Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Monday, July 30, 2007

"Even Now"

For several months now, Ned and I have been discussing the confidence that comes with faith. We have talked about how God works in our lives, in spite of the messes we make, regardless of the waves of chaos and commotion that often threaten to sweep our feet out from under us and aside from our own helplessness. Personally, we have both been able to see God's blessings many times. And yet, when things are not as we hoped, when our hearts are aching, when our frustrations are high and we don't know what to do, we find ourselves entertaining thoughts of despair and hopelessness.
I am sure these are similar to the thoughts of Mary and Martha at the death of their beloved brother, Lazarus. John chapter eleven tells us they sent for Jesus, the only One they knew could save their sibling. The message said, "Lord, the one you love is sick." I would guess their expectation was that the Messiah would sense their urgency, and moved by His love for them, drop what He was doing and come immediately. But, He did not. Or perhaps, they hoped He would simply speak the words and provide a "long-distance" healing. But, He didn't do that either. The gospel writer tells us that Jesuss stayed where He was two more days and that only after Lazarus had died, did He make plans to go to Bethany. I would imagine as the sisters kept vigil over their brother, they watched out the window, longing to see that familiar figure coming toward them, their brows furrowed with worry as they listened to the ragged, shallow death breathing of their loved one. I would imagine as time passed, they began to pace, wondering whether He even got their message. And that as their beloved brother breathed his last, the tears began to flow, their heart feeling as if it had dropped into their stomachs, breaking into a million sharp little pieces. I would imagine they were filled with great loss and hopelessness as they went about the business of preparing their Lazarus for burial, as they went about the business of saying "good-by".
Interestingly, it is Martha, the worker bee, who notices the arrival of Messiah. She goes out to meet Him, informing Him that He has arrived too late and that the one He loves is gone. And in an amazing statement of confident faith she says, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that EVEN NOW God will give you whatever you
ask." (vs 21) Wow! What a statement---a statement without a hint of doubt, without an inkling of reluctance and without a shadow of hesitancy. Sister Martha with confidence and certainty, in spite of the pain in her heart, regardless of her own helplessness, asks her Savior to fix it! And according to the text that is just what He does. He raises Lazarus from the dead. It doesn't matter that he has been in the tomb for four days, it doesn't matter that his body has already started to decompose. Even now, Jesus can and does restore life.
As we go through our daily lives, as we walk (or dance) in the light, we will inevitably face some rough times. There may be days when our spirits will be victimized by those we love, days when our courage wanes and hopelessness threatens to overwhelm us. We will most certainly make mistakes that will have lengthy and costly repercussions. We may be forced to pay the consequences of another's actions.We will likely face times of discouragement, dragged down by our church family, misunderstood by our physical family, unappreciated by friends and co-workers. And yet . . . . we the faithful, we know that if we call Him, He can and will bless us . . . EVEN NOW!!!!


Thursday, July 26, 2007


"the state of non-existence", "empty", "lacking entirely"

Ned's other lesson on Sunday was also taken from the book of Mark, chapter 1:40-45, the story of the man healed of leprosy. As I listened to Ned describe the plight of the leper, it hit me how "void" this man really was. In that time period, in that place, in that culture, no one tried to cure the leper, there was no foundation, no support group, no "race for a cure", no--- these lepers were cast out of the city. They were no longer allowed to live with their families. They could no longer trade at the local marketplace. They could not work, they could not play and most importantly, they could not worship. Their daily life consisted of begging outside the city gate, crying, "unclean, unclean" as a warning to anyone who dared approach, every day scrounging for food as they wondered which part of their body would rot and fall away next. It is a life we cannot imagine, and a life most of us could not endure. A life without friends, a life without relief, a life without hope--a life that was empty, completely lacking anything and everything. And while the pain was very real and never ending, and while the heat and the thirst, the hunger and the daily humiliation offered assurance that life was still present, to the rest of the world, it was if the leper did not exist. His life was one that was truly void!

