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Last night we had a very special evening. The Hoodview Church ***link*** had an Agape Feast and communion. It was a potluck-style supper of fruit, bread, and soup.

I wish I had taken my camera, but I didn’t think about it until later. The room was beautifully arranged by one of my friends. There were a number of rectangle tables arranged in the shape of a cross, with extra round overflow tables around it. On the tables were decorations of candles, crosses, and almost two dozen of this very beautiful resurrection garden, made by various church members. (I’ll see if my friend who took pictures can get me a picture later–otherwise follow the link.)

After supper, we sang two songs, “At the Cross” and “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross.” Then we had a short homily by a young man that I assume is a pastor-in-training (we haven’t been to this church for a long time, so we are a little out-of-touch with what is happening there). Then we broke up for footwashing preparatory to communion, at which point we went home. It was almost 8:00 by this time, and Manny was what I like to call “tired wired”–you know, when toddlers get hyper because they are actually tired.

Before leaving, I asked if we could take a little communion bread and grape juice home. I hadn’t participated in communion for a while, and I didn’t want to be cheated of the experience on account of the kids!

Once we were home and the kids were in bed, my husband crashed on the couch and searched for a Bible passage to read, while I set out the communion meal and prepared a basin, water, and towel. Then we shared communion together.

By this time, we were both tired, so we went to bed. However, I woke early this morning. I remembered how the last time we participated in an Agape Feast at Hoodview, the pastor had walked around the cross, meditating out loud on the various wounds of Christ and His sacrifice for us. So in the wee hours before sunrise this morning, I lay quietly and did the same in my own mind. It moved me to tears. What love Jesus has for each of us!

Today we go back to celebrate his resurrection. Sure, it’s a day early, but since we don’t worship on Sunday, it is more convenient to do it today. There will be a potluck brunch, ministry booths in the foyer, followed by a musical, dramatized reenactment of Jesus’ death and resurrection. I am looking forward to it!

How are you celebrating Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection this weekend?

I’ve been reading the book When God Writes Your Life Story, by Eric & Leslie Ludy, and I am just blown away. I’ve known for a while that the Christian life is surrender, but somehow the depth of it never hit me until last night as I was sitting in bed, waiting for my husband to finish an after-hair-cut shower, reading a few pages.

They went to the lives of several spiritual giants from the past–Hudson Taylor, Dwight Moody, Oswald Chambers, among others–and shared how these men had all come to the point of realizing that their religion was powerless and empty. At the point of desperation, they realized that they were still in control of their lives, that God was merely their hired servant, coming to fulfill their bidding, to carry out their plans. And they made the choice to give all, to surrender entirely everything they were.

I would like to quote from the couple of pages that struck me the most:

So how did this amazing transformation happen for these men and women of God? Just what is the secret to a victorious Christian life that each of them discovered?

It was an exchange.

An exchange of the most dramatic and life-altering proportions.

They gave up their very lives in exchange for the very life of God. They allowed their bodies to be taken over, like a town surrendering to the invasion of a foreign power. They allowed their being to be possessed by a Spirit so holy, so pure, so righteous, that any remnant of selfish sin was burned away with the fire of God’s perfect presence. They relinquished complete and total control of their lives to their King, for Him to dispose of as He saw fit. They invited the most divine Guest into the center of their existence and said, “Make this humble stable your princely palace, O holy Lord!”

They each made an exchange. . . . They exchanged life as they new it for life as God knew it should be.

They exchanged the right to do with their bodies however they saw fit for the life of a servant who only does what the Master requests.

They exchanged their dreams and ambitions for God’s great and dramatic plan for their lives.

They exchanged a life ruled and controlled by sin for a life victorious over sin, clothed with joy and triumph.

