the Call to Pray

God is calling for intercessors in our day, those who are willing to be different, to lay aside weights, sins, and distraction to seek Him on their faces on behalf of the lost sheep of Israel who await the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah in a thousand places on the planet.

Will you be the one? Will you intercede for those yet in exile, those in bonds, too weak to help themselves? Those who need an Abraham to plead with God for just ten in their city?
You may never meet them in this life, but God can use your prayer to minister to them, intercede where no help can be found.

Abraham could not pray in the Spirit; you can.
Use what you have! This Holy Ghost is the power to subdue the enemy, lay hands on the sick and watch them recover, overcome every fiery dart.. What are we waiting for?? Either He is God, and it is TRUE, or it is all false.

As for me, I KNOW Him to be true.

Church, let’s pray!!

2 Chronicles 7:14

Winning our Children

I have been reminded on more than one occasion lately that my children are my ‘mission field’, and that converting them is my priority.

Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Deuteronomy 6:7: “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house; and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

1 Tim 3:5: “for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?”

With that in mind, I am determined to find ways to win my children…to nurture them in the Truth, ‘teaching them diligently’ the Word of God as instructed, and striving to apply it to every part of their day. I want their lives to be permeated with the things of God.

This is, after all, why we are homeschooling. It is a right we have for the time being, and I do not want to squander this opportunity~

So, without further ado, I will share my first idea:

To teach them scriptures that apply to common tasks, and to instruct them to quote the special verse(s) every time the task is done. For instance, when they wash their hands, they will quote

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart, who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” (Psalm 24:3)

Another option for hand-washing would be

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

In order to implement this, I think I shall print the verses out on a small piece of paper and hang it in plain view (for those of reading age…I can read it to the little ones and they will pick it up eventually), like next to the mirror in the bathroom.

Next to the light switch in my daughters’ room, I will put:

“The LORD is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

(Ooo! Side note: wouldn’t it be cool to have a night light with a cut-out stencil to project this verse on the wall/ceiling, so that the child could look at it at night and be comforted? Or maybe Isaiah 41:10!)

In the Old Testament, the Law applied to every task, every ritual, every mundane detail of the lives of Israel. He means for us to think and talk about Him ALL the time! This nurtures our continual connection with our God, it is our protection from assimilation into the world, and it is ammunition against the ‘fiery darts’ of the enemy! Jesus quoted Old Testament verses when tempted in the wilderness–that’s good enough for me! 🙂

How about you? What do you think is a helpful tip to help us win our children? Or what verses would you connect to which tasks?  I’m all ears! 🙂

He speaks

Have you not known? Has it not been told you since the beginning?
Look around you…is there anything in creation like you?
Have you gotten so used to the miraculous that you discard it as common?

I have closed your ears to my Voice
And your eyes to my Face
Because when I did speak
You would not listen.

Wash yourself! Make yourself clean!
Put away the filthiness, the incessant consumption of vanity,
The weights and sins and things of the flesh
That are not of Me

I’ve told you the whole Story
You’ve heard it all
Yet you dismiss Me
And fill your life with emptiness instead.

For this, I will leave you empty
Frivolity does not fill a starving belly
Vanity does not satisfy the soul.

I, who speak in thunder from Sinai
And Fire on Carmel
Will not keep silent forever.

Return to me, beloved.

How often I long to wrap my everlasting arms around you
And hide you in the cleft of the Rock
And show you things you do not know!

If only you would seek Me.
My arm is not too short to save,
Nor is my ear deaf to your voice.

I am closer than you know,
Waiting for you to look up.
Urging you to listen
Speaking to you in stillness,
Leaving my mark on everything around you
Just to remind you
That I’m here.

That I long for you
Like a mother longs for her estranged child
Like a young widower pines for his wife

The feverish labor to heap to yourself material things
Will never satisfy.
One drink of Living Water will quench your thirst,
And give you Rest.

Come home
Draw near to me
While I may be found.

A ‘new’ old hymn

How tedious and tasteless the hours
When Jesus I no longer see;
Sweet prospects, sweet birds and sweet flowers,
Have all lost their sweetness to me;
The midsummer sun shines but dim,
The fields strive in vain to look gay.
But when I am happy in Him,
December’s as pleasant as May.

His Name yields the richest perfume,
And sweeter than music His voice;
His presence disperses my gloom,
And makes all within me rejoice.
I should, were He always thus nigh,
Have nothing to wish or to fear;
No mortal as happy as I,
My summer would last all the year.

Content with beholding His face,
My all to His pleasure resigned,
No changes of season or place
Would make any change in my mind:
While blessed with a sense of His love,
A palace a toy would appear;
All prisons would palaces prove,
If Jesus would dwell with me there.

Dear Lord, if indeed I am Thine,
If Thou art my sun and my song,
Say, why do I languish and pine?
And why are my winters so long?
O drive these dark clouds from the sky,
Thy soul cheering presence restore;
Or take me to Thee up on high,
Where winter and clouds are no more.
*****************

This hymn by John Newton, called “Tedious and Tasteless,” was mentioned by an elderly lady I was talking with last night. I had never heard it before, but it was so beautiful, I had to share it. 🙂

the Witness

From the Voice in the Garden to Adam

and to Abraham

and to Isaac

the one who wrestled with Jacob

and sent Joseph ahead to save all of Israel

who called to Moses from a burning bush

and spoke to Joshua in the tabernacle

who inhabited the pillar of fire and of cloud

who inspired judges to lead

gave prophets Words to speak

and kings wisdom to reign

and kept His promise

by coming Himself, in the flesh,

who did not leave us nor forsake us

but left us a Witness,

making us witnesses ourselves,

still speaks,

still moves,

in this day, in this hour,

for those who seek Him.

Romans 8:16: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

“Beareth witness” means He shows UP! God Himself, Jesus, in the flesh–now OUR flesh, our redeemed flesh, once weak and worthless, now filled with this Treasure!

Have you received Him? No, not reciting words like ‘I accept you..’ followed by nothing noteworthy. Have you received Him? Undisputable evidence of His presence?

(‘Received’ implies that the action is taken on the part of the giver, not the receiver. We cannot instigate a ‘reception’ until something is given. A football is not ‘received’ until someone throws it.

God is not passively waiting around for us to ‘receive’ this spiritual football–pardon the sports analogy–while it hovers just above our heads. He throws it when we’ve shown we’re ready to catch it! He takes the action, and there is no disputing when you’ve caught it–it’s right there in your hand!)

He has never, and will never, leave Himself without evidence. When so much of our social system depends on proof, do you think He would require us to stand on nothing and claim belief when no active, tangible proof of Him exists?

Do you think He would hold the proverbial carrot in front of our faces by saying, while in the flesh, “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you,” and never follow through, but instead let us believe that heavy statement was figurative? Would He leave us hanging like that for two thousand years?

Do you think He willingly removes His presence from our daily lives just to see us squirm and struggle?

Let me ask you: for an engaged girl who lives far from her fiance, would he never call or visit? Do you think there’d be much of a relationship there if she didn’t see or hear from him until the wedding day?

He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust. He knows our weaknesses and is sufficient for all of them. He knows we humans are fickle, easily distracted, easily swayed by temptation when we feel detached from Him. And He knows that our detachment from Him is remedied by an audible, tangible Proof of His presence.

I must tell you: Jesus is alive. Not figuratively. Not in the way that a deceased person is kept ‘alive’ by our memories (for this is what His presence amounts to for so many people, unnecessarily!), but ALIVE. He lives, and where He lives is EVIDENT! You KNOW when you have met the Creator, because He causes you to say what you could not say, do what you could not do, be what you could not be without Him.

He is supernatural by nature; His evidence in us, therefore, is–MUST be–supernatural. In keeping with His nature.

I must tell you it is REAL.

Have you received that witness–the Holy Ghost–since you believed? Acts 2:1-39

our humble mission

“In the last analysis, the dearest, sweetest thing in life is the consciousness, in the inner depths of our motives, that we live for Christ; and, though our efforts be ever so feeble, we toil at our daily tasks, in hope of, in the final roundup, having done something to lay, in humble gratitude and adoration, as an offering at His feet.”
-H.H. Halley

Dawn

She found herself at the garden, early, distraught. The only one who had ever been able to help her was gone. Weeping this morning in the dark before sunrise, she stumbled. Crushing grief lay so heavy in her chest, it was difficult to breathe.

