THANKFUL FOR GOD’S GRACE……… PERIOD.

In pondering what should be written for you today, I have come to the conclusion that my mind is cluttered with the needs of the gift shop that I manage here in this retirement village, and all the music that needs to be practiced and memorized.   Whoa….has my precious time with God been pushed aside because of “busyness”? Forgive me Lord.  I am so thankful, not just at this season of thankfulness, but every moment of every day for Your unfailing Grace!

What better gift of life words could I give you than the words from the Book of Life? So glean strength from these words of encouragement.

Romans 5   We have been made right with God because of our faith. So we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through our faith, Christ has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we know enjoy.  And we are happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory.  And we also have joy with our troubles because we know that these troubles produce patience.  And patience produces character, and character produces hope.  And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts  God gave us His love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us.

Christ died for us while we were yet sinners and weak.  We were living against God, but at the right time, Christ died for us.  Very few people will die to save the life of someone else.  But Christ died for us while we were still sinners.  In this way God shows His great love for us.

Sin came into this world because of what one man (Adam) did.  And with sin came death.  And this is why all men must die …. because one man sinned against God.  But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift.  For the sin of this one man brought death to many.  But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.  And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin.  For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.  But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.  Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners.  But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were.  But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.  So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

PERIOD

.

BOOOOO!!!!

Are you scared?

This is supposed to be the scariest time of the year. I have often wondered why we like to be frightened. Much money is spent on costumes and parties to see who can come up with the most horrific look to scare anyone they encounter.

Let’s stop fooling ourselves into thinking October 31st is all fun and games. There really is evil and horror in the world and it’s getting worse. Oh, I know, there have been periods of time in world history when evil was rampant. Maybe it’s because we have access to world news in a moment, but for us now in a “civilized” world it is scary!!!

The purpose of this LifeWordsToday blog is to offer reminders that we are in this world together, and we endeavor to encourage you to not give up or give in to the world’s ways.

Be aware that there indeed is a devil who fell from God’s heaven with thousands of angels who chose to follow him. They are the demons who obey his commands and are sent to stir up trouble on this earth.

Luke 12:4 & 5 (Jesus’ words)
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear. Fear him who after killing the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

Enough said about him…….

We follow God who has a good plan for each one of us. His love is so awesome and everlasting that He sent His Son Jesus to live among us. Jesus shed His blood and died for the covering of our sins….then arose from the dead. If we acknowledge Him as our personal Savior and follow Him, He will take us to the place He is preparing for those who love Him. What a hope we have in Christ!!!!

While we live in this crazy, mixed-up world, Jesus offers freedom from fear.

Jesus says “Fear not I am with you, even to the end of the age.”

I John 4:1 – 4 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

After the John 3:16 passage we are all familiar with where Jesus is talking to Nicodemus about believing in Him…..Jesus then says……” This is the verdict; Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

S0000….go out, have fun, carve your pumpkins, eat candy…..but CARRY THE LIGHT!!!

(Repost from Oct. 2014)

The Power of Interceding

While I was in Thailand on the World Race, half of our group went to the red light district, while the other half stayed back to intercede on their behalf. The red light district is like entering a war zone. It is full of darkness, bondage, and slavery. Stepping on those streets you feel the weight of evil upon you. However, knowing you have people praying for you on your behalf, this weight seems a little bit lighter. You feel the protection.

As I walked those streets hearing the music blaring from the bars, seeing the flashing neon lights, looking up to see women trapped in window boxes dancing to draw in customers, you know evil is present, but there is a power of something greater because you carry it. The half of the group who stayed back to pray, started praying when the other group left and didn’t stop until they returned. Once the groups were back together at the end of the night, we would debrief and share our encounters. People who were on the streets said they would feel a pull to go into a certain bar or talk to a certain person, and come to find out there was someone on the other end praying for that exact thing to happen! It was pretty spectacular and made us realize we serve a big God and learned the power of intercession.

