(Unedited segment of Chapter 3 Unmasking the Myths: Is This Prayer? to be published 2020. Unmasking the Myths is the first of three books on prayer containing over 70 interviews from people around the globe. Their stories and experiences give insight to the power and effectiveness of prayer.)
|“All along, prayer has been the Holy Spirit
planting love in me for Jesus.”
As young as seven years old, Kevin wondered if God was real. Even though he went to church and took communion, Kevin felt there was a huge distance between God and himself. As a young boy, whenever he had trouble falling asleep, he would reflect on God. Yet, he felt confused.
By the time he turned 16 the confusion had turned to fear. Though he assumed he was a Christian, he honestly didn’t know what that meant. Only three years later, he was heading in the wrong direction fast.
“Back home from my first year of university, I was working for the town. However, Because of a severe spinal injury from playing hockey, I couldn’t do anything without being loaded up on prescription pain killers. When I came to the end of that summer, I had no money left. I was drinking daily and spending every penny at the local bar. I was on a destructive path.
Here I was a 19-year-old guy who couldn’t even stand up straight or sit down. I was depressed. I didn’t want to go back to university the way I was. Everything was on a bad track, although I maybe wasn’t aware of it at the time. My family had been set free from alcoholism. However, I was on my own journey of recovery after being raised in a dysfunctional home.
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How do you prepare for triplets? Making room for one new addition requires planning, energy and resources, but triplets demand so much more. Before you think this seasoned grandmother, well beyond the childbearing years, has lost all grip on reality, I can explain. No! Cuddling the recent influx of babies being joyfully deposited among the young and thriving families hasn’t given me the desire to turn back the clock and start over.
Nonetheless, God has conceived in me triplets. When I first became pregnant with anticipation, I consented to one birth; but alas one has become three. Such surprising encounters occur to those who wait and listen for God’s promptings.
“I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.”
To “station” oneself “on the ramparts” means to take a stand at a place of siege or distress. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, that is exactly what God was calling me to do. About two years ago, I was standing at my prayer watch — well more specifically on my face, weeping in the prayer room. I felt God’s distinctive nudge to write a book on prayer. Though prayer is an active part of my Christian faith, I certainly neither felt equipped nor authoritative on the subject of prayer.
Yet, God persisted.
Then the LORD replied:
“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Writing and making it plain sounds simple enough for a less weighty subject. However, looking at books written on prayer by Dutch Sheets, Anne Graham Lotz, Stormie Omartian, C. Peter Wagner and many others left me feeling intimidated and inadequate to say the least.
Regardless, I was pregnant! There was no turning back. After several months of hesitation and deliberation, I accepted the reality. “Okay, Lord, we’re having a baby, but this definitely has to be more You than me.”
And so, the writing began. About thirty thousand words into the process, God nudged me again to interview people, gathering testimonies about the miraculous interventions they have witnessed as a result of prayer.
My excitement was building. Since I love hearing other people’s stories, I looked forward to the process without considering the technical details involved. I began to approach people I respected in my small prayer circle, asking for their assistance.
“. . . ‘declare how much God has done for you.’
And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city
how much Jesus had done for him.”
The voice of this once demonized man exemplifies the power of testimony. As I began to listen to these prayer testimonies, I knew they would inspire faith and increase prayer momentum. Surprisingly, recounting their prayer journeys ignited something deep and fresh within themselves before their words ever hit a page in my files.
Who but God would have known these multiple hours and dozens of voices would accumulate to over 400,000 words of intensely vulnerable and honestly raw prayer testimony. Their experiences reached from Mongolia to Jamaica, Chile to Great Britain, Nigeria to North America. Their ages spanned from nine to ninety years. Each held a piece — a unique story — of a prayer tapestry.
Together their voices impacted my own prayer life and spiritual perception.
“I will tell my people what you have done;
I will praise you in their assembly.”
Now came the task of honoring God and honoring their testimonies. As I mapped and charted their stories, I discovered distinct patterns within three main themes: the misconceptions that keep people from believing their prayers could be effective, the strategies necessary to defeat the enemy and praying with authority, and the miraculous interventions of God.
Prepare for Triplets
It was then that I realized, I was birthing not just one but three book babies:
- Unmasking the Myths; Is This Prayer?