Something looked different when she approached the tomb. The stone! The seal was broken, and the guards were gone! Panic struck her, and she fled.

Peter and John were approaching. She burst out, “He’s gone! Someone’s taken Him away–I don’t know where!”
The men ran to the garden, Peter straight into the tomb. John hung back at the door. This couldn’t be happening. First, the Lord had been killed. That was bad enough. Now, His body was gone. Cautiously, he bent down and stepped through the stone entrance.

There were the graveclothes. And the napkin that had bound Jesus’ head. Folded neatly, but the body was gone. Bewildered, the men looked at each other. This was too much. They left for home, leaving Mary once again alone in the garden, weeping inconsolably. Leaning against the cold stone of the tomb, she forced herself to look into the opening. Her heart jumped into her throat. Her stomach churned.

Angels. Where His feet and head had been. But He wasn’t there.

“Woman, why are you crying?”

“They’ve taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they’ve laid Him.” her thin, quavering voice cracked. The angels did not answer.

She turned away from the tomb, foggy, confused. There stood a man before her. The gardener.

“Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”

More questions, no answers. She was getting upset. “Sir, if you have taken Him somewhere, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

“Mary.”

The Voice. That Voice. The one that had with vehement force cast out seven demons from her soul. She would never forget it. Slowly, heart pounding, she lifted her face to Him.

“Master!” she gasped, knees weak. She reached out to Him, believing, overcome with joy.

“Don’t touch me,” He spoke gently. “I have not ascended to my Father. But go to my brothers; tell them I am ascending to my Father–your Father! And to my God–your God.”

He was gone.

Tingling, she hurried out of the garden. He was alive! She could hardly believe it, though she had just seen it. Her own eyes could not betray her. This was real. The angels in the tomb had asked her the question, but Jesus reserved the answer for Himself.

The Master, her Master, was alive! And though His plan was not finished, He had taken time to comfort her. Her tears were not forgotten, not unseen. Though she had thought she was alone in the garden, He had been waiting for her. This was real love. This kind of love filled the depths of her soul, far beyond where her tormentors had scratched and clawed.

The cavernous wound in her heart that had pulsated with each lash she watched Him suffer, splattering blood and shredded flesh, was now whole, bathed in glorious salve. He had not waited a moment longer than necessary to ease her sorrow, though His pain had far exceeded any emotional distress she felt.

What love! She had heard how He wept with Mary at Lazarus’ tomb. He understood! What compassion! Though Lazarus was alive and whole again moments later, He knew the feeling of grief.

Her spine tingled as she recalled His words to Martha. “I am the resurrection and the Life.”

Yes! He IS!

She laughed to herself, blushing a little, recalling just how much He had spoken of this before.

What else might she have missed had He not come to see her?

Thankful, joyful, she quickened her steps. Much to tell! The disciples needed to know.

John 20:1-18

Don’t miss the bus.

One cold Chicago morning, I stood peering through the oval window of our red door, waiting for the school bus to take me to second grade. The bus came and sat patiently at the end of our long gravel driveway. I thought since I was waiting for my sister to get ready, I might like to say ‘hello’ to the driver. So I waved. No response. I waved more vigorously, but the driver never returned my friendly salutation. Instead, she closed the door and the bus lurched ahead. In a moment it was gone. I couldn’t believe it. I just wanted to say ‘hi.’

I spent a good portion of that day writing “I will not miss the bus.” over and over. One hundred times, I think.

Looking back, I will admit that way at the back of my eight-year-old mind, I remembered having ‘waved the bus on’ other days when we were sick and wouldn’t be going to school. But of course the bus driver would know this time I didn’t mean that kind of waving. Surely she knew my intent.

Opportunity gone, because I was thinking and not acting.

I love to think. I can spend whole days thinking. Dishes remain where they are, and laundry stinketh, this being the fourth day. Surely the utility bill understands I’m thinking about deep and interesting things, even spiritual things. Surely the dust bunnies will wink at this delay. I’m thinking.

Let me not confuse–by ‘thinking,’ I don’t mean ‘praying.’ I don’t mean studying and mediating on the Word. I mean glazed-over wonderment at any random topic.

As I grow up older, I am beginning to realize the direction(s) of God are rarely the Paul-like, as in the bright, blinding light and booming Voice from heaven. More often, it is the series of small steps taken by which He guides those who seek His Will. It is a bus taken here, a right turn made there. A gesture here, a phone call there. And a very ordinary, day-in, day-out communion with the Lover of my soul.

But let’s not get cocky. “Ordinary” communion with the God of the universe never is. And that bus taken, though it wouldn’t seem such a big deal, alters the direction of life. This is how He often leads.

When you’re walking with someone you love, elbow-to-elbow, all it takes is a small nudge to direct you towards one direction over another. Not a screaming, “GO THAT WAY NOW!!” Ouch. I’m right here. You can just whisper, if you want…or just nudge. I’ll follow You.

Now, drastic measures are not needed to secure our attention. We’re not deaf, nor are we blind. We walk in the Light. Don’t we?

Who is blind but My servant, Or deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is blind as he who is perfect, And blind as the LORD’s servant? (Isaiah 42:19)

“Perfect” here can mean someone who is at peace, having made peace through covenant or agreement. It means complete, restitution made.

Now, I don’t say this to foster doubt about salvation. What I do mean is that there were a whole lotta people in first century Jerusalem who had committed themselves to a covenant of peace, who followed the laws of Moses with vehement zeal,

who missed the bus.

The most important proverbial bus ever.

They were too busy demanding a deafening war cry and pounding hoofbeats to hear the cry of a baby in Bethlehem.

The striking fact here: the war cry never came. They’re still waiting for it. Yes, it will come at the End (another post…on another blog 😉 ), but will it then be too late?

What about your bus? In a covenant of peace, yes, but do you walk near enough to feel the gentle nudge? To hear the whisper, “this way…”

When the bus comes, will you stand there, stupefied in abstract thought? Will you have forgotten your homework? Will you just wave at God-ordained opportunity? Or will you jump on?

Too busy

This title brings to mind a song from Veggie Tales (parents of little ones sing along!)

“I’m busy, busy, dreadfully busy, you’ve no idea what I have to do!
Busy, busy, shockingly busy! Much, much too busy for YOU!”

See if you can get that one out of your head. 😉

Life is so busy these days, it’s a wonder any of us get anything done. With all the conveniences available to us, we expect more productivity out of the same twenty-four hours, and more time to have fun and relax. I don’t know of anyone who has actually accomplished this.

What I do see often, especially in my own life, is the natural inability to sustain such self-inflicted expectations. So many balls in the air, so many to-do lists, so many opportunities to fail. And of course, misery and frustration soon follow as something gets dropped.

Who expects this of us? Does God expect us to carry all these mutually exclusive burdens? Have we blamed Him for things we’ve done to ourselves?

What does God really want from me?

“A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one [accord] began to make excuses.

The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’

So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here [the] poor and [the] maimed and [the] lame and [the] blind.’

And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel [them] to come in, that my house may be filled.

For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’ ” (Luke 14:16-24, NKJV)

Was it that those invited didn’t want to come? I don’t believe so. What prevented them was the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches (Matt 13:22).

What was urgent seemed more important at the moment, while what was truly important was neglected.

The outcome of this was that in the end, when those invited to the feast would have come, the doors were closed and they were too late.

You can probably guess where I’m going with this. Read on…

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV)

This relationship with our Creator is never a casual thing. He is returning for a bride, not a shallow acquaintance He sees once a week. Not someone who only finds time to chat when everything else is done.

When He calls us Home, it will be with that familiar Voice we’ve heard all this time in quiet moments. And we will hasten to His bidding, as we have so often to his whisper, “Come and eat.”

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (John 10:27)

No, there isn’t much ‘free time’ to be found these days.
But friend, I beg you now as I admonish myself: Carve out some time for God now from your stubborn, habitual schedule. How can you profess to know Him if you never make precious time for Him?

There will always be something to draw your attention away. But let not the spouse and children God gave you, nor the job and possessions He provided, be the very things to separate you from Him!

Forget not His benefits. Remember He is the one from whom all blessings flow, who gives every good and perfect gift.

Let’s recall the words of Jesus to Martha as she, overwhelmed with responsibilities, crossly regarded her sister, who sat at His feet:

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:41,42 NKVJ)

One thing is needed.

Listen to the words of this song and hear Him speaking…