Praying God’s Will; 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 1

Happy Monday, Friends!  I’m so glad you can join me!  As we’ve been learning in our series on experiencing More Power in Prayer, one of the keys to effective prayer is praying according to God’s will.  So starting today, I’m going to be spending Mondays reading to see, “What is God’s Will?” and then pray it!  I’m beginning in the book of 1 Thessalonians, chapter one.

Gods will 1 Thessalonians

I’m sitting here with my cup of hot herbal tea and my own notebook, with “1 Thessalonians” written across the top of the page.  My husband is finishing a remodel on the sunroom off my kitchen and diningroom.  He just finished installing the flooring, and I can’t wait for the trim to be completed so we can clean up the construction mess.  I’m looking forward to being able to sit in front of the windows and take in God’s creation while I study.

When I study a new book, I like to look at the what historians know about the background so I have a better understanding of where the author is coming from.  Then I group verses with similar ideas together and summarize them for myself, and finally I go back and look at how they may apply today.  I may learn something new each time I go over a passage, so this devotional will in no way be comprehensive!  I am not a Bible scholar or professor.  I am just a daughter of God who loves His Word and am seeking His wisdom in living for Him.  Lets ask God to show us what He wants to teach us in this chapter and get to work!  Shall we compare notes?!?  Please share your insights and musings in the comments so we can all learn from one another!

The book of 1 Thessalonians is a letter written by the apostle Paul to the church in Thessalonica.  Thessalonica was a busy seaport, an important communication and trade center, the largest city in Macedonia, and the capitol of its province.  Paul was able to spend only a short time discipling the new believers there before he was forced to leave, suddenly, leaving them without outside support during a time of persecution.  Paul wrote to encourage them, teach them Godly living, and give them assurance about their future.  This book is 5 short chapters.

vs. 1–an introduction

vs. 2–Paul prayed thanks for the Thessalonian Church

vs. 3–specific thanks: work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope

vs. 4–Paul knew God chose them

vs. 5–the church didn’t receive the gospel by word only, but in power, in the Holy Spirit with FULL conviction!

vs. 6&7–they became imitators of Christ & Paul, AND they became an example for other believers.  (1 Cor. 11:1)

vs. 8–they shared the gospel–everywhere they went, their faith sounded forth

vs. 9&10–other believers were talking about their faith (they had turned from idols, were serving a living & true God, and waiting for Jesus’s return).

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As I read this chapter, I wondered if perhaps it was written like we write an English essay, with verse 3 being like an introductory sentence that the following verses unpack?

*Whether or not this was Paul’s intention, I can imagine that the work of faith Paul gives thanks for in verse 3 points forward to the Thessalonian Church receiving the gospel in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full conviction” (vs.5).  We know (vs. 4) that all Christians are chosen by God first, and that we need the Holy Spirit to give us faith to believe the gospel.  Once we are saved, this faith grows and results in lives full of spiritual fruit.

*I can imagine that when Paul gave thanks in verse 3 for their “labor of love,” that he could be referring to the way they became an example for other believers, and shared the gospel everywhere, sounding forth their faith (vs. 6-8)

*I can imagine that when Paul gave thanks for their steadfastness of hope, that he could be referring to the way they turned from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for Jesus’s return (vs.9&10)

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How can I use these observations to pray according to God’s will?

  • Give thanks for my church, being mindful that God has chosen them, and look for ways that God is specifically producing a work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope…  For example: My home church enjoys meeting together, truth is taught, we pray together, discipleship happens, hospitality is practiced, etc…  When my church ladies met to discuss this, they pointed out that Paul is not only praying thanks for the fruit He sees in the church in Thessalonica, He’s writing to tell them about it!  He is encouraging them in the process.  Hebrews 10:24 tells us to consider how we can spur each other on to good works—Imitating Paul’s action here is one of those ways!
  • Pray for myself, my family, and the Church, that God’s word will always penetrate our hearts and minds in Power, in the Holy Spirit, and in full conviction (renew our minds and sanctify our hearts.)
  • Pray that we will be imitators of Christ and live lives worthy of being imitated by others–an example for other believers.  Godly examples help us learn what God’s word looks like in real time, and lets face it, some of us learn best by watching and doing.
  • Pray that we will be thankful and enthusiastic–sharing with others what God has done and is doing in our lives.  Our testimony is more than just sharing how we were saved.  God is constantly working.  Sound forth our faith!!
  • Pray that we will have steadfastness of hope, remembering daily that we serve a living Savior who we are waiting to return!
  • For the Lost: pray verse 5 (that they will become saved by receiving the gospel in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full conviction… that they may also become verses 6 and following.  Who in your life is in need of Jesus?  Make a list, and mention them by name.

What did you learn from this chapter?  I can’t wait to hear how God is moving in your life.  And I can’t wait to see how God uses our prayers this week!

