About these ads

Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “death

Worry Versus Concern

Though my daily reading plan does not coincide with the events surrounding our celebration of Easter, I cannot help but recognize within each reading, how the words must have moved the hearts of the various men and women who were present at the events leading up to the cross, and beyond. This morning is no exception.

 

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” – (Matthew 6:27)

 

The NIV footnotes explain that “worry immobilizes, but concern moves you to action.” Clearly Christ was concerned for our well-being, as He moved forward to suffer for our sake. Additionally, I think of the disciples who deserted Him in His hour of need. Clearly they worried about their well-being, as each of them scattered in the face of adversity. However, there were those who were clearly concerned, rather than worried. Concern compelled Joseph of Arimathea to risk his reputation and ask to take Jesus’ body to the tomb. Likewise, concern moved Mary Magdalene and many other faithful women to be present at the foot of the cross.

 

Worry kept Pilate from standing strong in his convictions that Christ was indeed innocent. Though he knew Jesus had done nothing deserving of death, Pilate allowed the worry of his reputation to dictate death for One undeserving, simply because the crowd was calling for it. Can you imagine what the remainder of Pilate’s days must have been like, after the events that occurred from the cross to the empty tomb? Surely Pilate heard the news…

 

Let not worry,Worry Versus Concern

seize your heart with fear;

for no good comes,

when panic is near.

Concern compels,

wills us to action;

trusts Christ to lead,

faithful transaction.

Don’t let worry,

come immobilize;

instead, let faith,

sink in, globalize.

Rise up, dear ones,

release pending doom;

on that third day,

stood the empty tomb.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry when our trust is in You. Thank You that You who provide for the grass of the fields and the birds of the air, even more abundantly provide for Your people. Thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our trust. Forgive us for allowing fear to seep in and freeze us up from moving forward. Grow in us an unshakable faith, that is compelled to action by concerns, and that carries out Your will rather than our own. May we love others as You love us, and honor You in all that we say and do. May many come to know the help and hope available in You, because of what You did for us during this Easter season. All glory and honor unto You, our perfect Prince of Peace. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

 

About these ads

Prepare the Way

Preparations in advance make the way anywhere more easy to navigate. John the Baptist fulfilled his calling, as he faithfully went out into the Desert of Judea and preached repentance to prepare the hearts and minds of all who would hear him for the message that Jesus would soon deliver. “This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.” – (Matthew 3:3)

 

John helped prepare the way for Jesus. With Easter mere days away, how can we “prepare the way for the Lord” and “make straight paths for Him“? Our charge as followers of Christ is to do just that. Our lives ought to speak volumes, without a single word. Do people see a difference in how we live? If our conduct demonstrates kindness and grace, opportunities are opened to share what He has done for us, personally, and “paths may be made straight” as we can correct misconceptions that people may be holding in their hearts about their own capacity to come to Christ. May His good news be made known as grace is lovingly shown.

 

Prepare the way,Prepare the Way

for our loving Lord;

make His heart known,

live in one accord.

Make straight the paths,

that lead unto Him;

offer His hope,

so His light shines in.

Give others grace,

as we have received;

Love drew us in,

when we first believed.

May that same love,

given lavishly;

draw others in,

so they too believe.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to come to know You. Thank You that He prepared the way and made the path straight for our minds and hearts to hold all hope in You. Thank You that we too, can be a part of preparing the way for others to come to know You. Forgive us for neglecting to do what You call us to, and for doing that which You ask us to not do. Thank You for Your forgiveness and grace, and may it compel us to depend on You more in all times and in each place. Help us to love and extend grace as You do unto us, and may many come to understand the eternal significance of Your death and resurrection this Easter. Let those who are looking, find a forever faith in You. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.

- Genesis 21:6


Acts of Obedience

We are in the middle of a series called Surprised by Hope at the church I call home. Yesterday’s message was centered around “The Death of Jesus”, as we remember what went on during this sacred week so many years ago. The consequence of sin is death, and we are powerless to escape the hold of sin, unless God breaks in and rescues us from ourselves. In order for Him to do so, He requires a faith response on our part.

 

Jesus made His entry during the Passover celebration. This celebration is ultimately a remembrance of God’s faithfulness to the people’s obedience. God told the people that He would bring judgment on every household, unless a lamb was sacrificed and the blood marked on the doorposts. Though it likely made little sense, the people chose obedience to protect their precious families. As a result of their obedience, the angel of death passed over their homes, and they were all safe, while those who had not obeyed, were in the midst of great mourning. God delivered them because He loved them.

 

Christ’s sacrifice was an act of obedience. Because Jesus knew no sin, He could take on our sin and bear all of our burdens so that we could come to know redemption. Jesus knew what He would have to endure on our behalf, yet He was willing anyway.

 

What God asks of us does not always make sense, but He wants our heart, our will, our faith to trust Him, even if what He asks is not what we would expect. “…To obey is better than sacrifice…” (I Samuel 15:22b)

 

The consequence,Acts of Obedience

of sin is death;

without the Lord,

we’re powerless.

As we seek Him,

surrender all;

He’ll hear our heart,

and heed our call.

Prepare to do,

all that He asks;

regardless of,

the bizarre tasks.

