Thursday, August 30, 2018

FATHER, FORGIVE US..... WE KNOW NOT WHAT WE DO.

And so..life as I knew it.. has changed for me... since 2015... a book about Mom coming out just as a movie she prayed for came out... and.. a clip of her with one of the producers on every DVD... millions of people looking for this powerful woman of prayer.. who is home with her SAVIOR... they look for her.. and find me.  And.. people want to know about her.. hear about her..learn from her...  

I have been overwhelmed.  Completely overwhelmed with emotion.
You might think my emotion is due to watching the clip of my mom's interview with Stephen Kendrick that is a special feature on every War Room DVD.  It isn't easy to see my mother.,,. full of life... ten feet tall in front of a church on a church screen...full of Jesus... full of love... with me sitting next to her at her kitchen table....unaware that months later I would not be able to sit next to her.. ever again...  You'd think my emotions would spill over.  NOPE.  I have watched her beautiful face hundreds of times..,.and feel just thankfulness to have had her..

I am overwhelmed by the people in the pews. 
I am overwhelmed by the people in the pews.
The children God loves... His children.
I am overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed by...

Their hunger for MORE of God.. their desire to know how to speak to Him... their longing to hear Him... wanting to find God's heart...and their inability to find it.. though they attend church regularly, memorizing Bible verses, volunteering... working hard for Jesus... 

And yet... 
Their questioning faces -
"Did someone like your mother really exist?"
"Does God really answer prayer?"
"Did she truly love Jesus THAT MUCH?"
"Was she serious when she said, 'When you have Jesus you have everything?'"
"Please teach us how to pray."


What?  What? What?  Why is someone who had a childlike faith, embraced God's Word as utter truth, prayed with authority, saw God answer prayer, LOVED PEOPLE WITH THE LOVE OF JESUS... 
someone unusual to other followers of Jesus?

Why isn't she the norm - rather than the exception?

It's true that not everyone is supposed to be like Molly Bruno (as a friend recently reminded me)....

But... 

God has certainly decided to raise her up... in my small circle... as an example. (1 Cor.11:1)

How is it possible in this country... that with all our efforts
All our books
All our music
All our evangelism
All our media
All our self-promotion of our "ministries"

THAT 

the people in the pew don't really pray?
the people in the pew don't really trust God?
the people in the pew are choking on despair?

We're doing something.  But is it feeding the flock?
We are promoting something.. but is it prayer?
We are doing lots of talking... but is it about Jesus?

I am overwhelmed by the hunger in God's children... Who knew how hungry they are?

I am surprised at their surprise to discover that the secret to Mom's life was childlike faith. That's it.  Believing that God's Word is true.. that.. His love is real... and living each moment speaking to a real and living Man in Heaven... Jesus.

What are we doing - those of us up in front of God's children?

I am overwhelmed by the overwhelming hunger in God's people.
I am.



Father, forgive us.  We know not what we do.





Wednesday, August 29, 2018

YOUR CHILDREN INSIDE YOUR BURNING HOUSE

You love your children.  Everything you have belongs to them. You give all you have so that they can have all you give. 

Your children have access to anything in your house.  You are sure to let your children know that although you OWN the house, they have permission to use and enjoy anything in it.

Of course, there are some caveats: don't open the door to strangers and don't play with matches.

And then one day, after leaving them alone for just a few hours, you come home to a horror scene. YOUR HOUSE IS ENGULFED IN FLAMES!! 

You see fire trucks at the scene. The firemen are arguing about who has the authority and position to hold the hose, while others are fighting over which ladder to use.  While they argue, your house continues to burn, with your children inside.

The neighbors run up to you... because they are angry that the firetrucks have done damage to their lawns. While they scream at you about their stuff being ruined, your house continues to burn, with your children inside.

The TV news has arrived - and they are jockeying for the best "shot" of the burning house- which continues to burn with your children inside.

Where would your focus be?  Would you join in with the firemen - trying to decide who has more seniority, who has the right to lead the fight against the fire?

Would you be apologizing to your neighbors and explain to them that you had nothing to do with their stuff being ruined?

How much time would you spend being sure the TV camera crews got just the right angle of your home? How much would you care about your reputation and how your home looked on TV? 

