Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

My Locust Years

I just realized that it has been 5 years since my last post on this blog. Where did the time go? What have I done for my Lord and Savior during that time?

My first reaction of this realization is shame. How can I call myself a writer when I have written very little during the past 5 years?

Then God reminded me of the following …

In September 2011, my mom had Guillian Barre, and I became her full-time caregiver. Over the next year and a half, she learned to walk again, but fell and broke a hip and fractured a vertebra in her back. In 2014, my mother-in-law’s house was destroyed by a tornado and we had a full-time guest in the early stages of dementia. Though she was eventually able to return home, our life was never the same again. Last August, while she was once again living with us, God blessed me and my husband by allowing us to care for her in her final days and to be with her as she peacefully entered God’s presence. Meanwhile, my mother shows symptoms of dementia. For now, she continues to live at her house, but my sister and I are often overwhelmed with the demands of meeting all her needs.

He whispered to my heart this morning, “While you may not have written much during this period, you were serving a much greater purpose. You have honored your mother and mother-in-law. That has been my call on your life.”

Then He reminded me of this passage in Joel 2:25-27:

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm—
my great army that I sent among you.
 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
    and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
Then you will know that I am in Israel,
    that I am the Lord your God,
    and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.”

In one instant, the Lord my God took away my shame and humbled me with the knowledge that He is not finished with me yet. I believe 2017 is going to be a productive year as a writer, but should another disaster come my way, I will be obedient to His call on my life at that moment. And when my enemy appears in the form of a locust, I will quote this verse to him and send him on his way.

May God bless you and your family in 2017 with a productive year serving Him in whatever way He chooses to use you.


Read Full Post »

Freedom! It’s costly, painful, and often deadly.

American history books are filled with page after page of statistics recounting the high cost of war.

  • In the Revolutionary War, it is estimated that 25,324 lives were given for America to be free.
  • During the Civil War, 562,130 American lives were lost.
  • World War I records that over 116,000 died.
  • In World War II, more than 408,000 soldiers sacrificed their lives for freedom.
  • As I write this in 2004, we have lost more than 500 men and women in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
  • The total number of American lives lost in all wars, conflicts, and terrorist attacks far exceeds 1.2 million souls.

The price of freedom is never cheap.

Compare that to the cost of freedom for the Christian. Only one sacrifice was required. Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice, gave His life so we might be free from Satan and his demons.

So, why do so many Christians continue to live in bondage? Once Christ redeems us, Satan can’t do anything about our salvation, but he will do everything, within his limited power, to shackle us to a life of sin and defeat. Don’t expect to awaken one day to find that Satan has decided to leave you alone. He won’t give you up without a fight.

However, there is good news. While freedom may not come easy, it can be achieved. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has already won. With His death, burial, and resurrection, He defeated Satan once and forevermore. You do not have to fear; you do not have to doubt. The victory is HIS.

Moses once gave the Israelites explicit directions on how to approach war. Prior to the battle, the priests were to go before the people and give them this instruction: “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” (Deuteronomy 20:3-4)

The LORD your GOD is the one who fights for you and HE will give you victory.

Charles Spurgeon wrote,

Are you fighting with the adversary today? Are Satan, the world, and the flesh, all against you? Be not discouraged nor dismayed. Fight on! For God Himself is with you; Jehovah Nissi is your banner, and Jehovah Raphi is the healer of your wounds. Fear not, you shall overcome, for who can defeat Omnipotence? Fight on, ‘looking unto Jesus’; and though long and stern be the conflict, sweet will be the victory, and glorious the promised reward.
‘From strength to strength go on;
Wrestle, and fight, and pray,
Tread all the powers of darkness down,
And win the well-fought day.’ ”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Child of God, it’s time to FIGHT ON!

Read Full Post »

Fast Friday

Mark 2:20 – But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.

