Posts Tagged ‘COURAGE’

The Sentinental Star’s headline screamed: EXECUTIVE ORDER SIGNED. JEWS TO DIE. EXECUTION DATE: THIRTEENTH DAY OF THE TWELVETH MONTH. Seizure of property and possessions. Commander –in-Chief and VP sit down to drink. City in confusion.

How would you react? Would this order have crossed your line in the sand?

If you are a Jew, what must you do?

Mordecai tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, walked downtown, wailing loudly and bitterly in front of the Citadel.

Think about the citizens of Susa. Some of the condemned folks were their neighbors. Their friends. Some taught their children in school. And some were local bankers and shopkeepers. The order was law. This was real. There was no recourse. People were going to die—all Jews from Ethiopia to India.

Unknown to the Commander-in-Chief, his wife was a Jew. The question of her nationality had never been discussed.

But Mordecai knew. And he refused to be silent.

Imagine the sound of weeping and wailing throughout the city, and the pandemonium. Or perhaps the Gentiles said nothing.

If you turned on TV tonight and a similar executive order had been signed into law, what would you do? It’s not beyond the realm of possibility—remember the Crusades? Remember Hitler? And in Joel 3:1-2, the prophet talks about a time just before the Day of the Lord when God tells us He will bring Judah and Jerusalem again into captivity.

Does the Church today have a heart to weep? A heart to fast? A heart to wail and put on sackcloth? Have we forgotten how to seek God’s face as a congregation? Or will we sit, like those German Christians, turning up the organ’s volume and singing louder so we don’t hear their screams?

Susa’s Secret Service kept the public away from the royal family. So Hadassah sent a servant to Mordecai, asking what was wrong.
Mordecai sent her a copy of the morning news and ordered her to intervene with her husband. He sent this message:

“Do not imagine that you can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent…relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place … and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14 NAS).

Yes, Queen Esther sent word back to her uncle, asking him to assemble all the Jews in Susa and to fast for her for three days and nights. She and her maidens were going to fast also. And then she uttered those courageous words:

“And thus I will go in to the king which is notDSCF4320 according to the law; and if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16 NAS).

Christians what will it take to break our hard hearts? How much worse is it going to have to get before all of God’s people fast and pray for our nation? Yes, Jesus is coming, but it’s going to get real nasty on planet earth before that event. And we are to be standing firm, making disciples ‘til He comes, not hiding in the shadows, hoping not to be noticed.

God tells us in those last days all nations will rise up against Israel. America’s current leaders are well down the path of turning against Israel. One swipe of the pen could end that relationship and place our nation under God’s curse:

“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee—” (Genesis 12:3 KJV).

In the final chapters of the Book of Esther, we see how God answered His people when they humbled themselves and fasted before Him. And how those who cursed the Jews were indeed cursed.

Whatever experiences God has allowed in your life have brought you “to such a time as this.” Will you remain silent? Or will you speak up, imploring the King’s favor for His people? Have you contemplated your line in the sand? Will you be courageous enough to stand firm in the principles of God’s Word? Drawing that line and agreeing with Esther, “If I perish, I perish.”

“And by smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action” (Daniel 11:33 NAS).

Next week: The rest of the story.


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Every day, flush after flush, Americans attempt to rid their lives of three troublesome Christian character attributes like they were dung. The chain is pulled, over and over, sending these necessary principles swirling down the drain as if they were contaminated sewage. Sound ugly? Offend your senses? Sorry. It’s truth. And it’s DSCF2349happening throughout American and within the church. Day after day after day.

We don’t fear God.

We haven’t taught our children to fear God. We’ve danced a little two-step, ever widening the theology around this instruction for years. And now our children fear nothing. Respect nothing. And believe nothing.

We have rebelled against God.

“Fear God? He’s a God of love isn’t He? Why should I fear Him? I just need to show Him a little respect—right?”

No. That’s not what scripture says. The Hebrew word “yare” means fear, terrible thing, stand in awe, reverence. This verb connotes the psychological reaction of fear. To tremble. Be afraid of Him. Be afraid to disobey Him. Be afraid of the certainty of consequences if you do.

Satan whispers deceptive lies in our ears, just like he did to Eve. He twists and turns truth, misrepresenting who God is and what He has said. And, just like Eve, we choose to believe the devil’s lies.

Proverbs says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7 NAS).

