Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter 2014 Reflections from Prayer

By Charlotte Lowrie
Easter is a wondrous time of reflection, of giving thanks, and of self-examination. With this post, I'll share some insights from prayer for Easter and after-Easter celebrations.

The Lord reminds me often in prayer to, "Be watchful, for the end is near." Also, He says to strengthen one another in the faith, to pray for one another often, and to gather together with other believers. In addition, we are to lean on each other for strength. 

Give praise to God, and in all things to give thanks. Be watchful and do not be deceived by false teachers. If a teacher comes in, test the teaching according to the Scriptures. 

"Wait and watch for My return," the Lord says, "for it will be soon." "Be ready. Have oil enough for your lamps, else you'll be left outside in the dark."

And remember, "Do not fear, for I have already overcome satan and death."

Rejoice for the end is near! Come, Lord Jesus, come.

My prayers are with all of you around the world.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sharing Your Story

By Charlotte Lowrie
It is always a privilege to share the story of how the Lord Jesus has changed our lives. You are probably like me in wanting the other person or persons to immediately want the same transformation in their lives that we've had in our lives. But I was reminded recently that it's the Holy Spirit who does the heavy lifting with the other person, not me. 

I recently had the opportunity to share my story of conversion with a friend. When I finished, the friend countered that surely I couldn't believe that way, and he scoffed at some of my beliefs and at my faith. Instinctively, I wanted to "reason" with him and convince him to believe in Christ. But then I remembered that logic doesn't work. Only by faith can anyone come to the Lord. At the same time, I winced when I heard the derision in his voice.  As he talked, I could tell that he had consigned me to the category of "Creationists," with the implication that there was no hope for me intellectually.

After the conversation, the Lord reminded me that the goal in sharing my story is to give glory to the Lord Jesus. If the other person counters or laughs at my belief and faith, the Lord said, "Don't worry about what they will think of you." It's by sharing our stories that we grow in our ability to share. The Lord reminded me to, "Let Me worry about the other person's response." It is the Holy Spirit that does the work, not me. And I can't make the decision for someone else; they must decide for themselves.

It's never easy to be criticized or laughed at, and since that conversation, I could tell that the relationship between this person and me had changed for both of us. Now he thinks that he's enlightened and I am not. For me, I'm sad that he does not see the true light. The change in friendship isn't surprising. Rather, it reminds me of James 4:3-5 (ESV), "Do you know know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

As for me, I'll continue sharing my story of how I came to believe in Christ. I learned from the conversation. And I think of Isaiah 55:11, that says, "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." I also believe that my story will have an effect, either now or later, because it is a story of the Lord. I believe that our stories cannot fail to have an impact on those who hear them. So I encourage you to share your story to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Letting Go of the Past

By Charlotte Lowrie

As we begin the new year, our focus naturally turns to what we want to accomplish in the coming 12 months. After all, we have a blank slate as we begin 2014. But as we look forward, it can be hard to let go of the past. 

Holding onto the past has been a problem for me in years past, but a recent conversation with the Lord helped me realize how important it is to let go and move forward.

As the new year began, I was cleaning out old papers from a box when I found several old letters. Before discarding them, I read through them. After reading a few paragraphs, I was transported back to the mid-1960s. I remembered the challenges I faced in moving to Japan as a military wife with a young son. The process was complex, and I remember feeling that I didn't have the support I wanted from different people. While eventually the move details worked out well, I still felt hurt. And within a short amount of time, the memories had cast a fog over a perfectly beautiful day that began with joy and enthusiasm.

As I prayed about the old wounds, the Lord gave me the perspective I needed. He reminded me that the letters represented what was then, but I'm in the now. "Do not let the past take away your present joy."

"You can't move forward by looking back," He reminded me. "Look ahead, for ahead is where I am taking you. Rejoice in forgiveness; and let the transformation of forgiveness be there for you [at all times]." 

So as you begin this year, I pray that your focus will be on today and where the Lord is leading you now. I pray that you will let the past go. Learn what you can from it, and then turn to today and face your future with joy and confidence knowing that the Lord will guide you in His will this year and beyond.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you the rich blessings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Choose Well

By Charlotte Lowrie

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, please join me in praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer persecution and trials for the name of Christ. And for you, I pray that you will stay strong in faith. Many changes are taking place in the world, especially in America, that seem, on the surface, to be ‘right.’ But the changes are, in fact, the work of satan. Be alert to look beyond the surface and beyond popular opinion.

The battle of good against evil, is fought every single day, and we have to keep that struggle in mind as we lead our lives. The struggle of good against evil is happening not only in the world, but also in heavenly realms. On earth, the daily battle is for the hearts and souls of people around the world. As believers, we know what the end of the story is, and our work is to believe and let the Holy Spirit work within us every day. What satan uses for evil, the Lord can use for good.

Knowing that this battle rages every day, it is so important that we make good decisions. We have to choose the right thing in small as well as large matters in our lives. All of the steps and decisions along the way count toward getting to the right conclusion of matters. It’s important to also remember that we can compromise away what is good and contaminate it with evil.

Our steps must be measured and right to get to the right outcome in everyday situations. Compromise can open the door to evil, so stay with what is right at every step. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Forgiving from the heart

white roseBy Charlotte Lowrie

One of the commands that the Lord gave us was to forgive. Forgiving is almost as important as loving; and, in fact, they are inextricably intertwined. Jesus talked about forgiving completely--from the heart. He said that no matter how many times a person sins against us, we are to keep forgiving them. 

Forgiveness is so important that Jesus said if we don't forgive others, then the Father will not forgive us even in light of the price that the Lord paid to redeem us.

But sometimes forgiving others is really hard. When we find out someone has done something wrong to us, our immediate instinct is to get even, to get retribution--and it is a strong drive. As a case in point, I recently learned that a company I've contracted with for many years violated not only a written promise, but they also violated the terms of our contract. In short, they gave my work to another person to use as his own, and he used it. I was shocked and angry.

I'm currently talking to the company, and certainly I have the option of taking legal action. The company clearly wronged me in more ways than one. Thoughts about what they did dominated my thinking for several days. My righteous indignation seemed so well deserved. Still, if I want to be forgiven for my ongoing sins, then I had to forgive them in exactly the same way and to the same degree that I wanted to be forgiven. I had to rethink my indignation.

I thought about Jesus as he hung on the cross. I imagine Him looking out over the crowd to see people he had taught only days earlier at the temple. Maybe He could pick out faces he'd seen as he taught the beatitudes. And when he hung his head, I believe that He also saw all the people who lived in the past and all the people who would live in the future. The aggregate of humanity--all sinners, all needing forgiveness. It was His responsibility to bear the crushing weight of all sin--from the beginning of time to the end.  

Yet, the Lord forgave them all. I'm convinced that Jesus saw all those people through the eyes of divine love that saw far beyond the sins that each person committed. He saw with eyes of love that look into eternity. I believe that He looked at each spirit--seeing us as God created each one of us. Jesus did not overlook sins. Rather, He looked at our sin and beyond. Through His eyes of love, His love for us transcended the price that He had to pay for what we'd done. 

In short, Jesus knew that "The victory was greater than the pain."

The next time you have trouble forgiving someone, remember to look with eyes of love--with eyes that see the sin and beyond--into eternity.