Sixty-Seven

The birthday selfie

1 Corinthians 2:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)

Spiritual Wisdom

However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,

I celebrated my birthday last week and turning sixty-seven is another milestone a lot closer to 70, and growing in wisdom. With age come health issues. If I sit for a long period of time,  I have to ease into getting up, so I make small talk with whoever is with me, and then start moving. Mornings for my precious husband have became recitals of what is out of alignment: it could be my knee, my hips, or my back or a combination of all three. These types of pains have become a norm, but then something foreign came upon me.

My problem started the day before I left for the Holy Land. I rushed over to CVS to get a flu shot to set my mind at ease. Halfway through the trip I felt an uncomfortable sensation on the inside of my right cheek; it was red and sore. I prayed at the holy sites for a healing, but it lingered; I never got any relief.

As soon as I got home I made an appointment with the doctor. The doctor asked me if I had bitten my cheek. I may have but I wasn’t really sure. He told me to call in two weeks if it did not go away. It got worst, and the pain was very uncomfortable. In the meantime Dr. Google and I did some research; we both came up with the same diagnosis: oral cancer. I prayed against this, but I was preoccupied with worry. My daughter suggested that I should see the dentist. I did and, after the examination, he suggested that I go for a biopsy, but he suspected it was lichen plantus.

I’m grateful to God that I have coverage with Medicare, plus a great supplement, but it was nearly impossible to find an oral surgeon who would take my insurance. Finally, after 12 referrals, I found a wonderful Iranian doctor. This doctor told me it would take a week before the results were in. We were planning to meet some friends in the wine country and I still had this looming condition. I wanted results before we went on the trip.

Our wine country getaway
Our wine country getaway

In the meantime I had developed several small mosquito like bites on my hands and arms. Thinking that a spider did a slow waltz on my body while I was sleeping. I said to Mike, “I’m tired of getting eaten up by bugs! We need to have the house sprayed!”  Mike’s response was, ” Well if you insist on using an eco-friendly company, we will always have bugs!” We got into a little cat fight over the matter, and then dropped it. My hands and arms were itchy, but it looked different from a mosquito bite; it more like a rash.

I was so apprehensive to call the doctor about results, but I wanted to travel without having to think about this problem. The biopsy came back with what the dentist suspected: lichen plantus.

Lichen plantus is an autoimmune disorder: it is not contagious, I did not pick it from traveling to the Holy Land nor from  feeding the homeless on Skid Row, as Mike believes.  It is not life-threatening and there is no cure. There is no exact cause for lichen plantus. It may be related to allergies or an immune reaction. This could include certain medicines, dyes, or antibiotics. As a result I have hundreds of mosquito-like bites throughout my body. This miserable disorder is unsightly and it itches badly. My back resembles a constellation of stars, some bigger than the others.

For as long as I can remember, I have always suffered from allergies. For years I have taken daily doses of an antihistamines; now with this new quandary, I get no relief.

The light box

 

Since lichen plantus is not life-threatening, there are no support groups. No one wants to hear of the new lesions that I’ve developed overnight, or that I’m always itching.  So the only support I have is Mike, and he has grown tired of all the complaining with all my lamenting. I am taking the homeopathic route to keep my disorder at bay, and I recently went into the “light box” that the dermatologist suggested. The light box is using phototherapy to expose the skin to ultraviolet light. I’m praying this will help. This disorder can last up to nine months and go away and never return, or it could come back with a vengeance. Of course I’m praying for the latter.

There is a light at the end of this winding tunnel. I have asked God, “Why did I get this disorder? Why didn’t you give this to someone who is really evil and hateful, and not serving You?” He did not answer me, but I figured it out. I’ve experienced two miracles during the duration of this illness. Receiving these miracles was part of  God plan. He was testing me to understand that these miracles were the center of the prayers and the disorder (lichen plantus ) is just a distraction to keep me from praying. To me, it is worth the suffering in seeing these miracles come to fruition. Nothing is going to keep me from serving the Lord, and it is through this trial that I call on Him more. The Devil hates people like me because I make a difference – not because I’m so special, but because I’ve learn to battle and understand that the victory belongs to the Lord.

Romans 5:3-5 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

I have read and researched this disorder, and it could have been triggered by getting the flu shot. We will never know, but God knows, and I trust Him!

 

Hold your tongue or else you'll be called out John 8:44
My High Adventure days During my sabbatical from the Catholic Church,
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Satan’s Gag Order

Hold your tongue or else you’ll be called out

John 8:44 New King James Version (NKJV)

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources,for he is a liar and the father of it.

