Halloween Celebrated as Hallowed Be Thy Name at UC Berkeley

Halloween Celebrated as Hallowed By Thy Name Event at UC Berkeley

Halloween Celebrated as Hallowed By Thy Name Event at UC Berkeley

Halloween has become a most popular holiday for school kids throughout the United States.  It started off as the eve to All Saints Day.  Tradition says it’s the last day for the dead to frolic before heading to heaven.  Saints were supposed to pray for people to get on up to heaven.  People who believe in purgatory emphasize a lot of prayer on the eve to All Saints Day.

October 31 is also the day the Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg in 1517 on All Hallows’ Eve.  So some call it Reformation Day.

In recent years, it has become a night to get wile, dress in costumes, and accessorize with occult themes.  Some take it to the extreme.

At UC Berkeley there is an alternative way to celebrate.  Campus ministries come together and celebrate a worship night of honoring God’s name.  They call it “Hallowed By Thy Name.”  In 2012, there were over 400 students from 20 different campus ministries. Campus leaders say, “For the past few years, ministries in Berkeley have gathered on Halloween night, as one body to worship and pray. We are setting ourselves apart before the Lord to minister unto Him and to make united intercession for a revival in our city. At the end, we will all go out into Berkeley share the Gospel and show the people the true love of God.”

“This is not a ‘Christianized’ Halloween event. This is a JESUS event. Halloween traces its origins back to the Celtic observance of a pagan holiday called “Samhain” that pays homage to the wandering dead. The modern celebration of Halloween is a night in which the enemy prides himself in.” Worship is led by an ensemble of worship leaders from Berkeley, & prayer will be led by different campus pastors and leaders.

Long live diversity and differences!  May the name of the Lord be honored in all things.


Prayer and Fasting – Part 1 Doing Something More with Prayer Requests

Fasting can Boost Your Prayer Life

Fasting can Boost Your Prayer Life

When the disciples had difficulty replicating the miracles that Jesus was doing while on assignment, the father of an epileptic son had to go to Jesus for healing. The disciples asked Jesus about this.  They were already doing many wondrous miracles, but they couldn’t heal this epileptic boy.  Jesus said, “This kind does not go out except through prayer and fasting.”  Matthew 17:21.  Some translations delete this verse altogether, using textual criticism.  I’m grateful for the translations that leave it in. It offers a deeper level to try in the face of unanswered prayer. Having seen the positive results in action, I can say that fasting works.

Most people live their whole lives without fasting.  People usually learn about fasting through lent by having to give something up, without being sure what possible benefit it offers. Does ice cream really taste better after 40 days of not having it?

The kind of fasting I’m talking about is a pressing in on a prayer request.  My life has been plagued with deep unsolvable issues.  I had a manic depressive mother who wouldn’t cooperate with doctors or medications.  Her “illness” made life challenging. Lots of nice people offered nice prayers.  Nothing made a difference.  So I decided to press in with prayer and fasting.  I added fasting regularly for change in my mother’s condition.

After no food, and only liquids for 24 hours, it felt dramatic the first time.  I can’t say I noticed a change right away.  I had prayed for her on other occasions and noticed changes immediately – usually under dire medical circumstances.

Over time, the changes became more evident.  The first thing I noticed was that my quiet times were amazing the morning after I fasted.  I felt so close to God and there was always a special nugget that jumped off the page into my heart.  This alone became worth the effort each month.

See also Fasting Series – How Do I Fast?  Fasting Foundations

See also Prayer and Fasting Part 2 God Changes Me Before Changing the Circumstances


Prayers for the Parched: Uncorking Freedom

Standing at the Sea Shore looking beyond the crashing waves to the new horizons

Standing at the Sea Shore looking beyond the crashing waves to the new horizons

Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God…Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.  By day the LORD directs his love, at night his son is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.  Psalm 42:5-8

 

Thank you, Lord, for seeing past my hurts

You see through my wall of “Everything’s okay”

In reaching into the cage of this wounded animal you have overcome my self-protection growls

