Saturday, April 25, 2015

Thoughts on Chambers' April 25 devotion

"The proof that we are rightly related to God is that we do our best whether we feel inspired or not... If you make a god of your best moments, you will find that God will fade out of your life and never come back until you do the duty that lies nearest, and have learned not to make a fetish of your rare moments" (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, April 25).

Mountain top experiences with our Lord are the absolute best; however, those moments are not the norm. They are bonuses. They are wonderful. But, they cannot be the moments that keep you on track with The Lord and His ministry. Look for moments with God in your daily life. That unexpected hug from a child, a sweet note from a friend, a bad situation that gets easily resolved. We are called to be in the world but not of the world. God's sovereignty is abundantly clear in our daily lives.  I would rather have 365 days spent with God than one holiday every year or two.

Perhaps, your life is dull at times or those mountain top moments come infrequently. That does not give you license to neglect your duty and not to be the best ambassador for Christ. Serve Jesus in and out of season. When we serve Him, we will begin to recognize Him in our daily moments and all the pomp and circumstance will be unnecessary.

Be Blessed,

Tuesday, April 07, 2015


“Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace" (Luke 7: 44b-50, ESV).

Christ's questions to me, "Do you love Me? Do you believe in Me? If so, where is your peace?"

Jesus didn't measure this woman's faith. He stated simply, "Your faith has saved you, go in peace." Peace. This little word packed with meaning left me questioning the state of my heart. Do I go in peace?

When others view my walk, do they see peace and assurance or trepidation and unrest? When I lay my head down to sleep, is my mind quiet with full trust in Jesus?

Today, I intend to live more fully in the spirit. My prayer is that I walk in peace and live my faith as I love my God. No other action is required. I must love The Lord my God with all my heart, strength, and soul. And, He is faithful to forgive and give us peace.

Be Blessed and go in peace,

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Are You the One?

Matthew 10:3-6

"And (John the Baptist) said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me” (ESV).

Dear One,

Occasionally in our walk with The Lord, we ask this question that John posed, "Are you the One?" Our faith sometimes falters especially when feeling attacked on all fronts. My sweet husband once told me that asking God this type of question was not a denial of faith but showed a hope for a response from Christ.

Mark informed me that if my faith was totally deleted, I would not be begging for God to respond to me. Being hurt or ill, feeling alone, empty and betrayed does not mean that Christ is not the Savior. It simply means that we are living in a fallen world where His salvation is desperately needed.

Mark instructed me to remember the times when Jesus showed up in my life - to remember His responses when I felt that He was not hearing, seeing, or caring about whatever was going on at the moment causing me to suffer and to wonder, "Where are you, Jesus? Are you the One?"

These principles still work for me today. When I am hurting and my faith feels weakened, I remember. I remember when Jesus responded to my prayers. I remember the work of Christ in the lives of loved ones and friends. I remember what I have seen Jesus do.

Asking God questions is not a sign of lost faith. It is a sign of conversation and expectation.

Be Blessed,

Monday, March 16, 2015

Judgment Seat of Christ

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10, NASB).

I have heard people use this verse to suggest this scenario. All of us (Christians and non-Christians) will stand before the judgement seat of God and all of their sins will be displayed on a large screen for all to see.

This is a wrong interpretation of this verse. Saying that Christians will be judged for their sins, is nullifying the atoning work of Christ. The judgment seat in Corinth was called the bema seat. This was the place where athletes were rewarded. Christians will not be judged for their sins. Those sins have been forgiven.

In fact, Psalm 103:12 stated, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us) (NASB). Christians pass from the Great White Throne of Judgment. The judgment seat (bema seat) of Christ in Corinthians is referring to our work for the kingdom. These will be acknowledged and rewarded.

We are called to share the gospel and to complete the race. Sharing the gospel takes on many forms. However, we are not called to judge each other as to whether their way of sharing satisfies us. God equips each man or woman to share His Son according to their bent and making. Don't be concerned whether your neighbor is sharing Christ that way you are called to share Him. Be conscience, instead, of your own actions and motivations.

Share Christ as you are led and use the gifts He has given you to encourage those around you.

Be Blessed,

Monday, March 02, 2015

Thoughts on Chambers Devotion of March 2

"Rarely, but probably once, He will get us into a corner where He will hurt us with His undeviating questions, and we will realize that we do love Him far more deeply than any profession can ever show" (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest).

I had to read Chambers devotion for today a couple of times to get the clear meaning of what he was saying. Memories of the time in my life, my Peter moment, came upon me like a flood. I remember when I had to face the reality of my affection for Christ. It was about a year and a half after the kidnapping. Those days still seem a blur but one thing that I remember clearly was the pain. The wretched rawness of it much like an open wound that burns and throbs was still fresh and it could come upon me at the most inopportune junctures.

