Friday, August 1, 2014

Had to Share...Be Encouraged!


Morning

Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn. – Ruth 2:2

Downcast and troubled Christian, come and glean today in the broad field of promise. Here are an abundance of precious promises, which exactly meet your needs. Take this one,

“He will not break the bruised reed—nor quench the smoldering wick.” Does not that suit your case? A reed—helpless, insignificant, and weak; a bruised reed, out of which no music can come; weaker than weakness itself. A reed, and that reed bruised—yet, He will not break you; but on the contrary, will restore and strengthen you. You are like the smoldering wick—no light, no warmth, can come from you; but He will not quench you; He will blow with His sweet breath of mercy, until He fans you to a flame.

Would you glean another ear? “Come unto Me all who labor and are heavy laden—and I will give you rest.” What soft words! Your heart is tender, and the Master knows it, and therefore He speaks so gently to you. Will you not obey Him, and come to Him even now?

Take another ear of corn, “Fear not, O worm Jacob—I will help you, says the Lord and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” How can you fear with such a wonderful assurance as this?

You may gather ten thousand such golden ears as these! “I have blotted out your sins like a cloud, and like a thick cloud your transgressions.” Or this, “Though your sins be as scarlet—they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson—they shall be as wool.” Or this, “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come, and let him who is athirst come, and whoever will—let him take the water of life freely.”

Our Master’s field is very rich; behold the handfuls. See, there they lie before you, poor timid believer! Gather them up, make them your own, for Jesus bids you take them. Do not be afraid, only believe! Grasp these sweet promises, thresh them out by meditation and feed on them with joy!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stand By Your Man.

YouTube- It's amazing all the stuff that you can see on there.  You can learn how to make a dress, how to use your new tablet or cell phone, how to play the guitar in 3 easy lessons.  You can watch music videos, see historic interviews... pretty much anything now is available on YouTube... the good, the bad and the ugly.

The other day I was randomly "surfing " through some old songs and came across a old video of Tammy Wynette singing her hit Stand By Your Man.  Everyone over the age of 40 knows that classic chorus... "Stand by your man... give him two arms to cling too... "  So at first I had to chuckle at the video clip I was watching.  There she was decked out in a red sequined dress, her blonde hair in a bouffant hairstyle, standing on the porch of a quaint little house.. singing a song with the most serious look on her face. Oh my... it had classic 1960's all over it...Here are the words to the song:

Sometimes it's hard to be a woman, Giving all your love to just one man, You'll have bad times, And he'll have good times, Doin things that you don't understand  But if you love him, You'll forgive him  Even though he's hard to understand  And if you love him, Oh, be proud of him Cause after all he's just a man
Stand by your man, Give him two arms to cling to And something warm to come to when nights are cold and lonely
Stand by your man And show the world you love him Keep giving all the love you can Stand by your man
Stand by your man And show the world you love him Keep giving all the love you can


But... as I listened to the actual song, I realized I never heard to the whole thing... These words actually stopped me for a moment...  "cause after all, he's just a man."  I sat there and it was like a ton of bricks hit me.  "If you love him, Oh be proud of him cause after all he's just a man."

I love my husband, "my man" with all my heart and soul.  There is nothing that I would not give to him, nothing that I would withhold from him.  He is the man the Lord chose for me, he is the second chance I have always dreamed of.  He is the one who will provide for me, who will be there for me when I need a shoulder to cry on.  I had so many expectations as a new wife.  But what happens when he falls short of meeting my expectations?  Do I begin get bitter and bicker with him, making his life miserable?
 
Do I become that contentious wife who can only spew out angry unsatisfied words?  Scripture tells me that it's better to live in the wilderness all by yourself than under the same roof with a contentious woman, YIKES!




My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. Ps 62:8

The scriptures also tell me that my expectations should only be in the Lord.  He is the only one that can satisfy all my needs.  How quickly I can get my focus off the Lord and onto my husband and what he is or is not doing.  The Lord tells me to have faith in HIM, to come to HIM and HE will take care of all that concerns me.  HE tells me, Patty, pray!  Trust that I have everything you need and will fulfill all the desires of your heart!  