- Unlocking the Legacy; Taking Territory
- Unstoppable; Moving in the Miraculous
It’s a good thing God didn’t forewarn me of the magnitude of the project. I would have found the fastest way out of town and hid somewhere in the hills. However, these testimonies produced such a powerful impact on my life, I couldn’t wait to share their stories with others like you.
It’s incredible to me that Jesus would say that we are the light of the world. Of course, in and of ourselves, we are the opposite. Because of His Presence within us, we have become light and He desires that light to shine brightly.
“You are the light of the world.
A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand,
and it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Dozens of people willingly opened their lives within the pages of these prayer books so that others will clearly see the power of prayer and give God glory. Only a handful are in full-time ministry. The vast majority are farmers, housewives, doctors, teachers, laborers, truckers, students . . . They are normal people we brush shoulders with everyday, people trusting in the grace and goodness of God to hear and answer prayer.
But through them, God is glorified. Prepare for triplets!
Born with Teeth
Even though these soon to be published testimonies remain hidden in files, sifted through by beta readers, polished by editors, and formatted by designers, they already have teeth and speak in full sentences.
Two years ago, I didn’t realize God was setting me on the ramparts of the desperate situation of prayerlessness, not just in our nation, but in our churches and homes. Such a void exists mainly because of the impotence many people feel in the context of prayer. John professes,
“They triumphed . . . by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony . . .”
The blood has already been shed, but the words of testimony still speak. Every testimony vibrates with faith in Jesus Christ. Their testimonies expose the reality that God still saves the lost, heals the sick, casts out demons, and raises the dead. Neither God nor prayer has suddenly become powerless.
As I prepare to deliver the triplets, these three books on prayer, I no longer sense trepidation and fear. Rather, I anticipate the impact these shared voices, spoken so simply, yet boldly, will have on those ready to listen. With my part of writing and making it plain almost complete, the time to run ticks closer and closer.
“And for what purpose?” you might ask.
“For the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.”
(Not final cover designs!)
One thing remains constant — Dennis Boettger passionately communicates the lessons God is teaching him through dreams, visions and revelations of His Word. Defining Dennis, however, isn’t easy! Husband, father, physician, pastor, author, song writer and composer or photographer?
An encourager and contemplative, Dennis is remarkably sensitive to God’s voice. He possesses a sincere love for others, especially pastors. After meeting with Dennis, one cannot help but sense a portion of the Father’s heart!
At the same day as the atomic bomb dropped on Tokyo, August 6, 1945, Dennis was born. It was August 5 in Canada.
“I was just born, but obviously things like that have a deep impact. As a kid I was afraid someone would drop a bomb on me. I can only imagine the pain, fear and anxiety that refugee kids experience.”
The third of eight children, Dennis grew up immersed in faith. His farming father also assumed responsibility as a self-supporting Mennonite pastor. It was natural for Dennis to give his heart to the Lord, when about four years old.
“I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”
From very young, Dennis sang the songs of faith from his heart — often in four-part harmony with siblings. “God was good to us! There was a sense of God’s presence.”
The Mennonite church emphasized being born again and walking in discipleship: faithful, servant-hearted and loving. Dennis wanted to please the Lord and personally know His will.
Missionaries, especially missionary doctors, had a big impact on Dennis’ young life. Although nobody in his family had attended university let alone medical school, Dennis nurtured an impossible dream of becoming a doctor. He equally sensed the call to preach.
Which path should he choose? For advice, Dennis approached one of his teachers who had also been his youth pastor. He received this directive:
“If you go to seminary
you will have answers for people
but you will have to convince them.
If you go to medical school,
people will come to you with problems
and you will give them answers.”
Dennis committed one year to bible school. The Lord also gave him freedom to consider medicine. Dennis’ mother said, he danced when he received the letter of acceptance to medical school.
During his second year in medicine, Dennis married Lucille whom he had known since Grade 3. She was a nursing student who had graduated from Prairie Bible Institute. They had their first of three children while Dennis was interning.
After receiving degrees in both pharmacy and medicine, Dennis and Lucille responded to God’s call to Ethiopia. For two years, from 1972-1974, Dennis became a missionary physician with the Eastern Mennonite Mission. In this time, during Ethiopia’s first modern famine, they witnessed many children dying from starvation and cholera. The experiences deeply impacting the Boettgers.
