Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Eulogy (Some Day!) by Jenna Vick Silliman

Jennifer Elizabeth Vick Silliman (Jenna) was born on February 18, 1958 and died at age 107 on March 1, 2065. Born in San Francisco, California she was the daughter of James Allan Vick and Jacqueline Frances Pearson. She was married to Clifford Arthur Silliman (Cliff) who preceded her in death. Together they had eight children, Daniel James (Married Elizabeth Jarvis), Valerie Joy, David Arthur (Married Charisa Nelson), Michael Aaron, Joshua Andrew, Stephen Matthew, Luke Thomas, Peter Stanford and ___ grandchildren… and ___great-granchildren…[It will be glorious to have a long list of all the grandbabies here!]
Jenna was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended Canada, a community college, for two years studying general education. She married Cliff at age 22 and homemaking was her chosen career. She resided in Sequim, Washington for 65 years.
Jenna met the Lord Jesus at the age of 16 and followed Him all her life. She delighted in meditating on Scripture and sharing spiritual insight through her writings and teaching children. Jenna was a glory dancer and a flagger in worship of the Lord Jesus and wrote a book about this called “Shall We Dance?” She also taught folk dance to both children and adults. She was a member of the Sons of Norway for ___ years. She was a published author and also self-published many booklets on a wide variety of subjects regarding mothering, healthy living, and the life of the Christian. Jenna visited nursing homes every week and enjoyed leading sing-a-longs and dancing for the residents. She was known for her colorful clothing and joyful attitude and will be missed by many.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Yesterday I stood at the cemetery over my parent’s grave.  I gave thanks for their life.  I rearranged the flowers.  I thought of the day two years ago as the matriarch was laid to rest joining my father in the presence of the Lord.

I had written her eulogy.  It was pretty much a stick to the facts type of eulogy.  It said little of the day-to-day struggles and joys that made up a life of nearly 92 years.  As we stood there, my husband and I discussed our own mortality.  We agreed it was time to purchase a burial plot as my mother had done.   

I imagine my eulogy will be like my mother’s, a stick to the facts one.  It will read something like this:
Joyce Ann Johannesen Lighari born November 8, died ___________.  Born in Brooklyn NY she was the daughter of Elsie and Olav Johannesen who preceded her in death.  Also preceding her in death are her two brothers and her granddaughter Rukhsanah Israel Lighari.

Joyce was the married to Latif Lighari for _____ years (I'm hoping for a minimum of 60 years).  Together they had eight children, ?? grandchildren (there are 12 so far), ?? great grandchildren (there are 2 so far) and ? great-great grandchildren (I plan on living a long time). I am so proud of my beautiful family.  I  hope everyone is named and their location given when this is read.

She was a graduate of the University of Missouri.  Later she obtained her Master’s degree in Biblical Studies from Trevecca Nazarene University.  She also completed a EdD from Trevecca in 2013.  She held numerous jobs in various careers throughout her life. 

Joyce greatest joy and deepest desire was to be faithful to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  She loved and cared for her family with all of her heart and energy.  She loved to study.  She loved to preach.

I imagine my eulogy will say something about where I lived and maybe how I died.  I don’t imagine it will say much other than a few short paragraphs.  I don’t expect there will be honors and accolades.  I don’t think there will be a large crowd other than my immediate family gathered as I’m laid to rest.

If they write a word on my tombstone, I hope it’s Faithful.  If when I’m gone those that knew me described me as faithful, that’s enough.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Last Word

My Man accuses me of needing to get the last word. Maybe that’s true but this week on Kingdom Bloggers, the writers are definitely getting the last word – we’re writing our own eulogies. I pray, though it may it be a long time before they are needed.


It’s much harder to write your own eulogy than one might think. It’s not a creative writing exercise or a bucket list in reverse – at least, it’s not for me and I doubt it will be for the rest of the Kingdom Bloggers. At the end of my life, I want to hear one thing, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come and share in your Master’s happiness.” I want to run the race and receive the prize, which is Christ.

I used to want a public ministry and at the end of my life on earth, it may or may not have been accomplished that but it doesn’t matter to me anymore, and it certainly won’t matter to me in the next life. I want God – all of him and if I am known for anything, I want others to see me as someone who pursued God at all costs. I want to say at the end of my life that I lived everyday in the presence in the God and I carried his presence with me everywhere I went.

Every day I endeavour to see people, really see them - to look in their eyes, ask them how they are and then listen to their answer. It doesn’t matter if you are the Queen or the clerk at the local 7-11, people matter to God and I want to carry his presence to people so when I’ve walked away, they will know they’ve encountered God.

I want my life to be characterized by the fruit of the Spirit, especially love. Love covers a multitude of sins – in fact, love covers all sin. Jesus already died on the cross because of his love for humanity, but I can be a physical expression of his love on earth. All the prayers I’ve prayed for people and all the healing I’ve seen, who I lead and what I taught, all the prophetic words I’ve given and received will mean little if it wasn’t done with love as my motivator.

