Friday, May 12, 2017

Even If


I just was praying and weeping over shattered dreams and impossibility in my life, and as I ended, this song flooded my heart and mind, and flooded my eyes with tears:

To whomever is reading this right now, please know that you are not alone.  Jesus is for you, and desires for you to know Him.

I love you and am praying for you!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

On isms and ologies


A recent foray into the ugly world of social media and all of the supposed Christians out there who call themselves by their different, and often opposing man-made "isms," slinging mud at each other to the exclusion of Jesus and the simplicity of the Gospel has nearly convinced me to quit all but my work-related instagram account.

There is a saying that the "devil is in the details," but I think an accurate update would be, "the devil is in the distractions."  If he can cause professing Christians to obsess over the extra-biblical teachings of men, with an almost cult-like fervor, then maybe no one will notice that Jesus is missing.

And yet what did the apostle Paul, an Hebrew of Hebrews, a brilliant debater and highly educated man, find important?  He considered everything else "rubbish" compared to simply knowing Jesus.

And this beautiful Saviour is so worth knowing!  But He admonishes us that we must humble ourselves and become "as little children" or we cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Corrie ten Boom reminds us,

"The churches do not lack great scholars and great minds. They lack men and women who can and will be channels of the power of God. They lack that which was accessible at Pentecost."

You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. 
Acts 1:8

Let's not let isms and ologies keep us from the King of kings!  As my friend Dorothy Valcarcel recently penned,
"I believe that in our world today, filled as it is with so much turmoil, strife and hatred, the gift of hospitable kindness has sometimes been relegated to the bottom drawer of Christ-like service and love. 

Way too often, when generosity of spirit could potentially work wonders, healing wounded hearts and broken lives, we choose instead to resort to the pedestal of Pharisaical righteousness to try and prove how right we are, or that God is on "our side," when we should be freely spreading the balm of blessing in a world so desperately in need of a vision of how Jesus treated the sinners He met, even when they had 5 previous husbands and lived with someone they weren't married to. 

May we never forget that over a request for a cool cup of water, the woman at the well in Sycar was transformed by Jesus into a mighty evangelist who brought her entire town to the feet of her Saviour. 

In some of the most tender words penned by J.R. Macduff, 'a wandering star was, in the course of Jesus memorable journey, to be reclaimed from its devious orbit, and a glorious testimony was given as to how God's sovereign grace can triumph over all obstacles.'"

Monday, May 1, 2017

Am Yisrael Chai!


Happy Birthday, Israel!

This month we remember the MIRACLE of the rebirth of the nation of Israel as she celebrates her 69th birthday on May 14th.

While we celebrate, we also look forward to that soon-approaching Day when the Son of David, King of kings and Lord of lords, rules with justice and righteousness from the Jewish people's eternal capital, Jerusalem!

And we honour those who gave their lives to see ancient prophecy fulfilled:


Am Yisrael Chai!  The People of Israel Live!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

We've Got a Bicycle!

Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. - Mark 11:24

Today's post is a sweet reminder from the late Dr. Robert A. Cook via "Walk with the King."  It's only a few minutes long:


In the top left, for broadcast number, type in 6377 and then enter or go.

Now, press the Pause/Play arrow at the top right, and not only will this bicycle photo now make sense (LOL), but your faith will be encouraged and refreshed by the wisdom of God's Word!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

He is risen indeed!




Here's a video we saw in church today:

We adorn the cross every Resurrection Celebration Day.

It starts out ugly...a wooden cross covered in chicken wire.  As the pastor said, the Cross IS offensive, because it reminds us that we can't do it on our own.

We're then invited to bring our flowers and each one represents something in our lives that seems empty, hopeless or dead, and to come in hope, and surrender that to Jesus.

Here are my flowers, the cross being adorned, and the final result.

It is FINISHED!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

It Is Finished!!!


The Law was given by Moses.
Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

The Law says—This do, and thou shalt live.
Grace says—Live, and then thou shalt do.

The Law says—Pay me that thou owest.
Grace says—I frankly forgive thee all.

The Law says—The wages of sin is death.
GRACE says—The gift of God is eternal life.

The Law says—The soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Grace says—Whosoever believeth in Jesus, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Him shall never die.

The Law pronounces—Condemnation and death.
Grace proclaims—Justification and life.

The Law says—Make you a new heart and a new spirit.
Grace says—A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.

The Law says—Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Grace says—Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sin is covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute iniquity.

