A Father's Heart

Have you had a chance to watch ABC's new show Find My Family? It is a show that helps connect people who have been given up for adoption. Last night, my husband and I watched Evan reunite with his son (the full episode is available online episode 104). This particular episode was about a father finding his son after searching for him for 31 years. Evan, the father had gotten his girlfriend pregnant in high school. Her family moved away. He had been there at the birth and was under the impression she was keeping their son. When he contacted her later he found out she had given him up for adoption. So for the last 31 years he had been searching for his son that he never intended to lose.

There were several remarkable moments in the show. One moment was when the son found out through the show that someone was looking for him and he had assumed that his birth mother was searching for him. He was quite surprised to find out it was his father. The show host even commented, "It is not often that it is a father searching for his son." Another beautiful moment was the son's emotions when he met his father. He commented how wonderful it was to be loved just for being him and not based on anything he had done.

Of course, I could not watch the show without tears or without thinking of our Heavenly Father. People often say God does not need anything or want anything. That may be true but somewhere along the line he chose to desire us:

John 3:16
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.
And the emotion shown by the father last night reflects two of the deep desires described by Jesus in the parable of the Prodigal Son and the Lost Sheep:

Luke 15:20
But while he was still a long way off,
his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him;
he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Luke 15:4-7
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.
Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep
until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders
and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says,
'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there
will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over
ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

God has been described as the hound of heaven. Last night's story gave a modern day visual picture of the heart of the Father searching for his son and not settling until he was found.
Finally, do you remember the son's comment about being loved for who he was and not what he did?

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

If you don't understand the Father's heart towards you or the depth of His love for you take time to watch this episode. You have a Father who has searched high and low to make you His own, not because of what you have done but because of who He is. May you rest in your Father's love today.

Just a reminder to check out Get Healthy for Hope. Here is a video showing the condition kids can be in after open heart surgery. The Playroom would provide a place for their siblings to play while the parents are with the sick child.

Taking care of your own stuff

I had child care duty at church on Sunday. At 11:00 all the toys are put away and the children sit quietly and watch a movie while we are waiting for the parents to come. A little boy came up to me to inform me that a little girl still had a toy. I went ahead and took the toy away from the little girl. The little boy went back to his seat as happy as he could be. As I sat there watching, I looked at the little boy and lo and behold in his very own hand was a toy that he had not put away! I proceeded to to take the toy away from him and chuckled as I walked away, "He certainly didn't see that one coming." I shared the story with my other workers and they laughed too saying it sounded very similar to a Bible passage:

Matthew 7:1-5
Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged,
and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye
and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,'
when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye,
and then you will see clearly to remove the
speck from your brother's eye.

It is so much easier to see the sin in other people's lives rather than acknowledge your own. It is easy to see what they are doing wrong and to talk to God about it "Lord, don't you see what so and so is doing. Would you please work on that with them?" The Trinity probably laughs between themselves and God says to the Holy Spirit, "Why don't you go down there and hold up a mirror for her?"

Unfortunately, like the little boy in the story, I often learn this lesson the hard way. One way to stay out of this place is to walk humility. Beth Moore describes humility as, "bowing down before His majesty (pg 59 Breaking Free)." When you are humble it doesn't leave much room for you to be looking at your neighbors and pointing out all the problems they have in their lives.

It is hard to be humble, it is hard to let go of pride but as Mary Poppins says, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." If you chose today to take a dose of humility medicine here is the sugar to help it go down:
Isaiah 57:15
For this is what the high and lofty One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
"I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.

Where does God live? He lives high and seated on the throne in majesty but also with those who are humble in heart. His desire is to revive our spirits and our hearts. So today it is my goal to walk in humility, exalting the One who was, who is and who will be forever and to stop worrying about my neighbor.

In Christ,

Can You be too Holy?

Last night I read Mark Gungor's article Want More Sex? Resist the Devil article. I enjoyed the article and it got me thinking about a strategy of the enemy:

