What would it take…

What would it take…

To give Jesus another chance? Did you grow up with religion? Were Sundays a day of “be still”, “pay attention”, or “wait ’till we get home”? Or, maybe your experience was more entertaining, but the novelty has worn off, and now Sundays are for sleeping in, doing laundry, and watching sports on TV.

Maybe you think Jesus is just not relevant. Your life is going great. You have a job, a sweetheart, plenty of amenities. Or, just maybe…it’s not going so great. You want to quit…but you just can’t. You know someday it will kill you, but for now you’re OK.

At one point in my life, all of these situations fit me. When I could, I left home for the chance to do things my own way. I finally had control of my life. After a few years, I had to face the fact that I was on a pathway that was self-destructive and would probably end in prison or death. Talking to myself one night, I thought, “God you can’t do any worse with my life than I have done. Maybe it’s time to give you a shot again.”

I told my boyfriend at the time, that I needed to be a Jesus-freak. That’s what we called crazy, sold-out believers in Jesus back-in-the-day. Little did I know, but my boyfriend was reaching the same conclusion about his life! So, we did it. We said yes to Jesus. Yes meant we would leave our old stuff behind, and try to live like he said in the Bible. I had no idea Jesus intended to help us. Grace and mercy were just fuzzy concepts to me back then. Jesus really meant it when he told his pals in the Bible, “I am with you always.”

That was a long time ago. I can’t imagine my life without the love of God. I don’t want to. He has always been there for me. He has given me love when my own mom and dad couldn’t. He has given me courage when I went through cancer. He has given me wisdom when our kids were smarter than I was. He has given me a purpose for living. He has used whatever I offer to him, money, time, talents, to help others, all the while making my heart glad that I accomplished something good. You can’t have a better life than following Jesus. It is not even possible.

I finished writing a book in October. It is the story of the way God has reconciled wayward mankind to a perfectly restored relationship through Jesus, His own Son. Take a look, maybe it will help you get started on the road to a restored relationship with Him.

Book link: Thicker Than Milk

All royalties from book sales are being donated to “Waterboys”, to bring water wells to Africa.

Perfect Relationships Demand a Choice

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16)

To a Muslim, his Quran is a sacred text. To a Jew, the Tanakh or Mikra contain his sacred writings. To a Christian, the Bible contains the Jewish sacred writings, and the writings following the birth of Jesus through the end of the first century A.D. The passage above, written by Paul the Apostle in the first century A.D. confirms to his young disciple Timothy, that ALL scripture comes from the very breath of God and is useful for us in some manner. In fact, the original word used here was the Greek word “theopneustos” or “God-breathed” and eventually became the foundation for our English word “inspiration” and meant to “infuse animation or influence…especially by divine influence.”

The Bible never takes the position of explaining the existence of God. He is. The Bible is his way of explaining himself to his creation. Across centuries, the text of the Bible has been been preserved with crazy accuracy. You see, like the Muslim and the Jew, the Christian also believed his sacred writings needed to be precisely preserved.

Read Genesis 1:1 – 2:2, some parts are excerpted here.

Listen to the description of the creation of the earth:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2 NLT)

Let your imagination picture what it was like. How long did the Spirit of God hover over the waters? Think about how peaceful and calming water can be, or how strong and awesome. Which do you think it was?

The book of Genesis has several lines that begin with “And God said.” Dwell on those words for awhile. Is it possible for you to just speak a word and something happens? Maybe, for some, a spoken word will force others to spring into action. But when God spoke our known world was formed. He has enough power in his words to create, to give life, where there was only formlessness and void.

And God said, “Let there be light”…And there was evening, and there was morning–the first day…And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from the water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. And God called the vault “sky.” And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.”…And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:3-10)

Nine times in the first chapter of Genesis the words “And God said,” are recorded. What comes to mind when I ask you to imagine a “beautiful day?” The sky? Birds singing? A waterfall? A herd of wild animals grazing on an open plain? Enjoying these situations alone or sharing them with someone you love? None of us were there in the beginning. But, God wanted us to know what it was like. Have you ever made anything, fixed something, or written something? You want to share it with someone who can appreciate it, right?

