Saturday, October 31, 2009

All the My Savior Leads Me

Clinging or Captive?

'For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,' declares the LORD, 'that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they did not listen.' Jeremiah 13:11

But if you will not listen to it, my soul will sob in secret for such pride; And my eyes will bitterly weep And flow down with tears, Because the flock of the LORD has been taken captive. Jeremiah 13:17

Like loving mentors, prophets in the Old Testament were sent to speak to Israel over and over to turn them away from their bad choices to the way of life and blessing. Their goal was to relentlessly call the people back to total dependence on their God. The outcome would be a people intimately acquainted with and dependent on their God. They would then fulfill their purpose and be for Him a people for renown, praise, and glory. Sad, sad words follow….but they did not listen.

In verse 17 Jeremiah brokenly tells what motivated such a lapse. It was their own pride that led them away captive. He took no pleasure in their captivity. He sobbed in secret that something so unnecessary and avoidable should befall God’s people. As I recently asked my husband, “Who wants a ministry of I told you so?”

What is the lesson in such a heartbreaking scenario from God’s ancient people for us? Jesus clearly tells us that “apart from Him we can do nothing.” John 15:5 Yet how many days have I hurried off into my day not seeking His plans for my day and His power to walk in the Spirit? What begins as a few days of drift can carry us far away to places we never wanted to be.

This past year someone asked me to mentor them. We met, we talked, and I listened, prayed, and encouraged. Then I saw her making some really unwise choices. When I realized that I had to love her enough to confront I was met with a haughty, “I listen to God and He will lead me.” I asked her to please consider that my concerns might be a part of His leading. Her pride in her own ability to make the right choice caused her to shut out not only me, but others who were also concerned. She is being led away captive and daily I pray for God’s mercy over her. It is so unnecessary and so sad.

Hebrews 13:17 Tells us to “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” This seems all but lost among God’s people today. We must get back to walking humbly before God and each other. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. 1 Peter 5:5

Let’s allow God to search our hearts. Are we walking dependently with Him and open to the counsel of those around us? Do not allow unchecked pride to lead you away into captivity.

MY PRAYER: Lord, root out by Your precious Spirit any notion that I can make it on my own. Help me to cling to you and clothe myself in humility toward my brothers and sisters.

MY CONFESSION: I will clothe myself with humility toward You and others. You give grace to the humble. I stand on Your Word!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rich Mullins on God's Love

God Lives Under the Bed

My son had the privilege of going to church and school with a young man a lot like Kevin. One day he came home and said, "Mom, I promise you, David is the happiest kid at our high school." I totally believed him. David had been spared a lot of the angst of the turbulent teenage years. I am not naive or trying to romanticise the challenges that have to be dealt with when you are mentally handicapped. However, I have seen the sweetness and the wonder that comes when the Lord is in the heart by faith. The email I am including below has made the rounds before, but is definitely worth the read.

I envy Kevin. My brother, Kevin, thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night.

He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, 'Are you there, God?' he said. 'Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed...'

I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor.. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.

He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult.

He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life?

Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed.

The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.

He does not seem dissatisfied. He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work.

He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.

And Saturdays - oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. 'That one's goin' to Chi-car-go! ' Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.

His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.

And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips.

He doesn't know what it means to be discontent.

His life is simple.

He will never know the entanglements of wealth of power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.

His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it.

He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax. He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.

He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.

Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God..

Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an 'educated' person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith.

It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.

It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap. I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care.

Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.

And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.

Kevin won't be surprised at all!

Friday, October 23, 2009

How Can I Keep From Singing

The Confidence We Need

And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it shall happen. "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive." Matthew 21:21-22

I heard an interesting teaching this morning on Matthew 21:21. I did what God says and searched the Scriptures to, “See whether these things be so.” Acts 17:11 The pastor teaching on the above Scripture mentioned that the word doubt in the Greek is diakrinō. The root word krino means to try, condemn, or punish. His point was that many prayers are not answered because we have hearts that condemn us in some way and that hinders our faith. I can identify with knowing that God Can do this or that, but doubting whether He will do it for me. I am in a sense punishing myself with doubt because I know I have failed in the past and will fail again in the future. I am judging on the basis of my worthiness. I am focusing on who I am in the flesh instead of who I am in Him. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 I have confessed my sin and forsaken it, and yet I have failed to embrace the incredible truth, “There is therefore now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

