Out of the mouth the heart now speaks... Matthew 12:34
What is in my heart? Does it come flying out of my mouth before I even think about what I am saying? Yes, I have that tendency. God forgive me for the untold pain that I have caused to others because of that.
My heart is very full of something at this moment, and that is: fear, worry, concern, anger, frustration, and countless other things that no doubt would not be pleasing to God. God tells us that many, if not all of those things that I just mentioned are sin. Along with all of those things, is the prayer that I would have a clean hands and a pure heart. I am currently faced with a situation that I would rather not be faced with, but reality has a nasty way of allowing that to happen.
I was alerted to the fact that there was an article in the Times Reporter about a program that will be broadcast on Monday March 31, on the Biography channel, called i survived. On it, Brandi will be telling a portion of the story of May 23, 2000, the night Brandi and Liz were abducted, and Liz was killed and Brandi nearly killed.
Jeff and I have shared our testimony of how we survived Liz's murder, and I am currently attempting to write a book with our account, and how God helped us through it, and how we were able to forgive the man that murdered Liz. As well as how God is directing us to help other people facing grief, and struggles.
It is with great concern and heartfelt prayers that this story (isurvived) will not take on that "Movie of the week" look, and that God will be receiving the glory for how He worked in this situation, and the lives that have been changed because of it, and because of God.
This story is something that is reality for many people around the world. How their lives have been threatened, sometimes on a daily basis, and how they have suffered a death at the hand of someone else. How they choose to let this effect their lives is where our story differs from so many others. No, we are not the only ones that have taken this stance on forgiveness, and I pray we are not the last. It goes far beyond that. It goes as far as how death, can lead to life, if we choose it.
I believe that God has given us a commandment that we need to tell people about how Jesus was born of a virgin, and lived on this earth for 33 years, only to be put to death on a cross for OUR sins, not his. How after three days, he was resurrected from the dead, walked on this earth for 40 days after his resurrection, then ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God.
He did this for EVERYONE! He died so that our sins could be forgiven, so that we might experience salvation. (John 3:16) Not that any of us deserve it, but because he loved us so much that he would do that for us. If Jesus could die for us so that we could be forgiven, who are we not to forgive?
I wish I could claim that I have perfected this attribute, but I cannot.
However; I can tell you that we (all of us) have the choice as to whether we forgive or not. In the case of Liz's murder, we chose to accept the gift that God offered to us, and that is forgiveness to the man that took her life. I have cried buckets of tears over the years in grief over the loss of our daughter, but our choice of forgiveness has not diminished, wavered or changed. That is not to say that forgiveness, once it is given and you have "passed the test" will not be handed to you again, to see where you choose to "live" if it be in forgiveness or un-forgiveness. I have had so many hard times in which forgiveness needed to given and received, but I have failed miserably.
Nevertheless, the testings that God gives us are to strengthen us, not to destroy us. This my friends is where I struggle. I have never been a "good test taker" in any area. I have always panicked, and been fearful that I will forget what I need to remember for the test, and that fear tends to rule my life. I know I have mentioned this before....
Dwight shared about the woman that swam for 15 and a half hours across the freezing cold Pacific Ocean to reach the coast of California, (here is my condensed version) with people cheering her on, and people shooting sharks to protect her, the only thing that stood in her way was a heavy dense fog that caused her not to be able to see her goal which was the coast of California. After many hours, she gave up amidst the encouragement she received to continue on, that she was very close to her goal. She finally climbed into the boat, giving up because she couldn't see where she was going, not because of being cold, or tired. She quit only one half mile from her goal. Is that what I want in my life? To give up because I couldn't "see" my goal.
My goal? What is it?
To be able to point people towards Jesus, to look forward to heaven in a way they never before considered. I don't want to fail the tests God has put before me. Yes, I am worried that I may not complete them according to God's plan for me, I may not do it perfectly, (according to my measure) but I am not giving up no matter how many times I have to take that crazy test. I can say that now, but I may need your prayers again when test time comes!
If you would like to hear Dwight's message go to www.newpointe.org
To quit because of the fog? I hope not!