People will say I was bold (they might even say I was loco), maybe that’s true but more than anything I didn’t want to miss out on the fun. Truth to be told, more than half the time I was scared to death and felt inadequate but if there was anything the Lord said to me more throughout my life it’s this, “Keep going, you can do this.” The Lord was my biggest cheerleader and I did those things so I could see the joy on my Lord’s face. We went on adventures together - the Lord and I, and reminiscing in heaven about the good times is going to be a blast.

I received a spiritual legacy and an inheritance and I am passing on the inheritance to my Boy. He’s going to rock this world because everything I worked for in life was to open doors for him so he can go even further. If there is one thing I can boast is how we invited the Holy Spirit into our home and into our conversations as though it were the most natural thing in the world. We didn’t have a “prayer time”, we simply prayed – nothing official about it. My Boy prays and expects God to answer – I love that and I know I had a lot to do with it.

My life can be described as abundant. God’s grace is abundant over my life and he has never been faithless to me and our household. God has always been good, and always been faithful. It has been my pleasure to give up my life to worship him and to serve him only and finally, finally, I want to receive my reward – to live forever more in the glory of his presence.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

God, what are you doing?

God, what are you doing?
Imagine a gun pointed at your head. If you agree with the message of this message the gun will fire—and you will enter eternity.
It will happen to someone before you finish reading this. Approximately one person every five minutes will be killed today, for their belief in Jesus Christ; twelve within the hour; two hundred and eighty-eight by this time tomorrow; over one hundred thousand by this time next year. BANG.

God, what are you doing?

The following is a statement from the White House: February 24, 2012.

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms reports that Iranian authorities’ reaffirmed a death sentence for Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani for the sole reason of his refusal to recant his Christian faith.  This action is yet another shocking breach of Iran’s international obligations, its own constitution, and stated religious values.  The United States stands in solidarity with Pastor Nadarkhani, his family, and all those who seek to practice their religion without fear of persecution—a fundamental and universal human right.  The trial and sentencing process for Pastor Nadarkhani demonstrates the Iranian government’s total disregard for religious freedom, and further demonstrates Iran's continuing violation of the universal rights of its citizens.  The United States calls upon the Iranian authorities to immediately lift the sentence, release Pastor Nadarkhani, and demonstrate a commitment to basic, universal human rights, including freedom of religion.  The United States renews its calls for people of conscience and governments around the world to reach out to Iranian authorities and demand Pastor Nadarkhani's immediate release.

This man is on death row for his refusal to recant his Christian faith.

God what are you doing?

I prayed for my family, my kids, my country last night before I went to bed—and for you, before I went to church today.
Just for attending a church service, Damare, a young slave boy, was left to die after having his feet and knees nailed to a board. Miraculously he survived and said he forgave his tormenter because, Jesus was also nailed and forgave him.
God what…
I made some cookies yesterday. I had to ask my wife a lot of questions since I’d never really done it before. Figured I’d take some to a couple bachelors that live nearby—my Christian duty to reach out to the lost.
Right now thousands of folks are feeling the pain of hunger, and fourteen thousand will starve to death before another day begins.

115,000 babies were aborted yesterday, and that many more will be again today and tomorrow and the day after and…
I write words—and pray they make a difference.
God what are you doing? When I look at this great big world, with all of its great big problems, I look and feel disgustingly puny. God, what are you doing?


In the next 24 hours statistics say eighty-thousand people will accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and be born again. Christianity: the fastest growing of all beliefs.

Through one venture alone: The Jesus film. Every eight seconds, somewhere in the world, another person indicates a decision to follow Christ after watching the "JESUS" film. Every eight seconds... that's 10,800 people per day, 324,000 per month and more than 3.8 million per year.


I’m supposed to write about: What’s God doing? But can I be honest here? It’s kinda overwhelming.  


There was this guy, John, sitting in prison and his friends were telling him about all the stuff Jesus was doing. So, John told them to go ask Jesus if this was God’s doing—if He was the Messiah. Jesus told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. Luke 7:18-23


I ask God what He’s doing. He’s doing what He’s always done—hanging out with those that need Him. He’s near the hungry, the sick, the dying, the hurting, the lame, the poor, the brokenhearted…He said those who are well don’t need a doctor but those who are sick. He’s with those.


So, when we see suffering—rather than asking: Where’s God? What’s He doing?—we should see God sitting right in the midst of it, looking to us to offer our support, our hand, our help.


And ultimately…when I ask the question: God, what are you doing? His reply is: What are you doing?    


The Son of Man Will Judge the Nations

31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Signs of the Times

This week at Kingdom Bloggers we have been tasked with writing about “what God is doing.” Because we believe that God is living and active in our lives and in the world, we may see patterns of the unfolding of His plan and purposes for His kingdom.