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”  1 John 5:14-15

Meet you next Monday to explore 1 Thessalonians, chapter 2! 😉

More Power in Prayer; Prerequisite #3 for Effective Prayer

Hello friends!  Thank you for joining me for this series on prayer.

So far, we’ve learned that in order for our prayers to be effective there must be no un-confessed sin between us and God, and we must forgive others.  The 3rd prerequisite, shared by Evelyn Christenson in her book, “What Happens When Women Pray”, is that we pray according to God’s will.

More Power in Prayer #3

Martin Scott, author of “Gaining Ground, Prayer Strategies for Transforming Your Community,” taught that to make a difference within our sphere of influence one has to make a sound that attracts heaven.  With all my heart, I believe that sound is comprised of the voices of God’s people praying for His will to be done.  Jesus taught His disciples to pray that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.  There is nothing in heaven that is contrary to God’s will.

1 John 5:14-15 gives us this promise concerning our prayers to God:

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”

How truly awesome is that?  We can have confidence in approaching God in prayer, because we know that if what we want from God is what God wants to do, He will give us the requests that we ask of him.  

So many times we hear individuals ask in prayer, either for themselves or for others, and they have a play list.  They say, “Pray for this outcome (specifically); and pray against this outcome.” And even when we say please, our prayers often sound more like demands than requests.

Well, how do we know what God’s will is?   And when we don’t know what God wants, how do we pray His will?

While it’s true that many times we don’t know God’s specific intention concerning the details of our lives, scripture gives us an overview of God’s will.  We know that:

  • God does not wish any to perish, 2 Peter 3:9
  • It is His will that we love Him first and not allow any desire to to become an idol in our lives, Colossians 5:1-5
  • It is His priority that we understand His will and grow in Spiritual maturity, Colossians 1:9,10
  • It’s God’s desire that we walk by the Spirit and be filled with His character, Galations 5:13-26
  • God will complete the work He has begun in each of His children (sanctification–producing the fruit of righteousness in our lives), Philippians 1:3-11
  • and SO much more, if we dig into the scriptures with open eyes.

We can always ask for God’s will in our lives when we pray.  We can ask specifically, citing scriptures like these examples, or broadly, trusting God to do what is best in our lives, in the Church, and for those He brings into our sphere of influence.

But what if God’s choice of methods to bring His will about in our lives is something we don’t want?  So often, it is fear that keeps us from welcoming God’s will.  And, it’s our reluctance that can clue us in to what we are keeping as idols in our hearts… our health, our possessions, our comfort in our present situation, our loved ones…

As long as we hold anything closer than God’s will, we will be controlled by fear and anxious about the future.  Only by trusting God completely can we experience His peace and joy in any circumstance.

And when uncertainty does pressure us?

Jesus left us a powerful example of how to make requests while being submitting to what God wants.  In the garden, while he prayed before his arrest and eventual crucifixion, he battled his humanity, knowing the suffering that lay before him and not wanting to have to walk the road that was prepared.  He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.” Luke 22:42

Don’t you love how he said, “If you are willing?”  Even in stating his request, he acknowledged his Father’s Lordship in his circumstances, but then he followed his request in humble submission, offering, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

Many times we lay our play list out there for God to follow, and then we tack a “if it’s your will,” onto the end.  But I’ve come to realize that unless we approach God in submission, truly seeking His will while we lay our requests at His feet, our last minute “if it’s your will,” is nothing more than a dutiful disclaimer.

What else happens when we are praying for God’s will?

While we do this, we know (Romans 8:26-27) that the Holy Spirit knows God’s mind, and He helps us in our weakness by interceding for us, as He prays God’s specific will on our behalf.

What a compassionate God we have.

Putting out the Fleece

Sometimes, while we are asking for God’s will, we are trying to discern how He would have us to make a particular decision.  In this case, Gideon sets an example for us in Judges 6:36-40. Gideon asked God, “if your will be “this” then please give me this sign,” and God was faithful to do so.  Sometimes it’s simply asking God to open and close doors as He sees fit while we patiently stand ready to take on the opportunities He presents.

AcknowledgeHim

Last summer I had the privilege of leading a small group through “What Happens When Women Pray” while we prayed for Camp JIM, the salvation of campers, and each other.  As the summer progressed, and we learned more of the prerequisites for effective prayer, I noticed changes in the way the women approached God with their requests.  Their thanks multiplied and they frequently pointed out God’s will in scripture.  They stopped telling God what they wanted and started asking for His will, even when it meant opening their hands and saying, “Whatever it takes, Lord, for your will to be done in this person’s life” (to bring them to you; to heal their hurts; etc…)… “whatever it takes.”

