Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Simple faith of a Child

In 1978, my youngest daughter and I were having lunch in a Deli, when we met Barbara. She was at the counter, buying a pack of cigarettes. She was wearing short shorts, high heels, with a T shirt tucked up under her bra, and a bandanna around her cropped curly hair. She had a cigar hanging out of her mouth. 

Earlier that morning, I had prayed to experience loving the unlovable with unconditional love. This was the moment!  I loved her.  My heart saw beyond her appearance, and I felt only the Lord's unconditional acceptance for her. I asked her to our table, bought her lunch and invited her home with us. I shared the gospel with her and she received salvation.  That was the beginning of a friendship that went on for the next five years.

 A month after we met Barbara, my husband and I got a telephone call at 1:00 am. in the morning  from the police. "We have a young 14 year old girl at the station who says that she knows you. Do you? " We answered that we did and asked "What did she do?"  The police described a very serious situation.  Barbara had thrown her grandmother down the stairs and out the front door. The police were called and Barbara was headed for the Juvenile Detention Center, unless we took her in.

As long as we were willing to house her, the police released the warrant for her arrest. However,the police were not clear as to how long!   We had no idea what we were getting into, but as a family we all felt a love for Barbara and wanted to help her where we could.  Our three daughters received Barbara as a sister. Our middle daughter graciously gave up her bedroom and dared to move in with her older sister.  It proved to be good for both of them. We all were impressed with Barbara's singing.  She did have a beautiful voice. Oh, how she loved to sing praises to the Lord. We had Christian music on most of the time, and I think Barbara learned just about very song on the record. Her favorite song was "To God be the Glory".  She would sing that song time and time again throughout the day.

For the rest of the school year, Barbara had been suspended. As a result, Barbara and I had more time to talk about Jesus.  As I began to work with her, I soon realized that she had a VERY SIMPLE FAITH.  It blessed me so much to see how uncomplicated she was. If the bible said it, she believed it!   She didn't need to understand THE WHY'S OR THE WHY NOT. She just believed God for the His word.  It was refreshing to share with her. I had a set of bible picture books, the kind you might find in a doctor's office, before 'political correctness' took hold. She particularly loved the picture of Jesus on the cross.  We would talk about how He died for her sins, was buried and raised from the dead and how His blood brought healing to her, body, soul and spirit.

Every night when I would go into her room to say goodnight, I noticed that she would sleep with the bible book under her pillow with  Jesus on the cross.  I asked why she slept this way and she told me that she wanted Jesus to heal her mouth.  At first I thought she meant inappropriate words, but she really meant the abscesses on her gums.  One morning after my husband had left for work and the girls had gone to school, Barbara was upstairs taking a bath.  She preferred the tub to the shower.  All of a sudden I heard this tremendous cry from the bathroom, "Mom Mom," that is what she liked to call me, "Come quick, I am healed."  I raced up stairs to see what she was talking about.  With blood running down her cheeks, Barbara kept repeating, "See the blood, see the blood, Jesus healed me."  I didn't know what to think. I knew that I had to quickly get her to a dentist. I helped to clean her up and called  for an emergency appointment.  Gratefully, I could get her in and to my surprise, everyone of her abscesses had been broken and she was amazingly healed. The dentist and I were in shock! Her simple faith in the healing power of the blood of Jesus had healed her.  Barbara stayed with us for the next three months,  until she was able to return to her family again.

Shortly after she returned home, we were suspicious that Barbara had more than just a violent temper. Our suspicions were verified when her mother had to place her into a mental hospital.   Her parents were alcoholics.  The mother had abdicated her place in the family to the grandmother, while the father was relegated to the basement. As a little girl, Barbara had been mentally and emotionally abused by her grandmother and she hated her. The hospital proved to be a safe place for her. Her behavior, however, was calm and controlled around our family. As a family, we would bring her out of the hospital for the holidays. Between visits to our home,we visited her at the hospital at least once or twice a month. The State of Pennsylvania  released her after five years, and she quickly disappeared into the streets of  Philadelphia. We lost contact with her, when we moved out of the area. However, we still remember the young girl we knew, who moved mountains with her simply faith.

