He Goes Before You and Me

Written by: Cindy Morrone

I love watching the Royal Family.  I am amazed at how when they enter a room, the doors are swung wide open for them and all attention is on their entering.  They carry nothing in their posed, gloved hands.

When I enter somewhere it is nothing like royalty.

I may appear disheveled on any given day.  I am fumbling to open any door with one arm carrying a car seat filled with a precious one.  There is usually a diaper bag, purse and often times a book bag slung on the other shoulder.  I may draw attention to our entering but only by those wondering, “What on earth?”  Haha!!

I was anticipating something I had never done before.  It was big.  There would be a lot of major decisions made in that one meeting, that would affect myself and my family directly.  It would impact my everyday life and my life’s calling.

I was so anxious.  Wondering about the ‘What Ifs?’ Not having control, except for a small voice, over the outcome.

I don’t know about you but the new, the unknown, the uncertain are difficult for me.

Beforehand, I was so thankful that I reached out to some dear friends because I was reminded;

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

In his last days Moses, spoke these words to his successor, Joshua.  Joshua was to cross the Jordan and enter into the Promised land.  Moses assured Joshua that the Lord, Himself would go before him.

We have that same assurance.

And as soon as I entered that meeting, it was immediately evident that the Lord had gone before me.  He had already prepared the way.

I pray, that you are reminded this very day that whatever your Jordan looks like that the Lord goes before you.  He never leaves us or forsakes us.

Altar Hesitation—It’s Me, Not You

Written by: Cindy Morrone

I know when the time is coming in service.  The pianist steps out of the pew and starts to play quietly as the Pastor speaks invitation.

I start to feel warm and flush and my stomach is in a flutter.

I hesitate.

I need to meet at the altar.  I want to meet at the altar.

But that would mean you would know that I have a want; a need.

That would mean you would see that I am not all-together.  That would mean that although I am dressed in my Sunday best, you would see that my interior is messy.

That would mean that I need you to help me; to come alongside me.

An inner battle ensues and I am so thankful that I now submit to the call.

The gifts I would have missed out on had I not gone to the altar when I needed to.

My needs have been spiritual, emotional, physical, relational, and financial.  I have been prayed for and I have asked for prayers for others.

My forehead has been anointed with oil.

“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.” James 5:14

At the altar the Word and Truth have been spoken over me.

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19 & 20

I have made confessions of sin.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  James 5:16

Thank you to those who have met me there at the altar.  Thank you for meeting me in such a place.  For helping me carry my burdens. For praying for me and my loved ones. Thank you for speaking the Truth in Love.  Thank you for approaching the throne of Grace on my behalf.  Thank you to our Pastors and leadership for giving such an opportunity.  Thank you.

 

 

 

Heaven Bound—The End

Written by: Cindy Morrone

‘But the other criminal rebuked him, “don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.  But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”’  Luke 23:40-43

Two men. Two men hanging. Two men being punished justly for what their deeds deserve.

Both die.

Their endings the complete opposite.

One man in paradise. The other man not.

There are certain scenarios where it’s plain to see that saving is needed.

Someone drowning. A car crash victim.  Stopping a child from running onto the road.

For a long time, I never saw my need to be saved.  Wait, if I’m being honest, I never admitted my need to be saved.

I hid behind being a good person.  Doing good things.  Doing good in life.

Like the other criminal who hung there, I believed that one could save oneself.

‘“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us”!’ Luke 23:39

And then there was a realization that my good wasn’t good enough.

It wasn’t until my self-serving efforts started to crumble, that I started to look elsewhere for help.

Then, like the other thief hanging beside Jesus I admitted to needing a Saviour.

One man. One man hanging on a cross.  One man hanging on a cross between two criminals.

One man, who has done nothing wrong.

Offers salvation.

It was by faith one thief entered paradise not by his good deeds.

Like the two sinners that hung beside Him on the cross we all stand guilty of wrongdoing.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”  Romans 3:23

And except for accepting His free gift of forgiveness, there is nothing we can do.

 

“and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”  Romans 3:24

Heaven Bound –There’s More!!

Written by: Cindy Morrone

This will be impossible for me to describe in words.  I have been contemplating all week how to capture the essence of heaven.

Last week I shared Heaven Bound; if you haven’t read that post yet, it can be found here.   http://wearehiskids.com/2018/03/18/heaven-bound/)

The foundational Scriptures in that post are paramount to having a Christian faith.

There’s More!

Imagine living a life with …..no more death or mourning or crying or pain,…..(Revelation 21:4)

Let’s not miss the beginning of that Scripture, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes……” (Revelation 21:4)

He.

Have you ever experienced love from someone so profound that it’s impossible to describe in words?

Have you had experiences where love has overcome you and sharing it with another is lost in the translation?

