Friday, January 30, 2015

the Past Few Days....





Jesus Knows Our Times and Trials Devotional (Words from the Lord Series)
Daughter, I AM doing a new thing, be not puzzled nor dismayed, arise and be filled. You are to go forth in joy and be led out in peace and the leaves and the trees shall break forth before you into singing. 
I Am gentle. My ways are of peace. Stand on the ROCK of your salvation. Be Prepared. I love you and Am with you, fear not nor be dismayed. What looks like a gathering of storm clouds will be turned soon to a vision in the skies for My glory.
Fear Not, I Am with you and you shall be abundantly blessed of Me. Do not “what if” or read into this for you know not of what I speak, a moment of trouble for an eternal glory. Selah.
Rest in Me. I work for your good and blessing. Be comforted in that, soon and very soon. I delight in you- double delight,not one thing shall harm a hair of your head.
Really rest and be sure in Me, your savior, redeemer and friend. Resist the enemy and he shall flee from you now. Selah.
Acts 2:4
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (NIV)
Isaiah 48:6
You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them? "From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you. (NIV)
Isaiah 43:19
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. (NIV)
Psalm 95:1
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. (NIV)
James 4:7
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (NIV)
Prayer: I am puzzled and somewhat dismayed BUT I choose to trust and lean on You, dear Jesus. I know You have my very best interest in Your heart. I want to but do not need to know ALL right this minute.  Please help me to rest in that and trust You more. Help me to hear and see with your ears and eyes, not my own. I trust in You. AMEN
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How Well Does Your Best Friend Know You

How Well Does Your Best Friend Know You
You might think that is a silly question. But really it is not. It depends on how much you share with that friend or how much you allow them to know, doesn’t it? Well, with the Lord Jesus Christ it is different. Actually it is very different even if you do not count Him as your friend. It is He who knit you together in your mother’s womb. It is He who “thought you up” all those parts of you which make you uniquely you, those physical and personality wise, those mental and that which comprises your soul. To say that Jesus knows me better than I do, would be most accurate. Besides, he is not stuck in time but has seen the end from the beginning.
So when the Lord Jesus lays things on my heart, I listen. I don’t always act as I should or not necessarily with total follow through. That is my issue and I suspect many can relate.One day I turned in and “heard” that quiet whispering to that inner part of my being:
Daughter, I AM doing a new thing, be not puzzled nor dismayed, arise and be filled. You are to go forth in joy and be led out in peace and the leaves and the trees shall break forth before you into singing. 
I Am gentle. My ways are of peace. Stand on the ROCK of your salvation. Be Prepared. I love you and Am with you, fear not nor be dismayed. What looks like a gathering of storm clouds will be turned soon to a vision in the skies for My glory.
Fear Not, I Am with you and you shall be abundantly blessed of Me. Do not “what if” or read into this for you know not of what I speak, a moment of trouble for an eternal glory. Selah.
Rest in Me. I work for your good and blessing. Be comforted in that, soon and very soon. I delight in you- double delight, not one thing shall harm a hair of your head.
Really rest and be sure in Me, your savior, redeemer and friend. Resist the enemy and he shall flee from you now. Selah.
If you were going to pick a profession as a builder or concrete layer, fire fighter or paramedic, nurse or doctor, police man or even a lawyer wouldn’t you want the best training and equipping possible? I believe in Acts 2:4 we are taught about some important “equipping” that can take place in the life of a believer. Yes, I believe that this is available, and probably most necessary, today. This verse speaks of being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues as that Holy Spirit enabled them.
This is one “gift” I fought with God about for a number of years. I had been saved in a church that taught 99% of speaking in tongues today was demonic. It took the Lord some time to teach me otherwise.
Isaiah 48:5 speaks of “new things”, hidden things unknown to you (us). Now why should it surprise us that there are things we do not know that God does? I mean, think about that for awhile. Seriously, it seems the older I get and the older in the Lord the more I realize how little I do know. In a way, I guess that is a good sign of “growing up”. Isn’t it truly the teenager who thinks he/she knows everything? How many of us want to remain a teenager for life?
In Isaiah 43:19 we hard again about a “new thing” and God through the writer asks “do you not perceive it?” and likens the process to making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
 
 
James 4:7 contains an often misquoted verse. How many times do you hear people spouting off “resist the devil and he will flee from you!” I am thinking that they left out the very most important part of that verse “submit yourselves then to God….” If you are plugged in to the right power source, God, then you will have power over the enemy, probably then and only then. Can we trust Him? Actually there is no better hands to be in!
Prayer: I am puzzled and somewhat dismayed BUT I choose to trust, to lean on You, dear Jesus. I know You have my very best interest in Your heart. I want to but do not need to know ALL right this minute.  Please help me to rest in that and trust You more. Help me to hear and see with your ears and eyes, not my own. I trust in You. AMEN
Come over to my blog spot! http://myincrediblelord.blogspot.com/
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

