Thursday, March 25, 2010

Devotional Snapshot 57 - Omnipotence

"Omnipotence may build a thousand worlds, and fill them with bounties; omnipotence may powder mountain into dust, and burn the sea, and consume the sky, but Omnipotence can not do an unloving thing toward a believer...a hard thing, an unloving thing from God toward one of His people is quite impossible." Daily Help Charles H. Spurgeon Jan. 6

Jonah 1:1-3 "Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me." But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD..."

You know why I love this story? Because God had a plan for Jonah's life and even though Jonah was unwilling, the plan happened anyway!

There may be something You ask of us and our flesh is unwilling to do---ask for funds from people for missionary work, work in a small non-growing area, be a church planter, go to Africa, love the unlovely, speak about Jesus to a stranger or a friend. This story gives me confidence that You will work Your will out in our lives even if we purposely go another direction.

The Lord sent wind, the Lord determined the lot, the Lord prepared the fish. His great good purpose would be done.

He displayed His love to Jonah; He would love Nineveh.

Jonah 2:1,2 tells us it was Jonah's affliction that caused him to cry out to the Lord. "Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish's belly. And he said: "I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction..."

Even in Jonah's running away he never denied the reality of God and His powerful control of events. Jonah 1:9 "...I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land." Jonah 1:12 "...For I know that this great tempest is because of me." He knew who he was running from but forgot how determined God was to bring His decrees about in an individual life.

We so often say "I am expendable. Help can come from another place," as was said in Esther 4:14. But we can not dismiss God's leading lightly. For if it is His will to do it through me, unrest and trouble will be my lot until I turn in submission to His plan.

Sometimes I am the only one who can accomplish a specific will of God because God has so determined it to be this way.

Are you running away? Stop and fall into His loving hands and say "Yes". He will do it in you.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Devotional Snapshot 56 - Sovereignty

"It is sometimes supposed that God knows the future but does not control it; that He upholds the world, but does not intervene in it; or that He gives general direction, but is not concerned with details. The Bible emphatically rules out all such limitations of His providence." NKJV Bible pg. 957

Ephesian 1:11 "...being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will."

This word never seizes to amaze me. I can not grasp its immensity. It sweeps around my brain and I can ponder it but a moment before tears come to my eyes. Sovereignty means in all, for all, above all, holding all, knowing all, providing all----all, all, all! The "all" is too big for me to understand.

Proverbs 16:4 "The Lord has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom."

Psalm 33:15 "He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their work."

Colossians 1:16 "For by Him (Jesus) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth...All things were created through Him and for Him."

Colossians 1:17 "And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist."

Colossians 1:18 "And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence."

So whatever happens to me, whatever is said to me, whatever hurts me, whatever gives me joy; all under His control, all with a purpose by a good and loving God.

So whatever happens to you, whatever is said to you, whatever hurts you, whatever gives you joy; all under His control, all with a purpose by a good and loving God.

Devotional Snapshot 55 - Sovereignty

"When the clouds hide the mountains they are as real as in the sunshine; so the promise and the Providence of God are unchanged by the obscurity of our faith, or the difficulties of our position." Daily Help Charles H. Spurgeon May 5

"The idea that God could know, and foreknow, everything without controlling everything is not only unscriptural but illogical." NKJV Bible commentary pg. 952

Amos 3:2, 6 "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities...If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the LORD have done it?"

Your election ("You only have I known..."), Your sovereignty ("...calamity...will not the LORD have done it?"), chooses one, destroys another. Disciplines one, comforts another.

There are calamities going on in the world. I can not think about them too long. I move my mind away from the atrocities going on--the beheadings, the buried alive, the molestations and torture. I choose to forget them because they make me sad and mad. Bombs went off in London, killing over 40, injuring 700. A plane crash in Turkey, a hurricane in New Orleans, the burning alive of a missionary father and his two small sons, our two flat tires, the leaky roof--from the terrible to the mundane--all God's sovereignty. Your sovereignty makes me fall hard on You for understanding. The questions come fast and furious. Not all are answered.

Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things." But let us be very clear that God is not the author of sin or the author of evil. Evil is the wicked "I", the merciless "ME". We are still held accountable for our actions, be they good or bad. And yet, all for His glory; all for a cause; all with a meaning.

It is too wonderful for me to grasp. It is too high, out of my reach. It is fearful and comforting at the same time. Without a Sovereign God all would be chaos. With a Sovereign God who is Good, all cosmic chaos has a great, eternal, good plan. Nothing out of or beyond Your control. Your Word tells me You are everywhere; in the air I breathe, in the atoms that hold me together, in every beat of my heart. You are the cause of it all.

Today's paper said a five year old girl drowned in an Iowa river. Job cried on the death of his ten children: "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

Teach me to believe Your goodness and trust in Your sovereignty everyday, at all times, with any news. Help me to think rightly about You when calamity comes and forgive me when I fall into angry questions.

This is hard to think about, I know. Lean in on Jesus for understanding. Ask the Spirit to speak truth to you. Be willing to hear even the difficult. God is always good. Always right. Always Sovereign. Don't you find it a great comfort that God never loses control?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Devotional Snapshot 54 - Grudges

"It is impossible to risk your life to make others glad in God if you are an unforgiving person. If you are wired to see other people's faults and failures and offenses, and treat then roughly, you will not take risks for their joy. This wiring--and it is universal in all human beings--must be dismantled. " Don't Waste Your Life John Piper

Ephesians 4:32 "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."

We were disagreeing once again. While the arguing was in process a number of old offenses popped up easily in my mind. Since the brain is so close to the tongue, it did not take long for one of those offenses to snake its way out. As soon as the fang of unforgiveness released its poison in the one I loved she was stunned into silence. The momentary quiet filled me with remorse. My true self had surfaced and I hated what it was. After a few long seconds she said tearfully: "I thought you had forgiven me for that years ago."

O, Lord, I thought I had, too. I had said the right words at the time. I had wore the right mask. Lord Jesus, my heart is so hard to change. My outer can wear a smile and sound warm and loving as quick as I put on lip stick, but the inner remains a cold stone pot filling up with "injustices" done to me and today some of the simmering grudges spilled out. My hot words burned us both.

I'm sorry, God. I'm sorry, loved one. To be a forgiving person as Christ is forgiving--that would be refreshing, freeing, a release! To keep that simmering pot of grudges on the front burner takes a lot of time and heat energy. One must stir it constantly and then other joyful activities are neglected. Going to bed at night becomes a time to mull over the list of wrongs. Sleep will not come easy. Free me, Lord, from the poison of unforgiveness.

Take time to ask God if you are harboring old grudges and ask Him to give you the strength to let go. Pray the Lord will help you to not bring it up even when you are angry at the person.

Devotional Snapshot 53 - Control

"...service takes on its true character when we do things with others. This is never an easy road to travel. It is the slow road requiring much patience and care. We find it easier to do things for others. We can then be our quick and efficient selves. We can then set the terms and conditions. We can then be available or withdraw when it suits us...a slow job done together is better than a fast job done alone." Dare To Journey Charles Ringma #39

Proverbs 15:30 "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones."

(Years ago my husband and I were between jobs and in between homes. So we were living on the graciousness of others.)

I needed some place to cry. I am not in my home so I can't cry here because I don't want my in laws to hear me. They would ask why and I wouldn't be honest---adding sin to sin.

I'm embarrassed to say I'm crying because I'm mad; mad at my husband for not supporting my viewpoint around the kitchen table, mad that I can't have my own way---cook when I want, how I want, what I want. I am mad that I don't have my own nest to ruffle my feathers in and cluck about proudly. I'm a momma bird swooping around the trees looking for home and having to share a nest with another momma bird. Even though it is not my nest I brazenly strut my will about the kitchen as if I am Queen hen of the roost. It doesn't take long for my clucking to start the other patient and contented ones into a cluck of their own. I have stirred the roost.

So what did I do after saying harsh words to my husband and polite silence to my kind and generous in-laws (I am no easy daughter-in-law)? I should have grabbed my husband and hugged him and told him I was sorry. I should have kissed my parents and thanked them for their generosity in offering their home to us without financial obligations. I should have blessed the Lord for His provision to us through them while we are jobless.

No. After thirty-five years of conferences, retreats, scripture memory, perfect church attendance, daily quiet times...I got up and left. Passive-aggressive I believe they call that. Fifty-five years old and I still act like a child. When will I grow up? That is what my father used to say when I was 12 and I'm still saying it to myself today.

What was my verse for today? A cheerful heart brings joy and health. Well, I've blown that verse today. Lord, help! I need a change of attitude!