For what He wants,

is our whole heart;

obedient,

each precious part.

So seek the Lord,

follow His ways;

redemption ours,

now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and making the way for us to be considered righteous before You. Thank You Jesus, for enduring the weight and suffering that should have been mine to bear. Thank You for redeeming us from our former ways, and granting us new life in You. Forgive us for thinking that we have to sacrifice enough or do enough to earn Your favor, and help us to receive that which You freely give. May we embrace the grace that You grant us, and respond in faith to whatever You ask. Lead us to live confidently as Your redeemed children. Let us love others as You love us, and may many come to know the blessed deliverance that comes from You alone. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – I Chronicles 16:31

 

 

 


Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.Psalm 23  1

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters,

He restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness

for His name’s sake.

Even though I walk

through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff,

they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

forever. – Psalm 23

God is my guide. Psalm 23  2

WIth Him, I lack nothing.

He provides me place to rest,

and grants refreshment unto my soul.

He leads me and guides me

in the ways in which I am meant to go.

Even when things are frightening,

or death is knocking at my door.

I need not fear, for He is with me.

The Lord is my Protector and Comforter.

He prepares abundant provisions for me,

right in front of my enemies,

and claims me as His own,

pouring out His blessings upon me.

Your goodness and love will remain with me,

every day of my life,

and I hold fast to the promise

of my future forever with You in heaven.

The 23rd Psalm is a source of much comfort to many. It is a reminder of God’s presence, provision, and power. He is good, and is available to pour out His blessings upon those who faithfully seek Him. The Lord is worthy of our trust, and His love is unfailing. There has never been, nor shall ever be a mere man, to whom we can compare His capacity to love us, individually. May this day, afford you the opportunity to take some time to simply soak in the reality of His remarkable redemption, granted by His glorious grace, just for you.

You are my guide,Psalm 23  3

Provider of all;

You grant me rest,

catch me when I fall.

Lead me to peace,

to quiet my soul;

so I may hear,

Your heart that makes whole.

Show me the way,

unto righteousness;

despite shadows,

remove fearfulness.

Help me to trust,

You as Protector;

may my heart see,

all foes bow before.

You prepare much,

foes see that I’m blessed;

You call me Yours,

clothed in righteousness.

Goodness and love,

for my whole life long;

my hope secure,

my Strength and my Song.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You that Your love is unfailing, and that You provide, protect and persist in Your pursuit of our whole heart. Thank You for the bountiful blessings that You pour out upon us, and for the promise we may hold when we give our heart to You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of trust, and help us to seek You in all things. May Your grace and mercy be evident in every area of our lives, and may we extend the same to all whom we encounter. Let Your love be evident in us. Lead those who are looking unto Your loving embrace. Be glorified, our great and mighty King. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart.

- Proverbs 3:3


The Scroll and the Seven Seals

From the opening of the scroll to the list of calamities that will come to the earth, I have always found this portion of Revelation to be particularly unsettling. (Revelation 5-9) However, today, something new seemed to stand out to me. In the midst of a series of devastating displays, those who were sent to destroy, stopped, and made sure to mark those who belonged to God, so that we would be left alone by those who would later come to torture and destroy.

“Wait! Don’t do anything yet – hurt neither earth nor sea nor trees – until we have placed the seal of God upon the foreheads of His servants.” – (Revelation 7:3, Living Bible)

In a list of darkness and destruction that is to come, this is our ray of light. Our reminder of hope and help – that we are known, marked and set aside for something far greater than the here and now. Though the series of seals being broken and the events that are to unfold are nothing to look forward to, I am comforted in knowing that as His daughter, I shall somehow bear His seal upon my forehead, and be known. (As is true for all who call on His Name and place their trust in Him) I still hope to have lived out my life and already be in heaven when what was foretold comes to pass; but if I am not, there is much comfort in knowing that I am His. And, the best part that has not yet been covered in this portion of scripture, is how it all ends. Christ wins! Death and destruction will all pass away, and His peace and presence will reign forever. For that, I look forward with eager anticipation!

A sealed scroll,The Scroll and the Seven Seals

that none can open;

yet there is One,

the Lamb, who’s Chosen.

With every seal,

comes horse and rider;

sent to destroy,

human dividers.

Plagues and disease,

death from brutal wars;

much of the earth,

lost both near and far.

Such loss and pain,

who’d even survive?

Those with His mark,

kept safe for a time.

Yet even those,

in destruction lost;

if in the Lord,

paid is final cost.

For in the end,

His kingdom shall reign;

all found in Him,

will live free from pain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to show us more of Yourself as we earnestly seek You. Thank You that though we naturally fear what we do not know or understand, that You reveal to us that You are with us, and will remain with us in all things and at all times. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever, and that Your faithfulness has no end. Forgive us for our fearfulness of that which we do not know, and grant us wisdom and insight into that which You would have us to know. For the things we are not yet meant to grasp, give us faith to trust You more. May our hearts hold fast to You in faith, regardless of the world around us. Help us to love as You love us, and may many come into a saving relationship with You, so they too, may bear the seal upon their forehead… Be glorified in all that we say and do. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.


