Thursday, December 31, 2009

Take Me In

The period was dark. There was no king. Everyone did as he desired. And the depravity of man evidenced itself in extremes.

When we as people are left to ourselves--looking inwardly for direction--distortion is sure. When we as humans simply go on what we feel or assume, turmoil follows. We are not God. We are not God. It sounds so simple, so evident, but in the moments of our day do we truly believe? I am not God. This calls for a happy-dance!

Freedom comes when we cease striving. Living Water flows into the cracks of dried ground as we submit to the Holy of Holies. This is how it is designed. For years I believed freedom to be apart from some God instilling His criteria upon my life. But He graciously pursued me. He graciously drew me to Himself and opened my eyes to the bondage in which I was entangled.

Apart from the God who is reigning over this universe--of which we are but specks of sand--it is hopeless. Only our Creator Designer can breath true life into a weary soul. And He promises that if we truly seek Him we will find Him. Why? Because He loves you and He loves me...infinitely.

When left to ourselves we are blind. Father, give sight.


"Take Me In" by Kutless.

Comments in response to my time in Judges 17-19 this morning.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One Posture

There are some things I read
That don't fit in my box.
It's neatly tied, with God inside--
I've even tried a lock.

But He is not a pawn
To move about my game;
He will not fit, He cannot sit
Amidst my tight constraint.

God Almighty, Holy, True
His ways are not my own.
One posture sure, one faithful cure,
My face upon the floor.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Unlikely Winner

He uses the little guy to make Himself famous. The weakest and smallest become mighty and courageous in the hands of God; and He is glorified.

I have been reading in Judges the passed couple of days. First of all, the patience of the Almighty absolutely astounds me. Over and over and over and over people disobey. They--we--see His miraculous work of healing, restoration, and victory, and in the next paragraph we worship something made by the hands of man. He is so patient.

There are days--many days--that I question the hearing of my children or whether I actually have a voice. I say something, they disobey, I instill the consequence, then 10 minutes later we do it again--over the very same issue. God, for generations, has done this same thing. We humans are forgetful and proud, selfish and numb, yet He does not flick us right off the edge of the earth. He is faithful to His promise of redeeming love. Amazing.

Second, the story of Gideon gives such insight into the ways of God. I just want to focus on one. The Lord says to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.'" (Judges 7:2)

Gideon was preparing to lead 32,000 Israelites into battle against their oppressors--the Midianites. But God said that there were too many willing fighters. Why? Because if they defeated the enemy with that many soldiers then they may be tempted to trust in themselves--and that is what got them into this mess in the first place. So the Lord whittled the army down to three hundred. 300! And they won.

God uses the weak to show Himself strong. He takes circumstances that seem absolutely hopeless, full of impossibility, to show Himself mighty. He is worthy of our praise, and He can be fully trusted to fight on behalf of His own.

I am not sure what you may be facing these days, but our God does not change and He is not taken off-guard.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's Over

And like that, it is gone. The day has passed. All the preparations and anticipation in many ways culminating to that final party, that last gift, and those concluding handfuls of Chex-Mix. My neighbors have taken down their always-anticipated "yard show." The radio station has ceased its continual mixture of nostalgic carols. And our tree sadly sheds as it awaits its demise.

Are you feeling uplifted? Sorry. Though I love the anticipation of Christmas, as we close the pages of 2009 I rejoice in the truth of Christmas. Our Savior has been born. Hallelujah. God did not leave us in our depravity. He pursued us. He made a way for our redemption. And not only that, this Jesus--after He rose from the dead--promised that He was going to prepare a place for those who believe. And if He goes to prepare a place, then He will return. He will return. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Christmas day has passed but may we set our eyes above, on the promises to come--looking with anticipation for that glorious day of reunion. No more tears. No more hurt feelings. No more sickness. No more death. No more frustrations or misunderstandings. No more betrayal. No more...enemy. Our Lord will return--this time with a shout. Maranatha.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

No Mistakes

He did not come in splendor. He came in humility. And He came just as God intended. It was no mistake that a census was called. It was no mistake that the inn was full. It was no mistake that young Mary delivered on the ground of a barn. It was no mistake. Our God was sovereign over the details.

Today I am meditating upon the reason we as followers of Christ rejoice this time of year. A huge marker in the Father's plan of redemption--ordained from the beginning--came forth that first Christmas night. Mary and Joseph had traveled 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem--probably on foot or donkey. Precious Mary was full-term--due to deliver. Which, by the way, I cannot even imagine. I could barely ride in a car for 30 minutes across town when my babies were due. But it was no mistake.

They arrived, as instructed by Caesar Augustus, only to find that their was no place for them to stay. And her labor began. I wonder if the scene went something like this: "Joseph, it's time." "It's time? Now? But Mary, there is no where for us to go. O Father, grant us wisdom... Over there. I see a stable." Then on dusty, smelly dirt, she gave birth to this promised Son of God while the animals watched and angels rejoiced. But it was no mistake.

The Father's ways are not our own, but He is completely, absolutely trustworthy. His timing is from all eternity. The sins and rebellion of mankind do not thwart His plans. He does not make mistakes. A Rock upon which to stand.

Mary had no idea when she rejoiced in God's strange plan nine months prior that she would soon deliver this baby in such an unfamiliar place, with unconventional ways. But it was no mistake.

When we as God's children--adopted as His own--face times of uncertainty and unfamiliarity our victory comes through our faith. As we believe and trust the heart of our Father--that He is working all things for our ultimate good and His necessary glory--peace resides. He makes no mistakes.

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I've Got the Joy

This song just makes me (and my kids) very happy. Rejoicing today...

Joy to the World, by The Go Fish Guys

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kitchen Table

My kitchen table had no idea
The destiny to come
While it was on production lines--
Our family had begun.

We brought it home when number two
Would soon be making way;
With little thought of all the loving
Marks that would invade.

My kitchen table sits a quiet
Unimposing stance
Life moving at the speed of light--
An often awkward dance.

If only we could hear the tales
Of markers, forks, and glue--
They've left their unique signature,
With various depths and hues.

The memories we have made around
This soothing piece of wood
Have now become such priceless traits
Of early parenthood.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Something is Sticking

Three things I do not want to forget. Maybe something is actually "sticking":
  • My almost 2 year old saying "Shout to the Lord" with his hand lifted high. The audience doesn't matter. The location is irrelevant. He just declares it with all his might.
  • My 3 year old having a conversation with himself as he squeezed his calf muscle, "God just made me this way. I am squishy. God just made me this way."
  • My 5 year old coming to me one day after school explaining her concern, "Mommy, I asked all of my friends and they already know Jesus. I want to tell someone that doesn't know Him."

Three things I want to remember...especially in about thirty minutes when everyone is awake, bickering resumes, and whining reigns by default.

Make them one with you, o Lord.

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Where are we going?

God's ways are not our ways. I naturally avoid pain, discomfort, unhappiness, and conflict. But God...well...His ways are not our own. We see the moment, He sees eternity. We desperately grasp for the illusion of control, He reigns on high. We have a plan, His will be done. His ways are not our own.

The victory of peace and joy comes in trusting His ways, even when we cannot see where we will end up; believing His heart of infinite love for His children, even when the moment seems to break us into pieces; and remembering His promises, even when today's minute seems like a stray on His watch.

His ways are not our own...but they can be stood upon with firm footing for He will never leave nor forsake.

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Monday, December 21, 2009


Often it's the "dailiness" that gets me. To rejoice when the kids are loud, when my husband and I are just "off," or when the dryer breaks proves perplexing. But either God is sovereign over everything--every detail--or He is not. Either the God of this universe is who He declares Himself to be or I am standing on quicksand.

The reason Paul emphatically instructed that followers of Christ rejoice always--always--rests in the sovereignty of God. Nothing happens in the life of His child--big or small--without purpose and meaning. He does everything for His glory and our ultimate good--not good in the fluffy sense that comes with comfort. I am talking about "good" in our depths--secure, firm, peaceful, rested, trusting.

I want this truth to stand strong in my core. When the big or small crosses my tracks--the tragic or simple "dailiness"--I am desperate to rejoice in His sovereignty. In the midst of the wilderness, He satisfies with the bread of heaven (Psalm 105:40b). In the tempests of a storm, He says, "Look at my face and trust." Nothing is arbitrary--a Rock upon which to stand.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009


Concealing a matter is the glory of God,
Like a blanket of fresh snow on the ground.
And as a man does the same--covering the shame--
The reward of pure peace will resound.

My "rights" stand up tall--making sure they are seen--
Desperate to declare their own song.
But the One that I follow laid down all His claims
And was nailed to a tree for my wrong.

Once again I clinch tight that hammer and nails--
A familiar grip all the day.
Crucifying my rights and denying my own--
To Your name be glory and praise.

