Link

Be encouraged. What about that bottle of tears?

The words of our Lord are precious and bring life to our drained souls. Blessed be His name and may you know this Lord who’s promised –

Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

We all love to ponder about God saving our tears in a bottle, but we never quite got the meaning. Now we can.

PJ Miller at Sola Dei Gloria had this to say

Psalm 56:8 – Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? (link)

thanks PJ!

A Witch’s Invitation

I’m feeling a little dramatic…

Years ago my daughter Jessica used to be in a mime/drama group called Christ in Action along with a very dear friend’s daughter. Together they reenacted this dramatic piece of Carman’s, A Witch’s Invitation.

This video brings back those happy moments which now seem more like another lifetime than they do memories of this one.

In honor of her passing 9 years ago (April 27), and in the hope that I will see for myself her name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life…

and as a testament that Satan is not the victor in her passing…

nor in the passing of the daughter’s mother that same year…

what else can I add, but the most important factor  – Christ’s meaning from the cross “It is Finished!!!”…

indulge me a moment – – 

and then give a shout. He is victorious in all things! 

(and I really hope that burns the devil’s butt tonight!)

The Prosperity Gospel and Suffering Saints

I found this today over on Word on the Word of Faith. The link to the author follows the article.

I found it encouraging and if you have done any reading on my blog you are aware of the death of my daughter and step son. Even tho we know the truth it is wonderful to be encouraged by others and very often that encouragement is done unknowingly. After all, we never know how our words or actions will impact the life of another. All of us suffer loss, trials and persecution at some time in our lives.

At the same time, the article address the distinct differences between Godly suffering of all saints and the false promises of “all is well” given to us by the wolves. So again, if you follow a teacher from word of faith or prosperity gospel, it’s time to check their words with the word of our Lord!

Thank you to WOWOF for posting! 🙂

Blessings to you and may the hope of the return of Jesus Christ be with each of you. Glory to God for His undying mercy that cannot be found in another being!

_____

I have begun a series of messages at Walnut Hill Church from the Seven Letters to the Churches in Revelation.  This past Sunday we looked at the Church at Smyrna, from Revelation 2.8-11.

The Church at Smyrna is most intriguing for a couple reasons.

First, the name Smyrna litterally means “City of Myrh”.  If myrh sounds familiar it is probably because it is one of the three gifts the Magi brought to Jesus, the new-born king.  We sing about it at Christmas-time.  Myrh is an herb that when crushed emitted a fragrant aroma.  This is an appropriate gift for the young Jesus, who was born to become a martyred prophet. It is also an appropriate name for this church since it endured incessant crushing and persecution.

Second, the Church at Smyrna is one of only two of these churches that received no correction, only commendation. That alone ought to make us take note of them. They received only encouragement from Jesus, who commended them for faithfully enduring seasons of suffering and persecution.

As I considered the Church at Smyrna, and the message Jesus had for them, I could not help but contrast them from the television ministries today that proclaim, what they call, Prosperity Gospel.

The Propserity Gospel, in a nutshell, proclaims that God wants all his people to be Healthy, Wealthy, and Happy.  There are differnt versions of this.  The Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn disciples embrace this clear message.  The Robert Schuller, Norman Vincent Peale disciples embrace a tamer Positive Thinking version.  And Joel Osteen has created a hybrid version, proclaiming you can have the best life now.

In my message Sunday I pointed out the erroneousness of this teaching.  I was pretty blunt pointing out that this message is unbiblical.  But there are words I did not use that now, in retrospect, I wish I had; I think I should have: Heresy, Lies, Dangerous.   That’s what this whole memvement is – no matter the sincerity of those behind it.

See, here the issue: they proclaim that the faithful will not experience hardship on this earth. Jesus proclaims to a church that is in the midst of persecution (not prosperity) that they are being faithful by enduring hardship. Clearly there would be no room for Jesus in the Prosperity Gospel movement.

Further, Hebrews 2.10 says:

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.

In some sense, Jesus was made perfect through suffering.  So, the logic of the message of the Prosperity Gospel is:

Be more faithful, be LESS like Jesus.

For those who might counter that the suffering Jesus experienced was the price he took upon himself to free us from the penalty of our sin, I would ask you to consider…

1. Paul

  • When Paul was called to be an Apostle, Jesus said to a skeptical Ananias:

“I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”  (Acts 9.16)

2. Stephen – What do you make of him being stoned for faithfulness? (Acts 7)

3. James, who wrote:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  (James 1.2-4)

4. Peter, who wrote:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  (1 Peter 1.3-9)

5. Paul, to the Romans:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we  also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5.1-5)

I find it somewhat disturbing to think that a church, based on its system of theology, would not embrace Paul, or Peter, or James, or Stephen because of what they experienced and taught.   But all these men are clearly at odds with the Prosperity/Self Help Gospel – which, is really no gospel at all.

