Saturday, January 28, 2012

Poem Inspired from Romans 1-5

Glory, Hallelujah, Praises to His Name

In Christ alone my hope's secure
No fear is found, my future is sure

Once a fool, believing a lie
Walking in ignorance, yet professing to be wise
Once a slave to my lust
And a deceitful heart I could not trust
Was once filled with filth and hid in the dark
Until I turned toward the Light and righteousness my God by faith did impart

I tried on my own to keep all the rules
On the outside played along I knew what was approved
My life adjusted to the crowd I was in
A different face, different character for family and friend
I knew what was right, knew what was true
I just couldn't get it, but could point a finger at you

Oh but of this struggle I grew weary and tired
And finally my God to Your Christ I did cry

My Jesus I had been told that You had died for me
Bore my sins on that cross atop of Calvary
Your blood had been poured out and a spear pierced Your side
But I heard the grave could not hold You and up You did rise

I was told that You were promised from long ago
And then I searched the Scriptures and I saw that it was so

From Adam to Noah to Job to Abraham
My Jesus You were promised the Savior of all man
From Isaac to Jacob to Judah to Moses spread the fame of Your name
My God Your kingdom would come and was promised forever to reign
Through David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, through all the prophets You spoke
You told us of the One that one day all eyes will behold

And at the right time, my Jesus, while helpless in our sin
You died for all the ungodly who seek to be free and desire to live
Through one man's disobedience all mankind did fall
Sin came, death reigned, and spread through the world, spread to all

Yet through One Man's obedience, One Man's righteous act
Sin was cleansed, death defeated, those who will believe no longer are under wrath
Before God justified by faith in His Christ
Grace obtained, and in my heart God's love poured in, His hope now I have

I rejoice in everything, whether good, whether bad
Knowing He is with me and all has passed through His hands
Saved from well-deserved wrath, once dead now alive
An enemy before, now in Christ reconciled

Glory, Hallelujah, praise to Your name
Glory, Hallelujah, thank You Jesus for the sacrifice made
Glory, Hallelujah, worthy are You the Lamb who was slain
Glory, Hallelujah, because of Christ my sin God forgave
Glory, Hallelujah, in Christ I am free, no longer am I sin's slave
Glory, Hallelujah, my Jesus You are King and in my life You shall reign
Glory, Hallelujah, all praises to Your name

Friday, January 27, 2012

Stress Mess

Yesterday morning our little one awoke to a headache and a small temp. Which immediately still sends a rush of panic through my system.

For six straight years she was sick.
Doctor visit after doctor visit ended in treating symptoms because the blood work tests that had been done thus far couldn't pin-point the root issue. She began to become resistant to antibiotics and would end up going on 2 or 3 rounds of different kinds in order to get her better... to just start over again in less than three months.

It was one of those things that you think you are handling well until you wake up one morning doing this:

This was just my arm... it was worse than this on the rest of my body... from head to toe I was covered with a rash that was induced by stress. Stress from "not worrying" about my baby girl...

So this morning when we awoke to her still running a fever, now burning up with a 103 temp, my husband and I catch ourselves convincing each other that it is nothing and she is going to be fine. While all along panic threatens to overtake us both from the memory of those days when one little sniffle would end us up at the hospital. When we couldn't understand what in the world was going on and why no one could figure it out.

How thankful we are for doctors who don't stop until they know that they know. An immune deficiency had beaten our little one down. Once discovered the doctors treated her with a vaccine and we quarantined her to give her body time to heal.

Today what hurts most is when I still see the fear in my baby's eyes that it is beginning again...

It is here that I have learned to return her look of fear with strong confidence that God has her in His very capable hands. When before I had to leave the room and crumble in a heap of tears on the floor from the fear of the unknown and wondering if I was as crazy as I felt everyone else thought I was.

Around 4pm today we decided to go ahead and make a trip to Urgent Care, which revealed that strep has attacked our little one yet again... but we are confident that she will be well again soon. This is the first antibiotic she has had to take since April 2010. She is so much stronger now.

