Becoming a Believer, Believer's Path, Forgiving, Prayer, Walking by Faith, Witnessing

“Who Was Praying for You?”


My sister, Janie, died in 1986 at the age of 33. She left her husband, two small children, her parents, five siblings and lots of broken hearts behind.

We think she died of pneumonia. She had called for an ambulance because she could not breathe. When the ambulance got there she was lying on the sidewalk in front of her house. She was not breathing. The ambulance crew inserted a breathing tube in her, but then her heart stopped. They got her heart beating again and took her to the hospital on life support.

She never breathed again on her own. She was in a stage four comma for two weeks before her heart stopped again. Hundreds of people came to her while she was in the coma. They wept and grieved with us. She had been working with Afghan refugees; they came to her bedside in droves.

Janie prayed, and served. One day I will write a blog post just about her, but for now, know that she prayed for me, and thousands of others.

When the roll is called up yonder, many, many will say to her, “Thank you for giving to the Lord.”

Before I learned to trust Jesus, I mocked Christians. I was young and dumb. At age 27 I was convicted of my sin, and radically saved. My conviction came when I realized how cruel I had been to my sister, Janie, while we were growing up. I was not just mean; I was cruel. Janie was the first of us six siblings to come to faith in Jesus.  I know she forgave me. I give her credit for praying me in. We know that God can cause all things to work together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. He even used my cruelty to my sister to convince me that I needed a savior. 

See the blog post about my conversion and the debt I owe to Janie here:

Now, whenever I hear someone tell their story about how they came to faith in Jesus, I love to ask:

“Who was praying for you?”
They almost always know

It occurred to me to ask this question when one day I noticed at the end of the letter Paul wrote to the Romans, as he was sending greetings to everyone, he wrote, “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kin and fellow prisoners who are well known among the emissaries. They were in Messiah before me. Romans 16:7. Wow! I realized that some people in Paul’s family prayed for him while he was still persecuting the Christians! This is the power of prayer.

Over the years I have heard some great stories in answer to my question, “Who was praying for you?” I would like to tell you a couple of my favorites.

  • A man I met while I selling MSM cream at the Puyallup Fair let me know that he had become a believer as an adult. “Who was praying for you?” I asked. He laughed and said, “Back in those days I worked for FedEx. I had a delivery to make to the Tacoma Dome. I found the room where I was to take the package. When I burst through the door, I found the room full of people with their heads down, praying. I apologized for interrupting them. They said, ‘No problem, come and join us. We are getting ready for the Billy Graham crusade.’ I stood back, pointed at the clock, said, ‘That’s the only god I serve’, and left.” Now we laughed together. “Guess who was praying for me?” he said. “Years later, after I had been a Christian for quite a while, the Lord reminded me of that scene.”
  • Another man told this story. When he was a teenager, he couldn’t shake drug and alcohol. He would vow that he would never do it again, then his friends would pick him up for a party. The next thing he knew he would be high, and drunk, again. Finding himself in this condition in the back seat of a moving car one day, he hung his head in despair. “I just don’t know what the answer is,” he said to himself. Just then, he looked up and saw a sign that said, “Jesus is the Answer.” Okay, he thought, if Jesus is the answer, then I want Jesus. He was immediately sober, and saved! He knew it was a miraculous act of God. “Who was praying for you?” I asked. “My Young Life leader,” he said. “I went to find him at his college dorm. When he answered the door I handed him the Bible that he had given me and said, “I don’t need this anymore. I’m a Christian now. You can give it to someone else.” We all know what happened next. The Young Life leader invited this young man into his room and began to disciple him.

I love it!

  • Then this story: I heard a Muslim background believer tell her story. She had met Jesus in her bedroom when she was only four years old. She endured tremendous persecution from her family and community. Eventually she had to run for her life. She could not be persuaded to give up her faith in Jesus. “Who was praying for you?” I asked. She took time to look around in the room.  She pointed her finger at each of us. “Someone I DON”T even know,” she said.

