Faith and Learning to be a Disciple

Follow me and I will make you fishers of men, Jesus told the first disciples. They left all and followed Him. They left their livelihood, their relationships and set off on an unknown adventure. Reading about their journeys with Jesus is inspiring and challenging. I have experienced some amazing adventures with Jesus as well. Back in 1977 we were invited to attend a wedding in Massachusetts. During this season we were pioneering a small church in Spirit Lake, Idaho. Our overseer felt it was a God thing for us to come as well–not just for the wedding, but also to see what He was doing on the east coast through this ministry. We began to make preparations.

We prayed. We had little money to work with–so we expected God to supply somehow, some way. A couple came to be the interim pastor for us. My husband build some beds in our VW van for us to sleep at night. We kept on praying. Still no great supply of funds. Everyday we expected the mailbox to hold the “answer”….but nothing appeared. Interestingly enough, we never mentioned to our Overseer that we did not have the money to make the trip. We just kept on believing and trusting the Lord. As we prayed separately, we both felt impressed to leave at 4:00 p.m. on a Saturday–how specific can you get? There is power in agreement! I remember Darryl declaring “I don’t care Satan what you do–I will be leaving this town at 4:00 on Saturday!” We packed the van and left with $25 to drive across this nation! We made a quick stop in Cour-de-lene Idaho and were given about 20 more dollars!

The first night we stopped at a rest area in the Rocky Mountains outside Butte, Montana. Even though it was June, it was still cold up in those mountains. I decided to start driving about 5;00 a.m. to make some distance. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me our front left tire had gone flat in the night. I had never driven with a flat tire before so it took me a bit to figure out something was wrong. I woke Darryl and he quickly figured out what was wrong. He changed the tire and we headed down the Rockies one a 6% grade. Suddenly our left front tire bounced off ahead of us! Darryl skillfully with the help of God’s angels pulled the car quickly to the right and we stopped. Physics dictates we should have landed on our left front axle and flipped the van. Physics tells us that our axle should have been bent and damaged. However none of those things happened. Darryl jumped out of the van and started chasing the tire. But after two trips up and down the highway we never found it.

As I sat in the van with our girls, I could not have felt more guilt. It was my fault I had ruined our tire by driving on it. The spare was lost–along with the special lug nuts that VW’s use. Darryl hitchhiked back into Butte with the messed up tire. I prayed, ” God you have to be God here. We have no credit cards–no cash, just you.” I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “get the girls ready for church. Darryl has connected with a pastor who will help you”. I obeyed those still quiet words. Not too long afterward, Darryl arrived with a pastor who did indeed help us. A small humble church who loved God and us that day. Darryl ended up preaching the night service and they gave us a cash offering of $50. We had enough gas money to make it to Youngstown, OH where we were expected by Darryl’s grandparents.

We had more adventures on that trip as we “followed Him”. It changed our lives. Following Jesus is not always easy, but it is always doable. He doesn’t always ask us to do such BIG faith steps–but I have found some of the smaller “asks” can be more difficult. “Call this person, now”, ‘Give this money to this person, now” can often be challenging as we learn to “deny ourselves” and follow him. Take time to read Mark 8:34-36 if you want to be challenged. I have never regretted saying yes to Him. We ended up in Rhode Island with $50! I’ll share the “rest of the story” next week!

Faith and A Road Trip

Last Thursday morning I left Oak Harbor, WA and drove across the state of Washington to the city of Spokane–353 miles to meet up with a cherished friend I hadn’t seen in over twenty years. I had told her I would try to come last year, but unfortunately my stamina did not allow me to make the trip. So with faith and determination I called her and we made it happen! It was a beautiful day to leave my island home, drive across the Cascade Mountains and into the farmlands of eastern Washington. I had forgotten just how diverse our state is. I brought along an audio book called “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper to help me pass the miles. I felt God’s presence, His grace and His peace as I drove along.

I made it to Spokane in seven and a half hours. Thanks to technology my GPS led me to her door. What a joy it was to see each other.Bonnie and her husband Harold had been our mentors for many years. Her husband also suffered a major stroke as did Darryl. It was her story that gave me courage to walk through my story in trusting God. She is a very young 86! Her faithfulness and perseverance is to be commended and followed. We laughed, we cried and we reminisced about things in the past and we encouraged each other about our present and our future. She shares a house with her wonderful daughter Carrie as well. Her beautiful yard, her immaculate home motivated me to declutter, beautify and enjoy my life in new depths.

