Snakebite to the Soul ~ and the anti-venom

God’s Word has an answer for every problem you have…

The Apostle Paul knew about snakebite. First, the primitive tribal people of Malta thought he was a murderer and worthy of death by snakebite. Then when he shook the offending snake off and lived, they wanted to worship him. That’s the fickle nature of humanity. Paul had to explain to them that he was not a god, but that the God he served saved him from death by snakebite.

As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand. The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.” But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god. ~ Acts 28: 2-6, New Living Translation [NLT]

Today, although it is possible that believers could be bitten by a reptilian snake and that God could save their lives, it’s much more likely that they will become the victims of poisoning of their soul. The enemy (the deceiver, Satan) can do things to poison our soul, but it’s just as likely that we are the ones poisoning our own souls with strife, unforgiveness, bitterness, malice, etc.

 Is it possible we’re choked with bitterness, we’re continually caught up in anger, persistent resentfulness, or we’re planning revenge? The godly antidote for this is forgiveness. Forgiveness is not an emotional issue. It’s a spiritual decision. We decide to be obedient to the Word of God and we forgive. Yes, we even forgive our enemies! We commit ourselves to the Lord and His Word no matter how we feel. We feed on Scripture as our prescribed medicine. We read and say the corresponding Scriptures aloud. Such as…

25 And whenever you stand praying, if you find that you carry something in your heart against another person, release him and forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also release you and forgive you of your faults. ~ The Passion Translation [TPT]

21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! ~ New Living Translation [NLT]

It’s so interesting that the decision to forgive and the act of forgiveness is releasing to the forgiver. We are releasing the offending party from our consciousness. They have been taking up far too much space. We may have to do this act of releasing (i.e. forgiving) seventy times seven times. First, we have to realize that as long as we are consumed (bound) with hatred, anger, resentment, thoughts of revenge…the offending party is dominating our mind, will, and emotions…which spiritually in the Bible is our soul. We need to get free of the offending party. We need to perform an act of our will and forgive them. However, God didn’t make us stupid. We don’t have let them into our lives again. If we can’t avoid them because they are a member of our extended family, or we work with them…we don’t have to trust them, we can beware of them (be aware of their actions and schemes, having spiritual discernment with prayer. Pray for wisdom and protection). And avoid them as much as possible.

Are we murmurers and complainers? I have to confess that I had whining down to an art form. I’m sure my friends got tired of listening to me and thought, there she goes again. Over time, God dealt with me about this. I began to see that thankfulness (a posture and attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude) was the antidote to murmuring and complaining. If you come from a dysfunctional family like I do, you’ll understand how whining over the doling out of love and the short supply of positive reinforcement, continual disappointment, disillusionment, the embarrassment and shame due to ruined situations we thought should’ve been good, and much more has led to our whining. Through intimacy with God, and also with some good and sound teaching on the dangers of murmuring and the benefit of thanksgiving, I have largely walked out of habitual whining. First of all, whining, murmuring, and complaining are useless. They do no good and put other people off. That’s not a good return, not profitable. The Lord began to lead me back (and this was painful and still can be painful) to look at the people and early situations that disappointed, embarrassed, and shamed me. These were the ‘seeds’ of a habitual attitude on my part of whining and complaining. He showed me how (not just that) many of the people early in my life who hurt me were themselves broken people I should have compassion for. He began to show me little gems of joy, happiness, laughter in my early life that I could savor as memories..and give thanks for. Yes, give thanks. Many of the people in my early life were not saved. Even if they were, they didn’t have teaching on how to live a joyous and prosperous life. They were average Americans, from immigrant roots, trying to make a life and often blundering along the way. I now choose to remember the good while not denying the broken. When a painful, shaming memory comes to mind, I can chose to ‘quickly’ replace it with one of those nuggets of early happiness, fun, peace. When the enemy says, “Your family didn’t have it together much, did they?” I can now ‘quickly’ push him aside with memories of my grandmother’s good cooking and her love of feeding people. I can recall my dad, the high school teacher, reading bedtime stories to me and my brother. I can recall my mom baking her ‘Alaska Logs’ Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve. I can’t tell you how much this has freed me and made my present life a happier place. I’m not longer enshrining the pain.