 

 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How Capable is God in Your Life

How Capable is God in Your Life
Are you walking on water in the middle of the storm or are you going through fiery trials thinking you are ready for the burn unit, maybe a little bit of both is happening to you right now. During the time I was thinking about this and bringing things before the Lord I was particularly concerned about a friend. Many other times in my walk with the Lord I found myself in the trial and tribulation department. This study can apply to both situations. I think I can be pretty sure when I say that if you are a born again believer you definitely know there IS a battle, and then you hear His still, small voice whispering in your ear:
My child, think it not strange the fiery trials you’re going through. Remember Peter, as he kept looking up to Me, did what was humanly impossible through the power of My Holy Spirit. You cannot walk on top of the stormy waters but for Me. Yet I can take your hand and you shall walk in a new dimension; one humanly impossible, as I, Your Lord lift you up.
Come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest/renewal/restoration. I shall lift you up if you relax in My arms. Yield, snuggle in My everlasting arms, have a good cry, pour out your heart to Me, my daughter. I LOVE you. I weep with you and I desire to release you into that peace and joy you long for in your walk/life.
Dwell in/on My Word. Praise Me. I shall change your heart and circumstances beyond what you can believe or hope. Run to your Father and let it all out. I AM the burden bearer. Press in as never before. I AM victory – lift up your arms/eyes to Me. I shall release you both. Selah.
Have you ever wondered what kind of man James was? I certainly have when I read some of his writings. James 1:2 starts out his part of the Bible with a bang. Notice he didn’t say, hang on, this will not last for long or your character is being perfected through this. What kind of man could say “count it all joy whenever you face trials of many kinds?” Who did he know that helped him be this radical? What had happened in his life for him to be able to make this very abnormal assertion? Actually, he knew the same Lord and savior that, gulp, we do, the Lord Jesus Christ who was fully human and fully God. Oh, my.
I am not sure how this affects you but I could tell you a bit about me. Yes, times of trials get a bit less daunting over the years. Not because I am so wonderful or incredible but because He is. I have seen that Jesus is faithful, creative, takes my hand and walks me through. I will readily admit that I do not get up in the morning when I am facing something daunting and shout “goodie, a chance to rub off some of those lumps and bumps in me.” I sit and wonder what kind of a character transformation it would take to make me thing differently, yes, I know Jesus is more than able. “Yes, I have been through the fire before and He has brought me through. Sometimes I feel I am “retaking” the midterm for Patience 101 over and over and over, how about you? And that is just one example.
Then we take a look at Peter. Did I mention that having Peter in my Bible gives me hope? Well, it does. Good old “open mouth and insert foot” Peter. Yes, I definitely claim him as my brother! In this instance he was the only one in the boat who stepped out and walked towards Jesus.
Matthew 14:30 states that Peter (my brother) got out of that boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus! Then he began to look around at the wind and was afraid and began to sink but at least he cried out “Lord, save me!”. During the storm he knew where to turn, to Jesus. Yep, I am proud to call him my big brother and continue to learn from him all the time.
Psalm 146:8 is full of promises for us telling how the Lord gives sight to the blind. I suspect that it is not only referring to physical sight here but also spiritual sight. I have been SO blind. Since I gave my heart and life to Jesus I have been getting better and better eye exams each year. Physical eye exams and certainly spiritual.
Have you ever heard it taught that if you come to Jesus all your problems will be solved? Well, David, who was a man after God’s own heart had a different view of this all. In Psalm 18:6 he spoke of being in distress. No, that is not a “negative confession”, that is David speaking truth and reality. Yes, David was distressed BUT he knew where to go for help in his distress. “I cried to my God for help”. We cannot do it all ourselves, we were not made to be self sufficient but to need our God. Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. And then David said something wonderful. God heard him. Just as He will and does hear us.
No wonder David’s response in Psalm 61:4 is that he longs to dwell in God’s “tent” forever and take refuge in the shelter of God’s “wings”. He knew from experience where his place of rest was and so can we.
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says “come unto me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” To me, this verse amplifies and affirms what David was saying in Psalm 61.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, please be with my sister and be the lifter of her head.  Help her draw even closer to You through this trying time. Thank You for Your wisdom and comfort for her. Help me to be your arms reached out and your hands extended and show me what that means. AMEN
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