Inspired from my time in Proverbs this morning, specifically 19:11 and 25:2

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Sacred meets Secular

Christmas. I seem to be nostalgic over Christmas's past. As a kid, Christmas was simple. You wanted stuff. You asked for stuff. You got stuff. Oh, and, don't forget that it was the day that Jesus was born. But now that "mommy" has been added to my list of names, it isn't so simple anymore.

For the past couple of years I have struggled through this time of year; like I am desperately trying to mesh that humbled reality of my king in a stable with the material focus daily invading my home through a multitude of catalogs. And I ask myself, "Would Jesus enjoy that He is depicted with inflatable nylon?"

Last night I picked up a friend for a concert and spent a minute talking with her kids. Do you know what I asked? "What do you want for Christmas this year?" Why? Why would I ask that? It is like I am a pawn in the hands of culture--brainwashed by the mentality that stuff rules supreme.

How does one teach thankfulness while satiated? How can my kids learn gratitude and appreciation while dripping? I think part of the answer is believing and then portraying that everything is ultimately His. All of it. And then asking, Father what do you want me to do with all that You have on-loan to me?


This has been a momentary view of my personal ponderings. Please do not hear guilt heaped upon your shoulders. The burden of our Savior is light.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

No Gift Receipt Needed

A little CS Lewis for the morning taste buds...

"For He (God) has, in the last resort, nothing to give us but Himself; and He can give that only insofar as our self-affirming will retires and makes room for Him in our souls." And only He ultimately satisfies.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the things of this temporal life--things upon which I seem to have some claim. But ultimately, in the depths within that long for peace and truth and joy, only He truly satisfies. Why? Because His character infinitely meets my desperate need for love.

He--Himself--is the gift to a weary soul. He heals the broken spaces. He invades the seemingly hardened heart. He pierces the places I have marked as my own. He gives life to the dead. He forgives...continually. He seals His adopted. He never forsakes His children and always fulfills His Word. He is the gift. We simply come.

We let go and bow down. We release. And we trust. We repent and declare. We accept...Him. He--Himself--is the perfect gift. Drink.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pumpkin Soup


I have never posted a recipe before, but this was just too good and too original not to pass along. Hope you enjoy.

Cream of Pumpkin Soup:

  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 2 T. butter, melted
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
  • 2 cans pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. ground ginger
  • 1/8 t. ground black pepper
  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 c. milk (I used 1%)

Saute onion in butter until tender. Add 1 can chicken broth; stir well. Bring to boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Process the broth mixture with hand blender (or transfer to blender or processor) until smooth. Add remaining can of broth, pumpkin, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and pepper(s); stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and milk and heat through. Do not boil. Enjoy.

Adapted from a recipe on

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009


People affect me. Sometimes I wish they didn't--like there was a protective shield that the attitudes and words of others could not penetrate. But that is not life. That is not how we are made. We are designed to be affected. Even Jesus was affected by His surroundings.

Throughout the gospels we see Him moved with compassion for the weary and scattered (see Matthew 9:35-38). He wept when He observed Mary and Martha walking through the pangs of death. He was affected...perfectly.

Jesus was, and is, one with the Father. He was the God-man--beyond our human comprehension. Every person, He knows intricately--He sees the heart. Every motive, He comprehends. Every word, He grasps the drive. He was affected...perfectly.

He is moved because He sees our desperate need for oneness with the Father. And I want to be affected like that--where the words and attitudes of others are filtered through His vision and His desire for their gaze. I want to respond to the heart of the matter rather than surface exchange. Father, only You can do this kind of work. I submit to Your filling.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Facebook Frenzy

It's a time warp. I glance at the clock on the lower right hand corner of our computer monitor and say to myself, "OK, only 5 minutes. I am only going to get on here for 5 minutes." Twenty minutes later I sign out, now knowing what a couple hundred of my closest "friends" are up to in their little corners of the world. That's right, I am talking about Facebook.

Is this site not ingenious? With the ability to bring every acquaintance you have ever had right into your living room, the term addiction easily comes with the territory. Not only that, there are hundreds of time-wasters, uh, I mean games, that draw-in even the most cautious of users. So what's a girl to do?

Most of my days are spent directing my live-in preschoolers, juggling housework, and swatting down "mommy-guilt" ever rising to the surface. So taking a few minutes to catch up with friends can prove refreshing. But user beware.

At our twenty-first century fingertips are a plethora of things wanting to make it into the top-ten of our perpetual to-do lists. But not all good things are good all the time. If I am faithful with my moments then I will be faithful with my life. It all comes down to the moment.

I luv me some Facebook; but I see in my own life that it must be handled with a guarded heart, guarded eyes, and a guarded watch.

Just thinking...

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God does not delight in our pain. Do you ever think that He must? Having kids has helped me understand that phrase our parents spoke when we were little, "This hurts me more than it hurts you." Yeah right, I would think, then let's trade positions. Discipline out of love pains the parent. Likewise the Father's discipline does not bring Him delight.

I've been in Lamentations the past couple of days. God's people had rebelled--again--and forgotten His great deliverance and continual provision. They are portrayed as being in adultery. And God's anger arose. Why? Because this was His chosen people. He created out of love and knew their intricate design. He knew His children would only be truly blessed through obedience.

Because He loves, He disciplines--desiring to draw His own back into His boundaries of truth and peace. But discipline does not bring Him delight. "For the Lord will not cast off forever. Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." (3:31-33) He disciplines His own because He loves.

The author of Lamentations--probably Jeremiah--realizes the multitude of God's compassions, even in the midst of desolate discipline, "You drew near on the day I called to You, and said, 'Do not fear!'" (3:57) Once he turned and called out to his Father, the Father responded--on that very day.

Discipline pains, but God does not delight in our hurt. His desire is that His own come back to the place of ultimate blessing--in fellowship with their Holy Father. Great is Your faithfulness.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Just One

I have been wanting to understand prayer in greater depths. I decided to read Jesus' prayer in John 17 with pen and paper in hand, wanting to write down every "type" of thing He said. I figure, if He said it then it must be right.

As I read the 26 verses of His conversation with the Father, I realized that He really only asked for one thing. That's it. Just one thing. He asked that those who believe would be one with the Father. That's it. Be one. Everything else is an outflow.

He didn't ask that their bodies prosper--spared from painful martyrdom. He didn't ask that they be taken out of this difficult world. He didn't ask that their marriages, children, or jobs would make them happy. He simply asked that they would be one with God on High.

This oneness is initiated by His mighty hand. Jesus says, "Sanctify them by Your Word. Your Word is truth." To sanctify means to be made holy. He is asking God to do the work of sanctification in the lives of those who would believe. Oneness with a holy Father.

So for what are we praying? Ultimately there is only one thing needed. Father, make me one with You.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Consider it Done

Caleb waited forty-five years. FORTY-FIVE--not minutes, years! God had made him a promise forty-five years prior--when he was forty years old--and when he was eighty-five, that promise was fulfilled. Forty-five years later. Yikes. (see Joshua 14:6-15)

I can hardly wait forty-five seconds for my cup of coffee to be reheated in the microwave, or forty-five minutes for someone to respond to my "urgent" email. To wait forty-five years blows my time frame right out of the water.

We truly are a microwave society. Most of the time we want things yesterday. And any delay in our plan sends us into a panic. But God's timing is not our own. He is working thousands of things every second of every day all while bringing about His ultimate will. If He said it then it will come to pass. We can rest here--calmly and confidently.

The other day I found something that I had documented over seven years ago. It was a vision God impressed upon me while at seminary for writing and teaching. "April, 2002: Father, the closer I get to you the more I understand you are calling me to teach and write the life lessons you work out in me." Seven years later the ball is slowly beginning to move. But His timing and ways are absolutely perfect.

If He said it then it will come to pass. All His promises in Christ are yes and amen. (2 Corinthians 1:20) May we keep our eyes set on Him, trusting His timing and provision for He is ever-faithful.

"Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass." (Joshua 21:45)

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Humbly Thankful

We as people tend to think we deserve something from God--like we, in essence, are good. But we deserve nothing except what He graciously put upon His Son. I read the chapters in Joshua that detail the bloody conquests of the nations within the Promised Land and can't help but have a twinge of sorrow for the "innocent." But truthfully there are none innocent. (see Joshua 10-11)

When we read texts that are difficult to mesh with our twenty first century "civilized" minds, we have to go back to what we know is true about our Father. He is faithful to His Word. He is fully just. He sees the heart of man. He is love. He is holy. And He can be fully trusted. From the lens of His character we can look more clearly at difficult passages.

We deserve nothing except what He laid upon His Son. If you call Him "Daddy" then He has drawn you to Himself out of His great mercy, not because of our piddly good deeds. Praise Him.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Face of God

My kids have their own little Bible through which God often speaks so loudly. Do you have this happen? You are reading a bedtime Bible story to them, for their benefit, and wham! truth. Last night it was Jesus teaching the disciples how to pray, known as the Lord's prayer. You can read it for yourself from a non-caricature Jesus in Luke 11.

