Maggie Mae was not my first nickname but I’m glad it was the first one that stuck. In 1979-80, the Rod Steward song Maggie Mae was being played quite frequently on the radio and I guess the young man I was dating figured Maggie Mae would work better for me than Marjorie because this was his Mother’s name as well. I liked it from the first time he said it.
When naming my hair business in 1984, I was told that naming it with a different name than Marj would be more difficult and cost more, so I went with Marj’s Hairstyling. The people in our area got used to calling me Marj again, except for those closest to me who continued to call me Maggie.
In 2001 my children were eight, twelve, and fifteen and in need of a summer program. Events were happening around me and I could see a plan for a summer youth group unfolding. It included weekly get togethers with a group of lively kids, games, swimming parties, bonfires, singing, and two big events, one including a motorcycle gang (group really, I don’t think they call themselves a gang)
I could see the plan but I wasn’t sure I was supposed to lead it, so I asked God if he wanted me to. The next day I went to church and on the front of the weekly church paper, that was handed to me at the door, sat a motorcycle. I took that as my answer, “Yes.” We got the summer program into full swing.
There is more to this story, it will be called Letting in the Light. Today I want to focus on the name Maggie Mae. So, to continue, in July I was on the phone with the wife of one of the bikers. I was concerned about how many people would show up for the motorcycle event. The lady on the other end of the phone said “Don’t worry. The people God wants to be there will be there.”
After I hung up, I went to church and as I entered the building I was handed one of our weekly church papers. On the front of the paper sat a man and a woman on a motorcycle and above it was written “Maggie’s Love Story” I will add the cover here when I get approval. I knew then, that the lady on the phone was right. God was in charge of who came out to the event. I read the story, Maggie’s Love Story, when I got home, and her life was very similar to mine. Over one hundred and twenty people turned up for our motorcycle event.
A couple of weeks later we went to our sister church in Carnduff, SK to hear a missionary speak. The pastor took me aside after the meeting and told me they had planned to pray for Neil, if he had come, but they wanted to pray for us anyway. Neil had just been diagnosed with leukemia. A group of people gathered, and they went around the circle praying. “I want to pray for strength for Marj and her children and healing for Neil,” and the next would be, “I want to pray for Marj and her family.” When they got to the missionary, he read a bible verse and I felt my faith being lifted and then He said, “I want to pray for strength for Maggie.” I looked up at him. He said, “That is your name isn’t it?” I said, “Yes.” No one had called me that but him. Ladies named Margaret are often called Maggie, but I hadn’t heard anyone other than me with the name Marj being called Maggie. I asked him after, and he didn’t know why he had called me that.
Nearing the middle of August, Neil and I took the girls to Dauphin to the Jesus Manitoba Fest. It was a great weekend, but it was really hot. I was concerned about Neil. I could tell the leukemia, and the heat were wearing him out. Driving home, I began to feel very tired. I looked over at Neil he had finally fallen asleep and I didn’t want to wake him up. I was about to turn the corner to drive the last nine miles when I started feeling really tired. I said this prayer in my head, God please do something to wake me up, and especially that last mile and a half or two when you know your home and you can fall asleep even easier. I added but please don’t make it a deer because I had hit one recently and almost totaled my car.
I rode along trying to concentrate on the road and the radio, my eyes feeling very heavy. (Don’t worry I’m committed to never driving like this now) About two miles from home a song came on the radio. The song had the name Maggie in it multiple times and she lived in a small town and wore a gold cross around her neck. It was uncanny how much the song was about me. I wanted to wake everyone up in the car. But I didn’t. (I will add the lyrics here when I get permission)
When we got home, I told my oldest daughter about the song and in the morning we talked about it again. Her words were “Yeah... but eww... mom.” She took the name of the song and looked it up on the internet for me and printed out the lyrics. (My daughters reaction would be totally the opposite today, it would be more like, well didn’t you expect something like that?)
So I say “God calls me Maggie” and I believe this is part of the reason why he does, there is another Marjorie Holmes, she is a well published Christian author and I can’t use that name as a writer. People will mention her when I go around the country speaking, she is very well known. So my writing name is Maggie Mae Holmes.
Some people would say that I’m very specific about telling God what I want. Yes, I am. The Bible tells us in Mark 11:24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.(There are stipulations of course but Jesus sounds like He wants us to be specific, whatever things you ask.)
