Saturday, August 31, 2013


Most of you know about Danielle Loftus.  I have written about her here before.  She is now 17 years old but when she was just 14 she was injured in a jet ski accident.  She has been in a semiconscious state ever since.  

Her family is an amazing testament to faith in God!  They hold firmly to the fact that she will be completely healed and restored in this world.  Even though outwardly she shows little progress they cling to the hope of the Lord.  They believe in His promises.  But in the meantime they painstakingly care for her.

This is not an easy task and while they do have their moments but overall they live a very positive life.  It is amazing to see this faith not just in her parents but in her younger sisters as well.  If you ever have times that you may be feeling sorry for yourself just go to and in no time you will realize how petty your problems truly are.

I was listening to Danielle's mother, Lynell, recount the story of Danielle's accident.  She told about the initial event, the helicopter lift to another hospital, the excruciating days of not knowing whether she would live or die.  The night she and her husband surrendered Danielle to the Lord and the promise they received that she would be healed.

Those days grew into weeks, months, and now years.  There have been very small signs of recovery but Danielle still needs constant care.  She still has no motor skills.  She must still be fed through a feeding tube.  Everything must be done for her.

As Lynell was telling this she was asked how she could keep thinking Danielle would still be healed?  Wasn't she just setting herself up for disappointment?  Lynell's response still rings in my ears.  She said, "If I did not have hope, how could I go on?  It is that hope every morning that gives me the energy I need for that day."

It immediately reminded me of the Scripture I had just been reading in Lamentations.

Lamentations 3:22-24 (New Living Translation)

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
    therefore, I will hope in him!”

I can still hear my Mom's sweet voice singing as she worked around the house.  She loved to sing hymns.  One that she liked to sing was Great Is Thy Faithfulness.  The end of it goes like this:

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

God is faithful.  His promises are true.  His love is everlasting.  Hallelujah!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Refuse Him Not

I have quite a few notebooks with Dad's sermon notes.  One seemed to jump off the book shelf tonight.  I picked it up and turned right to a page that was dated 11/10/1957 - exactly one week after I was born.  This intrigued me.

Dad had titled it "Refuse Him Not".  It is just an outline on one page with the traditional three points and several bullets under each point.  Dad used Hebrews 12:25 as his main Scripture text.  He had this portion typed out in his notes: "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh".  Of course, this is the King James Version but the meaning is clear.  Dad went on to explain the various ways we refuse to listen to God as well as some reasons we should listen.

He pointed out that this was a personal warning; a positive warning; a present warning; a purposeful warning; and a passionate warning.  I can just hear Dad preaching this.  I know he would have been passionate in his delivery because he had a heart for people.  He did not preach to condemn but to transform.
Dad's last point under the heading explaining why we should listen simply said this: "Because of the Spirit that moves him to speak.  'God so loved the world...'  The strongest force in the universe."  That is the point that struck me the hardest.  Love is the strongest force in the universe.  It was because of this force that Mom and Dad dedicated their lives to spreading the Gospel.

This is why I know it is so important to forgive Jose.  Because God so loved the world.  Because God so loved Jose.  He gave His only Son for Jose just as much as He gave His Son for me

Is there someone God is nudging you to forgive?  Time is too short on this earth.  Love as God loves you.  Forgive as God forgives you.  If you have not experienced the transforming power of God's love, I pray that today you will allow Him to become Lord of your life. 

Hebrews 12:25-28 (New Living Translation)

 Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 

An unshakable Kingdom.  What a wonderful promise!  May we all heed His voice.  Refuse Him not.

Monday, August 5, 2013


My Dad's family had their reunion in July.  It was a wonderful event as always.  There were over 90 people present.  Most families would consider that to be enormous but it is about average for the Willingham clan.  It is a weekend affair and family members literally come from all over the world to get together.  We begin on Friday evening with a cookout and end on Sunday with our own church service followed by a luncheon.

I was honored to be able to share briefly with the family on that Sunday about the hearing and some of the details of Mom and Dad's case.  Since the hearing this has been on my heart to share with all of you.  I have just struggled to actually put into words what I was feeling.

Time and again I have stated and even shared through this blog that I offer forgiveness to the young man, Jose, who confessed to participating in the murders and has been charged with stabbing them to death.  I sincerely meant that but I had never been in the same room as Jose.  I prayed earnestly before the hearing that I would still be able to offer forgiveness after seeing him in person.  God answered my prayer!

As I was sitting the small courtroom it struck me that there was not one person there in support of Jose.  Keep in mind that this young man is from Springfield, MO.  He has many family members living right there.  No one came to court on his behalf.  No one.

There were some people there who had dealings with him before and were there to make sure he was not getting out this time either.  Of course, several of our family members were there.  It truly broke my heart to think of this young man having to face this all alone.  I was able to feel forgiveness for him in my heart and even offered up a prayer as I sat there looking at the side of his face.  Even as he sat emotionless through the horrific testimony.  Even when he shook his head disagreeing with something the detective on the witness stand said.  My heart broke for him.

Yes, I still want to see justice done.  Yes, I am still praying he will have a change of heart and plead guilty so our family does not have to suffer through the trial process but I will still pray for him.  I pray for his salvation.  I pray for his family and the heartbreak I am sure they are feeling.  I am praying that God will be glorified through it all.

I am so grateful for my family.  I am grateful that they support my brothers and me.  I am grateful that they love the Lord and serve Him with all their hearts.  I am grateful for their prayers on my behalf.  I am so blessed!

2 Samuel 7:28-29 (The Message)

 “And now, Master God, being the God you are, speaking sure words as you do, and having just said this wonderful thing to me, please, just one more thing: Bless my family; keep your eye on them always. You’ve already as much as said that you would, Master God! Oh, may your blessing be on my family permanently!”

And, Lord, please bless Jose and his family.  Give them peace.  Return their honor.  In Jesus' mighty name, Amen.