Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Prayers of the Saints

As hurricane Sandy blew through New York, Joe and I were prepared. By that I mean, prayed up. Our trust was in The LORD. 

On Sunday morning, I walked my property and my neighbors' properties. I walked and covered our homes, vehicles, and properties - especially the trees - with The Blood of Jesus Christ. I even spoke to the electric and cable lines to and from our homes.

My one neighbor is Rob. He is a soldier serving in Afghanistan right now. My other neighbor's weren't home. We have construction going on in our driveway right now, so our cars are parked across the street. Joe's car on the street and mine in an abandoned-to-foreclosure property. My main concern was our vehicles, as the property where our cars were parked had a lot of trees. 

I encircled our lands, declaring God's Word and invoking The Blood of The Lamb. 

As the winds roared, the trees swayed to degrees I had never seen before. Every time I would shutter with concern, I spoke God's Word, "Peace. Be still." to my own heart. It was needful. It was productive. God's Word is sure and true and active, never returning void. My heart stilled. Faith-filled peace resulted.

The electric went out for one hour. We had cable, Internet, and phone service. We hardly had a stitch of rain - drizzles here and there.  None of our properties lost trees, not a stitch of damage to our homes or vehicles. The storm ended quite abruptly two days ahead of prediction, as if it had turned away from Long Island.  That, too, was a result of authoritative prayer. To our God, be all the glory!

Others on Long Island and New York City cannot say the same thing. Joe's employees were hit hard. One of them watched his car float away down the street. A street turned river.  The devastation and deaths saddened me deeply. Two cases that struck me to the core of my being involved children. 

One family invited the next door neighbor's children over for a sleepover. In the middle of the night, a tree from the neighbor's yard, came crashing through the roof the sleepover's home, landing on top of the children. They were killed. Two families devastated, lives forever changed.

The other case was of a family riding in a car. Husband, wife, and two children. They pulled off the road and sat in their vehicle. For some reason, the parents got out of the car as the two children remained inside. To the kids' horror, a tree fell on their parents killing them. They witnessed the whole thing. In an instant their whole lives and psyches were forever changed.

Please pray for these families, for the children now orphaned. May they not blame God; may the seek Him and find His healing Presence.

To those of you who prayed for us, thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! The prayers of the saints were effectual. God kept us in the cocoon of His Being, standing firm on The Rock of His Holy Word. To Him, Alone, do we give glory.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Comfort Is A Verb

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Mercies and God of All Comfort, Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.   ~ II Corth.1:3-4
Last week, I got a phone call from a woman at church who needed to talk.

I listened. 

My heart ripped open as she shared her story - the story of receiving a phone call that threw her body into shock. She is reeling physically and emotionally from traumatic news within her family. She is broken open and her heart is spilled all over the ground.

Almost identical to the news I received four years ago from my daughter, I held my breathe as she shared. The two situations are eerily similar.

I have "been there", but with one major exception, I had no one who could fully understand my situation as my daughter had a large ministry and Joe and I were on their Board of Directors. There were no ears of understanding for me to cry into. No compassionate words of "I can relate, I understand". A lot of prayers were being said for Alece, but I'm not sure anyone understood the depth of what I was going through - of the shock to my body and soul, nor the depth and length of the aftermath that we had to deal with. Joe and I had to clean up the mess Niel brought upon our lives and their ministry as Board members. Decisions had to be made that no mother or father should have been asked to make. It nearly destroyed my sanity. I was alone, adrift on the sea of Christian jargon and the "Hallelujah anyways"; alone to suffer through the consequences of shock to my body. But, it all threw me to my Father's Lap of Comfort. He Alone comforted me. He Alone understood.

Now, it is my to turn to comfort someone, with the comfort I have received - to be a doer of The Word. 

We are told by our God to rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Well, I wept the other day. Listening to her emotional pain, interceding for her physical body not to suffer the effects of shock sent me back to a time and place that forever changed the trajectory of our lives. I hold this mother close to my heart. Others will be praying for the daughter, as others did mine. But, my burden is for this mother, for it is with her that I identify.

This precious mom may not realize it yet, but she is grieving. And will continue to mourn for many days to come. I know.

May my precious Lord use me to bring some semblance of comfort to her in this great hour of trial. I pray that The Holy Spirit will flow His compassion and understanding through me, that He will use me in a way that will help her put one foot in front of the other, one moment at a time.

And may I not speak "Christianese". May my words be few, but filled with grace and understanding, empathy and hope. May my hugs convey, "I'm walking this road with you". 

