Where are they?

As our world grows ever smaller – we hear of it more often these days. Another person goes missing, a child, a woman, a man. It gives me a sense of helplessness. I pray and ask God “Where is she my Lord?” “Who would take a defenseless child?” “Why have they not found her, or him?” It’s heartbreaking. It’s as if the ground opened up and swallowed up these people. I pray and ask God for understanding. Is there an answer? Not one that I can comprehend. Truly, answers is not what we want. We want our loved one home.

“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2 Corinthians 5:1)”
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)”
“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3)”
“The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. (Psalm 14:2)”

Only our Father in heaven knows… And all – will be held accountable for the deeds done in the flesh. No one will escape judgment. Pity the fool that says and believes otherwise. The man who thinks “No one sees me.” Yes. Someone sees – all. He is God.

Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.
Job 34:21 “For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, And He sees all his steps.
Psalm 33:14 “From His dwelling place He looks out On all the inhabitants of the earth…”
“Jeremiah 16:17 “For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes.”

Oh Lord, that You would reveal the whereabouts of the missing here. That You would shake the ground…

Guard Your children, my Lord, those near and those far to us. In the name of Jesus.

Pray for the missing…

Thank you for reading. Be blessed.

I am the Apple of my Father’s Eye

Hello this evening. I hope all you great father’s out there are having a blessed day today. I wanted to share something.

I did not grow up with a father. My dad abandoned us when I was four year old. Even though I saw him on and off when I was young, I can’t say we ever bonded, or anything like that. My first experience with a father, was my heavenly Father. He loved me – just as I was. Praise God! On Father’s Day, He is the father that I remember.

My father, He loved me so much. He said He always knew me. He said He knew all about me. He said, “I was there when I created you in your mother’s womb.” He was there when I rose, sat, walked. Before a word was out of my mouth, He knew it well.  He was there with every step I took. He was there for every joyous occasion.

My Father held me when I cried. He held me when I hurt. He held me when I was so unlovable. He calmed my every fear. My Father loved me – even when I did not return the love.

I was His favorite child. I knew I was the apple of His eye. Then I got caught up with life.

He’d call me and I’d say, “I’m busy. I will get with you later. Maybe tomorrow.” 

He’d say, OK. He waited for me, eager to talk. He kept in touch and I just put Him off.

My father, He loved me. I didn’t think about Him much. I was too busy.

When, He last called – I finally came to my senses. I finally came home. There He was waiting with open arms. He ran to meet me and greet me. He welcomed me home. He would not let me get a word in. I couldn’t believe he was prepared to celebrate my return. 

He said, I’ve missed you for so long. I knew one day you would come home.

Though undeserving as I was, though undeserving as I can be. He still loves me.

Today, I give thanks to the Father that gave me life – everlasting life – and gave it without hesitation.  

My Father in heaven – He loves me more than I can ever know. 

Be blessed. Thank you for reading.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! 

Not me – I’m not like that, am I?

Eugenia Price wrote Woman to Woman, in (Copyright) 1959. It was printed by Zondervan and in the entire text she does not use any Scripture references. I found that a bit odd for a text used as a devotional. Either way, she did have some information useful for self-examination. Her text is in italics.

“James wrote a deep truth about human nature when he wrote, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” He is.

And our instability shows nowhere as flagrantly as it shows in our dispositions.

She wrote that both men and women excuse their dispositions on the grounds of heredity, or circumstances. She believed that women had another excuse, exclusively theirs she said. “Deep within our feminine personalities is the conviction that we are permitted some temperament simply because we are women! More commonly referred to as a woman’s prerogative.

She felt that men had no right to excuse their lack of domestic ability simply because of their gender qualities, “neither do women have a right to excuse their irritability, and nagging, unbridled tongues on the fact that, by nature, women are just like that.”

A woman’s disposition is merely an outward sign of what she really is within. An outward sign of what is predominant within her inner self. If she is predominant there, her disposition shows it. If Christ is predominant there, her disposition show that, too.

The Scriptures in Luke 6:45, A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Matthew 12:34, “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Matthew 15:18, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.”

So before Christ, what was in my heart, changed with time, experience, fear.

When I got married my ex could bring the worst out in me…and it showed. Mind you, I was saved in 1982, so I was already a Christian when I got divorced. So I learned, in raising my children alone…that they too could bring the worst out in me. One thing that I knew about myself…that in spite of myself…I loved my children. They could try my last nerve, but they could also give me immense joy just with a smile, or and “I love you mom.” I wanted to give them the one thing I never had as a child, love, acceptance and acknowledgment that they mattered. God used that love I had for my children to teach me – about myself, but mostly about Him.

God used my wretched character, my inherent qualities to teach me His ways. Because my ways, are not His ways. They couldn’t be. Nothing in me could be like Him without His Spirit living in me. It was not like establishing a new habit. It was about getting a new mind. The old was gone and new was controlled by the Spirit of God.  It took years for the Lord to work in me because my flesh was stubborn. My “inherent qualities” always wanted to rule.