The book of Genesis is attributed to Moses as the author. How did he know what to write? Who told Moses how everything we call “creation” happened? Did God show these pictures of creation to Moses like a movie flashing before him? Did he allow him to dream the scenes? Why did Moses leave out these details? It seems like it was just something everyone understood, why explain how God delivered the information? It would be like explaining “evening” and “morning.” Everyone knows what they are, no need to go into detail. Other Biblical passages describe Moses in direct conversations with God. This is an example of their conversations.

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name? Then what shall I tell them?'” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I am has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:13-14)

Conversations like this lead us to conclude Moses knew God personally. Interesting isn’t it, this passage sounds like we have a personal God, a relational God. Maybe this helps us believe it was God that gave the earth and all living creatures to Adam to rule over (Genesis 1:26-28).

Wow, six times God steps back and calls what he is creating “good”. Finally, on the sixth day, he says “it was very good”. He had just created mankind in his own image and put them as stewards over the earth and everything in it. God doesn’t stop there though. What happens next? Creation wasn’t complete, not yet. One piece was missing. Watch what happens in the next chapter.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:15-17)

God put a condition on Adam’s existence in the garden. Why? Why did God draw a line? Why did God mess up a perfect situation? Or, did he? God created Adam in his own image. God is in relationship with Adam. He has given him the position of authority over all creation with one caveat: Adam must respect God’s boundary. All creation depends on this fact: Adam must remain in harmony with God. This harmony rests on one condition. Adam must not eat of this one single tree in the garden.

God is simply saying to Adam, you may have supremacy over this place. It is yours. I put you in charge. But, just so we are clear, just so I KNOW you will honor our commitment to each other, there is a condition. You must not eat the fruit of this one tree.

Early in my career, I was working with a company, where I held a data entry position. I was curious, and figured out how to get into the back-end of their software to see if I could make it run more smoothly. When I proudly let them know how they could increase the efficiency of their software, I received a stern response. They reminded me, in no uncertain terms, that I had violated our agreement. This agreement, that I had not read very closely, stated that I was not to alter the software in any way. I had violated an agreement, even if I had not intended any harm; I had still broken my word. It was a barrier the software engineers had established to maintain security, and I had broken it.

An agreement with a condition in the Bible is an oath covenant. An oath covenant requires at least two parties. It is entered into by choice. There is some sort of understanding with at least one condition. Also, with the breaking of the covenant comes a consequence. Adam’s covenant with God required Adam not to eat of the tree God chose. The consequence of failing to follow this condition would be death.

God had made Adam in his very own likeness. God had given Adam the Garden, something of his own to take care of, to cultivate. Now with this added condition, they also have a relationship, because of free will. Without a choice they were not free. A true friendship, a love relationship, cannot be forced. If I say “YOU MUST LOVE ME” there is no love. With a choice, with the ability to choose, they can now love. A master-slave relationship was not what God desired. His desire was a love relationship.

–taken from chapter two of an “almost published” book, Thicker than Milk, by yours truly

Why can we hope to be healed by God?

Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. ‘People of Israel,’ he said, ‘what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this.'” Acts of the Apostles 3:12-13 (NIV)

There was a woman who went to Africa in 2013 with a group of missionaries called Mission S.O.S. Their goal was to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. The word ‘gospel’ can be translated ‘good news’. The Good News is what we have talked about in this book, that Jesus, the Son of God, was sent to be a perfect sacrifice for the rebellion (sin) of Mankind. While on the festival grounds one evening, this woman prayed for a young teenage boy who was deaf. Listen to her relate what happened:

