The Saxophone Player: “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”

www.youtube.com/watch

One of the churches that supports us as missionaries asked The Saxophone Player, my husband, to record a ministry update and saxophone solo. I thought you might like to hear his solo.

God bless you today!❤️

Remembering Daddy

My father passed away 34 years ago. As I think about him today, I remember the wonderful things he taught me. I remember his example. Daddy was a mystery I’ll be uncovering my entire life, but I’m so thankful for him and his forever impact on me and my world.


I can’t really speak to you, and I don’t pretend I can, but today I’m going to imagine this is a letter you’ll get to read.

You know, I’ve been missing you for most of my life, and that’s not going to change. It is a rare day that passes and you don’t come to mind.

Mommy had longer to cheer me on, but you were always my biggest fan—until Doug. I wish you two had met.

As little as we got to share, though, we had our moments. I have my memories…falling asleep on the couch on purpose, so you would have to carry me to bed…waiting to hear you come home…listening to you tell stories I didn’t understand, but still loved to hear…untying your shoes laces…learning to make your coffee….the rattle of ice in your glass…Orangina bottles…the way your presence filled any room…you kneeling at your seat before you preached (“What’s Daddy doing?” “He’s asking the Holy Spirit to anoint him, before he preaches.”)…tip-toeing through the house when you were napping (“Shhh. You’re father’s preaching tonight. He needs his rest.”)….wing tips and chess boards…just a few things that come to mind.

Thank you, Daddy, for treating me like I was great at everything I did, and could do anything I wanted. Thank you for being a kind man. Thank you for be a safe father. Thank you for teaching me to love America. Thank you for being such a generous person. Thank you for always bringing home surprises.

Thank you for all the things I never had to witness…vulgarity, drunkenness, abuse, violence, drug use, faithlessness, hopelessness, greed, perversion.

Thank you for never saying a bad word about my mother.

Thank you for loving movies and music and art. Thank you for writing me letters, and sending birthday cards. Con amor, Papi.

And, thank you for not being perfect. Thank you for failing over and over, and always trying to get back up. There are things about your life that make me so sad, but that’s one of the things your life taught me: choices have consequences. Family matters.

So, on this sad day, even with the good memories, I am sad. I’m sorry you left us so early, and I’m sorry you missed so much in life. I wish we could have known each other more, but I’ll see you again one day. Maybe, during the Millennium you can show me the Cuba you loved.

I would love that.

 

 

The Book with a Blessing

This is not a sermon, and not really a teaching. It’s almost a book review, a chapter-by-chapter survey. I thought it was great. Plus, it’s a book that comes with a blessing!

“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3 (NKJV)

“Revelation,” from Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel.

No reason to be intimidated by this book! ❤️

Madrigal’s New Friend

“Oh! I forgot about you, Buckwheat!”

Madrigal was trying to stuff the cornbread mix into her pantry, when she found the bag of buckwheat flour. She stared at it for a split second and started calculating in her head. She hadn’t planned to bake a cake, but if she was quick about it the cake could be done by the time they were ready for dessert. David had volunteered to wash up the dishes, so what else did she have to do?

She grabbed the sack and dropped it inside the one clear space on her tiny, kitchen counter. She spun around to set the oven to preheat, and then sashayed over to her mixing bowls, grabbing the largest one from the stack. Balancing it on top of the roll of paper towels, she reached across David for the whisk. “Sorry!” She quickly measured the dry ingredients into the bowl and gave them a quick whisk.  As she waltzed over get a second mixing bowl, she looked at David from the corner of her eye. She was surprised by how much she enjoyed sharing her little kitchen with him. He didn’t feel “in the way” at all.

Grabbing a dishtowel to dry off the spaghetti pot, he paused and watched Madrigal dance around her kitchen. She filled the kettle with one hand, while reaching for vinegar with another. Butter, milk, and eggs seemed to fly out of the refrigerator with just one sweep of her hand.