As is her mother...
No stress rash... I learned my lesson on holding on to worry. I had much rather lay it at the altar of mercy and throne of grace than wear it on my flesh.

The past few years I have been through God's-Got-It boot camp. I have learned lessons in God's grace and mercy and sovereignty that I will never forget. They were not fun... but they were most definitely worth it.


If I fall in a land of peace
If I crumble in the face of the free
How shall I stand in a day of battle
How shall I reign victorious over my enemy

If I can not stand at attention in obedience to my call
When there is no war raging have I ever stood at all.
If I can not live the truth in the protection of this peace
Then how shall I fare when a weapon of hate is pulled on me

If I stumble in this day of privileged liberty
Will I stand when shackles for the gospel are placed on me
If I shrink back at the fear of the loss of approval of man
If my life is threatened how shall I believe I could stand

If I fall in a land of peace
How will I do in the thicket of the war
If I can not stand strong against an enemy already defeated
How shall I win against an enemy that is still yet to come

If I truly am a soldier enlisted and secured
If I lay down and sleep in the hour of still
If I put up my armor and remove my shoes
If I take off my helmet and lay down my shield
If my breastplate is placed on a shelf
My sword sheaved and discarded
I am already defeated though the battle be not started

The day of peace is not for leisure
The time of freedom is not for play
The hour is for training so that I will not be ashamed
So whether in the thicket of the Jordan or safe in Jerusalem's walls
I shall stand, stand firm, by Your grace never shall I fall.

"If you fall down in a land of peace,
How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?"
Jeremiah 12:5

Ministry and Motherhood are Messy

This is a post a wrote in 2010... but it remains a prayer and point of focus as I walk in 2012...

I began 2010 reading through the Proverbs. My prayer for 2010 was "Lord increase me in wisdom, Your wisdom." Little did I know how much I would need these proverbs as 2010 came rolling in. I thank my God for His Word.
As I studied I came to a particular proverb and out in the margin beside this proverb I have noted "serving the Lord and kids in the house" with a smiley face underneath my little note.

"Where no oxen are, the manger is clean,
but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox."
Proverbs 14:4

I am by birth, by nature, by DNA, a clean freak and a perfectionist. It was once said that you could eat off of my floors. I would have your cup cleaned and in the cabinet before you even finished setting it down from your last swallow.

Then came a baby...then came salvation in Christ...then came another baby...!
Needless to say things changed.
I realized I could have a perfectly clean house or I could have a life that imparted life to others. God says to choose life, so I chose life.

Our homes, our church, our ministries all relate to this verse.
Will we sacrifice a clean manger for the revenue of life...eternal life?

One thing I learned was that I could dust everyday and still when I got up the next morning the dust was back again. I could wash clothes all day and still the hamper would fill up again. I could mop and make my floors shine everyday, but still someone would walk on them and leave their prints behind.

Then I looked at my children and no matter what I did I couldn't make them infants again, I couldn't make the sunshine come back out so I could take them to the park now that the house was clean. I won't be able to make them little leagers again so that I can coach and teach them. I can't make those adoring, innocent eyes, so filled with love and trust, turn back to me after I have repeatedly told them I don't have the time for them.
Trust me I'm still learning to place my priorities, but I am getting better.
Does the house ever get clean?
Yes it does. But it is now in the balance.

In our churches...if we want a church that is full of life...guess what...kool-aid gets spilled on the carpet...the gym floor gets dirty...the paint on the wall gets nicked...but each spill, each nick, each mark was made from a life that was there and heard the message of Jesus Christ?
Isn't it worth it?

In our ministries...ministry is messy! We make our plans, but they don't always go according to schedule. People don't always respond the way we think they should. If we didn't minister to people then we could have a clean, well-organized manger...but what revenue would we have to show for our ministry?

So Mom's don't stress over the house. I mean keep the roaches away and make sure there's nothing growing on the dishes stuck under the bed and try to keep clean underwear for everyone...but I promise you the dust will be back in the morning!

