Monday, June 30, 2014

WARNING. Danger ahead.

I'm sharing some serious advice with you today.

It is the voice of experience speaking.

You can ignore me.

Some of you will, 
but here it is.

Do NOT pray.          Whatever you do, do NOT pray.

1. God promises that if we take pleasure in our relationship with Him He will grant us the "desires of our hearts".  Psalm 37:4

Do NOT lift your heart to the God of all love and mercy, power and wisdom and expect Him to make light of or minimize the deep-seated requests you bring to Him.

2. God promises to answer our cries for help "as soon as He hears".  Isaiah 30:19

Do NOT share your needs with the LORD who grants peace and joy, strength and courage and think for a moment that He will only meet you half way or abandon you.

3. God promises to provide whatever it takes to cause His chosen ones to be "mature and complete".  James 1:4

Do NOT hint at an interest in growth to the Savior who died to bring abundant life to all those whom the Father granted Him and hope He'll leave you in your childhood. 

4. God promises to work out His eternal and perfect plan in and through us by leading us "to will and to act according to His good purpose".  Philippians 2:13

Do NOT stand before the Holy One of Israel humbly asking Him to direct every aspect of your life, internal as well as external, and expect Him to leave you to your own devices.

5. God promises to bring His good work in our hearts and lives "to completion until the day of Christ Jesus".  Philippians 1:6

Do NOT lay out or open up yourselves to the Great I AM to prepare you to spend eternity with Him and imagine for a single second that He will not achieve that goal.

There. Now none of you can ever say I didn't alert you.

Please don't ask me how I know these things. 

Psalm 100
A psalm. For giving thanks.

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Extra! Extra! Read all about it.

That's what newspaper boys used to holler when there was an exciting headline.

At least I've read about it in books since it was actually way before my time in history.  ;-)


The warm, wonderful, and widely-respected (if I say so myself) author and speaker, Sandra Allen Lovelace will be in Akron, Ohio June 19-21. She'll join those celebrating 30 years of CHEO service to OH-IO homeschool families. The theme for this special event comes from Psalm 78:6,7, "Set Their Hope on God". 

At the brand new FREE Thursday Mini-Conference from 2-5pm Sandra will share with parents about the biblical foundation for the homeschool lifestyle and insights into the reasons to pursue it. There will be plenty of real life examples with time built-in for individual questions and discussion. Whether you're merely interested, just beginning, or on the adventure there'll be something for you to ponder.

On Saturday 1:30-2:30 Sandra will offer encouragement to those attending the full CHEO event in her workshop on the what, why, and how of Nurturing Hearts of Worship. As usual she will bring a biblical perspective through her personal experiences and practical suggestions. Be sure to attend this session to improve or increase your influence for Christ into the next generation.

I'm really looking forward to this opportunity to spend time with those the Lord gathers into this convention. If you're anywhere in the area, I encourage you to join the fun and grow in grace. Be sure to attend my workshops and stop by the Demme Learning booth to say hello. 

See you there. 

The God of peace be with you all.  Romans 15:33

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I don't know. He does.

I sure hope you're ready for this post.

I'm not sure I am.

Today was a big day in the God department and I just gotta share.

I've been having a hard time with leaving the field even though it's clear it's my Abba Father's will. This morning as I guided our current guests, new friends from Ukraine, into the city I warned them I might get emotional. I didn't want them to be worried if I started to weep as I've found myself doing lately. 

The familiar pathways. The convenient transportation. The joyous relationships. The longing of my heart. From time to time it all becomes too much to contain. 

I introduced Mark and Kim to Saint Wenceslas Square, the Old Markets, Boom, Old Town Square, and the Astronomical Clock. Then we went up into the Old Town Hall Tower. Seeing Prague from this height is something I've waited more than two years to do. The view was everything I'd hoped it would be; glorious, expanding, delightful, sobering, peaceful, joyous, and even somehow empowering.

We returned to the Square and stood in its center. I offered directions on how to walk to Charles Bridge and headed to the Mucha Museum. I suddenly realized this museum visit was the last item on my To Do Before I Leave list. 

The agony struck again.

LORD, I feel as if You're asking me to plunge headfirst into the Grand Canyon. In case You aren't aware, I may not survive. As a matter of fact, I'm only poised on the rim and I already hurt.