In the Gospel of Matthew, the teachers of the Law and religious leaders asked Jesus for a sign to prove that he was from God. Jesus retorts that people like them make great weathermen, but terrible current event analysts:

“He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away” (Matthew 16:2-4).

The sign of Jonah (Jonah was a runaway prophet who was in a whale’s belly for three days), refers to Jesus’ death and resurrection over three days, an event predicted in scripture for hundreds of years, and one that would change hearts and history. The very experts in scripture had failed to recognize that their Messiah stood before them. We can be blind to what is happening right in front of us, especially when things aren’t jibing with our assumptions and pre-conceived notions.

The reason Jonah ran away from God’s directive to warn the Ninevites to repent was because he hated those people and believed they did not deserve to be saved! When God does forgive the Ninevites, “To Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the LORD, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity” (Jonah 4:1-2).

Chad Pecknold, a theologian, states that it seems the way Jesus reads the sign of Jonah is as a clarifying, transformative, directive and predictive sign. Where God is, there is always love and transformation occurring, even though we may not see the results right away.

The reason I write about Jonah is because I see God at work in the hearts and minds of His servants. Jonah’s heart needed to be changed--and yet he was God’s man of the hour! God is at work in the hearts of His people, because we have been called to love people so much that we would die for them, like Jesus did. To be transformed requires change, and change usually comes with a cost. Oswald Chambers once said, “You may often have to watch Jesus Christ wreck a life before He saves it." This "hard word" does not set well with us.

We see great pain, struggle, wars and rumors of wars all around us: failing marriages, struggles with addiction, adultery, church in-fighting, power struggles, racism, prejudice, hatred of women, disdain toward men--and these occur within the very people who claim to follow God.

Many of us point the finger at others to show how terrible things are in the world and proclaim that is how we know we are in the end times. That’s what Jonah did; that is what the Pharisees and Sadducees did. Next time we are tempted to do that, let’s step in front of a mirror. But then remember the sign of Jonah: God is in the business of transformation, redemption and hope--even in the belly of the whale.

Read the Book of Jonah here.

The image of Jonah is from a website that supports Ethiopian Jews.

My daughter sent me the Jesus face-palm image. Pretty sure He's done that over my foolishness, as well as his disciples, who were also slow learners :) : Matt 16:5-12; Mark 10:25-35.

Friday, February 24, 2012

"...I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

We live in unprecedented times...

While that may not be the most of profound statements, there's a gravity to those words that no matter how hard one tries, you just can't escape.

Not since Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden has communication been more instantaneous in the world. Of course with a population of less than 10, Adam and Eve didn't need sophistication. Just a loud voice.

Today, news from anywhere in the world can be instantly shared with anyone who possesses a media access. Internet, fiber optic, 4G and good old broadcast waves all constantly stream information to a starved culture hungry for more of the very latest.

The church is always talking in metaphoric language about catching the next wave of ministry opportunity. Stuff about methods changing but the message staying the same. Okay. I'm all in with the concept of staying fresh and focused...but where's the rest of Christ's body?

There are some tremendous social media ministries in the name of Jesus that give me great inspiration and hope for our commission as Christians. Tell the world about Me.  Unfortunately, those seem to be the exception and not the norm. Why?

I live in a relatively small town, in a small state that is chock full of churches. They're everywhere! Praise God for that fact. However, I fail to see the fruit of churches that open the doors on Sunday morning and night, again on Wednesday and call it all good. Did I miss something in the Bible?

Now don't get me wrong.  Edification is an important role of the local church, and personally, I love fellowship with the congregation I chose to join. But, we are called to spread the Word and are blessed to live in an era where that has never been easier. We don't even have to leave our homes!

I blog (duh). Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. YouVersion. Digg. Stumble. All in His name. I post my home church worship services online. Tweet messages. Use Facebook and Twitter to encourage. Enlighten. Learn. I try to be the proverbial sponge in the sea of ever-flowing knowledge. I scour websites and share the ones I find creditable and warn against ones I don't.

Daily I communicate with Christians all over the world. Literally. I share their stories and exchange information. Recently, I've been asked to speak about my online experiences. Hallelujah! There's no hesitation because it's for His glory.

My profession (read job) puts me in contact with a global community. Sometimes I connect with people of like faith...sometimes not. Thank you Jesus! My prayers of opportunity are answered nearly every single day. I can be the light I'm called to be. Be my Facebook friend? That's where you will find out exactly how I feel about the greatest story ever told.

Want to hear about what Jesus can do for you? Just follow my Twitter, Facebook, Kingdom Bloggers...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sometimes We Just have to Admit that We Are Crackpots

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places when other people see nothing…Camille Pissarro.”

