Sunday, September 9, 2018

2018 Summer Series: I Love to Tell the Story









Part 7: Prayer of Jabez, Part 3: May Your Hand Be On Me
When we think of someone placing their hands on another individual, many different images or scenarios come to mind. Some of those mental pictures may be negative, such as the violent ones we see in the media. However, there are many positive options for using our hands. For example, a couple expresses their love by holding hands. An adult may hold the hand of a small child to ensure their safety. A massage is a means for giving or receiving the gift of relaxation. And can anything beat the wonderful joy of holding a newborn baby or cradling and stroking a kitten? In addition we can use our hands (& arms) to hug and comfort those who are hurting.

So then we can understand that our hands can be used in good, positive ways to offer comfort, healing, and hope. But what does the concept of God’s hand on us mean? In Biblical times the expression of, “The hand of the Lord is upon...”, was frequently used to denote God’s power and presence. Because Jesus said that when we have seen Him we have seen His Father who sent Him (John 14: 7-11), we look to Christ’s mission (Isaiah 61: 1; Luke 4: 18), as well as to the examples of how Jesus used His hands to heal (Matthew 9:35), to encourage (John 16:33), to comfort others (Luke 18: 15-17), and to demonstrate God’s power and presence to meet His people’s needs (Mark 4: 35-40; Matthew 14: 13-21). The ultimate use of His hands, though, was when Jesus spread His hands and arms wide on the Cross of Calvary to encompass us with His love as He lay down His life for our salvation: the supreme gift (Isaiah 53: 4-5; John 19: 17-24). 
In Bruce Wilkinson’s book, “The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life,” he emphasizes that after we pray for God to bless us a lot, and then ask Him to expand our ministry for His glory, then we need to ask for His hand to be on us. Why? Because, “By His touch you can experience supernatural enthusiasm, boldness, and power that lifts you up….Ask every day for the Father’s touch,” (p.61).
And so, as I continue to share my current battle with cancer, I’m praying, “Lord, bless me, indeed! Enlarge my ministry, and may Your hand be on me—always for Your glory!” Just after Easter ‘18, I had tongue cancer surgery. At that time there was no indication of cancer in my neck. However, at my 3-month post-surgery appointment the CT scans (neck and chest) showed that there is cancer in at least 2 lymph nodes in my neck and a node on my vocal cords. A PET scan (body scan) has confirmed that there is no additional metastasis. Hallelujah! This means that a 2nd surgery is scheduled for August 13th. Following some healing time, a major oral surgery will also be required prior to having seven weeks of daily radiation treatments every Monday to Friday. 

Have you been asking for God’s hand to be on you—for His presence and empowerment for you and your ministry? The Scriptures tell us that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So His healing and power are available to us, but we need to ask (James 4:2-3; 1 John 5:14-15)--and I’m asking, too: “Bless me indeed, enlarge my ministry, and may Your hand be on me.” You may not have been praying these exact words, but I’ve seen the proof that you are asking in the many encouraging words that you have posted in response to my pleas for prayers on my unexpected journey. Thank you for your ongoing support & encouragement. 
There are lots of challenges ahead. However, my faith is strong, and my God is stronger! 
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor), Canada

Sunday, September 2, 2018

2018 Summer Series: I Love to Tell the Story



Part 6: Prayer of Jabez, Part 2: Enlarge My Borders
In chapter 3 of “The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life,”
(Bruce H. Wilkinson, 2000), the author addresses the second part of Jabez’s prayer “Oh, that You would enlarge my territory!”(1 Chronicles 4:10). In addition to his share of property in the Promised Land, Jabez wanted, “...more influence, more responsibility, and more opportunity to make a mark for the God of Israel,” (p.30). Jabez didn’t have a promising start, but he wanted more—more than seemed to be predetermined for his life. Have you ever felt like this? Perhaps you’ve echoed, “There must be more to life!” Maybe you’ve expressed the sentiment or experienced the yearning, but haven’t known what to do about it? I know I have. It creates restlessness and creates a quest to seek, “What’s next?”

Dear God, enlarge my borders, expand my territory, increase my influence for You! One of Wilkinson’s observations is that most Christians believe that they are already too busy and less likely to ask God for more ministry opportunities. But when we ask God to expand the realm of our influence for Him, amazing things happen! You will begin having all sorts of unexpected encounters with people and groups.

