Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Days of Noah

"For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark." Matthew 24:38

I thought I could sleep in today, but alas, I was wide awake at just after 6:00 am. As hard as I tried to close my eyes and convince myself I was still tired and there was nothing I needed to get up and do this early on a Saturday morning, my efforts were futile.

I turned on the television to check out the weather and other overnight news. "I won't even entertain the question, it is going to happen," I heard a geriatric looking gent say. And of course I heard the commentary criticizing and making fun of his message:

Today at 6:00 pm is the End of the World.

No wonder I woke up!

Let me just be clear and go on record before I go any further. I do not believe the Rapture of the Church will occur at 6:00 pm on May 21, 2011. I won't bother quoting scriptures to refute the message or rebuke the man.

But...

Two weeks ago, my friend was preparing to go about his day. It was May 7, 2011. He stepped into the shower. I can't tell you what his plans for the day were, but I can safely say he did not think it would be his last day of consciousness.

He suffered a massive heart attack. His wife heard his body hit the ground and she rushed in and called 911. That day was not the end of the world, but it was certainly the end of their world as they knew it.

We do not know what this day holds for any one of us. Will we go to the grocery store and have a catastrophe hit us unaware? Will an earthquake shake the foundation of the house we live in? Will someone we love and cherish say their last words to us? Only the Father knows such things.

I am not ridiculing the messenger or the message. We MUST be about the Father's business. We MUST seek first the kingdom of God. We MUST be about the Father's business. We MUST be ready to give a reason for our faith in season and out. We MUST be about the Father's business. We MUST live each day truly, as if it were our last. We MUST be about the Father's business.

Because we might just step into the shower...

"Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity." Joel 2:13

The clock IS ticking
Safely smiling in His service,
Charlynn

Please continue to pray for my friend and her family. Her husband was transferred to a long term acute care facility yesterday. He is still unconscious. He does not know today may be the end of the world. He does not know his shower is over.


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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Interpreter

Across the world I work with interpreters; people who take the words I speak and pronounce them in a language my audience will understand. Too frequently, I have found myself in a foreign land without the valued aid of someone who could speak the language. And while the skill-set of "charades" could be added to my resume, I know in critical times, to have someone around who can interpret your needs, is imperative.

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." Romans 8:26

Even without the help of interpreters speaking Swahili or Spanish, I am ever conscious of the Spirit, knowing the Living God is at work in the hearts and minds of the people present. Oswald Chambers wrote on the Romans verse:

"God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you can't understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God brings you to places, among people, and into certain conditions to accomplish a definite purpose through the intercession of the Spirit in you... to bring them before His throne, and to allow the Spirit in you the opportunity to intercede for them.

In this way God is going to touch the whole world."

Presently, I find myself in one of those circumstances I don't understand. I spent almost an entire month away from home, out and about the Father's business. As I looked at my blank calendar for the upcoming weeks I wondered what the Lord would fill my days with. It didn't take long before I received notice of a tragedy in "my own backyard."

The Joni and Friends office in San Antonio, Texas contacted the few people that reside in the DFW area about one of the Wounded Warriors (a female) who has attended 5 of the 7 Retreats. Her husband had a massive heart attack and was in the ICU at a local hospital.

I was shocked. I know the family well. I have been blessed to interact with the soldier and hear her story. The family immigrated to the United States in 2000 with refugee status from Iraq; they are Kurdish (who suffered some of the most horrific persecution and annihilation under Saddam Hussein). She joined OUR army after the bombing of the World Trade Center to return and fight against the evil she knew first hand. She left her home, her husband, and her children to fight for OUR freedom. She knew all too well what life without freedom was like.

She served as an interpreter.

In 2008, the convoy she was in was struck by an IED (improvised explosive device). She suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as wounds to her extremities. The family came to the second Wounded Warrior Getaway in October of 2008 while she was still undergoing treatment for her injuries at Brooke Army Medical Center. They returned every spring and fall for the next two years. Her three teenage children (17, 14 and 12) were definitely missed by many. Her husband was not only her primary caregiver, but he also managed the hectic activities of the children as well. "He did everything for us," she tearfully told me, as she stood over him looking at the various machines monitoring his vital signs.

I can't imagine what she and the children are going through. I couldn't fathom looking at the body of one I cherish, unable to communicate with them...

a tragic circumstance without an explanation, or interpretation.

"God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so we can be there for that person just as God was there for us." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 The Message

Walking alongside the wounded Rallying the troops,
Charlynn


If you are in the DFW and would like to assist the family please contact me for how you or your Bible Study or Church group can help.

If you would like to send a note or card of encouragement and let the family know of your prayers and concern contact me for the address.

The doctors informed her that her husband needs to be transferred to a Long Term Acute Care facility within the next few days. They also made sure she understood there is no hope for his recovery. Although his eyes are open, they have also told her his brain activity is minimal and the man she loved will never return.

Pray!

