It’s All About Souls

The devil has many talents. He’s a great liar–Jesus called him the father of lies, in fact. (see John 8:44) Which means he can cook up the best ones. The ones we’ll be dead-sure are the truth unless we’re submerged in the Word of God daily.

He’s a great accuser. He can heap guilt like nobody’s business.

And he’s a top-notch master of distraction.

Oh, yeah. He knows that for some of us Christians, the lures that ensnare the world won’t necessarily work on us.

“Alcohol? Are you kidding? Drunkenness is strictly condemned in the Bible, and besides, it’s bad for your health.”

“Cheat on my husband? Are you out of your mind? I’d sooner die.”

“Try drugs? Well, I guess that would let you take me to hell in a hand-basket.”

Oh, no, we’re too spiritual to fall for such tricks. (Okay, we think we are. You and I both know we see that kind of junk happening in the church so often it’s terrifying. But you know what I mean. Most of us think we’re above that.)

So Satan distracts us from the most important things by consuming us with good things.

Yeah, things that are in themselves good.

Such as a sound knowledge of good doctrine. We can get so caught up in pursuing theological excellence that we miss who Jesus came to save.

Or we get so consumed by Bible prophecy that we forget our lives are here, now. And we are supposed to be about Jesus’ business.

Or we get so concerned about the best plan to grow our church, that we forget what the Church–Jesus Bride–is comprised of.

Take note that all of these distractions (and these are only a measly three examples) are good things. Good doctrine, studying Bible prophecy, and growing our church fellowships are all worthy pursuits–if, and only if, we never allow them to override our main concern.

In the end, it’s all about souls.

“for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

-Luke 19:10 (NKJV)

When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

-Matthew 9:12-13 NKJV (emphasis mine)

 

We forget, in our pursuits of so many good things, that Jesus’ main purpose in coming to earth was to atone for the sins of all the souls who ever lived.

We get so caught in our own agendas that we divide our forces and cripple our ability to reach this world. We even shoot bitter words at our own brothers and sisters, wounding their souls, making ourselves the enemy. (see Psalm 64:3)

Brothers and sisters, what are we doing? What are we doing?

How have we missed that our Redeemer’s main concern is souls?

Bringing souls to Jesus for salvation from sin. For healing of the deepest wounds. For strength to overcome any bondage from Satan.

All we can do is quibble over predestination or freewill; post-Trib or pre-Trib rapture; hymns or contemporary music to draw in new church members.

When all around us souls are dying, going to spend eternity in hell. Souls are bleeding in secret because this world and the enemy have struck them so many times. Souls are drowning in addictions and destructive behaviors.

God have mercy. What are we doing?

I’ve seen so many older brothers and sisters whom I respect. I should be able to look up to them. But somehow they seem to have missed this principle. Or at least, they haven’t managed to pass it on with any passion.

It’s all about souls.

We can be so quick to judge one another.

So focused on our own convictions, our own ideas, we can’t accept our brothers’ and sisters’ differences. Without taking the time to know our brethren, we write them off as the problem.

Granted, sometimes our fellow churchgoers are a problem. I firmly believe that Christians have a responsibility to hold one another accountable. (I mean, would you rather hear your faults pointed out by God when you stand before His throne? I think I’d rather hear it now from a sister in Christ who loves me.)

But we forget to speak in love. We go blundering in and pierce the souls of our own brethren. What are we doing?

I have friends I love deeply. I see areas in their lives which I think need growth. But I know them, so I’ve gotten a glimpse of their hearts. I see hearts that love God fiercely. That desire passionately to follow Christ and grow more like him. That long to see souls saved and thriving in grace.

I see a mirror of my own heart. Flawed as only each individual and God can know. But striving to follow our King and join His work.

How can I speak condemning words to them when they are just like me? How can I refuse to work alongside them?

I’m not a person easily brought to tears. But I could cry when I see a church so distracted that it cannot fulfill its main purpose–to join Christ in winning souls.

What are we doing?

How have we let ourselves become so distracted?

