Solar Eclipse

Solar EclipseMany are asking what the solar eclipse on August 21st means. Does it have spiritual significance?  Having watched the blood moon series last year, is this coming solar event an omen? While only time will tell, there are some interesting things to consider.

In Michigan, we can expect to see the moon cover 84.0% of the sun. The moon will be in the sun’s path starting at 12:58pm and continue for 2hours 47minutes. The best time to see the peak of the eclipse will be 2:23pm.

Scripture indicates in Genesis 1:14 that the lights in the heavens (sun, moon, stars) are to be a sign. I Corinthians 1:22 adds that Jews look for a sign and Gentiles look for wisdom.

We are presently in the Jewish year 5777, the year of Jubilee. Two days after the eclipse, August 23st 5777 will be the first of Elul, a Jewish month where the focus is on repentance but also on harvest, the gathering of the crops. Could it be that the eclipse is a reminder for America to repent? Are we about to see a harvest of souls for Christ?

Do you remember when Jesus spoke to the Pharisees in Matthew 16:4 telling them that the only sign they would get was the sign of Jonah? From Matthew 12:39-41, Jesus was speaking to an evil and adulterous generation and in citing Jonah, he was referring to His own resurrection. But there is more. In 763 B.C. there was a famous solar eclipse. That was about the time Jonah arrived in Nineveh. Could it be that the reason the entire city of Nineveh repented was because they had just seen a “sign” in the sky, one that frightened them? One that was followed by Jonah’s preaching on repentance?

When Jesus was on the cross, the Bible tells us that the sky grew dark mid day and there was an earthquake. Some account that as a solar eclipse, a sign in the heavens corresponding to that fateful day.

The last total solar eclipse occurred June 8, 1918. Two events followed in that year…the end of World War 1 in November which was a good things but also the largest flu pandemic known to mankind affecting 500 million people world-wide and killing upwards of 40 million people.

The next solar eclipse will occur on April 8th, 2024, seven years from now. Interesting…

Anne Graham Lotz recommended an intriguing video by Pastor Steve Cioccolanti from Australia. Much of this blog are taken from





Orphanage Story

Surgical glovesA dear friend of mine, Aly, submitted this unique story of hearing God’s voice:

Several years ago, my husband’s company decided to move us to Beijing, China. They had never moved anyone overseas before, ever, and he had only been with that company for about two years. So we knew that God had moved us there for a purpose more than just business, but we also knew it was against the law to proselytize. That is, you can’t tell people about Jesus. You can’t pass out Bibles. You’ll get deported! So we just began to pray and ask the Lord how we could be a blessing to people there. And we felt like God was saying from every angle, “Just love on my people.”

So shortly after we moved there, one of the things we did to start loving on the people was that I started a ladies prayer group with a group of expat women. We prayed for a lot of things, including God’s blessing on China and also that He would connect us, somehow, to one of the many orphanages, to the people there, even though we didn’t speak the language well.

Several months after we began praying these things, I took our girls back to the US for a visit. The day before we flew back to China, we decided we wanted to take one full suitcase back with stuff that we could use there for ministry. So I had our older daughter, Abby, go out into the garage with me and stand before this big medical cabinet. My father had been a surgeon and he had passed away right before we moved to China, and they still had a ton of medical supplies.

Jer. 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and mighty things you do not know.” So we began to pray and ask God what He might have us bring back.

“Lord, please tell us what to fill the suitcase with.” Nothing. “You get anything Abby?” She said no. So I said, “Okay, let’s ask God again. “ “Any flashing neon lights” I asked her? “No? Me neither.” So I said, “Okay, let’s just take back all these surgical gloves. I’m sure someone can use them.” So we left the boxes of plain gloves and grabbed all the expensive sterile gloves and packed a whole suitcase full of them and headed back to Beijing.

