Maranatha Mirror Messages are written by a retired pastor whose prolific writings have spanned six decades. These messages are inspired by deep prayer and an enduring commitment to Jesus, our Lord and Master.

These life sustaining messages encourage, inspire, and convict “People of the Way” to enter into the presence of the Living God and to mirror the image of the precious Lord Jesus, bringing his life to this hurt and broken world.

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Short Messages/Tracts

 

TIME ON MY HANDS

 

There’s nothing wrong with relaxing, reading a book, watching a ball game, after the day’s work is done.

But what do we do when there’s nothing to do?

What do we do when all the doors are closing and all the lights are going out?

No hockey games, no basketball games, no baseball games, no movies, no concerts, not even church!

When all we have left is time.

When Job was stripped of all he had, he still had time.

When Jonah landed in the belly of that fish, time stood still.

When time becomes our burden, what do we do?

We do what we should have been doing long ago.

We ask ourselves, “What are we going to do with the time that’s left?”

“We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day, before night comes, when no one can work.”

John 9:4

We can fill in the time by being entertained, distracted or cheered by the song of our favorite singer.

Or we can “work the works of him who sent us while it is day, before Night comes, when no one can work.”

We can present our bodies to be spent this day as a living sacrifice to God.

We can turn our minds away from the gathering darkness and open them to the light of the Spirit…

….to love God this day with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves.

Job had nothing left but time. So he used it to sort things out before the God who baffled him.

Time finally caught up with Jonah. In the belly of the fish he finally accepted the fact that God is in charge.

When time becomes a burden, the door to God’s World is always nearby.

One step through that door and the burden of time falls away, as the Lord of Time illumines the next step.

I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 16:12-13

When time becomes a burden, look for the door to God’s World.

It’s but a step away.

Dearest Lord Jesus, we offer this time we have to you. Turn our minds away from the gathering darkness and open them to your light, to your Spirit. In reverent love, we offer you all that we have, including our time. May we hear what you speak. May we follow the Spirit of truth, step through the door, and do the work you call us to do while we still have time.

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AN ISLAND OF ETERNITY

Why is it that our days are charged with stress? 

Is it our circumstances?

….Or is it our mind set?

True, we live in an Age of Anxiety.

History is ‘out of control.’

The entire race senses immanent worldwide disaster in these possibilities:

          Unmanageable war.

         Food shortages.

         Worldwide pandemic.

         The collapse of nature’s balance.

And yet, the One “through whom all things were made,” and whose presence in this world still “holds all things together”…

…offers to all who will receive it, an “Island of Eternity” within to hold us through any crisis.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.   Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

John 14:27

This peace is not imaginary.

It is more than a “mental state.” 

It is life and power from another world—from Eternity.

If you have already committed your life to the Lord Jesus, here is the promise of the Spirit to you:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  Let all people know your forbearance. The Lord is near.  Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

                                                         Philippians 4:4-7

Prayer
Eternal Lord, through whom all things were made, who holds all things together… we accept and welcome the island of eternity you offer us… your peace… true peace. May we draw within us the life and power that comes from eternity. With this we can face any crisis, any fear. We rejoice, because you are near, you hear us, you exchange our anxiety for peace… a peace that keeps our hearts and minds dwelling with you the Eternal One. What a gift…thank you, Hallelujah!

I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD


“I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

Peace in the midst of tribulation.

Focus, while everything’s falling apart.

Because the Master has overcome the world.

He tells us this, hours before he is arrested and executed.

“Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Dragged away in chains—

— he has overcome the world?

Mocked and spit upon by jeering men—

— he has overcome the world?

“My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me!”

—He has overcome the world?

Yet when he steps out of his tomb as the Firstborn of the New Creation, he has indeed overcome the world.

He has overcome—

—the Prince of this world.

—the curse hanging over the human race.

—death itself.


The world stumbles on toward its final hour, unaware of the One who has overcome it.

Blind to his glory.

Deaf to his call to repentance.

Ignorant of its approaching Day of Accounting.

But to those who have ears to hear, he says,

“In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, 

I have overcome the world.”

He never promised us a smooth ride.  

He promised that as long as we are in this world we will have tribulation.

But we will also have joy.

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” 

John 15:10-11

We will also have peace.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled,  neither let them be afraid.”