The Lord reminded me today through the simple words of this song that, my husband, as wonderful as he is, will never be able to meet all my expectations.   He is just a man, doing the best he can to deal with all the situations in his life.  He is not a perfect human being, instead just as frail and full of faults as I am.  So if I keep my heart and mind focused on the Lord, I will never be disappointed when things don't go the way I think they should.

Til Next Time...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

On The Road to Bethlehem

As I looked around at the world around me, I was bombarded, as I am sure you were, with the reality of CHRIST being take out of CHRISTMAS… It was just too unbelievable… but it is only one sign of the times… Jesus said that we needed to be aware of these… because they are to precede His coming for us… HALLELUJAH…

Yet as I pondered this, I realized that we are not much different than the Israelites at the time of Jesus birth.

I thought about something I heard in a recent study… Why was there not a “Messiah” watch in Bethlehem? If it has been prophesied, there should have been religious leaders waiting and watching for this miraculous event… Yet there was not…

Could it be that they had grown weary of waiting? Had they forgotten the scriptures? Or even worse, maybe they no longer believed it would come to pass? Surely there had to be one who was still waiting, hoping, searching?

I find that we today can be the same way… We too are waiting… waiting for Jesus to return for us… to come and take us out of this godless world… RIGHT????

Are you on a Messiah watch? Jesus Himself said He would return for us? Are our eyes open and waiting for him? Or like our brothers of old, are we tired of waiting? It’s been 2000 years… Do we really believe He’ll come in clouds of glory?

I'm sure all of you are saying, Well Patty how can you say that? Of course I believe that? OK… Are you living like He’ll be here any minute? Or are you going to be caught… like most of the nation of Israel… asleep and unaware of His coming?

I was convicted… I know I don’t… I too get sooo wrapped up in everything that I don’t think about His coming… unless I’m in pain or in a big jam… then I say… Come Quickly Lord Jesus…

As you know, I have been reading the Christmas story in it's entirety every day as part of my devotions… I prayed, Lord this is so familiar… Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus… the Shepherds, the wise men… Help me Lord to make this not just a story but reality for me…

1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.  
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.


Isn’t that a wonderful passage of Scripture? The Lord has me focus on this part of the Christmas story today… I read and read this… then these words jumped out at me…

Go and search diligently for the child…

My heart stopped as I heard the Lord, say Go and search diligently for the child…  He is here Patty, sit and wait…

This is a command… Go and search diligently… for who ? for Jesus…


The wise men traveled a long way… following a star in the east… a star that pointed to where the Lord Jesus was…

They must have caused quite a scene upon entering Jerusalem.  While we all think of only 3 wise men, scripture gives the impression that there was many more than 3.  They usually traveled in numbers, so imagine an entourage from the east coming into Jerusalem, looking for the "newborn King of the Jews". No wonder King Herod got all freaked out.

Maybe you are like those wise men tonight? Maybe you too have been walking with the Lord for a long time… being led by the “star” the Holy Spirit…who always leads you to Jesus… everything is fine… until you lose sight of Him…and start asking others for direction.

Maybe circumstances, problems have caused you to lose sight of Him. I know for me that happens far too often. I ‘m traveling down my road with the Lord… happy to be going His way, until my flesh gets in the way of the star, and I start going down the wrong roads… and seeking guidance from the wrong person.

As I look at this I realize that even though the wise men were directed to Bethlehem by Herod, the motive behind that direction was wrong. King Herod DID NOT want to worship this “newborn” king… He wanted to kill the child, cause He was a threat to his throne…

I love the next verses, cause it speaks to me of the Lord’s faithfulness…
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 

Do you see this? The Lord never let them out of His sight…. For it says “ THE STAR WENT BEFORE THEM”. Wow…

And what else…. “TILL IT CAME AND STOOD OVER WHERE THE YOUNG CHILD WAS”… He has always been leading them… exactly to the place He wanted them to go…They did not need to stop and inquire of anyone.

Do you see this? The Lord does that with us too. What ever road you are traveling right now, He has already gone before you, preparing the way for you…

Have you lost your way? Are you weary from your journey…Look up… see the Star… the Holy Spirit leading you…
Look at the next verse…
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 
Oh LOOK… there it is… we haven’t lost our way after all…(my paraphrase)

Rejoice!  The Holy Spirit is waiting to lead you to the your only source of EXCEEDING GREAT JOY…. JESUS…

The next verse really came alive to me…
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
This should be our posture before the Lord… We should be on our faces before Him, ever thankful for His leading and guiding…. Ever thankful the His Holy Spirit…

Now in this state of homage and worship… they did this.. opened their treasures and presented gifts to Him… gold, frankincense and myrrh.

