Friday, December 30, 2011

Letting Go

So 2011 is coming to a close... as I shared in a another post, 2011 has been a blur, but what I do know is that my God had me wrapped up in His everlasting arms every single second of 2011.

I know that I have walked through much darkness... but my God never stopped speaking light into that darkness. His mercies have been new every morning.

In the blur of 2011 I have experienced a healing in my soul like I have never known before... I have grown in His grace and in the knowledge of Him. I don't know how He did it, I just know He did. I know at times it was so very painful... but He wouldn't let me let go... oh my He is so very good!

He made me a new creation and He makes me a new creation... as He continues to shed me of this flesh as I walk through each trial, each temptation, each test that He carefully and purposely sets before me... as I with childlike faith bury my head in his arms and walk forward trusting in His love... oh my He is so very good!

I shared in a Facebook status that I was wondering if something was wrong with me because I had no desire to make resolutions, goals, plans, etc for 2012... I have learned that all that I can do is trust in Him for each moment, each day. 

I am tired of worrying. I instead choose to cast burdens.
I am tired of stressing. I instead choose rest.
I am tired of doubting. I instead choose hope.
I am tired of fear. I instead choose love.
I am tired of jealousy. I instead choose to rejoice.
I am tired of selfish anger. I instead choose humility.
I am tired of bitterness. I instead choose forgiveness.
I am tired of ugly words. I instead choose to speak with grace.
I am tired of wringing my hands over things that are out of my hands. I instead choose to trust.
I am tired of holding on to accounts that are old and stinky and dingy and just need to hed to the shredder of forgiveness. I instead choose to remember only Him.
I am just plain old fed up with concentrating on me. I instead choose to fix my eyes on Christ.

I think I will just let everything stay in His hands in 2012 and I will stay buried and wrapped in His arms and walk when He says walk, stop when He says stop, turn when He says turn, look when He says look, speak when He says speak.  

Will I walk through more darkness?
Oh no doubt!
But I will keep holding on to Him... because I never walk through darkness alone.

If I have to walk though darkness to bring someone else to the Light... then through the darkness I will walk... Jesus walked in it for me. 

If I have to walk through the darkness to rid my new heart of its old ways... then I am ready and willing. I do not know what 2012 holds... but I know Who holds 2012... and He's the same One who holds me.

So 2012 has been handed over to my God and already laid at the foot of the cross of my Savior. Time is not mine. Life is not mine. I am simply a receiver and a beholder by the grace of Him to whom all things belong.

If I could play this song out loud from the heavens you would find me standing in my yard with my arms lifted high and my voice singing His praise as I spun in circles with uplifted hands and face, worshiping my God for all that He is! Singing up to the highest heaven my song of adoration and knowing that from the highest high He hears my song. My song of praise, thanking Him for making me a new creation, and thanking Him for reminding me that I am always a work in progress. Thanking Him for reminding me that though I continue to walk through the valley of the shadow of death here on this earth,.. yes I have no doubt that there will be days of darkness to come... but it is His Light in me, with me, and behind me that cast the shadow. I never walk alone! Oh how I dance for Him! 

All that I can do is give it back to You!
You've taken my old skin and made it new again!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Love Never Fails

Love is patient...
1 Corinthians 13:4

Have you ever looked at the Greek definition of the word patient in this verse?
Patient in the Greek is makrothumeo and it means to be of a long spirit, not to lose heart, to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles, to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others, to be mild and slow in avenging, to be longsuffering, slow to anger, slow to punish.
At the very root of this word is thuo and it means to sacrifice, immolate, to slay, kill, of the paschal lamb, slaughter. Love is patient.

... love is kind and is not jealous;
love does not brag and is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly;
1 Corinthians 13:4-5

The word unbecomingly comes from the Greek word askemon and it means deformed, indecent, unseemly. Love is not deformed or indecent. It is only love when it lines up with the design of God... His form... His image. Love does not act unbecomingly.
Love is not found outside the boundaries of God's divine image and definition... outside the boundaries of our God is only lust and it is easily recognizable because it's not sacrificiall, it's not patient... it's selfish and unseemly. does not seek its own,
is not provoked,
1 Corinthians 13:5

Provoked comes from the Greek word paroxuno and it means to make sharp, sharpen, to stimulate, spur on, urge, to irritate, provoke, arouse to anger, to scorn, despise, provoke, make angry, to exasperate, to burn with anger. Love is not provoked.
It's amazing how much more gentle and understanding we are when we realize that the world does not revolve around us and our wants and desires. If we are not after getting our own way we are so much less likely to burn with anger... it's when we are looking out for our own self-interest that tempers flair. 

...does not take into account a wrong suffered, 
1 Corinthians 13:5

The word wrong in the Greek is kakos and it means of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be, of a mode of thinking, feeling, acting, a base wrong, wicked, troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful.
Love does not add up all the wrongs no matter how wicked or troublesome, injurious they might be and judge another by them. Love does not take into account a wrong suffered.