Isn’t it amazing that, by “coincidence”, a book appears right when we need its message?  I am referring to a book by Jill Austin titled “Master Potter”. It was sitting on my shelf for a long time waiting to be reread. I was pondering our discussion for this week. I was trying to sort out how I could explain what was going on in my life. It wasn’t even totally clear to me. This book helped to bring clarity.
It’s an allegorical book about a broken clay vessel named Forsaken, who is discarded in the Potter’s Field. The Master Potter finds her there. She goes from being Forsaken to being called Beloved, as she trusts her life to Jesus. However, it doesn’t end there…no no no… by any means. This is true for us too.
She goes through a process, as a piece of pottery in progress. Our lives, like hers, are clay in the Master’s hands
In pottery, there are stages of development of a piece of pottery. Our lives, as a Christian,  mirror this.
The first stage is the wet stage. This is when the clay is thrown on the wheel.  It looks like a blob to onlookers but the potter can picture what he is creating.
 There is a stage called wedging where the clay is kind of “beaten” to take away air bubbles, so that when it bakes…it will not crack.  There was one heading in the book that said “Ouch Lord, that hurts!” I am sure that was said in this stage.
Then, there is a stage called leather hard stage.  It is when the clay becomes more hardened, yet still pliable and can be impressed with markings and additions to make it more beautiful.
Once the piece is formed…it goes into a VERY hot oven to be fired. There it becomes bisque. It comes out hardened, but rough looking.
Once that is cooled, it is glazed. The recipe for glazing is a creation of the Potter and is sometimes a secret formula. After the glazing step, it then again goes back into the fire for completion.
In the beginning of my walk with the Lord, when I read the scripture about us being the clay and the Lord being the Potter, I had a simplistic view of the process. In my mind, I only held the picture of me being on a wheel, as a lump and that the Master was “forming me” It seemed so lovely and beautiful, really.  Was it the full picture? Au contraire. It was only “part of the truth” but not” the rest of the story”, as Paul Harvey, the radio host used to say.
In our walk with the Lord, there is our destiny that He envisions we will attain. It is crystal clear to Him, right from the beginning. Thank God, He sees the finished product. You know why? In the process we may have questions or should I say we WILL have questions  of why this life issue is so painful, why did this or that happen and why am I going through this?..At those times, we may conclude that the Lord has abandoned us, forgetting that, all along, we are being formed into His image. Isaiah 29:16 talks about this “Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, “He did not make me?” Can a pot say to the Potter, “He knows nothing?”
So where I… the Pot…the Vessel… who He tenderly calls His Beloved, find myself, is in the fire of refinement. He’s burning away all the impurities and “junk” in me that is not of Him. The funny part of telling you this is, I already thought I had gone through this process…several times.  Didn’t I Lord? I actually have. Perhaps what I didn’t realize is that He loves me so much, He cannot and will not leave me weak and vulnerable to destruction.  I am not here because He wants to hurt me or destroy me. Nothing could be further from the truth. What He is after is a vessel that can be strong enough to carry His glory.  He needs a vessel that will not crack under the pressures of this world or succumb to the onslaught of our enemy…His enemy. He desires a vessel that will be Beautiful to behold…not because of any innate beauty I was born with, but because of how beautiful I have become, intimately knowing Him.
Our world needs to behold His glory. I don’t know about you but it has always amazed me, is that He has chosen earthen vessels (you and I) to shine and show forth His light to the world.
What humility and love He has, , not to hoard His love and glory. He trusts us and He has to believe that we will do it.
I still stand amazed!  How about you?
Linda Maynard

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


God showed me how it pleases Him to walk habitually with Him. I had read this in my Amplified Bible, “Noah walked habitually with God.” Genesis 6:9 and “Enoch walked habitually with God.” Genesis 5:24. Their habits pleased God we read in Hebrews 11:5-7.

One of my favorite hymns is “In The Garden.” It tells of a love relationship with God and how He walks with us and He talks with us and we’re never alone because He is always with us. He is forever and always right with us—we don’t have to do a thing. We don’t have to earn the right to keep His company; we don’t have to be good enough. The Lord Jesus is Emmanuel—God with us.

Sometimes those little daily devotion books lead us astray because we are led to believe that once we do our devotions, or have our “Daily Quiet Time”, our “Fifteen Minutes Alone with God” or “Time in the Secret Place” that we are good to go—we’ve done our duty and spent an allotted time focusing on God so now we can go merrily on our way for the rest of the day.

Awareness of the presence 24/7 of my beloved Lord Jesus, and CONTINUALLY enjoying His favor, love, abundant life and everlasting joy, has been the most profound discovery of my life. My favorite verse of the Bible is found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. “You show me the path of life; in Your Presence is the fullness of joy.” (Psalm 16:11, Acts 2:28) My favorite translation of the Bible is the Amplified which says, “You enrapture me, diffusing my soul with joy.”