It’s pretty hard to believe you receive them if you are not specific about what them is.(I know that is bad grammar.)
Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do super-abundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.
God is not stingy with His love and His help.
Hebrews 11:6 (AMP) But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
One more verse that fits here and then I’m finished I promise. Oops and a bit of commentary.
John 10:3(AMP) The doorkeeper opens [the gate] for this man, and the sheep hear his voice and pay attention to it. And [knowing that they listen] he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out [to pasture].
Yes, it is fine with me that I am His sheep and He is my good shepherd, so to speak. Learning how to be led by God has been a journey in itself but I love the mystery that goes along with it. The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want......
I sat at the funeral of a close family friend. I heard the minister say that Annie (not her real name) had given her life to the Lord and had spent the last few months reading the Bible and learning about God’s love. I was pleased Annie had made that choice and that I was going to see her again in Heaven one day.
We went from the church, to the cemetery. As we closed in around the grave site, I ended up directly behind one of Annie’s sons. The minister spoke again about how Annie had accepted the Lord’s sacrificial death for her and how she was ready to meet the Lord. But then he said “and the Lord chose to come and take Annie home.” My heart sank. I wondered if other people were thinking the same thing that just went through my head. Then he continued. “Are you ready, have you accepted the Lord?”
I wasn’t wrong. Her son who stood directly in front of me said. “He ain’t getting me.”
I know the well-meaning minister wanted to get people saved, and that is wonderful. But to say the Lord had chosen to take her, after saying she had accepted Him, made it look like, on purpose God had taken Annie’s life. This is so far from the truth. Yes, because she had chosen to accept Jesus death on the cross to pay for her sin (the things she has done wrong) once her spirit left her body she would go to Heaven and God would have taken her there. But God did not make her sick. That goes against New Testament teaching. (If there is anything that looks like a contradiction in the Bible, there is always a good reason for it, such as a past tradition or something specifically given to a certain people groups. There are truly no contradictions when it is studied out)
Back to my rant. It says in the Bible that if you are sick you are to go to the elders and have them pray the prayer of faith and the prayer of faith shall save the sick. I know that doesn’t always happen, and is not taught in the majority of churches, but it is what the Bible says. The churches that teach this truth see many people healed in their congregations. (James 5:14-15)
The prayer of faith shall save the sick, that doesn’t sound like a God who chooses to make you sick to take you from this earth. He also says in His word that “God’s words are life to those who find them and health to all their flesh.” Many people have studied the healing scriptures and instead of the sickness that could have taken their lives, they trusted the words of God and recovered. Dodie Osteen is a good example of this. Her and her daughter’s stories are on the internet and there are many more like theirs. The movie Breakthrough written about a boy who fell through the ice and drowned is another true story of faith that never gave up resulting in an amazing healing.
I know a few of these people and their stories personally. I have been healed myself and am believing for healing today. The Bible says to lay hands on the sick and they will recover. Jesus never took that application back. So many of us expect an instant healing and lose it by giving in to doubt. If we hang onto His words, tenaciously trusting God's words pertaining to healing, we shall recover.
Proverbs 4:20-22 (NIV)
20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
One of the keys is to rest in faith believing that Jesus paid the price for us to be healed.
There are many scriptures that prove that it is God’s will to heal today, but in a lot of cases it needs to be believed to be received. Keith Moore has a wonderful series on You-Tube with 20 teachings about how it is God’s will to heal today. Andrew Wommack also has a series called God Wants you Well and over 30 Healing Testimonies that can be watched through his website AWMI.net
Someday each of us will die, this is sure. It is accounted onto man once to die. But God says we can live out the number of our days (Exodus 23:26) and we are under a new and better covenant than they were under in the Old Testament. All of the promises are yes and amen in Jesus. There are things that can add numbers to our days and things that can shorten the numbers of our days. He also says we can live until we are satisfied. It does say there is a season in which we shall die as there is a season for everything else. But just like a crop has a specific season and that season is when it’s ripe and ready, we to don’t have to go before our season.
Exodus 23:26 (NIV) and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.
2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV) 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.
Our God is a loving God and just like any father He does not want His children sick, He wants them well, enjoying life and doing what He brought them onto this earth to do. One of God’s names is Jehovah Rapha which means, The Lord our healer.
