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Monthly Archives: September 2011

My rescue

Have you ever wondered why bad things seem to come in clusters?
Like if the car breaks down the washer will too. And the kids must start acting out as well?
What is that?

Do you think it’s just bad luck?
Or
Do you wonder if you’re doing something wrong?

It’s easy to go down that road…Oh so easy to go there.

Sometimes the circumstance I’m facing is because of my own bad choices.
But then again sometimes it’s not.
It’s just plunked there in my lap as an unwelcome gift and I would like to return to sender!

If I only knew who that sender was!
Sometimes if I’m honest I decide the sender is the one who controls the universe and then things get really dark.
Because if he is behind all these shenanigans I’m not laughing and I don’t think it’s funny. At all.

So how do I cope?

How do we not lose our faith when the valley of the shadow is looming?

How do I move forward when all I feel like doing is staying in bed with the covers pulled high and tight right over my bed head?

This is what I have come to discover… The truth is the one who controls the universe could stop this pain. I know it. I have seen him work. But sometimes he doesn’t do it the way I ask him to. And I don’t like it. Do you ever wonder if when Jesus walked on earth he chose not to perform some miracles? Like he looked at the one girl in the corner and said, “Actually you need to learn from your sickness so I’m going to let you go through this one”. That’s hard to imagine. But all through history people have gotten sick. They’ve experienced war and famine and heartache of unimaginable proportions. And where was he? That great healer we sing of and exalt. The one who holds the universe in his hands.

I don’t know answers to all those questions.
But this I do know.
He is here.
Now.
With us.
And he is accomplishing his purpose.
In my life.
And yours.
So when I face¬†anxious circumstances that make me want to scream out….Not now! How can you do this to me or my loved one?
I have come to believe this now more than ever before…
He is not doing this to me. He is doing this with me.

He never promised us that here on earth he will take it away. But he did say he will walk it with us.
And that has become my hope I cling to in my valleys.
When it’s my own fault.
And when it’s not.
He is with me.
And if you are his…He is with you.
Know this today,
When you are at your weakest He has a chance to shine the most.

It’s the place we have the opportunity to let his glory shine. Not at the top of the heap but at the bottom. Not always with bells and whistles but sometimes just a quiet strength. A peace in the middle of the storm.
It’s really the place I found rescue.
And I believe he wants to do that for you too!

He is able

There’s a story in the book of Daniel.
I heard it as a child. And Sunday School’s all over the world teach this story to their little students. In fact, It’s so popular it was made into a veggie tales book and perhaps movie… These 3 they call Rack, Shack and Benny.

The Bible calls them Shadrach, Meshach and Abendnego. 3 guys who were men of integrity. Men who stood when many, even their friends and neighbors did not. These guys were the inner circle of Daniel. He called on them to earnestly pray for him when the king was threatening to kill all his wise men for not being able to interpret his dream.

Well now the arrogant king decided to have all the people of the nation come together and by force they were all supposed to bow down to an image that he had made. A huge statue. I don’t get all their bowing down to idol stuff in the old testament but it seemed to be the trendy thing to do. And I think perhaps if we are honest there are many more options of things to bow to today then they had in the OT.
So the king has issued this command and these guys won’t do it. Now these 3 are actually high-ranking officials in the land. They aren’t just mere mortals. And people tend to follow people in higher ranks so this lack of bowing was even more of a threat to the king’s command.

Some people who saw this went to the king and reported this insubordinate attitude. And the king was FURIOUS! So he gave them another chance saying…” Now look guys, maybe you didn’t understand but if you are ready to fall down now excellent… But… if you don’t you will be burned alive. And no god will be able to save you.”

And this is the part that I love.
They replied… “O Nebuchandnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it and he will rescue us from your hand., O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up”.

Is that not the coolest verse of faith ever?!
I love that they proclaimed God as being able to do whatever he wants… Whether to keep them alive here or take them but either way he is still God.
Nothing the king could do to them would deter their steadfast stand.

