Eternal Midsummer Sun

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

(John 3:16) 

 

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I sit here very reluctantly with the imminent threat of storms looming overhead… yet still I eagerly await another early rising midsummer sun…. As the darkness continues to linger into daybreak… I am attempting rather unsuccessfully to embrace the predicted series of slowly moving storms which hastily interrupts my early midsummer morning. Late night storms have left my water starved annuals laying on their uprooted mangled sides… and a scattering of white and pink petals now lay across my parched wooden deck….. My sleepless night thoughts persist and I wander just too long in anticipation of the approaching storms… and my wandering mind only complicates the mix of emotions I’m experiencing from yet another one of life’s greatest disappointments….. Just another “failure” to add to my repertoire…but like too many failures in my already overstuffed life….this failure comes from within a deep and painful crevice of spiritually rooted connections and convictions with fellow believers….. Yet I feel a remarkable and undeniable familiarity to this type of great disappointment as I glance out my patio door staring blankly at the searing sheets of endless rain just beginning to pound the south facing side of my home…..

My thoughts take another turn to not only my own failures, but also to the multiple losses I have suffered throughout my life… Trapped within the walls of this sadly wandering state of mind…..  My thoughts turn to my sister.   I struggle to envision a much happier time where she stood firmly beside me… bravely fighting with her diseased and ravaged body in tow…. It was an extremely aggressive intruder which hastily interrupted her late winter morning sun many years ago…and many months before she finally succumbed to this ultimate life-robbing enemy…this sickening invader who eventually won the hard fought battle against her constant desire to remain here in this familiar yet darkened place….her final and seemingly unanswered plea to witness yet another one of her own early rising midsummer suns…..and in this frozen memory…. my heart sinks even lower.

With much regret….I think of the many disagreements my sister and I once shared….. Far too many of our own life’s experiences stood between the two of us and the One and Only Truth and our many experiences almost separated us from creating a final spiritual truce.  I being the lost prodigal child of a Great Comforter not too long ago and she being the ever faithful and everlasting daughter of a Mighty King… born in the faith and never wavering.  Sometimes this uncomfortable wedge created too wide a space for a compromise to even take hold…for a conversation to take place and grow…and to at last realize…… the simple understanding that our belief in the One and Only Truth did indeed take very different roads…. But both roads led back home!!   There are varied paths of Light that occur in this life’s constant darkness.   My road being twisted with many unwanted, and sometimes self-inflicted roadblocks… my footprints disappearing at long intervals of time upon its jagged edge and teetering on a lack of trust and commitment …her road well-traveled and worn with the unbroken trust of her steadfast feet.. Scattered were her footprints but never ever too close to its well-developed edge… yet narrow and unbending along the border…

 

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The rain is tapering as the sound of thunder rumbles off into the distance as the storms move to the unsuspecting East…and my sadly wandering thoughts are slowly turning to the present-tense as I sense the departing storms and begin to plan my day…..yet I pause and attempt to envision my sister’s present day view of her eternal midsummer sun….so Majestic….so Gracious…and so very Merciful……but I cannot envision it for both the current and departing storms here cause too much turmoil……And there is yet another winding road for me to travel… but I know my simple belief in Him gets me through one more storm and one more jagged edge along its path…and I seek…and I plead… and I’m given comfort by Him once again… and by this simple truth…..

My faithful sister is the daughter of a Mighty King and I am the rebellious child of a Great Comforter!

 

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Take comfort in knowing He is there with you on your current winding road…..and there is nothing that can separate you from Him as long as you are a believer and you continue to simply believe in His promise!  

 

A Child is Born

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

(Isaiah 9:6 ESV)

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I have hope….

I HAVE ABUNDANT HOPE….

I have immeasurable hope…..

My hope does not lie in any worldly government or any worldly charismatic governmental official…

No empty words or deeds to appease me.

No worldly powers that be…

No failed promises…or man-made victories on conquered soil.

No hope in ordinary man who would eventually crumble a simple faith into the vast darkness…

For if my hope was found there….I would also find hidden there….

 My greatest despair.

This meaningless dark hole where the unbelieving despondent and discouraged await their everlasting anguish…

Their ever-wasting and secluded never land.

 Yet I’m unable to quantify this current expectation…this future anticipation that burns within me during the hours of each anxiously awaiting day….

