Too Little Too Late?

 

imageThis morning I circled my local polling place in prayer—seven times around. I prayed for God’s mercy and His grace. I asked Him to raise his Divine Hand over America. I sought the Lord for repentance and restoration. I begged for His justice and righteousness to blanket our Nation. And,  I entreated our Heavenly Father not to give us what we deserve. Scripture flowed from my lips and praise splashed out of my heart. All glory, honor and praise to our Sovereign and Mighty God. Amen and Amen!

I exhort you to follow suit in your our own community in the next 24 hours. Bring God Into the Moment at your own polling place. Better yet, Join God in His Moment for the sake of the USA and faith in our next generation.

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream. Amos 5:24

Too Little Too Late?”, you might be thinking. NOT! Just ask the boy with five loves and fishes (Matthew 14:13-21). Just ask Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha (John 11:38-44).
If you cannot do seven laps, do one. If you cannot walk, sit in your car in the parking lot. If you cannot leave the house pray at home. For all other can’t or won’t thoughts, consider Hebrews 10:39: But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

CIRCLE UP!”, dear ones. For the sake of faith in the next generation Bring God into your polling place and rest in Him. Let me know how you joined God in His will for our country and the nations of the world. It is Never Too Late on God’s watch!

From the Branch to the River

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Where in the world is DeeDee? In God’s grace and strength she and her dear husband, Paul, have been transplanted to their South Carolina home. We did not leave our life-long home state of Pennsylvania lightly? There were hosts of reasons why we should have remained in PA. However, there are five reasons that called us South—our grandchildren. As a pair with a passion for faith in the next generation it was a clear decision. We are delighted to share life and community with our family. Since our arrival on July 22nd we have been spotted at swim meets, baseball and soccer games and numerous local restaurants. In these three months we have continuously reflected on God’s faithfulness and sustenance. We are especially grateful for God’s provision for my mother. The day we moved her by medical transport from our West Chester home to the upstate of SC was one of the most challenging of our lives. Life changed for all of us that day. We would no longer be her 24/7 in home caregivers and she would be with her loved ones in SC. Literally, the Lord gave her the desire of her heart. That is pretty amazing for a 93 year old hospice patient. Personally, Paul and I give thanks for the daily presence of my sister and her husband in our mother’s life and in our own. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).

Our relocation, however, is more than a physical uprooting. It is a spiritual journey. In Pennsylvania we lived on West Branch Lane. Since the day we moved to that place I associated it with Isaiah 11: 1: A shoot will come up from of Jesse; from its roots a Branch will bear fruit. Our season on The Branch was more meaningful than we could have ever imagined. Our lives were blessed and altered by the families that surrounded us there. Indeed, we did not leave The Branch lightly. But God, in his infinite grace and mercy moved us from The Branch to The River. Our new street is named after a tidewater river in the coastal area of SC—the Wando River. Our spiritual journey continues. AMEN!

One thing is certain. We never have to ask the question: Where in the world is God? He lives on your street. Bring God into the Moment in your home today.

Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing (Ezekiel 47:12).

All I Do is Dream, Dream, Dream

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In the midst of intense preparation for an interstate relocation (PA TO SC), God has paved the way for me to attend the 2016 International Christian Retail Show—June 26-29th. It was months ago when my husband, Paul, and I prayerfully accepted the Deep River Publishing invitation to represent Faith Feedings…12 principles to nourish your child’s spiritual development at the annual ICRS convention. This gathering of book buyers and sellers will be held in the city of the Great American Ballpark—Cincinnati, Ohio. What a perfect place for my Great American Dream!

The Ask Me About My Dream for Faith Feedings sticker will be part of my daily wardrobe as I seek to enlighten “the world” to the need for faith in our next generation. What is my dream for Faith Feedings, you ask? My dream is that Faith Feedings will infiltrate Urban America across our land. It is not a pie in the sky dream. This dream is founded in the Lord.  It is God’s dream to change the faith landscape of our Nation as well.

For many years, I have been praying Psalm 20 for Graduates. I have a long list of precious names written in the margin of my Bible. It so beautifully expresses our “dream” for those who are venturing into their future. Verse 20 speaks to this dream of mine. May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. I understand it this way: God gives me the desire of my heart and then he gives me the desire of my heart. He makes my plans succeed when my desires are founded and grounded in Him. Immediately, my mind jumps to John 15:7. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you. When I abide in Christ and His Word lives in me I ask according to His will. This is a spiritual formula for dreams that come true!

