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.