Do we have deep sadness and are we in a state of mourning? Did we lose a spouse, a child, a parent, sibling, or friend far too young. As a widow, I know what sadness and mourning are. I’ve also lost two dear friends far too young. And, I’m also old enough to have lost both of my parents. Did you lose a house, a job, a business? As a maturing Christian, I know mourning is a process we have to go through to be healthy. Still, there is a time we must leave that deep state of mourning behind and get on with life. While, there is no cure for mourning, the very real feelings will surface from time to time,  they should not kill our joy. Our joy comes from the Lord.

Here are two Scriptures from the Word of the Lord to help us when we seem lost in grieving…

This one from Proverbs is one of my Scriptures. I claim it. It’s good to laugh, to have some fun, some lightness of spirit, even during mourning…maybe especially during mourning.

22 A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. ~ Proverbs 17:22, New King James Version [NJKV]

This one from Isaiah is so deep on so many levels, it’s good to study and meditate on when in the grip of mourning that seems consuming.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2to proclaim the year of the Lord‘s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. 4 They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. ~ Isaiah 61: 1-4, English Standard Version [ESV]

So many times in her life, Detective Katerina “Kat” Andruko experienced sorrow, abandonment, and betrayal. She’s just starting to trust the city’s handsome forensic profiler, but she can’t shake that he could be a murder suspect.  COURTING DANGER

What Is The Kingdom of Heaven? ~ where is it?

A father and baby

After this manner therefore pray ye

I most often use the New American Standard Bible [NASB], thinking it’s the closest word-for-word translation of the Bible in English. Young’s Literal Translation [YLT] would be another one. However, there are some verses and entire sections of the Bible where I gravitate toward the King James Version [KJV] for its exquisite beauty. What we call “The Lord’s Prayer” is one of those sections, and in it Jesus tells us about the kingdom of God. This is where Jesus teaches us how to pray. And if Jesus said it, I know I can absolutely ‘take that check to the bank’. It’s good.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. ~ Matthew 6:9-13, King James Version [KJV]

I placed the above text in red because the words of Jesus are often shown in red to honor them and also to point them out. So what is He telling us about the Kingdom of Heaven? He says, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” To me, to my mind and heart this is saying the kingdom of God is something that comes to earth and can exist on earth. And God’s will (the Father’s will) can be done on the earth as it is in heaven. That the kingdom of God is possible and available to us.

17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 14:17, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

This passage in Romans speaks to me saying the kingdom of God is here on earth in the Holy Spirit, and further than that in righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are made righteous before the Father. That is how God sees us, washed in the blood of His Son and as righteousness. With all my being, I think that believers who have truly made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior do NOT wish to sin, do not seek to sin, but strive to do God’s will and to be in God’s will. And that is our job…to fully submit to the Father’s will. Fully submitted to the Holy Spirit is where we will find the kingdom of God on earth.

Brother Kenneth Copeland points to John 5:30 to show us the “kingdom process” here on the earth.

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Does It Matter What You Eat ~ during chemo?

A roast chickenIt matters what you eat during chemo.

I was told, “It doesn’t matter what you eat during chemo. Eat whatever you want, whatever you can get down.” But I found that only lead to constipation which lead to exhaustion which lead to depression. Oh how I fought that depression and won. So, yes, it does matter what you eat during chemo. Very much so.

Isaiah 55:2b ~ Listen carefully to me:
    Eat what is good, and enjoy the best foods. ~ God’s Word Translation [GW]

I was pretty healthy going into chemo, so I wasn’t having a lot of the side-effects many cancer patients face. And, here’s the real biggie, I’d given my side-effect to God, and I feel he took them. Now chemo has not, repeat, has not been a walk in the park for me. They were, pouring big-time toxins into my veins…very serious, big-time toxins that kill the cancer. But the rest of my body was screaming, “HELP!!!”

I’d not only given my side-effects to God, I’d given my entire treatment to God. Let my doctor and medical staff handle that. They went to school for it. I zoomed in on the spiritual (healing study, prayer, etc.) with the Holy Spirit right next to me. And I zoomed in on the nutrition of healing with the Holy Spirit right next to me. As many can tell, this blog is aimed at Christians, mostly aimed at blood bought, full-gospel Christians. Worldwide, there are more than 30,000 Christian denominations. So, some Christians will identify with what I write more than others, some pretty much not at all. I also have a nonChristian following. Maybe because I’m not condemning. I present my spiritual and nutritional cases in a Biblical context and let them speak for themselves. I don’t condemn Christian who believe differently than I do, and I don’t condemn nonChristians. Jesus called believers to love. In fact, I have quite a large following in India…Christian, non-Christian, I don’t know. Hi, India.

