The Day You Were Born

birthday

“Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not” Isaiah 44:2

Yesterday, I celebrated 44 years of life. I can’t help to think what my life would have been had I not found Christ. Last week I attended a conference. I was reminded and deeply thankful to the Lord because he not only saved me from sin and eternal destruction but he saved me from my very self. I was without light and God in the world. I was carried away with the flow and tides of the world’s ways and it’s philosophies. I can’t imagine where I would have eventually ended up had Jesus not intervened to snatch me out of it all.

We have a team visiting from California and they blessed me tremendously. A shopping spree and delightful pastries was God’s way of reminding me I am his little girl and he wanted to make sure to remind me of His great love for me. I received so many kind words of blessing and love from some unexpected people. Again, God showing me how our lives bless the lives of others in unforeseen ways.

I am so thankful that God surrounded me with people to show me His great love and kindness. He truly wants to be so personal with us. I read this verse this morning that is the greatest gift from Him. I hope it will bless your heart today as it has blessed mine.

“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:18-19

Healing Hearts

healed

 

I just got back from an awesome retreat. It was a gathering of pastor’s wives who have already completed a study course through Healing Hearts. Imagine being healed from painful events in your childhood or being reassured that your sins are forgiven. So much of what we do (or don’t do) is influenced by our upbringing. Although God had healed my heart of many things such as: growing up without a father and enduring bitterness from my mother, God uniquely used this study to reveal something unknown to me.

 

After the death of my son last year and went through feelings of betrayal by God. I started to lash out at my husband, blaming him for all my frustrations and was short on patience with my toddler. It became chronic and upsetting since I didn’t know what was wrong. I really didn’t like who I was becoming. Through the study I had harbored feelings against God for taking Isaac home.

 

I was so broken to realize I was harboring such feelings toward God; whom I love so deeply. It was a healing time the God used to show me the root of my bitter ness-sin. Through confessing those dreadful feelings and asking the Lord to cleanse my heart and renew my mind, He graciously did so.

 

I can’t say enough about this resource for any woman who wants to continue in her walk of spiritual growth and healing from painful experiences in life. All of the women in the retreat have been changed through the study and it was evident by the genuine fellowship we shared together.

 

If you are interested in this online course, please go to the following website: www.healinghearts.org What is so wonderful is that it is completely confidential and you have another believer guide you through the study and is committed to pray for you and encourage you along the way.

 

Thankful to the one who heals all our hearts.

 

Till next time.

Walking in the Midst of the Fire

fire

It was a year ago, March 5, that I had to bury Isaac, my newborn son. It seems so long ago. I was meditating on my experience this morning. I was asking God to not let me forget what I learned about Him through my little baby.

 

When we go through a severe trial, the question comes: “Where is God?” Somehow, we have bought Satan’s presupposition “If God is good then nothing bad should happen to you”. If we buy into that lie then it leads us to conclude: “If something bad happens then God is not good or He isn’t present.” I want to address this in my post today.

 

You might wonder, “Where was God when your baby was in NICU struggling to live?” Isaac had to go on dialysis which was $600.00 a day. After a doctor friend discovered Isaac caught pneumonia on day eight of life the hospital covered the cost of dialysis. When we needed a neonatal catheter, which were not available in the country where we serve as missionaries, a couple that had imported one for their son were willing to donate it. God was showing us there was no need that He could not meet. As we stared at the huge medical bill after Isaac died, God began to pay that bill through many of our friends and family members without our prompting.

 

After Isaac departed to be with the Lord, his body was resting at the funeral home awaiting burial. The wife of the funeral home owner was barren. The couple shared with us how having Isaac in their home brought such peace and blessing. Their business had improved while Isaac was there. A very worldly husband of a lady who attends our church stood by our side to make all the funeral arrangements. He had been hardened toward Christianity but was moved with compassion to help us. A couple who were on the verge of divorcing, upon hearing about our severe trial, decided to persevere and restore their marriage. God moved in the hearts of many because of Isaac’s life.

 

On the day of the funeral, we held a memorial service at our small community church. I happen to order a flower arrangement of all white flowers. I was so touched when a member of our church brought in another arrangement almost identical to the one I purchased. God was showing me He was there and cared about those delicate details. God was there when I delivered the eulogy of my dear baby Isaac. I was enabled to deliver the eulogy with strength, love, tenderness and poise. In the culture where we live, the father carries the casket but God gave me the strength and honor to carry the casket with him. This is something unheard of here. Mothers are devastated and shattered at the funerals of loved ones, particularly children. God’s strength was seen as I helped carry my son’s casket.

