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Showing posts with label Jesus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jesus. Show all posts

Sunday, August 14, 2016

I Searched for You




We searched all over for you. Remember me? I met you sitting on the curb by Goodwill and got down beside you. We chatted for quite a while and it was easy to tell that life had thrown you some nasty curve balls in the last few months.

My heart went out to you, but we felt so helpless. I even asked you, ‘what can I do, how can we help?’ It wasn’t money that you wanted and you said so, but we did go to a nearby restaurant together to get a bite to eat.

The timing may have seemed off to some since we were super busy at home with a wedding coming up as well as BnB guests, but bringing you home with us was hardly the solution anyway because there are not many job opportunities in a rural area such as where we live.
You said you wanted to come to church with us and would find a way, but we knew that would be easier said than done since so much had been stolen from you already, including your cell phone.

So we came into town tonight, a week later,  using the excuse of picking up groceries. You weren’t where we expected to find you nor at any of the other places where the homeless might be inclined to hang out and we drove around for a long time looking.
We found another girl who was obviously troubled; her eyes red,  face sad and we told each other maybe that was who God wanted us to come into town to comfort, but I wasn’t totally convinced.

Where are you? Are you reaching up and holding to the Good Shepherd’s hand? Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Let Him hold your hand so it won’t slip. Remember He is always looking out for you even when you can’t feel Him. Learn to trust Him and surrender your all to Him and He will lead you down the tunnel where there is a light at the end.





You, and you and you…are in my thoughts and prayers.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hope for the Hopeless



Tired, always tired, and gaunt, you wouldn’t look in the mirror if it was thrust in your face because you knew what you’d see and it isn’t a pretty sight.
Faded, unwashed hair straggling around your face is the least of your concerns, but the eyes…Oh those eyes, the dark look of hopelessness looming there is what makes others look away, it is so, so…what it is? Only you can say for sure: lonely? Despairing? Filled with a lifetime of pain, heartache, and grief?
You are plodding down a crowded street, shoved or avoided by the hurrying throng that you hardly notice, but you need a fix: that is your consuming desire, a fix, a fix, but that is exactly what you wanted to avoid at all costs.
 For ten, fifteen, maybe even twenty years or more your life has been a mess of addiction, prostitution and other details known only know to you but where oh where can you get your next very fleeting thrill from a pill, a bottle or a needle?
Natalie, yes, that’s a real person, was facing the same desperate situation once.  After serving time in jail, you can imagine what for, she had nowhere to turn, no place to live but, maybe with her sister.
She had been wandering, drifting for so many years that she absolutely loathed it. After reaching the empty apartment Natalie wandered out to the balcony and thought of ending her life by jumping down, but it wasn’t far enough. Across the normally teeming street was a new building going up with scaffolding high in the air. That’s where she was headed: that would be a good place to leap from.
 For some reason there was no one around which was very unusual, as she crossed the street, however, a small black man came out of the shadows and handed her a handwritten letter while saying: ‘Jesus loves you’. She paused to read it and one thing lead to another until she found out about Heart Seasons.
If you live in New York City maybe you have heard about them.
Natalie found a group of people with as bad a history as hers. She found other ‘sisters’ who had tried to recover countless times from addictions, but here at Heart Seasons there was hope. Yes, there really was.
This center was different than many; it focused on Jesus as the only answer. The program was strict, really strict for they were expected to take part in several hours of Bible study every single day, and were not allowed to ever leave without an escort.
After a year and a half or way longer if they wanted, if a person stuck with the program they could graduate, if they were ready. Being ready meant being able to rent an apartment and have a job for at least three months. Most were terrified of leaving, but of course,
they weren’t abandoned, they had their support group, and best of all they had Jesus.
Are you like Natalie, desperate, despairing and certain you have tried every ‘solution’ out there?
There is hope. There truly is. Jesus can be your anchor from drifting back into sin. There are friends of Jesus who would love to reach out to you, also.
 Contact me, if you want and I’ll see what I can do to help. Look up Heart Seasons in the telephone book, or elsewhere. I’m trying to find an address for you.

Whatever you do, never, never, never give up; there is hope. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Let Him Hold You

Someone is trudging through a valley. Someone is carrying burdens heavier than you or I have ever carried, or maybe that someone is you. I prayed and prayed that I could write an article that would touch and comfort your heart but feel so inadequate.