“I was 60 years old at the time I first went to Africa to help preach the gospel of Jesus. To say I was inexperienced is an understatement. The other missionaries I was with believed that Jesus was really who He said He was. They also believed Jesus was ready to prove it by healing people who called out to Him for help! Their faith was so infectious, it bolstered our confidence when we prayed. The first person that came up to me for prayer was a young man who had lost his hearing about 8 years prior to this night. We had been told to pray simple prayers because Jesus is the One doing the healing…it is not the eloquence or length of our prayers. I placed my hands over his ears and said, ‘be healed in the Name of Jesus’. He said, instantly he felt a ‘pop’ and he could hear! I have to say, I was just as shocked as he was. It certainly was nothing special I had done. Jesus had healed this young man of his deafness!”1

Stories like this make us wonder. What is the formula for healing? Does it depend on who is praying? Does it depend on the expectations of the sick person or their family? Is healing related to a specific religious group or denomination? Or even more basic, why does God allow illness anyway?

When Adam turned away from his relationship with God and accepted the terms the ‘snake’ (Satan) offered him, he received the benefits of that new relationship with Satan. Satan was evil and had only evil to offer Adam. Adam had been given dominion over the earth and sky and all the wildlife and vegetation in them. Now with this agreement came an exchange. Satan had everything which was in opposition to God: hatred, lies, sickness, pain, depression, death and every other disease and plague. For his part, Adam now shared what he had been given by God: dominion over the earth and sky. Adam entered into a covenant with Satan by partaking of food under this condition that Satan presented:

“‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked;” Genesis 3:4-5 (NIV)

Mankind must now be redeemed from this meal covenant, by the only thing stronger, a perfect blood covenant. A holy sinless sacrifice must be offered to erase the cost of the rebellion (sin) of all Mankind.

Until the necessary time for this perfect sacrifice, God established the law for the Israelites. He gave them a list of guidelines in order to live a life within the bounds of righteousness. This law was necessary to set them apart from other people groups in the surrounding territories who practiced behaviors deemed immoral and unholy by God. In Deuteronomy chapter 27-28, the conditions of the established covenant between God and the Israelites are stated. The blessings for upholding the law of God are to be read each year on Mount Gerizim. The curses for disobedience and breaking the covenant of God will be read on Mount Ebal each year. These lists encompass anything good and anything bad we experience.

The lists of curses ends on this note:

The Lord will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed.” Deuteronomy 28:61 (NIV)

God looks like a cruel despot by outlining the horrible conditions that will befall anyone who doesn’t follow His law. This view is a human one. From God’s vantage point, He is establishing the law for protection for His beloved Israel. He understands, better than they, the repercussions of breaking the law. God is describing in starkly naked terms the wages of sin. But…hundreds of years later, these curses of sin will be broken. And just as sin was brought into the world by one man, so the power of sin will be broken by another man, Jesus.

For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:15-17 (NLT)

…”for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ” This is the formula for healing. Belief in Jesus Christ as the One sent by God heals our hearts, our spirits. The wording in this passage is interesting to note. Another translation, the NIV says “how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” Not only are our spiritual lives restored to a relationship with Holy God, but we also have triumph in our physical lives. Remember, we know the death of Jesus secured our eternal life. 

Jesus said in John 6: 47-51 “Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (NIV)

The teaching of Jesus in this passage, was confusing to His audience. Jesus was talking metaphorically about eating His flesh. He was making the point that belief is more than mental knowledge. Belief means to agree wholeheartedly that He was sent from heaven. Believe and agree. Dedicate yourself to this belief so intensely that it is as if you are eating ‘my flesh’! This is the point Jesus is making. Also called faith, this belief restores our part of the covenant with God.

Also restored is the life Mankind had before relationship with God was broken. But how can physical healing take place? Because Jesus also redeemed us from the curse of sin.

