Wednesday, November 21, 2012

You Have Forgotten...

"Your first love.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen;
Repent and do the first works,
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

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

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

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


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

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

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