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I have been told that Christians in themselves were never meant to change or save the world. At first I was a bit offended at this, but after some reflection realized this to be true.

Christians know that true peace will never come on this earth until its Creator, Jesus Christ physically comes back to reign and rule on it in accordance with Biblical prophecy. His return is our living hope.When there is an injustice so vile that it sweeps across entire nations, Christians should be the FIRST ones to stand up and say,

This. Is. Wrong.

Why? Because Christians, who follow in the footsteps of Jesus, always work to do the will of the Father! In an abundance of scripture passages we can be confident that God’s heart is *for* the poor, the needy, the oppressed, the widow and the orphan.

Psalms 82

1 God stands in the congregation of the mighty;
He judges among the gods.
2 How long will you judge unjustly,
And show partiality to the wicked?  Selah
3 Defend the poor and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy;
Free them from the hand of the wicked.
5 They do not know, nor do they understand;
They walk about in darkness;
All the foundations of the earth are unstable.
6 I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are children of the Most High.
7 But you shall die like men,
And fall like one of the princes.”
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth;
For You shall inherit all nations.

So what does this have to do with saving the world? Well, in my studies on North Korea, I’m finding myself very discouraged and in a place of low hope. I don’t like to be in that place because oftentimes I take my eyes off of God and His majestic power. Unfortunately, when a whole nation is held hostage, what can a single person do? How do we defend the helpless, or right injustices when we seem so small? Even though we know peace will not come until Jesus does, what can we do now?

In the midst of asking these questions during prayer this morning, it was then that I was reminded of Moses. With God’s power, the children of Israel were released from Pharoah’s grip, and if there was ever a time when all seemed hopeless, it was then, when Israel had been slaves in Egypt for over 400 years. Things weren’t as hopeless as it seemed after all when God stepped in and said, “Enough. It is time to let my people go.”

After that realization, all I could do was simply pray that God would raise up another Moses. Only this time, a Moses for the North Korean people. As I read and soak up the information on NK, it seems as if the whole world is turning a blind eye to the unspeakable horrors that go on behind the borders there. Its so bad that whole generations (up to 3) of families are being slaughtered for the pettiest of crimes. Where is the world? When I ask this, I’m reminded of the young lady, Alicia in the “180 Movie” who commented about the extermination of the Jews during the Holocaust. She asked a very poignant question:

Where was the world?

Indeed. Where is the world now? Where are those who will stand up for the North Korean people that are literally starving to death, or committing suicide to avoid painful torture and executions. If you are not familiar with the conditions in the Hermit Kingdom, I can’t recommend highly enough National Geographic’s documentary, “Inside North Korea”. It is hosted by Lisa Ling, who does an excellent job and it can be viewed on YouTube HERE for free (it’s only 46 minutes long and well worth it).

Back in July of last year, I was priviledged to participate in a teleconference call praying for the people of North Korea. Its kind of what stoked a fire in my heart for this country. It was at this time that I first heard about a single missionary man crossing over the border into NK illegally and was quickly caught and imprisoned. It was sort of “hush hush” at the time due to legal issues, so I didn’t have a lot of information. Either way, I was intrigued.

It is just now that I am finding interview’s of this man and his name is Robert Park. The best interview I’ve found was on CBN, posted below:

Robert Park is a man on a mission. He says he’s called to continue to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)

Nearly a year has passed since the Korean American missionary crossed the frozen Tumen River and walked from China into North Korea. Attentive border guards immediately arrested Park and took him to a North Korean prison where he suffered sexual abuse and torture.

Many of Park’s friends are North Korean defectors–they told him how Christians and others are sent to concentration camps, tortured and left to die. Park knew what he was up against before crossing the border, yet he was willing to pay the price.

Whether or not you agree with his conduct (crossing borders without permission is illegal), one cannot help but admire his passion, advocacy, and commitment to Christ. Tired of Christians “talking the talk” but not “walking the walk,” Park decided to do something to draw attention to the plight of Christians in North Korea. As a result, he suffered excruciating pain and suffering at the hands of the brutal totalitarian regime. He doesn’t like to talk about it or give much detail of the torture he experienced, but he reportedly told one reporter that he would “never be able to have a marriage or any kind of relationship.”

How are Christians faring in North Korea today and what does he think about those who are evangelized in China or South Korea and then sent back to the North? He responds to those questions in clip[s] one of our CBN News interview.

In clip two, Park explains what he did when he first crossed the border into North Korea.

In clip three, he discusses how he was treated by his North Korea interrogators and what he said to them.

In our fourth and final interview clip, Park explains what Christians can do to make a difference for our North Korean brothers and sisters in Christ.

Please take the time to view all four clips and then pray. Few Christians suffer worse than those in North Korea.”

The video clips can be found HERE please watch them when you can so that you can pray more effectively for the church in NK.

My heart goes out to Mr. Park. Nobody seems to want to listen to him. He has suffered terrible permanent injuries for doing what he did. I have no doubt of his love for the North Korean people and I praise God for that. I also praise God for his bravery and attempt to help. But apart from this, we look over to Lisa Ling who does an indepth documentary with the world reknown National Geographic and still, nothing seems to change. So, what can I do? Just sit back and criticize? No, I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to do nothing. And most of all,

I don’t want to be a weak-hearted Christian.