And you know, the Lord didn't slap me around. He could have. I deserved it. No. He gave me these verses instead. Psalm 90:1,2,12 "LORD , You have been our dwelling place in all generations (I don't need a home, I have Him), before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God (my clucking stops when I remember who is God)...So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." I'm learning, I'm in process, I can start over, I will say sorry. I will appreciate today. God help me to gain a heart of wisdom and to live obediently.

I could not be in control so I sinned out of control. What about you? Are there some issues that make you easily irritated? Confess, receive His forgiveness, and tell the person you are sorry.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Short Story - A Necessary Mistake by Carol Totten

"The world is not necessary to God in the same way God is necessary to the world." - William Temple

* * *

The neighbors in the apartment began to whisper about him the first day he moved in from the farm. He was a plain man made uglier by age and the constant scowl on his face. He walked slightly stooped. His calloused hands shook.

His clothes were wrinkled and seemed on the verge of dirty. The stubble on his face added to the suspicions that he might be a dangerous man. Of course, it didn't help that his third floor neighbors were all elderly single women who had been subjected to many years of TV murders and crime.

The ladies tried once to meet him, but he only opened the door a darkened crack and stared at the floor. He mumbled when he spoke and shut the door. This sent the ladies fluttering back to their secure, well lit cages, locking the doors behind them.

* * *

She was a busy homemaker. Generally a cheerful woman with the usual bouts of sad days and mad days. Her air was even lighter- it was Christmas. The tree stood stately in front of the window glittering with red and gold. It scented the small living room with pine. Freshly baked gingerbread lay on the blue gray marbled counter ready to be eaten by the eager children who lived in the home. Karoline kept the Christmas music on while she wrapped the presents in multi-colored shiny paper.

This was a particularly special holiday, for it would be their first Christmas in their new home. She would often pause in her day and stroll through each room thanking God for this gift. Her husband had always liked the idea of a brick, bermed home. She had wanted three bedrooms and two bathrooms so children and guests would feel comfortable. Kerwin had a place to plant flowers and a manageable lawn to mow. Karoline loved the easy to clean windows and the real maple wood cabinets.

They had enough money to pay their bills and make Christmas special. They were not rich, but they had enough.

* * *

He, in his dark, lonely life had never had enough. He needed more, but got less. The farm he was forced to move from had been his life, but farming was hard. The weather, the thistles, the insects, the economy, eventually sent him out of business. If there was a God, God did not take notice of him or hear his vague pleas for rain. Farming made him bitter and he pushed all away who tried to offer hope. No one had the courage or cared enough to break the shell around his growly heart. People thought he liked his anger, so they left him to it.

He really needed more of love, but got less.

* * *

The Barclay Box Company earned its highest profits at Christmas, of course.

The management prided itself in having the finest gift boxes in America. Each year a new design for the boxes would be developed. There were all shapes and sizes. No matter what vibrant color they used there was a splash of silver on every box. Boxes were sent all over the country filled with a delicious assortment of nuts, candies, cookies, fruit, cheese, ham rolls, biscuits, teas, coffees. The variety was up to the buyer.

It was an easy way to send love.

* * *

Uncle Hal had always enjoyed sending the four box gift set to his sisters who all lived in three different states---Kansas, California, and Oregon. He chose white boxes, splashed with silver, that had green leaves outlined in gold. The four boxes were piled on top of each other and held together by a large gold ribbon cascading over it like a waterfall. The largest box was filled with soft ball sized pears, oranges, apples. The second box had cookies- shortbread with strawberry filling, chocolate pecan, peanut butter toffee, and brandy balls. Box number three- an assortment of light and dark chocolates. The last, smallest box on the regal tower contained roasted almonds and cashews.

This Christmas he sent an extra box to the one sister in Kansas, whom he knew had extra bills with their first new home. The second tower of purple and blue striped boxes, splashed with their trademark silver, included ham, cheese, crackers; with a Christmas tree shaped box of cocoa for the children, Janine and Andy; flavored coffee for Karoline and Kerwin. With that order he sent a message of celebration for their new home. He was satisfied as the orders were made. Christmas shopping was done for him. He enjoyed picturing the squeals of delight as his gifts arrived to each of their destinations.

Nevertheless he always wished he could do more.

* * *

The glow of the TV was the only light penetrating his darkened room. He was not heartened by the reminders that it was the Christmas season. It had done nothing for him, except remind him how empty his life was and fueled his resentment for the smiling, jovial programming coming across the screen. "Hypocrites!" All these happy-ending stories were not reality to him.

The apartment manager occasionally tapped on his door to remind him to empty his mail box. The task was easily forgettable. There was never anything personal in it anyway. But it irritated him to see the growing Christmas decorations appearing on his neighbor's entry ways. "What a waste of money and time," he muttered to himself. Isolation had aged his heart, made his bones brittle. His miserable life would soon end either from neglect or by his own purposed plan.

* * *
The children were home for Christmas break and kept a steady watch for the mailman. Their enthusiasm added to the festive feeling. Every morning Karoline lit the scented candles and turned on the Christmas lights, so when Janine and Andy crawled out of their warm beds they saw and smelled the glow of Christmas. The baby Jesus sat in a prominent place for the children to look at and touch. Karoline allowed them to play with the nativity scene. They made up little stories and moved the pieces accordingly. They were being carefully taught that Christmas was more than the gift.

The day before Christmas the children were so excited none could sleep, or that's what they told their mother. But one by one they quieted down and drifted off.

"The boxes are running late this year," Karoline said to her husband.  "But then what if he didn't send them this year? After all, Hal is self employed and business has been down for him. Should we call Hal and ask?"

"Let's wait," Kerwin replied. "They may come after Christmas."

* * *

But even the throw of the dice is ordained. "We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall." (Proverbs 16:33)

The boxes were not lost. With planned precision they were approaching their divine destination.

* * *

The day before Christmas was a perfect Kansas Christmas. It was snowing. Puffy, soft, white flakes floated from the sky. Not the blowing blizzard wind the Kansas plains are famous for, but the gentle glide from sky to ground that thickly coated the dirty streets and black trees with milky silk shimmering magic.

Most saw beauty but as the winter sky began to darken early he saw coldness. He shivered. He would not even turn the TV on tonight. He seemed to freeze into his chair, no heart to eat, or read, or watch. Even breathing became a chore. His hands gripped the arm rest, his eyes stared into the black room, willing himself not to think --- a gray, dripping mind.

* * *

He knocked once --- no answer. It was Christmas Eve. Almost done with his deliveries, he wanted --- needed to get home. His family was waiting. But the faithful postal service was feverishly working all over the nation this night so as no little child would be disappointed on Christmas morning. One more knock, then he would leave the boxes by the door and go on to his last delivery.

"What was that?" It startled him. A noise, in the hall? No it was at his door. Someone was knocking. "What does the apartment manager want on this night? Leave me alone," he thought. But out of duty he rose from his chair and shuffled to the door. The light from the hallway momentarily blinded his eyes as he peeked through the crack.

"Good evening, sir. I have a delivery for you. Please sign here."


"This is for you, would you please sign here?" The delivery man was trying to remain civil, but really felt impatient. He slid the two towers of elegantly ribboned boxes toward the door.

The farmer had only seen shadows for days. The sudden color and sparkle of the gifts made him squint--- royal purple and blue , tied with wide silver ribbon; green gold ribbon sweeping over the second tower, all splashed with silver. The cost of this would be extravagant.

"No, I did not order this! You must have the wrong address."

"Is this 115 Palms, apt. 3?"

"Yes, but......"

"Are your initials K.K.J.A.?"

He gasped. There could be no mistake. His parents had named him with pride. They often told him as a child how he was named after Kenneth Kirby, his two grandfathers; and James a follower of Jesus in the Bible...his mother had insisted; and Ankleman, their family name for which as a child he suffered abuse from his peers.

There it was in clear letters: K.K.J.A. It was no mistake. These boxes were meant for him. But from who? He pondered for a moment. The right address, the right name, but still he was sure he was the wrong man.

"Just sign here, sir, and I'll be on my way." The delivery man placed the receipt and pen in his hand. Kenneth Kirby signed.

"Thank you," cried the delivery man as he hurried down the hall. He could almost taste the hot cider that would be waiting for him when he got home.

He stood there in the doorway staring at the beauty. He had not ordered it or paid for it. He pulled the boxes into his empty room and turned on the light.

Shuffling around them, he gently touched the ribbons. He certainly would not give a gift like this to anyone. Questions began to flood his mind that he had formerly refused to consider. But there was one question he had spent a lifetime protecting himself from. It was such a simple question. He felt childish to have it.

