Every story worth the time to watch or read has conflict. Although the conflict is not enjoyable by the characters in the story, we wouldn’t want to waste time with a story that goes something like this: There was a beautiful young woman who had a job in an office. Every morning she would go to work, do her tasks and then every evening she would come home, watch television and go to bed. Then, one night while watching her favorite drama she had a heart attack and she died.
The stories we stick with whether they’re books we’ve ever read or movies we’ve watched have only been worthwhile because of the conflict we find within. And real life is the same way.
Conflict is not something we relish. Why is there conflict in this world? Conflict first entered our world when satan (and every one of us) decided to go his own way from God long before the world began and it battle rages on in this world. It will be that way from that time until the time of the greatest conflict the world will see.
Now, many of us, like the young woman in the paragraph above, will want to go to work, come home and go to bed; or at least, that’s what we think we want. We get lulled into a type of coma and nothing in our lives ever challenges us.
Rich Mullins wrote the song Elijah. I’ve written about it before. The part of the song I love the best is “When I leave I wanna go out like a Elijah, with the whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire. And when I look back on the stars, it’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park, and it won’t break my heart to say goodbye.” And I often sing that song because I, like Rich, want to go out like Elijah.
The other day, I was given a revelation about that song, and it’s much like Jesus asking the disciples, “Are you able to drink from the cup I drink from?”
And, not knowing what he meant, they said, “Yes! We are able!”
If I want to go out like Elijah, my faith is going to have to take me to some uncomfortable places like Elijah’s faith took him. Those of you who know the story of Elijah know that there were some major conflicts in this guy’s life, and he got so down in despair that he thought he was the only one left. Talk about conflict! He went from a great victory to running for his life from Jezebel and then the Lord spoke to Elijah in that famous “still small voice”. You can read the story in 1 Kings 18 and 19. It’s one of the most amazing stories in the Old Testament.
Our conflicts are as epic as any conflict in the Bible or any conflict even the best story teller can make up. I think one reason we enjoy a good story, like The Lord of the Rings, is because we see the great good and evil conflict. The story may be going all wrong and evil might be triumphing, but in the end Good always wins. The characters in the great battle overcome personal fear and doubt and say with straight backs and grim voices just what Theoden said to Aragorn, “Let this be the hour when we draw swords together”
God’s word is our sword, and as such, each time we pray God’s word into a situation, we’re drawing our swords and battling with the enemy of our souls. Sometimes the enemy takes the form of another person, sometimes it’s a battle we must fight against other forces. Depression is one such battle many of us have to over come.
Right now, my husband and I and several others are in a conflict with the enemy over the soul of a brother who, it could be said, is a SPOW (spiritual prisoner of war). He is a Christian, but the enemy has him in a prison that he can’t seem to break free from. Before this young man was taken prisoner, he was saturating himself with the Word of God. That will be the undoing of the enemy because God has promised us that his arm is not too short to save.
The Word of God is life and that life will come to this young man’s mind in such a way that he won’t be able to run away from it, even though the enemy will try to get him to. The merciful hounds of heaven will be at his heels day and night and the enemy will be defeated.
Part of the reason I know the enemy will be defeated, is because there is a group of prayer warriors who are interceding for this man night and day. Because God is Almighty, and he chooses to work through people, these prayer warriors will be drawing swords together to free our brother. When we pray for each other, we draw swords together, just as Theoden and Aragorn did. We ride out to meet the enemy and with the Lord’s help we will overcome.
Each of us has a conflict we must overcome. If we are believers in Jesus, we will be assured to win, even if, like Dietrich Bonhoeffer our lives seem to be taken from us. The Nazi’s didn’t take life from Dietrich, they ushered him into Eternal life. Far from destroying him, his indomitable spirit lives on because the Holy Spirit gave him his power. And just as Jesus crucifixion looked like defeat at the time, but was really a great victory, all martyrs who have so far been killed haven’t really lost their lives, they just “went out like Elijah”.
When we let the Lord work in us and we are faithful to Him, there will be intense times of conflict and we may even despair at times, but I can guarantee that when we do let the Lord work in us our lives will never be boring and we will “go out like Elijah. May the Lord’s mighty hand work His good work in me so that others can know this amazing power to live a life that is victorious even in death.
