Friday, April 26, 2013

The Experiment :)

So.... I'm taking a real step of faith in posting this. I'm hoping the guys from the loony farm, armed with straight jackets, don't hit my door soon. Today, I tried an experiment and I'd like to share what is happening. I think it will encourage you.

Yesterday, I woke up with the start of a cold. The variety I get involves pounding pain in my sinuses, lots of crud down the hatch which, of course, creates a sore throat. (Sorry to be so graphic but I want you to understand what I experienced.) After praying for healing, it went away quite a bit so I carried on with my plans for the day, which included hosting a book club meeting up at church.

Yesterday, by 1:30, I was so bone-tired and achy, I took some pills and went to bed for a couple of hours. I didn't do anything last night; even passed up a ladies' get-together which included a rich dessert and wine!  Watched TV, took more pills, and went to bed.

(By the way, I downloaded the PBS app and watched "The Bletchley Circle" and "The Midwife" shows. They are spellbinding! Finding these shows is not necessarily a good thing! I need to watch more TV like a hole in the head!)

Anyway, I got up this morning and could barely walk. My pills wore off and my head was exploding. No air. My body was a bag of inflammation. I just about reached for pills, but didn't...

I am a fan of Janice Seney, a modern-day prophet. She lays out how easy it is to have faith and always encourages her listeners to 'experiment' with God's gifts. Since I have the day mostly free, I thought I'd try an 'experiment.'

And this is where you are going to think I'm loony:  I put my hands on my face and seriously prayed for a whole minute! I kept saying the name of Jesus over and over. About 15 minutes later, I did it again. Not really anything happened... 15 minutes later, did it again. And again. About an hour down the road, I thought my face might actually stay in place, instead of exploding off; I was getting a bit better! Yay!

More prayer... More "Jesus, Jesus"...

I'm thrilled to report that now, about four hours later, my symptoms are 95% gone! I took a shower and set my hair on my nifty 30-year-old hot rollers (does anyone use these anymore?) and put on something besides sweats.

I definitely felt a nudge to share what I experienced.

I'm serious! This is happening! I feel much much better!

Will this healing last all day? I don't know, but I'll keep you posted.

You can bet your bottom dollar that I'm going to stay in prayer and be extremely thankful all day long. Keep in mind that I still have a 5% nag of symptoms which would normally hang on days four, five and six if my cold would progress in a normal fashion. But I'm going to 'lean in' for 100% healing, no pills, just prayer.

To clarify, I don't believe pills and doctors are bad or wrong. I'm a fan of medicine and use it as needed.   We do all the routine physicals and everything. My dear husband is a dentist and we have so many friends that are in medicine - they truly do God's work each and every day. I believe that.

I just tried something different today.

I'll be interested to see how I feel at 5:00.

So there you go!

I'm not super religious or holy or a pastor or anything. I'm a regular person that experimented with prayer instead of reaching for the pill bottle today.

You can do this, too. Try it. Start small. I'm sure God wants to bless you, too. The bible is full of verses that talk about Jesus being our Healer. He loves you and wants you to know Him and experience His power.

I seek ways to experience Jesus. By placing my hands on my face and calling upon His Name, I wasn't conjuring up some nifty trick. I was asking the power of His Name to permeate my situation. I was calling upon His nature and love. I was seeking compassion and relief. Our God is good ALL THE Time. He's on our side. He delights in us.

This is one of my favorite songs right now. It talks about the great Name of Jesus. Enjoy!

                    Your Great Name by Krissy Nordhoff

5:00 pm:
So... How did I do today?  Quite well!  Raked deadness out of the gardens and repotted some plants. I took a couple of 30 minute breaks and continued to pray the entire day. Tonight, we're going out for a sandwich and a movie.

Since this was day two of a cold, and I didn't spend the day moaning on the couch, I'd say it was a very good day.

And believe me, if Jesus would allow me to experience Him, you can, too. I encourage you to experiment.

I learned something:  It's easier to rely on pills than to trust in the Lord, but that's a topic for another day.

Did I ever get to the 100% mark?  Nope. But I got pretty close and a good night's sleep will do me wonders. His mercies are new every morning!  Thank You, Jesus!