Recently I was reprimanded by the Lord because I stopped praying for someone in my family. I had a vivid dream about it. I shared the dream with my daughter and told her the story about how I had stopped praying for this person. My daughter said, “Mom, how would you like to get to heaven and have the Lord ask you why you stopped praying for her?”

My daughter told me that I need to get intentional about praying for her. She suggested that I use the number of the month she was born, and the date, as a time to set the alarm on my phone as a reminder to pray. I have done that. I wrote a prayer on the notepad on my phone. Every afternoon when my alarm goes off, I read this prayer out loud.

I pray that the eyes of her heart will be enlightened that the light of the glory of the gospel will shine in her heart, and she will know the hope of your calling, Lord. I pray that she will know the truth and the truth will set her free. You are the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by you. Draw her to you, Lord; You who are able to do exceedingly and abundantly beyond all we can ask or think, to you will be the glory, before all time, now and forever. Amen.


Jesus told us to pray.

Paul told us to pray:

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:16-20

Jesus is the answer
Believer's Path, Forgiving

The Scariest Words from Jesus

Matthew 18:34-35

Matthew 18:34-35  “And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

Is unforgiveness an unforgiveable sin? It appears so, doesn’t it? If we do not forgive, neither will we be forgiven. That is serious, and scary.

Forgiving those who have sinned against us was important enough for Jesus that he included it in the prayer he taught his disciples. “Forgive us our trespasses as we have forgiven those who trespass against us.” How many times have we prayed this prayer and not really thought about what it means?

(Aside: in the same way we have prayed “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth. . .” and not realized that Jesus is talking about the kingdom of God coming to earth, not our going to heaven.)

How do I know if I have truly forgiven those who have sinned against me? What does it mean to “forgive from the heart”?

I have come to some clearer understanding of this lately.  Formerly when I would counsel people about forgiveness, I would start by explaining what forgiveness is.  There is a lot of misunderstanding about forgiveness. People usually think that if they forgive someone it means that what that person did doesn’t matter. This reaction may become evident when I ask someone to forgive me and that person says, “It’s OK. It doesn’t matter.” That’s wrong. It does matter. It matters to us, but more importantly it matters to God. This can also happen when I think about something that someone did to me. I could think, “Well, it doesn’t matter.”

It matters. We must examine our heart. We must remember the pain the sin against us caused. Now we are getting closer to “forgiving from the heart.”

One of the ways this is explored is to say to yourself, “I forgive so-and-so for doing such-and-such because it made me feel ___________________ you fill in the blank.

Graphic example: I forgive my uncle for sexually abusing me when I was eight years old because it made me feel dirty, defiled, and guilty.

Or less graphic: I forgive my fourth-grade school teacher for what she said about me in front of the class because it made me feel stupid and embarrassed.

We can’t just blanket everything with “I forgive everyone for ever hurting me.” That does not come from the heart.

Again, forgiving doesn’t mean that what the other person did to us was all right or that it doesn’t matter. Forgiving means that I am no longer going to let this sin against me control my life. I would tell people that only person I am hurting by not forgiving that other person is me. Your ex-husband is having a great time with his girlfriend. He doesn’t care that you have said, “I will never forgive him.”  It is like taking poison, and hoping the other person dies. So I used to tell the person I was counseling to turn it over to God. He can bring retribution better to that person than you ever could!  That’s what I used to say.

Recently I have learned that is not right. That is not forgiveness from the heart. Hear these words from the Bedtime Shema, a Jewish prayer to be said before going to sleep.

“Master of the universe, I hereby forgive anyone who angered or antagonized me or who sinned against me—whether against my body, my property, my honor or against anything of mine; whether he did so accidentally, willfully, carelessly or purposely; whether through speech, deed, thought, or notion; whether in this place or another place—I forgive every [person]. May no one be punished because of me.

The last sentence rocked my world. “May no one be punished because of me.” Or because of what he or she has done to me.

