I Will Not Let You Proclaim What You Do Not Claim!

Spiritual Bulimia

Some time ago, a counselor advised me not to be “a spiritual bulimic.”  I didn’t understand.  She then explained that some people take in good food, but immediately seek to get rid of it instead of letting their body digest, absorb and use it.

She said sometimes people are like that with The Word of God.  They take it in and then immediately try to give it to others, without digesting, absorbing and using the Word for the nourishment of their own bodies.

 

 

Saving Yourself to Save Others

Passengers on an airplane are instructed that in the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will fall from the ceiling.  Passengers are further told that they should use those oxygen masks for themselves before attempting to help others.

When Jesus was asked about what we must do to be saved, He answered,

“Love the Lord your God

with all your heart and with all your soul

and with all your mind

and with all your strength.”

The second is this:

“Love your neighbor as yourself.

There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:30-31

The first commandment makes perfect sense to me.  But the second one always seemed a bit too self centered for my comfort level.  Love others as I love myself?  I love myself before loving others?

 

 

Where Is The Love?

The answer is yes.  Loving myself happens only after Loving God with all my heart and all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength … because when I do that, I find God in me in all those places … my heart, my soul and my mind and I receive His Joy, which is my strength.

… the Joy of The Lord is your strength!

Nehemiah 8:10

It is when I receive His Love, that it fills me up and overflows and I have enough Love, Joy, Peace and Strength to give others.  But it must be in me first!

 

 

Proclaiming His Word!

Last year, I wrote our latest book, If You Only Knew … Who I AM!  I was on a spiritual high, as I wrote the book.  God seemed to meet me at every moment and I cheerfully took dictation.  Every time I thought we were coming to an end, I would hear Him say, “Let’s knock off for today.  But be ready to write in the morning!”

And it was true, His Mercies were new every morning.  Fresh manna was waiting to be collected.  

 

 

Roller Coaster Going Down …

However, after the book had gone to press, I experienced a real down time.  

For a variety of reasons, I battled anxiety and outright fear.  I became physically ill with autoimmune problems I had been free of for years.  I began to be concerned that somehow I had done something to displease God and now I was paying the price.  All of this was, of course, lies from satan.

 

 

Prescription for Healing

As I whined and complained to God one night, He said, “So when are you going to read the book?”

“Read the book?  You know I know what’s in the book.  I wrote it!”

Silence.

“You wrote it?”

“Well, sort of.  I know I wrote down what You said for me to write.  So yes, I know You are really the First Author.”

Silence.

“So, when are you going to read the book?”

More silence … and then He added,

I will not let you proclaim

what you do not claim!

And so I dutifully got out the book I had grown to call “my book.”  I began to read, and immediately, I knew again The Love that had flowed between the real Author and me, His secretary for a time.

 

 

Grand Reunion in The Pages of A Book

I was amazed and overpowered with His Great Love from the beginning of time through my creation and on into this Present Beginning.  I could see Him going off into the future into the next Beginnings.  I smiled, laughed and wept for Joy.  

His Words in the book were a Love Letter to me first!  I took it in with Joy and I felt new strength flowing through me.  Digestive issues that I had began clearing up, as I now digested Real Manna and was filled again.  

 

 

A New Thing!

As I thrilled at the experience, new thoughts came to mind.  In August of this year, we brought out the book again with a new cover, that reflects the Joy I discovered basking in His Love.

Recently my husband and I have begun a new teaching series on You Tube and God Tube.  Some of the opening videos are discussions of satan’s tactics and how he works to steal our joy.

 

 

Nasty Thief Tries to Sneak In At Christian Conference

My husband and I just went to the Christian Products Expo in Nashville, Tennessee to introduce the book under its new cover.  From the moment we arrived, I was ill again, in the throws of autoimmune issues once again. 

I didn’t understand it!  One should never question God’s Love, Mercy, Grace, Provision and Timing.  But I must admit the little girl in me was once again whining and asking, “Why God?  I’m trying to do your work here!”  (If I had really taken in what I had been teaching, I would have instantly thought, “Yes, you are under attack because you are doing God’s Work … and you know what to do!”)

