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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Bicycle Billy

By: Amber Furr – Inspired by a true story

As we walked out of IHOP yesterday,

We met a man parking his bicycle along the way. You could tell he had endured a hard life,

Just by his gray hair and the sadness in his crystal blue eyes. His bicycle, painted by hand, almost the color of army green,

With a tapestry of a skull wrapped around the front and a seat that was ripped at the seams.

There was a tiny pair of binoculars hanging down from the bar,

I noticed also laid across the back was a jacket that was ripped up and scarred. Bicycle Billy was his name.

As he began to talk about the mistakes he’s made, his walk of shame. He had served in the Army as a truck driver for years,

Seemed he was proud then moved slightly to tears. He began to talk about his life after the Army,

How he had gotten DWl’s, many he said.

So that told me he was trying to drown out visions of things remembered that played over and over inside his head.

He also talked about not having a home, being in jail, no license, receiving many tickets that he could not pay.

Also receiving several tickets on his bicycle for his lights not being on display.

At that moment God impressed on me to thank him for his service and place five dollars in his hand.

I know this is not much, and you did not ask, but  God loves you so much, he loves you right where you’re at.”

Bicycle Billy said, “Yes ma’am, I believe, and every once in a while, he sends angels like you to remind me of just that.”

As tears ran down Bicycle Billy’s cheeks, mom stepped out of the truck and gave him twenty dollars and said, “here, get you something to eat.”

With eyes filled with amazement, not from the money you see, but from the power of the presence of God that stirred up Bicycle Billy’s beliefs.

As we hugged Bicycle Billy and began to walk away, Bicycle Billy said he would be praying for us and asked us our names.

As we began to leave, Bicycle Billy approached us once more. This time with things on a chain, things he adored.

He handed a ring to Mom that bears a cross.

Let me take a moment from this story, one slight pause.

A couple of months earlier, my Mom had mentioned that she didn’t hear God’s voice like people proclaimed.

I said, “Mom you will hear God’s voice, he speaks to all of us the same, in a small still voice he speaks.”

Mom heard God’s voice that day sitting in the truck.

When God told Mom to give Bicycle Billy that twenty bucks. Now God has given a gift to her through Bicycle Billy.

From someone who moments before thought he was nothing and had a life that most people pitied.

A gift that had a cross.

Wow isn’t that just like our heavenly father to show up and save all that’s lost? Little did I know how God would use Bicycle Billy to change my life that day.

He reminded me how much he loves us in so many ways.

God reminded me that he loves us even though we make mistakes. That he is the only true God, he will never change.

He meets us right where we are, he knows our names, hears all prayers, and he sees our pain.

For you see, Bicycle Billy wasn’t the only one that needed the Lord that day.

I too, needed God in a special way.

He reminded me to never lose sight of the cross.

To remember that he died for us so that we would have life and never be lost. To always be humble, never quick to judge.

To always show we care.

To take time to speak to strangers because they are the true angels the Bible speaks of that are being entertained unaware.

So, thank you God for allowing me to experience how you truly love. Thank you, Bicycle Billy, for sharing your story.

For now, it is being used as part of mine for his glory. Oh, how I will never forget that day,

The presence of the Lord and the love he displayed.

Narrator’s Note:

When we lay down all we think that defines us, All that is left is flesh and the Spirit within.

Standing side by side we are Bicycle Billy’s twin.

Only thing to separate us from one another is who we serve in the end.

Thank you for taking the time to read Bicycle Billy!

To see just a few of David’s creations click here.

If you would like to know more about David & Michelle click here.

For more inspirational reading:

  1. Are you Bold?
  2. Why 2 Corinthians 5:17 is on every cross I make.
  3. The Coming King Sculpture & Prayer Garden as featured in Charisma Magazine.
  4. Love is the best defense for offense.

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

A guest post featuring Jamie from OneWordFaith.com

I can remember it clearly, sitting in the audience at Target Center, singing God’s praises along with thousands of others.  I was very excited about the opportunity to hear Danny Gokey perform as an opening act to Casting Crowns, as I’d been a fan of his work for many years.  But my surprise of the night occurred when Danny performed his new song – not yet released as a single – called “Masterpiece” (listen here: https://youtu.be/yJMQdJeqXrs ). 

The Holy Spirit nudged me, “Listen up, dear child, this song is for you!”

Although I had never heard the song before, the words stuck with me.  They still do.

Guess I’m your canvas
Beautiful black and blue
Painted in mercy’s hue
I don’t see past this
You see me now
Who I’ll be then
There at the end
Standing there as
Your Masterpiece

You’re shaping the soul in me
You’re moving where I can’t see
And all I am is in your hands
You’re taking me all apart
Like it was your plan from the start
To finish your work of art for all to see
You’re making a masterpiece

This song is now permanently stored on my phone’s “most special” playlist.  Listening to it provides encouragement, no matter my mood.  And the more I listen, the more I believe and rely on the words from Ephesians 2:10 (NLT):

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

What exactly is a “Masterpiece”?  Some definitions include: a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship; a person’s greatest piece of work; an extremely skillful or clever example of something.