While it is true that sometimes our suffering is a consequnce of our own sin and foolishness, it is not always this way. Sometimes we suffer simply because we live in a fallen world. But know this: Those who endure suffering are not second class Christians, but beloved Saints.  And anyone who says differently is telling you lies – and we know where lies come from…

So, as much as I don’t like it, suffering is part of this life.  And like it or not, there is pupose behind our sufferings: Sanctification & Holiness -and God’s Glory.

http://wdennisgriffith.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/suffering-saints/

When You Can’t Be Sure Where That Loved One Is…

I was very much touched by this writing and wanted to share it with you all. So this is for all- for we all suffer loss of a loved ones in our lives. The pain is there regardless of who they were.  We know that nothing can take their place in our lives; that void is deep and long. Praise to the One – Jesus Christ – who holds us together during those times. Let us hold to the promise that grief is only for a time; an eternity of joy awaits at His coming.   Maranatha!

From Redeemed Hippie’s Blog here

“Mama, are you going to die tonight?”
“No, not tonight.”
“What about Daddy? Is he going to die tonight?”
“No.”
“When? When are you all going to die?”
“Doll Baby, we all have to die sometime. But Daddy and I are not going to die tonight. Hush, now. Go to sleep. I’m here.”

Every night it was the same conversation. Each time, my mother was patient sitting on my bedside, waiting for me to go to sleep before she left the room.

I was just a babe back then and outgrew her bedtime assurances. But the fear of her death haunted me all my life.

If I had only thought to ask my mother the same questions the last time I saw her back in October. Could she have told me? Would she have told me she was getting ready to die?

For months, I have asked myself where is my mother? Night time; bedtime is the worst time. I see her face and remember her voice, laughter and oh there is so much I remember. I can no longer pick up the phone and hear her voice giving me that instant assurance that she is alright. Where is she, God?

Painful words to have to speak – but I say them anyway — for they are true; the day will come when it will not matter to me where she is.

But for now, it is a type of torment to wonder where a loved one is after leaving this earth. See, a few weeks before she died, she and I were talking about the things of God. Well, at least I was trying to. She had brought the subject up and I tried to take it to salvation. She was getting irritated. And even told me, “Maybe, I’m going to hell.” She said it kind of angry and kind of bitter. I felt something like ice go through me and a wall went up. How Lord do I respond to this? I had no words. So we dropped the subject.

I did not know what she knew at the time…that her heart was at 40 percent capacity. I did not know the things she must have had on her mind. But God knew. No doubt, she was afraid and she was preparing to meet her Maker. She was not sounding a trumpet. It was as personal as the God she believed in. Most of her generation is like that: strong, silent, independent and determined.

We had talked many times over the past few years about salvation. She knew it was not church that saved anyone. She knew it was not being good enough that gave you entrance to heaven. She knew it was not having your name on a membership roll. She knew all these things. She knew that it was what Jesus did on the cross.

My mother was not someone I could fellowship with. The God she believed in was a personal God. As a precious sister pointed out to me: Our parent’s generation belief in God was personal. They didn’t sound trumpets. They just believed.

I’m glad my mother did not have to contend with false teachers of the past few decades. She would have been believing in a jesus contrary to the Word of God. She knew a phony when she saw one and no way would she have acted a fool by getting drunk in the spirit, barking like a dog, clucking like a chicken, smoking the Holy Ghost or trying to have her best life now. Surely, if she had been a follower of any of the modern day heretics, I would have some real cause of alarm. Her belief in God was simple:  Jesus died on a cross for us and we can only hope we go to heaven.

More than once — in my self-righteousness – I would tell her, “But Mom, we can have full assurance.”  I understand now. I understand what she meant. Too many times, we take salvation for granted.

We are told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for myself, I’ve had some fear and trembling the past few months. Yet, still not enough or I would find it in myself to repent for every wrong thought or thing I do. Like my mother before me, I fall upon the mercy of God.

God is not a fair God. It was not fair that His only begotten Son had to die for MY sins. Yet, at the same time, God is a just God. He sees all and knows all. All through her life, He saw my mother’s heart. The past few months of her life, He knew what was in her. He saw how she was preparing herself to meet Him. Looking back, even I can see it now. If I had not been so wrapped up in what I believed was going to take place in the world at the time, I may have seen it then. But I didn’t see it and as one friend told me: “It was probably meant that way. If you had known, I don’t think you could have handled it.”