 

There were not a few women who told me that they had never seen such strength in a woman. They commented that if it were them they would have been destroyed. They couldn’t figure out the joy that I radiated when they themselves where stricken with grief. I realized that Jesus was walking with me through the midst of the fire just as Daniel was thrown into the fiery furnace and he was un-singed.

 

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego emerged from the fire, Nebuchadnezzar spoke in Daniel 3:29. He said, “There is no other God that can deliver after this sort”.

 

I recall I had been given a word of encouragement from a dear friend in Christ. Before burying Isaac, he told me that my grief would last 40 days. I thought it was a joke and laughed thinking about how impossible that is. The death of a child is horrendous. It brings unspeakable grief. I recall in the twilight hours after Isaacs funeral that these words came to my heart, “It is finished.” The next day I was perplexed cause I didn’t experience the grief I had just one day prior. My husband helped me remember what my friend said about the forty days. From the day I want into the hospital until the day of his funeral were forty days exactly. God delivered me. I can truly say, “There is no other God that can deliver after this sort.” I may be sad at times but I am no longer engulfed by it.

 

You may be walking in the midst of the fire. Know that the Lord Jesus Christ is standing with you. He will deliver you. God is using this for His glory and none of it is in vain. May others say of you, “Blessed be your God who delivered you because you trusted him and yielded your body, that you might not serve nor worship any god, except your own God.” Dan 3:28

 

“Blessed is the one whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca (tears) make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.” Psalm 84:5-6

 

Till next time beloved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Word Fitly Spoken

apples of gold

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Proverbs 25:11

I can’t believe how long it has been since my last post. So many things have occurred since then. I had been traveling and we had no internet service where I live. Keeping up with a toddler doesn’t leave much for inspiring posts. Not to mention, after so much time I thought “maybe it doesn’t really matter anymore”. In fact, it’s is time to renew my domain name and I pretty much though maybe it’s time to let the blog go. I was a bit discouraged over not having time to write nor have something fresh to say. I think they call that “writers block”.

 

I was just contemplating not renewing my domain name when I received the most encouraging email. A darling sister, who I have never met, told me to keep writing and sharing what God has done in my life. It was God’s personal word and encouragement to me. It’s so amazing how God is so detailed and personal in our lives. This woman didn’t have any idea what I was contemplating and yet God used her to send me an email that He knew I needed to inspire me to continue on.

 

I want to encourage you today. Maybe there is someone you are thinking about or you have some word of encouragement that God has put on your heart for someone. It could be a waitress, a boss, a relative or a co-worker who needs to hear the words of comfort or encouragement that God has given you. Tell them, make the call, send the email, write the note and along the way you find God refreshing you.

 

Proverbs 11:25

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Till next time.

Citizenship

forest

Philipians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Ever since I can remember, I have always been intrigued with the plight of the Jewish people during WWII. I remember watching the documentaries on the labor camps and how they struggled to stay alive. They helped one another even though they were strangers. It was enough to know they were fellow Jews. The oppression was fierce but the unity among them was greater. Nothing could strip them of their identification as Jews even though their oppressor tried. He tried over six million times but each one of them died as being identified as one who belonged to the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.

I just watched a film last night called Defiance.  It is an unbelievable true story. It’s practically a modern version about Joshua and what he went through in leading the nation of Israel to Canaan.

The year is 1941, and the setting is Nazi-occupied Belarus. The Final Solution is in full effect, and the Jews of Eastern Europe are being slaughtered. Three brothers have miraculously managed to escape into the dense surrounding forest. Having played in these woods since childhood, the brothers have a distinct advantage over their adversaries, and soon decide that simply surviving is not enough. In order to make a difference, they must take action, but in order to take action they will need support. As whispers of their bravery take wind, others like them appear determined to lay their lives on the line for the cause of freedom. Tuvia has become the de facto leader of the group, but he’s still somewhat reluctant to take on such a heavy responsibility.  With winter setting in, everyone works to create a functioning community that will help them endure the frigid months that lie ahead. I won’t tell you how it ends because I hope you will see the movie yourself.

If you have committed to following Christ and you are identified as being one of His, you are in a war. Tuvia wasn’t perfect and he never expected to be used of God to lead his people through the forests of Belarus. Our Pastors are the Joshua’s and Tuvia’s to lead His people. They aren’t perfect and maybe didn’t even want the job. Joshua was Moses’s assistant but after Moses died he was needed to continue the plight.

I remember in the movie Tuvia exhorted the members in the forest community that everyone needed to work without exception. Everyone was needed and they needed to work together to survive. Several times they had to flee because the enemy was approaching. They had to grab all their necessities and relocate and build once again their log cabins. What a metaphor of the Christian life. If we aren’t busy working for the Lord we are a hindrance to the work. Not everyone is called to go to the front lines like street evangelism but kid’s need to be taught, the church needs to be cleaned and the wounded need to be greeted when they walk through the door. To carry out the great commission isn’t the job of one man. If you aren’t busy serving in the Lord’s work; you or someone could become a spiritual casualty.