I feel I need to write an update on the Empower Network blog John and I are trying out as a way to make an extra income; so here goes.
First, I need to say that I have published 34 blogs and as yet have not made any money. I’ve been told it takes 90 days. I will continue these 90 days and probably continue blogging long after. In participating in this blog enterprise, a surprising benefit has come to me that I would like to share.
In A Game of Shadows, when Moriarity and Sherlock first meet, Moriarity says, “The law of celestial mechanics dictates that when two objects collide there’s always damage of a collateral nature.”
Well, I have to say that blogging every day has benefits of a collateral nature. Blogging on the Empower Network has been such a great way to engage in one of my favorite pastimes: writing. It has also inspired me to create this website which also has my photography on it.
Matthew West sings, a song called You’ve Got Something to Say; and he’s right.
All of us have experiences, all of us have thoughts and all of us need an opportunity to express our feelings. Blogging every day gives us that experience. And there’s always something to blog about. A person of the human condition can’t help but have things to write about. Life isn’t stagnant. Life throws challenges and victories, heartaches and joys. Writing is a great way to explore those feeling and challenges.
And for me, writing is a great way to explore my Christianity. Although I have been a Christian for a long time, I still have questions I need to ask. I still have doubts that need expressing. And I find when I’m struggling the most, if I write about these struggles the Lord often gives me the answer. It’s definitely not an answer I come up with myself, but it’s an answer that is found outside myself.
Sometimes my writing comes in the form of fiction, but often I have found that I find the answers to my questions by having my characters have the same questions. I must resolve those questions, whether now or later, and by the time later comes, those answers are resolved.
A good example comes from my novel The Death of Kevin Frye. I had the main character ask a question I’ve been asking the Lord for many years. My character asked the question to a preacher. I had my preacher say he didn’t know. Later, the Lord provided the answer from another source. Then I was able to answer my character’s question as well, and bring a new revelation to the pastor of the church as well.
Writing opens up one’s mind to being active. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t want to live my life sitting in front of a television and having the life sucked out of me every day. I want my life to be filled with motion, just as another of Matthew West songs says. It’s called The Motions.
So, if you like to write, check out Empower Network.Here's where I'm going with my something to say. Check out the link and see if you'd like to have something to say using this vehicle...
This is Easter Week. It started with Jesus triumphal entry and will end with Jesus dying an agonizing death on the cross, only to say, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.”
Over the weekend a situation happened that is causing me to struggle with this concept that is as difficult to follow as all the teachings of Jesus can be. It’s forgiveness.
One would think after being a Christian as long as I have, this teaching would be something that would be automatic in my life; but it’s not. I struggle with the pain of rejection and anger when we’ve extended love and acceptance.
For one thing, memory can be a double edged sword. On the one hand, we remember good times we’ve had with loved ones and it brings us joy. On the other hand, we remember being hurt by our loved ones and it causes much angst. We struggle with forgiving and harbor our hurts. And then, just when we think we’ve forgiven them, something causes us to remember that hurt and we have to forgive them all over again.
Matthew 6:9-15 is one of the passages in where Jesus teaches about forgiveness. He was asked by his disciples how to pray and he taught them the prayer they should pray, which includes this line, “… and forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us….” Then he adds, but if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Isn’t it interesting that of all the things he said in his teaching on praying, he felt he needed to add something to the concept of forgiving those who sin against us?
Why do you suppose this is?
Forgiving those who have sinned against us is one of the most difficult concepts in the Bible. Isn’t it interesting that Don Henley, certainly not a Christian (unless something has changed) wrote, “I think it’s about forgiveness/forgiveness/even if/even if/you don’t love me anymore”?
That’s amazing for any of us.
