Vulnerability

Vulnerability

I guess I got a little ticked the other day when on Facebook I saw an article (which I did NOT read!) that was saying God was a woman abuser because He did not get Mary’s OK, did not get her permission, to impregnate her.

HELLO!!!

Perhaps that person has never read Luke’s gospel!  When the angel appeared to Mary and announced to her that she had been chosen by God, Mary’s response was “…let it be to me according to your word.”  In my understanding that is a resounding “YES, LORD!”

Let’s back up … God is all knowing.  I believe He had prepared Mary for this encounter.  I don’t believe God was up in heaven wearing out a path in the flowers, wringing His hands and thinking, “Oh, who am I going to choose?  Who would be willing?  Who has a clean record? Who has a pure heart? Oh me, oh my … what am I going to do?”

No, I think (Connie speaking here) that Mary had a heart after God.  I think that as her brothers (my scenario) were studying with the rabbi, as her daddy with other fathers were perhaps discussing scripture over the dinner table that Mary had her antennas up, was listening and absorbing all she could of the scriptures and the Promised Messiah.  I think she was LOOKING for Him.  Maybe she was a little like a later Mary who just wanted to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen rather than helping in the kitchen!

God was not going to just willy-nilly pick any young girl to mother His only Son!  No, He chose Mary.  Luke 1:28 says she was “favored” and that the
Lord is with you”.  Verse 30, “you have found favor with God”.  

The angel then goes on to tell her she would “conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High …”

Mary’s only concern and question was “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

The angel responded, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy — the Son of God.”

Now here’s Mary’s chance!  She could have said, “No way!  That is just impossible!  Even if this could happen Joseph won’t believe me! I will be put to death! Perchance if I should say, “go ahead, God!”  I don’t know that  I want to live a lifetime of people whispering behind my back.  Just think of the gossip!  NO ONE will believe that I was a virgin … I will be ostracized by my family”, etc.

Did Mary respond that way?  NO!  As stated above she said, “be it unto me!”  She gave permission!  She was vulnerable!  Look at the definition of vulnerability …  capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt; open to moral attack, criticism.

She was willing to be ridiculed, criticized, laughed at, rejected and even stoned.

Which brings me to my additional point here … how vulnerable am I?  How vulnerable are you?

What if God asked you to do something that you thought was impossible?  Maybe it isn’t even something impossible but too far fetched!  Maybe you feel incapable or inadequate.  Perhaps you think He is asking just a little too much of you.  Your family and friends might think you a bit too daring or silly.  Are you willing to face prejudice, rejection or even failure?  Are you willing to be laughed at, gossiped about or criticized?

What is He asking of you?  What is He asking of me?

Do I/you have the gumption to be totally vulnerable?

Time

Time

I have a friend in her 80’s who recently told her family there was nothing she needed for Christmas but she would like their time.  So one evening her family came brought dinner and spent time with mom.  They also decorated her house for Christmas and promised to take the decorations down after Christmas.  Now that’s the kind of present I would like!

How often I’ve said to my husband, “I don’t need another sweater, blouse or kitchen trinket but I would like time to just “veg” with the family.”

That got me thinking … how does Jesus feel?  He also wants MY time.  Time to sit at His feet and fellowship with Him.

So often our times with Him are hurried, we throw up our prayers (which are more like “do this”, “I need this”, “heal so & so”) rather than sitting at His feet and listening to Him and worshiping Him.  No agenda.  No list.  Just worship.  I wonder, does He miss us?

Jesus won’t come down and bop us on the head and say, “SIT WITH ME A WHILE!”.  No, it’s our choice … it should be our longing.  Fellowship with Him!

I know how busy folks are today … but think priorities … Jesus and time with Him MUST be first!

I post a hymn every day on Facebook and today’s hymn was …

SITTING AT THE FEET OF JESUS

Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Oh, what words I hear Him say!
Happy place! So near, so precious!
May it find me there each day;
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I would look upon the past;
For His love has been so gracious,
It has won my heart at last.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Where can mortal be more blest?
There I lay my sins and sorrows,
And, when weary, find sweet rest;
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
There I love to weep and pray;
While I from His fullness gather
Grace and comfort every day.

Bless me, O my Savior, bless me,
As I sit low at Thy feet;
Oh, look down in love upon me,
Let me see Thy face so sweet;
Give me, Lord, the mind of Jesus,
Keep me holy as He is;
May I prove I’ve been with Jesus,
Who is all my righteousness.

Another hymn comes to mind just now  … “Friendship with Jesus! Fellowship divine! Oh, what blessed, sweet communion! Jesus is a Friend of mine.”

Jesus first, others second.

Today’s families are scattered, many are broken, children are divided between parents and fellowship is denied.

Here is a challenge for you today … think of someone who would like to see you and make a visit.  Change your schedule. Family member, single mother/father, a lonely shut-in, a neighbor who needs encouragement, a care facility … add them to your time … but Jesus first!

Life Rules

life rules

A couple weeks before my birthday I began to pray about the future and in doing so looking back to the past as well.  I asked the Lord for three Life Rules to go forward.  He had already spoken to me several months ago about “Choose Joy” so I had one already!  As I sat and meditated three came to me rather quickly and I wrote them down and over the next few days many more started coming to me.

Here’s my list and you can add your own …

LIFE RULES

LOVE Jesus

Choose joy

Show grace

Live truth

Have mercy

Serve others

Pray consistently

Express Thankfulness

Be humble

Study the Word

Remain faithful

Express kindness

Always be grateful

Speak wisely

Write thoughtfully

Be still

Quietly listen

Act courageously

Smell the roses

Wait patiently

Fear God

Obey His commands

Sleep well

Give largely

Eat sparingly

Walk daily

Think positively

Sing daily

Encourage others

Praise continually

TRUST Him

I know the list could go on and on and I decided to quit before any more came to me!  I would be interested in what you add!

Here’s the point … there is SO much negativity around us.  We can all complain about things.  I am often reminded of how the children of Israel complained in the wilderness and the punishment they received because of it!  After ALL God had done for them … they still complained.  I know I have been guilty of the same and I try to quickly ask His forgiveness.

I do NOT want to be a complainer or a “whiner”.  When my children were little and they would begin to whine, I would ask them, “Are you a member of the Whiner family?”  (Now please forgive me if anyone reading this has the last name of “Whiner”!  I hope you know I do not want to be offensive!)

We need to develop a spirit of thankfulness instead of always looking for the negative.

I know I will be continually challenged on this!  So Connie, listen up … CHOOSE JOY and remember my list of Life Rules!

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.