Much like the phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, a “masterpiece” is likely also a subjective concept.  How proudly parents and grandparents display their young ones’ artwork on the fridge or desks!  They see a masterpiece where perhaps others see scribbles.  They see the hands and the heart behind the creation.

As I think of my own life experience, I can honestly say that I’ve seen masterpieces…

…sitting across my dinner table, standing in line at a checkout counter, and lying in a hospital bed.

…walking the shores of Florida, hiking the hills of Montana, and biking the trails of Minnesota.

…hanging on my fridge, hanging on the wall of an art gallery, and hanging on a Cross.

But the hardest masterpiece to recognize?  The one in the mirror.

God is the Master Artist, the Master Creator, the Master Craftsman.  His work is magnificent, beautiful, and worthy of praise.  To acknowledge the masterpiece within me, I cling to these scriptures:

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 NIV

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8 NIV

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14 NIV

Many years ago, I participated in an “Alpha” course at my church.  Even though I was already a Christ follower at that time, the Holy Spirit used this 12-week class to transform me.  To open my mind to His teaching.  To soften my heart to more fully embrace His love for me.  To more closely align His will with mine.  During one lesson, the small group leader handed out a piece of paper for us to keep (and I still have it today!).  The title at the top: “A Father’s Love Letter”.  Here is an excerpt:

My Child,
 
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27
I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1
And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
Love,
Your Almighty Father
 
(read the entire letter here: https://www.fathersloveletter.com/)

God sees a Masterpiece in each of us!  We were created in His own image, we were knit together by a Master Artist.  We are the work of His skillful hands, His treasured possessions, His masterpieces.

Our human experience of “masterpiece” might be quite different than God’s.  To identify a masterpiece, we tend to look for uniqueness, color, texture, and all senses being engaged.  We tend to think of “masterpiece” as achieving a perfect state, a work of our hands that at the point it is “finished”, it becomes our masterpiece.

But my guess is that to God, His children are Masterpieces from birth, through human life, and even in death.  At each stage of the process, we are His Masterpiece.

At birth, God sees a Masterpiece in our chubby cheeks, flailing movements, and helpless cries.  As we grow into adults and mature in our Faith, God recognizes His handiwork within us. 

Through the intimacy of our relationship with Christ, we continue to be transformed – from the inside out.  As we keep our focus on Him, He forms us into the ones He desires us to be.  Our part is to yield to His creative work in us, neither resisting it nor trying to hurry it.

While we diligently put our spiritual gifts to use in building His Kingdom on earth, His workmanship is boldly on display.

When we claim His Son as our Savior, repent, and allow our sins to be washed away – to become whiter than snow – we shine as His Masterpiece unblemished by sin, in union with Christ.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Psalm 51:7 NIV

If “masterpiece” is the most outstanding work of an artist, then Christ must be God’s first Masterpiece.  And when we proclaim Jesus as our Lord, abide in Him and He in us, we become a part of the Eternal Masterpiece.

Author Bio:

Jamie Boettcher is a married Midwesterner and mother of two teenage boys. As the founder and creator of One Word Faith, she uses her passion for writing to encourage her readers to dig deeper into God’s Word and carry the light of Christ into the world. 

Facebook here.

Instagram here.

Click here to see a few of David Broussard’s masterpieces!

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

I was going through some family papers and ran across this article that my grandmother wrote. “Mama Jo” as the family called her was creative in many ways however I did not know that she was a writer. She has been in Heaven since 2001. I believe she wrote this piece in 1978; it is still as relevant today. I am sure she would find it humorous that she is now published on a blog and shared on social media 40 years after she wrote this. Enjoy. This is her original writing with no edits. I did add her name at the end.

Drilling wheat was considered an easy task. The ground had been carefully prepared, the field was big, the furroughs were long, and the tractor could run smoothly in fifth gear. 

Henry, my husband, had given careful instructions, and since this was my first experience in farming, was always close by if I needed help.  It was he who shouldered the fifty pound bags of seed wheat necessary to refill the drill and who assumed the responsibility of maintenance and refueling the tractor.

It was a beautiful September day. The sun was warm, and something very unusual for the panhandle of Texas, there was no breeze. When I became adjusted to operating the tractor and became comfortable with the speed, I relaxed, looked around, and was thoroughly enjoying myself. Billowed clouds were in constant change; graceful, mammoth hawks swooped low in pursuit of insects and field mice. As an artist, I studied the greyish-blue sky at the horizon in contrast to the pure blue above. It wasn’t long, however, until I began to notice something else.