 

 

Friday, January 23, 2015

HE is SO Able Devotional (Words from the Lord Series)

HE is SO Able Devotional (Words from the Lord Series)
My child, think it not strange the fiery trials you’re going through. Remember Peter, as he kept looking up to Me, did what was humanly impossible through the power of My Holy Spirit. You cannot walk on top of the stormy waters but for Me. Yet I can take your hand and you shall walk in a new dimension; one humanly impossible, as I, Your Lord lift you up.
Come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest/renewal/restoration. I shall lift you up if you relax in My arms. Yield, snuggle in My everlasting arms, have a good cry, pour out your heart to Me, my daughter. I LOVE you. I weep with you and I desire to release you into that peace and joy you long for in your walk/life.
Dwell in/on My Word. Praise Me. I shall change your heart and circumstances beyond what you can believe or hope. Run to your Father and let it all out. I AM the burden bearer. Press in as never before. I AM victory – lift up your arms/eyes to Me. I shall release you both. Selah.
James 1:2
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds….(NIV)
Matthew 14:30
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" (NIV)
Psalm 146:8
the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. (NIV)
Psalm 18:6
In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. (NIV)
Psalm 61:4
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Selah. (NIV)
Matthew 11:28
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, please be with my sister and be the lifter of her head.  Help her draw even closer to You through this trying time. Thank You for Your wisdom and comfort for her. Help me to be your arms reached out and your hands extended and show me what that means. AMEN
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

 


200-300 ELK!

We awoke to elk everywhere - in back, on the side, across both roads, laying down too and mostly mowing our grass... across the street, in the woods - these photos are just a small segment of those elk we could see in ALL directions... no bulls... just girls and yearlings... WOW  AND yesterday it was 14 below ZERO - today? A balmy 10 above!





Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Growing as His Child

Growing as His Child
We have all watched the incredible growth of children near us. Some might be fortunate enough to have their own child and others of us watch children in our extended family or our church family. It was jokingly said to the mother of a one year old “enjoy this time, tomorrow he will be off to kindergarten”. It often seems that way, doesn’t it? That tiny, helpless infant is born and the clock speeds up, maybe not during the sleepless night era, but just wait, as the song so aptly puts it “turn around and they are grown with babies of their own.”
Some things are supposed to take time in the process. Once again I am thinking back to a brain fogged conversation I had with the Lord. Yes, I kept a journal so I can revisit that moment:
Prayer: Oh, Lord, it is early and I’m SO foggy. Help me awaken to worship You. I need You and worship You, my Jesus!
Child, my little one, I’m still setting you free in Me. All is not accomplished overnight, nor is it supposed to be. Take heart, as there are times and seasons. You are in a productive/pruning one. Yet, fear not, I AM gentle and know you/your areas of need. Stay yielded. Pain comes through ripping and tearing of resistance. Trust Me and let My love untangle you from things which sap life or kill the tender parts of you. I love you much more than you even know how to love yourself. Selah.
In Psalm 118:5 is one of my very favorite verses speaking of calling out to the Lord in anguish and having Him answer by setting (the psalmist and this writer) free.
Once again we can be a total mess, but honestly crying out and the Lord meets us there and then does the impossible in setting us free. How incredible is that? Just stop to think about that for a moment.
Matthew 21:43 speaks of the kingdom of God being taken away from one and given to another who will produce fruit.
Are you willing to produce fruit? If so the kingdom will be given to you. If not, ask the Lord to help you be willing so that you will not miss out on the most incredible blessing of being fruitful and productive in God’s kingdom.
In Matthew 3:8 we are reminded to producing fruit that is in keeping with repentance. That would be good fruit that is in line with what has happened in our lives through “turning around”. Fruit that reflects the changes made in us, the new creature in Christ.
The next scripture speaks of the “D” word again, discipline. Disciple and discipline seem to go together and it should bring a warm response to us that our God cares enough to discipline us while we grow as disciples of Christ. Sometimes it brings a groaning response. I know that I personally need to get past that and allow it to bring a GROWING time instead.
Hebrews 12:11
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (NIV)
In John 10:10 we are reminded that the thief comes only to kill and destroy but that Jesus came so that we might have life, abundant life!
Prayer: Lord Jesus please help each of us to grow daily as Your kids. Help us to choose the right response and attitudes through times of discipline and to shine with You! Help us to yield to Your Holy Spirit moment by moment.  AMEN

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

 

 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

God’s Promises Speak to Our Hearts Part 2
He Knows Me

My daughter, impetuous tempest that you sometimes are, tarry. Listen to Me. Seek my wisdom in the Word. Come before me with thanksgiving and praise.
Luke 24:49 speaks to the followers of Jesus to wait in Jerusalem to be equipped with power from on high. I don’t know many of us who would say to the Lord that we have enough power or be willing to give some back to Him because we were just too powerful. One look at our lives with that incredible pair of glasses called “hind sight” will tell us that most of us need a bit more of His power. Yes, most of us can honestly say we need a bit more of Godly power while turning loose of the toddler attitude, “Daddy! I can do it myself!”

