Posted in Hiding His Word

He That Doeth The Will Of God

It is a cold, wet winter night here. I just listened again to the testimony and documentary narrated by Missionary Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor. Some of her words touched my heart and encouraged me so much. She admitted feeling like she had nothing special about her that made her much of a missionary to the Auca tribe. She couldn’t preach or teach since she didn’t know their language. She had no great skill or medical background that could help them. Oh, how I have felt this way. But then she encouraged by saying all she did have… She had the desire and a will to be obedient to the Lord…and to love!

These verses come to mind. Especially the last one!

“Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.” ~ Isaiah 43:10

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” ~ Acts 1:8

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” ~ Matthew 28:19-20

“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” ~ 1 John 2:17

Posted in Journal

Lessons of The Angel Tree (Love…Just Love)

A few years back, the church I attended had an “Angel Tree.” I had the awesome privilege of helping organize the project. We gathered hundreds of gifts, items of clothing and groceries. Every child received several new toys, books, and a new outfit. Every family received a complete Christmas dinner. We boxed all the groceries, wrapped and labeled the gifts, and then loaded everything up to be delivered all over our area.

At one of the first stops, as we arrived at the house so did another church. We came bearing our gifts and were all left wondering the appropriate response as we saw these children who seemed to have plenty now receive even more.

Then later in the day we arrived at a house that was almost empty on the inside. There was no furniture, no Christmas tree, not even a bed!!! A dirty little mattress in the corner without sheets or pillows. A box for a makeshift table….that was it. That Christmas some kids wanted toys, books, and bicycles. However, these three children and their mom really needed pillows, blankets, coats!!!

We went back to the church, made a few calls and some from our small group headed back the next day with not only more toys and warm clothes, but a pantry and refrigerator full of groceries, pillows, blankets, sheets, toiletries and furniture items such as beds and a kitchen table and chairs.

All other families we visited that year for the Angel Tree Project had needs someplace in between these two “extreme” situations. But to each their need was just as desperate.

After the ministry was completed I sat with a broken heart as I thought of these…. that some are so very poor. I was truly moved by the need. But I was more broken hearted that there are some so poor in spirit. For sure those are often  harder to understand and minister to. We are most often blinded to their need because they are surrounded by stuff from whatever source they can find.

I desire to love the poor and the poor in spirit and help folks in need. Jesus gave me that desire and He so often allows me to see past the junk and distractions. There will always be those that seemingly have too much, take too much, or take advantage…but what if no one ever gave because of those few. Little children in Belmont, NC, USA would have likely been sleeping on the cold floor that Christmas season.

And what of the kids that seemed to have too much and still the parents sought for more? What is in a heart that makes one go to such measures? What kind of bondage? We prayed for them and loved on them and spoke into their lives just as we did all the families. That Word we spoke and prayed, the love we showed surely did a mighty work in all of our hearts….mine included. After all, God is Love.

I have been one of the poor and I have been the poor in spirit. I have been the parent that had to rely on others to give my children even one toy and a Christmas dinner.  I have been the parent that later gave mine way, way too much. I am so thankful God loved me and allowed others to love me in all my need!

❤️ Love…just love! ❤️

Jesus is the reason for the season.

Posted in Hiding His Word

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart – Matthew 1:24-25

“Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” ~ Matthew 1:24-25

Imagine waking up one day and suddenly being expected to do something that seems crazy and seems to make no sense. This is what happened to Joseph. He was a respectable and righteous man with a good grasp of reality. But Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, and it wasn’t his child. Can you imagine how you would feel? Wouldn’t it crush you?

Joseph knew the logical thing was to divorce Mary and he was planning it so that he could leave without causing her public humiliation. But as Joseph was working through this unexpected change, God sent an angel. The angel asked Joseph to trust God and believe this was His plan for Mary, and also for him. Of course, we know the story, so we know Joseph did trust God and stayed with Mary. He trusted as the baby was born in a lowly manger. He trusted and obeyed and named the child Jesus! And he continued trusting God as he and his family fled for their lives to Egypt.