...does not rejoice in unrighteousness,
but rejoices with the truth; 
1 Corinthians 13:6

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered, yet it still does not rejoice in unrighteousness. It doesn't act like it never happened. It rejoices in the truth. It is truth that sets you free.  

...bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things. 
1 Corinthians 13:7

All things in the Greek is pas and it means individually, each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything, collectively, some of all types. Love puts up with the individuals that hurt us, it forgives the church that failed us, it hopes in the face of every obstacle, it endures any circumstance... It believes love will have the victory.

Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:8

Fails in the Greek is pipto and it means to descend from a higher place to a lower, to fall (either from or upon), to be thrust down, to fall under judgment, came under condemnation, to descend from an erect to a prostrate position, of those overcome by terror or astonishment or grief or under the attack of an evil spirit or of falling dead suddenly, the dismemberment of a corpse by decay, to be cast down from a state of prosperity, to fall from a state of uprightness, to lose authority, no longer have force, to perish, i.e come to an end, disappear, cease, to be removed from power by death.

Love is not removed from its power by death. It always has force. It never loses its authority. Love does not perish. It does not disappear. It does not end. It never falls from it place of uprightness. It can not be degraded. It cannot be destroyed. It can not die. It will never decay. Love never fails.  

Friend, if it fails... it wasn't love.

So, precious one, what do you know of love?
Do you love?
Are you willing to really love?

Love can only be known by the actions it prompts. ~ W.E. Vine

Here in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 God has clearly laid out the actions that real love prompts and yet He has gone even further than to just put it in writing...

But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Names of God - Jehovah

It's time for another post in the Names of God series. We have done a little study on the names Elohim, El Elyon, El Roi, El ShaddaiEl Olam, and Adonia.  Today we will look at the name that God says is His memorial name to all generations... Jehovah.

The first time the name Jehovah is used is in Genesis 2:4, but it is not until the book of Exodus that God lays out the meaning of this name before us to behold it and behold Him. This name of God is the most frequent name of God used in the Scriptures.

Jehovah is the most holy, glorious name of God. It was a name that made the Jews afraid and filled them with awe. It was so sacred that they would not even pronounce it. Did you know that every time they wrote the name Jehovah they would stop, take off their clothes, take a complete bath, put on clean clothes, and then use a pen that had never been used before to write the name Jehovah? That's how holy and sacred this name is for God! ~ Janna Arndt   

I hope knowing this gives you a whole new depth of meaning to the third commandment,

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain,
for the LORD will not leave him unpunished
who takes His name in vain.
Exodus 20:7 

As you read through your Bible you will find the name Jehovah translated as LORD. If you recall the last name we looked at was Adonia, which meant lord or master. The way you know if you are reading Jehovah or Adonia is by the capitalization of the name. Adonia is Lord, only the L is capital. Jehovah is LORD, all letters are capital.

The name Jehovah can also be Yahweh. The Hebrew letters for Jehovah are YHWH. It is unpronounceable to us because there are no vowels. We have changed the Y to J and the W to V and added the vowels e,o,a in order to be able to attempt to pronounce this name of God. Others add only an a and e and say Yahweh. This links the name of God to the Hebrew verb hayah which means to be, to exist.

This name of God, YHWH, which we pronounce Jehovah or Yahweh, implies a Being who is absolutely self-existent. He doesn't need anything outside of Himself to exist. I would say that it is no coincidence that the first time we see this name of God is in connection with Elohim, Creator.

This is the account of the heavens and the earth
when they were created,
in the day the YHWH Elohim
made earth and heaven.
Genesis 2:4 

This passage is the first use of Jehovah in Scripture, but when the meaning and importance of this name is slammed home to us is in Exodus 3:1-15... when Moses meets his God. It is here that Moses cries out to a burning bush that is never consumed though it resides in the midst of fire. Here this man who grew up being taught to serve a plethora of gods ask this God what is your name? Who shall I say has sent me?

God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; 
and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel,
'I AM has sent me to you.'...
This is My name forever,
and this is my memorial-name to all generations." 
Exodus 3:14-15

God is the eternal I AM, He is the Self-existent One, the always present. This was His memorial name to all generations... so when He came to the earth as the Word made flesh...

Jesus said to them,
"Truly, truly, I say to you,
before Abraham was born, I am."
John 8:58

So when He said to them, "I am"
(He is not in the original text),
 they drew back and fell to the ground.
John 18:6   

Yep, His memorial name to all generations...
There is no God like Jehovah!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Overwhelmed With Him

I saw this video today and I was overwhelmed with Him. Overwhelmed that He would trust me with His children. It hit me again like a brick in my chest, that my girls are not mine. They are His. He has allowed me the honor of being a steward over them... and the privilege of being called Momma, but they belong to Him.

I remember talking with some parents one day, they were women that I did not know, and may never see again... and as we talked they were shocked that our girls had chores, that they washed dishes, did laundry, their children where in high school and they did nothing but get waited on.

One thing my husband and I knew from the beginning was that our girls were not just our children. They were a future wife, a future mother, a future employee, a future employer, a future servant of the Most High God. We knew that it was our job to get them ready for life...

