Friday, December 18, 2009
I had started this letter a year ago. Over the next couple of months, I had worked on it some, taking the time to say just the right thing in just the right way. I just looked at it again last Saturday, intending to finish and mail it on Monday. You see, I knew he was very sick, almost to the point of death and I wanted him to know how much he had blessed my life.
Monday morning I awoke to the news that he had passed away on Sunday.
There it was! He had died and I could not tell him how much he had meant to me because I had procrasinated and been worried about grammar and syntax. How ridiculous! Perhaps in his last days on earth, I could have cheered him if only for a minute, but my chance is gone!
Then today, I received an email devotion that I look at everyday.
"About that time she became sick and died. The room was filled with widows who were weeping and showing him the coats and other garments Dorcas had made for them." Acts 9:37,39 A good many people have to die--to be appreciated. They go through the world living quietly, devoted to the interests of those who are dear to them, seeking no recognition. They are merely commonplace people, and so are allowed to love and serve without appreciation.But one day they are missed from their accustomed place--their work on earth is done--and they are gone! Then the empty place reveals the value of the blessing they have been. In their absence, people learn for the first time--the value of the services they had been accustomed to receive from them.
I know how much I like it when someone appreciates a meal I make or a favor I do for them. And I had to stop and ask myself, am I always appreciative when people do things for me? Do I tell people regularly how much they mean to me? Do I show them how much they mean to me? Do I take the "normal, everyday kindnesses" for granted?
I have to admit, I am behind on some "thank you's." There was the month of little surprises for Pastor's Appreciation. I made a big card, but it never made it to church--yet. Then there was the two weeks I was in bed recovering from pneumonia. Every night a meal miracuously appeared at our house until I was well enough to make it myself. Once or twice, there were little women skittering all over my house too, with brooms, mops, and cleaning cloths busily cleaning my house because just walking up the stairs required me to need an oxygen tank. I'm sure there are other things too that I have now forgotten or taken for granted.
So, here it is!
My New Year's Resolution (by the grace of God) #1
-I will take time regularly to be thankful for all the wonderful people God has put in my life. I will then tell them that I am thankful for them and why. I will take notice of the "little" things" that people do for me and let them know I noticed. I don't want to wake up one morning and find that my chance to let them know what a blessing they are to me is gone.
Guess I had better hit the after Christmas sale and see if Thank you cards are on clearance too! Considering who I have for friends, I'm going to need a truck load of them!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Meet B.H. Clendennen, a former Marine. He was part of the lost battalion of the Guadal Canal during WW2. He survived with just a few others for years in the midst of enemy soldiers, totally cut off from all US supply lines. His story is amazing.
But what is more amazing is the impact that he had on the world. He took that toughness that he gained from the Marine Corp and incorporated it into his life and ministry for Jesus Christ. Of all the ministers that have come and gone, he may not be a name that is well known, but his impact rivals and exceeds the ministries of men like David Wilkerson, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin and other respected ministers of Christ. He has carried the Pentecostal message and ministry literally around the world, establishing schools of Christ in regions of spiritual darkness on every continent.
I first heard him preach when I, as an associate minister's wife was doing what associate minister's wives do--the dirty work. I was cleaning out a church attic and found a box of cassette tapes with over 100 sermons. The secretary told me to just throw them away, but being the curious type, I asked if I could have them. Upon seeing them, my husband exclaimed, "this is a gold mine!" He had been raised as a child attending camp meetings that Brother Clendennen had preached.
I was pregnant at the time and having a difficult time holding on to the pregnancy. So every afternoon, I would sit down to rest in a chair and I would pop in a tape and listen to a sermon. Never had my heart burned like it did listening to this man's words. Never had scripture come so alive as it did while listening to him expound the truths of God into my heart. I listened and listened, like a starving child sits and eats at a bountiful table. My life was changed forever! Such faith was deposited into my heart that when a doctor told me that I had miscarried the baby, I sat right up on that emergency room table, stuck my finger in his face and said, "I don't care what you say, I'm having this baby when it's due!". To prove to me that I had lost the baby, he performed a sonogram to confirm the miscarriage and found that he was, indeed, wrong. And of all the children that I have birthed, she was the only one even remotely close to her due date, born just when the doctor had said she was due.