I was reading a book that by this time had sold many copies when I came across a comment that I know is widely believed around the world. I hesitated to publish this blog because I know it will be controversial, but to me causing discussion and deeper thought about a subject is a good thing. Someone’s opinions and beliefs could be changed by it, even mine.
So here goes. What I read was “My life is going to work out according to God’s will no matter how I feel, so why try to manipulate situations to avoid my unwanted human feelings?”
While I agree with this statement if we are like Paul in the Bible, who could say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” What I mean by this is, if I am putting God first in my life, doing what He asks me to do and if I want His plan to play out in my life then my life is going to work out according to God's will.
I didn't know we had this kind of a choice for a long time. There are a lot of people on earth who are living their own plans for themselves, rather than God’s plans. A lot of people go through life believing that everything that happens to them, for them, and even by them is God’s will for their lives. This is not true.
We have been given the power and authority in our lives to make choices. We decide what cereal to eat for breakfast, what to wear, what to buy and sell. God doesn’t choose those things for us, just like he doesn’t choose for us to drink and drive, do drugs, text and cause an accident, or to gossip or be rude to someone. He even tells us not to do some things, even so we can still make the choice to do them. The consequences will have been from our own choices, and not something God chose to do to us. Non-believers understand the power our choices.
There are things that God is in total control of like creating the earth, powering it, the eternal plan for man right from the beginning through Jesus death on the cross until the day He comes back. And so much more. But as far as our choices and obedience we do have choices and consequences.
A lot of people use the phrase, everything happens for a reason. It sounds very spiritual and it is true everything does happen for a reason but often the reason is because someone, not always us but someone made a choice to do something.
I also hear, “Why did God let that happen?” We wouldn’t tell our grown child that the farm belongs to him and that he is responsible for it, just to then turn around and make choices for him. Neither would it benefit him if we corrected all of his mistakes. We learn from our mistakes. Neither does God put us in charge and then take back the responsibilities he has given us. I am not excluding God's work in our lives though and I will write about this in a future blog.
We can learn how to trust God to protect us, help us and guide us in our lives. He wants us to ask him for that help, just like any parent likes to continue to be a part of their children’s lives and will help whenever they are asked. God says “Ask and it will be given unto you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you.” The choice to ask and have God be involved in our lives is ours. Then He has things He wants to work together with us to accomplish in this world. It is a relationship with God that we need to pursue. It is our choice to pursue Him and His will for us.
The Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
I didn’t understand this prayer for a long time; it left me thinking that in some situations I had no choice but to put up with what ever it was that was affecting my life. "grant me the serenity to accept the things I could not change," It actually frustrated me for a long time. I guess accepting things is not one of my strong points. I was and am more on the side of, "change the things I can."
I heard this prayer again recently and with a better explanation, so I thought I would share it with you.
We can sit down with a pen and paper and write down what things we cannot change and give those to God because all things are possible with Him. The key here is to really give them to Him believing He will change these situations. “God is an ever present help in times of need.” Psalms 46:1
In another column we can write the things we can change and work on those, with or without God’s help.
And for those things we don’t know if we can change or if we should give them to God, we can ask God for "the wisdom to know the difference." He says He will give us that wisdom if we expect that He will give it to us. This is a promise given to us in James 1: 5-6 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
I have done this many times and have received the wisdom I’ve needed and He has helped me when I couldn’t change things myself. We don’t have to accept everything as it looks here on earth. We have a wonderful Father. We are to live by faith and not by sight and that means trusting Him to fix or get us through what we see as a problem.
The freedoms we have in this country have attracted many people to pursue a life here.
Under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in the list of Fundamental Freedoms, everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: Freedom to conscience and religion, freedom of thought, belief, opinion, expression, including freedom of press and other media of communication; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of association.
I like that people can say what they think and believe, freely in our country. I have learned a lot from people who have taken the time to explain to me what they believe. I have talked to many people, some I knew before, some I didn’t. I love a good conversation discussing various beliefs, you’ll have to ask my family about this one. The people I have talked to have made me look deeper into what I believe so I can see if what I believe is true or if what they are saying is true.
So we are free to state, “I can believe what I want.” And I would support that person all the way to the bank with that. I mean I would never want these rights taken away from anyone, unless what they were doing and saying is taking away someone else’s rights and freedoms. (And sadly sometimes this happens}
Now to where I am going with this.
