Heart Keepers Ministries

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by Debbie on January 15, 2011

By now most of us have returned those unwanted Christmas gifts and purchased what we really wanted or perhaps we just got a refund. It seems every year I am returning something that someone in my family did not like. We have all decided to be honest and just admit if we don't like a gift that we received. We have learned not to be offended if someone does not like our gift. It certainly makes our gift giving more enjoyable.

As I was wrapping gifts this year, I was wondering how many of those gifts I would be returning to the store. While I was wrapping gifts, God reminded me of a gift that, in my opinion, was the worst gift I had ever received. When I was in the second grade, we were asked to bring a gift to exchange with our classmates. I was so excited and was certainly hoping to get a doll or some sort of fun toy to play with. The day finally arrived to exchange our gifts and I was still so excited. I opened my gift only to be despairingly disappointed. I can not explain to you how sad my heart felt. I am sure you are wondering what kind of gift would make me so sad. The gift was a book of candy lifesavers. I tried to exchange it with others, who had what I considered better gifts, but no one wanted my gift. I had to watch as others played with dolls and fun toys and I remember trying to hold back the tears. You may be wondering why I was so unhappy with candy. What young child would not want candy, right? I did not want it because I was raised in a Mom and Pop store and I had free access to all the lifesavers and any other kind of candy, chips, colas, ice cream or food that I wanted. However, I did not have access to a lot of toys or dolls. It was very rare that we received toys or had the luxury of going shopping. Needless to say, I went home that day very sad with only a book of lifesavers. I am not sure what I did with them but I can assure you that I did not enjoy them, even if I did eat them. All I remember is how disappointed I was about the gift I received. I have relived that day in mind so many times and it has always been a sad childhood memory, until this year.

As I was remembering that sad day this year, God began to show me that book of candy lifesavers was just a foretaste of a wonderful sweet gift that he would be giving me one day. Little did I know at that time how much I would need a "Lifesaver." Many years later I found myself in another despairing situation and I cried out to God through a prayer and in return he gave me a sweet Lifesaver. That Lifesaver is Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for the day that God answered that prayer. I can tell you that when I remember that day and that "Lifesaver" gift I do not get sad. I am also thankful for something else now! That book of candy lifesavers. I wish that I had that book of lifesavers today to remind me that I serve a God who knows exactly what I need even before I do, or before I ask.

One of my very favorite hymns is "Love Lifted Me". I'll let the words to the first verse describe how my Lifesaver rescued me:

I was sinking deep in sin, Far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, Sinking to rise no more;
But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, Now safe am I.
Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.

I used to play this song over and over on the piano for my Mom and Dad. To be honest, I think it may have hurt their ears but thankfully it stayed in my heart. How awesome is God to allow me to receive that book of candy lifesavers many years ago. He knew that a "Lifesaver" would be the most wonderful gift I would ever need or receive.

What about you? Have you received some gifts in your lifetime that you wanted to exchange or return? Most importantly have you received Jesus? Are you in a situation that you need to be rescued from? Is there an addiction in your life that you feel hopeless about? Do you need a Lifesaver? Jesus is ready and willing to reach out to save you. How do I know? Because he did it for me and not only for me, but so many others. The disciple Peter is one of those who needed a Lifesaver too. Let Peter's story show what a Great and Mighty Lifesaver Jesus is for all of us.

Matthew 14:22-33
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, "it's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
28 "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29 "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

Peter chose to be foolishly stubborn and doubt that Jesus was the one walking on the water. He had so much doubt that he wanted Jesus to prove that it was really him who was walking on the water and not some ghost. So he boldly gave Jesus a command. Jesus accepted that command, so Peter found himself out of the boat, walking on water toward Jesus. However, he took his eyes off Jesus and saw the wind, became afraid and began to sink. What Peter did next was not so foolish or stubborn. He cried out, "Lord save me!". What did Jesus do? He immediately reached out his hand and caught him and kept him from sinking. What did Jesus do next? He questioned Peter about having little faith and about his doubting. What did Jesus do next? He climbed into the boat with the disciples and the wind died down.

Are you being foolishly stubborn and doubting that Jesus can do miraculous things, like walking on the water? Could Jesus say, "You of little faith, why do you doubt?" I hope you are not in a storm right now or in a place of doubt and fear about something in your life. However, if you are in a situation where things are coming against you, or if there is a sin that is causing you to sink, let me encourage you. Jesus is just waiting for you to cry out, "Lord, save me!" What will he do next? He will reach out to you, he will encourage you about your faith and he will get "into the boat" with you. You will not be alone in your situation anymore. You will not be sinking far from shore. He is the Lifesaver that is waiting to save you and calm the storm in your life. He can do miraculous things. Will you take your eyes off the storm and your sins and cry out to him and allow him to save you and help you in your situation? I hope so, because I can tell you that he is not a disappointing "Lifesaver" like the candy ones I received years ago. He has proven to be faithful time and again. Will you let him reach out to you and get in your "boat" today?

The last verse of "Love Lifted Me", sums it all up:

Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves,
He will lift you by His love, Out of the angry waves;
He's the Master of the sea, Billows His will obey;
He your Saviour wants to be-Be saved today.
Love Lifted me! Love Lifted me!
When nothing else could help, Love lifted me.

Let his love lift you out of your despairing situation or sin today. He is ready, willing and very able to be your Lifesaver. Cry out to him today! He will immediately reach out to you and keep you from drowning in your situation or sin, whatever it might be! Have faith! Don't doubt! Let love lift you out!

