Tag Archives: Bible

Groaning Grief

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How do you react when you find out someone is going through a major trial like cancer?

There was a time when I would flippantly share Scripture like Romans 8:28. Though God’s Word is true, there’s also timing of our words as we are told in Ephesians 4:29:

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

Today I tend to react like Job’s friends first did:

“So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.” Job 2:13

My husband’s step-sister Gina has cancer.

I have no words to speak to her, but I just weep and pray. Being sad and weeping is not a lack of faith, it’s just deep sorrow.

Jesus understands. When her brother died Mary said to Jesus,

“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.” (John 11:32-33)

When Jesus saw where they laid Lazarus, He wept.

The other reaction I have to guard against is not doing anything at all for fear of offending. Do you ever struggle with that?

Right now we live in California and she lives in North Carolina, so the most practical things we can do is pray, donate what we can, and share this with you…

As you read her story you will see she is loved and knows it. You will see her faith in God is firm. But you will also see a mama’s aching heart for her sons and for her family.

Will you take a moment to read her story and prayerfully consider making a donation for this beautiful young mother of three children?

‘Help Gina Battle Colon Cancer’ https://dm2.gofund.me/pm398s8k


EmPOWERed

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“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

As children of God we have been given POWER!

Power to overcome temptation and sin (1 Cor 10:13-14;Romans 8:9-14)
Power to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:16)
Power to forgive (John 20:23; Matthew 6:15)
Power to overcome fear (2 Timothy 1:7)
Power to LOVE (Romans 8:2-4; 1 John 4:19)

When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, He gave us access to God the Father by one Spirit. This allows us to ask the Father ‘lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…’ We have the privilege to go to God’s throne of grace daily to confess our sins and receive His faithful forgiveness and cleansing. This allows us to be vessels of mercy and grace to others.

When Jesus was resurrected, He demonstrated His power over sin and death.

Today Jesus is alive, seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for the saints. Jesus can sympathize with our weaknesses because He has “been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

As children of God we are not perfect but have been given God’s perfect POWER by His Holy Spirit. May we not harden our hearts nor deny the POWER we’ve been given by quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit!

Stay focused: Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the brethren.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58


Unreceived Grace

Her effort to be perfect is destroyed by her sin
Paralyzing guilt sets in
She weeps, sadden by the loss of ‘perfection’
She hardens her heart and tries to justify her sin

Enter in grace…

The one she sinned against forgives her, but her hands are clenched
He pleads for her to return to him
She wants to return, but doesn’t forgive herself
She knows she does not deserve forgiveness
She runs away into the dark to hide
She doesn’t think she deserves to live, and wants death
She begins to numb herself

Messengers come, reminding her of grace…
One day the one sinned against speaks to her again
He invites her to reconcile
She dares to believe reconciliation is possible
She dares to believe she could be forgiven
She steps out of the darkness and towards the Light
She takes his hand and walks on the road of reconciliation

Through this journey her hands open and her heart softens
She weeps a different type of sorrow
She weeps in humility and gratitude
She experiences a spiritual death and is rewarded a new life

She lives because her hands opened to receive grace
She lives a new life because she walks in the Light
She lives a new life because she believes she is forgiven

Today she is hidden with Christ in God!

Hallelujah!

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Light Shines @ The Vagabond Inn

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It was a cool dark morning when my kids and I walked toward the lobby of the Vagabond Inn. My eyes quickly darted away from the band of men in the dimly lit parking lot, whispering and staring at me with unlovely looks. Fear immediately gripped me, and the Holy Spirit reminded me,

“Perfect love casts out all fear…”

I was reminded I was not alone, God was with me, and I took my thoughts captive and asked Him to help me not to fear the men but allow God to love them through me.

As my children and I began fixing our breakfast, my husband walks in to tell me he had to leave for work and couldn’t stay to eat with us. He prays and hugs us good-bye.

Once he left the room, the silence was deafening and my heart was overwhelmed by the sadness, depression and darkness of the environment. I quickly took an inventory:

Five men outside, two men inside getting food, one sitting at a table eating….and in the far left corner was a young woman scribbling in a notebook. Her head was down and she was trying to be invisible. We sat at the table across from her and I prayed in my heart,

God, I know you have cleansed my heart, I know you have reminded me that while we were yet sinners You loved us by sending Jesus Christ…I know I have good news to share but I’m scared…can you help me to share Christ with a lost soul?”

