Sunday, August 2, 2020

What Are These Times Telling Us?

Hey Friend,

I was having a conversation with my mother who is 86 years young.  With that many years under her belt, she's lived through a lot of history.  My mother is the eternal optimist.  She always wants to believe the best case scenario.  That being said, I was really taken back when she said that she has never felt this way (deeply troubled) about our world as she does now.  

Not even the turbulent events of the 60's and 70's made her feel, even remotely, like the present day.  When my mother thinks the end of the world, as we know it, is at hand, I take notice.

Sure, people have been saying that the "Day of the Lord" is at hand for centuries.  Roughly 30% of the Bible is prophetic writing.  Much of what has been prophesied has already come true.  2 Thessalonians 2:3 says: 

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (Jesus' second coming) shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition...

When compiling data, Christian research institutes agree that 85% of Americans do not believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. To them it's just another religious book.  Compared to belief from years ago, this is a huge falling away from faith.  Most do not consider the Bible to be pertinent to their life.

25% of Christians, with the number growing, do not believe that the Rapture will be a literal event even though it is prophesied in the Bible.  There are varying opinions as to when the Rapture (Jesus will secretly come in the air and gather His followers up into heaven) will happen.  Personally, I believe that the Rapture will take place before the 7 years of tribulation begin (though none of us can know the mind of God).  Why?

At the last supper, Jesus, who was a Galilean, tells His disciples (also Galileans) that He is going away, but He will be like a bridegroom coming for his bride (believers).  No one, not even Jesus, will know the time or the hour.  Only the Father knows.  Jesus is preparing a place for us and like an eager bridgegroom who longs to be with his adoring bride, He will come and rapture her to the wedding feast of the Lamb. I believe that He does not want to let His beloved bride suffer through the tribulation and wrath.  

14 "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."  (John 14:1-3 )

I found this movie/documentary, distributed by Integrity Films LLC, fascinating. It's called "Before the Wrath."  It's also available on Amazon.   It goes into depth about how Jesus likens His coming for His bride unto a Galilean wedding.  A Galilean wedding was different from any other culture's wedding in Biblical times because no one (guests, bridegroom, bride, bridesmaids) knew the exact hour of the wedding, but they were to be prepared because the bridegroom would come "like a thief in the night" for his precious bride.

Jesus will come like a "thief in the night" for His beloved believers.

Our job, as believers, is not to be guessing when Christ will come for us. Nor are we to be burdened or fearful.  Our job is to be making preparations and be at the ready for His coming.  What does that look like?

We are to be about the Father's business - doing good works that glorify Him.

*  We are to be telling others about the Gospel - being bold in building the Kingdom.

*  We are to be doing life: doing whatever we do with joyful anticipation of Christ's return.

*  We are to be In God's word everyday and walking it out in our daily lives.

*  We are to be praying and interceding on behalf of non-believers.

I am not the greatest about being bold in my faith and leading others to a saving relationship with God through Christ Jesus.  There are a few things, however, that we all can do.  I used to have long theological discussions with my ex-father-in-law about faith (he was an Atheist).  He could argue theology with me until the cows came home.  But:

*  He could not argue my personal testimony about what God had done in my life and the freedom I had found through Jesus' atoning sacrifice and grace.

*  He didn't say anything when I told him that I loved him dearly and that I wanted him to accept the beautiful gift of salvation because I could not imagine eternity without him.

Years later, (after a massive stroke that left him partially paralyzed), he accpeted Christ as his Savior.  He told me that the comment I made about not wanting to spend eternity without him had opened the door for the Holy Spirit to do His convicting work in his life.  These are the preparations we are to be making.

Our job is to be about opening the door.  The Holy Spirit's job is to convict hearts.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be around for the wrath - when the trumpets sound and the bowls are poured out and hail and fire mixed with blood are hurled to the earth; when the mountains are set ablaze and the seas turn to blood. Nor do I want to experience smoke rising up from a great furnace, locusts, painful sores, lightening, thunder, earthquakes, and other abominations.  Cities will be split in two and rivers will dry up and there will be torment so bad that people will long to die. (The Book of Revelation)

I don't want loved ones to experience this either.  God wants no man to suffer.  He wants all His children to come to salvation.