Fine Tuned Ears

Fine tuned ears = draw nigh unto me and I will draw nigh unto you so when you're feeling distanced from the Father, sit at His feet and praise, worship and pour out your heart. Hear and try.
In Luke 7:38 we are given a word picture of a woman devoted to her Lord. She stood behind him weeping, wetting his feet with her tears. She then wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Think of this selfless act of devoting and honoring Jesus. They wore sandals and there was nothing like a paved road. They walked everywhere through anything you can imagine. It was hot, feet were dirty. That’s why a good host would have a foot bath in place when you arrived as his guest. Who do you think she was focused on? It was not herself.

With You Always

Daughter, some days what I would impart to you is not profound or pertinent to KNOWLEDGE, rather that I AM with you always.
Did he call you to be a missionary? Well, I think Matthew 28:19-20 settles that for all of us. I know, you might think I am meddling again but you tell me what you thinks this means. Matthew is inspired as he writes the words of our Lord saying “GO and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Then comes His promise with that mandate that He will be with them (us) always to the very end of the age.
Notice the absolutes and commands: GO, make disciples, baptize, teaching them everything (not part) and then I WILL BE WITH YOU, always. What more do we need and how can we but go into our Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and the “uttermost” parts?

Prayers for Unsaved

Daughter, all the saints in heaven rejoice when there's a soul saved. Claim Jesus for those I have promised you. Stand on the Word and my word to you and KNOW. Rest in my assurance. Lift them in love.
1 Timothy is a further challenge. I might add here that our Lord Jesus will not ever, no never ask us to do the impossible. Even when we look at a challenge and think “I can never do that” he is promising us by that very challenge that HE will provide all that is necessary for us to do it, by His asking. He will not lay something on us that is impossible to do. Maybe WE can’t do it but that is when His strength comes through for us in our weakness. That way we will know who really “did it”. It will be Jesus through His Holy Spirit in us, jars of clay.
1 Timothy 2:8 speaks of men everywhere lifting up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. Ladies, we are not off the hook here either as I suspect “men” in this case means “mankind” who love and call Jesus their Lord.

All Too Quiet Times

Daughter, grapple not with the apparent silence but lift up your faith to me.
John 8:30 simply states that even as Jesus spoke many put their faith in Him. His written Word still speaks to us today as does His still, small voice. Many are yet placing their faith in Him.


Physical Illness

Fear not nor be dismayed I really am the lifter of your head in righteousness. You shall not be devastated or destroyed. I love you. My grace is sufficient even for your illness, so is my healing touch.
Don’t you love how well God knows us and then writes things to let us know that fact? Psalm 3:3 the inspired psalmist writes about God being a shield, his glory and the lifter of his head. Maybe he was dead tired, maybe he was recognizing how feeble he was and that only his Lord and God could even lift his head up. Whatever the case I am so glad David put that in there. Just those little snapshots can give us much hope. God notices when we are tired. He notices when we are feeble and not to condemn but to come and lift us up. Wow.


