Just One Bite

just one bite

This morning I opened my email and had a notice from our Home Owner’s Association that in two days they will be spraying for fire ants.  YEAH!

Fire ants are tiny.  One bite … just one bite can be deadly for my husband

One bite.  Highly toxic.  One bite.  Deadly poison.  One bite.  Six feet under!

We live in the California desert where there is an extremely high count of these little deadly pests.  The next bite could put my husband in the grave so we are extremely careful when/where we walk or go outside.  No more football on the grass when our grandsons visit

Ronn avoids fire ant hills and mounds with a passion.

One bite.  That’s all!

One bite.  That’s what Eve did.  Eve offered Adams one bite.  Their bites led to death for the entire human race.

One look.  One compromise.  One bite.  One dabbling in sin.

Fortunately for Ronn there is an antidote should he be bitten again.  Sadly he had to give up golfing here in the desert … but should he go golfing he has specific instructions to follow:

Don’t golf alone

Carry your Benadryl

Take along your Epi-pen

Wear long pants

Wear long socks

Carry your phone

Don’t pick up your ball out of the sand traps (his golfing partners don’t like that one! Ha!)

If bitten, immediately take a Benadryl and shoot yourself with your Epi-pen and call 911 to get to the hospital within 15 minutes

(And I tell him to make sure his insurance is paid up! … sorry, that’s a joke so don’t judge me!!)

Seems like a detailed list but to stay alive you do what you must.  We do our best to stay on top of the date to replenish the Epi-pen.  There is an expiration date after which the Benadryl and Epi-pen are no longer effective.

Is there an antidote for Eve’s bite which put the curse of death on us?

YES!  Jesus provided our antidote on the cross.  Jesus knew that left to ourselves we would “take the bite”.  We all have.  We are born sinners.  We will die and spend eternity either in heaven or hell.

For Ronn to be protected from a fire ant death … he HAS to be prepared with the antidote.  For us to be protected from an eternity in hell … we HAVE to make use of the antidote … which is JESUS!

How do we do that?  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  (John 14:6 NIV).

  1. Recognize that Jesus ALONE is the way to salvation
  2. Recognize you ARE a sinner … “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23).
  3. Confess, repent and accept His free gift of salvation … the only antidote that will ensure eternal life.

If you don’t follow God’s antidote provided by Jesus Christ … you will die spiritually and be eternally lost and in hell.

Churches on Hospice

churches on hospice

I know some may call me legalistic, backward, short-sighted, narrow-minded, last century … whatever.

I recently read an article about a very popular, charismatic, well known media pastor that saddened me tremendously.  I waited some time before writing this to see if this pastor, whom I respected and loved to hear preach, would recant what was written.  Perhaps it was a false rumor, misquoted or taken out of context.  But then it was proven true.

I almost cried.  Then it came to me … many churches today are on hospice!  I have had four family members on hospice.  Hospice is called in when the patient is terminal.  Hospice does not do preventative medicine, they do not try to restore health or administer healing.  They are there to simply keep the patient comfortable until death.  Hospice is simply … comfort care.  When the pain of the patient gets too bad they give morphine to mask the pain.

Are our pastors today giving out “christianese” morphine?  “Just listen to this to feel good.”  “All is well.”  “We will all get to heaven eventually.”  “Doesn’t matter what you believe or live like.”  “There really is no ‘sin’ or walking in disobedience.”  “The Bible doesn’t really mean that.”

I cannot remember the last time I heard a message on sin.  What is sin?  What does it do to a person?  How can we get rid of sin?  Does the blood of Jesus or the cross play any part in our lives?  Is His sacrificial death of no significance?

When we “accept” Him into our lives can we just continue to live any way we want without thought to what He wants us to grow into?  What is a holy life?  Is there any conviction of sin?  The Word of God tells us to “be holy even as I am holy” (God).

I have heard this often and I’m sure I’ve said it before when loving on my babies and grand-babies, “Oh, I just wish you could stay like this forever” as I’ve pinched cheeks and planted numerous kisses.  However, if my baby had stayed like that … not growing into adulthood and remained infantile … I would be crushed big time!  I wonder what God thinks when He sees those that have accepted Him but never took on the challenge to grow and mature.  Just stayed babies and acted like babies.