So what can we, as believers, do?

1.  Stop living in fear, but live with confidence that God is in control.

2.  Step up, speak up, and stand in the gap. We are the silent minority that needs to become vocal.

3.  Speak the truth in love to those who need to hear.  Don't let Satan silence you.

People are fearful believers we hold the message of hope!

If you are a believer, will you share the message of hope?

If you are not a believer, will you accept the message of hope? 

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you and thank you that you sent your precious Son to die on the cross for my sins.  You made a way for me when I was still a sinner.  I accept your grace and mercy and I look forward, with great anticipation, for your second coming as you promised in Scripture.  Thank you for loving me (your bride) with such love, affection, and adoration.  Let me be preparing and be at the ready when you come to rapture me to the wedding feast of the Lamb.  Let me be about sharing hope with those who are hungry to know your love.  Enable me to not live in fear, but instead, step up, speak up, and stand in the gap until Your kingdom comes so that You may be glorified.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

What about you?  How are you living in these times?  Do you feel a sense of urgency in sharing the Good News?  What preparations do you think you need to be about?  What tangible things can you do as the precious bride of Christ Jesus?  Will you share?

Be blessed...

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Sunday, July 19, 2020

Panting For Streams of Water

Hey Friend,

Lately, I've made an interesting observation.  Once I get past my screen-saver, my laptop shares random picturesque photographs and then asks, "Do you like what you see?"  I've noticed that my eye and heart are drawn to photographs in which there is water.

It can be the ocean, a mountain stream, an idealic lake, a waterfall, or winding river, and my soul is drawn to it with a sort of longing.  I feel as if I've been walking, for days on end, in a dry and barren land. The sun is scorching hot (it truly is in NC).  I am parched and tired and I, like the deer, am panting for streams of cool and quenching water.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.  (Psalm 42:1)

These have certainly been turbulent, uncertain, and worrisome times.  I am able to be "fine" for only so long and then it's as if someone opened the floodgates on the dam and the tears begin to flow. It feels like I'm caught in the down-stream rushing waters and I'm praying that they won't overwhelm me. I fear being sucked under. These are not the waters I long for.

When I was young my father built a summer lake home, for our family, in the mountains of West Virginia.  I loved to wander on the hilly pastures near our secluded retreat.  One day, while picking wild backberries, I was intrigued by why the cows had gathered around a huge gnarled tree midway up the steep hill.  

I pushed my way in between two females to find a young calf lapping up clear water.  To my amazement, there was a freshwater spring bubbling up around the ancient, well-washed roots of the tree.  I'd never seen anything like it before.  The water quenched the thirst of the cows and the tree had obviously sent its roots down deep in order to provide a lush green canopy of shade for the animals.  They had everything they needed right here. I cupped my hands and took big gulps of the pure water. Only God could design this, I thought. 

"They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."  (Jeremiah 17:8)

I need to be like that wise old tree.  I need to be sending out my roots by the water.  I desperately need the living water which is God's Word, and I need big gulps daily.  In this year of desert drought, pure, living water is what I need in order to flourish and bear fruit.

One of my favorite adventures with my kids was swimming in a fresh water spring in Florida.  I was fascinated by how this crystal clear water came up from the aquifer that runs below this salty marsh state.  We snorkled, splashed and swam, and once again I was intrigued by the source of the water.  It came up from a mysterious, watery cavern below us. Another God-design...  

No wonder there are so many illustrations in the Bible that speak of drinking living water and never thirsting, waters of life healing nations, rivers flowing from the throne of God, wells of water springing up to eternal life, and deer panting for streams of water.  Maybe this is why I am so drawn to water?! 

As a believer, I need to take in the living water for my survival and well-being, but I also need to be a fount of truth and hope for others who are struggling.  I can't pour out if I'm not being poured into.  If I'm not hydrated, I can't draw up water from the well for others to drink.  

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. (John 7:38)

Recently, I've been dreaming of running off the end of a long dock and diving into the refreshing cool waters of a mountain-stream-fed too?!

