LOVE AND LEMONADE

That well-used phrase that ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ is simply nonsense. I learned a couple new things today. What surprises me is that some of the things I’m learning are old things that I didn’t understand.

Take my paternal grandfather. I never asked why he was never with the family (his family) for thanksgiving dinner. We always went over the river, across a bridge, and through the woods to get to grandmother’s house.  This grandma was tall (everyone in my dad’s family are tall), and classy. That’s why I was so surprised one year to discover she was serving ‘rotten’ olives for thanksgiving dinner. I told my mom, and she explained that they were not rotten, they were black olives and I’d like them. I do.

I eventually learned that my grandma and grandpa did not live together anymore. They had six children, four girls and two boys. Four of the six had nothing to do with their father anymore, only my dad and one sister ever saw him.

I don’t even know where he lived but I knew he was a house painter. This is what I just learned today. The story that a lot of painters are alcoholics, is true. Some painters wear protective masks because if they don’t, the lacquer ‘goes straight to the painter’s brain’. When they come off the high, it causes raging headaches, and they get drunk getting rid of the headache. I did not know that until today and I’m 77 years old. Slow learner, huh?

So all this information came to light because I was remembering a time, years ago, when my grandfather lived with us. We lived in a tiny house, and I have no idea where he slept, unless he slept in the basement.  Bare cement walls and floor, but a fine place to play. I felt sorry for my grandpa, because at mealtime, when we had a meal, the only thing he could eat was bread soaked in milk.

I was only about nine or ten, and the day I remember was sunny and hot. A perfect time for me to set up a lemonade stand in front of our house. Grandpa often sat in the back yard in a lawn chair, soaking up the sun.  So I asked Grandpa if he wanted to buy a glass of lemonade. He did and I was so happy.

One day grandpa got sick and had to go to the hospital in Minneapolis. Our family went to visit him in the hospital, that’s when I learned he had stomach cancer and was in a cancer hospital. He gave me a cute bunny rabbit made out of a facecloth, that he got on his dinner tray at Easter. A few months later, I was sad when Grandpa died and I couldn’t go to his funeral. I loved him and I know he loved me.

Why do all these memories  mean so much to me right now? Why Grandma and Grandpa didn’t live together. Because now, I understand how a person can show love.

I started thinking about that time Grandpa lived with us. I finally realized that my father grew up with an alcoholic father, in a broken home.  My father saw his parents marriage fall apart, in fact, the whole family fell apart. We went to see Grandma once or twice a year but certain people and certain topics were never mentioned.

Then, my father brought Grandpa into our house, looked after him, treated him with compassion and respect. I can’t help but think that was truly an act of love. I loved my grandpa and I know he loved me. He bought a glass of lemonade from me. I was so happy.

Don’t we have strange ideas about what love really is, and how to show love? I believe it means forgiving things from the past and being kind. I think it is even pouring your lemonade on the grass and letting  your granddaughter think it tasted great. Just remembering that time I recognize the great love my father showed to his father. I recognize now, the great love Grandpa showed me.

Oh, what great love the ‘Father’ has lavished on us

that we should be called the sons of God.

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CALLED TO THE BATTLE

Quintessential is the only ‘Q’ word I could find for God, for my spiritual alphabet. But it is a perfect fit. Quintessence, according to the Gage Canadian Dictionary, means the essence of a thing in it’s purest form. Quintessential: of the purest or most perfect kind. There is no word that better describes God.

I have a prayer journal with names of God for every letter of the alphabet. Along with those names, I am writing TRUE stories (as opposed to my fiction writing) of God at work in and through me. So far nothing had fit into the ‘quintessential’ category until today.

I have been praying for years for LGBT friends and family. It started back when a friend of my kids, right out of Bible school, declared he was gay. It was a traumatic time in our lives. New ground for us. But, wait, I can go back even further, when a girl in Bible school met this perfect guy, married him, had kids, and then was told he was gay, and wanted out of the marriage. He left a carnage of broken lives behind.

I have dialogued with LGBT friends and been told that they don’t feel my love. My response, lots of people do not feel loved by God either, but it does not change His love, God’s quintessential love for them.

The son of a former pastor joined the LGBT ideology, then two cousins, one on each side of my family, friends shared with me about members of their own families who had chosen that route. And yes, I say chosen, it is NOT genetic! That is a lie of the enemy.

More and more people were being brought into my life who needed to be covered in prayer. But as usual, the enemy came along to discourage me. What’s the use in talking to them? They always have an answer, albeit, not a God-given quintessential answer. What’s the use in praying?

