Tag Archives: Faith

In Only a Moment…

Flowers

Things can change.

 

I experienced one of those moments on January 18th, when I slipped and fell while shopping and broke, not one arm – but both of my arms. With one elbow broken and the other shoulder fractured life slowed.

I have time to reflect on the blessings surrounding me. Beauty encircles me and resides within each of us. Family, friends and my beloved hubby are needed to help me achieve nearly everything.

God heals in many ways. Healing is a daily transformation that happens one step at a time. I’m confident His healing power is at work in my body.

 

What’s in a name?

Why Journey to the Heights?

So I share with you the different things this means.

I grew up in the mid-west and lived my life east of the Mississippi River. I spent six years in Germany. Those years were lived at less than 1,000 feet above sea level, sometimes as low as 180 feet above sea level.

My house is at 7,400 feet in the Rocky Mountains. The move was a ‘journey to the heights.’

We live in an area called: Missouri Heights.

My faith expects me to grow and mature, representing the love of God and the life of Christ more and more. For those who personally know me, you recognize some days that is more evident than others. God obviously calls us to a higher level.

For me Journey to the Heights means these things.

I’m blessed with better health living in a higher elevation with a drier climate than any I enjoyed earlier in my lift.

I’m blessed by being surrounded with natural beauty, constantly changing. One can watch the massive skies with the clouds and various colors throughout the day. Stars appear close enough to touch.

I’m blessed to that God put me here, in this location for this time of my life and He is taking me to higher levels in my faith. This is a gift!

And so, I share Journey to the Heights with you!

Eternal Justice

Disclaimer: I’m sure this topic may elicit some strong feelings from some of you. Please feel free to share your thoughts, but don’t expect any heated debates.

For more than a year, I’ve been reading or studying the issue of women in the church. All the reading and thinking, has left me feeling as if my sense of justice has been violated.

During this study time, I’ve come to recognize the power, or should I say, abuse of power by a few. The Judeo/Christian culture is primarily a patriarchal culture. I accept this as the world I live in. However, when I see how one uses their position of power and/or trust to contrive a message to fit their life view instead of accepting the original text may have been written to challenge or question that very life view, it strikes me as an abuse of power and trust. My sense of justice, or the sense that one should do the right thing because it is the right thing, feels very violated.

While sharing these thoughts with a close friend, she helped me put some perspective on this. She could understand my feelings; but told me when she feels something is unjust, she tries to step back and look at it from the scales of eternal justice. She said those who abused their power and trust, would one day be held accountable. Wow! Those words created a strong visual, and immediately brought to mind James 3:1

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers,
because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

The good news is the sense of justice being violated was replaced with peace; with the promise and assurance the eternal scales will validate the truth.

Current day teachings associated with this topic should address the failings of those who translated the original manuscripts, or of those who led the early church into placing such emphasis on scriptures designed for a particular location or a particular set of circumstances. Will that happen?

That still leaves the question of, how ‘women in the church’ is to be lived out today?

For those of you who know me, this is a reversal of my former thoughts on the subject. I want to be clear, I believe God intended for women and men to be spiritually active in the church and among others. This change in my thoughts is not a matter of feminism or equal rights. For a woman, or a man to be involved in spiritual leadership, they have to possess the spiritual gifts of the position they are filling. Those gifts are not bestowed because of gender. People (men and women) receive these gifts from a loving God when they are in relationship with Him.

Stopped in My Tracks…

The following two sentences are in the middle of a book I’m reading, the last paragraph on the left side of the page. I had to stop and just think about these thoughts. In fact, I’ve been thinking about them for four days.

This is why a defining mark of revival is that as the Spirit increases, divisions decrease. Gender divisions, race divisions, socio-economic divisions fade away as everyone encounters God together.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’ve been working through thoughts related to Revival this year. Looks like I’m still thinking about it.

I still believe ‘refining’ is a critical component of ‘revival’. Yet after reading the above sentences I have to wonder, besides the obvious refining we each need to submit to daily, does this refining need a common focus? As Christians do we each need to take a good look at ourselves, our churches and our communities and then determine where we as individuals, might be able to help bridge some of the divisions that exist in our families, our churches and our communities? If you’re a leader, or following a leader, should you be looking for this?

No one needs to look far, to see the affects of divisions caused by:

  • Ego or power struggles
  • Desire for control and recognition
  • Financial disparity that abound around us
  • Women hampered by the glass ceiling
  • Relationships severed due to hurt feelings or harsh words

This list is unending. I’m sure you could add many more things to it, but you get the idea.

