Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘love

Compassion.

Jesus was full of it. Every where he went he showed compassion to those who flocked toward him. He was especially compassionate toward children. And, children responded with joy. I can see them giggling and smiling, all wanting Jesus to pick them up or let them sit on his lap. I’m sure Jesus smiled at each child who unabashedly ran to him.

The Disciples rebuked the parents who brought their children to Jesus. But, Jesus rebuked them. He said,

“Let the little children come to me, and stop keeping them away, because the kingdom from heaven belongs to people like these.” Matthew 19:14

In this video you will meet little Judah. His mother shares his story, and how the illness he was born with, inspired her to sponsor a child through Compassion International.

That is why I am writing today.

Those of you who have followed me, and continue to read my blog in spite of the fact I have allowed way too much time to pass from the last time I posted, will begin to see blog posts about Compassion International. I have recently become a Compassion Blogger, and encourage each of you to do a couple of things after watching the video and reading this blog.

Jesus said if we give just a cup of cold water to a child in need, in his name, we certainly would not lose our reward (Mark 9:41). There are so many children who grow up in profound poverty and do not have access to decent healthcare. Many of them suffer with the same ailment as little Judah does. But, you can help.

1. Go to Compassion International and,

2. Sponsor a child today.

Compassion.

Jesus was full of it..

Are you?

Advertisements

0010
“Me”?

I point my finger at my chest, and question, almost in utter disbelief. “Surely, you don’t mean me?”

“Yes,” He said. “I do mean you.”

I tried to wrap my head around that thought. Me. A Jew asking me, a Samaritan for a drink?

I continue to draw water into the earthen pot. I didn’t expect to see anyone here. Usually, I make a point to come to the well long after the other women have gone. I don’t like the looks they give me… or the contempt – I have enough of that for myself. I really don’t need them to tell me what a failure I am. All I have to do is go back home to a man I am not even married to, or think about the amount of suffering I have endured from the hands of men since my childhood. Men using me for their own gratification. These women only care to see the outside, and they will assume what they want to assume. They don’t care to look beneath the surface. But, this man speaks to me of secret things he could not possibly know about me. His words strike my heart. My soul is set ablaze by the words he speaks. I want to hear more.

As I ponder his words, I offer him a drink. How does this man know these things about me? He doesn’t look familiar. I don’t believe I have seen him here before. Certainly, as a Jew, he is breaking all the rules of the traditions the Jews hold in high esteem. Ha. Ha. Can you imagine what the other women would think about this?

“If you knew who it is speaking to you, you would instead ask me for Living Water. This is the water, that, if you drink of it, you will never thirst again.”

“Are you serious”? The words came out so fast, I couldn’t stop them. I slapped my hand over my mouth. It was the strangest concept I have ever heard! “Sir, are you telling me I could drink this water and, magically never thirst again? That is the funniest thing I have ever heard. You have nothing with which to draw water from the well. How am I to taste of this water, sir? Are you greater than Jacob, our Father, who gave us this well? Please, sir, give me a taste!”

His eyes were gentle. His face kind. “First,” He said, “go and get your husband.” His eyes penetrated my soul with such love and warmth, I felt as though my insides were melting.

“My husband?” I stammered. “Sir, I do not have a husband.”

“You have spoken the truth. You have had 5 husbands, and the man you are with now is not your own.”

I dropped my pot to the ground as his words penetrated my heart, yet again. His words burning my whole being. He bent to steady the vessel for me. “You must be a prophet, sir. You know, our ancestors worshiped here on this mountain, but you Jews claim the only place to worship is in Jerusalem.”

Believe me, woman, a time is coming when those who worship God won’t worship him on this mountain, or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship, yet you do not really know who it is you worship. We worship God whom we know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet, I tell you the time has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth. These are the true worshipers the Father seeks. Do you understand that God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth?”

