Out of an Horrible Pit

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.”—Psalm 40:1-3.

thJ31WTDLF  bottomless pitThere are times in a Christian walk when the Believer finds himself deep down in an horrible pit. Whether it happens because of sin, illness, financial woes,  the condition of the world or a multitude of other reasons, the person suffers from a myriad of spiritual and emotional turmoil.  Perhaps it is a combination of these culprits or even all of them, nevertheless  it leaves one with the feeling of desolation to the point that they feel forsaken by God.

Plagued by self pity, depression and sorrow, one of the first things that tempts the flailing soul is whether to trust in self NazarethBrowOfHill1  hillsor to trust in God.  Sadly many choose the former.  Prayer and Scripture reading is forgotten and even church attendance suffers because of the circumstances thrust upon the backslidden saint.  Floundering around in the mire and dirt, the bruised Christian neglects to look up to the hills from whence cometh their help.  Psalm 121 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help

Sadly, the tendency exists to blame God for the sad state of affairs that one finds themselves in.  Psalm 10:1  Why standest thou afar off, O Lord? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble  Granted, God does allow testing to come into ones life, but it is up to the Believer as to the proper way to respond.  
All the while that the Saint is wallowing in the mire of their afflictions, the Holy Spirit is wooing them back into the fold and prompting them to cry unto the Lord in their distress to deliver them out of their troubles.  God never gives up on His sheep even if they give up on Him.  He knows their foolishness and their sins are not hid from Him.  Without calling upon the Heavenly Father to deliver them from their troublesome circumstances they continue to plunge deeper and deeper into despair.
Thankfully the Lord is patient and longsuffering and has promised that He will never leave of forsake His own.  He continues to woo them until the day that they call upon Him to “turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted.  The troubles of my heart are enlarged………..bring me out of my distresses and look upon my affliction and pain and forgive all my sins.  And hide not thy face from thy servant, for I am in trouble.  Thou knowest my foolishness and my sins are not hid from thee:

He was Her Prodigal?

She stood there with the other women in the throng of people who had gathered to witness the event.  Her countenance was heavy, her heart was full of grief and sadness.  The noise and shouts of the crowed were drowned out by the overwhelming ache she felt within her heart. With her head bowed, her thoughts journeyed back to his boyhood days remembering the  joy and excitement which he had brought into their lives.  The lad was the apple of his Dad’s eye, they went hunting together,  fishing and even assembled weekly with others to worship God.  The couple had great hopes and plans for the boy, but alas he fell into the wrong crowd.  Now she was standing there watching her unrepentive son face the consequences for his sin.

She was not alone, yet she felt all alone.   She knew her God was there with her;  but there was also another lady standing near, whose son was sentenced to the same type of punishment.  The reddened tear-stained eyes of the women were focused on their respective sons.  Perhaps there were times when they had eye contact with each other; maybe they occasionally grasped each others hand in a comforting ‘I understand your pain’ grip.  So many thoughts whirled with in her mind…………..perhaps if only she………

Her son was brought up in a home that worshiped God.  He knew right from wrong, but…………..her thoughts came to a 01050180  crucifixionsudden halt………..her ears picked up on a nearby conversation…”What did he do?”   “Did he murder someone?”  “Was he a thief?”   She glanced at the woman beside her, she could see the intense hurt within her swollen eyes. and then it dawned on her…………..he was innocent; a man condemned to death because he was hated by the people.  They are saying that he claimed to be God!  Is He indeed the promised Messiah?

With a renewed understanding the women once again turned and gazed upon the three crosses.  Her son was on the right; the other woman’s son was in the middle.  His name was Jesus.  The crowd grew silent, there was a conversation between those who were being crucified.  She strained her ears to listen.

She heard one of the malefactors say, “If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us”  And then, her son spoke,  “Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?’  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done nothing amiss.”  As she watched in amazement she saw her son turn toward this Jesus and say, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”  Excitement began to fill her heart, is she hearing what she thinks she is hearing?  Can it really be?  All of her doubts were wondrously eliminated once the words of Jesus fell upon her ears.  “Verily, I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”  Her son repented!

This is perhaps the most profound ‘death-bed conversion ever recorded.  This once sorrowful mother of a prodigal son, left that day knowing that he had repented and was with Jesus in glory.  Can you just picture her walking with Mary, together toward their respective homes.  Their souls most assuredly were filled with the wonder of the miracle that just took place at the 72964_501275086580399_349589349_ncrucifixion.  Yet, how much more would they rejoice in just three short days!

This event has been recorded as the Greatest Story ever Recorded.  Jesus was born to die upon Calvary for our sins.  He became sin for us;  He knew no sin.  It began in that manger where he was wrapped in the swaddling burial cloths, a foreshadow of  His Father’s will for Him.  My friend, Jesus ended his earthly life doing exactly what He was called to do – save the Lost.  The thief was saved just  prior to his soul being taken into eternity.  There are two lessons here, maybe three.