I see many people wearing crosses today … earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets and even tattoos.  People hang crosses in their homes and have decorative crosses as art.  If I were to ask folks, “the cross you are wearing, what does it mean to you?” I wonder what the responses would be… “I liked the symmetry of it”; “everybody wears crosses, it doesn’t mean anything particular”; “it’s art”; “my friend gave it to me”; “it has diamonds” or hopefully, “I want people to ask me so I can tell them about Jesus”!

When we think of the cross many just think of it as “nice”.  The one Jesus carried was not so nice.  It was big.  It was heavy.  It probably had splinters.  It was a thing of torture and death.  I wonder what it means to us today to “take up your cross and follow Me”? Hmm … maybe another time?  I don’t want to die … today! Or even tomorrow!

Taking up our cross means to leave something behind.  Wonder what that means to me … what am I to leave behind to be worthy to carry my cross?

We do hear some wonderful sermons today … sermons on self image, how to cope with stress, “prosperity” and how to get money, setting goals, hope, encouragement, helping others, how to cope with disappointment, you are good …  But will those messages stir hearts to conviction and bring men/women to Christ?  Our homes, our communities, our nation (and the world) need to hear messages that will stir our hearts to renounce sin, live holy lives for Jesus and occupy the time until He comes!

I think I’ve just written myself under conviction!

Covered Sin

covered sin 01

On the day I am writing this we are nearing Father’s Day and as most of us are I am reflecting on my dad.  He’s been in heaven a number of years already but I often wish I could talk to him and tell him what’s “happening”!

Daddy wrote a number of booklets and tracts.  I remember one of his tracts (wish I could find a copy!) called “Covered Sin”.  I don’t have any recollection of what he wrote except for one illustration … I remember that because he used me for that illustration!

I was a thumb sucker and mom and dad were trying to break me of the habit.  One night after they had put me to bed they came to check on me and found me sucking my thumb but I had pulled the blanket over me so I wouldn’t be discovered!  Yeah, right!  Daddy used that as an illustration of “covered sin”.  The scripture says, “Be sure your sin will find you out”.

Do we really believe that?  There are cases in the Bible and also in today’s world that prove that to be true.

First there comes to mind the story of Rachel and the idols she stole from her father.  Apparently she loved Jacob but not his God or she would not have stolen her daddy’s gods!  Jacob had  secretly fled from Laban after serving him for many years. Three days later when Laban realized Jacob was gone, he came chasing after him and accused him of several things but also for “stealing my gods”.

Jacob answered rather hastily when he said, “With whomever you find your gods, do not let him live …” (Genesis 31:32).  Laban searched the tents of Jacob, Leah, the two maid’s tents and did not find them.  Then he went into Rachel’s tent to search.  She had taken the gods, put them under her seat and sat down.  When daddy Laban searched her tent he didn’t find them there because she lied and said, “Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is with me”.  She thought to cover her sin with a lie.  It didn’t work!  Perhaps Jacob and Laban never knew but God did and Rachel died an early death.

Be sure your sin will find you out”. (Numbers 32:23).

What about King David and his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba (II Samuel 11 & 12).  David thought that by having her husband killed in battle no one would know of his affair and her pregnancy, that he could get away with it by covering it up.  But God saw and the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to David to confront him.  David admitted his sin to God and God forgave him but there were still consequences … the child died.

Be sure your sin will find you out”. 

Acts 5 gives us the story of Ananias and Sapphira.  (Woe to the church today if God did now what He did then!!)  They sold a possession (which was and is OK to do!).  But they conspired together to keep part of it back but imply they were giving it all.  Bad idea!  You don’t lie to God!  God stuck both of them dead.  DEAD!

“Be sure your sin will find you out”.