Then our church hosted a ‘hearing God’ seminar. All my Christian life I had heard God speak to me, through His Word, sometimes in a still small voice, sometimes a nudge in my heart or conscience. This came at just the time when I acknowledged to God that I was discouraged with praying for my LGBT friends and family. I needed help. God spoke to me again. From James 1:6 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6: But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

That was what I needed to hear. My prayers could not depend on the response or lack of, but depended only on faith in my quintessential God. The only pure and perfect one. At our seminar, we prayed in small groups and I shared my story about how the Lord had answered me. With tears, two others in my group shared that they had family members in the LGBT category. I said I would pray for them too. I am talking specifically about people who were once set free in Christ but have now returned to the spiritual bondage of the world.

When I got home, the Lord gave me a firm nudge in the ribs and I dug out all the information I had filed away from my Spiritual Warfare Training sessions. One statement I read somewhere said, ‘Homosexuality is led by a spirit.’ Wow! Yes! This is spiritual warfare. Then I read the next verse in James 1. Verse 7: For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, and verse 8: he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

NOT ANYMORE, LORD. This is spiritual Warfare and you have already trained me for battle. I am praying with faith in my quintessential God. For those who don’t buy into that, I have only one thing to say. There is NOTHING MORE PURE AND PERFECT THAN PURE AND PERFECT!

Be sure you have on the whole armour of God before you enter the battle. I will pray for your LGBT friends and family too. My prayer ministry, KAHOOTZ/W/U is private and confidential. But better yet, let’s join together in this spiritual battle.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him

 

 

 

CHASING AFTER GOD

I grew up in the Red River Valley of North Dakota. Most of my home town, Park River, was at the bottom of a hill and historically, that hill was the west edge of Lake Agassi, a glacial lake from the a past ice age.

Various things like that, from the past, keep coming to mind and it has all finally made sense. Through ages past and, yes, even now, humans have been chasing after God.

Consider a time when everyone thought the world was flat. It was an accepted theory and has been followed by many more theories. Someone back then obviously tested out the theory and didn’t fall off the edge of the earth. I am thankful that people like Christopher Columbus struck out to find another world, chasing after the truth about God’s creation, believing there must be more.

Even gravity was a mystery until Newton started asking questions. The human body was a mystery until people like da Vinci and thousands before him wanted answers.

Then jump ahead to the exploration of outer space. Someone was challenged to know more. What amazes me is that no matter how far they go, there is always more to discover. They are, whether they realize it or not, chasing after the truth about God’s creation and God is always one step ahead. For reasons only scientists understand, they refuse to admit that God created more than they will ever see or understand.

Communication has skyrocketed in the past century. Human intelligence has tapped into the air waves, thanks to people like Franklin and Morse, but God made the air waves in the first place. What a remarkable creation, those airwaves. The internet, cell phones, radio, TV, Wifi, are all man-made technologies but they make use of those invisible airwaves and no human scientist can claim credit for creating them.

Great exploration of the oceans and creatures living under the water is taking place and every once in a while a new (to us) living being is discovered. I doubt if mankind will ever admit they are chasing after God.  Of course not, because then they would have to admit there is an intelligence greater than theirs. And so, without realizing it,  they continue to chase after God.

BLESSED BY A HURRICANE

I was recently reminded of Hurricane Hugo which slammed into Puerto Rico in 1989, twenty-five years ago. Bill Mellafont, a firefighter from Lethbridge, Alberta, felt a personal link to this event because his friends, Craig and Noreen Fawcett, had once worked there at the Evangelical School for the Deaf. Hurricane Hugo destroyed the school’s dorm.

A plea went out for volunteers to join work parties and Bill knew at once that this was something he wanted to do and his experience in construction would be an asset. He contacted ‘World Mission for the Deaf” and arranged to take part in one of their work parties. His expertise was actually with concrete, but he was going even if there was no concrete work for him to do. He scheduled his holidays for the end of January,1990, and booked his flight for a two-and-a-half week stay.

“I misunderstood how they wanted me to book my trip,” Bill acknowledged later. The groups were limited in size due to accommodations, so not only was Bill an extra person, the time he booked overlapped with two work parties. He began to doubt his decision to go but God increased his faith.

He decided to go ahead with his plans which included a quick visit en route with relatives in Ontario. That’s where he was when he received news that his wife had just had emergency gall bladder surgery. Bill was tempted to go home. Why had this happened now? Was his faith being tempted?