“I know, sir, the Messiah will come, and when he does, he will explain it all to us.” My heart skipped a beat. For the first time I could see a smile spread across his face. A twinkle lit his eyes.

“I, the one speaking to you now – I am he.”

Such profound words falling upon my ears. I didn’t notice the Disciples walk up. The realization of who I was talking to was still sinking into my heart and soul. Somehow, I already knew. In the way his words cut right through me; straight to the heart.

The Disciples didn’t seem pleased Jesus was talking to a Samaritan, and a woman at that! But they didn’t say a word. They just looked on with eyes wide open. But, I didn’t care. The Messiah was standing right in front of me! The One who was coming to free us all. He was here, speaking to me, a woman of great sin.

I have to go. I must run back to my village and let them know who is here and how he has come to set us free! The Messiah is here! And he has chosen me, a woman of lowly stature, and ill repute, to go and preach the Kingdom of the Gospel of Christ.

Do you see what he has done? He has come, even for the likes of me. An outcast of society, he has come to save. He has come.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you recognize this story, it is from John chapter 4, “The Woman at the Well.” An idea of the conversation that may have taken place on that day.

Award winning, poet and author, Cheryl A. Thompson, has been a single mother to Trey, Charlie and Brett since October of 1989. Through the trials of her childhood, and the struggles of single-parenthood, Cheryl has learned the importance of a heart attitude toward life and God, and how that attitude impacts a person’s soul and their relationship with God. She is a 1983 graduate of Christ For the Nations, Institute, in Dallas, Texas, and a 2012 graduate of Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Kentucky. Cheryl has been published in the FaithWriters quarterly book, FaithWriters online magazine, and a contributing writer for the Christ For the Nations—60 Years of Service coffee table book released in October of 2009. She has published articles in Heart Magazine 2012 and WHOA Women Magazine 2013. Her first book, Whispers From My Heart – Emotional and Spiritual Healing from Childhood Sexual Assault, was published in November 2009.

Twitter
Facebook

I know. It sounds flippant. But, really, it’s not. I really am sorry. I didn’t mean to do it, again. I didn’t mean to give in to a moment of weakness.

But, I did.

I hate when I give in to sin. It is usually followed by a sense of distance between God’s Spirit and me, and a bout of guilt that continues until I break down, confess myself to God, and repent of my sin.

That’s how it went today. Happily, in short order.

Sin is deceitful. It draws us in by constant bombardment. At times, we are able to stand firm against it, and it lessens the pull against us. However, there are those moments of weakness when we give in to that temptation. It seems so exciting, so good, so inviting, when we are being tempted. But once we have given into the sin, and completed the sin, the guilt and shame enter in. The guilt and the shame create the distance that develops between God and our self. Sin always causes us to shrink away from God. Sin and God cannot stay in the same place.

That’s how sin works.

That’s why God tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from you. – James 4:7.

I can hear you saying, “But, you don’t know how hard it is…”!
Oh, yes I do. That is why I also come bearing good news.

We are all human. While we can learn to overcome sin, we are bound to fail. God, in his mercy, has already made provision for us.

The work that Jesus did on the cross, not only provided us with salvation, but total forgiveness of sin. Total. I mean, everything we did in the past, everything we do today, and everything we do in the future. Covered. Taken care of. Blotted out.

“Are you telling me if I let loose of a string of cuss words, I’m covered? I can do whatever I want?”

I didn’t say that.

“But, that’s what it sounded like.”

No, that is not what I’m saying. Otherwise, the guilt I felt when I gave in to temptation is of no use.

When Jesus died he died ONCE and FOR ALL for ALL sin for ALL TIME, Romans 6:10, he took care of sin for ALL TIME for ALL who come to him.

“You mean, me, too?”

Yes, you, too.

However, if, once we have accepted Christ’s payment for our sin, if we continue to live in sin his sacrifice is null and void for us – See Hebrews 10:26.

