Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

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Last Saturday, Michelle and I went to the Trade Fair.  Our mission was to enter all the draws for cool prizes.   Who doesn’t love to win something?  Later that day, at precisely 3:33pm, the phone rings and the lady on the other end, after verifying that she was speaking to the person who’s name she drew from the draw box said to me, “you have won a prize so come on over and choose what you would like.”  Sounded exciting until I got there and I was offered, a composter bucket, a recycle blue box or a recycle bag holder.  Making lemonade from my lemons, I accepted the blue box and it now exists as an extra laundry basket.  Better to win something than nothing. But where my story gets interesting is the next day at 3:33pm.

We were about to leave Jasper, Alberta after a fun day of travel soccer, when I looked at the clock at exactly 3:33pm.  I spoke allowed, “cool 3:33.  How am I going to be lucky today, Lord?  I confess that I did not listen to the answer until we were 20 minutes away from Jasper.  It had periodically come across my mind to check for my purse but I dismissed the thoughts with, “I’m sure I put it where I always put it in my bigger satchel.  As I was driving, finally, I asked my daughter who was sitting in the back seat to check my satchel.  Nope! Not there.  I pulled over to the side of the road and we did a detailed search of the entire vehicle.  Ugh!!   I was sooooooo mad at myself!

If only I had looked earlier.  Michelle’s turn to drive since I had no driver’s license.   We hightailed it back via the single lane slow posted speed of 80 or 90km/hr to Kentucky Fried Chicken where I remember leaving my purse on the back of the chair at lunch time.  I wanted to call the restaurant to see if my purse was indeed still there or if it had been stolen. “NO SERVICE.”   We had mountains on every side which means “Telephone Dead Zone.”

Dashing into Kentucky Fried Chicken, I retrieved my wallet sized purse to find all my valuables untouched.   Praise the Lord!  3:33 is definitely lucky for me.  I am blessed of the Lord.  He watches over me and my stuff.

Deuteronomy 33:3 says, “Indeed, He loves His people, all His holy ones are in His hands. They follow in His steps and accept His teaching.”

Jeremiah 33:3 The Lord says, “Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.”

Ezekiel 33:3 says, “When the Watchmen sees the enemy coming, He sounds the alarm to warn the people.”

I was warned with the sign of 333 and that inner nagging, Where’s your purse?, Where’s your purse?  Where’s your purse? was my alarm.  I urge anyone reading this article,  Do Not Ignore that internal alarm!!  Ever!

Have a blessed day!!

Judy

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HUNGER: How far are you willing to go to get what you want?

Hunger_Pains36tDetailHave you ever noticed how a hunger pain sounds like a cat growl? The threat of, “if you don’t feed me, you will regret it!” GRRRRRR!!!

My faith has been in question for awhile. As soon as my eyes opened this morning, I was hungry to have an encounter with Him so I decided that I would fast until I had received what I was in search of. Questions like: how are we justified by faith? What happens when my faith is weak? What part of my faith? Just the part that believes in what Jesus did for us? Faith is a funny thing! Without faith we cannot please God?

First, I shut my eyes and focused on Jesus, pushing away all distractions and I was willing to wait as long as it took for Him to speak to me.  I was expecting a heavenly experience like the kind they talk about on the Sid Roth programs.  Recently, someone said that God is a chatterbox so I was hopeful.  In my experience, seven significant words, like “I AM giving you a Double portion,” has been a conversation that’s drawn out over many years.  In my impatience, I think it became a one-sided conversation.  I was excited when He spoke those words to me because at the time I was cleaning my toilet and maybe the thought that I would be rich and never have to clean another toilet in my lifetime seemed pretty awesome.

An hour later, I opened my eyes and realized “nothing” had happened.  I turned to my daily devotional for some wisdom as it always has good information but nothing was giving me that “WOW” revelation that gets me excited.  While reading my bible, there were some scriptures that were confirming what I am learning from Jonathan Welton’s “Understanding the whole bible” teaching.  The light bulb came on  when I read, “Living in Christ-like LOVE is the evidence of our FAITH!”  It dawned on me that as long as I’m displaying love for and toward others, my faith is in operation.   The only command Jesus gave us was to “Love one another as I have loved you”.  My faith is equal to my love!

