Monday, April 29, 2013

Matilda Rasberry...

Just because...
I love you...

I adopted an eight year old cat from an Animal Shelter recently. If she hadn’t been adopted, she would not have lived much longer...

 When she first came to live with me she had a name that didn't fit her, so I changed it to something I like better. When my granddaughter, Ella, saw her, she wanted to be part of naming her, so, together, we chose a name we love for her. It is beautiful and playful, both qualities she has in abundance. 

When she first came to live in my house, she kept crying at the door trying to get out to go "back" to wherever she had come from. I don't know her story before she came to me. I just know I found her in a place that would not have been good for her to stay - it would not have sustained her life. So, "just because" I decided I loved her, I paid the price and rescued her. I brought her home with me to have a brand new life... 

She has been "chosen" "set free" and "born again" in my house. I even went home before she came to live with me and I "prepared a place for her" that "where I am, she will be also..." 

To me, this is a very sweet reminder of God's love for us, in the story of a discarded kitty-cat, left to die - too old to be chosen, too helpless to save herself.   I love it!  

Here is the story of what I learned from "Matilda Rasberry" when she came to live with me!

Let your Master give you a new name to fit your “born again” life! Thank Him again and again that He “makes all things new," especially, YOU!

Remember that you were rescued from certain death by the love of your Redeemer. For no other reason but that He saw you, He loved you and He paid the price in full for you. You belong to Him…

Don’t keep looking back trying to get back to where you once were. You have been given a new life – jump in with all four feet! (Or, however many the Master has given YOU!)

You are never too old or too far gone to be saved by your Redeemer King. He, and He alone, has the power to set you free…

You may think you are the Queen of all you survey, but, think again, little one.  You couldn't make it a single day without the Lord of the Universe who has provided all things for you, just because, He loves you.  Put yourself in the proper place before Him - at his feet, not over His head.

Curl up very close to your Redeemer and get to know His voice. When you hear him at the door, drop everything you are doing and RUN to Him as fast as your paws will carry you!

Remember who you were created to be! Don’t sneak around, pretending to be something you are not. You are something special because of Who it is that loves you! Leave the dogs to the dogs. You are better than all that!

Pounce off the couch at the start of a new day. Give yourself a good stretch and throw yourself all in. There are birds to stalk, sunbeams to catch, spiders to hunt and a Master to please… You only have nine lives to live. Get on with it!!

Walk with your tail held high. The Lord of the Universe has chosen you!

At the end of the day, climb up on your Master’s lap and bask in His presence. He is everything you will ever need…

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


"I walk through the deepest, darkest valley...
I will fear no evil
For You are with me...
Psalm 23:5

Like the rest of America yesterday, I sat transfixed before the television pictures of yet another tragedy unfolding, freezing us in time and leaving us heartbroken in the face of the senseless loss of life and harm to innocent victims. 

The height of evil and cowardice, the perpetrator deliberately chose a beautiful spring day to inflict his perverted brand of punishment on unsuspecting men, women and children who had simply come out to celebrate a friend or relative who had chosen to run in the world renown Boston Marathon.

The contrast of the terrorist, too cowardly to openly admit his identity, devising a plan to inflict deadly bodily harm on innocent bystanders who never did him/her any harm, against the spectacle of well disciplined athletes, running to raise funds for a favorite charity is so stark, it takes your breath away. Add to that the stories of heroism and selfless sacrifice to help fellow Americans who had fallen, not to mention guests of America who had come to our shores for the shear joy of running in this race, we have an amazing juxtaposition of good vs. evil on display for all to see.

Watching this horror story replay over and over on TV yesterday, I had so many mixed emotions. Pride in America, once again, as so many of our people rose to the occasion, instantly forgetting their own safety and running forward to assist those who had fallen. This is the best of America. May we never lose that spirit of compassion and selfless heroism on behalf of our fellow man. We see the fingerprint of God in the selfless, instant reaching out to help a fellow human in the face of unimaginable evil.  At moments like this, it is true that the best that is America rises to the surface...

My mind froze at the story of a little eight year old boy who lost his life at the hands of this murderer.  I have an eight year old granddaughter.  I cannot imagine what it would be to lose her in a tragedy like this.  This little boy's story is so heartbreaking, my mind tries to tell me it really didn't happen.  But it did. 

On a beautiful, spring day, a holiday in Boston, this little boy ran from the sidelines to hug his daddy as he crossed the finish line.   That moment of jubiliant celebration and affection between father and son will forever live in the heart of this daddy, who will never be able to hug his son again, never see him grow up, never be able to cheer him on in the race of life.  