Dear Heavenly Father,  I praise you that you provide for my every need.  In a dry, parched, and barren land, You provide streams in the desert.  Your holy word is the living water that I need to drink in daily in order to have life.  I am panting for your living word and only it will satisfy.  Let me send out my roots along the streams you provide so that I may flourish and bear fruit.  Draw me closer still, to you, so that living water will flow from within me.  You are the source of water and life that never ends.  Be with me now and always.  In Jesus precious name I pray.  Amen.

What about you?  Do you feel, at all, like the deer panting for streams of water?  Where do you find the strength to go forward day after day?  How far do you think you'll get without daily water or God's daily word?  Any inspiration you'd like to share?

Be blessed...

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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Declaration of Dependence

Hey Friend,

The word "dependence" has taken on a negative connotation in our society.  It's not healthy, psychologically, to have a co-dependent relationship.  We are at risk if we are dependent upon cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol.  

We are viewed as strong if we aren't dependent upon anyone else.  Self sufficiency and self reliance are esteemed as positive virtues.  Every super hero that you can think of is able to rely on themself and their own inherent strengths to get them out of any sticky situation.

Dependence = Weakness

Self-reliance = Strength

...or so says the world.

I find it interesting that immediately before beginning His ministry, here on earth, Jesus didn't have a pep rally to build Him up and get Him pumped like a prize fighter about to enter the ring.  There wasn't any posturing or fans patting Him on the shoulder chanting, "Go get 'em Jesus; you're the Man!!! You can do this!"

In fact it was just the opposite.  Luke 4: 1-2 says:

Then Jesus left the Jordan (where He'd just been baptized), full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days to be tempted by the devil.

God doesn't even view His own Son's strengths as essential.  His will is for Jesus to begin His ministry from a point of weakness and dependence.

Let me be clear that God never tempts us...

When you are tempted to do wrong, do not say, "God is tempting me." God cannot be tempted.  He does not tempt anyone.  (James 1:13)

God, however, allowed Satan to point out Jesus' vulnerability.

Satan's first temptation is posed to Jesus in order to get Him to take matters into His own hands.  Jesus had wandered for forty days in the wilderness with nothing to eat, so at the moment Satan spoke to Him, Jesus was famished.

The enemy tempts, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." Satan is manipulative.  He admits Jesus' strength in being the Son of God and tempts Him to rely on Himself and turn the stone into bread and solve His own hunger problem.

Satan is a master at creating a sense of doubt - he wants to make you question why God isn't providing for you?!  He taunts, "You're being denied, and if you just take matters into your own hands, you can satisfy your need on your own." There's no denying that the enemy of our soul is powerful and crafty.

Jesus, in His weakness, withstood the temptation by calling on the strength of His heavenly Father and He doesn't succumb to Satan's ploy.  Jesus realizes that on His own, He's toast, but in God's strength, He is strong.

Fast forward along the Biblical timeline, and Paul (Jesus' disciple) is writing a letter to the church in Corinth.  This is what he says to the early Christians:

Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me.  So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in the difficulties, for the sake of Christ.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Have you ever thought that if there are areas in which you are struggling, that they may be areas in which you are still too strong?

When God called me to begin a Christian school for orphans in Pakistan, I dove in with my writing abilities to get the word out and my marketing skills to raise funds, but I quickly found myself struggling.  The enemy wanted to dupe me into believing that I could do this in my own strength because he wanted me to fail.

Then, when I wasn't succeeding as I had hoped, he was the first to tear me down in an attempt to render me ineffective and manipulate me into believing that God had the wrong person when He chose me.  He is evil and he is clever.

Yes, God had the wrong person in me (alone)...but He had the right person when I was able to admit my weakness and call upon the strength of Christ to work in and through me.

I had to lay my pride down and pick up the strength of God.

Before I was ready for ministry, I had to be brought to my knees in weakness and declare my utter reliance and dependence upon the Lord. I need to adopt this posture every single day.

Satan's favorite lie is to tell you that you don't need can handle things on your own.  This plays right into our elevated sense of pride.  Who wants to admit that they can't do something?  Who wants to claim, "I am weak." 

Look what Jesus was able to do when He declared dependence upon His Father.

Look what the disciples were able to do when they admitted their weakness and asked for Jesus' strength - they were able to walk on water.  On our own, we can't walk on water, but when we depend upon the Lord, we can walk across oceans.  