Later, Jesus told the parable of the Unforgiving Servant. A great king had pity on a servant who a debt he could not pay. At first the king was going to have him and his family sold as slaves to pay the debt. The servant begged him, the king had pity and he forgave the servant his debt and released him. Instead of showing gratitude to others for the forgiveness the king extended to him, however, the servant went and found someone who owed him money and demanded he pay. When his fellow servant begged for more time, the forgiven servant was unrelenting. Then the king found out and was angry, and had the servant he forgave thrown into prison. Then Jesus said, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Matthew 18:21-35 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2018:21-35%20&version=NIV
So we have Jesus sacrifice as our redemption. Nothing we do can save us; and yet, Jesus tells us that unless we forgive our brothers and sisters, the Father will not forgive us.
How frightening! What shall we say to this?
Mark 11:22-26 If it’s not difficult enough to hear it the first time, Jesus repeats himself, “if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Luke 6:37 Did Jesus add any qualifiers to forgiving people? “Forgive, if…”? “Forgive, only when…”? Luke 17:3-4
Here Jesus tells us that if the person asks, we must forgive. Before, in the other verses, nothing is mentioned about the other asking for forgiveness. What does this mean?
John 20:23 What??!!?? Does this mean neither of us is forgiven?
God forgives us all because of Jesus; but we must accept that forgiveness or we are lost. Jesus told us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. That extends to forgiveness. What does being forgiving as our heavenly Father is forgiving look like for us?
In Eccles 3:1-9 verse 5 talks about embracing and refraining from embracing and verse 7 talks about speaking and keeping silent. Can this be part of forgiving?
In another part of the Gospels, Jesus told us that he was sending us as sheep among wolves, and we are to be wary as serpents and innocent as doves. Does this have any bearing on forgiving others? Can a person forgive another, but remove association from that other?
How true the words Rich Mullins wrote in the song Hard, "It's hard to bless when others curse you"
In many ways Christianity is a paradox. On the surface 70 x 7 seems impossible, but I am beginning to get the idea that 70 X 7 is not only possible, but a comfort too. The Lord knew our propensities to dig up the past, so he made provision. He didn't tell us to forgive once, but 70 x 7 and he didn’t tell us to “forgive and forget”. I think he knew that would be a futile thing to tell his disciples.
I think that he is telling me that every time I feel the urge to dig up the past, I need to forgive all over again, and not feel guilty for the need to (unless I am disobedient). Thank the Lord for his provisions!
As I wrote at the beginning of this blog, an incident happened this weekend that is causing me to struggle with this concept again. Originally, I’d written this piece for a Sunday School class. Now I am coming back to this. Will I ever find being forgiving easy? I don’t think so; but I also know that I must forgive. Oh what a hideous realization to come to the end of a life serving the Lord, while harboring unforgiveness, only to find that because I would not forgive, the Lord could not forgive me. And so it seems I have more questions than answers in this blog.
Last week I wrote about suffering for Jesus' sake. Remembering that this morning, I asked the Lord if this is what it means to suffer for Jesus. After all, I've not been beaten, I've not been crucified, I've not been stoned and left for dead like Paul. After talking to the Lord about suffering for him, I went to Bible Gateway to see what their daily verse was for today. It was Philippians 1:29 "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him," Forgiveness. How can a human forgive? A human can't by himself. Lord, please help me forgive him as you have forgiven me. In Jesus Name, amen."
When I was a kid, we had a wood stove. Once in awhile we went out to help dad chop wood and load it. On one such occasion, I remember it was cold and misty. I can still hear a distant chain saw (besides ours). We all got cold and damp, but we enjoyed being outside.
Finally, when the task was done, we came home, chilled to the bone. Mom fixed soup and I think I remember having hot chocolate as well. As cold and chilled as we were from being outside, inside was warm and cozy. We had our soup and warmed up right away. It remains one of my favorite memories of my childhood so much so that the distant sound of a chain saw is pleasant to me and I love fog and rainy days.
On a recent misty, rainy Saturday, we went on our usual breakfast date, but my husband decided we should go to IHop. We don’t have an IHop in our town, so we drove about 40 miles to Owasso OK and there we had breakfast. I love IHop International Crepe Passport and that’s what I order every time!
After breakfast, I said, “John, let’s take the back roads home.” And we did. What a great misty, moisty day to do a short road trip! We enjoyed the scenery, we enjoyed each other’s company and we enjoyed the back roads as we always do. We had no place to go in particular. What a great time alone together.