Galatians 3:13 says: “But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.'” (NIV)

In addition to restoring spiritual life to mankind by the forgiveness of sin, the power of evil was also broken. What is this curse pronounced by the law? The curse pronounced by the law are the physical curses pronounced every year from Mount Ebal. What do we have instead? As covenant partners, believing in the Messiah Jesus, we have been given all of the promises announced on Mount Gerazim!

2 Corinthians 1: 20-22 “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (NIV)

As God’s covenant partner, any promise you find in the Bible, because of what Jesus did through His life, death and resurrection, is yours. It is like a wealthy relative who dies and leaves you the keys to his series of high-end collector automobiles. You own the keys to the cars. And just as it takes a key to start a car, so it takes prayer of faith to release the healing power of God. Prayer is such a gift. Anyone can pray. It demands no special outfit, no particular place, not even specific words, only a believing heart poured out to God.

Unfortunately, Satan has not given up entirely. He is still the prince of this world as well as ruler of the kingdom of the air. (Read Ephesians 2:2 and John 16:11) He still lies and discredits God and the Word of God. He wants you to believe that your prayers are futile. He knows that prayer unleashes the power of God in our lives.

In Genesis 15:10-11 Abraham takes an active role protecting the animals sacrificed for the blood covenant with God.

So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half. Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away.” (NLT)

Sometimes praying for healing is similar to beating back vultures. When Jesus prayed and taught the disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:10, He prayed that the Father’s will would be done…on earth…as it is in heaven. In the book of Genesis we see God’s will when He created Adam and Eve; they lived in perfect harmony with Him. Mankind had perfect peace, a perfect spiritual and physical existence in a perfect world. With the entry of sin into the world, this perfect harmony was lost. As believers in Jesus we intercede for each other in prayer for this perfection to be realized again here on earth…as it is in heaven. We have the position as covenant partners to request healing from God. Because of this, we should exercise our rights by diligently reading the Word of God (Bible) so we understand what God’s perfect will is and by releasing His healing power over one another.

What do we do when we have done all there is to do…and the healing does not occur?

“Once my husband was diagnosed with an aneurysm in his brain. We were certain that God was going to heal him. He was in a perfect position to tell many people about the healing when it happened. And, we were sure that our plan was the best plan for him. Well, God had other plans. He is God after all, and we should let Him have that position. However, I went through a crisis. I imagined that maybe God wasn’t good after all. I reasoned that when the Bible relates Job’s struggles, that God and Satan were just playing with him. God would give up control and Satan would inflict another terrible evil on poor Job. However with this trail of thought I felt myself falling deeper and deeper into hopelessness. Finally, I realized I had a choice: either stay on the path I was, or believe that God is a loving God. It took an act of my will when I could not see a positive outcome, to trust in God. My husband was eventually ‘healed’ by a wonderful surgeon.”2

The Bible is explicit in its teachings about healing. It speaks about Jesus redeeming us from sin and the curse of sin. And we have very concrete evidence in Scripture that healing is part of God’s promise to His people. The obvious example is Jesus Himself. He NEVER told a deaf, blind, leper, or crippled person that it was good for him to endure his illness–NEVER. What it does say is He had compassion. He wept. He was exhausted because of the crowds. (Matt 14:14, 20:34, Mark 6:34, John 8:31, Luke 8:34-37) Jesus also told us we would do mightier works than even He did.

But, people still have illness and most don’t live to see 100 years. So what course should we take? We pray. We encourage. We pray again. We encourage again. The battle is fought in the mind as well as the body…it is work to think positively and courageously. Ephesians tells us to put on the armour of God: then stand firm and pray!

Eph 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devilʼs schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lordʼs people.” (NIV)
  • Belt of truth: God wants our well-being, not sickness and death
  • Breastplate of righteousness: we are righteous only because of Christ’s death
  • Some versions say ‘Boots of Peace’, the Gospel is the ‘Good News’ that Jesus died for us so that we can be reconciled with the Father
  • Shield of faith: believe in what you cannot see–believe God is on our side
  • Helmet of Salvation: when you have believed in your mind Jesus is Lord
  • Sword of the Spirit: the word of God–even Jesus, when tempted in the desert by Satan, rebuked him with Scripture!

