Monday, June 29, 2009

Oh You Of Little Faith

"He replied, 'Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there" and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.' " Matthew 17:20-21

My faith was tested this week. The test was not through trial or temptation. Rather, it was a test of how much faith I had that God would answer fervent and desperate prayers for a dying friend who, by all appearances, was going to leave this world an unsaved man. My husband, Steve, and I did not know that God was working behind the scenes and His reply would be as much for us as it was for our friend, Don.

Don lived a life void of Godliness. At one point in our lives, we shared in his worldliness until we met and embraced Jesus and turned from it. Although we had begun a new life in Christ and lived over 350 miles apart, we would on occasion see Don. His life had settled down and he had matured, but there was no evidence of change in his spirituality, never any mention of God and his eternal destination. In retrospect, Don lived his life as the average man lives it. He worked and saved and stored his treasures here on earth. It was not until his diagnosis that something stirred within him that gave us hope.

Last fall Steve received a surprise phone call from Don with news the doctors had found a spot on his lung. He asked Steve to pray for him. We were dumbfounded, simply because Don had never before demonstrated even the smallest amount of faith. We praised God that He moved Don to call Steve and began a vigil of prayer and witnessing we hoped would prove fruitful. But disappointment and sadness swept over us as we watched Don refuse to open his door for our Pastor or others who could help him through his ordeal. Precious months flew by, the cancer spread throughout his body, treatment ended, and his friends and family faced the inevitable fact Don was dying. We heard no confession of faith, his door still appeared closed, and we grieved. But not before one final attempt to reach him was made.

This week Steve had received the terrible news that Don had only days or hours left. We were told he was semi-comatose and unable to communicate. A last prayer request for God’s intervention was sent to my list of prayer warriors. We settled into despair and waited for the final phone call. However, the message we received was to be the one we least expected but had hoped and prayed for. It was the one that seemingly would be left unanswered. Through a “last chance” effort, a faithful servant, Pastor Paul, obeyed God’s call to attempt one more time to see our dying friend. The door was opened, he was received with gladness and surrounded by his wife and others who may have needed to hear Don’s confession of faith. Though Don was unable to speak clearly, his nodded assent to the vital questions asked confirmed his eternal salvation and restored peace and joy to our hearts. We would again one day see our beloved friend.

The question of when Don accepted Christ still lingers; no longer out of concern, but curiosity. Like the prodigal son, it could have been in his childhood, or his 61-year journey through life. It may have been during the hearing of a testimony and the Gospel message at another good friend’s funeral last year. Perhaps it happened the moment before he called Steve asking for prayer, through the agony of his trial, or in his bed as he lay waiting to die. We do not know. Don was private or unable to pinpoint the time and did not speak of it. But this we do know: Don is saved and God will bring him home into his Savior’s arms.

I now realize that God used Don’s ordeal to bring me through a test of my own faith. I had placed my hope in Don taking the first step rather than the Lord opening his heart to Him. I had forgotten that He diligently seeks those who belong to Him. And although He would prefer we had a part in it, He is capable of doing it without our help. I spent last night praising our gracious and merciful God. I thanked Him for using so many faithful servants to remind Don of his need of Christ. His work brought confirmation to my husband that he can be an effective witness for Jesus. But I especially thanked Him for reminding me He can and will answer my prayers. He is forever faithful that way.

Like the mustard seed, my faith was small. But through this lesson, my “little faith” has grown. I praise Him for allowing me to see the "mountain" moved as He promised. And I pray
my faith will continue to grow until all doubt is swept away.

Thank You, Lord. Thank You for helping me pass this test!

(We received a phone call tonight to let us know that Don is now at rest with his Lord. God answered another prayer today. We asked Him to make Don's passing peaceful and He was faithful to that request, too. Praise Him!)

Recommended reading (I have hyperlinked these passages. Just click on them to read):

Mathew 6:30; 8:26; 17:20; 21:21

Mark 6:5-6

1Corinthians 13:2

Hebrews 11:1-6; 12:2

Romans 10:9

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Today Is The Day

“As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For He says, ‘In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

2Corinthians 6:1-2

Those of us who write on this blog consider ourselves to be united in the most worthy of causes. We are “fellow workers” who diligently strive to bring Christ’s message to our readers (2Tim 2:14-15). We toil here, on Facebook, in our communities and within our families in hopes that those who have yet to receive Christ will one day do so - preferably sooner than later. We have been commissioned by the “Lord of the harvest” (Luke 10:1-2) to help Him gather the fruit of His vine into the safety of His storehouses. Although our points of interest may be different, our message is the same: salvation is yours for the taking if you would only have it.

