Guest Post: Face to Face by Betty Bauer

Judges 6:22-23       Then Gideon perceived that it was the angel of the Lord; and Gideon said, “Help me, Lord God! For I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” 23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you; do not fear, you shall not die.” (NRSV)

I liked the old beveled mirror in Grandma’s dresser in the front hallway.  It intrigued me.  My image was never truly distinct, and there was always a yellowish cast with little black pin dots overlaying my face.  But the mirror was perfectly placed for last minute check-ups as I left the house.  Will I look OK when I go to town? 

For an instant one day I thought my quicker-than-usual check displayed another’s image in the mirror.  As I drove to town, I pondered, “What if every time I looked in that old mirror I saw God’s face?”  God scrutinizing me.   How important would it be to look perfectly groomed?  What if a glance into the face of God preserved other than my outward appearance?   

As He so often did, the Lord prefaced what he told Gideon in Judges with “Do not fear.” 

Then He stated “You shall not die.”  When Jacob saw God face-to-face in Genesis, he said, “My life is preserved!”  In Deuteronomy Moses promises that obedience to reverence will result in divine blessings “…that He might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.”

I’m going to see if I can put God behind the looking glass.  Then we’ll see how important my image is . . . or will the life I lead and my very soul be what is showing as I go forth?

No doubt there will be blemishes as in the aged glass, but God’s check of me will be the assurance that I’m ready to go to town!

Dear God, Come through our mirrors and help us to see what image we are portraying.  May we preserve that which You deem important.  Amen.

Guest Post- A Christmas Remembrance by Betty Bauer

Christmas came with a howling wind that year in the mountains of Colorado, and I wasn’t ready to don the coveralls.  In my usual organized manner, I finished preparations.  We cut the tree and trimmed it.  The children wrapped their homemade items and placed them on the tree skirt.  Only Santa needed to deliver presents.  We were ready to sit down for supper, prior to attending our Christmas Eve service at the church.

My husband came into the house from the barn and announced that a different delivery was on the way.  Oh, no!  Big Moe was not due until January 2nd.   Would our first lamb to be born choose to enter the world on Christmas Eve?  It was quite appropriate to have a birth in a stable.  But the wind!  My husband said that he could hardly get the barn door shut and latched as the Colorado wind pushed him against the door.

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I tried to remain calm about the forthcoming event, but I hurried through the meal.  Then I changed out of my church clothes, put on layers of wool, and squeezed into my dirty coveralls.

It was a cold trip to the barn, but inside it was warm.  Big Moe was in her corner pen rearranging a straw bed.  Our other ewe, Jamie, baaed softly every time Big Moe moaned.

A birth was imminent but not immediate.  I reclined in a lawn chair by  the feed room.  I was too excited to sleep, so I observed the nature of sheep.  It was an hour before two sets of black nails appeared, followed by a black button nose.  Success!  A medium-sized lamb entered the world.  I quickly cleaned its nose with a towel and helped the mother dry the tightly-kinked wool.  Big Moe started groaning and turning around in the straw.  Another lamb was coming!  There were twins!!

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I weighed the lambs in a bucket:  twelve pounds apiece.  After they got colostrum, their first milk, I rushed to continue Christmas Eve plans.  There was no wind.  I turned to see the outline of the barn against the snow-capped Rockies.  Now that I didn’t have to protect my face from the wind, I could see stars above the barn.

Oh, how beautiful, how calm.  But only for a minute, I thought.  Newborns in the barn at the Christmas season will keep me busy.  In another couple weeks, our other ewe, Jamie will also deliver … or could it be sooner?  But this is what I wanted – to be a shepherd, in addition to being a wife and mother.  I believe that night in the stable, my life was changed forever.   

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone all around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause you great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’” Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)

This does bring great joy! Joy for the little sheep and great joy for the little Shepherd who were both born on Christmas.

May the Lord bless you all with His Excellent Grace this Christmas.

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Guest Post by S.A.S. : God of the Impossible, Part 2.

imagesFrom prostrate prayer on a concrete floor in Southeast Asia to wordless worship in warm West Africa. How did I move from profound grief into a deluge of delight?

When God gave me the comfort of His Word in Hebrews 12:12-13, I knew that if I remained in my current darkness of despair, I would never heal.  The first part instructs, “Wherefore, lift up the hands which hang down.” From the expanse of my agony, I called the only name I knew would hear. The only name I trusted to answer. The only name that could rescue. Jesus.

