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Category Archives: Faithfulness

Who’s driving your car?

So we have a new driver in the house.

Since about June. It’s got everyone riled up. And it’s not because she’s such a bad driver. It’s because we are all such control freaks. And we just want a smooth, adequate speedily ride without cause for ulcers and stomach disorders.

She’s learning and she will be a good driver one day. But usually I would just rather drive. Especially in the carpool lane and on the way to church. Two very key happenings that require speed and agility.

This morning I was thinking about the passenger seat and how hard it is for me to sit there with an inexperienced driver. It’s frightening. I’m not gonna lie.. I have stomped hard on the floor and beat on the dash on more than one occasion in the past few months.

I lack faith in the driver.

Now Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

What is Faith defined as?

Dictionary.com says this…

Faith

1.

confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.

2.

belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
When I send my loved ones out into the day I have Faith that they will return home later. I believe that I will see them in about 7 hours.
In fact if I were to doubt seriously that they would return to me I would never get them out of bed.
So Faith is believing in something I can’t see or prove will actually happen.
And God says, Without faith it is impossible to please me. Heb 11:6
So we can feed the poor, cloth the naked, visit the sick, care for our families, give all we have… But if we don’t trust him he isn’t pleased.
Is it easier for you to do something rather than believe something?
Why?
Could it be because by doing something we actually see and participate in the action?
In believing  something, while it still is action, can’t always be clearly seen. So we must have faith that it will happen as we have been told.
And this is a part of  the followers life that requires our being willing to look stupid to others for the sake of the call on our life.
Have you ever done that?
Something that seemed so foolish in your natural thinking but you know that God is asking you to either let go of something or walk in a direction that is not a popular decision. Even to other followers.
So in Faith you walked.
And now you still walk.
And you haven’t seen many results.
You are tempted to lack faith.
You may waver and start  asking for more specifics.

Hebrews 11 records the wall of Faith for us to look up to… Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses…. People of Faith. But verse 13 says… “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance”.

Does that strike you as odd?

These Wall of Faithers never got to see on earth what God had promised them.

It did not matter so much to our hero’s of faith if they had in hand what they were promised because they knew in their hearts they could trust God’s faithfulness.

So how did they continue in their faith?
Because “They admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they left, they would have had opportunity to return.” 14,15
Have you been thinking about a country you left?
Maybe not a literal one. But a situation that was comfortable. You kind of liked it there and God asked you to step out in Faith and now you want to return to the place you knew well.  Maybe it’s a lifestyle or a friendship. Perhaps it’s a job or church. Maybe it’s an actual place and you wish for your old life again.
Verse 16 says… “Instead they were longing for a better country~A heavenly one~ Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
Are you kidding me?
What an exchange!
It can’t get any better than that!
When we walk in Faith in all our situations. Listening for him. Being quick to obey his voice. Believing whatever he is allowing us to walk through is part of his plan for us that includes another city and a country that we belong to, we  Walk by Faith.
 I am just the passenger believing that as the perfect driver he will get me safely home.
He may take me on a route I may have not thought to go.
But he orders our steps.
I can relax with him in the driver seat. He needs no GPS.
Today what is he asking you to Believe him For?

It’s all good. He is trustworthy.

Maybe you are walking in faith and have been tempted to give up.
Your prize awaits you.

Rise up oh men and women of Faith.

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Message of Hope

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I don’t know about you but sometimes I can get a little anxious when I hear predictions about our country’s future.
It looks bleak.
And if I turn on the news it becomes worse.
I feel this ball start to form in the pit of my stomach. It can gnaw on me as I think about all the ” what if’s”.
Then I remember this….
My trust should not be in people. OR any country.

My trust is in the MAKER of HEAVEN and EARTH.
He has a plan.
He knows the plan.
And He will accomplish His plan.
There is nothing so reassuring to me then to be reminded of this.

My Father is not worried about our economy.
Or health.
Or presidential election.
Or housing crisis.
He is not wringing his hands or cringing in fear.
Maybe you need to be reminded of this word today….

Psalm 146
New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 146
1 Praise the Lord!

