Monday, March 31, 2008

Urgent Prayer Need!!!!

Ethan Powell is a beautiful 16 month old boy who has been battling leukemia for 14 months now. Last week, the doctors gave a glorious report. Then the enemy came back like a wave. Ethan and his family are in need of intercessors to beat back the wave and defeat the enemy at the gates.

He has developed a lung problem that has put him at high risk. The doctor has said a miraculous turnaround is needed.

I'm asking you to pray for:
1. A miraculous healing.
2. For Ben and Becky's faith to stand firm despite what they see through a window.
3. For the warriors' faith to stand no matter what they read.
4. For the leukemia to be removed from Ethan's body completely never to return by way of God's healing on this side of Heaven.
5. That no one settle for losing this baby to this evil disease but that warriors would rise up to intercede on behalf of this family.
6. If need be, for your own faith to see this child healed.

Thank you for your prayers.
Sunday, March 30, 2008

Scavenger Hunt on Bold and Free

This post will remain at the top of the page until the scavenger hunt is over on March 30th. For recent posts, please scroll down.
Bold and Free Scavenger Hunt

Jan at Bold and Free is hosting a scavenger hunt until March 30th.
The Rules are:
  1. Visit each blog (on Jan's site) and hunt for answers to their questions.
  2. Write down the answers and email to the address in my profile.
  3. Leave a comment on this post.
  4. Those who have followed directions and correctly answered all the questions will be entered into the drawing for 1st and 2nd prize. As you can see, we have many great prizes! Look at all the Starbucks Gift Cards!
  5. Participating blog’s are not eligible to win prizes but are free to play.

I am not familiar with all of the participants, but I am excited to get to know them. The ones I do know are excellent! You will be blessed!

The questions I submitted are actually for the Ponderings from the Path site, so if you are new and found yourself here, you need to follow the link over there to play the game, but come back here and visit for updated posts.

So, jaunt on over to Jan's, get blessed by some great writers, and pick up some great gifts.

    Friday, March 28, 2008

    Magnificent Madness

    For those who do not know, basketball has been my favorite sport since I found out about that magnificent sphere back in junior high. While I have not played in many, many years, I still love it, and this is my favorite time of year for it. March Madness is a basketball lovers nirvana, especially when some little unknown decides they can run with the big boys...and they do.

    This year, Davidson has captured the hearts of the fans at our house and many others. A school with 1,700 students, Davidson has lived up to its name and taken down giants. It has been thrilling.

    However, the amazing story on the court is only part of the amazing story. The winning attitude of this school goes all the way up to the top.

    In a world gone mad with self-serving greed, Davidson's magnificent madness shows the power of doing the right thing. God bless their magnificent madness.

    Please take time to read more.
    Saturday, March 22, 2008

    Beautiful Woman Part 5--Priceless

    Priceless

    Robin's comment on Beautiful Women Part 4 was where I was going next, and she is already there.

    Too often we think value is what we do. We have to perform well. Right now, I am in bed with a stomach virus. I have spent much of the last 48 hours in a flat position. My husband has had to do the dishes. We've eaten out two nights in a row. My son's birthday was yesterday and instead of taking him out to the egg hunt (a touchy topic but not the focus here), to dinner for a fancy dessert, or out for a picnic, I spent the day lying down, trying to keep water down.

    My performance stunk. Does that mean I have no value? Sounds stupid, BUT how many of you reading this look at your house and think about how dirty it is? How many of you look at your children and the ways you were a bad mom yesterday? How many look at the way you've not been the wife you want to be? How many of you look in the mirror and see a woman who has not worked out well, made the right menus, or kept to a diet? If any of those fit you, you are focusing on performance.