Across the field were large pieces of rock and concrete, scattered with fertilizer by trucks from the cattle feed yards. They had been either over-looked or ignored during the previous plowing.

Knowing that hard debris as this can cause extensive damage to expensive equipment, and knowing that repairs are costly in both time and money, I had the feeling that “anything worth doing was worth doing right.”

When I would see a rock or broken piece of concrete anywhere in the field, I would stop the tractor, leave the cab, descend the ladder, and walk the distance in the newly-plowed ground to retrieve the object. After placing the debris into the cab, I would again climb the ladder, enter the cab, and start the tractor in motion again. Frequently, I would go a short distance and repeat the procedure.

The day became hotter; I grew weary, but time and time again I repeated this pattern. Soon I was physically exhausted. I became angry – I was behind schedule; the distance between Henry and myself was widening; I was wasting valuable time and expensive fuel. 

“Lord, there has to be an easier way,” I prayed. Thoughts began to come – very rapid and very firm. 

My first responsibility was to follow instructions and to do the work at hand. I was to keep my eyes on the furroughs I was on and not across the open field. If I saw a rock or concrete ahead, I should make a quick evaluation for the potential for damage, and then, only then, was I to stop the tractor, walk the necessary few steps, and remove the object.

The instructions were so simple. Other thoughts followed. 

How similar this was to my daily life. Instead of staying on course, staying close to Christ and following His instructions, I had wasted precious minutes, sometimes hours – anticipating problems and trying to solve them before they arrived. Instead of relaxing and enjoying each moment as it comes, my energy had been diffused by fret and worry.

How much easier and more beautiful my life will be, Lord, when I learn to stay close to You and to follow Your instructions; when I learn to take one step at a time while enjoying the good and beautiful that surrounds me. And, when the rocky times comes, Lord, with a knowledge of Your Presence, I will be able to see clearly and to discern what is – or what is not important, and deal with it then.

Deep in my heart, Father, I know that what gets my attention gets me. Thank you for teaching me this lesson. I will keep my eyes on You.

… Betty Jo Solomon (1926-2001)

Click here to read a little more about us!

Click here to see some of David’s creations from steel and a blow torch.

Click here for more interesting reading.

The post What Gets My Attention Gets Me! appeared first on Jeweled Steel by Broussard.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Do you ever feel like God does not see you? Do you feel as if you are praying in vain? Do you ever feel like God does not hear you? I do.

Recently I found a journal entry from 3 years ago. As I read it I realized I have been praying for the same things for 3 years! If I had not dated the entry I would have thought it was recent. Why have I been praying for the same things? Did I not trust that God heard my prayers? Did I keep holding onto the request instead of relinquishing it? 

Three years is a long time, Jesus’ public ministry was only 3 years. As I thought about this, I made the decision to stop praying for all that I had been praying for over the last 3 years. I decided to trust that God heard me and had set about answering my prayers. I decided to let go and worship Him in spite of not seeing answers or at least the answers I wanted.

Today, I choose to stand on His Word.

S – Spend 
T – Time
A – Anchored
N – Not
D – Doing  (Ephesians 6:12)

I choose to Worship while waiting.

W – When 
O – Our
R – Response is
S – Surrending to
H – Him
I – In
P – praise

I choose to praise Him in every storm.

S – Stand
T – ’til
O – over and
R – Remember
M – Me

I choose to remember that when I pray, it as a

P – Personal
R – Request
A – Answered by
Y – Yahweh.

I choose to believe that we overcome by the word of our testimony and the Blood of the Lamb. I choose to believe that with God all things are possible and work together for good. I choose to believe that God is good and He has a good plan for me. I choose to believe that God sees me and knows my name.  (Revelation 12:11, Matthew 19:26, Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 139)

I choose Jesus because He chose me. (John 15:16)

I think I will trust Him to answer my old prayers and will start praying for new things!

What about you?

Thank you for reading, here are two more articles about answered prayers.

  • Leap of Faith – How God answered David’s prayer for a new gift.
  • Stop Begging and Start Believing – Prayer declarations that David and I used when our neighbor violently threatened us because we were Christians. This prayer was answered in quite a drastic way, blog post coming since I am now free to write about it.

If you do not know Jesus, please read about Him here.

The post Praying, praying and still praying… appeared first on Jeweled Steel by Broussard.

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Recently, I decided to stop reading news headlines and as much as possible avoid the outrageous events and sound bites that permeate the internet.  What brought me to this point? Anxiety and fear.

I was becoming fearful of the future, fearful of our government, fearful of people and just plain fearful. As I was praying about this, the Holy Spirit told me to stop listening to the world and to pay attention to what He says.