The next verse revealed my next move, “Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.”  For me this meant stepping into the lighted path of truth. Exposing the darkness. If I didn’t, I would limp along without the necessary braces to support my damaged limbs. I reached for help.  I rallied a few close girlfriends at home in the US and standing with me on the mission field.  Baring my brokenness brought the needed strength required to leave the comfort zone of the familiar. I pondered the liability this exposure could bring: damaged reputation, defeated expectations, ruined relationships, scarred rejection. However, the path to obedience is riddled with risks. If there wasn’t sacrifice, if nothing was required or lost, if obedience cost us nothing, is it really a sacrifice?  Following Jesus into the realm of impossibilities is always worth whatever it cost us.

I’m thankful I took that risky step of returning home. 

My sending church embraced me.  The body of Christ filled my home with furniture and food.  A godly Christian counselor, trained in my specific area of trauma, took me in and has been counseling me free of charge.  Some great guys painted my house, inside and out.  I was able to purchase the “church lady” Buick – 19 years old with only 40,000 original miles.  My children received scholarships to attend a private Christian school. My organization walked each step with me, loving and supporting me all the way.  Never turning their back on me. Giving me a position to continue impacting the un-reached with the Gospel.

Back on that stony slab in a foreign land far from home, I felt like I was losing everything.  Risking it all. What I gained was so much more in the journey of obedience toward the unimaginable. 

Today, I am part of a team where I see God do the impossible with a very marginalized, under-reached people group, the deaf and deafblind. We meet people who have never had an education, a language to read or write or speak, and watch how God reaches their hearts like only He can. I am working on a team called SUN (symbolic universal notation).  It’s a whole new language written in universally recognized symbols.  These symbols are being taught to reach the illiterate deaf and deafblind with God’s Word.

One such soul is David*.  He is Muslim.  He is 19 years old. He was born deaf and mostly blind.  When his parents took him to the hospital for treatment, the drops he was given caused complete blindness to develop.  David has never had any education. No one has ever been able to help him.  Pastor Ra*, a pastor to the deaf, in this west African country, and also an audiologist, was called in to help evaluate David several years ago.  It hurt his heart to have to tell the family that there was nothing he could do to help.  That all changed! Using 3D cards to teach the symbols, accompanied with creative concept demonstration, and sign language instruction, David learned to read and sign twenty symbols in five days!  Then he read two lines of Scripture and was able to sign the meaning back to us. His mother and father were extremely grateful.  They publicly thanked us for coming, “Not to help the rich but the people who most need it.” They knew we were Christians.  They knew that all we were going to teach their son would point him to Scripture.  This did not bother them. Their son was learning to read and communicate!  The impossible became reachable. 

Pastor Ra’s wife said he would awaken at night asking God to show him how to help the deaf understand God better, when they don’t read or understand enough sign language.  She said, “God sent you!”  Ra thought the task impossible but believed Jesus’s words in Matthew 19:26, “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (AMP**)

Let’s not give up.  Let’s persevere.  We will weep, pray, fast.  We will be called to leave our comfort zones and act as a result of our faith.  The tasks will require risk and sacrifice.  We should expect opposition.  Hold on to each other.  Fight the good fight together in unity. Rely on His strength and wisdom to accomplish His purposes. Finish strong so we can see those things, beyond the bounds of possibility, made possible. Believing in our God who can accomplish His will; Whose purpose no one can thwart.

And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity. (2 Cor 9:8 AMP**)

His Excellent Grace sustains and compels me onward.

Living the impossible,

~sas

*names have been changed for anonymity

**Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation,

If you’d like to read about this project to the deaf and deafblind, please visit https://bibleineverylanguage.org/processes/sun/

Guest Post by S.A.S: God of the Impossible

God of the Impossible

crying-out-2.jpg2I was flat out on the concrete floor.  Well into our third year overseas on the mission field. Twenty years of marriage shattered with a cutting laser light of truth.  Deep, dark hidden things brought out into the sunshine of my oblivious reality. I was in utter despair.  Uncontrollable wailing as I’ve never done before, all I could cry out was, “Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.”  Profound grief. My marriage in shambles.  My heart crushed.  My mission destroyed.

What now, Lord?  What do I do?

“Therefore, straighten your listless hands and your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed,” Hebrews 12:12-13 (NET). This was His call for me to renew my resolve, give me fresh strength in struggle, and stay on God’s path.  He was directing me back to the US with my children.  Alone.  Single.  Even though I was scared, lonely, ashamed to face my supporters, organization, and church. Coming back to an empty house, no car, no job, little money, etc. I knew I was in His Hands.  The God of the Impossible.

