Archive | November 2012

Balm for a Broken Heart

I was still feeling hurt and sad over the elections last week when I wrote Sundays with Cindy “A Broken Heart.”  I was pretty out-spoken, and I even got several “Atta girl!” comments from different ones, including my mother!  I had barely published it, though, when the Lord began working in my heart, and as a follow-up to last week’s blog, I would like to share with you the soothing balm our Great Physician has laid upon my heart.

I looked up at the screen Sunday night at church as the pastor began the service by reading Psalm 92:

1 It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:

2 To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,

3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.

4 For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.

5 O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.

6 A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.

7 When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever:

8 But thou, Lord, art most high for evermore.

9 For, lo, thine enemies, O Lord, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.

10 But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.

11 Mine eye also shall see my desire on mine enemies, and mine ears shall hear my desire of the wicked that rise up against me.

12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

13 Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.

14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;

15 To shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

I was reminded in this passage of a question David asked over and over again in the Psalms—“Why do the wicked flourish and the righteous have to suffer under them?”  And then I remembered God’s answer each time to David—“Wait!  The wicked will be judged and destroyed in the end, and the righteous will flourish forevermore!”

Something else I noticed in this passage—It began with an admonishment to give thanks and praise to God always, regardless of our circumstances.  Give thanks for His lovingkindness and faithfulness; for His works, His wisdom and His will.  He has it all under control.  Looking back on the past we have seen without fail these qualities in Him, and that ought to strengthen our faith that He has our future—and the future of the wicked—all worked out, as well.

Psalm 37:7-13 says it even more clearly:  “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.   Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.   For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.   For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.   But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.   The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.  The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.”  In other words, “Don’t worry.  Don’t be angry.  Be patient.  Be peaceful.  God laughs at the foolish arrogance of those who do evil, for their day of judgment and destruction is coming.”

Balm for my hurting heart—“Put this aside, Cindy.  I’ve got this in my control and you needn’t worry about it anymore.”  But then the Lord added one more ingredient to that soothing ointment as I reflected upon these things through the week.  “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.   For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”  (I Timothy 2:1-4)

Pray for those in authority over us.  What would happen, I wondered, if every time I found myself becoming angry (even if it is righteous anger!) or fearful at some ridiculous, wasteful, unlawful, immoral, dishonest, oppressive, or tyrannical ruling that came down from this administration—what would happen if I prayed for the President and his cohorts instead?  Could I even do it?  So much has made me upset and even furious about what has happened to our country over the last four years and what appears will happen throughout the next four, that I wonder if there is any hope for this administration at all.  And yet, God specifically spells it out right here—we are to fervently pray for those in authority over us and not only that, to give thanks for them!  Aaack!  Is there hope that they might turn from their wicked ways if we pray—that they might even be saved? God alone knows that, but whether or not we have any hope for it, we are to pray.

I believe it is not only for their benefit that we are to pray for them, but it is also for our own heart-health, as well.  Prayer is a soothing balm to us at all times, but when we pray with a genuine concern for those who have hurt us, it heals those hurts and helps us to love the one for whom we are praying.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…”  It was disconcerting and hurtful when I heard our president refer to those who disagree with his philosophies and policies, and those of the opposite party as  his “enemies.”  It was my understanding that he swore to be the president of all Americans, not just those who agreed with him on everything.  I thought the enemies of our nation were Al Qaeda, Iran, North Korea—not his fellow Americans.  I would never have referred to him as my enemy—however if I am being honest with myself, in my thoughts that is just what he had become.

However we think of him—as one who is in authority over us, or even as our enemy—God has it covered in His mandate to us.  We are to pray for, love and bless our president.  Whether or not it changes him, it will change and heal us. 

Now, to put that into practice…

A Broken Heart

I woke up Tuesday morning, bouncing out of bed and eager to get to the polls to vote.  It had been difficult to get to sleep the night before because I was so excited that the big day was finally here.  I finally drifted off around 3:30 AM but that did not prevent me, when I awoke, from feeling the anticipation of a great day!  I wore red in honor of my vote—red blouse, red bracelet, red earrings.  I didn’t want any of those workers who hang around the polling place to have any doubt as for whom I was voting!