As I looked further at the word I found that diakrino is used when the Lord speaks t
o Peter in a vision in Acts 10:19. A sheet is lowered with unclean animals on it and Peter hears a voice saying, “Rise and eat.” Peter still keeping the Jewish dietary law refuses saying that he has never eaten anything unclean. On the 3rd time the sheet is lowered he hears the Lord declare, “What God has cleansed, no longer call unholy.” While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are seeking you. "Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them."Acts 10:19-20 That same word diakrino is used in these verses as well. Peter needed to step fully into God’s grace minus any condemnation to embrace the awesome work God was going to accomplish through him. So do we.

We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him, in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.. 1 John 3:19 -22 There we go…….the tie in with Matthew 21:21. The confidence in prayer that we need comes from a revelation that God is greater than our own hearts and consciences.

"In whatever our heart condemns us; God is greater than our heart and knows all things." What is that? That deserves a huge wow. That is a great, great statement. A conscience focused on our failures smites us with the axe-blows of guilt and hacks away at the tree of assurance. And how do we react? We say, "Wait a minute, wait a minute, there's something greater than my conscience, there's a higher court than my conscience, there's a higher standard than my heart, God is greater than my heart and God knows all things. God is far greater in holy indignation. God hates sin more than my conscience and my heart hate it and God knows more than even my heart knows. That is to say God has a higher standard of holiness than I do. God has a greater hatred of sin than I do. And God knows everything about me far more than even I do. And the Bible says,
Romans 8:1, 'There is therefore now no...what?...condemnation to those who are in Christ.'" So where do you go when your conscience is accusing you? You go back to the position of gratitude for the grace of God. God knows more about your sin than you do, God has a higher standard than you do. And God has pronounced you justified. He knows your heart better than you know it. That's what He said to Peter, elicited from Peter. "Do you love Me? Yes I love You. Do you love Me? Yes I love You. Do you really love Me? You know my heart, you know everything, you know I love You. I haven't acted like it, I haven't conducted myself as I should, but look at my heart, You know there are holy affections there." And the response of our Lord was, "Feed My lambs, feed My sheep, feed My sheep." John MacArthur from sermon on 1 John.

Peter needed more than once to be reminded of the riches of His grace toward us and so do we, so do we. Don’t allow doubt that flows from self-condemnation hinder your prayers and ministry any longer. What God has cleansed, don't you dare call it unholy.

MY PRAYER: Lord, I thank you that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Lord, I welcome conviction and refuse condemnation. You are greater than my heart and I embrace my place in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

MY CONFESSION: What God has cleansed I will no longer call unholy. I stand on your Word!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Update From Philippines

Received this a few minutes ago. An update from my nephew who is a missionary to the Philippines. Please pray for them, Kordong, and for the people trying to recover from the last typhoon.

Dear Friends,

We are now in the city helping with one of our Youth Center teenagers who was the victim of a stabbing. He is from the same family that was flooded out of their home last week and living at our Dakuton Base. He is in the hospital but in stable condition. Please pray for Kordong as he recovers.

The typhoon we asked you to pray about has been quite a story. It was headed right towards the Philippines and had intensified into a category 5 storm. In comparison, Hurricane Katrina was a category 3. People here were in despair as they watched this new storm develop. Many of the dead from the last two storms still remain unburied and over 1 million people have been displaced. The president here called for a day of prayer,” that God would protect the Philippines.” Pastors in Manila were reporting that their churches were packed with people. Amazingly, the massive storm (600 miles wide) began going in small circles and then took an s-shaped course. It also weakened into a category 3 storm. It was supposed to make landfall last Monday, but yesterday was still about 500 miles away. It is also veering much farther to the North of us.

We were set to cancel a camp that was originally planned for October 23rd, but the group begged us to allow them to come as scheduled. Imagine, on the highway side of our camp, we can see Red Cross and military vehicles going to stricken areas; on the ocean side, we can see huge, U.S. Marine helicopters (700 marines are in The Philippines helping with the relief effort) ferrying in supplies; the ocean is eerily still and quiet (the calm before the storm) and 150 people want to do a camp! We told them that they could come but needed to be prepared to leave in a hurry.