It was the first phrase of this prayer I have known since childhood that hit me like a brick before bed. "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name." A couple reminders to ponder from this short sentence:

First, when we pray we are talking to our heavenly Daddy. A Daddy that loves without limit and desires good things for His children. A Daddy who can be fully trusted with every desire our hearts may handle. A Daddy who knows the beginning from the end, the first from the last, and who is preparing a place for His own that no mind has ever conceived (1 Cor. 4:9). We are speaking to our Father in heaven.

Second, His name is to be hallowed. What is hallowed, you ask? Hallowed means to make holy, consecrated, and pure. The name of God is to be made holy in our hearts. His name--Who He is--rendered sanctified. In prayer it is easy to focus on His hands--all He does for us and to us and through us--but I think Jesus is challenging us to look at His face. Who is this God worthy of continual praise? Hallowed be His name.

In my own life I want to be at a place in my relationship with Him that even if He never does anything for me again--except just be my Daddy--His name is enough. Even if my world seemingly falls apart, I can still trust His motive towards me is love and He will never leave or forsake me, because that is Who He is. Father I long to look at Your face.

In our prayer time today join me in setting apart His name--entering His courts with praise simply for who He is.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

It Felt Right

"You cannot coast through a single day or single decision with assumptions." (Paige Patterson) I have quoted Dr. Patterson's statement before, but it absolutely bears repeating. It was written in the margin of my Bible as I read Joshua 9 this morning. So I was reminded afresh.

The Israelites were on a spiritual mountaintop with the Lord. They had just defeated Ai and Joshua had renewed the Covenant before all the people. The kings of neighboring lands were hearing of this God who was leading them into victory, so fear of them spread throughout the nations. Life was good for the Israelites.

Then they were approached by the Gibeonites. Don't worry. You don't need to know details of Gibeon except that it was a nearby land who was fearful of destruction. The Gibeonites deceptively presented a "peace treaty" with the Israelites--in essence saying, "Please don't kill us"--and the men of Israel agreed, without seeking counsel of the Lord. (9:14-15) Did you catch that last phrase? Without seeking counsel of the Lord. And compromises entered.

We are just like them--those Israelites of old. We can get on a "mountaintop" with the Lord and then find that we have "coasted" through certain decisions without seeking our Father's counsel. Inevitably compromises follow. I know, I know. We like to think our intuition and feelings are somewhat reliable. But when we make decisions based on our earthly perception, the danger of breaking fellowship with God surfaces.

He both deserves and instructs our continual communion with Him--not because He is mean or untrusting, He simply loves us perfectly and desires our freedom. "We cannot coast through a single day or single decision with assumption." Words to live by.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009


Some things seem like such a good idea when they are in the box. My mom wanted to spend some quality time with my kids and their cousins today so we planned a morning of making gingerbread houses. The picture on the packaging looked idealistic--perfectly decorated house with smiling family members, clean from head to toe.

So off we went with craft time--which my sister lovingly refers to as "crap time." (Crafts are not her thing. So she took pictures.)

Our first attempt at assembly proved fatal. The walls came crashing down while little hands frantically tried to salvage run away candy balls. Don't ask about the cups.

So I took the pieces away from the candy crazed kiddos and spent some time alone with the house--just me, the glue (aka icing), and the gingerbread walls. The pressure was on while in the background I heard continuous crunching and comments like, "Don't lick the icing off the table!"

But finally the cookie walls held together and the kids got busy decorating. In the end memories were made and little tummies were filled with too much sugar. Good times. Good times.

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What does yeast have to do with anything? Good question. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:9) I was actually reminded of that phrase after reading Joshua 6 this morning--the account of when Jericho was utterly destroyed. Everything--young to old, male to female, ox to sheep--all destroyed at the edge of the sword...except Rahab and her family. (See Joshua 2 and 6) And our "cultured" minds can't help but to ask, "Why? Why everything?"

Sin and error have a way of pervading the heart and mind. As we dabble in things and thoughts that can steal our focus from the only One worthy of devotion, so the stirring of His Spirit wanes. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. And one day we wake up wondering why His anointing seems distant and unfamiliar.

It comes down to momentary choices: What do I want more, God or this thing, this relationship, this substance? If the choice is difficult, then it is possibly something that has taken a portion of our heart designed for our Creator. God wants every part of us. It isn't that He is selfish, He just knows us perfectly. He knows what is absolutely best and what would be most fulfilling for our depths.

Jericho was completely destroyed because God is holy and He desires His people to be set-apart from things and thoughts that will only lead to bondage. Joshua explains, "And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it." (6:18) Yeast has everything to do with it.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Skewed Question

At my first read, it didn't seem He answered the question. Joshua appears to have been alone--at least for a moment. He and the Israelites were camped just outside of Jericho. Maybe he was pondering how God would possibly deliver such a secure city into their hands. When he lifted his eyes he saw a Man with His sword drawn, so he asked, "Are You for us or for our adversaries?"

The first word from the Man was "No." No? That isn't an answer. It wasn't a yes or no question. He continues, "but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come." (Joshua 5:13) Joshua responded by falling to his face in worship--apparently this Man was no man at all. He was God revealing Himself in bodily form. Then the Commander said, "Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy." (5:15) So I sat for a moment, God, what does this mean? And He pressed in upon me.

This Commander was neither for the Israelites nor their adversaries, He was of the Lord's army. Joshua was asking the wrong question. None of this was about the Israelites. It wasn't about their delivery and conquest. It wasn't about them at all. It was about God. He was the One revealing Himself to the nations. He was the One fulfilling His promises. He was the One who was in the process of unfolding redemption for all peoples. He was the One worthy of praise. Joshua was looking too earthly.

In essence the Commander was saying, "I am not for you. I am not for your adversaries. I am for the Lord. The question is, will you follow Me?" We can get things so twisted at times, can't we? Our plans are devised, our dreams laid out, and then we look to God to follow us. But that is not how victories are won. A life of abundance--overflowing with peace and joy--comes when we sacrifice our agenda at the feet of the Lord and decide to follow Him, wherever He may lead.

To those who follow, He promises peace in the midst of a storm, joy that is stirred from within, and love without strings. That is ultimate living. That is victory. The Commander answered perfectly. It was the question that was skewed.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Because Kids Will Ask

Kids ask questions--a bunch of questions. That is one way they figure out this crazy world. Just the other night at dinner my 5 year old was observing her "pet" ladybug in its plastic prison and asked, "Mommy, how do ladybugs communicate?" Yes, she said "communicate." Even my almost 2-year-old has started saying "why?"--though he doesn't really know what it means; he just knows that children are supposed ask.

God made kids this way. It is an aspect of their discovery process. He knows they will ask questions in their quest for understanding. That is one reason He instructed Joshua to set up a memorial out of stones.

God had just heaped up the waters of the Jordan river upstream so the Israelites could cross on dry ground. He then spoke to Joshua saying "Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests' feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight." (Joshua 4:3)

So Joshua called the twelve appointed men--one from each tribe--and further explained God's instruction saying, "this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, 'What do these stones mean to you?' Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off (so the Israelites could cross over)." (Joshua 4:4-7) Kids will ask. Our responsibility is to remember the faithfulness of the Lord.

We as humans so easily forget. God miraculously provides healing or renewal one day, then the next day when our needful stomachs growl we wonder if He will remain faithful. Remember...He will. Maybe going to your neighborhood creek to gather memorial stones isn't for you. But join me in thinking of ways that we as parents can place markers in our home that remind us of those specific times where the mighty hand of God rescued and fulfilled. God is worthy of our generational praise.

See Joshua 3-4 for the full account of the Israelites crossing.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Prostitute to Princess

From prostitute to the kingly line, Rahab is a picture of the great grace of our Lord. This woman was not an Israelite; she was from ancient Jericho. She was not a priest; she was a harlot. She did not know the depths of God's law; she had simple faith. And God used her in the lineage of His Son. That is grace.

This is the God of the Bible. He looks at the heart and simply observes our faith. Do we truly believe? With just the faith of a mustard seed, mountains move. It does not matter what you have done. It does not matter where you have been. It does not matter how far you have strayed. With just simple faith He moves in and pours His grace and love as a healing balm on those broken places. He then transforms us from the inside out, from tattered rags to royal cloaks. This is the God of the Bible.

He can use anyone, from anywhere, with any background. He simply looks to see whose gaze is pointed towards Him. In a sea of faces, scattered over this earth, will you be one who sets your eyes on Him--Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Gracious Father? Nothing is sweeter than knowing this One who gives life to the full.

You can read about Rahab in Joshua 2 and Matthew 1:5.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

The Ick Oozes

Continued stretching through parenthood...

Though as parents we are called to train and guide our children, I am convinced that parenting is equally intended for my own transformation. Parenting has this way of revealing the "ick" within me--can I get a witness? I guess you are pressed to the edge of yourself and the tiniest of character detail comes out. And it isn't always pretty.

