What happens when you don’t heed the warnings!

025Well, it finally happened – I looked down and noticed a stone missing from my ring.  I’ve been worried about the prongs; so I took it to several places and they all warned me that the prongs were in bad shape.  I looked at in under a very powerful magnifying glass and noticed that the one prong was pointing straight up.  No wonder it felt rough!  So, I pushed it back down – there!  No problem.  Not really.  That extra pushing and bending must have weakened it because not only is the prone gone, but the stone is gone as well!

Why didn’t I listen?  Because I thought I knew better!  I can take care of it and save money to boot!  I knew it would be expensive to get it fixed at the jewelers, but now it’s going to cost me even more!

I am writing this from the sponsor lounge at the Wilds Christian Camp in North Carolina and the spiritual applications are too numerous to share; however, as we listened to the speaker pouring out his heart last night to the teens about fighting the battles that they are facing and being a victor instead of a victim, I realized that I am a victim of my own making!  I knew what to do but didn’t do it because it would cost me too much!  How many of those teens know what they need to do but won’t do it because it will cost them too much: their friends, their pleasure, their comfort?

I’m thinking of a young man who came to this camp seven years ago.  He was in my son’s cabin, and because of how the Lord was directing our lives, our paths would often cross again over the years.  He heard all the warnings that these teens are hearing, but he did not heed them.  Now, seven years later, he has fathered three children to three different women.  His life is a mess.  God can still get hold of his life and change it, but the scars will be there for a lifetime! Sin will always cost more than we want to pay and take us further than we wanted to go.

As you read this, what warning signs are you ignoring?  Do you see them in your children – perhaps they are not going the way you would like for them to go.  Is it a bad habit that you know you should give up or a good habit that you know you should start?

“Do it now, don’t delay!

Don’t put it off for another day!

Go ahead begin it; right this very minute.  You’d better do it now!”

  (Thank you Ron Hamilton, Kidnapped on I-Land!)

 

If only I had done it sooner!  I’m thankful my SIN of procrastination only cost me a tiny stone!  How much greater the cost always is when we procrastinate in our spiritual walk!

 

 “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”

Acts 26:28

Beautiful Woman (Part Two)

ID-100609Beauty – here’s a different perspective!!!

“A few years back, there was an overweight hillbilly woman who worked in the local store I our hometown.  Every time we went into the hardware store, several men would be standing around the counter talking to her, and they were always laughing.  We usually had to wade through the cheerful crowd and interrupt the gaiety to get served.  Her swarm of admirers reminded me of bees around the honey, buzzing with high interest.  The strange thing was that this woman was ugly, I men hillbilly ugly,  which is worse than regular ugly.  One day as we were leaving the store, I laughingly brought to my husband’s attention all those men standing around talking to the sales clerk.  His reply really surprised me, “Oh, you mean that cute little lady?”  Life and learn!  And apparently I really had something important to learn.  In his mind that lady was cute!  The truth is, she was not little, she was not cute, and she was not young.  Be she did smile, laugh, and giggle, and she was always ready for a good clean joke.  I loved being in the store talking to her as much as the men did.  She was delightful.

A few weeks later, we saw her in the grocery store.  She was mad at her very obese daughter for grabbing a handful of candy.  Gone were the smiles, giggles, and radiance that had so captivated everyone at the hardware store.  In their place was a bitter, ugly snarl.  My husband remarked when we left the grocery store,  “Haven’t we seen that woman somewhere before?  She looks familiar, but I just can’t place her.”  When I told him who she was, he was stunned.  “No, it’s not possible; it just can’t e her.  The woman in the hardware store does not look like that.”  I could see the truth dawn on him, and he was so disappointed. The funny thing was that the woman looked just like she always did.  She was the same size, same scraggly hairstyle, the same clothes style, the same everything she was when we saw her in the hardware store.  All she lacked was her glorious smile.  It was her most valuable asset.  Her face was always so radiant, her smile so infectious, her laughter so sweet, and her eyes so earnest that people simply saw her as  cute.  I don’t know if she had a husband, but I am sure she could have had a dozen different men in that small town –m as long as they never saw her in the grocery store, mad at her daughter.  Pearl, Debi. Created to be His Helpmeet. TN: No Greater Joy Ministries, Inc. 2004

There’s so much to learn from this little story!  How are you doing on reflecting your “Beautiful Savior?”

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Opportunity

The following is one of my favorite poems, and it’s dedicated to all you dear Christian soldiers out there who will be teaching or preaching or singing or serving in some way in your church tomorrow.

