Friday, May 31, 2013

How to Face the Future with the Peace of God by Bobby Conner

   This is an encouraging word from Bobby Conner.  God tells us in His Word that in this world we will have difficulty but that He will be with us and will see us through.  Bobby does an excellent job of reminding us of that.  He also gives us 9 ways to encourage ourselves as we're going through adverse situations.
     Difficulties are Certain…But His Presence is More Certain!
       As followers of Christ, we are not immune from the difficulties of life. Scripture clearly declares that "all that will live godly in this present world shall suffer difficulty"(2 Timothy 3:12). Nevertheless, in the midst of troubles, God always provides a way of escape. The escape, however, is neither the absence of adversity nor the final end of problems. The escape is not a path toward a problem-free life; the "escape" is the company and help of a Person in the midst of our troubles, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who will be with us "in the valley of the shadow of death" (Psalm 23:4).
      When our heart is broken and our dreams are shattered – when we face devastation beyond our strength or understanding – we have the guaranteed, blessed assurance of Christ's abiding Presence within us (Psalm 34:18). His Presence and precious promises alone offer peace and joy in the midst of chaos and disappointment.
      If we're facing unpaid bills, for example, we can experience peace and joy! Why? Christ is with us, holding our hand and offering His promise of provision (Philippians 4:19). If we're facing a serious doctor's report, we can experience peace and joy! Why? Christ is with us, holding our hand and offering His promise of healing (Exodus 15:26).
       The promise of Hebrews 13:5-6 releases confidence and courage to face every trial: 
...for God Himself has said, "I will never, never let go your hand: I will never, never forsake you." So that we fearlessly say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid: what can man do to me?" (New Testament Modern Speech)
stadiumIndeed, God's grace is available and adequate to sustain us no matter the nature of the troubles we face (2 Corinthians 12:9) – be our trial an illness, unemployment, betrayal, the loss of a loved one or unspeakable pain and injustice, or all of these difficulties together at once! Meditate on this promise of Isaiah 43:2 and let God's living Word impart lasting peace and joy to the depths of your mind and heart:
        When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.
        As Believers we are called to believe His Word. If we do, we will indeed experience victory in every battle (Joshua 1:8). Here are some simple steps to follow when you feel the storms of life swirling around you and your loved ones and your peace and joy are beginning to wane (Psalm 27:13). You can and will overcome in the midst of life's difficulties (Romans 8:37):

1. Choose to Believe
         How, you ask, can I face the future with peace and joy when my circumstances overwhelm me daily? Dear Believer, there is hope for you (Psalm 32:7)! First, you must realize that your future depends upon your choices in the present: adversity can make you bitter or better, depending on how you respond. The only right response is to choose to turn to God and believe His Word. Only then will you enjoy His Presence, experience true peace and overcome adversity (Isaiah 41:10).
Does this sound impossible? Do you feel that your troubles prevent you from turning to God and experiencing His Presence? The Scripture promises that we can turn to the Lord no matter our distress (Nahum 1:7). Nothing in Heaven or on earth can prevent us from experiencing His love: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [Shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" The answer is no one and nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35)!
       For many Believers, life is a grinding test of endurance. Nevertheless, difficult circumstances will never separate us from God's love and protection. This same Scripture from Romans 8:38-39 in the New Living Translation reads:"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away."
      Scripture also reminds us that, "In Your presence [is] fullness of joy; At Your right hand [are] pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11). In God's Presence is everything we need to overcome in every situation (Psalm 46:1).

2. Rejoice at Midnight
       We find a vivid example of overcoming adversity in the experience of Paul and Silas in prison. How were these precious men of God reacting to harsh imprisonment and gross injustice? Were they complaining, crying and lamenting their misfortunes at the midnight hour? Hardly! They were praying and praising God – and the result was freedom (Acts 16:25)!
sunrise      By the grace of God, a victorious attitude like theirs is exactly what we can experience during our times of adversity. Worshipping God despite our current circumstances, no matter how difficult, will surely gain us the victory in God's time and in His manner (Philippians 4:6-8). It's vital to understand that we worship and praise God now because He has already gained for us the victory – the battle has already been waged and won on our behalf. We have ample reason to rejoice!
       What, then, is our responsibility during times of difficulty? Our job is not to muster up the victory ourselves but to believe and declare God's goodness and then wait with expectancy to see how He intervenes. And surely our faith-filled rejoicing will get people's attention! Rejoicing in adversity is likely to cause a commotion in Heaven and on earth (Acts 16:23-40) and brings glory to God.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Miyoko Shida Rigolo

     This is incredible!  How do people have the patience to figure this out and the ability to concentrate to make it happen?!!
      Since she moves so slowly you can fast forward a little throughout the video if you are in a hurry, but be sure to watch the end.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Today's Adventure

      What a busy day!!  Mom & I needed to go to Terre Haute to get a bridal shower gift.  On the way we passed a horse and carriage coming toward Marshall.  Since we are having a horse parade at the Heritage Days Festival I decided to turn around and see if I could get the driver's attention to invite him to participate in the parade.  It just so happened that I arrived back at the intersection as he did when the light was red so I rolled down the window, asked him if he knew about the parade and gave him a brochure before the light changed.  Hopefully, he will come!  Mom & I agreed this was a first in our lives--the first time we've ever flagged down a horse & driver.
       I also needed to pick up supplies at Staples for the elevator so when checking the coupons for Staples I discovered their banners were on sale for half-price online.  Last night at the Festivals & Events meeting we had discussed purchasing banners to place at the main intersections of Route 40 in Martinsville, Marshall & Casey to announce the Heritage Days Festival.  After checking on sizes, prices, and the materials they would be printed on it and consulting with Norma at Accents we decided  to place an order with Staples.  I came home and worked on and submitted a design.  We will hopefully have the banners installed at the intersections this weekend.  Here is a screen shot of the banner.  It will be 2 1/2 feet tall by 8 feet long.
   Once I submitted the design I rode over to some of our farm land with Country Guy to drive our son's truck back from the field he had been working in.  Country Guy then went to Charleston to pick up mulch for my gardens and I stayed home to transplant several plants & pull weeds to get them ready for the mulch tomorrow.  About 8:00 I came in to fix us something to eat.  And now I am catching up with my blog and with email correspondence.  What a day!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