As I thought about this man's life, I remember feeling very grateful that thanks to medical progress, leprosy is not a problem our country faces. I am glad that leprosy has not caused "void" people in my life. But then I remember that one can be "void" without having a contagious disease. I recently watched a video on my friend Chris's blog (http://chrisclouse.wordpress.com/). Chris has a great blog and I am often touched by his posts. His July 5th post entitled "Does anybody hear her?" was especially moving. I could not figure out how to link the video so I hope Chris doesn't mind if you go to his place first. Please check this out. The video shows a young woman--a woman who in spirit is a leper! She is void of everything. She has no one. In desperation, she looks for healing, but when she arrives at a place of worship, a place that should be filled with other seekers, it is as if she is shouting, "unclean, unclean". The other worship goers practically run away, as if afraid to be contaminated. They take one look at her, outside the door of their place of worship, and they quickly rush in, closing the door behind them, leaving her outside, an unclean soul segregated from the "clean". You can see the sense of hopelessness and pain in this young woman's face. You can see the void in her life and it makes your heart hurt. You see the way "christians" treat her, the way they ignore her and you feel shame. This woman is as "void" as the leper of Mark 1.
I wonder how many "void" people we come across everyday? I wonder if they can see in our eyes that we believe they are "unclean"? Is our discomfort and distaste evident in our words? Do they notice when we pretend we do not see them? Are they fooled? Does their heart hurt when we quicken our pace and hold our child's hand more tightly, mumbling to our child through smiling white teeth, telling our child to walk faster and not look? Does our behavior reinforce their emptiness, their lack of everything, that they are indeed "void"? Does it break our Savior's heart?
This world is filled with "lepers"----they are behind us in the line at Wal-Mart, they are in the cubicle right next to us, in the house down the street, on the corner downtown. They are void--they carry inside them a God-shaped hole, a hole that nothing else will fill. They are hungry for salvation! They could be filled----God can use us to bring them to Him. It seems not only are we not bringing them in, but often by our attitudes, we are keeping them out! That should cause us shame---! Unlike leprosy, there is a cure for this spiritual void. They no longer have to stay outside the "city". They no longer have to be unclean. Please go watch the video and open your eyes, see the lepers, see the void ones, open your minds, open your hearts, bring them in, in to a healing and filling that only happens at the feet of the Savior.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Make A Hole

Yesterday was a really wonderful day! Worship was so uplifting and encouraging, we hated to leave to go home. We visited in the auditorium and then in the foyer and even in the parking lot. It was wonderful! I always enjoy hearing my husband preach God's Word, but both lessons yesterday were exceptional, both made me think and both stimulated my mind and challenged my faith.

Last night he preached from Mark 2--the story of the paralytic. You remember the story--Jesus had returned to Cana after preaching all over Galilee. He has returned to huge crowds, gathering to hear His words and perhaps once again become recipients of healing at His hand. The Messiah has drawn the masses to a house. The text says so many had gathered that there was no room left, even outside the door. Can you picture this crowd? All of them, trying to be quiet, not wanting to miss a word, and yet elbowing and squirming and wiggling just to get closer to the Savior? There is no room, no room for a Pharisee, no room for a blind man, no room for another apostle and certainly no room for a paralytic and his four friends. While an apostle may have been able to wiggle and squirm to the front, and perhaps a play on sympathy could have gotten a blind man in closer proximity, and maybe a Pharisee could have used his power to get in better position, there was no way four men carrying another were ever going to make it through to the Healer. The situation seems hopeless for the paralytic and his kind stretcher bearers.

They could have given up, weary with the burden of carryng their friend, they could have returned home and ate and rested and discuss the prospect of another day. They could have moved to the edge of the crowd, sat beneath the shade of a tree and waited, waited for the crowd to disperse, knowing Jesus would have to leave sometime. They could have done any number of things, but they didn't. They were desperate for healing, desperate for the touch of the Savior, desperate for the restoration of their friend. And so, they carried their friend up to the roof, they made a hole and lowered their friend down to Jesus --down to healing and salvation.

