Heaven is going to be so grand someday!

darlene

Social media plays out almost like a movie script at times, and we’re all players and actors. Once our computer screen is closed or our smart phone is off, the show stops and the characters aren’t a part of our lives any longer. And then there are those that come right off the page and into our lives and they truly are sown into the tapestry, never to be removed. That’s Darlene Fick Quiring.

She is the friend of a friend on Facebook, who didn’t know me from the man on the moon, but by faith, after an invitation was given for me to sing and play fiddle at a revival, made it possible for me to go. We finally met face to face in Windom, Minnesota and her small stature was launched into a giantess by the sparkle in her eyes and the evidence of her passion to serve Christ. She’s encouraged me so many times, too many to count. So when I watched her life playout on social media today, my heart broke when her husband went home to be with the Lord, and I knew Darlene was hurting. I wanted to hop on a plane and go to the side of a friend who I feel like I’ve known forever. But we’ve spent little more than a few days together, so how can that be?

It’s a God thing… That’s the only way to explain it.

One of my favorite verses of all times is Jeremiah 1:5

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Somewhere before August 11,1962 God knew me. I was somewhere, I have to wonder if Darlene and I were in the same spot. Maybe not, but for certain we have a kindred spirit of sisterhood brought on by our shared faith. My heart is heavy for her this evening. If you don’t mind, whisper a little prayer that God will give here great comfort. I know He will…

My quickly drawn sketch doesn’t do her beauty and sweetness justice. But for me is was kind of therapeutic to bring her picture to pen. Heaven is going to be so grand someday when we all get home together…

Revealing the Cause

5jan2017But, O Lord, of hosts, that judgest righteously, that t riest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause. ~ Jeremiah 11:20

It’s not a shocker that many people hate the truth. It’s not new news. Now, the devices of the day have changed in how people handle the truth spewers.  In the eleventh chapter of Jeremiah, his life has been threatened: okay maybe things haven’t changed so much. But, more often than not in America today people aren’t lying in wait for you at the supermarket to overtake you in the produce aisle and pummel you with stones because you told someone about Jesus. You’ll likely just be shunned and talked about as an oddity of the community. A Jesus freak. I don’t mind that, it’s a gauge of sorts on my spirituality. If people are talking about how weird it is that I can’t carry on a conversation without dragging Jesus into the middle of it, then I think I’m right on target for my cause. And God is working on the enemy.

As I read Jeremiah and prayed that God would reveal to me a blogging thought that would minister not only to you, but to me, this scripture leapt from the page. It brought to mind David’s question to his brothers at the battle of the Phillistines, “is there not a cause?” Were they not willing to fight for Israel?

Jeremiah said to God “unto thee have I revealed my cause.” He was taking the word of God to the people and they weren’t happy about it. Jeremiah was just doing what he was told. Our message has been clear from the cross…

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.John 10:10

Old Testament and New Testament the enemy’s story is the same. Stop the messenger. God’s story is also the same …

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.Hebrews 10:30

The Lord will avenge the enemies of God and His people, but for our time here, we have a cause. A cause to get up in the morning and tell people about Jesus. A cause to pray for our families, friends and nations. We’re going to have unhappy people in our lives when we share the gospel, the truth hurts but that is not our problem. God will judge righteously and try the hearts of the people. Both they and us will stand before God one day, but we only stand accountable for us and what we did for our cause.

Have you talked to God about your cause today? Have you talked to someone about Jesus?

 

 

 

When there’s no way out but up!

12

Have you ever been there? You have used your last ditch effort and all human hope is gone, you’re praying there’s nothing lower than where you are, because where you are is no where you wanted to be. It wasn’t that you intended to be there, just… one day you were. In Luke Chapter 8 there are two lives that collide that had me taking note in a new way for this space and time of my life. It was new for me, maybe not new to you, but maybe so! Two people, whose lives were at the bottom, seek Jesus. And they find him in an extraordinary way.

There was Jairus, a ruler over the synagogue who had no doubt heard Jesus’ name a time or two in the Jewish circles. The religious leaders weren’t happy about the Man Who claimed to be God. They liked religion just the way it was. Controlled. There were rules and they could put people neatly in their place.

  • You can come close.
  • You may not.
  • God will meet with you.
  • You, not today. Perhaps tomorrow when you’re clean.
  • Perhaps next week.

Religion makes life tidy. It’s repetitious. So tonight I’ll be teaching this thought to my teens. Pray for us as we

Delve into twelve

Jarius had a daughter of the age of twelve, who the scripture says was dying. That’s a hopelessness I can’t (nor do I want to) imagine. But it’s been very real for some people. Darius didn’t go to his religious friends.

I wonder why? Perhaps because you don’t find answers or hope to something new in repetition. It’s the same ol’ same ol’, is it not? He was experiencing something he’d never had to face before. The loss of his most prize possession… his child. He’d do anything to save her. And so he sought Jesus. And when he found him he fell down at his feet. He’d never done that at his church.

What was different? Jesus had power. That’s what the church needs! We need the power of God in our lives doing mighty and miraculous things; but we don’t have it because we’re stuck in repetition.

What do you suppose the reaction would have been by his religious friends? They’d no doubt question him, perhaps laugh, scorn or criticize. He might even lose his position. But Darius didn’t care! If he didn’t have hope, the job was nothing.

And then the collision

She doesn’t have a name, but if you know any bible and I say “she had an issue of blood”, you know her. She had had this issue twelve years. Hmmmm…. Jarius’ daughter was dying at twelve and this unnamed woman had suffered twelve. Significant? Probably far more significant than I’m about to try and explain, but for me it was an “aha” moment for my ministry.

The woman, like Jairus, had no hope of her own. She’d spent every dime she had, she had no doubt lost every relationship she had because no one could be with a person unclean. Her children couldn’t touch her, her husband couldn’t love on her and she was desperate for healing.  But what she was about to do was to take her life in her own hands, when she, who was unclean, reached for the Priest. It was forbidden. Her life could get a lot worse and very quickly if anyone knew.

What kind of faith would that have taken? A bold faith! Do you have it? I pretend I do, but I’m not so sure. She crawls on the dirty ground to touch the dirtiest part of his garment. The part that had been dragging through the streets of camel poop and pee and heaven knows what else. She didn’t care! She knew if she could just touch the hem of His garment she would be made whole. So she did… and she was! And He knew!!!

What would have been her reaction then? I’ll bet her heart leapt into her throat! But even so she confessed to the Lord what had happened and His words to her was “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.”

Wow! Was where I was when I read that today. Here in the midst of Jesus traveling to heal Jarius daughter, He finds another daughter who needs Him too. An old one… like me. One who needs a miracle in her life and she receives it through faith. But just before the party is about to break out the streets someone comes to Jesus from Jairus’ home and says “don’t bother, the girl has died.”

But He went in any way and there was grief everywhere. But Jesus said she wasn’t dead. And they laughed Him to scorn. But the last laugh was to be on them when Jesus raised that little girl from the dead and told them to get her a bologna sandwich!

Two daughters. Two miracles. One old. One young. The old needed healing. The young needed resurrection.

Can I say that the leadership of the church needs a healing and the bleeding to stop. Jesus’ blood covered it all. Every sin, every wicked thing in our life has been healed by Jesus and we need to get on with life.

So what about the young? They need resurrected! Time is short and there is a host of young people going to hell because they’ve believed what the world has said. The parents and the leaders need to humble themselves and fall before God, and the young need to listen and allow Jesus to give them a new life.

Delve into Twelve? How many months have we just been given? Twelve. What will we do with them? Are you Jairus, the woman or the child? Or… are you the repetitious religious one without hope? God has what we need to make 2017 amazing but it’s going to take some bold believers! Be one.

We have 17 days to prepare, Are you ready?

then-comes-satanThen cometh the wicked one… saith the scripture in Matthew 13, verse 19 in the parable of the sower of the seed. Those words make my stomach queasy. It’s not by happenstance that Christ uses the seed in His parable; stealing the seed has been from the beginning the goal of Satan. He attempted to steal, kill or at least mar the perfect seed of God that was placed in the womb of Mary. He was of course unsuccessful, so he had to come up with plan “B”. If he couldn’t rid the earth of God’s Son, he would do his best to mess with God’s productivity through the church, and on that scale his successes far out weigh ours.

I must say that I’m excited about my ministry for 2017. I’ve been laying the foundation for the last few months in my teen class to warn them in advance that I had expectations for 2017. It was often times met with the sounds of crickets or a look of resistence to the possibility but I have not let that deter me one iota. I’m tired of the status quo of the church vs. Satan and we have no one to blame but ourselves. There’s no wonder as to why the state of America is what it is… it’s that way because we’ve allowed it. And although Trump is a partial answer to prayer, he isn’t the answer to America’s problem.

I’ve watched in my own church as we fought valiantly to stay together when we were without a Pastor, only to go into a state of rest when the Lord delivered a great one into our lap. What America falls at risk to now is the status quo becoming “enough.” Satan loves it when America says it has “enough.” Not too much Jesus else we’ll be a fanatic, not too many services or it cuts into “family” time. Don’t’ get me started on there’s no need for Sunday School because worship is enough. And then when worship time comes, we don’t want to get excited, wasn’t showing up enough.

One by one Satan picks at the seeds planted in the church until there’s nothing left but barren ground because we’re not discipling saints or leading leaders. Soul winning is left to the Pastor because the liberal crowd has convinced us to keep our mouths shut in the world because the world finds Christ offensive. We send kids into the world and tell them not to be like the world, but yet the world is their only example; being that the adult Christians in their life don’t have the back bone to open their mouths about how good God is, or show by example how to invite and encourage people to come to church.

Church has become the lowest priority on the list, and the first one off the list if something better comes along, or folks just are feelin’ it.

Wow… that was harsh wasn’t it. No, it was just what I needed to hear and likely what you need to hear to kick start 2017. Now the task is set before us not to let off the throttle. I can very easily do it when I’m met with resistance. I’ve began filling my calendar with action, not just talk.

While it’s true that the new President elect has created in me a freer expression of my Christian values, if America doesn’t do something with those Christian values, and the economy takes off, the world views will take off with our children and the church will continue to go into decline. Proven fact is prosperity doesn’t draw folks to Christ, it usually draws them away. And as evil as this nation has become there are plenty of things to draw them to. So we need to get a head start. President Trump takes office the 20th. We have 17 days to prepare, what are you going to do with yours? You can mark it down that Satan already has a plan.

Don’t Mind the Dragons and Serpents

2017-dragonWhat did I have on my mind as I went to sleep on the brink of 2017? Why, dragons and serpents of course! Thanks to my good friend Chief Eisley’s preaching last night. It was an awesome sermon! And spot on for what I needed in this season of life. Chief opened his sermon with the illustration of early exploration and map makers who wrote on the maps of unchartered territories “For all we know there could be dragons and serpents there.” Now, I’m sure it was worded differently so don’t hold me to the grammaticism of the day. The point of the illustration that I went to sleep with being on my mind and awoke this morning with it as well was, 2017 may have dragons and serpents in it, if I believe the words of ye old dragon himself, Satan!

Satan loves to booger me up with unchartered territories by laying it on thick about what might possibly be in my future.

Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughs of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Those are the words of God, so why is it that the words of Satan so often seem so much weightier in my life? Because I listen. It’s as simple as that. God did not say there were dragons in those waters any more than He said there are dragons in my future, but Satan planted that seed and I wrote it on my map in the unchartered territories of 2017 and when I got up this morning I began to think… oh my stars. What if this and that happens?! And away went my imagination with all minds of horrific possibilities and problematic issues that may or may not happen and rather than living in the victory of Christ, I’m living with dragons and serpents.

Well played Satan, but I’m taking back my boat.

Chief’s three points to ponder last night were:

  1. Contentment – Wanting what you have.
  2. Companionship – We are never alone, and
  3. Confidence – “He hath said….”

Jeremiah 29:11 wasn’t Chief’s scripture. He was actually in Hebrews 13:5-8

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

That’s good stuff to take into 2017. It’s not unchartered territory it’s tried, true and proven territory. When Satan points to the dragon, just point to the Savior… He’ll shut up for a while any way.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! From the Jesus Chick. I’m praying there are no dragons and serpents in our waters that lie ahead, just smooth sailing!