The Lord who Heals Me ~ Jehovah Rapha

I am the God that Healeth thee I am the Lord Your healer I sent My word
And I healed your disease I am the Lord Your healer

You are the God that Healeth me You are the Lord My healer You sent Your word And You healed my disease You are the Lord My healer You sent Your word And You healed My disease You are the Lord My healer You sent Your word And You healed My disease You are the Lord My healer
Lyrics Don Moen, I am the Lord who healeth you

Exodus 1:2-26 says, “So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, 26 and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.” (NKJV)

We acknowledge that God is a mighty God, that He is good, just, protects, provides and sees us, but most stop there. Our God heals. Let me repeat that, Our God Heals.

I think our health is one issue we pray for the most. It’s easy to say we need prayer and mention an infirmity. How often do we ask for prayer and while being prayed for we are thinking, well, we’ll see what the doctor says when I go this week? I am guilty of this.

In response to this, I have to challenge myself and ask rightly, ‘If I am thinking of a doctor then why am I asking for prayer?’ Do I believe that God is more capable than a physician here on earth? God is the great Physician. He is Jehovah Rapha.

The New Testament is filled with healing miracles from Jesus and through His disciples. Our God heals.

Now, the wavering I have felt at times could be legitimate, but, I have seen God heal. He removed a tumor in me and left scar tissue, which confounded my surgeon. It was years ago and you can still see the scar tissue to this day on a mammogram.

I have seen blind people regain their sight. Twice I have seen this. One was a teenager and the other a grown man. One in Maine and the other in San Diego.

I have seen someone healed from pancreatic cancer, seen it totally removed from a person who was in the late stages of the disease.

Yes, God heals. He does it today. It wasn’t for olden times, biblical times, His healing is for now. Yet, do we pray expecting to receive a miracle? Do we ask in faith believing?

Jehovah-Rapha, You are the God who heals. Heal all reading who need a physical, emotional or mental touch from You. Remove disease, restore health to bodies. Heal those who are mentally and emotionally exhausted, restore peace and calm to them. Lord, let us pray believing that You will hear and heal. Thank you for what You do Lord. Amen

Back to School

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

School started back this morning here in the upstate. My facebook page is filled with first day of school photos of kids either very excited or the middle school and high school kids with sleepy expressions and that first day of school look. I smile with each picture I see, as I remember the feeling of the first day of school and I think of my daughter’s first day of school each year.

It is the feeling on mornings like this that the school year looms ominously ahead. Going back to having to wake up early, starting a schedule again, and the uncertainty of what the year holds. To me, it is a reminder of when to plan my shopping trips so that I don’t end up behind school buses making the thirty minute trip to town more like forty-five minutes.

My Little Man started his school year last week. He is homeschooled, and in the fifth grade. I know his fifth grade teacher is much better than my own. Of course, I also know my youngest is an excellent teacher. Little Miss starts early September. She will head into second grade.

This fall, my younger sister will realize she is a retired teacher. She retired in June, but, like every year previous, she had the summer off. She is now realizing that there are no lesson plans to get ready, no classroom to prepare, that school is out forever. In years past, she said school was a word off limits for the month of July and August. I remember hearing that and still I smile. I can’t help but feel a bit melancholy for her this year. She touched so many lives which in turn will reach future generations. I admire her.

So, as I think of this new school year, all bright and shiny with new pens, pencils and crayons that have points I pray for each teacher, student, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and staff that helps everyone run. May this be a year of joy. A year of learning, not only head knowledge, but heart knowledge. May there be peace and safety on the school grounds and on the bus runs. May our Lord bless those who touch our precious ones with learning.

Just Under the Surface

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19 (NLT)

I can remember watching my Dad watch the news or speeches on television. He would always look at the t.v., and start yelling at whoever was on the screen. I thought this was a bit overkill, as the only people who heard what he was saying were in the house, and if it was summer and the windows were open, those in the neighborhood.

I couldn’t understand this until a few years ago. I then realized that a part of my Dad lived on in me. I actually try not to listen to much news. I know that is terrible, but I listen to know what is going on and I read, but I cannot sit and listen and be still. I usually stand up and walk towards the t.v., yelling as I go. I then turn to Dale and express my outrage. Every. Single. Time.

For the most part, I am a sane human being. Some would call me gentle, kind, funny. They have never seen me watch the news. I have a comment for everything, and sometimes that’s not good. I do repent, but then I feel compelled to explain my position to the Lord. I’m sure it’s like watching the cartoons with the tasmanian devil, you don’t know whether to laugh or slap him. I do picture the Lord on His throne looking over to the Father and commenting that eventually I will wear myself out and then I will be quiet.

Needless to say, I have not come to the point of living like the above scripture suggests. Even when I do succeed in being quiet, my facial expressions are screaming.