Finally we found ourselves near Wynona OK and John suggested we drop in on a co-worker of his. So we did. What a delightful guy! He took us to see his “children” and then he took us on a tour of his property. It was quite a climb over rocks and tussocks down paths and up steep slopes. I got some great photos and we had a great time going through his property, although it was cold and damp. It was perfect weather as far as I am concerned!
We finally came back to his house, and had to leave to go to the birthday party of a woman who turned 93. We enjoyed cake and had a good time visiting this lady. John mows her lawn in the summer. She loves John dearly.
When we got home, both of us were pretty tired. We had some soup, which put me in mind of that time in Northern California so many years ago. Our house was warm and cozy while it was cold and misty outside. I love days like this! Not only is this weather great for taking photos, but its also great for writing. Yes, I would love more days like this. I’d probably love Seattle.
The embrace of God.
Quiet echoing bird song
A blanket on the worries of our time.
A good book.
A warm fire.
A day to write.
A blank canvas for the imagination.
Clack and ring, an old typewriter writing of spring
John and Coleen are now exploring a business opportunity that involves blogging. Here's a link that will explain more:
If you have been reading my blogs, you know that I have been unemployed since December 21st, when our company closed. Our company was yet another small business casualty in this difficult economic time.
Now, many people did not understand why I was able to have a positive outlook on this situation, but the fact is, I know that God has been in control and knew this would happen. I knew I didn’t have to be worried or afraid of the lack of a job, but knew that we would be taken care of. We’d been in the past; we will be in the future.
In ancient Israel there was a practice that was supposed to help the Israelis remember how the Lord provided in the past. The Israelis were commanded to erect a Standing Stone as a memorial. The first time this occurs in the Bible is when Jacob awoke from his dream about the stairway to heaven (not Led Zeppelin song). He called the place Bethel, which means “house of God”.
On another occasion, there was a great battle. Samuel erected a standing stone and called it Ebenezer, which means “stone of help”. I love this story, and I love that Dickens named his character Ebenezer Scrooge. Certainly in the beginning of that story, Ebenezer was not a stone of help, but by the end of the story, he became a man who was a stone of help to others.
As surely as Samuel’s Standing Stone reminded the Israelis of God’s help, so John and I have several instances in our lives where God has been our Ebenezer. I remember once, when I was an at home Mom, and John was paid only once a month. We’d come to our last bit of flour, and just enough for us to have a dinner of ham and potatoes for that night. Payday was still several days away. I talked to the Lord that morning and reminded him of the story of the widow and the oil.
I said, “Lord, you know we only have a little flour and some groceries left and it’s awhile before payday. We need a miracle.”
Later, John asked me what I was going to fix for dinner. I told him “potato/ham casserole”. We had a discussion about it, then he went to work and the kids went to school.
About mid afternoon, I got a call from one of the women of our church, “Coleen, the Lord told me I needed to bring you guys some groceries. I put it off but now I know I need to do it today. Are you going to be home?”
Of course I told her, yes, I’d be home. She came over with two bags of groceries. In those bags were, among many other things, flour, eggs, milk and a package of scalloped potatoes that would make the ham casserole I would make go further. The Lord provided through Louise, enough groceries to get us to payday. Yes, he is our Ebenezer.
Several years later, the Lord blessed me with the job that I had at 21st Sensory. I was there for 16 years, and knew every day (even the occasional rough days) that I was right where the Lord wanted me. It was a great job, with everyday challenges, and yes, even frustrations. There were even days when I felt restless to do something new. Still, I knew where I was supposed to be, and there was exactly where I was supposed to be.
So, that brings me to this present state of our lives. Today marks the third month since the closing of our company. And because I learned that where the Lord wants me is the perfect place to be, and because I am no longer employed because of circumstances beyond my control, I know that right now, I am where I’m supposed to be. Today, unemployed, I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
Last night I got a call from a woman who has asked me to be part of a project that is in the works. I will not tell you what that project is, because it is confidential, but I will be paid the amount of money I would have been paid if I’d still be working my old job. While I won’t be paid until this initial project is completed, the Lord is preparing for a need we may have in the future, or he’s just doing the job he does best for us: providing for us as we have need.