If these things are true, how do we have enough faith? Sometimes we don’t, plain and simple, that’s why we keep trying. But, not everyone in the Bible had great faith, either. (I’m so glad the Bible includes stories about normal humans!)

Mark 9:23-25 “What do you mean, “If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!”
Jesus tries to explain faith in the following Scripture: notice FAITH IN GOD, not our prayers, not our strength, not our good deeds, just faith in Him. Believe that He is who He says He is, that He loves us, that He is faithful. Pray with faith. The old-timers used to say pray until you know heaven heard you; they called it ‘praying through’. I would say pray until you have peace. Peace is from God, when you are confident HE has heard, you can rest.
Mark 11:22-24 “Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, “May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.”

Believe God is good. The alternative to faith in God leads to hopelessness.

In summary:

The rebellion of Adam in the Garden of Eden brought sin, sickness and death into the perfect world God had established. The covenant relationship between God and Mankind was now broken. The only way to erase the power of sin was a perfect sinless blood sacrifice offered to God. To be ratified, each person who wants to restore covenant with God must believe in the sacrifice of Jesus. With the restoration of spiritual wholeness Jesus also secured the restoration of physical wholeness. He rescued us from the ‘curse of the law’.

And this is true, not just in our own lives; we have also been given the power and authority to heal the sick by Jesus.

Luke 10:9 “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.'”

Mark 16:15-18 “And then he told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.'”

John 14:12-14 “‘I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!'”

When we understand that the blood sacrifice of Jesus has made us covenant partners with God, we can be comfortable bringing our requests to God and expect that He will answer us.


Jesus, you delivered us from sin and the curse of sin! Because of our covenant relationship with you we are able to rebuke sickness and evil spirits in your Name, Jesus. May we walk in the path you have given us. May we point to the work you have done to restore Mankind to the Father. And may your Name be glorified by signs and wonders of healings and deliverance from evil spirits. Amen.

Footnotes: 1 and 2 taken from my own experiences, just told here in narrative voice.

This piece taken from a book that should be published by this fall. Thanks for reading…please don’t hesitate to be very honest with questions/critique. Thanks! Vicki

The Ten Commandments of Blogging

Stumbled upon this today…reblogging for myself as much as anyone. I have gained much by reading blogs…may I diligently return the favor!

A Holistic Journey

1. Thou shalt not waste readers’ time. Offer up thy readers a worthy sacrifice that they might take and be satisfied.

2. Thou shalt honor thy muse. Be prepared in season, out of season to seize inspiration when she comes that ye might write, dance, photograph, paint thy bliss. Be not caught without thy scroll, ink, pen, iGadget, camera. Thou wilt not redeem the moment the locust has eaten.

3. Thou shalt preview thy draft and spell-check before publishing that the Angel of Vengeance shall not fly over thy blog in the night.10commandmts2

4. Always speak ye the truth.

5. Thou shalt not take up the like button in vain, foremost on this blog. It is holystic ground. Thou shalt in integrity read the posts before clicking anything lest thou incite my wrath. Know ye that I see thou couldst not have read four of my brain-intensive posts in one…

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ReBlogged from a Collection of 2000-year-old Blogs


Just to be sure you understand this format: when the 2000 year-old blog is being posted, the ‘reblog’ will be set apart as quotes, when the narrator is speaking it will appear as a typical post. These words are precious and I don’t want to water them down or take away from their power by my descriptions or declarations. Please let me know if there is confusion over any post.

Blogging is not a new phenomenon. People with a message have always had a burning desire to pass it on. These particular blogs were hand copied by dedicated people over many centuries. After printing was invented, they could be produced in greater numbers but always with an effort to produce a perfect, exact copy of the original. As a result, we have copies today that vary only slightly from the originals, and in most cases can be explained by human transcription errors.

