Pages

Friday, December 28, 2012

Another year....

Hello readers :) Sorry for the absence and hopefully I'll be able to be back on more regular now that the Holiday season has passed. Speaking of holidays, I've learned so much this holiday season and I want to post some of my feelings and thoughts here tonight.

When I was growing up, Christmas was a time of family togetherness coupled with fun traditions and gifts. Some years had more gifts than others but I remember the thought was always the same- We're celebrating the birth of our Savior! One Christmas, the one that always comes to mind when anyone asks me about my most memorable Christmas, still stands out as my favorite and probably always will.

Daddy got laid off from his job just before Christmas so Mom explained to us that Christmas would be very small. And since my birthday is just a few days before Christmas, that meant that my birthday was small that year too- but as vivid as Christmas is in my memory, I have no memory of my birthday that year.

Mom decided to make our gifts that year and set out making matching dresses for us 4 girls and rag dolls. She got busy sewing while we were at school and out playing so we wouldn't see. A couple weeks before Christmas, Mom and Daddy took us to the playground at the school and while playing, Mom fell and tore her shoulder up. She was in a sling, her arm immobile for weeks so the sewing came to a grinding halt.

Well, Christmas morning we were awakened by the sound of someone pounding on our front door. The 4 of us girls raced to the door and pulled it open only to find no one there...and a great big wooden crate on the porch. "Santa" had brought Christmas to our house by way of the local Firemen. Inside that crate was Christmas dinner and gifts for all of us girls. In addition to those gifts, were the wonderful rag dolls that my aunt had come over and helped my mom finish. Mine is pictured below. I still have her and cherish the memory of that amazing Christmas. A year when we expected nothing and God blessed us with everything through a most unexpected source.


This year, I've paid closer attention to the way people act during this time of year. I saw people throw themselves completely into the preparations, going all out with decorations and food and gifts but leaving out the most important part- Jesus. 

I saw people buy a few gifts, decorate a little, attend church, but otherwise behave the way they always behave.

I saw others buy tons of gifts and give them all away to families in need, Decorate their homes and invite the less fortunate in to share a hot meal while sharing the love of Jesus with them too! 

I've also seen others not buying gifts, decorating, sending cards, or celebrating at all but quietly, secretly, giving to those in need, sharing Jesus at Christmas time just as they do all year long. 

Which one do I want to be? Which path is God calling me to walk down? Maybe one of these, maybe a combination of a couple of them, or maybe a path completely different. All I know for sure at this point is that God is calling me for a higher purpose. He wants to use me to share His word, to do His work, to be His hands and feet. He doesn't NEED me...but He WANTS me! What an amazing God we serve! I know that my God could save the world on His own without my help, without anything from me at all...but He wants to bless me by allowing me to serve Him by serving others! WOW! 

Another year has come and gone, another birthday behind me. In reading my Bible everyday, I've learned so much about my amazing God. I love Him so much. I adore Him and long to be with Him. I pray daily for Jesus to return because I'm impatient for it but I know that His time is far greater than mine. He knows there are still people whose hearts will turn when they hear the Good News so He waits. 

What is God calling you to do? What path is He leading you down this next year? Will you listen or turn your back and run the other way like Jonah? 

Part of what God is calling me to do is to raise funds for hurting people in Asia. People who've never hear His name. People who have no idea what Christmas is. People who struggle each and every day to feed their children and more often than not go to sleep each night hungry. My heart is heavy and burdened for the people of India specifically. What a beautiful people they are, some of the most strikingly beautiful people I've ever seen, but so lost. They NEED a savior! And what better way to show them their Savior than to provide Him along with their everyday needs? 



Go here to donate- if the Lord moves on your heart to do so- and help me send sewing machines to Asia!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU!!  May God's blessings pour out on you. 



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Did you know any of this?

Please watch this video. It contains important, little known information about our nation's history.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

God Came Near 2- Mary's Prayer

In Max Lucado's 1987 Masterpiece, God Came Near, chapter 4 had me in tears. I had to read it over and over because it was so beautiful and I couldn't help but think what an amazing Christmas program closing this would make. Picture it:

Young Mary holding her infant son close, knowing she would have Him for only a short while, praying this prayer with a heartache unlike anything she's ever known before.


     God. O infant-God. Heaven's fairest child. Conceived by the union of devine grace with our disgrace. Sleep well.
     Sleep well. Bask in the coolness of this night bright with diamonds. Sleep well, for the heat of anger simmers nearby. Enjoy the silence of the crib, for the noise of confusion rumbles in your future. Savor the sweet safety of my arms, for a day is soon coming when I cannot protect you.

     Rest well, tiny hands. For though you belong to a king, you will touch no satin, own no gold. You will grasp no pen, guide no brush. No, your tiny hands are reserved for works more precious:
               to touch a leaper's open wound,
               to wipe a widow's weary tear,
               to claw the ground of Gethsemane.
     Your hands, so tiny, so tender, so white- clutched tonight in an infant's fist. They aren't destined to hold a scepter nor wave from a palace balcony. They are reserved for a Roman spike that will staple them to a Roman cross.
     Sleep deeply, tiny eyes. Sleep while you can. For soon the blurriness will clear and you will see the mess we have made of your world.
               You will see our nakedness, for we cannot hide.
               You will see our selfishness, for we cannot give.
               You will see our pain, for we cannot heal.
     Oh eyes that will see hell's darkest pit and witness her ugly prince...sleep, please sleep; sleep while you can.

     Lay still, tiny mouth. Lay still mouth from which eternity will speak.
     Tiny tongue that will soon summon the dead, that will define grace, that will silence our foolishness.
     Rosebud lips- upon which ride a starborn kiss of forgiveness to those who believe you, and of death to those who deny you- lay still.

     And tiny feet cupped in the palm of my hand, rest. For many difficult steps lie ahead for you.
     Do you taste the dust of the trails you will travel?
     Do you feel the cold sea water upon which you will walk?
     Do you wrench at the invasion of the nail you will bear?
     Do you fear the steep descent down the spiral staircase in to Satan's domain?
     Rest, tiny feet. Rest today so that tomorrow you might walk with power. Rest. For millions will follow in your steps.

     And little heart...holy heart...pumping the blood of life through the universe: How many times will we break you?
     You'll be torn by the thorns of our accusations.
     You'll be ravaged by the cancer of our sin.
     You'll be crushed under the weight of your own sorrow.
     And you'll be pierced by the spear of our rejection.
     Yet in that piercing, in that ultimate ripping of muscle and membrane, in that final rush of blood and water, you will find rest. Your hands will be freed, your eyes will see justice, your lips will smile, and your feet will carry you home.

     And there you'll rest again--this time in the embrace of your Father.

God Came Near by Max Lucado
(C) 1987 published by Multnomah Press
Used with permission



From the arms of his mother, to the arms of his Father...the journey our Lord traveled in between was nothing like anything we can imagine. We can read about it, we can think we know what Jesus felt or experienced based on our own experiences...but we'll never truely know.

Mary's prayer for her son, her Creator, is that of a mother who spent 9 long months anticipating his birth, feeling him wiggle around in her womb, growing...the creator being created.

So beautiful!
    
    

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

God Came Near

I'm not sure where I got this particular book but I found it on my shelf and decided to give it a go. And I'm so glad I did! I'm so blessed by having read this book.