A few years later, as I stood on a roadside amongst fire trucks, rescue trucks, sirens, people running and yelling, the jaws of life screaming, ambulance personnel scrambling, I prayed a prayer that I know saved the lives of my already unresponsive children. It was one of those surreal moments when you realize that what you are doing is totally illogical, what you are saying is totally impossible in the natural, but you know that it is the Spirit of God that is helping you pray it and have faith to believe it, in spite of what you are seeing right in front of your face. Where did that faith come from ? It came from the receiving the teaching and preaching of a humble man sharing the truth and power of God's Word into my heart-- from a "junk box" of tapes--the sermons of B.H. Clendennen.
I owe this man so much. His preaching and teaching totally changed the course of my Christian life. He introduced me to a power that few Christians I know have encountered or have practically experienced in their walk with Christ. In many ways he was my teacher and mentor, even though I never had the great privilege of meeting him in person. It was one of my life wishes to meet him in person and thank him for blessing my life in such a great manner.
The man had metal. He went wherever the gospel was needed, establishing schools of Christ. He trained many that still carry that message and many that left that school knowing that their lives would be required of them as martyrs for the cause of the salvation message. What a legacy, what a reward this man have in heaven.
Here are some links of his sermons and information about his life's work. If you are unsatisfied in your relationship with God, if you are searching for God, if you want to really live the life that Christ died to give you instead of one that is just tradition, ceremony, dead and unfulfilled, I highly recommend that you listen to what this man has to say.
One of my favorites is called "Soldiers". In it he relates a lot of his experiences as Marine in WW2. I listen to it at least once a month and it blesses me every time I hear it.
And to his wife and family I extend my deepest sympathy and prayers. But as scripture says, "we do not mourn as the world mourns", because we have hope that he is in heaven. Our hope is an assurance that we base on the Word of God, and we know that it is not just a wish, but it is a reality. We will all see him again. I will get to meet him and know him in heaven. This is just a "see you later". There will never be a goodbye. So, I say to Pastor Clendennen, "see you later!" And with every ounce of truth that lies within me.....THANK YOU AND THANK GOD!
Friday, December 4, 2009
In the U.S. Treasury, there are people whose only job is to look at bills all day and determine if they are real or counterfeit. In training them, they do not ever look at fake bills, they only study the real ones. They study and study and study them. They come to know them so well that when a fake one comes across their desk, it stands out like a blaring horn or flashing neon sign. They are so familiar with the real that anything less than the real is automatically detectable by a quick glance.
I meet a lot of Christians who are also concerned, as my child is, with being and doing right before God. And I notice that they listen to a lot of preaching that points wrong things out, defines wrong things, warns of wrong things, and describes the outcome of not overcoming wrong things.
Granted, there are people who need to hear these things, but if not balanced with the overwhelming knowledge of the goodness, mercy and love of God, they continue to struggle. They might strike the Goliath in their life down, stunning it, but they never seem to get the sword out of the sheath and cut off it's head. So after a short period of relief, the giant returns after waking from it's seeming unconsciousness more angry and vicious than it was before. And so the war of intimidation continues, thus rendering the struggling Christian stuck in the mire of condemnation and defeat.
Could this be why there are so many unhappy, frustrated Christians? They are constantly repenting and telling God they are sorry because they realize that their lifestyles could send them to hell. Now I agree that if there is one thing in life that you should fear, it should be eternity in hell--rather, as scripture says, fear the one who can send you there. But if our repentance and lamentation is simply over the prospect of hell, is that truly repentance? And if it is, is it lasting repentance? Because while the giant is stunned, things will go well, but what about when the giant awakens and returns?
Timothy Keller writes “In fear-based repentance, we don’t learn to hate the sin for itself, and it doesn’t lose its attractive power. We learn only to refrain from it for our own sake. But when we rejoice over God’s sacrificial, suffering love for us – seeing what it cost him to save us from sin – we learn to hate the sin for what it is. We see what the sin cost God. What most assures us of God’s unconditional love (Jesus’s costly death) is what most convicts us of the evil of sin. Fear-based repentance makes us hate ourselves. Joy-based repentance makes us hate the sin.”
We need to study the real! We need to focus and look at Christ! Before we start to attack the things that are wrong in our lives, we must first see the one who is right--Jesus Christ, our mediator and our help! We must see and know and experience His great love and mercy in our lives. We must understand the pricelessness of His love, the exceeding capacity of His mercy, the depth of His commitment in that He suffered our punishment on the cross, and His undying fidelity to us in His resurrection and intercession. We need to get this, much more than we need to understand our sin, for when we understand our sin without knowing Him, we try to fix ourselves. This is impossible. That's why we were lost when we were without a Savior! But when we know Christ, our sin becomes like that blaring horn and flashing sign of a counterfeit bill. As we know Him, we also know sin, because next to Him, all sin is grotesques. As we know Him, even the slightest flaw will be like a pebble in our shoe prodding us to stop and remove it with every step.
