Friday, December 7, 2012

Our God...

"will fight for us..."
Nehemiah 4:20
NKJV
 
The following true life story is dedicated to my sweet friend, Lottie, who began chemo today to battle ovarian cancer for the third time.  Please keep her and all cancer patients in your prayers.

I love you, Lottie. God be with you every step of the way...


 



 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Miracles...

"The voice of One, crying in the desert,
Make Way for the Coming of the Lord..."
Matthew: 3:3
NKJV

Zachariah (his name means "God has not forgotten")!  I love his story.  He, together with Elizabeth, are blessed to be chosen to be the mama and papa of the famous cousin of Jesus, John the Baptist. 

Miracles happened in the lives of Zachariah and Elizabeth.  When I think of that, I think, how "lucky" to use today's language, were they!  They were old and barren and didn't seem to have a chance of having a child.  And then, along comes John.  If I had been Elizabeth, I probably would have wanted to put John in a glass case and be sure he had a "perfect" and pain-free life.  I would have wanted to pick out the perfect wife for him and be sure he lived close enough for me to see my grandchildren, because, of course, he would give me some.  After all, this was the miracle I had prayed for and now that I had it, I would not easily let him go.

But the story of Zachariah and Elizabeth's miracle doesn't unfold like that,  It starts out with Zachariah being struck dumb by the Angel Gabriel because he didn't quite believe what he had been told by this angel from above.  Can we blame him?  After all, how many angels have visited your house lately (at least that you have SEEN)?

If we buy into the "prosperity" gospel of some of the TV preachers of our time, one would think that once God tuned into their need, every little thing that Zachariah and Elizabeth asked for was fulfilled in the birth of this child.  But, in fact, this was only the beginning of a long journey for them, marked with the unmistakable scourge of suffering.

Zachariah and Elizabeth were old by the time God gave them the answer to the prayer they had prayed all of their lives.  And when He finally answered them, they weren't even sure what to make of it.  Can't you just see Zachariah looking around him to see if anybody else had heard what he heard.  He is "dumbfounded" quite literally.  Isn't that just like us?  We are endlessly praying for blessing, and then, blown away when it actually happens!

I wonder sometimes, if I would want to be one of those that God blesses with miracles.  The miracle just doesn't seem to play out the way I would write it.  After all, consider what happened to the miracle of John the Baptist. 

He wanders off into the desert, abandons Mom and Dad, becomes some kind of a religious fanatic, never marries or gives them grandchildren, fails to take on a respectable career, stirs up the masses with his radical call to repentance, makes enemies of the political rulers in town and ends up being murdered ruthlessly for his efforts.  Any illusions that they had that this son would make their lives easier evaporated in the reality that this son of theirs belonged first to God and would not be content to let anyone else, including, Mom and Dad, define his calling.  Do you suppose that this was all easy for them to accept?  I doubt it.  And yet, it is this son of theirs that Jesus blesses with the proclamation that "Not one, born of woman, is greater than John the Baptist!" Matt: 11:11

No the touch of God, the answer to their prayers, the "miracle" of their son, brought to them great blessing and great heartache all at the same time.  Makes me think we need to understand God's miracles are His, not ours. 

Whenever God draws close to us and shares with us His plan, His work, His miracle, we had better be well prepared.  It will most likely involve suffering and dying to ourselves and our own desires.  Maybe that was the biggest part of this miracle.   Zachariah and Elizabeth had come to a place in their lives where they were ready to give all back to God, no matter the cost.  As a mother, I marvel at this.  Part of me wants to say, Yes, Lord.  And part of me wants to say, all but this, Lord...

Maybe I need a little more time before I'm ready for a miracle...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Kiss the Son...

"Blessed are those who put their trust in Him..."
Psalm 2:12
NKJV


I am reading a wonderful little book right now by Janet Davis, entitled My Own Worst Enemy.  Janet is a spiritual mentor who focuses primarily on women's issues and growth in their relationship with the Lord.  Her books are very insightful and easy to read - always very rich in application to our lives. 

One of the issues that she explores is the difference between following Jesus out of a sense of duty versus following Jesus out of a passionate, all consuming love for Him - the difference between night and day!  We are so often taught to follow him methodically, ritualistically, out of a sense of duty, as if "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength" is a recipe we are following - 3 cups of heart, 1/2 cup of soul and a pinch of strength equals the exact right ingredients needed to bake up a nice warm batch of love of God!  It is dry and boring and something we will gladly postpone until whenever we get around to it.

Contrast that with so many pictures we see in the Word of God describing an extravagant display of unabashed, passionate love of God. Consider Mary breaking the alabaster jar to anoint Jesus with the precious oil she had saved drop by drop over her lifetime.

