Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blessed are Those who are Persecuted Because of Righteousness, for Theirs Is the Kingdom of Heaven

Hi Friends~

Well, the hurricane has passed over Florida.  At our home we had minimal damage...but we are fine.  The ability to use my computer during the storm has been cut down to nothing the last few days, and it isn't exactly sunny out right now.  I'll see if I can get this posted before today's storm hits.

Please join us as we pray for the people and property that are in, and will be in the path of Hurricane Isaac.  Even when they turn to Tropical Storms PLEASE take them seriously.  About 1/4 of our garage ceiling was put in a vacuum with the roof, and then the ceiling was smashed through to the ground.  No one was hurt.  And, we can get it taken care we are very fortunate.  Others may not be as fortunate.  Thank you for praying with us for others.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in Heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." 
(Matthew 5:10-12)
Today I am sharing from the writing of Pastor Janey L. Demeo. She wrote an article on this Beatitude that was published in 2003 in the November/December edition of Discipleship Journal. Here are some of her thoughts:
"How can persecution equal blessing?  I remember wondering.  How can someone anticipate future rewards when experiencing unjust pain now?"  I was too young in my Christian walk to know how to grapple with these Verses, so I simply tucked them away in a corner of my mind.
I moved to France with my husband, where we founded the Nimes Theological Institute.  In recent years (remember this was written in 2003), the French culture has grown increasingly hostile to the Gospel, and we have suffered persecution.
One of the most dramatic attacks resulted in four cars on our campus being fire bombed.  Other forms of persecution have been more subtle, but no less demoralizing.  In spite of our affiliation with many well-known, mainstream theologians, our school was erroneously cited as a cult by the French government.  Consequently, students and church members have been ostracized, maligned, and denied jobs.  In this context I've had the unlooked-for opportunity to revisit Jesus' teaching and to ponder more deeply the connection between persecution and blessing.
Sometimes I still wonder:  Where's the blessing in this?  Other times, I remember that my friend's love for Christ Jesus had been tested and purified through torture.  He was blessed by a deep awareness of his Savior's victorious, indwelling presence--a foretaste of the kingdom to come.  There- in, I believe, lies the secret of the blessing Jesus promised.
The word blessing signifies an inner well-being that's independent of our circumstances.  We may not feel blessed when we're under attack.  But, if we can focus on the joy set before us--as Jesus did--remembering that unmerited suffering reaps an eternal weight of glory, we'll be empowered to persevere.  (Heb. 12:12)
As I have found myself thrust into fierce Spiritual opposition, I have begun to experience the unlikely blessing that accompanies persecution.  Slowly my eyes have been opened to see how this Beatitude embodies our hope.
If we are growing in Christ, unjust affliction will eventually come our way:  "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also" (Jn.  15:20)  The more we manifest Christ, the more we become candidates for persecution "because of righteousness."  If is, after all, the righteousness of Christ in us that is being attacked.
When Pastor Demeo shared about not understanding how persecution could equal a blessing at the beginning of this excerpt, I was reminded of something I would like to share with you:
That is that the more I read the Bible...over and over each year...the more He reveals to me.  Sometimes He shows me an example that makes it more clear to me.  Sometimes it is as if I never read that section at all.  The biggest occasion was when I was Jewish and He unsealed my eyes, and made everything so true...THE TRUTH.  No doubt about it. (I was dared to read the Bible, so I prove him wrong.  Boy, was I surprised!)  I had never thought of Jesus as anymore than a teacher, a wise man who existed.  That is what most, if not all Jews believe.  Well, when I was Saved...I believed everything He said, everything He told about!  It was as if He had taken the cement off my eyes.  Or like in the Bible where He gives the man sight again.  My eyes were opened THAT much! 
So, the more you read, the more you pray and listen for a response...the more He will make clear to you.  And, yes, you can even pray to have a better understanding of a part of the Bible or a closer relationship with Him.  You can talk with Jesus about anything!  I almost always start my reading time with a quick prayer asking for clear understanding of what He wants me to get out of what I will be reading that day.  Try it.  And, we will be happy to pray for you also, if you put your request in the comment section.  If you would like to be a part of the He IS Able Prayer Team, please leave a comment or email Traci.  My email is on the side bar.
Please also, pray for those who are severely punished for reading the Bible, having one, gathering with Christians, or praying.  For the persecution we read about is still in existence in a horrible way around the world.  We have readers from all over the world...many from countries where they would be thrown in jail for reading Scriptures.  Please pray for their safety, and for their desire to take in His Word  to grow and grow.
I am so glad you are here...and I hope you learned as much about the Beatitudes in the past weeks, as I have in the past few months studying them.  May God bless you.
He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Prayer Request....please join us