Since I began praying, “enlarge my territory” some surprising things have happened. Prior to my tongue cancer surgery in April, many individuals were—still are—praying for me. I was praying, “Lord, bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory!” My elderly neighbour advised me to ask my surgeon if we could before going into the operating room. I replied that I don’t think that he’s a Christian. She nodded and gave me a few suggestions. So on the morning of the surgery, I was so calm that everyone around me was surprised. When the surgeon came to see me before the operation, we discussed a few questions. My final question to him was, “Could we pray before we all go in there?” He stammered, and I offered that I could do the praying. He seemed very relieved and agreed. I thanked God for giving me an excellent, experienced, and skilled surgeon. I also thanked God for being the Great Physician and asked him to direct the surgical team. Just a few lines, but when I concluded with ‘amen’ the surgeon also said ‘amen.’ I also thanked God for answering my prayer, “Enlarge my borders.”

However, while I was recovering at home I felt a little discouraged that I hadn’t had any additional ministry opportunities. On my first venture back into the real world, I wasn’t able to speak clearly, and so I wrote a note, which said, “Good morning. :) I am unable to speak, because I’ve just had surgery for a cancerous growth on my tongue. But God is good, and there’s no cancer in my body!” I showed the note to individuals at the post office, the library, and the grocery store. In addition, although I questioned God about sharing my testimony with more individuals, He reminded me that I was praying to have a greater realm of influence for Him. And as I am writing this 2018 Summer Series, “I Love to Tell the Story”, He has opened doors for me to share it with even more people!

How about you? Are you adventurous enough to pray the Jabez Prayer with me? “Bless me indeed! Expand my territory, my ministry.” Remember Paul’s words: “Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” (Ephesians 3:20, Living Bible). Hallelujah!



Blessings & Peace

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor), Canada

Sunday, August 26, 2018

2018 Summer Series: I Love to Tell the Story


Part 5: Prayer of Jabez, Part 1: Bless Me Indeed!

When I was preparing devotionals for the 2017 Advent Season, including New Year’s and Epiphany, which celebrates the arrival of the Magi at Bethlehem (on Jan. 6th), I asked God what He wanted me to do for the New Year’s post. “The theme for the 2017 holiday season was: “New Beginnings: See? I Am Doing a New Thing!--God.” As I quieted my spirit before Him, I clearly heard, “Enlarge My Borders!” I vaguely connected that phrase to Dr. Bruce H. Wilkinson’s book, “The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life” (2000), which is based on a 4-part prayer found in 1 Chronicles 4: 10: “10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would indeed bless me and enlarge my border [property], and that Your hand would be with me, and You would keep me from evil so that it does not hurt me!” And God granted his request.” With His further prompting, on January 14th, I began a Face Book group: “Jabez Prayer Warriors.”


In the Preface to his book, Wilkinson declares, “I want to teach you how to pray a daring prayer that God always answers. It is brief—only one sentence with four parts—and tucked away in the Bible, but I believe it contains the key to a life of extraordinary favor with God. This petition has radically changed what I expect from God and what I experience every day by His power. In fact, thousands of believers who are applying its truths are seeing miracles happen on a regular basis.”


Imagine having extraordinary favour with God! The first part of Jabez’s prayer is “...bless me indeed!” Wilkinson notes that most Christians don’t ask God to bless them, but the meaning in this first part of the prayer goes beyond asking God to bless us. It actually means, “God bless me a lot!” And as I [Elizabeth] have prayed, “God bless me, indeed,” He definitely has and continues to do so. On June 11th/18 I posted on Face Book about God’s favour on me and my family, practical, down to earth favour, and I’m sharing excerpts of it to give those of you who may be struggling hope, too:


This is the year of the favour of our Lord! I'm so glad that I've heard this message via different sources—sermons, music, testimonies and books-- & now I am claiming it for me, my family, friends, and ministry! xx


We have seen so much of God’s favour in the past few months! I had been working on sorting out hospital and medical bills…. Being uninsured has been a difficult position to be in. However, we applied for, and received, financial sponsorship from the hospital, which they back-dated to August 13/17 and which extends to Apr. 10/2019. I have been awarded a hospital sponsorship for a 76% reduction on my unimaginably-high hospital bill and also on the bill for pre-surgery evaluation. However, other hospital-associated services were not guaranteed to match the sponsorship discount (e.g., my surgeon, speech pathologist, pathology and anesthesiology). I contacted the individual billing departments; and, amazingly, they all agreed to match the hospital sponsorship, providing me a deep 76% discount for their services (normally, they will agree to a 20-30% reduction for self-paying patients!)! Hallelujah!