I saw 3 things here… The Lord wants us to present gifts to Him, not only at Christmas but all year around
Gold… represents everything that is precious to you… valuable in your eyes… present it to him every day  as a gift…
What is your “GOLD”… ? Ask the Lord to show you what you value more than Him and present it to Him as a sacrifice of praise.
Frankincense… represents everything that is fragrant… Your talents… your spiritual gifting… Anything that makes you look good or feel good other than Him…
What is your frankincense? Ask the Lord to show you what in your life is more fragrant than Him and present it to Him
Finally… Myrrh… represents everything that is bitter… 
 Maybe it’s a relationship, old grudges held against someone. Maybe it’s your life in general right now… You don’t like the way things are going… Maybe it’s discontentment… unsettledness. Maybe it’s deep hurts, wounds so deep that no one could heal them… The Lord Jesus can… That beautiful Baby in a manger… grew up to die so that by His Stripes We Would Be HEALED…

What is your Myrrh? Ask the Lord to reveal it to you… confess it… present it to Him as a burnt offering…

Will you bring your gifts to Jesus and allow Him to take them up for you?

May He who loved us enough to come and dwell among us… bring that healing… that comfort… that security… that LOVE that you desire…

Happy Christmas.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Recount Your Blessings!

Always be joyful. Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.  1Thes 5:16-18

Thankfulness is not a once a year novelty. It’s not something we put on then put away when the holidays are over.  I believe we need to daily cultivate a heart of thanksgiving. Scripture tells us, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).

We are to give thanks in all things, not some things, not the great and wonderful things, but in everything.

As you my know, Marty and I have had a very tough year.  It’s harder to have a thankful heart in hard circumstances isn't it?  So when scripture instructs me to be thankful, does that mean I am to be thankful for Marty's cancer?  God isn’t saying that I am to be thankful that something awful has happened. He knows we are human, we get hurt, we lose hope, and suffer grief. He wants us to give thanks inspite of it.

So as I thought about this more I started a list of what I am thankful for.

I can be thankful that the Lord spared my husband’s life…that He gave Marty he strength to persevere and get through the treatments. I can be thankful for the great results of his last CT scan.  It showed NO CANCER!   I can be thankful that my husband and I, though we went through some very difficult emotional moments, are closer today than we were when all this started.  I can go on and on…there are many more items on this list.

If I start to look at all my circumstances with spiritual eyes, I can do as scripture says… I can “always be joyful”… not for the circumstance, but for all that the Lord will do in it.  I causes me to “never stop praying”, cause I know that I have a God who hears me and will take care of all that concerns me.  It causes me to “give thanks no matter what” because GOD has been faithful.  He has never let me go, will never let me go.  His arms are big enough to hold me and all that comes my way.

How about you?  Maybe your year not gone as you would have wanted it to?  Maybe you are having a tough time being thankful in the face of storms.  Maybe your sorrows blinded you to the sweet face of God?  

If so, stop for a moment and look around you.  Pray for the Lord to heal, and soften your heart.  Pray He give you spiritual eyes to see beyond the troubles.  Ask the Lord to fill your heart with thankfulness for all He has done for you. 


Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Great devotion!

This was my devotional reading this morning.   I was so blessed that I had to share it.  Praying it bless you too!




My strength is made perfect in weakness – 2 Cor 12:9

A primary qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God’s work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness.

When the Christian warrior marches forth to battle, strong in his own might, when he boasts, “I know that I shall conquer, my own right arm and my conquering sword shall get unto me the victory!” then defeat is not far distant. God will not go forth with that man who marches in his own strength. He who reckons on victory by his own strength—has reckoned wrongly, for “it is not by might, nor by power—but by My Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.” They who go forth to fight, boasting of their prowess—shall return with their mirthful banners trailing in the dust, and their armor stained with disgrace.