It was truly beautiful to see this transformation, for it wasn’t just their prayers that were changing, but they themselves.  The way they prayed simply mirrored what God was doing in their hearts.  Evelyn Christenson shared that according to Vine’s Expository of New Testament Words, the word “effectual,” found in James 5:16, means “the effect produced in the praying person, bringing him into line with the will of God.”

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” 

We want our prayers to be effectual, but “The effectual pray-er, then, is a person who is completely committed to God’s will for answers, and not to his own will.” ~E. Christenson

So, what happened in the midst of all that praying this summer?  Statistically, there were more salvation decisions than any other summer in the 14 years our family has had the privilege of serving at Camp JIM.  Praise God!!

As children of God, when we pray according to HIS will, rather than our will, we can have confidence because we know He hears us and gives us what we ask for!  We can also have confidence knowing that wherever He leads us, something good is in the making, and for this we can rejoice! Romans 8:28

Whatever God’s will holds, it is a comfort to know He NEVER makes a mistake, and that is what we will discuss in the next post in this series.

But until then, I invite you to join me on Mondays, as we read from God’s Word and look for God’s will.  We’ll highlight what we see and then use it to actually pray for ourselves, our family and friends, the Church body, and the world.  Meet me here on Monday, February 19th to begin praying God’s will from 1 Thessalonians, chapter 1.  I’ll be studying in the English Standard Version and the New American Standard Version in preparation.

You can read the previous posts from this series by posting on their links at the end of This Post.

Praying God’s will for you,

~Linda

My 1-Year Anniversary Eating Keto, and What I’ve Learned

Keto 1 Year Anniversary

While I have been developing gluten-free sourdough recipes to replace the recipes my family gave up when we gave up gluten, I have personally been following a Ketogenic Diet.

I’ve noticed that people’s responses to talk about the Ketogenic Diet can be rather strong, whichever way they swing.  So I’m not here to try to convince anyone to do what I’m doing.  I’m just sharing for those who are curious or can benefit.

A Ketogenic diet consists of low carbs, moderate proteins, and a high amount of healthy fats.  In a while, the body switches from using carbohydrates as a primary energy source to using fats.

I first heard of the ketogenic diet about 10 years ago when I happened upon Maria Emmerich’s beautiful and informative website.  I was intrigued by the diet’s therapeutic effect on individuals with Epilepsy, allowing many Epileptics to live free from seizures.  I spent a day reading through recipes and thought I’d return later to to learn more, but it was before the invention of Pinterest and, once I closed my browser, I was never able to find her site again (until last year). Chalk it up to God’s timing.

A decade later I was working with a client who was interested in doing the Ketogenic Diet and wanted help figuring it out.  I had to decline for lack of experience.

Today Keto is quite the buzz word, and there is a plethora of information out there, but I realized that in order to truly understand the diet and to be equipped to help others implement it, I would need some very personal experience putting it into practice.  Didn’t hurt that I still had a few baby pounds to lose.

At this point, I had already cut refined sugar out of my diet.  I took it a step farther by cutting out all grains, potato varieties, squash, high sugar containing fruits, and legumes.  Instead, I focus on healthy fats, clean meats and dairy products (organic and grass fed when possible), low carb vegetables, low sugar fruits like blueberries and raspberries, and sources of fiber such as nuts, flax, coconut and psyllium husks (which help make excellent “breads”).

I didn’t experience any withdrawal, but if you are accustomed to a diet high in refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, expect to go through a period of fatigue and cravings.  Drink lots of water and don’t be afraid of some high quality mineral salt, true unbleached sea salt or himalayan salt.

I have always loved high fat foods, it’s just that eating a carb rich diet makes it necessary to limit fats in order to avoid weight gain.  Eating a Ketogenic Diet trains the body to burn fat as it’s foremost fuel, and so fat becomes necessary instead of taboo.  I pretty much LOVE my food.  🙂  And that’s always a good thing, right?

I track my calories and macros (carbs, protein and fats) using cronometer.com.   I use their free version. It also keeps track of the nutritional content of my meals so that if my calcium, for example, is low–I know how to supplement.

The other feature I enjoy about cronometer‘s platform is that I can enter my own recipes and parse them into servings to keep track of nutrient and macros.  I can eat home-made and know exactly what I’m getting!  That is useful, no matter what diet you follow.

I learned how to do intermittent fasting, and enjoy it two or three days a week.  I don’t have to eat until I’m hungry and I can have a larger, more satisfying meal when I do.

I expected to lose weight when I began eating ketogenically.  I was counting on losing the baby fat and the stubborn belly fat, and I wasn’t disappointed.

IMG_20170830_102922940_BURST000_COVER_TOP

{Picking up a co-op order.  Do I know I’m wearing a banana sticker?  Why, yes I do, thank you.  Every time my boys get a banana with a sticker, they give it to me.   🙂 }

What I didn’t anticipate when I began the Keto-diet?

