Friday, April 28, 2017

Growing Cats


He who promised is faithful

Hebrews 10:19-25
"...since we have confidence to enter the holy place 
by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way 
which He inaugurated for us through the veil, 
that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,

let us draw near with a sincere heart 
in full assurance of faith,

having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience 
and our bodies washed with pure water. 
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,

for He who promised is faithful; 

and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 
not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, 
but encouraging one another; 
and all the more as you see the day drawing near."

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above,
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blessed;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness
Lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,

Praising my Savior all the day long.

-Fanny J. Crosby



Thursday, April 27, 2017

Living One Day at a Time: Grieving #7








I have to admit that although I may look like I have it all together, although I seem to be handling my sorrows so well, in reality, sometimes actually feel like I am barely hanging on.

*Remember that 70's poster, "Hang in there" with the little kitten holding onto a rope or a tree branch? 

I feel like that kitten looks.  

Oh, LORD! I cry out to You!  I don't even know what to say, but I know You understand where I am in myself at any moment, I know You know it all.  All my sorrows, all my trials,  all my rollercoaster emotions, even when I'm in the world and I am smiling, but grieving so much inside.

I certainly know that You hear me, that You hold me, that You are working in me. 

I may look like a "Super Christian" fighting the good fight 24/7, but I am so weak where He is so, so strong.  If you think I am a super Christian, praise the LORD for it is His strength and comfort shining through me.

Grieving is wearing.

I feel worn out.  I feel like I can't do another day. But I then realize that I am only to live today.  Tomorrow has enough trouble of its own.  

I MUST only live in today, and TRUST Him for tomorrow when it comes.

*

A precious missionary just responded to my recent silly e-card which I sent to many people I know just to give them a smile.  I said only "to give you a smile", but when she wrote back to me she said something so significant.

She said she prays.

She reminded me that she prays continually for me and our desperate agonies. How precious...her sincere love and kindness to me was a gift from God when I haven't say a word about our trials in years to her.   She knows pain, she understands longstanding trials.

Never alone.

The LORD is ALWAYS with me and He is with you also when you are His child.  We can feel alone, we can feel like a kitten hanging on a rope, frightened, and lost, but we have Him.  Sometimes He reminds us by giving us encouragement from other Believers.  Mostly, He reminds us in His wonderful Word.  

We MUST be in His Word often.

P.S.  Just so you know there are NO "Super Christians" even if they look like it---just humble Believers who TRUST in the LORD God Almighty no matter what is happening in their lives.  

You can be here with us, too.  

Are you His child?  Have you given over your life to Jesus?  Do you live here in this fallen world, but you TRUST Jesus with your very life?  You can look like a super christian, but in reality, be a weak, humble child living in His mighty strength.

All the glory goes to Him!


Even when you are sad...







Snoopy can bring a smile.

Monday, April 10, 2017

An improved you with greater faith

Consider It Pure Joy

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."           
James 1:2-3
  
A trial is not just an assault to be withstood, it is an opportunity to be seized. And this little verse in James is intended to inspire, showing us that trials are opportunities to prove our love and enhance our faith. With this perspective, life becomes inspiring -- not in spite of the trials but because of them.
  
The soldier who is called to the front lines is stimulated at the chance to prove his skills. The officer who is given a position of higher responsibility is roused by the rugged demands of his task. You and I are soldiers in the same way. If you are tempted to slack off from praying and instead you remain faithful, your faith develops perseverance. If you are tempted to feel sorry for yourself, you instead start thinking of the needs of others, and your character becomes refined. 

The result? 

An improved you with greater faith, and a closer fellowship with the Savior.
  
And this is where the joy comes in!
  
It's going to happen to you scores of times today. God may test you. The Devil may tempt you. And you decide the outcome. Because you can choose to either backslide or advance. You can either fudge the truth or stand firm on the facts. When it happens, consider each test and temptation an opportunity to be seized, a chance to prove your faith. Your goal? A closer friendship with God.
  
Lord, my lifetime on earth will be the only chance I will have to prove my faith, to show You how much I love You. When I go to heaven, the chance will be gone. Help me to consider it pure joy to face each trial as a glorious opportunity to be seized.


Blessings,

Joni and Friends
Diamonds in the Dust, April 10

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

#6 Grieving: A living death


This world is not my home.   Every day seems to make this truth even more true.  My home is with the LORD.  We who trust Him with our lives, those of us who have Jesus as our Savior, we find our safety in Him right now, this very moment.  We live here in this fallen world, but we are safe in Him no matter what happens here.