You have loved me beyond my hurts

 

I have clung so hard to my outdated protection systems that I have nothing

I have held so tightly to the wrong things that I had no room for the right things I’m learning to ask for in prayer

God, continue to open my hands

Right now I’m standing at the sea shore

The waves are relentless

They’re forcing my hands open

You are sending trial after trial to pop the cork of my heart

All the while commanding me to come out into the deep

And I need open hands and an open heart to swim

 

The tide is drawing me out

I know that just past the crashing waves are the gentle rolling swells

And beyond that is pure sailing to new horizons

Sailing in the confidence of your peaceful calm to the deep to dwell in the freedom and fullness of your grace

But now the focus is on releasing and letting go

It’s too soon to see the freedom

At exactly the right moment, the process will mature

The victory is sure because I call you Captain

Truly the sacrifice of a thankful heart honors you

So I thank you now for all that you are doing with me

Again, I say Thank You!

 


Completing the Circle of Life at Uncle Marc’s Memorial Service

Saying Good-Bye to Marc Shoquist 1928 - 2013

Saying Good-Bye to Marc Shoquist 1928 – 2013

We just got back from a memorial service for Uncle Marc.  He lived a vibrant and full life till the very end.  He was visiting cousin Karen at the Lake House, which was a familiar trip several times a year.  This time the autumn leaves were turning.  Karen had her work in one room that weekend and Uncle Marc was doing taxes in the next room.  They had already decided to have Sunday dinner there and drive back on Monday morning.

It was during that Sunday dinner, mid-sentence, that Uncle Marc experienced a severe stroke. Cousin Karen has a son-in-law who is a paramedic, so she knew several of the steps on what to do.  She ordered the helicopter to meet the paramedics at the local emergency center.  They flew Uncle Marc back to Minneapolis directly to the hospital.  The stroke was severe, but they kept him alive for two days.

We got the news about the stroke on Monday morning and prayed. We believe God and Marc were able to do some final, important, business together between Sunday night and Tuesday when he passed.

Cousin Karen was asked to give a tribute to Marc at the service two weeks later. She wanted to spend more time with us visiting family, but her own daughter was having complications with labor pains while we were in town.  As we all walked out of the service, Cousin Karen’s other daughter showed her Mom the picture of the new baby Esther that had been born during the service.  We celebrated and said good-bye to one life as the new little one breathed her first breath.  It completed the circle of life.  Joy interrupted our grief.  Our tears of joy spilled out on top of our sorrow.  The celebration of life continued on in heaven as we received the new bundle of a perfectly formed and healthy baby from heaven.

God, you understand every angle of all our emotions.  Meet those of us in grief carrying on without Uncle Marc. And help us celebrate the new life of Esther, this precious baby girl into the family.

 


Repentance and Forgiveness Go Together

The Beauty of Repenting is Receiving the Gift of Forgiveness

The Beauty of Repenting is Receiving the Gift of Forgiveness

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.  Acts 3:19

Repentance and Forgiveness go together like peanut butter and jelly. In this day and age, when something goes wrong, we tend to hunt down the person responsible so the blame can be squarely placed.  Accepting responsibility can diffuse many a situation.  It takes courage to say, “It’s my fault, and I’m sorry.  I have sinned, and I repent.”  We’re not a forgiving society.  We want someone to pay.  And it’s tempting to offer up the sacrificial lamb. Further, we live with a lot of learned overlooking. The beauty of repenting is the ability to receive the gift of forgiveness.

Charles Sprugeon (1834-1892) penned these words years ago, “ Repentance and forgiveness are joined together in the experience of all believers.  There has never been a person yet who genuinely repented of sin that was not forgiven.  On the other hand, no one has ever been forgiven who had not repented of being washed away, unless at the same time the heart was led to repentance and faith in Christ.  Hatred of sin and a sense of pardon come together into the soul and abide together while we live.  These two things act and react upon each other.  The man who is forgiven, repents; and the man who repents is most assuredly forgiven.  You will never value pardon unless you feel repentance; and you will never taste the deepest drought of repentance until you know that you are pardoned.”

