Friday, November 25, 2011

Not Afraid Anymore

Our youngest is deathly afraid of fire ants... for good cause. She got in her first bed when she was still in diapers while playing at the park. Oh it was terrifying for me and her. There is nothing like being covered with what seems like thousands of little flesh eating creatures that you can't get off of you fast enough...

Yesterday this same child got into a bed of fire ants again. Her Aunt got to her before I did and tried to immediately strip her down but she would have no part of being stripped in the yard. So they ran to the bathroom, where I caught up to find out what in the world was going on...

Oh me ants in the pants, in the socks, in the shirt...

Now stripped down.
Panic over.
And all ants dead... I wrapped her up in my sweater and handed her to her Daddy while we got all the dead ants out of the floor.

Then I took her upstairs to calm her and look her over really good and get her back dressed. While upstairs the tears begin to fall again and she cries, "Why did this have to happen on Thanksgiving!" 

(Ohhh me, can you say mom with broke heart)

Well today we discovered a huge fire ant bed in our yard and she would have nothing but Daddy getting out there and putting some poison on them things, like now. So due to her recent traumatic experience Daddy complied and went out to poison the ants.

Tonight we are cleaning her room and she pulls out a Highlights magazine that just so happens to have an article in it about fire ants. She says, "I'm going to go read this and learn about them fire ants"

About half an hour later she comes running up to me, "Momma! Momma! I'm not afraid of fire ants anymore! They eat wasps!"

So how did this article on fire ants relieve her of her fear?

I believe because of two reasons:
1) Knowledge
2) Purpose

Through reading the article she learned more about the ant. The more she understood about who and what this ant was, her fears lessened.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Hosea 4:6

For this reason also,
since the day we heard of it,
we have not ceased to pray for you
and to ask that you may be filled
with the knowledge of His will
 in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
Colossians 1:9

Through her gained knowledge she realized that even this fire ant had a purpose. It had a reason to exist. God had created it and it wasn't as evil as she thought it to be in her fear and ignorance. It had value.

The LORD has made everything for its own purpose,
Proverbs 16:4

So what are you afraid?
What causes fear to rise up within you?

Maybe try studying a little about it and see if, like my Bekah, once you have gained knowledge and discovered a purpose, maybe just maybe, you too can shout, "I'm not afraid anymore!"

Thursday, November 24, 2011

God's Amazing Grace

One of the things I am most thankful for is the grace of my God. If not for it... well, there is nothing... no good thing... no hope... nothing. So in honor of Thanksgiving I have pulled out a study I did on the grace of God to share with you all. May it be a blessing.
God bless the study of His Word.


The first use of the word grace in the Bible is in Genesis 6:8.

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

This word favor in Hebrew is chen -it means favor, grace, kindness, beauty, precious. It comes from the word chanan –which means to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior, to have mercy on or to have pity on.

The last time the word grace is used in the Old Testament is in the book of Zechariah.

Then he said to me,
“This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying,
Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
says the LORD of hosts. 
‘What are you, O great mountain?
Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain;
and he will bring forth the top stone
with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”
Zechariah 4:6-7


 “I will pour out on the house of David
and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
the Spirit of grace and of supplication,
so that they will look on Me
whom they have pierced;
and they will mourn for Him,
as one mourns for an only son,
and they will weep bitterly over Him
like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.
Zechariah 12:10

 In all of these uses grace is equated with salvation and our beautiful Savior.

In 1 Peter we read of how God’s grace was prophesied through the prophets. We also saw how this amazing grace was longed to be looked upon even by the angels!

As to this salvation,
the prophets who prophesied of the grace
that would come to you
made careful searches and inquiries,
 seeking to know what person
or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating
as He predicted the sufferings of Christ
and the glories to follow. 
It was revealed to them
that they were not serving themselves, but you,
in these things which now have been announced to you
through those who preached the gospel to you
by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—
things into which angels long to look.
1 Peter 1:10-12

The first time that the word grace is used in the New Testament is in Luke 2:40

The Child continued to grow
and become strong,
increasing in wisdom;
and the grace of God was upon Him.

Once again it is in a verse that is teaching of our Savior. In the Greek, the word grace is charis –which means gratifying, of manner or act, the divine influence upon the heart and it’s reflection in the life.

The next mention is in John 1:14-17. We read of how grace and truth were realized in Jesus. In the KJV this verse (Jn 1:17) reads “grace and truth came” by Jesus. The word “came” in this verse is ginomai –and means to cause to be generate, to be finished, follow, be found, be fulfilled, grow, be kept, be married, be ordained to be, partake, be performed.

What we see from this is beautiful!
The Law is indeed truth, but it came with no grace.
Yet in Christ grace and truth are married, they are one.
Grace and truth are finished in Christ, they are performed in Christ.
They are brought to life in our lives in, through, and by Christ.