He likes to lay on guilt about not being "holy" enough.
Does God desire for us to live holy lives? Absolutely. Can we misunderstand what holiness is? Absolutely.
Romans 8:1
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
God has given us things here on earth to enjoy. He has given us money, sex, friends and family. The enemy can only operate by distorting and twisting that which is good. It is good to be holy and walk in holiness but if we don't understand what holiness is and means we can easily become burdened down and carry around a weight of guilt that is not from the Lord but from the enemy. One thing the enemy likes to do to Christians is make them feel guilty for not doing enough for God. You watched TV tonight instead of praying, you spent money on a pleasure item instead of giving it to the poor, you only went to 2 church meetings this week but 4 were offered. You are never doing enough.
Matthew 26:8-13
When the disciples saw this, they were indignant.
"Why this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."
Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman?
She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.
When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.
I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world,
what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."
You can be too holy when you are defining holiness as the number of things you do for God: you did 10 things for God this week, you are holy; you only did 3 things for God this week now you aren't holy. You can get yourself to the point where you are so focused on "doing things for the Lord" and "you saving the world" that you actually lose sight of the good and legitimate pleasures the Lord has created for you here on earth.
He is a good Father. What Father would give you gifts and not want you to be able to enjoy them? The disciples in the story above didn't hear what this woman had heard and didn't see what she had seen because they were too focused on building their kingdom that they missed everything that God had been trying to show them.
My challenge to you is to serve the Lord out of a place of love and not by being motivated by guilt to do the things you do. Learn to hear the voice of God (hint: it does not include condemnation) and let that lead you to do the things you do whether "in ministry" or just enjoying the daily life of just living. You can bring pleasure to the heart of the Father by enjoying life and the gifts that He has given to us.

Who I Am

Well I guess my vacation put some cobwebs in my head. I've thought and thought of what to post and I've got nothing:) So I'm going back to my archives for a moment and posting one of my favorites.
The Lord gave me this letter 2 years ago and it has held a special place in my heart. I had it posted on the side of my refrigerator for over a year and looked at it often. I gave my copy away but I think I might need to print it out again. If it touches your heart in the same way feel free to print it out and place it in a frequented spot.

Dearest Child,

What is it that you need? What is it that you are searching for?

Do you feel like your life is a mess?
I am your Redeemer.

Do you feel unloved?
I am the Lover of your soul.

Are you filled with sorrow?
I am your Comforter.

Do you feel alone?
I have promised to never leave you or forsake you.

Do you feel your story is incomplete?
I am the author and perfecter of your faith. Fix your eyes on me.

Are you afraid?

I am your Defender and Protector.

Are there situations in your life that you need to be rescued from?

I am a Warrior; I fight for you daily and will save you.

Do you feel unknown?
I have numbered even the hairs on your head ~ I know you.

Do you need to rest?

I have asked you to come to me when you are weary and I will give you rest.

Whatever it is you are facing ~ I AM.

I AM here for you to be your strong tower, a refuge.
I AM mighty and the one who can and will and does fight for you daily.
I AM full of love & provide a place to receive mercy and grace in your time of need.
Ask me your questions. I will answer you for

Your Heavenly Father

Redeemer: Isaiah 48:17, Jeremiah 50:34
Lover: Song of Solomon 2:14, 1 John 4:10
Comforter: Isaiah 49:13, 2 Corinthians 1: 3-5
Never leave: Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5
Fix your eyes: Hebrews 12:2
Defender: Isaiah 19:20, Proverbs 23:11
Warrior & Savior: Exodus 15:3, Isaiah 42:13, Jeremiah 20:11, Isaiah 43:11, Isaiah 45:21
Give you rest: Psalm 68:19, Matthew 11:38
Numbered hairs on your head: Luke 12: 6,7
I AM: Exodus 3:14
Refuge: 2 Samuel 22:3
Mighty One: Psalm 50:1
Gracious: Exodus 34:6, Psalm 116:5, Isaiah 30:18, Romans 8:32
Merciful: Deuteronomy 4:31, Micah 7:18, Luke 1:50, Titus 3:4-7

I'm Back

I'm back from 2 full weeks of vacationing!!! It was a beautiful 14 days (it was supposed to be 13 but thanks to a blizzard in WI we were able to steal one more day in Florida). Below are some pics.

Part 1 Anna Maria Florida with my family

Right to Left: Myself, Erica (sister-in-law), Wendy (sister), Laura (sister). This was the first time we had all been together since 4 years ago at Thanksgiving.

My sister-in-law Erica is a photographer, so she did some family photos on the beach for us. It was an extremely windy day!

Most of the cousins on the trolley. Isaac (behind pole), Mikey, Cade, Mercea, Jonny, Josh (my hubby), Mercea and Dustin (my brother).

Baby Ellie and I had a lot of bonding time. It was the first time we met but we clicked. I gladly
took on the duty of putting her down for naps.

Part 2: Disney with my husband's family
Weston, Nolan, Mercea, James and Brielle

My little princess Mercea with Cinderella's fairy godmother.

James loves the Chronicles of Narnia. Here he is with Prince Caspian.