Tomorrow is Good Friday, the day we remember the death of JESUS, The One Sacrifice that set us free from sin and death! As you commemorate this day, consider a day of fasting and prayer.

The choice is entirely between you and God. Ask Him what you should do and obey.

It may not be 24-hours without nutrition. He may lead you to a fruit and juice fast or to fast from meat or sweets or something else. He may want you to fast from activities that draw you away from spending time with Him.

Whatever you decide to do, begin your fast by reading Isaiah 58.

If you need help knowing how to pray, two memorable “fast prayers” can be found in Daniel 9:1-19 and Nehemiah 1:4-11.

Just remember –
But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:17-18)

Read Full Post »

Ephesians 4:14-16
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

I watch the towering pines around my home sway with the wind. Yet, they are not moved. They are grounded to earth by a deep root system that fortifies them against the persistent breeze.

So it should be with a Christian. As the world is tossed to and fro by false teachers, we remain grounded in Christ Jesus our Lord who builds us up and strengthens us in the faith. We are not shifted here and there by teachings that do not align with scripture. We hold to the truth of His Word. We drink it in as nourishment to our souls. Rooted and established in love, we allow Christ to grow us into His image.

But is that enough? Should we be content with our own salvation and spiritual growth while others around us are led into the darkness by the enemy’s lies and deceit? No! The Bible tells us clearly that we are to “speak the truth in love” and do the work that Christ has given us to do.

For me, that work is writing, and I’m ashamed to admit that in this area of service I’m not doing my part. I’ve allowed the winds of change to shift my priorities, and instead of being grounded to Him, I’m like Solomon chasing after the wind—spending my energy and time on things that do not make a difference for the Kingdom.

God has given me a gift. I am a teacher of truth through the ministry of my pen. If I neglect that gift, it will be like a diseased pine slowly rotting away, and one day it will cease to exist. When I’m gone from this world, will I leave a legacy of truth for others to follow? Or will I leave behind empty pages, pits of darkness that allow them to be led astray by false teachers?

Today, I recommit to do my part in spreading His Word through the winds of Truth.

How about you?
What gift has God imparted to you?
Are you using it for His glory and to grow His Kingdom?

Let’s all do our part to spread His Word by whatever means and gift possible!

Other Scriptures:
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:16-21

Read Full Post »

“Speak, for you servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10b

Recently, I taught a Sunday School lesson based on 1 Samuel 3. I invite you to join me in discovering the importance of hearing from God through the life of His servant, Samuel.

“In those days the word of the LORD was rare.” (1 Samuel 3:1b)
Was God’s Word rare because He wasn’t speaking? Or was it rare because they weren’t listening? Examine yourself. Is God’s Word rare in your life? In your home? In your family? In your church?

I have at least ten Bibles within easy reach at any given time. That does not include the nine versions on my PC. Yet for the past few years God’s Word was rare to my heart—not because God wasn’t speaking, but because I wasn’t listening. Sure, I picked a Bible up often and scanned the words written there, but I replaced in-depth Bible Study and quiet time with a mild interest in God’s Word. He longs for an intimate relationship with us. If we want the same, we must immerse ourselves in His Word. Make the Bible a cherished treasure in your home.

“Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.” (1 Samuel 3:7)

This young boy lived in the tabernacle—24 hours a day, seven days a week—yet he did not recognize God’s voice. Why do you think that was? Samuel served God. He worshipped Him. He ministered before Him. He knew about God, yet He did not know God.

Each week our churches are filled with people who serve God, who teach and preach, and sing praises to Him, yet many of these people don’t really know Him. They know about God, but they have not come to the realization that they need a Savior, and therefore many do not have a personal relationship with Him.

How about you? Do you truly know God? Do you have an intimate relationship with Him? If you are not hearing from God, if you do not recognize His voice when He calls your name, perhaps you need to examine where you stand with Him. Are you truly saved? If you have doubts and want to be sure, this article may help: How to be Sure of Your Salvation.

The LORD called Samuel, a mere child.

