WOW! Look What God Did for Me

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Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us, Ephesians 3:20

I know many of you don’t really know me, and this article isn’t about me; however, in praising my God, I’d like to give you a glimpse of who I am and how my heart and mind works! We are on vacation, which hasn’t really happened in two years due to recitals and graduations and weddings. (My husband would remind me that we were away from home, and that’s a vacation; but I would remind him of the scheduled events and the harried pace we were keeping—not a vacation mode!) This vacation at Myrtle Beach was directed by our son and his wife’s residence in Columbia, SC. After their departure from PA in July, mama-bear was ready to see her baby cub!

As usual, I did the preliminary hunting for a place and was pleasantly surprised at the prices and selection having never been here before. Sixty miles of beach–WOW! So, we booked a place and for the first time since our honeymoon, dear hubby and I are alone for FIVE nights! And although we think of our children and grandchildren often—thinking about how much they would love this—Tom still has me to squeal with delight and act like a kid! I’m loving life!

Our room was very nice. It had a few issues, but it was clean and comfortable, and the people were wonderful; however, when our TV died and the DVD player didn’t work, we were a bit disappointed. We wouldn’t normally watch a lot of TV, but it has rained for three days straight! When the technician couldn’t get the new DVD player to work, a call came from the desk: Sorry for the inconvenience; would we rather a discount and no TV, or an upgrade? We took the upgrade, and I’m now sitting in a beautiful room with full length windows on two sides of the living room, a balcony off the bedroom, and another balcony off the dining area overlooking the pool, whirlpool, and lazy river!

Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think!!!

I just want to praise our awesome God for turning a very minor inconvenience into a beautiful blessing! Isn’t it often the case: The trials, albeit small, start stacking up, and like the “little foxes that spoil the vines” (Song of Solomon 2:15), they slowly try to steal our joy. The temptation is to pout and complain. Why all the rain, God? You could make the sun shine? We haven’t seen the sunrise yet, Lord! You know how much we love to enjoy the ocean! We serve You faithfully all year long—two years long! Who ever heard of three straight days of rain in South Carolina? Don’t we deserve sunshine?
The answer is, “NO!” We don’t deserve anything but hell! That may sound a bit harsh, but it is true. We get so focused on our little piece of the world, that we forget how big and awesome and perfect and all-knowing and all-loving our God is. He knows just what we need: three (actually, it looks like it may be four!) days of rain! Is He testing our patience? Probably. Does He want to see how we’ll react? He already knows! He wants us to see how we will react!!! I’d like to say that we haven’t been disappointed, but that wouldn’t be true. Spoiled brats!  I just want to praise Him for His PERFECT way!

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried:
he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.
2 Samuel 22:31,33

LOST!

On Monday, my husband and I spend part of the morning looking for a wallet. It had been left on the trunk of a car, along with a Bible. The Bible was found—sadly in several pieces, but the wallet is still missing. I took a rake with me on my hunt to sift through the high weeds, knowing that at any moment, we would find it! We didn’t. So sad!

It was quite a diligent effort, but no matter how hard we tried to find the wallet, we couldn’t find it. I couldn’t help thinking about the parallels between my effort to find the wallet and my effort to reach the lost. How hard do I seek after souls that have not found the Savior—souls who are still lost in sin and on the path to eternal destruction?

My effort  was so diligent because I knew the hassle that would be involved in stopping the credit cards, getting another driver’s license, etc. Plus, it’s a pet peeve of mine: I hate lost things! Nothing drives me crazier than a puzzle with a missing piece! Maybe I was also driven by pride: I wanted to be the hero—the one to find the missing wallet! I’m sure love was also a driving force—my heart for the one who lost it.

What drives us to seek lost souls? Or perhaps the better question is, why don’t we have more of a burden for the lost? What can stir our hearts to have the compassion of a soul-winner? Well, if I use the list of my motivations to seek the wallet, perhaps there are some parallels.

  1. Inconvenience was the first motivator. That doesn’t really have a place in the soul-winner’s heart. If anything, soul-winning IS the inconvenience. It takes time out of my busy schedule and pulls my thoughts away from all of life’s distractions.  Having a heart for souls isn’t a “worked up emotion” that is tacked on to the end of a busy day;  it is a heart passion placed within the very fiber of a believer by God.
  2. Pride certainly doesn’t have a place in the soulwinner’s heart either, although there is no greater joy than to lead someone to Christ!  The joy of finding the wallet pales in comparison to leading someone out of the darkness and penalty of sin and into the glorious light of forgiveness!
  3. The missing piece. “Every person on the face of this earth will face eternity, either in heaven or hell.”  That’s the statement I made to my Bible students last night. What a sobering reality.  It doesn’t matter if a person doesn’t believe in heaven or hell, or if they are falsely believing in something other than the truth of God’s Word, the Bible: There is no escape for any of us. Does it stir your heart to know that a loved one will be missing in heaven? If we truly could see heaven and realize the loss which we will feel because of missing unsaved loved ones, that would drive us to speak the truth in love to those we love. And if we would get just a tiny glimpse of hell…”where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48), it would not only give us a heart for the lost–it would drive us crazy! Hell is mentioned fifty-four times in the Bible; fifteen are direct quotes from Jesus.  Some Bible scholars dance around the issue by saying that the word hell is at times translated to mean the grave; but after looking up the definitions of the different Hebrew and Greek original words, I don’t see much difference:
  • sheh-ole’: Hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates:–grave, hell, pit.
  • gheh’-en-nah: valley of (the son of) Hinnom; ge-henna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment:–hell.
  • hades: the place (state) of departed souls:–grave, hell.
  • tartaroo: (the deepest abyss of Hades); to incarcerate in eternal torment:–cast down to hell.