Thank-you so much for your prayers. Many have said,” they were not able to open the attachment we sent along with our newsletter. “ If you want to see a good, up-to-date Satellite picture of the typhoon, go to: Our island is the long, thin one, closest to Viet Nam.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Every Step

Kept in Step by His Spirit

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14 NASB

Approximately six years ago I sensed in my spirit that God was directing me towards children’s ministry. For nearly 15 years my focus had been exclusively women’s ministry so I was shocked and questioned if I was hearing correctly. Then two years later my pastor asked me to head the children’s ministry at our new church.

With very few exceptions I was never in the sanctuary during the preaching. We were plugged into a small group and that is where we enjoyed some intimate fellowship. After a couple of years I started having some concerns that I was disconnected from the flow of what the Lord was doing in our church. God put that to rest in an amazing way.

One Saturday afternoon my husband came home from work and mentioned that he had been up and down on a ladder all day and his feet were sore from balancing on the rungs. I asked him if he would like a foot massage and who wouldn’t be up for that? While he showered I prepared a warm footbath and searched my arsenal for every soothing foot product I could find. I sat for half an hour and worked on his feet. In 35 years of marriage I am sorry to say that was just one of a very few times I have done that for him.

The next morning at church, I noticed on the platform near the pastor’s pulpit was a basin, towel, and pitcher. I thought to myself, “Well, I think I know what Pastor Jeff will be preaching today.” Then I went about my business and never gave it a second thought until the next morning during my quiet time. The Lord brought the picture of me ministering to my husband’s feet and the display at the front of the church. I heard that still small voice that I love saying, “I can keep you in step with what I am doing.” What had happened at our house God was doing at the gathering of His house. I was stunned. However, He wasn’t through with me yet. When I went to get my mail I found a note from a woman named Sharon Coarsey. She had been in a women’s Bible study I had led and sent me a lapel pin as a token of her appreciation. It was a basin and a towel. (By the way, she apologize that she hadn't sent it sooner. The timing was impeccable.) That was jaw dropping affirmation that I was being led and kept in step by His Spirit. How gracious and kind He is. He was asking me to stay at my post and trust Him to continue to lead.

I don't know if you have concerns and doubts about where you are right now. Take them to the One who desires to lead you. It is part of our privilege as His child.

MY PRAYER: Lord we have received you and believe in your name. You have given us the right to become your children. Thank you that part of that privilege is to be led by your Spirit. In Jesus’ name amen. John 1:12

I am a child of God and I am being led by His Spirit. I choose to follow. I stand on Your Word! Romans 8:14

Here is our latest news from the Philippines. Please pray for Scott, his family and ministry to the people there.