Would you be standing there, telling anyone who would listen that you WARNED your children not to play with matches.. and they disobeyed you?  Would you be concerned about not taking the blame for their sin?  I doubt it. 

I think your only focus would be to RESCUE YOUR PERISHING CHILDREN!!!

And maybe now we can "see" for just one moment the heart of God for the world.

ANYTHING that distracts us from focusing on HIS CHILDREN being rescued from the fire is distracting us from what truly matters.
God wants to rescue us... even though we have created our own disaster.

And there we sit - arguing about different worship styles, or different doctrines... or politics and the people running things.. or... our 'stuff'.. or our reputation....

What matters to God is rescuing His children from the flames. What matters to God should matter to His rescued children,

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
John 3:16-17

Thursday, July 26, 2018

NO ONE IS LISTENING...

I don't think there's been a time in the history of history that humans have been so bombarded with sound.   We are instantly "ear budded" in to our music, internet, TV shows. 
We have instant access to fifty six million TV shows at the touch of a button, or a movie. It's like an avalanche of sound, a tsunami of noise.  We know about things that are happening on the other side of the planet almost as soon as it happens.

We hear, we hear,  we hear... 

BUT THIS IS NOT A BLOG TO CRITICIZE these "advancements" in technology.  

I'm just calling attention to one of the side effects of living in a society that makes it possible to close ourselves off from one another with a simple pair of headphones.. a pair of earbuds...  And that is:


NO ONE IS LISTENING ANYMORE

I'm also not writing to tell you to take your earplugs out and listen to someone for a minute. NO. NO. NO. 

Listening.....true listening.....has to start in the heart - not the ears.  If you don't want to listen to me, if I don't want to hear you - it's a matter of the heart not the ears.  I can force you to remove your earbuds, put your phone down, stop texting.. but I cannot make your heart soft enough to care about what I want to say.  If you don't want to listen.. .why speak to you at all? 

It's everyone's right to decide IF they want to listen. If you want to cut yourself off from the world, that's a heart decision of yours.   BUT.. as a result.... 

We have gotten used to not being listened to. 
We have grown accustomed to speaking and no one hears us.  
We don't expect to be heard anymore.

And that's the reason I am writing this.  

To remind us - me - you - that

God has not changed. 
When we speak to Him He doesn't have His ear buds in, as He checks His text messages and emails on His smartphone and reads the headlines while watching a movie and nodding like He is listening but isn't really.

This lack of listening all around us can convince us of a lie - that God is also NOT LISTENING.  So why pray if He isn't listening?
So we stop praying.

But HE IS LISTENING.
So... speak up.
He longs to hear your heart. 
He created it.

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. 
Isaiah 65:24

Thursday, June 14, 2018

SO HEAVENLY MINDED

photo by my grandson, 15
cli·ché . (klēˈSHā/) noun: a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought; a stereotype.   
"Some people are so heavenly minded they do no earthly good." 
An overused cliche for sure.  It creates so many questions in my mind. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

SIMPLE QUESTION

Most of us are too embarrassed to come right out and ask another person this question. 

Some of us have decided that if we HAVE TO ASK then the answer is probably some form of "not really."  We live our daily lives with this question at the root of most of what we do... though we don't consciously realize it. 
  
Sometimes the answer is obviously "no" -  but we don't want to see it, hear it, or believe it.  

The question? 
"Do you love me?"

It's such a simple question.  It's such a basic question. It's such a pitiful question to have to ask someone. Especially someone you have a relationship with.  It's a heartbreaking question for a child to have to ask a parent. "Dad, do you love me? Mom, do you love me?"  I cannot tell you the countless broken hearts of countless broken people whose root of brokenness began because they did not feel loved by Mom or Dad.

Marriages rise and fall apart on the truthful answer to this question.  "Do you love me? I mean, do you love ME? The real me? Do you LOVE me? Do you feel that feeling called LOVE for me? Are you doing what you do because you LOVE me or because you're stuck with me? Are you here out of duty or do you LOVE ME? Are you here because of the children or do you LOVE ME? Do you love me? Do you LOVE me?"

