Friday, January 31, 2014

#7 Outrageous Ideas on Sex Before Marriage - Courtship Story - Stuckey’s for Breakfast

(Pictures would be TOOOOO graphic....)

I was just beginning to get to know Mickey Phelps after avoiding him for about a year. Yes, I’d say hi and then literally run. He was a bearded red head like my ex husband. I did not want to go down that road again. It had taken the Lord a bit of time to convince me that I would not be going down that road again and that He was asking Mick and me to have a friendship.
In the beginning that prospect was about as tantalizing as a spoon of castor oil in the hand of a well meaning father. I was pretty good at backing off. Most recently we’d survived a movie and Chinese dinner together. Actually we laughed and talked – it really didn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth at all. The gentleman had asked me to go to breakfast with him later in that next week before my work day began.

“You have a guy here for you….” said one of my roommates as she waltzed into the room from the hallway.

“Hi – how about breakfast at Stuckey’s, its close and pretty fast?”

“Sounds great to me”

Mick opened the door to Brownie, his El Camino and I hopped in. We drove the few miles out the back of the Youth With a Mission ranch to the gas station mini-mart restaurant. Hum, there was a new sign and it was no longer Stuckey’s. Sometime when none of us were watching it turned into “Love’s”, no kidding.

Breakfast isn’t always easy for me because since I was a kid I have had an egg allergy. They have to be really, really well cooked for me to be able to eat them. The heat changes the protein that I react to and then I can have some.

We sat down and the waitress came to take our orders. I ordered fried eggs with the center broken and “cremated” – was the word I used….. cooked brown for clarification.

Mick ordered fried eggs over easy. This was going to be interesting. Ever since my well meaning aunt, who didn’t believe in food allergies, had made me eat two “slimy” – oh, I think her wording was “farm fresh eggs” I haven’t been able to even look at what I considered a half done egg. The sight and smell about pushed me over the edge. You’d think with all I did in nursing training that I would have gotten over that by now. Nope.

“Here you go, yours well done and yours sunny side up….”

Mick proceeded to take his knife and fork, even though they were worse than “over easy” and slice the mess up. I wanted to hand him a straw or get me a blindfold but I restrained myself.
We talked. I looked over to the door, then to the window and across to the counter which sold roll aids. Oh, I even remembered to take a bite of my eggs and swallow. The thoughts were running through my mind saying “whoa, how am I going to survive breakfast with this guy?” 

“those eggs smell like they are still clucking….” “oh, no, baby chicks….”

Then some of the yolk stuck in his mustache…..

“Why are you looking at me so funny?”

“Ahh, napkin? Egg in your beard…” and I got really busy putting jelly on my wheat toast.
He laughed and fixed the mess. “Hey, how would you like to go to church with me this next Sunday? Dave Wilkerson has a service in his warehouse that is really good.”

OK sounded safe enough, I had been to the Warehouse and they did not serve eggs. “You know, I have gone there before and it is really challenging. Good worship and great messages. Sounds like a good idea!”

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

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Gentle is the Lord, Father, Son and Holy Spirit

(Posted for my friend Sharon!)
Acts 2:1-4 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

For the three and a half years since I’d been saved I had been against speaking in tongues. If anyone even mentioned the subject, my toenails would curl, my claws would come out and the least I would do was abruptly change the subject. Then the Lord took me by the arm on a trip through Corinthians and revealed His Word to me in such a way that I couldn’t avoid the truth of His Word.

Two weeks later, through a series of miracles, I was on my way to a Women’s Aglow retreat in Oakland. I had BUTTERFLIES and tried to figure out how to stay home. After the Lord reminded me of all He did to get me there, I resigned myself to His will and went.

Shortly after my sister-in-law and I arrived we met her friend, Florence. Soon I began badgering her with “20 questions”. It reminded me of the time right before I got saved when I wouldn’t go down without a good fight! Her method reminded me a lot of the way I tease, but really get down to business, with anyone who is defensively questioning things of God. She was a kick!

So far, all ladies that I had met seemed really friendly, smiling and genuinely warm. I am not sure what I expected, perhaps a lot of hyperemotional, flighty ladies. Celia (my sister-in-law) might have the gift of tongues but Celia was different, or so I thought. It was probably because she was a relative and I knew her as a person and not as “one of those”.

At our first worship session I really enjoyed the songs, prayers and praise. When someone started singing in tongues, the rest joined in briefly, it sounded just like a choir. I concentrated very hard on singing “hallelujah” and “thank you Jesus”. We sang more choruses and more prayers were offered.

All the ladies leading this time were attractive and spoke in soft, moderate voices. I had imagined something out of Halloween perhaps?