I want to help and I want you to help too. If you don’t feel that its necessary or appropriate for you, here are some bullet point facts as reported through VOM:

  • It is nearly impossible to overstate the desperation of NK’s people during the famine years of 1995-2000 (up to 21% of the population perished).
  • Refugees leaving the country testified that each morning during the famine, they would wake up to check on all their neighbors to see who was still alive.
  • Cannabalism is/was rapant and if caught, punishable by immediate execution (shot on the spot- this includes children).
  • Cholera outbreaks/deaths are epidemic.
  • Entire families have been known to eat poison in order to die quickly to avoid starving to death.
  • Two-thirds of the children suffer from stunted growth. An entire generation of children will never develop to their full physical or mental capabilities due to malnutrition.
  • The entire population was (I don’t know about now) dependant upon a precarious government rationing system for food (get it? Not allowed to grow or acquire any other food source. Sentence for this crime? Work camp, or death camp).
  • The government has advocated the making of “substitute food” which includes, tree bark, leaves or even sawdust.
  • Thousands risk death and torture to flee across the border into China. However, China has not been accomodating to these refugees and are offered rewards by the NK government for their return. When they are dragged back into NK, it is often iron wire run through their noses or under their collar bones.
  • For those who successfully defect, often their left-behind families are put in prison camps or executed up to the 3rd generation (“The regime believes that to eradicate the opposition they must deal with three generations”).

Truly, this is just a taste of the horror that goes on. I haven’t even mentioned what happens if you speak unfavorably of their “Dear Leader”, Kim Jong Il. For instance, every citizen must wear a pin bearing his image, and you cannot photograph or video tape any image of him unfavorably, or have it cut off at certain points (for instance a photo of half his face). He is taught to the people from the cradle to the grave that he is, “divine, immortal, and worthy of all prayer, worship, honor, power, and glory.” I truly believe that NONE of us can fully fathom what its like to live so oppressed. Lord Jesus, let us never lose our humanity.

In closing, I want to share how to become better educated regarding North Korea, or how to pray more effectively, I highly recommend VOM’s book, “North Korea” found HERE. Its only $7 and contains lots of useful information including statistics and how you can help. You can also contact the NK government directly HERE.

But above all, please ask God how He would want you to help, including asking for His heart for the persecuted. Ask Him to show you which restricted/hostile nation He would want you to pray for if NK isn’t the one (there are over 50 others!).

For those believers still on the inside of the closed borders, their message to us is TELL THE WORLD. Thank you for allowing me to share my burden. I’m working on telling the world the best way I can.

Yours forever in Christ,

Joy

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…to be a bigger voice.  A loud one, if God so wills! I’ve been wrestling with a lot of issues as of late, but I always come back to this: being a voice for the persecuted. No matter what pulls at me, I somehow find my way back. Whether that be my husband’s illness, the inclinations of adoption, homeschooling, evangelizing the lost through the Gospel wagon or tracts, running my online shops, etc., all these things work to distract me at times, or just plain wear me out so that I can’t do anything else! It does take determination and focus to stay on this track, to do the will of the Father. I am confident that He has brought me into this ministry for His purposes and pleasure and I’m thrilled about that (and I strive not to deviate!).

I am priviledged in all of this to share in their sufferings even if that is a very, very small role. I will never forget that Jesus identifies so closely with the persecuted, that all persecutors are persecuting HIM. So any work I, or anyone else does, is for HIM. And that makes me happier than I can say to serve my first love.

So without further ado, I just wanted to post real quick that Afflicted4Christ has its own Facebook page. I never intended to have one, but it kind of just… happened. Now its here and I share it with you all HERE. Maybe it could be a meeting place for those who DO suffer and where they can share their stories and we pray for one another. Maybe even pray for more laborers in this ministry? Want to serve Jesus Christ through the persecuted with me?

May Jesus Christ bless you all with more of Himself,

Joy

Reporting from Persecution Blog on 11/7:

There is still time to get your church involved for this years International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, which is this Sunday, November 13th.

The Voice of the Martyrs, as well as other ministries dedicated to helping the persecuted church, will be joining together with thousands of Christians on Sunday to pray and remember the suffering of our beloved family in Christ.

Please join us and please tell your friends.  May the Lord bless you as you remember those who are in chains.

Click HERE to view blog source.

This is a very difficult video to watch, but you must. You must be aware of the persecution that goes on in other countries. Heb. 13:5 is a command to pray for those who suffer for the name of Christ, and we are to help the household of God *first* according to Gal. 6:10. The enemy tries very hard to keep a lid on the truth of persecution, why is this? Please, pray to Jesus Christ that He would give you a heart to feel for those who suffer, pray that He gives you the eyes to see the truth of John 15:19 –

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

 

 

Please pray for them.

Hi everyone! I have two items I want to tackle today: 1) my husband’s diagnosis, and 2) the title above.  So, off we go!

In mid-June we had our appointment with a new neurologist. Let me tell you, she was in the room asking questions and within a ten minute period had it pretty much figured out. Her diagnosis- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). After the appointment, we did our own research and feel that after four months, this is it.

Finally.

I’ll do my best to give a brief run-down of this disease in accordance with three main informational web sites (references listed at the bottom of this post):

Definition:
CRPS is an uncommon form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or leg (Brian is affected in his left leg) due to nerve damage whether known or unknown (his is unknown). It is a chronic progressive disease characterized by severe pain, swelling and changes in the skin. The cause of complex regional pain syndrome is currently unknown. Treatment  is most effective when started early (Brian‘s been diagnosed within the 1st stage (1-3 months) which is a good thing, however we have until July 15th to know what the treatments will be). In such cases, improvement and even remission are possible.

Symptoms: (Brian has all symptoms but one)

  • Burning and electrical sensations, described to be like “shooting pain” in the affected limb.
  • Muscle spasms, severe jerking/twitching/convulsing.
  • Swelling, changes in skin tone (blotchy, mottled, darker coloring).
  • Joint tenderness or stiffness (movement is very restricted due to pain).
  • Muscle atrophy/wasting.
  • Pain is continuous, unrelenting and may be heightened by emotional or physical stress.
  • Moving or touching the limb is often intolerable (even the hair being moved by air or light touch is painful).
  • Extreme sensitivity to heat or cold.
  • Changes in hair/nail growth (this is the one that doesn’t seem to be a symptom for him).