We don’t love truth, because truth is hard. And we don’t like hard stuff. We don’t like change. And we don’t want God to change us. Oh, maybe a tiny bit, but not a radical change. That’s too much.

The truth is, if He doesn’t change us, we don’t belong to Him. God is perfect love, perfect truth, and perfect righteousness. We cannot come into His presence without being cleansing by the blood and the righteous covering of Jesus Christ.

When you walked the aisle and were dunked in the baptismal waters, if there was no change in your heart, your attitude, and your lifestyle, there’s a problem. If you sleep through life, sermons, and grief, never experiencing the transforming power of God’s love in your life, there’s a problem.

At the time of salvation the Comforter, the Helper, the Spirit of God comes to live in our hearts. From that moment we are given all of the Spirit we will ever have. But does the Spirit have all of us? Scripture instructs “do not grieve the Spirit of God.”

How many reading this blog today have children and grandchildren who ignore you? Want no relationship with you? Disobey your rules? Refuse to show their love, respect, and gratitude for your provision and position in their lives? Their actions hurt and grieve your heart, don’t they?

How much more the Holy Spirit is grieved if we have no desire to allow Him to transform our minds, hearts, and souls. When we refuse to study the truths of His Word, choosing to cling to the things we watch on TV, see in the movies and read in many books, things we know offend our righteous God and offend His Spirit—what does this say about our fear of Him and love for Him?

Earth is a training ground. Training for eternal life with God, under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ, in a place of perfect righteousness. If we’re not happy to be with Him now, why do you think we’d be happy with Him, in His kingdom? What have you learned during your journey on earth that will equip you for eternity? What are your life patterns training you for? Do you love Jesus more with each passing day?

Revelation 21: 8 tells us “cowards, unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. These will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

God is not our fairy-godfather, who waves His hand to make our lives perfect. No. He tells us our hearts are wicked and deceitful. But Jesus will transform us to be like “trees planted by the river of waters” that will bring forth spiritual fruit. That’s not for some time bye-and-bye in the sky. It’s right now.

We are to wake up each morning asking for courage to put to death the deeds of our flesh. We are to walk in obedience to God’s principles and precepts, in spite of the trends of our times. Our lives are to bring honor and glory to Him. We are to show others what Jesus looks like.

I have a terrible temper. I’d love to tell you the Holy Spirit waves His cosmic hand and that nasty nonsense disappears out of my heart and mind. No, I have to make the choice, each day, to put this ugliness out of my life every time it flutters and builds walls in my heart.

When I obey, the Spirit helps me. He bolsters my courage to stand against the deception that lurks in the dark corners of my heart and mind. But I have to pick up the spike and hammer it into this evil character trait, as well as all the other behaviors and attitudes I know do not honor God.

Transformation takes a lifetime, but there must be forward progress. And we can’t muscle our way to change. There must be an individual relationship with Jesus. A longing to spend time with Him. An urgency to know His word. And time learning to trust Him.

The end of this age is drawing near. God’s people are to be watchmen on America’s wall. We are to sound the alarm. And who isn’t alarmed by the swift decent of this nation into calling good—evil and evil—good? We are to battle with one hand on the Word of God and the other hand on the pulse of discipleship. Teaching, comforting, and caring for those God places in our circle of friendship. So when the attacks come the Word of God will slice between truth and lies. Are you blowing a wake-up call to all who will listen?
The battle will be fierce in the days to come. In order to stand firm our hearts must be trained, full of courage, and being renewed and refilled with the truth of His Word, the knowledge of His love, and the power of His Spirit.

We are called to be committed soldiers of the King. Soldiers who have a healthy fear of The Sovereign God of all creation. A good God who takes care of His own people. But a righteous God who will, on a day certain, judge His enemies. Forever.

Today there’s still time to repent. Time for the Spirit to transform your life. Time to learn to fear God, love HisDSCF0983 truth, and stand with courage.

But God’s clock is ticking. The hour is late. And time is short.

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Do you remember a number of years ago hearing the story of the nurse who stumbled upon a partial-birth-aborted baby the doctor had left in a hospital sink to die? She appeared on the Bill O’Reilley show and upon hearing her account, O’Reilley was speechless.

She wept and said, “The only thing I could do was sit and hold this precious baby and watch it die.”

You and I know those who kill innocent babies will stand before the King of Kings one day to receive His just judgment. But do you know in Ezekiel 33:1-9 God says that you and I will also stand before Jesus to hear Him say:

“When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man,  you shall surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand” (Ezekiel 33:8 NAS).