And the long, still nights filled with tear soaked pillows in hopeful waiting…

That glorious anticipation of His promise …

For if I ever close my eyes to find myself to never again awaken that next morning…

 And if I were ever to awaken to an empty void filled with absolute nothingness….

That meaningless hole that many hopeless already await….

  I will have lost nothing in my efforts to simply believe….

I would simply just cease to exist….

For there is nothing beyond this world for those without hope….

But to have Hope…is to simply believe…

 To believe in this child born so very long ago…

This unassuming child who once lay in a splintered feeding trough…

Where men who studied the stars came from afar and fell at His feet…

 In worship.

And they came bearing expensive gifts to give Him….

Yet this child’s gift became the ultimate gift…

For all….

This gift of salvation…this gift of eternity…this gift of HOPE.

From an unassuming child who came to save… not to condemn…

 But to save those…. Who simply believe in Him.

To those wise enough to believe the ancient words once scribed…..

The ancient words that still resonate so loudly, so boldly…so demandingly…so life-changing!

For it is written…..

Understand that “I am He”….. (Isaiah 43: 10)

Understand….

“I AM HE”…. (John 18: 6)

The Great City of Nineveh

Dear Readers, 

I would like to share with you something I posted (a reply) on another Christians’ blog back in August.  I have always hoped my blog would be transparent and truthful, (that is why I am sharing this response) written mostly for the lost and hopeless among us!  A blog that intentionally does not mention denomination or religious creed! A blog I have shared my very personal life experiences with and shame!    A blog only to honor Christ… very little pics of me or my family….Christ only…Christ centered… and Christs’ love for all people… always!     The debate regarding homosexuality continues…never ending, sometimes (mostly) loveless and hateful toward each other.  This summer has been quite long and filled with utter hopelessness! I find myself now lost for words..unable to write anymore.  I have been the victim of attack from a Christian who I thought I was helping…I was also evaluated by a fellow Christian as to why I want to help people “spiritually”…and I lost!   God helps us all for thinking His Word…and His Gospel is only for a select group of people!  

I want to thank all of you for taking the time to read my blog!  It means more to me than you will ever know!  I have prayed for all of you and I love you all! I hope I have touched one soul… only one soul with my words…that truly was my only prayer!!  That was my intended purpose!!

The world we now live in is a very scary place…Christ did not promise this road..this life would be easy…but He does promise a glorious ending!  

again, I thank you and I love you all!! 

“And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night.  And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand for their left…”

(Jonah 4: 10-11 ESV)

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I was doing a Google search on heaven and came across this post and truly, I wish I hadn’t stumbled upon it!  This is so sad to read…to digest. To realize the length of time this post has survived…to read the hatred and bickering between Christians….the hatred from Christians to those who are still lost and in darkness…and in great need of our Savior….and to those few who were/ are struggling with same-sex attraction/ homosexual lifestyle….and decided to share their thoughts through their painfully honest and transparent testimony…..It is in times such as this….I must remind myself to keep my eyes focused on Christ alone….and not on a fallen humanity! 

We are all sinners, and we must remember that at our very best, we all have nothing but filthy rags to offer.  We all spat on Him and beat Him beyond recognition!   We ALL nailed Him to the cross!   We must love without compromising Truth.  We must be Christ- like in how we approach everyone!  God humbled himself and became one of us in a darkened and fallen world to save us all.  Jesus was approachable to the lowest members of society in His time…prostitutes and tax collectors….they felt very comfortable approaching Him….He never compromised truth yet He was able to serve those who were in greatest need. 

Please remember the story of Jonah…Jonah had an extraordinary calling to deal with a group of people he did not want to deal with…but he reluctantly went to this group of people and preached the worst evangelical sermon ever…..Destruction is coming!  Destruction is coming!  Then, Jonah went and purchased a front row seat to watch them burn….but Nineveh repented! Jonah wanted more than ever to see those people burn as He cared more for their destruction then for their repentance!  Let’s not become like Jonah….wanting complete destruction of an entire group of people instead of hoping for eventual repentance….no matter how long that repentance may take…..we are all currently under the state of grace….