We see and hear about “cover ups” all the time in today’s world.  Bernard Madoff, the American fraudster and a former stockbroker and investment advisor, who in recent years bilked many out of their life savings.  Ponzi scheme.  His deceit was eventually uncovered and he is now in prison serving 150 years!

Be sure your sin will find you out”.

There are other “big” guys.  Adulterous affairs. Cheating on income taxes. Mail scams.  What about the “small” things … Lying to the boss that you are sick when you are not.  “Cooking the books”?  Taking office stamps.  White lies.

Am I covering sin in my life?  Are you covering up sin in your life?  It’s a scary thing to try and do.

Perhaps you can think of some, or perhaps yourself, who seem to have gotten away with their cover ups.  But there is nothing hidden from God!  Luke 8:17, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” (ESV)

It may look like some get away with their cover ups and in this life it may not be revealed … but God knows!  And God keeps perfect records!  Unrepented and unconfessed sin will keep you from heaven.  Romans 2:16, “on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”  (ESV)

The beautiful thing about our God is that once confession is made and repentance is sincere, God FORGIVES and our sin and cover ups are gone forever!  FOREVER!!  Our sins are then cast into the deepest sea and never brought up again.

I once looked up the information to see where the deepest part of the sea is … It’s the Mariana Trench off the coast of Guam.  It is nearly seven miles deep! If Mount Everest (tallest mountain in the world) were dropped into the Mariana Trench, its peak would still be more than a mile underwater!!!  I would say that is a little too deep for fishin’!

Our God is an awesome God!  He forgives, casts our sins away and then forgets they ever existed!

There’s a song that comes to mind to go along with this contemplation …

I CANNOT HIDE FROM GOD

I cannot hide from God

However I would try

Tho mountains cover me

I’ll not escape His eye

I’ve wandered far and near

And yet His voice I hear

I know that I can never hide from God.

I cannot hide from Thee dear Lord

To escape Thee so often I’ve tried.

No rest shall I know

While here below

Till in Christ my soul, shall hide.

How often in the past

I’ve gone my wicked way

I knew I’d come at last

To face another day

When for my wasted years

I’d pay in grief and tears

I knew that I could never hide from God.

I Am My Mother!

i am my mother

(Thank you God for letting Faith Evangeline (Kopp) Cass be my mother!  I honor her on this Mother’s Day.)

When taking a nap my mother always had to have at least a sheet over her.  I didn’t understand why she felt a “draft”.  Hello!  I now have to have a covering over me when taking a nap!  (And yet at night I throw off the blanket … go figure!)

Mom drank hot water with a lemon.  No way I said.  OK … so I do that also.

Mom always took a sweater with her into an air conditioned store.  Yeah, you guessed it … I do likewise!  And yet in the car I want that AC directed at my face!!

When I look in the mirror without my make-up, I see my mother!  And yet most people say I look like my dad.  Well, the mirror doesn’t lie!

I can also remember when my youngest daughter threw up her hands and said, “I AM MY MOTHER!”  And in many ways she is 🙂

My mother was a focused woman.  She loved daddy, my brother and me, the ministry and her trumpet.  Earthly things were not important to her.  When mom and daddy died they had nothing of earthly value … no jewelry, no property (except a very old mobile home!) and little money in the bank.  They lived below their social security income.  And try as we did to get them to move into a nicer place, it was always “No, we are happy here.”

How do I want to emulate my mother?

She was a woman of prayer.  She prayed privately and she prayed with daddy.  Oh my, I remember hearing my name and my brother’s name called out in prayer.  That’s hard to forget.  She prayed for missionaries and those in need in the churches they pastored.

She loved her Bible.  It was a marked Bible and believe me it was marked!

Mom did not waste time in frivolous reading.  I don’t ever remember my mom reading much of anything except the Bible and the Pentecostal Evangel (magazine of the Assemblies of God).  Oh, I do think she read the Christ for the Nations magazine.  I don’t ever remember her reading any Family Circle, Women’s Day, Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping or anything similar.

Mom was NOT a gossiper.  In fact as hard as I would try to get information out of her on anybody, she kept her lips sealed.  Even to her dying day I couldn’t get her to talk about what happened at L.I.F.E. Bible College (she attended and graduated from there in the 30’s) concerning Aimee Semple McPherson!  Even though I had read various books on the subject … she was mum.