I’ve been preaching to anyone who will listen for a long time that Man’s love and God’s love are very different.  Man’s love is flawed and feels good temporarily, almost like sin.  God’s love is permanent and perfect.  It’s very challenging to operate in God’s love all the time because we get angry and want to act on that anger when people are less than we want them to be.  We want the ideal.  “Goodness” to be evident all the time yet we live in a fallen world where people just don’t care that much until they come to believe that the world can be changed through their LOVE.  Specifically ourselves, loving ourselves so that we can love others the way God intends for us to do so. When Christ lives in us, His love flows out of us.  I’m not saying I’m doing it perfectly.  Just yesterday, I wanted to slap a couple people but I didn’t do it!  Instead I acted graciously.   Call me two-faced but  I’ve already asked forgiveness for it.  Maybe genuine love starts out that way.  It may seem like we are being two-faced until we really fall in love and have compassion on God’s creation like He has.  Thankfully there is no one that understands better that He does.

Bon Apetit!!   Until next time.

Judy

 

 

Season of Preparation

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In 1991, just before I headed off to College, the Lord gave me an open vision.  As I was driving my car, suddenly in my mind’s eye, I saw a huge movie screen open before my eyes and there it was.  The events of my past!  My heart was filled with remorse, as I uttered, “oops, sorry Father.”  It was clear that I had been steering my life in the wrong direction.  In the most gentle and gracious way, He said, “This is what you have done, I want you to see what I can do.”  His timing was perfect because I was ready for a change of lifestyle.   At that time, I was working the evening shift at the most popular bar in my hometown.   I was living my life selfishly and doing as I pleased without regard for anyone else.  Instantly, I knew that the way I had been living was unacceptable to my loving Saviour.   The one who had been with me the whole time. The one who died so that I could live.   Watching and allowing my very poor choices, Jesus loved me too much not to intervene.  He knew that the path I was on would lead to death.  He came so that I could have an abundant life of peace and joy.   So, He used the consequences of my bad behaviour to draw me to Himself.

Even though, I accepted Christ into my heart when I was 8 years old, my Holy Spirit education began when I was 21.  Looking back, I should have gone to Bible College instead of taking two years to become a travel consultant.  I’ve been toying with the idea of going to Bible College now, just to satisfy man, not that I think it wouldn’t be great fun. I do!!  But the Lord reminds me that He has prepared me exactly the way I am for His purpose and He doesn’t want me to be concerned about a title or a position.  The door He opens no man can shut.    1 John 2:27 says, “You have received the Holy Spirit, and He lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true.  For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what He teaches is true – it is not a lie.  (The Message Bible version adds, “uncontaminated by a single lie”)  The Holy Spirit’s teachings are uncontaminated by man’s imposed ideas.   As well, Jesus said, “As it is written in the scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’  Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to me.”   Is it possible to be prepared by God to do His work without Bible College?  HE seems to think so!

While in college, I worked my way through a twelve step program.  The program encouraged us to, “take what we like and leave the rest.”   We choose what makes sense to us and mold our belief system around our own thoughts and feelings.  However, God wants us to build our belief system on His Word.   I’ve decided to soar like an Eagle in this life by basking in the amazing events, that Ephesians 2:10 tells us, He has planned for us to do.   Experiences that He promises are beyond my best imaginings.  He will satisfy my soul and the desires of my heart.