Psalm 12
Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be,
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak falsehood to one another;
With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
The tongue that speaks great things;
Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?”
“Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy,
Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he longs.”
The words of the Lord are pure words;
As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
You, O Lord, will keep them;
You will preserve him from this generation forever.
The wicked strut about on every side
When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.
*

We find His peace among the chaos of our lives.  We find our safety in Him even when everything is falling around us.  He gives us a sense of calm in the tumult of traumas.

The world continues to disappoint us.  This fallen world continues to hurt us.  The only thing which helps us is our relationship with the LORD God Almighty.

Psalm 118
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting…

…Oh let those who fear the Lord say,
“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
From my distress I called upon the Lord;
The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.
The Lord is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?
The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in man…

…you pushed me violently so that I was falling,
But the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.
The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly…

…I will not die, but live,
And tell of the works of the Lord…

…This is the gate of the Lord;
The righteous will enter through it.
I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me,
And You have become my salvation…

…O Lord, do save, we beseech You;
O Lord, we beseech You, do send prosperity!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord;
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God, and He has given us light…

…You are my God, I extol You.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
*

The LORD ultimately protects us, but in His ultimate wisdom He allows the evil of the world to affect us, to touch us personally.  As we deal with the horrors, the traumas we come to Him more and more as we learn to draw closer to Him among our trials.  The sadnesses cause us pain, but we learn of Him as each day wears on.
We have been told that our own agony is a "living death".  The solution is no where in sight,  the grieving drags on with no ending date.  The pain is only added on and on as the time continually marches forward.  There is no solution, there is no ending so we have nothing to hang on to or to let go.  Our only hope is our Great God.  The LORD is the best place to be.  His love never fails us.

Psalm 136:23-26
Who remembered us in our low estate,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And has rescued us from our adversaries,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
Who gives food to all flesh,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Give thanks to the God of heaven,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
*

You may feel like your life is something like I have described.  You may feel like you have nothing to hold on to.  Your situations may feel like a "living death", something you can never get away from, with no closing, and no ending.

Psalm 62
My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken…

…My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us…

…Once God has spoken;
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God;
And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord,
For You recompense a man according to his work. 

It is a numbing.  Time just goes by and you forget where you are in the time. Yes, you live, but the days fly.   A decade flies by and you wonder how it all happened.

I know that I have truly lived this "more-than-a-decade", but the blur of time is something I can not grasp.  I know it all happened.  I know I lived each day to its fullest for the LORD, and I know I more than survived, all because of the LORD.  He has been my strength, my comfort.  He has been my boldness, and I think, He has allowed me to more than survive by allowing me not to hold on to every fleeting moment.  

The facts of not realizing that the time is flying by can upset me, because it just doesn't seem right, but I must let it all go.  Perhaps the LORD has been allowing me to let go of this "blurring" and not hold on to the fleeting of time so that I will more than survive this "living death",  instead of "holding on" and grieving way too much, and ultimately becoming bitter.  I have seen BITTERNESS and it is abhorrent, it is gross.  If bitterness has overcome you in your agonies - run to the LORD! and have Him be your Helper to flee from bitterness!
*
Precious sister, if you feel numb, allow the LORD to hold you.  He is allowing the pain into our lives.  We must trust that His reasons are to draw us closer to Himself, to make us more into His image.  The numbness, although we feel afraid of it, may be a blessing He has bestowed on us to protect us from the full brunt of our agony.  He surely would not be allowing our pain unless it was for a good which we will someday know when we are with Him in glory. 

Psalm 63
O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek my life to destroy it,
Will go into the depths of the earth.
They will be delivered over to the power of the sword;
They will be a prey for foxes.
But the king will rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him will glory,
For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.
*

Yes, we would love to "fast forward our pain" just like on a DVD (see Charlie Brown below), but our Great God is working in us in ways we would marvel at if we only knew. 
Let's marvel anyways.
  
I have found that I do not have to know the answers.  
I am satisfied to KNOW the LORD and that it is He who is in charge.  He is holding  me so tightly, so safely. When you are His child He holds you this way also.

Let us embrace our God as we allow Him to work in our lives, knowing all of our hope in Him is a treasure worth all our sufferings. 

The glory belongs to Him alone!
*

1 Peter 2:9-12
you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, 
so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, 
but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
*


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Grieving #5: Rejoice in the LORD always




Philippians 4:4-7
"Rejoice in the Lord always; 
again I will say, rejoice! 
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. 
The Lord is near. 
Be anxious for nothing, 
but in everything by prayer and supplication 
with thanksgiving 
let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God, 
which surpasses all comprehension, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."


