Standing in the gap – when a friend is dying

Intercessory prayer is it for you?

Jan 28, 2016 – I was extremely moved by today’s devotional by Blackaby called, “God is Looking for Intercessors.” It was like any other devotional, or so I thought, but then again I’ve been waking up in the wee hours of the morning for the past week, not able to go back to bed. Its 4:41 am right now, I’ve been up for over two hours. I’ve been thinking it’s because I’ve had lots on my mind: work, family, friends. So much to do so little time.

And then I think it’s most likely my subconscious thinking of a distant friend who has been living with an inoperable brain tumor for the past year. I’ve been awakened with thoughts of her life and possibly of what’s left of it, her children, her marriage. I tear and cry easily. I think of things that frustrate me about people and nit picking over minuscule little things and think to myself, “can’t we all just move on” and why do we make such a issues of trivial things – in regards to the daily things in life, these are my thoughts over minors things, that it shouldn’t matter when people are dying.

Then I read today’s devotional:

S – Scripture

Ezekiel 22:30 “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.”

O – Observation

God was speaking to Ezekiel to deliver a message to the people of Israel, but they wouldn’t listen AND the Lord could not find ‘someone’ to stand in the gap on behalf of the sins of Israel’s leaders. If you read chapter 22 verses 23 to 31 you’ll understand.

In today’s devotional Blackaby talks about how we can apply this verse to our lives today. Here’s Henry Blackaby’s comments:

God looks for those whose hearts are prepared to be intercessors before Him. Intercessors have hearts in tune with God’s heart. They are so acutely aware of what is at stake, for their land, that they will stay before God as long as necessary in order to obtain God’s answer. That is why you do not volunteer to be an intercessor. God enlists you.

Why do we not intercede as we should? Perhaps we are afraid to put God to the test. We worry that God might not answer our prayers. Yet God promises that if we ask, we will receive (Matt. 7:7). We may fail to intercede because we believe the busyness of our everyday lives is more effective than prayer. Jesus warned that apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Without being intimately acquainted with God and His will, all of our labors are futile. Perhaps we fail to intercede because we misunderstand the heart of God. Jesus wept over the_city of Jerusalem as He interceded for it (Matt. 23:37). If we truly have God’s love within us, we will feel compelled to plead with God on behalf of those who face His imminent judgment.

Intercession is a lonely business. There may be many days or even years when there appear to be few results for your labor. Yet intercessors can be the only ones standing between a family and God’s judgment, or between an individual or nation and God’s wrath.

A – Application

How do I apply this to my life? Well, after waking up daily and not being able to go back to bed I’m reminded of something my Aunt Charlotte told me many years ago when I first became a Christian. I told her that sometimes I would get up early and can’t go back to bed and she said that I should begin praying as the Lord may be stirring my spirit to get on my knees and pray. When I asked her, what do I pray about, she said, just have a conversation with the Lord, ask Him to show me who and or what to pray for and He would. Honestly I’ve learned that when I can’t go back to sleep I just say, Lord help me sleep, not who should I pray for.

It’s been a while since I’ve been, “stirred in my spirit”, a restlessness in my sleep, so for that I am sorry I did not instantly go to a place of prayer. Oh I did pray the first time it happened, but then thought it might be something else as it’s been everyday for about five days and I’ve been getting up earlier and earlier.

The lesson is I wasn’t as diligent as the Lord wanted me to be. I wasn’t listening to Him. Yesterday I took some time in the afternoon, about 20 or 30 minutes to “hear from the Lord.” But got stuck in the busyness of work and quiet time. I believe the Lord kept waking me up again and again, earlier and earlier, to tell me to stand in the gap for my friend, her family and the things He places on my mind to pray for.

P – PrayerJesus Praying

Father, I ask that you would forgive me for not taking the time to earnest seek you when you call upon me. I ask that you would give me the strength to intercede for that which my friend is wanting to pray for herself and at times is too weak in body but not in desire to seek you for the salvation of her family members that do not know you. I ask that you would heal my friend and if that not be in your greater plan as we know that our lives are temporary here on earth, I ask that you would help her and her husband and children to find your comfort and peace as she prepares for the time she has. If you need to wake me again, I pray that I would immediately go to my knees and seek you, so that I can intercede for those who need it.

