I am sure all who live in America have memories of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Here are mine: It was my mother who called me on the morning of 9/11/01 to tell me to turn on the TV. I watched as the planes crashed into the North and South towers, killing nearly 3,000 people. It was shocking and a devastating blow to those of us who live in the United States as well as to the world. It was unthinkable, unbelievable at first. Certainly we want to remember and give thanks to all those whose lives were taken by this act of evil.
However, I was already suffering with the news I had heard only one month earlier. The man I loved, who had been sent by God to be my husband, was told he had only 6 months to live. He was fighting for his life. He would fight the diagnosis and God would give him victory to live 3½ more years. But on March 7, 2005, at the age of 56, God took him home. At that time I realized heaven was real and God has a purpose for my life. The Tabernacle for a Shadow book is God’s gift to His people. It is to remind them that He is the Comforter. It is meant to show them His love for them in these end time trials.
I am grateful to live in the United States. God has shed His beauty and grace as well as His glory on us. God has given each of his children gifts and talents and abilities to be used for His glory. We are not the only country to suffer devastating problems. Today I am looking beyond the United States into the world that needs to know the love of God that we, as Christians, know. That is why God is seeing to it that His book of His word and His creation, Tabernacle for a Shadow, is going around the world by the hands of those who love Him. These books are His seeds. That is why I look even further than the United States and the world to the next realm: eternal life. Not everybody knows the comfort of God. That is why what Dellnot, an educator who lives in the African country of Liberia, wrote yesterday is such a blessing to me today:
Dear Joseph and Susan,
Thank you very kindly for your kind sentiments and for spreading the word of our need for prayer as we battle against Ebola. As a result of the outbreak our institutions are closed - including schools.
However, I am sure that when the time is right, we will continue our work to bring a mobile laboratory to schools in Paynesville who so desperately need it….
Susan, I just met a young lady from Uganda who I believe could use the Tabernacle for a Shadow. She works here and is unable to go home right now so she is very frightened for her family. I know the Tabernacle for a Shadow will lift her spirits. So that's one more Country added…
A couple of days ago I discovered a commentary about the Bible verse from which the title of the book is taken, Isaiah 4:6. John Gill* (who preached in the same church as C. H. Spurgeon over one hundred years earlier) explains it this way: “And there shall be a tabernacle
Christ, who tabernacled in our nature, and is the minister of the true tabernacle, which God pitched, and not man; who will be spiritually present in the word and ordinances, where the shepherds pitch their tents; and who will be that to his people as shepherds' tents are to them, to which the allusion is: for a shadow in the day time from the heat:
from the heat of a fiery law, which works wrath; from the flaming sword of justice, which calls for vengeance; from the wrath of God, which is poured forth like fire; from Satan's temptations, compared to fiery darts; and from the violence of persecution; for there will be no more after the last struggle of the beast, and the slaying of the witnesses: and for a place of refuge;
until the indignation be over and past: as Christ is a refuge for sensible sinners to flee unto for safety, from avenging justice, and the wrath of God; so he is a place of security, and has his chambers of safety for saints, from all dangers, and from every enemy, (Isaiah 26:20, Isaiah 26:21): and for a covert from storm and from rain;
from the blast of the terrible ones, the antichristian powers, which will be as a storm against a wall, (Isaiah 25:4) this will be the hour of temptation, which will come upon and try them that dwell upon the earth, from which Christ will preserve his faithful ones, (Revelation 3:10) (Isaiah 32:2).”
And this commentary from Matthew Henry** says: “…Their tabernacle shall be a defense to them, Isa. 4:6. God’s tabernacle was a pavilion to the saints (Ps. 27:5); but, when that is taken down, they shall not want a covert (cover): the divine power and goodness shall be a tabernacle to all the saints. God himself will be their hiding-place (Ps. 32:7); they shall be at home in him, Ps. 91:9. He will himself be to them as the shadow of a great rock (Isa. 32:2) and his name a strong tower, Prov. 18:10. He will be not only a shadow from the heat in the daytime, but a covert from storm and rain. Note, In this world we must expect change of weather and all the inconveniences that attend it; we shall meet with storm and rain in this lower region, and at other times the heat of the day no less burdensome but God is a refuge to his people in all weathers.
