Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mercies Are New

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning: GREAT is thy faithfulness." -Lamentations 3:22, 23

I can't remember when I have called out on the mercies of the Lord more than in these recent days. By now, the world has heard of the devastating tragedy that has happened at the YWAM-Denver base. On Sunday, December 9, two of my fellow YWAMmers lost their lives as a young man pulled out a gun and shot them. There is no way, this side of eternity, to make sense of this.

Tiffany Johnson and Phil Crouse are heroes. They laid their lives down, way before this gunman took their lives. They had counted the cost of following Jesus. They were willing to go to the ends of the earth with the good news of Jesus Christ. They were also willing, in wisdom, to say "No" to a young man. In doing so, they most likely saved the lives of many other YWAMmers located in that building.

As YWAM leaders here, Todd and I have walked through some of this with our staff and students, praying for our extended family. We all are impacted in some way. Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With A Mission, said, "Although YWAM is spread all around the world, we are not only a ministry but a family, and this touches each of us very personally."

Our new neighbor came over to offer condolences and to offer to help in any way. Also, to check on our group here, as she cares for us so much. Our sales consultant at AT&T could only say, "I am so sorry." People have called to pray with us and just to say, I am so sorry.

Again, there are no explanations to this tragedy. We pray for the families of Phil and Tiffany, as they walk through these days, weeks, years. I offer no answers, only open arms to comfort, ears to listen and heart to cry and mourn this tremendous loss.

I do know this...God is Faithful. He is Just. He is Loving. He is Compassionate. He is Kind. He is Holy. He is Trustworthy. He is full of Grace. He is Merciful. He is a keeper of promises.

He says that his love never ceases. He says that his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness. His mercies are new to us today.

I will continue to walk out in proclaiming the faithfulness and holiness of my God. I will continue to challenge young people to lay their lives down, to Go!, to make an impact on a world in great need of a Saviour! And, to draw on His mercies that are new every morning!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Out of Darkness

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light."
-I Peter 2:9

Well, it started out innocent enough...

December is one of my top twelve favorite months. This one is different than all the others in that I want to bake every single day! There are so many cozy, sweet memories for me in that. I love the smell of fresh bread and cookies filling the air. Anticipation of a warm cookie and glass of milk...or cocoa. Mmmm...

Anyway, yesterday I preheated the oven and started making some fresh bread. I opened the oven and it was cold. Oh no! Not today! Not any day, especially in December!!! Being quick on my feet, I thought I would set it to cleaning...just to see if that would heat it up. No such luck. In my valiant efforts, I now have locked my oven door. It will not open.

After a few hours, another great idea comes to me...read the manual. (Who would have thought?) I found nothing that would help my situation except to call the repair man. But, in my reading, there was a picture of how to open the panel to the bottom of my stove so that it can be cleaned! Are you kidding? I had never read this before. All these years, I have just stuck a broom under there to get what I could. Here, I could have been easily opening the panel. ("Who knew?" I ask myself. "All the people who read the manual!" I answer myself.)

Well, I am embarrassed to say (and yet I do) that the panel came off and 10 years of cheerios, goldfish crackers, golf balls and super nasty things greeted me. Those who know me, know that I love to clean and I love having clean spaces. This was disgustingly dirty.

I quickly got my cleaning tools out and got busy. As I was cleaning, I thought of the unclean places in my heart...the areas that no one knows about...maybe an area that I have been avoiding, or a place that I was simply unaware of. What ever the case may be, the "author of the manual" knows about it and how it should be maintained.

Just because I did not know about the area under the stove does not mean that it does not exist. If I had thoroughly read the manual, I would have known. I could have been cleaning this space out on a regular basis. It would not have gotten so nasty.

Lord, I want my heart to be cleaned on a regular basis, to be maintained! I want to know the manual so well, that whenever you look in the obscure spaces, you will find it pristine. Thank you for bringing things out of the dark and into your marvelous light.

Needless to say, my oven is on hiatus until the repair man can come next week. When he comes, he may be surprised at how clean I keep the underside of my stove.