Mom was a partner with daddy in ministry.  Mom could preach.  Mom played the piano and her trumpet.  Mom taught Sunday School.  Early in their ministry mom worked in the office of the Christian Day School in the church they pastored.  She even did radio work early in their marriage.

Mom loved the ministry.  Her health was always the best when they were overseas doing missionary evangelism.  In mom’s later years I asked her one day what her favorite hymn was (I was thinking ahead for her memorial service when needed!) and her answer, “Rescue the Perishing” … that was mom’s heart.

Mom taught me how to clean house.  Every Saturday morning I had my chores … change sheets, hang laundry outside, dust furniture … all before I could play outside!  Oh yes, she taught me how to sprinkle and iron shirts (days before steam irons!) too!

Mom taught me to turn to God when I had a problem.  I remember well the day I was ironing with tears running down my face.  She asked what was wrong and I blurted out my indecision regarding a guy!  Mom’s advice?  Take it to Father!  I did and thank God the guy got out of my life!

Mom usually could be heard singing around the house (daddy was a “hummer”!)  One I remember well,

“Speak to my heart, I’ll do my part.

Speak to my waiting, listening heart.

Show me Thy will, my place to fill.

Speak to me, speak to my heart.”

Yes, I often sing around the house as well!  One of my son-in-laws remarked one day, “Now I know where your daughter gets it!”  She’s a house singer too!

I smile as I look back at some of the things mom did and did not do.  She was an excellent editor for daddy’s writings.  Spelling and grammar were her thing (sorry mom, they are NOT mine!).  In grammar school she won the spelling bees.  So even when I was in college and wrote letters home she would circle my misspellings and send the letters back to me!!  That did not make me a happy camper! Ha.  I can still see her little marks for punctuation, spelling, etc on my letters.

Mom also typed on an old Underwood typewriter and would NOT even go near daddy’s electric, then word processor and finally his computer.  No, no, NO!  I guess if the old Underwood was good enough for Jesus it was good enough for her! (Smile)

Mom and I weren’t real close as she was a very intense person.  Daddy was the warm and fuzzy one.  But mom taught well, she loved well and she loved God.

That is what I want to emulate.

Black Saturday

black saturday 00

Saturday.  Sandwiched between that terrible Friday and Sunday.  The disciples of Jesus had forgotten what the promised Sunday would hold.  All they could think of was . . . now.  All they knew was, “He’s dead. Buried. Gone!”

They felt deserted, depressed, dismayed, disheartened, defeated – wasted.  Why?  “We thought He was bringing a kingdom.  He had given us hope of a future”.

How did they fill this day?  Hiding!  Even the chief priests and the Pharisees had more belief in Him.  They were the ones that went to Pilate asking for a tomb guard because they knew He said, “After three days I’ll rise again”.

OK – I’ll give it to you – maybe they didn’t actually believe it but they knew He said it and they did not want the disciples coming to steal the body and then say He arose!  They were making sure, according to their understanding, that it would NOT happen.

So here they are. The disciples had run away.  Jesus is dead and buried. John had been in the high priest’s courtyard and had seen a portion of what had happened to Jesus. Peter had been there too and then denied him.  Now he is feeling guilty and remorseful.  Judas had committed suicide.

John at least had been at the cross.  Now he had the responsibility of caring for Jesus’ mother.  What’s a man to do?

It’s easy for us on this side of the resurrection to say, “Hey hold on guys! Don’t get too upset . . . you know what’s going to happen tomorrow!  Jesus is going to rise up.  He’s going to be alive again. He’s coming out of that grave on the first day of the week. He even told you that! He’s getting back the keys to death, hell and the grave!  Tomorrow is going to be one grand exciting day!”

None of the disciples were at the tomb waiting with expectation to look for the resurrection.  Some of the women were there but not in expectation of a miracle … they came to anoint His body.