Mary doesn't tiptoe into the center of the Pharisees and ask if she might be able to put a drop of two of ointment on Jesus - but only if it's OK with them!  No - she runs to the Savior, weeping and making a scene which would embarrass most of us with her uninhibited display of love for Jesus.  She makes a royal mess of it all by breaking a beautiful, expensive jar and pouring the contents all over the head of this One she adores.  There is oil everywhere, broken pieces mixed in with her tears, because, of course, she cannot stop crying at the feet of Jesus.  She seems to be lost in the moment.  She doesn't even realize everyone is staring at her.  The religious leaders in the room are disdaining her reckless abandonment to the moment.  She is in love with her God.  She doesn't care who's watching.  She is out of her mind with love for this One she has found that is worth it all.  She is sold out to Him.  He owns her.  She belongs to Him.  Let everything else be lost.  She has found the Pearl of Great Price.  The Living, Breathing God of her desire.

Have you ever had such a moment of sold out love for God?  I did.  I remember the exact moment I was "born again" an overused term that often fails to capture the miracle of birth that takes place in a new believer's life. 

I had gone to visit a little church in the new neighborhood I was living in and "just happened" to be there at the end of a time of revival, when the Spirit was flowing unhindred by religious ritual.  I responded to an invitation to come to the altar for prayer.  I was one of many people who went to the altar that day.  The strange thing was, I had been raised in a denomination that never did this kind of thing, so it was brand new to me.  Not one to put myself on display, I did not plan on doing anything but praying quietly at the altar.  But, as I knelt to pray that day, the Spirit of the Lord fell on me with such power that I crumbled weeping uncontrollaby to the floor of the sanctuary.  In that moment, I know I had met my Saviour.  I could not stop crying.  The reality of my sin and my need for a Savior overwhelmed me.  I lost track of everyone around me and stayed at the altar long past the time that was "appropriate".  I finally looked up to see the Pastor kneeling beside me, calling to me, trying to bring me "back" from the edge I had apparently fallen over.  I have no idea how long I was weeping at that altar.  I didn't even care.  I had met my Savior and I didn't even want to come back.

From that day on, I have tried to follow Jesus.  I haven't always succeeded.  I am not a follower of His because I do it so well.  I am because He is faithful.  He holds onto me.  He sustains me.  He loves me.  With all my heart, I hope you find Him as I did.  Fall in love with Jesus.  You will never be the same...



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

You Have Forgotten...

"Your first love.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen;
Repent and do the first works,
Or
I will come to you quickly
And remove your lampstand from its place
Unless you repent...
He who has an ear to hear,
Let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
Revelation 2:4-7
NKJV

When I listened to this sermon by Dr. Wilkerson, I was deeply touched by his anguish for the Church in America.  
I see what he sees.  Do you?
I thought of the churches that were admonished by the Lord in the book of Revelation.  
What is He saying to the Church in America?  
He sees our works.  
But, truly it seems that we have "forgotten our first love." 
 He who has ears to hear, 
let him hear...

Please pray for the Church in America.




Monday, November 19, 2012

Suffer the Little Children...

"To come unto Me...

Our children and grandchildren so deeply need our prayers.  They are growing up in a world that often mocks God, refuses to bend the knee to honor Him, blasphemes His Name, heaps scorn upon His law, and hates the Person of Jesus Christ.  The moral underpinnings of our society are crumbling.  

When God is mocked, if His people are silent, if they fail to pray, children are often the first victims of a world spinning wildly out of control.


And do not forbid them...

When I look around me at what is happening, I shudder to think what my children and grandchildren may face in the future.  I want to put a protective tent around them to keep them safe.  But, then I hear the Lord shaking me out of my stupor.  They don't need my protection. They need His.  

I hear Him telling me to put away my sentimental longings, steady my trembling legs, and get on with the business at hand.  He is looking for those who will stand at the gate and watch.  And then pray.  It is not enough just to watch and sound the alarm.  Prayer is urgently needed. Intercession on behalf of His people is the work of all of us who love our God, our children, our grandchildren, and our world.  


For of such...



is the Kingdom of Heaven...


And He laid His hands on them...
He reminded me repeatedly this week that it is not just my children that need prayer, but children all over the world. Children of France, England, Saudi Arabia, India, Africa, South America, Australia, China, Sweden, Scotland, Russia... The list is endless. The millions and millions of children in this world have the eye and the ear of Our God. Every single one of them is priceless to Him. How then can we neglect to pray for them?
and blessed them..."
Matthew 19:14,15
NKJV

Lord forgive us for so often choosing to be so narrow in our focus.  For looking only on our own needs and failing to see a hurting and needy world.  Lord, Our God, Creator of every child born under the sun, teach us to pray.  Break our hearts, Abba, Father, for what breaks yours... 