This morning I had to confess some parenting struggles before the Lord--things in my heart that affected my attitude yesterday. I realized that I had harbored thoughts of criticism towards one of my sons. While at church a friend asked how my kids were doing and I shared how "challenging" my three year old was being for my husband and I--this can also be termed gossip, ouch. Though the conversation ended I continued with a heart of irritation towards him. Every poor choice he made fed my thoughts of criticism and our clashing was sure. Poor little guy.

After his nap I apologized to him--for reasons that were a bit above his understanding--and he graciously met me with forgiveness and a hug. I was humbled. So today I got before the Lord trying to pinpoint the details, and He revealed my heart.

When we start thinking--consciously or subconsciously--that the weaknesses of our kids define their character, we set them up for failure. It is not that our thoughts hold innate power, rather our thoughts reveal who we are; and in such cases with our kids, our thoughts reveal what we believe about them, in turn what they will believe about themselves.

I am a baby on this parenting journey, but I believe this is true throughout the adventure of life: think thoughts that build others up rather than thoughts that tear them down. We cannot do it on our own--it must be through the filling of the Spirit of God--but He does empower.

Father, thank you for your great mercy and forgiveness, patience and love. I praise You.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kept the Faith

Do I love His appearing--
That great and awesome day--
When every foe and every fear
Eternally put away?

Do I love His appearing
The day each mouth declares
His glory, honor, faithfulness--
Each heart lay fully bare?

Do I love His appearing--
When all knees will hit the ground,
Completely overtaken
As His precious name resounds?

Do I love His appearing--
Crowns of righteousness He will give
To all who fought the fight of faith,
In His presence daily lived?

Inspired from my time in 2 Timonthy this morning, specifically 4:1-8.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009


Yesterday a friend of mine sent out an email to a few of us asking for advice regarding the issue of Santa--more specifically how to address it with our kids. So it got me thinking--which these days equals "it got me writing."

How are believers to rightly handle the cultural focus upon jolly Saint Nick this time of year? With young kids, this issue continues to surface. In fact these days it feels like the pull towards materialism is stronger than ever, like I am grasping and straining to keep my kids reigned-in amidst a world selling...everything.

So let's see how the Word can guide. As I started praying about this, I was reminded of Paul's visit to Athens, found in Acts 17. Here is a description of his heart, "his spirit was provoked (or stirred) within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols." (17:16) He was moved because of the love of God within him for all people and his desire that they grasp that love within themselves.

This stirring caused him to reason with those with whom he made contact. (17:17) But here's the thing, when he reasoned he did so with humility and grace. He met people where they were. And from that place he "took their hand" and led them to the foot of the cross where Jesus died for their individual sin.

Paul wasn't intimidated by the culture. He wasn't intimidated by the deception of the day. He actually placed himself in the middle of it and then spoke from a heart that was overflowing with love.

I am not going to say what you should teach your kids specifically about Santa--truthfully I like to teach the "why" so we look back at the historical Saint Nicolas and the spirit of giving he displayed. But regardless of the details, does what we say spur them towards love or legalism? I pray that we as believing parents would strive to teach our kids the heart of the matter: out of love and humility point people to the One who absolutely adores them and gives gifts of eternal value.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Love Casts Out Fear

Uncertainty in this life often evokes fear--fear of the unknown, fear of the outcome, fear of failure. But there is One who knows the beginning from the end--One motivated by love towards His creation.

Joshua in the Old Testament was the guy who led God's people into the Promised Land after the death of Moses. Once he was "instated" the Lord spoke to him--literally spoke to him--and commissioned him for the tasks ahead--tasks that had the potential of challenging his faith. "Be strong and of good courage...Be strong and very courageous...Be strong and of good courage." Three times in a short paragraph God repeated these words, followed by three reasons why.

First, he could be strong and courageous because God was following through with His promise. (Joshua 1:6) Here's the thing. If God says it, then it will happen. Period. He is faithful to His Word. This is a place of great rest when the uncertainties of life arise. Believe.

Second, he could be strong and courageous because God's written word is true and dependable. (Joshua 1:7-8) He challenged Joshua to stay in His word, "meditate in it day and night." In essence He said, fill your heart, mind, and soul with my word because it is bread to your body. When feelings fail, His word stands as truth. Believe.

Third, he could be strong and courageous because the God of the universe was with him wherever he went. (Joshua 1:9) This is peace. To know, as children of God, that our feet will never tread on ground where God is not present and our lives will never be faced with trials that are out of His view. He is with us wherever we go; and not only that, He is able to work and move. Believe.

Uncertainties from a human perspective will come...sometimes daily. But there is a God who is never taken off-guard. And this very God wants to be in relationship with you and me. He has something to say to us this day. His instruction is for our good and His glory. Believe, even amidst seeming uncertainty.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Seduction of Stuff

It's the season of stuff--new stuff, better stuff, fresh stuff, bigger stuff. Stuff. Stuff is everywhere and everyone wants you to buy their stuff. Anticipating stuff. Choosing stuff. Searching for stuff. Wrapping stuff. Stuff.

I like stuff. I like to get stuff. I like to give stuff. But all the stuff can so easily distract. As we step into this season of stuff, I would encourage you, as I strive myself, to stay guarded from the love of stuff. Oh, it's fun, and I am still going to buy stuff, but it seems we have to be diligent not to be carried away in the seduction of stuff.

As I thought about this today I was reminded of a passage in Deuteronomy--so I went there:

"So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant--when you have eaten and are full--then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage." (6:10-12)

Here is the temptation of mankind, we beseech the Lord with everything in us when we are "in bondage"--in the midst of suffering--then once He has freed us and blessed us, and the "slavery" has subsided, we forget. When we have eaten and are full, we as people tend to grow numb. Therefore, keep watch.

Though some have truly suffered through this economic crunch, we as a nation are saturated with stuff--we have eaten...and eaten...and eaten, and are very full. I pray we would not be seduced by all the stuff; that our hearts would be devoted to the God worthy of our praise. So join me, as "Black Friday" approaches, in keeping our eyes set on the only One who can fulfill our every desire.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Love Letter

God is not an egotistical-maniac. He is not out to ruin our fun. He loves. He created you and me with great precision, with great purpose. He designed our souls, and our hearts He knows perfectly. In His complete knowledge of us, He knows exactly what is best for us--what will bring us the highest joy, pervading peace, and floating hope. And one of the primary ways He reveals Himself is through His Word.

I know, I know, some have a real problem with the Bible, saying that it is outdated and unreliable. But scientific research even humbles in the face of evidence; not to mention experientially the magnitude of its power. We simply have to seek His wisdom with our whole heart. We have to approach the Word of God believing He wants to speak. Then He does.

So often I have asked God for a word for me in a specific situation to combat a specific emotion and mindset. And in some miraculous, unexplainable way He leads me to a passage written centuries before yet written specifically for me in that moment of time. He challenges me to stand on His paradoxical ways--like forgiving the seeming unforgivable, loving the absolutely unlovely, and blessing those who ridicule. There I find true life, true freedom.

Do you love His Word? He wrote it to you. He revealed Himself because He loves you. He desires you to believe and trust--even when you cannot see with these physical eyes. He will meet you right where you are--the mountain or the valley. Let Him lavish you with grace and love.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Taming the Tongue

Words hold power. The words of another can lift you until you believe you could truly fly. And yet words can so crush your spirit that you believe the lies of hopelessness. Great power in words.

Throughout the Proverbs there are lessons on the power of the tongue--that in it is life and death. But truly, what comes out of the mouth when pressed reveals the ponderings of the heart. So what are we pondering? Are we meditating on criticisms, lies, and negativity? Or are we meditating on how we can build up another--how we can make our little space a bit lighter?

To speak words that lift means we need hearts that bless. A man's heart is the man. (Proverbs 23:7) So may we guard our hearts, guard our thought lives, that when the time to speak arises our words will lift and grant hope to the hearer.

Maybe you have been hurt by the words of another. Then God's instruction is clear: forgive. Release him or her from your own judgment and pray for their heart's meditation. This will be freedom to your soul. God sees. He is able to lift when others tear down. He is able to whisper words that build. Seek His truth spoken both about you and to you. You are precious and fearfully made. Believe.

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Friday, November 20, 2009


We can get things so twisted at times. I was reading John 18 this morning, specifically when Jesus was led to Pilate's court. Pilate was the governor of Judea, appointed by the Roman emperor. The Jews wanted Jesus killed for "(making) Himself the Son of God" but their law would not allow Him to be crucified at their hands.

So the Jews reached the Praetorium--Pilate's residence-- with Jesus, early in the morning, but "they themselves did not go into the Praetorium lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover." (18:28) Do you see what happened? It would have made them ceremonially unclean, according to their Law, to enter the Roman courts, and they wanted to still be a part of the Passover feast! Do you catch the irony? They were about to murder the Son of God--rejecting Him in their hearts and declaring Him a heretic--yet they wanted to remain "ceremonially pure." Twisted. Truth is, they were already utterly defiled in their denial of Him.