All of the sudden, some lady in the front row, just a little way down from us, let out a screech and fell on the floor. The nurse in me wanted to go over and see what the problem was, but not very much. That was it! I was going home! But wait a minute, the speaker was saying that confusion was not of the Lord and that we were going to have scriptural order. The song leader started a new song and things went on, in order.

The next morning the Lord used a guest minister to reassure me again. He stated very strongly that in any service things needed to be done in order. He wouldn’t even allow the gifts to be used without the strictest Biblical order.

Ok, Lord I guess there are some who speak in tongues who follow Your Word about order too….

The other major concern I had was about hyper emotionality. I was just sure that all of this “tongues business” was just a matter of getting worked up into an emotional frenzy. I observed people singing, very quietly in tongues with joy and happiness. Then, as if the Lord was trying to calm me, the speaker said we use the gifts to worship the Lord in the Spirit. She cautioned against getting into the flesh or the emotions saying we would only cheat God and ourselves. It sounded reasonable to me, but not what I had expected.

I must admit at this time that I was not too hot on a lot of singing, one or two songs and I was at my limit and started fidgeting….. At this meeting we could sit if we wanted to or stand, some clapped their hands, others folded them or raised them over their heads to the Lord, some even had tambourines, but in it all as a radiance of adoration for Jesus like I had never witnessed before. We were truly one in the Spirit and one in the Lord. We sang choruses, prayed little prayers, heard scripture and then a message which was super.

I thought about forty-five minutes had gone by. It was 10:00PM and we had started at 7:30PM! Praise the Lord! Everyone was so sincere. They really praised Jesus and loved Him, reaching out to each other. It was neat! Don’t tell me I was starting to like this in spite of myself!

Gradually the Lord started unraveling the big knot within me. It was scars left over from the church I was saved in three and a half years before, which eventually split right down the middle, destroying many individuals in the congregation also. Jesus was touching my fears of big, old hotels and fires, frustrations of not being able to cry and express my sad emotions. He touched feelings left over from childhood of being on the outside looking in.

I was sharing these areas with Celia and Florence for prayer, when we all heard the sound of rain outside. I praised the Lord, if it was raining and I didn’t have to worry about fire. The Lord could take care of and keep us! Intellectually, I knew this all the time, but try to convince my emotional “what if” part. I had already figured out a way to tie sheets together for a hasty escape out the window, only we were on the 8th floor and didn’t have enough sheets. Ever notice what the devil will get you obsessing about to keep you from paying attention? I had also spent too many years as a burn unit RN.

We three shared in prayer. When we looked out the streets were dry. It had not been raining even though all three of us heard it. I already had the faith that God could handle my fears and was able to sleep soundly that night.

At breakfast we all shared with ladies we’d never seen before. We were open and really shared our hearts. I was being a “critical fruit inspector”, really just waiting to see something negative. However, everyone seemed to sincerely love the Lord, there was just no way around that. Also, they seemed to be serving Him too. At this point the Lord began to take me out of denominationalism and doctrinism and into worship with the Body of Christ! How blind had I been, how stubborn and negative!

Before the retreat, the flier had mentioned special interest groups. Those groups included intercessory prayer, gifts of the Spirit, counseling etc. I knew from the outset which one I was NOT going to, you guessed it, the one on gifts of the Spirit. They had been pretty coy so far but I was not going to set myself up to get attacked and have someone insist I pray in tongues.

It was time to sign up and I had already narrowed it down to intercessory prayer vs counseling, then the leader threw in a clinker and suggested we pray about which one we were to attend. There went counseling, now it was between intercessory prayer and (gulp) gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Okay Lord, I really need a definite sign on this one. Let me open my eyes and have an “X” appear by the right one so I really know it is Your will.

And that small, still voice inside me said I should ask Celia to go to the one on the gifts with me.

Right about then the leader said “don’t ask your neighbor to go to the one you just signed up for just because you are going”.

Rats! I opened my eyes and my thumb was on top of the box marked “gifts of the Spirit”, big deal, I was looking at that box before I started praying.

Bet if my thumb had been over the box marked intercessory prayer I would have leaped at the chance to go to that workshop, ahem….

The lady came by to collect the papers and I hadn’t signed up for a workshop yet. I was reprieved for awhile.

When we got to the room Celia piped up and said, “Marijo, I really felt the Holy Spirit telling me to go to the class on the gifts of the Spirit and take you with me but I wasn’t sure how to tell you…..”

I ran over and hugged Celia, then got nervous as all get out. We signed up for that class together.

OK, Lord, that was the definite sign I asked for, now, You protect me and don’t let anyone attack me!”

All too soon it was the next day and time for the class. I was ready to fight until death the “tongues brainwashing” I just knew was about to begin. We got into the group, second from the last row, you know, the one by the door. There was a soft spoken, ageless lady who introduced herself and gave her testimony.

