Thursday, April 17, 2014

Word Power

It is Sunday morning, April 13, and we are teaching an adult Bible study session on the power of our words.  Joel walks back and forth speaking with passion on our favorite subject.  As I look around at the small group of people who grace our presence every week, I can see that they are listening intently.  I hold my breath with the realization that our words hold so much power.  Word power.  It is a responsibility that we do not take lightly, but this sunny Spring morning it hits me afresh...the life altering power found in the spoken word.

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue"
Proverbs 18:21

Today is Maundy Thursday, the night of the Passover meal where Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper.  "My body broken....My blood shed....for you."  For us.  Can we comprehend the meaning and the promises held here in these few words?   His body, His blood, our salvation, our forgiveness.  He promised to always be with them.  He promised them a Comforter....Holy Spirit power.  We hear Truth in the words He spoke.

Good Friday brings us to our knees weeping while simultaneously giving thanks for Jesus suffering and death on a cross.  His death giving us life.  His last words spoken........"It is finished."   His suffering for our sins.  Finished.  He suffering for the wounded and brokenhearted .  Finished.  Oh, the pain He bore, the incredible pain and suffering of the world wracking His body.  And is finished. 

Easter morning we hear the most powerful words ever spoken.  He is Risen!  Resurrection power proclaims, shakes the living, and offers salvation and healing to us all.  He. is. Risen.    Our Savior!

Jesus knew the power of words.  He weighed them carefully and spoke them with confidence and authority. He used His words to save, to heal, to teach, and to command, telling His followers they would do greater things than He did because He would be with God and yet resides in us. 

As we reflect on the Resurrection of our Savior we rejoice!  And yet we can celebrate Easter every single day!  We serve a Risen Savior.  We speak powerful words of life or death every day.  We have been given the privilege to do so~ to praise, proclaim, pray, encourage, and  yes, teach the Living Word.  With obedience we teach the truths found in His Word with our words and Holy Spirit's guidance.  There is life and death found in our words.  So today, on this Maundy Thursday as we walk into the next three days of Holy Week, let us lift our voices and worship our Lord and Savior with our words!

I am linking up with Faith Barista Jam using her prompt word for today, "Easter".

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Passionate Journey

It has been over two years now that Joel and I have been on a quest.  A quest to learn all we can about healing, since Joel's overnight miracle.  Digging into the Word, communing with Holy Spirit, and truly opening the eyes of our hearts to the something more that God has been waiting to share with us for so patient is our God. 

We have spent countless hours studying everything we can find on the subject, a subject that seems to live and breathe with Holy Spirit wind.  We have taken correspondence courses, watched teachings from several churches and ministries, read many books, studied in depth what the Bible says on healing, attended healing services and then a conference on healing 1280 miles from home.  Distance did not matter to us.  God said go, we went, and our world changed.  A deep desire for something more took root and exploded.  A passion that has opened the Spirit realm to us, breathing new life and shaking us to the core.

I expect some have been weary of our endless talk and our need to share our amazing journey, but we have been told by several people we hold close that we are passionate and it seems to vibrate from every pore.   It has fascinated, frightened, and intrigued.  We won't address the annoyances.  When pleasing people was more important than being real and pleasing God, I worried often about the annoyed.  I knew I had a choice to make. My good friend Linda and I talked in depth about this.....she told me, "Renee, don't lose your passion!"  Don't let others get in the way of what God is doing in your life."  Linda,  who enjoys Arizona warmth year round, sent me a birthday card this year that had Joel and I laughing.   On the outside of the card it says, "Friends like you come along once in a lifetime......"  Inside:  "Which is good because you're a real handful!"  I love this card and keeping it close as we journey forward.

It may be hard to imagine, but we did not really see it as a passion until the word reached our ears several times.  Excitement yes, maybe bordering obsession.....okay we acknowledge that, but this word caused us pause as we recognized it did not come from us...but from God.  And we are counting it all joy.  The quest, the struggles, the victories, the passion, the journey planned by God  All joy.  With grateful hearts we thank you Jesus.

It is Holy Week and all our eyes are on Jesus and His journey planned by God.  Jesus our Savior, our Healer, our Provider, our everything.

His parables, His healing touch
His Words holding life. 
 Thank you Jesus.

His entry into Jerusalem,
His broken body and blood shed for us. 
His cross. 
We tearfully thank you Jesus.

His empty tomb.  His resurrection.  
We rejoice
And give you thanks Jesus.

His Living Word.   His Comforter. 
His power.    His promises.  His passion. 
We humbly thank you Jesus,
Counting it all Joy.
"But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed."
Isaiah 53:5

Counting it all joy today as I link up with Ann Voskamp over at A Holy Experience

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning to you! Today we are enjoying sunshine and looking for a high of 75 degrees before the bottom falls out tomorrow and we go back to 45 for a high.  Windows are open, and the breeze is clearing the stale house air.  Love it! 

