Friday, February 18, 2011

Cries of the Least of These...

There is a story from World War II that makes an impact on me. A church near Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland turned up their pipe organ in order to drown out the desperate cries of those who passed by destined for Auschwitz. They were right outside their doors and they did nothing. They only tuned them out by singing and playing louder.

I think of the modern church. Are we just a contemporary version of that church in Poland? I know there isn't a concentration camp next door but are we drowning out the cries of the least of these- the ones that need us most- the ones that desperately need the hope that we possess?

They are the cries of the homeless man, the overwhelmed single mother, the orphan, the child in a broken home, the starving, the enslaved, the pregnant teen, the drug addict, the foster child, the lonely elderly widow, those in prison, those who are aborted, the couple in a struggling marriage....


Or are we just turning up the music, so we can't hear them. Are we filling up our schedules so we can say, 'we don't have time' to reach out to them.

Or do we say, 'I'm not called to those kind of people.'

If we got down and actually listened to the heartbeat of Christ we would see that His heart is for these kind of people. Not the Pharisees (or what we could say would be the modern-day, middle, upper class church population of) but His heart were for the those I listed above. The prostitutes, lepers, shepherds, fishermen etc.

Are we going to be the modern day Pharisees who know the needs of the least but choose to stay in high society, in our comfortable little lives of security and materialism? Or are we going to carry out the heart of Christ to a world that desperately needs the Gospel.

We possess HOPE- it is living in US!!! Why do we stay comfortable- living out our Christian version of the American dream. There is a dying world destined for an eternity in hell if we don't go and share the Gospel with them.

Matthew 28:19- "Go therefore and make disciples of ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

James 1:27- "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this: to VISIT ORPHANS and WIDOWS in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."

Matthew 25:35-39- "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them,'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"

I love the Song from Josh Wilson, "I Refuse" here is the chorus and 2nd verse:

‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care.
I don’t want to say another empty prayer.
Oh, I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself.
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse.

I can hear the least of these
Crying out so desperately,
And I know we are the hands and feet
Of you, oh God.
So, if you say move,
Then it’s time for me to follow through,
And do what I was made to do.
Show them who you are.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Meet Lorri!

 My name is Lorri Harper. I have been married for 24 years and have 7 children. I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was in the 7th grade. He changed my life forever. I don't come from a Christian home, but God knew and chose me anyway! When I was a little girl, I wanted to teach my kids how to hear God's voice and follow Him! I wanted to be a Mom, Missionary, teacher, and nurse. God has let me be all of these things. I have been homeschooling for 19yrs. I am a Missionary to my family and my community, and I think I can nurse just about any "booboo" that you can imagine. :)
   One of the things that I have learned is that you cannot look at someone's potential for more than what it is. God lets us see someone's potential as a way of encouraging them to be all that God has created them to be, but that doesn't mean that they will reach that potential. That peotential is not to be the gauge that you use to choose a spouse. Example: I know John can be more than what he is now because I see it in him. I may be the only person that can bring that out in him...NOT....God is the only one who can do that. When you are looking at someone as a future spouse, you have to be able to say that there is nothing about them, just as they are before you, that you would change about them. If there is something about a person that you cannot live with, then chances are, they are  not the person for you! Everyone has faults and no one is perfect, so I don't mean to say that your spouse will be "perfect." They will not have moral or character issues that go against what you believe!! In some cases, God has used someone to change another while courting, but you still don't marry them if they still have the issues!! I wish someone had given me this information long ago because I might not have made some of the mistakes that I have made. So, I am passing this along to you in hopes that you will take this and tuck it away in your heart. 

Lorri Harper

Lorri Harper is our guest blogger for the month of February!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Heart Bound to Christ....

One of my favorite hymns is "Come Thou Fount." The third verse has always been my favorite in the hymn. Which says:

Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let your goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to thee
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord,
Take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above

How easy it is wander and stray even without consciously knowing it. With the business of life,distractions, places to go, things to get done, checking email and facebook, so easily I can stray from my Prince- Jesus Christ.Slowly,those distractions, and the business of my life come in between me and my relationship with Jesus. Normally I don't think about it until I am still and quiet and then I realize what I have missed. It is so easy to put other things in front of God on my priority list.
My mentor and I were talking a while ago, and she asked what I wanted my relationship with Christ to look like. I thought of the third verse in "Come Thou Fount" especially the words, "Bind my wandering heart to thee, prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love....."
What does it mean to have a heart bound to Christ? What does it look like? My heart's desire is to be bound, bound to my Savior and Prince. To be bound so tightly that I know of nothing else but Him. To be bound to His heart so my heart beats the same beat. To see the world through His eyes, to see people the way He sees them, to love the unlovable as He loves, to be heartbroken for the things that breaks His heart. I want a life bound to Christ.

