Thursday, August 21, 2008


I wanted to share Jacob's journal entry to further explain the point I made yesterday about hell and how it will not be a cause of sorrow for the saints but rather one of rejoicing:

"And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh." ~ Isaiah 66:24

"After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, 'Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants'. Once more they cried out, 'Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever'". ~ Revelation 19:3

I’ve been re-reading a favorite of mine lately, “The Count of Monte Cristo”. It is a masterfully told story of betrayal and revenge. Dumas really draws you in to care deeply about the characters. In brief, the main character is betrayed on his betrothal day by two close friends. The judge, knowing his innocence, instead declares him guilty because it serves his own ends. In prison for 14 years, Edmond plots revenge. After escaping and finding untold riches, he goes back to slowly and carefully exact vengeance from the three men who have enjoyed prosperous lives while he suffered unjustly. One of them even married his fiancĂ©e. As the plan unfolds, you really root for Edmond to mete out justice; there is no pity for these despicable men who have been blessed for so long and are now only getting their just deserts. And it is a wonderful triumph.
Simultaneously and seemingly unrelated, I have been considering hell for a while now. It stemmed from a few chance readings and the verse in Romans 11:22 that says “Consider then the goodness and severity of God”. We are commanded to consider both. So I’ve been thinking about hell and it has been tough. It seems to be an area most people either gloss over or make it something other than what it is – conscious, eternal, fiery torment. I told God yesterday that I just didn’t see how this was right or good. I felt unable to rejoice in something God had made. I decided to trust and imagined I would simply need resurrected perspective to really get it.
Then it clicked! The book, of course! Edmond is the Christ figure, handing down a delayed but fully deserved sentence of judgment. In the book I had no desire for mercy to be shown. The convicted were not sorry, and they had enjoyed many blessings in the meantime. I rejoiced to see Edmond’s innocence vindicated and his enemies denounced. In the same way, when sinners are judged as sinners they will remain hating God and without remorse for their sins. It will be a righteous and good thing for them to be condemned. It will be part of the fullness of Jesus' vindication that he finally and fully triumphs over his enemies, as it is cried so often in the Psalms. Incredible as it sounds, this work of fiction helped me grasp this concept much better than if someone had merely told me the same thing. In the book, I was totally drawn in and felt all the emotions in full.
I think a lot of the problem comes from not viewing the damned in their proper light. They are “alienated and hostile in mind”, “haters of God”, “liars, depraved, inventors of evil”. Somehow we get the idea that when it’s all over people will realize who God is and cry out for mercy but their chance will be over so God is forced to torture them forever. No way! They will see God for who He truly is, but this will make their hearts (no longer restrained by any measure of grace or love) revile Him all the more. They will never ask for mercy unless it be in a self-seeking way, only wanting to save themselves from pain. It reminds me of those crime documentaries on TV. They follow the whole case and when the creepy, twisted criminal is in the courtroom he remains cold. It’s sickening to see them show no sorrow for their murders and rapes and other unspeakable crimes. Then, if they do show emotion, it’s only because they want to lower their sentence. They aren’t sorry at all. For those people I want justice, swift, sure, and without chance of mercy. This is the lens through which to view the reprobate and it allows us to rejoice in God’s righteous punishment.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


