Poetry

A Song of Sorrow

Lament is a gift.  A place where we find sweet relief in tears.  When our tears subside we have that brief moment of looking up.  We take a breath in that holy place, where our trust is renewed in Him once again.

A Song of Sorrow

 I opened my eyes, I saw.

I cannot, I will not, unsee.

I see them…

Skin over small bones,

as parents, watch in helpless horror.

Women bleeding on a bales of hay,

believing their blood is a curse.

The persecuted, bound and tortured,

their lives taken, while silence reigns.

Bodies of babes, washed up on shores,

sand clings to fingers, that once circled a mother’s.

 

I turn my eyes away,  I look up.

 

I cry to God and heaven,

as my song of sorrow soars.

I feel the light on my face,

and the darkness at my back.

 

In the stillness he is near.

In the stillness I trust.

In the stillness I look down.

 

There, I see my hands, my feet.

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memoir

Jars of Clay

I have always been a God Seeker.  I was talking to God as a child, before I had any concrete information.

I was continually on the lookout for those walking a deep authentic faith, who were walking in an uncommon closeness with God

Patricia was one of those for me. She was interesting and prepared, a great Sunday school teacher.  In her seventies she wore a pixie cut, when all the other ladies her age were wearing teased curls, and I don’t think I ever saw a grey hair.  She could take a passage of scripture, or a story from the Bible and teach it so simply.  That even I, a girl with very little Bible knowledge could understand.

Anytime I would sing her praises to other ladies at church they would be sure to remind me, that even though she was a good teacher, she had quite the shady past.  She was divorced, had estranged adult children, a difficult second marriage and her new husband didn’t even come to church. Funny that I never noticed a deep or authentic faith in any of them.

There was something about her, her love for Jesus, her love for His words, her daily joy within a life of struggle that told me her faith was her hidden treasure, and I could see it shining through. Our friendship grew and I enjoyed anytime I could spend with her.

Several years into our friendship Patricia suffered a massive heart attack.  She laid in a coma for days and when she woke, she could not speak, read, or keep a straight thought.  Her recovery was long, and her heart would never beat strong again.

She would share with me later,  that in those dark hours of the night fear would try to overtake her, and she would pray for a shred of hope. Slowly hope found its way to her through the scriptures she had memorized and hidden her heart over the years.

As she laid in her bed recovering day after day, night after night she recalled the sweet words of Jesus, the soothing Psalms of David and the promises of God.  I remember her holding my hands in hers and telling me how grateful she was that she had hidden them within her and that I should do the same.

I saw how fragile a human life could be, a jar of clay that can be easily broken, and then I saw what could hold it together.

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Devotional

The Mark of a Disciple

A phrase I heard recently keeps rolling around in my mind…

God is Supernatural and We Are Not

Yet He welcomes us to play a part in spreading the Gospel. He welcomes us as co-laborers, His Hands, His Feet to the world in which we live. What an honor and what an adventure.

We see a beautiful picture of this in the life of Phillip. His first interaction with Jesus was Jesus simply saying to him, Follow Me.

And guess what? Phillip did and his life was never the same.

He was present when Jesus fed the five thousand and we see a bit of his personality.

John 6 4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.

7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”

We see in these verses that Phillip was a logical guy, a guy who tried to figure things out. A life of following Jesus was about to change all of that.

One of my favorite stories in scripture is Acts 8: 28-40
Take a walk through this story with me…

Christ Is Preached to an Ethiopian

26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. 27 So he arose and went.

An angel of the Lord appears to Philip and gives him instruction, to go to the desert. I’m sure that desert was not a preferred local. People were not lining up to go to the desert. Yet, we do not see Philip hesitate, even ask a question. He obediently AROSE and WENT.

the mark of a disciple (1)

The mark of a disciple is one who is willing to walk out this verse.

Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

I’m betting that a trip to the desert was not on Philips agenda for the day. Yet, he rearranged his day, denied his plans, picked up his cross and followed the Lord’s instruction for that day.

We are planners. We have our days planned, our weeks even months planned out. What we will do, where we will go and who we will be with. We leave very little wiggle room in our schedules. When God asks us to reorganize, change our plans, take up our cross. We resist and we miss out on partnering with Him, co-laboring with him and we miss out on miracles.

If there is one thing these strange days are teaching us, it is that delay and unknowing have released us of all the plans, all the schedules.

The question is, once this is all behind us, will we fill our schedules again. Will we again leave no wiggle room to take up or cross daily and follow our Lord wherever He will take us. I fear if we do, we will miss out on miraculous opportunities.

Let’s look at the opportunity that was set before Phillip –

And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet.

Philip comes across a man who is seeking. His interest in Jesus had peeked and he has pulled his chariot to the side of the road, reading the scriptures. A strange place to be reading the writings of Isaiah wouldn’t you say.

29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”

30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

Again, Phillip receives a command from the Lord via HIS SPIRIT. Go and overtake this chariot of a man from another nation. I would guess that this could have been somewhat dangerous.

Yet again Philip does not hesitate, as a matter of fact, HE RAN TO HIM.

