Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday—The Worst Day & The Best Day in One

           Below is an excerpt from my manuscript (not published yet) on Good Friday. Maybe you are like I was, and had never given it much thought. 

            On a never-to-be-forgotten October night, little did I know that the one night which I would later describe as the worst night of my life because it bore the worst decision of my life, would lead to the best decision of my life (for a little more, you can see my bio).
            The worst day of my life —somehow would be forever strangely linked to the best day of my life.  I had no idea that things were going to change forever, and not ever be quite the same again.  It now reminds me of a day I had not really ever given much thought of back at that time —other than possibly receiving a free day off school.  Good Friday.

            Good Friday.  The day Christians all across the ages from all over the world remember Jesus’ death on the cross.  It seems a strange name for such a sad day.  But at that time in my life, it didn’t really mean anything to me personally at all.
            Good Friday.  The worst day in human history, and now looking back on what I know now, strange to say, it’s the best day in human history.
            The day that Jesus was killed —the only One who never did anything wrong.  Some alleged criminals are imprisoned unjustly, I know, but Jesus never did anything wrong.  The Bible says He was without sin.  Crucifixion was a grueling way to die, reserved for criminals and renegades.   Over His head at His crucifixion was written an inscription:  “Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews”—the charge for which He was dying.  He was crucified between two real criminals.  They were robbers.
            One of the robbers admitted they were getting what they deserved for their wicked deeds, saying of Jesus, “but this man has done nothing wrong.”[1]  As Jesus hung on the cross, with the criminals one on the left and one on the right, He said, “Father Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[2]
            But what did Good Friday mean to me when I was twenty-six, except perhaps a long weekend?  My thoughts and actions showed where I stood:  I knew nothing of Calvary’s love.
            Cross necklaces.  Silver ones.  Gold Ones.  Large ones.  Small Ones.  A bizarre choice for a decoration to beautify one’s neck.  The cross: the symbol for an instrument of torture.  When Jesus Christ said, “It is finished,” he bowed his head, lowered his neck, for you and for me, and died.[3] His body hung lifelessly on the cross. 
            “If I have not compassion on my fellow servant even as my Lord had pity on me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”[4]
            If I have not compassion on the man that I married even as my Lord had pity on me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
            I did not write my story just to tell you a story, but to tell you the ultimate story.  For Christ died to pay the debt for me and for you.
            One author has stated,  “Sin will cost you more than you wanted to pay; it will take way more than you ever planned to give and it will lead you further than you ever wanted to go.”   Just think of the emotional cost of divorce—let alone the financial, spiritual, character and future cost.
            Perhaps you like me, had to enter a place of great difficulty in your life to show you your need for the Savior.
Could it be that your marriage is the very thing that God would use to bring you to complete dependence upon Him?
I think God gives us far more than we can handle!  He wants us to hand it over to Him: the One Who can handle it!  It then becomes, not our problem, but His problem.  He just wants us to trust and obey Him, and He does the work.  That is the life of Faith.  Hard? No! Difficult? No! Impossible? Yes!  The Christian life is impossible, as I have said earlier!  For the Bible tells us that Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”[5]  But the good news is —we don’t have to live apart from Him! 

[1] Luke 23:41b
[2] Luke 23:34
[3] John 19:30
[4] Amy Carmichael, If, (Zondervan, 1966), Part Two.
[5] John 15:5
Easter Choir practice last night with friends
Liz, Jim, me, Terry (my hubby who hates to take pictures:-) and Mary!
Six rehearsals and we're ready with 11 other singing church friends,
3 violins, keyboard, drums, 2 guitars & a trumpet! Can't wait for Sunday!
Happy Easter!

I have turned off comments and will turn them on just on Wednesdays for prayer and sharing your blog due to getting so much (ungodly) spam. You can always write me at juanamikels(at)gmail(dot)com.

Walk by Faith,

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Share Your Blog!

