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When the Holy Spirit is Stirring


Is it just me, or is there a stirring of the Spirit in the body of Christ, right now?

I sense it. Like something just under the surface, something not quite clear in the fog. I know it's Him. It's a foreshadowing of something to come. God whispering, "Pay attention, daughter, I'm getting ready to move and I want you to be ready to move with me."

The feeling I'm feeling brings to mind this verse...
 "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."  1 Corinthian 13:12
I strain to understand, to know what He is telling me, but as always, this is a walk of faith, so even if I don't fully grasp, I trust that as I hold tightly to His hand and keep my ears and eyes wide open, when the time is right, He will reveal to me, my part.

I'm standing by, Lord.



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Fear crept up and jumped on my head!


A simple trip to the doctor to see why I was experiencing hearing loss turned into a biopsy of a suspicious spot on my nose, with positive results for basal cell carcinoma, a consult with a Mohs surgeon and a plastic surgeon and an upcoming surgery to remove the cancer.

The worst part? I learned that I have to be awake for the surgery that will take several hours to perform, followed by another surgery to close the would with a skin flap.  The more I thought about it, the more apprehensive I became. How much of my nose would they have to take? How bad would it hurt? How long would it take to heal? How bad will I look afterward?  As I mulled things over and insidious spirit of fear slithered it's way into my mind and took over. I was afraid - really afraid!

I thought if I Googled Mohs surgery it might give me a better understanding of the surgical process and calm my fears. WRONG!  

Before I could even find the facts, I was inundated with frightening pictures of noses post surgery. Big gaping wounds, disfiguring - faces bruised and stitched. Horrible pictures that scared the wits out of me. I turned off the computer, jumped in bed and pulled the covers over my head. I spent the night in fits of sleep, interspersed with scary images, imaginings and unsettling dreams. I prayed, but peace didn't come.

The next day was worse. Fear had a strangle-hold on me.  I recalled this verse....

 
 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3
I repeated it over and over, declaring my trust in the Lord. He'd never let me down in the past and I knew he wouldn't let me down this time, but...

fear wouldn't give up that easily. 

So, I initiated my secret weapon. I contacted prayer warriors around the country. Friends and family who love me and know how to hit their knees in intercession and spiritual warfare, because I believe in the power of prayer and the loving councel of godly people.

The fear lifted. I said...THE FEAR LIFTED!

That just makes me want to sing and shout! God is awesome and His people are kind, supportive and caring.

How do people go through these kinds of things without God and Christian brothers & sisters?

I still have to face the surgery in several weeks, but now I have peace. I'm sure fear will try to weasel his way in again, but I'm on guard, now and I know just what to do.

Joshua 1:9 says...

"Yes, be bold and strong! Banish fear and doubt! For remember, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Today, I met 3 of my friends for our weekly coffee, chat and blogging session. One of them, Joy, walked in and sang a little ditty she'd made up...

God will never forsake you. He'll never ever leave you.
No, never,  no, never, never never, no, never no, never, never, never, never, never, NO!
So, there, Fear - take that!

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Time to get back in the game!


It's been 5 months since I last posted here on Refreshed by the Word. Yikes!

Where have I been? Drifting. 

James Tissot [Public domain], via wikimedia


Drifting is not a good thing. Wandering around aimlessly, not really accomplishing anything. Filling my time with Facebook, Games on my Kindle, Thrift store shopping...you know, just killing time.  Why? I think it was a knee-jerk reaction to schedule overload. As you could probably tell from my last few posts back in September, 2014, my calendar was full and overflowing, because I have a hard time saying that little two letter word - NO.

Since then, I have whittled my schedule down. Maybe too much. I find myself looking for things to do.  The last couple of weeks, I've been asking God what he wants me to do. A familiar verse from the book of Timothy floated to mind...

Photo by Hans Splinter
"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands."   2 Timothy 1:6
 So, here I am - back at the keyboard, refreshed and ready to share again, the story of God's love for you, his amazing way of bringing us back to who we are - who we were meant to be - our purpose - our calling.

Photo credit: ;J. Star / Foter / ;CC BY-NC-SA
"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  Ephesians 2:10
We were created with purpose. Drifting along, not using the gifts God gave us to fulfill our purpose is unacceptable.  We are meant to change our world. To be light in a dark place, to bring hope to the hopeless, to encourage, to inspire...to shake things up. We were not meant to drift along, withdrawn, getting by - salt that has lost it's saltiness - good for nothing.

So, if you've been drifting along aimlessly, like I have, it's time for us to get back in the game. Time is short. We have a message that will change peoples lives. If you woke up this morning, then God's not finished with you yet. He wants to see you grow. He wants you to bring his message of love, forgiveness and restoration to those around you.

How about it? Have you been drifting, too?

 
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Have you ever felt like running away?

Photo courtesy RichardSweet, rgbstock.com
Running away. 

That's what I want to do when I allow my life to get too busy. When I'm juggling so much that things start falling through the cracks. When the pace I'm keeping causes my body to rebel and I find myself fighting stress-induced maladies. When I have so much on my mind that I can't remember important stuff. 

I tend to keep going until I hit the wall. I crash and burn. I get all ugly with everyone in my life. Everything they do irritates me.  I don't even like the face I see looking back at me in the mirror.  I rant, I grouse, I snap. You don't want to be around me. I don't even want to be around me.