I know that there are some of us who are sick. Sin has a hold on us and we are desperate to escape. I know there are some of us who are paralyzed by pain and fear and lack of knowledge and as we stand unmoving, right where we have always stood, we long to move forward. I know there are some of us who have been swallowed up by the crowd. We have given into peer pressure and have come to believe that work, play, prestige, money and fame are more important than being with God and His people, more pressing than walking in His path and we have become busy, so busy that our view of the Savior is obscured by an overcrowded life, a life in which there is no time, no energy, no room for Him.

I also know that when we reach the point when we are ready to be healed, ready to move forward, ready to be God's, then nothing will stop us----we will do whatever it takes to get us to Jesus. We will push aside the cares of the world, we will throw off the cloak of cowardice and flee from the sinful darts Satan continues to hurl at us. We will wiggle and squirm and edge our way through the crowd, holding our breath, crawling on our hands and knees, or inch along on our stomach if need be. If we must, we will even call on our faithful friends to carry us.We will do anything to get to Jesus for weknow that only in His presence is there healing and wholeness and salvation. We can have all of this. Our faith can lead us to Him. All we have to do is make a hole!!!!


Friday, July 20, 2007

Narrowing the God Gap

Political analysts have been discussing the upcoming elections. They say historically, most "God-seekers" have voted Republican, but currently Democratic hopefuls like Barak Obama and Hilary Clinton have been hosting "faith" rallies in order to "narrow the God gap". I hope they are truly people of faith are not simply capitializing on religion in order to get elected---a discussion perhaps left for a different time and place. I do however, really like the phrase, "narrowing the God gap", for I truly believe there is a gap but is between us and God and it has nothing at all to do with political affiliation.
Biblical history shows that at one time, mankind and God were close. God came to walk in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. God spoke directly to His people. Sin came to drive a wedge between God and man, and as His people moved farther from Him, God worked to narrow that gap. He sent prophets to remind them they were His. He allowed pagan nations to defeat and capture His people, carrying them away from their place to worship, from their own people, to a place with strange food, strange customs, strange religions and strange languages. They were enslaved, captured and then, only then, God's people repented and the "God gap" began to narrow. But over and over again, mankind distanced themselves from God. And over and over again, God sought to draw us to Him.
I wonder why we continue to withdraw from our Father? Do you think we have become so sinful that we are uncomfortable in the proximity of holiness? Or perhaps we are too lazy to fulfill the obligations and make the changes required by a life of godliness? Maybe we have allowed selfish pursuits to cloud our vision so much that we are oblivious of the enlarging gap between us and God? Whatever the cause, I am convinced that the gap is our doing. God did not withdraw from us---remember "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) He desires a relationship with us. He wants us to want to be with Him. He loves us! In fact, He loves us so much that He sent His Son to bridge the gap between us and Him. His blood narrows the gap and brings us into the arms of the Father. From that point on, we have a choice how near or how far we choose to be from Him.
I saw this phrase on a church sign once: "If you and God are not as close as you used to be-----who moved?" The answer to this question is very simple! We know that God loves us and He longs to hold us in His arms, for us take shelter under His wing, to stand strong and courageous in the Rock that is His Son. His heart aches for a people who seek Him, who love His Word, who walk in His ways. He longs for children who desire to "narrow the God gap".

James 4:8 "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."


Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Is anyone else disturbed by news accounts of church buildings being deliberatly set on fire? Does it bother you as much as it bothers me to see buildings with broken windows and graffiti all over them? Do you cringe when you watch the train go by and see that every car, almost without exception has been "tagged" ? When I worked in juvenile justice, I attended a seminar on dealing with today's youth and the issues surrounding them. The presenter, a Dr. Richard James, PhD. addressed the issue of vandalism and specifically graffiti. A Powerpoint presentation along with handouts loaded with statistics were used to make his argument that when "kids" vandalize property, spray paint or break out windows, etc, it is usually not to destroy it but rather to "leave their mark". He argued that our society has become such that everyone, but especially young people struggle to find their identity and struggle to leave something tangible, something that identifies them. And so, they "tag" box cars, buildings and bridges, not to destroy and deface but simply to leave their mark.
I know Christians who do the same thing. I grew up in the Church, my daddy was a preacher, my first husband was a preacher, I am now married to a preacher and I worked at a School of Preaching. So needless to say, I have been "around" church people an awful lot. And while most of them were wonderful, godly, God-seeking, evangelistic minded souls, there were others who were mostly intent on "leaving their mark". We all know people like this don't we? These men and women are ever ready to argue, always on the lookout for a discussion in which they can prove their point, make someone else come along to the "correct" way of thinking. I have seen brotherhood newspapers and magazines filled with articles, read the letters to the editors, heard debates, listened to tapes and even in the blogosphere, met or at least witnessed spiritual vandalism.
It is important that we stand up for the truth. It is important that we teach others so that together we might all get to heaven. But too often we become so intent on "making our mark" that we don't seem to notice that our words have vandalized a soul, have destroyed and defaced the spirit of another. We are to be people of love, people who encourage seeking the truth, asking questions and discerning the Word. We are not to be Christians who interact with others only to send them away, discouraged and disheartened but bearing our "mark". Perhaps others see our victims and cringe, perhaps those who might have been interested in the Gospel message see our "mark" and change their minds. Attacking the faith or reputation of a brother or sister in Christ simply to make a point is sinful! That kind of self-glorifying behavior damages souls, wounds spirits and destroys unity. And it has no place in God's family. Our "mark" should be that of love. Love should be what identifies us (John 13:34-45). The love of God should be the "tag" we leave. It will drive out fear, it will instill hope and it will not destroy the soul that is seeking. God is not a vandal and neither should His people be.

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is Christ."
Ephesians 4:15



Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I have a wrecked Jeep Liberty in my garage. It had an encounter with a concrete barrier and now it no longer runs. In fact, it could not make it to my house except on a trailer. It does not run! Everytime I open my garage door, I see this mangled clump of metal and steel, with plastic and engine parts hanging off. It makes me sad. I wanted to total the car, write it off but my husband is a man of optimism --it excites him that the radio still works and the upholstery is still in good condition and a couple of the windows are not broken. He believes he can fix this car, he believes he can replace the broken parts, hammer out some dents, repaint and make this car function again. He knows it will be costly and time consuming, and that it will take much effort and patience, but he has hope.
I have been thinking about how many of us have been spiritually wrecked? How many of us have just been going on about our daily lives, living carefree and a bit careless, only to come to an abrupt stop, up against a concrete barrier? I know I have been there and I know others who have also shared this experience. When we hit that wall, the damage caused by our haphazard living is often extensive and for some time we find ourselves unable to function. We are no longer pretty and shiny, but rather spiritually and emotionally mangled and dented, torn apart and wrecked! We feel sad, ashamed and hopeless. There are some who look at the "wrecked" christian and although saddened, are ready to total them out---write the brother or sister off as unsalvageable. There are some who shake their heads and walk away, uncomfortable around the wreckage of a soul. But praise God there are others, hope-filled people of faith, christians who look at the soul, all battered and scarred, and begin praying. They look for the positives, the good things in these wrecked souls because these christians know that our Father can fix anything. He can cast out demons, He can restore sight, He can bring forth a child from the aged, He can save a nation and He can give life! He can redeem this soul, salvage the good, remove the nonworking parts, hammer out the dents and make a new creation. These christians know it will be costly---in fact the already paid lifeblood of the Savior. And they know it will take much time and much effort, much patience and TLC. But, they look at the sad, tattered soul and they have hope. The christian of faith is willing to fight and work to salvage the soul no matter how "totaled" he or she appears.
As Ned begins working on the Jeep, he will call on his friends to help him. The Jeep will be the focus of his attention for some time to come. He will get dirty and he will become tired. He will most likely be frustrated at times, but he will not give up! He needs this Jeep to function. He needs this vehicle to run, to do what it was created to do. It is important to Ned and he will not consider other options. There are some who will tell him to give up, who will tell him that the car is not worth all the time and work he will put into it. There will be times when he will feel discouraged that repairs are not progressing as quickly as he'd like. And there will be times when he is tired and feels like calling the junkyard. But, he will not do that, he will continue to work, continue to hope. And with every little piece that is fixed, every little dent that is smoothed out and every little gadget or big part that begins to work again, he will rejoice.
Likewise when we are working with wrecked souls, there will be times when we are discouraged, tired, frustrated and almost ready to give up. During those times, we will need to remember that God did not and does not give up on us and that He can and does accomplish amazing things in our lives. He can repair a soul, He can restore functioning, He can recreate. After all, He did it for us, didn't He?