Though this is my desire it's a lot easier saying it than truly living it out. Here's an excerpt I wrote in my journal. "Do I consider everything a loss compared to knowing Christ? Do I only desire Him? Is He the only one who holds my heart? Will I be found in Him? I really take the amazing joy of knowing Christ for granted. He has always been apart of my life, but do I truly love and know Him? Am I bound to Him and Him alone? I need an undivided heart only for Christ. So that I can say, "I count it all as rubbish compared to knowing Christ!It must be a daily, moment by moment decision to surrender all of my will, desires, dreams, aspirations, and wholly surrender to Jesus and be bound to Him.Bind my ever distracted, wandering, sinful, selfish heart to Him. In Him, I am truly fulfilled, content and have meaning. Being bound to Christ is the best thing I can ever experience. And in Him- my Prince, I find all I need."

Monday, February 7, 2011


This is also a post I had on my personal blog, but I thought it would fit well here too :)

So many times I have often pondered the meaning behind the lyrics in the songs I innately participate in singing and playing at church and chapel.
Are the words that come out of my mouth truthful?
Is this what my heart truly desires to proclaim not only to the world, but to God?

We have some strong, powerful, modern day worship tunes out there. We hear them on the radio, we sing them at church and youth group, but are the phrases we proclaim genuine?

I looked up some of the most popular worship songs and their lyrics.
As I carefully read through the lyrics, I was convicted. They reminded me of just how awesome my God really is! These lyrics also prompted me to ask questions in examination of myself. This reminded my heart to be focused and intentional.

I also looked up verses to go with these songs. Wow! So hard to pick only a select few! Don't take these modern-day psalm writers for word, look it up yourself. These truths are everywhere in Scripture. I found so much more than I expected - and trust me, there are plenty more out there ;)

Mighty to Save
Everyone needs compassion...
Everyone needs forgiveness...
My Savior, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save...
Shine your light and let the whole world see.

  •  Everyone. Everyone is lost. Everyone is born separated from God. Everyone needs compassion. Forgiveness. Who can get them out? Only the Savior, for He is mighty to save. When I sing this, do I truly believe this? Do I live my life in such a way that proclaims His compassion for people, His forgiveness of sins, and His saving grace?
  • Psalm 67:2-3, Romans 1:16

The Stand
So I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all
So I'll stand my soul Lord to you surrendered
All I am is Yours.
  •  I'll be the first to admit: raising my hands (let alone arms) during worship does not come natural to me. Whether in song, prayer, or any other form of worship, I am used to steady, unmovable, and static-ness. Recently I have been challenged and stretched in this area. At first it was uncomfortable and hard to get used to, but as I study more about worship in the Bible and especially posture (in communication theory), there is something about having an open stance that says "Here I am Lord, do what you want with me. Hey! Do you see me here? I ain't much, but I'm giving you my all."
  • Psalm 28:2, 63:4, 134:2, Lamentations 3:41, 1 Timothy 2:8

You're Worthy of My Praise
I will give You all my worship
I will give You all my praise.
You alone I long to worship.
You alone are worthy of my praise.
  • How many things do I praise in a day? "The food was amazing!" "You're a great speaker!" "I just love that song!" "My weekend was epic!" Sure, these are wonderful things we are able to enjoy and thank God for as we rightly should. But how many times are we praising the created rather than the Creator who made it all possible in the first place? He alone is worthy of my ultimate praise. His praise is what should fill time in my day.
  • Psalm 18:3, Revelation 4:11

In Christ Alone
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, and my song.
  • This one is obvious and simple. Easier said than done, right? Is Christ the ultimate hope, light, strength, and song in my life? What do I need to eliminate that distracts me from finding peace and comfort in Him alone?
  • Psalm 62, 1 Peter 5:10, John 8:12

Revelation Song
Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name.
Jesus, Your name is power,
Breath and living water
Such a marvelous mystery.
  • The name of the Lord is not to be taken lightly. He is so jealous of it. His name is holy. So simple, yet so important. Am I filled with awestruck wonder when someone mentions my Savior? When I hear His name, does my countenance lift? 
  • Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4, Exodus 20:7, Leviticus 22:2b, 24:16, Psalm 8:9

Your Grace is Enough
God I see Your grace is enough
  •  Do I see it? Do I live a life that screams out loud God's grace upon such a sinner as I? So often I take His overwhelming grace for granted. Is His undeserved favor truly enough for me to live on?
  • John 1:16, Acts 20:24, Romans 5:2, 2 Corinthians 12:9

Here I am to Worship
Here I am to Worship, here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God.
  • Again, posture. Here I am to bow down. "Isn't that like a sign of submission or something?" Why yes it is. Just to bow down before Him in acknowledgment that He alone is God is so hard to do sometimes with this stubborn nature!
  • Psalm 95:6, Nehemiah 8:6

Blessed be Your Name
Every blessing You pour out I turn back to praise.
When the darkness closes in, Lord still I will say
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
  •  Do I really turn back to bless the name of the Lord when dark times surround me? Ha, I wish I was that faithful! When He gracefully blesses me, do I turn and give all the credit back to Him? Ya right! Once again, easy song to sing...hard to follow through.
  • Job 1:21, Psalm 23:4, 34:2, Jeremiah 9:23-25, Nehemiah 9:5b

Friday, February 4, 2011

Practical Steps For a Closer Walk With the Lord....