The issue is…where do people stand?  Are they dead in sin or alive in Christ?  If they are dead in sin, it hardly matters what sin it is….the Gospel must be the priority of the homosexual just as it is for the heterosexual!  The church is the place to hear the gospel!  The church is a place for sinners! Jesus can and will transform lives! Transformation may take time!   Christians need to serve in truth!  Christians need to serve also…. in love.  We will all stand before the judgement seat of Christ!  We will all be asked about our lives while here on earth…..and how we all responded to the cultural issues and difficulties of our day…. Christ is not surprised by these issues….and He placed us as Christians in this exact moment in His creation for such a time as this!!  When I stand before Him, I pray I hear my Lord and Savior tell me…. “Well done good and faithful servant.”  As fellow Christians, I hope you all do too! 

 

 

 

 

Death Grip

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“Jesus wept.”

(John 11:35 ESV)

There is probably nothing more tearfully heart wrenching than losing a loved one.  The grief endured when someone you love dies is excruciating and debilitating. You seem to exist in a surreal world temporarily suspended in time and space and hopeless to the stark reality you’re trying so desperately to avoid….your loved one is never coming back….

Not here….

Not now….

Not back here…

Not ever…

One distant memory of a most unfortunate death happened many, many years ago when I was still a young and inexperienced nurse working the midnight shift at a local hospital.  I stood quite fearful and reluctantly, beside an open incubator one cold and wintery night and gently caressed the very frail arm of a 14 ounce baby born way too soon…trying desperately to provide some sort of comfort to this beautifully perfect baby whose earthly life would ultimately be measured in mere hours….

The grief stricken mother was just outside our unit door and down the pastel pink and blue wall-papered hallway.  Her life so completely different just hours before.…But now, two earthly lives forever altered in a matter of minutes…of one soon to be taken and of one left behind… unbearable grief and excruciating sorrow…of dreams shattered and plans thwarted. This tragic loss so severe for it’s victim…it rendered her emotionally unable to speak a “temporary” goodbye…

Death

 So final is your grip…..

There was an unexpected death in the town of Bethany.  As this unfortunate news spread quickly, mourners came and gathered close to the grieving family.  Many who gathered there were visibly sobbing for this man who once was.  The sisters had sent word to the only One who could save him from his acute onset, but death had visited him quickly and he lay entombed for four days prior to His arrival. As The One approached, one sister fell to His feet in anguish and sorrow…the mourners also followed her there… standing behind and beside her as she mourned loudly at the Feet of our God…but all expressing the sorrow and grief that only death can bring….

When He looked upon the grief and anguish of the one sister who lay at His feet, and of those who believed, and of all those who would eventually believe, and also for those who would remain lost, He was deeply moved and greatly troubled…..as He filled with love and compassion for all who gathered there to openly grieve ….

And He gently began to weep….

Tears…slowing and quietly streaming from the Sovereign eyes of the only One who can bring us back to life….a deeply human expression from this Man of Sorrows…who is well acquainted with grief… who came to serve…who came to save….grief and sorrow He experienced as He mourned for a dying humanity…..and motivated by pure unconditional love for us….He willingly came and stepped into this darkness just to taste this bitter vial of death for one and all…..

Grief stricken tears actually touched the Almighty face of our God…

Death

Where is your grip now?

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“Often we say That Christ will meet us on the other side.  That is true of course, but misleading.  Let us never forget that He walks with us on this side of the curtain and then guides us through the opening.  We will meet Him there, because we have met Him here.”

–Erwin Lutzer

 

 

Broken Promise

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

(Romans 1:16 ESV)

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“In conversation, the disciple who is truly poor in spirit always leaves the other person feeling, my life has been enriched by talking with you.  This is neither false modesty nor phony humility… The poor in spirit are the most non-judgmental of peoples; they get along well with sinners.”

–Brennan Manning

The above quote from Brennan Manning was the initial spark which lit the flame of my now persistent and burning desire to serve Christ and become His evangelistic servant bathed in His everlasting mercy and grace.  It would be untrue to lead anyone to believe this did not come without great struggle and outright debate with my Savior by trying to rationalize every reason in my finite mind to explain to Him why I am not the best and most qualified candidate for this sacred position but the flame persists and He fuels my flame with daily doses of increasingly greater intention.

Servant Evangelism, in my personal opinion is the only effective way to evangelize the lost and hurting among us.  It was refreshing to learn there has been a shift from the fire and brimstone type of evangelizing to a new relational, authentic, and transparent approach.  I desire to serve Christ as an authentic and transparent servant as I begin to embrace the brokenness of my own shattered past.  For it was in my broken past where I learned to become dependent on Him and His words of promise for a brighter tomorrow.  My great dependency on Christ grew more intense from the struggles and challenges of my own personal life and now I am willing to share my past to brighten someone’s tomorrow with hope in a Savior and eternal life. 