This is in the heart of God, the impossible.  It’s His specialty.  I believe He really loves doing the impossible:  the unimaginable, unattainable, insurmountable, inaccessible, impractical, preposterous.  Those hundred-to-one, beyond belief, boundary-breaking miracles.  And He uses us to do it!

Let me give you some examples:

Nehemiah and his broken walls.

Abraham and his old lady.

Joseph and his deep pit and unjust imprisonment.

Elijah and his ravens’ refreshment in the midst of discouragement.

Joshua and his trumpet march.

David and his giant.

Gideon and his smashing jars.

Unwed Mary and her baby bump.

The disciples and their fish and bread luncheon for thousands. 

There’s a pattern I see in Scripture. It mirrors my own experience as well. When God calls us to the impossible there may be: weeping, mourning; fasting, and praying; and then, a call to leave our comfort zone.

I certainly did my share of weeping.  There were days when there was a perpetual lump in my throat, and I physically could not swallow food.  God encouraged me to strengthen my hands and straighten the path in front me.  He called me back to a country that felt so distant, both in geography and in my soul.  Then came the required risk to do the impossible.

Nehemiah, the cup-bearer, had to approach the king with a request. Abraham had to be willing to sacrifice his promised son. Joseph, Elijah, Joshua, David, and Gideon faced certain death in odds against their favor.  I feel like I was much like Mary, risking embarrassment, rejection, judgement, and poverty. 

The risk could be status, resources, access, connections, knowledge, money, your very life. The impossible will cost us personally. Jesus modeled that sacrifice. Sacrifice means giving up what you want for something you want more.

Once we say, “Yes, Lord. Send me.  I’ll go to the impossible believing you are there with me.” Attacks usually come.  Resistance. Nehemiah faced Sanballat and Tobiah’s threats and anger.  Elijah faced a famine.  David faced ridicule from his brother. Gideon and the disciples battled their own self-doubts and fears.  Mary nearly lost her marriage proposal.

In these battles toward the impossible, our unity is most needed. Part of Jesus’s prayer in John 17 was, “Now protect them by the power of Your name so that they will be united just as We are. . . I pray that they will all be one, just as You and I are one—as You are in Me, Father, and I am in You. And may they be in us so that the world will believe You sent Me. I have given them the glory You gave me, so they may be one as We are one. I am in them and You are in Me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that You love them as much as You love Me.”

This spiritual unity empowers us with a steady drive, a determination to finish the impossible God has called us to do.  Because we know, people are worth it.  The sacrifice is worth it.  The reward at the end of the impossible is worth it.

I’m thankful I took that risky step of returning home. 

I’ll share what awaited me as I traversed the impossible in my next blog.

His Excellent Grace sustains and compels me onward.

~ s.a.s.

Guest Post – “Caught Up In His Presence” By Patricia Hines Mitchell

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It is amazing how people are brought together supernaturally to fulfill God’s purposes and plans.  One such occurrence recently took place in O’Brien, Florida, at Wellspring Healing Retreat Center, where Tom and Barbara Winslow are Directors.  I hope the vision that God let me experience will be a blessing to all who read it.

On the weekend of June 24, 2017, I spent time with my friends, Tom and Barbara, at Wellspring.  Tom had just been released from the hospital after miraculously surviving a severe case of Pancreatitis.  I was so glad that God healed him! After supper, Barbara and I were sitting outside for a few minutes with her chickens, which she calls “her girls.”  Around 8:30 pm, I told Barbara that I would like to go and spend some time in the Word with the Lord.

After reading the Word and praying, I began to drift off.   I thought I was dreaming but then realized that I was being lifted up out of my body.  As I floated, I also realized someone had my hand. I looked to see who had my hand and it was Jesus.  His face was so very bright that I could not see it clearly, but his eyes were so loving and kind, giving comfort to me.  We began to float toward the ceiling and I braced because I thought we would hit it. Jesus tugged my hand gently. I looked and could still see myself lying in bed.  We floated through the ceiling above Wellspring when I noticed the building was in the shape of a cross. I had no idea the building was shaped like a cross before this vision.

