Sunday, December 29, 2013

Reflections on Jesus’ Faithfulness

Mick is doing this today....


Child, you are my daughter and I love you. My timing is not your timing, but be not dismayed at that revelation. I AM yours and you are mine. Keep on seeking Me and Mine for you. You shall find and learn beauty through delay. I vacillate not nor waver in My purpose/plan/plans for you, fear not but meet each day, maximize on it and keep focused on Me. Sometimes it is not so much where you are but WHO you are, wherever you are. If you maximize on Me and stay pure, holy and ready I can use you in a vast variety of circumstances. I love you (both) and have a plan. I still go before you and prepare the way/doors. I Am THE door. Do all without anxiety, living that moment for itself, taking advantage of that opportunity as it is there.  Then, you , at that moment, have no other (moment) to be concerned, focused on, anxious about or speculating about. Use it to my advantage and I’ll bring forth the increase in them and you. I AM undertaking, fear not. I also have several plans which allow for various ”wills” and choices. And I have My best. Sometimes it doesn’t come about even if you and I are on target because of others but and still ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD FOR THOSE WHO LOVE ME AND ARE CALLED. You can’t lose. Selah.

Our Lord is the creator of the universe and can choose to communicate with us, His children, is so many wonderful and creative ways. HE wants us to learn to depend on Him and not be anxious and most of all He wants us to know, deep down inside of us that we are His!

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.


DIGGING DEEPER

Read these verses and write down what the Lord is saying to you through them today.

Isaiah 43:1-3

Philippians 4:6



My commitment:



Prayer: Dear Jesus, it has been years since that day I prayed to ask You to be my Lord. SO much has happened. You’ve brought me through and been there always, through it all…. Lord, today especially I have some needs. I desire to know Your will for me and to be in the center of it. I need to know regarding employment. I know You desire to have me hear you and obey. I die to my desires and seek to hear You even now. Praying in the name of Jesus, AMEN

(C) Marijo Phelps

Thursday, December 26, 2013

JESUS in my Life for Transformation



My pregnant “out to there” sister had come for a visit about
three weeks prior with her two little girls. She had changed;
there was no getting around it. She was offering to help me instead
of telling me what to do. When the girls had bad attitudes
– the ones toddlers get – she whispered something in their ear,
(instead of yelling) and things changed. She had become “born
again” and I was fighting everything about it. Still, I couldn’t
get over the positive differences in her life. We started talking
one night at 9 pm – the next time we looked at the clock it was
5:00 am!

I would ask questions, and then get mean and nasty; “yah, I suppose
you’re going to tell me the devil did that?” Would come
out with as much sarcasm as I could muster.

There was a war going on inside me. One voice was saying,
“Tell her you love her, and tell her how much she means to
you.” Another would say, “Put on a stony mask; don’t let her
see how anything is getting to you…”

When I would ask questions she couldn’t answer, her response
would be “I don’t know Jo, but I will find out for you.”

She never used to follow up on anything, so I was surprised
to find a letter she started to her husband the next morning.
“Ken can you ask pastor a couple of questions from Jo?” I never
should have talked with her about Jesus, she is much worse than
she was before we talked….” I stuffed the letter back under the
pillow.

Three weeks passed. I ran to the Christian bookstore to buy the
book she suggested, “Late Great Planet Earth” by Hal Lindsay.
I was a professing atheist and a non-professing alcoholic; a real
mess, and making life miserable for anyone who cared for me.
The wheels in my brain began turning: what if any of this is true
and I am left on the outside looking in? I am making a mess of
my life.

After a walk in the park with my then husband, I was taking a
bath before going in to work the night shift at the local hospital.
I worked with a born again nurse’s aide. We had long ago
agreed to disagree. I would give her smart replies if she began
to talk about her Jesus - but I was miserable, crying at the park
had not brought any relief. It was as if I was crying muddy tears
with no release.

I was a nasty drunk hurting those I professed to care about – life
was a mess. In that bathtub, I was crying out to a god I didn’t
think existed.

If you are there please help me, I have made a mess of my life,
please do something – take over for me Jesus.
Tap, tap, tap “Jo, are you alright? You’ve been in there an hour
and a half…”

It was then I realized I was sitting in a tub of stone cold water.
At this same time, I sensed a large weight being lifted off my
shoulders and a most incredible peace within me, a peace I had
never experienced. Over the next few weeks, I began to get to
know the Creator of the Universe, this Jesus I had so long denied
– what an adventure He and I had making up for lost time!
Within three weeks, He completely delivered me from alcohol.
Previously I hadn’t even been able to go longer than a day and
a half without doing some serious drinking. The Lord pulled
me feet first out of that bottle; I haven’t had a drink in almost
thirty-seven years.