I am thankful that your son Jesus came to this earth to die for our sins so that we don’t have to pay the eternal penalty of our sins. I’m thankful that we don’t have to carry our burdens on our own – Psalms 55:22. We can share each other’s burdens, Galatians 6:2; and we can go to you Lord and you will give us rest – Matthew 11:28. I thank you for all these things and more. In Jesus name, Amen.

UPDATE – Feb 23, 2016

My friend went home to be with the Lord last week. On Saturday we had her Celebration of Life service. She was only 45, but had done what God asked of her with all of her being and more. Praying for her husband and two children, that they would be strong in Him and that the Lord would carry them when they need it. – Thank you for continuing to pray for them.###

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God promises to protect us against evil

2Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.

Ever wonder why things happen and what to do about it? It seems lately that we’re under a spiritual attack. Things going wrong with the house, someone tried to break into our garage and our front door. Just yesterday someone actually stole our recycle bins – really? Last week a coworker had her home broken into and they stole a lot of valuables and sentimental items. Another coworker has been having heart issues which has at times prevented him from going about his daily routine. Sometimes it’s just small little things that add up to annoyances.  Whatever your situation is today, remember some of God’s promises.

Proverbs-1_33_7-300x247

1John 5:19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

2Samuel 22:3-4 my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. 4 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies

What are the treasures in your life?

treasurechest

S – Scripture: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34

Is what you treasure (value) in life, preventing you from having a true relationship with God? Do you place other things, people, time, money, etc. before that which Christ places as priority?

Dr. Blackaby’s devotional sums it up well here:

This is from Experiencing God devotional: (I couldn’t explain it better than this, so why recreate it?)

O – Observation:

What you value most is your treasure. Where you spend your time and your money is your treasure. Whatever dominates your conversation is what you treasure.

What others know you for is a good indication of what your treasure is. Most Christians are quick to claim that God is their first priority. Yet often their actions reveal that their treasure is not God but things of this world. Some Christians find it difficult to discuss their relationship with God, but they can chatter easily about their family, friends, or hobbies.

Some find it impossible to rise early in order to spend time with God, but they willingly get up at dawn to pursue a hobby. Some find it difficult to give an offering to God but readily spend lavishly on recreation. Some boldly approach strangers to sell a product, yet they are painfully timid in telling others about their Savior.

Some give hundreds of hours to serve in volunteer organizations but feel they have no time available to serve God. If you are unsure of where your treasure is, examine where you spend your available time and money. Reflect on what it is you most enjoy thinking about and discussing. Ask your friends to tell you what they think is most important to you. Ask your children to list the things most valuable to you. It may surprise you to know what others consider to be your treasure.

A: How do I apply this scripture to my life?

As I think upon this devotional I am reminded that in order to place Christ first in my life, I must obey the Word of God, lean on the Holy Spirit that dwells within me for guidance and sacrifice my personal selfishness so that my actions ‘reveal my treasures’ are that which God guides to be priority, not my own. This is a challenging thing to do in a society that places an emphasis on “I, Me, My,” – The “what about me?” question is always at the forefront of our thoughts. Thus we need to consciously think, What would Jesus Do – phrase that was popular a few years back – as daily, moment by moment – what is God’s priority.

P – Prayer:

Father help me to see what I place as priority and treasures in my life and guide me to your will and your ways. Help me to desire that which is your treasures, not my own for my own selfishness but to have my heart treasure that which will bring your kingdom glory.

Cali: Life lessons from our Golden Girl

Cali girl: Life lessons of a golden retriever.

It’s been about two weeks ago that we took our 8-yr-old golden retriever Cali to the vet for what was supposed to be an operation to remove a large lump on her stomach and to have her spayed at the same time. According to the two vets we saw at different clinics, since we chose to not have her spayed at an early age (we were going to breed her but that ended up not happening) the lump was most likely cancerous but they wouldn’t know unless they took a biopsy and/or removed the large mass, about the size of a baseball. We decided to make her more comfortable and have it removed and then biopsied but one surgeon suggested having the spay take place at another time so that if it were cancerous it wouldn’t spread to the area that was being spayed.

