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I am a Christ follower who is in love with Jesus.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Not My Will, But Yours!



Many bible verses refer to doing and praying God’s will. We are given these instructions to guide us.   Recently, I was reminded of this as I was praying for direction in a hard situation. The verses below really resonated with me and I pray they minister to each of you that may be in a hard spot and crying out to God.

1 John 5:14 : "And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."

Jeremiah 42:3:  "That the Lord your God may tell us the way in which we should walk and the thing that we should do.”

Colossians 1:9:  "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

Matthew 6:9-13:  “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  ‘Your kingdom come.  Your will be done,  On earth as it is in heaven."  

Romans 1:10:  "Always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God  I may succeed in coming to you."

John 9:31:  "We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him."

Romans 8:27:  "And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 12:12: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

James 4:3: "You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures."

James 1:5:  "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

Ephesians 1:17:  "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him."

Matthew 6:10:  ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.'

1 Thessalonians 5:18:  "In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

Psalm 143:10:  "Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground."

Hebrews 10:7:  “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (In the scroll of the book it is written of Me) To do Your will, O God.’

Hebrews 10:36:  "For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised."

Mark 3:35:  "For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

Lord,

I lay down my will for yours.  I lay down my agendas for yours.  I lay down my past and future plans for your plans.  I lay prostate before you, thanking you for always being there to show the way.  It is simply opening your word and praying your will that brings me peace, joy and rest in the middle of life’s storms.  Thank you for this gentle reminder.  I walk hand in hand with you, rejoicing in who I am and in what I believe.  Our wonderful counselor, savior, banner, praise, mighty God and prince of peace.

Amen!

Johanna




Friday, February 12, 2021

This IS The Way, Walk In It!

The path of a Christian life is riddled with ruts, boulders, steep inclines and sharp hair pinned turns.  When we find a smooth level place, it gives us a moment to catch our breath before the next sharp curve takes us close to careening hopelessly off the cliff. 

We must be alert, for the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion ready to gnash, shred and spit out our mangled minds and bodies.  Our soul cries out in anguish as the lion pierces yet another vulnerable area of our life.  When the end seems inevitable, he leaves un-expectantly moving on to the next victim at the cliffs edge.

We drag our bloodied bodies to shelter under a rock.  It is there the healing begins.  No more blazing sun on our open wounds.  No more dust swirling around landing on each raw open area.  The salve of the Holy Spirit reaches deep into the smallest hidden area, slowly healing each crevice.

Picking ourselves up, continuing one step at a time, mindful of the evil lurking behind each corner, each tree and each boulder, we look up drawing from His living water. 

The fresh wind tosses our hair and brushes against our cheeks.  Feeling the wind caressing our body, a sense of peace and joy enters every fiber of our being.  What refreshing, what much needed relief!

We truly have tasted again complete peace and comfort that only He gives.

Our paths are different but filled with similar challenges.  The ruts, boulders, cliffs, steep inclines and low, low valleys hit everyone from time to time.  

What do we do when hit with one of them?

For Example:

Do we hang on tight to our Healer, our banner and our comforter during the “hards” of life that pierce our hearts and torture our minds?

OR

Do we wear cement masks to cover up the pain and challenges from those around us, pretending everything is okay?

OR

Do we rattle off every sordid detail, leaving no stone unturned in our long, consistent and arduous battles, talking and talking but never listening to the Spirits voice?

What do we do?  Let us reflect on how we navigate these paths asking the Holy Spirit to guide us as we walk each step.


My Prayer:  I ask now that the Holy Spirit bring revelation to our hearts and souls, drawing us tightly to him no matter where the path takes us.  Let us be open and honest with ourselves as we seek HIS guidance for our lives.

Come Holy Spirit Come

You, Holy Spirit are our peace,

Our comforter and in whom

We hold onto during the storms.

Keep our eyes on you,

Let us soar once again

To tackle and overcome

Even in the depths of anguish and despair. 

Thank you for your loving kindness.

It washes over and through us

To bring healing.

Just when we desperately need it, 

You bring answers

To quench our thirsting soul.

Thank you for the resting place we find

In the shelter of the rock.