“And just like that, she baked a cake!” David said, placing the pot on its shelf and returning to the sink. At that moment, Madrigal was deciding which baking dish to use—which one is going to bake fastest, she wondered—but his comment got her attention. It was just a casual comment, lightheartedly floating in the air now. Yet, it made her stop and look at him. She was so curious about this new friend.

He smiled at her and she smiled back, somewhat self-consciously, because she suddenly realized she could be seen.

He could see her.

She chose a baking pan and carried to the stove, and silently repeating his words to herself. She didn’t want to forget them.

Pouring the batter into the pan, she wondered how he knew where she kept the spaghetti pot.

 

Dedicated to The Saxophone Player. Happy Birthday! XO

Living This Out

I know there are a lot of men and women struggling with sin in their lives right now. You are doing everything you know to do, being as faithful to God as you can be, yet there is a struggle inside you for freedom. Something keeps pulling you back into bondage.

Well, if you are willing to give some time to listen—and, you really do need to stop and pay attention, because he packs a lot into every minute—I want to encourage you to check out The Saxophone Player’s video series called Living This Out. He is posting videos about once a week, but you should probably subscribe and turn on the little bell, so you get notifications of his updates. You really don’t want to miss these teachings.

This is his most recent video:

Here is a link to the whole series. Be sure to subscribe and click the bell icon by the subscribe button, if you don’t want to miss a teaching.  LIVING THIS OUT!

Friend, you really can walk in freedom and peace.
God bless you today. ❤

God’s Appointed Time

Such a good teaching: “God’s Appointed Time.” I love God’s precision. This is not just a teaching about God’s timing in these End Times, but a biblical survey of God’s invention of time.

As so often they do, Amir’s teaching leaves me excited and looking up! I encourage you to listen and rejoice at God’s perfect timing. Be encouraged! The world may be out of control, but God is still on the throne and his plan has never changed. He is coming soon, at His appointed time. This teaching will reinforce your faith and challenge your unbelief, which makes for perfect message, if you ask me! 🙂

Proximity Conference
January 25, 2020
Calvary Chapel East Anaheim
East Anaheim, California

Speaker: Amir Tsarfati
Featured Photo: Calvary Chapel Tustin

 

Maranatha!

Sunday Worship: “Jesus Is My Lord”

This song soothes my spiritual aches and pains. No matter the cares and burdens I may have carried in with me, this song gently leads me into a place of worship. When I am worshiping Jesus, there is nothing else that matters in the world.

“Worshiping at the piano one day, this song started with the first stanza. The other two stanzas were added shortly thereafter. There are times when I sing this that I feel the Lord is so near. It is a very intimate declaration of Christ’s Lordship over my life.”
(Doug Gregan)

(Verse 1)
Lord, I love You
And I magnify Your name.
Lord, I praise You. Holy One, I know you reign.
When fear tries to overcome me
I will call upon Your name
And Your loving Holy Spirit will bring me peace.
’Cause, Jesus is my Lord.
Jesus is my Lord.

(Verse 2)
Great Redeemer,
Thank You for my debt You’ve paid.
Master, Savior, help me serve You all my days.
For I know that I was purchased with
The price that was Your Blood.
Help me take my cross and follow You each day.
’Cause, Jesus is my Lord.
Jesus is my Lord.

(Verse 3)
Hallelujah,
I’ve been finally set free.
Grace to glory, my God’s love is so great for me.
When I think of all the love
That Jesus has poured into my life,
I can only weep with silent, thankful joy.
’Cause, Jesus is my Lord.
Jesus is my Lord.
Jesus is my Lord.
Jesus is my Lord.
Jesus is my Lord.

 

“Jesus Is My Lord”
Words & Music by Doug Gregan
© LAMP Songs
Vocals and Keyboard, Doug Gregan

 

Jesus: Great Redeemer, Savior, and Friend.