Here are some children I know that need our prayers.  I would love it if you would leave a comment with the name of a child or children you know who need our prayers.  


Children who are suffering through the divorce of their parents.
Children who are being abused.
Children who are being neglected.
Children growing up in crippling poverty all over the world.
Children who are being sold into slavery by their parents.
Children who are brutally maimed.
Children who fear for their lives.
Children who are victimized and targeted by terrorists.
Children used to commit war crimes against their own parents.
Children aborted before they have a chance to live.
Children abandoned by their parents.
Children growing up in homes that mock God.
Children growing up without hope.
Children born with physical and mental handicaps.
Children who are living in war torn countries all over the world.
Children who are bullied.
Children who never hear about Jesus.
Children who are taught to believe in lies.
Children who are all alone and afraid.
Children who are used in sex trafficking.
Children who live on the streets of countries like Romania.
Children who have suffered the loss of a parent or sibling through sudden death or illness.

Also, for my own grandchildren, Erin, Bree, Maddie, Kayla and Ella.  For their eternal salvation...

Please add the names of children you would like us to pray for...


Sunday, November 18, 2012

We are His People...


the flock that He shepherds...
Psalm 95: 7
NKJV

Come, Worship the Lord.  I love this plaintiff and heartbreaking invitation sung so tenderly by Darwin Hobbs, and echoed all over the Word of God.  Come.  Come.  Come.  Worship the Lord...  Is it not amazing that God longs for us?  He searches for you and me.  He desires us deeply.  

We are a people created for Worship.  Not just singing of hymns and praise songs that make us feel good.  No - we are called to worship Him with everything in us.  We do not serve a mediocre  half-hearted God.  He is completely sold out for us.  He is extravagantly, deeply, deeply head over heels in love with you and me.  All He asks in return is our worship... 


I love Sunday evenings.  I often listen to songs of worship to close the day and draw very close to the Lord.  I always find Him waiting for me, searching for me.  How humbling is that?  The God of the universe is looking for me?  Do you hear Him searching for you?  "Come away with Me for just a few moments.  I desire your company.  I miss you.  I love you more than you know..."


Listening to this music I hear an ache in the voice of the singer - depicting the voice of God.  He aches for our love.  He desires our worship.  In that moment when I yield my heart to Him, I feel the pain of His love surrounding me.  And I know this is where I always long to be. I miss my God.  I am empty in so many places apart from Him.  I know I have found the One my heart longs for.  I have found my Maker.  


I hope you are encouraged to put yourself in the song - it is your God who is calling YOU to worship Him right now at this very moment in time.  Let yourself respond to His invitation.  Love Him freely and tenderly, not because you have to but because you want to.  In a world where it's so often all about us, take this time to make it all about Him.  Magnify the Lord your God.  This is the Lord's Day.  Give it to Him gratefully and extravagantly, as He gives Himself to us. 


Give Him all you have, whatever it is - your struggles, your losses, your hopes, your fears, your what-ifs, your moments of doubt...  He knows it all anyway and wants to love you through it all. He is the only One worthy of our worship. He is our God.  We are but the sheep of His pasture. The flock that He shepherds... Alleluia...





Friday, November 16, 2012

Tell Me a Story...

of days gone by...

Oh, dear.  I feel a story coming on...!  There are few things that seem to delight my grandchildren more than stories from the past, full of mystery and wonder.  They sit very close to me in those moments.  Their eyes grow bigger and bigger, trying to picture what it must have been like...

For just a few moments, I have them in the palm of my hand.  They are captivated by a past they never knew.  I can see their faces picturing what it must have been like when Daddy was a little boy, sometimes naughty, just like them!  Such mysteries are fascinating to children. They ask me again and again, "tell me a story".  I so love to oblige...

As Thanksgiving draws closer and closer, I love to tell stories of holidays past.  Here's one just for you!


My daughter, Kimmy, was a junior in college at Knox College in Galesburg, Il.  She had taken a job in the area and would not be able to come home for Thanksgiving.  She had to work.  I don't know who was more disappointed - me or her.  The thought of her being alone on Thanksgiving did not rest well with me.  I pictured her coming home to an empty apartment at the end of her shift with no family, no Turkey, no pumpkin pie, no celebration of the day.  The more I thought about it, the less I liked it.  Finally, the thought occurred to me - if she couldn't come home, we would go there!


