Saturday, July 23, 2011

What Not To Wear

I just had to share this...
God Cares
by Charles R. Swindoll

We've got David standing here mad at the Lord, when, in fact, the Lord was angry at David.
About now you might be thinking, Well, I thought you said he was a man after God's heart.
I did---or, rather, God did.
Does that mean he's perfect?
It does not.
Having a heart for God doesn't mean you're perfect, it means you're sensitive.
It means every detail is important.
And when you see you're wrong, you face it. You own up. You come to terms with it.

The problem was that David had not done his homework. We often get into trouble when we don't do our homework---when we think we see pretty clearly what the Lord's will is, and so in expediency or in convenience (usually in a hurry) we dash off to do it our way.

And the Lord says, "Look, I've written a lot of things in My Book about that decision you just made, and I want you to take counsel from Me. That's why it's not working. If you want to have a heart for Me, then you check My Word, and you find either a precept or a principle then go according to that. When you do that, I'll give you joy like you can't believe. If you don't, I will make you miserable." In fact, in David's case, the Lord said, "I'll even take some lives."

Centuries later, Ananias and Sapphira did very much the same thing. They presumed on the Lord and didn't take Him seriously. We see Uzzah the same way, taken from the earth because he touched an ultra-holy article of furniture that was not to be touched, especially by a non-Levite. Who cares about Levites? God does. Who cares about little ringlets and little golden poles that go through ringlets? God does. If He didn't care, He wouldn't have said anything about it. And because He cares, we must also care.

That's the whole point here.
When we begin to care about the things God cares about, we become people after His heart, and only then do we begin to have real freedom and real happiness.

I don't know about you, but I am pretty interested in being in the will of God. I am pretty interested in being a woman after God's own heart. I am most definitely interested in freedom and happiness. I am not that fond of being outside the umbrella of God's will and I really don't like it when God is upset with me and I definitely am not fond of chains and sorrow...

The prison of this flesh of mine is already too much to handle on my own. I don't need any extra chains to add to it... but I somehow manage to add them anyway. Then I try to carry them and tell God see I got it... I got it. Then the weight becomes to much to bear and as I am crumbling under the heavyness of it all I begin crying out to God to do something and then get upset at God when He doesn't move as fast as I think He should.

Am I alone in this? 
Can anyone relate?

Oh Father, get these shackles off my feet so I can dance... because I just want to praise You...

It's quite sad how often I look back through my journal and see how God has set me free from one set of shackles and I have danced in my freedom for about .02 seconds and then just scooted on off to jump into another new shiny set of shackles with a matching chain around my neck...
Yes so very sad.
So why should He free me just to have me jump into another new set of chains? 

I think when I was younger the chains didn't seem so heavy... but the older, the wiser, the less impressed I get with the things of this world... the chains get heavier. 

I am too tired to carry these chains and they just don't match my new outfit in Christ, this white dress of beautiful linen is supposed to be unstained by the world. The only accessory it needs is the robe of righteousness that my Heavenly Father has draped over me and this crown of life upon my head. Chains just do not go with the intricate simplicity of this outfits design. 

What not to wear? Chains!   

So now I continue to sit before my God and yes I realize I sit becasue I do carry some chains, but I know He has the key of release. And truthfully I want to learn this lesson with grace and for once and for all. So I sit and wait, as He teaches me how to wait. And as I learn to wait I can't help but sing His praise.

After all it was praising Him that released Paul and Silas from their chains and so I too shall sing...
Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest... Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest...
Break my hearts for what breaks Yours...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Stagnant Water Stinks

I've got peace like a river,
I've got peace like a river,
I've got peace like a river in my soul!
I've got love like an ocean,
I've got love like an ocean,
I've got love like an ocean in my soul!
I've got joy like a fountain,
I've got joy like a fountain,
I've got joy like a fountain in my soul!

Hmmmm.... have you ever noticed it doesn't say I've got peace like a pond in my soul? 
Peace, love, and joy all coming from flowing, active, bursting bodies of water.

"For thus says the LORD,
“Behold, I extend peace to her like a river,
And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
And you will be nursed,
you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees."
(Isaiah 66:12)

As I was working on my lesson for this coming Sunday morning from Luke chapter 2 the Lord zeroed me in on what "the boy Jesus"(Luke 2:43) was doing in the temple. 
When we look at Luke 2:52 we read that "Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." What? Jesus had to increase in wisdom? He had to increase in favor? We must never forget that Jesus is our example. He lived it all, so that He could indeed sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 2:14-18).
So now the question is how did he do it? What was His process of increasing? What self-help point plan did He follow? I believe His how is all right here in these few passages that the divinely inspired, God-breathed Word of God has given us.
I believe the point plan has only two points. It has always only had two points. The point of the points is do you carry out the points?

