Thursday, October 27, 2011

Does Jesus Have A Pocket?

During a recent worship service, I was moved to tears.   They came suddenly and unexpectedly.   Rolling down my face.. falling uncontrollably from my heart.     As usual, I  was unprepared for this event.   I never have tissue in my purse.   Most of the time I don't even have a purse.  You would think that having been a Girl Scout leader for 12 years, I would at least follow the most basic of the Girl Scout Laws;   "Be Prepared".    But, not me.

Fortunately, my dear friend was  sitting next to me in the church pew and she noticed my dilemma.   She is ALWAYS organized and prepared and I don't know if she ever was a Girl Scout.  It is her God given gift to be prepared. 

She reached into her ever ready and always well stocked purse and produced a hanky.

Well, actually it was a man's handkerchief.

Seriously?   She actually had a handkerchief in her Mary Poppins bag of surprises.     I am not sure why she carries a man's handkerchief in her purse.   Who in the world carries a handkerchief  anymore?

Maybe she believes that at some point in time her big manly man husband will burst into uncontrollable bouts of  crying and she will be able to come to his rescue.

Or maybe she has sat beside me in church for so long that she knows that at some point in time I will have the need for a hanky and, as always, be without one.

She has such a sweet heart.    She is a sweetheart. 

Nevertheless, she armed me with the handkerchief and I was able to wipe the tears from my face and eyes and produce a  smile.    A hanky is sooooo much nicer than a tissue.

She comforted me.

It made me think of Christ.    He is our Comforter.      

There are two words used in the Bible which are translated as 'comforter'.

The first is from the root word Nacham which means  "to be sorry, console oneself, repent, regret, comfort, be comforted, suffer grief, repent, to comfort oneself, ease oneself."  

This is a good thing that we can comfort ourselves.  It is healthy to be able to acknowledge our circumstance, to feel regret or suffer grief and comfort ourselves.   We can do this by counting our blessings, by looking for the silver lining, by drawing close to God.

However,  self comfort  can also be self destructive, such as when Esau was so jealous of his brother Jacob that he actually tried to ease the pain of that jealousy by plotting to kill Jacob. 
(Genesis 27: 42 When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, "Your brother Esau is consoling himself with the thought of killing you.")

When we think we are wronged , do we comfort ourselves with thoughts of revenge?   of getting even?

On the other hand, when we do something we know is wrong, do we try to justify and console ourselves by wrong thinking and reasoning?   We are sorry, but it has to be somebody's fault.   Do we comfort ourselves by placing the blame elsewhere?

The other word for comforter is from the Greek word  "parakletos" which is translated as:  summoned or called to one's side or to one's aid;  or one who pleads another's cause before a judge, an advocate;  an intercessor;  or of Christ in his exaltation at God's right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins;   in the widest sense, a helper, succourer, aider, assistant;  of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom.

Jesus is the Parakletos.  He is The Comforter.    The Holy Spirit.  

I don't believe that I can add anything to that definition.  

Isn't it grand to know that when we are overcome by the cares of the world,  Jesus comes to our side to hold and comfort us... to catch our tears in His hands?  Does He have a giant handkerchief in His pocket to wipe away our tears?   Does Jesus even have a pocket where He can keep a hanky? 

When we are wronged, He is  our strength.   When we do wrong and repent, He stands before the Father pleading His blood over us. 

He is the Spirit that moves my friend to be prepared with a hanky just when I need it.   It is her ministry to a sister in Christ.    It is Jesus acting through her to be the Comforter. 
We get to choose which comforter we reach for in times of stress and trouble.  No matter what the circumstance, we have a choice.     Do we choose to comfort ourselves?   Or do we allow THE Comforter to come to our aid? 

It is astonishing that a single act of kindness to a hurting heart becomes an act of Holiness.    We can all take a lesson from the handkerchief.   Allow God to use us to reach out to others in their pain and be Jesus to them.

Thank you my sweet friend.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

View From The Ninth

 This was my blog heading for a while... when living in Kuwait.    I have some ideas for stories from this time period and so those will be posted as from the "View From the 9th" Collection.   

VIEW FROM THE 9TH: Currently living on the 9th floor of a building in Kuwait with a view over the rooftops and lives of the city. Hopefully, there will be some inspiration and spiritual revelation from God in my life. "and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being."  Acts 17: 26-28

There is a Time to Blow Your Horn

(From the "View From the 9th" Collection)

Driving on the highways and roadways in Kuwait is an unforgettable experience.  Even though there are rules and regulations, no one seems to obey the law.  NO ONE.  Excessive speed and intentional rudeness abounds.   Road rage is normal every day activity.    What is so great about this is that it gives everybody an opportunity to use their car horns regularly.    I would insert a smiley face in here if I could figure out how.     :)

In America, or in my little section of America, we could possibly even forget that we have horns built into our cars, but in Kuwait honking your horn is just part of your daily driving experience.  It is EXHILARATING!

Lay on that horn and blow!!!!!  Whew!

Since I've been home, I keep looking for an excuse to blow my truck's horn.   Alas! so far  I have found no occasion to do so.

However, there are other reasons than  inconsiderate motorists to toot your horn.

Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life.  No man comes to the Father but through me.”

That's a pretty bold statement.   There is no question that He was announcing to the world WHO He is and WHY He came.

There are so many scriptures where Jesus talks about who He is.   He did not step down or step back.  He tooted his  horn, told people why he was here.   Before he ascended to heaven he commanded us to tell the world His story.    To blow our horns.  Only our horns have to toot about Him, not about us.


Some horns are loud.  Others are soft & gentle.   Some horns play symphonies.  Others play jazz.   They have different sounds and are played in varying ways.

Horns are used to announce something... to get people’s attention.    The children of God are listening for and waiting to hear the horns blowing announcing the return of Christ! 

So... toot your horn... Whether your horn plays gently or is blaringly loud, get somebody's  attention and then use that opportunity to tell them about Christ.      What Jesus gave to His children is meant to be announced to the world.

Oh... and if you hear me blowing my car horn sometime, don't worry.   I am just reminiscing.

Friday, June 24, 2011


At the end of the book of John, Jesus told Peter regardless of what happened to the others  he must follow Him.   Follow the one 'who knows all things'   follow the Maker, the Creator, the Source of all life and breath and power and might and righteousness and wisdom and peace and joy and faithfulness.  "Follow Me!"    Step out onto nothing and in faith know that Jesus will hold you up.   Be set free by relinquishing your entire being to a God who "knows all things"....   and this God resides in me!   Abandon yourself to God.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Priorities (from the "View from the 9th" collection)

"Do not make anyone a priority if they consider you an option."

I saw this posted on Facebook today.   It made my mind start wandering.  

Priorities.   Options.

We all have them.   We prioritize things and people according to how they affect us.    Every relationship is a choice, an option.

Spouses,  children, friends, co-workers, strangers.    We prioritize them.   We put them in a position of importance to our lives.   On what do we base their priority status?   We base it on options. 

What can this person do for me?   How does this person affect me?   Do I have time for this person?   Does this person have time for me?    How much am I willing to do or give or be for this person?    Do I even like this person?  There are a lot more criteria.   Every relationship has its own set of options.

It doesn't matter what  relationship is involved, we still prioritize people based on options or choices.   If that person pleases us, we will do more for them.  We will put him/her on top of the list.    If that person displeases us or betrays us,  we won't give him/her the time of day.    Their status can change with a word or an action.     Even in the most intimate and close relationship there is an option to end it, to break it,  to change it's priority.

God had options.    He looked at us from the viewpoint of eternity and saw everything.   He saw us in our finest moments and in our deepest darkest sin.   He heard us shouting in hatred and anger.   He leaned close and heard us speak words of kindness and love.   We are naked before Him, although we try to cover ourselves with the torn and tattered rags of our own priorities.   There is no thought or word or action that we can hide from Him.  

We are an option to Him.

What can we do for Him?  How do we affect Him?   Does He have time for us?  Do we have time for Him?    How much is He willing to do for us?   Does He even LIKE us?     He weighed all these options.   We fell far short of weighing in on the side of being beneficial to Him. 

In fact, we didn't even tilt the scale.

The weight of  Jesus far outweighed any thing we could do or say or be that would make us a priority to God.  

Yes, we are an option.    He made us a priority.  

Why?   Because He loves.   

" For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that  WHO SO EVER believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life."  (John 3: 16)

He did it for Love.     He did it for Who So Ever.   He did it for me.   For you.     He did it just because.   

He didn't have to do it.   He chose.    He chose you and He chose me.   He put us in priority above His own likes and dislikes, His own comfort and His own life.      He sealed it with His Promise.    It can never be broken.   Love never ending.

Where is He on our list of priorities?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Better Late?

Another Spring is fast approaching and the year is shaping up. 

Being in a reflective mood, it dawned on  me that I had not made any New Year's resolution this year.  No big plan to start exercising daily and lose weight.  No  promise to myself to read the Bible all the way through from start to finish.  Not even a simple "I'm going to be a better person this year."

And here it is... almost March. 

So, thinking that it's never too late to resolve to do better, I am making a list of my top ten resolutions:

10.  Be more organized - I put this at the #10 spot because that way I will remember it for at least a day.

9.  Do my tax return on time.. if only because I know that will make the IRS suspicious!

8.  Take a  ballroom dance class - learn to TANGO!!!! Cha!Cha!Cha!

7.  Start a hobby (actually I did this but had to leave it at home when I left for Kuwait so that one is already broken)

6. Make new friends (got a good start on that one.. met a lot of new people.. now if I could just remember their names.)

5.  Write more often - because I know everybody is waiting breathlessly to read my every word!

4.  Get to work early... something I am sure the boss would love and my co-workers would hate!

3.  Lose Weight & Exercise-   ahhhh... the ultimate and classic resolution that we all make and we all break.

2.  Save Money  - well, first ya gotta make money and then ya gotta be a tightwad.  yech.

1.  Read the Bible all the way through from start to finish -  I always get hung up on the "begats"  Come on, be honest...the begats.  Can't we just skip them thangs?

I could probably add 100 more things that I need or want to do.   But I wonder what God would have me resolve to do. 

There is the old song: "I have decided to follow Jesus... no turning back.. no turning back."   That should be the only resolution any of us make.   It is the only one that brings everything else into order.   Following Jesus is key to living a life that is exemplary in every way. 

So... I'll just disregard the list (as usual) and continue following Him.  

Whew!   Talk about relieving the pressure!

Now I can get on with my year.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.   (James 1: 3-4)

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;   (Phil 1: 4-7)

How do you count it joy when you are in the middle of one of life's storms?   How in the world could anyone, including God, expect that from us?   

A few years ago, I would have answered "It's impossible."   That was before I encountered a God that filled me with such spiritual joy that it overflowed into my daily existence and into everything that I do.

Paul is not speaking about happiness.    He is talking about the joy of the Lord.   That joy is strength and steadfastness.   It is power and it is peace.       "Do not sorrow; for the joy of the Lord is your strength."  (Neh 8:10) 

Happiness is dependent upon circumstance and surroundings.   We are happy when things go our way.   We are happy when life is what we call good.   We are also joyful and thankful in those good times; however, as Jesus said, we are going to have  hard times in our lives.    Times when we won't be so happy.

The joy of the Lord gives us the ability to go through any trial, any trouble, any storm ... with the sure knowledge that God is working in our lives just as He promises that He will.   Our joy is dependent upon God and what He has done in our lives.  It is not dependent upon our circumstance.

Times of hardship test our faith.   We ask questions that seem to have no answers and have to trust that God knows what He is doing. 

Without faith in God, we stumble and break in hard times and crumble in despair when our hearts break. 

And although we may feel as though our lives are shattered and broken upon the rocky road we are on, we must keep walking, crawling if need be, because we know that with Jesus there is hope for the future.   And we will look back upon that journey with amazement and wonder in the mighty and loving God that brought us through it.  We will realize that God does not make mistakes and we know that there will be a story to tell, a testimony of God's work and His faithfulness.  That gives us cause for great joy even in the middle of our pain.

Also, during life's valleys, God is perfecting us... perfecting our faith.   He is growing us into  the person He planned us to be; "perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

So rather than thinking that God let the devil after us to mess up our lives,  we should look at our valley as an opportunity for growth and testimony.     You know... "what the devil means for bad, God means for good."

There is nothing that happens in our lives that God does not know about in advance.   He has a plan and a purpose for us.   His plan was in effect before ever we were born and He is going to carry it out in us.    He knows our past, present, and future. 

Are  you saved?  Are you born again?   Are  you a child of the King?   If so, then you have reason for great joy.  

As His child, if we are going through a trial, it is because God has not only trusted us with it.   He has entrusted it to us.        He is using it to perfect us and complete us.   In doing so, He is finishing the good work He began in us.   

Has God called you into a ministry or service and you think it will never happen?   It's impossible?     Your life is too confused or messed up and you've taken too many wrong turns?     You've gotten distracted too many times or just plain given up on it?  Do you envision and pray for a future that you think can never happen?

God has not given up.  He has not lost sight of you where you are.   His plan for you has not changed.   Your circumstance is part of His plan and He trusts you in it.  He has given you the measure of faith required to see it through.    It is not up to you to complete it.   He is the one who does that.   But you must participate by acknowledging Him and allowing Him to do His work.   You must participate by standing firm in His word and by rejecting satan when he lies to you.  You have to cooperate with Him by getting up every day to do the work set before you in faith.

Take joy in knowing that whatever your situation, God is acting for your benefit and on your behalf.   He is completing you.

Friday, February 4, 2011

On the Altar

"I am nothing but sharp edges and splinters.. shards of a splattered and shattered faith, using those shanks and points to keep His love at a distance so I don't have to face Him.   Yet He allows Himself to be pierced and bloodied once again as He draws me close,  holding me in His arms of love and grace and pulling those spears and swords into His body and heart as He covers me.   How can He stand it?  How can He stand me? "
I wrote these words one 2:00 a.m. morning  several years ago.   It was  a time when my life was broken and I felt that I had nothing left to give.  Nothing but pain.
Looking back, I see the hand of God in my life, shaping me and changing me into the person He created me to be.   Growing me.    Growing my faith.   Growing my confidence and trust in Him.
The following hymn (written by Elisha Hoffman ) comes to my mind  with new understanding of the lyrics:
You have longed for sweet peace,
And for faith to increase,
And have earnestly, fervently prayed;
But you cannot have rest,
Or be perfectly blest,
Until all on the altar is laid.

Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart does the Spirit control?
You can only be blest,
And have peace and sweet rest,
As you yield Him your body and soul.

Would you walk with the Lord,
In the light of His Word,
And have peace and contentment alway?
You must do His sweet will,
To be free from all ill,
On the altar your all you must lay.

O we never can know
What the Lord will bestow
Of the blessings for which we have prayed,
Till our body and soul
He doth fully control,
And our all on the altar is laid.

Who can tell all the love
He will send from above,
And how happy our hearts will be made,
Of the fellowship sweet
We shall share at His feet,
When our all on the altar is laid.

I laid my life in the hands of Jesus.   He has not disappointed.  He has not let me down.  Ever.  He suffered for me and with me personally.     I gave Him my future, my past, my present.   He owns it.  He owns me.   

He, in turn, and as the song says, has given me peace and contentment and a happy heart.  The altar of His love is the crucible that changed my life.