Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 80 - Walking through the Valley

I know that most people think that a week runs from Sunday to Sunday or Saturday to Saturday. Some might even think that Monday starts the week. I normally think like that too. But then there are times that a week runs from whenever you say it starts till whenever you say it ends. This week ended for me tonight. I finished my sixth day of work in a row and officially declared it to be the weekend starting tomorrow. As a pilot, we never got holidays or weekends. We just bid trips and time off, so I have really been operating like this for a long time. It makes perfect sense to me. So although tomorrow is Thursday, my weekend starts then. It goes for four days. I have to be back to work at 5AM on Monday, so I have to enjoy a “modified Easter weekend.” I have a lot of cleaning and running around to do tomorrow, and I leave for Mobile on Friday morning early.

A couple of things happened over the past couple of days that I ought to mention. First, I looked at a very thirsty plant and realized that I hadn’t watered any of them since before I left for Nicaragua. I’ve got to get a better system. I guess I will have to put them in my calendar. I can see it now. April 4 at 3PM – Water Plants. I don’t think so! At any rate, I really do need some system to remember them. Well the good news is that they all seem to have survived. The second thing is much bigger. I didn’t get Easter Cards in the mail to all the girls. I totally forgot until today. It’s too late now. It seems like yesterday I was mailing Valentines Day Cards. I really do feel bad about this because I know that Julia would have not only sent cards, but she would have had presents in the mail as well. Julia and I agreed on most things, but celebrating Easter with cards and gifts was not one o them. Maybe I need a Sozo, but I never liked getting Easter Baskets and dressing up for Easter Service. I guess being the only boy with three sisters had something to do with it. The commotion of getting three sisters ready for Easter was unreal. Then once they all got ready, we had to make pictures with all the Easter baskets. Believe me Easter was never fun for me. I wasn’t like Christmas where you got toys. No, you got chocolate bunnies and eggs that were made of this sickly sweet candy. Then you had to dress up and stay that way almost the whole day. No, I never liked Easter. Yes, I know, maybe I do need a sozo. Anyway when Julia and I had Jennifer and Lisa, I saw the whole thing take place again. I really didn’t want to take any part in it. So Julia always got the candy and gifts, I was just along for the ride. Well now I’m the driver, and I blew it already. Julia is up in heaven telling everybody that I forgot on purpose. I know it. I have to admit that I enjoy Easter with the Grandkids more than I ever did with our girls. Maybe it’s because I don’t have to dress up anymore, or maybe it’s just because they are so cute. I do know I’m looking forward to the Easter egg hunt on Saturday with Anna Roan. Three year olds have a way of making everything exciting.

A friend emailed me today about my blog last night. She had some very interesting insights and great wisdom. There is one thing in particular that hit me. She was talking the difference between Sorrow and a Spirit of Grief. She said “Sorrow gives you the opportunity to mourn and be comforted, to move through this "valley of the shadow of death." I had never thought about the 23rd Psalms in this way. I had always thought the valley of the shadow of death would be my death. But if you read it, it could be the death of someone else. “yea though I walk through the valley of the Shadow of death” It didn’t say death, but Shadow of death. That is what we are doing. We are walking through the valley of the shadow of death and we have been promised comfort. There are promises we need to claim. Things that God wants to do for us, in us and through us as we walk through (go to the other side, wherever that is).

So I need to keep moving. We need to keep moving. We can’t stop and we can’t go back. No, our destiny lies ahead. The answers to our questions and the promises of God lie ahead. We must keep moving. Even when we feel like stopping, we have to go forward. It’s like being at mile 21 in a Marathon. You have hit the wall and there is nothing left. You want to stop, but you have to keep moving. As you keep moving you gain the momentum to finish. So yes, I will finish the race, and I know that Jennifer and Lisa will too. We just have to keep moving.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 79 - An Hour in the Sun

It’s 11PM on Tuesday night. I’ve thought it was Wednesday all day. But I go to school on Tuesday, not Wednesday so that should have given me some clue. I guess that when you work ten periods in ten days, things begin to run together. I do know I am tired. I do work tomorrow afternoon. I have a sozo tomorrow morning. It’s a special case so I agreed to do it. I am praying for refreshing as I get up in the morning. At least I will be off Thursday. I have a lot of things to do before I drive to Mobile for the weekend.

Sometimes you really have to stop and think about the little things. Today after I got through with work about 2:30, I drove to Peachtree City. I had school at 6, so I had a little time to spare. I was hungry and I knew that this was the only time today I was going to be able to eat. I wound up at Ted’s eating a bowl of their delicious Bison Chili. I was eating alone and reading Hedi Baker’s book “Always enough”. This is the book I have to do a book report on for school. The report is due next week, so I really need to finish it. After I ate, I went outside. It was beautiful. What a day not to be able to run. I was sort of bummed out when I saw an empty bench in the sun near Starbucks. The sun and warm air were really calling me to stay outside so I sat down and continued to read. I think that I sat out in the sun for an hour and a half at least. I finished my book, and then took a little nap. That was really a good break, and I needed a good dose of Vitamin D. I got up in time to go into Starbucks for an iced coffee to take to class. So I am thankful for the little things. That short time in the sun did wonders to my mood. Also I was able to talk to Jennifer and Lisa for a little while.

Jennifer and I were talking. She was wondering when it gets to the point that you don’t expect a call from Julia, or expect her to walk into the room. I don’t know the answer to that. I know that it’s got to be hard on both Jennifer and Lisa. They were both very close to their mother, and nothing can replace her. Julia loved them both very much, and would do anything to help them. As I was sitting out in the sun, I was wishing that she was sitting there with me, but since I was at the Avenues, she would have probably been in one of the stores shopping :>) Easter is coming, and I still have cards to get. Julia would have gotten them and had presents for all the kids by now. I’m at a total loss as to what to get them. This is not fun. Its not fair. I do miss her so much. I could dwell on these thoughts for a few minutes and wind up in a very depressed state, but I am going to choose to think about today’s hour in the sun. It really felt good, and I could sense God and His goodness. I can’t stay in the darkness for very long. I have to choose to move into the sunlight. I have the presence of God within me, and I have to allow that presence out. I have to shift the atmosphere from one of despair to one of hope. That is our job as believers. We are light. Light overcomes darkness, even when we think we want to be in the darkness. For me it is a choice that I have to make many times a day. Where do I want to dwell. I can stay in the cave of despair or I can choose to allow the light to warm me. Maybe it’s not that simple, but I am really a simple guy. I carry the presence of God within me. As a believer it is my good to shift the atmosphere, even if it is in my room. The choice I make is to trust in Him, and know that even though it’s not right, it’s not fair and He didn’t cause it; He will use it for His glory and it is my job to partner with Him to see that His justice prevails. My prayer is that I can do this and be an example to my children and friends to try to do the same. We all grieve differently, and we all need to grieve to be healed. But we all also need an hour in the sun to help change the atmosphere.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 78 - A Concert to Remember

Have you ever wondered why you remember some days and some days just seem to slide out of your memory like they never happened? Julia and I were married for thirty-eight and a half years. That’s 14,052 days. That’s a lot of days, yet how many do I really remember? What makes a day memorable anyway? Right now I wished that we had made more memories. So much time was spent working, and just existing. I know that there are responsibilities, but we, at least I put too much emphasis on getting ahead and having nice things. I guess we were caught up in living the “American Dream”. But where does that get you? What kind of memories can you make when you are always working or doing the things to keep the house running. I wish that we had traveled more, that we had taken the girls more places when they were younger. The old saying, “Hindsight is 20/20” is probably true. Looking back I wish that we had settled for less house, not such nice cars and more time traveling, being together and making memories.

OK, what brought all this on? Why all the thoughts of memories? Well tonight when I was driving back up north from BSSM, I was listening to a Neil Diamond album on my Ipod. Don’t worry; I wasn’t driving with earplugs on. My Miata is over eleven years old, and last ear the CD player quit working. So instead of replacing the CD player I had an aux switch put in so I could play my Ipod through the speakers. It cost less, and works better. So tonight I played one of the two Neil Diamond albums that I have on it. This is his latest album released a couple of years ago. The other is a compilation of his greatest hits. Julia and I both love Neil Diamond. He is one of our favorite singers. I don’t know whether it is his voice or the songs he sings, but his hard driving rhythm and guitar along with a melancholy sound has captivated us for years. So as I was driving home I was thinking of Julia and the time we saw Neil Diamond in Concert. I don’t remember the exact date, or even the exact place. I think it was at the Atlanta Civic Center and it was between 1992 and 1995. We were going to the Atlanta Vineyard at the time and we took Johnny and Anne Crist with us. It was a wonderful evening, and I can remember Julia’s face and how much fun we both had listening to all of our favorite songs and listening to Neil live. We didn’t want the night to end it was so good. I remember all the people lighting their lighters with the lights turned out. It was just a great atmosphere. We have talked about that concert for years, and were determined to see him again. He was at the Cobb Galleria last year, but we were going to be out of town so we didn’t get to go. I wish we had. So I want to go back to my question. What makes one night special and other nights forgettable. Why do I remember that night with Julia and can’t remember others? I think it is because I could see how much she enjoyed it, and I was enjoying it too. Sometimes I might really enjoy something, bet she would be there because I wanted to be there. Sometimes it worked the other way. But when we were both excited, and the event exceeded our expectations, then that makes a memory.