  • A substantial increase in energy
  • Reduction in the amount of sleep I require
  • Cessation of swelling in my gums (almost immediately) and a halt to the recession that had become fairly regular (so far, so good)
  • Younger looking skin
  • Balanced hormones!  Going through school to become a certified natural health provider, I recognized I was on the path to early menopause.  Extremely light, and shortened periods had become the norm.  I was doing everything I learned to do with pH and diet to help swing the hormones back to normal, but no change.  A few months into my keto journey,  my period ceased for a couple months however, it came back, and at my 1 year keto anniversary I can say my cycle has officially returned to a healthy normal.  Just like in my 20’s. 🙂  Yes, this makes me happy.  Menopause will come, but on time, not early.  This took 11 months to achieve.
  • Flexible menus: I didn’t expect it to be this easy.  The longer I do this, the more I learn and the more flexibility I have in what I eat.  I’ve gone beyond just trying other people’s recipes to creating my own.
  • Low fasting blood sugars: Mercola, a huge proponent of eating Keto, suggests that fasting blood sugar levels in the 80’s, and better still–the 70’s, are optimal for health, so the 70’s were my goal.  However, my morning fasting blood sugar levels stay in the therapeutic 60’s with great energy.  This also makes me happy.  Really. Happy. 😀
  • No more joint pain.  I was developing the same pain in my knees and hands that my mom and her mom had when they developed arthritis.  No more.  Also, neck pain from a car accident more than a decade ago has been continuously improving.  Banish the inflammation!
  • The ability to fast on a dime.  When my church sisters have decided to fast and spend time in intercessory prayer, they have complained of headaches, spacey-ness, and plain ole’ ill health on the days they have fasted, making it difficult for them to focus on prayer (and focusing on prayer is the whole reason for the fasting!)  With today’s Standard American Diets, people often need to spend time changing their diets ahead, preparing their bodies for fasting, in order to experience success.  The Bible makes it clear that fasting is part of Christian life.  Sticking to a healthful diet can make it much easier to fast when prompted by the Holy Spirit.  Following a ketogenic or low carb diet that is free of sugars and “fast energy carbs” that spike blood sugar and insulin make it possible for me to fast immediately when prompted, and I never suffer the effects of withdrawal or low blood sugar.  The body is used to burning fat for energy.  It just switches to a different source of fat for the duration of the fast (body fat instead of dietary fat).
  • Keto buddies~ I have found encouragement in unexpected places, not the least of which turned out to be right at home.  My kids.

At Christmas I converted several of our favorite traditional treats into low carb versions that were truly hits.  I rotate my family’s menu between low carb choices and our traditional gluten-free healthy choices.  They enjoy it all.  I know, I am extremely blessed in this way.  No picky eaters at my house.  Makes providing for my family easy and enjoyable!

2 of my oldest girls have decided to eat “Mom’s food”.  That being the case, and me not wanting them to miss out on special food occasions the other kids might have (like lemon breakfast cookies) I have put forth the effort to create low carb versions of the treats they love.  These girls, 14 and 16, have also experienced positive hormone adjustments, clearer skin, and a healthy weight gain where needed. (Yes, low carb does not have to mean weight loss.  The right macro proportions can adjust body weight up when that is what needs to happen.  It’s all about a well formulated diet.)

Has a ketogenic diet hampered my ability to work-out and build muscle?  Not that I can tell.  I work out regularly, 5-6 days a week for 30-50 minutes, and though I’m not aiming to be a body builder, I have definitely rebuilt a LOT of muscle that was lost over the years I spent being inactive.

Do I plan to go off keto any time soon?

No.  I’m enjoying this lifestyle, and have a lot more to learn. I’m thankful for the positive health changes I’ve experienced.  I’m thankful the practical application will enable me to help others when the opportunity arises.  And I’m thankful for the client who pushed me to learn!

What does this mean for future food posts?  It means I’ll not only be sharing our gluten-free sourdough recipes, but also low carb versions. 😉  

My girls have always been concerned that they would have copies of our favorite foods.  In sharing with you, I am getting them all in order, pics and all.  I see full kitchen books in their futures!

Do you have questions about a low carb/ketogenic diet?  I’ll do my best to answer them.

Have a blessed February!  ~Linda

Recipe: Lemon Breakfast Cookies, Gluten-Free, Sourdough (Fast and Easy Recipe, using leftover starter)

 

The one thing that may discourage some people from baking with sourdough is the prep time; dough has to be mixed and requires several hours to ferment before it can be baked.  But sourdough doesn’t always need forethought.  As long as you have some extra starter sitting around, there are always yummy possibilities in your future! 🙂

Today was one such morning at my house.  I’m pretty sure we’ve had the flu.  Using homeopathics, each of my kids burned through it in 3 days.  When I got sick, I just didn’t have the energy to treat myself.  Sleep!  Just give me sleep!  Oh, but by day 5 it was getting pretty old.  So last night I took time to give myself some TLC, and I worked up a remedy for myself.  This morning, when the kids woke me up asking what they should cook, I was very happy to announce that they could start school and I’d start breakfast!!

