Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Spy!

"Where can I go from Your Spirit...
Where can I flee from Your Presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there..."

Psalm 139: 7,8   NKJV

I spy.
I spy You.
I spy You spying on me.
I spy You in everything I see.

I spy You in Your heaven.
I spy You shimmering in the sun.
I spy You dancing in the stars.
I spy You sleeping in the moon.

I spy You whirling in the wind,
I spy You convicting me of sin.
I spy You shouting in the storm,
“Run to Me, run to Me, I will shelter you from harm.”

I spy You in the rainbow, I spy you in the puddle,
I spy you in the beginning, in the end and in the middle.
I spy You in the dreams I dream of all that I can be.
I spy You in the beauty of all I touch and see.

I spy You in the midnight watch,
I spy You on Your knees.
I spy You crying with me
For countless dying pleas...

I spy You weeping.
I spy You shaking and bowed down.
I spy You in the Garden, praying on Your knees.
I spy You screaming out in agony for what was yet to be.

I spy You ripped and bleeding
I spy You hanging from a cross.
I spy You severed from the Father,
I spy Your deepest loss...

I spy the never ending ways You love me still today.
I spy You running after me when I have run away.
I spy You never giving up on me, when I already have.
I spy You dreaming dreams for me that I forgot I had.

I spy You crazy loving me,
I spy You holding onto me until the very end.
I spy the One Who died for me,
I spy my Dearest Friend...

Monday, July 30, 2012

To Heal the Brokenhearted...

"He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted..."
Isaiah 61:1 NKJV

Today I want to bring before you a dear friend of mine,
 Elma Morina, 
who is a missionary to the children and people of Romania.  
You can read about the beginning of her ministry in one of the first posts I wrote entitled "The Bag Lady."  

I don't know much about Romania, other than what Elma has shared with me.  This is a country with a very cold and dark history of life under communism, until fairly recently. The children were often turned out on the streets or, because of the extreme poverty and despair of their parents, given away to orphanages where they were stacked up like crates in a holding cell, waiting for someone to love them.  The Lord, in His great mercy, sent my friend Elma to be one of those who would love them to Jesus.  And love them, she has.  I cannot imagine a better person to be plopped down, right in the middle of darkness to spread the Light of Christ, than my dear friend, Elma.  Please pray for her, pray for her, pray for her.  
It is never easy to do what she does...

Here is the link to her facebook page, if you would like to contact her directly to learn more about her and her ministry. https://www.facebook.com/elma.morina?sk=wall

I also invite you to post a short prayer for her in the comment section below.  I hope many of you will join me in supporting this beautiful servant of the Lord.  
I'm sure it would be a great encouragement to her to see you are praying for her.  

"He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound.
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, 
That He may be glorified."
Isaiah 61:1-3

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Be of Good Courage...

"Be strong and of good courage...
And the Lord, He is the One Who goes before you.
He will be with you.
He will not leave you nor forsake you.
Do not fear nor be dismayed."
Deut. 31:7,8  NKJV

Surrounding Pastor Nadarkani and his family with our prayers today.  Please take a minute and add your prayer in the comment section, if you like.

‎"Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breath out violence. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalm 27:12-14

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Stay on Your Knees...

"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses,
but, we trust in the name of the Lord our God."
Psalm 20:7  NKJV

Ever feel like giving up in prayer?  Like you're not getting anywhere, so why bother?  I think the enemy of our souls fears us most when we are in prayer.  I believe that is where the real work of heaven is going on.  I am part of a very small prayer group where I live (three or four people most of the time).  But, in that little prayer circle, I can actually feel the power of God falling as we submit our needs to Him and acknowledge our complete dependence on Him.  

Years ago, I was in a similar prayer group.  I wish we had kept a journal of our prayers and tracked the answers.  I bet we would be amazed.  One prayer we prayed repeatedly at that time was for the release of Martin and Gracia Burnham, the missionary couple who were kidnapped in the Phillipines in the '90s.  We prayed for them over and over again.  I was long gone from that little prayer group when our prayers were answered and Gracia was released to her children and Martin to heaven.  I wept when I heard the news of their release.  I remember thanking God for hearing and answering our prayers, long after they had been prayed and I no longer even remembered praying. I was so humbled to realize that God still remembered...