The Law says—Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.

Grace says—Herein is love: not that we love God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The Law speaks of what man must do for God.
Grace tells of what Christ has done for man.

The Law addresses man as part of the old creation.
Grace makes a man a member of the new creation.

The Law bears on a nature prone to disobedience.
Grace creates a nature inclined to obedience.

The Law demands obedience by the terror of the Lord.
Grace beseeches men by the mercies of God.

The Law demands holiness.
Grace gives holiness.

The Law says—Condemn him.
Grace says—Embrace him.

The Law speaks of priestly sacrifices offered year by year continually, which could never make the comers thereunto perfect.

Grace says—But this Man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever . . . by one offering hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.

The Law declares—That as many as have sinned in the Law, shall be judged by the Law.

Grace brings eternal peace to the troubled soul of every child of God, and proclaims God’s salvation in defiance of the accusations of the adversary. “He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment (condemnation), but is passed from death unto life.”

“Whence to me this tranquil spirit—
Me all sinful as I am?
Is it thus descends the merit
Of the sin-atoning Lamb?

Grace, all power to deliver,
Gift of a Creative Giver,
Like a full, refreshing river,
Ever flowing.

Over all my course of sinning
Spread its waters without bound,
Cleansing, fertilizing, winning
For the Lord the barren ground.

Lavish from the heavenly treasure,
Fountains of a Father’s pleasure,
All the marks of human measure
Overflowing.

Not my virtue or repenting
Earned the precious boon for me.
Thine, my Saviour, the relenting,
Thine the pangs which set me free—
Gift of grace beyond all knowing,
From the heart of Jesus flowing,
Ever flowing, overflowing,
Flowing freely.”

Taken from “Sovereign Grace” By D. L. Moody

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Resurrection and the Bride


What do Passover, the death of Jesus on the cross, and the bodily Resurrection of Jesus have to do with weddings?  Well, in context of the precious holiday that we who love Him celebrate this weekend, everything!

Not only was what is often referred to as "The Last Supper" a Passover Seder, but also a beautiful revelation of ancient Jewish wedding customs:


When I was in my starry-eyed 20's I wrote the following poem/prayer for my future husband, a very normal and Biblical heart's cry and desire for something that, though as yet unfulfilled, I realize is really a mere shadow of a longing that is so much greater.  Maranatha.  Even so, come Lord Jesus.
************

Are you thinking of me right now, my love?

Do you hold my phantom form close to your heart at night, aware of the bittersweet ache of being only half of something more; of longing to praise God as Echad, and yet being alone in your finiteness?

Are you whole in Jesus, like me, and yet acutely aware of the dull pain over your heart, where your rib has been removed?  It’s a little like that for me too, you know, only I am missing the whole ribcage, so my heart feels vulnerable and exposed.  I need to fit somewhere - I know that I do; but for now, I am forced to stand alone.

What is your name?  Is your laugh hearty, filled with the joy of living that Jesus brings?  Do you smile when you think of me, not even knowing my name, yet knowing who I am?

I pray for you every day - that God will keep you strong and encourage and uphold you as you walk with Him in every way.  Sometimes I can almost see you, and your gentleness touches my heart.  I know when we finally meet, I’ll recognize you by our joy!  I’d know your smile anywhere - even if I’ve never seen your face.
I pray that Jesus will enable me to be the woman that you need - a delight to you and an honor to your name.
Sometimes in my dreams of you, I am nursing our first child, and the look of tenderness that crosses your face when you see “your little treasures from God” stirs my soul.

Truly, Abba has blessed us, and our love is a prayer of thanksgiving and a testimony to those we minister to.
Oh, Father in Heaven, You who sent your Son to become flesh to atone for our sin and Who is acquainted with all our ways, please hear the prayer of these two hearts, and may we serve You, as one, all of our days.

Are you thinking of me right now, my love?
************

Friday, April 7, 2017

Lord, Send Revival

Soooo...about the revival that is quietly and steadily spreading in my hometown and elsewhere...a few observations of what I've consistently seen, and they definitely fit the Biblical pattern, as well as the historical pattern behind every TRUE revival in the world, dating all the ways back to Ezra!

1. The reading and believing of the Bible. The Word of God must have the preeminence. As we've been reading the Word, going back to the Word, the Holy Spirit uses the Word to bring conviction. Which leads to...