The cry of my heart is: ‘Let my heart be broken by the things that break your heart, oh, God. Let’s me make a difference, let me bear the pain, give me Lord a caring heart.’ Those are words of my favorite song, but I have no idea who wrote them.  Maybe Bob Pierce?

You are suffering: maybe you have been imprisoned wrongfully and are beaten or subjected to solitary confinement or other cruelties. Maybe you are dying—I hate to write this word—of cancer and feel far too young to die. Maybe all your life you have endured shame and abuse and it feels like there is no way out.

What can I offer you? Reach out to the hand of Jesus if you haven’t already.  I have found him to be my greatest Comforter in the deepest of valleys.

Let go and rest in Him: let Him fill your being as you give yourself in full unconditional surrender to whatever you are facing. Don’t resist the cross you have to carry; it truly is a blessing in disguise.

Before I was healed I seemed to have sweeter communion with my Maker and now I have to struggle along like ‘normal’ people do. J

But, maybe on top of everything else you are facing persecution or some other form of abuse. I discovered a verse this morning that hopefully will be a blessing to you. ‘Show me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou Lord, has helped and comforted me.’ Psalms 86:17 Perhaps,  your sweet, Christ-like spirit will touch someone’s heart. Who knows?

Possibly you are closer to Heaven than the rest of us, or perhaps not. Don’t fear or resist the thought of ‘going through the veil’. If or when you do you are actually luckier than the others because you can meet Jesus, our Beloved Comforter, face to face, and your troubles, heartache and suffering will fall away like a garment.


Let Him Hold You!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Imitate Hezekiah

Have you ever been reluctant to do something good because you were indulging in something even better? The most sacred time of the day by far is in the early morning and late at night when everyone else is possibly sleeping. Sweet communion with the Heavenly Father is...matchless.

But-- and nay, I will not even sigh-- before dawn's early light God was inviting me to share this joy, this beauty with others like you. He had whispered the suggestion yesterday and I was prayerfully wondering how I could do justice to such a lovely topic as communion with the Father.

But do you know what? He introduced a new twist: the Bible opened to a verse about Hezekiah who was one of the good kings of Israel from the long ago Bible Times. Maybe that doesn't seem so significant but it is, it really, really is. Do you know why? It's because his Dad, King Ahaz was a nasty old man, pardon me for saying so. He sure found a lot of ways to do evil but the one that makes me cringe the most is that he 'burned his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen,"  (2nd Chronicles 28 part of verse three.) It's a good thing he spared Hezekiah, but we'll get to that later.  Because Ahaz was a man of power and great influence, many people suffered and even died as a result of his sins.

By now you must be convinced that I have Alzheimer's or something and wandered completely off the topic but I haven't. I wanted to lay this background so you would get a better idea why the verse I am coming to is so remarkable. It's referring to Hezekiah after he replaced his father as king.

OK, sit up straight, and listen: 'For he clave (clung,) to the Lord and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses.' (2nd Kings 18:6)

 That's the son of an evil man that we are talking about, but fortunately, he had a mother who loved the Lord, and so I am pretty sure both of them had learned how precious it is to pray, commune, fellowship, with the Lord God. That daily contact is vital. They were surrounded by evil, and maybe you are too, but get in touch with the Heavenly Father and cling to Him like Hezekiah did. Oh my, it is so worth it!
Thanks to Dr. James Dobson for this wonderful image. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The First Christmas Is Drawing Nigh


24th  Chisleu
December 9th
Dear Diary,
This has been a very, very hard day. I am almost too weary to write, but must because such memorable things are happening. My body is being wracked with pain. I’ve clung to the poor donkey’s neck and I let my veil conceal my face so Yosef would not see how difficult it has been for me. Not that I fooled him for one moment. He is so anxious, he keeps asking whether or not we should press on to reach Beth Lechem’s khan(inn), by nightfall or if he should let me rest more often.

As it is, many have tramped on ahead. We are left behind with the roving wild animals, the geshem,, and perhaps even bandits for company. But I do not need to think of that. My emotions are fragile for many reasonssomehow, I still know that Adonai,  hallowed be His Name,  will care for us and His own beloved Son.