As the Apostle Paul did, we “urge” those who stubbornly refuse to receive Jesus. We are able to relate to you because
we once were where you currently find yourselves. At a point in our lives a “fellow worker” approached us with the same message and we brushed it off for various reasons. We wanted to linger a while longer in the world. We doubted all or a portion of Christ’s atoning work. Or perhaps we had been deceived into believing a false and perverted gospel, one that preached lies rather than the Truth (Gal 1:6-8; 2Peter 2:1-3; 1 Tim 1:3-4; 2 Tim 3:6).

On your behalf, we ar
e ever before God’s throne. We intercede with fervent and sincere prayers that you will not "receive God's grace in vain". We beseech Him, often with great tears of sorrow, to call you out of the world and into the safety of His arms. And we do so because we understand the consequences of the alternative. Men without Christ are at enmity with God. They are separated from Him by a vast sea of sin, and because of their sin, God is unapproachable. His face must be hidden from unsaved sinners lest His righteousness consume them (Exodus 3:5-6; 33:21-23).

Every day is the “time of (God’s) favor”. While there is still time to do so, if
you cry out to Him He will hear you. I am here as a “fellow worker” of God to tell you that as long as you have breath to breathe, it is never too late to ask Him to save you. But so many of the unsaved are unwilling to do so “now”. Because God created you and established the timing of your birth, He also has ordained a day for you to physically die. However, it is the condition of your spirit that is most critical. God looks upon the unsaved sinner as dead to Him and already lost. Your life in this present world is fragile. Regardless of your age, your clock is winding down to the moment when you will have to face Him, either exposed and naked, or covered with His Son’s righteous blood. The outcome of your eternal fate solely depends upon that one critical thing. There are no second chances, pleading or debate at that juncture. His perfect justice demands it.

Therefore, we “urge” you to “contend for the faith that was once for ALL entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). We pray you will examine your present sinful state and consider your eternal destination. Please don’t look vainly upon and reject the wonderful gift you are being offered. Our God is patient, but only to a point. For those who have not yet made a choice, we fervently pray you will realize “NOW is the time of God’s favor, NOW is the day of salvation” and run with joy into Jesus outstretched arms - today.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Timeless Encouragement

Yesterday's Spurgeon devotion touched me so deeply that I went back to it this morning and re-read it. I wanted to share it with you, particularly because of all that is going on in our nation and around the world, perhaps even within your own home. It is a reminder, a message of hope and encouragement that regardless of what the world brings, we are children of the Lord Most High. He has promised us blessings beyond anything we can imagine. But the greatest blessing is that in spite of any change we may see in our lives, He is our Father still.

I pray Spurgeon's words are deeply planted in your heart as well.

"That those things which cannot be shaken may remain." Hebrews 12:27

"Many things in our possession at the present moment can be shaken, and it ill becomes a Christian to set much store by them, for there is nothing stable under these rolling skies; change is written on all things. Yet we have certain 'things which cannot be shaken', and I invite you this evening to think about them.

If the things that can be shaken would all be taken away, you may derive real comfort from the things that cannot be shaken, which will remain. Whatever your losses have been, or may be, you enjoy present salvation. You are standing at the foot of His cross, trusting alone in the merit of Jesus' precious blood. No rise or fall of the markets can interfere with your salvation in Him. No breaking of banks, no failures, no bankruptcies can touch that. You are a child of God this evening. God is your Father. No change of circumstances can ever rob you of that. Although by losses, you are brought to poverty and stripped bare, you can say, 'He is my Father still. In my Father's house are many mansions; there, I will not be troubled.'

You have another permanent blessing, namely, the love of Jesus Christ. He Who is God and Man loves you with all the strength of His affectionate nature - nothing can affect that. The fig tree may not blossom, and the flocks may 'be cut off from the fold' (Hab 3:17). These things do not matter to the one who can sing, 'My Beloved is mine, and I am His' (Song 2:16). We cannot lose our best portion and richest heritage.

Whatever troubles come, let us act like adults. Let us show that we are not such little children as to be cast down by what may happen in this poor, fleeting state of time. Our country is Immanuel's land, and our hope is above the sky; therefore, calm as the summer's ocean, we will see the wreck of everything earthborn, yet rejoice in the God of our salvation."

Monday, June 22, 2009

"My cup runneth over..."

"My cup runneth over..."
Psalm 23:5

Is your glass half empty or half full? How do you look upon your circumstances? With pessimism or optimism? The tendency, when things are going bad, is to view our circumstances in a negative manner. We feel as though the world is unfair and has singled us out as a dumping ground for trouble and trials. But when things are going good and our lives seem on track according to the world’s standards, we assume we are right where we need to be. We give no thought to the possibility we may be right smack dab in the eye of the storm, enveloped in a false sense of peace and security. We fail to consider that the worst of the storm may only be moments away and the half-filled tipping glass could drain completely.

