Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Lie Embraced

She was lovely and pure in her prime

An unsurpassed beauty of her time

Her beauty borne of steadfast truth

Looking to God in her days of youth

But the Liar crept in, as he’d done before

Crooning so sweetly, his foot in the door

With a slight mocking tone he planted the seed

With her unaware she had started to bleed

She has since been falling; now the hour is late

She carelessly laughing; not knowing her fate

Her eyes will not see; ears will not hear

Rebellion her path; touting “no fear”

Embracing all madness; demanding her way

As the oppressor patiently waits for his day

He knows how to capture the mind of a fool

Delusion of freedom, a powerful tool

To make her believe she has freedom of choice

The freedom to stop an opposing voice

Freedom to indulge all selfish desire

Entitlement promising to take her higher

In the drunkenness of delusional gains

He binds her slowly with burdensome chains

And when the truth comes rushing in

With no fight left, the oppressor will win

But this oppressor is also delusion impaired

And will come to his end for that he has dared

To set himself high with insatiable hatred

As above the One by whom he was created

Romans 1:25 "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the
creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever, Amen."

July 27, 2013

By Cherry Bieber

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sometimes it rains...

I have prayed many years to be healed of severe digestive issues that began with a hiatal hernia and a failed repair ten years ago.  I have been ill again lately...quite ill.  I took a turn for the worst in February and by mid April had lost 12 pounds...weight I really can't afford to lose.  With tears of weariness (no, not the self-pitying "why me!?) running down my face, I wrote to my daughter yesterday stating:

"I don't need a doctor. I don't need studies and surgeries. I need something beautiful. I need rain. I need blossoms on the lilac bushes we have nurtured along all these years. I need a deep breath of the air that is heavy, yet happily, laden with life-giving water.  Ah, Lord, show us life, give us life...abundant life..."
An hour after writing this, it began to rain...and it is still raining.  I do not share this with the purpose of indicating that I have some inside line when it comes to talking with God or that He is like the genie in the bottle forced to give me what I want on command.  Rather, I share this because His affirmative answer (this time) to my plea for rain on this wind-blown, heat-blasted soil made me again humbly aware that He does indeed hear our prayers.  The truth is, whether or not His answer had been affirmative, I can be sure that He hears and answers our prayers...all prayers.  It may not always be an affirmative answer (such as my prayer for healing), but I can be sure His answer is the one that is best for me.  His answer has been, Proverbs 3:6 "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
His eye is on the sparrow...His eye is on His people.  He knows and He cares.  In this I rest and seek to glorify His Holy Name.  I know He will heal me...this side of heaven or the other, but He is indeed healing me.  I will learn to be content in all things.  In two months we may again be facing hot, dry weather and, again, I will pray for His life-giving rain.  Whether or not He sends the rain, I need to lean into Him, trust, and wait.  Sometimes He answers my pleas for rain with a calming, steady soaker like the one we have seen these past two days.  Sometimes the rain doesn't come.  Sometimes we are healed from physical or emotional ailments, sometimes we must wait for healing.  Whatever the case, I know I can rely on Him to be by my side always.  Come what may, I pray to be found praising His Name.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cross of Wood, Tomb of Stone

A cross of wood, a tomb of stone

Could not destroy God’s very own

No hand of darkness can withstand

When “Loose My child!” is God’s command

What life, Love, and beauty casts He

On hearts that call Him brokenly

When final blow has cast its lot

In tangled web one now is caught

But as they grieve for all their wrong

He ushers in His healing song

Reserved for those who will repent

Redemption by His Son He sent

Awaken there, oh foolish man!

Call His Name while yet you can

Tarry not, the hour is late

There is no cause that you should wait

The life and Love and beauty there

A place to cast off all your care

Repentance brings His cleansing flood

Forgiveness through His redeeming blood

By Cherry Bieber 03-23-12

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Weighing all things out by the Word of God

How easy it is to fall into complacency, self-pity, fear, and doubt when struggling with money, illness, and other ailments common to humanity.  In such temptations I ask myself, "Is God sovereign or is He not?"  I force myself to the point - to make up my mind.  If I allow myself to waiver, I reduce Him in my own mind to a "circumstantial" god, one to be praised when times are good and one to blame or accuse when times are bad.  In such thinking I am viewing Him like one might view a genie in a bottle who has no choice but to grant me my demands or be thrown out with the bottle. 

