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:
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...

Friday, March 25, 2016

This I Know

Hey Friend,

I wish I could find the snapshot.  I can picture it vividly in my mind.  My mom snapped it of me and my best girlfriends playing our favorite game of "dress up" which was not "school", or "house" (though those were fun), but the ultimate little girl's dream..."wedding". 

After getting out the dress up clothes and bickering about who was going to get to be the "bride", we would go in search of the "lucky" (aka suckered) guy who got to be the groom.  This day it would be my friend's little brother Timmy Towner.  We would promise him a rousing game of tag afterward if he would simply play the part.  This is the beginning of my learning that boys could be easily duped lol.

That photograph captured glowing smiles and high hopes for the future.  Just like the silk multi-colored tulips I held in my hand as the bride, I had already started making my plans for the future.  My future was in my hands, after all, wasn't it?  Or so I thougt.

That notion stayed with me for a long time.  Go to school.  Get good grades.  Go to college.  Get a good job.  Marry Prince Charming.  Have children and live happily ever after.  That was the plan...sound familiar?

Then life happened and I started to learn that it wasn't exactly the bowl of cherries I thought it was going to be.  Oh there were great parts...good friends, good times, the gift of laughter, friendship, fellowship, and the beginning of my faith.  These, I had written into "my" plan.

The parts I know I wouldn't have written in were experiencing infidelity, then reconciliation, then more infidelity in my marriage; followed by a long, drawn out, painful divorce.  (Aren't divorce and painful synonymous?)  My dream of growing old with my husband was shattered. 

I know I wouldn't have written in the scare of the big "C".  No, that wasn't planned.  Nor was my visit to the emergency room of the psych hospital when I was so low and depressed I considered taking my own life.  No, I hadn't written that in.  The pre-diagnosis and treatment episodes with an anxiety disorder wouldn't have made the editing cut either.  Watching my youngest go down a prodigal path would have been cropped film on the cutting room floor.

The glowing bride holding the dusty silk tulips would never have envisioned this.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  (Matthew 5:4)

Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.  (Psalm 5b)

"Hear , O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help.  You turn my wailing (mourning) into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever."  (Psalm 30:10-12)

The first scripture, above, comes from the Beatitudes.  Beatitudes means supreme blessedness.  It also connotes grace, bliss, even ecstasy.

I have never felt as close to God as I have through His comfort in my mourning.

In the center of the flame of the crucible of pain, I admit wondering, at times, if God was even there.  Yes, I've shaken my fist at Him.

Conversely, there was a bittersweet bliss...even ecstasy in the depth of His great comforting in my mourning.  When I could not even lift my head, He lifted my body and carried it forward one step at a time.  There was a closeness that is hard to put into words. 

Even though I doubted many a time, God was faithful to stay with me as I wept through the night and, He was faithful to bring joy in the morning. 

Hindsight is always 20/20, but when I look back at what God brought me through and how He removed my sackcloth and brought beauty from the ashes of my life, there are some undeniable truths that leap out...

*  God is indeed Good!  God is Love, and I can trust Love's heart!

*  God's got this and His script is the perfect script for my life.  His
    may be less about my happiness and more about me becoming more
    like his son Jesus!

*  I know He has Me...will never leave me nor forsake mater

Going forward, there is still this undeniable desire for me to KNOW the script.  If I can't write it, I at least want to know what's coming.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to (acknowledge) him, and he will make your paths straight.  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

In the original Hebrew the verb for "make straight" is "yasar"

yasar = to do good, do right; to straighten out a crooked object.  Hammer evenly until smooth.

Oh, I've felt the hammering alright, and boy have I wanted to have understanding of what exactly was going on. 

But God, reassures me that, even though I may not understand, the hammering is straightening out and making my path straight and smooth. 

I may not have written in these painful parts of my story, but I am seeing and learning that they are there for a very distinct purpose. 

God has been teaching me obedience  and trust in following him...even when I don't know the outcome. 

But, THIS I KNOW...Jesus died for my sins and on the third day He rose from the grave - cancelling the debt of my sins forever.  Because of this I can live in loving relationship with Jesus and with my Heavenly Father and I know the end of the story...

Jesus will come again and when He does...I know He's coming for me!

This gives me hope to live the life He's planned for me...not the one I scripted.