God is so good to us. Living this life Jesus told us to live in the Beatitudes is the most freeing and wonderful way to live I have ever experienced. Maybe I should call it The Today Principle: Today, I am right where the Lord wants me. Today my every need is taken care of because of my Father in heaven. Every day that is called “Today” I am right where God wants me. Tomorrow I may be somewhere else, but Tomorrow will then be Today and I will be right where God wants me.
What a liberating way to live!
Now, I have to admit I haven’t always lived this way. It wasn’t until my 40th birthday that I began to have a new outlook on my life, on my faith and on every aspect of my life. Now I am 52 and these years since 40 have been the most exciting times of my life.
The wonderful thing about living The Today Principle is that because of Jesus death and resurrection, death no longer holds terror for us. We don’t die. Paul said that we are transformed. I say we graduate. Oh death, you have no more power to terrorize me any more. Oh grave, my body will be swallowed up by you, but you can’t touch my soul!
Living this Today Principle I have confidence in who the Lord is making me. I am certainly not where I need to be, but the power of God’s Word and his Presence in my life is transforming me to be ready for my graduation to the next step of my eternal life. I will not die, though someday I won’t need my body. Until that day, I will be ever changing and more mindful of being obedient to the Lord.
What about you?
Would you like to be free from the fear of death? Would you like to live your life in the exciting way the Lord intended for us to live? Give your heart to Jesus and begin the long journey toward your graduation!
Yesterday I wrote about my own fear of suffering and persecution. Today I am going to talk about our hope. Our hope cannot be discussed without first talking about our redemption in Jesus.
Those of us who put our faith in Jesus believe that God is the Father, who is the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth. We believe that Jesus is the only Son of God who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a life of love and reaching out to the people of Israel, was betrayed into the power of evil men, and was crucified on a cruel cross where he truly died.
When he died, he descended into hell to preach the Gospel to those who were there, and then on the third day after his death, he rose from the dead so that the men and women who loved him on earth could see the power of God. They then understood this was God’s plan from the beginning so that humanity could have a relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Through Jesus we have forgiveness of our sins. Jesus is the only way to have that relationship.
So what does that mean for us who believe? One thing is does for us is that it removes all fear from our lives. If Jesus, whom we believe, loved us enough to die for us, he loves us enough to give us the abundant life he promised us. So that means we don’t have to fear death. We can live strong and courageous lives because we have a hope in Jesus who promises us a place in heaven with him when we leave this earth. Because we know that Jesus promised us a place where he is and where we’ll be, we can know, what Bonhoeffer said when he said that death is only the beginning of true life.
Now, I’m not talking about playing harps on clouds, because I believe that heaven is more than just sitting around on clouds. I can’t begin to know what it will be like, except that I know we will be productive and we will be in adoration of our God. Then we will see perfectly and know what it is that was done for us so long ago.
Here on earth, we can’t begin to understand what God did for us when he sent Jesus nor can we begin to understand what Jesus did for us when he died on the cross. Now, on this earth, our abundant life starts as we give more and more of ourselves to the Holy Spirit in obedience. The Holy Spirit is the one that came in Jesus place and is as much God the Father as God the Father and as His Son, Jesus. Bonhoeffer told us in The Cost of Discipleship that only those who are obedient believe and only those who believe are obedient. That means we give up all our rights and hand them over to the Lord to do with our life as he wills. Jesus showed us the way, when he asked the Lord to let the suffering pass from him, “nevertheless” he said, “not my will but Yours be done.”
As I pray the “nevertheless” prayer with Jesus, I know I will draw ever nearer to God and if that means suffering for him as well, then I guess I will need to find a way to wrap my head around it. Then maybe I can come to the place where I can say with Paul, “I long to suffer so I can know Jesus better.” Yesterday I wrote about not being there yet. I’m still not there, but maybe I am a nano 10^-9 closer than I was yesterday.