When is that last time God has given us an assignment

and WE RAN in obedience to complete it?

31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.

I love this picture. A man who was seeking, simply needed someone with more information to guide him. What does Philip do, he climbs up into that chariot and sits down beside him.

Philip had taught to large crowds, when he prayed, people were healed. Yet he did not hesitate to sit down with one man and tell him all he knew about Jesus.

Most people that God calls us to simply need someone to sit with them,

to spend a little time with them.

To tell them the things we know about Jesus.

  • We do not have to be counselors
  • It is not our job to convince them
  • We do not have to lay awake at night worrying about them

We simply tell them what we know, help in any way we can and then trust God to do what He does best, the work of the heart.

32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this:

“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,

So He opened not His mouth.

33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away,
And who will declare His generation?
For His life is taken from the earth.”

34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?”

The question of all questions, who is this prophet talking about?

Himself? Or Someone else?

Philip knows the answer, because he has seen and experienced the answer. He experienced Jesus!

35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.

Philip then tells the man all about Jesus.

That is simply all we are called to do, tell people who Jesus is, and who He is to us.

  • Tell them why we love Him
  • Tell them why we are willing to deny ourselves, take our crosses up daily and follow Him.

36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”

37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”

And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

So Simple, So Beautiful!

The Lord’s priority for Philip, that one man on that one day. Time well spent!

Now are you ready for a few WOW moments?

38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.

There just so happened to be, sitting in the desert – a pool of water. Everything that was needed had been supplied.

39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.

In this moment Phillip joined a club that few are in. The club of being caught up in the Spirit of the Lord and transported to another location.

Can we agree to say – WOW!

40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.

We find Phillip right back to business as usual. I wonder, could this have been a normal occurrence for him? Oh, I hope so!

We wonder shy the Ethiopian man did not seem concerned that Phillip had disappeared, the answer is clear… he was too busy rejoicing!

Friends, will we loosen our grip on our daily schedules?

Will we take up our cross and daily Follow Him?

I wonder what supernatural adventures could await us.

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Scripture Shaped Prayer

A Love for Others

A Love for Others

One summer at church camp my boys met a young lady, and for weeks after returning home all I heard about was Britney.   I had never seen my boys so taken with someone.

The camp theme that summer had been Standing in the Gap Through Prayer.  Every evening during chapel the children had the opportunity to pray for one another’s needs.

They boys told me about Britney’s request for her family.  Her sister, who had strayed far from her family, had found herself pregnant and in the grip of addiction. Then I understood what was going on. The boy’s hearts had been expended through prayer.

They had never been faced with a prayer request as monumental as this and they took it very seriously. Faithfully they prayed for Britney’s sister and her baby.  It was as if they were treading on holy ground during those daily prayers. Never knowing how things would all turn out yet trusting in a God who they knew could intervene.

Prayer was the place where their love grew for their dear friend and her family.  Nothing opens a heart to love others quite like prayer does.  Suddenly their eyes were off themselves and set on the needs of another.

Let’s Pray!

Praise

 For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.  Psalm 117:12

 Praise the Lord for His Great Love for you.

Confession

And live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2

 Maybe you haven’t been living a life of love, confess that to the Lord today.

Give Thanks

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.  Ephesians 1:3-5

 In love you were adopted by Christ, throw up your hands and give thanks today.

Shaping Your Prayers with God’s Word

I thank you Lord for _______.  I thank you that his/her faith is growing more and more; and the love that _______ has for others is increasing.  2 Thessalonians 1:3

Putting Feet to Our Prayers

As prayer requests become known to you share them with your children, big and small. Take a few minutes each day and pray for others together.

Scripture Shaped Prayer

Praying for Your Child’s Salvation

Without salvation and the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ it does not matter what our children become or accomplish here on earth, it will not compare to their salvation.

Earth is their temporary home, salvation promises them an eternal home.

In this verse and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; Joel 2:32 I love two words.

The first word is everyone. This verse doesn’t say the rich, the beautiful, the smart, or even the nice. It simply says, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord.

The second word is will, this verse doesn’t say they should, could, or might be saved. It says they will be saved!

Our greatest desire should be to see our children accept the precious gift of salvation that is awaiting them.

God’s Word tells us this in Deuteronomy 11:18-20 … that you must fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Mama, it is you who should be telling your children Bible truths as you go through out your day. Reminding them that God loves them, that He gave his only Son, Jesus that they might be saved.

Until our children accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, this should be our daily prayer for them. We can trust as we do our part, God does His.

Praise

Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Psalm 96:2

Praise the Lord for His Gift of Salvation that He has personally given to you.

Confession

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10

Take a quiet moment allow God, bring to mind anything that you have done or said that would bring Him and you sorrow.

Thanksgiving

I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.

Psalm 118:21

Give thanks to the Lord, that He heard your cry for salvation and provided the way, by becoming your salvation.

Praying Scripture

Lord, I thank you that when _______ calls on Your name he/she will be saved! Joel 2:32

Putting Feet to Your Prayers

Have you told your children the story of your personal salvation? If you haven’t be sure to share it with them, there is power in your testimony.