During that period, I did question the reality of my love and faith in Christ. Also, I questioned His love for my children, my husband, and me. I remember feeling isolated in those emotions and doubts. So, I tried to stay busy - busy raising my son, Michael. I tried to stay busy in ministry at church both in leading a children's choir and serving in the adult choir. I stayed busy at Michael's school helping a little girl who had reading difficulties. Being busy was my friend.

I had discovered that when I occupied much of my time, I did not have as much time to ponder my attitude toward Jesus or His attitude toward me. Denial of my emotional state was my attempt at keeping whatever sanity I had left protected. Of course, burying one's heart is never a healthy path.

Unexpectedly, a mothers of one my son's friends posed a question to me. She asked if Mark and I would still have chosen to serve Christ and attend seminary if we had known the future meant losing two of our children. To this day, I am surprised by the forceful assurance of my answer. Also, there was no hesitation in my answer. I replied that we had no choice and that loving and serving Jesus was not an option in our lives. I remember telling her that God called us not the other way around.

Later that evening as I related the conversation to Mark, I knew. I knew that despite my doubts and sometimes pitiful faith that Christ was the center of my soul. I knew that regardless the sorrows and my misunderstandings of His care and provision that I was called to trust Him, love Him, and serve Him until my last breath on this earth was completed. I have found that I am occasionally left standing and praying, "Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief."

Friday, February 13, 2015

Why I hide my Pain

Do you remember the story of Christ in the garden praying before He was crucified? He asked his disciples to stay awake with Him, but they could not. Do you remember how many of those closest to Him were at the cross when they crucified Him? All had vanished except for John. Eleven of His closest friends abandoned Him. One sold Him for 30 pieces of silver and Peter denied even knowing Him.

Now, let me tell you how I relate the sorrow of Christ with my sorrow and why I feel that I must wear my facade and allow no one save Christ to see the depth of my pain.

I did not just lose a son. I did not just lose a daughter. I lost all my blood relations except for my son, Michael. My mother was diabolical in what she did.

My sisters abandoned me. I loved my sisters - both of them very much. Patti and mother did not always get along. There were many nights when Patti would be knocking on my bedroom window and crying over a fight she and mother had. I would go unlock the door, and she would pile into my arms and tell me her troubles. I never said,"Go away." or "Why are you waking me up in the middle of the night (or wee hours of the morning)?" Instead, I was there for her - loving her.

After my sister, Sherry, had her first born, mother started making claims that Sherry was a bad mother and that she suspected that Rusty was doing inappropriate things to Sandy. I told my mother that she was way out of line and that she was wrong. I told her that Rusty was a good father and that Sherry loved her daughter. I defended them both adamantly and told her that if she continued with her lies that I would tell Sherry and Rusty what she was saying. Later, mother told me that she did not mean those things and that she was having a hard time emotionally and shouldn't have said them.

I loved my parents and my grandparents. We lived between Murfreesboro and LaVergne, TN. My grandmother stopped by my house one day and started complaining about my parents. My dad's business had gone bankrupt and my parents were experiencing financial difficulties. My parents also did not attend church, which was very important to my grandmother. Grandmother said several things very hateful about my parents - while I tried to defend them. Finally, grandmother told me that if Sandra wasn't her daughter that she would not have anything to do with my parents.

I was stunned. At that point I calmly replied, "Grandma, you need to leave now. I love you and Papa but I also love my parents and I will not allow you to come into my home and say such horrible things." At that point, I walked to the front door and opened it and told her good-bye.

About fifteen minutes later my phone was ringing. (This was before the days of cell phones or caller ID.) My mother was on the phone asking me to tell her about my visit with my grandmother. She informed me that grandmother had stopped at a pay phone and called her and told her that I had told her to leave my house. Grandmother told mother that she might have said some negative things about her and daddy and that when she told me, I made her leave my house. I told my mother it was true and I had asked grandmother to leave if she was going to say unkind things about the people that I loved. My mother told me that grandmother had said she would never do that again.

I am writing these stories to emphasize the fact that I loved my crazy family. I defended them from each other. I stood by them. Yet, NONE of them defended Mark and me when mother started saying horrible lies about us. Sherry who had run away from home twice as an older teen and again in her twenties without telling anyone where she was because (as Sherry told me) our parents were nuts, abandoned me. Patti who used to come to me crying about mother and my grandmother who told me that she did not want to have anything to do with her own daughter.... ALL of these people climbed on board the crazy ship with my mother and did nothing to help me when my mother brainwashed and stole my children.