As harsh and ridiculous as this sounds, it is, sadly, much of today's modern "Christian" view and finds many "...moved by every wind of doctrine..." (Ephesians 4:14).  This is also the kind of thinking that finds many caught up in movements.  Lacking discernment, they are incapable of (or unwilling to) listening to speakers or music, watch movies, or read books without being swept away in the emotion of the moment.  They are unable (or again perhaps unwilling) to "eat the meat and spit out the bones."  There are many leaders who monopolize on this and do not encourage their followers to search a thing out and measure it by the Word of God.  They prefer and thrive on blind followers.

As Christians, we are to seek wisdom and discernment in all things, trusting the Word of God to light our way.  There are many great movements going on whose leaders do not desire people to follow them, but rather to seek the Word for guidance.  Those leaders to beware of are those who clearly prefer that you listen to, read, and watch only what they produce and present it as equal to or surpassing the Scriptures.  It is up to each individual to choose whom they will serve.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Fox In Our Midst - Why Children Need Boundaries

For two days, every time we let our dog out she would bark nonstop.  I kept looking to see what she was seeing, but could not find the source of her obvious anxiety.  Because she is not a dog that barks to hear the sound of her own voice, I am always on the alert when she does bark and my God-given “search engine” goes into high gear. 

This morning while we were having breakfast, my son saw our yearling heifer, Honey, running.  He started laughing and stated, “That goofy Honey is out their running!”  I, however, did not laugh; as I immediately knew something was wrong.  Although calves and yearlings will occasionally run for the fun of it, expectant heifers do not just burst into “for the fun of it” running routines.   I went to the window and, sure enough, not 200 feet from our barn, Honey had come to a halt and was staring directly at two foxes playing in the field…oops…make that one fox and one favorite cat (Herbie)…and they were definitely NOT playing!  Herbie is not quite a year old and is rather large for his age.  His youth, feline nature, and size tend to make him think he is ten foot long and bullet proof!  Because he is such a large cat, has a dark orange coat, and his tail was fanned out much larger than I ever thought his short hair could manage, I first mistook him for a fox!  He was hunched down facing the fox prepared for a fight.   

Just as the realization of the danger Herbie was in struck me, the heifer ran right between the two and stopped.  The fox took a step toward the cat and the heifer lunged toward the fox.  At that point, I was out on the porch ready to take care of business when the fox bolted toward the neighbor’s pasture.  I called Herbie and he ran toward me with more speed and obedience than that which is common to felines!  When he reached me, he leapt into my arms, his entire body trembling, and his tail remained [comically] fanned for a good five minutes.  (I’m sure he is now devastatingly embarrassed as he realizes the spectacle he made of himself.) 

This incident has had me thinking all morning about other “foxes” in our midst and those who, due to youth, think they are as sly as those “foxes.”  Fortunately for Herbie, because of where we live and my desire to protect my chickens, ducks, and cats, I have learned to watch carefully for foxes and always investigate the “red flags.”   

Sadly, there are too many parents paying no attention whatsoever to the “red flags” indicating that there are foxes “playing” with their children and the children have not the maturity nor wherewithal to understand the dangers that await them.  The God-given parental  “search engine” that alerts a parent to check a situation out, is all to often ignored. 

Parents sometimes succumb to peer pressure from other adults who contend that not allowing children “freedom” is to be overprotective and will damage children for life.  Now, I’m not talking about hovering here.  I’m talking about setting healthy boundaries and changing them according to the “fruit” of the child’s life.  It is important to make boundary decisions based on one’s own child rather than what someone else is doing with their child.  Parents of more than one child can attest to the fact that each child they have must be assessed separately when deciding boundaries, as every child’s needs are different.  We should not raise our children as if they were popped out of a cookie cutter. 