They attended an indigenous church, but without translation understood nothing about what was going on. A move of the Spirit was taking place in Ethiopia in those years. This season would prove to be the preliminary to receiving the baptism of the Spirit.
With the deposing of Selassie, the bloodless revolution began and the Boettgers returned home.
A Mennonite pastor, baptized in the Holy Spirit during the Charismatic Renewal, prayed for the Boettgers. Dennis felt convicted to repent of attitudes towards others, but nothing more. The seed was planted!
During their time at home, Dennis and Lucille did receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost. Dennis experienced healing and deliverance from anxiety and fear. This touch of Jesus transformed Dennis’ life and prepared them both for the return to Ethiopia.
“God gave revelation to me!
He could heal issues of my life
and restore things that had been damaged!”
As the Red Terror swept across Ethiopia, significant violence filled the nation! Victims of famine and leprosy, plus those beaten, burned and tortured were brought to the clinic.
With tears Dennis recalls, “We could hear the bullets hitting the bodies of innocent victims.”
Communication back home was non-existent! In two years, they phoned home once. But the Lord was gracious!
Dennis affirms, “The presence of the Lord in the midst of uncertainty, even death, calms our soul!”
Back to Canada
Back home, the Boettgers asked, “Where do you want us Lord?” Through a prophetic word, God gave a clear call! The Lord miraculously used them to plant a church in McLennan, a French community in Alberta.
Within 3 weeks of holding a bible study in their basement, a study they didn’t organize, a church was birthed. During their 25 years in McLennan, Dennis became ordained as a pastor/elder with the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies while continuing to practise medicine.
God was opening Dennis’ understanding through pictures and revelations both through him and the voice of others.
Dennis says, “At that time, I totally operated in revelation in the “night seasons”. God told me what to preach about. I had no plan or purpose other than sharing what God wanted me to hear.”
Thus his sermons presented fresh impressions God put upon his own heart.
Lucille developed ovarian cancer. The Lord was very near.
“Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his faithful servants.”
Several significant revelations during her terminal illness confirmed her home-coming was near. She went to be with the Lord in 2002.
“We prayed and hoped for healing.
It was revealed to us it was her time to go.”
In a dream, Dennis saw himself standing on a hill alone. God showed him a river, familiar but diverted, rushing along in standing waves. When he woke up, the Lord said, “…Everything will change. You will be directed along a new path. You will not be able to go on as you thought it would be.”
Dennis thought, “How can they do this to me and I not know it?”
Not wanting to be single, Dennis questioned, “How can I do this?” At 59 years old and almost ready to retire, he didn’t want to give a woman false hope. He had no interest in dating or having women pursue him.
Through revelation, God showed Dennis that his future wife would be like the sons of Zadok who drew near to minister to God. These priests could only marry a virgin or a widow of a priest.
God said, “I have someone for you. It’s a very narrow field.”
Dennis was neither wondering or looking!
He started a sabbatical, travelling to Israel and Europe. Upon returning, Dennis spent time at the Toronto Airport Church before driving to Quebec to meet pastor friends who had been part of his Alberta congregation.
“Seek the LORD and His strength;
seek his face continually.”
1 Chronicles 16:11
Betty, a widow, was already there when Dennis arrived. She had been a farmer’s wife, was the mother of three sons, and didn’t fit the letter of what God had given Dennis. He had no sense there was or could be anything between them.
Just prior, Dennis had been meditating on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and its pervasiveness in our thinking. At the pastor’s meeting, he stayed off by himself, deep in thought.
“Not paying attention,” he comments!
While touring Ottawa together, Dennis had a fleeting thought, “What about Betty? Don’t exclude Betty?”
That was November 2003. They parted ways. Betty continued her ministry in Quebec bringing hope to the abused. Dennis went to preach in Peace River.
In another vision, Dennis looked out of a window of a high-rise building. He could see a long way. Yet, his focus became fixed toward a “secluded corner, surrounded by snow and trees. There was a swimming pool without any tracks to it.”
An avid swimmer, Dennis recalled recently swimming in “the Dead Sea, Red Sea and Med (Mediterranean) Sea.”