A Christian who willingly sins hasn’t died to sin – Romans 6:2.
One who humbles him or herself in the sight of God allows God’s Spirit to work sin out; to conform us to the image of Christ.

As one who is overcoming the issues of Childhood Sexual Assault, falling off the sin wagon is huge. Since control is a big issue, loosing control matters. Not controlling my mouth, or my body, or my attitude, brings about huge disappointments. As soon as I give in to sin, the cycle begins: I retreat from God, and as I make that retreat, I remind myself; “You’re so stupid, you can’t do anything right.” “You are dumb.” “God hates you.” These thoughts take me even farther away from God. They increase my distance from him. Thankfully, God’s Spirit also begins his work, reminding me God’s mercy is new every morning -Lamentations 3:22 & 23. Drawing me back. Closing the gap.

You see, God knows we are going to fail.
He has already forgiven us.
Already given us the way back.
Already closing the distance between us, and him.
Already drawing us back in.

The scriptures tell us in Romans 8:39, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Our failures don’t make us unlovable to God. They won’t cause God to abandon us. He won’t run away from us. We’ll be chastised because he loves us – Hebrews 12:6. We’ll have to suffer the consequences of our choices, but God will never turn away or forsake us.

Don’t hold back.
He’s calling you to turn back to him.
He’s telling you, you’re already forgiven. Already covered.
Even if you are enduring tough circumstances because of your choices, God is still there, right beside you. Waiting for you to run into his arms.

We are human.
We’re going to stumble and fall.
But, you are more than…your sin.

When I got out of bed this morning I was in a mood. There was a knot in the pit of my stomach. I was angry. Depressed. I began to read my morning devotion and the knot became persistent.

“What’s wrong with me, LORD?” I wondered. For the past couple of days all I have wanted to do is cry!

“Delicious.”

The word popped into my mind. Then,

“Mom.”

The tears began to fall. “Yes mom.” I whispered, “The weather is delicious.”

I can see her now.

That was mom’s thing. When the first crisp days of fall rolled around, she donned her “Someone Special Calls Me Nana” sweatshirt, soft pants & fuzzy slippers and gleefully made her first cup of hot cocoa. She would take that first sip, lick her lips, and let out an exaggerated, “ahhhhh”! As if that particular cup of hot chocolate was the best thing she had ever tasted. She would look at me, with bright eyes and a smile, and say, “The weather is delicious!”

I’d mumble something to her as I poured my first cup of coffee.
She would then proceed to tell me, again this year, just how much she loved the cooler weather. It reminded her of when she was a child. She would tell me, again, about the old, Appaloosa speckled, plow horse, with hooves as big as dinner plates, she used to ride through the fields. How she would stay outside, all day, until her grandmother would call her in to eat.

She would, once again, giggle as she told me if she wasn’t outside riding a horse, or if the Iowa weather didn’t permit her to be outside, she was inside pretending to be a horse. Her nickname was Trigger. Yes, named after Dale Evans’ and Roy Rogers’ horse. In the morning she would tear her shredded wheat into a bowl – without milk – put the bowl on the floor, and eat it on her hands and knees… like a horse eating its hay. Then, she would gallop around the house, whinnying. Saying things like, “Whoa, Trigger.” Or, “Giddyup.”

Then, as if the channel changed, she would tell me how she helped her grandmother in the garden. Or, picking a juicy peach off of the tree, biting into it and letting the juice run down her chin. Again, she would tell me how she sat for hours, in the crook of a tree while reading a book. She loved to read. The myriad of books that lined our coffee tables, shelves and around her chair, were proof of that. She would tell me, once more, how no one worried about where she was, or what she was doing. They knew, if Margie – that was her real name – wasn’t galloping in the house, or riding the plow horse, she was sitting in her favorite tree, reading.