Church instead of frowning at the nicks, stains, and dirt...pray salvation and the grace of God over the one who made the mark and pray that God will fill your walls with more souls to make more stains!

The's messy.
But God is in control, remember it's all about HIM.

There Is Hope

As Walter Brueggemann put it, “This family (and with it the whole family of Genesis 1–11) has played out its future and has nowhere else to go. Barrenness is the way of human history. It is an effective metaphor for
hopelessness. There is no foreseeable future. There is no human power to invent a future.”

Then, the story turns with these simple words: “The Lord . . . said . . .” (Gen 12:1). God spoke into the barrenness and chaos. It was as if He said, You’ve done your best, and this is where it has gotten you—now step aside.

Still early in the Genesis story, these words remind us of another time God spoke into darkness and chaos. Before God began to create, the “earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters.” Into nothing, “God said . . . ” God spoke and light erupted, vegetation blossomed, humans appeared. This is still what happens whenever God speaks.

—Winn Collier

You know... I don't know where you are today. I don't know the barrenness of your heart or the possible chaos of your soul. I don't know if you are in a place where it seems that life is crumbling down all around you and you feel as though you are standing alone in the midst of all the broken pieces... but I do know that our Creator God can speak life and order and healing into whatever you are going through. I do know that He has not forsaken you, I do know that you are not alone... no matter how alone you feel.

Open up His Word and hear Him speak.

Stop trying to do it all on your own... you were never meant to.

God is there and I guarantee you that there is someone whose name is on your mind right now that you know would be there for you if they just knew what was going on. You may not have ever really spent a lot of time together. You may not have ever even talked to them. You may not know them at all, but have just seen them interact with others... but their name, their face, is before you now for a reason as you stand among the broken pieces.

Don't let pride or fear of rejection or condemnation keep you from seeking help. Don't keep hiding in the dark because our Creator said, let there be light!

A Night of Hope
So far away, so full of doubt
So lost inside, there's no way out
Within this prison I scream, I shout
But no one hears, no eyes look about
Can no one see me
Is everyone blind
My fear overwhelms me
I'm falling this time

I smile I do, I play the game
I try to be different, but nothing does change
I hate this I do, don't like how I feel
I want to be happy, I want to be sure
I want to be confident and secure
They tell me this, they tell me that
Follow ABC and all will be well with me

I've walked the line
I've jumped the hoops
But this time the tight rope is just to loose
My feet are slipping my knees to weak
My mind is reeling, into the darkness I sink
The darkness is safe, in it I hide
No one can see the thoughts of my mind
I hear the whispers, this voice so sleek
It tells me go on, in the darkness there's peace

But another voice I hear, it's distant and sweet
It whispers I love you, listen to me
It says in the darkness there is only dark
It says come to the Light, give me your heart
It says I see you, and hear you too
I know your thoughts and hear your screams
Come be still and know that it's Me
Know that I came to give you a hope
Know that I'm here, My love have I shown
Come this night and know that I'm here
Come this night know to Me you are dear

While in your tears lift up your eyes
Take them off the dark and put them on the Light
Keep them focused looking right at Me
Know that I AM is right here, you'll see
Trust in Me and in My love
Feel My arms around you embraced in a hug
Take a deep breath, breathe in My scent
Know for you My flesh was rent
I died for you that you might live
So lift up your head, for this hope to you I give

I wrote this May 7, 2009... in Him, in His Light, there is hope no matter how great the darkness, no matter how loud the chaos, no matter how barren the heart... in Him there is always Life no matter how deadened you may feel.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Names of God: Jehovah-mekoddishkem

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 OlamAdoniaJehovahJehovah-jirehJehovah-rapha, and Jehovah-nissi.
Today we will discover what we can learn about the character of our God as we look at His name, Jehovah-mekoddishkem.

We are introduced to this beautiful name of God in the book of Exodus.