The Lord has been speaking to me about doing a VLOG. This is a video version of a BLOG. So far I haven’t had the courage and where with all to actually capture some video! At the last minute I grabbed my “stuff”–microphone adapter, tripod and lenses and put them in the car. Our first night I mentioned to Bonnie and Carrie about my vision. They were both a bit reluctant, but eventually we did it! I have a long way to go to learn how to do the right set up, camera angles etc. I couldn’t get the new microphone to work, but we did it anyway! I will be posting the first VLOG soon! Check it out on Facebook if you can, under Martha Rodman. Little did I know that Bonnie’s board members have been asking her to do a BLOG! I think this trip helped encourage her to begin sharing God Thoughts with others.

I reluctantly said good bye Saturday morning to head 143 miles to my nephews home in Richland, WA to celebrate his eldest daughter’s high school graduation. It was a joy to be with my sister Marie’s family and spend time with them all. We do not get to do this that often. I was only there a few hours–but tried to add value, joy and encouragement as I could! We also shared some great smoked pork Matt made!

From Richland I headed 120 miles to Wenatchee, WA to spend time with my sister Carol, her husband Pat and their dear daughter Lyn. I was tired when I arrived, but it was such a blessing to catch up on their life and see how they were doing. Carol has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease since the last time I saw her. Fortunately with her meds, good care from her daughter she is doing well. I learned quickly to encourage her to move and do things for herself–not easy for me to sit back and let her get things for herself. They are a fun group to be with as there is a lot of laughter and joy. This season of life for them is not easy. They are beginning their 80’s with some health difficulties, but have chosen to approach them with hope and encouragement. My daughter Elizabeth sent them a picture she drew with the these words: May the Rest of Your Life be the Best of Your Life. It is the perfect reminder for them to make the most of what they do have, instead of focusing on what they don’t have.

I headed the 174 miles back home to Oak Harbor with my heart full, my body tired and my spirit renewed. I am so grateful that I made this trip. Because of my past health issues I felt stuck. Those have been broken and I am determined to follow Him wherever He leads me. I shared this story to encourage you to follow Him as well. Getting out of your current environment opens up your heart, spirit and thoughts to so many new things. As I am finishing out my 60’s in August I am taking heart by these folks who are in their 80’s to keep on growing, seeking, and living for Jesus.

Faith and Enjoying God’s Diversity

Since September I have had the privilege of teaching three of my grandchildren science–we have been focusing on “Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day”. To make it clear we are spending time looking at God’s great creation of ocean animals. It has been an amazing time in so many ways. I enjoy simply spending time with them during our studies and watching them become amazed at our God’s ability to make such diverse animals that live under the water!

This past week we looked at cephalopods. The word means “head foot” and there are four groups of these head footed animals. Octopuses, squid, cuttlefish and the nautilus. The surprising thing to me is that each of these creatures are members of what scientists call mollusks! Yes, right along with clams, oysters, muscles and scallops!

I’ve learned that octopuses (yes, that’s the plural form!) have three hearts and blue blood! Squid are a major diet for Asians. Cuttlefish have a little pouch under their eyes that hold two tentacles that spring out and capture their prey. Nautilus are the only ones of this group that have an exoskeleton, and are foragers for their prey. Yes, they too stick out in their tribe! Maybe you feel you are the “diverse” one in your family or church. That may be by His design. Rejoice in it! If you don’t know about these creatures–take time to Google them. Simply watching a live Nautilus swim is fascinating to me! I had only seen and handled and empty shell before–and had often wondered what and how what the animal was like who lived in that shell.

Studying such diverse creatures led me to look at my fellow humans. We are also a diverse group. Our living, working and eating behaviors vary from country to country–but even within each country there is vast cultural differences. Among our Christian “culture” we are diverse, and yet our Heavenly Father loves, cares and helps each of us. As I peered under the sea and began to appreciate the differences between whale species–both the baleen whales and toothed whales; can I learn to develop an appreciation for how others worship our God? Paul encourages us in Romans 14 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do. For God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval.

Of course there are some non-negotiables in the Word where we must stand firm. However, as I have learned to appreciate God’s diversity under the sea, I have also learned to appreciate His diversity in His Body. I have begun to see the blessing of those who worship with liturgy. They find a familiar comfort in praying with a predictable form. It is not my “cup of tea”, but I used to not understand why anyone would settle for it. (See my prejudice? I felt they were “settling” for something less than what I found life-giving. I can appreciate those who worship with hymns, there are some powerful words and declarations in them. I can appreciate those who major on the Word and those who Major on “following the Spirit”. As we all seek to serve our Savior with humble determination, He will lead us to the balance we all need. Not one church, denomination or “non-denomination” has it all. As we open our hearts to God’s voice we can appreciate our brothers and sisters in some new ways. We need each other. God said it was OK for the sea creatures to devour each other–not something He condones for us! Love and an ability to trust our Father raise His other children is key.

Philippians 2:3 encourages us with these words. Don’t be selfish: don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others , too.