The burden became even heavier when the eternal weight began to hit us as we have grown in our own personal walks with the Lord. God has allowed us to babysit His babies. Our job is to train them up in the way of their Father.

I have taken care of other people's kids my whole life. The first thing I always ask is what are your rules? What are they allowed to do, eat, drink? When do they sleep? What are they allowed to watch, read, listen to? How do you discipline? Where are the boundries? Because I want to honor your rules for your children.

If my girls are not mine... if they belong to Him... then I should be asking these same questions to Him. And I should honor His rules for His children. He is watching. The secret camera footage is being stored up. I am being recorded as I love and care for His children.

Sometimes I have to remember that they are my Father's in heaven... it helps with my own attitude with things. It helps me to remember to cherish every moment with them and to make the most of every opportunity. To always point them to Him, their Eternal Father.

I look at my girls and the time is going by so fast... I remember seeing the imprint of their tiny feet pressed up against my skin from within my womb and now they still manage to get up under my skin, but it's more the head-jerking, eye-twitching, pull my own hair out kinda under the skin :-)

So when I have those moments (the head-jerking, eye-twitching, pull my own hair out kinda moments)... and God knew I would have these moments... yet He still chose to trust me with some of the most unbelievably precious girls I have ever known.
Yes, I am overwhelmed with Him.
Overwhelmed with His grace and His choosing...

Dear God, don't let me screw this up!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Love Them to Hell

Giving a thumbs-up when we know better is the worst
kind of mean. We must not encourage friends who
are struggling with sin to simply grit their teeth and
try harder, for they can simply beat it. If they rely on
themselves rather than God, they’ll end up back where
they started—drowning their sorrows in their addictions.

We must also never assure people that regardless of whom they trust or how
they live, a loving God will take them and everyone to heaven. It may seem
harsh to warn people about hell, but if you believe that hell is real, it would be
unspeakably cruel not to tell them. We humbly share bad news, not because
it’s fun but because it’s the first step toward hope.

—Mike Wittmer

This was part of one my email devos this morning... and it reminded me of a conversation I had with my Shelby on our way to church last Wed night. The girls are in the Awana program at our church and Shelby was working on memorizing 2 Peter 1:5-8 and I was explaining to her the importance of accurately memorizing this passage.

Now for this very reason also,
applying all diligence,
in your faith supply moral excellence,
and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 
and in your knowledge, self-control,
and in your self-control, perseverance,
and in your perseverance, godliness, 
and in your godliness, brotherly kindness,
and in your brotherly kindness, love. 
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing,
they render you neither useless nor unfruitful
in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8

We talked about how there are some passages with list in them that if you mix the list up it would not really affect the meaning of the verse, however the list within this passage is in a certain order for a very important reason. So we began to break it down.

I asked her "where is love in this list?"
She said, "last"
I asked her "why is it last?"
She said "I don't know?"
I asked her "Why isn't it first in the list?"
She said "I don't know?"
Then I said, "Do you know that you can "love" someone straight to hell?"
She was silent.

I went on, "What if you "love" someone and you are just always "nice" to them and "love" them no matter what they do, but you never tell them that what they are doing is wrong and never tell them that God's wrath will come on those who continue to live the way they are living because you "love" them too much to hurt their feelings and you don't want them to be upset or mad at you?" 
She said, "Ohhhhh..."
Then I said, "Now lets go back and look at the list."

In her translation, the list started with goodness.
I asked her "where do we get goodness?"
She noticed that it said to add goodness to her faith.
I asked her "what faith?"
She said, "faith in Jesus" and then she went on to explain to me how faith in faith is useless and our faith is only as good the object of our faith... (proud Momma!)
I asked again, "so where do we get goodness?"
And then I shared a passage from the gospels with her...

A ruler questioned Him, saying,
“Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good?
No one is good except God alone.
Luke 18:18-19

She replied, "we get goodness from God!" 
So I asked her "what's next in the list?"
She said "knowledge"
I said, "so we must add knowledge to our goodness and faith and where do we get knowledge?"
She said, "the Bible"
I said, "right, the reason you are memorizing Scriptures and reading the Word of God is so you can add knowledge to your goodness and faith. What comes after knowledge?"
She said, "self-control"
I said, "So as we grow in knowledge you gain self-control, because the truth begins to control you not your emotions. What's next?"
She said, "perseverance"
I said, "if you have self-control what will you do when hard times come?"
She said, "PERSEVERE!"
I said, "right! and what does James tell us about perseverance?"

 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial;
or once he has been approved,
he will receive the crown of life
which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
James 1:12

Then I said "as we persevere through trials and temptations we become more like Christ because He persevered first and we realize more and more how temporary this life and world is. And what's next in the list?"
She said, "godliness"
I said "we can only become like Christ as we persevere through trials and in doing so realize that we count all as loss as compared to knowing Him and being with Him and loving Him and being loved by Him. We also realize that He never lets us down, He always sees us through, He never breaks His Word, and we can trust Him even to death. What's next in the list?"
She said "brotherly kindness"
I asked her, "was Christ kind to everyone?"
She said, "yes"
I said, "we can be kind to all men... even if we don't yet "love" them or even like them, if we have reached godliness after persevering, because we have grown in self-control, so we can control our own actions, because we have grown in knowledge and have realized but for the grace of God there go I, Christ controls us, God controls us, and we make decisions according to our knowledge of Him and His Word and not our own thoughts and feelings. What's next?"
She said, "love"

I said, "Now do you see why love is last?
She said, "YES!"