We give this path to you Lord, knowing it won’t be perfect, easy or pain free.  We trust in you.  You have healing in your wings and you guard us with an army of angels.


Humbly,

Johanna


Monday, December 17, 2018

The Birth of Widowhood

I was pondering widowhood and began to see it like the birth canal. A child is comfortable inside the womb and has all it needs and then is whooshed and squeezed through this dark tunnel into a bright and scary place. This new world has noise, faces and confusion all around.
Little by little this child grows and changes, adapts and begins to enjoy this life outside the womb. The world takes on different meaning and the fear, confusion and other things experienced at birth change.
We go through the same thing when we become widows. We are whisked through a dark, confusing, unknown place. We scream, cry and fear as this new world is unwanted and different.
Little by little we learn to navigate life as a widow. Eventually, we look back and see we have created our own new world. Different than before yet filled with new life, new joy, new peace and new boldness to be who He created us to be despite our loss.

His Beloved Warrior Bride,

Johanna

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Drowning in Depression


Depression leaves an impression on our mind.  It sneaks up when least expected and carves deep holes into the heart.  The day can be bright and sunny with the wind blowing, birds singing and sounds of children’s laughter bouncing off the walls and floating through the air. Depression comes in and casts a negative twist causing the sounds of children’s laughter to become unnerving, nature to be overlooked and the wind to feel like sharp knives stabbing our face.

It threatens to steal the joy out of each moment taking us on trips down memory lanes of pain and sorrow reminiscing the past instead of looking forward to the future.  Each moment of the day is dreaded and bad habits turn worse as depression seeks its way.  Thoughts are played over and over again, embedding depression into every fiber of our brain.

Depression mocks us and convinces us we are worthless with no hope for a future.  Instead of holding on to the good, depression convinces us to hold onto the bad and negative things life throws at us.  We become consumed with dread and thoughts of death and dying become tantalizing.  Suicidal thoughts grab ahold and take over our mind.  Hope is gone and life doesn’t seem worth living. We give into the enemy of our mind and our fate appears set.

Researching depression led me down paths arguing different opinions based on research and scientific data.  Some Doctors and Mental Health practitioners describe chemical imbalances in the brain and hormones in the body as causes of depression.  They prescribe drugs intended to rebalance the chemicals. Other Doctors and mental health professionals argue that the pharmaceutical companies and Doctors are in cahoots with each other to make money from the manufacturing and sale of drugs.  Additional theories indicate trauma, loss, genetic disposition and other environmental factors lend themselves to causes of depression.

How then, can we detangle ourselves from Depression and its hold on us?  How can we begin to see the twinkle of light lingering in the dark recesses of our mind?  What is the real truth of depression and how in the world do we treat it? 

A car accident leaving my husband a quadriplegic, my own health issues and many of stressors spun me down this horrific black hole.  Tests validated chemical imbalances in my Serotonin, Norepinephrine, Dopamine and Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels.

It took medication, support from family and friends, counseling and my faith to overcome the black hole I was quickly descending into after this horrible accident.

As a Christ Follower, I was torn between the research, scientific data and various teachings by the church on health, depression and healing. Coming from a Catholic background transitioning into the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement, I heard it all relating to depression and physical and emotional healing. On one side of my faith walk, I experienced understanding and support regarding stress, depression and loss.  On the other side, I was met with condemnation, accusations of a lack of faith for healing and told I had unrepentant sin causing my depression and health challenges.  I was struggling with perfectionism, therefore, being told I had unrepentant sin and lack of faith almost put me over the edge.  I felt the noose tightening around my neck and was ready to kick the chair out from under me.

I would lay in bed at night crying out to God to help me and to bring me peace and comfort.  Each night I heard and I felt nothing.  I saw no light at the end of the long and lonely tunnel.  All I could feel was the noose drawing tighter and tighter ready to cut off the circulation to my brain and take my breath.  During this time, church friends did not know how to relate to me, friends scattered and family was silent.

Spiraling into anorexia and bulimia, trying to control what I couldn’t just put me further into the clutches of death.  Over and over again, night after night, I continued to cry out to God!  I still  felt nothing, absolutely nothing!  All I heard was the silent trickle of the tears running down my face.  I continued to go through the motions of work and caring for my kids the best I could, yet not knowing how to navigate any of it very well. 

