Out loud..

There has been something that has been stirring in my soul for some time now. Part of me hesitates to share it because I know that not everyone will agree with what I am saying. Then on the other hand I have felt like I am going to burst with what I feel God has put in my heart and what has been confirmed various times in recent weeks.

I mention the Spanish church that we attend quite often. When we first began attending there, one thing I noticed right away is powerful way they pray. They do a lot of declaring during those prayers. In the past I guess I kind of had the feeling that declaring one thing or another was something to be skeptical of. Growing up, I think we may have referred to it as “name it and claim it.” Heresy even. So I didn’t put much stock or faith into that kind of thing. Maybe I even tuned prayers like that out.  But you know something? The more I listened and understood, the more my thoughts and beliefs changed. They were declaring the Word of God. There is power in His Word.  His Word is alive and it is life and truth. So then how can declaring His Word and what we know about Him to be true be wrong ?

As Christians I do know that we will go through trials and times of suffering. The Bible talks about that a lot, so I don’t think declaring will keep those times from coming. I also don’t believe this to be a “formula” to make God do something…or grant me my wishes.  Not at all.  I do however see it as life giving and in a way taking back what the enemy has stolen and countering lies I have believed in my life.  It’s believing with all that I am that He is who he says. I know that God’s ways are higher and we may not understand why some prayers turn out different than we hope or believe. ( Isaiah 55:8,9)  But He is always faithful and always good. His character never changes. He has the final word.

A couple of weeks ago the little girl with leukemia that we prayed over at the end of January passed away.  She was only 11 years old. It was devastating and I couldn’t stop crying when I heard the news. I was heartbroken because I truly believed she was going to be healed and her health restored.  I cried for her family who lost a daughter and sister. And yes, I did ask God “why?” Some things we will never know that answer to. Ultimately she was healed because she is with the Lord now and free from all the pain she  suffered on earth.

Words have power. Life and death are in the tongue..( Proverbs 18:21)  I have started speaking out loud during my quiet times the truth…scripture verses for healing, my children on who they are in Christ; chosen and beloved, and that He who began a good work in them will be faithful to complete it. They are God’s masterpiece and no weapon formed against them will prosper.  Also verses on fear/anxiety.  It’s only the beginnning but I can honestly say it has been life -changing and faith activating.  It was a bit weird for me at first to be saying Bible verses out loud rather than just reading them silently, but over time it has become easier. Especially since I am alone and Dale is sleeping at that early hour and the only audience I have is the Lord.  I also went online and found declarations that line up with His Word in regards to healing and also looked up declarations you can pray over your children. I have been speaking them out loud. I posted a few scriptures on the board above my desk along with the declarations as a constant reminder. I guess you could say it is my prayer board.

I was working on my homework for the Bible study I am a part of, and read something that totally confirmed what I have been feeling..

2 Corinthians 4:13 We have the same spirit of faith that is described in the scriptures when it says, first I believed, then I spoke in faith. So we also believe, then speak in faith.

When you read the Scriptures, believing them with that same spirit of faith Paul talked about, think of the process as inhaling. Then when you speak them, think of the process as exhaling. Get the idea? Nothing suplies more divine oxyden on your quest than breathing in the Scripture by faith. Subsequently, nothing applies power to your feet like breathing in Scripture out through speech. 

Practice the approach with 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. (We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; 9. we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.)

Read it, believing and receving it by faith, and then 2) speak it out loud with boldness. Countless segments await you in scripture that can give you spiritual CPR when life is nearly killing you….Beth Moore..

Daniel 9:4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed you are a great and awesome God. You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands. 

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two edged sowrd, cutting between the soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our inner most thoughts and desires. 

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

I want to challenge you to try reading the Word out loud. Look up verses for whatever you are going through….loneliness, depression, anxiety, health issues. Write them down.  Believe them. And say them out loud and declare them to be true. I really do believe it will make a difference.

Psalm 18:30 God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises are true. He is a shiled to all who look to him for protection.