With the nicer weather we have been able to walk outside more which is so nice.  Hello river!!  Hello sunshine and fresh air!  Yesterday while walking Joel noticed what appeared to be a large bird tucked in the trunk of a tree where it was hollowed out.  As we got closer, he identified it as a goose!  We are not sure if the goose built a nest in the trunk of that living tree or not, but I guess we will find out as time goes by.

Last Sunday afternoon we went to a talent show at the church.  The secretary asked us earlier in the week if we were going to do something for the show and I replied "No, some people already think we are a comedy act, and that is enough!"  It was a full day with 3 services for Joel and the Bible study we teach, lunch, a nap, and then off to church.  Sunday seemed to set the pace for the week!

Monday we had  a fun visit with friends.  Lana and I met in 5th grade and have been friends ever since.  She has played a pivotal role in my life which I wrote about HERE.  It was nice to chat, laugh, pray, and eat together. 

Road work continues on our street.  We did not have water Monday morning and had to park on the block in front our neighbors home which is behind ours!  They did not mind us walking through their yard, though.  Lana and Roger had to come that way to and my hair dresser who came Tuesday to cut my hair!  We have had water nearly the whole time, but it does not look safe enough to drink yet, so we have been buying water for drinking.  Expect we will have to change all the filters on our reverse osmosis too when this is over.  So it goes....

Wednesday we were at the church in the morning, walked, then grocery shopped.  Wednesday evening was Lenten services and the discussion group.  Thursday we were up early headed with another pastor and his wife to the Pastors monthly Conference meeting.  Friday night my sister Kay and her husband Dan came over for supper and a visit.  Busy week!  On that note I am rejoicing at how busy I can be and also how quickly I recovered from the virus I had.  Yes!  Another affirmation in my healing process.

My friend Lana brought me a whole series of books to read....light mysteries, so I have a few months supply.....or longer!  I am reading a Joanne Fluke Hannah Swenson (MN based) mystery to start with...and of course the usual bunch.....I think there are presently 3 I am delving into at once in the non-fiction inspirational genre.  That is my favorite.  The Jesus Book, Birthing The Miraculous, and The Believer's Authority. I watched a couple teachings, and also we took in the usual TV shows.  No movies, but I am looking forward to seeing "Heaven Is For Real" when it comes out.  We might even go to the movie theater....I have not seen a movie in a theater since Titanic!!!!

What is going on in your world?  What are you reading?  Come by for a chat.......

Until next time..............

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Broken Pieces Restored

"This is my body, broken for you..."  The words of our Savior spoken at the Last Supper...the words we hear at the communion rail as we open our hands and our hearts to receive....  His body was broken for us.  Beaten, and hung on a cross in order that we may be set free.

"It is for freedom that Christ set us free,
so stand firm then,
and never again be burdened
by a yoke of slavery (bondage)."
Galatians 5:1

We all come to the table of the Lord broken.  If we are breathing, we are a clay pot cracked, chipped, broken, sometimes in pieces.  Sin makes sure of that.  The enemy works hard to steal, kill, and destroy.  The fallen world joins us in the groaning our brokenness creates. 

It is why we gather at His table, it is why we hold out our hands for the bread of life and we receive, chewing......swallowing.  It is why we lift the cup to our lips and pour the liquid down our throats. Here it is...the blood shed for Jesus promised. 

We remember.......Jesus came to heal our brokenness.  He broke to make us whole.  To set us free from sin and disease.  Jesus came to take us out of bondage.  He fills us up to overflowing with His love and every crack is sealed tight.  Every chip restored.  The pieces put back together more beautiful than we could imagine.  By His blood shed for us.  Liquid red........liquid more precious than gold.

"By His stripes we are healed."
Isaiah 53:5

Can you look in the mirror and see forgiveness and beauty in your image?   Yes we are fractured pots without Jesus, but we are never without Jesus.  He died for you to be saved, healed, made whole.  To be enough.  The cracks and broken pieces restored by His blood make us all stronger, unique, and always beautiful in His eyes.  He delights, He embraces, He loves.  He beckons with His body broken for you, His blood shed.

I am linking up today with Faith Barista Jam today.  Her prompt word for today is "broken".

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Old Friends Joined In Faith And Friendship

The word God gave me to meditate on this year is Jesus.  Jesus my Savior, my Healer, my Provider, my Protector.  There is amazing power in the name of Jesus! Yesterday my first connection with Jesus was brought to mind when an old friend and her husband came by for a visit.  As kids, Lana and I had attended the same Lutheran church and schools.  We saw each other periodically after high school, but kept in touch over the years.  It was so nice to have such a long visit and reconnect with someone who has played such a pivotal role in my life. 

I have known Lana since I was 11 years old, so we have a long history together!  She and her mother took me under their wing when I was in fifth grade, and besides their gracious love, I enjoyed some good food and fellowship in their home.  More importantly, when I was between the ages of 12 and 13, this dear friend spoke to me about asking Jesus into my heart.

I can still see us together in a recliner in the house of another friend.  The two of us sitting close in a big overstuffed chair, speaking quietly about Jesus.  She talked, I listened.  She asked, and I responded, and unbeknown to me at the time, this conversation would have a powerful impact on my life. 