Shortly after the nurse’s account became public, Congress passed legislation out-lawing late term and partial-birth abortions. This nurse became a watchwoman on America’s wall.

Would that there had been a watchman on the wall in that quiet Connecticut town before the events of last Friday. The evidence of impending tragedy was apparent and seen by many. But not a soul sounded the alarm.

Up to this point in America’s history there have always been chosen watchmen. Preachers who have spoken the truth of God’s Word and sounded a warning about the consequences of ignoring God and turning to embrace wickedness.

During the course of my lifetime Billy Graham has been sought by previous Administrations to seek God’s blessing upon our nation. The last evangelist who advised, gave counsel, and prayed with the presidents of his generation. But Billy Graham has not been an invited guest and counselor to this Whitehouse. Will another man of the Lord God Almighty be invited to fill this gap?

There are a few men who stand and boldly proclaim God’s Word on the national scene, Dr. Robert Jeffress, Dr. John Hagee, Dr. David Jeremiah, Dr. Charles Stanley, and a few others, but we are left without a recognized and nationally accepted watchman on the wall of America.

America’s spiritual bulkhead is broken and crumbling. We are a people divided. Half the people have no interest in repairing the barrier—they don’t even recognize the fortress is fractured and disintegrating—yet. And the other half are too timid to speak the truth of God’s Word. Afraid of ridicule.

God appointed Ezekiel to be a watchman for the house of Israel during his lifetime. A prophet called to speak God’s truth to His people and God told him whether they listened or not, they would know a prophet had been among them. He told Ezekiel:

“I have made  your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. Like emery harder than flint I have made your forehead. Do not be afraid of them or be dismayed before them though they are a rebellious house.”

The priests of Ezekiel’s time were participating in despicable abominations—in the Temple—telling the people everything would be okay. Telling them there would be peace and prosperity.

But God said judgment was coming. And it did.

God has used pagan nations to deliver His judgment. And yet Israel still does not accept Jesus as God’s Lamb and their Messiah. But the Word tells of a day when they will wake up and recognize Jesus as Lord. Not because of their wisdom and understanding, but because of God’s faithfulness to His Word. However, they’ve never worshiped  idols since their journey to captivity in Babylon.

Well folks, history indeed repeats itself. America has preachers who tell their congregations lies too. Preachers who never mention sin. Preachers who never mention the blood of Jesus Christ, the only remedy before the God of all Creation for the cleansing of sin. Preachers who, as Dr. Homer Lindsay, Sr. said, “deliver sermonets-by-preacherets-to-christianets.”

Have you considered that God has called you and me to be His watchmen on the wall in our times? Watchmen and women in your home, your neighborhood, your work place, your school?

Ezekiel didn’t have to stay up half the night to prepare a sermon. No sir. God told him, “speak to them the words I speak to you.”

Words recorded in the Bible, the complete Word of God.

Do you know enough of His Word to tell your friends and neighbors what He says about …you name the subject? The list of discrepancies against His Word is abundant and practiced by many today, and some of those who rebel against the Word sit next to you each Sunday morning.

But the truth you must deliver is:

“God sent Jesus to pay for your sins. God still loves you and so do I.  If you are sorry about your sins, turn from your sins and trust that what Jesus paid was enough to present you before His righteous, holy Father, then, by the power of His Spirit, you choose to walk in obedience to God’s Word for the remainder of your life…scripture tells us you will be saved” ( Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, John 3:16 NKJ).

This past week I received a large red lapel pin that states, “It’s okay to tell me Merry Christmas!”  I went to the mall and grocery store wearing my pin. Many folks stopped me and asked, “What does your pin say?” I pulled my jacket back each time so they could read the words and their reactions were astonishing. Many faces smiled and said “Merry Christmas”. But just as many looked at me with faces hard as flint, turned, and walked away. What a sad commentary of our times.

But God’s Word is clear. “Go tell and make disciples.”  Tell them what? What has Jesus Christ done for you. For me. If we don’t tell and they continue in their wickedness and rebellion they will be doomed. Separated from Christ forever, and God will require their blood from our hand.

This could be our last Christmas celebration before Jesus returns for His own people.

Will you stand on America’s wall to be God’s watchman? Will you go and tell? Better to speak-up now than be required to give the Sovereign God of the Universe the reason for your silence.

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When our daughter died, the children moved in with my husband and me for six months while our son-in-law completed required Army schooling and relocated to his next duty assignment.

