Friday, January 26, 2018

23 JANUARY 2018, 07:24 AM

I heard the news this morning  - a huge earthquake in Alaska with a tsunami warning as well for Alaska and the northern west coast of the US . 

Our nation has suffered so greatly with natural disasters … Fires, mudslides, tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, and now an earthquake .  Someone may look at the natural disasters that occur and say it could be God's judgment to a  disobedient nation . It certainly has my attention!  I am reminded, though, that the word of God tells me that the " rain falls and the sun shines on the just and the unjust alike ". 

I wonder then , could these things be the revealing of the glory of God offered to a nation whom he loves ?  At one time in our nation we put our trust in God . Our currency testifies to that. The Bible tells us that "the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament His power".  Perhaps the Lord wants to reveal Himself to those who don't know him, or who have no longer put their trust in Him. In Isaiah 65:1,2 "The Lord says, 

“I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I Am, here I Am!’ to a nation that did not call on My name. All day long I opened My arms..."

God , in all His glory, is always ready to respond when we cry out for help . He is always ready to be found when we look for Him . He always says, even to those of us who are rebellious and stubborn , "here I Am, here I Am! " . All day long he opens His arms , revealing Himself in so many ways . 

so, as His daughter, I ask for His help . I cry out for my nation and for those who are in trouble , may our Lord Jesus be found by those who are not looking.  May closed ears and blind eyes be opened to see the loving and compassionate God who is reaching out so patiently.  May those of us who are His own be faithful ambassadors, speaking of and living out the Word of God, revealing our Savior Jesus Christ.  

Just as God spoke in Isaiah 65 to Israel , may it be applied to our nation as well - may the Lord relent from devastating destruction.  May it be as in verse 8-9: 
"For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, ‘Don’t throw them all away— some of those grapes are good!’), so I will not destroy... For I still have true servants there. I will preserve a remnant of the people...and My servants will live there."

May Christ continue to be ready to respond, ready to be found, opening His  arms to our nation and in His mercy relent from allowing further destruction.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

" There's a lot of water over there ." …"There's a lot of water over there" …

My dad repeated this phrase several times in his final days as he laid in his hospital bed dying . Everyone would comment that he was having hallucinations . But I think he saw something real.  Paul, in speaking to the men of Athens in Acts17:27  said that God was " not far from anyone of us ". Could that perhaps be literal – could that veil that hides us from seeing the eternal rhelm be just across the room? I don't know , none of us will know until the day we shed our earthly shell and enter into the presence of the living God.

But, there is water  "over there" - we can read about it in Revelation 22 . According to the very Word of God there is a "river, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb."  On each side of that river is the "Tree of Life whose leaves are for the healing of the nations"– symbols of grace and healing forgiveness . Could it be that that is what we will see when we approach the Throne of grace? The actual living water that cleanses us from sin, making us righteous to stand before God through our faith in Jesus Christ?    I don't know all that, but I do know this for sure:  THERE'S A LOT OF WATER OVER THERE!... And one day I'm going to see it with my dad!

Monday, February 13, 2017

God has been speaking to us as a congregation. In this last year, among other things, we have been exhorted:

1.  This is a season of change and that "unless you change and become like a child, you cannot see the kingdom of God"
2.  God desires to give us "new wine”. But new wine cannot be poured into old wine skins. We must change.

On a recent Sunday morning, Kourtney had a vision of the glory of God in all His splendor, seated on the throne with majesty.  We all desire to see God's glory – the manifest presence of God. Scriptures tell us that the heavens are filled with the glory of God. We see his glory through things he has created.  But here is something interesting from John, chapter 2:

Jesus, his disciples, and His mother were at the wedding of Cana. They ran out of wine. Jesus' mother was concerned and got Him involved. Even though He had not revealed himself yet as God's Son, she told the servants to "do whatever He says ". He told them to take six stone water jars, each holding 20 to 30 gallons, and fill them up with water. They did what He said, and you know the story – that water was turned to wine. Verse 11 says, "What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory..."

