Think about Eden

“Think About Eden”

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Sunset over housesGod changes the world, twice, for you each day.

He dims the light

softens the sound

cools the air

and flames heaven with patterned colors,

all to delight your soul, calm your spirit, and give you rest.

As a tender parent, He blankets earth, and you, with soothing peace.

Stop. Still your hands. Let your Maker tell you of His love for you.

Pause in your rush to do. Listen.

He says “Be with Me” as He said to Adam and Eve in Eden.

Honor His love for you.

Pay attention.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Trees At NightLet Him show you how He turns green branches into inky black filigree.

Let Him delight your ear with birdsong and thrumming silence.

Let Him cool your skin with gentle whispers of wind that slide through the sheltering trees.

Breathe deeply. Take in the fragrances floating in cooler air.

Let Him give your body rest.

Simply stop. Open your heart and your eyes to your Maker.

And thank Him.

You will feel His presence.

You will know His love.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Sunset over housesIn the gloaming. I looked up, tapped my pencil on the slate-board in my lap, and smiled into the sky. Broad bands of carnation pink and dusty blue arched high above from east to west over the play area in the center of Marquis Apartments. From our second-floor balcony, I saw my daughter swinging with the daughter of our next door neighbor. This was my favorite time of day, next to the actual time I picked her up from daycare. We had come home, read two Dr. Seuss books, done homework, had supper and now, in the cool of the evening, in the minutes before the gloaming, I had a few moments to relax and watch her play.

As a believer only months old, I was devouring everything I could about God. Having not seen the light of God’s truth until the age of 29, I had experienced walking in darkness and I desperately wanted to stay close to this wonderful Jesus I had found. Reading a devotional called “God at Eventide” had taught me to stop and practice waiting for God’s presence. And, during that particular eventide, Holy Spirit had given thoughts that formed into words and more words as I wrote.

The poem “Think about Eden” flowed out, in less than ten minutes, with only a few crossed out phrases. Astounded, I stared at the page and reread the words. “Oh! Thank You, Jesus! Thank You, Lord!” I breathed quietly.

Image result for royalty free picture of the garden of eden

“That is so beautiful, Lord! How did You do that?”

How God touches our mind. Well, dear reader, I am still pondering that question and similar questions thirty-plus years later. How does God put such clear thoughts into our minds? How does He give us ideas to solve problems, to do creative work, and to live our daily lives? How does He make His Word speak to us? How does He bring into conscious thought the precise Biblical principle we need in any given situation?

I may never know, but this I know. . . I will not fully understand this side of heaven just how God communicates with us so clearly but I know His Word is one powerful way.

When loneliness attacks, I hear “And behold I am with you and will keep watch over you with care. I will take notice of you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.” (Genesis 28:15, AMPC) When discouragement seeks to distract me from pressing on in my work for God and in doing all my daily tasks as unto Him, I hear “Wait and hope for and expect the Lord. Be brave and of good courage and let your heart be strong and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.“ (Psalm 27:14, AMPC).

There is a time . . . there is a season. . . As I thought how to wrap up this little devotional (so it would not spin into another little book, which by God’s grace keeps happening lately!), I thought of the verse” God has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiates 3:11, NIV). I thought of that because I had lost the “God Calling” poem over the years, one of the few pieces of writing I have ever lost. I tried to rewrite it several times over the 30-plus years since that tender evening with the Lord, watching my daughter play. But I never could get it “right.”

Well, for two weeks I have been working on a piece called “Finding God’s Presence.” So, today, with my mind soaked in thoughts about His presence, it was time to prayerfully attempt to recreate that long-ago “God Calling” poem. This version is not identical, but it is what my heart says now.

This version, at this time, is what I know of the beauty of simply waiting on God, setting aside time just to be in His presence, taking time to appreciate what He is showing me and letting Him have the pleasure of soothing me when I need it, just as I have had the pleasures of soothing my daughter and my grandsons. And just as their choosing to sit with me greatly pleases me, so I know my choosing to sit with my heavenly Father greatly pleases Him. Truly, everything is beautiful in its time.

Won’t you take time, today, to sit with our Heavenly Father and just let Him love you?

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Parents Hand Reaching Out To Child

 

 

When people get sick . . . give happy a chance!

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Quill PenNote from me to you: Because my family is now quarantining,  I decided to write something for my two grandsons. Imagine my surprise and delight when it just kept going and going. This poem is also available as a  ten-page printable book you can share with your own children or grandchildren.  The pictures print just fine, even if you use a black and white printer. To download your copy, see the Books and More tab on this website.

When People Get Sick . . . Give Happy a Chance!

There once was a time when folks just got sick.
Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art of Big FamilyOh, my gosh! Oh, my golly! Oh, golly! Oh – ickkk!
The Mamas, the Papas, littles ones, too,
the Mimis, the Nanas and Gran Papas – phew!!

Folks had to stay in, to stop all the germs.
I’d just as soon eat a big can of worms!!!!
Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art Of Bowl Of WormsThis staying in thing, this going nowhere,
is a pain in the rear, in the old derriere!

This staying home thing is such a big bore!
Why, it puts me to sleep! Why, it just makes me snore!!!
Why, I’m so tired of this house, that I could just scream,
I just want to go out! Do you know what I mean????

I want to see friends, and to run and to play!Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Kids Running And Playing
What I really just want is a plain old plain day.
I want all the usual, the cool daily stuff.
Yeah, one day of old usual would be good enough!

Yeah, all the old usual, the things I thought plain
are gone, and old “Boring” – he’s all that remains.

                                Old Boring
Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art of a TrapOld “Boring”, you say? Who is that old chap?
Why, the worst of the worst! A big old mean trap.

He’s the trap that could catch you and make you feel bad.
Why, if you are not careful He’ll make you feel sad!
He’ll tell you that good things are over, all done.
He’ll tell you you’ll never, no never have fun.Image result for royalty free clip art of pants on fire

But he’s a big liar! Don’t’ believe him! No way!
His pants are ON FIRE!!! Look! He’s running away!!
. . . because. . .
When you look with good eyes, when you look for the good,
You’ll see as you ought. You’ll see as you should.

                                So Many Good Things
Why, you’ll see that there’s still so many good things
Good ways to have fun, and the joy that joy brings. Rolling On Floor Laughing Clip Art Free
Why, you can laugh with your brother, your sister, your fish!
You can even cook up your best tasty dish!

Image result for royalty free clip art of child under a tree with a bookYou can sit in the grass in the shade of a tree.
And count puffy clouds! How happy you’ll be!
You can read the same books that you’ve read before,
and discover new things Yes! New things galore!
. . . because . . .
when you read a good book it makes your heart fly.
See the source image You’re free as a bird, without even a try.

                                    Good Books
Just relax and just read. Hear what the words say,
and the things they are saying will take you away.
You’ll go far away, to some wonderful places,
where people have joy and such smiles on their faces.

You’ll go to the stars, or maybe the moon,
and you’ll get there real fast, why, even by noon!
You may go by rocket, you may go by plane,
your may go the slow way by an old friendly train!Image result for royalty free clip graphics of a rocket to the moon

Your book, your good friend, will take you – it will,
to places you’ll love as you read and sit still.

Yes, sit still and just think of what the words say.
The words are like friends that just want to play,
friends just like Sally, old Fred or old Joe.
Good friends who play with you, who like you, you know?

Image result for Free Clip Art of Child Reading on CouchWith a nice couch to sit on, and a book in your hand,
you have such a good life! Oh my! It’s just grand!
And then staying home, will not be so bad.
You’ll think “What a good day! What a good day I had!”

Yes, if you’ll read a good book, or play some board games,
put together a puzzle, or make up fun names. . .
or create a fun house out of blankets and chairs,
why, Happy will find you, yes, quite unawares!Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art Children and Board Games

                                         Happy and You
Happy and you will find lots to do,
some things that are old, some things that are new.
And when you’re with Happy, all things are just fun,
and before you can know it, this day will be done.

You’ll tuck into bed, just Happy and you,
and you’ll have a good sleep, you both will, you two!
And then, why tomorrow, just guess who’ll be there,
Waiting and waiting with more fun to share.Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art Two Children In Bed

Yes, Happy will wait until you awake,
and then you’ll be off as quick as a shake.
Yes, off for more fun and funny things too,
for Happy will help you find new things to do.