When seeking counsel on raising children, it is prudent to first consider the outcome of the children belonging to those whose counsel we would seek (remembering, however, that even some of the best parents have had rebellious children because even children have God-given choice) and then determine whether or not another’s suggestions would be applicable to our own children.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What if...

This morning was entirely conducive to reading my Bible, praying, and journaling.  I am an early riser [very early!] and always feel cheated if I sleep past 5:00.  I so rely on that time of quiet...but I wonder...

What if my life as a Christian were lived in the midst of real persecution; bombings, hunger, thirst, and filth due to lack of water?  What if the only Bible I had access to was the Scripture submitted to memory?  What if the only "quiet" time I had was found huddled in a dark corner where bombs and bullets had not yet found me?  Would I praise Him?  Would I seek His face?  Would I trust and hope in Him?

This morning I looked out over a lush green meadow bathed in a soft, thirst-quenching fog with not so much as a whispering breeze to stir the blooms.  I am grateful for what I have, but pray I would not rely on my physical surroundings to create in me a spirit of worship to my Heavenly Father. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mockers beware

I am among those who understand that Harold Camping is most definitely a false teacher/prophet.  However, the mockery against God and His people that I have been reading this past few days stemming from this false prophecy has caused me to tremble for those who will not believe and mock those who do.  As many are having a heyday over the repeated false prophecy, they have lumped God and His people in with Camping and other such clearly false prophets and are leaving themselves wide open to what they will suffer along with Camping and his followers.  It was with much grief that I read of the despair of many of his followers.  They chose to follow a man and clearly have not read the Scriptures for themselves.  For if they had, they would have read Matthew 24:35-37, which in the KJV reads,

"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."

The sin of mankind is so great a burden that all are weary of life.  We are encouraged throughout the Scriptures to keep faith and wait on the Lord.  Sadly, many continue to seek false teachers, false prophets, and false gods in an attempt to satisfy that longing...anything and anyone but the One True God.

Although individuals who claim to know things that simply are not Scriptural invite mockery upon themselves, some mockers take such invitations as an opportunity to wallow in very dangerous mockery of what the Scriptures actually do say.  As stated above, reading their cocky, foolish, mocking remarks causes me to tremble for what they will indeed face one day if they continue in such rejection of the Lord.

I am reminded of an incident that took place when I was about fourteen years old.  I was on a school bus with my classmates.  We were passing an elderly man walking on the sidewalk and several of the children rolled down their windows and started shouting insults and mockery at him.  "Hey, old man, there's a hole in your pants!" they yelled.  I rolled down my window and stuck my head out with the intention of joining in the jeering, but before I could open my mouth, the man turned and our eyes met.  In that moment I was consumed with grief and repentance that such behavior against another even crossed my mind.  I turned from the window, told the others to shut up and leave him alone, and sat down and cried.  The mocking and jeering was now aimed at me, but I didn't care, as my thoughts were only of the elderly man and the unjustified attack on him.

Looking back on that scene, I am reminded of what foolishness mockery is.  Mockers against the Lord sit in the same camp as those who follow and worship false gods, false prophets, and false teachers.  Although I, too, laughed a bit over the whole end-of-the-world false prophecy, I do know that such a time will indeed come.  It will come in the midst of our going to and fro and all of the activities therein.  Those who scoff at this truth will be among the most surprised and devastated.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Daddy, Will You Please Cover Me?

As time passes and the church continues to fall into greater disarray, it is my personal belief that much of this is due to the increasing liberal thinking that has infiltrated all denominations.  Some churches are growing incredibly, some are stagnant, and some are diminishing; but we all seem to be suffering the same bent toward doing “what feels good to me” because “Jesus Loves me just the way I am.”  We quickly and glibly quote the scriptures pertaining to Jesus having regularly spent time with tax collectors and sinners and Jesus’ Love for all, but give little time or thought to what the purpose of His heart was…and still is; the saving of souls.  If we pack the house, but ignore the ways in which we are causing new Christians to fall, we had been better off allowing the congregation to dwindle down to nothing and the building to stay empty and fall into ruin. 

