Saturday, May 28, 2016

He Chose Me!

Hey Friend,

In a few months we will have the privilege of electing a president.  We may not like the choices, but yet we still get to choose.

Our choice involves a discriminatory evaluation of the candidates.  We will choose one above the other based on their political views, their personal character, their past performance, even on whether we like their clothes or their hair.  Out choice is all about the candidates.

And, what about me.  I can be fickle.  Depending on how my day is going or in which direction the breeze is blowing, I can change my mind.  If I'm tired and moody and read bits and bytes on the candidates, it can change or taint my view. My choices are also based upon the person that I am.  Some days I'm good, and some days...not so much.

Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Bible Theology describes the concept of "election" in this way:

"Those who are saved, the believers in Jesus Christ, are called "the elect (chosen)".  None who is ultimately redeemed can boast that they saved themselves or that they added anything to the salvation that they received through Jesus Christ."

It goes on to contrast human choice with God's choices:

"Since it is true that mere human choices are made according to what the person is, it goes without saying that God's choices are made in a accordance with who God is.  God's choices and decisions are fully consistent with his eternal wisdom, goodness, justice, fairness, and love.  Nothing that God chooses to do is mean-spirited, vindictive, or wrong.  God cannot act any other way than consistently with his eternal divine nature.  For this reason, human beings may trust God to do what is right, and our highest good is to choose the will of God for ourselves."

God is Love...His very nature is Loving...His choices are always in line with His character.

"He chose me , not because I am great, but because He is good."  (K. Balarie)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)

The Greek word for "chosen" here is "eklektos" which not only means elect, or chosen, it means "The Chosen One".  I believe that God is equating our being chosen by Him with Jesus Christ (The Chosen One).  Who am I to be put in the same category as Jesus himself??  Yet, God calls me His chosen one.

The words "special possession" are together in one Greek word "peripoiesis".  We are not just a possession...we are a Special Possession.  Jesus is described as the stone the builders cast aside, but the One who is ultimately the Cornerstone of our faith.  We are not just any possession, we are God's precious stone.

He chose me not because of something I did, but because of who He is.

This allows me to cast all the striving, earning, fear of disappointing, out the window.  He chooses (elects) me because of His great love and NOTHING will change that.  Nothing I can do can make Him love me more or less, because His very nature is Love and He cannot deny Himself.

God is immutable (unchanging). He has set His love upon me and this fact is unchangeable. 

What a reason to praise Him!!

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you for the good and loving God that you are.  I praise you that all your decisions are based upon you Holy character that you cannot deny.  How thankful I am that you are not like me.  Forgive me for my fickleness and align my choices with your will so that you can use me to bring you glory.  Thank you for loving me so much that you chose me...you call me Christ's sister/brother...you have set me apart as your special possession.  Help me to grasp this unfathomable love you have for me and to live like the loved one that I am.  Thank you for choosing me.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed...



ps. Check out these faces and lives that are being transformed:


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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Who is Waiting Upon Whom?

Hey Friend,

Thank you for bearing with me as I am totally off my writing schedule...Would you take a look at these faces that are beaming with smiles because their lives have been transformed by Jesus through the work of Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.?




In my work with the school and the foundation, there has been a lot of waiting involved.  Waiting as we went through the legal process of being incorporated.  Waiting, after putting together the application for 501c3 status, for the IRS to grant us approval.  Waiting for people's hearts to be softened to want to sponsor children...waiting, waiting, waiting.

My own "life scripture"  talks about my periods of waiting, through intense trials in my life, for God to hear my cry and rescue me:

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and be in awe and put their trust in the Lord.  (Psalm 40: 1-3)

Now, I confess, I didn't exactly wait patiently.  In fact, I was very often impatient while I waited.  But, the fact remains that God was faithful to rescue me when I waited upon Him.

Another verse we are quick to quote when someone is growing weary in the waiting process is Isaiah 40:31: (say this one with me...you know it)

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

What a beautiful and encouraging promise if we can just persevere, hang in there, and wait. 