When we got there, our Chinese driver picked us up. And when we got back to the house I asked him to help me put the gloves downstairs. He looked at me and said, “What? Why did you bring those back? That’s the stupidest thing I ever saw. You could have brought food. You could have brought clothes. This is stupid.” I told him I wasn’t sure why, but I knew that God was going to use them for something. I could hear him muttering all the way down the stairs about how stupid I was. So I asked God again to use them for something and to show him.

The next week I got a call from one of my prayer sisters and she said that her school was looking for someone to take clothing to a local orphanage but that she had no driver. Luckily, my husband was out of town so I had our driver there that day. So we picked her up, got the clothes and headed to the orphanage. After delivering the stuff and spending some time playing with the kids, we asked if we could have a tour of the orphanage. There was a very small room where they spent all their time, then two bedrooms upstairs that were lined with cribs, and a small kitchen, a small bathroom and then a room they called their medical room that seemed like a large walk in closet. It was stacked floor to ceiling with bins of clothes and a small table with a little cabinet over it. As we finished up, I spoke to the director through a translator that was there.

“Can you please tell her we are Americans? We travel back and forth to the United States often and would love to be a blessing to their orphanage. Is there anything they need?”

Through the translator, she said back to me, “We need one thing. We need one thing only. We need single use sterile gloves.” This was EXACTLY what I had brought back the week before. And they were the one thing they needed! I looked at my friend, Lisa, and we were both stunned!

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and mighty things you do not know!” I loved it because I felt like God was showing me that even when I don’t hear a voice in my mind, that if I am abiding in him, calling out to Him, He will direct my thoughts!

Then I literally ran out to the mini-van, jumped in and said to my driver, “Even you are going to have to say- WHO IS LIKE MY GOD? They need one thing here. One thing only. They need those gloves I brought back!”

Now understand, my driver knew I had never been there before. He drove me everywhere I went in Beijing. He looked at me and said, “I admit. That is very strange.”

(Aly is CEO/President of



Does Jesus Smile?

jesus-smilingHave you ever wondered what Jesus really looks like? I grew up in Sunday school and there was always a picture of Jesus on the wall. It’s what I would call “Somber Jesus”. He looked stoic, detached, other worldly with no beckoning expression on His face. The picture neither warmed my heart nor did it draw me to Him.

I don’t believe that’s what Jesus looks like. Of course, we can’t know exactly what He looks like because they didn’t have cameras in those days. But I believe we can surmise from Scripture the kind of look He frequently has on His face. Jesus loves people. When I love someone, I smile. I’m happy to see them. Jesus was often surrounded by people. He was compassionate, warm, and approachable. He even said in Luke 18:16, “… “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Would children feel drawn to a man who always had a solemn, serious look on His face? I think not.

Jesus even calls us little children seven times in I John. Isn’t it time we saw Jesus as He portrays Himself? A man filled with joy, a man who frequently smiles and laughs. jesus-smiling4jesus-smiling3jesus-smiling6

In Matthew 25:23 we are commanded to “… enter into the joy of your master.” Jesus said in John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” Joy means delight, pleasure, elation, happiness, all words that beg for a smile and laughter. If the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents, would not Jesus also be smiling, dancing, laughing and filled with delight?

Jesus is filled with joy and invites us into His joy. Let’s scrape away our outdated view of how Jesus looks and picture Him for who He really is: Our beautiful Savior, smiling at us, laughing with us, his children.


John 16:24 “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”


Jubilee Year!

jubileeDid you know that according to the Jewish calendar we are now in the year of 5777? The biblical number seven means completeness, perfection, finished. On our calendar, the year 5777 began in early October 2016 and will continue through most of 2017. While the year 2017 may not be significant to us in America, dates are very important to religious Jews. This particular year, 5777, is especially important because the Sanhedrin in Israel have declared it to be the Year of Jubilee.

So, who are the Sanhedrin? In ancient biblical times, they were the ruling religious counsel of 70 men in Israel. After being dormant for 1600 years, the Sanhedrin officially reconvened in January 2005 and have now declared this year to be the Year of Jubilee.