Sometimes I just have to let you know how I truly am.

Memories of Maine

The other day my oldest daughter and I started to reminisce about Maine. We were stationed there in the early 80’s. Our oldest was five months old when we reported to our duty station in Winter Harbor. We left Maine when she was three.

Since that time, we have gone back just a few times. The last time we visited, our oldest was going into sixth grade. I was surprised at how many sights she remembered from Maine. I smiled to myself to hear her talk about Downeast Maine.

I mentioned a few more sights and with each mention, she got a bit more excited. After talking with her, I have not stopped thinking about our time there. It was a special place to live. The Navy community was small, and close knit. Friendships were formed that still last to this day. I often say I left a big part of my heart there.

This morning I woke up early. Usually when I awake that early I fall back to sleep easily. This morning was not so. I turned over and my eyes popped open and my brain was racing with clarity. In my mind, I walked through the little town where we lived. I could picture things that I am sure are no longer there. The Donut Hole, a building that looked like a fishing shack that overlooked the water. On the wall hung many mugs belonging to the regulars. There was always some group of fishermen, lobstermen, or locals sitting around tables, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Across the street was a grocery store, where you were greeted warmly whenever you went in.

I often walked into town with our daughter. We would visit the Five and Dime store and I would glance across the street to the drug store that had a soda counter in it. The town still calls to me. My heart still yearns to be back there.

The Navy has long since left the area. The housing for military personnel are now privately owned or rented out to tourists.

I can still hear the waves crashing onto the rocks and the shore. Having been a Navy family, we were always around a body of water, but the coast of Maine remains the most beautiful coast to me. The water is grey. The air is brisk. It churns with energy unlike the lapping water of many of the coasts I have been around. I can still feel the smell of the water, it filled your senses and made me feel alive. In winter it was especially angry, always turbulent, like it was trying not to freeze over in the frigid temperature. I love the coast of Downeast Maine.

Yes, a large piece of my heart is in Maine, as it became a part of me. The experience of living there, meeting the people there is woven into me. It has been forty years since we left, yet I can return there rapidly in my mind.

It’s easy to yearn for places you have been. To recall the sights, the sounds, the smells and long to return. It’s a known place to you.

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” John 14:2-4 (NKJV)

Jesus promised us a place with Him. The Master Carpenter is preparing a mansion for us. He is coming back for us.

Although I have never been there, have never lived there, there is a place deep within me that yearns for Heaven a little more than I yearn for Winter Harbor. My heart lies in Heaven, and it waits to be there with my Lord.

How did Mom know?

I have a memory of my Mom mentioning to me that someday you would have to check your appearance when you talked on the phone because you would be able to see the person you were talking to. I don’t know what precipitated the conversation or how it came about. I just remember her saying it. Someday you will see the person you are talking to.

At the time I thought it was a bizarre thought. Phones were on the wall (or table) and at the time you had to make certain the other party wasn’t talking on the party line. How in the world could you see a person on the phone?

My Mom died in 1966, and I often wonder what she would think of the technology of today. So much has changed and yes, now we can see the person we are talking to. Who would have thought?

Yesterday we had an impromptu conversation with our youngest daughter and our Little Man. It was delightful and made my day. We were able to see his new books he received for his birthday along with a new keyboard. He played us several songs and we all laughed and joked and talked. The time together did my heart good.

As we hung up I once more thought of the conversation with my Mom so many years ago. I smiled and said to myself, “Yes, Mom, we can see the people in a call. But, no, I didn’t change my clothes or even comb my hair. I was just me.”

Family loves you as you are and although technology can be frustrating and burdensome, yesterday it gave me a visit from my baby and her baby.

Mountain Retreat, 1977

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 12:1-2 (NKJV)

This verse was part of my devotions today. I always smile when I read this verse. Then I remember my first retreat in the mountains south of Tokyo so long ago.

We went with our Friday night fellowship group and traveled by car. The night before we left Dale was working on the car, prepping it for the long trip. It was growing dark and supper was ready to eat. I walked out of our home and went to where he was. He had a pair of pliers in his hand and I startled him. The result was that the pliers swung around and shorted out the battery. It being 1977, and in a foreign country, there was no where to find a replacement battery and we were leaving early in the morning. But, we were young, and I was strong and the car was light, so we pushed the car, Dale jumped in and hit the clutch and away we went. We did get several looks whenever we stopped as these crazy Americans pushing a car to get it to go. Eventually we arrived at the retreat center.

The lodge was settled amongst the mountains. We all arrived at the same time. Our friend Pam jumped out of their car and we both talked of the beauty of this place. That was the first time I heard the above scripture. I had never heard it before then, and I will always connect it with that time and place.

In fact, I really cannot remember any of the messages, I know I took notes. The scripture in Psalm 121 was my lesson. I lift up my eyes to the hills. I know where my help comes from. I have never looked at another mountain the same way. Each time that scripture resonates in my mind and envelopes me with sweet memories.