We could use some more Rack Shack and Benny’s today.
People who aren’t afraid to stand when everyone else is bowing.
Men and women who say… I am standing on this with no fear of what anyone will do or say of me.
Followers of Jesus who don’t compromise for the sake of being liked or popular.

The end of the story is great… In the furnace they are thrown. And what happens? Jesus does indeed come and save them from the flames. In fact the king sees 4 men walking around in that hot furnace. The furnace that had already killed the strong soldiers who threw them in. It was that hot. But these 3 guys came out totally unharmed! They didn’t even smell like campfire smoke! No scorched eyebrows no blazing trail or smell of rubber from their feet!

God had saved them and he still saves today.

There are choices we are making every day.
Will we stand or not?
Do we allow God to save us from the furnace or do we just bow so we never get to see him work his miraculous power?
Reasoning if I don’t bow now I may not get that promotion.
If I don’t go along with this shady thing… I won’t fit in.

If I can’t stand for the small things I will never be able to stand when the big test comes.
Every time we say no to sin, every time we turn away and look stupid or dull or old-fashioned in the eyes of the crowd…
we have stood.

These are the hero’s I want to stand beside.
Men of strong character.
Let it be said of us that we gave God a chance to be God.
That we stood for the right no matter the cost.
That we would not bow to idea’s, trends or anything that keeps us from being true followers of Jesus.

Today know that he is able to save you from your furnace.

Let him be your Savior today.

Packing it up and moving it out

I have once again been reminded that packing and moving and upsetting a home environment can add some stress to life. Everyone seems so eager to help at this point so that’s not the problem. It’s just that all of us lean on the side of sentimentalism.

We all love to hang on to special blankets and first drawings and some even like to keep their baby teeth… It’s all rather much when you start to weed out and sort through and decide whether it goes to the trash, garage sale or keep piles. I was thinking about the security of stuff and how some of us like to be surrounded with memories of the past…in fact some people like stuff so much that they make it on this show called hoarders… Which I can’t watch because I get too overwhelmed and then my head starts hurting and I have to lie down with a damp rag. I would rather burn the house down than try to sort through all of that. ICK!
I digress.
I want to keep memories alive. Making sure that my kids remember at least parts of the first 20 years of their lives. And there is something so precious about holding that first outfit again and trying to imagine that tall lanky boy back in that little baseball cap or that little girl in her 0-3 month ruffly dress.
I’m odd that way.
Why is it that our memories often block out the night feedings and painful births?
My mind tends to remember the good memories which makes me think it was a better time.
But in my heart I know that there were some rough times…oh yes I know it!
I wrote them down. So I wouldn’t forget. It’s my attempt to be more understanding when others face that thing. Oh who am I kidding… It’s so I have ammo when those crazy kids get out of line ūüôā
This is why I have so much to pack.
Because I’m raising kids just like me. All but one. He would just rather pitch it than pack it.
So my countdown is now at about 25 days till closing. I think it’s a good thing that I move every so often or my junk would just keep piling up. Closets that contained so many important games and art projects are being excommunicated from the family treasures.

It feels good.
I Keep taking it one day at a time.
One room. One closet. One drawer.
But I keep hearing my walls say… “How can you leave? You breathed new life in us”.
Is that creepy that my walls talk to me?

It’s all been quite a ride.
And for some reason I have this crazy feeling I just jumped onto a new one.

Something new


For I know the plans I have for you…

Plans to bring you a hope and a future


For you have brought me to a spacious place.

These are pictures of the land we purchased 4 1/2 years ago. We have been all over the chart on what we should do with it as we wait for our house to sell.
And now… Well it appears like using this land for our home may be a reality.

It’s a bit overwhelming and exciting at the same time!¬†
I can’t believe it…but I already have a dozen boxes packed! It’s gonna be a trip!

Meanwhile I have 29 more days to get my belongings together.