What does that mean? What is the year of Jubilee? It’s a year of coronation, of crowning, of new authority. It’s a year of restoration, forgiveness, healing, prosperity, and a new cycle. It’s a year of victory, of advancement, completion and wholeness. A year when the lost are restored, chains are broken and people are set free. It’s the year of the Lord’s favor. It’s a year when we can boldly make faith declarations for all of these things.

Previously on my blog,, I posted about President Trump seeming to be a modern day Cyrus (posted May 4th, 2016). At the time, I was thinking of how God appointed and anointed Cyrus to aid in rebuilding the temple in a Jubilee year. Is it possible that God will use Trump in this Year of Jubilee in a coordinated effort with Israel to do the same thing? The Sanhedrin has been in contact with both Trump and Putin urging them to consider this project. Interestingly, unlike the Arab nations, both of these leaders support the Jewish right to build their temple. This is monumental in prophetic terms. Will this be the year?

Are you familiar with the Temple Institute? This is a Jewish institute in Jerusalem with the sole purpose of meticulously creating all of the implements mentioned in the Bible to be used in the third temple. They also educate the public about the coming temple. Their goal, of course, is to eventually build the 3rd temple. They are diligent and quite serious in their endeavor. You can visit their site and observe the exquisite implements at Click on “sacred temple vessels” and allow God to show you His glory. You will thrill as you contemplate their unparalleled beauty.

With this being the Year of Jubilee, it is imperative that we separate ourselves from anything that would hinder our relationship with the Lord. We must prepare our hearts for Jesus return. We must be about advancing the Kingdom of God, laying aside every encumbrance. God has a destiny for each one of us, for our nation, and for Israel.

In the Jewish feasts, the shofar is blown during worship. One of the purposes is that it is used as an instrument of praise. As we await Jesus’ return, let’s enter into praise. If you would like to worship to the shofar, check out .


Notice the events that took place on various historical Jubilee years.

Why Write?

writeI wonder how often we hear God’s voice but neglect to write down what he said. Have you ever felt you were to write something down? Perhaps a thought you know wasn’t yours? Or a note of encouragement to someone, a scripture, a letter of comfort, a prophetic word, a fresh idea, an article or even a book? Have you considered where those thoughts come from? Could it be God speaking to you to write, that He wants to use your hand to put words on paper?

In I Chronicles 28, David goes into detail about all the plans for the temple that God has called his son, Solomon, to build. Everything from the porch to the storehouses, the courts to the utensils, even the weight of the gold and silver. David meticulously wrote it all down and then said in verse 19: “All this,” said David, “the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, all the details of this pattern.” Do you see what this is saying? God prompted David to write, and as he wrote, God gave him understanding.

It reminded me of Daniel 7:1 where God gave Daniel a dream and he wrote it down. He recognized God was speaking to him so he took pen to paper. Daniel recognized his dream was significant. He wrote it down and it has affected generations to come.

Recently, I attended a conference and was prophesied over. At the time, I taped it but when I got home, I wrote it out. That way I could ponder it and pray about it to gain understanding.

When my mother had Alzheimer’s, God prompted me to write down in a journal everything that happened, especially days when I clearly saw Him at work. At the time, it was a kind of therapy, but later, when He asked me to publish it as a book, I had new understanding that He wanted my experience to help others.

In Revelation 1:10-11, John was “in the Spirit” when he heard “a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet saying, “write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches….” He faithfully wrote prophetic words that still impact people today and give understanding of God’s ways.

A couple years ago, I began writing out scripture. You can too. It’s a good way to start writing. A website that offers monthly writing plans is

All this to say…has God been calling you to write? Are there things you don’t understand but by writing them, you may gain wisdom? Why not sit down today, pen in hand, and listen for His voice.

Jesus in the Dust Storm

dust-storm1A group of Arab Muslims, who were chasing after Christians, unexpectedly faced a terrible dust storm. Suddenly Jesus appeared to them and spoke with a “mighty voice.”

