What I Learned this Week from Podcasts.

 I have written before about the podcasts I follow. I thought I would update the list since I have found quite a few more that help me in my walk with God. Then I will share a few things I have learned just this week from podcasts.

Your Daily Prayer Podcast

Jesus Over Everything

The Messy Table with Jenn Jewell

Go and Tell Gals

Everything Happens with Kate Bowler

Son of a Preacher Man

Passion City Church DC (Ben Stuart Pastor)

Prayers for Your Day

That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs

The Bible Binge

Jesus Calling Podcast

Behind the Scenes

From the list, it probably looks like I listen to podcasts all day, but most of these podcasts only post once or twice a week, sometimes less than that. I like to listen to a few every day.

So, what touched me this week? I won’t name the podcast or the speaker because when I made notes, I didn’t jot that down. And these are not verbatim quotes, just the general idea of what the person was saying.

Inner peace is a struggle, a daily battle. It won’t come without a fight. Peace and hope are essential.” I have found this true for me. The struggle has included more prayer and believing God will do it for you if you ask. Don’t get discouraged and don’t get tired of asking for peace and hope. When Jesus said, “Ask for anything in my name and I will give it to you,” he wasn’t talking about a new car, house or job. He was talking about spiritual gifts. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Do we believe that? I didn’t. Now, I do.

Someone said, “The fact is that we humans have never seen peace between all nations or all the hungry fed, yet some of us want this and work towards it. Where did these ideals come from since we have never seen it? God.” Sometimes I think this is the greatest argument for the existence of a God.

One man told a story of how he was working 7 days a week as a pastor, overloaded and stressed. His back was seriously injured and he had to lay face-down for at least a month. They were not sure if his back would heal and he couldn’t have surgery. So, he lay there day after day watching movies on his laptop, but naturally he grew bored. He turned the laptop off and just lay there. He heard God speak to his mind saying, “Are you ready to talk now?” Lol. (I find God so funny sometimes.)

Anyway, he said he and God talked and talked and God showed him how essential rest was to the human mind and body. Before the injury, this pastor had not delegated work to others; he had done it all himself. He found out he didn’t have to do that. He saw his life had been one of unmitigated stress.

The Lord showed him the wisdom of having a Sabbath day and why that was created along with everything else. If we don’t rest, we will eventually fall apart. My father told me once, “If it weren’t for the Sabbath, I think I’d be dead by now.” He was a workaholic. He hated holidays, because all the businesses were closed. And the pastor? He went to physio and gradually, slowly, his back healed.

I appreciate podcasts so much, because I have sight problems and can’t read on the computer for long. It is wonderful to lie in bed with my tablet and just listen. These Christians are doing a wonderful work for God and I thank him for that all the time.

Great Podcasts. (IMO)

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Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/people/23155134@N06

I have been listening to a lot of podcasts lately. I also joined Instagram because the posts are short and easy to read on my tablet. I thought I would share the titles of some podcasts I enjoy.  They are all Christian sites.

That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs

Creekside Church

Bridgetown Audio Podcast

Jesus Calling Podcast

Go and Tell Gals

Out of the Ordinary

Coffee with Andi

Exploring My Strange Bible

Because I am basically a quiet person with a bad memory, and a seemingly blank mind, I looked for a prayer podcast. I wanted someone to pray along with since I don’t leave my house much. I did find one I really liked. This woman knows how to pray:

The Prayer Podcast

God bless you all, and Happy Thanksgiving to all Americans!

From Robbing Banks into God’s Arms.

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Photo by: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:AgnosticPreachersKid

One of my followers has asked me to write about my family and how God worked in their lives. For many in my family, it has been a slow growth from child to adult, always believing in God. However, there is one family member who met God while he was in prison.

He doesn’t want me to share his name so I’ll call him Stephen. Stephen was raised in a home of physical abuse and neglect. His father beat him and his siblings, later his step-father did the same. Both fathers were alcoholics. They also beat Stephen’s mother. They were in great poverty and sometimes there wasn’t enough to eat.

Stephen started getting into trouble with the law and went to prison at 16  for the first time for robbing a postal office. He got a year hard labor for that. He never went back home to live. He moved from city to city, getting arrested and sentenced for assault. He was in lots of fights. He sold drugs.

When he was 24, he lived in a large city. He met a man who came from a small prairie town. This man knew when the town bank received it’s money. The nearest police were many miles away. It looked like a sure thing to rob this bank and get away. Stephen said he was in.