While homeschooling my son, pre-planning the lessons was important but I learned to be flexible because Holy Spirit reserved the right to change my plans at any given moment.   His memorable lessons always last a lifetime.   I want the only Father that I’ve ever had, to be proud of me and I know He is.  The one thing in this life I am secure in, is “His Love for Me.”   Sometimes, I worry that I’m too much like Moses and instead of speaking to the rock, I will become angry and have to face the consequences.  What I mean is, that my hasty behavior will set me off the best destiny path the Lord has for me.  Regardless, I know that nothing can make My Father love me any less.  However, I prefer the speed of the Holy Highway rather than the bumpy wayward ditch.

Since the experience of my open vision, I’ve pursued intimacy with God passionately so that my life can be a living testament to Him.  In the same way that Jesus did many other things while he was here.   If those events were all written down, the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.  Our lives would produce many books as well.   No one knows what you are capable of.  Only He knows.   My Holy Spirit education will never be complete and I CAN do all things with Christ, who strengthens me.   I wouldn’t want to do it any other way!

WORLDVIEW

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I want to share with the world one of my many theories. I encourage you not to spend much time being offended with my theory. Whether you agree or disagree, I value your perspective, if you want to share it with me. I don’t have everything all figured out and that is why I am in search of answers. God requires us to have answers for our beliefs. And frankly, it’s embarrassing having no answers or having an answer that clearly reveals you don’t know God’s character and promises. However, I reserve the right to revise my theory upon revealed truth. God is still God and Judy is a work in progress where His Holy Spirit resides.

In this week’s sermon, the pastor professed that sickness is not necessarily the result of sin.   In my heart, I strongly disagree. Did I stand up in the service and declare my opposition. No, because I want to be a vessel that encourages unity and harmony. I think, he believes that some sickness is the result of sin, like maybe sexual sin can produce diseases such as herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV but mostly, it’s just your unfortunate luck.   He stated that God may or may not heal you, that it is in God’s control, not yours.

So here’s my theory. In the beginning was God.  Then He created man and after that He created woman for man, not as a lesser being but as a suitable companion, his equal.   In the Garden of Eden, life was perfect.   The only time, perfection existed on the earth! No sin, no sickness, no sorrow and no pain.   Then one day the serpent came along to beguile Eve.  She was persuaded to do something God asked her not to do.   On the upside…….she shared with her husband?  Regardless, disobedience became an earthly reality.   Disobedience was the first sin. As a direct result of Sin, sickness also became an earthly reality.

At the mention of obedience, I’ve noticed that people get their undies in a knot. Obey God? Obeying the law is negotiable. Just don’t get caught. Disobedience is considered a minor sin compared to Murder.   Truth is, Murder is disobedience to God. The earth groans, as if in pain, waiting for God to fix the faux pas that took place in the Garden.   Jesus died for the Sin of the World and then went around healing everyone that was sick.   He healed ALL that came to Him.   God’s will is for us to live in Health. He wants His temple/church to be without blemish. God wants His people, not only individuals but also the collective to be healed and healers.  Firmly established in the Truth of His Word and completing the work Jesus started.

When you pray for your healing or someone else’s, stand firm and don’t doubt. Encourage those who are waiting for their healing and build up their faith. Don’t try to explain why they aren’t healed yet. God holds all the answers to our problems. He knows why you are sick and He always wants to heal you. On the other hand, the devil wants to steal your health and your healing.

In the mind of a desperate but courageous woman, there was a knowing that if only she touched Jesus robe, she would be healed. Why would she think that? Weaving her way through the heavy crowd, she achieved her goal. Having felt power go out of him and after finding the culprit, Jesus praised her by saying, “Daughter, YOUR FAITH has healed you.” Yes the power went out of Jesus but she had the audacious faith to touch his robe directly resulting in her healing.   God gave us the power to create. It starts in our heart and comes out our mouth but all too often we declare our healing and ten minutes later say something completely contrary and out of faith which disqualifies us from receiving our healing.

If you want someone to blame for sin and sickness, it is Man and the devil.   Although, blame is ineffective and irrelevant, as Jesus pointed out before He healed the blind man.   The disciples wanted to know who was to blame for the man’s blindness but Jesus redirected them to the “solution.”

