Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Choose You This Day

Do you know that you have choice about where you will spend eternity?  Do you know that you are the only one who can make that choice for yourself?  God has offered you a place with Him in heaven, but in order to receive that gift you must accept the forgiveness offered through the sacrifice made by His Son, Jesus Christ.  If you do, you will be received by Him with open, loving arms.  But those who choose to never receive God's forgiveness in this life will also choose an eternity without God and all that He is - love, joy, peace.  I pray you choose the Lord.

As promised in the post for Part 1, here's Part 2 of Anne Graham Lotz' powerful teaching, Choose You This Day, about the Heavenly home that Jesus Christ has created for us, and also a look at the sobering alternative.

 "And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15)

For those of you who have chosen Christ, keep your eyes on the Prize - our Lord Jesus and our glorious eternal home with Him.  This life is challenging to say the least, and may very well get much more difficult before our time here is over.  But a day will soon come when all the pain and suffering of this life will fade away to nothing and all we'll see and know is an atmosphere thick with the praise and worship of our King and the brilliant light of His countenance illuminating with love for His children forever. 

"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."  (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Glorious Homecoming

The weekend before last I was blessed to be able go away and hole myself up in a hotel room for a couple of days, just the Lord and me. I wasn’t going in search of answers necessarily, but rather to communicate, spirit to Spirit, and be reconnected to the peace that seemed to have been quietly waning.

The Lord spoke to my heart in many ways that weekend, but the one thing I wanted to share, which I hope will be an encourgement to those of you who are enduring difficult trials, is something that the Holy Spirit spoke into my spirit on Sunday morning.

I was reading through all four of the gospels’ accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. And I repeated a prayer I had uttered many times, and that was that I couldn’t wait to be there with my Lord, in person, in heaven, rejoicing in eternal peace, which will never wane. I pictured our first face-to-face meeting, after all that we’ve been through together in this life. An intimate and emotional reunion to be sure. And as sudden as a lightning bolt, His Spirit spoke to mine and said that He couldn’t wait for me to be there, too.

He hates the sin and the suffering that we must endure in this life. He does not relish in it, and He is not indifferent to our pain. He weeps when we weep. “The Lord is near the broken-hearted; He is the Saviour of those whose spirits are crushed down.” (Psalm 34:18) But there is sin, and there is free will, so suffering and pain in this life are inevitable. But the good news is that if we know Him as our Lord and Savior, He will use the suffering for good – a good that we cannot begin to imagine.

So I came back from my weekend and was given a reminder of just how excited God is to share His home with us, through an audio of a teaching by one of my very favorite Bible teachers, Anne Graham Lotz.  The visual she imparts through her generous teaching made me smile with renewed amazement at the heights to which God loves us, and a brand new sense of sharing with Him in the anticipation of our new lives together.

This link will take you to Anne’s teaching, Choose You This Day, Part 1, as played on the radio program, Focus on the Family. I’ll post Part 2 as soon as they do. Enjoy.

Here's the post for Part 2.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Foodie - Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary Mustard Sauce

Today’s Friday Foodie has no sugar in it. Okay, yes it does. But it’s not a dessert. With Easter around the corner I thought I’d devote today’s and next week’s foodie to recipes for our Resurrection Celebration. Today’s is an alternative to ham - pork tenderloin.

Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary Mustard Sauce

1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pork tenderloin, 1½ lbs.

½ tablespoons spicy mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

¼ cup spicy mustard
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
1½ teaspoon crumbled, dried rosemary
2 tablespoons water

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim excess fat from pork. In a large skillet, heat 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add pork to the hot skillet and brown on all sides - 4 to 6 minutes.

2. Combine rub ingredients; in a bowl, stir together the 1½ tablespoons spicy mustard, (I like Boar’s Head Delicatessen Style Mustard) salt and pepper. Transfer pork to an oven-proof dish and spread the rub mixture over pork tenderloin. Roast, uncovered, for about 35 minutes, or until the tenderloin registers about 155 degrees on a meat thermometer.

3. Remove pork to a serving plate and tent with foil.

4. In a small saucepan, stir together the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 1 minute while stirring. Slice the pork and serve with sauce. Serves 4.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

What Do Waiting and Strength Have to Do With Each Other?

Have you ever had the experience of reading a verse for the umpteenth time, knowing that you know what it means, only to have a word or a portion of it, this time, stop you in your tracks as you wonder at its meaning? You thought you knew, but if you were to have to explain it to someone else you’d be hard-pressed to verbalize it? Not surprisingly, that happens to me often and it happened to me again when I read this just a couple of weeks ago:

“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)

“but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;"

I stopped and thought about these words and wondered how waiting for the Lord could renew my strength. I feel like I’ve been waiting for the Lord for a very long time and sometimes I just feel downright weary or even anxious in waiting, not strengthened. When I just can’t make sense of a portion of scripture like this, I stop and ask the Lord what it means. And usually over the next week or two He’ll begin showing me, usually from a few different resources. And this time was no exception.

And this is what I learned: waiting does not mean sitting idly by twiddling my thumbs. It means to wait while focusing on the Lord with eager expectation until He shows you what to do.

I’ve been reading a book called The Gospel According to Job by Mike Mason. To paraphrase his explanation, it is as if we are waiters in a restaurant, waiting patiently for the customer’s order. We don’t tell the customer what he wants, we allow them to place their own order.