And that's how it happened that we packed up a 20 pound turkey, cranberries, stuffing, potatoes, pumpkin pie and whatever else we needed to complete the feast, and made the trek to bring the day to my daughter.  Her siblings all joined in the fun, even if they did think I was a little off the beam to carry a turkey a couple of hundred miles to cook it for their sister.  They knew they had best go along with the program.  It wasn't a suggestion.  It was going to happen, if you know what I mean!


And so we packed the car up with all our goods, Turkey and all, and drove to Kim's apartment to "make Thanksgiving happen" for all of us, but, especially, on this particular Thanksgiving Day, for my sweet daughter.  We were there most of the day before she finally got off work and came home tired and a little down.  When I saw her face, I breathed a prayer of thanks to God that He had led me to her little apartment, on that cold November day, to share that day with this daughter who needed to be reminded that she was loved and cherished by her family.  


It was one of those Thanksgiving holidays that I have never forgotten.  And neither has she.  She told me recently that she remembers that day so clearly, it is etched in her memory forever.  She knew when she came home that day that she was deeply loved.  The best reason of all for thanks, I believe.  For me, as her mother, I am so glad we overcame the obstacles and went out of our way to love on each other that day.  That's what I remember the most.  We made a memory that was filled with love.  Those are the memories that hang around forever.  They make up the stories we love to tell each other.  They tell us, beyond the shadow of a doubt, we are loved, more than we can know.  So loved.  So very, very loved... 


I didn't know on that Thanksgiving Day that in another year, Kim would graduate and make her life a thousand miles away from all of us.  I didn't know that this was almost the last Thanksgiving we would share together as a family around the same table.  None of us knows, really, if this might be the last time we get the chance to be together in this way...  

Because we just don't know if we will ever have another one like this one, Lord, teach us to make the most of the moment we have right now...Teach us Lord, God, to go all out to love each other. Teach us to spend it all for love...

For love that knows no bounds, we thank You, Lord.  We thank you for it all...


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fool!

"...This very night your soul will be required of you..."
Luke 12:20
NKJV


America, America.  Home of the free and the brave...  But, for how long, I wonder? We have just finished one of the most brutal election seasons of my lifetime, marked by lies and counter lies, corruption so deep that many no longer even trust the electoral process.  Was the election stolen?  We will never know.  We have no way of verifying the count that seems to be laughably inaccurate.

The division in our country runs deep.  The hostility and anger, sometimes bordering on rage on both sides sends chills through my spine.  The election may be over but the anger is not.  For many, there is outrage and alienation for those whose battle ended in defeat.  It is chilling to watch as the intensity continues to rise.  Where are we going with all of this rage?

As an American who loves my country, I fear for her future.  But, as a believer in Jesus Christ, I have read the prophesies regarding the end times and I must concede, we may be watching those prophesies unfold right before our eyes.  It appears more and more likely...

God's plan for His world is advancing on His time table.  He does not need our approval for Him to move forward with His purpose and plan, even if that plan means the possible destruction of America. Given the state of the Union, collapse of our once mighty and prosperous nation appears to be almost inevitable.  The seeds of destruction have been carefully sown and appear to be about to come to full bloom with the blessing of an electorate that chose to put blinders on rather than look, clear eyed, at the signs that are all around us.

Again, I must admit, I fiercely love and advocate for America.  I am a daughter of America.  I am so grateful to have been born here and birthed all of my children in this beautiful land.  But, why do I hear the Lord asking me if I am making an idol of this land that I love?  Do I love her more than I love Him?  Will I yield America to Him to do what He will with her? I am struggling with this, truthfully.  I want to protect America as she has protected me.  But, protect her from the Lord, I know I cannot do. Like Abraham, I hear him calling me to lay my Isaac down on the altar.  If he lays the knife to her throat, do I trust He has a purpose and a plan that is better than any I have?  It is so painful to slay our idols...

I pray for the healing of America.  We so need healing.  We are wounded and bleeding.  Yet, we strut up and down the streets arrogantly flaunting our sins.  In a drunken stupor, we raise our glasses to toast ourselves.  We are riding the crest of the wave.  Until God calls our bluff and rebukes us in our sin.

I pray that there is still time for America to come to her senses.  Or better than that - to her knees. Have we so forgotten who God is and who we are?  Are we really so arrogant and full of ourselves that we think we can escape the judgment of a just God?  I fear I know the answer before I hear it.  We have gorged ourselves on our own arrogance and pride.  Does anybody hear the Lord calling us back from the edge?  We have become a nation of fools, reveling in our folly. How much we need to remember, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."  Proverbs 9:10.  No one seems to fear Him anymore. Dear God, save us from ourselves...

