Archive for March, 2009

The Hiatus is Over…

Posted in Uncategorized on March 30, 2009 by julietsm

18648-thumbnailUnfortunately, i have been very ill, but the fact is that i am getting better and stronger every day.  Its time to get back to work.  I have been asking the Lord for direction ever since the end of my second marriage, and knew that there was something very specifacally that He wanted me to do.  I am now quite certain that he intends for me to write for Him.  Books.  Yikes!  I have years and years worth of journals, but writing books has always seemed to be something best left to the writers whose work i cherish, like C.S. Lewis.  What could i possibly have to say that he hasn’t already said, and far better then i ever could?  Nevertheless, the Lord has made it abundantly clear that writing is the thing He wants me to do for Him.  If that is what He wants from me: that is what He shall get from me!  So i fully intend to use this blog to learn by trial and error how to write for the Lord.

When i wrote ‘Remembering Barbie’, originally i used ficticious names, but a friend convinced me that by using my actual name and making it known that this is an actual event that occurred in my life it would be more powerful.  Later i became embarassed that perhaps it was only self-indulgant drivel that should never have seen the light of day.  That said, i have to admit that the only thing i can write about with total confidence are my own experiences with the Lord, and there have been a lot of them.  So no matter that some of what i write may seem to you as though i am only distastefully writing about things best left unspoken,  the motive is one of sharing the things which have actually happened to me: there have been pastors that claim that God no longer communicates with people in that manner anymore.  I am here to say that He does: and i am going to share all of my personal experiences to encourage you: He does speak to His children.  I have an idea that perhaps this has been drilled into the Christian mindset: God can only now  be known by His Word.  If that were so, then it would be impossible to have Jesus as your ‘personal’ Saviour, and it would reduce the Word of God to another object of our idolatry.

God can be found outside the pages of His Word.  If this were not so, I would never have been born again!  I came from a family of atheists and didn’t even know any Christians: all of the people who deigned to have anything to do with me were Jews.  I grew up in a time when it was a shameful thing to be a Jew, and all of the little Christian children treated me with utter disdain and i was excluded from all of their social events.

However, looking back over my life my Lord has been drawing me to Christ since childhood, He has spoken to my heart on many occasions, He has spoken to me through other people, and He has gone so far as to “Part the Red Sea” for me, and that more than once!

Yes, God does speak to His children.  If you are truly a child of God I would suggest spending time with Him in His Word and just by speaking to Him in an ongoing way: my dialogue with Him has been ongoing since as far back as i can remember.  He will talk to you: just be certain that you are listening.

All His, julietsm


Thought for Today: Wednesday, March 11

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11, 2009 by julietsm

cross-in-heavenly-sky5Today I sought to tackle some of the more difficult themes of predestination and God’s effectual call to those whom He has chosen from eternity past, and whilst listening to the daily message of John MacArthur, I was surprised that his message was exactly the one that I had thought to do for my devotional.

I seriously doubt that I could improve upon his message, and so I am passing it along to you.

I pray that you will receive his message, and I also pray for God’s blessings upon all who pass this way.  Have a wonderful day, and I will be back tomorrow, (laughing) barring of course that the same thing should happen again!

Love from julietsm

Thought for Today: Tuesday, March 10

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 10, 2009 by julietsm

17940-bigthumbnail“I am the vine, and you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit.  Apart from Me you can do nothing”

John 15:5

I see people walking around every day that look as though they are alive, but they really aren’t.  The best way I can describe their condition is by comparing them to a branch which has been cut off from a tree.  When you first see the branch, the leaves are still green and it looks to be alive, but since it has been cut off from the source of life it will eventually whither and die.  Come back in a week, and you will see the leaves have turned brown and fallen off, and the branch appears to be dead.  It was dead the moment it was cut off from the tree!  We come into this world, and we are already dead.  The only thing that can give us life is Christ, because there is life in Him and in Him only.  Unless you have become a child of God and have been grafted back onto the vine, you are dead.

People say that “death is just a part of life”.  If that were so, why are we so afraid of it?  Why do we greive and mourn when someone we love dies?  Because death is unnatural, it was never meant to be “a part of life” and  in fact it is an abomination.  That is why we are so instictively horrified by it.  Yet unless one is born again into God’s family, we are dead and nothing and nobody can bring the dead to life except for God, who can do all things.

As you go about your day today, think about what miracle has been wrought in we who believe…we have been given life and that eternal.  And we know that this is purely graciousness on the part of God.  We have been rebels and sinners all, and no matter what we try to do on our own, we can never take away our own uncleanness.  Who can make that which is filthy clean again?  Our Lord Jesus Christ died so that by His blood we can be made clean again!