“Jesus was transparent. True, He did not have any bad to reveal, but He grieved, and expressed it; He sorrowed, and He wept.”

–Jerry Pipes

My only desire is to simply be His transparent servant.  In spite of our weaknesses and imperfections, God still chooses to use people to communicate His message.   The knowledge of my past weakness and imperfections forces me to be a humble and non-judgmental servant to others. It allows me greater understanding into the lives of people who struggle with sin and despair. I have no Christian subculture to temporarily exit from for I have never known the boundaries of “perfect” Christian living void of challenges, hardships, and struggle.  Perhaps this is the very reason He is calling me to join Him in His mission, His prodigal with enduring wounds and intense regret.  I only have to recall the price He paid to reconcile my rebellion and I’m left kneeling at the foot of His cross begging for His mercy.   There is no greater reward this side of heaven then to join with Christ in sharing the gift He gives so freely to those who only have to receive.  How can I possibly keep this gift a secret? 

I will still wrestle with Christ regarding the requirements of this sacred position.  The responsibility of representing Him to a fallen world is significant and causes me to panic.  My greatest fear is misrepresenting His love and grace.  How could I possibly take on this type of responsibility?  The testimony we have around other people is of utmost importance.  People are watching how we react in the normal ebb and flow of life.   And I love Him so much and only desire to please Him so how can I continue to say no to a Savior who gave His life to allow an unworthy, unlovable, and unclean soul like me to have one?   There is a world just outside my door that is hurting and lost and I know without doubt Jesus loves them as much as He loves me.

 “It is not the prostitutes and tax-collectors who find it most difficult to repent; it is the devout who feel they have no need to repent, secure in not having broken rules on the Sabbath.”

–Brennan Manning 

How can I remain silent and not share with them the good news?   …What began simply as a spark and turned into a flame, which has now become a persistent and burning desire is beginning to slowly engulf my panic and fears…. 

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It has been well over a year since my promise was made to You…and yes!  I now feel and now realize Your strict discipline to my broken promise….

Jesus…Please help me believe I can do this!

“Fear not, for I am with you; for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 (Isa 41: 10 ESV)

Chasing Rainbows

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“ I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.”

( Genesis 9 : 13 NIV )

I was struggling with a lot of frustration.  It has been growing secretly for some time…festering slowly and manipulating my daily thoughts and emotions for many weeks, perhaps months or more .  My discouragement was beginning to hold me hostage…demanding a ransom…or at the very least, demanding a response…..Instead of responding,  I took quiet comfort in convincing myself I was not alone. There must be more like me hiding somewhere in the secret and safe places of humanity…. Wondering in silent amazement and continually asking themselves…just as I am,   “what is happening to society?”  “What is happening to the morals and values we once held so dear?”….But I was currently feeling completely defeated by the impending bleak outcome of this sudden downward shift….for it has plummeted so very far.  

 

As a child of divorce I understand firsthand the breakdown of a marriage and how it shatters a once intact nuclear family forever…A jilted ex- spouse left picking up the bitter pieces of betrayal and heartache….The innocent children left dealing with issues of abandonment and rejection…The starving daughter void of a fathers’ unconditional love and the ensuing and stagnant poverty of only a mothers wage.  The statistics are grim….even years ago….although I did not choose to be a statistic, I simply was for there is no denying the long lasting negative impacts of a divorce.  It is very well documented on the entire family, on everyone involved…and on our society.  

 

It used to begin without much fanfare…at least in the days of yesteryears.  There were societal ills even back then, such as my parents divorce…actually ever since the fall of mankind…with evil always trying to prevail.  Our hearts a constant battleground of evil versus good but there were topics not widely spoken of….Immorality was hidden from view….No public boasting of wrongdoings….A silent code of sorts that some today may argue as unhealthy but this silence seemed to stem from an inner self awareness of basic wrong versus right and a universal acknowledgement of evil versus good…A fundamental societal moral code of which we used to easily recognize but no longer possess the ability to do so. 

This moral code is greatly declining.   It is dissolving upon the stage of which is now viewed live by millions at one time.  The deception so very great…but the recognition of this deception so very small. 