As we move through the New Testament and continue our study of the grace of our God we can discover beautiful truths:

*We discover that grace is free – Eph 1:6, Rom 4:4
*We discover it is by God’s free gift of grace that we are saved – Rom 3:24, Rom 5:1-8, Eph 2:5-8
*We discover that not only is it by grace that Christ offers Himself but it is by grace that God even accepts this as propitiation for our sins – Heb 2:9, Rom 5:15-17
*We discover that it is grace that calls us to salvation –Gal 1:6
*We discover that it is grace that covers our sins – Rom 5:20-21, 1 Tim 1:13-14
*We discover that all that we are in Christ is by grace – 1 Corin 15:10

So what effect should this amazing grace have in our daily lives?
Remember that it is “the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.” (look at Acts 4:33, 2 Corin 9:8)

*Grace should be recognized in you by others – Acts 11:23, 2 Corin 1:12, Gal 12:9
*Grace should be shared with other – Act 20:24, Eph 3:2, Eph 4:29 (with believers), Col 4:6 (with unbelievers)
*Grace should empower you – Titus 2:11-14
*Grace should build you up - Acts 20:32

God also gives us warnings concerning His grace:

*We are not to receive it in vain - 2 Corin 6:1
*We are not to fall from it – Gal 5:4
*We are not to insult it – Heb 10:29
*We are not to come short of it – Heb12:15
*We are not to turn it into licentiousness – Jude 4

God also gives us commands concerning His grace:

*We are to be strong in it - 2 Tim 2:1
*We are to run to it – Heb 4:16
*We are to fix our eyes on it - 1 Peter 1:13
*We are to stand firm in it - 1 Peter 5:12
*We are to grow in it – 2 Peter 3:18

The last mention of the word grace is the Bible is in Revelation, the very last verse in the word of God.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”
Revelation 22:21

How great is our God and how abundant is His grace!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Names of God - El Roi

One of theses days I might learn how to do tabs and divisions on my blog so that I can have nice categories for all my randomness, but until then I am so sorry, but all you have is the nice right side list on the side of my blog that has to be searched through...

I am sharing another name of God in the Names of God post series. I will only do a post for this series once a week, sorry but our co-op gets it first and then it's your turn :-) Our co-op has broke for the holidays so what I am sharing with you all in this series are the names that our co-op group has already studied.

So far I have shared with you two names of God: Elohim and El Elyon.
Today we will learn about our God who sees, El Roi

We first learn about this name of God in Genesis 16. We have to go back and remember our context. At this point in history Abram and Sarai have been waiting on God's promise of a seed, of an heir. In their waiting they decide that maybe God wanted them to "help" him out a little bit. Now there was no IVF in this day and age so Sarai decided that what God meant was for Abram to go into her maid and have a child with her and it would be Sarai's according to the custom of the day.

(Isn't it just like us women to decide that we must be problem and therefore we must fix it; oh me, yep, nothing new under the sun)

So Abram just looks at his honey and says "Okay, what ever you think dear"
Hello, man of the promise?
Head of the family?

("Oh, Adam, here eat you won't die..." 
See, nothing new under the sun)

Anyway back to Abram and Sarai.
So Abram goes into Hagar, Sarai's maid, and guess what. She gets pregnant. Can you imagine the self-condemnation that fell upon Sarai at that moment. How she had to say, "Oh it is me! I am the problem. I am the failure. God is not pleased with me, it is my fault that we have never had children..."

Well I believe Hagar the maid picks right up on Sarai's sense of failure and lowered state and decides that she now is head of this home and usurps the position of Sarai and begins to mock and disregard the word of Sarai.

Sarai goes to her husband, and can you just image this conversation as she looks at him and basically says "This is all your fault! Do Something!"

Abram at this point tells Sarai to go and deal with Hagar. And Sarai steps in with her husband's backing and reminds Hagar that she is the hand-maid. Sarai disciplines her for the way she has been acting like she was all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips-on-the-side.

Now Hagar does like a lot of us do when we get checked for our behavior, she pouts and runs away from the situation.

Granted Hagar had a side in all this... she didn't ask to get thrown into Abram's bed. In her attempt to run away and flee the presence of Sarai, Hagar finds out that she might be able to hide from Abram and Sarai, but she cannot hide from the God of Abram and Sarai.

  Now the angel of the LORD found her
by a spring of water in the wilderness,
by the spring on the way to Shur. 
He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid,
where have you come from
and where are you going?”  
Genesis 16:7-8

I absolutely love how God addresses Hagar. He calls her Hagar, Sarai's maid. God immediately reminds her that she is indeed Sarai's maid, Sarai is her authority. Then He asks her where she has come from and where is she going. Yeh, like God didn't already know, but He opens the door for Hagar to confess to Him, to share her heart with Him. He does the same for us.