So what are the points?

Point 1: Love God
When we look at Luke 2:46 we read that Jesus was in the temple "sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions." Jesus was seeking God. He was discussing the Scriptures. Notice He was both listening and asking.
Let me ask you... can you ask questions in "big church".
No you cannot. You only listen. What if in your listening you misunderstand? What do you do with your questions? Do you have them? Oh I hope so. Questions are part of seeking.
What we see here in this example of Christ is we need small groups. Did the disciples of Christ only sit in the crowd? No they followed Him closely. They sat with Him in small groups and asked Him questions and Jesus reasoned the Scriptures with them. This, my precious one, is how we increase in wisdom. It is not in just listening alone, but in asking questions. This is how we love God. By loving His Word enough to seek to understand it. So that we might obey it. And in obeying it we bring ourselves to point 2.

Point 2: Love others
When we look at Luke 2:51 we read that Jesus "continued in subjection to them (Joseph and Mary)." What? Jesus was in subjection to man? Yes. He obeyed the Law of God. What merit would God have if He broke His own Word? Jesus humbled Himself to this point. He laid aside who He was in order to obey truth. Here He is the Creator of the entire universe and He is saying "yes ma'am" and "yes sir". So at any point and time should we ever think that our position in life negates the common decency of showing respect to another human being? No, it does not. How do we love others? How do we increase in favor with God and man? We show them respect and love. God tells us how to do this in His Word. You can find it all broken down in Exodus 20. He then showed us how as the person Jesus Christ. The commands of God show us how to love Him and how to love others. This is why they are not a burden, but indeed they are a treasure.

Well how does all this relate to where I began this post with peace like a river? As we look at Jesus He is increasing... he is continuing. These are words that are in motion. If we want peace like a river, and love like an ocean, joy like a fountain, then we can't be a pond. We cannot be stagnant in our Christianity.

Stagnant water stinks and grows gunk. 
We must keep the living water flowing through us.
We cannot dam it up.

We must not just sit in the crowd. We must put ourselves where we can both listen and ask questions.
Come let us reason together... (Isaiah 1:18). 

The living water, the Word of God, must flow through us. It must come into our heart and out of our lives. The Prince of Peace must flow like a river in us. Sending peace to others. Flowing down from the mountain into the deepest valleys.
The love of God must go deep within us and rise up and crash onto the shores of those around us.
The joy of our Christ must spring forth praise out of our mouth with shouts like a geyser from the fountains of the deep and also with the gentle flowings of fresh spring fountains.

Love God. Love others.
It starts with God and spills on to others.

Oh Father, Let me be one that increases and continues...

Thursday, July 21, 2011


"Jesus Christ, who went through hell for you, can give you the power you need to overcome the worst kind of condition in your life." (Chuck Swindoll)

There is no greater peace than knowing that Christ is on my side. When I am in the pit of frustration for whatever reason He has never failed to pull me out. I can have my moment of panic. I can cry. I can even scream. I can even be angry at my God, but as I bring all this emotionally fleshed out ick to Him, He never ceases to amaze me how He turns my ick into peace and my peace into praise.

I realize that as I look at my life I am so extremely blessed.

I am loved and I love.

I have the absolute great joy of teaching the truth to whoever will let me.

I know and have experienced the overcoming power of the grace of God that is available in Christ alone.

I know that no matter how bad I may feel the condition of my life is at any point in time Christ is greater still. His grace abounds.

I believe part of the mercy of our God is letting us know that "In the world you have tribulation" (John 16:33). God tells us "When you pass through the waters... When you walk through the fire," (Isaiah 43:2). He says you have not you might. He says when not if.

Then He says, "but take courage; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33). And God also says "I will be with you" (Isaiah 43:2).

So my dear precious one, whatever your struggle has been today... whatever it might be tomorrow... know that in Christ you have the power to overcome. I have learned that overcoming doesn't necessarily mean the problem, the struggle goes away, it just means that this struggle will not destroy you. It will indeed only make you stronger.

When we look at our Savior's message to the church in the book of Revelation as He exhorts the churches to overcome He never says He will remove the issue they are told to overcome. He simply says overcome.

So the question is how do we overcome?