One day at church, a woman approached me and said,” You may not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it is there!”  She had no idea all of the turmoil in my mind.  This simple statement gave me a glimmer of hope.  I started staring at myself in the mirror telling myself I had a hope and a future.  I began digging into the bible and posting scriptures around my home to remind me of who I was in Christ.  I hung on to the words daily reminding myself of the light at the end of this turmoil of darkness and despair. I had limped along so long, that the process to healing was very slow.  Determination to keep repeating scriptures, stay on my medication and reach out for support helped my mind to remain focused on a brighter future.

Instead of dwelling on what I lost, I began dwelling on what I still had in my life. Thankfulness ever so slowly began to creep into my heart and one day the glimmer of light shimmered and slowly became brighter and brighter.  None of this was easy and I wanted to give up and give in to the negative thoughts more than once. Yet, holding on to one person’s word made a huge difference in the outcome of my spiral.

Years have passed and looking back I see the hand of God in all of it.  He used medication, support, prayer and one person words to break through the black hole in my mind.  Silent prayers lifted on my behalf from friends, family and strangers when I was even too exhausted and worn out to pray where offered also to the Father. 

There are so many facets of depression and I am here to encourage all who are walking this road to not give up.  Fight, Fight, Fight and don’t quit.  Do whatever you can to get help.  Stop the silence and bring it to the light so others can help you too.  Begin to see the truths in the word of God and don’t let religion discourage or dissuade you from that truth.  Don’t ever think that God is not there.  He will never, ever leave you nor forsake you.  He did not promise any of us an easy road, but we do have a hope and a future in Him.  He is even there in the silence when you cannot see the light.  Dear ones, the light is at the end of this long, dreary, dark tunnel even when you don’t see it.

His Beloved Warrior Bride,

Johanna




Thursday, August 9, 2018

Gracefully Broken

I was in Dollar Tree last night and there was a woman and two children behind me in a LONG line. One was an older child and the other one was a toddler. The older child had a pack of glow sticks and the toddler was screaming for them.  The woman opened the pack and gave him one, which stopped his tears.
He walked around with it smiling, but then the older child took it and the toddler started screaming again. Just as the woman was about to correct the older child, he bent the glow sticks and handed it back to the toddler.
 All of us walked outside at the same time.  The toddler noticed that the stick was now glowing and his brother said "I had to break it so you could get the full effect from it."
I wanted to run away from what I was hearing because l heard God saying to me, "I had to break you to show you why I created you. You had to go through it so you could fulfill your purpose." That little child was happy just swinging that "unbroken" glow stick around in the air because he didn't understand that it was created to "glow".
There are some people who will be content just "being" but some of us that God has chosen, have to be "broken".
We get sick, lose a job, go through divorce, bury our spouse, parents, best friend, or our child.  In those moments of desperation, God is breaking us.  When the breaking is done, we will be able to see the reason for which we were created.

This was posted by a friend on Facebook.  Author Unknown

It reminded me of Matt Redman's song, "Gracefully Broken."

Below is the link to this song!  If it does not work, copy and paste it into your url.