 

 

Out of the comfort zone

At the beginning of the year I felt like God was telling me very clearly that my word for the year was Boldness. It took me by surprise. I mean the idea of me being bold is almost laughable especially for those who know me. Half the time when I speak people don’t even hear me. So I really didn’t know what bold was going to look like or play out in my life.

But maybe part of being bold is doing hard things. Maybe part of being bold is stepping out of the comfort zone and being obedient even if it’s uncomfortable.

I am being a little vulnerable here but maybe what I feel like God has been showing me will help someone else like me who may be struggling with some of the same things. I would have thought by now at my age I would have had it all figured out by now and anxiety/fear would no longer be an issue in my life but now and then depending on the situation it rears its ugly head.

We are very blessed to have a lot of North Americans in our lives. I am blessed to attend a ladies Bible study in English, blessed to attend church in English on Sunday afternoons, and blessed to have a close fellowship group Thursday evenings in English. We are surrounded by a whole lot of English. Not all missionaries living in Honduras have those blessings. However I feel like if we are in a Spanish country we should really be attending a Spanish church and immersing ourselves in the language whenever possible. Most of the Schools of Hope staff are Spanish and we minister to Spanish people. I desire to be fluent to be able to minister more effectively…heart to heart.  So in attempts to boost my understanding of the language, I listen to Spanish worship music all the time, use a Spanish Bible along with my regular Bible and then we attend a Spanish church Sunday mornings. I truly feel the presence of Lord there, even before the service begins.  Usually I understand most of the sermon. It really depends on who is sharing. But since they stream live on Youtube I can go back and listen and hit pause when I don’t quite understand something.

This church has a Wednesday night prayer meeting and I have never gone until recently when I went one time. They had announced on the Sunday before they would be praying for those who needed healing and for families at the Wednesday meeting. I have talked before about my frustrations with my health and how I have felt like my health issues were a hinderance to what I feel God has called me to.  Also they were going to be praying for families. The desire for all of my kids to love the Lord and serve Him is never far from my heart.  So I told Dale that I really felt like I needed to go. I kind of expected him to shut me down but he was fully supportive. He drove me there and dropped me off, but I went in alone.

When I arrived there were  few chairs were set up, and maybe twenty people. (Eventually a lot more people showed up and more chairs were added.) I almost chickened out and high-tailed it out of there. On a Sunday morning that place is full of chairs and easily a thousand people. However, I wanted to be obedient to what I felt God asking me to do, so I stayed, even though I was very much out of my comfort zone, felt of out of place and I didn’t know anyone.  I was silently telling the Lord “that I can’t do this. I just want to go home.” Then He gently reminded me that perhaps I wasn’t the only “new” person there. In a church with more than a thousand in attendance on a Sunday morning, what were the chances everyone in the room knew each other?  So I started talking with the lady next to me and afterwards the words came easily and I was able to relax somewhat.  And you know what? I was able to completely understand all that this lady was telling me and asking me and I understood the scripture reading that followed the sweet time of worship.

I hung-back at first when they told those who needed healing to go forward for prayer whenever they were comfortable. It sounds ridiculous but I was a nervous wreck. My heart was pounding and I had knots in my stomach. Fear can be so paralyzing! Part of it was not knowing a soul, but the truth is even in the English church I am not all that comfortable going to the front of the church for prayer. I knew God was nudging me to just go although I was feeling far from comfortable. I prayed my Spanish would be understood. In the end, I was prayed for by one of the Pastors who is fluent in English. Even so I still had trouble spitting my words out and was pretty vague. Still she prayed for a miracle and something else  I didn’t even mention. But God knew. God is good and faithful and he cares about what is going on in our hearts.

See, I don’t believe God doesn’t call us to a comfortable lifestyle. We are not always going to be asked to do things that are easy.  Sometimes they will be challenging and downright difficult. But He is always with us and we are not ever alone in what He asks of us.  Believe it! We need to move our feet and step out in faith. We can’t expect change if we are not obedient.