So, I lay in bed and wonder. I ask God, where is she? I get no answer. All I get is; when we see Him face to face we shall be like Him. That is when it will not matter to me anymore.

When we become just like Him, we will have the justice of God so ingrained in us that any preceived notions of what we believe to be right and wrong will no longer matter.

Did you know that in hell there is love? Yes, it is true. The rich man who asked Abraham to give him just a drop of water also begged him tell his loved ones about the place he was in. He loved them so such that he did not want them there with him!

I have comforted myself the past few months in remembering the last few weeks of her life. A subtle change had taken place in her. She became kind of sweet. Kind of soft. She still had her days of not feeling well, days of being stubborn as a mule and spunky to the point that her children did not know how to deal with her, but it was if a part of her had resigned herself in trusting something greater than herself and greater than those around her.

I have comforted myself the past few months in remembering not how good of a person my mother was. But in the fact that she knew the simple truth: Jesus is the perfect sacrifice.

One thing I do know — no matter where she is — if she could speak to me, she would tell me: Tell them. Tell my children and all those who loved me the truth. Tell all of humanity. Tell them about Jesus. Tell them the truth.

Until that day, when I see my Savior and Redeemer face-to-face, I will always wonder where loved ones are, after they depart from this earth.  But until then, I continue to comfort myself with this thought: When I can not understand His hand, I will trust His heart.

His heart for my mother was this: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. — Jeremiah 29:11,12 –

I can not help but believe that the last few weeks of my mother’s life she called upon the Lord in ways that she never had before. She was a strong gutsy woman full of vim and vinegar. Yet, she reached a point in her life where nothing and no one else would do, but God. A place where we all will reach sooner or later.

It has taken me months to write this. I still have not done the truth justice. Someday, when we see Him face-to-face, when we will be like Him, ALL things will be revealed. But until then, I will trust in Him. His ways are higher than mine and He is perfect in all of His ways.

My mother was right. We have such a beautiful hope in God. His mercies are new every morning. Our life truly is but a vapor. Nothing really matters but the truth. The truth is God loved my mother, saw her heart in all things, knew her inside and out, and He IS a righteous judge of us all.

May God be exalted in times of grief!

…just like—that…

Well, maybe I have put this off long enough in wondering if I want to write about my emotions, the shock that is still with me (us) in losing Steven, and all the old buried emotions and memories of losing Jessica. Two deaths of two children 10 years apart in age, nearly 8 years apart in death. Steven and Jessica loved each other, not early on, but in the later years, the time just before her death. And how he cried for her, even lately, even he could not understand why she died and he lived.  Two children-one son, one daughter died very similar deaths, similar injuries, similar reasons with very similar birthdays, his February 9th and hers February 10th. And for all the facts I can put together there still is no reasoning why these two had to die. Stupid choices made by another in the heat of the moment, one is in jail, one is not. Head injuries – irreparable damage resulting in quick deaths. Only One could keep them alive, yet in His good reasoning chose not to.  I found a picture of them talking face to face at my grandmother’s funeral taken only a couple of weeks before Jessica died.  As I looked, the picture told me they had been conniving, together forming a plan to leave us then. We, as a family agreed it was so, it had to be that way.  It brought us peace to agree.

I put my mother on the plane this morning and wondered if I would see her again. We never know when will be our last conversation, our last hug, or even our last argument. Those we love are taken from us so quickly and without warning, more times than we think about. Yesterday I read the  news of a hiker who had fallen into the mouth of Mount St. Helens while posing for a photograph. The land beneath him gave away and he fell 1500 feet to his death. No warning. Not for him or for those who loved him. Just gone like— that, just that quickly.

And so it was for our son and our daughter. I was Steven’s step mother. I am not saying that to separate myself, but to give place to the respect of his mother as I believe that position is very important. Maybe more so in death than in life, but for reasons I cannot explain to you.  I heard his mother cry out in her grief in the loss of knowing she will never see her baby again and that is all she wanted, would give anything, go anywhere, do anything just for the chance to make this thing wrong death thing right, to again bring life back to her child. And that grief was mine – for a moment it made she and I one. And in his death, having already known first hand the loss of the death of a child that maybe only a mother can experience and the willingness to do anything, go anywhere to make this death thing right, but being granted only a black and stony silence in the response. It is dark, it is nothing short of hell as we know it this side of life. And there are no rose colored glasses to help paint a nicer picture. All that these two precious people were to us, their family and their friends, all that they could have become is forever lost. There will be no children borne through them to carry on their names, their smiles, their deep blue eyes or their laughter or hugs. All of it gone just like—that.