I was reading through an article I found in Grandma’s belongings and the author wrote, “Authoritative intercessors are men and women whose eyes have been opened to the full knowledge of their place in Christ.” He goes on to say these intercessors view the Word of God like a battle plan against the enemy to defend the kingdom of God. God wants to partner with us to advance His kingdom and intercession is one way to fight and through these prayers God will fulfill His promises.

I like this analogy of using the Bible as a strategic battle plan. Like Paul says in Ephesians, our fight is not against flesh and blood. We need intercessors and prayer warriors to pray in the spirit for our victory! We need to pray like it depends on God, and work like it depends on us.

In the Greek, intercession is used as a way of approaching a King for a favor. As God as our King, we need to come to Him with our requests with the act of surrender. Getting on our knees is a great position for surrender. Praying on your knees shows humility and surrender. It’s honestly so powerful, you should try it!

Intercession can be used for the repentance of a person or people group as Moses demonstrated. Moses interceded for the people of Israel and for Aaron. He laid flat on his back and did not eat or drink for 40 days and 40 nights pleading with the Lord not to destroy them for the sin they had committed. In this position of surrender, the Lord listened to him.

Sometimes, God will bring a person to the forefront of my mind. At first I didn’t know what to think, but now I view this as God telling me to pray and intercede on their behalf. Most times I have no idea what to pray, and that’s ok. The Holy Spirit will intercede. So next time a person pops into your head whoever they may be, pray for them! You may be stepping into a battle you cannot see on their behalf.

We have authority in the name of Jesus because his spirit is within us. Use the authority given to you. Rev. J. A. MacMillan says this, “The church needs intercessors who have learned the secret of taking hold of the power of God and directing it against the strategic advances of the enemy.” 

A friend of mine mentioned she felt God wanted to give her the gift of intercession. At first she honestly didn’t want it. She thought back to the times she had prayed for someone and it was exhausting. She was deliberately praying a fighting prayer. I told her intercession does not always look like this. There are times God will bring someone to mind, you say a prayer for them and move on. Sometimes there is more to it and you have to pray a fighting prayer for them, get on your knees, and be at war in the spirit. And yes, that can be exhausting! But think of the life you are praying for. It’s not about you and how you feel, it’s about listening to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and using the power of prayer. Our mission is to advance the kingdom of God.

The Holy Spirit is an intercessor and intercedes on our behalf. He alone can interpret the needs of the human heart. He intercedes for us while we are on the earth.

“… the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance to God’s will.” Romans 8:26-27

Jesus intercedes for us in Heaven. Like it says in Hebrews 7:25,

“He is able to save completely those who come to God through him,

because he always lives to intercede for them.”

(From Nikki’s book “A God You’ve Never Met” coming soon…)

 

PUT YOUR ARMOR ON

There are times when the writing of a blog for Life Words Today seems to be a struggle. I’m sure there are times when the right words just don’t come for you too. So my words of life come to you today, not from my mind, but from the mind of Christ. It is always good to get into the Word of God to be reminded that in this out of order world we live in, God has provided a guide for daily living.

Ephesians 6:10-17  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil`s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be ale to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”

May our Lord give you strength today as you put on the full armor of God. He offers it to you, but you must put it on.

PRESENCE

Modern times demand a certain level of skill at multi-tasking. The introduction of smart phones and immediate access to information that constantly comes at us has all but demanded it! It’s hard to imagine that we used to survive without texting, googling, and gaming! (I mean, what did we do with all those “dead minutes” in between actual activities and conversations?) All this added to the regular pressures of our jobs and family, whilst trying to throw in a little recreational time, means our minds are rarely singularly focused.

Think about the number of times you check your phone just to see if someone has sent you a message. The number of times you look something up just because you are curious to know some facts about an event or person. The number of times you check emails, news headlines….. AAAAAGH!