Jesus revealed his glory through something that was changed. He reveals his glory through changed things …through changed people. What had to be done before that change occurred? All six of those huge jars had to be filled with water: 20-30 gallons each - that is 120-160 gallons!  That took serious effort, especially in those days. They didn't just turn on the spigot and fill them with a hose. They had to either go to a well or to the waterside.

God is calling us to, as Mary said, do what He tells us.  What has He told you to do? What is He pinpointing in your life that needs changed?  It may take some serious effort on your part to respond. This is a season of change and calls for listening ears and obedient hearts.  When that happens, we will see God's glory –His manifest presence in our personal lives and corporately in this church as well. 

Remember this – the water would never have been turned into wine if the jars were not filled and Christ's glory would not have been revealed. May He reveal His glory through our obedient and changed lives!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Someone asked me lately to do a blog on marriage and family . They observed the success of my children and thought I might have wisdom . As much as I'd love to take credit for my children's good choices and their paths of success , I know that I cannot .  In the same way, I learned early on in my marriage and child rearing days that I cannot take all the blame for my children's failures as well .  

But as I pondered this, I realized that there were things that I DID do right . There are things that every parent should do that will ensure success in any children who walk in obedience to their parents and ultimately to the word of God.  So, here are the things that I believe I did right...

I YIELDED MY LIFE TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND WAS BORN AGAIN. I believe that this is the only way that we can do anything with any kind of success . Unless our lives are yielded to our Maker who is the creator of life and  family , then we cannot know true wisdom . Jesus Christ has been made for us all wisdom.

I MARRIED A MAN WITH THE SAME YIELDED HEART FOR CHRIST.  The Word of God says that we are not to be unequally yoked . Because following Christ and being obedient to His word was considered to be of the utmost importance by both of us , our convictions were the same .

I DEVELOPED A PRAYER LIFE.  The Bible tells us that the "effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much". The greatest thing that I can ever do for my husband and my children is to pray for them . The Almighty God who holds all things in his hands promised that when I called on Him He would answer and show me great and mighty things that I didn't know . And there is so much to parenting and marriage that we just don't know how to do.

I FILLED MYSELF WITH THE WORD OF TRUTH.  Gods word is alive – it is the very thing and the ONLY thing that will change me and make me into the image of Christ . The Bible tells us that we are to be " transformed by the renewing of our minds" and the only thing that will renew our minds is reading, studying, meditating on, and memorizing God's word , the Bible... Coupled with obedience to follow it .

I WATCHED CLOSELY AND FOLLOWED THE EXAMPLES OF SEASONED MOTHERS.  I had many beautiful examples of godly mothers and wives that were an inspiration to me , teaching me by their beautiful example .  The greatest bonus in my life was having a mom who showing me a tremendous example of how to truly love my husband and children . 

I LEARNED AFTER MANY YEARS THAT I MUST RELINQUISH CONTROL OF MY HUSBAND AND CHILDREN TO THE ONE WHO IS SOVEREIGN, JESUS CHRIST.  He has plans and purposes for my husband , myself, my children, and my grandchildren . Those plans are for good to give us a hope and a future .

FINALLY, I LEARNED THAT I MUST NOT BEAT MYSELF UP FOR FAILURES.  Because when I do , it brings about discouragement, and I grow unproductive. Because of our human nature , marriage and childbearing are full times of trying and failing ... Or even NOT trying and failing . The word tells us that if we put our hands to the plow and look back, we are not fit for the kingdom.  In other words, we lose ground and our paths become crooked.  As Paul has encouraged us, "I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But this one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind, I press on toward the goal" (Philippians 3:13, 14).  I too, always need to remind myself never to focus on the things that I have done wrong but to keep my heart straining toward what is ahead . 