When mother started making the accusations, I tried talking to my father and his response to me was, "Debbie, I have gone too far and there is no turning back for me now." I had NO idea that his going to far was accusing nearly every official in Murfreesboro as being in the satanic cult or that he had made plans to kidnap my children.

Instead of my sisters, my grandparents and my father telling mother to close her mouth and tell me what she was saying.... they abandoned me. Patti even lied in court for my mother and then confessed to the lie and the judge told her to get out of his courtroom. These people who I loved and still love did nothing except abandon me and probably helped my parents.

But, these people were my family and they were loved by me. And, I lost ALL of them. I did not just lose two of my children, I lost everyone that I loved because none of them defended me. None of them told me what mother and daddy were doing.

Can you imagine my pain? Can you even begin to think that you could endure me if I walked around and let friends or church members or neighbors really see the depth of sorrow that is in my heart? I think not. I believe like the disciples, they would abandon me and leave me hanging alone on my cross.

What does my sorrow look like? My sorrow is darker than the darkest black of the deepest cave. My sorrow has evil, hideous yet familiar faces waiting to tear into my flesh and rip out my heart. My sorrow contains more pain than the burning of flesh that I experienced when I was 8 years old. My sorrow cannot be endured by anyone save Christ.

So, I go to Him. I cry out to Him and He provides me with enough strength to face one more day. He provides me with enough sanity to live and believe that His return will rescue me from this tortured life I live. He gives me enough strength to try to walk among the breathing and pretend that goodness dwells in the land of the living. Yet, I am truly a shell and only exist because of His strength. Jesus daily picks up my sorrow and carries it. And, I know without any doubt that if I ever tried to let another living mortal carry that pain instead of allowing Christ to bear it, I would stop breathing.

No, I will continue to wear my facade and try to live in this world with the knowledge that He will not abandon me and that His love is the only strength on which I can truly count.  

God has provided me with friends but they only know me through the strength that Christ has provided. The few times I have tried to allow Mark to see this pain, he turns me off. He cannot bear it and he lost his children along with me. But, he didn't lose everyone.

Most of us only have one Jonathan (as to David) or John (as to Jesus) in our lives. If you have that one than count yourself blessed. I have one friend who comes close to truly seeing and knowing the agony of soul. And, she has never judged me or left me or pushed me away. But, even with her, I do not allow her to truly know all.

God has given me others who reach out in comfort, prayers, and support but I know that they would not  be capable of handling the totality of my agony. I am not ignorant to the fact the God does have His church here for a purpose but the church is not Christ. So, I will trust that the amount of pain that Christ lets others see, it is the amount they might can comprehend.

I hesitate to say that I will not hide my pain because those who have seen a portion of my pain usually do not begin to understand it. Often, they try to minimize it and this sorrow cannot nor should it be marginalized. My children are worth all this sorrow. The lost of all those that I loved is worth all the agony. After 25 years of allowing Jesus to keep a record of my tears, I will not give this task to another.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Memories and Poems

On occasion folks have inquired how I am able to continue and to live a relatively normal life. Of course, I am not sure exactly what normal is and I don't think that Mark and I have lived a normal life; however, we have prevailed with the help of the Father.

Today, I am sick most likely with the flu. I am sure that most Christians have experienced severe attacks from Satan when your body and health are compromised. Unfortunately, I am not immune from this type of spiritual warfare. So, this morning I continued  reading in Ezekiel (11 - 13). Such a lovely place to read when feeling ill and  melancholy. Not. I read today's devotion from "My Utmost for His Highest" and heard myself murmur, "I don't know what I just read."

My day continued and I decided that a shower was the thing that would invigorate me. Wrong. The shower nearly did me in. That's when my mind began to think on my sisters. Sisters that I loved and thought loved me. That's when my thoughts went to my oldest son, Bobby. I nearly gave in to my feelings of remorse but instead I heard myself say, "No, God. I am done. I can't deal with the sadness today. Take this away from me because I have no prayers left to cry."

I continued trying to half dry my hair when God spoke through another memory. - a better memory. As a little girl I got sick often. During some of those times, my mother would come into my room and put a cool cloth on my forehead. She also read me this poem.

Land of Counterpane
by Robert Louis Stevenson

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

Let's face it, I would rather one of my sisters or Christi and Bobby call me but for now I'll take a memory that isn't dealing with my mother's destructive plans. The fact is this, I have never stopped loving my family. While they continue to spurn me, I continue to pray for them. And, today.... I'll remember poems.

Be Blessed,