“Death begins with bad feet…”

man wearing military uniform and walking through woods

Photo by Specna Arms

The older experienced soldier watched as twenty new young men were milling about the base. He knew they had no clue what they were in for. The Korean “police action” at the 38th parallel between South Korea supported by the  United Nations  (largely the United States of America) against North Korea supported by China and The Soviet Union. The older soldier was still recovering from the unexpected and brutal Battle at Naktong River. That is where his best buddy’s feet went bad. The wet boots along with pouring down rain never allowed much time for drying out. His buddy didn’t even try to get his feet dry and by the time the battle ended his feet were black. Three weeks later he was dead. The Koreans have a saying, “death begins with bad feet.”

My take away from this wisdom is that I have learned to pay attention to where my feet are walking on this journey of life. The small things. My feet get soggy with the cares of the material world of what people think of me. According to scripture we are in spiritual warfare as believers who follow Christ…

For the follower of Christ Jesus  we are taught to put on the armour of God for the daily warfare with an evil , fallen world. Part of that armour described in Ephesians 6 encourages us to Shod our feet with the Gospel, the Good News that the Savior of the world has come.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation…Isaiah 52:7

 

The Solution to your suffering is not what you think it is…

window church crucifixion church window

Photo by Pixabay

 

So Truth for me came as a shock. I grew up in a well meaning Christian and Bible following home and Church but I believe there was a message given (without malice) that if “we all just come give our hearts to Jesus, everything will be good!’…

And we who have lived very long know this is absolutely untrue. Being a preacher’s daughter I went to tons of youth events, revival, camp outings where this was the mantra.

I believe what these well meaning loving people were saying (be it naive) is that we all are in need of a Savior for we are born enemies of God and  dead in our sin without him. They were trying to present the Gospel but they left out one important Truth…suffering.

You see, the young girl who gives her life to Christ at your youth camp still goes home to her alcoholic mother when all is done. The boy on the football team that everybody loves still goes home to a Dad who tells him he is useless because he isn’t starting quarterback. So what occurs is the seed of their “moment” with the Lord (which I believe can be real but often is not) falls on the rocky, painful  soil and is quickly plucked away by the pain of this world!

I believe that Truth is a person. Truth is the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus even tells us he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Truth is not pretty and tied up all in a bow. The Truth is not a Hallmark movie.

The Truth is a snot slinging, earth shattering  cry of repentance and pain and sorrow into a bloody, brutal battle and only Truth can win that sin battle. Only Truth has the Sword of the Words of life and that sword must pierce you right where you are but know this He, Jesus, Truth suffered more than your mind can comprehend. He despised the shame, our shame. He scorned our sin that he would have to bear for us to live in the presence of the Holy One! Truth got slaughtered and hung on a tree for us!

So if after you accept Christ you still have your alcoholic spouse, or a son on drugs, or a daughter date raped and pregnant, or a Church that hurts you, or a failed missionary vision…you see where my heart is going here…people Jesus came to save us from these messes we have made that have caused Him so much suffering. Life without Jesus is NO LIFE AT ALL but make no mistake Life with Jesus is the Way you get through the suffering of your broken sinful life and gradually you realize the suffering is how you really know who Jesus is and that your suffering is nothing compared to the Matchless Glory of His Grace! Do not be surprised by suffering friend. Follow closely beside The Christ, who is the Truth because he has walked this path before us. Follow Him.

 

“…but what comes to you contrary to your choosing, thinking, desiring, that is where you must follow, there He is calling.”

woman with yellow backpack standing on hanging bridge with trees

Photo by Josh Willink 

For many years I have tried to manage Christian “doctrine” and the “Truth of Jesus and His Cross.”  I write about this a lot because following Jesus Christ and being used by Jesus Christ to further his Kingdom has been the greatest longing in my life. I was basically and literally born into it. I am more than grateful for my raising, even the hardest parts where I learned what a mess I am.

I say this because while my deepest and strongest desire in this world is to be a disciple of Jesus I am now in my sixth decade and feel I am just beginning to understand what that means.

It is really quite simple. Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we could be put “in right relationship with God.” Which is marvelous in and of itself however God’s plan is to put the whole world right as well. Not just you and me. Salvation is NOT just me and my loved ones but ALL the people in ALL the world. 