Prognosis – Treatments:
There is no cure for CRPS, but the disease can be slowed (reading the “no cure” part was disheartening to say the least as Brian is unable to walk unaided). The main focus is on relieving the symptoms and helping people with this syndrome live as normal a life as possible. If the condition is not diagnosed quickly, changes to the bone and muscle may get worse and may not be reversible (worst case scenario: amputation). There is a range of treatments but again, we won’t know exactly what they will suggest until his next appointment on July 15th.


Mentally, physically and spiritually we’ve all been in a tailspin. Sadly, some family members just can’t seem to grasp it at all (I don’t blame them, we can’t really grasp it either).

During these past four months what we continuously kept in our hearts was the hope that this could be “fixed” someday; whether that be through surgery, therapy, medicine, etc. Now we are faced with the possibility that this is like, forever.

Nevertheless, Brian’s fighting spirit remains… Don’t count him out yet! He vows to walk again, get rid of that walker/wheelchair and even play baseball! Gotta love him! So I still covet your prayers- for wisdom, clarity, making the right decisions in regards to therapy. And above all of this, would you pray that God would bless all the family and friends and church members who have so diligently bestowed upon us their time, love, care, cards, visits, financial assistance, concern, prayers, food, and clothing. I am humbled more than I could EVER say for the support system that God has graciously bestowed upon us!!! And I mean that!!! With tears in my eyes, this verse comes to mind:

“By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35

We have been shown more love than any family could ever ask. Truly, the love of Jesus flows wide and deep all around us!

____________________________

Part 2 – Persecution in America

I’m learning a new term! It’s: “No-Go Zone”.

Did you know that in America, we have these here? In Dearborn, Michigan the very state I live in? Wikipedia defines it as follows:

“A ‘no-go area’ or no-go zone is a region where the ruling authorities have lost control and are unable to enforce the rule of law.” (source)

The authorities are unable to enforce the rule of law… because… there is a *new* authority. Can you guess what type of group would incorporate this? The answer would be, Muslim.

Pamela Gellar of Atlas Shrugs writes in an article dated, June 18th:

“Two Christian groups, both under attack in a no-go zone in Dearborn, Michigan, in an increasingly Shariah compliant America. Dearborn, the same city that refused to run my bus ads offering help to apostates (despite our win in the courts). On Friday, two separate groups were threatened and attacked because they came to Dearborn to stand for their beliefs. Whether you like their presentation or not is irrelevant. It’s free speech. Period.” [emphasis mine]

Also, in August 2010, a Tea Party group in Dallas, Texas reports:

No-Go Zones, aka “Muslim-Only” Enclaves — IN AMERICA!

Their intentions are clear; the establishment of “No-Go Zones” or “Muslim-Only” enclaves is an unmistakable goal of Islamists. For many years they have been hard at work establishing these autonomous regions where the host government has little or no control over Muslims living there. They wish to institute Shariah law, creating their own social, economic and political structures. There is evidence that Ummah mosques in the Detroit area have maintained armed militias. Others have provided training in martial arts, and guerilla warfare… Muslim groups are working to create these communities across the country in both urban and rural areas.”

Yes, almost a year ago this article was written referencing Detroit, MI. Are Muslim-Only enclaves alive and well outside Michigan? There are. I found an even earlier article from Family Security Matters. They report in May, 2010:

“So far Americans have shelled out $1.6 billion in federal grants, loans, and “charitable” gifts to create an alleged “Muslims-only” community [this is in Philadelphia, PA]. A convert to Islam, [Kenny] Gamble, now known as Luqman Abdul Haqq, is affiliated with the National Ummah Movement which seeks to establish sovereign Islamic enclaves ruled by Shariah (Islamic) law within major cities throughout the U.S.A. The movement was started by Jamil al-Amin (the former H. Rap Brown), who is now serving a life sentence at a maximum security prison for killing two police officers in Atlanta.”

So, what’s the connection here? One word: Ummah. An Arabic word meaning “community” or “nation”. It is commonly used to mean either the collective nation of states, or (in the context of pan-Arabism) the whole Arab world. In the context of Islam, the word Ummah is used to mean the Diaspora [citation needed] or Commonwealth [citation needed] of the Believers (ummat al-mu’minin), and thus the whole Muslim world.


Google search “America Ummah” and you’ll get all sorts of hits. There’s even a facebook page! Stated directly from the Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA) web site you can know the fundamental creed, objective, principle and agenda. Taken from the article posted on MUNA titled, “Interfaith or Selling Your Faith” the answer lies in the very last sentence:

“The abstract issues of humanity, human rights, liberty, women’s rights, and democracy, etc. without true divine guidance are the creation of the Western civilization and distorted religions. We have much more under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). What we can get and achieve under it is the beyond the imagination of the people. All, we need is the Nizam (System) of Mustafa (Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w.). [emphasis mine]

Nizam of Mustafa, aka System of [the] Prophet Muhammad is SHARIAH LAW (just a simple Internet search will explain- It‘s abundant, folks).  Are you still with me? We all seem to hear this term, “Shariah”. But what does it mean for us, or for those living in or near a “no-go zone”?

“Shariah Law, also known as Islamic Law, is an all-embracing body of religious, social, political, and military duties that was written in the 7th century by Islamic extremists and virtually unchanged today.  It is not “law” in the western sense, but instead a set of rules. The leaders of the Shariah-Islam movement are Shariah “scholars” or Imams who dictate that only Muslims who follow Shariah Law in its entirety are “true Muslims” worthy of going to a wonderful afterlife. Shariah, an Arabic word, literally means “the way”. (source)

Examples of Shariah Law include the following: (taken from the authoritative source Reliance of the Traveller, The Sacred Manual of Islamic Law.)

  • Requirement of women  to obtain permission from husbands for daily freedoms
  • Beating of disobedient woman and girls;
  • Execution of homosexuals;
  • Engagement of polygamy and forced child marriages;
  • Requirement of the testimony of four male witnesses to prove rape;
  • Stoning of adulteresses;
  • Lashing of adulterers;
  • Amputation of body for criminal offenses;
  • Female genital mutilation;
  • Capital punishment for those who slander or insult Islam;
  • Execution of apostates, or those that leave the religion of Islam
  • Inferior status for all non-Muslims, known as Dhimmitude.
  • Concept of Taquiyya: A Muslim may lie or deceive others to advance the cause of Islam.