Could you "love" someone or be kind to someone who was mean to you or others if you did not already pass through the other steps? Or could you tell someone that you really wanted to like you that what they were doing, the way they were living, will send them straight to hell if you had not started with knowledge?

When we reach 2 Peter 1:7 "love", we can love someone enough to tell them that the way they are living, the choices they are making, their unwillingness to submit to the authority of Christ, will send them straight to hell because God's wrath will fall on those who practice such... and we can do it in knowledge with kindness... and because we have reached love through these ways we will never be unfruitful or useless in the kingdom of our God.

We won't "love" people to hell we will love them to the LORD.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Brandmarks of Christ

In my quiet time this morning, the Lord took me to Psalm 22. I suppose it may seem strange to some that as the joyous day of the birth of our Christ quickly and soon approaches... the Lord carried me to His death. The Lord has carried me there quite often these last few days and even weeks. My focus this Christmas season has not been on the birth itself as much as it has been on what He was born to do. He was born to die.

And ladies and gentlemen so where we.
We were born to die to ourselves.
We were born to die to this world.
And it is only in our death that we live.

Reason with me for a moment.
Jesus was God in the flesh.
Born into this world as baby just like you and me.
Jesus did not stay a baby.
He grew.
He aged.
What would have happened if Christ had refused to go to the cross.

I believe He would be a very sad site today.
An eternally alive Spirit trapped in a 2000 year old body of flesh that has aged with the years and suffered the consequences of this natural world.

Where is the glory in that?

Jesus was the Word made flesh that came and dwelt among us. Dwelt in the Greek is skenoo and it means to tabernacle to abide in a tent. Jesus did not come with the virgin birth to set up a permanent residence. He came just to pop a tent and stay a bit.
He showed us that we were not born to set up a permanent residence in this present body of flesh either. God has been trying to tell us that from the beginning.

 For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.
Genesis 3:19

The grass withers, the flower fades,
When the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
Isaiah 40:7

As I read Psalm 22 this morning my heart rested on a particular verse.

For He has not despised nor abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted;
nor has He hidden His face from him,
 but when he cried to Him for help,
He heard.
Psalm 22:24

I know many who are hurting right now. Many who are afflicted. Many who are calling out to Him for help... help to just understand. As I was praying for these that I know that are hurting and afflicted this was the direction my prayer went.

Oh Father,
So many are afflicted right now. It's a strange affliction. When we try and compare it with our brother and sisters in Christ who are being beaten, and hacked up, and imprisoned over the declaration of Your name, our troubles, our struggles, our afflictions seem weak and petty... but they are still our afflictions.

Then immediately Job popped in my head and heart.
And I continued in my prayer.

Job is our example... Oh Father, yes, he is isn't he. His struggles are the same hurts we deal and fight in our nation, in our church. Oh thank You, Father for leading me to this book. Thank You for recording his story so that we might know how to respond in our affliction. Oh Father I love You!
My Jesus it's in Your name I pray,

You know I do not if one day God will place me in a position to receive beatings, hacking, imprisonment for the declaration of His name, for my obedience to the name of my Jesus... but I do know that it is by His sovereign design that I am here in this place at this time. And I am none the less called to suffer for the sake of my Christ here than in a nation that would slice my throat in the open street because I said Jesus is Lord.

For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake,
not only to believe in Him,
but also to suffer for His sake,
Philippians 1:29

  that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection
and the fellowship of His sufferings,
being conformed to His death; 
in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10-11

I will probably never bear the stripes of a whip on my back, the scars of shackles around my ankles and wrist, the weakness from hunger, the sickness from being thrown in a dark, damp prison cell... but I still will know the fellowship of His sufferings.

The sufferings of Christ were more than just the beatings by the Roman soldiers and the nails that bore in His hands and feet... His sufferings began long before that moment. He suffered also with the same sufferings that Job suffered. Ridicule from the religious, hurt from loss, pain from being misunderstood and ignored, and more.

So my brandmarks will not look like yours... but they are brandmarks all the same. And as I rejoice in every suffering... no matter what it might be... I manifest in my body that their is life in Jesus Christ, real eternal life.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God
and not from ourselves; 
we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not despairing; 
persecuted, but not forsaken;
struck down, but not destroyed; 
always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 
For we who live
are constantly being delivered over to death
for Jesus’ sake,
so that the life of Jesus
also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 
So death works in us, but life in you.
2 Corinthians 4:7-12

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nightmare Before Christmas

Me and my dreams... I will never be a Jacob or a Joseph or a Peter... I will never be someone who could trust that a dream was from God. I dream too crazy. I think even the Almighty fears what goes on in this head of mine when I lay down to sleep, (just kidding, I know He fears nothing!)