24 Chisleu
December 9th
continued
This page will surely be unreadable because I can’t keep the tears from falling. We finally reached Beth Lechem by nightfall but there was no room at the khan, no room at all! All the rooms above the shelter for the animals were overcrowded with wealthy wayfarers, much wealthier than us. In the courtyard below, the animals had scarcely enough room to shuffle around.

The innkeeper seemed apologetic, but helpless. Yosef pleaded for him to suggest someplace—anywhere for us to stay, but the poor, overwrought innkeeper shook his head sorrowfully.
“I am sorry. So sorry,” the innkeeper said, stroking his long, wavy beard agitatedly. He lifted his hand to point at the people crowding around.
“See this multitude? They too are in the same predicament that you are in.”
“But is there not somewhere, anywhere that we can go?”

In Yosef’s desperation, he reached out to clutch the steward’s striped garment.

“Look, it is not for me that I am concerned,” Yosef continued, “t is for my wife! She is young, slight of build, yet great with child. I fear that all this traveling may bring travail upon her earlier than it ought. We need to find a shelter where she can rest.”

The paunchy innkeeper’s brow furrowed as he gazed around, as if looking for direction. Someone plucked at his sleeve, demanding attention, with a scowl he nudged him aside.

“On yonder ridge is the town, but you will fare no better there.  Nary a house is not overfilled with guests at this time. Many have long awaited the  census already,  and I fear no one is willing or able to take in more travellers.”

“But is there no where for us to go? We are of the lineage of David!

‘”The lineage of David? Aye, that should help, should help. Know you not of any relative you could stay with?”
            Yosef wrung his hands. “I know of none. We should have inquired earlier..

The innkeeper stepped back and fumbled with his sash. “This small town is not able to contain all those of David’s line.” He finally admitted, sighing heavily.
“Yonder ridge has its share of caves. Many of them will be used as stables in this present predicament, but if you can find a little rest in one of them, you are welcome to it. I will send a servant after you with fresh straw.

“If you require a midwife before the night is over, I may find a moment to check into it, but it will be nigh impossible to secure one at this time. More than one woman is in the same dire condition as your sweet wife.”

In gratitude, Yosef took his hand, clasped it, then reached for the lead strap on the donkey so we could clamber awkwardly down among the rocks in search of a grotto turned into a stable. I lowered the veil back over my face, lest Yosef would see the despair written there.

We did find a cave, however, without too much searching.

When Yosef was able to get the clay lamp lit, it seemed more cozy and inviting. It was rather crowded, unfortunately. Yosef is trying to
persuade some of our fellow cave dwellers to take their lowing, smelly, burden bearers and hustle off to give us a measure of peace.

I am so weary that all I want to do is remove my wet garments, find something dry to wear, and try to rest.  Yosef was rather anxiously fluffing up the fresh straw, which was delivered by a young lad with a hand cart, he is now shaking out our blanket.


I laid  the baby’s swaddling strips near the fire to dry. Fortunatelywe had kept one blanket packed well so it wouldn’t get wet on the trip. It was somewhat damp in a couple places but it was better than nothing. We sat beside a central fire until I was warmed up, which seemed to take
forever, then we crawled under our one rather thin blanket together.
In the stall next to ours are two donkeys, tied up, their owners are lounging against a nearby wall. At the far end of the cave, there is some activity going on. I think a shepherd is about to aid a ewe giving birth. Will there be two male ‘lambs’ born before the night is o’er?

24th Chisleu
December 9th
Dear Diary,
I feel that my time is drawing nigh, I am anxious. It is frightening to think of having my baby without my mother, or a midwife nearby. I am worried about the baby. What will happen if He comes before we can move on to a better dwelling? This cave is not clean enough!

Two of the wayfarers, a middle-aged couple, were cooperative and helped us out. Some of the others growled that they were here first and were not at all inclined to be agreeable under such chilly weather conditions.

I fear they have been indulging too long in the wine that is red.

Oh, surely, surely Adonai, hallowed be His Name, will be with me during this difficult time. My every breath is a prayer that  Adonai will
protect His own Beloved Son and me.

By the dejected slope of Yosefs shoulders, I can sense that he feels that he has somehow failed me and us. I must stop writing now and tell him how warm and inviting it all looks by the light of the lamp. Surely these stabbing pains will ease now that I have a place to rest. It seems too soon for the little one to make His appearance.



Maybe you want this Christmas to be really refreshing. Maybe you are longing to have a real classical book to remind you of the true story of how Jesus came to earth and changed the world. Don't wait any longer. Here's a treasure that will be a precious reminder for years to come of how wonderful Jesus is. You might want to set it close to your Bible and use it as a Devotional, even.
https://www.createspace.com/4837922
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Friday, December 11, 2015

It's Coming Nearer!

Are you ready for Christmas? Are you sure? What about that story of Jesus' birth that you wanted to get for your children or grandchildren but in the hustle and bustle of the season it just didn't seem quite so important after all. Here's a little reminder of what the Christmas Season is all about. Sure it's called a Winter Holiday, or whatever now, but remember JOY to the world the LORD is come!! Imagine how sad this world would be if Jesus had NOT
 come!




20th  Chisleu
December 4th


Dear    Diary,
I am not feeling very brave today even though the stars are twinkling brightly in the otherwise black, early morning sky. Yosef is
loading Balaam, our donkey.

Somewhere, far, far away, in a place called Beth Lechem, the stars are also shining, I suppose, but the track is so rough and dark between here and there.

There are treacherous mountains just  few furlongs from the road we must take, who know what kinds of animals might come prowling around at night.

It will take us many days to get there, this is happening so close to when the baby is expected to arrive! I have never been far from home, except for the time I went to see Aunt Elisheva I dread this journey.

At least this time I will have Yosef with me. What a consolation. My deepest fear is for the Baby, because I am so near the end. Oh, if only it would have worked out to have left earlier. Will He be alright?

I know we will not be traveling alone but that is not much of a consolation.

Cousin Abigail, once my dearest friend, will be in the company, but she has been cool and aloof since my condition was revealed. It might be easier to handle than the scathing remarks Shoshoni made to Tamara at the marketplace. I think she knew  I might have overheard her.

My sister, Hanalei, claims Shoshoni has always been jealous of me, but why, I am not that special. Some have called me sweet and pretty but she is beautiful and sophisticated. Besides, her father is a prosperous  merchant and we are so poor.

It has been such a trial since the villagers shunned me  While whispering behind their hands.



I am so lonely for the merry prattle we aant’ats used to share when we met at the well each morning. Now everyone just falls silent or walks slowly away while
my eyes dolefully follow them. Oh well, it could be so much worse.

For some reason, and I am not sure why, it has not made that great of a difference that Yosef married me. Is it because of Yaakov? I probably shouldn’t have written that, yet I do know that someone is spreading rumors that Yosef is not the father of my child. Obviously, I am too far along for it to have happened since we were betrothed…

They have been saying that I was overtaken by a Roman soldier. They do ravage careless maidens at will, especially while in a drunken stupor. Of course, that is so impossible! My parents would never let their daughters be alone if they had to be out at night.

My aleichem(neighbors), could be making cutting remarks to my face but most of them don’t.

I mentioned Shoshoni, but really, most of them don’t say anything much . . . in my presence, at least. Sometimes I fear that the Little One I care about so deeply may have to suffer much worse persecution than I. Oh, how I yearn to protect Him!

Why do such thoughts come to me? Most people are confident  that the Mashiach will be a glorious King and will rule with a scepter of gold. If that is the whole
truth, why would a poor talitha like me be asked to be His mother? It is confusing. I am so inadequate for such a privilege, and it is such an awesome responsibility.

I wish Imma could come along to Beth Lechem. It would be such a comfort. But, on the other hand, maybe it is better that she is not able. She tends to worry so, saying things like,

“Be sure to keep warm, do not let yourself get too tired.”


She has told me that countless times, or so it seems. How can I keep from getting tired? I am worn out already, and we have not even begun. Imma is scurrying towards me with a nicely wrapped parcel of food for the journey. I really must go assist her.


Maybe you want this Christmas to be really refreshing. Maybe you are longing to have a real classical book to remind you of the true story of how Jesus came to earth and changed the world. Don't wait any longer. Here's a treasure that will be a precious reminder for years to come of how wonderful Jesus is. You might want to set it close to your Bible and use it as a Devotional, even.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

From Victim to Victory


Based on a true story.