-Miss Darcy

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Moving … Again

From all appearances, my family is going to move. Again. From Huntsville, AL, to a rural area of Tennessee. Of course, the Lord could work a miracle and we wouldn’t have to. But Dad’s taken a new job, and we’re going.

See, we’ve moved a lot over the years. I have to stop and count on my fingers how many places I’ve lived in … eight. Maybe not so very many, but we’re not a military family. Oh, and did I ever mention that one of the houses we lived in had to be remodeled and we lived in four different places during that year? Well, that’s a long story for another time.

When we moved to Huntsville a year and a half ago, we said, “This is it. Last move. We’re staying here for always.”

Even at the time I had a dry little voice laughing in the back of my head. Sure, sure, you won’t move again. You won’t leave this house until you get married. Right.

So when I first learned there was a real possibility we’d move again, my immediate reaction was to laugh. It was so ironic.

Then I started pouting. I didn’t want to leave our beautiful house, in a beautiful neighborhood, in the ideal location, outside my favorite city (which is saying a lot because I don’t care for cities).

I didn’t want to leave the church we’ve only attended for a little over a year. I love the people; I wanted that to be my church for, well, forever.

I didn’t want to move away from some of my dearest friends. I wanted us to raise families together, let our kids play together.

But the Lord had other plans.

If the Lord wants me to move to Tennessee, then there’s no way in the world I want to do anything else. I want to go where He wants me.

And I don’t want to dig in my heels and make Him drag me. I don’t want to be whining and complaining as if I think He made a mistake. As if I think His gifts aren’t good.

Good things have always happened when we move.

God lets us meet wonderful new people and experience beautiful places. It’s not like He’s even called us to a particularly difficult place. Sure, we’re moving to a new state, but we’re still in the same affluent country. I’m grateful that God has given me gladness about our move.

I’m glad to move to Tennessee.

Am I glad to leave all the people I love in Alabama?

Um, no.

I’m happy to go, but sad to leave. (Don’t look at me like that. It is possible to feel both things at the same time. Mom says the word for such a feeling is ambivalence.)

I’m not saying I won’t cry when we leave. I’m not saying I won’t miss my home and friends dreadfully. I’m not saying I won’t have some difficulty settling into my new home, especially when it comes to finding a new church.

But God is good to me. Has always been good to me. (Even if I had nothing in this world, He would still be good to me because He sent Jesus. But I digress.)

Maybe this move is a gift straight from Him. In which case, it sounds pretty bad to say, “Lord, I don’t want this gift. It wasn’t on my wish list.”

With all my heart, I want to be willing to do whatever He wants.

It might not be easy. But with God it’s never impossible.

-Miss Darcy

Two Houses

Once upon a time, a man named Mr. Moros sailed to a beautiful tropical island not far from the coast and decided to build a house there.

He had difficulty with the foundation. He dug and dug through the sandy soil, but he could not find rock. Finally, he sank huge support posts deep into the sand and set them in poured concrete. Atop this he built a lovely house with the floor plan he’d always wanted, and he furnished the place exactly as he pleased.

Another man, Mr. Phronimos, chose the other side of the island to build. He ran into the same problem as Mr. Moros–he could not find the bedrock. He’d seen Mr. Moros’s solution to the problem, but he didn’t trust it. Instead, he shipped in the equipment he needed and burrowed down to the rock. His house finally had a two-story basement, but the foundation was fixed on the rock.

After the expense of the crazy foundation, Mr. Phronimos couldn’t afford all the finishing touches he’d planned. But with a setting like this island, he was fairly content.

Both men lived there for several years before a huge hurricane threatened their homes. They boarded up the windows, fastened down anything they thought could move, and traveled inland.

The hurricane barreled right along and brought the right side of its eye straight across the island.

Once the storm had passed, the men hurried to see how their homes had fared. Mr. Phronimos found his home almost in one piece. The roof had fared worst, the surrounding landscape had been rearranged, and the house had taken a beating. But it still stood. So he hurried to see how his neighbor’s house looked.

Wreckage greeted him. What was left of Mr. Moros’s beautiful home had crashed down, partially buried in drifted sand. Pieces were strewn across the island. But the debris left could never have comprised a whole house.

