What He’s Done
It was testimony-night at the small church. The roster of individuals who wanted to share grew as the evening progressed. Testimonies such as an addict who’d overcome his addiction overnight and has now remained drug free for over five years. A woman diagnosed with a brain tumor the size of a golf ball went in for more testing when the doctors, without medical explanation, discovered the tumor had disappeared. The reuniting of a praying parent and a prodigal child who found the Lord. Profound testimonies to the glory of God!
And then there were these demonstrations, the ones that confounded me. Their surrender to the Lord brought tears. An act of love, of letting go of their own desires. Of saying, “Not my will, but thine Lord Jesus!” A man in a wheelchair who the Lord spoke to promising he’d walk again. Twelve years had passed since the accident, and yet he still rolled rather than walked. The Lord helped him through discouragement and taught him how to wait with patience and hope. He has peace in the waiting. A woman who had a slew of afflictions, one after the other, and toxic relationships, and she’d learned to manage her life better and make better choices with diet and lifestyle. She witnessed you can’t always control every circumstance or even people, but you can control your response or reaction. Be faithful in the things you can control, beginning with the choices you can make right now. Another woman presented like a modern-day Job. Her house flooded, then it burned down; she lost her job, got divorced from an abusive man, went bankrupt, survived cancer, lost one of her children... What could she possibly be grateful for? And yet she was exuberant with divine joy.
The one most memorable for me was of a middle-aged man who’d lived a hard and promiscuous life. He’d contracted an STD and learned to live with it (also to speak frankly about it, which took admirable courage). Had once known the Lord, but wandered astray through temptations of the flesh in a hard-to-flee-from environment. When he returned and got anchored in the faith, he’d begged God to heal him of his disease so he could marry a godly woman. He determined he couldn’t marry until God healed him, as he wanted to present himself to the woman God had for him without the shame he carried, explaining that each flare-up was like a knife-stab reminder of the poor choices of his past. He also didn’t want to pass that on. God hadn’t healed him, and yet there he was, standing side-by-side with a godly woman, his wife, her hand on his arm. She was a pure soul. Hadn’t had the background or experience he’d had; truly an innocent. Yet there she was, devoted, adoring, selfless to him. She knew of his condition, of the risks, and she married him anyway. For the Lord called her—called them together. In fact, they were moving into full-time ministry together. Some might hear that, and if they were in her shoes, think, “Ew, not for me.” But I was really struck by the beauty of it. Still am.
So many distinct stories, conditions, situations and outcomes, and yet one common theme ran among all of them. Gratefulness for what he’s done.
He forgives our sins, makes us citizens of Heaven, giving us our true home, of belonging, unconditional love, a future, a destiny, a purpose. Sometimes he heals us; sometimes he promises to heal us and waits with us until that perfectly timed fruition, and sometimes he chooses not to heal us. And when it’s the latter, he helps us to manage our lives in him—and also can still bring us unexpected blessings from Heaven. He moves often in ways we haven’t considered. Keeps us surprised and delighted. The point is, he’s always there.
When we can lay everything down, let go of our own wishes and expectations, and press in to him… that’s when he fills us and makes us whole. When our spirits are whole, we are whole… no matter what our bodies or circumstances are doing. I love a good story of healing or deliverance. But I admit, it’s that last one, where healing wasn’t necessarily a physical one, yet the love and devotion demonstrated through that couple’s testimony, their marriage and ministry-calling is the one that moved me to write this blog post.
My Sparrow, I Love You
Your wilderness journey led you straight through a desert, taking years to cross. Your provisions dwindled; toes worn down to nubs. Bone-dry thirsty, malnourished, desperate for replenishing and decent covering from the scorch. You need a complete change of environment and nutritive balance. And here, you’ve not crossed the desert at all; you’ve only gone in circles. Rearranging the same old nest conditions in different patterns, just to survive—or give the appearance of survival; a place to tuck and rest your weary head. Around and round you go in the barren land of choked streams, stuck in a wash-n-dry cycle called The Agitator. The thorns of the desert cacti have shredded you, making the agitating stings more abrasive. Fear you carry isn’t that something bad will happen; it’s the dread that things will stay the same, that nothing will change.
“God, are you even there?” you ask.
“My Sparrow, I love you.
Have I not said, ‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world?’”
“God, what do I do?”
“My Sparrow, I love you.
‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ Just be in me.”
“God, do you still care?”
“My Sparrow, I love you.
Has it not been written, ‘Give all your worries and cares to me, for I care about you?’
I care so much that ‘I’ve kept track of all your sorrows. I’ve collected all your tears in my bottle. I’ve recorded each one in my book.’ Not one will be forgotten. Not one goes unnoticed. Trust me to handle your life in the best way, my way. I will carry you with my wings.”
“I feel forgotten, useless—” You think you hear a faint melody.
“My Sparrow, I love you.
‘Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.’”
There’s a pause.
“My Child, I Love You. Isn’t that enough?”
