Update: One Last Note

Hello to all my readers,

Over the past weeks since I stopped writing this blog I have continued to get subscribers and for that I am so thankful.  I realised I had left you all hanging in the lurch with not knowing how the love dare finally turned out so I thought I would give you an update.  Well I completed the love dare and the person I was doing it on and I are getting along better which is a good thing.  What the Lord wanted to accomplish I don’t know, but I know He spoke to me many time from 1 Corinthians 13 the love chapter.  So I think for me He was telling me that it doesn’t matter how nice I am to this person or how much I do for them, if I don’t do it in love it’s pointless.  To be perfectly honest that has  been both the biggest lesson for me, and the biggest challenge.  But I take one day at a time, doing my best to not let my heart grow cold, hard and unforgiving.  Because then this all would have been for nothing.  And I want all that God has for me.  May God bless you all as you travel down your own journey and path. —Believer

What A Journey

March 25, 2010

Hello everyone, Over the past couple of weeks I have felt  in my spirit that a change was coming about , and  that the healing and work the Lord needed to do in me over the last year and a half is finished and He wants me to move onto other things.   This morning as I was in my prayer closet, and singing along with some praise and worship music, the Lord spoke to my heart that it is time to end my Journey of a lifetime blog.   And I knew in my heart it was time.  I don’t know what God has in store for me now, but whatever that may be, I know He will be glorified, and I will be a better person because of it.  Have my writing days come to an end, I don’t think so, but I think it’ll be more journaling for myself, but who knows, you never know what God may have in store.  I have really enjoyed writing this blog and hope that God used it for what He wanted.  Ultimately for me that’s what it’s all about, God being glorified, and for me to be a vessel of His choosing.  So with that I just want to thank all of you who have subscribed to the blog, and for those who have commented on the different posts.  As in the begining I pray that even if just one person was touched by God through this blog, then it has all been worth it.  And although this part of the journey has ended I know there is still more road ahead of me to travel.  Walking with my Jesus hand in hand every step of the way.  I pray God’s many blessings upon you all—Believer

The Call To Forgive

March 16, 2010

Hi everybody I thought since had been a few days or so since I’d given you an update on the Love Dare challenge I would give you one today.  I’m now 23 days into the challenge.  And this past weekend  I realized I hit the halfway point of the Love Dare.  And it was like hitting a brick  wall.

For the sake of this and future posts regarding updates on the love dare, I’m going to call the person I’m doing the Love Dare on Paul. Paul moved in with my husband and I a little over a year ago.  And almost from the get go we butted heads.  We are so different like night and day.  As I have said in past posts my feelings for Paul grew darker and darker with each day that pasted.  When the Lord told me to love him as Christ does, I just about revolted.  But I wanted so much of my Jesus that I couldn’t tell Him no, so I accepted.  And here we are 23 days later.  This past weekend things became worse than they ever have been between Paul and I.  I was a total wreck.  Crying off and on all weekend and even a little on Monday.  I had never been so hurt.  Here I was trying harder than ever to be obediant to my Lord, and love Paul as Jesus loves him, and even trying to see Paul through Christ’s eyes.  I came to a point where I simply couldn’t do it anymore.  I didn’t even want to be in the same room as him, I avoided eye contact and even refused to speak to him.  I told my husband to keep him away from me.  I tried closing my heart off to my Lord, because I didn’t want to do this anymore.  I had, had enough.  And wasn’t going to do anything else in regards to Paul, or the Love Dare Challenge.  With each day that passed, I could feel my heart growing colder, and I knew I wasn’t pleasing my Lord.  But praise God because of His grace and mercy.  He slowly began speaking to my heart about forgiveness.  I didn’t want to hear it during the day and would distract myself so I wouldn’t have to listen.  But our God has a great sense of humor and knows just how to get to our hearts, and  mine was no exception to that.   He would just simply wake me up in the middle of the night, and begin dealing with my heart then.  I know that Jesus tells us several times in the gospels to forgive, and that if we don’t forgive we will not be forgiven.  Well, I don’t want anything separating me from my Lord.  so after three days of this going on and me knowing in my heart what I need to do, even if it was going to be so hard, I turned over in bed and asked my husband to please pray for me in regards to this situation.