Anguish Not

Anguish not, but trust me. I love you most purely.
We are told that trouble and anguish have taken hold on David yet God’s commandments are his delight in Psalm 119:143. What focus, what hope and what a relational sentence. David admits his trouble to the point of anguish and then shows us by his example to look beyond. This time he is not even looking beyond to God’s promises but to his commandments. Oh, yes! So when our Lord instructs us to “anguish not” we can, indeed, trust Him and His incomparable love for us.
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Courtship Story #17 Wedding Date Picked by the Lord
I was enjoying the time at Youth With a Mission in Garden Valley, Texas. So many great ministries were in the area and we did things with the other ones too. We did an abortion awareness one with Last Days Ministries (Keith and Melody Green’s outreach) Dallas Holm lived outside the YWAM back gate and he was a great Christian singer back then too, Brother Dave Wilkerson was close by and some of us went to Sunday morning services in his Warehouse, The 2nd Chapter of Acts singing group was a short ways another direction. The prayer covering for that part of East Texas must have been phenomenal. We even ran into some of these Christian warriors at the grocery store. They were people who loved Jesus, just like us.
The Lord was taking me through wonderful and sometimes difficult teaching. He was placing my pieces back together after an abrupt divorce that I had thought would not be happening but it did.
I was working in the front office of YWAM and we were having a staff devotional time listening to a cassette of Joy Dawson, who was a YWAM teacher.  She was sharing a story of their move to the United States. Their container with all their belongings was loaded on the ship and they got word their paper work was done incorrectly and they’d have to start over and take TWO YEARS “just like everybody else”. That’s when their intense prayers began as a family and the Lord started working overtime we soon discovered. The date they were originally supposed to fly out to be in Southern California in time to pick up their container was July 14th. As she spoke that date the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart “that’s going to be a real important date for you”. After devotional time was over I wrote it on my calendar in red with “important date”? and left it there.
I had no clue what that date would be. I had no plans, was not involved in anything but friendships with a couple of guys who were, well, good brothers. My commitment was to work in the front office “until further notice”.
Months flew by and life was interesting – never any boredom in my life like I had before I met my Jesus. I had a number of close friends who were also on staff. Several girls and one bearded red head carpenter named Mick.
He and I had become good friends after I avoided him for a year. My ex husband was a bearded red head and I was not going to take that risk again – BUT JESUS. We had developed a close friendship and sought the Lord about something more (other pieces written about this). My birthday was in April and we had prayed and fasted and had prayer with the staff and friends and relatives…. And felt the Lord was giving us the challenge of spending the rest of our lives together! Several days before my birthday, Mick gave me a gorgeous emerald surrounded by diamonds in a ring. I thought this was his unique engagement ring to the girl with green eyes.
Then to my great surprise on my birthday he gave me a diamond, one ring for each hand.
“What date do you think we should get married?”
That was when I remembered my calendar with the circle in red around July 14th and the question mark. “Well, I never would have picked a Sunday to get married but…..”
I then told Mick the whole office devotional story and we set the date.
It turned out perfect. Those who drove from out of state could make in driving Saturday and then leaving before noon on Sunday to return. We planned a reception at the guy’s staff house. Now, I am not sure how many of you have ever been IN the guy’s staff house but cleaning it would have made us late for our wedding. Mick and I were already putting siding on the chapel nearby the platform by the lake where we planned the outdoor wedding. Getting that staff house cleaned would have made all concerned late for the wedding. Then, to firmly close that door the air conditioning went out. This was East Texas in July. We couldn’t possibly have a reception indoors without air.
Soon, my friend Kathryn, who had helped build and operate the Sub Station on the base said “hey, I am getting flowers planted outside the restaurant and it is closed Sundays, would you like to have your reception there? I can help…”
My sister came a week early and saw the issues I was having with well meaning friends who were saying things like “oh, you just have to have flowers all over the railing at the platform….” “you really need to do your cake like this…” SO my sister asked if I’d like her to take over coordinating. “I can just say, Jo would really rather do this, they won’t argue with me because they don’t know me.” She was so right and that was the best gift she could give me besides singing for our ceremony.
To keep from hurting anyone’s feelings mom was my matron of honor and dad gave me away. Mick’s friend who he had known at YWAM New Jersey was our best man and his wife the photographer. Beautiful!
And we became Mr. and Mrs. Mickey Phelps on July 14th! We were forever thankful for the great teaching we had. Intimacy was for our honeymoon and boy, were we looking forward to that! GRIN
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

 

 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Courtship Story #16 Five Hours of Sleep a Night


Courtship Story #16 Five Hours of Sleep a Night
I had always been an eight to nine hours of sleep a night girl, less than that and I didn’t function. I was a heck of a wreck or a mess. It had been this way all my life and I was not in my 30s and not getting any younger. SO what in the world was happening? Mick and I were engaged to be married, taking long walks in the evenings combined with talking, praying, laughing and seeing friends at Youth With A Mission in Texas. AND I was still bouncing out of bed at zero dark thirty in the morning even before the alarm went off, not tired or draggy but totally exhilarated! And this wasn’t an occasional day but week in and week out.
We wanted to get siding on the little prayer chapel which was over by the platform on the lake where we planned an outside wedding. Our thoughts being the chapel needed siding and it would look so much better in the wedding photos if it was “dressed for the occasion”. Mick was a carpenter and I was my daddy’s daughter, having used a hammer since I was six years old.
“Hold what you’ve got” I heard the words but had no idea what that wonderful Texan wanted me to do with the LONG and increasingly heavy piece of siding I was attached to at the other end of the chapel from my fiancĂ©e.
“What do you want me to do?”
“Hold what you’ve got…”
OK. I wouldn’t have asked for clarification if I understood Texan in the first place… “honey, I heard every word you said but have no clue what you’d like me to do with this piece of siding…”
“You are just fine. Just keep doing what you’re doing while I get this end nailed down…”
That I could understand. It was over 100 degrees and the humidity was its usual 99% - we were being buzzed and dive bombed by more huge stinging things than I had ever seen growing up in Minnesota. Wasps, mud daubers, bumble bees and many “critters” I didn’t know the names of. Betsey bugs, rolly pollies, ant lions and stink bugs were just a few that Mick had taught me about ion some of our walks. Did I mention he was a local boy, born and raised within a few miles of the YWAM Ranch? I was OK just so long as none of those insects thought I looked like lunch or a good place to test their stingers.
We finished the siding in a couple of times of work after our regular days work. I had slivers from the first times when I forgot to wear work gloves and a much better idea of what Mick’s daily work entailed.
The chapel looked wonderful. Looking back at the wedding photos there was not one of them which even got the chapel in the picture……
 
