Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fear Is Like Pain

"Fear is like pain. Pain is given as an indicator that something is going on. Pain says, “Hey, pay some attention here.” Step away from the flame. Get that splinter out. Cease what you are doing, the child is coming now. Go to the doctor and see what’s causing this. Fear does the same.
Where fear pops up, makes itself known, there stands God, right behind me, right with me, saying,
Pay attention here! I am doing something with you. The timing of this fear is not by accident. Let’s have the conversation that needs to happen here. This is the topic. This is the time.  Go there.”
                      ~ a note from  Marilyn Yocum at As Good a Day as Any

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our little girlie turns one

Our adored Bristol...(Yes, I'm a prejudiced aunt. :) )
We had a delightful time celebrating her first birthday with Nate and Aimee in their new home last night.

She loved her cake! :)

But was rather overwhelmed by all the presents...
Her favorite gift was Grandma's homemade toy box. (She loves boxes.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

His ways are higher

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,  so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.  You will live in joy and peace.  The mountains and hills will burst into song,  and the trees of the field will clap their hands!  Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.  Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.  These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name; they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.” (Isaiah 55:9,12-13 NLT)

Though my hope has been plunged into darkness;
Though I can't see the pathway ahead;
Still I know I can trust You my Father,
You're working a better plan instead.

Though the dreams I held dear for life's pathway,
On the alter in ashes now lay;
I know You'll give hope and a future,
For me in Your own time and way

For Your ways are higher than my ways,
And Your thoughts are higher than mine;
Your peace passing all understanding,
You bestow, oh my Father so kind.

And when flowers of faith realized blossom,
I'll praise You anew oh my King,
That your ways are higher than my ways,
And only what's right You will bring.
                                      Rachael Lofgren

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Though Your Sins be as Scarlet


“… though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Is 1:18)

     Have you ever connected British Redcoats, (or even Santa’s suit) with this verse before? I find it absolutely fascinating what Larry comes up with sometimes. As he said, wool takes on the color of red so well, one cannot remove it by natural means, … but God can remove the scarlet of sin from our hearts, and within this very verse in Isaiah, is an illustration describing just how He does it.
Notice that this verse has two words for the same color. The Hebrew word for “scarlet” is “shaniy, (#08144), refers to the insect, “coccus ilicis”; (“the dried body of the female yielding coloring matter, from which is made the dye used to color cloth red”). The word, “crimson” (towla” #8438) is often used in conjunction with the word “scarlet”. They are practically synonymus, but “towla” refers to the worm, more than the color. This grub, or scarlet worm, is found in a species of oak trees around the Mediterranean and is about the size of a pea. The female has a very round shape and red color.  “Crimson” (or “towla”) is also translated as “a worm, a grub, a maggot” in Scripture.
There is a fascinating story behind this little worm, which will explain the profound meaning of this verse. When the life of the female coccus ilicis, (or scarlet worm) is nearing it’s end, she climbs a tree and attaches her body to it, fixing herself so firmly and permanently, she virtually impales herself on the tree, and never leaves again. Just before she dies, her eggs hatch and she gives birth to her young. The eggs deposited beneath her body are now protected from predators. Then, after the larvae hatch they are able to enter their own life cycle. As the mother dies, crimson fluid from within her body, stains her own body and the surrounding wood she is attached to. She makes the ultimate sacrifice: because of her own death, her offspring are given new life. From the crushed, dried dead bodies of such female scarlet worms, the scarlet dye is extracted and used to dye wool red. This dye is referred to in the Bible as simply “scarlet” (the color), or, “crimson” (the worm).
Psalm 22:6 speaks of Christ when it says, “But I am a worm, and not a man, A reproach of men, and despised by the people” The word “worm” in this verse, is also “towla” (the word “crimson”)the worm; crimson, the color of blood. This verse is actually saying, “But I am ‘crimson’”, referring to the coccus ilicis and the blood of Jesus Christ that would be shed for us, as He was impaled on a tree, so that we might live.
In addition to this, the crushed “coccus ilicis” contains a chemical that is an anti-bacterial agent which is why it was used in two types of purification ceremonies:
1) When there was a plague, scarlet was included in the purification of the house. “And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet” (Lev 14:52)
2) The scarlet worm was also used in the formula with the ashes of the red heifer “And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer.” (Lev. 19:6) These ashes were used to cleanse a person when they came into contact with a dead body (a host for bacteria). This crimson, the worm coccus ilicis, was necessary to make one clean, which is symbolic of the blood of Jesus removing the sin of disease and death from us.
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised [crushed] for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed… For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Is 53:5, Heb 9:13-14)
The scarlet thread is also referred to in the book of Joshua, when Rahab the harlot, hung a “scarlet” thread from her window, which preserved her life from the Israelite invasion to come. “And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.” (Josh 2:21 Here, the scarlet thread that had been dyed using the scarlet worm’s body, is used to identify the home of Rahab, who befriended the Israeli spies, and it spared her life and her family from destruction. In the same way, we are chosen and identified by God, through the blood of Jesus Christ that washed our sins away. Is your scarlet thread hanging from your life and boldly declaring for all to see that you identify with Jesus Christ?
Thus, is the Gospel revealed throughout Scripture in the scarlet thread, and it ends with Jesus last words, “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (Jn 19:30)
By the way, did you know that in Latin, the word, “ilicis“, literally means…. “it is finished“. I wouldn’t have believed it, unless I looked it up.
So, I hope, when you see red wool coats this winter, it’ll remind you of the wool of the little lamb and the little worm, “coccus ilicis”.
“She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet”. (“coccus ilicis”) (Pr 31:21)
Is all your household clothed in scarlet? Are you clothed in scarlet? Have you “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”? (Gal 3:27)
“And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb… Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (Re 7:14, Ps 51:7)
                       Found at the link below:   