I tuned in to hear “raised Methodist then Nazarene, saved at age 9 and filled with the Holy Spirit 22 years later…..”

Quick calculations told me she must have been filled with the Spirit at age 31. I was 31 sitting there that day. I had been raised Methodist, then was a professing atheist for 9 years, then got saved and became a Nazarene. She was fluent in Spanish and so was I right on down the line her testimony went SO similar to mine.

Now what, Lord, I know You want me here, at this retreat and in this particular interest group.

Then someone asked her a question about speaking in tongues. She had been lecturing for about a half an hour on the gifts of the Spirit and hadn’t even mentioned tongues. This was hardly the brainwashing I had expected.

Later, we broke up into groups of three to pray. My request was that the Lord would refuel me, have His way in my life and give me anything He wanted me to have. I knew I was filled with His Spirit prior to this time; a distinct, one point in time infilling.

That day I wanted to rededicate and yield myself to whatever plan the Lord had for me. I prayed that I wanted any gift that He wanted me to have and then felt that nudge to pray more specifically. I did. I poured out my heart to Him while holding Celia and Linda by the hand. Then we stopped and they were both grinning at me, like cats who swallowed canaries, I thought.

“What are your grins about?”

“Marijo, you’ve been baptized, Marijo, you’ve got it!”

I knew I had Him and He had me, that happened over three years ago and I didn’t speak in tongues then either. In fact, the only time I even came close to speaking in tongues was two weeks ago, the night after I had been taken through Corinthians by the Lord. I really prayed and while asleep that night I dreamed I spoke in tongues. Also, just the night before the class I was saying my nighttime prayers. Then I sang a chorus to the tune “Thank You Jesus, Thank You Lord”, only the words were ones I didn’t understand except it ended in Rabboni, which I knew was teacher, so I decided I made the whole thing up.

Besides, since I understand Spanish and a very little French, German, Hawaiian and Italian what if I made words up, that would be ridiculous.

But little sounds kept floating through my head that I wasn’t making up, in fact, I would just as soon they weren’t there! I didn’t feel electric, ecstatic, or even excited, which isn’t my usual style, not feeling excited I mean. I felt rather soberly peaceful and calm, subdued but not down. I certainly wasn’t tingling from head to toe, or giggling, nor jabbering non-stop.

Lord, there are so few words in the English language with which to praise You and my love is so much bigger than that! Lord, I want only what You want for me, I don’t want anything that isn’t of You….

And when Celia and I prayed that night, in English, all kinds of little sounds kept coming into my head and they weren’t Spanish, English, German or anything else that I knew. I wasn’t conjuring them up, more like choking them down.

I Cor 14:2 “For one who speaks in tongues speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit…”

A language the Holy Spirit prays through me and Satan will not be able to understand or intercept? A hotline to heaven, hum….

I still had a thousand questions, but I knew one thing, the Lord was delivering me from my prejudices, negativism and my SELF, that large chunk of me which said “if you don’t do it my way, you aren’t right!” Did I really think that way? Something like that, because I used to avoid everyone who spoke in tongues like they had leprosy.

I was running the water in the hotel bath tub and accidently hit the shower button. I got my hair and night gown soaked and just couldn’t resist the urge to run down the hall and tell Florence I got “baptized”

And the Lord kept blessing and liberating. I started getting a picture of just how BIG He was and how very small and limited I had Him in my mind. Wow! I went from negative to positive. The Lord has delivered me from my SELF. There were still no fireworks, but a sober “feet on the rock” peace; deep and calm within me.

I am praising Him in every language I know and a new one that I don’t know. But, after all, who am I to refuse a gift from the Lord? Even though He had to almost kill me to give it to me. I actually thought I was doing to die several times in the process and hopefully a part of me did!
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved...

Reflections on Jesus’ Faithfulness

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.


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 all rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Outrageous Ideas on Sex Before Marriage - Courtship Story #6 Turtle Book part 2

It was Texas in February. You cannot get dressed without checking out the thermometer because it could be 60 or 30. You’d have no clue from one day to the next. The quip was “if you don’t like the weather, stick around, tomorrow it could be totally different…”

 I had been “babysitting” a trailer for friends who were gone on a field trip (short term missions) and out of the staff room at the girls’ dorm and just came back last night. I had forgotten my outdoor thermometer at the trailer and had to get it on my lunch hour. Couldn’t live without that!

During the lunch hour, I’d grab the food served and go walking with or without a friend, doing some praying. Today it was me and the thermometer. I grabbed it quickly thinking it was sort of funny how much I depended on that little piece of metal and glass. Just then a car honked behind me.

“Hey, what are you doing?” It was Mick in his “he-she” as he affectionately called his old El Camino.
“Oh, left my thermometer and can’t survive too long without that!”

