Friday, July 31, 2009


I have this set of books sitting on the floor beside my morning chair that I periodically pull from in my time with God. It is usually disheveled due to little feet that have stepped and twisted and used it as a stool, yet between the covers of these works there lives ideas, words, thoughts that send my spirit into pondering. Today I read some words from A.W. Tozer in a book entitled, The Knowledge of the Holy. Talk about a deep read.

A number of quotes to leave you with as your day of demands begins:
  • What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. (p. 1)
  • Only after an ordeal of painful self-probing are we likely to discover what we actually believe about God. (p. 2)
  • The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. (p. 3)
  • The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him--and of her (the Church). (p. 4)
  • (Speaking now of God's incomprehensibility) He is not exactly like anything or anybody. (p. 6)
  • Left to ourselves we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms...We want a God we can in some measure control. (p. 8)
  • The yearning to know What cannot be known, to comprehend the Incomprehensible, to touch and taste the Unapproachable, arises from the image of God in the nature of man. Deep calleth unto deep...the soul senses its origin and longs to return to its Source. (p. 9)
  • For while the name of God is secret and His essential nature incomprehensible, He in condescending love has by revelation declared certain things to be true of Himself. These we call His attributes. (p. 11)

So the question to you and to myself is, what comes to our minds when we think about God? How high above us do our thoughts reveal Him to be? He is completely other-than and fully holy. Yet in His great grace has allowed us to know something about Himself, namely through the life and work of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Lord God. May YOU in all Your splendour be lifted high in our mortal minds. You alone are worthy, Father. Thank You for graciously redeeming me.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Pressure to Document

Tonight I was just laying on the floor of the playroom watching the various, adorable antics of my 19 month old. So cute. Then I started thinking, "I haven't started a baby book for him yet. Come to think of it, I haven't finished my middle son's baby book. Urgghhhh." To be honest the progression in documentation from my first born to now my third is pretty pathetic.

My eldest has a book full of all her firsts: first word, first food, first step. My third has a scrap piece of paper stuffed in my desk where I have quickly jotted down things I don't want to forget--I think there are three things on that list. My eldest had nothing but organic, pureed fruits and veggies. My youngest, well, do goldfish fit into the food pyramid? They are made with whole grains!

Then I asked myself, "Why the pressure?" Seriously, why do I feel pressure to do a baby book? Is it the stack of good-intentioned scrapbooking stuff in the upstairs closet? Is it society that proclaims, "you aren't a good mother unless..."? Maybe I will never complete his book of baby memories; and I honestly think I am OK with that. I mean, why live under such unnecessary pressure. Right?!

Good. It's done. I'll sell it all. Well...maybe I will keep some of it for a rainy day when I have nothing else to do. Ummm, yeah.

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Cloud of Witnesses

Faith. We hear this word so often it has the potential of losing its powerful meaning in our minds. I watched the movie Faith Like Potatoes last night and was left with a stirring within me regarding faith. So this morning I went to the chapter known as the "faith walk"--Hebrews 11.

In this chapter we read of the great faith of past followers of God. The verse that always hits me is found in the portion describing a man named Enoch. "He had this testimony, that he pleased God. 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." (11:5b-6)

So how's your faith? How's mine? Are we pleasing to the all-sufficient, all-powerful God of the universe? Without faith it is impossible to please Him.

Yesterday I walked through the Ephesians 6 passage which ended with the phrase, "above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one." (6:16) Things will come our way--life will happen--but if we walk these days in faith then we will be covered in peace amidst the battle.

I have noticed something in my own walk with God. First, we must have faith in His written Word--believing what He promises; and our actions will reveal our beliefs. For example, He says that we are no longer slaves to sin--we have a choice in Christ. So do our actions show us to be victims or victors? He says that love covers a multitude of sins. So do our actions show us to be loving or judging? Our actions will reveal our internal belief.

Second, as we begin to go deeper with the Lord, having faith in His written Word and a growing intimacy with Him, He will impress upon His children a direction to go. He may give you a vision for something that seems impossible or outlandish, but in Him the miraculous is common. In those things, to the glory of His name, we must believe that He will accomplish what He has declared. It might not be today or tomorrow or this year, but if He has said it, then it will come to pass. Believe and trust.

Our God is able. He is. Whatever you are facing, He is bigger. Whatever has you discouraged, He is greater. This God who has graciously redeemed, desires intimate relationship with you and me. Praise You, Lord! He can give us victory when defeat seems imminent. He is God and He is worthy of our faith.

So how's your faith today? Stand on His promises in spite of your feelings. He will bring it to pass.

For further nourishment: Hebrews 11

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This Means War

I was in Bible study last night with some amazing women--women seeking God's will and ways in their lives. It is so beautiful! Through some very real discussion I was reminded of the cunning attacks of the enemy. As I drove home I began preaching truth to myself to replace subtle thoughts that have recently crept in.