Do you notice how the emphasis is always on us being diligent and waiting upon God?

What if we flipped this on its head? 

We think we've done well if we've waited weeks, or months, or even years...

What if we had been waiting since the beginning of time, and would still be waiting even in the end times?

That's exactly what God has been doing...waiting on mankind!!

In the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, we are told:

"Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God."  (Isaiah 30:18)

Isn't it interesting to read how the Lord is not waiting to chide us with, "What took you so long?"  No, He's waiting to show us mercy (also known as lovingkindness) and compassion.  Who does that?  Who waits patiently to be nice?  God doesn't get miffed if He's kept waiting for a long time...Wow!

And how does the Lord wait?  He is always on the ready...He's not far away and distant- having to jump on the Concord to catch a speedy flight to our side...no, He's always right there beside us, waiting for us to turn to Him. He is always present.

He who watches over Israel will neither slumber not sleep.  (Psalm 121:4)

In the Old Testament, we see a God who never slumbers, who is always "open" 24/7.  If we turn to Him in the wee and restless hours when we can't sleep - He's right there waiting on us.

Throughout the Old and New Testament, this amazingly patient triune God bids us to "Come"  over 1400 times.

Old and New Testaments record Him inviting us to "Ask"  over 700 times.

Even in the apocalyptic writing in Revelation, we find Jesus still waiting.  Unlike the FBI that busts down the door with gun cocked and ready, Jesus stands and waits.

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."  (Revelation 3:20)

The Alpha and the Omega, the Creator of the Universe, the One who has always been and always will be, has been waiting. 

Who is He waiting so patiently on?

You....

Me...

I sometimes wonder if God doesn't have the urge to say, "Will you just slow down for a minute so that I can love on you?  I've been here waiting for you all along."

What a wonderful God we have who waits patiently to lift us out of the slimy pit, to give us a firm place to stand, to give us good things and our heart's desire, to put a new song of rejoicing in our mouth. 

More than anything, He waits patiently to give us the gift of Himself.  How long, I ask, are we going to keep Him waiting?

Dear Lord, thank you for your enduring patience.  I praise you that you wait on me, not to offend, but to show me mercy, compassion, lovingkindness, and forgiveness.  You invite me to Come and to Ask for the good gifts you have in store for me.  You wait to give me yourself and the gift of Life.  You wait for me to come running into your arms where a refuge like none other waits for me.  Thank you Lord...help me to not keep you waiting...In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

Be blessed...





Friday, May 13, 2016

When Looking Back Propels You Forward

Hey Friend,

I haven't written for awhile because I've been quite busy with my responsibilities in heading up Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.  Most things we read, including the Bible, urge us to forget what is/was in the past and press on toward the goal that lies ahead.  This is wise and sage advice.  Ruminating over past mistakes helps no one and only furthers the enemy's purpose.

I've been thinking, lately, about when looking back can actually be good for us.

I grew up in a staunch Presbyterian church.  We sang hymns that dated back centuries.  One such hymn I remember is, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" written by Robert Robinson in 1758.  I kind of got the fist verse, but the second verse was a complete mystery to me.

It begins with, "Here I raise my Ebenezer...".  My thoughts at the time were what was a character from a Dickens novel doing in a church hymn?  Never thought too much more about it until I was in a Bible study and it talked about 1 Samuel 7.  In it, the prophet Samuel and the Israelites found themselves under attack by the Philistines.  Fearing for their lives, the Israelites begged Samuel the prophet to pray for them in their impending battle against this enemy. 

Samuel offered a sacrifice to God and prayed for His protection.  God listened to Samuel, causing the Philistines to lose the battle and retreat back to their own territory.  After the Israelite victory, the Bible records: "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far the Lord has helped us.'" (1 Samuel 7:12)

The word Ebenezer comes from the Hebrew words 'Eben ha-ezer, which simply means "stone of help".  An Ebenezer, then, is simply a monumental stone set up to signify the great help that God granted the one raising the stone.