I enjoyed the day and could hardly wait for the results to start pouring in on television that evening.  It started out well, but far earlier than anyone anticipated, they called the race and in shock I took in the bad news—our candidate had lost.  We were now faced with another four years of a hugely arrogant, narcissistic despot and his junior-high mentality gang of thugs who were bent on destroying the America I loved and turning it into a weak, God-forsaking shell of itself.

I was crushed.  I turned off the television.  I could not bear the hashing and re-hashing of the election news.  The thought of even discussing it made me feel ill.  I needed to break away from everything that had to do with the elections just to heal my broken heart.  My husband couldn’t understand that, and my friends viewed it from different perspectives, but I needed to be alone and let it lie for a while.

Don’t get me wrong—I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that God was in control and that He had allowed Obama to be re-elected, for Daniel 2:21 says that it is God alone who “removeth kings, and setteth up kings…”  If it was God’s will to allow a bunch of inept, lying, cheating, lawless, baby-killing, morally destitute, godless bunch of communists, socialists and atheists run our nation, then I would not question His motives for doing so.  If it is His judgment upon the United States and the beginning of what leads us down the path to our own destruction, then it must be deserved.  Half the nation, it seems, still have conservative values, but perhaps that is not enough.  God will not stand by forever and allow His name to be mocked and gross sinfulness to prevail.  As in so many great civilizations of the past, our country will decay from within.  When we allow the shedding of innocent blood, the glorification of what God calls an abomination to Him, and our leaders to begin to turn away from Israel, judgment will surely come quickly.

Knowing this is God’s will, however, and accepting it, did not make it any less sorrowful to me.  I was so sad for the people in our country who so blindly and oft-times, ignorantly, would follow the so-called “cool and popular” guy instead of caring for what was best for our nation.  I grieved for our beautiful country and her history of Biblically-based, sacrificial patriotism.  Would my grandchildren grow up to remember the exceptional, big-hearted, free country we have always been?  Or would their freedoms be eroded away and their homeland weakened to the point to where it becomes just another country that crumbles into the shadows of history if the Lord should tarry?

Now, I know all this may not happen in just the next four years, but I truly feel this election was a crucial turning point in the direction our nation is headed.  There is good news in all this, however—at least for those of us who are believers in Jesus Christ.  Today’s events point to the fact that we are in the last days; that Jesus Christ will be returning very soon.  There does not appear to be any mention of the United States in the Scriptures.  Prophecies are unfolding before our eyes that point to His return and the events to follow in God’s plan for this world.  Things may get worse—a lot worse for us—before the He takes His Bride away and the final Tribulation begins, but our faith will be strengthened and we will endure if we keep our eyes on Him.

Faith and Hope.  Hope that is the future before us.  II Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  There is hope for our country if America would just turn back to God and the foundation we once had in Him.  If she will not, however, there is still that Glorious Hope that lies before the children of God:  “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)

Medieval Majesty

The Medieval Banquet on which I have worked night and day for weeks and months is over!  I am singing the Hallelujah Chorus, and if I weren’t so exhausted, I’d be dancing a jig, too!  It turned out beautifully!  From the transformation of our gym into a castle, to the food, to the entertainment, our vision came to life last night.

The entrance into our Family Center was awesome and got people excited about the evening to come the moment they walked in the door.  They stepped into an Enchanted Forest with lights twinkling in the trees and a mist rising through the forest.  They crossed over a draw bridge, where a brook ran below.  Cattails growing along its banks, a turtle climbing out of the water, boulders here and there made the scene look so real.  As the guests passed over the bridge, a castle tower, covered with ivy and roses, impressed as well—and then they entered the Great Hall of the castle.