As I was trying to discuss the book, I found myself frequently retreating to the bathroom, praying again and again for the symptoms of elevated heart rate, dry mouth, and just general weakness to subside.  

I said to God, “This feels like some kind of spiritual attack.  Am I doing something wrong?  What’s the deal?”  No answer.  I took a deep breath and said, “OK, I’m going back in.  Help me!”

I returned to the area where my husband was thankfully carrying on beautifully without me.  Remember The Real Author was both with me and everywhere else too!

 

 

Strength Delivery

The first person who walked up to me asked me to tell her about the book.  She asked many pointed questions that caused me to focus on the points of God’s Love, Mercy, Grace and Provision.

She said she was also an author.  I asked her what she wrote about.  She smiled and said, “Spiritual Warfare.”  I felt the first wave of electricity in the air.

She then asked me if I would autograph a book to her.  I of course agreed.  I asked her to whom I should address it.  She again smiled and said to me, “I’m Joy.”  I then looked at her name tag and she was indeed named Joy!

She had prompted me to speak about what God allowed me to write.  She had caused me to focus on the Source of All Strength — JOY — even to writing the word, Joy.  

She took the book, but left much more behind.  HIs Fragrance was in the air and His Promises were clear.  But once again, it was a reminder, not a magical fix.  

Sometimes when we witness a Sign and Wonder, we expect to receive from it.  However, it is only a sign to point us to Him.  We must receive from Him, not the sign post.

 

 

I’m Still Standing, But I Need More …

While I praised Him, I reminded Him that I was still having symptoms.  It seemed He whispered, “There’s a teaching series on You Tube and God Tube I really think you should watch.  It tells about how satan would like to do a number on you.  Don’t let him!”

So I am back home, recovering and reviewing those videos.  Yep, I think Nashville may have been a desert (like Jesus was tempted in the desert), but it turns out God has no problems dealing with deserts.

… I will clear a way in the dessert.

I will make rivers on dry land.

Isaiah 43:19

And the first part of that verse is

I am going to do something new.

It is already happening.  

Don’t you recognize it?

Isaiah 43:19

Claiming Before Proclaiming Again

So stay tuned to see what that new thing is.  While I am waiting for further instructions from God, I am reading a good book and watching some video teachings.  If you would like to join me,  here is the link to the web site.

You can read about the book and also see the links on the home page to You Tube and God Tube!  I pray it will guide you to The Joy of Knowing Who He Is (and avoiding some traps of one who also knows Who He is, but would like to keep it a secret from you!)

http://www.christianreading.com/cjones

Who U R

I Love You With All My Heart!

I was blessed to have two parents, who lived a life of love for God, each other, their family and other people.  As my father got older, he seemed to grow even more intent on being sure we knew that he loved us.

He would tell us, “I love you with all my heart,” followed by a long, loving gaze.  Then he would add, “And I really mean that.”  He called my mother, his “precious wife.”  He called me his “precious daughter.”  He called others in the family “precious.”

I praise God every day for His Love so beautifully expressed in lives I could see full of His Love.  My father made it easy for me to feel The Love of my Father God.  I have the security of knowing He loves me and I am precious to HIm.  In fact, He loves me (and you) so much that He has given me His Heart, to have forever.

 

In The Beginning … and Continuing to The Next Beginning 

Our hearts began to beat within our mother’s womb long before anyone met us.  It will continue to beat, as long as we inhabit our earthly bodies.  How like God is this Gift, faithful, ever present, designed to give life to our body and to allow us to share His Word, so others can receive Eternal Life.

Numerous scriptures mention the heart, but interestingly none of them refer to “inviting Him (God or Jesus) into” our hearts.  He didn’t have to be invited in to be there.  He was in our hearts from the moment of our creation and remains so.  

 

Discovery!

We lived for quite awhile before we even became aware of our hearts beating inside of us.  When we discovered it, some of us did so with wonder and others with fear that something we could not control was at our very center.  It is often the same way when we discover The Lord of the Universe is inside of us.

 

He’s Not Leaving!

