Thursday, March 28, 2013


Sometimes we need reminding.  There are times that I walk into a room to do something, but because I am thinking ahead to what I want to do next, I forget what it was I wanted first by the time I get there.  If I back track to the room I came from, I can generally remember what I was doing in the first place.  If nothing goes wrong in my life for a while, I tend to forget Who it is that surrounds me with His love and protection and simply take "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" for granted.  It is when these things are challenged that I begin to reflect back in order to remember just where it was that I went wrong and became forgetful.
Sometimes we need discipline.  A while back one of my grandchildren started to become very belligerent and defiant with his mom and myself, it only took one swat to bring him to his senses.  He looked up with surprise and said, "You hurt me."  Now he wasn't really hurt or he would at least have cried, but he was beginning to understand.   I looked at him with sadness and said, "Yes, that is how it feels to mommy and me when you speak to us like that."  He literally ran to me and threw his arms around my neck.  I asked if he was sorry he spoke like that and he nodded, burying his face in my neck.  I kissed him and told him how much I loved him.  He then went to his mommy and hugged her tight.  She too told him how much she loved him and how proud she was of him.  He hasn't spoken like that since.
Sometimes we need to be knocked down a few pegs.  I come from a very intelligent family.  Many are even in the genius range with IQs over 140.  That may sound wonderful, exciting and may even make some hearts jealous, but do not let it.  Intelligence can get in the way of many things, like salvation.  Faith is intangible, so it doesn't make a lot of sense to the intellect.  If you cannot use your senses to diagnose any given situation, then it must be torn to shreds and proven false.  I was reared in a Christian home, went to church every Sunday, some Sunday evenings, some Wednesdays, during revivals, children and youth events, vacation Bible school, etc.  I knew all the answers I was supposed to give, because I remembered what I had been taught.  When I was seven I made a false profession of faith.  I did not understand salvation.  How could one man dying on a cross and coming back to life make it possible for me to go to heaven?  I was 16 before I finally understood that I didn't need to understand, I simply needed to accept it by faith.  That's a lot of years for someone raised as I was.  However, with that simple step of faith came understanding.  Therein lies the problem with intelligence.  It demands understanding first, but in the case of salvation - understanding comes after the fact.  In order for me to trust, I had to throw aside intelligence (which believe me, is not an easy task, because a big dose of pride is attached to it) and literally fall on my knees before God.  It was at that moment I began to realize just how ignorant my intelligence really is compared to His all-knowing mind.  I cannot express how grateful I am to God for loving me enough to knock me down off my pedestal and keeping a loving hand on my neck to keep me from climbing back up there.
I could go on and on about why suffering is necessary at times, but I want to say for the record, "Thank You God for loving me enough to allow me to suffer when I need it in order for me to grow and be who I need to be in order to bring You great joy.  There is nothing my heart desires more than to continually hear You speak words of love and encouragement to my heart, because I have been obedient to Your voice.  I am not perfect by a long shot and I fail often, but You know exactly what I need and when I need it to bring me running into Your arms."

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.   II Peter 1:3

We all want grace - unmerited favor.  We want not only to be accepted by God, but by our family, our peers and the world in general.  We also want peace - not simply peace in the world, though it would be nice (we think), but peace in our spirits, rather than this restlessness that comes against us and makes us worry, pace, continuously have to think...We just want to be able to rest a while.
The answer is right in front of our noses.  Grace and peace can be ours in abundance.  We simply need to get to know - really know - God the Father and Jesus our Lord.  We need to spend time in Bible study and communication with Him.  We hear this over and over, but most of the time we are hearers who fail to do.
We also want to have everything, but have to do nothing to get it.  While newborns we expected to be fed, clothed, kept warm, protected and we were.  We sometimes had to cry or at least fuss a little to get things taken care of, but that was it.  As we grew we expected things to remain the same, but suddenly we were told "you can do it," and though part of us wanted to do it, part of us still wanted that coddling.  We soon discovered that when we accomplished a task, we were rewarded with that hug, kiss and praise that we loved receiving, so we did it again.  But then one day came when it was simply expected of us to do things on our own - and we didn't like it!!  "Clean my room?  You won't help me anymore?  I have to pick out my own clothes and dress myself?  A few days ago you praised me for turning the TV on and off and now you're telling me to stop it?"  And the tantrums started.  We think we outgrew those years, but we are actually still in them.
When we don't get "our way" it's God's fault.  It doesn't matter if He is protecting us from future pain, financial despair, hurting someone else or ourselves, etc.  We want what we want and if we cannot have it, God is to blame!!  We have a choice at this point - continue trusting and believing and growing in Him, or turning our backs on Him and saying He must not exist.  We believe this will  change everything.  If He doesn't exist, then I can have my own way.
What if we said that the government doesn't exist too.  We don't like the way they run things at times, so we choose to believe they are non-existent.  However, if we try to do things our own way and it goes against theirs, we are thrown in jail or worse.  We accept this, because they must exist after all.  However, if God dares to discipline us we become angrier still, stick our chins out, pout, throw temper tantrums and try to get the rest of the world on our side by removing things like - prayer in school, nativities from yards, monuments with Ten Commandments, "In God We Trust" from monies, etc.  We call those who do believe "haters" because they disagree with us.  And the list goes on.
When I read verses such as the one above, I am amazed at how blind we can be. We can have grace and peace in abundance.  It isn't even difficult to have it.  We just need to make a new Friend (Jesus), really get to know Him, spend time doing so and voila'!
I know this is true - God's Word never fails, but we do.  We read the promises, but shove aside what needs to be done to make them active in our lives.  We read, but we do not truly comprehend.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Child's Gift of Restoration