Later on she would want to go for a ride to look at the trees. One year, after a particularly wet summer, the colors were brilliant. She oohed and awed, like a child, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation in the fall. One year, we drove to Bald Knob Cross to view the colors from the scenic overlook. Of course, the foggy, misty day didn’t dampen our spirits as we walked to the overlook. We both fell silent as we surveyed the expanse of earth from the top of that hill. As a treat we would stop for lunch, or, just an ice cream cone. Simple times. Good times.

This is my first fall without her.

The air is cool this morning. I should go get her canister of hot cocoa and make a cup, lick my lips and let out an exaggerated “aaaah,” but I can’t. I can only cry. The tears fall as I think about her and the things I miss. The sound of her voice. The light in her eyes. Her laugh. Her presence. Her.

My coffee cup warms my hands. I look out the window and let my mind linger on mom. And, even though I have heard her stories one thousand times, I would give anything to hear her tell them to me one more time, especially when the weather is delicious.

I miss you mom.

I got to ponderin’—that’s the South’s way of saying, thinking about – this morning, as I dried my hair, the title of my blog is Whispers From My Heart.

What exactly does my heart whisper?

Would you agree that our hearts whisper desires or longings? I do. I think our hearts have a longing to belong to something greater than ourselves. I think we all desire to be loved; accepted for who we are, and not what we can do for someone else.

But, to whom, or to what, do our desires and longings go?

Speaking in human terms, there are many things, or objects, our desires and longings can be placed upon. For example:

·         Our desires and longings can be placed on another human individual. For example: we see a member of the opposite sex that we are attracted to and our desire is to know him (speaking as a female). We want to be close to him, talk to him, touch him, and if we are lucky enough to marry him, to be intimate with him. He is all we think about.

·         Our desire can also be placed on an object, such as a car, a motorcycle; a bigger house, or a grand vacation. All we have to do is look at the credit card industry to see this is true. We go into debt, and sometimes massive debt, to have the nicest house, the nicest clothes, the nicest car, and the greatest vacation. This desire might not always be at the top of our priority list, but underneath, the desire is there. You can feel it when you look at the brochure, or visit the web site. In some cases, this desire to have things drives you to succeed in life.

·         Money – now that’s a big one. We can’t live this life without money. With money we can have nice cars, nice houses, and grand vacations. With money we will never worry about where our next meal is coming. With money, everything is available to us. Everything. Nothing would be withheld, if only we have money. The longing and desire for money can fill our hearts quickly. It, too, will drive a person to succeed. The more someone succeeds, the more money they have. Sometimes, this desire for money causes a person to disregard their fellow human being. Many people have been pushed aside and trampled in the quest for the almighty dollar.

o   Don’t misunderstand me. Money itself is not the issue; it is the desire for money that I speak of.

·         Sometimes our affections are placed on love itself. Or, they can be placed on revenge, hatred, jealousy and any other emotions we have. There are times when emotions have captivated us to the point of driving our thoughts and our actions. Hatred easily breeds murder. For example: look at the mass shootings that have taken place in our offices, our schools, and our military bases.  Sure, mental health is an issue we must deal with, but, what drove them to commit murder? In many instances, though, there was a disgruntled employee, a targeted teen, who endured emotional torture and bullying from classmates. There were weeks and months of preparation while anger birthed murder. There was anger. There was hatred. And finally, there was murder.

o   Do not misunderstand me. I am not making light of mental health. Mental issues are very real occurrences that do need to be dealt with. Counseling, medicine and the right therapy have helped millions of people overcome the issues of mental illness. I am not dealing with that issue, but the underlying emotion of hatred that brings people to the point of bloodshed.

The valuable thing of our life – our heart — begins to get wrapped up in the all-important thing or person our focus is on.

Maybe you’ve heard this before … maybe not. Inside every one of us is a void; an empty spot we keep trying to fill. Money, love, sex, people, things, objects. We focus on those things to fill this need we have inside of us, but the more we have the less we are satisfied. So we think we must need more, but the more we get the more dead we feel. Nothing seems to satisfy us.

Why is that?

