PRAYER OF COVERING Part 3-Ears and Eyes

Today I am grouping two sections into one: ears and eyes. They seem to go together naturally. What we look at and what we listen to can have a powerful impact on our lives for good or for evil. We do have the ability to choose what we see and hear to a great extent and so help to protect ourselves from negativity. The problem is that some of the bad stuff we have no control over, such as billboards or other public things that just pop up in our range of vision while we are out and about. And the same goes for what we hear when in public places. We cannot control what other people talk about or the kind of language they use. So we need the protection of the blood of Jesus to not only cleanse us but to protect us from those things making inroads into our souls and spirits.

I claim the protection of the blood of Jesus over my ears, physical and spiritual, that the voice of the enemy will not penetrate into my mind or inner being. I will be cautious today about what I listen to (see Mark 4:24). By Your grace I declare I will not pay any to or entertain any half-truths, insinuations, roaring, whisperings, suggestions or lies from the devil. I claim the cleansing power of the blood to cleanse me from anything from the enemy which I have, in the past, allowed to enter my ears. Block my ears today from receiving anything with which the devil would try to beguile me—amuse, deceive, distract, divert, mislead, occupy or cheat me—and give me ears to hear and a heart to receive everything that You, Lord, have to say to me (see Matthew 11:15).

I claim the protection of the blood of Jesus over my eyes, physical and spiritual. Keep me from looking at things not pleasing to You—ungodly television programs and ads; unholy e-mail or internet sites and videos; movies; magazines; books. Protect me from those things I cannot help but see in the natural as I go about my daily life. Keep the defilement from penetrating into my mind and my spirit. I claim the cleansing power of the blood to remove every trace of influence of those ungodly things which, uninvited, impose themselves on my eyes and ears as I move about in public places—drive or walk down the streets, go about duties at work or school, walk through the stores, sit in restaurants, doctors’ offices and elsewhere—and as I interact throughout the day with those people who hold mindsets and worldviews which differ from mine. Protect my spiritual eyes. Cause me to see Jesus always (see Hebrews 12:2) and to be aware of, sensitive and responsive to what You are doing, and what the enemy is attempting to do, in my life and the lives of those around me. Lord, grant me a new awakening and clarity of spiritual vision, because it is written that without it Your people will die (see Proverbs 29:18 KJV).

Let’s make a conscious, deliberate choice to take care what we look at and what we listen to in our own homes, and to make good choices as to where we go in public places to lessen, when possible, the potential of seeing and hearing that which would contaminate our souls. As I said before, there are places we have to go where we have no choice but to be there. This is a good prayer to pray for our own protection and the protection of our families when there is no other option, such as work, school, doctors’ offices, stores and the like. Let’s do all we can to keep ourselves pure in the Lord. Let us fill our eyes and ears with good things so there is less room for anything else.

I hope you have enjoyed Part 3 of my series on Prayer for Covering. If you have not read the first two parts, click on Prayer for Covering for Part 1, and click here for Part 2. Just a reminder that this book is not yet published.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and read my post. I would really like to know your thoughts on this and would appreciate it if you would leave a comment in the box below before you leave. Also, if you are not already following me, please take a moment to click on the “Follow” button above to receive e-mail updates of new posts. Have a wonderful day. May God bless you and yours.

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PRAYER COVERING Part 2-The Heart

If you have not read the beginning of this prayer, click here before reading Part 2. This section concerns the covering of our hearts. Our hearts are very vulnerable, and can be easily wounded. Those wounds can take a long time to heal, and they often leave scars. People with wounded hearts often act out of their pain to wound others. We have to care for our hearts and keep them under the cover of the blood so they do not become hardened. We need hearts that are soft and malleable so the Holy Spirit can shape us and change us into the image of Jesus Christ.

It is Written new front cover #11_page-0001 (1)I claim the protection of the blood of Jesus over my heart. Let the things on which my heart ponders today be acceptable to You, Lord (see Psalm 19:14). Melt every last vestige of hardness and coldness in my heart with Your love until my heart becomes a deep, deep well of Your love ever flowing from me, and until my life pours out to You in continual worship. Lord, I want to know the overwhelming presence of Your love ruling in my heart. I do not just want to talk about it, hear about it, read about it or imagine it, but I want to daily experience it personally filling me every moment, and overflowing continuously out of my heart and life back to You and out to others. I do not ask You to enlarge my heart, Lord, but to enlarge Your place in my heart. I do not ask merely for more of You, Lord, but I offer You more of me—my whole being—so there is more room in my life for You. Consume me with Your love until my heart is wholly Yours, until there is nothing left there but an anointing of Your love, Your presence. Help me to access Your love in all its fullness. I want to feel Your heart beating within my heart.

Several years ago I had a powerful vision during a church prayer meeting. I saw a pair of hands holding a heart and gently massaging fragrant oil into it. The vision lasted for several minutes at the time, but has never left me. There have been various applications for this over the intervening time, and whenever I remember it, it still affects me. I believe that is what the Lord wants to do with each of our hearts. If we allow him to do this, His healing hands will bring wholeness to our hearts so we can move forward in our relationship with Jesus and also with our relationships with the people in our lives. Lord, may we all yield to your tender touch.