The story and struggles of Joseph at the beginning of his first Christmas season are very similar to what many of us are facing in our lives today as we head though ours. You (and I) thought life was going a certain way and we had things all planned out…and then suddenly, unexpectedly something happened that turned our world totally upside down. Maybe it has been one difficult thing after another and you feel crushed. So, like Joseph, you have been working hard behind the scenes developing a new plan to help you handle your trials and your loss.

Right here where you find yourself today, even if your place and circumstances don’t make sense, God is asking you to trust Him. He is asking you to believe that He will provide for all your needs. He is aware of every detail and He wants you to know He cares. If you will trust and follow Him, just like Joseph, He will lead and guide you and yours from right where you are … into the safety and peace of His magnificent Presence this Christmas season!

Posted in Journal

When God Speaks and We Obey…

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Eight years ago, at a church council meeting my pastor at the time said he was going to start the Christmas season by preaching a sermon titled, The Greatest Gift Exchange. He wanted ideas and music to go along with that topic.

I was driving home and going through the intersection of New Hope and Lowell-Bethesda/Beatty Road and God said two words as clearly as I have ever heard, “Cardboard Testimonies!”

It was not a new thing. It wasn’t flashy or extravagant and didn’t seem all that Christmassy. In fact, it was almost too simple and many, many churches had already done it. Nevertheless, my pastor loved the idea – but he told me since God gave it to me, I had to also organize it. Not what I was expecting. I didn’t feel like people would respond to me. But my pastor wouldn’t let me off the hook, so I got to work. While some people said, “no way” to my surprise I soon had about 50 that responded with excitement. And with each “yes” a great anticipation grew.

December 5, 2010 – God used that anointed sermon followed by the testimonies of people of all ages and from all walks of life to orchestrate two of the greatest moves of repentance and crying out to God that I have ever witnessed at somewhat regular church services. In both services, people were lined around the sanctuary to pray with our pastor. Some to repent and be saved, some to repent and rededicate their lives, some crying out for healing and deliverance, some standing in for their lost and hurting loved ones. Those left in the choir sang and we stood there for well over an hour holding our testimonies of what God had done when He exchanged what we were to the new creation He made us into. What a precious, precious thing God did for us all when we accepted the gift of His precious Son, Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

I don’t say this to boast in any way. It was God’s plan, not mine and one of the most humbling assignments I have ever been blessed to be a part of. While I did my part, the reality is that many did their part too and yet even still GOD DID IT ALL. But I do share all of this to also say – LISTEN to GOD. Sometimes He wants things planned and organized; sometimes He wants things totally spontaneous. Listen to Him, be open and obedient and always, always be ready to tell others what He has done for you! He is still speaking and drawing people to Himself by using ordinary people like you and me.

My Cardboard Testimony:

 

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Posted in Journal

Send Me…Where Love Is Needed!

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I have often prayed this exact prayer while holding onto the globe waiting on God to send me where I dreamed of going! And I’ve waited and waited and waited thinking God was putting me through a season of waiting. Until finally there it was – my dream, Africa.

But what if during all my waiting, I wasn’t supposed to be waiting around at all. It never crossed my mind that maybe He had answered my exact prayer before I ever even prayed it…because maybe love was needed most right across my town or across my street…or maybe just across my own livingroom.

I guess bottom line (for me) is if God sends me again to Africa I will by all means go and love there. But I have learned while going abroad that people are the same there and here. No matter the difference in culture, color, or language. They all have the very same need for love, compassion, a listening ear, a coat, or a sandwich! They all need Jesus but sometimes they can’t hear what we say about Him because they are cold or they are hungry or they are so alone!

If you are like me and you’ve prayed that prayer…trust me and don’t go into a season of doing nothing and calling it waiting. He has answered. Love the one right in front of you today! If there is no one in front of you…go to the nursing home.

God bless you all.

Posted in Bible Verses, Hiding His Word

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart – Isaiah 43:21

 

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Every single one of us was created to bring God glory. The purpose of our lives is for God’s will to be done in them. His purpose becomes our purpose. His will our will.