"Does anybody care for me?"

Cautiously he reached for the card. This would be the explanation to unravel the mystery. He held his breath as his hand pulled the little cardboard message out of its ivory envelope. He read.

* * *

When Hal learned several days after Christmas of the undelivered gifts to his sister he called the Barclay Box Company. They had delivered the boxes to the old address and they had been signed for, so the company offered a free gift from anything in the catalogue. In the following discussion with Kerwin and Karoline they decided to let it be.

"You know, Hal, we have been trying to teach sharing with the kids and this will be a perfect opportunity to let go of one of the gifts. They got enough for Christmas. I believe your generous gift was still put to good use in someone's life. Are you okay with that?" asked Karoline.

"Yes, well alright. I'm sorry. I want you to know I ordered extra for you this year, sort of a house warming/Christmas gift. I didn't even sign the card. You always know who it is from. Let me tell you and Kerwin my message. I remember how difficult it was to buy your home--- whether it was God's will, the finances and all, so I sent you this message...."

* * *

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38,39)

"He will always be there for you.”

It was uncharacteristic for the tough as leather farmer, but Kenneth's eyes blurred with moisture and his throat tightened. He read it again. He recalled the question he had asked: "Does anybody care for me?"

Gripping the card, he sat down in his worn chair. He leaned forward, put his head in his hands. "Thank you," he whispered.

The dark stranglehold that held Kenneth's heart in a tight stony mass began to loosen and crumble. He stood up and walked to the window. Opened it and filled his chest with the crisp air. He could not see it before, but now he stared in wonder at the crystalline splendor.

Later he would begin the delightful process of opening each gift box and tasting their contents. It dawned on him that there was more than enough, maybe he should pass some on. This would be the beginning of new relationships.

* * *

"I wanted to do more," Hal sighed, "instead I did less."

* * *

Not less, Hal, more. You did far, far more. -- Only heaven will tell how one misplaced gift changed a man. God working all things according to the counsel of His will, broke a stony heart and loved a lonely, abandoned farmer back to life.

* * *

Short Story - Edith by Carol Totten

Too big and too shy to be pretty. In the third grade she was already six inches taller than the other girls. Something was wrong with her. Why did God let her grow big? Why couldn't she be small and petite like Annie? Annie, with the red, brown shiny curls and blue eyes. Annie with the bouncy dresses and attentive friends, whose mother dropped her off with real meat sandwiches in her tiny white lunch sack.

“Annie, Annie”. Edith would repeat her name. It seemed to float - light and airy. It wrote so pretty on her paper. And her name was Edith Lu. It sounded awkward as she heard it roll off the tongue of her classmates. It was heavy to say, heavy to write. Uncle Harold called her “Yankee Lanky Lu”. Grandma Lucy said it angry. Her beautiful raven haired ma'am (also called Pearly) said it resignedly. Her adored brother, Robert, only screamed it, "get out of my way." Her fathers, there were eight, never spoke it.

Most little girls are tucked into bed with a book, or a song, or a prayer, and a hug. Edith was glad for the swallow of beer her ma'am gave her and Robert right before she hurried out the door to run the tavern next door. She didn’t mind the hurriedly made onion sandwiches, but was embarrassed by the large brown grocery bag she had to carry it in…too big for the sandwich, like Edith.

Next to her curvy, full-lipped stylish ma'am Edith was an ugly duckling. She loved to slip into Pearly’s closet and wrap herself up in a pink lace layered party dress. Her Pearly ma’am was so beautiful in it. She knew others thought so, too, because there were always men coming and giving Pearly gifts. And her ma’am had the most up to date fashions. It never occurred to Edith to notice the scuffed shoes and outgrown dress she wore to school. After all, new clothes were for pretty girls.

Edith did not see the terrible World War II storm beginning to stretch over her sky. She could only feel the lightning word attacks and hear its thunderous message in her own darkened home.

Grandma Lucy should not have been in charge of the children when Pearly was gone, but who else was there? Grandma Lucy lived life with bigness...big head, big shoulders, big hands, big feet, big voice, and big anger. And she did not like to see the big little girl slinking around the house. She did not like clumsiness. She did not like coddling of big girls.

Edith's great grandmother was affectionately called "Grammy". She came to visit when Edith was eight. Grandma Lucy had made breakfast for her mother and granddaughter...a rare treat. Grammy reached over and began to butter and cut Edith's pancake for her. Of course, she was too big for this, but oh how hungry she was for this touch. "Grammy must think I am special," Edith thought. She observed that Grammy’s pancakes were sitting cold on her plate while she fussed over her's. Her fragile, cobbled heart began to smooth over with kind attention.

Grandma Lucy, horrified, questioned her petite mother, "What do you think you are doing?"

"Oh, nothing of any consequence," Grammy replied, "just giving a little lovin'." She chuckled and patted Edith's hand.

Like a hawk sailing out of the clouds with claw feet extended to grab its prey Grandma Lucy landed on Grammy with screeches and howls of protest. Grammy gave a calm defense. The Lucy hawk lashed back with her taloned hand striking Grammy on her soft, thin cheek.

Edith was stunned, than terrified. "What had she done! Oh, what had she done!" Edith jumped up from the breakfast table, raced out the back door, over the summer lawn to the farthest bush by the fence. She crawled under its branches and folded her knees up tight to her chest and wept and rocked, wept and rocked.

The screaming stopped but it continued to echo in her head. Whisperings of badness began to fill the spaces. "You are a bad little girl. If it weren't for you this never would have happened." How could she face her beloved Grammy now? She must hide from her love embrace, it could be dangerous. So Edith became estranged from Grammy. She could not face what she had done to her.

Another chance at happiness came that winter in a little golden ball of fur. He purred and mewed. "Meow, meow, meow. Here I am, love me," he seemed to say. Without hesitation she swooped him up in her long coat covered arms and buried her nose in his baby fine fur.. striped yellow, brown and white. The prettiest thing she ever saw and he didn't mind being with her.

Without telling Pearly and escaping the notice of Grandma Lucy, she raced to the kitchen for a bowl of cream. Together she and Golden sat on the back porch steps, he slurping and she breathing deep of the happy feeling of belonging to each other. When the cream was gone -wonder of wonders- Golden did not run away. No, indeed, he moved in quickly to Edith's leg and rubbed his head against her and purred warm and long. She gently gathered him in her arms. "I will love you forever. You are mine. I will take care of you."

She could not hear the distant thunder or see the lightning. But it was coming.

The cold wind confirmed that Golden could not stay outside. Finding a bucket in the shed, she sheltered Golden in her coat and slipped through the kitchen and up the stairs to her bedroom, quickly but quietly shutting the door. She took her dolly blankets and lined the dirty bucket. She cushioned and fluffed the bottom by adding some holie socks and her mittens. She could not hide the kitten long from her Pearly ma'am.

It was Sunday when Golden was discovered.

Golden was discovered at the same time an artic cold front moved in, bringing sharp, stinging blizzard-blown ice and snow. The Kansas blizzards are brutal. There were not the usual hills and pine trees fitted closely together to slow the attack. It hit the rural town and Edith lived on the edge.

"Take him out to the shed." Pearly demanded.

The tears started before she spoke. "Please Ma'am! Let me keep him in my room. He'll get sick outside. It's too cold! He won't bother a thing. I promise! I'll take care of him." Her pleas boiled out and burst on deaf ears.


"Ma‘am! Ma‘am! Please, Ma‘am!"

Grandma Lucy stepped in. "Get ready for church, child!' Sunday was church day. All humans would vacate the premises and make their formal, lifeless showing to the unknown God, for proprieties sake. "A home is no place for animals", she spat, voicing the opinion of her father and his father, and many generations back. "Now take that thing to the shed like your mother said."

Standing small with the two giants of terror towering over her, Edith demonstrated an unusual amount of courage for her shy nature. Looking at them with rebel eyes, she cried, "I won't go to church!"

Edith first saw Pearly's face change, but she did not see the lightning hand that flew through the air landing accurately on her cheek, knocking her breathe and her feet out from under her.

"There, that serves her right!" thundered Grandma. "Hit her again!"

Gone! It was gone! Her courage evaporated lying in the shadow of hellions, drowning in a stormy sea of pain. Self preservation overtook her need to protect her new-found friend, and she hated herself for it. Hated, hated, hated herself. Covering her head she gasped, "Don't hit me ma'am. Don't hit me. Trembling she cried, "I'll do it! I'll do it."