I hope you enjoy these short excerpts from the Prayer for Covering in my not-yet-finished book It Is Written. Please let me know what you think in the comment box below. I always love to hear from my readers. If you are not already following my blog, please take a moment to click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of future posts. Thank you for taking time to read this post.

Be blessed today and every day. May the peace of Christ dwell in your hearts and minds.

PRAYER OF COVERING

I thought I would share, in sections, the prayer for covering from my book It Is Written: My Prayer Journey into the Heart of God which is still in progress. Each section is a unit in itself, so here is the first part: the covering of our minds. Our mind can be a very fertile place for dark things to brew, so we need to take care to keep our minds under the cover of the blood of Jesus to protect us from all that comes against us from the world and from our enemy so they can be filled with the things of God.

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Tentative front cover design for It Is Written

So spread Your covering over me now, Lord, for You are my Redeemer 

Ruth 3:9

I claim the protecting power of the blood of Jesus over my mind and my thoughts. Father, I choose today to think only on those things which are true, good, lovely and pleasing to You—positive, faith-filled thoughts—thoughts originating in and producing only life. (see Philippians 4:8). Help me to keep my mind pure (see 2 Peter 3:1 KJV), to keep it focused on You so that I might live in Your perfect peace (see Isaiah 26:3). Holy Spirit, I pray that You would nudge me when my thoughts turn to unworthy things, when I begin to meditate on unprofitable subjects which disturb my peace, grieve You, and could open the door to the enemy. Help me to renew my mind today that I might not come into agreement with—or walk in the ways of—my own fleshly instincts, the lures of the devil, or of the ways of the world, but that I might be changed—like a butterfly as it is transformed from egg to larva to pupa to adult—so I might examine and yield to Your will for me, and learn what You consider to be good, acceptable and perfect (see Romans 12:2). Lord, I know it is written that Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts (see Isaiah 55:9), but it is also written that I have the mind of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 2:16) because He lives within me. Lord, I ask that Your mind would truly be operative in me today, that my thoughts would be those which come from Your heart. Let Your Word judge my thoughts, Lord (see Hebrews 4:12). Deal with any that do not line up with Your Word and with who You have declared me to be in Christ.

What we think about is a choice. Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. But we do need, at least in the beginning, to train our minds to make the right choices of what to dwell on. It can become a lifestyle if we work at it. If it were not possible, the Lord would never have told us to do this. However, we need the help of the Holy Spirit often to get into this mindset. And without God’s covering, we will not reach this point in our spiritual life. To do this, we need to be consistently reading the word and be in meaningful prayer, prayer that not only puts forth our requests, but also allows the Lord time to speak to us.

The mind is the best place to start in seeking covering for specific parts of our life. We will also look at our eyes, ears, mouth, attitudes, motives and more. Watch for the next most important part, covering for our hearts.

I hope you have enjoyed this excerpt from It Is Written. Thank you for taking time to stop by. I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment in the box below. I love to interact with you, my readers. I would also be glad if you would share your thoughts on my cover design. Would it draw you if you saw it on a shelf full of books? Do you find it appropriate for the type of book it is?

If you are not already following my blog, please take a moment to click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications for each new post. I try to write two per week, but sometimes I only manage one. Occasionally I may, if I have something important to tell you, post a third time in a week, but that doesn’t happen often.

Have a wonderful weekend. I pray God’s covering over your lives to protect you and keep you close to Him.

MORNING PRAYER

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In the morning You will hear my voice.

I was wondering what my next post should be about. Last Thursday, I was the guest on a podcast with Chaplain Gray Stallworth. You can also find him on his blog or on FaceBook. The topic was how to develop a disciplined prayer life. The recording will be available tomorrow, so I will post it when I can. I thought, since prayer is such a huge part of my life that perhaps I should share with you a prayer I wrote some months ago and pray almost every morning when I get up. At first I thought it would be good to wait until tomorrow morning to post this. But I thought, maybe some would like to know about this before morning so they can be prepared to pray it. So here it is.

Morning Prayer

I want to say, “Good morning,” to You, Jesus, and to tell You how much I love You. Thank You for Your great love for me. Thank You that You care about everything that happens to me. Thank You that You are watching over my life and always interceding for me. Thank You for this day and for Your presence with me. Let me hear Your lovingkindnesses this morning. Thank You that they never cease and Your compassions never fail.

I ask for Your discernment today—for my own life and in all my dealings with others. May my eagerness to serve You and minister to others not hinder, distort, misplace or override that discernment.

Help me to let You be God fully in my life today.

May I bring glory to You in all I say and do.

Show me Your will for me for this day. Teach me the things I need to know. Reveal Yourself to me through the Word, prayer, meditation, dreams and visions, my circumstances and the words and examples of others.

Give me a humble, repentant heart throughout this day. May I be quick to confess, repent and seek forgiveness. Give me grace to be quick to forgive all.

Help me to bless others today.

Keep me from hindering Your work. I choose to obey You today. Forgive me when I fail, and redirect me back to Your path.

Help me to enter into the secret place with You. Teach me how to live from that place.

May I never move outside of the unity of Your purpose.

May I never grieve Your Holy Spirit.

Keep me committed to and on track with Your call on my life for today.