Let's pray for one another today! Be sure if you are a blogger to share your blog (just put your site in the comments section, soon I will have Link-up software that will show a thumbnail picture of your blog). You may list praises in your life or prayer requests in the blog comments below my signature!  It is a joy and a privilege to pray for one another.

"...pray for each other so that you may be healed. 
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
~James 5:16

Be sure to update us if you left one last week!

I'd love for you to share my button above about Wednesday's prayer on your blog sidebar. You will find the HTLM code for my button on my right sidebar on my home page. Let's continue to pray for on another.

I'll do the first one, and you are next!

Walk by Faith,

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Prayers for A Radically Christian Wife from Last Weekend & Mary Sings to #ElisabethElliot (youtube)

What a sweet time of fellowship last weekend with the women of Christ Covenant Church. It was the first time my daughter Mary, (blind) and I ministered together. I spoke and she sang. She sang the song below that she sang on our sofa for Elisabeth Elliot. I put the YouTube of her singing it to Elisabeth below and you can see a glimpse of precious Elisabeth at 86—what a dear saint she is! I want to pass on what she has taught me!

Since Elisabeth had just left after visiting for several days, I was able to share in a fresh way what was on my heart. We laughed and cried last weekend together as we sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit! I loved these women. They trusted God to use me to speak to their hearts for their women's retreat weekend. No two of us were alike in the room, yet the same Christ lives in each of us. They asked that I post some prayers that I read to them. 

These prayers are unheard of in our society. Let's get on our knees and pray the earnestly before God, and we can be radically different wives! Thank you to all the single women that were there who gleaned spiritual truths. May all of us remember, it's "our part to trust, and God's part to work," and to "receive everything in your life as directly from God's hand." Amen, dear Sister?

Rachel (L) and Jennifer (R) from Christ Covenant who invited me.

Georgina from Ghana, and my college friend, Florence!
Here is a copy of what I promised you!

Two radical wife prayers ("I'll Take Him" prayer & "His Good & Unity prayer") written by Elisabeth Elliot, A Wife's Commitment (prayer, an interpretation from Philippians 2) "The Thorn" prayer and info on the book, "If I Perish." You can cut and paste them or print them on a card where you can read them back to God, or better yet, memorize them!

I’ll Keep Him Prayer “Lord, he’s your man.  He’s the one you’ve given to me—his peculiarities and his personality, you gave me.  I’ll take it.  Help me Lord; show me ways, Lord, to make his life as pleasant and as easy as I can.  Now Lord, you work in him the changes You think need to be done.  Fulfill your purposes.  Help me to remember ‘in acceptance lieth peace.’” (Amy Carmichael)

 His Good & Unity Prayer  “God help me and forgive me for being much more interested in my own good rather than Terry’s good, and failing to contribute to Terry’s blessing.  Lord, how can I respond in such a way as to bind us together in deeper harmony and deeper unity in Jesus Christ?  Lord, show me what I can do to make Terry’s life as easy and as pleasant as I can.”

A Wife's Commitment: (an interpretation of Philippians 2, by Judith Lakes)

I, being made in the image of God a believer, a woman and a wife, having equal worth in God’s sight and equal access to the Lord as my husband, I choose not to grasp after a position of equal leadership with my husband, which is not my God-given place, rather I choose by God’s grace to make myself nothing —taking on the very nature of a servant which was the attitude of Jesus.

Desiring with all my heart to be humble like Him,

I choose to be obedient to God’s command and submit to my husband and die to myself.  I understand that this decision will cause pain and suffering at times.  
But in those moments, may I all the more identify with my Lord.
When the cross is hard to bear, I pray for the will to give Him the burden of my heart and learn to rest in Him.

I trust God and His word and am confident that He will exalt me in hearing of one of his own who obeyed His will.

By his grace I will receive my reward worshiping Him in His presence forever —confessing Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory of God the Father.

The Thorn Prayer: (by Martha S. Nicholson, a mendicant is a beggar) 

I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne
And begged him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own.
I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart
I cried, “But Lord this is a thorn and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift, which Thou hast given me.”
He said, “My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee.”
I took it home and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace,
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.

