Room for the Impossible

It never ceases to amaze me how words written a hundred years ago can be so timely for us today!  Oswald Chambers died in 1917, at the age of forty-three, yet his words ring true in 2015!

Here is an excerpt from his Devotional Bible:

Jesus is not in the sitting by the tomb; He is not in the bitter tears; He is not in the sad communings.  The place where we will find Jesus is just where common sense says it is impossible to find Him.  It was no use for the disciples to imagine they were going to have a recurrence of those three years; it was impossible to recall the thrilling yesterdays; it was impossible for the two on the way to Emmaus to have a return of the fellowship they yearned for; but there was something infinitely better for them.  “For He is risen, as He said.” Impossibility had wedded itself to what Jesus had said.  The proclamation of the impossible springs from the supernatural, not from common sense.  The supernatural figures largely all through the life of our Lord.  At His birth the angels proclaimed that He should be called Jesus “for He will save His people from their sins.”  We shall not think of our Lord as a savior if we look at Him in the light of our own minds, because no natural man imagines he needs to be saved.  Do we make room in our faith for the impossible along the line of the supernatural?  Or have we reduced our religion to such common sense platitudes that there is no need for Jesus to have lived at all?

It’s deep, but it’s worth reading several times to get it!  Beyond Common Sense–this was one of the devotionals that prompted the new name.  Can we really live this way?  Can we expect God to do the impossible?  Jesus reminds his disciples in John 14:12 that their works would exceed His works in greatness: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

And Matthew Henry has this to say about the passage.  Again, it may be deep, but it’s worth the digging.!

That they should do greater works than these. In the kingdom of nature they should work greater miracles. No miracle is little, but some to our apprehension seem greater than others. Christ had healed with the hem of his garment, but Peter with his shadow (Acts 5:15), Paul by the handkerchief that had touched him, Acts 19:12. Christ wrought miracles for two or three years in one country, but his followers wrought miracles in his name for many ages in divers countries. You shall do greater works, if there be occasion, for the glory of God. Theprayer of faith, if at any time it had been necessary, would have removed mountains. [2.] In the kingdom of grace. They should obtain greater victories by the gospel than had been obtained while Christ was upon earth. The truth is, the captivating of so great a part of the world to Christ, under such outward disadvantages, was the miracle of all. I think this refers especially to the gift of tongues;this was the immediate effect of the pouring out of the Spirit, which was a constant miracle upon the mind, in which words are framed, and which was made to serve so glorious an intention as that of spreading the gospel to all nations in their own language. This was a greater sign to them that believed not (1 Co. 14:22), and more powerful for their conviction, than any other miracle whatever.

Show this world the impossible: a life totally committed to Jesus Christ!  You will shine brightly in this dark, sin-cursed world which seems to deny its Maker more and more every year!  And remember: God is just  as faithful in 2015 as He was in the 1600s and 1900s!

What’s Missing?

I always loved these drawings that have subtle differences, and your task is to find them!  It reminds me of these two verses in Joshua, except the differences aren’t too subtle!

But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you,

  • to love the LORD your God,
  • and to walk in all his ways,
  • and to keep his commandments,
  • and to cleave unto him,
  • and to serve him

with all your heart and with all your soul.:

Joshua 22:5

And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God

  • will we serve,
  • and his voice will we obey.

Joshua 24: 24

Do you see what is missing and what is added?  In Joshua 23 and 24, Joshua is giving the Israelites his farewell speech. He’s old and he knows his time has ended.  We often quote Joshua 24:15 and hang on our walls:

…choose you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

The question is not ARE we choosing to serve God, but HOW are we serving Him.  We want to be successful in our walk with the Lord.  We want to please Him, but so often, it just isn’t the case.  The world comes crashing in around us demanding our attention.  Good activities and programs seem impossible to ignore, even though we cringe and hate the fact that perfect attendance is required and their meetings push into Sunday and Wednesday night.

How can we do it?  How can we know that we are doing the right thing?  Well, I’m sharing this because it’s been so heavy on my heart, and the Lord has really been pounding me on it!

IT’S THE HEART! IT’S THE HEART! IT’S THE HEART!

