Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ears Should Hear

  Yeah, the Lord created ears  to hear.
We know that.
Proverbs 20:12
The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
the LORD has made them both.

 Little kids know that.
Husbands don't always know that.
Well, husbands know ears are for hearing,
but I'm pretty sure they have a shut-off valve wired in their ears.
They know HOW to use their ears,
they like to decide WHEN to use them.
Little kids are obvious when they're  ignoring you.
 They keep their head down and
concentrate on their book, their toy,
or whatever they deem more important
than the avalanche of words falling off your tongue.
A husband isn't so obvious.
He'll smile and nod,
giving  monosyllabic words of affirmation,
so you think he's listening and agreeing.
It's only later when you reaffirm plans,  go spend the money,
or plan an outing,  he's busted.
Then the wife begins the quizzing, the drilling, the accusations.

"You never listen to me."
"What did I say about _______?"
"Who did I tell you called today?"
"When are we going out to dinner with the Smiths?"
As a young bride, I was devastated.
I had envisioned an adoring husband clinging to my every word.
As a young groom, I'm pretty sure he was devastated, too.
I don't think he envisioned having a young bride
who could talk the hind leg off a mule (name that movie)
and expect him to remember
I learned a few things early on.
There are good reasons why a man doesn't listen,
and each wife has to figure out what turns the shut-off valve
in her husband's ears.
Once we both learned to apply what we knew
about communication, it became easier.
I've even trained the kids to look for that glassy look
in Daddy's eyes that tells them
the porch light's on,
but nobody's home.
Daddy might see lips moving and hear noises,
but he might not be listening.
He might still be at work.
He might be balancing the budget.
He might be planning a trip to Hawaii.
(Ya' never know, it could happen again!)
They are to politely and respectfully get Daddy's attention,
first his eyes,
then his ears,
then they can talk.

The Lord used a different method to make a man hear.

Mark 7:31-35
 "And He... put his fingers into his ears,
and he spit, and touched his tongue"

 I haven't tried that.
I thought about demanding a hearing test, but spitting is out of question.
 Prior to this healing, the Lord commanded three times in Mark
"If any man have ears to hear, let him hear."

I can joke about my husband's ears, but mine are no different.
The words go in the ear canal, but not always into the heart.
That's why the Lord had to give us this command.
He knew His people would have trouble listening to His Word.

Glassy-eyed,  we smile and nod our way through the Scriptures,
the words tickling our eardrums, but not impacting our lives.

We  should be that eager bride hanging onto every Word,
doncha' think?

Well, doncha'?

Hey, are you listening to me?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Heresy in My Home

As a Jesus-loving, Bible-believing parent,
I've been careful about what I expose my kids to.
(I know you're not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition,
 but I'm tired.)

I don't take my responsibility as a parent lightly,
as I understand some day I will stand before the
King of Kings
and give an account for the job I did as a Mother.
At the Judgement Seat of Christ,
my life will be put to the match test,
wood, hay and stubble will burn,
gold, silver and precious stones will remain.

So, I  try to carefully evaluate
and try to help the kids understand my Biblical reasoning
for the decisions made.

I cherish their souls and long to present them spotless before the Lord.

After 24 years of parenting,
I realized I failed.

Epic failure, in fact.

Heresy entered our home.

 I let down my guard and brought it in myself.

This heresy came in through a

~brace yourself~

~this is bad folks~

 a coloring book.

That's right,
a coloring book.

No, it's not the short skirt on Noah,
but that would cause some outrage in some circles.

Notice the raindrops falling on Noah?


Not one drop of judgement fell on Noah or his family,
who followed him into the ark by faith.
God shut the door, then the rain began.

The ark is a beautiful Old Testament picture of Christ,
with those inside the ark by faith facing no judgement for sin.
Not one eensy, weensy, tiny drop of water
landed on Noah and his family.

"Wait a minute, Momma Mindy,"
I hear you saying.
"You said you were going to appear before the Judgement Seat."

Yep,  that's right.

(click on the links to read the verses)

I won't face judgement for sin at the Great White Throne
because I already faced the Lord God as the Judge on earth
when I admitted my sin and trusted Christ as my Savior.
Anyone who waits to meet the Judge after death,
will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

However, believers face the Judgement Seat of Christ
where their works are judged.
Rewards will also be given based on what survives the fire.