Hi Friends!

I received an email from a guest asking me to please post a prayer request.  I am happy to have you post your requests in the comment section, or I will post it here...where everyone who is willing, can lift up this situation.

We will still have Tuesday's post on the Beatitude, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matthew 5:10) 

And, anyone who leaves a comment before Wednesday at midnight will be eligible to win our He IS Able Card Set of the Week!  Sadly, I can only afford to mail packages to addresses in the United States. Please don't let that keep you from leaving a message...we want to know you were here!

Here is the prayer request I received, please let your heart guide you:

Please add my Dear Husband's niece to your prayer list. Her newborn baby was born with Down Syndrome and will need numerous surgeries over the next few weeks. She and her DH are very worried. They have a 4 yr with Asperger Syndrome. Anonymous.
I am also praying for the parents to lean to the Lord for comfort and strength, and for the whole family to have patience, and to keep praying for that miracle.  They happen.
Thank you for adding  this person's request to your prayer time.  It is so obvious to us that you have beautiful, God loving or searching, hearts.
He IS Able!  (This is the perfect example of why this phrase was chosen as the title of this blog.  To remind us that nothing is impossible.  To remember how big He is...much bigger than our trials.  He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Winner of the Card Set of the Week Announced

Hi Friends~ 

I hope you have been enjoying your week.  Mine has been fabulous!  We received a call from my son Josh on Friday telling us he would be home Monday night!  We are so excited and so proud of him.  He will be here for 3 weeks.  He will be working with recruiters for 2 weeks, doing filing and things like that.  Thank you to those of you who left comments sharing in my happiness and joy of seeing my son.

I am happy to announce the recipient of the He IS Able blog's Card Set of the Week!  Congratulations, Gemiel!  Your name was randomly chosen, and you will receive 3 cards!  All you need to do is email me before next Wednesday and give me your mailing address!  If you live in the United States, I will be very happy to mail them to you.  Here is my email address:

All you need to do to be entered for next week is leave a comment in the comment section about anything.  Any prayer request, question, comment about your relationship with our Lord, Christ Jesus...anything!  Just be sure to do it each week before Wednesday at Midnight!  And, to check back on Thursday to see if your name was randomly chosen.

There will be another post on Tuesday, it is the last in our Series of the Beatitudes.  We will read and share about the Scripture that reads, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."  (Matthew 5:10)  I hope you will be here to read and contemplate and share your thoughts in the comment section.  Thanks so much for being here today!

He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

More About Being Pure in Heart and Seeing God

Hi Everyone~

We were sharing about the Beatitude back on July 24th.  Somehow, when I automatically set it to post, it didn't.  This was one of the sections to do with this Scripture: "Blessed are the PURE in HEART, for THEY will SEE GOD." (Matthew 5:8)  Please feel free to scroll and find the post from the 24th to refresh your mind with where we left off.  Sorry about the confusion!  Computers!  Can't live with them...Can't live without them!  I don't want to do that again! 

God longs for our view of Him to grow wider and clearer and brighter, so that the "glass" through which we see "darkly" at last gives way to our encounter with Him "face to face." (1 Corinthians 13:12)  To see Him is to know Him, and to know Him is to love Him, shares Paul Thigpen as we continue to share his insights in this second part of this Beatitude from the Discipleship Journal of Nov./Dec. 2003.

Unfortunately, sin has blinded us, leaving our spiritual eyes swollen shut.  Only the healing light of divine grace can restore our sight, can begin to open our eyes to the glory of the one who calls us to Himself.