When our agony first began I would walk the three miles around our little town every day.  I would spend much of that hour preaching God's Word to myself.  This Philippians 4 passage is one of them.

Rejoicing in the LORD always is significant.  I never really understood this until I was in agony.  The LORD held me up.  My normal life was falling all around me, and yet I was surviving and actually feeling a sense of calmness.  It was obvious to me that my great God was holding on to me tightly.   How could I not rejoice even amid my great sadness? 

A significant time for me personally: This was also the first time ever I truly believed that the LORD actually loved me.  I had not been thinking biblically all the years I was His child.  My incorrect thought was that God HAD to love me because His Word said so.  I also used to think that when I would be with Him in glory He would not even see me or acknowledge me because I was not important enough.  As my agony played out, even to this very day, I now completely know that the Almighty God dearly loves me - He has laid His hand upon me.

Psalm 139:5
"You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me."

No matter what our situations we can rejoice in Him.  You do not have to rejoice for what is happening, but rejoice for all that He is, and He does, and He will do.  He is our great God who dearly loves His children!

The LORD is near.  This reminds me that I am NEVER alone.  I may certainly feel alone, I may stress and become afraid, but then I will remember that the LORD is near me always. What great comfort this is to the wounded saint!

Psalm 40:1-3

"I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the Lord."

Letting my gentle spirit be known.  Smiling: It is a simple thing, but it changes everything when you mean it.  You can mean it when the LORD is your strength.

Living in agonies:  One thing that changes is that the people you know may seem to think that even in your great traumas, you are doing just fine, because you choose to live for the LORD and actually smile.  This may mean that they believe you do not need any care and love and prayers - (which is not correct). 

At other times these same people may realize that you are choosing to smile, and to carry on even through your agonies, and they are encouraged and maybe even being taught what it is kind of like to more than survive because of the LORD when your world crashes around you.

Another thing is how the world sees you.  The world may not know you are hurting, but here you are, smiling, being kind, and blessing people by your gentle spirit.  They may not know how it is the LORD who is helping you to just breathe, let alone smile, but this doesn't matter.  You are letting your gentle spirit be known to a world who desperately needs the LORD, and you are glorifying Him by simply ~ allowing ~ yourself ~ to smile.

Wrong choices, a joy withheldOne day years ago... I remember that day as if it were yesterday because of my terrible wrong choice.  It was a Sunday, lunch time, and I was so grumpy and sad deep on the inside of me so that I let it "bleed" to my outside where I just didn't want to speak or smile at all. We were eating at a popular custard place which was packed with locals and travelers.  People were everywhere constantly, but I avoided any eye contact.  

Eventually this precious, sweet, little, braided girl walked back and forth by us.  My Beloved, living in agony also, pointed her out to me.  Yes, she was adorable, but I told myself not to smile.  The LORD had allowed this precious child to be seen, and yet, I refused to acknowledge her.  She looked right at me smiling, and I was choosing not to smile at a precious child.  As soon as that moment passed I regretted the joy I chose to withhold.  Never again! for I live for a Great God who made heaven and earth!  My Savior died for my sins, and it is my joy to glorify Him even when I am so sad!

Ways to cope when in agony:  Life is full of things which must be accomplished, and then other things we choose to do.  We MUST accomplish those certain things.  Keep your home running the best you can.  Your family is number one.  Grieving is exhausting, so use your energy on what is most important.  

"Extra-Curricular Things:"  Choose wisely what you do after these most important things.  You must think of the emotional tolls on yourself, but it is healthy for you to interact with others. The LORD will help you in each endeavor.  He is and He will be your strength. 

At first, I did "everything", eventually realizing it was too much for me, and that it was unhealthy emotionally for me.  Part of this, for me, was that I was trying not to allow my faith to be shipwrecked, and so I know I went overboard on choices. I am now very selective what I choose to do without avoiding all social things.

Be anxious for nothing.  Anxiousness is a big problem.  All of these things which cause us pain can make us literally freeze is fear.  The chaos can consume us, it can steal our time away, it can make our thinking become selfish and feed our self pity.

In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  When we try, and when we practice, and when we finally learn to turn to the LORD in all things, this is when we have learned a good habit of thinking about Him first and running to Him before too much time has elapsed.  

So give your anxiousness to the LORD, even if it must be given to Him over and over and over again and again...  