This  has been quite diluted in the Church since  the moment Jesus ascended. This Revolution Jesus started on the Cross, this most powerful declaration of God’s love for us cannot be reduced to formulas or catchy slogans or politics or religious formulas and traditions. 

Again this quote from Martin Luther says it so much better than I can…

“things must happen NOT according to your own knowledge but rather immerse yourself in the abandonment of understanding and Jesus will give you true understanding. You cannot find the way of the cross. Jesus must lead you there like a blind person. Not the work you chose for yourself, not the sufferings you think up for yourself, but what comes to you contrary to your choosing, thinking, desiring, that is where you must follow, there He is calling. There you are the pupil, there is where your teacher, your Savior has come and is found.”

You see, our LORD has walked this path before us as a human. His Holy Spirit is here walking this path with us, teaching us, guiding us…

As we walk so closely to Jesus, like a blind person. Trusting Him (Jesus) the way He trusted God, our Father, becoming a true disciple is about these things… giving up control, not being my own god…Yes Lord.

Oh how all the Kings have fallen

war chess

Photo by Gladson Xavier

Oh how all the Kings have fallen

From their high and lofty thrones!

The white Knights are soiled with black death

none of them call upon Almighty God!

All the people lie constantly so the innocents die

Their evil makes a mockery of Almighty God!

 

Oh if only they would cry from deep hearts

and give up their ego and selfish ways!

I, Almighty God have made a way to redeem them

Only I have saved them with my own right hand!

I desire mercy and compassion above all else

I, Almighty God have spoken for all to hear!

The Great Rescue

wrecked ship

Photo by Aneta Foubíková

To be rescued one must have a solid knowledge from what we are being rescued. In the case of humanity we need to be rescued from Sin. We do not like to admit sin. We do not like to talk about sin. We definitely spend a lot of time trying to hide our sin so why would we not receive rescuing? Because being rescued portends that we give up all of our own control and humble ourselves.

As a child growing up in a Christian home and church I was taught often that I was a sinner. I did not however understand the nature of Sin nor did I understand  The Fall of human kind that occurred one black day in the Garden of Eden. I did not realize I was born an enemy of God and that I hated God and was in rebellion toward God!  

The good news of God’s grace is that he loves and came here for his enemies. He did not wait until I was all cleaned up outwardly. He did not wait for me to pray the “sinner’s prayer or walk down the aisle of my church. He did not wait for me to study theology or memorize the Bible.

The point of the Cross of Jesus is that on that Cross hung the vehicle of my rescue. The man of Jesus would provide the greatest rescue of all time. Understanding and receiving the Cross of Jesus is not so  we can congratulate ourselves for solving theology or religious formula but that we may understand the cost and the humility of the Great Rescuer in it’s heinous, bloody, awful Glory. We have not been rescued from sin so that we can be great thinkers of abstract ideas or to make sure everyone around us is doing what they should be doing. We have been rescued by being put right with God and becomin part of God’s family and God’s plan to save the whole world. That is how The Great Rescue works. Once we are put right with God we then go and share with kindness and compassion how while we were sinners and enemies of God he still loved us.  There is a Rescuer and His name is Jesus! His rescue is final and perfect.

 

Jars of Clay…we were enemies of God

blur broken ceramic clay

Photo by Fancycrave.com 

 

The heavy burden of baggage, the relentlessness of clocks. No none likes to see something break. It would not be normal if we liked to see something or someone break yet we are all broken. The day we are born we begin the journey into decay. Some see this as morbid. I see it as part of the “fall” or disobedience. The brokenness that had to be reconciled. The healing that had to happen in such an earth shattering, heaven and hell kind of way. Complete light and complete darkness collide and God’s light wins.

Everything about us, our appearance, the miraculous functioning of our bodies and brains are designed. Some of us dress plainly. Some wear costumes of bright plumage. Some of us are Primary clay. Some of us are transformed by miles of rain, wind, and ice.

I was once broken but have been transformed into his marvelous light.

 

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of  your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.  Colossians 1:24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reckless Endangerment

photo of child reading holy bible

Photo by nappy

 

Reckless Endangerment is a law that states “wrongly recklessness of wanton conduct that is likely to produce grievous harm or death to another person.”