Dear Heavenly Father,  please forgive me for relying on my own self sufficiency.  Forgive me of my pride that says, "I can do this on my own."  Enable me to see that when I am weak, it's then that I am truly strong.  Remind me, Lord, that you are always "for" me and never "against" me.  Protect me from the temptations of the evil one who wants to make me doubt you.  Give me discernment to see right through his lies.  Let me declare my dependence and utter reliance upon you, Lord...only upon you.  Make me bold to do your will in your strength.  Thank you for your grace that is sufficient for all my needs.  In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

What about you?  Do you try to do things in your own strength?  How does that work out?  What lessons have you learned about dependence vs. self reliance?  Where do you see the enemy tempting you to doubt that God is for you?  When have you seen God's strength be sufficient?  Will you share?

Be blessed...

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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Am I About My Father's Business?

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 36No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man.… 
 (Mathew 24:35-37)

Hey Friend,

I don't know about you, but I have had some serious thoughts about us being in the end times.  Scholars will say that first this, then that, and finally this must happen before Jesus returns in glory, but the truth of the matter is, no one knows the day or the hour that Christ will return, triumphantly, to take His people home.  Not even Jesus knows - only God.

I do know this much about God, He is a God of mystery and just when I think I know what's going on, He impresses upon me that I will never be able to fully wrap my brain around His ways.  That's why He is God and I am not.

One thing I DO know is that when the Lord returns, I want to be about His business.

Luke 12 tells a story of the Master who goes away and leaves the manager in charge of His servants.  The manager's job is to give the servants their portion at the proper time.  He's been given His marching orders by the Master.

3Blessed is that servant whom his master finds doing so when he returns. 44Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.…  (Luke 12:43-44)

So what exactly does it look like to be about the Master's business? Consider these aspects:

An earthly son or daughter doesn't usually step into the father's business without first being an apprentice.  Apprenticing involves, learning, training, and preparation.  He/She gains knowledge of the business from the ground floor on up.

Likewise, we need to become apprentices to our Heavenly Father.  We need to be in His word - gaining knowledge about His kingdom, learning His precepts forward and backward, and living out His Word in real life situations. We spend time with Him allowing Him to instruct us. We literally learn how to walk in our Father's footsteps.

Just as we may encounter pain and difficulty from trial and error that comes with learning an earthly business, we, as spiritual apprentices to the Lord, will undoubtedly endure pain and suffering.  As heirs to the throne we are called to participate in the suffering of Christ.

Paul, in the Bible, says, Yes, and all who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."  (2 Timothy 3:12)

Eight years ago, God called me to start a Christian school for orphans and impoverished children in the enemy's backyard in the Middle East ( I don't think I had any idea what would be in store for me as I began to be about my Father's business.  

We tend to believe that if we are accomplishing God's will and doing His work, then all will go well for us - how very far from the truth.  You might as well have painted a giant red target on my back when I stepped in to do my Father's work.  The enemy came after me with a vengeance and has done so, in a myriad of ways, for eight years.  Certainly, there have been times of extreme joy, satisfaction, and blessing, but I have also suffered tremendously in ways I never would have thought possible. 

Our commitment and devotion to God is evidenced in how we serve others.  Our efforts don't have to be grandiose in scale.  It could be as simple as becoming a pen pal with an elderly person in nursing care that can't have visitors due to COVID-19.  Whatever we endeavor upon, there will be spiritual forces in the universe working against us.  We don't have to fear, however, because no temptation can overtake us without their being a way of escape provided.  

 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,  he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  (1 Corinthians 10:13)

The best news is that there is a reward for those who are about the Father's business on the day of His return.  We are promised an inheritance which is eternal life.  And, he who is faithful with what is entrusted to him here on earth will be givine even more responsibility in the life that is to come. 

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.  (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

So for all of us who are waiting on that glorious day, keep fighting the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith, and be about the Father's business since we do not know the minute or the hour in which He will return.

