Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Drastic Change: Full Time Service

My friends,

I'm sorry it's been so long since I've written anything, but about a month ago my world turned upside down!  It has long been a dream of the ministry I've been with for the past few years (Magdalene Hope), working with prostitutes on the street, to have a safe house that we can move them to and have a program of spiritual rehabilitation for them.  The woman who was to originally live on site and direct became unable, and so....I'm doing it!

I've been praying for a long time to go into some kind of full time service.  I felt that God had been telling me to continue to be faithful in the little things, and eventually He would open the door to others.  I've had to leave my home behind and am living in the mountains somewhere in California.  Truly, it's beautiful.  But what's even more beautiful is the chance to love these women who have been through so much.

Soon we will have internet service up there and I will be able to continue writing.  I do so much love to share my life and faith with all of you as well.  I am only here at my house briefly, so this is of necessity going to be brief as well.

I am so excited as I start this new adventure in serving my Lord and Savior!  Working in this position, I will also be able to attend Bible College free of charge.  I have wanted that instruction for so long!

Before going up there, I wanted to make sure that it was God's will.  So, like Gideon, I asked God for a few things.  I needed one of my kids to move into my house and care for it; as of now I get one weekend off a month and one eight hour day a week.  At first they all said no, and then my youngest daughter changed her mind, and she is already here :)  It is amazing what God can do!  But why should I ever doubt?  If He created it all, and I know He did, then He can make any miracle that is in His will happen.

And that goes for you too!  I will keep you updated on this wonderful new phase of my life.
Oh! And where I am we see deer every dusk and dawn.  What a beautiful creator we serve.
May our Father bless you and keep you!  I will keep in touch as soon as we have internet up there.

This song really sums up what God is doing for these women:

By the way, I'm seeing an ad on this page.  I didn't put it there, and I'm not sure how to get rid of it!!!!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"Real life"

In my last post, I ended by saying that this life is not really our "real" life; we are here so briefly.  The life that we will live for eternity is what is most important.  Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."-Matthew 6:19
As for me, I'm not concerned with having treasure there, I only want to be there, at the feet of my Master.
What a privilege it will be to kneel before Him!  Eternity is a long time and what waits for us there is beyond our imaginations.  This world will be difficult:

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, his must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in His Father's glory with the holy angels.- Mark 8:34-38

What is it to lose your life for Christ?  One immediately thinks of the martyrs, but I believe here Jesus is talking about the way we live our lives.  Do we live for Him, making Him and the gospel our top priority, or do we spend the majority of our time on earthly cares and concerns?  Of course we must care for our families, work, etc., but when we lose our lives for Christ, we put Him and His work at the top of the list.

My pastor said something interesting the other day.  He said, "If all Christians lived as you do, what would the church be like?"  Something worth considering, as all of us together make up Christ's body here on earth.

So let us shine the light of God's love at every opportunity.  No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts in under a bed.  Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.- Luke 8:16

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will  never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."- John 8:12

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will.- Romans 12:2

I can tell you from my own experiences that when I set aside myself and follow God's will, that is when I have peace even in the most brutal storms life can dish up.  There will come a time when we have no more troubles, no more sadness, no more pain; when we leave this world and go home to where we belong.
In the time we have left let us continue to bear fruit for His kingdom.

Let us also remember that we cannot do this in our own power.  Our salvation is by grace alone, and the power within us is the Holy Spirit.  He gives us strength and courage that we don't have in ourselves.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  and so He condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.-Romans 8:1-4

No matter our current circumstances, if we are in Christ, we are not alone.  Nothing can separate us from Him!  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:  For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.- Romans 8:35-39  This is one of my favorite verses.  It is such a comfort to know that nothing can separate us from the love that my Savior has for us!

It's so important to remember that his world is not our home...it is a temporary place, a faint shadow of things to come.  Many people worry that we may be entering the last days, but whether that is true or not, we will certainly have a last day of our own...most of us have less than one hundred years.  Every so often it's good to take a good hard look at ourselves and our priorities.  It's so easy to slip into the cares of this world, and it's easy to put off sharing the gospel... we don't want to offend, do we?  Share in love.  Plant seeds.  God will water them, and you just might be surprised at who comes to meet you when you enter the Kingdom that you thought weren't listening.

Here's a beautiful song about what is in store for us when we leave here.  I hope you enjoy it and it brings you hope, because one day there will be a day with no more tears or suffering.
Wishing you blessings.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

An adventure with Magdalene Hope...and how I got stuck in San Diego

Hello friends!