Dear Friends,
Just a short letter to bring you up-to-date on what it happening here, and to ask for your prayers.
About two weeks ago, a powerful typhoon passed to the North of us, displacing over 1 million people and causing around 300 deaths. We received only slight damage here at our base, and after three days were able to get things cleaned up in time to host a group of 130 people at our camp ministry. Despite the president declaring the entire country a disaster area, everyone had a good time.
We spent the next two days, celebrating the eighth anniversary of the founding of our Youth Center. About 200 people participated, and we had a fine time of worship, fellowship, eating, and sports. The Batak from Riyan Dakan, came down from our tribal village to join in the festivities. As the celebration was concluding, a young Batak mother brought her four year old child to our medical clinic. It quickly became apparent that the child was extremely ill, and needed to be hospitalized. Unfortunately, it was late in the day, heavy rains had begun to fall from yet another typhoon, and we felt it wasn’t safe to start out for the city. We decided to leave for the hospital early the next morning, and the Batak would spend the night in the lowland village of Maoyon .
Early the next morning, we were shocked to discover that flooding the night before had caused major damage to our Dakuton Base. Leaving for the village of Maoyon, we were amazed to see that the flooding had caused three rivers to overflow their banks, and merge into one huge torrent. The only two access roads into the village were deep under water. Over 2000 people were trapped inside surrounded by rising flood waters! We were the first on the scene of this impending disaster and at a loss as to what to do. We decided to return to our base and try to get help using our two-way radio.
We soon learned that help was already on the way to the village and also that a landslide had occurred to the North of us. The heavy rains had caused the side of a mountain to come down, killing six nurses working at a rural health clinic. In addition, we received word that flooding was also threatening our Youth Center . Fortunately, we were able to round up a number of volunteers, fill a bunch of sandbags, and prevent any water from reaching the inside the Center. Next, it was back to Maoyon to help in the rescue/relief effort. Thankfully, the floodwaters began to recede, and we were the first vehicle into the village. About 100 families had been displaced, but there were no deaths, and only minor injuries. The Batak were actually having a great time. They had just finished being interviewed at length by a T.V. news reporter (he had reached the village by boat). During the interview, they had complained about the quality of the rescue effort, and were assured that plenty of relief goods were on the way. The Batak ended up having a full two minutes on the evening news! We left medicine with the sick child and promised to try again to make the trip to the city, the following day.
Back at The Youth Center, the waters had also receded, and damage was limited to the basketball and volleyball courts. At our Dakuton Base, the floodwaters continued to rage across our property. A place where campers had played kickball the week before was now a kilometer wide spot of muddy water out in the Sulu Sea. Left, was a gaping hole that was rapidly getting larger. We watched in amazement as our seawall, which had withstood two previous, powerful typhoons, started breaking apart, and was carried away. Our neighbors arrived after evacuating their flooded house, and asked if they could move into one of our cottages. The their ten year old daughter was carrying all of her early possessions in a small, plastic bag.
The next day, we were finally able to get the Batak child to the hospital. He was found to have pneumonia and confined for five days. At the same time the death toll from the most recent typhoon surpassed 300. The area of devastation was so large, U.S. marines were called in to help with the rescue and relief efforts.
Back at our Dakuton Base, we began the process of repairing the damage caused by the typhoon. We had an extreme sense of urgency because another very powerful typhoon was already moving towards the Philippines. As Red Cross and military vehicles sped past our Base, we were once again able to mobilize a large group of volunteers. Using mostly women and children and without the aid of heavy equipment, we moved tons of earth and rock and placed it in the hole left by the flooding. It was backbreaking work but was completed in six days. We were also able to rebuild the seawall in two days. We had an added time of excitement when a big water spout touched down not far from where we were working.
Please pray that the Philippines will be spared from the effects of this new typhoon. The country has already suffered over 600 dead in the past two weeks. Also pray for us. We are just now entering into the peak typhoon season and have suffered major damage the previous two Novembers. We will be sending out a newsletter soon

Monday, October 19, 2009


Controlled by Love

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
The unfolding of Scripture is a beautiful story of redemption. We are told in the gospel of John 21:25 that if everything Jesus did in His life, death, and resurrection were described in detail, that even the world itself would not be able to contain the books that would be written. How can we grasp so great a salvation? We absorb one beautiful truth at a time.
Today let’s think about the implications of Christ dying for us so that in God’s economy we all died. We become new creatures raised to walk in newness of life. The more we comprehend and meditate on all that He has done for us, the more our love and gratitude becomes the motivating factor. That overwhelming love transforms us into grateful followers who no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on our behalf.
How do I live this out? How do these celestial, high-minded truths play out on the dusty streets of our world? Jesus was so simple in His directions that anyone can follow them. Offer a cup a cold water, visit the sick, visit the prisoner, feed the hungry, bring some companionship and help to the widow. Interact with compassion where you are. We do what Jesus would do if He were here. He is you know…..He’s urging us on with whispers and commands and the power of His Holy Spirit to be His hands and feet.

MY PRAYER: Lord Jesus your love has me in its grip. Because you died for me it is only right that I would live for you. As I move through my day I want to be motivated by that love to serve you by being available to serve others. Holy Spirit, help me not to lose my focus. Remind me that I am no longer motivated by self-interest. You died for me so that I might die to myself. You rose again so that I could have new life. In Christ’s name! MY CONFESSION Your love controls me. Today I will live for You and not for myself. I will walk in Your resurrection power with a heart motivated by gratitude. I stand on Your Word.
MY CONFESSION: Your love controls me. Today I will live for You and not for myself. I will walk in Your resurrection power with a heart motivated by gratitude. I stand on Your Word.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Before the Throne of God

Approaching With Confidence

Now it came about on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace in front of the king's rooms, and the king was sitting on his royal throne in the throne room, opposite the entrance to the palace. And it happened when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter. Then the king said to her, "What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it will be given to you." Esther 5: 1-3 NASB