That's a pretty heavy sermon,
all started by a  black and white drawing ripped from a kids' book.

I think I need to use that page to start a fire in the fireplace,
cuz it won't stand the match test.

I'm not going to forbid coloring and coloring books,
but I did discuss the error.
It was important that my children understand
the beautiful picture of Christ represented by the ark.

Can't have heresy in this house,
no sirree,
not one eensy, weensy, tiny drop,
not even in our
coloring books.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Innocent Man

My heart is indebted to you who  have read, prayed, wept and encouraged
us through this past year of the life of
The Innocent Man.

I've rarely felt alone in this journey.
Just when I need it the most  one of you will comment,
send me an email or renew my strength with your prayer.

I know I've been vague in the details,
but because of the ongoing investigation and the need for my family's privacy,
I haven't been able to share more.

He is well loved by my family and everyone that knows him.
He lives 2,000 miles away and not near any family members.
(I was the only one who was able to fly out for the trial,
although many wonderful, supporter believers from the area were there.)
He is a new believer.
He was going to be married  June 2011.
He was going to graduate from college May 2011.
He was going to start a new job in his field in February 2010.

Someday, I'll be able to tell you more.
Someday, when
comes, you will hear all.

The Innocent Man
 is in county jail, awaiting sentencing. 
The parole officer is recommending 13-16 years.
He could be 60 years old when released.
Even if he had committed the crime, this is a stiff penalty.
In the state where he's detained,
 a person who commits murder is sentenced to life,
 but is eligible for parole after 20 years.
For an innocent person, this is unbelievably hard to face.
He has moments where he's fine,
and other moments where he's swallowed by the waves,
just like the rest of us.

We have a pact towards one another.
We choose to be strong so when he's released,
he'll come home to  family and friends strong in the Lord.
He's choosing to be strong,
so those outside the bars can endure the unjustness of his confinement,
and won't fail in their strength.

We choose to be strong for each other
and we choose to walk by faith,
though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

He's daily reading His Bible.
He's daily praying for everyone and everything he can think of.
He exercises daily.
He reads daily, thanks to wonderful friends who order books online.
 (You can't mail packages, only order new books online.)

The Innocent Man also has been witnessing to many men.

One day he described a scene from the night before.

The men in his cell block wanted him to pray for them.
Of their own accord
they gathered in a circle,
held hands
and had the Innocent Man pray for them out loud.

It was a moment the Lord allowed to give us hope and peace,
and to understand about His ways and His thoughts.
We do see spiritual purpose and the Lord upholding.

But still, no matter how much he reads and prays and witnesses,
our hearts long for him to be out.

We long for justice and vindication.

But for now,
irons bars and an iron cot make up the home for
The Innocent Man.

We just rejoice that it's not his final home,
he's just a passin' through,
his treasures are laid up,
somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon him,
from heaven's open door,
and he can't feel at home in this world anymore.

Thank you for upholding, through your words and prayers,
The Innocent Man
and those who love him.

Friday, February 24, 2012

What About Joseph?

This has been a hard post to write.
In fact, I've been struggling with the topic for months.
Maybe longer.

It's hard to face the topic of Joseph.

People honestly love me and try to encourage me
with their thoughts of Joseph,
but they haven't grasped our daily reality.

I know this is the Lord's will.
I accept this by faith.

I long for a little compassion when they remind me of Joseph.

The Innocent Man has to find a way in jail to buy his own clothes,
his own toothpaste, his own shampoo, his own snacks.
He is limited to two shots of insulin a day,
when his doctor had him on a daily regimen of four.
In jail they consider baloney a food,
a food worthy of serving twice a day,
once on white bread, once with gravy.
I think if anyone pictured their innocent loved one in jail,
they would struggle with the story of Joseph, too,
because they would be struggling with having to accept
that this is part of the Lord's plan for their lives.

Not a wedding, not a career, not a public ministry.
 I made myself read part of the Scriptures about Joseph.
Shying away from any part of the Lord's Holy Word
is like turning my back on God.

Of course, I was blessed.
As I finally faced that story of Joseph,
I discovered  the first use of the word
in the Bible is in the telling of the life of Joseph.

Genesis 45:7
And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth,
and to save your lives by a great

When I walked out of the courtroom
without the Innocent Man  I understood
God doesn't always deliver.

did not come that day,
despite the tears, prayers and pleadings of many believers
around the United States.

occurs in
God's timing
God's way.
If God had delivered Joseph from his brothers out of the pit
and brought him home to his father,
he wouldn't have been able to restore and  save his family.