May God have mercy on my homeland, my beloved America.  We are very long over due for repentance...


Through It All...

I have learned to depend upon the Lord...


The cold wind was blowing through my bones today.  I could feel winter moving in for a long overnight stay, welcome or not.  I went to the park to write for a while.  It is one of my favorite places to write, to think, to commune with the Lord.  I scribbled for a little while, but gave up finally.  I wanted to drink in the evening as the sun was disappearing for another day.  There is something about beginnings and endings that are so enticing to me.  I love the sweetness of the morning sunrise, and the beckoning home of the evening sunset.  I am drawn to look up and consider the things of God.  I need to spend some time alone with Him.  I am longing for His presence.  

So many thoughts were running through my mind.  Next week is Thanksgiving already. I love this holiday.  As I have watched friend after friend daily announce some other thing they are thankful for, I was drawn back in time to count the things, great and small, that the Lord God has done for me.  The list is endless.  Everything I have that is worth having is from Him.  For all of it, I am truly thankful.  

In the midst of my remembering, I "happened" to hear the beautiful old hymn I have attached below. I qualify that because I don't believe it was just by happenstance.  I believe God was whispering to me as if to say "Have you considered this...?"  And so I leaned in a little closer to hear what He wanted to speak into my heart.

In the morning, I had felt so hungry for God to speak to me.  I was longing for Him as surely as a lover longs for the beloved.  I was missing my God.  Here, in this beautiful old hymn, I heard the God of the universe step into my world to answer my morning prayer.  

My heart was moved by the tenderness of His message to me.  This song reminded me that He has been with me "through it all..."    The pains, the sorrows, the trials, the tears, the fears, the moments of unspeakable joy and the moments of despair - my God has seen it all.  He has laughed with me, wept with me, held onto me in moments when everyone else had long departed.  He held onto me in the ugliest times of my life when nobody else was there.  He carried me through every trial - every loss - every grief that threatened to destroy me.  He was there.  He loved me through it all.  

Ironically, it isn't the joyous moments - the flying high moments - the kiss the sky moments - that I thank Him for today.  It is the so low I thought I'd never survive moments for which I am most thankful.  Because He was there. He met me in the pit of my despair.  He was waiting for me "at the end of myself."  He never gave up on me.  He loved me no matter the sin.  He loved me no matter the distance He had to go to find me.  He loved me when I didn't love myself.  Through it all - through it all -  I have learned to depend upon the Lord...

For all Your many, many gifts to me, Lord God, I thank you most for this...




                          

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Door (Re-post of an old favorite!)

"Then Jesus said to them...I AM THE DOOR.
If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved."
John 10: 9


Too heavy to carry, I put down my broken heart to rest for a little while.
Dreading to pick it up again,
I wished I had a Daddy to love me like a child.

I'm weary with the sadness of the brokenness I hide.
Can I come in and rest with you, for just a little while?
Can I curl up inside?

I want to run away, I said,
Where no-one knows me and no-one sees,
The pain that I have buried beneath a million tears.

I have so many questions, with no answers that are real.
They mock me in their emptiness.
They laugh at how I feel.

I used to think I had them all – answers, of course, I mean.
The questions then were easy,
The answers were neat and clean.

I kept them in a little box,
I'd pull out just as I pleased. The answers to the questions.
Oh, yes. I had them all.

But then, my heart was broken.
It shattered all my fears.
I lost my place. I couldn't break my fall...

No answers now, I knew the truth I didn't know before.
I needed something more than me,
To rescue me - to make me whole.

I just want peace, you know, in spite of all the pain.
I wish that I could take a bath
And come out clean again.

He looked at me with a tenderness I'd never seen before.
He picked me up and carried me.
He said "I AM the Door."

Inside the house, He covered me with a love I'd never known.
He sang and danced with joy for me,
And sat down on His throne.

The house was like no other I had ever seen.
There was Beauty everywhere.
I sat outside in the pouring Rain and never felt so clean.

He laughed with me, He cried with me.
He called me His very own.
He whispered that He loved me and would never let me go.

This is the thing that leaves me so amazed.
That He Who Is so Beautiful, the God Who Sees it all,
Loves me without reason and will not let me go.

He brought me to the questions with no answers I could see.
Until broken, I finally looked for Him,
And fell upon my knees.

When I looked into His eyes and saw the Beauty of His face.
I knew He was the Answer,
The Root of Every Grace.

Nestled deep within His love, He made me whole again.
He held me and He carried me,
He forgave me all my sins.