 

See also 8 Reasons to Release a Grudge

see also Entering Into Forgiveness


The Art of Asking God: Part 3 Pray and Expect

Pray and Expect.  God Answers Prayer Over Time

Pray and Expect. God Answers Prayer Over Time

After we pray for people in the Healing Rooms, we ask them how they are feeling.  They’ve usually given us their pain level on a scale of 1-10.  The pain level may drop from an 8 to a 3 or 4.  Most people are pretty happy about that.  We pray believing that the pain level can go to zero.  What we have learned is that this may not happen on the spot.

We tell people that we often get reports of people improving long after they leave the Healing Rooms.  The testimonies verify this truth.  Sharing it with the Healing Rooms Visitors helps set their expectation that there could be even more improvement after they leave.

We pray expectantly.  We believe that God heals, all the time, and He wants to heal.  He doesn’t need to be convinced that He should heal.  Even this simple truth can spark people’s faith.  Some people come with no faith, simply to “try it” or make their family member stop suggesting it.  That’s okay.  We pray for everyone.  Sometimes people meet God, even if they don’t get healed right away.  Their faithfulness and willingness to come for prayer is an extension of their start point of faith.  God uses this simple act of showing up and believing enough for other people’s prayers to move their hearts closer to Him.

We pray and expect God to continue to act on the prayers over time.  Healing prayer is not a precision science.  It’s about building faith.  We pray and expect God to be answering the prayers, sometimes immediately and sometimes over time.  We keep praying.  We keep expecting.

The prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective.  James 5:16.

 

See Also:  The Art of Asking God: Part 1 – Overcoming Our Hesitancy to Ask

See Also:  The Art of Asking God: Part 2 – Asking for Ourself

 


Getting Brave When the Going Gets Dangerous

Remember that God has commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.”

“Remember that God has commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.”

Last Sunday I had the privilege of trying a new church while visiting some relatives.  The pastor had just been in San Francisco two days earlier meeting with my pastor. He could have been on our flight traveling to Minneapolis.

In the sermon, Rev John Crosby of Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina Minnesota, titled his talk, REGENERATE: Living Radically.  He said we have two choices when we face fear:  We can Get Safe, or Get Brave. He offers a good challenge.  How do we respond to life’s challenging situations:  do we run to safety or get brave? Our choices at difficult moments will define us or haunt us.

A lot of people in America want to play it safe.  Is this the life God wants for a Christian?  Are we known for turning the world upside down?  Paul was.  John Crosby’s text was Acts 17:6-7 “ But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers to the leaders of the city. The people were yelling, “These people have made trouble everywhere in the world, and now they have come here too!  Jason is keeping them in his house. All of them do things against the laws of Caesar, saying there is another king, called Jesus.”  John asked the question, “Who’s Jason?  Why is he getting in trouble for hosting Paul and Silas in his house?”  A simple gesture turned suddenly dangerous.

There wasn’t time to escape or run.  Further, there’s no joy in fear.  Feeling safe can lead us to feeling sad and small.  Risk adverse lives lead to becoming safe chickens.  It was time to get brave.  Jason hosted God’s apostles.  He took flack.  In the end, he wrote a  check and the people went away.  Paul and Silas left the city and continued their journey.

Growth often starts by being stretched.  When the going gets dangerous, seek God’s direction on whether to get safe or get brave. Pray for courage.  “Remember that God has commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.”  Joshua 1:9


The Right and Wrong Way to Respond to Mighty Works of God

Map of Chorazin and Bethsaida - Cities which Did Not Respond Right to Miracles

Map of Chorazin and Bethsaida – Cities which Did Not Respond Right to Miracles

Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent:  “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.  But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.  Matthew 11:20-22

Harsh words of Jesus.  Jesus was speaking to the people who lived in the cities that saw a lot of miracles.  Seeing miracles amazes people and leaves them in awe with a new revelation of God and His power. Jesus’ comparison points are people in other cities who, seeing the same mighty works of God, would have repented.  It would indicate that seeing miracles usually leads to repentance.  That was Jesus’ expectation.