I read an article recently that a young lady is being charged with Reckless Endangerment because she pushed another girl off of a sixty foot bridge and caused her to be severely injured. According to the article Reckless Endangerment is a misdemeanor which carries a monetary fine and possible time in prison. I do not believe the one who pushed the other intended injury, nevertheless she did cause injury.

What stayed with me the next few days was the sobering thought that as a follower of Jesus Christ I must be diligent in my words and deeds as His Ambassador. I fear any Christian’s speaking “out of context” or just plain “lie or twist the truth”  may do so at our own peril. There are many false teachers that I am aware of today because of social media. I am also sobered at the words of Jesus himself when he says that it “would be better for a millstone to be around your neck and you drown than to lead any of these astray.”   

Jesus warns those who are Shepherds of his people (and religious leaders)  strongly about misleading others in any way away from the simple truth that “those that believe on His name and that he is the Son of God shall be saved.”  We cannot add to Jesus or take away from Jesus. John the Baptist preached the simple act of repentance and humbling ourselves to the One whose sandals he was unworthy to tie…

However, there are those called by God to shepherd and lead and teach in the context of the Body of Christ.  I  believe there is  accountability like no other if or when we speak for or of God wether we speak in large groups or just to a spouse or our children.  I am reminded that Jesus said in a field of healthy wheat there is also growing weeds that look just like the wheat  in the same field and when the harvest is brought into the threshing floor the fake wheat would be separated from the real wheat and destroyed by fire.

Over fifteen million women follow other women speakers, Bible teachers, and preachers on social media…this tells me two things. One is perhaps these women’s spiritual study needs are not being met in the local church and secondly, how do they know who to follow or does that matter?  It is reckless endangerment, in my opinion, to teach that gay marriage is a holy ordinance of God. It is also reckless endangerment to let a man who has sexually molested  children and/or women be leading anyone. Another reckless teaching is that if you are ill and God does not heal you then you must have sin in your life! (Hello Job’s best friends), and one of my old favorites, which a young woman actually told me this week, she was told that if she doesn’t have sex with her husband every single time he wants to she is sinning against God. Reckless endangerment!

I think about this in my own life and take a posture of being down on my face before Holy God and somehow relaying to anyone any Word of God incorrectly. I tremble at the thought.

That is what concerns me as a teacher, mentor, writer, Mom, Grandmother, and wife. If I am expounding to anyone on God’s Word I am not playing a game and teaching little cute sayings or formulas.

The wonderful Reverend Billy Graham and my amazing Grandfather, Dr. C. E. Autrey, always said this about their preaching.  They never made a statement in a sermon that could not be prefaced by these three words, “The Bible says…”

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.  2 Peter

The Feast of The Fowl

I saw the angel standing in the sun and he cried out so all heaven and earth and under the earth could hear, saying…Come all you fowl in the heavens to the feast of the Great King and eat upon the flesh of captains and kings of this world!”   Revelation 19

flock of birds

Photo by Alex Fu 

 

All who hear open your hearts and eyes!

Not out of fear or dogma but for His name’s sake

He will execute perfect love and mercy!

They who think they are wise but are enemies of The One

who is Holy and Faithful and True be aware!

His name is Faithful and True

His name is The Word of God

The King of Kings is His name

His eyes burn  with the white flame of justice

Many crowns are upon his head

He  will judge those who hate him still!

The sword of His word will judge in perfect righteousness

 All the fowl of the earth

will feast on their flesh on that day!

 

I like stillness best…

turned on grey table lamp

Photo by Dorran

 

It is the end of the day and evening twilight has gone. It is that time when quiet lay like a mantle of fresh snow over my world. It is that moment when I seek rest for my mind and soul and prayers of thanks for this day are said. Of all the wonder this life brings as I grow older I have come to love “Stillness” best. Stillness when I rock my grandson to sleep or one of them tells me in child like whispers of faith an imaginary story or how they see the world. Stillness when my husband lay beside me and we read our books and hold hands. Stillness where I collect my thoughts, my dreams, my joy, and my sadness and I string them like beautiful pearls and give them back to God. In stillness I feel His peace and protection over my daughters and their families and dear loved ones in my life. Stillness where I let grief and hope arise together like an entwined tapestry and lay them at the feet of Jesus, the One in whom I put all my trust. Yes, I believe it is fair to say that in getting older of all the wonderful sounds of life I have begun to love “stillness” best.