This is a post that I wrote for my personal blog: The Great Adventure, but I thought you all here at Radical Love might like to read it! :)

For some time now, I have struggled to be consistant in spending time with the Lord and in His Word. It comes down to discipline. To put forth what is most important rather what is truvial and unnecessary. My new year's resolution is to be a better student of God's Word and make my time in the Lord's presence my highest priority.

I have been so encouraged! The Lord has given me the diligance and motivation to spend ample time in fellowship with Him!

I want to encourage you to do the same. To spend more time with the Lord and in His Word. If it means getting up earlier- do it. If it means sacfricing your favorite tv show- do it. If it means saying "no" to a friend so that you can spent a quiet evening studying the Bible- do it!! It is worth it! :)

I want to share with you what I have been doing that has really encouraged me in my quiet times with the Lord.

-> I am reading through the entire Bible- I have found a great tool and one year Bible reading plan that has been wonderful! Click here to view my Bible reading plan. It is Prof. Horner's Reading System. Basically you read 10 chapters of the Bible each day from various passages. 10 chapters seemed daunting at first but it has been such a great way to create discipline in my life.

-> Spend time in prayer- Before I even open my Bible I commit my time to Him- asking Him to reveal what He wants me to learn during my time in His Word. After my Bible time I spend more time in prayer for specific things. Something that has been very rich to me is praying for every country. Operation World is a great source to pray for every country on the earth! They have specific information on how to pray for each country. So each day I pray for a country. Another area I am praying for is the U.S. foster care system. Adopt Us Kids is a website where you can search for children in your state that are currently in the foster care system. This is a great tool to pray for children who are in need of lasting, forever families right now in our own states! And who knows- God may lay on your heart to be apart of it!! :) Lastly, I have a prayer list- I have written down prayer requests of my friends, family or people who I don't even know who are in need of prayer. I take 10 of the requests to pray for each day. This has been a great way to be faithful in praying for the needs of others rather than saying, "I'll pray for you!" and then fail to do so. :)

-> Listening to music- Maybe it's just me, but music makes me want to praise God! :) I am so thankful for worship music! It has been such an encouragement to my heart! Even before I have my devotions worship music prepares my heart for my time with the Lord. Afterwards, while I'm in the shower or getting ready for the day, worship music continues my praise,adoration and time with the Lord. Listening to worship music throughout my day keeps my focus on Jesus and the cross. It keeps my heart intune with the Lord and His Word.

-> Journaling- I really am a lousy journaler. I have great aspirations of being a great journaler but I tend to fail miserably! Having a journal to write down what I studied, how it impacted me and who I prayed for is a great way to see my progress in my quiet times! It doesn't have to be long but just write something! :)
Here is what I wrote this morning:
Matthew 14:28-31- "Jesus is walking on the water and Peter goes out to meet him. He was walking on the water fine, until he saw the wind and he begins to sink. This passage translates into my life. Following Christ is like walking on the water. As long as my eyes are fixed on Jesus it is well. But when I take my eyes off of Jesus and look at the 'wind' ( dangers, difficulties, struggles, temptations etc.) I begin to sink. Jesus told Peter, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?' When I take my eyes off of Christ and focus on the trials, fears, anxieties and things of this world, I am doubting God's plan, Sovereignty and will for me."

-> Scripture Memorization- this is another necessary discipline. I find it easier to memorize when you have someone to keep you accountable. Find a friend, sibling, parent or mentor who wants to memorize Scripture with you. Meet each week and say your verses. Start out with a Psalm or a shorter passage and then work up to memorizing longer passages.

-> Reading Missionary Biographies- I have been so encouraged by reading books by great men and women of the faith. I just finished reading George Muller's autobiography. I can't even begin to tell you all that I learned from Him! His dedication in spending time with the Lord, his persistant prayer life, his trust in the Lord's provision, his heart for the poor and orphaned- incrediable! I highly recommend it! Reading books by Amy Charmichael, Elisabeth Elliot, Hudson Taylor, Gladys Alward, George Muller, will challenge you and encourage to live out the same faith and life that they lived.

-> Clean out the media- I am learning that some of the habits that I have created may not be necessary or uplifting. I really like watching TV at night. I find it relaxing but what am I gaining by spending hours in front of the TV watching mostly invaluable, nonsense? Now I am not saying that watching TV is a sin but what else could we be doing instead? Spending more time with the Lord? Reading a great book? Journaling? Spend quality time with your family? Have a encouraging conversation with a friend? Writing a letter to a friend you don't see often? There is so much more you can do instead of watch TV!! :)
I love Facebook- but it is such a distraction!! I could spend hours looking at pictures, commenting on the latest news, "liking" statuses but really what do I gain?? OK, I can keep up with friends that I have in other states, but it's not a necessity. Try cutting back your time on Facebook, twitter etc. and see how it goes! :)

I hope this has been an encouragement! Try it out and let me know how it goes! Or if you have any more ideas for enriching your time with the Lord- tell me about it!! :)