Pete, Joe and Mike openly mocked when Stan came into their hospital ward.
                “Hey, Doug,” Joe called. “Yer old man is here. Do you think he’s gonna preach a sermon today?”
                Doug glowered towards the door, but dropped his eyes when Stan appeared.
                He muttered a few curses but managed to add “Hi, Dad,” when the tall, thin man sat down stiffly beside him.
                Doug sighed inwardly: another hour of enduring his father’s obvious discomfort with how his fellow Aids patients acted up. He knew without a doubt their actions were more unnatural, their language filthier when he came around.
                Doug sighed, again.  Why couldn’t he just bug off?  Just because I’m his son and dying of this creepy disease is no reason for him to stick around.
                “You, okay, son?”
                “Same as usual: no better, no worse,” he lied, although he knew perfectly well his life was ebbing out of him.
                “Is there anything I can do to help?” Stan sat with his hands tightly folded on his lap and Doug, as well as several others took note of the look of revulsion on his features.
Ya, Doug thought, just once you can get that awful nauseated look off your face and treat me like a human.
  What he didn’t know, however, was how desperately Stan was praying for compassion, for understanding towards these people.
                But one day Stan was different. He was still quiet and dignified, but he spoke to them with respect, and by name! He ever shook their hands when he greeted them.  The assortment of men viewed him with wary surprise.
                Stan continued to visit his son on a daily basis, and the men sensed that Stan was different, that he really did care about them. First one then another responded to the obvious love they felt from him, and some even started unburdening their hearts.
                It was a happy day when Doug, who had always been a wayward boy, broke down and confessed a fear of dying.
                “Dad,” he wept, “I need Jesus, but I’m so afraid He won’t accept me because I have sinned so badly."
                While the others listened in, Stan convinced his son that it was for people such as Doug that Jesus had laid down His life.
                Doug made such a complete change, and was so obviously at peace with God and man after he confessed his sins, that no one tried to dissuade him.  It was considered unusual how peacefully he died under the circumstances.
                Both the hospital staff and the patients were deeply impressed with the caring Stan showed, but Jesus helped him.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Are You Intimidated

Are You Intimidated?


Do you ever feel like kids are brats, and that’s not in the old-fashioned way when brat simply meant child?
Helen Keller was a classic example of a brat, but the most grudging among us would have to admit she had reason to be. She wasn’t born deaf and blind, but got that way from some sort of disease at the age of two.
At first Helen managed quite well. She had a little playmate, the cook’s daughter, who was two or three years older than her. This little girl was quite keen in catching the signals that indicated what Helen wanted to do.
Once when the girls were weary of cutting out paper dolls from a catalogue, Helen got the idea of snipping off Martha Washington’s tight little curls which were tied with string. Well, Martha wanted to return the ‘favor’ but after one long, gold strand was severed, Mama came to the rescue and put a stop to the beauty salon business.
As Helen grew older, her horizons widened, or rather she sensed they should be, but her handicaps were limiting her, and that made her increasingly frustrated. Her temper tantrums were getting so fierce and frequent that her parents were desperate to find help.
That’s when Anne Sullivan came on the scene. She was a young, trained teacher who took on the challenge of teaching an unloving, practically unlovable youngster.
Long before Helen would properly respond to love, Anne traced the letters I L O V E Y O U on her hand.
Is there a child in your life who is a challenge? Jesus can give you a deep, deep compassion for him or her, and more than that the inspiration and courage to make a difference that can last forever.

Please, whether you are a teacher, preacher, parent or some other relative or friend, look at that child through new eyes.  They need you to lead them out of their own maze of ‘deafness and blindness’ so they, too,  can become the treasure God created them to be.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fears


Never has it been so dark,
Rarely has it been so drear,
Hanging o’er my head an axe
Causing me such dreadful fears.

Eerie sounds of unknown source;
Swirling mists with lingering chill,
Self the cloak I huddle in
Feeling wretched, lost and ill.

Far away a cheery glow
Like a halo soft and bright
Beckons me to venture near
Creeping through the starless night.

The lamp of faith is offered me
Revealing then, a face so kind
Dispelling soon the fear of night
Comfort, now, in Christ I find. 

When hand in hand I walk with Him
The axe-head always disappears
I’ll gladly trust my faithful Guide:
He gives me courage, hope and cheer.