“I was wondering if you’d like to go to a movie Friday, maybe we could do dinner first….?”

A bazillion thoughts were running through my mind. I hadn’t dated is over 14 years and certainly hadn’t gone out with anyone since I became a Christian… and this was Mick, the one with the TESTIMONY….

I remembered back to the time my big sister in the Lord had driven me back to Twin Oaks Ranch from California. She took one look at Mick, the first person we saw as we drove on base, and said “He looks like a nice young man for you, how about him?”

This was my friend Betty, who had never talked to me about a man in the same breath with inferring a relationship in all the years I’d known her. Surely she couldn’t be saying….”WHAT do you mean Betty? Are you saying what I think you are? He is trouble with a capital T…..”

I should have recalled that my unassuming Sister had been quietly prophetic in my life over and over. She was the reason I was at Youth With a Mission in the first place through some things she said that I decided to pray about.
Anyhow, I had no clue what the Lord was up to but was beginning to get a hint.

“Well, you pick the movie but know this…. I am very suggestible – if there is violence I go to sleep and dream violence all night, same way with a bunch of other topics… also, I am thinking if it needs parental guidance then maybe I shouldn’t be looking at it either. SO pray and then pick the movie….”

I had my thermometer and went back to work in the front office. A good friend, Jan, asked about my lunch. I told her I was going out with Mick that Friday and that I was nervous. I must have seemed rattled too. “What if he tries to kiss me? What if he doesn’t understand where I am coming from? Jan, he has a son from a relationship before he came to the Lord…. What if……” It was then I felt that “still small voice” saying “Marijo, you are really underestimating the gentleman”.

Jan and I took some time and prayed together giving me, Mick and Friday to the Lord.

We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant that we ended up going to the night we got engaged but that is getting WAY ahead of my story. Peter and Anderson waited on us the first night and the engagement night!

We ended up at an interesting movie, one with many scenes from India – the cinematography was outstanding. We dialoged about how sad it was that the main characters didn’t know the Lord, how bleak and hopeless it made their lives.

The Lord was totally correct, I had really underestimated the gentleman. He ended up touching my elbow to help my up the steps into the dorm. Hum, must not have escaped his notice that I was somewhat of a klutz.
OK, Lord, that was kind of fun. Not a bad evening at all for the two of us in our 30s who have “been there and done that” and are starting over in You. This is my very first date in the 10 years that I have known You, Jesus and it was more than all right! THANK YOU!

In reflective moments, I often wonder how we as Christians can go to movies or watch things of TV calling them “entertainment” when they were the very things that sent Jesus to the cross… he died for our sins; fornication, stealing, violence against another person etc. How can it be “entertaining” then to go and partake of those very things through watching and supporting those who make money from this “media”? This leads to conviction to pick a good and wholesome movie. Granted they are few and far between but there really are other fun things to do also. Shortly after Mick and I became aware that the Lord was indication something other than “friendship” for our relationship he gave his roommate his TV. He told me “we have both been married before, I think we need to learn how to really communicate with each other, don’t you? I don’t think having a TV is going to help that at all….” What a blessing this man was to me!

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

Monday, January 27, 2014

Outrageous Ideas on Sex Before Marriage - Courtship Story #5 Turtle Book part 1

I was thrilled to be “babysitting” a trailer. I moved some things out of my girl’s dorm (with roommates, noise of being the room across from the bathrooms, mobile teams coming and going – not much peace and quiet) and into my friends’ trailer about four weeks prior and was supposed to be there for several months. Heaven, I could cook again in their kitchen! I was having peaceful and quiet times. I invited friends over for dinner and was even enjoying cleaning and doing laundry there rather than in the Laundromat. Then I got a message that the housing coordinator needed that trailer to house a group of women coming in for a conference on adoption.

For some reason that sudden notice took me back, back to the time that my husband got friends to move me out of our new house and into a condo. He was gracious to keep the house where the payment was more than my monthly check but he was soon to file for divorce. Yes, this wife was the last to know although he did a pretty good job of hiding the girlfriend even from his best male friend. The devastation was still fresh in my heart.

The past year in Youth With a Mission had been an incredible time for me with teaching, walking out forgiveness and God’s healing me bit by bit. However, on this evening with only a couple hours notice that I needed to pack, clean the place and move back to the dorm I was having a terrible déjà vu. I who hardly ever cried had tears streaming down my face and was crying out to the Lord “Please, Lord, just send someone over… someone to help me with this and to help me walk through this. Please help me to release Tom once again to you – send someone over just to pray with me….”

KNOCK, KNOCK….I gulped back my tears in astonishment. SOMEONE was at the door. I know I had been praying and I also knew that the Lord did answer prayer so what’s with the surprise?