After that I relocated with the children to the new Post to help establish their household. My husband, the children’s Papa, stayed behind in Dallas to keep our home fires burning. Yet another loss for me.

My list of secondary losses grew day by day. Only I didn’t know what they were or even that they were. I just knew I hurt and everything in my life spun out-of-control. But there were more important issues to address—children who had lost their mom, and a father who had lost his wife. So I put my grief aside.

I thought.

Papa came for weekend visits once or twice a month. During one visit I gave him a box of vintage Madame Alexander dolls to take back home for safe-keeping until our granddaughter was old enough to care for them. Some were her mom’s dolls and some were my mine. Treasures. Waiting to be passed to this child of my child.

Papa rented a car for his trip and when he returned it to the rental company, he forgot the dolls were in the trunk. Half-way home he remembered and backtracked, but the dolls were nowhere to be found. Like so many other things that had vanished during the past six months, they were gone forever.

The emotional rip-tide of tears eroded deeper trenches in my aching heart.

He apologized, over and over again. But I could do nothing but weep, snarl at him, and pile this new heartache onto the mounting stack of losses. I had no idea, nor did I care how he felt.

I’ve come to understand that during the grief process husbands and wives are total  strangers. Unlike a woman, the worst thing a man ever has to face are his emotions. Now Papa had to deal with his emotions as well as a wife drowning in her raging ocean of grief. He was clueless. And I did nothing to ease his guilt.

We are all like porcupines during this anguish.  If threatened or aggravated, our quills extend, aim, and fire at the first shift in the landscape. We are so self-absorbed, we don’t recognize that other family members are also grieving. We focus on ourselves. On our pain. On our loss. Unable to comprehend that our hemorrhaging hearts need a transfusion.

But the old saying—the bumps are what you climb on—holds true. And eventually these losses are rocks we must climb and conquer. Some are not too bad, but others are jagged boulders that feel like we’re scaling Mt. Everest.

So how do we begin managing these troublesome after-the-fact losses?

One profound fact is, Hurt people hurt people.

That’s true among family members where death has intruded.  Understanding this doesn’t take the sting out of hateful words or actions we’ve received or inflicted, but it encourages us to think about why and then choose to forgive whoever caused the pain and anguish. Just like Jesus forgives us when we cause Him pain and anguish.

A few weeks after the lost dolls, I was reading the Word and crying out to God when I heard that still, small voice inside me ask, Would I withhold anything from you that you needed?

I had to answer, “No Lord. But her dolls? Lord, why?”

My mind flew back to the verse that had become my life-ring, The secret things belong to the Lord. The things revealed belong to you and your children forever…”(Deuteronomy 29:29). This would be another one of those secret things.

Again, another question.  Do you trust Me?

My pathetic voice, saturated with fear and very little faith said, “Yes, Lord. I trust You, even with those dolls.”

And for the moment His peace reigned in my heart.

That’s what the grief journey is about—a rollercoaster ride through heights of His peace interrupted by heart-stopping plunges into the abyss of the next secondary loss.

This pain and confusion you’re going through will not last forever, but it lasts longer than you ever imagined. The goal is to accept the fact you are mourning the loss of someone you loved and you must let tears come when they may. Jesus wept over Lazarus, even as He knew in the next moments He would issue the command and Lazarus would walk out of that tomb—Alive.

Over the years, I’ve wondered if perhaps some father or grandfather who worked at the rental company saw those dolls and his little girl had no dolls. Could those dolls have brought joy where there was none? I choose to believe God allowed those dolls to be held and loved by a little girl He knew needed them. And I thank Him. I’ve also come to understand that God never wastes anything. But we’ll talk about that next week. That’s right. God never wastes anything—even your grief.

Prescription #2:   Be still and quiet before the Lord God and read and listen to His Word.  Then make a commitment to compose a Loss History. Take a sheet of paper and list every loss you can remember experiencing. At the edge of the paper make two columns Historical and Current.

As you list each loss, evaluate whether you’re still grieving. Even if it was fifty years ago. If you are, mark Current. If there is no churning or anger, mark Historical. Every loss must be individually dealt with.

Every grief is unique. You can choose to forgive, even when your heart and mind want to raise a ruckus. Cast your pain on God and leave it there. Refuse to hurt people because you’re hurting.

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For years I have desired and prayed for a gentle, quiet spirit.