"Don't sass me again. Get up, get dressed, take that thing to the shed." Pearly nudged the back of the child with her hard pointed black shoe.

"Yes, ma'am."

Her stringy, shoulder length hair fell over the fire swollen streaks of her left cheek as she rose to her feet. "Hurry up", the two captors spouted as they turned in unison and left. At that moment Golden hopped off the tousled bed, padded softly to the shivering legs and purred and rubbed, in and out, gentle warmth against empty coldness. She picked him up. Shut the bedroom door. Ran to the bed. Carefully holding Golden next to her heart, she lay with her pillow across her right cheek and sobbed as quietly as possible. Her chest was bursting with sorrow, her stomach so knotted it hurt, her throat constricted so she could not swallow. Every opening drained sadness...eyes, nose, and mouth...wetting the pillow.

Fear told her she did not have much time to mourn. The inner clock said "hurry". Smelling him, kissing him, she kept his contented purring close to her face as she found the bucket. Placing him in, he rose up on his hind feet, front paws shadow boxing the air. The mewing began.

Edith obediently put on her coat, swiftly stuffing her best sweater under it. Trudging out the door, carrying her bucketed treasure to the shed; the wind howled, the cat mewed, and the child wept. Placing the bucket on the dirt floor, she searched for any rags, or straw, or dead leaves to add insulation. She placed her sweater on top of the crying Golden while he kept surfacing to see his beloved again.

It was time now to leave. Is heaven watching? Oh, guardian angels do you see? Where is the great cloud of witnesses to intercede for the child?

"I don't wanna leave you. I wanna take care of you. Please stay in the bucket, Golden. I'll be back as soon as I can." She petted his head and pushed him down. "I love you. I love you, " she sobbed.

Ediiiiiiith ! screeched the wind. She panted, rose quickly, and fled the shed. Grandma Lucy made Edith wear a hat with flaps and since it was so precariously cold, no one would wonder. She cried all the way to church and was threatened before leaving the back seat of the smoke-filled dilapidated Ford.

She would stop crying, but she could not smile, and hid her face while Grandma Lucy gossiped and Pearly breezed from woman to woman socializing and making merry until the traditional service started. Edith was not sure about God, but as a child she had no where else to turn. With bursts of whistles and shrieks the shrill wind pushed through the cracks of the hollow church while Edith prayed...begging God to spare her kitty, to save Golden.

The service could not end soon enough. Edith remained deathly quiet, but inside she was burning with desire to get home, to run to the shed, to gather her living bundle into her arms and warm him next to her body.

"I'm back! I'm back!" she yelled as she careened into the decaying wooden structure. The bucket was empty. "Oh no." Anxious eyes darted from corner to corner. "Oh there you are!" Just enough light to see his yellow white fur in a tight little ball. "Golden! Golden!" But he did not move or meow. Edith stood still, staring. The terrible thought tumbled around her head. "God did not hear her. No, worse. God did not care." The furious scream blended with the wicked wind, then the eerie wailing. She had pleaded and beseeched the Almighty for life and He had given her death.

"What is taking Edith so long?" Grandma Lucy had put the coffee pot on and was setting the table, while Pearly was slicing the cold bologna and cheese for the simple Sunday dinner. "Edith!...Edith!" No answer. Pearly wrapped her coat around her.

"That girl needs another whipping," stated Grandma handing Pearly the fly swatter from the wall. Pearly grabbed it and was swept out the back kitchen door disappearing into the frantic swirls.

"Edith!....Edith Lu!" Still no answer as she arrived at the tattered opening of the retched hut. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, Pearly was stunned to see her stone still daughter standing silently. She followed the vacant gaze to the fur ball in the corner on the frozen mud floor....and she knew. She dropped the swatter and walked slowly to the crusted beauty. Picking Golden up she solicitously placed him in his safe house amongst the leaves and mittens and Edith's best sweater. Then she apprehensively turned to face this forgotten child. And suddenly she remembered. The memories came in a trickle at first and then began to flood her soul with regret, remorse...a gnawing guilt. The painful memories of her own molestation and abuse marched before her in vivid color. Pearly was a child once who had been forgotten. She had been raged at, unheard, in the way, the scapegoat, the punching bag, the disgusting play thing.

She knelt down and cupped her child's stiff, icy arms in her hands. Pearly looked into the far away eyes of the tear stained swollen face. "Lord! Lord! Is it too late to love her back. Lord! Help me! Help her! O' Lord Jesus give me another chance with Edith." She pulled Edith's still beating heart to her chest and she stroked her mousy hair. "I'm sorry," she murmured. "I'm sorry."

Balancing the bucket in one arm, with the other Pearly draped her coat around Edith and plodded and pulled the granite child back to the house. Trance-like Edith stood in the middle of the kitchen. Pearly quickly laid Golden down on the warming plate above the stove. Miracles could happen. She hurried to the living room and drug the antique cherry wood rocker to the kitchen. She placed it in front of the stove and pulled Edith down on her lap. She rocked and waited. Miracles could happen. Rocking and waiting, patting and stroking, and praying.

"Eat! Eat! Let's eat!" Grandma Lucy complained.

"I don't care." whispered Pearly


"I have only one concern now and it is not you. Get out." Pearly spoke so softly that it screamed.

Lucy silently backed out of the kitchen. The pecking order was about to change.

"Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so . Little ones to Him belong. Yes, Jesus loves me.“ So sang the mother gently to the child as the rhythmic squeak of the handmade chair brought peace.

Edith's arm ever so slightly slipped around her mother's waist. "He died, Ma‘am. He died", Edith whispered.

"Yes." Pearly's arms tightened around Edith's shoulders.

"The only one who ever loved me."

An hour passed, the kitten remained cold. Mother warmed the child, rocked the child, purred to the child. “Edith Lu, my dear Edith Lu,” murmured Pearly. “Did I ever tell you that your name means “warrior for good”. Isn’t that lovely. And I discovered that Lulu means Pearl in Arabic. I named you, my love. after me.”

“Mama! Mama!”

Years later Edith Lu would point to this moment as the awakening.

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24

Devotional Snapshot 52 - Idols

"If Christ's lordship does not disrupt our own lordship, then we must question the reality of our conversion." A Dangerous Grace Charles Colson

Ezekiel 6:4-7 "Then your altars shall be desolate, your incense altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain men before your idols...In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate, so that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, your idols may be broken and made to cease, your incense altars may be cut down, and your works may be abolished. The slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall kow that I am the LORD."

They trusted in other idols so God destroyed the temple hills and killed His people on them so that they would know He is the LORD.

They trusted in their gifts, talents, works (vs.6) so He killed them by sword, disease, famine... too sick and weak to that they would know God is the LORD!

They trusted in the economy, their money system, the production of the land so He made the land desolate, more desolate than the wilderness. Then they would know that He is LORD!

Today, thousands of years later, in a little coffee shop in modern America, a small Christian woman tries to trust in money, circumstances, her government, her children and husband for her happiness. The reminder is a powerful one ---bad things eventually happen to people who do not recognize, trust in, know the LORD. All the other above idols fail and can not give security or happiness--only knowing the Lord can offer freedom, joy, safety (inward safety).

Why would I want to trust any thing else. All else pales to the living, loving God. It is a joy to have such a powerful Savior watch over me, care for my well being, committed to keeping me safe in His eternal kingdom.

Teach me Lord to trust You, only You!

What are you trusting in for your happiness?

"Yes, we must hold fast to the anchor, but the good news is that our holding fast was secured by the blood of Jesus." A Godward Life John Piper

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Devotional Snapshot 51 - My Daughter

"When we've given all our questions to God, when we're not grumbling about the past or anxious about the future, when our tomorrows are in His keeping, we are free to wake up every morning and say, "God, You've given me today as a gift. Show me how to glorify You in it." Calm My Anxious Heart- Linda Dillow pg.191, 192

Isaiah 43:18, 19 "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

Little pot-bellied girls, bare foot and mud splattered, fill their empty bottles with wet sand and dirt. Brown haired, yellow haired girls, very busy making mud hills as it oozes between fingers and toes. Splashing and dripping, happily intent on their childish project. No thought for tomorrow, no worry for today.

Soft shiny hair falls carelessly across their rosy full cheeks. One collects stones from the shallow stream, another grabs a floating leaf. The sun warms the rocks from which they balance and bounce around their happy play.

I remember my own little girl who once played with such abandon. Once rosy cheeked, pot bellied, shiny hair and very happily content with the sticks and stones and mud of her imagination. Only the joy to be had today mattered. She carried no guilt for yesterdays follies and she bore no fear of tomorrows.