Help me to put aside every doubt and fear and to lay down every burden.

May I not give offense to or be offended by others.

Help me to guard my mind today, and to think only on those things which please You.

Help me to watch over my heart today to protect it against every attempt of the enemy to muddy or stop up the flow of the springs of life.

Prevent me from coming into agreement with the enemy. Keep me always alert to the devil’s tactics.

May I sow only good seed into good soil in order to reap a good 100-fold harvest.

Keep me continually connected to Your power.

Help me to communicate clearly to others that which You have clearly communicated to me to be shared with them.

Help me to be a strong support to others today. Show me specifically who and what You want me to pray for today and help me to pray aright. Help me to understand and empathize with the hearts of those You want me to minister to and pray for.

Strengthen me to never give up, especially when the way is difficult or seems to be at an impasse. When the way is smooth and easy, keep me from becoming careless and complacent. Keep me in balance throughout this day.

I choose to put on the full armor of God today. I declare that my weapons of warfare are ever ready for use. May I always be prompt, adept and accurate at using them.

Apply the blood of Jesus to my life today to cleanse me and protect me from the enemy. May the angel/s You have assigned to me keep me continually moving forward on Your path, fulfilling Your will, and keep me far from anyone or anything which could be detrimental to me, or to others through association.

Make me pure and holy.

Prompt, perfect, protect and process my prayers today so they prevail. Filter them all through Your Holy Spirit so they come before Your throne of grace according to your will, not my own—free from all fleshly intent or error. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

I would encourage you to use this prayer if you like it and to use it on a daily basis. If you do not already have a designated prayer time, I would suggest that first thing in the morning, if it fits your schedule, is the best time to start. This prayer is a good launching pad into deeper prayer. Think about each separate section and expand the prayer. Meditate on it’s importance in your day, in your life. If you already have an established prayer time, then you may want to simply incorporate this prayer into that time. I will be publishing a book of prayers sometime, hopefully later this year, and this will be one of the prayers in it. Please feel free to share it with your friends, on your social media sites or to reblog it.

Thank you so much for stopping by to read my posts. I really appreciate my readers. I would be happy if you would leave a comment in the box below. If you are not already following me, please take a moment to click on the ‘Follow’ button above and you will receive e-mail updates when I add new posts.

Have a wonderful day. May the Lord richly bless you as you go deeper in prayer and relationship with Him.

IN THE SECRET PLACE OF THE LORD

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I have a secret to tell you.

Since I have been sharing some of my book, Shadows In My Valley, I have been thinking about the importance of spending time in the secret place of the Lord.

 

As I look back, I can see that I was searching for that place all the way through the valley. But I wonder now if I really knew what that even meant. Yes, it is a place apart where we can talk to the Lord and wait for Him to answer us, a place of solitude and sometimes even silence. But I think the secret part entails more, much more than I could have realized at that time.

 

What does secret really mean? My Gage Canadian Thesaurus says that, in part, it is “confidential, discreet, hidden, secluded”. Shall we look at these individual words to shed a little more light on the subject?

Confidential. When I think of this word, I think of something which should not be revealed to anyone else. Someone tells us a secret. They make it clear that it is to be kept secret. In other words, we must never even hint at it to another person. If we do, we have broken confidence with that person. We may be the cause of hurting others. We may be labeled ‘untrustworthy’.

Discreet goes along with confidential. The one telling the secret must be very cautious about who he tells the secret to, and the one receiving the secret must also be very careful to act with discretion. These things are to be kept hidden.

What do these things have to do with being in the secret place of the Lord?

 

  • Sometimes the Lord speaks His secrets to us, for our ears only. I remember years ago listening to a radio program and the preacher made a comment I have never forgotten: If you reveal something too soon, it could abort God’s purposes. I know I do not want to be guilty of doing that.

  • It may be that the Lord reveals something to us through the Word about someone with a particular need. What do we do with this? We pray. The Lord will show us whether and when we should share it with the person involved.

  • The Lord may choose, by revelation through the Holy Spirit, through dreams or through visions, to use us, in prayer, to help another person in an area of difficulty. Do we immediately run to that person and tell them about it? Usually it would be best to pray about it in the secret place until the Lord releases us to share it. There may never be a time to reveal it, or it may be some time in the future. If the Lord indicates it needs to be revealed right away, He will show us in some concrete way that we should do so.

  • Sometimes a friend will entrust us with a personal prayer request which they wish to be kept secret. We must honor that and keep it to ourselves, not with not even a hint to others about it. 

  • We may discover something about a person through their actions, attitudes or words. Unless there is cause to report something which may be of concern regarding the situation  to church leadership, we should keep these things between us and the Lord. That person may never know we prayed, but that does not matter. What matters is our faithfulness.

  • Perhaps someone comes to us for counsel. What they tell us must be kept confidential. Think how we would feel if we spoke our need in confidence, trusting the person we shared with, only to discover it had been passed on or even hinted at to others?

We must keep these things in the hidden place. We speak to the Lord about them in the secret place as we spend time in prayer. We seek Him in the seclusion of our prayer closet for revelation as to how to counsel, how to pray for specific needs, how and when to share with the person involved.