If God had delivered him after he was sold to the Ishmaelites
he wouldn't have been able to save the nations.

If God had delivered him when he was first jailed
he wouldn't have been able to fulfill God's plan.

Each step in Joseph's life of suffering
brought him farther away from the comforts of home and family,
but  into closer fellowship with the Lord.
We can easily read about Joseph's sufferings, because we know how it ends.
With the Innocent Man,
we don't know how the story will end.

We don't know how or when
will come.

But, we read the story of Joseph for encouragement and hope.
We know who sent Joseph to jail,
even though it may be hard to accept.

Genesis 45:7-8
God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth,
and to save your lives by a great
So now it was not you who sent me here, but God;

We know it was meant for good.

Genesis 50:19-20
 Joseph said to them,
“Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?
But as for you, you meant evil against me;
but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day,
to save many people alive.

By faith, we know
will come.

we must live by faith.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

God Doesn't Always Deliver

In the past year
was always on my heart and mind.

Thousands of Christians were praying for the Innocent Man.
I received a small mountain of encouragement,
verses sent in emails, texts, Facebook and  recited in person,
repeating promises of

This YouTube video by Selah blasted from my computer many times.

We all believed God was going to
in a mighty way.

When the jury foreman said the word guilty,
we were stunned.
Older believers, whose faith that could move mountains,
were speechless before a holy and mighty God.

We were humbled to realize there was a plan we could not fathom.
was not the plan for January 20, 2012.

I read Hebrews 11 last week in my morning devotions.
I was stunned again.
How had I missed this message for almost 30 years?

13 These all died in faith,
not having received the promises,
but having seen them afar off were assured of them,
embraced them and confessed that
they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  

Somehow, I always thought of Hebrews 11 as a chapter of victory,
recording great deliverances and miracles.
I guess I didn't read too clearly.

My heart is beating a different rhythm these days,
 trying to beat in tune with the heart of a God,
whose ways are not my ways and thoughts are not my thoughts.

Clearly, in Hebrews, not all of His  people were delivered on earth.
Instead, He reminds us we are strangers and pilgrims on this earth.

In other words,
we don't belong here.
We belong with Him.

might not come when we think it should,
and sometimes not until we pass from this world.

Life on earth is hard for believers.
The Lord doesn't keep that a secret from His people.

Hebrews 11:35
Women received their dead raised to life again:
and others were tortured,
not accepting deliverance;
that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings,
yes, and of chains and imprisonment.
37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two,
were tempted, were slain with the sword.
They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins,
 being destitute, afflicted, tormented
38 of whom the world was not worthy.
They wandered in deserts and mountains,
in dens and caves of the earth.

Until eternal deliverance comes,
and we get to be with Him,
we know how to act, thanks to Hebrews 11.
v. 5 Enoch pleased God
v. 7 Noah moved with godly fear
v. 8 Abraham obeyed
v. 11 Sarah received strength
v. 27 Moses forsook Egypt (this world!)

If you've trusted Christ as your Savior
 and your name is written in His book of life,
write your name in another book.

Literally, I mean.
Open to Hebrews 11 and pencil in your name and your trial.
Then think how you want your life remembered by others.
Will your faith be recorded,
even though you lived a life of suffering?
Can you walk by faith until you receive eternal

Because God's plan for our trials isn't always
on earth.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

But, Daddy, you PROMISED!

If I heard this once, I heard it a thousand times.

When our kids were very young,
my dear hubby would make a promise
(like for a horse)
and the kids couldn't patiently wait for the fulfillment.

Kids don't understand details must be arranged
 before asks become answers.

Sometimes, Daddy wants to wait for the perfect timing.

Sometimes, Daddy wants to bless them when they need it the most,
not when they want it the most.

Sometimes, they have to keep their end of the promise,
to receive Daddy's blessing.

A child's impatience expects the words to jump off the tongue
 and morph into whatever was promised.
Kids need to learn to wait on Daddy,
without whining,
or throwing a temper tantrum.

They don't trust their Daddy
They don't believe their Daddy.
They want their way, not his.
They might wrongly think
they're not loved
not listened to.

 Daddy's discretion is more important than immediate gratification.