1.  We need to continue doing the Lord’s will for our life until He comes again, or takes us home

2.  God gives us every opportunity to repent of our sins while we are alive and remain.

3.  Keep praying for your prodigal………….It may well be that salvation may come to that lost soul.

The Saving of the Marriage

7196060-a-couple-at-odds-with-each-otherDear Readers. The following is not an original composition of my making.  It was posted on Facebook by a friend.  The story and the message is of such importance that I felt led to share it with you.  As I finished reading the article tears were streaming down my cheeks.  May you be blessed also!

When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said “I’ve something to tell you.”  She sat down and ate quietly.  I observed the hurt in her eyes. I didn’t know how to  open my mouth.  But I had to let her know what I was thinking.  “I want a divorce”.  I raised the topic calmly.  She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, “why?’

I avoided her question.  This made her angry.  She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, “you are not a man!”  That night we did not talk to each other.  She was weeping.  I know she wanted to find out what happened to our marriage.  But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer;  she had lost my heart to Jane.  I didn’t love her anymore.  I just pitied her.

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she would own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.  She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces.  The woman who had spent ten years of he life with me had become a stranger.  I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly.  Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see.  To me her cry was actually a sense of release.  The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table.  I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane.  When I woke up she was still there at the table writing.  I didn’t care so I turned over and went to asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions; she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce.  She requested that one month we struggle to love as normal as possible.  Her reason was simple:  our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me.  But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into our bridal room on our wedding day.  She requested that each day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door every morning.  I thought she was going crazy.  Just to made our last days bearable I accepted her odd request.I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions.  She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd.  No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn’t any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed.  So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy.  Our son clapped behind us, Daddy is holding Mommy in his arms.  His words brought a sense of pain.  From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked with her in my arms.  She closed her eyes and said softly; “Don’t tell our son about the divorce.  I nodded, feeling somewhat upset.

On the second day, both of us acted much more at ease.  She leaned on my chest.  I could smell the fragrance of her blouse.  I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time, she was not a young woman anymore.  Our marriage had taken its toll and at that moment I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her, I felt a sense of intimacy returning for this woman who had given me ten years of her life.  On the fifth and sixth days, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again.  I did not tell Jane about this.  It was becoming easier to carry my wife as the month slipped by.  Perhaps the every day workout made me stronger.  Then one morning I watched as she tried on a few dresses, she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger.  I suddenly realized that she had become so thin and that that was the reason I could carry her more easily.  I reached out and touched her head.  At that moment our son came in and said. Dad, it’s time to carry Mom out.This had become an essential part of his life.  As I held her in my arms, her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally; I held her body tightly just like on our wedding day. Her much lighter weight made me sad.  On the last day when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step.  I held her tightly and said, “I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy.”

I drove to the office,………..jumped out of the car……..ran up the stairs .  Jane opened the door and I said to her “Sorry, Jane, I do not want a divorce anymore.”   My marriage had become boring because we did not value the details of our lives, not because we did not love each other.  Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day that I was supposed to love her till death do us part.  On the way home I stopped by a floral shoppe and bought flowers for my wife.  I hastened home, flowers in my hand, and a big smile on my face.  I ran up the stairs to our bedroom and found my wife lying in bed ……dead!  My wife had been battling cancer for months but I was so wrapped up in Jane that I hadn’t noticed.  She knew that she would die soon and wanted to spare me the negative reaction from our son if we divorced.  She wanted our son to remember me as a loving husband.

The small details of our lives are what really matter in a relationship.  It is not in the mansion, the car. the money in the bank.  These do create an environment conducive to happiness but cannot give happiness  in themselves.  So find time to be  your spouse’s friend and do those things for each other that build intimacy.  If you are not in a relationship now, remember this should you ever be blessed.

Duct Tape!

9-17-12-pyramid-of-print-duck-tape-1024x610During a recent Missionary Conference it was pointed out by the Missionary Evangelist that we ought to get a vision of sorts for the needs of the Missionaries that we support.   So often we take for granted that their needs are being provided when in reality they do not even have the necessities that we take for granted.   That day, many within the church family were brought under conviction by the Holy Spirit to make a concentrated effort to be better providers of those who have gone into all the world with the Gospel

In times past I have learned from various speakers that God’s people can be down right stingy when it comes to giving for Missions.  Granted, there are those who either do not have the financial where-with-all to give or they lack the spiritual maturity to step out in faith that the Lord will provide the money in a pledge offering.  Although the financial needs of a missionary is most important, there are other avenues of giving that can be employed.

The talents that the Lord has bestowed upon his people can be used to provide necessities of Missionaries.  For instance, a lady who sews can make dresses, curtains, or aprons.  I once provided a large bundle of colorful wash cloths for a Missionary in Mexico.  The Mexican ladies used these to wipe the perspiration from their faces during the services.  Non-perishable cake and cookie mixes are a great treat as well as chocolate chips!  These items cannot often be purchased in foreign countries.  Recently, I was amazed to discover that many missionaries desire to have rolls of duct tape.