He asked, “Lord, what are you showing me?”
“We have an elevated point of view.
We’re educated, can read and write.
As Christians, we’re filled with Holy Spirit.
We’re born again.”
“God was dealing with me!”
God called Dennis to leave his “high” point of view to catch God’s higher view.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
God clearly revealed, “What you need is a change in attitude.”
Through revelations, visions and divine encounters involving windmills, God increased Dennis’ understanding. God brought Dennis to realize that with the right attitude the wind of Holy Spirit moves in unknown ways to generate things.
Dennis knew God was answering prayer! The Lord was dealing with something that needed to be changed in order for him to receive all God was prepared to give him.
In 2003, people were talking about the next wave of the Holy Spirit. God said, “I am going to take the former moves of the Spirit and connect them with what is coming. It will be one move of my Spirit. I want to use you.”
“There was a time when
I could not hear God’s voice
and did not understand these things.”
God had already shown Dennis that He had received ministry from Betty. She fit the picture of a “Son of Zadok”. “Lord, was it an accident that I met Betty,” he asked.
“No!” God said, “I am in charge of the micro seconds.”
“You can make many plans,
but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.”
Dennis was meditating about that when he saw another vision of a large Saskatchewan field. It was an enormous farm with huge implements: tractors, combines, cultivators, discs, all kinds of equipment.
In my vision, the Lord asked, “Where are you in this picture?”
Dennis thought and thought and thought but said, “God, I have no idea.”
He said, “You are the draw pin. The tractor is the word of God. The fuel in the tractor is Holy Spirit and the driver is the will of the Father. All the other implements are the gifts and operations of the Holy Spirit.”
“The only thing God needs
is someone to be in the word,
in the Spirit
and in the will of the Father.”
He says, “I am so thankful for the voice of the Lord. He is able to reveal things to us, taking us through anything!”
After God showed me that meeting Betty was no accident, I wrote her a letter asking, “Is God telling you anything about us?”
“If there is to be an us, He will talk to you first,” She curtly responded!
They didn’t physically see each other again until July in Langley, British Columbia. Dennis was preparing to ask Betty to marry him. On his way there, the Lord reminded Dennis about the dream of walking along the river, diverted and rushing along in standing waves. He asked, “Do you know what that rushing water was?”
Dennis said, “No!”
God said, “It was a swift current.”
Betty was from Swift Current. Through one more revelation, God confirmed He brought and put them together.
“I’m so thankful because she has been good for and to me.” Dennis says.
Dennis and Betty were married on Thanksgiving 2004.
“Whoever you are!
Whatever your life circumstances are!
Jesus wants to walk with you,
talk with you,
and go through life with you.”
“With God there are no accidents! God has a plan! We don’t have to wonder or search. He will make His ways known.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
Through the joint calling of ministry and medicine, Dennis has impacted untold lives in many nations. Whether in the pulpit or on a hospital ward, Dennis leans heavily upon the wisdom of God.
On multiple occasions, God has supernaturally spoken to Dennis specifically revealing life-threatening conditions of his patients.
Dr. Boettger’s patients, as well as medical staff, know that both he and Betty pray. Those who have worked beside Dennis have witnessed God use him in miraculous ways. A hand larger than his leads! There is more than medical training directing this committed servant of Christ!
“And then he told them,
“Go into all the world and preach
the Good News to everyone.”
In addition to Ethiopia, he was also part of a team who carried bibles into China. Dennis has ministered in Canada, India, and the Philippines.
Together Dennis and Betty have carried the message of Christ to the nations of Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, and the United States of America. In Canada, they continue to impact lives in eight provinces and territories, faithfully returning to Inuvik twice a year.
Dennis humbly defines himself as “semi-retired” working part time in family medicine and surgery. “Semi-retired” hardly describes Dennis! Ministering hope and healing everywhere possible remains priority for the Boettgers as they follow God’s call!
Image by fernandozhiminaicela on Pixabay
Most of us have heard stories of redemption where someone is saved from something. The something could be a person, a destination or place, or a situation of their own or other people’s making. My name is Dawn; the story of my life is one of a daughter’s redemption.
I have been saved many times from situations, beliefs or ideas, and behaviours of my own and others. Sometimes my salvation has been quick or even instant. At other times, I have come to a slow awareness of salvation available before I could walk into it.