As Jesus explains, "There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man." (Mark 7:15) Our hearts defile us. It isn't what we do externally, it is what we do internally. We can speak the sweetest, kindest, Southern words, but if in our hearts we criticize and tear down then we are missing the point--we stand defiled. We can externally appear "faithful" to our spouse, but if in our hearts we long for another--physically or emotionally--we stand defiled.

God looks at the heart. He sees our inner-most person. He knows our fears and understands our weaknesses...fully. Yet He loves us completely and desires to transform us from the inside-out. So how goes your internal musings? Join me in asking our faithful Father to make us aware of our hearts--bringing every thought captive.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dig the Trench

"Diligence, diligence...," the first words on my mind this morning as my eyes awoke from a brief slumber. Yesterday's post, Distant Fire, did describe the "feeling" I had in my soul. But feelings are not always reliable. So I stood firm on the Psalmist's words and blessed the Lord, all that was within me. And He faithfully met me

The day was not easy--demands were high and my list was long. But I pressed on, pressed through, and continually aimed to set my gaze upon Him in spite of the moments. And He moved. He responded and rewarded. So I awoke today with the word diligence ringing, and dove into His word for a fresh perspective.

I found that the word diligent(ly) is prevalent throughout the pages of the Bible. Which makes perfect sense because we as people can be so very forgetful--so easily distracted. Truthfully, if we are not diligent in the moments of our day to love the Lord and stay bound to Him, then our hearts will find another home--a home that can never fulfill, a home that is empty with falsities.

In Deuteronomy 4:9, Moses says to the people of God, "Take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life." Then centuries later in Hebrews 11:6 another explains, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

Do you hear our part in the seeking? We must be diligent, otherwise we will be carried away by the passing trivialities of this world. That word diligent in the Old Testament implies a digging of a trench or mining of gold. Can you grasp the persistence? It does take work, but the "soul of the diligent shall be made rich." (Proverbs 13:4b)

My prayer, both for myself and for you, is that we would be found diligently seeking Him especially through the messy, difficult, demanding, distracting moments of this day. He will faithfully reward our souls.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Distant Fire

A cloud of distance, unknowingly uninvited, seemed to linger in the air;
Where was the fire? Why was my mind distracted and unaware?

A brief moment I took to take a look at things that do not fill,
And the effects stood strong, like they belonged, in a heart desiring the still

Of God alone--firm, faithful, secure--He remembers we are but clay.
Bless the Lord, o my soul, bless the Lord, He is good, bless the Lord, all within me this day.


If you ever feel a distance from the Lord, then as the psalmist instructs, bless the Lord, all that is within you, bless His holy name! Remember His benefits. Preach truth to your spirit. Set your eyes on the One who gives life to the full. His mercy abounds. (See Psalm 103)

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Does it ever feel like you are wrestling with someone? I'm not talking about rolling around on the floor trying to enforce some hold you saw on TV. I mean emotionally or spiritually wrestling with someone. A word from Paul that I needed reminding of this day:

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (Ephesians 6:12-13) He then goes on to define this armor of God--worthy of memorization. (vv. 14-18)

Don't get me wrong. It feels like we are wrestling flesh and blood at times. But the truth is that the enemy of God is prowling like a lion, seeking to kill, steal, and destroy what Christ died to give--namely abundant, peaceful, joyful living. May we keep our perspective and remember the true battle.


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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rockstar UPS Guy

I love the UPS man. Seeing that big, brown, boxy van pull down my street, breaks squeaking as it comes to a stop in front of my driveway, then with such precision the one delivering pulls those packages from the back that are addressed to me, steps down from his delivery carriage adorned in brown from head to toe--shirt, shorts, and knee-highs--and brings those awaited boxes right to my doorstep. Rockstarish in my book.

New stuff is just fun--even if it is a bottle of vitamins. But this time of year there is more excitement when my favorite brown van comes down the road. I have started ordering Christmas gifts for my kids, and the tape cannot be ripped into quick enough. I must admit that giving gifts to my kids really tops the chart in present giving. It's just fun. And this made me think of a passage in Matthew.

"What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being sinful, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:9-11)

Do you believe that God is good? And not just good in an vast sort of expanse kind of way, I mean good towards you. If you have accepted the sacrifice of His son, then you are called His child and never will He leave or forsake you. And if you are His child then that means He is working in your life--for your ultimate good and His ultimate glory. We only see a moment in eternity, but He sees from beginning to end. He is good and can be trusted with our every breath.

God is not some "genie in a bottle" to be petitioned for our passing whims. He is God, sovereign over all. As we look into His face and get to know His heart, His will for our individual lives this day will be made known. But it begins with relationship--knowing this Father who lavishes good gifts on His children, and I'm not primarily talking about gifts one can see with the human eye.

So remember, when that brown, boxy van pulls down your road, God has even greater gifts for those who love Him. Press in.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

A Lost Discipline

Sometimes I delve into issues that deserve much more space than a brief blog post. This is one of those issues. This morning I am pondering the lost discipline of fasting.

Before your body goes into convulsion at the thought of not eating your favorite casserole tonight or not drinking that much "needed" cup of coffee in the morning, let's just look at this thing and see what Jesus had to say...briefly.
  1. Jesus assumed that His followers would fast, "when you fast." (see Matthew 6:16-17)
  2. Further, He assumed his followers would fast once He ascended into heaven (see Matthew 9:14-17). In this text He associated fasting with mourning--literally a mourning to be with Him again.
  3. He instructed followers to fast in secret--not seeking the praise of man, rather the reward of God.
  4. It appears that there are some evil strongholds that cannot be cast out except with fasting and prayer. (See Matthew 17:14-21) Why? I don't know. I am still praying for wisdom on this one. I hover around the truth that only He can destroy massive strongholds of the enemy. But like I said, I am still praying for clarity.

Fasting is an outward discipline that is meant to reveal an inward longing. A longing that yearns, "Father, I want You more than any physical pleasure. I want You more than any sinful desire. You alone can break the chains of bondage. You are my Bread. Fill me."

Before I close let me make something very clear. I am not addressing this to bring any load of guilt upon you or add to your list of "to-dos," rather I have been seeking the Lord in my own life and for my own clarification regarding fasting. So really, you are just getting a view of my own dialogue with our Lord.

Feast on Him.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Perfect Parent

A quick word to all of you parents-out-there-on-the-front-line...

I had the car loaded yesterday morning and couldn't meet all of the "needs" being requested, which caused whining. So I closed the door. Remembering I had forgotten something inside, I started up the steps and said to God, "What am I doing wrong?" He said--not audibly, but to my spirit, or I would have freaked--"I am the perfect parent, and you don't obey Me."*

Some things are just not in our control. We are called and instructed to first love the Lord with everything in us, and then allow His love to flow out onto others--beginning with those in our homes. Then, leave the results to Him. He alone can change the heart.

Teach, Train, Discipline, not shame.


*This idea was something that someone had said to me a couple of years ago. He just reminded me of its great truth in this moment.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Swords Down

Let me set the scene with a little creative license--Lord, may I be faithful. It is nighttime. Jesus had spent the evening with His disciples--washing their feet, speaking words of life and love, and praying to the Father on their behalf and ours (see John 13-17) It had been a full night. After He had finished praying He went out with His disciples to a garden called Gethsemane. It is interesting. He took His disciples to this familiar spot, not to hide from what was to come, rather it is as if He went there simply to meet His fate--no resistance, no hiding, no fighting with the will of the Father.

I also imagine that the scene was loud. A company of troops and officers came with lanterns, torches, and weapons, with Judas--a supposed disciple of Christ--leading the way. Jesus knew what was about to take place, but His disciples with Him were probably taken aback with the betrayal. My guess is that John and Peter abruptly arose and stood right beside Jesus in the confrontation.

"Jesus said to them--already knowing the answer--'Whom are you seeking?' They answered Him, 'Jesus of Nazareth'...Now when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground." (see vv. 4-6)

Are you with me? How amazing are these words? His answer, literally, "I AM" refers back to the Old Testament when God told Moses, "(Tell them) I AM has sent me to you." (see Exodus 3:14) He is the "I AM"--beginning and the end, always present, ever-reaching. And when Jesus allowed a moment of His glory to be expressed through the saying of His name, the troops drew back and fell to the ground. He was submitting to the will of the Father for the redemption of mankind, otherwise He could have spoken and legends of angels would have been at His side.

One last comment on this passage. Dear Peter. He is so fiery--hot or cold. In the passion of the moment, he drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest's servant. Jesus healed the man (seen in the gospel of Luke) and said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?" (v. 11) Complete submission.

