Category Archives: Witness!

“All That”

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Is anyone really “all that”? I’ve tried it but didn’t have the experience or knowledge to pull it off. At one point in my life I was torn down, stripped bare and left pridefully fraudulent. It’s taken years to, if not get over it, at least move forward. I don’t feel numb or useless anymore. I’ve been waiting to see if God will ever use me for anything again. I’ve botched up so many times that I fear He’s done with me. I want to do something I just don’t know what. My dreams of playing piano, singing, leading, teaching and writing are just that. Dreams. I’ve not put in the time nor had the training to qualify for any of it. Nothing unique here. Just getting older and feeling more stuck. The gifts God graced me with aren’t the shiny, “look at me” variety. I’ve known all along they’re quite the opposite. I just didn’t want to use those. I wanted the spotlight.

Years ago I took piano for a bit and thought the rest would come from above, I’d be the church music leader. Later on in life I was asked to sing on a praise team. Surely the preacher knew my limitations…he’d heard me in the choir?? I took a few vocal lessons and thought I’d shine like a star. A little later on and a few compliments on my writing I decided, finally, this is it! I took a few online writing courses and, well, you be the judge. My punctuation is atrocious.

You see, a midst my list of recoveries, I’m a recovering people pleaser. Some years ago I landed in several consecutive situations. Walked right into them I should say; knowing…knowing…I was unqualified. I unfairly sought assurances from people because I had zero confidence in my abilities. The lack of confidence was generated from the lack of ability. Duh. Regardless I allowed myself to be caught up in the flattery of having been asked to do something and took off running with it. Like a child running with a knife in her hand. I eventually tripped and fell, the wound was deep but not fatal. From that point on I’ve grappled for a place to serve in the Church. Trying this, and trying that, with no true idea of what I was supposed to be doing. Yearning and straining to see what God was calling me to do. I’ve only recently discovered He’s not calling me to do anything. Period. No great agenda. No followers. No one seeking ME out for MY greatness. This was the massive boulder called pride that tripped me up. Being more concerned with what people thought. Trying to be “all that.” I’ve beat myself to pieces chasing dreams that weren’t mine to chase. I’ve not done the time. I simply don’t have the skill, passion or drive it takes to succeed in these grand professions. It feels good to publicly confess this. Great actually!

About a year ago in an online Bible study, the following passage from 1 Peter came up. God revealed something to me for the first time that has been life altering.

1 Peter 2:9, 10
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called (emp. mine) you out of the darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

My calling is to be a Christian. Yep, just me being a Jesus girl. All God has ever called me to be is His own daughter and that through His mercy. I’ve been in training sense I walked down the center aisle of my grandmothers little country church many years ago. I’ve fallen off the wagon and climbed back on so many times. You can take the wagon saying as liberally as you want, I had a whole wagon train. But here I am. Alive and well. Figuring out all I need to do is be the best person I can be, and that through Christ’s strength. Loving my God and my Savior Jesus with *“all my heart, all of my soul, all of my strength and all of my mind.”  I’m loving my husband with a brand new appreciation and my family and friends. I strive to be the best I can be. I will strive to carry what I know about Jesus out into the world in hopes that His light will pour through my words and actions. In hopes that people won’t see me at all but Him who saved me. And that my friends is shiny enough.

*click to see passage of Scripture

“Just Like That…”

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“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”  Psalm 110:10

And just like that everything has changed.

A breath was taken, an eye was blinked and everything morphed into now. I look back and realize I’ve crested the top of the proverbial hill. Not only crested it but am well on my way to the foot of the other side. The front side is but a memory. That side was full of expectation, fresh green shoots and buds. And oblivion. All that came before my twenties is now distorted by my present. Somewhere between the summit and the now the mirror has begun to reflect life’s sorrows, grief, strain and stress. Photo’s tell the tale of a life that’s been lived. Yet hasn’t life just begun?

And just like that everything has changed.

My future is the now, there is even some past on this side of the hill. My aging mother, thankfully doing well. Two sisters prematurely widowed, one recent, one distant but acutely remembered. Learning to be alone after being part of another. Extended family losing grandparents at a normal age, losing their parents at a way to young age. The flesh of my flesh is on the verge of cresting his own hill, the flesh of his is on the arduous, exciting ascent. That time when the future is spread out like promise. I own eyes that are dimming, bones that creak, and joints that ache. Struggling to accept what’s happening to the flesh that my life’s blood courses through. My ways are set. Blessedly blessed to view life anew through the lenses of my grand-children’s telescopes. Blessedly blessed to have made it this far and understand that aging is a gift.

