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Perpetual Gratitude

Some years ago I was counseling a teenager who had been raised from infancy by his grandparents. The boy’s father had been killed in an automobile accident, and subsequently his mother disappeared. The grandparents had been doing all they could for him at great expense to themselves. It is difficult for anyone to raise a teenager, and people in their 60s and 70s ought not to have to go through it a second time around.

For several years he rewarded them with unfathomable rebellion, anger and sin until he made his grandparents miserable. I told him, “They did not have to take you in. You could have gone to an orphanage. You could have been a ward of the court. They got up with you in the middle of the night. They changed your diapers and fed you and clothed you. They raised you at great sacrifice to themselves. Nobody would have blamed them if they had said, “We just can’t handle it at our age.”

He replied bitterly, “Do you think this is the first time I’ve ever thought of all that? I know what they’ve done. What am I supposed to do, spend the rest of my life saying ‘thank you’?” read more

The Sacrifice of the Cross

Some time ago, I had an experience at church that I will never forget.

During the Sunday morning service, the pastor asked each member of the congregation to make a list of his sins on a sheet of paper, as the Holy Spirit led. After a time of reflection and prayer, each person walked up to the front of the church and nailed his folded piece of paper, which represented his sins, onto a large wooden cross.

When it was my turn, I laid my folded “list of sins” onto the end of the crossbar and struck the nail with the hammer that had been provided.  The sound of the hammer connecting with the nail was deafening—not to my ears, but to my spirit. The realization that, in effect, my own hand had driven the nails into our Savior’s flesh was overwhelming.

In that moment I was struck with the reality that because Jesus knew I would be in this world at this particular time and would not be able to live a sinless life, He—the One who spoke the world into being—had chosen to lay down His life for me so that I could have everlasting fellowship with Him. I already knew this, of course; I have been a Christian for many years. But the act of virtually nailing Him to the cross with my own hand made His sacrifice more real than before. read more

Focus on the Real Goal

Every Sunday we have an early Morning Prayer meeting at church. We pray from a Psalm for 30 minutes (without asking for anything—a time purely for praise), then we prayer walk the sanctuary for 15 minutes, and finally meet back together to intercede for the services and ministry of the day.

Since we started this intimate time in 2007, we have never ceased to be amazed at how the Holy Spirit always meets with us. We never leave without a feeling that we have been in the sweet presence of Jesus.

One week, however, was a bit of a challenge. The prayer room is just off of the platform, and the praise team has practice at the same time that we are praying. That has never been an issue. In fact, the muffled music often adds a “worship” dimension to our time. read more

hand with compass

Let the Holy Spirit Be Your GPS!

The church seems to have forgotten that God will direct our steps. We have gone our own way, diverging where our impulses take us. He abides here to guide, empower and instruct the church. Let Him be your guide. Here's how.  read more

Single, But Not Alone

Brenda worked for our ministry at Elijah House for several years. She was a beautiful, intelligent, insightful young woman in her 30s who profoundly blessed many with her gifts of counseling and prayer. Almost everyone was puzzled by the fact that she remained single.

She had a lovely face and figure, and her shiny auburn hair would have qualified her to pose for shampoo commercials. She dressed tastefully and attractively. Her bright personality was charming. She was conversant on a variety of subjects. Several counselees commented that they could not understand why men were not lined up at her door.

I’m not describing a superwoman who possessed an unflawed personality with whom no one could identify. Like the rest of us, she had wounds in her heart that needed to be healed and habits that had to be transformed. At that time there was a privateness about her that did not allow many to know her intimately. But neither was there a sign on her forehead telling people to remain at a distance. read more

It's Never Too Late

Do you ever feel that it is too late to fulfill the plan and purpose God has for your life?

If you do, let me encourage you. According to our country’s legal retirement years, I am several years past retirement age but still work and enjoy it. I work because I want to, not because I have to. Yet, I know that until God calls me home I will continue to walk in the destiny He has for me. God has promised in His Word that with long life and length of days will He satisfy me (see Ps. 91:16). I don’t allow my age to dictate what I can accomplish for God.

This year, for example, I still work PT at my job, write articles for my Web site, and continue to minister regularly, often traveling to different states and out of the country.  I also attend church and special meetings on a regular basis and find time to enjoy my grandchildren. Walking in the destiny of God is fun and exciting! read more

Jesus' Desire for Us

John 17 records Jesus’ last prayer before He went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He cried to God before His crucifixion. We don’t have to ask what Jesus was feeling before He was crushed for us. His desire is laid out clearly in John. He opens up His heart and lets us listen in on the most intimate moments of His life on earth.

John 17:24-26 says: “Father I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

“O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” read more

The Value of Loneliness

In May 1984 Billy Graham spoke at Westminster Chapel. His subject was “loneliness.” He took his text from a strange verse; Psalm 102:6, in the King James Version, in which the psalmist likens himself to an owl in the desert. Graham definitely hit a nerve! There are so many people today who are lonely.

Loneliness is a painful condition, a dreaded state that, given the choice, most people would do anything to avoid. It is enforced solitude.

There is obviously a significant difference between enforced solitude and chosen solitude. Some of us appreciate the bliss of solitude. Jesus needed to get away from the crowds, and there are some who, by nature, are loners; they love it that way. My friend Robert Amess calls himself “the complete loner,” but he is not lonely. read more

The Perfect Dinner

Years ago, when my husband, Terry, and I were dating, I set about to fix what I called the “perfect dinner” for Valentine’s Day. On the menu were Terry’s favorites: baked pasta with marinara sauce smothered in cheese, salad and buttery garlic bread. How difficult was that? In a word, highly!

You see I was a woman with an unsavory “kitchen past” and a long list of disasters to prove it. My most recent one was when my popovers (containing too much baking soda) exploded like hand grenades in the oven!

“Well, never mind,” I told myself, as I braved the kitchen to fix the perfect dinner. Terry didn’t need to know about my hidden disasters, just tonight’s grand performance of undaunted love revealed perfectly on a red linen tablecloth. read more

God’s Bouquet of Love

“Call in! Your chance to throw a brick or a bouquet!”

The radio host was inviting his coast-to-coast listeners to air a grievance or grudge against someone—their chance to get even. Or they could call in and compliment someone. The choice was theirs!

Most were angry callers with a grudge and a beef to air. The disturbing thing was that they were taking fiendish delight in putting people down and flattening them before the public. The radio airwaves were thick with tension and hate.

Then came the call that changed things. A sweet lady was calling in to tell her teenage niece how much she loved her. “I want to throw her a bouquet tonight,” she said, “to express my love for her.” read more

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