A Mom’s kisses after a fall

Mom’s chicken noodle soup when we’re sick; no matter how old we are

A sibling giving you the last bite

The first call, text from someone that makes your stomach flutter; the first kiss

Your love asking you to marry

Your baby being born

First time meeting your child born by another and welcoming them into your forever family

Baby’s first giggles

Christmas pajamas from Grandma and Grandpa

Celebrating Christmas and Easter with extended family

A confidant praying over you

Grief of losing a loved one

An ah-ha moment reading the Word

An answer to prayer; a realization that an unanswered prayer was what’s best

Provision from nothing

An unexplained healing

A lost child returning; the fervent prayers preceding

If we were to wrap up all of the above and all the other moments in our lifetime where we experienced unexplainable love and multiply it by an immeasurable number then and maybe then, I think we could begin to understand the love that awaits us.

And this love is possible because of Him who will wipe away our every tear. The same One that keeps track of all our sorrows; collecting our tears in His bottle, recording each tear in His book (Psalm 56:8 (NLT) The same Person that has every hair on our head numbered (Luke 12:7)

The same Jesus who died; willingly, so we wouldn’t miss experiencing such love.

Happy Easter!! May we realize His love for us ever more deeply.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”  Romans 5:8

Heaven Bound

Written by: Cindy Morrone

I don’t know remember when my thoughts of heaven began.  Perhaps the cartoons of chubby, cherubs strumming harps on fluffy, white clouds, was the beginning.  Then surely, Bible stories from Sunday school, with felt figures filled my mind.

It wasn’t until someone very dear to me passed away that my thoughts of heaven ran deeper.  My belief in God, running deeper still, was never questioned but was heaven a place I wanted to spend eternally?

Scriptures about heaven are found all throughout the Bible.  Revelations illustrates a hard to imagine place. “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

Yes! I definitely longed for such a life!

Then questions about how can I be sure, I will live eternity in heaven arose?

By then I was learning that Scripture was my most reliable source.

Romans 10:9 held my answer, “’If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”’ 

There is a declaration—I testify, agree, affirm, proclaim and announce that Jesus is my Lord.  Lord over my life.  The way I live is in obedience to the Word of God.

There is a belief—I believe in Jesus, God’s only Son, our Lord. That He was crucified, died and was buried.  That on the third day He rose again!

There is a saving

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2: 8 & 9

In this Truth, I realized that I could stop living to earn my salvation.  That I could stop striving in my own efforts to be ‘good enough.’

Accepting the gift, I look forward to living in such an eternal way.

Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

Written by: Cindy Morrone

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgement. James 2:12 & 13

It’s easy to detect; like a loud alarm that we can’t shut off.

Every time we think of that person; hear their name; or see them, those overwhelming feelings bring on the noise.

Our peace, quietness, wellness is gone.

Replaced by anger, disappointment and fierce justification.

As the noise rallies on and we bring on others in our protest, we march on in righteous demonstration.

I’ve been on the receiving end of such a rally.  Publicly flogged. Privately mocked.

Forced humiliation and condemnation.

For me, only hurt, a deeper sense of insecurity, and a feeling of shame covered me.

A vicious cycle that tornadoes into a miry pit.

Stuck.

We can all relate, can’t we?  Especially in this culture of all things social.

Just the other day, I fell short.  I did not meet a responsibility.

I toiled and feared and worried about the response.  The person had every right to press into me.  To ensure the assignment was completed.

Instead, I was met with GRACE and understanding.  And my self-worth was relieved and confirmed.

In turn, I did the same for another.  Receiving such MERCY; it overflows, into understanding and a letting go.

The tether that binds, loosens and the noise stops.  Peace rises.

Judgement is left to Another and Love restores.

Happy MERCY giving.

You May Never Know…

Written by: Cindy Morrone

In a recent conversation with a dear friend diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatments, she shared something that forever altered my perception and will never leave me.

Waiting her turn to receive her treatment, she noticed the others sitting around her. Many including her looked far removed from such a diagnosis. On the outside they appeared ‘normal’; healthy. And yet, on the inside they were fighting a life battle.

In waiting rooms, hospital elevators, church pews, grocery store lines, bus stops, the next home,….your own kitchen table may be someone fighting their own battle. On their exterior their plastered smile, quick responses and avoidant postures easily mask their physical, emotional and spiritual pain.

It’s only when we reach out beyond the, “How are you?” led by a genuine care, concern and love for another that brings us to the front lines with them.

Let’s not be misled by abrasive responses fired by pain, grief, sadness and hopelessness when so much is at stake.

Let’s not take for granted when another shares their burden with us. What an honour and privilege to come alongside.

Let’s not be afraid to be inconvenienced, go out of our way or get messy.

Let’s remember we need not know how to solve, fix, take away, or cure but there are things we can do like share our concern, time, a listening ear.