I learned my lesson.  Next time, I will take the time to remedy before I sleep!  Thankfully, we had some extra starter, so I made some quick Lemon Breakfast Cookies.  And to be more healthful, we served them with leftover veggies.

Lemon Breakfast Cookies, gluten-free, sourdough

You will need the zest and juice from one lemon.  Don’t forget to download the Lemon Breakfast Cookies PDF.

The Recipe 😉

  • 1/2 stick butter, very soft or partially melted
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup brown rice starter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup honey PLUS 1/8 tsp. Sweet Leaf, white stevia extract
  • zest and juice from one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by softening the butter.  Then dump all the rest in and stir well.  Allow to sit a few minutes and the dough will thicken.

Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.  Scoop, 1-1/2 tablespoons at a time, and form into balls.  I use a pampered chef scoop.

1.5 TBS Scoop

You should get 21 scoops=21 cookies.  There may be half a scoop left, if anyone wants a baby cookie. 🙂  Press with your fingers to flatten.

Shaping lemon breakfast cookies

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

I use an Air Bake pan for these.  If you are using a bar pan like Pampered Chef sells, you may want to preheat the pan, or it may need to bake just a few minutes longer.

You can decide how many “cookies” you feel makes a reasonable serving.  I serve 3 per person.

These breakfast cookies were inspired by Raising Generation Nourished.  My daughter began making her breakfast cookies when we went gluten-free, but being who I am, I HAD to do a sourdough version!  The sourdough is softer, contains less starch, and is easier on the digestion.

Delicious!

Recipe: Gluten-Free Sourdough Corn Bread

We have had sub-zero temps in Minnesota.  Every few days it warms up enough to snow.  Today our high is supposed to be 4 degrees, but with windshield if feels like -23.  No way around it.  It is just COLD!! 

Storms in recent years have insured we have a surplus of wood.  My husband drug some of those downed trees out of the woods and cut them into the right sized chunks.  The kids have become proficient at loading the logs into the splitter and then stacking it. . . and we have firewood.  😉 I’m thankful for the wood stove in the basement.  Without it, the upstairs thermostat would have the main floor toasty, but the basement would still be cold.

Truth?  I’m praying for a larger woodstove; one that is the proper size for our square footage.  It would supply the blessing of burning all night without anyone having to get up to feed it, and it would warm the whole house sufficiently to turn off the electric heat (a significant $$ saver).

When the temps are this cold, give me hot tea, soup, or chili.  And what goes better with that than corn bread?  I loved the corn bread recipe my mother made when I was growing up, and I’ve converted it into a gluten free sourdough version that my kids think is still So GOOD, and it’s Oh, so easy!

Delicious gluten-free, sourdough corn bread recipe!

I prefer using a 10 inch cast iron skillet for this recipe.  It bakes faster and everyone gets a kick out of the “pie” shaped pieces.  You can also bake it in an 8×8 or 7×11 inch pan and it still turns out perfect.  It just takes a few minutes longer.

To download a PDF of this recipe, Click Here:  Gluten-Free Sourdough Corn Bread.

Ready?

Stir together:

  • 1/4 cup of butter, melted, but not hot
  • 3/4 cup water
  • stir in 1/2 cup of brown rice sourdough starter (fed in the past 12 hours)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup corn flour (I use actual corn flour, not meal which is more course)

After combining well, cover and allow to ferment for 7-12 hours.

After fermenting:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and put your cast iron pan or baking pan in the oven to heat up.  To your dough, Add:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut/date sugar, honey, or white sugar  *To reduce sugar, use 1/3 cup of one of the aforementioned sweeteners & 1/8th teaspoon of white, Sweet Leaf Stevia Powder.*
  • 1 tsp. baking soda (add last)

Remove pan from oven and add butter or oil, greasing all the sides and bottom of the pan.  Pour batter in pan and bake.

Cast Iron Skillet, bake 15 minutes and then check… mine is done!

Cake pan, bake 20-25 minutes.Glass baking dishes

I hope you enjoy this corn bread as much as our family does!  ~Linda

 

 

 

 

What Happens When Women Pray

What happens when women pray photo

Every year or so, there is a theme that God chooses to teach me.  One year it was Biblical Womanhood, another it was Gratitude, yet another was Being Established.  The past 2 years have been on the topic of Prayer.

Have you ever shopped for books written about prayer??  Oh, my goodness, there are SO MANY!!  I have not actually gone looking, but when God picks a topic, it pops up everywhere.  Before I know it, I’ve accumulated a shelf full of resources without even trying.  I’ve read a little in this one and a little in that, however, my all time favorites are

1) simply reading what God says about prayer and the examples we’re given in God’s Word, and

2) Evelyn Christenson’s book, “What Happens When Women Pray”.  I found this little book at a garage sale, full of notes (so it must be good, right?).  I’ve read it 4 times, and I learn something new every time.