Had they all forgotten?  Or perhaps they didn’t believe that He would do what He said.  They were in hiding, afraid, fearful, wondering, pondering their future.

Even the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24) didn’t quite believe or at least now they were having doubts … (World Bible) v 21, “we were hoping he was the one …”.  Hoping verses KNOWING.

He expounded the Word to them then went to their home.  What was it about the taking of the bread, blessing it and giving it to them that caused them THEN to believe?

What do we do on the days between?  The days between the death of our hope and the day the promise comes?  Do we continue to believe or do we give up?  Have the circumstances that we don’t understand blinded our eyes and our faith?  Do we hang on to the promise given or say, “it’s all over . . . let’s go with plan B”.

The Bible was given to us so that we DO know the end of the story.  The stories are there so that we might believe and not give up.  We have the examples, the monuments the challenge to “hold on . . . the promise is coming down the road”!  We are to continue to trust and have faith that He will do what He has promised.

So if today you are discouraged – don’t be!  Don’t give up hope!  Tomorrow Jesus is coming!  It’s even better than that … He’s with you right now!

So live Saturday very carefully!

Good Friday

good friday

I don’t know if it was jet lag, anxiety, insomnia or God speaking – but it was another short night – short of sleep!  So at 3:15 I got up and went to the Word.  I spent time reading the Matthew and Luke accounts of Jesus in the garden, His betrayal and His crucifixion.

I was reminded of something George Wood said in the book on the Psalms, (don’t know if I have it exactly but this is the essence) “It wasn’t until Resurrection Sunday that the preceding Friday was called good.”

Read that again!  Does it grab you like it does me?  Friday was a disaster as far as the disciples were concerned!  Jesus!  They had believed in Him.  They had given up their jobs to follow Him. They had traveled around with Him.  They had listened to His teachings.  They had promised to follow Him to the ends of the earth!  And now . . . He’s dead!  Dead!  How did this happen?

Peter denied even knowing Him.  The rest of them had fled.  Jesus died, alone.  Now He’s buried and they feel deserted.  Where is God when you need Him?

Have you ever felt like that?  Betrayed? Deserted? Alone? Afraid? God where are you?

When we are going through the process it never “feels good”! The gardens of our lives are not always of the flowering kind.  Most times they feel more like deserts (Jesus was there too you know – facing the devil!)  We wonder if God is ever going to come to our rescue.  However, the hard times are for our good! When we come out the other side THEN we can look back and call it good.

My dad told me one time, “Connie, there is something God cannot do.  He cannot make two mountains without a valley”.  Hmmm.  He’s right!  We can’t live on the mountain top long.  Air is thin.  No food grows there.  But the view is great!  So down we come into the valley again to live, to plant, to grow, to prune, to harvest . . .

John 16:33 tells us that in this life we WILL have tribulation.  That’s a given.  It’s a fact.  That won’t change.  We will go through hard and difficult times.  But the rest of that verse says, “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”!  Yeah!  God wins!  And what do we do in the meantime – “count it all joy”!  Yeah, right!  Well, that’s what it says!  So can you rejoice in the midst of your Fridays?  Can you hang on in prayer, in faith, in believing that Sunday’s a-comin’?  Because it (Sunday) is!

How’s Your Heart?