So, after I tried the ‘I could eat anything I wanted during chemo’ theory with sad results, I went on a pretty strict Mediterranean-ish Diet. I say “ish” not because I wasn’t on the diet, I didn’t restrict it to foods found only in the Mediterranean. If the recipe from a country not bordering on the Mediterranean Sea had no food elements that were off the diet I’d include it. Ukrainian Summer Borscht is an example. I’m not a Food-Nazi. I will not look at what you’ve got on your plate…even if it’s all made from chemicals. However, for me, they are pouring enough toxic chemicals into my body to kill the cancer. I won’t add toxic chemicals the food companies put in so they can sell year-round and transport the items all year long in airplanes, ships, and trucks. I personally won’t do that.

I cook most of my food from scratch, but not all. Increasingly, super markets and even some smaller markets sell healthy organic foods, some already prepared (salsa, salad dressings, etc.) There are also some pretty healthy frozen foods out there from all types of food companies. You have to read the label. If it has a string of unreadable, unpronounceable chemical ingredients, I won’t buy it.

Because of copyright laws I can’t post a Mediterranean Diet Food Map, but I can give a link to Wikipedia’s food map and their article on the Mediterranean Diet.

ribbon pink

In HARMFUL INTENT, Brooklyn (NYC) gal private-eye finds herself in Texas where she is the prime suspect of the stalwart sheriff’s deputy in the murder of her cheating husband. She knows the real murderer has something to do with the local high-end health spa. So, she takes a health food/organic cooking class with the spa’s nutritionist and it tonally changes how she looks at food. But will it help her catch the killer?

Harmful Intent 400 P

You Can’t Go Back ~ victory is in your future!

car trip

God is always moving forward, not back!

You can’t go back and change what they did to you!

  • They didn’t treat you the way you should’ve been treated.
  • They didn’t love you in your family of origin.
  • They betrayed you.
  • They didn’t give you the promotion you worked so hard for.
  • They lied and gossiped about you.

My father and mother walked out and left me,
    but God took me in. ~ Psalms 27:10, The Message Bible [MSG]

You can’t go back and change what you did to others!

  • You lived with bitterness, and it spilled over onto others.
  • You weren’t responsible, and it harmed others.
  • You weren’t a loyal person, and you ruined past relationships.
  • You were lazy, and others had to do more than their share of duties/work.

For I will demonstrate my mercy to them and will forgive their evil deeds, and never remember again their sins. ~ Hebrews 8:12 [The Passion Translation, TPT]

As believers, we don’t need a PhD in theology to notice in the Bible God used a lot of highly imperfect people. They made mistakes and treated people badly, and/or others had treated them badly. In fact, it might be easier for God to use flawed people because, they’re not so ‘holier than thou’, that they can’t be used at all. It seems God picks people with a bit of humility who have been through some life battles who He can equip for His purposes. So, no matter what kind of a mess we’ve made, He can still use us for good. In the process, He can also bring peace and joy to our lives.

So what is it that is torking us off and twisting us up inside? Did we come from an abusive background, then married and divorced an abusive spouse, and we’re just mad, mad, mad? We can be blood bought and know we’re going to heaven and still have this low-level, simmering anger on the back burner. Our spirit was saved when we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit came to dwell in our human spirits. But our souls (mind, will, and emotions) and flesh were not saved. Our souls and flesh have to be renewed and regenerated and this is a for the rest of our life journey.

There is a simple Biblical tool we can use to help us forget past hurts and to have more peace and joy in our lives. It’s the law of sewing and reaping. First of all, we’re to sew into good ground, not cast our seed toward someone or something we know is a poor prospect. For example if we were rejected by our parents as a child, then felt rejection since, and now feel lonely, we can sew friendliness. We don’t have to give money to someone, deep down, we know is a user. Remember…good ground. We don’t have to give money at all, or loan our car. Just friendliness.

