Our Unexpected Journey

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I haven’t posted anything for a while with all the business over the holiday season.  Happy New Year!  I pray that this will be a year of abundant blessing for you.  May your walk with the Lord grow more deeply intimate in sweet fellowship

I had a PET scan in December and the results were not what I was hoping and praying for.  The cancer has returned.  It's amazing that I can be feeling so good, looking good, and even my blood work showing health.....and yet there is cancer growing in my body.  It was a bit of a surprise.

I was so grateful that before I got this news, the Lord had been speaking to me about my thoughts and what to focus on.  

He directed my attention to a well known verse from Philippians 4:8 - "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

I've always loved that verse.  I've taught on it in fact.  But it has taken on a fresh, new significance for me.  The truth in it is not only good - it's powerful.  We have a "spiritual tool" at our disposal through our thought life.

We are surrounded with negative messages filled with tragedy, pain, sorrow, disappointment, lies, ugliness, and myriads of hurt.  Our mind is bombarded with messages of doom and gloom.  And that's not even considering things that are happening to us personally!

If we let our thoughts follow this process, we will be overwhelmed with heaviness.  It is vital to stay focused on the list from Philippians 4!  If I think upon those things - then my heart immediately wants to thank the Lord for them.  Worship begins to well up in my heart.  The whole "atmosphere" of my mind is transformed.  I find it can turn a hard day around to being a good day if I think upon who God is and His goodness to me.

On the hard days, I work at making a conscious, continual effort to "think on what is true...."

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."  Romans 12:2

"We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."  2 Corinthians 10:5

"As someone thinks within himself, so he is."  Proverbs 23:7

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."  Colossians 3:2

"Therefore.....fix your thoughts on Jesus."  Hebrews 3:1

"The Message" version of the Philippians 4:8 verse:  "Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious - the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse."

The secular world realizes the power of our thoughts - there are so many books and articles written on this topic.  But God was way ahead of them.  He instructed us what to think on - knowing it would bring health and life to us if we think upon what is good......and turn it into worshipping Him.  I'm finding the beauty and the strength that comes from doing that.  Once again - God is such a faithful teacher!

He was so kind to speak this truth to my heart just as I needed it!  It's very easy to be overwhelmed and discouraged by this news.  I need to "take my thoughts captive," and go to Jesus with this news.  

This recent Christmas was the 3rd Christmas since Floyd got sick.  I was surprised and caught off guard when a wave of sadness hit me on Christmas day. I thought it would get easier as time went by - but it felt like I'd been hit by a new massive wave.  I think it's all part of the "journey" I'm walking on - and I'm very tired.  That probably makes me more vulnerable.  I've been talking a lot to the Lord.  As always "His consolations cheer my soul."  (Psalm 94:19)

I've been reminded in recent days of the oyster.  Pearls are formed when particles of sand get stuck inside the oyster shell.  That irritant works in wondrous ways to produce beautiful pearls.  The longer the irritant is there - the more beautiful and valuable the pearl becomes.  There's a direct correlation between the the length of time of the "irritant" and the beauty of what is produced. 

I keep reminding myself that the trials on this unexpected journey are producing good things in my life.  I may not see them - but God is using the sufferings I'm walking through to mold and shape me in His ways.  Actually, I can see some of the things He's doing......but mostly I just have to keep my eyes on Him and trust Him.

I've lived long enough to learn that it's not so important what comes our way - but how we respond to those things!  Our responses can make or break us.  I'm keenly aware that I can't make it on my own, but as I turn to Him - He gives the needed grace and strength.  I don't want the trials to defeat me!  I want to dig deep into new levels of His strength.  I've seen that each experience, each trial I walk through - as I lean into His strength and grow through it......it prepares me for what's ahead.

With His help, if I'm faithful to persevere in each crisis - faithful to persevere in the long haul.....it will force me to stay tucked in close to Him so that I must rely on Him completely.  He is truly strong in my weakness.  I know I can't make it alone, but I also know He is absolutely faithful!!

I heard one time that hope begins when you stand in the dark looking out at the light.  When the wave of sadness washed over my heart and emotions - I looked to Him who is THE light!!  He brought the warmth of His sunshine to my soul.

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."  John 1:5

"The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom what I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1

"Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path."  Psalm 119:105

There are times on this journey when I feel like I have dug SO deep into God's reserves of help and strength that I must be reaching the bottom.  And then something new comes along.  As I keep digging, I find His resources are never-ending.  There is always deeper still to go in His grace, help, and strength.  How very, very faithful He is!!

I spent time with Floyd on new year's morning.  I wanted to pray and commit the year ahead to the Lord.  Floyd was quite sleepy - I teased him about falling asleep while I talked.  He is looking better and seems to be gaining some fresh strength.  It was a sweet time with him.  I continue to ask the Lord to bring the "breakthrough" that He spoke to Floyd about before he got sick - whatever that might be.  I'm asking that this will be a year of breakthrough, for both of us.

God often speaks to me through the simple, every day things of life.  I love that!  While I was taking the ornaments off our Christmas tree and packing all the decorations away,  the strands of tree lights got hopelessly tangled!  They were a giant mess.  I was trying to untangle them, but it just seemed to get worse.  I was very frustrated.  Honestly, I was tempted to just throw them all away and start over again next year......but I'm too practical to be wasteful. :)  

I finally put everything else away, and then sat down to work on the lights.  Bulb by bulb, one-at-time I began to try and figure out how to untangle them.  It took a while, but I finally succeeded.

And then, to my surprise, I started crying - because I could sense the Lord speaking to my heart!  Right now when I look at our lives and all that is happening.....and especially in facing all the questions regarding the cancer returning.....it just seems like a big tangled mess!  All I can see is questions and problems.  But I knew in that moment that the Lord was speaking to my heart -  just as I was able to untangle the strands of lights as I worked on them one bulb at a time......He will help me figure things out.....one problem and one question at a time.  

In a strange way I felt like I was on holy ground because I could sense the Lord speaking so clearly and powerfully to my heart.  All I could do was weep in gratitude, and worship Him for His faithfulness.  It was a special, very unexpected "kiss" to my heart from the Father.  It gave me fresh courage to face the days ahead in this new year.

Someone sent me a quote from Bill Johnson of Bethel in Redding, Calif. - “If your answer to prayer is delayed, it is gaining interest.  And when breakthrough comes, it will come with greater power and glory than if it had been released at the moment you first prayed.”

I have prayed many prayers about Floyd, about the cancer that has attacked my body, and about things that are impacting our family and the All Nations ministry.  As I've shared about these things, many people have joined with me in praying.  Many, many, many prayers have been lifted to heaven.  It seems like we haven't seen answers......and I haven't sensed that we've had the breakthrough that God spoke to Floyd about.

The quote from Bill Johnson has brought a fresh sense of perseverance to my heart and to my prayers.  I don't know what the answers will be.  I don't know what the breakthrough will be.  But I'm going to keep praying!  

There is often opposition before breakthroughs come - so I don't want to lose heart.  I want to keep pressing in in the place of prayer.  I'm sure you each have personal requests that you want to lift heavenward too.  May God bring releases for all of us this year.

"Those with open hearts are given insight into your plans."  Psalm 119:130 TPT

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.' "  Isaiah 30:21

"I will instruct you and teach you int he way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you."  Psalm 32:8

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously."  James 1:5

"He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way."  Psalm 25:9

I'm trusting God to see answers and breakthroughs in 2019!  It's a fresh new beginning.