That's the state I've been in for a while, now. This weekend, it all came to a head and I just wanted to run away. Unfortunately, that's not an option, so I turned to my old stand-by stress reliever - food.  I headed to the grocery store with every intention of filling my cart with junk and then eating myself into oblivion. 

I started through the aisles with a lump in my throat and tears threatening to bust loose. I had just placed the first item in my cart when I got a text from a friend.

"Come have breakfast with me in the morning."

My response - "I'm pretty toxic right now and I'm probably contagious."

I told her where I was and what I was about to do. Fortunately, she loves me enough to risk making me mad. The next few texts back and forth made me face the truth, made me realize that was a stupid way to handle my feelings, made me admit that gorging myself on junk food would only make things worse.

I already knew that, but at the time, I didn't care. Thank God, she did!

I left the store without buying anything. Knowing she was praying for me at that very moment. We met the next morning for breakfast and then spent the day together.  We talked through what was bothering me.  We laughed together.  She listened. She gave good, godly advise. She understood.

I didn't want to run away anymore.
Thank you, Lord, for seeing me right were I was - in the middle of the grocery store about to indulge in sinful gluttony - my drug of choice. You loved me enough to prompt a friend to contact me at that very moment. Thank you.

It's true, when you are tempted, God will provide a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

It's up to us to take the way out or to continue on our path of destruction.

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Brokenhearted and Crushed in Spirit



Sometimes life can be overwhelming. We’re tired and worn, discouraged and disheartened by the problems of life in this world.  The good news is that when we cry out to God for help, he hears and delivers us from our troubles.

That doesn’t always mean he takes away the circumstances. Often he does a greater work by strengthening us and changing us as he walks through those circumstances with us.

We are never alone and we never leave one of our own to struggle through their own difficulties. We gather around them, pray for them, encourage them and support them.  That’s what the family of God does.

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It's all in Your Mind

Sandra, Jeanette and I sat around the small table going over our sermon notes from this past Sunday and answering our discussion questions. The discussion took us to what goes on in our minds when we let them wander...like when you're busy with some monotonous task and you let your mind slip into neutral gear.

Me? I confess...if I let my mind wander it goes places that it should never go. I will have a running argument with someone, supplying both sides of the conversation. Or I will find myself listing all the things that are wrong in my life/church/family and who is to blame, which eventually leads to wondering why God isn't taking better care of me.

When we allow our thoughts to run free, they are like wayward children, rushing headlong into dangerous areas. That's because when our minds are idle, they are susceptible to input from the world, the flesh and the devil and those things pull us in a downward spiral.

We need to be on guard against those idle moments by actively keeping our minds focused on God and godly thoughts. 

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8 NIV
When we allow (or force) our minds to dwell on these things, an amazing thing happens...
 "You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You." Isaiah 26:3 AMP
So, let's reign those thoughts in. No, for all the damage they do to our spirits, let's take this thing seriously and wage all out warfare on stinkin' thinkin'.
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." NIV
Are you in?

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From Terrorist to Evangelist - It Can Happen


Once upon a time, there was a man named Saul who thought himself quite religious. He was zealous about his faith and abhorred anyone who thought differently.  He felt it his righteous duty to seek out, persecute, imprison and even have put to death others who followed the Christian faith.

We're seeing that very same scenario played out today in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. Men, who are so zealous about their faith that they think they are doing their god a favor by putting to death men, women and children who follow the Christian faith.

Our response - kill them - kill them all - is the cry on many hearts today, but if that cry had been the same back in Saul's day and if Saul had been killed for his atrocities, we wouldn't have several books of the Bible, penned by the Apostle Paul as Saul became known after his conversion.

How did his conversion happen?  It went like this...
1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength." Acts 9:1-19
After this experience, Saul became the Apostle Paul, evangelist to the Gentiles, converting thousands upon thousands to Christianity, both in his day and down through the ages as the author of several books in the New Testament. He spent the rest of his life telling people about the love of God and salvation through Jesus Christ. From terrorist to evangelist. Only God can do something like that.

As we hear about the atrocities taking place in the Middle East today, about children being beheaded, Christians forced to renounce their faith or die. Forced to leave their homeland on foot across the hot desert, forced to flee into the mountains where they are starving to death, the first inclination of our hearts is to wipe out those evil men who are committing such crimes, but there is a better way.

We can pray - earnestly, forcefully, on our faces for God to save the very people who are doing these horrible things. That God will stop them in their tracks, just as He did with Saul and bring them face to face with Himself. Not just to save them, but convert them so completely that they will give themselves to serve Him and spread the Gospel through out the Muslim world for the rest of their lives.

God can do that. God would prefer to do that, rather than slay them, sending them to Hell. He loves his creation and His plan has always been to bring man to Himself through Jesus' death on the cross. Satan's plan is to destroy every man, woman and child before they can receive Christ and in the event that they do receive Christ, then his rage is heightened as he influences evil men to carry out his evil vendetta against God by destroying his children.

One of the hardest, yet most God-honoring thing we could do at this point is pray - pray for the safety and deliverance of those who are under such great persecution and pray for those who are perpetrating this evil to be stopped in their tracks by the Lord God Almighty and brought to their knees in repentance and conversion.

This is how I will pray. 
 
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