John 14:27

If Jesus has overcome the world…

And if we have abandoned our lives to him…

…we will walk through the smoke, fire and chaos of the present hour quietly trusting our Master’s promise:

“In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, 

I have overcome the world.”

Prayer

Dearest Lord Jesus, that we truly would take heart, knowing that despite trouble, chaos, bleakness and uncertainty, we don’t need to be troubled or afraid because you have overcome it all. Help us to willingly obey your commandments, to abide in your love and to abandon ourselves to you, finding the peace and joy you have for us in the midst of all tribulations.

Things Are Out of Control

 

Anybody with eyes to see cannot miss how every level of life on this planet has reached a tipping point.

Climate.

Terrorism.

The economy.

Pandemics.

Corruption in the halls of power.

Mean-spirited talking heads, stirring up strife. 

Is nobody in charge?

Not even God? 

 It is impossible to predict what life will be like a year from now, or even next week. 

 The foundations are shaking.

Earth itself is reeling from its vision of what lies ahead.

 And yet…..

“…You will hear of wars and rumors of wars;             

see that  you are not alarmed.”

Matthew 24:6

Don’t panic.

 

In spite of all the chaos and confusion, 

there is a Controlling  Hand poised above it all.  

 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.  And when they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them,

 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…..”

Matthew 28:16-20

 This Risen One,  the Incarnate Truth, is still in charge.

The Lord reigneth let the earth rejoice!

Psalm 97:1

Prayer
Holy perfect heavenly Father, we reach to you as things are getting out of our control.  We know as this earth is reeling and spinning, that your hand is still in control. Please keep us from panicking and being sucked into the chaos. You are here as mighty and loving as ever.  You are alive, merciful, and powerful and we are yours. May we rejoice in your reign, in your control. May we rest and trust in your hand despite and within any coming chaos.

Can’t God See I’m Hurting?

How long do I have to languish in this Valley of Despair?

I pray my heart out and nothing comes back but silence!

Has my faith meant nothing?  

Have I been wasting my time believing in Jesus?

John the Baptist felt that way.

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 

John gets no sympathy from Jesus.  

And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 

the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.”

Jesus is focused on the Kingdom of God, not on the “Christian Agenda.”   

Jesus makes no attempt to change the politics of Israel, or even the politics of the Temple.  

His aim is to bring God’s Kingdom to those who the movers and shakers ignore.

John needs to understand this, and so do we.    

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? Why then did you go out? To see a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who wear soft raiment are in kings’ houses. Why then did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.  This is he of whom it is written, `Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.’

Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Matthew 11:7-11

The least person in the Kingdom of Heaven has one thing John the Baptist and many modern Christians do not have:  faith 

    Faith that keeps trusting the Master when nothing makes sense.

    Faith that actually obeys the Master.

How does one get that kind of faith?

By following Jesus out among the forgotten ones, and treating them the way Jesus does.

Jesus gives the forgotten ones hope, and so should we—even when we’re hurting.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Jesus stands by Lazarus the beggar, while the rich man hurries past him on his way to church.

Jesus stands by all the Lazaruses on earth, while the world (even the “Christian world”) ignores them.

If we’re hurting, Jesus is standing by us, while the world hurries past.

But what about the Lazarus at our own gate?  

When our faith falters, we need to open our hearts to the Lazarus who lies at our gate, and let the kindness of God flow through us to him.

Only then will our faith awaken,  and open our eyes to the glory of God.

Prayer:

Jesus, help us to release our hurt, our despair, our apathy in this confusion, by trusting you and you alone when nothing makes sense. Give us the faith to follow you into the unknown…letting go of our own hurts, opinions, ideas…so that as we faithfully minister your kindness to others in pain…the forgotten ones, the Lazarus’s at our gate…we find ourselves standing in the midst of your kingdom, in the midst of your glory and find our own wounds are healed.

 

 

Oh Lord, My Rock

Unto thee will I cry,
O Lord, my rock!
Be not silent to me,
Lest, if thou be silent unto me,
I become like them that go down into the pit!
Psalm 28:1
My Rock

Nothing in this world is solid. 

Nothing is safe.

Nothing is certain.

Except God—our Rock.

Advances in science and technology have only increased the uncertainty of life in this world.   

Every substitute “Rock” we devise is but a fleeting idol.

Money

Technology

Guns

Political clout

There is only one Rock:

The God whose voice still wakes the dead. 