Due to a blizzard in Wisconsin our vacation ended with an extra day at Disney a beautiful 86 degree day. The next day we flew home to 17 inches of snow in our city! The temperature as we drove home: 1 degree, with the windchill -20 degrees! It took 3 1/2 hours with a snow blower to clear our driveway so we could park in iy. Even so, it is still good to be home. Thank you for your prayers while we were gone. I hope you enjoyed the guest posts and thanks again to those beautiful ladies who stepped in! I hope to produce a blog post in the near future.

Guest Post: His Voice

I'm still enjoying my vacation. Here's another post by my Mom. She has lived in Florida for the last 3 years and she began taking care of feral cats when she moved to the island. Here is her thoughts on a lesson they've taught her, enjoy!

One of the joys of living in Florida has been the care and feeding of feral cats. Two of our Island’s many ferals— i.e. a domesticated animal that is ‘wild’--were cared for by the late owners of our home. As part of renting, I agreed to feed them.

Each cat presented with a unique personality: “Mama” kitty and her grown kitten “Tabby” were opposites. Mama was so timid that she came to eat only when no one was around. Tabby had been born on the property and was handled early by humans. She is so comfortable with people that she meows through the screen to let me know that she needs something.

While my neighbors traveled, I also fed their ferals. Before long, when I walked our dog, I noticed that I was being followed by cats! As I walked, I would softly call that cat’s name. I was overjoyed when I saw Mama Kitty following me, and--sweeter still--the times that she meowed back. My cats know me –they hear my voice and they follow me. Sound familiar? Jesus said,

“My sheep hear my voice. I know them,
and they follow me.
John 10:27

Every morning I open the window to the porch door and begin to softly speak the cats’ names. I continue to speak their names as I feed them. My voice relaxes them. I am sad when friends come around and my cats run away. Scripture explains that such

“will never follow a stranger; in fact,
they will run away from him because
they do not recognize a stranger's voice."
John 10:5

In the three years that have now passed, I marvel that, not only does Mama Kitty ‘know me’, but she finally trusts me to stroke her back.

In the same way that Jesus used ‘picture-book illustrations’ of himself as the Good Shepherd (and us, as sheep,) He has given me “living parables” in these small cats. My limited ‘farming” experience means I don’t know about sheep, but I do understand my relationship with these cats. And, whenever I interact with them, I better understand the Good Shepherd. My Sheep Hear My Voice.

Though technically these wild cats are not mine, I am devoted to their well-being. So much so, that when I hear their cries, I rush to their aid. Whether it be the neighborhood tomcat bullying in the wee hours, or the raccoon mafia marauding at midnight, I ‘do battle’ on behalf of these little ones. At any hour, my ears are attentive to their cry. I hear the Lord say

“the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer.”
I Peter 3:12

Verses flood my mind as I go about my daily regimen with my cats. I am constantly instructed me about the Lord’s “watch-care” over me. Poignantly, I am reminded of my inferior care, compared to the Lord’s. Scripture says,

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts …
how much more will your Father in heaven
give good gifts to those who ask him!”

I appreciate Jesus words,

“My sheep hear my voice … I give them eternal life,
and they will never perish.
No one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Unlike the Lord, I can’t guarantee that these cats will not die in my care nor can I even prevent something from snatching them ‘out of my hand’. Yet these cats are loved indeed. The lesson comes again: if I (who am evil) am doing all that is within my power to provide for these helpless little ones, how much greater is a perfect God’s provision? And what’s more, it is granted

“according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus!”
Phil 4:19
Do we, who are so weak and prone to failure, think more highly of our own reliability than that of the Master caregiver? Consider that God’s commitment BEGAN with the highest and best gift:

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave
him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him,
graciously give us all things?”
Rom. 8: 32.

So, "do not be afraid, little flock,
for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
Luke 12:32

My cats are precious to me. I imagine that they love me because I love them. Likewise

“we love Christ, because he first loved us.” I John 4:19.

Like a feral cat with no particular value, God poured out his love (and blood) for me,

“demonstrating His great love in this:
that while we were yet sinners, Christ died.”
Rom. 5:8.

I join the Psalmist in his exclamation of praise:

“what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?” Ps. 8:4

Yes, my cats hear my voice, and they follow me. They in turn, teach me to follow the Good Shepherd.

Guest Post: The Armor Song

Hello All, I'm still in sunny Florida relaxing. I am thankful for all my readers and for those of you who agreed to help me rest by providing blog posts in my place:) I am especially excited about today's post by Karen Hopkins. She is one of my newest reader's and she has been a treasure and encouragement since day one. She liked me because I called myself an armour girl. If you enjoy what you read today and would like to see more of Karen's work stop over at Karen's Threads of Hope.