The Christian Missionary Alliance Church also chooses a theme every year, and their women’s ministry piggybacks on that.  This year the Alliance Women’s theme is “MORE”.

In my home church, our own Alliance Women are specifically studying how we can experience “MORE” power in prayer.  I’m so blessed to be able to do this study with my own church family, and I am over the moon to see how God is going to use these women and their prayers in the life of our church.

Prayer Is:

*A privilege*  ~My husband’s grandpa taught me that.  He called me monthly, until the day he died, to catch up and find out how he could be praying for us.  I was so blessed by this man who was not a blood relative, but who loved me so strongly in word and in deed.

*A responsibility*  ~Did you know that it is designed by God as part of our relationship with Him, and the health of our prayer life is an indication of the health of our Spiritual lives?

*A gift*  ~Imagine if we could not go to God.  Or imagine if we still, like the Israelites of old, had to go through a priest as a mediator, offering sacrifices, in order to maintain our relationship with God?  When Jesus died for us, and conquered sin and death by rising again, HE became our mediator and now we can go directly to God in Jesus’ name.

What a precious gift, and yet, it is one of the most neglected privileges and responsibilities within the Church Body today.  The truth is that too often we do not give enough thought to how and when we talk to God.  What’s more, many of us are not aware of the stumbling blocks that prevent God from inclining His ear to answer.

As my Jesus Sisters and I go through this study together, I’ll be sharing what God is teaching me in a series of posts entitled, “More Power in Prayer.”

I hope you’ll join me!

The next posts in this series are:

More Power in Prayer; Prerequisite #1 for Effective Prayer

More Power in Prayer, Prerequisite #2 for Effective Prayer

More Power in Prayer, Prerequisite #3 for Effective Prayer

How My Family Got RID of Allergies, and You Can Too

I know what you’re thinking… I mean, conventional wisdom says that to heal an allergy one must avoid the allergen for years, radically change one’s diet, heal the gut, take buku probiotics. . . Right?  All those things are good, but no, that’s not how our story goes.

Hoe My Family Got Rid of Allergies

Our family has battled chronic allergies forever.  I have nursed my babies a looong time because studies showed it reduces the development of allergies, but my babies reacted to my milk.  They have experienced the WORST colic, and horrible, weeping eczema.  I had to figure out what I was eating that bothered them and then eliminate it from MY diet so that my milk would not be poisoning my babies!

For awhile, we had a chiropractor who did Muscle Response Testing (MRT, AKA: Kinesiology).  With my lists of “Foods We Eat,” he would pin-point which foods were the culprit.

MRT employs resistance on a muscle while exposing an individual to a test item. If the muscle stays strong, it is assumed that the test item is not a problem.  If the muscle gives under pressure, then it’s assumed that the test item IS a problem.  It sounds easy, but it is a little more complicated than just applying pressure to muscles.  If an individual is “out of balance,” as is not uncommon if your health is under assault, testing can be compromised, and it requires a trained practitioner to correct balance to garner reliable results.

MRT worked for us, but we eventually moved away from our chiropractor.  This led to challenging years of eliminating  foods, and then adding them back, in an effort to identify the problems!  😦

There were years that I had to make a meal three different ways just so everyone could safely eat. 

It.Was.Exhausting.

After so many foods had to be eliminated from our table, I prayed for healing.

BEGGED for healing.

It was the onset of a tick born illness that just put me over the top.  As I shared in my posts about my Journey to Health and Weight Loss, Part 1 and Part 2, this led my taking classes in natural health.

Along the way, God steered me to study a Natural Health modality called Health Kinesiology (HK), which uses MRT.  I thought I was learning how to test in order to figure out what we shouldn’t eat, but instead, God did something astounding.

Through Health Kinesiology, God provided a system that  not only allows me to identify allergens, but to correct the allergy.

Immeasurably more than all I had asked or imagined.  Not only can I help our family, but I can also help others.  Thank-you, Lord!!

How does it work?

  1. A trained HK practitioner uses MRT to identify allergens.  A sample of the items being tested must be physically present, however they can be sealed in a plastic bag or more ideally, a glass dish with lid.  In this way, individuals with severe allergies, like peanuts that can be air born, can still go through testing and corrections.
  2. Practitioners help the body make corrections using Accupressure~placing their finger tips on the client’s traditional Accupuncture points; instead of needles, they use only light pressure.
  3. When the correction is completed, the practitioner will retest for allergy, and it should be clear.
  4. Now comes the detox.  Lets make an analogy: Imagine your immune system like a computer that undergoes updates and has to reboot.  We may tell your body that the allergen is a harmless substance, but soldiers already have marching orders to “attack” what was previously identified as an enemy.  Detox can be viewed as time for the body to get rid of everything relating to the prior allergen, allowing all the “soldiers” to go home and get new orders.
  5. After detox has been completed, it is recommended that clients return to their practitioner to be re-tested to find whether a tolerance correction should be made before exposing themselves to the previous allergen.  Low tolerance does not engage the immune system, but can cause similar symptoms as an allergy.