We had many memories over the years. Many were concerts at Chastain Park. We would take a picnic dinner, a bottle of wine and TV trays and sit out under the stars enjoying the dinner, each other and the concert. I think we had season tickets for three or four years. I really don’t know why we stopped going. I remember seeing Chicago play. We sat in the rain one year to watch The Righteous Brothers. We saw the Beach Boys and many other groups. They were all fun, and good memories, but that Neil Diamond concert so many years ago has to rate as one of the best. So driving home tonight, listening to Neil brought me closer to Julia, and that right now is a good thing. I found myself looking at her pictures on my IPhone during by break at work. I miss her very much, and the reality has set in. I’m not going to see her again on this side of Heaven. So we need to make memories while we can. They are so important. Relationships are so important. Things you can do without. Even with our kids, I wonder sometimes were all the activities they were involved in good or bad. As they got older, we hardly ever saw them. That was “normal”. But was it right? I don’t know. What I do know is that I want to make my time with them and my grandkids count. I want to leave them with some memories. Everything is about relationship. The Father wants it that way, and He Rules.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 77 - Busy but Good Sunday

Well, I didn’t oversleep this morning. I had two alarms set, one at 3AM and another at 3:05AM. I didn’t need either. I was awake at 2:47. I laid in bed until about 2:55 and then got up for work. I had a crew getting ready for their final checkout on the airplane, so the simulator session was pretty intense. They did a good job and we finished around 10AM. That was great because the service at Bethel Atlanta starts at 10AM. I was able to get there by 10:15 and didn’t miss much at all.
I love to worship. In worship I can get lost in the presence of God. I have the ability to totally engage with what God is doing and forget about anything else. It is a gift that has come after years of worshiping. I can do this most of the time. I wish that I could do it all the time. Today I was able to just get lost in worship. I am very fortunate in that I can worship at school, at RiverStone or at Bethel Atlanta, and God shows up. Each place has it’s own unique worship, but each is anointed and the leaders help usher in God’s presence. It is so good to not have to worry about whether you will be able to worship or not. I am grateful and blessed to be connected with each of these bodies.
Scott talked about the different levels of the presence of God. I know that I want and need more of His presence. It has almost been three months since Julia died. I know that things are changing. No, things have changed, and I am trying to figure out where I fit in with all the changes. To move into all the changes in my live, I must have more of His presence. He has been faithful to meet me, but I have to continue to press into him for more.
After church I met John and Biddie for lunch, then came home and watched a little basketball and took a power nap. I got up in time to go to the evening service at RiverStone. Worship was awesome as usual. Daniel and the band also ushered in the presence of the Lord. Tom’s message on the Kingdom of God, and how Jesus knew His purpose was very good. The crowd at 6PM is still very light. I pray that we can get more people there. There is a freedom at 6 that doesn’t exist at the other services, but the small number makes it hard for the band, and I’m sure, for Tom to press into the third service of the day. But it is nice to be able to come, especially when I have to work during the day, and would have missed it otherwise.
I think everybody read my blog last night. Bud and Cathy wouldn’t take no for an answer, so I wound up over at their house for dinner when church was over. I know that they didn’t want me to be alone. So I went over to their house for a while and had a hamburger and salad. Well my diet starts tomorrow. I’m going to try to eat right, and fast form 8PM until 7Am. This is what I did in the fall, with good results. The key is to get a good start, and the key to a good start is good will power. So here goes.
I guess the bottom line about today was this. It doesn’t matter where I go to worship, as long as I press in, it will be fine. Change is upon me, and I really need to press into all that God has for me so that I can ride the winds of change into my destiny.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 76 - Time for a Checkup

I wonder sometimes if I will ever get used to all the silence in the house. Sometimes I find myself talking out loud just to hear something besides the TV or the Ipod playing. For the most part I think that I am doing pretty good. But what do I judge that on. This is all uncharted territory for me. I’m sure that it is always uncharted territory when you have a death of a spouse. So I think that I am doing good. I know that according to what I’ve heard I am doing good, but I have learned never to judge myself on how others have done. This is my race, just like when I run a marathon. When I run a marathon, I run against myself. I have a goal and each mile I judge where I am in pursuit of that goal. Am I ahead? Am I behind, and if so , how much? What can I do to get on track? Running is easy it’s about time and distance. Your fitness and ability determine what your goals can realistically be. This is different, much different. What does “I’m doing good” look like? Are there tangible measurements that you can check?

Well, first of all, I am living life. I’m working, going to BASSM, leading cell group and doing Sozos. So there I am doing good. So I can check that off. Next is my eating. This is not as good as before. I’m only eating probably once a week, at the most at home. This really cuts down on Organic and low calorie food. My weight is showing it. I’ve gained about 10 pounds since Julia died. I can’t continue at this pace, so I have to make some changes there. So come Monday, I will really attempt to change my eating habits back to what they were when Julia was basically my chef and personal trainer as far as eating went. So here it’s not so good. I need improvement. So this is an area that I really need the Holy Spirit to help me in. I need strength not to use my appetite to comfort me in loss. The next area is one that moves up and down. How am I doing socially? Am I seeing friends, or do I just want to be alone? The answer is yes. I am seeing friends, and I just want to be alone. This is really weird. I enjoy seeing my close friends and eating with them, but I really just enjoy being by myself. That is strange, since when I am by myself is when I want more noise. Well it doesn’t have to make sense. I learned that along time ago. It just is. I find myself wanting to retreat back into the house and be alone. I know that this is not good, so I force myself to do things. I think that is what I liked about being in Nicaragua. I had to react and interact. There was no place to slip back into. But overall I think I am doing good here. At least I know what my tendencies are, and I am willing to fight them, to press into being with friends.
Sometimes it is so easy for me to get caught up in my loss that I don’t think about the loss others have endured. Of course I think about my daughters and granddaughters, but what about all Julia’s friends. I know that they feel a great loss. When I do think about them, I pray that they too are doing well. I know that her closest friends feel tremendous loss. I have to acknowledge that more. I need to reach out to them and help them heal also. Sometimes I feel that they are so concerned about me that they don’t spend enough time on themselves. They need to grieve too. It’s not just about me, and I want to help them. This is where I know that I have not done very well. I guess I’m doing well. If I weren’t, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t have highlighted their needs to me.

So, looking at these areas, I am doing good. There is room for improvement, but I know what I need to do. That’s half the battle. Now all I have to do is “do it.” Easter is coming. I need to get the kids cards. I will be going to Mobile on Friday to see Lisa, Anna Roan and Julia Anne. It will be fun. Then the next weekend I will go to Ft Lauderdale to see Jennifer, Adair and Meleah. I need to see them, but they need to see me just as much. I need to continue to schedule them in my life; otherwise I will be too busy and miss the very thing Julia would want me to do. Tomorrow is Sunday, I have lots of work to do, but I have to work early. I’ll toy to go the Bethel Atlanta and then to RiverStone that evening. It should be a good day.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 75 - Oversleep??

I did something this morning that I haven’t done for probably two years. I overslept! My 3AM alarm clock went off, I’m sure of it. However I don’t remember turning it off. Anyway for some reason, thank you Holy Spirit, I woke up and looked at the clock. It was 3:52. Normally I leave the driveway no later than 3:45, so I was definitely late. I jumped up and got a quick shower and shaved. I got dress and was out the door at 4:12. Well my simulator period starts at 5AM, so the race was on. I was praying two prayers. First, that there would be no police along my route and secondly that some how I would make it in time. I live 43 miles from work, so that really didn’t leave me with much hope of making it. I had a number to call in the room where my students would be, so I figured that id it looked like I was going to be very late, I could call them. I really hate getting up like that. It really makes your day start off bad. For some reason it took a long time for the day to seem good. The good news is that I did make it in time, and that I didn’t get a ticket. I walked into the room where my students were at 4:55. The only problem that I had was I was so tense that it took at least two hours to unwind. I was tired all day. A lot more tired than I would normally have been. I came home and was really useless. I blamed it on a lack of coffee, but the real reason was I was mentally exhausted because of the stress. I did get to take a little power nap in the early afternoon.
Later I went to the movies to see Matt Damon in “The Green Zone”. It was a good action flick, and I enjoyed it. It was nonstop action with an OK plot. Overall, we all liked it. I made chili for supper and have enjoyed just staying home and enjoying a nice quiet evening. So here I sit at 10:20 writing my blog, knowing that I really need to go to bed. I have a 5:45 briefing tomorrow morning, so I should be OK. But I’m definitely sitting 2 alarms. This morning I realized that with Julia gone there isn’t anyone to back me up.
Today when I was driving home, I was really missing her. I was missing hearing her voice. Then I had a brilliant thought. Her cell phone was still turned on. I could call her voice mail and hear her speak. So I did. It was fun, and for a moment I realized how much I was forgetting about her, especially her voice. When she spoke, you could tell her mood. You could tell if she was happy or angry just by the way she acted. I remembered helping her set up her voice mail, and how much she hated recording her voice. I remembered encouraging her by telling her it sounded so good. Little did I realize that some day I would be listening to that recording, missing her and knowing that that recording was my only physical link to her. If I wasn’t a believer, and know about the goodness of God, I don’t think I could stand it. As it is, I can just deal with the grief right as it comes and then try to push on into an updraft of the Spirit. I think I’ll close now. First, I don’t want to oversleep tomorrow. Second, I want to spend some time alone just remembering Julia and her love, and just resting in the depths of the love of the Father tonight. I need some comfort, and that’s the best place that I know to get it. Blessings, Good Night.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 74 - More Love