I am leading Beth Moore’s study in Esther. This week we are studying Esther’s appearance before her husband, Xerxes. History and the biblical account show him to be a hot headed and cruel despot. He could sign a decree to have an entire people destroyed within his own kingdom and then sit down and have a drink completely and callously indifferent to human pain and suffering. Persian law forbids anyone to enter his presence without being summoned. Esther entered with fear, trembling, and 3 days of corporate fasting. She obtained his favor and her life was spared and ultimately her petition granted.
This has caused me to reflect on my heavenly Bridegroom (John 3:29) who is the King of Kings. (1Kings 6:15)

· Unlike Xerxes He is not indifferent or callous/Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
· Unlike Xerxes we don’t have to fear or cower when approaching our King/Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
· Unlike Xerxes rhetorical “up to half of my kingdom” remark/our King will carry through on His promise, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" 1 Corinthians 2:9

It is so important that we know our King and understand His nature. I was leading a Bible study that encouraged us in one of the daily assignments to go outside for a walk and talk to God. Then we were to be quiet and listen. A woman came back and reported, “I didn’t want to go for a walk with God. I thought He would fuss at me and He didn’t!” She had believed a lie that kept her from the one who sits on a throne of grace. He gave His own life so that she could come to Him, not like a filthy beggar but as His child.

If we sense in our spirits that we are hanging back and avoiding prayer, we need to pay attention. What are we avoiding? If it is an admission of sin, we will receive immediate forgiveness. Don’t go for days beating yourself up. Jesus purchased our pardon on Calvary’s tree. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 In the King James Version there is an addition that is not in the oldest manuscripts. Somewhere along the way someone added a qualifier(who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit) that the NIV and NASB rightly leave out. There is NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus period! He is approachable and calls to us, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS."For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Come confidently child.

MY PRAYER: Help us to remove every lying obstacle that would keep us from your throne of grace. Help us to remember that in the midst of the throne is a Lamb. In Jesus’ name, amen. Revelation 7:17

MY CONFESSION: I will approach your throne of grace with confidence, so that I may receive mercy and find grace to help me in my time of need. I stand on your Word! Hebrews 4:16

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Alabaster Box

Fragrant Perfume

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured upon His head as He reclined at the table. Matthew 26:6-7 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me."For the poor you have with you always; but you do not always have Me."For when she poured this perfume upon My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. "Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done shall also be spoken of in memory of her." Matthew 26:10-13

This morning I was reading the story of Jesus being anointed by Mary. I have always loved this account. I am emboldened by her passion and I am astonished by His pronouncement that He was writing Mary into His story. She lavished Him with love and He lavished her with honor and the promise her deed would never be forgotten.

I decided to read a commentary of the account. I found a little gem that I wanted to pass on. I had never thought of her deed in the light of how we treat one another. Don’t store up precious vials of gratitude and love but lavish them on the living while you can.
“If my friends have alabaster boxes laid away, full of fragrant perfumes of sympathy and affection, which they intend to break over my dead body, I would rather they would bring them now in my weary and troubled hours, and open them, that I may be refreshed and cheered, while I need them and can enjoy them. I would rather have a plain coffin without a flower, and a funeral without an eulogy, than a life without the sweetness of love and sympathy. My son, learn to anoint your friends before their burial. Post-mortem kindness cannot cheer the burdened spirit. Flowers on a coffin shed no fragrance backward over the weary way loved ones have traveled.” (Frances E. Tyner).

MY PRAYER: Lord, you want us to be rich in good deeds toward one another. Help me to have a grateful spirit, first toward you because you are so worthy. Then, help me to express my gratitude and love towards those you place in my life. I want to be a fountain of refreshment and blessing to others. Help me not to wait until it is too late.

MY CONFESSION: Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. I have a grateful heart. Out of my mouth comes blessings, encouragement and thanksgiving. The Holy Spirit will enable me to comfort and encourage now while there is still time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Jesus Needs A Few Good Men

My Brother, Worker, and Soldier

But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need. Philippians 2:25

In one sentence Paul whets my appetite to know this man Epaphroditus. More than that, I have to ask myself are the stellar qualities he lists true of me? Would I be willing to risk life and limb to help someone in prison for the sake of the gospel? Would I be willing to go wherever God called me? It is always wise to count the cost. One thing I have found to be true. Our enemy, the world and our own flesh will be quick to point out what it will cost us to obey. However, they will not tell us about the cost of disobedience.