“Woe to them who call evil good and good evil.” (Isaiah 5 :20 )….The line between the two now almost obsolete.  So many unable to see this grave mark of distinction simply because there are far fewer who do not Fear Him and/or far fewer who do not Love Him…It is as simple as this blatant fact for His timeless Word is displaying so brilliantly…so vividly….all without error….and I am able to recognize this…

yet I am so discouraged….

My frustration and discouragement began to peak and overflow last week as I prepared for our weekly visit to our woods in the country. It quickly culminated into a profound state of fear. I always choose love over fear just because I do love Him so very much …yet on this day… my fear of God was suffocating and leaving me breathless.  The end is well-written for all to read… but it is yet to be lived… good will prevail in the end….but the evil which exists currently is breathtaking….stunningly mesmerizing….and deceiving multitudes who deny its existence.  It will eventually engulf those who do not recognize it leaving no one standing in its wake of destruction….

But why do I still clearly see?

As we headed south to our country place of refuge there appeared a magnificent rainbow…fully intact…its range of color so vibrant, and so vivid in detail .  Stretching across His vastly enormous and endless sky and dissolving effortlessly into the horizon…as He gently and lovingly reminded me…yet once again of His promise.   A colorful symbol created only by Him.   Historically grounded in the biblical narrative yet at times stolen by a wayward humanity and used for another purpose.  The same humanity which now increasingly denies the role of sinner…and the desperate need for a Savior….and so… the statistics remain grim.  And our current state of upheaval and denial will only continue to  grow more bleak….more discouraging.   Yet He infuses me with hope when I am hopeless.  And I am once again brought to my knees in complete surrender…….and in complete submission to Him.. reduced into uttering one simple but profound phrase…

“Thy will be done.”

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Black vs. Blue

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

(John 5: 24 ESV)

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The hopeless state of my country…how very disheartening it truly is to me… and our world is in complete disarray…a vast multitude of empty voices crying from within a deepened and divided bottomless pit of pure helplessness….revenge and sorrow add additional hot flamed fuel which is poured over long existing festering wounds of past wrongs and wrongful undoing… of unpaid vendettas…. seemingly only to be paid in full from the current lives of complete innocence…

The constant bloodshed in our inner- city streets… the increase of anarchy and civil disorder….the ever- threatening global terrorism… and now sadly, a new domestic terrorism… a killing machine of extreme militancy outside our borders and now even within ….and the endless debates and political rhetoric….existing everywhere…a constant reminder of the sinful hearts which exists in all of us…it exists within me! It also exists within you!  It knows no color barrier…no ethnicity or racial barrier…. Prideful sin forcing sides in shameless conceit and wanting its own way….insisting on strict conformity and nothing else will please… and this results in even further division…and further unrest…..civil unrest… racial unrest….

I will continue cling to Jesus’ promise…that’s really all I have… for there is no other promise so fulfilling….so real…so gratifying….so complete!

  Jesus promised….For those who believe…they will be given eternal life….

From death to complete paradise… where no color exists….no racial disparity exists…no discrimination exists… no hatred…no sorrow…and every tear (from every skin color) will be wiped dry…

“…Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise…”

(Luke 23: 43 ESV)

In honor of some racially diverse, Christian… and unfortunately… forgotten martyrs of the American Civil Rights Movement….

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Clyde Kennard

Wanting admission to the all-white Mississippi Southern College…he faced roadblock after roadblock…but Clyde, a devout Baptist man had an impeccable life and school record…they couldn’t dissuade him. So they framed him with a felony…convicted by an all-white jury…he was sentenced to seven years of hard labor…while incarcerated, he became seriously ill and was denied medical treatment…he died six months later of an intestinal cancer… but died never bitter or angry…

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Rev. James Reeb

A white Unitarian minister who answered the call of Dr. King’s call for clergy to join him in Selma… he left for a diner and was accosted by a trio of white men…he was beaten with a club and slipped into a coma, dying the following day.

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Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley

These children were getting ready for church services when a bomb exploded at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing all four of the school-age girls.

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Johnathan Myrick Daniels

An Episcopal Seminary student, he came to help with black voter registration….he was arrested…jailed… and then released…moments after his release from confinement, he was shot to death by a deputy sheriff.

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Christ’s sacrificial death paid the penalty for sin….

It guarantees the final escape from the very presence of sin…

These Christian Civil Rights Movement martyrs instantly awoke into the arms of their Savior!! 

We Must believe this!

Sin exists!

…and sin will continue to exist!

may I ask …What really has changed over the years?