The 21st century just happens to have a really great medium, which can reach people all over the world with incredible speed and minimal cost. Enjoy these timeless words from men and women who witnessed greatness first-hand.

Why it was written:

The eyewitness to these things has presented an accurate report. He saw it himself and is telling the truth so that you, also, will believe. John 19:35

About the original author:

This is the same disciple who was eyewitness to all these things and wrote them down. And we all know that his eyewitness account is reliable and accurate. John 21: 24

Who Really is JESUS?

Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”

The Pharisees objected, “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on.”

Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true. I know where I’ve come from and where I go next. You don’t know where I’m from or where I’m headed. You decide according to what you can see and touch. I don’t make judgments like that. But even if I did, my judgment would be true because I wouldn’t make it out of the narrowness of my experience but in the largeness of the One who sent me, the Father. That fulfills the conditions set down in God’s Law: that you can count on the testimony of two witnesses. And that is what you have: You have my word and you have the word of the Father who sent me.”

They said, “Where is this so-called Father of yours?”

Jesus said, “You’re looking right at me and you don’t see me. How do you expect to see the Father? If you knew me, you would at the same time know the Father.” He gave this speech in the Treasury while teaching in the Temple. No one arrested him because his time wasn’t yet up. Then he went over the same ground again. “I’m leaving and you are going to look for me, but you’re missing God in this and are headed for a dead end. There is no way you can come with me.”

The Jews said, “So, is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by ‘You can’t come with me’?”

Jesus said, “You’re tied down to the mundane; I’m in touch with what is beyond your horizons. You live in terms of what you see and touch. I’m living on other terms. I told you that you were missing God in all this. You’re at a dead end. If you won’t believe I am who I say I am, you’re at the dead end of sins. You’re missing God in your lives.”

They said to him, “Just who are you anyway?”

Jesus said, “What I’ve said from the start. I have so many things to say that concern you, judgments to make that affect you, but if you don’t accept the trustworthiness of the One who commanded my words and acts, none of it matters. That is who you are questioning—not me but the One who sent me.” They still didn’t get it, didn’t realize that he was referring to the Father. So Jesus tried again. “When you raise up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am—that I’m not making this up, but speaking only what the Father taught me. The One who sent me stays with me. He doesn’t abandon me. He sees how much joy I take in pleasing him.” When he put it in these terms, many people decided to believe.

Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”

Surprised, they said, “But we’re descendants of Abraham. We’ve never been slaves to anyone. How can you say, ‘The truth will free you’?”

Jesus said, “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through. I know you are Abraham’s descendants. But I also know that you are trying to kill me because my message hasn’t yet penetrated your thick skulls. I’m talking about things I have seen while keeping company with the Father, and you just go on doing what you have heard from your father.”

They were indignant. “Our father is Abraham!” Jesus said, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would have been doing the things Abraham did. And yet here you are trying to kill me, a man who has spoken to you the truth he got straight from God! Abraham never did that sort of thing. You persist in repeating the works of your father.”

They said, “We’re not bastards. We have a legitimate father: the one and only God.”

“If God were your father,” said Jesus, “you would love me, for I came from God and arrived here. I didn’t come on my own. He sent me. Why can’t you understand one word I say? Here’s why: You can’t handle it. You’re from your father, the Devil, and all you want to do is please him. He was a killer from the very start. He couldn’t stand the truth because there wasn’t a shred of truth in him. When the Liar speaks, he makes it up out of his lying nature and fills the world with lies. I arrive on the scene, tell you the plain truth, and you refuse to have a thing to do with me. Can any one of you convict me of a single misleading word, a single sinful act? But if I’m telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Anyone on God’s side listens to God’s words. This is why you’re not listening—because you’re not on God’s side.”