Gracefully Broken Lyrics
Take all I have in these hands and multiply
God, all that I am and find my heart
On the altar again set me on fire, set me on fire
Take all I have in these hands and multiply
God, all that I am and find my heart
On the altar again set me on fire, set me on fire
Here I am, God
Arms wide open
Pouring out my life
Gracefully broken
My heart stands in awe of Your name
Your mighty love stands strong to the end
You will fulfill Your purpose in me
You won't forsake me, You will be with me
Here I am, God (say)
Arms wide open
Pouring out my life (Pouring out my life)
Gracefully broken
Say again, here I am, here I am, God
Arms wide open
Pouring out my life (Pouring out my life)
Gracefully broken
All to Jesus now
All to Jesus now
I'm holding nothing back
Holding nothing back
I surrender (I surrender)
Y'all throw your hands up and sing I surrender (I surrender)
Say I surrender (I surrender)
All that I am, I surrender (I surrender)
Have Your way, use me Lord, I surrender (I surrender)
Do Your will, it's all Your way, I surrender (I surrender)
Use my life for Your glory, say I surrender all (I surrender)
You want to tell Him right where you are (I surrender)
(Oh) Your power at work in me
(Oh) I'm broken gracefully
(Oh) I'm strong when I am weak
(Oh, ooh-oh) I will be free
(Oh, ooh-oh) Your power at work in me
(Oh, ooh-oh) I'm broken gracefully
(Oh, ooh-oh) I'm strong when I am weak
(Oh, ooh-oh) I will be free
(Oh, ooh-oh) Your power at work in me
(Oh, ooh-oh) I'm broken gracefully
(Oh, ooh-oh) I'm strong when I am weak
(Oh, ooh-oh) I will be free
(Oh, ooh-oh) Your power at work in me
(Oh, ooh-oh) I'm broken gracefully
(Oh, ooh-oh) I'm strong, I'm strong
(Oh, ooh-oh) I will be free, yeah
Oh oh
Here I am, God
Arms wide open
I'm right here
Pouring out my life
Gracefully broken

Tasha Cobbs Leonard wrote the following:

God will break you to position you,
Break you to promote you,
Break you to put you in your right place.
But when He breaks you; He doesn't hurt you, He doesn't.
When He breaks you; He doesn't destroy you, He does it with; grace
Anybody been gracefully broken?
Thank You, Lord, thank You
So Father tonight, we're broken before You
Thank You for handling us with grace..


His Beloved Warrior Bride,

Johanna






Thursday, May 31, 2018

BUT GOD....

As a Christian, I look to the Bible and my relationship with Christ for consul, strength and help in times of trouble.  My daily Bible readings often cause me to pause and meditate on various promises in the Word. During a recent quiet time, the following verse stuck a cord within my heart.

“My Flesh and my Heart faileth, BUT GOD is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:26 KJV.

Here the psalmist acknowledges his struggles.  His heart is failing within him yet he goes on to say, “BUT GOD IS MY STRENGTH and MY PORTION FOREVER” (Italics added)

The psalmist was weary, yet he knew where his strength and provision could be found.  This strength is available to everyone.

When we lose the one closest to us and watch the last pile of dirt thrown on the grave, BUT GOD...

When our hearts are sick with worry over finances and just getting through the day, BUT GOD…

When our children are sick and we are alone to care for them, BUT GOD…

When the voice on the other end of the phone yells profanities and curses at us, BUT GOD…

When the roof is leaking, the pipes bursting and the furnace goes on the blink in the middle of winter, BUT GOD…

When we watch another friend say, “I DO” and we wish it were us, BUT GOD…

When we sit in the passenger seat as our teen learns to drive, BUT GOD…

When our kids refuse to call and seem to forget we exist, BUT GOD…

When we dread the mail because of another bill, BUT GOD…

When we lay in the ER or the Hospital room without our beloved’s hand to hold, BUT GOD…

When fear becomes our friend and worry our neighbor, BUT GOD…

When the light has gone out on our hopes and dreams, BUT GOD…

When we say goodbye and the last child flies out of the nest, BUT GOD…

When the alarm goes off and we wish we could stay in bed, BUT GOD…

When our arms ache and our back hurts from trying to keep up, BUT GOD…

When the pieces of our heart are shattered on the floor, BUT GOD…

When she walks down the aisle without her daddy, BUT GOD…

When the storms of life come in like a tsunami, BUT GOD…

Whether it be sickness, disease, finances, losses, loneliness or anything else this earthly life brings, remember BUT GOD!

BUT GOD:
He is out protector, our redeemer, our strength and our portion.
He fights our battles and brings victories even in the hard places of our life.
He is our portion and he shows us His love.
He overthrows the wicked who try to harm us and He is with us in the midst of all our storms.
He is our mediator and our inheritance.
He is faithful and strong showing mercy and grace.
He brings refreshment from unlikely places like he did for Samson when he needed it.

So when we are hit with the daily challenges of life, remember BUT GOD.

His Beloved Warrior Bride,

Johanna