After Hagar speaks with God, she is instructed by Him to return to Sarai and submit to her authority. He tells her that He has a plan for her and the child she carries. Then in Genesis 16:13 God reveals to us through this story, this time in history with a woman named Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, that He is El Roi, a God who sees.  

  Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her,
“You are a God who sees”;
Genesis 16:13

How far does God see?

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,” 
 Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.
Psalm 139:7-12

There is no where that you can run and hide that God cannot see. Hagar could not hide and if you remember Jonah, he couldn't hide either. He tried to run from God and hide in the bottom of a ship on the way to Tarshish which was the opposite direction he was supposed to be heading in. So God threw him in the belly of a fish and possibly sent him to the bottom of the ocean just to say, "guess what boy, I still see you"  

For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD,
And He watches all his paths.
Proverbs 5:21

Oh precious one, God sees it all.

Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the LORD,
And whose deeds are done in a dark place,
And they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?”
Isaiah 29:15

There is nothing that we do that He does not see. We cannot sneak one by on Him. His eyes are always before us. 

 And there is no creature hidden from His sight,
but all things are open and laid bare
to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
Hebrews 4:13

Does this not bring you great peace? I know it does me. It brings me peace for two very distinct reasons:

1) If I sin God sees it. There is no point in trying to hide it. Just go ahead and honestly confess it because He was there watching when I did it, thought it, saw it, felt it, heard it. Remember the woman at the well? Jesus told her ALL that she had done. Nothing is hidden from Him. He sees directly into our very heart, mind, and soul and He reaches out to us anyway. He loves us anyway. 

2) If someone sins against me God sees it. I do not have to seek revenge, hang on to bitterness, or prove myself right, because God saw it all. He will take care of it. You see when you have to keep your mouth shut, and go back and submit, when what you want to do is run away and tell everyone "your side" you can know that God knows, He is fully aware of your side. When you see someone go unpunished by our laws, you can know that they can not slip by on God's law. A slick tongued attorney, a corrupt judge, a blinded arbitrator can not get one over on God. The truth will come to light. God will vindicate. We don't have to. We can find peace and rest in the fact that one day all will be made known.

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.
Psalm 9:10

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Am My Beloved's

I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine
I am covered and protected
I am special in His eyes
I am lovely
I am beautiful
I am chosen by His hand
He holds me
He knows me
And still by my side He stands
He leads me through the waters
He guides me through the lands
He carries me through the wilderness
He never lets me down
I can trust in my Beloved
For His promises He keeps
He is faithful to me always
In Him my heart finds peace

I call to my Beloved
He answers with a voice both strong and sweet

He says, "I hear you My beloved
I have all that you'll ever need.
I'll never leave you nor forsake you
I'll never degrade you when I speak
I'll never hurt you or curse you
I'll never bring you grief
I am here to love you
I am here to make you Mine
I am here to lift you up
And beloved the pleasure is all Mine
I see all of your potential
I see all that you can be
You were created to be special
Oh beloved, you were created just for Me
You were created because I loved you even before the world began
Oh My beloved, you are because I AM."

- me
(inspired and written in Sept 2004 when studying the Song of Solomon while teaching Sex According To God, by Kay Arthur -> O how He loves us! Will we love Him in return?)

One Master

There is no thrill like the thrill of studying God's Word as His Holy Spirit filled child. To be taught by the Creator of the Universe and all it contains, to be so close to Him that you are able to hear the still small voice of the God that when He speaks the mountains tremble and the heavens roar. Well if you can even grasp that slightly it is overwhelmingly humbling!

Currently I am in the study of Isaiah and Colossians. Oh what a joy it is to learn more of the awesomeness of my God. There is absolutely nothing boring about the Word of my God. It is a book that I have not been able to put down in almost 10 years. Pouring over it and in it and the more I learn the more I want to learn because the more I learn the more I realize how much I do not know. Each word, each verse, could be poured over for a lifetime and still one would be left with their eyes searching  and their mouth gaped wide open as they attempted to take in all that God could share with them concerning this one single word, this one single verse.

As I have been studying in Isaiah this verse is one of many that spoke volumes to me. Isaiah 26:13 "O LORD our God, other masters besides You have ruled us; But through You alone we confess Your name." I read this and I had to ask God, what other masters have ruled me. What exactly did the death that I died with my Jesus accomplish in me.

I received an email from a precious woman who shared with me that she had sat under a preacher as a christian for over 50 years listening to sermon after sermon, but now she was beginning to reject what she had heard. She said she knew the facts of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ but she still did not know what the death of Christ had to do with her life. I have no clue who this woman is, she wrote as from another nationality, another country, but my heart broke as I read her words, but I praise God that she was seeking truth! As I read her words my mind was pulled back to Isaiah 26:13.