Those who serve God—must serve Him in His own way, and in His strength, or He will never accept their service. God will never own that man who works, unaided by divine strength. The mere fruits of the earth—He casts away; He will only reap that grain, the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love. God will empty out all that you have—before He will put His own into you; He will first clean out your granaries—before He will fill them with the finest of the wheat. The river of God is full of water—but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in His battles—but the strength which He Himself imparts.

Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you victory. Your emptiness—is but the preparation for your being filled; and your casting down—is but the making ready for your lifting up!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Be Ye Transformed

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… Romans 12:2 


One of the coolest things that happen in nature is the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly.   How intricately made this little insect is… truly a miracle of God's Creation.

I have always been in awe of this. Even as a little girl I loved watching caterpillars crawl on leaves with all their little legs.  I even liked picking them up and allowing them to crawl on my hand. (but only for a little while) They were so cool.  And just think of how beautiful it is to see multi-colored butterfly gracefully fluttering from place to place.  As I said, I've always had a fascination about this.


The life cycle of a butterfly has 4 stages… egg… caterpillar…pupa… butterfly.  Each stage has it’s specific time and purpose.  

Why am I writing about this you may ask?  Well, the verse referenced above was part of my reading this week.  The word transformed caught my attention. 

If you haven’t figured this out yet, I am a bit of a word nerd and I love to look up words to gain insight from their meanings.

Many of you may know that the word transform comes from the Latin word metamorphosis.  (See…  I told you I was a word nerd.)

The one of the meanings of metamorphosis, refers to how a caterpillar-pupa transform into a butterfly.  I LOVE THIS MEANING… above all my favorite… read it with me… 

Biology . a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism, as from the caterpillar to the pupa and from the pupa to the adult butterfly

Did you see the word profound?  It means something deep and something that penetrates into one’s being.

That is exactly what Paul was talking about in the quoted verse...  TRANSFORM 

I thought about this in light of Paul's exhortation to us. What does this really mean to us as believers of Jesus Christ?


When we become new creations in Christ, 2Cor 5:17, we literally become new persons, and with new habits. We begin, just like the caterpillar if you will. They spend their entire cycle eating leaves. 


So what do we do when we first become born again? We "eat up" the Word, going to worship services, filling an unsatiable desire to know Him.


As we begin to seek God, to know more about Him, our inner character changes... a radical change of ideals and values occurs... just like the changes that are physically going on in the pupa stage of the butterfly... we are undergoing 
spiritual changes.


Our lives, our thoughts, our actions are now being governed if you will, by the Word of the Lord. So that you no longer lie or cheat as 
easily as you did, and when you do, there is a gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach 
telling you that it is wrong. Our minds are 
continually renewed through prayer and the 
study of God’s word and by the indwelling 
power of the Holy Spirit.

We once saw through the world’s eyes; things like premarital sex, abortion, homosexuality etc were acceptable, but now in light of the truth of God’s word, our eyes opened and we see the reality of the sin so prevalent in the world.

Picture the butterfly finally ready to come out of pupa. If you have ever seen this in videos, you can see that it is a laborious task for this little insect. But as it struggles, its wings are dried and strengthened in order for it to take flight.

Our own transformation will take some time. At times it will be hard and we will struggle in our faith to do the right thing and stand for God's truth. The world's pull is strong and if we don't stay in God's word and continue to grow, our spiritual "wings" will be weak. We will be unable to do all that the Lord wants to do in and through us.  


So what "stage" are you in today? Whether you are caterpillar or ready to leave the cocoon, 
STAY In His Word... It will transform you, give you courage to stand for His truth in the midst of these troubled times.

"So now, may the God of peace make you His own completely and set you apart from the rest. May your spirit, soul, and body be preserved, kept intact and wholly free from any sort of blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus the Anointed. 
 For the God who calls you is faithful, and He can be trusted to make it so."  1Thes 5:23-24 (the voice)





Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Walk to Remember

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..."
 - Jeremiah 1:5

Did you know that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month?  I didn't... until now. This past weekend I had the priviledge of participating in the OC Walk to Remember event.  This is an organization that offers support to families that have lost babies in miscarriage or in infancy.  They encourage parents to invite their loved ones and friends to join them as they walk in remembrance of their child or children.