The Most Important Salvation
The most important salvation of my life was both instant and a slow realization: salvation from my own worst self, fears, sin, and ignorance of Jesus Christ.
“For the Son of Man came to seek
and save those who are lost.”
As a young girl, my little sister, Rhonda, and I lived with my addicted dad. He was one of the few single fathers in the 70’s. I already had experienced much fear, pain and loss.
When my parent’s marriage disintegrated, my mother was separated from Rhonda and I. My father loved us deeply; he also loved the drugs he used to pacify his wounded heart and mind.
In the midst of:
stints of foster care,
multiple moves and school placements
(6 schools by grade 4)
parties, strangers, threats of violence in our home,
weapons, secrets, jail visits
and lack of adult supervision and structure.
Jesus introduced Himself to me.
I was 8 years old and beginning to have an awareness of and feel frustration with my home life. My entire little-girl heart LOVED my father deeply: flaws, secrets, instability and all. I was beginning to see direct effects of his poor decision-making on Rhonda and I.
I was also beginning to be angry towards him. Questions filled my 8 year old heart and mind:
“Why can’t we see our mom?
Where is mom?
Has she forgotten us?
Why do we have to keep secrets about guns
drugs and drinking?
Why do we move all the time?
Will we have to go to another foster home?
Why are police always at our house?
Why can’t we be like my friend’s families?”
In the midst of the darkness, danger and fear in my home and heart, the strangest, most unexpected thing occurred!
A School Bus
A school bus started coming to our home to pick Rhonda and I up for Sunday School! Not only that, the same bus came and picked us up on Wednesdays for Pioneer Girls, a fun group for girls at church. Twice a week, the yellow bus brought us to a Holy Spirit-filled church where we learned about Jesus for the first time.
During one of these groups, my teacher took me aside and shared how Jesus knows and loves ME. She asked if I’d like to know Jesus and invite Him into my heart to be with me always. I did not have to think long! I did not know much about Jesus. What I had heard so far sounded wonderful!
I chose to believe that God and Jesus were real and that they could and would help me. And He sure did help me! The change was instantaneous!
“Then you will call on me
and come and pray to me,
and I will listen to you.”
I was no longer alone as a small girl in a big world. I began to talk to Him and believed He heard my prayers. My father was not a believer. He made it very clear he would never set foot in church. Either he knew we needed it, or he was glad for the structured activity it gave us, so he let us attend.
Sometimes, the help Jesus offers is painful to receive, centering around earthly change and loss. This is also my story. Within a few months of being introduced to Jesus, our lives would be forever changed.
We moved that spring to a large house outside Calgary, Alberta. The indoor pool, 4 bedrooms and 100 acres of land were welcome.
As a little girl, I had no way of knowing my dad had become deeply involved in a drug ring. The property was owned by someone in that circle. We were allowed to live there with expectations of my dad.
We finished the school year at a new school and experienced another month in foster care, before returning home to dad and country life.
Our grandparents came to take us to Regina for the summer vacation. We were excited! We loved time with grandma and grandpa! Here there was Sunday school, lots of yummy food, love, attention and care.
Within 2 weeks of kissing and hugging our dad goodbye, we received the worst news any child can hear — our dad was no longer alive. He shot and killed himself!
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
Grief, loss, tears and sadness became our companions that summer. Adults decided the best care for us. Two little girls aged 9 and 7 were required to begin a new chapter in life.
Early in this experience of loss, I came to a realization: life was not easy nor always good with my dad. We LOVED our dad and wanted him back with us, but I also had to admit we were heading down a dangerous road in life. I began to see how Jesus was intervening to save Rhonda and me.
God was not responsible for or caused my dad to take his own life. God’s will is never death or sin. I am assured that God was grieving for the loss of his son, our dad, alongside Rhonda and I grieving for our father.
After my heart healed a little, I was able to look back at life before and after losing my father. I began to learn that God sometimes allows deep pain and loss because He knows it can lead to equally deep trust and life. Can and will we surrender and trust Him to allow His tender healing of the hurts?
Life began again in July, 1980 for me. It is not the end of my story, but it was the end of that chapter of my story. I thank Jesus, Father God and Holy Spirit for walking through that season with me.