This is a subject that may seem overstated at this point, but I feel it’s so important. It takes effort to be single-minded and to focus on one person or task at a time. I have discovered in my own life that this effort is worth it. Studies show that millenials are actually more stressed than the generations before them, and most of that extra stress is due to the constant barrage of information that they allow into their brains at one time.

If you are Gen X or older, you will remember that we had just a few TV channels. And on top of that, if you didn’t catch your show at the time it aired, you just missed the show! Phones were attached to the wall, and if you wanted privacy you had to get a REALLY LONG cord so you could string it down the hall from the kitchen and into the bathroom or your room. We actually had to FACE people to talk to them for the most part. When our parents did something with us they were singularly focused ON US. Even if they weren’t there as much as we would have liked, when they were there they weren’t busy posting pics of us and half-listening to whatever we had to say. Everything else had to wait because they were with us, and everyone survived!

So here’s what I observe these days, and I’m sorry again if you feel you’ve heard it too much. We all have relationships with other humans, and those humans deserve our FULL attention when they are in our presence.

I think we think we are present sometimes when we actually aren’t. Technically the definition of present is to “be in a particular place.” So, I think that we have tricked ourselves into thinking that because our body is physically at a child’s soccer game, or at the dinner table, or on the couch while the family watches a movie, that that is actually BEING PRESENT.

Multi-tasking is an amazing ability that we have, but it should be left for work and other activities. It shouldn’t take the place of single-mindedness and focus on a person that is sitting with or beside us. Especially our children.

A child knows when you’re pretending to give your attention to him when he’s explaining his artwork, or talking about the scene in the movie that just happened while you were checking Instagram.  A child knows when you have actually put your full attention on him and have fully engaged in his story or activity. We only absorb part of the information he is giving us if we are simultaneously absorbing information from someone online. We miss A LOT. It’s the details we do remember and notice that make the biggest impact.

How would we feel if God constantly put his finger up and told us to wait just a moment more while he reads a message from someone else or has to go “like” a post he missed yesterday? What if he had to finish posting his selfie with so-and-so before he could get to what we had share.

When we speak to Him, his attention is not divided. We are front and center, and he is single-minded.

Single-minded is an adjective meaning: committed, unwavering, resolute, devoted, dedicated, persistent. It’s antonym is: half-hearted. I think when we multi-task we are basically half-heartedly doing each thing. For laundry, making coffee, checking emails… sure…. BUT….

Let’s try a little harder to put our devices down and be more single-minded when we are in the presence of a loved one. Every effort surely makes a lasting impact, and it is freeing to loose the chains!

Slow Down to Go Fast

What in the world?

The phrase “go slow to go fast”or any variation of that idea  is something I’ve been hearing in the business world for a few years now. At first I sloughed it off as not important – I am a full speed ahead type of person, and honestly, the faster I can get to a destination, the better.

And then I found out that business and life sometimes don’t work that way.

So tell me, does that phrase even make sense to you? If you’ve never in your life heard this concept, stay with me here – I hope to give you a lightbulb moment or two…

A quick google search of the words “slow down to go fast” comes up with a LOT of resources. I mean, everyone from Forbes to TedX to Huffington Post and the Harvard Business Review has articles or videos on this very idea. Even Porsche. (Which begs the question, is it even possible to slow down in a Porsche driving machine?…)

Two weeks ago today I had elective foot surgery to correct a decades-old injury. Even though the injury in itself had slowed me down, I had become accustomed to that pace and thought I could live with it. And then my preschool age grandson challenged me to a race. He pretty much wants to race every time he’s here. I obliged, but soon I was limping my way around the driveway. Could it be that hanging on to that old injury was too great a price to pay? I was asking my husband to pop my metatarsal back into place every few days or so – a process that was painful and unpleasant, but it was my new normal because my damaged tendon could not hold those bones into place. I was unable to hike with my friends in Yosemite each spring, I couldn’t walk more than a couple of miles, I was in pain at the end of a day of skiing and worst of all, I couldn’t even race my grandson around the yard. This had become my new normal. I didn’t like it, but I accepted it. It was’t the best for me, but I endured it. I started thinking about how I’d become comfortable in my new normal, but it wasn’t an optimal place to live.

