Sailing in Calm Seas

“… I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

 

 

 

 

When we get stressed and frustrated, the antidote is to claim a calm faith, not in your own cleverness, or in hard toil, but in God’s guidance. Norman Vincent Peale (paraphrased)

 

 

If you really want to change your life, you have to do it at a soul level.

 

 

Think about this – “You walk down the path that only you can walk on, but you walk with a new bounce in your step; a new stride in your motivation. To walk that way, you walk with God. And the way you walk with God as a human being is to have faith inside of yourself.”

 

 

You have heard the saying many times that two minds are better than one. We know that that is true. The two minds I am talking about are your mind and God’s mind working together, synchronized in His Divine power. If you are together, not as one mind, but as two minds, where you are using Divine inspiration within your mind, you have a tremendous ability to live your life successfully.

 

 

When many people think about two minds being better than one, they are thinking about two human minds. That produces the type of activity like the two cartoon characters Chip and Dale. One says, “After you,” and the other says, “No, after you,” then the first says, “No, I insist, after you.” No one ever makes a decision. When you are working with God and the other Mind is God, God says, “Follow me, “, and you no longer argue because you walk in your faith. This brings you strong reassurance.

 

 

Life is a maze. We get ourselves in a tangle of difficulty, whether it is inside our mind, body, or inside our businesses. Or perhaps our relationship challenges seem to be a maze. Whatever the need, we need to solve that problem from a higher level of mind than we were in when we created the problem. The only way we can do this fast, efficiently, is to turn our mind to God. The Bible says to be renewed by the renewing of your mind. The Bible says to have that mind that was in Christ Jesus. When we do that, when we combine those two minds into one, we are strengthened and renewed.

 

 

When we are down or have a problem, we start kicking ourselves and worry, usually about nothing major. We start thinking about all the things we should not think about. But when we combine the two minds into one, we have that filling up of God that lifts us up, that motivates us, and that leads us on through the maze of life, through the obstacle course, to victory on the other side. Faith in God brings success.

 

 

When you look in the mirror, you see a human being. You look at this human being and may wonder why in the world are you here. What is my purpose you say? Well, the answer is that you are a child of God. You are here to take something that is good already and make it better. The way you do that is by teaming up with God; and in prayer, asking for Divine ideas and guidance that will inspire your way and will allow that special, miraculous activity to work through you.

 

 

What is vision? Vision is a picture of faith. Perhaps we need a new vision of ourselves now and in the future. We can receive this through faith.

 

 

Do you ever think that you would like to be better, wiser, and in all ways more valuable to the world than you now seem to be? If you do, there is hope for you. “If you shall ask anything of God,” said Jesus Christ, “God will give it to you in my name.” Try definite speaking in faith.   Say, “In the name of Jesus Christ, let Thy goodness, Thy wisdom, Thine allness express and manifest in me,” and you will have the answer you are looking for.

 

 

When you believe in something bigger than yourself and hold onto the faith of God in the midst of trouble and adversity, you hold on with a faith united with the faith in Jesus Christ –and at that point, you have success.

 

 

I know most have heard this story, but again, bear with me. This is a story of a frog. Once upon a time there was a frog who jumped into a kettle of boiling water. The frog knew, immediately, that it was boiling water, and jumped out to safety.

 

 

But once upon a time there was another frog who jumped into a kettle of lukewarm water. As he was in this lukewarm water, the water gradually increased in temperature. It got hotter and hotter. The frog was more and more uncomfortable, but the frog did not jump out. Because the temperature of the water was raised gradually, the frog got used to it. After a while, the frog died.

 

 

If we jump into a situation and we immediately perceive it is bad, we immediately jump out. But a lot of times something slowly wears at us, and we don’t realize that things are going wrong. We stay exactly where we are, in the same level of awareness where we have been. It is that time when we need to jump out.

 

 

We need to think like Christ, not like others; and we need to stop trying to solve our problems by our own thoughts of fear. Let Christ solve the difficulties. Our lives and the way we go about our lives will be quite different. We will move in victory. We will have faith in a new and profound way inside of us. When we have faith in that way, we’re going to be lifted up every time.

 

 

There is a piece of poetry by Ella Wheeler Wilcox that points to a paradox of the sea. She says,

 

 

“One ship drives east,
Another drives west,
With the same self-winds that blow.
What makes the difference in their courses
Is the set of the sails.”

 

 

What makes a difference inside of us is the set of the sails of our faith. You can have two people going through the same difficulty, but with a greatly different reality inside each of them. You can have one person who is throwing up his or her hands in despair, and another person realizes God’s help with new power and direction of their life. The power and direction of life is in life itself, from the Source of life—God.

 

 

We all have known people who have been swayed by almost anything. If the slightest wind blew, they were blown off course. We know other people anchored by faith, who always stayed the course, and no matter how hard or how fast the wind of trouble blew in their life, they were not moved. They always got to the other side. When you see this type of person, you realize God is the answer. The answer is not to be blown around, buffeted by the winds of chance. It is to hold on to the lasting foundation of God. We need to set our lives to the highest standing.

 

 

We begin to come to this point in our spiritual lives by decreeing our relationship to the Almighty; by decreeing that we are not separate, but one. We determine, in this decree, our joy and our freedom and our peace.

 

 

Freedom from what? Freedom from our own mind and its destructive thoughts. Peace will pass our own understanding as the Bible says, because we have God with us. No matter what is going on outside of us, we feel at peace, no longer buffeted by the winds of fate, we are anchored to God.

 

 

You may have everything wonderful in the world, but if you are disturbed in your mind, everything is awful. Or, you may have everything challenging in the world,; and IF you are at peace in your mind, everything is okay. Peace precedes healing of all conditions. And nothing causes peace like strong faith.