Lord, bless me indeed, bless me a lot—and He has and continues to do so! And so, I continue to thank Him for His unmerited favour on my life, and on the lives of my family and friends, too! If you haven’t yet begun praying Jabez’s Prayer daily, begin doing so now. I pray that as God showers His favour on you, that your spirit is open to recognizing and receiving it!


Blessings & Peace 


Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor), Canada

Saturday, August 18, 2018

2018 Summer Series: I Love to Tell the Story

Part 4: This is the Year of the Favour of our Lord!

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news... to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…,”
(Isaiah 61: 1-2,NIV).
When we hear the word ‘favour’, what comes to mind? We need to define it if we want to recognize it in our lives. “Favour”, as a noun, means the approval, support, or liking that is felt for someone or something; or an act of kindness that goes beyond the usual expectation. When favour is used as a verb, it translates it into a fluid, active mode, of showing approval and kindness to others. In a nutshell, God’s favour toward us is a demonstration of His approval of us and the acts of kindness that He shows or gives us. May He open our eyes to His favour that is woven throughout our daily living!

At the conclusion of last week’s post (Part 3: I Love to Tell My Story—I Wish it Didn’t Have to be this One) I promised to share how God used different methods to stir up my faith in the midst of the initial dark days of shock and disbelief [re: being diagnosed with tongue cancer, because I had never smoked or drank]. Throughout this experience, God’s favour has been upon me, and His favour is on you in your circumstances, too! But we need to be aware of God’s favour or we might just chalk His goodness up to ‘coincidence’.

From the beginning of this unexpected journey with cancer, my focus has been: Whatever happens, I want God to get the glory! When I began telling others about my experience and asking for prayer, I limited sharing it with a few trusted friends. When I felt prompted to write this summer series, I began with questioning God. God reminded me that, if I truly want Him to get the glory, then I have to be willing to tell others. Thus one of the first steps to stirring up my faith was the most difficult for me—to expand the circle of people with whom I was willing to share God’s incredible goodness, peace, and love throughout my circumstances. As I debated about His nudging, I was blessed to hear Joel Osteen’s message that we are surrounded by God, whom surrounds the troubles that surround us. When the message concluded, it was clear that I was to expand my prayer request and to share God’s awesome blessings. The positive response was overwhelming—it reminded me of when Elijah, after his triumphant beat-down battle with the prophets of Baal, heard about Jezebel’s death threats, and ran for his life. After he had put a great distance between her and himself, he was exhausted and began to feel alone. God stepped in and emphasized that Elijah was not the only one fighting for righteousness—there were more than 7,000 who had not bowed to Baal! [See 1 Kings 18-19] When I saw the many responses of compassion, encouragement, and support to my plea for prayer, God stepped in and demonstrated to me that I was not alone, either! And I am so grateful to have this freely-given support, which has been a gift to me and my family every step of the way!
The second major step was to spend more time in worship, specifically via music, which is an essential element in my life. My spirit was greatly lifted as I listened and worshiped to a wide variety of music. I was reminded of the chorus, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

Thirdly, on June 11th, I posted about the message that I have been repeatedly getting, “This is the year of the favour of our Lord! I'm so glad that I've heard this message via different sources—sermons, music, people sharing their testimony-- & now I am claiming it for me, my family, friends, ministry, and for you! Thank You, Jesus!



Blessings & Peace

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk

Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor),

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor), Canada

Saturday, August 11, 2018

2018 Summer Series: I Love to Tell the Story



Part 3: I Love to Tell My Story—I Wish it Didn’t Have to Be This One

If you read last week’s post, “Part 2: I Love to Tell My Story—Do You Love to Tell Yours?” you will recall that I shared the account of Steve’s (my husband) brush with death and the highly likely crippling disability that could have stemmed from the paralysis down his right side in 2017. I also emphasized that many had been praying for my husband, and God had answered their prayers. We were definitely excited when Steve was finally cleared to drive, again, and were looking forward to celebrating Christmas and to a better New Year.

However, after consultations with two specialists (one mid-November, the other the beginning of January) regarding a small, .55 inch lesion on my tongue, I was referred to a head and neck specialist for a biopsy. So the holidays were subdued; but we didn’t tell our loved ones about our situation, because we didn’t want to spoil their holiday mood.