It took me years of enduring this to finally decide this was no way to live. So when I found out it was fixable, and I had surgery to repair it. And then the REAL slowdown happened.

Here’s what slowing down to go fast looks like for me right now…

Crutches. Scooter. Sit with your leg elevated as much as possible. Wear this boot. And NO DRIVING for several weeks.

Yes, I am on the slooooooooowwwwwww boat right now.

But you know what? I’ve decided it’s ok. By slowing down to fix this torn tendon in my foot I now can look forward to a future of even more mobility. I am slowing down now to go fast later. I am fixing my eyes on a time when I will be able to walk or hike several miles, ski all day without pain, and I’ll be able to race my grandson again – and maybe win for once? (Doubtful, but I will certainly give it my best shot…)

So what happens during the slow times?

Healing. That’s what happens.

A foundation is built for a strong tendon and bone structure to hold up my body for the rest of my life. In order to walk (literally) in my purpose and calling to be a fun and active grandma, I need to slow down and let this foot heal properly. I need to let my cells knit themselves together to form a new bond that is strong and able to perform the work of holding those bones in place. This takes time.

It wasn’t until this past weekend when God was walking me through an exercise of also slowing down my spirit for some inner healing that I saw the full circle message of this.

Life is busy. I know that. We get comfortable in our normal of stuffing our wounds full of temporary fixes. We eat or drink too much to numb the pain. We shop even more to avoid facing the debt. We stay busy to avoid having to listen to that still small voice telling us what needs to change to be healed. But do you know what happens when we slow down and let God fix our torn and broken parts?

Healing. That’s what happens.

Feeling anxious? Slow down and let God heal you.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7

Are you exhausted and weary in your spirit, even down to your very bones?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

Slow down and let God do the healing work. Just as I know the good work of healing started when my surgeon repaired that torn tendon, I also know that pushing through it too fast and forcing too much activity on that tender foot would undo everything the surgeon has done for me. Likewise, if I don’t sit with God in the work of healing in my soul and let him knit together the foundation for what’s ahead, I could undo everything the Great Physician has started in me.

…Be still and know that I am God…

Psalm 46:10

Have the lights come on yet? I hope so.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

Let God finish the healing process he started in you so you can soar into your purpose and the calling he placed on your life the very day you were born. It’s never too late to slow down to go fast.

Connection

There is a connection between the mind, body, and spirit. Honestly, I believe it starts with mindset. The journey I have been on rings this to be true. It wasn’t until I started reading personal development books a few years ago did I realize the importance of mindset. I was never going to accomplish anything if I did not first believe in myself and love myself. For years I had been trying to please other people, trying to fit into what society deems as acceptable and beautiful. I have been on countless “diets” trying the next new thing and exercising like crazy and hated it. I was just trying to look good. And yes I got to a point where I looked good on the outside, but on the inside I was miserable. I would look in the mirror and would not be happy with what I saw. It got to a point I couldn’t maintain the lifestyle I had created for myself and I went down hill and gained most of the weight back. Then the cycle began again of me hating the way I looked and the person I saw in the mirror. I was nowhere near what society accepted as beautiful. And I was frustrated with myself and fed up! At this point I was not viewing my body as the storehouse of the Holy Spirit.

My view of myself has changed and I realize my importance in Christ. I want to have a healthy body because of Him and no one else! It starts with the mind, and then you need to take action on the body. Once I started going to therapy, I began to peel back the layers of shame and guilt I had placed on myself. I started working out in a way that was fun for me. It is now something I look forward to each day. I love exercise. An important aspect of healthy success is getting your body moving! I continue to learn to listen to my body by fueling it with what it needs and not what will cause it to suffer later. And also listening when my body needs to rest. This took awareness, action, time, and outside help to figure this out.