Such is the secret of every great man and woman of God. It’s the solemn exchange of a humble human life for His majestic holy life. 1

Listen to how Walter Wilson, a respected young Christian physician from the early 1900s, expressed his surrender:

Lord, I give you my this body of mine; from my head to my feet, I give it to You. My hands, my limbs, my eyes, my brain; all that I am inside and out, I hand over to You. Live in and through me whatever life You please. You may send this body to Africa, or lay it on a bed with cancer. You may blind my eyes, or take me with Your message to Tibet.  You may take this body to the Eskimos, or send it to a hospital with pneumonia. This body of mine is Yours alone from this moment on. 2

I finished the chapter just as my husband came to bed, and as he turned out the light, I rolled out of bed and knelt to pray. As I knelt there before God, the words I had just read started running through my mind, and I realized that the life I have been seeking had just been described–and it was a life of slavery. Being a bondslave of God forever.

In the Old Testament, there was a ritual mentioned about a servant who wanted to stay with his master and never be free. Normally a servant would serve for 6 years or buy his freedom. But a servant could freely choose to remain with his master forever–meaning until he died. As a sign of this, his master would take an awl and bore his ear through onto the doorpost of his house. This hole in his ear was a symbol of his submission for life to his master. See Exodus 21:2-6

There is no Biblical account of any servants ever making this kind of submission to their masters, but the story is there for a reason. You see, there was One whose ear was pierced, symbolically.

Mine ears has Thou opened . . . I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.

The Lord God hath opened Mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. 3

It is obvious from the context that both of these verses are speaking of Jesus. What is not obvious is the connection to the ear-piercing ceremony. Strong’s Concordance tells us that the word “opened” in these two verses means “pierced.” Do you see the implication?

Jesus was a slave of God. He sought only His Father’s will, not His own.

And He is our Example.

All of this flooded over me last night and I knelt before God. And suddenly I realized I had to get up and write in my prayer journal. I wanted to keep a record of what was going on in my mind. Here is part of what I wrote:

I am to be a slave, with no will of my own.

Paul called himself a slave of Jesus Christ. This is what I must be. A bondservant. My highest aim must be His will.

Wow. That means I consult Him about every decision. This doesn’t mean He will always tell me what to do. He is my friend and calls me a friend, not a slave. But I must make no decision on my own.

Am I willing to take this plunge?

I guess I liked the word “surrender” better. Slavery seems so final. But this is what I must do. I must have my ear opened, or pierced, as Jesus did, and learn to delight to do my Father’s will.

Am I willing?

I want to–but I am afraid. Why? Because it is so … final. Being a bondslave is not something one could ever get out of. It lasted until death.

But I should rather focus on the joy that this surrender brings. Especially when I consider that Romans 6 teaches that we are all slaves–either to Satan or God, sin or righteousness. We cannot serve two masters, but we certainly always have one.

Which means that when my master is self, it is really Satan.

And that means I am bound for hell.

Lord, if I do this, You will have to remind me frequently. I am not in the habit of seeking Your will moment by moment. But You have begun a good work in me, and if I cooperate, You will finish it.

All right. I am Yours. All of me. Take my body and do with it as You will. Take my mind and fill it with love for You and zeal for Your Will. Take my hands and use them to minister Your glory. Take my feet and send them where You will. Take my tongue and bridle it. Tame it, that it may only speak words that will glorify Your name. Take my heart, cleanse it, and come dwell in me. Take my eyes and ears, that they may only see and hear what will honor You. Take my appetite and subdue it. May I let only what You permit pass my lips. Take every last piece of me. I am no longer my own. I am bought with a price. Praise be to God.

Can you sense the struggle? I have surrendered so many times, but it seems that in the back of my mind, many times subconsciously, there was a caveat, a condition that I would have the option to go back to the old way if it didn’t work out. But I had tasted the old way, and I was tired of it. I wanted something more. But as I wrote those words of surrender, a peace flooded over me. I put the book away and quietly went to bed. And I woke this morning with a hunger for God. And I felt led to write out this testimony during my quiet time. I wasn’t sure why at first–normally this isn’t something I would do during my devotional time–I rarely use the computer and try never to use the Internet. But now I understand. Something about going over it again has strengthened my desire, deepened my decision. I have yielded myself to the King of kings, and I will serve Him from this day forward. Praise the Lord!