We had the great privilege of "standing in the gap" for them.  You don't hear that term very much any more. But, I believe it is one of the most powerful ways God uses His people.  When people are in the fire, being tried to the utmost, losing strength, faltering in faith, desperately trying to hold on, God calls to His people to surround them in prayer.  What a privilege.  Please join me as we lift up to the Lord the suffering church, wherever it is found.  In a sick bed in America, a prison in Iran, a mass grave in a war torn country far away... This day, while we are still able, let us stand in the gap for them.  Let us pray...

For loved ones suffering from cancer...

"May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble;
May the name of the God of Jacob defend you,
May He send you help from the sanctuary,
And strengthen you out of Zion;
May He remember all your offerings,
And accept your burnt sacrifice.

May He grant you according to your heart's desire,
And fulfill all your purpose.
We will rejoice in your salvation,
And in the name of the Lord our God, 
We will set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses;
But we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They have bowed down and fallen;
But we have risen and stand upright.

Save, Lord!
May the King answer us when we call.
Psalm 20, NKJV

Friday, July 27, 2012

Agni Raksha

"I, the Lord, will help them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them."
Isaiah 41:17  NKJV

There are few things that touch our hearts more than a bride on her wedding day. The contagious love and joy of the bride and groom splash all over us and lift our hearts to heaven to whisper a prayer that they might have a long and blessed marriage, all the days of their lives. We want the best for them. We pray they will love each other through the joys and difficulties that surely lie ahead. All of us get caught up in the dream of life-long faithfulness and devoted love that is surely within reach of every couple on their wedding day.

Not always, of course. Sometimes, too often, for sure,
the marriage ends in divorce and the couple's dreams are shattered. It is always a heartache when this happens. But, can it really be that evil has its way so boldly in this world that a groom, often with the help of his family, will burn his bride alive if she fails to please him? That is exactly what is happening in India to young women who displease their husbands, often by failing to pay a high enough dowry.

I could not believe my ears when I first heard this described by Ravi Zacharias, a world renowned Christian Apologist and speaker, whose home of origin is India. He knows well where of he speaks. When I listened to him describe the practice of "Bride Burning" in India, I was brought back once again to the book series we reviewed this past year on "Half the Sky". It seems that God has stolen my heart for women who are suffering in so many ways that are unimaginable to us in America. He is calling me - you - us - again and again, to care as He cares, love as He loves, give as He gives. This is the Compassionate Christ moving in the world through His people...

As I resume writing this blog, I am convinced that God wants to use it for His purposes, and one of those is to draw attention to those who are suffering unimaginable wounds, even to the point of savagely horrific deaths, for little or no reason at all. I have come to believe it is the cry of His heart that is moving my own. Because He cares, so must we.

For those reasons, I have decided to highlight various ministries that are on the front lines in the battle to rescue these innocent victims of cruelty and bring them to the One who loves them best - Our Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope you will pray about what you can do to support these ministries in prayer and action. Even if we can't go to them, we can pray for them and we can send some of our surplus to support their need. I have copied below an excerpt from Wellspring International, a division of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. If you have an interest in contacting them about their many, many programs, here is the link. 


Bangalore, India

The Need
Current reports document that 25,000 women are victims of bride burning in India each year. Since many cases are left unreported, this is considered to be a significant underestimate of the total number of victims to this horrific crime.  
Bride burning is related to the dowry system. While the tradition of demanding a dowry has been illegal since 1961, it is still practiced, particularly in village areas. In cases where the agreed upon dowry has not been paid after the marriage, or if the groom’s family demands more, a threat may be made to burn the bride if demands are not met. If the bride’s family does not comply, the groom’s family may choose to follow through and set the new bride on fire.
In the city of Bangalore, there is only one government hospital and five beds available to burn victims.