Another example of man trying to understand the events rather than trying to achieve the solution was in the story of Job.  Job’s friends were focused on blaming him for his misfortune.   Angry about the accusations, Job complained to God. With patience and kindness, God had some questions for Job, one of which was, “who was the one who created the heavens and the earth, Job? Was it you?” (I’m paraphrasing of course.)   God allowed Job’s suffering at the enemy’s request but once Job had been tested and found faithful, God restored him to more than he was before.   I do not believe that it was ever an option for God to leave Job in his misery.

Point being, we need to focus on God, who holds all the answers to man’s problems and direct other’s focus to the creator, who has a plan to fix it all.   God’s plan of repairing the world includes No more sickness, disease, sorrow or pain and just because the world has not been healed yet does not mean it won’t be healed. God is patient and does not want one of his created to perish so He is giving us time to get it right. DWJD (Do what Jesus did)

NOBILITY

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Proverbs 31: 10-31 has been titled, “The Wife of a Noble Character.”    Why not the title, “The Fool’s Wife?” or “The Wise Wife”?   Depending on what kind of man you are, determines the kind of spouse you will end up with.   That’s why Jesus said that we should think of others before ourselves.   This thinking, directly influences the relationships we have. If you are self-centred, inevitably you will end up by yourself!

The first stanza reads, “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?”   Years ago, my husband declared that he is the man he is because of me.   I wasn’t sure how to take that but he meant it to be a compliment.   He feels that he is a good man because he doesn’t go out drinking and partying, like other husbands do.   The impact that each person in the relationship has on the other is huge.   Do you want a good spouse? Then be a good spouse. Think about your behaviour.   If I do this, how will it affect the person I love the most, now and later?   If you always think of your spouse first, it will give you a better chance of having the kind of spouse that Proverbs 31 speaks about.   Of course, you cannot control the other person, so you need to be wise when you are choosing a partner to spend the rest of your life with.   Choose someone who genuinely cares for others. One, who is a noble character.

Some years ago, I heard a sermon about the issue of sex when dating.   The primary reason, not to have premarital sex is that your point of view becomes jaded.   Sex causes a euphoria that makes you overlook the other person’s faults.   This euphoria can cause you to make poor decisions.

Keep watch. Be sober. Let nothing make you stumble.   Evaluate what you want your life to look like in 10 years and make sure that your choice of mate’s ideas are similar and compatible with your vision. Choosing a mate should be one of the top five greatest things you will ever do.   Do not base it on physical appearance. Look to the heart of a person like God does.   Become a noble character so that your companion will feel free to be all that they can be. Which will bring you good, all the days of your life.

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Winners or Losers?

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Something that has always bothered me is “Good People”.  My sweet darling girlfriend is kind, loving and sadly, has never wanted anything to do with God.   Thankfully, she still loves me.  I’ve met people who find out I’m a Jesus lover and hate me just because of that fact.   Others will tolerate me but make it perfectly clear that they will not tolerate my God talk, which is not acceptance.   Not my precious, beautiful, almost perfect friend who always accepts me as I am.  Once she said, “if you can share silence with a person, you know they are your true friend.”  I always feel at peace with her when I’m not feeling anxious that our time together is too short.    I want desperately for her to know Jesus as I know him so that we can party together in heaven’s ballroom.

Many people say that there is going to be a big party in hell.  The truth is that heaven was created for parties, fun and bliss.  There are many stories in the bible about parties.   For example, Luke writes about when Levi threw a party for Jesus as the guest of honor.  The religious leaders considered his guests, less than desirable.  So they vocalized their displeasure by asking why Jesus eats and drinks with such “scum”?   Jesus profound response was that, “It is not healthy people that need a doctor and I have not come to call those who think they are righteous but rather those who know they are sinners and want to change.    Those who come to God realize that “There is none good but God!”  It’s almost like, in order to experience the Goodness of God one must accept their own inability of perfection and/or goodness.