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.
 
 

SUNRISE This Morning





Saturday, January 17, 2015


Courtship Story #15 Arson Fire and Shooting
We were coming back from Tyler and a movie we’d seen. On this narrow country road we saw lights, hears sirens and could see flames dancing in the darkness of the evening. There were cars pulled over and stopped on both sides of the road.
“What is the world is going on here?”
“Not sure but here comes a sheriff”
Mick rolled down his window “Can you folks please move to the left side of the road? We have a man who started a fire at the house up ahead and he has a shot gun. We aren’t sure what he will do when we close in on him……”
Shortly after pulling to the left we heard the roar of a car engine. “Get down on the floorboard, Jo!”
I did and felt Mick leaning over the top of me as a car came by us. It STOPPED and we heard voices saying “let him through, let him through….”
We were ducked down not knowing if he was going to use a shot gun on the side of our truck. We nad no idea what was going on outside.
Then someone “pealed out” going way too fast followed by official cars with  sirens.
“That was scary, he had been shooting! That popping noise was a gun, wasn’t it?. What in the world do you think was going on?”
“I don’t know but think we would have been better to go to the Family Night services at the Twin Oaks Ranch”
“You’ve got that one right!”
We found out later that it was a family dispute. The son had gone back with a shot gun trying to scare his parents into agreeing with him on some issues and then started their house on fire.
We both decided that this was WAY too much excitement for one evening.
By this time in our relationship we were engaged and had set a wedding date in the not too far off future. It seemed like it was never going to be July 14th. We were praying and trying to be patient for our big date!
The Lord was helping us not to cross boundary lines we had laid down in our relationship. We were trying to never “awaken your love before its time” Both of us feeling the time to really awaken our sexual love was on our honeymoon. This was a gift we felt strongly about giving each other AFTER the wedding. Did we sail through this engagement period without a struggle? No, but with the help of the Lord we were able to wait until the honeymoon! This was quite a strong statement to make for two who had been OF the world before Jesus. Neither of us had been born teething on the Bible. We both had come the long way around to the Lord.
Sometimes we took long walks on the Youth With a Mission ranch. We could talk, laugh and see others who were there without being in a situation where temptation might reign supreme. At times we took others to dinner with us to bless them and enjoy their company. YWAMers were always broke. The only reason Mick had some money was because he was a carpenter doing work on the Ranch and also for customers off the ranch.
That night we were thanking God for keeping us safe in the house fire and shot gun situation. Talk about adrenalin flowing! Yikes.
 
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.
 
 