Jesus told us the reason He came to earth was to bring us abundant life. He never said He bought us a ticket to heaven. Life with Him is abundant and it is NOW—eternity has already begun. There is no waiting line! Whoohooo!!!

Over the years I see a progression in my relationship with the Lord Jesus. At first I knew Him as Savior and Redeemer. About two years later I came to know Him as Lord and Master and I saw myself as His servant because I owed Him my life. At some point Jesus said, “No longer do I call you servant, I call you friend.” He became my closest and most loving friend to confide in and trust with my secrets. Next I learned that I had been adopted and He wanted to be more than friends—we’re family! We share the same bloodline—the same D.N.A. or Divine Nature of Abba. “We have received adoption in the Holy Spirit and our spirit testifies we are children of God in the bliss of which we cry, Abba! Father!” See Romans 8:15, 16.

The Lord has spoken to me through His Word that I am His treasure. He actually calls me, “Darling.” I am a part of His Bride preparing for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. I am one of the pure virgins keeping my lamp burning for Him. My heart resonates with the Song of Solomon. My songs of worship are often love songs for my beloved Jesus, my Groom. His heart resonates with our love and gratitude and devotion. I believe His love language is consecration. He wants us to only have eyes for Him and to rejoice in Him always.

The Word tells us that He inhabits or dwells in the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3) Have you experienced His presence so sweet and close as you worship Him and sing to Him with all your heart in love and gratitude? To taste and see and experience the Lord’s goodness changes us forever.

About four years ago I saw a woman dancing during worship. I asked her to teach me everything she knew. Christlyn taught me Israeli circle dancing, but more than that she taught me how King David danced with abandon before the Lord and didn’t care what people thought. (2Sam.6:14) David commanded the people to follow his example and “Praise Him with dance.” (Psalm 149:3,150:4) As I began to dance with my beloved Lord Jesus in worship, I experienced His presence and His pleasure like never before. To dance with the lover of my soul as a form of worship is one of my favorite things!

Sometimes I worship dance with colorful flags. Flagging before a congregation is a form of leading in worship. Sometimes I feel like Miriam leading in a victory dance (Exodus 15:20). Last fall I was privileged to dance and flag for a conference called The Healing Explosion in Canada with Georgian and Winnie Banov. Andrea York (one of our Kingdom Bloggers) and I flagged onstage while Georgian played his fiddle! I was front right and Andrea was front left. Wow! It was glorious and joyous! Winnie Banov had a most awesome and life-changing message about how she discovered there are some things missing in our modern translations of the Bible. There are supposed to be these two little letters “co” before certain words. We are co-crucified, co-buried, co-resurrected, co-enthroned and co-heirs with Jesus! To be seated IN the heavenlies with our Groom and to know ALL He has is ours, our rightful inheritance—these are truths that make you want to dance and celebrate with ecstatic joy!

I started this writing telling you about how I learned it pleases God to walk with Him habitually. Well, now I have learned to DANCE with Him habitually. Hahaha! Whether I am at Zumba, Folk Dance Class, Clogging, Swing Dance, Hula or Tap Dance—I’m dancing with Jesus!

I say, “Yes, Lord, Thank You, Lord.” all day long.

Walking with Jesus is where I belong!

And every time I get a chance,

I say to my Beloved, “Shall we dance?”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Esse Quam Videri

There was a time I felt I had my finger on the pulse of what God was doing.  I thought I knew which way the river was flowing or the wind was blowing.  I wasn’t presumptuous thinking I knew everything.  I just had an inner sense of knowing.  I suppose if I spent the amount of time in prayer now, that I did then, I might have something more to contribute this week that spoke to the flow of the Spirit nationally or even globally.  Rejoicing, I jealously read David’s blog yesterday.  I always said David was a hard act to follow here on Kingdom Bloggers.  But I do have my passport up-to-date and may just head out on a mission trip with him.

Saturday, I went to a meeting of the Education Committee for the church.  I was asked to draw a timeline of my spiritual development.  Over the last few years, for various assignments, I have had to do my spiritual autobiography, as well as draw charts and diagrams similar to this one.  My spiritual timeline moves upward– I am getting closer to God but it also has bumps and spikes.  So does everyone’s if they’re honest.  

No, this isn't mine but you get the idea 

What I have noticed is that often before and after I spike there is a bit of a plunge.  I seem to go downward but really, I am going inward.   I find it’s time to go deeper.  When you go deeper into God, you give up more of yourself.  When you do that, He gets deeper inside of you to clean out the rubbish.

I am beginning to learn to be content.  I struggled and fought the call to be.  Esse Quam Videre – to be rather than to seem.  God, whose name is Yahweh – I am – the great I AM – wants us to join with Him to just be – to just drink in His love and grace and give it out.  That’s where I’m at and where I see God working. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

God Said It, and it Freaked Me Out!