This morning I want to walk through a passage I have read so often, but one that needs to be at the forefront of our minds as believers--Ephesians 6:10-18. I will write my own comments in italics.

  • Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (we cannot fight this battle in our own strength, we must submit to and rest in His)
  • Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (God has provided protection for us against an enemy who does attack)
  • 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. (Could Paul be any clearer? We are in the midst of a spiritual war. It often feels like it is things and people of this world against which we struggle, but there is an entire spiritual realm of dark powers seeking to destroy the witness, joy, and peace of God's children.)
  • Therefore (as my dad used to say, "When you see a 'therefore' ask what is it there for." So what is Paul about to tell us? How to stand firm in the power of God's might. May we listen up.)
  • take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (We have to do our part and "take up" what God has graciously given us. It is intentional and decisive. Why do we do this? So we can withstand the enemy.)
  • Stand therefore (We stand firm, in the power of His might as we have daily taken up His armor. So what exactly is His armor? Let's keep reading.)
  • having girded your waist with truth (The enemy continually whispers lies and we must replace those with truth. He is both so predictable and deceptive. If we do not first pray for awareness of our thoughts, then bring every thought into captivity to obedience, then we will find ourselves entangled in lies. Meditating on Truth is absolutely vital to our victory.)
  • having put on the breastplate of righteousness (We have righteousness through faith in Christ, not in anything we have done or can do. He alone is our righteousness. Praise Him!)
  • and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (As our feet walk through these days, what are we spreading? Peace or dissension? He instructs that we be ready to spread God's message of hope every where God leads this day. This again means that we are meditating on Truth rather than lies, prepared to offer life and hope to others.)
  • above all (Over all of this armor)
  • taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (The enemy is not kind. He does not just send arrows. He sends fiery darts. He dips them in pitch and lights them on fire, then hurls them at the believer aiming to debilitate. Praise God he cannot steal our souls, but he can steal our joy, demolish our hope, and ruin our witness. But there is something that can quench ALL of his fiery darts: the shield of faith! Believe, friend, the promises God has spoken over you and me. Again, meditate on Truth and replace the lies, that we might trust the God who lavishes His love upon His children. He is there, and here, and eternally faithful.)
  • And take the helmet of salvation (Remind yourself of your redemption. Preach truth to your spirit regarding who you are in Christ. We are no longer slaves to sin, in Him we have a choice. We have been bought at a price--we are not our own. Thank you, Lord.)
  • (take) the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Again, dig in and meditate this day on Truth. This will be life to our very being.)
  • praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit (Be in constant communion with your heavenly Father. Be real with Him. Lay your struggles before Him. Do not be anxious about the happenings of this life, rather bring them to Him and allow His peace to wash over those worrisome places. He is faithful.)
  • being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for the saints (We have to be deliberate, persevere, and intercede for those beside us.)
Walking in victory does not just happen because we are children of God. We are at war. We must diligently and faithfully stay on guard and daily put on the armor of our mighty God. Stand firm, friend. Stand firm.

For further nourishment: Ephesians 6:10-18, Philippians 3:7-14

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's Pink There

I just finished labeling all of my posts and realized that I haven't been documenting many of the funny things that happen in my daily life. So I thought I would tell you a cute thing that Hailey said the other day.

Her Mimi (aka grandma) works for an airline, so we planned a girl's trip to New York to visit the American Girl store. (FYI: if you are not into American Girl dolls then beware. This is a whole phenomenon that I had no idea existed...and we are sucked in! Well, at least the girls in our family are; don't ask my hubby his (probably correct) opinion.) Anyway, in preparations for our trip my middle son said, "I want to go to NY." Hailey responded, "No, Bryson, you can't go to NY. It is pink there."

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Him and Her

It would seem that God had a sense of humor, in His design of men and women.
Mars and Venus does not quite depict the vast differences between us.

He thinks this way, I think that, will we ever meet in between?
Our discussions often occur on two planes, like foreign language, it would seem.

"A pillow seems like a waste of money. I will just roll up a towel."
"Do you really need another saw? Your pliers could break that dowel."

But God had a plan when He declared it good, vast differences and all.
Together--one flesh--we reflect His depth, great complexity to be awed.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

A Girl Like Me

Let me just preface my ponderings today with an underlying truth: I wholeheartedly believe in the God designed headship of the husband. (I love (and respect) you, Honey!) With that said, it seems like male headship and female submission often get a "bad rap." Male headship can be distorted to male superiority, and female submission to doormat mentality. Oh how God designed things so differently and in turn, beautifully.

Though to go into a detailed definition on either would take much longer than you may want to spend with me this day, I just wanted to say one quick thing as a woman. I am so thankful that God called women like Deborah to do mighty things, and then had it recorded in His timeless Word! If you go to Judges 4-5 in the Old Testament you can read of this one I speak. She was a wife, mother (probably), and prophetess. She spoke victory over the army of the Israelites and then led them when the commander grew faint hearted. God used her in mighty ways to bring deliverance for His people!