And then staying home won’t be such a bore,
for Happy will always have fun things in store.

                                  How to Find Happy
So, “How?” you might ask, “Just how?” you might say,
“Can Happy stay with me, and play every day?”

Well, if you will just put your mind on good things, Image result for Royalty free Clip Art Two Children sitting Together
Why, Happy, old Happy, will make your heart sing!
Yes, Happy will come and sit beside you,
and play with you, friend, yes, all the day through.

So, just keep your mind fixed on things that are best
and let the old world take care of the rest.

You just decide, yes, make up your mind,Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art of thinking
that Happy is something you really can find.
Yes, look for things good Don’t look at things bad.
And you and Old Happy – you’ll both be real glad!

            Time to go, but remember this!

Well, my dear child, my best-est book friend,
It’s time for this story to come to an end.
But remember, dear one, don’t ever forget,
that happy is something you always can get.Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art of Hands Reaching for Smiley

But “How?” you might say, “Just how?” you might ask,
“Do I make myself happy? That’s a big and huge task.

Well . . .
You always can laugh, you always can smile,
You always can try, a little, a while. . .
then, Happy is there, down deep in your heart!

All you have to do is . . .
give Happy a startImage result for Royalty Free Clip Art of Happy Heart

All-Seeing, All-Knowing

Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art of Quill PenThis writing thing. Well, fellow pilgrim, I must say this writing thing is an adventure, with many twists and turns along the way. I intended this poem to be an easy blog post because, lately, writing time has been reduced. Then, I found an answer to something I  have pondered for years– how to make poetry more useful.

Writing poetry blesses me because Bible truths come to my mind, but I could not see how to ensure readers saw the underlying Bible truths. Today, I saw the obvious, i.e., just add the explanation into the  poem. So, here we go.  First, the entire poem alone, and then the poem with Bible truths added in.

And would you do me a favor please? Let me know what you think about this format, either in the comment section below this post or by sending me an email (on the “Email me” tab.) God bless you as you read!

“All Seeing, All Knowing”

All seeing, all knowing, how great is Your name!
It wipes out all fear, all guilt, and all shame.
Oh! Thank You, my Dearest, my beloved Sweet One,
for new life in my soul, through Jesus, Your Son.

May He live deep within by the Spirit’s great grace.
May He guide and correct as I run this great race.
He’ll help me press on. In His strength I’m made whole
forgetting the past, made new in my soul!

No more of old me! That person is dead.
I’m risen with new life, Lord, just as You said!

I’m risen with . . .

. . . new life that arises and shines from within,
that shines through the darkness and keeps me from sin,
that reveals the desires of the flesh and the eyes,
that reveals deadly pride and helps me walk wise.

How I thank You, my Jesus, for all that You’ve done,
for abounding new life, for making us one!
No more are we split by sin’s great divide,
We’re one in the blood that flowed from Your side,

Yes, when I walk in Your way,
when I carry Your Name,
all things are made new, yes, nothing’s the same!

“All Seeing, All Knowing” — Bible Truths Included

All seeing, all knowing, how great is Your name!
It wipes out all fear, all guilt, and all shame.
God sees and knows everything. (Isaiah 40:28-29) That is His nature, part of His name or attributes. A name is a word by which we know or describe someone or something. God’s name means His nature. This is helpful to remember when pondering Scriptures with the “name” of God. For example, Psalm 33:22 (“In him our hearts rejoice for we trust in his holy name”) shows that when we trust in the name, or nature of God, in His good qualities, our hearts will be happy.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of CrownWhen we are adopted into His kingdom, when we bear His name, all fear, guilt, and shame are wiped out. (I John 1:7)

Oh! Thank You, my Dearest, my beloved Sweet One,
for new life in my soul, through Jesus, Your Son.
May God, who gave us new life through the blood His only begotten Son Jesus, shed on Calvary (John 3:16), be the “Fairest of Ten Thousand” to our souls, as the 1881 hymn “The Lilly of the Valley” by Charles Fry says.

May He live deep within by the Spirit’s great grace.
May He guide and correct as I run this great race.
Before Jesus left this earth, He told us that if we truly love Him and obey His teachings, He and the Father will love us and make their home in our heart. (John 14:23)

Image result for royalty free clip art of feet runningLet us long for Holy Spirit’s guidance as we endeavor, like Paul, “. . . to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and run with patience the race set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

He’ll help me press on. In His strength I’m made whole
forgetting the past, made new in my soul!
Like Paul, let us remember that although we will never attain perfection on earth, we can “press on” toward maturity, putting all our confidence in Christ as we strive to “. . . take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of” us. (Philippians 3:14)

 No more of old me! That person is dead.
I’m risen with new life, Lord, just as You said!
As we learn in Romans 6:1-23, when we were baptized into Christ Jesus, our old self was “. . . crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be done away with in order that “we should no longer be slaves to sin “ (v. 4- 6)

So, we can “count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore . . . “ we do not have to let sin reign in our mortal bodies. (v. 11) As we follow Jesus, He frees us from enslavement to sin. We are free from its power. (NLT)

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Empty TombI’m risen with . . .
. . . new life that arises and shines from within,
What a promise 2 Corinthians 5:17 contains. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (NKJV) The AMPC says, “. . . the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away.”

that shines through the darkness and keeps me from sin,
God’s Word cuts through the darkness of our world and lights the way for my next few steps (“Your Word is a lamp to my feet. . . ”) and it also shines light further away, along the path (. . . and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105.) Jesus is the Living Word and when He lives in our hearts – what a bright light we are privileged to have! As I John 1:5b teaches us “. . . God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him [no, not in any way]” AMPC.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Lamp On Dark Path

that reveals the desires of the flesh and the eyes,
that reveals deadly pride and helps me walk wise
With the light of God–Light that is God–in our hearts, our eyes are enlightened to see sin as sin. And when we use the Sword of God’s Word (Ephesians 6:17), that Living Word penetrates to the deepest part of our hearts and shows us whether the thoughts and purposes of our hearts are good or evil.

“For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immoral] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, AMPC)

How I thank You, my Jesus, for all that You’ve done,
for abounding new life, for making us one!
Although the enemy of our souls, the devil, always seeks to steal, kill, and destroy, Jesus came to give us a “rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, ESV) We have that life when we are one with Him. “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” (I Corinthians 6:17, ESV)

No more are we split by sin’s great divide,
We’re one in the blood that flowed from Your side,
Sin separates us from God. It is a huge chasm we cannot cross on our own. Isaiah 59:2 tells us that our iniquities have separated us from God; our sins have hidden His face from us, so that He will not hear. But, when we are united in purpose with Jesus, when we are one with Him, when we strive to live like Him and pour out our life for others as He did, our life is united with Him in His life, His blood.

Image result for royalty free picture of walking with jesusYes, when I walk in Your way,
when I carry Your Name,
all things are made new, yes, nothing’s the same!
When we strive, with all our heart, soul and mind, to walk, or live, like Jesus did, when we make His purposes the focus of our life, we share in His likeness. We carry His likeness, His nature, His Name, to the world. As God shines His light and love through us, He uses us for the sake of His Kingdom. And His presence in our life overflows us with blessings.

Once we give up our old life of sin, we are new creatures, and nothing is ever the same again. It just gets “sweeter as the days go by”, as James Poyser attested in his famous song. May we strive to be “. . . to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:15, Berean Study Bible).

 

 

Afflicted by an itch – for my good! Part Four of Four

Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art of ConfusionConfusion leads to more confusion. In spite of the dizziness, I continued editing the manuscript, adding a comma here and removing an extra space, all the while pondering, “What does taking Your Word like medicine look like for me, Lord?” Still without an answer, I decided to review the basic passages I had memorized that had healed the depression and fear, my arsenal as I called it. I walked to the side table by the rocker and, underneath a yellow note pad, two devotionals and one Bible, found the nine sheet-protected pages binder-clipped at the left top corner. I reviewed each phrase of Isaiah 26:3, in the Amplified, until I could once again, as I had in previous weeks, repeat the entire verse to myself.