At the top of the cross were the most beautiful rocks.  They looked like white crystals in the shape of a circle.  Water flowed from the center like a fountain with rhythmic flowing – not splashing.  The water was very, very clear. It flowed up and back into the well. The water flowed like water within water like a cycle.  (It is hard to put human words on this vision.) We floated over the well and watched it together and then Jesus spoke to me and said:  “This is my mark.”   I looked upon His face.  The light on His face was bright, loving and peaceful.

(One year later, I was asked to oversee a special project of beautification concerning the well at Wellspring.)

He then led me back through the ceiling to where I was sleeping.  I laid back down in my body. Jesus looked back at me as He floated away.  The next realization I had was that I woke up completely awake and aware of what had just happened.I wept with thanksgiving for what I had just experienced.  I am so grateful for the love and compassion that I knew in the presence of the Lord.  Wellspring has become a very special place for me because I never had a revelation of God before my stay there.  What a Holy visitation that God made possible because of His Excellent Grace!

Patricia

You can take a virtual tour of the Wellspring facility by clicking onto

http://www.wellspringhealingretreat.org

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Making History

With all the racial conflict occurring nationwide, now seems the right time for a portion of Patricia Hines Mitchell’s bio to be told.  Patricia grew up hearing stories of her grandfather who made Suwannee County history. She was the first black woman, as well as the first black person, to work in that County as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).  During that time in the 1980’s, she faced racial discrimination and began to realize how difficult it must have been for her grandfather in those early years of segregation.

One day, her EMT unit was dispatched as a rescue call to a private residence where she encountered an “Archie Bunker” type of man.  When he observed that she was not white, he made a racial remark about it. Being a strong Christian, Patricia smiled at him and assured the man that she was well qualified and capable of taking care of him.  But, if he wanted to postpone his heart attack until the next shift, she was certain the EMT on the next shift would be white.

After carefully considering the options, he was more than happy to accept her services.  When the patient recovered, he and his wife submitted a letter of commendation on Patricia’s behalf.  She was recognized by the Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners for her work that day.

“For now we are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, and we who have been baptized into union with Christ are enveloped by Him.  We are no longer Jews or Greeks or slaves or free men or even merely men or women, but we are all the same we are Christians; we are one in Christ Jesus”

 Galatians 3:26-28 TLB  

Patricia believes it’s important to remember who you are and to pass that information on to the next generation.  She has been doing a lot of research for the following reason: “I want people to know that African Americans contributed to this county and history.  There are some parts of history that people never find out about, but knowing who you are, where you came from, gives you a sense of direction, a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose.”

( Information for this last part of the post was provided by both Patricia  & The Suwannee Democrat publication )

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Note:  Give Glory to God by sharing your testimony of His Excellent Grace  on our Guest Post.  Submit your story to blawyerlogos@bellsouth.net or mail to Logos Life & Light Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 1732, Ormond Beach, FL 32175.   It will be edited and returned to you for approval before posting.

Anissa’s Story – Post #46- What Is Lennox Gastaut Syndrome?

What is Lennox Gastaut Syndrome (LGS)?  Through Anissa’s story, I have attempted to inform others how this syndrome can affect individuals, as well as their family and caregivers.  LGS is diagnosed when there is a mixed seizure pattern, especially if combined with a degree of developmental delay or intellectual impairment.  

Since there are so many different kinds of seizures and epilepsy, seeing is better than reading when it has to do with LGS.  But it is also very difficult to video tape some of the most dangerous kinds, or to even have a camera handy at all times. The video that I am posting of Anissa shows the more dangerous type which was taped in 2016 after a trial month of being on the medical marijuana (CBD).

Click below to watch the seizure

Anissa Seizure

Without any warning, she jackknifes (also called drop or atonic), then goes into a tonic phase causing her legs to go out straight.  The legs are stiff as a board and cannot be bent until the phase is completed. Her arms go into “fencing” motions and the torso twists uncontrollably in various directions, which have been diagnosed as psychomotor and myoclonic.  The total number of this kind of seizure that Anissa experienced during that year was 427, plus 640 of other less violent types. Absence seizures were not taken into account.

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Anissa just celebrated her 51st birthday earlier this month.  Going through the post-menstrual cycle with hormonal changes is creating a new challenge.  There seems to be more erratic types of seizures, so we take each day as it comes. Jesus told His disciples to not be anxious and worried about their lives . . .

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6:26-27, 33-34 NKJV

I believe that we will succeed – but only by the power of His Excellent Grace!

To contact Anissa’s mother email her at blawyerlogos@bellsouth.net

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To take a virtual tour of the healing center go to http://www.wellspringhealingretreat.org