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Read The Book

My first husband was somewhat of a computer guru. He often bought broken computers and fixed them to sell. He had boxes and closets full of hard drives, mother boards, mouse(s), monitors, extra memory cards etc. As his illness took a toll on him, he became housebound and so, in order to remain useful, he became a beta tester for computer companies, like Corel and Photoshop. He was also a systems administrator for a computer company in Lubbock. Everyday, usually around 10 pm, our phone began ringing. (People with computer problems seemed to be most desperate after dark). Eddy would often talk with them for hours, trying to get their computer up and running and glitch free. He knew all the technical terms and jargon. I seldom understood anything he said, except for one particular phrase. Over and over again, his advice to consumers was "read the book". He explained that it made sense that the best one to solve the problem was the creator/producer of the device.

I have often thought how appropriate that advice is to Christians. The Bible is the manual that guides us everyday. From the book of Genesis, we learn how we were created, (in His image), and who created us. From the story of Cain and Abel, we also learn about appropriate sacrifice. We learn from the story of Noah, that God is all-powerful and can destroy the world just as He made it. We read about Joseph and Moses and we see that God is a God who rescues His own from man's evil schemes. We study Abraham and we see that God is indeed a promise making and promise keeping God. We travel with the Israelites through the wilderness and we learn that God provides for Him people. He gives us everything we need. From David, we learn about God's forgiveness. From Solomon we learn about wisdom and marriage. This book teaches us resilience in the struggles of the Apostle Paul, it teaches us courage to speak up in the zeal of Peter. It teaches us that God can make good things come out of bad situations. In this book, we learn about goodness and light, about sacrifice and redemption. We learn that we are loved by God and separated from Him, brought back only by His mercy through the blood of the Lamb.
The Bible tells us everything we need to know about life, love, worship, work, marriage, parenting, teaching, growing old, dying and living. It is the manual for God's creation. The very One who made us, gave us the instruction manual to help us fulfill all our potential.
Sometimes, things get crazy. We feel like we are beating our heads against a brick wall. We feel like we are riding the merry-go-round of life and getting nowhere. We try our best and yet we always end up taking two steps forward and three steps back. We can't figure out what we are doing wrong. Perhaps it is time to look to the One who has figured it out. Perhaps it is time to "Read the Book".


Hope y'all have an amazing worship tomorrow!!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Perverted Peace

We live in a great country, a country known world-wide for many things. We are a wealthy country. We are a free country and we are a powerful country. Our military strength is legendary and well-funded, the financial support of which has become fodder for every presidential campaign in past elections. Given the number of wars we have been engaged in during this century, it is amazing that we are still seen as a nation of peace.
It seems to me that most of us have a skewed definition of peace. We seem to believe that as long as the war is not on our home ground we are at peace. Or that when we are not engaged in military conflict, we are at peace. When there are no bombs in the cars out in front of our house and no soldiers marching down our streets, no tanks in our allies. When we can go to worship without fear, without hiding, without disguise, we think----we are at peace. In the movie, Air Force One, Harrison Ford as President James Marshall, makes this statement: "Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice."
Justice--defined as "moral rightness, adherence to a moral standard manifested in conduct", seems to be lacking in our society. There are many who should be punished, who are not, and many who should not be punished who are. There are people who are abused and hurt, people who are used and taken advantage of. The news is rife with accounts of frivolous lawsuits, wealth and privilege allowing for an escape from consequences. There is injustice everywhere we turn. While we are still, in my opinion, the greatest country on earth, we live surrounded by injustice. We pass laws, introduce bills and enforce statutes and still there is injustice. Man's best attempts at justice fall way short and we are left with a perverse sense of peace.
Isaiah 30:18 says "the Lord is a God of justice." Isaiah 61 tells us that He loves justice. Throughout the ages, biblical writers have chronicled the justice of God. He is the standard, the moral code. His is the path to peace. When we deviate from His standard, from His will, from His code, we are destined for injustice and unrest. We will never be a country at peace until we return to God. Proverbs 39:4 tells us that justice stabilizes a country. That stabilization--well, it equals peace. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees and teachers of the law with the scathing statement, "you neglect justice and the love of God". Without God, there is no justice, without justice there is no peace. We are either delusional or simply wishful thinking to believe otherwise.