There will always be challenges in every season of family life, and I am convinced that the key to success is in living a life dependent on the Almighty God, His Son Jesus Christ  - being filled with His Spirit , and trusting the divine direction and guidance from His Word, the Bible.

Monday, July 25, 2016


We had an ordination at our church recently. Four men stood with grace and dignity , committing their hearts and hands to serve as deacons . It was a solemn event. 

It brings my thoughts to the book of Numbers where God ordained the  sons of Levi to be the caretakers and the keepers of the articles of the tabernacle .  Each of Levi's sons and their descendents had responsibilities in caring for the sacred vessels .  Only the descendents of Aaron could be priests . One of Levi's son's responsibility included carrying the sacred articles of worship upon their shoulders when moving.  Each article had to be wrapped carefully by the priests only - the men could not even touch the sacred vessels . It was an time-consuming and difficult task.  One of the grandsons became weary in this responsibility and began to question why he or his clan could not instead be priests . His name was Korah – he led a rebellion of 250 men against Moses and Aaron. 

When Moses heard of the rebellion , he told Korah and the others to separate themselves along with anyone else who was with them .  That day , God opened up the ground and swallowed them, their households, and all their belongings as well.  That was the end of that rebellion .

But it was not the end of Korah.  Somehow , some of the sons of Korah remained . Perhaps they were little babies , or old enough to know they didn't want to follow in their father's rebellious ways.  The Bible doesn't tell us . But seven generations later, their responsibilities changed to being doorkeepers and custodians of the temple.  At that time , a young barren woman named Hannah came to the temple and wept and cried out for a son.  God granted her prayer  and from her thankful heart , she brought her son as a little boy to the temple to "give him back to the Lord". That child was from the lineage of Levi and descendent of Korah.  Perhaps Hannah gave her son back to the Lord to accomplish the menial task that was his God-given responsibility.  That child grew up to be one of the Old Testament's greatest prophets, Samuel.

Later, from the sons of Korah, came some of David's strong fighting, mighty men of valor in I Chronicles 12:6. 

Further, eleven of the Psalms were written by the sons of Korah . They became choral and literary expressions of worship and praise to God.  Countless generations including our own have been led in worship by these words .

Likewise, the elders of our church ordained four young men to be
"doorkeepers and custodians " of Emmanuel Christian Assembly . They too , like the sons of Levi may have ardous tasks to perform . They may grow weary in the mundane.  They may wish for greater works.  But as they are obedient to walk in their sacred calling, out of them may rise prophets like Samuel ; mighty men of valor like David's ; and those will create choral and literary expressions of praise and worship that may benefit generations to come !What an honor  - May our Lord Jesus Christ gives these men anointing , courage , and creativity as they glorify him in this God-given task.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Prayer Charge

Our church accepted a charge from Love Akron to pray for our surrounding geographical area or "cluster" as well as our nation and its leaders for the month of June. We have been faithful to gather weekly for this purpose . Personally I have always considered myself a woman of prayer, but in the midst of our corporate gatherings , I find myself at a loss . Either I don't have the words to say, or I say too much.  I want to make sure I've covered every topic : from the president, his cabinet, neighborhoods, families, schools,etc ... I have to ask myself honestly, "Are my words meant truly for the Lord, or for the people around me ?"  I want to sound good – after all, I am the pastor's wife .  It is then that I realize I must pray more fervently for a pure heart of intercession . 

I find it labor intensive.  It is!  It is a great responsibility – we must pray for our leaders . After all, we are Christ's and He ever lives to intercede. He calls us to join Him in His work . We must pray for our schools – the teachers and the students... for their protection, provision, and education . We must pray for our neighborhoods that they would be safe . We must pray against the influence of drugs and alcohol . We must pray against the evil ones who would want to harm men, women, and children . And we must pray with pure hearts and proper motivation.