The Opportunity

Agni Raksha was founded in 1999 by Dr. Prema Dhanraj. Dr. Dhanraj was herself a burn victim when, as a child, she was severely burned by a kitchen fire in her home. Prema eventually completed her medical studies and accepted a position to work at the Christian Medical College and Hospital, eventually becoming the Head of the Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery department. She has been the recipient of many international awards and provided training to open the first burn treatment facility in Ethiopia, the country with the highest number of burn victims in the world. In 1999, Dr. Dhanraj launched the foundation Agni Raksha, which literally means “protection from fire,” to provide treatment to local burn victims as well as an opportunity for skills training and income generating activities.
The key focus of Agni Raksha is the overall development of the individual patient. The primary objective is to provide trauma treatment, ongoing medical care through reconstructive surgeries and physical therapy, psychosocial rehabilitation, and job training for a holistic approach to healing and recovery. Agni Raksha strives to give each individual hope in their future through rehabilitation programs that address the physical, psychological, and spiritual needs, as well as education, vocational training, and funding for small businesses. These vital components of rehabilitation address the practical life needs and equip a woman to be financially independent to support herself and her children for a promising future.

The Challenge

Since 2008, Wellspring International has provided funds to purchase critical needs such as a Suzuki ambulance, an air conditioning unit, and two generators for their small medical facility that they have named Safe Haven Clinic. Fifteen hospital beds were added to the clinic and a nurse’s quarters added to allow for 24 hour care. Ten patients received two reconstructive surgeries each for a total of twenty surgeries, and the micro finance loan center was launched. Twenty women began skills training classes in tailoring and eight women were approved for a loan and started an independent business. All micro credit beneficiaries are on a payment program that serves to finance the revolving credit fund. Each woman is mentored by an Agni Raksha’s Self Help Group to provide accountability and support.
In the upcoming year, Wellspring International aims to provide a minimum of $30,000 USD to Agni Raksha to invest in the skills training program, medical supplies and reconstructive surgeries, vehicle maintenance, and physical therapy personnel.
There is a significant need for funding toward a fully equipped onsite surgical center to adequately treat patients. Presently, they must use the surgical facilities of two area hospitals, but the relationship has many limitations. Gaining permission, scheduling and staffing are a constant challenge. An operational surgical facility will support a greater number of surgeries to include victims currently on a wait list.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Georgia On My Mind...

Lasting Beauty...

Little woman
Almost invisible, really
Easy to ignore
Hunched back
Always smiling
Whispers when she speaks
Smiles at everyone she meets
Her eyes splash joy all over you
Encourages everyone
Constant helper
Never complains
Always in pain
Never talks about it
Always asks how YOU are
Married once to an alcoholic who beat her
Never had children
Loves Jesus
It shows
She stops me in my tracks
I am in awe of her
I am humbled in her presence
I see Jesus in her like I've never seen in anyone before
Her name is Georgia
I want to be more like her...

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, 
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  
Against these there is no law." 
Galatians 5:22  NKJV

Monday, July 23, 2012

Buried Alive...

Then Jesus called out in a loud voice - 
"Lazarus come out..."
And Jesus said to them, 

"Take off the grave clothes and let him go."
John 11:43,44

She wouldn't stop talking
Always laughing, full of joy
She looked at life with brand new eyes
And loved everything she saw

She didn't see that no-one cared
We ran the other way
She made us think of a life
We swore no one could have

She made us angry just to look at her
We spit and cursed at her
Cut her up in little pieces
To make her go away

She was clueless how she came across
She never walked she always danced
She sang songs and twirled around
She dripped her joy all over us
Every chance she got

Who did she think she was
Something special to be treasured
To be loved and cared for
We hated her for that

I couldn't find a way to end her 
 I ignored her
Mocked her
Pushed her deep inside

She was just an irritating constant bother child
I thought that she would go away
When I buried her alive

But, Someone saw her
Heard her cry
Answered her every why

He pulled her from the grave
He breathed new life in her
And called her by her name

Loving, caressing, healing all her wounds
He lifted her and smiled on her
And refused to let her go

He loved her, me, her, I mean
He saved us both I know

He treasured the woman who hid
the darling child inside

The one that I had thrown away
The one I buried alive...