For some, this is a scary statement because they view God and His will through the eyes of fear. They think that if He calls them to do something or lay down something, to die to self, there will be a loss. But the point of dying to self is not to die to self. The point is to be closer to Him, to be with Him, to be like Him, and to remove from our life anything and everything that is not reflective of Him. Dying to self equals intimacy.

Whatever God has called each of us to do, He has called us to intimacy first. He doesn’t want us to pursue ministry before pursuing Him. Spiritual gifts are a by-product of intimacy, not ministry. He doesn’t want us to try to be perfect or seek to be “good” before we pursue Him. Being a mature Christian who knows how to handle life is not the point. Relationship with God is the point. HE is the point.

Absolutely everything else flows out from that place of intimacy with Him. Intimacy allows some of God’s attributes to be passed on to us. The nearer we get to Him, the easier it is to become like Him. In fact, it is natural to become like those you spend the most time with. You begin to look like them, sound like them, and think like them. Oh, I pray that the One I spend most moments with is always Jesus!

Because intimacy is the focus of Heaven, one of the greatest prayers we can pray is: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 6:10. Jesus taught His disciples to pray like this. Why? Because Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing (Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. ~ John 5:19) – WHAT HE SAW HIM DOING IN HEAVEN!!!

Jesus teaches us to pray the Lord’s Prayer because Heaven is reality, not earth. This is hard to grasp and for some a completely foreign concept but think about it. What we see here on earth, all around us, is merely a shadow of reality, not reality itself. (“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:12). The temporal is always inferior to the eternal. So, in order to stay in alignment with the heart of God, we must remember that this place we live is the inferior and we must learn to mirror on earth the activity of Heaven.

We were each created to bring Him glory. How close we come to that depends fully on each one of us. He is never holding us back from intimacy. He is so eager for us to know Him that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to reconcile us to Himself. Every one of us.

This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.” ~ Isaiah 43:21

Posted in Bible Verses, Hiding His Word

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart – Psalm 89:11

 

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“The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast found them.” ~ Psalm 89:11

In all of creation, on earth and in heaven, everything has a purpose, and everything tells us something about God. Even the things that seem insignificant to us play a part in God’s plan. God’s fingerprints are on every element, and everything in some way or form declares His glory!

The angels tell us something about God. The mountains tell us something about God. Every Word He has spoken tells us something. For that reason, I believe we should read the Bible with that in mind. We should go to the grocery store with that in mind. We should keep that in mind as we watch every creature in our backyard. There are no “just becauses” with God, no accidents. No one that wasn’t meant to be on this earth is here so we should definitely keep that in mind as we pass every person in our daily walk. But, that doesn’t mean we as humans can explain everything. Surely we can’t explain many things.

But God is writing His story by His plan, and He can explain everything. Every intricate detail, every creation, every divine Word. As we seek to see His glory in all things the Bible promise of Matthew 7:7-8 will start to become our reality.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” ~ Matthew 7:7

If we seek Him, He will be found.

Father, Open our spiritual eyes and ears today as we seek to see Your glory in all of Your creation. Open our spiritual hearts as we seek to know You. Help us to love YOU more and more today…and help us to love and to honor all that You have created, whether we understand or don’t understand because it is of You. In Jesus Holy Name I ask it…Amen!

Posted in Hiding His Word

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart – Job 42:2-3,5-6

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God knows every detail about every single thing in existence—even those things that are not yet. There is nothing outside His knowledge. He knows what it is, where it is, why it is, and what will happen to it before the end. He knows its past, present, and future. He knows every cell in every body. He knows every piece of sand in every crystal in every stone in every mountain. He knows every drop of water in every stream, river, sea, or ocean…every tear that falls from every eye. He knows every thought of every creature, all at the same time. Nothing is beyond Him.

When the haze lifts and we are allowed to see glimpses of our God, it is still just a glimpse. No matter how glorious, how huge, how awesome, how deep, how intricate and how impossibly beautiful, it is still only a glimpse of His Goodness. We may stand there in fear and trembling, amazed but here is the thing – we will never cease to be amazed. One million years from today we will still be in awe!

And it is in that reality that we face the grandeur of the Creator and the Source of all that exists, visible and invisible. And it is here we understand a little better what Job was saying in Job 42:2-3,5-6.