I encourage you to read John 15 in its entirety today, and to meditate on all that Jesus died to give us.  To be forgiven is one thing, but to be made alive with Christ and his co-heirs no less: that is too good to be true!  And yet true it is, if you are a branch on the vine of Life, the sustainer and creator of all things: the Lord Jesus Christ; you are a co-heir of our Lord, and our inheritance is an eternal one.

Our Father gives not as the world gives, and our wondrous resurrection from the dead can never be taken away from us, because we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit and belong to our Father, who will never let go of us.  Let us live and conduct ourselves in this world as though just passing through…and though it is right and proper that we should do good while we are here to bring glory to God, let us never forget that we are no longer dead, but alive forever, with the Lord and His people.  We are on the way to our true home, where we will no longer be corrupted by the ravages of time and sin and the flesh.

Let us meditate on these things and offer our praises to God, for the wonderful gift of life which we have received.  Let us strive to bring honour to the name of Christ and be grateful for the most precious gift that one can ever receive.


Thought for Today Monday, March 9, 2009

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 8, 2009 by julietsm

cross-in-heavenly-sky3“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.  For if you love those who love you. what reward have you?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet the brethren only, what do you do more than others?  Do not even the tax collectors do so?  Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”                                                                                                                                                                                     Matthew 5:44-48

How can we possibly love our enemies?  Without the divine life of the Spirit within us, we cannot.   The demand of the new law of the kingdom is higher than the requirement of the old dispensation.  This higher law can be met only by the Father’s divine life, not by the the natural life.  Anyone trying to live the life of the Christian without the Holy Spirit will soon become exhausted and disillusioned.  However, we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us.

Are you trying to live a life of faith without the Faithful One?  If you are, as I am certain you must surely be realising, it simply cannot be done.  And let us not fool ourselves either, it is not easy even as a Born Again believer.  The flesh is constantly warring against the Spririt, and alas, this is to be our fate until we reach our goal.  So, when do we stop this uphill battle and hit the slide?  Again, I am afraid that this will never happen.

Last night I was watching “The Hiding Place” again, and it really made me examine myself.  Have I ever been called to forgive the horrors that those in the Nazi death camps did?  I don’t believe that any of us have.  And Betsy Ten Boom struggled with this herself, but was an overcomer at last.  She never did make it out of those camps, but her sister Corrie did, and as I remember having read, she once happened upon one of the cruelest guards from the camp at a social affair she was attending later in life.  Do you know that she actually marched right up to that guard and said “I forgive you”?  Yes, she did.  She was so completely submitted to the Spirit that she was able to do this.  Could she have done it in the flesh?  Never!  Let us never forget the source of our strength, and let us not attempt to live by our own anymore.  We are new creations, and what is more, we are no longer our own, but were bought with a price.  We will only be perfect as our Father is perfect because of His divine Spirit which dwells within us, and never fully in this life.  But let us not tire of seeking to do that which pleases the Father, and submitting to His will.  The longer you walk with the Lord, as you look back over your life you will see the great changes that have been wrought in your character.  And yet this does not come without a price.  We must subjugate our will to the Lord’s, which is what He means when he says to “pick up your cross and follow me”.  We have to become less, so that He can become more.  As we do this, we will become ever more at peace, and ever more able to carry out His will.  As for doing any of that, unless you have the Holy Spirit indwelling yours, it will never happen.

Do you have the Holy Spirit?  Church attendance, Bible reading and prayer are all meaningless unless we have the One we worship indwelling our spirit.  How does that happen?  That is the easy part, invite Him in, realising that without Him we are mere empty and dead shells.  I won’t lie to you though.  The Christian life is not easy.  It will take everything you’ve got.  It already cost the Father everything He had, shall we give him any less? 

May it never be!


Remembering Barbie

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 8, 2009 by julietsm

24836-thumbnailShe clearly remembered her mother’s bed in the old house on Avalon Drive.  Not that she had ever been permitted to sleep in it.  Barbie was certainly adamant about that.  No matter that Juliet suffered from terrible nightmares about the death camps in Nazi Germany.

…And the irony of that was definitely not lost on Barbie, either, since her ex-husband was a self-loathing Jew who denied being Jewish.  She remembered how he used to joke with her (only it was no joke) that he wanted to wear a pin which read  “No, its a German name.  I am not Jewish.”  Which was laughable, considering his name.  David Abraham Schwartz!  Of course, upon meeting people he didn’t exactly announce his middle name or anything, and if nosy people pushed, he gifted himself with the middle name of Alexander.  Having delusions of grandeur to begin with, the name Alexander and its connotations  fit in quite nicely with all of his many contrivances.