We have a responsibility to those who have wronged us to forgive them, for their sakes, as well as for ours. It is not a matter of turning them over to the Lord for retribution.

This illustration might help. Imagine you and the person you are forgiving are standing near the foot of the cross. You turn to the other person and invite him or her to come to the cross with you, to receive the same forgiveness that you have received.

Yeshua said to love our enemies, and pray for those who despitefully use us. Take the one who has wounded you to Yeshua. Ask him to forgive, just as he did when he said, “Father, forgive them.”

Believer's Path, Grace Harbor Farms, Seek First His Kingdom

Temple in Ruins

October 25th

This morning I read Haggai Chapter 1.

I read it in the context of Ezra 5 and 6

The people who returned to Jerusalem from Babylon to rebuild the temple, had stopped doing the work.

Haggai rebukes them.

Haggai 1:5-10

“Therefore here is what ADONAI-Tzva’ot says:

‘Think about your life!

You sow much but bring in little;

you eat but aren’t satisfied;

you drink but never have enough;

you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;

and he who works for a living earns wages

that are put in a bag full of holes.'”

“Here is what ADONAI-Tzva’ot says: ‘Think about your life! Go up into the hills, get wood, and rebuild the house. I will be pleased with that, and then I will be glorified,’ says ADONAI.

‘You looked for much, but it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?’ asks ADONAI-Tzva’ot. ‘Because my house lies in ruins, while every one of you runs to take care of his own house. This is why the sky above you has withheld the dew, so that there is none, and the land withholds its yield.’”

Here is the importance of this message, for that time, and for now: Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things will be added unto you.

How do we now rebuild his temple—his house—his Kingdom?

By joining in the work of First Fruits of Zion.

Boaz just sent out to us the new FFOZ mission statement: Reconciling Disciples with God’s Prophetic Promises to Israel.

Tim and I are at a turning point in our lives. We have been self-employed all of our lives. For the past 23 years we have been building a business called Grace Harbor Farms. We started with two goats in 1999. We made goat milk soap and lotion. We sold it at the local farmers market.

The business grew and evolved. By 2005 we were bottling milk, making yogurt and cheese. We were selling our dairy products to stores throughout the Pacific Northwest and the skin care products on line. At that time we split the business into two: Grace Harbor Farms makes and sells the dairy products; Grace Harbor International makes and markets the skin care products.

In 2020 we turned the dairy business over to Tim’s son, David. We moved the skin care business off the farm to get out of David’s way as he grows the dairy business.

Now, Tim and I are creeping toward old age. I am 73, he is 66.  We are not able to maintain the level of work that we did in the past. So, we are facing, experiencing, and making, changes.

Proverbs 20:29

The pride of the young is their strength; the dignity of the old is gray hair.

We lack the strength we had in our youth, or even a few years ago. For myself: I don’t hear very well, I need glasses, have little sense of smell, have false teeth, and recently my hands failed me. My hands have served me like two unpaid slaves for more than 70 years. They have picked thousands of salmon out of nets, dressed uncountable numbers of halibut, loaded and unloaded tons, and tons of fish into the holds of boats, and off again. My hands have made innumerable meals, baked bread, canned fruit and vegetables, milked goats and cared for their young, built fences, cared for horses and cattle, planted gardens and trees, wrote a book on a typewriter,  but most importantly raised my daughters and tended my grandchildren. One day I even delivered a baby goat with my toddler granddaughter who was sick with a cold,  wrapped around my waist. For the past 22 years my hands have made soap, lotion, cheese, and yogurt; packaged and shipped thousands of packages of soap, lotion and MSM cream,. A few weeks ago, my hands quit. Their strength was gone. I couldn’t finish doing the morning goat milking. I put my equipment away and told myself “I’m done.” I came to the house expecting to fall against Tim’s chest and cry, but as I came through the door, he met me with his phone in his hand.

“Seth is on the phone,” he said. “The offer they made on the property has been accepted. They want us.”