how's your heart

Glad hearts, sad hearts, broken hearts, discouraged hearts, healed hearts … what is the condition of YOUR heart?
If you are reading this then it’s a given you have a pumping thumping heart!  It’s what keeps us alive.  If your heart is not pumping … you’re dead!  So pay special attention to your heart.  When we exercise our heart rate goes up, if it gets too slow — watch out!  If your heart beats erratically or if pain suddenly hits your chest … get to a doctor!  Pronto!
What IS the heart?  It’s not just our physical pump … but it encompasses our will, emotions, thoughts … it’s who we ARE.  The heart in this sense could also be called our soul.
So what can we do to protect our hearts besides doing the “natural” things like correct eating, exercise and weight control?
First of all we must recognize that our hearts are inherently evil, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 KJV.)  In plain English that means if we are left to our own devices we will do wicked, evil things!  Have you ever had to tell a little child to lie or to be selfish?  No!  It simply is in the heart to do wrong.
God made us in His image but we forfeited that in the Garden of Eden. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5 KJV.)  Our hearts have been deceived and have turned us aside, “A deceived heart hath turned him aside …” (Isaiah 44:20 KJV).
When my brother was a young man the doctor said he had a heart murmur.  What’s that?  A heart murmur is an unusual sound coming from the heart that can be detected by a stethoscope and may indicate the presence of a heart disorder.  Another definition is “a mumbled or private expression of discontent”.
Well, there are some heart murmurs (heart disorders, discontent) in folks today.  There are evil murmurings and the children of Israel were good at those!  Exodus 16:8 in speaking of the Israelites, “…your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord.” Ouch.  There are other verses that clearly state their murmurings were against Moses, Aaron AND the Lord.  Their mumbled expressions of discontent did not please God.
God did not and does not look favorably on murmurers!  Numbers 14:29, “Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness … which have murmured against me.”  Same is true in the New Testament … Philippians 2:14, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings …”
Is your heart murmuring in discontent?
God delights when we meditate on His goodness, His Word, His promises, His commandments.  Psalms 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”
Is your heart meditating on Him?
There are so many references to the heart in God’s Word.  I’ve read the Bible through many times and in a couple of my Bibles I have made a little heart in the margin every time the word “heart” showed up.  (You can easily find the references in Strong’s concordance.)
Which heart is yours?
Adulterous, anxious, arrogance of heart
Backsliding, blameless, broken heart
Committed, condemned, condemning, contrite, courage-less heart
Crying out for God heart
Deceitful, delighted, deluded, desiring, discouraged, disloyal, dull heart
Entreating, evil, exulted heart
Failing, fainting, faith filled, firm, foolish heart
Glad, godly, good, grieving heart
Happy, hard, hasty, hurt heart
Iniquitous, instructive, intoxicated heart
Joyful heart
Knitted, known (by God) heart
Learning, lost, loving, lowly, loyal heart
Meditative, melodious, merry heart
New, non understanding heart
Observing, obstinate, overflowing heart
Perverse, pierced, praising, proud, pure heart
Receiving, rejoicing, repentant, restless heart
Sorrowful, steadfast, stony, stubborn, swayed heart
Tender, tested, trembling, true heart
Uncircumcised, understanding, unfeeling, united, upright heart
Weak, whole, wicked, willing, wise, worshiping heart
Yearning heart
There’s more to that list!  But here are a few  more …
Heart that is not haughty – Ps. 131:1
Heart God directs – Pro. 21:1
Heart reveals the man – Pro. 27:19
Hearts God sees – I Sam. 16:7
Hearts live forever – Ps. 22:26
His yearning heart for me – Is. 63:15
God judges mind and heart- Jer. 11:20
God’s laws in our heart – Heb. 10:16
God’s love in our hearts – Rom. 5:5
A heart to know God – Jer. 24:7
God is greater than my heart – I John 3:17-21
A day of vengeance in my heart – Is. 63:4 (ESV)
A people in whose heart is My law – Is. 51:7
Say in your heart – Is. 47:8, 10; 49:21
Lay these things in your heart – Is. 47:7
Hearts far from Me – Is. 29:13 (ESV)
In his heart to destroy – Is. 10:7 (ESV)
I saw a sign in a secular store:  “Follow your heart … it’s the only compass you need.”  As soon as I saw the sign I said to the friend with me, “What does that make you think of? The scripture says that the heart is deceitfully wicked!”  Then I went to Hobby Lobby and saw a sign: “Bind my wandering heart to Thee.”  Much better!!
So, where is your heart?  What is the condition of your heart?
Search me, O God, and know my heart … ” Psalm 139:23
Song:
Give me a love that knows no ill,
Give me the grace to do Thy will;
Pardon and cleanse this soul of mine,
Give me a heart like Thine.
Come to my soul, blessed Jesus,
Hear me! O Savior divine!
Open the fountain and cleanse me,
Give me a heart like Thine.