He reached down from heaven, He climbed into my pit.
Of the wonders of all He has given me,
He Is the Greatest Gift.

Thank you, Lord, for choosing me, a sinner saved by grace.
I will worship You forever,
My Savior, My Hiding Place...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I Am Not Ashamed...

of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
for it is the power of God to salvation
for everyone who believes,
for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed
from faith to faith;
as it is written,
'The just shall live by faith."
Romans 1:16,17
NKJV



It has taken me most of this week to put into words the outrage I felt this past week while sitting in a “Christian” women's group, led by a pastor's wife, as she mocked the Gospel of Jesus Christ by declaring that “all religions lead to God – who are we to think that only Christianity has the answers?” 

It was my first time attending this class and I was both shocked and unprepared for what I heard being taught and agreed to by this group. These are affluent, middle class women, members of the Christian denomination that hosts this group weekly. They were quite content in their affluence – bragging about their travels around the world, where they have had the opportunity to witness people of many different religions. 

According to these women, anyone who does not see that all religions are equal doesn't see it because, the poor ignorant souls have been “programmed” to believe the teachings of the Bible. Who can believe that, they declared? Ridiculous in the minds of these ladies.

It would require much more space than I have time or room to detail the incredible number of lies that were stated in this group regarding the Bible, the Gospel, and the Person of Jesus Christ. Why then do they call themselves Christians? 

As they describe it, it is simply because they were “programmed” by families who were born into Christianity by an accident of fate. Had they been born in India they would be Hindus, in Thailand, Buddha, etc. Not to worry – the religions are just as good as Christianity to get the job done. They consider Jesus a good teacher whose teachings are worth following, whenever they agree with them. Nothing more. He is not God. He is not their Savior, because, of course, they don't need one! That's just a bunch of religious trappings that they, in their intellectual superiority and sophistication, have happily outgrown.


I challenged their beliefs, with no small measure of shock on my face, I'm sure. They approached me with smiles on their faces and patronizing, condescending looks as they tried to educate and enlighten me. Admittedly, I felt a bit like Moses asking “Why me, Lord?” I certainly didn't plan on being the one in the group who would have to defend the Gospel. And, to some extent, that's the point of my story – we do not know when or where we will be asked to defend our faith. We need to be prepared...

Maybe this is going on all over the church today, and I am just experiencing it. I suspect this is the case. If so, we who believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the truth of the Word of God, must stand up for the Gospel of our Lord and Savior. We must know the Bible backwards and forwards and be prepared to defend our faith. The reason these women are so lost is because they have rejected the Word of God. They don't read it. They don't understand it. They dismiss it as if it is the Sunday Funnies. Apparently, no one ever told them that “faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the Word of God.” Romans 10:17

When I left that meeting, I went home and cried. Cried for the belittling of my Savior.  In their words, I could feel the nails being hammered into the hands and feet of Jesus all over again.

How dare we call ourselves Christians and mock the very Gospel we are called to defend. How dare we belittle the Word of God and speak glowingly of false religions. How dare we prop ourselves up in false pride and arrogance against God. We have “eaten of the apple” and bought the lie, when we set ourselves up as the ones who define for ourselves who God is. God help us to be true to the Gospel for which Jesus Christ suffered and died that we would be saved. Those who mock the Gospel, and the Savior, in the church or out of it, will pay with their eternal salvation.  God forgive us "if we fail to defend the Gospel of our salvation.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ...” 2 Corinthians 10: 3-5

"He said to them, "But who do you say that I Am?  Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."  Matthew 16:5

"Jesus said to them, 'I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me."  John 14:6




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Dew is Still on the Roses...

"I make all things new..."
Revelation 21:5
NKJV


Mornings. The whole earth is yawning and stretching and wiping the sleep from its eyes! The sun is piercing the sky, golden and breathtaking in all of its radiant beauty. 

Shhhh...  There's a quiet to the morning that is broken gently by the rustling of the trees stretching and yawning to shake the sleep out of their branches. The sun is peeking over the clouds, tiptoeing into another day. The birds are chattering over their babies, nudging them into a new day. I sit at the window and bask in the rays of light that stream into my little abode. Most of the world is still in its pajamas. I am alone with my thoughts and with my God. I treasure these moments that begin another day. No one is speaking. The coffee is perking on the stove. The babies are still asleep in their beds. It is a new day.

Only a few minutes and then its over. But for those few minutes, heaven kisses the earth with promise. Like precious jewels, I savor these moments, alone with my God. Lord, remind me today that You are in it all. No matter what happens today, there is a morning coming that will be forever. Help me to savor the moments. Until that great “waking up morning” in heaven. Lord, remind me, You are in it all...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Eye Has Not Seen...