Saturday, April 20, 2013


So... John and I went to New York City last weekend and I am glad to report, we conquered it. We flew in, we survived the taxi ride to our hotel, we found sustenance, we shopped, we saw some sights, and most importantly, we took in the Broadway show "Annie" not once, but twice! Times Square was more brilliant than the last time we were there; we were in slack-jaw mode most of the time.

"Annie" was fabulous - as fabulous as we hoped it would be. Twenty five years ago, I directed "Annie" as a local community theater production and this coming summer, I'll be directing it again. I have surrounded myself with people who really know what they are doing, but I wanted to spy on how the new version of "Annie" was being done on Broadway - hence the trip.  I took copious notes on napkins during the show.  If I could have taken pictures, I would have.

The other Broadway musical we saw was "Spiderman."  That show was over-the-top in its creativity. Spiderman flew all over the theater, in fact, there were 8 Spidermen flying and swooping about.  At one point, the bad guy and Spiderman had an air-borne fist fight just left of the chandelier! Amazing!

Perhaps our Annie should swoop in on a zip line during the second act? What do you think?

You might find it hard to believe... but there are some significant differences between NYC and my home town of 27,000:

1.  Everyone in the city had on black, except one person - me. I wore my neon bright pink and orange raincoat, bright blue jeans and sassy turquoise tennies and felt totally out of place. The stores are full of color, but I think it will be a hard sell as the New Yorkers seem to prefer their black, head to toe.

2.  Hotdogs are expensive.  I've fed the entire youth group on what I spent on a couple of dogs John and I slammed down while standing in the loo line at the theater.

3.  In this huge city, there is no personal space.  In my town, I could walk all day long and not touch a single soul.  In NYC, we squeezed through people to cross the streets and the subway was so crowded, it was full-body contact the entire time. It was interesting; there was plenty of full-body contact but absolutely no eye contact.

Differences aside, people are about the same no matter where they are located. We all carry some degree of fear. I know I felt a twinge of fear being in the big city. It felt kinda dangerous though nothing remotely dangerous happened to us. But I couldn't help but think.... All these people... what if...

Our visit to the 9/11 Memorial was a reminder that horrendous stuff happens.  We were so touched by an elderly man silently crying as he found the name of a loved one on the rim of the waterfall... I can't even imagine the chaos and terror that swept through the city as the towers fell.

And the senseless bombing in Boston hangs on our minds and promotes fear in our hearts as we wonder... what is going on? Are we ever safe?

The list is long of horrible tragedies and mind-boggling violence happening all over the world.

Even in my quiet little town, are we safe? Stuff happens. Tornadoes. Blizzards. Floods. And yes, even violence. Even here in small town Iowa, there is fear.

In the gospels, we read of a time when the disciples were afraid. Jesus wanted to travel by boat to the other side of the lake.  As they set out, a wild storm came up nearly swamping the boat. Jesus was asleep, probably totally exhausted from feeding thousands of people, healing the sick and training the bungling disciples. They woke Him and asked if He cared if they drowned. Jesus got up and spoke to the wind and the waves and immediately, all went calm.  He then asked His disciples, "Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?" (Mark 4:40)

In John 14:27, Jesus has some pretty strong words to say about being afraid:  "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

There is a place of peace with Jesus.  He offers a place of rest.  He relieves us from the burden of fear. His very loving Presence is like healing balm to a fear-filled heart.

He will do the comforting... our job is to trust.

He will calm the storm.... our job is to trust.

 He will release peace into our hearts.... our job is to trust.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Couldn't Stop that Restless Feeling

(This guest post was written by a singing friend of mine, Joan Greufe.  She has an incredible story of being 'nudged' by God.  I invited her to write so that you would be encouraged and inspired to step out in something new... even if you don't quite have the faith to do it!  Enjoy!)

Restless - agitatedly moving about, not composed, in continual motion, constantly seeking change.
I like to think that I am a person that can take care of my family and myself and that I have it all together. I have had some experiences in my life that I wouldn’t want to relive, but really I was living a good life.

Then it happened; I felt restless. All at once I wasn’t feeling fulfilled with what I was doing and where I was going in life. 

At the time, my husband and I just gone through the “empty nest” thing. I had a day care business in my home and my husband was working, but I was restless... I needed more, but more of what?? 

About this time, I was singing some solo songs at church and felt God’s reassurance that singing was  what he wanted me to do in my life. I remember talking to Janet and telling her that I wanted to record a CD of the songs that I was singing in church. Through many tears, I told her that is what I wanted to do but I didn’t have faith that anyone would want them… After all, who was I and what would people think? I even went as far as getting the name of a man who had a recording studio in his home.