The Olympics have me incensed. The burning kind, but the aroma is not so sweet. If any of those Chinese gymnasts save one, is actually sixteen then I'm still 39. They are cheating, and except for some laissez-faire comments by all the commentators except Bela what's-his-name, no one seems to be that upset about it! No one is calling it what it is! No one is doing a darn thing about it!
For all the good it will do, let me go on record as saying I'm upset! I keep asking myself why I'm getting so riled up and it finally dawned on me. I am created in the image and likeness of a just and righteous God. Everything in my being cries out for fairness and justice and everything in me cries out against injustice whenever I see or experience it.
I understand King David's anguish when he shouts out in Psalm 94:3, "How long, O Lord, shall the wicked prosper?"
He felt that same righteous indignation, that same internal imbalance we all feel when things are out of order. It's not right that the wicked prosper or that the righteous suffer! It's not right that people lie and cheat! It's not right that people deny who Jesus is and ignore "so great a salvation." It's not right that God is mocked!
I was talking this over with Jacob the other day. And let me just say right here that the only thing more soul-satisfying than having a wonderful dialogue about spiritual matters with my children is having one with the Lord.
He made a shocking point. Jacob, that is. He said, "That's why we will rejoice when the wicked are condemned to hell. We will SEE the righteous justice of God carried out and we will rejoice! Part of Christ's victory and vindication in the end is triumph over his enemies."
I'm not saying we will be glad they are going to eternal punishment in a sort of thumb on our nose, finger waggling, nah-nah-nah-nah-nah sort of way. Absolutely not.
But I do believe we will experience a deep sense of satisfaction when sin is punished, when wickedness is dealt with justly and when God finally vindicates Himself and His standard of righteousness is upheld and honored.
It made me feel a little better about things even though I know I need to pray for the cheaters.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Well, I'm back again, erratic as ever. I'm assuming it gives you all something legitimate to gamble on. Will she post today, or won't she? I'm going with N-34 and a "yes!" Bingo!
The truth is, I don't want to sit here and peck out words just to be doing it. I really want to have something valuable to write or I am guilty of being just another version of "clanging cymbals."
But the truth is, when God is in your life, there should always be something of merit to talk or write about, right?
We simply can't exhaust the subject of Him. He is too big, too vast, too powerful, too amazing, too incomprehensible, too involved in our lives.
I can never get over the fact that He hears my prayers! It makes me weep every time I think about it and it is one of the things I give thanks for constantly. (Note to self: never have your prayer time after you have put on your make-up.)
Whether I am in my antique recliner, my "prayer chair," in my living room, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, or in the shower or in my car or anywhere I might be, when I open my mouth to pray, or even think the thought, the great and mighty God of all creation, the incomprehensible King of all glory, adjusts His cosmic GPS, answers His cosmic cell phone and gives undivided attention to the concerns of my heart. This is so astonishing I can never quite get over the wonder of it all. And not only does He hear my feeble prayers, He answers them! He answers me! Personally. Specifically. Lovingly. Beautifully. In ways both supernatural and practical, to the point I have no doubt it's Him. Is it any wonder we will worship Him for all eternity? As if the essential element of salvation wasn't enough, He has made me a joint heir with Christ and He hears my prayers and moves to answer them!
This is radical. Is it any wonder "the gospel is foolishness to those who don't believe"? I mean, come on! People think you're kidding. That you're nuts. But it's TRUE!
I can take the deepest heartache, the most nagging question, the most desperate need and lay it at His feet. And when I do, the most remarkable thing in the world happens. The Spirit of the Living God begins to stir and move. He dispatches angels, activates circumstances and arranges divine appointments. He moves in the unseen realm until the manifestation comes in the realm we live and move and breathe in. The realm we call "reality."
And that's where the essential, deal-breaking element of faith comes in. We pray, "Thy will be done, on earth as it is being done in heaven," and "call those things that be not as though they were." Most of us have been Christians long enough to have more than a mustard seed of faith. I'm thinking watermelons here.
Yet we get discouraged at times, when prayers seem to not be answered. That's when we have to get back into our prayer closet and tell ourselves the truth! We have to pull out our mustard seed and look it over real good. We have to activate our faith. Affirm it.
Beacuse even if a mustard seed is all we have, Jesus makes a remarkable statement in Matthew 17:20 when He says, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, 'move from here to there' and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you."