I know about Shariah through VOM. I don’t have to do severe or strenuous exercises to produce story upon story or case upon case containing brutality, abuse, even judicially reckoned murder of Christians under Shariah. It also doesn’t take much to Google search, “honor killings” in America. There are many. The long and short of it is, while I try to be a voice for those in restricted/hostile nations, is it possible that America will be a restricted/hostile nation against Christianity in the time to come? Many, many Christians would say, Yes! Believe it or not, it’s coming. Jesus’ words ring very true tonight:

“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” John 16:2

Please don’t think I’m out to slam Muslims or that I hate them. I don’t. It’s the opposite- I love them deeply. Every Muslim needs to hear the Gospel, every single one. They all need the chance, as many are hungry to know about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ but they are just so oppressed. Especially the women and children and my heart goes out to them all.

Learning about all of this is still pretty new to me. I’m continually absorbing much of the articles and videos that Acts 17 has produced in their labor of love in the Gospel toward the Muslim community (four were arrested last year at Arab Fest, all counts were false, their online video proves this. Amazingly, what it truly proves is the fact that preaching the Gospel on American soil will get you arrested in a “no-go zone”).

I pray that this blog is simple and to the point; that point being, Christians will be persecuted in America sooner, rather than later. And it’s only beginning- let us pray.

_________________________

Sources for CRPS:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/complex_regional_pain_syndrome

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/complex-regional-pain-syndrome/DS00265

My Absence

Although I have been absent from this blog physically, my heart has always remained. Over the course of the last few months, various words and phrases that I’ve wanted to write about have been as fleeting as rain water soaking into the ground. Unfortunately most of it all has run off into the dirt and turned to mud! Prayerfully, there’s been a seed in there somewhere that’s just now sprouting into a choice plant that’s producing choice fruit. I’m asking the Lord to help me write this and I don’t believe He’ll fail me.

It’s been impressed upon my heart by the leading of the Holy Spirit to simply share some of my journal entries that I wrote beginning in early March. I don’t know a better way to explain all the emotions, struggles, fears and doubts that my family has experienced during this time. What I do know is that no matter how intensely personal this gets, may God be glorified through it all. May His Light shine brightly through what seems to be a dark time in our lives and that in the end clearly evidenced for all to see is that we are His workmanship.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10

Let me first begin by saying that I’ve never wanted this blog to be about me. It was (and is) intended to be a voice crying out in the wilderness for those who suffer for the name of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, we (and me, especially) need to be very careful that we are not glorying people above and beyond the Lamb of God. The One for whom ALL glory and honor is due. We do nothing of ourselves, but it is Him who works through us so that no one can glory in His presence.

“…God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption…” 1 Cor. 1:28b-30.

My purpose is to share how God is working in our lives at this point in time. Not everybody knows all that has happened with us. The why’s and the what’s have gone on for 3 months and it’s time to just be open and ask for prayers. Not that I didn’t want to do all of this before, but in all honesty, I wanted to internalize things and meditate upon most of it before making it public. See, there are no coincidences as a child of the Most High God. He works all things in accordance with His own purposes and sometimes these things are hard to understand for unbelievers. Unbelievers don’t understand spiritually how God deals with members in His family through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, they don‘t understand the spiritual battle for good amongst evil that goes on from day to day, nor the depths of love I have for the souls of men. I hope to shed some light on that in the journal entries below.

___________________________________

March 2, 2011:
“So many pictures, voices, imaginings in my mind. I can’t stop its racings. It keeps me from doing the most menial tasks. Peace in my brain, please! I need to, want to, give, hand over, release to God every day complete sovereign control of all events in my life and outside of it. I need to trust Jesus in every way. I give up all possible outcomes and scenarios. Whatever happens, whatever may be is because God chose and decided to do it that way. God rules over all, I am choosing to renew my mind on that so I can have peace and joy all the time inside and out. I don’t want control. I need to let go of the idea that I have it. If I laboriously endeavor to fall in step with God’s plans through prayer, there will be no regrets, no “shoulda-woulda-coulda’s”. I will stand before Him as a favored servant, who gets the “well done”. Prayer has to be done every day.

**A month after Brian got hurt, I realized that I had prayed heavily for him this day by a notation in my bible next to a certain verse. I don’t remember exactly what I prayed, but I know by the little written date of 3/2/11 that that was the verse God lead me to for him. It was 1 Corinthians 5:5. I did not realize I had meditated on this verse on that day, again, until about a month later. I’ll let you read that passage on your own. And no, I don‘t believe Brian to be a wicked person. However, I DO want him to bring forth the fruits of repentance, to be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, just like I do for all the people I love. He‘s my husband, of course I want: more. than. anything. in this world, for him to be saved.**

March 7, 2011:
Everything changed when Brian came home Wednesday (March 2nd) from work. He hurt his hip somehow so bad he can’t walk, use the bathroom or sleep. One ER visit and Dr. appt. later, we know nothing. They *say* its arthritic and the joint is deformed, but with almost the whole leg going number by the day, we don’t believe that. On my end, I’ve slowly slipped into robotic mode, I know I’m supposed to be leaning and trusting Jesus more than ever right now… Instead I’ve not prayed or read His Word, I’ve retreated into my own mind and stayed there. I just don’t know what to do. We’re lost at sea, with no oars. Just sitting there waiting on God to move the boat to shore.

March 15, 2011:
Unfortunately, I have not been praying and studying like I should have. Brian has had a difficult time with his hip. We spent all weekend in the hospital (St. Joseph’s – Pontiac). At least we have a diagnosis: FAI with dysphasia and two bulging discs. Picked up his last check yesterday . God was so good to us in that the application for state assistance went smoothly and everything will be taken care of as long as we get all the medical information to them.