So it is... what? Four days until Christmas? Yep, Four days. I have zero, count them... 0... gifts wrapped. Our tree has been up since the day after the infamous Iron Bowl, and it stands all lonely with it's skirt undecorated with boxes, and bags, and bows... I don't believe I have even taken a picture of it this year. December has been one big blur... just like all of 2011 and the end of 2010 has been.

But back to my dream...

Let's see I recall walking in the back door  and turning out of our kitchen and into the dining room to see a big white ceramic bowl that was purchased for my husband's stepmom (this bowl is not a real gift we have purchased, I don't know where it came from).
I ask him why in the world the bowl is out?
He says, I used to it to make the chicken wings. I needed a big bowl to mix them in the hot sauce
Well now he is in the hot sauce!
I come up to him and begin hitting him on the shoulders with the dish towel that I have in my hand while I yell, Now I have to go back to town! You know I hate shopping! Why in the world did you do that! I can't believe you! 
He of course is laughing at me the whole time, which just makes me madder.

So I go and grab all the rest of the gifts and go to hide them so I can get them wrapped before he gets a hold of another, then I can't figure out where to do this without my kids, because I don't want them to see their gifts.
So I find a room at church (yes now I am at church) and plan to hide in there to wrap, but then somebody sees me and asks me to help with something for a minute... I look at my gifts, sigh, and go off to help.

The next thing I know I am surrounded by crying kids who can't find there baseball that was hit into a thicket of pine trees (Christmas trees I do believe) and I have been recruited to find the ball. Somehow I now have the ability to walk around in the tops of the trees and search out the ball. I am surrounded by green pine and then those trees turn into something like astroturf and I am up under it grabbing hold of the ball and pop out triumphantly holding it... although for some reason it is quite squished.

Now I head back to tackle my gift wrapping and remember that I still have to replace the big white bowl!

So I look at my gifts again and sigh and head off to the stores, yet I am in shoes that make my feet hurt, so I am quite grumpy... pouty... and frustrated.

Somehow in the midst of all this I also end up on a road trip with my in-laws and I am refereeing my girls on who is going to get to push the elevator button and all I can think about are the gifts, unwrapped and hid in the room, waiting on me.

Finally, this morning, my husband comes home from his nightshift and wakes me up from my craziness and guess what...

Those gifts are still in a room hid, unwrapped, waiting on me.
And yes I still have one more shopping day I have to take.
And I must ditch the kids in order to do all the above.

I awoke to discover my nightmare was not a dream, LOL!
Tis the season to be jolly?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Gift

A gift is a gift, and it doesn't matter whether it's a crushed bunch of flowers yanked from my own garden, a half-eaten cookie, or color-smeared little hands dropping M&M's directly into my mouth. The presents I receive are always a reminder of how much I'm loved.

We serve a Lord who is the Author of creating and giving gifts. His own Word declares, "Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above" (James1:17).

(quotes from Fierce Beauty by Kim Meeder)

Tonight a very sweet couple that I know will be saying hello and good-bye to their 5 month old in the womb child. They will discover if their precious little one is a little boy or a little girl at the same moment that they are stroking a beautiful face that they will never hear laugh or even cry...

But even this child, this moment is a gift from our God, and this little one is perfect. Even this little one will serve a purpose, has a purpose, this little life that grew and developed and lived within the safety of his or her mother's womb for a purpose. However brief this child's life was...this child has impacted the hearts and souls of many.

This precious gift was given to this wonderful couple for them to immediately return back to the One who fearfully and wonderfully knitted the little one in the womb.

This is one of those moments when we ask why...

My heart is heavy for the couple for several reasons...

One, I am in a time of grieving for the children I have not born and will not bear because I chose a permanent birth control that I wish I had not... and I grieve.

Two, I have been there... almost. I lost a child when almost in my 4th month. I still wonder if my child was a boy or a girl... and I miss not knowing my child. My baby that would be 16yrs old this year.

Three I have given birth to two beautiful ones and I know how hard it would be to have had to say goodbye to them... to lay them alone... my youngest still hates sleeping by herself.

So my heart breaks... I have been crying for this couple and praying for this family since the news hit my cell phone in a prayer request.

And I think about the gift.
This beautiful gift of life... of a soul.
And now more than ever I rejoice that my God so loved the world that He too gave a gift.

 For God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish,
but have eternal life.
John 3:16   

Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.  Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:21-26

Oh yes I believe this!
Thank you God for sending Your Son.
Your Only Begotten Son, to this earth knowing that He would die.
Knowing that He would suffer.
Knowing that His life would be brief here, but eternal still.

And this is our hope in death.
Death is not final for those in Christ.
Because He lives, we live.

I will hold my child one day... I believe that.
I will meet them and this is not a final goodbye for this couple, they will see their baby again.
This beautiful one has been rejoicing with the angels for hours... yet we cry.
And that's okay.
We cry because we are the one's standing and waving goodbye while the one we wave too is grinning from ear to ear as they wave back because they are going home, they are going on the greatest adventure to an exotic destination beyond any of our wildest and most magnificent imaginations. The presence of God and the Paradise of the King.