It is easy to convince ourselves that we cannot do this or that because of our status--socially, economically, racially, etc. But if God calls, He will equip! Our God is big and He does big things to bring His name glory. He is worthy. Let's give Him our day today and allow Him to use us how He sees fit. Shed the sin that entangles. Ask for His eyes to see and ears to hear. Meditate on His truth rather than fears or failures. He can and will use you!

For further nourishment: Judges 4-5

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Tiny Scratch

God is so very uncontainable. The closer I get to Him, the more I realize that what I "know" is a tiny scratch on the surface of His immeasurable character. His grace astounds me. His mercy humbles me. His love strengthens me. His patience motivates me. His wisdom overwhelms me. His infinity confounds me. His near-presence awes me.

Praise You Lord!

As I was spending time with Him this morning, reading from the book of Joel, I was reminded of His great purposeful interaction in this life. He is not removed from sorrow. He is not unaffected by immorality. He is there, and right here. His ways are high above us and completely multi-faceted. Yet He cares for your and my days, hurts, struggles, and victories. He is invested in our becoming--our maturing. He has abundance to give.

If we are here, on this dusty earth, then He has a purpose you and me. If you call Him "Father, Daddy" then He calls you "my child." He is working--even when we cannot see. He is able--even when we don't know how. He is faithful--even when we are not. He is worthy of our praise.

This day, whom will you and I serve? Nothing else will fill those cavernous gaps. No one else will lovingly heal those hollow places. Seek His face and find peace everlasting. Oh, how He loves us! Dance before Him, friend!

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Evidence of His Leading

Do you ever equate ease of days with God's will and blessing? I must admit my own struggle at times. But listen to this word from Acts regarding Paul.

He was in Ephesus about to sail toward Jerusalem. As he was speaking farewells to the Ephesian elders he says, "And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy..." (Acts 20:22-24a)

On his journey he arrives in Ptolemais where Philip's four daughters prophesied--we are not told their words--and then a prophet named Agabus gave this warning to Paul after he took Paul's belt and bound his own hands and feet, "Thus says the Holy Spirit, 'So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" (Acts 21:11)

Then those with Paul pleaded with him not to go to Jerusalem. And what did he do? He went with these words, "I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 21:13)

Wow. Let's break this down for a minute.

Paul knew where God was leading him to go--Jerusalem. He was bound in the spirit to journey there. He received multiple warnings that his lot would include being chained by the Jews. Yet, those warnings were not given by God to thwart his plans! Did you catch that? He knew the direction God was leading--in his spirit there was peace--yet that did not equal ease. Wow.

How about you and me? As children of God we are not promised a road without bumps or even caverns. Rather, we are promised God's grace and merciful presence through the journey--chains and all. I was listening to a sermon by John Piper yesterday and he said, and I paraphrase, "When God does/allows one thing into our lives, He is doing a billion other things we do not even know about. We better be slow to criticize His little bumps." Sobering, huh?!

Our amazing, awesome, Holy God is sovereign, friend. We are not promised ease on these earthly roads but praise Him He promises peace. Live before your audience of One this day. He is worthy.

For further nourishment: James 1

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Analyzing Mind

Oh my mind keeps racing, racing--
Will it ever stop.

This thing, that thing, those words, that look--
Pack them in a tattered box.

"Why, when, how, what motivates their actions,"
Analyze this world to paralysis.

How I need His truth to pierce--
Every thought to bow in submission.

Breathe deep, inhale, take in His words,
They are peace to our unrest.

In You alone my mind slows down;
In You alone I sit.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Light to our Path

Deuteronomy 8:2-3, "the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord." (emphasis mine)

This passage always gets me. It is both solemn and life-giving--mixed together in a strange concoction that brings peace.

Remember the Israelites were in the wilderness because of their lack of faith and disobedience. Likewise our own lack of faith and disobedience can take us to the wilderness--but God is still there and will lead if we seek after Him.

He led them there to humble and test them. That word "test" in the Hebrew is also translated "prove." They had to go through the wilderness those 40 years to prove, or in a sense refine, their faith. Likewise God may bring trials to humble and test us, that He--and we--may know whether or not we will obey and believe.

He allowed hunger, but not without purpose. In their hunger He fed them with manna (see Exodus 16)--which they did not know--that they may know He is faithful to His word. Likewise He may allow us to hunger--possibly physically, but in our nation more likely emotionally or spiritually--that we may know that His word brings life, healing, and nourishment.

His Word is life to our weary bones and broken hearts. His Word cuts through the calloused places and heals the wounds. It is alive and relevant. Read, meditate, and believe.

Love you, friend.