Friendliness is of our inner self. Give a smile. Open and hold a door for someone. Say hello to people at church and remember their names, so you can use their name the next time. Introduce yourself to the pastor. Tell him/her what a good sermon it was. When their faces light up and they smile back, receive it and in that moment let it warm you. Let the experience go both ways. Ah, but you’ve always been reserved, an introvert. Receive it for what it is and feel good about it. It’s just a smile, a simple smile. It’s not a lifelong commitment. It’s not even an invitation to brunch, but it’s a start. Enjoy the moment, and resolve to move forward from there.

I have to keep telling myself these very things. I came from a reclusive family. We were definitely not movers and shakers in the local social scene. I had to learn how to make friends as an adult.  ~~  Don’t keep looking back at past hurts. Test the friendship water. Yes, test. Test! That’s using wisdom. Some people will not be up your alley. That doesn’t make them bad people. They’re just not your cup of tea. Smile and keep on going. Put your little toe into the shallow end of the people-pool. Keep engaging , keep smiling, laugh a little. It feels good.

 

ribbon pink

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Psalm 23 ~ my go to

A war room

Table Service

Psalm 23 has been my Scripture since I was saved. However, in the last month it has become a ‘super-Scripture’ to me. I usually read it aloud every morning.
I’ve had the awareness before that the ‘table’ He prepares before my enemies was a table for two (me and the Holy Spirit). In the past, I’ve seen it as a banquet. Holy Spirit and I are relaxing and dining in the presence of my enemies (spiritual enemies).
Today I saw it differently. It’s still a table for two, Holy Spirit and me. However, now it’s a ‘war table’ where battle plans are drawn up and later executed. The Holy Spirit is the commanding general.  The battle is the Lord’s. My job is to stand in faith, to stand on Scripture. And, the enemies are still spiritual enemies, wicked spirits.  Praise the Lord for this personal revelation at this time in my life. God is good.

Good Thoughts – Good Memories ~ in 2020

2020 photo

What Are You Thinking On?

My mother had severe juvenile diabetes (type 1) in a time when the disease was a death sentence and insulin was a very new medical treatment. She grew up in the Ukrainian immigrant community where, at that time, there was tremendous fear of injections. My grandparents bravely decided that she should have insulin and she lived. Not only did she live, she married my father, had two children, and had a life. However, she was an exceedingly negative person all of her life. As a child, I didn’t understand her struggle, and I found her constant negativity painful. Despite my mother’s untreated chronic depression, she was a decent and ethical person who tried really hard to live her life and have a family. I understand that now, as an adult and how I think of her has changed a great deal. I now see her in a much more positive light without denying her faults.

My father was pragmatic, unemotional, bookish, and often withdrawn. But he could be very funny and for me that was some relief from the darkness of talking about every thing that was wrong or was about to go wrong.

I took after my dad in a lot of ways. I found refuge in books, and I’d make a joke out of whatever was upsetting and dysfunctional. That was when I was around other people. In private, I was more like my mom, focused excessively on the painful and the negative.

It wasn’t until my mid-forties that I first heard teaching on renewing of the mind and the importance of focusing on the lovely and the good. And by that time, I had  focused on the unlovely, the broken, and the sad so much, that I hardly had any good memories from my childhood, and even from my adult life. They’d all been overshadowed and buried by my rehashing of all the dark and negative moments.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

I married a man whose family was even more dysfunctional than mine…if that is even possible. My own immediate family and my extended family had PhDs in negativity. (See, I am still able to make a joke out of the gruesome.)

Well, one day there was great turmoil in my husband’s family. A lot of yelling in the kitchen and people running in and out of the house. So, I went into the living room and started surfing channels on the TV just to block the chaos out. It was a Sunday and I clicked onto this petite blonde lady standing behind a podium. Gloria Copeland. I thought she was preaching, but she is much more a teacher than a preacher. She was no-nonsense positive. Positive that God is a good God, is a healing God, is a loving God. She was intelligent, logical, and didn’t have big hair. That sealed it for me, and by the end of the program, I put my hands on the TV and got saved.

I am aware of true ‘Christian’ positive-thinking that first manifested itself in the 1950s, and that is good. But what I’m talking about is deeper.  It is a real and abiding belief that the power of the Word as written in the Bible is transformative and healing. It is the belief in the supernatural power of God’s living Word. I have to point out here that God’s Word in the Bible is not magical, not hokus-pokus, nor abracadabra. It is the belief that if the living Word gets deep-down within the heart and soul of the believer, it will start to heal those hidden, broken places.