After lunch and an hour of lying down, trying to ignore the itching, I again returned to the manuscript, hoping to keep my mind off “the” problem. Instead, the buzzing whir of questions and fears intensified.

“Should I just stop the Prednisone? What if it is like an antibiotic and you are not supposed to. But it has not helped the itch that much, and I am not that dizzy. Well, I guess I am. Oh, what should I do?”

Then “Zing!” The enemy shot one of the poison-tipped arrows he uses against single believers. “Well, everything is so hard for you because you are alone. If you just had a husband, this would not be so hard.”

“Hmmph!” I said to myself, as I leaned forward, elbows on knees, gently pressing my temples. “Lord, as You say in Isaiah 54, You are my Creator and You are my husband. You are the LORD of heaven’s armies. You rule the entire earth. I will trust in You because I know You have always rescued me, and I know You love me. (Psalm 91)

Image result for Royalty Free Picture Of Sun Through Clouds\Trust brings clarity. Then came the clear thought, “Just call the pharmacist.” So, I did. She said, “Just stop taking it if it makes you dizzy.” I slid off the couch onto the floor, burying my face into the bumpy softness of corduroy cushions.

“Thank You, Lord, thank You!” Tears darkened an irregular circle in the cocoa-colored fabric of the couch.

“This is how I have handled sickness my entire life, isn’t it, Lord, even after I knew You? When I think I am catching a cold, I take two kinds of cold medicine, or more, to control the symptoms. Years ago when I was a runner, I tried orthotics, taping my arches, different shoes, extra stretching, strength training and everything else to “fix” my feet so I could keep running like I wanted to. When allergies began a few years ago, I began taking medicine every single day. Oh, sure, I prayed, and asked others to pray. I learned to anoint myself with oil, and to make declarations of health. But I was always trusting in something doctors could do or that I could do for healing.

And, Lord, I think I was afraid to trust You with my body. I panicked when I felt sick, and in the fog of panic, listened to the all or nothing lies of the enemy, lies like, ‘This is the start of a terrible sickness. You will not be able to work or do anything. You will be miserable. You must fix this now. Call a doctor. Get some medicine – quick! Hurry! You are in danger.”

I doubted You would really heal me. Forgive me, Father. I am so sorry. How could I have been so blind and doubted You so long? That must have deeply grieved Your heart when I subconsciously doubted Your love for me. It would be like Sharon thinking I was keeping good things away, when I did everything a single parent could possibly do.

I know from Your Word, Lord, that life is filled with troubles and You say rejoice because You have overcome this world. Yet, I also know that because we live in a fallen world we will have sicknesses and other afflictions of the flesh.”

With hips beginning to ache, I got up off the floor and sat on the couch. Sunlight blazed white off the blinds and dispersed into long slats on the oak veneer floor. The thump, thump, thump then slam as my upstairs neighbor returned home interrupted the squawk of a blue jay swaying on the branch outside the window.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Natural RemediesTrusting God first and using natural remedies. “Lord, obviously You are telling me to have more faith and to take Your Word like medicine. The only way I know to do that is refreshing my basic memory verses and adding more. I trust You, Lord, for more direction about how to use your Word like medicine. But I also think maybe I should just try natural remedies. I know people in Bible times used olive oil and other natural products for healing.”

Yesterday, my friend had texted to try ice packs and calamine lotion. Well, I disliked ice intensely and, although I had purchased calamine, it sat in the bag on the counter where I dropped it beside my purse when I returned home.

Now, I pulled an ice pack out of the freezer and winced as I applied it. In only a few moments, the itching began decreasing. I sat in the bathroom, gratefully relocating the ice pack to the itchiest spots. Next, I applied a thin layer of calamine lotion. In thirty minutes, the rash was nearly indistinguishable and the itch? Nonexistent.

“Thank You, thank You, thank You, Lord!” I kept repeating, as if I had just been pulled out of a raging river. “I appreciate it! That feels so much better.”

A few minutes later, my tummy growled. The enemy of our souls growled, too, seeking to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) However, this time, with a more sober mind and greater alertness to God’s voice, I resisted him and stood strong in my faith.

“Lord, You are healing the rash. The tummy upsets are no harder for You to heal. Nothing is too hard for You, as You say in Jeremiah 32:27. Please show me what to eat.”

In the refrigerator, I saw my two-day home-made chicken and vegetable soup, glad now that I had not thrown it out. When the itch and tummy upsets began simultaneously two days ago, I thought too much turmeric might have been the cause. For the last few weeks supper had been that soup with lots of onion and garlic and a big dose of turmeric, in a desperate effort to “fix” worsening allergies.

Image result for royalty free picture of healthy habitsOne problem, many messages. The small bowl of soup I ate settled just fine, no burping, no gas, no bloating. While washing the soup bowl, spoon, and the morning’s oatmeal bowl, another gentle thought came. “Large meals also cause GI problems.” It was not only too spicey soup. It was having two large bowls, as well as the rest of supper, then later a large bedtime snack, rationalizing I needed it to fall asleep. And, to be honest, self-pity often surfaced as I faced the night alone. A treat made me feel better, even though I knew lying down after eating often led to hiatal hernias, which often causes digestive problems.

Other thoughts flooded in about changes I needed to make for my health. I had gained ten pounds during the coronavirus lockdown because I whined that the gym was closed and I could not do my usual exercises. That had led to feeling stove-up, as my Dad used to say, and stiffer than I ever had. Bedtime had become irregular and too late, which led to arising after sunup, therefore missing the pre-dawn writing time that worked like a tonic every day.

Image result for royalty free picture of dad pointing finger Loving chastening, for my good. With deep gratitude, I saw that God had used the health problems for my good. They had taught me to depend on Him first for healing and to adjust some health habits. That would help me finish my years with good health, able to write and serve others, which was my heart’s desire.

A successful maiden voyage of a little ship of faith. Two days Clipper Ship Artlater, a bad earache helped exercise my new level of faith. As the right ear throbbed, I pulled my hair back and looked in the mirror. The outer edge of the canal was swollen and red.

“Oh, Lord!” was my initial thought. “Ears are really serious. How can I mess around with my ear?” But I prayed, with my mustard seed of faith (Luke 17:6), looked up natural remedies, applied ice packs and tea tree ointment (which fortunately was in the house already), sat on the couch and reviewed four more Scriptures in my arsenal until I could again recite them. After an hour or so came a measure of relief, and I went to bed, propped up to reduce fluid in the area. By midday the next day, the ear was remarkably better. Praise God! I knew healing did not always come so fast but, praise God and His great grace, it had this time!

I knew not to stop the blood pressure medicine but I could certainly make an, uh, honest effort to lose weight and exercise regularly again. Hmmm. . . maybe this could be a way to learn about long-term healing.

This light and momentary trouble (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) Regarding problems, perhaps there are a few basic lessons we believers learn—once we really learn them– and then spend the rest of life applying those lessons, by God’s grace alone, in new situations. I believe some of those lessons are:

[1] God is sovereign. (Psalm 113:1-6, Jeremiah 32:17)

[2] He loves us more than we can know this side of heaven. (John 3:16, Psalm 103)

[3] Everything He does and that He allows He will use for our ultimate good and the good of the Kingdom. (Romans 8:28, James 1:3-4, Genesis 50:20)

[4] He uses hard times to train us, and He does it because of His great love for us. (Hebrews 12:1-12, James 1:2-17)

[5] When we stray, He does whatever is necessary to woo us back to His loving heart and His safe pathways. (Luke 15, Psalm 107)

Image result for royalty free picture of path

[6] He will sustain us through any and everything, as we put our trust in Him. (Isaiah 26:3, I Peter 5:6-11)

[7] He died to give us an abundant life, on earth as well as in heaven, and it is His will that we live with love, joy, and peace each day. He will enable us to do that as we obey and trust Him. (John 3:16, John 10:10, Philippians 2:13).