I have found that when I have fear or trepidation about going forward, it does me good to look backward and count my Ebenezers - the monuments that acknowledge God's bountiful blessings and help in my life.

For example...after my daughter was born, I had terrible post-partum depression.  Everyone, including the doctor, said it would pass.  It didn't.  Over the next couple years it grew worse.  The insidious ruminating and obsessing over things and the anxiety that accompanied it were excruciating.  There were times that I pondered if I could keep going on like this?  I remember vividly one day - sobbing hysterically in my bed - begging God to help me...to save me.  There were few words...just the Holy Spirit interceding with groans on my behalf.

As a last ditch attempt, I went to see a new Christian counselor and physician duo who finally diagnosed OCD (anxiety disorder) and depression (which often accompanies anxiety).  It was not that long after I was on the medication, that the dark, gray veil began to lift from my eyes.  God lifted me out of the slimy pit that I was in and He gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my heart (Psalm 40). 

The Lord heard me and He helped me, so here I raised my Ebenezer.

The Lord brought me through subsequent bouts with the OCD...each time I thanked Him and raised an Ebenezer.  He never left me stuck.  He was faithful to bring me through the valleys.

I faced the scare of the big "C" and all the testing and waiting and treatment that goes with it.

The Lord was faithful so I raised yet another Ebenezer.

Through multiple surgeries with long recuperations.  Through a difficult marriage and a long drawn out divorce...the Lord stayed close.  The battles were not easy and the enemy did his best to derail me, but the Lord prevailed.  He helped me.  He brought me through. He was faithful to His promises. 

So when I stand frightened or overwhelmed or doubtful about what lies before me...I look backward...

There on the horizon I see one monument after another after another of God's faithfulness to me.  I stand here now because He saw me through.  He was my stone of help - my Ebenezer.

This exercise in looking back, gives me the confidence to go forward.

Through each trial, God was growing and refining my character and in doing so He gave me the gift of HOPE!

"I boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but I glory in my sufferings, because I know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope.  And hope does not disappoint, because God's love has been poured out in my heart through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to me."  (personalization of Romans 5: 2-5)

What hinders you from going forward with confidence?  What Ebenezers have you raised in your life?  If you haven't built monuments...where would be good places to build them now to remind you of God's help in your life?  What lessons would God have you take from the past to propel you into the future?

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for all the times, even when I've been unfaithful, you have remained faithful.  Thank you for the times that I called upon you and you heard my cry and you rescued me.  Even when I couldn't "feel" you, you were always there right beside me.  I praise you for being my everlasting help in times of trouble.  For all the times I've overlooked, I raise those Ebenezers now.  When the future scares me, let me look back and take confidence from all the monuments of your help in times of trouble and in times or prosperity.  You are truly faithful and let your faithfulness be my hope.  In Jesus' name I pray.  Amen.

Be blessed...



Miraculous things are happening in the lives of children who've been sponsored.  Off the streets and into a Christian school environment...their lives are being transformed!!  We desperately need help getting these children off the streets and into the classroom...would you consider giving so that they might have hope??
Even if you can't sponsor a child yourself would you consider a partial sponsorship?
Thank you...

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Modern Day Manna

Hey Friend,

I truly love my work with Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. Click here for the website. When I wholeheartedly believe in something, I can work tirelessly for hours.  Heading up a non-profit Christian ministry is a full time job.  There's no pay, but the "eternal benefits" are great!!

My problem is that I find myself with many plates in the air spinning.  I will use a shoehorn if I have to, to try to squeeze one more agenda item into my day.  You see, if I don't, then that might mean one more child in the Middle East taken into slavery.  One more child kidnapped and made to train for jihad against the "infidels" (which are you and me).  One more child who remains orphaned on the streets with no food in their stomach. I can't sleep at night knowing that might happen.

With what's going on in the world....it goes without saying that my sleep patterns have not been the best.  We just came off a successful "Sphere of Influence" fundraising campaign by my wonderful Board.  Instead of allowing myself to bask in the goodness of what God had just done, and simply REST, my mind was off and running on the subject of what's next??  What's in the pipeline for when those resources are used up.?