Two emotions hit Mr. Phronimos so strongly he had to sit down on an uprooted tree.

Relief that his home had been spared and he didn’t have to rebuild his life.

Guilt that he had counted Mr. Moros’s foundation “none of his business” and had not warned his neighbor when they both began to build.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:

and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:

and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

-Matthew 7:24-27 (NKJV)

You might have to dig through tons of different knowledge, toss aside countless worldviews and philosophies, but it’s worth it to make sure you’ve founded your life upon the Rock.

A foundation that will not wash away when the eye of the hurricane beats on your life.

-Miss Darcy

When I Grow Up

I’m twenty-two. An adult. Sometimes I don’t feel like it.

When I was little, I’d say, “When I grow up…” and I meant when I reached about the age I am now.

There’s a certain dry humor in that.

I’ve always wanted to be grown up. Mature. Respected.

But I’ve come to realize that however old I get (and I hope to get quite old before I leave this world), I don’t want to forget what it’s like to be a child.

  • How to throw myself into a physical game, playing hard until I’m hot, sweaty, exhausted, and perfectly happy.
  • How to transform brooms into horses and baby strollers into automobiles.
  • How hard and tedious it is to learn to read.
  • The drudgery of practicing an instrument before you’ve begun to master it.
  • The childish, but very real joy of saying or doing something particularly “grown up.”
  • How it feels to want to say something but have no grown-ups interested.
  • How it feels to not understand why your parents are arguing: you just hate the tension. Or worse, the subtler, but even more unnerving tension of an old grudge in the extended family.
  • How it feels to meet one of your mom’s old friends, and hear them say to her, “Oh, my goodness. Are these your kids? I haven’t met the youngest, but I remember this one when she was in diapers.”
  • The painful self-consciousness when you overhear your parents tell an embarrassing story about you before you’re old enough to laugh at it.
  • How it feels to compete with siblings for adults’ attention.
  • The joy of making a perfectly useless gift of questionable artistry for your parents or friends.
  • The scathing injustice of getting an equal punishment as your sister when you know she was more guilty than you. 😉
  • The importance of adults’ approval.
  • The way it felt like forever until you’d get older.
  • The small delights of ice cream, swinging at the park, hide-and-seek, and new school books.
  • The scheming to get more time to play with friends.
  • The begging of “the dads” or “the moms” to play with us kids instead of just talking.
  • The indignation when an adult won’t listen to your side of the story.
  • The wonderful feeling of your first successful bike ride without training wheels.
  • The frustration when your parents are lecturing and you know they’re right.
  • The uncertainty when you get older and you’re hovering somewhere between the worlds of children and adults.
  • The stupid rivalries between kids and how they somehow matter then.
  • How it feels to admire a teen or twenty-something and have them treat you as a cute kid, a twerp, or a nuisance.
  • How it feels to have a “big kid” or teen pay genuine attention to you.

I had a good childhood. And I don’t want to forget the good things. Or the bad things.

I want to keep part of my heart in childhood as long as I live.

(Side note to any teens or twenty-somethings reading this: Let me encourage you to engage kids. Listen to them. Treat them like equals sometimes [unless, of course, they’re acting up and you need to straighten them out]. Wear yourself out playing with them. Give piggy-back rides. Let them make an idiot of you once in a while. Be the cool teen, the cool young adult you would have wanted to play with when you were small. It’s fun.)

Now, as a Christian, I do not want to always be a child.

A Christian who never grows more like Christ. Never matures in knowledge. Never learns to display Christ in everything I do.

No, I want to be a Christian who matures.

I’ll never be a truly grown up Christian until I die. But I always want to be a Christian who is growing up.

Interestingly, the path to mature Christianity is counter-intuitive.

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,

and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

-Matthew 18:2-4 (NKJV) emphasis mine

Notice He says little child. I’ve known older children to develop a bit of pride. Don’t ask where I discovered that. 😉

But we must come to God as children.

With all a child’s awe at God’s power and grace. With all a child’s undiluted love for a good parent. With all a child’s unquestioning trust in a trustworthy caretaker. With all a child’s sorrow when struck with a true understanding of wrongdoing.

With all a child’s joy in the life given to them.