Even if we were to decide that we wish to get rid of our heart, we cannot do so without giving up our earthly life.  It is hardwired inside of us with a critical mission of keeping us alive.  It is the same with God.  He is inside of us with The Mission of keeping us alive with Him forever.  No matter what we do, He is not leaving us.

I will never leave you

nor forsake you …

Hebrews 13:5

I am with you always!

Matthew 28:20

Forever Faithful

Even if we were to deny our heart is there, it will continue to do its job faithfully and ever present.  Sometimes, we may think we can dismiss God, or at least “put Him on hold” for awhile.  However, He continues His Faithful Work in our lives, no matter what we do.

You did not choose me,

but I chose you and appointed you,

so that you might go forth and

bear fruit — fruit that will last …

John 15:16

Who’s That Knocking On My Door?

We may be familiar with the scripture from Revelation that says,

Here I am!

I stand at the door and knock.

If anyone hears My Voice

and opens the door,

I will come in and eat with that person,

and they with Me.

Revelation 3:20

He is within us, knocking every day, gently reminding us, “Here I am!”  Some people call it a heartbeat!  Rejoice!  He has come to live with you because He loves you with all His Heart and you are precious to Him!  

To enjoy The Fullness of His Presence, accept His Invitation to dinner (and Life) with Him!

 

Heart

Where is God?

Every day we hear very sad reports of floods, out of control fires, tornados, hurricanes, illnesses that create personal storms, violence and more.  No place on earth seems to be safe.  The world is full of storms.  Storms bring the question, “Where is God?”

The following is an updated revision of a blog post I did some years ago.  While it centers more on nature’s storms, it also applies to personal storms.  Same Questions.  Same Answers from God.

 

A Storm Observed

“Why are there storms?”  a friend asked recently.  I did not have an immediate answer.  But I remembered a time when there was a thunderstorm and I was brought to my knees by its Awesome Power.  

I then realized it was not the storm that brought the sense of awe and wonder.  It was knowing I was in The Presence of The One Who was in charge of the storm.  I stood at the window and looked out for hours, not frightened, but in awe of God’s Majesty and Power.  I had a small sense of how big He is and how little I am.

 

Job’s Personal Storm

When I was thinking about the question about storms and also my experience, I “chanced” to read Job 37 in which Elihu, Job’s friend, speaks.  Job had experienced a horrible series of tragedies in his life.  These tragedies were caused by satan, not God.  However, satan had God’s Permission to unleash his attacks.  God was assured that Job, His Servant, would stand faithful.

Job started out well, but as the attacks continued and became more vicious, he began to cave.  His “friends” tried to give him advice, most of it worthless.  However, one friend, Elihu, spoke The Truth to Job.  He was not old in earth years.  But Elihu spoke with The Wisdom of God.  

 

Job’s Friend Speaks Truth!

Listen to Elihu:

“My heart trembles at this.  Listen.  Listen to the thunder of His Voice.  It rolls across the heavens and His Lightening flashes out in every direction.  Afterwards comes the roaring of the thunder — the tremendous Voice of His Majesty.

His Voice is glorious in the thunder.  We cannot comprehend the Greatness of His Power.  For He directs the snow, the showers, and storm to fall upon the earth.  Man’s work stops at such a time so that all men everywhere may recognize His Power.  The wild animals hide in the rocks or in their dens.

From the south comes the rain; from the north, the cold.  God blows upon the rivers and even the wildest torrents freeze.  He loads the clouds with moisture and then sends forth the lightening.  The lightening bolts are directed by His Hand and do whatever He commands through the earth.  He sends the storms as punishment or, in His Loving Kindness, to encourage.

Listen, O Job, stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God.  Do you know how God controls all nature and causes the lightening to flash forth from the clouds?  Do you understand the balancing of the clouds with wonderful perfection and skill?  Do you know why you become warm when the south wind is blowing and everything is still?  Can you spread out the gigantic mirror of the skies as He does?

You, who think you know so much, teach the rest of us how we should approach God.  For we are too dull to know!  With your wisdom, would we then dare to approach Him?  Well, does a man wish to be swallowed alive?  