God’s timing is perfect – ALL the time. That evening . . . “Lord, it is so funny how You hide things beneath all these books and writing papers until I have learned a particular lesson. When I first read “God’s Medicine Bottle”, I understood that Derek Prince taught that IF we give focused, reverent, and believing attention to Your Word, that Your Word will be medicine to us. But I somehow forgot how he said to take Your Word like medicine, so when I asked You I felt led to refresh my basic arsenal of memorized Scriptures, to add more Scriptures, and to meditate on Your Word even more all day long.

And now tonight, re-reading the book, I found where Derek said he “took” the medicine of Your Word by reading it three times a day, after meals, as you take other medicine.

So Lord, I am thinking this reading three times a day should be separate from other Bible study and reading, something I do specifically to seek Your healing. So, I think we should start with . . . The End

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Need help memorizing?

Image result for free clip art of memoryNeed help memorizing? Memory work is hard for most everyone, me included! But hiding God’s Word in my heart so that I could meditate on it all day long was the main thing God used to heal me of severe depression and anxiety. Diagramming the Word helped with memory. It also helped me find God’s promises and learn how to walk in those promises.

Diagramming is difficult to do as a blog post, so the diagram of Psalm 91 is on the Resources page of this website. If you cannot download the Word file, email me and I will email the document to you.

Why Psalm 91? It is an all-time favorite, and it gives clear instructions on how to dwell in God’s presence and protection. Keeping God’s Word in my heart has been like God’s rod and staff, giving precious guidance and comfort daily. I pray this aid to memory helps you find the still waters God has prepared for you.

So, go to the Resource tab and please let me know if this helps you in your pursuit of God’s Word.

Love and prayers,

Freda

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God busies Himself with your details

Little details are BIG. I signed in at the office and walked down the hall, gazing fondly at pages taped to walls, grouped by classroom, thickly-penciled letters sprawling above and below that distinctive blue-lined paper, with red dots splitting each line. The mashed-potatoes-and-baking-bread smell led me to the cafeteria, filled with mostly empty metal folding chairs.

“Whew!” I took a seat on the front row. Waiting for fifteen minutes was a small price to ensure Haskell saw me. I touched the gold-plated spiral pin clipped to the neck of my tank top and tugged my long skort forward to cover more of two pudgy knees. Haskell would think I was gorgeous, that was all that mattered.

I talked with the mom who joined me on the front row, musing that she was about the age of my daughter, who had to work this morning. Then, students filed in, class by class, the principal welcomed everyone to the award ceremony, and called the two kindergarten classes to the stage.

Haskell was the twelfth kindergartner in line. When he turned around, wide eyes searching the audience, I stuck my hand up high and waved. He smiled a tight, close-lipped smile and waved back, lifting his hand just above his waist.

“Had the teacher told them not to wave?” I wondered.

Then Haskell touched his neck, at the spot where I wore the pin and smiled the wide, full-hearted smile I loved. Tears sprang to my eyes as I touched my hand to the clip at my neck, nodded, and gave him two thumbs-up. After he had spotted that clip in Nana’s joo-ree box a few months ago, I had worn it, whenever he asked, which was often, and wherever he wanted, which included the gym and the grocery, and while vacuuming, delighted that he wanted to decorate his Nana.

“Thank You, Lord, that I remembered this little detail. It is huge to him!”

Image result for royalty free clip art of footstepsTeach me gratitude, Lord, for Your daily attention to details of my life. As I drove back home, I reflected on what I remembered of Psalm 37:23, that God busies himself with the steps of the righteous. When I got home, I looked it up:

“The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step]. (Psalm 37:23, AMPC)

“Oh, Father” I said. “I was overjoyed when Haskell noticed I had worn our special pin. His smiling face said ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you, Nana!’ Father, help me remember to thank You, with my whole heart and a big smile, for the countless details of everyday life You prepare just for me, like songs on the radio, a text from a friend and smiles from strangers, just when I need them. You truly do arrange every detail of the life we share, don’t You, Lord?”

Teach me gratitude, Lord, for Your new mercies that come every day. “And make me more mindful for the big things You give day after day, like the breath of life, food, a home, a loving family, and most of all the privilege of knowing You. Truly, Father, Your faithfulness is great, just like You show us in Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

I paused, seeing the dining table of my childhood, Daddy at the head of the table, orange knotty pine wall behind him, lengthening late afternoon shadows visible through the window, the view partly obscured by drapes embossed with turquoise flowers. Daddy taught us to thank Mother for supper, and my two brothers and I did, in our own words, and, as I recall, using the same words each time – “Thanks Mother. It was good.” “Thank you, Mother. ‘ppreciate it.” and “Thank you, Mother, for a good supper.” She had always smiled and given each of us a sincere “You’re welcome!”

“But how much more would she have appreciated our thanks,” I pondered, “If we had said, ‘The meatloaf was great tonight!’ or ‘Your biscuits and gravy are the best!’ or ‘That fried chicken was sooo good!”

She never got tired of hearing us thank her, and You never get tired of hearing us thank You either, do you Lord? So thank You, Father, again, for my family, thank You that I have a car to drive to Haskell’s school, thank You . . . “

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Teach me gratitude that You are the loving Father who teaches us. I sat at my desk and opened the three Bibles I use most often when I write. I wanted to check my memory. As I read verse 22, I saw it was connected to verse 23. Psalm 37:22-23 said:

  • (New Living) “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.”
  • (New International) “If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD holds him with his hand.”
  • (Amplified Classic) “The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step]. Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him.” (Psalm 37:23-24, AMPC)

As I compared translations, I marveled again at how Holy Spirit deepens our understanding when we focus and try earnestly to understand God’s Words. As I read and reread the verses, cause and effect linkages emerged:

[1] When we live a godly life, God delights in our way, or our manner of life.

[2] When God delights in how we are living, He busies Himself with every detail of our lives,

[3] Because of [1] and [2], even though we stumble and fall, we will not stay down because the LORD holds our hand and supports, sustains, and strengthens us.

At first glance, the NIV and NLT, which said we would never fall, seemed to disagree with the AMPC, which indicated we would fall.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Father And CHILD Walking“Hmmm, Lord? What is the key to understanding this? Well, if I think of a father holding the hand of a little child as they walk together, that child could stumble and fall, but a loving, attentive father, like You are, Lord, would grasp that little hand even more tightly the moment the child began falling so that the child would fall only to his knees and not all the way to the ground, as he would have if the father were not holding his hand and pulling him back up.

Oh, Father! Teach me to always, always, always hold on to Your mighty hand! Let me be grateful You hold my hand. Let me not resist but agree willingly when Your hand tugs me in a specific direction. Keep teaching me to have the same mind as You, to agree with You, so that we can walk together (Amos 3:3). Keep my feet on the paths of righteousness that lead to eternal life. (Proverbs 12:28) What comforting reassurance these verses bring! Thank You, Lord!

Image result for royalty free PICTURE OF SCROLLTeach me to rightly divide Your Word. I closed my eyes and searched for words to express my gratitude. “Thank You, Father, for teaching me to look at more than just one verse. Otherwise, today, I would have missed the connection between verse 22 and verse 23.”

Recently, God had impressed on me the importance of studying out the context of verses I memorized and ones that reappeared in teachings and sermons I heard.

At minimum, I had learned to scan several verses before and after any one verse, checking for connecting words and phrases that indicated cause and effect, words like for, because, therefore, and so that. Ideally, I wanted to know the main message of the book of the Bible the verse was in, the historical, Biblical, and cultural context, a broad outline of the book and a detailed outline of the chapter.

“Well, no, I pondered. “Not just one chapter. I have learned that the original writings were not divided into chapter and verse. I see both missed blessings and danger in letting the thoughts of men, no matter how learned and holy they were, rather than Holy Spirit, determine for me where to “divide” the Truth.

Father, I will study out 2 Timothy 2:15 more but I do believe part of the meaning of “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” is to keep the passages that are all of one piece, as one piece in our thinking, rather than picking one or two verses here or there.

However, I do know that just one or two verses or brief passages can accurately be taught if the pastor or Bible teacher has followed 2 Timothy 2:15 and done the diligent, time-consuming study necessary for proper understanding. That is the spoon-feeding I had lapsed into for so long. Thank You, Father, for using fear and depression to make me desperate enough to study Your Word, diligently, for my personal needs.