So precious ones, what does Christ's death and resurrection means to us for our life? Because He died and because when we trust in Him, when we identify with Him, when we put our faith in Him and in His work on the cross, we die with Him and if we die with Him it also means we are raised with Him into a new life (Romans 6:3-5) we are a new creation (2 Corin 5:17).

In this new life we have freedom. We have freedom from all the masters that once ruled over us. So we have to ask ourselves what masters rule us?  These are the masters that I believe God showed me as I opened His Word. He took me back to what I had learned through my study in the book of Romans.

(1) The lie, was once my master. The lie that the serpent whispered to Eve once captivated me. The lie that I did not need God. The lie that I could make my own choices and decisions in this world. The lie that I was my own god, I ruled my own life, I made my own way, I lived by my own rules, my own idea of right. I praise God that the Truth has set me free (John 8:32). The lie (Romans 1:25) is no longer my master. I am completely aware that my every breath only comes to me because my Creator God has allowed it to. I am not my own god, I make horrible decisions and choices when left to myself, and I have no basis on which to determine right from wrong apart from God. Why is that? Well basically because there is no freedom apart from God, apart from Christ, because the truth of the lie is that I am slave to other masters. We are never masterless. So what other masters rule us if Christ does not?   

(2) The next master I saw was religion. Yes we can be enslaved to the traditions of man, their idea of holiness, their list of do's and don'ts. Lists and lists of steps to holiness. A 12 step program to getting it right. You are not saved, you are not worthy of godliness or holiness or righteousness unless you look and act like us and follow all our rules and traditions and our interpretations of the Law. In Christ man's made religion (Romans 2, Galatians 1:3-12, Colossians 2:8) is no longer our master. God tells us in Isaiah 2:22 to stop regarding man whose breathe of life is in his nostrils for why should he be so esteemed. My life is not to seek the approval of man, but only the approval of my new Master, my Jesus, for He bought me with precious blood.   

(3) Death is no longer our master (Romans 6:9). Death is swallowed up in victory in Christ! Because I know that because He lives I will live. I have no longer a fear of death, because death is only now a transition into an even greater life. I am not controlled by fear of death. I will not be threatened by it through man, disease, disaster, or demon. Death simply means that I will be absent from the body and present with my Lord. He holds my life in His hands. He bought and paid for it. It belongs to Him and I trust Him completely with it. It is to take when and how He pleases in order to bring Him glory. 

(4) Sin is no longer our master (Romans 6:14). Before I died in Christ I was a slave to sin. Sin had me bound. It was inherent me, passed down through the seed of my great great, plus more greats grandfather Adam. The fact that I commit sins does not make me sinner, I commit sins because I was already a sinner. As we look at Romans 6 we see that in Christ we died to sin, the sin, not sins plural. The sin is what I was enslaved to. The sin that was inherent in me, the sin that was imputed against me because I committed sins in my enslavement to it, the sin that entered the world because of the lie. This sin is no longer my master. In Christ I am enslaved to righteousness (Romans 6:18)     

(5) The Law is no longer our master (Romans 7:4). Apart from Christ I was/am bound to the Law of God. If not in Christ I will be judged according to the standard of the Law of God. Why? Well it's His universe, His rules, if you can't keep them you can't stay. Now in my death to the Law and my marriage to Christ I do not become lawless. I simply am filled with an overwhelming desire to please my Master not by keeping a list of rules but out of sheer love and adoration. His Laws, His love, His life, His righteousness is now the desire of my heart. I want to keep His Law and do what pleases Him not out of fear but out of love for Him.

(6) The flesh is no longer our master (Romans 8:12-13). Yes that is right. The flesh is no longer my master. In Christ I now have the power through His Holy Spirit in me to put to death the deeds of the flesh. All those desires that sin brought in my life and awakened in my flesh, all those lusts that my flesh screamed for, all those things that I felt completely powerless to say "NO!" to, now in Christ I have power over. I have power to say "NO!" no matter how strong the desire is or how loud my flesh screams. The still small voice of the Spirit of my new Master is louder and more powerful than my flesh any day and everyday. He gave us this authority in His name and through His Spirit and by His Word it is our responsibility to use it.

(7) Satan is no longer our master (Romans 16:20). The devil no longer can make you do anything! With the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, all authority in heaven and on earth was given to Him. He holds the keys to life and death. He is the LORD of hosts. All things in heaven and on earth and under the earth must bow at His name. He is King of kings, Lord of lords, God of gods. He is all in all! Satan might run rampant in the earth and stomp about in His tyraid and deceiving those who would be deceived but God is soon going to crush him under His feet, but until this day in Christ he has no authority over me.

These are no longer master over anyone who is in Christ. Those in Christ now have a new master His name is Jesus. We are slaves to no one or no thing because Jesus calls us friend (John 15:15). Whom the Son has set free is free indeed! (John 8:36)

Oh but precious one if we know Jesus we know what He did for us. When we know what His grace means, when we grasp it fully, when we understand the extent of His mercy, we cannot be content in our freedom alone. In our freedom we turn to Him and then willingly become His slave.