By Karen:
Today, go to your Spiritual Closet, and find your Belt of Truth - because the battle is always on the horizon, where the enemy is waiting to try to defeat the Army of God. But take hope, our spiritual " Belt " is the driving force behind our Victory over the Prince of Darkness - because that very BELT, worn around our middle, is what we hang our full spiritual armor on as we are led into the battle fray..

So today, as you rise up and begin your day, secure your Belt securely about your middle - for this is where you have all of God's Power at your disposal, to fight and declare Who is Victor in whatever the enemy throws in your direction today!

And as an added bonus, heres just a fun battle cry song as we go into war with the enemy, but we walk out Victorious in the Name of Jesus!! March on fellow Warriors!

A mighty battle is a brewin'
an ugly war rising o'er the hill
the Enemy's gathering up his minions
for its God' s people he wants to destroy and kill

But there is no victory for those in darkness
as the enemy lines soon will be broken down
for our God is the Mighty , Mighty Victor!
and with His troops , He comes from all sides to surround

For we've proclaimed God's mighty promise
that the enemy will lay trampled 'neath His feet
and as we cry "Holy! Holy!Holy " (is the Name of Jesus!)
The enemy has no choice but to fall away in sound defeat

Oh yes - prayer and praise used as our weapons!
as we march forward in the Name of our Mighty King
and with His Armor of protection fastened 'round us
Oh yes! Praise God , what a Victory Song we sing!

We'll cry No ! No ! No! No! No! No!
Our God is Mighty -He never will back down!
And we'll shout Yes! Yes ! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
as the enemy's been trampled neath' the ground

Oh yes-with prayer and praise as our Mighty weapons
we march victorious in the name of the Mighty King
and with God's Victory Call risin' o'er the hillside
Oh yes! a Song of Victory we sing

Guest Post: Put on your Shades

Hello! I’m Ms. Latina and I blog at Latina On a Mission. I met Jaime sometime ago and I’m glad I did. You see, I’m a new Christian, full of so many questions that For His Glory has answered.

That being said I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised when Jaime asked if I would write a post. I did not feel up to it, but I did as she asked and prayed. I felt God told me I should; however, I wrote and rewrote so many posts I lost count! In fact, if Jaime was here right now and not on vacation (Lucky lady!), she would tell you she had to send me a few reminders!

During my prayers, the parable that kept coming to mind was “The Parable of the Talents”(Matthew 25: 14-30). If you’re not familiar with the parable, below is a brief synopsis.

A man has 3 servants. Since he’s going on a trip, he gives each servant “talents”, based on their abilities. To one he gives 5 talents, to another he gives 2 and to the 3rd and last servant he gives 1 talent. After some time, the man returns. The servants go to the man, their master, to let him know what happened while he was gone. The first two servants tell the man that they have doubled their “talents” by working diligently. The man is overjoyed by their hard work, exclaiming, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' The last servant, unlike the others, did not work hard. In fact, he buried his “talent”! “Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.” The man was so incensed, he took away the last servant’s one talent and gave it to the one who had ten, stating “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

We are all given a “talent” or “talents” at birth, each according to our abilities, just as the servants were given theirs, however, so many of us choose to bury it like the last servant. We bury these talents for various reasons. Perhaps we were told we would not amount to much, or we’re scared of failing and rather not take the chance. Or maybe we want to fit in and don’t want to disappoint those around us. Don’t forget the economy! The unemployment rate is getting higher everyday and bills just keep mounting up don’t they? Why take a chance? Ahhh there are a million and one reasons we can come up with to bury our “talent”, but that’s the problem! We’re not seeing what He sees! We need to put on our Jesus glasses (very chic and best of all… FREE) then step out in faith, knowing that whatever “talent” we have received, whatever God has placed in our hearts, was done with foreknowledge. He does not start something without finishing it! So why would He, the Alpha and the Omega, give you a gift, without providing you with the means to use it?

The parable seemed appropriate since I was ready to bury my “talent”, my light, just as the last servant did, when Jaime asked me to write this post. Not because I thought my Master was unjust, far from it, but out of fear. I was scared of failing Him. Yet as the days went by, I realized that fear and faith cannot co-exist!

Knowing this, step out in faith today, just don’t forget your shades :) For the Master will return one day and you too will have to give an account of your “talent”!

P.S. (from Jaime) If you subscribe to my e-mail reader you got a blog post yesterday about the Playroom of Hope. The post was old (sometimes my feedburner randomly grabs old posts), thus the contest that was mentioned in the blog is no longer running. However, it just so turned out that Ms. Latina, just wrote a post sponsoring the Playroom of Hope called Inspirational Sunday: Love can Move a Mountain. She said will match up to $100 of donated funds towards the Playroom. So if you are interested in donating towards the cause this would be a great way to double your $. Thank you Ms. Latina

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