Friday, April 30, 2010


"Roller Coaster Ride"

“It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) THE MESSAGE

Roller-coasters fascinated me in my much younger life. The thrill of the climb and heart stopping plunge downward sent a rush of adrenalin that must resemble that of the old commercial the “Dew-crowd”.

I’ve since come to realize the danger in such a drastic transposition, both physically and emotionally.

“Lord, since I’ve’ been there and done that, level me off, emotionally, in this up and down world of confusing circumstances. Even when You say “No,” as You did to the Apostle Paul, don’t let me lose my enthusiasm. He didn’t fold his tent and silently creep away into the night when Your Spirit kept him from going into Bithynia. Lord, forgive me for demanding my way, but grant me a glorious gladness in doing it Your way.

“Lord, Paul’s journey took him from mountain top to valley, from freedom to bondage, time and again…and he was obedient. Even when prison doors shut him in and stocks bound him down, he sang! Help me to praise You in the dark dungeon of disappointment. In paralyzing stupidity, speak through me that others may hear me praising, not screaming.

“Father, give me that holy boldness, that gift of encouragement, to share joyously Your love and provision, no matter the outward circumstance. You gave it to Paul, would you grant it to me? And, yes, Lord, I read of the price he paid. In fear and trembling, again, I stand waiting for my ticket to rise and fall as You determine the course ahead. Grant me that infinitely greater power to ride out the turmoil of this world, because I have been born from above."

(addendum: This Heart Thought penned May 1, 1995, grabbed my attention this morning. I’m not sure of the roller coaster ride of that moment but I can well guess that daily we all experience the same rise and fall of facing life’s challenges. Since I’ve been there and done that actual roller coaster thing, I’ll be content to wear the T-Shirt and wait for life’s next hill to climb and depth to plunge.

What roller coaster ride are you experiencing? Just because you can’t see over the next hill, doesn’t mean you’re alone on the journey.

“We live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV

Thursday, April 22, 2010

HEART THOUGHTS... from Helen

"A Picture Worth A Thousand Words"

“If you’re swept off your feet, it is time to get on your knees.” Frederick Beck

“And when King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth and entered the house of the LORD…" Isaiah 37:1

Hezekiah prayed to the LORD saying, “O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth, You have made heaven and earth.” (Isaiah 37:15-16)

A picture is worth a thousand words. One morning during my teenage years, I inadvertently intruded on my mother’s private worship time. I opened her bedroom door without knocking and discovered her on her knees before the Father. That memory is indelibly imprinted in my mind.

Perhaps that’s the reason the story of Hezekiah strikes a chord with me. Around 701 BC, Judah’s king heard distressing news of enemies surrounding his kingdom. He sent emissaries to hear what Assyria field marshal, the Rabshakeh, had to say, instructing his men not to negotiate with the enemy. Threats from without being fierce, the king ran to God’s house, seeking God’s will, God’s protection, God’s guidance.

Have you been swept of your feet in fear?

Not only did Hezekiah run to God’s house, but he sought God’s man of the hour, Isaiah. The prophet consoled King Hezekiah, assuring him of God’s protection and provision and God’s revenge on the enemies of His people. In essence, he told him not to be afraid, He would take care of Assyria. Because of Hezekiah’s faithfulness to seek God, his fear turned to faith.

To whom do you go when surrounded by enemies?

Lessons learned from King Hezekiah (Isaiah 37)
  • No matter how Satan attempts to frighten us into surrender ,run to God of the Angel Armies, kneel before Him alone, plead our case
  • Never negotiate with Satan
  • Seek godly counsel
  • Trust God’s Word in faith
Judah’s king Hezekiah faced three tests in his life. The Assyrian king, Sennacherib, numbers just one of such tests.

I don’t know what test or what enemies surrounded my mother at the time I discovered her kneeling in prayer…perhaps among them was her teenage daughter, or two, or a son serving our country in Germany. Nonetheless, she taught me by her example. She will be ninety-four years old on April 25. The enemies that surround her today include the inability to kneel because her knees won’t allow it. Perhaps she wore them out in prayer. She is confined to her bed almost exclusively. She is unable to read her Bible due to the enemy of macular degeneration, but if you begin to quote a familiar Scripture, she can finish it for you. Does she pray? …oh yes, without ceasing, just as the Word instructs.

Fear not, Mother, God has promised to take care of the enemies that surround you. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


"What Kind of Tree Is That?"

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to the level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:2 (THE MESSAGE)

“Nana, what kind of tree is that?” Nine-year old Boaz asked from the car in my front yard.

“Bradford Pear Tree.”

“Does it grow pears?”

“No, actually it doesn’t.”

“Then why is it a pear tree? “

“Good question, Boaz. The Bradford Pear is shaped like a pear but bears no fruit except for the beautiful blossoms.”

Spring brings new life. Have you noticed? The sap in the trees couldn’t wait any longer! It bubbled up from the roots to the trunk to the branches to the limbs. Now, spring nudges the old away and pushes the new, tiny, fresh green buds out the ends of the tree fingers.

Baby buds look so clean; as with all new life that springs from renewal. Just soaking in the glory brings a smile.

The growing stage of life in Christ follows the beginning state or ‘the Will Principle’. Once we set our minds on things above, His thoughts bud within us; not unlike new growth on the trees. New, fragile thoughts spring into refreshing ideas that grow into action and produce the Fruit of the Spirit.

Our body grows by producing new cells. Our lives sustain that production. The newness shows life. We don’t even think about it; we just expect that it will happen. And it does.