And just like that everything has changed.

My generation has become…the way of the past. We remember how it used to be. We remember and think, as compared to now, it wasn’t all that bad. Even as my generation and those before continued to dissemble family values and morals. Do the answers lie then in how age perceives it? Am I my Granny? Shaking my head at the obscenities on social media and television and railing at current day politicians? I don’t thinks so. I believe our children know that lines have been crossed. I believe that on some level they cling to yesteryear’s moral lifeline though there seems nothing moral today. Sadly I believe that the majority of my grand-kid’s generation is in the mud and the mire. Flailing around trying to find solid ground. I believe they want to believe in something desperately. My heart of hearts sinks at what babies, toddler children and teens in this current world are being taught. I weep at what is being accepted as normal and that it’s being devoutly adhered to and defended. And I pray come Lord Jesus, come!

And just like that…I breathe. Jesus.

Jesus! Name above all names! Holy, holy, holy! Only in You can our hope rest. Open the heart eyes and ears of the lost that they might be lifted out of the pit of deceit and despair. Make hearts receptive to Your saving grace. Make known that glorious river of Your peace that flows right beside every aspect of life. Oh God, let free will’s see the green pastures You give us to lie in! They are present even in the bleakest landscape. God we walk now in the valley of the shadow yet we won’t fear. You are near. You are ever present and have already been where we’re heading. Thank you. Give Your children new eyes to see that Your way is the moral way. Your way brings wholeness and light. Give our hearts a new desire to step up and rally together. Let us not fear the ravages of aging, rather grant us the desire to use it to share our stories, our faith and our wisdom. Let us rail against the immorality rather than fitting in with it. We still have work to do, grant us strength! Let us make known the lifeline of Your Salvation and Your moral compass. In Christ’s name always, amen, amen and amen.

Colossians 2:8
Joshua 13:1
Psalm 40:2
Psalm 23

 

“Incense of the Saints, Unite!”

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As some of you know I am following Franklin Graham, online, as he tours our country before the 2016 election. Franklin and his team will stop at every state capitol building and hold a prayer rally on it’s steps. It’s called the, *Decision America Tour. In an effort to be proactive, I joined the DAT face book prayer group for Tennessee, **every state has one. The groups are committed to lifting our country up in prayer. All prayer group members received a prayer journal. In the journal you find the states listed in the order that Franklin will visit. The book consists of two page spreads for each state that include, small statistical blips, pictures, and a place to record your prayer thoughts. In reading these statistics, I realized anew how far from God our nation has fallen. I want to share a few of the stats with you. I will leave the name of the states out…

***1) 47% have never gone to church or have left the church; 66% Don’t read the Bible
2) More than half the population of ___have never gone to church or have left the church.
3) 31% of ___profess to have no particular religion, nearly half of it’s residents seldom
or never attend church.
4) 42% of ___ages 50-68 are unchurched; 60% do not read the Bible;
Nearly half of all believe that Jesus did not lead a sinless life.
5) 40% of ___residents have left the church or have never attended church before.

This is only five states worth. These little blips of information are just a tiny tip of each states iceberg, some are better, some are worse. As a Christian I’m alarmed by these stats…are you? It’s amazing to me, and then it’s not. In my opinion, my generation dropped the ball. We stopped being evangelical and started watering down the Gospel of Jesus in an effort to be politically correct. We started seeking to be cool and trendy thinking to attract new people into the church. We decided we didn’t want to offend anyone or be judgmental. I’m not sure what happened and I’m not blasting staying current, but sometimes current isn’t great. If you’re my age or older perhaps the sixties, seventies or eighties got hold of you. I know I can’t blame the decades, I’m just not sure anyone believed in much during those times. Free love, drugs, and a host of other mind blowing, heart-deadening factors. It’s taken time to see the fall out…thus the stats we’re surrounded with. We were neither hot nor cold…

15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Revelation 3:15,16 (NIV)

Isn’t it a blessing to have more than a blip of information from God? It’s housed between the covers of Scripture.**** God uses His word to teach and rebuke, train and correct so that we can spread the gospel truth of Jesus. You know, I used to envy those who’d been churched all their lives, until I started going to church. I began to see that sitting in a pew every week isn’t the complete tale. I began to see that it’s about being close to God, and that sitting on that pew is the result of that closeness. I go to church because it’s a public display to the world of my faith, but I am the church because God’s spirit dwells in my heart. People walk into buildings with church names on them expecting answers. We, the Church, are more often than not the only blip of Gospel information on their radar. It needs to be enough to stir their hearts. It’s up to us, the people of God, His Church, to be on fire for the Lord and teach the details. Are you unsure what to teach? Start with your own testimony. The truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We have to start in our own back yard, our own community.