Tim’s son, Seth and his wife Jessica, had been talking to us about coming to Montana and joining them on their new property. They were looking for a place where they could have the grandparents come and be part of their family. They plan a little farm with goats, chickens and a garden. Seth had told us that this is what God intends for families. A friend of mine told me that a home with grandparents, parents, and children is a three stranded cord. Ecclesiastes 4:12 . . . an attacker may defeat someone who is alone, but two can resist him; and a three-stranded cord is not easily broken.

The timing was perfect.

We put our house on the market. We plan to go to Montana when it sells. In the meantime we are making steps to move Grace Harbor International. Next week, Lord willing, we will move the shipping part of that business over to Grace Harbor Farms in Custer. For now, the manufacturing part of the business will stay here in Sequim. Laura, our faithful production person, will stay with it. When/if the house sells we will move the manufacturing, and Laura, over to David’s place, too. Until then, we will be able to send the finished products over to GHF via their truck. It makes deliveries to our area every week.

Back to the building of the Kingdom:

Tim and I host four meetings a week for disciples of Yeshua seeking the Kingdom. It is the most exciting work we have ever done. Every week there are “ah, ha” moments as Truth penetrates our hearts, and the hearts of the people who meet with us in our home and on line. This is the work of re-building the temple and seeking the Kingdom that we can do, are called to do, commanded by Yeshua to do, right now. We can continue to do this work from here or in a new home in Montana as long as the Lord provides.

Proverbs 16:9

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Grace, law vs grace, Replacement Theology, Uncategorized

Grocery Store Jesus

Recently I heard another story about people when asked where their groceries come from answered, “From the grocery store”.  I have always found it surprising when people say that. They may understand that the food is not produced in the grocery stores, but they give little thought to all the background that is behind that product to get it to the grocery store.

When I heard this comment a few days ago, it got me thinking.

I “got saved” more than 40 years ago. Up until almost 10 years ago I did not think much about the Jewish background of “Christianity”. Everything changed after I made my first trip to Israel in 2013. I came back from that trip stunned. For several months I could not even express what I had seen, much less understand it.

Someone asked me, “What was the highlight of your trip, Grace?” I couldn’t answer. I stared at that person for a several seconds, then said, “Chris, I can’t answer your question. I feel as if I am standing in front of an incredible stained glass window. You are asking me to remove one pane from that window to try to explain the whole thing. I can’t do that. It would not explain anything and in trying to do so I will ruin the whole picture.”

My visit to Israel was more than a paradigm shift, it was life changing. I started to see the Hebrew/Jewish background and context of my faith. I started to ask questions.

“What is this thing we do on Sunday mornings, and why is so different from what we read in the book of Acts?” I asked my husband.

I read several books on the history of the “Christian” church through new lenses.

I no longer thought of “Christianity” as a different “religion” from Judaism. I began to understand the continuum. “Christianity” was never intended to be a new religion. The Bible that I had been studying for so many years is Jewish, start to finish.

What an exciting, enlightening, enriching journey it has been for the past few years.

Jesus did not suddenly pop into history; He came through thousands of years of preparation in history—Jewish/Hebrew history. (it is His Story minus one s=history).

We skip the vast richness of our faith when we just pick up Jesus and don’t understand all the development of His-Story behind it.

Here is my analogy:

  • So many people pick up their food at the grocery store, but don’t know all the background that went in to getting it there. Yes, the food is nourishing but mostly unappreciated for what it took to get it to the grocery store.
  • So many people pick up their Jesus at church-and yes he is nourishing, and saving, and secured our future, but the taste is bland without savoring the cultivation and care it took for him to arrive.