What made me think about these things just now? Well, if you read my post “The Story Behind Shadows In My Valley”, you will remember the woman I called Mary. If you haven’t read it yet, click here for part 1, here for part 2 and here for part 3. Mary had a habit of telling me and others about how the Lord would wake her up in the night to tell her terrible things about certain people. She stressed the terrible part a little too much. She always noted that it was so she could pray, but I questioned her motives nonetheless. I did not need to hear anything about those things. They were secrets the Lord had shared with Mary, if indeed they did come from the Lord and not from her own knowledge or imagination. It always bothered me when she did this, but I did not have the boldness to confront her about it. I think it was a lot to do with her pride, some need to be looked at as holding some special position with God.

It did teach me a lesson, though. When I was a young Christian, I did not always use discretion by keeping things to myself as I should have. I had not learned that yet. Occasionally, I would ‘innocently’ share, usually with only one person, a prayer request intended to go no further than my ears. It seemed a good thing. After all, I was recruiting extra prayers for the person in need. It took me a while to learn my lesson, that the point was not to get others praying, but to be trustworthy in my lifestyle. But I did finally see the necessity to change. The Lord convicted me and I recognized that for Him to trust me with His secrets, I must be faithful to keep the secrets of other people. And I did want to be found dependable in God’s eyes. And so I learned to keep secrets. I learned, because of Mary, that it was not acceptable to even hint that a secret may have been shared with me. Nothing is gained by doing so, and trust and friendship may be damaged or destroyed in the doing. 

And so I chose to be faithful to the Lord, to be one whom He can trust with any secret. I pray I will never disappoint Him in this.

I hope you have enjoyed my musings tonight. Thank you for stopping by and reading my post. I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment in the box below. Don’t be shy. I will respond to your comments. And if you are not already following me, please take a moment to click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. I promise I will not overload you. I try to post one or two articles a week. Please feel free to share my posts on your social media and with your friends.

I pray that you will have a wonderful day and a great week. May the Lord bless you and keep you and give you great joy and peace.

SNEAK PEAK

The Lives of God's Poor and Obscure Front Cover-001Now that Look for the Rainbows and Shadows in My Valley have been published, I am working on my next book. Hopefully it will be ready for publishing by May 2019.

The Lives of God’s Poor and Obscure is a book of a dozen short stories about people from the Bible who, in some way, had an important role to play. They themselves do not seem very important. Some are mentioned very briefly, some were never given a name, and none of them would have dreamed that thousands of years later people all over the world would be reading about their lives.

Maybe you have never given a moment’s thought to some of those who people my stories. I have had to study something about the times they lived in so that I could imagine a life around them. I have named the nameless and created families and life situations around each one to give each their own story which, though unknown to us today, could have happened as I have described.

Have you ever wondered about Malchus, the man whose ear Peter cut off in the Garden of Gethsemane? Can you begin to imagine how he must have felt when that sword struck? Or how he might have reacted when Jesus healed him? What about Orpah? Stories and books have been written and movies produced about Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law. But have you ever considered what might have happened to Orpah, the one who returned to her old life when Ruth went on to Bethlehem? Or what how the shepherds feel when they saw the whole sky lit up with angels and were told the most fantastic news about the birth of a Savior?

These are just a few of the characters you will read about in The Lives of God’s Poor and Obscure A Collection of Short Stories. But they are not simply stories. There are life lessons for us to learn in the telling. At the end there is a short review of each story. And one last surprise letter written personally to each of us.

There are just a few more steps for me to take before I will be publishing this little volume. I hope you will watch for it through my updates here and on FaceBook

Thank you so much for dropping by to visit. I would really appreciate it if, before you leave, you would leave a comment in the box below to let me know what you think about my blog in general, and in particular what your thoughts are on my upcoming book The Lives of God’s Poor and Obscure. If you are not already following me here, please take a moment to click on the ‘Follow’ button at the top of the page. You will receive e-mail notifications of each new post. And if you have another moment, please click on my FaceBook Author page and ‘Like’ it and ‘Follow’ me there as well.

I hope you are having a wonderful week. Keep healthy and happy. May the Lord bless you abundantly. Until next time.

THE STORY BEHIND SHADOWS IN MY VALLEY Part 2

Shadows in my Valley New cover

This is a continuation from Part 1 of the story of my book Shadows in My Valley. 

There were occasional times after this when Mary offered to pray with me. One such night I remember brought me a great deal of pain. I should interject here that this woman’s habit at times was to tell people their faults. She deemed it a kindness. On that particular evening, after desperately trying to grasp hold of the Lord in prayer, I felt a failure. My cries landed right back in my lap—or so I felt. Had God even heard me? A young friend who also struggled in her spiritual life had joined us in the prayer time. She left the room for a few minutes. After putting her arm gently around my shoulder, Mary decided this was her chance to list all my faults. Though she spoke as though this were the first time she had said any of these things, I had heard them from her, at least in part, before. By the time she finished with me, I was devastated. I remember writing later in my prayer journal that I would rather she had taken a kitchen knife and literally stabbed me in the back. I felt it would have been less painful.