Now I see her strained, worried, thinner, and uneasy. Driven is the word I give her now--and I cry for what I lost, what I created. Always hurrying her to grow up-- and now, dear Lord, take me back. Let me do it over. Let me keep her young of heart. Give her back. Make her a child again; free of issues--money, men, appearance, exams, jobs, friends, debt, her parents. Give her back, dear Lord, let me start over again!

I can't. He won't. The past is gone. The regrets immense. My parenting over. Her parenting begins. It's too late. Will I ever look at little girls at play without sorrow flooding my soul for the little one I lost?

And then there is You. You speak. You comfort. You remind me what has always been there...Your word of truth. Isaiah 43:18,19 "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing..." Give up the past to Him. He is about new things. He is about creating, healing, binding up, setting free. 2Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

He's taking care of my little girl now. He's in the business of new things. He gives abundant life to her. He knows her prison and has the key and gently leads her out the door. His love for her is better than life.

On second thought, don't give her back to me. Don't turn back the clock. I would make the same mistakes and some new ones. No, You take her.

Little girl lost, little girl found.

"Peace wraps around your heart when you're able to trust God for just today and not be burdened with the 'If Onlys', the 'What ifs'. and the 'Whys'." Calm my Anxious Heart -Linda Dillow

Devotional -Snapshot 50- Praise & Forgive

"Forgiveness is the key which unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and shackles of selfishness. What a liberation it is when you can forgive." He Sets the Captives Free Corrie Ten Boom

Psalm 65:3 "Iniquities prevail against me; as for our transgressions, You will provide atonement for them."

Let's settle the fact that I am imperfect. Even before I walked out of the door with my husband, I sinned with my tongue. I am insecure and fearful, and angry and depressed. I admit it. I am sorry. Now let's go on.

I will praise You now in spite of my sinful behavior. You are good. You are awesome. You have created so much beauty. You are the author of everything just and right. You are worthy. You are Holy. You are powerful and sovereign. I love You. Thank You for loving me.

You are in charge. Nothing escapes You. Nothing surprises You. Every war won or lost---all by Your hand, all with a purpose. You will be glorified. You are being glorified at this very moment.

The wind is Yours. It blows where You tell it. The clouds float by in the exact numbers You direct. The sun gives its light on cloudy days as well as cloudless by Your decree.

You deserve to be praised on my cranky days, "no good" ornery days, days of fear and worry. I can not use sin as an excuse to not praise You.

Psalm 66:1-7 "Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious. Say to God, :How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. All the earth shall worship You and sing praises to You; they shall sing praises to Your name." Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men....He rules by His power forever; His eyes observe the nations;..."

I know that with this moment of praise You are still asking me to reconcile with my husband. I will go now and ask his forgiveness. Thank You for teaching me and giving me Your gentle rebuke.

Is there someone God is asking you to forgive? Have you praised Him yet today?

Devotional Snapshot 49 - Parenting

"As you bring (up your child), carefully teaching him the ways of the Christian life, one day he reaches a point of maturity where the Holy Spirit does the work in his heart and he sees himself as a sinner before God with a sinful nature that cannot please God." The Christian Home Shirley Rice

Lamentations 3:22, 23 "Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."

Lord, You answered my prayer for a "rich in thought and conversation" time with our son. He has graduated Bible college. He has more knowledge about You. He understands a little more of Your love and mercy. He admires the Christian man of passion and has goals to be ever learning.

We sat in a coffee shop, downtown Omaha, with live jazz and listened to his dreams. What a man dreams tells a lot of the man. What he has become is due to Your grace and mercy and I thank You again. He had his struggles with clinging heavy sins as any young boy, young teen would have. As I have. As all of humanity has. But these verses remind me again of the safe place to come when at the end of the day I look in the mirror and see sin staring back at me or see it on those I love. "Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning." The goodness I see in my children is not due to my parenting it is due to You...only Your mercy and Your compassion which will never fail!

Does that mean I am off the hook to live the Christian life before my children? Does that mean there are no consequences to my "too busy" life, my wrong priorities? Do I say "Oh well, it doesn't matter what I do."

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" Romans 6:1,2

The answer is no! We must be authentic Christ lovers before our children. We must let them see our walk line up with our talk. If not, we may find them struggling longer and harder to get it right because we did not model it in our home.

And yet where we have failed...and we all fail as parents...the Lamentations verse is true. We are all under His grace and mercy and His compassions will not fail us or our children. Wonderful Savior!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Devotional -Snapshot 48 - Church

"Churches rarely ever take people to another level of knowing God. They only imprison people in padded pews where praying for each other, bowling, and affirming the sermon is pretty much the work of the kingdom." Into the Depths of God Calvin Miller pg.226

Ezekiel 47:9 "And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live..."

The life giving water that comes from the temple in the end is Jesus. The water heals, the fish thrive, the trees along the bank bear fruit and medicine. The trees never wither. The river gives life to every living thing that touches it. So my Lord offers soul healing and
everlasting life to those who sink their roots in the water.

Jesus tells the Samaritan woman in John 4:14 "...whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." And in John 7 Jesus says if you believe in Him then our hearts will flow with rivers of living water. (referring to the Holy Spirit)

Rivers of living water, according to my Bible commentary, implies great abundance, benefiting not only believers, but also those around them. Which leads me to the above quote that talks about church imprisoning its people in padded pews to bowl and affirm the sermon. Don't let our church be like this, dear Lord. Fill us with Your Spirit so living water will spill out into our communities and our homes. Don't let us remain comfortable and apathetic.

This is a new day. We desire to serve You, to be involved in the battle outside our door. Time is short. We are older. There are too many worlds we have not conquered. To just sit in my home every day and dust, shop, wash windows, watch movies, play cards, mow lawns seems like we are out of the war for Christ and sitting in the bunker.

I want our church to know You and the power of Your resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in Your suffering. (Philippians 3:10)

Pray for your church.

Devotional -Snapshot 47 - Independence

"If we know who we are, we will not try to become someone else in order to have value and meaning in our lives." The Search for Significance Robert McGee pg. 44

Romans 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

I look at this twenty-something woman and I wonder, "What kind of an old lady will she be?" She has an Einstein mathematical formula tattooed on her left arm. Her long thick hair is twisted down her back in jet black dred-locks with red, yellow, blue beads braided in. A black knot of hair circles the top of her head like a pyramid. Black t-shirt, black pants, pale translucent skin, brown hiking boots, no socks, multiple chains and leather around her wrists finish off the "I am my own person" look.

So what will she do with her locks when she is 50, 60, 70?

Sometimes even in our nonconformity we copy the world with the"I don't need God" attitude. Our needing to be me, our drive for independence, the urge to live life my way is conforming to the world.

So now that brings us to you and me, is there anything ...the way we dress, the way we talk, who we spend time with, who we wish we could spend time with, the stuff we own, what we eat , that is conforming to the world more than being transformed into the image of God?

Devotional - Snapshot 46 - Severe Mercy

"God's love for us is God's doing what He must do, at great cost to Himself, so that we might have the pleasure of seeing and savoring Him forever." Don't Waste Your Life John Piper 36

Zechariah 1:3 Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Return to Me," says the LORD of hosts, "and I will return to you," says the LORD of hosts.

Even though the Lord was very angry in the preceding verse He still gives a resounding request. "Return to Me and I will return to you."

Even if my Savior is angry at my idol worship of self He still gives the open invitation to return and the promise to draw near to me when I return.

Years ago I was babysitting a two year old in my home. While he played in the kitchen I began a baking project. I panicked as I turned just in time to see him toddling to the stairway that led to the basement. I had forgotten to shut the door. These stairs were narrow and wooden and sat on a cement floor. He would most certainly get hurt, maybe seriously, if he tumbled down the steps.

I did what any average, caring mother would do...I yelled! "Jimmy! No!No! Get away from those stairs!" My loud voice startled him. He turned and looked at me with terrified eyes and began to cry. Then he did something surprising. He ran towards me crying and lifted up his arms to be picked up. I, the one who caused his fear, demanded his obedience, administered the loud rebuke, was being sought after to now bring comfort.

Even at this point, he trusted me to be good to him. I swooped him up in my arms and hugged and kissed him. I told him what a good boy he was to listen and obey.

Much more does God love and correct me. With such deep, infinite love never will He turn from me when I come running to Him.

Turn quickly. Lift up your arms to Him and receive His forgiveness and embrace.