We need to know Him as the GOOD shepherd.
"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep!" John 10:11
The shepherd is a favorite Scriptural picture of the divine love and care. In the Old Testament, the twenty-third Psalm gathers the whole wonderful truth in exquisite lines which are dear to both young and old, wherever the Bible is known. Then in the New Testament, when our Lord would give His friends the sweetest revealings of His heart toward them, and tell them what they are to Him, and what He would be to them--He says, "I am the Good Shepherd.
"The earthly shepherd lives with his sheep. If they are out in the storm, or exposed to any danger--he is with them. Likewise, Christ lives with His people--in all their afflictions, and all their storms. He enters into closest relations with them.The earthly shepherd knows his sheep. He has a name for each one--and calls them all by their names. Christ knows each one of His friends, and has intimate personal knowledge of each one. He knows the best in us--and also the worst. He knows our faults, our sins, our wanderings.
Yet, knowing us as we are--He loves us still, and never wearies of us!The earthly shepherd is most gentle with his sheep. He does not drive them--but goes before them and leads them. When they need rest on the way, he makes them lie down, and chooses for their resting-place, not the dusty road--but green pastures. He is especially kind to the lambs, gathers them in his arms and carries them in his bosom. All this is an exquisite picture of the gentleness of our Good Shepherd, in His care of His sheep. He is thoughtful toward the weak. He loves the 'lambs' and makes room for them in His bosom. Whatever the need is, there is something in the heart of Christ which meets its craving, and supplies its lack.The earthly shepherd defends his flock in all danger. Often he has to risk his own safety, even his life, in protecting his sheep. Just so, the Good Shepherd gives His life for His sheep. Christ's sheep are absolutely safe in His keeping. "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish--ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand!" John 10:28. Then at last He will bring His own all safely home, "and they shall become one flock, one Shepherd." J. Miller
William Dyer writes: "He is altogether lovely!" Song of Songs 5:16
Jesus is most desirable in Himself--and all things that are desirable are in Him.
Beauty is in Christ,
bounty is in Christ,
riches and honor are in Christ.
Jesus Christ is the treasure hidden in the gospel,
the pearl of great price;
He is the sun in the firmament of the Scriptures, whom to know is everlasting life.
He is . . . a spring full of the water of life,
a hive of sweetness,
a storehouse of riches,
a river of pleasures, wherein you may bathe your souls to all eternity!
Oh! He is all fullness and sweetness!
"He is the chief among ten thousand!" Song of Songs 5:10
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6
You may go to heaven . . . without health,
but you can never go to heaven without Christ!
"He loved me--and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20
All that Christ did and suffered--it is for me!
All that Christ has--is mine!
Christ's love is mine to pity me!
Christ's mercy is mine to save me!
Christ's graces are mine to beautify me!
Christ's power is mine to protect me!
Christ's wisdom is mine to counsel me!
Christ's Spirit is mine to comfort me!
Christ's Word is mine to teach me!
Christ's glory is mine to crown me!
Therefore, a grain of saving grace in the heart,is better than a chain of gold around the neck!"
The love of Christ constrains us." 2 Corinthians 5:14
Love of Jesus is essential to Christianity. No privations can starve it, and no burdens can break it down. It is the core of all true piety. It is the only cure of the reigning worldliness and covetousness and fashionworship, which have made such havoc in too many churches.
There is only one way to be a steadfast Christian--it is to get the heart so full of love to Jesus--that the world, and the lusts of the flesh, and the devil can get no foothold. A true Christian life is the continual consecration of our bodily powers, of our energies, our affections, our resources, and our influence--to Him who bought us with His precious blood. "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship." Romans 12:1" Steven Cuyler
We need to KNOW CHRIST! Not know about Christ, but to know Him in the sense that He is as real to us as our mother, father, brother, sister, friend, or spouse. And that is His desire as well! God created us to have fellowship with Him--that means, God wants us to hang with HIM! He hard wired us that way! He wants to laugh with us, shop with us, talk to us, BE WITH US! And as we come to know Him in all the facets of His personality, and we come to understand through His spirit how He loves us, sin will be the furthest thing from our mind and desires. And when sin does come calling us to come out and play, we, like David can grab the Word of God and the Sword of the Spirit and go out and defeat it and move on!!!!!