So many things have happened since then. I found myself single,
ending up getting short-term missionary training with Youth
with a Mission (YMAM). My experience as an RN helped, we
traveled through Mexico, and then on to work in a children’s
home in Guatemala.

After we returned, the Lord did many wonderful things to get
me back for the second part of YMAM schooling continuing
my healing after being divorced. I met some wonderful Christians
there in East Texas. It wasn’t too long before the Lord was
putting my broken life back together. I was more whole than
I’d been before being “broken.” His presence and healing were
indescribable.

I knew then what I wanted, and that was to go on a mobile team
helping local churches and their pastors. Then I was encouraged
to pray. It seemed like our Lord had different ideas. As it turned
out, there was a fellow named Mick, whom I had been avoiding
for almost a year. He was a bearded red head; my ex was a
bearded red head. I came to find out our Lord has a real sense of
humor. Mick and I have now been married for almost 27 years.
They haven’t all been easy but they’ve been good. The first year
we were married I almost died from Toxic Shock.

Since then we have both had cancer, we have had times when
we were both unemployed at the same time, and thankfully,
times when we both worked. Through it all, we never missed
paying a bill; God always provided our food and a roof over
our heads. We’ve been blessed in unbelievable ways, and are
always amazed at God’s creative and miraculous provision in
our lives.

I worked as an RN for 24 years, and then was able to work for
two different ministries after we moved to Colorado in 1993.
As of this writing I am about to begin radiation for breast cancer.
The good news is that our Lord has never been closer to us.
They caught the cancer very early so it’s not in my lymph nodes
or blood stream.

I’m blessed to be able to share these devotional studies with
you. Some of them began 34 years ago. God knows what a
“wiggler” I am. Shortly after I became “a new creature in Jesus,”
He impressed me to write, read aloud, and engage as many
of my senses (and fingers) as possible. I would write what I was
thinking to Him along with poems of praise. Soon I was writing
what He was laying on my heart. Each “word” in here was first
to me, and then for others.

Eventually God impressed upon me to look up scriptures which
went along with the “words,” and then to write a prayer expressing
my heart at the end. I’ve felt for years this would someday
come together in a devotional. Our dear Lord worked that out
too, as we now have Morning Whispers from the Heart of God.
I pray He will speak to you, making His Word come alive!
In Jesus,
Marijo

PS I am now done with radiation (Feb 7, 2012) and two years CANCER FREE!!!

(C) Marijo Phelps from Afternoon Whispers from the Heart of God

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

First Song, Melody for a Miracle




My dust-covered legs ached. We had walked miles and miles with the throngs of others. Yet there was definitely more dust than people. Dust in our noses and mouths choking us as we traveled on. 



She was in pain. Her right hand clutched to keep her upright. With her left hand, gripping her pregnant self, as if that might help the labor.
He rubbed her shoulders, patting her back as he raised his calloused hand to knock. 



“Ah, we need a room, the babe….”



“Sorry, this is my best season and we have been out of rooms for awhile now… census you know…..”



And we joined the dust-covered legs yet again moving to another door. He tried again “Sir, I beg of you a place, the babe is almost here and my wife can hardly sit anymore”



“No, we have no rooms”



“But sir, she can’t have the baby sitting on a donkey. Please, isn’t there some place?”



“Well, even the sheep have their shed; you can go out back with her.”



And we walked a little farther on in time to see several wooly-bahs (I think he called them “sheep”). It was only minutes before the baby arrived and was tight-wrapped. I gave him my manger-crib for a bed. 



As I ate the hay which fell down on the ground, I watched those tiny toes wiggle and knew I would never have another dinner this sweet. Then the wooly-bahs and I heard the most incredible song. We were directed by God’s hand to join in. I sang bass; the wooly-bahs sang tenor and the angels….. Oh, my. Could you even call it singing? They were singing three dimensional notes that had a life of their own.



“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill towards men” (NKJV) The praise, the tangible joy, the anthem never before sung and never to be repeated. We took part in lauding this infant creator of the universe and King! I with my ey-haw, ey-haw and the bah, bah, bahs joining in. What a wonderful honor and night to remember!



Surely they would come to worship Him, those he had been created to liberate and set free. Several of them came, awe struck humans with crooked sticks, who took care of many wooly-bahs. Our unique chorus swelled. But where were the rest? Didn’t they know? Did they have eyes of stone and hearts that couldn’t see?



Years later I related this night and our part in it to my donkey grandson. He wanted to see this God-man, this Savior of humankind and worship Him. It was not a surprise to him at all when they came and led him away from his mom to be ridden by the Master. This time maybe the humans would see and know!