Hell was created for a different purpose.  Hell is a place away from God.  The movie “When Dreams May Come” depicts hell as a very lonely and painful place.  It is a place created for people who choose to have nothing to do with the one who created them.   It’s not God’s choice that gets them through the gate, it’s all theirs.

People who are really nice, good, people often believe they have no need of God.  They like who they are.     It’s been said that as we get older, we become comfortable with ourselves, and I think, that is why it is more difficult to come to God in our old age.  We accept ourselves with all of our faults and don’t need or want to apologize any more for the way we are.  As the years keep rolling by, I’m liking myself more and more.   Maybe pride is easier and humility, harder to achieve??

Other people say that we are living in hell right now, on earth.  Wrong again.  Earth seems more to me like Purgatory.  The middle place, where we are tested and are being prepared for the next life.

Some, don’t want to believe in hell because good people go there!   Anyway, who wants to be stuck in heaven with a bunch of losers?  LOL

On the other hand, a minion party sounds like a lot of fun!

PRACTICE

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Hmmm?   Love is like playing the piano?

When I turned 40, I realized that time was flying by. The reality that I didn’t have enough time to do all the things I want to, set in. However, I am going it give it a good effort anyway.   First, I decided to ride a street bike.   Very quickly, I went from a baby bike to a big girl bike.   I haven’t mastered her yet but I’m ready to check off another goal from my very long bucket list during the winter months.

My next endeavour has been to take piano lessons. Whether it’s playing the piano or practicing love, it is best when you follow the example and advice of a good teacher. It is great to have good role models but what happens when you don’t?   There is hope. Jesus is your role model for love.   It doesn’t matter that he was never married because he treated everyone with dignity and respect and we are to love everyone.  Although someone else said these words, you can accept them as Jesus speaking directly to you.   “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.   Train yourself to be godly. Physical training is good, but training in godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.   Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”   PURITY!? Now that’s a challenge because although we show everyone how good we are on the outside, God knows what we look like on the inside.   By the grace of God, go I. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect but in the time being, I know that it is only because of Jesus’ righteousness that I am able to come boldly into God’s gracious presence.

For years, I’ve been practicing love but in that time my heart has been broken into itty bitty pieces and I’ve learned to guard my heart against loved ones who hurt without remorse or sneak in a bit of revenge. As I commit myself to prayer for not only the ones I love but my enemies too, I choose to trust God to fight my battles in the spiritual realm in the same ways He did for King David. What God has done for one, when asked, He will do for another. Often, the argument, “that God expects me to do for myself” has been brought up by Christians who don’t mind living on the beach with God’s palace overlooking their little tent but I want to live in His home with Him.   My interpretation of God’s Word entails a lot more intimacy and dependency than these advisors suggest. So, I choose to always put love first and to sacrifice myself for the sake of the greater good so that I will dwell with the most High forever.

Many people have confided in me about their failed marriages. Often, I’ve wondered, if they had let God help, how would the circumstances have been different? There are four marriages, that I’ve seen where God has helped and completely released a spouse from another because of the other half’s outrageous behaviour. Yes, you heard me correctly. The marriage dissolved with God’s intervention. Clearly, the one spouse was favoured by God and blessed by being severed from a highly dysfunctional relationship.   Sometimes God requires us to let go of friends that have bad influence over us, as well. Considering that there may be an idealist reading this blog, I will say that my grandpa and grandma on my father’s side lasted happily until death did them part. Years ago, I witnessed a christian couple that submitted themselves to God for the healing of their marriage.  He was faithful and they were blissfully surprise how amazing God is. From where I stand, I want my life to be completely directed by God.   I am certain that His way is leap years ahead of what I could do for myself. I still want what I want and am willing to practice love and patience in order to achieve the end result.   God promises that He will give me anything I ask for.

A common benefit of playing the piano and practicing love is reduced stress.   Also, research has shown that older men and women who take up the piano as a hobby generally have an increased sex drive and better cognitive functions which is absolutely a perk when practicing love WITH YOUR SPOUSE!!