I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit several months after I accepted the Lord as my Savior. I did not have specific teaching as to why I had received this blessing. The church I attended offered wonderful teaching, but much of it better suited strong, mature Christians than new ones. Through books, I gradually learned that tongues were, among other things, a prayer language given to us by the Lord to use when, in prayer with an intense burden, our natural language failed to express our need. During this difficult time, I felt completely unable to express myself. I did not know what my true need was, so words were not forthcoming. I prayed in tongues, the only way I could communicate with the Lord and find any release in my spirit. Even so, I found none for my mind. This brought criticism from Mary. Though she herself spoke in tongues, she accused me, at the end of one public prayer meeting, that I had prayed too much and too loud in tongues. According to her, it disturbed other people. Another slap in my face. For anyone who knew me back then, an accusation of my being too loud would probably have astounded them. When I asked the pastor’s wife about it, she assured me that I had not disturbed anyone. But the damage had been done. Discouragement grew.

Please do not think I am sharing this to sully Mary’s character, to get it off my chest, or because I hold a grudge against this woman. I dealt with this issue before the Lord years ago. Perhaps you wonder at my not just forgetting these things if I have forgiven and moved on. I do not often think of them, but forgiving someone does not always include forgetting what was done. It was part of my life, changed my life, helped to make me what I am today. During the time I started writing this chapter, the situation came to my attention while reading a book about offense. What I do wish is to offer you some light on at least part of the reason adversity enters our lives.

Mary had become spiritually proud and truly believed she was doing the Lord’s work. Pride is dangerous, and spiritual pride the most dangerous type. I know that others besides me suffered because of her pride.

Often we believe we are doing what the Lord has called us to, yet we harbor pride, anger, bitterness, hurt. We may want to blame everyone but ourselves for what happens to us or for our own spiritual impoverishment. I do not think I consciously blamed her for the spiritual poverty in my life, but I am now able to see the situation much more clearly from the distance of years and greater maturity. I realize now that she, through the deceitfulness of the devil, had given me offense. I grasped on to that offense and ran with it. Instead of dropping it like a hot coal and forgiving, I latched on like a starving soul being offered a rare meal. Today we hear and read a great deal about offenses, but then I do not recall ever hearing anyone preach on this topic. Perhaps if they had, I would have been free much sooner. Yet this does not excuse me.

Jesus told us in His Word, “It must needs be that offenses will come” (Matthew 18:7 KJV). Nowhere does He say to make them personal. We are not to make it our personal vendetta to avenge ourselves. We must not take offense to heart and allow it to rule our lives else we will become like those Paul instructs Timothy about in 1 Timothy 4:11. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (KJV). These were people of faith who obviously had received offenses and refused to deal with them. We should observe where it took them, and learn from it.

To be continued…

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and reading my story. I hope you were able to glean some truth as you read. I really appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to stop  by. Please leave a comment before you leave. And if you are not  already following me, please click on the “Follow” button at the top and you will receive e-mail updates when I publish new posts.

If you would like to purchase Shadows in My Valley you will find it on my Amazon page. This link is for Amazon.com, but it is also available on Amazon.ca for Canadians. While you are there, check out my novel Look for the Rainbows A Journey of Spirit and Heart. If you want to read excerpts from this book, click on Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. If you would like to read about how Look for the Rainbows evolved, click here.

Watch in the next couple of months for an announcement about the publication date of my next book The Lives of God’s Poor and Obscure A Collection of Short Stories.

In the meantime, have a wonderful day. God bless you and keep you through the easy times and the difficult times. He is always with you.

THE STORY BEHIND SHADOWS IN MY VALLEY Part 1

Shadows in my Valley New coverHere is the first part of my story, though not the first part of the book. It happened a long time ago, but it is still impacting my life today. I wandered in this valley for several years on a roller-coaster ride of many doubts, moments of faith, many fears, much confusion, along with countless other unpredictable emotions.

MY TESTIMONY

I once had a mentor, an intercessory prayer partner, who sought to teach me and lead me into the deeper things of God. I was a novice and needed help. To my seeking heart, the offer sounded wonderful. An answer to prayer. Although the Lord did teach me much through her, I was unaware of the pitfalls this relationship would create for me. The leadership of the church considered Mary (not her real name) to be spiritually mature and trustworthy. So I trusted her.

I read a book by Ken Gire called The North Face of God. He likens our dark and difficult times in life to the dangers of mountain climbing. He makes it clear that we need to be extremely careful who we choose as climbing partners. We need a safe team. An experienced team. As it turned out, I did not choose well.

I trusted Mary with too much of myself. Probably more than she could handle. She became an anchor to me, when my only anchor should have been Jesus. During one phone call to me, before we were closely bound spiritually, I recall that she quoted a scripture to me and asked me if I felt the same as she did about it. In my immaturity, though I understood what that verse meant, I misunderstood the meaning behind her motive for quoting it. I will not go into detail, but this began what I now call an unwise prayer partnership. Actually, an ungodly soul-tie.

We prayed together every Friday evening. Mary opened my understanding in many ways that helped me greatly. I did learn to go deeper than ever before in prayer. But I believe something about her own personal life, which in some ways was abnormal, kept her from following through to the end what she began to do as my spiritual mentor. She backed off suddenly and unexpectedly, and it threw me completely off balance.