Last night my husband and I watched a movie called Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace. In the scene that I linked a Gestapo agent came into the church where Bonhoeffer was teaching and forbade Bonhoeffer from preaching, teaching and/or publishing any of his work, and to report to the Gestapo once a week. Then the man turned to the congregation and told the men there, it was his duty to arrest them if they did not take the oath to Hitler. Every man, with the exception of Bonhoeffer and two others raised his hand and took the oath.
It’s a poignant scene for me. There are many stories of people who chose death of imprisonment rather than deny their faith. We all have heard the story of the girl in the Colombine Massacre as one such martyr in our own country. http://www.motivationtruth.com/2009/04/columbines-rachel-scott-said-yes-will.html
Every time I hear of these stories I have to wonder about myself. Do I have the faith and strength that will be willing to say, “I am a Christian!”? I have to admit I don’t within myself as I look at myself calmly sitting in my chair and typing a blog.
There have been several prayers that I have struggled to pray in my Christian walk. One of those prayers is Psalms 139:23-24
and another is Isaiah 6:8
In both cases, the Lord has brought me around in my faith to earnestly be able to pray both of these prayers. But in Romans 5:1-5, Paul tells us we should desire persecution because it strengthens our faith, and in Philippians 3:7-11 he tells his readers that he desires suffering so that he can grow closer to Jesus.
My greatest desire is to know Jesus better and to know what it is to feel his presence with me in every circumstance and to finally come to the end of my life hearing him tell me, “Well done,” but to desire suffering and persecution as a means to attain that closeness to him scares me to death, and I cannot bring myself to say like Paul, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”
In my time with the Lord, I prayed about this with him, and then later, as I walked with my friend, Melissa Green, I shared with her what I was thinking. I told her that I feel that the United States is much like Germany was before Hitler came to power, and because of that I feel certain that we are headed down the same path. I believe that we Christians here in the United States are going to go through a time of intense persecution like many Christians around the world are going through. When that time comes will I be able to stand before a man with a gun and say, “I pledge allegiance to the Lamb of God” or will I cower and say “I pledge allegiance to the government”?
As Melissa and I walked, we both agreed that the Lord knows our hearts. We agreed that those who are seeking the Lord with all our hearts while the woods are green, are not likely to deny him when the drought comes and we are put to the test. I was comforted by our talk.
So the question we can answer, I guess, becomes are we seeking the Lord while the woods are green? If not, how are we to stand when the drought comes and we are put to the test?
God cares about every aspect of our lives...the big stuff and the small stuff. Our human logic would tell us that God is too big, too almighty to deal with lost keys or misplaced wallets. But such is not the case and as an example, I would like to share something that happened to me just yesterday.
Yesterday, I went to the Gideon website to buy some Bibles in honor of a birthday that would be coming up. I planned on spending $20.00 for the Bible donation, but because I didn’t understand the website very well, I spent $40. instead. With anything else I would have immediately gone back to the website and asked for a refund. But these are Bibles and so I felt it was okay to spend the $40. God has been so good to us, and both my husband and I seek to show the Lord gratitude for what he’s done for us. One way is to be generous. We can never out give God, and it is not our intent to try. So, I left the $40 gladly. After all, the Lord provides for us every day.
Later on in the day, I decided to go shopping for a pair of summer shoes. I went to Famous Footwear and found this pair of Skechers. I thought $45. was a good price from $69.99. My surprise happened when I only paid $19.99 for them! Yes, God cares about even the little things!
It wasn’t until much later that I realized there was a clear connection between the Gideon incident and the Skecher incident. In the Gideon incident my initial thought was that I was going to spend $20 but spent $40. In the Skecher incident I was going to spend $45 but instead spent $20! Those people who know me, know I don’t believe in coincidences. How good God is to us! This also shows that we can’t out give God.
And there’s another blessing aspect to this that I must share.
God is Almighty. God cares about every detail of our lives. And God wants us to tell him everything. Yes! He knew what happened with the Gideon’s website. He knew what happened at the shoe store. He’s omni-everything: omniscient, omnipresent, and almighty. He doesn’t need us to tell him, he knows already; but he wants us to tell him, to share with him our hopes, our fears, and our experiences. Rich Mullins once said that God is “knocked out” about us and loves us more than we can ever know. That’s why he wants us to share with him about our lives. That’s why he created Adam and Eve in the first place. He wanted then and wants still now people that love him because they want to, love him and share their lives and experiences with him and that’s what we’re made to do.