Why did God call a child? Is it that this child’s heart was more open to God’s message? Or were the adults not listening? Or was their sin so vile that God refused to speak to them? There is a note in my Bible: “God’s chain of command is based on faith, not on age or position. In finding faithful followers, God may use unexpected channels. Be prepared for the Lord to work at any place, at any time, and through anyone He chooses.”

Samuel’s heart had been prepared from birth for this moment, for God’s message.

Hannah’s words recorded in 1 Samuel 1:28: “So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.“
1 Samuel 2:18: “Samuel was ministering before the LORD . . .”
1 Samuel 2:26: “And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men.”
1 Samuel 3:1: “The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli.”

In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Moses tells the people . . .
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

How do you measure up according to these commandments? Are you preparing your children’s hearts so that they will recognize God’s voice when He calls them? Are you impressing God’s Word on your children every day? Do you talk about the Bible when you sit at home? Do you share God’s message with them as you walk or ride through your daily routines? Do you text them often with special Words from God? If you want your child to grow up to be the Samuel of this generation, you need to start at birth. Dedicate them to the Lord and don’t ever stop training them in the way they should go.

If you do this, you can claim the promise in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

God called Samuel by name.
Do you believe that God still calls His children by name? Jesus used the analogy of a shepherd and sheep in John 10:1-18 to indicate that YES, He still calls us by name . . .

“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

When was the last time you heard Him call your name?

Lastly, The Word of the LORD was cherished by Samuel.

“The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.” (1 Samuel 3:19)

Isn’t that a beautiful depiction of God’s desire for us? Oh that we’d never let God’s Words fall to the ground! Matthew Henry wrote, “We may expect that God will speak to us, when we set ourselves to hearken to what he says. When we come to read the word of God, and to attend on the preaching of it, we should come thus disposed, submitting ourselves to the commanding light and power of it.”

The commanding light and power of God’s Word. Do you long for it? Do you set yourself to hearken to what God says? Do you truly treasure His Word? In Habakkuk 2:1 we find this beautiful word picture: “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.”

Will you stand on the rampart today? Will you wait in eager expectation for God to speak to you?

If so, approach God’s throne of grace today and say to Him, “Lord, I’m here to hear!”

Then you may hear Him say, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” Isaiah 30:21

Read Full Post »

There are many stages of grief: anger, regret, despair, acceptance.

Months after losing my dad, I hadn’t experienced any of those. Instead, I was stuck in Dream State—that place where the great cheater death is not allowed. I couldn’t stay forever, I couldn’t turn back time, but I couldn’t move forward either.

My head said, “Dad’s so much better off. No pain or meds. No more trips to the ER.”

But my heart said, “I don’t care. I want my daddy.”

So I journeyed to places where Dad still existed. I clung to the memory of the last time I saw him. I’m not even sure why he came to visit that day, but I’m so glad he did. My Heavenly Father blessed me with one last moment, one last kiss, and one last I love you. Those ‘one lasts’ are tucked safely in my heart and mind for a lifetime.

Dream state is a normal reaction to death. I’d been there before when my brother was snatched from us leaving a massive void that I thought nothing and no one could fill. I was wrong. God poured Himself into that abyss and eased the heartache. I knew my Heavenly Father would do it again. But when?

From my valley I prayed, “Lord, please tell me this isn’t true. Tell me I’ll see Dad again.” And I waited. And waited.

Eventually I moved forward—gradually—but I moved, and my heart connected with my head. My dad was free. He’d moved on. And now he’s strutting streets of gold without a walker, his back free of pain. He’s walking and talking with Jesus. Can I really be selfish enough to wish him back here? No, I can’t.

Revelation 21:4 says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” God will return and He Himself will wipe the tears from our eyes.

In the meantime, I’ll allow my Heavenly Father to pour His soothing potion of comfort into my soul, and I’ll survive, leaving Dream State behind because I have hope.