This last portion has made me think of my own life with regard to suffering. Though no suffering will ever be as time-changing and monumental as the suffering of Christ on the cross, we still in our own lives will experience suffering. And what is our response? Do we fight against it with every sword we can pull? Or do we put the sword away, look into the face of our loving Father, and trust His ways are ultimately for our good and His glory? His vision is not our own. His ways are infinitely above us. But He can be fully trusted with our lives and the lives of those we love--fully trusted.

He is good when we are happy. He is good when we are sad. He is good when we face struggle. He is good when we are mad. He is good when the reports say "clear." He is good when they are covered in sorrow. He is good no matter the outcome. He is good today and tomorrow.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

They are His

Some shedding is taking place. Truth is, God is working this thing in me as a mom.

I have realized over the recent months that I have a control issue--that's right, I admit it. It makes me feel safe to be in control. But my three kids have succinctly burst that little bubble. It is almost as if I held some imaginary reigns, and they have slowly been slipping from my grip. And its good because I feel like a much kinder mommy as I learn to let go of some things I once believed to be under my "say-so." In fact letting go of the reigns frees my hands to touch their little faces with more tenderness and look more purposefully into their curious eyes. It is a process and I am being changed.

I highly recommend a book I am currently reading entitled Families Where Grace is in Place by Jeff VanVonderen. As I have read certain paragraphs the thought arises, "Yes! That is exactly what I have been thinking. That is exactly how I have been struggling as a mom." Though I am not going to go into a full book report, His main area of distinction is between curse-filled relationships versus grace-filled relationships--a must read.

In the end I just want to love my kids--for them to sense my love and the love of their heavenly Father through me. Discipline is an aspect--absolutely--but disciplining like the perfect Father is driven by love. Lord, help us in the moments of this day--the messy, difficult, whiny moments. Parenting is one more arena God uses to transform us--free us--from our self-focused vision into people submitted to His amazing love working in and through us.

"Give us Your vision Lord, for these children--Your children--You have placed in our care."

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hangin' with the Rock

Our little family of five went on our first official hiking trip yesterday. And there are too many "nuggets-o'-fun-and-inspiration" not to document the experience.

The day began as usual--three young children and two adults trying to get dressed, brush teeth, pack lunches, and use the potty with as little conflict as possible. Always a monstrous feat, usually including a few tears--sometimes mine, sometimes theirs. Once we loaded the anxious bunch into the blue bling we were set--off to Hanging Rock state park. Though with the whines ringing from behind us, my husband and I silently asked ourselves, "Is this really worth it?!" But we pressed on.

With google directions in hand we were on our way--our windows filled with colors of orange, red, pink, yellow, and green. Absolutely beautiful. The houses became more scattered as the view of the mountain came into sight. The little road curved around the distant mount as we looked longingly at its peak. Passed the lone donkey and then the goat farm, we reached the perfect picture. "Babe, stop for just a sec so I can get a shot." Gorgeous. As we started again following typically-faithful, satellite directions, our "turn in point 5 miles" was actually a dirt road with barricades and signs reading, "Road closed. Keep out." Hmmmm.

The kids were now starting to be more opinionated, "I'm hungry. When are we going to be there. My tummy hurts." So far, so good. I systematically sprawled over the 80 things we had brought for our half-day trip, and passed out a peace offering of nuts and goldfish. Then I looked at my calm man and asked, "Now where?" He continued driving with his internal GPS; and in less than 20 minutes we had made it to the state park entrance. The cheers from the passengers resounded.

After a quick potty break and a look in the visitor's center, we suited up for the one mile hike to the top of the rock. We were familiar with the ascent--a short span of concrete, followed by an upward rocky section, then a brief flat trail, finished with a steep portion of rock "stairs," until 'ahhhh' one reaches the top. So we were off.

Within 5 minutes--literally--the words a mother dreads to hear broke the quiet rustling of leaves, "Mommy, I need to go p**py." Seriously, are you kidding? We just went to the bathroom! Thankfully I had packed wipes. So we went off trail and my daughter did her business where snakes probably reside, when my son said, "I need to go too." THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN, RIGHT?! After our brief pit stop amidst spider webs, we finally emerged back on the trail where my husband and little guy patiently waited.

We made it about halfway up the first rocky section when the inevitable began, "I am tired." "Me too." As my daughter and I, hand-in-hand, continued ahead, I faintly heard my husband encourage my son from behind, "So what are you going to do when it gets really tough up here? Are you going to quit or keep on going until you reach the top?" I want to quit, I thought. "I am going to keep going," declared my son. "That's my boy," my husband said, "We will keep going until we reach the top. Then we can look down and say 'We did it!'" "We did it!" my son valiantly repeated. And so I was inspired.

When my daughter started to complain I said, "You know, we will only get to the top of this mountain one step at a time. I know you can do it. I am right beside you holding your hand." After a few moments of quiet contemplation she started to sing a song she instantly wrote in her head, "Keep walkin' and never stop. We're gonna get to the Hangin' Rock." And again I was with a song in our step.

We reached the top of the rock at lunchtime--though to the kids' dismay our lunches were in the the bottom of the mountain. Thankfully I had packed a small snack and water to tide us over. After a short rest with an amazing view we decided to head back down. Once the parking lot was finally in view, a tired bunch became invigorated with the thoughts of a cool drink and sandwiches; and they started to run.

Thirty minutes later, after everyone was situated, we began to drive away. With quiet munching as the backdrop, I found myself reflecting: We will face mountains in this life--you can expect it--but the way to the top is with one sure-footed step at a time, all the while having our gaze set on the One guiding our path, the One holding our hand. Our mountains are but a grain of sand in light of His pursuing and powerful love.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nice and Simple

"OK people, let me break it down for you, nice and simple."

You know there are some funny scenes in the Bible. Today I read some accounts from the gospel of John. And a short phrase in chapter 11 made me laugh. Jesus had heard of His friend, Lazarus', imminent death. Once it was time to make His trek to Bethany, and glorify Himself through a miracle, He informed His disciples, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake Him up."

Then the humorous part, "Then His disciples said, 'Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.' However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.'"

It's like He was saying, "OK people, let me break it down for you, nice and simple: Lazarus is dead. Got it?!" And I probably would have added, "Geeeeez, I have to explain everything over and over and over." Thankfully God--our Shepherd--is so patient with us sheep. But all of this begs the question, is He telling me something, challenging me with something, or convicting me of something? And do I really want to hear His voice on the issue?

He did raise Lazarus from the dead--FROM THE DEAD! Think about that. And He wants to raise us up and give us life in Him as well. His power is ever-reaching, His love unmeasurable, His grace redeeming.

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Friday, November 6, 2009


Who is this ONE--the Bread of life--
Who calms my fear and ends the strife?
In Him alone I find my fill;
No other bread--my hunger stills.

A passing taste won't nearly do
To linger long at every hue.
His piercing touch; His setting free--
"I once was blind but now I see."

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Heart's Desire

God had seemingly been reduced to a long list of rules and regulations--do's and don'ts in efforts to be made righteous. I am speaking of the scenario that Jesus entered when He walked the trails of the promised land. He continually confronted the religious elite in their vain pursuits of holiness--external musings that could not transform the heart. And He called them hypocrites--outwardly washed while internally full of extortion and deceit (see Matthew 23).

But God was and is so much more. Jesus said, over and over, abide in my word and you will be blessed. So what was His word? What is the heart of God? His heart is set on freeing the captive and healing the broken. His heart rejoices in truth and desires intimacy with His creation. His heart is driven by love.

If we truly want freedom--freedom from entanglement and burdens light--then His instruction is clear: "Lay everything else aside, everything that you seek to fulfill those deep longings, and come to Me. Look at Me. Glory in Me. Trust in Me. Rest in Me. And I will set you free."

To be quite honest some days I don't feel very free. In fact I feel bound to the same, old, tired places of struggle. But those are the exact moments that God wants to do heart transformation as we bring those feelings, those struggles, those questions, to Him. As we honestly come and lay those things down, He can then reveal His great power to lift, break, strengthen, and redeem. But we have the choice.

No matter the moments this day may bring, I pray that we cast all of them--the good, bad, and ugly--at His feet, allowing Him to transform us and reflect Himself through us to those our lives will touch. He is that good.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cats and Dogs

I don't think there could be a better depiction of the often scenario in our home. This is a picture of my kids on Halloween. My eldest is a black cat. My middle son is a Dalmatian dog. And the baby of the family...well...a knight. And there couldn't be a better portrayal.

Truthfully, my son and daughter are polar opposites. She is a rule-abider. He prefers anarchy. She is gentle in her touch. He could "tear up an anvil," according to my mom. He knows exactly how to push her ever-sensitive buttons. All of this making for continual bickering between the two. Hence the reason for the baby wearing protective gear.