When I first pondered not listening to the news, relief washed over me. Then fear arose and told me that I need to know what is going on. How could I plan for the future or know what was going to happen?  I began debating the merits of listening to the Holy Spirit, can I trust God? Will I know what to do when I need to do it? As if we have any control over anything anyway!!!  At the moment this debate was going on in my head, I read Philippians 4:8-9 which says:

“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 those things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Immediately several things jumped out at me. First, the news from most news sources these days is not considered noble, just, pure or lovely. There is also some debate as to whether the news is true and of good report. Secondly, Paul says that if we focus on the things he mentions in Philippians 4:8-9, the God of peace WILL be with us. So, why would I not want to just jump off the news bandwagon and dive headfirst into the Word of God? I want the God of peace to be with me.

I spend a lot of time with the Lord and love His Word so for me to even have fear-based thoughts of not listening or reading the news was interesting to me. I realized that the desire for control or the illusion of control was the only reason I wanted to be informed.

The Holy Spirit gave me a vision that really freed me from ‘needing to know or be in control’. I was in a boat and attempting to lift my 85 lb dog to dry land. She did not want to be picked up so she was squirming and wanting down, at 85 lbs that is a lot of dog to hold. The Holy Spirit told me that I was like my squirmy dog. He was trying to hold on to me and get me to a safe, peaceful place but I was fighting Him. If you have ever tried to hold a squirmy dog or child you can relate!

The Holy Spirit showed me that peace is the

P
– Perfect
E – Everlasting
A – Adoration of
C – Christ
E – Eternal

We are to keep our minds focused on things above and not the things of this world (Colossians 3:2). We are to believe in what we cannot see rather than what is right in front of us. (Hebrews 11:1-3).  Romans 12:2 says that we are not to be conformed to this world but rather be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we will know the perfect will of God. This does not sound like anything on any news source I have been reading or watching.

As I meditated on these scriptures the Holy Spirit showed me that truth is

T
– Timely,
R – Relevant and
U – Unpopular
T – To
H – Hear.

What we hear and see on most media outlets is not The Truth. The only Truth is the Word of God. Jesus says in John 8:31-32 that if we abide in His Word, we shall know the truth and the truth shall make us free. Proverbs 12:17 says that he who speaks truth declares righteousness and in v 19 the truthful lip will be established forever but a lying tongue is for a moment. Solomon goes on to say in Proverbs 12:22 that lying lips are an abomination to the Lord but those who deal truthfully are His delight.

When we speak The Truth, we are bringing Heaven to earth and furthering God’s Kingdom. It may not be popular but The Truth has never been popular. When the world rejects us, they are rejecting our Heavenly Father (1 Samuel 8:7, Luke 10:16). When we speak the Truth and are ridiculed, we are in great company.

As believers, our Truth is not of this world. We can choose to be the squirmy dog trying to escape from certain disaster or we can relax and let our Savior carry us along in these turbulent times.

Let’s choose the Truth,

T – To
R – Really
U – Understand and
T – Take to
H – Heart

that His truth will last forever. Let us worship at His holy temple and praise His name because He is lovingkindness and Truth and He magnifies His word above His name (Psalm 138:2).

This is the only Truth leads to 

P – Perfect
E – Everlasting
A – Adoration 
C – Christ
E – Eternal.

He is the King of kings and the Lords of lords. He is the Alpha and Omega is the Author and Finisher of our faith, He is the Beginning and the End. He is our Savior and Redeemer. He is peace and truth. He is Jesus!

Now why was I concerned about not watching the news?

My husband does amazing things with steel and a blow torch, see some of his creations here.

You can find more information about us and why we do what we do here.

The post Peace, Truth, Anxiety & Fear appeared first on Jeweled Steel by Broussard.

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

I used to be an acupuncturist and a Reiki Master. During acupuncture school, my fellow students exposed me to many different things that were not part of our school curriculum. I encountered angel worship, Reiki, energy work, psychics, teachings of Abraham (not the one in the Bible), palm reading, tarot cards, divination with pendulums, and much more. 

I saw first hand how manipulation occurs with spiritual entrapment and spiritual travel.  A man at a conference I attended tried to put a spiritual ‘hook’ in me so that he could access me in the spirit realm later.  That same night, I had a feeling of being pulled off my bed and dragged away. I had no idea what was happening but I awoke and struggled to say the name of Jesus.  When I called out “JESUS!”, the struggle stopped and I went right back to sleep. 

At this time in my life, I had no idea about spiritual warfare. My knowledge was only a song by Nicole C. Mullen which said, to call on Jesus and He will come rescue you. I heard that song on my way to the conference and the Holy Spirit brought it to my mind as I was experiencing this spiritual attack. I called out to Jesus, He came and rescued me. 