 

 

We have to realize that there is a connecting place of prayer inside of us. We let go and let God have control, instead of our worries and our fears becoming the ruler. When we decree God’s good from the place of faith, we command the “subjects of our kingdom” – -the thoughts we are thinking, the words we are speaking–to be obedient to this decree. We are decreeing that we will have different feelings and different ideas that will be happening inside of us. We will express this in a new and higher way, and our good will be established by God.

 

 

Try this for a time. Let go of your human thinking right now, for a moment, and realize that right with you at this moment, there is a higher way. Get faith now by closing your eyes and praying this short prayer:

 

 

In the name of Jesus Christ, I decree for myself: health, purity, and wholeness. I decree for myself: energy, strength, and power. I decree for myself: joy, happiness, and harmony. I decree for myself: life, light, and enlightenment. I decree for myself: well-being, plenty, and abundance in all good things. I decree for myself: true activity and service. I decree for myself: a spiritual mind and a spiritual body . . .

 

 

Thank you dear God… Amen.

 

 

The reason we come to church and to this Bethel is to remember; this is a reminder in society to recall that, that which we already know. Life should not be hard; it can be easy if we let it, IF we let God.

 

 

It should be a joy. In faith, you are the commander of your ship. In faith, you can take the wheel again. In faith, you can sail it with a power and a strength that all the great ships have had through-out time. I invite you to do so. It’s a lot easier than just drifting around buffeted by every wind of the world and not knowing where you are going.

 

 

It’s time to get strong in faith and let God guide your ship!

 

 

God Bless You!

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A View from the Top

“Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:35 (NIV)

 

I am sure most if you have heard this parable before, but let me “Play it again!”

 

“An old Cherokee teaches his grandson about life. “A fight is going on the inside of me,” he said to the boy.

 

“It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

 

The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, thankfulness, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

 

The same fight is going on inside of you – and inside every other person, too.”

 

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

 

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

 

Let’s make sure that we spiritually feed ourselves food that will nourish our souls.”

 

And another – There is a simple story about parents and their two young boys. One boy was about six and the other was just an infant. Apparently, the boy, who was six, had some feelings of jealousy when the infant boy was born, and there was some quarreling going on between the two of them. One day, the older boy came up to his mom and dad and said that he had something he wished to discuss in private with his young brother (who was still a little baby). The parents were a little bit suspicious; they were not sure if he was up to something mischievous or not, but they let him go into the bedroom, while they hung around the door to listen. What they heard was astonishing, and I think you will agree. The six year-old got down into the crib, laid his head on the infant’s tummy and said, “Tell me, Tommy . . . tell me about God. You see, I’m starting to forget.”

 

 

I love that story. I think, as young children, we all knew about God. As we got older, we started to forget. By the time we got through school, finished our education, and had families and serious jobs in the world, having that experience of God became more and more difficult for our busy, adult human mind. Plus, we often may have gotten scorned for our beliefs, so we just shut them away; yet we long to remember. We feel a great deal of love for that young boy and for his predicament.

 

 

We live on a planet with millions of species of life-forms. We can travel from the Swiss mountains to the Australian surf within twenty-four hours. We have more different kinds of food and entertainment choices than at any other time in the history of man. We can enjoy ourselves with visits to theaters, art galleries, concerts, cinemas, restaurants, or can sit by ourselves on a hill and be alone with the butterflies and the birds within just a few hours time

 

 

There is enough space here for us to be alone in this world; yet at the same time it would be difficult to be lonely with so many people in this world. What a great deal life is. Yet, many still feel a sense of lack. We have never had a guarantee or promise that any of us would have a certain kind of life; it never said that life is supposed to be easy or pleasant. It never guaranteed that once we went to school we would get a perfect job. It never guaranteed that our children would grow up to be the model citizens we always wanted them to be. In fact, there is not even a guarantee that we can have children at all. There is no guarantee that the sun will stay out for a beautiful day for us.

 

 

There is no guarantee that it won’t rain on our parade. We were never promised “a rose garden.” But, we live our lives in faith that there is something greater. God is our help in every need. God is always with us, even when we don’t realize it. The truth of the matter is what we have comes to us as a gift from God. This is the Grace of God.

 

 

The great sage, Lao Tzu, in his great scripture said, “Be content with what you have. Rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

 

 

Some of us live our lives as if someday in the future our real life is going to start. Have you ever felt that way? Somehow, it is so easy to focus on what is missing, on the lack in our lives. When a person forgets about God, it is easy to focus on the emptiness and the things that are missing.

 

 

The author of The Peter Principle said, “The good life starts only when you stop wanting a better one.”

 

 

Every situation that challenges us has within it the seed of its own cure. The problem is not what is happening to us, but how we think about it and how we feel about it. The world is not the way it is; it is the way we are. The world is the way we think about it. We say what it will be to us. The challenge to us is not to let feelings of lack and fear that come up in us when things seem to go wrong, contaminate the gifts God has already given us.

 

 

God’s gifts are all around us.

 

 

I’m sure you’ve heard this story, and it may be true. A lady was sitting with three of her friends in the cafeteria. Three of them were expounding on a subject of how much they wanted to have a relationship in their lives. They felt that having a loving relationship in their lives would bring about the perfect life, the contented life. They talked on and on about their dreams and visions of the perfect relationship. They were all stating that they couldn’t find happiness until they found that perfect relationship. Really??

 

 

What you or another may say you need before the good life can begin, somebody else in the room will say, “I have that, and it’s not what it’s cracked up to be. It’s not that.” It seems as if every situation that challenges us in our lives, brings us to the false realization that life is not as good as it should be. However, in that and every situation, exists the remedy for what’s tormenting us. In every situation there exists the cure.