I'm home after another adventure...last Monday I went with Magdalene Hope (the ministry I belong to that does street outreach to prostitutes) to San Diego, about four hours from where I live.  It has been a goal and a dream for some time that we would have a safe house with a program in place to help them improve their lives.  This has finally happened!  The ministry has purchased a home, and now all we need is to get it up and running.  Our first young lady is currently in a shelter waiting for us to open.

So, we were traveling to San Diego to meet with the director of a house that has been up and running for some time to get ideas about programs to put in place for our house.  We met at the church at 5:45 a.m. to begin the trip and I felt terrific.  I'm so glad to be a part of this ministry.  We did a Bible study on the way and my spirits were high.  I felt fine when we got there, but about halfway through the morning presentation I began to feel extremely cold.  I thought maybe the air conditioning was just high, but by the time we broke for lunch...I had to run to the bathroom and empty my stomach.

Great, just great.  I am very private about my illness in that while I may talk about it, I really don't like anyone to see me that way.  But I couldn't even begin to hide it.  I went to lie down in the back of the church van and my stomach kept emptying....luckily I had a cup from my coffee earlier!  What made it unusual was the amount of pain I was having.  Only a few times have I had pain like that.  I stayed in the van while everyone else went back in for the afternoon session and it got worse from there.  By the time they came back, I was losing my self control and moaning, which was very embarrassing to me.  They rushed me first to an Urgent Care, who said I needed a hospital.  I was very lucky that they got me right in at the hospital, but none of the medications seemed to be working.

I was extremely blessed to have one of my friends in the back with me.  She rubbed my back, prayed for me (as did the rest of the group) and kept me covered in warm blankets as I was still freezing cold.  I needed to be transferred to another hospital that took my insurance, and the group stayed until they were sure that the transfer went through and I'd be admitted.  I can't put into words how grateful I was for their love and support....yes, I can.  The love of Christ is what they showed.  Before they left, they all layed hands on me and prayed for me one by one.  Through the pain, I could feel the Spirit.

To make a long story shorter, I'm back at home now.  My mother, who lives a few hours from San Diego, came to pick me up and I spent a few days recuperating at her house.  While there, I read a book that I must recommend.  It's called Safely Home by Randy Alcorn.  It talks about the persecution of Christians in China, and I must say that after reading it, I felt truly ashamed.  With all my freedom, how much do I really do for the kingdom?  One of the most touching scenes in the book is when one of the main character is jailed for owning a non authorized Bible and attending an unauthorized church.  Many Chinese Christians meet in house churches, because the authorized churches are not allowed to teach certain fundamental beliefs.
Anyway, so now he's in prison, being beaten and tortured.  So what does he do?

He offers the jailer to clean the floors in the cells.  And as he does, he spreads the gospel to the other prisoners.  He tells his friend that he is so grateful that God has provided him a ministry!

And I complain about my stomach and don't get up to write on the computer and spread the message about God's love because of my trifling pain.

No more!  I pray God will give me the courage, the strength of character, and the promptings of the Holy Spirit to share Him with all who need to hear about Him.

I think I've shared this song before, but it's been on my mind all week; I was singing it to myself in the hospital.  It's in Hebrew, but here is the translation:

Those who trust in God are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken, but stands forever.  As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people...Psalm 125 1-2
Another point the book made is that this life down here on earth is not our "real life."  Our real life begins when we leave the shell of a body we currently inhabit.  I believe that with all my heart.
So let us make the most of each day, reaching out in Christ's love, to those who need His forgiveness and His Holy Spirit to live the life that our Father has called us to.

Please pray for the success of Restoration Ranch, the name that has been chosen for Magdalene Hope's house.

Wishing you all blessings in Christ!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

On His Shoulders

Hello, my friends.

I've been out of the hospital a couple of weeks but I continue to struggle with my health.  The trouble began with bleeding inside my stomach, enough that I had to be transfused with blood and plasma.  Though they got the bleeding stopped I wound up spending three weeks in the hospital, and since coming home I'm having a difficult recovery. I'm having a lot of difficulty keeping any fluid down and all of this has left my body weak and in pain.  I had to go in for IV fluids again just a few days ago.

A friend prayed a wonderful prayer for me, and while praying, he quoted Isaiah 55:8-9: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.  "As the heavens are higher that the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."
This verse really spoke to me.  God is doing things behind the scenes that I can't even begin to imagine.

We don't always know the reasons for the trials that we go through.  But our God is sovereign, all knowing, wise, and His plan always is better than our own.  While I don't like to be ill, while I feel like if I had my health back I could reach out with God's love to so many more people, He knows what He's doing in my life...and my job is to trust Him.  There are a million different reasons He could be allowing these trials.
It may be that someone reading this needs to know that trials come not because is angry with us or punishing us, but He is always in the process of working in and through us.  He allows situations not only for the impact they make on our own lives, but on the lives of those around us.

Why does God allow suffering?  For us believers, I believe it is one of the ways He molds us.  And to the unbeliever... when they see us facing our difficulties with an unbreakable hope, perhaps that will be what stirs their curiosity towards our God.  In James, we have a great verse about the suffering we all face:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  James 1:2-5

We can consider this, also; how do we handle our trials?  As we begin to mature in Christ and grow to rely on Him, our ways of responding to trials will change us for the better.  Without any trials or difficulties, how would we develop the perseverance James is speaking of?  It is in the difficulties that we grow.  I'm reminded of my little granddaughter who was trying to do something and wasn't able...she began crying and gave up, running to me for comfort.  I scooped her into my arms and took her back to the task, which we were able to accomplish together.  A few days later, I noticed her at the table doing on her own what she'd needed help with only a few days before.

That's the kind of growth God wants for us.  And when I consider the sufferings of believers in other parts of the world, their lives in danger simply for their belief, I am ashamed of my own complaints.  And I consider the prophets and believers of old, as well:

Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.  You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.  The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.-James 5:11


I am still confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.- Psalm 27:13-14

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.-Isaiah 41:10

This world will continue to give us trouble.  It's a fallen place, but we have more than a hope, a certainty:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.-Romans 8:18
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:  For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.  No, in all these thing we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.- Romans 8:35-39

And as Jesus said, 

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."-Matthew 11:28-30

And when we have finished our work here and our Father will call us home.  I love the description in Revelation 21:
And I heard a loud voice form the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.  They will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Let me pray this in closing:

Father, please bless all your children and those who are seeking You.  I pray that You will pour out Your presence on us all and give us the strength and courage do Your will.  Have Your way in our lives, for we know that You are good and faithful.  Please carry us through times of trial and trouble on Your unfailing strength. Thank you for Your love, Your patience, and Your wisdom.  
In the name of Jesus...amen.

If you don't have a personal relationship with God, you can have one right now.  
He is calling you.
To begin a relationship with Him start with a simple prayer.  Just tell God that you believe in Him, that you believe that Jesus is His Son and died for sins.  Ask Him to forgive you, come into your heart, and commit to following Him in your daily life.   For more on this you'll see a link called "Salvation" on the left hand side of the page.

Wishing you all the blessings our Father has :) 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hey, Where'd She Go?

Hello friends!

Just a note to let you know I'm alive!  I had a very bad bleed in my stomach and have been here in the hospital.  I should be going home within the next few days and will resume my writing.

I have to thank my Father for carrying me through this difficult and painful time.  At times I can feel His loving arms wrapped around me in comfort, and I praise and thank Him for His love.

I hope all of you out there are well, and I wish you blessings.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A song of my heart

     You hem me in- behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful to me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Where can I flee from Your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.- Psalm 139:5-10

Father, Your love overwhelms me
My heart feels like it will burst
I know I don't deserve it
But You loved me from the first

I can't keep it inside me
I want everyone to know
What it's like to walk beside You
To follow where You go

You fill me and lead me with Your Spirit
To a place of peace by Your side
Healing my hidden wounds and pain
That in shame I've kept inside

To think that a broken girl
Can be a daughter of the King
It fills me with wonder and awe
Being Your child changes everything...

Before, I was was dying of a thirst
That never seemed to be quenched
But You poured out Your living water on me
Now I dance with joy and my soul is drenched

Help me share You with those still lost out there
Wandering in that dry and weary land
So they may receive Your living water too
Please give them wisdom to understand

Give me the words to say to this hurting world
Because it's You that sets us free
It's You that removes our wretched, heavy chains
And opens our eyes to see

Your grace and mercy are for all of us
There isn't anything you won't forgive
When we invite You into our hearts and confess
It's in you that we can truly live

Father, You are glorious beyond compare
My unshackled feet dance for joy, light at last
I'm amazed that You love us just as we are
Nailed at the cross of calvary is our sinful past

Your presence overcomes me with Your glory
I can't help but lift my voice in praise to You
From the depth of my soul I cry out my passion
Because You are awesome, faithful, and true

How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.- Psalm 139:17-18

Father, walk with us this day.  Guide our steps and fill our hearts to overflowing with Your love that we may share with others the joy we have in You.
In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The end of a season

Well, it's been a little bit since I've written anything...I got hit by an emotional curve ball that I truly wasn't expecting and have needed to work through it in my mind.