Joshua is at the end of an incredible journey.  He knew slavery. He remembered the sting of the taskmaster’s whip! He SAW the Red Sea part and drank the sweetened waters of Marah.  He ate the manna and begged, cried, and wept when the other ten spies gave their evil report.  His heart ached for his leader as he watched him ascend Mt. Pisgah and gaze longingly into the Promised Land—a land he would never enter!

And now Joshua’s done.  Over and over, he urges the Israelites to do right, make right choices, have the right kind of heart.  And their response is this: We will serve. We will obey.  YIKES!  Something was missing!  Something very important: loving, walking, cleaving, and keeping!

Dear Christian, dear born-again believer, check your heart.  Without a whole-hearted love for God, service becomes drudgery and you may find yourself walking away from it.  Your walk becomes an uphill battle, and you don’t even understand cleaving.  Keeping the “law” becomes just that!  It turns into a bunch of “dos and don’ts” instead of a holy garment of praise.

Cleave – to cling closely, steadfastly, or faithfully to somebody or something.  If you have ever been a nursery worker, you understand cleaving, as you try to pry that child out of his mother’s arms!  He has a death grip on her clothing, and he’s not letting go—at least, not without a lot of kicking and crying!

How is my cleaving?  Am I holding on to God for dear life? It started with faith (Forsaking All I Trust Him). I may not have seen the yawning abyss at the edge of my cliff of pride or self-righteousness—the edge which dropped off into an eternal hell, but if I had, I would have clung or cleaved? or clove? or clave? to my precious Savior!

And am I still cleaving?  Is He so precious that I want Him more than anything else in this world?

Today, I offer you A Moment in Time for free.  What does that have to do with cleaving?  Well, I often shake my head in wonder and ask my daughter this question: Why did you and your brothers turn out?  Why do you love the Lord when so many pastors are losing their kids to the world?  She always says the same thing.  “Mom, you and Dad were genuine in your love for God and your service to Him.  It wasn’t just a show, but what Dad preached, you both lived at home.” Please know, it is not any credit to us, but all to the Lord!

The side-by-side drawings look so much alike, just like so many Christians.  They sit together in church, perhaps in the same class at the Christian school, but there’s something drastically different!  You may not be able to see the heart, but God does.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, check out A Moment in Time is all about “What’s Missing.” In it, you’ll find an all too realistic side-by-side-drawing:  One pastor’s daughter, Carrie Spangler, who looked the part, and another, Esther Fleming, who lived it.

We Need the Apocalypse!

 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing 2 Timothy 4:8

Well, I’m at it again—trying to take off those extra pounds that crept back on throughout the winter months; however, this time is different.  There’s no wedding or graduation on the horizon to motivate me to do this.  There’s no scheduled doctor’s appointment looming in the near future.  It’s just time to do it, and to be quite honest, I’m not sure that I will be successful without those deadlines!  I’m really a deadline person.

The Apocalypse—the word exudes doom and horror!  It means disaster, catastrophe, destruction.  To the world, it is Judgement Day or Armageddon.  The Book of Revelation often takes that name as well, and rightly so—Revelation 1: 1 begins with these words: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass…  And if you’ve have read any of the last book of the Bible, then you know that there’s a lot of doom and destruction written in its twenty-two chapters.

Does the knowledge of those prophecies help us to live a better Christian life? I mean, as Christians, the doom and gloom is not for us but for those who are left behind at Jesus’ Coming.  So, it’s not the doom that prods the born-again believer, but the thought of seeing our God and Savior face to face that prompts us to live a life that pleases Him.  You remember that feeling: Dad and Mom have gone out and left specific instructions for you—the list!  You look at the clock and figure how long it will take to get the jobs done, and then either choose to do the jobs first OR (most likely), you do what you want to do until the absolute least amount of time is left to finish the “to do” list!

The problem with Jesus’ return is that there’s no clock, not even a calendar.  Paul and the other apostles looked for Him to return in their lifetime, and here we are, over two thousand years later, doing the same thing!  Did God not disclose the time and date of His appearing because He wanted to keep us on our toes?  I think not.  He created us; He knows us; He is constantly doing what is best for us.  We walk by faith, and if He gave us the due date, that would take a huge part of our faith out of the equation.

