“It’s OK”

As he entered the hall for the funeral,
the pastor was having a bad day himself.
He saw the widow up ahead,
how she looked overcome with grief,
and humanly he wanted to avoid her and
just go get the memorial service over with and go home. 

But he knew it was his calling and duty so he searched his brain trying to come up with something comforting to say.  He looked at her tears and his mind was a blank.  Finally to break the silence, all he could say was … “It’s OK.”

What a  pathetic thing to say, he thought as he sat down and waited to speak for the ceremony.  That made him feel even worse.

While speaking from upfront during the service, he noticed that the widow was energized  and smiling.  His curiosity made him eager to go to her after the ceremony and ask her what happened.

Exulting and beaming, she told him, “I thought I had done something so horribly wrong that caused my husband to die.  I thought God must be punishing me.  For weeks I’ve been beseeching God in prayer, ‘Am I OK with you?'”

♥ ♥   ♥    ♥     ♥      ♥       ♥        ♥         ♥          ♥           ♥            ♥             ♥              ♥                ♥

This pastor thought he had been so inept and utterly failed the widow.  Humanly it looked like he said something utterly inadequate for the monumental occasion!  Instead God inspired him to say exactly what the widow needed to hear.

When I heard the pastor tell this story, I remember thinking, great, you must be a man of God because

I have never once said just the right words

But then I had to ask myself:  How do I know?

The times when somebody said just the right words that motivated me or turned  me around, they didn’t know how much they had helped me.

In 1979 an article in our international church  newspaper had one sentence buried in the middle, probably expressing utter frustration over a current issue, “I wish everybody who didn’t want to be here would leave and those who do would come.”  In my mind that sentence was God speaking directly to me to move there.  It  was as clear as if I heard His actual voice.  Subsequent events in the next few weeks  showed God was with me in  making the move.  The writer never knew how profoundly his sentence changed the course of my life!

This should give us hope for the time coming when God tells us He wants us to witness on His behalf, but “do not worry about how or what you should answer,  or what you should say.  For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:11-12).

God named Cyrus about 150 years before he was born and then at the right time “stirred up the spirit of Cyrus” so that he made the decree God wanted for that very time (Ezra 1:1).  It is thought that perhaps God used the elderly Daniel to show Cyrus what prophecy said it was time for him to do.  Proverbs says God turns kings like a river (Prov. 25:1).

apples of  gold.jpgThis should give us hope for loved ones that God knows exactly what words of gold in a setting of silver (Prov. 25:11) they need to hear, and can inspire somebody to say them at just the right time they will be receptive.

If we are asking God to guide us and our words

it just might be us whom God uses to give them just the encouraging words they need.  After all, He can speak through jackasses! (Num. 22:28).  The donkey was not too stubborn to insist on his way instead of letting God use him as an instrument!

And what about us for

The times we need  encouraging words

We  see prophecy marching on toward its initial horribleness.  God has it all under control.  He declared the end from the beginning and will do all His pleasure (Isa. 46:10, 41:22).

We should be studying His Bible daily while asking Him prayerfully to guide what we study to provide what we need to hear.  God has encouraging words daily for us if we are humble  to receive them.

“It’s OK.”

world-37-gold

Designer Pumps & Wedding Dresses for Men & Women

red pumpsIsabelle Marant and Chloe win acclaim for their stilettos, wedges and boots.
Men are pained to ponder
how women walk in them!

When it comes to designer pumps,
nobody beats your human heart.

Men and women,
God fashions our hearts (Psa. 33:15).

♥  Your first heart cell beat as early as four weeks.
♥   Your heart beats about 100,000 times per day, 35 million times per year, 2.5 billion times a lifetime.
♥   Men average about 70 heartbeats per minute, women about 78.
♥   About the size of two hands clasped together, your heart weighs about 10 oz., slightly less than a can of soda.
♥   Through heart valves about the size of a half dollar, your heart circulates about six quarts of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels that if laid end to end, would wrap around the world more than twice.
♥   Each minute your heart circulates 1-1/2 gallons of blood, which in your lifetime would fill 1,000,000 barrels—enough for three supertankers.

God circulates this absolute miracle to all His children. But the real miracle is that

God fashions our hearts “individually” (Psa. 33:15)

“Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever” (Deut. 5:29)Is our Great Designer talking about a hard-working muscle in our chest?  Of Kors not!  He wants us to “gird up the loins of your mind” (1 Pet. 1:13).