Many, many came shouting; “Hosana! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” (NKJV)



My donkey grandson was the one He chose saying “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey’s colt.”



We knew. The Mankind Liberator would be known now and we were part of this incredible history again.



Some did know. They came to the Liberator-God to be set free from their sin. But many of that multitude just days later had eyes of stone and hearts which couldn’t see and cried “away with Him, crucify Him”. (NKJV)



He died with most not understanding, He didn’t come to take on Rome but to liberate humans from sin. It was terrible for three days with much mourning and crying out for those humans who loved Him. 



Resurrection! Then, we all saw Him again. He walked and talked with many, and some actually had seeing eyes and hearts! But not so many called out.



Couldn’t they know He was God sent to earth to be one of the humans? He came to pay their sin penalty and liberate them if they would but ask? We just did not understand. 



So I would ask you today, do you have eyes of stone and a heart that cannot see or will you ask and receive the most incredible Christmas gift ever to be given? You don’t even have to wait for Christmas, you know! He is listening. He is waiting. He wants only to hear your request for forgiveness to give you your new song to sing.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Why Do I Write?



Writing Inspiration

When I was younger I would write to “get it all out”. If I was sad or angry I would grab a pen, pencil or sometimes sit at my typewriter and pour it all out on paper. When I finished the intense emotion was gone and I could go on. I was never sad or angry for long because I poured that out on paper. Many times, writing it down helped me get through and realize that the problem wasn’t nearly as big as I had it worked up to be in my mind.

I have always been a communicator. Many of my relationships ended up being on paper through “snail mail” as friends who’d stayed in Rochester for the summer ice skating sessions went home for the school year, or people moved and we stayed in touch or cousins who didn’t live where we did but I wanted a link to.

Writing became a part of life. My sister said when she looks at a blank piece of paper (before attempting to write a letter) she is literally filled with panic. “what to write, will it be boring, oh, do I have to do this….” For me, it was simply flight of thought and stream of consciousness. What the cat did that morning, how my garden looked, who I had seen or talked to that my sister might know…..

I wiggle. After I was made new and whole by Jesus it was only natural to sit, with a pencil in hand and write to Him and then write what I thought He was laying on my heart. This stopped the wiggles and gave me something to reflect upon when the immediate time was passed too. These scribbles are now in the process of becoming 10-12 published books.

As we grew up we were only allowed about 3 hours of TV a week and those only if chores were done and homework completed. We read a lot. Then the TV died. Dad was an electrician and the TV sat in the basement for 3 years waiting for him to fix it. Actually, that was probably the best gift he could have given us. We read some more. Through reading, I learned to appreciate the written word and venture out into to area of writing myself.

My biggest challenge is to write a concise word picture that I dub prosaic poetry. I do some of the rhyming ones also but prefer short ones with perfect words to grab a meaning and paint it on paper for my reader. I have been writing poetry since I was four and enjoying the challenge.

Everything I look at begs to be written about, communicated with someone else; my cats, the wildflowers in the yard, the colt down the road, my angst with a patient who didn’t make it when I was an RN, people tormenting and not realizing that a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ can truly set them FREE, the humor in a strange situation, husband-wife communication or miscommunication, LIFE…requires typing up because there is so much to share and so little time.

As I write today the winds are picking up, the springtime we had for a couple of weeks in this mountain meadow is about to be rudely postponed as we get up to 5 inches of much needed snow. The clouds are thick, pregnant with moisture. I am glad that those flowers I got are safe in the garage on the workbench. Planting will come later when the cold crystals have melted. I think those early spring days were sort of an April trick but we really did enjoy them while we had them! Yes, I just have to WRITE!
                                          

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Good Read from One Who Reads 2-7 Novels a Week


No, I don’t want a “chick flick” kind of novel. I want “edge of the seat”, mind blowing fiction but not stories that give me nightmares. Did I mention the ones I love the best will have a tiny hint, clue or suspicion earlier that proves to be major later on in the action. Yes, I want action, well done action. OK, you can throw in a bit of romance with the intrigue so long as it isn’t hokey. I also prefer novels which teach the reader more about God. I also like modern day novels rather than historical or period fiction. I know, my list is more than 5 items long.