Yet, if all the ungodly practices stopped, it would not bring about a lasting change in our cities . Colossians 3:23 says that if all the rules were followed they would "lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence ".  We must wait upon the Holy Spirit and cry out to Christ who is able to save the souls of unregenerated man . We must cry out for our cities that God would reveal Jesus Christ to the lost and dying and fill them with the Holy Spirit . For without the Spirit's sanctification and regeneration there will be no healing in our land . Salvation through Jesus Christ is what our hearts must cry out for as we pray for Barberton and Norton .  We must "wait" for the Holy Spirit's work in hardened and sinful hearts.  Our prayers must extend to those who are in Christ, yet are asleep - that He would awaken them once again...that revival would come to the Body of Christ. That we ourselves would have pure hearts and clean hands.

Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name. Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.
Psalm 80:7, 18-19 NIV

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


I've been thinking about Balaam - (you know, the one who the donkey spoke to).  During my last teaching on the kingdom series I mentioned Balaam to be a "disobedient prophet ".  As I searched the Scriptures I realized that I was wrong – Balaam  was not a prophet of God at all . He was a prophet of Baal. He was a well-known soothsayer of his day who when he blessed others they were blessed, and when he cursed them they were cursed. 

Under Moses leadership, the Israelites were subduing lands .  In Numbers 22 they were surrounding Moab.  They had just defeated the Ammorites . Because the people of Moab were filled with great fear , Balak  their king, sent for Balaam (with promise of great reward) to curse Israel.  Even though Balaam was not a prophet of God, Almighty God spoke to him . God told Balaam that he could not curse what God himself had blessed .  And throughout the course of events Balaam ended up blessing Israel several times and even cursing Moab . King Balak was angry and sent Balaam back without his reward.

What happened next in the book of Numbers doesn't mention anything about Balaam . But I know exactly what he did . I'm sure he must've been angry that he did not get his reward nor could he do what the king desired of him. Maybe he thought, "I know what I'll do. I'll have the women of Moab entice the men of Israel ".  Numbers 25 tells us that the men of Israel began to eat food sacrificed to idols.  They were invited by the women of Moab to offer their sacrifices on their altars. They began to mingle and ultimately commit sexual immorality with those women.  God sent a plague among Israel because of it.  
How do I know that Balaam was behind this?  Because Jesus said so in Revelation 2 . He was speaking to the church of Pergamum saying that some of them held on to the teaching of Balaam, " enticing the Israelites to sin so they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality . "  

Balaam ultimately died at the hand of the Israelites in Joshua 13. His name is also mentioned in Deuteronomy, Nehemiah, Micah, II Peter, and Jude.  In fact , his name is mentioned 57 times in the Bible . That says to me that we need to know about him... More than being the one a donkey spoke to.

Peter warned the church of people among them who had "wandered off to follow the way of Balaam".  Jude said there were people who had "slipped in among them perverting  grace and denying Jesus as their only sovereign". Both Peter and Jude assumed the readers knew all about Balaam . Doesn't that tell us that we ought to as well? 

When we see the name Balaam, we ought to think about two things : 

1.  We are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places.  The same blessing God gave Israel belongs to us. And nothing and no one can curse what God has blessed . 

2.  Even in the church are those who are living in error. The error of Balaam, I believe, is the enticing spirit of this age that says, "everyone's doing it . There's nothing wrong. " The truth is that premarital sex is sin, living together before marriage is sin, homosexuality is sin.  We can be enticed by those even in the church whom we greatly admire and respect to practice sexual immorality - being disobedient to God's word . God has given a beautiful place of sexual expression and that is in marriage .  We too, must beware of following the way or error of Balaam.

Oh, and here's another thing to think about when you think of Balaam...the GRACE OF GOD....God cursed Moab in such a way that a Moabite could never enter the congregation of Israel.  Yet one of the greatest and, I think, most beautiful love stories in the Bible, tells how Ruth (a Moabite!) became the wife of Boaz an Israelite of great integrity... and ultimately, the great grandmother of David! 

Balaam...definitely more than just a man who conversed with a donkey!