Devotional -Snapshot 45 - Pity Party

"Celebrate the moment. Never play pity at a pity party. Let's eat!"
Into the Depths of God Calvin Miller pg. 206

Psalm 16:11 "You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy: At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Isn't that what this Psalm is about? Even in a crisis, we can still always find ways to joy. The path is always Jesus. Look for ways to be happy in times of stress. It is okay. It is what God wants. Seek God, be happy, rejoice in His friendship.

Spring always brought tornados to the Kansas prairies. When I was little my parents would send all of us kids to the storm cellar while they stood outside at the top of the stairs like sentinels scanning the sky. We children sat deliciously huddled in the dark looking up and out the cellar door as the black sky boiled and twisted above. But none of us were afraid or sad because our mother and father were near and treated it as an adventure. We were happy during a storm because we trusted those who were near to take care of us.

So, no reason for a pity party, He is near! In His presence is fullness of joy even when the sky is dark.

Do you have trouble trusting God when the skies are stormy? It's not about you. It is about Him who calms the storms. It is a pity when we fail to find our happiness in the presence of Christ.

Devotional -Snapshot 44 - Discouraged

"Guilt-driven people are manipulated by memories."
The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren pg. 27

"Character is both developed and revealed by are always being tested..."
The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren pg. 43

2 Corinthians 10:4,5 "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ."

Lord, I left this morning to be alone and think about You. I left while my extended family was stirring around and thinking about breakfast. I left quickly because if I linger I feel I must stay and be a part of the big breakfast event. By the time breakfast is over it is time for the cleaning of the day which I want to help with. If I don't go now then I will have to wait till evening.
I didn't leave angry. I left determined. "I'll be back in a while." "Have a good day," they reply.
It is good. So good to give my mind over to You -to confess my sins, plead for Your overcoming help, receive inspiration to love You and others better.

My mind plays tricks on me. It tries to hide my joy in You by covering it over with images of my failures. It whispers doubt of Your goodness and love toward us by only letting us see our life as missing the mark.

It is a deceiving organ that can color the day black when really it is sunny and clear. It brings in the fog and lays over the heart so it can not see the blue sky of God's sovereign, powerful grace shining on the world and bestowed daily on my life.

But I can play tricks, too. I have a card in the hat and it is greater than the mind. It will prevail. It is my hope and it is You. You bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. You give me discernment to reject the lies that the evil one would like me to believe. I want to be free of my one captivity -the prison which my fears and guilt have built, but I want to be captivated by you. Bring me in to obedient captivity to You.

What discouragement keeps rolling around in your head? Memorize 2Corinthians 10:4,5. Remember you have a Mighty God to win the battle of your mind.

Devotional -Snapshot 43 - Selfish

"Our weaknesses are always a better door for his entry into our lives than our confident control." Into the Depths of God Calvin Miller pg.94

Philippians 2:3,4 "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."

O God, I am such a selfish baby. It does not take me long to raise my ugly "me/my" head. My time, my rights, my comfort, my

I ask Your forgiveness and I ask for Your help to live kindly and generously with others.

My husband said I need to be flexible and give up my own way. He is right. I am so strong-willed. It is hard. Make me humble, make me obedient, make me joyful in serving. Change my old nature and make it soft and pliable in Your hands. I want to give You joy by my obedience. I want others to see how much I love You by serving others. I want to practice Your presence while I wash windows today. My least favorite thing to do... but I had offered to help, and she chose "windows".

Confess where you are selfish. Ask God to change you. Now what might God want you to do this week to fight your selfish nature?

Devotional -Snapshot 42 - Aging

"It is the duty of the older members of God's community to teach the young what God has done in their elder's lives." NKJV Bible commentary pg. 831

Psalm 92:14 "They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing."

I find the afternoon nap distasteful, not for my eighty-some parents. No, not for them. They have lived their life fully, richly, actively. Even now they still accomplish far more than the average. The afternoon nap is a crown of warm sunshine on their heads -keeping them energized in their final years. It is a sign of a job well done as they settle into their leather stuffed chairs.
No, it is when I see the third person with graying head resting on her arm draped over the small pillow on the couch. My own snore wakens me from my lethargic state. My sour mouth and my fuzzy head says it is time to move.

I should not be here. There is still so much of interesting life to live and do. I guess for me the afternoon nap is not a rest from labor but a retreat. It is a sign of my depression which constantly gnaws around the edges of my mind and wears me out. I sleep because I have no passion, no pressing needs to meet, no vision of heaven-decreed work to do.

I know it will not always be so. God is coming to my rescue. I will wait and pray. For my Lord sees all, knows all, controls all.

I still have a place -work to do which God has prepared for me before the world began. I am counting on the verse that says I will still bear fruit in old age. There are still people who need to know You love them. There are people who need to know Your word is powerful and living and able to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. There are women who need help in respecting their husbands and loving their children. With Your enabling, I can do that.
The God who made me will carry me through to completion.

Do you let getting older bother you or do you look forward to the possibilities Christ has planned for you?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Devotional -Snapshot 41 - Fame

"behold Him...Lift up thine eyes to heaven...He is all-sufficient, eternal, self-existent, unchangeable! He is good, He is loving, He is kind, He is gracious!" Daily Help Charles H. Spurgeon Feb. 27

(Boulder, Colorado ---- 2006)

1Corinthinians 3:19-21 "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, 'He catches the wise in their own craftiness'; and again, 'The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.' Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours;"

I tried out last week as an extra for a movie, but I did not get called. They are filming only about six blocks from home today. I feel disappointed. To be on the inside of movie making would have been fun and a change in my routine, and possibly an inroad to stardom! I realize that I put some people on pedestals like movie stars, politicians, the rich, the athletes, the beautiful. But why?

I am ashamed that I feel this way. My most cherished relationship is You. You are God Almighty! These others are but blades of grass, grains of today, gone tomorrow. You are Creator, Sustainer, upholding all things. You invite me in to speak with You, love You, be loved by You. This is more wonderful than all the powerful, beautiful people knocking on my door wanting my friendship. According to John 15:15 Jesus calls me friend.

I set my sights so low....forgive me.

Jesus calls you friend. How can you develop that friendship more this week? Pray for the people you admire but do not pray for their admiration.

Devotional -Snapshot 40 - Waiting

"If we rely on Him with such regularity, we won't wander off like clueless sheep straying from our shepherd." Your Place in This World Michael W. Smith pg. 128

(Before my husband found his grace-filled God given job of 2010 we were in a no man land of confusion at what to do next. We were in between jobs and it was very tempting to take the first thing placed before us. The Lord spoke to me about this.)

Job 14:14-16..."All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes. You shall call and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands. For now You number my steps..."

Your sovereignty is wonderful. Even now as we sit and wait. Some say move now! Do something now! I can not explain it. Even though godly men have laid out a plan for us to begin to implement for a possible future job, I feel another quiet voice that says wait!

Waiting will look lazy to my "type A" friends. Waiting may look like a blurred vision. Waiting admits no job direction, no job purpose, no job goals. Waiting will deplete our small bank account. How long can we live on $2,000? Waiting means I can't answer my friends' questions about what we are doing. Waiting is one day closer from my departure from this physical home without accomplishing the multiplication principle (that is the Great Commission to go to all the world and make disciples. Matthew 28:18-20). Waiting is interpreted as fear, lack of faith, self doubt.

If our vision is blurred it is because my good and powerful Savior has kept it so until it is time. There is a season for everything ---even a season of waiting. I do not want to move because man plans, suggests, tells me to, but because of the mighty, working power of the Holy Spirit. I can not move a certain direction until the great God of the universe---my Master and Boss tells me to.

Ephesians 2:10 "For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

Psalm 138:8 "The Lord will perfect that which concerns me..."

Isaiah 64:4 "For since the beginning of the world, men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him."

What might God be asking you to wait for?

Devotional -Snapshot 39 - War

"The Scripture is clear that God is not the author of evil (James 1:13-15) but it also teaches that the wicked acts of men and of Satan do not fall outside God's sovereign determination."
Rhett Totten Sunday sermon November 9, 2003

"Do not fear, O Jacob My servant," says the Lord, "for I am with you; for I will make a complete end of all the nations to which I have driven you, but I will not make a complete end of you. I will rightly correct you, for I will not leave you wholly unpunished." Jeremiah 46:28

"O you sword of the Lord, how long until you are quiet?"....Jeremiah 47:6

God is a God of war. All war has a spiritual purpose and a Godly mandate. Notice here the word "rightly correct " and "punish" in 46:28. Only God, both just and loving, could dole out the punishment in a perfect format, made to conform us to the image of the Savior.

Wars are won not by the power of man, but by God. Even when the wicked win the battle, God has purposed it for His glory.