Today was a good day. I was off and had three or four meetings, but I still got to go the “Y” and get a work out in. Then tonight we had our monthly Thursday night of healing prayer. God’s presence was so strong tonight. During the prayer time before the session started, we were all feeling the strong presence of the holy Spirit. It was the strongest and best pre service prayer time that we have ever had. The prayer room was filled with the presence of God. I really felt going into the prayer time that everyone we prayed for would be instantly healed. That didn’t happen tonight, but we are not going to stop expecting that or going after that. The prayer time was good and we saw the presence of God rest on many people. I don’t know how many people were healed, but I am sure we had many healings tonight. I’m looking forward to hearing some testimonies.
Tomorrow I start a six-day work stretch. I know that I twill be tiring, and I am praying for rest during the day. I start off with three “A” periods. That means getting up at 3AM three days in a row. I’m going to have to either get a power nap in the afternoon, of go to bed earlier in the evening. The good news is I should be able to get a run in. Hopefully I will be able to run outside if the weather cooperates. At any rate, I need to go to bed pretty quick. The problem is that I am not sleepy, so I will probably be up until 11. That means only 4 hours sleep. Oh well, I’m sure some sort of nap will be in order tomorrow afternoon.
I was thinking more today about being a Father. I have been thinking about this a lot. I know that we can all be Fathers and Mothers. What is it that we need to do this? I believe that what we have to have is love. So much love that we can call out the gold when all the world sees is mud. We need so much of God’s love so it will overflow in our lives and flow into those around us. There are so many fatherless and motherless orphans who need to see the love of God in person. We can have a tremendous impact on the world as we release His love. I have been asking God about what is going on with me. What is He doing in the midst of all my grief and loss? I firmly believe in the Goodness of God. I know that Julia’s death was from the enemy. However I also believe in Romans 8:28 and how God uses all things to work together for good for those called according to His purpose. So how is He using Julia’s death for good? I can only look at my on life and see what He is doing. I was talking to a Pastor friend today at Starbucks. I told him that I have sensed God’s love in a deeper measure in my life since Julia’s death. I know that I have gone deeper into the folds of Gods love than I had ever thought possible. He has been so much for me. How can I share this love? How can I give it to my children and grandchildren? How can I share this love with those I come in contact with? These are my thoughts, and my prayers. I constantly pray that God will teach me how to share His love with others. I pray that He will show me how to communicate the depth of his love. I can sense that his love is flowing through me in a much greater way than it ever has, but I still don’t know how to really impact others. This is a prayer we as believers all need to learn. I know that His love is surrounding me and flowing through me as never before. I know that this level of His love is so deep, that I would have probably never have tasted it if Julia had still been alive. But she is not, and God in His goodness is filling me and surrounding me with so much love in a level that I never knew was possible. Thank you Father for your love and your goodness.

Day 73 - The Next Generation

At one time in my life when I heard someone talk about the “next generation” I felt left out. I would cry out in my heart, “What about me, what about my generation? “ I didn’t want to be left behind. I wanted all that God was giving out. I felt like many leaders were ignoring my generation while they were pushing for the “next generation” whomever they were. That was then! What I’ve come to realize is this. I am part of the next generation. What is the next generation? In my opinion it consist of all those who are pushing for the Kingdom of God to be released in their community. It is all of those people who are willing to pay the price to see the Kingdom of God advanced. To see the blind see, the lame walk, and the dear raised, age doesn’t matter, gender doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is your love for God and His overwhelming love for you. So we can all be part of the next generation.
Having said that let me make this observation. There comes a time in life that it is more important to give away ministry than to keep it. How do you know when that time has come? I think it just sneaks up on you. One day you realize that you are cheering for others to go for it. You realize that it is not all about you. Sure you love to minister, but the emphasis is not about you, it is about helping the team. It is about cheering others on to go higher and farther than you have ever been. It just sort of sneaks up on you. It is a maturing in your faith and your vision. For some people it happens at an early age. For others it takes longer, but this quality is what makes you a Father or Mother in the faith.
I know that I am a Father, and I am becoming even more of a Father. It’s not because I am old, but it is because I have come to a place in my life and ministry where I would rather help someone else push to the top. I have been given so much love that all I can do is give it away. Please don’t get me wrong; I am still very competitive. I love to minister and I love it when God uses me to advance His Kingdom. But I love it even more to see someone that I have poured my life into grab the reigns and push to the front. Tonight I had dinner with two couples that have unlimited potential in the Kingdom. Their heart for God and the things of God makes them very dangerous. If they could only see how dangerous for the Kingdom they really were, they would be overwhelmed. But Julia and I both saw that in them and I am excited when I think about all that God is going to do in them. We all need spiritual fathers and mothers to help us get where God wants us to go. My desire, and I know it was Julia’s, was to leave a legacy of younger people who actually understood how much God loves them, and who they are in Christ. This is the end time Army. This is the next generation, and I am glad to be a part of it. Tonight I was able to release more responsibility into their hands. It’s exciting to see and watch what God is going to do through them. This is the good part about being a Father. You can release ministry and watch it multiply while you continue to do more. Multiplication is a fact in the Kingdom. To see multiplication, you must be willing to release what you have held; knowing that God is in control and this is part of His plan. We all need to become Fathers and Mothers, no matter what our age. It’s the quickest way to expand the Kingdom.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 72 - Registering for Peachtree

Sunday afternoon I registered for the Peachtree Road Race. The Peachtree is not special to me because it’s a race. As a race for most people it’s not very much fun. The Peachtree is special because it’s an event. It is a tradition among Atlanta runners. You get up early and go down town to Lenox Mall and run to Piedmont Park. You do this with 55,000 of your closest friends. I started running the Peachtree in 1980, two years after we moved back to Atlanta and I was hired by Delta. This was one thing that I did by myself. Well I did it by myself until my girls were old enough to run it with me. Julia never once got up and went down to run or walk the course. I tried to talk her into it many times. Her idea of the fourth of July didn’t include an early get up and a walk with 55000 people. Soot, I couldn’t even get her up to come down and cheer for me. She probably would have if I had asked her, but I really didn’t care and I would rather see her sleep. So I was pretty much alone. I would get up around 4:30, and quietly get ready. My plan was to leave around 5 or 5:30 and drive down to Piedmont Park. I would park near the finish line and then ride MARTA up to the start line at Lenox Square. I did this after deciding I would rather ride in a crowded Marta car with runners BEFORE they ran the race rather than AFTER the race. Anyway I would run the race, come home and take a nap and then we would do whatever we did on the fourth.
This year was going to be different. You see this will be my 30th running of the Peachtree Road race. I have run in every race since 1980 except one. In 1988 I was Director of our Youth camp. I could have gone in to run the race, but I felt the responsibility of the camp, and chose to stay at camp and miss the race. So this is my 30th running of Peachtree. I was going to get Julia to walk it or at least meet me at the finish line. My plan was to try to have the whole family up. The race doesn’t seem so important now. Yes, I will still run it. My sister Laura is going to run it with me. If Lisa can, she will run it too. That will be fun, and I know that we will have a good time. Since Julia has never been at the race, it shouldn’t matter that she’s not there, but it will. You see, she traveled with me for many races. I’ve run 14 Marathons all around the country. We would go and see the sights, I would run the race and she would be there at the finish line. Then we would go out for a good dinner. We had fun traveling around. She went with me to Chicago, New York, Maui, Honolulu, Big Sur and many other places. So I will miss her on the 4th of July as I celebrate accomplishing 30 Peachtree Road Races. We were planning on going back to Hawaii this September. I was going to register for the Kauai Marathon this month. I’m glad I didn’t. I will run another Marathon, hopefully next fall or winter but it won’t be that one. I have too many fond memories of all of Hawaii to go back there right now.
We lived in Hawaii from late 1971 until June 1975. I’ve talked about the early hard years, but we had so much fun there, and there are so many memories. Jennifer, our oldest daughter was born there. She was born in Tripler Medical Center. It was an Army hospital then. It’s still there today; a big pink building that stands out for miles. Julia was a pioneer in natural childbirth back when it wasn’t the thing to do. We went to Lamaze classes. She learned breathing techniques, and I learned how to coach. Personally I would have just as soon waited in the waiting room, but I loved her so much I would do whatever she asked. I’m so glad she insisted because I wouldn’t want to have missed being a part of Jennifer’s and later Lisa’s birth. Her pioneering spirit probably blessed me as much or more than it blessed her. I can still remember being in the delivery room. The details are sketchy, but I remember Jennifer crying, and I remember Julia enduring tremendous pain to do it her way. She was a strong woman, and when she put her mind to something, she usually got her way. We always thought it was funny at Tripler. They had her up and walking almost as soon as the delivery was over.
We had had fun in Hawaii as a young married couple. We sailed, went to the beach, had parties on weekends and really didn’t have many worries. When a baby came we weren’t prepared for all the changes that being a parent brought. I didn’t have any idea how much work newborn babies could be. Of course, I thought Julia should take care of Jennifer all night. I mean, I had to get up and go to work. All she had to do was stay home and keep Jennifer. How hard could that be? Man was I dumb! I had no idea, but I would soon find out.