    Now, don't get me wrong. I believe in being a good steward, and the Holy Spirit may be convicting you in those areas, but more often than not, the voice we hear is not about the Spirit. The voice we hear sounds like this:

    "You need to get your act together and keep this house clean. So-and-so always has a clean house. You need to get your temper under control. You need to be more patient. If you hadn't gotten pregnant without being married or if you hadn't married such a jerk, your children would be so much better off. You created this huge mess, and your children are doomed with all kinds of curses all because you sinned. You better do something about your love life or your husband is going to want another woman. You need to do this for him or that for him. You need to be more understanding and less demanding. If you were self-controlled you wouldn't be fat (how many women look in the mirror and call themselves "overweight"? Most women use that word for others but throw the word "fat" at themselves)."

    The enemy uses this stuff so he can show you all the things you aren't. Let's throw it all in the pot and boil it down to the bare facts: You aren't perfect.

    Wow.

    Did you know that already? So this isn't new for you, right? Just checking.

    The Bible says while we were sinners God sent His Son to die for us. Because of our imperfection, Christ died for us. So, our perfection isn't what makes us valuable.

    So what does?

    Dictionary.com defines value as:

    1. relative worth, merit, or importance: the value of a college education; the value of a queen in chess.
    2. the worth of something in terms of the amount of other things for which it can be exchanged or in terms of
    some medium of exchange.
    3. to consider with respect to worth, excellence, usefulness, or importance.

    Get this. I mean, really get it. "The worth of something in terms of amount of other things for which it can be exchanged or in terms of medium of exchange."

    A perfect Son was exchanged for you. That should not make you ashamed. It should scream of your value.

    Do not allow the enemy to tell you that you were not worth it.
    God says you were.

    Do not allow the enemy to tell you to be ashamed.
    God says to rejoice.

    Do not allow the enemy to tell you to hide in the shadows for your imperfections.
    God says to shine like a light on the hill and show off His.

    Your value is not in your performance. You do not have value because you contribute. You contribute because you have value, and your value is not based on what you've done. It's based on what God was willing to do for you.

    And you know what? It doesn't matter how you feel. Your emotions have nothing to do with the Truth.

    The Truth says, "You are so priceless I died for you. I'd rather die than live without you."

    That isn't worldly manipulation.

    That is divine love, and it is priceless...

    ...just like you.

    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Beautiful Woman Part 4-- Contributing Beautifully

    Contributing Beautifully

    One of my concerns with having you look at Proverbs 31 and studying the contributions of this woman and others like her is the lie the enemy tells us which says we have value because of what we do. He tells us we have value because we contribute.

    Let me give you a simple thought to meditate on and allow the Spirit to work into your spirit, mind, and heart.

    You do not have value because you contribute.
    You contribute because you have something of value to give.
    Copyright Jerri Phillips 2008
    Monday, March 10, 2008

    Beautiful Women Part 3-The Beautiful Truth

    The Beautiful Truth

    I realize most women hate the Proverbs 31 Woman. However, I love her. She embodies everything I want to be. She is organized, giving, wise, well-dressed, happy, secure, selfless, and beautiful.

    If you take time to read through the many things that endears this woman to members of her home and those in the community, you will not hear mention of her height, weight, coloring. You will not hear the length of her hair or fingernails. What you will read is the power of her contributions to the lives of those around her.

    Do another exercise.
    Go to Bible Gateway, look up Proverbs 31, copy it to a Word document, and print it out.
    Now, highlight all the places and ways this woman contributes to those around her.

    Go ahead. Do it right now. It’ll take less than 5 minutes. You’ll spend longer reading forwarded jokes in your email today, and they won’t bless you nearly as much. I’ll meet you back here (hopefully) tomorrow.

    Copyright Jerri Phillips 2008
    Saturday, March 8, 2008

    Beautiful Women Part 2--The Double Standard

    As some of you noticed or realized when looking up the women I listed, nowhere does God mention their weight or size. Nowhere does God tell us the color of their hair or eyes. In fact, we are given no specific details. All we are told is someone thought they were beautiful. We don’t know why. We don’t know what the winning characteristic was. We only know these women were beautiful.