Amos 5:24 "But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream."
Psalm 85:10 "Righteousness and peace kiss each other."
John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. . . "

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

When God Cries

I have been weeping a lot lately! My son, has grown into a man I am ashamed of. He has abandoned not only his family, but his faith, his values, even his sense of decency. There are times, it hurts so much I can barely breathe. But the pain in my heart is so much more than just hurt feelings, more than just shame. I am greatly concerned about his salvation. I am concerned about his health. I am concerned about his reputation. I am concerned about the damage he has done to the hearts of those who love him. I seems it was not so very long ago that I held this boy in my arms just moments from the womb. He was so tiny and so sweet. I remember proudly watching him take his first step and ride a bicycle all by himself. I remember holding him when he was ill or hurt. I remember good-night kisses and little "I love yous". I remember how proud and touched I was when he led his first devotional. I remember how he made me laugh and how excited I was when he graduated from high school. I remember not so very long ago, being proud that he took turns getting up to feed and change his newborn daughter. He made me proud so many times. From before he was born, his souls was nourished with God's word. He was always in worship, in VBS and heavily involved in youth activities. We prayed together and had family devotions. Great pains were taken to protect him from worldly influences. He was not raised to behave the way he does now, and yet . . . well, like I said, I have been weeping a lot lately.
I believe we grieve and hurt in direct proportion to how much we love. The ones we have the closest relationships with, the ones we love the most, are the ones who can inflict the most pain, who can break our hearts the fastest. This belief has led me to wonder about when God cries.
We know that He loves us and He created us from nothing but dust. We know He worked out all eternity to get us to love Him too. We know He loves us. Do you think He ever looks down at our lives and weeps? Do you think He remembers how we looked when we were born in His heart? Is He concerned about our health, our salvation and our reputation? Does He care about those whose hearts and minds are damaged by our sinful and selfish behavior? Does He ever look at us and shake His head because He knows we were not raised to behave this way? Is His heart broken that we have abandoned our faith and our church and our values? Have we grown into a people He is ashamed of? Do you think He has been weeping a lot lately?
Just as there is nothing my son can do that will change how much I love him, so God's love for us is faithful and true. The tears will not stop until my son returns to God. Just as God waits for His children to turn from evil, so will I wait patiently and tearfully for my son. If it is true that we grieve in direct proportion to how much we love and we know that " . . .God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son . . ." then the Lord of Heaven and Earth must surely grieve. Oh how His people must break His heart! Oh how my son and so often I, his mother, must cause the Father pain. I know that there are times He must be ashamed of me. I know there are times He shakes His head and weeps. Oh how it must hurt God to watch us make such choices--to watch us abandon all that is true and right and just! Oh how He must be weeping!

Holy Father, today we beg you to forgive our sinful hearts. Forgive us when we allow selfishness and sin to consume our every thought and our every deed. Take us in your arms, bring us back to all that is good and right, back to you. Dry our tears, mend our hearts, restore our spirits. Give us the strength and courage to be your Church. Thank you for your merciful and redeeming love.
In your Son's holy name,