For further nourishment: Psalm 119--the longest psalm (176 verses) but full of truth regarding the word of God. If you do not have that much time, meditate upon 119:105-112.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

The Woes of Travel

There is so much in this life that can successfully steal away our focus--so much that can challenge our "walking in the Spirit." I returned from my trip yesterday and it is confirmed: traveling is one of those "things." From kiosk troubles to security stripping to delayed flights to no flights, traveling can prove challenging.

So how do we "successfully" walk in the Spirit in spite of our daily obstacles? It comes back to the mind.

If in the midst of inconvenience--whether minor or life-changing--we start meditating upon the problem, possible outcomes, or frustrating aspects then our attitude and actions will soon follow. If we want to walk in the Spirit--even in the midst--then we must set our minds upon things of the Spirit.

We will have to trust that God is in control, even when our circumstances feel uncontrollable. We will have to believe that He has purpose, even in the very details of our days. We will have to remember His truth, especially when the world preaches lies. Ultimately we must remember our complete depravity in our flesh and ask that He live it through these earthen vessels--then others will marvel at His great power, grace, and love.

He is good and able. He is worthy and right. Let's preach it to ourselves today when our "travel plans" stray from our expectations.

For further nourishment: Psalm 119:9-16; Romans 8:1-11; Philippians 4:8-9

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Richness

Wow, God is so good. I love when He reveals something about Himself and it blows me away! I am out of town with my mom and daughter. My mom and I just reflected on His workings in the lives of some mighty men and women of God that we know. Wow, praise Him!

I read in Deuteronomy again this morning. One of my posts from the other day was entitled, "Remember!" Again, this topic resonated from the text.

"So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your 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." (Deut. 6:10-12)

Oh, this text is rich! A few brief (I'll try) comments:
  1. The Lord is faithful to His promises! He followed through with the promise of bringing the Israelites to their new land. He will follow through with His promises to us! Get in His Word and stand firm on His promises.
  2. The Lord pours out His grace--we cannot contain it! In this text we see Him give earthly blessing beyond themselves--they had not worked for it, built it, filled it, planted it, or dug it. They simply stood in the outflow of God's gifts. He is merciful and good--a giver of gifts we cannot begin to "deserve" or earn; and His greatest gift is spiritual life and spiritual abundance in Him!
  3. The Lord knows us perfectly--heed His warnings! The nature of man is to run hard after God in the midst of trial--seeking healing and safety. But often when in abundance and comfort, we forget. He is so good, friend. He is so good that being in trial with more of Him is better than physical, worldly comfort without awareness of His amazing character and ways. Are you there?
  4. The Lord frees from bondage! Oh what a life-giving truth! In this text we read of His physical freeing of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Friend, He waits to give you and me freedom from the strongholds in our own lives. In Him is freedom--freedom to love, forgive, and dance. Take His hand and let Him lead.

His Word is alive. It is life to our weary bones. It is the bread and water that will sustain.

Be blessed in Him today!


p.s. I know I used a bunch of "!" today. Can you tell I am full?

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Friday, July 17, 2009

A Fine Line

Anger--it is an interesting "feeling." We all have it at times--some more than others; and with it comes a fine line between righteousness and unrighteousness.

Being a mommy of three young children, I find myself walking this line. The moments can be so trying--as I have mentioned before. My heart's desire is to reflect my Lord--that my kids would see His great love through my life. But how does anger fit into that equation?

Righteous anger occurs when God's heart and Law is transgressed. Many, many times in the Old Testament we read about God being provoked to anger because of the continual disobedience of His children (Deuteronomy 5:25). As a parent we will experience anger, but we must be in constant communion with our heavenly Father, asking Him for wisdom in the moments.

Is this anger righteous or not? Have I responded to it appropriately or not? Do I myself need to confess and submit to the Spirit more diligently in this area?

As a parent I think it is typical to feel guilt at any twinge of anger. Truthfully, some anger is righteous, but in our flesh we are not. We need the Spirit of the Lord to live through us that we might be able to reflect His heart rightly. Then praise the Lord for His mercy.

"But from there (their place of rebellion and corruption) you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them." (Deuteronomy 5:29-31)

For further nourishment: Psalm 30:4-5; Psalm 103:6-10; Matthew 5:21-26; Mark 3:1-6; Ephesians 4:25-27

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Thursday, July 16, 2009


"Remember." Over and over we read the instructions to "remember." We are a forgetful people, aren't we?! How quickly we can go from the mountain top to the valley. It is in those valley-type moments we must remember the past faithfulness of our Lord.

Moses tells the people in Deuteronomy 4:9, "Only take heed (guard) 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."

