Saturday, February 26, 2011

In a Spirit of Gentleness~

Yesterday, I had the blessed opportunity to officiate a funeral…and I say “blessed”…because the Lord opened the door to share His love and His Word….We never know the condition of the hearts that are listening to the funeral service, but He does…And one thing I believe with all my heart is that His love reaches down to the worst of us sinners to bring us to the saving knowledge of His salvation through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior….

And yes, I say “worst of us”, because I know who I was before Christ, and I also know what it is to backslide and to be given a second chance to be redeemed from the clutch of hell. And I can honestly tell you that I truly don’t know how I “got back”, other than His grace, mercy, love and compassion which drew me out of the pit of hell. But there was a “turning point”….My pastor (in 1999) had preached a sermon which convicted my heart - deeply…and I had to talk with him afterwards and confess my sin. I was living two lives…one in the Praise Team and presenting myself as a “good Christian woman”….the other - a fornicator….the ravages of an emotionally painful marriage that ended in divorce…my own wounds and vulnerabilities…and I had succumbed to the temptation of the world…But on that day, the Lord gave me an opportunity to repent and turn….

Blind, beaten, dirty and broken….That is our condition before Christ….and that is our condition when we fall back into the world….How do we approach the one who is blind, beaten, dirty and broken….How do we approach the backslidden? With a stick…or with gentleness and compassion; knowing that we too, are also subject to temptation….(Gal. 6:1)…Please understand that at this point, I am not condoning sin. When we are sinning…we are to stop. And I do not support using scripture to justify sinning. The Gospel is never to be used to justify sinning. (Romans 6:15)

What do we see when we as Believers now look to those who are steeped in the things of the world? ~My friend, Clo Lent DiPilato posted this scripture on Facebook this morning from Luke 18...of which I will quote verses 10-14 from the Amplified version:

“Two men went up into the temple [enclosure] to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray thus before and with himself: God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men - extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers - or even like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I gain. But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am! I tell you, this man went down to his home justified (forgiven and made upright with God), rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Lord through the Apostle Paul , Colossians 3:12-15 from the Amplified Bible wrote:

v. 12 “Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].

v. 13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

v. 14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together in ideal harmony].

v. 15 And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].”

And from Chapter 4: 5-6 “Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity. Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].”

I love the word winsome! For it means charming, in a child-like way. Oh…how a child will respond to the loving accepting arms of the one who says, “Come to me…and you will find rest and comfort….love and acceptance…”

Jesus left the ninety-nine to go find the one….Will we do the same?….He gave His life to bring us into His fold….

He came not to be served, but to serve….What will we do with the life He’s given us?

“Lord Jesus, make me an instrument of Your mercy and grace this day…to those who are in need of You….Amen and Amen….”

Be Blessed of the Lord~

Ever yours in Christ Jesus~

Crista Simmons (

LifeCare Ministries

Sunday, February 6, 2011

His Everlasting Arms in the Nothingness~

When I was in nurse’s training (a very long time ago….), we had an instructor who had served in the military. Miss Mary Mason. And every time we needed to clear the hall for an oncoming patient, she’d sharply call out, “Flatten agin the wall. Flatten agin the wall!” Simply stated, “Make way! Clear the way! Don’t be in the way!”

In reflecting this morning, that’s how we feel sometimes in life….like we’re the ones who’ve been flattened…run over…and left for dead in whatever it is that mowed us over…and we don’t feel like we’ve got the energy or “want to“, to lift our head, let alone get up and try it again. We are down for the count, and we see no way out…every direction looks impossible.

May I share with you an experience and then some scripture? You know, maybe you’re not that person…but you know someone who is….Whoever it is needs Hope that only the Lord can provide.

The reason I want to share a personal experience is because it is easy to look at the writer and think, “What do you know? You’ve never been in my situation.”

One of my primary purposes in this blog is to be transparent in my writing…and in so doing…that the Glory of God would be evident….And I pray the love of Jesus and His Hope to transform your heart and mind this day.

It was the summer of 1990, and I was inpatient at the Minirth-Meier Psych. Unit in Naperville, IL…It was a locked unit…One evening, something happened that I cannot explain…but another resident had shared something…and it was as if my emotions stepped onto an elevator and I went to the bottom floor…As I did, everything else began to fade…I could not distinguish anything that was more than about 2 feet in front of my face…My nurse led me into the padded room…I think I was sobbing…into a blackness that had no end…a black hole…no end in sight…just the overwhelming sense of loss in my life that would not go away…the losses that I’d been running from my whole life…I looked up once..and could only make out the feet of our unit director, Dr. Verle Bell, and our head nurse…They spoke…I couldn’t comprehend what they said…At some point, my nurse led me back to my room…I can only tell you that if I were to put an age to my feelings, I’d would’ve been 2 or under…no words…My nurse tucked me into bed and kissed me on the forehead.

Morning came…the black hole was still there…There seemed no way out…and I wasn’t sure anymore if I wanted to try…

They say, “When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”….Well, I couldn’t find the rope; much less tie a knot in it; much less have the strength to hang on….I had let go and was free-falling into nowhere…

What I didn’t know at the time is that nowhere has a bottom…and it is called His Everlasting Arms and that Hope Has a Name - Jesus Christ….He didn’t come to me to scold me and ask, “Where’s your faith?”….No, He came to me and held out His hand…”Crista, take My hand…and I will lead you out….”

Now, I’m here to tell you that that’s faith…Just taking His hand IS faith! He says to us today, “I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6)…When we don’t know the way out of the black pit, He does.

For there is no God like Jehovah. “For when we are faithless, He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13)

And underneath are the everlasting arms~ “There is none like God, O Jeshurun [Israel], Who rides through the heavens to your help and in His majestic glory through the skies. The eternal God is your refuge and dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He drove the enemy before you and thrust them out, saying, Destroy!”

Maybe you’re too worn out to take His hand…then just know, that He’s kneeling down to take yours…

His love is from everlasting to everlasting….and nothing shall separate you from His love….He is not a man that He should lie, and He is no respecter of persons.

Let’s close with these words from the Lord through the Apostle Paul: “Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love?…”…”For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37-38)

“Lord Jesus…today, I will let you take my hand…because I can’t do this by myself. I don’t know my way out of this blackness…But I will let You lead me, because You’re the Only One Who knows the way out.

Thank You.”

And in the words of our unit director, Dr. Bell….”I can’t. He can. Therefore, I move my pieces.”

“…but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

“…to give them beauty for the ashes…” Isaiah 61:3

….To make the Valley of Achor (Trouble) a door of Hope…. Hosea 2:15

Hope has a Name, and His Name is Jesus Christ…and underneath are His everlasting arms.~

God bless you, dear hearts.

Ever yours in Christ,

Crista ( 

Welcome ~

The purpose of this blog is to encourage our walk in Christ; together in Him; for as we develop our relationship with the Lord, we ARE more than conquerors through Christ Jesus! Praise God! My writings are mostly from an experiential standpoint; however sometimes this includes dreams and visions. (Comments are reviewed prior to posting.)