As we pray for Revival, perhaps we should be asking to be refined in a true spirit of unity.

Revival or Refining — Part II

I’ve been pondering the Revival or Refining question for a few days. Thanks to each of you who reacted to this post.

A friend on FaceBook posted a comment that simply said “Both”.

His response resonated with me. I believe he is correct.

God’s church is the people! So when we consider anything the church is experiencing we need to consider what the individuals are experiencing.

Refining happens when we submit to changes God wants to make in our lives. These changes should be happening to all believers regularly. Then those changes should bring about revival within us. We should be strengthened, changed and desire to be closer to God.

Refining may have gotten a hard wrap. People tend to consider it something negative. Sometimes the process is difficult, but that may be the result of our resistance. The results of refining are what most of us desire.

  • To be free from impurities
  • To be free from moral imperfection
  • To improve or perfect
  • To be free from what is coarse, vulgar or uncouth

If these things are going on in your life, you are changing. Those changes are reason enough to celebrate “revival”.

Here’s the definition for revival so you can see if it might already be occurring in your life:

  • An improvement in the condition or strength of something
  • An instance of something becoming popular, active or important again

I think The Church should be ready for both “refining” and “revival”. We should encourage one another to submit to the refining and live in revival!

 

Reflections

It’s that time, when I reflect on the past year. I began 2015 with no particular expectations for the year. It became the year to conquer fear. Or should I say, turn my fears over to God.

By March, I found myself on a new trajectory. I would be going to Haiti in June. This newfound knowledge was surrounded by much fear and trepidation on my part, yet I knew it was a trip I was supposed to make. I had fears about my personal health; my ability to withstand the heat and humidity; letting go of pride to ask others to partner with me and greatest of all were the words a wise elderly woman spoke to me when she said, “These trips change people. You will never be the same again.”

Those words were frightening to me. It had taken many years for me to learn to accept and appreciate myself, and my life. Now I was hearing, I would never be the same. What would that mean, and would I like the person I would become?

As I prepared for the trip, I watched God graciously erase each fear before I arrived at the action part. The departure date arrived and I was ready to go. The trip itself was amazing. All I’ll say, is if God is asking you to step out and do something like this – then GO.

I was changed! Changed in the best possible way. At the end of the year, my husband received some medical news that created some uncertainties in our life. Fear was not part of this time. When I stopped and reflected on this, I was surprised! The old me would have been fearful and anxious. The new me was able to go about the required actions, procedures, tests and waiting, resting in peace.

Though I’ve been a child of God for years, I’m ending 2015 with the following refrain from “No Longer Slaves” having new meaning for me:

I’m no longer a slave to fear

I am a child of God.

 

Grateful Haitians…

While in Haiti I was impressed by the people. They are poor. Poor beyond anything I could imagine. Yet these people were dignified, gracious and grateful. The following photo is a candid shot of one of these couples. I also shot the formal pose, which was their preference.

Grateful Homeowners (rural farmers)
Grateful Homeowners (rural farmers)

I volunteered with Poured-Out, installing bio-sand water filters in homes. The people have requested these filters, signed up for and paid 200 Gourde (approximately 4.00 US dollars.) This small contribution to the cost of the filters denotes ownership in the process. These people were interested and invested in learning about the benefits of the filters and the maintenance. As part of the extensive survey they participated in, they were asked if there were things they wanted shared with people in the United States to understand what the filters mean to them and why their contributions are so meaningful. I was blown away by the responses! Below are some of the responses I would like to share. Hopefully these words will give you some insight into the gratitude I was able to witness during my work in Haiti.