Some allergens require a long correction (called a SET), which requires a trained practitioner, but some only require what is called an “Allergy Tap,” which takes just minutes, and is available for you to learn how to do at home by requesting a copy of the PDF entitled, “Cure Your Own Allergies in Minutes.”  Request the manual at THIS ADDRESS.

I have used the allergy tap in emergency situations to reverse hives and stop allergy induced nausea within minutes.  It depends upon the individual and each allergen; some require the longer correction, and some are good with the Tap.  If you have an allergy that requires the SET, you can locate a practitioner near you by contacting the International Headquarters of Health Kinesiology.

If you have an allergy that causes a life threatening response, it is not recommended that you try this correction at home.  See a practitioner who has a lot of experience.

I am so grateful for this tool which has been an answer to many desperate prayers!  It is amazing to eat without fear and be able to hold a cat without trouble breathing! We’ve cleared dozens of allergies.  

If you live with chronic or life threatening allergies, doing this is so worth it Life changingin a good way!

Blessings! ~Linda

 

 

 

How Putting Up the Christmas Tree Turned into a Teachable Moment

I don’t know if it was the colder temperatures and the snow that we had in early October, or something else, but my kids have been waiting impatient to get past fall and on to Christmas.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my in-laws, enjoyed every moment, and got home late. I took Precious #4 into town with me to pick up a co-op order, and we hit a few of the Black Friday Sales.  I survived.  I hate the crowds, the lines, and the hype.  I may win the award for the shopper who spent the least $. Maybe.

When I got home, I found the other “kids” had been deep cleaning, and organizing the living room, WITHOUT BEING ASKED!!!  Wow.  They know me too well.  They knew that if they asked to put up Christmas decor, I would tell them we have to clean first.  🙂

So we have a head start, and my hubby was so surprised when he came home and realized he didn’t have to haul all those boxes up the stairs or assemble the tree.  It’s all done.  He could enjoy helping with the ornaments, read us the story of Christ’s birth, and relax!

The little one was so cute.  She’d pick up an ornament, take a sibling by the hand, and then point out the branch she wanted to place it upon.  She was having so much fun!

Decorating the tree

I had just listened to an interview on the Christian radio, where Phil Vischer explained how our Christmas tree was originally a tradition that was adopted by the Germans in the 16th century when they abandoned their pagan beliefs and came to Christ.  The tree symbolized eternal life because evergreen needles stay, and don’t die.  The branches of the tree point heavenward, and a monk later taught them about the Trinity using the three corners of the tree.  Of course, I couldn’t wait to share all this with my kids!

On to decorating…I put the star on the tree, and my oldest daughter and I were stringing lights.  We used an old string of lights and a new one, and while we were working, the old set had half the lights dimming and another problem had half the lights turning off completely!  I had to figure out how to fix the settings and get all those lights working together.  The littles were watching, and asking me, “What’s wrong with this picture?” And the thought came to me…

What if we thought of this tree as the Body of Christ, while it’s sitting in our dark living-room which represents the world?

And what if we see all these bulbs as the individuals who make up the Body?  They are shining, as Paul commanded in Philippians, illuminating the dark with the light of Christ.  They bring light to the whole room.  These small lights are pointing to the Head of our Body, who is Christ, and is represented by the star which shines brighter than all.  And isn’t that perfect since Christ is called the Bright and Morning Star?

Our Christmas star is plugged into the Power source (the outlet), just as Christ is one with His Father.  The lights strands are plugged into the star so that electricity flows to the light bulbs and powers their light, just as Christ said for us to abide in Him, so that the Holy Spirit can make our lives fruitful.

What happens when one of the light bulbs is disconnected from the strand?  The light given off by the tree is diminished considerably since other lights are hand-capped by that absence.  This is such a perfect way to illustrate 1 Corinthians 12, where Paul introduces Spiritual Gifts and explains how the whole Body suffers when one member suffers…  If we are not cooperating with God’s plan by choosing to exercise our Spiritual Gifts, we do cripple the functioning of this Church Body.  It can’t work at full capacity without our participation, which can also illustrate what happens when Believers stop meeting together as talked about in Hebrews 10, and do not join in worship and service with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

And if we are not getting along with one another?

Or we make choices that grieve the Holy Spirit, our “electricity”, who supernaturally powers us to shine?

Or if we make choices that result in ill health, whether emotional OR physical, which cause an inability to serve?