Feet stomping and huffing won't change the mind of a Daddy.
He hears praise.
He hears thankfulness.
He hears love.
He watches for patience.
He watches for understanding.

As Daddy, he reserves the right to answer the promise
in His way
in His timing.

But, wait,
we're talking about our kids still,

As we wait on the Lord for answers to promises from His Word,
shoudn't we be modeling the behavior we desire and expect
from our children?
He promised to never leave or forsake us.
 He promises He hears our prayers.
He promises to deliver.

In every book of the Bible,
every chapter,
every page,
every paragraph,
every sentence,
promises are made by our promise-keeping Father.

Pick a promise from your Daddy,
pray about it and
be patient.

No foot stompin'
or whining'
for any of us,

Cuz ya' know what?



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Do YOU Attend Sparrow Funerals? God Does.

During Sunday morning's message, I heard an incredible thought.
A heard a verse I've known for nearly three decades preached differently.
Referring to Matthew 10 the visiting preacher said,

"The Lord attends the funeral of every sparrow.
How much more He cares about the death
of one of His own."

He was teaching verse by verse through Psalm 116,
ministering the Lord's love and compassion for His people,
and had used these thoughts to support verse 15.
"Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of His saints."

It was a timely reminder.

This brother, Uncle Bill from Story Book Lodge Christian Camp,
didn't know when he prepared his message for our little group of believers,
 that many of our elderly people had suffered serious health complications
in the past few weeks.

He didn't know that we're all secretly  fearing that very word ~

What a relief to be reminded  when a believer breaths their last breath on earth,
they breath their next breath of Heavenly air.

This sparrow verse thrilled me as a new believer devouring her Bible.
I marveled that God cared so intimately and so deeply about His creation.

I was also thrilled with this verse tucked in between the sparrow thoughts.

"But the very hairs of your head are all numbered."

I wondered why He would care about such a trivial thing.

The more I pondered this, the more I marveled. 
He just didn't know my strand count,
but the strand count of every person on earth.

When I brushed my hair and cleaned my hairbrush of the random strays,
I knew the Lord was subtracting those strands from the remaining ones.
Thirty years later, especially after losing a lot of hair due to thyroid cancer,
I still marvel about this.

Another verse that impacted me early on was Matthew 6:34,

"Do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

The God of Heaven was telling me not to worry.

He tells us He sees and understands these small details,
so we'll entrust Him with the
big problems
of our lives.

Another verse in that passage tells me why.
Matthew 10:31
"Do not fear therefore;
you are of more value than many sparrows."

We're valued by a hair-counting, sparrow-watching
loving and eternal God.

That's a good reason to not worry.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How Heavy are YOUR Burdens?

I've been thinking a lot about burden bearing these days
since I have several major burdens I'm trying to juggle.

It's like hauling around overpacked luggage
that will burst at the seams if joustled one more time.

If you have a bad job,
you can quit.
If you make a meal that's disgusting,
you can throw it away.
If you don't like your living room,
you can paint it or rearrange it.

There are many circumstances in your life you can change.
There are many circumstances you can't change,
you have to hunker down and ride out the storm.

I thought I knew what this verse meant.

Matthew 11:30
For my yoke is easy,
and my burden is light.

But, knowing a verse, isn't living it.

There has been times of spiritual calm and acceptance through our various trials.
We have been upheld by many Christians through their words and prayers.
Life has gone on as normally as possible.

But, I still feel the burden.

Another suffering sister shared Psalm 55 with me ~
and another burden verse was added to my meditations.

Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

Cast literally means to hurl.
You take the burden and chuck it on the Lord.

My problem?
I keep taking it back.
 I bend beneath the weight of it and just pray about it.

I often give things to the Lord in prayer,
but take them back in worry.

The yoke is to enable me to carry the burden.
I am yoked to Christ.
He will help carry the burden.
I can't fight against the yoke.

Being yoked with Christ is more than just being saved.
Being yoked together is willingly following the path He has allowed,
following  the lead ox without rebellion.

We can watch animals and make wisely discern the benefits of a yoke.
An unbroken horse is beautiful, but useless.
An unbroken ox is huge and strong, but useless.
Their power and their usability is only beneficial
when they're broken.

when they surrender,
stop flinching,
stop wincing,
stop turning away,
stop tyring to go their own way,
when their master's way
is their way.