The lights were low and candles placed in lanterns spread a soft glow over every table.  The walls were decorated with the look of old stone, stained glass windows, torchlit stairways—but it was the royal table that was the focal point.   Raised on a dais, the sixteen foot table was fit for a king, complete with a boar’s head, lots of gold and silver, velvet and gold lamé, and candles of all sizes.  The stone wall behind towered over it almost fifteen feet high, topped with a row of richly painted shields and framed on either side with more gold lamé, banners, suits of armor and tall torches.

I had done most of the planning and organizing, computer work and creative writing for the banquet.  My friend Debby had excelled in the awesome decorating.  Neither of us claimed to have any great talent in cooking—at least not in cooking for hundreds of people!  Somehow, it fell on my shoulders to cook—from scratch—beef, vegetable and barley soup and the roasted herbed potatoes, carrots and onions.  It was with fear and trembling that I researched on the internet how to go about these herculean tasks (at least in my mind!)  I had no idea which herbs and spices to use or in what ratios to use them.   I took a page from my mother’s successes in the pies and other dishes she makes for others—she prays over them that the Lord will guide her hands.  I prayed and prayed about that soup and those roasted vegetables!

The Lord answered with an angel in disguise—in fact many angels!  A day or two ahead, the kitchen in the Family Center was filled with more than a dozen women washing and chopping vegetables!  One lady, fairly new to our church, had worked in school kitchens for nearly forty years.  I eagerly accepted her expertise and advice as my answer to prayer.  The day of the banquet she was right there in the kitchen with me, making the soup and vegetables.  She left the seasoning for both up to me, though.  I prayed once more as I mixed the spices and herbs, and I tell you in all honesty—somehow the soup and vegetables came out perfectly!  Delicious!  Thank you, Lord—and Phyllis!

Through the door into the gym nearly two dozen other women and men were busy decorating.  We were overwhelmed with all the folks who came out to help on Thursday.  There were even some who could not come to the banquet itself but came to give us a hand anyway.  There were some who stayed above and beyond working very, very hard.  Later that night Bob brought home Chinese food for supper.  Of course, I take no stock in fortune cookies, but I had to smile when I opened my cookie.  The little slip inside said “You are surrounded by good friends today.”  Yes, that had been so true, and they had all been so very encouraging and kind.

The entertainment was fun, beginning with the Mistress of Etiquette (me!) instructing the guests on proper (and improper) medieval etiquette.  Trumpets heralded the entrance of the King and Queen and the rest of the royal party.  They were in full costume, as were the entertainers and many of the guests.  The skit began with a hilarious Court Jester, and moved on to the Cook and Kitchen Boy, followed by sword fights and jousting by a couple bungling knights (Bob was one of them!)

We wanted the entertainment to be more than just fun and silliness, though.  Our vision was to have it be, as well, an exaltation of the King of Kings.  After dinner we had a concert, beginning with a couple hymns on the harp—a very nice touch for a medieval banquet, don’t you think?  A men’s quartet followed—and then there was our minstrel, a young man by the name of Nick Willett.  Nick did a wonderful job in leading our praise of King Jesus, and also entertained in some lively gospel music from, shall we say, from the southern part of the kingdom?  What a blessing!

The whole evening was a blessing!  I think everyone enjoyed it all.  It had been a long, hard process to get there, but in the end, it was worth it all.  If it blessed the hearts of all who attended, if it blessed the heart of God, it was worth it all!  In exaltation of the King of Kings I share these passages of Scripture::

Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.  (I Chronicles 29:11)

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  (Philippians 2:9-11)

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.  (I Timothy 1:17)

With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.  (Psalm 98:6)

Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:  Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.  (Psalm 148:11-13)

Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. (Psalm 45:6)

And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.  (Revelation 19:16)

And finally, just as a side note:  I’ve already said I take no stock in fortune cookies, but it was funny when I opened the other fortune cookie this morning, the day after this huge event on which I had worked so hard for months.  It said, “This is the time to start something new.”  Are you kidding me???  Uh, I don’t think so!  I’m taking a nice, long break!  Don’t wake me up until at least Wednesday!