On January 11th, we arrived at the specialist’s office, and my heart sank when I noted the sign that read “Cancer Institute” on the office building. The surgeon thought the growth looked ‘suspicious’ and when asked what it was, he blurted out, “cancer”! Then, without missing a beat, he asked if I was ready for him to do the biopsy. When he noted it takes 7-10 days for the biopsied-area to heal I didn’t reply. I explained that it was our 32ndanniversary, and we were planning to have dinner together after the appointment. He suggested we could do the biopsy the following week. When he left the room I turned to Steve and said, “What do I do now?” I was in shock. He replied, “You do what you always do. You go on living your life.” I didn’t know if I could do that.

We did stop for our anniversary dinner on the way home, but neither of us had much of an appetite nor felt in much of a celebratory mood. It did, however, give us some time to talk about how we were feeling about the appointment. Steve reminded me that the doctor had also stated that he believed the cancer was caught in an early stage and that he didn’t believe it had spread to other tissues or organs. We had to wait until the biopsy was performed and the results available before we could decide what to do next. Normally, I love to tell my story about being saved through Christ’s grace and mercy, and all the blessings that He has so graciously given to me and my family. However, this was a story that I wished was not part of my life.

In next week’s post, I will share how God used a number of different avenues to stir up my faith in the midst of the initial dark days of shock and disbelief.

Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor), Canada

Friday, August 3, 2018

2018 Summer Series: I Love to Tell the Story

Part 2: 
I Love to Tell My Story—
Do You Love to Tell Yours?





Life is filled with challenges, responsibilities, and demands on our time, along with many transitions. Whether or not we are Christians, we don’t normally escape the realities of our lives—both the positive and the negative ones. However, Jesus promises His followers, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age!” (Matthew 28: 20b, NIV). I must admit, though, that for many years these words seemed a little hollow, because my childhood foundation was built on trauma, guilt, and wariness of others. As a result, I created walls of protection around my heart, around my life. Nevertheless, after years of Christian counseling, God began to heal my mind, heart, and spirit. And at last I was able to understand the healing of His love and the power and comfort of His presence.


And now we’ll fast forward to the late spring of 2017. My husband, Steve (also a former Salvation Army Officer/pastor) suffers from an autoimmune disease. The medications that he takes suppress his overactive immune system. One morning he woke up and was barely able to move. I rushed Steve to the Emergency Room with a raging fever; he couldn’t walk at all by the time we arrived. He was admitted to the hospital for three days, during which time he was given a couple of different courses of antibiotics. Eventually, it was determined that Steve had sepsis, which “is a serious condition resulting from the presence of harmful microorganisms in the blood or other tissues and the body’s response to their presence, potentially leading to the malfunctioning of various organs, shock, and death,” (Webster Dictionary). Steve was in the hospital for two full days before it was discovered how the infection had entered his blood stream. Over the next several weeks the type of antibiotics had to be changed 5 times, and he also had a topical antibiotic. During this time Steve had to stop taking the medications for his autoimmune disease so that his body could build up immunity to fight the sepsis. Although he recovered enough to walk out of the hospital, he had a relapse within a couple of weeks. The result was that he had an auto-immune attack which essentially left him paralyzed down his right side. With physiotherapy and lots of practice, he relearned how to walk and regained much of his strength and mobility. During this time period of six to seven months, I was privileged to serve as Steve’s chauffeur for his many medical appointments and back and forth to work. Steve was in really bad shape when he was admitted to the hospital, and I thought we were losing him. But people were standing in the gap for us, and we believed that God would hear and answer the many prayers—and He did!.We are so thankful that God gave Steve back to our family.


This is part of my recent story. Steve and I thought that we were in the clear and were looking forward to celebrating Christmas together. But then things took a turn in my health, which I will share with you next week.