The church at Philippi sent Epaphroditus as their trustworthy representative. It was an 800 mile journey. No small task in the age they lived. He took Paul their contributions and messages of love and encouragement putting his own life in peril. Paul is so appreciative of this man.

· He’s my brother. We are members of the same family of God.

· He’s my fellow worker. (I went to a conference of a woman teacher who has a worldwide ministry. I introduced her to the women I had brought with me who I led in her studies. She held my eyes and said, “Thank you fellow worker.” It was a very special moment for me to realize she genuinely was grateful and considered me a partner.)

· He’s my fellow soldier. There is special bond between those who have been in the trenches together. Our war is not against flesh and blood but the battle is every bit as real. Helping to move forward the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ involves warfare. Contending for souls involves warfare. When you move out in ministry and service don’t be surprised when you experience resistance. Put on your armor (Eph. 6:13ff) and use the weapons of your warfare. (2Cor. 10:4-5)

I am convicted and inspired as I read of his service. Paul says in Philippians 2:29 “Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem.” Why? There aren’t many like him. Also, it is human nature to take the faithful for granted. Most people, who are serving Christ for the right reason, do so with very little fanfare. They don’t have to be constantly thanked and affirmed but, they are human and can grow weary in well-doing.

Epaphroditus’ name only appears in the book of Philippians. When he faithfully carried that letter back to his church could he have imagined that as long as the world endures his life will be used as an example? If he had refused the mission and its challenges, what a loss of reward.

I want to be like Epaphroditus. I am not there yet, but I want to be. Do you? In many places the kingdom of God is languishing because there are not enough brothers and sisters who are also workers and soldiers. Let this example cause us to count the cost and go where the Holy Spirit sends us.

MY PRAYER: Lord, help me to follow you wherever you lead. I want to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Help me not to just count the cost, but to see what a privilege it is to serve you. May all who come behind us find us faithful. In Jesus name, amen.

MY CONFESSION: God will equip me in every good thing to do His will, working in me that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Hebrews 13:21

Friday, October 9, 2009


(This isn't a picture of Heidi, but of the same breed and coloring.)
We buried one of our dogs last night. We have three, but this old stray won our affection and love in a special way. Our area is quite rural and she just appeared one day. A crew was working on a wrought iron fence and gate for our neighbor. After a couple of days they realized she had no other place to go and was hungry. They started bringing her food and she was there to greet them every morning. She was eager and gentle with soulful eyes. She was an Austrailian Cow Dog and behind the gate and fence were cows so she was happy. They knew their project was coming to an end and appealed to me to take care of her when they were gone. I didn't really want to, but who could deny and old stray?

I don't want to say that she was ugly, so I will use the term gnarled. I have since found out that the lifespan for her breed is 12-15 years. If she lived her maximum then she would have been ten when she showed up. She was so trusting and gentle, it didn't seem as if she had been abused. She had a very old and worn looking collar but no tags. I would have loved to know the back story on her. She quickly became part of our family. After a surprise litter of puppies we had her spayed, and her teeth clean. She had hip dysplasia that is a weakness of her breed. However, if my husband I are were going for a walk, she would follow us to the ends of the earth limping along behind us. We would do everything to discourage her, but if we were on foot she was going with us. When her hips were really bad and she was on medication we would drive our car a block away, park it, and then walk. It was the only way to spare her.
We should have named her Ruth because she was going to go wherever we were going. Instead, one day in jest, my husband called her Heidi. I laughed hard. Heidi called to my mind a beautiful, young girl and she was none of those things. The book of Romans says that, "God calls those things that don't exist as though they were." So that is how an old, life worn dog got such a delicate, youthful name.

As we prepared to bury her we had tears sliding down our faces. My husband gave thanks to the One who made her, for giving us the privilege of taking care of her the last five years. I hope when I get to the place that Jesus has prepared for me that I am greeted by a young and healthy Austrailian Cow Dog with soulful eyes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Gentle Healer

Familiar Yet Unbelieving

And He came to Nazareth where He had been brought up. Luke 4:16 NAS

I can’t imagine what it would be like to be totally spiritually, morally, emotionally healthy with a keen intellect living among the fallen. No self-righteousness but perfectly righteous. No narcissism or struggling with low self-esteem just a profound sense of who He was, “I and my Father are one.” That He knew His purpose early on was evident at 12 when He told his parents, “I must be about my Father’s business”. Now as He stands before them as a man, the maturing and sharpening of that focus is evident:
After Jesus spoke to them and they spoke well of him and were wondering at his gracious words." Luke 4:18-22

Then it seems as if Jesus purposefully provokes them. He simply knew what was in their hearts and what they were thinking. They were offended by Him. He had left home and news about Him was drifting back. Why was He ministering to strangers? Why not start at home? Does He think He’s too good for us?

