Uncategorized

Heaven Sent

iStock_000006748253MediumNothing seemed out of the ordinary that bright Sunday morning as I jogged down the same route I had taken the previous six days of my vacation in Honolulu. It was a picture-postcard day in paradise. As I ran, I passed surfers catching blue-green waves tht would eventually crash and subside on the sandy shores of Waikiki. I followed a course past touristy Kalakaua Avenue, through exotic Kapiolani Park and up the stark volcanic slopes of Diamond Head.

Suddenly, trouble in paradise hit hard. Ouch! At the halfway point of a five-mile excursion, I stopped dead in my tracks. The mother of all charley horses gripped my left calf – I was paralyzed with pain. Stumbling, then fumbling for a nearby wall, I did every conceivable stretch in a desperate attempt to loosen the unrelenting cramp. Nothing worked. I was two-and-a-half miles away from my hotel with no money for a taxi, so I began hobbling toward my final destination.
After navigating several blocks in agonizing discomfort, God tapped me on the shoulder-or should I say, spoke to my heart: Lenya,why don’t you pray? Why didn’t I think of that sooner? Then I asked Him, “Lord, help! I can’t make it back without damaging my leg further. Please send me help or heal me. What should I do?”

Through the park, strewn with palm trees and fragrant plumeria blossoms, I spotted a bright banner stretched across a minibus: Heaven Sent. I smiled at God’s sense of humor and His impeccable timing. What was the minibus doing smack-dab in my path? Should I limp up and knock on the window? Then the rest of the sign came into focus: Heaven Sent Mobile Massage Therapy. “This is too good to be true,” I mumbled. Then I wondered, could this be a holy moment orchestrated by God’s good hand?

Just then a local named Bunny Gabaylo stepped out to ask if I needed help. A pleading request tumbled out of my mouth. I’ve just injured myself running. I’ve got two more miles to go. Could you work out the knot in my calf? The problem is, I’m not carrying any money to pay you.” He simply handed me a flyer, and said in Pidgin English, “It your lucky day. I offering two-minute massage free to first-time customer.” Bunny, a licensed massage therapist, worked on my calf for nearly 20 minutes applying shiatsu acupressure, deep-tissue massage and Tiger Balm. While I lay on the padded exam table, listening to Julio Iglesias over the high-tech sound system, Bunny graciously offered his healing touch. When I noticed a picture of Jesus on the wall of his minibus, I said, “Are you a Christian?”

He affirmed that he was and added, “I should be at church, since it Sunday. But a friend invite me to Kapiolani Park for race that end here today.” When I stood up, I was overjoyed to discover that my gait had straightened out and my leg was greatly improved. I thanked him and offered to send a check in payment for his services. But Bunny refused, saying, “This is my calling. No charge for you.”

The next two miles seemed more like two blocks as I delighted myself in the Lord who had granted me the desires of my heart by answering my prayer the precise moment it was uttered. I asked God for help during a time of need and He provided an answer that was truly heaven-sent!

The divinely appointed meeting with Bunny was not my first holy moment, and God has showered me with many others such moments since then. All these events have convinced me that they are available to anyone, from unbelievers to those who are passionate about following God-and He can send holy moments to many people simultaneously. Holy moments are God’s subtle way of getting our attention. They serve as a sweet reminder that he is near. I am not more special than anyone else-our heavenly Father doesn’t play favorites. However, I’ve developed a sensitivity to holy moments because of a scripture that became my life’s verse many years ago.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:4-5)

Meditating upon Psalm 37:4-5 opened my eyes to the ways that God moves among us. He longs to intersect our paths with his heavenly interruptions.

Church Body, Inspire

One Way

For the 60’s generation that dropped out, turned on, and tuned in Chuck Smith pointed them to Jesus with an contagious smile and a finger pointed heavenward.

20131003-100335.jpg

Society marginalized the long-haired, hippie freaks, but Pastor Chuck opened his heart and church doors to their exuberant, alternate music and groovy way of dressing. While experimenting with “free love” they discovered authentic love in the pages of a little black book. For God is love. The combination of unconditional love and Smith’s magnetic presentation of the Bible launched the first wave of the “Jesus Movement.”

20131003-101045.jpg

Pastor Chuck Smith moved to heaven today. Because of his ministry, I went from bartender to Bible study leader. I left drug use and promiscuity to become spirit filled and experience incredible intimacy in Christ. May I suggest that we bring back a favorite gesture of those days? In honor of Chuck’s new residence in heaven, let’s point others to Jesus with the “one way” sign! 👆

20131003-101642.jpg

20130812-224515.jpg
Inspire

Be Still

Sitting still requires relinquishing your chaos to a God who cares and is in control. Take time to climb onto His lap. Rest your whirling head on His chest. As your heart beat and breathing begins to mimic His calming rhythm, hear His gentle voice say: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

Family

My Pampered Pooch

Image

Which kind of pet owner are you? The first type treats their animals, well, like they’re animals. You provide the basics of kibbles and water. They must serve a function like guard dog, egg layer, or milk producer. You don’t abuse or neglect them. However, they stay where pets belong-outside! My stepfather held this austere philosophy. Suffice it to say, as long as I lived in his house, I never owned a pet. As a tweener girl, I envisioned Lassie, Flipper, or Black Beauty. Why, these pets where your BFF’s.