I’m also thankful to the Pioneer Girls leader, loving praying grandparents, and for the prayers and actions of others who gently circled us. When we meet Jesus face to face, He will introduce us to the many people who influenced our young lives.
And today? These many years later, how has life unfolded? Twists and turns! Lumps and bumps! Jesus continues to surprise!
The latest is a call to the woods of Tracy, New Brunswick. Here my husband and I have committed a year of our lives to volunteer. We are learning a program model for a Christ-Centered residential addiction program for men called “Village of Hope”. Some days we feel we fall short of the call, but we press forward knowing He has led us here for this time and His purpose. There’s no other place I’d rather be!
Jesus continually called my name, even after a long season of running away and denying hearing His voice. I am blessed on earth to be called “mother” “grandmother” “wife” and “friend”. The core of my identity though is knowing my name as “Daughter”.
“And, “I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:18
I spent many years not knowing the experience of being addressed as someone’s daughter. Now my Heavenly Daddy gave me the mind and heart-jolting revelation, “You are MY daughter”. The sweet reward of redemption!
My response is to live as a child of the King – by spreading seeds of His joy, His peace, His love and light. To do so allows me to thrive.
Thrive Dawn does! Dawn loves and cares for others passionately and genuinely. It is fitting that Dawn is the first to share her testimony, as representative of her First Nations Indigenous heritage.
Dawn’s redemption continues to influence numerous lives nationally. She effectively “mothers” multitudes, inspiring them to break free from generational and personal places of pain and addiction.
I am proud to call Dawn a friend, a sister, and partner in the work of Christ. She is a humble “daughter” of her Father God in the fullest extent of the word.
More Good Reading:
Apparently one way to age a lion is by scarring on its face. Scars show the fearless characteristic of a lion. The bible calls the righteous “as bold as a lion”. The scars of those who survive and thrive are evidence enough of their bold faith and tenacious perseverance!
“The wicked flee though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”
Do you notice the difference between the “wicked” and the “righteous”? One runs from harmless shadows, the other faces real and impending threat squarely. We have to admit, there isn’t much a lion will back down from.
Brave of Heart
To be lionhearted describes someone who is unflinchingly brave and courageous in the face of danger.
In the months ahead, I will be sharing stories of personal heroism demonstrated in the lives of some incredible people I know and appreciate.
Though none would consider themselves either brave or “bold as a lion”, their journey reveals a different story. Each one has faced dangers of various kinds. They have the scars to prove it!
Those who thrive hold wisdom like gold dust loosely in their hands. They willingly and with liberality reach into their experiences and share the treasures they have found in Christ, allowing the winds of the Spirit to inspire others. Their stories igniting faith, hope and courage in the rest of us.
“In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
As we examine their lives, we will clearly see the difference between surviving and thriving is rooted in their faith and the unshakable love of Christ.
Love of Christ
Paul prayed for the Ephesian church,
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high
and deep is the love of Christ.”
“In this is love, not that we loved God
but that he loved us…
” 1 John 4:10
God’s love is unconditional! God loves, because He is love!
Courage and bravery are not necessary to somehow merit His love. He loves us as we are. He loves us completely, even in our weakness and frailty. God will never love us more; He has no capacity to love us less.
It is in the basis of this relationship of love that survivors thrive.
Thriving Against all Odds
What makes someone brave? What compels one person to face life’s toughness squarely while another turns and runs?
“Courage is not the absence of fear,
but the triumph over it”
David’s bravery was tested in the pastures with his flock:
“…When a lion or a bear came
and carried off a sheep from the flock,
I went after it, struck it and rescued
the sheep from its mouth.
When it turned on me,
I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed.”
I Samuel 17:34-35
Acts of bravery aren’t always physically!
It takes courage to not only see your own way through difficult, but to lead others into victory as well. “Thrivers” are mothers and fathers who
love with the love of Christ,
disciple younger ones to maturity,
foster godly character,
instill hope and impart vision.
Those Who Thrive Speak
My husband still teases me about my “farmer’s call”. Being the mother of five active sons who enjoyed roaming the acres beyond our farm yard, this “momma” learned to call her young in for supper or bedtime with a distinct “Yoohoo” that could be heard far and wide. It is a non-comparison to a lions roar, however!