Sandra, keep the eyes of your heart focused on Me. Remember I am the great I AM. I not only know your future. I sculpted it for you. The impressions I gave you from the top of the Tower describe your coming days; glorious, expanding, delightful, sobering, peaceful, joyous, and even somehow empowering. It won't all be easy, but I'm right here with you.

"But now, this is what the LORD says - 
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
'Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; 
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead. 
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you."  Isaiah 43:1-3,5

Hmmmm, could it be that instead of taking a terrifying leap into a canyon my Abba Father is about to teach me how to swan dive into something like the beautiful and healing waters around Cayman? 

Maybe I'm ready to go after all. 

How about you? Are your toes gripping an edge?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Get ready, Get Set, . . .

Another gorgeous day in Prague and the countdown is on. 

No matter what does or does not get done, a week from today we'll be on a plane flying to Amsterdam and then on to Boston.

Some folks might think I ought to be overjoyed at that fact. Some might wonder why we came to live here in the first place. 

It keeps me on my toes trying to read the reaction I'm likely to get and how to respond in such a way that none of the some folks think I'm nuts.

We moved to the Czech Republic in a way by default. Curt retired from 30 years in pastoral ministry and wanted to devote more time to the Ephesians 2:10 ministry God opened for us through Lifework Forum. As we were looking for a location to be closer to those we'd come to love, the Father took us to option #4 Prague. 

Our loving Father delivered our flat in three days and our furniture in five months. We came to know and love the city of Prague, for her sights and pace but mostly her people. I hear the City of 100 Spires has a way of doing that. I just know that as my friend Blanka said to me a couple of days ago, "You look young and healthy and energetic. I think Prague is good for you."

And then the shock of the letter from the insurance company canceling Curt's policy days before we returned, thereby invalidating his resident visa. We came to seek our Father's will and the evidence was obvious, time to let go of this setting. 

We began meeting with as many friends as we could to let them know our news personally. One by one we shared and cried, received their tears and prayers on our behalf, committed together to ask the Father to bring us back to Praha according to His will. 

We said good-bye to our brothers and sisters at the little church we've been attending, receiving a fair amount of questions and tears. As we were about to leave the pastor came to me, held my hands firmly, looked into my eyes, and said, "Sandra, you came and really loved the people around you. You have accomplished your mission here. You are not a failure."

I'm not sure how he knew failure was the very thing I was struggling with, may struggle with for some time yet. But there it was, my relief spoken before the seen and the unseen world. 

You see, one of my fallback strategies when anything goes wrong is to figure out what I did to cause the problem. How did I mess up to short-circuit the success of a project or process? So of course it's natural for me to think I'm the reason we're being sent home, especially in such a surprising way. 

Thankfully my Abba Father loves me too much to let me suffer in agony needlessly. If you read the recent posts here you'll catch a glimpse of the way He's been ministering to my aching soul. His tender mercies and loving kindness bring the warm reassurance I so desperately need.

Recently His compassionate wooing became even more intense.

It was a day I admit/confess that I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. That what-did-I-do-wrong mindset was in full swing. I kept going over and over the decision to come, the 2+ years of living and loving, serving in Prague. 

Right then, in the middle of my swirling thoughts, my loving Abba reminded me.

Come to Me.
Be still.

The very exercises He'd been showing me caught me and brought me back to Him. 

As I responded in obedience it was as if God were whispering to me in that tender, intense intimacy I've come to know is His voice.

"Sandra, there's a lot more going on here than you can see. I asked you to come and live in Prague to show forth my presence - to make a home that's a sanctuary, to care for the people I bring to you and to whom I bring you. It's okay. You've done what I've asked of you."

I felt as if I were hearing that pronouncement I long for on That Great Day, "Well done, good and faithful servant." My spirit soared and my whole body relaxed. My offering is acceptable. Hallelujah

I still have only an inkling about what the very near future holds; a conference in Ohio and some time in Maine. The way ahead is just about as foggy as it can be, but God is not only orchestrating it. He's also leading me forward while standing beside me. What more could a lady ask?

May the Lord Almighty, the Lover of your soul, grant you such sweet reassurance and peace in the call He's placed on your life. Amen