 

 

If we find ourselves at a point where we are in a limbo state in our lives, there is then the opportunity to do some things we only dreamed about when working full-time or busy with our kids. Gardening, reading a book, writing letters to friends, visiting friends, doing all kinds of things that we never dreamed we could do. Enjoy the time , every minute because a new day will come, and we will be spiritually ready for it, instead of exhausted.

 

 

If your car won’t run, and you are can’t get it fixed, you have a chance to consider what really needs to be done today – to relax, to be less busy in your life.

 

 

If you do not feel well, if you are having a physical challenge of some kind, that’s an opportunity to relax, to pay attention to yourself, to see what your body and most probably, your soul is trying to tell you.

 

 

What can we do about improving our sense of God’s gifts? It can only be done by practicing them. We can read scripture or poetry, we can spend time in prayer and meditation, we can count our blessings, and we can take a spiritual view from the top.

 

 

“There was an English couple visiting New York City for the first time. They were rather afraid of New York City. They thought it had a sordid reputation – full of crime. Their host, however, was a wise person. He took them to the top of one of the tallest buildings in New York City to an observation deck. They went up there and took a look from the top. It was a clear day and they could seemingly see forever. They were most impressed with the beauty of New York City. The vista, the buildings, everything about it was just spectacular.

 

 

All during the rest of the week, as they traveled around town, they could not keep the vision of that view out of their minds. They wrote, later, to their host that it was the greatest experience they had ever had in traveling around the world. They loved New York City. They thought it was one of the loveliest and friendliest of cities. All of that because of a view from the top.”

 

 

The view that we take in prayer is so important to how we see things; it is a view from the top.

 

 

What kind of a view do we have of our lives? Are we focused on the things that are going wrong? Are we focused on the lack? Or are we focused, instead, on the things that are going right, on the good things in our lives? Before we react in negativity or have a strong feeling or reaction to the people and conditions in our lives, we need to lift up our eyes to the hills and contemplate all the changes that are taking place in our lives from the highest point of view.

 

 

In John 4:33-38, there is a story that takes place right after the experience of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. The disciples came up to Jesus, knowing that He was hungry, and offered to bring him food. Jesus said He had food to eat that they knew not of. Then, He looked out at the barren fields and said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to accomplish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest?’ I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest.”

 

 

At this time, the fields had just been planted. They were not ready to harvest. But from Jesus’ vision, He could tell that all was well and that the harvest was absolutely guaranteed.

 

 

What is this field? This field is the seeds of Spirit that have already been sown. There is not something to be done; there is not something we must seek. It’s always present, already here, waiting. White, of course, means pure or complete as in having all the colors of the rainbow. And harvest means a time ripe for gathering. It is the period that arrives in our soul, when our consciousness is ready to claim those seeds planted by God.

 

 

So ‘the fields are already white for harvest’ means that, right now, in our lives, whatever is taking place is there to bless us, if we only see the opportunity that exists to rise up within us. The fields are already white for harvest. The view from the top sees things that we were blind to when viewing from the bottom of life. We are able to see from the end to where we wish to go.

 

 

There is also a statement that comes right after this, when Jesus said to the disciples, “I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor.” To me this means that God’s gifts come to us, not through our own efforts, but by Grace.

 

 

The gifts are simply HERE already.

 

 

For all of our expertise in robotics, we do not know how to make one human mind work. It is a miracle for us to think, to feel, to make a heart beat, to make cells grow, to plant seeds in the earth, and to have a harvest at all. These are miracles.

 

 

God’s gifts are everywhere in our lives. We have to take them, accept them. Could it be true that the best things in life are free? The blossoms on the bough? Sun-dappled wood? The warmth of love? The celebration of success? And even the lessons of failure, contain the knowledge, the seeds of future success?

 

 

Everything is a God blessing to us, but we have to focus on those blessings, not on what is missing or lacking, not that we need more money, more success, more of something seemingly missing in our lives. Even the things that challenge us have a great blessing to offer us if we take the view from the top.

 

 

I would like to close with a prayer that I think is quite cute and also very poignant to the today. It is called “A Candid Prayer.” You may have heard it, but think about its meaning as you go into prayer today.

 

 

There was once a farmer who had three sons: Jim, John, and Sam. No one in this family had ever attended church, or had time for God.

 

 

The pastor of the church tried for years to interest the family in the things of God, to no avail. One day, a rattlesnake bit Sam. The doctor was called, and he did all he could to help Sam, but the outlook for Sam’s recovery was very dim. The pastor was called and apprised of the situation. The pastor arrived and began to pray as follows:

 

 

“O wise and righteous Father, we thank Thee that in Thine wisdom Thou didst send this rattlesnake to bite Sam. He has never been inside the church. It is doubtful that he has, in all this time, ever prayed or even acknowledged Thine existence. Now, we trust that this experience will be a valuable lesson to him and will lead to his genuine repentance. And now, O Father, will Thou send another rattlesnake to bite Jim and another to bite John and another really big one to bite the old man? For years we have done everything we know to get them to turn to Thee, but all in vain. It seems, therefore, that what all our combined efforts could not do, this rattlesnake has done. We thus conclude that the only thing that will do this family any real good is a rattlesnake. So, Lord, please, send us bigger and better rattlesnakes. Amen.”

 

 

My friends, challenges when they cause us to remember God can be a gift, because remembering the Divine gift, is the gift itself.