March 20, 2011:
Praises! God supplied to us a wheelchair (through church) and a friend is letting us borrow a spare walker.

March 22, 2011:
I need to stop being such a crybaby. I need to grow up in the faith and realize God is bigger, stronger and more powerful that I or anyone can imagine.

March 23, 2011:
I’m so ashamed of myself. I totally flipped out and started throwing things. I couldn’t find an account number for a utility in that pigsty of an office I have. I’m just no good at being a bookkeeper! Ps. 100 keeps coming into my mind. “Serve the Lord gladly”, or with “gladness”. I certainly haven’t done that… I’ve just pushed Him away, and pushed Him away. I don’t know how to feel about anything any more. I’m tired of never having peace in my heart! Everything and everyone is wrong! I have so many concerns about so many issues and so many people… maybe I’m simply over-stimulated and need to focus on ONE thing and ONE person. Instead of… 50 things and 50 people. I’ve been very unthankful to you, O God. I’ve been rotten. I praise You for Your new mercies every day.

Is. 32:17 – “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.”

Jesus is my example, I am to walk in His steps. His number 1 priority was glorifying God. STEPS – Ps. 85:13 – “Righteousness shall go before him and shall set us in the way of His steps.” Job 14:16 – “For now, thou numberest my steps.” God knows the number of every step I have or will take. Wow!

March 27, 2011:
I am amazed by God.

March 28, 2011:
Brian’s leg is getting worse. Please show me the truth of Eccl. 10:13 in my own life. I want to get back to knowing Jesus and seeking the lost. I need to learn more about being, “In Christ”. Father, I need You to teach me this truth. I need to maintain memorizing one verse a day.

March 29, 2011:
Brian and I are working on taking up a Bible study together. I pray that You will work in our hearts and lead us into something that will magnify You and reveal more of Yourself. We give to You this time; help us to utilize it best for Your glory. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, think big in a spiritual sense. Seek for Himself and allow Him to seek the lost through me. Give Him unhindered sway to love others without losing delicate discernment for right and wrong. Thank You for Your Word! I delight in Your revealed… Self. I love Your Bible. I want to learn more of You everyday.

March 31, 2011:
Time. Such a big entity that cocoon’s us all… just can’t seem to escape it. I have to remember- ALL IS VANITY. Lord, set a watch over my lips. I find that as my stress level rises so does the decibel of my voice. I seriously want to scream my lungs off and never stop. My frustration is that high. I’m like Reuben and Joseph. Joseph’s brothers had so much contempt, they couldn’t speak peaceable to him. It says they, “couldn’t”. I don’t want to be like that even when stress levels are sky high. I understand my witness is precious and at stake and I’m destroying it. I’m so selfish and this ordeal with Brian is making me see how selfish I really am. I’m upset about so many things. I want peace to go in every direction, but all I feel is contempt- from others, from myself, I just want to break something. That is the rage within me and it’s not right. Dead people, crucified people aren’t supposed to “feel” anything. But its just not in me to pretend. Revelation 14:12, verse of the day.

**The verse says this: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

I’m just now reading this verse again since I just wrote the address and not the actual verse. Did I realize how much this verse meant at the time??? I don’t know, I don’t remember. But wow!**

April ??, 2011:
It’s 6:45am, Jesus woke me up for communion with Him and for that I am thankful… I have so many thoughts racing around my brain. They swirl and gel and part and collide over and over again. So much anxiety and it’s ALL over my relationship with my Lord. Brian’s health and everything else is secondary. Anything  and everything I am hinges on Christ! My point of focus is Him, Him, Him! Everything I do or don’t do always revolves and swings back around to Him and His Will and Glorification. I am ashamed at being a runner, O God. I identify with Jonah so  much- O what a precious story. I’ve meditated upon the fact that over the last 30 days I’ve done nothing for His Glory. I’ve been self indulgent and wayward during the most critical time of our marriage to date. In some ways, in the last month, I’ve run away from God to do my own thing without even asking Him, but its just not in me to waste time or be a sluggard. I want and need God’s blessing to prepare financially in the event all state assistance stops. I want to plant seeds and hope the Lord blesses them with growth! Like the VOM store; all those items are there, they’re available for purchase wherever and whenever He so wills to help VOM. I have enormous peace and even excitement over what Jesus can do in the shop developed through His grace for those who suffer for Him. My part is so small, but SUCH a big joy! Words can’t accurately describe all that I feel knowing I’m a part of the Great Commission in hostile/restricted nations. Nevertheless, I need to ask for God’s blessing. I want to ask for His blessing.

I want to work- Jesus was a carpenter, Paul a tent-maker. It doesn’t even have to take that much time. My hope is that God cant take my crafts and the talents He’s given me to conform it into something that’s glorifying to Him. So why do I feel such a sense of guilt? The Proverbs 31 woman was a keeper at home and was industrious still… I guess I don’t understand. I suppose I’ve taken so much time up on that and messed up my priorities. They haven’t been to pray, read or study. I’ve always been a “do-or-die” type gal. I struggle greatly to find a balance. When I feel an ambition for something, everything else falls by the wayside… and the first thing to fall by the wayside is Jesus. I can never seem to bring Him along in any endeavor. And Him blessing me is crucial! I’m scared that deep down, I’ve really proven that I don’t’ want God in my life and that thought alone breaks my heart and makes me feel ill. I’m so afraid that in my mind, I want Jesus, but in my actions I’ve proven otherwise. I’ve actually lived the last 30 days apart form Him in accordance with My Will and My Will has become my god. What shame! And if I shared this with anyone, this truth in my heart, they’d argue with me. And tell me “not to be so hard on myself”. Blasphemy! I actually despise this light view of a Holy God. Where a vile, sinful human being is held in higher esteem than a just and righteous Creator. Makes me so mad at men (men, as people in general). Where, O Where is there someone to stand in the gap for me says, God?!