It's called God Came Near written by Max Lucado and published in 1987 by Multnomah Press.

I've received permission from Max Lucado's people to share on my blog about this book and how it's touched me so I'll be doing that for the next few blog posts.

In the first chapter, titled The Arrival, on page 23 is a passage that struck me as so beautiful and so moving I had to share. As a mother, knowing what it feels like in the seconds, minutes, hours after bringing my children into the world, I remember well the awe but it's hard to imagine what it might have been like to give birth to God. Max Lucado puts it so beautifully:


     Wide awake is Mary. My, how young she looks! Her head rests on the soft leather of Joseph's saddle. The pain has been eclipsed by wonder. She looks into the face of the baby. Her son. Her Lord. His Majesty. At this point in history, the human being who best understands who God is and what he is doing is a teenage girl in a smelly stable. She can't take her eyes off of him. Somehow Mary knows she is holding God. So this is he. She remembers the words of the angel. "His kingdom will never end."
     He looks like anything but a king. His face is prunish and red. His cry, though strong and healthy, is still the helpless and piercing cry of a baby. And he is absolutely dependant upon Mary for his well-being.
     Majesty in the midst of the mundane. Holiness in the filth of sheep manure and sweat. Divinity entering the world on the floor of a stable, through the womb of a teenager and in the presence of a carpenter.
     She touches the face of the infant-God. How long was your journey!

God Came Near by Max Lucado
Copyright 1987 Published by Multnomah Press
Used by permission


Can you imagine? Can you for even one moment try to put yourself into the place of Mary and try to grasp what it must have been like to give birth to the creator of the universe? WOW!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Paul says....

Paul says lots of stuff in the Bible, lots of very good stuff. But since I'm still hung up on the End Times, I'm going to stick to what he says about that particular topic.

In 2 Timothy 3:1-9 he says: But understand this, in the last days there will come timesof difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness but denying its power.


WOW! It's almost like Paul looked ahead into our time and could see what was coming. He is totally describing the people of today. And I know you could say there have always been people like that but it's difficult today to NOT find people like that because there are so many of them. The general population is filled to overflowing with the types of people Paul is talking about. Truely God fearing, faithful, humble people are getting to be few and far between.

And that makes me think of another verse: Matthew 9:37 Jesus tells his Disciples: The harvest is plenty but the workers are few.

There are so many lost people in this world- millions, if not billions, of them. So very lost, suffering apart from God. And there are so few people who are willing to go to them, to show them the way to the Cross. We are living in the End Times...and before much longer, it will be too late for the lost.

Matthew 7:13-14 says: "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Many will follow the wrong path because no one shows them the right one. They are blind to it. We, as God's children, cannot sit idly by and watch as they walk into an eternity apart from God. How many of these lost people would give their hearts to God if they had been told the truth by someone who showed them the love of God? It breaks my heart to think of all these people who die in their sin without ever hearing God's truth, never knowing they have a Savior who loved them enough to die for them.

Because we stand silent.

The days grow short. Will you be a worker with me? Will you stand up and join me in the fight to win one more soul for the kingdom of God? You win one more. I win one more and those two go win one more each and the numbers grow and grow.

I refuse to turn my back and do nothing while people suffer!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Are we living in the end times?

Ever since the Left Behind series was first released back in 1995, interest in End Times prophecy has sky rocketed. There are so many different interpretations about how things will play out in those days.

Some people believe that Jesus will return and take the church to heaven in the blink of an eye before the Great Tribulation throws the Earth and its inhabitants into turmoil the likes of which have never been seen before.

Some people believe that Jesus will come mid way through the Great Tribulation and take the church to Heaven, forcing believers to endure these terrible times for 3.5 years.

Other people believe that Jesus will come only after the 7 years of great trial have been completed.

Basically the only thing believers disagree about is timing- when Jesus will return for God's children.

I've read the Left Behind series- if you haven't you can find information about it here: Left Behind Series. I've studied the Bible prophecy pertaining to the end times and I believe that the book series by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye are pretty spot on. I believe in the first scenario- that Jesus will return and remove true believers from the earth before the Great Tribulation.

When Jesus was here the first time, people saw him and those whose hearts were inclined to believe didn't have to have faith that He was real. He was there, He was real, they could touch Him and hear Him with their ears. Today, we have to believe by faith alone. We've never seen Jesus with our eyes, heard him speak with our ears, touched Him or felt His touch. Our faith is all we have.

Revelation 3:10 says: 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

Because we, God's children, have believed in Him without seeing, have kept His world and endured patiently, He will take us from the Earth before the Great Tribulation. That is what I believe.

And why do I believe that those days are upon us?

Matthew 24:36-38 says: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[a] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark.

In the days of Noah, the people were corrupt, they were full of sin, they were wicked and participated in all manner of sinful lifestyles. If you read the story of Noah, you could very easily imagine that you were reading about our world today. Homosexual marriage, vulgarity and sex on TV, child abuse, murder, drugs, alcohol, and all manner of depravity are so common it fails to shock the average person.

In the days of Noah, God chose the only Godly people left. He chose Noah and his family to build the ark, save the animals, and represent Him as they rebuilt the world after the flood. And just as will be in the end times, God will take His children out of harms way when He unleashes His wrath on the earth. God made sure that Noah and his family were safely sealed inside the ark before the rains came. Because Noah and his family loved God, kept His commands, God saved them from the flood. He will do no less for His children today.

Jesus' disciples asked Jesus about the signs of the end. Here's what Jesus said in Luke 21:7-19:


7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”

8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

We've had many people come and try to convince people that a certain date will mark the end of the world. Just recently a preacher insisted that the rapture would happen in May of 2011 and again in October 2011...both dates came and went and we're still here. We're hearing of wars and uprising nearly daily- our embasies and consulates being attacked all over the world, Syria and Egypt in turmoil, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Israel and the Palestinians.

10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

Earthquakes causing tsunamis in Asia and the south Pacific. Japan, Haiti, Chile, and Indonesia. Massive tornados, hurricanes, and snow storms around the world. Drouts causing crop failure and famine.

12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.

Christians around the world are being persecuted for their faith. Church leaders in China, North and South Korea, Afganistan, Iran, and India being imprisoned, tortured, and killed just for believing in Jesus. Even here in the United States of America believers are being persecuted. Churches are being attacked, burned down, and our rights are being stripped away at an alarming rate. Families are being torn apart. Christians are being labeled as intollerant and hateful because we stand against sin. Our freedom of speech is being revolked because what we have to say isn't what the world wants to hear.

All of these things we're seeing are things that Jesus himself said would happen at the end of the age...in the time before He would return. Never before in church history has the world been more ready for the return of Christ than it is now.

I pray daily for Jesus to return. I long with everything in me for His return, to be in Heaven with Him. But I know He waits for one reason only...He loves every unsaved person as much as He loves those of us who've made the choice to love Him back. He wants everyone to come to Him and He'll be patient until the time when He knows there is no more hope. That being said, it is up to us, God's children, to take up the cross daily and win souls for Him. Win the lost, do what we must- sacrifically so- to lead the blind to the arms of Christ.

We are at the gates of eternity. The signs are before us, staring us in the face if we'll but open our eyes to see them. Jesus is preparing to return! Do you have someone in your family who is lost? Someone in your neighborhood who doesn't know Jesus? Can you in good conscience let those people continue to live in darkness when you have the lamp the light the way? Can you picture them trying to survive in a world ruled literally by Satan. Through the Great Tribulation that will be the worst and most desperate time our world has ever faced?
 

Friday, September 14, 2012

What about MY civil rights?

I was reading the news this morning and came across this story: ACLU fights for KKK rights. It talks about how the ACLU is taking up the fight on behalf of the Ku Klux Klan who want to participate in the Adopt-a-Highway litter patrol program and were denied. The state of Georgia believes having signs up advertising the KKK would be offensive to some (and they're right) so it denied their request for signs on the highway.

Here is a quote from the ACLU: "The fundamental right to free speech is not limited to only those we agree with or groups that are inoffensive. The government cannot pick or choose who is protected by the Constitution," said Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the ACLU Foundation of Georgia. "There will always be speech and groups conveying hateful messages that are distasteful to some. That is why the First Amendment protects free speech for all."

Now, what I want to know is this: If the ACLU is willing to fight for someones rights to offend people, why are might rights to freedom of religion and expression of that religion being stripped away from me because they offend people?

The ACLU is fighting day and night to prevent the posting of the Ten Commandments, Memorial Crosses on public land, Christmas Nativity scenes in the public square...supposedly because they offend non believers. But they'll take up the fight for the KKK who are violent and hate non whites and offend most people in this country.

What is up with that?

Basically what it comes down to is that my freedom of expression makes people feel guilty about the sinful lives they're living. Jesus in the public square makes people uncomfortable because they're forced to look inward at the way they're living and they don't want to do that so it's easier to ban Him altogether.

And Christians are allowing it to happen by not fighting back! Well I'm going to fight back the only way I know how. I'm starting a letter writing campaign and would love some support from fellow believers. Please join me in writing to the ACLU to demand they fight for the rights of ALL Americans!

The address to write to is:
ACLU
125 Broad Street, 18th floor
New York, NY 10004

Please join me in this fight to take back our rights!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

When did I get so old?

My girls started back to school on August 9. Cera is a junior and my baby, Brittany, is a freshman. They were tiny babies yesterday and today they're nearly grown up. My son, Cameron, started his first real job yesterday. He's working nights at Walmart doing stocking. It's insane to think that I'm old enough to have adult children!

My 20 year wedding anniversary was August 22. TWENTY YEARS!! I remember my one year anniversary- I was a brand new mother to a 5 week old baby. My 5 year anniversary I was 8 months pregnant with my youngest and had a 2 year old and a 4 year old. 10 years was when we got our honeymoon. We left the kids with James' mom and spent 2 weeks on the road driving from Seattle to Kentucky to meet my dear friend Rene. What a journey. Our 16 year anniversary was marked by James learning how to walk again after a tragic motorcycle accident. 17 years saw us packing up and moving cross country from Seattle to Kentucky...and 20 years is marked by the addition of many, many new gray hairs.

I look in the mirror and I see gray hairs...lots of them. So obviously I'm old enough to have adult children and to be married for 2 decades. I was thinking about getting some hair dye and washing that gray right outta my hair. But then, as I was reading my Bible today, I came across a verse that changed my mind.

Proverbs 16:31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor; if it is attained by a righteous life.

So, if I've lived righteously then my gray hairs are a crown of spendor. I know that, like Paul, in Romans 7:18, I long to do what is right but still I sin. Apart from God I can do nothing good or righteous. I can try all day long to be 'good' but I fail all day long because it is not in me to be good.

However, with God by my side, in my heart, renewing my mind with purity and holiness, HE can do good things through me. I am the glove, He is the hand. So my gray hairs are God's. If He wants them there, then they'll stay there as a reminder to me each time I look in the mirror that God is doing a great work in me, through me.


Do you color your grays?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Did Adam & Eve really sin?

I know this might sound kind of odd but as I was reading in Genesis today I got to thinking about something that I hadn't ever really thought about before. Hopefully I can make it understandable in words the way I'm understanding it in my head.

After God created Adam and Eve, He told them not to eat from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. At that point Adam and Eve didn't know the difference between good and bad. In the Garden of Eden they were naked and never thought anything of it. They romped and played, ate, probably swam in the river, without a single care in all the world. Nothing was bad, everything was good because they didn't know that bad was possible.

It wasn't until after they ate from the Tree that they gained the ability to differentiate between good and evil so when Eve ate from the Tree did she really understand what she was doing?

Yes, God told them not to eat of the Tree but they didn't know what sin was. They had no concept of consequences. So did Adam and Eve really sin by eating of the Tree? Did God set them up?

I know that sounds terrible but this question is really bugging me. I'd love to hear someone else's thoughts on this so please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Answered prayer

Someone asked me recently why God doesn't answer their prayers. "I pray every single day for.....and it never happens." She said.

I didn't know what to say to her because for a long time I, too, was frusterated by unanswered prayers. I spent years praying for various things- a family member to be healed from cancer, a family member's marriage to be healed, a good grade on a science test, etc. And it felt like every prayer I prayed went unanswered. It felt like God was ignoring me.

But now that I'm a parent and I've had children come to me and ask for things- "Mom, can I have a new car for Christmas?" "Mom, can I jump off the roof into the pool?" "Mom, can we have cookies for dinner?" And I've had to say no to them...a lot. It occured to me that NO is an answer. LATER is an answer. WE'LL SEE is also an answer.

Just because God doesn't answer our prayers the way we want Him to, doesn't mean He's not going to answer it at all. He sees the whole picture. He knows what will happen if He says yes or if He says no or if He says later. He knows what's best for us and He will answer accordingly. If God is saying no, then He's saying no for a reason and we need to trust His good and perfect will for our lives. 

Maybe He wants to teach us something through the journey to the answered prayer. For example, when we pray for patience, we're not miraculously patient. God doesn't give us patience, He gives us opportunities to be patient. When we pray for wisdom, He directs us to His word and gives us opportunities to be wise.

Maybe He's waiting for us to learn what to ask for that He can say yes to. "God, please give me an opportunity to show someone your love today." "God, please show me how to better please you."

He'll say yes to those things and in answering those prayers, He'll bless you!

My prayer lately has been, "Please, Father, break my heart with what breaks Yours." And in today's mail was a book called No Longer A Slumdog by K.P. Yohannan. Oh my goodness! I've nearly read the whole thing already and I was sitting at work balling like a big baby. My heart is so broken for the people and the children of Southern Asia. I am moved beyond words and want so badly to do something, anything to help make these people's lives easier. What a tragic, beautiful book.

If you want your own free copy, go here: http://www.gfa.org/book/ and order a completely free copy of the book. I promise you that it's worth the time and the read.

God ALWAYS answers our prayers! We have to remember that sometimes that No is an answer.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

What is this love thing anyway?

"I LOVE those shoes!"
"I LOVE this food."
"I LOVE that store."
"I LOVE that movie."
"I LOVE that actor."
"I LOVE......."

It seems like everywhere I go I hear someone saying, "I LOVE.....fill in the blank." I go on facebook and see status updates that state, "I LOVE.....fill in the blank" Even in my own house I hear my children say, "I LOVE that new band, those earrings, that car, etc"

Then when I hear someone say to me, "I love you", I don't know but it seems to have lost some of the luster of the beautiful pearl that love should be. We use the word LOVE so easily, so randomly, so absent mindedly, that it no longer means what it used to mean. Love used to be reserved for a special person, a parent, a very dear friend. Now we LOVE everything.

In the Bible, 1 Corinthians13 is considered the love chapter for good reason. It tells us what love is...and what love isn't.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it's own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoings but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things. Love never ends.

So how do we go about teaching our children- the next generation- what real love looks like?

We have to SHOW them. We can't simply tell them, "I love you." Because the word love is so diluted and means next to nothing now days. We have to show our kids by helping others. By sacrificing for them and for others. Show them what love is by showing them the love of God.

And I know that I will be paying a lot closer attention to what I'm talking about when I say, "I LOVE..." Because for my family I'm reclaiming what love really is. I LOVE my God. I LOVE my husband. I LOVE my children.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A worm or a butterfly?

Our pastor, this morning, touched on an analogy that got me to thinking. Before we accept God and allow Him to change us, we are lowly, sinful, ugly worms (metaphorically speaking of course). We crawl around on our bellies, living the way of the world, following our own desires, eating and causing destruction wherever we go. Sometimes we get gobbled up by a bird or other predator and end up in the bowels of the earth, suffering eternity apart from God.

But some of us see our need for God and we allow Him to participate in our lives and lead us. At this point, we're wrapped in a cocoon where God works on us, changes us, perfects us as we learn and grow in Him.

God promises us in Philippians 1:6 that He will complete the good work He started in us. He doesn't promise that the work will be easy, painless, and/or fast, but He promises to finish it. That changing process is sometimes brutally painful, drawn out, agonizing, but other times it's joyous, wonderful, and easy.

In the end, when the work is done and the cocoon finally opens, we emerge a butterfly, colorful and beautiful, and full of God's grace and mercy. We are capable of soaring to new heights to show the world what God has done in our lives.

How true is that!? If we allow God to change us into the people He wants us to be, we can be transformed from a lowly worm into a beautiful butterfly. What a miracle! I am still in the cocoon and probably will be until I die, most of us will continue to change and grow until we're ushered into the eternal kingdom of God. What a beautiful promise, a beautiful thing to strive for.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Offering Forgiveness and Making Amends

Have you ever hurt someone and neglected to make amends for it? I know I have.

Has someone hurt you and you've been holding onto resentment and unforgiveness toward them? Guilty again.

A class I'm taking at our church has helped me search myself- and ask God to search me as well to point out things I might be missing- in order to see these things so that I can fix them and move on. Forgiveness is important- both the giving and the receiving. And if we don't ask it and offer it to those in our lives, how can we truly understand the gift we've been given by Jesus? If we hold onto the bitterness and unforgiveness we have toward someone who hurt us, who is it really hurting?

You.

Me.

I saw a bumper sticker once that said: Hanging onto unforgiveness is like swallowing poison and expecting someone else to die.

And that's so true. If we refuse to forgive those who hurt us, it eats US up inside, not the person who hurt us.

Being willing to forgive and/or offer amends is the first step in the healing process. God wants a willing heart because He willingly offered up His Son, He willingly forgives us and He can't forgive us if we refuse to forgive others.

 Matthew 6:14 says: "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you."

Forgive and you shall be forgiven. Letting go of that anger and hurt toward someone else is often a difficult task but it's one that we as Christians are called to. It's not a request, it's a command. God doesn't say, "Please do it." He says, "FORGIVE!" it's an order, not a choice.

And one more thing, forgiving someone doesn't mean you have to be friends with that person or that you have to let that person be a part of your life. It means you are letting go of the hurt, letting go of any payment or punishment you expect for that person. I have forgiven the man who abused me as a child but that doesn't mean I want him in my life or near my children. But I've let go of that hurt and the anger I harbored toward him and I pray he found salvation before he died. And doing so gave me freedom!

Let go and let God! He will do amazing things through you if you will let Him help you clean out the dark, dank closets of your heart. Offer forgiveness and make amends. Start fresh today.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Reaching the Lost

Ever since I started really working on my relationship with God, the spiritual condition of those I love the most has become an enormous burden on my heart. I never realized how many people in my family, close members, are lost. They either don't believe in God at all or have such skewed ideas about who God is that salvation is out of the question for them and it breaks my heart.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that the God of the Bible is real. The more I get to know about Him, the more I love Him and long to be with Him. Yes, there are stories in the Bible that, to someone who doesn't know the true nature of God, seem to paint Him in a negative, mean spirited light. Stories like Job for instance. To someone who doesn't know the true spiritual reason behind the testing of Job, it could seem like God and Satan were simply toying with Job and torturing him for no apparent reason. But I know that the purpose behind it was, for one, to prove to Satan that there are indeed men in this world who cannot be turned from God's side no matter what. And for another, to show future generations that no matter what Satan does to us, God will never leave us or forsake us. He will always be faithful through no matter what kind of trials we are faced with.

I know for certain that Jesus is God's son and that He came to this earth to show us the very image of love and to reconcile us to God through his sacrifice on the cross. I know these things, not in my head, but in my heart, in the very deepest part of my soul, I know these things to be true.

So why is it so hard to convince those I love the most? Why does it seem that my prayers are falling on deaf ears? Please don't get me wrong, I know God hears my prayers, but these family members are as defiant and determined to refuse God as they ever were.

Jesus is coming SOON! We are living in the end times and I believe with all my heart that the end of this world as we know it is emminent. And I'm so afraid for my family. The thought of them being left behind in such a terrible time breaks my heart. The thought of them dying before then and not having another chance to get right with God, tears me up. But I don't know what to do besides keep praying. I know prayer is key...but I feel so helpless. I wish I could say something to these beloved members of my family that would change their hearts and turn them back to the God who created them, who loves them in spite of their rejection of Him.

And what makes it harder is that they're 2500 miles away. I can't be there for them to see the difference God has made in my life. I can't be there to be an example for them. I love them so much and I'm broken by their lost state. If any of you read this and feel inclined to pray with me for these people, please do. I won't mention names, so just know they're my family. And I love you for praying with me. I know God will hear! I have faith that He'll move on their hearts and call them Home to Him before it's too late.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Generation Cupcake

I'm not sure who coined the phrase for this generation of pampered, spoiled, overindulged young people but it really seems to fit. And it's so sad. I know I'm generalizing here- there are some kids out there who are well mannered, hard working, and willing to sacrifice but the majority of young people- age 8 to 25- today have been raised with a 'the world owes me a living and I can do what I want' mentality.

Take for example the story circulating the web right now about the bus monitor who was bullied to tears on her bus route by a bunch of middle schoolers. This type of behavior is all too common today because parents (again I'm generalizing) refuse to take Proverbs 13:24 to heart. “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”

When did it become okay for kids to abuse others- even their elders, authority figures, parents? Bullies have been around forever but it's nearly impossible to read or listen to the news these days and not hear of a new instance of a child being bullied so badly that they take their own lives, or children ganging up and abusing a teacher, grandparent, or parent. Why aren't parents willing to understand that this kind of behavior comes from a lack of discipline? If children are raised in a home where respect is demanded then children learn to respect others.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to beat your kids and rule with an iron fist. If you discipline in love that sort of punishment isn't necessary. A smack on the backside is sometimes necessary but if the parents will lead by example, it's rarely needed. So many parents have the 'Do as I say, not as I do' philosophy and that leads to a lack of respect by the children because they view their parents as hypocrites.

If you want your children to grow up treating others with respect, then you have to treat others with respect while your children are growing up. If you want your children to have a good worth ethic, then you need to show them how it's done. If you don't want your kids to drink and/or smoke then you shouldn't either. Don't abuse your spouse and your child won't either. Don't do drugs and teach your children about the danger and most likely your child will abstain as well. LEAD BY EXAMPLE!!

Generation cupcake can still be saved but many members of this group are already so far gone there's no reaching them. They've been raised in schools where everybody wins, everybody makes the team, everybody passes every test. Their 'self esteem' is put above all else and because of this they feel they can do no wrong, they will never lose, and that the world will cater to their ever whim. And these are our future leaders folks! I don't know about you but that terrifies me.

Get ahold of your kids and introduce them to the rod!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

You can be a missionary too!

Back in 2002, my mom got me all the Left Behind Dramatic Audio Series for Christmas. It was a wonderful gift and one I've enjoyed listening to several times since. This week I loaded them all onto my IPod and began listening to them again because it's been awhile and this time, it's hitting me differently than it ever has before. This time, instead of simply entertaining me, it's impressing upon me the urgency of this time we're in.

At no other time in history has the world been so primed for the events of the book of Revelation to take place. This world is a powder keg, just waiting for some cataclysmic event to light the match. An event like, maybe, the rapture of the church.

And when that happens, every single person who has never heard of Jesus, every single person who has rejected Jesus, every single person who has chosen to not make a choice...will be left behind in a world that none of us can even begin to imagine. A world so awful, so hateful, so terrifying that few will survive. 75% of the world's population that gets left behind will die before Jesus returns at the end of 7 years.

Can you see the urgency? Can you see why it's so important to support missions and to be missionaries?

If you, my friends reading this, are anything like me, you learned about missionaries in Sunday school and the vision of African villages was set in your mind. Wonderful people going to the other side of the world to help people living in mud huts and tell them about Jesus. That's the picture that always came to my mind when someone mentioned missionaries to me.

BUT THERE'S MORE! You can go right next door to your house and be a missionary! You can go down the street or to the next town over and be a missionary! You don't have to go far but God commands that you GO!

Help the widows and orphans, visit the prisoners, feed the homeless, clothe the naked....and show them Jesus! Make your neighborhood your mission field. Make the tellers at the local bank your mission field, the clerk at the grocery store, your child's teachers, and your children's friends. The United States of America is a mission field in desperate need of workers...and as Jesus says, "The harvest is plenty but the workers are few."

Will you be a worker for Jesus?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Refiner's Fire

My main prayer for myself these days is pretty narrow minded but I think it's one that's important and necessary.

And this is my prayer: Lord, change me. Make me who You made me to be. Refine me, Lord.

I know in my heart that I can be better than who I am so my daily goal is to listen to God's leading as He shows me the things about myself that don't honor Him, the things in my life that need to go.

Psalm 139:23-24 says:
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

I want God to show me where I fail Him so that I can fix those things in myself and become a better me. As I lay in bed talking to God a few nights ago, a new poem came to mind and I had to jump out of bed in the middle of the night to write it down so I wouldn't forget it. Here's what God put on my heart.

Refiner's Fire


Refiner’s Fire burning bright,
Chase away the dark of night.
Melt away what’s wrong within,
Burning up the chaff of sin.

Refiner’s Fire make me new.
Create a vessel pleasing you.
Find the gold that dwells in me
And make it all the others see.

Refiner’s Fire pure and hot,
You see things that I cannot.
Test me, mold me, make me true,
Less of me and more of You.



© Danielle M. Peck
May 31, 2012


Less of me, Lord, and more of You...that is my desire.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Openly Worshiping

There was a time, not too long ago, when I would stand in church during worship service and envy those who had their hands raised to God, eyes closed, worshiping God without care of what others thought of them. And even though I envied them, I couldn't seem to bring myself to be so open and to let go of the care of how others would perceive me. I wouldn't let myself be bold in worship.

It was also during this time that I would hear people speak of their relationship with God, with Jesus and I was completely lost. I couldn't understand a relationship like that because I'd never had one. I'd been in church most of my life, gone to Youth Group, church camp, asked Jesus into my heart with the sinners prayer, and got baptized. But for me, God remained elusive, just out of reach. That intimate relationship with Him seemed unavailable to me.

Most of the time it felt as if God himself was unavailable, aloof, out of touch. He lived in outer space and we lived here on Earth. Everyone spoke of His love for us but I had to wonder if maybe He had loved us once but grew bored with us and moved on to something new. Kind of like when I was 8 years old and desperately wanted a new Barbie doll. I finally got her and loved her and played with her but by the time I was 10, she lay forgotten under my bed with a whole slew of long neglected toys. I felt like Barbie, forgotten, while God was out in the universe creating new words with new and maybe less disobedient creatures to amuse Him.

Yet I continued to search Him out. I wanted what I'd heard others speak of. I wanted that close intimate relationship with God! But for years I couldn't figure it out and for awhile I quit looking. I quit seeking. I stopped knocking. Don't get me wrong, I never lost my faith that He was out there. I never stopped believing in God, I just quit trying to have what others had because I was tired of always ending up at a dead end and still coming up empty.

And then one day, out of the clear blue, it occurred to me. I can't have a close relationship with someone I don't know.

I'd been teaching Sunday school, volunteering with the Youth Group, going to church every week, praying for those who were sick and in need, taking clothes and food to the needy during the holiday seasons...and nothing. I was doing it all wrong. I was looking in the wrong place.

Last December I loaded an App on my IPhone called You Version. It has lots of different versions of the Bible on it as well as Bible studies and a 'read the Bible in a year' program. You can set it to remind you to read each day and it tells you what to read and checks it off once you've read it. I started the "Bible in a year" but my head kept telling me I'd quite after a week or so because that's the kind of person I am. I rarely complete things and that's sad.

Well, it's May and I'm still going. Each day I look forward to the reminder telling me it's time to read God's word. It's day 135 and I've read 37% of the Bible so far.

AND I FINALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT ALL THIS TIME!! I'm learning daily about God, who He was, why He created us, Why He continues to fight for us.

WHY I'M HERE! What my purpose is on this earth. I'm learning so much and it's so amazing! I'm no longer a discarded toy, I am a child of God! I am an heir to His kingdom! WOW! Can you even imagine such an amazing thing? My heart feels like it's on fire for the Lord and now when I teach my Sunday class I do it for a new purpose. Instead of it being for me, I do it for Him.

And when I stand in church during worship service, I no longer care what others might think of me and I lift my hands to the Lord and worship openly. I surrender all to my Lord and I'm completely okay with it.

Monday, April 30, 2012

God answers prayers in such beautiful ways

My oldest daughter- she'll be 21 in October- and I haven't spoken in nearly a year. I won't go into the details of why but I've been praying daily that we'd be able to work things out and be able to be a family again. I've missed her so much and long to hug her and tell her so face to face.

Well today, out of the blue, I received a message on Facebook from her. She told me she loves me and misses me and wants to meet up at the mall or something to visit. I was overjoyed to the point of tears and am looking forward to that day when we can once again be a whole family. I've been praying for her for months, that she is happy, healthy, and walking the path that God has paved for her. I've been careful not to ask for a reconciliation because I don't know if that's in God's will. My most fervent wish is that she is living a life that is pleasing to God and God has blessed that by softening her heart toward me. I am overjoyed!

God is so good! His promises are true and above all, He loves His children. Thank You, Jesus!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Make a JOYFUL noise!

Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the
prisoners were listening to them,

We in the modern western world have little idea of what an ancient European prison was like. I don't mean to be gross or too graphic but in order to get to the heart of the matter I must describe what I've learned.

Ancient Roman prisons were under ground, no sunlight, no fresh air ever. They reeked of urine and vomit and death. Prisoners received only one meal a day and that one meal usually consisted of moldy bread and dirty water. The prisoners were forced to sit and sleep in their own excrement day after day, causing open festering sores. Spiders and rats bit and crawled over them in the darkness while lice chewed at their bodies. The prisoners were usually beaten and bloodied even before being thrown into this dank, dark, unholy place and it never took long before their minds were lost to insanity.

Paul and Silas were in such a place, beaten and bruised, but far from broken. Jesus was there, in that terrible place with them, in their hearts, protecting their minds from the evil that resided there.

In the middle of the night Paul and Silas began to sing and pray and worship their risen Lord, even as they were being persecuted for speaking about that same Lord. In the depths of the most miserable place on earth, Paul and Silas found JOY!

Please, please read the story that inspired this post. A modern day story that is happening right now on the other side of the world from where I sit right now. The story of Imram Gafur who is in prison right now for loving his Lord. http://www.prisoneralert.com/pprofiles/vp_prisoner_204_profile.html

What gives American Christians the right to complain about anything when somewhere in the world a brother or sister in Christ is being brutalized for simply believing in Jesus- a right that we often take for granted. It's easy to get complacent about our faith when we face no real opposition to it. Jesus encourages us to face persecution for our faith with joy because persecution for his name's sake means we're doing something with our faith, we're being a city on a hill, a light in the darkness.

Don't hide your lamp under a basket, put it on the lampstand so that all might see the truth of God's word and find salvation in Jesus!

And please, if the Lord so moves you, send our brother in Pakistan a letter of encouragement and please remember to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How much would I give?

How much would I give for the pearl of great price? How much would I sacrifice for Heaven? If Jesus asked me to give it all, would I be willing?

Matthew 13:45-46

I'm still reading the Francine Rivers series I mentioned a couple of posts ago (taking awhile to get through it this time because I don't have a lot of free time to read). In the first book, A Voice In The Wind, the main character, Hadassa- a young Jewish girl, shows time and again she's willing to give everything, no matter the cost, for her Lord and Savior. It's such a beautiful story and even more importantly, a very powerful lesson. It makes me stop and ask myself, would I be willing to give all, no matter what, for Jesus if He asked?

Would I be willing to give my home, my car, my family, money, clothes...my life even? I'd like to think so but do we ever really know how we'll react to a particular situation until we're actually faced with that situation?

People around the world, even in this 'civilized' day, are being persecuted and killed for being Christians. They stand strong in their faith, they love the Lord so much that they are willing to die for Him. They go through intense suffering and they endure because they know they don't go alone. They know that Jesus is with them. He calls them Blessed because they are persecuted for His Name's sake. He promises to give them strength to endure and that even unto death He will be there.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10, "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

THAT IS SO BEAUTIFUL! When I am weak, I am made strong in Jesus. The Joy of the Lord is MY STRENGTH!

So, that being said, I do believe that if/when the time comes that I am asked to give all, to sacrifice for the Kingdom of Heaven, to give back a tiny fraction of what the Lord gave to me, I will endure. My life is His and if He wants it back...who am I to argue?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Jesus is seeking you...

I was re-reading my previous post and it occured to me that I should have added something more but instead of editing it, I'll make a new post. Call it part 2 of Faith with Feet :)

As I'm reading through the Gospels each day it becomes more and more evident to me that Jesus, during his short stay on Earth, was a very busy man. He never stayed anywhere very long, he was always going, always teaching, always healing...always seeking the lost. He didn't sit and wait for the lost to find Him. No, He went in search of the lost sheep and He found them everywhere He went!

He says in The Word....GO and make deciples of all nations. That one word- GO- is an order, a command. Jesus doesn't add, "If you want to." or "If you feel like it." He says "GO."

There are hurting people all over this planet. As Americans we've been pretty spoiled by not really being affected by the suffering that people in so many other nations endure. Yes, the people in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, South America are suffering and need Jesus. But in many cases there are intense spiritual needs much closer to home. If traveling abroad is something you simply cannot do, there are people in your state, in your town, probably in your neighborhood who are suffering. People right next door who need Jesus.

"GO!"

Being fairly new to our community, there are still many people I don't know, circumstances I'm not aware of. But the spirit in me is telling me to GO, find the hurting, bring Jesus to them. Someone, long ago, took a chance and shared Jesus with me. How can I not reach out to some lost and hurting soul and do the same?


I'm going to share another persecuted believer's story link here. Please, take some time each day to lift up our suffering brothers and sisters around the world in prayer.

Pastor Wang Xiaoguang has been in a Chinese prison for nearly 900 days...simply for teaching about Jesus. Please take a moment to pray for him and maybe even write him a letter of encouragement. http://www.prisoneralert.com/pprofiles/vp_prisoner_200_profile.html

Friday, March 23, 2012

Does your faith have feet?

I was listening to my Ipod today and a song by Casting Crowns came on. It's a song that resonates in me; one that makes me take stock of my life and my walk. It's called, 'If We are the Body'. If you haven't heard the song, the chorus says:

But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?

If we are the body of Christ, then why are so many of us neglecting to do what He has commanded us to do? We should be helping the widows and orphans, we should be leading the lost to Him, we should be welcoming the traveler into our midst and loving him to Christ.

But something else that struck me is that we should also be walking the walk among our leaders. If we, the children of God, refuse to stand up and speak out for what we know to be right, if we refuse to be leaders ourselves, then we leave this country, this world, to those who don't believe. We leave control of this country to pagans, athiests, and those who would remove God from every aspect of our nation.

We must vote! We must write letters to our local, state, and federal leaders. We must participate in ways that will be God honoring and effective or this country will fall in the same manner that Rome did.

We must put feet on our faith! We must Go! This country was founded and built upon a the solid rock of Jesus and we, the sons and daughters of the almighty God, need to wake up and stand up and fight to keep that solid rock from being chipped away and undermining the stability of The United States of America.

Does your faith have feet? Are you willing to go when God calls?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

We Have Hope!

I'm reading a book, one I've read a dozen times at least. It's the first book in an amazing trilogy by Francine Rivers called A Voice in the Wind and on page 13 there is a passage that struck me and I wanted to share. A brother and sister in a desperate situation are having a conversation and the passage reads:

"Is this the will of God, Mark?"

"Father said it is not God's will that any should suffer."

"Then why must we?"

"We bear the consequences for what we have done to ourselves, and for the sin that rules this world. Jesus forgave the thief, but he didn't take him down off the cross." He pushed his hand back through his hair. "I'm not wise like Father. I haven't any answers to why, but I know there is hope."

"What hope, Mark? What hope is there?"

"God always leaves a remnant."

Jesus forgave the thief who hung beside Him on the cross, but He didn't take him off the cross. The thief was made to suffer the consequences of his actions but Jesus forgave him and assured him of his place in Heaven.

We, as children of God, are also forgiven but we, too, must endure our own consequences for our sin. We are assured of our place in Heaven but while we live in this sinful world we will suffer and many times we suffer for the sinful actions of others even if we didn't participate or were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But we have hope! Even through the trials and suffering we experience we have Jesus by our side. He never said it would be easy, but He promised we would never have to go it alone. What a beautiful promise!

And to end this blog post, I'm going to share some song lyrics from one of my very favorite songs by an amazing artist, Ginny Owens. This song is called "If You Want Me To"

The pathway is broken
And The signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

Chorus:
Cause I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering that Your love put You through
And I will walk through the darkness
If You want me to

Cuz when I cross over Jordan
Gonna sing, gonna shout,
Gonna look into Your eyes and see You never let me down
So take me on the pathway that leads me home to You
And I will walk though the valley
If You want me to

Yes, I will walk through the valley
If You want me to

Here is a link to a You Tube video of the song if you care to listen. She has such a beautiful voice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVYRc7LtvUA

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vote Your Conscience!

With elections in full swing the candidates are polishing up their speeches and ramping up their attacks on their opponents, dragging skeletons out of closets and pointing razor tipped fingers used to expose every perceived slight to the American people.

I cannot express enough, my friends, how very important it is to vote your conscience. Stop looking at the parties and, instead, look at the morals, values, and agenda of those running. Just because you are a registered Republican or Democrat does not mean you HAVE to vote for the person running in that party. Vote for the person who most closely represents your values, not matter what party they happen to be affiliated with.

And one more thing, read between the lines of the pretty speeches. Do your research and find out what these people REALLY think, how these people really vote, what these people really want for our country. Right now they're saying what they think the people want to hear, but we all know that campaign promises are rarely kept and what will we be getting when the campaign is over?

Above all- VOTE and VOTE INFORMED!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The soil of my heart

Tonight's lesson in church was on the parable of the sower in Mark 4. It got me to thinking, wondering what condition the soil of my heart is in. I'd like to say it's the good soil that is fruitful and productive but we all want to be the best but am I being honest?

The soil on the path is compacted and hard. The seed falls there birds gobble them up. The hard heart refuses to hear God's word and Satan swoops in and steals up the seed so that it cannot take root.

The rocky soil is...well, rocky. And if you've ever tried to grow things in rocky soil you know that the plants don't thrive. They dry out quickly and wilt, need extra water to keep them going and they fall over easily in the wind. The rocky heart is quick to receive the Word but when persecution and difficulties arrise in their life, they fall away and forget that God is there for them, just like the diligent gardener who tends his plants even in stony soil.

Other seed falls among the thorns and weeds. We all know what those represent. It seems like everywhere we look these days we see lustful images, profanity, drugs and alcohol, sin made to look good and good made to look evil. Thorns. Even the most faithful must guard their hearts against this onslaught of the world or we too will be choked out and fall away from the God who loves us enough to give up his own son.

And then there is the good ground, the fertile soil. The soft heart that is ready and willing and able to accept God's word at face value and to embrace it with no looking back. The one who goes out and shares the Good News with others and is willing to suffer the ridicule and persecution of the world with no regrets. Those seeds spring up and flourish, sending out deep roots that keep the heart solid in the wind and the leaves healthy in the sun. They grow up to produce 30, 60, or 100 times the initial investment.

So what condition is the soil of my heart? I've withstood temptation, persecution, and ridicule, I tell the world about the love of Jesus, and deep in my heart I feel the roots of His Word, His Love, His forgiveness. I believe the soil of my heart is good soil, healthy soil, ready to be productive and fruitful.

And in honor of those who are persecuted, sometimes to the point of death, simply because they love Jesus, I'd like to start listing the name and a link for information about a brother or sister in Christ who is imprisoned somewhere in the world. So today's name is that of a man I have been praying for for months.

Youcef Nadarkhani is in prison in Iran because of his love for Jesus and he has been sentanced to death for his refusal to recant and return to the Islam religion. Insiders in Iran say his death is iminent. Can you imagine being killed just for loving Jesus?!

Go here: http://www.prisoneralert.com/pprofiles/vp_prisoner_214_profile.html?_nc=4f9ec9bce62a9439ac9c7514e7ed15e8 to read more about Youcef's story. Please pray for him, lift him up and pray that God will fill his heart with a peace that only God can provide.

Please don't forget our suffering brothers and sisters around the world. And don't take for granted the freedom we still have here in our country, the freedom to worship.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

On Holy Ground

Several places in the Bible, people are told to remove their shoes because they're standing on Holy ground. Have you ever contemplated what makes a place holy? What about that particular patch of earth at that specific time in history made it holy?

Our pastor went on to explain that in each of those instances, 3 things were true of those being asked to remove their shoes.

1. They were humble.
2. They were faithful.
3. They were obedient.

And because of these 3 things they were able to be in the presence of God, therefore the ground on which they stood was Holy.

So, what does it mean to be humble? Faithful? Obedient? I turned to the dictionary to get a definition of those things and here is what I found:

1. Humble= Not proud or arrogant, modest, respectful, courtious, forsaking ones own will.
2. Faithful= Steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant.
3. Obedient= obeying or willing to obey; complying with or submissive to authority

So have you ever stood on Holy ground? Have you ever felt the undeniable presence of God? Have you ever felt so full of the Holy Spirit that you wept or danced or shouted with joy because you simply couldn't contain yourself?

To be honest I hadn't ever really thought about it but ever since I started reading my Bible daily and studying the Word, I find my thoughts turned toward Jesus almost constantly. I cry during worship at church. I cry during service at church. The children I teach on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights come up to me and ask if I'm okay because they see my tears. And tonight our pastor approached me and told me he is so excited about how he sees the Lord moving in my life lately.

My heart is so full and I'm unable to describe it in a way that would even approach the magnitude of it.

I've been on Holy ground! I feel, lately, like I live on Holy ground! My thoughts are consumed by the greatness of our God, the grace, the mercy, the preciousness of our Lord. I feel Him around me all the time and it fills me up with so much joy that I can't keep it in. If only I could physically share this wonderous gift with those who have never had it but all I can do is tell people and hope and pray that they'll believe me and reach for it for themselves.

Exodus 3:5Then He said, "Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."

Joshua 5:15The captain of the LORD'S host said to Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.

Acts 7:33- "BUT THE LORD SAID TO HIM, 'TAKE OFF THE SANDALS FROM YOUR FEET, FOR THE PLACE ON WHICH YOU ARE STANDING IS HOLY GROUND.

Have you stepped on Holy Ground?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cottage Prayer Meeting

Our church has a revival meeting every year in March and this year is no different. For 8 weeks before the revival people volunteer to host Cottage Prayer Meetings where church members gather for some fellowship and a great deal of prayer. We pray for our country, our state, our community, our church, and our families. We pray for forgiveness, for the lost, and for hearts to be moved in service for Jesus.

We pray for Revival!

Not just the event at our church but for revival in our nation, in our world. God says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

We, as Christians, as children of God, MUST pray for a revival in this land. If we don't pray and appeal to God on behalf of our nation, who will?

People are hurting in our world, people are soul sick, heart sick, sin sick and no one but Jesus can heal them. If you are reading this message, please, please, please, pray for revival in our land, in your state, town, church, home, family... and in yourself.

This week's Cottage Prayer Meeting was here at my house and it was such a blessing. I was moved to tears. My church family is such an enormous blessing to me and I thank God daily for them. I would be at loose ends without them and I know that revival is happening in me, in my family, in my church... it's like ripples in a pond and because God's word never returns empty, I know it will stretch far beyond our tiny little town here in West Kentucky. Will it reach your town too?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The harvest is plentiful...

But the workers are few. That's what our lesson was in church this morning and my heart filled up at the thought of being one of those few workers. A worker for God, harvesting souls! What a blessing to be among those who are called to be a worker, a laborer for our Father in Heaven.

Matthew 9:35-38 says:

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."

To me, this is the beginning of the Great Commission. Jesus is telling His disciples that there are few people in the world who love him but many, many people who need him and are ready to know him. People who have heart needs, people who are soul sick, people who are dying in their sin. They all NEED Jesus!

And who will go? The Lord says that few will go, but he commands that ALL go.

Matthew 28:16-20 says:

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

God has called me, told me to go, given me the tools I need to reach the unreached masses. Who am I to say no? Who am I to refuse to obey the God who so loved me that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life? I cannot refuse him anymore than I can spread my arms and fly. My soul belongs to God, my heart belongs to Jesus. To do his will is a great, wonderous gift. It is a true blessing to be used by our Creator and I, for one, will not miss out on that wonderful gift!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Come swiftly, Dear Lord!

I know I just posted last night but after reading today's news I just had to speak my mind. My heart is so heavy and I'm beginning to think that maybe I should stop reading or listening to the news because it's all bad! This world is such a desperate mess, so sin sick, so lost and it makes my heart ache to my very core. I want to do something about it but then I read the prophecies of the end times and I know these things must happen before Jesus can return. But the anguish it causes, especially to the children, makes me so sad.

In Luke 17 the Bible speaks of things being the same as they were in the days of Noah, when Jesus returns for the 2nd time. In the days of Noah the world was full of sin, murder, adultery, homosexuality, immorality of all kinds to the point that God felt He had no other option but to destroy everyone but Noah and his family. This world we live in today is no different than when Noah was faced with the monumental task of constructing the ark.

Children are being murdered by their parents both before and after birth. It seems like I see a new story each day of some family member who went crazy and killed his/her family before taking their own life. The children!?! I can't even begin to imagine pointing a gun at a child, an infant, and pulling the trigger! I don't understand it.

Our planet is certainly in the throes of cataclysmic changes- catastrophic earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, flooding, freezing, drought, and tornadoes. We've corrupted and destroyed this once beautiful place God gave us to be stewards of. We were supposed to take care of the Earth, not pollute, pillage, and gut it. Animals are becoming extinct at an unprecedented rate; these beautiful creatures God put here to share the planet with us. How can we, humans in general, be so callous?

But Jesus says, when he tells His deciples what to watch for in Matthew 24:

3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,a’ and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Such things must happen.

So do we fight against the false prophets? Do we object to the wars? Do we fight the legalizing of homosexual marriage? Or do we simply let this world go to Satan's children and bide our time until Jesus returns?

I, personally, feel like I need to fight, if only so that those on the fence will see they have a choice. I don't want to hide quietly away with the knowledge that I am saved and will go to spend eternity with Jesus when there are so many lost out there. Like so many evil people who want to die and take as many with them as they can, I want to live eternally and take as many with me as I can! I want to know that when Jesus returns for us, my children, parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends will be there too. I want to know that my neighbors, my children's friends, the cashier at the grocery store who always looks so sad, the teller at the bank, and the sheriff of my little town will find Jesus before it's too late!

What needs to happen is for the Christians, the true children of God who reside in this world, to stand up and fight back! We need to show the next generation that there is something more than profanity laced music and TV, drugs, sex, and violence for them to cling to. We need to stand up for Jesus and take back the nation that was founded on Biblical principals so that those who are lost can see the light and be saved.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Where has the fire gone?

Lately I have such fluctuating feelings. One minute my heart is on fire for the Lord and the next I feel cold and indifferent. I hate that cold indifferent feeling and when it comes upon me I turn to the Word and the fire returns. I wish the fire would remain always, that desire to tell others about Jesus, that desire to serve and worship, it fills me with such joy and I want it to stay always with little to no effort on my part.

But that would be too easy, I think. That would make the fire burn less, seem inconsequential, I suppose. Sort of like walking into a potpouri store and inhaling deeply the sweet fragrance within. But after awhile you no longer smell anything because you've gotten used to it. If the fire came with no effort we'd get used to it being there and no longer work for it. No longer notice that it feels any different than when it's not there.

So today, because of the stresses of life, the constant struggle of simply getting through another day, I feel disconnected and anxious. The fire is gone. The only way I know to get it back is through prayer and burying myself in the precious Word of God. So as soon as this message is posted, I'm off to my quiet place with my Bible to find the match that will reignite the flame in my heart because it is so very worth the effort it takes to keep it kindled and burning bright.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength!

I have a wonderful app on my Iphone that lets me choose different Bible study subjects that include a devotional and Bible verses that relate to the subject. It reminds me at 10:00 each morning to read my Bible so not only am I working my way through the whole Bible in a year but I get devotionals as well. I love it! So, the 31 day study I'm doing right now is about Joy. Finding joy, recognizing joy, where joy comes from, etc. Today's lesson was so meaningful that I just had to share it, so here it is:

The joy of the Lord really is your strength and the devil knows that if he can rob you of your strength, that he will turn you into a weak, whining and ineffective Christian.

Did you know that the devil is not after your health? Did you realize that Satan couldn't care less about your marriage or your finances? And your children don't mean a thing to him. What the devil is after is your joy and the way that he tries to steal your joy is by going after your health, your marriage, your finances and your children.

The devil knows that he cannot deny you of your salvation or of the forgiveness that Jesus has given to you. So, what he tries to steal is the most valuable commodity that he is able to get his greedy little hands on. Satan is relentless and he will do everything he can to lie to you and eventually deceive you out of your joy.

Today, let me challenge you to stand toe to toe...nose to nose with the accuser of the brethren and declare in his ugly little face, "Satan...you can not!!! You will not!!! You will never be able to take my joy from me!"

When you choose to defy the enemy with the joy that Jesus died to give you, you will become a powerful force in the world today. God can use joyful Christians who are bold enough to hang onto their joy no matter what is going on in their circumstances.

Nehemiah 8:9-12
John 10:1-10

What a wonderful reminder! The JOY of the LORD is MY STRENGTH! Jesus died no only for my forgiveness but that I could be reunited with God and what could be more joyful than that? I can't think of a single thing. So no matter what is going on in my life I will cling to the joy of the Lord!