This stern rebuke wasn’t because there wasn’t deep appreciation of miracles.  One has to believe that the people that got healed were grateful.  Jesus pointed to a failure to repent.  This is the Right Way to respond to the mighty works of God: Repentance.  With repentance comes forgiveness. Repentance causes changes in behavior, perspective shifts, and a new way of thinking.  Being part of a miracle forever changes the way one sees life as they thought they knew it.  If there is no change, the hearts harden to God and His offerings.  Glory is not given to God. Hardened hearts tend to become hearts of stone.  Eventually judgment comes.

Now, when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.”  Matthew 9:8

 

 


The Art of Asking God Part 2 Asking for Yourself

Pray for Yourself When You Don't Feel Well

Pray for Yourself When You Don’t Feel Well

With the weather changing, it seems like it is cold and flu season will be arriving with the chilly winter conditions.  People can catch colds much easier in the winter.  Most of the time, we duck into the local drugstore to pick up something that will help with the cough, or ease the congestion or relieve the headache.  It’s not until we’ve suffered a bit “too long” that we think of asking someone to pray for us.  We might ask a good friend to pray if we need our energy for a business presentation or something we can’t cancel.

How many of us remember to put our own hand over our head and pray for ourselves.  We have the highest level of authority over our own bodies.  So, put your own hand over your head and take authority over any illnesses and/or harassing spirits and command them to go in Jesus’ name.  Next, tell the symptoms to leave your body.  Then speak a blessing over yourself and see what a difference it makes.

I tell our Healing Rooms team members that it’s worth a short phone call with a fellow Prayer Team member to be in agreement in prayer over the little things—as well as the big things.  You are not being a bother to anyone when you call for prayer.  If you don’t have someone in your life you can call for this kind of prayer, tell God you would like someone to pray with. You can visit a Healing Rooms and have people pray for you as well.  They too will speak a blessing over you.

See also The Art of Asking God Part 1 Overcoming Our Hesitancy to Ask


Mouse in the House Vector Control Inspection | Recipe for Getting Rid of Skunk Smell

SCC Vector Control Makes House Visits to County Residents

SCC Vector Control Makes House Visits to County Residents

As I shared in the previous post on the Rat Hostage Crisis, it was electrocuted after 24 days trapped in our den.  Nonetheless, we kept our appointment with Santa Clara Vector Control.

We learned that most of the vents over the crawl space might need replacing.  He was amused at our Redneck Bucket device, but said the water wasn’t deep enough. This guy could stand on his two hind feet an jump back out again.  Really?

He said to add at least 10% Clorox to whatever cleanser we used to protect against disease.  He also said the disease discovered in Yosemite had not been reported in Santa Clara County.  Still taking all precautions.

He left a free booklet:  “What You Can Do To Prevent and Control Rats.”  It’s that common a problem.  He said they are as rampant at night as squirrels are during the day.  I immediately asked him what I could do about squirrels in my garden.  He just laughed.

Then explained how to put wire netting over the whole garden if need be.  He said I could put Critter Ridder on the fences, which are essentially public highways for the squirrels in our neighborhood.

I asked him what other common critters he sees a lot of.  He confirmed raccoons are as mean as their reputation.  Then, Richard gave me his recipe for getting rid of skunk smells. See below.

I was so glad Richard offered to come out after the death of our rat!  We learned a lot.  Now, on to replacing our vent screens to the house foundations and on the roof where it meets all the various pipes.

It feels great to be rat free after 24 days!

 

Recipe for Getting Rid of Skunk Smell

1 quart Hydrogen Peroxide

¼ c. Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon Dawn Dishwater Detergent

Mix together.  Use for getting smell off of the body.

 

See Also Mouse in the House Part 4 The Rat Hostage Crisis – The Final Chapter

See Also Mouse in the House (from the beginning)

See Also Recipe for Getting Rid of Cockraoches