Back to the bed, which is, after all, a big part of the story.  The point is that Juliet would never have given it a second thought if not for something profound that had occured there, which she had only recently remembered.  After all, we have already established that she had never slept in it, not the way most most little girls who had horrific nightmares would most assuredly have been permitted by their single moms.  ( Allowing of course, that said little girls were loved by their mothers.)  Juliet liked to lie in Barbie’s unmade bed after her mother had gone for the day, snuggling into the pillows that smelled of Shalimar and stale tobacco smoke.  Barbie’s very distintive odor…The headboard of the bed was a bookcase, and Juliet still remembered some of the titles all those years later.  “Is Paris Burning”, “Naked Came I” and of course, The Holy Bible.  Juliet secretly called it “My Father’s Book”.

One day Juliet was lying in Barbie’s bed daydreaming, and all at once she had a very clear image in her mind of the woman she would someday be.  Strangely, she felt betrayed by that woman, because she doubted very much that she would remember the acutely lonely and sad little girl who used to creep into her mother’s room and daydream in her bed.  So she sent a message into the future: shot it like an arrow through time.  “Remember the little girl you left behind.  Don’t forget who you used to be.”

Oddly enough she had only just recently remembered the little girl and her message.  She was happy that she had not betrayed herself and let the little girl she carried around inside her, (the little girl who was still in there too deep to ever dislodge) down.  She started thinking really hard about the details.  Mind, there was something unforgettable about her experience.  She remembered one particular day, the aftermath of a truly horrifying nightmare she had the night before still clinging to her…she had gone into the room and sat on the bed, the dust motes dancing in the shafts of light streaking though the blinds.  Remember, she had never known her father David, and had no idea he was Hebrew.  For another, Barbie had no idea just what a focused and brilliant little girl she had.  Juliet was a world her mother had never visited; she knew nothing about her own child’s sleeplesness…Very often Juliet would would not sleep for days at a time, so after Barbie left she would crawl into her mother’s bed, seeking comfort in her absense.  She would hear the birds singing outside the window; she could smell the flowers that Barbie had planted in the garden that had just bloomed, and occasionally when it was very still, she could hear the bees buzzing around them…And all of these gifts from God would sometimes permit her to find the sleep that so often eluded her.

One day she was dreaming of a very old man with long white hair and a long white beard who was with a little boy.  He said to her in the dream “This is my little boy.   God gave him to my wife and I in our very old age.  Did you know that you are my daughter too?”  Juliet woke up with a start, still picturing the ancient bearded man who told her strange things.  She picked up the Bible and began reading.  She read all the way through Genesis, and all at once everything clicked in her mind.  Abraham was the old man in the dream!  And Juliet was surely one of those descendants that would have been more numerous than the sands of the sea or the stars in the sky…She knew that this was a life altering experience.  For as long as she could remember she had spoken to God most intimately, and now she knew that her Father was affirming His reality to her.    She knew she would never be the same, because her Father had spoken so clearly to her!  For the longest time Juliet had thought that everyone was a child of God, and that everyone spoke to Him and loved Him.  The first time she had asked Barbie to take her to church she was stunned by the response.  “Juliet, you are Jewish, and Jewish girls do not go to church”.  This was news to her.  This was the first time there was any mention of being Jewish.  In fact, when the children picked on her and called her ugly names she would tell them she was German, and that there were lots of German people with that name.

Juliet winced as Barbie lit one of her Pall Malls, twisting one into the cigaret holder that she always used.  (Juliet loathed cigaret smoke and Barbie knew it.  Very often she would light a cigaret to get her daughter to leave the room.)   “Uh, mother?  I have been thinking about what you said, and I have no idea why you never told me before that I am Jewish.  But I would very much like to go to Temple.”  Barbie dragged deeply on the cigaret, exhaling the the smoke in a steady stream right in her daughter’s face.   She looked at her as though she were an insect under a microscope.  “From where are you getting these bizarre notions?  There is no God, and there will be no attendance of any religious institution by anyone in this house, rest assured.  I mean, since God is a fantasy that weak-minded people made up, people, I might add, that can’t handle life, well that would make any kind of church or temple attendance awfully stupid wouldn’t it?  Barbie turned away so that Juliet saw her profile.  She marvelled that such a beautiful woman could be so vaccuous and cold.  She could not recall having ever received any warmth or affection from this woman.  She saw her mother as one to whom she owed respect…and she cried into her pillow night after night to muffle the sound of her sobs.  She knew that if Barbie ever heard, she would either ignore it or come into her room to investigate.  She also knew that if she were ever to give a name to her sobs, it would be met with denial and disdain by her mother.  She knew clearly that Barbie did not love her, she knew that in fact she was barely tolerated.  When her mother drank, which was all the time, she was brutally honest.  She said terribly cruel things, at least that which was intelligable.  In spite of her mother’s deliberate cruelty,   Juliet longed for her love, ached for it, cried out to God for it.  Barbie did not love her daughter, that much was clear.  One night Juliet whispered into the darkness from her bed, in the middle of the night when she could not sleep “Father?  How could I come from a family of people like this?  Surely I don’t belong with these people?”  God whispered back to her “You are not a member of this family.  You are a member of my Family.