What do you "know" when you look at your life?  Of what are you certain?  Are you content with not knowing the script if God does?

Dear Heavenly Father, May my heart sing to you and not be silent. You have clothed me in joy.  O, Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.  Not only do you comfort me in my mourning, but you remove the sackcloth and ashes and bring rejoicing in the morning.  You've given me glimpses of that kind of joy here on earth, but nothing will compare to the joy I will experience when you come again.  You have promised that tears and trials will cease and I will live in perfect loving relationship with you forever.  So very thankful that THIS....I KNOW...In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed and have a Joyous Easter...

ps.  In portions of the Middle East, having and reading the Bible is considered blasphemy and is often severely punished.  Look at these drawings by the children in Redeemer Christian School which is funded by Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.

             Praise they know what Christ has done!!!

 Join us at the MISSIONS tab to find out how you can save souls through Christian love and education in dark corners of the world!
RCF, Inc. is a 501c3 registered non-profit organization
All donations are tax exempt.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Feeling Inadequate?

Hey Friend,

This week, I have been having a gritty battle with feeling terribly inadequate.  I had an argument with my husband and once again, a light shone on my selfishness. 

I remember when my children were little, sometimes I would get in my bed, pull the covers over my head and pray that the Lord would save my children from me.  Like all moms, I did my best, but I had this misguided idea that once they grew up, all their problems and difficulties would cease.  Little did I know that their problems just become adult problems - more complex than temper tantrums and potty training.  Maybe if I had just been a better mom...

In my work with Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. I am learning just how much I don't know. I've never started a non-profit organization.  I need to, but don't grasp Legalese, Excel, Squarespace, and other programs and computer functions.  I'm just not wired that way (no pun intended).

So, back to my feeling inadequate...(back to "me" - red flag #1)

The good news is that I am in good company.  Moses, when called by God to lead, said, "Behold, I am unskilled in speech (I am a clumsy speaker); how then will Pharoah listen to me." (Exodus 6:30)

Feeling inadequate means that we are lacking the quality or quantity required; we are insufficient for a purpose.

Lacking...insufficient...yep...that about sums it up!

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:12 NIV)

You see, all have sinned, and all their futile attempts to reach God in His glory fail.  (Romans 3:12 The Voice)

Interestingly enough, I don't read this and feel defeated.  I believe that God gave me this scripture to say three very important things:

     *We are ALL sinners/human and feel this way.  Welcome to the club
     *It is good to recognize your inadequacy.  You are...but it's okay
     *We are ALL inadequate in and of ourselves...that's why we need Christ

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul has finished boasting about his sufferings, and now is telling of all the great visions the Lord has chosen to give him. Listen to the note he ends on:

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But, he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12: 7-10)

Paul, I believe, is saying that lest he get too caught up in himself, he was given a thorn in his side to keep him from being conceited.

Human weakness provides the ideal opportunity for the display of divine power.

I took a closer look at what the Lord says to Paul...

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Sufficient in the original Greek is "arkeo"
Arkeo means content enough or satisfied.

Perfect in the original Greek is "teleo"
Teleo means finished, completed, fulfilled, done, carried out

I believe that the Lord is saying that His grace is enough or sufficient for me...but in My weakness that is truly where His power is finished, complete, done, fulfilled, carried out...

The Lord shines or is glorified when I am at my weakest...

In my weakest state...that is when the Lord can really work!

How do I, then, become perfect?  By admitting my weakness and that I need a Savior. 

I admit and embrace my weakness and my inadequacy.

I need to rely and depend on the Lord for perfection in my salvation and sufficiency in my daily walk.

I need to surrender my PRIDE and embrace HUMILITY...

In My power or in the Lord's power...where do I want to draw my strength?

Do I desire the Kingdom of Me...or do I want the Kingdom of God?

My inadequacy keeps bringing me back to the Lord and isn't that where I need and want to be anyway?

How about you?? Do you ever feel inadequate?  Where and how do you draw your strength?  What has been your experience when you turn it over to the Lord?