Thank You, Father, for busying Yourself with the details of my life today by teaching me how to better study Your Word. It feels like You put truths there just for me, just like I wore that pin so that Haskell would know I was thinking about him, and so he could see that what was important to him was important to me. What a loving Father You are, Lord!

Thank You for Your great grace and Your mercies, which are new every morning, as You say in Lamentations 3:23. . . and I see that verse 22 says, “It is because of the LORD’s great love that we are not consumed because Your compassions never fail. And actually, that whole Chapter Three of Lamentations is so instructive, let’s see . . . let’s start at verse one and recall that the author is probably Jeremiah and that he was writing about. . .

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Afflicted by an itch – for my good – Part Three of ??

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Hmm. . . taking the Word like medicine. . . The next day’s morning routine went slower than usual. I still itched, though not as much. Dizziness forced me to sit down in between feeding Barny, brewing chamomile tea, giving Barny his morning catnip, brushing him, and morning devotions.

“Oh well, Barn,” I said as I stroked the sleek mink-colored fur along his sides, “Maybe it’s the blood pressure. Maybe it is just too low. Should I try some caffeine?”

I picked him up, held him close, and nuzzled my face into the cream-colored fur of his neck, breathing in the clean, animal smell.

“Yowww,” was his soft reply. I placed him gently on the floor and walked, slowly, to the rocker by the window.

After morning devotions, which included skimming “God’s Medicine Bottle”, I sat at the computer and resumed proof-reading “Affliction, God’s Loving Chastening.” With decades of office experience typing medical dictation, proof-reading letters, memos and reports my supervisors had written, then a few years writing minutes for the Board of County Commissioners and proofing my own minutes as well as those of other recording secretaries, and finally, after five years of evening classes, writing, editing and proofing my own emails, reports, and articles in professional journals, I could proof-read on automatic pilot, leaving my mind fairly free to think.

So, as I whacked an occasional unnecessary word here and deleted an extra space there in my little manuscript, I pondered. And I asked God, ““Lord, what does ‘taking Your Word like medicine’ mean for me, personally? How am I to do that? I paused. “Well. I know You used Your Word to heal my heart of depression and fear, so maybe the process of physical healing is similar?”

Healing began with getting the Word into my mind and heart. “Okay, Lord. I know healing started when I began doing two things. One, diligently studying your Word, for myself, in my areas of personal need, and, two, when I began memorizing those verses that You highlighted for me as I studied.

Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art of DiplomaHealing through diligent study of the Word. I kept thinking about how God had changed my approach to and attitude about the Word the previous year, 2019, when so much healing had happened. Although I had studied my Bible diligently, actually frantically, as a new believer there were seasons when my passion for the Word dimmed. Periodically, for a few years at a time, I put the Word higher in my priorities but never like I had as a spiritual newborn. The last five years or so I had read and studied the Word less and less, compared to previous times. As for meditation, that had been shallow and sporadic, throughout my life.

I prayed, “Forgive me, Lord, oh forgive me! And thank You for using the depression and fear to show me that I live only by every Word that comes out of Your mouth, Lord, as You say in Deuteronomy 8:3, not by things of this world. Oh, how I regret not listening to You, Holy Spirit! Thank You for Your patience.”

“Thank You, Lord, for all those winter and spring mornings last year, when I first began sitting at the desk, taking notes, like I was in school again. It felt so lonely, with both grandchildren in school, but as I sat with You, morning sunshine slanting through the blinds, You led me to look up verses on fear and courage and peace and worry and fretting and Your love and care and provision and protection. You led me to read the whole chapters those verses were in, to look up cross references, and take notes like I was studying for a final exam. Thank You, Lord, for teaching me how to feast from the meat of the Word directly like that, rather than being fed by others. Thank You for helping me do my best to correctly handle the Word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15.)

I paused and sat very still as I pondered upon the second way His word had healed my spirit and soul of depression and anxiety, by hiding the Word in my heart. (Psalm 119:11)

Image result for Royalty Free clip Art Of Stacks Of PaperHealing through Memorizing. ”You remember, Lord! With Your help, and Your Spirit giving me the desire to do it (Phillippians 2:13), we memorized verses about peace, like Isaiah 26:3, and verses where You promised to take care of and be close to Your children, like Genesis 28:15 and Isaiah 41:10. I copied the verses by hand, using the Amplified Bible, and I carried those pages of Scripture everywhere, each day, wherever I went, as one carries a lucky charm, almost frantically pulling them out while standing in line at the grocery, while riding the recumbent cycle at the gym – any time my mind was not engaged in some task or conversation – because when I pondered Your Word, I had peace. But when my mind was idle, fear and viscous self-criticism flooded in.

“It took many weeks to memorize our basic arsenal of Scriptures, but through that I know You did indeed make my mind new, Lord, because I think and feel and act differently. Keeping Your Word in my mind changed me into a new person by changing the way I think, like You tell us in Romans 12:1-3.

“I know, Lord, that keeping Your Word in my mind so many hours of the day as I worked to memorize was a big factor in Your making my mind new.” Then I thought about meditation.

Healing through Meditating. “Lord, memorizing from the Amplified was a form of meditating, wasn’t it? Or at least a good start?” I knew meditating meant to roll an idea over and over in your mind, to reflect upon it, and to ruminate upon it, to work on that piece of the Bread of Life as a cow works on its food, to mash and tear and grind and analyze, then let it rest and do it all over until it is broken down small enough so the body can absorb it. Maybe repeating verses phrase by phrase, over and over was one way of breaking down the Bread into small enough pieces so my mind could absorb it, just as a cow chewed and crushed her food until her body could absorb it!

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“Wow, Lord! I was taking Your Word like medicine, just like You told Derek to do! I was giving Your Word my undivided, diligent attention, desperation did give me an open, believing heart, and I did keep Your Words in the middle of my life, all day long, as a shield against the arrows of fear and sadness and hopelessness. That was why Your Word penetrated and did its healing work!

“Was that the “secret”, Lord, of how You healed my mind and emotions of depression? Had I, unknowingly, done it right? I had studied as hard as I could to understand Your teachings, then I had been meditating on them while I memorized them, and—Wow!!– they had penetrated my heart because all that time I was “whetting and sharpening them”, just like You tell us to do in Deuteronomy 6:7.

“Did healing come because Your Word pierced the depths of my heart, because it penetrated to “. . . the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal spirit], and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature]” (Hebrews 4:12, AMPC). Derek Prince said Your Word penetrates when a surgeon’s scalpel and a counselor’s words fail. Like a surgeon’s sharp scalpel penetrates flesh and bone, is that how the sharpened sword of Your Word penetrates to where our soul and spirit meet, to our innermost being?

Image result for royalty free clip art of mirrorAs I sat in my chair, hands frozen on the keyboard, hindsight said that for most of my walk with God, in regard to His command to meditate on the Word daily, I had been like the man in James who, though hearing the Word and seeing what he looks like, as in a mirror, goes away and immediately forgets. Over the years, Holy Spirit had gently reminded me that I was not meditating and had done so only briefly when a new believer. However, fully as prideful as King Saul, I had not listened to God and had persisted in my own way, reading several chapters a day, studying sporadically, and feeling that was okay or good enough.

I kept sitting quietly, tilting the chair back and forth with one foot on the floor, listening, waiting for more thoughts from the Lord. The fan whirred, cool air blew on my neck as the air conditioner ka-plunked on. Barny stood up and yawned, revealing pink gums and that tiny, pale pink, sandpaper tongue. I rubbed my thumb and index finger together, waiting in the silence.

Is this how meditation works? “Hmm,” I reflected. ”I need to look at that verse, not just repeat it in my mind.” I opened my Amplified to Hebrews 4:12,

“For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and the [immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (AMPC)

Image result for Sword ClipArt   “Ok Lord, I sense there is something more here about penetrating our heart that I do not see yet. Let’s break that down, phrase by phrase. . . so, if we sharpen Your Word by meditating on it (Deuteronomy 6:7, AMPC), then it will separate, or split asunder as the King James puts it, our soul and spirit AND it also separates our joints and marrow, the deepest parts of our nature. Then it exposes, sifts, analyzes and judges our heart. So, Your Word penetrates to the dividing line between:

  • the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit
  • Your Word also penetrates between joints and marrow (which are the deepest parts of our nature),
  • and Your Word exposes, sifts, analyzes, and judges the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

So, for example, when I was deeply depressed, my soul would have been thinking “There is no hope for me. This will never change. No one can fix my messed up heart and life. God is disappointed in me because I have gotten depressed again.”