  • Thank you, this kind help will be easy for us to save more money, to keep our health – May God bless you. I hope this favor continues in Haiti.
  • Thank you a lot, encourage you for this good work, it is a great work, we really like it. We will pray for more people to give to this work, so God will touch their hearts. We are very happy with the work.
  • Thank you so much for the work you are doing. Be strong in the world. Cover much area with filters. She will pray we will be blessed and can continue this work.
  • God sent you to Haiti to bring clean water. Thank you so much for helping another country. We will pray for you.
  • I feel it is a big lesson, just sitting here while you install a filter for my family. Now we don’t have to worry about diarrhea or other diseases because now our water will be clean. This is a big opportunity for all of us. A big thank you to all of you.
  • I congratulate you! I think it is a big thing. My family has a filter. I hope others will have filters also. That’s why I will continue to pray for you so that God can continue to bless you to have a giving heart. Thank you.
  • Thank you for the good work. Continue the good work. Don’t get discouraged. Even though you do the work for us, God will bless you. Thank you and God bless you.
  • We need to get the word out so more people can have filters. More people need them. Doing this is a big job in Haiti. You are killing cholera in Haiti. Thank you so much. Pray that God can bless you as an organization and keep on working. Pray that God would continue to provide the money for this work.
  • I have satisfaction you have given us this filter. I want to thank you for doing this work. I know the area next to mine needs filters too, so can you guys bring more? We have other areas, communities, people who have sickness and cholera and they need filters and would love it if you could bring some there too.
  • This is a big help because we have a lot of disease in this country. This filter will help us a lot because clean water is the most important thing in our lives. Thank you.
  • I am so happy about the work I know that God put that in your heart to help us. I want to say thank you again. May God bless you to continue to do this job.
  • I say thank you for this support. It will help me not to buy water again. Money it will be used for other. Thank you a lot. May the Love of God follow you.
  • We say thank you for this effort for this help in Haiti. We encourage you to continue doing this job because God will bless you. May God protect you and bless you. Thanks for having God in your life.
  • We say thank you. May God continue to bless you and give you the ability to continue installing these filters. May God bless you.
  • Thank you so much because you leave home, your family to come. We will pray for you I pray that God will protect and take care of you. God is the one who is in control of you.
  • We thank you for this gift that you guys give. If we were buying it would cost a lot of money, but to have one is a big gift.
  • We say thank you for the team that our eves see right now because God gave you the opportunity to think of Haitian people, after the two big shocks that we have had in our country of the earthquake and cholera outbreak. We say thank you to all the people who contribute to buying this for the Haitian people. May God bless you.
  • First of all we thank God, that makes the idea in your mind to think of Haiti, and we thank God because he made it possible to do this good work. We pray the blessing of God over everyone who is doing this work. We were in need of this because we used to have to buy water to drink now we won’t have to buy it anymore.

Haiti – Lesson 1: Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear!

simple fishing boat
simple fishing boat

The Sunday I felt God calling me to go on this Haiti trip with Poured-Out left me filled with many fears. Previously, I would have used all those ‘fears’ as the reason to just stuff the thoughts and go on with life. I was just finishing up a Bible study with an amazing group of women on discerning the voice of God. We were on the lesson about God’s expectations when you hear from Him. Simply OBEY. Yikes! Knowing the truth and not complying is sin.

I asked a friend if she would go with me. She said yes. So with much fear, I signed up for the trip and started praying about the adventure and what God would have.

Without going into tons of details, it is safe to say my list of fears was long. Some of the issues were:

  • all the necessary shots and drugs I would need to take for this trip
  • having to ask people to partner with me on this adventure, both financially and in prayer
  • how my personal health would fare in this hot humid environment
  • the bugs in Haiti
  • and the list goes on

What I found was one at a time, as I turned to God in prayer I was able to see my fears listed on a sheet of paper and each one was slowly being erased from the list.

In Haiti, I realized as I had turned my thoughts to Jesus and what He was asking me to prepare for and focusing on those aspects of the upcoming trip – He was working to take care of each of those issues.

  • Before I had even started my partnering letter, a friend ask me to make sure she got a copy because she wanted to help support me on the trip. Her gesture was huge in giving me the confidence to write my letter and contact others. The generosity of those partnering with me was also huge and I’m grateful and have been greatly blessed.
  • The shots and drugs were taken with no adverse affects.
  • Though I was in an extremely hot, humid environment – and I know there was mold present as I could see it even on some of the plants at the compound where we stayed, I experienced no impact to my respiratory system.
  • Yes, I used insect repellent and sunscreen and was only mildly bitten by the bugs there.

When Jesus is the focus and you are worshipping Him and focusing on what He wants you to do, there is no room for fear.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

It is my prayer, that God our Father will continue to work His love in my life. May He do so for you also!

Go. Learn. Love. HAITI — The Short Story

I arrived home about 4 am today.

It was an amazing week! I’m still sorting through all the different thoughts and emotions involved in experiencing something so totally different from my life routines.

Market Day
Market Day
Rural Farm House eager for their filter install.
Rural Farm House eager for their filter install.

There were 14 team members, 3 team leaders, and 3 translators working together in the Torbeck area, Okay Region of Haiti.

We installed 50 filters.

Yes! 50 filters.

What does that mean?

Each filter can process approximately 20 gallons of water a day.

That creates a potential of 1,000 additional gallons of safe drinking water available each day to improve the quality of life for the people of this area.

Lovely Haitian Girls
Lovely Haitian Girls

More info and photos to follow…