BookCoverImage A MomentA Moment in Time will be FREE on Amazon as an ebook for five days (April 18-22).  So, here’s another reason why you might want to take a look:

Reading about the Rapture and what it may be like sharpens my desire to live for God, hones my desperation to parent godly children, and polishes my vision to reach the lost.

In A Moment in Time, Carrie Spangler, a pastor’s daughter, had heard all her life that Jesus was coming; she just didn’t think He would come when He did. What was she doing?  Was she looking for His return?  Not in the least.  She was busy living her life the way she wanted to live it.  She disregarded the years of Bible teaching which she had received at church and at her Christian school.  Notice, I didn’t say in her home.  The following is an excerpt from Chapter Five which gives us a glimpse into the Spangler household:

Betty turned to face him, propping herself on one elbow. “Charles, how do you think [Carrie’s] doing spiritually?”

               The question hung in the air for a moment before he found the answer, “I guess that’s your department.” He sighed deeply. “Betty, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I can successfully lead ten pastors in an area-wide revival, pastor a church of six hundred, and run a Christian school, but I can’t talk to my own daughter. I guess I just don’t understand girls.”

               “Don’t say that, Charles. I’m afraid for her. I’m not even sure that she’s saved.”

               “But she said she was, and every time it comes up, she’s defending her decision.”

               “That’s just it, that’s why I wonder if she really is. And we never talk about spiritual things with her.”

               “Yes we do,” he said defensively. “At dinner, we often talk about…”

               “…about church activities.”

               “Yes, but we talk about what God is doing.”

               “We talk, Charles, but does she?” Betty could hear the hall clock ticking as Charles mulled the words over in his mind.

               “Can’t you talk to her?” he asked.

               “I’ve tried. I think I was getting somewhere tonight until you walked in.”  It was a simple statement, but it charged the room with energy by all the messages it carried.

               “You always make it sound like it’s my fault.” The defenses were up.

               “Charles. You come floating into the room on your own pride and never even see…,” but she didn’t get to finish.  Betty knew she had said too much.

               “How dare you,” he shot back, getting off the bed and pacing the floor.

               Carrie heard the conversation escalating and went to her door, cracking it just enough to catch their voices.

               “Charles, I’m sorry; I’m just so worried. But I shouldn’t have said that.” She came around the bed to him, but he wasn’t ready to give in that easily.

               Carrie could see the scene in her mind, and it sickened her. Dad is huffing and puffing while Mom grovels at his feet.  I hate him!

               “Charles. Let’s not fight,” Betty whispered realizing how loud their voices had become. She reached up and ran her fingers down his arm, squeezing his hand. She knew how to melt him. He was a good man, and she loved him so!

A Moment in Time is fiction but it is not a fairytale in which everyone lived happily ever after.  This book was written with a heart and burden for Christian families.  It was written for us to take a good hard look at what is really going on in our homes and in our children’s hearts and minds.

Jesus is coming—we know that.  A Moment in Time just puts it into a realistic setting.  What if He did come back right now, today?  Where would our children and grandchildren be?  Would we be glad to see Him?  What will it be like?  Writing these books has sharpened my focus and understanding about the End Times; it also gave me a greater burden for the lost.  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.  My prayer is that the Strong Delusion trilogy will help my readers to see the End Times events just a bit clearer and perhaps encourage them to take a look inside themselves as well.  It’s an exciting book with an exciting plot and dynamic characters, but that’s not the point.  Reading even a Christian novel gains merit when we take the lessons sown into the fabric of its content and apply them to our hearts.

Seeing Life Through the Eyes of a Troubled Girl

BookCoverImage A MomentFor the next few days, I will try to entice you to get your FREE Kindle copy of A Moment in Time, by giving you several reasons why A Moment in Time may be a good book for you to read.  Honesty may not be the best policy in advertising, but it is my policy!  On April 18-22, A Moment in Time will be available FREE in Kindle form. 

I consider it a great responsibility every time I sit at my computer and pound on the keys. Whether it is for a post or a book, I truly consider it a calling of God, or I would not do it!  So, why should you even consider getting your copy of A Moment in Time? Let me share a corner of my heart concerning these books.