Day 71 - Pursue the Kingdom

It’s late Monday night and I’ve had a long day today. I was up at 3AM to be at work at 5. I finished around 11, but didn’t drive back home because of the distance. So I had lunch and went to starbucks. I had outreach at 3PM and then class at 6, so it is really good to be home. Even though it has been a long day, It was great to be back at school tonight. I don’t know what it is going to be like this summer once school is out. So here I am sitting by the fire with my laptop listening to Love Came Down. Someone ask me tonight how I was doing. Really, a lot of people asked me that. I was able to tell them that I am doing well. As I was thinking I was able to say truthfully that I have not had any “bad days”. I’ve had hard periods of time. Maybe 15 – 30 minutes when things are bad, but I have always been able to turn the corner and not have a “bad day”. It’s the first time that I have thought of it like that. Yes, grief can come in waves. But for me it lifts after a short time and God’s grace kicks in. I think because I am able to move into His rest so quickly I am protected from the protracted times of grieving. Sure, I miss Julia constantly, but I can still do that and have good days. I am grateful that I have such a strong relationship with God and that I have learned to move in intimacy with Papa, Jesus and Holy Spirit. I wish that I could just impart that to all those I know that are grieving loss. I’m not special; this is a place all believers should be able to move into. It is resting under the wings of the Almighty.
Jack Taylor was at school. He is an amazing man of God. I don’t know how old he is, but he is probably in his early 70’s. He started out asking this question. What does God do for a living? I’ve never asked that question, but the answer really opens up a lot of questions for most of the church. The answer is this: He rules. He is sovereign and He rules. If He rules, then the primary thing we need to understand is the Kingdom of God and how it works. The Gospel of the Kingdom is the good news that needs to be shared. This is what Jesus taught, not the gospel of salvation. Salvation is just the door to get into the Kingdom. We are to petition God to release His Kingdom here on earth. “Thy Kingdom come…” is the most powerful prayer ever prayed. Everywhere there is a need, we should be putting a demand upon the Father to letl His Kingdom, rule and reign, come into the situation. When we, the church, get this we will be a powerful force. This is a message that I have been going after since about 1986 when I first heard John Wimber speaking about it. The pursuit of the Kingdom of God, and its manifest presence on the earth is a passion that consumes me. I want it to consume me more. It is something worth dying for. The church is just a tool that God uses to help bring His Kingdom to an area. In Nicaragua we were after the release of the Kingdom. Every time we pray for the sick or lead someone to Christ, we are pulling the Kingdom of God down to earth. We have to know that our worship is a strong force in the release of the Kingdom of God in our midst. There is no standing still. There is definitely no turning around and going back. The only way to survive in the Kingdom of God is to continue to press forward. You have to risk all that you have gained to take the next step. It is worth it all, even if it cost us our life. Julia knew this and this was our main passion together. We cried out and worked to see the Kingdom released in our home, the lives of our children and grandchildren. We pushed for it in our church, with our friends. I knew her heart as she knew mine. Our hearts had one main passion, to see the Kingdom of God released in every area that we had influence. I am seeing some fruit of our labors right now, but there is so much more to come.
Tonight Jack Taylor ended with a prayer if impartation. I know Julia liked it because he was praying her heart. He prayed that we would have such passion for the Kingdom of God that we would be worthless to do anything else. That we would choose to pursue the Kingdom at all costs, and we would extravagantly worship the King. As we were praying, I knew that Julia was laughing and urging us on.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 70 - Standing on an Chair

In my heart I am standing on a chair. I’ve been standing on a chair for probably over 22 years. Tom’s sermon today was awesome. It was about having an experience with God. We all need to read, ponder and understand, but we need more. We all need to have an experience with God. The New Testament is all about explaining experiences with God. As Tom pointed out today, probably only 2 of the 12 disciples could even read. So was the New Testament built on analyzing knowledge gained by bible study? No! It was written to explain the experiences that the writers had as they related to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. So often we settle for so little when we could have so much. Today I really missed Julia, especially when Tom was talking about Melissa standing on the chair with him. Julia has been sanding on the chair with me for as long as I can remember. It’s hard to be standing alone, yet I know that I am not alone. In fact, as I was praying about this during the sermon, I felt a strong presence. I don’t think it was Julia. It was probably the Holy Spirit, but the bottom line was that I didn’t feel alone. I know now that I have someone standing with me. This is very important! We are not alone. You might be single, divorced, widowed. It doesn’t matter you are not alone. In fact, you have someone, Holy Spirit, standing on that chair with you saying, “go for it”. You have to learn to step off into the air. Daniel uses a video when we sing, “Awaken you Dreamers”. It is about children stepping off the cliff and flying. It is a visual of what God is calling us to do. He is calling us to go to the edge of our comfort zone and step off in faith. We have to fly. God is calling us to fly. To step off the cliff is hard, but we must be willing to do this. I am lucky. I had a wife that always was ready to push me if I hesitated. Of course I was willing to push her too : > ). I just want more of the presence of God.. The Bible says that in His presence is fullness of Joy. All I know is that since Julia’s death, in His presence is life and peace. I feel so happy and at rest when I am surrounded by Him. How do I do that? I just ask Him to come. I ask Him to hold me, and help me deal with whatever it is I have to deal with. At night, I picture Jesus and ask Him to take me somewhere and show me things. Sometimes He does, but most of the time I just feel surrounded by His love. I curl up in the covers and allow myself to get lost in Him. When I am with Him there is no pain, there is no loneliness. I am at peace and I sleep like a baby in the arms of my Father, or a Husband in the arms of his wife. This might sound weird to some of you, but this is the point that you have to get. God is much more than someone far away on a throne looking at you. He is your Father, your brother, your sister, your mother your lover, your friend. Intimacy is the key to entering the Kingdom. It is so important. I’m so sorry that I can’t really adequately explain it. I pray that Holy Spirit will give me better words and explanations as time goes by.
You see, I am slowly realizing an important truth. As much as I love Julia, and as much as I miss her and am lonely for her there is something greater. I am learning about the greater truth. It is a truth that I probably couldn’t have learned if she were still here. It is a truth that comes with a heavy cost. Mot a cost that I was required to pay, but a cost that having paid I can see the worth. That truth is the endless, deep knowing of the love of God. How much He loves me, and how tangible that love is, It’s not knowledge that you read about. It is an experience. The good news is that we can all experience it at any time. We don’t have to pay the cost. Jesus already paid it. The problem is that we have relegated it to knowledge when He wants us to experience Him. So as I go to bed tonight, I will be wrapping myself in His love. It is a love that can shield me form worry, doubt, any problems that I have. I just have to allow myself to stand on the chair and wait.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 69 - Spring is Here

The first day of spring was awesome as advertised. It made it up to 70 for the first time in months. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t believe we have had a day this warm since November. Maybe we have, but I was out of town, so for me this is great. I got up this morning and made breakfast and coffee (really a Latte). After it warmed up a little, I got out back and started spreading pine straw. I didn’t count the number of bales I used, but I spread straw for three hours. I finished the back yard and did a little on one side of the house. I still have a little to do, but three hours was enough. I have to admit, it does look a lot better, and it really wasn’t that hard physically. It was just time consuming. While I worked, I listened to Pandora Radio on my iPhone. Pandora is amazing. You choose what type of music you want to listen to, and then it just selects songs of that genre. I love it. It’s the only place I can go and hear 60’s folk music. I can listen to artist like Peter, Paul and Mary; The Kingston Trio; Bob Dylan; Arlo Guthrie; plus James Taylor; the Beetles; Gordon Lightfoot. These are people I grew up with in the early 60’s and 70’s. Anyway it made the time pass faster.
I said the work wasn’t hard physically, but it was hard. I was reminded of Julia so much as I worked in the back. Just being out there by myself was so odd. She was always out there with me, doing something. I might be spreading all the straw, but she would be pulling weeds or something. She loved working in the yard, so it really got hard a couple of times when I was thinking of her. It’s like I could just turn around and she would be there, but she wasn’t. I realized that this was the reason I had been dreading putting the straw out. I was looking at our outside swing that I had bought for her for Mother’s Day last year. We really enjoyed using it over the summer on late afternoons. We were so looking forward to sitting in it together again this summer. It looks awfully lonely now. I kept seeing plants that we had planted together and memories kept flooding into my mind. It was really hard. But by the end, things were OK. I will still enjoy the swing; I’ll just have to have people over to swing in it.
After I finished working with the pine straw, I went for an hour long run. It was great, almost hot. It really felt good to run in shorts and a short sleeve shirt for a change. I know it’s going to rain and get colder tomorrow and Monday, but the good news is it will warm back up. Winter is broken. It might try to come back, but It can only last a couple of days. The promise of summer, of green grass and flowers is in the air. That makes it all better. Well tomorrow after I get home from work and church I have to register for the Peachtree Road Race. The registration is online starting at 1PM. This is a special Peachtree Race for me. It will be my 30th. I started running them in 1980. I have run everyone since except the 1988 race. I was Youth Camp Director that year and I didn’t feel that I could leave camp to run the race. So this will be number 30. Julia and I were going to celebrate. My sister is going to run with me, and maybe Lisa if she is up. It will be a fun time for the family.
Tonight we went to a concert really worship, at RiverStone. It was John Mark McMillan and Daniel Bashta. It was great. I saw a number of people from Bethel there. I was lost in worship, but I also new that Julia is somewhere in Heaven lost in worship. I am so glad that we had Daniel do the Roar like a Lion song at her service. I love to worship to it, and it is even more special to me now. When he was doing it, I could almost feel her beside me worshiping. Who knows, maybe she was. Anyway I think that this is a good place for me to close. I have to get up in 4 hours, so I need to get some sleep.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 68 - Winter is Over