Blessings & Peace

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor), Canada

Saturday, July 28, 2018

2018 Summer Series: I Love to Tell the Story

2018 Summer Series Part 1

When you hear the word, “classic”, what comes to mind? Webster’s Dictionary provides details and examples about what is encompassed by the word ‘classic’, such as: 1) serving as a standard of excellence (e.g., classic literary works); 2) traditional, enduring (e.g., classic designs); 3) simple tailored lines in fashion year after year (e.g., a classic suit); 4) historically memorable (e.g., a classic battle). [https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/classic] And we have certainly encountered the use of the concept of ‘classic’ in our daily lives. For instance, the word classic is used to describe the foundational pieces, which are essential in our wardrobes—pieces that stand the test of time, and which can be mixed and matched to create new, fresh looks. Collecting and restoring old cars to their original state, to look as good as new, is an interesting hobby for many individuals. Furthermore, we are familiar with the practice of restoring or remaking classic movies. And, finally, a controversial undertaking is the reworking of classic hymns and songs, which presents the foundational message of these songs in a new and fresh way to our current generation and to the next one. Some of these songs include, Amazing Grace, Power in the Blood, and I Need Thee.

     And as we remember the classic hymns, we recognize that many individuals grew up singing them or hearing their parents and/or grandparents singing them. These traditional songs have been passed down through the generations. The past few months I’ve discovered that I’ve been singing one of those much-loved hymns, “I Love to Tell the Story;” and as I’ve done so, I’ve gained a new insight, a new revelation of its meaning:



I Love to Tell The Story

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

Refrain

I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.

Refrain

-A. Katherine Hankey and William G. Fischer





The lines that keep replaying themselves are: “And when in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song, ‘Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long!” And it dawned on me: the old, old story is a classic. It’s essential, foundational to our faith—the love of Jesus! From before time began, love, “In the beginning, God…,” (Genesis 1: 1), could also be read as, “In the beginning, love….” But can we exchange the word “God” with the word “love”? Yes! Why? Because the Bible says that, “God is love,” (1John 4:8, 16).



So the old, old story is also my new, new song; because Jesus is the Living Word, and His love is always fresh and new! It’s foundational to our faith and to our daily lives as Christ restores us and makes us new, “When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun! ((2 Corinthians 5:17 Living Bible). In other words, our new song begins when our new life in Christ begins (see John 3:3-13). Hallelujah!

Blessings & Peace



Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk

Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor), Canada

THIS SERIES WILL BE UPDATED WEEKLY ON SATURDAYS - BLESSINGS





Sunday, July 22, 2018

2018 Summer Series: I Love to Tell the Story



Introduction





Earlier this summer I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to create a Summer Series that would reach a wider audience for His glory and that would speak to the hearts and minds of others who need the same hope and comfort that I have received while going through the biopsy, tests, scans, evaluation, surgery, and the recovery process, along with the follow-up visits and more regularly scheduled scans (more in the first year, and then annually for 5 years) for tongue cancer. This is a Scriptural principle, 


“Praise to the God of All Comfort: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God,
(1 Corinthians 1: 3-4, NIV).

     The series is designed to share my recent testimony, and through it, to encourage others to grow in their faith and become excited about sharing their current testimonies, too. Why? Because Jesus is the Living Word, and our testimony should reflect that living, growing, and deepening of our faith versus only focusing on when we initially got saved. That's good, but how long ago was that? What's God doing in our lives today? Remember that Paul admonished the Church at Corinth, “1Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly-mere infants in Christ. 2I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it, (1 Corinthians 3:1-2, NIV). The truth is that sometimes we get busy or distracted and may not realize that we are ready for the next step in our spiritual growth—meat to chew on! In the post-surgery recovery period, I have had to learn how to move from ‘milk’ (nutritional drinks) to ‘soft foods’ (anything that turns to mush when I squeeze it between my finger and thumb), to meat. Even chewing meat is happening in stages (e.g., soft, tinned/canned meat, such as fish or chicken; to minced-type meat, such as chicken nuggets, to now eating very small pieces of chicken or hamburger meat). The process that Paul is describing is one that we all go through in life, beginning as newborns drinking milk and progressing through different stages until we are mature enough to handle meatier fare. This is the perfect analogy of how we grow spiritually, too. Thus, as I’ve been praying about this series, there have been many ideas swirling in my heart and mind. I have formulated an outline; and the series, “I Love to Tell the Story”, is tentatively scheduled for 10 weeks, which includes the introduction and the conclusion. The posts will be on Saturdays, beginning this Saturday, July 21st/18 and concluding on September 23rd/18, which is the first day of autumn.
     I hope that you will join me for this 2018 Summer Series: I Love to Tell the Story. As we explore the miraculous ways that God is still working in our lives today, I pray that you will also receive assurance and affirmation of God’s love and presence in your life. Together, let us stir up our faith, to fan it into a burning flame (2 Timothy 1:6t).

Blessings & Peace




Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk

Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor), Canada