Cry out to Him.  He already knows all about each of us, but cry out to Him, and let Him know your anxiousness.  And when you can't even express it, He understands our groans which are so very deep inside. When we come to Him our relationship with Him grows and grows.  Speak with Him about your troubles and then for your thankfulness of Him in your life.

Romans 8:26-27
"...the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding is not something we can make happen.  It is the LORD, and it is Him working in us.  When we come to Him and lay our selves before Him, we will experience His marvelous peace.  

The LORD will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Continue to go to Him always.  He loves His own.

*
See also: Grieving #1,   #2,    #3,    #4


Monday, March 13, 2017

Grieving #4: I do not want to be shipwrecked!




















1 Timothy 1:15-20 
"It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, 
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,
among whom I am foremost of all. 

Yet for this reason 
I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, 
Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience 
as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, 
the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son,
in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, 
that by them you fight the good fight,
keeping faith and a good conscience, 
which some have rejected 
and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander,
whom I have handed over to Satan, 
so that they will be taught not to blaspheme."

Sixteen years ago a storm was brewing and we knew it.  Through no fault of our own our life was falling all around us.  

We knew the LORD was with us even though everything was crashing, and then that very certain day came where we never, could ever have believed would happen.

It did, though, and one of my first thoughts was, 

'this can't last, but never the less, I will not allow this to shipwreck my faith.'

Grief is a strange thing.

In absolute disbelief of what was happening around me I trusted God.  My life was crashing around me, but I knew the LORD was with me, and that He would carry me through this valley.  

What I did not know was that this valley would last so very, very long.

I was not then, and I am not now a super Christian.  I do believe that the LORD was giving me, and He is still giving me His strength.  It is through Him that my first thought was to trust Him wholeheartedly.  It is through Him that I continue to this day even though my agonies could paralyze me in my fears.  I also believe He shelters me from the brunt of the agony most of the time.  Left to my own devises I would be in a closet since that certain day.

You may be reading this and your sorrows have been lasting a week, or you could have had your agonies for a life time.  No matter how long it has been, you should know that I grieve with you.  One day or a life time, your agony is painful.  Don't discount it because it is not like my agony or like someone else's pain.  

*The LORD sees you, He hears you.*






















Sometime after our great grief began, I read a devotion which helped me.  The topic was sadness and grief.  It spoke of sufferings and how this is part of real life.  

We can't pretend our pain isn't happening. The best news is that the LORD uses our sufferings for good in us and in others if we allow Him to do so.  We need to run to Him in the good and the bad.  We need to trust in Him even if we do not see anything change, even if we never see any change.

The devotion suggested that we allow ourselves to grieve for a certain amount of time and then choose to get up even if we are still sad, continuing to do what ever is next like a "normal person" would do, knowing the LORD is our strength.  

Now, I know grief, and some days the struggling is all day long, maybe longer.  How can we get away from it when it is all around us, it is in our heads, and it hangs on us like heavy wet clothing?  I personally would say that I could be like the previous statement all the time, like  literally staying in my closet for my whole life.  

The solution is who we are in Christ.  Our sufferings can certainly be overwhelming and we do need time to let it out, to vent it, but we must remember that we have a great Almighty God who dearly loves us.  We may have the most painful agony, but when we have Jesus as our Savior we have everything!  His compassions surround us, He gives us strength and wisdom to overcome even if it is moment by moment.  He doesn't say, 'get up and be Super Christian!'  No! He doesn't ever say this because we can't accomplish it!  We are to come to Him for His strength!

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

How beautiful is He is Word!  It expresses such truth!  In grief we are heavy-ladened and weary.  Who else but Jesus would be so humble and so gentle with us in our broken state? We can find such compassion in His Word.

Give yourself some mercy. 

If you are overwhelmed, then allow yourself a ~10 to 20 minute time to grieve. Be flexible not rigid with the time. Spend your time grieving, but do it with the LORD. Make it a time of talking with Him about your sadness at that moment, and then give it to Him as you transition to getting up to continue your day.  Lay your burdens with Him and get up to do next things for Him.

Humanly, it would be easy to say, "I deserve to be sad, I really do deserve to have people feel sorry for me, I am sad so I do not have to do anything...", but we aren't just human if we are His children!  We were bought with a price!  We have a Savior who rose from the dead! We are not alone! We can get up even through tears and we can do next things even in our pain because of Him!

Grief can shipwreck your faith if you allow it.  Grief is strong, but the LORD is stronger!  