Matthew 18:6-7 reads: 

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.  Woe unto the world because of offences!  For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”

Daddy, Will You Please Cover Me? 

At 7:30 a.m. as Paul passed the bank on his way to work, he read the sign that flashed a temperature of 87 degrees.  He groaned to think of the heat that lay ahead.  He worked in construction and they had a full day out in the sun.  As he waited at a red light in the heavy traffic, he heard horns honking behind him and he looked around to see what was going on.  He saw a woman he recognized walking down the sidewalk.  He quickly looked away, as she was clearly under dressed.  She was a member of the same church that Paul and his wife attended and was known as being very kindhearted and generous.  However, he had always avoided contact with her because she often wore low-cut, short dresses or equally exposing casual clothing.  Paul soon heard hoots, whistles, and crude remarks pouring out the windows of several vehicles around him.  His heart ached as he thought of the example she was showing and the danger she placed herself in, which he truly believed she did not realize.  He began praying for her, for all of the women she represented, and even for the men who were encouraged by and attracted to her under dressed condition.  As he prayed, he thought of the scripture his own father had read to him over and over as he was growing up and which had a profound effect on him and kept him from falling into such snares.   

Proverbs 7:22, 23, 26,27 – “He goes after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knows not that it is for his life…For she has cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.  Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death."

He was deeply saddened that so many women believed their worth was in the physical.  They had come to believe, perhaps early on in life, to use their bodies to manipulate and control. However, they didn’t understand that this came with a price that would be very, very high.   

Paul thought about the men, young boys, women, and young girls who were now completely immersed through relentless bombardment of pornographic visuals via television, movies, internet, magazines, and billboards. Throughout the day his heart was burdened for them and he prayed continually.  

That evening after Paul and his wife, Taryn, had completed the bedtime routine with their daughter including prayers, tucking in, and one last drink of water (for the third time), they were sitting together on the couch quietly talking over the days’ events.  Paul told Taryn about the episode of the woman from their church and how burdened his heart had been for her as well as for the men whistling at her.  He emphasized that his heart was not one of judgment, but rather deep sadness.  As they talked, they heard the familiar padding of little feet coming down the hallway and five-year-old Emily peered around the corner at them with her large, sleepy brown eyes.  “I had to go potty,” she said with a yawn.  She walked over to where they were sitting and asked, “Daddy, will you please cover me?” 

Her question quickened something in his spirit as he rose from the couch and lifted little Emily into his arms.  He marveled at how perfectly she fit against him as she snuggled and laid her head on his shoulder. 

While he tucked the blankets beneath her chin just the way she liked them, she watched him intently with eyes full of trust.  He rested on the edge of the bed and with his hand he gently brushed soft, brown wisps of hair from her face.  Soon her long dark lashes rested on her cheeks and her breath came slow and even.  Paul was content to sit for a time looking at his angelic sleeping beauty.  As he admired her, he pondered her question, “Daddy, will you please cover me?”   Soon the words began to take on much greater significance than that of tucking the blankets under her chin.   

Tears rolled down his cheek as he thought of the woman he’d seen earlier that day.  He thought about the fact that she, too, was someone’s baby girl.  He knew his own heart would break if that were ever his own precious Emily that the men were leering and jeering at.  He understood and was faithful to the call of covering her in prayer, but he knew there was further covering to which he was called as her father.  As he watched Emily sleep, he pondered this further.   

Through the years, he had watched some Christian parents who believed that all they had to do is pray for their children and leave the rest to God, as if parenting were a type of “hands-off” operation and praying for them relieved them of the day to day duties of parenting, which sometimes calls for “turning the tables over.” (Matthew 21:12-13) 

So many had succumbed to the worldly ways of child rearing and had abandoned the clear instructions given in God’s Word.  They seemed to forget the deeper needs of children in whose hearts foolishness was bound (Proverbs 22:15 “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”).  Paul could see that there was a need for ongoing Loving, firm discipline and guidance coupled with Love and deep affection that would keep their hearts at home.  However, the busy lives of many were often in the way of the “doing” that produced children who honored and obeyed their parent’s, which leads to life.  (Exodus 20:12 “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”)  Paul believed that the deepest hurt of most children suffering from anger was rooted in the lack of boundaries, Love, and time from their parents.  

