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Thursday, March 21, 2019

THE TOYMAKER




Proverbs 22:29
"Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men."

I sit washed in tears & surrounded by love. 600 hand designed wooden toys parade around me jostling for their turn to travel the world. They weren’t dropped off down the chimney, weren’t made by a team of elves or led by Rudolf; no these little gems were made by one man intent on blessing children all over the world through the hands of missionaries. Tirelessly bent over his workbench carving truck after truck, adding wheels that turn, a window & varnish wrapping each in plastic with a salvation message tucked inside. And then there are the beautiful barrettes for the girls! Wood tones beaming lustrously.

I’ve never met Steve in person, but I speak on the phone with him.  Long conversations focused on our love for the Lord, the missionaries and all they sacrifice to bring the ‘one’ to Christ.  I was blessed to be introduced to his generosity through another missionary. Steve’s heart is just pure.  He asks for no title; just an opportunity to share his gift of woodwork with children. He will stand before kings.

Friday, March 1, 2019

The But-for-God Generation



While I was praying this morning, this Ah-Ha came to me. Now, it may be no big life changing idea for you, but for me it was one of those times I suck in my breath and ask God to reveal even more. A moment when I realize there is more coming that will change my way of observing life around me. I don't even know how I came to this point but here is what provoked me to thought today:

When we are in another country or even just visiting someone we know, we adapt to the culture, food and ways of 'their' lives because we know that it is temporary; we will go 'home' soon to the security of our own ways. We laugh at their humor, listen openly to their political views and their life's drama because, well, it's not our life. We will return to our own comfort zone, the friends who share our beliefs and value systems and wolf down a plain old peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

It occurs to me (that we could be inclined to) roam this earth that same way; settle in, become resolute - in a disconcerting way - with the politics, the religiousness, the poverty, pain, disease, illness and hopelessness of the people we read about or surround ourselves with. It could become sort of normal day to day stuff.  

Yet, we are the light, the hope & the glory of the Lord sent down to be the salt of the earth. We are sanctified & set apart (being Holy and living a Holy, righteous life) for such a time as this; to awaken people to the Truth and the Light of the world. We are the BUT for GOD generation that sees what's going on, yet recognizes our God is bigger than all of this. 

Knowing we are seated in the "Heavenlies" (Eph 2:6), we ought to live our life here on earth significantly, knowing that we go HOME after our time here is done. The here and now is temporary and then we return to the Kingdom of whence we came. Back to the place we can breathe freely and easily. No tension, no pain and no tears. No power hungry people fighting for top billing for there is no doubt Who is seated on the Throne. 

With that knowledge arming us, we can then become the Elisha's to the next generations asking that God open their eyes to see there are more for them than against them. (2 Kings 6:16) We are the Deborah's, the Esther's, the Joshua's and the Isaiah's; we are the Paul's, the Peter's, the John's, the Anna's and the Mary's. We are the ones who will step out for Christ's sake; who will boldly speak His name without concern of what other's will say or think. We are unafraid to teach those younger than us that all good things come down from the Father of Lights (James 1:17) and that we hold high the Name of Jesus without fear of death.  

As we strain toward the High calling, changing into the image of Christ, our interest in the things of the world become less and less. It is the devil's playground really (the media, politics…the 7 mountains as Lance Wallnau calls it) and we do not want to engage in the activities the world promotes or maintain its corruption; we are physically present in the world, but not of it. (John 17:14-15)  We commit ourselves to the transforming of the mind; to the thoughts and ways of Christ. 

Blessed to enjoy the physical beauty of the world God created for us, we do not have to immerse ourselves in worldly values but rather lend ourselves to the worship of God, decreeing light into the darkness and pointing others toward our true Home. Our final destination. 

So, that's the thought I started out my day with....


Valentine’s Day



Sunbeams illumine our room
filtering through the dusky morning
to fall on the face of my beloved.

How beautifully have You assigned my life,
Oh Lord.
and what rapture my heart feels
as I look upon my lover.
All of Heaven surely erupts in a sweet song;
a melodious joining of voices.
-Angels raising the rooftops-

A future of promise lies
in the hand I hold.
What wonderful knowledge.
What divine tenderness.
What extraordinary love.

It’s Valentine’s Day. I used to shudder a bit, put on a brave face and march through the day. After my late husband died I was adamant I would not marry again. I had things to do for God. I had plans. Anyway, who could take the place of one you had matured with, found the Lord with and muddled through all the ‘growth’ pains with?

But God.

When the Lord told me I would marry again & introduced me to the handsome man I would spend the senior years of my life with I was intrigued but stubborn. What about my plans, God? Trust Me.  What about Africa? Trust Me. But, I just bought a home & new furniture…But, But, But… Trust Me.

I found out that God does not ‘replace’ but ‘enhances’ love. Today I stand next to this incredible person, shrouded in the Holy Spirit, so full of life and love and tenderness; so thankful I said yes to God and yes to Roy. Appreciative of their patience as I inhale a joy I haven’t known in a very long time.  After many years of battling grief, I stand next to my hunk-a-burnin’-love and face the future with my hand securely in His knowing that whatever God has for us we will have an adventure in running after it. 

Trust Me. 
Oh, I am so thankful I did.