When it happened, I felt like a baby that had been thrown overboard from a boat into deep water and told, “Sink or swim. If you make it to shore, I’ll see you there. If not, tough luck, but you’re on your own from here on.”

Have you ever plunged into icy cold water? Then you can imagine the shock I felt in the spirit. I was not prepared to handle this situation. I panicked. I had come to know the Lord more deeply during the previous months, but evidently not well enough to understand how to trust Him for this. It overwhelmed me. I did not know where to turn. When I say she left me, I do not mean she never had anything more to do with me. She did cut off our prayer times. I felt I still needed these times in order to reach a level where I could stand on my own. With the Lord, of course. But she had decided this to be the time for me to stop crawling and begin walking without help. I think now that perhaps she did not want to be a support for me any longer. I determined, wrongly, that I still needed that prop.

I realize now, all these years later, that the Lord Himself had removed the prop. I believe this lady’s motive was simply to be free of something she did not wish to continue, but that her method was unacceptable. The Lord used it to bring me into a place of trusting Him completely. Unfortunately, I did not comprehend this at the time. I floundered. I lost my footing and handhold, then fell from the mountainside.

I did not have the ideal team to help me down. I hit bottom in a dark valley that, in one stroke, insinuated itself into my life. I could see nothing. I did not have the wisdom to understand what had happened. Wandering helplessly around this valley, I wondered what had hit me. Depression took hold of me for the first time in my life. I had always questioned how anyone could succumb to depression. Now, here I sat, wallowing in it myself. Though I would never want to feel this way ever again, I would not trade the lessons I have learned. Now I can understand how others may be feeling and think of them with compassion rather than criticism.

To be continued…

I want to thank those of you who faithfully read my posts, and to thank all of those who are new or occasional readers for taking the time to check out my latest articles. I really do appreciate all of you. If you haven’t already read my former excerpt from Shadows in My Valley, please click here.

I would be happy to read and respond to any comments you might care to leave in the box below. I would love to hear about your experiences and how you found your way through to victory. If you are not already following me, please take a moment or two to click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail updates when I publish new posts.

If you would like to purchase Shadows in My Valley please check out my Amazon page. This link is for Amazon.com but it is also available on Amazon.ca. While you are there, please check out my novel Look for the Rainbows A Journey of Spirit and Heart. Click on the links if you would like to read Chapter 1 and part of Chapter 2 of Look for the Rainbows.

Watch for an announcement sometime in the next couple of months for the publication date of my next book The Lives of God’s Poor and Obscure A Collection of Short Stories.

I hope you have a wonderful day. May God bless you richly and take you by the hand to lead you through any valley you may be experiencing right now.

LOOK FOR THE RAINBOWS CHAPTER 2 Part 2

Copy of Look for the Rainbows New full coverHere is the continuation of Chapter 2 that I promised. You will find the first part here.

CHAPTER 2 Part 2

“They’re here!” Beth shouted as she ran to open the back door. She had been watching out the front window for over an hour even though they did not expect her grandparents until later.

“Grandma! Grandpa! Hurry up. You’ve got to see the special tree.” She threw her arms around both of them.

“Beth. Give them time to get in the door and get their coats off. Here, let me take your bags. Come on in out of the cold.”

“That coffee sure smells good. We didn’t stop for any on the way.”

As Beth’s dad hung up the coats, Mrs. Worthington led her husband’s parents through the entrance and into the kitchen to join her own parents at the table. Mrs. Irving had already poured two more mugs of steaming coffee for the new arrivals and replenished the plate of homemade raisin biscuits.

“How was the driving?”

“Fine, Harold. The roads are bare and dry—a perfect day for a drive. We woke up early and got a head start. That’s why we’re here in such good time. They’re calling for snow tomorrow, so I’m glad we planned on coming today.” Now in his seventies, Beth’s grandfather still enjoyed the trip, but did not like to make it in bad weather.

“Now that you’re warmed up, you had better both come

and take a look at this tree before Beth bursts.” Though she had said nothing, she had been squirming for at least ten minutes.

“Come on, then,” her grandma offered as she held out her hand to Beth, “show me this special tree. And, may I ask, why is it so special?

“You’ll see.” Beth grabbed both grandparents by the hand and almost dragged them out of the kitchen.

“Slow down, girl. The tree isn’t going anywhere, and we can’t move as fast as your young legs take you.”

“Wait. Close your eyes. Daddy, turn on the lights. Please,” she added as Mr. Worthington gave her a knowing look. She carefully led her grandparents through the doorway into the living room. “OK, you can open them now.”

“Wow!” Grandma and Grandpa Worthington exclaimed in unison. “It certainly is a special tree,” added her grandfather. “Wherever did you get it, Harold? Sure beats the one you picked last year.”

“You’ll never let me live that one down, will you?” he chuckled. “We went to the small lot just off the highway as you come into Headly. You passed it on your way in. I should have gone there last year, but it was getting so close to Christmas I didn’t take the time to drive that far and there was next to nothing left to choose from in town. We were lucky to have a tree at all. Don’t worry. I’ll never let that happen again.”

Grandma Worthington bent down to hug Beth and to tell her again how much she admired the tree. As she straightened, she began to massage her neck and shoulders.

“Tired?” her daughter-in-law asked as she placed her hand gently on her mother-in-law’s arm.