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jesus Thou Joy of Loving Hearts

Courtesy of PD Photo.org

Jesus, thou joy of loving hearts,
Thou fount of life, thou Light of men,
From the poor bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to thee again.

Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those who on thee call;
To them that seek thee, thou art good,
To them that find thee, all in all.

We taste thee, O thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon thee still;
We drink of thee the Fountain-head,
And thirst our souls from thee to fill.

Our restless spirits yearn for thee,
Where'er our changeful lot is cast;
Glad, when thy gracious smile we see,
Blest, when our faith can hold thee fast.

O Jesus, ever with us stay;
Make all our moments calm and bright,
Chase the dark night of sin away;
Shed o'er the world thy holy light.
                                                   SAINT BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX 


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I can see!

      Come with me to the city of Jerusalem.  Walk with me as I trace the steps of Jesus.  Listen to the strength and surety in his words as He turns to answer the questioning disciples. Do you hear that note of resonant excitement in His voice?  Now he pauses before the groping beggar. This man who has lived all of his life in darkness.  Who loves the warmth of the sun on his face but has never seen the green of trees or blue of sky. The poor man cannot see the intense look of love and compassion in the eyes of the Savior as He stoops beside him. But perhaps he can sense the love that seems to pervade the very air around this man they call Jesus. Look! What is happening now? He's spitting on the ground and making mud with His finger!  How strange! Puzzled I watch in wondering silence holding my breath in anticipation. Now look!  He's... read on and be inspired anew by the power and compassion of Jesus and the lowly loving heart of a man who worshiped the One who gave him sight

     As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.  “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!
His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!”
But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!”
They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?”
He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!”
“Where is he now?” they asked.
“I don’t know,” he replied.
Then they took the man who had been blind to the Pharisees, because it was on the Sabbath that Jesus had made the mud and healed him. The Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, “He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!”
Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them.
Then the Pharisees again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “What’s your opinion about this man who healed you?”
The man replied, “I think he must be a prophet.”
The Jewish leaders still refused to believe the man had been blind and could now see, so they called in his parents. They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he now see?”
His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. That’s why they said, “He is old enough. Ask him.”
So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.”
“I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”
“But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?”
“Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
Then they cursed him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses! We know God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where this man comes from.”
“Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from? We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.”
“You were born a total sinner!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue.
Spiritual Blindness
When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?
The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”
“You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!”
“Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.
Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”
                                                                                          (John 9:1-39 NLT)
Painting by Carl Bloch