As a Christian we owe all those that we minister to an encounter with God. It’s sad to say that most of the western church doesn’t operate in that mindset. I hate to say it, but I really believe that many if not most western “Christians” have never had an encounter with God. We have allowed mental assent and knowledge to take the place of divine encounters and true heart changes. Tonight I was involved with a Sozo. The most important thing we try to do in the Sozo ministry is to leave the person with an encounter with the Godhead, (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). We have a number of tools that we use to help identify wounds and lies, but in my opinion, if we do not leave the person we have ministered to with an encounter with the Godhead we have not done out job. Tools are great, but a connection and a memory of an encounter, can be life changing. It was fun tonight. I can’t go into any details except to say that I acted as a third on the team and used prophetic art to help bring the person into an encounter. It is really getting to be fun doing this. It is such a stretch out of my normal box. I have to totally trust that I am hearing God, and just go with it. I am really a terrible artist, but I am getting better. What I am learning is that God uses many different means to talk to us, and we usually focus on a few. By doing something you haven’t ever done, you can begin to hear Him in different ways, which sharpens your senses to hear him better in every way.
Today is the day I have been waiting for since probably sometime in October. I was able to put the top down on my Miata and ride around with the sun and wind in my hair (figuratively speaking of course). It was great! The sun was warm, and I felt the freedom on the road that I miss with the top up. I love convertibles. I have had my Miata since 1999. It has almost 155000 miles on it, and I plan to keep it for a long time. Before that I had another Miata, a Chrysler LeBaron, an Suzuki Samari, a Datsun Fairlady and a 1968 Camero. So over the past 42 years I have had at least 6 convertibles. In fact, the only years when I didn’t have a convertible were when the kids were too young, and I couldn’t talk Julia into having one. I’m not ready to give up a convertible yet. I guess someday I’ll be too old. But today is not that day. I plan on putting a new engine in my present Miata when the time comes. I just really enjoy driving around with the top down. So with the outside temperature approaching 70, and the sun shining down, the top came down for the first time this year. Julia loved convertibles too. She normally had short hair, and having the top down wasn’t too bad for her. I know that many times she would have rather had it up, but she knew how much I enjoyed riding around with it down.
I was also able to get a run in. It was just a beautiful day, and tomorrow looks to be just the same. I do plan on getting all the pine straw spread in the back yard tomorrow. I felt bad that I didn’t get any spread today. I know that Julia would have been after me to do some if it today. Well tomorrow night, hopefully I will be able to say that it is all done. We have to enjoy tomorrow because the cold is going to try to make a comeback on Sunday.
I don’t think I can say this enough. God is Good. We had prayer answered today for a friend who I wrote about a couple of days ago. God can turn things that look disappointing into things that are blessings. I give thanks to Him. He is so good, and He loves us so much.
So, I’m looking forward to a good weekend. I am ready for spring, and it is finally here. Winter is over. It’s time for a change of seasons. I am ready!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 67 = Walking in His Peace

I’m starting this post early today. Since I have to be at work at 6, and won’t be home until after midnight I figured I would try to see if I could at least write some of it early. But I might have started too late. We will see. I did get a 50 minute run in today. It felt really good to run outside in the sun. In fact right now I am sitting out side on my deck. It has a southern exposure and is getting good sunshine. So I’m trying to up my Vitamin D as I write. I really just got through eating my breakfast/lunch/dinner. I’m not sure which, because I’m not sure what I’ll eat the rest of the day. Anyway it was an omelet with cheese, cilantro, jalapenos and Tabasco sauce. I had a couple of tomatoes on the side. Man it was awesome. I ate it out here in one of my favorite places. Julia and I bought this house because it faced the woods in the back, and got sun on the deck most of the day. We had a screen porch built right off the deck so we could move in there when it got too hot in the summer. This was our favorite spot to sit together, talk, and have breakfast or supper. We also did most of our devotionals together here when the weather was nice. This afternoon is one of the first days that I have been able to sit out here this year. The temperature is probably in the upper 50s but the sunshine makes it feel so much warmer. I look around the backyard and see so much that she would e wanting to do right now. There are some pots to pull the old plants out of and get ready to put new annuals into. The blueberry bushes are getting ready to bud. I hope that they can wait because another cold spell could hurt the crop. Also there is still the matter of 50 bails of pine straw that I have under the porch. Well it’s probably closer to 40 now. We did get some down in the front yard. But the whole back yard needs straw. I was going to get it right after I got back from Webb, but with everything that happened, I haven’t gotten to it yet. The forecast is for a beautiful next two days before a cold snap and rain comes back on Sunday. Hopefully I will get to it this sometime this weekend. I really miss her; I don’t guess that will change. But it is such a beautiful day, and I can sense the goodness and pleasure of God. I wish that I didn’t have to work. I could sit out here for hours, but I don’t have that kind of time. I have to leave for work in a little over an hour and I still have to shower and dress.
I listened to Bill Johnson on the podcast while I was running this morning. He was talking about ”Pursue. Overtake and Recover all.” He was talking about getting a word from God. Many of us have many decisions both big and small to make. If we are praying we ask God for a word. He is always talking, but sometimes we just don’t listen in the right way. Many times we have several doors in front of us. I really like it when he speaks loudly and I know for sure what to do. But sometimes He leads me by the peace that He gives. I can ask Him about each door, and if I don’t really have a clear answer I go with where His peace is. For me I have found that that peace normally is the Holy Spirit leading me. I have gone against that peace a number of times in my life, usually to my deep regret later on. If you constantly try to walk in His peace and presence, then following that peace when you are not sure of an answer is usually a good thing to do. I’m right there now. I have many doors in front of me. I sense change in the air. There are so many things I am involved in, but I think there are only a few that I really want to give myself too. So here is the deal. Ministry should be fun. You should really get pleasure out of giving yourself away in ministry. If it is not fun, what are your reasons for doing it. Now by fun, I mean that it is something that feeds your passion. It is something where you see God move strongly. Religion is not fun. Releasing His presence is fun. The circumstances may not be the best, but fun is seeing Him move and the Kingdom released. I wish all work could be fun. I was blessed in that I enjoyed my job. It’s great if you can, but they do call it work for a reason. I am fortunate in that I am old enough to be able to do what I like, I happen to enjoy the work that I do. Not necessarily all the days I work, but most of them. I am blessed beyond belief to have a job, a place to live, my girls and grandchildren.
Well, I just got home from work, and I will get this posted soon. I’ve got two days off, and the weather is supposed to be great. I’m looking forward to the sun!

Day 66 - Dealing with Disappointments

How do you deal with disappointments? We all have them in our lives. We don’t get chosen as class president, or don’t make the Cheerleading squad. As we get older, the disappointments normally increase and get more major in our lives. One disappointment here or there is usually easy to work with. But what if you get two or three major disappointments in a row? What if your mother or wife dies and then while trying to cope with that, you get a disappointment in your career. How much can you take? When is the breaking point? I don’t know. I do know that a friend of mine is going through something like that right now. As I have grown older I realize that something’s you can’t help with. You have to watch friends and relatives go through many things that you can’t fix. When my kids were young, I always wanted to fix things. As a dad I thought it was my job. That has probably hurt my kids more than it has helped them. I know that it is totally opposite to what Danny Silk teaches in His book and DVDs on Loving Kids on purpose. I wish that Julia and I had been taught that before we had children. That would have helped our girls and us. Well, like most parents we sort of muddled through. If you know someone who is facing disappointment all you can really do is love them and pray. Pray that God will give him or her wisdom, discernment and the grace to endure and to enjoy. I might have said this before, but I love Grahame Cooke’s definition of Grace. He said the grace of God is the ability to enjoy as well as the ability to endure. You can also pray for another open door, something that has not yet manifested it the open. I am declaring into the spirit open doors and new assignments.
So what I guess I’m saying is that we have to turn it over to God. Especially if there is nothing we can do about it. We can’t allow worry to take over, not even for a minute. There is a quote I heard Bill Johnson give at a talk last September. I have had to hang onto to it, sometimes with two hands these past two months.
“Anytime I have problems that become larger in my consciousness than my awareness of God’s Presence, I have to repent to regain His perspective.”
That is a powerful thought, and really hard to walk out. But when I try to walk it out, it begins to put things in perspective. I remember how much He loves me, and that He will never leave me or forsake me. I begin to understand that I do have Grace from Him. I do have the grace to enjoy and the grace to endure. I can walk through this disappointment into His goodness and things will be OK, no matter how bad they seem right now. The devil just wants us in fear. Fear is the opposite of Faith. We should never make any decision in fear. If we do, it will probably be the wrong one and will keep us away from our destiny longer. I believe if we keep pressing in, we will eventually reach our destiny. Sometimes our decisions delay that destiny.
So how do we deal with disappointments? First we can’t let them overwhelm us with fear. Secondly we have to try and release them to God, believing in His goodness. Third we have to learn to walk at all times in His grace, and seek His wisdom as to how to respond. Fourth, we have to declare His destiny over us and keep looking for open doors. Lastly we can’t let bitterness stay in our hearts when we are disappointed. The fruit of that will only bring destruction. Disappointments are just that, disappointments. We are called to be overcomers. That means we have things we have to overcome. It’s just that sometime life piles up on us so much that it is very hard.
We all need someone to talk to, someone to pray with. Sometimes they don’t need to say anything, just listen. Many times there is really nothing to say, it’s just being there. There is no such thing as a “lone ranger Christian.” We are called to be a body, in relationship. We all need someone to talk to and get things off our mind with, or maybe we all need to write a blog. I know that this is helping me. So I will continue praying, declaring and pressing in for my family and my friends. I know that in Heaven, Julia is ever interceding for us. But here on earth it is my task now. I embrace it with joy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 65 - Ministry should be Fun