Paul knew he had a God-given responsibility to fulfill the different means of covering Emily as the years rolled by and she transformed from little girl to adolescent to young woman.  In addition to continually covering her in a blanket of prayer and careful spiritual guidance, he would need to cover her with boundaries, discipline, and fatherly affection that were based on Biblical principals.  He knew that even now at the tender age of five, part of covering her involved teaching her to keep herself covered.  He had witnessed the disastrous results of parents who had allowed their girls to dress scantily throughout little girlhood and then suddenly attempted to apply a dress code when they were developing physically. 

This routine seemed to always birth a seed of deep rebellion, resentment, and dishonor toward the parents and placed the girls in grave danger. 

Paul stood slowly so as to not awaken Emily.  He then knelt by her bedside and “covered” her again.  As he knelt there, he began to weep deeply, as though weeping for the hurts of all the little girls, including those who were now grown and confused women, who had never had a father to whom they might say, “Daddy, will you please cover me?”  Although he was unable to find words to voice what he was feeling, he knew that the Holy Spirit was interceding on their behalf.  He left Emily’s room with assurance that those not having an earthly father to cover them would always be able to turn to the Father of Heaven. 

(Psalm 91:4 “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Psalm 68:5 “A Father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in His holy habitation.”) 

When Paul returned to the living room where Taryn waited for him, he was surprised to look at the clock and see that he’d been in Emily’s room for an hour. 

Taryn, seeing the look on his face, recognized immediately that he had felt the strong call to true fatherhood.  She patted the sofa cushion beside herself, inviting him to sit.  As he sat down looking into her eyes, he was so full of thankfulness for all God had given him.  He felt he might burst with it, but he equally felt the burden of others’ lack.  He took Taryn’s hand in his, but didn’t speak, as his throat was tight and he knew he would cry if he tried.  Taryn just waited patiently for this to pass.  She knew his heart was full and when he spoke it would be something worth having waited for.  

“Taryn,” he began slowly, “as I looked at Emily just now and thought of her question ‘Daddy, will you please cover me?’ I was reminded of the incident this morning with the woman from our church.  I am so grieved for her and every woman who believes her worth lies in physical attractiveness.  What happens when the natural aging process occurs and the physical body is all they have invested time in preserving?  I want so much more for Emily.  I want her to know that she, like all people, is a beautiful, special creation of God.  I want her to know that she is created for His glory and honor and that physical beauty is shallow and passing and will never draw a man to truly Love her as I have grown to Love you.”  (Proverbs 31:30 “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”)  As a young woman, I want her to have the Love for God that makes her realize that her body is His temple.  Such knowledge will cause her to desire to cover her body even when she is beyond our realm of authority in her life.  I want her to be sure that as much as she is able, she is not the object used of the enemy to stir a man’s lust.  If she should attempt to rebel against us, as she gets older, we need to stand strong as one on her behalf and keep her within the boundaries that will keep her safe.  This is what God has given us and I don’t want to shirk that responsibility with her or any of our future children.  We also must be careful to be living examples of purity for the sake of all.” 

Paul opened the Bible and read, I Timothy 2:9.  “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel…”  He further read, Matthew 18:6, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”   

As Taryn listened, the tears rolled down her cheeks.  “Paul, I am so very thankful that we are on the same page in this parenting mission.”  She said quietly.  “I know that God will hear our prayers and, as His word says, He is faithful to fulfill the promises He has made to His children.  As one before God, they vowed to continue in this renewed desire to fulfill His call on their lives.  Simultaneously, they looked up at the small, framed scripture that hung above the door, which read “Psalm 127:1 “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it:  except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”  Together they felt the Holy Spirit interceding through them and strengthening them for what lay ahead.