It's no coincidence that I read these words of scripture this morning in my friend, Mary Carver's blog post:

"It's useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones."  (Psalm 127:2)

That is me, in a nutshell, working anxiously from early morning until late at night.  (and then am unable to sleep)

This is NOT the model God has set before me...

For God gives rest to his loved ones!!

Even God rested on the seventh day.  Wouldn't I do well to imitate His example??

When I get myself worked up into a twit, the husband of one of my Board members reminds me:

Manna for today, Bev, only for today!

What is this saying about my level of faith and trust in God when I am tirelessly trying to make things happen in my own strength?  I think that's nasty pride sneaking in here.  This, after all, is God's ministry.  He's got this. 

He can only use me and work through me if I get myself out of the way first.

Then the Lord said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you.  The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.  In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.  (Exodus 16:4)

What must God think when He sees me trying, not only, to scoop up enough manna for today, but stuffing some in pockets, my purse, my bra even to be sure I have enough for tomorrow?

He's testing my faith and trust in Him that He will give me each day what I need for that day.

Sad to say, I am not passing the test.  This is such an important principle, that the disciples referred back to it in their gospel accounts.

Jesus says, "He (my Father) gave them bread out of heaven to eat."
(John 6:31)

I don't produce my own bread...God does.  If He looks out after the birds of the field, and He looked out after His people Israel, won't He look out after HIS children in the Middle East??  Won't he look out for me?

Oh me of little faith...

"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."  (Matthew 6:34)

So what is the antidote for not worrying about tomorrow?

Go to the verse before Matthew 6:34. Matthew 6:33 says:

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Rest...Come away...Seek FIRST His kingdom...Trust Him...Do Not Worry...Do Not Be Anxious...Why???

"It's useless for you."

"It's useless for you."

"It's useless for you."

"Manna for today, Bev, only for today..."

Do you have too many plates spinning?  Are you having trouble resting today because you're worrying about tomorrow?  Do you trust God to give you each day what you need for that day?  Do you need to rest and come away?

Dear Heavenly Father,  forgive me for living my life with my foot always on the gas pedal.  Forgive me for my pride that has me anxiously trying to do things (even good things for you) in my own strength.  Help me to rest, and come away with you awhile each and every day so that I can be renewed to do your work.  Help me to trust you and have faith in you that you have tomorrow...it has already been written in your book.  Give me the peace and calm that lets me know that You've Got This!!  Be with the precious children in the Middle East, put a hedge of protection around them.  After all, they are truly YOUR children.  In Jesus loving name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed...



ps.  We need your help to stand up to the travesty happening to Christians and children in the Middle East.  Are you tired of the hatred being perpetrated and taught to the next generation? 

There is hope!!!  By offering orphaned and impoverished children (prey for extremists) peace, protection, hope, and love in a Christian school environment, we are teaching children to reach out in love, not hate.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO OUR WEBSITE

Don't let this be their reality...

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Innocent In His Eyes

Hey Friend,

I remember Sunday evenings as a little girl.  Of course, I'll date myself with this confession, but I recall getting my bath and pj's on in time to watch my favorite TV show as a youngster.  I would sit, enthralled, by Lassie- the always heroic collie dog. 

The plot was so predictable, but nonetheless, I always wound up in tears at some point during the show.  Why?  because I was so afraid that something bad was going to happen to Lassie or to one of the helpless other creatures that she was trying to rescue.  Whatever happened, I didn't want Lassie to die.

Even as an adult, I can watch movies and see people (adults) get hurt or even killed and it will not strike me as much as when a horse, cat, dog, or other innocent animal is killed.  There's something inside me that cries out, "NO  THAT'S NOT FAIR!!!". For a long time, I thought there was something wrong with me that I felt this way. 

This past week, we said a sorrow-filled farewell to our furry family member of fourteen years - Zoe.  Her passing has affected me profoundly.  I find myself crying at the drop of a hat.  I reasoned that perhaps I felt this way because Zoe has loved me and our family unconditionally for 14 years.  She has been loyal and loving and devoted. 