2. Repentance. "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray, then I will hear from Heaven, and forgive them, and heal their land." Repentance begins individually, then corporately, and like Daniel in chapter 9, we find ourselves taking on the role of intercessor, as kings and priests unto our God, confessing not only our own individual sins that the Holy Spirit convicts us of, but national sins. Abortion. Pride. Indifference. Willful stubbornness. Elitism. Love of place and rank. Disunity, rivalry and jealousy amongst born again Believers, washed in the Blood of Jesus. Indolence...not loving His Word. Prayerlessness. Powerlessness and trying to live the Christian life in our own strength. Unbelief. Cynicism. Bitterness. Snobbery. And...ANTI-SEMITISM. Which leads to the next point...

3. There has NEVER been a genuine revival that was not preceded by a return to the love of Biblical prophecy, and in that, the love of the Jewish people and support of and prayer for national Israel. Genesis 12:3 is crucial.

I'm so convinced of our loving Heavenly Father's veracity and utter faithfulness to His inerrant and inviolable Word that I truly believe that if even ONE man or woman begin to cry out to the Lord for and walk IN these 3 points, by the power of the Holy Spirit, revival will follow.

Our Father is not willing that ANY should perish, and we are living in the last minutes of the last days before the return of Jesus...thrilling times!!!

I was going to add to this list the 4th point of unity on the essentials, but upon prayerful observation of what's happening here in my county, it really seems that unity amongst the true brethren is a RESULT of the revival, and not it's prerequisite as I'd originally thought.

Lastly, and possibly the most important thing of all is walking in the spirit of adoption or sonship (Galatians 4:4-7; Romans 8:21ff, etc).

This seems to be both the beginning of personal (and corporate) revival AND the increasing result of it.

Ultimately, what God really wants is for us to just know Him! Imagine if your own children only wanted to be with you out of duty, unhealthy fear, or obligation. What if they didn't really trust you or believe that you love them...just because they're YOURS, and that they don't need to be busy bees, trying to earn your love and fearing that they'll lose it?
It would break your heart!

And isn't that what we do with Abba Father? Do we even dare to call Him that?

The Gospel must be preached...starting IN the church!

I've seen corporately, and experienced personally, that as we become truly at Home in Father's unconditional, matchless love, and know that we're sons, not slaves...the other points (reading the Word, repentance, loving Israel) are so much easier.

And out of this comes the genuine unity in the Holy Spirit...I mean, when you really get it that He loves you simply because He loves you, because He loves you, because He just does, because that's who He IS...there's really no need or room for rivalry!

And we can never be reminded enough that Jesus loves us.


"But there are seasons in our lives when we don't feel very lovable. When we feel too unworthy or broken to even know how to be loved. But the beautiful thing is, God never stops loving us. And He shows that love relentlessly — through His Word, His people, and most of all, through Jesus."

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Servant's Heart

The Best Title to Have - by Pastor Ray Bentley

Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, and I am pleased with Him. I have put my Spirit upon Him. He will reveal justice to the nations. He will be gentle—He will not shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush those who are weak or quench the smallest hope. He will bring full justice to all who have been wronged. He will not stop until truth and righteousness prevail throughout the earth. Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for His instruction. Isaiah 42:1

Jesus was given many titles. Savior, King, Prince of Peace, Christ the Lord, Son of God. But perhaps the title He bore most graciously is “servant.” Jesus came to save humanity by becoming a servant. He teaches us that to serve another is to truly see that person as someone made in the image of God, someone precious to God.

To serve other people is to honor them, respect them, and love them.

Isaiah prophesied that God’s greatest servant, His own Son, would “not crush those who are weak or quench the smallest hope.” He would care about those who have been wronged, and He would come as servant, strengthened by His Father.

There are many ways to impart truth. From a position of ego, and pride which trumpets our knowledge and crushes the less knowledgeable. Or we can speak “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), and give our time with the heart of a servant.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Fields of Grace: A Biblical Response to Feminism

And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace...
Ruth 2:2

...and she obtained grace and favour in his sight...[literally, "she lifted up grace before his face"]
Esther 2:17

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour [grace] with God.
Luke 1:30

A gracious woman retaineth honour...
Proverbs 11:16

We are never more powerful and Biblically feminine than when we are gracious.

In a world that is increasingly lawless, loveless and lifeless, when we live so very near the Cross, we cannot help but be, by grace, what the Lord declares us to be: "the fragrance of Christ."

The fields are "white unto harvest," and Jesus is the "Lord of the Harvest," so by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, let us sow seeds and water them with true grace.