Now my husband has a wonderful gift of wisdom, and he prayed that God would soften my heart in this matter.  Well this morning I got up, and as soon as I saw Paul, all those feeling of hurt and anger, rose up in me and I didn’t want to talk to him.  I had some errands to do in town so I drove silently into town, all the while the weight of this bearing down on my heart and mind, and trying to seek the Lord for help.  When I got back from town Paul approached me and asked me how I was doing today, and In a seconds time, my heart changed.  I looked at him, and knew it was time to let it go, and get back to doing what God told me to do.  I smiled and told him I was doing pretty good, and for the first time in days I really was.

This is where God amazes me.  Here I was last night or I should say in the wee hours of this morning wrestling with God over forgiving Paul for hurting me.  Knowing I needed to forgive him, and in my flesh not wanting too.  Knowing in my spirit what my Jesus wanted me to do, and wondering why I should when I had done nothing wrong yet wanting to please my Lord, and wanting that close fellowship with Him again, that I hadn’t had since this whole thing had started.  I felt the call to forgive him, and knew the Lord was gently working on my heart.  In the span of  5 hours God worked a miracle in my heart.   and I was able to forgive Paul from my heart.  I stand amazed before my God and my Jesus.  How He was able to soften my heart in but a seconds time amazes me.  And so  as Phil. 3:13b -14  says this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark  for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. God Bless you all.—Believer

Hedge Of Thorns

I simply find God so amazing.  I am sitting here on my sofa listening to some instrumental music, and the Lord impresses upon me to read His word.  Since I didn’t have my Bible handy I pulled up a Bible program that’s on my computer.  I started out reading 2 John, and from there going to the Psalms ( always a personal favorite ).  I was lead by the Holy Spirit to go to Psalm 121 ” A Song of degrees. I will lift up  mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night . 7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore “.

I have always loved this passage of Scripture, but tonight much to my surprise and now excitement He has shown me something new, something I didn’t even know.    In verse 8 we read ” The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore “. Thanks to modern technology I was able to see the original meaning  in Hebrew by simply moving my mouse over the word.  The word preserve in it’s original meaning means shamar (shaw-mar’) v.1. (properly) to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard 2. (generally) to protect, attend to, etc.

I don’t know about you all but I found such comfort in seeing that the Lord protects me about as a hedge of thorns.  All I could do was just stop for a moment and meditate on this for a moment.  I mean I knew that God watches over me and protects me, but when I read this it made it so much more personal, more intimate, that He actually takes protecting me  ( and you for that matter ) seriously.  Wow is all I can say, I stand in total awe and wonder of His awesomeness.  Anyways I just wanted to share that with you all.

If you find yourself needing protection from all that this life can throw at us.  Know that God takes watching over you quite seriously and protects you as a with a hedge of thorns that nothing or no one can penetrate.  How AWESOME is our God.—Believer.

Loving One Another

March 8, 2010

As I sit here I struggle with what to type.  God has been speaking so much to my heart lately of loving one another as He tells us to do in His word.  He’s been talking to me of how He had me in the shelter of His wings while He healed my broken heart.  That He kept me safe and warm, and watched over me and protected me during such a difficult time in my life.  And my heart has healed, and here I stand today all the stronger because of God and His amazing love.  I know that I know He loves me, so sweetly, so perfectly.  And now I believe He has told me that He wants me to go out and share His love with others, not in a witnessing soul, saving way, but rather through my actions, by reaching out to others in His love.  Allowing Him to work through me to let them see Him through love.  Over the last month the Lord has spoke to me of what real love is and what it isn’t (see 1 Corinthians 13 ) He is both showing me how to love someone I didn’t want to love, and that He wants me to extend that to others.