I looked out and there was Mick. The guy the Lord had nudged me to be a friend to – I think the quote was “he needs a godly, non-romantic relationship with a woman, will you be that woman?” He was a bearded redhead just like my ex husband. I had thoroughly avoided Mick for a year, said HI and ran out of the room where he was. Lately, we had played some board games he, his roommates and I. One night he walked me back to the dorm after a birthday party but we had never been “out” together except to buy pizza ingredients so I could cook for the guys in the staff house. And here he was knocking on the door right after I prayed.
He must have wondered if I was going to let him in.

“Hey, you don’t look so good, what’s the matter?”

“Oh, I get to move back to the dorm and have to get this place cleaned for a group coming in tomorrow…”
“I’d be happy to help you clean but why are you crying?”

The torrent of tears went on fast forward as I sobbed out “I guess I am thinking back to when Tom moved me out of our house and it is bringing back too many memories and making me feel just like I did back then….”

Mick listened and prayed for me as I continued packing. He then reached over and picked up my “Turtle Book”. This was a journal with colorful turtles all over the cover. I had been writing in it since my husband moved me out actually…. At first I thought the scriptures and “words” the Lord was laying on my heart were for Tom and me and restoring that relationship. Soon it became evident that he was not open to restoration as he had moved his girlfriend into our house. I then realized the Lord was speaking about someone else. I began praying for “whoever he was, wherever he was” and writing down much.

I ran around the room to Mick and grabbed the turtle book out of his hands “ahh, it’s a journal sort of….”
Then I thought back to the very first impression I had gotten in that April over almost 2 years prior. I had the sense that “whoever he was, wherever he was” was on his hands and knees before the cross, crawling to the cross on a very difficult path. His body looked like it was barely moving but he was struggling with all that was in him to get closer to the cross.

Ask him what he was doing with the Lord that April….

“Hey, Mick can you tell me what you were doing with the Lord April a year and a half ago?”

“Oh, man, it was a difficult time…. It was like I was barely crawling but going to the foot of the cross…..”

Lord, is that the picture You gave me? Is this the man I have been praying for? Why did you send him over tonight? I was actually thinking of one of my roommates when I was praying that prayer….WHAT is going on here?

“Boy, that sounds like you were really going through it….”

“I guess when I look back I can see that the Lord has brought me a long way since then and done so much in my life, how about you?”

“You have no idea…” and he drew me out more about Tom and let me talk and then we prayed again.
We got around to cleaning too and the place looked great. As he left I told him “well, you know where the dorm is, don’t be a stranger! And I just cannot thank you enough for coming over tonight – it was right after I prayed and asked the Lord to please send someone.”

“I just felt that I should come over here tonight….”

“Thanks Mick…..”

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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Outrageous Ideas on Sex Before Marriage - Courtship Story #4 Turtle Book Prequel

Mick had a son from a former relationship. Actually I got to know the baby before I had even spent time with his daddy. This little redheaded toddler had stolen my heart as he came into the office where I worked. I had no cubical and was at the end of the hall, in the hall, by the snacks. Mick’s son would come if with his adoptive mom or his “nanny” who’d have other business in the place and he would make a bee-line for my end of things and the snacks. I’d clean him up after the chocolate attacked him and then we’d fly down the hall; me the motor and the little guy my “airplane”.

As I got to know his father, I noticed how they both has the same swagger, the incredible blue eyes the gorgeous red hair -yes, by this time I liked red heads again.

The front of the story is not pretty. The back of the story is that Mick Had come to Jesus and was changed totally. I only knew the changed Mick, I didn’t know him before. His son was adopted by his maternal grandparents at a time when neither his mom nor Mick could take care of him. Mick was newly in a Youth With a Mission rehab in New Jersey when the baby was born. Yes, there was forgiveness. Wisdom said the couple should not get married, they didn’t. Mick was totally delivered from drugs, from alcohol and serving the Lord with his whole being. One of the costs of that was being unselfish enough to sign away his parental rights when he was not able to provide a home for his son allowing the grandparents that joy.

We were at a ladies Bible study, the speaker had asked us to be quiet before the Lord and allow Him to nudge us if there was anyone we needed to ask to forgive us. The night before, I had been playing cards with some of the men in the guy’s staff house. Yes, they were goofing off – Brian and Mick were looking in the mirror behind me trying to see what my cards were. I made the smart remark that the next “field trip” (short term mission outreach) the group currently in school should take would be to the guy’s staff house.

Listening to that speaker the Lord kind of broke my heart. I was being pretty nasty with that comment and needed to ask forgiveness. Clean up duty that day was mine and Mick’s son was there – I played with the toddler and had a great time. He begged me to play airplane and who was I to say no. Afterwards, I needed to go and talk to Brian and Mick.

