Enter the Throne Room of God

Please join me at my friend’s beautiful blog as we enter the throne room of our great Creator and Father in heaven. Let’s enter the Holy of Holies and bow before our High Priest and thank Him that we are one with Him.

Enter Through the Veil

Thank you Linda Johnson for your commitment to proclaiming the Good News!

Love you to heaven and back!

Prepare Him Room … A Review

Susie Larson’s Christmas gift to readers is a new Advent devotional that walks the reader through the book of Luke, taking us on the less-traveled path of self-reflection and resetting our priorities because of the life-changing gift that Jesus offers to each of us. “He not only offers us His presence, He offers us His very life” (Susie Larson).

Often, we’re distracted with our Christmas preparations. Have you begun to think of all the gifts, decorations, food, celebrations, cards, and toys you need for Christmas? When we become so distracted with our to-do lists in preparation for the season, we find no room for the holy moments that prepare us to receive our Savior and blessed King of Glory. 

In Prepare Him Room, Susie Larson explores the book of Luke in a unique way. She invites us to push away the clutter of the world’s Christmas season and refocus our priorities. In other words, Larson asks readers to fast from distractions and clutter. She challenges us to feast on King Jesus.

Fast from distractions and clutter. Feast on King Jesus.

Larson approaches the season in a different way in this beautiful devotional. She walks us through the book of Luke, a chapter a day for 24 days. Readers meditate on the chapter in light of God’s gift to the world – Jesus.

Each devotion ends with a prayer that helps the reader prepare room for Jesus and a prompt to fast from worldly distractions like impatience, a commercialized holiday, worry, and much more.

This prayerful devotional might be what you and others around you need to prepare room for Jesus this Christmas. It was for me.

I received a complimentary advance reader copy for my honest review. 

Father, thank You for Susie Larson’s unique approach to preparing our hearts and spirits for memorializing the coming of our Savior into the world to bring us life eternal. Thank you for Susie Larson. Bless her with an advent season that is fuller and deeper with You at the heart of the season. Bless each reader so that they take action to prepare room for Jesus this Christmas in their hearts and homes. May You be honored by this. In Jesus’ name, amen.

How are you preparing room for Jesus this Christmas?

Featured Photo by Pexels.com

9/11 … Never Forget

“No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” (Virgil)

Breaking news interrupted the program. I ran upstairs to wake Keith; he taught the night before and went to bed around midnight.

We watched in horror as the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York billowed smoke near the 80th floor. We thought it was a freak accident.

Eighteen minutes later another Boeing 767 flew into the South Tower near the 60th floor. Men and women poured into the streets crying, screaming, running.

Head held high, eyes looking ahead, debris and dust covering every inch of her business suit, hair, face, and body, one woman walked slowly down the street. Her face haunts me 20 years later.

About an hour later, an American Airlines flight crashed into the Pentagon. A few minutes later, the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. Then, the North Tower collapsed.

Passengers on a fourth hijacked flight that had been delayed learned of the attacks and fought the hijackers, causing the airplane to crash near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

People from 78 countries died that day, 2,996 in all, including first responders.

That day did not erase the victims of terrorism. In fact, we became acquainted with them and their families. Twenty years later, we remember them and pray for their families.

When evil struck on 9/11, first responders and others stood firm in their resolve to help, courageously rushing into the destruction to save many people.

Some first responders gave their lives – immediately, and some with long-term challenges.

Evil struck that day. America responded in love for the victims.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NLT)

We live in a fallen world. Evil is rampant. But God’s people are not of this world, John 17:16. Even in the rubble, Jesus did not leave us alone. He left America a reminder of His self-sacrificing love.

Two days after the attack, an excavation worker, Frank Silecchia discovered that “a 17-foot-long crossbeam, weighing at least two tons, was thrust at a vertical angle in the hellish wasteland. Like a cross.” (Sally Jenkins, 9/8/11, Washington Post).

Yes, evil visited America that day, but Jesus reigns victorious.

Hope. Jesus has overcome the world. He will never leave His followers or forsake them, Hebrews 13:5.