The Lord is my Shepherd

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
God maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
God leadeth me beside the still waters.
God restoreth my soul: God leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for God’s name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil;
My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23

 

 

Those of us who either willingly or were drug to Church and Sunday School as a child probably remember all or most of Psalm 23; If not, let me encourage you to learn it. David wrote this Psalm as God’s promise to us, in prayer. Let’s take a look at this Psalm – behind the scenes so to speak.

 

 

Dr. Alexia Carrel is a medical doctor who won a Nobel Prize. He wrote:
“Prayer is the most powerful form of energy that one can generate. The influence of prayer on the human mind and body is as demonstrable as that of secreting glands. Its results can be measured in terms of increased buoyancy, greater intellectual vigor, moral stamina, and a deeper understanding of human relationships. Prayer is indispensable to the fullest development of personality. Only in prayer do we achieve that complete harmonious assembly of mind, body, and spirit which gives the frail human need its unshakable strength. When we pray we liken ourselves with the inexhaustible motive that spins the universe…”

 

 

When we, and yes David also, (took) take the time to connect with God, we take the time to connect with our best possibilities. We connect with all possibility, as it comes through God, into our minds and our souls.

 

We embrace our Lord, our creator and Savior. He is our perfect leader, and we pray to be kept on the path of righteousness of His Divine thought. When we connect with God, we connect with strength that we didn’t even know we had. We connect with God and we know that all is and will be well again.

 

 

This is called “Into the Day”

 

I got up early one morning
And rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
I didn’t have time to pray.

 

Troubles just tumbled about me
And heavier came each task.
Why doesn’t God help me, I wondered,
God answered, “You didn’t ask.”

 

I tried to come into God’s presence,
I used all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
“Why child, you didn’t knock.”

 

I wanted to see joy and beauty,
But the day toiled on gray and bleak,
I called on the Lord for the reason–
God said, “You didn’t seek.

 

I woke up early this morning
And paused before entering the day.
I had so much to accomplish
That I had to take time to pray.
(Author Unknown)

 

 

We speak so often about prayer. And why? Because in our life, prayer is like opening a floodgate of God’s perfect good. Behind that floodgate is a force, well beyond our human power, of absolute good—even greater good than we can conceive of from our human mind. Prayer releases and renews our energies and gives us vitality and power through God. When we pray, we are having a conversation or a talk, if you will, with God. Talk to God as your best friend. Every prayer should be a brand new experience. It should be new and thrilling—a dynamic new adventure of spiritual communication.

 

A businessman gave this advice, “If you’re going to a business meeting, take your silent partner with you and you talk as you would to a fine acquaintance that has been with you every second of your life.

 

Think about how mothers talk to their children when they are ill. She doesn’t leave the side of her youngster and talks to him/her in a loving, soothing way. Or, talk to God like a father who has been with you every second, believed in you, and was there to teach you how to ride a bike or play basketball. Have you seen the commercial where the young boy is learning to ride his two wheeler bike and says to his mom, “Don’t let go until I tell you to.” Be with God like that. What an amazing spiritual journey of discovery together where you are believing and trusting in a power that is greater than yourself.

 

“When a man picked up his automobile at the dealership, they wanted him to test the engine. (The wanted to impress him with the power of the engine.) So they had him put the car in park and they said, “Now, rev up this engine to 5,000 rpm.”

 

The car is in park, and he revs the engine up. As the car shakes and quivers with suppressed energy, he thought, “This is like me, often all my potential is in park.”

 

We need to get out of “Park” and move the shift into “Drive” and feel that movement forward.   “Drive”, for man, is prayer – prayer in the Jesus Christ way, praying, believing without doubt and knowing that what we are praying for is one with us, and that we are going to receive.

 

“The inward soul needs to be fed—not a food that you get at a restaurant, but soul feeding from God for your inward soul. You may be stuffed with food, but your inward soul is often starved. It might not have been fed for a long time. You may be soul starved, and you do not know why.  There may be an uneasiness about your life.

 

“When your inward soul is fed in prayer, there is an inward poise, peace, well-being, and dominion. To neglect this, causes you to stumble through life overburdened. In time, we become irritable, tired, and depleted.

 

“Prayer releases old pressures. Stress builds silently, and then all of a sudden you are like a pressure keg, and you do not know why, but you feel like you’re going to explode. Nothing has happened in the present moment, but still you are so uneasy inside of yourself. You know you have to release this some way, somehow. Prayer releases these old energies, feelings, emotions, and the dormant things of spirit. It refreshes you with new life. It heals diseases, but that is an effect of those old pressures. Prayer is the ultimate healing power.” C.C.

 

Jesus said to pray continually. You might ask, “I could pray for a little while, but how am I going to pray, and pray, and pray?”

 

How do you talk to your best friend for so long? Jesus doesn’t want your prayers to be a drab, boring statement of the same thing every time.

 

One woman who was a professional bowler said, “I go to God if I’m going bowling. I take God with me. God knows how to bowl better than I do.”

 

The most powerful prayer that we can pray is united prayer. Almost always in the Bible when Jesus sent out disciples, he sent them out two-by-two, so that they would not forget, and continually remind themselves of their spiritual power.

 

Find a prayer partner to pray with.

 

Jesus said in Matthew 18:20 “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

 

Each of us has to take the spiritual power given as God-given gifts and use it to serve others, making our world a better place.

 

A minister once had a prayer vigil in one of the ministries in which she served. She asked some of her Board members to take part in the prayer vigil. One of the Board members said, “Oh no. I don’t want to do that. I want to do something that’s important.” There is nothing more important that we can do than pray—to take the time and allow God to come through us.

 

Albert Schweitzer built hospitals in the jungles. One day he asked one of the natives to carry some wood. The native had been learning to read and write and replied, “I’d like to, sir, but it’s beneath my dignity. I am a scholar—an intellectual.”