Parents learn that each of their children have different temperament, aptitudes and talents and must be worked with individually.   God our Father and Jesus Christ our Brother know us intimately and have amazing designs for our future.  All men and women, including Yves Laurent, will have opportunity to become Saints.

God has given us talents—-maybe five, two or one (Matt. 25:15).  God distributes gifts of their Spirit to each individually, as They will, for the profit of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:7, 11).  The sewing we do is of Kingdom seed so many will have opportunity to reap.

God is pumped when we

♥   Passionately desire to build our relationship with Him.
♥   Model “Thy Kingdom Come” not Heidi Klum.
♥   “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Php. 2:12).
♥   “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man” (Prov. 3:3-4).
♥   Seek the Christian Door and open every time Jesus knocks.  Instead of sashaying down a runway, we “walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6).
♥   Adorn ourselves—even in summer—in “modest apparel,” not with gawdy get-up (1 Tim. 2:9) so at the wedding to the King of Kings we will be “arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Rev. 19:8).

Sound Farfetched?  Not if we men and women are helping God fashion our hearts individually.

world-37-red

Wanted: Prove Readers Not Proofreaders

When I read I can’t help proofreading,
and it makes me cringe at some scriptures.

Why didn’t God write them plain?

So there wouldn’t possibly be any contradictions.  The day when I write a book, if some guy named John W. Haley writes a classic about its “alleged contradictions,” I’d be mortified and go fix each one of the issues.  I’d want my words of life to be understood by every reader.

I’d want people talking about the amazing way I caravanned  Joseph from slave to the #2 man in charge in Egypt so I could then have Jacob’s family positioned in Egypt ready to be delivered from slavery via the Red Sea.

Jacob into EgyptInstead they get sidetracked into worrying about just how many of Jacob’s family trekked to Egypt—70 or 75?  Too bad we don’t have a selfie providing an indisputable count!

Since the Old Testament scriptures all agree on 70 (Gen. 46:27, Ex. 1:1-5 and Deut. 10:20), a believing proofreader would be tempted to change Stephen’s 75 (Acts 7:14-15) and wonder if that might have kept him from being stoned!

Alas, such a well-meaning proofreader would change an inspired reasoned defense as a stellar example of apologetics into never-ending apologies.

What?!  And take away the need for all the interesting intricate explanations about how 70 and 75 were both right.  It’s all great fun for those who love studying genealogies.   Paul did his part to promote that, probably quite unintentionally, by mentioning “baptism for the dead” (1 Cor. 15:29).

Does  it really matter:  70 or 75?  Whoever went, went.   The big deal is that then Jacob multiplied like crazy.  Until it was time for God to deliver them from Pharaoh (representing satan) and Egypt (sin) and open up the Red Sea for their passage (baptism) to the Promised Land.   Seventy or 75, Cecil B. DeMille makes his blockbuster.

But baptism is another matter.  It does matter (John 3:5, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38).  Paul everywhere in his many writings taught that baptism is an outward expression of a person changed inside.  What good could it possibly do for a person to be baptized on behalf of another who by now could have no insides left!

So this proofreader would like to help out Paul and make it “baptism for the hope of the dead,” which of course is the resurrection, which is what Paul was expounding in 1 Cor. 15.

But  beware!  The author of  the Bible ends His book by warning that He doesn’t want my help!!  He promises plagues for adding to His book and blotting out of His Book of Life for taking away words (Rev. 22:18-19).  OK, I put away my red pen!

Here’s why

God says He deliberately wrote His book so people would be puzzled by it “that they might go and fall backward, and be broken and  snared and caught” (Isa. 28:13).

When His disciples asked Jesus why He spoke in parables, He didn’t agree with the common belief that He did it so people could easily understand his everyday stories.  Rather, Jesus said “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given” (Matt. 13:11).

Bottom line, God the Father controls when He decides it’s the best time to open our minds to understand His plan of salvation that’s revealed in His book (John 6:44).

Those who died unbaptized will have their chance to be resurrected and become a saint in the really latter days—called  the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-12).

“All  scripture is inspired by God” (2  Tim. 3:16).  It is truth (John 17:17).

God is looking for those who

♥   tremble at His word (Isa. 66:2).  Who don’t twist Paul’s writings and “the rest of the Scriptures” “to their own destruction” (2 Pet. 3:16).

♥   receive “the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).  Not “not so.”

♥   prove all things and hold fast what is good (1 Thes. 5:21).

God wants prove readers not proofreaders.

world-37-red