Another man joined them. They bought rifles and duffel bags for the money. They drove to the town. They got out of the car with the rifles and went through the first door. But Stephen said, “Something’s wrong.” He said he just felt something strange. He told his friends to follow him and leave. As they walked back through the front door they were surrounded by police and arrested. It turned out the third man had ratted on them to get a lesser sentence on a previous crime. The police had been waiting for them.

At the trial, Stephen expected to get 8 years. He was surprised to get only 2 years. Apparently, if they had walked through the second door, the sentence would have been much harsher.

Stephen was used to going to jail, but he hated it there. You had to be tough and fearless and make the other inmates afraid of you. He did that in every jail he was in. He was an expert fighter and would have killed someone if he had to.

The warden of this large prison was a Christian. There was a punishment room called, “The Hole,” that you were sent to if you caused trouble. Stephen was sent there for fighting in the cafeteria. The warden had a Bible put in each of these cells. That is all that was in the room besides a cot and toilet.

Stephen started reading the Bible and finished reading it the month of his detention. One night, while he was sleeping, he heard God call out his name, “Stephen, Stephen.”

The next day, he was back in population, but had been sent to a part of the prison that had a lot of Christians in it. A Christian said something to him and Stephen came towards him to hit him. He heard the same voice say to him, “Stephen, if you hit him, I will come down on you like a ton of bricks.”  (This is what Stephen would say to people.) Stephen stopped walking towards the man. He was stunned. He turned around and went to his cell and cried, “like a baby,” he said. He was amazed God would speak with him. He gave himself to God that moment.

So, that is the story of a man in our family. He got out of that prison and 40 years later is still a Christian. He had strong faith in God right away. He brought other inmates to Christ. Three of them were baptized when they got out.

Turn to me and be saved,

all you ends of the earth;

for I am God, and there is no other.   Isaiah 45:22

 

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD,

“Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow;

Though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.

If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;

But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies.

I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Isaiah 1:18-20

What to do About Evil Thoughts.

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Manuscript of Imitation of Christ.

Thomas Kempis has a lot to say about feelings and thoughts in his book, “Imitation of Christ.”  I remember when I was a young Christian, I would get so discouraged by my thoughts. They did make me feel bad about myself. It is nice to know our thoughts are no surprise to God and he accepts us as we are, thoughts, feelings and all other things.

I wish I had learned when I was young what to do with bad thoughts and feelings, but the first I heard about the topic was from Joyce Meyer, who told me what to do about them: Quote Scripture out loud. Or tell Satan to go away. We can do that, Joyce says, because Jesus did and he is our example. Kempis also writes a lot about not finding our comfort from fellow humans – that God is enough.

From the book,”Imitation of Christ” (Abridged),

by Thomas a Kempis.

IT IS GOOD that we sometimes have troubles and crosses; for they often make a man enter into himself, and consider that he is here in banishment, and ought not to place his trust in any worldly thing…

It is good that we be sometimes contradicted; and that men think ill or inadequately of us, even though we do and intend well. These things help often to the attaining of humility, and defend us from vain glory: for then we chiefly seek God for our inward witness, when outwardly we are condemned by men, and when there is no credit given unto us.  

Therefore, a man should rest himself so fully in God, that he need not to seek many comforts of men. When a good man is afflicted, tempted, or troubled with evil thoughts, then he understands better the great need he hath of God, without whom he sees he can do nothing that is good. Then, also, he sorrows, laments, and prays, by reason of the miseries he suffers. Then also he understands that perfect security and full peace can not be had in this world.

That good and sweet affection which thou sometimes feel, is the effect of grace present, and a sort of foretaste of thy heavenly home; but on this you must not lean too much, for it comes and goes. 

But to strive against evil motions of the mind which arise, and to reject with scorn the suggestions of the devil, is a notable sign of virtue, and shall have great reward. 

Let no strange fancies therefore trouble you, which on any subject whatever may crowd into thy mind. Keep to your purpose, with courage, and an upright intention toward God. Neither is it an illusion that sometimes thou art suddenly rapt on high, and presently return again unto the accustomed vanities of thy heart.

 Know that the ancient enemy strives by all means to hinder your longing for good, and to keep you clear of all devout exercises… Many evil thoughts he suggests to you, that so he may cause a weariness and horror in you, to draw you away from prayer and holy communion.