Jesus shares a story with us about the Good Samaritan found in the gospel of Luke; someone who took mercy on another. There was a man robbed, stripped, beaten and left for half dead. Two others noticed this poor man’s condition but passed him by. But one man didn’t.

“He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ Luke 10:34 & 35

And Jesus’ instructions to us are the same, …….”Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37

Thank you my dear friend, for sharing your insight and your recent journey. I am so thankful for you and our friendship.

We Choose JOY: Jennifer Cesario

 

Written by: Cindy Morrone

February 5, 1963-August 20, 2017

Our first interview in our new video series, We Choose JOY!! is different than any other.  It’s a memoire of someone very dear to me, who suddenly passed away last year.

She was everyone’s best friend.  You only needed to spend a moment in her presence before you knew you were loved, and cherished.  A true reflection of Jesus!!

And her laugh!!!  Was contagious!! And the silly things she did, made you laugh even harder! She exemplified JOY in her every day!!

Love you Jennifer.  Thank you for leaving a wake of JOY!!

Thank you to Karen Greener, who so graciously created this video for us!!  Here’s a little about this incredibly gifted lady;

“My name is Karen Greener, I’m originally from Livonia MI…I moved up to the Oxford area in 1992 and first met Jennifer on our church’s softball league where she showed up for the first game wearing 2inch open toed sandals and doing cartwheels in right field signing “Thriller” at the top of her lungs! I knew then that our friendship would be one of non-stop laughter and adventures…but it didn’t take long to learn that Jen’s passion was serving her Lord and His people in ministry, which she did faithfully for the rest of her life!

Family and friends, did you spot yourself in this video?

Watch Video HERE!

 

Take Care

Written by: Cindy Morrone

If we could sit across from one another, sipping our favourite beverages, the first thing I’d like to ask you is, “How are you?”

I would expect a curt answer at first.  My prayer would be that as our drinks dwindled and our conversation deepened, we could share more honestly.

If you’d let me, I would be honoured to listen to your heart.

And I’d pray again, that you’d be willing to hear mine, without judgement or condemnation.

As I shared with you how I can become burdened in the everyday, how I worry about my loved ones, how lonely I am sometimes and how I just can’t meal plan, I’d so appreciate you earnestly encouraging me to take care.

We’d remember the importance of the analogy drawn from the flight attendant’s instruction, in case of emergency, of first putting on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.

And we’d wonder out loud why we don’t do that as we should and then find ourselves depleted, worn-out and without joy.

We’d lament about how long it’s been since we’d laughed, read a book, tobogganed, danced in the kitchen with our precious ones, or dated our husbands.

Together, it would slowly dawn on us, because we both know the Word and are attuned to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, that we’ve tried to do it all on our own; in our own way and in our own strength….  Like we could.

We haven’t taken care.

Like a confirmation explosion, we’d recall, Jesus’ second commandment with the first being loving our God with all we got, found in Mark 12:31, “The second is this, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Love……yourself.

With empty cups, our disclosing would end with each encouraging the other to take care and we’d set our next coffee date, knowing full well that such a friendship is part of loving oneself.

Dangers Revealed!!

Written by: Cindy Morrone

There I was face-down and sprawled out all over the snow-covered road.  I have fallen twice in my 20+ years of running. The first time was years ago, from pure exhaustion while training for a ½ marathon.  And this second time was just a couple of weeks ago with the reason a complete mystery to me.

It’s like my left foot dug deep into the asphalt and the right, in attempts to compensate, dug even deeper, catapulting the rest of me forward and down.  Like two peg legs in the sand.  My water bottle flew out of my hand and slid through the slush and grime.

Picking myself up, I looked around to see if anyone saw what had just happened.  No one appeared.  (Thank You, Jesus for small mercies!! Lol!!)

With only road rash, I ran the rest of the way home in bewilderment.  What had just happened?  How did I just end up sprawled all over the road?

The next week, running that same route, I found my answer.  The melted snow revealed a pot hole.

In much the same way, we are finding this teenager parenting thing tricky and terrifying!!

It seems like this…..my husband and I watching, cheering, directing and warning from the sidelines competing against the thousands of others doing the same.  No longer can we keep them close and re-direct them physically or simply tell them, ‘no.’

Their playing field is wide open with their own wills, thoughts, opinions and beliefs emerging.

And there have been times when none of us knew the danger that they were heading into.  The plans seemed innocent enough but something told my husband and I that our precious ones may not overcome the peril.

Prayer in parenting has never been so important to us.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”  Romans 8:26

We are so thankful for His ever-presence and are beginning to trust that this time for our daughters is necessary for their own faith evolution.

We are not alone, as Christians, the Holy Spirit, our Helper cautions, advises, informs and counsels us.