Details on "If I Perish" Book:
Autobiography of Esher Ahn Kim
Movie available under same title

Details on Gladys Aylward Book:
Biography entitled "The Small Woman"
Author is Alan Burgess 
Hollywood movie (with Ingrid Bergman playing Gladys) is called
"The Inn of the Sixth Happiness" (strays but still worth seeing)

I loved having the opportunity to come and serve you! What a privilege to give out God's word. May we all (speaking to myself, too) remember to trust God and that it is God who does the work, and to receive everything in our lives as straight from God's hand. I love you, Sisters! Several have asked me if the CDs are available of the  two talks and they are (Talk one: "Will you trust Me?"  Talk two: "Seeing God in Everything: Yourself, Your Marriage, Your Singleness")

I have turned off comments and will turn them on just on Wednesdays for prayer and sharing your blog due to getting so much (ungodly) spam. You can always write me at juanamikels(at)gmail(dot)com.

Walk by Faith,

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Blog Share! Circle of Friends Join In! (with Elisabeth Elliot Update)

Welcome to Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Blog Share! If you are new here, anyone is welcome to join us! Please list your prayer request or praise to God below in the comments section. You may list your prayer anonymously, or you may say your name. Hi circle of friends!

From your computer, you should see the green word COMMENTS right below my signature below this post. Just put your prayer there! I can't wait to begin praying for you along with the other people that will be praying for you too that. If you have an update on your prayer from last week, fill us in!

If you're a blogger, please share you blog address with everyone so we can check out your blog! Will you please grab my Wednesday's Prayer Girls button on my right sidebar on my homepage and put it on your blog? I'd really appreciate it.  Soon I will get link up software so you will also be able to add a thumbnail picture from your blog that will link right back to your blog.

Many of you know that Elisabeth Elliot, her husband, Lars, and their helper, Rosalyn (Rosalyn has such a servant's heart!) came for the weekend to stay with us. We just couldn't say goodbye, so they decided to stay longer and are still here (I'm writing this very late on Tuesday night; I should be in bed but I wouldn't be able to sleep anyway with my heart so full to the brim! We have been blessed beyond what I could ever dream or imagine (sound familiar? Ephesians 3:20)

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." ~Ephesians 3:20

I have SO many pictures and some video clips to show you of this precious time if they all come out good of Elisabeth, Valerie, Mary singing to Elisabeth (Mary corrected me and said singing to God for Elisabeth) enjoying Rosalyn, Lars, our fun meals and more! Best of all, just lots of time together. So much to tell you!  

Coming sometime after this weekend  because I have a speaking engagement, teaching much of what Elisabeth taught me! (Yikes! I may do a lot of blogs stemming from her visit, it is just too good for only one or two :-)
A big kiss for beautiful Elisabeth. I showed her my letters (35 treasures!)
she had written me and read some to her.
Let's pray! There are so many needs out there, and it's a joy to pray for you and see God's answers! I'll do the first one, and then it's your turn!

Walk by faith,

Monday, March 18, 2013

Elisabeth Elliot's Visit & What's On this Week

I cannot tell you what a privilege it is to be serving Elisabeth Elliot and her husband in our home this weekend. They have decided to stay an extra night, so I am re-arranging my blog this week. You can read the post I wrote earlier this week getting her room and meals ready here! 

I am not the same wife and mother I would have been, without her influence. I met her throught her radio program, and we began a writing correspondence. She later came to visit me on several occasions, and asked me to be on her radio program for three days. She helped so many young women to love their husbands and children!

You have no idea the blessing it is taking care of the woman who is a spiritual mother to me. I have been able to take care of her personal needs and even got to put her to bed last night and tuck her in. I am witnessing God-honoring, graceful dementia right before my eyes that stems out of a lifetime lived with acceptance and trust in God. One of Elisabeth's favorite quotes came from Amy Carmichael, who Elisabeth greatly admired, who said, "In acceptance, lieth peace."