While all of that is true...it still wasn't quite scratching the itch that asked, "Why do I seem to feel more passion for animals than I do for people at times?"

I started to look on the flip side.  Yes, Zoe gave us glimpses of God's unconditional love.  We'd forget to give her a meal and she would forgive us immediately.  We'd leave and come back and you'd think we were the best thing since peanut butter.  She'd see us at our worst and still give us licks.  Yes, she loved unconditionally.

There was something, however, about how I loved her.  When I looked at her I saw innocence.  When, as a pup, she did something wrong like chew my slipper or pee on the carpet, the ears immediately went down when I'd catch her, and her eyes would sheepishly look up at me as if to say, "I know I did wrong and I'm sorry."

People aren't that way.  We are experts at shifting the blame...pointing the finger...passing the buck.

We've been doing it since time began...

In Genesis 3:11 in the garden God asks Adam, "Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"  The man (Adam) said, "The woman you put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." (first shift of blame)

Then the Lord said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"  The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." (second pointing of the guilty finger)

Within just a few lines, already sinful Adam and Eve, are doing what humans so craftily do - they pass the buck. 

I didn't like it when my children were young and they would each point the finger at the other and say, "SHE/ HE did it, not me!!!"  I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. 

Shifting the blame is sinful behavior.  Perhaps I don't like sin in myself and, to be truthful, I don't like it in others. 

Since the fall of man (the original bite of the apple) man has been selfish, manipulative, greedy, covetous, malicious, and sometimes downright evil.

Interesting....I'm starting to get a read on why people die on TV and I don't blink, but whatever you do, don't hurt the animal.

Animals, I believe, are one of the closest things to innocence that we see.  Animals and babies or small children.  They are not capable of choosing to be malicious or sinful in their behavior.  They are the closest thing to purity that we experience on this earth.  Nothing here is perfect, but babies and animals come pretty close.  They don't think in evil ways.  To me they appear innocent.

I think I loved Zoe so much because to me she seemed so innocent and she seemed so innocent because she was so loving. 

Even in my best moments of loving, I am still stained and conditional because I am human. 

Sometimes I've wondered how God truly sees me, because sometimes I know I can be annoying as all get out.

Thankfully God sees me through a filter that no one else can see me through.

He sees me through the blood of Christ. 

Because I am covered in Christ's sacrificial blood, God doesn't see my sins, He only sees Jesus' perfection. 

In Christ's blood I am purified.  I am seen as completely innocent in His eyes. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

All I have to do is confess my sin (I willingly accept my guilt and don't shift the blame) and God forgives and He purifies, not from some, but from ALL unrighteousness.

Yes, Zoe has shown me glimpses of God's unconditional love for me, but even more so, she's reminds me that just as I see her and love her because she is so innocent, God sees me as innocent in His eyes because He sees me through the blood of His son.

Even more unfathomable, God doesn't love me because of something I did or didn't do.  No, He loves me just because he created me. 

God, by His very definition IS love.  He cannot deny Himself, so He is never fickle or moody or disappointed.  He is always lovingkindness.

Maybe if I tried to imitate His example I would see people in a whole new light. 

Maybe, I too, can look at them through the filter of Jesus' cleansing blood. 

I pray so...

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you ARE love and you cannot deny the lovingkindness that is your character.  Forgive me of my judgment of others.  Help me to see them through your eyes and as you do, through the blood of Christ.  Thank you for the pets you give us that not only show us glimpses of your unconditional love for us, but who teach us how to love...to see beyond the sin to the Christ purified innocence of those who call Him Lord.  Continue to soften my heart that I may love like you love.  You, O, Lord are mighty to be praised.  In Jesus' precious name, I pray.  Amen

This post dedicated to our sweet Zoe bear....be blessed....


ps. Know that if you read my blog, I pray for you morning and evening.  Please feel free to contact me if I can pray for you more specifically.
We are still in need of people who are willing to save lives and souls...many children are still on the waiting list to get out of the way of extremists and terrorists and into the loving, Christian, environment of our school.