I got an email this morning from a friend of ours who read my blog. She said that she felt that all the Valentine decorations were a prophetic declaration of Julia and God’s love for me. That them being up were a symbol of her love, and a symbol of the love that Father God was teaching me about. I thought about that a lot today, and I believe that she is right on. I know of Julia’s love, and although I thought I knew of the Father’s love, I am coming to know it so much deeper.
Last night was very hard, and very good; the pain of missing Julia was replaced by the deep touch of the Father. It’s almost hard to explain. I went to bed and for the first time I had a hard time going to sleep. But that lasted for about five minutes. I focused on Jesus and asked me to take me somewhere. I guess He knew I needed sleep, because before we got where we were going, I was sound asleep. That was good because today was busy, but in a good way. Work was early but easy. I was able to come home and get my run in. I was able to run outside. It wasn’t a great day outside, but better than it has been. I trimmed the roses and bushes in each side of the house, and then I fertilized the roses and blueberry plants along with the pansies. These are things that Julia would have done. She loved to work in the yard. I don’t really like it, but I guess this is a part that I will adapt to. I know that she would be anxious to get some herbs planted, and to check on the ones that had been left over the winter to see if they had survived. I’m just happy that the house plans are surviving. Yes, I did remember to water them before I went on my trip.
This morning when I got home I marinaded some chicken in soy sauce and jalapeno peppers. I grilled two chicken breast, one for tonight and one for later. So I had salad and chicken for supper. The only reason I mention it is that it is probably only the third or fourth time I have cooked at home in over two months. It was fun, and when school is out I am sure I will do more. BASSM didn’t meet this week because of spring break. I really missed class and I know that I am going to miss it over the summer. However it does give me a chance to catch up on my homework.
I really miss my girls. I wish that I could be with them because I know that they need me. I just have to release them to Papa and ask Him to love on them like He loves on me. As I get older I find that the most important thing is teaching and imparting the love of God. Really, isn’t that what the Gospel is. I mean if you boil everything in the Bible down it comes down to this. God is Good and He wants us to love Him so He can release His love to us. Everything we do in the Kingdom is about releasing His love. Why do we make it so complicated? Also as I get older I have learned that we don’t have time for everything everybody wants us to do. We have to seek out what God wants us to do. So how do we do that? Well, I believe we do that by doing what gives us the satisfaction of the King. We know that because He makes it fun, not hard. I am only going to do what I believe glorifies Him, and also is fun for me. He wants me to enjoy His presence. The focus that I need for these next years is easy. What in ministry is fun? Go after that because you will find Him in the midst. It shouldn’t be hard and tiresome. His burden is easy and light. So I have decided to begin to evaluate all that I am doing, and then to focus on what He wants me to do. I will know what He wants me to do because He will allow me the joy of ministering along with him.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 64 - Valentine's Day is Over

When we came home from Mobile after Christmas it was Dec 29th. We were going to be in Webb Alabama for Bill Johnson on Jan 3rd. Julia was scheduled to go to Mobile on the 10th to be there with Lisa for the birth of the baby. So we didn’t have much time to take Christmas decorations down. Like always I was at work on the 30th and 31st so that left the brunt of the work for her. I would just take boxes down to the basement to store after they were packed. She was the brains and I was the brawn, although not much of that. Anyway Julia was always decorating from holiday to holiday, so when I cam home from work on the New Years Eve, the house was decorated for Valentines Day. It’s been Valentines Day here ever since. I really didn’t know what went where. I had some idea, but the details still escape me. If she were here, the house would be decorated with colored eggs and bunnies for Easter, but that’s just in three weeks, and I really didn’t want to do that. So Biddie and John came over this afternoon to help me sort out all the valentine decorations and try to get the house back to normal. We changed out the heart shaped plates and the red bed covers and put the regular ones back up. I still think we are missing some, but I haven’t found them. I did find a credit card yesterday that I hadn’t seen. So I am slowly beginning to make the house mine. No that isn’t right, because everywhere I look I see her touch. I guess that I am slowly beginning to move into areas that were totally her domain. I don’t really want to, but sometimes it is necessary. I just had an overwhelming wave of sadness flow over me like a wave. The realization that she will never again decorate this house just hit me. I might decorate, or have friends decorate, but the decorations that we took down today were the last she ever put up. It’s hard to realize, and the loss is so real. This is one of those times that I could just spiral out of control if I let myself go there. I do grieve my loss of her. I miss her smile, her love and joy. I even miss her scolding when I would do something she deemed inappropriate, which was often : > ) But I have to continue to choose, just like I did just now, to press into the comfort of His Love. What I am trying to learn is to let His love and comfort take me where I need to go. It’s not like it is replacing Julia’s love and comfort. No it’s different, deeper somehow. The thing is I know that once I get to where I am trying to go, it will in many ways be better than anything I had before. I hope that I am making sense. We need to get this. It’s important for all of us to understand the fullness and depth of the Father’s overwhelming love. I always thought I did. Now I know that there is so much more, and we have to constantly explore the mysteries of His love if we are to ever really understand and comprehend it.
Wow, I think I got in waters over my head! Anyway, the house is in order, and work is coming early tomorrow. God is Good and He is in a Good Mood!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 63 - Passionate Worship

I know that there are probably many churches that have passionate worship where the presence of God is so strong that you don’t want to stop. I am so blessed to be a part of RiverStone. Worship this morning was so good. It was good to be back home. Daniel and the band just ushered in the presence of the Lord, and then Mark’s sermon was a declaration of how we can get to where we need to in the prophetic and the importance of the prophetic in the coming Revival. During worship I was thinking of how much Julia must be enjoying watching us. Then all of a sudden I just missed her so much! As I worshiped I had to focus on the goodness of God, and press into him. It would have been easy just to get lost in my loss. “We bring the sacrifice of praise” came to mind and I mad the choice to press in deeper to the arms of the Father. As I did that my sorrow quickly turned into joy. This led to even deeper worship. I was just lost in Him, being covered by His love. When the band began to play “Roar like a Lion”, I know that Julia was probably watching and dancing along with me. Julia and I loved to worship together, so it’s not a surprise that I would think of her often as I worship.
I was thinking about the trip to Nicaragua tonight. Why is it that the anointing, especially for prophecy was so much stronger there. I’ve come to the conclusion that it isn’t really stronger. It’s just that I was expected to prophecy, so I did. I was able to get a word for anyone that I pressed in to the Spirit about. Why can’t we do that here? We can! The same Holy Spirit is within me here that was in me in Nicaragua. So I ought to be able to do the same thing. If the presence of God is upon us, we should walk in His power and under an open heaven. It should not matter where we are. My problem is really in my mind. It’s how I see myself and how I limit myself in what I think that God can do through me. I talk about breaking out of the box, yet I find that I have had myself in one. So, the only thing I can do is to continue to press in to the Holy Spirit, knowing that I can do everything I was able to do in Nicaragua. So I have to co labor with the Holy Spirit. I have to believe He wants to use me, but I have to press into the boundaries that I have set up for myself. I have to cross over and that is risky. Being the adventurer that I am, I am ready to step over that line every chance I get. If we are going to have community transformation (revival) then we all need to begin to step over lines that we have drawn for ourselves. The kingdom of Heaven is ever expanding. We limit ourselves when we don’t do things because we couldn’t do them before. Our influence and ministry should ever increase. We all should act and think like we do on mission trips in other countries. I know that I need to ask God for more compassion for the people around me as I live here.
Tomorrow work starts again. I have an early morning for the next two days and then late nights for the next two days. I work 13 days out of the next 17 so I’m going to be busy. It was a good thing that I came back on Saturday from Nicaragua. Today’s flight was full and I would still be there. But here I am and work starts tomorrow. So that’s it for tonight, it’s an early get up tomorrow.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 62 - Back Home

I’ve never understood the Atlanta airport. Yes, I know they are building a new international terminal. From the looks of the progress on construction it should be ready by 2020. But for years, especially after 9-11 and even before going through international customs is a nightmare. First you clear security, then you recheck your checked bag to get it to the main terminal. Then you have to go through security again, which is total rubbish. Today my flight took 3 hours and 15 minutes. Then it took me 2 hours and 5 minutes to get through customs and get my bag at the main terminal. I only waited 1 hour and 10 minutes to get my bag. I might still be there except I found it on the carousel next to the one it should have been on. What a zoo!
Anyway it’s good to be home, except that it is cold. I can’t wait for church tomorrow, but first I have to deal with clothes to wash and food to buy at the grocery store. All the mundane but necessary tasks we still have to do. I’m still processing the trip and all God did. All I can say is that I love Him and His goodness. So this is all for tonight I need some sleep. I’ll process more tomorrow. It is always good to be home.