And we are partakers of the eternally overflowing river of the full grace of Jesus.
John 1:16 [free translation]

Friday, March 31, 2017

A Bit of Wisdom from Spurgeon

Evening meditation

"Afterward." - Hebrews 12:11

How happy are tried Christians, afterwards. No calm more deep than that which succeeds a storm. Who has not rejoiced in clear shinings after rain?

Victorious banquets are for well-exercised soldiers. After killing the lion we eat the honey; after climbing the Hill Difficulty, we sit down in the arbour to rest; after traversing the Valley of Humiliation, after fighting with Apollyon, the shining one appears, with the healing branch from the tree of life. Our sorrows, like the passing keels of the vessels upon the sea, leave a silver line of holy light behind them "afterwards."

It is peace, sweet, deep peace, which follows the horrible turmoil which once reigned in our tormented, guilty souls. See, then, the happy estate of a Christian! He has his best things last, and he therefore in this world receives his worst things first. But even his worst things are "afterward" good things, harsh ploughings yielding joyful harvests. Even now he grows rich by his losses, he rises by his falls, he lives by dying, and becomes full by being emptied; if, then, his grievous afflictions yield him so much peaceable fruit in this life, what shall be the full vintage of joy "afterwards" in heaven?

If his dark nights are as bright as the world's days, what shall his days be? If even his starlight is more splendid than the sun, what must his sunlight be? If he can sing in a dungeon, how sweetly will he sing in heaven! If he can praise the Lord in the fires, how will he extol him before the eternal throne! If evil be good to him now, what will the overflowing goodness of God be to him then?

Oh, blessed "afterward!" Who would not be a Christian? Who would not bear the present cross for the crown which cometh afterwards?

But herein is work for patience, for the rest is not for today, nor the triumph for the present, but "afterward." Wait, O soul, and let patience have her perfect work.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Perfect in Weakness


So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet. 2 Samuel 9:13 KJV

The richness and fullness of the Gospel, the GOOD News, is so poignant in this historical account of King David's kindness to a son of his beloved friend Jonathan.

Helplessness is not a trait admired by the world, and sadly, not much by the Church, but without it, we may have no part in the Kingdom of God, for time and again, He uses the "weak to put the strong to shame" (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Indeed, the humble king who is returning as King of kings says most emphatically, "unless you become as little children, you will miss My kingdom" (Matthew 18:3, emphasis mine).

The name Mephibosheth means "destroying shame," and he was found in Lo-Davar (literally, "the place of no promise") when King David sent for him.

The exiled son of a deposed prince had no cause to expect mercy, yet he found not only mercy, but grace...he was adopted as one of the kings own sons and as such, reinstated to the title of prince and in fellowship with the very king who had every legal right to have Mephibosheth executed.

It's a lovely and true historical account, but also a prophetic illustration of our condition and story - not only before receiving King Jesus as our Saviour, but ever after.

Always. Ever after.

FEU.
Dieu d’Abraham, Dieu d’Isaac, Dieu de Jacob,
non des philosophes et des savants.
Certitude, certitude, sentiment, joie, paix.
Dieu de Jésus‑Christ.
Deum meum et Deum vestrum.
...Joie, joie, joie, pleurs de joie... 
Jésus‑Christ...  
Je m’en suis séparé.

Translation:

FIRE. 
God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of philosophers and scholars. Certitude, heartfelt joy, peace. 
God of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
...Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy...
Jesus Christ... 
May I never be separated from him.  
- Blaise Pascal

C.S. Lewis likened sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to "one beggar showing another where to find bread," and how amazing it is that when we receive such mercy from the King - when we know that we have a place at His table, He empowers us by this gracious knowledge to be such grace-givers and life-speakers. 

He uses the weak to confound the mighty.

I will never forget, in the not-so-distant past, visiting a local church that had a guest speaker whom I'd never met or heard of before. This dear man had a body suffering the ravages of MS and was recovering broken ribs from a recent fall, but he had such a loveliness to him - a fragrance of having been with Jesus.

After speaking, he had us bow our heads in prayer, and there with my head bowed, feeling quite invisible, I heard a gentle

"Tap, shuffle, tap, shuffle."

Aided by his cane, this precious pastor slowly made his way down the aisle.

Even though my eyes were closed and my head was bowed, I held my breath...somehow I just knew...

Then I felt a warm hand on my lowered head, and a gentle fatherly blessing,

Don't be afraid. Everything is going to be okay.