For as we cannot look at the sun with its brightness when the winds have cleared away the clouds, neither can we gaze at the terrible majesty of God breaking forth upon us from heaven, clothed in dazzling splendor.  We cannot imagine The Power of The Almighty and yet He is so just and merciful that He does not destroy us.  No wonder men everywhere fear Him!  For He is not impressed by the world’s wisest men!”

Job 37: 1-24 (The Living Bible)

 

God Spoke!

It is very interesting that after this discourse by Elihu, the first verse of Job 38 records, “Then The Lord answered Job from the whirlwind.”

Could it be that The Lord finally heard some Truth from one of His earth people?  Someone, who had recognized that He, The Lord God Almighty is indeed Mighty?  That He, The Lord God, is Author of the storm, Controller of the storm, Director of the storm, and The One Who decides when the storm is ended.  

How interesting that some good Christians resist the term that even pagans use — “the storm was an Act of God!”

God did not speak to Job from the place of silence.  He spoke to Job from the center of the storm … the whirlwind itself.  And so it has been with me.  While I have whined and complained and tried to figure out Life’s storms, God has not been impressed.  

Remember, Elihu noted that God is not impressed by even the world’s wisest men (or women).  And I’m not even close to the world’s wisest!

 

Learning God’s Language

If I hear someone speaking French, I do not spend a lot of time pondering why they are speaking French.  I know they are French and do not speak the same language I speak.  I, therefore, concentrate not on why they are speaking French, but rather on the meaning of what they are saying.  Should it be any different with God?

He is God.  He told us plainly His Ways are not our ways.  

“For My Thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways My Ways,”

declares The Lord.

“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

God speaks a different language from mere humans.  We need to learn His Language, and then we will come closer to understanding Him.  Lesson One is:

Be still and know that I am God!

Psalm 46:10

While we cannot control the storms of life, we can seek to understand what God is saying to us, in the midst of the storm.  We can be still and know that He is God.  We can be confident that He will speak … and often, from the very center of the storm, not at its end.

 

God Answers Questions with Questions

When God spoke to Job, it was not to answer Job’s questions.  It was to question Job.  I encourage you to read Job 38 – 42  and see if you can answer the questions God had for Job.

Job knew the answers to God’s questions.  And the sum of all his knowing was simply God was indeed God, and he, Job was not.  God was clearly on the throne and Job was on his knees, in worship.

 

Who is God?

Job aptly stated the cry of one for whom the storm clouds have parted and revealed not only the message, but The Messenger Himself.  Job said,

“I know that You can do anything

and that no one can stop You.

You ask who it is who has so foolishly 

denied Your Providence.

It is I.

I was talking about things

I knew nothing about 

and did not understand,

things far too wonderful for me.

You said,

‘Listen and I will speak!

Let Me put the Questions to you!

See if you can answer them!’

But now I say,

‘I had heard about You before,

but now I have seen you …'”

Job 42: 2-5

Please pray for all those who are going through storms of any kinds right now.  Pray that they will be still and know that God is God and He is very present in the storm with them.  Pray that they would know God is stronger than any storm anywhere.  Pray that those in a storm will listen to God and know there is no safer place to be than with Him.

And know that if you are the one going through a storm, I am praying for you right now, as I write.

And pass on this blog to others that they may know God is present with them in all His Power.  Trust Him!

 

Sunset

Search for Significance

This blog is dedicated to my friend, John Huang,

who posed questions and reflections in his blog that led to my reflection.

You can view John’s post at http://www.huangswhinings.com

Recently a friend of mine wrote in his blog about his personal search for significance.  He was considering the things in life that really matter.

 

Remembering The Dearly Departed

Many obituaries detail a list of what is perceived as the person’s worldly accomplishments.

The dearly departed had x many degrees and high powered jobs.  This person got someone to live with them for x number of years as a marriage partner and produced, either directly or indirectly, x more humans to add to the world.  Are these things really important?  Yes, they are, but only as helps to achieving what Jesus gave as the “Prime Directives “ for our time on earth.

 

Teacher of The Law Meets Master Teacher

A man who had already achieved being a teacher of The Law, was intent on doing the right things to be successful.  After listening to Jesus debating with some of his peers, the teacher pegged Jesus as a wise man, Who seemed to have good answers.  The teacher of The Law had an important question.

