Have you bargained with God? Hannah did.

Melk Abbey PrayersPraying in the Melk Abbey in Austria
 

She, [Hannah] greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. She made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.” 1 Samuel 1:10-11

Have you wept before the Lord, asking for a miracle? Have you made a bargain with God? That’s what Hannah did. Yet, the very thing that she asked for, she offered back to God.

Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with a three-year-old bull and one ephah of flour and a jug of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh, although the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and brought the boy to Eli. She said, “Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the LORD. “For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him.“So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there. 1 Samuel 1:24-28

After Hannah gave Samuel to the Lord, God blessed her with three sons and two daughters.

When I was in junior high (now middle school), I used to bargain with God. “Oh God, make me smart. Give me that A tomorrow on the test, and I’ll live for you.”

I got the A’s, so I read my Bible diligently, thinking that was keeping my end of the bargain.

All my life, I was sickly, in and out of the doctors’ offices. In and out of the hospitals during my late teens.

Then, in 2001, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. It had taken years to diagnose.

That’s when I found myself weeping and pleading before the Lord for healing. In November 2010, I gave the asked for healing back to God on November 21, 2010, when I told Him at a healing service that I no longer cared whether I was healed, I just wanted more of Him.

God healed me that night.

That healing turned my life upside down. God gave me the desires of my heart: healing, but more importantly, more of Him.

Whatever the desire of your heart is, plead, weep, ask persistently and then be williing to give it back for more of Jesus.

My prayer for you

Jesus, You said that whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for Your sake will preserve it. Thank You for including Hannah’s story in Your Word. Teach us the lesson of Hannah, and empower us to turn our lives over to You … completely … with reckless abandon. Thank You for Your gracious blessings. We love You, and we pray in Your name, Your essence, Your character.

What are you asking God for? Are you willing to dedicate it to Him?

God healed me … I went kite flying!

Guitar Kite

Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not be tired,
They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31

On January 1, 2011, almost six weeks after the Lord miraculously healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, I ran on the San Diego beach pulling and commandeering this heavy kite, a gift from a stranger that day.

Sheer freedom from pain.

Exhilarating freedom from limitations. 

Glorious freedom in the Lord!

Today, I have a kite hanging from my window directly across from my shower. Each morning, I have the opportunity to gaze upon that kite and rejoice in the healing gift of the Lord.

His mercies are new every morning.

Every morning a new beginning.

My prayer for you

Giver of life, health, and blessings, as we wait upon You, work Your works in us. Guide us in all understanding; renew our strength; equip us for the works You have prepared for us from before the foundation of the world. Thank You for Your lovingkindness, Your blessings, and Your goodness. Embrace us with Your vision and Your plans. We’re looking forward to what You have for us in 2014.

What reminders of God’s goodness have you placed around you?

3 years … HEALED!

Low V

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Today, marks the third anniversary of the Lord’s healing of my body’s fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Three years, pain free. Three years, proclaiming the miracle. Three years, demonstrating the miracle. Three years, Christians and non-Christians marveling.

The first year, God enabled me to return to work full time. He empowered me to climb the Great Wall of China six months after His healing. Eleven months after He healed me, a blog dedicated to the Lord was born.

The second year, my husband, Keith, and I traveled through six countries on two separate study abroad trips. I had the privilege of sharing the story of the Lord’s healing with a Hindu and American students. I also prayed with students.

The third year, co-workers and executives witnessed this former fibro patient get on a wire 4 1/2 feet from the ground, join hands with another woman, press into her hands, and lean forward as we inched out on the Team Building Low-V until we fell into the hands of our peers below. They cheered. I tearfully revealed the miracle. They marveled.

How did this happen, Karen?

The Lord healed me on November 21, 2010.

Did you change your diet? Did you do anything differently?

I did nothing. The Lord healed me.

There is one thing that I remembered later: I waited on the Lord. The word for “wait” in Isaiah 40:31 is qavah. It means to look for, to hope, to eagerly wait for. It’s an active waiting.

Keith and I waited upon the Lord.

We devoured Scriptures on healing; we read books on healing; we prayed for healing; we thanked the Lord for healing, we waited in anticipation; we went forward for the laying on of hands and anointing with oil, and we walked in faith when the Lord touched my body with healing.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

It’s a promise we can count on.

I participated in an outdoor team-building cooking exercise the Thursday before I was healed. I was in so much distress that one of my peers escorted me back to my hotel room early.

Tuesday evening, I made tiramisu in a similar outdoor exercise. I reminded my supervisor of the evening three years ago as well as the person who escorted me back to my room that evening. They had not realized that Tuesday was close to the third anniversary of the Lord’s healing. I left the evening exercise and dinner late, celebrating health and the Lord.

God planned Tuesday evening.

God is good … all the time!

The freedom from pain and fatigue is awesome. God healed me to bless me. God healed me to show His reign over nature. God healed me to demonstrate renewal. God healed me to show His goodness.

That’s what signs and miracles are all about. They happen today to point people to Jesus.

Are you eagerly waiting upon the Lord?

My prayer for you:

Almighty God, thank You that You are a God of renewal. You are the Sovereign One who heals, empowers, and strengthens. Manifest Your renewing love in the lives of all who call upon Your name. May they seek after You in eager expectation of Your promises and Your work in their lives. Thank You for loving us so much that You gave Your Son to pay the price for our sins. We love You Lord.