What would you say if I told you the real whisper of our hearts is the longing and desire for God? A longing and desire for a real life, bonafied, relationship with God.  He is, after all, the one who created the void to begin with.

In thousands of years, since man and woman first made an appearance on this earth, we still seek other things and place our desire on them. It’s part of the human condition. Every single person deals with it. But, be of good courage, my friend, because Jesus Christ has already overcome the human condition and he makes it possible for us to do the same!

That’s part of the GOOD NEWS that should be heralded throughout the earth.

The focus of our desire can be changed. The whisper; the longing and desire, we have in the most private points in our lives, all point to Jesus Christ. Once we accept him, and allow the focus of our lives to be on him, our lives begin to make sense. We begin to think about other people and their needs. We stop to help someone else get ahead, instead of trampling them on our way up. We begin to see life through the lens of love, instead of hate. Relationships take on new meaning. Money becomes a tool we can use.

Having money and having things, and focusing on other things besides God isn’t a sin and it won’t haul us before they judgment seat of Christ. But, who, or what, is the foremost desire of our hearts will.

Your heart is whispering a desire and a longing for God to become number one.

Who, or what, are you going to focus on?

Father, help us to focus on you, the one who authors and perfects our faith. Fill the void of our hearts with you so that we can seek you first and foremost, and your righteousness. Your word tells us that in doing so, in seeking you first, you will add everything we need. Help our desire and focus to be on you and not what we can obtain. Thank you for loving us, and for the whisper of our hearts that longs for you to answer.

Scripture References:

Psalm 119:36 & 37 “Give me a desire for your rules, rather than for wealth gained unjustly. Make my eyes pass by from looking at what is worthless. Revive me by your word!” (NET Bible)

Hebrews 12:1 & 2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…” (NET Bible)

Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing?… So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.” (NET Bible)

Merry Christmas

Christmas is so commercialized. We see decorated trees, gift wrapped packages, parties, cookies, goodies and plenty of greed. But, Christmas is about so much more than that.

As we ponder the true meaning of this Christmas Season, it is my prayer that everyone understand why we should celebrate this date. Sure, Jesus wasn’t really born in December — historians put in somewhere around October, but December 25th is the day set aside for us to remember.

I wrote a poem back in 2004 that captures that reason.

I hope you enjoy.

WHEN GOD CAME DOWN

Mary wrapped her little child; in cloth she swaddled him, and breathed the sweetness of his breath, and kissed his cheek again.

Oh baby Jesus on the hay, how sweet the lullaby that Mary sang to him the night; when God came down to die.

Angels sang, announced His birth. Sent to the Shepherd men; Come see the Christ Child that has come, to take away your sin.

O, Baby Jesus, on the hay, how sweet the lullaby that Mary sang to him the night, when God came down to die.

The fullness of the Deity became the Holy Child; Fulfilling God’s Own prophecy to those that sin defiled.

For God so loved, He sent His Son to earth that Christmas Day; His purpose was to take our place and for our sin to pay.

O, Baby Jesus, on the hay, how sweet the lullaby that Mary sang to him the night, when God came down to die.

Rejoice, O man, for God has come. Lift up your weary soul. The Babe that sleeps so peacefully; Redemption’s plan unfolds.

And as the words were prophesied of pain and suffering; The cross foreshadowed Bethlehem upon the new born King.

Oh Baby Jesus on the hay, how sweet the lullaby that Mary sang to Him the night, when God came down to die.

© 2004

Google Images

It was June 15th, 1904. The Klontz’s, part of the 1,358 members of Kleindeutschland (Little Germany), a very tight knit German immigrant community that had surrounded Tompkins Square on the Lower East Side, boarded the General Slocum around nine a.m. at a pier on Third Street and the East River. The family was excited about the annual picnic that was being held at Locust Point in bucolic Huntington on Long Island’s North Shore. Every deck was filled to capacity on the Slocum and a band played merrily as the steamer started out. Most of the passengers were women and children.