For from Him
and through Him
and to Him
are all things.
To Him be the glory forever.
Romans 11:36

Monday, December 19, 2011


I sat at the table. Pete took a sip of his wine. There was no plate and no cup in front of me. "I wanted to introduce you to someone," he said to me. "She and I are having Communion. The Lord's Supper. The Table. The Passover meal."
"I'll take it with you."
"No," he said, "For you, Communion is tiny, tasteless wafers and a little plastic cup full of grape juice. Someone reads a few verses, you swallow the bread, you throw down the juice, and you think to yourself, Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins. You put the cup in the pew holder, and you're done. Later someone comes by and cleans up the leftovers."

"What do you think 'Communion' was like at first, Matt?
I shrugged. "I've never thought about it, I guess."
"That first year after he died, do you think we threw back our cups, took five minutes to say thanks, and then moved on?"
He made a good point. I could spend more time than that reminiscing about a good meal. "Probably not."
"We knew him, Matt. He changed our lives. Our thankfulness wasn't some theological construct. It was deep and true and unstoppable."

(excerpts from Imaginary Jesus)

I am not sure about you but I have to sadly admit that I have noticed that many see Communion Sunday as skip day... "Oh yeh, we can leave after Sunday School, it's just Communion today"

Perhaps you are one of those.

How much more special would communion be if instead of waiting on a piece of cracker and a taste of grape juice,while sitting nicely in our pews, we instead chose to sit around a table... with bread and maybe even wine... and we truly spent that time focusing on what our Savior did for us.

Would you really have to worry about drunkenness if when you looked at that wine what you saw was Jesus blood shed for you, for your sins?
Would you really over-indulge in the bread (or the wine) if when you looked at it you truly saw our Savior's body broken for you, for your transgressions?

Therefore whoever eats the bread
or drinks the cup of the Lord
in an unworthy manner,
shall be guilty of the body
and the blood of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 11:27

What if instead of a Sunday potluck fellowship, when the church gathered together to partake in a meal it was simply the Passover meal, the bread and the wine?
What if we gathered together and we simply remembered Him?
What if we sat and talked about the day we met Him?
What if we shared about how He had changed our lives?
What if we shared how He has walked with us and carried us since we met Him?
What if we purposely went into a joint Passover meal with a fellow church filled with a people of completely different background and ethnicity than ours and we united in Christ?
What if Communion Sunday was not "church skip day"?

What if instead of uniting to pick-it the abortion clinics, or uniting to fight legislation, or uniting to demand prayer in school, or what ever other political agenda we have at the moment, we united for the sake of simply remembering Him?

What if we had a Call to Remember and every church in our community, our county, our state, our nation, the nations... what if we called all our individual local congregations to come together at the same day at the same hour for Communion, to simply remember Him.
Nothing else.
No political agenda.
No pity party stories.
No martyr talk.
Nothing but a call to remember Jesus and to proclaim Him, His life, His death, His ressurection.
All and only about Him

How seriously do you take Communion?

Is it just something you do or does the weight of it sink deep into your soul and lift your heart and eyes to His beautiful sacrifice for your ugly and deceitful heart?

Is it a time for you to search the tray for the biggest cracker and the most full tiny cup while you whisper until you see everyone take their bite and drink their little cup and see your own cue, so you stop chatting with your neighbor long enough to absentmindly pop in the cracker and throw back the juice and then complain about how dry those crackers were and you need some more drink to wash it down?

After this,
Jesus, knowing that all things
had already been accomplished,
to fulfill the Scripture, said,
"I am thirsty."
John 19:28 

Maybe some make a joke of Communion so that they don't really have to think about it...
Maybe some make Communion "skip day" so that they don't have to remember and don't have to examine...

I can ask all these questions because I have been there.
I know.
I have walked into the door and seen the table and thought "man, if I had known this was today we would have went on home... or just stayed home."

I've been there so busy whispering to my neighbor that I have paid no attention to the reading of the Scripture, and I certainly was not examining myself, and I definitely was not remembering Him...
I was doing a formality, a religious duty, pass the tray grab the cracker, get the cup... 1-2-3 eat... 1-2-3 drink, let's sing and go get some real food.

That's never, ever, again the way I want to take Communion.
How about you?
Have you ever thought about that first Passover after the ascension of our Lord?
Is there any way it could look and feel like the miniscule communion cracker and miniture communion cup that we purchase in bulk at our local christian supply store in order to make it as quick and easy as possible?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ladies Only

FYI: the Ladies Only warning is for mine and my husband's young men of God that we claim as our own who sometimes check out my blog... just a little heads up for them that this is gonna be a major girl post and they should proceed with caution or not at all :-) 

Well I sit here at the computer at 3am debating on whether or not to go to the Emergency Room. There just is nothing like getting woken up to the need to pee a half a dozen times and then finally getting aggravated enough to turn the light on and discover that you are passing blood clots...