Let all that I am praise the Lord.
2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live.
I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.

3 Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
there is no help for you there.
4 When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
and all their plans die with them.
5 But joyful are those who have the God of Israel[a] as their helper,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He made heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them.
He keeps every promise forever.
7 He gives justice to the oppressed
and food to the hungry.
The Lord frees the prisoners.
8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.
The Lord loves the godly.
9 The Lord protects the foreigners among us.
He cares for the orphans and widows,
but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.

10 The Lord will reign forever.
He will be your God, O Jerusalem,[b] throughout the generations.

Praise the Lord!

That’s the kind of news that brings hope.

A hopeful message that he is still in charge.

He will reign! And if it all falls apart…

He is Still the one who can be trusted.

May your day be filled with the hope that Jesus wants to fill you with.

The peace that passes understanding.

The joy that makes your life worth living.

Even the winds and waves…

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I have become very uninterested in TV viewing for the most part over the past few years.

I found I was becoming so discouraged….so I just stopped watching.

We love our DVR and anything we want to watch usually gets recorded for viewing at a conveinient time.

Well in my lack of TV consumption the large catastrophic tornadoes that have hit the US in the last month have missed my attention. So I had to watch some clips online to understand the devastation. I didn’t watch because they bring encouragement but rather empathy for the poor, poor families that have undergone such tragedy!

My heart aches for the many losses.

This morning I awoke early from a dream. I was crying. In my dreaming I had gotten everything stolen from my van. Which included my purse and my camera with my 2 sd cards that held over 3000 pictures. I didn’t care so much about the wallet all though I knew it would be a pain to replace but the camera and pictures I knew could not be. I had such an empty feeling as I woke. My emotions were heavy.

And then I awoke so glad to realize it was just a dream. But I instantly thought of all the people who have been affected  in some way by the storms in the past weeks and I thought of all they had lost. Some precious memories that will never be replaced, others homes and cars and places to work. And finally others have lost their family members.

And my heart breaks as I think of their tremendous loss.

I think God cares about it too.

Do you remember the story of Jesus in the boat?

His disciples were in the middle of the biggest storm of their life. They were trained on the sea. They had spent years as fishermen. They knew that the storm they were in could kill them. And they were scared out of their ever lovin skin.

And Jesus slept.

It must have felt like he wasn’t really getting the picture.

What was he doing?

Why didn’t he use this moment to step in and save them?

Did he care?

Was he punishing them?

They were completely out of control of their environment! Rockin’ on the boat without land in sight.

But Jesus knew that the sound of his voice would make the wind be still.

And that’s what makes him different than you and I.

He knows the wind and rain.

He is in charge of the direction the wind blows and how much or little the rain falls.

He wasn’t punishing the disciples…they were with Jesus.

He was with them.

And as they cried out to him he stopped the wind and rain.

But what about when he doesn’t stop it?

What about the people who cried out this past week and Jesus seemed to continue sleeping?

Those are hard questions. Ones I can’t answer.

But I don’t think it’s punishment nor do I think he sleeps.

He watches every hair on our head. He knows when the sparrow falls and he knows when my toe gets stubbed.

So you better believe he is very awake when his children face storms.

Yes he is very awake.

And he is right in the boat with us…speaking peace.

Peace…fall into my arms when your world falls apart.

Peace…Give me a chance to bring you clarity in your storm.

Peace…Be still and know that I AM God.

He is.

And while a storm is so huge and furious that it can rip apart a city in 20 minutes is hard for me to understand…

I can rest knowing that if that happens here to my house and neighbors he is still in charge and the winds still have to submit to him.

I want to have a calm assurance that no matter what the storm looks like today. …

Jesus is in the boat!

I love him for that!

Why can’t I hear you- Part 3

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If we have taken care of sin in the camp and we have been faithful to inquire of our Father but we still can’t hear….what should we do?

There are certainly times that we know our hearts are clean but the way ahead looks foggy and unclear. We have no certain direction for the future. We may only be able to see enough for today. And maybe that’s even a struggle. So we cry out… “show us the way”.  But God seems silent.