God’s love is so amazing, yet so humbling, at least it is me.  The more I have taken the time to spend with Him in prayer, and praise, I see how much He loves His creation, and His children.  And the more I know He wants me to love them, as He does.  The more time I spend with Him the more I believe He is growing me up in not only His marvelous love, but also is showing me how to love others.  It started with that simple challenge to love a certain family member, who I have in the past have had lots of conflict with.  By challenging me to  do the Love Dare. The Love Dare is normally for married couples who are having problems,  and praise God, I have a wonderful husband, whom I adore and we are fine, but He told me to do it on this person, there have been a few things I’ve had to change since this person isn’t my husband, but God has been faithful in showing me what I can do different if it’s needed.  I’m 16 days into it now, and I feel the Lord changing my heart towards this person slowly, but surely.  I certainly have not attained perfection in this, and there are still times when I really don’t like them let alone love them, but I feel in my spirit that God is doing something hugely profound.  I don’t know for sure exactly what He is doing, but it is enough to know that He’s doing it.  From the Love Dare, the Lord has now moved on my heart to extend that love to others around me as well.  To reach out and help them, and show them His sweet love.

I have never considered myself a good at knowing how to witness to people.  I become anxious and simply don’t know what to say.  But I still continue to feel this ever growing need to show people His love and believe that He wants me to do it through my actions more than my words.  Still, I know that in and of myself I can not do this.  We read in John 15:9 -15 “Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. (John 14:15; John 14:21; John 14:23; 1John 5:3); 11 I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete. 12 My commandment is this – to love one another just as I have loved you.( Lev 19:18; Matt 22:39; John 13:34; Eph 5:2; 1Thess 4:9; 1Pet 4:8; 1John 3:23; 1John 4:21); 13 No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends. (Rom 5:7; Eph 5:2; 1John 3:16); 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. (Matt 12:50; 2Cor 5:16; Gal 5:6; Gal 6:15; Col 3:11); 15 I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father. (John 8:26); 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that remains, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. (John 13:18; Eph 1:4; Matt 28:19; Mark 16:15; Col 1:6); 17 This I command you – to love one another.”

Wow, is all I can say to that.  The mere though of all that at once is overwhelming at times.  And I know I certainly can’t do it in and of myself, or in my own strength.  But like 1 John 3:18 says “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth. We are to love not with what we say, but with what we do.  If you haven’t  read John 15 and 1 John 1-4 I encourage you to do so.  Let Him speak to your heart through His word, and May God bless you in your endeavor.—Believer

To Love Or Not

In 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a we read of the greatest gift there is “1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never fails.”

The Lord God has been speaking these scriptures to me for months, but especially in the last couple of weeks. .   For me this verse gets further conformation in  John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. And again in Mark 12:28 – 31 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving [58] that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”29  Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  This is the first commandment. 31  And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.”

So what does this look like to live out in real life? how does this apply to us in our lives.  Well, for me it came through a family member who came to live with my husband and I, at first things were fine, and then things just went bad and from bad  to worse.   I began to think of this person as an enemy, and even at one point actually hated them ( something I say don’t say lightly and am certainly not proud of ).  And  I have to admit I wasn’t prepared for how hard it can be to love them as Christ has called us too.  But it is also very important to me to please my Lord.   So for the last while I have been wrestling and struggling to love this person, knowing that Jesus tells that we are to love others.  But God continued to work on my heart, And after a while my heart began to soften, and I can now honestly say that I don’t hate this person anymore, but continued to seek the Lord for the answers because I knew ( and still know ) from where my help comes from ( Ps. 121:1-2 ) .

With much prayer, and also help from my counselor the answers slowly started come.  I had watched a movie a while back called ” Fireproof ”  it’s about a couple who are having marital problems when the husband gets challenge to do ” The Love Dare”  and from that God was able to restore his marriage.  Now I am not married to this particular family member, but I do believe God spoke to my heart that  I was to do the love dare on this family member.  I knew I would have to modify it a little in some areas, but knew the Lord would help me to be creative about it, when it was needed.  I did it for about a week and then things between us got worse than ever, and I stopped because it was simply to hard.  But I still kept seeking the Lord for help because I know what His Word says, that we are to love others as ourselves, and I really did want to be obedient in this.

Well,  I just recently watched the movie again, and when I met with my counselor the Lord once again spoke to my heart that I was to do the love dare on this family member. And this time I accepted the challenge with a open and willing heart.