Most often, God is not in view simply because we aren't paying attention to Him.  We are otherwise occupied.  Recall how the 10 lepers were miraculously healed by our Lord, yet 9 of them dashed off to celebrate without even a backward glance or a word of thanks.  (Luke 17:11-19)  In much the same way, we receive "grace upon grace" (John 1:16), only to desert our Redeemer again and again in our pursuit of lesser things.  Our distractions blind us to God. All the while the Father stands close by, waiting for us to turn around and run into His arms.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."  (Matthew 5:8)

In this context, we must understand pure to mean what is intended when we say, for example, "pure gold"--that is, unmixed, unadulterated, unalloyed.  If our vision of God is to grow wider, clearer, and brighter, our will must be united in a single focus on Him and on an overriding desire to know and love Him.

"We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another."
(2 Corinthians 3:18)

That is why the pure in heart are blessed.  If we desire the holiness, the goodness, and the beauty of God above all things, then we will in the end see face to face to what we have desired.  We will become holy and good and beautiful--like Him--and we will experience utter blessedness.

I thank those of you who have been praying for my healing.  My mother has asked for me not to go into details, but to ask for your prayers for healing.  God knows what she means.  Please lift both of my Jewish parents up, as you have me and our other guests as they leave requests.  I thank you for doing this with all of my heart. 

He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS, for THEY will be called SONS OF GOD

Hi Friends~

I have so much to share today.  First off, I would like to congratulate my son, Airmen 1st Class Josh Simring, for graduating his training class on Friday!  I wish we could have been there, but no outsiders allowed.  He had a few of his friends take photos.  Joshua is trained to work on all of the electronics of an aircraft.  Ever look into a cockpit?  Ever see all of those dials?  Electronic gadgets!  He will be home some time before November to work at the enlistment center for two weeks...we can see him at night and week-ends!  And, then he will be taking a week of leave to spend with all of the family before he heads off to his base for the next 2 England...not Florida.  We could not be more proud of who he has becoming...we just wish it was in our neighborhood!  Congratulations, Josh, we love you!  "I am trusting God for everything."  "I am trusting God for everything."  "I am..."


Secondly, I would like to announce the two people whose names were eligible for the He IS Able Blog's Card Set Give-Away!  These people left comments during the past two weeks, when I didn't pull names for this give-away.  They left comments in the comment section about anything that was on their mind.  It may have been about the writing of that day, a prayer need, praying for some one else, or sharing their favorite Bible person, Scripture or story.  It could have been about anything!  Please send me your snail mail address, if you live in the US...since that is the only place I can afford to mail things to.  My email is on the side bar...please send it by NEXT Wednesday at Midnight, to receive your beautiful cards.  It is our hope that you will share the cards in concert with our Mission Statement:
  "Sharing His Love, His Word, His Gift of Salvation through Cards!"

1.  "Hi Traci and may He be your peace and strength, comforter. Yes, He is able! And thank you for sharing your lovely work!" on For They Will See God...lugarandcompany

2.  We also received a comment from Karen Conner, a member of our Prayer Team here at the He IS Able blog.  She asked to pass on this message to each of you:  (given with permission)  Paula Pike, a friend dealing with cancer, is having a birthday the end of this week.  We'd love to shower her with birthday cards!  Please contact Traci through her email (on the side bar) for her mailing address!  Karen, the He IS Able blog will be happy to send Paula a card full of prayer for her.


"Blessed are the Peacemakers, for They will be Called Sons of God."  (Matthew 5:9)

And now, I will share some of what Mark Buchanan wrote about the above Beatitude in the Nov./Dec. 2003, issue of Discipleship Journal.

"In the Beatitudes, Jesus pronounces the most unlikely people blessed; the meek, the mournful, the poor and hungry; those persecuted, assaulted, insulted.  Blessed are the paupers, the vagabonds, the bruised, the losers.  It's in this list that Jesus places the peacemaker, a close cousin to the famished and the bankrupt.  We despise peacemakers at the very moment we need them most. 