 

Albert Schweitzer chuckled and said, “I’ve always wanted to be an intellectual too, but will never quite make it, so I’ll carry the wood!”

 

Matthew 23:11 says, “The greatest among you will be your servant.”

 

Mark 9:35 says, “He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’”

 

And in I Corinthians 10:24 it says, “Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other.”

 

Here we are today to follow Jesus. What does it mean to be a servant of another person? To be a servant, we are encouraged to listen, believe in, and pray with.. If we did that, then we would be a servant and a friend, and we would be following the wishes of our Lord.

 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote:

 

“There are only two kinds of people on earth today; Two kinds of people, no more I say.
Not the rich and the poor, for to know a man’s wealth
You must first know the state of his consciousness and health,
Not the happy and sad, for in life’s passing years,
Each has his laughter and each has his tears.
No, the two kinds of people on earth I mean
Are the people who lift and the people who lean.
In which class are you?
Are you lifting the load
Of some overtaxed lifter who’s going down the road,
Or are you a leaner who lets others share
Your portion of toil and labor and care?”

 

 

I love this.  We are lifters here; and I must always know myself as a “lifter.”. We are lifters for all of humankind. That is our mission. When we pray here, we pray for everyone, we pray with people who are not of our own faith. We pray on their behalf, and believe and listen.

 

You are a part of this ministry. You can be a Baptist, a Methodist, a Catholic, or any denomination. You are a part of this ministry because we are all part of the ministry of God.

 

That’s the mission. We are accepting the mission of following Jesus Christ by upholding the very best about another person, believing that they can be healed, or they can have a second chance, or they can have God work in their lives.

 

We are not saying that we have the power. We are acknowledging that God has the power.

 

We need you to pray with us and to uphold the high watch for yourself and other people. It will be a continuous prayer with a rhythm that sweeps around this globe. A tremendous power will be generated. There will be extra-ordinary healings, and an uplifting and restoring of our souls.

 

The road that we are traveling from the mortal plane of feeling lost and alone to the spiritual plane is beset with many obstacles and obstructions, and we need the assistance of The One stronger than any of those who now dwell here in human bodies—we each need God’s help.

 

The human alone is not always a safe guide, because he or she sees in a limited, human way. We want The One who sees wholly in Spirit, and That — we find in Jesus Christ.

 

And that is why we, like David, proclaim, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…”.

 

Jesus Christ is the head of this ministry. I encourage you to be in prayer with us during this special time.   http://thespiritualfamily.chatango.com/?flash .   We meet in a gathering of fellowship every Thursday at 7:30Central time for just that purpose and welcome all to pray and fellowship with us. We are also available 24/7 so join us any time.

 

Let us pray:

 

Dear God, we turn to You, and we are asking that a special spiritual awareness be given to each person praying. We ask that each person being prayed for will be blessed, that God’s healing light and love will radiate through all of us and all those with and for whom we pray, throughout all Creation.

 

In Jesus Christ’s name . . . Amen.

What If I Hadn’t Said YES???

WHAT IF I HADN’T SAID YES?

One Sunday morning, I forced myself to get out of bed and ready for a new day.  I slipped five little smooth stones into my pocket with a shaking hand and went off to face THE GIANT.

I went back to church.  I was present in body, but every ounce of me was uncomfortable being there. Something major shifted in my spirit when I said yes to God.

Ever since my nightmarish experience with my pastor and the church years ago, I had grown to be untrusting, cynical, fearful and very uninvolved in my attitude towards church, For over two years I stayed away. I had lost hope in praying that somehow my chasm of difference with the pastor might be resolved and somehow I could enjoy the church the way I once had. I could not understand my husband’s unwavering loyalty to a church and pastor that had “thrown me to the curb”. I felt confused and betrayed. We were unable to discuss it, and neither of us could give on our position. In spite of my hurt and cynicism, I became more than ever devoted to the Lord during this time away from church. I read books and blogs. I joined countless on-line forums which discussed scripture, doctrine, lifestyles, etc., some of which advocated a life of loving and serving God outside of “church”—a church without walls, so to speak. I explored this concept, and although it fed into the hurt and isolation I was feeling at the time, I gradually became convinced that it was not what Christ had intended for me or for His Church. When I began to voice this to my newfound on-line friends, I felt their rejection and felt more isolated than ever. I became reclusive, which was the best course of action I could have taken at the time. Alone with God, I drenched myself in worship music and prayer. Countless hours were spent just soaking in the presence of God and learning to live LOVED. God was gradually healing my wounded spirit and drawing me very close to Himself. I had almost no contact with people, though, but I think that was all right for a time. God had a plan which He was working into place.

My husband was patient with me, allowing me my freedom to spend my time this way. He continued to attend church and to teach adult Sunday School, which has been an anointed calling on his life for many years. I continued seeking and hungering for more and more of God . Those months were a time of intense  spiritual growth for me. All the doubts and questions I had about doctrine and the way God moves were worked upon in ways that I wasn’t always conscious of. The Lord was doing His work in me.  The missing component was fellowship, though, but I had no desire for it.

Finally I began to hear God gently speaking to me about going back to church (not just any church, but the one I had left); and after fighting that for another half year, I began to attend, only because I thought it would please my husband and I desired to be a submissive wife and show my love for him.  Just walking through the foyer caused intense anxiety. It was next to impossible for me to have conversations with people in whose support and trust I wasn’t confident.