Recently, I talked with someone who had read my book, and the comment was made that the book hit too close to home.  This book was not just written to entertain. I write with a purpose, an overwhelming desire to teach, stretch, urge, grow, challenge, convict . . .  Life isn’t just about entertainment and happiness, so, consider the following:

Reason Number One: See Life Through the Eyes of a Troubled Girl

Carrie Spangler is a pastor’s daughter, but she is troubled by two major thoughts:

  • I was a mistake.
  • Am I really saved.

Perhaps one or both of those thoughts give you panic attacks about yourself or someone you love.  Carrie was not a “planned” pregnancy.  Her two older brothers are out of the house by the time Carrie enters junior high, and she rightly senses that her life is interfering with Pastor Spangler’s ambitions. Unfortunately, Pastor Spangler doesn’t handle the situation well.  Instead of dealing with those thoughts, he tries to override them with activity, not willing to face the truth about his little girl.

Honesty in the home is such a vital aspect of parenting.  When we push our true feelings aside instead of dealing with them Biblically, we have no idea how big the problem will get or the fallout that may occur.  “My daughter would never . . .”  What is your guarantee? If you are basing your security on anything but an honest relationship with Jesus Christ, beware!  Do you know your heart?  Are you speaking the truth there? Is your son or daughter speaking the truth as well?  Notice, I did not ask about their appearance or their actions.  I’ve seen “good” kids cover their true feelings because that’s the example they were shown; and I’ve seen “bad” kids display their actions simply because they are trying to get someone’s–anyone’s attention!

Is A Moment in Time a “how to” book on building relationship?  No, but as you read it, may it challenge you to look inside and take a “truth-test” concerning your walk with Jesus!

What is truth? John 18:38

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  John 8:32

The Great Divide

ID-100314857Jesus crucified is the true touchstone revealing what the world is: “The people stood beholding” in stolid indifference; the rulers, who wanted religion, but without a divine Christ crucified for their sins, “reviled”: the brutal amongst them mocked or railed; the conscious sinner prayed; the covetous sat down before the cross and played their sordid games.  The cross is the judgment of this world. (Rev. C. I. Scofield)

I’ve been reading the daily accounts of Jesus’ footsteps this week, following along as He rides triumphantly into the city, cleanses the temple, preaches, prays…  As I think of the disciples, I try to put myself in their place.  They saw so much: Jesus healing; Jesus stopping the Pharisees with his words of wisdom; Jesus, as he raised the dead!  And now this!  All their hopes and dreams are lying trampled in the dirt.  They thought He would usher them right into His kingdom; but instead, He was arrested, brutally beaten and whipped, mocked, and most humiliating of all: crucified like a common thief! 

Yesterday, I stopped to see my mom.  I knocked on the garage door.  No answer.  I looked in the window of the garage and saw her car, so I knew she was home.  I walked to the front door.  No answer.  Now I believe my mom will live to be a hundred (don’t we all!), but that moment, a horrible dread went through me.  Where was Mom!  What would I find when I got inside?  I stopped and thought how everything could change in that moment. Then I walked to the side porch thinking she might be working out back.  That’s when I heard the piano.  What a welcome beautiful sound!

For about thirty-six hours, the disciples experienced that dread of the unknown.  It was over.  What would happen next?  Would they all be arrested for treason against the temple?  What would become of them?  Then, early in the morning of the first day of the week, they heard the news.  Could it be true?  Many still doubted, but then He was there in their midst with those reassuring words:  “Peace be unto you.”  What a welcome beautiful sound!

Some may be indifferent to the greatest story ever told; others will count the revenue they can make on this holiday weekend like those who “sat down before the cross and played their sordid games”; some will gather in their places of worship like the rulers, having “religion, but without a divine Christ crucified for their sins”; some mock us, dear Christian and rail on our beliefs – we take the Bible too literally, they say; but the conscious sinner will pray at the cross and walk away rejoicing that his sins are gone because He is Risen!  Praise the Lord!!!  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!!!

…blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

John 20: 29a-31

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