April 8, 2011:
The enemy is having a hay-day in our marriage.

April 12, 2011:
Well… found out yesterday that rent will not be covered for April. Where we’ll get the money, only God knows. I don’t want to pray, I don’t want to read my bible, I don’t want to go to church, I don’t want to ask for help… This being broke thing is nothing new to me. What’s new now is that I’m a Christian. I shouldn’t have to ask for help from humans. My God is wealthy beyond compare, He owns this earth. Yet, I have to battle everyday to trust and believe that when everyone around me doesn’t. I’m SO tired of doubting, I’m so tired of believing ALONE. I’m so tired of everyone’s opinions and the “Why’s” and Brian’s, “You need to do this…”, and, “You need to do that.” His constant, “What are we going to do?” Looking to me for answers. I just don’t know. I just want to die. Yes, its melodramatic, but I’m so exhausted from carrying this burden, this weight around me as I’m buckling under the pressure and still wielding away the evil that surrounds me. How, O how does the persecuted church do this? Their battle is far, far, far worse than mine. I don’t understand?

April 13, 2011:
I’m struggling so  much right now to maintain Christ-likeness. It’s really hard when things don’t go right, when people are mean, when disappointment comes, when uncertainty arises. I’ve been reminded of the sparrow quite a bit~ Sparrows know nothing of money, or worry, yet they eat, fly, nest, find warmth and go wherever they want to all the time… Jesus tells us to consider the sparrow. So I am.

April 19, 2011:
Brian can’t live like this anymore and neither can I. I’m so overwhelmed. Some people are just killing us. I’m becoming very bitter, not better… I have this hatred inside me, this confusion that can’t understand how some people can be so insensitive and cruel. I can’t do Master Club anymore, I can’t watch Jenna anymore, I just can’t anymore, it’s tearing me apart mentally and physically. Lord, what do YOU want me to do? “Serve Me gladly, Ps. 100” and, “Let Me handle it, Ex. 14:14”. I want You to handle it and I want to serve You gladly.

April 20, 2011:
Thank you for everything, Lord. Your love, Your grace, Your kindness. Help me to love you better. Help me to be like You to the Master Club children. Help me to be happy, kind, interested, vested, excited, tender, and glad. I’ve never been content to be a leader. It’s an uncomfortable role. Please continue to control hearts and minds for all involved.

April 21, 2011:
I pray that my journal is a testimony of Your love and power- not just a book of sour complaining by me. I love you equals “I search for ways to tell You how much I love You…” “Ah, the voice of my Beloved…” Song of Songs 2:8.

May 2, 2011:
Everything used to be so simple. Now, everything is so complicated.

May 3, 2011:
Today is our 14 year anniversary! Praise God! Love thinks no evil, bears all things, endures forever and never fails.

The Gospel is alive. It must be to “produce” fruit. Dead things don’t grow… aren’t seeds dead though?! Are people being drawn to Jesus by the way I live? Are people being lead to the Cross by me? By you?

May 4, 2011:
I feel very far away from the Cross… Thank You for demonstrating Your love for me on the Cross! Thank you for restoring my morning prayer time!  Thank You for the nice day we had yesterday.

When I feel used or taken advantage of, remember the song, “Channels Only”, or “Make Me A Blessing”. I’m merely a vessel, God will supply my every need. I don’t *need* any friends, God is my friend, my very best. Because He blesses me so much, I can bless other’s so much. Maybe when I feel unappreciated or used, its God’s way of reminding me that I need to thank someone.

How can the name of the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified in me? 2 Thess. 1:12

Help to always do what is good and right. To be blameless.

Remove any hindrances in me that would prohibit fruit production and/or doing the Will of the Father. Be not weary in well-doing. No complaining or grumbling.

I need help, Lord to do what You’ve asked of me.

May 6, 2011:
Stop making excuses and do the work. Just do right, stop sinning!

May 9, 2011:
Thank you, Lord for helping me get right. Thank you for the graciousness of Oxbow. Thank You for my parents. How can I help Brian? Help to control my tongue, help me to be strong emotionally.

May 10, 2011:
We got our gas shutoff yesterday. Unexplicably, I was still able to run Nana a hot bath. Thank You, Lord!

May 11, 2011:
Ps. 25:3a – “Let none who wait on thee be ashamed…”

Jesus used the scriptures to defeat the enemy. He can corrupt our minds and tempt us to walk away from the simplicity of Christ! He confuses and complicates! Resist him through faith, and through the scriptures.

May 12, 2011:
Thank You, Lord for restoring our hot water. Thank You for helping us. Help me to not be moved away from the simplicity of Christ.

May 13, 2011:
My testimony is too precious. I have to protect it. The enemy wants to destroy it.

May 14, 2011:
Church this morning. Slept unwell last night; chest pains, hot/cold, thirsty, fearful, etc. Amazingly enough I woke up not that tired~ Went to church, then cried all the way home. I hate to cry over the dismal picture of our finances. So behind, hope so low, faith low, uncertainty plagues me.

May 16, 2011:
Lord, you’ve turned it all around. I always do this. I always let my heart be troubled and somehow, someway, you never hold it against me. You’ve provided a better plan that I could ever dream up. Please help us direct it in accordance with Your will, please help me to see if there is anything amiss.

It is You alone, Lord who gives wisdom, knowledge and understanding. It is You alone, Lord who allows me to see a better way, to see solutions to problems, to give creativity. It is You alone, Lord who gives us the resources and increase to take care of ourselves.

Don’t be lazy. Do the work, do what is right, be strong, have self-control, trust in the Lord with all my heart. Lean not unto my own understanding. In all my ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct my paths. Be simple, don’t complicate a matter. The Lord will make the plan, the path plain, easy to follow. He will guide my steps. He is the One who blesses and grants any increase. It is my responsibility to give of the first fruits of the work of my hands.