Note: God’s Word in the Holy Bible has structure, context, and order. The Word of God can’t be ripped out of the Bible and thrown around as a quick affirmation for selfish purposes. Any phrase we wish to speak over our situation has to be understood in terms of what came before and after it in the chapter (and even in other chapters and in other books of the Bible). The Bible is a cohesive whole, pointing to and proclaiming Jesus as the Christ, the Anointed One, the Savior.

That said, if you want to get rid of darkness and negativity in your life…if you want to start making some good memories, a good place to start is the Philippians 4 Scripture noted above. Take it apart and on purpose (even if you have to force yourself) start to focus on what is:

  • True
  • Honorable
  • Right
  • Pure
  • Lovely
  • Of Good Repute
  • Having or Striving for Excellence
  • Worthy of Praise

 

Vision Journal/Board vs Blessing Jar vs War Room ~ for 2020

Blessing Jar, Russel Stover

Several years ago (actually, January 2013), I started making a Blessing Jar in preparation for the new year. It wasn’t even a jar, but I’m sure God didn’t take offense. I had an old Christmasy tin I liked that had originally houses Russel Stover caramel candy. So, it became my Blessing Jar for several years. There are several ways to work with a blessing jar, but the way a writer friend told me she did it appealed to me. 1) Write a short, focused list of blessings I’m believing God for and put it into the jar along with Scriptures that support those blessings and place them inside. As I searched the web looking for ideas on making Blessing Jars, I found that many people wrote down their prayers for other people and put them into the jar. So, I did both of those. I wrote down a list of 5-8 things I was believing for with supporting Scripture. That took up three pages. I folded it and put it into the tin. On smaller pieces of paper I wrote down individual prayers for people. I’d read through these several times during the year and continue adding prayers for people.

Then in 2016 I got creative and made a Mason Jar/Blessing Jar that I hand painted. I did all the same things. Wrote out three pages of blessings that I was believing for and also on smaller pieces of paper prayers for others. I added prayers throughout the year. Only my list had become a formal Prayer of Petition, involving thanksgiving, and seeking to ask for whatever vision, desires, and inklings I prayerfully believed God had put into my heart. That year I signed my Prayer of Petition and took communion at home over it.

War Room

The Christian movie War Room came out in the Fall of 2015. My dear Christian writer friend Beth Glash (writing as Jenna Victoria, Beth Ellen on Facebook) and I went to see it. From time-to-time during 2016, we talked about having a “war room” or space in our own homes. By 2017 my Blessing Jar had become my “war room.” I kept my formal Prayer of Petition in the Blessing Jar but prayers for people went up on the side of my refrigerator where I could see them every day and continually pray for people. The photo above is the beginning in January 2017. By the end of the year the refrigerator’s side was covered in prayers. I also wrote out . My war room.

As early as 2014, I began learning about Vision Boards, the Christian kind as taught by Terry Savelle Foy and a few others. I knew about Terry because it was in her father Jerry Savelle’s ministry that I found the clearest teaching on The Prayer of Petition. I had kept a spiritual journal since the late 1990s and it was not difficult get separators and make the back of my journaling notebook into a Vision Journal. I like the vision journal because it allows me to see that God is indeed moving in my life. For example, in 2014, I taped a few words onto my journal page that I found in a magazine, “Blessed With A New Car.” I kept the old car in excellent running condition and in 2017 was blessed with a newer car, a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I blessed my oldest daughter by giving her my 2009 Dodge Journey. I believe God wants to bless us, but part of that is He wants to bless us so we can bless others. As you can see the pages (above) are worn, handled. I’ve looked at them many times and prayed for my vision, thanked God for my blessings, and marveled at how He works in my life.

So, which is the best? Blessing Jar? War Room or Space? Vision Board or Vision Journal? I heard it preached that Oral Roberts was once asked which is the best scriptural prayer to pray. He answered, “The one you need at the time.” That’s kind of how I view Blessing Jars, personal war rooms, and/or vision boards and vision journals. Do what work for you. Do, what you will stick with throughout the year and into future years. And let it spiritually evolve as the Lord leads.

I pray that all my subscribers and visitors to this blog will be mightily blessed by the Lord. May you have a healthy, happy, prosperous new year.