Spirit is tied into this as well. You must fuel your spirit by spending time with Jesus each day. Diving into the Word of God, journaling, getting your thoughts on paper, listening to God, praying, and surrounding yourself community. God’s voice is the one that matters, so take time to listen to him.

You are beautiful.

Look at yourself in the mirror. What do you see? I challenge you to say 5 things you like about yourself when you look in the mirror. You were created in God’s image. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Walk in the confidence of who you are in Jesus!

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

EVER PRESENT

Do you wonder where God is sometimes?

We see people praying with their heads up, eyes up, arms raised upward, or often with heads bowed in reverence. I know there are times when I forget that God is Omnipresent…that is one of his attributes. Sure, as a child I was taught that God is everywhere, but because that is so far beyond my comprehension I often live life by myself.  Actually, in doing that I am not acknowledging His love for me, and that He wants to be involved in every part of my life.

I recall a time when my brother, Ron, was 2 years old, and we were sitting as a family together in our large home church in Portland, Oregon before the Sunday morning service began.  Ronnie stood up on the chair, looked around and spoke out in a loud child’s voice, “IS GOD HERE YET?  Causing laughter, and being shushed by us, he went on to say, “WELL, I HAVE A LOUD VOICE!!!”  I guess he thought the Pastor was God!

In my study this week, in preparation for the writing of this blog, I read many scriptures and commentaries on the subject of the Omnipresence of Almighty God.  I came across a phrase that affected me profoundly…GOD IS ALWAYS HERE, BUT ALSO ALREADY THERE.  Wow…that hit me with tears and praise.  I couldn’t stop weeping at the revelation of that truth for not only now, but for my future!!!

In Joshua 1:5 we read that God told him he was the new leader of the children of Israel after Moses died; “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you, I will never leave you or forsake you.” And in verse 9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  This promise was just before he led them across the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

Psalm 23 reminds us that He will be with us through the valley of the shadow of death.

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.”

Psalm 139:7-10 “Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?   If I go up to the heavens you are there; If I rise on the wings of the dawn, If I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

In your scripture reading this week I suggest you read Job 38.  This will remind you that God is everywhere taking care of everything…..yesterday, today, and forever the same.  He is in control…and the sooner you give in to that fact the happier you will be.  Knowing that He is HERE, and in control and, you are not, is freeing!!!

You don’t need to be in a church building to experience God’s presence.  Enjoy the fact that God is with you wherever you go.  Talk to Him anytime…He loves YOU!

But the FRUIT of the SPIRIT is……

These are red letter words, recorded by Matthew, from the mouth of Jesus:

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:15-20

And…. what is good fruit?

Galatians 5:22 defines the Fruit of the Spirit as…..love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

When Jesus preached, he told his listeners to watch for the people who look good on the outside, but are rotten on the inside. Don’t we see people like this all the time? They look good and they talk just right. They make us believe that they have good intentions. Unfortunately there are many people in the church today who put on their happy faces and preach love, but when faced with a person or group that does not agree with their particular politics or “brand of Christianity,” they suddenly turn to spiteful, hateful people – all in the name of God. I was taught to watch for the wolves in sheep’s clothing outside the church, but the more I observe, the more I realize that some of those wolves were right there in the church, while lots of sheep were peacefully living outside the church. People who didn’t “look like church people” were loving God and others as much as themselves by actually being God’s hands and feet, while some wolves who looked right on the outside were actually rotten with hatred on the inside.

Last week I picked up a beautiful watermelon at a local produce stand. I thumped it, and it sounded just right! It was bright green and heavy, and just begging for me to take it home with me to enjoy. I got it home, and cut it up. It was a beautiful color, and it smelled heavenly. It appeared to be a good fruit. It had everything going for it! It seemed perfect!

Then, I took a bite. It was sour. I dug deeper into the heart searching for the sweetness it had promised me by its appearance. NOPE. Still sour. Not worth eating – at all!