We can believe what we want but I want to believe the truth. I search for truth. There are truths that I have been searching for since I was a little child. And the more I search the more I find.
I can believe something and then find out what I believed didn’t have a strong enough base so my belief changed. When I have a foundation, a really strong belief with lots of proof, it’s really hard to change that belief. I would say it’s almost impossible.
I could believe I have $1000 in my bank account and I go and ask at the bank for the $1000.00. The clerk looks and says “you only have $50 in that account. I could say “No I have $1000 in there and she looks again and says “No there is only $50 in there.” The truth is there is only $50.00 in my account. In this case there is only one truth. (And in my case it would be because I forgot about a check I had written.)
The truth is so important to me. I don’t want to believe someone else’s beliefs just because it sounds good or sounds logical. The older I get the more I recognize that everything isn’t as it seems. I can think something but it's the truth that matters. And finding out what the real truth is, is important.
I have daughters, other family members and friends who help keep me straight, I thank God for them. I always want to be teachable but not gullible. If you can show me the truth, the facts about something then I will take that, and think it over, and often talk it over with those I trust. And if it’s a faith based question, for me, it always has to line up with the Bible. The reason I chose the Bible as my weigh scale is because I have experienced for myself, God’s love. So I know the Bible is the Truth.
Ephesians 3:1a Amplified Bible (AMP)
19 and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience],
I was about to graduate high school, enjoy a normal summer, and then go off to hair school when my Uncle asked me to fly to BC and spend three weeks with him and his wife. I loved my Uncle and was up for an adventure so I said, “yes.” This wasn’t my first trip to BC. My Mom had taken me out to see my Uncle shortly after my fourth birthday. Now sixteen years later I was going again. A lot had happened in those sixteen years. My Dad had passed away, we had moved off the farm, I struggled to settle into a new school and I had grown up.
My Uncle had taken an interest in me and my siblings from the time I was little, always requesting our school pictures, sending letters, and coming to see us when he came to Manitoba. He showed even more interest in me after my Dad passed away.
I flew to BC and my Uncle met me, with a hug, at the Victoria airport. It felt a little strange to be hugged by a man, a father type. This wasn’t his fault, I had learned over the last ten years that some men in that age group couldn’t be trusted.
I loved the scenery and all the spots Uncle John, Aunt Helen and I, stopped as we drove to their home in Youbou, on Lake Cowichan. We pulled up in front of his garage and Uncle John pulled the garage door up to reveal his shop and the stairs going up to their kitchen. I had never seen a kitchen on the second floor of a house before. He showed me the clock he was making for me, out of a tree knot and a clock kit. He was in the polishing stage. I was honored.
Every morning, Uncle John would put his paper down and say “where is my hug?” The first time he did this I felt first a little in shock, and next a little suspicious, and then it felt good.
We would have breakfast and then take Uncle John’s two dachshunds for a walk. During the day he and Aunt Helen would take me on trips in every direction. We saw every waterfall, beach, and mountain for miles around. As we traveled and toured parks and other tourist spots, my Uncle John was not afraid to show me how he felt. He would help me, along with Aunt Helen, down from high places as we walked and he would put his arm around our necks, and we would talk. We had trips, just the two of us, as well, to get the mail or to go swimming or tour a park. One day my Uncle John said, “Did you know that I’m treating you like I do my daughters?”
I said, “Yes.” Although I hadn’t been treated like a daughter for many years and I wasn’t sure what that would be like, and I hadn’t seen much of Uncle John with his daughters so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. It was a choice to choose to trust that he was treating me like his daughters it didn’t come easy.
It was difficult for me because my dad had passed away when I was six and my step father tried in some ways, but had no idea how to be a father. I was more afraid of him, than I ever felt loved and safe with him. I had to remind myself that this was my uncle and he had two daughters of his own and I wanted to believe his motives were pure.
I loved my time with my Uncle John that summer. I wish I could go back and live it again and because of my experiences with his love, I would feel freer to be myself and let him be that father figure he wanted to be. It was a summer I will never forget.
Uncle John came to Manitoba and said the toast to the bride at my first wedding and my husband and I went out to BC for our honeymoon. We went to a lot of places Uncle John had taken me to.
Uncle John only came to Manitoba once after that and his letters slowed down and the last Christmas card I got from him said that he wasn’t sure if he had already sent me a card, but he wanted to make sure I got one. I was grateful. I called him a couple of times after that because I knew he was losing his memory.