Our Sovereign Savior

Our Sovereign Savior
God, our Creator,

dwells in hearts of man;

not in a building,

made by human hand.

He made land and sea,

from one man, made all;

determined the place,

each border would fall.

God gave with a choice,

yet that choice is plain;

if we look around,

creation proclaims.

It summons we seek,

and reach out for Him;

when we truly look,

He will enter in.

The Lord’s always near,

close as our next breath;

our life is in Him,

and hope after death.

For in Him we live,

and have our being;

empowered to move,

vision for seeing.

 

(Responding to Acts 17:24-28)
 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are sovereign over all, yet at the same time, You are close and personal. Thank You that You love us so much, that You allow us to choose. Thank You that You have always chosen us; that Your love for us is unending. Thank You that there is evidence of You, all around us. Forgive us for the times that we were silent when we should have spoken, and please birth in us, a new boldness for You. Lead us in Your love, and let Your light be evident in all that we say and do. May many come to know the sweet space of knowing You as their Savior. Help us to have a heightened awareness of Your nearness today. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.


Praise the Lord

Answers As We Ask
When heaven’s hope,

feels far from home;

through desert lope,

our hearts shall roam –

praise the Lord.

When darkness falls,

and hope seems lost;

when anguish calls,

and waves have tossed –

praise the Lord.

When out of steam,

all strength is gone;

as body screams,

can’t carry on –

praise the Lord.

When all is well,

and faith is found;

as silence fell,

heard heaven’s sound –

praise the Lord.

For life and breath,

and hope secure;

for earthly death,

as Christ is near –

praise the Lord.

Let word and song,

grant praise to Him;

right cover wrong,

shine light within –

praise the Lord.

(Responding to Psalm 150)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are worthy of all praise. Thank You that though our circumstances continually change, Your love and faithfulness do not. Forgive us for our fear and wavering faith in the fight, and teach us to trust You more. Help our hearts to praise You at all times and through all things. Let our lives lived in Your light lift eyes of the lowly, so that all in need of You, might come to truly see. For who You are, and all that You do – praise Your Name, O God. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.


In Your Wildest Dreams

Night after night I lay in bed, tears coursing silently down my cheeks. Deep pain burned through my heart, which no longer held a steady beat.

Kathump, kathump, kathump…

Silence…

…when your heart does not beat for several seconds

…is very loud.

I wonder if it’s going to….

tat, tat, tat, tat, tat

Yes it is; I guess this isn’t the end.

It had been a very long and trying month, which came to a most unexpected end.

My mother lay in the morgue, awaiting cremation.

During our ordeal with her heart surgery, followed by complications, the Lord had been closer than I’d ever experienced Him. The Christian radio station I played in my car seemed to have been cued into our  situation, for every time I left for the hospital or to return home, the DJ would say something like, “If you’re struggling today, stay tuned. (Pastor’s name) has a message of reassurance and comfort for you.”

Or songs like “Praise You in this Storm” would be playing. I never felt so “buffered” in all my life.

The vision my (“unsaved”) father had the night she had to be taken back to the hospital was the Lord’s way of forewarning us that she would be going Home.

He was wide awake, praying for her (something he didn’t do), and saw my mom standing in a white robe. A large angel came behind her and enfolded her in his wings until all that could be seen was her head.

“Tam, I felt so comforted when I saw that,” he told me later.

I’m glad you feel comforted, I thought. I know what that means.

My dad’s vision was the first of many, many amazing things that happened during that month. I could fill this entire post with them.

But that is not my focus today! Back to my nightly grief sessions…

After weeks of aching, and nightly anxiety attacks (the goofy heartbeat thing), I told the Lord,

“I can’t do this anymore. To stay in the reality that she is gone hurts so bad. Abba, can we decorate my home in heaven?”

(Earlier in the year I’d talked to the Lord about heaven:

“Lord, the idea of sitting on a cloud in a white nightie, strumming a harp for ages to come; or laying at Your feet in worship for years and years…um…I’m sorry, but that sounds incredibly boring. You know me, I can’t sit idle for very long. I love to be making something new, or learning new things, or going to see new places. I guess I lack the ‘worship gene.’ You’re going to have to put that desire in me and do away with my curious, creative self, ’cause if You don’t, I’m going to be a miserable failure in heaven.”

Not long after that, Steve Berger from Grace Chapel in Lieper’s Fort, TN lost his son in a car accident. Suddenly interested in what heaven might be like, he began to study the topic – then preach it from the pulpit. I highly recommend his sermons. These weekly messages were God’s response to my earlier conversation with Him!)

That night, I began by imagining what Mom was doing at that moment. She’d been there for a while. Was she still standing at the entrance, mouth agape at the splendor? In awe of the majesty of God? Was she skipping and dancing and getting reacquainted with my youngest brother who only lived for three days? With the many children she’d lost through miscarriage?

(She had nine miscarriages before me; I was the first to be born live…that makes me a 10. Eat your heart out, Bo Derrik!)

My thoughts turned to my “room” in heaven.

“Lord, I hate to vacuum. Could I have moss instead of carpet…maybe a little creek running through the living room? I love the sound of babbling brooks.