Note also that each of these commentaries refer to Isaiah 32:2 which is also found on the back inside jacket cover of the Tabernacle for a Shadow book.
So no matter what is going on in the world, let us put our trust in Jesus Christ.
*John Gill's Exposition of the Bible - public domain **Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (1712) – public domain
It is with great joy that I have received confirmation that one Tabernacle for a Shadow book is on its way to Cameroon! Many thanks to Dellnot, a young woman who lives in Liberia, for sending this book to this African country. It is with great concern that I also wish to respond to her request: "Please pray for us as we battle Ebola in our country."
Please join me in prayer for Dellnot and for all the people in Africa, as well as others who are aiding people diagnosed with this terrible illness. The World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency on 8/8/14. The West African countries hit hardest by Ebola are Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. These areas are now seeing the departure of many Western development workers. Liberia, population four million, has fewer than 250 doctors left in the entire country, according to the Liberia Medical and Dental Council. For more information: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/31/world/africa/ebola-virus-outbreak-qa.html
Today a book is traveling to Rwanda. I am thrilled to see another seed planted for the glory of God! Twenty years ago the Rwandan Genocide mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu people by members of the Hutu majority killed an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans during the approximate 100-day period from April 7th to mid-July 1994. (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
While searching for new information on Rwanda this morning, I was encouraged to see a video from World Vision* that shows hope and healing in a once war ravaged country. “Let him know, that he which converts the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." (James 5:20)
I am thankful that one person who lives in the country of Rwanda is taking a book there to bring another example of God's love through the Tabernacle for a Shadow book. Small steps but "if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed...” (Matthew 17:20)
Praise the Lora and Blessings to all!
Today is the 4th of July Independence day celebration in our nation but for me it is also another celebration. It's the 5th Anniversary of the Tabernacle for a Shadow publication! It is a good time to reflect on this past year. It is amazing to me to see the process of this journey. Looking from my perspective, it sometimes seems like a slow moving turtle, but I am thankful that God has given me the opportunity to see the movement of the book from His perspective. This adventure is not about how quickly the book moves, though I am grateful that it IS moving in a way that I can see - by numbers and countries, but about the faithfulness of God as He moves in my life and the lives of others through this process. I can see the blessings that it brings to others, such as Reza Karg who sent the message shown on "Languages" posted today. God not only gives me an opportunity to learn and teach with the book, but also I get a great blessing and joy from seeing others learning and growing by the book. Reza volunteered to translate the book into Dutch the day I met him. (you can see his picture in the archives of this section dated 4/26/11. He is seated on the far right of the top picture and I am standing behind him pointing my finger at him!) I think he surprised himself when he realized what he had offered to do, but I know the Holy Spirit led him and so the journey began. Since Reza lives in the country of Suriname, I have not seen him again, yet God has tied our lives together in a way that serves His purpose. Thank you Reza for your willingness to serve God in this manner.
As I reflected back on my writings over his past year, I came across many of the trials I endured throughout the year. The Lord showed me many of the ways it has cost me to follow Him. In May, 2008, I had written what He had asked me, "Will you continue doing the work for me no matter what it costs?" I had answered "Yes" even as I wondered just what costs they would be. Would it be the cost of caring for my mother as she slipped deeper into dementia? Would it be the cost of losing my job? Would it be the financial burden I would carry? Would it be problems with my health? Yes, it would be all these things and more, but it didn't matter. Nothing would be worse than what I had already experienced in my past : darkness and separation from God. The burden Jesus carried for me as He carried that cross to Calvary to free me from sin would be far greater than any cost I could bear. He is my savior. He is my God. He is in control. He can do anything. He has done everything. He has died for me. I will live with Him in eternity. He is calling all to Him. Can you hear?
Fourth of July was the 4th anniversary of the Tabernacle for a Shadow book distribution! In 2009 it was a party at Tim and Debbie Braden's house and the first time the books were publically available for purchase. Even before that, friends Rick and Deb Rice had purchased 100 books the day they arrived, because Rick was one of the men that helped unload the truck when it arrived at my door. In some ways it seems like a long time ago, yet in other ways it seems like yesterday!