And so, as “deep cries out to deep” I can only trust in the love and peace my Father, our Father has to offer me (us) in the hope of a better day. A day when the pain will not be so intense, a day when my thoughts come back to me, a day when the memories of those loved and lost will no longer rip a hole in my spirit, but instead offer a giggle in my heart for their love, the laughter that we shared, and the peace that will come in the knowledge that they were only mine (ours) for a time.  I long for the day I see them again and there will be no more tears, no more loss, no more confusion or pain. But in that day, a brighter smile through clearer eyes. For what we see now in part we will know then face to face.

Thank you for all of your wonderful prayers and words of encouragement. They have meant more to us than words can express. We can feel them like a presence, like a warm comforter wrapped around an otherwise crazed world.  I cannot kick against this. For whatever reason, the Lord has allowed these deaths. It may sound very simple, maybe too simple, but I must say this here as I have said it aloud  – the Father knew they were going to die and He allowed it. So, the One who sees the beginning of all things to the very end, the One who knows all of the ins and outs and in-betweens has found reason for these two deaths to take place in our world, He has again allowed our lives to shatter.  So, I resign myself to His love and His ways as I again remind myself that His ways are not my own, but much higher and with greater purpose. As much as I can in this moment of life, I resolve in my spirit to live by His.

In loving memory of our precious children

Steven Gordon Kelly II and Jessica Nicole Brown

Whose Death??

A while back I was praying for some of my dearly loved family members.  I was somehow connecting the death of my daughter Jessica, and that sadness along with the sadness and loss I felt over these lost family members.  And in doing so, said to the Lord, “don’t let her death be in vain, save these others that I love”.   Don’t let her death be in vain..!!  What?

It hit me at that moment with full force what I was actually claiming.  Jessica did not die for these people.  Jesus died His death is the only one that should matter or be important.  Now, I didn’t actually believe her death had the power to do anything, but the words I heard myself saying made me wonder where my true focus had gone.

How wrong I was, and yet how often we put the death or struggle of another person in a higher place than it should be. How easy it is sometimes to allow our emotions in one situation to bleed over into another.  Jesus said we would have tribulation but HE has overcome the world! (John 16:33)

Can I spell REPENT?!!

The suffering and death of Jesus Christ is the only death that can ever make a difference is someone’s life. No matter our own suffering, no person on earth has the power to do what only God can!  For only He has the power over life and death, only He can bridge the gap between a Holy God and fallen, sinful and self absorbed mankind.

God forgive me, a sinner!

John 3:16 -17 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.  Do you believe this?”

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

the anchor

Quote

 

…like an anchor, holding me, weighted, secure,

the greatest horror, the biggest loss…

…holding me from falling into the arms of madness,

into the screaming blackness quickly surrounding me, part of me wanting to go, to be gone, to disappear, to make this not happen. 

 – I could not change this.  Of all the things I fixed for you, I could not fix this one.  It was done. – I again am helpless…

He was there all along.  He knew way before I. 

It was the way she looked in her eyes.  It was the way I felt when she would leave the house…. a decided unsettled – ness,

sometimes just knocking lightly in my head, other times screaming, ripping through my heart. 

The wakefulness, the middle of the night prayers, our prayers, the tears.  Her tears, my tears;  a terror we shared in our spirits.  One that we did not dare name or speak of for as to do so may call it into existence setting things into motion. 

What things? Then,

walking into her room, her bed unmade, empty forever.  Her favorite shower gel waiting on the shelf, a bottle of “barbie pink” nail polish that I had just given her, untouched.

These simple stupid things that would seem not to matter are the worst of all.  They are the material reminders of her personality. 

“I love you mommy” an echo, haunting….through the house, mingling with the soft scent of her perfume.  And this thing.  The absence of her…

…as deep cries unto deep  I cannot and will not ever be able to wrap myself around this one.  No need to try, it is impossible to accept  that her death, her passing of this earth as

 my reality. 

It is impossible to accept that I will not see her here on this earth again.  So, acceptance is no longer a goal, or even a factor in the rest of my life here on earth.  I just shuffle through, one step a day, sometimes no step, sometimes falling backward,

but mostly moving…by one breath at a time.

and I remember the promise.  Jessica.

I remember the prophecy. 

He knew all along. 

He is my Anchor.

_____more_____

 – His Hands That Held You –

In Memory of Jessica (pics)