I mentioned in my “Favorite Book” article that I loved Ted Dekker’s Thr3e. It did all of the above and did them really well. It was edge of the seat because of a terrorist on the loose. There were tiny hints and clues planted all along and this time I didn’t pick up on them. It was only when I went back after the astounding finish of the book to verify things that I realized that Mr. Dekker was a masterful novelist and planted his hints very subtly. There was so much action that this read is difficult to put down once you begin turning the pages.  I had no nightmares as Ted was great with descriptions but didn’t prolong gory details. There was a kind of romance in the book too. I will leave it at that and you can read it to find out how that plays out and why I say “a kind of romance”.  And, in a subtle and non obnoxious way the writer definitely taught about God giving the reader and especially one of his main characters hope. It definitely was not overblown with Christianeze  and clich├ęs.

Some of Ted’s other books live up to this description too although they are totally different than Thr3e. My next favorite of his is Blessed Child.

I really enjoy Dee Henderson’s novels also. They are action packed, with realistic characters who face many of the same problems you or I might face in our lives. They are not without struggles and yet, eventually, they are over-comers.

It is usually more fulfilling when the good guy comes out winning in the end but sometimes a hero/heroine will die in the struggle evoking reader empathy and involvement more that a sugar coated ending.

Those are my ideas and now I am going to read about yours! What do you like to read?

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.


Friday, December 20, 2013

If I Had Extra Time in a Bottle…..


At times in my life when I had t-i-m-e, I didn’t have $$. I would have liked to have visited friends and relatives who didn’t live nearby but lack of the green stuff prohibited that. It always seemed when we got a bit ahead in the finances then we didn’t have vacation coming and couldn’t travel either.

So, if I had unlimited time I would figure out a way to go see those who used to live close but do no longer. We have many relatives in Texas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Dear friends would take us to California and Oregon. We have always enjoyed camping and an occasional night in a hotel.

There are so many beautiful places out there waiting to be captured in our camera and played with online, also, many stories to write about our travels.

Something else I have always wished I had time for was growing veggies. Here in the mountains in Colorado it would probably entail making a frame house. While we are at that we could do raised beds and potting soil so we wouldn’t have to weed or bend over all day watering. The produce would be small bell peppers in various colors, tomatoes of all kinds and maybe some colorful kale – the ornamental kind is really good eating and such a pretty purple and green.

Would I write? Well, did you even have to ask. Right now my wonderful publishers and I have talked about at least ten more books of every variety and flavor. My second one is coming out in June and will be memoires entitled “Journey with Jesus, My Incredible Lord”. We aren’t sure what number three will be. The publishers are leaning towards a novella. The very thought scares me spit-less.  I have at least 2 more devotionals waiting in the wings, some Bible study books, some pet stories, a children’s book or two, maybe a kid’s bedtime story book, a cookbook with some short scriptural thoughts between recipes (Recipes for Life. Like my WS column) this will have old delicious comfort food from our family AND some really good recipes for those of us watching our blood sugar and fat intake. There is one on Godly Courtship and Biblical principles. And a poetry based devotional. So, yes, I would definitely write and write.

Would delight to do some volunteer work with some of our friends in Youth With a Mission (who are now getting into that geriatric set just like we are) in various places around the globe and our friends from Every Home for Christ who are also around the globe.  I could see Mick and I doing carpentry (me as the step and fetch it person and Mick building much) or me helping with cooking or sewing things for the various YWAM or EHC offices or bases.

An RV with our cats (pretty bad when I can’t spell the word I wanted to use well enough to even look it up…) anyway, our odd collection of various and sundry cats…. would be interesting.

We wouldn’t sit on the porch and rock although watching an occasional sun set from there would be glorious – just a minute while I run and get the camera…..

©Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use giving proper credit.


Come visit my blogsite: http://myincrediblelord.blogspot.com/

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What the Bible Says About Being “Born Again” or The New Birth

What the Bible says about being “born again” or the new birth:

John 3
New King James Version (NKJV) 

Jane you can read the whole account in John but the bottom line Jesus spoke......

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Why do we need to be “saved”?

Romans 3:23
New King James Version (NKJV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 6:23
New King James Version (NKJV)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

HOW ARE WE SAVED?

Romans 10:8-10
New King James Version (NKJV)
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Once Jesus forgives you…


Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”



What can you do?  REPENT


Acts 17:30-32
New King James Version (NKJV)
30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

BELIEVE…

John 3:36
New King James Version (NKJV)
36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

CONFESS

1 John 1:9
New King James Version (NKJV)
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

RECEIVE

John 1:12
New King James Version (NKJV)

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

Scripture complied by Marijo Phelps

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Letter Late


Hey Suzi, who do you know in the military?" asked Toni.


"What do you mean?" Suzi hollered from upstairs.
"You got a letter with a military return address on it, I'll bring it up to you." Replied Toni as she ran up the stairs with the mail in her hands.
"John? Doesn't look familiar to me let me get it open", was Suzi's comment while tearing the envelope.



