Saturday, June 10, 2017

Guest Blogger Lindsey Knott: Rejection


The spirit of rejection. It's a big one for me. I think I'm finally rid of it and then I uncover a bit more still deep within me, hiding, clawing, and trying to alter my relationship with God.

It's as if rejection mimics the properties of broken glass. You think you have finally removed every last shard of glass, but then you step on a tiny sliver when you least expect it. Recently, God lovingly unveiled a tiny remnant left behind. You see, I want to go deeper in Him. I know it is available. I know He is offering it to me, as He is to all of us.

Yet, when I feel I'm on the brink of something deeper, I wonder if He will really pull through. Why?

I don't think I'm lacking in faith that He can do it. But I am lacking in faith that it will actually happen to me - if He really wants to do that for me.

Of course, the answer is an unrestrained and resounding YES! Our God is personal and relational. Each of His promises are for every single person on earth, yet they are also hand crafted for each individual. Yes, He does love everyone. But specifically He loves YOU. He loves ME. Beyond our comprehension, He is simultaneously inviting all of humanity and each individual into His all-encompassing depths. We need not fear rejection from such a loving and faithful Father. 

In the face of truth, we can bind rejection. Our Daddy redeemed us and sanctified us. We are no longer something old, but a new creation. We are His beloved children. Rejection is no longer ours to bear. Instead, we can wear love and share it with everyone we encounter.
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Guest blogger Lindsey Knott blogs at Love the Learning. (follow the link to read more)

Please like and share if this blog post has touched your heart. It extends our digital reach in significant ways. Thank you.

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Invading the Darkness with Light

If you feel led to partner with this ministry (US, Jordan, the digital world), here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 

Or you can mail your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Invading the Darkness With Light

bombed-out building in Israel

We had an interesting discussion at the office yesterday, and I can't get it out of my mind. I had been invited to a meeting located in an area that some people consider dangerous. There are dangerous things about the neighborhood, but the place I was headed was, I thought, completely safe. There are some "bad" people there, but there are also a lot of good people.

"I'm going," I told our mission director, Steadman Harrison.

We discussed my decision for a few moments, then he said a wise thing. "Well, we're willing to go to the Syrian border. Why wouldn't we go into a neighborhood near here? It can't be any more dangerous than Syria..."

Why wouldn't we go? 

Those words have haunted me ever since.

When I say that God goes before me like a banner and Goodness and Mercy follow me, I'm not being flippant. I'm quoting straight from Scripture. It's not being irresponsible or foolish to trust those words. 

They're truth and we're supposed to believe them enough to stake our lives on them. 

Here's the problem... we don't believe the truth. That's why we've stayed behind safe walls rather than go into the most difficult areas with the light of Christ. I know, because I've been that person, but I'm not anymore.

I've seen the destruction the enemy has caused while we've stayed home, and it's heartbreaking. He's planted the minds of mothers and fathers, of sons and daughters, with lies, and it has reaped a harvest that's almost unbelievable. What passes for "normal" behavior these days is simply astounding. Evil reigns because God's people have allowed it.

Body of Christ, we have the light of God. Why would we leave the darkness to flourish? It's the nature of darkness to expand, to gather more territory. 

All that's needed for darkness to recede is for the light to shine. People of the light, it's time to shine in places where light is needed. 

We're not all called to the same darkness, but we're all called to be the light in the darkness somewhere. Where is the darkness to which we are called? How much light are we shining there? What will happen if we fail to invade the darkness with light?

In case you're wondering, I went. The first line of the opening prayer was a complete confirmation for me. "Lord, send the Holy Spirit to direct everything we do..." 

I thought I was taking the light, but, as it turns out, the light was already there.

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 nasb
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Please like and share if this blog post has touched your heart. It extends our digital reach in significant ways. Thank you.

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: When the Water Runs Out


If you feel led to partner with this ministry (US, Jordan, the digital world), here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 

Or you can mail your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

When the Water Runs Out


When I was in the Middle East earlier this year, I learned that the country was "water poor." Because there's no source of fresh water, it's in short supply, and is a truly precious commodity there.

You don't leave the water running when you brush your teeth. Actually, you use bottled water for brushing. Showers are quick and not always daily. Sometimes, there's no water for showering at all. Swimming pools? No. Water games. Not a good use of the tiny amount of water they have.

After what seemed like two weeks of steady rain here, the water shortages in the Middle East seem a distant memory. Recently, though, I saw a post by a friend on the other side of the world. They were thrilled about a renewed source of water.

Their city water had been out for more than two weeks. Imagine that for a moment. No showers. No baths. No watering plants. No washing cars. I don't know what they did about clothes, but I suspect using the washing machine was out, too.

When the water came back on, there was considerable rejoicing, because they had a first-hand understanding of the value, and preciousness, of water.

Like the Samaritan woman at the well, they longed for a water supply that would never run dry. (Leanna Paraphrase coming up.) When Jesus offered her water, she looked at Him and laughed. "You don't even have a bucket. How are you going to give me water?"

Jesus just smiled. "If you knew who I am and what I offered, you'd beg for my living water. It will satisfy your deepest thirst. With it, you'll never be thirsty again." 