“Yes, Marg, I am. I think we’d both like to rest awhile. It was rather a long drive, especially since we didn’t stop along the way for coffee and to stretch our legs.”

“That sounds like a good idea, Mom. Go ahead. I’ll call you when lunch is ready. We won’t eat until around one o’clock or a little later, so that’ll give you a good hour or so to rest.”

Mr. Irving and Harold were immersed in a discussion about Harold’s work. Marg decided to tidy the kitchen and prepare part of the lunch ahead of time. That left Beth and Mrs. Irving free to spend some time together.

“Grandma, come up to my room. I want to show you something.” Beth took her grandma’s hand and walked slowly up the stairs beside her. Mrs. Irving had to stop half way up to catch her breath.

“You OK?”

“Yes, I’m all right, honey. Just a little winded. I’m not as young as I used to be. And I’m not used to stairs at home anymore since your grandpa set up my laundry room off the kitchen. I don’t have to go down to the basement now.”

Though Beth loved each of her grandparents dearly, Grandma Irving was her favorite. They had a very close bond. Both Marg and Harold’s parents were devout Christians, but Beth sensed something special in her Grandma Irving’s relationship with the Lord. She had the ability to share spiritual truths in a way a child could easily grasp, and had instilled in Beth at a very young age a desire for a closer walk with Jesus.

“Well, what do you have to show me?” Mrs. Irving asked once the two were comfortably seated on the bed.

“I made this for you.” Beth proudly presented a picture she had colored depicting Jesus surrounded by little children. She had traced it from a picture in one of her Bible story books.

“It’s beautiful. When I get home I’m going to get a frame for it.”

“Mom said I should wrap it up and put it under the tree, but I couldn’t wait that long.”

Mrs. Irving gathered Beth into her arms. “God bless you, honey. It’s a very special gift, and I’m glad you gave it to me this way. Your Grandpa and I will enjoy looking at it every day. Now, tell me what you’ve been learning in Sunday School.”

Beth’s grandma took the opportunity to talk further to her about the Lord and to pray with her. When they heard Marg call, Lunch is ready!” they headed at once downstairs still deep in conversation.

***

Thank you for stopping by to read more of my story Look for the Rainbows. If you missed Chapter 1, click here.  If you missed the post about how this book came into being and evolved into what it is today, click here.

If you have enjoyed reading the beginning of Look for the Rainbows, please consider purchasing a copy from my Amazon Author page. For Canadians, you can go here. While you visit my author page, check out my other book Shadows in My Valley. You can read excerpts from it here.

If you like what you have read, please leave a comment in the box below. I would love to hear your thoughts. If you are already following me, I thank you. If not, please take a moment to click on the “Follow” button at the top and receive e-mail notifications of upcoming posts.

Have a wonderful day. God bless you all.

SHADOWS IN MY VALLEY Excerpt

Shadows in my Valley New cover

The following is an excerpt from my book Shadows in My Valley Published in November 2018. The theme of the book is a valley experience I went through many years ago that made an indelible impression on my life and has contributed to who and what I am today. Each chapter begins with a poem written  during that time of despair and in the process of coming out of that valley. Further details are added as well as excerpts from the prayer journal I kept at that time. Scripture verses bring it in line with the word of God.

A PRAYER FROM THE VALLEY

Lord, it’s so dark all around me;

I can’t see the light of day.

Jesus, help me to understand now

All the things that have come my way.

I just don’t feel Your presence;

I can’t hear Your guiding voice;

My world seems ready to crumble;

Still, I make Your will my choice.

Your Word says You’ll never leave me,

Nor forsake the child You love.

Give me faith, my heavenly Father,

To keep on looking above.

The darkest hour, they tell me,

Is always before the dawn.

Let the sun now rise upon me,

Fill my heart with heavenly song.

May I feel the warmth of Your sunshine

As brighter and brighter it glows;

Lift my spirit to heavenly places

Where the wind of Your Spirit blows.

Let Your love fall on me like a mantle,

Dispelling the shadows and fear,

And to Your sweet, holy presence

Let me now and forever draw near.

A Prayer from the Valley describes exactly the feelings I struggled with as I groped my way through spiritual darkness. The wonderful thing about going through these times and growing in the Lord is that we are not nearly so devastated when the next trial comes. Today I would not allow these feelings to overwhelm me. That is not to say I will never have to battle with them any more, but I will gain the victory much more quickly. I have learned to lean more on the Lord. I still experience times of dryness, of weariness, of being overwhelmed with life, of wondering, “Where do I go from here, Lord?” But I no longer feel that God has left me. I know that I know that He is with me whether I feel His presence or not.

Of course, I would much rather feel Him close to me, to feel the touch of His hand on me in blessing. But I am now able to continue on in faith and the knowledge that even when I cannot sense God’s presence, the Lord has not abandoned me to my own meager resources. I can trust Him much more fully with my life. Often I do not understand what He is doing. At times I come to a standstill because I cannot understand what He wants me to do. These are times I must learn to discipline myself to “wait patiently for the Lord” (see Psalm 40:1). In the margin of the New American Standard Bible this word ‘patiently’ is explained as ‘intently’. We must wait with purpose and concentrate on hearing God’s voice. If we are not absorbed totally in listening, we may miss His direction and then we will continue to grope our way through life.