I wonder if the silence gives us the urgency to press in harder and be more vigilant about hearing him correctly. And sometimes God says wait I am not ready to move yet….so we stand at attention….Waiting.

Is waiting as hard for you as it is me?

O my goodness! When I’m waiting in line behind that person who forgot to bring the tag along with the item….or they have a question that requires the clerk to look through her flyer…and the light pops on for additional help and a phone call is made….and I wait….while others check out in the lanes beside me. It’s all I can do to stay calm without even one eye roll.(that may or may not be visible)

It all seems so trivial as I type because really what’s 30 extra minutes? But at the time it seems like 300 years….and it’s always stretching. I do think I am getting a little bit better at waiting. Sometimes I try to think of other things or distract myself with magazines or browsing the web on my phone. And that usually works but it’s when I’m trying to get out of that store to the next thing I have scheduled that makes me get a little crazy.

And so it is when I am waiting on God to open a door. When I have no agenda but simply to do what he has asked me to do and lay down what he asks me to lay down I am able to rest and smile in the middle of the wait. I can faithfully do the right thing.

Simply saying… “Okay God, I know you’re in control and if this isn’t moving as fast as I think it should….I know you have a different plan. If this is moving me in a completely different direction than I had dreamed….I see it as your hand and even though I don’t understand it, I am moving with you. Bring me a new dream.  And God, if this is the way you want to be glorified in me than no matter what you bring me I want you, more than my own agenda…even if it costs me my life.”

One of the many things I’m struck with is how God gives specific directions for each battle the Israelites faced. He didn’t tell them ahead of time what the next 30 years would look like. He gave them specifics for the day. The last chapters of Joshua God is silent. He allows the Israelites rest from battle. He brings them to a land, gives them their inheritance and lets them rest.
They had been reminded through a theophany (a physical manifestation of God) for years back in the desert. He had led them with a pillar of fire. He had spoken directly to their leader..Now God hasn’t been as visible to the Israelites, But that doesn’t mean he isn’t very involved with them. He is still right there with them.

Joshua exhorts the people in the final chapters… “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses(their only Bible) without turning aside to the right or to the left. Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them.  You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast(or CLING) to the Lord your God, as you have until now.”23:6-8

God speaks to us through his Word. And God speaks to us through those who teach us His Truth.
Sometimes we are looking for a voice like we were sitting across the table from him. But most times God speaks to us through his Written Word and Through those who teach us his Word. 

Joshua was telling the people the Truth of the Word God had already spoken. God’s truth doesn’t change. Not from month to month, year to year or century to century. His truth remains the same. We can be sure we are following God if we are following his truth… “not turning aside to the right or to the left”.

I love what Joshua reminds them of…. “The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of you routs a thousand because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. So be very careful to love the Lord your God.” 23:9 -11

GOD FIGHTS FOR YOU! That is so powerful! God is fighting for his own. He may not be speaking in a loud physical voice but if you are walking in his paths and loving him with your heart and soul… he is Fighting for you! Doesn’t that give you confidence?! He is with you!

Joshua finally says my very favorite part of the passage…this is So good!

He says “Now I am about to go the way of the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord you God gave has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. But….just as every good promise of the Lord your God has come true, so the Lord will bring on you all the evil he has threatened, until he has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. if you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.” Joshua 23:14-15

Joshua was reminding them of the faithfulness of God…He has fulfilled EVERY promise!! And then he’s encouraging them “don’t be unfaithful to God”. God is Justice and he will bring about your sure destruction.

That’s the healthy fear of God that we need to embrace. He will be faithful when we love and obey him but he will withdraw his blessing if we turn away from him.

God is still faithful to us today. He loves us and fights for us. He is Mighty to save his people!

My encouragement for you today is this… To hear God’s voice go to his Word. Seek him. Ask him to speak his revealed word to you. What is he saying? Check it with people you trust who also seek God’s face.
He may just say walk faithfully in my commands…just keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t turn away from me. Stay close, in fact, Cling to me. I will show you the way for today.
Sometimes he says, “Today is the day. I will do something new. Hang on to me…this ride is gonna be bumpy.”
And Other times he simply says…”Take your inheritance. Rest in the land I have brought you to. Be faithful to me in the land…Don’t forget me. I will not forget you.”