The lady who doesn’t usually cry found Brian first. I told him I was wrong, actually pretty snotty and asked him to forgive me. He did. He gave me a hug as I got his shoulder soggy.

Then Mick came out. I needed to get out of the staff house so asked him if we could talk for awhile.
His answer was “Sure” and we went outside. I repeated my apology asking forgiveness again.

“I forgive you. Marijo…”

He had once told me that he didn’t think people should jabber and jabber unless they had something important to say. My ex-husband used to give me the silent treatment for days on end, except maybe to say “pass the salt”…. I cringed when Mick had said that. Today he was talking not stop, so was I.

“I thought you were the guy who said people shouldn’t talk unless they had something important to say?”

“Well, we always have important things to say, don’t we?”

Mu grin must have been so big that it went right off my face! Then he shifted gears “I need to tell you something, I have a son….” He spoke very hesitantly. It was known the baby was adopted. What was not general knowledge was who biological his parents were.

Oh, my, I couldn’t sit and listen to him painfully pour out his story when I already knew it. I also didn’t want him to think I was cutting him off… what to say?

Softly I said “I know, Mick, I spent the last hour and a half playing with him….”

“How do you know? Not many people know who his parents are?”

“Well, let’s just say one of your roommates has kind of a big mouth…..”

I then encouraged him to share his heart with me. By this time we were into the woods behind the guy’s staff house. There was a seat removed from an old van, we sat down. Mick told me later it was then he knew that we were going to get married. That day, as we sat down on the old van seat and talked some more, we hadn’t even been out together yet. I am not sure if he had a “word” from the Lord or if he was just thinking but to this day if you ask him when he knew that we would get married that is the scene he describes. All I can say is that God is SO good.

The following are more of the teachings that were shared. They were strong Biblical teachings on relationships. From where Mick and I had both been, we could use some help. These teachings became the building blocks of our relationship.

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

Friday, January 24, 2014

Outrageous Ideas on Sex Before Marriage - Courtship Story #3 All in One Package

Courtship Story #3 All in One Package

A group of us were playing Risk together. This was definitely before Mick and I were in a courting relationship. His roommate had invited me over for a rousing game of war and battleships and laughs and Mick happened to be in the group who decided to play too.

I was reaching for the dice or moving some of my battle ships as Mick grabbed for something on my side of the table. His hand brushes my elbow and 4th of July fireworks ensued in my tummy.

Before I came to the Lord relationships I had been in with “fireworks” had all turned into huge disasters. SO I thought that the meaning of this innocent encounter was that I was to keep avoiding Mick at all costs. Thankfully, I mentioned this to my small group leader, Mary. A dialog began about God and His perfect plan for marriage and how He wanted us to have it ALL
Friendship needed to be the foundation but there was also common calling in the Lord. It wouldn’t work is one of you was called to be overseas and the other felt called to do inner city USA ministry – ok, that makes sense. AND the Lord wanted you to be attracted to each other physically and romantically. The trick was to HEAR from Him before you got your emotions turned loose because those emotions can make super ear plugs. The Lord is the greatest romanticist in the universe. Just think about it and also take a look at Song of Solomon sometime too.

Hum, so that might mean I could still be Mick’s friend even though I was attracted to him, novel idea. The Lord Jesus had done much healing within me and it looked like there was still more to come. I was SO thankful for being at Youth With a Mission at this point in my life. What teaching, prayer covering, leadership to get close to and the Lord Jesus Christ to open up to and allow to do what He had for restoration and growth.

Mine was to be yielded to Jesus and He was doing all the rest, it was nothing short of incredible!

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

Praise Report!

PRAISE REPORT! I got GREAT news at the doc's office today - my blood sugars (for the past 3 months) have come down and the RN practitioner is very, very happy with what I am doing... I am thanking our Lord for answered prayer!!! Had a chocolate cinnamon ice cream as a treat (with the RNs permission).....JOYFUL!


Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. (WAITING for that day......)

My heart aches
When communion is torn
This sheep feels shorn
In wintry bluster

The enemy gloats
As relations miss
While demons hiss
Closeness ripped

Who is the accuser?
Destroyer by name
Serving up shame
To heartbroken ones

My champion bold
My heart, He holds
Knowing my thoughts

I trust in Him
To set things right
By His might
His peace flows

Evidence not seen
He knows my heart
Patience, my part
I rest in Him.

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

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Outrageous Ideas on Sex Before Marriage #2 - Courtship Story #2 To a Dating Couple

I had prayed for over two years for “whoever he was, wherever he was”. I met Mick not realizing he was the one that the Lord Jesus was speaking about to my heart. Yes, he was a bearded red head and I was actually avoiding him. Been there, done that and was not about to get close to ANOTHER bearded redhead. Well, seems like the Lord has a really good sense of humor.