Luke 4:23-24 And He said to them, "No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, 'Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your home town as well.'" And He said, "Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his home town.

He gives them some examples to prove His point: · Elijah in Israel during the great famine knew many widows but he wasn’t sent to any of them. Only to Zarepheth, in the land of Sidon. · Elisha lived in Israel and there were many lepers, and none of them was cleansed. Only Naaman, the Syrian leper was cleansed.

Oh, there is a warning here for those who have known Him a long time. Are we still smitten by His person and His power? Have we grown so familiar and unbelieving that we scoff and are offended when we hear He is working somewhere else? The offense exploded into a murderous rage: Luke 4:29 and they rose up and cast Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. It’s hard to fathom isn’t it? We know what spirit was behind this, because Jesus unmasks him in John 8:44a "You are of your father the devil and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning.” Most of us would be horrified at the thought that we would turn our hand against Jesus and yet churches and those who call themselves Christians mistreat His true servants. We may not murder, but we may ruin a good name and drive them from our presence.
How did Jesus respond? Luke 4:30 But passing through their midst, He went His way. He left them and their proud unbelieving ways behind. I fear that many churches and people sit devoid of His power and His presence for similar reasons. As we read on in Luke we will see that He goes to Capernaum to teach the teachable and heal the believing. He is ever about His Father’s business with those who believe.
Heart check: How do I react when I hear the Lord is moving in other places or lives? Am I ·
  • Discerning or dismissive?
  • Joyous or jealous?
We must guard our hearts and honestly evaluate what we are feeling. We must learn to look up and acknowledge to the One who knows our every thought, how we are feeling. Ask for discernment. We need to acknowledge our insecurity and ask Him to remove every barrier so that He can move freely in our hearts or church as well. Read Philippians 1:12-18 the Apostle Paul gives a beautiful example of a healthy, discerning, joyous heart. Our Father needs for His people to rejoice when Christ is proclaimed and when lives are changed. We don’t want to experience Jesus passing through our midst and going on His way.
MY PRAYER: Father, I want a healthy heart that rejoices when I hear that you are at work no matter where it may be. Help me to discern without suspicion and rejoice without jealousy and insecurity. You don’t play favorites and will do your marvelous work in any atmosphere of faith. In Jesus name, Amen!
MY CONFESSION: I will not walk in suspicion but in discernment, love, and the power of Your Spirit. I will rejoice when I hear that you are at work in Your world and Your church.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I am including a video by Paul Washer today. It fell on me not with condemnation, but with a strong admonition to be done with lesser things. It is a battle cry to the sleeping church to wake up and earnestly contend for the faith. I offer it here, but it is not for the faint of heart or for those who want to be taken to the skies on flowery beds of ease.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Prayer for the Philippines

As some of you know, my nephew, Scott, and his family have lived and ministered in the Philippines for many years. I am including a prayer request from Francis Frangipane's ministy. Please pray for this country and my nephew.

Super-typhoon roaring toward the Philippines Philippine president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, has declared a nationwide "state of calamity" as it braces for the arrival of a powerful super-typhoon, just days after another storm caused the country's worst flooding in decades.Forecasters have warned that Parma, a category five storm, will hit the islands on Saturday. This is after hundreds were killed and the city of Manila flooded by typhoon Ketsana. This is an an extremely serious situation. Please, let us stand in prayer for the Filipino people. Let's pray that the strength of this category five storm will rapidly diminish. Let us also give sacrificially to relief agencies that can get vital food, medicines and basic necessities to the people in need.Finally, let us continue to intercede for the Samoan Islands, Tonga and Indonesia, all recently devastated by earthquakes. Reuters AlertNet - World Vision Preparing for the Worst as 'Super Typhoon Parma' Bears Down on Philippines

Thank you!
Francis Frangipane