We can overcome our grief even if it never goes away, because of our great God.  Live your life for Jesus and He will shine through you. When you live your life for the LORD the world notices. The LORD uses our suffering for good when the world takes notice.   Our testimony shines for Him even when we are unaware it this. 

We do not have to live a shipwrecked faith when we have the LORD. When we allow the LORD into all aspects of our lives we can smile at the future with strength and honor as our clothing.

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future."
Proverbs 31:25

We glorify God when we choose to allow Him to lift our heads.  

"You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me."
Psalm 3:3-5

Ready for Spring













Here in the midwest our snow today is the perfect snow for shoveling, snowblowing, snowman making and snowball making. 
This may be our last snow, hopefully! because we are ready for spring.

One week from Spring and it snows


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Grieving #3: The only thing we need is Jesus!

I have been contemplating grieving these last months, while experiencing it for decades.  

Grief is long and drawn out.  

It can go away and then jump out when you do not expect it to do so.   

It can hang on you all day long and everyday, and yet, you can choose to smile and have the desire to carry on with normal life because you live in the LORD’s strength even in your agonies.

It is a special joy to think how a wounded person in such grief can continue because of the LORD’s hand.  He is marvelous and awesome in how He loves and cares for us.

Psalm 139:5 NIV states our safety in Him in a sewing terms which I love:  

"You hem me in behind and before,
    and You lay Your hand upon me."

Thank you, LORD!

Sometimes the Church Body at large does not know how to walk alongside with others who hurt, but it is a precious balm from the LORD when those in the Body can understand and know how to show compassion and care for those who are in agony.  

Church leadership can help or hinder those who suffer.  One thing we have learned with hard knocks is that we can not, and will not stay at a church where the leadership "plays church", when they have lost their first love.  (Revelations 2:1-7) 

The last biblically solid assembly we attended for more than a decade had loving people, and seemingly loving leadership. Towards the end of our attendance there the leadership chose to take the congregation into a different direction with an unbiblical mindset not allowing for anyone who wasn't on board with their new direction. We saw it all from the inner workings of the leadership and could no longer fight to save what this precious Body use to be before the LORD.  It was time to leave.  We could no longer stay and watch them "play church".*
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Thank you to Pulpit and Pen who has an excellent post, 3/10/17, Why the Church Doesn't Need More Coffee Bars.  This is a poignant account of a family in agony and why "playing church" should not be the main thing in the Christian Body of Believers:

As this precious wife and mother struggled to hold her family's life together while her beloved husband suffered and recently went to be with the LORD, she shares what we as Believers truly desire and what we desperately need in a Church Body.

Here the wife shares about the poignant conversations she and her husband had as he slipped away from this fallen world. She says he didn't speak about the ridiculous church's frivolities, instead:

"He talked about Jesus.  He quoted scriptures.  He reminded me of sermons we had heard.  And in the middle of the night he sang songs of praise and worship to God and he spent his time praying.  Because nothing a church does to strategize to bring in members helps you in the time of the storm.  It is only Jesus."

As the Church at large seems to concern themselves with frivolous and unbiblical nonsense some of this precious wive's thoughts were:

"...I am thinking that my strength comes solely from God...

...I am thinking how desperate I need Jesus..."

"...I am hurting in a way that is almost indescribable...And when I go to church I desperately want to hear the Word of God..."

"I want to see how Jesus has changed a person's life.

I want to see the power of prayer.

I want to see how the Word of God can be applied to one's life.

I want to see how Jesus can help the hurting.

I want to see how Jesus can heal the sick.

I want to see how the broken heart was restored.

I want to see how the mourners were comforted. 

I want to see how lives were restored..."

Pulpit and Pen ends with:

"The church does not need anymore coffee bars.  They don't need the lighting. They don't need the concerts...

...Tell a person how God has changed your life.  Show them the love of God through your actions.  Demonstrate how God helped you through the darkest of storms.

Church leaders, remember that you are not just trying to attract the hip and the cool to your church. 

You are reaching widows. You are reaching children who don’t have a parent. You are reaching someone battling with a disease. You are reaching a person going through a divorce. You are reaching a businessman who thinks they have all that they need. You are reaching the hurting. 

And the only thing they need is Jesus."

Please read this powerful post full of excerpts from young wife, Kimberli Lira. Praying for her and her family! The LORD hears our cries!
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Psalm 139:1-6  NAS
"O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.

You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it."

* Thankful to have found a Bible Believing Body again.