We were both at Youth With a Mission in Texas. The computer software guys chose to use my computer to work on in downloading new software for the whole office and I was in the mail room, for a week, doing a bulk mailing. And Mick, well, he just happened to be in the mail room too – building new mail boxes .

The Holy Spirit nudged my heart – quietly posing a couple of questions: “are you going to ignore him all week or talk to the guy? He is not your ex-husband….” And “Mick needs a godly, non-romantic relationship with a woman, will you be that woman?”

Both questions made me feel like a little kid. Here comes Daddy with the Castor Oil… you suspected it was “good for you” but knew how awful it tasted. Eventually you stood still and opened up because you knew your dad really did have your best interest in mind.

From the title of this piece you might have already guessed that we did talk that week in the mail room. We went to a mutual friend’s birthday party and he walked me back to the girl’s dorm afterwards. I cooked pizza for his roommates in the guy’s staff house after he and I got the groceries together.

After doing things in groups of friends he had asked me out to Chinese food and a movie. We were going out regularly, still doing things with him roommates and mine too.  The Lord was still saying “godly and non-romantic. With His help we were doing that. And our friendship was growing.

Both of us had made a mess of things before this time and before Jesus. Neither of us was born teething on a Bible and we both had come the hard way around, both were divorced, had lived with a mate without the benefit of marriage and on. We were in our 30s at the time we met. All of this to say that our Lord Jesus Christ can even restore one’s innocence and help in “doing it right”! We were in the process of discovering this. It was as fresh as a breath of Texas springtime air.

Daughter, I’ve called you both by My name and you’re mine. I AM a jealous God – guard your hearts and you shall be blessed in My victory. I have sent you the Comforter and strength and power in my Spirit – use it. Resist the enemy and he shall flee. Press in to me fervently.

If need be, structure your times together. Avoid areas of temptation, touch not the Lord’s anointed, but build each other up in the holy faith. Speak to each other in psalms, songs and praises. You both are my beloved and I Am yours.

Do not get ahead of my timing but meet these challenges head on. I love you two dearly and want your highest good – have that prayerful regard for each other moment by moment. Choose to walk now – do not run into what you have not seen or do not know.

I AM with you. Are you with Me? I delight in you two and want you to be exquisitely blessed by the friendship I’ve given you – keep it now where it belongs for the maximum for you both. Pray much. Submit each other to Me and your emotions/wills/hopes/fears/futures and do it today. I want your highest but you must both yield to Me and stay yielded. You’re missing out on a lot because you’re leaning too far. Check yourselves for My sake and as a token of your care/concern for each other. I will supply strength as you step out and act as you know you need to. Receive the precious gift of friendship I have given you – don’t gobble. Guard your heart.

Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right. (NLT)

We were taught that the right time was after you had made the commitment of marriage to each other. And I do not regret being taught this at all. God graciously gave us a new beginning. But I am getting ahead of my story. At this point we had not shared so much as a kiss. I was finding that flowing the Lord’s leading in a friendship was totally delightful.

The best thing was that at this early stage, before our emotions were too involved…. Did you know emotions make really effective “ear plugs” when you are praying and trying to hear the Lord? SO pray much, pray early, pray before and LISTEN.

What better “match maker” could there be than your savior who “knew you BEFORE your mother’s womb”. We were just beginning to find out.

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Outrageous Ideas on Sex Before Marriage #1 - Courtship Story Regarding Future and Yet Unknown Husband

Courtship Story Regarding Future and Yet Unknown Husband

1 Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.

I was being put back together, piece by piece. My husband was having an affair. He decided to leave our marriage and me. The Lord Jesus picked up my shattered, broken parts and was placing them together better than they had been to begin with, not overnight I might add. All hopes of us getting back together were shattered when I found out he had a girlfriend – yes, this wife (me) was the last to know. He filed for divorce. Actually, I was better off dealing with a “given” than wondering: Is it over? Is there hope? Will he get counseling? Why??? The “given” of the divorce was pretty concrete, she had a first and last name.
I was devastated losing his family. His parents actually drove over two hours in a blizzard to bring me a Christmas gift later that year. They took me to lunch and blessed me as they traveled in weather that merited no traveling except for an emergency. I guess I qualified as their emergency and  will never forget that day.
After the divorce was final, I found myself doing something that any counselor will tell you is crazy. I left my home church, my job of ten years, my friends, the place I’d loved for seventeen years….. sold my furniture, gave my cat to my sister and her family. Right now you are probably thinking “crazy lady” to leave all of her support team.

I had prayed and prayed, the Lord started doing incredible things.

Soon, I was packing up to go to Texas. No, I didn’t have any relatives there. No, I didn’t know a soul there. Oh, I’d wanted to go to get training for short term missions in Oregon, not too far from my parents at a Youth With a Mission (YWAM) base there. God slammed that door closed, to the point where the school I was interested in, which started in January was cancelled. They always had a January school. It had never been cancelled. Hum…..