🎶 His Eye is on the Sparrow… 🎶
Yesterday, I posted about varied and unlimited styles of prophetic boldness, focusing on the word boldness. Boldness doesn’t have to mean loud and commanding, as I’d once thought. That for the introverted types, boldness can come in the style of taking risks confidently yet still quietly. Communication of God’s message that is strong, vivid, and full of truth can have a delivery that looks a lot of different ways. The gifts of the Spirit are variedly special and purposeful. It's not about us, but about God’s love expressed through us that encourages and motivates others.
With that said, there is a prophet who has spoken into my life already several times and affirmed visions and promises of God. I so appreciate his demeanor; his soft-spoken, humble words of truth, love, peace, and trust. I now subscribe to his YouTube channel and listen to his Daily Prophetic Word and more. Encouraging, edifying, sweet, full of God’s tender love and light. I’m taking comfort along my journey with his lovely gift of prophetic boldness. It’s good medicine to have a true prophet of God speaking into your life with words of hope and affirmation (“A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing…” Proverbs 17:22). I consider several to be prophets of edification in my daily walk. Kevin Bridges is one who I’ve only recently discovered, but who speaks of God’s love in a compassionate and serene style that is nurturing to my soul. He is a calm conduit of hope and encouragement. So I thought I’d share his channel information. If you’re like me, a quiet and reflective one, you might like to listen to his inspired words, too.
I also just finished reading his poetic book, and of course I recommend it: With Love: Loving Words from Father God by Kevin Paul Bridges
Be ever blessed with words that inspire.
God’s beauty hovers over everything good and pure. His lovingkindness dwells in whoever would seek his presence. In any kind of situation, he is there to shield and protect. He is omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (ever-present), and omniscient (all-knowing); the three Omnis: power, presence, and perception. Three aspects of God reminiscent of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Truths to bear us comfort and nurturing from the Creator of the Universe.
If there are different aspects of God, and from that trinity hosts of characteristics outflowing, then surely the witnesses of his believers come in an assortment of styles. I think too often the religious mindset would rather put the operations of God in a box, be it for control of others, luxury of familiarity, or appearance. So would you blow up boxes for the sake of Creator if he asked you to step out and do something different?
History has given us a number of prophetic examples; legendary individuals thought of as a bit off, weird to their general populace. Yet, I admire the risk they took for doing something it took courage to do. By shedding man’s judgment rather than miss out on God’s blessings, we grow further into his kingdom and in the gifts of the Spirit.
Just as there are variances in personalities and mannerisms, there are manifestations of holy messages and expressions of the divine meant to edify and encourage. There’s a place for every body and a slant from each person but not one angle for everybody. Because we’re all created distinctively and are not the same body part; we are multiple parts working together for one purpose.
Growing up, I had way more exposure to loud or fiery prophets in evangelistic spheres. The more the spirit came upon these saints to speak, the volume went up—megaphones not needed! It exhilarated sometimes, but often I felt this: I’m touched by the Lord, gifted by the Lord in the prophetic, as we all are or can be. We all have access to the voice of God and to his gifts. 1 Corinthians 14:1 says, “Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the spirit gives—especially the ability to prophecy.” Another version of this scripture I favor comes from the Aramaic Bible in Plain English, “Run after love and be zealous for the gifts of The Spirit, but especially that you may prophecy.” But I’d thought many times that if I didn’t behave as these fiery prophets did, or my exhortation didn’t match the volume, then I wasn’t excited enough, impassioned enough, or touched enough. And with that, I tended to withdraw or hide. Because I also didn’t know that other styles of prophets existed in my generation. Why wouldn’t they? When the Bible gives us such a diverse picture of the various prophets in stories of old?
Prophesy isn’t available to only foretell the future, or warn, but it’s God revealed through someone for someone. God is speaking a message and if the prophecy is of God, it will affirm what the Lord already spoke to your heart. It’s personal. Prophecy, and Word of Knowledge (of which I most operate), are meant to encourage and edify. Love is primary. And the Lord loves each one of us as each one of us.
I’ve since discovered those who operate in the gifts of the Spirit who deliver in a reflective, gentle way. This speaks to me the most and ushers in healing properties, something to which I’m perhaps more receptive. I’ve learned that there is tenderness in prophetic boldness, too. Prophetic boldness doesn’t have to mean loud or authoritatively imposing; it can be quiet boldness… or prophetic quietness (calm). A confidence to speak, do, or act out—but acting out doesn’t have to mean waving arms and shouting loud—because sometimes loud isn’t motivating to those on the quieter side of perception. If I’ve considered this, then there are others who have wondered about it, too. So I wanted to encourage those who have prophetic tendencies or desires, and want to step out, take a risk, yet you are on the introverted side of humanity. Sure, we’re a minority (it’s estimated that 25-50% of the population is introverted), but we matter.