“Plasterboard walls aren’t much fun. They have to be cleaned. How about if You make the walls out of vines – ooh! – with beautiful flowers that change colors from time to time?

(I was on a roll…)

“Windows…hey! We won’t need glass windows because bugs won’t bug us, and there will be no burglars to burgle. I can have openings and fresh air all the time.

“If the rocks would have cried out in praise, that must mean they have that capability – and everything in the universe resonates…emits sound. Awesome! Would You line my yard with trees and bushes that can play the songs I have in my heart for You, but lack the skill to write on paper so others can play along? We could have nightly jam sessions and sing new songs every day!”

My thoughts turned to the concept of forever:

You’ll hear me ask from time to time, “What do you think you’ll be doing a million (billion) years from today?” I don’t know what that might be, but I know this…It’s going to be AMAZING!

Do you ever wonder what you’re being trained for while here on earth? Death isn’t “Game Over,” it’s the doorway into real life. In 2 Corinthians 5, we read that this mortality (what we consider to be real living) will be swallowed up by life! Now, that’s good news!!

****

“Who wants to go to Epcot Center?” I cheerfully asked two of my sons one morning.

Barely looking up from their schoolwork, one replied, “Uh, no thanks.”

The other said, “Not me.”

“What is Epcot Center?” I asked, a bit confused.

“I dunno. Sounds like a business complex…one of your ‘fun-filled’ field trips for homeschool. No thanks, Mom.”

They had no idea what they were turning down.

They’d never heard of the place, and so hadn’t given it a second thought.

Isn’t this what we can be like when we think of heaven? Having never thought much about it – or worse – believing the lie that it’s the isolation of being perched on a cloud, nighties and harps, singing forever, it’s no wonder we aren’t anxious to get there. (This, by the way, is a more accurate description of hell – isolation, monotony, hopelessness…forever.)

1 Corinthians 2:9 reads, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” When I read this verse, I hear, “Honey, use your wildest imagination…it will be fun for now, but won’t even come close to all I have waiting for you here!

I become thoroughly Homesick when I imagine what lies ahead (however inaccurate I may be) …

…in my wildest dreams!

***********

(Don’t miss the companion post. You can find it here: Now That’ll Wreck Your Day.)

Visit Lessons by Heart


I Am Invincible

Until the Lord calls me home, I am invincible. No one, and nothing can take me out before it’s time for me to leave this rock!

More often than not, the person to whom I make the above statement comes back with something like, “Oh, yeah? Well, don’t step in front of a train to see if it’s true.”

Duh! Do I look that stupid? Why do people always want to “rain on our parade?” Who knows?

Think this through with me.

There is much freedom to be obtained through this truth.

We know that every day of our life has been written down – recorded before there was even one of them (Psalm 139). God knows exactly when we are going to die, and how. We won’t suddenly appear in heaven, only to have the Lord exclaim, “What are you doing here? I wasn’t expecting you for many years!”

There is a day appointed to us for our death; and nothing can hasten that day – not cancer, not an accident, not murder…NOTHING!

This means that until that time arrives, I am invincible.

So are you!

Understanding this gives me courage to go places and do things I might otherwise avoid for fear of putting myself in danger.

For instance, I’ve gone on mission trips to foreign countries where “bad things” could happen – even death. The enemy runs rampant in many third-world countries. Weird things happen and it can get really freaky.

Jesus gave us power over all the power of the enemy, though. (Luke 10:19) He also gave us armor (Ephesians 6). If we get our butts kicked by the enemy, it’s our own fault!

Knowing that I’m indestructible gives me the guts to go into homeless camps and walk city streets at night, reaching out to people.

After all, if it’s my night to die I’m going to be killed in a car accident, taken out by some disease, stabbed to death by some maniac…or drop dead of a heart attack in the security of my home.

Whatever the means, I’m dead! It was my time.

Until then – yep! Invincible.

If we are forewarned of imminent death, we can plead with God for more time (I’m sure He doesn’t get this!). He may be gracious and grant our request. There is a case of this very thing recorded for us in 2 Kings. Let’s see what happens when we live beyond the time God has allotted us:

We discover, in 2 Kings 18, that Hezekiah began to reign in Judah when he was 25 years old. He was a great king, and did what was right in the sight of the Lord like David (a very high complement). He tore down all their high places, and destroyed their idols…including the bronze serpent of Moses’ day. We’re told that the Lord was with him; and he prospered wherever he went.

Hezz was a good and godly man; a man of great faith. (2 Kings 19:20).

When he was about 39 years old, though, he became very ill. Isaiah told him to set his house in order, for he would die from his illness. (2 Kings 20)

Hezekiah begged the Lord to let him live, using all the things we say: “Look how I’ve served You. Do You remember how faithful I’ve been to You?” In other words, he told the Lord, “How could You take my life? You owe me.”

God relented, and granted Hezekiah another 15 years. He knew it would come to pass, for God made the day longer to prove His word to ol’ Hezz.

Then we find out what happens when God does things our way:

Having gotten his way with God, no doubt Hezz was feeling his oats, as the saying goes, so when the “good ol’ boys” of Babylon showed up, he gave them a grand tour of all his treasures. You can bet they took copious notes!