Not long into their excursion, cries of “fire” were heard. Panic began to set in. The speed of the Slocum caused the fire to spread quickly; too quickly! The life boats had burned before the crew could get them into the water. The Klontz’s found themselves with nowhere to go.

The decks soon began to collapse upon the passengers. People were jumping into the water, some women threw their children overboard in hopes they would somehow survive.

Miraculously, a little boy–**John Wesley Klontz–had been thrown overboard. He was one a the few who was pulled from the waters, and could only watch as the Slocum continued to burn at Hunts Point in the Bronx.

Verna Johnson was born in October of 1896 in the small, rural community of Laurel County, Kentucky, to George Washington Johnson and Mary Alpha Carter Johnson. Tragedy struck the Johnson household in double measure before Verna was born. Preceding her birth were twin brothers; Hubert was still-born, and Delbert died at 6 weeks of age. In the early 1900’s, when Verna was around 6 years old, the Johnson’s loaded up their covered wagon, and made the trek to Cincinnati, Ohio.

The rail road had built a station within a mile of her Cincinnati home, and Verna would climb up the old Oak tree near the track and watch the train pulling in, and out of the station. As the train passed, there would be a young man on the caboose, who waved to her. Verna became fond of their ritual, and each time the train came in, Verna found her heart beating wildly at the chance of seeing his handsome face.

One hot July afternoon in 1911, Verna climbed the Oak tree to watch the train. The train pulled in as usual, but this time, she noticed the tall young man stepping off of the train. Her heart began to pound as she watched the young man walk toward her tree. She quickly jumped down, and waited, as he strode toward her.

John Wesley Klontz removed his hat and held it over his heart.

“Afternoon, Ma’am.” John blushed, with a distinct accent.

Verna smiled and curtsied. “Welcome to Cincinnati.” She responded.

They became fast friends, and within a month, John asked Verna to be his bride.

“Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Verna, happy birthday to you!” Verna smiled as she closed her eyes and made her wish. She drew in a deep breath, enough to blow out all 15 candles at once.

As they sat around the table that October afternoon in 1911, Verna looked at the faces of her family, and smiled. She had reached a milestone, and this was the reason they celebrated. She was 15; a woman by modern day standards, and on this day she would become Mrs. John Wesley Klontz; the wife of the German Immigrant. A few months afterward, John and Verna left Ohio, and moved to Ottumwa, Iowa.

Grandma Verna raised Margie, after Margie’s mother passed away during an epileptic seizure, when she was 9 months old. At 18, Margie entered the Navy, met Carol Eugene Mason, married and began a family. After 6 children, time and money had not allowed the trek to Iowa all too often, and in 1998, it had been over 8 years since Margie had seen Grandma Verna.

By this time, Grandma Verna had reached another milestone in her life. In October of 1998, she had celebrated her 102nd birthday. Margie had not been able to attend, so when November rolled around, close to her own daughter’s birthday, they decided to celebrate by making the trip to Iowa. Margie and her girls spent the weekend of November 14th with Grandma Verna and their great Aunts and Uncles, re-living the past adventures of Grandma Verna, sitting in the tiny living room of the 1-bedroom home Verna still lived in.

Upon arriving back home, Cheryl noticed the Mother-in-laws tongue plant that Verna had given Margie 30 some odd years ago, had bloomed. Even though the plant had bloomed once since Margie received the plant, it should not have bloomed until another 50 years had passed. Cheryl sensed in her spirit that Grandma Verna would soon be going home and, in December of 1998, three weeks after their visit to Grandma Verna, she passed from this life, into life forever, leaving the legacy of 102 candles behind.

*Based on the life and times of my great-grandmother, Verna Klontz. Although the events of the Slocum are true, it is pure speculation that John Klontz was the little boy who survived. It was used to enhance the story of my grandmother’s meeting of her husband, John.