    I have a few blogs that I read. I don’t read them because the writers are a size 4. I don’t read them because the writer has straight teeth, milky skin, and silky hair. I read them because they feed my heart. They speak to me when I hurt and smooth balm over my wounded places. I read them because they make me laugh and help refocus my mind when I’m having a stressful day. I read them because they challenge me even when I would rather someone tell me there is integrity in mediocrity.

    Most of us think the same way about the ladies who write the blogs we read. We don’t consider their weight, hair color, if they have two arms and two legs. We just know they are beautiful women who sow into us. We see them as wonderful and precious. We thank God that He has brought them into our lives because they are invaluable treasures.

    But, when we look in the mirror, we use different criteria.

    Suddenly, our value is inversely related to our dress size. Why is it that these women we think so highly of think so highly of US but we can’t? What do they see what we don’t? Could it be that they see the size of our hearts, and we can’t get beyond the size of our hips?

    Copyright Jerri Phillips 2008
    Tuesday, March 4, 2008

    Beautiful Women Part 1--Of Sizable Importance

    In the last few weeks I've seen the topic of size and women's self-image on several blogs. As I prayed about this, the Lord gave me the most wonderful homework, and I pass it on to you.

    Find in the Bible the size and weight of any of the following women:
    Ruth
    Esther
    Naomi
    Rahab
    Debra
    Sarah
    Bathsheba
    The Shulamite Woman in Song of Solomon
    Abigail

    I'll give you until Friday to find out, and then I'll tell you the rest of what God had to say about it.

    Blessings!!!

    Copyright Jerri Phillips 2008
    Sunday, March 2, 2008

    Rejoicing in Nothing, Everything, and the Only Thing

    Last Monday I wrote a happy and content blog about the nothingness of my day. After two wild weeks of viruses with the children and myself along with the hospitalization of my stepdad and his surgery, it was nice to have nothing. The nothingness of Tuesday was nice, too. On Wednesday, though, nothing became everything.

    We had received the results of my blood tests early in the week. All the panels showed normal results, so we knew my chest pains three weeks prior had not been a heart attack. Frankly, I expected my doctor to tell me I had some kind of anxiety attack and should learn to relax. That didn't happen.

    On Wednesday I was dropping Anna off at play practice when my cell phone rang. Assuming it was a photography customer, I answered. It was the nurse from my doctor's office. She had tracked me down. She needed to talk to me about the results of my stress test and sonogram. Since I expected a nice letter telling me I was fine, I was shocked. From there, I went to absolutely stunned.

    "The wall of your heart is significantly thicker than it should be. You need to get a blood pressure machine and check your blood pressure daily. If you have more than two readings higher than 120/80, you need to come in immediately. If you have chest pains at all, you need to go straight to the emergency room."

    "But last week I was told 124/76 was good."

    "That is a normal person. For you, that can be fatal. Anything over 120/80 could cause you to have a stroke or heart attack. If it is that high, we have to give you medicine to get it down, or you can die."

    I have no clue what else she said.

    Rob met me and picked up Robert so they could go ride bikes. I spent my drive home in conversation with God.

    I had a simple question: What do we do now? I don't know anything about this. What do I do?

    I thought about my friend Debra's sister who is a nurse. I needed to have Debra call her. "She'll say it isn't that big of a deal, and I'm really fine."

    For reasons I can only explain as stupidity, I googled "heart wall thickening" first. The first five articles all said the same thing: "You know those athletes that fall down dead on the court/field. this is what kills them." They really didn't understand the cause, and they didn't really have a way to fix it. They had some possibilities, but ultimately, it was what it was--deadly.

    Nifty. I'm a walking time bomb.

    When I called Debra, she was calm. At first, she simply asked for the facts the doctor gave me. I told her what the nurse had said. Then she said, "Jerri, you know this isn't going to kill you. God has given you too many promises and prophetic words. You can't do that dead."