Courtship Story #14 Being Engaged – Rattlemouthed Coppermoccasins

Courtship Story #14 Being Engaged – Rattlemouthed Coppermoccasins
Mick and I were driving by one of the small lakes on the Youth With a Mission ranch, Twin Oaks. We planned an outdoor wedding in a few months and were over by the chapel and the kid’s playground this particular night. The headlights of the truck picked out a copperhead over to the left by a tree trunk.
“I need to get my framing square – that snake is right out here by the play equipment and could hurt a child – this is where you walk to have your quiet time each morning” my soon to be husband slammed the door to the truck and grabbed his carpenter’s framing square out of the back.
I began to pray. Then I saw the snake’s partner! There were two of them, one in front of Mick and one behind him that he had no idea was there. I knew if I honked or opened the door he would turn, being distracted and probably get bitten by both snakes. The offenders were dancing (probably a mating ritual I found out MUCH later)
“Lord, please keep him safe! Protect him. Help him be aware….” And I followed that prayer with praying in the Spirit.
Mick got the first snake he was facing and turned around to see the second one behind him. Armed with his helpful framing square he was able to take care of both snakes. Then he hears me opening the truck door.
“Honey, I thought I was going to be a widow before we even got married!”
“Praise God you aren’t! Help me here we need to bury the heads, even a dead snake can hurt someone.”
“How do you mean?”
“Did I ever tell you about the time I was barefooted as a kid and stepped by a dead copperhead? I must have scratched my toe and there was enough venom so that my toe swelled up and was a mess… maybe I kicked it – I don’t remember…”
How did his mother survive their childhood with 11 children and most of those boys. This became a mystery to me the more I got to know the Phelps family.
This snake routine was way too much excitement for this Minnesota gal. Yes, we had snakes but nothing poisonous right where we lived. During Mick’s and my engagement, three short months, we ended up killing 6 copperheads on our nightly walks and rides around with ranch. You realize, of course, that is an editorial WE. This part of WE prayed and prayed and cringed as my Texan one time took off a rubber flip-flop to “clobber” the snake, then grabbing it by the tail and snapped its head off. Yes, he buried that head too. The most dangerous encounter was with a baby copperhead. It was almost cute and certainly harmless looking. However, my Texan told me that the little ones haven’t figured out how much venom to inject and go for broke with the biggest does of all. Moral to the story, don’t get engaged in Texas and expect nice, peaceful romantic walks in the cool of the evening. It never cools down much not to mention the venom.
OK. We talked and walked and walked and talked. These vipers were not in the tall grass (well, there were probably plenty there too) or the woods when we encountered them but on the black top or right by the road. There was an old one room cabin on the property that the wrecking crew said was full of copperheads – they wrecked many places in the area and had never seen so many copperheads at one time as they did taking down that cabin.
Twin Oaks had the dubious distinction of having three kinds of poisonous snakes in the one area. The ranch was 500-600 acres and used to be a Teen Challenge. Before that it was some kind of a fish farm with about 4-5 ponds on it. SO we were graced with water moccasins, copperheads and a lone rattle snake occasionally.
Two of my YWAM classmates had a family there with them, sons age 10 and 13. The 10 year old ran into a copperhead one day and stepped on its head. Seemed like a good idea until the shake coiled around the boys leg and he realized if he moved he was in big trouble. His older brother ran to the nearest house and one of the men got a knife. He came to the boy and cut the snake’s head off.
The grace of God was than in the history of the YWAM base there no one had even been bitten! There was a jogger once who was running at dusk between two of the lakes in a low lying spot. He stepped down in his running shoe and had something come up and slap him across the cheek. He soon realized he had stepped on a huge water moccasin with its mouth open, probably waiting for dinner to walk in, and instead got hung up in Johnny Cash’s (no, not THAT Johnny Cash) shoe. Johnny had the presence of mind to kick and kick hard and the snake flew off. The fangs didn’t even scratch his skin. After that joggers staying away from low lying areas between lakes.
The rattler was in some autumn leaves, one of our staff was raking and saw it – it just slithered off and no one found it again.
By this time I had been at YWAM for over a year. Every morning I got us while it was still dark, Bible and coffee in hand and walked. Cross country I’d go, over an earthen dam, across grass and by lakes to a little platform with a bench on it. I timed it so I could get there as the sun rose over the lake. There was not a more gorgeous spot to read the Word of God and talk to Him. This was my daily habit. Not once did I see a snake. God is SO good. Had I known who else was out there by that particular lake, lurking and slithering around I suspect it would have put a damper on my lovely quiet times. That was where I often prayed for “whoever he was, wherever he was” before I knew or began having a relationship with Mick.  I still smile thinking of the Lord’s wonderful sense of humor and the fact that I actually avoided this bearded red head for over a year as my ex-husband had been a bearded red head.
So what does this have to do with having a godly relationship and being engaged to be married? Those snakes kind of reminded me how the enemy is alive and well and looking for any opportunity to poison us. We need to be careful and prayerful all the time, ready for sneak attacks and armed to fight, even if it is only with a rubber flip-flop. We can always call upon the Lord Jesus Christ, He is more than ready and willing to help.
More soon in this series about what the Bible has to say about relationships and it is dynamite!
Come by my blog spot for more photos and writings: http://myincrediblelord.blogspot.com/
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

 

 

 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Courtship Story #13 Godly Romantic Relationships
 
Mick and I were seeking the Lord for our relationship. We had developed a close friendship and we both wanted more than that friendship. Most of all we wanted to be in the center of God's will for us. In Youth With a Mission there were neat guidelines about relationships (Biblical) that saved a lot of pain.  If a guy or gal felt more than friendship for someone of the opposite sex they talked to that person. If the feeling was mutual they both prayed and asked the Lord what His plan was for the relationship. They also asked their small group leader to pray over the relationship.  This way, you could actually hear from the Lord BEFORE your emotions got into high gear and made it very hard to hear anything.
 
