Monday, April 27, 2020

What Would You Do???

Hey Friend,

It's three o'clock in the afternoon.  You've forgotten what day of the week it is because the days just seem to run together.  You are aching to hug someone...anyone, but especially your beautiful new granddaughter.  Her red apple cheeks and tiny fingers and toes beg to be kissed, but they elude you.

In boredom, you've binge-watched all your favorite shows and you've visited the refrigerator and pantry more times than you would care to admit.  Somehow, the ice cream soothes an emotional itch you can't seem to scratch.  

Your kids have each taken turns having seismic meltdowns.  Tears, like hot lava, have flowed down your graduating senior's cheeks for all the memories that will go unmade.  You and your spouse are learning the true meaning of "for better or for worse."  Their little quirky idiosyncrasies are now driving you crazy.  It's a sign of too much togetherness.  Even the dog balks at going for yet another walk.

Or maybe you are going it alone - wishing there was someone to annoy you.  Maybe the isolation just stamps a big exclamation point over your loneliness.  If only your spouse hadn't left...if only your grown children cared...if only.

What if, on top of this, you'd lost your job cleaning sewers?  Your country's government and all the non-government aid groups have said, "We will NOT give you food or humanitarian aid because you claim Jesus Christ is Lord and that is blasphemy." Others on the lowest rung of this caste system have nothing to share with you. Now, more than ever, they call you "the unclean ones."

Your children are starving.  You can't put food on the table.  No one will give you so much as a scrap of bread.  The only way you could possibly have a chance at getting nourishment to quash the hunger is to denounce your faith.  Just say that you worship the prophet Mohammad and Allah is your god.  Say it and you and your family will eat.

What would you do?  

That's where the children of Redeemer Christian School, and their caregivers, are right now.  They live in a dark corner of the world - a third world Middle Eastern country that persecutes and tortures Christians in the most horrific ways.  Now there is a new way to persecute those who claim Jesus Christ is Lord - starve you to death.  That is what is happening.

Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. is committed to go where others won't go to reach the lost and forgotten.  With the help of caring and compassionate donors, we are putting together food and humanitarian aid packages in order to feed those who are hungry and starving. 

We are also sharing food with our starving Muslim and Hindi brothers and sisters in the name of Jesus and hearts are being drawn to Him.  We are walking in the sandals of the Good Samaritan, but we need your help.

If you are out of work, lost your livelihood, or are hungry yourself...please disregard this post.  But, if you are still working, sitting comfortably while riding out this pandemic, we NEED your help.

Every dollar we collect will go directly to starving families in this Middle Eastern country (for security reasons we cannot share which country on public internet).  Nothing will be taken out for overhead, administration, or any other reason.  Your dollars...straight to the market to buy food to be distributed, in the name of Jesus, to those who are starving.  

Even after the social distancing mandates lift, the poorest of the poor will have a very difficult time finding work.  Long after we've gone back to gathering with others and hugging those we love, these brothers and sisters in Christ will still be hungry.  But, YOU can bring them love and hope.

Check our our website:  Click HERE to read more about RCF, Inc.

If you want to feed the children in Jesus' name...Click HERE to make a donation. Any amount will help...  We are a registerd 501c3 non-profit.  The CARES stimulus act now allows a $300 tax deduction per person for those who normally don't itemize.  

And, will you pray?  Pray that the enemy would not prevail in isolating and destroying those who trust in Jesus?  Pray for a hedge of protection to be around those who claim and stick to their faith.  Pray for strength and perseverance in the midst of this crisis.  

Thank you and be blessed...

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Thanks for reading....

Friday, April 17, 2020

Dare To Sing A New Song

Hey Friend,

My birthday dawned and the clouds, like dark grey battleships, moved swiftly across the ominous sky.  The trees bent and swayed with each strong gust of wind.  Just as I pondered not wimping out on my morning walk, the rain started pelting the glass of the storm door then ran downward like tears.  

The COVID-19, quarantine birthday - you couldn't have scripted it any better.  All that was missing was some ominous, sad, creepy music and it would have captured my mood perfectly.  

Perhaps it's still the little girl in me that looks forward to my birthday.  Who doesn't like being "Queen for a Day?" But this birthday?  It wasn't looking too promising.  The one highlight I had planned was skyping with my birthday twin late morning, but the rest of the day was one big blank space on my calendar. 

That was until my husband called up the stairs. He beckoned me to come down. Hair in a ponytail, tie-dyed shirt and yoga pants, I was a vision of loveliness as I bounced down the stairs.  

"Hurry up," he insisted.  "I want you to see something."  

Tripping over the pile of shoes in front of the door, I managed to scramble into some leopard print crocs.  The ensemble was complete.  He opened the garage door and unlike the commercials, there wasn't a shiny new Lexus with a bow on top in the driveway.

"What do you want to show me," I queried with skepticism.  

"You'll just have to wait," he encouraged as he fiddled with the camera on his phone.  Thankfully the rain had let up though the skies were still grey and there was a chill in the wind.

Then I heard horns up the street started honking in an exuberant cacophony.  My husband scooted me out to the curb.  Just then the first car rounded the bend and a caravan of cars followed.  Some had streamers, others balloons.  Colorful birthday greetings covered the windows and doors.  Even a friend's dog had her head out the window - thrilled to be part of this crazy parade.

Maybe it's the HSP (highly sensitive person) gene in me, but the crocodile tears welled up to the surface.  I was so touched by these friends putting together a parade in my honor.  The parade, however, wasn't the finale, but just the beginning.  

Like circus clowns piling out of their cars, the ladies popped out with crazy hats, leis, feather boas, and pretty parasols.  In true rockette style, they danced, twirled, and managed to sing Happy Birthday somewhat in unison.  It was hilariously funny and delightfully sublime at the same time.  I think they had nearly as much fun as I did because this circus had given them permission to get the heck outta the house!     

