Friday, July 31, 2015

When You Speak I Will Listen

Psalm 16:7
I will praise the Lord, who councils me; even at night my heart instructs me.



The Lord is the only one worth listening to.  When I hear wise council come from anyone’s lips I know it’s the Lord who put those words there.  When I hear his precious words inside my heart I know  that I can trust them.  When his written word jumps out at me I know he is speaking to me; just to me!  

Who am I that you would speak to me??  Who am I that you would trust me to do anything right??

I am your favored one!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Nigeria Journal Part 3; 2013

Here's the 3rd installment of my Nigeria Journal from 2013.

Thursday, October 31
   Tom’s birthday.
   Richard travels to Washington DC this morning to meet with the Nigerian consulate there.  I hope to know by noon if we are going tomorrow or not.  I still feel confident that we will.
   (Later today we received the news that the visas are stamped and ready to go.  We’ll be ready to go tomorrow.  Richard did not have to pay a bribe but he did have to pay the fees, again that we had already paid up in NYC.

Richard and Darlene, who valiantly traveled to Washington DC
with less than 24 hours to take off to ensure that our visas were in order!

Friday, November 1, 2013
   Thank you, Lord for the faith you gave me that we would leave for Nigeria today!  Thank you for all the brothers and sisters who were and will continue to pray for all of us while we are gone.
   Thank you for Jack Thall, who will drive me to the church today so that I don’t have to hire a taxi!

   Be with my children while I am gone and keep Tom safe.  Please don’t let anyone pass away while I’m away.



Dear Daughter

Dear Son

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Cracked Open Heart

2 Timothy 1:6,7

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline.

♱   ♱   ♱   ♱   ♱   ♱   ♱   ♱   ♱   ♱   ♱   ♱   ♱   ♱   

Self discipline fans the flame.  You are the Spirit of power and love.  Self discipline is the way we grow in love and power.

Once I realized, personally, the enormity of the gifts you give; the love and your never absent presence, how could I not throw myself at your feet and cry, “Feed me!”

You make me powerful!  You make me bold!  You have cracked open my heart, because contained, there wasn’t enough room for all the love you’ve given me for others.

And this is the wonder; that cracked open, it has finally found it’s purpose! To bleed your blood over all I meet!

Even if it’s only a smile, each person I interact with gets to see you in me.  That can’t happen with a contained heart; one that beats only for itself.

Thank you for cracking open my heart!  Thank you that while it beats, it beats for you!  Thank you, that in pumping, it distributes you to everyone I interact with.  

Keep me conscious of this always!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Marta Went to Heaven Yesterday

Marta went to Heaven yesterday.
She woke up in the morning, lay out her Sunday outfit and sat down in the chair in her room.
Then she closed her eyes and waltzed into Jesus' arms.

I met Marta 3 years ago, when I very first started to attend Shore Vineyard Church.  I walked into the House of Prayer and she invited me to sit next to her.  She poured out her heart to me, a total stranger, about how she had lived in an abusive marriage all of her adult life.  She told me how she had been beaten, demeaned and kept alone for years.  She seemed to have a need to pour it all out of herself.  

And it was a very good thing that she did, because it brought her healing.  

I was privileged to be able to watch her grow in faith and freedom.

And she began to dance,
first in the House of Prayer and later in the sanctuary during worship on Sunday mornings.  She told us that she was dancing with Jesus and we all knew it was true!

She would always dress for church.  While many of us came in cut offs and Ts she was always dressed to the nines, with jewelry and dress shoes.  

And she would dance with Jesus.

It always delighted me to see them dancing together.  I took these photos last week, never thinking they would be my last chance to capture this tender moment.

And now these tender moments will never end for her.

Dear Marta, I'm so happy for you!
But, when my turn comes, can I dance with Jesus too?

Nigeria Journal Part 2

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
   Things, as seems appropriate, are falling into place at the last moment.  The plans for me to travel with Penny, for three extra days, seem to have been finalized to the sense of peace in all.
   We still don’t have the visas.  I think that means that Richard and Darlene will travel to NYC, to the consulate to get them.
   I still have to pick up my last prescription and buy 3 T shirts and then I can finish packing.  (Not that I’ve begun!)

My proof of inoculation.
Now, I just need to remember my malaria pills!

   I know the Lord will provide a ride for me to the church Friday morning.

Wednesday, October 30
   No visas.  Richard went to NYC and was told that religious groups are given extra scrutiny before being accepted.  I suspect it’s still about a bribe.  Apparently the pass ports are in the mail to Penny.

Ignatius knows someone in the embassy in Washington DC and will see what can be done from that end.
   I continue to believe that we are leaving on Friday. But if we don’t then it will be a part of God’s plans, not Satan’s. 