Day 61 - Open Heavens

Well this is a late Day 61. If I were more legalistic I would really be bummed out that I didn’t get my blog posted last night. As it is, I’m just a little bummed out. We were gone all day and most of the night on Friday. We left at 8AM for a 2 hour drive to Teriposo (probably misspelled). We were going to minister all day at a church there. Harry, our guide, had never been to this church, but his networking ability is unbelievable. On the way, we were praying and asking God to let us see Nicaragua through His eyes. We were asking Him to give us His heart and compassion. We felt that there was another level in the Spirit that He wanted us as a team to move into and we couldn’t do it without His heart and compassion. Toward the end of the prayer, we were going up a hill and we were overlooking a beautiful valley. We pulled off the side of the road and got out of the van. As we stood at the top of a sharp drop-off overlooking the valley, we began to cry out for the nation of Nicaragua. We were singing “Let it Rain” in the van, and we continued to ask God to pour out His rivers of refreshing. I could see in the spirit a deep reservoir that God had stored up for the nation waiting for the cry of release. Others were declaring and decreeing release. All of a sudden, I felt the roar of the Lion of Judah rise up inside of me. As I roared over the land, I felt that there was a release in the spirit, and I could see angles beginning to turn the cranks raising the gate that held the reservoir. We all held hands and were asking God to break our hardness of heart and completely give us His love for the people. We knew that our prayers were heard and answered and continued on with great anticipation of the day. We had to climb a number of hills and the van we had was an underpowered diesel 15 seat (not really) van. It smoked more than it accelerated and was having a hard tome on the hills. Finally on one hill it just wouldn’t make it. We all had to climb out and walk while the empty van finally was able to climb up to the top. That was a sight to see, all of us walking along side the road for about 300 feet. Fortunately that was the only time we had to do that this trip. We pulled into the church around 10 AM.
The plan for the day was for Morgan, a second year student to teach about treasure hunts and then we were going to go out with them to encourage them. That night Linda was going to speak and we were going to minister. During the prayer a couple of us had saw us doing some prophetic ministry , so Lacy decided to add that into the morning session. When we walked in, I could tell a difference in the spirit with this church. It’s not that the other churches were bad; it’s just that this one seemed special. It could be that it was that we were different. Anyway, something was different. There were probably around 30 youth and adults that were there. Their school runs at different times of the day, and that’s why the youth were able to be there. The pastor said that these were all leaders of some kind or another. We were introduced, and then Lacey called us up to prophecy. It was awesome! We were supposed to get a word for someone, and then someone else would tag along and give a second word. I think the plan was to give about 10 people words. The Holy Spirit had other plans. We wound up prophesying over everyone there. I have never had such a strong anointing for the prophetic. It seemed like all I had to do was look at a person, then ask God for a word and He would give me one. From what I could tell, we were all prophesying with great accuracy. We did this for almost an hour. There is one thing that I forgot to say. The church’s name is Bethel. I don’t believe that is a coincidence. After that, Morgan taught about words of knowledge and Treasure hunts. The people were energized because of what they had experienced, and were happy to try and get clues. We finished around 1PM and were supposed to come back after lunch at 4PM to go on the treasure hunt. I couldn’t understand why we had so long to eat, but I soon found out. We drove to another city for lunch. It was good but definitely not fast. It took over 2 hours for lunch ad we didn’t get back until right at 4PM.
So here was the plan. We divided the people up into 5 teams and then we sent 2 of our team with each team. We were there to just encourage and support them. The major problem was the language barrier. We had a hard time telling them anything, so we were mainly along for the ride. I was with Asha, and she spoke a little Spanish, so we were probably better of than most of the teams. The youth on our team were very zealous, and we watched and interceded for them. We were out for an hour, and watched them find two men, and pray for healing. One of the men had pain in his legs and walked with a cane. His pain went down significantly and he was blessed by the presence and peace of the Holy Spirit. We watched them give some prophetic words and pray for a sick baby. It was great. If we could have about 3 days with them, I think they would have it down. As it is, I know that they were zealous, but I wonder about whether they will continue or not.
Early in the day, during the teaching on Treasure Hunts, I began to feel that God wanted me to share at the evening service. The more I rejected the idea, the stronger it became. I felt like He wanted me to share my testimony of His goodness over the past 2 months. I talked to Lacy and she said that I should. She was going to ask me to pray an impartation of the Father’s heart at the end, and this would fit perfectly. So I was to share after Linda and then impart to the people. Worship started at 6:30 and there were about 50 people. It went on until about 7:30. By then there were probably over 300. Worship was awesome! There was a spirit of freedom in worship that I hadn’t experienced since we had been there. As we were worshiping I felt that there were Angles all around the room looking with anticipation, waiting for what was about to happen. Then I decided to press into the Spirit more. I was asking the Lord to let me see the Angels with my natural eyes. I have never seen an Angel before. I had sensed them in the corner of my eye, but had never seen them full on. Well, I was looking at the far wall, and I began to make out the outline of something. It was tall, probably about 10 – 12 feet tall. It was very big. I couldn’t really see any details because the figure was almost transparent. I could shift my eyes away and then It wasn’t there. As I focused in, I could see it again. You could see through it. I was excited; I knew that it was an Angel!
After worship we were called up without notice to give corporate prophetic words about the church. God is good, and all the team got very god words. The common theme was that this church was a light, and had been called to minister to the city and help bring revival to the country. It was an awesome time once again. Then Linda shared and I was next.
Last Wednesday night when I preached on the Father’s heart I used the passage on the prodigal son. It was a good message, and the presence of God was there. I felt a strong anointing of the Holy Spirit. But at the service I felt that I was pushing up against a wall. I tried to discern it, and I think that it was just something that was so foreign to most of the audience that I was plowing new ground. That was not the case last night. As I began to talk about the goodness of God, the people joined in. They were in agreement. The testimony of this bitter and blessed moment of my life is a strong and powerful weapon for the Kingdom. It’s not something I relish giving, but it’s something I must give, because I am living it. It is my testimony. In order to see the sevenfold justice, It is a weapon that I will definitely be using many times.
After sharing I had everyone stand and then I prayed an impartation of the Fathers Love over him or her. I knew that the Holy Spirit wanted to do more. I had anyone who had had a moment where they questioned God’s goodness over something that had happened to raise their hand. Many across the room did. I then had those around them to lay hands and pray blessings over them. The team also went around and started praying. The presence of God was very strong, and many were getting touched. Harry took over and started talking to them while I joined the team praying. Many were falling and being slain in the spirit. As this wound down, we began calling those who needed prayer for healing. It seemed like everyone came down. We started praying and the power of God was still strong. Many were falling; it was hard to move in and out to pray. So we changed the plan and moved all the chairs that were still out. We ended the service with a fire tunnel. It was fun and powerful. I really believe the whole church was touched.
After the service was finally over, around 9:30 we had dinner with the pastor and his wife in a back room of the church. It was traditional Nicaraguan food. It was cooked like tamale except with a rice mixture and beef. It was much better than I thought, and I ate it all. We then had the two hour drive back to the hotel. Since I was leaving on Sat, we had Harry come into the room and we began to prophecy over him and bless him. He is a true honorable servant of God. He has a great vision and anointing. We believe he is a key player in what God is going to do in Nicaragua. The prophecies are to intimate to go init. It was avery sweet time. He was very honored and blessed. By the time everyone left the room it was 12:45 AM. I still had to pack and get up at 4AM. That’s why this is late. Right now I am on the airplane heading home. I plan to catch up tonight. I hope God will sharpen my focus about what 2010 and beyond holds for me.
I’m on the airplane heading back to Atlanta. After clearing customs and driving home I should be back around 3:30. It is always good to come home. This was a great trip. It was probably one of the most powerful and fun trips I have ever been on. I think it is being around and ministering with 20 – 30 year old radicals. I needed this trip more than I realized. I do know this; I will apply to go to BSSM 2nd year next year. I come alive in many dimensions when I am ministering with them. I am looking for more. “More Lord” will continue to be my cry.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 60 - Heal the Sick

Tomorrow is Friday. If you have ever been on a short-term mission trip you know that this is where the rubber meets the road. The rush of adrenalin you get when the trip starts is long gone. The excitement of ministry is waning and fatigue is sitting in fast. Well that could be the case. It normally is, however this is not a normal trip. This is a trip with a bunch of radical revivalist who spent most of the day praying for the sick in a local hospital, ministering to and feeding children in an area so poor there is very little electricity, no running water and the homes look like little huts made from metal sheets. We also had another outdoor service in this area for the people. We got back to the hotel around 10PM, just in time to go downstairs to eat. That in a nutshell was our day, but it doesn’t begin to tell all that happened, and I’m not sure I can tell it all now.
Let’s start at the hospital this afternoon. We went around 9AM to go the mart to get some souvenirs. Then we went to lunch and after lunch we went to meet the pastor whose church we were going to tonight. He met us at the local hospital. He had some connections and was able to get us in with pretty much free reign on one of the wings to go and pray for the sick. I don’t know what the other part of the hospital was like, but in this wing there were like wards. Each big room had 8 beds. They were segregated by sexes. One side of the wing was for women, and the other side was for men. The wing had no air conditioning. The rooms had a couple of floor fans and that was it. They were extremely hot, and all the men were sweating. It looked like most of the men we prayed for were postoperative. We specifically prayed against infection which seems to be a big issue based on what we saw when we prayed for people in their homes the other night. Everyone we prayed for experienced a touch from God in some way. We had one guy say that he felt cooler, (a miracle in itself in those conditions.) We saw pain decrease if not go away in a couple of cases. While I didn’t have anyone get up and leave after I had prayed, some of our team did. The women prayed for a woman who had just been admitted. I believe she was having trouble breathing. After the team prayed for her, she was completely healed and checked herself out of the Hospital and went home. Another man checked himself out after prayer, but we didn’t get a complete rundown on him. All I know was that our allotted time passed so fast. It was so much fun being able to walk in and bless someone with God’s love. His presence with us was very strong, and I felt His pleasure as we rayed for these people.
After that we went to the church where our outreach was going to take place. From there we drove probably a mile back into this section of slums. It is an area of dirt roads. There are sections with little plots of land with shacks on each plot of land. Each plot of land in surrounded by barbed wire to mark your territory. There was very little electricity and no running water. I’m sure the plumbing was an outhouse. There were so many kids. They were all dirty, and most very cute and sweet. We divided up into two groups and each went to one of the churches home groups. At the home group we were able share a testimony and call out words of knowledge and then pray for the sick. It was a lot of fun, and we saw a number of people healed of migrant headaches and other various ailments. Then the kids were fed, and were given the toys that we had brought from the states. By the time we finished there it was time to walk back for the evening service. It was on one of the dirt streets two of the girls shared and we had probably 15 pray to receive Christ. The a man that we met at the hospital shared.
When I first met Earl, I thought that he was everything that I wanted to be but was not. He is outgoing, anointed and not afraid to say anything. He has the joy of the Lord all over him, and he goes around constantly singing, “I have a good, good daddy”. I talked with him when the kids had come to the small group, and I knew that I was to connect with this man, and that I wanted him to pray an impartation over me. Well, he got up to speak, and he talked about the loveliness of God, and how good He is. He shared about how he and his wife lost their third baby, and how in the midst of that he was able to hold onto the goodness of God. Of courts this really hit home to me, with Julia’s death so close to my heart. I really connected to him, and we did get him to pray with all of us. It was great, He has a heart for Nicaragua, and he is very anointed. He preaches the Kingdom message, and that was what we talked about most. I truly believe tonight was a “god moment” for me, and I can’t wait to see what unfolds. Well it’s late and 8AM comes very early. It will be Friday, bring it on.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 59 - The Father's Heart