I always tell my grandson to tell the truth

The only thing we have is the truth. I recently caught a preview of the news involving a popular television host, Mario Lopez. I’ve always liked this young man, and wanted to see what the news story was about. It turns out that Mario gave an honest opinion about a subject matter that he felt strongly about. The subject was about “transgender” children and all Mario Lopez said was, that he did not believe that 3 year-olds knew anything about sexuality, and that kids should be allowed  to be kids.

Mario Lopez was the guest of Candace Owen, a conservative, black young woman. To be black and conservative in today’s society is unacceptable to many,  but to be black, conservative, and have your own show is dangerous, because if you appear as a guest, you’re going to be noticed for the wrong reasons.

Mario Lopez was called out by the usual watchdogs that prey on any misguided words that do not agree with their beliefs. Of course, Mario sent out a tweet extending his apologies for being ignorant and  insensitive, which may have worked to keep the ravaging sharks at bay for awhile; we shall see.  This is the modern- day reaction we live with for giving our honest opinions.

The interesting thing about this entire scenario is the fact that we know who owns the airwaves. Satan has a way of controlling and calling into judgment  anything that is godly, true, and just; he wants every fiber of truth to be distorted. This battleground has become a dangerous, uneven playing field. Do not step into those shark-infested waters, as you will pay a price.

I, along with everyone else, see the direction where these deceptions lead.

During the same newsfeed, a story of Jussie Smollett surfaced. Jussie Smollett is the young, black actor who created a web of lies to get attention. It is a fact that everything he staged was proven false. From beating himself up to making a noose to make it seen as if some hateful white supremacist attacked him, Jussie  layered his lies on thick, but in the end the truth prevailed. Smollett was flanked by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Why? Because if these two black “leaders” did not take the side of a gay black man, they would be considered homophobic and racist against their own race. So to save face, they appease the masses. I honestly felt sad for Jesse Jackson because I saw something in his eyes that spoke conviction. How can good, honest, black people have respect for these two men? To me they have lost all credibility. The city of Chicago spent over $130,000.00 investigating this false hate crime, but everyone knows the truth, including Rev.Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Proverbs 17:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

15 He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just,
Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.

But now back to Mario Lopez. In the eyes of those who believe they were wronged, Mario did two unthinkable things: He was interviewed by Candace Owen, and he told the truth.

I’m sorry to say this, but Mario Lopez is now a moving target, and is branded with the infamous “Scarlet Letter.” Mario spoke what was in his heart, but to those of us who still believe in the sanctity of marriage, family and protecting our religious rights, Mario Lopez gained our respect. Mario Lopez will be included in many of our prayers, and our prayers are more powerful than any fiery darts the Enemy throws at us.

My heart goes out to those parents who have bought into the lies of our society and the way children should be taught and raised. We all have our crosses to bear, but please leave our children/grandchildren out of this confusion of “transgenderism.” Children are innocent and too young to be exposed to this complicated matter. Children don’t need to know about, he, she, them, they; children just want to play and be loved. Allow parents to parent, as their  children are a gift of God and He will give parents the right tools and discernment to guide them, and when to expose them to the things of the world.

I agree with Mario Lopez, and even though he had to apologize, we all know that he was telling the truth.

This is one of my favorite Bible passages, every day I fall short, but every day I try to become a better person… pray for me.

Philippians 4:8 New King James Version (NKJV)

Meditate on These Things

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Through an epiphany, with the help of loved ones, I realized that all this hatred was affecting me. I was half way down the shaft of anger, when I saw a rope to help me climb out of this mindset. I, yes me! who is always praying, always going to church, got tangled up in anger about the injustices. I had little tolerance for others who did not agree with me, and my anger stirred malevolence. I started to develop a “mad at the world” attitude. I was praying a lot, but something was amiss. On the way down that dark narrow shaft I could no longer see the light, and I lost sight of the most important element, LOVE.

Only God can set us straight, and I thank Him for showing me the ropes and helping me navigate my way out of this pit that I dug out for myself. I have cleaned all the muck out of my fingernails and am ready to operate in love once again. Thanks to my husband and daughter, and friends who cared enough to shed the light of God’s love over me. Now, I can put on my breastplate of righteousness, and my helmet of salvation, to fight the good fight! My heart and mind are protected by the precious blood of the Lamb! Praise be to God!

 

The birthday selfie 1 Corinthians 2:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
My High Adventure days During my sabbatical from the Catholic Church,
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My High Adventure

My High Adventure days

During my sabbatical from the Catholic Church, I had the great privilege of working for George Otis, an Evangelical minister; the name of his ministry was High Adventure.