The answer:

"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world;
and this is the victory that has overcome the world--
our faith.
Who is the one who overcomes the world,
but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
(1 John 5:4-5)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

God Knows Best

This morning I dropped off my babies. Shelby is spending the day and night with a friend and my Bekah is headed to Louisiana with my wonderful in-laws to visit with our relatives down even further south. This is her first trip down and she is so excited. It is also her first trip away from Momma and Daddy... praying it goes well. She is the one child we have who is really attached to home. The other two will go as long as they are invited and as many times as we say yes.

So with my husband at work and my girls gone, it's just been me and the dog. Who presently is snoring on the rug beside me. I had every intention of spending the day in this quiet house writing. I planned to work on Devotions From Exodus, planned to work on transfering the study I am writing on the book of Luke from my spiral notebook to the computer, and planned on working on the Judgment scene and the Hell scene script for our church's fall drama the Judgment Seat.

That was my plan.

However, I believe God has had another plan for today. I think He just might know that I have not quite recovered enough from my past week and a half to attempt to step into the mind of Satan today and write this script. Yes, that will wait for tomorrow. So prayers are humbly requested for tomorrow.

The goal in writing these two scenes is in the Judgment scene to make sure those who witness it are left with a clear understanding that those who are being judged are receiving their judgment solely on their rejection of Christ and not for any particular sin they committed and also to share the good news of the gospel. In the Hell scene it is to clearly expose Satan and his lies and the way he worms them into our life and also somehow in the midst of this have Satan himself deliver the gospel one more time to those who are going through the drama. You also have to soak yourself into each of these characters lives as to accurately speak for them. Our youth minister forms the character and... well... I get to send them to hell. Yay

So, anyway, God know best. My partner in, "Oh yeh, God we can do one more thing right.?!?." has called and I am heading to her house to work on Homeschool Co-op stuff. A very important thing that must be done and taken care of and can be taken care of with some much needed sisters in Christ time.

So I won't have to send anyone to hell today.
I'll do that tomorrow :-)

Thrown Under the Bus

Have you ever had a moment when you felt like God just threw you under the bus?
I have those moments.
Sometimes I feel like I am never going to be enough.

It's in those days, those moments, when I just want to curl up in a hole and go to sleep. It's those moments when I can completely relate to those who have decided that life is just too much...

Suicide always hurts those who are left behind, but I will never be one who condemns the one who did it or be one who says I can't believe they did that? I will not be one who says that they could not have been a Christian and done that. Because I am fully aware of the weakness of my own flesh. I am fully aware of the weight of the condemnation and oppression of the enemy of my soul. I am fully aware that if I did not have this hope that is the anchor of my soul, this hope that is sure and steadfast and enters within the veil (Heb 6:19), in a moment of physical exhaustion, emotional havoc, and spiritual oppression, this could easily be me. The spirit is willing but the flesh is indeed weak (Matt 26:41).

I am a believer. I know that to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil 1:21). I know that it is not I that live but Christ that lives in me and the life that I live, I live by faith in Him (Gal 2:20). I know all this. I believe all this. I know how the burden of life can overwhelm me at times, and me with this knowledge, with this Hope, how could it not overwhelm someone who doesn't or even someone who doesn't know how to live their faith because they have not been discipled?

I was overwhelmed yesterday. It began last week and when I thought it would be over it wasn't. It just continued on. Carried over by the weakness of this flesh of mine. Weak in so many ways. Weak because it is physically off. An infection leading to an antibiotic that has not set well with my stomach leaving me nauseous since Saturday night. A constant dull headache due to hopefully just allergies. And then a tired flesh from not sleeping at night because of all the other issues. Then after going to the bathroom for the third time to apply rubbing alcohol to another sore blemish on my face, I am reminded that yes, it is also hell week.

You see I should have been ready. Have I not been here a million plus times?

Yesterday, I actually ended up in the laundry room crying as I frustratedly swapped out the laundry and let God know how disappointed I was at Him because I felt like He was throwing me under the bus. You see my hurt, my frustration, had been rooted from comments that came as a result of failing at somethings I am trying so hard to be better in. It's not something I am ignoring, but something I am purposely trying to improve. I was angry, hurt, and upset at myself, at those that called me out, and yes at God for not covering my failure and instead exposing it.

I hate messing up. It's the perfectionist in me. It is indeed a curse, because I am not perfect, but I want to be, no actually, I am driven to be. Somehow in my emotional DNA perfection = pleasing, but that is not what God says. God says faith = pleasing.

 "And without faith it is impossible to please Him,
for he who comes to God must believe that He is
that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."
(Hebrews 11:6) 

Yes, I was disappointed in God, and letting Him know it. It sounds absolutely ridiculous now, but at that time I felt completely justified in my complaint. The amazing thing is my God patiently listened. He did not strike me with a lightning bolt. He was just still and let me rant. And by the end of the day God had reminded me of His love. He had calmed my personal storm.