Surrender all, possess your inheritance, your healing

I surrender all

Look! For so many years I have been serving you, and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a kid that I might be merry with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with harlots, you killed the fattened calf for him.

My son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. Luke 15:29-31

Jesus told a parable to demonstrate His statement, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10 It was the parable of the Prodigal Son.

The younger son demanded that his father divide his wealth between the two sons and give the younger son his portion, instead of waiting until the father died.

The younger son left the family and squandered his wealth. When he found himself in a pig pen longing for what the pigs were eating, he realized that his father’s servants were better off than he was, and he decided to return to his father and ask to become a servant.

The father saw the son in the distance and ran towards him, embracing and kissing him. The father put a robe and ring on the returned son and called for a party.

The older son heard about it and confronted the father.

Look! For so many years I have been serving you, and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a kid that I might be merry with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with harlots, you killed the fattened calf for him. Luke 15:29-30

That would be my retort.

My son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. Luke 15:31

The older son already had the fattened calf. He could have killed the calf and celebrated with his friends any time, but he did not take advantage of what he had.

Heirs of the Inheritance

  1. God’s children are heirs of His kingdom. Both sons were heirs. The younger son chose to leave the father, take his monetary inheritance with him and squander it. The older son chose to stay with the father, work in the estate, and build it.
  2. In His presence, God’s children can possess all that the Father hasThe older son worked hard for the Father, serving him. The older son does not speak of the joy of remaining with the Father, of experiencing his inheritance.

Possessing the Kingdom

Before the Lord healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, I meditated on these Scriptures and wondered about my inheritance.

Was my inheritance a life filled with pain and fatigue?

What if I were like the older son in the parable, thinking of my life with the Father as a life of hard work and service rather than basking in the presence of the Father?

But we had to be merry and rejoice,  for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found. Luke 15:32

The younger son spent his inheritance, but he began to live  when he realized his hopelessness and returned to his father, asking to be treated as a servant. That’s when the celebration began, and he entered into the joy of the father. He surrendered all.

Broken, destitute, empty. No hope within the younger son, himself.

No hope within me. The doctors could no longer help me, I had run out of magical cures and ideas of what I could do to make myself better.

The Father healed me when I came to Him as a completely broken woman, telling Him that all I wanted was more of Him, more of His presence.

In His presence is fullness of joy, the fullness of the inheritance of the kingdom.

My prayer for you

Heavenly Father, may we enter Your Presence with abandon. We want to possess all that You have for us. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and guide us as we serve You with gladness and joy.

Won’t you share how you are possessing your inheritance in the Kingdom of God?

Jesus singled out one man. “Do you want to be healed?”

churning water

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. John 5:2-8

Thirty-eight years of sickness. We’re not told what the man’s affliction is. He sees the waters stir, someone steps into the pool and steps out seeing, leaping for joy, healed.

There he lies waiting for the waters to churn. There he lies waiting for someone else to step into the waters and be healed.

Jesus singles out this man.

“Do you want to be healed?”

What kind of question is that? He’s there at the House of Mercy, sometimes translated House of Grace. He waits. He hopes.

Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.

What kind of answer is that? There’s only one miracle for one stir of the waters. In himself, he has no hope. He sees no other way to be healed, so he gives an excuse instead of “YES!”

I’ve been there, and I’ve seen others there. I thought that I had to do something to be worthy enough to be healed. I had to manufacture enough faith to be healed of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

I really wanted to be healed. I tried miracle diets, miracle supplements, risky medications, detoxifications, and all sorts of miracle cures that people sell desperate people.

I was anointed with oil, prayed for, claimed healing, and pleaded with God.

I can’t step into the healing, and I have no one who can carry me to the healing. It matters no more. I just want more of you.

That’s when Jesus singled me out of the blind, broken, sick, and deaf waiting to be healed, touched my body, and told me to walk in health.

Are you waiting for a miracle, yet, hopeless?

My prayer for you:

Father, Thank You that you single out Your children and meet them as they wait for You. In the waiting is blessing. You are our hope. Give us more of You. Abide in us and enable us to abide in You. Renew our strength, renew our spirits, and renew our bodies. What a mighty God! What a gracious God! We are so blessed that You single us out and ask if we want to be healed! Thank you.

5 strategies to possessing God’s promise for you

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Entering the Colosseum in Rome, visitors are struck by the magnitude of the stone walls–as grasshoppers to this amphitheater of memories past–gladiators fighting to the death,  Christians martyred, sailors surviving mock sea battles, hunters pursuing wild animals, and executioners slaying men and women. Walls 157 feet high with a base of 6 acres and an original perimeter of 1,788 feet, this gargantuan death memorial collapsed on its outer south side in the great earthquake of 1349, tumbling travertine stones to the base.
 

Several thousand years earlier, Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan River on dry land to camp at Gilgal. Looming in the canp’s view were the mighty walls of Jericho, with a stone wall around it of 12-15 feet high, an embankment of about 3 acres with a mud-brick wall at its highest point 46 feet higher than the baseline.  Continue reading 5 strategies to possessing God’s promise for you