Dear Heavenly Father, Be with me Lord in these turbulent and uncertain times.  Help me to trust that you are sovereign and You are ultimately in control.  Give me courage to be about your business - serving others and pouring out your love, like water, to a parched and thirsty world.  Let it be my honor to suffer as Christ has suffered for me and keep me from all temptation.  I praise you that you have promised that if I am faithful with the work you give me here on earth, that you will give me that much more responsibility in heaven.  Let me spend time in your presence - learning and practicing your precepts.  Let me be about Your business so that I am at the ready upon your return.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen. 

What about you...are you about your Father's business?  Are you enduring the trials, tribulations, and persecutions of this world to accomplish His will in your life?  What are some practical ways you can serve others?  Do you feel like we are in the end times?  What gives you hope? Will you share?

Be blessed...

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Sunday, June 21, 2020

This World is Not My Home

Hey Friend,

I don't give a lot of credence to dreams, but one I had recently got me to thinking.  

It was late at night.  I was alone, driving in my car.  I was wearing my robe and slippers.  I knew I belonged somewhere, but I kept driving around in search of my home but couldn't find it.  There happened to be a stranger out walking who asked if he could help me.  I told him my plight - that I was searching but couldn't figure out if any of these houses I was passing was my home. I never found my home in the dream...  

Daniel, who interpreted dreams for King Nebuchadnezzar, would have had a field day with this one.

Daniel knew what it was like to live as a "stranger in a foreign land."  He probably would have reminded me that this world is not my home - I am merely passing through.  My ultimate citizenship is in heaven.

I admit that lately, with the world being as it is, I have felt like a foreigner living in exile.  I am trying to reconcile myself with this world, but I can't.  My homesick heart yearns for my true home and the eternal presence of God.

In the various dreams that Daniel interprets for King Nebuchadnezzar, he warns the king against disobedience and especially against arrogant pride in glorifying himself over God. The king doesn't heed Daniel's warning and spends "seven periods" severed from his sanity, living with the wild animals, and grazing on the grass.  At the end of this season, King Nebuchadnezzar is reestablished, by God, over his kingdom and he declares:

"Now I, Nebhuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and glorify the King of the heavens, because all his works are true and his ways are just.  He is able to humble those who walk in pride."  Daniel 4:27

I believe that we have forgotten the God who holds our life-breath in his hands and who controls the very course of our lives.  

God continually says, "Here I am," but we continually turn away to our own devices. 

We put our hope in kings and kingdoms, yet fail to humble ourselves before the King of Kings.

I could get really despondent, and allow the enemy to render me ineffective, but the Lord of Armies has given me my marching orders while I inhabit this earth.  A day is coming soon when the King of Kings will return and will pronounce righteous judgment.  He will wipe away every tear and will establish a new heaven and a new earth.

While we wait, my privilege is to serve others and to be a witness to God's unending faithfulness.  When Christ returns to take His people home, I want there to be more citizens in heaven because I opened my mouth and bore witness to his grace and lovingkindness.  I want to share a message of hope with the hopeless.  This is what God calls me to do.

Even if I am a lone voice calling out in the wilderness, my job is to speak and the Holy Spirit will convict hearts.  My life arrow is to always be pointing toward God.

There has never been a more apt time than this to be God's mouthpiece calling for us to love one another as we were first love others with unselfish love.  We are all God-created and we are all equally loved.  May God shift our perspective to see all His people through His eyes...not our own.  

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.  I am to be about the Lord's business until He sees fit to return and gloriously usher me home.  

Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  1 John 2: 15-17

Dear Heavenly Father,  I thank you and praise you that this world is not my home.  Thank you for making a way for me, while I was still a sinner, to be able to stand in your holy presence.  I look forward, with inner joy, to the eternal home you have prepared for me.  Meanwhile, give me your abiding peace and strength to persevere here on earth.  Give me courage to share the hope that is within me.  Let me love others in such a way that the world would see YOU, not me, and would glorify You over any earthly kings.  Teach me to be obedient and humble in all that I do.  Let your Word be always on my that the world may know You.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

What about you?  Do you feel like a foreigner in a strange land? Do you feel a homesickness that you can't explain?  Do you have hope beyond today?  If so, will you share it?  If not, what might God be saying to your heart?  Will you share?

Be blessed...
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Thursday, June 11, 2020

How Long, O Lord?