Also regarding my earlier comment about thinking I should have it all figured out by now…how boring would life be if I did. And as christians do we ever stop growing? Do we ever reach the place of knowing everything there is to know about the Lord and his goodness? Ever changing. Ever growing. That is how I want to be.

Psalm 92:14 Even in old age they will still produce fruit, they will remain vital and green. 

Can anyone else relate? Are there areas in your life that you feel stuck in, unable to move  out of the comfort zone?

All that being said I am not always anxious. I don’t have any trouble in my neighbourhood approaching  neighbours on the rare occasion they are outside their gate and striking up a converation with them. One time I did this Dale and I were walking our dog and Dale told me that I was not an introvert. Also I talk to the security guards all the time and know all of their names.  I like how one of my friends describes herself…that she is is an introvert but relational. So maybe what it boils down to is the enviroment,  knowing exactly what to expect and what is expected of me.

Being mindful of our emotional makeup. God instructs us to obey Him from a place of faith not fear. Just like Peter, we may not understand God’s promptings, but obedience turns our ordinary actions into something with a supernatural element. As disciples, we never come to a place where we can see the supernatural happen before we move in fatih. Repalacing fear with faith happens when we hear and believe God when he says, “Fear not…I am with you” —-Debbie Morris

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord and he answered me and rescued me from all my fears.

Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear from I am with you. Do not be afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 94:1 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

Here is a song that is an encouragement to me and I hope it encourages you in whatever challenge you may be in.

Same God…

Sometimes during the course of a week there are specific themes or passages of scripture that pop up on more than one occasion. Whether it be during my morning devotions or something inspirational on social media or something I hear on a podcast or in a sermon. When that happens I feel like just maybe God is trying to get my attention. Telling me to wake up. So I am just sharing my thoughts below on this because I am pretty sure I am not alone in this.

Two times I came across Exodus 3 and 4 and read the account of Moses where God had told him to go and talk to Pharaoh and ultimately lead the children of Isreal out of the wilderness.  Exodus 3:10 “Now go for I am sending you to Pharaoh”

But Moses was afraid. He had so many questions. He was insecure. He felt unqualified He didn’t have the confidence. Even though God called him. Even though God promised to go with him. Even though God had confidence in Him.  Notice what Moses says.

Exodus 4:10 But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied and my word get tangled.”

How many times can we feel just like Moses? We let our fears and feelings of inadequacy get in the way of what He is calling us to. What he is anointing us to do.

I actually see a lot of myself in Moses.  When I am in a group or infront of a crowd I tend to clam up, even though I may have many thoughts I want to say.  I don’t share all that is on my heart.  Maybe I am afraid I can’t process it all at the time or spit the words out in an inteligent manner. Maybe I am afraid of what people will think if I am honest or vulnerable.  Fear. Insecurtiy. Lack of confidence. 

And what did God said in response to Moses?

Exodus 4:11-12 Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or don’t speak, hear or do not hear? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, I will be with you as you  speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”

Basically he was telling Moses to get his butt moving and to stop making so many excuses.

Still Moses begged God to send someone else.

Exodus 4.13 But again Moses pleaded, “Lord, please! Send someone else!”

There is a note in my CSB study Bible about this that says …“Saying no to God’s calling doesn’t release you from what He has commissioned you to do. He promises His presence and whatever resources are needed, but He commands obedience rather than negotiation.

One thing that came to my mind was the same God who spoke to Moses and promised to go with him, who promised to put the words in his mouth is the same God I serve today….how many thousands of years later. He is the same God who parted the waters so the Isrealites could cross the red sea. He is the same God who told Noah to build an ark so that he and his family could be saved when he flooded the earth. He is the same God who shut the mouths of the lions when Daniel was cast into the pit with them. He is the same God who saved the three young men when they were thrown into the furnace. He is the same God who raised Jesus from the dead.