But, after weeks of reading, and speaking, and thinking what Your Word says about these things, Your Word got all the way through, divided my soul and spirit, then did those four things. Your Word, alive in my innermost being:

  • exposed the darkness,
  • sifted out the lies, as a gardener sifts rocks out of soil or a baker sifts lumps out of floor,
  • analyzed, or examined in detail, my soul and spirit, and
  • judged the thoughts and purposes in my heart.

 Hmmm, how did the Word judge? A judge in a courtroom hears and examines evidence, then declares a person guilty or innocent and sets them free or sends them to jail. When I judge something I call it good or bad and then, if I have the authority, I throw out the bad and keep the good, like picking through cracked pecans or walnuts.

So! Your Word in my heart exposed, sifted, analyzed and then judged the lies the enemy had planted for what they are, and banished them by replacing them with Truth.

  • Where I had thought “There is no hope for me”, the truth of Your Word in my heart judged that a lie, and Jeremiah 29:11 told me You had good plans for me, including a future and a hope.
  • Where I had thought. “No one can fix my messed up heart and life,” the truth of Your Word in my heart judged that a lie, and Isaiah 41:10 told me not to be afraid because You are my God and You will strengthen and help me and hold me up.
  • Where I had thought You were disappointed and mad with me because I was depressed again, Your Word in my heart judged that a lie, and Psalm 103 told me You loved me as high as the heavens are above the earth and that You had compassion on me, just as a father has compassion on his children.

I had known those verses but had not sharpened them by meditation, so they were, in my hands, a dull blade, an ineffective sword that did not penetrate to the dividing line of soul and spirit. But, diligent study, memorization, and meditation sharpened them for me personally so that they did indeed penetrate, like a scalpel, to the root of the lies that had caused depression and fear and had cut them out.

That was how the Word had healed depression and fear. Truth had set me free and as I kept the Word in my heart it had kept me free and enabled me to walk and live in truth so that gradually my habitual attitude was hopeful, peaceful, and confident that God would help me rebuild our life, and I felt deeply loved all “just” by hearing and believing the Truth.

I stared out the window a long time, simply thanking God for the healing and for helping me understand, at least partly, how the Word worked healing in the heart.

“Thank You, Lord, I understand emotional and mental healing better now, but what about physical healing? How do I take Your Word like medicine for that? And please help with this dizziness. I think it is getting worse. I love You, Lord, and I trust You. Thank You that You have done such a healing in my heart and blessed me in countless ways. Help me honor You in all things. You are so good to me, Father! I love You!”

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Afflicted by an Itch – for My Good! Part Two of ??

Image result for royalty free picture of toy wood rubber band airplaneHelpless, right where God wants us. “Oh, Lord!” I wailed as I looked at the pink spots that had reappeared so fast. “I know my little problems are nothing compared to what millions face every day, but Lord! What if the blood pressure medicine causes a rash, too?”

I rocked in my desk chair a few moments, thinking. Could the medicines I took, over the counter and by prescription, have caused the rash? In coping with Austin’s multiple allergens, I now took three over-the-counter pills each morning and later in the day, depending on symptoms. Lately, worsening asthma had scared me into using the inhaler twice a day.

Thoughts whirred through my mind like the balsa wood airplanes my brothers and I had flown in the back yard, the deluxe ones with a rubber-band, windup propeller that made the little plane zip erratically over our heads for a few seconds before plummeting into lush Bermuda.

Finally, I sat in the rocker by the window, opened my Bible to Psalms, read a few minutes, then prayed.

“Father, I give up. I do not know which medicines and which foods are bad for me. I do not want to try another doctor or medicine and I am getting really scared. I need Your help, Lord. I believe Your promises in Hebrews 13:5 that You will never in any way fail me. I believe, Father, but I am so sorry. Even after all You have done for me, I am still afraid. Help me trust You more and show me what You want me to do.”

Small Child Looking UpGod always, always, always hears and answers us. Fortunately, I knew God would help, even though I felt the sting of fiery darts of discouragement and doubt. I had lifted up my shield of faith the best I could and I made up my mind to learn to continue living a life of active, intentional gratitude to Him, no matter what physical troubles might lay ahead.

Still itching, resisting the urge to scratch, I said, “Well, Lord, as a love offering for all the miracles You have done all my life, let’s pick up where we left off on that little book about affliction. Thank You so much for giving me this work to do. Help me write what You want people to know and teach me as we write.”

I sat down at the computer, opened the file labelled “Affliction, God’s Loving Chastening” and read the last two sentences I had written five days ago, before the storm of physical afflictions.

“During those two years, as I actively sought help and healing for the increasing emotional upset, I read and heard many teachings by Joyce Meyer, Derek Prince, and others who taught about using God’s Word like the medicine it is to heal and renew your heart.”

Image result for Clip Art Free Old Medicine BottleGod’s Medicine Bottle. “Lord, I need to review that teaching and add more detail, right?” An internet search, to my delight, showed that Derek Prince’s little book “God’s Medicine Bottle,” was in the radio archives of www.derekprince.org. The short, but mighty, book taught how to receive healing from the Word of God, based on Proverbs 4:20-22.

For the next hour I barely moved, listening intently to each word, grateful that God had answered my desperate prayer in less than three minutes. Here is a brief summary of that teaching.


While a solider, Derek had severe eczema, like many British soldiers exposed to desert sun and sand. Doctors’ efforts failed, and Derek was left, along with others, to sit in the hospital. A relatively new believer, with nowhere else to turn for help but God and the Word, he began studying his Bible. One day, he read Proverbs 4:20-22.

“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto My sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (KJV)

In the margin of his Bible, Derek saw that an alternative translation for “health” in verse 22 was “medicine”. After repeatedly pondering that passage, he decided to take God’s Word as his medicine. Then God told him clearly, though not audibly, “When the doctor gives a person medicine, the directions for taking it are on the bottle. . . This is My medicine I’m giving you. The directions are on the bottle. You better study them.” (p. 16, God’s Medicine Bottle)

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Following is a summary of Derek’s understanding of the four directions, as given in “God’s Medicine Bottle’.

  1. Attend to My words. God requires our undivided attention as we study His Word.
  2. Incline thine ear unto My sayings. Bend down your head, bow down your stiff neck and listen, humbly, as you study. Let go ALL preconceptions of how God does and does not work. Do not try to figure things out.
  3. Let them not depart from thine eye. The main thought here is to focus and have a single or simple, sincere eye—to see the Bible as it is written and take it as meaning what it says, without trying to explain it away.
  4. Keep them in the midst of thine heart. Just as some medicine must enter the bloodstream to be effective, God’s medicine must enter the heart, which is what God’s first three were about. Further, Proverbs 4:23 can be simply stated “Guard your heart with all of our strength; for all the things in life come out of it.” (p. 52) God says that for His Words and His medicine to do what is promised, we must keep His words and sayings in the center place of our life and heart.

Finally, Hebrews 4:12 teaches that God’s Word penetrates when nothing else will – not a surgeon’s knife nor a counselor’s words.


Derek began bowing his head over the Bible three times each day after meals, which was how people usually took medicine. Within a year, he was totally healthy in every area of his body.

See the source image Ruth “happened” to stop in the field of Boaz. After I listened to the entire teaching about God’s medicine, came a deep, peaceful sigh. “Thank You, Father, for speaking so clearly. I know that just as Ruth “. . . happened to stop in the part of the field belonging to Boaz” (Ruth 2:3, AMP) so, at this particular hour, I happened to resume our work on the book about affliction at the spot about using the Word like medicine. You  knew that would get me to sit down and listen—attentively–to the entire teaching again.”