They went home and reported all they’d seen, greed set in, and the plan to overthrow Israel was born. Isaiah came to tell Hezekiah that captivity for Israel

In addition, he sired Manasseh during these 15 years (Manny was only 12 when he became king – next chapter).

Manasseh was one of the most evil, vile king to ever reign in Judah, leading the nation back into idolatry – even set up idols in the Temple of the Lord, and shed much innocent blood.

(In 2 Chronicles 33, I’m happy to report that Manasseh came to his senses after being led into captivity with a hook in his nose – OUCH! – repented, and set things right in Jerusalem before his death).

My point is this, though: If this is what lays beyond the appointed time God has for me, no thank you. I don’t want to outlive my usefulness her on planet earth. If I’m only going to do evil if my life is extended beyond God’s plan for me, then I’d rather he take me out!

I believe this story was placed here to show us that God knows when it’s time for us to go Home.

Until then, however, no matter what comes our way, there is a plan and a purpose for our existence. No one can cut our lives short; no illness either.

We are invincible!

Visit Lessons by Heart


Delight Me!

My husband and I were on our way down to the beach  in Crescent City. On a whim I asked, “Abba, would you delight me today?” It seemed like a very audacious request from the God who has given me so much already – but there it was.

I was not prepared for how He would answer my request.

We love this beach. It’s the best place ever for finding seashells…and not just clams or mussels. My favorites are the tiny little ones – only 1/4″ or so in length. I settled myself at the edge of the driftwood and began to collect them.

Soon a woman came along. I like to share my finds and show others where the best spots are, so I stood up and approached her. We soon began talking about what we do, and discovered that we were both authors. More conversation revealed that we were both followers of Jesus, which begged the question, “Where do you  fellowship?” When I mentioned my home church, she asked if I knew her brother – an elder there. Of course I did.

Putting two and two together, I discovered that I not only knew her brother, but that her sister had been the photographer at our wedding. Further, this woman and I had been in band together in high school back in the 70s.

We had a great time talking, and made plans to have dinner together that evening.

Wow! That was so cool, Lord, I thought to myself. I was certainly delighted with this chance meeting.

But there was more to come.

Sitting back on the beach, I talked with Jesus and thanked Him for the many songs He’d given me over the years. I decided to give Him a little concert – sing them back to Him while I continued to gather my little treasures. Soon the sound of music, backed by sea gulls and pounding waves, filled the air.

Two women sat off at a distance, also collecting shells. Bit by bit they moved closer – until they were almost on top of me. Having filled my little jar, I stood to locate my husband so I could join him. When I did, the younger of the two said, “I’m sorry if we’re invading your space. I heard Jesus in your songs, and wanted to hear them better.”

“Gee, thanks for the complement! No problem. I wasn’t leaving because of you. I’ve gathered all I want, and was going to go find my hubby,” I replied.

We began to talk, and soon discovered that we were from the same town, and also sisters in Christ. Twice in one day – that’s awesome!

Double delight, I thought with a smile.

As we were talking, I looked at the ground by my feet and spotted a most unusual barnacle. It looked like it had been formed around a golf ball – and then the ball extracted from the center of the cluster.

Share it with her, I heard in my head, so I reached out to show her my find.

I dropped it into her open palm. Her reaction was completely unexpected. She looked at it, then with her hand quaking, she moved it back to me – then toward herself – then back toward me again.

What on earth? I thought.

After a few minutes, she quietly said, “This means something.

“You see, earlier this year my brother was fishing with two friends over by the lighthouse. A sneaker wave swept all three of them off the rocks. It took them 45 minutes to recover my brother’s body because it was caught on the barnacles underwater. I think God is letting me know that he is okay – there with him. Thank you so much for this gift.”

Triple delight!

The request to be delighted by the Lord rarely goes unfulfilled. I never know what to expect. There are many more stories like this one to tell.

Try it sometime!!

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Visit my blog: Lessons by Heart

Shadowland – An Amazing Journey

The shadows lengthen, the sun is obscured by the cliffs on either side of the path. The air is heavy, our breathing labored. I’ve been in this place before. I recognize the terrain, the sights and smells. I hear the rustle of Death’s robe as he follows at a distance. His breath quickens as he draws near in anticipation of his next victim.

We have entered the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

How I despise this part of life’s journey.

And yet, there is much to be seen and learned in this place if those attending the sojourner pay attention. For it is also a place of comfort, of hope, and the nearness of Jesus for those who have entrusted themselves to His care.

This will be a short trip this time, I think. My dear friend – more like a father to me than my own ever was – has bone cancer. He’s fading quickly.

Thoughts of the loss of another beloved one in this place scratch at my raw emotions like a claw. It was just eight years, one month and six days ago that my mother’s journey through this valley ended.

At the same time, sweet memories of the last trip lay play like wispy mist while we walk. We talk of those times, my friend and I. We remember dreams of an angel enfolding Mom in his wings, of watching her play with “baby angels” while she was recovering from her surgery. The outline of a Lion in the picture at the end of her bed (Aslan standing guard!).

I tell him of her decision to discontinue the medication she was on – it wasn’t working; her conversation with the doctor,

“Yes, I am ready to die.”