Those who know me chuckle and say, “Ain’t gonna happen. Not in this lifetime.” My husband’s recent comment stung a little more. “DiAne, I don’t see any evidence of a gentle, quiet spirit. Why sweetheart, you’re just like your daddy with his hair-spring temper.”

Of course, I fell silent.

And he quipped, “See. Just like that. Now you’re angry.”

Tears gathered around the rims of my eyes but I managed to voice, “Have you ever considered my silence is not anger?”

How many times have my actions and emotions been misread by those who think they know me? More than I’d like to admit, especially by those who love me most. Could it be we have misinterpreted what a gentle, quiet spirit is?

Mama used to tell me, “Sit down, fold your hands and be quiet. Be a good little girl.” Do I have to sit down and be quiet to be a good little girl? To have a gentle quiet spirit do I have to be a silent door mat?

Our pastor addressed that interpretation this morning. He said gentleness or meekness is an exhibition of power under control. And quietness is defined as being composed, tranquil, temperate, and sober.

I thought about my three favorite women of the Old Testament. Deborah, Esther and Jael. Three women who shared a common thread—they were each engaged in a battle of the Lord’s choosing. And not one of them refused to fulfill the task God gave them.

Deborah was called to be a judge during a dark, dangerous period in Israel’s history. The men of Israel had turned away from God’s vision for the nation and were hiding. Evil flourished. God allowed Jabin, king of Canaan and the commander of his army—an evil man named Sisera, to oppress Israel for twenty-five years because of their disobedience to God’s principles and precepts.

God instructed Deborah to call Barak and tell him, “The Lord, the God of Israel has commanded you. . .” She told him to gather an army, wage battle against Jabin, and that the Lord would give him the victory. Read the account in The Book of Judges, Chapter 4.

Barak said no. He wouldn’t go unless Deborah went with him. Hmmm, to paraphrase she said, “Okay, I’ll go, but you won’t get the glory for this—a woman will.”

Meanwhile, Heber the Kenite, an in-law of Moses, didn’t want to be involved in the ruckus, so he moved his family and made peace with this evil King. But the battle followed Heber to his new digs.

Enter my second heroine—Jael, Heber’s wife. The Lord routed Sisera and his army before Barak and Deborah. However, Sisera managed to escape and fled on foot—straight to Jael’s tent.

Ms. Jael invited him in, cleaned, fed, and convinced him she would hide him. As soon as this enemy of Israel went to sleep, Ms. Jael seized a hammer and drove a tent peg through his temple and into the ground. She came out of the tent, flagged Barak down, and told him to come get the body. The honor for this victory went to a woman—Jael. Just like God said it would.

Then there was Esther. A beautiful Hebrew orphan, required to walk the runway in a beauty contest for a place in King Ahasuerus’ harem. But God had another plan. Esther became queen of Persia. And in this foreign land, she became another woman who had the courage to stand for her people.

She engaged in a battle of wits with evil Haman who plotted to destroy the nation of Israel. The complete account of her life and this victory is recorded in The Book of Esther. We see her courage in an exchange she had with her uncle. He challenged, “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” And she replied, “I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”

Three courageous women that God placed at a particular moment in history to bring about His plan.

Deborah—a woman of wisdom given by God. A woman who didn’t squirm at the prospect of going to war with the man God chose to lead Israel—even when the man showed himself to be a coward. God was in control and Deborah knew it.

Jael—a loyal wife and homemaker, didn’t say “I’m afraid. Oh, I can’t possibly do that and besides God, the blood will mess up my living room rugs.” No, the enemy camped on her doorstep and she knew God would give her the strength to defeat this enemy of her people.

Esther—an orphan who lived her life in strange surroundings, waiting for the exact moment God would use her. When He appointed her to be the necessary tool in His hands, she met the challenge that would save His chosen seed.

While I doubt these three women would ever have been seen on the 6 o’clock news, I’m pretty sure they never dreamed of being historical event changers. Yet they were. And I know these three never considered balking when God placed the mission before them.

You and I have been placed at this moment in history according to God’s purpose and plan. He has given each one of us every characteristic and personality attribute we will need to accomplish the goal He has set for our lives, our families, and the life of our nation.

What about you? Men, are you going to hide from these tumultuous times or will you lead the battle? And ladies, will we chose to listen and obey God’s call? Will we quake with fear? Will we sit down, fold our hands, and be quiet like good little girls?

Or will we act with courage and strength that rises from a gentle, quiet spirit when called by God to accomplish His will in our lives—as Deborah, Jael, and Esther did?


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