He knew by experience that sometimes a crisis could be turned into praise. Years earlier the Mellafont’s lost their ten-day-old daughter. As a result of that tragedy his wife was drawn into a cult. At the same time, members of the Christian Fellowship of Firefighters began ministering to Bill and he realized they needed help. As a family they began attending an evangelical church and within a short time, he and his wife both committed their lives to the Lord. A crisis turned to praise.

Now, faced with this decision, his mother and mother-in-law encouraged him to carry on. They would look after his wife and children.

When Bill landed in Puerto Rico he was met by Jerry Martin, one of the dorm parents from the school. Jerry told Bill how the Lord had provided exactly the tradesmen they needed except for the next two weeks. “You wouldn’t happen to know how to do concrete work, would you?” They were at the roof stage and this time the roof would be reinforced concrete.

The first group Bill worked with finished their time. They had hoped to finish the roof but had to leave it for the next crew. Bill said good-bye to that crew and welcomed the next group. This group also, did not have a concrete finisher. Several days later, under a beautiful Puerto Rico moon, Bill put the final trowel to the roof and flew home the next morning.

If that wasn’t enough miracle for you, there is more. The dorm that was destroyed by the hurricane was almost uninhabitable. The roof and walls were infested with termites and filled with years of bat dung. The mission had been planning to replace it, but only had $4,000 in trust for it.

Following Hurricane Hugo, pledges totaling $70,000 came flooding in and ninety-seven volunteers signed up for work parties. Building permits were miraculously available. A School for the Deaf in Puerto Rico saw an infested building turned into a tribute to God’s faithfulness by a hurricane. Bill Mellafont was the concrete finisher God sent to finish the job.

FLESH-EATING DISEASE

I knew next to nothing about flesh-eating disease (necrotizing fasciitis) before I moved to Moose Jaw but I learned a lot about it in short order. One of the men in the church I attend shared a moving account about his affliction with and healing from the horrible disease.

While I listened to his story, the Lord spoke to me. “The flesh-eating disease in this church has been healed.” Wow! What did that mean? Was the Lord talking about the man who was speaking? Or was He talking about something entirely different – Spiritual flesh-eating disease? I had never heard of that but one thing I did know, when the Lord speaks to me, I need to pass it on to a Godly person. So I told the pastor what the Lord told me.

That experience sent me to the Word of God to see if there was anything that supported the idea of spiritual flesh-eating disease. First clue: The entire twelfth chapter of I Corinthians talks about the church being the body of Christ, with many members and various abilities and gifts. Verse 27 tells us “All of you together are Christ’s body and each of you is a part of it.” The Word is full of wonderful verses telling us how to live right, like I John 3:18: Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” II Corinthians 5:15 tells us: “He (Christ) died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.”

Second clue: I found verses that warn us about what can happen if we don’t follow the Word. James 3:10 states: “And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely my brothers and sisters, this is not right.” James goes on to question in James 4:1 “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have so you scheme and kill to get it.”  Finally I came across the last clue: Galatians 5:15:But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.” Isn’t that a description of spiritual flesh-eating disease?

I have seen churches lose their influence because of internal fighting and arguments. I have seen churches give up and close their doors because of disunity.

What are the symptoms of this disease and how can we cure it? The first symptom is selfishness and selfishness is sin. If I put myself and what I want on the throne of my heart, then Christ is no longer Lord of my life. One evidence of selfishness is criticism. Criticism is saying, ‘I want things done the way I like it.’ Isn’t every word of criticism against the church and God’s people, actually a criticism against God? How do we heal it? We must cultivate an attitude of gratitude in the whole body. Not so easy to do but with love and prayer it is possible.

How about that miracle I promised in every prayer blog? It was in the second paragraph of this blog. The flesh-eating disease in this church has been healed. The evidence? Love permeates our congregation. Unity is front and center in our church staff and church board. Our annual business meetings are pretty close to a love fest.

The definition of a love fest as stated in the Urban dictionary is: When two or more people indulge in expressing their love for each other in such way that it never ends. It is the ultimate expression of deep, true love and respect for each other, usually manifested by an outburst of love expressions that make all involved feel warm, acknowledged and cared for. That’s us!

PRAYING FOR TERRORISTS

Our congregation was moved to tears when Pastor Dave Wicks talked about watching the video of the burning alive of a prisoner by ISIS. What was powerful, he noted, was when the camera panned over the faces of young ISIS followers who were standing at attention watching. There was horror in their eyes, some looked stunned, I’m sure many of them, at that moment, were wondering what they had gotten themselves into.