Jesus is not afraid to ask the question.  He requires.. REQUIRES us to answer it.  HONESTLY.  TRUTHFULLY.  

Jesus created us with the need to have the answer to this question...not only in our relationships with others.. but.. in the most important relationship we have. Our relationship with HIM.  
"Do you love Me?"

He asked Peter the Betrayer.  

"Do you love Me?"

He asks every Betrayer. 

He asks a simple question. 

"Do you love me?"











Tuesday, May 15, 2018

WAITING FOR THE WAITING





I confess I am spiritually spoiled. I grew up surrounded by people (my parents, my grandmother) who knew and loved God and His people with every ounce of their being.  When life threw itself at them with all it could, they prayed.  When they were confused, they prayed.  They changed inside in to people who were confident in their faith, and people who LOVED PEOPLE.  People who prayed. I saw it, I felt it, I lived it. 

And then I met a teenaged boy who was growing up under the leadership of a man and his wife (Pastor and Vangie Mercaldo) who knew and loved God.The teenaged boy became my husband and his pastor became my pastor. I am forever grateful to God for Pastor Daniel Mercaldo's loving leadership, and straight forward preaching and teaching. He CARED ABOUT US more than HE CARED ABOUT HIMSELF. He did. His sermons were spoken to help us live every day, to remind us that God is real, and present in our lives - and not just words to fill forty-five minutes on Sunday morning - or talking to show us how much he knew, or how much he had accomplished.  You could feel the LOVE in his words. You could sense the passion of Jesus to give us LIFE when he spoke.  He spoke with US in mind.   I was never bored when he preached.  I always felt like he was giving us spiritual FOOD... He sermons always ended too early. He is STILL like a pastor to us.  I assumed that EVERY pastor was dedicated to preaching with "feeding the sheep" as his primary preaching purpose.  This has not always been true. 

And then in 1978 we met a pastor and his wife (Pastor Jim and Carol Cymbala, The Brooklyn Tabernacle)  whose lives touched us and influenced us as few people are ever blessed to be touched and influenced. I cannot put in to words the way they blessed our lives. Because of them and their Godly influence in my life and my husband’s life we understood that God is looking for one thing above all other things.  

God is looking for People Who Pray.

That’s it.  People who pray. 

Not people who preach.
Not people who sing.
Not people who teach.
Not people who write books.
Not people who talk about prayer.
Not books that teach about prayer.
God is looking for:

People Who Pray.  
Not people who ONLY pray, but people who PRAY FIRST. 

God's system is very simple. He isn't expecting us to do nothing. Oh no, He expects us to devote ourselves to working in His kingdom.. but.. not before we PRAY.  The Church prayed first.  And THEN THEY CHANGED THE WORLD.

It would seem simple and obvious that people who say they live their lives based on The New Testament would learn the simple lesson. 

First we pray. Then we do.
First we seek Him. Then we do.

I don't see anywhere in the Bible where we are are instructed to be 
"People Who Do" rather than "People Who Pray"

I don't see anywhere in the Bible where we are told, "Listen, if you don't feel like praying, or if you're too busy to stop and spend time with the Lord, don't worry about it.  Just do something at church. Volunteer  for something... or give extra in the offering plate.  Or.. if you are unwilling to see the importance of sitting at the feet of Jesus, then start  some kind of ministry.  Be a singer. Be a speaker. Volunteer at the food bank. You can substitute being busy FOR God with being WITH God...  And even though the Gospels repeatedly tell us that JESUS HIMSELF had to get alone and pray and hear from His Father, don't worry about following His example.  Surely you are strong enough to NOT PRAY.. even though Jesus seemed to need it like oxygen... Because God didn't really MEAN it when He said, very strongly, "MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER!" And the fact that you can find lots of stuff going on in churches all over America, but rarely find a church that has a prayer meeting.. a prayer meeting where people actually pray and wait on the Lord......doesn't really matter to God. Right? 

I mean, seriously, that is, sadly, the situation many times. But when we serve the sheep, when we love the sheep, when we are in any kind of ministry, it is Living Water and The Bread of Life that people require.  God forbid we should call ourselves His voice and speak worthless words without LIFE.  