This restlessness lasted almost 3 years. Then, one Sunday morning, God put the guy with the recording studio right there in MY church! (I think God was getting a little impatient with me!) The CD was recorded and so many things started changing in my life. 

I believe that restlessness was God nudging me to take that step in faith and believe in myself.

Phil Gould, the man that recorded my CD, is also a Christian. He was going into nursing retirement homes and singing country and gospel music. When I retired from my day care business, he asked me to join him. Now we have a true blue Music Ministry. Two years ago, we were going into about 10 places; now we have expanded to over 30. In fact, last year we had 333 bookings and it looks like we will do even more gigs this year!

And... we have a name! We call ourselves Sugar and Spice!

Going into all those homes and singing for all those elderly people is all about serving others.There is so much that God has taught me. The other day, a lady said she wished she had something to give us as a token of her appreciation for us coming and singing. I told her that her smile was the only thing she needed to give us. 

We never know how many hearts we touch with our music but we do know that we are touched every day by serving God and stepping out with this ministry. Listening to Him and following Him isn’t always easy and you might not think you are doing the right thing. But my life is so much better, happier, more fulfilled and peaceful now than when I was restless. 

Listen to what God is telling you. I wasted three years running, hiding and ignoring what God was telling me. Listen…God is talking to you - act on it!!
This is not what I had planned for my life, but I know that God is using us - he has us right where he wants us.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Boredom Should Not Be In Your Dictionary!

Recently, my dear husband John and I returned from a dreamy vacation on a Princess cruise ship. Gents, if you want to impress your wife with a bit of romance, take a tip from me and book a cruise. A cruise is other-worldly… all is taken care of and it’s constant fun, fun, fun. Well, mostly…
The highlight of our particular cruise was floating through the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal is one of the wonders of the industrial world and didn’t we know every fact and detail after attending numerous lectures and dull discussions. As our ship entered the first lock with only one foot of clearance on both sides, we cheered our handsome captain and lifted our glass. This was exciting!
Along with eight busloads of passengers from the ship, we boarded a ferry that would take us through the entire canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific…at walking speed. I’m not kidding. Our ferry moved so slowly that I’m sure I could have swum along at the same speed. It was about 9:30 in the morning and we were scheduled to hit our next lock at 1:30. Do you know what there is to do on a small ferry? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I knew I was getting a bit bored when massively ugly cargo ships would pass us by and I snapped numerous pictures of them.
Finally, 1:30 came and we approached a lock and guess what happened? We sat there in the lock and watched the water drain out…and then we floated on to the next lock and guess what we did…we sat there and watched the water drain out again. This happened six times. Frankly, it was very similar to watching a bath tub fill with water and drain out, over and over and over again. John was so bored he threatened to jump overboard. The Panama Canal, built over one hundred years ago, is an engineering feat and masterpiece, but floating through it is a lesson of patience.
After a total of eight hours, six solid-sugar sodas, and a whole battery’s worth of Angry Birds (only lite, mind you,) we were released from the ferry. We got bored. SO VERY BORED.
This feeling of boredom is a rare experience for me and I was reminded that so many people walk through life full of it. People are bored. Look around you. You can see it in their eyes. They feel there is nothing to do and nothing to get excited about.
That is so opposite from the God of the Christian Bible.
The words of the Bible offer a life of adventure and fullness. I have never found God to be boring; He’s full of creative power and strength. He’s full of surprises and hands out blessings and gifts galore. God challenges me to think outside the box because no box could ever contain Him. I have found that, day after day, God is bigger and better than I could ever hope or dare to dream. He loves endlessly. He cares. He speaks. He leads. He provides. He is exciting. He is miraculous. And the best news is: God is approachable and available.
John 10:10 (NIV version) says, “I (Jesus) have come that you may have life and have it to the full.”
I like the Message version even better:  “I (Jesus) came so you can have real and eternal life, more and better life than you could ever dream of.”
God is not dead and God is not boring. Choosing to follow God will become one of the most exciting adventures you will ever embark on…even better than a cruise.
“This original content, created by me, was originally published on on March 18, 2013. Thought Circus is a media & publishing brand that shares extraordinary information about our world.”