We went out to BC once, but my family told me that Uncle John wouldn’t know me and I didn’t think I wanted to experience that. On another trip out though I did decide to go and see him. I set my plans after hearing a story about a person with low functioning autism. This person had grown up to live a very normal life and said when he was young even though he couldn’t understand the world around him or get what he was thinking out, he was in there and wanted to communicate. It made me realize that my Uncle, suffering with Alzheimer’s, was in there also and he could know that I was there.
I said that to my cousin and my Aunt after I arrived in BC. I explained autism and then I said he could know I am there. On the way to the senior’s home I said a prayer. I said, “God, just have him know I’m there.”
I remember what the road looked like in the place where I prayed. The inside of the vehicle, the green grass, and the rocks that went straight up into a cliff off to the west of the road on the way to Ladysmith.
My cousin told me that Uncle John hadn’t know anyone for five years and that he had run away from them a couple of times because they were too close and he didn’t know them .
We walked in the front door of the nursing home and there was Uncle John looking the same as he had the last time I had seen him. He still had all of his white hair and barely any wrinkles. He sat as still as a rock and he didn’t even move as we came up to him. I purposely didn’t touch him, I didn’t want him to run from us. My cousin touched him though and said, “Dad you are cold.”
I think he had just forgotten to move. Aunt Helen went to his room and got him a sweater. We put his sweater on him and I stayed in my squatted position in front of him. His eyes were glazed over. My cousin Andrea started talking about the family history that my other Aunt Helen had sent out from Manitoba and how Uncle John had recognized some of the names and turned toward her when they were spoken.
When Andrea said the name Aunt Helen, Uncle John turned and looked at her. She told him who she and Aunt Helen were and he thought Aunt Helen was Andrea. Andrea asked him if he knew his brother Gordon’s, daughter.
He said “Yes.”
She said “Marj Howden?”
He said, “Yes.”
She said, “Turn and look, she’s right in front of you.”
He turned and looked at me, his eyes were clearing and he smiled at me. “ And aren’t you a pretty girl.” he said.
“That’s what you said to me 16 years ago.” I said, “And that’s because I’m a Howden.”
“And that’s not such a bad thing.” he said.
Andrea asked me to repeat what he said. So I did. Upon reading this she reminded me that Uncle John had taken my hand and held it. I recalled that when she said it.
Then a nurse stopped by and told us they were taking them out in a boat ride later that day. We asked Uncle John if he was going to go fishing and he said “no” and he told us he had given up fishing because he had to clean them after. We all laughed.
My Aunt Helen and Andrea stepped outside.
I told Uncle John that I was thankful to him that he had treated me like a daughter when I was out visiting him after I graduated.
He said, “I’m so glad I did,” he smiled and I could tell he was trying to stay out with me.
I hugged and kissed him I’m sure three times and said, “I love you” and “Good bye.” It was hard to leave him but I also felt I had been given a very special gift.
I stepped outside and my cousin said “You knew didn’t you.”
I wasn’t sure what to say, I wish I had prayed, “Just have him know that we’re there.” so he would have recognized Aunt Helen and Andrea more, as well. All I could say was that God had answered prayers for me before and this was an important one. Uncle John passed away just a few months later and my cousin and my aunt came out to see me and my family the next spring. My cousin repeated what she said before. “You knew didn’t you?”
How I would answer that now is “I released my faith and God answered. Mark 11:24 “Whatever you ask for in prayer believe that your receive it and you shall have it.”
Matthew 21:22 “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
The other correlation I see from this part of my life is how many time God answered my prayers and showed me he loved me and I still didn’t trust Him as easily as He wanted me to. He wanted to be my father when I was fatherless.
As I sat in front of my computer doing my husband books, a small dove sat perched on the fence outside my window. I picked up my sketch book and began to draw her, I only assume she’s a she because of her curiosity and daintiness. She gave me many poses to draw and then as I watched her, she began to notice me. She turned her little neck from side to side looking in the window. Then she really twisted her neck to have a good look at me. I captured that pose as well. This went on for a good half hour and I enjoyed every minute of it.
This was not always a luxury I would have been able to have enjoyed. In the past people would ask me if I was busy and I would always wanted to say “yes”. And felt bad if I wasn’t. I had such a pattern of busyness going in my life that I would feel uncomfortable while I sat and watched anything on TV or if I sat in the sun reading a book.