For me as a woman that confesses Christ, whose only desire is to be pleasing to God, to live as such has taken years for the Spirit of God to work in my life, to transform my thought life, to trust in Him in all things, and to be content in all things and to finally put the flesh to death. Yes, because this flesh had to die to conform into the image of God. There was nothing I could do, or change that would stick. The flesh wanted to rule.

I have been blessed to be surrounded by Christians since my salvation in 1982. I wasn’t always in church. I didn’t always read my Bible. But God was always near.

Being around Christians allowed me to see the various types of Christian personalities that are produced by any particular church. Yes. I said church. Baptists, Fundamentalists, Assemblies of God, non-denominational churches, Bible churches, Christian churches  – churches where the Gospel of Christ is preached. I’ve attended different types depending on where we lived. Different name – similar teachings. Some teach speaking in tongues, grace, others don’t. Some expect you to faint when a man of God touches you during prayer. I remember I went up once to get prayer, for something, don’t recall what. When the visiting speaker put his hand on my head, he started to pray really powerful, but all I could feel was him trying to push me down. I didn’t want to fall. I couldn’t understand why he was trying to knock me down. Then, when he finished I saw other people on the floor, or going down, and it struck me, he was probably expecting me to go back. I was like… oh.  I messed up.

I’ve only met one Christian woman that I truly wanted to be like. She was the wife of a Navigators Bible teacher back in 1989. She was and still is the sweetest woman I’ve met. She was soft spoken. Very likable. Hospitable. I don’t know if she was always like that. That’s just how she presented herself during Bible study. I expect she was though…

I’ve used women as a sort of mirror. I would asked the Lord, do I act like that? I’m not like that, am I? Am I like that with others? Do I talk down to others like that? Am I that vain? Am I that selfish? I didn’t compare myself to these women. I didn’t judge them. I just wanted to check myself. We tend to be reflections of our reference group, or groups. The world knows this too clearly. The only person I want to reflect in thought and behavior and in interactions with others – is Jesus Christ. It’s not an easy thing to do when we are influenced by so many other forces.

Ephesians 4:17-24 “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.  But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

When my husband and I travel we make sure to check our vehicle, make sure all the lights are working, tires are good, oil is good and so on. As a Christian woman, I want to make sure that I examine myself – in daily interactions. If not, the Lord will examine me and He might find me falling short in areas where I feel confident. Why? because this flesh always wants to resurrect, to revert back to “inherent qualities.”

Psalm 139:1-4; 23-24 says, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

 

Taming the tongue… not an easy thing for a woman to do.

Colossians 3:8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Being content … not an easy thing for anyone to do when the world is continually selling us things we don’t want, don’t need and can’t afford. Yet, we constantly whine and frustrate ourselves because we want something we can’t have. We walk over people, we use people to get what we want. Even people who have nothing are hard-pressed to settle for their lot. So whatsoever is in my heart, whether I have much, or nothing – that’s what will spew out of my mouth.

Jude 1:16 ESV These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.

I need to never forget what the Scripture says about this heart of mine. 

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

I know – now – that apart from Christ, nothing good dwells in me. As I wait on God’s return I pray that He will keep me, that He will give me the grace to accept His will for my life, to be content in all things. What’s in my heart is the one thing I want the Lord to keep in check. To God be the glory!

Thanks for reading. Be blessed.

Woman…sin has consequences…

A woman I’ve known for many years posted this on Facebook. She has a teaching ministry for people that struggle (in and out of marriage) with abusive relationships.

“I will tell the Lord …I do regret one thing …in staying in an abusive relationship…and keeping my children in that environment…use to tell father, we are setting our children for failure! He didn’t listen! Forgive me my children again! Children get it too..PTSD!!!! The post was accompanied with a quote on how emotional abuse can cause PTSD.

That’s one “plus” to Facebook – people only post what they want others to hear. I am a victim of abuse ~or~ I am an adulterous woman. Which would you post? (I wish she was the only woman I’ve known who was, or is in an adulterous relationship with an abusive man.) Granted she was simply acknowledging her responsibility for her children’s emotional struggles. But her post brought to mind the destruction she caused by taking up with a married man. In thinking about it…two marriages were destroyed, a church was divided, the abuse this man inflicted on his wife at the time – was transferred to her and the children that came out of that relationship. She claimed she had been seduced by the pastor, so she was just another victim – for ten years and two children – and subsequent divorce and remarriage. At any point she could have put a stop to it.

So when we get a peek into the lives of others via social media – you get to see information specially selected for public viewing – good or bad. It’s manipulation at its finest.