OC Walk to Remember supports 27 hospitals, support groups and other organizations helping families who have lost a baby in pregnancy or infancy. They include: Nine Orange County groups that help those grieving the loss of a baby; Twelve local hospitals; St. Joseph Comfort Care Program; both Orange County Threads of Love chapters, A Heart to Hold; Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep; and Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support, Inc.
Why did I go?Well... I went in honor of my grand babies.  My precious daughter has had several miscarriages over the last few years.  I was with her when she lost her first baby.   I remember holding her, my baby, as we wept over the loss of hers.  It is a poignant memory that I will carry with me all the days of my life.

Now, my daughter is a strong and courageous woman.  She and her husband were excited to start a family so when she got pregnant again we were all so excited for her.  But, it was not to be, and since then she has lost more babies, each one taking a toll not only on her body, but also on her heart.    She has stood by and been a help and a support to all her friends as they have had healthy babies... organized and held baby showers for them.  As I said, my daughter is strong and courageous.  I remember conversations we would have... and the why moms?  While I know she was really not expecting an answer, I wished I could give her one.  Sometimes there just isn't one.  Only the Lord, in His great and sovereign ways has the answer.

As we arrived there at 6:30 am to check in, I was immediately hit with a flood of emotion as this realization came to me.  For friends and family, there is little understanding of the actual loss in miscarriage. For someone who has had miscarriages, there is no funeral or memorial service to remember a life lost.  There are no pictures to keep on your mantel, baby clothes to pack up or toys to put away.  The loss of this child is not outward and publicly shared.  It is inward and the grieving is often done alone and in silence. I heard the Lord's tender voice speaking to my heart as I picked up my tee shirt,  Patty, she is putting her babies to rest today.

It was all I could do to keep myself together.

As we waited for the walk to begin, we stopped by many of the vendor tents that helped sponsor the event. There were tents set up for families who had raised money for the walk in memory of thier little baby.  Many of the families had tee-shirts made up for the event with thier baby's name and picture on it.  Some said," My brother is an angel in heaven", "I am the aunt of an angel in heaven."

There was a memorial wall with all the babies names on them.  As we walked up to it, I was reminded of other memorial walls I'd seen... the one at the Pearl Harbor memorial... the Vietnam Veterans memorial... But there was something different about this wall... It's called the Wall of Angels. The names of all the infants that have gone on to heaven were there.  As I read the names on that wall, it was a solemn moment, sacred in a way, like I was standing on holy ground. I couldn't help to pray for all those families, who along with Jackie would be remembering thier loss.

The walk is preceded by a memorial service, where each baby’s name is read. The memorial service is not just a remembrance but a celebration of each life, no matter how long or short. I thought back to the many babies that are aborted each year and each of those babies, yes I said babies, are never remembered in this way.  Heaven is filled with them...  So, again in a silent prayer, I couldn't help remembering them.  Tears filled my eyes as the names were read and families began to come up one by one to receive a white rose in rememberance of their sweet baby/babies.  I put my arm around my baby as she waited for her name to be called.  I love my daughter... her strength is amazing.  I was/am so proud of her.

The walk is a wonderful way for parents to connect with other people who have lost a child. Whether it was a recent loss, or one that happened several years ago, parents are encourage to come walk for the steps their baby will never take. By walking in their name, their memory will live forever.

So after all the names were read, off we went.  Over 3,000 people were their in support of this event.  It was quite moving to see everyone, some crying, some smiling, all walking the steps their baby would never walk.




It Was An Amazing Sight to See!












Here we are... at the end of the walk. Joyfully exhausted! What a wonderful morning!
I was so touched by this day that I am thinking about volunteering for next year's walk.

If you are like these precious people who have lost your baby in pregnancy and infancy and needs someone to talk to and support for your family, please contact this wonderful organinzation.  They have many resources to help all the families in need.

OC Walk to Remember

I have also included a song by Watermark... It's called Glory Baby... It expresses all the emotions and thought parents of lost babies are feeling... super uplifting... full of hope... (get out your Kleenex  :) )
 Christy recounts with the audience how they lost two babies due to early miscarriages in 1999, and how God's peace was always upon them, "peace that passes understanding." Christy shared how the song "Glory Baby" developed from this experience.
Glory Baby
Till Next time



Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sweet Reflections

This morning I awoke to some sad news.  Pastor Chuck Smith, founder of Calvary Chapel, went home to be with the Lord this morning.  I say sad, cause I feel like I have lost a very dear and close friend.  He was the man the Lord used to open the scriptures to me. The world has lost not only a great Bible teacher, but wonderfully warm and loving person.