Let’s listen in on the conversation between the teacher of The Law and Jesus.

One of the teachers of the law came

and heard them debating.

Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer,

he asked Him,

“Of all The Commandments, 

which is the most important?”

“The most important one,”

answered Jesus,

“is this:  Hear O Israel:

The Lord our God,

The Lord is One.

Love The Lord your God

with all your heart

and with all your soul

and with all your mind

and with all your strength.

The second is this:

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

There is no Commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:28-31

God’s Prime Directive

When God looks at us, it would seem He doesn’t even note all the things we call accomplishments.  He looks at just the criteria Jesus spelled out that day:

1.  Do we recognize that God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit are One?

2.  Do we love The One with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?

3.  Do we love our neighbor (and He later defined neighbor to be everyone … not just those who live next door)?

4.  Do we love our neighbor as we love ourselves?  (You mean it is ok to love ourselves?  Yes, because of Who lives inside us!)

 

Qualifying for Heaven

If I get to the Pearly Gates and seek admission to Heaven, it might go like this.  

I arrive with a heavy backpack of verifications of earthly accomplishments.  I have a marriage license and a birth announcement of my child’s arrival.  I have a ton of pictures.  I have certificates, diplomas, newspaper and magazine clippings verifying my accomplishments.  I have books and magazines and scores of music compositions.  I have video tapes of some of my finest moments.

God asks, “What do you have to show for your time on earth?  Tell me how you fulfilled the goals of your assignment there.”

I might proudly say, “I was a wife and a mother.”

He would say, “How did you use that assignment to bring Glory to Me and meet objectives 1-4?”

 

I might say, “I have a college education.  I was a member and officer of various clubs in High School and College.”

He would say, “How did you use that assignment to bring Glory to Me and meet objectives 1-4?”

 

I might say, “I had a long nursing career.  I even helped start the first inpatient Hospice in the state of Kentucky.”

He would say, “How did you use that assignment to bring Glory to Me and meet objectives 1-4?”

 

I might say, “After being a nurse, I was a teacher.  I taught others how to be nurses.”

He would say, “How did you use that assignment to bring Glory to Me and meet objectives 1-4?”

 

Perhaps feeling a bit frustrated that all my answers were being met with the same questions, I might say,

“But, beyond that, I became an author.  I published in professional journals.  I wrote and published Sunday School lessons on line.  I taught Sunday School.  I wrote books.  I even wrote a blog!”

He would say, “How did you use that assignment to bring Glory to Me and meet objectives 1-4?”

 

Nearing the bottom of my backpack of accomplishments, I might say,

“I composed music.  I sang for groups and for people individually.  I even sang on a You Tube video, sharing the music.”

He would say, “How did you use that assignment to bring Glory to Me and meet objectives 1-4?”

 

 

God Reviews The Qualifications for Heaven

I sense by that point, He might step away from The Gate and beckon me to come closer.

“You have told Me all about the Gifts I gave you to help you bring Glory to Me and meet objectives 1-4.  You can put your trophies away now.  You can’t bring them in here.

You didn’t seem to have many answers for the questions I have been asking you.  So let me break it down for you.

  1. Who do you say I AM?
  2. Do you love Me?
  3. How much of My Love have you shared with those persons who are not like you?  Do you love them like I do?  Do you look them seeing Me in them as their Creator and yours?  Do you recognize Me in them?  (Sometimes the first step is your being able to see Me in them, even before they recognize Me!)
  4. Finally, do you love yourself, knowing you are exactly who I created you to be?  Oh yes, there may be some rough edges yet to be polished, and some dirt to be removed, but do you know that at your very center, I AM.  Go back and review questions 1 and 2.

I don’t think you are ready to come inside yet.  I think you need a little more time on earth to think this out.  Review the prime objectives for your time on earth and be ready to report when I call you back.”

 

Why Am I Here?

If this were the scenario, I’m not sure whether I would feel disappointed not to have entered Heaven or whether I would feel relieved to have another chance to meet the Prime Objectives for my time on Earth.

My view has changed from what it once was.  I recognize with humility that any earth trophies I have managed to get won’t be going with me through Heaven’s Gates.

I also know that I have not been sent here to be a mirror of other people’s views, either to agree with them or to push back at them.  I am a window to allow others to see God’s Love, Goodness and Mercy.  I am here to help others hear His Knock at the door.  I am here to go with them to open the door with Joy and Expectation.

The most significant thing I can do in life is to show God’s Love and do all to His Glory.  It is He Who is The Life of Significance!

The best and truest thing that can be said about anyone is what Jesus said of His Relationship with His Father.

“Anyone who has seen me

has seen The Father.”

John 14:9

In my case, my hope and prayer is that they will see through my imperfections to The Perfect One Who lives inside me!

 

Note:  I have just started a new video teaching series.  The first video post includes a Love Song God gave me to sing.  When I asked Him where He was, He answered!  I would love for you to join my husband and me on the video journey.  I invite you to my book web site, where you can find the links to either You Tube or God Tube.  

www.christianreading.com/cjones

Heart

Knock! Knock! Who’s There?

Life comes from the inside and goes outward.  

Babies grow in the womb.   Then Life inside comes out.

Chicks grow inside the egg.  Then Life inside comes out.

Butterflies grow inside a cocoon.  Then Life inside comes out.

Fruits, Nuts and Vegetables grow inside their shells or outer covering.  Then Life inside comes out.

Even as we do not notice, our old skin is being pushed away and new skin replaces it.  Life inside comes out.

Life comes from the inside, not the outside.

So how is it that we reverse things when we think of Jesus in our hearts?  Many of us grew up hearing we should “invite Jesus into our hearts.”  As a child, I wondered where Jesus was before I invited Him into my heart.  As an adult, I never fully understood it either.

I looked at the famous picture of Jesus knocking on the door.  He always seemed to be outside the door waiting for me to answer the door.

And then one day I realized I had it backwards.  You see, Jesus created this house, called my body.  It’s His house and He has lived there from the beginning.  He was already in my heart, not by my choice, but by His.  He was waiting for me to discover He was there.  He knocked!

He does knock on the door to our hearts … from the inside.  If you place a stethoscope over my heart or your heart, you can hear Him knocking.  He wants us to open our hearts so He can come out where we can more fully experience Him.  He wants to go together with us into the world.

Take a few moments and enjoy His Reassuring Knock.  And then open the door and let Him in … into your life fully … and into the world!

Here I AM!  

I stand at the door and knock.  

If anyone hears My Voice and opens the door, 

I will come and eat with that person, 

and them with Me.  

Revelation 3:20

… I AM in you!

John 14:20

… The Kingdom of God is within you!

Luke 17:21

Knock-Door

The Man In The Rain — Remembering Wayne Smith

Many words will be written in the coming days in memory of Wayne Smith, who was promoted to Glory yesterday.  Wayne was the founding minister of Southland Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky.  The church grew far beyond what Wayne envisioned at the beginning.

But this is not a story about that church.  It is the story of a man I met in the rain.  

Some years ago, our daughter attended The Lexington Christian Academy, which was based at Southland Christian Church.  I picked her up after school each day.

One day, as I reached the parking lot, it began to pour rain.  Fortunately I was early.  So I just sat in the car.  What was a simple gentle rain quickly became a storm.  All Heaven seemed to open, and everyone there poured buckets of water down on the earth.

It was raining so hard, I could hardly see the church.  But as I waited, a short, rather “portly” man emerged from inside the building.  He had no raincoat.  But he was holding an umbrella.

Slowly, he made his way to the parking lot.  He stopped by a car and helped a lady out.  He held the umbrella over her and gently placed her hand on his arm.  He then slowly returned to the building, getting wet himself, since there was not enough room for both of them to be covered by the umbrella.

He ushered the lady back to the building and then held the door open for her.  She went in.  However, he didn’t go in.  He returned outside into the storm.    He seemed to be scanning the parking lot.

Much to my amazement, he then began slowly walking out into the pouring rain again.  He went to another car and repeated the same process.  He helped a man out of his car, and guided him under the umbrella and together they returned to the building.

I saw him repeat this process several more times, each time becoming more and more soaked himself.  I did not know who he was.  All I knew was that he was an amazingly kind man, who didn’t mind getting wet, so others could stay dry.

While I was pondering the wonder of the scene that had unfolded before me, I saw him again coming out to the parking lot.  But this time, he was coming toward me.  I wondered if he was going to a car behind me.  However, he stopped next to my car!

Over the roar of the wind, he yelled, “Wanna go inside?”

I felt a bit guilty because I did not need to go inside.  My usual routine was to wait and our daughter came out to the car.  So I told him no thank you.  He took a moment to wipe the rain off his glasses, and then started back.  But as he went, he called back, “If you change your mind, I’ll be over there.”

He sloshed his way back to near the building and continued his watch of the parking lot.  As quickly as the storm had come up, it was over.  He folded up his umbrella and went inside.

It was only later that I found out that the man in the rain was The Reverend Wayne Smith, the pastor of the church.  I was to see him many other times over the years, often at ordinary places, such as Waffle House or Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Once I heard someone come up to him and call him “Reverend Smith.”  He laughed, the kind of laugh that seemed to originate in heaven, a laugh soaked in Joy.

He extended his hand to that person and said, “I’m not Reverend.  I’m Wayne.  Why don’t you sit down and have a cup of coffee.”

When he had open heart surgery later, the surgeons might have thought it a privilege to get a glimpse of that magnificent heart.  But many others had already seen it.  He had the kind of heart that expanded beyond the confines of a human body.

Jesus comes to us in many ways.  He sees us through all our storms and seeks us out.  He puts our hands around His Arm and guides us to shelter.  He invites us in.  And if we say no the first time, He tells us where He will be if we change our minds.

He introduces Himself without titles or pretense.  He invites us to stay and dine with HIm.

I am sure all the Saints of God rejoiced when Wayne arrived in Heaven.  And I imagine him sitting down and immediately starting a story about his adventures on earth.  

As I often do, when it rains, I will think of Wayne.  I think the best way to remember him will be to look for those in a life storm and go to them with an umbrella.

 

Heart

How To Comfort Those Who Are Hurting

A World That Needs Comfort

There are so many who need comforting.  Often while we desire to comfort others, we don’t know what to say or what to do.

Sometimes people say things that really don’t help.  Sometimes people try to talk about something else they are comfortable with in an effort to disract those who are suffering.  When those approaches don’t work, sadly people walk away and leave the suffering ones to suffer alone.

 

What You Need to Comfort Others

There is one crucial step to be able to comfort others.  We mujst receive Comfort from God for ourselves.  We cannot give that which we have never received.

 

Refusing To Be Comforted

Jeremiah 31:15 speaks of grief that cut so deeply that the mothers “refused to be comforted.”  Are there things that have wounded you so deeply that you refuse to let God comfort you?

Why would we refuse comfort?  Often it is because we no longer trust God.  Satan is quick to remind us God could have at least prevented that which caused us such great pain.  The questions linger of why He would allow us to suffer.

Questions cascade into fear.  If God allowed this deep wound, what else would He allow in the future?

 

God’s Answer to Allegations That He Doesn’t Play Fair!

God spoke to the questioning Job, simply reminding him that He was God.

God spoke, promising when (not if) we go through the deep waters, we will not drown.  When we go through the fire, we will not be burned.

God spoke, telling us He loves us with an Everlasting Love.

God spoke through David telling us He is our Shephered and we have everything we need.  His Goodness and Mercy will follow us all the days of our life.

God spoke, telling us He knows The Plans He has for us and they are Good Plans.

 

Can You Forgive God?  Will You Trust Him?

Can you forgive God for not creating the world you wanted Him to create for you and your loved ones?  Can you allow Him to be Who He is — The Creator?  Can you be who you are — His Created?  Can you accept He will bring good out of things that look unbelievably bad to you now?  Can you trust Him for this moment and also with your future?  

To be comforted is to believe Him and trust Him, no matter how fiercely the storm rages, no matter how deep the waters, no matter how hot the fire and no matter that we see no good in the plans that seem to be unfolding.

 

Receiving God’s Comfort and Letting It Overflow to Others

Take a few moments and consider whether there is any place in your life where you have refused to be comforted.  Do you trust God?  Settle the matter wih God now.