Reed the stories of transformed lives and go to the "DONATE" page.
Some of the children still on the waiting list...




Friday, April 8, 2016

You Are Not Alone - Guest Post

Hey Friend,


I would like to introduce you to a wonderful young lady, Nettie Clawson. She hails from my hometown in Pittsburgh.  She describes herself as an "old soul"...I would say she has the faith and wisdom of someone twice her age.  I know that at 22, I didn't have a passion for sharing my faith like she does...


I invite you to welcome her here and give her some lovin' in the comments below.  She's working on getting her blog up and running so stay tuned...



Hello! My name is Nettie Clawson.  I am a deep old soul that’s actually only been around for 22 years and was born and raised in a small farm town near Pittsburgh, PA.   I have an adventurous spirit and vision to share Jesus with all that I meet.  I am passionate about: Jesus, people, singing, writing and ounces of coffee daily.  I also love kids and am currently a Special Education Teacher for Kindergarten through Fifth Grade students at a school in Cary, North Carolina.
  Although I love the southern hospitality, I do miss my pop (soda) and talking to yins guys from the North.  My dreams of: acquiring a southern accent by saying ya’ll, and drinking sweet tea, have definitely come true.  I came to Christ when I was twelve years old as my Gram led me to front of the church altar to make the decision to commit my life to Christ. I continue to aspire to the vision Jesus placed on my heart then to this day.
  Meeting people right where they are, and revealing to them the reality of a relationship with Christ, is a genuine desire of my heart. It thrills my soul to write encouragements, therefore, I pray that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart will be pleasing in the Lord’s sight and that He will be praised! (Psalm 19:14)










You are not alone.  

We smile when we walk past a fellow co-worker in the morning with the usual greeting of: their “How are you?” and our: “I’m good.”  We’re relaying the message that we are okay and life is going swell.  It is a surface answer for a deep issue. The night prior our pillow was saturated with hours of unending tears, and an additional amount of face paint was required this morning to cover up the deep dark rolls under our eyes to go unnoticed.  Truly, we think, if only they knew.  If only they understood, what we really were going through.  The fact that our life was falling into shambles, and that we’re barely getting by.  It turns out that we end up walking in a daze of defeat, and struggle to get through trying situations in this life…alone.    

Studies show that more than half of Americans have no one outside their immediate family that they share their life story with.  They are left lonely.  Loneliness leads to isolation, depression, and potentially suicide.  What if, there was an answer to all of this though.  What if there was per say a “cure” to loneliness. What if people knew the truth that they did not have to struggle through this life alone?  If we look at this verse: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Jesus talks to his disciple’s right before He was about to ascend into Heaven.  He leaves a very important message for his disciples to remember.  The fact that He was always with them to the very end of the age. Do you know the depth of what this verse means? Although Jesus was leaving His disciples, He was stating He would still be with them, but how? It’s like an oxymoron.  How can He leave them, but still be there with them? Simple, with His spirit in their hearts.

God’s spirit is something so profound and important.  The fact that God’s presence through all trials and struggles is something I recently experienced in a mighty way.  Having my car break down, ending a relationship with someone I thought I was getting married to, and having a financial hardship is a brief glimpse of the trials, but through it all I noticed one simple yet profound truth.  God was with me. There was something so comforting in that verse of Matthew 28:20 to me that I continually rehearsed over my life in the midst of the trials.  The fact that He was with me through all of that hardship was more than enough.