As a young Christian, I remember the first time I heard Pastor Chuck on the radio.  I was in between churches at the time, trying to read the scriptures and understand them on my own.  I had started to become discouraged in my reading... so many thee's and thou's.  Coming from a Catholic background, the only ones that understood the scriptures were the priests... How could I, a mere woman, newly born again understand something a sacred as God's word.


One morning as I drove to work, I was scanning the stations on the radio .  It stopped scanning at 107.9 KWVE and Pastor Chuck was teaching thru the book of Ephesians.  I had never heard of Calvary Chapel, or the revival the Lord had started in this church.  Never heard of Pastor Chuck Smith until that day.  I'll never forget it.  His voice was strong yet there was a gentleness to the way he taught.  He was in Ephesians chapter 1 teaching through verses 15-23.  Here I was, trying to understand the scriptures and what is Pastor Chuck teaching about..?  (see below)
Eph 1:15-23
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
It was the first time in my young walk with the Lord that I felt the Lord Himself praying over me...  the very thing I had been praying for... was being prayed over me as I listened to Pastor Chuck read and teach on these passages.  Tears filled my eyes as the presence of the Lord filled my truck...

"May the Father of Glory give to you the spirit of wisdom and understanding....the eyes of your understanding be enlightened.. that you may know the hope of His calling..."
That day... my walk with the Lord really began.  The Lord was going to give me the wisdom and understanding I desired.  He was going to open my eyes to know His truth.  And He used Pastor Chuck as His ambassador to assure me and encourage me to keep reading.  And how truly rich is the Word of God!

Over the years, 25 now, I have listened to Pastor Chuck on the radio, simply teach through the scriptures and each time his love for the Lord and his fervor for the lost has never wavered.  He has become my traveling companion, my friend, on those long morning drives to work.   He did not use any fancy words, his voice was warm and endearing, his message plain and simple... Simply Teach The Bible Simply.. God's word is powerful enough to break through even the hardest of hearts.


I have had the privilege of sharing a stage with him on many occasions as part of the worship team when he came to teach at my church , Calvary Chapel South Bay.  His countenance, no matter how he was feeling was always the same... That same look I'm sure Moses had when he came from being the the presence of the Lord...  His face shines with the love of Jesus.

I am so thankful to have had those opportunities to hear him teach the word in person... no notes, just the Word of God in his hand, the Holy Spirit in his heart and Jesus shining thru his smile.  I am thankful that while he is not with us in the physical, he is with us in the our hearts.  He is with us in all the wonderful hours of Bible teaching that he has recorded.  I am so thankful that even today, the day of his homecoming, this morning as I drove to work, my friend's warm and endearing voice came through the airwaves.  Tears welled up in my eyes once again...I rejoice with you today my dear friend... You are with Your Beloved at last.

I'm sure that the first words Pastor Chuck heard when he was welcomed by his Beloved Jesus were:  Well done good and faithful servant...

In closing... I read this scripture this morning and I think it bests describes Pastor Chucks life to me...

28 Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him, (Heb 12:28 the voice)

Til next time,


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Wait Poem

Someone sent this to me... I don't know the author but I loved it so much I had to share it!

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said,"Wait."



"Wait? You say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I relate,
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to Wait?"
I'm needing a 'yes,' a go-ahead sign.
Or even a 'no,' to which I'll resign.


You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply.


Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting . . . for what?"


He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
And He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun. I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

I could give all you seek and pleased you would be. You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.


You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me,
When darkness and silence are all you can see.


You'd never experience the fullness of love,
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.


The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask,
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.


You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But oh, the loss if I lost what I'm doing in you.


So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see,
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still "WAIT"

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Step Forward

And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.”

I am always fascinated at the life of Jesus as revealed to us in the gospels.  In His short 3 1/2 years of ministry He was able to do and say so much... even  more that was recorded according to the gospel of John.

One account of healing that stands out to me is the man with the withered hand.  I have been reading up on this and I found a couple of things pretty interesting...