I have felt God’s hand strong during these past years and this¬† week he has just cracked me up as I watched him work.

If I am not blogging much the next¬† 4 weeks you will know why. Thanks my dear friends.. you who have supported us through prayer and your sweet words of encouragement! You make life more exciting and I’m so glad I can share it with you!¬†

It’s always great knowing he goes before us… I have been singing this song the past 24 hours…

Learning to let him make the way has been a life long lesson for me.
¬†It continues… If he walks somewhere I didn’t plan to go I must be willing to drop my ideas for his.

When he isn’t moving as fast as I would like¬†¬†I am learning to quiet my heart and smell the daisies while I wait.

While I am praying to be released from the dry and weary dessert I am learning to satisfy myself  in his word and refresh myself with his presence.

I have not learned it all yet… I’m still here so there’s more he wants to teach me.

I see it and I rejoice that he has put a song on my lips.

But today I especially rejoice that he has provided a way. 

And that time of waiting has passed.

It’s a new day and I’m going forth with him.

Sweet stolen water

I have a younger friend who was on a mission assignment in another country. I remember shortly after she returned we were having a meal together. As she was sharing about her time away she said something that stuck with me.

“The cakes and pastries all look so delicious there but they are actually a lot like sin…They look beautiful so it’s tempting to try them but they are nasty going down.”

What a perfect example!

Of course the tempter would not choose to make temptation ugly…Who would be tempted?

He makes it look like Stolen sweet water that appears far better than plain old paid for water.

Proverbs 9 refers to the woman of folly as this.

She sits in the high ranks in the city calling out in her soothing voice…

“Come, I will show you. It will be the most delicious water and bread ¬†you will ever eat”.

Just as our first parents did so many years ago many will be beguiled by the thought of the forbidden. We are born with the nature to crave what we do not have. ¬†But what she doesn’t tell us is that many have already tasted and are living as a dead corpse. Walking around in their secret sins all the while continuing to drink the oppressive stolen sweet water…Many are living in their own ¬†hell on earth and more have already died in their dark graves.

She is fashionable and pretty. And she makes you think you’ve missed it if you don’t try it. Everyone is doing it…They seem glad they did and encourage you to join them in the sweet treat.

But Her ways always lead to the grave.

She will look for the simple. Those who seem to be easy to swallow. They are always a sure thing.

And she will call out urgently to the educated ¬†and well-bred. She will make them believe they are smart and don’t need to play by the rules. They, after all are the elite. Answering to no one but their own desire for pleasure.

But in the end the destruction will look the same.

Empty shallow graves with hollow hearts and shattered lives.

How can we be sure to walk in the opposite direction?

The fear of the Lord is the Beginning of wisdom. And knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. proverbs 9:10

Reverence of God’s law…of his person… and his character, this is the start of wisdom. And knowing him will bring greater understanding.

Every day a decision to fear him first. In a spirit of humility recognize we are weak on our own…so we must stay very close to the one who hands out wisdom.

My prayer today for my children and for all of us is this…

Guide our paths today oh Lord. Keep us far from the stolen sweet water of the tempters trap. Set our face like a flint that we would look neither to the right or left. May our ears be deaf to the call of the seducer. May our hearts be quick to fear you. Give us understanding and wisdom beyond our years that we may be discerning and obedient. Preserve our lives from the grave  for your honor and your name. ~Amen

Living on a cross

I just have to share with you how God has been working in this heart.

I sat in service yesterday as Pastor Bill was teaching out of  John 12..

The cross of Christ.

One of ¬†his quotes was this… “the mark of an authentic gospel is if it begins with a cross”.

I must admit that about 10 minutes into his sermon I kind of went down a road in my head and didn’t hear everything else he had to say… But I think it was the Spirit and I think it may be something I’m supposed to share with someone today.

The question that I wrote down was…. What Cross am I running from?

Not intentionally.

Or rebelliously.

It’s just a thing or place or a putting to death of something.