Faith and His Presence

Listening to a worship song “Spirit Move” (Spontaneous) with worship leader Kalley Heiligenthal by Bethel Music I am drawn to the words “Come Lord Jesus Come”. What an amazing gift when He shows up. How things begin to shift in our thinking, our soul begins to receive His Peace, His wisdom, His grace fills all the troubled places.

We have to open our hearts to His Presence. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. He promised the children of Israel to lead and guide them, and that promises is ours as well. We are not alone today. As we seek Him and His will and allow His Spirit to touch us in our real places–we are changed. Courage is imparted. Life becomes not just doable–but it becomes something we can actually live in a way that we can make a difference,

Moms of small children fill your home with His Worship and Praise. Fill your hearts with His Presence and you will find solutions to parenting issues–for with His Presence comes His Wisdom. Marriage issues? Seek Him for His solution with the power of His Presence. In His Presence the mountains of problems begin to become manageable and more easily handled.

Fear goes in His Presence. Anger subsides in His Presence. Forgiveness begins to be easier to apply, because we are reminded of His love and the price He paid for our own sin. His Presence brings joy. His Presence brings HOPE. HIs Presence is our Life. My dear ones, cultivate His Presence in your home and your car. But most of all, cultivate the place for Him in your own heart. Let the worship music soften the hard places of your heart. Let it minister to those dry places which need His life giving waters.

His Presence may bring challenges to change your thinking and behavior to walk more in His ways–but that is what it is all about isn’t it? To walk as a disciple of Jesus, we need to allow ourselves to be conformed to His image–His Presence helps us say “yes” to His work in our hearts.

Invite Him to come afresh and anew into your environment. It definitely will make a difference!

Faith: Seeds and Soil

This past week our Life Group has been studying the parable of the seed and the sower. This parable is found in Mark 4. A farmer went to plant some seed. The farmer was doing what farmers do. They sow seed. He was using a broadcast method–throwing the seed out onto the soil. Some of the seed fell on a footpath, and birds came along and ate them. Some fell on shallow soil and they initially took root, but there was hard rock under the shallow soil and those plants eventually died. Some fell in an area that had thorns and even though they also grew–eventually the thorns choked the good seed. Finally, Jesus gives us some good news—some of the seed fell on fertile soil and produced thirty, sixty and even one hundred fold!

As I was reading through this parable, I was thinking about the seed. Each seed had the potential to produce good fruit. It cost the farmer to purchase the seed, and yet he broadcasted the seed into areas where he probably knew they would not grow. As disciples of Christ, it is our responsibility to sow the seed.–God’s truth into those who do not know Him. Pastors and teachers of many or few, old or young faithfully sow into the hearts of the hearers–expectant for the planting to take root and bear fruit.

I want us to take a look at God’s promises about the seed. To put our trust and release our faith in the power of the seed. Jesus begins to unpack the meaning of this parable in Mark 4: 14: the farmer plants by taking God’s word to others. (NLT). Obviously the seed Jesus is talking about it God’s Word. Let us not grow weary in sowing God’s word by refreshing ourselves in the truth of the power of His Word.

Hebrews 4: 12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires

The promise in Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

the Word of God always produces fruit and it will accomplish all He wants it to. To those of you who are teaching young children–release your faith as you pour into these little ones. Do not be afraid to encourage them to memorize scripture–no matter their protests! When I was in the fifth grade our Sunday School teacher had us memorize for (stickers only) Psalm 100, Psalm 23, and the Lord’s Prayer to name a few. I still remember these words and God uses them to encourage, exhort and comfort me. I don’t remember her name, but I remember the Word! Release your faith when you pray God’s Word over your spouse, finances, or other troubles. The joy about having a relationship with Jesus is the blessing that He is true to His Word. Remember He is the Word, which became flesh to dwell among us!

We must remember the Word of God is alive and powerful. We may look at some of the soil God asks us to sow into and think, truly they must be the shallow ones, or the thorny ones–but it is not our job to judge soil quality. It is up to the Lord and them. It is up to us to make sure our soil is good and able to receive His Word so it produces the fruit He desires.

Our enemy would like to discourage us from sowing God’s Word. But we must remember, Romans 10:14:

14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?

It is our call to share His Word. Let’s do it in faith and with faith!


Faith–the confident trust in our Lord and Savior that He who has begun a good work in you will continue to perform it until it is finished. Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about what we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1) When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. for you know that when you faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4

One of the benefits of my growing older and growing in my faith is I have come to not be so surprised by these tests that come our way. I think in my naive youth I thought that if I had enough faith I could/would keep things away from myself and my family. It was a very childish and immature way to think. When these tests or troubles as James shares, came my way, I would be caught off guard and struggle with them simply happening rather than walk them out in faith. I really was unaware of this childish perspective until the Lord showed me. I spent much too much time asking the “whys” of situations rather than simply applying the Word of God to the situation.