And you know, I would have taken those words less to heart had they not come from the lips of one who "dined at the king's table...and was lame in both his feet."

Thus saith the Lord , Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:  But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord .
Jeremiah 9:23‭-‬24 KJV

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

True Sabbath Rest


Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 NLT)
What did He mean? The burden of the law was upon the people, indeed, it was a heavy burden for them. The Pharisees gave more than two thousand interpretations to the law of Moses, and said: "The law of Moses does not mean that you have only to keep ten commandments; it means that you have to keep two thousand." There was not a point in all their human life where this law was not applied and made their lives difficult. And all this was gathered up into the Sabbath: "You must not make your bed on the Sabbath! You must not carry your bed on the Sabbath! You must not poke your fire on the Sabbath! You must do nothing on the Sabbath – you may not even walk more than three miles." Two thousand regulations for their lives! The one thing that they were meeting every day, and especially on the Sabbath, was "You may not."

"Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). What has happened? Jesus has appropriated the Sabbath to Himself. It is no longer a day of the week – it is a divine Person. (If the Seventh Day Adventists saw that, the whole of their system would go in five minutes!) No, Jesus is God's Sabbath. He is the end of God's works, and in Him God has entered into His rest. This is the "rest which remaineth for the children of God" – not a day of the week or on the calendar, but a divine Person, the Son of God. In Him we come to rest, and that which was our bondage is now our servant. In Him, that against which we were always struggling is now our victory. Oh yes, Jesus is the Sabbath, and if we live in Him we shall not spoil the Sabbath. Every day should be a day of rest to our souls. Oh, this is a mighty thing that the Lord Jesus has done! 

- TA Sparks

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Saturday in between


"We had hoped..." - two on the road to Emmaus, Luke 24:21 (NLT)
"I AM the Resurrection and the Life..." - Jesus, John 11:25

"But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on – and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same – like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?”

“I wonder,” said Frodo. “But I don’t know. And that’s the way of a real tale. Take any one that you’re fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don’t know. And you don’t want them to.” - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Abraham asked to offer up Isaac.

Hannah after talking to Eli.

The three Hebrews in the fiery furnace. 

Ruth waiting to know if Boaz could redeem her. 

Esther after fasting.


Though we have the privilege of knowing their outcomes, none of these "heroes" knew that they were such, nor what "sort of tale they had fallen into."

And there come seasons to our lives where we are sitting on the ash-heap amongst the shards of shattered dreams, broken in spirit and desperately desiring to turn back a few pages, or to skip ahead...anything to get out of this chapter that we find ourselves in.

Yet, that's what makes the best stories, isn't it?  As one of my pastors shared this morning (see the Sunday 3/19/2017 webcast archive with Pastor Trevor O'Keefe): "the journey is as important as the destination, because it is the journey that makes the man."

I remember as a young girl hearing a family friend always say, during times of trial, "It's Friday, but Sunday is coming!"

But what about when you are living in the Saturday in between?  Suspended somewhere between faith and surrender?


"I and the lad will go and worship, and then we will return..." (Gen. 22:5) 

"Hannah went her way, and did eat, and her face was sad no more..." (1 Samuel 1:18) 

"Our God is able to deliver us, and He will deliver us, but if not..." (Daniel 3:17-18) 

"Sit still my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out..." (Ruth 3:18) 

"...and after three days I will go to the king...and if I perish, I perish..." (Esther 4:16) 


While the "Saturday in between" sure makes for a suspenseful story from the outside - when we are on the inside of the painful pages, it can be tearful reading. 

It's heartbreaking, isn't it...the "we had hoped" of a dead vision that seems a rather bewildering end to a faithfully-trodden trail of obedience?

If, like me, you find yourself brokenhearted in the "not-yet," then take courage - the One who mingled drops of blood with His tears in Gethsemane's garden understands - and He was the only One who actually knew the end of His story! 

Nevertheless, He wept. 

And as our faithful High Priest, Jesus has empathy for our sorrows, but He loves us too much to leave us there. 

Joy will come in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

He will turn the page.

Sunday is coming!

A peek through the wardrobe


After a long hiatus, and with no clue as to how to link my old blog http://walkthruthefog.blogspot.com with my new, I'm just starting afresh.

  Hmmm...may be a theme here! ☺

May our Loving Heavenly Father use new beginnings to bring beauty from ashes. (Isaiah 61:1-3)