Rich Mullins

I have to admit I was troubled by her post, because I knew her history. How do you tell a Christian woman that has suffered at the hands of an abusive man that her experience was the result of outright rebellion against God? Or do you? Do you say anything? We can try to help and support victims of abuse, but surely, as Christians we should examine ourselves when we enter into all relationships. We should be honest, if not with others, with our self. In her own words, she was a victim of physical and emotional abuse. The fact that she had an affair with a married man – is irrelevant. In the years that I’ve known her she has never confessed that she did anything wrong (by taking up with a married man).

Psalm 44:21 Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.

Getting honest… I wondered if the “…” meant other than the fact that her children were conceived in an adulterous relationship. I wondered if she had repented of her obvious sin. Had she been honest with her children about her twisted – stinking thinking in getting involved with a married man. He was the pastor of the church. She paraded around church, Bible studies and social gatherings – married to one man and sleeping with another.

I wanted to desperately tell this woman that her experience, her children, their subsequent experiences were direct consequences of her adulterous relationship. Yes. She had an affair with the pastor of the church we attended. This was happening back in the 80’s and early 90’s. In later years, the pastor’s ex-wife was my friend – through more than twenty years of suffering in silence, never-ending various abuse, infidelity, and other sins of the pastor she never lost faith in God. When she cried out for help – her family and friends advised her to suck it up. I believed her because that was the same advise I received in trying to deal with my ex. (And let me tell you, God gave her grace beyond measure to accept this woman as a friend – to forgive her and her ex-husband. After all was said and done…she listened to her (this woman) as she shared her horrid stories of the abuse she she endured at the hands of this man …)  The other woman continued her adulterous behavior. Oh my! The details here are very sordid.

This woman had a ten year affair with this pastor, had two children by him while she was still married and living with her husband – and tried to pass the children of as her husband’s.

My friend shared her story of abuse, before she married, and after. Years later – she still recalled certain events with vivid detail. She lived in feared for many years. My ex and I were out of the country when the scandal broke at our little church. I held back the tears, the horror and anger as she shared many disturbing details. I asked my friend if this woman had ever asked for her forgiveness. I was shocked when she said – never. She did say that her ex did eventually seek her forgiveness.

How do we as believers, wrong somebody, and subsequently exposed – never seek forgiveness of those we wronged? Something is wrong with this picture.

And I guess it’s easy to ignore the sin of adultery and shift the focus to the subsequent effects, because even a promising relationship can have bad consequences – as was the case for this woman. She was taken by surprise when her husband began the abuse. As believers in Christ if we learn anything – we learn that God hates adultery. We also learn the consequences of sin and still we react in utter disbelief when we suffer.

Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? … (1 Cor. 6:9-10)

Isn’t thou shall not commit adultery a commandment? (Exodus 20:13)

It’s been bothering me. I guess because as Christians we tend to roar when it comes to certain atrocities – like abortion. Yet we stand idly by – silent – as we watch fellow believers being pulled down into the abyss. Into total darkness they go in their rebellion. Liars, cheaters, abusers, lovers of evil – those attributes – well, we prefer to turn a blind eye rather than confront a brother or sister in Christ.

My friend had spoken to this woman often about her lifestyle choices. My friend told me that she was convinced that God was directing her steps. God had given her a peace about being in a relationship with a married man. I cannot describe his vileness without soiling your soul.

I was only twenty-two years old when all this happen in my little church. I was a new Christian. I too got caught up in a bad relationship, despite warnings. Yes – in my rebellion, which was easily rationalized – I was young and stupid –  ignorant of the things of God. Sure. But how long can we claim ignorance?

There are many published authors, writers, bloggers, some well known, others not so much, many more writing in obscurity just like us here – that share stories of faith and insight into the things of God. They share their interpretations of Scripture. Some we trust, others we take with a grain of salt. Still others we can confidently say pervert the gospel of Christ for personal gain. They are men and women, young and old.

“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions. Joel 2:28

These days there is so much information out there to be found about how to live the blessed Christian life, how to name it and claim it, and how God will give you the desires of your heart if you seek Him first – tons of topics – with everyone being some kind of authority on the topic. So, how important is it to know Scripture? Extremely important!

There are too many Pied Pipers out there trying to seduce weak minds to follow the path that leads to destruction.

Even as believers, many of us are hard-pressed to believe that sin has consequences. And here I only refer to the obvious sin of adultery and entering into a wrong relationship. But sin comes in many flavors, big, little, bold or subtle with varying degrees of consequences, but consequences nonetheless. Sin reaches into the deepest part of the soul. It hides in the recesses of the mind.

Isn’t the Lord so merciful… to reach deep down into the abyss to pull out the soul that cries out for forgiveness…

Yes, woman…sin has consequences. For me, it’s about considering my role in the body of Christ and act, respond – by faith – in meekness – in total surrender to the One that calls me by name. It’s about recognizing sin – when it crouches at the door. Calling it what it is –  sin- rebellion against God.

Matthew 7:5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

It’s time to learn about the God that sacrificed His only Son for our sin. Jesus, who loved us and died for us – that went to His Father’s house to prepare a place for us. We are His. 

Thank you for reading. Be blessed.

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