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us decide to remember His great faithfulness regardless of our circumstance. Take a moment today and thank God for--remember--the things He has done in your life. No giant you face is too big for our awesome Lord. Press on, friend. Press on.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Where He Leads

Who is leading the moments of your life--you or God? Sometimes it can be so easy to seemingly "pull" God along, down our planned paths of life, asking for His blessing along the way. But this is not how the God of this universe works. He is God. We are not. Who are we to presume we know anything apart from Him? Unless He leads we will live in defeat.

I am in Deuteronomy 2 today. Though the numbers are debatable, there were possibly over a million people--and that is a very conservative estimate--wandering through the wilderness together for those 40 years. Can you imagine being a settled nation and seeing in the distance a million people coming over the hill? Ummmm, yeah.

Remember the Israelites were in the desert for their unbelief--until the "evil generation" had died off. Finally it appeared that they were allowing God to lead. (Oh how this can be a picture of us--rebellious and proud until we must face the consequences, then we humbly follow. That we would only learn.)

When the time had come, after 38 years in the desert, He said, "This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the nations under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you, and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you." (2:25) God then led them to overtake Heshbon; and Moses recounted, "there was not one city too strong for us; the Lord our God delivered all to us. Only you did not go...wherever the Lord our God had forbidden us." (2:36b-37)

There was much I took from this chapter: God's faithfulness to His promises to Esau (2:2-9) and Lot (2:18-19), and that His promises can be considered done--no obstacle will destroy His plan. But the thing that really hit was a little verse, similar to other passages found in the Old Testament. It says, "and we utterly destroyed the men, women, and the little ones of every city; we left none remaining." (2:34b)

Why? Why did God lead in utter destruction? Why not save the little children? These are difficult questions. And when we are faced with difficult questions in this life we have to go back to what we know about God in order for us to answer with wisdom.

We know that God is completely Holy, full of love and mercy, and perfectly just. We can stand on this as truth. We know that He sees all and knows all. We know that His ways are not our own. We can trust His character and His leading--even when we do not fully understand.

Knowing all of this--looking back at this difficult text--I would say that His character demanded complete destruction. These were nations who worshiped other gods--false gods. The God of this universe is Holy--completely other-than. We do not see the spiritual realm. We do not understand the allowance of even a child from a "wicked" nation. So it is at these points we must stand and rest on the character of God.

Our God is good. His motivation in your and my life is love. He wants intimacy with each one of us--to lavish His grace and mercy over our days. But we have to choose Him. Trust His character today even when you do not fully understand His ways. Follow His lead. He is forever faithful!

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What Pleases Him?

This morning the words of Moses cut deep. Yesterday I mentioned my occasional return to the book of Acts for inspiration and encouragement. I also like to go to the book of Deuteronomy. "Why?" you ask. Good question. Mainly because it is a book of the Old Testament that Jesus often quotes. So I figure, if it was good for Him it is even more necessary for me--a fallen woman in my natural self.

So I read Deuteronomy chapter 1 and had to pause halfway through. It was words I had meditated upon many times before--places I had underlined and phrases I had circled. But today...

In this chapter Moses addressed the Israelites, reminding them of their rebellion. You see, the Israelites had been miraculously freed by God from slavery in Egypt. He led them out into the wilderness and gave them promise of the new land they would possess. When they reached the edge of the land they sent in spies to go "check things out." The spies returned and brought beautiful fruit from the land saying, "It is a good land which the Lord our God is giving us."

But the people were terrified to go in because the spies had also reported that the inhabitants were "greater and taller" and that the cities were "fortified up to heaven." So the people "rebelled against the command of the Lord (their) God, and complained." At that point Moses tried to point them back to God's promises and ways, "Do not be terrified, or afraid of them. The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you." Yet, they "did not believe;" and God's judgment fell.

God declared that none of that "evil generation" would enter His promised land--except for 2 who had faithfully trusted. So for 40 years the people were left in the wilderness until the elders died off. The scary thing was that the people, after hearing God's judgment, repented and got ready for war. But God said "No." He would not be with them. The consequences of their unbelief were to be carried through. Ouch.

So why did this stir in my spirit so strongly this Tuesday morning? Hebrews 11:6 says, "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." Without faith it is impossible to please our Lord.

Our good God has given us many promises. He has given us as believers promises of the life to come. He has given us promises of abundant life today. He has given us promises that we are overcomers and conquerers in Christ. He has given us promises of His indwelling presence. He even gives more personal words of promise as you grow closer to Him and learn to hear His voice. Do you believe?

When faced with the circumstances of life where your enemy looks "greater and taller" than you, do you believe His promises? When standing next to the city you are to overtake, seemingly "fortified up to the heavens," do you believe His Word? Friend, if He has led you to a promised land, then He will fight for you. To live in a place of victory we must stand on His truth rather than the sinking sand of circumstance.