“I do believe in God, mother.  It would not be pointless for me to attend church or temple.”    Barbie leaned over to tap the ash of her cigaret.  “You really don’t know what you believe, do you?  How could you, after all, at your age?  For one thing, Jews reject Christ.  You didn’t even know that, did you?  Hmmmm?”

Juliet blushed, lowered her eyes and smoothed her dress.  “Well how could I mother?  Most of the other children’s parents allow them religious instruction  I have never received any.  So naturally I don’t know any theology!”   Barbie’s eyes widened.  She threw her head back and laughed raucously.  “Now that…”  She could barely speak, she was laughing so hard.  “Theology?  That sounds absurd coming from a…how old are you?”  Barbie’s laughter trailed off and finally stopped.  She examined her little girl, raising an eyebrow.  Juliet was stung.  She fought back her tears.  “I am almost five, mother.” 

“Well what a solemn little thing you are!  At your age, you shouldn’t even be thinking about God.  And most kids would be singing hosannas that they didn’t have to be made to suffer through a church service or a bible study.  You really are very strange, Juliet.  Have you any idea how weird you are?”  Barbie crushed out her cigaret, flipping her long platinum blonde hair behind her shoulders.

Juliet cringed.  Not again!  Being called strange and odd and weird by all of the other children was bad enough, but being so called by her own mother was unbearable!  Wide eyed, she looked at her mother.  Barbie had a faraway look in her eyes and was obviously thinking about something else.  “Yes, mother.  I have a pretty good idea just how strange I am.  Like mother, like daughter.”  Her daughter’s words didn’t penetrate her at first.  Juliet could hear the ticking of the clock on the wall.  All at once, Barbie jerked and and her eyes narrowed to slits.  She studied her daughter for a moment.  She practically spat out the words “Oh no you don’t.  I was popular.  When I was in high school I was not only the Class president but the Prom Queen as well!  Don’t you dare ever compare your odd little self to me!  You don’t fit in anywhere!  The other kids don’t like you.”  She leaned in closer to Juliet…”Now why do you suppose that is?”  Barbie snatched her Pall Malls off the table, and screwing one into the black enamel holder with the gold trim, she gave Juliet a a self-satisfied smile.  “Hmmm?”  She lit the cigaret with a slim gold lighter, inhaled deeply, and settled back into the sofa.

“Mom, you can say what you like.  But there are plenty of ways to be weird.  Trying to make something as gross as smoking look elegant is weird.  Rejecting your own daughter isn’t exactly the norm either, is it?  But weirder than that is that you are so smug and self-satisfied and…well, arrogant!”  Juliet bit her lower lip.  “Because you can’t even keep a man,  Barbara!”  She emphasised her mother’s name, saying it as though it were a dirty word.

Barbie’s hand shot out and slapped her daughter so quickly that Juliet didn’t see it coming.  She reached up and felt her cheek, red and stinging wher Barbie’s handprint was still visible on her face.  Juliet got up from the floor, where she had been sitting at her mother’s feet.  While she was fumbling to get up, Barbie grabbed a handful of Juliet’s hair and jerked her head back, so that her face was just inches above hers.   “Go and make your mother a drink”, she hissed from between clenched teeth.  She let go of her hair and shoved her head so it hit the coffee table, opening a gash in her forehead.  Blood ran down her face, dripping on the coffee table and the white shag rug.  “Beautiful, Juliet.  See what you made me do?  I’ll make my own drink and you…you clean up this mess!  If that rug is stained you’re going to be meeting that precious ‘God’ of yours a lot sooner than you had planned!  Barbie stood up, smoothing her powder blue cashmere sweater over her hips.  She muttered under her breath “That God-damned girl is good for nothing!”  She went to the bar and made herself a vodka and tonic, which she called because she splashed tonic water over vodka.  She drank it down in one gulp and made herself another one.  She noticed that Juliet appeared to be frozen.  Barbie pointed at her with the ice tongs “If you think I am angry now, Just let that blood settle in and stain the rug.  Go and get the hydrogen peroxide!”  (Apparently getting blood stains out of things was old hat for her.)   Juliet still had fresh blood pouring down her face.  “And little girl, if I have to take you for stitches you are going to wish you were never born!”