My friend, can I tell you something today? You have two choices.  You can choose to live in your circumstances, or you can choose to live above your circumstances. How? By choosing the joy that Jesus has given us with His spirit and knowing this simple truth. He is with you, He is with you, He is WITH YOU my friend! I can relate, I’ve been there. In the deepest, darkest times of your life when you feel as though waves of turmoil are crashing down on you God is whispering you are NOT alone, I am with you, just trust me.  Those times when you have cried night after night, screaming “God WHY?” You are hoping, wishing, praying for an answer to cure all of your trials and struggles, but still not seeing or hearing anything.  Do not lose hope. He IS doing something. 
God will work his greatest in you when you hear His whispers.  Why is that? How did God appear to Elijah when the Israelites disobeyed God and were coming after Elijah to potentially kill him too in 1 Kings 19:12?  Not in the wind, or the earthquake or the fire, but God spoke in a gentle whisper, that still small voice.   Do you realize when you’re screaming out to God “where are you?” or “why is this happening to me?” He is whispering right back you the whole time “just trust me because, I am with you.” 
God is working in a deeper way through your trials and struggles now that will show you later and others that He is with you later to come.  Yes, trials and struggles are hard.  Yes, it’s not easy to make a choice daily to choose joy, but Jesus chose you when He hung on that cross and cried out “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) Jesus chose you, when He was beaten and mocked and scorned.  Jesus chose you to endure through those trials and hardships so that others can see your faith throughout them and glorify the Father.  Jesus chose you to walk beside, and do this thing called life with when you had no one.

Now do you see, you are not alone? There are purposes in the pain and my friend, looking beyond every trial that we try but yet may never fully grasp or comprehend remember Christ staring at you with loving eyes saying I am here and you are important to me. Jesus does not want us to walk through that alone.  He is so present in all of the struggles. Through our sorrows and celebrations Jesus is there.  When you are ill or injured, Jesus is there. When you lose a job, or family member Jesus is there.  When you have been blessed with an amazing community to encourage and support you, Jesus is there. Be encouraged to go through this thing called life with someone always by your side.  Jesus. With Jesus you have the assurance that no matter what you face, you have the ability to choose joy.  My friend, He is with you and He is working a greater testimony out of your trials.

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

Be blessed,

Nettie

Bev, here again...I'll be taking a belated spring break to spend some time with family and refueling in God's word.  I plan to be back the 21st, with a refreshed spirit. Please pray for our family...we said goodbye for now to our sweet, sweet, Zoe bear this morning.  So thankful for how this silky-furred family member gave us glimpses into God's unconditional love...miss you girl...

Please keep praying for the safety of the children that we support in the Middle East though Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.


"HEAR THE CRIES of your brothers and sisters
in captive nations!
They do not ask for escape, safety, or an easy life.
They ask only for the tools to counteract the poisoning of their youth -
the next generation."

- Richard Wurmbrand, in "Tortured for Christ"



Thursday, March 31, 2016

Love's Heart Hears

Hey Friend,

Today is one of those glorious southern spring days.  The skies are Carolina blue and not a cloud interrupts their vastness.  The bright sun has slowly melted away the chilly, early-morning dew.  No humidity.  Just upper 60's and sensational!

Days like these put a song in my heart.  I was running my morning errands...had a selection of annuals in the trunk of the car...anticipating getting my hands dirty in the garden soil.  I popped in a cd and the frame of my four-door sedan became my sanctuary.

You see, I can't sing.  No, really, I can't!  Ask my family.  I don't even sing in the shower because others within earshot may be offended.  So, this day, I lifted a prayer to God.  I asked Him to forgive me for it being awhile since we last talked. I called upon the name of the Lord.  I thanked Him for all my many blessings.  I gave Him a fist bump for the glorious day.  Then I cranked up the volume and began a full out praise and worship fest at the stop light.

Sure, I caught a glimpse of the mini-van in my rearview mirror, but I really didn't care.  My hands were drumming out the beat on my steering wheel.  Interspersed with hand raises, head bobs, seat dancing moves, eyes closed; I was in my God zone.  One of those moments that would have mortified my kids lol.

I cracked open one eye to see if the light had changed (I knew this one was a long one).  The mini-van - previously behind me - was now beside me and the driver was motioning me to roll down my window.  Oh busted...

"I just have to ask," she began, "what are you listening to?"  Feeling the red burn of embarrassment rise to my cheeks, I answered, "Christy Nockels- 'Ever Lifting'...great song!"   

