iBelieve

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Archive for the category “Heaven”

Cottage Birthdays


Every summer weekend, during the first 12 years of my life, my family would pack our things in the car to head south. As my dad maticulously packed the car so everything would fit a family of 7, he’d yell out to my brothers and I, “Go get your Polish suitcase!” Yes, we had Polish suitcases…otherwise known as a brown grocery bag. My little clothes for two days fit perfectly in my Polish suitcase. This memory brings a grin to my face. I wonder, was this a well-known piece of luggage in other households or was this just my dad being his goofy self?

Twenty minutes later, we’d stick our heads out the car windows as my father slowed down so we could greet the cows in their native tongue, “Moooooo!!” Jostling side-by-side and to-and-fro we knew the dirt road we were on meant minutes to a fun-filled weekend at the cottage.

The best weekend for me was the end of June when aunts, uncles and cousins would arrive to celebrate my birthday. Our Polish heritage was in rare form. We had Polkas blaring from our portable radios during the Polka-Time radio show for 3 hours on Saturday afternoon. One adult would sneak away to the party-line telephone and call in a special request wishing me a very special birthday. It was such a treat to hear my name announced on the radio and a song played in my honor. I felt like a celebrity on my birthday.

I wish I could turn back the hands of time and spend one more birthday at the cottage with the family. The clang of horseshoes, water splashing in the lake and people baking in the sun…what a carefree life. The celebration was topped off with birthday cake made by the talented, loving hands of my mother. Always delicious.

My birthday is June 24. Although many of the family members that used to celebrate with me are in Heaven now, and the cottage has been sold many years ago, I will cherish these memories forever.

Psalm 146:2 (NIV)
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Father’s Day


Hi Papason!

It has been nearly two years since we last saw each other. From what Jesus said in the Bible, you are experiencing great weather, you are walking around, dancing, running, enjoying time with your family and friends, no tears, no fears, you are living in a mansion, you get to see Jesus face to face, and spend time praising God with all the angels and saints. You are living the life that was prepared for you.

Life has gone on since your departure. I cannot lie; I was really in a funk for the first year after you left. I attempted grad school, but I could not concentrate. My mind’s eye focused on your final years of suffering as your earthly body deteriorated from illness. Time heals, if you let it, and I let it work for me.

Last night, I was looking at pictures from our time together. Oh, how I miss visiting with you! I wish I could hear your voice and your laugh just once more. You had such a great demeanor. You took on your Heavenly Father’s characteristic of unconditional love. You followed His leading on how to be a great father to your children and a loving husband to your wife.

Thank you, Papason, for the life you gave me. Thank you for many, many great memories.

Happy Father’s day! I look forward to seeing you again. I hope my room in the Heavenly mansion is next to yours.

Love,
Anna B

Deuteronomy 5:16 (NIV)
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

Curb Appeal


Sometimes while I am driving through neighborhoods, I notice homes that could use new doors, new windows, a paint job or new siding.  I often want to rip off the ivy I see growing up beautiful brick homes.

I appreciate neighborhood curb appeal. 

Sometimes while I am amongst a group of people, I notice hair that should be combed, clothes that are out-of-date, and bodies that should be bathed.  I cringe when I hear inappropriate grammar usage.

I appreciate human curb appeal.

 Wait a minute!  What about what is inside?

 The homes that appear to be in shambles may have inhabitants that are ill, elderly or unemployed and they have to pick and choose what is most important on their limited funds.  The people who appear unkempt may be somebody’s V.I.P/hero.  They may be a very loving and doting spouse, parent or child.  They could be ill, elderly or unemployed and they have to pick and choose what is most important on their limited funds. 

I have no right to pass judgment.  I have every right to love my neighbor as much as myself.  That is the important lesson that Jesus stressed before he went to Heaven.

Matthew 7:2 (NLT)

For you will be treated as you treat others.  The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

I’m The One


I’m the one with the tongue sharp as a dagger that stabs people in the back. I’m the one who does not have time to visit the sick.  I’m the one who doesn’t donate to a food bank.  I’m the one who led the rally to stone the adulteress.  I’m the one who kills, steals and destroys.   I’m the one who hasn’t tithed because I worked hard for my paycheck.  I’m the bully.  I’m the one…I’m the one…I’m the one… It’s all about me!!

I’m the one that said nothing in secret; I have spoken openly to the world.  I’m the one who healed the lepers, the blind and the lame. I’m the one who fed thousands of people with a few fish and a few loaves of bread.  I’m the one who kept the adulteress from being stoned.   I’m the one who came to give life; life to the full.  I’m the one who meets all of your needsI’m the one that was flogged, scourged, spit upon, mocked, crowned with thorns, and crucified on a cross.  I’m the one…I’m the one…I’m the one…I did it for you.

 John 19:30 (New International Version, ©2011)

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Preyed Upon / Prayed Upon


Living amongst four cats makes life interesting.  I often watch when one cat stalks an unsuspecting cat while they are in the midst of rolling around the floor playing with a toy or dutifully cleaning themselves.  The stalker walks ever so slowly, being sure not to be noticed.  Each step is orchestrated pace-by-pace with moments of statuesque poise until the opportune moment arises and they are able to pounce and attack their prey. 

I attempt to distract the stalker because I care about the unsuspecting cat enough to protect them.  When the attack happens before I can intervene, I rush to comfort the cat that was preyed upon; assuring them that they are okay and that they need not fear the other cat.  Although this type of activity is in their nature, I prefer a peaceful dwelling.

My cats are not demons, but this activity gives me a visual of how demonic forces prey upon humans.