    I was silent. Tears streamed down my face. "Jerri, I've known you two years, and you've walked through hard stuff. I've never known you to cry."

    "I'm not saying Satan wins. I'm saying this is scary."

    "Yes, this is a scary lie," she agreed, "but it is still a lie. God is truth, and He isn't going to let this take you out."

    I asked her to call her sister. She told me she'd call me right back.

    When she called back, she said, "Without seeing everything, she can't say for sure, but from what I could tell her, she thinks they see the beginning of a problem of a potential problem and they are treating it aggressively. She doesn't think you'll fall down dead right now." Exactly what had gone through my head in the car.

    We talked a bit longer, and I needed to hunker down with God. I needed to hear His heart. I needed to know His Word. God's Word trumps everything, and I needed to know that I know what He had to say about this.

    I had questions, and mercifully, He answered:
      How do I walk through this? Keep walking.

      Do I need to be prayed over? You can be prayed over as many times as you want. You won't be anymore healed than you are right now. A paper does not define you; I do.

      What do we do to be in agreement with Him? I said you would take the Promised Land with joy. Rejoice.

    When Rob and I were finally able to talk about the situation, he was shocked but calm. We agreed it would be best to make an appointment with the doctor and get more information. In the meantime, we decided nothing had really changed except we had been given a piece of paper with scary words. Ultimately, all of our lives are in God's hands, and we believe I will be here until God is done with me. Our hearts were settled.

    That night was war.

    I woke up several times during the night to the demonic whisperings, "You're going to die, leaving two small children without a mom, and all hell is going to break lose in their lives because you aren't there to protect them."

    I had one response: "Shut up, you lying demon, and go to hell." Then I rolled over and went back to sleep.

    Thursday morning I called the doctor's office. They could get me in Friday morning. Until then, the war continued, except by then, I was heavily armed.

    Instead of simply lying down and wallowing, I went to my arsenal. I pulled out my journals and read God's promises. I went back to the word the Lord had given me for this year:
    Time to take the Land.
    Scripture: Joshua 1.

    I read that passage over and over. The Lord said to go back to my journals, so I pulled out the journal for January and read my notes. Then something struck me. When the Lord gave me that word, He said, "You know, there has to be a Jericho." I knew that, and I prayed for the faith to stand valliantly.

    Then another thing came to mind. "What do you always say about Jericho?"

    I stopped, and a smirk came across my lips. "Every time I think of Jericho, I say the same thing: Jericho had thick walls." At that moment, I knew all would be fine. This was Jericho, and I would see it fall.

    I shared with a few people close to me, and they prayed with and for me. My God had provided my army, friends who have warred with me before and new friends who have walked through the season of breakthrough my family is in and withstood the assaults. They believed Jericho would fall. They didn't know how or when. They didn't need the whole battle plan. They already knew the outcome, and they were already rejoicing in the victory.

    On Thursday night Debra could see the difference, and she knew I was mentally and emotionally fine. She knew I was standing. Was I going to keep my appointment? Absolutely. Wisdom says to get more information and find out how to battle this on a physical front. I don't want to take God's promises for granted. Part of being in agreement is acting wisely. I needed information. Besides, as I had told Rob, I expected the doctor to say, "Oh, it isn't that bad at all. It's something we need to watch, but you're really okay." Rob expected it, and so did Debra.

    When I dropped my children off at the skating rink with Debra, I was excited. I had expectation of seeing Jericho crash, and I was ready to move forward.

    As the doctor and I talked, I told me the information I had been given on Wednesday. He didn't seem pleased. First of all, I was supposed to have seen him Thursday. The nurse never told me to make an appointment with him. Second, when I told him what I found on the internet, he shook his head, "Oh, no, that is a different thickening altogether."