We talk about how I watched her make the last knot in her “needlework,” poke the needle into the pincushion, and smooth out her last bit of work during drug-induced sleep; the opening of her sightless eyes minutes before she left us – the gift of a final farewell to her family….and the feather that fell from a bird-less sky the afternoon she left us.

It was a painful time, a fretful time, and yet a time of great hope.

It seems that we’re very nearly on the same path once again. I’ve seen that stump before, and that gnarled tree over there, too.

This all sounds so somber and heavy, to tell it in this way. In some ways it is. Thankfully, the separation won’t be forever, though.

For my friend, it is an adventure. “Wow! I’ve never died before. I wonder what it will be like? This is exciting!” was his joyous response when he was given the news. Only someone who knows where they are going can react like that.

And he knows! With barely a backward glance at those of us who will remain on earth, he’s ready – eager to be reunited with his wife. They’ve been separated for two long years.

(She’s been keeping my mom company – I’ll bet the two of them have made quilts for each of our homes from the finest fabrics heaven has to offer, and painting pictures to grace our walls.)

We’ve talked for many hours about what lies beyond the gossamer-thin veil that separates this world from the next. We’ve spun some exciting stories about things we hope to do and see. The most amazing activity we long for is our first face-to-face visit with Jesus Himself. Oh, what will that be like? we wonder.

Our favorite topic is: What will we be doing a million years from today? We will certainly be doing something! The Bible says we will be like Jesus when we see Him. That’s AWESOME!

Did you ever read in the Bible about the stuff that Jesus did after He rose from the dead?

He ate and drank. He could be touched. He was reunited with those He loved.

He flew! Right up into the atmosphere without a jet pack or oxygen tank.

My personal favorite is:

POOF! Now you see Him inside a locked room.

POOF! Now you don’t!

I’m gonna have fun with that one for about the first hundred years.

Expect me!

Yeah, I hate this valley, but it isn’t so bad when I remember that separation will only be for a little while. We will see one another again. Because we know Jesus, we will never see Death, but pass from life to life.

The Bible describes it as

“Mortality being swallowed up by life.”

Now, that’s good news!

Thank You, Jesus, that You have not left us without hope. I will dearly miss my friend, but I’m so thankful that I will not “lose” him. I’ll know right where to find him, and that’s with You.

Thank You for Your comfort and support as we walk through this valley. I’m so glad that it’s only the “shadow” of Death, for Death cannot touch those who belong to You.

I’m glad that we will live forever with You – and never have to deal with death, sickness, sorrow, guilt, shame, or evil forever after. Now that is good news indeed!

Originally published 4/12/13 on Lessons by Heart

In Memory

This is mostly a repost from a couple of years ago but I have added some new videos. Every year when we honor our dead, we need the reminders of why they died and what they sacrificed. But we also need to remember the living and left behind and honor the gift that we were given. Our freedom was bought, first and foremost by Jesus and that can never be taken from us. But what our men and women have sacrificed for on the battlefield can and is. We need to be watchmen to remind others of them and show our children what they gave as well. God bless all the men and women who have sacrificed and let us never forget.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Every year on Memorial Day we honor our fallen soldiers that gave their life that we might be free! Today more than ever we need reminded that freedom isn’t free. With each day our liberties are being eaten away by a voracious government that seems determined to decide for us every minute detail of our lives.

This country’s Constitution states that our rights are given to us by God, and the Bible tells us that what He gives, no man can take away. They may kill our bodies, but our souls belong to the Creator. We can choose to keep those rights that our men and women died for, or we can give them up. So if we should lose those rights, it is only because we weren’t willing to die for them.

This post is for the men and women who have already proven to God and the world that they are willing to die to keep those rights. If we do nothing else in the next few hours, let us show that honor proudly and let us not be cowed by those in power who have little or no respect for either God, the country, or those who died to protect and save her!

http://ourfallensoldier.com/Tributes.html

Enhanced by Zemanta

Memorial Day Tribute Part 1

We can’t truly honor the dead if we don’t hold what they died for with honor as well. Our soldiers died for this country, from it’s inception to today. We can’t expect our children to remember them if we don’t take the time to set the examples. And it is not enough to just mouth the words, say a prayer, have a cookout and go on. To know why they were willing to sacrifice is the ultimate gift that we can give our children. If we don’t respect those who died that we might live how can we ask for that same respect from our children and if the time ever comes when they must make a choice on whether to sacrifice themselves they must know that they are doing so for a truly good reason God bless all our men and women who have made that sacrifice.


To Take a Life

Source: epm.org via Kim on Pinterest

Matthew 5:21
Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

According to

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary to kill means:

killkɪl(v.t.)

  1. to deprive of life; cause the death of; slay.
  2. to destroy; do away with; extinguish.

And life means:

lifelaɪf(n.; adj.)(pl.)lives

  1. (n.)the general condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, a means of reproduction, and internal regulation in response to the environment.

Who decides when it is appropriate to end the life of a being? In a civilized society it is a matter for those who are responsible for enforcing the law, to decide if the crime a person has committed rises to the level of ceding their lives for their crimes. We are no longer living in a civilized society!!!