Holy and righteous are You, Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Evil cannot prevail, for You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Father, we pray that we, who are called by Your name, will humble ourselves, seek Your face, turn from our wicked ways, and get on our knees and pray. Bring revival, Lord. Bring an awakening. Cause America to turn to You with the strongest and deepest love for You that it has ever known. Forgive us, Lord God Almighty. Cleanse us, Father. Restore our relationship with You. Heal our land. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What do you remember about that day?
Did 9/11 change you in any way? Please share.

Featured Photo by Petr Kratochvil

If I Touch Jesus …

“If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” (Mark 5:28b, ESV)

The thoughts of a desperate woman, a suffering woman, a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. Declared unclean, this Jewish woman went from doctor to doctor, spending all she had and suffered greatly at the “cures” that the doctors tried. She couldn’t go to the temple and worship God. Everything she touched became unclean, including the chairs she sat on and the people she touched. Alone, weak, and suffering, this woman had no hope.

Then, she heard about Jesus. “If only I can touch Him.” A glimmer of hope. I wonder if she fought with herself, “I’ll have to push myself through the crowd. I’ll make them all unclean. The town will scorn me. The very one I want healing from, if I touch Him, I’ll make unclean. But He’s my only chance. I have to do this!”

She pushed her way through the crowd and touched the fringe of Jesus’ cloak, Luke 8:44. Jewish men wore four tassels on the fringe of their cloaks. Each tassel had a cord of blue. These tassels were to remind them to keep the commandments of God, not to follow after their own hearts but to live holy lives and remember God brought them out of Egyptian slavery and was the Lord their God.

She touched the heart of the Jewish faith in God Almighty, the God who had sent Jesus, the God of her fathers.

Touch the heart of faith. Touch the hem of Jesus. Touch love.

Instantly, she was healed. But that wasn’t all. After she admitted to Jesus that she had touched Him and had been healed, “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Luke 8:48 (NLT) The Messiah called her “Daughter.” He considered her family, chosen of God. He commended her faith and told her to go in peace.

Peace after so many years of turmoil and suffering. Wholeness. Health. Joy in Jesus. Do you suppose that after she was healed, everyone shouted for joy, and she proclaimed the Good News that Jesus is the Messiah? We learn that others began to touch the fringe of Jesus’ garment and were healed.

“And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.” (Mark 6:56, ESV)

This woman’s story is my story. I’ve shared bits and pieces of God’s healing story in my life. However, yesterday, I was prompted to tell the full story.

Fading Hope

I experienced a traumatic workplace injury that resulted in a time on disability and many medicines. In addition, it triggered fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. The fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue were not diagnosed for several years. Brain fog, debilitating pain, and exhaustion like I had never experienced ruled my days and nights.

I went from doctor to doctor, from pills to injections to infusions, from Pilates to the Alexander Technnique to Tai Chi to relaxation techniques, from in-person support groups to an online support group that did give support. I tried fasting, drinking only liquids, juicing, and many other diets.

I took pills for the pain, pills to sleep, pills to keep me awake, and pills to counteract the side effects of the other pills. And much more. Toward the end, I was spending about $4,000 a quarter on a doctor and medications not covered by insurance.

All the while, I tried to look and work like a “normal” person.

Finally, I found a doctor who understood my pain and treated me like a partner in this journey back to health. Together, we tried strategies that were on the cutting edge.

One Sunday, a visiting pastor visited our church and prayed for healing for the people. I went forward, and he laid his hands on me, “You have much to do.” But no healing.

“OK, I can take that.” I read Christ The Healer and gave it to Keith to read. At different times, God impressed upon us that He would heal me. We pressed into the Scriptures and read more Christian books on healing. We had to unlearn some of our Midwest Bible Belt teachings that we grew up with. Our prayers changed from “God heal Karen” to “Father, thank You for healing Karen.”

Yet, I got worse. My doctor urged me to resign from my demanding job.

“God, I thought You wanted me to be here. I have a mission. I won’t quit what You’ve given me to do. Besides, You’re going to heal me.”

Several weeks, later, the doctor said, “Karen, I have no choice, if you won’t resign or take disability, I’m putting you on a reduced work schedule.”