He is good. He is all powerful.  Moses God is our God.  The same God who promised to equip Moses will equip us.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever

Malachi 3:6 I am the Lord and I do not change.

Romans 8:11 And the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as Christ raised Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by the same Spirit living within you. 

God doesn’t make mistakes. If he called you into that position regardless of how overwhelming it is, it’s because you are the woman for the job. —-Sarah Jakes Roberts

God still used Moses even after he asked him to send someone else. Moses brother Aaron.  But I wonder how much greater Moses could have been if he had just been obedient and not let his lack of confidence stand in the way.  And I wonder how God would use us and what would he do in us and through us if we would just obey.

Exodus 4:16, 17 Aaron will be your spokesman to the people. He will be your mouthpiece, and you will stand in the place of God for him, telling him what to say. And take your shepherd’s staff with you , and use it to perfom the miraculous signs I have shown you.

I believe if God has called us to something, he will equip us and give us the resources we need to do all that he may ask of us. Why would we be afraid if He has promised to go with us?

God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called…author unknown

An emotional day..

This past Thursday I had a milestone birthday and the entire day felt like an emotional rollercoaster ride. I am not going to share all that happened during the day, but I will share a few things. I can tell you that in addition to what I am going to share in this post there was embarassment when I was sung to at Denny’s. If you know me you know I don’t like being the center of attention. I was wishing the ground would open up and swallow me. Haha! At least they didn’t force me to dance!

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First of all, I did not want to be 50.  I didn’t want to think about it. Like maybe if I ignored it, it wouldn’t happen. It just sounded so…OLD. And please no offense to those reading this who may be past that age. But there was something about turning the page and beginning yet another decade of life that was a bit depressing. Someone so kindly reminded me that since I am 50, I am actually beginning my sixth decade of life! (Rick!)  That really didn’t help me feel any better. However I am choosing to believe that the best is yet to come, rather than it’s all downhill from here.

The day started great. We spent our morning with the sponsored kids and their parents. When a child is sponsored part of that sponsorship includes their school supplies which is a huge blessing to the parents. School supplies are not cheap, so to come up with close to well over a hundred dollars would be a challenge for many of the parents.. So each year we set up a free”store” with all the schools supplies needed and the children come and “shop” for whatever they need from the lists the teachers provide. It’s a lot of fun. There is joy, laughter and hugs all around. It’s nice that they get to choose what colour notebook or choose their own pencil sharpener. It’s definitely one of my favorite times of the year. Second only the  annual handing out of Bibles to each grade 5 student.

Following that joyous time we visited a couple homes of young girls that are a part of the schools we minister in. One of them was in an accident back before Christmas where the bus she was on rolled over and she ended up with a broken leg. She is supposed to begin seventh grade but it’s possible she may not be able to get to the school. She uses crutches to get around but walking around the streets in that area on them would be an accident waiting to happen. They are not paved and are very rugged. We prayed for her and I am believing that her leg will heal and won’t take almost a year like she was told.

Then we went to the home of a little girl that we know who was in fourth grade last year when she was diangosed with leukemia. We were asked to come to pray for her, so of course we did. We chatted with her mom who spoke through her tears. She is so strong in her faith and said she wants her daughter to fight to live.  From the sounds of things, the treatments are not helping. She has not been able to eat or keep anything down.

Then we were taken to her where she lie sleeping in her bed.  Heartbreaking. So thin and frail and bald. She looked nothing like the girl I remembered. Tears began to flow as we prayed over her for healing.   And God can do it.  I believe it. Death does not have to have the final word in her life.  God is our healer and God has the final word.  Jesus carried all of our sin and shame and sickness on the cross and it is by His stripes we are healed.

James 5:14 Are any of you sick? You should call on the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, they will be forgiven.

While we stood in her home the song Waymaker in Spanish played faintly in the background. Such a faith increasing song. I hope you listen to it and are encouraged.

Way maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who you are
Way maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who you are