Somehow we have passed beyond the thin veil of civilization into a degenerate and lawless society where death is appropriated simply on the whim of those doing the killing. And these degenerate ideas spawn the infantile excuse that somehow, just for the fact that you are born a woman, you have some greater empathetic knowledge on who is justified to live or die. All on the very thin excuse that a woman should be able to decide what is best for their own welfare, body and future.

It is simply such a stupid argument, I wonder at the intelligence of those who state it and those who accept it as if it must be true. If a woman was that intelligent, she would never have gotten to the place where she has the choice to make. After all, she is the one who invited the action in which she became pregnant. I am not talking about rape and incest here. I am talking about the women who think that they can sleep with any man who comes along and either not get pregnant, or rid themselves of the product of their carelessness by simply disposing of it like it is so much waste to be flushed down the toilet or tossed with the trash. And yet these are the same people who tell us that they have the right to decide what to do with their body. They seem to think that this is a sign of intelligence. If these same women were foolish enough to get an arm cut off or a permanent mark on their body, these things they would have to live with and explain how foolish they were in their actions.

So how did we get here? We got here by a Supreme Court that made a foolish decision, and gave every woman that comes along and makes a bad mistake, the opportunity to kill. Shall we start saying at some point that these women now have the right to decide that their children don’t have the right to exist if they are handicapped or if in someway they are just a burden to them? Should we give men this same right? If not why not? If you come down to it, the life that begins in a woman’s womb would not be possible without the input from the man. Should that not give them just a much right in the decision? If they decide that a baby is not in their interests, should they not have the right to make that decision?

Or is the woman somehow so much more intelligent and caring? Again I say, for most of them, they wouldn’t be in the position they were in if these were the deciding factors. So since we can say these are not applicable, we take away their reasoning for them to be in the position to make that decision , don’t we?

Abortion is not about the life of the woman, it is about the death of the baby and the denying of the responsibility of the woman for her own actions. Truly, if you follow this argument through, what you will find is that the woman if displaying a lack of intelligence and therefore cedes the very responsibility that she argues gives her the right to make a life and death decision.

I read this the other day and it haunted me:

“Can it be that women know something very deep inside, even deeper than fear and shame? Can it be that women know it is their responsibility to decide when to bring new life into this world? Women are not the enemies of our children–even those we decide not to bring into the world.”
– 
Quoted in “Good Women have Abortions,” which appeared on the pro-abortion sitewww.rhrealitycheck.org/node/21883

Truly sad, and yet this is the argument that they use!!!!  Do they think that they know more than God then? Are they somehow so smart and empathetic that they just somehow know? If this sounds foolish, it is because it is foolish. As foolish as your child telling you that it isn’t their fault that they did something wrong, somebody else started it. Because that is the real excuse this woman is using, it isn’t her fault because some man impregnated her. She was just minding her own business. When do we stop listening to the excuses our children and hold them accountable for their actions?

We must quit letting women murder their own children in order to escape the responsibility of their own actions…


Choosing Love or Choosing Death

English: Icon of Jesus Christ

English: Icon of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Due gratitude and reverence to God.[Websters]

1: [Verb] In a general sense to be pleased with; to regard with affection, on account of some qualities which excite pleasing sensations or desire of gratification. We love a friend, on account of some qualities which give us pleasure in his society. We love a man who has done us a favor; in which case, gratitude enters into the composition of our affection. We love our parents and our children, on account of their connection with us, and on account of many qualities which please us. We love to retire to a cool shade in summer. We love a warm room in winter. we love to hear an eloquent advocate. The christian loves his Bible. In short, we love whatever gives us pleasure and delight, whether animal or intellectual; and if our hearts are right, we love God above all things, as the sum of all excellence and all the attributes which can communicate happiness to intelligent beings. In other words, the christian loves God with the love of complacency in his attributes, the love of benevolence towards the interest of his kingdom, and the love of gratitude for favors received. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind – Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Matt. 22..

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

As followers of Christ, our most important goal is to do what Christ instructed us to do. When asked which is the great commandment in the law, He answered:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37

He continued:

“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself”

In November, we Americans have an opportunity to choose those who will represent us. I frame it that way for the very simple reason that according to our own founding documents, that is the reason for elections. We are not choosing rulers, we are choosing representatives. If we as followers of Christ, truly desire to obey what Jesus Christ tells us are the two great commandments, we must look at those who are striving to fill the offices that are open, and evaluate them on how they represent us and our values. Since Jesus gave us the two most important values, these are the first things we must evaluate them on.

  1. Do they love God?
  2. Do they love their neighbor as they do themselves?

Determining if they love God must rely first on their word.

1 John 2:23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

Next they must show that they love God by their actions. We know that just believing that Jesus is the Son of God is not enough because even the demons believe. So belief is just the beginning! We must observe and see if they have put on the new man.

Ephesians 4:25-32

King James Version (KJV)

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27 Neither give place to the devil.

28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Ephesians 5:1-6

King James Version (KJV)

5 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

No one on earth is perfect but there must be some evidence that those who profess to love God and follow Christ, actually believe in what they say. If they do, it should be apparent in what they do!