May 19, 2011:
Let Your light shine through me to all who see. Help me to do the important work and to set aside the unworthy things. Do what’s right. Slay the “little foxes” that ruin the vineyard. Leave them behind and continue the work. Make the sacrifice for those that actually want to be a part of my life and don’t merely want “something” from me. The ministries you allow me to have, Your work, Master Club, this park, VOM, my home, my kids, serving and supporting them. Stop dwelling or allow my attention to stay on those “little foxes”, or the people that have deemed themselves unfit, don’t matter. They are diverting my attention from Jesus – my prize! Jesus IS my reward, my inheritance! Everything should revolve around magnifying Him and His work in me. I’m allowing too many things to steal my joy in my pursuit of Him. I need more self-control. I need to continue to keep “short accounts” (keep a tight reign over those “little sins”).

How are the little olive plants growing in Master Club under my care? Are they dry and underfed? Neglected, growing wild? Dying? For lack of attention and food? No direction or cultivation? Must sacrifice the time. Seek the guidance, care, attention, tenderness that comes from our Lord. Be ENGAGED – plugged in! Stop giving my attention to things that don’t deserve it! Give my attention to the things and people God wants. Period. Dwell on Jesus and what He wants for me. Always ask, “What would the Lord want me to do?” Sometimes that’s easy. Sometimes that’s not. Help us to understand and know you better, Lord.

May 20, 2011:
Thank you, Lord for supplying our needs, for the love gift. How can I serve others? And do it with joy?

May 25, 2011:
I swore yesterday. I knew it was wrong, there’s no excuse. I’m so sorry, Lord. Will You forgive me? It’s so hard to ask forgiveness for willful sin.

In Christ, I am complete. I am His workmanship. Should He come today, it will be sufficient to understand His work is done in me. (Col. 1 & 2)

May 27, 2011:
I am to be a maker and a keeper of peace. Avoiding strife and vengeance. I must not fulfill the lust of the flesh in any form of retaliation. I am to overcome evil with good and practice meekness (power under control). I have to keep in mind the preciousness of my witness and testimony and do no harm to the cause of Christ in any way or for any reason. I represent Something and Someone so precious. May all know the love of Christ through me, and may I never tarnish, mar or damage His Gospel, ever. But live in love through the avenue of edifying. May everyone see in me what’s not seen in anyone else: Jesus Christ.

I have to trust Jesus and commit to Him the state of __________’s salvation. Leave that burden at His feet, He’s more than capable. Leave it and walk on rejoicing, not sad. If the Lord starts anything, He will complete it. Not me. May God begin the work in many hearts because of my faithfulness. A gift He has given me.

Later on tonight, we bussed in 15 children from our park to watch, “The Jesus Film – for Kids”. I was able to show through the scriptures to four little girls how they can know salvation in Jesus. I’m praying for the Lord to water those seeds and bring the growth. Praying for a mighty work in their hearts and in their lives. Please, Lord. Let them, give them, the desire to know You and Your salvation. Take them to heaven.

I’m not quite sure how or why God has chosen me, or how or why He blesses me so, so much. His Great Love is constant, but sometimes He lavishes it upon me in greater measure. And when that happens, it’s a wonderful surprise!

May 29, 2011:
Not going to church. 1) no ride, 2) didn’t arrange for a ride. Lord, You know our needs. I hate to keep asking and asking. Yes. Of course if and when we get a car, we will go to church like you’ve commanded.

Help me to show love to the Master Club kids through hugs and smiles. Don’t teach me just to love, but fill me with the operative Spirit of the God of Love. God is love and He dwells within me!

June 1, 2011:
We had a set-back in Brian’s insurance. We were not able to see a doctor the whole month of May because of it. Not that it was anyone’s fault. A surgeon didn’t work out due to a mistake that I made, so in my humiliation, we just had to wait until today.  The appointment yielded three new steps. 1) new neurologist, 2) physical therapy (when he was in the hospital they told us he wasn’t a candidate for it, but now apparently he is) and 3) continue with the orthopedic surgeon we originally saw. I will keep everyone brief on the results of all this as best I can.

I keep seeing and reading about Jesus being a “friend”. It’s impressed upon me. Thank You, Lord Jesus for being my friend.

Master Club tonight.

I want to be possessed by the Living God. Not just to save myself, but to save others. I may not understand all that happens during the process, but I’ve committed to Him everything that I am and everything that I have in my desire to see Him magnified. Ps. 40:16~

June 4, 2011:
I want to do so much more… But I feel stuck in my flesh.

________________________________

There is a little bit more written in my journal since this date, but it’s a little long about a dream I had. Maybe another time I’ll share it.

I hope and pray that these entries encouraged you. I’ve had the privilege of meeting through a precious brother in Christ, a sweet lady who is in a similar situation as mine. Ordained through God, I know I’m not alone. I never was, actually. Maybe you feel alone in whatever circumstance you may be in. What I want to relay is that our walk with Jesus is seldom covered in rose petals everyday of our life. It’s been said of the persecuted church that as a flower is bruised and crushed, it’s fragrant perfume comes out all the more from it. I don’t think that’s the exact phrase, but it’s close. It is in our weaknesses that God’s grace shows so abundantly, not in our strength! Many times I feel so weak, but that is where God can use me best. As difficult a pill that is to swallow, it is the way He works. He chooses to give grace to the humble and to resist the proud. I pray that you can see through every post that no matter how much I struggle, I never lose touch with what matters and neither should you.

In the world there lies a popularity contest, in Christendom there lies greatness and blessing in serving. I will never be popular in this world, I don’t aim to be. I suppose to some degree I’ll receive flack or disdain for baring some very private things that I’ve made public, but it doesn’t matter. After all, when we stand before God, our very secrets will be declared anyway, our very thoughts and the intents of our hearts over the courses of our lives. While many seek to exalt themselves, I seek to exalt The One who made my very life possible in the first place. All to Him I owe.