As a Christian I believe that it’s not all about me but all about God and His Glory,  but in this case I do believe it’s more about what God wants to do in me than in this family member.  So I have been doing it for a week now.   And even though my heart hasn’t always been in it, I know there is a greater purpose here.  What I have found most challenging to this point is to simply keep my mouth shut, I tend to be outspoken sometimes but I know that I am in Gods will. when I was at church this past weekend my Pastor spoke on being a peace maker.  From start to finish I knew God was speaking to me in regards to this person.  And I thanked Him all the way home after service was over.  I don’t know how all of this is going to end, but I know it is all for my good and His Glory.   Love is a choice we make everyday.  It doesn’t matter what we feeling, because our emotions can lie to us.  Jesus showed us how to love by everything He did, and of course the ultimate show of  love of going to the cross for our sins and paying the price for those sins by dieing on the cross while we were yet sinners, all because of His love for us.  And He doesn’t ask us to do anything that He himself didn’t do.

I want to encourage you that if you have someone in your life whom you think is more of an enemy than a friend like I did, to seek the Lord, He will help you find a way to forgive them, and to love them as He does.  I believe He will help us all to see them as He does, through His eyes of unconditional love.—Believer

Sweet And Tender Is His Love

February 19, 2010

Before I start this I wanted to explain that although I will be talking of something that happened a while ago I just really felt led of the Lord to talk about it now for some reason.  So if I have talked of it before please bare with me.

It begins with the other day when I was sitting in my quiet place with the Lord listening to praise and worship music, reading my bible and devotion, when I felt led of the Lord to listen to what I call our song.  This particular song is an instrumental piece, but it’s melody goes to the very core of me every time I hear it. Well the Lord had me listen to it, and as my heart began to fill with such praise and adoration for the Lord that I couldn’t help but start journaling.

I first heard this song about fourteen months ago.  It was the holiday season of 2009.  I had just come out of what is to this point worst and best time of my life.  When I wasn’t healed when I thought the Lord said I would be ( There is more about this part of my journey found in the archives of this blog under my personal testimony).  Like I said I was so hurt, and even backslid for a short time, I was hurting so bad.  Then as I have said the Lord slowly started bringing me back to Him, as only He could.  He was so loving and gentle and was so tender with me.

One night about two weeks before Thankgiving I began having pains in my back and stomach.  I was doubled over the pain was so bad.  I already have stomach problems so I just figured it was that.  After a couple of hours the pain finally went away,  and I was fine.  Then the night before Thanksgiving the pain returned, worse than before, but since I was having thanksgiving dinner at my home I was determined to not let my family know.  I woke up the Thanksgiving day still in pain but it was at least tolerable, I was  even more determined to get through the day.  The pain finally started to go away as we sat down to eat, and my family was none the wiser.  Each time I would have an episode I would call my counselor( Who also happens to be the care ministry Pastor at my church)  and ask for prayer, She would plead with me to go see a doctor, that the pain was there for a reason, but money was tight and even though we had insurance we already owed the doctor money and I didn’t want to add to it.  So she would pray and God would get me through another day.  Finally the Monday after Thanksgiving I had the worse episode ever, I was crawling on the floor because with my Cerbral Palsy it just made it worse to walk.  I called my counselor, and she once again pleaded with me to let her take me to urgent care that something was horribly wrong.  The pain in my back and stomach were so  bad.  I called my husband at work and he told me I knew my body the best  and if I felt I needed to go to urgent care to go.  So I called my counselor back and she came and took me in.

I was fully expecting a long wait, since that is usually how it is with the urgent care in our area.  We got there, and the place was empty, and with the help of a wheelchair I was able to get in to see the doctor right away.  They immediately gave me something for the pain, and then started the battery of tests that literally took all day to do.  in the end they determined it was my gallbladder which surprized them since they usually don’t see that kind of problem in someone my age.  I was ordered immediate admittance into the hospital because the numbers were  so high on one of the test that they said I had to have surgery.  So even though I didn’t want to go my counselor gave me no choice and drove me to the hospital where they were waiting for me.