I entreat you to share my dream for a movement of faith in our inner cities through Faith Feedings. Please pray that God would connect me with a faith partner to share OUR Dream. Also, pray for this book to be embraced at the ICRS as a movement of God. I truly believe that it is and will be…for his name’s sake. The Faith Feedings theme that I am highlighting is Bring God into the Moment. May it be so in all of our Great American communities! All I do is Dream, Dream, Dream!

Let justice flow like a river and righteousness like a never-failing stream. Amos 5:24

Watch for Dream Updates.  I will keep you posted.  In the meantime, make it your way of living to BRING GOD INTO THE MOMENT.

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Sister…

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Today I dedicate the care of our Mother in honor of the child she bore when I was seven years old. Truly, since that day I have never been the same. My sister, Deborah, has graced our family with joy and godliness. Daily, she lives out her Biblical name in faith and commitment to serving the Lord.

For many years my mother encouraged me to write a book about my Sister. Well, how about a Chapter—Faith Feedings…12 Principles to nourish your child’s faith; Faith Feeding Three: You are God’s Good Idea. Indeed, my sister, Debbie, lives as one who finds her value and significance in God her Creator. For this reason, I celebrate her birthday with gratitude for her presence in our family. A sister in ancestry and a sister in the Lord—now that’s a Birthday Cake Topper!

Be devoted to one another in (sisterly) love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:10

March Madness

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The March Madness to which I refer is not the brand given to the NCAA basketball playoffs. Nor is it a term ascribed to the latest terror tragedy in Brussels or the frenzy of our current political scene in America. It is Easter Monday. The March Madness I have been thinking about the last week as I have marched through Dr. Luke’s account of Jesus’ death, is the madness of the world that would resort to the futile thinking that they could eliminate the Son of God. Or that they would raise a cross to accomplish such a travesty.

Even more remarkable is the response of Jesus to the charges against him. Listen in on this conversation between Pilot, Herod and Jesus (Luke 22:70-23:9). Pilate: Are you the Son of God?  Jesus: You are right in saying I am. Pilate: Are you the king of the Jews? Jesus: Yes, it is as you say. Herod: Plied him with many questions in the hope of seeing Jesus perform a miracle. Jesus: … remained silent and gave him no answer. Jesus did not give reply to Herod, but the Father in Heaven did. Luke 24:5-6: Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! These words, dear friends, is March Madness to the world. But, let it not be so with us.

Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life of his friends (John 15:13). Now there’s a BRACKET we can LIVE with—eternally!

OPP (opportunity for action): Make everyday Easter for you child. Make securing the conscience of your child for faith in the resurrected Son of God the passion of your life. How else will they survive the March Madness of the world in which they are living? May we,by God’s grace and enablement, stop the bleeding that is draining faith from our families and leading our children further away from God. Are you with me in this?

More than a Silhouette

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An awesome thought came to mind while I was praying the 12 Things I Desire for Our Children while standing in front of the Silhouette pictures of my Grandchildren. They are not Silhouettes to me. As they grow I know more and more of their unique personalities and giftedness. Every time I am with them, my prayer for each one of them becomes more specific. And then it hit me! My Grandchildren are more than Silhouettes to God. Not even their flesh hides their hearts from God. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). With these words God identified the man who would be King David, to Samuel. Do I not want to seek God for His purpose and plan for my FIVE? God is intimately involved in the creation and being of your next generation. Make it a priority of your life to seek God’s favor–His purpose, plan, wisdom, and peace–for  your children and your children’s children.

Now let me once again speak to the 12 Things I Desire for our Children as mentioned above. These 12 Things are the essence of each chapter of spiritual nutrition in Faith Feedings…12 Principles to nourish your child’s spiritual development by DeeDee Cass. They were the subjects of my blogs dated June 17, 2015 and December 15,2015. Also, they are illustrated in the ABOUT section of my website: http://deedeecass.com   My dear sister has had them compiled for me as a 2016 calendar so I am reminded of them daily. These 12 Spiritual Principles have transformed my prayer for each one of my Silhouettes. I encourage you to pray them over your Silhouettes on a consistent basis.

IMAGINE the possibilities of faith in the next generation if we as a collection of like-minded faithful moms and grandmothers (aunts, sisters and friends too) began to speak the 12 Things we desire for our children to the ears of God. Wouldn’t He be totally delighted?!!! Let’s start a movement of God. We can call it The Silhouette Project.