       We had several family members over yesterday to celebrate Memorial Day and May birthdays. Our plan was to burn the brush pile that we've been accumulating by trimming trees and picking up sticks, have a wiener roast and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.  Since the day dawned with possible severe storms forecast, we switched to an alternative plan of grilling hamburgers and eating inside.    
     While trying to think of something to serve with the hamburgers I decided to add macaroni & cheese to the menu.  Our family usually makes macaroni & cheese on the stovetop but since I was cooking for a crowd I wanted to bake it so I wouldn't have to be attentive to the cooking while everyone was arriving.
      I decided to try a new recipe and I found this great one on  Since several of our family mentioned how tasty it was and wanted the recipe I thought I would share it here for them and for you.  I prepared it differently from the original recipe and added more cheese so I'm posting it as I made it. (You can see the original here if you're interested.)  I was tempted to leave out the onion--whoever heard of Mac & Cheese with onion?--but I'm really glad I didn't!  There was no onion flavor--it only added to the overall great taste.  The recipe supposedly serves 6-8 so I doubled it.  There were no leftovers.

(I also posted the recipe to the Recipes #1 page under section 4. Salads, Vegetables, & Side Dishes.)

Old Fashioned Mac and Cheese
2 c. uncooked elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
4 T. butter
2 T. all-purpose flour
2 c. milk  (I used 1/2 c. half & half because I had it and was short of milk)
1/4 c. grated onion
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 lb Velveeta
1/4 lb. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 lb. shredded Swiss cheese
      (I used more cheese--probably 1/2 again as much.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in small saucepan over medium high heat.  Stir in the flour until a paste forms.  Add the milk and stir constantly until mixture begins to thicken slightly.  Add onion and Velveeta.  Stir till cheese is melted.  Pour over cooked macaroni and stir.  Pour mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. (It will be soupy.)  Sprinkle top with the Cheddar & Swiss cheeses.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Monday, May 27, 2013

16 Ways I Blew My Marriage by Dan Pearce

        I discovered this on Dan Pearce's Single Dad Laughing blog recently.  He says about himself that he is twice divorced so he seems to know what he is talking about.  There is so much wisdom and common sense contained that I thought you would want to be aware of  it, too.  We treat each other with such familiarity and take each other so for granted in our marriages!  Wouldn't it be wonderful if we again treasured our spouses as we did when we were dating?

                  16 Ways I Blew My Marriage by Dan Pearce 

When I first dated the woman I ended up marrying, I always held her hand. In the car. While walking. At meals. At movies. It didn’t matter where. Over time, I stopped. I made up excuses like my hand was too hot or it made me sweat or I wasn’t comfortable with it in public. Truth was, I stopped holding hands because I stopped wanting to put in the effort to be close to my wife. No other reason.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d hold her hand in the car. I’d hold her hand on a star. I’d hold her hand in a box. I’d hold her hand with a fox. And I’d hold her hand everywhere else, too, even when we didn’t particularly like each other for the moment.
BONUS! When you hold hands in the winter, they don’t get cold. True story.
Obviously when I was working to woo her, I would do myself up as attractively as I possibly could every time I saw her. I kept perfectly groomed. I always smelled good. I held in my farts until she wasn’t around. For some reason, marriage made me feel like I could stop doing all that. I would get all properly groomed, smelling good, and dressed up any time we went out somewhere or I went out by myself, but I rarely, if ever, cared about making myself attractive just for her.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d try and put my best foot forward throughout our entire marriage. I’d wait to fart until I was in the bathroom whenever possible. I’d make myself desirable so that she would desire me.
BONUS! when you trim your man hair, guess what. She returns the favor.
For some reason, somewhere along the way, I always ended up feeling like it was my place to tell her where she was weak and where she could do better. I sure as heck didn’t do that while we were dating. No, when I dated her I only built her up, only told her how amazing she was, and easily looked past all of her flaws. After we got married though, she sometimes couldn’t even cook eggs without me telling her how she might be able to improve.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I wouldn’t say a damned thing about anything that I thought could use improvement. I’ve learned since my marriage ended that there is more than one right way to do most things, and that the imperfections of others are too beautiful to try and change.
BONUS! when you tell her what she’s doing right, she’ll tell you what you’re doing right. And she’ll also tell her friends. And her family. And the dentist. And even strangers on the street.
I knew how to woo a girl, for sure. And the ticket was usually a night in, cooking a nice meal and having a romantic evening. So why is it then, that I didn’t do that for her after we got married? Sure, I’d throw some canned soup in the microwave or fry up some chimichangas once in a while, but I rarely if ever went out of my way to sweep her off her feet after we were married by steaming crab legs, or making fancy pasta, or setting up a candlelit table.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d make it a priority to cook for her, and only her, something awesome at least every month. And I’d remember that meat in a can is never awesome.
BONUS! candlelit dinners often lead to candlelit bow chica bow-wow.
I’m not talking about the angry kind of yelling. I’m talking about the lazy kind of yelling. The kind of yelling you do when you don’t want to get up from your television show or you don’t want to go ALL THE WAY UPSTAIRS to ask her if she’s seen your keys. It really doesn’t take that much effort to go find her, and yelling (by nature) sounds demanding and authoritative.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d try to go find her anytime I needed something or wanted to know something, and I’d have both gratitude and manners when I did. I always hated when she would yell to me, so why did I always feel it was okay to yell to her?
BONUS! sometimes you catch her doing something cute that you would have missed otherwise.
I always felt I was the king of not calling names, but I wasn’t. I may not have called her stupid, or idiot, or any of the other names she’d sometimes call me, but I would tell her she was stubborn, or that she was impossible, or that she was so hard to deal with. Names are names, and calling them will drive bigger wedges in communication than just about anything else.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: Any time it got to the point that I wanted to call names, I’d call a time-out and come back to it later. Or better yet, I’d call her names, but they’d be names like “super sexy” or “hotness.” Even in the heat of the moment.
BONUS! she’ll call you names in better places. Like the bedroom.
Continue reading this list here.

He posted an additional 15 ways in a later post.  To read The OTHER 15 Ways I Blew My Marriage click here.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Potter's Hands, A Beautiful Story by Kent Simpson

    This is a beautiful story by Kent Simpson of how the clay must feel at the hands of the potter.  I can relate.
Kent Simpson     I have a little story that somewhat explains the process of being shaped and molded by the Potter's hands. Each of us is nothing more than a clay vessel cleansed of its impurities. God chooses unworthy and broken vessels of clay for His work.
       "Pausing, the Potter picks up an abandoned and broken vessel of clay. His empathetic tears fall upon its sinful nature, baptizing it, washing away the years of neglect and abuse. His compassion melts the vessel, resurrecting a new pliable texture. His newfound love for it begins to knead out the lumpy, hard features of its coarse and worldly ways.
Potter's wheel       "Finally the clay sighs in relief as it is gently placed in the center of the Master's view. He ponders with great thought about what He will make of this re-born vessel. Suddenly, the clay experiences a troubling intrusion. Spinning the wooden wheel, the Master begins to form the clay into His heart's delight.
       As the clay feels the strong touch of the Master's hands, he also experiences the swirling of circumstances that he cannot control. Faster and faster, the Potter's wheel turns as He squeezes and shapes the clay, extending its faith and stature. Slowing the wheel, life's problems seem to cease.   The Potter sits back and observes His renewed vessel. Noticing a few weaknesses in the vessel, He compresses the clay once again into a shapeless form. Whirling the wheel around even faster than before, causing confusion in the clay.
       "As the Potter works the clay, it rises higher and higher. Each finger of the Potter's hand carves deep into the clay, creating deep paths of purpose and destiny. At last, the wheel comes to a halt and the Potter walks away. Standing all alone, the clay begins to cry out for the Master. To his surprise the Potter returns with a sharp, double-edge sword.   "What could He possibly want to do with that?" stuttered the vessel. With one clean stroke of the sword of His Word, the clay vessel is freed from the wheel of calamity and confusion. Resting in the hands of its Master, the vessel experiences a great peace as he is handled delicately for a season.
Kiln      "Having been placed in a small box, the vessel witnesses the closing of a door that only the Master can open. With great intensity a fire begins to breathe its fury all around the clay vessel. Sweating with fear, the vessel struggles to find faith in the midst of this seemingly cruel process. With every hour seeming like years, the vessel weeps every ounce of moisture from its being. Having no more strength of its own, the vessel begins to harden in the Refiner's fire.
        As the vessel sees a new glow from his Master's flaming eyes, the vessel recounts its purpose for being created. It recalls the promise of the Potter's return; the vessel begins to reflect. Yearning for deliverance, the smoking vessel cries out with a burning desire to serve His Creator. As the Potter begins to remove the vessel from the furnace, the vessel vows to serve the Master with every part of his being.
      Still glowing with passion to tell others about the Potter, the vessel pleads to be used for the Master's glory. Instead, the Potter places the vessel on a cold shelf, knowing that he could scorch another with his heated passion to share his experience. The vessel laments over this chilling experience, waiting impatiently to be called into the service of his Master.
Ready for use       "With each new day the once fiery zeal of the vessel draws cold. Discovering the vessel is cool to the touch and cannot harm those who handle it, the Master takes him from the shelf. Knowing he is called to serve the Master, the vessel waits patiently for the anointed brush of the Potter.
       With each unique and personal stroke of the Master's brush, the vessel is gifted with a colorful destiny unlike any other. The vessel is complete, ready to be filled with the Master's glory. It is willing to be filled and emptied again and again, delivering hope to those who thirst for the Master's touch."
     But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8

Kent Simpson, Prophetic Pastor
Prophetic Ministries Today


Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Difference Between A Zealous Christian and A Zealous Muslim

The difference between being a zealous Christian and a zealous Muslim is quite striking and well explained by Francis Frangipane.

                       A Better Way by Francis Frangipane
A man might be a nominal Christian, mostly unaffected by spiritual things, until one day he reads the Bible and the Holy Spirit ignites in him a fire. If that person remains steadfast in his inspiration, he will increasingly pattern his life after Jesus Christ - that is, he will become more loving, more forgiving, and more ready to give his life for the redemption of others. Spiritual gifts will accompany his life as He becomes Christlike. As Jesus said, "The works that I do, he will do also" (John 14:12).

However, if a nominal Muslim begins to read a Koran, if he continues his daily reading and feels an increasing zeal toward obeying the precepts of Mohammed, if he continues on, this man will ultimately desire to possess true Islam – that is, total submission to Allah. The works Mohammed did the follower will also do. The zealot will police his community, seeking to preserve obedience to Islam. He will seek to convert unbelievers by all means, including violence and terror, and he will consider it his duty to kill those who resist the spread of Islam. If one carries true Islam in his or her soul, but does not use violence, they will at the very least sympathize with those that do.

Thus, the radicalization of at least some Muslims is inevitable, for the normal growth of an unrestrained zealot will eventually conform him to the founder of his religion. This means that as long as there are people reading the Koran there will be a small percentage who pledge their lives to Islam’s spread even by use of violence. We who live in the predominantly non-Muslim world will have to cope with the violence of these "true believers."
It also means that the moderate Muslims must realize, unless they desire war with their non-Muslim neighbors, they will have to expose and denounce the radicalized Muslim, especially in communities where Muslims and non-Muslims live together.

Are you Muslim? Do you want the radical extremist to represent you and your people? If not, then you must find ways to direct the radical Muslim into a spiritual jihad against the sins of his soul rather than a violent jihad against the people of a community.

Are you Christian? You must guard against prejudging all Muslims, for many people turned to Islam as a reaction to the sinfulness of the West. In a real way, they were seeking Christ and stability and the church failed them. 

But in this present atmosphere, they are doubting the choice they made to follow Islam. Therefore, we must reveal Christ and the love He has for all men if we hope to win Muslims.

And finally, as Christians, we must forgive and pray for Muslims. My wife and I pray daily for Muslims, that the Lord of the harvest would send laborers into the Muslim world and that Jesus would be revealed to them, including the most radical who are ready to kill.

The radical Islamist will only be won by the radical Christ follower. We must show them a better way.

Friday, May 24, 2013

"The Normal Christian Life" by Watchman Nee

      Have you read Watchman Nee's book, The Normal Christian Life?  (Click here or here to read it as a free PDF file.)  I think it should be a 'must' read for every Christian.  Much of the preaching we hear today is a mixture of grace and law and therefore it is a 'different gospel' than the one Jesus represented.  Watchman Nee speaks of grace as it is--a gift--not something to be earned, and contrasts it with our trying to keep the Law--which is impossible.  
      Here are a few quotes from the book:

 “The Law requires much, but offers no help in the carrying out of its requirements. The Lord Jesus requires just as much, yea even more (Matt. 5:21-48), but what he requires from us he himself carries out in us. The law makes demands and leaves us helpless to fulfill them; Christ makes demands, but he himself fulfills in us the very demands he makes.” (p.161)

  “God’s requirements have not altered, but we are not the ones to meet them. Praise God, he is the Lawgiver on the Throne, and he is the Lawkeeper in my heart. He who gave the Law, himself keeps it.” (p.166)

  “We have spoken of trying and trusting, and the difference between the two. Believe me, it is the difference between heaven and hell.” (p.183)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Judge Goes Off Deep End To Shut Up Christians

     Whether you are a Christian or not you should watch some of this video.  Our freedoms are being taken away.  Only those who hold the same beliefs as those in authority are allowed to express those beliefs.    
     Our 'political correctness' has gotten us into deep trouble.  Islam is a violent religion.  It does not allow for any other expression of religion.  We, in America, are so used to being tolerant of others that we are ignorant of the fact that others are not tolerant--and will never be tolerant-- of Christianity.  We must return to the values this country was founded upon.  It is almost too late!  Wake up Americans!!

       Could you ever believe this would happen?  The police stand by as eggs, cans, etc. are thrown at these people.  It is one thing to disagree with what others are saying, but to be allowed to harm them is quite unacceptable.  What has happened to equal rights?
       What has happened to common sense?!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lest we forget

      “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
                                                        Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Little Frustration

    I can't find my camera anywhere!  I've had it for several years--probably 5 or 6--and I loved it!  In all the time I've had it, I have never once misplaced it.  I keep it in my purse, or stowed in a basket on the kitchen counter.  It is not there or in my car, or at anyone's house where I've been in the past few weeks.  I've searched everywhere!
      Recently I've been taking a few pictures with my cell phone, but last weekend was an important occasion and I wanted to be certain to have good pictures.  Our grandson, Daniel, graduated from high school.  All the family was together, including our daughter-in-law's family, who are our good friends from Nebraska.  It was a time I wanted to document with beautiful pictures, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.  I have a couple of pictures of Daniel with all of us, but none in his cap & gown.  Hopefully, someone will share one of theirs with me.
      Since we're taking Daniel & his brother, Parker, to Europe this summer as their graduation present (Parker won't graduate for 2 years but we thought we would give him an early graduation gift so they could enjoy the trip together) I will be needing a good camera.  I spent some time online the past couple of days researching the best camera options.  I've decided on the Canon G15.  It is small, but still has a substantial feel.  It is fully automatic, but also offers the flexibility to manually set the controls if I'm feeling adventurous and experimental.  It has exceptional reviews from the camera experts.  I ordered one yesterday and can't wait for it to come so that I can begin learning how to use it.  Actually the camera I lost was a G10.  I took some wonderful photos with it.  Since the G15 is a several-generation-upgrade of the G10 I'm sure it will be an excellent replacement for my lost camera.  I expect to be fully acquainted with it before our trip and look forward to capturing beautiful photos of the memories created together with our grandsons.
      Maybe it was time for a new camera.  How disappointed I would have been if the old one had quit working on our trip!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Angelina Jolie decision

Here is an entirely different perspective that you might be interested in on Angelina Jolie's announcement that she had breast surgery.  It sheds much light on why and how the announcement was made.

Francis Frangipane: Legal Protection

The Ministries of Francis Frangipane       

Legal Protection
      Approximately two thousand years ago a decree was issued at the judgment seat of Almighty God. It provided "legal" protection for the church against the devil. Indeed, when Jesus died for our sins, the "ruler of this world" was judged (John 16:11). Our debts were nailed to Christ's cross and canceled; principalities and powers were disarmed. In truth, because of Jesus, we have a legal right not only to be protected from our enemy but to triumph over him (Col. 2:13--15).
      Having said that, we must also acknowledge that the church has only rarely walked in such victory since the first century. Why? At least in part, the answer is this: to attain the protection of Christ, the church must embrace the intercession of Christ. We must become a house of prayer.
Indeed, church history began with its leadership devoted to the Word of God and to prayer (Acts 2:42; 6:4). Every day the leaders gathered to pray and minister to the Lord (Acts 3:1). In this clarity of vision and simplicity of purpose, the church of Jesus Christ never had greater power or capacity to make true disciples.
       Today, however, our qualifications for church leadership include almost everything but devotion to God's Word and prayer. Leaders are expected to be organizers, counselors, and individuals with winning personalities whose charms alone can draw people.
        In Luke 18:8, Jesus challenges our modern traditions. He asks, "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" His question is a warning to Christians who would limit the power of God at the end of the age. Jesus is calling us to resist the downward pull of our traditions; He is asking us individually, "Will I find faith in you?"
        Before we respond, let us note that Jesus associates faith with "day and night" prayer (Luke 18:7). He is not asking, "Will I find correct doctrines in you?" The Lord's question does not so much concern itself with our head as with our heart. What we believe is important, but how we believe is vital in securing the help of God.
         Indeed, procuring the supernatural help of God is exactly the point of Jesus' parable in Luke 18. His intent was to show that "at all times" we "ought to pray and not to lose heart" (v. 1). To illustrate the quality of faith He seeks, He followed His admonition with a parable about a certain widow who petitioned a hardened judge for "legal protection" (v. 3). Although the judge was initially unwilling, yet by her "continually coming" (v. 5) she gained what was legally hers.
         Jesus concluded by asking, if an unrighteous judge will respond to a widow's persistence, "will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?" Jesus said, "I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly" (vv. 7--8).

Understanding God's Delays
       Our heavenly Judge will not "delay long" over His elect, but He will delay. In fact, God's definition of "quickly" and ours are not always synonymous. The Lord incorporates delays into His overall plan: Delays work perseverance in us.So crucial is endurance to our character development that God is willing to delay even important answers to prayer to facilitate our transformation.

        Thus, we should not interpret divine delays as signs of divine reluctance. Delays are tools to perfect our faith. Christ is looking to find a tenacity in our faith that prevails in spite of delays and setbacks. He seeks to create a perseverance within us that outlasts the test of time, a resolve that actually grows stronger during delays. When the Father sees this quality of persistence in our faith, it so touches His heart that He grants "legal protection" to His people.

Desperation Produces Change
        It is significant that Jesus compared His elect to a widow harassed by an enemy. The image is actually liberating, for we tend to conceptualize the heroes of the faith as David or Joshua types -- individuals whose successes obscure their humble beginnings. But each of God's servants has, like the widow, a former life that is brimming with excuses and occasions to waver.

        Look at the widow: She has legitimate reasons to quit, but instead she prevails. Indeed, she refuses to exempt herself from her high potential simply because of her low estate. She makes no apologies for her lack of finances, knowledge or charm. Giving herself no reason to fail, she unashamedly plants her case before the judge where she pleads for and receives what is hers: legal protection from her opponent.
        How did a common widow gain such strength of character? We can imagine that there must have been a time when, under the relentless pressure of her adversary, she became desperate, and desperation worked to her advantage.Desperation is God's hammer: it demolishes the stronghold of fear and shatters the chains of our excuses. When our desperation exceeds our fears, progress begins.
         Today the force prodding many Christians toward greater unity and prayer has not been the sweetness of fellowship; more often it has been the assault of the enemy. We are in desperate times. When it comes to touching God's heart, other than for a few essential truths, unity of desperation is more crucial than unity of doctrine.

God's Elect
         Our nation is suffering from a deep social and moral collapse. If we have ever needed God's anointing, it is now -- but where are God's elect? Where are the people whom Daniel says "know their God" and "will display strength and take action" (Dan. 11:32)?

         Is there no one divinely empowered who can fell the Goliaths of our age? Perhaps we are looking in the wrong places. Perhaps we need only to look in our bathroom mirror. If you believe in Jesus and are desperate for God, you qualify as one of God's elect. Remember, in the above parable the widow typifies Christ's chosen.
         We have erroneously held that God's chosen will never be assaulted by the adversary, much less driven to desperation and "day and night" prayer. But this desperation is often the very crucible in which the elect of God are forged. Jesus portrays this characteristic metaphorically in the picture of the widow; He reveals the means through which His elect prevail in battle at the end of the age.
        When all is said and done, it is also possible that this widow may not have been a singular person but a corporate people -- a "widow church" -- united in Christ in a singular, desperate prayer for protection against her adversary.
        We need the "legal protection" that a national revival provides. But it will not come without unceasing prayer. You ask, "Where was the prayer behind the Charismatic movement?" The Lord spoke to my heart that the Charismatic movement was His answer to the cries of a million praying mothers -- women who refused to surrender their children to drugs and the devil.
         It is our turn to pray. We are the widow who cannot give herself a reason for failure; God will answer our day-and-night cry. Let us position ourselves at His throne on behalf of our cities and nations. Certainly, as we persevere in faith, the Lord will grant us legal protection from our enemy.

        Heavenly Father, forgive us for our lack of prayer and for giving ourselves excuses to fail. Lord, we thank You for making us desperate. Help us now to prevail, to attain the "legal protection" You have provided us against our adversary. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Heritage Days on the Old National Road, June 15 & 16

      It is less than one month till the Heritage Days Celebration in Martinsville, Illinois.  You won't want to miss this exciting festival!

Friday, May 17, 2013

James Clavell quote from his novel "Shogun"

   "To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world.  It you leave your mind to itself it will spiral down into ever increasing unhappiness.  To think good thoughts, however, requires effort.  This is one of the things that discipline -- training -- is about."

IRS Tax Issue Prophesied by Chuck Pierce

        It is encouraging to read these prophetic words given previously by Chuck Pierce and to hear in the news that they are now coming to pass.

Current word from the Lord – sent by Chuck D. Pierce on May 16, 2013:
      This is a wonderful week to celebrate! We have pressed 50 days from Passover to Pentecost, and now is the time to celebrate the provision of the Lord!
        Pentecost is a time to give with a joyful heart! If you were with us on Sunday morning, you heard the word that the Spirit of God had me release:
       "I created you and I gifted you so you could be given to others. Do not withhold! Do not withhold! For this will be a day that I will reach My hand in and flip open that oil well that has been shut within you. There are wells to be released within you, and if you are willing to pour out, I am willing to open up. Now is a time for you to give away what you have never seen that you had to give! I will reveal to you how I created you to give!"
      This was such a powerful word, and I believe in days ahead the Lord is going to lead us to give in ways we've never imagined we could give. This will go far beyond checks or cash gifts, and into creative releases of giving that reflect the diversity of our God!
      IRS Tax Issue Prophesied from Middletown, OH, to Chicago, IL, to Manahawkin, NJ, to Denton, TX, to Jekyll Island, GA:
For several years we have prayed and asked the Lord about the Internal Revenue Service. We actually went on a prayer journey in 2005 to Jekyll Island, where the Federal Reserve System was birthed. See how the Lord began to speak about the shaking of the IRS! Here is what we have heard:

May 3, 2012 at Reigning Church Conference in Middletown, Ohio:
       And the Lord would say, "The wind has shifted tonight in Middletown, Ohio. In the midst of this nation there is a movement of wind in the tops of the mulberry bushes. The trees are beginning to speak. The trees are clapping their hands and rejoicing that the earth is now shifting and creation has cried out for things to change! I have come to release and to relieve you of the burden you've been carrying.
       "As the wind blows, My People will come from behind and overtake the enemy who has captured the last ten decades of this nation. Go back ten decades from this place in this nation and you will see how the enemy captured plans that I ordained to happen. Your bloodline will come alive and no longer say, 'Will we remain captive?'
       "Sounds and worship that was captured in one season will now be released! Hear the sound of the overturning of the tables in My tabernacle! Within My synagogues and within My churches, and within My gatherings the tables of last season are now being overturned. Where My people were held captive one way to be ruled, now they are coming out from under that captivity.
       "Hear the sound that is coming. This is a sound of revolt that will change the tax structure of this nation. The tax structure of this nation now will attempt to raise its head to rule in an unlawful way! Just as I caused King Uzziah to die when he raised his head, I will destroy that that tries to rule My Church wrongfully in days ahead."

May 28, 2012 at Truth and Deliverance Conference in Chicago, Illinois:
      I had a significant dream as I was going to Chicago. I knew this dream was linked with our nation. I knew the dream had great significance since our President was from Chicago.
      In the dream the Lord took me down into the sewage structure of Chicago. Rats were in a council. The rats were holding court in the sewer. They had a gavel. They had robes. They were gathered like a society and holding court in the sewage system. They were plotting, and they were planning. I felt like it had been hours, watching and listening to their plotting. All of a sudden the rat with the gavel saw me. He commanded the whole group to move toward me and remove me from watching. They turned to lunge on me and that's when I awoke. Here is what the Lord says about this dream:
        "There's a plot going on deep in the heart of this city that will affect this nation. He brought me to Chicago to decree what was happening in the nation. "This plot is linked into judicial government. Because of [the] worshipping [in] this gathering, I will now expose the plot." The rats are plotting to stop the Kingdom movement. This was like a cartoon where animals had faces and they knew how to talk but represented something else.
Yield     The rats are plotting down deep in this city with judicial government that will hinder God's people and His movement in this nation in days ahead. They were plotting to use tax and debt structures to hold back God's plan of advancement.
       They were plotting through the present tax structure of the United States. They were using unrighteous strategies set against God's people to bring the entire next move of God and God's people into captivity, so that they are held in control to tax structures that are illegal and unjust!
         This plot is trying to take root to hold back the move of God for the next season. This is going to get exposed and be broken and God's people are going to advance. The council of Hell has been exposed by the Spirit of God, by the Blood of Jesus! What was being counseled against you is now exposed. Even the President will acknowledge this structure and say, 'NO'!

February 21, 2013 in Manahawkin, New Jersey:
      "This will be the most unprecedented year of change in Delaware. (The first state in our nation – for what happens in the first is a key to what happens in the nation!) This will be a key over the redoing of tax structures (in the nation), and rearrange the way tax structures are moving" (in the nation).
         "Do not prophesy to maintain how things presently exist. For 'whom the bell tolls' is over Delaware! (This was a key book/movie about the Spanish resistance and strategically blowing a bridge in perfect timing.) Watch Me redo so much of what has not been redone so that My People are freed up to enter into a freedom that they have never experienced." (Note: the Vice-President is from Delaware!)

January 25, 2010 in Denton, Texas:
        "I'm changing the tax structure now. I'm setting you ahead of the tax structure to expose what needs to be exposed that is illegal. Do not keep looking for April and enter into a disagreement or an agreement with what you have known. I am starting a work now to change the tax structure of this land! I will rise up and surprise those that will reform this structure! The unjust burden that has been upon My people will now begin to shift in a new way."

June 2005 in Jekyll Island, Georgia:
        In June, 2005, we went to Jekyll Island to pray where the Federal Reserve was conceived.
The Lord began to speak, "Satan has a plan. But I AM convening this meeting, so you can shift things in the economic heart of this nation right. Now I'm going to give you strategies to reverse the debt and tax structure that would hold My people captive. I've brought you here because a government was formed in this place. This government was illegally formed and has controlled governments of the earth. You have matured in My government in a way that you can decree from a governmental place, a shift to change the course of the civil government. I have gathered you! I have convened you! I have placed you to release what needs to be released at this time.
       The pillars of the IRS and Federal Reserve System will now shake! I will ordain you as Samson was ordained, only you will be wise enough not to be seduced and have your strength removed.
I will ordain you now to tear down the pillars that are holding in place the enemy's plan to control the My building of what I have planned to build in the future. I have brought you here to push, and as you push, things will change."
       This is happening now!

Chuck D. Pierce
Glory of Zion International Ministries


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Abby Johnson

      This was sent to me from a friend.  It has some excellent points about what our attitude is to be towards those who do not yet know the Lord.  Let us have the mind of Christ for all sinners.  Since we fit in that category and desire grace and forgiveness for ourselves, let us be quick to give it to others, otherwise how will they recognize it as Good News?

Abby Johnson: If Gosnell deserves death and hell, tell me, what do I deserve?

Note: Abby Johnson is a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic who converted to the pro-life cause. She has since founded a ministry, And Then There Were None, which is dedicated to helping workers in abortion clinics transition out of the industry. 
      May 14, 2013 ( - I am vehemently against the death penalty. Now stay with me…this is not a post about my opinion regarding that. You can disagree or agree with me on that some other time. I did want to share a little bit about why I take the words of prolifers so seriously. I have heard so much vitriol spewed from the mouths of "Christian prolifers" since the Gosnell trial has concluded. I feel like I must address it.
     When I was confirmed as a Catholic, I chose Mary Magdalene as my confirmation saint. I felt an immediate connection to her. She had sinned so much…and was forgiven in even greater amounts. She knew she didn’t deserve forgiveness…but she received it anyway. And because of this, she clung to Christ. She knew she was nothing without Him.
      I have also done my fair share of sinning. And I have also been forgiven much more than I deserve. I abused and betrayed women in the worst possible way. I convinced them to kill their children. Did I slit the necks of children after they were born? No. But, I was an accomplice to murder. Thousands of times…women I knew, women I didn’t, my friends, even my family. I lied to people. I lied to women when they came to me for accurate information. I was among the worst sinners…those that help to take and destroy life. I am no better than Kermit Gosnell.
       I took my own children’s lives…twice. Not because I was coerced. Not because I didn’t know better. But because I thought children would be an inconvenience to my lifestyle. I am responsible for their deaths…no one else.
So when someone talks about Gosnell and says things like, “murderers and people like him don’t deserve to breathe the same air as I do,” or "I hope he burns in hell," it hurts a little. Because that was me. But I am still here…breathing that same air…and trying to spend my life righting my wrongs. And it’s not just me. I know they hurt others like me, as well. People who have left the abortion industry and will work every day to recover from their sins. People who are still in the industry and think they will be shunned by the pro-life movement…maybe they would reach out to us if they knew we would accept them. I am always terrified that clinic workers will see some of the words from prolifers. I have been told by several former workers that they will never come forward with their stories because they are so scared of how they will be treated by us...the supposed "Christian" movement. Their fears are real and legitimate.
        I know some will say, “but you repented, that is the difference.” But what if I hadn’t…not yet. What if I was still inside the abortion industry? What if I was still an accomplice to murder? What if it took me longer to realize the truth? Do I deserve to die? Are we saying repentance is about our timing? Certainly, it is not about us. It about God and His perfect timing.
        Right now, I shouldn’t be in this movement. I should be the COO of the 4th largest revenue generating Planned Parenthood affiliate in the country. I should be overseeing the largest abortion facility in the Western Hemisphere. I should be making six times the amount of money that I make in the pro-life movement. But I’m not. Why? Because of forgiveness. Because of mercy. Because of grace. Because of God. And because of real pro-lifers. The people I turned to accepted me for me...baggage and all. They knew that I was a broken person, and they loved me anyway. They knew I needed significant healing, and they helped to provide it.
         Click "like" if you want to end abortion!
       I remember one story in particular which always makes me tear up when I think about it. One of the ladies, Karen, that immediately befriended me after I left Planned Parenthood, was asked a question by a reporter. He asked her, "So, what was Abby like before she became pro-life? I mean, how nasty was she?" Karen's answer was so genuine, and so Christ-like. She simply said, "I don't remember that person. She is a new creation in Christ. I won't talk about her past, I only want to talk about her future." Wow. What grace. What forgiveness. She could have really spilled the beans on me, but she chose not to. Why? Because she truly loved me...and she always had, even while I was working at Planned Parenthood. She always believed the best in me, always believed that my conversion would happen.
        It was Christ who changed me. It was the merciful and compassionate words of His people. It was no condemnation. It was not prayers that I would burn in hell. It was not those who yelled and called me names. It was the words of people like Karen. Those who prayed that I would, one day, walk out of that clinic. Those who had constant faith...even when that faith was a struggle to have. I am here because of them and because of their Christ-like witness.
       Don't we want that for every abortion clinic worker and abortion provider? Don't we want that for Kermit Gosnell? I smile every time I imagine his conversion. What a heavenly victory that will be! Can it happen? If you say no, then you do not know the God that I do. My God is in the business of miracles. And my God does not want anyone to suffer in hell. He wants all of his children to come to him...yes, even those of us "monsters" that are in or have been in the abortion industry.
       Hate comes from hell. Mercy comes from Christ. When we have hate in our hearts, our spirits are damaged. Be careful with your words. Not only are you a living witness of Christ and His truth, but you could put your own soul at risk. "Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him." 1 John 3:15 When we hate, we are no better than those who kill.
       I am not the sweetest person. I’m not the one who catches all the flies with honey…sometimes I am all vinegar. What do you expect? You expect the most tender-hearted to work in the abortion industry? Maybe we aren’t like all of you. Maybe we aren’t the most kind-hearted. Maybe you don't understand how we could do what we have done. But those of us that leave…we are fighters. We are willing to take hits for our former sins. We are willing to stand up in places that are uncomfortable. We are willing to be bruised by others because we know that we have to…we know that will be the price we pay…it just hurts more when the bruises come from those who should be rejoicing in our repentance. We are passionate. We don’t waste time beating around the bush…not when it comes to life…especially the lives that we helped take.
Those of us that have worked in the industry all live our lives with a constant burden. One that will not be free from us until we reach heaven. We can’t let our burden slide off of our shoulders, it is what keeps us on fire. It reminds us of why we fight so hard. We have seen death and evil in a way that most haven’t…and we participated. We are forgiven.
      So, should I be able to “breathe the same air as you?” That’s not really up to me to decide. But if you say things like that, know that a small piece of our heart is broken, and I have to believe that it grieves Christ. But even if you break our hearts, we forgive you. Even if you bruise us, we forgive you. He who has been forgiven much, loves much. And we love a lot. I am eagerly awaiting the day when I can call Kermit Gosnell a former and REPENTANT abortion provider.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Our Scandalous President

      Hopefully, people are beginning to realize what kind of man we have elected President!  We must not allow another scandal to be swept under the rug, or the Constitution to be trampled on any longer.  Contact your Congressman asking him/her to investigate until the truth about each is discovered.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Can't I Bless You In Your Suffering?" by Gary Elkins

Garris ElkinsEach family will go through seasons of challenge and suffering in the course of a lifetime. As a family, we recently experienced one of those times. In the end, God showed up and pointed the situation in a new direction, but at the start we felt overwhelmed.
As I began to navigate the early moments of our challenging situation, I felt a need to put all my normal activities on hold until the crisis was over. I began to cancel certain events and was about to cancel one final appointment on my list, something I really like to do under normal circumstances. As I began to cancel the appointment, the Lord asked me a question, "Can't I bless you in your suffering?"
The question actually startled me. I had become focused on the painful event we were experiencing and had assumed a waiting posture until it could be resolved. Any thought of personal blessing or gain in the middle of the suffering felt like it would have been out of the question.
God is good all the timeSomewhere in my mind, I had allowed a false way of thinking to enter my thoughts. This false thinking said the blessings of God are reserved only for those times outside our times of suffering.
I felt I had to endure this painful situation until the end before it would be appropriate for a blessing to come my way. As the Lord's question rang in my ears, I realized I had been living with a limited image of God's goodness in times of suffering.
God Is Going After Our Limited Belief In His Goodness
We are in a moment of Church history where God is planning to arrive in our places of suffering with blessings in His hand and drop those blessings into our lives in unexpected ways. As He releases these gifts, He is blessing us as a father would bless a child who is experiencing sadness or sorrow. But there is something more He is going after. God is going after our limited belief in His goodness. He is going after pious sounding misconceptions that blind us to His heart. He is going after terminal thought patterns that release sorrow instead of joy.
When the Lord asked me the question – "Can't I bless you in your suffering?" – my response was, "Yes, Lord, You can, but don't I need to get through this first?"
Hope and BlessingMy question to His question revealed a second point of healing God wanted me to experience. Many of us think we must endure the full length of suffering before God is willing to show up with His goodness and provision.
This misunderstanding comes from a mindset that says God teaches us more in seasons of suffering than in times of blessing. God is free to teach us in any way He desires. Suffering can get our attention and so can a blessing in a painful and dry season.What matters most is whether through suffering or blessing our focus turns to Him.
That day I kept the appointment I was about to cancel. When I arrived, I received a tremendous blessing. The blessing was beyond what I would dare to ask or think in a time of suffering. I came away a changed person. God's goodness changed me.
From the blessing I received from my kept appointment and what I learned of the Father's heart in the process, came a new vocabulary to use in times of suffering. That new vocabulary contained words of hope and blessing – the very words I would use later in the day to turn several conversations regarding our personal crisis from despair to hope.
If you are walking through a valley shadowed by death and despair, listen with new ears to the voice of the Spirit. God is about to bless you in your suffering. He has things planned for you that are similar to what Paul wrote about in Ephesians 3:20"Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."
Garris Elkins, Senior Leader
Living Waters Church – Medford, Oregon


