
Whenever anyone in my family is sick, I like to open the Bible and digest some “Gos-pills,” which is my pet term for all the Scriptures which promise physical healing -there are tons of them!

However, it is not only the healing scriptures that we must dwell on but rather the Bible as a whole. There is much instruction given for our spiritual health as well as our physical:

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh (Proverbs 4:20-22).

The Bible is replete with God’s promise of healing-both spiritual and physical! Yet I know several people who claim they don’t read the Bible because it is nothing more than an unsavory list of “Thou shall not(s)!” While it is true that there are some of those in the Bible, there are also a lot of “Thou Shall” instructions also. Either way, some of these instructions are a bit like chicken feet – a bit repulsive to our way of thinking. Like chicken feet, however, many of these instructions are loaded with nourishment (for our souls.) Once we give them a try, we quickly learn that they are not as distasteful as we initially presumed; they are rather pleasing and satisfying instead.

I share this with you because like the Apostle John, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers (3 John 1:2). Dear reader, if you have hesitated to read the Bible because you are apprehensive about what might be in there, remember, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Having said that, maybe I should throw some Chicken Poop™ on these chapped lips after all, then go make that soup.

Postscript: In case you were wondering (I was), Chicken Poop™ is made of Soybean Oil, Beeswax, Jojoba Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, Sweet Orange Essential Oil –sounds like good stuff.

(1) Nourished Kitchen @ http://nourishedkitchen.com/ 30 November 2009

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On a personal note:

This time last week I was preparing to meet my Maker. Let me be honest and share something personal with you. When I went for my yearly mammogram a few weeks ago, I had that inward ‘knowing’ that it would not come back normal. It didn’t. But that was the least of my concerns.

I had been having headaches for a few weeks, but a few days after the mammogram, it turned into a constant, agonizing pain towards the middle of my head, right side. Even a pain killer would not alleviate its intensity. I wasn’t too concerned at first. But the headache got worse –and my lymph nodes swelled on the right side. I thought about seeing my physician but the weekend was fast approaching and it is difficult to be seen then. Plus, I wanted to have the second, diagnostic mammogram done before I saw him, so I waited. That proved to be an unwise decision.

Even so, I was at total peace. I wasn’t sure if the suspect mammogram had anything to do with the pain issue, but either way I knew something was seriously wrong. I’ve been through some really difficult health challenges before, but I had never experienced anything like this. I absolutely know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God heals (I have experienced His miraculous healing many times) and I usually stand in faith believing for it. This time, however, I had that same inner ‘knowing’ that I was going to go through something very difficult and there would be a purpose in it.

It occurred to me that IF I had breast cancer and IF that was related to the splitting head pain and swollen lymph nodes, it would probably mean that I would be going home to be with my Lord rather quickly. I prayed, “Lord that is entirely up to you –whatever you desire. My children are almost grown and I am ready to go home whenever you are ready for me.” It’s not that I wanted to leave my family, but I wasn’t afraid to either.

The day before my diagnostic mammogram/sonogram (Sunday), I laid on the couch making a mental note of the things I needed to wrap-up just in case. Let me stress again, I was completely at peace. Even the thought of a mastectomy didn’t bother me. And I knew that even if God called me home (and I honestly believed He might), He would certainly take care of my family. This is what comes of knowing that your relationship with Jesus Christ is right and your future with Him is secure. However, as I was thinking about all the things that I needed to hurriedly finish, the voice of the Lord spoke very clearly to me. He simply said, “Not Yet.” That’s all — just a quiet, reassuring, “Not Yet.”

Okay, so it wasn’t my time to go, yet my symptoms were getting worse. Bright and early Monday morning I called for an emergency appointment. The pain was still severe, and I had developed several more symptoms. These included, but were not limited to, blurred vision and nausea. My whole body hurt and by this point it even hurt to touch my skin.

I couldn’t even drive myself to the doctor. Normally it would have been easy to find someone to help out, but on that particular morning I couldn’t. I thought, I’ll just have to drive myself, but then I heard the Lord speak with stern rebuke, “Absolutely not! You cannot drive!” So, I called my husband away from his work to come get me. He wasn’t close to home and he was in the middle of an important job, but he was able to get me to my appointment on time. I know the Lord was looking out for me.

Long story short: I do NOT have breast cancer and the other issue I was having, while rather severe, was completely treatable. Between the potent medication and the prayer offered on my behalf, I felt like a new person within twenty-four hours of seeing my physician and continued to improve daily. It only took three or four days to feel normal again.

This is all very personal, so why am I sharing all of this with you? There are at least three thoughts I want to offer today which I truly pray brings hope and/or comfort to someone.

1) God does speak to His children. Whether He speaks to our hearts, or through His word, He will instruct us in regards to our individual lives if we take time to listen. And, in knowing that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose (Romans 8:28), we can face every challenge with absolute peace and full assurance that God is in control so we don’t have to be.

2) There is an appointed time for a person to die. —To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die… (Ecclesiastes 3:1 -2a). If it is not our time to go, we won’t. Therefore, we don’t need to worry when we face rather serious illness or disease if we put our trust in God because He IS in control.

3) Even if it is our time to pass from this world into eternity, we can face death with perfect peace, knowing that we needn’t worry or fear so long as our relationship is right with the Lord Jesus Christ. You (O Lord) will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV) –even unto death

In closing, let me say that I did go through a very difficult and painful ordeal. But true to His word, God used the situation to accomplish something important. For the sake of another’s privacy, I won’t share the details, but suffice it to say that the Lord God used my situation for that person’s benefit. I don’t believe that God puts sickness and disease on His children –He is too loving of a Father for that – but I wholeheartedly believe that He finds opportunity to prove His love through every circumstance of life. Furthermore, every trial you face is just another opportunity for you to see that love.

I have several friends, strong of faith, who are currently enduring difficult physical battles and I see in them the same peace and assurance I experienced –that peace which comes from knowing that God is in control. On the flip side, I have seen several folks who do not know Jesus as Lord, suffer through much anguish and fear through their infirmities.

Let me assure you, God cares about you and He cares about your health. It hurts His heart to see you suffering or hurting no matter who you are. If you don’t know Jesus Christ as Savior, and have never felt His peace, He is just a prayer away. Call out to Him and He will reach down to you.

Postscript: This is my second abnormal mammogram, but I was miraculously healed the first time. You can read about it here:
There’s Nothing There?

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The man was not home when they came to assassinate him for his faith in Jesus Christ, but his family was. Why they did not kill his wife is uncertain. Perhaps they thought it a far crueler “punishment” to kill his sons and force their mother to watch as they were shot to death by bullets which were far less steely than their own hearts. And so they did just that.

“When will you flee this place?” the woman was asked after this life-shattering tragedy.

“Not until I see God’s revenge on these men,” she answered. “These were my children; I changed their diapers I fed them and nurtured them. I loved them, and I had hopes that they would grow to be pastors or doctors; men who would help our people. And now, their lives have been cut off –they will never grow to be men.”

Concerned, her fellow Christian asked, “What do you mean by God’s revenge? What revenge?”

“I need God’s revenge!” she reiterated. “Please ask the churches to pray God’s revenge on these men that killed my sons — I need to see these men go to Heaven. I want the churches to pray for their salvation!”

Her statements seemed odd to me at first. Then I realized what she meant: our Lord said, Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” (Romans 12:19 NAS). This mother knew that God would avenge her sons’ blood and was therefore seeking mercy on their behalf. She had forgiven those men and prayed that God would as well. Like Jesus upon His cross of crucifixion, she was pleading, ‘Father, forgive them; they know not what they do!’ As I listened to this account of the persecuted church, the Lord spoke to my heart. “Would you – could you –forgive even this?”

I wanted to say, without hesitation, “Yes Lord!” But the truth is, I am not certain whether I could or not. One never knows what they will do in certain situations until faced with it. My childhood and adolescence was excruciatingly painful, yet I learned to completely forgive my tormenters. However, my own experiences pale in comparison to those of the persecuted church in other lands. How would I handle this kind of agony – the cold-blooded murder of my precious children? Could I truly forgive and ask that God’s revenge for them be salvation and eternal life in Heaven for their murderers? I pray so.

Then, I listened intently to the speaker’s own powerful testimony. He was born and raised in the same hate-riddled part of the world as this woman was. In fact, it was he who encouraged her to flee. He managed to do so himself, but not until he was imprisoned five times and inflicted with such inhumane tortures as being hung upside down, beaten with metal cable, and having boiling oil poured on his feet.

Yet he more than forgave –he learned to see them through God’s eyes and love them as He does! For the past thirty-plus years of his life, this man has been involved with an evangelistic ministry and continues to minister to the people in and around his homeland – even those barbaric non-believers who torture and kill Christians.

As he recounted his own sufferings, I couldn’t help but smile every time he said, “We must continue to have the faith of Jesus!” You see, with his still-thick accent, he pronounced the word faith as ‘face.’

Yes, my brother, we desperately need the face of Jesus! I was reminded, as he spoke, of Numbers 6:24-26: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”

It is only by the grace of God, by His countenance upon us, that we can ever find healing for a heart that has been shattered. It is only by forgiveness that we can find true peace. And it is only by loving our enemies that we can pray with utmost sincerity, ‘Forgive them Father; they know what they do.’

May we, the body of Christ, never forget to pray daily for the persecuted church AND for those who persecute us!

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Photo: Cake Picture Gallery

Once upon a long time ago, I was reading Christian nursery rhymes¹ to my children. This Mother Goose adaptation really caught my eye:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
Humpty Dumpty shouted, “Amen!”
God can put me together again.¹

It really is that simple –not easy, but simple.

For those of you who have suffered through heinous circumstances and might be convinced that you can never be whole again, I want you to know that I wholeheartedly understand. Truthfully, if it had not been for the grace of God I would have killed myself twenty-five years ago. I was already dead inside, disposing of the rest seemed only logical.

However, I had been conditioned from birth to believe I couldn’t do anything right. Those degrading remarks replayed in my head like a broken record until I was convinced that I would botch even suicide and leave myself in a far worse condition. So, I prayed to God to take my life. I did not know God or if He even listened to the prayers of men. But if He did, I figured He could do a far better job of getting rid of me and my messed up life than I could.

Praise God, He did take my life, but not the way I expected Him too!

You can read about how the Lord Jesus came to my rescue and gave me an entirely new life on the ‘My Testimony’ tab at the top of this page.

As a child I used to listen to the Humpty Dumpty rhyme and it brought me great sadness. I could relate to the poor egg. Whenever I heard the rhyme, I felt like I too was an egg (a rotten one) which had been boiled in the heat of hell and then cracked beyond repair. It’s a shame I did not know THE King back then.

“All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put…” me (or Humpty) together again, but THE king Himself did so! He made me whole, and He has given to me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that I might be called a tree of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
(Isaiah 61:3)

The King longs to do the same for you because you are His child, even if you don’t know Him. He healeth the broken in heart, And bindeth up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

You may find, as I did, that emotional healing is a long journey. Nevertheless, the King will walk with you every step of that journey if you allow Him to. And He will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

I too would like to walk with you through your journey. If there is anything I can pray with you about, please use the contact button to leave me a private note and I will add you to my prayer list.

Life is too short to live it broken and wounded. It is time to say, “Amen, God put me to together again!”

¹Ainsborough Decker, Marjorie.  The Christian Mother Goose’ Book of Nursery Rhymes.  Distributed by: Christian Mother Goose Communications – P.O. Box 330 – Beggs OK 74421 – (918) 267-5230

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Breast cancer runs in my family like a mighty torrent of flood water, carving its destruction into the lives of every generation. Some have died, others have survived, but all have in some way been affected. I stared the beast in the face about twelve years ago when my doctor confirmed a lump with smaller “bb’s” extending towards my armpit.