I still do not understand all the happened that night but there is really no need for me to know all that happened. The next day at the conference, the man who tried to manipulate me asked me who I had protecting me. He said he had never encountered anything or anyone so powerful. I told him Jesus was my protector.  Honestly I was a bit shocked by all that happened but I became intrigued by the spirit world. Armed with a lot of confidence and a large amount of ignorance I set about exploring that world. 

I was a Christian and had been for most of my life but had never seen power or experienced the Holy Spirit. On my spiritual discovery journey I learned that many people in the New Age have more power than most Christians. The reason being, they believe in the unseen and have experience spiritual power, not Holy Spirit power but powers of darkness.

If Christians would realize that we are in a spiritual battle and engage on a spirit level how much ground could we recover? When you bring up the spirit realm in most churches, they look at you like you are nuts. I have had the best conversations about the spirit realm with psychic and new age practitioners. I find they believe in Jesus, they just do not believe He is the only to the Father. They believe in the power of spirits. These are satanic spirits that are evil but can masquerade as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). I find that people attracted to new age practice are very open to discussions about the Holy Spirit whereas the average Christian does not want to discuss things of the spirit or Spirit. 

Fast forward about 15 years, now I speak to various Christian groups about New Age practices and things of the Spirit. One question that always comes up is “what is occultism?”. It is a great question but most people are not prepared for my answer. 

The word occultic is an astronomical (not horoscopes) term. Merriam-Webster defines the word occult as to shut off from view or exposure.  Occultism is when one heavenly body passes in front of another and obscures the one behind it, such as a lunar eclipse. In other words, occultism occurs when something blocks the sun or the Son.    

The practice of occultism is an agreement with any belief or practice that opposes the law of God and comes between God and man.  It offers itself as truth from God, when in fact, the real truth is obscured and hidden. 

It is easy to look around and think that occultism only applies to psychics, tarot card or palm readers but what about addictions? What about busyness? What about idolizing our pets? What about gossip or slander? What about comparing ourselves to others? What about all those self-help books that tell us we can fix our selves? Do these ‘occlude’ us from the truth of God?  The answer is yes.

The ultimate goal of the new age movement is self-idolatry (Isaiah 14:12-15). Today we personalize everything and make it all about us.  We take so many photos of ourselves that Merriam-Webster added the word ‘selfie‘ to the dictionary last year. The New Age movement has moved to the mainstream. The world around us aims to minimize the deity of Jesus Christ and promote the god of self. 

I find that Christians are eager to point fingers at psychics and other new age practices but we fail to realize that we participate in many activities that occlude the Son from our lives. We run to alcohol for confidence. We run to pornography to escape. We run to romance novels to find love. We use religious activity as a substitute for a relationship with Christ. We idolize food and entertainment.

I can easily talk about psychics, divination, witchcraft and sorcery. I could pull out many scriptures and testimonies that show they are from the pit of hell but I think it is much more important to focus on what in your life occludes you from seeing Jesus rightly? What keeps you from spending time with Him? What keeps you from having Holy Spirit power in your life? What do you need to remove so you can see the Son?

Nothing in this world is new today.  Satan is real. Distraction, busyness, and offense are some of his best weapons.  As believers we are engaged in spiritual warfare. There is a battle raging right now. Our eyes must be open , our minds full of The Word, our hearts ready to love, our feet ready to stand and our mouth ready to proclaim that Jesus is the only way to the Father.

After all,

O – On
C – Christ’s
C – coattails
U – unfit
L – Lucifer
T – trails and he 
I – Is
C – condemned. (Revelation 20:10)

The Truth of the New Age movement is that

N – No one
E – else
W – wins

A – All
G – glorify
E – Elohim (Phillipians 2:10-11)

What is blocking your view of Jesus? We do not have time for anything to occlude our view.  Jesus is the only thing that matters!

Thank you for taking the time to read this! If you are interested in knowing a bit more about us, please read this.

If you do not know Jesus and would like to know a little more about Him, please read this.

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

2018 was a tough year for me physically, mentally and emotionally. It seemed as if all the running and chasing after ‘things’ caught up with me. I end the year burned out and exhausted. The pain and fatigue from the Rheumatoid Arthritis was so strong I did not know how I would get through each day. I just put my head down and kept going along, it seems as if I don’t know another way.

We had a tornado hit our property in 2017, and I was surprised that living through a natural disaster can be quite traumatic. In 2018, I completed my Ph.D. in Christian Counseling and in addition to helping out my husband with our primary business, Jeweled Steel, I began a counseling practice. Jeweled Steel became a secondary focus as I put most of my energy into my new practice. A word of caution, being in a state of exhaustion is not any way to start a new venture.

I was counseling and trying to keep my head above water. Eventually, I came to really not like counseling. It seemed as if most of the people coming for counseling had no real interest in changing, they just wanted to talk to someone. I think a good Christian friend would have solved most of their problems. I reached a point in the Fall of 2018 that I could no longer fake having it all together.