We are all aware of the many, many uses for duct tape.  Now that there are a plethora of colors and prints, their use has multiplied.  In the past duct tape has been mostly used as  a tool for mending, fixing and reinforcing,  Today, however this adhesive wonder is being used for decorating, clothing, cleaning, cosmetic and myriads of other uses.  Many have been the jokes and teasing about using duct tape to fix just about everything.  Thus it is not difficult to understand why Missionaries would desire to have this product on hand.

My Friend, it is true that duct tape has many uses and it can be employed to fix many things; make them look attractive and function in a purposeful manner, however, it cannot fix a wayward heart.  A heart dressed up in the duct tape of a professing Christian does not make one a redeemed saint.  Duct tape cannot aid a sinful heart to function in a righteous manner.  The broken contrite heart cannot be repaired by the adhesiveness of duct tape.  These things of the heart can only be addressed by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked and there is not a roll of duct tape in the world that can fix it.  This is why God sent his only Beloved and begotten Son, the Lord Jesus; God in the flesh, to die upon Calvary.   He died for the sins of the world, but this was not a blank check on mankind.  Many who believe that there is an actual heaven and hell think that all good people will eventually end up in heaven when they die.  WRONG!  God says that all of our righteousness are a filthy rags; there is none that doeth good, no not one.   The truth is that through Adam, all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  Do not be discouraged, although the god of this world (Satan) has blinded your eyes to spiritual truth, the Holy Spirit can open those eyes so that the Light of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ will shine unto you.

God has promised that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  Notice that it does not state that you have to do penance, remain single and celibate, or donate money to the church coffers, or even join a church.  The Bible states that he who seeks Him, the Lord Jesus, will find him.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.  Once you realize that you are a sinner deserving of going to the Lake of Fire, ask God to forgive your sins and to save you.  Remember, God states that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  There are no exceptions.

In closing, may I encourage you to send a periodic care package to your supported Missionaries and just tuck a roll or two of duct tape in the package……………………….

Nicodemus – Searching for Answers

Nicodemus190x239My mental picture of Nicodemus depicted this leader of the Jewish people as a relatively short man with a muscular build.  He seemed to me to be a man up in years,  educated with a caring countenance.  The photo at the right could be more in tune to his true physical appearance, but irregardless, it is his spiritual nature on which we must focus.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 3, we are introduced to Nicodemus.  John tells us that he was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, the high court in Israel.  In addition to being learned in the Old Testament Scripture, Nicodemus  possessed a wise inquiring mind and was not satisfied with the legalism of the Pharisees.  He could not rest until he found the truth which he badly wanted to understand.  Although he seem to be a courageous man, Nicodemus personally sought out Jesus during the night.  Perhaps he discerned that he would have a greater opportunity in talking with Jesus alone while others slept or as some scholars believe, he was fearful of being seen by the Jewish brethren.

The Lord welcomed Nicodemus and understood that he came to him not as a ruler to discuss the affairs of State, but as a man concerned about his soul.  Jesus immediately began to share with him the necessity of being born again.  Even though he misunderstood what Jesus was teaching, Nicodemus acknowledged his ignorance, which showed the Lord his desire to be better informed.  Needless to say, our New Testament friend was somewhat perplexed.  How could a man be born again when he was old?  The Lord went on to explain the two births, the physical and the spiritual, emphasizing once again that man needed to be born again in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven.  How can these things be, asked the inquisitive Nicodemus?

In His wisdom, Jesus referred Nicodemus to the Old Testament account of the Serpent in the Wilderness, whereby giving him insight into the scriptures of which Nicodemus was much aware.   In comparing himself to the serpent in the wilderness, Christ was able to help this seeker of the truth to understand that only by looking unto Jesus, could a man be saved from the sting of spiritual death; separation from God, for eternity.  Jesus went on to comment that as man believeth on the saving power of the serpent to save him from physical death, man must now look unto Christ to be saved from Spiritual death.

The third chapter of the Book of John reveals these truths to man today.  Mans inability to understand what Jesus is saying is indicative of a fallen, sinful heart and has nothing to do with ones level of intelligence.    Even as Nicodemus knew the Scriptures quite well, we must realize as he did that knowing the Bible is not enough; one must believe in the Living Word. the Lord Jesus Christ.  John 1:1.

Although the scripture does not specifically state that Nicodemus believed in Jesus, we do know that his life indicated that a regeneration had taken place within his heart.  We learn in John 7: 50-53 that much to the frustration of his fellow Pharisees, Nicodemus defended Christ when he was being judged unfairly according to Jewish Law.    After his death, it was Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea who cared for the body of our Saviour, disregarding their own safety and reputation.   The anointing spices for the Lords body were provided mainly by Nicodemus, some 75#’s of myrrh.

In studying the Biblical biography of Nicodemus, one must admit that it is clear that once a person does accept the Lord Jesus as their Savior, old things do pass away; all things do become new.  My friend, as you consider this man’s life, let me encourage you to become a seeker of the truth.  The Holy Spirit of God will open your eyes that the god of this world (Satan) has blinded that you will be able to understand as Nicodemus did; you need but ask.  Let me close with that most precious verse:  John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in His name shall not perish, but have everlasting life.