Oh! How Elisabeth's life reflects that!

I will try to write back this week to share more with reflections with you of our time together this weekend, and some precious photos below from the weekend, including Elisabeth with my Mary touching her hands, and singing to her. Please continue to pray for the Grens (Elisabeth's husband's name is Lars Gren).

My Husband, Terry (purple), Lars, Elisabeth's husband (red), friends Jim & Thomas
(Thomas in his beautiful Congolese accent),
all praying over Elisabeth and her husband at the end of our Sunday School class. 
Elisabeth holding the 35 letters that she wrote me over a ten year period that I treasure!

Elsabeth's dear hands on the hymnbook.
I started with one of her favorite hymns,
A Mighty Fortress,
and sang several for her.
Her big blue eyes looked into my eyes as I sang all the verses.

I'm speaking this upcoming weekend (much of what Elisabeth taught me!), March 22-23 at Christ Covenant Church in Raleigh for their women's retreat on Seeing God in Everything on Saturday morning, after giving my testimony first on Friday night. Please pray for all of us to hear from the Holy Spirit and for me to share out of this weekend with the freshness God is still showing me as he teaches me through Elisabeth's life.

If any of you live in the Raleigh area, they may still have a few spots. You can check by clicking here

Part Three of my vlog that I had planned this week with Nancy Cobb will be rescheduled on my blog next week!

We will be having prayer on my blog this Wednesday and every Wednesday. Be sure to come back and list your prayer request then to be prayed over! It was such a joy last week to pray for so many of you. There are so many needs out there, but we serve a great God who longs to hear from us!

I'd love to connect with you wherever you most like on FacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter. You may follow my blog here.

Walk by Faith,

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Elisabeth Elliot arrives Today & Chicken Soup & Roast Beef Recipe!

This is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Today is the day Elisabeth Elliot, her husband, and their caregiver are coming to spend a couple days with us. The sheets are changed and the guest bed is ready below! They have come to see us before, but they have never stayed with us, so this is very exciting.
 A lot of people ask me how I know Elisabeth Elliot. I was just a listener to her radio program, "Gateway to Joy," in 1992 and we began writing one another. I have her letters below wrapped in a pink ribbon. Each one is a treasure to me. I was learning so much from her as a young mom, that she invited me to be a guest on her radio program for three days. It aired nationally and in several countries!
One of the many things that she taught me was what ministry was. She said ministry was anything that a Christian does, the way a Christian should do it, when a Christian should do it. It could be making soup for your husband! She said that her husband loved homemade soup. She said she chopped a lot of onions for his soup, and that that was a ministry!

Since her husband, Lars, loves soup, I made them chicken soup yesterday. It's so easy and good.
 First, chop up celery, carrots, and onions.
 Simmer them in some olive oil until tender.
Add 32 ounces of chicken stock, and water to your liking. I added about 15 ounces of water. If you like thicker soup, you can add one can of creme of chicken soup, but I didn't because I like brothy soup. Add some salt to taste, and about 1 teaspoon of Thyme leaves. I bought one of the chickens that are already cooked. Debone the chicken and cut in bite-sized pieces. Simmer all together. Add one back of rice (after you have cooked it).
 I also made them roast beef with carrots, onions, and potatoes that we will have on Sunday after church (You can't see the roast because it's on bottom!) I'm going to add one large can of mushroom soup on top, right on top of the salt and pepper. I will turn on the crock pot tonight before we go to bed on low and let it cook all night.
I didn't have another moment to make a homemade dessert so I just bought these creme puffs at the store. I will thaw them out and put them on a pretty place with sprinkled confectioner's sugar on top.
We are a little bit nervous because dear Elisabeth Elliot is now 86 years old! Sadly, she suffers from dementia. I know it will be very different from their last visit near a decade ago, but I am so happy for a chance to serve her because she served me by teaching me so much what it meant to be a Christian woman. I love her, as so many do!