Else wise, what will the stats read ten years from now?

Father we lift our nation up in prayer, our churches, ministers, Bible teachers, schools, missionaries and the effort that Franklin is making to bring God back into our nation. Lord we pray that hearts will be moved back into a right relationship with You. We ask that those who attend these prayer rallies with evil intent will instead hear something to spark a flame. Let Your Church be a witness for You, send Your light into  dark hearts. Let us reflect Your grace, mercy and love. You know who our next President will be and we ask God, that Your hand guide his or her heart and mind. We know that You alone are in control. May the prayers of the saints be set before you like incense, may the lifting of our hands be like the evening sacrifice. In Jesus name…amen.

*For more detail you can log on to: https://decisionamericatour.com/
**If you’re on fb simply search out Decision America
***Stats taken from Decision America Tour Prayer Journal
****11 Timothy 3:16-17 click to read

“Un-Easy”

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It’s so easy to be a Christian and spout off godly things while sitting among my fellow church mates. It’s so easy to blog the thoughts swirling in my mind while surrounded by my Bibles and commentaries, concordances and dictionaries. It’s so easy to think I’m prepared to face the adversary called unbelief. To think I have answers to questions a non believer might ask. Until a non-believer asks. Until out of the mouth of one who seeks comes a question or thought that leaves me dumb and grief stricken.

It’s one thing to deal with theological questions from young children, but grown analytical minds? Keen, intelligent minds? That’s another story and nowhere close to easy. Young children are relatively content in taking the word of their parents or other trusted adults. It’s only when their minds start thinking and feeling independently that we’re challenged. Then in a blink you have adult children who have their own views and opinions. Each stage of this process changes the playing field. If your kids are still young, well, I hope this somehow encourages you, or warns you. Whether it be children, other family or  friends, fight hard for their salvation. Do all you can and then some. I’m sure there are scores of books on the topic. Had I read one or two perhaps I could better deal with the searing sorrow of feeling I’ve failed dear ones. Perhaps I’d be better equipped at swaying the heart’s of those who don’t believe that Christ is our Messiah. It’s a heartrending reality.

I had the opportunity to witness to a young woman recently. I was met with questions like, “Why do I have to worry about how I live now? I’m young and have lot’s of time. Why do I have to worry about what happens when I die?” “I want to have the same faith you do but I just don’t.” “It seems like everything is an abomination to God then.” I could see the confusion and the rejection of my words written on her furrowed brow. This sharp young mind feels there is no need to fret about what happens right now. If people are happy and getting along, all should be well. As I continued my witness I floundered like a fish out of water. It’s as if I couldn’t string two words together, I felt something wither up in my inner being. I was failing her, I was failing God! I could hear myself speak but heard it with her ears. It sounded confusing and unrealistic. Her arguments had value and weight. The reality we live in now makes Scripture seem outlandish, otherworldly yet outdated. Had I allowed Satan to best me in that round? Maybe. Regardless of my un-easy feelings, I know a mustard seed was planted in that young heart. I know it! I may have waxed in-eloquent but the seed was sown.

Enter free will, the choice to believe or not believe.

It’s our job as Christian’s to sow. To tell people who Christ is and what He’s done for us. Christians are responsible only for sharing the Word with those who’re seeking. We can’t force people to accept it. If a person rejects Jesus it’s because that person has chosen not to believe. We don’t have to prove Jesus but we do have to live for Him and let Him shine through us.

For those of you that stand helplessly by while loved ones struggle with Christianity, I know it hurts grievously, but take heart. Once the seed is planted our job is to storm the gates of Hell and fight with prayer. Praying that the tiny seed will grow into the being God meant it to be at it’s conception. We all fall short…so help me I didn’t know how far short I was until I witnessed to this young woman. Oh the things I should have done and didn’t! I explained that it’s a total misconception for non-Christians to think Christians are being judgmental when sin is pointed out. It’s not that we feel superior to anyone, in fact we can end up feeling completely inferior when arguments are tossed our way. It’s vital to know the Word of God…it’s just as vital to realize we simply don’t have all of the answers.

I dare say we can all look back and see where we could have been a better witness for Christ. Don’t stop trying. Ever! Parents, grand parents, read the Bible to your kids or grand kids. Tell them the accounts of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. Keep the truth ever present for them to see…and pray.

Father in Heaven, hallowed Thy Name.
Grace is given to cover my shame.
I struggle and fail more often than not,
A work in progress, I’m being wrought.

Lord grant that the seed, I may have sown,
Large or small, be Jesus own.
Into His hands I commit the soil,
For which by prayer, I’ll continually toil.

You did the work on the cross You bore,
My paltry offerings never a chore.
Let eyes of the hearts that I hold dear,
Find You, Redeemer, before their bier.


In His Name and for His sake,
I lift this prayer for You to take.
Amen.

~pdh~
February 12, 2016

“Ringing It In!”

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New Year Bells

I don’t know about you, but the minute someone says I can’t do something, or I have to do something, I want to do the exact opposite. I simply don’t like being told what to do. Are you the same?

January 1st heralds in fresh, blank pages in our brand new day planners. Blank pages full of promise and opportunity or maybe disappointment and pain. Or change. In the last few days I’m sure people have resolved to meet all kinds of lofty goals in this clean slate of a year. Me? Absolutely not. New Year’s Resolutions are like a list of do’s and don’ts that I create…setting me up for certain failure. My resolution is to not make one. How do you ring it in?

My past calendars have been so full of change that I struggled with sameness even while I yearned for it. God has altered my heart in the last couple of decades though. I knew when I married Lee it was for the rest of my life because God is at our center. We’ve lived in our current home for almost fifteen years…a record for me. As I age, sameness seems quite alright. I guess I’m getting, ermagosh, set in my ways. Or better yet,  perhaps I’ve finally settled into God’s ways.

If I begin to think things aren’t changing, all I have to do is look in the mirror. Another line on my face, another shot of gray in my hair. Not to mention the evil full length mirror. My husband and I had a good laugh over spending this New Years Eve doing pre hip surgery exercises. (I’ll add it’s his hip, not mine.) I also look back on my prayer life. Just when I think God hasn’t heard me, I see where He has answered, and worked without my even realizing it. On New Year’s Eve I usually feel a little nostalgic, thinking, I miss the good ole days. My heart sister (you know who you are!) and I talk about them every December 31st it seems. Our discussion always ends with; we wouldn’t go back even if we could.

I’ve come to realize the sameness I’m in love with is Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) Years ago, as a new Christian, I struggled with thinking the Bible was that proverbial list of do’s and don’ts. It’s not. Once Christ took up residence in my heart I longed to change and grow up in Him. In Christ’s sameness I desire to study God’s word and learn more about Him every day. I love the sameness of constant commune with Him. Without Him I can resolve nothing, alone I don’t have the strength. I am now what I should have been all along, yet still a work in progress. One day I’ll be made complete in my eternal home.

Read with me  Matthew 12:30-32 (The Message.) Here we find that rejecting Jesus is the unpardonable sin. The following commentary helps explain:

[1]“The unpardonable sin is the deliberate refusal to acknowledge God’s power in Christ. It indicates a deliberate and irreversible hardness of heart.”
“Only those who have turned their backs on God and rejected all faith have any need to worry. Jesus says these can’t be forgiven – not because their sin is worse than any other, but because they will never ask for forgiveness. Whoever rejects the prompting of the Holy Spirit removes himself or herself from the only force that can lead him or her to repentance and restoration to God.”

If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution that doesn’t set you up to fail…turn to Jesus. He tells us:

 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(emp. mine)
Matthew 11:27-30 (NIV)

If you sincerely seek Him, He will give you all you need to stay resolute, He doesn’t make it difficult! Accept His saving sameness today.

 

[1] NIV Study Bible 1984

“Come…Go With Me!”

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“Every person who believes that Jesus is, in fact, the Messiah, is God-begotten…” (Continue reading John 5:1-12)

Do you have friends or loved ones who deny Christ? It is painful…and, truth be told, it can be frustrating! As Christians we know and appreciate the peace that surpasses all understanding. We long for our dear ones to have the same but sometimes…they choose not to hear us. That is heartbreaking to say the least. It’s something I can’t even articulate. Losing a Christian loved one to death is hard. Losing a non-Christian loved one is just something I can’t allow myself to think about. Let’s lift up the unsaved today…Pray for sound Christian leaders throughout the world.

And looking up I saw a stone wall, cold, solid, unfeeling,
Unscalable, so tall.
Impenetrable.

Tears were streaming down my face,
I realized the barricade had taken my place.
Helpless.

Searing loss and sorrow, to the very depths of my soul,
A love the enemy stole.
Grief-stricken.

It wrenches every part of me, this barrier of unbelief,
You there! Behind the freezing stone! Can’t you hear Him call?
Urgency.

I long to lay siege to those who’re lost, souls that won’t comply,
But forcing one to say the words would be to live a lie.
Choice.

What’s left for me then but to plead their case, praying they’ll believe,
Asking for deliverance from the one who doth deceive.
Intercession.

I long to reach that beating heart, dying on the other side,
To lift it unto Jesus hands, eternity to bide.
Rescue.

If only I could reach it, and make it understand,
Jesus wants it as His own, His only compassionate command.
Love.

He only longs to grant assurance as it beats throughout it’s years,
Giving rest and surety, and calming all its fears.
Peace.

It’s heavy the thought, the heart I won’t feel, when Jesus calls me home,
Pain I cannot bear, I know my God will spare me that, with His loving care.
Mercy.

If that heart decides to change, its wall will surely crumble,
From itself it will brush the dust, redeemed and truly humble.
Salvation.

When this happens to that soul, my joy will know no bound,
I’ll run to greet that loved one, angel song resounds!
Rejoicing.

I want to share my Lord with all, so with me you will go,
To the land of milk and honey, where streets are paved with gold.
Heaven.

When we’ve all been gathered, around the Mercy Seat,
Each will answer God’s own Son, bowing at His feet.
Judgment.

Whether by death or captured up, I pray that we’ll all be ready,
To kneel before our Savior King, praises forever to Him sing.
Eternity.

And looking up I saw brilliant light, splitting wide the sky…
His Face filling my eye…
Jesus.

“Techno Babble”

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Tecno USETechnology slowly and stealthily crept into our lives at first. Then it came like a bullet train hurtling out of control. When it derails there’ll be no stopping the fall out. I have a love/hate relationship with it.

I love my e-reader but I miss books, the feel and smell of them. I don’t miss storing them though. I love how handy my phone camera is. The photos I’ve taken in the last decade are etched on glass discs and stored in a cloud somewhere.  A cloud. I have to have a computer to view them. I like that picture CD’s hold hundreds of photos and dozens of CD’s fit into one streamlined case. Still there is something I miss about freshly developed glossy photos and putting them into an album. Even as I love the quality of life that some of man’s expertise has wrought, I abhor the hold techie life has on me and the world. When did I start freaking out if my cell phone isn’t with me, at all times? Love/hate.

By now you’ve figured out that I’m an older individual, one of the many forced into learning and living in this strange way. Folks my age remember life without all of this stuff…thank goodness! I don’t dare start on some of the advancement mankind has made. How far is too far?  To what end will we continue in technological conquest? I’m not sure what the ultimate goal is. Is it to eradicate disease so we can live longer in an economically crippled state? Or diabolically worse… to create disease? Is it to create human life in a vial all the while creating new ways to end that which is natural? Is it to create better war machines? Or is it to have total control…operating everything remotely from behind a panel of computer screens? Is the idea to live to the fullest here on earth because it’s trendy to believe that this life is all there is? What tragic sorrow, what empty conviction! I hold to the belief that prideful, willful man is still trying to prove that God doesn’t exist.  Man loves to think he has all the answers. He longs for the youthful eternal in these fragile temporal jars of clay we we’re born in. He loves being alive and vibrant but hates and denies the only way he can achieve an eternity worth living.

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-19 NIV)

God is in control of this vast creation of His. He doesn’t need to prove Himself yet I see His existence daily. Just look at the dawn sky, painted with pink clouds as the sun takes over the night. God doesn’t need technology, believe it or not He doesn’t need us but…He wants us. He loved us enough to step down from perfection in the form of His Son, willingly joining our turmoil, meeting us where we are, to save us. Jesus is a love/love relationship, in Him there is no hate! We’re the ones that harbor hate and choose to disbelieve. To turn our back on truth. You’ll find no peace living as if there is no consequence. You’ll find no joy in living at the mercy of technological grandeur. With all its supposed superior way, it doesn’t hold the answers.

I’m afraid I’ll rue the day I gave into this modernized know-how. Rumors of infrastructural war loom. My grandchildren’s generation won’t be able to function without it. What chance do they stand if the power grid is taken out? I can’t imagine it now even at my age! I’ve watched too many movies on my hi-def flat screen TV that does everything but pop the corn. I’d grieve the loss of those life moments held captive on a shiny disc where all I’d see is my own reflection. I’d long for the company of a good book that’s trapped behind the cold glass of an e-reader gone dead.

One real life paper pages bound and covered book I suggest you keep on hand? The Holy Bible. It’s the only resource we need in preparation for the last days…God is the Alpha and the Omega. (Rev. 1:8; Rev. 21:6; Rev. 22:13)