Cali girl: Life lessons of a golden retriever.

Cali girl: Life lessons of a golden retriever.

Cali: Life lessons of a golden retriever

Fast forward, from the first and second vet opinions – we decided to take her into the first vet and get both procedures done at once and it was also about $500 less at an estimated amount of $900 to $1400 with the second estimate starting at $1500+. We had been praying about this situation as well as asking others to pray for Cali and were comfortable with getting her the surgery but knowing our finances we would not put her through chemo but try to keep her as comfortable as possible. Cali never complained, she was alway happy and wanting to please, still going on walks and coming when called. She would try to play but not as playful as in the past, although she still fetched her favorite football squeaky toy. She was eating fine and all in all it didn’t appear that she had any problems when you looked at her.

We decided to apply for a Care Connection credit card to pay for the surgery and right after the second opinion we were told that the mass might break through in the next week but if wouldn’t remove all of what was in there. Cali would like at the lump and the day before the surgery, not only was she in heat, but the lump started to bleed slightly. We were relieved that the surgery was going to be the next day and thought even if it is cancer at least she will be comfortable for a bit and we’d have a few more months with her.

On Monday we said our goodbyes as Cali was escorted to the vet my husband said she whined upon entering the vet’s office, which she didn’t do before and usually only does when she wants to go play with people or dogs that she sees – she was a typical golden, sociable and lovable. Only difference was there was no one else in the vet’s office besides the receptionist and no other dogs/animals so this was a different type of whining. When my husband turned to leave Cali in the vet’s office she barked at him to turn around and to not leave her there. Hubby turned to Cali and said, “stay” – which she knew her master’s voice and was obedient even though she didn’t want to.

Now you may be thinking that’s normal for a dog but I had just taken Cali to another vet a few days before for a second opinion and she never made whining noises without wanting to go and play with the strangers and other dogs. She also wasn’t making a fuss when the vet tech took her “behind” closed doors to weigh her and to do xrays. That’s said, we’re sure she knew something was going to happen at this office and she didn’t want to be left there. What a horrible feeling for an owner and pet to go through, but you think to yourself that it’s for her best so you trust that when you leave your pet in the hands of a professional that they would do their best.

I don’t want to relive this point but I’ll write it here, it’s part of the healing process. I was at work and my husband got several calls from the vet, there was a problem and Cali was bleeding internally. The vet said she was fine but he wanted to open her up again to see the cause. We were told by the second vet that we needed to be cautious of the amount of anesthesia that she was given because the second vet found by the xrays that Cali’s kidney was small for a dog her size, she was 72 lbs. The first vet, doing the surgery said he couldn’t read the xrays – not sure why as I saw them with the second vet who read them in front of me, pointed out Cali’s organs and told me that the mass had not spread to her lungs, then made a copy of the xray. That was a concern that the first vet may have had some other issues. He later admitted to my husband there was a “cut” that he made during the spaying part of the surgery which he did first and that was the reason that she most likely died. It was horrifying that as I went home (5 minutes away) to go to the vet’s office with my husband and stepdaughter that we got another call – Cali was gone.

I actually walked out the door when I heard the phone ring on my husband’s phone as if that would have made any news go away. I couldn’t believe it, I was angry and a part of me is still angry – at myself, the vet and wondering “if only”. It’s too late now for the if only statements, our baby girl (youngest of our once three dogs – our eldest Nala passed less than a year ago at 14) was gone.

I won’t go into the details as I’m near tears now, but all we could do as a family is grieve. I’ll end here for now, maybe another day I’ll be able to write about the rest of this event but it’s still too fresh, too painful, too sad. If you’d like to read the post I wrote on the life lessons I learned from our Cali – click on this link: Cali lessons of a golden retriever.

Top 4 Goals to set for an Amazing New Year

There is always a sense of newness, resolution, gone with the past – when we enter a new year. What’s different for you this year? This week’s devotional (thanks to Alan Lyle) we’re reminded of the top four goals we should set for the new year. You may already have in mind some of your goals for this coming year, but why not spend some time in prayer. Ask God for direction, seek His will, and guidance for each step into 2015.

