Music Mondays- Speak the Name- Dove Awards Performance by Koryn Hawthorne and Natalie Grant

Strongholds are broken
I’ve been made free
I am forgiven
Fear has to leave
Strongholds are broken
I’ve been made free
I am forgiven
Fear has to leave
Your Name is healing
Your Name is power
Your Name is holy
My strong, strong tower
Wonderful Name
Glorious Name
Powerful Name of Jesus

Jesus

The lyrics of speak the name are so powerfully true. Jesus has the name above all other names. He has all authority and power. But he extends the invitation to come to him for healing. mercy, help, forgiveness. The list is endless of what he offers to those who call upon his name.

Even a faint whisper of calling out to him in our lowest moments, in our darkest hours, when we feel hope is lost, will get his attention. Jesus invited us to do so in Matthew 11:

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

So many times in my life I have called out to him and have seen him work. Sometimes in big ways and sometimes in a series of small things, but it is him working. He often works through others.

One year ago I was at one of my lowest points. I had been dealing with pain and fatigue due to chronic illness. I couldn’t work a simple job for summer income during the break from teaching. All I could do was say Jesus. I could only say his name. I couldn’t say anything else as I tried to pray. I could only say his name with a feeling of please help.

He moved. He worked in small ways and big ways. It started when a special friend brought me food that took care of me for a week. It made me feel human again. So many ways that Jesus worked through others last summer.

If you are in a low point, just speak his name. He already knows your situation and what you need. If you don’t know what to say or can barely say anything, just say his name as a prayer. Just say- Jesus.

I want to share this performance of speak the name at the Dove Awards with you today. Koryn Hawthorne and Natalie Grant sing is so beautifully and powerfully.

Just speak the name.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

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Spotlight on a New Blogger Who Shares the Love of Jesus- The Vine-The Christian Blog

I read a post by a fairly new blogger today that I loved. She shared in a very real way about how she has reached out to a co-worker trusting Jesus. Her name is Ann. Her post is Nothing Without God. Check it out and you will be blessed 🙂

Her blog link is thevine,blog

Mornings for a Non-Morning Person

” Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 2

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I have never been much of a morning person. I have been one of those people who when I would hear people talk about how wonderful it is to wake up before dawn and spend time with God, I would feel cynical.

I have always been the kind of person who wants a cup of coffee first and then try to start my morning. I usually am not ready to smile until I have been awake for a while.

But I have to admit that as someone who lives with chronic illness, my mornings have a different meaning than perhaps for others.

My morning ritual consists of pouring a cup of coffee, turning on a heating pad, and logging onto youtube. I drink my coffee while I have the heating pad on my neck because on top of everything else, I have degenerative disc disease in my neck. I listen to worship songs as I drink my coffee with the heating pad on my neck. I have wait a while to eat breakfast because a pill I take means no food for at least a half hour. I listen to worship music and pray about my day, the people I will see, and ask for help to show his love. On my low energy mornings, which is often, I ask Jesus to carry me through the day.

My low energy days are days I wake up and say to myself- “I will need a nap today.” That is the reality of someone living with Fibromyalgia because fatigue is one of the symptoms. We can wake up tired not refreshed.

So after I have had two cups of coffee, listened to worship music while trying to mutter some prayer, I hurriedly eat a little food, take my meds that require me to take with food, and get ready for the day.

However, next week that all changes because my morning class will be on break until September. Three blissful months of no alarm clock. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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But I still don’t think I will wake up happy and smiling. Morning person is not a phrase that has ever described me.

How do you start your day?

Thank you for reading. God bless.

When God Gives A Gentle Nudge

God did it again. He gave me a gentle nudge of a reminder while I was in the midst of a painful day. He gave me a soft knock on the door of my spirit.

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Fridays I usually relax in the evenings at home unless there is a function to go to. Relaxation is vital for me as I live with chronic illness. I was experiencing a pain flare up and debated if I should go to an informal evening of worship at my church.

I gutted it out and went to church. I couldn’t even raise my arms during worship, but I was there to worship Jesus with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We also had some prayer time between sets of worship songs. I felt led to pray for the unity of our church as we go through a transition year.

Then it happened through a conversation with a brother in Jesus who met me when I first started going to the church 25 years ago. He shared something with me that Jesus used to encourage me. He said, “I was thinking about how I first met you at a prayer time when you first started coming to church and you were so sick you could barely speak and now here you are still praying for the church.”

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Jesus spoke to me through that one comment to let me know he is still working through me. When the pain hits or when the fatigue hits, I can start to feel useless. I had even told the Lord that recently in prayer that I am not what I used to be and maybe am ineffective due to living with chronic illness. My friend’s comment snapped me out of it. There is still work for me to do in his kingdom here on earth.

We need each other in the family of Jesus. When we are down, darkness wants to pounce and magnify what we are going through. But if we express what is on our heats and souls to our eternal big brother Jesus, he will move. He will speak truth to us. That is what my friend’s comment was all about and he didn’t even know it.

Today I can relax at home. I hope to spend time listening to worship music. I may take a nap or two. Living with chronic illness necessitates rest. But I will do so not feeling useless.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Day in My Life- Living with Chronic Illness

Yesterday morning I woke up with more pain than usual. I attribute it to the weather. It was a damp cloudy cool morning and stayed that way all day. Waking up tired and with pain is a normal part of life for me, so I don’t want to let it slow me down.

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I don’t want to let such mornings prevent me from going out to do what I am called to do which is to show the love of Jesus to people from other cultures, so I started my day by praying while listening to worship music.