The retreat was Japanese style. No beds, just futons. Layers of comfy quilts piled on top of another. Sleep was probably some of the best sleep I have had. Each night we pulled out the futons and slept and each morning, they were put away in the closet. Futons had their own space for storage.

The meals all had mushrooms in them. It was a bit overpowering and it did turn me off of mushrooms for a long time. The other staple were eggs. From quail eggs to huge eggs that one could feed a family.

The showers were in a different building, an ofuro, a building for men and the other for women. It was a public bath. You would wash off in what looked like a locker room and then take your clean body to soak in this huge shallow pool filled with steaming water and lots of strangers. It was something I never adjusted to that week, but, I admit that once sitting in the pool every muscle relaxed and renewed.

I have thought of that week today. I never imagined that I would have had these experiences. When I think on them, it is like a dream that was real Moments in life have a way of etching themselves in you. Memories tattoo themselves in your mind. Sometimes a reading of a devotional can once more transport you back to a time and place you never could have imagined.

I am thankful daily for the life the Lord has given me. It has been filled to overflowing with adventure and surprise. Thank You, Jesus.

Signals

It is raining again today. The temperature is still in the mid-80’s so it is warm.

Dale and I ate our lunch outdoors again. We sat on the screen porch and listened to the gentle rain falling on the other side of the screen. It was a quiet rain, a soothing rain. The type where you want to make soup for dinner or just curl up with a blanket and rest.

The falling rain reminded me of being in our hometown of Oil City, PA. I thought of times past when we were getting ready to head back to school. When you could feel in the air that summer was winding down and soon books would be what was focused on.

A rain that signals the beginning of the end of summer. Now, I am not a summer person. I much prefer the cooler seasons. But, there is something melancholy about the end of summer. The rain starts and although you know there are still a few weeks left of heat and humidity, the late summer rains carry a signal that soon the leaves will fall and the wind will hold a chill.

The days will grow shorter, nights longer and long sleeves will be part of the wardrobe. This year I feel the end of summer more than most other years. Although I am not a summer person, this time heralds the end of carefree vacations and days at the beach for so many. The days of fresh produce and summer fruit. The lightness of the season. Summer is laughter and playfulness.

Soon, as the stores are all displaying, school will start. Each package of new crayons with sharp points, highlighters that are crisp in color, notebooks that are new and not tattered, pens still in their package waiting to be opened forecast a more somber time. A time to sit still and listen. A time to learn and read. A return to the rote, the have-to’s.

Yes, that all hit me while munching on a sandwich and talking with Dale. Sometimes that which is not spoken carries the most weight in the mind. But, for now, it is only the beginning of August and yes, I am retired.

“And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.” Daniel 2:21 (NKJV)

Ouch! In a good way

When we lived in San Diego I became involved in prayer ministry. A group of us would meet an hour before church each Sunday and pray for the service, the pastor, the city, and any pressing needs we may have.

A lot was crammed into those hour prayer times. It formed a bond with many who were part of the team. Some of my favorite memories happened during the hour before church.

When we moved to South Carolina, I attempted a couple of times to pray before church. Some time while living in the low country and then once we moved upstate, here.

I became discouraged here as I truly didn’t know people of the church well. I could see the faces of those who sat in each seat, but I didn’t know the people. I prayed for the service, which I could figure out, and then I wasn’t familiar with the city to pray for the community.

San Diego was easy to pray. I knew that to the west was the Pacific, and I knew what suburbs were against the water. North was towards Los Angeles and so I could pray for the north county, for the marines on Camp Pendelton , and for the communities north of the church. East was the mountain towns that eventually lead to the desert. South were the communities close to the border of Mexico. I knew the direction to face and how to pray. I was confident in those times. I knew the city, I knew the people, I knew the church.

Change in location shifts your confidence. At least it did mine. I have always had the desire to pray and to lead prayer. I have been to prayer conferences where I have learned so much. Nothing in my desire has changed, nothing in my knowledge has shifted, yet, moving cross country disoriented my focus and confidence.

This morning at church our Pastor preached an incredible sermon. It was titled “When God’s People Pray”. The message was encouraging, and yet at the same time it produced an OUCH in me. I knew everything he was saying and in fact, I have said a lot of what he said at different times in my life. Prayer is important.

I felt it was time for me to return to what I had been doing long ago. That was the ouch part. But, it was a good ouch. More like a jab to the heart of me to prod me to do what I know how to.

The message was so encouraging also. For years I doubted why I liked to pray. Was I really called to lead and teach in this area? Or, was it vanity on my part for being asked to teach and lead so many years ago? Those two questions have plagued my thought process for a very long time.