Juliet took a mental snapshot of her mother.  She was standing at the bar, ice tongs in hand, pointing them at her.  Barbie, with her long blonde hair, perfectly made up and beautiful face, powder blue turtle-neck sweater, (just tight enough to show off her gorgeous figure), white mini skirt and go go boots…she looked like a model with her long legs and perfect body.  Juliet thought to herself that her mother was quite possibly the ugliest woman she had ever seen.


The Most Important Question in the World

Posted in Uncategorized on March 6, 2009 by julietsm

21514-bigthumbnailI can remember knowing the Love of God from the time I was a little girl.  Most likely this is the reason why I have difficulty seeing things from the atheist point of view, and to be honest I am rather glad for that.  I mean, I would like to understand where these people are coming from so as to better reach them, but that is the only reason I have any curiousity at all.  It amuses me too when they say to me “why not check things out from our viewpoint” as if, after coming to a knowledge of the truth, I could or would even want to chuck all that knowledge out the window.  Er, thanks but no.  I cannot remember a time when God’s comforting hand of protection was not covering my own, teaching me                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              to write by forming the letters for me as I learned by memorising what it felt like to make certain shapes or letters.  He taught me everything in this manner, even more esoteric things like learning to forgive and learning to love those who didn’t love me.

And for a child who was rejected and neglected completely by her parents I think of the wonders of God’s goodness in protecting me from the sad fate of being a poisoned and bitter person.  No, quite the opposite; the more cruel people were to me the more love I showed them.  They responded by thinking and even mentioning that I was obviously dull in the mind…After all, it is foolhardy to love those who hate you and stupid to care about those who couldn’t give a fig about you.

Isn’t it?

According to the “wisdom of the world” it is stupid.  But let us remember that God hates the wisdom of the world.  In fact, the little girl who was “dull in the mind” by worldly standards had already read and understood the Book of Genesis by the time she was four.

How do I know that God was always with me?  I guess I could answer that in any number of ways…and since people are so very skeptical I think I will mention them all.  In the first place, very often we know when we have been in the presense of someone by the absense of them when they are not there.  Picture loving someone with all your heart, and losing them when they die.  You know that you have loved them and feel their absense so acutely that very often you aren’t able to function when that person is gone.  The grieving process leaves such a huge vacuum in your heart that you never doubt that person”s reality.  Knowing God is a lot like that.  When one has become acustommed to feeling His presense in your life, the times when He removes Himself from your presense for whatever reason leave you feeling an agony of Spirit which you would otherwise never have known.  Let me give you an example…

When I was seventeen my brother Mark was diagnosed with  Coreocarcinoma, after first misdiagnosing him with Hodgkin’s Disease, if I am not mistaken.  Now my brother was the only relative I had left, except for my father who absolutely hated my brother and I, and we only discovered this after the suicide of our mother.  When my brother finally succumbed to death, (something I had never had any real experience with, at my young and so forth) it was more terrible than anything that I could possibly have imagined.  After being heavily sedated by the staff at the hospital, and having gone to the funeral during which they opened his coffin against my express wishes, I was just flying wreckage.  I decided to go to the beach to pour out my heart to the Lord.  When I got there, I  sat down and decided that I was absolutely not going to leave umntil I had heard from the Lord.  My heart and spirit were in ruins, and I had no strength anymore.  All of all that “pulling myself up by my own bootstraps” had practically killed me: there wasn’t an ounce of anything left…Or so I  thought.  As I poured myself out to God, sobbing and trying to convey the total lack of resources  my own devastation kept coming up,. over and over.    I was not going to be able to continue, alone and without any resources in the world.

I begged God to take my life too.  After all, what could possibly keep me going at this point?

It was then that God poured Himself into me, I mean in a spiritual sense but also in a very discernable and physical one too.  This was the God of the Universe, He who made the Galaxies and Rainbows, who had emptied me of myself and filled me with Himself.  I was incredulous…how could this be?  Was I to understand that this God cared about me to the point of being personally involved in my life?  I did not know it then, but in the years since that experience God has shown me that he cares not only about the majour traumas in our lives but in the minutae as well.  There have been times when I have lost something like my keys or my glasses, and when I call out “Lord, I know that you know where they are? Continue reading