This days moment reminded me of that song with the lyric that says, "please don't fight these hands that are holding you"

Oh God, thank you for being mindful that I am but flesh.

"For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust."
(Psalm 103:14)

Monday, July 18, 2011


If you ever want to know what the voice of the enemy sounds like I recommend reading Isaiah 36-37.
After you prayerfully read these chapters I promise you will better recognize his slimy little lies. It truly is a must that you learn to recognize his voice... because he will speak to you. No one is exempt. If Jesus was not exempt why on earth would we ever even consider that we should or would be?

As you read to learn his voice, you must also pay close attention to how we are to respond to his voice. The only way to fight the voice of the enemy is with the Voice of Truth, the Word of God. Jesus showed us that. Hezekiah shows us that in Isaiah 36-37.

What's important to know as you look at Isaiah 36-37 is the condition of Hezekiah's heart before this enemy was permitted by God to approach him. You see only a short while earlier Hezekiah had become deathly ill, but he prayed to God and asked God to heal him... and God did. However, the Bible tells us that "Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received, because his heart was proud; therefore wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem" (2 Chronicles 32:25).

So God permitted this enemy to come against Hezekiah.
It can be hard to swallow can't it?
It's hard to believe that this God that loves us so much allows our enemies to come against us. It can be hard to take in that it was indeed God that allowed this calamity, this enemy, this illness, this voice that hurts to the core and shatters you to the bone.
Many refuse to believe that.
Even men from the pulpit many will try to convince a congregation that a God of love wouldn't do that... to say that is to negate much of the Word of God. For God clearly says "...I am the LORD, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these." (Isaiah 45:6-7) 

Many will hear God in this light and say well, that's not my god. To that I must say, then you serve a false god. 

So why would God allow "calamity"? Why would He allow an enemy to come against us? Why would He allow an illness into our lives? We must learn "that an enemy is more than an enemy and an illness is more than an illness. It has been permitted by God for our good." (Kay Arthur)

Here is some insight, some life lessons, to hold on to that I learned while studying these chapters of Isaiah with Kay Arthur through Precept. These insights will help you learn how to recognize the enemy and also how to understand how if you have faith any enemy or illness becomes a blessing:

-> An enemy wants to take you into captivity
-> An enemy challenges your faith (faith just is not faith until it has been tested)
-> An enemy tests your loyalty (he will offer compromise and compensation and even rewards if you will just come on over to his side)
-> An enemy can talk with God talk (yes the devil can quote Scripture)
-> An enemy talks will test your knowledge of God's Word (the enemy always speaks God's word out of context and he uses words of truth but perverts the truth)
-> An enemy will challenge your ability to hear God's voice for yourself (you know, "well God told me that...")
-> An enemy attempts to rule you by fear
-> An enemy seeks to divide and separate
-> An enemy will drive you into the presence of God and cause you to remember who God is
-> An enemy will drive you to your knees in prayer
-> An enemy will cause us to remember our dependence upon God

The thing about enemies is that they can blindside you. A lot of times they can come out of no where, well personally I think most of the time they come out of nowhere. Life can be great and wonderful and then BOOM!

So when these enemies come we have a choice, to quote Kay again, "we can faint or we can wait".

We can fall down and faint before this enemy or we can stay silent and wait on God to fight for us or for God to tell us clearly how to respond. What we cannot do is respond out of our flesh.

I have learned that my biggest challenge in this process is not the attack, it is not staying silent or waiting for God to tell me how to respond to the attack, it is what I do with the hurt. I have a tendency to stay silent before the enemy and then become an enemy myself to someone else. I can just see the devil rolling over with laughter when he accomplishes this in me.

So why does God allow enemies and illnesses and calamities in our life?
To make us more like Him.
That is His goal.

I have learned that it also is to prepare us for the future. Before David ever faced Goliath he first faced a lion and a bear. If God has plans to use us for great things in His kingdom we have to be ready for the battle. Jesus tells us that we are not greater than our Master and if they hated Him they will hate us as well. If we are on the side of God we have just made an enemy of the world, our flesh, and Satan himself.

However, let us never forget...

"If God is for us, who is against us?" Romans 8:31


"But in all these things
we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 
For I am convinced that neither death,
nor life,
nor angels,
nor principalities,
nor things present,
nor things to come,
nor powers, 
nor height,
nor depth,
nor any other created thing,
will be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 3:37-39