I've never had a parade in my honor...and I probably will never have one again, but thanks to this crazy, strange, scary, surreal, uncertain parallel universe we'd been thrust into, a birthday parade just seemed like the fitting thing to do. 

Friends and family bombarded me with texts, and Facebook messages, and phone calls.  It was as if they needed to shower me with love as much as I needed to be showered.  Terrifying times made for a powerful out-pouring.

The song in my heart, that had been playing over the last several weeks, sounded more like a funeral dirge.  Yes, people had been dying and people had lost their jobs and livelihood.  The news was oppressive and the uncertainty had exhausted us. We had blamed, hated, pointed fingers, made slurs, and hoarded toilet paper.  It hadn't been pretty.  

Perhaps, that day my friends dared to sing a different song and I needed the serenade.  The one thing that coronavirus couldn't quash was people's need to show and receive love.  This virus has taken some of us back to basics...back to the bible...back to the greatest commandment..."Love one another!"

There's been a certain urgency to tell others that we love them and to show it.  Perhaps that's what led me to pull out an old cd and play this song at the end of the day.  I was thankful that my friends had dared to sing a new song - even with what was going on in the world.

This song by James Taylor isn't a great hymn of faith, but it was an anthem for my birthday.  I'll leave you with this video and the words of the song.  If the news is too depressing, maybe you'll find yourself humming along...shower the people you love with them the way that you feel.  Things are gonna work out fine if you only will....

"For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy."  (Psalm 63:7)

"You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."  (Psalm 32:7)

"He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise."  (Psalm 40:3)

Be blessed...and dare to sing a new can you add to the chorus...will you share?

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Take Heart; Easter is Still Coming!

Hey Friend,

If you've been reading along with me for awhile, you probably know that I head up a non-profit ministry called Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. I have 80 children that I dearly love in Pakistan that are going through a terrible time right now.  Click HERE to help precious ones in need...

I was speaking with our Director of Development, with regard to how to handle our social media and outreach campaigns during this time of COVID-19 being splashed all over the headlines.  We discussed not wanting appear out of touch with what everyone is dealing with, but on the other hand, we didn't want to be another voice of doom and gloom.

We both came to the same conclusion - that despite what's happening in the world... we, those we serve, and those who donate need to be reminded that Easter is still coming...PRAISE! 


During this time of "shelter-in-place" mandates, perhaps I'm getting a small taste of what it was like for Jesus to wander for 40 days in the desert.  I'm sure Jesus felt quarantined away from the rest of the world.  He was certainly "socially distant" from those He loved.  He endured loneliness and isolation - feelings that many of us are having.  

Perhaps His greatest hardship was being easy prey for Satan.  

When we are isolated, we become easy prey as well.

Some of us have fasted during this Lenten season, but Jesus was downright starving during His forty day fast.  The enemy tempted Jesus, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."  

Jesus answered him, "It is written:  Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." 

Satan went on to tempt Jesus to sin - to go against His Father.  Jesus was tempted in every way yet He clung to the strength of His Father and He leaned on His knowledge of the truth in scripture.

I know I have been tempted, and I've sinned and given into temptation during this heinous virus.  I have worried.  I have looked ahead, with fear, and have hoarded more than I really need.  I have relied on my own self-sufficiency to get me through what may or may not come.  

I have done the things that I've sworn not to do and I've fallen short on doing the things I'd promised to do. I haven't dwelt on whatever is true, good, pure, lovely, excellent, and praiseworthy.  I've fretted about my bank account.  

It's only been a few weeks, but it certainly feels like more than 40 days in the wilderness.  

So what now?  

There is still time to turn my heart around.  Even if my circumstances stay the same, I can rededicate myself to meditating on the Word of God each and every day.  I can ask Him to enable me to trust Him and I can be grateful for who He is and everything He has done for me.  Now is my time to cling to God's strength and lean into His holy word.

When I'm feeling vulnerable, it's a red flag signal to switch to gratitude.

In short, I've fallen into temptation.  I have not looked the enemy in the face and resisted him like Jesus did.  But...

The best news of all is this:  EASTER IS STILL COMING!!  There is hope!

Even if the coronavirus is still raging, I can remember that on Good Friday, Jesus uttered the words that changed our lives forever..."It is finished."

That very moment, He took all the sins from all my temptation upon Himself once and for all.  Every failure and sin born out of my humanness went to the grave with Jesus.  It's gone.

And, just as Jesus rose again on the third day, I have been resurrected with Him and am a new creation void of any sin.  

Because Easter is coming these promises are true for me...for you:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness."  (1 John 1:9)

Furthermore, Psalm 103 says that He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west.  Jeremiah reminds us that God promises to forgive our sin and NEVER remember it. 

We are in tough times right now, but I/we need to remember:  "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

These are words in which to rejoice!

Dear Heavenly Father, I know that by worrying, I cannot add a single hour to my life.  Forgive me for leaning on my own understanding instead of trusting in you through these difficult days.  Protect me from the tempter's snare.  Enable me to rely on your strength and wield the sword that is your Word.  Help me not to forget, that despite what is going on in our world...Easter is STILL coming.  Let my heart rejoice in that truth and let me take comfort that Jesus has overcome this world by his death and resurrection.  It, truly, is finished.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

What about you...have these days made you forget that Easter is still coming?  Have you fallen prey to the tempter's snare?  Do you feel like you've been walking in the wilderness?  What hope can you take from God's words of truth?  What changes do you need to make?  Will you share??

Congrats' to Becky L. in Oregon who won the drawing for Sarah Geringer's book "Transforming Your Thought Life."

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