Taken

Posted: March 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

Monday morning several of us met in the office as we do every week day, for devotions, prayer, and planning for the day’s activities.  Before the others came I tweeted the following which proved to be sort of after the fact prophetic:

Daily God gives us opportunities to let go, to loosen our grasp, to surrender, to even have taken from us.

We started our time together by reading Psalm 144:

1 Praise be to the LORD my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.
2 He is my loving God and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.3 LORD, what are human beings that you care for them,
mere mortals that you think of them?
4 They are like a breath;
their days are like a fleeting shadow.

5 Part your heavens, LORD, and come down;
touch the mountains, so that they smoke.
6 Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy;
shoot your arrows and rout them.
7 Reach down your hand from on high;
deliver me and rescue me
from the mighty waters,
from the hands of foreigners
8 whose mouths are full of lies,
whose right hands are deceitful.

9 I will sing a new song to you, my God;
on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
10 to the One who gives victory to kings,
who delivers his servant David.

From the deadly sword 11 deliver me;
rescue me from the hands of foreigners
whose mouths are full of lies,
whose right hands are deceitful.

12 Then our sons in their youth
will be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters will be like pillars
carved to adorn a palace.
13 Our barns will be filled
with every kind of provision.
Our sheep will increase by thousands,
by tens of thousands in our fields;
14 our oxen will draw heavy loads.
There will be no breaching of walls,
no going into captivity,
no cry of distress in our streets.
15 Blessed is the people of whom this is true;
blessed is the people whose God is the LORD.

We then spent time talking about warfare, spiritual warfare, and how some personally were going through some things.  We spoke of our midwives and how they felt discouraged after several high risk deliveries after months of easy, so to speak, deliveries. We spoke of the teen moms in the Harbor House and the challenges as we look to effect change in their lives.  We spoke of God being our fortress and the one in whom we put of trust.  We spoke of satan and how his purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. John 10:10:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

And then we prayed.

After we had finished, Carine, the office secretary, asked me if over the weekend I had taken any money from the cash box.  I will on occasion do this and put a note in the box letting her know how much I took and why I took it.  But not this time.

She then said that the money in the cash box was gone.  I asked her how much was taken and she said all of it.  We at the end of the week had two large groups of visitors come through the gift shop to purchase purses, jewelry, and crafts to take home and we had money in the cash box to pay the sewing ladies when they brought the purses that they had created.  We have never had so much money in the cash box, which had been locked.

Finally she told me that $8000 was gone.  The cash box was empty. The money to pay the ladies was gone.

We spoke together about how this could have happen, who had been in the office that even knew where the cash box was stored, and then the line up began as we mentally lined up suspects.

A lot of theological questions about God can come into play when something like this happens; but I will not go down that road, as there are simpler things to be understood and gained through this.

Those who have been through something like this know that while the money being taken is a loss, there are other factors in place that have the potential to inflict even greater loss.  We have already taken steps to make this kind of theft more difficult but we are aware that there are spiritual and heart precautions that must be in place and utilized  or we could lose that which money can not buy.

I believe that it was Charles Swindoll who wrote that Christians must have tough skin and a soft heart.  And so will we let this disappointment touch our hearts?  Emotions such as anger, discouragement, fear, and suspicion can so easily find places in our hearts.  And then, not surprisingly,  they can be seen and heard through our words and actions.  It is possible that the joy and peace that God promises to us can taken as well.  The light that we are told to shine can grow dim and we won’t even know it.

So we spent time praying for the one that stole the money.  We read in Romans 2:4 that the goodness of God leads to repentance.  And so we prayed that this person would have a life changing encounter with God and experience His goodness and have a heart change which then changes hands that would steal.

We as well read Philippians 4:6,7:

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

And so with our concerns  and struggles brought before God in prayer and with our cares cast upon Him and with hearts guarded by God’s peace, the thief can’t touch that which no amount of money could ever buy.  And we can continue to: Matthew 5:16

16“Let light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

 

John McHoul

 

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Comments
  1. Corrin D says:

    Thank you for the reminder, and incredible example, of the call to be the hands and feet of Jesus at all times, not just when it is “easy”. My family joins your prayers for Heartline and for the heart of the thief, that a life changing encounter with the Savior occurs.

    “In confronting evil, both within and without, the necessity for forgiving others cannot be underestimated. The Thai word for unforgiveness means ‘to carry the punishment.’ This is a clear demonstration of the truth that when we punish other people in our hearts and minds because of what they have done to us, we are really carrying the punishment inside of ourselves. Refusing to forgive also prevents our overcoming evil.” ~ Allan Eubank, Free Burma Rangers

  2. Tara says:

    wow. Powerful quote Corrin. Thanks.

  3. Sami says:

    Wow. I am somewhat speechless. How awful and beautiful at the same time. What a picture you have just painted of God’s grace.

  4. Angia Mac says:

    So very very sad to read about this difficult loss! Praying for you all to handle it as Jesus would.

  5. Christi Barnes says:

    John… thank you. You encourage us more than you’ll ever know

  6. Terri Urban says:

    Oh John, Sorry to hear about this theft and so glad you are leaning on the words of scripture. Your writing is filled with wisdom. You just convicted me of wrong attitudes in my heart on a totally different church matter. Thank you.
    I just saw the picture that you (I think) tweeted of the 5 houses you are building. How exciting! One is for Marjorie, correct? Are the concrete houses a lot more expensive than the wooden ones to build?
    Terri Urban

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