How often I have learned something either new or on a different level and am immediately tested in it!  Yesterday I wrote in an email on the battle being the Lord's and that we wrestle against unseen forces rather than flesh and blood.  Yesterday afternoon I was presented with the opportunity to become hurt and angry.  I admit it was a real battle for a time.  My initial reaction was anger, which turned my thoughts to what I had learned and in turn -  to battle.  I prayed, frustrated with myself for almost giving in to temptation.  The battle was almost over when I was attacked again.  I wanted to yell at the enemy, but realized nothing would give him more fun.  Instead I turned again to Father God.  This time I asked His blessing on those who were setting out to hurt others in order to try and build their own feelings of superiority.  (I wasn't sincere at this point, but wanted to be, so I said it asking for help at the same time.)  In time I became aware that they are hurting as much and more than I in that they have little understanding of their worth to the Father, or they would not feel the need to bring others down.  Slowly, but surely, I began to feel sympathy for them as God reminded me of a time when I was in the same boat.  I would do and say things to show my intellect, because I was so insecure in who I was in Christ.  My heart began to hurt for them and I was able to truly pray for them last evening.  Today I am exhausted and feel as if I could sleep for a few more hours.  I think spiritual warfare tires me more than anything else.  I have three little ones to minister to today though and God has given me strength to do it.  We have laughed and learned about shape distortion and how seals eat and preschool has yet to begin!!  Nap time will come and I will rest then.  Praise God for the joyful hearts of children!  Nothing can lift my joy to the surface easier than they!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Thoughts on Heaven - again

There are times I become so disheartened by life in general that I simply want to leave.  Then I have to stop and think about the fact that if God hasn't taken me home, then He must have a very good reason for my staying here.  Just because I cannot see the reason doesn't mean it doesn't exist. 
I have written and taught many times about Heaven and my longings for it.  I have also told of how fun it is to imagine Heaven as it is described in Scripture, not as depicted on TV, radio, in storybooks, some songs or even in some sermons.  We have been fed many stories about Heaven that make it sound (if we are honest) boring.  Once I started studying what the Scriptures really had to say regarding this magnificent place, I began to long for my future home in ways I never had before.  As a matter of fact, I remember when I was engaged thinking thoughts like, "Can You please wait until we've been married a little while?" I wanted to experience life to what I considered the fullest. Little did I know.... In my heart of hearts, thinking back, I really thought my life with Michael would be much more fun and interesting than Heaven could possibly be.  "After all, aren't we just going to stand around all day and night singing praises?" 
The funny thing is, this probably isn't nearly as negative a thought for me as it is for the majority of the world of Christians, because I absolutely adore singing praises.  Other songs can be fun, but singing praises brings me to new heights of wonder like nothing else can, except studying God's Word and prayer.  Okay, singing praises can be a form of prayer and is for me, but that is beside the point.  Actually, the Bible says that there are some angelic beings that surround the throne and never cease singing God's praises day or night, but angels are not human beings.  (Angels were created before human beings and we do not become angels upon death, but that is for another time.)  These angels do this out of sheer joy and awe at the magnificence of God, but not all angels are involved, only those mentioned.
My husband, on the other hand, takes no real joy in singing.  He sings praises, but gets more from the actual music than the words.  He is a true instrumental musician at heart.  I play anything in the flute family, but that is my limitation.  He finds it fairly easy to pick up any instrument up and learn to play it, minus flute because his hands are so large.  His main instrument is trumpet.  I only say that because there are those who think that if we aren't singing, we will be playing instruments of praise.  Trumpets, flutes, tambourines, cymbals, and lyres (or harps) are all mentioned as instruments in Heaven.  Nice for us, but anyone who doesn't play an instrument says, BORING!   But don't worry, there is nothing in Scripture that says everyone willing be playing an instrument either. 
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