I totally trust my husband because I know him so well that I know he can always be trusted. In the 30 years I have known him, he has never done anything to prove himself untrustworthy. My heart is secure with him. As I think about my relationship with Christ, I realize that although I know all the things that are right about Christ, sometimes my heart does not feel secure because my circumstances don't seem to line up with what I know.
Faith is having a secure heart even in the midst of contradicting circumstances. The only way I can have that secure heart is too truly know the one that my faith is in and to know that as long as He has been, from everlasting to everlasting, He has never been unfaithful. Oh that I may truly know Him in His fullness!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Really I don't know! Usually I keep my mouth shut about such things, except with my own kids, of but I find this serious enough to join the choir! Our youth Pastor has pleaded. Our Pastor has pleaded, but still I read and hear excited chatter about it from youth that I care about. I can't make them listen. I can't chain them to their beds to keep them away from the bookstore, the movie theatre or the the internet, but I would like to. I don't know what else it will take to get through to this young generation who think those older, wiser and more spiritually mature are full of bunk, but because I love them, I'm sticking my neck out here.
For me, just the name "Twilight" is a big, red warning flag.
Twilight is the time between sunset and dark - the sun is just below the horizon. Twilight is "1. the diffused light from the sky during the early evening when the sun is below the horizon and its light is refracted by the earth's atmosphere; 2. The time of the day when the sun is just below the horizon, especially the period between sunset and dark; 3. Dim or diffused illumination; 4. A state of ambiguity or obscurity."
In physics, refraction is the change of direction of a ray of light, sound, heat, or the like, in passing obliquely from one medium into another in which its wave velocity is different. In Opthamology, refraction determines the ability of the eye to diffuse light that enters it so as to form an image on the retina.
Twilight brings a dimming of light. Dimming means "not bright; obscure from lack of light or emitted light. It means not seen clearly or in detail, indistinct, not clear to the mind; vague; not billiant, dull, not clear or distinct to the senses, not clearly seen."
In "Twilight", you cannot see clearly or discern what you see!
IN SHORT, TWILIGHT IS A TIME JUST BEFORE DARKNESS WHERE YOUR VISION AND PERCEPTIONS ARE HINDERED!
Herein lies the reason why the series "Twilight" is so aptly named. First of all, it is just "dark". Tell me, what is edifying about it? How does it add to your Christian experience? Nothing you do is harmless! Every action you perform, every show you watch, every minute of time you spend is strenghthening one area of your life, either your spiritual life or your carnal life. Tell me, honestly, does this strengthen you spiritually? Or does it arouse passions in you that are not Godly? Does it create in you yearnings that are not reality forming expectations of love and relationships that will hinder and destroy real future relationships? Does it cause you to think on the glories of Christ?
It's not a new concept. When I was growing up, this whole story was played out in a soap opera called "Dark Shadows" that centered around the love of a vampire for a human being. Even as a sinner, it creeped me out, but as a Christian my discerner is off the charts! Why are the youth of Christiandom so blind to this???? Where is their discernment?
During evening twilight, there is a lack of vision. Things are not seen clearly because there is not enough light on them to see them for what they really are.
One beautiful twilight, I took a walk in the country with a friend. On the horizon, we saw the sillouette of a large dog. As we walked on, the dog seemed to be walking towards us and we were walking towards it. As we watched the dog, he happened to walk under a pole light and we realized that he was not a dog at all, but a big, black bear! Fortunately we realized this in time to turn around and head for home without being harmed.
Youth! Twilight is not a harmless, fictional tale! What it is is what 1 Timothy refers to as a "fable".
1 Tim. 1:4 (KJV) Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
2 Tim. 4:4 (KJV)
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
What is a fable? A fable is "anything delivered by word of mouth; legendary tales, as opposed to historical account; a fable; foolish or improbable story (1 Tim. 1:4; 1 Tim. 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4; Titus 1:14; 2 Peter 1:16)." Read the verse! Fables turn you away from the truth!!!!