Our desire is for Him, we desire to obey Him and honor Him in our freedom by doing His will. And then in this freedom, in this desire for His will, in this great love for Him, we begin to love what He loves and He loves the world and He desires that all would have this freedom, that all would serve Him as their One Master, so in this we are compelled to go out and share this truth with others that they too might be free indeed!

These other masters, these old masters, will rise up and try to take us back. We will battle them until the day that death releases us or Christ returns, but that is just it we battle! We battle as free men and women of God. We are to turn to them and tell them to get behind us because they do not control or rule us any longer our lives belong to Christ not them.

This is only a small picture, a small breakdown, of what the death of Christ means for our life. May you be blessed by the study of the glorious Word of our Creator God!

To Him be all the glory.


For You Have Died And Your Life Is Hidden In Christ

This is a past Facebook "note" from May 19th 2011:

What does it mean to be hidden with Christ in God? God has given us a beautiful picture in His creations as to what this means to us as His children. Jimmy Giers gave us some sweet insight as He taught to us from Romans 12:1-3 Wed night. Let us never forget "that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse" (Rom 1:19-20)  

The insight that Jimmy added to this was the sharing of what happens inside the cocoon during the metamorphosis. This is what brought my mind to the verse I have been studying this week, Col 3:3, "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." So what happens in this cocoon stage? To see the beauty of this and the complete picture let us begin at the beginning.

It all starts with a mother butterfly finding a young soft healthy milkweed and carefully depositing an egg. 
("But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance." Luke 8:15)

Fresh milkweed is a must as this is the only food the caterpillar will eat.
("like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation," 1 Peter 2:2)

A time for growth has arrived. The larva is driven by one commandment in life." to eat and grow". In just two weeks the caterpillar will shed its skin five times. In other words, the insect must wear and outgrow five skins.
"How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Psalm 119:103. 
"I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh." John 6:51.
So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” 1 Corin 3:7.)

Notice how the old skin has been pushed back into a crumpled bit of debris which will soon be discarded.
("if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind," Eph 4:21-23.
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Rom 8:12-14)

At this stage the caterpillar is eating its fill. It must get enough nutrition from a sole diet of milkweed leaves to fuel the complex processes of the metamorphosis to come.
("And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death."  Rev 12:11.
"Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."  Rev 20:4)

Signals from the chrysalis forming within compel the caterpillar to slowly begin releasing the claspers one at a time. Soon the caterpillar will completely let go. Its life is now completely dependent on the silk button and how well it has attached to it.
("I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:5.
"I in them and You in Me," John 17:23.
"Christ in you, the hope of glory" Col 1:27. 
"who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself."  Phil 3:21)

A caterpillar to chrysalis transformation. The larva sheds its skin to reveal a wet gyrating chrysalis. The pupa must transfer its hold to its cremaster and drop the old larval skin. The chrysalis gradually assumes its predestined shape and hardens into an imobile waxy pupa.
(" laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him--" Col 3:9-10.
"For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;" Rom 8:29.
by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” Deut 30:20)

The soft helpless "prepupal" insect lets go and hangs in a "J" shap. At this point life is dependent on the grip of the two hind claspers into the silk anchor. The first of many challenges has been overcome. Now a time of waiting has arrived yet the internal workings of the larva are very active.
("Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corin 4:16-18)

Now the change to a final form of the chrysalis continues. I say "continues" for this changing of shape began even while the caterpillar was shedding its skin. It can be seen from the pictures that the basic template of the chrysalis is evolving from the "caterpillar that once was" to the "butterfly that will be".
("Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is." 1 John 3:2.
"Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed," 1 Corin 15:50-51)

The chrysalis is a perfect example of form and function.
("And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14.
"For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps," 1 Peter 2:21.
"Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly." 1 Corin 15:49.
"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." 2 Corin 3:18.)

(*Things in bold print above come from :

"The first thing that happens is that a lot of the caterpillar’s old body dies. It is attacked by the same sort of juices the caterpillar used in its earlier life to digest its food and it would not be far wrong to say the caterpillar digests itself from the inside out. This process is called ‘histolysis'.

Not all the tissue is destroyed however some of the insect’s old tissue passes on to its new self.
There is one particular sort of tissue left after histolysis. In a number of places in the insect's body are collections of special formative cells, which have played no part in the insects larval life and have stayed hidden or protected during this partial death. Each of these groups of cells is called an ‘imaginal disk' or a ‘histoblast'.

The imaginal disks begin to reproduce rapidly and develop into wings or legs or antennae, from the largest structure to the most tiny detail of a single hair or scale, building of a new body out of the soup that the insect’s digestive juices have made of the old larval body. This they do using the same biochemical processes that all insects use to turn their food into part of their bodies.

