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Posts Tagged ‘Word of God’

???????????????????????????????We recently returned from a week on the northern shore of Lake Superior with our sons, daughter-in-laws and grandchildren. Paul and I wanted to celebrate 40 years of marriage with the family that matters so much to us. Hundreds of photos testify to the fact that precious memories were made.

We hiked, biked and dove into the cold waters together. We bumped heads and dried tears. We sat at table together. Laughed together. Prayed together. We are three generations not randomly thrown together by chance but purposefully knit together by the God of design.

On Sunday morning, we gathered in the great room of the cabin to read God’s Word, sing, and encourage generational faithfulness. It seemed fitting for me as a grandmother to speak to the eldest of the grandchildren Jaden, Ethan, Andrew and Max because they will always have the privilege of setting examples for their younger brothers and sisters Kate, Leah, Sam and Lane.

To get their attention, I asked: “What do worms, mosquitos, bedbugs and flies have to do with being a Christian and following Jesus?” Then I shared with them the true story of Darlene Diebler.

Darlene was born in Boone, IA. She was raised in a Christian home and knew Jesus Christ as her Savior. Encouraged by parents and pastors, she memorized Scripture and words of hymns. As her love for the Lord grew, so did her desire to become a missionary. When Russell Diebler, an experienced missionary, asked her to marry him, she said “Yes!”

The newlyweds settled in New Guinea before their first anniversary. Darlene was excited by the possibilities of living among people who had never heard of Jesus Christ. But Darlene did not become the kind of missionary she had dreamed of. A world war broke out and, together with other missionaries, she was taken prisoner by the Japanese. Men were put in one camp; women and children in another.

Darlene spent her days caring for the sick, comforting the fearful, working in the gardens or pig house, and repeatedly shared the hope of God’s Word—even with the camp commander. On the day when he called her into his office to tell her that her husband had died, a strange thing happened. Instead of breaking down in despair, Darlene witnessed to her captor about why her faith in Jesus Christ would sustain her. Her confidence and uncommon behavior caused the man to leave the room, but not before Darlene saw his eyes glisten with tears.

The only personal item not taken from Darlene was her Bible. God’s Word was light in her darkness. When she got mad at God, she read. When she questioned His will, she read. When she felt sorry for herself, she read. We might wonder: Why didn’t she just give up? Why continue fighting for life when all seemed so hopeless? Darlene didn’t give up because God’s Word was life to her! In meditating upon the Word, the Holy Spirit overcame doubt and turned her eyes to the goodness, faithfulness and promise of God. She was reminded that God had already gone before her and yet, at the same time, was right beside her.

Fear rose up again when Darlene was accused of being a spy for the American army. She was taken away by angry men who had no respect for her as a human being. They placed her in solitary confinement and took away her Bible. Her meals consisted of rice infested with worms. There was no way to protect herself from the flies and mosquitos that carried diseases. Bedbugs bit her flesh all night. Soon, Darlene became very ill. Malaria, beriberi, and dysentery ravaged her body and drained her physical strength. At times, words of prayer failed her. But the Holy Spirit was interceding for her with “groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). He brought to mind Words of the Lord she had committed to memory and verses of hymns sung as a child.

When Darlene was feverish and quite possibly near death, a man appeared with a little bit of medicine. She never saw that man again; in fact, no one else saw or knew of him. To this day, she is convinced he was an angel. Within a very short time—and without a doctor—Darlene regained her strength.

All the worms, flies, mosquitos, and bedbugs tortured her body, but they did not kill her. The Japanese soldiers treated her worse than an animal, but they could not remove her identity as a daughter of God or take from her the Holy Spirit who dwelled within her.

What does this story have to do with my grandchildren? I believe that the prince of this world, the devil, and the culture shaped by his deception will pester my grandsons and granddaughters like so many mosquitos and flies. God’s Word is their only defense. Jesus says,

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you . . . your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:19-20).

I believe the names of my grandchildren are written in heaven. As baptized children of God in Jesus Christ, I believe they have power over the enemy. I also believe that when they live their faith, they will have an uncommon effect on the people around them.

Darlene’s faith in Christ had an effect on the Japanese prison commander. When he saw that she was not crushed under her load of suffering but had the strength to speak of Jesus even to him—her enemy, his attitude toward her changed. He became her advocate and, even though she was removed from under his authority into the hands of others, he did everything he could to keep her alive during her time in solitary confinement.

It won’t be easy for my grandchildren to live their faith; to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11). Even their friends may taunt them or abandon them for not “fitting in”. But God does not want His children to be common and malleable in the hands of just anybody. He wants them to be uncommon and malleable in His hands and for His purpose.

To help my grandsons and granddaughters, I want to be what my grandmother was to me. She was my encourager. My comfort. My example of faithfulness.

When I think of my grandmother, the words of one of her favorite Scripture passages speak to me. They are also words to a hymn. Because I pray my family will fight the good fight, I asked my husband, sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters to sing it with me:

Fight the good fight with all your might;
Christ is your strength and Christ your right.
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Your joy and crown eternally.

Run the straight race through God’s good grace;
Lift up your eyes, and seek His face.
Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the path, and Christ the prize.

Faint not nor fear, His arms are near;
He changes not who holds you dear;
Only believe, and you will see
That Christ is all eternally.