Mankind wants instant gratification, especially in today’s fast-paced atmosphere. If we can not have it right now, a sense of unfairness settles over us and resentment begins to build. Instead of accepting the blessings as they come, we assume God cares little for us by only half-filling our glass. Like the Israelites who wandered the desert for forty years, we view His mercies as little and trite (Exodus 15-17). We think we are owed more than what He graciously gives and grumble for more. We want a full cup of our choosing, not one that is only partially filled.

The word “cup” in Scripture is used figuratively by God. The Lord never speaks of half-filled cups. Rather, He applies the term as if the cup is full to the brim and overflowing with whatever fills it. He also leaves it to us to decide what fills our cup. The choices are clear: consolation and salvation, or drunkenness and wrath. Psalm 23 speaks of a cup overflowing with God’s kindness, His abounding and endless love for mankind. But the term can also be applied with negative connotations for if we choose to fill it with the wine of worldliness and sin and drink it to its “dregs”, the bitterness of it will sour and turn our stomachs like bitter gall (Isaiah 51:17-22).

The Apostle Paul warned the people of Corinth against drinking from the “cup of demons” while attempting to also drink from the Lord’s cup (1 Corinthians 10:21-22). One’s cup can not be half-filled with God’s righteousness and the other half with the oiliness of sin. They do not mix and the oil always floats back up to the surface. We owe our entire allegiance to God if we identify with Christ’s death. We can not lead a double life and attempt to mix our cup half with the world and half with our Christianity.

Our Lord Jesus Christ came to drink from a cup that overflowed in a torrent of sin and damnation. His cup was His crucifixion, filled with the bitter gall of the sins of all mankind and He knew He must drink it to the last drop (Matthew 26:42). John and James, in their ignorance, failed to understand this when their mother requested positions of honor and authority for them (Matthew 20:20-28). Jesus knew beforehand they would also have to drink from the cup of martyrdom, but He reinforced His teachings on what it meant to first be a servant and then accept whatever reward God chose for them with gladness and thanksgiving.

So, with what is your cup filled? Is it a half-filled cup that offers nothing except the “dregs” of indecision, sorrow and bitterness? Or is it a cup filled to the brim and overflowing with God’s sweet wine of righteousness and blessings that are spoken of in Psalm 23? It is your choice and I pray you will fill your cup wisely. And because you eventually must make the choice, one thing is certain: as Jesus did, you will one day drink it in its entirety - to the very last drop.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Christ's Garden

"I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse." Song of Solomon 5:1

"The heart of the believer is Christ's garden. He bought it with His precious blood, and He enters it and claims it as His own. A garden implies separation. It is not public property; it is not a wilderness. It is walled around or hedged in. Would that we could see the wall of separation between the church and the world made broader and stronger. It makes one sad to hear Christians saying, 'Well, there is no harm in this; there is no harm in that,' thus getting as near to the world as possible. Grace is at a low ebb in the soul that can even raise the question of how far it may go in worldly conformity.

A garden is a place of beauty. It far surpasses the wild, uncultivated lands. The genuine Christian must seek to be more excellent in his life than the best moralist, because Christ's garden should produce the best flowers in all the world. Even the best is poor compared with what Christ deserves; let us not put Him off with withering, dwarfed plants. The rarest, richest, choicest lilies and roses should bloom in the place that Jesus calls His own. The garden is a place of growth. The saints are not to remain undeveloped, always mere buds and blossoms. We should 'grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ' (2 Pet 3:18). Growth should be rapid where Jesus is the Gardener and where the Holy Spirit is the dew from above.

A garden is a place of retirement. The Lord Jesus Christ would have us reserve our souls as a place in which He can manifest Himself in ways that He does not reveal Himself to the world. Oh, that Christians were more reserved, that they would keep their hearts more closely guarded for Christ! We often worry and trouble ourselves, like Martha, with much serving, so that we do not have the room for Christ that Mary had, and we do not sit at His feet as we should.

May the Lord grant the sweet showers of His grace to water His garden this day."

(Charles H. Spurgeon, "Evening by Evening")

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Benjamin Netanyahu's Speech

I was a little more than perturbed with the media, including Fox News, for their lack of interest in Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu's, speech before the Knesset. Fox had me sitting on the edge of my seat with their "Alerts" on the impending speech. I wanted to hear it. I wanted to know that Netanyahu was still firmly committed to securing Israel's sovereignty, that he was not going to cow tow to Obama's and the world's demands on dividing Jerusalem and giving up the vitally important Gaza Strip. But Fox gave him enough air time to give his introduction, then switched to "talking heads" that offered me nothing but the same old rhetoric.

I am grateful to Joel Rosenberg for posting within his latest "Flash Traffic" newsletter the speech in its entirety. I recommend that everyone read it and consider what is said between the lines. It is apparent that Netanyahu is not wavering. He wants peace, but not under the conditions the world is pressing upon Israel. Perhaps the most telling portion of his speech is his conclusion:

"Let us realize the vision of the prophet Isaiah, who in Jerusalem 2,700 years ago said: 'Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, and they shall learn war no more.' With God's help, we will know no more war. We will know peace."

God warned Israel of the "prophets and priests alike" that predicted peace rather than addressing their sin: "They dress the wound of My people as though it were not serious. ' Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace." (Jer 6:13-14)

Peace will come to Israel. But not in the way Israel or the world demands it. At the end of Isaiah, the true conclusion to the past and present turmoil is spoken of by God:

"For this is what the LORD says:

'I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.'

When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the LORD will be made known to His servants, but His fury will be shown to His foes.

See, the LORD is coming with fire, and His chariots are like a whirlwind; He will bring down His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire and with His sword the LORD will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by the LORD.

...'(Israel) will proclaim my glory among the nations...'(and) all mankind will come and bow down before Me,' says the LORD." (Isaiah 66:12-16,19b,23b)

Pray for the nation of Israel.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Labor Of Love

For Dad, who learned from the Master Gardener.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2

Spring had finally come. Not the early frost-breaking, slushy, and sloppy Spring, where each step on the thawing ground packs clay-filled mud on the bottom of your shoes and makes you taller with each step. The last drift of snow had finally thawed and blades of green grass poked their heads above the brown earth and reached toward the warmth of the sun. The bulbs that had been planted in the fall forced their first spike of life through cracks in the wet soil, defying the still-chilly nights and knowing their time had come to burst forth. The trees filled with birds who had been summoned back to their nesting grounds, their twitterpated voices calling to one another in search of a suitable mate. Spring had finally come, and with it life began anew.

Like the bulbs that had been awakened from their wintry slumber, a man stirs himself and gazes out his window at the garden spot that awaits him. Encouraged by the passing of one season to another, he dons his light jacket and boots and steps out into the orchestra of spring, ready to be a willing participant in writing the score of spring’s sonata of renewal. With a shovel in his hand, he looks upon the work needing to be done, assessing each weed, each dead stalk of crops past, a pebble or two that had worked its way to the surface, and hard-packed clods of earth that needed breaking and softening. Placing the sharpened shovel edge against the soil, he turns the first spade full. The earth releases its rich and pungent aroma into the spring air. Pausing for just a moment, he stoops down and cups a handful of the earth and brings it to his face, breathing deeply its sweet scent. “Here is life,” his mind tells him. “Here is where it all begins and ends, only to begin again.”

Pulling himself from his musings, the man sets himself to the task at hand: preparing the soil of his garden for the seeds he will plant. His calloused and time-worn hands lovingly toil as the sun passes overhead until at last, he has tilled and broken each inch of his garden spot. His shoulders ache from winter’s idleness - a reminder he is no longer a young man - and a blister appears on his palm as he places his tools back in the shed.

“Small sacrifices,” he thinks to himself, for his mind rushes forward to when his garden will only require his aid in pulling a weed that will choke, and feeding and slaking the thirst of his growing crops. He looks forward to the long summer days as he sits in his chair with satisfaction and a cup of coffee in hand, watching the seeds grow.

These small sacrifices will not go unrewarded, a voice tells him.

In his mind’s eye, he looks ahead to the fall when the garden’s bounty will be lovingly preserved in colorful jars and stored on shelves in the cupboard for winter sustenance. His mouth waters with the anticipation of the first bite of a sun-ripened tomato, a crisp and refreshing cucumber, and the sweetness of buttered corn as its juices dribble down one’s chin. There is much to be thankful for in the small sacrifices of a labor of love.

As his stout, but weary, legs carry him to the backdoor of the house, the man pauses and turns his eyes one last time on the freshly turned earth. The sun has reached its western bed behind the mountain, but its rays stretch up like arms in praise to the heavens, a reminder of its promise to return the next day. Looking up through the trees into the fading light, the man gives thanks to God for the changing of the seasons and for allowing him one more year of labor. He knows that there will be a time not so far away that he, too, will return to the earth from whence he came. Like the fruit that is yielded from his garden so lovingly planted, God will pick him from the vine of His garden and with gentleness and love untold, preserve him in His storehouses for eternity.

With a thankful and prepared heart, the man turns and enters his house, only temporarily closing the door to the garden outside. With his Lord by his side sharing in his work, tomorrow he will plant, the next days he will tend, until at last he can once again rest as one season passes to another.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Just a note...

I will be taking a few moments during the next week to love on my son, Chris, and his children while they are visiting us from New Mexico! We have a full week planned with my other son and his beautiful children who are excited to see their cousins! New additions to the blog will not be as consistent, so I hope you don't give up on me. Keep checking now and then. I will be back!

In Christ,


Friday, June 12, 2009

Who Am I?

“Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in Your sight, O Sovereign Lord, You have also spoken about the future of the house of Your servant. Is this Your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign Lord?

What more can David say to You? For You know Your servant, O Sovereign Lord. For the sake of Your word and according to Your will, You have done this great thing and made it known to Your servant.” 2Samuel 7:18-22

“Who am I, O Sovereign Lord,”
That You would choose the likes of me;

What was I, but sin and disgrace,
With no right to be set free?

What lay within my heart of stone

That caused Your heart to yearn;

To whisper words of love divine
And ask my eyes to turn?

What did You see within my soul,
My flawed and sinful state;

What worthy thing did You behold,

And with great patience wait?

Why did You choose this lowly being

And break this heart of stone;

Then mold and shape it with great love,

And make it all Your own?

Why set a crown upon my head,

Unworthy, shamed and scorned;

Why share Your cup with such as me,

And with righteousness adorn?

I know not what the answers be,

Nor Your faithfulness understand;

But I’ll place my trust upon Your will,

And take You by the hand.

Let not doubt sway this new-made heart,

Nor fear cause it to fail;

With tender guidance and gentle touch,

Your mercy will prevail.

You’ve set my soul on angel’s wings,

To soar to heights unknown;

With grace and mercy You’ve chosen me,

And seeds of love You’ve sown.

Who I am to deserve such love,

Such mercy, gifts, and grace,

Will only be answered upon that day

I see You face-to-face.

Copyright 2006 Karen L. Brah

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yahweh Shammah - "THE LORD IS THERE"

I just finished watching a video that was linked in an email from One Jerusalem. It was a televised debate on a Israeli news program between Jerusalem Post editorialist, Caroline Glick, and post-Zionist political activist, Dr. Gershon Baskin. To sum up the debate, Caroline Glick is a staunch supporter of Israel's right to sovereignty and Dr. Baskin, an Israeli, is a Palestinian sympathizer in favor of dividing Jerusalem and stopping all settlement building. Ms. Glick spoke unwaveringly and very eloquently opposed Dr. Baskin. To watch the debate yourself, click here.

It goes without saying that my support lies firmly with Caroline Glick's position that Israel has a right to defend itself and that the boundaries which established Israel as a nation should be maintained. Also included in the debate was the threat of Iran developing nuclear weapons and using them against Israel. But God was strangely absent from the differing viewpoints. It was clear that both parties either had no solid understanding of God's will in this turbulent moment in Israel's history, of His will when He made His covenant with Abram (Genesis 12), promising that Abram's seed would forever inherit the land of Israel, or they chose to ignore it. Perhaps the most telling of their ignorance or arrogance is their inability to realize the miracle of their return to their own land. When we consider the stubborn disobedience of God's chosen people throughout their entire history, and the discipline God repeatedly dealt them even into most recent history, we can not help but wonder how a race of people can be so obstinate and ignore this historical fact that is written within their own Scriptures. It is a perilous and destructive behavior to remain so opposed to HaShem's will, and until Israel chooses to accept their Messiah and yield to Him, there will never be true peace there.

We believe that the events unfolding before us are markers pointing to the imminent return of Jesus Christ. And we also believe that when He does step foot on Mount Zion, those who pierced Him will mourn for their actions and unbelief (Rev 1:7) What is now obvious, however, is that Israel remains in disobedience to God's will and is still attempting to have it their way instead of turning to Him for the solution. For all of their debating, pandering, and negotiating, nothing will change until God decides it is time for it to change. Until then, we watch and wait for our Lord to return and reestablish His boundaries and divisions of the Holy Land and reclaim the holy city, Jerusalem. Only then will debate and hatred that is so predominant come to an end.

"And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE." (Ez 48:35)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Here am I; send me."

“Here am I; send me.”

Isaiah 6:8

I once asked my husband, “Do you suppose God only sends out the ones who love Him the most?” I knew it was a silly question. But it came at a time when I was considering the actions of a young missionary woman in the Chad. I was told she was a language teacher who taught a small group in one of the well-populated villages there. When refugees began to spill over the border from Sudan, a camp of 100,000 desperate souls was erected nearby. With her brood of five small children in tow, she left the relative comforts of the village and moved into the camp where water and food was scarce and living conditions deplorable. There she set up a new school and the response was overwhelming. The people came in droves, anxious to learn and perhaps better their lives. In the simplest of ways, this faithful woman was offering the dispossessed and persecuted people of the Sudan a glimmer of hope. She heard God’s call and answered with, “I will go, Lord.”

Although my question to my husband appeared immature from a Christian’s perspective, it had a certain ring of truth to it. My words caused a welling up of other questions about my willingness to hear and my readiness to go when God asks, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Is my disposition such that my ears will hear when He calls? Do I wait in anticipation like the Israelites when He sounds His trumpet for battle? And am I armed with the sword of His Truth and ready to march boldly into the fray to help secure as many souls for Him as I possibly can? Do I love Him enough to put aside my idleness or fears and respond as this young woman did? The answer to my questions came from within my own heart and it surprised me to discover that perhaps my question wasn’t as silly and immature as I first thought.

God did not single out Isaiah, or this particular woman, for that matter. Oswald Chambers once wrote, “The call of God is not for the special few, it is for everyone.” God’s favor is not reserved for a select group of people. He extends His limitless love and strengths equally among those who choose Him as their Saviour. Instead, it becomes a matter of our individual devotion to Him and our desire to be always ready to hear Him when He calls. In other words, the responsibility lies not with Him, but with us. And unless our ears are acutely tuned in to His still small voice, we won’t hear Him when He calls us to serve Him.

Responding to God’s call is not a matter of what I think I am particularly suited for. My obvious gifts and talents are not necessarily the reason for His request. We all have a tendency to say, “Oh, I could never do that! I don’t have what it takes to serve You that way!” When we do this, we are telling Him that we know better than He, that our Creator doesn’t understand our perceived limitations, and it is foolish to even ask us. Or we become unwilling participants like Jonah who grumbled and carped his way to Nineveh, only to end up scorching in the sun beside a withered vine and suffering God’s sharp rebuke. “As long as I consider my personal temperament, and think about what I am fitted for, I shall never hear the call of God.” (Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, January 16) But if I am in a right relationship with God and have put aside my own nature and have sought out His, I will hear Him when He calls and respond as Isaiah and this young woman did. I will have a deeper understanding of what it is He is asking and out of profound devotion and commitment to Him, I, too, will raise my hand and cry out, “Pick me! I will go!”

I have discovered that the question I asked my husband was one that needed to be asked. It forced me to examine my own heart and measure the amount of love I have for my Saviour and my willingness to always listen for His voice and respond. I can’t be in the Chad or the darkest corners of Asia and Europe. But I’m sure He’s called me for service in my own family and neighborhood. The scale of the necessity is not important for, to Him, one soul is as precious as 100,000.

So, I pray the next time His still small voice asks for someone to go for Him, my ears will be open and I, too, can respond with, “Hear am I; send me.”

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Future World Demographics

Recently, One Jerusalem provided a link to a very well-produced video that gave demographics for world-wide Muslim population growth versus growth in Europe, Asia and the Americas. If you have not yet seen it, or if you would like to view it again, the link is posted below. The statistics are staggering. However, the most important part of the video is at the end; a message of encouragement, hope, and salvation.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Traffic Jam On The Information Highway

I have found that attempting to keep up with world events unfolding before our eyes is a weighty and almost impossible task. Like a snowflake that hits the top of a mountain and begins a rolling descent, news and information has become an avalanche and the speed with which it is coming is growing faster and more furious.

Because of today's technology, it only takes minutes for us to hear or read about an airliner going down, a despot threatening destruction, or the latest misstep by our current President. The problem, though, is there appears to be a traffic jam on the information highway and that the liberal media decides for us what we will be fed, usually with a biased slant or lack of complete information making it difficult for us to determine the truth. In order for us to discern what is actually taking place, we are forced to seek a balance between either the news feeds on television, research it ourselves on the internet, or glean the facts from conservative talk radio. Only then are we able to put things into perspective and draw the proper conclusion.

A prime example of this was the recent murder of a Army recruiter in Arkansas and the wounding of another. I was stunned that it had not made front-page news until the event was forced to the forefront by conservative talk radio. I even asked my husband if he had heard about it and his reply was only in a brief news account. It came to light last night on Bill O'Reilly that the State Department took three days to make a statement condemning it. I was puzzled by the lack of reporting and our government's flippant reaction. That is until it dawned on me that doing so would have tainted Obama's Middle East trip because the shooter was an American who had been converted to Islam, had been trained in the Middle East in the art of terrorism, and had plans to strike in other locations around the United States. Because Obama was going to give his much-touted speech in Egypt during his visit to Mecca (which just happened to be the day following this recruiter's murder), I believe the story was squelched and the fawning liberal media obeyed their leader's request. What a gross injustice was done to this young man who was serving his country, and to his family and loved ones who supported him.

Information is beginning to slowly leak out about this misguided killer, but not with the speed that it deserves. It appears that the Homeland Security knew this man had traveled to the Middle East and suspected he was up to no good. However, it is no surprise to me that they failed or refused to detain him before he was able to take a innocent life. All one has to do is hear or read Obama's speech in Egypt to understand that the United States no longer regards these men as a threat, that terrorism no longer exists, rather, it all boils down to a few "extremists" who are causing all the problems.

Obama spoke before this gathering of Egyptian Muslims and to a billion Muslims around the world and failed to remind them that this action was perpetrated by one of their own who adhered to the true meaning of "fatwah" and "jihad". Instead, Obama pandered to the Muslim world, citing their Koran and misinterpreting the Bible, in order to appease them and give them the impression that he was one of their own with their best interests at heart. He had the opportunity to use the Army recruiter's murder as an instrument to point out the glaring problems of their Islamic faith. Instead, he chose to elevate himself above this young man and ignore the injustice that was done.

Perhaps the most disturbing development regarding this tragedy was reported last night on Fox News. The State Department has ordered the FBI to stand down and stop investigating the connections the Army recruiter's murderer has with terrorist cell groups. There was once a time when investigative reporters would have seized upon an opportunity to reveal shady or questionable dealings or decisions made by our government. Upon performing a Google search for articles on this, I was dismayed to find no articles from AP, Reuters, or other well-known media outlets until three days after the fact. All first page hits were from blogger sites and conservative news feeds, and one accusing NPR of avoiding the story. Only time will tell if there are any honest reporters still dedicated to unearthing injustice, conspiracies, or out-right lies that are seeming to flow daily out of the White House. If there are no longer men and women like this, it will be up to us to try and sort out the sordid details in a murky sea of information.

There is one person who deserves to be given every resource we have available that will stop the growing flood of home-grown terrorists. His name is William Long. He was 23 years old. He leaves behind a grieving family who probably daily question the reasoning behind the senseless murder of their son and the government's lack of compassion and assurance that they are using every resource to make sure it never happens again. My heart bleeds for them and for their loss.

I hope I have effectively convinced everyone that we must assume the role of a "watchman on the wall". We can no longer rely on the media to keep us apprised of things that may directly affect us or others around the world. "Truth in print" has become a by-word by the liberal left. In these perilous times, it is required of us that we "keep watch" and lean heavily on Christ's promise to return and fix all that is wrong with the world. I hope it is soon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

His Increase

Spurgeon’s Sermons, volume 10, number 3 - “Additions to the Church”; reference Acts 2:47.

“And the Lord daily added to the church such as should be saved.”

At Pentecost, 3000 souls were saved in one moment. A breath was breathed from the mouth of God and His Holy Spirit drew an increase. Many men of different nations and tongues stood in awe as they heard Peter’s message, delivered in one language, but heard and understood in many. From there, the spark flew onto the tinder of men’s hearts and ignited a conflagration that swept over the entire world and rages still. God will have His children, those who belong to Him. His voice will be heard above the world’s roars and growls and the hatred that permeates our society. His strength shall be felt even by the weakest saint, for the power of His Word is poured out upon the whole earth. Praise You, Holy Spirit, for You are mighty to save and Your voice will never be silenced!

The “early church” is a term applied by theologians as though today’s church is intended to be somehow different. In its first stages, the church remained in purity. The disciples gave the simplicity of the Gospel and it was received with much gladness and joy. They were steadfast in its delivery, refusing to waiver, never taking from it, never adding to it. The Gospel remained undefiled, its message the same each time it was given, until man, vile and corrupt, began to skew and twist it into false doctrine and apostasy.

Man saw a need for a “visible altar,” architecture, scarlet robes, and other finery; rings, miters and other adornments. Once they set in place the outward appearance, they began to work at defiling the inner, the Word, with their many crazy and misguided notions of the Gospel. “Priest-craft,” baptismal regeneration, transubstantiation, sacramental efficacy, ritual requirements, and works and deeds were inserted. Not satisfied with this abomination, they once again set up idols, the “deities of the heathen,” by calling them “saints instead of gods, putting the Virgin into the place of Venus, and setting up Peter and Paul in the niches formerly occupied by Saturn or Mars. Our present ‘revived early church’ is only Paganism with a border of crosses.”

We must return to the “primitive” church. Nothing in its message has changed, except by what man has done to defile it. The message that was carried then by the disciples should be carried now to a world condemned to die without Jesus Christ. Rather than adhering to the apostasy of the “early church”, we should look to the “earliest church” and embrace the Good News that spread among it.

May it be so. Today’s churches are quickly falling into apostasy. The message of the disciples has been replaced with what God can do for you rather than what you can do for Him. Like a bloated and stinking corpse, it is ripe with “self” and imagery, avarice and pleasure. Men stand at the church pulpits before thousands of hungry souls and feed them a watered down, lukewarm, and ineffective Gospel that is filled with just enough to cause the congregations to think they have the solution. And all the while, souls cling to the false hope they are given like a man holding onto a lifeline that is connected to nothing and is unable to save him.

Pray, all you Saints of God! Pray for the world around us, those being led to the slaughter like unsuspecting lambs. Restore Your former glory, Lord! Revive Your message of Truth and salvation to a starving and dying world! May men come out of the ashes of distortion and deception and boldly proclaim Your message of Truth and salvation. And may You bring an increase in Your Kingdom like such has never been seen.

For Your glory and honor, Lord. Amen and Amen.

For more on the Pentecost and its application to the Jewish holiday, Shavuot, click here

Monday, June 1, 2009

Will We Be Like Them?