The difference between the truth of God and revelation is very simple. Truth is where God’s been. Revelation is where God is. ~Tommy Tenney, The God Chasers

This week on Kingdom Bloggers we’re going to find out where God is. We’re no longer going to camp on a past move of God (as good as they are to remember and reflect) but we are going to hear current testimonies of what God is doing now. Kicking off the week is David Johndrow. Since he left Kingdom Bloggers as a weekly contributor, he’s been on an adventure with God. Enjoy the update.


What would you do if God showed up and gave you a list of things to do, then added to that a few statements about where you are in life, and how much He loves you?

Well that is what happened to me in 1994, and again in 1998 - it all freaked me out! Prophecy freaks me out because it always speaks to the impossible in my life. God will often go after forgotten dreams and undisclosed prayers.

Last November, while I was in California, I received a prophetic word from a young lady (14-years-old) about the acceleration of things that I have been puttering around in the Kingdom with for decades - my space shuttle was about to take off! That's pretty exciting because I have been a part-time minister/missionary on-and-off for many decades. It freaked me out because I didn't see how God could possibly turn my disorganized and busy life into something that he could use.

I also received words from Joyce and another from Linda. Spot on ladies!

Sometime last fall I left Kingdom Bloggers behind (as well my own blog: Fire & Grace and a music CD I was working on) as the Lord asked me to . That is what I heard in prayer. It was tough, I love to play guitar and write blogs about Jesus! He told me through those exercising the gift of prophecy that I would be busy - this was the year - this is the time - the was my time...

For those that don't know me, I started something called the 5-Fold School of Ministry at my church last January. The most recent class only had about a dozen folks from my congregation, and 5 times that many with other Christians from the New England/New York region.  It is one of the things that is accelerating. Last year we held 3 schools (well I had a heart attack between schools 1 and 2), and this year it will be 8 at my church, and a few in other locations - nations actually.

I don't know about you, but one of my favorite facets of Kingdom living (besides study and worship) is to lay hands on others and see what God does. Some Christians like to teach or preach, others like to play worship, some enjoy kids ministry, some pray a lot and others dance; me, I like to pray for the sick, and prophesy. Sure, I preach and even know how to clean a toilet, but the laying on of hands is awesome. Why? Because God always gives me something personal, and important for others to hear; it's one of my gifts.

I met a new group of Christians while I was at Bethel Church in November 2011. One of them is fast becoming a good friend. His name is Dan Roberts, the pastor of Life International Church in London, Ontario.  A few weeks ago he and I taught and ministered for 3 sessions at the school, and then we were invited to a home church named Place of His Presence. There, 50 hungry people, and the Spirit of God poured out through two very unlikely men met: me and Dan.

Me and Dan Roberts from LIC in London, ON

Our little meeting went on for 4 and half hours! After about an hour in, we asked people to leave whenever they needed to; they stayed. And they called friends and family to come and receive from God. The meeting got bigger!

God what are you doing!?! I thought I was going to do a little 20-30 minute teaching about the Apostolic Church. Their little worship team brought down the glory with this song by Robin Mark. The presence of Holy Spirit was so amazing, so sweet, so indescribable... one woman drove to the meeting and said that she saw demons at bay outside the house. I am glad she waited to tell us about it until a few days later!

Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I am going to be in London, ON in a few weeks - well after I get to Florida and meet up with some other folks that the Lord put me together with at Bethel. The little school is growing. We now have a bank account, a part-time bookkeeper, a part-time AV guy, a web site, and a growing list of teachers and guests. WOW!

With all the excitement and opportunities for larger venues, I still love doing the little home churches. That is how I got my start with the Brazilians 13 years ago. It gives me the chance to really flow, and to be close to the transformations in an intimate setting.

Ministry for me is not a vocation, not a job, not something I do, it is a way of life. I am always on duty.

Life in the Kingdom is never about offerings, or big names - in fact I love to promote others. There is nothing more exciting than taking a new convert, or a believer who is new to the things of the Spirit and letting them lay  hands on others. God always does amazing things! Always.

The good news is that you can do what I do. If you need help learning, grab a couple of dozen friends and let's get together. I am never too busy to go where God is opening a door.

It's hard to end a blog like this. I am so excited about all that God is doing. I don't believe the climax of the story has come yet! It is more of an introduction to the things that lie ahead.

I guess for now, you can follow me on Twitter for the rest of the story. Love and blessings to my friends here at Kingdom Bloggers, and to the new additions my departure made room for!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Mayka

I’m sitting in my rocking chair, under the carport. Nevaeh’s five. She just bounced by – the way little girls do – singing a song older than she is.
“This is the day,
 this is the day,
that The Lord has made,
that the Lord has made…”

I know why, too. She heard it from her Mayka.  When Nevaeh was younger, she couldn’t say, Grandma… Mayka came out instead – and it stuck.
I watch my granddaughter ride her pink bike, in little circles. She’s supposed to stay on the driveway but, when I’m not looking, sometimes she’ll venture out into the street. I can hear her singing that song. The one planted into the fertile soil of her heart, by her Mayka.
Nevaeh loves her Mayka…me too.
 Mayka has that way about her. She’s always singing – and it beautifies the atmosphere – no matter where she’s at. Not that she has a great voice, it’s good, but I’d don’t see her winning the next American Idol. She has great peace and great joy and it bubbles out in bits and pieces of the song playing in her heart – and it sticks. And soon you’re singing along – just like Nehaeh.  
I rock my chair to the rhythm of the simple song… and think about her Mayka.
She sorts laundry, and sings… this is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made… She wonders about heaven. What will I do there – will there be anything to clean? I’ve told her maybe she can dust…gold dust. She says cleaning is her gift – it’s more like an honor than a chore for her. “Everyone should do their part – cleaning’s mine,” she says. Have her over for a visit and before it’s over, she’ll be cleaning the place. It’s her gift and she enjoys it. In a way her singing is like that too. She cleans the area with her hands and the atmosphere with her singing. Simple – yet penetrating – even the toughest stains.
When we put legs to our gift – love happens.  
I know this much – she’s helped clean up my life. I was a mess. Lord knows I needed some cleaning. Still do. Amazing, but I think God had His hand in our meeting – even though, it was in a honky-tonk. I still remember the first time I saw her; those beautiful hazel-green eyes captured me. Her highlighted auburn hair flowed past her shoulders; her white shirt seemed to glow in the dark. I asked her to dance and I’d never seen kinder eyes – even though she said no…at first. “I can’t even believe I’m here, I rarely go out, but my sisters insisted,” she said.  I love those sisters. She softly sang as we danced a million miles that night. And eventually we danced all the way to a backyard wedding and a dance in the barn. Fireworks and all…
Whoa! Almost fell out of my rocker there for a second – sorry ‘bout that.  
Did I tell you about the time she put a homeless woman in a hotel? Or how she’s the volunteer librarian? Or how she spends hours transcribing her mother’s notes into book form? Or how she works tirelessly searching for family lineage? I can’t keep up with the living kin – let alone the dead ancestors. But she can – and does. She loves. Plain and simple – that’s her way.
And now, here we are – by the grace of God. Her kids and my kids are having kids of their own. Her family and mine all blended into one.
Gracious. That’s the word an old friend used to describe her. Yep, that’s my Mayka.
A simple girl raised on a farm doing what she does, to the glory of God… a super-hero.  That’s my Mayka.
“Look Papa, I’m flying like an eagle.” Nevaeh spreads her arms – like wings – as she pedals her little bike. Even a feather duster used to the glory of God can become the wings of an eagle.
For some reason I have this song from Psalm 118:24 stuck in my head…
This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it…
That’s my Mayka.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I Kissed a Pastor and I Liked It

I sometimes kiss my pastor in his office. It’s quite the scandal. Just a few years ago, I was married to a businessman. Things are quite different now. I live in a different state, attend a new church, and work for my pastor. The good news is that the pastor and the businessman are the same person.

The ongoing joke between my pastor-husband and me is that I married a Philistine. When we were dating, Tim introduced me to all things Schwartzneggar and Brian De Palma. He regretted the De Palma incident (“Body Double”--yuck), but I did become a Terminator fan. Probably out of guilt, he agreed to see “Amadeus” with me, and the Philistine discovered that period films did not have to be sleep-inducing. I also introduced him to tea drinking in huge quantities. Or my mother did (see my blog post on Kate).

Admittedly, the Philistine married a snob. I’d rather read a book than watch a football game. I turn my nose up at TV re-runs that keep him laughing. He will watch “Kindergarten Cop” so many times the DVD is hot to the touch; my choice of repeats involves something British with clever and snarky quotes. I don’t like Walmart (not just for their questionable labor practices, but also because the store is so bland). When we were married, Tim was shocked by my need for new clothes or shoes. He wears things until they fall apart. A handsome guy, he is unconcerned about impressing others with his looks and clothes.

My husband has always reminded me of Nathaniel, who is mentioned in the Gospel of John (John 1:43-50). When Jesus sees Nathaniel, He exclaims, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false,” and he then tells Nathaniel something about him that only a prophet could know. The young man immediately declares his belief in Jesus, that he knows He must be the Son of God and the King of Israel.

When my husband became a believer in Jesus, like Nathaniel he gave his life fully and openly, even though there was a cost to that belief. Tim has no falsehood about him, in him and around him. He loves deeply, truly and faithfully. He loves God first, then family, then those he is called to serve as pastor, shepherd and friend. He can apply quotes from Dickens, The Stones and Davy Crockett films aptly to our family life. He explains the Bible, yet appreciates some South Park (thanks to our son). He is our resident Dr. Doolittle and will lay on the floor and ask our cat or rabbit about their day. Our daughters know to “ask Dad” if they want a special treat from Wegmans or pizza for dinner. He will run right out and get it for them. He is also very funny, which not a lot of people know, because unlike his spouse, he doesn’t enjoy the stage (which is interesting, given that every Sunday the pastor is thrust into the pulpit).