… They picked up rocks to throw at him. But Jesus slipped away, getting out of the Temple. John 8:12-59

Taken from “The Message”. I chose this version of the Bible because it uses language like we might speak today.

So, I was wrong…

OK—‘blessed’ is not over-used. It sure seems like it is. Maybe it is not used appropriately. Maybe even thoughtlessly and that is what bothers me. After mulling it over for this post though,

I think I need to get over it!

After all, I love the thought of receiving blessings. If God wants to bless me or you want to extend God’s blessings to me, why should I care how sincere you are?

From ‘googling’ blessed: Use over time for: blessed


“Old English blēdsian, blētsian, based on blōd ‘blood’ (i.e., originally perhaps ‘mark or consecrate with blood’). The meaning was influenced by its being used to translate Latin benedicere ‘to praise, worship,’ and later by association with bliss.”

Cool, cool, cool. Blood…I had no clue, the derivation of ‘bless’ included a reference to blood. Blood is special in the Bible. When it is used as a seal or sacrifice, it signifies the intensity of the promise. It reminds each party involved in the transaction that blood was shed for this promise, so therefore it cannot be broken. God spoke the WORLD into existence with His WORDS. We are made in HIS image and likeness, therefore, our words matter; they make a difference.

What else does ‘bless, blessing, blessed’ mean? The Bible tells us to ‘bless and not curse’.

Romans 12:14 (NLT) “Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.”

One of the things I am learning with blogging is the huge place written words have in interpersonal communications. The written word invokes more thought than the spoken word in its creation, delivery and reception. I have learned more about my new fellow bloggers by reading their sites, than the people I spend everyday working beside. That seems so wrong.

So, while I am strengthening my writing skills, I will pay attention to my spoken words. Pronouncing blessings seems to be a good exercise, beautiful and multi-faceted, yes, like a diamond.

It is multi-faceted because I can bless GOD and my fellow-man for all types of situations, for gifts as well as needs. The dictionary seems to focus on the positive aspects of blessings: favor, fortune, luck, privilege, and happiness. While the Bible says we can be blessed, in even seemingly negative circumstances.

Job 5:17 (NIV) declares: “Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.”

James 1:12 (NIV) “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

Blessing God…that’s an interesting thought. The Scriptures remind us that our words can bless God. There is it again…a reminder that we say things without thinking about them, well at least I do. Maybe that is why I love the song by Matt Redman, 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord). Singing the words creates a moment where I am truly praising the LORD with everything in me. For a moment, I stop thinking about ‘me’ and my needs, my desires. In that moment, I am blessing God just for who He is. I imagine that is what heaven will be like. In His presence all we will want to do is worship (my imaginings). Face-to-face with HIM with our eyes wide open, we will be in awe. We will see, then, the reasons behind suffering and pain, His and ours. We will see HIS love and be overwhelmed.

But for now, we bless HIM with faith. We don’t see fully, we don’t understand fully, but we know He came to live here as one of us and gave us directions as to how to live. We know He gave us HIS WORD to remind, to teach, to comfort, to encourage. And, we bless others. Those we love and those we don’t love. Those that love us and those that hurt us. I saw an incredible video yesterday that I will end with. You must watch it. I don’t know this little one’s age. She is truly one of the ‘little ones’ Jesus said we must be like. Notice her words. She is blessing God, her friend, and her enemies. I am absolutely sure God was blessed by this child’s words, (stay long enough to hear her song at the end). Sat-7 Myriam

Let me bless you…

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NLT) “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,  the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”

Half-dead or Dead-dead, which were/are you?


I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; John Masefield 1878-1967

Yesterday another blogger asked an important question:

Which of the two ways – there are only two – would you describe how you were saved?

1. You were drowning in a deep pool of water. You were just about to go under. A man on the bank shouted to you to stretch out your hand. You struggled with all your might and managed to stretch out a bit of your exhausted arm. He grabbed your arm and pulled you out. He told you all about yourself and promised you would live forever if you put your trust in him for the rest of your life. You were so grateful that you decided to follow him the rest of your life.