The second kind of pet owner treats their animal like Paris Hilton. They travel in designer handbags; have encrusted collars; and enjoy pet play dates. They bear touchy-feely titles like “sweetie pie,” “snuggles,” and “mama’s little baby.” Table food? Oh, they eat like royalty. Sleeping arrangements? Right on their master’s bed with matching silk jammies. That’s how I treat our Welsh terrier, Mack. He gets a fresh latte every morning; a walk along the bosque at noon; and biscuits in bed as a nightcap. Go ahead, you can judge me. I’m that kind of dog owner.

Honestly, if you were a pet, which kind of owner would you prefer? Me? I’d be Hotel Tycoon, Leona Helmsley’s, Maltese lap dog named “Trouble” who inherited $12 million at her owner’s death. Believe it or not, as a Christian, that’s exactly the kind of care you receive from Jesus, your Shepherd. His flock never lacks a thing. They drink from still waters the likes of Perrier. They take naps in pastures as idyllic as the English countrysides. When predators appear, He stands guard.Best of all, He restores their soul. In other words, He cares about their deepest, emotional needs.

Take a minute to read Psalm 23. Get to know this Good Shepherd. Follow Him wherever He goes. Even in the deepest valley, He’ll make sure that goodness and mercy follow right behind you. One day you will live in His house forever.

she lives

Rejoice in her boundaries

20130809-162818.jpg

original digital collage by Khanh Dang and Lenya Heitzig

How do you deny past problems access to your forwarding address? Here’s my advice, don’t dwell in the past; you don’t live there anymore. Past, by definition, is something that no longer exists. You can’t bring it back. You can’t change it. You can’t even revel in its glories. Even the star quarterback eventually gains weight while the prom queen ages. All of our bygone days, the good, the bad, and the ugly, are now merely reflections in a review mirror.

Anyone who’s tried to forget the past by sheer determination discovered it multiplies by epic proportions. For instance, the moment you tell yourself, don’t think about creepy gnomes, the more you fixate on them. And then your dreams are riddled with the vexing little bearded guys wearing green waistcoats and pointy red hats. This phenomenon is known as the “ironic process theory” which simply explains the minds tricky way of creating obsessive thoughts despite trying to oppress them.

So, how can you conquer the past? Step ahead! The best way to conquer an old habit is to replace it with a new one. Want to stop swearing? Start praising. Jesus explained, “Bless those who curse you” (Luke 6:28). Need to quit biting your nails? Try painting them pink instead. Follow Paul’s example to “put off the old…and put on the new” (Col. 3:9-10).

The virtuous woman conquered her anxiety, too. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future” (Prov. 31:31:25, NLT). She used her past to prepare for the future. As a result, she was fearless.

When the past comes knocking, you don’t have to answer. Why? You’re not home—you’ve moved on and left no forwarding address.

Inspire

Worship

20130809-161530.jpg

What was her work? Worship. Exorbitant, extravagant, extraordinary worship. She broke her box of blessing, that alabaster container full of precious perfume and poured it on the Savior…anointed Him in love. What can you do for Him today? Reckless love!

Inspire

Wait

20130809-154436.jpg

God answers every prayer with a “yes” or a “no” or “wait.” Waiting isn’t passive, it’s active. It includes the anticipation of a Christmas morning and the application of knowledge that leads to graduation day. You don’t wait on the fickleness of fate, you wait on the faithfulness of the Lord!

20130809-162335.jpg
Bible Study and Teaching

Live Brilliantly

Do you look around and see the world in darkness and despair? Do you long to see a world filled with love and light? First John is a short yet powerful book full of assurances that while we might not find light and love in this world, we can find it in the One who created it.

Join me and she Ministries in our upcoming citywide Bible study, Live Brilliantly: A Study in the Book of 1 John, Part 1, beginning Tuesday, September 10, as we study powerful verses like “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5) and “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Bible Study and Teaching

Peace At Any Price

Lenya and LourdesEdited

Last week, I got to do something I enjoy very much: visit another women’s ministry and teach. The ladies of Flourish, the women’s ministry at Calvary Kendall in Miami, welcomed me with love and spunk. My friend Lourdes and her husband, Pedro, lead this dynamic church full of Jesus fanatics. I spoke four years ago at their retreat, and this group of ladies is always energetic, interactive, and fun.

Their auditorium was packed to overflowing–and then their overflow quickly filled up. I got to meet and talk with many of the ladies after giving my message, “Peace at Any Price?” from the book of Judges. This is where Gideon, the “mighty man of valor,” meets Jehovah Shalom, The Lord Is My Peace.

As I walked the ladies through this story where we find Gideon in a place of having no peace, I could feel their spirits crying out with the same feeling. When you turn on the TV or check the latest headlines, there seems to be no peace in this world. There is war, famine, crime, and natural disasters at every corner.

As I wrapped up my message, I gave the ladies in turmoil the opportunity to pray to receive God’s peace. As I prayed over the women, I felt a sense of the freedom only God can give come upon the room. He was breaking the chains of bondage as the ladies stood to their feet seeking freedom.

Thanks to the ladies of Calvary Kendall for being so welcoming, vulnerable, and loving. It was a joy to walk through this Scripture with you.

If you need a dose of freedom, you can listen to “Peace at Any Price?” here. Peace is just a step away. If you’re fighting for it personally, spiritually, relationally, or nationally, spend some time getting to know Jehovah Shalom. Gideon did. And because he met Jehovah Shalom, he confronted the enemy, while trusting God for the victory, and through God’s peace, he overcame.