We go about our lives, enjoying times with family, friends and even alone time.  At each moment, the devil sits waiting in the shadows for his opportunity to prey upon our weaknesses.  Have you felt envious of your friend’s success?  Have you become filled with despair because you lost your job?  Have you started to record a list of wrongs so you can have ammunition to throw at your spouse during the next fight?  Do you invite anger to ride along with you as you drive from point A to point B?  Do you numb emotional pain by over-indulging in alcohol?  Has gossip slipped through your lips?  These circumstances are not all-inclusive, but they are examples of weaknesses that the devil preys upon. 

Jesus restored a demon-possessed man in Mark 5:1-20.  He called out the legion of demons from the man and sent them into a herd of about 2,000 swine grazing nearby.  The swine went crazy and rushed into a nearby lake and drowned.

Angels may run interference numerous times for us every day, but it only takes one small crack in a weakness and the devil slips in and starts to wreak havoc in our lives.  When we cannot control our envy, despair, recorded lists of wrongs, road-rage, addictions, gossiping, or anything else that is a personal weakness, remember that we do not have to lie down and give up.  Call out to Jesus.  He will rush in and comfort, he will assure us that we will be okay because he prefers to live in a peaceful dwelling.

Let me take this time to pray upon you, in the words of Paul to the Ephesians 3:14-19

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

In Jesus’s name.  Amen.

Have You Seen Your Angel?


Perspective 1
I spent December 31, 1997 all alone. I had neither anyone to reminisce about the old year nor anyone to make plans for the new. I sat cuddled under an afghan watching television.

Perspective 2
December 31, 1997, as I sat at the feet of Jesus, my Lord, singing praises to Him, I heard my name paged over the heavenly intercom. I went as quickly as I could to get my message and found out that I needed to spend time with a woman named Kristine.

Perspective 1
It was one cold New Year’s Eve. The weather forecast predicted 14 degrees with -12 as the wind chill. As I sat watching television, I heard a dog barking out front. Upon opening the door, I saw a Dalmatian sitting on my front porch. Thinking he got out during someone’s party in the neighborhood, I yelled at him to go home and shut the door. Minutes later, the dog continued to bark.

Perspective 2
I flew to Kristine’s house and peeked in her side window. She was sitting on the couch, wrapped in an afghan, and she was talking on the telephone. When she hung up, she started to cry pretty hard. I wasn’t sure what the conversation was about, but it broke my heart to see her all alone on New Year’s Eve.

As I paced the driveway trying to come up with a plan to be with her, I had a brilliant idea…I would turn into a Dalmatian and bark on her front porch. Surely she would wonder what was going on and open the door. I’d show her my puppy-dog eyes and she would melt.

“Woof, woof, woof”, I barked on the porch. Sure enough, the door creaked open and she saw me, but she told me to go home and shut the door. “Woof, woof, woof”, I barked even louder.

Perspective 1
I am usually afraid of big dogs, but this one seemed different. I opened the door again and looked for a collar and did not see one. I felt bad for the dog being out in the cold, so I allowed him in my house. He followed me down to the basement as I gathered some old towels so I could give him something to curl up with on the back porch. I didn’t have any food, but offered the dog a bowl of water.

Perspective 2
The door opened again and I turned on the puppy-dog eyes. She noticed I did not have a collar on and wondered who my owner’s were. As she patted me on the head, I could tell she was feeling sorry for me because it was really cold outside. She let me in the house! She let me in the house!

I followed her down some stairs and back up again. Kristine grabbed some old towels for me to curl up with and sent me to her back porch. She apologized for not having any food for me, but brought me a bowl of fresh water.

Perspective 1
I checked on the dog frequently, wondering if it was too cold on the porch. Knowing the porch is not insulated, I allowed the dog into the house. He seemed content to be with me and really did keep me company and took my mind off being alone.

Perspective 2
Kristine kept checking on me because she thought it was too cold for me. She let me in the house with her. I was so happy to be near her.

Perspective 1
We rang in the New Year together and soon it was time for bed. “What do I do with this dog?” I thought to myself. He seemed pretty intent on keeping me company and followed me up to my room. Even though I begged the dog to lie on the floor, he insisted on lying at my feet. We slept until daybreak.

Perspective 2
We watched the ball drop in New York City. Kristine wished me a Happy 1998 and said she had to go to bed, so I followed her up to her room. She kept telling me to lie on the floor, but I wanted to be close to her and remind her that she was not alone. I curled up at the foot of the bed and we slept until about 7:30 am.

Perspective 1
I could not keep a dog in the house so I told him he had to go home. I opened the back door and had to push him out. He sat looking at me in the driveway. I had to practice tough love and shut the door without looking back. I did; however, run to the side window to peek at him to see what direction he would head. He walked to the front yard, barked at my house and ran over to the neighbor’s manger scene set up in their front yard. This dog barked like crazy at the baby Jesus and ran down the street and out of my sight.

Perspective 2
Kristine told me it was time for me to leave as she walked me to the back porch and said her good-byes and shoved me out the door. I just stared at her as I sat in the driveway. She shut the door and went in the house. I could see her peeking out the side window to watch me. I slowly made my way to her front yard. I barked “thank you” and ran over to the neighbor’s manger scene in their front yard. I love seeing baby Jesus so I barked like crazy at Him. I saw Kristine watching me and I turned and walked down the street and out of sight.

Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Perspective 1
1998 was a pivotal year in my life. God became real to me and he continues to bless me in great measure.

Happy New Year Everyone!! May God be real in your life and bless you in great measure.

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