I have heard a lot of people talking about the sad state of Christianity today: no interest, no commitment, attendance down, and I’ve seen some of that myself.  Sometimes it feels like we’re fighting a losing battle, which we all know is not true; but when I heard the statement, “The Light is going out in America,” my heart ached.

Tomorrow, some of you will be teaching little ones a Bible lesson, or you’ll be changing diapers in the nursery.  Some of you cleaned the church this week or ran off the bulletin, or chose and practiced the music.  Some of you dear pastor’s wives have and will cover your man with prayer as he enters the pulpit tomorrow.  So many “opportunities!” However, you may feel like the soldier in the battle – that your “blunt sword” isn’t good enough.  When you look across the street at the flashing neon lights and raucous music that’s drawing the crowd, you look at your flannel board and your tiny room in the corner, and you wonder!

Oh, dear son or daughter of the King – you can seize the day for Christ, not because you carry the best sword but because you ARE a child of the King!!  He sees.  He knows. It’s HIS battle and His power, not yours that will make the difference! He put you right where He wants you to be to fight His fight! So pick up that “broken sword” and slay the Dragon!

Opportunity

This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:—
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince’s banner
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.
A craven hung along the battle’s edge,
And thought, “Had I a sword of keener steel—
That blue blade that the king’s son bears,— but this
Blunt thing—!” He snapped and flung it from his hand,
And lowering crept away and left the field.
Then came the king’s son, wounded sore bested,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down
And saved a great cause that heroic day.

© Edward Rowland Sill. All rights reserved

Woe to Beautiful Women

This really isn’t a subject that I’m personally familiar with!  The only time I’ve been called beautiful is the day I walked up the aisle  – bless my dear husband-to-be!  I’ve often been thankful that I wasn’t beautiful.  There are many pitfalls for the raving beauties.

We are a visual society, and if you don’t know what I mean, just go to your local mall!  The visual sensory can be attracted in all sorts of ways – my favorite is the huge chocolate covered strawberries!  My mouth waters just writing about it!

Whether you are referring to the Bible’s Queen Esther or Esther Ruth Raul from my book, both ladies were beautiful. Esther Ruth hated her looks because it caught attention that she did not wish for; however, as you can see by the following excerpts, it also caught the attention of three men in her life, and by doing so, her life was forever changed.

First, Gabriel Bachman, her high school sweetheart:

Gabriel Bachman was the smartest boy in the class ahead of hers. Bright and talented as well as strong and handsome, every girl’s dream was for Gabriel to notice her, but it was in Esther’s direction that he set his cap…

All semester he had looked for an opportunity to talk to this beautiful young lady. He wondered, at times, if he was only drawn to her good looks. Yet after many sleepless nights with thoughts only of Esther, he realized that she was not only beautiful and bright, but her heart was genuinely beautiful as well. He watched her devotion to her father and mother, her kind yet sparking exchange with her older brothers, and her gentle, respectful ways toward her elders. He often referred to her in his mind as his Queen Esther. Surely the captive maiden of long ago couldn’t have been any lovelier.”

(MacAvoy, Wanda. Twelve Smooth Stones (Kindle Locations 211,221-225). Kirkdale Press.)

Then there’s Kurt Gerstein, the SS officer at Auschwitz.

“As the doors of the train cars were opened, Kurt could see the usual distorted faces as they tried to adjust to the blinding sunlight and their new surroundings. The lying facades of the soldiers sickened him as they spoke condescending words of comfort to the people, assuring them that all would be well. His own mask of total nonchalance nearly slipped when he saw her— a young woman, perhaps sixteen to eighteen years old, and beautiful, in spite of her ragged appearance. She was being sheltered by three men, probably a father and two older brothers.

He stepped forward. “You there,” he commanded. He could see the startled look on her face and the horror on her father’s. If only he could tell the truth about what he was about to do. “The girl. Come! Stand here,” he ordered, his features masked in false indifference. Another wrenching goodbye.

Later, after they had read scripture together and prayed together, life takes a very different turn:

“Silence. He was still on his knees. As he gazed up at her, she felt flushed, unnerved. His face was just inches from her own. Something was passing between them, but Esther didn’t know what it was, or perhaps she didn’t want to admit what it was.

Kurt broke the spell by coming to his feet. Control yourself, man, he reprimanded himself. Walking to the closet, he busied himself there until he heard Esther leave the room, quietly closing the door of the bathroom behind her. He let out a slow sigh. If he had interpreted the look in her eyes correctly, life had just gotten a little more complicated.

Esther couldn’t seem to catch her breath. She was trembling. What is wrong with you? What are you thinking? First, you start reading about the Christian Messiah, and now your heart is falling for a Gentile! What would Gabriel think of you? Her face burned with shame and confusion. She must remember who she was— and who Kurt Gerstein was as well.