Receive His Comfort so you can be at Peace and comfort others with His Peace.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

Who comforts us in all our troubles,

so that we can comfort those in any trouble

with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  

For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives,

so also through Chist our comfort overflows.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Heart

Can We Hoard God’s Word?

As we have gone further into our home clean up project, we have learned much about ourselves.

It has been interesting to see what each of us is willing to give up and what we aren’t.  We have been forced to consider whether we are hoarders or guardians of precious treasures.

Today God and I had a conversation about whether I was hoarding His Word.  Ironically on the same day we were getting ready to contribute to an organization that gives Bibles, I cleaned out the bookcase in our family room.

I cheerfully loaded up a box with books to go to the library.  The box did not include the various Bibles I had collected over the years.

I felt God’s Nudge.

“What about My Word?”  He said.

I smiled, being sure He would be proud of me for taking such good care of The Bibles.  I pointed out how I had put them right back on the shelf.

There seemed to be a Holy Silence, followed by a deep Celestial Sigh.

“I thought you wanted to share My Word.”

“I do.  We’re contributing to that Bible group today.”

“What about those Bibles on the shelf?  Are you going to share them?”

I explained how I had received each of them on special occasions.  I reminded Him that most had my comments written in them.

He asked, “So, let Me understand this.  You have multiples copies of My Truth, along with Truths I have revealed to you.  And you plan to keep them closed up and on display here?”

It was my turn to sigh.  Oh …

I added The Bibles to the box.  I am making a donation tomorrow.  It has given me Joy tonight to contemplate who might be surprised to receive a Bible with “Carolyn’s Commentary” written in the margins!

Perhaps you might also want to send out God’s Words.  You may never know where they will go, but you can trust God will see they get delivered to the right person at the right time!

As recorded in Isaiah 55:11, God said,

“My Word … shall not return to Me empty,

but will accomplish what I desire

and achieve The Purpose for which I sent it!”

 

Heart

 

Your Scars: Evidence that God’s Got You Covered!

Most of us try very hard to cover up our struggles, our wounds and scars.  We believe they will somehow detract from our Christian witness.

 

And yet, Jesus, Who could have resurrected without His Wounds and Scars, chose to give a vivid Life Lesson.  

 

Jesus called Thomas’ attention to His Wounds, even encouraging him to touch them.  Why?  Was Jesus seeking pity?  No!

 

He wanted Thomas (and us) to understand that the reality was He had suffered.  Jesus had already told His Followers,

“In this world, you will have trouble.”  

John 16:33

 

But the Greater Reality came through His next Words.  

“But take heart!  I have overcome the world!”

John 16:33

 

Whatever has happened, is happening, or will happen in your life, He can still bring New Life through you.  Your scars are not there for you to pick the scabs off and be hurt all over again.  Your scars are there to remind you that Jesus has covered and healed your wounds.

 

When I saw that our rose bushes had come under significant attack I was not sure they would return with their beautiful blooms this year.  And yet … they are now thriving and blooming even while showing the evidence of the battle.

 

I find most inspiring those people, who are honest and up front about their struggles, but also proclaim faithfully through their lives the Truth of …

“The One Who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world!”  

1 John 4:4

 

They shine with true beauty even while under attack.  When you think of the wounds of your life, don’t go back and live through the pain all over again.  You will remember that the battle happened, but praise God that He won it for you.  Your scars are Loving Reminders that He has you covered!

 

Rose-Flower

Joy Thief

In referring to satan, Jesus said,

“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy …”

John 10:10

 

What is the thief going to steal?

Your Joy

 

Why does he want your Joy?

Because “The Joy of The Lord is your strength!”

Nehemiah 10:10

 

Once satan steals your joy, he has your strength.  And then he will try to kill you by continuing to steal from you.

 

The Result?

“A crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Proverbs 17:22

 

That was the bad news.  Now for The Good News!

Read the rest of John 10:10.  Jesus added,

“I have come that they may have Life, and have it to the full!”

 

Don’t open the door to a thief who will take from you.  Open the door to The One Who wants to give you a LIFE!

 

Thief