I was a member of the Valley Vineyard, and it was through this ministry that I met and became friends with a young lady name Vickie. Vickie was working for High Adventure and told me of a part-time opening. My children were young and both in school, so I was able to take on the responsibility of that position.

Just three of many books written by George Otis

High Adventure’s offices were located on the second floor of a business building in Northridge, California. There the genius of George Otis took on the world to spread the gospel. “The Voice of Hope” was his brainchild, and he put up the first Christian radio station in Lebanon, near the Israeli border. Mr. Otis’s “High Adventure” was not an easy task because all this took place in the mid-seventies when Lebanon was being torn apart by the PLO. I was unfamiliar with the acronym PLO and was too embarrassed to ask what it stood for. The PLO was a topic of conversation at work, and I quickly learned that PLO stood for Palestine Liberation Organization, a terrorist group headed by Yasser Arafat.

Location of the Voice of Hope

George Otis did not listen to the voice of doubt, but to the voice of God. In order for him to accomplish this monumental undertaking, through this entire journey God aligned Mr. Otis with the right people to bring hope to Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries. Soon they would hear Christian programs to lift their spirits. George Otis, with the favor of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, and Major Saad Haddad of Lebanon, and other-hand picked men of God, who helped set up  “The Voice Of Hope.”

My job at High Adventure was to prepare taped programs for airing on The Voice of Hope. One of my duties was to listen to “Thru the Bible” programs by J. Vernon McGee. I was to splice out the name of “Jesus” or “Jesus Christ” whenever it was used  because many Jews and perhaps Arabs who were Muslims might be listening to the broadcast, and out of respect to their beliefs, George Otis did not want to offend them; he only wanted to bring the Word of God to them.

J. Vernon McGee was a Bible scholar, whose  voice was so distinct that I can still hear it playing in my head. This was another means by which the Lord trained me to love the Word of God. Though J. Vernon McGee did not agree with Catholic doctrine, his understanding of the interpretation of the Bible was and is still well received by Protestants. Although he died in 1988, his program is still aired (Thru the Bible) on over 600 radio stations today.

The staff at High Adventure was small: Mr. Otis, his secretary, the accountant, and his assistant, Vickie, Don, his son, and me. The offices were small, and I worked in the back room. George Otis was a little taller than me, but when he walked into the office, and when he spoke, it seemed that the room shrank because he exuded extraordinary grace. George Otis was always upbeat and ready to take on what the world threw at him.  This one-time CEO of Lear Jets  was now a humble servant of the Most High God. Nothing would change the course God had paved for this giant, and George Otis knew God was on his side because he never stopped seeking Him.

On many occasions, George Otis traveled  to the Holy Land and Lebanon to oversee The Voice of Hope. He was on the PLO’s hit list, so he was instructed by Israeli officials to get a bulletproof vest for traveling to Lebanon. As part of my job responsibility, I was asked to drive to Los Angeles to pick up the vest for him. Anyone who knows me also knows that I really don’t like to drive to Los Angeles. I was given the keys to an old station wagon, of course no navigation apps, no map, just handwritten directions to get to some ammunition store in downtown LA to pick up the bulletproof vest. Through the grace of God  I made it there and back safely. When I turned off the engine of the old wagon, the car kept rattling and moving like it was having convulsions. I thought that I had done something to cause this and was scared to go back up to the office. I prayed for the car to stop shaking, and then went about my business.

On various occasions I drove to Camarillo to a beautiful church off the 101 Freeway, either to take paperwork, or to pick up something of importance for Mr. Otis. I loved working for this ministry, but it was short-lived because of Mike’s position, which required us to move to Orange County.

My desire to visit the Holy Land started in this small office. Part of the High Adventure ministry was to take tour groups to Israel. I’d hear the wonderful stories of the birthplace of our Lord so I longed to visit it. God knows the desires of our hearts, so He has granted me opportunities to visit the Holy Land. My first trip took place in 1996, and I have continued to travel there almost every year since.

I am surprised that George Otis’ story has not been picked up by some big movie production company, because what he did was both dangerous and exciting. I know of no other person who can say that he built a Christian radio station in Lebanon, especially in the height of a war. I pray that someday a movie will  be made about George Otis’ High Adventure.

The Lord has been so gracious to me because I never really realized how great the impact of George Otis has been on the Christian world. I naively saw him as my employer with a crazy busy job. I was ignorant of the war in Lebanon and the special need for the Voice of Hope to offer hope to Christians in the Middle East. I thank God that I had minuscule part of such a meaningful ministry. God is good!

The birthday selfie 1 Corinthians 2:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
Hold your tongue or else you'll be called out John 8:44
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