"Nor ear heard,
Nor has it entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared
For those who love Him."
1 Corinthians 2:9
NKJV

I had a dear friend once who had twin sons that were, of course, more precious than life itself to my friend. Inexplicably, one of his sons developed an extremely deadly form of cancer at the tender age of 11. From that point on, life was never the same. My friend rode an emotional roller coaster for well over two years. Just when the family was broken and unable to take another step, a miraculous drug would turn the tables of fortune and, what seemed a hopeless situation turned on its head and the child rallied to what seemed like a cure. Then, after months of “normal” health and childhood vitality, the disease came roaring back with a ferocity that threatened to crush my friend under its reign of terror.

Once again, my friend was caught in the merciless grasp of an enemy that kept appearing in new clothes with a new, more threatening voice, as if to say, “You will never escape, you will never escape... I have you. You will never escape...” Eventually, on the threshold of his graduation from grade school, my friend's son lost his battle and the Lord took him home. My friend was devastated.

I watched this unfolding tragedy with horror. There was nothing I could say to comfort my friend. He was inconsolable. He blamed himself for not being able to protect his son. As if he had willfully chosen to abandon his son when he was most needed. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. No. This father stayed at the side of his son through every excruciating minute of his illness. He never lost hope. He never gave up. He was faithful.

What does God have to say to us about these kind of moments in our lives, that define our lives by the immensity of their impact?  I have stood by the bedside of my own parents as they wrestled and fought against illnesses that took their lives. I have wept at the loss of my own child, much wanted and dearly loved, gone before I ever got to hold him in my arms. I have experienced losses in my life that I never talk about to anyone. They are carried in the silence of my heart, where only God knows the depth of pain their loss has meant to me.

When something happens in my life that tears the blister off the old wound, and I am brought back to the pain as if it were yesterday, I run to the Lord and tell Him the story that has broken my heart all over again. He never stops receiving me into His arms. He never turns His back to me, wondering when I will ever “get over it”. He never says, He's heard it all before and doesn't want to hear it again. No. He understands completely. He weeps with me. He gathers me in His arms and carries me. He looks upon me with the compassion of a Father who never stops loving His child. He waits for me to catch my breath. He loves me “until I can be me again...”

At moments like these, there are no words to speak that make any sense.  I am speechless in the face of life's unanswerable questions.  All I want to do is draw closer and closer to the One who holds the answers.  I want to hear Him speak.  I want to know that He is with me, no matter how alone I feel.  I want to know He understands what I have no words to express.  In the depths of suffering that silences my voice, I want to hear Him speak...


                            

Friday, October 19, 2012

All My Yesterdays...

"I, even I, am He who comforts you..."
Isaiah 51:12
NKJV

I have often stood outside yesterday's picture window, peering in like a stranger wishing I could enter in.

Isn't there a cozy fire flickering in the fire place? Doesn't it light up the faces of the family gathered together lovingly by its side? Don't I hear loving, kind, encouraging words spoken here? Aren't everyone's needs met in this idyllic little cottage? Isn't this a safe harbor from the cold, frigid storm that lies just outside it's doors? Don't I remember how much I loved growing up in this story book family where everyone's needs were met and no-one was ever hurt or left out? Why can't I keep this picture in focus? Whose house is this really? Whose family? I'm having trouble seeing them clearly...

The truth is, looking back, I know we were hardly the perfect, “Father Knows Best” family that was idealized on T.V. in the '50s. No, we didn't even have a fire place. We sometimes didn't even have heat on cold winter nights. My father wasn't sitting in the big stuffed chair, smoking his pipe and reading the newspaper. He was working the midnight shift in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Chicago. My mother often couldn't hide her fear that she didn't have enough money to put dinner on the table for her children. Pregnant with her eighth child, a good practicing Catholic, where was the church when it came to feeding the babies they told her she must have? I could tell, even as a young child, she often felt alone in dealing with these things. Yes, where was the Church...?

A better question really is, where was God? Was He on vacation? Was He sitting on the beach with His feet up getting a nice sun tan? Had he taken a job on the other side of the world and was now too busy to keep up with our needs? Was He taking a nap? Or, worst of all, did He just not care?

It took me a long time to settle some of those questions. My memories kept demanding answers. I don't have them all, even today. I probably won't have them either, until I sit across from  My Savior on the porch in heaven and have the chance to look into His eyes and ask Him directly, did you care? 