*These songs are meant to be sung in congregations. They are registered with CCLI, however, we offer them to the Body of Christ free of charge—for the sake of congregations that cannot afford a CCLI license or SongSelect membership. So, if you hear a song you would like to share with your church, let us know. We will email you the lead sheet, guitar tabs, lyric sheet, and/or overhead master*. No charge. The performance of the song may never be sold (even as part of a fundraiser), but anyone may use them freely to the glory of God. (*If you lack printing capabilities, we will mail them to you.)

Sunday Worship: From the Epicenter of the Novel Coronavirus

Originally published by ChinaSource.

A Letter from a Wuhan Pastor

Brothers and sisters, peace be upon you:

During these past days the Wuhan pneumonia [virus] has been at the center of my thoughts and life. [I am] always watching the latest news, and always thinking about how our family and the church should face this.

As for family, I have gathered masks and foodstuffs and have ventured out of doors as little as possible. When venturing out in public I have worn a mask, but as for the rest, I have placed it in the Lord’s hands.

As for the church, the safety of the congregation, a faithful witness, the possibility that members could contract the illness, have all become a great area of struggle. It is readily apparent that we are facing a test of our faith.

The situation is so critical, yet [we are] trusting in the Lord’s promises, that his thoughts toward us are of peace, and not evil (Jeremiah. 29:11), and that he allows for a time of testing, not to destroy us, but to establish us. Therefore, Christians are not only to suffer with the people of this city, but we have a responsibility to pray for those in this city who are fearful, and to bring to them the peace of Christ.

First, we are to seek the peace of Christ to reign in their hearts (Hebrews 3:15). Christ has already given us his peace, but his peace is not to remove us from disaster and death, but rather to have peace in the midst of disaster and death, because Christ has already overcome these things (John 14:27, 16:33). Otherwise we have not believed in the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15), and, with the world, would be terrified of pestilence, and lose hope in the face of death.

Why do only Christians have this peace? Because of sin, humans deserve the trials and tribulations that come upon them, Jehovah says: the wicked have no peace (Isaiah 48:22). We were all sinners, but Christ, because of faith, took our penalty and gave us his peace. Therefore Paul says, who can bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. (Romans 8:33). Christians may with the world face the same tribulations, but such tribulations are no longer punishment, but a new opportunity to grow nearer to the Almighty, to purify our souls, and an opportunity to proclaim the gospel.

In other words, when disaster strikes us, it is but a form of God’s love. And, as Paul firmly believed, “who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger or sword? . . .  in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Roman. 8:35-39).

Spoken for today, Wuhan’s pestilence cannot separate us from the love of Christ; this love is in our Lord Jesus Christ. These words are so comforting for us, we have already become one body with Christ. We have a part in his sufferings, and we have a part in his glory, all of Christ’s is ours, and our all is Christ’s. Therefore, Christ is with us as we face the pestilence in this city; the pestilence cannot harm us. If we die in the pestilence, it is an opportunity to witness to Christ, and even more to enter into his glory.

Thus, my brothers and sisters, I encourage you to be strong in Christ’s love. If we more deeply experience death in this pestilence, understanding the gospel, we may more deeply experience Christ’s love, and grow ever nearer to God. Our Lord Jesus through faith experienced an incomparable suffering of death, yet God raised him from the dead, and sat him at his right hand.  (Acts 2:32-36)

If in reading these truths you still have no peace, I encourage you to diligently read the above cited scripture and call on the Lord to give you insight until the peace of Christ reigns in your heart. You must know, that this is not just an observable disaster, but even more it is a spiritual struggle. You should first wage a battle for your heart, and secondarily battle for the soul of this city.

We earnestly hope that you would know that not a sparrow falls without the will of the Father (Matthew 10:29). With so many souls facing pestilence, can it be outside God’s will? All that we are experiencing, is it not like Abraham facing Sodom, and Jonah facing Nineveh?