Even on the reduced work schedule, I grew worse. I attended a leadership team retreat that was a little physical, and I had to be escorted back to my hotel room because of the pain.

The next day, I concluded that we had misunderstood God. Perhaps He wanted me to serve Him by praying from my bed of pain. I decided to resign that Monday.

Restored Hope

“There’s that healing service tonight. Want to go?”

“Sure,” Keith said, looking foward as he drove us to church. Nothing else was said about the service that day. We drove to the service. Not a word.

The worship started. The Holy Spirit was heavy in that place.

“God, I don’t care about the healing anymore, I want more of You.”

The pastor gave his story of healing and then called for people with eyesight problems. A woman we knew who was scheduled for cataract surgery that Tuesday, now saw perfectly. Hearing problems? A friend’s hearing in one ear was healed.

Chronic pain? Keith grabbed my arm and marched me to the front. The pastor laid hands on me and said something and went on to the next person.

Peace. No pain. Smiling. The congregation could tell that God had healed me. When asked if I was healed, I just smiled, and Keith confirmed that I had been healed. November 21, 2010, the birth of health.

No pain medicines and no sleeping pills that night. Coincidentally, I had an appointment with my doctor the next day, but we know that there aren’t coincidences with God.

“I better take off today and support you at the doctor,” Keith said.

The doctor asked us many questions. Looking at me, he said, “Karen, this could be good. What do you want to do?”

“I want to go back to work full-time and start cutting my meds, starting with the riskiest meds first.”

“OK, if you come back in a month and are doing well, I’ll declare it a miracle, and we can cut the other medications,” he said.

Hope Challenged

“Karen, should you be telling everybody you were healed? What if this is a placebo effect? ” a nurse friend asked me. “I was healed, and that’s why I have to tell everyone that God healed me.”

People tiptoed around our conversations about healing.

Torrential rains prevailed that December. Rain always sent me into a flare, but not this time.

“What are you doing here, Karen. You shouldn’t be out in the rain,” my doctor gasped.

“I have to show you me,” smiling, I twirled. “We didn’t agree that I would stop taking my sleeping medicine, but I haven’t had it since I was healed.

“Another miracle from God,” he smiled.

Hope Confirmed

That New Year’s Day, we visited San Diego to meet members of the kite club. I was going to organize a kite day for a local nonprofit in the spring. A stranger came up to me and asked me if I wanted his huge guitar kite. Hmmm. God challenging me to believe I could lift that heavy thing?

I got that kite in the air and ran on the beach! Something I would have never dreamed of doing with fibromyalgia.

A few weeks later, Keith and I walked up and down the streets of San Francisco. Rejoicing over the miles that we had walked and enjoying seafood, I asked, “What’s to prevent me from going to China with you on the study abroad trip?”

Gasping, Keith said, “Nothing. I’ll make the reservation.”

I hadn’t been able to accompany Keith on previous study abroad trips because of the fibromyalgia.

In May 2011, I climbed halfway up the Great Wall of China, only halfway because the bus was waiting for the group.

I have treasured a note my doctor sent me. Part of it says, “You’re an answer to prayer. Don’t let … [my work] consume you. Let God consume you.”

Hope Acted Upon

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 (ESV)

Trials refine us as we wait upon God. He helps us to soar above the trials. God’s lovingkindness causes us to glorify Him. We want others to know about God’s love for them.

A few months later, I took a course on developing a blog and social media strategies. Soon after, I started this blog. As you know, it’s focused on possessing God’s promises. God had promised that He would heal me two years before He healed me. But, like the woman with the hemorrhage had to press towards Jesus for healing, we must press through the noise and the obstacles and touch Jesus.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 (NLT) Sons and daughters, Jesus will give you what you need, and He will give you peace. Press on, Jesus is victorious.

God’s story is your story. It’s a love story filled with joy, peace, and hope. It’s a story of eternity in His love.

Yes, I received healing, but the gift I cherish most is the gift of more of Him.

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NLT)

Has God worked a miracle in your life? Please share it in the comments below.

Related Links

My Blue Letter Bible Testimony

The Power of Hope and Faith, The message begins approximately 28 minutes after the beautiful worship.