The sobering truth remains. If we do not believe, then He very well may discipline and take away His blessing. Wow. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Get to know Him intimately. Meditate on His Word and trust Him. When His directives seem impossible then ask Him to live it through you. We serve a gracious, good, loving God.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Material World

In 1985 Madonna released a song entitled "Material Girl." The chorus actually says, "You know that we are living in a material world and I am a material girl." Wow. Was she declaring truth or what? Twenty years later our world is so steeped in materialism that finding true fulfillment in Christ proves difficult.

As I was reading in Acts this morning--which I often love to do--I was, again, both encouraged and amazed at the growth of the early church. I find myself longing for God to do big things through my little life. That He would somehow use me--if He so wills--in His bringing revival to our materially-minded nation.

Oh how my heart beats to a song by Shawn McDonald entitled "All I need." The chorus says, "All I need is your love to come and fill this heart of mine; my heart is a desert that has gone dry, and I need your love to carry me by." Material thinking will leave our hearts dry and wanting. Christ alone fills. Christ alone waters the dry, thirsty land of our souls. He is the living water.

And just so you don't spend your day remembering Madonna's song in your mind, click on the link below to hear and then meditate on the truth found in Shawn McDonald's lyrics. Be blessed today, my friend.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

This One Child

I have this one child who sits on my lap,
he turns and looks into my eyes.
He reaches for me, seeking comfort and peace,
in a world where confusion does lie.

I have this one child who longs for my time,
she waits with eager young feet.
She watches my moves and repeats all my words,
with the hopes of being like me.

I have this one child who asks me to heal
his aching wounds from the day.
He waits for my kiss--my prayers filled with love--
as fireflies start lighting the way.

May I be that child looking up to the One
who sees and comforts and mends;
He alone knows it all from beginning to end;
New life He alone does give.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cute Sin?

I must admit that it was kinda' cute when my 18 month old first started to tell me "no." With this long draw and sheepish look the word would slowly come out of his mouth. It is quickly, however, losing its luster. The long draw has become abrupt and sure, while the sheepish look is often replaced with a scowl--not so cute anymore.

Sin isn't cute. Oh, it might start off that way--tempting us to crack a smile at its touch of rebellion--but it can quickly become a beast. Sadly, the world in which we find ourselves paints a very different picture. Media portrays certain things--things that God declares an abomination--as right and good. Influential people speak deceptive words in an effort to convince us our convictions are wrong. We must return to that which is firm--wisdom from God on High.

I love a portion of scripture found in Proverbs 8, "The Lord possessed me (wisdom) at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth." (vv. 22-23) When God created, He designed life based upon His own character--His own wisdom. This is our foundation for understanding life--the wisdom of God.

The passage continues, "For whoever finds me (wisdom) finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord; But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death." (vv. 35-36) Do you see the black and white nature of this concept? Finding wisdom equals life, rejecting wisdom equals death. Period.

Moses summarized this concept when addressing the Israelites, "I have set before you life and death (referring to God's ways), blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days."

Friend, in Christ we have a choice. We are no longer a slave to sin. We have been set free from its power over us. We can now choose Who or what we will obey. It is not always easy. There are certain strongholds that seem insurmountable. What we have to learn as children of God is that we cannot overcome on our own--we must allow Him to do it through us. Reckon it so--believe it. From a "small" ill-spoken word about another to the prison of sexual perversion, sin will lead to our souls' death. Choose life.

For further nourishment: Proverbs 8:22-36; John 8:31-36; Romans 6:5-14

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Healing God

So you just must go to the Family Christian Store and pick up the DVD documenting the life of a man by the name of Angus Buchan. It is only $5 and the proceeds go to benefit orphans through the James Fund and Shalom Ministries. Go. Right now. While it is fresh on your mind. Go ahead. I will wait.

If you cannot pick up and leave right this minute--well, OK--then make yourself a note. It will be worth your time. I promise.

Talk about a man who will challenge and encourage your faith. He is a simple man in worldly terms--a farmer from South Africa--but in heavenly terms a giant. He is not running after material gain, rather he is sold out to the Lord Jesus Christ, fulfilling a ministry where thousands upon thousands are coming to the Lord. Not only that, he is seeing people healed from all sorts of diseases. His faith even brought a young woman back to life! And some say the healing power of God is no longer at work! Our God is able, friend!!!

He craves more of our Lord, with a moving passion for His truth to be spread and His power to be experienced by all. He hears when the Lord speaks to his spirit, and goes where He says to go. He is not claiming divinity or perfection, he is simply walking by faith and not by sight--and God's name is being lifted HIGH! That is the kind of faith that blesses our living Lord--where we "seek ye first His kingdom."

The healing aspect of his ministry is what has me all stirred up inside. What is my opinion on healing? Our God is able. I personally believe that we do not see it as much in our culture because of a lack of faith. We have become a people dependent upon modern medicine--not that it is bad or wrong to go there. I go there. But there is an overall desensitization to the healing power of God. It reminds me of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11--that our cultural mindset reflects our (false) belief that we are in control, "let us make a name for ourselves."