I prayed for my morning class and the needs of my students. I asked Jesus to help me show his love at the school, to my afternoon student, and to my evening class.

In the morning I often interact with the ELL, English Language Learners, kids in the classroom next to mine. Yesterday morning I saw a group of Hispanic girls outside their classroom, so I greeted them in Spanish like I always do. One of the girls was wearing a T-Shirt with a message on the front:

Strong Girls

Strong World

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I told her I loved the message and looked at the girls and said in Spanish:

“Este es verdad que ninas fuertes/el mundo fuerte.”- It is true strong girls/strong world.

They smiled. Then I pointed to my head and heart and said strength starts here with God. We high-fived each other.

That set the tone for my day.

One thing I have learned from living with pain every day is that I can choose to rise above it and reach out to show the love of Jesus or I can let the pain cause me to withdraw. I cannot choose which days I have pain. I can choose my attitude about it.

I would much rather be a blessing to others and not let the pain hold me back

Would I prefer to be pain free every day? YES. But that is not reality for me. I have lived with pain every day for over 25 years and yet Jesus has blessed me to be able to go on 11 ministry trips in other countries and have a ministry here in my home city.

It all starts with prayer each day.

Thank you for reading. God Bless..

Story Time- $10 in Quarters, An Old Chevette, 430 Miles to Go and the God of the Impossible

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In April 1994 when I had to leave Minneapolis, where I was at a school for ministry, to come back to my home city Lincoln due to being sick, there was a problem. MONEY.

I knew there was nothing in Minneapolis for me. I had visited a church in Minneapolis and while there felt led to go to a church I had never been to in Lincoln when I returned. I thought it was just to come back to pray for the church while I died, but then something happened, I didn’t die. So back to my story, I had 430 miles to drive to Lincoln.

2 problems with the scenario, 1- I had an old Chevette that I wasn’t sure could make it, and 2- I only had a full tank of gas and $10 in quarters. I don’t recommend anyone try this, but I had nothing to go on except I knew God wanted me back in Lincoln for some reason. So I prayed and reminded God, as if he needed that, that I had no one to depend on but him. The reason? I had changed denominations and people were not happy with me. So yes I was sick and dying, had almost no money, lost my friends, and God wanted me to drive 430 miles with no plan, that I knew of anyway,  of what would happen when I got to Lincoln.

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After praying, I went to the gas station and filled up. That left me with the $10 in quarters. Off I went down a highway to go home where I had no place to stay. Halfway to Lincoln, it began to rain, heavily at times. So I drove through the rain until Omaha and the rain had stopped just outside of Omaha.

I made it to Lincoln and looked at my gas gauge again. I was sure it wasn’t working because it stayed on full the entire trip. Just to make sure, I pulled into a gas station just outside of Lincoln and tried to put some gas in. I couldn’t because the tank was still full. I had driven 430 miles and used ZERO gas. Our God is the God of the impossible.

I got into Lincoln, in the days before cell phones, and stopped at a payphone. I called someone I knew and they let me crash at their house for a few nights. The next day I called the pizza place I had delivered for before and they had a job for me to start that week delivering pizza. The first shift I made enough tips to buy food for a week, I called the owner of the house I had rented a basement apartment from and the apartment was empty. The owner let me move in with a free first month.

I felt I should share this not because I suggest you do what I did. I felt I should share this because there are times we feel our backs are against the wall and there is little hope. When those times come-Our God is the God of the impossible.

Thank you for reading.God Bless

The Voice of Jesus

One of my favorite TV shows is The Voice. A big reason I love to watch the voice is how the coaches mentor the singers without demeaning them like on other shows. I also love how the coaches decide who they want on their teams. They listen to the singers voice without seeing them first. It is through listening to the voice blind the coaches decide to hit their button.

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A voice can mean so much to us. A phone call or a voicemail message from someone we care about can lift us up, comfort us, and reassure us.

Jesus said that his followers, that he compared to sheep which are helpless,  will follow him because they know his voice but will not follow a strangers voice because they do not know the strangers voice. The voice of Jesus is so important for us to get to know because by knowing his voice, we can be spared heartache and also grow strong.

But how do we get to know his voice? How do we build that trust in Jesus to feel confident to follow him and confident we are hearing his voice? How do we know we can hit the button to turn around saying. “I want you” to Jesus like what happens on The Voice?

To know anyone’s voice, we need to know the person. We need to spend time with them, talk with them, be around them. It is the people we know well that we recognize simply by hearing their voice.

Fortunately, Jesus has given us things that help in knowing his voice. We have the bible to read and it is available online, in print, in many versions. We have our churches to go to. I feel blessed by both.

There is something that has greatly helped me to grow in knowing his voice- PRAYER and MEDITATION.

As I have gone through the winding road of seeing different doctors to find out what was wrong and to be diagnosed with Celiacs and Fibromyalgia the past few years, I would listen to worship music and pray. This has been my habit for many years. I find listening to worship music helps me to focus while I pray. It is also when ideas come to me for ministry, for writing, and for life.

The past few years, it has been during times of prayer and meditation that I found strength mentally, emotionally and spiritually to keep going. I will never forget the dark hours for me when I could not sleep due to pain and the depression/anxiety caused by both health problems. I was actually praying for Jesus to take me home to heaven.

But then the quiet voice speaks to me in my spirit as I listen to a song that I have listened to hundreds of times. That quiet voice has let me know there is more ahead for me. The voice of Jesus speaks to me through song, prayer, and in my spirit that there is more ahead for me in ministry and this life.

I would like to share the song that has meant so much to me. It Is Well by Kristene DiMarco. Thank you for reading. God Bless.