Make everyday count! create 365 amazing 2015

4 Goals for the New Year

  1. Spiritual – John 15:15 abide in the vine of Christ. Read His Word daily, get involved in a Bible study. Share your faith with someone, set a goal of how many people you will minister to this year.
  2. Mind – Engage your mind. Proverbs 1:5 “let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” NIV – Learn something new, teach/share with others what you learn.
  3. Emotional relationships – Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3 talks about Rules for Holy living. 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
  4. Physical – taking care of your ‘temple’. Set goals for a healthier lifestyle. I Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

My challenges change and develop over the year, but I need to start somewhere so I’m praying for direction and setting up plans for:

  1. Growing the ministry I work in to increase the number of people we reach out to 100 new people this year. Invest time/resources into a new church start-up. Balance time in ministry, family, work ministry and taking care of myself.
  2. Be a better listener, share/teach others what I have learned and pray about teaching a course online or workshop. Also praying about teaching within a local home school coop.
  3. Follow the Rules of Holy living.
  4. Stay active regularly. I started using the RunKeeper app training program to work up to jogging continuously in a 5k by Feb 2015. By eating healthily and moving regularly (walk/jog 3x week and gym 2-3x week – or going to Disney and walking 7 miles!) I can prevent the ailments that plague our family and society. I’ll track my health through routine blood lab results, weight and health checks in general.

I can walk a 5k easily, however my husband runs 5 and 10k races and I don’t like running. In order to challenge myself physically, although I have trained and completed two Tinman Triathlons in Hawaii, since moving to Orlando I haven’t been able to adjust to the environment well enough to want to compete. I still bike and swim but bad knees have held me back from jogging.

  • I will train 3 times a week to walk/jog and eventually full jog the entire 5k on March 7.
  • I will train 3 times a week to walk/jog and complete a 5k w/my husband at the Clermont Waterfront park run by end of Feb.
  • I will continue training 3 times a week and jog the entire 5k by end of March at the Clermont parkrun. (Free weekly 5k timed runs)

What are your 4 Goals for this coming year?

If you haven’t set any yet, take some time to pray about it and ask for God’s guidance.

Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Mele Kalikimaka – Merry Christmas in Hawaiian

Merry Christmas in Hawaiian language.

Merry Christmas in Hawaiian language.

This is the Hawaiian word for Merry Christmas. As you may have noticed over the years in the US, people in general are saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Why’s that you may ask? Well Christmas as most of us know is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Actually there are many people who don’t know the name of Christ as the Savior of this world. Sadly there are many young people growing up in our country that was founded on Christian values, not knowing basic history that is recorded in the Bible.

For this reasons, referring to the birth of Christ that so many want to do away with and have a generic, commercialized Christmas, the masses have turned to saying something that is non-religious, a reminder that they choose to snub the name of Christ, that He never was born, never existed, because they choose to do what they want, when they want and believe that if we can just be “good people” then what’s the harm. The Bible explains that harm – Man cannot live without God. Click on the link to read more of what GotQuestions refers to in the scripture, here’s a part of the answer to, “Can man live without God?”

Answer: Contrary to the claims of atheists and agnostics through the centuries, man cannot live without God. Man can have a mortal existence without acknowledging God, but not without the fact of God.

As the Creator, God originated human life.To say that man can exist apart from God is to say that a watch can exist without a watchmaker or a story can exist without a storyteller. We owe our being to the God in whose image we are made (Genesis 1:27). Our existence depends on God, whether we acknowledge His existence or not.

Happy, Happy music video

By now if you’re a fan of those little yellow men called Minions you have this song rolling in your head like the words from the “It’s a small world” ride at Disney. This is the Christian Rap by Pharrell Williams – “Happy” (the Gospel Remix – with Adam & Kid). My hubby has it playing on repeat constantly so I’m sharing it with everyone here. Love it.

Surrendering my life: A personal testimony

Embed from Getty ImagesPersonal Testimony Page

My Life Before Christ

As a child, I was a good kid.  Peers, family, and teachers liked me. My life was what I would consider average.  My goals were to have fun, and spend time with my family and friends.  There were no major traumas or upsets in my young life that I hold on to. However, I didn’t have anything else to compare it.