Friday, September 13, 2013

MY WILL VS. HIS WILL

Many years ago, at a family gathering,  our three year old grand daughter, with her hands on her hips, stood in the middle of the living room floor announced to the world  "I don't want anyone telling me what to do!" Where did that come from?  All the adults were stunned, accept her embarrassed parents. They looked at each others, took their little lady by the hand and said, "God will tell you what to do and you will listen to your mother and father and obey.  Now you go to your room and we will talk about this later."  She left the room with her little head hanging low.  Her self-will pride had just been crushed .  It would not be the last time!

Self-will pride, is it NOT in every human soul?  Our little grand daughter was only acting out what was in her sinful heart.  Our rebellious pride dies hard in all of us, at least it has in me. It will still fight to control  for its right, its opinion, its will, insisting on its own way.   The only power against this pride is to reckon it dead in Christ and walk with humility totally dependent upon our Holy God. Jesus demonstrates this humility to us  as a believer in the garden, when He said to His Father,.  "Not my will, but thy WILL be done." It is not as easy as you think. Jesus sweated blood to do the WILL of the Father.

When I was first born again, I didn't honestly understand the importance of surrendering my will to the Lord.  I wanted to, but, truthfully, it was a bit scary to feel out of control, especially, because I had trusted in own self rule so long.  It took time to grow in the spirit, to know the Lord personally, and to trust Him with my life. Just as when I was a  child, I had to learn to trust and obey my parents.  It didn't happen overnight.  Of course, my parents were not perfect. But the truth is, that my heavenly Father is PERFECT and that there is no one like my "daddy".  His forgiveness, wrapped in His love, is forever engraved in my heart for the Lord Jesus. 

Recently I was in prayer discussing "my will". I was so blessed with His response. "My daughter, I will never break your SPIRIT, but your WILL I must continue to break.  Why do you think that your will is any better than my WILL for you?"  He left me with that question and I have mediated on it for days.  He is right. Why would I ever want my own will, when His WILL is always the best. Now, in the mornings it is so much easier to surrender my will, and to ask Him for His WILL to be done that day.  It is an unmovable peace, eternally placed in the my heart.









Saturday, September 7, 2013

FAMILY IDENTITY

My husband and I first became acquainted with the principle of family identity in the 1900's, when we were asked to teach a class on biblical parenting. It is blessing to many young families, I only wish we knew about it when we are raising our girls.

Family identity birthed at a young age will give a child security, purpose and a healthy self image. It will help to separate your family from other families.  For instance, when  your son or daughter comes to you and tries convince you that all their friends are "going to a party that you disapprove of, you can respond to the manipulation  by saying, " But, we (your surname) don't go to those kind of parties." If you clearly can give a biblical explanation, it will really helps your child to submit to your authority as unto the Lord. 

If family identity is established early in an earthly family, how about God's eternal family? I believe this concept can be translated into the family of God. We have a new family identity. Jesus being our elder brother shows  us the love of our spiritual "daddy", Father God. 

 One of the greatest works of the Holy Spirit is to establish us as children of God in His Kingdom. We are different then the world. 1John 3:9 says it this way, "No one born of God makes a practice of sinning . For God's SEED ABIDES in him and he cannot KEEP on sinning because he has been born of God.  By this it is evident who are the children of the devil. Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother." This does not mean that we are prefect and never sin, but it does mean we want to obey God.

 We have a new identity created in the image of Christ.  Daily we are dying to the old self life. Our minds are renewed and growing to accept God ways as our new identity.  

 2 Peter 3,4 says, " His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him, who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious  and very great promises, so that through them you may become PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE , having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire......."  We are in the world , but not of it. The spirit of this world is no longer our identity.  Our flesh, (lower nature) is NOT WHO WE ARE.

We have a  new family identity in Jesus Christ.  We are sojourners, ambassadors on earth, to proclaim the gospel, and MUCH MORE, until our work on earth is finished and the Lord calls us to our eternal home.