Blame him when he suggests evil and unclean thoughts unto you; say to him, “Away, you unclean spirit! ” “Depart from me you wicked deceiver! you shall have no part in me: but Jesus shall be with me as a valiant Warrior, and you shalt stand confounded. “

‘The Lord is my Light and my Salvation, whom shall I fear?’ “If whole armies should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear. The Lord is my Helper and my Redeemer.”

 

Living with Cranky People.

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Photo by:  https://www.flickr.com/people/78428166@N00

I’m reading, The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas A. Kempis (1380-1471). It is a book famous for its depth of spirituality. I just wanted to share parts of this book. The edition I am reading was published in old-fashioned English, so I am going to paraphrase.

It is not hard to associate with kind and gentle people. This is pleasing to all, and everyone enjoys peace and loves those who agree with them. 

But to be able to live peacefully with hard-hearted, irritable persons, disorderly persons, or those who argue with us, is a great grace, and a most commendable and brave thing.

Our whole peace in this world consists in this kind of humble suffering, not so much in experiencing troubles. He that knows how to suffer (being with these kind of people) in peace, is conqueror of himself, lord of the world, the friend of Christ and heir of heaven.

Kempis goes on to describe these two kinds of people, one of peace the other of passions.

A peaceful man does good and turns all things into good. A passionate man turns even good into evil, and easily believes evil. He who is discontented and troubled, is tossed with many suspicions; he is neither at rest himself nor will let others be at rest.

He often says what he should not say and does not say what he should. He judges what others do without judging himself. He will excuse his own deeds, but will not accept the excuses of others.

If you want to be forgiven and understood, learn to forgive and understand others.

Since there are quite a few cranky people in my family, I have realized a few things:

1. Don’t take what they say personally. If they are mad at the world, that is their problem. If you can in any way ignore politely what is said or have a “soft answer” that turns away wrath –  do it. If you need to talk with them about their treatment of you, wait for a calm time, sit down with them and say, “Do not speak until I am finished saying what I want to say.” Explain how you feel. Probably nothing will change, but at least you tried.  (However, after 40 years of this they just might!)

2. Don’t have expectations of people. They don’t know what you expect, for one thing, and even when you tell them, they usually won’t change.

3. This is the most important thing to do. Ask God to help you to accept and love this person just as they are. Ask God when you get angry, ask him in the morning, noon and night. God will do this for you. You will be at peace.

4. This may take 20 – 45 years to learn and even then you will goof up.

Continued Bio: My 30’s with God.

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My husband and I wanted to send our children to church school so we moved to a city called, Kelowna, which was a small city then. My husband got a job at the gas company and we have lived here ever since, except for 5 years when we lived in Vancouver because of his work.

We joined a church and I would say my 30s were full of a lot of happiness with some problems. My husband was active in the church in many roles. I taught the little children. Our daughters loved living in Kelowna because it has a large lake to swim in and mountains all around  for hiking and camping.

We did have some problems in our marriage off and on, like most people, I would guess. My husband had been physically abused by his father and step-father as a child. He had not been raised in a loving family. But a wonderful thing happened after he became a Christian. He went home and told everyone what God had done for him and almost all his family became Christians as well. His mother embraced Christ and they are all still walking with God.

We had many Christian friends from our church. We really enjoyed their fellowship. We would have a meeting every Friday night at our house and would talk about God and sing songs. We did a lot with our girls. We took them to Disneyland twice. We had just enough money to drive down there, stay two or three nights and drive straight back home, but it was so much fun. Mostly, we took them camping, which they still love doing in their 40s.

At 37, my husband became sick. It took a year for the doctors to find out what was wrong. He had a carcinoid tumor on his bile duct. They operated, but there was hardly any of the bile duct left and they said he may have 10 years to live at most. After the operation, he never got his original strength back. They found he had Carcinoid Symdrome, which is chemicals coming out of the tumors and making one tired, nauseous and debilitated. He decided to try to keep working in spite of feeling sick and he has done that for 30 years. He has had many opportunities to tell people about God, because many people at work asked him why he wasn’t angry and bitter about being sick. He would then share his faith in God and how this is not the only life we have.

His bile duct did give out, but there was a new invention to replace it with a stent. That is why he is still alive and I am grateful to God and also to those who invented it. He has had two other stents put in, I think in his intestines.