(LSB 664 “Fight the Good Fight” –
Text: John S.B. Monsell – 1 Timothy 6:12)
This post inspired by Darlene Deibler Rose
Evidence Not Seen:
A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II
A Ruth Graham Dienert Book, 1988

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Christ says that the devil is the prince of this world (John 14:30; 16:11); and he is a murderer from the beginning and a liar (John 8:44).  If, then, we would live upon earth, we must realize that we are guests and lodge in an inn with a knave as host and with a sign over the door that reads THE HOUSE OF MURDER or THE HOUSE OF LIES.  Satan is a murderer for killing the body, a liar for misleading the soul.  That is the devil’s trade and his work; that is the way he keeps house; that is how business is carried on in this inn.  Whoever belongs to his followers must lend him a helping hand.  But whoever is his guest must expect and risk experiencing rough treatment.  (Martin Luther)   Q: What does this say to you as a Biblical, pro-life Christian?  How do you respond?

The devil, too, can quote Scripture and deceive us with it.  But his use of Scripture is defective.  He does not quote it completely but only so much of it as serves his purpose.  The rest he silently omits.  (Luther)   Q: What does this mean for pro-life Christians and caring pregnancy centers that seek to work with churches, pastors, and youth groups?

The fable is told that when God made man out of a clod of earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life so that man became a living soul, the devil wanted to imitate God and also took a clod of earth in order to make a man of it; but it turned out to be a toad.  (Luther)   Q: What does this say to you?  (Now, sing a hymn of praise to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — out loud!  Our evil foe cannot endure the Word in music!) 

At all hours the devil is seeking to kill us all.  After you have been baptized, he will not let you have any rest.  If he could kill you in your mother’s body, he would do it.  (Luther)  The devil does not despise God so much as he despises the humans that God so dearly loves.  For it is to us that God gives dominion over Satan.    Q: What does this tell us about the intensity of the pro-life/pro-abortion debate?  Do you think most Christians recognize legalized abortion as spiritual warfare?

All sadness is of the devil, for he is the lord of death.  But, God does not sadden, or terrify, or kill.  He is the God of the living.  This is why He also sent His only-begotten Son, not to terrify but to console.  Christ also died in order to be Lord of death and to give us life and destroy death.  “Rejoice, be confident, be glad.  I have overcome the world and death” (Jesus in John 16:33).   The devil gives heaven before sins have been committed and despair afterwards; Christ does the opposite and gives heaven after the sins.  (Luther)   Q: How does this Truth set caring pregnancy centers and post-abortion ministry apart from Planned Parenthood?

I have read that a man who could have no peace because of the devil made the sign of the cross on his chest and said, “The Word was made flesh,” or, what amounts to the same thing: I am a Christian.  Then, the devil was defeated and chased away, and the man had peace . . . One does not gain much ground against the devil with a lengthy disputation but with brief words and replies, such as: I am a Christian, of the same flesh and blood as is my Lord Christ, the Son of God.  Settle your account with Him.  (Then the devil does not stay long.)  (Luther)   Q: What does this say to you as a Christian living in this world?

When the devil comes during the night to plague me, I give him this answer: Devil, I must sleep now; for this is God’s command: Work during the day, sleep at night.  If the devil persists, and now accuses me of more sins, I reply: Satan, I have heard the record, but I have committed still more sins which don’t even stand in your record.  Put them down, too.  (Luther)  Also, say to the devil: Just by reminding me that I am a poor, miserable sinner, you are placing a sword and weapon into my hand with which I can decisively overcome you  . . . if you tell me I am a sinner, I can tell you that Christ died for sinners.  To Him I direct you.”  (Luther)   Q: How does this affect the way you parent, mentor, witness, teach, serve others, and stand “for life” in this world  — Satan’s “house of murder and lies”? 

With appreciation to What Luther Says,
Concordia Publishing House, 1959 

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There are a lot of us who are afraid to speak up about “social experiments” gone bad.  Part of the reason is because we believe the lie that faith should be kept in a corner off by itself never to interact with science, psychology or real life.  But, separating faith from everyday life places civilization at risk.

Rather than letting “social experiments” — unnatural choices and behaviors — rule the day, it seems to me that we should be taking every opportunity to enter into sane and civil conversation.  In doing so, we shouldn’t be afraid of using the Word and Wisdom of the Creator.

I learned a powerful lesson last week.  A Christian who goes public with Word and Wisdom may discover that even non-believers come to many of the same conclusions as believers.  The old phrase “don’t tamper with mother nature,” while not Biblical, is logical and sensible.

God created men and women to be equal, but  not the same.  Nature agrees.  Biology agrees.  Psychology agrees.  So, whether we’re talking about girls who want to wrestle boys or two men/two women who want to marry, we’re talking about a “social experiment.”  A social experiment breaks away from what is natural.  Healthy.  Hopeful.  A social experiment may scream “equality,” but it denies the complimentary differences of male and female and, in so doing, leads civilization to destruction.

Christians are given ample opportunity right now to engage others in sane and civil conversation.  If we don’t, our children and grandchildren may suffer greatly.  Focus, for a moment, on the institution of marriage.  Marriage predates any known human government.  But, the U.S. government (specifically, the President and Department of Justice) have announced they will no longer defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

DOMA defines marriage in all federal laws as the union of a man and woman, and protects the ability of states to not recognize same-sex marriages from other states.  But, DOMA has been attacked by the very government that is supposed to protect this constitutional law.

I hope to post some sane and reasonable, but also civil and respectful, comments about marriage in the coming weeks.  Countless people out there — much smarter than me — have already offered “talking points” for those of us who want to engage our family, neighbors and co-workers in uncompromising yet gentle conversation.

For now, consider this: The social experiment of “gay marriage” goes against life itself.  I encourage you to do some research of your own.  Visit the web sites of Exodus International, Regeneration Ministries, The Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and Focus on the Family.

Then, remember.  Sane and civil conversation — using science, psychology and God’s Word — salted with kindness and respect for others is always a good thing.

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