How long, O Lord, how long?
(Psalm 6:3)

Hey Friend,

I've heard it said that I shouldn't pray for patience.  "Why?" you ask.  Some might think that if we ask for patience we are asking for a trial through which we will need patience to endure.  

I don't think the Lord works that way:

"The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him."  (Lamentations 3:25)

I do hope in the Lord, but lately I've been finding myself praying, just like David did, "How long, O Lord?"  You too?

God desperately wants us to call on His holy name.  He will not force himself into our lives and circumstances.  He is at the ready.  All we have to do is ASK.  One thing to keep in mind, however, is that God often doesn't answer in our time frame or in the way we might expect.  He's got the bigger picture in mind.

I prayed for many years for a husband who would love me and cherish me in the way that Jesus loved His bride, the church.  I guess you could say that's a high standard, but that is the model we are given for marriage. I will not kid you and say that I was blameless in the dream not becoming a reality. I'm not. I just knew that I wanted the tender, undivided love of a good man and I couldn't make it happen.

We can pray for years - seeking and knocking at God's door, days on end, and the door still stays shut and locked.  We get duped, by the enemy, into thinking that God doesn't hear or care and that He's not working behind the scenes. 

I have learned a few key lessons about God's answer to our query of, "How Long, O Lord?"

1.  Too often our prayer is outcome or result focused instead of being God focused.  I prayed for a particular outcome instead of praying for my relationship with the Lord to be enhanced and HIS will be done.  Seek HIM first and all the rest will be added unto you.

2.  Instead of trying to help God along in answering my prayer, I need to get out of His way.  My job is to abide in the Lord.  It's not a work that I will do, but one that God will orchestrate.  My job is to abide and wait patiently for what HE is about to perform.

3.  Waiting patiently on the Lord is not a passive or easy process.  When I thought of waiting patiently, I envisioned sitting with no angst, gazing out the window.  Waiting patiently, however, is about actively seeking the Lord while we wait on His answer.  I need to be in His Word, seeking His presence, and turning to Him in prayer.  That's active waiting.

4.  Remember that perseverance through trials produces character, character produces hope, and hope never disappoints.  I can look back on the trials through which I've persevered and I can see just how God came through for me and with me.  Now, looking back on my persevering journey gives me courage and trust that I can face whatever comes my way as long as God and I are in it together.

5.  I need to thank God, in advance, for what He is going to do.  I've gotten better at this new way, for me, of praying.  I KNOW God will answer when I call on Him, therefore, I need to thank Him in advance for the good way in which He will answer.  Meanwhile, I lean on His grace which will be sufficient.

God DID answer my prayer, that I mentioned above, and He did so in a time and way that I could have never imagined.  His timing is perfect.  Great is His faithfulness!

I don't know how long it will be until God answers my prayers for today.  I have personal prayers and prayers for my country and world.  I know that I need others praying for me and others praying with me.  God answers when His people pray and He gives us Biblical examples of what can happen when His people are persistent in their prayers.  Let's pray together and watch God show up in a big way!

Dear Heavenly Father, the prayers of my heart are so many.  I wonder how long it will be until they are answered?  Give me a heart that seeks your precepts and your presence.  Let my focus be on you before it seeks outcomes.  Let me get out of your way so that you can work and let me wait patiently - actively leaning into you. I know you are building my character in the persevering and in good time your sovereign plan will be made known.  I thank you in advance as I abide in you, knowing full well that your answer will be filled with your lovingkindness.  May I be a vessel that encourages others to call on your name.  In the precious name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

What about you?  Are you asking, "How long, O Lord?"  If so, what enables you to keep hanging on?  Would you share YOUR struggle and your hope so that we may be encouraged together?  Do you believe God will answer even if He is silent?  I'd love to hear your insights...

Be blessed...

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Sunday, May 31, 2020

When the World's Movement Suddenly Shifts

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,
for He who promised is faithful."
(Hebrews 10:23)

Hey Friend,

Have you ever had the trajectory of your life turn on a dime?  It's as if the world was spinning on its axis, as it's done forever in one direction, and then suddenly it reversed and started spinning in the other direction.

Perhaps you feel that way with this recent pandemic?  Wasn't it just weeks ago that we shook hands, gave bear hugs, gathered in groups, and simply went about our lives?  Now we are all distancing guests at an awkward masquerade ball.  We try to dance to the music that is playing but we don't know the steps.