Now, put yourself in that mind picture as the unbroken ox.
OK, you wanna be a beautiful horse,
be a horse.

Picture the yoke
put it on.
You're yoked with Jesus following His planned path.

Now, label your burdens.

Would you label it with a trial?
A physical condition?
A relationship?
Financial hardship?
The death of a loved one?

Don't struggle against the yoke,
it's the only way to carry the burdens.

My goal is to truly understand Matthew 11:30.
I want to be able to sing with joy,
Burdens are Lifted at Calvary
Days are filled with sorrow and care,

Hearts are lonely and drear;
Burdens are lifted at Calvary,
Jesus is very near.

Burdens are lifted at Calvary,
Calvary, Calvary;
Burdens are lifted at Calvary,
Jesus is very near.

Cast your care on Jesus today,
Leave your worry and fear;
Burdens are lifted at Calvary,
Jesus is very near.

Troubled soul, the Saviour can see
Ev'ry heartache and tear;
Burdens are lifted at Calvary,
Jesus is very near.


What are the burdens you are carrying?
Are you struggling against the yoke?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lord, Give Me Patience, NOW!

We think of patience as not getting frustrated when our toast lands jelly side down,
even it was the last piece of bread in the bag.

We think of patience as answering kindly to a toddler who has yelled
for the entire morning.

We might really think we're patient if we can wash the same bedsheets day after day,
and not fuss at that little one who's trying hard to stay dry all night.

We think we've really arrived if we bit our tongue instead of fussing  at the squirmly little one
who spilled their milk
for the billionth time……

Those reactions are good,
and bring the Lord glory,
but only scratches the surface of

The Lord's definition of patience is different than the world's.

It goes deeper - into heart and soul.

It stays longer - into eternity.

It isn't just a character trait that is added,
it's an inward transformation that results in
Jesus shining forth.

It's not merely a smile and a gentle word during a minor skirmish.

It's the ability to BE Jesus and SHOW Jesus and BELIEVE Jesus
during the most excruciating moments of your life.

Those moments when the pain is so deep you can't verbalize prayer,
just sobs and moans and His Precious Name pour forth.

So how does the Lord define patience?
In  the original Greek text this word is hupomone.
You don't know Greek?
Be patient.
This is good.
This is really, really good.

We gain  deeper understanding when we know
other words the same Greek word was translated into.
Do the words
patient continuance
patient waiting
paint a clearer picture for you?

But, when I discovered hupomone was a compound word,
I almost wept when I saw the word picture it created in my mind.

hupo ~ "under"
meno ~ "abide"

Picture yourself
abiding under
the shelter of the Lord
during the trials that tear your heart.

James 1:2-4
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
 But let patience have its perfect work,
that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Patience takes time
because it's doing a job.
It's making us perfect.

Hey, who doesn't wanna' be perfect?

Hebrews 12:1
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Can you hold on, dear saints, steadfast in your trials and tribulations?
Can you run the course that is before you with patience?
The course was set,
it didn't happen on accident.

An old song by Wendy and Mary talks about
demanding immediate patience from the Lord.

We need to patiently wait for patience,
because patience is worth patiently waiting for.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What Does God Do With Our Prayers?

(beginning originally written August 17, 2012)

I've been saved since 1982.
I have been praying daily since then.
I have experienced miracle after miracle,
I have felt His presence in such a way that I have no doubt
He is the LORD.

But, I am weak.
I am frail.
I am human.

This past year has been one of the hardest of my life.
It's made cancer look like a picnic.
At times I have surpassed my threshold of tolerance,
grace, and the ability to walk in firm faith.

When I cannot see results, my heart begins to wonder
if the Lord is answering my prayers.

I know academically the answer.

When I think of an Innocent Man possibly spending the rest of his life
 in jail for a crime he did not commit, my heart is so weak.

I had to renew my heart and mind in Christ Jesus,
and read HIS words to comfort my heart.
I had to walk in faith again,
or I cannot walk the rest of this journey giving Him glory.

So what does God do with our prayers?

Jeremiah 33:3
‘Call to Me,
and I will

He answers them.


Now, 6 months later,
grappling with a guilty verdict,
I still know

We know,
we don't always believe.

Even worse,
we stop praying.

The Lord sets the standard pretty high
when He encourages us to
pray without ceasing in I Thessalonians 5:17.