Today was a long day. It’s 11:30 here, so this is still for Wed, March 10th. We just got to the hotel, and we have to leave at 8:30 in the morning. Well, the morning was easy. I got a 3-mile run in on the treadmill; we had a great leisurely breakfast and then spent some time out by the pool. We came down for the van at 2 PM, but it didn’t show up until 2:40. This is not unusual, so we just hung out in the lobby of the hotel. We drove probably around 40 minutes to an area of Managua that seemed isolated. It was definitely one of the poorer areas of the city. The pastor of the church is Cuban. His church has two services on Sunday morning, It has one on Wednesday night, and it is outside since there is not enough room for the people. We went with an interpreter around to different homes to pray for people who were sick. We saw some knees healed of pain, headaches disappear , back pain disappear, and some abdominal pain healed. We also gave some prophetic words to many people. As we were walking around, you could see the varying degrees of poverty. Most of the homes had concrete floors and bare walls. A couple had dirt floors, tin roofs and walls with big holes to the outside. It made me feel so blessed to have all that we have. The people are very nice, and the healings were pretty significant to them. We visited 6 or 7 homes, prayed for more than one person in most of them, and we probably saw 8 healings. That’s really pretty significant. The other half of our team had the same results.
The service started at 6:30. Well it was supposed to. It really started about 6:50. They had blocked the street off, built a platform, put up lights and put chairs out in the street. By 7:15 there were at least 300 people there.
We had two of us preaching today. A girl named Asha and myself. We were doing an evangelistic service. Her message was strictly evangelistic while mine was about the Father’s heart. So I started, she closed and then we both came together for an alter call. It was really a little bit awkward for me doing that, but it all worked out OK. God’s presence was with me during the message, and things went pretty well. I was thankful for His anointing, because it was really a hard crowd. They pat pretty much expressionless and quiet. Not a crowd to draw emergency from. But the presence of God was strong and I drew my emergency from Him.
We had been warned that they might not respond to ministry time, and they were very slow to react. We did have probably 10 salvations, and probably 40 finally came down for healing prayer. I did pray for a number of people to release the love of the Father into their lives. I don’t know how many healings we had tonight, but there were many.
It was another very good day, and I am exhausted. Breakfast will come early tomorrow, so I think this is it until tomorrow night.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 58 - Zip Line

Today, Tuesday March 9th, we were tourists. We had a great breakfast again at the hotel. And then left around 9:30 for a two-hour drive up into the mountains. We were going to this huge Zip line ride. For those who don’t know, a zip line is a cable strung between two trees. You are attached with a harness and a pulley, and you ride down the cable. Sounds simple. I remember doing that as a kid. Well this is not like that at all. This is in the tops of 150 year old trees, and some of the lines run for up to 400 meters, over 1200 feet. There were seven different lines to ride. Each was a varying lengths and speeds. The greater the drop in elevation causes faster speed. We were strapped into our harness with safety lines helmets and thick gloves. The gloves are very important because they are used to stop. When you want to slow down or stop, you take your hand behind the pulley and put pressure on the cable. That gives friction to slow you down. Well the first line was fairly easy, I figured it was a warm up. Then the guides asked us if we wanted to ride upside down, or fly like superman. If you die, they would hook you up differently and then you would sort of straddle them. They would go with you and brake for you. Well, most of you who know me know that I am pretty adventurous. So I did it both ways on a couple of rides. I have to say the upside down ride was pretty intense. When I get home I will put some of the pictures on facebook. Imagine rushing down a cable hanging upside down in a harness with your hands out. You had to have total trust in your guide. You had to trust that he knew what he was doing, and could stop you. You had to trust in the equipment, that your harness would hold. You also had to let faith overtake any fear that you might have. Another time I went down upside down without the guide, trusting that the guide at the end would be able to catch me and keep me from running into the tree.
If you consider that in the spiritual realm, Holy Spirit is our guide, we need to be willing to ride upside down, trusting Him to give us the right equipment (gifts) and to know what He is doing, even when we don’t. We have to trust Him to guide us through areas we would normally fear. We have to let our faith push through any fears that we might have. That’s what this mission trip is about. Trusting Holy Spirit to show up. This trip is about stepping of the platform and flying upside down, knowing that He has a plan, and will perform it. Our job is to co labor with him. We have to allow him to harness us, to climb the tree and prepare for the ride. Then we just have to fly, knowing He will catch us. So tomorrow I have to allow Him to harness me. I will co labor with Him and prepare a sermon. But once I start, I will fly and let Him take me where he wills. I believe this is what Life in the Spirit is all about. It is an adventure, and not for the faint at heart.
The zip line ride took almost two hours. After that we went to Granada. It is one of the oldest cities in Nicaragua, and was an old colonial city in the Spanish Conquistadors time. It is really a beautiful city, and we ate lunch in one of the best restaurants that I have been to in a long time. I had a chicken filet with a creamy JalapeƱo sauce and tomato gazpacho soup. It was unbelievable. I wish that I had the receipt. I also tasted someone’s lobster, and someone’s steak. All three were excellent. The setting was beautiful. We sat in the courtyard of this old hotel. There was a fountain in the middle and beautiful flowers growing all around. Unbelievable lunch.
Then we went to the largest lake in Central America, and took an hour and a half boat ride around many islands. There we saw where the very wealthy had houses on their own islands. What a contrast to what we will see for the rest of the week. Tomorrow we start after lunch wit outreach in another town. Then we have an open air meeting in the square. I will be speaking and there will probably be 300 or so people there. Basically I will be speaking about the goodness of God, and releasing the Fathers heart of love to the people. I’ll just see where the Holy Spirit guides me, and the go along for the ride. Thursday we will go to the hospital and pray for the sick, we also feed the children at the dump and pray for them. Thursday night we will have another meeting at another church.
It is so good getting to know the pastors here. They work together so well. They are Kingdom minded, and help each other with no competitive spirit. I am quickly falling in love with the people. I’m looking forward to the next few days.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 57 - Divine Justice

Wow, I got back to the hotel early enough to get this done on the same day. Wrong! I forgot about the time change, so it will probably be posted on the 9th. This is actually about Monday the 8th. This was a pretty easy yet eventful day. We are really “suffering for Jesus” in this hotel. It is as nice as any American hotel I’ve stayed at. There is a full breakfast buffet with made to order omelets and delicious fresh fruit with coffee to die for. We slept in until around 8AM and then went to breakfast. W stayed around the hotel all morning. I got a run on the treadmill in, and then went out to the pool for about 30 minutes. Even with sunscreen on, that was plenty of time in this climate. The temperature was probably in the high 80’s today. It was a little windy, so it felt great. We had a team meeting at noon. WE talked about the schedule and I’m on to preach in our open air meeting in a town plaza on Wednesday night. Our schedule is light the first two days, and then fills up on Wednesday thru Saturday. Then we met at 3PM to go to the mall to eat a late lunch, early dinner. After the mall, we went to an open-air market to do Treasure Hunts for an hour. We divided up into two teams, each with one Spanish speaker to translate. Our team was looking for a few different clues, one of which was a colorful bird. As we were walking we came across a booth with some bird paintings. That was close enough, so we asked the girl if she needed prayer for anything. She said her mother had cancer, and we could pray for that. We then told her how we found her, and that God wanted to heal her mother. As we prayed, the presence of God came in very strong. We asked her if she felt the presence as she did. We then held her hands, and prayed for her hands so that she could lay hands on her mother to pray for healing. We then found another lady that needed prayer for her ankles. They had been hurting, but weren’t right now. But as we prayed, she felt a lot of heat come into them. Then we found a woman who was in great pain in her abdomen. As we prayed for her, her pain totally lifted. She was so excited that she went to get the owner of the business. She came in and wanted prayer also. We prayed and blessed her. We also had some prophetic words for her that were right on. We also prayed for a man with one leg. (It didn’t grow back). We did all of this is less than an hour. It was a great time, but only the beginning of the evening.
We went to this church that Josiah (one of our leads) and Harry (the Nicaraguan pastor who is our guide) had never been to. We really didn’t know what to expect, Well there were probably 60 to 70 people there, and worship was very lively and good. Then we got up and we all called out words of knowledge. Every word had a response, some more than one. We had these people come down, and we were going to pray for them. We probably had at least twenty of the group to come down for prayer. WE all prayed for them for a while, and then we had testimonies. At the end of the service, when we asked how many had been healed, probably 15 – 20 hands went up. We had some ears partially opened, had backs healed, knee pain gone. I can’t remember the list.
After we had the healing time, one of our team, Will. Gave the message on Joy. It was very good, and was right on target for what the pastor needed to hear. When we first walked into the building, I felt the Holy Spirit impress upon me to take my sketchpad and pencils out and draw a picture. I had no clue what I was about to draw until I started. I knew that He wanted to use me in this way on this trip, but I wasn’t sure how He was going to do it. Anyway I drew a picture of the church in a city block with other buildings. The power of God was filling it from above. The power looked sort of like flames coming from the sky, with an outline of Jesus in them. Then I got a word for the Pastor. I wrote part of the word on the picture. It was very encouraging, but I had more that I wanted to tell him when I gave him the picture. This part of the word was about breaking off an attack that he had been under form the enemy. God is so good. The picture and the word was right on. The pastor was weeping as I gave him the word that I had gotten. He had been under tremendous attack, and Gide delivered him tonight. I was blessed to be able to be used in this way. I was especially blessed that He used my drawing. The drawing is a tangible example of His love. A word can be powerful, but a word with a drawing is a might weapon for the kingdom. I’m greatly encouraged.
Today we only ministered for a few hours, but God multiplied out time with His presence. Tomorrow we play tourist, and go to the jungle and ride the zip line through the trees. We are also going to see an active volcano. It should be a fun day. The Wednesday we will be busy all day. Well, I’m tired and ready to get some sleep. I can bask in the glory of God tonight His presence is awesome.
One last thought. Tonight when we were praying for the sick, I was thinking of Julia. It’s been two months to the day that she died, I was asking God, no I was putting a demand on His presence for divine justice. I was declaring healings take place in retribution for her death. I wasn’t angry, just reminding my Father about His saint who died, and wanting to see the seven fold return. I will continue to press into that. I hope you will too.