If I had to deal with a lump, the timing could not have been better. I had been ardently studying what Scripture has to say about healing –it’s a lot– and I believed with every fiber of my being that God not only CAN heal, but He is very much in the business of doing so.

A second mammogram and sonogram had been scheduled and it was time to engage in spiritual warfare against this aggressive foe. I confided in only three friends because I felt it crucial that we all be in total agreement as to my healing. Others would certainly have prayed for me, but I could not risk any of those “if it be God’s will” prayers. I already knew what God’s will was.

When one of the disciples asked of Jesus, “Teach us to pray…” He answered thus:

Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

I believe there are some issues for which it is appropriate to pray “if it be God’s will….” but I knew that to overcome a giant like breast cancer, it was imperative to stand on promise, not possibility.That may sound impious to you, but I had four small children and my life was at stake; I had no other choice but to take God at His word that He hears our prayers and answers them.

Before I proceed in recounting just how God answered, let me explain that I am in no way denying that many of God’s children face very grave sicknesses and diseases, some of which even result in death. I cannot speak to those situations, nor do I understand them. It is evident that sometimes our prayers for healing are not answered. I do believe, though, that we shouldn’t automatically ‘blame’ God nor blame ourselves. There are a great number of things that can interfere with our prayers being answered, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have done anything wrong. Therefore, there is no condemnation to any of us if we battle with sickness or disease.

Now, let’s get back to the doctor. My three friends and I had been praying that by the time I arrived for my second mammo that the lump would be gone. It wasn’t. The technician asked me to point to where the lump was so I clarified (by faith) “It was here,” indicating the spot.

“Yes, I can certainly feel that,” she said and marked it for the sonogram, which would follow later. As she moved to the other side of the room to prepare a few things I whispered to the Lord, “This is unacceptable; I believed this lump would be gone before the second mammogram.” Again, you might think this impious or even sacrilegious, but I was speaking to my Heavenly Father. He made promises to His children in Scripture and I was holding Him to them.

After she finished the mammogram, the technician led me to another room for the sonogram. I spoke to the Lord again. “You know what I hate about these tests, you always have to wait several days before anyone tells you anything; It would be nice if you would work it out so I could hear something today.”

“I’ll be right back,” said a confused technician. Apparently this test was not going the way they had anticipated. Moments later, a stern-looking doctor accompanied the technician to the room. He repeated the question, “Where is the lump?” I repeated, “It was here.”

In no time at all the doctor told the technician, “That’s enough, I’ve seen all I need to.” He looked at me as though I had committed a crime and stated, more like a question, “There’s Nothing There?”

“Praise the Lord!” I exclaimed with glee. “I knew He would come through!”

The doctor’s expression turned sour. “You attribute this to him?” he asked defiantly. “You bet I do,” I insisted confidently. “God answers prayers and I believed that he would remove this lump from my body before my second mamogram.”

Obviously this man did not believe in prayer; his posture and flippant tone gave him away. “Well I don’t know what to tell you. I looked at the mammogram and there is nothing on it; nothing shows on your sonogram either. Just go home and keep up with your yearly screenings, but there is nothing there!” With that he shot me one more disgusted look and huffed out of the room.

I hope you are encouraged by this true testimony of God’s faithfulness. There are many similar testimonies that I could share, and will do so later, but someone needed to hear this account today. That someone might even be me. Despite all the miraculous healings that God has blessed me with thorough the years, I gradually quit standing on the promises of healing like I used to.

In fact, I was laying on the couch this afternoon in tears, feeling defeated at a particular ailment, when the Lord reminded me of the many times He healed me, though the doctors could not, including the above healing. He also brought to my remembrance the words of this Christian chorus:

Whose report will you believe? We will believe the report of the Lord!

My body may temporarily be in pain but my heart is encouraged anew. After all, I know from experience that the Lord’s word overrules every opposing report. And His word promises that He answers the prayers of His children and cares for all our needs.

This brings me to my personal motto: God said it! I believe it! That settles it!

What more can I say?

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