Dear Lord, I thank you that you do not leave me to fend for myself in my weakness.  You beckon me to come to you and draw from YOUR strength and perfect power.  Forgive me when pride enters in help me to embrace my inadequacy with a humble heart.  Enable me to rely and depend upon you so that YOUR glory can shine and YOUR Kingdom come.  Thank you for letting me know that I am not alone and that you "get" my humanness.  Save me from the enemy who preys upon me in this weakened state.  I claim your promise that you fight for me.  Through you, and only through you am I made perfect and complete.
I praise you and thank you.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed...

ps. These are some of the forgotten children and orphans that Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. is trying to help.  Many Christian schools and humanitarian aid charities operate around the globe, but very few are focused on the Middle East.  These children are truly forgotten, but God sees their plight and the terrorism that surrounds them.  If you have compassion on these innocents, would you visit us on our website and consider making a donation to let them know that people truly do care??
RCF, Inc is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization.  100% of your contribution goes directly to the children...thank you!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

But What Can We DO?

Hey Friend,

Recently, there was a story on CNN about a young boy around the age of nine.  ISIS had been targeting him and his friends with daily beatings in attempts to kidnap them and train them to become terrorists.

This little boy fought with all his might to resist and ended up breaking his leg, which is now turned inward permanently.  He said it was the best thing that could have happened to him because ISIS did not want him with a broken leg.  His friends who weren't so "lucky" are now being murdered if they refuse to train or are given other options such as becoming suicide bombers.

132 innocent children at a school in Pakistan were massacred...mowed down in a blaze of bullets by the Taliban.  The Taliban has opened fire on immunization clinics because they are associated with "western" thinking. The Taliban forbids education for girls. 

Iran has intercontinental ballistic missiles that can carry a nuclear or chemical warhead a distance of 7,145 miles (11,500 km)...putting New York City in missile range. 

I don't say this to be alarmist.  I say this because it's FACT!

Many people feel helpless and hopeless, but there is something you can DO!

Together, with others who want to teach love vs. hate, we have started Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.

RCF, Inc. exists to promote the hope and love of Jesus with people around the world with a particular focus on providing a Christian education to those who are impoverished, oppressed, orphaned, or persecuted for their faith.

We want these children to find the love and hope that Jesus teaches within our doors.  We don't want them winding up on the doorstep of extremist jihad seminaries.

Even peace-loving Muslims are intrigued by the light of Christ that shines in the lives of these transformed children.  They want to know more about this Jesus who offers grace for our sins.

We firmly believe in the "Multiplication Principle" which maintains that by supporting Christian education and humanitarian aid in countries like Pakistan (and the Middle East), we can break the chains of illiteracy, neglect, and darkness. 

Even more so, we can contribute to those being raised to show love and respect not hatred and evil toward others. 

I invite you to check out our new website:

Click Here

From now until Easter we are issuing the:

Change for Children

At schools that RCF, Inc. supports, a nourishing meal is offered to the children during the school day.  Many of the children are malnourished and this is often the only meal they get for the day.  Their diet is severely lacking in protein.

By meeting this basic need, they are better able to focus in school and live abundantly.

If you're like me...somewhere in your home you have the infamous jar into which all the spare change from your purse, pockets, car cup holders, sofa cushions, and washer/dryer are tossed.

Would you round up your coins and take them to a coin counter or the bank and whatever amount your coins add up to....would you take the extra step to write a check to Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. to go to providing meals??  100% of your donation goes to the children!

Let this be an Easter Offering to bless others with love...

Make checks payable and send to:
RCF, Inc.
103 Silver Lining Lane
Cary, NC  27513

**All donations to RCF, Inc. are exempt from federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501c3. and can be deducted on your annual tax filing.**

"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."  (Matthew 25:40)

Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.  (Psalm 82:3)

Dear Heavenly Father,  Thank you for your merciful love.  Have compassion on us and the direction in which our world is going.  Let people turn from their evil ways and love others the way Jesus taught us to love.  Enable us to love our enemies in the way that you love them.  Help us to raise up a new generation that has hope because of Christ's love and  a Bible-based education.  Help us to care, as you would care, for the orphaned, the destitute, and the oppressed.  Let us take heart that there truly is something we can DO!  Don't let us sit idly by.  We thank you in advance for how you will work in the lives of these children.  In the precious name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

My 82 year old mother will be visiting for awhile and she is like the Energizer Bunny.  I am going to take a little sabbatical and then will need to rest up after her visit lol.  I invite you to visit the Archives for any posts you may have missed.  I hope to be back around St. Pat's Day :)

Be blessed...