I later found out that my gall bladder was so toxic if I had gone home I could have died within a matter of  hours.  So began five days in the hospital.  They couldn’t operate right away because the numbers were to high and wanted to wait for them to go down.  For me that five days in the hospital was fine until the night before my surgery.  That whole day I was so scared, in retrospect I guess I was scared the whole time.  I was terrified to go into surgery.  Although I was slowly coming back to the Lord, by this point I knew I had sinned against Him and just couldn’t believe that He  had  forgiven me.  I couldn’t receive His love  or His forgiveness for me through all the guilt and condemnation, both from satan and from myself.

My husband woke me up with a phone call at around 6am the day before the surgery to tell me to look out my hospital window  that it was snowing and he knew I wouldn’t want to miss it.  I got up without turning my light on and opened the curtain.  From the street lamp that was in the parking lot I could see the snow gently falling to the ground, it was amazingly beautiful.  I crawled back in bed and just watched the beauty of God’s creation.  Something told me told me to listen to my mp3 player.  I found that sweet  precious song, and started listening to it.  And within seconds I felt my sweet precious Jesus come into the room.  His presence was so sweet that all I could do was sit there.  We sat there in silence and yet His love surrounded me, I don’t think I could describe it to do Him justice.  But I will never forget that sweet precious moment that we had in that room.  I couldn’t believe that He would still come to me after I had been so angry with Him, and had done such horrible things to try and push Him away, I thought for sure I would be eternally seperated from Him, that I had just messed up to badly this time.  And yet here He was  with me.  Gently loving me.  After a while I heard Him speak to my heart that He knew I was scared, but that He was with me, and I was going to be fine.  I just sat amazed, because I just couldn’t believe that He was going to get me through this, after all I had done.

Finally after five days it was time for surgery, and like anybody facing surgery I was a little nerveous, I was still scared and thought what if something happens and I die, will I be seperated from my Lord for eternity.  I put on a brave front in front of my counselor and the doctors, but I was terriified.  I’m not even sure that “terrified” even truly discribes what I was going through emotionally.  Well I came through surgery fine, just as He said I would.   But because I woke up in such severe pain they pumped me full of morphine and other drugs.  They kept telling me to rest, but I was convinced I would stop breathing and die, and strange as it seems I couldn’t let that happen, I had to stay awake.  My anxiety got so bad at one point that they brought in a machine that let me hear that my heart was beating fine.  The nurses were so great, they kept reassuring me that I was fine, even though I truly believed I wasn’t.  Since my husband couldn’t take the time off work, to be with me that day, my counselor had come to be with me.  I had told my family not to worry about coming because the mountain passes were to bad.  So it was just me, her, and God.  But I spent most of the day freaked out.  I hadn’t let my counselor see how scared I was and it was when she had left to get something to eat that I had my most severe panic attack, and that is when the nurses brought in the machine to help calm me down, I later found out that if it hadn’t worked, they were going to sedate me that’s how scared I was. I know it wasn’t rational thinking, but it was how I felt at the moment.  But even now as I look back I see how God orchastrated everything.  Within a month of my surgery we lost our health insurance.  If I hadn’t had the surgery then I don’t know what would have happened.

I tell you all this, becauseI know what it feels like  to live in that kind of fear.  I was in such a horrible place to be and it is such a bondage.   And yet I know that so many people live in that fear just as I did.  Jesus in His mercy and grace reached out to me when I couldn’t reach to Him.  He came  to me and showed me His love, something for which I am so thankful to Him for.  After a year and a half of counseling I am now at a place where I know without doubt that He loves me, and that I don’t have to do anything to earn His love.  He loves me simply because I am His daughter, and He is my Father.

When I least deserved Him, it was then He reach out to me the most, bringing His comfort and peace, and His sweet precious love.  Wow is all I can say to that.  He did it for me, and I know He will do it for those of you who are out there hurting just as I was hurting.  He so longs to be your Comforter and Friend.  And believe me when I say that there is no person or thing on the face of this planet who can do it better than He does.

If you are in a place of suffering and pain, trials and tribulations, if  you are worried about where you stand with God, I would love to come along side you in prayer.  Please feel free to send me an email at joalt09@gmail.com.  My prayer for you all is

Eph 3:14 – 19 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–  to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. God Bless—Believer.