When we look at this as an obligation,
it becomes a burden.
We drudge through our prayer lists
like we were punching in a timeclock.

Ya' happy, Lord?

He's not happy ifwe look at this verse as a demand on our time,
instead of what it truly is,
a welcome into the presence of the Lord.

We can boldly approach the Lord
without ritual or ceremony
if we've trusted Christ.
The Cross bridged that gap
between sinful man
and a Holy God.

God isn't demanding a standard we can never attain.
He's telling us
He is willing to listen,
He is available,
He wants to hear about everything,

So, He encourages us to pray without ceasing,
because He never ceases to answer our prayers.
If your answers aren't what you expected from the Lord,
don't give up.
Don't quit praying.
Don't lose heart.

He says YES.
He says NO.
He says WAIT.

Because that's what God does with our prayers.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Turning LIES to TRUTH

We know they're lies the minute the nasty words tickle our ear drums.

We also know they're lies the minute they fall from our tongue,
like lukewarm coffee spewed out in uselessness.

Yet, we still listen.

We still repeat.

We don't rebuke,
but believe those lies.

Satan tells us lies about ourselves.

Satan tells us lies about other believers.

He's doing his job, because he's the
evil one
evil one
ruler of this world.

We need to do our job,
as children of the Light.

We must use the Word of God,
our sword,
to ward off the lies of the lying liar.

Believe the Truth of the Lovely One who is Truth.

John 1:17
"...grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

John 14:6
Jesus said to him,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life."

John 17:17
"Sanctify them by Your truth.
Your word is truth."

You can't be free from the lies,
until you know the Truth.

The lie I was spewing fell off my unthankful lips
into the ears of my husband.

"My life is so hard! 
Why can't any good things ever happen to me?"

I knew this was a lie,
but I was pitching a spiritual fit.
Like Peter, I took my eyes off the Lord
and was sinking beneath the surging waves.

When I repented, I decided to replace the lie with a truth.

I clicked open my Online Bible and typed in the words
"good things."

Do ya' think ya' already know what the Lord told me?

Matthew 7:11
"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father who is in heaven give
good things
to those who ask Him!"

Luke 1:53
"He has filled the hungry with
good things"

Hebrews 9:11
But Christ came as High Priest of the
good things
to come"

Proverbs 28:10  
"...but the upright shall have
good things
in possession."

I have
good things
and that's the
I'm going to believe.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Love on Every Page

Everything you need to know is in the Bible.

Everything you need to hear is in the Bible.

Everything you need to believe is in the Bible.

It was written before you were born,
so just at the right time,
just when you need it most,
it was already written down.

An older Christian man who has greatly impacted our family calls the Bible
God's Love Letter to Us.

He is so right.
God writes His love for us on every page.

The first mention in the Scriptures is always important.

Genesis 22:2
Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac,
whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah,
and offer him there as a burnt offering."

A beloved son, who acted in loving obedience to his father.
From the beginning, love was proven with sacrifice,
and this sacrificial love foreshadowed the death of our dear Savior.

In the end of the Bible,
the last mention of love,
speaks of love for the Savior that is so great,
lives were lost for Him.

Revelation 12:11
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb
 and by the word of their testimony,
and they did not love their lives to the death.

We haven't been called to physically die for the Lord,
but we can be
living martyrs.
His sacrificial love can strengthen  our hearts so greatly
 we can endure suffering  for Him.

Can you love Him
in all things,
through all things,
for all things,
and because of all things?

Because, remember, He loves you deeply.

It would be enough that the Lord loved us.
It would be enough that the Lord died for us.
But to know the Lord died for us
because He loved us
is almost inconceivable.

Then, when our heart squeaks out any returning love for Him,
and we can only love because He first loved us,
He rewards our miserly love towards Him.

James 1:12
Blessed is the man that endures temptation:
for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life,
which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Notice that loving Him is linked with enduring temptation?
Does that tell you what we need to be focusing on
during times that try men's souls?

We should be reveling in His great love for us
and loving Him in return.

He showed sacrificial love in dying for us.
We can show sacrificial love in living for Him,
especially during our trials.

At the end, when we receive that crown,
we will have something to cast at His Holy Feet
in praise and adoration,
for upholding us through our trials.

When life is hard,
 keep reading your Bible.
 His Love for you is written on every page.

Friday, February 3, 2012

What To Do With a Broken Heart...

