I Just Returned …

I just returned from a mission trip to India (or at least that’s where I think I went).

Here is what happened …
~~~~~~~~~~~

The scammers have been getting more sophisticated about tricking me to pick up the phone. When they call, my phone now regularly shows numbers of cell phones in my area.

My kids sometimes use their friends’ phones when their own phones are dead. I don’t like to ignore my kids, so I pick up when these numbers show up on an incoming call.

Today, I hesitantly picked up the phone knowing it could be another warranty on my car expiring, or worse, the IRS being after me.

The clicks gave it away. I listened carefully to the voice on the other end and calmed my spirit.

I tried to be as gentle as I could.

“No, I am not responding to your offer, but want to ask you if you know Jesus.” I said.

“Pardon, ma’am?” a man with an Indian accent replied.

“I know you don’t like what you are doing. God sees you and doesn’t like that you are taking money from people either. Would you lie like this to your mother or your sister? You would not like it if someone did this to them. Get out of this business and seek God! I am praying for you to find the Light.” I was still calm.

“You are right. I don’t want to be here!” the man’s voice sounded like he was looking over his shoulder.

Then he said it,

“Please pray for me!”

“What is your name? And don’t tell me it’s John!” I laughed.

“No, it’s not John.” He chuckled, but hesitated to say anything else.

“Never mind. Don’t tell me your name. God knows you well. I am going to pray now … if that is ok with you!”

“Yes, please, pray for me. I want to get out of this business. Please pray.” His voice was quiet.

I told him that God would provide for him if he was going to seek him.

Then I prayed for him. He stayed on the line until I finished begging God to make His Light, the Light of Life, known to this man who was walking in darkness. Then “John” thanked me – over and over.

~~~~~~~~

If by any chance you are heading to India anytime soon, and if you talk to “John”, let him know I am still praying for him.

 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy,
always being prepared to make a defense to anyone
who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;
yet do it with gentleness and respect”
1 Peter 3:15
~
(Devo and Pictures by Heidi Viars, 2020)

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Breath-Prayers

A recent post by Mitch Teemley titled

Prayer is Air!

made me think … a lot. I then remembered two prayers my husband prayed some time ago. He has prayed many times and many prayers, but I will never forget these two prayers as long as I live.

The first one he prayed several years ago. It was late at night. We had just pulled into our driveway after a long and hard day. We were alone and walked up the dark walkway to the house. He stopped for a moment, looked up into the starlit sky, took a deep breath and said,

“Lord, if you are not coming with us, we are going to die!”

It was as if the universe at that moment inhaled his words. I know I did. He wasn’t melodramatic or exaggerating. Those words portrayed our dire need and his confidence in our Living Hope. I knew he was right. I found great faith in that one statement, spoken in that moment. Those words were a reminder that we don’t need polished language to convey our need to an omniscient God. It is the awareness of our neediness that lays a necessary foundation for our communication.

The second prayer came out of a similar, but even bigger need. We were in the ICU room of our son. He was in an induced coma and on a ventilator after a serious accident which left him with three chest tubes and an inability to breathe. My husband got on his knees next to the bed and prayed out loud,

“Lord, he is yours. We will love you no matter what your plans are for our son!”

Our son needed breath. We did too, though a different kind. When my husband prayed that day, next to the hospital bed, God infused our souls with truth, confidence and faith. Words which came out of a desperate need brought the knowledge of who was in charge of filling it.

If you find yourself in need of a fresh breath of God, if your circumstances are dire, if you feel far away from God, try telling Him your need in the next breath you take. Then, just as you take the next one, remind your soul of who God IS. Then do it again … and again … and again.

The Spirit of God has made me,
    and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. 
Job 33:4 

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Abide – My WORD(s)

To this ONE WORD I want to cleave
It is the Word “ABIDE”
My foolish ways I want to leave;
In Jesus want to hide.

But I must know the Devil’s lies;
They say “Trapped!” not “Abiding”
There in the upside-down he tries
To turn “Leave” to “backsliding”.

“Abide in me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself,
unless it abides in the vine,
neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
John 15:4

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Of Raising Kids and Writing

While at my sink doing the dishes today (that’s where I do my best thinking) something occurred to me. My thoughts were prompted by a blog-conversation with Phillip Mullins

Writing is a lot like raising kids.

My husband and I  have six kids. Their ages range from the oldest being old enough to get married this year and the youngest in middle school. When we adopted three of our kids about five years ago, we realized that having raised teenagers once was coming in handy. We are not as easily hoodwinked the second time around.

It has also been helpful that we don’t compare ourselves to other parents and their children as we did many years ago. We have realized that success in our children (and in parenting) is not what the world says it is and know that each child, adopted and biological, was given to us by God. Each person is an individual with unique gifts and tough challenges. Each person has been set in our family on purpose.

It has never occurred to me to question the place of my kids in our family. When looking at other parents who have been “more successful”, it has never crossed my mind to send my kids to live with them in hopes that they would be better off there (ok, maybe once or twice).

As writers we have been given unique creative power and individual stories, which are not better off with someone else. They are ours to “raise” and to bring to light, make known to a world that needs them. When God called the writer to write the story that He put there, He made provisions for that story to reach whomever He needed to reach.

Maybe our kids won’t become celebrities who are known by millions. Maybe they won’t be the next president of a huge company. But maybe they will change lives and be an encouragement to someone who has lost hope. Maybe they will be in the right place at the right time to bring a smile and hope to a hurting heart. Maybe they introduce others to Jesus.

So, don’t get rid of your stories because others are better at telling theirs. Tell them the way you know how  … and please … try not to get rid of your kids either.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
Romans 12:3

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The Suffering of God

God spoke Himself into the dark,
Formed part of Him from Him apart.
While in His work His love made known,
What wasn’t God’s would soon be shown.

The suff’ring fields began to grow,
For Evil came at night to sow.
Among the grains of love and care
Now grew a pois’nous plant, a tare.

As suffering filled all of man
All-loving God all man became.
He walked the earthen, saddened sod
Loved, so we would know a suff’ring God.

He climbed a cross – our pain to own –
Up there felt hearts and nature groan.
Made sin (which lured man’s heart to stray)
His own – so man would choose His Way.

Isaiah 53:2-11
“He grew up before him like a tender shoot,

    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.”

(poetry and pictures by Heidi Viars, 2019 … Scriptures taken from the ESV)

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In the Beginning

Humans were not the first ones to string lights.
It was the Maker Himself.
Before man was able to see and feel God’s love, He decorated the heavens and sent glimpses of His creativity into the World.
Ethereal, eternal truths – God brought them to earth.
He thought man worthy to consider heaven.

But darkness captured the heart and mind of man,

Turned original intent upside down.

The darkness lied to man –

and man believed.

 

 

 

 

So the Light Himself came into the world.

Light considered man’s darkness.

If man didn’t want to consider light and  life …

Then God would consider darkness and death.

The Light overcame death and darkness.
He gave those who believed in His Light the right to become children of the Light.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of graceand truth.”
John 1:1-14 ESV
~
(Pictures and prose Heidi Viars, 2019) 

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Be Still

No,
It’s not “dreary fog”
Nor “icy paths”
But
It’s “covering”
and “meticulous creativity”
It’s “I See You!
and
“Be Still!

“Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Luke 2:14 
~
(Pictures, Heidi Viars, Christmas morning, 2019) 

Posted in Christian Poetry, church, poetry, Prayer | 8 Comments