What an incredible statement! Faith is the key. And faith is only built in the times of private prayer, where we pour out our heart, our dreams, our hopes, our frustrations to the God who hears and answers. Where we lay at His feet every problem and concern and "the sin which so easily besets us." Where we ask for wisdom when we lack it (James 1:5), comfort when we need it (2 Cor. 3-5), a refuge when we are being assaulted (Ps. 46:1). When we need to defeat the enemy of our souls (James 4:7), stand firm in our faith (1 Cor. 16:13; Eph 6:14) be a witness (John 15:27), glorify God (Rom. 15:6; 1 Cor.6:20), extend forgiveness (Matt. 6:14-15), and on and on it goes. Whatever you need, God is the source.
Oh, Dear Ones, this is not what I was going to write about! I was going to talk about how hell is just and those of us who love Jesus will rejoice when justice is served and be glad for it! But another time.
If you are frustrated or overwhelmed; if you are defeated or despairing; if you are in any way walking in your own strength, let me ask you how much time you spend in private prayer. It is only at the feet of our Lord that we find every need met. In fact, the very art of prayer lies in the pouring out of our souls before God who hears and answers. It is the most spirit- nourish- ing of duties, and should be a constant delight.
We are His friends and true friends enjoy spending time together, they arrange it, and they pour out their hearts to each other. How much more should we, who profess to be deeply in love with Christ, make a point of meeting with Him regularly to tell Him all that concerns us, to be encouraged, to listen for instruction and simply enjoy His presence?
If you are struggling in any area, have a deep unmet need, goal or desire, I would encourage you to evaluate the time you spend in deep and earnest private prayer. Like a lover, (because He is the lover of our souls...) He is waiting for us to sneak off to be with Him. Do it now! He is waiting!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Time flies. Or so they say. And they must be right because we are ankle deep into August, Jessie goes back to OU this Saturday, Christmas is once again going to be sooner rather than later and I haven't blogged since July 21st. Sigh.
There has been a lot going on, to be sure, but none of it seemed blog worthy until I was reflecting on all God has been doing lately. It's like He is working overtime to make up for lost time. Though I know that's just my perspective, it certainly seems to be the case.
God answers prayer. We all know that. It's in the Bible. We say it, we believe it, we tell others even--or especially-when it seems not to be the case. When God seems silent. Or uninterested. Or sloooooooow to move.
My favorite answers are the ones that come immediately, or at least by the next business day. And that happens quite an eye-popping lot, actually. Though which of us ever gets used to the idea that the immortal, invisible, incomprehensible, completely unique God of all creation moves on our behalf and answers our meager, heart-felt prayers, the cries of our heart, the thoughts in our mind and the passions in our spirit?
I am ever amazed that He sees me sitting in my comfortable antique recliner, in my living room, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and listens attentively to my prayers. Not only does He listen, He moves in the heavens, in circumstances, in people, in situations, to actually answer those prayers! If, like me, you have been a Christian a long time, you sort of expect it, but do we ever get used to it? I must admit that I don't, because when I see that He's moved, that a prayer has been answered, I am always as amazed as I was the first time it ever happened. It makes me weak in the knees. I am constantly embarrassed that my awe hinders my thanks. I stutter.
On the other hand, I'm at the point in my life journey where I have lived long enough to have prayed for years about something without seeing the answer. Inevitably, doubt sets in. Despair. Unbelief. The death knell is resignation. I become resigned to something simply because I can't see what is happening in the unseen realm, therefore I am fooled into thinking God must have put it on the back burner or that nothing is happening!
Oh! Foolish Galatians! Or something like that. It's not true. From the moment the words leave our lips or the thought escapes our mind, God is at work--in us, in others, in circumstances, in every possible area. The God who never faints or grows weary is calling us to do the same. To trust, to believe, to not lose hope, to cast all our cares on Him. We need to fill up those "golden bowls of incense that are the prayers of the saints" that Revelation speaks of twice.
I am saying this because I have been praying for years about something and I am finally seeing God move! I am astonished! Delighted! But I am also a bit disappointed that I ever doubted and fell into to the brier patch of resignation.That I quit praying. Or quit praying with passion.
Truly, is there anything to hard for the Lord? I am learning first hand, having been told and having believed that my entire Christian life--yet still falling into my own version of unbelief-- that there is not.
If God can create everything seen and unseen, if He can name all the stars, if He can take dry, bleached bones and turn them into a living, breathing army, He can do anything I ask. The problem for me, and for many of us I think, is that sometimes it takes time. And the more time it takes, the more apt we are to assume God has chosen not to answer.
But I am here to testify that I am seeing the most amazing and creative answers to prayers I have been yearning and praying for for almost 25 years! God hasn't forgotten. He does hear! He IS able!
So take heart. Seriously. The hardest most difficult thing, the one you have lost faith over, the one you have resigned yourself to and quit praying about. That one. Take to Him again. Ask. Expect. Believe.
He hears.