All war is a lesson about God, It will continue until we learn it. It will continue until the end of the age. "How can it (the sword) be quiet, seeing the Lord has given it a charge...there He has appointed it." Jer. 47:7

Think about these verses. What do they mean to you? If you always ignore the difficult verses in the Bible, you will be ignoring the full revelation of what it is teaching about God. You will love a God of your own making instead of the majestic, sovereign, awesome God of the Bible.

Devotional -Snapshot 38 - The Outcast

"The people who make a difference are not the ones with the credentials, but the ones with the concern." And the Angels were Silent Max Lucado

" In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and he bore them and carried them all the days of old." Isaiah 63:9 NKJV

He approached my table smiling. The outcast, no good, low-life, trouble, drinker, drugs, illegitimate children and grandchildren.

This small town knew him well. His reputation was an open book. He had always represented darkness.

But he approached my table smiling. I was reading my Bible and though we've never talked he just had to tell me about his wife going on a medical mission trip to South Africa. How she loved it and how he helped earn money for it by a dime toss game at the county fair.

I am speechless. Your wife? Mission trip? But your whole family is a mess? I can't put the two together. Your grandkids in Awanas at the local Baptist church? You and your wife are going to the tiny Assembly of God church across the street from us? But your the town bad guy?!

But he was smiling...

Isaiah 63:16 "Doubtless You are our Father,
Though Abraham was ignorant of us,
And Israel does not acknowledge us,
You, O Lord, are our Father;
Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name."

Who comes to mind as the "impossible to change" person in your life? Begin to pray for him or her now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Devotional -Snapshot 37 - Suffering

"Nothing was ever made easy for her. She was too precious to spoil by the easy." Amy Carmichael Let the Children Come Lois Hoadley Dick

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3-10

I finished another book on Amy Carmichael who began orphanages and schools for children in India. After reading about the deep struggles for the souls of men, women, children; the loss of so much life; the painful suffering from disease; lack of sleep; I asked "Why Lord?". Where was the blessing for Amy who traveled one thousand miles to save a baby only to have it die in her arms five days later? Where was the blessing when Ponnamel, a beloved Indian friend trained for leadership, dies a slow death from cancer? What blessing when Kohila, saved as a child by Amy from temple prostitution, trained as a head nurse, fell to her death from a mountainside?

Matthew 5 comes alive -blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, meek, thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted -Amy was all of these. I look at what You promised Amy, Ponnamel, Kohila -the kingdom of heaven, comfort, inherit the earth, filled, shown mercy, see God, called sons of God, great reward. It was all worth it for them.

The last twenty years of Amy's life were filled with constant pain.

On one of her worst days, Amy imagined the Lord saying to her, "It is finished."...Regret flooded her soul. "Thou wouldst say, So soon? Let me go back and suffer yet awhile More patiently: I have not yet praised God." Amy Carmichael Let the Children Come pg. 154

The pain was worth it for Amy because she would see God -His comfort, His presence. All pain is worth it. Amy experienced the comfort of God like most of us do not, because she suffered. Blessed are those who suffer for Jesus for they shall be comforted by Jesus.

I have to admit, I have not suffered like that. I whine too easy about the smallest things. Little by little, Lord, change our hearts to embrace all You have for us. What are your sufferings that you can lift up to God?

Devotional -Snapshot 36 - The Flesh

"Self is the opaque veil that hides the Face of God from us. It can be removed only in spiritual experience, never by mere instruction...We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us...we must prepare ourselves for an ordeal of suffering..." The Pursuit of God A.W. Tozer

" Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, 'Do you want to be made well?' " John 5:5-6

"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of purity..." Ephesians 5:3 NIV

Today I am aware of my struggle with the world. Romantic fantasy thoughts plague my mind and would take my attention away from my husband. The pleasure of it can outweigh the pleasure of being with You. For this Lord, I am sorry. Though I ask forgiveness, confess and agree it is sin, I must constantly ask for power and strength to give You my thoughts. I am indeed a pleasure oriented person. That I could push a button and You would change me without my effort - this I would do without hesitation. But pushing buttons has never been what You offered to me. I must voluntarily turn my mind to You and with my will say: "Fleshy pleasurable thoughts! Go! I will give no more room for you!"

I am ashamed to say that though You are far more worthy and pleasurable I find this hard to do. Keep me in the battle, Lord. Do not let me give in to the self life nor feel comfortable with it.

In John 5:6 Jesus asks "Do you want to get well?" I would do good to ask this of myself. Do I really want to not experience my fantasy life? How badly do I want to get well?

Teach me to follow Your joy above and beyond anything else my flesh desires.

What fleshly temptation do you struggle with? We are in this together. He makes all things beautiful in His time.

Devotional -Snapshot 35 - Authority

"The world is not necessary to God in the same way God is necessary to the world." William Temple Devotional Classics

"Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him and spoke to Him, saying, "Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?" Luke 20:1, 2 NKJV

It would have been so easy for Jesus to answer by what authority He was teaching, preaching, healing. But He did not. He had no legal papers, no references from powerful men; no badges, medals, or awards.

He was His own authority. He commanded and it was done. He did not pray in any name. He did not heal in any name. He was the Name. "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name..." Philippians 2:9

What a wonder You are! You command and immediately and simply it is done. You did not have to search your heart for sin, pray loud, pray soft, pray with others, pray in a name. You were it! You spoke, it was done. You did not have to prepare ahead by prayer and fasting. You were always in a state of preparedness, perfectly ready to be used by the Father, because You lived it perfectly and because You were the perfection.

You are the supreme power. There is no other authority under heaven. You have need of nothing...and yet, You chose me and placed Your love upon me. This is too wonderful. I thank You.

When my little nephew, Cody, was only three, he came running to his mother. "Here I am!" he shouted, "The little boy you love!"

Here I am, Jesus, the little girl that You love!

The world is not necessary to God in the same way that God is necessary to the world.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Devotional -Snapshot 34 - Too Busy

"We engage in spiritual disciplines to prevent the world from filling our lives to such an extent that there is no place left to listen." Henri Nouwen Devotional Classics

"As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"
And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads."
So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?"
Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." Acts 9:3-6

Having another guilt ridden day -I should do this, I should do that. But I am reminded as I live this intense life of activity that "neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." ICorinthians 3:7

Only You can accomplish a spiritual work. I can not do it with frenzied activity. Satan tries to draw me from You, rob me of joy because I'm not living up to my standard of a pastor's wife.

But being a pastor's wife should have no more responsibility than being a plumber's wife, a doctor's wife, a carpenter's wife. We are all called to be faithful to our husband and children.

Can I for Jesus' sake stop feeling guilty? Can I for Jesus' sake stop people pleasing? Can I for love of Christ not worry about my reputation or my husband's? Do I love Him enough to live moment by moment for Him? Can I still the accusing voices in my head and listen only to His? Can I trust God to lead and work through my husband and not constantly feel I need to micro-manage him?

The Lord knows how to stop us in our tracks as He did Saul in Acts 9:4. The Lord knows how to make himself known in the lives of His chosen -vs.5. The Lord knows how to accomplish His will through me day by day -vs.6. So stop the guilt, stop the worry, and let Him.

"May God grant us the ability to see how much we cost Him..." Teresa of Avila Devotional Classics

Are you too busy for God?

Devotional -Snapshot 33 - Old Age

"We must humbly accept all that God's order requires us to do and suffer. What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre di Caussade Devotional Classics

"Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you." Isaiah 46:4

Ruth was old and her mind was going. Paul was old and his body was weakening. They lived in a nursing home together. They had been married sixty years.

Paul was quiet. He wanted to be home, he knew he wasn't. Ruth was demanding. She wanted to be home, sometimes she thought she was. In and out of reality, she was a young mother calling her children into dinner -her withered hands reaching out in the air to some imaginary task they used to do. Pain brought her back. Her eyes focused in on her husband and she asked -no, commanded that he come rub her neck.

Slowly Paul rose from his comfortable chair. One foot at a time he shuffled to her and began to massage her neck. That didn't satisfy her. She began to ramble: "You can go away now...Go fix supper...Call the kids in."

Instead of leaving hurt and confused Paul moved closer to his wife. Leaning his face gently near her's, he whispered: "I believe I'm going to kiss you now." While she continued to mumble, he moved closer and closer till at last his thin blue lips lightly touched her's. Immediately her ramblings stopped and for a moment Ruth looked into Paul's eyes and smiled.