Are you saying I am not healed because of my lack of faith? I don't know. Is it possible? Yes. Is it definite? No. Typically the pattern through the New Testament seems to be that physical healing was done to bring a greater awakening to this God whom we serve. But there are going to be trials in this life. There are going to be things we must go through to get us to "the other side."

I am thinking of the example of Paul who was a prisoner on a ship headed to Rome. It appeared the ship and the lives of the passengers would possibly be destroyed by the weather. But an angel of God appeared to Paul and said, "Do not be afraid, Paul (I just love how angels always say this--it must be a completely freaky thing to experience); you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you." The weather did not take God off guard. Are you kidding?! God could have stopped the winds and the waves. But He didn't. Yet Paul had to be brought to Rome. It was part of God's plan. So God allowed the crashing for a purpose--His glory to be seen.

God does heal; and a prayer of faith can heal. Yet in His infinite wisdom He also allows trials. Either way He has purpose and grace. Be encouraged! How do we know if He is leading us to the prayer of faith--a prayer expecting the outcome to be a healing, a deliverance? It seems that those who truly heal in the power of God know Him intimately, deeply. As we personally deepen in our walk with Him, we will know His promptings and know His will, so that if He instructs you or I to pray for that person to be healed, we can believe He will heal--as I was a few years back, thank you Kameren!

Is our God not awesome? Friend, if you call yourself a believer then this very God lives within you. How amazing and powerful!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Controlling this Tent

Oh, my precious second born has zero self-control. Zero. I can almost see the internal battle waging when I tell him not to touch--a.k.a break--something. For example, yesterday he was roughly examining the bloom of our peace lily plant. It's demise was sure so I said, "Please stop touching it like that. The leaf may break or the bloom may come off. Just use one finger."

With every ounce of control he could muster, he stopped for a brief few seconds then went right back to near tearing the plant. All the while he was trying to tell me something--sharing his almost 3-year-old heart on an issue--so I swayed from disciplining his actions though I "reminded" him four times before leading him to another area of the room.

Zero self-control. He has a hand problem. It is very difficult for him to control his hands. If he thinks it then he does it. He needs Jesus! We all do, though, don't we?! We all have areas that have the potential of being out-of-control if left to ourselves.

We read in Galatians that self-control is an aspect of the Spirit of God. He enables us to live self-controlled lives. He enables us to control our spending, our outbursts, our eating, our thoughts, and, oh yes, our mouths. Ultimately He gives us wisdom to see our hearts as they are bare before a Holy God.

Do you have any area of your life that is seemingly out-of-control? Have you tried to keep it neatly in a little box only to find it spilling out the sides? We all have our weaknesses. We are all in desperate need of the power of God in our lives. He is faithful to both gently reveal and powerfully deliver. Let's get before Him, admit our depravity, and ask Him to work in and through us. How He loves you and me with a perfect love and delights in our seeking after Him.

For further nourishment: 2 Corinthians 5:1-5, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Drink Deeply

Today we as Americans celebrate our freedom. But I would be remiss not to mention the true freedom found in Christ Jesus. Have you experienced it?

Freedom from the power of sin. Freedom to live in peace rather than fear. Freedom to love and forgive. This is the freedom that brings eternal blessing.

Last night I listened to a sermon from John Piper on the Samaritan woman found in John 4. It was the first of a three part series. If you have never listened to his messages be prepared to go deep into the amazing grace of God. Piper has a way of passionately delivering the word, under the leading of the Spirit, so that the listener is drawn to their knees in gratitude.

There are a number of lessons to be learned from this passage, but I was reminded of one that I found myself meditating upon in the night watches. Piper clarifies, and I paraphrase, "Many preach evangelistic messages based upon Jesus' meeting with the Samaritan woman, saying that we can learn from him how to share the love of God. But what we need to realize is that we are that Samaritan woman. And if we can grasp that truth then we wouldn't need messages on evangelism techniques."

What Piper was saying is that evangelism is an overflow. An active, intimate relationship with the Father--abiding in Him--necessitates its spilling forth. His love, ways, mercy, and forgiveness cannot be contained. When we set our eyes upon this Jesus who quenches our every thirst, then the natural response will be to proclaim His goodness to others.

So let's get serious about this thing. Let us each take hold of the cup, filled to the brim with living water, put it to our dry, cracked lips, and drink deeply His offered gift of life. Oh, friend, nothing else will satisfy your or my thirst. True freedom is found in Him. Let's celebrate!

You can listen to and download hundreds of John Piper's sermons for free at

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Fellow Sojourner

Last night I read my post from Tuesday and I want to make something very clear. We are no longer under the Law. When I reread my thoughts from that morning I felt a touch of bondage to food regulations. I just want to be very clear. Christ fulfilled the Law. In Him is freedom--freedom from performance to gain acceptance.