Monday, May 13, 2013

Another Post from Paul Ellis' Escape To Reality Blog

      This is an interesting and challenging article by Paul Ellis on "Does God Give and Take Away? which can be read on   I especially enjoyed the comments on this blog post and Paul's response to them which you can read here, or click on the "210 comments."  
      God is slowly and firmly changing my mind about so much that I have been taught about law and grace.  I hope you find these articles as enlightening as I do.  God is good all the time.  It's too bad we haven't been taught this from the beginning.

                        Does God Give and Take Away?

The entire Bible is good for you, but you won’t get much out of it unless you know Jesus Christ. To understand the written word, you need to know the Living Word. If you try to read the Bible without an appreciation of Jesus – who He is and what He has done – you may end up taking someone else’s medicine. Some verses will appear to contradict others and you will get confused.
In the first part of this study on God’s gifts, we looked at a sincere lady in the Bible who mistakenly believed that God gives us bad gifts like death and poverty. Today I want to look at a man who had a slightly different problem. He believed that God gives us good gifts only to take them away again. You can probably guess that I’m talking about Job. Job had this one really bad week when his livestock were stolen, his servants were slain, and his kids were killed when a house fell on them. For some reason, Job thought God was behind his loss for he said:
“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” (Job 1:21)
If there was ever a scripture that has led to some screwy notions about God’s character, it’s this one. Anyone who has suffered loss has probably heard this verse. It’s often quoted at funerals. We even sing songs about it. For some strange reason people seem to find comfort in believing that God is responsible for their loss.
Now don’t get me wrong – I love Job’s attitude. He’s saying that whatever happens in life, he’s going to praise the name of the Lord. He’s no fair-weather believer. But Job still said some dumb things about God. Later on in the story Job would come to regret his choice of words saying “I spoke of things I did not understand” (Job 42:3).
But the question stands: Does God really give and then take away?
Any picture we have of God needs to be informed by Jesus Christ. Jesus is the “radiance of God’s glory, the exact representation of his being” (Heb 1:3). To get a good understanding of God’s character, we need to look to Jesus, not Job. Can you imagine Jesus stealing or killing? Of course not. So how is it that some people think that God was responsible for Job’s loss?
Now you might say to me, “but Paul, it’s in the Bible, it’s right there in black and white – ‘the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away’.” Let me put it to you like this. If you want the very best insight into God’s character, are you better off looking at:
(a)    Jesus, who said “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9), or
(b)    Job, who had only heard of God but did not actually know him  (see Job 42:5)?
It seems obvious to me that Jesus is the better choice. Form your views of God by looking at the things Jesus said and did.
As we saw in Part 1, Jesus came to reveal God the Great Giver. Have you been given something good? Then see God as your source. He gave it to you:
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (Jas 1:17)
Who’s robbing you?
But what if you have suffered loss, like Job? He lost his health, his wealth, and his family. The temptation may be to blame God for your loss, as if God had a change of heart. But God is not fickle. He does not change like shifting shadows. He is an extraordinary giver who never takes back his gifts.
“God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty – never canceled, never rescinded.” (Rms 11:29, MSG)
So if God is doing the giving, who is doing the taking? Again, Jesus provides the answer:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (Joh 10:10)
We ought not to be confused about these two different roles. One is a giver, the other is a taker. If you have been given something good, then give thanks to God. But if you’ve been robbed, don’t blame God. He’s not behind your loss.
Humans are spectacularly slow learners. From the beginning of human history the devil has been trying to steal or ruin everything God gave us and yet there are still some who think that God is the thief! God gave us authority over a planet and the devil took it. God gave us freedom and the devil somehow got us to choose the way of slavery. God gave us eternal life, health and glory, and we lost it all. But thank God for Jesus who took back what the devil stole!
Karma versus grace
If you think that God gives and takes away, then you’ve missed the point of Jesus. Jesus came to reveal a generous Father and to destroy the work of the Thief (1 Jn 3:8). Jesus came that we might have life to the full, not to the half.
If you think that God gives and takes away, then you have more faith in karma than grace. Karma says what goes around comes around. If you’re healthy now, you’ll likely be sick tomorrow. If you’re prospering now, poverty’s waiting just around the next corner. When disappointments and hardships come, you won’t be surprised. You’ll just throw in the towel and say, “I knew it was too good to last.”
The world works according to the principle of give and take, but God just gives. The only thing he’ll take off you – if you let him – is your sin, your shame, your sickness, your worries and your fears. He takes away those things that harm us and only gives us good things that bless us.
Are you a Job or a David?
Both Job and David were robbed. Both were greatly distressed and surrounded by foolish men who gave bad advice. But unlike Job, David did a very Jesusy-thing and took back what was stolen. Why did David fight back when Job quit? We are told that David “encouraged himself in the LORD his God” (1 Sam 30:6). In his pain David considered God’s goodness and realized that God was not behind his loss. He understood that it was not God’s will for him to suffer and, so strengthened, he fought back and prevailed.
I wish I could go back in time and get to Job before his friends did. I would say, “Job, God didn’t kill your kids! He didn’t steal your livelihood and make you sick. You’ve been robbed! The devil is having a go at you. Don’t sit there in the ashes and cry about it, get up and fight! Are you a warrior or a weakling? Are you a victor or a victim?”
The church will never see victory if we think God is behind our suffering. If we think God is robbing us we won’t even resist. We’ll let the devil waltz in and plunder our families all the while singing “He gives and takes away.” Funny, but I can’t imagine Jesus or David doing that.
For too long we have been incapacitated by uncertainty which is really just another name for unbelief. Don’t look to Job, look to Jesus! Jesus was never confused about who was giving and who was taking.