Divine Power to Demolish

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.

On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

—2 Corinthians 10:3-4

When discouragement comes my way, I cannot pick up a big stick and hit it.

If regret comes prowling around my heart, I cannot shut a door and keep it out.

When failure threatens to tear down success, I cannot push it away with strong arms.

The wiles of the enemy must be conquered through prayer and the power of God.

As I see strongholds of many kinds tightly binding those I love, I grieve for their condition and I long to help.

By myself, I can do nothing.

With God as my heavenly Father, I can pray and ask for His victorious  divine power to break the chains that hold them captive.

God is our healer.

He is the One who restores.

He makes things new.

He frees us from the ravages of the enemy.

He delivers us from evil.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

strongholds

He Will Not Leave You

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

—Deuteronomy 31:8

 

There’s a hurricane coming to my area.

It is forecast to be here in a matter of hours.

God had a plan for Joshua to lead His people after Moses.

Moses encouraged Joshua with these words:

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

—Deuteronomy 31:8

God will not leave His children.

Not in a hurricane.

Or an earthquake.

Not in a tornado.

Or a tsunami.

Not in a time of drought.

Or in a flood.

God will not leave His children or forsake them.

 

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Distress

You know them, just like I do.

Right now–this very day–you could probably name a family member who is struggling in some way.

You’ve likely heard of a devastating car accident in your area, or a house fire.

People that have always seemed healthy now have cancer; some are young.

Some are older.

Maybe just this year you’ve had good friends get a divorce.

Others may be grieving tremendously because someone they loved very much has died.

You know them, just like I do.

As Christians, what are we to say to comfort others who are facing strong difficulties?

I often listen to the radio on my drive to work.

There is a song that has found its way into my heart for quite some time now.

It is titled, “Just Say Jesus” by the group 7eventh Time Down.

Here is a portion of the lyrics:

Life gets tough, and times get hard
It’s hard to find the truth in all the lies

If you’re tired of wondering why
Your heart isn’t healing
And nothing feels like home
Cause you’re lost and alone just screaming at the sky

When you don’t know what to say
Just say Jesus
There is power in the name
The name of Jesus
If the words won’t come
Cause you’re too afraid to pray
Just say Jesus

Whisper it now, or shout it out
However it comes out, He hears your cry
Out of nowhere He will come, you got to believe it
He will rescue you
Just call out to the Way, The Truth, The Light

As believers of Jesus, we know that there is power in the name of Jesus.

I think it is very good advice to tell someone who is hurting that they can just speak the name of Jesus as they struggle to even form words in the midst of devastating circumstances.

In fact, I think it is very good advice to remember it ourselves.

When we are hurting, we can just say, “Jesus” and He will hear us.

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears.

—Psalm 18:6

 

my cry

 

I Will Dwell

I went to a funeral today.

As I sat in the church listening to the pastor speak about my elderly friend, the words landed on my heart in agreement with what I already knew.

This man had lived his life for God and in service to the people around him.

A constant flow of care from God to him and from him to others, was evident.

Always encouraging, he spoke to me personally many times in appreciation of my efforts.

Speaking regularly in front of the congregation on Sundays, he would inspire those in the pews before him to gather together to help feed the needy in the community.

He gave of his own resources to equip other people as they heard God’s call to service.

As a loving husband, he cared for his ailing wife at home.

Listening to the pastor speak this morning, I learned that even as he was very ill and in the hospital, he was still showing paramount concern for other people.

The tone of the hour was reflective and loving as each person remembered their own experiences with this Christ-like gentleman.

There were tears and, at times, laughter, as his humor was recalled.

A sense of peace and joy could be felt as we sang the lyrics to “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art.”

Psalm 23 was printed in the order of service for everyone to read.

Our dear friend had lived his life in a close relationship with God.

That relationship did not end with his death; it simply continued on in a seamless passage from this earth to Heaven, where His Savior was waiting.

Knowing this brings great comfort when it is time to say goodbye…

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

–Psalm 23:6

 

surely goodness

 

 

Able to Give

 

As I stood in the backyard of a friend’s house, I admired the calm scene of water as it reflected the cloudy sky and the surrounding trees.

The afternoon visit was a contemplative one.

My friend and her husband had suffered a great loss.

Their infant son—only a few days old—passed away while in the hospital recently.

I am hoping that I will be able to comfort them in the coming weeks and months.

God has comforted me during times of loss, as well.

My husband and I lost a child through miscarriage and another child in an accident.

How can I help my friends?

The Bible says,

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

2 Corinthians 1:4

Is there someone you could comfort and encourage today?

 

comforts us

Cleanse Us

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

The old garage door near the church was surrounded by smooth, nicely painted walls.

Looking at the photograph I took of it, I wonder—why hadn’t the door been painted nicely and repaired?

It looked tattered and worn out—like many desperate people in this world.

They feel dirty and guilty, used up and torn up, stripped and faded, hopeless and lost.

With an outlook tinted with shame, they see what looks like a clean, smooth surface on others’ lives.

No one could accept them in their broken condition, they think.

Family couldn’t.

Friends couldn’t.

Certainly God couldn’t.

After all, they’ve messed things up.

There’s nowhere left to go to escape the mirror of accusation that hangs on every wall they encounter…

In the last two weeks, I have learned of two people I know—both in very different walks of life—who have taken their own lives.

They lived hundreds of miles from one another, but they both shared hopelessness.

For a crucial moment, they failed to look at God’s unlimited power and grace and instead, looked at their own lack of ability to repair and restore.

God can accept anyone in any condition.

Broken.

Dirty.

Guilty.

Used up.

Torn up.

Stripped.

Faded.

Hopeless.

Lost.

Friends may not accept us.

Family may not.

But, God?

He is ALWAYS ready to heal and to forgive!

To CLEANSE us from ALL unrighteousness!

If we cry out to God from our brokenness, confessing our sin and our mistakes, we will be forgiven.

We can start over.

We can begin again.

It’s not too late for any of us, ever.

 

confess

 

 

 

Your Requests

What do you wish for?

As I was walking on a small bridge above a pond of water, I noticed that people had thrown coins into the water to make a wish.

Although I do not know how that tradition ever came about, I am certain that throwing money into water does nothing to help.

What is a wish, anyway?

A hope or desire?

I wish for many things.

Not a bigger house or an expensive car.

Many of the things I wish for I could not bring about.

I wish for a better relationship with someone that I love very much who is within my family.

I wish for the salvation of my unsaved friends.

I wish for good health for people I know who are very ill.

I can do my part in attaining wishes like these.

It will never involve throwing coins into a body of water…

I can work toward being friendly and loving to help a relationship mend.

I can talk to friends about Jesus and what He has done in my life.

I can encourage friends who are ill with cards, phone calls and visits.

But cause someone’s heart to change?

God will need to do that.

See salvation come to a lost soul?

God will need to draw them to repentance.

Hear a diagnosis of remission of cancer?

God will have to heal and restore.

There’s one more thing I can do besides wish…

In fact, it’s the most important thing.

I can pray and talk to God about my hopes.

About my desires.

I can pray for healed relationships.

I can pray for physical healings.

I can pray for the salvation of others.

What do you wish for?

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:6-7

 

peace of

 

 

In Every Situation

 

 

 

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

—2 Thessalonians 3:16

 

What can we do when bad news arrives?

Last week, we found out that the young son of someone we know has leukemia.

About the same time, some new friends of ours had a baby very prematurely and the baby died.

What could be said at times like these?

I am not a doctor, so I would not have been able to advise either couple on medical issues, even though I really do care.

Nor am I able to heal a broken heart, even though I hope for that healing.

Jesus is the Lord of peace, however, and He can carry any of us through any and every situation—even illness and death.

How does He do that?

I don’t know.

I just know that He knows all things and He is able to do all things.

Even when it seems impossible, He can comfort and heal.

His peace

 

To Number

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It has been a night to speak about important matters.

I have a family member who has a terminal illness.

While speaking with him, he mentioned this quote by Winston Churchill:

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

It is difficult for our loved one to communicate, but I think I understood why these words were spoken.
As a Christian, the life he has lived here is only the beginning of his eternal life.
His passing from this earth is not the end for him.
It’s not even the beginning of the end.
The Bible says,
“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.”
—Psalm 90:12
While some people live to be 100 years old and a little beyond while in their mortal state, we all know that the time will come for all people to die.
Understanding that our time is limited–even if we were to live to be 100–we come to the realization that our our days are numbered and they are precious.
With wisdom that can only come from God, we can choose wisely how to spend our time.
Our lives here may be long or they may be short by human standards.
Even so, when we die, it is not the end….
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number

For the Joy

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What is joy?

What is happiness?

Recently, I heard someone say that joy was the result of Jesus and that happiness was the result of happenings.

This is one of those statements that can be taken apart and pondered over from every angle.

What kinds of happenings make us happy?

Driving a new car?

Getting married?

Being selected for a special job?

Winning a medal?

Having a baby?

Finishing school?

Falling in love?

Almost anything could make us happy in the right circumstances.

What kind of joy does Jesus give?

That’s more difficult to describe, isn’t it?

A sense of deep personal worth.

A strong awareness of His presence.

A faith that comforts.

A belief that above all else, we are loved.

Joy comprises all these and more.

Of great importance is the distinction between things that could happen and what is already and forever in existence.

The joy in our heart that comes from Jesus fills our souls, remaining a constant source.

Happiness from any given situation may flourish and then decrease.

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Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

—from Nehemiah 8:10

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joy of the LORD

 

 

To Be With Me

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It really needed to be done.

It was definitely time to throw some things away, straighten up, clean and rearrange.

The “office” room is where my computer lives, along with two bookshelves that are packed and a host of other important (to me) items.

Things like old photo albums, camera boxes and a microphone stand.

A hard hat that I wore while on a tree logging tour. (What????)

A wooden back scratcher given to me while staying at a cottage on the Gulf of Mexico.

Even a hand made (but not functional) shofar used in one of the musicals I directed years ago.

You know…..stuff like that.

While going through a stack of papers, I found a little Polaroid photograph of our second son as a young child.

As I recall, there was an event at church where children were supposed to dress up as animals.

One of the men at the church dressed as Noah.

Each child could have their portrait made with Noah.

According to the sign on the wall in the picture, portraits were available for 50 cents each.

Years later, our son was killed in a car accident as a teenager…..

As I picked up the old photo of our son and the “pretend” Noah, there was a split second of grief shooting into my heart.

Following right behind it with lightning speed, these words came to my mind:

“He’s with the “real” Noah, now.”

Yes.

That’s right.

My son knew Jesus while here on Earth, and God has given me assurance that he is in Heaven right now.

I don’t think I’ve ever considered that my son is able to see Noah and talk to him.

It just hadn’t crossed my mind.

What was the cost to be with Noah in Heaven?

Much more than all the money in world.

It cost the death of Jesus on the cross.

My son is with Jesus today, along with Noah and countless others.

Now, when I look at that picture, joy springs forth.

Thank You, God, for bringing comfort out of pain. Thank You for salvation and the promise of Heaven for those who believe.

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Jesus said,

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”

—John 14:1-4

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the place