 

1. Eric & Leslie Ludy, When God Writes Your Life Story, 68, 69

2. V. Raymond Edman, quoted in When God Writes Your Life Story, 70

3. Psalm 40:5, 8; Isaiah 50:5

I think I have finally figured out the secret to parenting.

Okay, when I say “figured it out,” I don’t mean that I have a 100% perfect understanding of it. But I think I have enough of a concept to apply it and to share it.

And it wasn’t my original discovery. It comes from the book Parenting Your Infant/Toddler by the Spirit by Sally Hohnberger. And “it” is the parenting pyramid.

In my own words, this pyramid means that God is at the top, desiring to communicate to my child and me. Because I am the parent, I need to open up the lines of communication–two-way communication. I need to make sure my heart is fully surrendered in the moment. And let me tell you, lack of surrender on our part is a big reason why we fail to bring our children to true obedience. Just try making a child obey cheerfully by yelling at them!

The second aspect is that God also wants to communicate directly to the child. However, the rebellious, tantrum-throwing two-year-old isn’t listening. So we as the parent, now surrendered to the Lord, will communicate to them, and direct them to listen to what God is saying to them. Then we lead them to surrender as well. Once they surrender, the lines of communication are open between both parent and child and God and child.

Now, that’s good in theory, but let me make this practical with some illustrations from my life today.

It was time to pick up the toys and get ready for worship. But neither of my children wanted to pick up the toys. Manny tried to throw a tantrum and Gislaine started to cry. Because I couldn’t deal with them both at once, I sent Gislaine to her room and told her to wait until I called her. Then I told Manny that he needed to surrender his heart to Jesus and put the toys away. I said, “Let’s pray,” but he jerked in defiance. So I took his hand and said, “We need to go for a run.” We ran the length of the house and back. Then I knelt again and asked him to pray with me. He knelt, folded his hands, and closed his eyes. Then he repeated after me. “Dear Jesus, please help me to put my toys away happy. Amen.” Then I showed him the toy, and repeated my instruction. He put it away. At first he was just compliant–putting it away under protest. But as I directed him to put more and more away, his heart softened until by the time he was done, he was a cheerful, happy little boy. And Daddy noticed later, after I had gone to the gym, that he was the happiest, most obedient, surrendered little boy that he had been for a long time, and commented on it to me when I got back.

Once he was busy putting his toys away, I called his sister out. We knelt and I led her in a similar prayer. Then I asked her, “What is Jesus saying to you?” She said, “To obey.” That just warmed my heart! Jesus was speaking to my precious daughter, and she recognized His voice! I said, “That’s right. Now please put the dolly’s bed away.” And she did. She also helped her brother put some things away. And she was happy when it was over.

And so was I!

Yes, it took extra time to do it, but the end result was happiness for everyone, and peace in the home.

Yes, this is the secret: a connection with God, listening for His direction, and following His guidance. Most of the time, we won’t know for sure if the ideas that come to our minds are from Him or not, but we are to test the spirits, and move forward in faith. But being surrendered ourselves–to take our toddler’s hand for the grizzly run (because they are too young to run by themselves), even when we don’t feel like running–makes all the difference. Because we certainly cannot bring our child to surrender if we are not surrendered ourselves!

I’m reading this book through for the second time. I can’t say I’ve read enough recently to do a proper review of it, but I would still highly recommend it. And all the other books in the series.

As I was driving to church last Friday to practice for the Sabbath music service, I was listening to this CD by the the Stewart Family from the album “Satisfied,” and singing along. Then it came to this song:

It Is Finished

Long ago I saw my Saviour
Bearing shame upon a tree
Then my heart was touched with sorrow
For I saw He bled for me.