We had a small home group over at our house on a Friday evening and the following day I just could barely function. A dear friend of mine was out for the weekend and unfortunately, I was not very nice to her. By the end of that weekend, I had shut out most everyone in my life in a desperate attempt to just get some rest. I was so exhausted I could not even handle the slightest request. I had no desire to talk to anyone. Fortunately, my husband was very supportive and handled the bulk of our communication for both our work and social lives.

During the last part of 2018, I had been crying out to God for relief. Worship had been my pain management technique for months. I did not know how I would carry on. I know that sounds a bit dramatic and it probably was, but I had little physical, emotional or mental energy to handle much of anything. Earlier in 2018, David’s sister called me. She told me that she had been praying for me and believed the Lord told her I was to take a year off from any counseling or ministry of any sort. Now, Ethel did not know what I was going through nor had she seen me in several years.

I dismissed her word since I could not really see how I could stop for a year. Fast forward to the Fall when I crashed and burned. It was at the moment that I remembered her word to me and decided to receive it. I stopped counseling, I dropped out of any groups and I restructured several relationships. This all happened very quickly but most people were very understanding because they had seen me slowly decline. It seems that just putting your head down and trucking through life is not always the right solution.

Recently, I read a book entitled, “Invitation to Retreat” by Ruth Barton and in her book she talked about a book she read entitled “When Your Body Says No” by Gabor Mate. As I read both books, I realized my body had been saying no for a very long time and I did not listen. Now I am listening.

Now, keep in mind that I have sought healing in many modalities (You can read about it here). I have been to many healing and deliverance ministries, Numerous people have prayed for me and laid hands on me.  I believe in healing and restoration because God’s Word says it and Christ died for it. I struggle to reconcile the many healing messages (including my own message) with my personal experience.

Some healing teachings leave you feeling like you are the problem and you are doing something wrong to cause the disease. Others say you are healed and healing will manifest if you just believe enough. Some do not even believe in healing or miracles, they believe that the best we can do is suffer well here on earth and that healing happens when we get to Heaven.  My Bible says, “Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) I could go on but my choice is to sit in His presence and let Him guide me. The Lord knows I have tried many, many things and listened to many, many people, now it is time for me to listen to Him!

Going into 2019, the Lord told me that my word for the year was REST. I loved that idea and was ready to do just that except I do not really know how to rest. Does it means sleeping more? Reading more?  Doing nothing more? I just could not get my head around the concept of rest so I spent much time in Hebrews 3 – 4 where the writer of Hebrews spends time writing about the Promise of Rest.

As I meditated on these chapters, the Lord showed me His definition of Rest.

R – relying
E – earnestly
S – Supernatural
T – Timing
to 
R – Restore
E – Everything
S – Satan
T – Took.

What revelation! Rest does not necessarily mean to cease from labor. It means to stop the unbelief operating in your life and replace it with a belief in the word of God. It means taking His word and applying it daily. It means having the child-like faith that He loves. It means believing that He will do what He says He will do and that I am who He says that I am. It means that His word is alive, active and actually applies to me. Hebrews 4:3 says that we who have believed do enter the rest.

Rest is my goal for 2019. I have learned much in striving to enter the REST. I have learned that I have much unbelief and doubt. I have learned that I must continually renew my mind to align with Him. It means that I put my focus on His Word not the news. I must stop getting worked up over the state of the world but rather focus on what He says about it so that I can declare it over our nation and our lives.

Hebrews 4:10 says that “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” I am excited about this season of rest. I am setting aside a lot of time to just be with the Lord in His quiet place. I am choosing to enter His Rest because that is where He is.

My prayer is that I whole-heartedly believe the entire Word of God and that my His might he strengthen my inner man. Jesus conquered death and the grave for us to be victorious in this life! Lord help my unbelief!

Thank you for reading and I strongly encourage you to spend some time reading Hebrews 3 & 4.

My husband is an amazing artist, you can see what he does with steel and a blow torch here.

You can find more information about David and I here.

The post 2019 is the year of Rest appeared first on Jeweled Steel by Broussard.

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

Many people have asked why I choose to write about overcoming disease and illness. My answer is simple, I live with it and overcome it daily.  Here is my story.

When I was 14, I had back surgery to correct spondylolisthesis which is a disease that causes one of the lower vertebrae to slip.  The surgeon fused L5 with S1, the base of my lumbar spine to the top of my sacroiliac joint. Fortunately, the surgery was successful and I enjoyed most activities throughout high school.  Once I got to college I had to make sure to work out and stretch regularly to avoid low back pain. As a result, I became very active in the fitness world.  I was a competitive boxer, a road cyclist, a mountain biker and adventure racer.

In my late 20’s, I started to experience swelling in the index finger knuckle of my left hand. I believed it to be from boxing so I was not really concerned. Also in my late 20’s, I had knee surgery, foot surgery and wrist surgery. I recovered from each event well and continued my active lifestyle.