As a wife, mother, Grandmother and woman of faith there are 12 things I desire for our children. I want them to…

1. To live in the presence of God
2. To grow in the likeness of Jesus
3. To find their value and significance in God their Creator
4. To walk in ever-increasing faith
5. To be raised in godly discipline
6. To be surrounded by people who believe in them
7. To know God will fulfill His purpose in their lives
8. To know that God loves them and gave His Son to prove it
9. To trust in the unlimited understanding of God
10. To place their hope in God regardless of their circumstances
11. To earnestly love God and others
12. To reflect godly character and integrity in all they do

OPP (opportunity for action)—A Faith Feedings Brochure has been printed that includes the 12 Things list. If you would like a lovely printed version of this list email me at deedeecass@gmail.com   Include your address (which will be kept private and not be used for further communication) and I will send you the FF Brochure. In the meantime, pray for your Silhouettes like there is no tomorrow! Share with your children the deep searching Words of Psalm 139:13-16 over and over again. The prayer of a righteous (woman) is powerful and effective (James 5:16).

Politically Correct?

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Who says that politics should deem what is correct? Should the public forum replace our acceptance and love of others with unprincipled tolerance? Should the opinion of others deter our godly response to the besetting concerns of the world in which we live? “By no means”, I declare. What is Politically Correct for me is found in the Word of God.

As for God, his way is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God except the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? 2 Samuel 23:31. These words about the infallible Word of God were sung by King David when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. Surely, they give us strength and confidence in these days of political turmoil.

In the Bible immediately after David’s Song of Praise, are recorded The Last Words of David (2 Samuel 23). The truth about political correctness is found within these verses: The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me; his word was on my tongue. The God if Israel said to me: When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after the rain that brings grass from the earth (vs.2-4).

Beloved of God everywhere. This is the Political Correctness whose time has come. Earnestly and continually pray this verse over the leadership of America–present and future. If not “we the people” of God, then who else? I have been praying these words for our Nation’s leadership for over a decade. Join me in seeking God for a leader who will rule over men in righteousness and rule in the fear of God. Keep these words in mind as you pray: For nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).

Make your Vote count. Pray it! Cast it!

OPP (opportunity for action)—Mothers, involve you children in praying for the present and future leadership of America. Help them to realize the power of God in a child’s prayer. Take them with you to vote. Pray with them for wisdom and direction before you vote. This month’s Twelve things… focus is for our children to find value and significance in God their Creator. Trace America’s history to godly men and women who themselves found their value and significance in God their Creator. Who knows that God would not use your own son or daughter to be a faith leader of the not so distant future? Teach your children to be Politically Correct in God’s eyes.

In Memory of ManMan

I sorely regret that the title of this writing is not In Honor of ManMan. In his short life of twelve years, Sanford Harling III answered to the familiar name of ManMan. Sanford was the youngest of six children and in early February demonstrated his love for his father. It was the morning of February 5th when the home in which ManMan, his mother and father and two of his older siblings lived, caught on fire. By God’s grace, all of them escaped the burning house. One of them, tragically, went back into the flames. Yes, it is true. ManMan thought that his father who had recent hip surgery was still in the home and needed his help. And yes, it is true. Sanford’s dad jumped to safety from the second floor and ManMan perished in his sacrificial effort to save his dad.

The account of this tragedy in the nearby Southeastern PA city of Norristown is heart wrenching. It makes me weep just to think of the courageous and compassionate heart of this child. The one thing that ManMan loved to do was to play football. He was a member of the Norristown Eagles Football team. His coach, Percy Jones, commented on ManMan’s close relationship with his father. He saw them dressed alike in church every Sunday and was not at all surprised to hear of ManMan’s heroic action (As reported in the 6abc.com article entitled: Family: Boy, 12, killed after rescue attempt in Norristown fire. Jeff Chirico and Chad Pradelli. 02.06.2016).

I did not know ManMan on this earth, but I will know him in heaven. I know that I know this because I know Jesus and His love for the children. I also know of Jesus’ love for me. After-all, moved by love and compassion He went into the fire and saved me.

Our spiritual principle focus for February is to grow in the likeness of Jesus (12 Things I Desire for our Children # 2). It is based on Luke 2:52. Today I ascribe this Bible verse to Sanford Harling III. And (ManMan) grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all people.

In this way, indeed, this tribute is written In Honor of ManMan–Sanford Harling III.

OPP (opportunity for action): Use the story of young Sanford Harling’s sacrificial love for his earthly father to bring God into the moment of your child’s life. Share with them the words of John 3:16. For God so loved __________(your child’s name) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Just as importantly, instruct your child to NEVER run back into a burning fire.

Memorial Fund for the Harling Family (featuring pictures of Man Man):                         http://gofundme.com/sanfordharling

12 Things I Desire for Our Children: http://wp.me/P5Vfrc-8h

A Faith Dividend

Yesterday, God pulled back the curtain and showed me three young adults who exemplify Luke 2:52. Indeed, Natalie, David and Daniel grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all people. These three are the next generation of Steve and Judy McClaskey. I was privileged to hear them speak of their faith and their love for their father at the Celebration of the Life of Steve McClaskey (1957-2016). We all remember Steve’s smile. Surely, the heartfelt words of his children would have brought a broad grin to his face.