But, I can already see Him staring back at me, with love filling up the space between us. I can see Him. He has scars on His forehead where thorns once pierced His flesh. He has holes in the palms of His hands and the soles of His feet where nails were hammered in. He has a gaping gash in His side where a spear entered where it never should have gone.  No.  I guess it's undeniable that He didn't take the easy road Himself when He decided to redeem you and me.

What is there left to say? Yes. He cares. I know He cares. He cares for me and He cares for you. You can rest all of your yesterdays and all of your tomorrows in the certain knowledge that He cares. And He will “wipe away every tear from your eyes...” (Rev. 21:4)   I'm counting on it...

May God give you and me the strength and grace to face whatever it is that is overwhelming us today. May He be with you and with me in all of our tomorrows...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Riding the Tiger...

"Let the weak say,
I am strong..."
Joel 3:10
NKJV


Holding on for dear life
To the throat of the tiger
He keeps trying to eat me
If I let him go, he has me
If I hold on tight, he has me
He keeps trying to eat me
I'm scared
I'm terrified
I'm giddy
I'm ready to give up
He's getting ready to eat me
I wish I could get off his back
I don't know how
What am I afraid of?
What if I lose?
What if I die?
It will all be over
Before I'm ready to get off.

I must remember...

I love the thrill of riding the tiger
I love the adventure
I love the journey
I love the challenge
I love the opportunity
I love unpredictable life
I love the joy of the ride
I love twirling in the wind
I love the screeching and the squeals
I love the shear beauty of the tiger beneath me.

I love the life You give me today
I love writing on a blank page
I love drawing a picture only I can see
I love dancing to the music I hear
I love dreaming dreams that are forbidden
I love creating something from nothing
I love all the possibilities
I love waking up in the morning full of promise
I love the evening sunset
I love the day drawing to a close
I love crawling into bed at the end of a hard day
I love that I found You.
Beautiful, beautiful YOU!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I Remember...

You...

I remember you 
before you can remember yourself!

I remember 
praying for you 
when you were no bigger than a dot inside your mother.

I remember 
sitting in the waiting room with your uncle, 
waiting for your birth.
Wasn't that just yesterday?

I remember 
watching your daddy, 
overcome by the miracle of you.

I remember 
watching your mother 
fall in love with you instantly.

I remember 
the very first time I saw you,
 five minutes after your birth.

I remember 
you, age three, 
posing for the camera everywhere we went. 
 You were a ham even then!

I remember 
you, curling up beside me on Christmas Eve, 
telling me about your dreams for college.

I remember 
not wanting you to leave, 
and then, all at once, 
catching your excitement to be going, 
running joyfully into life.

I remember 
looking at you, 
full of beauty and poise, 
a gift to everyone you meet.

I remember 
you returning from Europe 
in your third year of college, 
undeniably a woman who has traveled more than I ever will.

I remember 
you sharing with me 
that it was the experience of 
visiting the little house 
that was the hiding place of Ann Frank, 
that touched you more deeply 
than anything else you saw in Europe.

I remember 
that God has gifted you to be a blessing 
to many beyond my little door. 
 I see the colors and shapes of those blessings 
beginning to erupt all over you.

I remember 
that you are part of a generation 
that is coming into its own, 
and I am part of a generation 
that is going home.

I remember 
that no matter how far away from me 
you pitch your tent, 
you are a part of me.

I remember 
that there are just so few things in life 
that will ever measure up 
to the blessing of you in my life.

I remember 
that the same God who blessed me with you, 
holds onto you still.

I remember 
that I will never stop 
loving you, 
praying for you, 
thanking God for you.

I remember 
the treasure of you...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Heavenly Father...

Watches over me...

So tired tonight.  Just want to bury my head under the pillow and make everything go away.  I'm sure you've been there.  Nothing seems to go right.  People disappoint us.  We disappoint ourselves.  Wonder if I'm getting anywhere with old issues that keep rearing their ugly head.  I am weary.  I am worn out.  I am tempted to give up.  At times like this, I really do need to let The Lord carry me.  That's the picture I get with this beautiful song. 

I am riding high on the Father's shoulders.  He has seen my downcast face.  Like a loving daddy, He bends down to look in my eyes and smiles His love all over me.

He plops me high on His shoulders for all the world to see.  My Heavenly Father watches over me...

He carries me in and takes a seat in the big, overstuffed chair in the living room.  He pulls me close to sit curled up right by His side.  He rests my head on His shoulder.  He caresses my cheek to quiet me.  The room is filled with the fragrance of His love.  

In the quiet certainty of His love, I feel every tight muscle unwind.  He has come to sit with me... My God has visited me... I know it will be alright. My Heavenly Father watches over me...