   Maureen has called to tell me about all the warnings for American’s to stay away from Nigeria because of a kidnapping on an oil freighter off the coast of Port Harcourt.  Two men were taken off the boat and held for hostage.  Ray got on the internet and discovered that most of Nigeria is considered too dangerous for Americans to travel in.  She is quite upset and doesn’t want me to go.  I have complete confidence that the Lord will keep me perfectly safe while I’m there.  Bob Bartlett has also received calls from friends begging him not to go.  These are obviously attacks of the enemy.  He loses.


During a fundraiser for our trip to Nigeria, Tom, my wonderful husband, put his beard up for auction.  He raised an extra $700 for being willing to have it shaved off.

 It was the first time Hannah had ever seen her daddy clean-shaven.

It was the first time in 31 years anyone had seen his adorable chin!

Thank you, sweet heart!

Friday, July 17, 2015

I Am Gideon!

Judges 6, 7:1- 21 “Gideon”

I am Gideon!  His clan was least in Manasah. and he was least in his family.  My family was among the least in our town and I was least in my family.

And just as God revealed himself to Gideon, so he has revealed himself to me.  And just as he spoke to him, he speaks to me. I am a mighty warrior in God’s kingdom!

I am a clay pot.  It’s only when I allow myself to be broken that God’s glory can be seen.  God’s fire rests within me.  He enables me to overcome every foe!  But it’s not by my strength but by God’s power that I overcome!  


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Nigeria Journal; 2013

Me in Oweri

This is the beginning of a new line of posts that I'm starting.  I went to Nigeria in 2013, on a mission trip that included helping to set up a 12 step program and going on a prayer journey.  Each week I'll be posting a portion of my journal.

I hope you find it interesting.  It was my first ever trip outside of North America and I was so incredibly blessed to be able to go and to be able to be a blessing to so many people.  But before I begin in earnest I want to give a little background info.

Pastor Ignatius Ummuna
Pastor Lozie Ummuna

Pastor Ignatius Ummuna and his beautiful wife Lozie are the pastors of Rescue Mission Church in Lagos, Nigeria.  They have been friends of Shore Vineyard Church, where I attend.  Actually, my pastor, Brett Conover and his father Rod, met Ignatius in Cote d'ivoire, (Ivory Coast) which is located just north of Nigeria.  He was running away from God, much like Jonah had tried to do.  He had heard the Lord calling him to ministry and decided that trying to get to America was a safer bet.  Oh well!

Pastor Brett Conover
Pastor Rod Conover

After much prayer and conversation Ignatius returned to his home where he began his studies for ministry.

He has since been to visit us at Shore Vineyard on several occasions and we love him and his wonderful wife, Lozie, dearly.  When they asked us to come to help set up a 12 step program based on the program we use at SV, we said yes.

There were 9 people that went; 4 especially to do workshops at the Rescue Mission Church and 5 us that helped but were primarily there to go on a Prayer Journey to the city of Lokoja.

Three weeks before we were set to go, Penny and I went to the Nigeria consulate to obtain our visas.


Unfortunately for us, we did not know that a bribe would be required and only brought enough money to pay for the visas themselves.  Penny, who had lived in Nigeria for a time 20 years ago, tried to convince the head of the consulate, Mr. Iggy, that we needed the visas right away, rather than taking the 6 weeks minimum he was telling us it would take.  He told her that all of the nine visas would have to mailed to Abuja, the capitol of Nigeria, to be approved and them mailed back to us, which we understood to be ridiculous.  So we left NYC without our visas.

My journal proper begins on October 29, 2013... which will begin next week.

Friday, July 10, 2015

In An Intimate and Personal Way

Hebrews 4:9-11a
There remains then, a Sabbath rest the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.  Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…

Romans 8:1-4
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do in that is was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

In Faith, The Link With God’s Power, Bonnke writes, “Each man and each woman has a special relationship with Christ that no one else can enter into.”  He also writes, “I was made by and for him, not in some wide general sense, but in an intimate, personal way.”

No one else will ever enter into the exact same relationship I have with Jesus.  Our connectedness is unique, just as I am unique in all the world.  In the past I didn’t understand that.  I would hear other people talk about who he is to them and think two things; “I could never be like them.”  and “I want to be like them.”

But now I understand.  I was never meant to be like them; to have their unique relationship with Christ, because the relationship he wanted with me was specifically designed by him for us!
And the special work that he’s picked out for me to do can’t be done by anyone else in so succinct a way.

That’s not to say that if I fail then everything goes wrong; but if I do it right I help move his Kingdom forward.

And, if I fail, I don’t fail him, but I fail myself; and he picks me up and cradles me close and reminds me that in his eyes I’m perfect.  So, encouraged, I put my feet back on the path and continue to follow him.

Overwhelmed by his glory!