Yet there are those glimpses--like yesterday. As I spent a moment scraping gum from car seats and sucking up snacks from last month in my blue bling, the two of them "pretended" to be best friends. I had to stop and take in the sweetness. "Let's hold hands," said the boy. "OK," said the girl, "we are best friends." "Yeah." I didn't want to breath. I didn't want it to drift away with the impending nightly routine.

Then I thought of me before God. You know, I am sure He looks upon His children with such delight when we love someone who is difficult to love. When we set aside personality struggles and simply hold hands with those where arguing comes more naturally. When we rise above those fleshly irritations and reflect His heart for unity among His own. I am sure He smiles.

Oh, that we would be His children bound by love.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Vitamin Victor

So here is my issue. I have a couple of minor physical ailments that can most likely be cured simply by faithfully taking certain supplements. I have purchased the supplements--they reside in my cabinets--yet, I don't take them. I think about them. At times I consider going into the kitchen with one goal. But they rarely make it into my body. So why the breakdown? Why do I not follow through to healing?

This has caused me to think of our periodic spiritual dilemma. The cure to peace, joy, and rest has been presented--repent of sin and trust in the one true God--yet we don't partake of His glorious feast. The answer to our broken spirit and faint heart resides in choosing obedient submission to the will of God, yet we run and try to hide.

Thankfully God is infinitely more powerful than supplements. He pursues His own. He heals and loves. He lavishes us with mercy. He even disciplines His children that we would come back into His realm of safety. We simply have to take that small step of faith towards His fatherly arms.

"I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him. I will be like the dew to Israel; He shall grow like the lily, and lengthen his roots like Lebanon. His branches shall spread; his beauty shall be like an olive tree, and his fragrance like Lebanon. Those who dwell under His shadow shall return; they shall be revived like grain, and grow like a vine. There scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon." Hosea 14:4-7

The God of the universe loves you and me with infinite perfection. And His ways and plans for us are for our good. How deceptive our hearts can often be. Turn to Him and He promises restoration.

Now I think its time I go take my supplements.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Pursue Love

Love. That's it. That's the point--the bottom line, the test of soul, the motivating factor. If we are not loving others, then we are missing it. We miss the entire summation of God's Word. Love.

True love--love that rises above emotion and seeks the good of another--is an act of the will. It is a choice. It is a command. It can be "known only from the actions it prompts" (taken from Strong's definition). It moves. It does. It is expressed. Feelings often follow.

The greatest example of love is seen in the "work" of Christ. He came to die--not only for His own, but for those who rejected Him, hated Him, and murdered Him. He died out of love. He gave Himself because He submitted to the love of the Father. This is love.

And it cannot be conjured from our flesh. This kind of love--love that crucifies self and sacrifices for others--can only be made manifest by the power of God. This kind of love is from God. It is God. We cannot do it on our own. "Father, love through me--my husband, my kids, my family, my friends, even those that betray me, hurt me, use me, and neglect me. Only by the power of Your might."

We learn that our love towards God and others is the evidence that we are Christ's disciples. So would others know who you and I follow by our love?

"Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous; love is not boastful, it is not arrogant; it is not rude, not selfish, not resentful; it does not think evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails...Pursue love." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 14:1)

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Keeping Watch

Day...who knows. My early ambitions for documenting all of the insights God granted during my study of Revelation have fizzled to a few sporadic writings. But today, as we had our final Wednesday morning study, I found myself so inspired--so fired up--from the Revelation prophecy. Here are three closing comments that I hope stay impressed upon me:

  1. God's Word can be fully trusted.

    Some may say it is outdated. Some may question its validity. But His Word, graciously given to us--His creation--is profitable, piercing, and powerful. His promises will come to pass. His instruction is an anchor regardless of feeling.

  2. Jesus Christ will come again.

    God the Father--out of His immense love for us--sent His Son to be the sacrifice for the sins of mankind. And as hundreds of eyewitnesses attested, Jesus was killed on a cross then rose again three days later--defeating death. Who does that?! Who plans such a redemption?! Only God. Jesus then publicly ascended to the Father where He said He was going to prepare a place for those who choose to believe.

    I know it may seem crazy, mind-boggling in its detailed perfection. But if it is true...

    This same Jesus who ascended to the Father will come again to this earth. He will come for His own. He is waiting for the Father to say, "It is time." So what will He find you and I doing this day--fighting the fight of faith or succumbing to the hopelessness of this fleeting world?

  3. God is worthy of continual praise.

    We in our finite minds cannot even fathom His glory. If we could just get a glimpse of His holiness, then our only response would be continual praise. Pray to see Him rightly.

These truths are not just distant ideas that have no effect upon our day. These truths have the potential of completely transforming our days...if we will simply believe. True--the road will be bumpy. But He desires we know Him intimately and trust Him fully every step of this momentary path. I am telling you, nothing else can fulfill that aching in your soul. Nothing.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Broken Cisterns

So I woke up this morning with my mind encircling a portion of a verse from Jeremiah. I love it when that happens--when I wake up and my mind is singing praises or thinking on His Word. It is so much more refreshing than waking up singing a Barney song or stressed about the day. Once I made it downstairs with my hair still standing on end and my eyes still straining from the light, I opened my Bible to the place on which my spirit had been meditating.

Father speak to me. Jeremiah 2:13, "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns--broken cisterns that can hold no water." A few comments as He brought them to my heart:
  • He was speaking to His own.
  • His own were capable of doing evil.
  • It is evil to forsake Him.
  • He is the fountain of living water.
  • A fountain is fresh, moving, and alive.
  • The water He gives to quench our thirst brings life to our weary bones.
  • Yet, His own forsake Him.
  • It is evil to make cisterns--an artificial reservoir for water.
  • A cistern is anything we place above God thinking it will fulfill us.
  • But the cisterns we make are broken.
  • They cannot hold water.

His people were experiencing many consequences due to their forsaking. They had become slaves, had been plundered, their land was waste, and they had brought this upon themselves in that they forsook the Lord their God. (2:14-17)

I am not sure why this verse was in my spirit this morning. But for me personally it causes an evaluation of my situation. Am I committing this evil--forsaking the Lord and not reverencing Him? Are any of my own "struggles" of bondage consequences of my own rebellious heart? Something to think about.

If the answer to either of those questions is "yes," then the solution is clear, (1) return to the merciful God who loves you, and (2) acknowledge your transgression before Him. He will then bless and give a beautiful heritage. (see 3:11-18) Thank you, Lord.

Now isn't this much better than Barney.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Hope Secure

This life is but a vapor--a breath. How quickly things can change, money can vanish, and our once "stable" days become unrecognizable. So where is our hope secure? Only in the God whose love is uncontainable and who pursues us with passion.

He first desires to adopt us as His own--a choice of the will He graciously gives to each person who steps on this earth. He then desires that we learn how to walk our journey in the freedom He has for His own--freedom from sin, freedom from despair, freedom from unrest. This "transformation" from bondage to freedom is a process called sanctification. And it is His will that we be sanctified. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

But to be sanctified often requires pressing--being in situations and states of mind where we are at the end of ourselves, pressed beyond our means, and we have to fully trust in His faithful hands. And all of it hinges on love. He is motivated towards us by His love. He allows everything into the lives of His own out of His love. He is working in us a far greater glory, beyond what this fleeting life can bring. As we begin to grasp His unmeasurable love for us--individually--then we can start to trust His allowances into our brief stay on this planet.

Our minds can be so cluttered--mine can anyway. But if we can learn, by the power of His Spirit, to bring every thought captive to obedience (2 Corinthians 10:5)--bring every thought back to the foundation of His love and work in us--then freedom awaits as a burden light. It is a process. We are in process. But through the process pursue love. (1 Corinthians 14:1) May it increase more and more. (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10) May our hope find rest in His perfect love.

For further nourishment: 1 Corinthians 13

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Wallow in Truth

I've got lots of emotions. OK, so I am a woman--multi-dimensional, complex, and (to be honest) hormonal. All of this results in lots of emotions. And I like to feel them all, analyze them all, get to the root of them all--which truthfully makes for a cluttered mind at times. But what are we to do when our emotions do not line up with what God says is truth? They often feel so right--justified. We can defend them, explain them, and believe them. But if they oppose God's Word then they cannot be trusted.

Recently I struggled through some "unfaithful" emotions. And they affected me. They affected my mood and my perspective. I knew in my head that they were not based upon a trust in God's sovereign way--living free of fear, in love, and always forgiving--but they affected me. So what are we to do? We are to stand firm on what His Word declares as truth.

I began preaching to myself and crying out to God, "Lord you have called me to forgive. Help me. I want your love to spill out onto others. Enable me. My emotions have me cast down. Lift me." I acknowledged the emotion and questioned it's foundation. Over and over I declared truth and sought after His wisdom. By His strength I did not revel in the feelings; rather I desired for my emotions to submit to Truth. As I battled for the peace rightly due to God's child, He faithfully spoke to my spirit so clearly.