A partial list of  what I have learned since studying Jesus in his context

  1. Jesus, Yeshua, was, and is a Jew
  2. Replacement theology is wrong
  3. Yeshua did not start a new religion
    1. Our faith is Jewish, start to finish
  4. The law was not abolished
    1. Yeshua’s “fulfillment” of the law did not abolish it  
    2. Yeshua never broke the law–that would have disqualified him as the Messiah
    3. Gentile believers were expected to attend synagogue and learn the Torah (Acts 15)
    4. Yeshua did not change the food laws
  5. The gospel is “Repent. The Kingdom of God is at hand.”
  6. Heaven is not the goal, nor our home
  7. Sabbath did not get changed to Sunday
    1. Sabbath keeping is the 4th commandment
  8. Paul was a faithful Jew all his life.
    1. He did not “convert” to Christianity or get his name changed on the Damascus Road
  9. Pharisees are not all hypocrites
    1. Yeshua was a Pharisee
  10. “Binding and Loosing” are legal terms, meaning prohibiting and permitting
  11. “An eye for an eye” is a legal term having to do with monetary compensation for loss
  12. The Sanhedrin is the high court, like the supreme court in the United States
  13. “Old” and “New” Testament names are misleading
  14. The Bible does not teach “original sin”
  15. The “evil eye” is stinginess
  16. “Treasures in heaven” is a euphemism for “Treasures with God” and does not refer to a place

I would love to hear your comments, questions, additions or corrections. I am still learning.

Believer's Path, Grace, law vs grace, Sabbath Keeping, Uncategorized

Was the Law Abolished?

“Do not think that I came to abolish the law. . .”

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven,* but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:17-20

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. Matthew 7:21-29

Several years ago when my husband and I started to learn that Jesus, Yeshua, was a Torah keeping Jew, we joined a group that was studying the “Old” testament. The study is called “Shadows of the Messiah”. It teaches what Yeshua taught the two disciples on the road to Emmaus—the entire “old” testament points to Him!

Our study group met in a church near our home. We met on a weekday evening. The pastor’s wife came to the first couple of lessons. When the third lesson started, the pastor of the church walked into the meeting—not as an attendee, but as the authority of his church. He demanded to know, “Who in this room believes that we are still ‘under the law’”?

The twenty or so people in the room were stunned into silence. No one answered him.

Now, several years later, my husband and I would have an answer for him, “Yes. Of course. Jesus did not come to abolish the law. He was a Torah Observant Jew, and as his disciple, we do what he did.”

After the confrontation from the pastor, the group moved their meetings to our home. We learned, and are still learning the importance of  keeping the law.

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:21

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23

“Workers of lawlessness?” ! Who were these “workers of lawlessness”? Those who thought they were doing things for Him. Did they not do mighty works in his name? So why did Yeshua call them “workers of lawlessness”? Because they did not keep the law! 

One of the things we learned early on in our study of Yeshua and “the Law”, is that the word that is translated “law” in most of our English bibles, is “Torah”. Torah is the first five books of the Original Scriptures (the name we prefer for what is commonly called “Old Testament”). “Torah” means instruction, or teaching. Yes, God’s laws/commandments are part of it, but Torah is God’s loving instructions for life. Torah teaches us how to approach Him, and how to live with each other. When Yeshua comes back, Torah will be the constitution of the whole world. We had better learn to follow His instructions now and not be numbered amongst those who are “workers of lawlessness.”

Grace and Torah are not opposites. Grace and Legalism are opposites. We cannot do enough good, or earn our way into the kingdom of God by “keeping the law”. All of us before and after the incarnation are and were, dependent on grace made possible by Yeshua. That’s what he meant when he said, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom”. He said, “No one comes to the Father (i.e. enters the kingdom of God) except by me. Since God doesn’t change, the rules don’t change. All the people before and after the cross are dependent on His grace. Abraham saw his day, and rejoiced.

So do we.  

*Do you think Paul will be called “least in the kingdom of heaven”? Of course not. He was, contrary to teaching you may have heard, also a Torah observant Pharisee right until the moment he died. When he was brought before the chief priests and the council before being sent to Rome “he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. Acts 23:6

He also said, “My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee.” Acts 26:4-5