And people who pray understand that prayer requires waiting.  Waiting in prayer. And waiting for God to answer prayers. Waiting for God's Spirit to reveal God's Word, God's Will and God's Ways.   
So tragically widespread is the unwillingness to wait, that most believers I meet think living without power is the way life is supposed to be lived.

It isn't a doctrine that is being ignored that is the tragedy of this lack of focus on prayer.. it's the sheep that are being eaten by wolves.  They don't understand the power of prayer because all they've ever heard are powerless prayers.  They are being called on to volunteer at church before they are taught to call on the Lord at church.   The reason you and I have heard The Gospel, the reason we have churches to attend is because The Church was started by people who were willing to wait. Willing to wait for what? They didn't know what they were waiting for, but devoted themselves to prayer. When what they were waiting for arrived - rather when WHO they were waiting for arrived - THEY KNEW IT. No one needed to ask them, "Do you think God is here?" People know when God is present... People know when they are being fed.  Thankfully, Jesus, The Great Shepherd, loves them and cares for them... but still...  
I will keep waiting for the waiting ones.
I will keep waiting on and for the Lord.
I pray you will also.

Talk to God today.  Seek the Lord.  Take time away from other "stuff" and devote that time to simply having a conversation using honest words from a humble heart.  God cannot resist that.  God responds to that.

Wait on the Lord.
And He will strengthen your heart. Psalm 27:14





Monday, April 30, 2018

WHILE YOU'RE WAITING FOR THE WHITE KNIGHT

Evidently, if you want to write a screenplay for a "chick flick" kind of movie, the plot is not difficult to figure out.  It's the same formula over and over.  Names change. Lead actors change.  Movie titles change.  Locations change. But we women seem to love the same theme over and over again. 

You have two people who meet and fall in love. Although their love is deep and real, some difficulties arise between them. The guy (always the guy) allows this woman to get away.  At the very last second, when it is almost too late, the guy comes to his senses and then he literally climbs mountains, swims oceans, walks on burning coals of fire.. JUST TO HAVE HER.  Before you send me emails about over generalization, think about it girls.  Why do we want that "I cannot live without you and I will pay any price to have you" moment?  Why do we want/need that?  Why do so few of us get it? 

I get to talk to and hear from hundreds of women. Some single, some married, some divorced, some widowed. At the core of their being, I believe many of them are starving for that kind of love. 

They want someone, anyone, somewhere, somehow to love them so much, SO MUCH, that nothing is too high a price, nothing will keep him from doing what needs to be done so that the two of them can be together forever. In the movies, the guy realizes that losing the love of his life, losing this once-in-a-lifetime kind of love would be the stupidest thing he ever did. So he does whatever he needs to do. He swallows his pride. He climbs mountains. He changes his life. He gives up his friends. HE GIVES UP EVERYTHING TO HAVE THIS WOMAN. EVERY. SINGLE. THING.

It rarely happens of course. Real life is not the movies. In real life, the guy who says he loves you more than he loves his wife... doesn't leave her for you. IN REAL LIFE, the husband who takes you for granted, keeps taking you for granted no matter how you plead with him not to.  The guy who says he will love you tomorrow if you give him what he wants today.. doesn't love you tomorrow.  You wait for a chick flick movie ending - but it never comes. 

OR DOES IT?

I HAVE FINALLY UNDERSTOOD.. IN THE DEEPEST PLACE OF MY HEART.. THAT..the kind of love we need can never be found in another human being.  We were created to be loved in a higher way.  A longer way. A more authentic way.

It's not a movie. It's real. It's true. It's forever.
I have been brokenhearted and disappointed by people who said they loved me but let me walk away. People who have walked away even though I loved them with every ounce of my heart. Have you?

The love we are seeking has a name. His name is Jesus.  HE is the love I crave and need.  He will never leave. He will never forsake me.  Or you.

He gave up more than everything to have you. He gave up His throne in heaven. He gave up His perfection. He let ALMIGHTY GOD pour out His ALMIGHTY ANGER AT YOU.. on Him.  

This is not a movie.
This is real life.

This song is older, not the best sound... but says it perfectly.

Listen if you want to.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rFUnwXn9Eo