MacAvoy, Wanda. Twelve Smooth Stones (Kindle Locations 863-368,1381-1388). Kirkdale Press.

And then there’s Issac Hirch, an Israeli with a hurting heart:

“Isaac had driven her to the dock, helping with every detail. As they had stood waiting for clearance to board the ship, he had taken her hands and held them tightly. “Please, don’t forget us,” he had said, his dark clear eyes filled with anguish. It nearly broke her already torn heart. Was she making a mistake? Oh, why did life have to be so hard?

She had tried to explain all the reasons she could not stay. He had been so broken— so much so that he begged to come to America with her. “No, Isaac. You cannot leave all that you have worked for. It wouldn’t be right.”

“But I—” He had hesitated, weighing whether the words should be spoken. “I love you, Esther. Don’t you know that?”

“Isaac, you are breaking my heart.” She looked away, a sob catching in her throat. Gently, she reached up and pulled his head to her lips, kissing his forehead. He had moved with actions fueled by years of pent-up emotion— pulling her close, kissing her lips and cheeks and hair before wrapping her in his arms.

“How can can I let you go?” he sobbed huskily..

MacAvoy, Wanda. Twelve Smooth Stones (Kindle Locations 3726-3732). Kirkdale Press.

Ah, the difficulties of being beautiful!  Men falling in love with you at every turn!  Seriously though, I’ve seen heads turn and look at a beauty as she innocently passes by, and have listened to the frustration beautiful women experience at those times.

I am thankful that I am not beautiful; however, I long for the inner beauty that only comes by obedient surrender to Christ – allowing His Word to chisel away the the ugliness that comes so naturally! Esther give us a good example in that she truly was beautiful on the inside too, and when heads turn because someone just caught a glimpse of Christ in us – that’s a beauty worth beholding!

 

“Mind” Your Master!

ID-100141782Ah, my first day of a new year – I’m only twenty-two minutes into this fifty-fourth year and God’s Spirit calls me from my lovely bed, stirring my heart and thoughts.  Now if only I can harness them and pull them all together into one communicable blog!

It started when I awoke from a dream – a bad dream, a real dream from my wicked past.  It’s as though Satan can’t stand the thought that I’ve had such a wonderful day walking with my Lord; so he tries to spoil it by reminding me of the pit where Jesus found me!  He’s so sneaky – using something as defenseless as a dream. But I have learned long ago that I’m the only one that remembers – God will not remember my sins any more (Jer. 31:34) and “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12.  Boy, Satan can’t stay around for long when I start remembering these precious promises from God.  Soon, the dream and its haunting memory are gone!  A sweet cool summer breeze floats into the window reminding me of God’s Spirit:

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof,                                                                       but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth…” John 3:5

With free and wandering blasts as it wishes.” That’s how a note from the Geneva Bible aptly expresses it. Oh how wonderful to know that we have the Spirit of God and mind of Christ!

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?                                                               But we have the mind of Christ.” 1Corinthians 2:16

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”                                                                                        Philippians 2:5

Is it possible to comprehend such a truth?  I don’t think so!  But there it is in the Word of God, so I must believe it.  I have the mind of Christ – surely that will change everything about me: first, the way I think, then the way I go! My thoughts become centered on Jesus, although I am quickly reminded that this weak flesh can never fully grasp what that means.  In my whole lifetime, I will only gain a tiny thimbleful of the vast ocean of God’s understanding!

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,                              saith the LORD.                                                                                                                       For as the heavens are higher than the earth,                                                                                                                     so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. “                                         Isaiah 55:8,9

But I know that as His Spirit lives in me controlling my mind, so my life is changed completely, and this world is no longer home.  I’m truly a sojourner just passing through!  As I live and work in this world, my eye (my mind!) is focused on the next.  Often we are reminded that living in the past is no way to live, for in so doing we miss all the blessings of the day.  But living in light of eternity – in the future – only keeps our minds in Christ and everything else in proper focus!  As I work down here, I think of my Lord working up there: preparing a place for me!  Isn’t that what we do when we are parted from a loved one?  Right now our youngest (my baby!) is working as a counselor at the Wilds Christian Camp.   How often my mind wanders down to North Carolina into the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to that special place, and I wonder what he’s doing at the moment.  I haven’t been to heaven but it’s the same concept as my mind goes there and my heart clings to His promises:

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3

 …and I think about my Savior there fulfilling these promises and my mind is stayed on Jehovah!

Like a river glorious, is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.

Refrain

Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

Refrain

Frances Havergal (lived a short 43 years!)

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