At first viewing, I thought, great! I have started my period again! Really? It's not even been  two weeks and I have never started in the middle of the night, never in my whole life do I recall that happening. Then as I get more woken up and wonder why in the world it is hurting so bad to pee, I realize that maybe I have not started my period.

After several toilet paper checks to confirm my suspicions I come to the computer to google blood clots in urine. And it says seek emergency care now... ugh.
Hello it's 3am!
And I have church in the morning and I teach a Precept class in the morning...
And I hate the ER...
Who wants to leave their warm house to sit in an ER where they are going to treat me like I am an inconvenience and just had nothing better to do than drive to the ER at 3am.

So I have sent my husband back to bed and told him I would be fine.
I deem to be woman and wait on urgent care to open.

I mean what if my toilet paper checks have been faulty and really it is just my period... we women get accused of that alot you know... like we are so stupid and have only experienced a menstrual cycle every month for the past how ever many years, that we can't tell which area the blood floweth from... geez louise!

Then what if it is something embarrassing...

Or you know I did fall off a stool not long ago and hurt myself pretty good. I broke a toe and my tailbone... and I have googled to learn that I could have hurt my kidneys as well...ugh.

Or what if it's nothing and I have already done all the hard work myself here in my bathroom at 3am and I pay an ER copay and doctor's bill for some stranger to pat me on the back and say, well Mrs Vaughn, your on the downside, take some tylenol or motrin for the fever, you'll be fine.

So I sit here now, with fever and chills, that I thought was just the result of being really cold... because I flat out get cold to the bone and can't get warm sometimes, but nope tonight it's a fever with chills. And debate on whether or not to suck it up and head to the ER or wait on Urgent Care to open, or suck it up and wait on Monday, so I can go see my regular doctor...

I reckon I shall let pain be my guide.

Right now, pain says, I can tough it out until urgent care opens. 
I might can even try to nap on the couch until the next "urge" hits...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Names of God - Adonia

It seems like forever since I posted on the Names of God series.
Let's see... so far we have done a little study on the names Elohim, El Elyon, El Roi, El Shaddai, and El Olam.
Today we will study a little about Adonai...

We are introduced to the meaning of this name of God in Genesis 15:1-6.

 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision,
saying, "Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you;
Your reward shall be very great.”
 Abram said, “O Lord GOD,
what will You give me, since I am childless,
and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 
And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me,
one born in my house is my heir.” 
Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “
This man will not be your heir;
but one who will come forth from your own body,
he shall be your heir.” 
And He took him outside and said,
“Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars,
if you are able to count them.”
And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 
Then he believed in the LORD;
and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

When Abram answered God and said "O Lord GOD" he was saying "O Adonia GOD". The word Adonia means Lord or Master. It was at this time that Abram was submitting himself to God's Lordship. It was at this moment that he said, "I am not the boss of my life, God, You are."  

As we read further in this passage we see that it was at his moment that Abram was saved. When Abram submitted to God's Lordship and believed upon His Word and trusted in His way, God reckoned it to him as righteousness. Abram, right here, is our example that we are Saved By Faith.

yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,
Romans 4:20-24

Abram's moment of salvation came by faith, it came by believing God. He was saved before circumcision and before the Law... to show us that works, even good works, do not save us... only believing God does. And not just believing in a god, or in the idea of God, but taking God at His every Word... and His Word said that a Son would be born,(Isaiah 7:14) and when that Son came He said His name is Jesus (Luke 1:26-38) and then He said listen to Him, my Son, and do what He says, (Matthew 17:4-6) do what I have said and be saved.

The way of salvation has always been by faith.
The way of salvation has always been by first submitting ourselves to the authority of God, giving Him full reign over our life, putting His on the rightful throne of our lives and taking ourselves off the throne.

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord,
and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,
you will be saved;
Romans 10:9

So what exactly does it mean for Jesus to be Lord of our life?  If you have been in church at all you have most likely heard the phrase Jesus is Lord of my life. The question is though, Is He really?

All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;... 
Isaiah 53:6

All of us, all of us are like sheep who have gone astray, following our own way. Romans 3:9-23 goes on to say how none of us seeks God, none of us understands, none of us does good, all of us are after our own will, our own desires and we have no fear of God before our eyes. That might be hard to swallow for some... but look deep, with open eyes, and you will see that it is indeed the truth.

We can't just say Jesus is Lord, it's more that that. In Matthew 7:21-27 Jesus Himself tells us that many will call Him Lord, many will use the phrase, "Oh yeh, Jesus is Lord of my life" but only those who do the will of His Father truly speak that phrase... the rest are only offering lip service.

Matthew 15:8

Many will claim to be serving God and doing great things in the name of Jesus for the kingdom of God... but if you look closer, you will see they are simply name slinging in order to build up their own kingdoms. So be very careful who you follow and who you admire...

Obedience to the Word of God and the commands of His Christ are evidence of our faith... faith is not blind, it is not invisible. Evidence is something you present before a judge to prove your case. It is something tangible, it is something that can be examined and scrutinized... ever seen a prosecutor present invisible evidence to a judge in an earthly court? Think about it.