HOWEVER, almost right away, God brought into my life a wonderful family which I met at the church; and opened up a door to several years of precious fellowship and ministry. At first, my husband had to pursue the relationship by himself because I was not yet ready to trust anyone. But this single mother and her six adopted Russian children worked their way quickly and deeply into my heart. Soon we adopted them as our Grandchildren. It was through them that God brought me back into contact with other Christians. We became an intimate part of their family life, and they of ours. We  enjoyed investing ourselves in time, love and money to provide experiences they had never had a chance to taste.  I began to notice that spiritual gifts long dormant in my spirit began to come back to life and I truly was able to bring blessing to others. I got outside my comfort zone, and I sacrificially gave of myself in ways beyond what I thought possible. Our involvement with this family brought them through a very difficult year with two separate kids attempting suicide, as well as some intense one-on-one discipleship and mentoring between one of the boys and me. Not only was I experiencing the reward of speaking into their lives, but God was building in me a sense of being needed, and bringing healing to my fractured  spirit as THEY spoke into MY life.

Along with leading times of prayer and devotions for this family, my husband continued teaching Sunday school (his class was where a large group of adults got their main spiritual feeding); and I felt peace with my submission to his desires to remain there, even though I was uncomfortable. I have always had a strong respect for his ministry of teaching and pastoring people. People commented often that we were an inspiration to them. I felt like a hypocrite. I knew that I was walking in God’s  calling when it came to “my” family, but I felt like a phony attending a church of which I had no desire to be a deeply connected part. I think that mainly the people could observe the intense love for those kids radiating from my face. I did not realize that I actually was becoming deeply connected to all of them by loving “my” family.

Time went on. Our ministry with our adopted family increased and became even more evident in the church body. The pastor expressed thanks and appreciation to us several times, and in his own way showed that he was glad I had returned. Slowly I began to tolerate being around him again, and became actually on friendly speaking terms. I also slowly began to reach out a bit more to others around me in the church body. During this period of intense spiritual warfare and intercession, I grew in spirit. I sometimes felt misunderstood and unheard, but I couldn’t let that stop me. I had a strong urging to battle for the kids in intercession, especially two of the boys who were so dear to me and got entangled in unhealthy relationships and activities. I kept pressing on. My heart was totally broken over having been lied to and betrayed by one I loved so intensely. I had some hard times with failure feelings regarding him, but I never totally gave up hope for him. I continued on in prayer. But the intensity was gone. I felt like my time of usefulness in their lives was coming to an end, and I was waiting for something new from the Lord to be focused on.

I know that I am at my best and lean more toward winning the battle against depression when I have someone specific to pour my love out on. I was really trying to keep patient and expectant while God’s plan came to me. I constantly battled depression, anxiety, uselessness and unworthiness. Even with all of that, my daughter says that she never has seen me with as much inner drive, purpose and sense of being as I was when I was in the thick of serving this family.

One Sunday, just over a month ago, I stood in the morning worship service, enjoying the songs and praying the words to the Lord. As the music flowed on, a phrase kept entering my consciousness over and over: “You are not alone.” And then another: “I will ALWAYS be with you.” At the emphasis on the word ALWAYS, I knew I was receiving a prophetic word for my dear grandson, who was standing behind me. He had not been in church for many weeks, and none of the family had been in good communication with him. It had been a very very long road for him. I think back to that awful time when he attempted suicide and was hospitalized for months. Hardly a day could pass without the Lord heavily laying him on my heart for intercession. I labored in intercession, day and night. I pleaded for his deliverance, healing, and salvation. He seemed to resist every move made toward him, but I still gave him one of my prayer blankets and told him I would ALWAYS love him and pray for him. I sent him notes several times a week to encourage and share scripture, and I signed each one, “Love ALWAYS, Grandma”.  For me, the word ALWAYS was like a code word. I wanted him to remember that I always said that! He continued to pull his wall of self protection tightly to himself, and he seemed to reject every outreach of love.

Now, here I stood in the worship service battling against giving this prophetic word that I knew was for him. The enemy whispered to me, “He will know it’s pointed at him, and he will just think you are preaching at him, and he will reject it.” I battled and battled, but it kept building up stronger and stronger until I could stand it no more. I also knew at that point that the word could be for others in the church who needed to hear it as well. S, out it came finally in tongues and interpretation:

“Comfort yourself with the knowledge that you are not alone.
I am with you, I have always been with you.
I see you standing there thinking that you are all alone
but you are NOT ALONE.
I will always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS be with you and
I will always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS love you.
No matter what.
I love you.”

I felt the presence of the Lord coming in waves as we ended the time of singing. Pastor must have felt it as well, because instead of just praying a general prayer over people’s needs, he called them forward for prayer, which doesn’t happen very often. My husband and I, when we saw some people making their way up to the altar, went and stood in front of a couple of them. I prayed over Anna, an African lady who devoutly loves the Lord. Her english is difficult to understand, so I didn’t ask what her need was, but just started to pray and minister love and encouragement to her. Soon she was weeping in my arms, and I knew that the prayers had found their mark.

I glanced up just then, and there was my dear grandson, standing there alone watching me, waiting for me to finish!

I held my arms out to him, and he flew into them and began to weep, great wrenching sobs tearing from deep within him. He tried to hold it back but I said, “Let it out!” and began to pray that walls long in place would come down and he would be set free. We hugged on each other tight and he sobbed and sobbed. I prayed and held him close. I wanted to give the Lord opportunity to speak to him and to cleanse him and set him free. Finally I held him at arm’s distance and looked directly into his eyes and asked, “Do you give your heart back to Jesus today?” and without a waver of any kind he said, “Yes I do.”

Sometimes, single moments have eternity wrapped up inside them.