The Bible refers to different types of faith–little faith, (Matthew 17:20); weak faith (Romans 14:1) great faith (Matthew 15:28) at times I think I have experienced them all. Troubles and tests are part of what happens in this world. Job declares that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. It does not mean that we should not pray for protection, health and favor for ourselves or our families. But we need not to be blindsided about events that happen to us as believers.

Our faith is supposed to grow and develop. It is like a muscle and as we deal with the experiences of life we get the opportunity to exercise that muscle and watch it grow stronger. I am not where I want to be with my faith, but by God’s grace I can see areas where I have grown and developed a greater confidence and assurance in Him. I am grateful for it has led me to the Rock that is Higher than I, the One who is strong, stable and able to meet the challenges I face with power and authority.

Remember we walk by faith and not by sight–a life of trust. We can do this.

Faith, Battles and God’s Help

Last week I wrote about faith and moving from hysteria to history. I mentioned different life situations that can cause a feeling of panic or overwhelming stress that can take us by surprise. The day after I wrote that blog I encountered such an attack.

Several months ago I signed up for the United States Post Office Informed Delivery Service. This is a service that sends me an email of any mail I can expect to show up at my mail box. It has been a blessing because I only make trips to the post office when I actually have mail! However on Friday I saw I had a letter from the Department of the Treasury, yes the Internal Revenue Service addressed to Impart Ministries. This meant that I had made another mistake. I have been so careful to follow all their rules so it upset me. To be honest it also set up some grief triggers because my husband used to take care of all that stuff and now it was on me. Suddenly I found myself in a spiritual battle–which really outweighed the situation.

When I went to the post office to pick it up, my mail box was empty. It has happened before, so I thought its ok, I will get it on Saturday. I did my best not to worry and cast this care back onto the Lord. I knew there was nothing I could do about it, but just wait. Still the oppression grew. When I went to the post office on Saturday morning, no letter. In its place was a notice of failed delivery for a certified letter from the IRS. I have never had a certified letter from them before. My mind began to wander and wonder–what did I do? What possibly could this mean? The only thing I could think of was they were going to audit Impart Ministries. I reached out to my daughter Elizabeth and she prayed and encouraged me. But the power of the oppression still raged.

However, I had other mail in the box that day. One was a letter from an Impart Ministry supporter. It was out of time for her usual financial gift–so I was surprised to receive it. I opened it and read the following:

April 4, 2019

Dear Martha,

Felt very impressed (via a dream) to write to you today. I love you very much. I come against any fear, loneliness, lack, feeling of inadequacy, weakness, vulnerability, darkness, discouragement and helplessness. I rebuke, refuse them on your behalf. I raise up a standard against them. I call forth the angelic army of God to surround you with strength, tools of warfare, the blood of Jesus, the light of the Word and the oil of the Holy Spirit, faith, truth, righteousness, peace, the sword. No weapon formed against you shall prosper. I speak supernatural awareness of any trap or snare. You are encompassed about by godly guardians and protection. Walk in liberty, Patti

When I read this short letter, I started crying. So many of the areas that she mentioned were things I was struggling with. I shared the letter with a few people. God had given this woman a dream about me and she took the time to write this amazing prayer. It was overwhelming. I want to encourage us to follow through with connecting with people God puts on your heart. She had no way of knowing my situation. But it came in time.

You would think that the oppression would have immediately lifted with all this encouragement, right? But no, it was stubborn. I re-read the letter and began to sort through my tools of warfare. What hadn’t I employed? Ah, worship. I turned on my Spotify worship playlist and peace began to be restored. I had reached out to another friend for prayer earlier and she texted me a prayer right before I went to sleep. Liberty was coming, I was walking out of the darkness into His light once again.

My daughter had given me a scripture from 2 Kings 3 :14-24 on Sunday, and said “it’s a small thing for the Lord, whatever it is.” Monday, as I went to the post office to pick up the letter, I was calm and at peace. It was what it was. As I read it, I realized it was a mistake. It was a collection notice for something that I had proof was already settled. A mistake on their part. I called the number, but of course they were too busy to take my call. The next morning I tried again, praying for a caring, clear person to answer my call. After a thirty minute wait, I was connected to Ms. Lee. She was awesome and she agreed I had a zero balance owing. I even shared with her about my hysterical to historical blog. God is good.

As I shared this story with my Life Group last night, one of the other gals could really relate to this kind of attack. She too had been struggling with lies and oppression. This story became a help to her. God is in the midst of our struggle. He helps us as we walk through storms.

Father, I ask you to help your people as they walk through the storms of life. I thank you that you are true to your Word, a very present help in the time of trouble. Please send your peace, wisdom and solutions to those who are facing overwhelming problems. In Jesus Name, amen