I had not then learned to listen carefully. I did not know how to rest in the Lord. Jesus was real to me, but His ways were not always familiar. My faith existed only as a little mustard seed, unable to carry me through the valley at that time. I needed the Lord to carry me. But He did much more than carry me through. He taught me to walk in His faith. Jesus never leaves us to ourselves unless we turn our backs on Him. (Even then He waits in the background.) He was there all along. I just did not have the keen perception to see Him. My Father improved my spiritual awareness through that valley, and continues to do so every day of my life since as I yield myself to Him. No longer do I fear the dark times, for Jesus is the Eternal Light that ever shines into my life. I no longer dread the valley, for it is a beautiful place of resting, watering, learning and growth. But it has taken a great deal of time to bring me to this place. Naturally, I would rather feel the exhilaration of the mountaintop. I would choose to feel the presence of God all the time. But He allows us to pass through the desert and valley places so that we all the more appreciate the blessedness and closeness of His manifest presence in our lives.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me. Psalm 23:4

Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring.

Psalm 84:6

From my Journal:

Father, I need Your help so desperately. I feel entirely helpless. Please reveal to my spirit what I must do to be released from this prison. Peter could not get out of prison until the angel came and loosed the chains that bound him and told him step by step what to do to get out of his prison cell and be free.1 I don’t want just enough strength to endure, Father. I want enough strength to be free, to rejoice with my spirit for evermore. Grant me a speedy deliverance, Father, because of Your love and mercy. Forgive me for feeling the way I do. Lord, I’m sorry that just when I seem to be making some headway through the valley that I end up falling again. It’s like trying to climb out of a deep pit with perpendicular walls. I get so far, lose my footing and tumble back to the bottom again. Forgive me for my failure, Father. Forgive me for my weakness. Forgive me for not being able to grasp firmly the rope You are throwing me to lift me out of the pit. Change me, Father. Give me the strength to take the rope and hold on as You pull me out. And when I get to the top, to the surface, help me not to look back, lose my balance and fall back in. Help me to look straight ahead at You and to follow You. Thank You for hearing. Thank You for understanding. Thank You for caring. Thank You, Father, for answering the cry of my heart. I love You, Lord.

In reading this excerpt from my prayer journal, you may be able to feel the despair that I felt at that time. I was desperate for release, desperate for God. I just did not know how to find Him. As I prayed this way from day to day, I cried ‘buckets’ of tears. In some places it was hard to decipher the writing where the pages had been watered with and the words faded by them. I cried so much that I told friends I had shed enough tears to fill a bathtub. Rather exaggerated, no doubt, but that is what it felt like. Yet tears do cleanse and heal, as long as they are not tears of self-pity or despair. As you can see, I did believe that God cared, but I simply could not put that knowledge to profitable use to help me out of that deep hole. I was overwhelmed with the extent of emotion I had never before realized was in me. I allowed the enemy to keep on attacking because I did not know I had the tools and the power to send him packing. Actually, I am not certain that I even realized that it was the enemy attacking me.

Today, I believe that I went through this turmoil in order to understand the trials of others, and to help and encourage them—and you—to push through to victory. If my experience, devastating as it was, can benefit even one other person, it was worth it all. We have the power of God resident within us. We can fight Satan and run him off. We are not his property, and he has no rights over us unless we have given them to him by continuing in sin or simply by default because we did nothing. James tells us that if we only “submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (see James 4:7). If you can grasp this truth and run with it, you will exit the valley much more quickly than I did. If I had been given the counsel I needed, I, too, would not have spent as much time wallowing in the mire of self-pity. I might have won the victory much sooner. Though I would never want to go through another experience like it, I do not regret the things the Lord taught me in the midst of it. As the old chorus says, “It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus”.2

The following poem came in response to A Prayer from the Valley. There was comfort in it. There was hope. There was life. But still, my mood continued on a roller-coaster ride. Still I could not walk in the truth the Lord was showing me. I was encouraged, but not yet delivered. That would not come until later, after many more lessons. The mountaintop still loomed in the future, high up in the clouds, but the promise was in the present. As the valley appeared before me unexpectedly, so victory came when I did not anticipate it. Look up, and see what the Lord Jesus Christ will do for you.

1See Acts 12:1-11

2“When We See Christ” Words and music by Esther K. Rusthoi. To see all the words and chorus: http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/gospel-songs-chords/it_will_be_worth_it.htm

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my post. I hope these words have spoken to your heart. Watch for future excerpts.  To purchase this book, go to my Amazon Author page. Click here Shadows in My Valley.  Check out my novel Look for the Rainbows A Journey of Spirit and Heart.  To read Chapter 1 of the novel, click here.

Watch for an announcement in the next couple of months concerning the publishing of my upcoming book, The Lives of God’s Poor and Obscure A Collection of Short Stories.

Please feel free to leave a comment in the  box below. I would love to hear your story. If you are not already following me, please take a moment to click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of future posts. I always appreciate it when people take time out of their busy schedules to check out what I am doing and writing. I would love it if you could share this on your social media. May the Lord richly bless you every day. Have a great week.