If you are extroverted, great! Express how the Lord gifted you to express. But if you’re a soft-spoken one, and tend to tread gently through life, you are as much needed to communicate to others God’s message of love. If you prefer to dive into the silent deep, and in the depth of the waters to still a person’s soul and speak only what the Father wants you to speak, sing, or write to them, then… Most likely, your receivers are those who don’t find extroverted extensions as reassuring or effective as others might. God’s communication is his communication… and his message will be proclaimed. Still, there’s a reason (many reasons) why we are uniquely and wonderfully made. You might reach a person through your style or format or understanding that nobody else can reach. And that matters. Leave the 99 to find the 1 (Parable of the Lost Sheep, Matthew 18:10-14 and Luke 15:3-7).
I knew of an elderly lady who had a green thumb. She loved plants and had a way with them. This dear lady lived on a hill that I drove by almost daily on my way out to the mountain stables where I kept my horse. She’d cut shapes into her hedges, and arrange flower pots, large and small, into images symbolic of telling the Bible story. She was an artist, an artist of plants. She was also prophetic, because more often than not, I’d see a peace dove, or the cross, an angel, the ark, or what looked like a scribe bent near holy flames of fire—Moses’ burning bush! —and more. And it confirmed the voice of the Lord having whispered to my heart either earlier or later that day or even that week or month or season—and I’m not even much of a fan of manicured landscaping. Yet, seeing the images shaped from hedges and plants of her lawn and field speaking a carefully laid out message, well, it was affirming, healing, comforting, and directional. Inspired. I’d say anointed. Love poured off that hill by the hands and heart of that godly elder woman I’d never met. How many more lives had she touched than just mine while she used what she was gifted with, right where she was, to share this meticulous beauty, the emblematic Spirit reminders, with others?
I now often think of those walking in faith, and in the prophetic, as conduits for God’s Word in different shapes, sizes, colors, polishes, and purposes. When you’re right where you’re meant to be, and you create, express, arrange, and stir in the way God created you, then your style of the Lord-inspired prophetic boldness is refreshing as rain to someone who needs it; one who needs encouraged by a message from God through your participation of love. As lovely as a hedge of green under somebody’s skilled and thoughtful hands.
Called to plant seed, grow, sculpt, or harvest? Do it your way in God’s way.
The Bomb Technician, an Allegory
There was once a person who hadn’t intended to be a bomb technician and wished they were something—anything—else. If only they could’ve predicted or seen from the beginning what they knew later, their life would have looked very different. They weren’t always skilled at identifying dangerous devices in a threatened area nor deactivating or disassembling the explosives. In fact, they got their start as the cleanup crew of only one, taking care of whole messes after they erupted, clearing the damage and spaces of shrapnel and debris. Even acting as a paramedic and patching wounds, deep or small. A rota never existed; nobody was scheduled to relieve them. They’d been all alone dealing with the volatile environment 24/7. They worked their way up to recognizing and diffusing danger, got good at it, skilled. Turned something destructive into something more static. Sometimes, though, sometimes they deflected the disparaging elements. Wedged a portion under a dead tree stump; hiding it from the public because of shame. Because their position, which never should have evolved in the first place, went on for too long, and what they daily faced proved hard to endure. The pressure behind such things never dissipated; in fact, felt insurmountable.
But what they tucked under that dead old stump didn’t just collect into a mound of rubble. Instead, the start of a sprig, something tender, fresh, and green pierced from beneath the hard ground and unforgiving places of concrete and gravel. The sprig became a new tree, and the living trunk grew wide and strong. Its roots went deep to where the black soil provided rich nutrients. The mighty cedar soon towered over the hidden things that had wrought such chaos and, in fact, smothered the negative forces. It overpowered cannonballs, dynamite, and other fused components, detoxifying, purifying as it reached toward the heavens. Its branches spread open and wide, providing shade to the scorched and shelter to the displaced. Its call was for helping others, but in a way that differed from thwarting disasters, especially of the human-terrorist type. Yet growing well while stuck in that unstable environment provided it the understanding necessary to gain essential nourishment and peace of the everlasting kind, and safety for the distressed. It thought its field wherein it’d planted its roots was fallow. Instead, its field had been prepared for the splendor of an entire forest of breathtaking beauty.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
Dear Bomb Technician: He makes a way where there is no way. He makes all things fresh, new, and different. Things will change. You’ve sensed this; you’ve known things have to change. Situations, while they lasted for many seasons, will not stay the same. If the hazardous devices you face are from a cyclical circumstance, work, relationship, or condition, and you’re burned out, tired of putting out the fuses alone, and sick of being so achingly lonely while doing it; lift up your eyes. Soak in the Spirit. Listen to the wind, which causes the leaves of the wilderness to dance and branches to sway in delirious freedom. Inhale the woodsy scents of other cedars. Lift your eyes to the heavens and know the promises whispered to your heart will rain down upon you. The Spirit is like the wind. You don’t know from where it comes, from where it starts, but SUDDENLY, it’s there, flowing over you, refreshing your soul. Sailing you into crystal waters, brighter beginnings, enhanced positions, thoughtful relationships, and greatest joy, where the deepest longings of your heart find fulfillment. Expansion awaits, for all that your spirit-filled life can hold and release, grow and heal, and love.
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” Psalm 92:12
is a storyteller, and a transcript editor. She's also a Romans 8:28 kind of Jewish girl ...
RETURN MY HEART