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.’ It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.”
When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.
~ Exodus 31:12-18

Jehovah-mekoddishkem is God's name for Himself that means the LORD who sanctifies you. So what exactly does that mean to us. When we look at the context of this passage of Scripture in which God reveals this name we discover that this is the time when Moses is on the mountain top alone with God. This is when God is giving the children of Israel the Law, the Ten Commandments.

The children of Israel have spent the last four hundred years as slaves in Egypt living under the bondage of slavery and under the rules of a godless Pharaoh. Now they have been redeemed by their God. Now they are free, but they are not free to live to themselves... they have been set free to serve the I AM.

Then the LORD said to Moses,
“Go to Pharaoh and say to him,
‘Thus says the LORD,
Let My people go, that they may serve Me.
Exodus 8:1

The children of Israel were no longer to look, talk, or act like slaves of Egypt. They were redeemed to be set apart. That is what sanctified means. They were being set apart and prepared and dedicated to represent and serve the One True Living God. They were going to be consecrated and taught by God how to be holy and majestic and to be a people of honor. They were no longer to be slaves... they were now sons. They were to be sons who greatest desire was to honor their Father.

Does this sound familiar child of God through Christ Jesus His Son?

But you are A CHOSEN RACE,
so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him
who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 
for you once were NOT A PEOPLE,
but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD;
but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.
1 Peter 2:9-10

The children of Israel did not do a thing to earn their sanctification. They were slaves who had nothing. They did buy their freedom. They could not purchase their own redemption. If you read the preceding chapters of the book of Exodus you also see that the children of Israel grumbled and complained the whole way into their freedom and even as they were walking in it. So they did not become good out of the appreciation of their new freedom. They did nothing to sanctify themselves. They had no ability within themselves to make themselves holy. God had to do it all. Thus He is Jehovah-mekkodishkem, the LORD who sanctifies you.  

I didn't earn my sanctification either. I didn't earn my salvation. I was a slave to sin in bondage to my flesh and Satan held the cords of control. I was bankrupt and broken. I could not set myself free. I could not pay my way out. I had to be redeemed. It would be my Jehovah-mekkodishkem that came to my rescue.

By this will we have been sanctified
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ
once for all.
Hebrews 10:10

I was not sanctified by my ability to keep the Law. I was sanctified by my ability to be good enough. The children of Israel were not sanctified by their ability to keep God's Law either. Go back and look at the context.

The LORD who sanctifies you reveals this name of Himself as He teaches us of the sabbath.

You shall surely observe My sabbaths;
for this is a sign between Me and you
throughout your generations,
that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. 
Therefore you are to observe the sabbath,
for it is holy to you.
Exodus 31:13-14

Now why did God say that observing the sabbath would be the sign?

Why not, you shall not commit adultery and this is the sign that you are sanctified? Why not, you shall obey your parents  and this will be the sign that you are sanctified? Why not, you shall never take my name in vain and this will be sign? Why not you shall not make an idol and this will be sign?

Why on earth would the sign be the sabbath?

Oh precious one, God is trying to get a very huge point across to us today... just as He was to the children of Israel then. The point that He alone can sanctify.

The sign that we belong to Him is our ability to rest in Him.
To trust in Him.
To depend on Him.
To believe in Him.
Our sanctification does not come as a result of our work... it is a gift received only by the grace and mercy of God.

For by grace you have been saved
through faith;
and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God; 
not as a result of works,
so that no one may boast. 
Ephesians 2:8-9

Oh how thankful I am that God did not make the sign of my sanctification my ability to keep to perfection the rest of the Law. I fail often. I fall often. I miss the mark. But when I do I know that I am His because His Spirit calls me to repentance and to rest in His forgiveness and calls me to remember to trust and to love and not to fear and to start over because I have received mercy.

This is what makes my God, Jehovah-mekkodishkem, different from all other gods... mercy for no reason other than that He loves me. Then out of my overwhelmed relief of His poured out without measure grace I willingly desire and choose to honor my Father by obeying the rest of His commands. So that my set apart life might display His majesty and be used by Him to bring the rest of our family home.