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sacred Brotherhood

           "God will not look you over for medals, 
                       degrees or diplomas , but for scars."
   "As soldiers show their scars and talk of battles when they come at last to spend their old age in the country at home, so shall we in the dear land to which we are hastening, speak of the goodness and faithfulness of God who brought us through all the trials of the way. I would not like to stand in the white robed host and hear it said, "These are they that came out of the great tribulation, all except one."
   Would you like to be there and see yourself pointed at as the one saint who never knew sorrow? Oh, no! for you would be an alien in the midst of the sacred brotherhood. We will be content to share the battle, for we shall soon wear the crown and wave the palm."
                                                                                            C. H. Spurgeon
The last drops of my sacrifice are falling; my time to go has come. I have fought the good fight; I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:6-7)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Redeem the Time

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.                                                                   Ephesians 5:15-17


Live not for time, 'tis a fleeting thing,
It only begins but quickly takes wing;
Then it flies away ne'er to return,
Although for it's presence our sad hearts may yearn.

How quickly it passes, as dew on the grass;
As running of sand within a time glass;
As flowing, the river is lost in the sea,
So time doth pass toward eternity.

Live for eternity, make it your goal.
Take thought not for pleasure, but care for your soul.
Take up your cross daily in service to Him;
Let not eternity's goal become dim.

Strive now the lost and dying to save,
From sin and death, from hell and the grave.
Live not for time but eternity,
When in His glory, Christ we shall see.
                                        - Rachael Lofgren

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nothing In The House

Thy servant, Lord, hath nothing in the house,
Not even one small pot of common oil;
For he who never cometh but to spoil
Hath raided my poor house again, again,
That ruthless strong man armed, whom men call Pain.

I thought that I had courage in the house,
And patience to be quiet and endure,
And sometimes happy songs, now I am sure
Thy servant truly hath not anything,
And see, my songbird hath a broken wing.

    *              *             *                *

My servant, I have come into the house -
I who know pain's extremity so well
That there can never be the need to tell
His power to make the flesh and spirit quail:
Have I not felt the scourge, the thorn, the nail?

And I, his Conqueror, am in the house,
Let not your heart be troubled: do not fear:
Why shouldst thou, child of Mine, if I am here?
My touch will heal thy songbird's broken wing,
And he shall have a braver song to sing.

                                      -Amy Carmichael

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Agape Love: What does it look like?

   "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16"

What does true Agape Love look like?  How can we apply it to our lives in the day to day grind of things?  Christ is our perfect living example of this kind of love and in 1 Corinthians 13 He gives us a detailed picture of what it looks like lived out in our lives moment by moment.
  First He tells us what love is not (verses 1-3).
It is not:
Acts of service with wrong motives or a selfish heart. 
It is not brilliancy of speech or literacy.
It is not knowledge and intelligence.
It is not faith even to an extreme amount.
It is not even the giving of one's physical life for another.
For any of the above to be of any use to God's kingdom one must have a heart of Agape love.
But how can Agape love flow from us when we are naturally selfish creatures?  We cannot in human strength love others as we ought.  It will always be a war between the flesh and the spirit.  But God's Spirit in us will enable us to love as we yield our hearts and lives to Him moment by moment. For God is love and to the measure that He is in us His love will flow out to those we come in contact with. Love is a divine calling and "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Phil. 4:13
       What are Love's characteristics and what does it look like lived out in our daily lives? Verse 4-7 gives us a list of the characteristics of Agape love.

1. Patience (i.e. longsuffering.): To be long tempered, patient in bearing offenses of others. To be mild and slow to avenge oneself.

2. Kindness:  To show one's-self useful or act benevolently. Kindness is treating someone as if they were your own kin or family. (Treating with respect and laying down ones life for them.)