Haroon (not his real name) and 19 other Islamist militants were informed that a group of Christians would be holding a baptism service. They boarded their vehicles and rushed to the site with the intention of killing everyone there. Hoping to instill fear among Christians around the world, their goal was to stop Christianity from spreading to the Muslims in their country.

When they arrived, however, they saw that the Christians, with Pastor Paul from Bibles4Mideast, were already on their bus and on the way back to the church. Instead of giving up the pursuit, the militants chased after the bus and began shooting at it.

Those on the bus wondered if they would die that day and realized the militants had probably wanted to catch them during the baptism to kill them. Somehow, their service had ended early and now they faced peril as their bus was chased. Rizwan, one of the Christians, later reported that without warning, a dust storm formed within seconds and concealed the bus from the militants’ view. They felt as if Jesus himself appeared in the dust storm to block the road and protect them from the militants who eventually stopped chasing and shooting at them. They all praised God and made it back to the church safely. What Pastor Paul and his flock didn’t know was that Jesus had appeared to the militants and spoken to them with a mighty voice.

Haroon, one of the militants, had stopped their vehicles because they couldn’t see a thing as the dust storm raged. “We were unable to move forward,” he said. “but we all got out of our cars and continued shooting through the dust storm.”

Suddenly, Jesus appeared in the midst of the storm and He looked angry. His eyes were like blazing fire as He asked, “Why are you persecuting me? It’s hard for you to kick against the pricks.” His voice was so powerful that when he spoke, a strong wind literally swept the militants off their feet and blew their guns away. Haroon later said the whole thing was a terrible experience.

As they struggled to get up, they realized they couldn’t talk. They felt afraid, yet they felt peace at the same time, an experience that was totally new to all of them. Jesus told them that he “came to the world not to destroy anyone; but to save,” and he told them to “Go in peace.” Then he disappeared, and the dust storm also dissipated.

Understandably shaken, all of them, save for two, praised God, but they argued among themselves about whether what they saw was from God or not.

After the incident, Haroon’s group was no longer assigned to militant activities. Although the experience made him curious about Jesus, Haroon did not put his faith in Christ until a few days later when his family was around a bonfire in the desert. A deadly snake bit his sister, Hajira. When she was rushed to the hospital, doctors said she would die. While Hajira was asleep, an angel appeared to her and told her about Jesus, the Savior and the Healer. She shared the story with Haroon when she woke up, and they both prayed and asked Jesus to save them.

What a surprise it was then when Pastor Paul, who had been on the bus, walked into the room. He said an angel told him to visit them and had even given him their names. Pastor Paul shared the gospel with them, and Haroon and his sister confessed their sins and gave their lives to Christ. He also prayed for Hajira, who was completely healed from the snake bite.

When their father learned about what happened to Hajira, he also surrendered his life to Jesus. Not only did Haroon’s entire family get saved, seventeen of the militants in their group also got saved. They are now praying for the other two to know Christ.

(This story is from Some wording has been changed to make it more readable.)


Why We Must Believe That God is Good

god-is-goodIn church, we often proclaim that God is good but do we really believe that when we feel like we’re drowning in life? In an interview with Bill Johnson, pastor from California, he made this statement. “What you know about God changes who you are, defines your purpose and destiny, shapes who you are, your thoughts and how you see life and your assignment.”

He went on to say that “seeing God as good is the cornerstone of all theology, that everything is defined by God’s goodness. When we look inward, our faith diminishes because we become more self-reliant than God-reliant. If we misdiagnose who God is, we become lopsided. We must understand that God is 100% good at all times, in every situation.” Even when we don’t understand.

As I’m contemplating Johnson’s remarks, I find them sobering but they make sense. If I believe in any situation that God is not good, my faith automatically weakens and I begin to question if He can be trusted with anything.