A historian named Jerome tells us that there is strong evidence that this man was a stone mason. If so, then this paralysis would have been a life changing illness.  No longer would he be able to provide for his family.  He and his family would become have to rely on the charity of others… Think about the type of humiliation he would have had to endure, physically, emotionally socially.

So now we see this man…  Maybe he was in the synagogue to find Jesus.  With all the commotion and the crowds following him, with the news circulating about his ability to heal, no doubt he had come to the synagogue seeking healing…

We also see Scribes and Pharisees in this passage.   I find it interesting that Mark makes this distinction.  In prior passages, he says… religious teachers… leaders.  But here he specifically says…

These men were sent especially from Jerusalem to keep an eye on Jesus.  I’m sure that they had hearing stories about this man from Galilee who had been working wonders and miracles and the Sanhedrin was growing concerned because He was getting far to much attention.

Take note of one thing… they did not come to worship… or to commune with the Lord, as they should have…  especially them…

No they came to watch, to confront and to find fault.  In other words they became spectators… accusers …rather than help

Have you ever done that?  Or known someone who has done that… Come in not wanting to really learn, but to see if they could find something wrong with what was being said.

Luke says in his account that  “But He knew their thoughts,”  Jesus knew what they were plotting in their hearts and yet he gave them every opportunity to turn to him… I love Jesus.... He always knew the wickedness in hearts of men, which always blows my mind in view of His suffering on the cross for us.

Look at verse 4:  NLT

and said to the man who had the withered hand, "Arise and stand here." And he arose and stood. 9 Then Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?"

Here I see the great compassion of our Lord…  He has the afflicted man stand before them, maybe so they too could see this man’s need and feel compassion for him… then he gives them an out by asking them a simple question…

He appealed to their own consciences, the answer to this question is obvious…  And yet, because they saw it would turn against them, they held their peace.

Have you ever done that?  Has the Lord ever convicted you of something using someone else and when confronted with that you are silenced…  you refuse to admit your sin?  or that your heart is hardened?

Look at verse 5
And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts,
OK.. so being a word nerd... I looked up the meaning of the word hardness... especially cause it was something that grieved the Lord.
hardness
1) to cover with a thick skin, to harden by covering with a callus
2b) to grow hard, callous, become dull, lose the power of understanding
—Strong's Greek & Hebrew Dictionary

WOW... to lose the power of understanding... the hardness of their hearts, their refusal to the evidence of his miracles, and their inflexible resolution to persist in unbelief.  Do you know someone like that?  Someone who even when confronted with the goodness and compassion of the Lord refuses to believe?  Sadly, I do... and he is one of my very own family.

The Lord has always been grieved by the hard hearts… remember back in the Old Testament, He kept the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years because of this…

Knowing that I myself am not immune to this I had to ask myself this question.
What causes my heart to be hardened?  I came up with a few... I won't expound on each for sake of time, but will allow the Holy Spirit to speak to each of you individually.


Back to our story:

He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand."
Picture this scene with me… put yourself in his place... synagogue full of people…  Jesus has called you to stand in front of everyone… What would you have done?

The man could have refused to come up…  not wanting to be made a spectacle of … after all he really didn’t know Jesus…or he could have argued with Jesus…  I can’t stretch forth my hand… it’s paralyzed. I can't allow this hand, this handicap, this thing that has so plagued my life to be seen...  

Instead, he simply obeyed.  He did not argue, He did not debate… he just stretched forth his hand in obedience to His command.

And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.

His heart was not hardened by disobedience or unbelief…  He just simply said OK and the Lord met him in this place of need.  The very word of God healed him…  (Jesus being the very WORD of GOD... isn't that cool.)  The reward for his obedience was his healing, his restoration.

What is God commanding you to do?  Has his word spoken to you about some of the issues in your life… What in your life is "withered " and needs restoration?  Will you be willing to let it be seen so you can be healed of it?

I realized that we can respond to the Word in 2 ways…  Like the scribes… with hardness of heart, unwilling and unyielding…untouched by the love and healing power of God

Or like the man with a withered hand… obedient to the very command of God…  and received all that God had for him…

He will meet you at your place of need… if you stretch forth your hand in faith and obedience to His Word.

Til next time