It doesn’t pay to be a grown-up too soon. Maybe when it comes to serving Jesus, it doesn’t pay to be a grown-up at all.

-Miss Darcy

The Blood Is Still There

As an oldest child, certain stories in the Bible stick out to me. (Cain and Abel, for instance. If ever an oldest child flunked his role, Cain did!) Today I want to talk about Passover.

The Hebrews were slaves in Egypt. Moses had come and requested that Pharaoh let the Hebrews go. Pharaoh wouldn’t.

So God sent plagues upon the land of Egypt, warning Pharaoh and his people that they must let the Hebrews go. And Pharaoh would say, “All right, you can go. Just remove this plague.” Of course, as soon as God had eased the suffering, Pharaoh changed his mind.

Finally, God told Moses, “This is the final plague. After this, Pharaoh will let you go. In fact, he will drive you out.”

Before, God had sent frogs, lice, hailstorms, livestock diseases, and boils on man and beast, among other things. This time, God would strike hard. No one would be able to ignore His power.

At midnight, God would kill every firstborn child in the land of Egypt.

From the firstborn of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the captive in the dungeon, even to the firstborn of the livestock, God would strike with death.

I can’t help thinking: If I had been an Egyptian child that night, I would have died. Just stopped breathing.

If I had been a Hebrew child, I would have died that night unless my father followed the strict instructions to protect me.

A lamb had to die for the firstborn to live.

The father had to kill a perfect lamb and let its blood fill a basin. Then he dipped a bunch of hyssop in the blood and struck the doorposts and the lintel with the blood.

Can you imagine that wooden doorpost, dry from years of desert air and wind in Egypt? The man took a bunch of hyssop, dipped it in the lamb’s blood, and slapped it against the lintel (the beam across the top of the door). Again, he dipped the hyssop and hit one doorpost. Finally, he struck the last one.

Can you picture the dry wood soaking up the deep red liquid? This is a stain to last for decades, no matter what winds and rains scour the doorposts.

When God saw the blood guarding the door, He passed over that house. Death had already occurred there, as evidenced by the blood. The firstborn child could live.

Fourteen hundred years later, Jesus came to this earth. His purpose? To save mankind from sin.

They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.

-Psalm 14:3 (NKJV) emphasis mine

For the wages of sin is death, …

-Romans 6:23a (NKJV)

Someone had to die to pay for sin. Logically, that person should be the sinner. But God did not want us to die.

A Lamb had to die for us to live.

Jesus is our Lamb. The final sacrifice. His blood is enough to erase all sin, forever. (John 1:29)

And just like the blood on the doorposts in Egypt, Jesus’ blood is never going to wash away.

Once I accepted Jesus’ sacrifice and turned my life over to Him, He applied His blood to cover my sin-stains. His blood isn’t going to evaporate. It won’t fade. It won’t grow too weak to cleanse me. Ever.

No matter what Satan throws at me.

I love the way this song captures that: The Blood Is Still There by Gary Duty.

Hope you enjoy!

-Miss Darcy

Truth Frees

I have long loved the verse in John where Jesus says,

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

-John 8:32 (NKJV)

I always thought it referred to discovering Truth in the Bible, which frees us. And I still believe it refers to that.

But I also think it applies in a more general way. This hit me about three years ago.

Truth has the power to free us, whether it is the Truth in the Bible or a truth in our own lives.

Let me explain. There are people in my life whom I love deeply. But the relationships always felt one-way. As if I had to do all the work; I had to make all the compromises; I had to tread lightly for their feelings. Yet I still thought they cared about me, so I tried to put in the effort, you know?

Three years ago, one of these people blew up in front of me. I had long known he had a temper, but never seen it on display. He berated principles I hold dear, insulted people I love more than anyone, and basically mocked my whole lifestyle.

Not exactly endearing behavior. Rather shocking, in fact.

But…

I got to see the truth.

It hurt, but I got to see how he really felt. And it set me utterly free from his expectations. Now the relationship is completely on my terms because he showed himself unwilling to extend any amount of unselfish love.

There’s freedom in that. In living without concern for his opinion.