This rebuilding process is called ‘histogenesis' which is the formation of different tissues from undifferentiated cells. During this time the insect is very vulnerable because it cannot run away, and this is why insects try to choose somewhere safe to hide away when they are going through this incredible change."

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (Rom 8:18-25)

Read again, “because that which is known about God is evident within them”, I believe this verse compared with the metamorphosis of a butterfly is key to a lot. God is not willing for any man to perish, but desires all to come to repentance. He gave His Son for the whole world, not a select few. He desires for every man to be complete in Christ.

I believe that just as this caterpillar In a number of places in the insect's body are collections of special formative cells, which have played no part in the insects larval life and have stayed hidden or protected during this partial death.” so do we.

In the fall man experienced a death, but I believe that God left within us truth, truth that will lead us to the Light so that we may have life again. The question is will we seek that truth, that light, or will we suppress it in unrighteousness? “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God." (John 3:20-21)

When we receive Christ, when we come to the Light, and by faith receive Him as our Savior, He becomes our chrysalis. In Him we die, our old bodies are crucified with and in Him (Rom 6:4-6) and in Him we are transformed and conformed into a new creature (Col 2:11). We are hidden in Him (Col 3:3) as God does this amazing work within us. God gives us a new heart and new life. Our old self decays and is being put to death while our inner man is being strengthened and being conformed to fit into the new glorious body that will be our when we are revealed with Christ (Rom 8:23). Just as in the caterpillar we take some of our old self with us, the part that that was fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), the part that makes us each individual and unique.

During this time the insect is very vulnerable because it cannot run away.”
I love this. It reminds me of “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7) “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.” (John 10:28-29).

Oh precious one, when we belong to God we cannot escape this metamorphosis. We will be conformed to the image of His Son. He will accomplish His purpose, and He will bring whatever trials into your life that He has to in order for His will to be done in you. It may be painful at the time, but oh when we emerge as the butterfly it will all be worth it.

As I studied through the book of Romans in depth last year this is an excerpt of some of what God showed me then from Romans 12:1-3:

"Paul goes on to say that we are not to be conformed to this world. We are not to take on the mold of the age in which we live. My Pastor has said that we have gone from smoking in public and having sex in private, to having sex in public and smoking in private. How true this is! The world and society changes its moral and ethical character with the wind, but God’s Word does not change. He does not change. We are not to be conformed to this world, to whatever age we live in, but to God. For we have been “predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29)

We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. The word transformed is “metamorphoo”, it is to be completely transfigured. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

As we look at nature, and we can, because God has made it clear that “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made,” (Romans 1:20), we can gain understanding to this transforming through the metamorphosis, the metamorphoo, of the butterfly. This butterfly began as a caterpillar, stuck to the ground, the earth, he is of the earth. Then one day a transformation begins.

Oh precious one, we are born in sin, of the earth, in and of Adam (Romans 5: 12-14), but by the grace and mercies of God and through the power of His Holy Spirit a transformation can begin in our life. The caterpillar does not seek to become the butterfly, divine intervention, the purpose and work of God, takes over the life of this caterpillar. Precious one, we do not seek God on our own (Romans 3:9-18). It is only by the divine intervention and purpose and will of God that you even acknowledge the possibility of His existence. Then it is the power of God in and through the gospel of God that you are saved, by grace through faith not of yourselves.

Now as we look back to this caterpillar and his transformation into this butterfly, he goes into a cocoon. The word cocoon comes from the Latin word “pupa” and the time in the cocoon is called the “pupal stage”. My friend if you are a Christian you are in the pupal stage. “Go therefore and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19), disciples are learners, pupils. Oh precious one, your cocoon should be the church, not A church, but THE church. It is vital that you do more than just pew sit on Sunday morning. You must get involved in a small group. You must get involved with the body of Christ. There are many who come to a church to be a part of a faith, but the body of Christ is THE church and they are in THE faith. It is here that you are able to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It is here in these small groups, in the cocoon, that the “pupal stage” can take place. It is here that you first present your body as a living and holy sacrifice to God and you learn how to continually present your body to Him. It is here that you dig into His Word and the transformation begins. Here in the cocoon, the body of Christ.

My friends do not write off the body of Christ, the church, because of a church. Oh precious one, are you one who says you believe, yet you struggle to walk in obedience to the faith? Are you struggling to find out what God’s purpose is for your life, what His will is in circumstances and situations of your life. Then, my friend, you must get back in that pupal stage. The caterpillar doesn’t choose when it leaves the cocoon, and neither do we. We are not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think (Romans 12:3). If a caterpillar was to leave its cocoon before God finished his transformation, it would die, and my friend so will we (1 Corinthians 5:1-5, 1 Corinthians 11: 30, Romans 11:17-22).