When my husband became sick, he stopped going to church and going camping etc. He didn’t want to see our friends any longer.  It took all his energy to go to work. On his vacations, he wasn’t as tired, so we would drive to the U.S. to visit my sisters and see the sights.  He would still feel tired and pain, but he took pills and we didn’t walk far.

I am so thankful to God for helping my husband all these years. He loved his job, and he has been happy working there. For myself, I loved raising our daughters. I’m so thankful God gave them to us. They are such a blessing and joy. Of course, we did have trouble when they were teens. I want to thank God for helping us through all that. Neither of them wanted to be a Christian, which was a heartache, but we kept hoping and praying and they are both Christians now.

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God is Always with Us.

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I am the little girl on the right, my older sister is on the left. My mother is behind me and the other lady is one of her best friends.

“O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.   And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.”    Psalm 71:17,18

Because I am 67, and been a Christian since I was 19, I sometimes think of all God has done for me through the years and I thought it might encourage someone who reads this post.

As a little child: My parents took us to church each week. There, I learned there is a God. I learned that God sees everything we do, that he made the earth and everything on it. This has helped me all my life, because I see many people think God doesn’t hear them. I know he always hears everyone. I know he is there for me whenever I need him.

 

A teenager: God did not let me die as a teen. It could have happened many times while driving drunk or being in the car with drunk drivers. I remember one time I was driving a bunch of my friends down a mountain. It started to snow and became very cold. I had never driven in that kind of weather. We were in California, and had gone to Big Bear Lake. We had stayed at a cabin, smoked pot and drank that day.

As I came along a curve, I could feel the car moving towards the oncoming lane. I braked, but kept sliding. We started heading toward the edge of the road and the cliff. There were no guardrails. We were going to go over the edge; I had no control of the car whatsoever.

But the car suddenly moved back into my lane. I believe it was a miracle, and I thank God for it. I can still see myself that day in the car, terrified at what was going to happen.

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Me, at 16.

My 20s:  After I gave myself to the Lord, I was happy and excited. I had no idea how little I knew about him. Because the church I had been raised in stressed keeping the Commandments and never sinning, I eventually became afraid of Him. When I would sin or just make a mistake, I figured God would send lightening and kill me. I couldn’t believe God could love a person like me.

When your belief in God is like this, you become judgemental because you also think all other Christians should be perfect and never sin or make mistakes. Well, that is not reality, so I became critical of people.

I was married at this time to a non-believer. He was angry I became a Christian. I have to admit, I don’t blame him since he married a girl who loved parties and drinking. Now he had this self-righteous person on his hands. I refused to go to parties and I quit drinking.

Eventually, we separated and were divorced. I was devastated, because I loved him so much. He and his mother tried to talk me into giving up being a Christian because it was ruining our marriage. I remember his mother asking, “Why do you want to be a Christian?” I looked at her like she was crazy, “Because I want eternal life.”  I could not understand how anyone would not want that. I could not understand these people who were not afraid to die unsaved.

I didn’t know God in the right way, so I didn’t answer, “Because I love God.” I didn’t love God, I was afraid of him. But I wanted my daughters and myself to live in heaven together forever. I wouldn’t give up the dream of that for anything.

Well, I was going to write about my whole life in one post. Lol  Yeah, that’s not going to happen. So, I will close with this thought, God was with me during this terrible time of my family breaking apart and seeing my husband fall in love with another woman. It was very painful, but God was with me. I’ll continue with my story in my next post.

Your Prayers For Me.

Thank you very much for your prayers for me. I woke up this morning and I felt better. The clouds had lifted by the power of God.

This morning, I woke from a dream. In the dream there was a large round table. There were about 10 people sitting around the table with playing cards in their hands. I sat down in an empty chair. My cards were face down in front of me. I could see the cards of the other players. Everyone had a 3 in their hand. I looked down at my cards and thought, “I need to have a 3 also so I will be like all the others.” I picked up my cards and I did have a 3. I felt happy, then I woke up.

I would guess the dream represents how I feel around people, even family. I need to be like them to fit in. Everything I do should match up with other people so they will love me. I don’t want to be different. I want to fit in. I want to please people, and if I don’t, I feel devastated.

I’ve known this about myself, but I guess I need to face it and pray about it. It was frightening to make a mistake when I was young because my father could become very angry. He never believed me if I said I didn’t know something was wrong. He would say, “Don’t give me that. You know better.” I didn’t really. He always thought I was lying about things and when I was a teen he called me a slut. I had not had sex with any boy at the time, but after that I decided I didn’t care anymore because he already thought I was having lots of sex. The only kind of sex I’d ever had was with him when I was younger.