Dear Jesus,
I confess I feel like I am sinking at times. Sometimes I feel like I am sinking deep in sin and
other times I feel like I am sinking due to watching others sin. Either way, I realize that I need
to be rescued. I, like Peter, do not want to sink. I too cry out to you, "Lord, save me!" I believe
that you will reach out to me immediately and keep me from sinking and that you will get into
the boat with me. Thank you that you are able to calm me and calm the storms and situations
in my life that seem hopeless and cause me to doubt and have little faith. Thank you for being
my Lifesaver. I want nothing more than to have your love lift me out of all these situations
that are causing me to be fearful, doubtful or causing me to sink deeper in sin. In Jesus name I ask
and pray, Amen.



by Debbie on July 10, 2010

My cat Moon is a beautiful Russian Blue!  Russian Blues have a gray, wooly coat of fur, a large face and large round green eyes.  He is so sweet that we call him Moon Pie.  He absolutely loves attention.  When I am busy and he does not seem to think that he is receiving all my attention he will lie flat on his back and look at me upside down with his big green eyes and if I don't notice him right away he will let out a pitiful meow to get my attention.  I always stop what I am doing and look directly at him and say " I see you".  One day as he was lying there flat on his back and I was saying "I see you", a thought came to my mind.  Moon is an "intensive care unit (ICU).  We rescued Moon after he had been abandoned by his previous owner.  We found out through various circumstances that Moon is a sickly cat and will always need intensive care.  He requires a lot of attention, love, and vet visits.  My family and I have grown to love him dearly.  He seems to be so grateful to have the intensive care that we offer him.

As I pondered the thought of Moon being an "intensive care unit".  It made me think of how we are all really "intensive care units".  We all have a disease called sin that makes us sickly and requires that we receive a lot of attention and love from a loving heavenly Father.  Sometimes we all are flat on our backs and in desperate need for God to see us and hear us.  It reminded me of a story of a woman who had been put in a bad situation and ended up being abandon by those who she thought cared for her.  Here is her story....

Genesis 16

Hagar and Ishmael

1 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her."
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, "You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me."6 "Your servant is in your hands," Abram said. "Do with her whatever you think best." Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.

7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 8 And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?"
"I'm running away from my mistress Sarai," she answered.

9 Then the angel of the LORD told her, "Go back to your mistress and submit to her." 10 The angel added, "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count."

11 The angel of the LORD also said to her:
"You are now with child
and you will have a son.
You shall name him Ishmael, [a]
for the LORD has heard of your misery.

12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone's hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward [b] all his brothers."

13 She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen [c] the One who sees me." 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi [d] ; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.

15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne.16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Genesis 21:8-21

Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away

8 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, "Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac."11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, "Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring [b] will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring."

14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the desert of Beersheba.

15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down nearby, about a bowshot away, for she thought, "I cannot watch the boy die." And as she sat there nearby, she [c] began to sob.

17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation."

19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.

There was a lot of sin involved in this story if you ask me.  Everyone in this story needed intensive care!  Our focus is on Hagar for now though.  She may have caused some of her need for intensive care but don't we all.  She however was not neglected by God.  He saw her and heard her when she was flat on her back.  When Sarah and Abraham abandoned her she was not abandoned by God.  He took care of her, encouraged her, and gave her his guidance when no one else would.  Without God she would have died in the wilderness.  God saw her and he heard her!
Do you feel abandoned and alone?  Has someone that you loved or cared for stopped loving you and caring for you?  Have they sent you away or walked away from you?  Are you in the wilderness wondering what you are going to do?  I have some good news for you.   God sees you!  Cry out to him!  When you do, he will hear you!  He will stop whatever He is doing and come to your side and give you intensive care.  He knows exactly what you need and what you need to do.  Don't be afraid anymore.  He will make sure that all your needs are met.
1 Peter 5:7 (Amplified Bible)
Casting the whole of your care (all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all) on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

Philippians 4:19 (NLT)
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

My cat Moon had been left in the woods basically to take care of himself and he was not used to that.  He had been an inside cat for all his life therefore he was in terrible shape when we got him. He was skinny and had sores on him and almost died.  He had to spend the night at the vet in intensive care hooked up to an IV.  It is truly a miracle that Moon is alive today.  As I write this he is lying flat on his back looking at me with those beautiful green eyes so I must go give him some intensive care.  I am so thankful that God lead me to adopt him.  I am convinced that when Moon was abandoned to the woods that God saw him and heard his cry and spoke to me to go and rescue Moon.  I am so thankful that I obeyed God and that Moon has the intensive care that he needs now.
I hope that you know that God sees you and hears you no matter where you are and what has happened to you.  He will not abandon you even if everyone else has.  He loves you and he cares intensively for you!   Tell him what you need today and he will see to it that your needs are met.  If he did it for Moon Pie he will certainly do it for you!!
Dear Father who sees me,
Thank you so much that you see me and hear me when I cry out to you.  Thank you for rescuing Hagar and her son when she was abandoned by her husband and Sarah.  Thank you for rescuing Moon when he was abandoned by his owner.  Sometimes I feel alone and abandoned by this big world and I feel as if I am flat on my back and that I may never be able to get up.  Please rescue me and give me intensive care during these times so that all my needs will be met and help me to know that you will never abandon me and that you will always take good care of me regardless of what others do to me.  I love you Lord and I thank you for caring for me so much that you gave your only son Jesus to die for me.  I know that is the greatest act of love and I am sorry if I have ever doubted your love and care for me.  Lord I am crying out to you now....please take care of me!!  I am an intensive care unit and I need your intensive care always.  In Jesus name, Amen!


How Great!

April 17, 2010

Sometimes children can teach us so much.  I was at my monthly hair appointment when I was so amazed by the cutest little boy.  He must have been no more than 5 years old.  His mother is a hair stylist at the same salon and she had brought him in for a much needed hair [...]

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