So what happened?  The last of my four children moved out, my 22 year old daughter.  She has a good job and has been looking for the right apartment for some time.  I've been really excited for her! So why did I fall apart when she left?  I really didn't expect to feel sad at all...but I was heartbroken.

I guess it's because a phase of my life is now truly over.  I liked having four kids; when they were young the house was always full with them and their friends, running amuck and staying the night on weekends.  We went to the river, camping in the mountains, and so much more.  I have so many memories that I cherish.  But like a lot of parents, I wish I'd done some things differently.  I especially wish that I'd walked with the Lord the whole time I was raising them.  I was faithful when they were young but after my divorce I drifted away.  The church we'd loved so much moved to the other side of town and they actually made a rule that children had to go to children's church.  At the time I was working two jobs and I treasured every minute with them.  They were well behaved and not disruptive.  I should have sought out another church, but I just stopped going.  Oh, I regret that.

But that season of my life is over, and the next one beginning. When school lets out for the summer my eldest granddaughter who is seven, will be coming to stay with me for the summer.  I can't wait!  As the others get older I look forward to having them come too.

But you know what will never change again?

My love and commitment to my Lord and Savior.  At times like this I have Him to cling to.  He is my rock.  When I'm afraid, when I'm sad, when I'm feeling lost, He is always there.  As I've cried, I've felt His loving arms around me.  His love and compassion is priceless.

One thing I'll never be is alone.

Father, I thank you for blessing me with the children you gave me.  Help me to be the mother that they need me to be, and let my life reflect Your perfect love.  Please give me the strength and wisdom that they need to see and hear.  Thank you for always being there for me and for all Your children.  
In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Even the winds and the water obey Him!

When I visited Israel one of my favorite places was the Sea of Galilee.  The water is a beautiful bluish green, and the day that we went out on it by boat the water was smooth and glassy.  It brought to mind the story from Luke Chapter 8...

Jesus had said to His disciples that He wanted to cross to the other side.  This was in the daytime and several of them were former fishermen, so I'm sure they would have sensed if the weather wasn't good to be out on the water.  I imagine it might have been like the day I was there; bright sunlight shining down, a gently breeze blowing, and good friends enjoying fellowship as they sailed across the calm water.  Jesus curled up and fell asleep as they went.

Suddenly a squall came down, so furious that the boat was being filled with water from the waves.  They took on so much water that they were in danger of sinking.  The disciples were terrified and woke Jesus.
"Master, Master, we're going to drown!" they yelled above the noise of the storm.  It must have been a terrific storm that the experienced fishermen among them were so afraid.

Jesus stood up and rebuked the wind and violent water and the storm stopped at His command.  Once again the water was calm and peaceful.  Then He turned to His disciples.  "Where is your faith?" He asked them...Luke 8:25
I can only imagine what the disciples felt at that moment.  They'd seen Him do many mighty miracles.  They'd seen Him heal the sick and blind.  They'd seen Him raise the widow's son back to life!  But to see Him command the elements amazed them.  It even scared them.  ...they asked each other, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him."- Luke 8:25

It's interesting that Jesus asked them about their faith.  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.- Hebrews 11:1
What did Jesus expect them to be sure of and certain of?
Perhaps that being Messiah, He would not perish by drowning in a boat...which told Him that they were still not understanding that He was Messiah.
Peter was the first to understand.  In Luke 9, while Jesus was praying privately He asked His disciples who the crowds thought He was.  They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life."
"But what about you?" He asked.  "Who do you say I am?"
Peter answered, "The Christ of God."  Jesus warned them not to tell this to anyone.- Luke 10:19-21

Eight days after this the transfiguration took place in front of Peter, John, and James which would have removed any remaining doubts any of them may have had, you would think.  But after the resurrection, Thomas didn't believe Jesus had risen until he was able to put his fingers in the holes in Jesus' hands and the gash in His side.  Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."- John 20:29

So you and I, my believing friends, are blessed indeed!
May God bless and keep you.

Give Me Faith by Elevation Worship    

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Just a little poem from my heart

Down on my knees again...Lord, I want to get it right
All I want is to follow you
And reflect your brilliant Light
Won't You mold me like a lump of clay
Refine me in the fire, too
Until I become the vessel you want me to be
So I may serve You in all I do
Please pour Your Spirit out fresh on me
And give me Your words to say
Guide my steps and open my eyes
With each person I connect with today
Father, I thank you for your everlasting love
For the peace and joy You freely give
As I go about my day, let me reflect You in how I live...