Now do you see, my friend, why Paul writes with such passion. Oh precious one, I urge you by the mercies of God to present your body as a living and holy sacrifice to God. Be consecrated unto Him. Come out of the world and be separate. Do not be deceived by the traditions and philosophies of man. Do not be conformed into the mold of society, but only into the mold of Christ. Knowing that one day your transformation will be complete and you will leave this “pupal stage” in glory! From a lowly stuck to the earth caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly soaring in the highest heavens! “To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)" 

(Excerpt from Metamorphoo written 9/27/10)

I could keep digging and digging into this beautiful picture of rebirth that God has given us. One of the things that Jimmy shared from what he studied on metamorphosis was from a guy who spoke of how the caterpillar in the chrysalis is completely broke down and then made into a completely new creature. The heart, inner parts of the caterpillar is turned into a goop and then is re-crafted into this beautiful butterfly. The man stated that in a sense this caterpillar is completely born again. “Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)

Oh Father,

May I become goop in Your masterful hands and may You continue to transform me into the perfect form and function of Your Son, while I am hidden in the safety of Your Son as Noah was hidden in the safety of the ark. You are the potter and I am the clay, mold me into a beautiful representation of You. To You be all the glory forever and ever.

In Jesus name,

Vaughn Elementary

When I first began homeschooling our girls I was programed to carry out this mission according to the current public school system, the one I and my husband graduated from, and the one we had purposely pulled our girls out of. I would test my girls every week and what they got was what they got...

Then one day it hit me.

Wait a minute.
This is not public school.
This is Vaughn Elementary.
What am I doing?

Thank God I had a "lightbulb" moment. It just hit me out of nowhere in mid test (yeh it just hit me out of nowhere, but I know exactly Who it came from). I remembered what the whole point of a test was in God's eyes.

In the wilderness He fed you manna
which your fathers did not know,
that He might humble you
and that He might test you,
to do good for you in the end.
Deuteronomy 8:16

The object of the test was not to leave my children in failure in a particular area and then move on to the next thing. The test was not the final word. I was.

The object of the test was to see if I had done my job well enough that they understood and learned. If they failed it was my job to go back and go over the information again. My job is to teach. The test is to show me what I need to teach again. The object of the test is to do good for them in the end.

For a period of about forty years
He put up with them in the wilderness.
Acts 13:18

Yes it may seem like it takes 40 years to get my child to understand how n = 3009 but if it takes 40 years... well that means we'll just have to do school right on through summer and on Saturday too, but they will finish in victory, not marked as failures. The test will be for their good in the end. We will take as many trips around the math mountain as we must for them to get a grasp and understanding of the material and do our very best to keep the joy of learning alive and well.

Examine me, O LORD, and try me;
Test my mind and my heart.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.

Psalm 26:2-3

When the Lord examines us He does not pull out our flaws, our sins, and our failures to point them out and then leave us in them. He tests us to refine us, to perfect us. He tests us in love in order to make sure we fully understand truth. This is what I decided should be my goal in testing my girls as well.
Consider it all joy, my brethren,
when you encounter various trials, 
knowing that the testing of your faith
 produces endurance. 
And let endurance have its perfect result,
so that you may be perfect
and complete,
lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4

So yes at the end of the year my girls will be "straight A" students, not because the grade was handed to them by their mommy, but because they have the privilege of living with their teacher and having my full attention so that they might go over and over material until they understand it. They can move ahead or stop if they need to, because the goal at Vaughn Elementary is for them to learn the material. I do not have a school board or a union telling me what, when, where, how much or how far.

Granted I do believe that my stand on testing will change and adjust as my girls pass from elementary into the high school years so that they might begin the transition into college, but right now this is where I am...testing to perfect not just to point out failures, focusing more on building a solid foundation than just passing on to the next scheduled lesson. At this point in their life keeping learning fun is vital.

So if you homeschool what's your stand on testing?
How often do you test?
What is your grading style?
Did you change how and when you tested as your children grew older?

Warning: Nagville Next Exit, All Roads Dead End

Those who have no interest in turning from their destructive ways must, through the prayers of others, be turned over to God. Ultimately, they are responsible for their own actions; it is not our responsibility to change our loved ones. We can try to have a positive influence, but in the end it's up to them to seek God for the necessary changes. Pressures, nagging, complaints, criticism, scolding, and similar actions aren't going to do a thing. Instead, pray that you'll see something supernatural happen. Your mate has the capacity to change, but he or she can't be beaten in to restoration.
~ James Robison from Living in Love

 In the same way, you wives,
be submissive to your own husbands
so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word,
they may be won without a word
by the behavior of their wives, 
as they observe your chaste
and respectful behavior.
1 Peter 3:1-2

This can be a hard one can't it...

This is one of those commands in Scripture where we have to prayerfully choose to take God at His word and walk by faith. 