When I looked into his eyes before asking that question, I saw all the beauty and the glory that I have always been privileged to see in his spirit, even when others were ready to give up on him. His beautiful blue eyes were calm and filled with peace and love. Later, when I was visiting with people after church, he came to me again, and hugged me and thanked me. I could not have been more blessed than I was at that moment. He looked so different, so radiant!  I told him, “You, know, the enemy is not going to like what happened here today. You need to know that and be prepared.” He said, “I know.” I invited him on the spot to come over at least once a week and have some supper, one-on-two fellowship, bible study and prayer with us. It has been a rich time. He is a new man.  He is soaking up all the mentoring like a sponge, and we have great hope for him as he grows up in God. He has entered an apprenticeship for membership in the carpenters’ union, and has willingly sat down with his Grandpa and begun to set his messed up finances in order. I sometimes feel the need to pinch myself to see if this wonderful change has really taken place! But yes, indeed it has!

What if I hadn’t said YES to God???

The other grandson’s life also came to a crisis recently and he made a firm commitment to go on with God. He will be starting college next fall, and feels called to be a Youth Minister. God is at work restoring trust, and I am so glad I continued to love him and pray for him even when all hope seemed gone.

What would have happened (or NOT happened) if I had not said yes to God and come back to church, even when I didn’t want to be there?

What would have been prevented from happening if I had given up praying and believing and hoping for my two precious grandsons when it was really dark?

I am in awe of how God worked all these individual testimonies out and brought all these circumstances and lives together in a miraculous chain of events! He graciously allowed the ripples from my love relationship with Him to touch and intersect with the lives of these precious ones. How I thank Him! And I marvel at the privilege of being allowed to see the answers to all those prayers spring to life before my very eyes! What a privilege, when it seems so many go on for years and years without seeing any result or change.

Lord, I thank You that You always have a plan—You are at work in each of us, bringing our lives into proximity with others who You love, drawing all of our processes of individual inner healing together, into that earth shaking, astounding moment when You converge those streams and pour out oceans of grace on us all at the same time!  You are always working, and You invite us to come alongside You and join in what You are doing. Even when wounds are deep, You are there drawing out love. You loved me too much to leave me alone in depression and woundedness; and you loved my grandsons too much to leave them without hope. You are a miracle working God, and capable of working so many things to come together at once and work together for Your glory and our good.

I stand in awe. It is a great marvel and a wonder: Even though You are infinitely capable of doing so all by Yourself, You love working miracles in response to our YES.

Ugly Duckling or Swan

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

 

 

Another animal/fowl story: Old Mother Duck sighed. Six eggs had hatched. She had a brood of six of the finest ducklings you would ever want to see. But the seventh egg refused to hatch. It was a bigger egg than the others had been. Perhaps it needed more time. So she settled herself on the nest once more and covered the seventh egg.

 

She started to worry and asked, “Why won’t my seventh egg hatch?” She was really just beginning to think that she would have to leave this last egg, for her other six little ducklings were beginning to get far too lively to be left alone any longer.  At last she heard the tapping sound from inside the egg, which told her that the seventh baby was about to be born. She stood aside and watched.
All at once the shell was shattered and out popped a little head and a neck.

 

Mother Duck gasped. This baby wasn’t a bit like the other babies–like her other beautiful six yellow, fluffy, ducklings. It had a long neck and its feathers were a rather dirty color. It was ugly. But still it was Mother Duck’s baby, so she fussed over it lovingly while its feathers dried out.  Then she ushered it out in the sunshine to play with its other six brothers and sisters.

 

The ugly ducking waddled shyly toward them, but when they saw him coming they all stopped quacking and stared. Then they turned their backs and ran away. Mother Duck pretended not to notice their unkindness. “Come children,” she called, “Time to learn to swim. Come along now.” She led the way to the pond with all the little yellow ducklings following her in a line, and the ugly little duckling bringing up the rear.

 

They all splashed around the in the water. Of all of them, the ugly ducking swam the best, which didn’t please the others at all. He tried to join in their games, but they swam away from him just because he looked so different from them all. He was so ugly.

 

At the end of the day, he was a very sad and lonely little duckling. At the end of the week he felt still worse. Nobody wanted him, apart from his mother, who bravely tried to act as if he were no different from the others. His mother was the only friend he had; he loved her dearly

.

Then there came a day when he tried to be friendly to an old duck who promptly attacked him. Of course, his mother flew to his rescue and the old duck pecked her cruelly before she fled to the shelter of the reeds.   The ugly ducking was dreadfully upset. All because of him, his dear mother was hurt. Nobody wanted him. And now, because of him, they were turning upon her too.

 

He made his way down to the water’s edge. With a tear in his eye he waved good-bye to his family and his mother. They didn’t know he was going away, but he swam away anyway, never to return.

 

By now he was growing big and strong, even if he was still so ugly, and he managed to find enough to eat. But still nobody would have anything to do with him. And if he saw any other creatures coming, he would hide until they passed.

 

One day as he hid among the reeds at a lakeside far from his home, a flock of swans swam by. He thought, “They are the most beautiful creatures that I’ve ever seen. How wonderful it would be to be like them!” He shed a tear in the water.

 

Then winter came. With the cold and the rain he had a very hard time indeed with no shelter from the cruel weather. But somehow he managed on his own until spring came . . . at last. It was so lovely and he was so glad to be alive, even though he was so lonely.

 

One fine morning he was swimming out on a lake when a voice behind him said, “Hello, friend.”

 

He turned around quickly and there were swans. “Hello,” he said.

 

“We’re pleased to see you,” they said. They were actually friendly to him. He just couldn’t believe it.

 

Then one of them said, “Why are you alone? Why don’t you swim with us?”

 

“May I? May I really?” he stammered.