I proceeded into my 30’s experiencing a divorce and a going back to school to become an acupuncturist. I was very aware of my health and took great care of my physical body by eating right and exercising. However, I neglected the spiritual and emotional aspect of me. Once I graduated from acupuncture school and began my practice, I focused even more on my diet and health.

Several years into practicing acupuncture, I began to experience severe fatigue. I would have to rest between patients and I began drinking at least 2 – 3 Red Bulls a day to keep going which was something I had not ever done before. The fatigue increased and I began experiencing a very high fever (103 degrees). I was so accustomed to pain and just pushing through I kept working in spite of the fever.  After days of unrelenting fever, I finally went to the ER and discovered I had a severe kidney infection. I spent the next 4 days in the hospital hooked up to antibiotic IVs. The fever broke and the kidney infection cleared with no damage to my kidneys.  

Soon after I left the hospital, I began having severe joint pain and swelling. I could not sleep, walk or function. Believe it or not, I attempted to hike thru the Canadian Rockies in this state which is when I began taking leftover Hydrocodone for pain. I still refused to acknowledge that anything was wrong. If you are wondering, the trip was brutal and alcohol and hydrocodone became my pain control methods.

After I returned home, I was sitting in my closet wanting to die because the pain was so intense.  I was on the phone with my sister-in-law and she strongly encouraged me to get out of the closet and go to the doctor. I was treated for depression and soon after discovered I had Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Fortunately, I did not get hooked on Hydrocodone but I did continue to drink to deal with all the pain.

The irony is that I began experiencing Hashimoto’s Disease and  Rheumatoid Arthritis when I thought I was doing every right. I was working with a functional medicine doctor and eliminated gluten, dairy, sugar, and many other foods. I was eating a high protein diet and taking so many supplements I needed extra storage in my bathroom for them. I was getting colonics, trying to exercise, doing essential oils and anything else that was advised. It was only in my desperation that I began taking western drugs. I began taking Humira and methotrexate. That combo worked well on me for several years. I was able to feel much better and be somewhat active.  During this time, I married an amazing man and we were able to enjoy most activities together. 

About year 2 on the meds, the battle inside me was getting worse. I was diagnosed with Lupus, and Sjogren’s Syndrome in addition to Rheumatoid Arthritis. Apparently, Lupus is one of the side effects of Humira.  Once I stopped Humira, I tried most of the medication available to treat the autoimmune conditions with no success. I was going every month for IV infusions of biologic drugs along with steroids.

The vision I had of myself and my life were crumbling minute by minute.  As a result of the monthly steroid infusions, I developed steroid-induced osteoporosis and the Dr wanted me to take yet another drug.  It was at this point I began to search for a different way. I have always believed that God heals so I began to look at the spiritual component of all these autoimmune diseases. 

In 2012, I discovered spiritual roots of disease thru a ministry in Georgia called Be In Health. I attended their seminars and experienced many miraculous healings. (Read more here.) The steroid-induced osteoporosis reversed itself while I was on steroids.  The med tech could not believe the results and neither could my rheumatologist.  The Lupus also was healed and no longer present. It was at this point when I decided to stop all Western drugs and treatment.  (Please consult your physician before you choose to stop treatment).

I jumped into the pursuit of supernatural healing and the spiritual roots of disease. I found great value in this process and experienced emotional, physical and spiritual healing.  I learned that I had a deep fear of rejection, fear of man and really did not understand love. I believed I was unlovable, unworthy, and many times I wondered if I was even needed here on earth.

I grew up with parents that loved and supported me but I did not value myself or others.  The life decisions I made reflected that belief. Over time, I began unraveling a lifetime of junk and I stopped drinking. When I was 40 years old I wrote a letter to God and told Him that I did not believe that I loved Him. I doubted my capacity to truly love anyone, including God. I asked Him to show me how to receive love and how to give love. I wanted to love and be loved. 

Today (2019) I still struggle with RA. I have limited movement and also joint swelling but my heart is whole. I have heart wounds that have been healed and I am seeing that I am of value and I have something to contribute. My journey is mine and it is up to me to maximize it. God is good, He still heals and my hope is for complete healing and restoration. By His stripes, I am healed! (Isaiah 53:5).

During my prayer time recently, I asked the Lord His thoughts on Disease.

D – Do
I – Insist
S – Sickness
E – Ended
A – At
S – Stripes
E – Endured (
Isaiah 53:5)

Thank you for reading this and I want to ask that you not send me any herbal supplements, miracle cures, potions, lotions, dietary advice or pain relieving devices. I would like to ask that you speak life over me and declare that the finished work of the cross manifest in my body so that I have complete restoration of ALL that the enemy has taken. 