Recently my wife and I had lunch with a missionary couple, Gordon and Regine King.  They are extraordinary in many ways, but this stands out:  They have become peacemakers in a blood-soaked land, Rwanda.  Regine is from Rwanda, and she lived barely--through that country's genocide in 1994.  She lost many members of her family.  For several months, she lived a scavenging, scrabbling existence, hiding in the shadows, running.  Always running.  During the genocide, when all she had was her sister's Bible, Regine met Jesus in a way she had never met Him before.  That Bible became her bread, water, air.  She met the Prince of Peace, the one who became her peace and ours, who made peace through His blood, who broke down dividing walls and brought those far away near.  (Eph. 2:13-18*)  Jesus gave her His peace.  Then He gave her (and her husband, Gordon) a commission:  Freely give what you've freely received. 

Be peacemakers.

In a recent letter, her brother, Innocent, summed up just how costly that work is.  Innocent is now a schoolteacher in Rwanda.  Ten years ago, the parents of the children he teaches were wielding clubs and machetes, slaughtering without mercy.  "It's hard," Innocent writes, "to love the children of those who tried to kill you."  Yet, he does.  And, Regine does.  They have discovered a peace in Christ that is not from this world and that overcomes this world.

Peacemakers do what God Himself has done, making sons and daughters out of bitter enemies, feeding and clothing them, blazing a trail to Heaven straight through their houses.

No wonder they will be called sons of God."

 *"At one time you were far away from God. But now you belong to Christ Jesus. He spilled his blood for you. That has brought you near to God.
 Christ Himself is our peace. He has made Jews and non-Jews into one group of people. He has destroyed the hatred that was like a wall between us.  Through His body on the cross, Christ put an end to the law with all its commands and rules. He wanted to create one new group of people out of the two. He wanted to make peace between them.
 He planned to bring both of them as one body back to God because of the cross. Christ put their hatred to death on that cross.  He came and preached peace to you who were far away. He also preached peace to those who were near.  Through Christ we both come to the Father by the power of one Holy Spirit." (Ephesians 2:13-18)

What a "jaw-dropping" story.  To be able to put all of that hatred away, and serve the children of the people who killed her family and friends!  How faithful!  I pray that I would be so forgiving, so faithful.   I know we are supposed to be.  But, I pray, if it ever came down to it, that He would work through me...and let me be a good example of a Christian.  Do you know what I mean?  Do you ever feel like that?

I was just doing some cleaning up behind the scenes of the blog...and I see that a post that I had "automatically" scheduled never showed up.  It was part of the Beatitude that reads:  "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."  The first part of this Scripture was posted on Tuesday, July 24th.  If you would like to arrow down to that post and re-acquaint yourself with it, I will re-post it on Tuesday.  The week after that we will finish up our series on the Beatitudes and actually share some cards I have made.

Thank you so much for being here!  Please check out the comments there may be prayer requests listed that you could help lift up.  God bless!

He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather

p.s.  (Let's show Paula some real He IS Able blog love, by each sending her a card!  If  you email me, please put He IS Able in the subject section.  I read and answer those emails sometimes hours, sometimes days before the others.)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

For They Will See God...

Hi Friends~

I am sorry that I did not post on Tuesday.  I went away with Dave this past weekend, and have had a terrible migraine, along with terrible pain through-out my body since.  I went on a ride that I shouldn't have gone on.  It bumped and swerved and my spine just can't take that.  I knew about it, but wanted to go on it for about 20 years!  It was the child in me vs. the adult in me.  The child won...the adult pays.

I will do my best to post the winner of The He IS Able Blog Card Set Winner and the second part of the "Blessed are the Pure in Heart, for They will See God" on Friday.  Please forgive me for being late again.

Also, it is taking three times as long to type...every few letters that I type, they pop in anywhere I have already typed!  For example:  The "h" in "anywhere" kept popping in to the word "Tuesday" on the first sentence.  I hope this somehow gets fixed.  Please let it be a blogger problem, and not my computer!

God bless, and I hope to see you here on Friday or Saturday!  (Depending how fast I can get the letters to type properly.)  It is a great post!

He IS Able!
Traci S.