Two years ago I was put out of the game, so to speak or rather set into a new scenic picture. It was what was happening to me that made me change my life.
I have had to teach myself that it is okay to enjoy the little things, the beautiful things, and the moments with nothing much at all in them. Simplicity, not a goal I ever thought I would have set for myself, but now it’s one I greatly want to achieve. I didn’t say strive for because anything can become something pushed and forced after and the peace would be lost.
Change is something I have never liked. I have been faced with many things in life and when I have the courage to change things, things improve. This new fight was and is with my thoughts, the closest thing to my being, something I didn’t have as much control over as I should have. But with persistence I have learned how and am continuing to learn how to set boundaries, and retrain my mind to a healthier way of living. I am becoming closer to the balanced life that I have needed for years.
I love my walks with my dog, Baxter, watching him swim after ducks in our water filled fields. I like looking at the wild flowers and the birds taking off from the pond, leaving a spray of water flying in both directions behind them. I enjoy listening to children sing, and reading a good book. I love spending time with my family and all the laughs they give me. I am enjoying writing and drawing. I’m so glad God has given me this chance to live my dream and enjoy my life.
Philippians 4:6-8 (NKJV)
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Lessons From a Little Dog
I had a little dog once, his name was Ringo and oh… I loved that dog. He knew all of my secrets and he was the most patient and understanding dog I think I ever had. He just seemed to know, (you dog lovers know what I mean).
Well I rushed home from school one day when I was 17 because my mother and step father had picked Ringo up from the vet where he had just spent the last five days recovering after a pretty extensive surgery. The last time I had seen him was the day I dropped him off at the Brandon veterinary clinic. He had been in so much pain for the two nights before that that my mom and I had stayed up holding him until he fell asleep in our arms. So I was looking forward to seeing him all fixed up.
I came into the house and sat in my favorite chair by the phone and I called him. He came in the room and went to my stepfather and then went and sat beside the fridge. I called him a few more times and he just looked the other way. This wasn’t his usual response to me at all, he always came running when I called him.
But not this time, no matter what I did he wouldn’t come to me. So I went over and picked him up and went back to my spot by the phone.
I looked at him and his head was turned away towards the wall.
“Are you mad at me?” I asked. He didn’t turn his head.
I took my fingers and turned his face toward me and he turned back towards the wall. I did it again. He turned his head to look at the wall again.
“I think he’s mad at me.” I said.
So I turned his little face again and he turned it back towards the wall.
“He is mad at me,” I said, “probably for leaving him in that nasty place where they hurt him more than he was already hurting. He didn’t know I was trying to help him.”
“Probably,” mom said, “he was probably thinking about how you left him there for the last 5 days.”
I said in a playful voice. “You can’t stay mad at me.” And I turned his face towards me again. And he licked my face and we were fine after that.
I said all of that to say my dog was holding a grudge and what would his life have been like if he had have kept that grudge? It never would have been the same again for either of us.
God doesn’t want us to hold a grudge either. Carrying anger, hurt and resentment can wound us more than we know. Not only can they keep us away from people (which in some cases is a good thing) but it can have very negative reactions as well. We can isolate ourselves. We can become bitter and our health can suffer for it. It can also keep us from advancing with God and having our prayers answered.
Matthew 6:14-15 14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
Mark 11:25 is the condition set for Mark 11:23-24 (above) and the results for these verses can be amazing.
Mark 11:23-24 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
He wants us to give the problem and the person to Him to deal with. Give them to the courtrooms of heaven and let God be your avenger.
Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord.
It is tempting, if we haven’t truly forgiven, to watch a person who has wronged us end up in trouble and we feel a sense of superiority or triumph, this too shouldn’t happen. (Even though the thought of it feels satisfying somehow.) God doesn’t want us to delight in others failures no matter if they have hurt us or not.
Proverbs 24:17-18 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him,
And He turn away His wrath from him.
My goal is to be as close to God as I can be with nothing standing between us. I want Him to work His plan for me out in my life and I want my prayers to be answered so I want to live His way. And this has brought adventure and freedom in my life. Freedom from anger, envy, strife and resentment. It is an adventure everyday as I live out His plan for my life.