I've previously blogged about broken hearts.
Sadly, it's been a re-occuring theme in my life.

I blogged about hearts broken by the sin of others.
I blogged about God using broken hearts.

It's amazing how the same verse
has ministered to me in so many different situations.
Because now my heart is broken by
actions that are out of my control.

Psalm 34:18
  "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit."

Online Bible's definition of broken is
"to be broken, be maimed, be crippled, be wrecked, be crushed."

Does that define your heart?
Are the circumstances of your life making you feel

Are you feeling like roadkill on life's highway?

Did you know that great pain is
of the Lord's nearness?

In the Old Testament,  broken things
were not accepted by the Lord in sacrifice.
He could only accept perfection.
Leviticus 22:21-22
 " must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.
Those that are blind or broken or maimed,
or have an ulcer or eczema or scabs,
you shall not offer to the Lord,
nor make an offering by fire of them on the altar to the Lord."

There are some broken things the Lord will accept in sacrifice.

Psalm 51:17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

Not only does the Lord accept your broken heart in a sacrifice,
He has plans for that heart.

Psalm 147:3
 He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

Take those broken pieces of your heart,
and sacrifice them on the altar of your life to the LORD.
He will alter your life to perfection.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why Do We Suffer?

(This was originally written November 11, 2011)

A friend was telling me about her life in a
matter-of-fact way, knowing I would pray.
Suffering from a very bad back, she was standing the whole time we talked,
while I slouched in a chair, scootching my feet under me to get really comfie.

She has three friends going through cancer.

One was at the end of her life, dying a slow painful death.

"Why?" she asked. 
She wasn't doubting the Lord, she wasn't angry,
she was just wondering if I knew any more about the mysteries of suffering.

After all, I have been through a little in my life.

I told her we weren't going through anything the Lord hadn't already gone through,
He has walked before us. 
 He prepared the path.

I told her Isaiah 55 says his ways and thoughts are higher than our thoughts
 and we don't see His big picture,
the hundreds of souls He is speaking through the suffering of one of His beloved children.

I told her that if His life was one of suffering, why shouldn't ours be?

I told her the world was Satan's domain, and we were subject to his sufferings
as the Lord allowed, but the evil one was literally trying to make life on earth Hell,
like his habitat-to-be.

I even told her that Christians get the American dream mixed up with the truth of the Christian life.
We expect to grow up, get married, have kids and live happily ever after.
We don't ever plan suffering.
Instead, we're surprised when it becomes a part of our adult lives,
insteading of expecting it because the Bible speaks of suffering.

I gave her all the ammo I had.
It was good ammo.  It was truthful ammo. It was encouraging ammo.

 But, still I wept.
I know the answers, but I also have to daily live them.
Suffering may be a necessary part of Christianity,
but it is still so hard.

Even the next morning I wept as I thought about the reality of our faith.

I have to be OK with the fact that my God and Father took a friend home,
after years of suffering cancer,
leaving behind two beautiful little girls
who won't have very many memories of their mommy.

Actually, I have to be more than just OK.
I have to praise, worship, adore and believe suffering is right,  because He is right.
I have to believe suffering is perfect, because His ways are perfect.
I have to believe suffering is the truth, because He is the Truth.

I have to believe, or it won't be well with my soul.

Life is hard.
Suffering is so hard.

As I thought more about this, I realized how unprepared we believers are for suffering.
It's like we put our fingers in our ears when we read all those verses about suffering.
All the help and understanding we need is in His Word.

Why do we suffer?
Suffering proves Jesus is the only way.

People of other faiths don't sing hymns while dying on a burning stake.

They don't die forgiving and loving their persecutors.

They don't lose their bodies to the ravages of cancer,
 knowing they're leaving behind small children and beloved spouses,
 and die praising God.

Only Christians can do this.

When Christians are pressed, pulled, beset from all sides and the aroma of Jesus Christ is spread abroad to the nations in a way followers of false gods can never imagine, dream or experience.

Suffering is an important aspect of the Christian life,
because it is the greatest thing our Savior did for us.
He suffered for our sins.
 He suffered rejection.
He suffered loss of earthly gain.
He was rejected by his family, the government, and the religion of His Father.

Suffering is our way to proclaim that Jesus is real.
He is alive.
He is the Savior.

We suffer for Him,
because He suffered for us.