I have not stopped praying. I wouldn’t know how to do that. Part of that stems from my Catholic roots and the prayers I learned as a child. I continue to pray for my Pastors, for my church, for the city we live in (although I still have no clue which direction is which)

Today our pastor talked about what the prayers of the saints are. They are incense to our Lord. The tears we cry while praying are put in a bottle with our name on it and written in the Lord’s book. God keeps track of our prayers. As I sat in my chair, I remembered all the tearful prayers I have prayed over the years. They have been perfume to the Lord and He takes notice of what we pray.

I have not relayed as well what was spoken today, but this is one sermon that will not leave me. It struck a chord deep within and something shifted back to me. The prodding that took place realigned what had shifted in the move across this country. I felt my confidence start to return in this area. I left church full. I received fresh bread in the words spoken. I was renewed.

I don’t know how I will put into practice what I relearned today, but I hope in the Lord to guide and direct me in His perfect way. We serve a great and mighty God. He cares for us. He listens to us. He hears our prayers.

“In those days when you pray, I will listen.” Jeremiah 29:12 (NLT)

Echoes and Treasures

I always hesitate to clean up after my grandchildren visit. I will leave toys right where they left them and walk around them for days. I know when I put them away, the visit is over. I do the same with the beds my grands and kids have slept in. When I have that perfect guest room, it signals that family is indeed gone.

Today I look at the pile of toys and puzzles on my living room chair. There is a stuffed tiger that was hugged and kissed by our Little Miss so that we could hug tiger and actually be getting a hug and kiss from her.

I did put away her art things on the screen porch. Emptying the paint water and putting the watercolors away. I carefully piled the artwork and put it in my treasure drawer in my dresser.

The echoes of laughter and play resound in the home of grandparents. It is what keeps us going. It is a blessing of our lives.

Today Dale and I had lunch on our screen porch. There are ledges on each screen of the porch. Beside Dale were the treasures collected by our Little Man, a twisty grapevine that is hardening to become a walking stick. Many pieces of granite and broken concrete taken from our woods.

On the other side of the porch lay Little Miss’ treasures. A pine cone on a little limb. Some pyrite from the driveway, and other little rocks gathered from outside. A seashell from where the previous owners dumped their aquarium. All special and unique to her.

I don’t know when we decided to store their ‘treasures’, but it is now part of our decor. They are reminders of great adventures in the woods and yard. Adventures that are seen through the eyes of children.

I never knew my grandparents, they had all passed before I was old enough to remember. Grand-parenting is a privilege. I am honored to be called Grammy. I love the echoes and the treasures. They remind me of memories in the making. My grands may not remember a whole lot of us, but they will remember that they were allowed to keep their treasures in a certain place just for them.

As parents and grandparents, we store up in our heart memories of our children. They are dear to us. They bring us joy. I imagine our heavenly Father does the same. Looking at us and in us, He smiles and gently places our “treasures” in His heart.

Another Confession, (sigh…)

I am a human. I am learning. Most of the time, I am relearning because I didn’t learn the first time. I have often said that the Lord has a sledge hammer with my name on it beside His throne of grace. I often picture Him sighing, and leaning over and picking it up once more to whap me upside the head so that I will get the message. It is a well worn hammer, I picture it worn on both sides from use.

For years, I have opened my eyes in the morning and thanked the Lord for the new day. Often I will remember to put on the armor of God. I always say, ‘I give this day to You, Lord, it is Yours.’ That sounds so lovely, doesn’t it? I almost sound like I am in tune with God.

And then… (There is always that statement.) I begin to tell the Lord what I am going to do with my day. I like to be organized and fit as much as I can in each day. The same is true in walking. Each lap, I pray for particular people. I am regimented. There has to be order.

This morning I started my walk, one lap, two laps, and on the third lap I heard it. “STOP! You are doing it again. ” It took a few seconds for the message to get to my brain. Again, I am making certain that I am doing everything I THINK I need to do. I overcompensate in almost every area. I confess it.

Once more my Lord leaned over about to grab that sledge hammer. Like a dog learning obedience I stopped and gave a sad puppy look to heaven.

I often tell others that they are enough, just like they are. They don’t need to strive because our Lord loves them, knows the number of hairs on their head, and even those in the hairbrush, that our Lord sings for joy over them each morning. I can believe that for others.

After realizing that I was once more trying to ‘do’ what I felt was right. What I was doing was rote, I heard, “Just walk. You are missing Me in trying to accomplish your list.”

I spent the rest of the walk silently walking. I remembered how I have had conversations with so many where I couldn’t get a word in edgewise and yet, here I have been doing that with our Lord. Prayer is a conversation.

So, I end with this. Lord, forgive me. Forgive me for not listening. Forgive me for not allowing You to move in my day the way You desire. Forgive me for not seeing my worth in You. I love you Lord.

“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118: 24 (NLT)