It is so often in our nature as women to be the "nag". And depending on our husbands the levels on which we reach Nagville can vary. For some husbands, just a mention makes you a nag, to others you have to have actually reached the point of following behind them with a wagging finger giving them your what-for. Regardless of where or when you reach this with your husband... it is not pleasing to God. We need to be sensitive to when God says... "Honey, you've hit Nagville, find a place to turn around and head the other direction immediately, there is no profit for anyone in Nagville... ever. All roads are a dead end. They will get you nowhere."

It is better to live in a corner of a roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
Proverbs 21:9

It is better to live in a desert land
Than with a contentious and vexing woman.
Proverbs 21:19

It is better to live in a corner of the roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman
Proverbs 25:24

A constant dripping on a day of steady rain
And a contentious woman are alike;
Proverbs 27:15

Okay ladies... did you count those?
Four cross-references all concerning nagging women.

You know if God says something once it's pretty important. If He repeats Himself it's very, very important. He has repeated Himself four times within a seven chapter span on this issue... I believe that puts this in the "Girl you better pay attention or else" category.  

Now the word contentious in these Scripture references is Madown. It means strife, contention, object of contention and it comes from the root word Diyn which means to judge, contend, plead, to act as judge, minister judgment, to plead a cause, to execute judgment, requite, vindicate, to govern, to contend, strive, to be at strife, quarrel.

Precious one, you are not, nor will you ever be your husbands Holy Spirit, you will not ever even be his conscience. He my dear is on his own. It's all between him and God. All you can ever do is muddy the waters and harden his heart. So dear sweet one who might use her tongue as a lashing tool...

The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.
Exodus 14:14

When you choose to hold your tongue, then you are choosing to walk by faith and you show that you trust that God has got everything under control...

Personally I have never felt that I was much of a nagger, my husband just is not the kind of man that would take that too well... so I have never really felt like I was a contentious woman in the nag side (my husband might have a different opinion on that, lol).

However, I have to admit that I have at times passed judgment on my husband in my heart, refused him grace, refused him mercy, refused him forgiveness, and punished him with the silent treatment and by withholding my affection. I get hurt and I through up walls of self-protection and forget that I am already protected by my breastplate of righteousness, my helmet of salvation, my belt of truth, my shield of faith, and I am already within the walls of the strong tower of my King.

I would give the silent treatment (and yes there is a difference in simply being silent and giving the silent treatment) because the truth is I had/have a fear of confrontation with him. I know I can't out argue him, I am not quick witted at all. I know I cannot manipulate him. It's just not in my ability to "handle someone". I am the person who gets blindsided and stunned and then spends the next days and nights thinking of all the things I could have done or said at that moment instead of just standing there and taking it.

When we were first married and he would do something or say something that hurt my feelings and I hadn't the nerve to address it in an appropriate way and time, I would try to show him what the issue was by doing it back to him.
I do not recommend this.
It does not work... at all.

See that no one repays another with evil for evil,
but always seek after that which is good
for one another and for all people.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 

So what do you do if you know something is off kilter with your spouse?
What do you do when you see them in destructive behaviour?
What do you do when that behaviour is toward you?

You address it kindly, when the time is appropriate.
You pray without ceasing about it.
And you leave it in the hands of a mighty God.

In marriage we get a first hand, front row seat, to every character flaw and deeds of flesh that our spouse has... but just because we see it and experience it doesn't mean we have the power to fix it, nor is it necessarily our job to point it out, especially repeatedly point it out over and over and over and over.

Your mate has the capacity to change, but he or she can't be beaten in to restoration.

However, it is without a doubt our job to lift our spouse up in prayer and listen closely to the leading of the Holy Spirit and only speak when He says speak and how He says speak and what He says speak.

It will never do any good to keep on addressing it.
It will however do good to keep on praying about it.
You can't change anyone's heart... but God most certainly can.

**** Disclosure: In cases of mental, emotional, or physical abuse seek wise counsel immediately. You are not alone and help is available and waiting.


Would you believe this word from Chuck Swindoll was in my morning email devotions... so I had to come back and add it to this post.

"Always guard your words when your husband is going through terribly hard times. I want to confess something about us men. Mainly, I want you to remember: going through sustained hard times weakens most men. For some reason, hardship seems to strengthen women; we admire you for that. But we men are weakened when times of affliction hit and stay. In our weakened condition we lose our objectivity, sometimes our stability. Our discernment is also skewed. Our determination lags. We become vulnerable, and most men don't know how to handle themselves in a vulnerable state of mind. So in light of all of this---hear me---we need your clear perspective, wisdom, and spiritual strength. Most of all, we need you to pray for us as you've never prayed. We need not only your prayers, we need your emotional support. We need you to take the initiative and step up. We need your words of confidence and encouragement."