Food can become such a place of bondage for so many people and the very last thing I want to do is bind you tighter. The point I was trying to make was that God is the giver of wisdom--even in the foods that are best for our bodies. We are free in Christ but as Paul reiterates, does that mean free to sin? Of course not. (see Romans 6:15) We have been given one physical body, why not treat it with a touch of respect and give it foods that make it function optimally. That was my only point. Please hear my heart.

It reminds me of the absolute necessity that we take everything we hear and read back to the Word of God. There are many Bible teachers out there--even ones that I have quoted along the way. But they are human. Yes, hopefully they are seeking after the Lord and submitting to His leading, but people can fail. It is vital that we take everything back to the foundation of God's Word--judging what we are taught against the truth of Scripture. Never take what someone says as truth unless you are certain it lines up with God's will and ways--His heart is firm, faithful, and true.

I read one of my favorite passages this morning. It is from the book of Acts--Acts 5:22-42. The apostles had been arrested and imprisoned, then freed by an angel of the Lord in the night and told to go to the temple and teach. So they obeyed and were soon taken again by the officers and placed on trial before the council. When reminded that they had been asked not to preach in the name of Jesus they replied, "We ought to obey God rather than men."

Likewise, we live for One--Him we are called to obey. This world, even religious elite, may tell us many things to "do" but ultimately our focus need only stay fixed on One. He is our righteous Judge. To know His heart, we must seek after His face. He loves you and me with a perfect love. His plans for you and me are for our good and His glory. He can be trusted with our greatest fears and most tender of hurts.

My hope is that as you read the things I say, your eyes are pointed to the One who is sitting on the throne of heaven. That is my prayer. I am your fellow sojourner showing you where I have found life. Dig deep, friend. Taste and see that He is good. (Psalm 34:8)

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

In the Hated Eye

Have you ever been in the hated eye of someone else--where tension lives and chains bind tightly? Maybe you have hurt them. Maybe they have misunderstood your actions. Maybe there is no justification for their scorn.

Two things:
  1. If you are the one doing the hating then it is time to forgive. Hatred towards another only puts you in captivity. As a believer we are called to love unconditionally, period. "But you don't know how bad they betrayed me." You are right, I don't. But Jesus was rejected by those He loved, yet He gave His life that they/we might have redemption. If anyone had a reason to hold a grudge I believe it would have been Him. It's time. Forgive and be forgiven. Don't waste your time with hatred.
  2. If you are the one being hated then get on your face before God and clear the air with Him first. If you need to ask someone for forgiveness then trust God for boldness to be courageous and then take a step of faith. It is right and good and you will be blessed! If you simply need to pray for that other person then start interceding. Then do good to them.

Proverbs 25:21-22 instructs, "If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you."

OK, so our motive shouldn't be fire on our enemy's head, but kindness and love does melt a hard heart.

Jesus also says, "love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful." (Luke 6:35-36, emphasis mine)

Then this world will know that we are His disciples. Pray for opportunities. Pray that God would show you how to be kind to those who persecute you. The point is God's glory--that many would come to know our Awesome Lord!

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Foolish Rebellion

Did you know that 4-year-olds know everything? I didn't think this phenomenon started until the pre-teen years, but my preschooler is proving me wrong. She knows everything. Only the grace of God will surely get us through those teen years. Lord, go before us!

When I think back to my teen years I sadly remember how disrespectful I behaved, especially towards my mom. I have since apologized for my foolish behavior--sorry, again, mom--but the memories still linger spurring my hope for Jesus' return to new heights--you know, before my kids enter this stage.

I was reading in Deuteronomy 32 this morning with regard to God's heart towards His own children. It reads, "He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him. He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the Lord alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him" (vv. 10-12)

Isn't that a beautiful depiction of God's loving care for His children. He calls you and I the apple of His eye. He encircles, instructs, and carries. Thank you, Lord. Yet in the following majority of the chapter we see how God's people rebelled. They "grew fat, thick, and obese" with things of this world, and "forsook God who made him, and scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation." (v. 15) And devastating judgment followed.

It reminds me of my teen years. Years where I knew it all and rebelled from the teachings of the ones that loved me most. And destruction was inevitable. Sadly I think that some of us grow up in age yet never fully return to our first love--the Lord Himself. He keeps us as the "apple of His eye" even though He may have to discipline as a loving Father. He does know what is best. He is motivated by love. He can be fully trusted with our hearts and lives.

But to understand His ways and gain His perspective in our day to day living--the moments--then it is vital that we sit before Him and listen to His words. Just as a teen--or twenty-something year old--comes to their own parent asking for forgiveness, seeking their wisdom and guidance, and then resting in their love, so must we get before this Holy, loving, good Father. Allow Him to lavish us with His love and allow Him to prune those dead vines. His truth is life to our weary bones.

Keep on.

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