I'll try to get some pictures for you. Please pray we will be a good host to all of them. I have their care giver's room all ready. (Blair, she is sleeping in your room, and it's clean as a pin!)

Tomorrow they are going with us to a children's violin concert that Mary is in after church. The picture below was taken yesterday at practice. You can see Mary on the far left in her sunglasses. 
 I just know that the music is going to be so soothing for everyone. My sons just got back yesterday from their first mission trip (Dominican Republic). They loved helping to build a church there and meeting so many little children who just wanted them to spin them and throw them in the air. They both say they want to go back. Thank you for praying for them!

Enjoy this few second clip from yesterday's practice—I just couldn't resist!

Walk by faith,

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Prayer Here Begins Today! List Yours (& Share your Blog Site)!

Have you ever had your child hand you a simple picture they drew? Wasn't anything that they gave you acceptable because of your love for your child?

So it is with God when we pray!

He loves to receive our "picture,"our prayers. Praying is all about the love relationship that He desires with us. So let's pray. The more we pray—the more we will learn to pray. I want to learn to pray!

On Wednesdays, I will be offering a prayer blog starting today.

Just list your prayer. Don't think about it too much. Just list what is on your heart and what you or someone you love needs today. Just like the picture—it doesn't have to be perfect! 

We don't have to get the words just right! God is our God of grace! He knows we are sinners and our minds can be mixed with the junk of sin. But just come to Him in His grace. It is because what He did for us when He sent Jesus that we can even come into His presence.

See the scratched frame?
I picked it because it's not perfect—just like us!
We come in Christ's righteousness, for we have no righteousness of our own! Even Billy Graham—that great evangelist—he too, can only come to God through Christ. It doesn't matter if you are a waitress or you are a millionaire. 

We all have access to God through the same Christ. So don't let your feelings of doubt or shame or discouragement or inadequacy keep you from coming like a child to his loving father with his picture! 

If we are worried about speaking to a difficult neighbor, don't say, "I can't pray for that, it is so selfish of me." You are concerned about speaking to the neighbor so that is a need!!! Let's don't try to dance around what we really think and act like we are something we are not, let's just say it like we really are, not how we wish we were. God know us, and loves us anyway! THAT IS GRACE!

Let's just start with simple prayers. Jesus taught us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." He knows we have simple needs each day! Don't think we are beyond asking for the simple needs in life. 

I'm excited about us praying for one another on Wednesdays! 

I'm reading Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home right now by Richard J. Foster. Let's come home to God by praying!

"In simple prayer, the good, the bad, and the ugly are all mixed together. Simple prayer is found throughout scripture. Abraham prayed this way as did David, Gideon, Ruth...Peter, James, and John. Simple prayer involves ordinary people bringing ordinary concerns to a loving and compassionate Father. There is no pretense in simple prayer. We do not pretend to be more holy, more pure or more saintly that we actually are. We do not try to conceal our conflicting and contradictory motives from God or ourselves and in this posture, we pour out our heart to the God that 'is greater than our heart and who knows all things.' (1 John 3:20)" ~Richard Foster, in Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home

You may post your prayer request below in the comments, anonymously, or you may put your first name or your whole name. If you also have a blog, feel free to post the link so we can check out one another's blogs.

If you have any trouble whatsoever, don't stop there! Email your request to me at juanamikels(at)gmail(dot)com and I will post it for you (let me know if you want it anonymously posted or with your name).

Prayer begins with simple prayer. The real condition of our hearts is revealed.  Let's don't just talk about prayer, let's pray together! This adventure is just the beginning!

I'll do the first one for you below in the comments about my sons, Alex (19) and John (21).

Then! Alex and John!
Now! Alex and John!
You are next! Click the blue word COMMENTS under my signature below. What do you need today? Don't listen to the enemy telling you that your request doesn't matter. Oh yes it does! Your need is your picture to our loving Father!