We reminisced about it yesterday.........that moment together.  As I mentioned, we were in the home of another friend, but we were in an environment that was not healthy.  Around us God did not reign, commandments were willingly being broken, and lives were in chaos, but the Lord whispered in Lana's heart to ask me an important question....."Have you ever asked Jesus into your heart?".

She spoke, I listened.....I asked, and together we prayed.  Then Jesus moved and my heart was filled with His amazing love. 

I did not understand it totally nor did I feel anything at the time, but Jesus entered and a seed was planted.  From that day forward, God was central in my life and I never wavered far from His Presence.  There were still challenges, and just like all of you, I have had my share of difficulties, but Jesus took up residence and in His patience and infinite love we have walked hand in hand through the good, the bad, and the ugly.

She spoke, I listened....I asked and together we prayed.

Jesus our Savior.  Jesus who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Jesus who suffered and died for all sin, disease, brokenness.  We thank you Jesus that You, as our Shepherd, will not forget the one.....that You want all to be part of Your Kingdom.

Lana, Roger, Joel and I had a wonderful time blessed by good food, tears, laughter, and prayer.  We spoke....we listened....we asked questions.....we prayed!  We are indeed rejoicing that old friends could join together in faith and friendship once again.  Only God.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday all!  Hope you are having sunshine and warm weather in your corner of the world.  Friday we woke up to 4 inches of fresh snow and strong winds...ugh....but it is mostly gone now and we are enjoying sunshine.  The snow brought good nutrients to the soil....but really, we need Spring to come and stay.....this has been the winter that never ends!

Speaking of that, our road is all torn up. This past week a water main broke and the gushing water brought out the city to try and find the leak.  They found two.  They also found solid ice inside the 6 in round pipes and over 5 feet of that pipe was split!  So, off and on we are without water until they are able to get things fixed.  That will be a while as they are going to get bids to have someone come in and bury the pipe another foot deeper.  We are parking during the days they work on the block behind our home and keeping 5 gallon pails of water stored in the house in case we need it.  Our two neighbors are happy this will be fixed since they have now had frozen pipes for 3 months.  Awful!

It is April now, which brings with it several family birthdays.  My mom would have been 103, our granddaughter Greta turned 11 (her mom, our DIL shares my birthday), my sister Janelle has a birthday this weekend,  our grandson will be 13 later in the month and Gr. Jo soon turns 81.  Quite the variety of ages.  I am always fascinated with how people celebrate.  Some do not make a big deal out of turning another year older, others have a lot of fanfare.  Some party, others just wish it was over.  I like the idea of celebrating single year we are gifted with! 

I have been challenged with recovering fully from that nasty virus that came calling  You know, I made sure it was not welcome, spoke harshly to it, and even ignored it's presence, but it still wanted to hang around.  Finally I just told it to take a flying leap and I started walking 30 minutes a day, baking, cooking, and more.  I am back to walking 45 minutes now.  Sometimes we just have to use our physical body to resist the author of sickness...Satan.

Joel and I have been talking about the 18 years we have lived here in our corner of Iowa.  We started adding up how many churches Joel has served as Senior Pastor, solo pastor, Interim, fill-in, and substitute....and we realized there have been at least 15 churches in our town and the surrounding area.  Good grief.  No wonder someone stops and talks to him most everywhere we go! 

Speaking of churches, we are well into Lent which means extra services.  This past week it was the men's breakfast at 7am, a service at 11 with discussion and lunch following and then supper and another service and discussion group starting at 5:30pm which brought him home at 8:30.  Add to that 3 services on Sunday and the Adult Bible Study we are teaching, some visitation, prep time, etc. and it does not take long to add up 20-25 hours of part time work.

You know, it is beginning to look like the lost Malaysian going to stay lost.  How heartbreaking for families.  My nephew's daughter too a flight to Malaysia from Australia after the plane had gone down, had some difficulty with her passport and was stranded there a few days.  I expect they were being extra careful with passports, etc. after what had just happened.  Eventually she was able to board a flight and get to her destination in Bali.

Our two oldest grands are! both holding permits to drive is hard to imagine that they are that old, but it is true.  In less years than I wish to think or speak about, we could be great grandparents.  How does that happen?  We are still so young?? ...giggle...

Recently Joel was talking with a younger pastor who said he can never find anyone out in the lounge areas of the nursing homes when he visits after supper.  Joel just laughed and said, "They are all in their rooms watching Wheel!  Now we are doing the same.  Watching Wheel of Fortune during or after supper.  For years I always watched Jeopardy, but now I tune in more to Wheel.  I just don't like where this is going, but I declare nursing homes are NOT for us!

This past week I have been reading Andrew Wommack's book, "The Believer's Authority" on my iPad.  It is a great book and it is holding my interest.  Before bed I am still reading for the second time through, "Birthing The Miraculous" and Ann Voskamp's Journal on One Thousand Gifts.  What are you reading?

Until next time.........