Billows

billows

Billows.  It’s not a word used very often in these days.  For the last several months I have been posting a hymn nearly every day on Facebook and in so doing I have noticed the word “billows” used quite often.  Here are some of the quotes …

“He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey …” (Love Lifted Me)

“Tho clouds may gather in the sky and billows round me roll, however dark the world may be I’ve sunlight in my soul.” (Sunlight)

“Never mind the tossing billows, take my hand & trust in Me.” (I Will Pilot Thee)

“There’s a deep settled peace in my soul (2x), tho the billows of sin o’er me roll, He abides, Christ abides”!   (Hidden Peace)

“Sweep over my spirit forever I pray, in fathomless billows of love”. (chorus)

“…floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll …” (Since Jesus Came Into My Heart)

“We have an anchor that keeps the soul, steadfast and sure as the billows roll” (We Have An Anchor)

“How often when trials like sea billows roll …” (Hiding in Thee)

“Tho billows roll, He keeps my soul …” (My Heavenly Father Watches Over Me)

“Master, the tempest is raging the billows are tossing high” (Master the Tempest is Raging)

“Winds of temptation and billows of woe …” (Throw Out the Lifeline)

“When sorrows like sea billows roll …” (It is Well With My Soul)

So, what is/are billows?  The dictionary says, “a great wave or surge of the sea; any surging mass”.  I picture a tsunami … a massive wave coming straight for me.  In one sense it can bring terror but in a positive sense it speaks to me of the overwhelming presence and peace of Jesus!

Picture in your mind that you are standing on the beach.  You’ve just heard the report that a tsunami is coming straight for you and there is no time to run.  But look again … it is not a raging sea to devour you but a great wave of His peace that will overwhelm you in supernatural waves!

Read the above words again with that picture in mind.  A chorus I sing OFTEN … “Peace, peace, wonderful peace, coming down from the Father above.  Sweep over my spirit forever I pray, in fathomless billows of love.”  WOW!   Fathomless.  Billows.  Love.

Fathomless … something I cannot imagine.  Impossible to imagine.  Incomprehensible.  Unending.

Billows … magnificent waves surging over me.

Love … and peace and joy immersing me.  The waves coming to overwhelm you are waves of His peace and love … not terror.

Don’t fear.  Trust Him!  His love will overwhelm you!

WOW!

Spit Balls and Mud Pies

Mud Pies 02

How many times as a parent have you said, “Don’t spit!” and “don’t play in the mud!”? I’m smiling because I’ve said that SO many times!
So how does Jesus get away with it?  I suppose because He’s God for one thing!  But let’s put that aside for a few minutes . . . what would you do if the preacher, or anyone for that matter, came up to you, spat in his hand, pick up a little dirt, made a mud pie and put it on your eyes?  But then, if you were blind, I guess you wouldn’t know, right?  Except all those around you would be gagging. (John 9:1-7).
Where was the health department?
Here’s another one . . . some people bring a man to Jesus who was deaf and could hardly talk and these friends beg Jesus to place His hand on the man.  That’s safe!  But what does Jesus do?  He takes him away from the crowd, puts His fingers in the man’s ears.  Then He spits and touches the man’s tongue!  Huh?  “Father, I want my healing but do I want it that much to have the preacher man do THAT to me?” (Mark 7:31-35).
OK – one more . . . Jesus is coming into Bethsaida and some people bring a blind man to Him again begging Jesus to touch him.  Interestingly Jesus took him by the hand and led him outside the village.  Once again, Jesus spits on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him.  (Mark 8:22-26).
We’ve seen some bizarre things in the church world through the years but this takes the cake.  I’ve never seen this but I can’t say I’m sorry.
However, in each case healing came but why was the spitting necessary and is it to be done today!  Oh my, I hope not – unless Jesus comes down in the flesh to do it!
Maybe Jesus wanted variety.  Maybe He wanted to show that He was not locked into any “regular” way of doing things.  Heaven help us . . . we don’t need preachers going around today spitting on us!
Do we want our miracles in neat boxes, clean, uncluttered and sophisticated?  Or are we willing to say, “Father, I’m in need.  I must have You in any way, any form – You order it!”
We can know that Jesus KNEW what to do in each case.  At times He simply spoke and miracles were done.  He touched lepers (another thing that simply wasn’t done) and healed them.
I just hope that I don’t see any advertisement for “bottles of Jesus’ spit” or “mud pies made by Jesus”!