OK, Texas YWAM was my 2nd thought. All the doors opened wide open. The Lord began somewhere in here having me pray for “whoever he was, wherever he was”. This was dismaying as I didn’t even want to hear the word “husband”, ever – never - again. I was not relating to men at all. Not even very much to Ed who had been like a brother to me for years and years. Not guys at church. Nope. Women were just more than ok by me for friendship and I didn’t need anyone more.

At YWAM, I met many younger men. I was one of the older gals in our group of eighty. Most members in the group were eighteen to twenty-eight. I was in my later 30s and some of the youngest were the age to be my kids! Our Jesus saw fit to place me on a kitchen crew with a nineteen year old and a twenty one year old of the male variety. Why? So I could begin to realize that all men were not my ex-husband. That some could make me laugh, some were thoughtful, and others were trustworthy. All of this, with guys young enough to be wonderful little brothers, who taught me so much about God’s love.

Pretty soon, at church, I began to hear Godly men preach and teach. On occasion I’d check out the wedding ring finger. One who didn’t have a ring seemed to be the most incredible and Godly man. Then I found out he was married, just not wearing a ring.

I talked to the Lord not knowing if He’d even release me to remarry, time to get down to some serious business because I was allowing myself to be a bit distracted. I decided to pray and fast – there was a little closet with a light in it under the stairs where the vacuum cleaner lived. That looked like the perfect place to get away from three roommates and pray. I did. I am sure the gals in the living room were wondering what in the world took me so long in a 3X5 foot vacuum closet. I stayed until I “heard”. The Lord laid it on my heart that in training I was there to figure out who I was in Him and learn more about Him to be able to share with others. I was not called to YWAM training to have a deep relationship with anyone but Jesus. “You are not released to a romantic relationship while you are in school….” was the impression which rang clearly in my heart. I popped out of that closet with a big grin on my face. That was what I needed to know for that point in time.

Later when I was finished with the training on staff at Twin Oaks, still praying for “whoever he was, wherever he was”, I felt the Lord laying the following on my heart:

Child, you are my beloved daughter, you do not see behind the scenes but only get a vague impression in your spirit. This is good for now as the great I AM works out the details – too much, too soon is unprofitable – know My timing is perfect. He shall know that too as I’m moving on him. Die to speculation. Put your hand in mine and walk. He is my delight. The two of you together are My joy, so stay yielded and surely I shall bring your union to pass for My glory and purpose. Rest and know that I will give you a peace. A GREAT peace – no doubting shall enter in. I shall reveal but not ahead of time. Pray in the Spirit every time you are tempted to wander/wonder/ “what if” and I will turn it into victory for My glory. I love you child – daughter, both of you – Selah.

At this point I wasn’t searching. I was actually doing things with about three brothers – going to dinner occasionally, getting a few groceries, grilling on a picnic at one of the lakes which was on the ranch etc. They were all good friends. We prayed together and had a good friendship but nothing more. Not dating but relaxing in the presence of a male. I’d come a long way in that year. God was healing me through teaching on forgiveness, openness and brokenness. I was beginning to feel like a human being again.

I had my eyes and ears open but wasn’t thinking “long term relationship” with regards to any of the guys. Of course, I was still avoiding Mick. Bearded red head that he was – been there, done that as my ex-husband was…. how should I put this delicately… a bearded red head. I would see Mick at the mail boxes and say hi while flying out the nearest exit. Is there more to this story? I think there is. GRIN And if anyone ever tells you that God doesn’t have a sense of humor then they do not know my Jesus!

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved.

Praising Through Problems

You, with a smile on your face, arms raised singing praise songs and as you sing My Holy Spirit is going over answered prayers. Prayers answered for provision, lavishing love down upon you, reminding you of your past history with Me, Your God. You remember when I came through, meeting you where you were, pouring out My love on you, giving you My peace. I AM able!

Only our Jesus can teach us how to sing praises and do warfare in the musical, uplifting process. Any time we have doubts about our current situation it is always good to think on and review His past faithfulness to us. It gives us hope for our current situation and even more for us to praise and thank our Jesus. He always comes through in His perfect timing, doesn’t He?

Psalm 126:2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”


Please get pen and write down a few of the things these scriptures are saying to you this afternoon. Make a list of some of the times the Lord helped your own Jericho wall to come down.

Luke 1:64

Exodus 15:2

Psalm 111:5

Acts 14:17

Joshua 6:15-16

My Commitment:

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please bring back to our remembrance all those times we had no hope and you came through for us. Help us to understand how praise can put the enemy to flight. Teach us to worship You! In Your name, AMEN.

(C) MarijoPhelps all rights reserved.