Saturday, January 7, 2012

Perfect Love Casts out Fear

My dear Father, do You think you could give me a year when nobody in my family dies? ...even my cats? I am grateful for Your clear direction: 1)stay healthy so my remaining two children won't have to be knocked to their knees by another wrenching loss; 2)stay quiet enough to read, digest, believe and teach God's Word; 3) confess my sins and forgive those I hate, thus RESISTING the devil; 4) mind my own business and 5) keep my fingers and mind moving. I have noted that some older widows blabber because they don't have a husband to listen to them any more, so I promise to stay alert to people's body language: yawning, fidgeting, glazed-over or rolling eyeballs and tell-tale signs that my victim is edging toward the "slink-away two-step".
Today Jasmine and Briahna, home for another few days from Patrick Henry University in Virginia where both are studying to save our country from extinction, and I are meeting in town so they can tell me whatever they have concluded is worth retaining after one semester in college. When these two lightning rod sisters left for school last August I didn't know if there would be a continuing teens Bible study, but we are now picking up speed with more boys than girls. I like boys. ...always have, which was a terrible problem for my parents when I was a teenager. We are studying I John, the black and white letter that battered old Apostle penned for us. Kids and all of us need "black and white". "Gray" isn't working.
Tonight I will sit down at the Apple Shed's hundred-year-old piano and we will bring cheer to people who think they are coming to the Shed just to eat ribs and chicken. Some will look a little surprised when I saunter over to their table and ask them what song they want me to play that brings them happy feelings. Many will have a favorite, some will sing along, some will tap their foot, occasionally a couple will dance, one man may show up and whistle the melodies and some little kids will warble their lungs out to songs they know. So far in my seven years of playing the first Saturday night of every month, no one has walked out, muttering obscenities.
My Father is sending young people and couples to me to counsel. Amazing grace! I call on biblical veterans I trust when I run up against enemies I don't care to tackle alone. Is it my imagination or has Satan stepped up his program as God is stepping up His around the world? Our bailiwick of Christians (not given to hobnobbing with the charismatic crowd) has either ignored or turned tail and run at any mention that Satan exists and cripples Christians. Well he does. ...both exists and cripples. Don't you DARE fear him; he and his minions THRIVE on fear. Don't let him slip between the cracks of your armor. If you aren't wearing any, he's GOTCHA! His goal: to take as many to the pit with him at the White Throne as possible. If he can convince you that God does not love you, you are not merely his TARGET; you are his BULLSEYE! Why would you tell anyone how wonderful our Lord Jesus Christ is if you do not believe the Father measures His love for you by every drop of His Son's blood? stop Satan's lies that keep you in bondage to guilt, shame and blame. Read and believe His Word: The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ has set you FREE from the law of sin and death.
...and by the way, do you have any lost friends? Jesus was a "Friend" to the publicans and sinners. Forget the evangelism workshops and manuals; simply love people as you are loved, to the Lord Jesus Christ. This endeavor will require SACRIFICE for the word "love", means NOTHING without it. People know if you are just blowing evangelism smoke.
Here's a good ol' Warrior's Hymn:
Stand up, stand up for Jesus! Ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner; it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory, His army shall He lead
'Til every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.
Love, Jo