“It is finished,” loud He cried
Oh what love, for me He died
In my stead He bled on Calvary
Once for all Christ rescued me

Lo the sky was veiled in darkness
Sudden trembling shook the ground
As the angry crowd was cheering
Mocking Jesus all around

Then my Saviour called to Heaven
As I saw His love anew
Oh my Father, please forgive them
For they know not what they do

“It is finished,” loud He cried
Oh what love, for me He died
In my stead He bled on Calvary
Once for all Christ rescued me

Free salvation now He offers
Take His gift, oh hear His plea
On the bloody cross behold Him
Join His shout of victory

“It is finished,” loud He cried
Oh what love for me He died
In my stead He bled on Calvary
Once for all Christ rescued me.

As I reached “Then my Saviour called to Heaven,” suddenly it was as though I had a vision. As the song set the scene, suddenly I felt like I could really see it. In my mind’s eye, I saw Jesus laying on the cross, the crown of thorns on His head, His torn back pressed against the rough wood. The crowd around mocked and jeered. And then the Roman soldier grabbed a hammer and nail and began to nail Him to the cross. In an instant, everything I had ever read about the gut-wrenching pain caused by the nails came flooding into my mind. And at that moment, the song reached the part where Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” My heart was touched, and I had to hold back the tears as I drove along in the dark. My heart just overflowed with love for the One who gave all for me!

How could Jesus say that, while enduring such excruciating agony? What kind of love can prompt such amazing words in the midst of such horrendous circumstances? Only the love of the one who is love at the very essence of His being.

As I continued on to the church, I meditated on Jesus’ love and sacrifice, hoping I could get there with enough time to write them down before everyone showed up to practice and I lost the impression. Amazingly, I was the first car there. As I typed away on my iPod, someone came and opened the door, so I went in. Three guys showed up–to operate the PowerPoint, the lights, and the sound. But no one showed up to practice. One of the guys made some phone calls and found out that the leader for the week was singing at a vespers somewhere else that night, and that practice would be at 8:00 am the next morning.

Now, you need to understand something. We have been going over budget every month for gas. My husband works an hour away, and gas prices are going up. I don’t mind Friday night practice–indeed, I have seen the stress of trying to do it Sabbath morning–but if there isn’t going to be a practice, someone should notify me. At least, that is the theory.

The whole situation was frustrating, especially since it was the second time this had happened to me–showing up for a practice that wasn’t. So I left the church rather upset. I didn’t want to drive all the way home with such sour feelings, however, so I stopped at the pastor’s house, since it was near the church and not really out of my way. I wanted to pray with someone and didn’t have a cell phone anymore. The pastor came out and prayed with me, and that prayer helped to calm my feelings and change my thoughts into better channels. Thank you, Pastor Jim!

As I drove home it dawned on me. If I had stayed home, I wouldn’t have heard the song on the CD in the car. And even in the unlikely event that I turned on my iPod and heard it that evening, the chances of life being quiet enough to meditate on the thoughts in the song would have been nonexistent. So in spite of the fact that I wasted gas on going to a practice that didn’t happen, I had a precious experience with God, and that made the whole trip worth while.

If you are interested in buying the song or the album, you can purchase them here (Disclaimer: these are affiliate links).

Buy the Album: Buy the Song:

Note: My Adventist friends will want to know that the last song, track 12, has a little error on the length of hell, but the rest of the songs are lovely.

Dandylions

Gislaine and Manny were playing happily outside in the last hour of daylight while I worked on some overdue blogging. All of a sudden they came running into the office holding dandelions. Gislaine informed me that “Jesus sent us some dandelions!” I thought that was so sweet. As was this picture I took of her (tried to get one of Manny, but he refused to pose).

If you were raised as a Christian, like I was, you may have never really seen God. Oh, you knew He existed, and knew a lot about Him, but you may have not really known Him–never really looked deep into His heart.

It is also easy to get so used to the picture of Jesus as our Saviour that we fail to realize the deep significance of His death. Jesus suffered and died. So have many martyrs. What makes His death better or more efficacious than theirs? What is God really like? Is He really that different from us?