"I need some of that," she told Him, and she was right. We all need some of that.

Something really interesting happened then. "You can have all the living water you want, but you need to deal with your sin." 

Those first few drops of refreshment during her conversation with Jesus were enough. She didn't waste a moment. That sin-scarred Samaritan woman raced to her town, dealt with her sin, told everyone about Jesus, and invited them to meet her Water-Giver. 

If we were truly thirsty for living water, we'd do anything to have it, too. The problem comes when we try to quench our thirsty with the refreshment the world has to offer. Busyness. Stuff. Position. Power. Prestige. Family. Kids and their activities. They all offer a degree of satisfaction, but it's transient. 

Only Jesus offers the thirst-quenching water that endures. 

Are we thirsty for refreshment, renewal? 

Does an aching desire in our soul need quenching? 

Maybe it's time for the living water that never runs dry. Let's turn to Jesus and let Him wash and fill our empty place with water that always satisfies.

We can having living water. All we have to do is ask.

"Jesus answered and said to her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, "Give me a drink," you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." John 4:10 nasb
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Gaining a Blessing By Praying for Peace


If you feel led to partner with this ministry (US, Jordan, the digital world), here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 

Or you can mail your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.




Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Gaining a Blessing by Praying for Peace

Jerusalem viewed from Mount Scopus

I don't know if this ever happens to you or not, but the Bible study I'm doing now just didn't hit my hungry spot today. I started flipped through the Bible to find something more filling and landed in Psalm 122. 

You probably recognize the first verse. "I was glad when they said unto me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'" (Ps. 122:1) 

The verse that caught my attention and took me back to my time in the Middle East a few months ago was, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem." (vs. 6)

For the first time, I realized that this psalm of David actually includes the prayer we are to pray for Jerusalem. In God's amazing way, the intercession for Jerusalem also gives a blessing for the ones who love her. 

Here are the words David instructed us to pray on behalf of Jerusalem:

"May they prosper who love you.
May peace be within your walls.
And prosperity within your palaces." 
Psalm 122:6-7 nasb

This tiny scrap of land, less than 0.5 square miles in size, still houses more than 40,000 residents. It's divided into four quarters. (Muslim quarter, Christian quarter, Armenian quarter, and the Jewish quarter) Each quarter has a distinctive flavor consistent with the residents who reside and work there. 


It's filled wall-to-wall with shops of all kinds, color, and a cacophony of different languages. Shopkeepers often stand at the doors of their shops, hawking their wares to people passing by. The aromas of spices and food cooking fills the air. 

The sights and sounds and smells merge into an experience of sensory overload that's wonderful and heart-breaking.

Jesus walked the streets of old Jerusalem, and you can still see the stones on which He walked. The Via Delorosa, the path that led from his trial to his cross, is still laid out for the pilgrim who wants to literally travel His path of travail.

Old Jerusalem is a walled city within a bustling city of skyscrapers and the most modern technology. Ancient and modern exist side by side. More than 800,000 people live in "new" Jerusalem. It's a beautiful city. 

One evening, we sat at outdoor tables and listened to street musicians while we ate gelato and watched the bustle of people passing by. It was one of those moments, carved out at the end of a busy day, when peace, for a few moments, prevailed. 

I thought about David's words that evening. Peace within her walls... Neither the old city nor the new one has reached that pinnacle of delight, but one day... 

For thousands of years, people have prayed as David instructed and, miraculously, the city still stands. Today, why not join me in praying for the peace and prosperity of Jerusalem, both the old and new cities. Pray for the lasting peace that only God can give.

While you're at it, why not ask God to plant love for His city deep in your heart so that you, too, might enjoy the blessings of those who love her.



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Please like and share to extend our digital reach.
In case you missed it, here's the link for yesterdays post: Being Left Behind and Wishing You Weren't

If you feel led to partner with this ministry (US, Jordan, the digital world), here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 

Or you can mail your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.
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#Jerusalem



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Being Left Behind and Wishing You Weren't


Bedtime was later than I'd intended last night. When the train rolled through our town just after 5 am, I awoke, bleary-eyed and wishing I'd gone to bed on time. Maggie and Mamie, my little high-maintenance dogs, were asleep at the foot of my bed. 

As usual, Maggie went to the screened porch to greet the dawn. Mamie, however, wanted to sleep a little longer. 

"Mamie, I'm going to get coffee. Do you want to go potty?"

She lifted her head, tilted it to one side, and stared at me. 

"You want to go?" 

She lowered her head again, snuggled back into a little ball, and closed her eyes. Sleep was clearly her priority.

I went downstairs for coffee. A slice of bread was still in the toaster when I heard a familiar sound. "Arf. Arf. Arf." 

Mamie was relentless. She'd suddenly realized she'd been left behind, and she wasn't happy about it.

Her response reminded me of a lot of people. She'd had a chance to go with me, but she'd ignored it. 

When Jesus left this earth after his resurrection, He made certain His followers knew one thing. "I"m coming back to get you. You need to live ready."

