Happy New Year! “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever. Oh give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. Oh give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever. To Him who alone does great wonders, for His mercy endures forever; To Him who by wisdom made the heavens, for His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 136:1-4 Aren’t the heavens beautiful?! Are the sunsets getting more astonishing? His designs are ever changing, breathtaking. And that’s the free shot He gives to all, saints and sinners alike. A small glimpse into what the glory of His heaven must look like.
All last night I was uncomfortably cold. At 1:30 a.m. I finally got up and raised the thermostat to 71, yet even then could not get warm. Before 7 am my dog needed to go out. It was below zero & the urge to ignore her pleading eyes was almost greater than I could stand, but mercy won and out we went. Coming back in, this heat wave met me at the door. It was hard to believe it was the same apartment I’d been freezing in all night. When you go from -0 to 71 in one second, the contrast is extreme. During the evening yesterday, through the night, and even waking up, I was dealing with a frustrating situation that was stealing my joy. I kept releasing it and taking it back. In reality it wasn’t even big enough to be affecting me that way. We get so used to the temperature of walking in the goodness of God that we sometimes don’t realize how blessed we still are. His Glory is still present. We are still in the midst of His brilliance. His mercy endures forever. Yet we think our life has gotten colder and darker, but the truth is His light has not left us. His temperature in our life is still the same. If you need a contrast to compare it too, simply walk away into below zero darkness and come back, His magnificence will overwhelm you. I began questioning myself on what has this situation actually taken from me? Nothing. I still have a Savior who is interceding for me at the right hand of the Father. Will He allow this to overtake me? Absolutely not! It’s much warmer in this situation than I thought, because He has not changed. Hallelujah! I must confess that I have become a spoiled entitled brat when it comes to this blessed life of mine. The minute the winds whip up, I’m taking my eyes off Jesus and sinking into the ocean. “Oh give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 136:26
In I Kings 8, Solomon dedicates the temple to the Lord, and says this wonderful prayer over the people, and he asks God over and over to “hear in heaven” when they pray, when they make supplication, when they need forgiveness from sins, or deliverance from an enemy, when the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, when there is famine, when there is pestilence, or sickness. He even prayed for the foreigners, that all people in the earth would know the name of God’s great Name. You can hear his heart and how much he loves and believes in God. In 8:11 it says “the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.” Can you imagine what that was like? The glory of the Lord descended and filled the place! It seems that a moment like that would stay with you forever. Solomon was so moved when he was praying that he went down on his knees before God while praying in front of all the people. How wonderful that must have been for the Israelites to see their earthly king bowing before their heavenly King. I Kings 8:54 “And so it was, when Solomon finished praying all this prayer and supplication to the Lord, that he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.” In chapter 9, the Lord appeared to Solomon and assured him that He heard his prayer! Personally! Who could ever forget that! Yet as time went on, Solomon was so accustomed to the temperature of his relationship with God, that he no longer even felt it. In chapter 11, we read of his heart going “after gods and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God.”(vs 4). It was very sad to read about the temple being stripped of all the gold that had been laid there, and the treasures being carried away by the enemy. None of the material things meant anything to God, it was for the people, to give them an idea of the greatness of God, something they could lay their eyes on to know that God’s glory was even greater than that. We need visual aids. Which is why Proverbs 11:20-22 tells us “My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings, Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart, for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.” This is how you will keep the enemy from stripping away the golden moments you’ve had with the Lord and carrying away all the treasures from your heart. Hearing the Word on radio, on television, on your phone, and from a preacher is great, but you have to lay your own eyes on the Word. This sets it in your heart. Solomon’s eyes drifted to all sorts of things that he had no business looking at. He forgot the warmth of being in the glow of the Father. Its like when you have your window down at a drive-thru and you start focusing on how cold it is. Instead just reach up and put your hands on the vent. The heat is still there. Go to the source.
One of the wonderful things about God is that as you spend time in the Word and time in prayer, your experiences with Him will get greater. It’s only stagnate when you quit engaging Him.
Dad and mom had a great surprise for the homeless at the Christmas Eve service at the Rescue Mission, along with 7 dozen fresh donuts from the bakery, they gave out 60 gifts. If I’d known my parents were going to be so generous, I’d of been nicer to them this year. The guys,(and a few girls) were all very happy. It was only possible because of your generous support. We have no idea how many people we encounter during the course of a year in prisons and on the street with the homeless. This past year I know its literally been more than a few thousand. Thank you so much for your faithfulness. Before the Christmas Eve service started at the Rescue Mission, a man came up to me and said he’d heard dad and I speak at the Columbia City Jail five years ago when he’d been an inmate there, and how much he loved dad. The previous Sunday, another young man came up to me who said he’d heard me speak at the Work Release earlier this year, he even repeated my message to me about Balak and Balaam! A week ago Monday I was at an evening support meeting for people on the drug court program and a young lady came to me who said she’d been at the Allen County Jail when I spoke there and how much my testimony had touched her and the other ladies from her block. It’s such a blessing to run into these people and hear what the Word of God meant to them. On Christmas day I had the privilege of going in the Metro Youth Detention Center in Louisville, Ky. We did 8 services. It was a great way to spend Christmas! Last Saturday we took 100 sausage and egg sandwiches & bananas downtown. We’ll be doing the same thing this Saturday. Your ministry dollars are being put to good use as a great investment into the Kingdom! Again thank you so much.
May God’s loving kindness and mercy (which endures forever) be upon you, your family, and your household as His Hand guides you through this New Year.
Your sister in Jesus,
January 2018 Schedule
January 3rd; Kosciusko County Jail
January 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th; Homeless feeding ministry, downtown Ft. Wayne, IN
January 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th; Dad preaching to homeless at Ft Wayne Rescue Mission
January 14th; Allen County Work Release Center, evening service
January 22-25th Montgomery Women’s Prison, Montgomery, Alabama