Be not silent to me

God becomes known to us in only one way:  when we hear him speak.

Be not silent unto me,
Lest if thou be silent unto me
I become like them that go down into the pit.

Words from the mouth of God are even now piercing the clamor of cable news, social media, and hip-hop.

All we have to do is take off our shoes and listen.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 

‘You shall not kill,’ but I say to you…..”

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,but are inwardly ravenous wolves.”

“Whoever hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the Rock.”

Heaven and earth will pass away.

Those words will never pass away.  

God give us the humility to listen…..before we pass away.

Prayer  O Holy Lord, our only rock in this unstable world…we cry out to you. A life without your beautiful voice, your gentle love is death to us. We have our shoes off.  Be not silent to us. Wake us up. We are listening for your voice to call us from our graves.

HOW COME LAZARUS NEVER COMES TO CHURCH

“There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.”

The rich man never misses church.  

He is a faithful member, highly respected. 

He supports the religious agenda.

What about Lazarus? 

How come Lazarus never comes to church?

Lazarus is too busy trying to survive.

Besides, the rich man knows that Lazarus wouldn’t be interested.  

The rich man knows that Lazarus would never fit in. 

Maybe Lazarus would be more comfortable in the storefront mission over on 3rd Street.

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. 

Wait a minute! 

Lazarus never got saved!

He never prayed the sinner’s prayer

All Lazarus has to offer God is suffering.

And he ends up in Paradise?

“The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.’” 
Luke 16:19-24

If you want to know Jesus, pay attention to Lazarus.

If Lazarus turns you off, pay attention to the rich man.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, open our eyes to the Lazarus’s at our doors. Give us the compassion, empathy and vision to see their wounded lives, as you see them. Give us the hands, feet and listening ears  to relieve some of their suffering, even if what we can do is so little. And compassionate Savior, prevent us from shunning them because of their tormented lives, or from using them as projects to earn merits for ourselves. Instead, with heavenly insight,  may we see that they are dearly beloved by you, saved by you alone, and that you will tend to all their wounds as you lovingly hold them in your bosom. 

 

What am I Waiting For?

After stumbling through life for years, I have come at last to the Door to God’s World.  How do I know it’s the door to God’s World? The door is open, and I can see glory inside! Once you see it, you know you’re looking at the world we were made for!

The Lord beckons me from within, 

“Welcome to God’s World!”

So why can’t I make up my mind?  

I keep asking myself, do I really want to enter?  Am I ready to leave everything behind and step into God’s World?  Maybe I should wait and make sure that this is really what I want to do.

I’m not alone out here.  People just like me are standing in the shadows, waiting.  A woman with deep lines in her face clutches her Bible, whispering a quiet prayer. “How long have you been here?” I ask her.  “It’s been years,” she replies. “I arrived when I was young. In all these years I have not been able to decide whether I really want to leave it all behind and step through that door.”

Leaning against a tree is a man with a giant back-pack.  He knows that he’ll have to leave that thing behind, and he’s not sure he’s ready to part with all the money stuffed inside.

Off in the distance a bell tolls eleven o’clock.  An angel steps through the door and moves out among us with a quiet warning.  

“For all the days and years you have been waiting here,” says the angel, “you need to know that there is but one hour left.  Then the door will close forever.”

A shudder passes through the waiting crowd.   

No one moves.  

We hear a loud cry as a weeping child comes out of the darkness, runs straight for the door and leaps into the arms of the Master.  

Still no one moves.  

Another child comes out of nowhere and runs for the door.  No hesitation. No second thoughts. “Here I am!” she cries and dashes from our darkness into the Light of God.

“It’s easy enough for them to decide,” says a weary old man, “They have nothing to lose.”  

Still no one moves.

Still the Master beckons, 

“Come to me.  Here’s where you will find rest.”

So what’s the holdup?

What am I waiting for?  

Am I waiting for God to push me?

God doesn’t push anybody.  God violates no one’s will.  

Each of us is free to decide—until the door closes.   

The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up.  

Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Matthew 13:44

Lord, help me to find the wisdom and the joy—to buy that field!

Prayer

O Lord, here we are waiting at the door to your world, your glory. May we at last heed your gentle call and seek the treasure you have for us.  Give us the faith, the desire to truly take the final steps, to utterly abandon all, step through the door and leap into your waiting arms before it’s too late.

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