    He explained that one in contrast to mine. He summed it up this way: "If we don't deal with this, in twenty years, your quality of life will be nothing. So we are going to figure out if your blood pressure is high now or if this is past damage. If it is high now we'll figure out what triggers it. When we get it under control, your heart will go back to normal."

    He then laid out our plan of action, and I left his office with the smell of dust and rubble in my nose.

    Jericho was down.

    I am not going to pretend that everyone's battle is so easy. I fought for my dad for 15 years, and five years ago at the young age of 62, he passed on. I stood with a friend recently as we fought for her father-in-law who battled cancer. Cancer won. I have battled for babies who were born too soon and didn't have the strength to live.

    I don't know why those battles ended in what I feel was a loss. I only know what I've learned.

    • I have learned to stand on God's Word no matter what a doctor's report says.
    • I have learned when God speaks something forth, all of hell will fight against it, but my God is All Mighty.
    • I have learned being attacked does not mean I've lost the battle. It means I'm fighting it.
    • I have learned to write the promises God has given me as a record to remind myself of His Sword, and when the enemy comes at me, my Daddy's sword will take him down.
    • I have learned the incomparable power of having warriors who stand with me.
    • I have learned being surrounded by all the mighty warriors in the world means nothing if I won't get on my feet.
    • I also learned whether I am rejoicing over nothing or in everything God's Word and His promises are the only things that matter.


    Praying you can rejoice in nothing, everything, and most importantly, the Only Thing.

    Copyright Jerri Phillips 2008
    Saturday, March 1, 2008

    Weighed Down

    Wendy commented on my post Update and Being Thankful for Nothing. I responded at length on her blog, but some of the things I wrote to her are pertinent to anyone. Knowing several folks do not view comments, I chose to post part of the response here because I feel aspects of what was said are too important to be lost in "Comment Land".

    May the Lord speak to you according to your need.

    Beautiful Wendy, I understand the battle of looking in the mirror and seeing someone that looks so different on the outside than I think she is on the inside. I will be praying for you. My email is listed on my profile.

    Beautiful Wendy, I have known others who have had lapband and used other methods of controlling weight or slimming down. I don't judge them. I used to, but not anymore. I don't know their hearts. I don't know their struggles.

    My only suggestion is before you do anything, go before the Lord and ask Him a few heart questions. I have yet to know anyone with a weight problem who did not have heart issues, including myself.

    Ask the Lord:
    1. What hurts me that food makes me feel better?

    2. What hole does food fill? Sometimes we are just bored, so we eat when we should be out living and embracing life more.

    3. Is the way I look a safe place for me? Is my size a way of keeping people distant from me for any reason at all?

    4. Are there any generational curses or even word curses that are active in my life?

    I found some of those answers to be hard, and I found some of them opened wounds I would have rather ignored, BUT in addressing them, I found healing. It didn't solve all the weight issues because I am still learning to live differently and break habits, BUT I did feel like I had power again where before I felt hopeless and helpless. In my opinion, whenever there is a sense of hopelessness or helplessness, there is always some form of demonic oppression. I have yet to see where being hopeless or helpless is in alignment with active abiding in God or in line with the Holy Spirit's work. It is a point of war, and it takes vigilance to keep that ground. Having someone to stand with you is invaluable. They can't stand for you, but they can sure help keep you standing when you get tired or lose focus.

    ----
    For those who are battling their weight because they are weighed down, my heart and prayers go out to you.

    Holy Spirit, be free to show the real issues and remove all the weight from the hearts and bodies of these beautiful people as they seek the healing heart of God whose love offers freedom from undue burden. Open their eyes so they can see themselves as the Lord does and love themselves joyfully with laughter and lightheartedness. Glory be to you, Father, for the masterpieces of your hand.

    Relevant

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    "It's not the wind in our hair that makes us free. It's the movement of the Spirit, the growth of our invisible side." --Amber Haines

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    My simple life plan: To live the kind of life that when asked, "If you could be anybody, who would you be?", I'd choose me.

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