Sometimes our emotions will not line up with God's Word--but the heart is deceitful. When those days come, we must fight to put our hope in God and not in the unstable ground of feeling. Stand on truth. Keep preaching it to your spirit. Eventually the emotions will bow down.

"As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God... Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God." Psalm 42:1-2a, 11

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Heavy Stuff

There seems to be a disconnect--a disconnect in grasping our spiritual depravity and our gaping need for a Savior. In our culture we as humans tend to think we can do this "life" thing fairly well--at least on the outside. We can make a little money, get a house, have a family, work a job--all the while somewhat disconnected to our true spiritual dilemma. Truth is, when viewed next to the perfectly Holy, righteous, Creator of the universe, we are desperate for His mercy.

I have sporadically been working through the book of Revelation. And the one thing that continues to hit me is the complete "other-than"ness of this sovereign God. He is infinitely beyond our minuscule comprehension. He is absolutely just and abounding in love. By His grace He gives us--His creation--a glimpse of His glory...if we choose to look. And the closer we get to Him--the more defined His character becomes in our being--the more depraved we know ourselves to be.

By His grace, out of His unmeasurable love for you and me, He made a way for us to rightly enter His presence--namely through the sacrifice of Christ. His love for you and me goes beyond the intellect and invades the spirit. He desires for us to know Him intimately. He pursues and prods that we might trust fully in Him. Jesus came to die a substitutionary death for us--enduring a vile ripping on a rugged cross then crushing the power of sin under His feet when He rose again. We no longer have to drink the cup of wrath rightly due to our natural, rebellious selves. By faith in His sacrifice for our own sin we are made new--cleansed.

That is the victory.

Accepting His sacrifice does not mean life will always go as we think it should. But it does mean that we are now called His son or daughter--and He will never forsake His child. He gives peace in the most devastating of storms. He empowers and renews the faintest of hearts. All the while transforming us to the place of freedom through faith.

Just preachin' a little today. Run to Him, friend. He is worthy.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Day at the Store

I think the bag boy at Harris Teeter today may have vowed celibacy after his interaction with my kids. It's not that they were awful, they were just how kids can be. My 2-year-old has discovered that he has an opinion about everything, but he cannot express it well, hence the screaming. Then my 3-year-old could win a gold metal in a whining competition. Use your imagination.

I tried to tell the cashier that I would be fine to walk myself out to the car--I was used to juggling. But they insisted on giving me a hand. I then explained it might take me a minute because I had promised the boys they could sit on the dragon and pick out a balloon--by the way, have you actually heard the Harris Teeter dragon song? It will be stuck in your brain for days. Anyway, in spite of my warnings, the young man stood at attention waiting to push my cart to the car.

The pressure to move quickly was on--and if you have preschoolers you know they have no comprehension of "quick." After about a minute I looked my 2-year-old into the eyes and calming explained to him that we were all done with the dragon--it was time to go. He declared his opinion with a resounding "NO" followed by a death grip onto the handlebars. I glanced over at the poor young man who was now avoiding all eye contact with me and seemed to be retreating within himself for peace.

After I pried my little guy from the big, green, plastic, probably germ-infested dragon, I gave him a much deserved balloon and we all hurried to the car, which included the young man practically running over my older son--I think he was completely beside himself. I strapped my boys into their seats, with my one son rubbing his clobbered head, and gave the young man my most genuine smile, internally thinking, "You have no idea."

So now you understand, I think he may have vowed celibacy.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Expect Delays

We are all in process--you, me, our spouse, our neighbors, our kids, everyone. I have said it many times before but it is hitting me afresh lately. My natural tendency is towards type A perfectionism--something God is transforming and purifying in me. This tendency causes me to be hard on myself if I am not doing something "perfectly." (No need for long "awwww's"--God is working.)

Take parenting, for instance. My thought life is often bombarded with a plethora of questions, "Was that too harsh? too lenient? too loud? too passive? Should I have done this or that?" But thankfully God sees the heart. My overarching desire through all the uncertainty is to glorify Him--to teach my kids what it means to love the Lord and love each other. And I believe His Word is clear--He will honor a heart that is running after Him.

When we are in the midst of transformation--which we all are if we call ourselves His children--then we will sometimes miss the mark. But it is a process. He is shaping us and teaching us, forming us to be men and women that abide continually in Him. Let's give ourselves, and those we meet in our paths, a little grace and space to move.

"Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 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 by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:16-18

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Worth the Moments

If the Word does not change our days--our moments--then what's the point of all of this? Just thought I would lay that right out there this morning. If we are not internally transformed, then why do we study His word and seek to learn His ways? Christ came that we would have life abundant in spite of circumstance. He came that we would have peace when the waters rise, power to love the difficult, and patience to trust His sovereign way. So how goes our moments?

As believers we are called, instructed, challenged to die to self. But what does that mean? It means we surrender our rights and our agenda to the One who holds eternity in His hands and loves us with abandon. It means we open our hands and give Him our moments, asking Him to work in and through us. It means we have a life of influence, ministering to those our paths will cross this day--from inside the walls of our homes to those we meet on the street. Every moment--His.

Is He worth it? Is He worth our every single moment? The answer is a resounding "YES!" Nothing will satisfy our depths like Him. No one will heal our burdens like Him. No plan will bless our days like His. He is totally and completely worth it. Do you believe?

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why the One?

Picture the scene. A multitude of people--sick, blind, lame, and withered--laying there hoping for a miracle--hoping they would be the first to enter the water after its stirring and experience a healing. Most likely they had their regular places on the side of the pool, with familiar faces and stories next to them. But this day there was a multitude. So, why just the one?

I was in John 5 this morning and that is the question that quickly stirred in my mind after reading the account. The scene was Jerusalem during a time of a Jewish feast, so the crowd was more dense than usual. Here Jesus confronted the one man in the midst of this multitude at a pool named Bethesda. This pool had five porches--according to the text--with it's waters being fed from a nearby spring. It was a place where the sick came in hopes of being healed by the waters. But Jesus only sought out the one.

He could have, with the word of His mouth, healed every ache in sight. But He didn't. He could have touched the water with His hand and cured the seeming incurable. But He didn't. He only made one man well. Why, Lord, why?

Remember, when faced with things beyond our realm of understanding, we go back to what we know. In this case we know something about Jesus' earthly ministry. He came to do the will of the Father and finish His work. (John 4:34) So, what is the will of the Father? That many would be spiritually free to truly worship Him--loving with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. (John 4:23) Jesus did not intend upon reforming society externally--healing all diseases and crushing social injustice. He came to touch the heart of man, transforming us internally that we might learn what it means to abide in Him.

So why the one? I don't know, but He does. Maybe this was the only one who truly wanted to be healed--all the rest somehow dependent upon their infirmity as a place of identity. Maybe in seeing the hearts of the multitude, He knew that no one else would really believe that He was the Son of God. Maybe it was simply meant to be His example to the religious leaders whom He addressed in the latter half of the text. Regardless of the details we know one thing, this is the one He willed. (John 5:21)

Interestingly Bethesda means "house of mercy." But a pool of water is only a reflection of the greater reality. God Himself authors mercy. As we seek after Him--through the sufferings of this day--He promises to meet us with mercy immeasurable. "I, the Lord your God...(show) mercy to thousands, to those who love me and keep My commandments." (Exodus 20:6) His mercy endures forever. (1 Chronicles 16:34b) When questioning the ways of His hands, we must rest upon the revelation of His heart. He is merciful to those who love Him.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ways Unsearchable

Day...18...I think: Revelation 19:9-16; won't be able to publish a commentary from my sporadic writings on Revelation. But, here I am, pressing through.

Today in the text we get a glimpse of the almighty Jesus. You know, there is a tendency to picture Him in our minds as petting little lambs and picking dandelions. But that does not fully portray the savior who bore God's wrath for our redemption. Yes, He is the giver of peace. He does welcome the little children to Himself. But there is a dimension of His character--His righteous, holy character--we often overlook. He is almighty.

In Revelation today He appears riding on a white horse, eyes blazing, robe crimson stained, with the armies of heaven behind Him. His power and glory are revealed in the fullness of time. And juxtaposed next to His scorn upon the cross, our minds clamor to grasp this God-man.

Truth is He humbled Himself, letting go of the glory due His name, when He came as a servant on this earth. (Philippians 2:5-11) Then He submitted His will to that of the Father and drank the cup of wrath rightly due to us--those who reject God's love in our flesh. (Matthew 26:36-46) This Jesus then died a brutal death--physically and spiritually--out of His love for you and me, then defeated death that it would no longer hold its sting. He is almighty.

God's ways are not our own. He is infinitely higher than us. His plans go beyond our reach. But He is seeking those who will trust in Him, that He may then lavish His grace and wisdom upon the faithful follower.

The days and moments of this life can be so difficult at times. But when our understanding ends--when our hearts go astray--if we as His children will come back to what we know is true, this almighty God will bless our walking by faith--abundantly beyond our conceiving. He is that good.

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