These are some of the questions that Ty Gibson tackles in what may be his most powerful book, Seeing With New Eyes. This book has had a powerful impact on my life, especially in the way I see God. It has given me a new perspective of God and His character. Let me quote one of my favorite passages:

We have tended to make God so distant, so nearly sterile that we have forgotten that He is a person. A person who made us in His image. A person, therefore, who has a heart that feels joy and pain like ours. All the passion of the universe has its origin in Him; and therefore all passion, both the pleasurable and painful, finds resonance in Him as well. Every pain that is felt, every sigh that is breathed, every sorrow that pierces the soul, like a rushing current of sympathetic vibrations, throbs in the Father’s heart.

This book is easy to read in the sense that it is not written in high, theological terms. It is written creatively, descriptively, colorfully. Yet the words have a way of awakening your deepest emotions, while at the same time imparting knowledge. Each thought is grounded in Scripture, expanded and simplified so that even a child could understand much of it.

Growing up as a Christian, I learned many facts about God. So I can’t say that there was anything exactly new for me in this book. However, the way it was put together was fresh, and it forced me to step back and apply the knowledge I already had. It opened my heart when I had been hiding from God–trying to live without Him, because I was afraid of the pain of letting go of my sin–and helped me to see Him not as a stern judge condemning me, but rather as a loving Father with aching heart, waiting to welcome me back. This view of God was not new, but by taking time to actually look, my heart was softened, and I was led to repentance.

And for someone who is struggling with understanding the character of God, this book could be a powerful tool to help them to really know who He is–instead of seeing him through the lens of how their father was, or the way they may have been taught He is. Jesus, in His prayer in John 17, said that knowing God is the same as having eternal life. Listen to how Ty Gibson explores this thought:

Understanding who God really is, seeing His true character distinct from all false pictures, is the psychological and emotional substance of which eternal life is composed. Knowing God heals the soul of all internal maladies and imparts a quality of life that is eternal. There is earth-transcending peace to be derived from knowing that the One who made us, and to whom we are ultimately accountable, is infinitely and intrinsically good. On the other hand, all false pictures of God are destructive to the soul, eating away the beauty and meaning of life.

So next time you want to take a fresh look at God, consider picking up a copy of Seeing With New Eyes, and look again for the first time.

The other day I asked Gislaine to do something. She didn’t want to and told me so, then burst into tears. At the same moment I realized I had to change her brother’s diaper. So I told her to sit down and wait while I went upstairs.

When I came back, this is what I saw:

[Note: The headgear is her idea… probably came from reading Bible story books with pictures…]

I thought that was so cute! But I wondered if she really knew what she was doing. I mean, she had seen me stop in the middle of a tough situation and pray just like that. But I was praying silently. Had my teachings really been sinking in?

Here is a video reenactment of what she told me (with me prompting to remind her what to say next).

In case the video won’t play for you (it won’t for me–not sure why–it plays on the camera just fine), here is a transcript:

Me: So, Laine, what were you doing?

Gislaine: Uh, I was praying.

Me: Really?

G: Uh huh.

Me: Really? What did you pray about?

G: Um, [mumble mumble that I can’t remember] Satan in my heart.

Me: That’s right, and–be nice, Manny, be nice (as he pushes at her to get her off the seat)–you may stand up now.

G: I want a video!

Me: We’re doing a video–Still! Stop! Stop! (as she starts to walk out of the view of the camera) Okay, now, tell me the rest of it. And what did Jesus do when you prayed?

G: He came back in my heart!

Me: And what did He make Satan do?

G: He said, “Go away,” then he go away.

Me: I’m so glad!

But I hope you can watch it. I’m not sure what’s up with our computer… it doesn’t like our camera, I think.

One if the books that has made a big impact on me lately is The Gift, subtitled “God gave you more than you’ll ever know” by Kim Allan Johnson. I don’t think I can come up with a better way of summarizing the content of the book than to quote the back cover:

When was the last time you lay awake at night, too captivated by Christ’s love to sleep? When was the last time you wrestled with the astonishing risks involved in Jesus sacrifice? When was the last time your mind stretched to grasp the many layers of suffering He endured?