Her fidgety hands now lay quietly on her lap. She no longer needed to take care of the children or fix the supper. She watched him move carefully back to his chair. Her face was flushed with the touch of love. It brought her back and calmed her down. It helped her remember who she was and that he was still here with her. And Paul -well, he had a rosy school-boy smirk on his face as if to say he still had what it takes. And he did.

Why did I tell this true story? Why do I remember it? Because it reminds me that even in old age, God does not forget us. He remembers we need to love and be loved until it is time to go home.

Thank God now for His kindness to us at every stage of our life.

Devotional -Snapshot 32 - Exposing Sin

"The calling of a New Testament worker is to expose sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior. Consequently he cannot always be charming and friendly, but must be willing to be stern to accomplish major surgery. My Utmost For His Highest Oswald Chambers

"And as He (Jesus) said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him." Luke 11:53, 54 NKJV

Look at how Jesus speaks to the crowd. "...This is an evil generation."- vs 29 "The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it," -vs 32 "Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. Foolish ones!" -vs 39 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" vs44

Where is the compassion and tenderness as He preaches? He calls them dirty, unjust, liars, and murderers. Judgment will come He warns.

Jesus, You were so unafraid of man. You did not try to please them. You did not sandwich Your criticism between two compliments. You did not try to leave people happy and without offense. You spoke the truth. You spoke it clearly! You did not apologize or try to soften Your words. And look at the reaction; they opposed You fiercely!

Did the disciples walk out of the Pharisee's home saying: "Lord, that was a little too direct. You could have said the same thing a different way."-- "We are to treat these men with respect. We have offended them."-- "We need to apologize, not for what You said, but the way You said it." --"Yes, yes, You spoke truth, but we're not suppose to hurt feelings. How will You influence them if You have made them angry?"

I praise You, Lord, for Your example of truth and courage. I am in awe of You. You are Sovereign and Mighty. You show me how to love God more than man. You stood in the crowd alone.

Help me, Spirit of God, to be like Jesus. Forgive me for being more worried about my outside which people see than my inside which You see; for following rules without the heart; for loving men's praise too much; for hindering others from following Christ by padding the consequences of sin.

"If you think you are helping lost people with your sympathy and understanding, you are a traitor to Jesus Christ." My Utmost For His Highest Oswald Chambers Dec. 20

Do you have a situation that feels difficult to confront? Do you fear it will make them angry or hurt their feelings if you speak up? Ask God to give you wisdom to speak His truth in love and the courage to do it.

Devotional -Snapshot 31 - No longer Blind

"Every time I refuse to drop a net - every time I refuse to give, love, serve, forgive, go, or change a pattern of living because of something I treasure more - I tell Christ where He stands in my life." Following Christ Joseph Stowell

They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes... Therefore some of the Pharisees said, "This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath."... They said to the blind man again, "What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?"... He answered and said, "Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see."... They answered and said to him, "You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?" And they cast him out. John 9:13, 14, 16, 17, 25, 34

This young blind man wisely answered the Pharisees. It got him excommunicated, which was serious and humiliating- but after all he could see! Would he even for a moment want to be acceptable to the elite Jews if it meant losing his sight?

The joy and pleasure was far too great! He would not turn back. For the first time -colors; the first time -sky; the first time -the faces of his parents! Now he could work instead of beg. He is no longer unclean. Go back? How? How could he deny the man who had brought so much light to his life? Give up his acceptability to the Pharisees? Alright. After all, he could see!

And not only that...vs 38 ..."Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him. The blind man's eyes and heart were opened. With his healed eyes he could finally understand the world; with his healed soul he could finally understand worship, and rejoice in God.

"...I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

Isn't Christ worth rejection? Isn't He worth being passed over, left out, uninvited? After all, I was blind and now I can see. I was in darkness and now I am in light. I was dead and now I am alive.

Devotional -Snapshot 30 - Suffering

"We must not despair when we are tempted but, instead, seek God more fervently, asking for his help in this time of tribulation." Thomas a Kempis The Imitation of Christ

"But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you." 1 Peter 5:10

On October 14, 2003 I picked up a rock from the coast of the Pacific ocean.

It was once loose sand but thousands of years of pressure and heat took place solidifying it into one hard mass. One day it was lifted up out of the dark underground and broke free. Still sharp and rough-edged the ocean had its way with the little stone, until eventually it is swept ashore along the rocky beach of Oregon. I found it smooth, round, easy to hold.

So your life. Give God time. You will break free. Don't give up. Stay in the ocean of God's love as He buffets you from wave to wave, smoothing the rough edges into an "easy to hold" stone.

I know your life holds its own peculiar set of troubles and worries, but remember that the God of all grace who called you will strengthen and settle you. What a wonderful promise! What a wonderful Savior! It is glorious to be His child!

"No pit is so deep that God is not deeper still." Corrie Ten Boom

When I see you, my dear friend, I see hope.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Devotional -Snapshot 29 - Bored

"If Christianity is dull and boring, if it is a burden and not a blessing, than most likely we are involved in a project, not a Person - a system not a Savior, rules rather than a relationship." Following Christ Joseph M. Stowell

"Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry." Luke 3:1,2

Forty days alone, without food, without books, without pen and paper. No bed - where did He sleep? On rocks, in caves, on sand, on palm branches? Wrapped in His cloak?

When we go on a forty day fast we sleep comfortably; we still have fellowship and conversation; we have books, and the Bible to catch up on; we have writing paper to record our thoughts; some go to work, make phone calls; we pay our bills, go shopping, attend church, we shower with hot water and soap; we listen to beautiful music and Christian tapes of speakers; we pray in air conditioned and heated buildings.

I find it remarkable to be absolutely alone without another noise but my own. I find myself wondering what did He do all day? Didn't He run out of things to pray about? Forty days of nothing but fellowship with God - may I dare write what flits through my mind about forty days in the desert - boring! Without TV, radio, bed, showers, conversation, telephone, church service, Bible study, trips to the fridge to put ice in my water. Forty days alone! Amazing!

I have always envisioned it being one big ache and pain. Every day arising cold from the desert night to endure heat of the desert day, achy from sleeping on the hard ground, stomach knotted from hunger, my mind remembering all I could not have that day - no baked bread and pomegranates, no grapes or roasted lamb, restless for something to do - something to say (by day two I would have spoken all that was on my mind to God, now all I would have left was introspective repetition).

Then on top of all my physical distractions (oh yes, don't forget the bugs - a dry climate is wonderful for gnats, ticks, hoppers) - on top of that there was the super-natural temptations of Satan... to do and think sinfully. To be for forty days alert and constantly in control of my thoughts... never sinning once in my thinking - no enduring the boredom with day dreams, no envisioning the excitement of future earthly glory, no meditating on what I will eat when this is all over - perfect control of thought.

But wait a minute - was it boring for my Lord Jesus? Was it devoid of joy and delight? Was it pure terror, work, pain; or pure praise, glory, love, pleasure? Jesus went willingly, He went with the Spirit. Were there moments of ecstasy as He communed with the Father? Did He sing, laugh, thank God for the cool drinks of water? Did He observe His desert creation in all its beauty? Did He reverently watch the sun rise and the sun set because He set it in motion?

Alone time for Him was not boring. It was filled with deep, reverent joy. Make it so for us, Lord.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Devotional -Snapshot 28 - Jesus

"We are not his equals. We don't occupy the same stratum or possess the same status. He is God, and we're not. For many people, that's the crux of their predicament: if Jesus is God incarnate, than he could demand too much. And in fact, he does demand everything."
The Case For the Real Jesus--- Lee Strobel

"But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."
Luke 2:50, 52

Joseph and Mary did not understand what their twelve year old son was saying to them.

I do wonder what God was like as a child. Did He wander off and pray and meditate when Joseph thought He should have been working? Did He laugh easily? I don't remember reading that Jesus as a man laughed. I read that He wept. Did Jesus enjoy being a child? Did He have an adult mind in a child's body? How could Jesus ever grow in wisdom, He is wisdom?

Did the parents ever sit quietly at night and ask their Son about heaven? Would He remember? They could have asked what God was like. They could have asked about angels and demons. Would I have picked my Son's brain about the next life? Could Jesus describe heaven to me as a child?

It is a great and marvelous wonder to me that God came as a baby. As Mary I do not understand. It is a mystery. Fully God and fully man. Both human and divine. Such is the Christmas story.

Do you understand the humanity and deity of Christ? John 1:1-4, 14 The Word was God and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He got hungry, needed sleep, felt pain and yet in John 8:58, He called Himself the "I AM" from Exodus 3:14. In the Trinity He is God, in the Incarnation He is man.

"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:14,15

Let us thank God for this mystery and ask Him to continue to deepen our understanding.