Johnson asked for a miracle for his father’s life when he had pancreatic cancer. His father did not receive his miracle but passed away. Instead of questioning God’s goodness, Johnson began to thank God and worship Him. Then he said something interesting in the interview. He said, “In heaven we can’t give God a sacrificial offering out of loss.” Only here on earth is that possible. He found that a season of mourning and sacrificial thanks and worship led to comfort and healing as he remembered God is good.

Pondering that thought, I recalled two verses that speak to this idea. Psalm 54:6, “Willingly I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks to Your name, O Lord, for it is good.”

Hebrews 13:15, “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

Only here on earth can we give God a sacrifice of thanks and praise in the midst of loss, pain, wounds, and hurtful situations. In heaven, these will be no more. Revelation 21:4, “…He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

Repentance is simply changing how we think. It is believing that God is good even in difficult times. Johnson says, “Real faith does not deny the problem. It denies the problem a place of influence.” Better to see our problems through the eyes of hope. That way, everything becomes redefined.

Maybe it’s time for us to redefine our difficulties through a fresh lens.


A Small Seed

a-seedSince I’m in the process of writing a book on witnessing, I’m more aware of opportunities to share my faith. While some witnessing ends with a commitment to the Lord, most has more to do with planting seeds. In that sense, we are all farmers, planting seeds. This morning a young black man with awesome black dreadlocks knocked on my door. He was here to change out our water meter. While he was in the basement working, I was sitting in our family room upstairs with my Bible open. I have been doing Scripture writing for the past year. It’s a great way to focus on the Word both in reading and writing it out. The verses for today were from Matthew 7:24-29. As I sat there writing, a thought suddenly entered my mind and I knew it was from the Lord. Why don’t you ask this young man if he is building his house on the rock or the sand?

Whenever the Lord speaks to me to do something unusual like this, my first response is to dismiss it as too odd. But when the thought persisted, I knew I had to ask him. So, when he came up from the basement, I began with, “May I ask you a question?”

He responded that I could so I continued, “I was wondering if you are building your house upon the rock or on the sand? I’m reading in the Bible right now…well, let me read it to you.” So I read:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall. When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”

When I finished, I looked at him again and said, “Think about it, are you building your house on the rock or the sand.”

He quickly replied, “The rock,” so I pursued.

“So you’ve asked Jesus into your life? Tell me about it.”

“When I was 8 or 9, I did that but I haven’t been to church in some years.”

“Ok,” I responded, “I just wanted you to consider what you are building your house on.”

My assessment of this encounter was that while he had made a decision for Christ many years ago as a child, he had not given much thought to Jesus in a long time. Perhaps, our short conversation will awaken something in Him that has been dormant. Perhaps, a small seed was planted.


Hope for the Future

Cabin“There is hope for your future,” declares the Lord, “And your children will return to their own territory” (Jer. 31:17). Is there anyone who needs to hear those words? God promises there is hope for your future and if He says there is hope for your future, that is all we need to know.

A young couple, Walter and Grace, found a perfect log cabin for their honeymoon. Deep in the forest, it looked like the setting for the best possible get-away. Until…a woodpecker kept them awake each night with his incessant pecking. Peck, peck, pecking for hours on end. Then, when a heavy rainstorm hit the cabin, they realized the bird had pecked holes all the way through the roof. This miserable situation could have been enough to ruin their time together but instead, they chose to incorporate this woodpecker into their creativity. Today, we know them as the creators of the cartoon series, “Woody Woodpecker”.

For believers in Christ, assured that God has a plan for everything in our lives, this story echoes the principle that God can allow unpleasant events with a higher purpose than just an opportunity for us to grumble.

We were camping last week in Traverse City and of course, on the second day, it rained. I really believe that camping and rain are synonymous because most camping trips involve rain at some point. I’ve been tempted to say we’re going ‘raining’ instead of camping. God showed me something interesting, however, something I have seen from Him on many occasions and that is, when difficulties come, He is in the midst of working out a better plan, a plan that may require a shift for awhile.