If God, because of a righteous man withheld judgment on Sodom, or because of 120,000 who didn’t know their left hand from their right, withheld destruction, what of the city of Wuhan in which we live?  We are clearly the righteous in this city, far more than a single righteous person there are thousands and thousands of us. Yet, may we like Lot be grieved over all those in this city (1 Peter 2:7), and like Abraham who earnestly prayed for Sodom (Genesis 18:23-33). You see, Jonah with difficulty proclaimed the gospel to Nineveh, and Nineveh repented and was saved. We are this city’s Abraham and Jonah. We must pray for God’s mercy upon this city, and bring peace upon this city through our prayers and testimony.

“I believe this is the command of God calling those of us living in Wuhan. We are to seek peace for this city, seek peace for those who are afflicted with this illness, seek peace for the medical personnel struggling on the front lines, seek peace for every government official at every level, seek peace for all the people of Wuhan!”

I believe this is the command of God calling those of us living in Wuhan. We are to seek peace for this city, seek peace for those who are afflicted with this illness, seek peace for the medical personnel struggling on the front lines, seek peace for every government official at every level, seek peace for all the people of Wuhan! And we can through online networks guide and comfort our friends and loved ones with the gospel, reminding them that our lives are not in our own hands, and to entrust their lives to God who is faithful and true.

The past few days I have received many inquiries from foreign pastors. They and the whole church are concerned for this city, even more for us; and confronting this epidemic, seek to serve the city with us.

Thus, I especially ask them to turn their eyes upon Jesus. And do not be concerned with my welfare, nor be agitated or fearful, but pray in the name of Jesus. Good hearted people are through their actions serving this city, especially the medical personnel who are risking their own lives. If they can take on such worldly responsibilities, how can we not more readily take on spiritual responsibilities!

If you do not feel a responsibility to pray, ask the Lord for a loving soul, an earnestly prayerful heart; if you are not crying, ask the Lord for tears. Because we surely know that only through the hope of the Lord’s mercy will this city be saved.

A Wuhan Pastor
January 23, 2020

Photo Credits: Featured Photo is by Bruce Hong. Photo in post is by Benjamin Chris. Both are from Unsplash. Thank you to them for the use of their photos.
Map Credit: ChinaHighlights.com

Let’s Make This Our Default Setting

 

Life can turn in a moment—one phone call. One word. One slip of your foot. One forgotten deadline. Life can feel very fragile.

That balance of bearable and unbearable circumstances is precarious.

However, we have an opportunity to do something powerful when Trouble shows up. It’s embodied in one simple statement; a declaration of faith:  I’m going to trust God, anyway.


Maybe, you’re going through some trouble right now. Have the scales tipped over to the unbearable side? If that’s the case, I want you to know that now is the time when your confession of faith in God is most important—and, most powerful!

Now, when you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel; when the only reports you hear are bad; when hope seems lost forever; when you’ve never felt more alone—this is when your faith is most challenged, and when it matters most that you press in harder than ever.

Yes, you’re going to feel scared, confused, hopeless—that’s OK. Emotions happen. Yet, even while you are feeling all those feels, your confession needs to be one of trust in the Lord.  You don’t have to feel like trusting God. Faith is not an emotion. We trust God out of reverence. It is an act of obedience and obedience always bears good fruit—the spiritual kind that makes life better!

I tell you what, no matter how dark or frightening or desperate your circumstances may seem right now, God is still bigger. God is still able. It’s none of our business how or when He fixes our troubles, but it’s our business to trust Him, anyway. He’ll take care of the rest!

So, say it out loud. Turn it into a song. Write it on paper, and tape it to your wall. Make it your Facebook status!

Come on. Say it with me: I’m going to trust God, anyway.

“Praise the Lord! For all who fear God and trust in him are blessed beyond expression. Yes, happy is the man who delights in doing His commands. He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him.Psalm 112:1&7 (TLB)

Praise the Lord! ❤