 

“Why not?” came the reply,

 

“You’re a swan, aren’t you?” Then he looked down at his reflection in the water and how amazed he was. He was really a swan.

 

During the winter, all of his drab feathers had fallen away and he was shining white; a graceful swan. So he swam away with the other swans and he lived happily ever after.

 

 

Have you ever felt different and at least a little isolated from other people? I know I have. Have they ever isolated you and didn’t want anything to do with you because you were just a little bit different or hatched a little later? Again, I have.

 

 

Remember during your childhood. There were others who seemed to go so much faster than you. You were a little bit slower, but you were taking your own time, getting up your own speed. Or, you didn’t go along with the crowd, maybe because they wouldn’t go with you or share in your ideas or beliefs. Or you felt out of place for some reason. Perhaps it is because you swam a little bit better and a little bit faster than the crowd, and the crowd did not like you at all because of that. Perhaps you have been criticized or rejected for your beliefs, or maybe for your positive outlook or because you had a special smile on your face that others did not recognize.

 

 

Or maybe this is all coming from inside of yourself. Maybe you feel rejected–not by anyone outside of you but by something inside of you. Maybe you feel a kind of spiritual discontent and you don’t know why. You feel like that person who is trying to hatch out of his or her egg, but you haven’t quite got it yet; you haven’t quite hatched.

 

 

I have a question for you. Should the baby swan have stayed and tried to change the ducks into being swans? Should the baby have just stayed there, and no matter how bad it was, should he have tried to convince them that they, too, could be like him?

 

 

Sometimes, we have to leave the past and walk on into the future.

 

 

“God saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according  to God’s own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”   Titus 3:5

 

 

Then there was a child in a class in school. This child excelled in one way–the way we all do in some area of our life. This child was ridiculed because this child excelled in this one area of his life. What this child found was that a duck school is going to teach you to be a good duck. If you’re a swan, you have to find other swans to be with and you have to find a swan school. This is what this boy eventually did, and this is why this boy is excelling today.

 

 

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above,
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1

 

 

In this life it takes great courage to be a swan. Each one of you is a swan in some area of your life. You have taken courage to rise above the crowd or even the mob to lift out of the mediocrity of the masses, to rise up out of old habit thoughts and concepts about yourself.

 

 

“Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” Philippians 2:2

 

 

It takes great courage to rise above appearances and to know that you are mightier than circumstances, mightier than the environment that you have been placed in or born in.

 

 

When you are in an environment where you seem to be surrounded by critics, skepticism and negativity, you better be connected to an environment which is holy within you. You have an inner fortitude of spiritual strength and power. You know!

 

 

Here is the swan’s list to success:

 

 

#1. You no longer wish you are someone else.

 

 

#2. You give yourself permission to be you–unique, special, not a duplicate, or Xerox copy.

 

 

#3. You use what you have to the glory of God.

 

 

#4. Like what you’ve got and appreciate your gifts.

 

 

#5. Realize you have been created by God to do something special and unique. Even if you haven’t hatched fully out of your egg yet, realize that. Do not concentrate on the limitations of your human mind concept about yourself. Concentrate, instead, on God’s concept of you.

 

 

#6. Create your own world by allowing God to think through you. Every time you’re put down, put God up. Every time someone knocks down your dream, have God reconstruct it right in front of your eyes. Every time somebody doesn’t like you, or rejects you, go to the One who always loves you.

 

 

It was a real shock when you went out into the world and you met people for the first time who didn’t like you, didn’t appreciate you, or even rejected you. But when that happens to you, please go to the One who always accepts you; go to the Comforter within.

 

 

Here’s a cute story. There was a student who was writing a theological paper. On his paper he wrote, “The Lord has taken away our guilt,” but he misspelled ‘guilt’ and he wrote: “The Lord has taken away our quilt.”

 

 

In the margin the instructor wrote, “That’s okay because he’s given us the Comforter.”

 

 

The Bible says, “Not my will but Thine be done.” It is to remind us every day to allow God’s will to be done in us and through us.

 

 

Sometimes when we push our own idea, we create an environment that is not holiness, but hellish. I’ll give you an example. At Dublin’s Abbey Theater, the poet-playwright W. B. Yeats was looking for realism in his theater. He was working to create the lighting effects for a glorious sunset. Hour after hour he worked with the lighting staff to try every conceivable combination of color and intensity. At last he saw exactly the effect he wanted and he cried to those helping him, “That’s it. Hold it!”

 

 

And they cried down, “Sorry, sir, we can’t. The theater’s on fire.” That’s a true story.

 

 

When you look back on your life, sometimes you may have tried to create your own environment, you laugh because you know a lot of those times it was the worst possible thing you could have done because you did it from human mind. You did it through all the false concepts you had about yourself and you created that environment.

 

 

If you create an environment for yourself based on a self-image that is created through you by realizing you are made in the image and likeness of God, you will reset your mind and therefore reset your environment.

 

 

Psalms 131:1-3 O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.”

 

 

Allow you to be you as God’s creation – you are His child.

 

Let us pray.

 

Dear God, I realize this day with Your help that I am not bound by anything. No past thoughts inside of me hold me down. My soul rejoices in this realization. Gone are the limitations of yesterday. Every trace has vanished like a veil before the morning sun. Thank You, Lord.

 

Gone are the vain regrets. All the possibilities of this new day stretch before me, inviting me onward and upward. Thanks You, sweet Jesus.

 

I am one with the overcoming triumphant spirit of Christ. All power is given to Him in heaven and on earth, and He shows and shares with me. It is lifting me to ever-increasing heights of love and success in my spiritual walk.

 

In Jesus Christ’s name I pray and I believe . . . Amen.