The next day of our campout was clear so off we went to kayak the Crystal River. Because of the previous day’s rain, the river was up and easily navigable, but I did notice a few areas were shallow and required some maneuvering. Then, I remembered the rain the day before and knew why it was an easy ride. The river was just enough higher that we didn’t need to get out of the kayak to portage shallow waters as we likely would have if it hadn’t rained. Thank you, God.

Granted, that was a simple example but the point is that God is always at work behind the scenes of every event in our lives. He clearly promises that there is hope for our future. We may not see how all the threads mesh together yet but we can be assured He is the Master Weaver. Consider this poem by B.M. Franklin.

The Weaver

My life is but a weaving

Between my Lord and me;

I cannot chose the colors

He worketh steadily.

Oft times He weaveth sorrow

And I, in foolish pride,

Forget He sees the upper,

And I the underside.

Not til the loom is silent

And the shuttles cease to fly,

Shall God unroll the canvas

And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful

In the weavers skillful hand,

As the threads of gold and silver

In the pattern He has planned.


Grumbling or Lamenting

Faithful 2Have you ever been talking to someone and a light bulb goes on in your thoughts? To me, that’s God speaking. A friend, Linda, spoke a word to me that led to the following insights on the difference between complaining and lamenting. So, what is the difference? We know what complaining is: grumbling. Did you know that grumbling is even in the same list as idolatry and immorality in I Corinthians 10:10? Yet, nowhere does the Bible tell us not to lament.

Why would God put grumbling in the same category as idolatry and immorality? Because they are all rooted in unbelief and hopelessness. When we complain, we are actually saying, God, I don’t see you anywhere in the midst of this issue and I have no hope that You will come to the rescue. It’s an attitude that denies the sovereignty of God and can lead to bitterness. In essence, complaining not only leaves God out but believes there is no solution, only gloom and doom. The core is unbelief.

The word grumble means to murmur, to be obstinate in a permanent sense. In the Old Testament, people grumbled against the Lord. They didn’t like His provision of manna. They grumbled against Moses, were obstinate, rebellious, and stiff-necked. In the New Testament, some grumbled against Jesus.

God’s response in Numbers 14:27 is definitive, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me.”

Could it be that all grumbling is really against God?

But what about lamenting? To lament means to wail or mourn, literally to tear the hair and beat the breast. It can be a dirge where a person even beats on instruments as he groans or cries aloud.

Why is lamenting different than complaining or grumbling? While, there is also heartfelt emotion with lamenting, the difference is that it recognizes and includes God in the trial. Listen to Lamentations  3:2-12 as Jeremiah laments and then notice what follows.

“He has driven me and made me walk in darkness and not in light. Surely against me He has turned His hand repeatedly all the day. He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away, He has broken my bones. He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship. In dark places He has made me dwell, like those who have long been dead. He has walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my chain heavy. Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked. He is to me like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in secret places. He has turned aside my ways and torn me to pieces; He has made me desolate. He bent His bow and set me as a target for the arrow. He made the arrows of His quiver to enter into my inward parts.”

Perhaps, you can relate to “feeling” like this, maybe even now. Clearly, there is nothing wrong with appropriate expression of genuine emotion.

If all Jeremiah was doing was grumbling, it would be one thing but before the chapter is over, even though he is out of sorts and spent with emotion, he recalls something significant that makes ALL the difference. Read on.

In a sudden epiphany, in Lamentations 3:21-25, he continues, “This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.”

Do you see the difference? Grumbling/complaining ends with no hope; Lamenting ends in belief, hope, and strong affirmation of truth about God’s sovereignty. Be sure to note that the hope is in God, not in the situation, not in change, just in God and His faithfulness. He knows God will come through.

In all that God does, we can know with certainty that, as we walk by faith, He will always accomplish His purpose. Lamentations 2:17 affirms, “The Lord has done what He purposed; He has accomplished His word which He commanded from days of old….”

Lamenting allows for hope, encouragement and comfort in times of distress.

Psalm 27:13 David laments, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.”