Just reading those definitions and looking through each Bible verse containing the word hell was a sobering exercise for me.  It certainly sharpened my focus on the urgency of getting God’s message of redemption out!

4. Love–the greatest of all motivators!  Our love for others is certainly the most effective driving force for being a     witness.  Oh, to have the love which Christ displays on every page of His precious Word!

Since I first wrote this article, the wallet has been returned!  Someone must have found it, and the postman returned it to its rightful owner.  The lost is now found! Oh, the joy.  There are still plenty of honest people in this world, but even as I write that, I wonder: Was that honest person also a true believer?  How much better to find the truth about eternity than a lost wallet!

Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle,
and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying,
Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Luke 9:8-10

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God in our schools–God in our children

XstreetGif_USAToday will always be remembered for the infamous crimes that were purposed against our homeland and the overwhelming numbers of lives that were tragically taken from us. Thirteen years later, and the images are just as real now as they were then.  The shock that such a feat could happen in America still makes us numb. As I taught elementary age children today, I realized that none of them were even born on September 11, 2001,; however, several told of cousins that had died that day!

In every class, we sang the National Anthem, not because of 9/11, but because this Sunday will commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of its writing. As is my habit, I review any words that may be unfamiliar with the students: dawn, twilight, ramparts, perilous, gallantly, etc.  We also listened to an “Adventures in Odyssey” which did an excellent job of bringing alive the story behind the Fort McHenry battle during the War of 1812.

In one class, one boy asked if we could do all the versions.  Versions?  Realizing that he meant verses, I found them and put them up on the screen.  I know it’s a lot to read, but take a moment and soak up all that Frances Scott Key was trying to say:

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

I love teaching children!  I can get quite animated, and as I was telling the story behind the words, trying to instill patriotism into their little hearts, one little boy said, “We need to thank God for keeping helping us win,” or something like that!  Hallelujah!!!

We can try to keep God our of our schools all we want, and believe me—they’ve done a pretty good job of it; but they cannot keep God out of the heart of your child once you have taught him the truths of God’s Word and LIVED them before him!  And no matter how many times they try to dismiss any Christian influence in our history, it’s all there in black and white—even in our national anthem!

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.  
Psalm 33:12

The Dream of Death

ID-10069943Last night was another one of those nights when I dream that I died.  It seems to be a reoccurring dream, and not one that I enjoy!  It’s not that I’m afraid of dying, I can say that I’m 100% sure that I’m going to heaven.  You may say, “Wow!  How can you be so sure?”  In this day of easy believism, and a Christianity that wears too many odd faces, one truth is still as sure as the God Who gave it to us: Jesus Saves!  I stand on the rock of His promise: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved. Romans 10:13

I admit, at rare times, I do have doubts.  Yes, I remember the night that I read a tract alone in my bedroom.  I remember ticking off the statements: 1. Do you know that you are a sinner? No problem there! 2. Do you know that the wages of sin is death and separation from God? Yes. 3. Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for you, to take away your sins? Yes.  Have you ever asked Him to be your Savior? …That one stopped me.  I hadn’t, but I did that night.

Now, based on the Word of God, I am a born-again believer.  You may notice that I rarely use the term Christian in my blogs.  Many claim to be Christian, as opposed to being Muslim, but that is not true Christianity.  We are not born into God’s family because our parents were Christians or because they took us to church, or because we were baptized or took communion.  John 1: 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

I would say that most born-again believers doubt their salvation at one time or anothe. Questions like:  Did I say the right words?  Did I really mean it?  Did I believe enough? I…I…I…Do you see that all these questions concern what I did, not what Jesus promised.  I DID what He required and that settles it, but there’s more.  When I doubt my salvation, I first talk to God about it.  He reminds that He meant what HE said.  Then I do a life check: 1. Do I love to read God’s Word? Yes. Do I love to be in His house whenever the doors are open? Yes.  Do I love telling others about Him? Yes.  Does God answer my prayers?  Does He give me peace in my heart?  These are all outward fruit of the Spirit of God dwelling in me. And then I sigh a big sigh of relief. Yes!  I’m going to heaven when I die!  I asked and He came!  Praise the Lord.

Are the dreams still scary?  Yes, not because I’m afraid to die, but because I want to live!  This morning I laid in bed and just thanked God for giving me one more day!  He didn’t have to, and as much as I want to see Him face to face, as much as I want the trials of this life to be over, as much I’m ready to REST, I more ready to live!

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live;

yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:

and the life which I now live in the flesh

I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

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