Recently, our fifteen year-old was comparing us to people she called “narcissists” and she said, “You know how humble you and Dad are....Well, Dad is humble. You are...less humble.” I laughed. Yeah, it’s true. But, I’m glad she knows her father’s character, one who does not think more highly of himself than he ought (Romans 12:3). Or, when he struggles with pride, the temptation to be arrogant, or self-righteous, as we all do, he is like Nathaniel, who knows the God he serves and turns to him for strength, forgiveness and grace.

And Tim offers those things to me. Being “less humble,” I need a lot of forgiveness and grace and patience. I am grateful that my life-partner is who he is--my best friend, encourager, tea-maker and my own personal Philistine to continue civilizing. Every girl should have one.

Friday, February 17, 2012

It is well with my soul...

Music is such an important part of most people's lives today. It can lift our spirits, mellow us out, fire us up, drag us down…it pretty much always invokes an emotional response when we listen on one level or another.

Not long ago while driving home from work, I experienced one of those emotions in a major way. You see, I was driving along in my own little private world of thoughts and images, where the sky is always Dodger blue and the mailbox is only filled with birthday cards. Yeah, and you always have ice cream in the freezer that has never been opened before…anyway…that's when Josh Groban's tenor voice filled my car with a very familiar song.

When I am down and oh my soul so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdens me
Then I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit a while with me

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains
You raise me to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

My eyes filled with tears as I drove along heading directly for the person that embodies that very song for me. She will be waiting for me, glad to see me once again…wait a minute…she? That's a Christian song about Jesus isn't it?

There was a very difficult time in my life when that precise thought, about that very song, confused me. You see, I was separated from my wife Candice, but she...just like my Savior... stood by me and kept me strong, faithful and focused. I would hear Josh Groban and feel equally emotional about the lyrics that described what both meant to me. So much…so strong.

Guilt would then lead to prayer and study in God's word about why I was confusing the two, when one day in reading I came across Ephesians 5:25:

Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church…

That's when I clearly came to the understanding that I'm supposed to love her, yes my beautiful wife and soul mate, just as strong as Jesus loves me…meaning only He comes before her in my heart and soul. A wonderful peace came over me. I felt that peace today again on the way home to be with her.

Marriage is an important bond to God. He gave us so much in His word about what He expects in our marriages. I'm so glad I have a marriage built on the foundation of God. I'm most appreciative He blessed me with a wonderful woman who is only second to Him. She lifts me up…just like Jesus.

My wish is that God blesses you, as He has me, with an amazing spouse….or maybe He has already. Amen.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Looks Like We Made It

There isn’t anything my Man can’t do. He can build houses, customize anything, make an impressive omelette (anything with eggs), play music, be a marvellous father, converse with anyone, and give an awesome backrub.

He was different than anyone I had ever dated; usually I was attracted to the pretty boys – the ones who are nice to look at but useless. And then I met my Man – good looking and ability. He came into the coffee shop where I had started working every day. He was always the first customer in on his way to work and he always stopped by on his way home from work (we both lived and worked within a 2 block radius). I was surprised when he asked me to go for a drive in his friend’s ’66 Mustang but I said yes because I [used to] try anything once. Less than a year later, we were married – Vegas style.

My Man loves me so much it’s ridiculous. I think it has a lot to do with the year we almost didn’t make it. By God’s grace, we made it through one helluva valley and for all the love I didn’t receive then, my Man makes up for it now, in 100 different ways than I would have expected.

I used to buy into pop culture’s idea of romance – chocolates, lingerie and walks along the beach. My Man has never been like that. He’s not one for moon-lit walks on the beach or romantic scavenger hunts. Instead of lingerie, my Man buys me power tools when I say I need a drill – really good power tools because he’ll only get me the best. When I’ve been a little stir crazy because I need more social interaction than he, he’ll suggest I call up a friend for a girls’ night out. Or when I ask yet again to go to a weekend conference he’ll agree to stay home and watch the Boy.

My man is so agreeable to anything I suggest or want to do that when he finally does say no, I listen. He has fantastic perspective and insight and if he doesn’t think it’s a good idea, I trust his judgement. Speaking of trust, not many men trust as wholly as my Man trusts me. I’m not talking about fidelity (although that is part of it). My Man isn’t a confessing Believer [yet] but when he wants to discuss a stressful situation and I say, “God said not to worry about it and to trust him,” I don’t know too many spouses who would respond and say, “Okay.”

If all that wasn’t enough to make me the luckiest woman alive, my Man understands and buys into my handbag obsession. Now that’s love.

Looks like we made it.