Dearest Suzi, I am writing this from the hospital in Germany. Don't panic, it is a leg wound but not that serious. Don't think I will be sent back to anywhere near Viet Nam again soon though. Yes, I am coming home! Suzi, I love you and hope we can work things out. I want to hear back from you if you think there is still a possibility for US. WRITE! I have a teaching offer at UC in California that I will probably take. Nothing would be better than having you there with me. This is not how I planned to "pop the question" but would you consider marriage to this soon to be college professor? Have to get this mailed but am waiting for your answer. All my love, John



"Suzi, what is the world is that all about? Who is John? Our military hasn't been in Viet Nam for years!" Toni was mystified and Suzi was shaking her head.



"Toni! Grandma used to live in this house and her nickname was Suzi too, you don't suppose.." Suzi asked as she reached for her cell phone.



"Hey, Grandma, it's Suzi, how are you? Oh, we're fine say, did you used to know someone named John back when you were young?" Suzi queried.
"Oh, he was shot and died? How did you find that out? His parents got a notice? Oh, Grandma, how awful! No, no, well, talk to you later." Suzi flipped the cell phone shut.



"Oh, my goodness, she thinks he died! And she never got this letter and he thinks that she didn't care. Hey, let's get online to see if he's still at UC!"
"Look sis, here is a list of professors, he IS still listed there! He's a department head with an e-mail address, do you think we should write to him?"



The sisters wrote to see if they had the right professor. Grandma has been widowed for over 5 years and sure seemed lonely. They explained to him how she had heard he died and then the Christmas card that never arrived until this week, and how Suzannah was named after her grandma.



Dear Suzi and Toni,
To say I am shocked is the understatement of the decade. When I didn't hear back from your Grandma Suzi I thought that was a "no" answer. I tried to call her when I got home. Her parents had moved and I had no other contact information for her. My Mom died shortly after that and life was in turmoil. 
Do you think there is a chance I could see her or talk to her or.?
Sincerely,
John




Dear John,
Grandma has been so lonely since Grandpa went to be with the Lord 5 years ago. I think it would be neat if you two could talk again. Do you think we could surprise Grandma? Could you maybe come to our Christmas open house next week? We don't live THAT far from you. You aren't married? 
Waiting excitedly,
Suzi and Toni



_____________________________________________



Dear Girls,
I would love to come to the open house. Does your Grandma know the Lord? I came to know Him in that hospital in Germany. Things were pretty bad for awhile..
She always loved surprises! See you in a week,
John




"Mom, what do you think? Will it be ok to have John surprise Grandma?" the girls asked in one voice.



"She always did love surprises but she thinks he has been dead for years. Let's give her a hint that we have a huge surprise for her!" Mom answered.



"Hi, John, I guess you might want your card back so you can give it to Grandma." Said Suzi, handing him the envelope.



"Look, here she comes!" exclaimed Toni.

"Hi girls," as her eyes stopped on the handsome graying gentleman standing next to the door.

It couldn't be, he died! "John??" whispered Grandma.



"Yes, Suzi, it is me after all these years," grinned John holding out the old card from 1969 to her. "Merry Christmas, Suzi".


(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with with proper credits.


Monday, December 16, 2013

God is Pouring Out His Best


God is pouring out rest, restoration, refreshing and renewal, as you relinquish your grip/gripping hands and open them, raising them up to praise the only One who is mighty to save. Jesus is worthy of your praise. HE is able. HE is releasing you and setting you free. Yours is but to yield and let Him do His most wonderful and complete work.
Nothing is impossible for Him.
Selah (pause and think calmly about that) Shout unto God with a voice of triumph. Shout unto God with a voice of victory. HE really is able!!!

Psalm 47:1 Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!

We get so excited at a game by “our” team… can we not do ever better praising the Lord God almighty? There are many examples in the Bible of lavish, loud and exorbitant praise. Why should we be left out of any of that? We should not. Let us give complete praise to Him who is due all our praises…

DIGGING DEEPER

This afternoon, take a few quiet minutes to read and reflect on the following scriptures. What are they saying to you, right where you are sitting. Then take a few minutes to praise our God and King. Yes, dance in the living room, sing to Him, shout onto God with a voice of triumph – your voice!

Ezra 9:8


Isaiah 61:1-3



Exodus 32:18



2 Timothy 1:12


My Commitment:


Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to be free with lavish worship to You who are so much more than worthy. Help us to leave our inhibitions behind and come boldly into worshipping You. Lord You are our EVERYTHING! Oh, Jesus, in Your name we pray. AMEN


 (C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved.