Archive | September 2013

Fingerprints of the Enemy

English: Fingerprint

English: Fingerprint (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“He replied to them, ‘An enemy has done this  . . . ‘ ” Matthew 13:28

Thistles found their way into a bin of wheat in this story which sounds like something an enemy would do. Enemies do all kinds of hurtful things, and satan, our most formidable enemy, has no limits to the evil he can think up.

If we could have dusted our son’s home for satan’s fingerprints, I am certain we would have found them, for suicide is definitely the work of the enemy. satan killed someone we hold dear ~ our son and brother. He has no feelings and absolutely no regard for the sanctity of human life. As far as he is concerned, a good human is a dead human. Once he has used him up, he is disposable.

According to research, many suicide victims have been depressed, either diagnosed or suspected. satan keeps an evil eye out for weak, easily depressed children and preys on them throughout their lives. After years and years of such abuse, the fragile, terrorized victims just want the world to go away. They are not punishing anyone and they can’t begin to comprehend the pain their death will cause others. All they can think about is their own pain which has become a tightening noose of hopelessness.

No longer can they see a bright, productive future. They have lost all hope; all reason to live . . . and satan is right there to nudge them over the edge to the jagged cliffs below.

Any death is so difficult to understand, Lord. And it is super difficult to comprehend when someone you love takes matters into his own hands, completing suicide. Help us to understand so that we can reach out to love and support Your other children who are suffering survivors just like we are. Death, though part of the enemy’s scheme . . . is a nap. You call it “the sleep of death” (Job 14:12). Though we miss our son so much, he is no longer in pain. You turned the torment of the enemy into a much-needed rest.

Lord, You have promised to never leave or forsake us, so please hold on to us until You come, no matter how long it takes ~ but please let it be soon. We can’t wait to hug You as tightly as You have hugged each of us, and to be reunited with those we love so much.

~from Shattered by Suicide, My Conversations with God after the Tragic Death of My Son

Keep your fork . . . the best is yet to come

We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.  2 Corinthians 5:4-5, MSG

English: Apple pie.

Apple pie and fork. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember sitting around the table enjoying a meal with family or friends and the hostess says, as she removes the dinner plates, “Save your fork. Dessert’s coming.” You groan inwardly . . . why did I fill up on roasted garlic smashed potatoes? I have no more room for dessert. But when you see what the hostess has just set before you ~ warm out of the oven ~ diet plans fly out the window. It’s no less than her famous apple pie loaded down with a side of cinnamon ice cream flanking the delectable apples. The two were already sharing their mouth-watering flavors before you could politely take the first bite. (I know. It was a long sentence, but worth every descriptive word, yeah?) Yum to the last crumb. 

Parable of the Fork

There is a story told about a woman who had been diagnosed with a deadly illness and had been given 3 months to live. Her doctor told her to start making preparations to die so she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what she wanted to wear. The woman also told her pastor that she wanted to be buried with her favorite Bible. Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her. “There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly. “What’s that?” asked the pastor. “This is very important,” the old woman began slowly, “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.” The pastor gazed at the woman, not quite knowing how to respond. “That shocks you doesn’t it?” asked the woman. “Well to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the pastor.

“In all my years attending church socials and functions where food was involved,” the lady began, “my favorite part was when whoever was clearing away the dishes of the main course would lean over and say, ‘You can keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something wonderful was coming. It wouldn’t be Jell-O or pudding. It would be cake or pie. Something with substance. So I just want people to look down on me and see a fork in my hand. I want them to wonder what’s with the fork? Then I want you to tell them: ‘Something better is coming so keep your fork too.'” The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye. He knew this could likely be the last time he would see her before her death. But he also knew she had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She knew that something better was coming.

At the funeral, family and friends passed by the one they loved. They saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite Bible by her side and also . . . strangely . . . the fork in her right hand. Over and over the pastor heard the question whispered, “What’s with the fork?” And over and over it brought a smile to his face. During his message the pastor told the people about the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right. So the next time you reach down for your dessert fork, let it remind you that the best is yet to come.  (Unknown)

This is what God’s Spirit makes you feel about heaven. You’ve been given a taste of paradise through brief descriptions in the Bible. Furthermore, God’s Spirit has awakened a hunger in your heart that your mind can’t fully comprehend. Your heart longs for the home you were created to inhabit, a place where death, pain, and sorrow have no hold, where your body is healthy and whole, where peace and praise replace struggle and strife, where you meet God and Jesus and loved ones face to face; never have to say good-bye ever again!

Heaven is as real as those God-given longings. But God didn’t give you a taste of what’s ahead to leave you discontent with where you are now. He uses those longings as a homing device to keep you headed in the right direction. They remind you to view present problems from an eternal perspective. By keeping heaven in your heart and on your mind, you’ll gain strength to handle life here and now, as you rest in the fact that God’s best is yet to come.” ~thoughts from 100 Favorite Bible Verses

 

Today is your best day

~Roy Lesson

TodayyouareHischild.mmitm.mjb

May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love. Jude 1:2 NLT

What a day this is! You have never gone this way before. Today may be the start of an anticipated vacation, the day of a planned event, or it may be a normal day spent around the house or at the office. What you have planned for today is not what makes it meaningful. What makes your day meaningful is that God is in it.

He was in it when you first opened your eyes. He has sustained you through the night, greeted you with new mercies at morning’s light, given you the breath of life, and promised to direct your steps until day’s end.

Are you tired or weary today? Allow God to renew you with His strength. Are you discouraged or downhearted? Allow God to lift you with His love. Are you carrying a burden of sin? Allow God’s mercies to restore you. Are you in need or reassurance? Allow God to hold you in His embrace. Are you in need of healing? Allow God to mend you with His touch.

Today, you are His child and He is your Father – you belong to Him and He belongs to you; He matters to you and you matter to Him; you are committed to Him and He is committed to you. Today, there is mercy, there is peace, and there is love for your faith to receive.

 

Hymnlines: “We Have This Moment Today”

Big Ben

Big Ben (Photo credit: Ceshe)

So God set another day. That day is today. Heb 4:7

The Author of time created a meeting between two families who have both suffered the loss of one of their children to suicide. Neither family had seen the other, unless you factor in a couple of pictures on Facebook.

But as I looked into the face of the woman approaching with members of her family in tow, it had to be her. And it was. We fell into each others arms; feeling the relief of holding on to another mother with the same pain. I am so glad God planned a Divine Appointment for our families to meet. We had much to share and talk about. We connected at the soul level.  We gained new friends. Pictures were taken and hugs were shared. Time was not wasted and it passed silently by unnoticed . . . and until we meet again, thanks for the memories precious new friends.

As I read over these words, I am reminded of a song written many years ago by William J. Gaither of Southern Gospel music fame. It is one of my favorites and seems to fit the theme of time. Yesterday‘s gone and tomorrow may never come so make a new friend today. Make new memories today for today may be all that we have.

We Have This Moment Today

Hold tight to the sound of the music of living,
Happy songs from the laughter of children at play;
Hold my hand as we run through the sweet fragrant meadows,
Making mem’ries of what was today.

Chorus: We have this moment to hold in our hands
and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand;
Yesterday’s gone and tomorrow may never come,
But we have this moment today.

Tiny voice that I hear is my little girl calling,
For Daddy to hear just what she has to say;
And my little son running there by the hillside,
May never be quite like today.

Tender words, gentle touch and a good cup of coffee,
And someone who loves me and wants me to stay;
Hold them near while they’re here and don’t wait for tomorrow,
To look back and wish for today.

Take the blue of the sky and the green of the forest,
And the gold and the brown of the freshly mown hay;
Add the pale shades of spring and the circus of autumn,
And weave you a lovely today.

~God bless our new family of friends~

Finding Balance & Peace

English: An irrigation sprinkler watering a ga...

“Cleansing Sprinkler of God’s Love” Photographed: 120 fps. Display: 10 fps(100ms) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Words by Teri Lumbard, who speaks from her heart. Many on Facebook will recognize her name.

Being alone with God is so important to the development of our faith. We have to be intentional about carving out times for rest and renewal, because if we don’t our souls will be a mess inside. Sometimes I think we are too afraid though to carve out times for rest because the quiet scares us. It is in the quiet moments that God comes to us and shows us our true selves. In the quiet we come face to face with the sadness, sorrow, or guilt we feel in our souls, and not to mention, the lies of the Enemy. Busyness keeps us from really coming face to face with the reality of what’s going on in our hearts, so we run, we keep busy. It’s really a coping mechanism, which unfortunately keeps us from experiencing true wholeness and everlasting peace which comes from intimacy with the Father. Because the nagging thoughts don’t stop, they are still there. The thoughts of inadequacy, doubt, fear, and a need to control, etc. linger. You see the Enemy really truly does want to destroy us and one of the places he goes is our minds. But the wonderful and marvelous truth is, is that we can come face to face with these lies in confidence with the Word of God and we can live as overcomers. We don’t have to be held captive by them anymore. We really can walk in freedom and “…take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5b)

You see God is constantly calling us to Him. He is so near to us. He longs to speak to us, to heal us, to free us, but often times without even knowing it we move away from God. This is why we must carve out time to be quiet and still before the Lord, waiting with anticipation and hope that He will speak. We can draw near to Father; it’s a promise of scripture! “Come near to God and He will come near to you…” (James 4:8a)

Yes, there is so much more for us in Christ. It means digging deep, being real, authentic, and honest about what goes on in our own hearts. The more I dig the more I realize I need Jesus, but isn’t this the beauty of it all? The more authentic we are and real about our sin and brokenness, confessing it to the Father, the more He can dig that out and replace it with His love and the gracious power of the Holy Spirit. It takes intentionality and a heart of true submission, because when we “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) The Holy Spirit will help us. In fact, without the Holy Spirit there’s no way we can overcome, but with Him and His power we will demolish strongholds and find rest! AMEN!!!!

~Teri Lumbard

This entry was posted on September 14, 2013. 3 Comments

“Why Me Lord? But Then I Ask, Why Not Me?”

Cover of "Why Me"

We all have “why” questions, don’t we? I have posted this page from my book previously, but I reason that there are always new readers. There will always be someone who will read this for the first time or for a second time and be touched by the heart of God. Loss is hard. We all experience loss in one way or another. Pain is pain, as they say, and I agree. Whatever tops your list of pain will be the worst at this point in your life experience. You cannot compare yours with another, but you will find similarities which will give you the opportunity to journey beside someone else who understands how you feel. The picture is not intended for advertising; I just note that someone else is asking the same question, “Why me?”

*    *    *

Remember my prayer, Lord? Save my children at all cost? I never thought praying that prayer would lead to death. But that’s what happened. We buried one of our children ~ Your child. Out of my tears and agony I sobbed, “Why me , Lord. Why? He had his whole life before him. Why now, when it seemed he was lingering in the valley of indecision?”

Silence. No answer came. We slogged on, picking up the pieces as best we could. Life is for the living, but we were barely surviving. As bad as our pain has been, would we wish this gnawing grief on anyone else? The answer had to be, “No.” So should my question instead be, “Why not me?”

To which Jesus answered softly, “This is the work of the enemy. I created and love each and every one of My precious children.”

“But is that all the time we get with him, Lord?” I implored. “Sorry, but it wasn’t long enough, not even close.”

I pause and take a look back . . . I was a self-sufficient Christian then, but no longer. My heart shattered that day into confetti-like bits of flesh and I fell on my face begging God to extend His mercy. Who else could understand my wailing and tears? Are You listening, Lord?”

Long, long ago before Adam and Eve were created, the heavenly council met somewhere in the heavens. There had to be a back-up plan ~ just in case the humans God was going to design, would choose to follow a different path. Who could do the job? Who would willingly volunteer to give His life to pay the ultimate price for sin?

Jesus pushed His chair back from the table and stood up. “I’ll do it, Father,” He said. “If sin demands blood, then let My blood pay the ransom.” And it was done. Council adjourned.

Fast forward about four thousand years to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus is on His face, begging His Father for mercy. “Father, if possible, let there be another way, but if not, I will keep the promise I made long ago. They are worth every drop of blood I shed for them.”

So my question must be, “Why not me?”

Fast forward to the present. The scene is full of indescribable pain as parents, siblings, and friends say “good-bye” to a son, brother, and friend they loved so much. But we weren’t alone in our grief and pain. We were wrapped in the loving arms of Jesus, while He gently wiped away the tears from our eyes with His nail-scarred hands.

“It won’t be long,” He whispered softly. “Soon I will come and raise him up and you will have all eternity together. Please hold on to My promises. Please try to comprehend that He had been in terrible pain for so long. The enemy took pleasure in harassing him. His grip on life . . . and on Me were getting weaker. I could not bear to watch satan make fun of him any longer. It was time to let him take a nap. He’s safe, at peace, and I have the best part of him ~ his DNA. So don’t worry. He will be so much better than you ever remembered. His face will be lit with the glory of His Heavenly Father and you will recognize his beautiful, blue eyes and his cute little chuckle when he laughs. I made him once . . . I can make him again.

Yes, My Child, you are right when you could finally ask, “Why not me?” I couldn’t stand his pain . . . and yours hurts Me too, but we have each other. And you will continue to grow in My love and understanding. There are many who need to hear your story. They are everywhere ~ trying to bear their terrible grief in silence, guilt, embarrassment and shame. They need to hear from your lips ~ your story. They need to hear about the Love that never lets you go.”

Love,

Jesus

~ shared from Shattered by Suicide, My Conversations with God after the Tragic Death of My Son

Drop your buffs

Survivor: All-Stars

Survivor: All-Stars (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The twists and turns of Survivor, the reality show on CBS, has been capturing viewers’ interest for many seasons and most likely will once again as the fall lineup opens with September sweeps. The slogan to the left reads: “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast”. For those of you who have never watched the show, two groups of people compete against each other over the course of 39 days to see who can outwit, outplay, outlast all other contestants while  battling each other and the elements of nature such as sleeping on tree limbs, enduring an abundance of rain and of course, the bugs. So why would anyone want to do this? The last person standing walks away with a handsome pot of cash. It must be the money.

Within the tribes tensions naturally mount as teams go head to head in games that call for strength and strategy while subsisting primarily on rice and beans. Alliances are formed, promises made and broken, and truth is scorned in favor of lying to get ahead.  Eventually the two teams will hear the host, Jeff Probst, say the words, “Drop your buffs” which means there is going to be a radical change in the game. There is likely a merge between the opposing tribes and the scrambling begins all over again to jockey the best position to win. Is there is a spiritual application here? Perhaps.

I think this activity, though entertaining, records for the camera the worst traits of people. Even those who promise themselves that they will play a clean game with personal integrity intact, usually don’t. In time, the strain of those who play dirty breaks them down and they are soon following the less-than-savory decisions of the others who aren’t bothered by lying, cheating, stealing in order to stay one more day on the island and one day closer to payday.

Let’s view, the best we can with our veiled eyes, what the spiritual war is like that we are involved in. Good against evil. We can’t see them. They are in a third dimension beyond our vision. If the curtain could be drawn we would see actually combat between evil angels, the third who were cast from heaven with their leader and the heavenly angels who stayed with their Leader. The fighting is over us; our souls. Satan fights dirty. Jesus does not. Let’s have a look at the credentials these two leaders bring to the table.

Jesus Christ:

Jesus has impeccable credentials:  Son of God (Luke 1:35), Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16), joined earth by birth, then ministry and finally death to pay the ransom for our sins so that we could have the gift of eternal life. He did it all. He has covered every detail even to be judge and attorney in the most important court date you will ever keep. Before you are sentenced, Jesus shows His scars earned for you and He would have done it all just for one person; you or me. If we have chosen wisely, He puts a robe of righteousness around our shoulders (Isaiah 61:10). Our filthy rags are covered (Isaiah 64:6) and we stand before the judge as if we had never sinned.

Satan:

Satan did not start out as satan. He became satan by bad choices leading to a permanent case of “I” disease. But first he was created as the highest angel and was drop-dead gorgeous, brilliantly decorated in all kinds of shimmering gems. Let’s read the description in Ezekiel 28:13,15. Speaking of Lucifer: “You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until iniquity and guilt were found in you.”

Can you imagine his beauty? God spared “no expense” covering him with colorful gems. How he must have glowed in God’s glorious light. But it wasn’t enough. He was not satisfied. He grew to envy Jesus and coveted His position next to His Father. The Bible says that he became full of himself and decided he deserved a promotion. Even though he was covered with crusted jewels, the colors of a peacock, he wanted more. His pride gone to his head, he began to sneak around among the other angels and whisper things about unfair treatment. Some angels paused to listen, like Eve in the garden of Eden, but others would not listen. They would remain loyal to their Creator, Jesus Christ. Lucifer was created to be head of the heavenly angels; to be just where he was. When he figured that winning his coveted position would not be possible without a fight, “War broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:7)  Lucifer, now satan, is still in charge. He manages the evil angels or demons down here and we are his prey.

According to John Grosboll in an article, “God’s Promise”, the devil uses a three-pronged approach. Grosboll writes, “First he [satan] attempts to deceive through miracles, false teachings and false doctrine. If that does not work he uses his seductive power, at which he is very successful. Multitudes of people know the truth, but they are seduced by the various forms of sin and held in bondage to them.