~Then we also cripple the effectiveness of the Church, since God designed us to work together in unity.  Without us, the Church cannot shine as brightly.~

Brothers and sisters, we need God, and we are also designed to need one another.

How putting up the Christmas tree turned into a teachable moment

While unplugging and re-plugging light strands, removing and replacing bulbs, and playing with the dimmer switch on these newfangled lights… my kids grasped, for a few moments, how important they are to the Church Body, and to bringing Jesus’ light to the world…. and this teachable moment is one we can refer back to throughout the year, and relive again next Christmas.

I think we have a new tree-trimming tradition. 😉

 

Let Them Imitate You

I was standing at the sink, scrubbing the residue of Keto-Angel Food Cake from the bundt pan, when I faintly heard the sound of someone miffed across the room.  It wasn’t serious, so I kept scrubbing.

And then I heard my 19 year old Angel Girl speak up.  Her tone was patient and kind.  “Ella, it’s okay for them to copy you.  You’re a big sister.  Get used to it.”

I paused and looked up, surprised by wisdom.  Then I smiled at her.  “Didn’t I used to say that to you?”

“Yes,” she chuckled, “and I hated it.”

Truth.  You just can’t run away from it.

That first born baby learns so much from following mama around.  I even had to teach her how to play… but then the next baby comes, and the next, and they watch how to learn and play from their older siblings, too.

BeFunky Collage

When we moved to this town and this camp, I remember being overwhelmed by the idea that I was the Director’s wife and should be setting an example of a Godly women for other staff wives and campers.  Whether I liked it or not, there were times I knew eyes were on me.

Some constituents of the camp were curious, or concerned, about who we were and what this new director would do with the camp.  Churches we visited were interested in our growing family and homeschooling adventure.  And you can’t forget the cute little girls who sang their way through every store… who can ignore that?

I remember being so self conscious.  I was young and I was living through the most devastating season of my life, emotions raw, and patience thin.  I was so afraid other people would realize how flawed I was, and that would somehow undermine my husband.  I think my worry was magnified by having supported him through an internship that stressed that families were evaluated, and would impact the intern’s final assessment.  Many times I wished I could hide.

And then one Ladies’ Retreat, after being here for a year, I noticed how the women were getting more comfortable around me.  They shared things that concerned me.  Women who were decades older than me were just as self conscious–more so, and I thought to myself, “I thought that by that age women had it together!”  Apparently not, and that was what concerned me.  I wanted to have it together (if that’s possible).  I didn’t want to be in the same place thirty, or forty, or even fifty years down the road.  I wanted to be, well, mature–emotionally and spiritually.

I bought a new Life Application Study Bible and began again at Genesis, reading every single study note.  I read books by Godly authors and blogs that modeled what I had never seen put into practice.

I prayed for a mentor, and God sent me my friend, Sherrill.  She took me through a book called Search for Significance.  It was only 13 chapters, but it was a very hard 13 chapters!  It took me a whole year because when God sets about changing a heart, it’s a process, and he is thorough.  I wrestled and cried through it, as God pried the lies that had shaped my character out of my sweaty hands and replaced them with the Truth of what HE said about me and this relationship I have with the King of the Universe.

Whenever I thought we were done, He would open a new chapter of refinement that  continues, even to this day.  Looking back, I notice how my gaze shifted away from the gawkers and onto HIM.

I stopped worrying what other people thought about me, and I developed concern for what other people think about HIM.

The Apostle Paul said this, in 1 Corinthians 4:16, “I urge you, then, be imitators of me.

Paul is teaching the church in Corinthians what their conduct should look like, and then he tells them to imitate him, as children imitate their father.  Not only that, but he says it in Ephesians 5, and again in 1 Corinthians 11:1, modeling for us how to deal with being under the magnifying glass…

“Copy me, my brothers, as I copy Christ himself.”

There are always going to be eyes on us.  Jesus said others will know we are his disciples by our behavior.  Instead of viewing it as a burden, lets embrace the responsibility for what it is: an opportunity to reflect Christ to the world.

Whether at home or without, people learn by watching and by doing.  There is always going to be someone less spiritually mature than you are.  There is always going to be someone more spiritually mature than you are, as well.

Ask someone who is in the “more mature” camp to mentor you, and be blessed by their example.

Imitate Christ, and keep your eyes trained on Him instead of your audience, but take joy in every opportunity to help a less mature brother or sister grow up in Jesus.  Remember that there will be countless times you will not even know that, in letting the Holy Spirit work in you and through you, you touch a life in a powerful way, simply because someone is watching you.

Let them imitate you.

 

 

Praying for our Children

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This gallery contains 6 photos.

Proxy~ the authority to represent someone else I was listening to the radio on the way home from town yesterday.  The program on the Christian station was asking us, the audience, to share a time when someone of importance in … Continue reading