The journey to Canaan for the Israelites wasn’t a smooth one, that is why God consistently God told the people Be strong and very courageous. The people in the forests of Belarus were struggling daily to get to rest and freedom. We too have to understand we have enemies on every side and there is a great struggle to make it to the end. Today is a reminder to encourage your pastor and ask him how you can be used in the work; our plight to our promised land where Christ dwells and is waiting to welcome us home.

There was a scene in the movie when a member of the “forest community” reminded the leader Tuvia that yes they needed to be strong but they needed something else…community. In the midst of defending themselves each day for survival they found time to commune together, enjoy wedding celebrations, babies being born and chess games hand carved from the trees they used to build cabins. No matter where we are, we are to find joys to refresh us to keep up the good fight. But, we should always have in the forefront of our minds that we are in a battle and this is not our home.

Smell the Lilies

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To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
 
I can’t believe it’s been a month and a half since I posted last. I have been thinking of you all. I have been so eager to post something encouraging or meaningful; just a little something to encourage you on your journey. 
 
Due to my son being ill and going into the hospital for a few days, I haven’t been able to write or post to the blog. Although, I felt this sort of pressure, almost a sense of failure for not writing. But, the events of life impeded me from being able to do so. Don’t you just get jostled when your plans get interrupted? I think those are the Lord’s “teaching moments”. He had to remind me “to every thing there is a season”. In our faced paced society our schedules and agenda’s rule the day. We don’t take time to take in the sunsets, smell the lilies. 
 
I have been studying the writings and educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason. She was a dear Christian sister, teacher and educator. She said this, “An education is a science of relations; to God, man (including ourselves) and to the world around us.” Her view of children and how they learn was forward thinking in her victorian era. When children were more seen rather than heard she stated that children are born persons that should be cherished and cultivated. Her motto is an education is: an atmosphere, a discipline, a life. There are many nuggets of wisdom that really renew our view of life and why we do what we do. 
 
Sometimes those detours in our schedules are reminders that our schedules should be our servants and not our masters. They are they to serve us in life but not to enslave us by stealing our enjoyments of the sunsets. Don’t worry if today you didn’t get to complete that project or deadline. Take a detour and smell the lilies. 
 
Until next time.

Bitter no more!

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“Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” Hebrews 12:15

I can’t think of any worse spiritual poison than bitterness. It’s literally a kill joy. I had been going through a bible study when the word diagnosed me as bitter. I didn’t even know it.

Reading God’s word is often like getting a check up at the doctor. Do you remember the last visit to the doctor you had? You went in confidently thinking that you would get a clean bill of health. Then, the test results came back “positive”. You have a response of confusion as you say to yourself, “But, I feel fine.”

Bitterness can be that subtle. We supposedly “feel fine”. Over the years of not forgiving that one person or persons it’s tentacles make their way into our hearts choking out things such as joy, peace and contentment. The symptoms have always been there but we just thought that those outbursts of anger or touchiness were just part of our personality. We had no idea that those symptoms were contusions on our hearts from roots of bitterness.

Once I recognized I had a root of bitterness, I had to discover who I was bitter toward. In praying to God about it He showed me I was bitter toward Him. It was a painful confession that I had to make. It’s such a terrible feeling to be bitter toward God when you love him so much. I felt a bitterness because my son had died. I didn’t realize feeling bitter distanced me from God. After all, how can you be close to someone you are bitter toward? My joy was gone.  I was touchy and irritable with everyone around me. It was miserable.

 I can’t say enough about God and how awesome he is. Yes, I tested positive for bitterness but God didn’t care about the diagnosis, He only cared about healing me.  Here is the treatment He gave me:

 

Ask God to examine your heart.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;

And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. Ps 139:23-24

I asked the Lord to show me the source of bitterness that I had.

 

Forgive the person that you should forgive.

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15

Not forgiving prevents us from receiving God’s forgiveness. I had to ask forgiveness from God for being bitter toward Him.

 

Turn from harboring your anger and resentment so that healing will come.

“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” Acts 3:19

After deciding to turn from my way of bitterness and unforgivness, I was made whole.

 

God healed me and took away the root of bitterness. There is now a peace flowing like a river in my soul. When we have a root of bitterness in our heart there is no room for love to flow. If you follow God’s steps toward healing, you can experience the peace that surpasses all understanding. God be with you today.

 

Psalm 32:3-5

When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.

For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah