This is a fallen world- by You GOD are Faithful…

“Because Your lovingkindness is better than life…” Ps. 63:3.

When one’s life is taken, or when one suffers loss,  it is hard to ‘see’ the lovingkindness of the Lord.

‘There are some lives that were so yielded to God, that they left imprinted in our minds  a lived out’  view of God’s word:“Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.” Ps. 63:3,4.

Somehow, they were the very image of this verse, somehow they knew in the center of their being that ‘even better than life is the lovingkindness of the Lord.’

So, God has let me see this  with my own eyes. And maybe He has done this for you as well.  He doesn’t leave us in the dark about His lovingkindness.  In full view He shows Himself, His love and His greatness, through often-times, broken but yielded lives.

I don’t know all the stories, and I haven’t seen all the pictures, but I can share a few. I have seen a picture of a 4 year old little girl  sitting on a hospital bed with no hair and at a very weak point in her battle with cancer, lifting her hands up to God, in praise and adoration. Truly she is showing us, that ‘even better than life is the lovingkindness of the Lord.’ God had touched the heart of a very young child, and thus left a picture for us see her response, “my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.”

It is in the stories that we see the beauty of the Lord, and the lovingkindness of our God. It is not  only in a beautiful mountainscape view or magnificent sunset- or something grand, but  it is seen even more in the deep dark crevices of a cave that the diamonds are found.

In  a  fierce battle against the little ‘c’ cancer, God had touched a yielded life so intimately, that the big ‘C’ Christ was his very breath.  Words of hope, “I’m healed already!” always came from his lips. He was a visual of the verse, “My soul shall be satisfied as with the marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You  with joyful lips”…Even better than life, is the lovingkindness of the Lord.

It is not our way, God’s ways are higher than ours, He shows us His glory at times in a suffering servant. Why? we might ask. God doesn’t answer the ‘Why’, but He shows us His lovingkindness through these lives yielded to Him as Job did, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. He also shall be my salvation.” Job 13:15.

Have you witnessed a  yielded life? One who cries out to God and trusts even when nothing makes sense?  “O God, You are my God; …My soul thirsts for You My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.” Ps. 63:1.

And yes, you and I have seen with our own eyes, broken people chosen by God to magnify His light,  to be a living sanctuary, tried greatly, yet true, true to exemplify for each of us that ‘even better than life, is the lovingkindness of the Lord.’  Thus yielding a response of praise and a lifting up of his hand to the Lord.

We have pictures. We can see the lovingkindness of God, but we need comfort.

Comfort your people Lord.

“Comfort, yes comfort My people!” Says your God. Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended…Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God… the crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough places smooth;

The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all eyes shall see it together.” Is. 40:3,4,5.

“I’m healed already!” “Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You.

Your right hand holds me up.” Ps. 63:7,8.

“Let us run our races Lord, with our hearts and eyes on You, trusting and believing that You care and You know.Even when all ‘looks’ bad with the sight of our eyes, help us to ‘know’ Your love and faithfulness with the eyes of faith. Help us to put off our doubts and our fears and close our ears to the lies! Because Your lovingkindness dear Lord, is better than life!”

“My dear friend, when grief presses you to the dust, worship there!”

“My dear friend, when grief presses you to the dust, worship there!”

C.H. Spurgeon wrote these words. These words were penned and written among a field of thousands of sermons. These gems are gleaned and shared for you and me in the book: Beside Still Waters, Words of Comfort for the Soul,C.H. Spurgeon/ Editor Roy H. Clarke.

When I was in great need of comfort, a friend sent me this book. For this I am forever grateful. God was watching over me. He is always in control. Old words written were now opened to help restore my soul.

Thoughts run here, there, and everywhere – especially when one is going through a crisis-and there are times when we need Help from Someone to lead us “beside still waters.” (Psalm 23).

I share words that have been written many years past:

“My dear friend, when grief presses you to the dust, worship there! Remember David’s words, ‘Pour out your heart.’ But do not stop there; finish the quotation. “Pour out your heart before Him.” Turn your heart upside down, empty it, and let every drop run out. “Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8).(Beside Still Waters, pg.49, Yet Will I Trust Him)

Spurgeon continues: “When you are bowed down beneath a heavy burden of sorrow, worship and adore God there. In full surrender to His divine will, say with Job, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him” (Job 13:15). This kind of worship subdues the will, arouses the affections, stirs the whole mind, and presents you to God in solemn consecration…”

This last sentence, I circled with stars and even wrote it again at the bottom of the page: “This worship sweetens sorrow and takes away its sting.”

So, in turn, Spurgeon encouraged me to run to the songs.

I received air in my lungs and breath again from words of an old hymn. I opened to the light “Be Still My Soul.”

Worship Him there, in restlessness and pain. Worship Him and speak aloud, “Be still my soul.”

“Be still my soul. The Lord is on Thy side, bear patiently, the cross of grief or pain. Leave to Thy God, to order and provide. In every change, He faithful will remain. Be still my soul, thy Best and Heavenly Friend -through thorny ways- leads to a joyful end.”( Katherina A. von Schlegel 1752).

It’s the books that refresh. Not a shopping trip or vacation. It’s old words on some pages. It’s the word of God and hymns and devotional phrases.

The old words. I opened them up. And today, let us open them again. Let us read aloud hymns and devotions and be lifted up. At a turn of the page, I share another hymn:

 I Will arise and Go to Jesus.

” Come, ye sinners, poor and needy, Weak and wounded, sick and sore; Jesus ready stands to save you, Full of pity, love and pow’r.

A devotional and hymn book are a living remedy to a broken heart. Words that live begin to remind me, it might not be well with my life or my even my broken heart, but because the Lord loves me,

“It is Well With My soul.”

God, the Creator, the Lover of my soul – He is in control. The words remind me what I had forgot:

“When Satan does buffet, and trials do come. Let this blessed assurance control: That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and He’s shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well with my soul.

 It is well, it is well with my soul.” 

Oh how words comfort and restore. Yesterday, today, and until the final test. God has not left us, He draws near. His word and the hymns caress.

“When grief presses you to the dust, worship Jesus there!

Thank you C.H. Spurgeon for reminding me that “This worship sweetens sorrow and takes away the sting.”

“The Lord is my strength and my song, and He is become my salvation!”(Exodus 15:2).

Let us go on, with our eyes up, not out on the broken horizon, and let us sing a song that will carry our heavy feet onward.

It might not be well with our circumstances and our hearts, but in Jesus, He’s covered us and washed us and loved us complete. We can take a breath, and bring a sacrifice of sound and sing, “It is well, it is well with my soul.

Remembering Him…much needed – always

In remembering Jesus we are to ‘Do this in remembrance of Me’, He said. So, we take a broken piece of unleavened bread and we eat it. Then we sip the juice. That is what we do. The Broken Bread, He is. The poured out blood, He did.

Broken, poured out…He knows this.

And we do too, so I think of words of an old hymn: “Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blessed assurance control, “that Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and He’s shed His own blood for my soul!Nobody knows the pain and the anguish that is warring inside you or me.  But there is One who knows – Jesus.

He knows. And it is true, ‘Christ has regarded – yours and mine, ‘helpless estates’ and He’s shed His own blood for our souls! ‘It is well with my soul.’ Right now, no matter what is going on, ‘It is well, it is well, with my soul when I Remember Him!

In remembering Him, I realize He knows...He walked the Via Dolorosa. Words were written and sung, that we might never forget. Perhaps we need to be reminded again and again:

Down the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem that day
The soldiers tried to clear the narrow street
But the crowd pressed in to see
A Man condemned to die on Calvary

He was bleeding
from a beating, there were stripes upon His back
And He wore a crown of thorns upon His head
And He bore with every step
The scorn of those who cried out for His death

(chorus)
Down the Via Dolorosa called the way of suffering
Like a lamb came the Messiah, Christ the King,
But He chose to walk that road out of His love
For you and me.
Down the Via Dolorosa, all the way to Calvary.

Por la Via Dolorosa, triste dia en Jerusalem
Los saldados le abrian paso a Jesus
Mas la gente se acercaba
Para ver al que llevaba aquella cruz

Por la Via Dolorosa, que es la via Del dolor
Como oveja vino Cristo, Rey, Señor
Y fue El quien quiso ir por su amor
Por ti y Por mi
Por la Via Dolorosa al Calvario y a morir

The blood that would cleanse the souls of all men
Made its way to the heart of Jerusalem.

Down the Via Dolorosa called the way of suffering
Like a lamb came the Messiah, Christ the King
But He chose to walk that road out of His love
For you and me
Down the Via Dolorosa, all the way to Calvary.

Remembering Him, makes our hearts sing with hymns:”Christ has regarded my helpless estate. And He’s shed His own blood for my soul!” I am encouraged. I am no longer fret-full…

 “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength…”(Is. 30:15).

“And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore,”(Is. 30:20).But your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it…” (Is. 30: 21).

“It is well with my soul” when I Remember Him! When I remember He has regarded my helpless estate, and He’s shed His own blood for my soul!

I can go on, for He has made me whole! It is well with my soul!

 

 

“Therefore,…we do not get discouraged!”

“Therefore,…we do not get discouraged!” (2 Corinthians 4:1). How do we not get discouraged? What’s the ‘Therefore?’ We must ‘lift up our feeble hands that hang down’ and we must ‘take up’ our ‘Swords’ – of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

What’s the ‘Therefore?’ It is this: “Therefore we do not become discouraged – utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear. Though our outer man is (progressively) decay-ing and wasting away, yet our inner self is being (progressively) renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16, Amplified).

And there is more in the ‘therefore, we do not become discouraged: “For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory – …” (THIS is just a portion of the ‘therefore, we do not become discouraged!) “For our light, momentary affliction… is preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory – beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!” (2 Corinthians 4: 17, Amplified!)

And this is only ‘part’ of the ‘therefore!’ There is more reason we do not become discouraged: “Since, (we, the you, the me, the he, the she that choose to BELIEVE), Since “we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting!” (2 Corinthians 4:18, Amplified, Exclamation point, mine!)

Believers in Jesus,  Who willingly, before we even turned our eyes in His direction, He laid down His life on the cross that the sins of the whole world, (that is the sin of every human being on this earth), was laid on Him. “All we like sheep have gone astray, but the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Is. 53: 6). And that ‘All’ includes  ‘all’ the you’s, and the me’s and  the ‘he’s and the she’s. But to those who believe-we do not become discouraged BECAUSE:

The “God who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as (to beam forth) the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God…” (2 Corinthians 4:6), and that is not all:

“We, believers in God who said, ‘Let light sine out of darkness, which shines in our hearts so as to beam forth the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God ‘as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ the Messiah!’ (2 Corinthians 4:6, Amplified, Exclamation point, MINE!)

We do not become discouraged because we are focused on His face which is full of love and grace. And Our Good Shepherd is with us as we even must ‘walk in the valley of the shadow of death.’

No! We believers will not become discouraged: “For we know that if the tent which is our earthly home is destroyed (dissolved), we have from God a building, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 4:5:1). Right now, we live in ‘tents’, in heaven our houses are mansions, Jesus said Himself! (Johne 14:1).

So, today “We are hedged in (pressed) on every side – troubled and oppressed in every way; but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair;…”

” We are (persecuted and hard driven,) pursued, but not deserted- to stand  alone; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed…”

“Always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord Jesus suffered,…”

“So that the (resurrection) life if Jesus also may be evidenced through our flesh which is liable to death.”( 2 Corinthians 4:8-11, Amplified.)

This is why we don’t become discouraged, even if God might have us walk through the valley of the shadow of death. “Now He Who fashioned us for this very thing is God, Who also has given us the (Holy) Spirit as a guarantee!” This is the Word of the Lord in 2 Corinthians 5:5! 

“So then, we are always full of good and hopeful and confident courage…”(2 Corinthians 5:6), because we are staying focused on our Jesus and His powerful, amazing, life changing, flowing , and living Word! ( Amplification mine!)

Shall we, who choose to believe, even if just right now, say “Amen!”

We will not become discouraged because Jesus loves us and is with us – always and forever…

” Therefore whether we are at home ( on earth away from Him), or away from home(and with Him), we are constantly ambitious and strive earnestly to be well pleasing to Him!” (2 Corinthians 5:9, Amplified, exclamation point, MiNE!)

“Not all know Me as their King…”

I was very sick, laying on the couch after my third chemo treatment of some very rough and tough ‘poisons’ that the Medical Professionals chose to destroy the cancer cells within my body… and, quite frankly, only hours after the chemicals were set free to run through my bone marrow, I could ‘feel’ the death of the cells in my body. And quite honestly, I almost thought that this was going to be the ‘death of me!’ BUT GOD…(!)

You see, chemo to me can be expressed by God’s word in many places, one of which is (2 Corinthians 7:5,6). (The other, Ps. 18, which I share at the end!)

Back to 2 Corinthians 7:5,6, Paul wrote in words inspired by God, of his experience, and it resembles my own experience: “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia,” (for me, it’s when I came to the infusion room!), “…our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. (Oh, yes, just ask someone on chemo, they will attest to all this!),  Outside were conflicts, inside were fears, NEVERTHELESS GOD, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.” (Only, for me, it was, ‘my flesh had no rest after the chemicals and inside there were fears), Nevertheless God comforted me by His hands and feet and heart and mouth of His Body! The Body of Christ being moved with compassion, to pray and pray hard. Being moved to bake and cook. Being moved to shop for a large family, (even for Christmas!) The Love of Christ moving His  people to send cards of encouragement and love. The provision and gifts- unbelievable!

If one says, “I can’t ‘see God,’ I would like to write right here, “Open your ears and hear the stories, and let your hunger and thirst for truth bring you to a place where His word comes down from the shelf, and your broken and empty and seemingly empty heart, cry out in desperation, and let Him fill it, not in a ‘very long time’ but ‘immediately’ with His love and Spirit! He is alive and He alone can open your eyes, He is Almighty God, He is able to turn a heart of stone into a heart of flesh-beating again with hope and life and light and the greatest of all, love! He can and He will, and He does to all who cry out to Him.

I know, I was one who cried! And one who continues to cry out!

God spoke to me! Not audibly, I didn’t hear a ‘voice’, but I heard the words spoken from a book I had read to my children time and time again, I share this story again and again because it’s true. It’s my experience. And God is a personal God and He personally met me in a very dark hour, one I thought to be my darkest – but He showed up!

My eyes were closed, I ‘felt’ as if I was given too much chemo…I started talking to God, “shouldn’t I be seeing lights? But then in the dark I saw a door, and the door opened and He showed me His nail-scarred hands, and I heard the thoughts: “Not all know Me as their King.”

Right then, I knew I was going to survive this cancer fight! And right then and there, God gave me my marching orders! You see, “the heavens declare the glory of God,…” (Psalm 19:1),  but it’s His word that is “perfect and converts the soul,” (Psalm 19:7).

Yes, I play a ‘one-stringed guitar’ it seems in that I write the same things over and over, but we are sheep, and we need the Good Shepherd! He ‘makes us to lie down’ sometimes because we are so focused on the thorns and the heat that we don’t even notice God is making us to lie down on ‘pastures of green’ and that He is working all for good to ‘restore our souls’. He doesn’t desire ‘happy’ sheep,He desires ‘holy sheep!’

He allows these things in our lives so we walk in light and are enveloped by His grace and in brokenness finally ‘see the LORD!’ “Yea, though we walk in the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil because He is with us!” (Psalm 23).

“My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part-but the WHOLE! Has been nailed to the cross! And I bear it no more- Praise the Lord! It is well with my soul!”( Hymn: It is Well With My Soul).

I couldn’t say in the beginning that I was thankful for my trials, but I can say now – I am thankful! I will end with victory words from Psalm 18 God gave me way before I was even close to being victorious in heart, mind and body:

“For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”

“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me; so that my feet did not slip.”

“I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them; Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed. I have wounded them, so that they were not able to rise; They have fallen under my feet. For You armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued under me those who rose up against me.”

“You have also given me the necks of my enemies…The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.” (Psalm 18:31-46).

This is my story, this is my song! Praising my Savior…all the day long… while it is day…while it is day!

Shall we say Amen? Amen! Amen! and even again, Amen!

That is why I thank and love my Jesus! He rescued me from a powerful enemy! My own doubt and fear and shame! He gave me hope and life forever and ever and ever and ever…to God be the Glory – “HOW GREAT THOU ART!”

 

 

 

Someone worth Waiting for…

“God, increase My faith! Increase my faith!”

Is this your cry? Usually not when everything is going our way-this is a cry we have during crisis! “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”(Hebrews 11:1).

In crisis things get slippery! And sometimes that includes our faith! Christians today worldwide are in crisis! What is ‘evil’ is spoken of as good. And what is ‘good’ is spoken as evil! “Increase our faith Lord!” is our cry! “Increase our faith! Overwhelmed in this life –  is our cry!”

“Wait for the gift My Father promised,” we’re the words that Jesus spoke to those who were followers of Him as He walked this earth.( Acts 1:4).

It was a time back then with misunderstanding and confusion and furious rage. If you don’t remember read about the stripes on the back of Jesus and the yells of the crowds in those days, in the pages of Matthew Mark, Luke, and John!

‘He (that, being Jesus),  said to them, “it is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority…”(Acts 1:7).

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”(Acts 1:8).

Waiting! Waiting! Waiting in faith – is what we who believe on Jesus Christ must continue to do! But I read these words and need to write them down so I can withstand the wait and focus on the the Lord:

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place, they were all with one accord in one place.”(Acts 2:1).

I can’t go further! This is how we must pray: Christians we MUST have unity, and prayerful, faith-ful hearts!”

Today, today, we must wait on the Lord, with one heart and one purpose to be not only ‘filled with the Spirit’ in believing on Jesus , but we must not quench His glorious Power, we must all ‘get out of the way’ and unify in  prayer to our Father in heaven Who gave us His Son, and BELIEVE all His promises and re-read them and know them and come together one by one.

Today, we, believers in the true and living God must ask in these last days to be anointed and empowered by the Spirit of God in unity and prayerfulness and fruit- ful-ness, ( the fruit of the Spirit is love), we must put on love! We must courageously  lift the name of Jesus to all who will turn their eyes from the world and be empowered to turn these end times around so that ‘suddenly there will come again a ‘rushing mighty wind’ ( Acts2:2) but this time to usher the Bride on Home!

Let us live today for Jesus! He is coming so soon! May His Bride be found waiting with the oil of the Holy Spirit filled in the lamps and may we wait with a song and our hands out to help others who might not be sure- “Yes He is coming! Prepare to meet Him soon. He is Someone worth waiting for! “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and lift up your everlasting doors; the King of glory shall come in.” (Psalm 24:7).

” Wait on the Lord!” I encourage myself and you! And you ask, what is His will? What do I do as I WAIT? “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing and in everything , give thanks!”(1 Thessalonians 5:16, 17). We must rejoice and wait in hope and faith! Our Jesus is worth waiting for!”

What is it to be ‘homeschooled’ – it is time to speak…

A time to be silent, and a time to speak about why we homeschooled…

by tonirypkema (first posted Sept. 2013)

I have been silent, (and my heart inwardly grieves) because  my older children truly believe that we homeschooled simply for protection and control. I feel in my heart, that I need to put down in black and white the true and real reasons that I invested 21 years of my life to educate my children, and why parents make a sacrificial choice to do  just that.

I don’t know why I feel such a need to speak today, but I feel there is so much misunderstanding, and my own children believe all the outside views. I have children now that are in the public school system and I know they are learning a lot, but there is a lot more to education than mathematics and language arts.

A simple poem, ‘To Be Educated’ by Carolyn Caines says it all for me:

“If I learn my ABC’s, can read 600 words per minute, and can write with perfect penmanship, but have not been shown how to communicate with the Designer of all language,

I have not been educated.

If I can deliver an eloquent speech and persuade you with my stunning logic, but have not been instructed in God’s wisdom,

I have not been educated.

If I have read Shakespeare and John Locke and can discuss their writings with keen insight, but have not read the greater of all books – the Bible – and have no knowledge of its personal importance,

I have not been educated.

If I have memorized addition facts, multiplication tables, and chemical formulas, but have never been disciplined to hide God’s Word in my heart,

I have not been educated.

If I can explain the law of gravity and Eintstein’s theory of relativity, but have never been instructed in the unchangeable laws of the One Who orders our universe,

I have not been educated.

If I can classify animals by their family, genus, and species, and can write a lengthy scientific paper that wins an award, but have not been introduced to the Maker’s purpose for all creation,

I have not been educated.

If I can recite the Gettysburg Address and the Preamble to the Constitution, but have not been informed of the hand of God in the history of our country,

I have not been educated.

If I can play the piano, the violin, six other instruments, and can write music that moves men to tears, but have not been taught to listen to the Director of the universe and worship Him,

I have not been educated.

If I can run cross-country races, star in basketball and do 100 push-ups without stopping, but have never been shown how to bend my spirit to do God’s will,

I have not been educated.

If I can identify a Picasso, describe the style of da Vinci, and even paint a portrait that earns an A+, but have not learned that all harmony and beauty comes from a relationship with God, I have not been educated.”

Kids, this is the reason why we homeschooled! Oh, and it wasn’t a perfect environment, but there was music and drawing and time to listen to wonderful stories written long ago. There were schedules, endless math hours, and writing assignments, and the chore chart, but there were also ski trips on mondays, and close relationships with siblings lots of babies and toddlers to read to and play with, and …

most importantly, a chance to learn about the ‘Designer of all language’, to be ‘instructed in God’s wisdom’, to read the Bible and hide it in your heart, to take time to ‘listen to the Director of the universe and worship Him’,

but that education continues kids. It never ends.

So I pray that we can still be part of the education process in your lives by letting you know that

‘all harmony and beauty comes from a relationship with God’!  I just wanted you to know your mama’s heart. It is because Knowing Him – IS  being educated. Or, perhaps, Knowing HIM is being EDUCATED!

P.S. Knowing God, and having time to ‘consider God’ and believe in the Son whom He has sent, and taking time to really understand  that God the Father loves ME – Is being educated tremendously. Knowing God loves ME, not just in the head, but in the heart and every part of one’s being doesn’t always take place in those ‘school’ years – but a foundation of CHRIST has been laid, when we receive His love and forgiveness. And…(and yes, there are times when a sentence can begin with ‘And’!) AND WHEN (not ‘if’) life’s great storms come to throw us to the ground…we have a foundation that is built that can stand against ANYTHING that comes our way! In Christ we have life and we have light to illuminate our way even in great darkness! Knowing God and His precious, powerful, and very personal Word – THAT is being educated, indeed!

“I beg you to ‘suffer and hear…’

‘Rejoice in the Lord!’ We can ‘rejoice in the Lord always.’ And even again, I can say, ‘Rejoice’.

“You don’t know my troubles, you don’t know my losses. You don’t know the deep, deep hurts and the heavy crosses. How can I believe in God at a time like this? Isn’t He supposed to be ‘Love?’ Well, I don’t believe, I only believe – He’s gone a-miss.”

“This is true. I don’t know anything about you, but I know Someone Who walked a path rocky and steep with a heavy beam He was made to balance and keep. His eyes were on His Father, and I speak because  it’s true, His heart was on me and it was on you too.”

“I’m tired of all the ‘religion,’ It’s just words all the same…”

“Whether you believe or not doesn’t change God! This Someone, this Man, Whom the Story is told, had to hear words of hatred and scorn and even bear being spat on to His face, and have His beard even ripped off and torn! This Man, Jesus, He knows trouble and pain and great suffering- Yet to free us from our own agony, He came…How can I write in present tense and past? Because He came and died to pay our huge debt, whether or not you believe – He still loves you the same.”

“With each step He walked upon the Via Delorosa, He was mocked, He was ridiculed, He was absolutely HATED. The very ground that He created, they crucified Him on. Even the men on each cross beside began to curse, but Jesus, from the beginning Knew all along that His Father so loved this broken and ‘sin-cursed’ world that He was given as the ‘gift’ to pay the price…the shedding of His own blood, as the Lamb of sacrifice.”

“Jesus, the Man, the Son of God Who was given,  endured greater suffering than any human will ever know. He is the One Who Loves you completely.  He took the curse and was lifted on the cross, He laid down His life that you might be healed. Believe in the Lord Jesus! Die to your pride and ‘self-absorb-sion’ – He is the Life and resurrection!”

“Even now, He loves…He loves…yes- YOU completely. Personally, intimately, He knows and He cares. This is the Truth. Please turn your attention to Him Who has died. He paid the penalty for all the sin from the beginning. He is Alpha, the Omega, the Beginning, and the End. And my dear fellow man, please know, He is Risen!”

“For God so loved the world that He gave,…He gave… It was our SIN that ‘took away’! It was our SIN that ‘brought the poverty and shame’. It was ‘our sin’ that brought sickness and disease. It was ‘our sin’ that made this great mess that we see!”But God, He gave, His only Son- not to condemn the world as the enemy lies about continually- but that the world, made up of you and the people of all nations and tribes and me- might have life, and that ETERNALLY!”

“God gave us ‘choice’ because He wants us to ‘choose Him’!  He is God Almighty, All sufficient,  He is LOVE. He has power to save, He is able to deliver…but we  must Look upon ‘Him Who was pierced’ for our debt, believe in the Son that the Father has sent. Call out to Him and confess to Your Father: “Forgive me Lord,  Can You wash me a-new? I want to turn my eyes off myself  and on to Jesus. To no longer be unbelieving and empty and bitter- to see that You willingly walked the way to the cross that I might live in Paradise and no longer be lost!

Just as the thief who died next to You that day, who changed his mind and chose to believe! I once was lost, but now… I SEE!”

  1. Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
    Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
    Jesus ready stands to save you,
    Full of pity, love and pow’r.

    • Refrain:
      I will arise and go to Jesus,
      He will embrace me in His arms;
      In the arms of my dear Savior,
      Oh, there are ten thousand charms.
  2. Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
    God’s free bounty glorify;
    True belief and true repentance,
    Every grace that brings you nigh.
  3. Come, ye weary, heavy-laden,
    Lost and ruined by the fall;
    If you tarry till you’re better,
    You will never come at all.
  4. View Him prostrate in the garden;
    On the ground your Maker lies;
    On the bloody tree behold Him;
    Sinner, will this not suffice?
  5. Lo! th’ incarnate God ascended,
    Pleads the merit of His blood:
    Venture on Him, venture wholly,
    Let no other trust intrude.
  6. Let not conscience make you linger,
    Not of fitness fondly dream;
    All the fitness He requireth
    Is to feel your need of Him.
  7. (Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy by Joseph Hart)

Another ‘star’ in my heavens…

“O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder , consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,

I see the stars…”

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, How great Thou art.”

The stars that I see are not heavenly beings in the night sky.  I’m thinking of bodies terrestial, I’m thinking of human stars –

Daniel 12:3, Amplified, “And the teachers and those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness -to uprightness and right standing with God [shall give forth light] like the stars for ever and ever.”

…’shall give forth light – like the stars for ever and ever’.

I’m thinking of the stars that ‘shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father’. Matthew 13:43.

Those who faced trials and pain with courage and strength and even …joy. And those who ran to their Refuge in times of trouble, their Jesus- their hope and stay.

Oh, these aren’t people in robes or standing behind pulpits. They never had great speeches. Their LIVES were the speeches! They trusted God and when troubles came, they ran to Him and then… they ‘walked’ a life of hope and joy even in great weakness and pain at times. Their lives were like the ‘stars’ that shone each day you saw them, like a shining sun: Which “rejoices like a strong man to run its race.” (Ps. 19:5).

I am sure that you have these ‘stars’ in your life as well. The ‘stars’ that shine bright in my life are, Carol and  little Suzanna, and Nick C, Robin, and P. Gary, Paul, Jenny, and Michelle, and Mary B., some I knew well, others only through their story, but nonetheless, they still ‘give forth light like the stars for ever and ever’. Dan. 12:3, Amplified. I am sure you have a ‘heaven of stars’ in your heart as well!

And today, we remember Carol. She is another ‘star’ in my heavens, bright as the sun to me. She did shine with joy and grace and warmth and encouragement and giving always- with every breath!

She was an inspiration to me, even though we only had moment upon moment together chatting at the front desk of the Y. She made an big impression on me and she splashed ‘joy’ into my day! Thank you Carol for splashing joy in my life, even though I did not know you real close. We just shared ‘cancer’ and the Lord and family and both lived ‘life’.

I am sad Carol was so young to go home to the Lord. And it makes me think of another ‘star’ in my heaven that was only 4, only a child- and I only knew her story- but she lives on in me, splashing hope- just as Carol will live in me to ‘splash joy!”

Little Suzanna was only 4. And I didn’t even know her, only her story told through her father as she battled a rare form of cancer. She is my teacher, (‘and the teachers and those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament’). Why? Because of her simple faith and trust in God as a little child. And she ‘shines like the brightness of the firmament’ to me. What if her father didn’t write  her story? I would have never had the opportunity to see this star.

I will share only one little story that I remember time and time again. Suzanna’s father noticed that while she was playing a simple game of freeze tag, she would always pose in positions that pointed to God. Susanna would freeze with her arms and eyes up, or with praying hands or kneeling. And this was at a time when she was battling a life threatening disease. She was teaching us how to worship! Her heart was united to God.

I always felt like Carol had an attitude of grace and joy. The pose Carol made continually was a pose of ‘joy!’ These are my stars!

1 Cor. 15:41-43, Amplified, “The sun is glorious in one way, and the moon is glorious in another way, and the stars are glorious in their own (distinctive) way; for one star differs from and surpasses another in its beauty and brilliance.

So it is with the resurrection of the dead. [The body] that is sown is perishable and decays, but [the body]  that is resurrected is imperishable -immune to decay, immortal.

It is sown in dishonor and humiliation; it is raised in honor and glory. It is sown in infirmity and weakness; it is resurrected in strength and endued with power…”

Suzanna shines bright even still. And so our dear Carol as well. Peace and comfort are knowing that these loved ones are resurrected in strength and endued with power – no more pain and suffering.  We ‘joy’ in God’s truth and it sets us free indeed! May we let the ‘stars’ in our hearts continue to  illuminate all of their ‘gifts’ to us each and every day.

The word glory means ‘outshining’.  Oh, and how they shine. “I see the stars,” and I can hear the stars sing,

“Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, How great Thou art, how great Thou art.”

“Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; show forth from day to day His salvation.

Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all peoples.

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised.” 1 Chronicles 16:23-25.

So today, I will see my teachers, and we might  be inspired to pray:

“O Lord, that my life might shine for You, even in the simplest of ways, this day. Fill me with Your Spirit as we have ‘stars’ in our life to illuminate all You are – Hope and Joy and Peace and LIFE EVERLASTING with LOVE Himself – forever! (And forever…is a long time!” In Glory and joy!

Thank you my dear friends for shining so brightly in my heart everyday, continually…

“Thus saith the LORD”, …

Amazing grace…HOW SWEET the sound:

See God's Hand

(Is 30)“You shall weep no more.
He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry;
When He hears it, He will answer you.

And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity
and the water of affliction,
Yet, your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore,
but your eyes shall see your teachers.
Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying,
‘This is the way, walk in it.'”

“Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers…”

and “You shall have a song, as in the night when a holy festival is kept, and gladness of heart as when one goes with a flute, To come into the mountain of the LORD, To the mighty One of Israel. The LORD will cause His glorious voice to be heard…”

‘Your ears shall hear…

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