While I do not see the complete manifestation of healing, I believe. I pray daily that the Lord helps my unbelief (Mark 9:23-25)! (Much more on this to come)

You can read about my credentials and educational pursuits here. However I believe that what qualifies me the most is my belief in Jesus and the entire Word of God, the rest is just paper.

The post Michelle’s Journey with Rheumatoid Arthritis appeared first on Jeweled Steel by David Broussard.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

I grew up in a very religious family but did not know the Lord. I believe many people in America go to church every Sunday with their families and get a dose of God for an hour. I never thought I got anything out of it. My family seemed to be comforted by it and my parents were wholly devoted to their church.

I grew up with a comfortable lifestyle and experienced a wonderful family life. I thought I was equipped to make it in this world, but I was truly deceived. Pornography and sexual pursuits had total control over me from a young age, I was like a dumb ox being led to slaughter. No matter how hard I tried to be free, I never made any headway. I wanted to do better but I could not. It was one step forward and three backward. I was drowning, and I knew of no way out.

I’d go to church and talk to people about my problems, but no one had the answers. On a day I will never forget, I turned on the radio and heard this man teaching the Bible. It was the most exciting thing I had ever heard. I listened to this preacher every day and then started listening to other programs on the same channel.

Before I knew it, the Holy Spirit was strengthening my inner man. Pornography and sexual sin were losing its grip. It was then I made the most crucial decision of my life, repenting of my sins, asking Jesus to live in my heart and beginning to walk in His ways.

I must state a fact of life. I simply cannot eat a single meal one day a week and stay healthy, I would starve. I must feed my body daily, and the only way to do this is to make the time and eat. The same goes for my Spiritual life. I must feed it daily by the Word of God. A weekly dose of God on Sundays does not cut it.

Yes, it is good to hear teachers and preachers, but I found that if I make the time to open the Bible for myself and seek the Lord with all my heart, He will reveal some profound truths that He will speak to my heart. God wants to speak to me, and He wants to speak to you. He definitely wants to have a personal relationship with each and every one of us. He is no respecter of persons.

God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, made us in His image and likeness and He wants to have a personal relationship with us. If we take a step towards Him, He moves a mile closer to us. My life will never be the same because I have a faithful Father that will never leave me. He fights my battles and meets all my needs. That is a God I want to serve.

How about you?

If you have not yet begun your personal relationship with God, please keep reading. The One who created you loves you no matter who you are or what you have done.

Jesus Christ provides a relationship with the Father and eternal life through His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead (Romans 5:10).

Romans 10:9 promises, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

 You can tell Him in your own words or use this simple prayer:

Lord Jesus, I ask You to forgive my sins and save me from eternal separation from God. By faith, I accept Your work and death on the cross as sufficient payment for my sins. Thank You for providing the way for me to know You and to have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. Through faith in You, I have eternal life. Thank You also for hearing my prayers and loving me unconditionally.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Click here to read about why I make crosses!

The post How About You? appeared first on Jeweled Steel by David Broussard.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Today as I was praying about the future of my writing journey, I asked the Lord for a boldness to write what He says. When I was younger I was very bold and arrogant, as I have aged it feels like I have lost my voice and the confidence I once had.

No sooner had I gotten the prayer out of my mouth the Lord said that

Bold is

B – Bring
O – On the
L – Lion’s
D – Den.

He showed me that boldness happens once you enter the Lion’s den not before. Anyone can be bold outside the door. 

He also showed me that

Bold is

B – Believing 
O – Outwardly the
L – Lord
D – Delivers.

Being bold implies taking action and believing that the Lord will honor his Word (Isaiah 55:12). Being bold implies that we live our inner beliefs outwardly, there is nothing hidden (Luke 8:17, Matthew 10:26 and Mark 4:22).

It means we are not ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16-17), it means we are not afraid to speak the truth. We may be fearful but fear of man does not cause us to back down (2 Timothy 1:7).

We are Bold.

B – Bible
O – Open
L – Loving
D – Daily

Being bold means that we love well even if it is not popular. It means we live by the Word of God not the words of man and the constant streaming of endless news (Matthew 4:4). It means that we renew our minds daily and we begin to think like God thinks not the world (Romans 12:2). It means that we take a stand on the Word of God and declare its truth.

We are Bold, so

B – Bring
O – On the
L – Lion’s 
D – Den.

Watch the Lord work, watch Him make His name great among the nations, watch Him deliver, watch Him shut the mouths of the lions and watch Him fulfill His Word.

Look for Him in unexpected places. Listen for His voice in a new way. Seek Him like you never have before. Stand and watch the Salvation of the Lord.

We are Bold because He is I AM (Exodus 3:14)

Thank you for reading! Please take time to read about the “Violence of Silence”.

The post Are You Bold? appeared first on Jeweled Steel by David Broussard.

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