This transition period will be extremely difficult for everyone in the family as they adjust to life without their primary source of help and comfort. We know our God is able to show Himself through every circumstance. Pray they recognize His presence, mercy, comfort and grace.



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Friday, May 06, 2011

Villians and Heroes

"I hadn't breathed a word..." Nehemiah 2:16 The Message

It is Friday, and yes, I am thanking God that it is. It is also the end of a very busy month of ministry activity and the start of a new season. I returned from the Wounded Warrior Getaway on Tuesday, having spent one day in the beautiful Texas hill country to relax. I unloaded and returned the rented cargo van that transports my travelling road show of fun, but have yet to get all the personal items back in their place in my tiny apartment.

Unusually, I did not send out any reports of the activity that was happening with the warriors and their families. Since my return home I have received many inquiries about my own well-being. This morning I began reading Nehemiah, one of my favorite personalities of the Old Testament. At various times in my spiritual journey I have fashioned myself as a "Nehemiah," a rebuilder of broken walls and lives. It seemed fitting to update the past week's activities in light of his story.

Ten years in to our "war against terror," makes for as many naysayers as those that faced Nehemiah. He responded to his critics with one of my favorite verses:

"So I answered them and said to them, "The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build..." Nehemiah 2:20

For months, I have enlisted help (and prayers) of many to bring the supply needed to rebuild the broken hearts and bodies of the soldiers returning from the battlefield. We made "Trail Tales" journals for families to jot down and record the fun they were having. There were 40 "Sock Soldiers" ready to stand guard with the mission to make smiles. Much to the dismay of my traveling companion and my sons who haul my luggage up the stairs, I took an extra bag to bring back 40 cowboy hats from Chiapas, Mexico for each warrior to wear Saturday night to the hoe-down, not to mention the 40 wooden cowboy boot key chains.

Donated Beanie Babies came in handy for the little ones, especially considering many families have multiple (up to SIX) children, we had plenty to please. And during the first night's "Minute to Win It" ice-breaking game, well there were those hats that would make the Royal Wedding guests envious!

Nehemiah chapter 3 explains the work assignments of the families. They worked side by side, day and night until the wall was rebuilt. Last week thirty-six volunteers came from across the United States to take part in the "restoration" project sponsored by Joni and Friends San Antonio.

From Florida to Chicago, Kansas to California, they came. They rocked and walked screaming babies, they watered down the slip and slide, they carried plates of food for mother's overwhelmed by the buffet line with 5 toddlers in tow. They inflated the Bouncie House and chased out wasps trying to interfere with the fun. They dished up ice cream for a social, and they served as servants of the Most High by washing feet during "Spa Time."

They made crafts, they played games, they got on horses to ride as chaperons, they put worms on hooks, they cheered as warriors wounded accomplished things as difficult as climbing a rock wall and as simple as line dancing. They did a makeover on one of the teenagers who went to her Senior Prom Saturday night and had her saying, "I never thought or felt like I was beautiful before."

They laughed with them, and they cried.

"We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. The whole wall was soon joined together and halfway to its intended height because the people had a heart for the work." Nehemiah 4:6 The Message

The rebuilding efforts of all (including YOU) resulted in seven decisions for eternal life, and six recommitments to serve our Lord with new dedication and perseverance. And that is just the first report. A fortified city withstands the enemy and its inhabitants "go forth" and take back enemy territory!

While we were with heroes, halfway around the world, another plan was put in place to take out the villain known as Osama bin Laden. My son called me Sunday night and asked if I had heard the news. We turned on the TV and watched as people gathered in Washington, D. C. chanting USA, USA. I couldn't imagine what they were shouting and cheering at military bases around the world. I couldn't begin to understand how it would impact those we had the privilege of spending the weekend with.

Although Osama was definitely the identified face of evil in this conflict that began on September 11, 2001, there are far more and far greater enemies. I am not referring to "the number two guy, or the number two hundred guy. I do not refer to an ideology or a political strategy or conviction. I am referring to the enemy who is against the children of God 24/7! He is stealing peace of mind, soundness of spirit, breaking up marriages, and destroying sanity to the point of suicide.

He is using unseen weapons that are far more explosive to hearts and souls than IEDs (improvised explosive devises) created in a third world hideout or a hidden Pakistani compound.

"Don't be afraid of them. Put your minds on the Master, great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, sons, daughters, wives, and your homes." Nehemiah 4:14 The Message

We MUST be about the Father's business. I know what the Word says about "the fate of all human beings." The Word plainly states who Jesus is, and was and is to come; THE Way, THE truth, and THE life, NO ONE comes to the Father, but through Him (see John 14:6).

Bin Laden didn't meet 40 virgins Sunday night, he met the King of Kings. From hell, he is probably negotiating and asking for mercy he never showed to the victims of 9-11, and those opposed to his ideology. Even he is most likely asking for someone to go and share the Truth (see Luke 16:22-31)

"And so we keep working, from first light until the stars come out.."

Honoring the armed forces
Serving our God and country
Charlynn


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