3. Is not envious:  Does not covet or entertain thoughts of jealousy toward another. Love rejoices when good comes to others, trusting that God has provided all it's own needs for life and godliness already and will continue to do so and that even when it's desires are not met God still knows best.  It is content with what it has.

4. Does not vaunt itself: It does not boast or brag about itself. Is not given to self display. Rather it is given to ministering to others and rejoices when God is honored and others are blessed.  It is not concerned with who gets the credit but serves only to please God.

5.Is not puffed up: Is not inflated or puffed up with pride and haughtiness (I'm better than you.).  A spirit of humility will be evidenced in those filled with the Love of God and a servant's heart will be displayed as it realizes it's own unworthiness and inadequacy and depends on God's grace to put others first and meet their needs. It is not respecter of persons but views those around it through God's eyes as souls of eternal worth made in the image of God and worthy of notice, respect, and compassion.

6. Does not be behave in an unseemly manner: It does not behave shamefully or indecently. Is not given to immorality or any sort of immoral behavior.  (Shamefaced, un-flirtatious, chaste.) Put's the needs, hearts of others first above it's own gratification and pleasure and makes it's choices based on wisdom and the fear of God.

7. Seeks not it's own good: It does not seek or desire it's own best interests. Nor does it demand it's rights or require others to meet it's needs. Self love is not LOVE! We are called to lay down our lives for others if we desire to find them again, following the example of Christ who died that we might live and now intercedes for us at the Father's throne. Fully surrendered to the Father, fully committed to serving those He came to save.

8. It is not easily provoked: Not irritable and short tempered. Nor easily stirred to anger.

9. Thinks no evil: Does not suspect evil or bad of another (to conclude or assume something and despise on the grounds of that conclusion.)  Desires to think the best and does not allow a critical spirit to reign.

10. Rejoices not in iniquity but rejoices in truth: Love is not glad about unrighteousness, but is discerning and judges the truth about a situation by God's Spirit in accordance with His word. It goes beyond the surface to the heart, the reality lying at the basis of an appearance. It embraces reality with an honest heart not denying the truth but trusting God is in control no matter what, choosing to forgive despite injustice and evil and speaking the truth in love. (Justice, righteousness, discernment.)

11. Bears all things:  To protect or preserve by covering. In the sense of covering one another's faults, physically and spiritually watching out for others, covering in prayer, and bearing one anothers burdens.

12. Believes all things: Love is not suspicious and self protective. Rather it is committed to trusting others. To have faith in another.  To commit to more than just mere credence moving beyond words into a  heart reliance upon another. To build relationship and not walls. To be open and dependent and to receive with humility what others have to give.

13: Hopes all things: To expect or confide in another. Trust directed to or in another person. To hope FOR another. (Love hopes for the best for others and also hopes for their salvation and redemption.  It does not give up on the soul of another.)

14. Endures all things:  To stay under or behind. To bear trials with fortitude. To abide under or bear up courageously under suffering. We are called to be an example to those around us as we face the tests of life.

15. LOVE NEVER FAILS:  That's a powerful guarantee! 
  Love NEVER LOSES it's efficiency and power.  It is ALWAYS VICTORIOUS. (Faith, Hope, Love.) it is THE GREATEST of these.

It was this love that took our Savior to the cross for you and I. It is this love that now intercedes for us, it is this love that waits long and patiently for the precious harvest of souls to be brought. Nothing can separate us from this love. He was lifted up that He might draw all men unto Himself and He has called us to follow in His footsteps, to be JESUS WITH SKIN ON to others.  We are His hands and feet on earth.  As we abide in Him, we are called to be ambassadors and representatives of the King of kings, to love one another as He has loved us. What a high calling!   Will we be faithful?

Measure thy life by loss, and not by gain.
Not by wine drunk, but by the wine poured forth. 
For love's strength standeth in love's sacrifice. 
And He who suffers most has most to give 
   - Selected

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rose From Brier

“I have no desire that my imprisonment should end before the right time; I love my chains. My senses, indeed, have not any relish for such things, but my heart is separated from them and borne over them.”

Madam Guyon said that. I cannot say that I love my chains in any literal sense whatever, nor do I believe that we are meant to do so. Our Lord did not tell the woman who was bound to love the cords that bound her. But in the sense that Madam Guyon meant the words [indeed, she said her senses had no relish for such things!] I believe that He can give us grace to find something truly lovable in that which [while He allows it to continue] is His will for us.

Disappointments, for example; in a quiet procession these weary little things have entered this room. After the foot began to mend other troubles came, one after the other, pulling me up just when it seemed as though I might soon begin to walk. As each corner was turned we thought it would be the last, but there was always another.

But one of the first of these disappointments was lighted by something so sweet and dear that I knew at once it could not be only for me, but must be for you – you who know so much about these matters of continuing trial and pain!

One of our Fellowship was at home on furlough, and he was to return to us on February 25; I had set my heart on being up and ready to meet him and the new brother whom he was bringing with him. I was sure I would be at the Welcoming Service to sing the welcome song, and for a month or so before that date it seemed as if I would indeed be there… Then all hope gradually faded. I was still in bed when they came – not even in a chair.

That morning of the Welcoming Service, while the chiming bells were ringing from the tower, in spirit I was far more in the midst of that beloved crowd in the House of Prayer than in my room. And I ached to be there really, not just in spirit – I ached until all of me was one ache; and then, each word as clear as though it slid down the clear chiming bells, deep within my heart, this little song within me:

Thou hast not that, My child, but thou hast Me,
And am not I alone enough for thee?
I know it all, know how thy heart was set
Upon this joy which is not given yet.

And well I know how through the wistful days
Thou walkest all the dear familiar ways,
As unregarded as a breath of air,
But there in love and longing, always there!

I know it all; but from thy brier shall blow
A rose for others. If it were not so
I would have told thee. Come then, say to Me:
My Lord, my Love, I am content with Thee.

“From thy brier shall blow a rose for others.” In the hills of South India there are tall and beautiful bushes of wild roses. The roses are larger than ours at home and of an unforgettable sweetness. But they were not called to mind by these words. I saw rather a little, low, very prickly bush in an old-fashioned English garden; it was covered with inconspicuous pink roses. But the wonder of the bush was its all-pervading fragrance, for it was a sweetbrier. And I saw One who has been long in the land where no thorns grow, cutting a spray from the bush, stripping the thorns off and giving it to me. And may those who walk the road and street, as unregarded as a breath of air, but there in love and longing, always there… may they find a rose from my brier caused to grow – and may they find no prickling thorn on the stem of this rose from my brier!

I think that when He whom our soul loveth comes so near to us, and so gently helps our human weakness, then what Madam Guyon wrote nearly three hundred years ago becomes a present truth. We are borne over the oppression that would hold us down, we mount up on wings, we find a secret sweetness in our brier. But it is not of us. It is Love that lifts us up. It is Love that is the sweetness!

Is the one who reads this in great weariness, or the exhaustion that follows a sore hurt, or in the terrible grasp of pain? He who loves as no one else can love, who understands to the uttermost, is not far away. He wants us to say, He can give it to us to say, “My Lord, my Love, I am content with Thee.”



Amy Carmichael, Rose from Brier, 50-53.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Wonder of HIS Love

Oh Lord, the wonder of Your Love!
So matchless! So divine!
How can it be, You died for me?
Dare I to call You mine?

How can it be, O sovereign King?
So selfless that you gave,
All heaven's glory, came to earth,
That you mankind might save.

You bore the sins of all the world,
When You they crucified;
You bore my pain, my awful shame,
For love of me You died.

You rose again in victory,
With power o'er death and hell;
For love of me, how can it be?
Oh, Lord, I cannot tell.

You live to intercede for me.
You promise I may share,
Your glory, heaven, home so bright;
Beyond this earth's compare.

Oh tender, perfect, holy Love!
Extravagance of grace!
I worship You, I love You Lord,
I long to see Your face.

Oh may I never from Your love
Depart. And may it be
That all my life is spent for You,
For Love that set me free.
                            -Rachael Lofgren