If you cannot be deceived or seduced, he still has a powerful weapon to use against you. He will use fear tactics that include threatened death, imprisonment or torture to get you to forsake the Lord. [But] God is going to have a fearless people who cannot be deceived, because they know God will fulfill His promises. He says 366 times in the Bible, ‘Do not be afraid’ ~ a promise for every day of the year, including the leap year. God has every experience covered, and you can never be put in a position in which God is not aware and able to help you. Those who know these things will not fear the devil.”

If we choose to follow Jesus the stakes are much higher. It’s not just a game with a large check at the end. It is an all or nothing proposition for eternal living. Survival for eternity  depends on whose team we choose to train on while in “boot camp” here on earth. Perhaps you will choose to join me. I love Jesus with heart and soul and therefore choose to be a “soul” survivor. How about you? With Jesus we can “drop our buff” and don His robe of righteousness. It’s a perfect fit and in Him, we are complete. “God has made you complete in Christ.”  Colossians 2:10

To beautiful not to share…

Jesus Came to Me

Butterfly.mmitm.mjb

I am no longer what I was;
I am what He has made me to be;
I hope in what He has promised I will become.
Who am I? I am God’s child! I am a child of grace and mercy.
Jesus looked upon me and came to me with healing in His wings—
He saw an empty cup and filled it; He saw an unclean vessel and cleansed it;
He saw a restless soul and brought it peace; He saw a lost sheep and brought it home; He saw a vain life and gave it meaning; He saw a selfish heart and baptized it in a river of Holy Love.

Suppose a man has 100 sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the 99 sheep grazing in the pasture and look for the lost sheep until he finds it? When he finds it, he’s happy. He puts that sheep on his shoulders and goes home. Luke 15:4-5 GW

Hymnlines: “It is Well with My Soul”

Some music that circles the globe is born out of great sorrow and this hymn is one of them. It happens to be one of my favorites, sung with heart and soul by many musicians. “It is Well with My Soul” moved me to tears after my son died. In fact, I couldn’t listen to any music for months. I was sitting in church when this hymn began to play and I recognized it immediately after a few beginning notes. “Oh, no,” I said to myself as tears welled up in my eyes and spilled down my cheeks in spite of my attempt to blot them all. Perhaps you remember listening to this one too and have been moved by it. We begin with the story:

English: it is picture of the sheet of the son...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures. His circle of friends included Dwight L. Moody, Ira Sankey and various other well-known Christians of the day.

At the very height of his financial and professional success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Spafford had.

In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation and time to recover from the tragedy. He also went to join Moody and Sankey on an evangelistic campaign in England. Spafford sent his wife and daughters ahead of him while he remained in Chicago to take care of some unexpected last minute business.

Several days later he received notice that his family’s ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned. Mrs. Spafford was among the few who were miraculously saved. Numb with shock and grief, she sent a telegram to her husband with just 2 words that say it all:  “Saved alone . . .”

With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on this trip that he penned those now famous words, When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul..

Philip Bliss (1838-1876), composer of many songs including Hold the Fort, Let the Lower Lights be Burning, and Jesus Loves Even Me, was so impressed with Spafford’s life and the words of his hymn that he composed a beautiful piece of music to accompany the lyrics. The song was published by Bliss and Sankey, in 1876.”

 It is Well with My Soul     

(1) When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll.

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

CHORUS: It is well with my soul,

it is well, it is well with my soul.

(2) My sin- O the joy of this glorious thought.

My sin, not in part, but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more:

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

(3) And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll:

The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,

“Even so”- it is well with my soul.

Once again God reached down to a grieving heart, after shocking trauma, and gives Spafford the calm assurance that he will see his precious children again. In his grief, God gave him the ability to pen words of faith, longing, expectation and hope from blessed promises of Scripture in spite of the horrific tragedy his family has just suffered. In pure Gospel truth the words of this ageless hymn reminds us of the hope we all have in Jesus, who will one day return just as He promised. For more than a century, the tragedy and triumph of one man has given hope to countless thousands who have lifted their voices to sing, It is Well with My Soul.”

And Jesus said, I Am; and you will [all] see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power (the Almighty) and coming on the clouds of heaven.  Mark 14:62

Search YouTube  for this beautiful hymn sung by one of my favorite artists, Wintley Phipps.

This entry was posted on September 3, 2013. 2 Comments