To add to that horror, this little boy's mother lies fighting for her life in a hospital while his little sister suffers unimaginable pain from wounds inflicted deliberately on a little girl who was doing nothing more that cheering her daddy on in a race.  This is evil prancing and dancing in the streets on a bright, spring day when no one saw it enter and no one saw it leave - except the Lord...

He knew evil was there - it did not take Him by surprise.  He was right there.  He was there with that little boy to carry him home to heaven.  He was there spurring him on to run to his daddy for one last hug goodbye...  He is there with that mother, fighting for her life.  He is there with that sweet little girl, fighting to recover from her wounds.  He is there with that daddy who is devastated and grasping for a lifeline to hold onto in the face of his losses.  

He is there with us all at the moment that we walk through the "deepest, darkest valley" the "valley of the shadow of death..."  It stalks all of us from the moment we breath our first breath until we breath our last.  Yet, Yahweh, the God who gets off His throne to come and stand beside us in our darkest hour, is with us.  He is with us.  He is with us through it all.  For this, and for no other reason, I will fear no evil.  For Yahweh is with me.  All the way home...

May Yahwey cover them all with the blanket of His love and comfort.  At moments like this, nothing on earth will even come close to meeting their need...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Without Money and Without Cost...

"Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost..."
Isaiah 55: 1-4

Once, when I was a young mother, I had gotten on an exercising binge and decided on a blisteringly hot summer day to walk to the store with my young daughter.  Not the wisest choice I ever made!  It was much too hot and, 'back in the day' we didn't carry water bottles everywhere we went!  I made it to the store fine (or so I thought!) but getting back was another story.  It was probably about a five mile walk round trip, which was too much to do in the blazing noon day sun.  By the time I got home, I had a very angry daughter on my hands (she complained all the way there, and all the way home!) and I was dangerously dehydrated.  I could barely make it to the couch.  My body was in trouble.  I needed water in a way I had never encountered before.  I could not get enough of it and I could not get it fast enough.  I was as dry as a bone.  I was desperately thirsty and guzzled water as if it were gold. 

I believe this is the kind of thirst Isaiah is referring to here.  The extravagant generosity of God comes through so loudly to me in this tender invitation - Come - Come - Come, to the waters...Without money and without cost...  He, Himself, has promised to satisfy our thirst with Living Waters that never run dry.  And it is completely free for the taking!  He has already paid the price for us to drink deep and long at His well.

But, we do have to be thirsty.  In America today, it is so easy to satisfy our thirst with junk that fills us up so that we never crave a drink that really gives life.  God is calling us and we barely notice.  Have you ever been in that place where God was beginning to get your attention on something?  You are beginning to notice something is missing in your life.  You are feeling dry.  Something inside is dying.  God is whispering your name.  He is singing a love song over you.  He is drawing you - "Come to the Living Waters..."

At a moment like that, we can either run to Him and admit we are dying without Him, or we can run in another direction and ignore His call.  It is so easy to satisfy our thirst for Him with artificial drinks of pleasure: Alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping endlessly, entertaining ourselves into oblivion.  We are masters of escapism.  We can delude ourselves right into a denial that is dangerous - denying that we are dying of thirst for the only One who can truly meet our need.  This must grieve the heart of God so deeply.  He offers us the best there is and we often choose to ignore Him.  To our peril.  To our everlasting peril...

I hope you stop long enough today to consider the question - are you thirsty today?  Thirsty for the Living Waters that Jesus offers you?  Or are you running in the other direction?  If so, stop and hear Him calling your name.  He loves you and offers you water that will restore your soul.  Drink long and deep.  It's free - you don't need a dime to purchase it.  He has already paid the price in full...


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Under the Shadow...

"of the Almighty..."
Psalm 91:1

I so love the breathtaking imagery of the Word of God.  To a poetry lover, even Shakespeare falls short of the majestic poetry dripping from the Scriptures.  For someone like me, who often needs God to draw me a picture of what He is trying to tell me, He fills up my senses with the overwhelming beauty and power of the pictures He has painted of His love for us.   How can we read His word and not see His heart?  

So often, I have been brought to tears and moved to worship by the God who can touch my heart like no one else can.  I am a lover of words, but, many, many times, I have found myself speechless in the Presence of the God who embodies the breathtaking beauty of every word that has ever been spoken to describe Him and His tender, loving kindness for us.  Nothing brings me into His presence more surely than reading His love letter to us in the beautiful Word of God.

The Psalms contain some of the most beautiful imagery of God's love for us and His constant plea to "Come to the Waters" a heart cry from a Daddy who is begging His children to come to Him - love Him - be satisfied with nothing less.  As a parent myself, I can relate - how about you?

Psalm 91, given to me by a loving, compassionate God on 911 when the twin towers burned and people fled the city of New York by the thousands, came alive for me in a way I will never, ever forget. 

My daughter was working 2 blocks away and was caught up in the nightmare of that day.  I could not contact her until much later that day and felt, first hand, "the arrow that flies by day..." I have no doubt that He "covered her with His feathers and gave her a sure refuge under His wings." 

How can I ever forget that day or what the Lord, the Almighty God, did for me and for my child on one of the most terrifying days we have ever lived through?  I do not have sufficient words to convey the depth of my love or my thanks to the God who rescued us both that day. 

Here is the Psalm that God cemented in my heart that day.  Recently, He brought it back to me to remind me He is still in the business of loving us and begs for us to love Him back.  Like a child who forgot who my Daddy is, I find myself running down the road to get to Him...  Amazingly, I meet Him on the road.  He is running back to me...

Psalm 91
 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4He shall cover you with His feathers
And under His wings, you shall take refuge.

His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Help Me Stand...

"Lead me on.  Help me stand..."
Precious Lord, by Tommy Dorsey
I read the news story today about Pastor Rick Warren's son, Matthew, taking his own life after a life long battle with depression that never seemed to completely leave him.  I saw the picture of the Pastor's face as he told of his loss to the world.  His eyes were clouded, his face was covered with the unspeakable pain of the loss of a child he loved beyond words.  My heart was breaking for him.  I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like for him to walk up to a microphone with cameras flashing, like hungry sharks circling their prey, to tell the world of a pain that is so private and so immense.  Some of those watching love this man.  Some hate him and will take a perverted pleasure in his loss. 
I know that he is a pastor of a huge mega-church.  He is the author of one of the most widely read books on Christian living ever published.  But, at this moment, in this hour of his deepest need, he is just a daddy, grieving the loss of his precious son.  As a mother of four grown children, who have long ago left the nest, I know that a parent's love never diminishes for their child, no matter the age, no matter the "sins" they may commit, no matter the disappointments they bring into their lives and ours.  A father's unconditional love and delight in a son or a daughter, gives us a glimpse into the tender, unending love of God our Father.  We have no greater image of that love on earth, than that of a parent who never gives up on a wayward child, never stops praying, never stops hoping, never gets over the love that ties him in knots for this child, grown or not. 
I have spent many a sleepless night praying for my children.  There doesn't even have to be a specific need.  I will just think of one of them, not knowing what is happening wherever they are, and I will find myself knocking at the door of heaven, reminding the Lord of the Universe, not to "forget" my son or my daughter.  I am sure Pastor Warren spent many a sleepless night storming the doors and windows of heaven for this son that he so loved.  No, I do not believe his prayers were not heard, that God ignored him or that He didn't care.  I believe God, the Giver of the gift of this son to his father, loves both father and son more than we can even imagine.  He is close to this man in his loss, even more than He has been in his triumphs, which have been phenomenal.  
The God who called Rick Warren to be a pastor, first called him to be a father to this son.  He hasn't forgotten him.  He is right there, closer than the air we breath.  He feels the depth of his loss.  He doesn't expect him to quote some bible verses glibly and pretend this doesn't hurt like hell.  He knows it does.  He watched His own treasured, precious Son die an unspeakable death Himself.  He is a God who knows our pain because He has lived it before we did.  Our God is "close to the brokenhearted."  He "collects all of our tears in a bottle" never to be forgotten.  He is the God who walks with us "through the valley of the shadow of death".  Because He is with me, I "will fear no evil." 
May these beautiful and tender promises of our God be a comfort to Pastor Warren and his wife and family, right now. 
Precious Lord, lead him on.  Help him stand...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

I am Nobody...

"Jesus loves the little children...
All the children of the world..."

"The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather, the feeling of being unwanted."  Mother Teresa, from the book she authored: "Where There is Love, There is God: A Path to Closer Union with God and Greater Love" p. 82

Chapter 2 of the book, "No Longer a Slumdog" opens with this quote from Mother Teresa.  The author explains the history and origins of the caste system in India, dating back to over 1,500 years before Christ.  A cruel and dehumanizing system devised to protect the imagined superiority of the newly arrived Aryans in India over the indigenous peoples, this system allowed the Aryan minority to enrich themselves at the expense of the native peoples of India.  Thousands of years later, even though this system is officially outlawed by the government, the caste system still rules the minds and actual practices of the people of India.

To us as Americans, although we do experience some "class warfare" in our own nation, it is difficult to wrap our minds around a system as dehumanizing and brutal as the caste system in India.  K.P. Yohannan's book introduces the reader to a world of unimaginable deprivation and cruelty that leads to the rampant abuse and murder of men, women and children, based simply on the caste into which they were born.

In this system, caste is determined at birth and, as such, for those millions who live under the teachings of the caste system, there will never be any opportunity to rise above the caste an innocent child is assigned at birth.  The child born into the caste system, especially the lowest caste of all, the Dalits, or "Untouchables" is "cast off" at birth as sub-human, unworthy of the most basic human necessities - a simple home, food, clean drinking water, an opportunity to grow up and make a living, or live with any sense of human dignity.

As a Dalit, you are worthy of nothing but contempt.  You live in filth and are considered deserving of nothing more.  Literally, no one in the castes above you is allowed to even touch you, hence the name "Untouchables".  You will live and die in the slum you were born in.  Those who are above you consider you to be on the same level as a wild animal that ekes out a living eating from garbage cans and rolling in the mud.  You are nothing more than a "slumdog".

As a child of the Untouchables, you have no value beyond what others decide to do to you.  You will likely starve to death before you reach maturity, or you will be sold into child labor camps or child prostitution, where you may be tortured and murdered at the pleasure of your owner, often by the age of five.  Your parents may sell you because they have no hope of even feeding you when they cannot feed themselves.  If you are stolen or murdered, no one will report it, because no one cares.  You are nothing. 

This book is a shocking and eye-opening expose of the caste system in India, and the devastating effects it brings upon the familys of the Dalits, particularly the children.  It is tempting to put this book down and refuse to look at the horrors it describes.  But, these are children who are precious beyond measure to the Lord of the Universe, who suffered and died that they might be redeemed.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we have a vested interest in these children, simply because He cares for them.

All throughout this startling and compelling book. the author challenges us to remember the words of Christ, the passion and compassion He always showed us for the little children that flocked to Him on the hillsides and roads of Israel.  He never turned them away, but always challenged His disciples to make room for the children - to care for them, for they are precious to our God.  On p. 72, Yohannan draws the reader to remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:10 (NASB) "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven".  We cannont turn away from the cries and anguish of these little ones without turning away from Christ, Himself...

I would like to close this post with a poem included in this book
(p. 45) written by the author from the perspective of one of the Dalit children.  It is heartbreaking...

I am nobody
Worthless my life is
To Untouchables I was born.
A Dalit child my fate sealed.
I was born in slums
Rights?  We have none
To upper-caste our lives we owe
Slaves to serve all their wish.
Poverty and hunger
Is all I ever knew
If there is hope
Tell me how?
What is my future?
Do I have any?
It all looks so dark
And I wish I was not born.


*Poem "I am Nobody" published by permission of gfa books, a division of Gospel for Asia. If you would like to receive a free copy of the book, "No Longer a Slumdog" by K.P. Yohannan, please send your request to: You may also like to consider sponsoring one of these children monthly through the Bridge of Hope. Contact to be a blessing to a child in desperate need.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Where Are the Other Nine...?

Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed?"
Luke 17:17

This painful question, posed to the only leper who thought enough to return to Jesus to thank Him for healing him, paints a poignant picture of our Savior's humanity, as He expresses the very real disappointment He felt when only one of ten returned to thank Him for answering their cries for healing. 
Jesus so loved being human that one of His favorite titles for Himself, was "Son of Man"!  I think He delighted in being part of us!  He laughed, He cried, He hurt, He felt the sting of disappointment in His followers and the pain of being taken for granted. He knew many followed Him, not for who He was, but, for what many wanted to "get from Him".  Once they had their needs met, they moved on never to look back at the face of Jesus, even long enough to say "thanks".
As I looked around me today, I realized I could be counted among the nine that left, jumping for joy in their new leprous-free, soft and beautifully tender skin, freshly bestowed on them by their Savior, never pausing to thank the One who met their deepest need, and answered their desperate prayer. 
If Jesus' love language is words of appreciation, some of us may be leaving Him starving for affection.  In keeping with that jarring realization, here are a few things He has blessed me with recently that deserve a loving and tender "Thank You, Lord.  You have touched me again and again with your healing grace and your extravagant generosity.  I love you, soooooo."
He has sent the Springtime to light on my doorstep and shine through my window.
He has surrounded me with His beauty, everywhere I look.
He has provided for me beyond my wildest expectations, surprising me again and again with gifts I never expected to receive. 
He has filled me up with joy that has taken me by surprise in the midst of a difficult situation. 
He has drawn me close and lifted my head when I felt the sting of shame and rejection. 
He has smiled at me when I most needed to see a smile.
He has forgiven me seventy times seven million.  I have truly lost count of His kindnesses to me.
He has laughed with me, cried with me, mourned with me, encouraged me, lovingly chided me, called me back to Him, never, ever forgotten me. 
He knows my name.
He has healed me of wounds and sickness that I never thought could be healed. 
He has never given up on me.
He has promised to stay with me all the way home.
He has made me His own.
For these and so much more, thank you Jesus.  You are everything to me...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

My Cup Runneth Over...

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life..." Psalm 23, NKJV


I have been listening to one of my all time favorite radio pastors, Crawford Loritz, teaching a series on the 23rd Psalm.  A man who deeply loves the Lord, in this teaching entitled "When You Need Rest" Crawford pulls the listener inside this much loved psalm to carry us right up to the Shepherd lovingly and tenderly shepherding His flock.  I have listened to this beautiful exposition of Psalm 23 over and over again, always finding more to learn, more to "drink", more to bless my hungry soul.  Here are a few of the beautiful, life-giving images he has left me with from his teaching.
He "anoints my head with oil".  You are the only little lamb He is tending to right now.  He gathers you in His arms and tenderly raises your head, bruised and battered by the wolf that tried to steal you from the Shepherd until the Shepherd rescued you.  Only moments ago, you were terrified of the power of the enemy that desired to devour you.  Now, holding you so close to His heart, you can hear His heartbeat, He pours the most beautiful, fragrant oil upon your head, letting it drip down all over you from head to toe.  You are saturated with His love, His "oil of gladness", a healing balm like no other.  You are basking in the love of your Shepherd, who has rescued you out of the mouth of the enemy.  You nestle closer and closer to the Shepherd, whose voice you recognize calling your name.   Never have you heard a sweeter sound...
He "sets a table before me in the presence of my enemies..."  You are seated at a table in the very center of an enormous banquet hall.  You feel the hundreds and hundreds of eyes peering at you from every table in the room.  These are eyes of hatred.  Eyes of envy.  Eyes that lie.  They are the eyes of your enemies.  You sit at the very center with extravagant displays of love all over your table.  The Shepherd has set the table in your honor.  He flaunts His love for you.  You are the "apple of His eye".  His attention is completely focused on you.  He desires to meet your every need.  He is bragging on you!  He wants everyone in the room to know, you belong to Him.  You are safe "in the presence of your enemies..."

"My cup runneth over..."  He is standing close to you with a bottle of the finest, most expensive wine money can buy.  He has asked you to raise your cup so that He can pour you a drink.  As you hold your simple little paper cup up for Him to fill, He pours and pours and pours, extravagantly allowing the wine to overflow your cup and run down your arms, covering you with His love.  Once again, you are overcome with His overwhelming generosity and affection.  He doesn't spare a drop but pours and pours until there is nothing left.  He will even pour out Himself to satisfy your every thirst...

"Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life..."  You have run away from the flock again and gotten into the briars.  You are caught in the thicket and the wolves are howling to each other to come and feast on YOU.  You are regretting so much that you wandered away from the Shepherd.  Silently you whisper His name, longing for His presence to surround you.  No sooner has His name crossed your mind and heart, and He is there.  Although you are hardly recognizeable under the cover of blood and dirt and sores that you have accummulated while wandering far from the Shepherd, He lifts you to his heart and tenderly begins to remove the evidence of your rebellion.  You are home.  He is covering you with "goodness and mercy all the days of your life..." 

I will never read this Psalm the same way again.  Crawford Loritz has taught me how deeply the Shepherd loves me.  He ends his teaching with the poignant question: "Are you allowing the Shepherd to care for you?"  A very fitting question, indeed.  Are you?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

In the Orbit of His Love...

King Solomon's confession and warning to generations to come, still sounds loud and clear in the Book of Ecclesiastes.  It is a fascinating and humbling wake-up call from a man who was blessed with wisdom directly from the hand of God, and yet, who managed to play the role of the fool quite well in his lifetime, as he readily admits in this honest description of his wanderings "under the sun" a metaphor for the time he spent living his life apart from God.

Lamenting life lived with himself at the center, Solomon confesses:

"I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure.  My heart took delight in my work and this was the reward for all my labor.  But when I surveyed all my hands had done and all I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.  Nothing was gained under the sun." Eccleasiastes 2:10,11 NKJV

Isn't this the truth of our times?  So often we "chase the wind" trying to grasp hold of the golden ring that is forever eluding us.  It so amazes me that nothing has changed "under the sun".  Life is still empty, for king or pauper, if lived without the centerpiece of God's love for us, seeing us through every storm and trial.  Today, we may think we know so much more about life than they did in Solomon's day.  But, his words describe the despair and emptiness that so many feel today, because, just like Solomon, we have forgotten who God is and chosen to live our lives without Him.  Who needs God when we have a great job, good health, plenty of food in the fridge, and money to buy whatever we desire?  King Solomon discovered that all the wealth and power of his kingdom could not satisfy his deepest need - to live in relationship with the God of his father, King David.

What do we do when our money runs out, our health begins to fail, our loved ones disappear, and the answers we thought we had to all of life's problems come up short?  We hit the wall and we are suddenly jarred into the realization that we need something more.  We need God.  Every generation, everyone who has walked the earth "under the sun" needs a relationship with his God.  Without it, "everything is empty - a chasing after the wind". 

T.M. Moore's paraphrase of the book of  Ecclesiastes gives us this little golden nugget of wisdom for what to do with life when absolutely nothing makes sense anymore, and the pain is bringing us to our knees.
"Live life in the orbit of His love and trust the character of God, even when nothing else makes sense."  Now that is wisdom fit for a king...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Least of These...

"Sometime in your life, I hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives.  Hope that you might have baked it or bought it or even kneaded it yourself.  For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even." Daniel Berrigan Author of the book: "Communion" 

The priceless little gem of a book, "No Longer a Slumdog", written by K.P. Yohannan, opens with this  quote from Berrigan.  As I read this opening challenge, so many images flashed before the theater of my mind.  

I see a little girl, surrounded by her brothers and sisters, eating a dinner of mayonnaise spread over thin pieces of white bread.  Never, ever enough to satisfy the hunger of a growing child...

I see the face of a young mother, crying over her children at bedtime, and then again in the morning, knowing there is no more food to put on the table than there was yesterday.

I see a little girl so thankful for the carton of milk "someone" provided for her at school that morning - the only breakfast she would have.

I see the face of poverty, hunger and desperation stalking a mother and father who could not find a way to feed their starving children.

I see a box overflowing with turkey and all of the trimmings, placed at the front door by someone who was somehow moved enough to dig into his surplus to make a difference for a needy family that Christmas.   My child's eyes were enormous with wonder that day.  That anyone really cared...

I do not know who placed it there.  I only know I should have burst to see the evidence of love from a stranger.  I have never forgotten the tender mercy of that person whose name I never knew.  

When I read about small children, starving and in desperate need, I feel the pain of their hunger.  I see their sunken eyes.  I hear their cries.  I see their mother's tears.  And so does our God.  It is for these that He suffered and died and became the Bread of Life.  He has promised to satisfy our every need.  

As I read this book, describing the pain and tragedy of the lives of these poor families in India, I am reminded that WE are the hands and feet and heart of the Living God.  If we shut down our hearts, we shut off the streams of Living Water and Hope that He has promised to "the least of these".

The love of Christ compels us to care and to care deeply.  Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing a few notes from this compelling book, which is all about "bringing Hope to children in crisis."  That is the least I can do for the cause of Christ, on behalf of the children He loves who are suffering unimaginable agonies.  We have no excuse any more to not see.  The world has become so small.  Thank God these children are no longer invisible.  The question is - now what do we do about it?  

Like the person who dropped off the box on our front door, leaving a message of love and hope behind that I have never forgotten, may we be roused from our complacency enough to make a difference, for at least one child.  Whatever you do, "I hope that you might see one starved man (woman or child), and the look on their face when the bread finally arrives..."  In the Name of Jesus.  In the Name of Jesus.  In the precious, all giving Name of Jesus, the Bread of Life...