Life can change drastically over weeks, days, moments, and even a split second can cause a seismic shift to take place.

Ten years ago, my feelings about life mimicked what many are feeling now...hopelessness.  I had traversed a year of turbulence brought about by separation in my marriage.  This was the second season of separation, and I knew that this time it would not end with reconciliation.

With my grown children living their own lives, I immersed myself in my work with the precious preschoolers that brought joy to my life each day.  God gave them to me as a lifeline. That was, until the last day of school in June, when the Director called me into her office and told me rather matter-of-factly that she had decided to let me go.  My personal life was obviously affecting my work and she felt it was the prudent thing to do. 

I cried the whole way home in the car.  I had been told, yet again, and in no uncertain terms that I wasn't making the grade; I wasn't needed; and I certainly wasn't wanted.  I felt like a tender shoot of grass, fragile in my stance and desperately leaning toward the light, that was suddenly squashed by the heavy boot called life.  I was back in the muck and mire and the whole world looked hopeless from where I lay.

My fingers scrambled over the buttons on the phone:  Mom? No answer. Girlfriends? No. Relatives? No.  Maybe they'd be on Facebook?  No, No, No.  My world, as I knew it was falling apart and there was no one I was close to with whom I could release my pain.

The only person on Facebook that afternoon was a friend I knew in high school.  The boy I knew, then, was quiet, studious, and shy, but he was kind and a straight arrow.  But, I hadn't really had a meaningful conversation with him in over thirty years ("Likes" for posts don't really count). I couldn't just strike up a conversation, "Hey, how ya been these past 30 years?"  Oh how pathetic, I thought to myself.

But something inside me said, "It's okay.  There's a reason he's the only person available at this moment in time."

"Why is he home in the middle of the afternoon?" I wondered.  "Maybe he works from home...or maybe he is a hermit who lives in his mother's basement?" A quick look in the mirror at my swollen red eyes reminded me that I was in no position to judge.  

An inexplicable force made my fingers click across the keyboard.  "Hey," I typed... silence.  "What an idiot you are," I chided myself.  "Hey," now that's really brilliant  for a Communications major.  "Hey" was all I could muster...

I came to learn later that he hadn't had conversations on Facebook and really wasn't sure if I was talking to him.  We look back, now, and laugh about what we lovingly refer to as "Hey" Day.  In that second, on that day, ten years ago, the trajectory of our lives totally changed for the better.  

Married for over six blessed years, we are trying to think of a pandemic-friendly way to celebrate this day that the world started spinning in the opposite (right) direction.  

Since this is not heaven and life here on this planet is often hard, painful, and ugly, hope must start with God in order for us to endure what life throws at us.

God, you have said, "those who hope in me will not be disappointed," (Isaiah 49:23).  I know for a fact that you are faithful to your promises. 

"You are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."  (Psalm 25:5)

In that split second in time, my heart was touched by God's tender lovingkindness and my mind was opened to the wonder of who God is.  My whole world changed direction on "Hey" Day (June 2, 2010).  I can say with confidence that I know the hope to which God has called me and I praise Him with all of my heart.

Just as our world shifted its direction when the pandemic began, it can change direction, again, on a dime.  We will, however, need to put our hope solely in God (not on an outcome or result).  We will have to trust Him with it ALL!  We have to believe that our God is faithful and give him our honor and obedience.

I'll end this post by encouraging you to pray this scripture with me:

Because of the Lord's faithful love we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness!
I say, "The Lord is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in him.

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the person who seeks him.
It is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord."
(Lamentations 3: 22-26)

What about you?  Does your world feel like it's spinning in the wrong direction?  How do you cope with uncertainty?  What do you think God's up to?  Where does your hope lie and your strength come from in the waiting?  Will you share?

Be blessed...

ps.  If you've enjoyed what you read, here today, might you consider subscribing to my weekly blog (and nothing else)?  Just go to the SUBSCRIBE tab above, enter your contact information and then be sure to check your email inbox for a link you click on in order to confirm your subscription.  If you don't see the email, check your spam or other filters.  Thanks for reading!