When I was young my Dad sat on the side of my bed and read me stories out of Sunday School papers and taught me about God. When he died when I was six, I was left with a lot of questions. Things didn’t add up in my little brain. Daddy had told me that God is love and that God loved me. I knew about Heaven, and I believed that my Daddy had gone there. But I couldn’t understand how if God was love, how could my life feel so bad. This started a continual quest in me for understanding. This understanding only came in bits and pieces for years and it was in my troubles that I reached for the truth. And the more I reached for Him the more He revealed Himself to me.
John 14:21 The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and whoever loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.]
The first time this happened for me was when I was about 15. I had come home from bible camp where I had accepted Jesus payment for the things I had done wrong, His death on the cross for me. I had stepped into my house and after assessing the situation there, I left the house and headed for the backyard. I so badly wanted my life to be different. Things weren’t good at home and I felt defeated, and didn’t want it that way anymore.
As I walked across my backyard a wonderful feeling came over me and a really strong thought went through my head. ‘You are special.’ I wondered where that thought had come from. Could it have been God? No one had told me you could hear from God. Actually someone, about that time, walked through our house laughed and slapped their knee, ridiculing someone who said they had heard from God and how crazy that was. I never told anyone about my experience, but I held it in my heart. There it helped me on many occasions, to believe there was more to this world than what I was living.
There were a few time where I had glimpses of God, like one Sunday when I sat in church reading the Bible and some verses had a pretty strong meaning to me. But it was when I went through some hard times when I was about thirty five that I reached for God again that He showed Himself. I had been going to church all of these year, but not reaching to get to know Him personally. So when these bad times hit, the verses that had stood out to me came back, verses that made me think God should be working in our lives.
( Mathew 7:7) [a]Keep on asking and it will be given you; [b] keep on seeking and you will find;[c]keep on knocking and [the door] will be opened to you.
(Isaiah 58:9) a Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, Here I am.
Those verses told me God could be actively working in my life and I needed that. So I prayed and finally was able to leave a problem with Him and He answered Me and revealed Himself to me again. He let Himself be seen by me, like Ephesians 14:21 says.
I had heard about God’s love since I was a child and there was so much that I didn’t understand but now I was experiencing Gods love. Ephesians 3:19 says we can experience God’s love in a manner that far surpasses mere knowledge without experience and that was what was happening to me. But it didn’t come until I reached for Him and trusted Him specifically with the issues of my life.
As I gave Him my problems and while trusting Him with them, I would stop worrying. Then He would answer. He fixed lots of problems often by showing me what to do in the situation or showing me what He was doing. The more I trusted Him the more He could do. I have so many stories of how He guided me and helped me, it became an adventure to live this way.
The bible says knowing Him is part of eternal life. I thought that was interesting. Eternal life starts here, it starts when you get saved (asking Him to forgive your sins and asking Him into your heart and into your life).
(John 17:3) And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
As I write more of these blogs I will tell more of my answers to prayer and guidance from God.
I want to know God more.
The first time I heard the term ‘I’m Spiritual’ I thought it was kind of neat but I couldn’t say that I was ‘spiritual’ or ‘more spiritual than I was religious’ because I didn’t know what it meant.
Recently I heard it again and I still hadn’t heard the definition so I looked it up.
non material, incorporeal, intangible;
religious, sacred, divine, holy, nonsecular, church, ecclesiastical,faith-based, devotional
devout, pious, reverent, godly, God-fearing, churchgoing, faithful,devoted, committed
“a religious person”
I can see that in different ways I would fit into either or both of these categories, sometimes at the same time and sometimes at separate times such as I am a spiritual leader and at the same time I am a religious leader.
I am sure there are different meanings than these pertaining to these words from more in-depth studies but what I’m getting at is this: which one will get me to Heaven. In the way they are written I can see that neither definition would directly get me to Heaven. Indirectly both could get me to Heaven if my spiritual beliefs or my religious beliefs were in the right place.
I would like to make this sound glamorous, interesting, or put it in a new box and decorate it as the wonderful gift that it is but there is no real way to say it except the way it has been said for thousands of years. And if I believe that it’s true, which I do, than it needs to be said.
I could be a religious person or a devout person to my beliefs and still not get to Heaven. I could be a spiritual person, a non-material person, a church going person and not go to Heaven. Now I’m not judging anyone because I don’t know any person’s heart beliefs but I do know that the Bible is truth, it has proved out to be true many times in my life. And what I know from the Bible is that there is one way to Heaven and that is through believing that we are all sinners and that Jesus came to pay the price for our sin so we would have the opportunity to go to Heaven when we die, if we make the choice to believe that He made that sacrifice for us and make Him the Lord of our lives. (Wow that was a long sentence but a most important one)
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
As the Scriptures say, "No one is righteous—not even one." (Rom. 3:10, NLT)
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Rom. 3:23, NLT)
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. (Is. 64:6a, NLT)
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21, NLT)
John 3:16 Amplified Bible (AMP)
16 “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] [a]only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.
So it isn’t spiritual or religious that we need to think of ourselves as, but rather as saved by the death of Jesus in payment for our sins.
Does God want us to have anything to do with supernatural powers?
This is something that not many people have knowledge of. Even some Christians are unaware of God’s desires in this area. People are seeking and that is why they are looking for these forms of help and some are just interested. I certainly wasn’t aware of what God has said about this subject, for many years.
The powers I am referring to are fortune-telling, omens, psychic mediums, necromancers, ouija boards, witchcraft and astrological zodiac signs.We are to be interested in supernatural power and even have some forms of them working through our lives but let’s look at what the Bible says about all of this.
Leviticus 19:31 “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.
Some could say, “That is Old Testament.” But here is what the New Testament says.
Galatians 5:19-21 ESV Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Another Old Testament verse says these forms of supernatural behaviours are not from God.
Isaiah 8:19 ESV “And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?”.
The penalty for sorcery in the Old Testament was death. It must have been a serious offence as were a lot of things. Exodus 22:18 Leviticus 20:27
Leviticus 20:6 ESV “If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.
You could search out the verses at the end of this page to learn more about how God feels about these things.
What type of supernatural power does God want us to experience?
2 Peter 1:4 (NKJV) 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
What is this divine nature that God wants us to partake in? Divine, this looks to me like I should be partaking in something that in more than I can humanly do. (Look below)
1. of, from, or like God or a god.
"heroes with divine powers"
godly, angelic, seraphic, saintly, beatific; More
"that succulent clementine tasted divine"
How is this possible?
Romans 8:11New King James Version (NKJV)
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
We have the same power in us that raised Jesus from the dead dwelling in us.
John 14:12New King James Version (NKJV)
The Answered Prayer
12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
We are to be able to do the same things and more that He did and God knew things supernaturally and was able to speak to people about those things as well as do miracles.
1 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NKJV) 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same[a] Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
In this verse, we see that some people are given a word of wisdom which is wisdom given to be shared with a person, that will help that person right now or in the future.
A word of knowledge is something that has happened in someone’s past or right now that when said to them will help them be comforted or to understand the situation so that they are helped with it.
The gift of faith is when you believe something that you couldn’t believe naturally, whatever the faith is for it will then come to pass.
Working of miracles is when God gives people the ability to work a miracle. Where something changes in the natural which otherwise wouldn’t.
Prophecy is a word that is given to someone else to edify, comfort, or exhort them and therefore help them into God’s plan for their life and with life’s issues as well.
Discerning of spirits is when a person will know what spirit is behind another person’s character or actions.
Tongues is speaking in another language that they don’t know or haven’t learned.
Interpretation of tongues is understanding what was said in that not understood tongue.
Those are some of the supernatural gifts that Christians have been given, there are others. We can also have a personal relationship with God, where you can hear Him for yourself in different ways including dreams and visions, which will guide, encourage, and protect, and He can also guide you into His plan for your life.
All things are possible with God and all things are possible to those who believe. Matthew 19:26 and Mark 9:23.
The truth of it is that God does want us to be interested in the supernatural but He wants us to be safe, happy and with Him as we are experiencing the powers that He and authority He has ordained for us to us. He is the head and we are the body, nothing can be done without Him or without it being His will first.
Divination is not from God because it is an unknown supernatural means and we are to put God first and have nothing before Him.
2 Thessalonians 2:9 ESV 1 Chronicles 10:13, Daniel 2:27 ESV, Zechariah 10:2 ESV, 2 Kings 21:6 ESV, Isaiah 19:3, Micah 5:12. Deuteronomy 18:11 ESV, Ezekiel 13:6-9, 1 Samuel 15:23, Revelation 18:23, Acts 16:16, Ezekiel 12:24, Isaiah 47:9-13, 2 Chronicles 33:6, Acts 8:9,