I have read that the spine-tingling roar of a lion is as loud as a turbo fan of an aircraft on takeoff, reaching 114 decibels. It is one of the loudest voices in the animal kingdom heard up to 8 kilometers away.
Lions roar to tell other lions their location, to show how big they are and to warn lions from other prides to keep away from their home territory.
“They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb and
by the word of their testimony
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.”
As these people share their stories, it may sound more like a whisper than a roar. Truthfully though, God has given them voices that echo through generations, powerfully declaring the faithfulness of Him who is greater, Jesus Christ!
Those who Thrive Rest
I have chosen people who have discovered the power of waiting! Waiting is the womb of courageous strength!
“Wait patiently for the LORD.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”
In the natural, the most intense development and formation occurs within the concealed and protected womb. For these, waiting and trusting in the Lord has formed the foundation of their courage and strength.
Those who have studied lions say it is a boring of occupation. Lions sleep for over 20 hours every day! That is a lot of rest! In resting, a lion is able to conserve strength for when it is most needed. It is also a position of watching; the place where wisdom is gained.
I am excited to use this blogging platform to share their stories. It is my hope that we will all draw from their wisdom, be inspired by their strength, motivated to action, and invited into deeper faith.
“A final word:
Be strong in the Lord
and in his mighty power.”
Every word we speak is a choice; every choice bears fruit. As Christians, our focused desire is to speak empowering words that consistently reap godly results.
“The tongue can bring death or life;
those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”
As Light as Feather
Long ago, a man was mentoring someone who was struggling to control his words. He took his student to the top of a tall tower and instructed him to rip open the feather pillow he had brought along. As directed the student held the pillow over the side of the tower, releasing its contents to the wind.
“Now gather the feathers” instructed the older gentleman.
Together they descended the many flights of stairs to ground level. The mentor patiently watched and waited. The younger man returned clutching ten fragile feathers in his hand. All the rest had drifted beyond sight in the gentle breeze.
Once spoken words dissipate beyond return. Some words as delicate and beautiful as feathers lifting and encouraging. Other words land like lead weight on an already wounded heart.
Words that Build
There have been numerous times in my life when people have spoken words of encouragement and built me up:
“I know you have the ability…”
“You did that so well…”
“I love you…”
Most of these words came at a time when I felt I couldn’t, or I didn’t have what it takes for a task ahead. Sometimes, they came at a moments of complete failure. Their words were wings of grace that lifted and empowered me to continue and risk again.
Moses spoke words of affirmation over Joshua many times:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I cannot imagine what it would feel like to take over the leadership from someone like Moses! How overwhelming!
These words would echo in Joshua’s heart repeatedly as he led millions into their promise. Moses’ confidence in him and spoken affirmation were God given!
We all face situations that seem beyond our ability. Every word of affirmation makes a difference in validating and propelling us forward.
My husband and I are amazed at how many young people consistently include us in their circle of friendship. Perhaps it is, in part at least, because we enjoying encouraging and inspiring them to greater and better things.
This is itself is a miracle! Neither of us were always that way! As a matter of fact, we have both received a large share of hurting and condemning words. We have both had to work hard at removing anger, critical judgments and condemning attitudes from out thinking and vocabulary.
Words that Teach
“In my former book, Theophilus,
I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach.”
Through the gospels, the words of Jesus continue to impact hearts and lives worldwide. His words were always life giving!
How many or how few, of our words are spoken with intentionality of having generational influence?
There is a relatively new medium called Spoken Word Poetry that has become a powerful voice of this generation. Through poetic verse the truth of redeeming love and breakthrough declares faith in Jesus Christ.
Each of us has the ability to use speak in such a way as to
empower, motivate to action,
lead others to encounter to Christ,
bring healing and hope
empathize and sympathize
elevate and inspire.
Spoken, written or sung, words have the power to ignite destiny and purpose in hearts.
Jesus, The Word
“In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
The greatest Word is the Person of Jesus Christ! The Word came. He spoke audibly and visibly! The most important words we can speak are from The Word! They contain life beyond earth’s reach – words that give life eternal.
“That which was from the beginning,
which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes,
which we have looked at and our hands have touched—
this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.”