"Give us today our daily bread." ~Matthew 6:11

"He that prayeth well, loveth well." ~Samuel Coleridge

Walk by faith,

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Marriage Video Blog Series ~ My Visit with Nancy Cobb Part 2 & Introduding New Wednesday's Prayer & Blog Sharing Day

In Part 2 of my visit with Nancy Cobb, Nancy shared with me how after coming under Christ's Lordship, she became a different parent and wife. She told how Anne Graham Lotz, her Bible study leader, asked her to pray about what God had for her regardless of her age. At a crossroads, Nancy takes on a new ministry with her husband's blessing, and later found her joy in Christ sustained her in spite of her husband's moodiness and unhappiness. 

If you missed Part 1, click here. Come back next week for Part 3 with coauthor of The Politically Incorrect Wife and Bible teacher, Nancy Cobb.

❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧ 

Also, do you need prayer? 

Beginning this week, I am going to introduce a weekly Wednesday's Prayer Blog. You will be able to leave your prayer requests and praises on my blog on Wednesdays (you can leave it anonymously, or with your name and give us the link to your blog if you have one! Wednesday morning can be a great time of prayer for one another as well as finding out about your beautiful blogs :-) 

Be looking for it each Wednesday beginning tomorrow. I will leave the first one for you tomorrow as an example of specific prayer requests for me in my life this week. You can put yours next.

"...pray for one another... the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
~James 5:16

"True, whole prayer is nothing but love." ~St. Augustine

(Due to a continuous amount of spam that keeps coming in, I'm going to temporarily turn off comments except on Wednesdays. You didn't see them because they came to my inbox. I marked them as spam so that they never appeared in the blog. At least I'll get a break from one more message about consolidating debt!You can always send me an email at juanamikels(at)gmail(dot)com). 

Walk by Faith,

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Introducing Video Marriage Blog Series ~ Coauthor of The Politically Incorrect Wife, Nancy Cobb!

I'm introducing a new weekly video series with co-author and Bible teacher, Nancy Cobb!

Click above for Part One of my interview with Nancy who co-authored The Politically Incorrect Wife (Connie Grigsby is the other co-author. Sorry background music published louder than I thought it would be—I will lower it in rest of series!).
Come back each week, and I will have the next part of the interview posted on my YouTube (click the preceding words "my Youtube," to automatically get video updates or you may follow my blog by clicking here). I wish I could tell you it will be each Wednesday—but just as soon as I say thatI'll need to post it on a different day next week because of home and family responsibilities. 

I don't want to blow my witness to you by blogging to you on marriage while my hubby needs me for something! I can always just post it the next day. ☺ God doesn't give us conflicting responsibilities.
Meeting Nancy—fall, 2012.
You might remember when I met Nancy last fall after my mentor, Macon Newby, encouraged me to meet her. I kid Macon that I would buy whatever toothpaste she recommended because I love and admire her so much (she and her husband Paul took me under their wing and taught me ways of God for 1 and 1/2 years when I was 26). You can read my earlier blog last fall on Nancy's marriage notes here.

I met with her a few weeks ago in her home, and videoed our whole conversation.

She was married 23 years before she became a Christian, as you will hear in my YouTube video with her.  I love what she says at the end of the clip especially when she came under Christ's Lordship:

• Instead of ignoring her husband's arrival at home, she greeted him at the door after making his favorite meal!

• She did an errand for her husband without complaining that she was not too interested in and told him she would gladly help him.

• She responded with kindness when her husband said something to her that was not appealing.

That's a life transformed by Christ!

Walk by Faith,

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Bible Series on History Channel Premiers Tonight!

The Bible Series premiers tonight at 8:00 EST on the History Channel. This 10-part mini series airing on Sunday nights promises to be excellent. I can't wait! May it help fan the flame of fire in our hearts of our love for God, and bring others to Him! Join me in praying as this exciting new series begins tonight! Going to grab my favorite pillow and get all settled in by the fire right now!

Walk by Faith,