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 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 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.


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 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 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 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,


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"