At first Mick felt the Lord telling him to back off and not be asking me to marry him. At the same time I knew the Lord was saying that by allowing our heads to go to thinking about the romantic side of things we were not  walking in what He called us to “a godly, non-romantic relationship”, since we were getting ahead of God with our emotions. This is when we decided to pray and fast including “fasting” from seeing each other until we heard more from the Lord. My small group leader asked me what I would do if the Lord said no to anything more than friendship. I said “I suppose I’d quit seeing him” She then asked “Why would you kill the friendship that He called you to….” Definitely not what I wanted to hear but this was not over yet.
 
If you are thinking about a life-long commitment it is best to consult with the one who lovingly created you and had a plan for your life – made sense to me! Because Mick didn’t have a small group leader at this time we ended up praying with the whole pastoral council there at YWAM. The following “word” was written after we had not spent time together for three days – we were praying and “fasting” from seeing each other. We waited to hear from the Lord. 
 
Something quite unusual happened. I was given 8 “blind reference” scriptures. I felt impressed of these scriptures chapter and verse. They were not ones I had memorized and I had no clue what was there until I looked them up. One of the books I didn’t even know was in the Bible.  They were beautiful and went in a progression from our friendship to forgetting things in the past - we had both been divorced before we came to the Lord and had not lived saintly lives.  Then there was a scripture about ministry -the Lord gave me one in the Old Testament and Mick roughly the same one in the New Testament! There was another about walking Godly in our relationship.  One about Ruth and Boaz with Ruth coming under Boaz’s “covering”. The scripture was about sexual intimacy, indicating that we were going to be married. During my quiet time I felt the Lord laid the following on my heart:
 
"My precious daughter (smile) sometimes you face even the positive experiences in life like going to the dentist or wisdom tooth day. Was I not there with you and in ways you never dreamed? I love you. You are now able to walk – or at least stand – in My peace. I’m glad. Think of the azaleas you saw – your springtime is about to bursting forth as I restore those Joel 2:25 years (years of the locust and canker worm) Do you not see?  He is my priceless and cherished son. Open tenderness to him but guard your passion – there will be times and seasons yet to come. Walk in today and savor every minute. I’m holding you both - one by each hand - come walk with Me. Seek ye first My kingdom and I SHALL add all these other things unto you two. Relive not the memories of your past for I’ve given you today and each other. Be blessed. Rejoice and let me know your delight in that with which I’ve blessed you. Daughter, defer to his headship and mine. Look to leadership and doubt not – all things in time – My time – we’re still right on schedule. I know My ways for you two. Rest assured. I will clarify, you shall know beyond doubt."
 
What a blessing to be prayed over and have those who were our spiritual covering be impressed that this was God’s plan. And to have our individual prayers answered by Him who created us. We released into a furthering of our friendship and something more, a relationship with the Lord at the head that so far has lasted a lifetime!
Yes, by this time he had kissed me. OK, I had kissed him too, more on this soon. Sometimes we had dates just to talk in the library at YWAM. Other times we took my roommates with us to treat them to dinner out and so we could avoid placing ourselves into situations where self control might be compromised. God has a plan for ALL aspects of our lives and relationships, it is SO incredible.
 
May I add a PS, we were two normal, healthy, red blooded adults in our 30s. We had both been married before. This is a piece I wrote during that time. A fervent prayer, actually!
 
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you know how I always was at Christmas, trying to find out surprises, overhearing conversations, sneaking around to rattle boxes or peek through papers. If mom and dad were gone I was known to pry open package ends and peek inside. Time was my enemy, as was waiting. Patience was nowhere within me.

Is that perhaps why, on that big morning after awakening every half hour though the night that when all the papers were ripped off and the contents revealed there was a measure of happiness or joy and a measure of “is that all there is?” Was it because my focus was on things and not your birth? Was it because I tampered in an untimely fashion with those gifts?

Lord, there is an incredible gift wrapped and set aside for our upcoming wedding from you to us and then us to each other. I beseech you to let your strength be evident in our weakness! Let not even a corner of the paper be torn or wrinkled. Help us, I pray to cherish, trust, WAIT and not gobble. Oh, Jesus, help our focus to always be looking up to you. Father hear my cry. AMEN
 
Was it easy? Nope. Was it possible to “not awaken our love before its time”? Definitely. Stay tuned.
 
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved.