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.

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, 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?