This, dear, dear Father, is a new thing for me this taking the Word like medicine, although I have always believed that all Your gifts, including healing, are still in operation today, just as in New Testament times. Thank You that you taught me how to use Your Word like the spiritual weapon it is to heal depression and anxiety. Now I need You to teach me how to take it like the medicine it is for physical healing.

Forgive me, oh Father, for relying on doctors and medicines for healing first, all my life, even after learning about Your healing powers. I have been like the Israelites in Isaiah 30 that we are writing about in the affliction book. They spent all their wealth purchasing help from Egypt instead of seeking strength and protection from You, and consequently they were terrified of and fled from their enemies, just as I have fled from my fear of sickness, rather than standing and leaning on You.

And just as You told them that You eagerly waited, expecting, looking and longing to be gracious to them, and that You lifted yourself up so that You could show them lovingkindness, so You have been eagerly waiting for me to return to You and rest in You so that I can be saved from these afflictions of my body. You have been longing for me to return to You and learn to gain strength from being quiet and from having trust and confidence in You. (from Isaiah 30:18, AMPC)”

I knew that God was showing me the next area of personal growth for me–depending on Him for physical healing.

Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art of String Around FingerHow quickly we forget! I also knew, just as certainly, that He was chastening me about keeping the Word first in my life. In recent weeks, working on the book about affliction had been so exciting that I had, too often, kept writing rather than doing the personal Bible reading and study I knew was necessary for me personally.

Also, God’s presence during the writing so nourished and excited my soul and left such an afterglow that I did not feel the need to quote my basic Bible passages to myself during the in between moments of daily living, as I had done when God was healing me of depression and anxiety. I had also neglected to my commitment to discover and meditate on new Bible passages.

“Forgive me, Father! You warned me. I heard more than one Bible teacher and pastor whose ministry had steadily grown for years and who had not yielded to the sin that wrecked so many well-known ministries attribute their success to maintaining their personal relationship with You. I also knew many saints whose ministries, though behind the scenes nevertheless equally important in the kingdom, had lived long, victorious lives because they put their relationship with You above any work they did for You.

Thank You, Lord, for exposing the ways of the enemy in this. I see that he tries to draw every believer away from the most important thing in life, as You said in Matthew 22:37-39 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (NIV). I know that good can be the enemy of the best. If I spend so much time in my personal work for You that I neglect my time with You and our Bible study, I have stepped off the path You have for me. Nothing can come before You.

Is that the lesson of Mary and Martha, Lord, in Luke 10:38-42? I feel like I never understood that story before. Wow!”

I paused. How wonderful, I thought, that God takes such care with His children to show them exactly how to live! And just as clearly as if we heard a human voice. (Isaiah 30:21-23) How wonderful that He does not criticize us when we fail and that He never embarrasses us when we need to ask Him how to do something. (James 1:5-8).

Image result for royalty free picture of phylacteryGod warns us not to forget. On impulse, I searched “how quickly we forget” and found Deuteronomy 4:9, “Only take heed and guard your life diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen and lest they depart from your [mind and] heart all the days of your life. Teach them to your children and your children’s children” (AMPC). I knew from having seen pictures that phylacteries were worn during prayer, and that they were highly visible. I also knew, from, pictures that putting them on took time and effort. God obviously wanted His children to think deeply about His Word when they prayed.

For the next few minutes, I skimmed through the first part of Deuteronomy, from Chapter Four on, noting how many times God warned Israel, through Moses, to keep His law FIRST in their hearts and minds, passages like Deuteronomy 4:10, 39-40,5:7, 6:1-25, especially 3, 12 and 24. I would study that out later. The passages in Deuteronomy reminded me of Psalm 107, which tells how God, because of His mercy and loving kindness, again and again rescued rebellious Israel when they rejected Him and His holy ways.

My tummy rumbled, and I drew my attention back to my prayer of repentance for neglecting His Word. I concluded “And, Lord, I trust You to show me what foods to eat that will help heal whatever is out of balance.

Image result for royalty free picture of praying handsGod is very near to us in everything about which we call upon Him. “. . . who has a god so near to them as the Lord our God is to us in all things for which we call upon Him?” (Deuteronomy 4:7, AMPC). I walked to the fridge, opened the door, and felt led to eat some spinach. I had read months ago that, paradoxical as it seems, spinach and other leafy greens help the tummy. (In writing this story, I learned that its alkalinity makes it an excellent antacid.) The spinach stayed down, with no burping.

I returned to the farmer’s market grocery that evening, thinking I could try another kind of yogurt instead of one based on soy or almonds. Sure enough, coconut yogurt and some other kinds existed, but at far too high a cost for my regular consumption. Walking out of the store, holding my empty mesh bags, I prayed, “Lord, thank You for guiding me. Help me remember and show me how You want me to take Your Word like medicine. Please keep showing me how to do that. And I think You are saying to try fresh vegetables and fruits that help allergies and asthma. It makes sense that eating foods that You have supplied in nature would be part of Your way of healing.”

Image result for royalty free clip art of grandmother sleeping in bedAs I walked up the stairs, I ignored the dizzy, light-headed feeling, assuming the blood pressure was a bit off, as it often was by day’s end. I fell asleep that night, repeating my basic arsenal of Scripture passages, Isaiah 26:3, Hebrews 13:5, Psalm 91 . . . zzzz

 

P.S. I heartily recommend the teachings of Derek Prince, a widely-known and highly respected international Bible teacher. Though he went home to glory in 2003, his teachings are still going forth through the work of his family and others, through many avenues, including www.derekprince.org. Sound Biblical teaching can easily be found, on innumerable topics, through searching the website and other resources, including putting, for example, “Derek Prince on healing” into your web browser. You will be abundantly blessed as you feast on solid food. (Hebrews 5:14).

Holy Spirit Dwells in Me – We Have Victory!

Image result for Free Clip Art Of Quill\Dear reader, here is another new thing: sing-able truths that I pray will help keep the Word in your heart and draw you into Bible study. If this helps you, see “Carols for Consecration” on the Resources page. Be blessed and be a blessing to those you see today! (Genesis 12:2-3).

“Holy Spirit Dwells in Me!”   Image result for Free Clip Art Of Treble Clef

(Tune: “Old McDonald Had a Farm”)

Sing-able truth Image result for Free Clip Art Of Treble Clef

Bible Source     Image result for Free Clip Art Of Bible

[1] Holy Spirit works with me, Philippians 2:13, John 14:15-27
as I seek God’s ways,
And as He dwells, He sets me free, John 15:1-8
pruning flesh away– Deuteronomy 10:12-22, especially v. 16
by a trial here, and a testing there, James 1:2-8
then a bud, there a shoot–
fin’lly, fin’lly holy fruit! Galations 5:22-23
God Himself now indwells me, as I seek His ways! Romans 8:1-17, esp. v. 16
Image result for Free Clip Art Of Treble Clef
[2] Pure-hearted one, you are secure, Matthew 5:8
there’s no need to fear, Genesis 28:15
for God Himself, He is with you.
He is very near!
He will guard your heart Isaiah 26:3-4
from the fiery darts. Ephesians 6:10-18, esp. v. 16
The one who roars I Peter 5:5-11, esp v. 8
you will hear no more! Exodus 14:13-14
Our defeated foe? He runs! Vic’try has been won! Deuteronomy 28:1-60, esp. v.7 and

Psalm 91, esp. v. 14-15!!!

Woo hoo and go God!

Image result for Free Clipart Of The Sword Of The Spirit

Afflicted by an Itch – for My Good! Part One of ??

Image result for Free Clip Art Of Quill PenDear friend, I am trying two new things: using a short story form and splitting long blog posts into parts. So, laying aside my earlier hesitations and trusting God, here we go! Woo hoo and go God!

This short story/blog post series shows:

(1) How God used Proverbs 4:20-23 last week to heal me physically when nothing else worked.  Proverbs 4:20-23 in a nutshell is that  God’s Word is medicine for our bodies IF we take it as He says.

(2) A personal experience of the benefits of affliction. As Psalms 119 says (verse  67) “Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I obey Your Word.” and (verse 71) “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”

Affliction in body and mind. “You know, Lord, this is going great! In a few more days, we might get this finished. Thank You!”