  • Do they lie?
  • Do they steal and take from others?
  • Do they labor and work in order that they can give as well as provide for their own families?
  • Do they speak empty words and try to mislead those around them with those words?
  • Do they give of themselves?
  • Do they promote or practice sexual immorality?
  • Do they worship false idols?
  • Do they force others to worship or accept false idols?

These are just a few things we must evaluate when we evaluate those we want to represent us. What about loving our neighbor as ourselves? I see so many people saying “We must love our neighbor,” and that is quite true. How do we do that? We do that by finishing the commandment, “as ourselves.”

What expectations do we have for ourselves? Jesus said “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” John 7:16 So what is our doctrine?
What about abortion? I find it amazing that anyone who claims to follow Christ could even question whether we should allow and accept abortion. Especially those who think that we should except rape and incest! Since when does the child of the person who commits a crime, deserve to pay for that crime with their own life?  I would ask why anyone would think that a woman, just by the value of her being a woman, should have the right to judge who should live or die? Does a woman have some greater intelligence or insight into what is the will of God or what would be the future of the child? Does anyone truly think that a woman making the choice of life or death of the child she carries, does so strictly on what is best for the child? By saying that the woman does have that right, you have to go beyond that and ask when does the woman’s insight and intelligence no longer matter? Does she have that same right when the child is born? Those that chose to represent us and promote abortion and even in some cases, the killing of the baby after it is born alive, go against the values of God and place themselves on the same level. Murder is murder no matter how it is sanctioned. An innocent child has committed no crime and deserves the opportunity to live. Allowing anyone to make this decision, no matter how ignorant they may be on life, puts their eternal soul at risk. And if we choose these who promote death  to represent us, we are saying that we approve of their choice.
As for war and supporting those who promote it, war is something that must be judged on the basis of the reason for it. War for power is wrong and never should be supported. Again, it is something that we must evaluate our representatives on.
We must forgive others for their sins and it is not our place to judge. However if we fail to evaluate those we choose to represent us, we by our actions will be choosing to ignore the instructions given to us.
When we choose love, we must choose God first. If we chose love as the world defines it, we are choosing death.

hat tip to:  augutine1blog for the following video


Do you ever ask?

Most beautiful explanation of death I’ve ever heard.

~DEATH~
WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO EXPLAIN IT ..
A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to
Leave the examination room and said,
‘Doctor, I am afraid to die.
Tell me what lies on the other side.’
Very quietly, the doctor said, ‘I don’t know..’
‘You don’t know? You’re, a Christian man,
and don’t know what’s on the other side?’
The doctor was holding the handle of the door;
On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,
And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room
And leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.
Turning to the patient, the doctor said,
‘Did you notice my dog?
He’s never been in this room before.
He didn’t know what was inside.
He knew nothing except that his master was here,
And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.
I know little of what is on the other side of death,
But I do know one thing…
I know my Master is there and that is enough.’

(sorry – cannot break this)
May today there be peace within you.
May you trust God that you are exactly
Where you are meant to be.
I believe that friends are quiet angels
Who lift us to our feet when our wings
Have trouble remembering how to fly.

Just pass this on…God Bless You


The Spirit Delivers from the Power of the Flesh

The Last Supper of Jesus Christ

The Last Supper of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Spirit Delivers from the Power of the Flesh

Romans 8:1-11

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,

that the righteous requirement of the law migh be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Chirst, he is not His.

And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.


Moral Implications of Christ’s Resurrection

Resurrection of Christ

Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moral Implications of Christ‘s Resurrection

1 Corinthians 15:29-34

Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?

And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour?

I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God, I speak this to your shame.


Abraham’s Righteousness Was by Faith

Sarah and Abraham hosting three angels

Sarah and Abraham hosting three angels (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Romans 4:16-25

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all

(as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believe, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;

who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall you descendants be.”

And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah‘s womb.

He did not waiver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,

and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to ferform.

And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,

but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,

who was  delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.


Blessings from God

Most of us go through our daily lives without much thought to those around us who are struggling. We remember them in our prayers and we help when we can, but how close do we really get? I have been blessed today by way of granbee to find someone who has a story that illustrates how God works and how He can change us in astonishing ways. Please read this story from Zendictive called “The empty easter egg.”

Also please stop by granbee‘s place to read her wonderful posts as well!


♫ “How Deep The Fathers Love For Us” – Stuart Townend ♫


Proverbs 21: 17-21

Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,

And apply your heart to my knowledge;

For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you;

Let them all be fixed upon your lips,

So that your trust may be in the Lord;

I have instructed you today, even you.

Have I not written to you excellent things

Of counsels and knowledge,

That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth

To those who send you?


Buried (via YOU DECIDE)

Buried Buried An old man and woman were married for many years, even though they hated each other. Whenever there was a confrontation, yelling could be heard deep into the night. The old man would shout, 'When I die, I will dig my way up and out of the grave and come back and haunt you for the rest of your life!' Neighbors feared him.. They believed he practiced magi … Read More

via YOU DECIDE


God Delays (via YOU DECIDE)

God Delays God Delays TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2 by Os Hillman Wednesday, July 20 2011 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days (John 11:17). Mary and Martha were very close to Jesus. The Bible says Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Mary was the woman who came and poured expensive perfume on Jesus and the disciples rebu … Read More

via YOU DECIDE


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,965 other followers