Out of that story, many people have begun to pray specifically for the terrorists. My prayer is that some of them will remember times of love from their past and will weigh them against the hatred being shown by the group they have joined. God’s word is being broadcast via radio waves all over the world. I pray that somewhere, someone in that ISIS terrorist group, will hear even a snippet of one of those messages.

I am reminded of the movie, Jakob the Liar. It came out in 1999 and tells the story of Jewish people living in a ghetto in Poland under the control of the Nazis. Jakob (Robin Williams), is detained one evening and taken to the police station. In the short time he is there, Jakob overhears a few minutes of news on the radio, encouraging news reporting that the Russians were on their way to rescue them. After Jakob is released he encourages his fellow Jews with that news. Everyone wants to hear more, so he embellishes the truth, assumes things that might happen and finally tells them he has a forbidden radio hidden away and continues to encourage his people with fictitious news.

To me, that is a great example of the fact that even a few sentences of God’s word overheard by one person has the potential to change hearts and minds and lives. Pray for wisdom for Christians who are preparing the scripts for the broadcasts and for their tech teams. Pray that God would fill them to overflowing with the love of Christ so that every word would be preached in love. Pray too, that those that hear the broadcast would share what they heard with others.

Before I finish this blog, I need to include a miracle as promised.This is not a current miracle but it is true and illustrates the truth. Saul was a man who hated Christians. Sound similar to the terrorists we hear about today? He sent people out to kill Christians and honestly believed it was God’s will to do so. Sounds so familiar, doesn’t it?

Then one day Saul came face to face with Jesus on the road to Damascus. You probably know the rest of the story. His life was transformed, his name changed to Paul and he wrote many of the epistles in our Bible.

Lord, in Jesus’ name I ask that even a tiny snippet of a Christian broadcast would be heard by a terrorist and grow and multiply and bring froth fruit onto salvation. I pray Lord, that you would raise up a Paul (or many) from out of the terrorists groups who are killing Christians. Then I ask you, Lord, for another miracle. Please, anoint Godly people to set up an underground railroad for those who want to flee their life of slavery to ISIS. During the Civil War in the USA slaves made their way from the south all the way up into Canada. It can be done again. God is able.

THE INCREDIBLE GREATNESS OF GOD’S POWER

This is a blog that has been on my heart for a long time. It has taken me a while to decide how to write this story of prayer without causing offense, but I’m going to try.

Several years ago, my husband and I moved from a smaller city on the prairies to a large city several provinces away. I had experience already with the occult and praying with authority. One of the amazing things we learned when we arrived in our new location was that no spiritual content was allowed on the local radio stations nor in the newspapers. A bit of investigation revealed that a professed warlock held an influential position in the city and he was behind the ban.

I was excited to find a Christian writers group to join. Our group was progressive and looking for ways to encourage other writers. That was until the suggestion was made to host a Christian writers workshop. The expressed fear was amazing.

“What if the warlock shows up and disrupts our workshop?” That was the first of many questions that arose. “Then we’ll pray him out of there,” was my response. It took a bit of persuasion but after much prayer and discussion we decided to go ahead with the workshop.

In the meantime I did a lot of personal praying, pleading for insight, reaffirming authority in prayer and searching the scriptures. I’m not sure how I came upon this idea, obviously an answer to my prayer for insight, but I began praying this prayer: “Lord, give that warlock every opportunity to turn to you but if he refuses, then in Jesus’ Name, remove him from his place of authority in this city.”

We had a successful writers workshop and he did not show up. But I continued to pray because he still had a grip on the media. Paul prayed for the Christians in Ephesus 1: (19). “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of  God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power (20) that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. (21) Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else – not only in this world but also in the world to come. (22) God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. (23) And the church is his body. It is made full and complete by Christ; who fills all things everywhere with himself.”

With scriptures like that in mind I continued to pray, “Lord, I pray that you will give that warlock every opportunity to turn to you, but if he refuses, I ask in Jesus’ name, that you will remove him from his place of influence in this city.” I prayed that daily for weeks even months. One morning a year after I began praying that prayer our clock radio came on in the morning and the first statement I heard was  that ****(the warlock) had died.

You can be sure I kept a close eye on the media in the months following. There was an obvious change and Christian programs began to be heard on the radio and Christian articles printed in the newspapers. I take no credit for that because I’m sure there were many Christians praying the same thing.

How many times are we told to fear not? We are assured the Lord is always with us and his power is available to us. Thank you, Lord, for giving us such an incredible demonstration of your awesome power for us who believe.