This book does just that. It starts with painting a picture of Jesus before His incarnation, then delves into the different aspects of His life that show what becoming a human actually cost Him. The author highlights key events in Christ’s life that trace the evidence of the gathering storm that broke with unbridled fury on the evening of His arrest in Gethsemane. Then instead of diving directly into a discussion of Christ’s physical sufferings, as so many writers and speakers do, he starts out with amplifying the internal pain that Jesus would have experienced every day: the pain of being misunderstood. He spends one chapter looking at The physical torture He endured, then in the next he tries to imagine what it must have been like for those that witnessed His sufferings and death. He spends a whole a whole chapter trying to grasp what kind of pain Jesus must have endured from the verbal abuse He suffered.

Up to this point, he has looked at the very human side of Jesus; He endured pain and misunderstanding much like any human would. But this book goes deeper, exploring what the depths of Christ’s internal sufferings.

If you are familiar with Ellen White, then you are probably familiar with statements like this one:

How few have any conception of the anguish that rent the heart of the Son of God during His thirty years of life upon the earth. The path from the manger to Calvary was shadowed by sorrow and grief. He was the man of sorrows, and endured such heartache as no human language can portray.

Human language may not be able to portray it, but Johnson comes pretty close as he looks at the various aspects if this world that caused Jesus pain–things like brutality in nature, human disease, the evils in human nature, and especially His pain over the lost of the world. Then he goes deeper into the sufferings that nearly crushed out His life in Gethsemane and broke His heart on the cross–being forsaken by God and feeling so helpless and alone, crushed by the weight of our sins. Finally, he sums up some of the lessons that Christ’s sufferings have to teach us.

This book is like none I have ever read on this topic. Some books use a narrative style that just talks about the subject, leaving the reader with the responsibility of trying to imagine everything. Other books use stories and word pictures the help the reader visualize the scene, kind of like watching a movie. This book has a good balance of both. Let me give you an example of each style. First, the narrative:

It was only because of His connection with God that Christ survived the relentless torrent of hate, criticism, and abuse that beat against Him from His earliest days. Intimate communion with God was as natural and necessary to Him as breathing. Ellen White reveals, “Jesus sought earnestly for strength from His Father. He regarded communication with God aside essential than His daily food.”

Here is a portion of one of the scenes he paints in graphic detail:

As Jesus hung on the cross, bleeding and gasping for air, the mob and the Jewish leaders had a field day mocking and ridiculing Him.

One of the many onlookers pointed at Christ and yelled, “What happened to all Your boasting, Mr. Carpenter? How can you destroy our great temple and build it again from up there? Can I get you a hammer so you can take out those nasty nails?” Hearty laughter ripples through the crowd.

Someone else cupped their hands over their mouth and shouted, “For a wretch like you to claim to be Israel’s holy Messiah makes me sick. Son of God? You’re the son of passion, the son of Mary’s lust!”

This mixture of narrative and story appeals to both the intellectual and emotional levels of our being. That mixture makes it a very powerful book. More powerful than any movie, because you can get a peek behind the scenes, as it were, to catch a glimpse of Jesus heart. But then it allows you to feel with your heart as well.

I haven’t even finished it yet, but I must say I highly recommend this book. It has given me a deeper appreciation for of Jesus love for me, and awakened in my heart a deeper love for Him. And that, I think, is the purpose of the book.

You can buy the book here:

In the last two days I have painted a picture of how I felt during the time that I was, essentially, trying to hide from God. I knew I was lost; I doubted that I could ever make it; I feared that any attempt at surrender was doomed to failure sooner or later. Of course this was denying the power of God, and I knew it. But I had no evidence that this time would be any different. I wasn’t able or even willing to walk by faith.

During this time of struggle, I opened up to one lady from my church, and she encouraged me to read the book Seeing With New Eyes, and loaned me her copy. This book takes a look at Jesus and His love in a way that grips the heart. It presents Christ’s love in a most attractive way. Most of the information was not exactly new to me, but it was still it began to soften my heart.