Please keep us in your prayers. I don’t know what God has planned for us. Brian and I are doing our best to remain hopeful and optimistic. We know someday soon, God will reveal to us what is going on medically.

In Christ,

Joy

The question is…

But which one? For those who still believe He exists at all, there seems to be a growing consensus that He simply goes by many names, but all religions are worshiping the same Person. Erase the lines between us and let’s find our common ground. Jump into the circle and we will pat each other on the back.

The Bible does speak of one world, under God – but in slightly different terms, which would explain why we have to tweak our message a little to get invited to those circle parties. Those who refuse to tweak are labeled in a derogatory fashion, but they don’t fall under the protection politically correct speech. Nor can you find them listed in sensitivity training curriculum, so call them what you wish.

The distinction (and there is a big one) between Christianity and all other religions, is Jesus Christ. Others may have moral teachings, the Golden Rule, and many other admirable qualities, but they don’t have the God who became Man, offering total forgiveness and reconciliation. This claim provoked hatred toward Christ from the very beginning. Israel and her sacred writings told of His coming, her temple worship pictured His work, and she was called by God to be the family of His birth. Yet, most of Israel refused to tolerate this “God” claim when He arrived, and what now is called Judaism, still does. Islam will accept Him as a prophet, but this is as far as they allow. Our faiths cannot be blended together. Our New Testament scriptures proclaim…

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phillipians 2:8-11

In the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, there is an inscription:

“O you People of the Book, overstep not bounds in your religion, and of God speak only the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is only an apostle of God, and his Word which he conveyed unto Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from him. Believe therefore in God and his apostles, and say not Three. It will be better for you. God is only one God. Far be it from his glory that he should have a son.”

The elemental truth which has invited wrath since the day Jesus declared, I AM, still a point of contention with many it seems. A significant percentage of the Hebrew Roots Movement is teaching this very same message – that Jesus is only “the Word” (made equal with Torah) – a man through whom the Spirit spoke the same Torah Moses heard. In order to appease the Judaism they wish to join hands with, they succumb to denying that Jesus was God in the flesh, or said anything new.

While I understand the hard struggle of understanding and accepting that God is expressed in the Person of Jesus Christ, Christianity as a faith has wrestled with and firmly established this. Jesus declared it Himself. If we are required to compromise this truth to make our faith acceptable to others, we should be honest and call ourselves by another name. Christians don’t just believe IN Jesus. I hope we believe Him.

Apparently many Muslims understand the incompatibility of our faiths, as the drastic increase in Christian persecution continues. Two Christian families were murdered in their homes in Egypt just over a week ago. I say, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” They, like Paul before his conversion, believe they are doing God a favor. They are zealous and sincere, and following the fundamentals of Islam. Like a few Christians, some Muslims take their book seriously.

Christians in these countries need our prayers and support as they reach out to their friends and neighbors. To truly love a Muslim, a religious Jew, or any person in the world, we need to tell them the truth in love, not abandon it in order to patronize them.

An underground Christian from Bahrain was asked how he reaches out to Muslims. He said, “We love them. We help them when they are in need. We invite them into our homes to eat.” This opens their ears for the gospel. Another man who reaches many Muslims in the U.S. and around the world starts with Jesus and just reads the Gospel of Luke with them. He says it’s amazing how the real Jesus is revealed to them through this book. Yet another asks them if he can simply pray for them, and they seldom ever refuse. This is powerful. A wonderful collection of stories of Muslims coming to Christ are found in the book, Iran: Desperate for God.

Chosen People Ministries is distributing copies of Isaiah 53 on college campuses, finding many Jewish students have never laid eyes on this Messianic passage. This chapter so clearly depicts our crucified Jesus that one Jewish person who heard it read out loud accused the reader of teaching from the New Testament.

We have one sector of the Church screaming hate toward terrorists and Islamic states, along with undeniably racist undertones. Anti-Semitic sentiment is also on the rise worldwide as many take sides in the Middle East conflicts. But do we we extend the hand of spiritual fellowship to make up for this bigotry? Why do we always end up driving in ditches? We can’t find the Narrow Way, because we are not even ON the road.

And like it or not, America represents Christianity to many in the Middle East and around the world. America – in all our secular humanist glory, which knows no more shame or boundaries of decency and honesty – the “Christian Nation”. If the Church in America were a shining contrast to America as a whole, we might find cause for hope, but sadly, we blend in rather well. (More to come on that subject). Rather than compromise our faith, maybe we should live it. That might not be so offensive to our Muslim neighbors, but even if it is, I’m sure it would be less offensive to God, the One we should truly fear.

Most religions of the world have a tragic history somewhere of forcing people to convert, or forbidding adherents to leave, in the name of their God – Christians included. This is inexcusable in any context. This is genuine intolerance. Now Christians are considered intolerant simply for inviting people to a salvation in the One who claimed to be THE Way the Truth and the Life. Because our message does not accept all gods on equal terms, we are highly offensive, backward, and to many – dangerous. But Jesus told us to expect this. Why are we shocked? Any attempt to compromise this truth to appease the wrath of man is cowardly and dishonest. He is the one who said,

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26

Yet some of our most respected Christian leaders affirm their belief that God will save “good people” apart from faith in Jesus. I’m sure the missionaries, martyrs, and the underground churches would like to know this so they don’t have to keep sacrificing themselves to reach the lost. God will save them anyway. God calls His elect I believe, one way or another. He will send the message somehow. He said the harvest is ripe but the laborers are few. He commanded his disciples to go into all the world and teach all nations.

But if we do argue for Jesus being the only way, and sit back and don’t share Him, or hold the rope for someone who is, this may be more tragic than the fantasy of thinking it’s not necessary to tell them. I leave you with these words…

Proverbs 30:4 Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 5:21-24 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John 10:30-33 “I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

1 John 2:22-26 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us–eternal life. I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17

A wonderfully written article that I had to share; re-posted from 8thDayForLife’s blog found HERE.