There is a place where there is no death.

There is a future.

There is life.

There is truth.

And His name is Jesus.

The Right Choice

To seek Your peace and comfort, that is Your desire and will.
Yet I buried my heart in grief, refusing to listen or be healed.

You persistently call to my spirit, “Child, meet with me today.”
For the first time in ages I answered, “What is it You long to say?”

Your voice thundered around me. I couldn’t help but hear.
You asked, “Who am I to you, Child?” I responded without fear.

“Lord, I do not know the answer. I’m only human and bound by space.”
You responded, “That’s your decision. One that you alone chose to make.

“I’ve entreated your attention. I’ve pleaded for an honest discourse.
But you closed your ears to Me, and instead stayed this dangerous course.

“So, I’ll ask again now that you’re listening. Who do you say that I am?
Am I God or only human? Am I Truth or am I a scam?

“Only you can form an opinion. You can’t base it on another’s view.
Child, Who do you say that I am? I’m waiting. The next step is up to you.”

I bowed my heart full of sorrow. Tears of regret trailed down my face.
I had no answer to give Him. That was my disgrace.

But in brokenness I felt His presence as He whispered in my ear.
“Has it been so long that you’ve forgotten? I’m still here, Child. Can’t you hear?

“I’m still the Alpha and Omega, The Beginning and the End.
I’m the One Who gave you life, and I can revive your spirit again.

“Will you accept My invitation? Or will you choose to remain behind?
Will you seek the truth found in Me? Or will you believe a lie?”

“Abba Father,” I cried in that moment. “I’m nothing without Thee.
Please forgive my distance. In You alone will I find sweet relief.”

I opened Your Word before me, and in expectation of Your voice,
I read and listened in obedience, and quickly saw I’d made the right choice.

“You are my God, my Savior. You’re the Rock on which I stand.
My Deliverer and Redeemer. The Holy One. The Great I Am.

“You are my strength and fortress. The shield in which I abide.
You are The One Great Shepherd. My ever-present guide.

“You are flawless in perfection. Pure. And everything good.
You are my help and comfort. These truths I find in Your Word.

“Today I choose to accept them, for Your Bread is life to me.
Forgive me, precious Savior, and bind my heart always to Thee.”

Then I felt you draw near me. I knew You’d heard my plea.
You cut the cords that detained me, and by Your grace set me free.

“Now, hold me ever closer. Sustain me by Your side.
Shine Your presence on me. Flood my soul with Your Light.

“Thank You for Your great mercy. For Your love on all You have made.
For faithfulness to Your promises, and for being righteous in all Your ways.

“If I live to be a hundred, or leave this earth in a breath or two,
I’ll rejoice in this moment forever, when I called on You in truth.”

And in my spirit You answered. I have not doubt I heard Your voice.
Clearly You responded, “Welcome back, Child. Today, you made the right choice.”

Read Full Post »

I recently spent a few minutes on an online forum where someone posted a message that he was glad Christians were finally being silenced. While my first instinct was outrage, heartache quickly followed because I know he’s right.

Unfortunately, the government is not alone in the threat to our freedom of speech. Too often, Christians remain silent because taking a stand costs us something. Are we apprehensive that we’ll be seen as divisive if we speak our minds? Or do we worry that we’ll hurt someone’s feelings? Or is it simply complacency? I fear it’s the latter.

The lyrics of The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel echoes in my ears everyday. While these men may not be prophets, their words are definitely prophetic. We are living in a day and time when our silence has grown into a cancer allowing the enemy to corrupt our children with a worldview that opposes anything to do with Christianity. The Word of God has become silent raindrops echoing through the halls of our schools by a government intent on removing all mention of God from every public building and venue.

To quote famous words from the movie Independence Day—“We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight!”

It is time for Christians to take a stand. Share God’s Word that we might teach them. Use His arms of love that we might reach them.

Let’s make some noise!

Read Full Post »