Desperate for help, I looked through my phone for a song and find ‘Light of the World’ and I began to sing with my kids. We started worshiping softly and become progressively louder, drowning out the dark and depressing environment.

When the song finished, the silence returned but the atmosphere was different. A voice pierced through the silence,

“You have a beautiful voice.”

It was the voice of the young lady.

I want to disagree with her, but instead say, “Thank you.” I looked at the children and excused myself and they nodded knowing I was stepping out in obedience.

I walked into her sphere of life and introduced myself. She forced a smile and told me her name–J.

Her eyes are familiar to me…full of hurt, hopelessness, and shame, ready to burst.

I gently asked her,

“J, Do you have faith?”
“Oh yes, I do.” She responded defensively
“What do you have faith in?” I pressed.
“I believe in God, I talk to Him all the time. I gave my life to Christ when I was 11….”

Her eyes began to light up and she invited me to reminisce with her the goodness and grace of God in her life as a child. She shared how she completed the entire AWANA program and memorized a lot of Scripture.

I was so excited and pointed to my children and told her they too were in AWANA hiding God’s Word in their hearts just as she did. My children take this as a cue to come over, and she smiles at them. She shared with us the other things God did through her, like the time she went on a mission trip to build houses. She was coming alive as she spoke of God. My next question broke her,

“J, What are you doing here?”

Her lip quivers and she darts her eyes at the kids and back at me. My children sense the seriousness of the moment and return to their seats to finish their meal. She casts her face down and quietly mumbles that she came down to the lobby because the man she was with is still sleeping.

I didn’t mean to ask her why she was at the Vagabond Inn, but why she was in this town. I saw my question caused her to want to hide and I felt compassion for her. I reached my hand to hers and squeezed it tightly hoping love would flow through me to her. I opened my mouth,

“J, God’s Word is in you…all those years of memorizing in AWANA and God’s word does not return to Him void. You have given your life to Christ when you were 11 years old. You must remember nothing….’nothing can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus? NOTHING. Not even what you did five minutes ago.”

I continued,

“…do you mind if I pray with you?”

“Sure, I’ll pray with you….”

We hold hands and pray aloud.

When we finished our eyes locked on each other and I said,

“The Bible teaches us, “If we confess our sins God is faithful and righteous to forgive us and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness.” He has taken us out of the darkness into His marvelous light and we need to come back to the Light. God still LOVES you.”

Her eyes lit up with excitement and she bends down to grab two pieces of paper. As she unfolds them she tells me,

“I drew these last night and this morning as I was talking to God….”

I look at them as she gets water. They are drawn from a tortured and torn heart. It was evident she was in a spiritual battle.

She drew a line of demarcation and had light and dark contrasted. On one side she listed all her struggles and sins with a picture of satan and she’s crying.

On the other side there was light and beauty with flowers and a butterfly with words like love and happiness. She was smiling and happy and her hearts goals and dreams were listed in order.  Number one on her list was to have a lasting relationship with God and her family. She had the words “Get back” written in several places indicating she knew she was off the path and wanted to get back on it.

Suddenly I hear another woman’s voice ask her a question,

“Hey, was that you praying? Will you do me a favor, I want you to pray for me and my friend….”

I turn to look at her response. Her eyes widen and she looks astonished that someone would ask her for prayer, but she slowly nods and begins to walk away.

I walked over and stood next to J and saw two women and after introducing myself I tell them we will pray for them right now. One of them asks curiously,

“So that’s what you do? You pray? You sit here in the lobby and ask people if they need prayer?”

I smiled full of joy and said, “Well I’m not always here but I’m available to pray for, and with anyone willing. Jesus is the one that is always interceding for the saints.”

We held hands going to the throne of grace together. We cry out to God clothed in the righteousness of Christ, thankful for His forgiveness and grace and we ask for His help, His wisdom, His strength to be obedient daughters and walk in the Light.

When we finished one of them says, “AMEN! I became a Christian when I was eight and I have strayed far into the dark but someone has been inviting me to Church and I’m going back today!”

Like a giddy little girl, I lift my hands and praise God!!

As the two ladies left, J and I discussed her confessional drawings. She told me she wanted to get out of there. I admitted to her that I wanted to take her out of there. She asked if I would take her to L.A.

I told her I was going to Church and she could come with me and afterwards I could take her….but I stopped and looked into her eyes and asked,

“J, if I take you to L.A. what will you be doing there? Who do you know there?”

She drew back and casted her eyes down and says, ‘I know lots of people’ and if you don’t take me I will take the bus to get there anyway.”

I told her, “Thank you for being honest with me, I understand. But do you understand why I won’t take you?”

“Yes. You don’t want to be the one responsible for taking me into the darkness and if something happens to me you would be upset.”

“That’s correct. J, if I had my own place I would take you home with me. I have to pray and ask God for wisdom, I need to ask Him my role in this situation right now, and I need to be content with the role He has given me.”

‘I understand.’

We sit in silence for a moment and I remember I have some more ‘Bread of life’ to leave with her so I run to my car and write her a note and hand it to her. Before we say good-bye I reminded her of more Truth,

“J, God loves you so much, you are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works He has prepared for you to walk out. Your salvation is not just for you but for the building up of the Church. Didn’t you see that when the woman asked you for prayer? There are lost souls out there that need us to remain in Christ so we can encourage them to come back on the path of Light. We must continue to go to Church so that we can come together to stir one another to love and good deeds just as we did today.”

She smiles and her eyes show she understands. She says thank you, we hug and exchange contact information in hopes to keep in touch.

We had Church before we went to Church that day, and Light shined brightly in that Vagabond Inn: To. God. Be. The. Glory.

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I share this to encourage you. I am not perfect, there have been many times I’ve missed opportunities to share truth with the suffering because of my pride and self-righteousness.

The day before I met ‘J’ I was tested and sifted. I confessed to my husband my ugly thoughts about the residents of his temporary ‘home.’ I told him I was scorning them, looking down on them for the bondage they allowed themselves to be in….as I confessed, my heart was pierced with God’s sWORD:

“But God demonstrated his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

I meditated on ‘while we were YET SINNERS…”

That was me too. The only reason I was different was because of God’s grace. Instead of scorning them I chose to mourn for them. All of this was necessary to prepare me for the good work God would do through me this March morning.

There are a lot of hurting people in the world. They do a lot of things to escape the pain by numbing themselves with drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy relationships.

Some of these souls have never met Jesus Christ, and some have known Him and are prodigal children. They have tasted and seen The Lord is good but they have walked in the darkness so long they actually believe the lies of satan, “that God no longer loves them.”

Someone in your sphere of life needs to hear TRUTH: that God loves them, someone in the environment you are placed in needs to be encouraged to walk in the Light. Someone near you needs you to SHINE the LOVE and LIGHT of Christ to help them turn back to Him.

I have two questions for the children of God:

Will you scorn the lost or will you mourn for them?
Are you ready to share the hope that is within you?


A Change of Heart

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You begin life with a selfish heart.

Everything you say is right and everyone else is wrong. It needs to be your way, you hurt people with the things you say and do but don’t care. If they hurt you, you harden your heart and cut them out of your life pretending they don’t exist.

But one day after making another selfish decision it doesn’t “feel” right. You wonder what this “feeling” is about…maybe your conscience? You shrug your shoulders and ignore the “feeling,” sometimes escaping and using things of the world to numb your heart.

This “feeling” happens often enough you begin to see other things, like how your selfishness hurts others. At first you react indifferent as if you don’t care, but deep inside you do. You begin to see “ugly” in you. It comes to the point when you can’t handle it anymore and you wonder, “Can I ever change?”

You strive to succeed. You try to be nicer to people, try to say nice things, but your thoughts reveal the authenticity of your heart…”ugly.” You still press forward and begin to do charitable deeds to feel good about yourself but it never lasts.

But one day you’re introduced to perfection—Jesus Christ. You don’t know Him but you know about Him and You want to be like Him. He’s so loving, patient and kind, all the things you know you are not. You begin going to Church, reading the Bible and you try to be like Him but fail every time. In fact, the more you read the Bible, the more you learn about the Holiness of God and the more you see your “ugly” heart and your inability to love God and others.

You “pour” out your ugly heart and begin to “mourn” and weep about the “ugly” in you. You feel hopeless and doubt there could ever be a change in your “ugly” heart. and you want a new heart. You are overwhelmed on where to begin in this change…then one day you meet Jesus for yourself and are invited into a reconciled relationship to KNOW the One that heals hurts and hearts…the scales fall of your eyes and you see:

  • The only One that can change your heart is the one who created you–God the Father
  • The only Way to get to God the Father is to be reconciled to Him for all those times you cherished your “ugly” heart and hurt Him and others
  • The only Way to be reconciled to the Father is through Jesus Christ
  • The only Way to get a new heart is to be born again
  • The only Way to keep this new heart unstained by the world is to walk in the Light

The only Way to walk in the Light and be Revived is to place your faith in Jesus Christ:

  • Believe Jesus came to save you from your “ugly” not condemn you
  • Believe Jesus took the sacrifice for your “ugly” and it is finished
  • Believe Jesus reconciled you to God the Father
  • Believe you have been given the resurrection power to abstain from “ugliness”
  • Believe Jesus is praying for you
  • Believe God is faithful and righteous and will continue to forgive you of your “ugly” and cleanse you

So one day you give your “ugly” dark heart to God and He takes your heart of stone and gives you a heart of flesh and puts His Spirit in you, telling you the way to go and you begin to walk in the Light.

You know you are not perfect but believe God will complete the work He began you until the day Christ returns.

As you walk in the Light with your new heart you sometimes experience that same “feeling” and see “ugly” but now you don’t ignore this “feeling” and instead you daily pour out your heart to God and turn to Him and experience a new feeling a “burning.”

This “burning” is God refining you, making you more like Christ….isn’t that what you wanted? To be like Jesus Christ?  That is what our Creator, your Father wills.

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*The “ugly” is sin

*That “feeling” about sin is conviction

*That “pouring” about sin is confession

*That “mourning” about sin is godly sorrow

*That “turning” from sin is repentance

*That “burning” of sinful flesh is sanctification making you more like Christ

A change of heart only comes through God by turning from your sinful ways to God and placing your faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Repentance towards God and faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith…is the lifestyle of a child of God.

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“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22

‘”For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

2 Corinthians 5:14-21


My Missing Piece

Rejected. Insecure. Angry. Fearful. Lonely. Disappointed. Confused. Lost. Hurt. Betrayed. Jealous. Envious. Prideful. Arrogant and REBELLIOUS….

All of these words described how I felt and acted as a teenager. I felt disillusioned and disappointed at life.

As a young child I began my life trusting people, but as time passed my heart was subjected to the hurts and pains of this world caused by sin.

Divorce, division, disappointment, loss, lies, betrayal and hurt. I began to build a wall around my heart and eventually I didn’t trust anyone–not even God. I was convinced anyone I loved would either leave me or let me down. I had become a bitter and angry person who hid my hurts behind a mask of smiles and laughter but inside I was dying, desperate, lonely and lost.

I wanted the physical death I felt inside, and yet I would hide in a closet to cut myself to feel alive.

At 15 I was given an assignment to draw a picture of my life and this is what I drew:

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A Broken heart held together with a band-aid to reveal my hurt and battered heart not knowing it was caused by the sin in my heart and the sin around me.

A Puzzle of Life with a missing piece to depict how I felt incomplete and knew something was missing in my life.

A Border of Question marks to describing how I didn’t understand my purpose in life and why I existed.

On the back I wrote a poem:

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I felt no one understood this darkness, misery and sadness inside.

Growing up didn’t change the way I felt. The difference was how I tried to fill that missing piece.

Instead of cutting I tried to make myself feel alive by filling my emptiness with other things: alcohol, friendships, pleasing others, man’s love, college, money, a successful career, dream home, marriage, vacations, children….but nothing would take away that nagging feeling that something was missing and I still didn’t know my purpose in life.

By 33 years old my heart had become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. My own un-confessed un-repented sin in my heart and the un-forgiven sin of others done to me.

But one day God sent a human messenger full of the Holy Spirit to share with me once again Who the missing piece was:

Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life

Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life

I found this pin a few months after I had been born again, and recently I found this assigned poem and drawing with my old journals.

It’s amazing that after all these years God would be so personal to allow me to find this pin that matches so perfectly the ‘missing piece’ I drew when I was 15. Jesus Christ was always the missing piece in my life.

The day I chose to place my faith in Jesus Christ I was taken out of darkness and put into God’s marvelous Light.

*The blood of Jesus Christ washed and cleansed me of all my past sins and I was given a clean new HEART no longer needing a band-aid to hold it together

*God satisfied that void and missing piece by filling me with His Holy Spirit, teaching me the ‘right way’ to live, reminding me I am His child and Jesus is the Way the Truth and the LIFE enabling me to repent of my sin and forgive the sin committed against me.

*I no longer QUESTION my purpose because I know my purpose: to glorify God by knowing Him and making Him known to others.

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Today I still go into a closet…but this time it’s not to cut myself but to confess, repent and be cleansed daily so that my heart will not become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin…the sin I commit, or the sin committed against me.

The love of God compels me to share this with those who are hurting.

BeLoved, whether you are a teenager, young adult, or elderly…God loves you with an everlasting love and He wants a relationship with you through Jesus Christ.

Sin is hurtful and people are sinful and will always let us down no matter how close they are to us. We are all fallen and can never fill that empty piece we are searching to fulfill–the only One who can fill that void is Jesus Christ.

The missing piece. It wasn’t having perfect parents or a perfect life…the missing piece has always been Jesus Christ.

I’m thankful for God’s LOVE. Despite the circumstances in my life I no longer feel lost, lonely, bitter, or dead because I am alive together with Christ and I am now made complete. This gift is not only for me but for you too…

“For in Him (Christ) all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is head over all rule and authority;” Colossians 2:9-10

God longs to be gracious to you….


Stacking Stones…Not Throwing Stones

When I drew near to God and was born again, I was overflowing with gratitude from the grace and mercy lavished on me. I did not deserve to be forgiven of my sins and I knew it.

I didn’t need anyone to remind me I was a sinner nor did I need someone to convince me I was a sinner, the Holy Spirit was already doing the convicting. It was this conviction that drew me to my knees causing me to pouStacking Stonesnd my chest with my eyes downcast asking God to be merciful to me, the sinner. The day of my salvation is a HUGE stone of remembrance I visit often.

I must confess, if I don’t visit the day of my salvation I can become arrogant and think highly of myself, forgetting I was saved by grace and it is by God’s grace I am kept.

I’ll never forget the first time God taught me a lesson about His love and grace…that it wasn’t just for me.

It was just three weeks into my new birth experience when my family and I went to a local train show and I saw people that were in sin standing near my children. My heart was enraged and I began to judge them and I was haughty in my heart when God’s Holy Spirit led me to Truth and the words of Jesus were brought to my remembrance:

He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone…” John 8:7

Immediately I couldn’t see past the plank in my eye and realized I could no longer see past my own sin and this humbled me. I saw though they may have been in outward disobedience I was inwardly disobedient to God. I immediately repented of my judgmental thoughts and thanked God for His forgiveness, and prayed for them. My heart was tested that day.

Just weeks later God brought a person struggling with the same sin into my life and my heart was now ready to love because I knew my place; I am the vessel not the judge. I am the conduit, not the source.

God showed me if I really wanted this person to be transformed I needed to love them…just love this person. By God’s power that’s what I did. After months of working with this person they approached me and told me they noticed how I was different and she wanted what I had. That moment my cell phone rang and my ringtone, “How Great Is Our God” was singing in the background while I shared with her the Gospel of how Jesus Christ transformed me and how He died on the cross for all of us and we don’t need to ‘clean up’ to come to Him we just go to Him and He will take care of the rest. What an honor to lovingly share the Gospel with someone God is drawing to Himself!

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What Im learning is this…I am called to exhort my fellow brethren to stay on the narrow road and if they are in sin I am required to restore them and share the Truth in love but…I can’t love apart from God’s Holy Spirit, and before I open my mouth I better make sure they are His Words, His Timing by His Spirit or else it is not Him it’s me.

We can’t love without giving and in this instance it may involve giving up of my own opinion of how they live their lives according to the Bible and wait for God to use me. He can’t use me if I am full of myself, arrogant, quarrelsome–opposite of who He is: LOVE. I’m finding God prepares me for such work by granting me a testing sanctifying moment before I share His gospel by His Spirit.

Dear reader, if you are not a believer and disciple of the LORD Jesus Christ, and a Christian has thrown a stone at you, I am sorry. I have made that mistake before too. As Christians we are not perfect and we still make mistakes. Please do not let man keep you from a relationship with Your Heavenly Father.

I pray God will draw you into His presence and He will send yielded obedient vessels full of His love ready to pour out on you so you will taste and see the LORD is good, kind, compassionate and He is longing for you to come to Him. No matter what you have done, or where you have been, if you turn to Him and draw near to Him, He will draw near to you for Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

*Titus 3:1-7


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