Are you fleeing fables by joining in this hype? Have you stopped to ask yourself why Twilight, which you have been warned against by all your spiritual leadership, appeals so much to you? Come into the light! It's time for some serious reflection and some clear refraction! Please tell me why you are ignoring these warnings and going your own way? Do you think that adults have never dealt with these same kinds of things? Do you think that your generation is special in some way? I tell you the truth! "There is nothing new under the sun!" History truly does repeat itself. And you are headed for the same pit as many others throughout history have fallen into. It is every spiritual adult's heart to teach those younger by helping them not make the same mistakes that we made, to impart wisdom and warning so that when you reach the age that we are now, you will be light years, spiritually speaking, ahead of where we are. But in order for that to happen, spiritual advice must be heeded. This isn't one person's opinion. There is a firestorm of warning coming from every corner of true Christianity!
If you are into "Twilight", I tell you that darkness is ahead! Twilight will not bring you into more light! It will only make the light you do have more obscure!
We all say that we believe that we are living in the last days, but let me ask you something. Are you living like you are living in the last days when there will be an increase in the "doctrines of demons?" This is that. Entertaining the ideas presented in "Twilight" will only serve to dull your senses, and make demonic ideas more palatable. It is dangerous!!!! Can I say it enough??? Having had friends who came out of occult into Christianity, one who was a practicing witch, I can tell you that this is not a benign, fantasy love story. There is a subtle evil resident in it. You can "Christianize" it all you want, but it won't make it Christian any more than me wearing a tiara and calling myself Diana will make me a princess.
I'm pleading here! Are you listening?
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
This blog had an interesting take on the Twilight series. I will be adding my own thoughts a little later.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
The answer.... no thank you. I'm not even going down that road. I won't be joining the fan club of the ever popular Twilight Series.
Sometimes, I'll pick up a book that has gained some populairity and read it for the sake of discerining and reviewing. I did that with books such a Harry Potter (read the first three - had one of the worst weeks of my life spiritually when reading through them) and The Shack, among a few others.
With the Twilight series, I have NO desire to go there at all. Vampires? Enough said.
However, I did want to share with you two EXCELLENT reviews on the series.
One was done by Jasmine Bacham. She has this to say in her article (you can go over and read the full post HERE).
One of the "hallmarks" that has been spouted by ardent supporters of Twilight is that it teaches a lesson of abstinence. But, even though Edward and Bella do abstain in the most basic sense of the word, their relationship is filled with hands-on passion: lengthy embraces; breathless kisses; violent declarations of devotion. They are obsessed with one another. "Abstinent" they may be --pure they are not. And as Bella and Edward's intimacy increases, despite continued warnings that the relationship is no good for either of them --
We watch with bated breath, crafting an obsession of our own.
As daughters committed to emotional purity, we watch as Bella Swan gives her heart and soul to Edward Cullen, and he gives eternity to her --and we celebrate the exchange.
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases. ~Song of Solomon 8:4
As we watch Bella awaken dangerous desires -as we watch her willing to give herself completely to the one she loves (uttering, again from New Moon, page 69, "I don't care! You can have my soul! I don't want it without you -it's yours!")
The Botkin Sisters over at their blog Visionary Daughters have some incredible insight. They say this: (you can read their full post HERE).
“He grinned his crooked smile at me, stopping my breath and my heart. I couldn’t imagine how an angel could be any more glorious. There was nothing about him that could be improved upon.” (Bella Swan, Twilight, Chapter 12, p.241)
For this discussion, we would like to set aside the dark paranormal element of Twilight, though that is a concern on its own. We believe what ultimately draws women into this series and other romance novels in millions-strong droves is the same thing that lures men into an estimated $3-4 billion-a-year pornography industry.I found these to be pretty convicting words. We try very hard to filter everything we watch or read through Scripture. No, we are not perfect and there are probably still some things we need to give up... it's a journey and a process.
Journalist Alisa Harris explains: “It’s called emotional porn. When men glut their physical lust with pictures of airbrushed girls pumped full of silicone, they become dissatisfied with real women’s bodies. When women plug their emotional caverns with chick flicks and chick lit, they become dissatisfied with the real men they know because they can’t measure up to the guys from The Notebook or Pride and Prejudice or Walk to Remember.” (Alisa Harris, “Beating Darcy Down”, Kritik Magazine)
Pornography is not simply about pictures. At its core, pornography starts with:
1. A desire to use people as self-gratification machines
2. A preference for man-made reality and man-made people over the real thing.
These hold as much temptation for women as for men, though romance novels often feed their fire better than pictures.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philipians 4:8