Many things have changed and I have met many people over this 4 year journey, but one thing remains the same: the love and faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Another joy for me was to present my pastor and his wife, Michael and Teresa Bannon with one of my framed photographs that was given as a gift by Crossroads Church members, Brian and Sally Oxley.
It was wonderful to realize that this past Sunday, June 30th, was the 7 year anniversary of the date the Lord gave me the mission to make the Tabernacle for a Shadow Book and the day the cover photo was taken!
I thank the Lord that the photograph will be hanging in the foyer of the church directly across from the Tabernacle for a Shadow Book on display. My church family has grown to include people from churches all over the country and missionaries all over the world! Thank you God for choosing me as a vessel for your glory!
I recently joined the Naples Art Association and was happy to have the opportunity to display this framed photograph at the Members 2D-3D Art Exhibition for the month of April. This is the first time I have publicly shown any artwork that was not derived from the Tabernacle for a Shadow Book.
It appears that God is giving me the opportunity to show more new photographs. This month I entered a photograph in the “all media” Words, Signs and Symbols Exhibition. The theme of this juried exhibition was to create work that incorporated some kind of
symbol or words that communicated a deeper meaning. This past Friday was the reception for the artists and was a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and see not only the art for the Words, Signs and Symbols show, but also the La Casa Latin American Art Exhibition running simultaneously now through June 1st. If you have not yet been to the Von Liebig Art Gallery, I encourage you to go.
There are many interesting art pieces to see ( look for mine - I won't show it here - you will have to find it there!) and there are also many classes offered for both adults and children throughout the year.
This year's Storyteller's Conference, held at the beautiful Covenant Presbyterian Church in Naples was another wonderful experience! There were many gifted Christian artists at the two-day affair. I had the opportunity to meet other authors and artists from the local area as well as from other states. A very special thank you to Bill Barnett, who orchestrated the whole affair, and to all the people who met to help each other to glorify God in the way He has called them. Above is one of the two framed original photographs from the Tabernacle for a Shadow book that was sold.
Yesterday I received a tremendous blessing when the book count reached 1000 books! It was met with the help of Brian and Sally Oxley and Pierre and Christine Andrews. A special thank to these two couples for blessing me with purchases to reach that goal. Thank you also to Sara Dorna and Joseph Cofield and all the many others who have purchased books to give to others. Praise the Lord and I thank God for all of you! Please continue to pray for each other and to pray for the books to continue to be distributed around the country and around the world.
It was wonderful to see old friends and meet new ones, as well as encourage children and young adults in their special gifts. The event is always well organized and very well done. Thank you to Linda Shaw and all who put such love and effort into successfully bringing together the Christian and local community. May you be greatly blessed. Also thank you to those who purchased books for friends and family at this event. There certainly were many gifted artists. Praise the Lord!
It has been a difficult and blessed year. The Letter of James (James 1:2 KJV) says to "count it all joy" and that is what I am doing! Praise the Lord for the good He has done! Joseph had a goal by the end of 2011 to have 900 books "out there preaching God's Word" with the Tabernacle for a Shadow book. Thank you Joseph, Sally, Christine & Pierre, Dan and Joan who helped us pass that goal and end the year with 906! Now here it is two weeks into the new year and we are at 921. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness. What is so wonderful to me is to see how the books are being shared. What a blessing to see people giving them as gifts to their families, their pastors, chaplains, soldiers, missionaries and friends. I would never have dreamed that God would do such an awesome thing in my life. I know God has much more planned. I hope to see the Spanish version in print this year and more distribution for the books into other countries. I know it isn't thousands of books out there, but to know that even a few books are in the hands of missionaries and are used as teaching tools is such an amazing thing! Just one book placed in the right hands can do so much to bless many others. Thank you Lord for everyone who has joined in this journey to spread the good news of the gospel. As your Word says, you don't just add blessings, you MULTIPLY THEM! May you multiply Your blessings this year to everyone who has joined in this journey. Amen!