This was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It was a bad fruit despite all it’s promises.

Heard of Ugly Produce? Case in point that the outward appearance of a fruit or vegetable isn’t the tell-all. A little bruise or imperfection here and there on the outside doesn’t make something a bad fruit. In fact, some of the best fruit I’ve ever tasted didn’t look perfect on the outside, and some of the worst fruit I’ve ever tasted was flawless on the outside!

LOVE.
JOY.
PEACE.
FORBEARANCE (tolerance, patience).
KINDNESS.
GOODNESS.
FAITHFULNESS.
GENTLENESS.
SELF-CONTROL.

These are the inward fruits of the spirit, that are borne by a true relationship with The Father. These display themselves by someone’s actions and the way they treat others – especially the ones who are least like themselves. These are the fruits of the sheep, not the wolves.

We shall know them by their fruit. God is love, and He imparts His Spirit on those who love Him. Therefore, those who truly know God will display the Fruits of the Spirit.

Let us recognize our fellow sheep, not by their outward appearance, but by their outward expression of their spirit. And let us BE the fruits of the SPIRIT to one another.

Do You Believe in Miracles?

“I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs in the earth below.” Acts 2:19

Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe the miracles in the Bible still happen today?

These are 2 questions I asked a church group while we were on a mission trip in Belize. Less than half raised their hands. At one point in my life I was like them, and maybe you are this way too. I would read the stories in the Bible and not believe they still happened today. How could they? I was stuck inside my head, over analyzing, and trying to think logically, when I wanted to believe it was true so badly in my heart.

Month 2 of the World Race, God rocked my world and shifted my belief. Before then I was in disbelief and questioning God and his supernatural powers. But he proved himself to be a God of miracles through the act of the Holy Spirit.

I was in Tegucigalpa, Honduras walking on the dirt streets of a very poor community. We walked house to house praying for people and offering them an opportunity to be a part of a food program. Toward the end of the long day, my 6 teammates and I were making our way to the bus. One of my teammates, Christina, was walking significantly slower than the rest of us. I stopped and waited for her to catch up and asked if she was okay. She said her back hurt so bad she could barely walk and had numbness down her leg. Well that’s not good.

In that very moment I felt the need to pray for her, but I told her we would wait until we got to the bus. God literally stopped me in my tracks and I stood there and turned towards her to say, “NO! I AM GOING TO PRAY FOR YOU NOW!” She agreed and as we were slowly making our way to the bus, I placed my hand on her back and prayed for healing. I prayed for buckets of healing to be poured down from heaven. I declared God did not want his children to be in pain but to dance with him. God is the ultimate physician who can and will heal her! I praised him for what he was about to do, heal my friend!

When I finished I looked at her and asked, “How do you feel?” She was silent with her mouth and eyes wide open.

“Nikki…”

She paused.

“I don’t feel any pain.”

I laughed, “Are you kidding me?”

“Nikki, I wouldn’t lie to you. The pain is gone!”

We were both stunned and speechless. Christina and I looked as though we had just seen a ghost. She can I turned slowly in a bit of shock as we made our way to the bus. We silently sat next to each other. She put her legs up on the seat in front of her and looked at me wide-eyed, “I couldn’t sit like this before.” I was shocked! God used me to heal my friend’s back. That night I was unable to sleep still in awe of God and the Holy Spirit and his power. I sat on a blanket in the middle of a grass field under the stars and had a conversation with God. During this time, God shared with me my brother would be healed from epilepsy and my dad would be a believer. I began to cry and thanked God for sharing this with me. What a big day! I can tell you for sure my belief in miracles changed. The miracles which occurred in the Bible still happen today!

We have the Spirit within us, but He comes upon us when others are involved. In this moment with Christina, the Holy Spirit came upon me to heal her.

The same power that rose Jesus from the grave is inside me, inside of you! Do you believe it?

(excerpt from my book A God You’ve Never Met: Who is the Holy Spirit?….coming soon!)