You see, I had become almost desensitized to the sacrifice of Christ. I had heard the story so many times that it didn’t move me like it had at first. This worried me greatly. I would read things like the following, and I would almost become depressed:

They [referring to the self-centered] forget the Man of Sorrows, who was acquainted with grief. The sufferings of Jesus in Gethsemane, His sweating as it were great drops of blood in the garden, the platted crown of thorns that pierces His holy brow, do not move them. They have become benumbed. Their sensibilities are blunted, and they have lost all sense of the great sacrifice made for them. They can sit and listen to the story of the cross, hear how the cruel nails were driven through the hands and feet of the Son of God, and it does not stir the depths of the soul.” 1T 155.

That statement could not have described me better if it had been written by someone who could read my heart. I knew it, and it terrified me.

But gradually I realized what was the problem. This passage gives a clue:

The sinner may resist this love, may refuse to be drawn to Christ; but if he does not resist he will be drawn to Jesus; a knowledge of the plan of salvation will lead him to the foot of the cross in repentance for his sins, which have caused the sufferings of God’s dear Son. SC 27.

Looking back, I can see that I was resisting. I thought I had a good excuse: I was afraid of failing again. But praise God, Jesus’ love was stronger than my fear. As I read that book Seeing With New Eyes, I began to see something of the beauty of God’s character, the awesomeness of His love, the depth of His sacrifice; and as I made the choice to behold, my heart began to soften.

As I felt my heart softening, I began more and more to feel the drawing of God upon my heart. And little by little I began to yield. One morning I woke up with the sense that God was calling me to come spend time with Him. It was almost an audible voice, speaking to my heart, saying, “Lisa, please come spend some time with Me. I long to spend time with you. Won’t you please get out of bed, get your Bible, and find the blessings I have prepared specially for you?” I was tired, but I couldn’t resist such tender pleadings. So I got up. And I found myself surrendering to the Lord.

I was still afraid of failure, but I simply couldn’t resist any longer. So I took the first step and said that I would let God be in charge of my life.

Tomorrow I will share two of the things that I did to fortify against the failure I so much feared–besides continuing to behold Jesus, of course! I want to continue doing that for the rest of my life!

Ready Always

Note: I debated a little about whether to share this or not, since I realize that a good portion of my readership is not a member of the same denomination as I am. However, I decided that since my goal is not to convert anyone, but rather to share an illustration of the principle of 1 Peter 3:15, which crosses denominational barriers, I would share it anyway. Keep this in mind as you read.

This morning I went grocery shopping early, a little after 7:00 in the morning. I like to go early and beat the rush. As I went into the store, I said a little prayer. Lord, please lead me to someone that I can witness to, or leave a tract with. I have been carrying a number of tracts in my purse in English and in Spanish, but if I don’t ask the Lord to help me find someone to give one too, I usually forget they are there.

Well, this morning I had a short list, and no real chance to interact with anyone before I got to the checkout lane. I half expected to leave the store without sharing with anyone. But there was no one behind me, so the cashier started talking.

“Are you going to church this morning?” Take note that I was wearing a skirt and a rather nice jacket, not inappropriate for a church setting.

“No, actually I go to church on Saturdays.”

“You mean you don’t go on Sundays like everyone else?” He seemed genuinely surprised.

“No. You see, the Bible says to keep the 7th day. Here, I’ve got a little booklet on the topic–maybe you can read it during your break.” And I handed him this booklet:

He looked it over. “Sure, I could look through this.”

By that time I had finished bagging my groceries, so I smiled and left the Holy Spirit to do His work, rejoicing that the Lord had once again given me a chance to share with someone.

What about you? Do you keep a tract or two on hand to share with those who have questions about your faith? You may not always have time to give a Bible study or share what Jesus means to you, but a tract can do that for you. Then pray that the Lord will lead you to the people who are open or have questions. He will never fail you!