My freedom did not come through my ability to work, from ability to get it all right. My freedom game from resting in Him...

Precious one are you tired? 
Are you tired from working to get it right?
Are you ready to rest in Him?
In Him alone will you find freedom...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Good Wife's Guide Review

I was asked by Darlene Schacht to read the rough draft version of her new book The Good Wife's Guide. I have been following her blog, Time-Warp Wife, for about six months. I love how she is trying to bring us ladies back to who God created us to be. In the past few decades I have to agree with her that we have gotten off focus as women.

You see I was once queen of the She-Woman-Man-Haters Club. To the point of writing college papers on the subjugation and degradation of women by our society. I researched and filled my head with every bit of information I could gather to fuel and justify my hate of men in general. I had decided that the only one of any count was my Daddy.

I despised the fact of the double-standard that I fully believed existed. I wrote a paper once that I was going to open a restaurant and call it Peckers. The woodpecker would be the store mascot and I would only hire male waiters and they would have to serve shirtless in tight red shorts. You see I decided that men should be just as objectified and degraded as women. Equal degradation was my plan.

My college papers on The Scarlet Letter and Maggie, A Girl of the Streets were asked to be kept by my professors to use as examples in future classrooms. Trust me, I was one fired-up, red-headed female. I was tired of the objectification of women. I was tired of not being physically strong enough to fight off an attacker. I was tired of being sexually harassed. I was tired of a woman being called a whore for the same thing that got a man called the hero of the locker room. I was tired of being a woman.

I was determined that I would never be dependant upon any man. I would never be a "kept" woman. I would do what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted. I didn't need a man for anything. I mean nothing. I could even have a child without one if I wanted... they had test tubes for the only part of a man that was worth anything to me.

Oh me, I was tired.
I was tired, mad, and... broken.

I was so tired that I cried when I found out I was carrying a girl when I was pregnant with my Shelby. I stayed in denial the entire pregnancy. I wanted a boy. I did not want a daughter who would have to face this world that I had faced. I was scared to death that she would be hurt, abused, harassed, condemned. I was terrified.

In my terror I surrounded myself with invisible walls of protection and drowned my fears and demons in alcohol (btw-didn't drink when I was pregnant) and "girl power". My breaking point came in my second year of marriage.  My husband and I had been fighting and he walked out the door and he looked at me and said "Your problem is you hate men! Which means you will never really love me because I am a man!"

This hit me like a brick in the head.
This led me to really pick up my Bible for the first time in twelve years.
This truth led me back to the God-Man.

When I fell in love with the God-Man, I began to heal from my hate. I began to fall in love with my husband in a deeper and truer way. I began to learn what it really meant to be a woman. I began to learn how the fact that I was called a helper to my husband by God did not make me inferior to him or any other man.

I learned the beauty in Biblical submission and I learned the peace that comes in shifting a burden that I was never meant to carry over to the one who was designed for it. It has not always been easy nor has the journey always been fun, but it has been beneficial and profitable.

I don't know were you are right now in your womanhood. You might still be a member of the She-Woman-Man-Haters Club or maybe you are a new bride or maybe you have been a bride for a while, but have been trying to pull the groom's side for many years... where ever you are... you are woman. You are created in the image of God and you are of great value and worth and your place as woman in your home and in this world is of vital importance.

Discover what it means to be a woman as God created you.
Discover what it means to be a wife as God created you.
Discover what it means to be a mother as God created you.

A good place to get a start would be with Darlene's new book, The Good Wife's Guide.
There is much truth to glean from the book.
There are some pretty neat tips in how to work on your role as woman, wife, and mother.
No you may not be able to meet all the offered advice... all of our families have different routines and schedules... but you can take her ideas and suggestions and modify them to fit the dynamics of your family.

But precious one first and foremost... the best guide of learning how to be the woman that God designed you to be is found in His Word... back every bit of human advice you ever recieve up with His Word... if it can't be backed up with the absolute truth of God... then throw it out. Declutter!