Looking back I remember that my father’s side of the family were non-practicing Catholics. My mom’s side was Protestant. I don’t remember anyone close to our family who claimed to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Since my mom is Part-Hawaiian and raised in the Hawaiian culture, we were taught that there is one “main” God. However, the Hawaiian culture has many gods, rituals, and superstitions.

How I Came to Know Jesus Personally

Occasionally, I attended a Pentecostal church with my mom. I went to prayer revivals; and I was also baptized in water. However, I never knew what it meant to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior.  When I was 12, my mom began attending a church with my Aunt Charlotte. My mom knew my Aunt for over 30 years before they both accepted Christ into their lives. I noticed something was changing in my mom over the next few weeks and every week she would ask my dad and us kids if we wanted to go with her and we all said, “No”.

However, one week, I really wanted to go to church with her. Nevertheless, my pride was telling me to wait for her to ask. If she did not ask this week, then I was not going.  John 6:44 says, “No one can come to me (Jesus) unless the Father, who sent me draws him.”  By God’s grace, my mom asked if I wanted to go to church. What is interesting is when I said yes, my two brothers also came with us.  I do not remember the message, only that at the end of the service there was an alter call; it was one week before my 13th birthday.  I felt led to go before the Lord, ask to have my sins forgiven, and be accepted as a child of God.  My life has never been the same. My Aunt Charlotte gave me my first Bible.  I loved going to her woman’s small group Bible study. Although I was the only “kid”, she allowed me to participate in the group prayer, Bible reading, and ask questions, so that I too, could learn God’s Word.

Evidence of a Changed Life

Since Jesus Christ became my Lord and Savior, things began to change in my life. I was still hanging around the wrong type of friends, who were a poor influence. I had one foot in the church and one foot out.  I was trying to get my life on track. I started to go to church regularly and read the Bible.  One of the major life changes for me was when I felt the Lord leading me to give up my non-Christian friends. With obedience comes growth. There was a sense of peace in having a purpose and guidance in my life.

As I read the Bible, I became aware that there is only one true God and He does not want us to worship any other god(s)/idols. Fortunately, my mom was also learning the scriptures.  We no longer participated in the Hawaiian rituals which can be seen as idol worship.

I believe that my life has changed from self-focused to Christ-centered.  A key scripture in my life is, Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  During difficult periods of my life, instead of going into a panic, if I go to the Lord first – He gives me peace and a comfort that I do not understand. – Philippians 4:7

When I feel lost and confused, I can rest assured that if I, “Trust in the Lord, and lean not on my own understanding, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight”. – Proverbs 3:5-6

When life’s challenges come my way, I seek counsel in other mature-minded Christians, not to gossip, but for prayer and guidance in His word. Having prayer partners worldwide increases my faith and helps me to encourage others in their ministry.

I am thankful for the grace and forgiveness of God, who gave us his only Son, who died for our sins, that we might have everlasting life. -B2B

There is a time and purpose for everything… why are you here?

There’s an old song by a group called, The Byrds, who sang a tune called, Turn, Turn, Turn. I grew up hearing this song as my parents listened to an oldies channel and I worked at two oldies radio stations – not by choice it just happened to be the place that had a job while I was going to school. Anyway, I vaguely remember the song went something like, “with every season there’s a purpose under the sun.” You can watch the video & listen to the lyrics here.

After becoming a Christian I heard that this song is actually scripture in pop culture music of the 1960’s. It was not just an old folk song (I don’ t mean old people although that could be applied, but folk music – is a genre – you can look it up). So this morning as it came to my thoughts I looked up Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NLT (see below) It’s assumed that King Solomon, son of David wrote the book of Ecclesiastes during a time of seeking meaning to life. Throughout the book it seems so dark and gloomy, like a rich king who has everything he could ever want and had lost his purpose. God had blessed Solomon as the wisest man to ever live, yet with his many riches, wives and wisdom he was in a funk.

If you’re one of those people who think, yes I wonder what my purpose in live is too, read Ecclesiastes by clicking here. You’ll find it hard to read his whining tone and may get a bit depressed yourself, but read on, move through his emotion and find that there is hope, there is a purpose to everything under the sun and there is a God that can bring light to your purpose for being here on this earth. ~B2B

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.