2, You were lying dead at the bottom of the pool. You, of course, didn’t know this because you were dead. A man came dived into the pool, swam to the bottom and dragged you to the surface onto the bank. The “kiss of life” would be of no use because you weren’t half-dead but dead dead. Yet, he brought you back to life. He told you all about yourself and promised that you would live forever if you put your trust in him the rest of your life. You were so filled with joy that you decided to follow him the rest of your life.

This is my response.

Ahhhhhhhh! The second–I was dead-dead. So dead, that I didn’t recognize that the person next to me praying with tears and sobs was praying for ME! I patted her on the leg to comfort her. My boyfriend (future husband, but that was later to be determined) and I were being kind to his parents and attending a ‘camp meeting’. I had just graduated from nursing school, had a boyfriend that said he loved me, and was looking forward to working for a steady paycheck. I was in ‘heaven’ by my definition.

Now, here I was in a really weird church service in the evening and it wasn’t even Sunday. People were praying out loud, bunches of them at the same time. Young people, old people, some of them were walking around the hall that held the meeting. I don’t remember the message, the songs were unfamiliar, but I can vividly picture my friend’s mother sitting next to me on my left, with her handkerchief in her hand and tears rolling down her face. When I asked her if she was OK, she just nodded.

For many years after this I would call this same woman and ask her to pray. I knew whatever was troubling me would be laid at the feet of the only One who could fix things. Dorothy prayed until heaven answered.

The year was 1976. July of that year was to be a big celebration here in the U.S. It was our bicentennial year. One night my boyfriend and I went out to celebrate and watch fireworks. I should have been having fun, celebrating everything that had happened recently. But, my ‘heavenly’ existence, didn’t seem that satisfying! Here I was walking through the best time of my life–and still not satisfied. Actually, I remember feeling disappointed and empty. That evening, after we came ‘home’ (we were living together–a real NO-NO to everyone at the time) I was sitting on the sofa and my boyfriend was in the back room.

I was thinking.

Then, I can’t tell you how I knew, but I knew. Just as real as my computer before me is right now, I knew God was real. I knew HE existed. The next thing I knew, or felt, was an overwhelming sadness. It wasn’t my sadness. It was as if GOD were sad. He was sad that my life could be so much more. There is something gut wrenching about someone who responds to your stupidity with sadness. Beat me over the head, yell at me, I can walk away. But respond with love and sadness, I have to stop……at least for a moment.

Well, if God is real, maybe I need to do something about that. No, wait, I need to do something RIGHT NOW! I may go back to forgetting HE is real. I may go back to my cynical, Nietsche-loving, Stalin-pondering idealogies.

But wait, this guy that says he loves me, what about him? He is going to think I am some kind of weirdo. Well, God, you will just need to find me another. It seemed like I needed to make some changes, and quickly, before I dismissed this whole thing as indigestion.

I got up, walked to the back of the apartment where I thought my boyfriend was studying. I told him, “I need to be a Jesus freak.” (That’s what we called sold-out believers back in the day.)

He responded something like, “me too. I was just sitting here thinking, I could never marry someone who did not believe in God.”

No one can ever tell me there is no Holy Spirit; a Being so awesome, who works in the hearts of men. I didn’t realize that at the moment, I just knew that I gave up the love of my life in the front room and received him back in the back room. Except now, he was all dressed up as a man of God! I still remember this scene with awe. Who wouldn’t want to follow a God like this! I thought I was giving to Him–He gave so much more to me…………

I can actually see each of the above scenarios bringing the same results. I think the eventual outcome is what is important. Half-dead or dead-dead, things are not looking good. Realizing that you cannot do it for yourself is the key to salvation.


Ephesians 2:3-9 (NLT)

All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. 
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.