"Oh, well I just had to know," she went on, "you looked  like you were having so much fun!"

Truth be told...I was!

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (One commentary calls God's singing an "utter jubilee of the heart".)  (Zephaniah 3:17)

I have become a "word nerd" of sorts.  I've read this scripture many times before, but I got out my concordance (I use the NIV Exhaustive Bible Concordance by John Kohlenberger, Third Edition).

I wanted to go deeper.  I wanted to dig in the fertile soil of His Word and see what new truths it held.  So I looked up some of the key words, seeking for what God might want to reveal.  Again, I called upon His name. 

The phrase "Take great delight" in the original Hebrew looked like an algebraic equation in my 9th grade Algebra class.

H8464 - "sus" + H928 - "b" + H8525 - "simha"

Translated it would go something like...He (God) will rejoice, be pleased, delight greatly + with + joy, gladness, pleasure, celebration, emense enjoyment.

When we call upon the name of the Lord, Love's Heart Hears!!

He not only hears, but He has "a jubilee of the heart"...

Or as we say in the South, "He's fixin' to give you a big ole bear hug because He's plum crazy boutcha. Even more, He's might sweet on you and He ain't just whistling 'Dixie!"

I also looked up the word "rebuke". Probably because honestly, I don't like the thought of God rebuking me. 

In Hebrew the phrase "no longer rebuke" = "hares"

"hares" = to be silent, to be deaf, to make no moves, to say no more,  to say nothing.

In this section of Zephaniah, evil doing and unrepentant Jerusalem finally calls upon the name of the Lord.  The Lord not only takes away judgment, but He is silent.  He says no more.  He is forever silent on their evil doing. 

This continuing theme of Unrepentent >>Calling Upon the Name of the Lord >>Restoration began in the Old Testament.  Thanks to Jesus' death on the cross, the Lord is "hares" - He is silent.  He says no more about out sins.

And best of all He is "sus" + "b" + "simhe":  He's rejoicing and delighting greatly with joy, celebration, and gladness. 

So much so that He sings over us...He sings over you...

He's might sweet on you and He's plum crazy boutcha too!  Do you believe that??

All you have to do is call upon the name of the Lord and Love's Heart Hears!!

Is there anything holding you back from believing that God delights in you?  Do you ever fear He will rebuke you?  What lies does the enemy want you to believe?  Do they match up with what you know of scripture and it's story of God's great love for you??

Dear Heavenly Father, Forgive me for the times I do exactly what I don't want to do.  Forgive my evil ways past and present.  I call upon your precious name and in doing so, I KNOW that you hear.  I claim the forgiveness you promised me through trusting on the sacrificial death of Christ.  Therefore, there is now NO condemnation.  Thank you for restoring our relationship.  Thank you for pulling me back into your arms of love.  Thank you for delighting in me...singing joyfully over me...let me know that I am the reason for the jubilee of your heart.  In Jesus precious name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed...


ps. Please pray for the people of Pakistan and for Redeemer Christian Foundation's presence there in our school.  Thankfully, none of our children were among the 65+ killed and 300+ injured in the suicide bomb blast in a park on Easter.  Pakistan's small Christian community was celebrating Easter when this heinous attack took place.

Do you want to do something about what's going on in our world besides feel helpless? 

RCF, Inc. is supporting raising up children in the love and hope that Jesus teaches.  Others are taking notice and lives are being transformed.  People in this part of the world see the joy and hope in the eyes of the children and they want to know more. 

Please visit our website and join with us in DOING something to end the hatred:

www.redeemerchristianfoundation.org
Or click HERE

We now take credit card donations and generate immediate receipts for tax purposes.

Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. is a registered 501c3 non-profit

**Unlike many charities, 100% of your donation goes directly to the children! We are all volunteers and pay no administrative salaries.  The Board is invested and covers all PR, printing, and other admin fees so that YOUR dollars can go 100% to the children...

 Pray for their safety...
 Mourn with them in their grief...
Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ...they truly know what it means to be persecuted for their faith...