Blessed are those who mourn, for they WILL BE comforted. It's a Promise from our Father. May He wrap His Arms of Comfort around His precious daughter. May His tears fill my heart, that I may compassionately be real and true with her. May I comfort her with the comfort my Father has comforted me.

And one day, she may be called upon to comfort another. And so it goes.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Thank You Hug

It's been about six weeks since I've had the time (or felt well enough) to read my favorite blogs. I didn't realize how much my soul was thirsting for your words of life. I began early this morning and I'm still not caught up yet, but I had to stop to say to my blogging community,

Thank you!

I cannot adequately express how much I've missed you all. Those whose blogs I've already read this morning, lifted me up to a higher place; energized me, actually. What an awesome thing it is to think that our written words can have that effect on "caged souls"

I feel as if someone opened the cage door this morning!  Thank you!
Hugs to you all.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Monday, October 8, 2012

Another Full Circle Chapter

It's weird how "life" has a way of bringing us full circle. It always amazes me and I'm not sure I fully grasp the whys, except that it is something that is meant to be. 

To witness thousands of teens prostrate before The LORD
 is a humbling, soul-searching experience.
Teen Mania's Acquire the Fire youth conventions were a part of our family's life for many years. Usually, every fall we'd road trip to Boston, or Maryland in the spring, with car loads of teens. They were exhausting weekends for us "grown ups", but spiritually exhilarating for the teens as well as the adults. Usually, I also volunteered. So, on top of my duties with the kids, I worked the merchandise areas or the prayer stations. 

But, at the end of the day, we'd all settle into our hotel rooms, and gather around to share what God was doing in each one, praying for those who were broken and dealing with hard-core issues.

God moves in the kid's hearts. Transforms. Causes radical, life-long change. Deliverances. Deep emotional healings. I've witnessed it - year after year. And have been blessed beyond measure that God would allow me to be a part of it.

Then one day, my youngest bird (Andrew) flew my nest, leaving my nest empty.

In addition to the yearly conventions, all my children did summer mission trips with Teen Mania traveling all over the world. Every school year, we'd prepare for the upcoming summer mission trips with praying, fundraisers, letter writing, etc. Two of my three children attended Teen Mania's ministry internship program after high school. That first fall after Andrew went out to Michigan to attend a different ministry internship program, and the following spring, I grieved the loss of ATF in our lives. Literally. It actually took a few years for that ache to finally dissipate. 

My hands-on association with teens has been long gone now. 

As you know, I'm fairly new to my young, two-year-old church. There are only a few teens. But, almost from day one, the burden for the teens rekindled. 

Why not take them to an ATF?  Are you kidding me?!  I'm so much older now. All that noise, crowds, loud music, junk food! Little sleep! NO! 

Can you hear my inner dialogue?  

But, God gave me a wonderful companion who is older than me (so what is my excuse?) and is willing to go with me!  How can I resist? So, we're planning for the spring in Maryland.  

ATF has come full circle back around in my life again. For a weekend I will be a spiritual momma to a bunch of teens that I barely know. But, God does. And this is His plan. His purpose. His circle to complete. After all, He is The One Who completes the good work He began in us (Phil.1: 6). Obviously, my work is not done.  And I'm blessed.

What about you? What full circle chapter's have there been in your life? Please share.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Sonic Boom Kind of Quote

My pastor used this quote in her sermon yesterday:
The primary reason I ever attend a church service (or, frankly, even have serious or long conversations with Christians) is the hope that I will hear something proclaimed out of Heaven, something that carries the Majesty, the Revelation, the Heart and Breath of God. I want my heart to burn with a Word from Heaven. I want to hear something, which rumbles through the corridors of His Chamber and then creates a sonic boom when it enters my “earth space.” I am not interested in a 3-point guide for living or recycled Oprah or political perspectives or even a Bible study or exploring “styles of worship.” And, I’m not looking for more apologetics and theology. "I want the sound of Heaven to invade my heart, scare the hell out of me, and split me wide open. I want my “Edness” to spill out on the ground and for Him to take up residence in the suddenly empty vessel. ~ Ed Chin
I googled "Ed Chin" to try and find out more about this man who has such a heart, but there were many Ed Chins. Truly, he is a Vessel of Honor unto our God.  Maybe the reason I could not find the right Ed Chin is because he has become such an empty vessel and Christ has taken up residence so fully and completely, that it is no longer Ed Chin who lives. Truly, this man is a tribute to Galatians 2:20:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
I will carry this quote within me - meditating on it, digesting it - allowing it to nourish me. And if anyone knows anything about this Ed Chin, please share it with me.

Have a blessed Monday! 

Because of Him and Unto Him,