Maybe you can relate.

When I was a kid I loved life. But I didn’t love being a preachers kid sometimes. That’s putting it mildly. I didn’t like it most times. For different reasons. But when I got to adulthood I very clearly remember going up at a revival saying God if you want me to be a pastor’s wife or in full-time ministry… I will do it.

And that was that. I felt free from having made that “I will never” statement.

And yesterday it was another one of those times God just plopped another thing right there in my mind. And I knew the answer to my own question.

It was a place I was unwilling to even consider…And God said “I want to know that you are willing to run into danger. That you are available to lay down your own plans and die to yourself for my sake. That reputation and self preservation are far from you”….

Me: “Awhhhkkk. Really? Okay. But you’re sure you don’t want to send me to Afghanistan? I’m not sure but I think that may be more fun”.

Today ¬†I am thanking him for giving me freedom to choose. ¬†He doesn’t force me into a head lock and stick a needle in my eyeball. He gently reminds me… “Here’s an area, a place that needs polishing. A room that needs to be uncluttered.”

My job here is to follow the one who bore a cross and voluntarily laid down his life for me.

How on earth do I think I should be exempt from the cross? 

And the thing that keeps going through my head is this…

I will never live more at peace than when I am crucified.

And I must do it every day.

It’s actually when the real power begins.

Because it’s not mine but his.¬†

Galatians 2:20

King James Version (KJV)

20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

For the hand of God was on him

I have been inspired by A Man named Ez.

He’s got his own book in the OT.

God used this man to help bring his children back together after captivity. They were in process of rebuilding the temple until the unbelieving nations around came¬†in with paid staff and discouraged the children of Israel. Then those pot stirrers and malcontents went to the king with a letter asking him to stop the children from rebuilding. And he did. So here we have a discouraged people who were going about God’s business and yet the plans for the temple were brought to a standstill…In fact the scripture says…”they compelled them by force to stop.”

In chapter 7 Ezra uses this phrase about himself….

“The hand of the Lord his God was on him”.

How did he know that?

And later he says… “The gracious hand of his God was on him”.

Would you like to know that?

That God’s hand was gracious and it was over you now?

How could he be so sure of that?

How could he know?

The next verse gives us the key…

10. For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the  Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.

We get it so messed up sometimes..

We may pray for a week or study for a few days and then we give up… Nothing seems to happen and we wonder if God cares about our situation.¬† Maybe there are people in your life that discourage you. You’re just trying to do what God has asked you to do but¬† those few voices make¬†you feel like giving up.

But devotion requires a long-term commitment.

It’s not enough to just cry out when things get bad, We must in our time of plenty consistently throw ourselves into his word.

In our wealth we must see our nakedness before God.

In our lack for nothing we must pray as we would in our desperate times.

In our mountain top we must prepare ourselves in his word for the valley.

This kind of living is what pleases God.

Honestly it takes a lot more energy trying to be the one in control.

When we recognize God’s hand we can relax knowing he’s got it figured out and all we have to do is surrender our plans to him.

We can confidently as Ezra know that the Gracious hand of God is on us.

Even when it looks scary. Yes,even then.

I’m sure it was a little scary for Abraham to set out into an unknown land. I think Moses was a little terrified to go before Pharaoh and give him the message God had for him. Esther knew she could be put to death for going before the king unsummoned.

But as Ezra says… “Because the hand of the Lord was on me I took courage”.

This past month has been a bit of a bumpy ride.

I’m not complaining. Because I know there is one who knows every little thing and he is in charge of my life.

I can say that today because he has shown me that though the night may be long he will be the light in the morning.

I must renew my mind in his word to ward off any stray thoughts of anxiety. 

Because I know that I know that the Gracious hand of the Lord my God is on me.

Is that what you desire?

Tell him. And then press into him. He welcomes your devotion.

And my prayer for everyone reading this today is…

Take courage and May the hand of God be upon you today my friend.