I rocked gently in my chair. The softest whisper of wind stirred the branches outside the window. Midmorning sun dappled through the top-most branches. Gentle light illumined some leaves a bright, new grass green, leaving shadowed leaves varying shades of jade.

Holy Spirit and I had worked on this  booklet about affliction, which had grown to be a small book, for two months. As I had dug deeply into Isaiah 30, the little book’s Biblical foundation, I had understood more about the message of its working title, “Affliction, God’s Loving Chastening.” The book showed how, through a long season of affliction, God had lovingly healed deep hurts, cleansed me of hidden sins, strengthened me, and made “my feet like hinds feet [able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble.” (Psalm 18:33, AMPC). A peaceful season of energizing work had followed.

Image result for Free Clip Art of Person At ComputerThe dangerous heights of testing and trouble. But now, today, this morning? Seated at the computer, pressing hard to complete that book, I was again standing in the middle of the dangerous heights of testing and trouble.

I paused, lifted the dove gray cotton tank top and frowned at the pink, raised dots covering my tummy. I wriggled my shoulders, resisting the urge to scratch, scratch, scratch the same kind of dots sprinkled over my sides and back. The fan on the bookshelf, which served as a cubby atop my writing table, faithfully whirred. On the other side of the room, the white-shaded lamp cast ovals of light into the corner and onto the vase of white plastic roses and pipe cleaner flowers, the most recent treasure from my two grandsons. Worship music lilted from the radio next to the vase.

I turned my attention to the rash, and, just like that, stepped into the snare of worry.

The snare of worry. “What if it gets worse and the doctor’s office is closed?” I pondered. “This is Friday, nearly noon. Maybe I should call and try to get a walk-in appointment.”

I took the keyboard out of my lap, the ergonomically correct typing position I so carefully used, and stood up. I took three steps and opened the refrigerator, wishing I could just step into its coolness. I was beginning to feel hot and flushed and irritated.

I sat back down, pulled the keyboard back into my lap, popped two cold red grapes into my mouth, and tried to focus on the computer screen. No good. I ran my hands through my hair, grown longer than usual during the coronavirus lockdown, and sighed deeply.

“I just don’t know what to do!” I muttered to myself, tightening the enemy’s snare of worry even more firmly around my mind.

“Things have been going so well! I just cannot handle this. What am I doing to do? It might go away. It might just be heat rash. But what if it is not? I had that anaphylactic reaction a few months ago. What if this rash gets really bad? What if my immune system is hypersensitive now?”

I stood up again, crossed the room to the rocker by the window, and picked up my Bible. Instead of sitting down and reading it, though, I just stood and stared out the window. Another sigh. Another hand-swipe at the hair prickling at face and neck. My whole body felt irritated.

“This reminds me of when I was deep in the depression and walked around the house, starting one thing after another and finishing nothing!” I fumed to myself.

Image result for Free Clipart Of Many ArrowsThe poisonous arrows of lies. Now that the enemy had me immobilized in the noose of worry, he began shooting poisonous arrows of lies. The spiritual skirmish continued.

“If I am staying close to God and doing all I can to serve Him and help others, why doesn’t He keep me healthy? Why did He allow this rash? And on top of a whole week of terrible indigestion and bloating I can’t figure out either! It is just not fair. And maybe I will keep getting more unhealthy. I am, after all, an older person now. What if I get sicker and sicker and . . .”

Finally, pulling myself out of the tailspin, I called and, thankfully, got an appointment. At three o’clock, after the most cursory of questions from the doctor, I sat in line for the drive-through window of the pharmacy. At home, I read the directions, flinched at the thought of taking more medicine, especially such a strong one as Prednisolone, and, after a long rest on the couch, sat back down at the computer, searching out more information on foods and allergies and — rashes!

More confusion! Confusion mushroomed as I read that, apparently, some heart-healthy foods I had consumed in large quantity lately—cruciferous vegetables, onions, garlic, and turmeric—could cause allergic reactions and digestive issues. Ugggh!

“What am I going to do?” I fairly screamed inside. “I itch, I have this rash, and everything I have put in my mouth today has made me burp like an ugly old toad!”

Image result for Free Picture Of Woman With Grocery CartThe family trait of stubbornness, however, kicked in. An hour later, after more internet browsing, I drove to the local farmer’s market grocery, list of foods that helped allergies and indigestion in hand. Plump blackberries, on sale for five dollars a tiny basket, went into the cart. Without looking at the price, I yanked up a bag of cherries and tossed them in. Next came blueberries, out-of-season slices of watermelon, and almond yogurt, at the exorbitant price of five dollars per container. I shook my head at the cash register total, feeling my shoulders slump over.

“I can’t afford this pricey stuff all the time,” I thought as I slumped my way back to the car in the dusk. The air smelled hot and too dry. Streetlights would soon come on, and I needed to be home, eating supper at my regimented two-hour-before-lying-down-soasto-prevent indigestion hour.

Trying to but failing to feel God’s presence. I drove home, dragged my itchy self and my bulging mesh bags up the stairs, had some blackberries and almond yogurt, then propped upright on the couch for an hour, listening to the worship music from the radio in the corner, trying to but failing to feel God’s presence.

“Still more frustration,” I muttered to myself as I turned off the lights and plodded to the bedroom. Mental exhaustion led to troubled, restless, and late-in-coming sleep.

Saturday, the next morning, I could not feel His presence in my morning devotional time either, as I thanked Him that the rash seemed a good bit better. Sighing, I returned to searching the computer, trying to figure out what else to eat besides high-priced food.

In the list of “Six common food allergens that cause itchy skin” was nuts, including walnuts, a handful of which I had faithfully ate each day to lower cholesterol, and almonds, which I consumed in the almond milk I drank so as to avoid asthma-irritating dairy.

I leaned over, rested my head in my hands, then got up and slammed myself onto the couch.

“Was the almond yogurt bad for me too? What else was I eating that might have caused the rash and indigestion?”

Image result for Free Picture of Arrow FlyingTwang! Whoosh, whoosh, thunk! Twang! Whoosh, whoosh, thunk! went the arrows of the enemy, hitting the target of my mind and heart.

Twang! Whoosh, whoosh, thunk! went the arrow of self-pity.

“I have tried so hard to be healthy, all my life, and now this!”

I stood up, half hobbling back to the computer.

“And now the stinking virus has kept me and everyone else out of the gym and my joints ache, every muscle I had is getting soft, and my feet are getting stiffer without the swim exercises.”

Through all of that, even as the panic rose, I kept trying to connect with God.

“Thank You, Lord, that I got  in to see a doctor on such short notice. Thank You that the rash seems to be better this morning. Thank You that I have the money to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Thank You that I know You are faithful and that all You do is good.”

Image result for Free Picture of Prescription BottleI took the afternoon blood pressure medicine I had taken for ten years and sat down to work on the book about affliction. Blissfully, the peace I always felt when writing with the Lord descended.

Ten minutes later, I paused, lifted my shirt and closed my eyes against the pressure of tears. The rash was bright pink again.

What am I supposed to do, Lord? “What am I supposed to do, Lord? I have to take the Amlodopine? People have strokes when their blood pressure is too high!”

To be continued . . .

Image result for Free Clip Art Of Quill PenP.S.: As I did the final editing of this Part One on the computer, getting ready to post it on the website before going to pick up my two grandsons (my reward to myself for a morning of diligent work), I accidentally hit a wrong key or two and . . . the document I had worked on for five hours (actually many more hours before today) disappeared. I stared blankly, mouth hanging open, then frantically searched every way I could think of for five minutes. Then I went online. No luck.

‘Oh, Lord! I wailed. “I know this was a good piece of work! Oh, Father, oh Father!” was all I could say.

Still stunned, eyes wide, I made up my mind to write it all over again, trusting God to somehow help me remember what we had written. I would have to trust Him to help me do that tomorrow. My back could not take another five hours in the chair today.

I looked online again, one more time, and found something that seemed promising. Still barely breathing, I anointed the computer with olive oil, prayed and walked through the steps of using the Task Manager.

Praise God, Who never fails, there the file was! So, dear friend, please do not think you are the only one waiting for the next episode of this story. I am, too!