“Please, God!” or Pleasing God

Pleasing-God

One of the first things we teach our children is to say “please” and “thank you”.  We want them to be polite, gracious and thankful … among other things!  However, there are times when it backfires!
 
We have probably all seen or experienced a child who wants something, or to go somewhere and the parent says “no” or “wait until …”.  But children don’t want to wait.  They want what they want NOW!  They beg.  They plead.  They stomp their little feet.  They pout.  They at times even resort to “Please, please, PLEASE”.  Or is that teenagers??  Oh well!
 
Demanding, even pleading with “please” doesn’t mean we get what we want when we want it.
 
How many times do we get down on our knees and think by our begging God He will answer our prayers?  “PLEASE God, heal me!”  “PLEASE God, get me out of this mess!”  Or maybe you are praying for another but it gets down to almost a demanding tone … “PLEASE GOD! Hear me … answer me … do something to make this better …”
 
We want instant answers but seldom is God in the business of instant answers or giving us what we think we need.
 
Is our life full of demands on God or do we live a life that is pleasing to God?  Ouch.  There is the difference.
 
There is a little phrase in the book of Esther that has always struck me and it is used by Esther six times, “if it please the king” and another time “if I am pleasing in his eyes”.
 
Her desire was not to demand attention by the king but to please him.  I’m thinking that was not always convenient for her or even pleasing to her!  She pleased him sufficiently that the king chose her as the winner of the coveted “Queen” crown out of the year long beauty pageant.  I hardly think it was all fun.  A year of being scrubbed and oiled.  Dabbed with perfumes (hope they didn’t give her headaches like some perfumes do to me!) Given beautiful and expensive clothes to wear (that’s not bad and probably came with matching shoes!) But she had no control over who she was or wanted to be.  She was “taken” out of the life she knew to be thrust into the lustful king’s household.
 
But she submitted!  She was prepared to be presented.  I love her attitude.  It was not “what can I get for myself” but when it was her time to go to the king she could have asked for anything she wanted but she sought counsel from one who knew what the king liked!
 
I want you to think in a different way for just a few minutes of the king and Esther.  Not their personage but their position.  Esther is us.  The king representing Jesus.  Again, we know the king was not a righteous man so I’m just looking at the position he held as king.
 
How do you think the king would have responded if Esther had gone before him all puffed up, prideful, demanding, arrogant, stuck up and cold?  Nope, she would have been rejected.  Remember the king is king!  He would not even have to speak to have her head taken off!  His word was law.
 
How did Esther treat the king?  With honor.  Respect.  Obedience.  Submission.  Confidence.  Loyalty.   Courage.
 
Her life revolved around pleasing him.  We know the story and even when it came time to put herself in danger to plead for her people’s lives she did it in a way that brought dignity to him.  She did not accuse him of wrong doing but pointed out the wrong of others.
 
She knew that going before the king without being called was the most dangerous thing she could possibly do.  So she prepared herself and asked those around her to do the same.  Then she put on her best clothes and stood before the king, I believe in humility and beauty.  The king was smitten with her and accepted her intrusion.  Even then she honored him with catering to his desires not her own until the time was right to present her request.
 
God honored her then and through the king gave her the request she desired.
 
It boils down to this … how are you treating God?  Is your prayer time spent in demanding God answer your prayers?  Or do you spend time, and your life, in seeking to please Him?  There is a HUGE difference!  
 
Are you honoring God with your life?  Are you submitted to His will even when it differs from yours?  Are you obedient to His Word?  Are you loyal to His ways and thoughts?
 
Final question … are you a PLEASE, GOD!!! or are you PLEASING GOD person?