God orders the circumstances in the believer’s life. We are to simply wait for the order and then fill it. And when we are moving in obedience and in God’s timing, He will give us strength to accomplish His will.

The trouble I run into is when I take my eyes off of the Lord and order my own circumstances. God will not give me strength if I am running ahead of Him or taking a left turn when I should have turned right. I think when I do that He just stops and stands there until I realize I’ve wandered off without Him, and I either turn around and catch up with Him, or stop and wait with Him until He gives me the green light. Then we will move together and I will have His strength to accomplish His will.

And then, as if to punctuate the words He had spoken to me over those couple of weeks about waiting, He reminded me, again through my Streams in the Desert devotion, and again through one of my favorite blogs, More Than Coping, that He told me months ago to wait quietly. In fact, when I stopped in and saw that the heading of the blog was Wait Quietly, I’m pretty sure the Lord and I smiled together as I thought, “Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be waiting quietly.” I can have a very short attention span. In fact, I think I have a little spiritual ADD.

And you know what was even funnier (not funny, ha ha, but funny, ironic)? The very next morning after reading this Streams in the Desert devotion - which was about Abraham obtaining God’s promises because he waited patiently on the Lord - it was Sunday morning and the teaching at church was in Romans 4, which talked about the fact that Abraham believed God and that belief was counted as righteousness, and Abraham received God’s promises because of it.

While you’re waiting, never forget that God’s timing is masterfully crafted.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Pop-In

Just poppin' in to say hey, I'm still here, it's just been another crazy week.  Some randomly discovered facts from the week:

1. It's best to find out you're allergic to sulpha drugs after you've taken only one pill instead of a couple of days' worth. 

2. Make sure you periodically double check your over the counter first aid medication, like benedryl cream, so that when you need it at midnight you don't discover that what you have expired in 06/08. 

3. Do not rub lotion containing retinol on your hands when you're dealing with an allergy rash.

4. Be flexible with your schedule. 

5.  I have, quite possibly, the kindest, most understanding boss on the face of the earth and I thank God for her. 

6. Just because a friend moves away doesn't mean the friendship has to end.

7. Whether I am always able to believe it or not, I am loved. 

8. Because of Christ's sacrifice, I am seen by God as He saw Job when He spoke to Satan in their curious conversation:

"And the LORD said to Satan, 'Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless (perfect, as in complete) and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?'"  (Job 1:8)

"For by a single offering (Jesus Christ) He has perfected (completed) for all time those who are being sanctified."   (Hebrews 10:14)
And if you have received the sin offering made by Christ on the cross for your sins, God sees you, not as sinless, but as blameless as Job - perfected and completed in the Beloved.  And I believe that because we have taken on the lifeblood of the Son, God would also say of each of us, "This is my son (or my daughter) in whom I am well pleased."

Monday, March 1, 2010


Do you ever have periods of time when you are confronted over and over with a scripture and after about the 2nd or 3rd time you stop and wonder what God is trying to tell you? Well, maybe it doesn’t take you that long, but I’m a little slow. God does that for me every now and then. But this time, for the last couple of months, it’s been just one word: Hope.

I’ve seen it in scripture that others have posted or sent to me, I’ve heard it in songs, I even saw it on a bumper sticker the other day. (Even after I had written this but before I published it, I clicked over to one of my favorite blogs, More Than Coping, and looked at the latest post of one of my favorite devotionals, Streams In the Desert. Check out the picture that greeted me when I scrolled down to the post. The devotion is very appropriate, too.  Streams in the Desert always speaks to my heart.) And every time that word sticks out far beyond the others like it’s in 3D or something. After my Long and Winding Road of a life, hope’s not something that comes easy for me, particularly after a month like last month.

February was a month I’d just as soon forget. The minute one painfully exhausting trial was over, (and many of them overlapped), another one would crop up, and it went that way all the way to the very end of the month. So much happened that it’s left me physically and emotionally weary, even downright discouraged and somewhat disillusioned. I’ll get it back, but right now I just feel like I have nothing left. (Is that the point?)

And yet that word keeps popping up.


Sometimes a word like that seems like it’s being dangled just out of your reach, like a carrot in front of a donkey. You can’t quite grasp it, and yet you keep chasing it. Hope against hope as they say.

But through everything, God is telling me to have hope. That I can have hope. But daring to have hope can sometimes be a precarious thing. God is unpredictable and beyond comprehension. He says His ways are above our ways and that we won’t understand them. I heartily agree with Him there. I don’t know if any of it will ever make any sense. But in Romans 5:2-5, I catch a glimpse of one purpose in these trials, and that it is not to take away my hope, but rather to work hope into my heart.

“Through Him we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice on the hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we glory in afflictions also, knowing that afflictions work out patience, and patience works out experience, and experience works out hope. And hope does not make us ashamed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us.”

So the first question is: will I go against all reason, all logic, all feeling, all expectation, everything that any of my senses would tell me, to have hope?

And the second question is: will I set my hope on anything or anyone else but God, or will my hope be in Him alone?

It’s times like this, when I am tempted to trust in my feelings rather than what God says, that I need to rely on the truth of God’s Word.

And His Word says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God. Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be. But we know that when He shall be revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope on him purifies himself, even as that One is pure.” (1 John 3:1-3)

I don’t know what God is doing in my life, but He knows, and some day He will reveal it. My job right now is to put my hope in Him.

And so I will.

“And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)