I John 1:1
Some of the most powerful words we could speak may easily be our testimony about what Jesus has done in our lives! What a privilege we have to tell of the things we have seen, heard and experienced. Actually, the gospels are literally testimony by four men who witnessed The Word.
What has your faith meant to you? What has Christ done in your life? Have you experienced His peace or strength in difficult times? Have you witnessed a miracle? Let your voice be heard! Testify to what you have experienced! Pass on the personal experience to your children and grandchildren! Share with your friends and those in your workplace how loving and amazing God is!
While they may seem insignificant, your words could be exactly what God uses to build faith in others.
“Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.”
So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city
what great things Jesus had done for him.”
God has chosen the most unlikely candidates to be his witnesses: a Samaritan woman, a once demonic, murderers, thieves, and lepers. People from the highest and lowest levels of society. Our testimony of Jesus is never about us, always about Him.
Since the words of my mouth have not always been pure and loving, encouraging and supportive, radiating the goodness of God, this is a constant work of progress in me. Therefore, through my writing I challenge myself, may you also be encouraged.
Join me in speaking words that lift and empower! Who will you, or I, impact today with a word of life? God only knows.
Here is more on relationships – My Call to Action – Living and Communing Authentic Relationships
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I have always struggled with the title “Good Friday.” As I look with human eyes on the twisted tragedy of that day, nothing seems good. Greed, slander, jealousy, and compromise brought death to the Giver of Life. But on that Friday two beams intersected: the arm of love reaching down connecting heaven and earth while the other, the arm of grace, embraced all humanity. That is very good!
Others can explain the implications of that day far better than I. But I have this confession,
“…One thing I do know,
I was blind but now I see!”
Although my “blindness” wasn’t physical, it was debilitating!
Church going wasn’t a regular feature of my childhood. I did attend enough for me to get the gist of a baby born in a manger and a man on the cross. However, I had no idea how that connected to my life.
It wasn’t until I was 12 years old that I was told the full message of the cross.
All have sinned and are separated from God.
God is holy and just.
Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.
God is merciful and gracious.
Jesus’ death on the cross
paid the price for my sin.
By believing and confessing Jesus,
God accepts His blood as payment for my sin.
I still cannot get my head around the profound simplicity of this truth. But at that moment, my heart embraced fully the reality of such a gift of love.
Without support of other Christians and facing opposition, it didn’t take me long to choose the love and acceptance of others over the love of my Saviour. This wave of darkness swept in like tsunami, pulling me ever downward…
depression and suicidal intentions
twisted self-image and no self-esteem
It would take over a decade to surface from the whirlpool of death thoughts and actions. As a young mom, failing in every capacity of life, I left my home and little family with one intention – to end the onslaught of internal pain.
As I walked away that cold February night, God walked with me! No, not in a way I could physically see Him, but with me nonetheless. Though I had denied Jesus, He had not deserted me
not even in the darkest of moments
on psychiatric wards
in seasons of abuse
Though I had been unfaithful, He remained faithful! Though I had tried to run from Him, His love sought me out!
There in the middle of snow bank, I laid down every broken piece of a life twisted and torn. I had nothing good to offer Him – nothing of value to give.
My simple confession, “Lord, I have nothing but broken pieces, but if You want me I’m yours….”
And He did! The Saviour of all wanted relationship with me! Tears still flow freely down aged cheeks as I come face to face with the awesomeness of such love. Who can explain it? Who can comprehend it? Can it be defined or measured? Yet, one thing is for sure; it cannot be denied.
My one request at the moment was, “Lord, teach me to love!”
Through the decades it continues to be my soul desire… to love each day a little more as He loves… with one arm reaching down to the broken pointing them up to Jesus… with the other reaching out to gather “whosoever will” on this journey of faith.
Nothing has been the same since that day! The process has been long – painfully long! Transformation takes time. But truly I am not the woman I used to be. “Once thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
It is all because of Good Friday when two beams intersected: the arm of love reaching down connecting heaven and earth while the other, the arm of grace, reaching me. Even me! That is very good!
A Simple Prayer
Lord, I thank You for the cross
for the price You paid
for all of us
The Worthy for the unworthy
the Holy for the defiled
the Just of the unjust.
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