Joyce Meyer says, “The only way out is through.” She said that about her sexual abuse. She didn’t want to deal with it, but God showed her she needed to. I’ve dealt with mine too, I think. But there are always going to be after-effects of our childhoods. No one gets completely away from that. It is a large part of who we are.

Thankfully, God tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

I am a new person compared to the person I was before I met Jesus. Giving my life to him was the best decision I ever made. He has made many parts of my life so beautiful. My most precious dream was to have children. He gave me two daughters and now 7 grandchildren. I feel most blessed, my dream came true and he multiplied it. One day I will live with God in heaven – my most precious dream now. 

He never sleeps

He never slumbers

He never tires of hearing our prayers

When we are weak

He becomes stronger

So rest in his love

Cast all of your cares on him.

From “He Never Sleeps,” by Don Moen.

Rage and the Christian.

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Today, I felt rage flooding up inside me. Someone said to me, “Why didn’t you ask me to help you earlier? I’m tired now.”

I did ask you earlier. The thing is, there is no good time to ask you. Any time is the wrong time. Everything I say is the wrong thing. Everything I do is done wrong.

That’s what the rage was saying to my heart. It feels weird to be that angry, to feel your body actually get hot. I say, “I asked earlier.” You say, “No, you didn’t.” There is no winning this argument. The argument itself is a dead loss. Nothing will change. I know that, yet sometimes I’ll keep arguing anyway.  I only shut up today because I felt God there in the room with us.

I thought about Jesus. What would he do if someone was finding fault with him all the time? He would be patient, loving and not take offence. Did he feel anger and have to deal with it? Yes, I think so. The Bible says he was tempted in everything as we are. It isn’t a sin to feel anger, but it is a sin to let it make you do wrong. It is a sin if you nurse your anger and let it turn to hate.

(Of course, you are only hearing my side of things. The other person doesn’t write a blog and blab about everything.)

I was listening to Don Moen’s song, “Be Still/Know I am God.” It is my favorite song. It helped me once again in seeing I needed to soar with my Father above the flood of my emotions. I needed to be still and know he is God. He can lift me above anger and resentment. He can lift me above sadness and depression. He can make me act how Jesus acted when he was here. He can give me peace and joy in place of a troubled mind.

Be Still  (Lyrics)

By Don Moen

Hide me now
Under Your wings
Cover me
Within Your mighty hand

CHORUS:
When the oceans rise
And the thunders roar
I Will soar with You
Above the storm
Father You are King
Over the flood
And I will be still
And know You are God

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know His power
In quietness and trust

Be still and know
That I am God

I am the God
That healeth thee

 

Joni.

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I just finished reading Joni Eareckson Tada’s book, 31 Days Toward Overcoming Adversity. It is a wonderful book, full of wisdom. She writes about our walk with God, and how we should consider the hard times. Here is an excerpt:

“Okay, so there was the Lord Jesus giving Paul his route. “The road I want you to take, Paul, is the one that’s going to Rome. Keep heading in that direction no matter what. You can’t miss it.” 

 With Jesus Himself as travel agent, you’d expect a first-class trip, right? Not so. For two years on that long road to Rome, Paul faced more than his fair share of bypasses, ruts, hazards, and roadblocks. The journey featured constant trouble, murderous plots, and imprisonments.

 Then there was the long detour when a hurricane tossed him around the Mediterranean for fourteen days. Until his ship finally hit a sandbar. And broke into pieces. After which he managed to swim to an island. After which he was bitten by a poisonous snake. An easy road? Hey, the Roman Road was no freeway. 

 The tolls were unbelievably high. And yet this was the very road Jesus told him to take! Ah, but Paul trusted his Friend. Though the road was rugged — even vicious at times — Paul trusted. If the Lord Jesus had set him on the road to adversity, then he knew that, no matter what, it was the best road to heaven he could possibly find. No matter what happened to Him — smooth passage or storm — live or die — he was completely safe.”

 It took me a long time to realize my life would not be trouble-free as I walked with God. Everyone in this world of sin suffers in one way or another. And as Paul says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”  Romans 5:3-5

I take heart in the knowledge that the people of the Bible suffered also and yet found hope in God. He is our only hope in this world.