Expect newness in your walk with Christ. His mind constantly renews us, like spring births new life. Renewal brings newness, new insights and fresh spiritual energy. The world’s stagnant conformity must fall from our limbs when we submit to Spiritual growth. Truth wakes us up…eager to meet the new day.

Renew your mind. It’s invigorating! And, besides, renewal is a command.

Thursday, April 8, 2010



During this past week we observed the remembrance of Christ’s week of passion. In a number of ways we experienced just how beautiful is the body of Christ on earth today. The story and depictions of the crucifixion distress us with horror of Christ’s physical body during the horrendous events of that weekend. The excruciating scourging, spitting, pulling out his beard and all the other despicable things done to Him during the mock trial and agonizing via dolorosa cause us to wince and turn our heads. Have you ever wondered at the hands that made that cruel crown of thorns? You cannot possibly weave a crown of such dire pain without shedding your own blood on the sharp points. The same blood that made the crown would be mingled with that of the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. Thought provoking…

Frances J. Roberts, in her devotional book, COME AWAY MY BELOVED, states: “The world is waiting for a robust Church to minister to its needs; and how can an ailing, dismembered Body bring healing to a sick and dying world?” We witnessed that robust Church Body this past week.

Early in the week we received news of dear friends whose oldest son died of cancer. He was thirty-nine. Talk about passionate agony and grief! In the midst of it, however, the BEAUTIFUL BODY OF CHRIST came to stand by this grieving family in a precious way to minister in the name of Jesus. How beautiful were the hands that prepared the meals, served the meals. How beautiful were the hearts that hugged and eyes that cried, the feet that walked the way of suffering, waited in line to pay their respects. How beautiful were the visits, the condolences that honored and ministered as the present day Body of Christ. Just as He said we should do, so we tried our best to do in His Name. How beautiful is the Body of Christ.

On Maundy Thursday we gathered around the tables of a small country church to share in the Lord’s Table in honor of that Last Supper He shared with His disciples. “This is MY BODY which was broken for you”….”This do in Remembrance of ME.” This is My BLOOD which was shed for you”.

Then on Friday we traveled to our former church in McCormick to share in precious celebration of the LIVING LORD’S SUPPER. Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper was dramatized by local men in period costume and looked just like I pictured the disciples to look. It was spectacular and humbling. Each disciple’s monologue ended with “Is it I, Lord?”

Such appropriate music accompanied the presentation by the group, CHOSEN, that my heart thrilled to hear them sing once more. One song, however, persists in my mind. Twilia Paris captures the week for me in some of the lyrics of HOW BEAUTIFUL…….

Is the Body of Christ
How beautiful the hands that served the wine and the bread and the sons of the earth.
How beautiful the feet that walked the long dusty roads and the hills to the cross.
How beautiful how beautiful is the body Christ
On Easter Sunday we gathered as a family and prayed around the table at our oldest son’s house to enjoy family, food, and fellowship and to celebrate the fact that our youngest granddaughter, Eliyah, who is five years old, made a public profession of her faith in Christ.

How beautiful is the Body of Christ

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Heart Thoughts from Helen - April 1, 2010

“Rabboni!” (John 20:16-NIV)

I never liked school. You could say I was a school refusal. My mother would bribe me with quarters and fifty cent pieces (back when there was that) to stay in my first grade class room. It wasn’t the teacher, Mrs. Reed who was a very nice lady. I just wanted to stay home with my momma. And I was stubborn. I’d put my blond head on my desk with my fist clenched tightly around that piece of money and cry and cry. My memory fails me as to when I realized that no amount of crying would keep me from school. Learning my lessons lasted a long time. As a matter of fact life’s lessons linger for a lifetime.

Of course later on in junior high and high school I enjoyed all the extra curricular activities which overcame the school phobia. Still, testing beleaguered me. Even now I don’t test very well.

Mary Magdalene, a tested woman of faith learned to trust because of her trials. Demon possessed when first she met Jesus, she learned that He could and did free her from her tormenters. From that day of deliverance, she organized the first women’s ministry. In gratitude she served the entourage of followers and ministered to the needs of the Lord Jesus Christ. After witnessing the crucifixion in anguish of heart, she could hardly wait to minister one more time to His stricken body. One of the last at the cross, she was first at the Resurrection. This woman in Scripture whose name cries out through the centuries teaches us even more of life’s lessons from that first Easter morning.

Mary of Magdala, beset by grief, overwhelmed by sorrow, tested to the ‘enth degree, sought the body of her Lord. She couldn’t wait to get to the tomb, worrying the whole time how she could roll away the stone to get to her appointed task.

The Master Teacher taught Mary Magdalene forgiveness; He taught her freedom from bondage; He taught her agape love; he taught her ministry; he taught her that suffering serves a purpose; He taught her that this ultimate test at Calvary did not end in death but life everlasting.

At the moment, she wasn’t testing very well. She sought the Savior who found her rather than her finding Him. He was a one on one teacher. He was her Personal Instructor who spoke her name. In a moment’s time, Mary recognized the Master and responded to Him. “Rabboni!” Teacher… O to sit in that classroom.

From that moment on that graveyard gave way to the great mystery and became the world’s first school of evangelism. He commissioned her to go and tell His brothers that He conquered death. From the depths of despair to the heights of heaven, lessons learned at the feet of her Rabbi would never grow dim. Mary Magdalene passed that test with flying colors and flying feet as she ran to tell the GOOD NEWS.

Are you a school refusal in the Lord’s graduate school of suffering? Do you hate testing? I am and I do, but having the Risen Lord Jesus as my Rabbi makes a huge difference.

The lesson for today? He is risen! He is Risen, Indeed.