It wasn’t pleasant to see the already-fragile relationship fracture. But it set me free. More in my mind, perhaps, than anywhere else.

And it is good to live in freedom.

Sometimes when Jesus reveals to us the truth about ourselves and others, it’s ugly. When He reveals truth about Himself, it is beautiful. But either way, truth frees.

And it’s worth any pain it may bring.

-Miss Darcy

Interrogating God

I’m sure we’ve all heard the argument, “How could a loving God allow _______?” (Fill in the blank. There are plenty of options.)

We may have even asked similar questions:

  • “God, what purpose is there in this child having leukemia?”
  • “Lord, we wanted this baby. Why did it have to die after a premature birth?”
  • “God, why don’t you stop the violence of militant Muslims?”

But some people take it further than voicing a genuine question from a grief-wrung heart. They declare, “A loving God would never let that happen. Therefore, I don’t believe God exists.”

I saw a video of a noted atheist, whose name I cannot recall, being interviewed about his beliefs.

He was asked, “What if there is a God? What will you say to him when you die?”

His response was one of those times I got a kinda sick feeling, like my very bones were horrified.

He said, “I’ll say, ‘Child cancer? What’s with that?” He named a couple natural disasters. “How could you let that happen if you claim to be a good God?'”

I can’t remember the rest of it, or how he phrased it. I just stood there in shock listening to all the questions he intended to use to interrogate God on Judgment Day. Until finally my brain couldn’t take anymore, and I quit watching.

Well, I must say, the guy’s brazen enough. Certainly confident in his own importance.

But let’s back up a minute. Usually when people ask that question, “How could a loving God allow _______?” they’re talking in a rather vague way about the God of the Bible. They’ve heard the Bible says God is good and loving, then when tragedies tear this world apart, they say their disbelief in a good, loving God is justified.

Apparently, they’ve missed all God’s other qualities. His justice, His might, His infinite wisdom, His blinding glory, His unapproachable majesty. At least, the atheist on this interview did.

The average height for a human is somewhere around six feet. The average lifespan is somewhere around eighty years, not long in the whole span of time. A human has to eat every day, breath several times every minute, sleep a certain amount each week, and be at least somewhat protected from the elements in order to live at all.

Yes, we have marvelous brains, and, yes, we are marvelous creatures–astounding testimonies to God’s power.

But we aren’t near as stunning as we think we are.

The Lord GOD created the stars–huge, pulsing masses of super-hot gases. He created more galaxies than we can even hope to discover, each composed of billions of stars. Yet He calls each star by name.

The Lord established laws of physics that we can’t fully wrap our minds around. We know why the apple falls down–gravity, of course. Yet no one can confidently define gravity or tell where it comes from.

God created matter out of tiny atoms, so small we’ve yet to see them, and packed them with devastating power. We’ve harnessed that power somewhat. And still we don’t fully understand the mystery.

The Lord is clothed with light so bright that when Moses only glimpsed it, his face glowed. (Remember, we’re saying if the God of the Bible exists, so we have to assume everything written about Him in the Bible is true.)

So, this atheist is saying that if he stands before the God who holds the stars, the God who created the atom, the God who controls the winds and storms, the God whose very essence is blinding, holy glory, he will interrogate God?

I seriously doubt it.

Maybe he will stand and gape.

Maybe he will fall to his knees and hide his face in his arms.

Maybe he will stand silent while his heart implodes in dismay.

I don’t know what he’ll do. (I don’t know what I’ll do when I stand before God’s majesty, and I am God’s daughter.)

But I know he won’t be interrogating God with all the sharp, clever, well-phrased questions he has prepared.

When this atheist discovers that the God of the Bible does indeed exist (you can say if instead of when if that suits you better), he won’t have a word to say. He’ll have no defense for his disbelief. He will have no defense for any of his sin.

Only the blood of Jesus can give us the right to stand before God’s holiness uncondemned.

Friend, if you are one of those who plans to interrogate God if you one day find He exists, I pray with all my heart that God will pull out all stops to bring you to your knees now, while you still walk this earth. You don’t want to have to fall on your knees for the first time after you die.

-Miss Darcy