He described that wonderful day. He will appear in the sky, riding on a cloud, and everyone will see Him. A loud trumpet will sound, and everyone will hear it. Angels will be sent to gather His people, and all His disciples will go. No delay. No waiting around.

Those who aren't disciples will be left behind, because, when the trumpet sounds, all the deciding will have already been done. When people look around and realize the followers of Jesus have gone, it'll be too late to wish they'd followed Him. 

Now is the time to decide about Jesus. Now is the time to take a close look at our lives. Do we truly follow Him or just talk about it? Are we a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ or a fan of the concept? Are we a pew-sitter or a passionate servant? 

Some will go. Some will stay. Which one will you be?

"And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Matthew 24:31
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Note: There are some people who disagree with this theology. A little earlier in this passage, Jesus describes a great tribulation and suggests that this "taking away" will be at some point after the tribulation has occurred, or at least after it has begun. I'm not writing to argue the point of pre-, -post-, or mid-tribulation theology. Some people believe the "taking away" will be for lost people headed to judgment. One day, everyone will know what viewpoint is correct. The point is that Jesus will return and all the deciding will be past. We need to live ready.
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Please like and share to extend our digital reach.
In case you missed it, here's the link for yesterdays post: Contingent Promises from the Consistent Promise Keeper

If you feel led to partner with this ministry (US, Jordan, the digital world), here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 

Or you can mail your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.
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Monday, June 5, 2017

Contingent Promises from the Consistent Promise Keeper


Yesterday, I was the substitute teacher in the ladies' class. We were winding up the lesson on John 2 when someone made a comment that sent me down a rabbit trail. It's been on my mind ever since.

The comment was about our tendency toward criticism, which reminded me of Isaiah 58. The prophet's words make one thing clear. God hates a judgmental, critical spirit. He wants us to be rid of it so much that He's made promises for those who let it go.

IF we replace our critical, judgmental spirit with a spirit of generosity and giving...

THEN God will give: 
- clear direction
- hope even in difficult situations
- refreshment
- strength
- restoration of what seems utterly hopeless (repairer of breach, restorer of streets)

IF we honor the Sabbath and treat it as a delightful, holy day...

THEN God will give:  
- delight in Him
- honor
- satisfaction with the inheritance He has promised

These are perfectly clear IF/THEN promises. They're contingent upon us doing our part, but the requirements are not too difficult. 

quit criticizing and judging
honor the Sabbath

What's too hard about that?

What's not to like about God's promises of peace, hope, direction, refreshment?

Today, let's take a close look at God's promises. Are they something we want? Then let's do what it takes to have what God promises. 

Honor His day. Honor His way. Simply obey.


"Stop pointing your finger... Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength..." Isaiah 58:9-10 nlt
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Please like and share to extend our digital reach... This matters more than you know.

In case you missed it, here's the link for yesterdays post: When Our Lives are Utterly Transformed 

If you feel led to partner with this ministry (US, Jordan, the digital world), here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 

Or you can mail your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.
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#Godpromises 


Sunday, June 4, 2017

When Our Lives Are Utterly Transformed


When Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana, it was a feat of transformation. The wash water was changed into wine, but not just "cheap" wine or raw new wine. The transformation was so extensive that the water became the best wine, with the deepest flavor, fullest body. 

Anyone who drank the wash-water wine knew, instantly, that it was not just special. It was the best.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to transform us, we, too, are supposed to be changed. For examples of that change, we need look no further than the lives of Peter and Paul.

A rough fisherman was changed into a bold and fiery preacher. A legalistic, murderous Pharisee was changed into a man filled with grace, willing to lay down his life for the one whose legacy he'd tried to annihilate.

They were changed into more vibrant versions of themselves.

Are we that transformed?

When people outside the body of Christ encounter us, do they find a disciple with a life that's full of God-adventure, joy, and delight in what God brings our way? 

Are our lives more attractive because of the full-bodied flavor Christ adds?

Jesus said, "I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10 kjv)

The word translated as "abundantly" literally means, "more than sufficient, over and above, abundant."(1) We're supposed to live a live that's "over and above" what we would live without Christ. This isn't a "material possessions and money in the bank" kind of above; it's the work of the Spirit in us.

The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

Imagine for a moment what our lives would be like if we allowed Christ to so completely transform us that our lives were filled with an abundance of joy, peace, love? 

Not only would we have wonderful lives, but those around us would be drawn to the Christ in us, from whom our great lives flowed.

Are we utterly transformed or not?

If we are not living the abundant life Christ came to give us, something is wrong, and it needs to change.

Today, let's spend some time evaluating the life others see in us. Is it a life of joy? Love? Hope? Peace? Does the sweetness of God's Spirit overflow to all around us? 

That's the life we're supposed to have, so let's ask God to do what it takes to get us there. Let's pray that we will live the kinds of lives that cause people to say, "I don't know what she/he has, but I want it."

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that that might have life; and have it abundantly." John 10:10 nasb
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Please like and share to extend our digital reach... This matters more than you know.

In case you missed it, here's the link for yesterdays post: Guest Blogger: David Turner: The Prayers That Make a Difference 

#disciple