Three thoughts come to mind as I ponder the life and passing of our friend and brother in the Lord, Steve.

+ Micah 6:8. He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Steve was a Micah 6:8 man. He lived his faith in his home, his church, his community and his country. Each of the hundreds of the grieving souls present can say with confidence that Steve acted justly, loved mercy and walked humbly with (his) God.

+ 2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Judy took this verse seriously. She made it a priority in her life as Steve’s godly wife to know God through His Word. Judy’s longstanding commitment to Community Bible Study strengthened her inmost being with the Truth of God’s love, His power for living a godly life, and His Sovereignty. I am really glad that Judy is a woman of the Word. God knows she needs the hope of the Scriptures this morning.

+ Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through him. There are no lesser tasks in the kingdom of God. For several years my husband Paul, has served as a Counter in our faith community. Steve was Leader of the Counter Ministry. That in itself testifies to his integrity. At Steve’s passing Paul is glad beyond measure for his relationship with his “counter” friend. His words: “I am so grateful that I counted with Steve all those years.”

As a vocation Steve McClaskey dedicated himself as a Financial Planner. Many in the gathering yesterday were his clients. Praise God that they too can say, “I am so glad that I “counted” with Steve all those years!” Yes, we do celebrate the life of one Steve McClaskey. Even more we celebrate the faithfulness of Steve’s God and the hope of eternal life. Thanks, Steve, for the Faith Dividend. May it compound in this generation and those that follow.

OPP(opportunity for action): The greatest gift that Steve gave to Natalie, David and Daniel is the assurance of his faith. It encouraged them to be children of the promise of eternal life as well. Do you want your child to grow in the likeness of Jesus? Teach your child to live in the hope of Jesus—His presence with them in this life and their presence with Him in the next.

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes in him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned;  he has crossed from death to life.                                                       John 5:24

Through the Roof

As I was cleaning out a pile of papers from the past I found a printed copy of a devotional I wrote over eight years ago.  I read it and discovered I needed it TODAY.   I thought you might need it too!

Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Luke 5:18-19

Which of life’s occasions takes you through the roof?  Is it disappointment, anger, fear, hopelessness or perhaps just weariness? Sometimes we find ourselves wading through the deep water of our own futility.  When the full realization comes to us that our lack is greater than our need we explode.  In common language, we go through the roofWhen that happens we are prime for an encounter with Jesus.  He is the only one who can override our insufficiency.  My grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9).

In Jesus’ day on earth four men formed a team to reverse the route through the roof.  They came from outside to inside to get to Jesus. They realized that Jesus was the only hope for the man on the mat that they lowered through the roof.  Can you just hear them as they came together to form a healing team? “Hang on, buddy. Help is on the way!” Before he knew it his mat was lying at Jesus’ feet. The overt action of these faithful men spoke louder than their words.

In Luke 5:17 we are told that the power of the Lord was present to heal the sick. The friends of the paralytic revealed Jesus’ power to heal the sick and even more.  The onlooking teachers of the law were aghast at Jesus’ first response to the faith of the men with the mat. Take heart your sins are forgiven. This Man had power to heal and power to forgive. In the process, the physically crippled man became a son to the Living Lord. The Healer revealed his identity as the Son of Man, His authority to forgive, His power to heal and His response to faith in action.  And by the way, His omniscience surfaced when He told them what they were thinking.  Going through the roof may have been daring and risky, but it was not in vain. God used it all to His glory.

Much was revealed about the team of men as well. Their faith produced conviction, compassion and character.

  • Conviction-they knew it was worth the effort and risk of going to extreme measures to get the man to Jesus.
  • Compassion-they took on the paralytic’s plight as their own
  • Character-they had a collective righteousness that brought Jesus’ power to bear on their cause.

In one plunge through a first century country side roof the men fulfilled the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The man walked out the door.  They exposed Christ to the crowd. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.  Matthew 9:7

How is God revealed in my life?  Am I willing to take overt faith actions on behalf of others? Are conviction, compassion and character markers of my faith?    

Do you know someone in need of the all sufficient Christ? Take them Through the Roof!

God’s timing is perfect. Did you need this focus on God’s Word today?  Let me know!

OPP (opportunity for action): Tell your children the story of Luke 5:18-19. Take your children through the roof to Jesus as they encounter fear, disappointmeant and hopelessness in their young lives.  This will help them grow in the likeness of Jesus which is our What I Desire for our Children # 2 for the month of February. And Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all people. Luke 2:52.