Our faith is something that can be seen if it is really there.

And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed.
Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic,
“ Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.”
Matthew 9:2

Seeing their faith, He said,
“ Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”
Luke 5:20

This man was listening to Paul as he spoke,
who, when he had fixed his gaze on him
and had seen that he had faith to be made well,
Acts 14:9

Oh precious one, when Jesus is truly Lord or your life, your faith can be seen, because your obedience to His Word, your willingness to submit to His will and His ways, can be clearly seen. By Him and by those who know Him.

Making Jesus Adonia means you no longer are purposely going your own way... you have made Him Boss, Master, Lord, He alone is on the throne of your life.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones.
Proverbs 3:5-8

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fierce Beauty

Only when we truly understand who our King is does our self-importance fade. Once freed from our pride, we can see how our purpose in this life is simple: to know Him. Our God is not passive in His care for us. He is a consuming fire. His love for each of us is both fierce and beautiful. Friend, God is calling you to beautiful, but not in the way the world demands. It was never His desire for you to focus on looking beautiful- He wants you to become beautiful. Contrary to this world's declaration, you are far more than the sum of your exterior; you're a vessel for the Living God. He's calling you to take action, to become beautiful... to pick up your King's sword of encouragement and fiercely defend those around you who are losing their battle for hope. By doing so, you become- in the eyes of the King- a fierce beauty.

~ Kim Meeder

So this is the beginning of my newest book that I am reading for review, Fierce Beauty by Kim Meeder. I cannot wait to get into it and read it!

This is a subject I am so very passionate about. The worth of a woman... oh how so many do not know their worth... settling for sinful lusts of eyes of the flesh... and throwing off their clothing of strength and dignity for the attentive momentary eyes of someone who is never willing to see past their exterior or really even cares to...

It breaks my heart.
It breaks my heart because I know what they are doing and why they are doing it and why even though they cry themselves to sleep most nights and regularly think of ending their lives over what they are doing and the choices they are making... they can't find the strength to stop.

And all it takes is one phone call, one text, to set their hearts racing and emotions churning and heart wrenching...

It goes deeper than whether or not they had the perfect or worse childhood.
It goes deeper than whether or not they were, or were not, in church every time the doors opened.
It goes directly to the very core of their soul and to the very bottomless depths of their deceived and deceitful heart.

This is where we must reach them... our daughters, our sisters, our friends.

I don't want them to get lost in the lie of the "perfect man" confusing butterflies and flowers with love. While the man of God who would adore her and build her up and love her with a commitment like Christ has for His church, stands over on the sidelines unnoticed because he is not willing or able to seduce her with lies...

So I hope to gain more insight and wisdom as I read this book... because I want nothing more than for my daughters to be fierce beauties, completely enraptured and captured by the gaze of their God and burning brilliantly in the consuming fire of His holiness.

Strength and dignity are her clothing...
Proverbs 31:25

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Life is Not a Production

Like a seamless performance, we want everyone to say their lines and
follow our directions—even God. We wrongfully equate redemption with
everything looking right (Isaiah 53:3). The beauty of Jesus’ birth, however,
shines brightly due to the greater beauty of His death (Ephesians 1:7).
There is no one scene that stands alone in our lives; rather, they all fit together
in the greater story of God’s redemptive work.
—Regina Franklin

Well today I had just a few main objectives to accomplish.

Quiet/Study time
School the girls
Paint the bathroom ceiling
Get some laundry washed and put up
Pay the bills
Get Bekah's clothes she can't/won't wear out of her room and boxed up for donations.
Go to my Mom-in-Laws for my birthday dinner

Simple right?

Everything was going grand until I went to check on the ceiling and see how it was drying.
What was happening... but that the ceiling was cracking as the paint was drying!
All efforts down the toilet!

Now all I want to do is grab a sledgehammer and demolish the entire bathroom, from ceiling to floor. Please, I asked my husband, let me take out the tub, the counter, the toilet, the ceiling and let's just start over from scratch!!! But alas he said, "No".

The sledgehammer would have been great, epic, fun. And I would have felt much better. For a little bit anyway. This is all following my own recent blog post about not allowing our emotions to control us... so I had to take a deep breath and pray. 

Well so, ummm no, life is not a production to be played out exactly as I had planned...
It's more like an off the cuff, night at the improv, or an evening of whose line is it anyway...
This life definitely is not mine that's for sure.

So we just take it and run with it.
And laugh.
Laughter is indeed a wonderful and beautiful gift from God.

And well I had much rather laugh about the ceiling cracking and falling... again... then be mad and pout and stomp... so as my husband has told me to "just relax"... I think I will.

Yes I am two hours behind schedule... but eh, who needs a shower anyway. That's what ball caps and body spray are for... 

So instead of sledgehammering the bathroom... I will relax, and not do it!

And somehow even this day that I deem as a wreck, God will work out for His glory... even if it was just to make you feel better about your day and get a laugh from whose line is it anyway :-)