Think about it: God Almighty, the one who keeps the universe from falling apart, the one that keeps us on this earth, whether we love him or not, wants us to love him and share with him every aspect of our days, from the moment we rise to the moment we lay our heads down to rest.
And if he cares about the smallest aspect of your life, you can bet he wants to be there in the big things too: the loss of a spouse, the loss of a parent, the loss of a job, when you feel your world is crashing in on you. He wants to be there to comfort and help you. And he wants to share the joy in your life too.
If you haven’t experienced the wild love of God, Jesus is waiting to accept you into the family. He promises that if we seek him, he will be found by us. Speak to Jesus today and ask him to forgive your sins. I’ve got news: he’s already forgiven them. He’s just waiting for you to take his gift: the gift of himself. The road won’t be easy. He tells us in his word that we must count the cost; but it is so worth it. Call on him today. If you're not sure how, click on this link: http://www.cru.org/how-to-know-god/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally/index.htm
In our church, we have a member who is very involved with prison ministry in a nearby prison. Sometimes my husband, John, and I attend the closing meetings the Kairos team puts on once or twice a year.
One April John and I were supposed to go to prison on a Sunday morning, but because of a clerical error, none of those who were to be involved in the closing of Kairos 14 meeting were approved.
For those who don’t know, the Kairos translation (according to About.com) in Greek classical rhetoric, is “the opportune time and/or place, the right time to say or do the right thing.” Kairos is a prison ministry that seeks to free the souls of men and women who are bound, both in body and in spirit.
The people of Kairos are fulfilling the mission Jesus gave when he told the parable of the sheep and goats, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’” (Matthew 25:34-36)
As I sat on the morning of the closing service at the prison, I was struck with the knowledge that all things happen with the Lord’s knowledge. He knew that we would not be able to attend that meeting. He knew the opposition would seem to have won in the plans we made to be an encouragement to the men involved in this event. Nothing ever happens that surprises the Lord Almighty. And because of this, we can be certain and know the Lord will move in hearts in a way that we could never have imagined.
It’s funny how the Lord works and moves. That morning I was to give the Sunday school lesson in place of our Sunday School teacher, who is the leader of that Kairos session. I was supposed to follow the next lesson, but I just couldn’t bring anything together based on the book we were studying. As I prayed that morning, the Lord reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend concerning the Bible and Bible study and felt I was being led to talk about God’s word.
I was struck with the thought that it fits right in line with what we wanted to happen that day, and what actually happened. God’s word always accomplishes what he sends it out to do. Psalm 33:4 says, “For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.”
And Isaiah 55:10-11 says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
But the verses aren’t limited to the Old Testament. 1 Peter 1:25 says, “but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached to you.”
And Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Each of theses verses remind us that no matter what happens, God’s love is going to be shown to us and to those who don’t know him yet. It is God’s will that all should come to him, but he loves us enough to allow us to make our own decision, and he will never force us to him. Jesus tells us that he stands at the door and knocks, waiting for us to open to him. He could force the door open, but he won’t. He wants people to come to him because they want to, not because they are forced to, even if it is for our best and ultimate good.
As I wrote this I could feel a breeze coming in from outside. It was if I was sitting on this side of the Jordan and the breeze was coming to me from the mountain of God, breathing peace to me and reassuring me that all is just as it should be. I believe that Satan tries every way he can to keep us from the love that God intends for us. We are God’s most loved creatures and he uses all his malice and hatred for God by striking at humanity, causing pain, death and disease. The enemy meant the clerical snafu for evil, but God turned what the enemy meant for harm into great good. It must be very frustrating to be the enemy.
Coleen Frazer-Hambrick is a writer and photographer who lives in Oklahoma with her husband. They have raised three boys and now have four grandboys. Along with writing and photography, Coleen and her husband are active members of a Wesleyan church.