Tiller the Baby Killer is dead! George Tiller, the late term abortionist from Kansas was killed yesterday as he served as an usher in his church. Most people would think that I , a person who values life and proudly carries the anti abortion flag, would be happy that this man, the murderer of countless children, was dead. But I cannot be happy that a life has been taken by anyone but God. "Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, in due time their foot will slip; And the impending things are hastening upon them." Deuteronomy 32:35. God makes it very clear that we are in no position to decide who lives and who dies.

In the movie The End of the Spear there is a poignant moment when the son of Nate Saint, a missionary in the Amazon, asks his father if he will take a gun and use it if his life is threatened. His father tells him that he won't. His son worries for his father's life but he reminds him that he knows the Lord and knows that he will be in heaven with Jesus if something happens to him . But the man who would seek to harm him does not have that hope, hence, he needs to live until someone carries the gospel message to him. Instead of taking the life of George Tiller, wouldn't it have been far better to have told him about the love of God? Wouldn't it have been far better to pray for the man to be convicted of his sin so he would have been compelled to repent and follow God?

I am quite certain that this news will be a blight on all who value life. We have already been labeled terrorists by the head of Home Land Security Janet Napalitano. This can only add fuel to the fire. The president of NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League), Kelli Conlin, said today, "It is cold-blooded, vicious actions like today's assassination that make it hard for those of us in the pro-choice community to find common ground with those on the other side." It is voices like her's that are very dangerous to our cause but the actions of Scott Roeder, Tiller's assassin, are equally dangerous. We need to use our voices, get involved in pro-life organizations like Life Options who educate young men and women on the consequences of sexual activity out of wedlock. Who teach our youth about a God who loves them and values them as a beautiful creation. Who value life from conception to natural death. Violence against our unborn, infirm, handicapped and elderly is something used by groups like NARAL . Will we chose to be like them?

A part of me is relieved that George Tiller is dead. But will the unborn be any safer because of his death? Satan seeks to devour our young and will use any willing person to get the job done. We can only hope that hearts will be changed in this fallen world. God help us.

One Flesh

he month of June has always been recognized as the time of year when young men and women join in matrimony. Beautiful wedding gowns have been purchased and altered, guest lists have been carefully scrutinized, cakes, caterers and music is planned, and would-be grooms nervously sit back and watch all the twittering going on between the bride and her attendants. It is a time of year to be celebrated as two young people begin a life journey of commitment to each other.

But our God did not take this matrimonial promise lightly. It is not only a commitment to each other, but a commitment to Him and all that it contains. It is a vow to remain faithful to each other, to honor our spouse in good times and in bad. And it is intended by Him that nothing should come between the two participants that would tear down what He has established. By adhering to this belief, the couple bring God His deserved honor and glory.

The marriage covenant between a man and a woman is also an analogy of another marriage that will one day take place. That is the marriage between Jesus Christ and those who choose to accept Him as their spouse. The book Song of Solomon beautifully illustrates the love the LORD has for His heavenly bride and His desire for her. It is a love story sung by Christ to His church and by the church to its King.

Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:21-23 "...that they may be one as We are one. I in them and You in Me." Just as Genesis 2:23-24 speaks of the union of the first man and woman to each other, we shall become united as "one flesh" with the LORD on that glorious day. And what a unbelievable wedding ceremony it will be - one I certainly do not want to miss!

“The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:23-24

As Eve sprang from Adam’s side,
Near to his heart where soul abides;
From bone and flesh his God did make
A gift to man to call his mate.

Not from the soil of new-made earth,
Nor the loamy bed of Adam’s birth;
But from the man his God brought forth
A woman of value and of great worth.

From bone and flesh He made her thus;
Not from the life within the dust
As Adam was made to tend God’s bower
And stand before Him in fateful hour.

But from the man his God withdrew
The essence of life’s soft downy dew;
And molded her into a being refined
To become one with man and love divine.

United and joined, no one to part,
God smiled with joy and love filled His heart.
From these two creatures whom He had planned,
A greater gift would be given to man.

One day He would give the flesh of His flesh;
He’d offer Himself to bring needed rest.
A Son He would make, bone of His bones,
Who would suffer and bleed on the cross alone.

From undefiled womb, God would make
A Man from which all could partake;
Of flesh and bone He would appear,
But all who know Him will know God is near.

He shall make us one with His Holy Son,
The flesh of His flesh, the bone of His bones;
To redeem the ones who hear His call
And make His Son their all-in-all.

We’ll be made His spouse, His heavenly bride,
That heaven or earth will never divide.
And angels will rejoice and break into song
As the Lord of All Creation makes us one.

Bone of His bones, and flesh of His flesh;
United in love, a promise of rest.
Made one with our Savior Who came from above,
To make us all one with divine, holy love.

Copyright 2006 Karen L. Brahs