God is going to make the earth new and join His dwelling place with ours as a husband is joined to his wife.  This is why Christianity is compared so heavily with marriage.  Just as a husbands desires to be joined with his wife, God desires to be joined with us again as He was in the Garden at creation, but no more will we be tempted to sin!  Why?  He will constantly be in our presence, not only spiritually as He is now, but physically!!  We will truly understand all He did for us at Calvary and be so grateful that sin will be utterly repugnant to us.  There is nothing more exciting than this thought!! 
There is so much to glean from the comparison of Christianity to marriage.  The longing to be together, to share every detail of every day with each other, to see the humor and excitement in the others eyes as we tell them of our day, to actually be listened to intently, the joy of embrace or a simple touch of the hand, the amazement that you can be loved so deeply by someone, the learning and growing we do in the process and so much more - these are what Heaven is truly like!!  There is no boredom involved!!  We will constantly be getting to know God more thoroughly.  He is infinite.  We are finite.  Therefore there will be an infinite amount of things for us to learn about Him.  For all eternity we will be experiencing something new and exciting!!  Mountains to climb, caves to explore, things I've always dreamed of doing, but never had the means to do so!!  I can't wait!!  But I will.
If you want to know more, read Heaven, by Randy Alcorn or Heaven: Your Real Home, by Joni Earickson Tada and compare them to Scripture.  I am ever so grateful to have done so and you will be too.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Learning Through Suffering

Evil and suffering happen, not because God desires us to suffer and yet, because He allows it.  There are many Christians and non-believers out there who feel there should never be suffering of any kind.  The Christian feels that if we simply have enough faith, it will go away.  I started to believe this once  myself.  Then I began getting into Scripture and discovered that it simply isn't true.  God allows suffering for several reasons, the greatest one being that He loves us more than we can begin to imagine.  When we trust in doctrine rather than God, our faith in that doctrine, not our faith in God, is what should suffer when things go wrong.

Michael and I were blessed with three children.  Each of them has been tested and has an IQ within the genius range.  To my knowledge, my husband has never had an IQ test, but suffice it to say, I have no doubt he is in the genius range as well.  He is able to figure things without having the education supposedly required, where those who have could not.  This tells me he is extremely smart.  Have you ever tried living in a house full of geniuses?  Talk about strong wills!  It was my responsibility as mom and primary care giver (I was a stay at home mom until they all were in school and then I went to work at their school) to make certain our children grew up into well respected, well behaved and most of all God fearing adults.  I did not, and still do not, want them to suffer.  But you know what?  There were times I caused them to suffer!!  When they looked at me with that smug "I'm smarter than you" expression and set out to directly defy me?  Yeah, they suffered, albeit for a very SHORT time.  There were times my frustration would be so great, I had to go lock myself in my bedroom for a few moments and pray for wisdom and patience before serving discipline, because I didn't want to give in to anger.  Sometimes they received three swats.  Sometimes they were sent to bed for a while.  Sometimes they had to give up something they really wanted to do desperately.  Sometimes they had a toy, or video games or telephone privileges taken away.  The worst was when they were grounded to each other.  I wasn't just a mean old mom then.  I was the enemy!  Of course, they didn't realize this was what I wanted, because it caused them to unite.  The only times they were grounded to each other was when they were fighting and refused to compromise.  After having only each other to play with for three or four days, they were having a marvelous time together as they griped about me!   They are great friends to this day and I pray always will be.  They get angry with each other, but they always reunite.  So their railing against me (and their dad, as he always backed me to the hilt) was well worth it.

God  loves us so much more than we do our children.  Because of this,  He desires our very best and sometimes that involves suffering - and yes, in comparison to eternity, it is for a VERY short time.  Even those times when there are masses involved in the suffering, such as a tornado or earthquake; perhaps those are times God has allowed so that His children will band together, even at the expense of calling Him mean and the world calling Him enemy.  It is at those times that we put forth our greatest effort to unite to reach the lost and minister to the needy, is it not?  When there is little going on regarding suffering, we tend to become lethargic. 
And indeed every one who is determined to live a godly life as a follower of Christ Jesus will be persecuted.  II Timothy 3:12
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.  Hebrews 12:6 So, if I ever STOP suffering discipline, that will be the time to fret!!  "We should see our suffering as God keeping His promises, not violating them."  (Randy Alcorn)  

God promises to love us, so He teaches us through suffering, evil, blessings, creation and every other opportunity that presents itself.  The great thing is -  we have another of His promises: We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28  We have all eternity to enjoy no suffering or evil.  The short time we do experience it, we need to learn all we can from it and serve Him to the utmost through it.