Father, You are a good and gracious God. You have faithfully led us never forgetting your promises! May we love you more and more each day. Give us a Love for your law. Give us a love for obedience. May we have clear hearing and unveiled eyes to be willing to walk into a new thing if you call us to that. We are your humble servants. We love you and want you near. Thank you for teaching us your ways!
Open our eyes to be fully seeing. Open our ears to hear your voice! We will move when we hear you speak. We wait for you.

Why can’t I hear you? – Part 1

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I am doing something a little different the next 3 days…I will be writing a 3 part blog on this subject. I hope Spring Break has been relaxing for you no matter where you are.

Do you ever wonder if you have a terminal wax build up in your ears?

Like maybe if you could get some help for that you would be able to hear your father’s voice more clearly?

Do you ever wonder why God speaks so clearly to some people and yet you struggle to hear from him?

I think we can all identify a time in our life that God seemed far away. And if he could just drop us a direct line from the clouds we would be able to grab hold of that and Know  we have heard correctly.

I have been reading  out  of Joshua,the past few weeks.  Joshua comes right after the Torah,  The law. The first 5 books of the old testament. Joshua was a mighty warrior . God  tells Joshua he should be courageous and strong… he is his Father  and he will never leave him.  And then God raises up that would be warrior and has him  lead those people across the Jordan River. God rolled back the waters and the people passed over to take the land that had been promised to their parents. Up to this point they had been living in the desert eating Manna that was provided to them every day. They literally lived hand to mouth. They only knew complete dependence on God for their daily bread.

So they cross the Jordan, and take Jericho with a mighty victory. You can imagine by now they are confident that God is with them. He has been mighty to save on their behalf. But God gave them strict orders after their march on the city. He instructed them not to take any plunder for themselves but only bring back goods for the treasury offered to God.

One man secretly and greedily decided his desires were more important than God’s command. And so, Achan brought back some gold, silver  and a beautiful robe,and hid it under his tent. (Remember this man had been living in the desert all his life. His clothing was tattered. He had nothing to offer his family and here was his chance….can you identify  with the temptation of the lust of the eyes? And the pride of life? The greed to take what doesn’t belong to you? Even if God has forbidden it?)

 The Israelites believed they could conquer the entire land because God had been giving them the victory. They trusted that he was with them. So they pressed on to the next town. The men went forth to fight and 36 Israelites were slain through an ambush from men from the city of Ai.

 I’m sure many wondered if God had left them. Why wasn’t he acting on their behalf? What was it that they had done to deserve this? And as their leader Joshua was devestated so he  inquired of the Lord. God told Joshua, “there is sin in the camp”. So after figuring out who had sinned, Joshua had Achan bring the stolen goods to him. The Israelites  took Achan and his whole family outside the camp and stoned them.

One man looking out for his own interest affected the entire Israelite camp. One man who decided he knew better than God, caused 36 innocent men to perish. One person who was driven by his own lust brought rebuke on his people.  One  made it difficult for the rest to hear from God. One individual brought shame on the name of God.
After Joshua and the other elders of Israel spent the day on their faces (literally)before God he answered them this.

Joshua 7 -NLT

10 But the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? 11 Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings. 12 That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat. For now Israel itself has been set apart for destruction. I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction.

13 “Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the Lord. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you.

God had promised to always be with them. He encouraged them calling their leader a mighty warrior and now he’s saying I won’t be with you if you let this sin go unpunished. Not that God had been unfaithful to them. They had been unfaithful to him. In fact 1 had been unfaithful.

Could it be that our lack of hearing God is because of sin that isn’t taken care of in our camps?

What does that mean? Sin can come in all sorts of packages. And we may have trouble recognizing it because of the narratives we have been raised with or a sin that seems common to man.  Perhaps we have tried but we just can’t seem to knock it. So we bury it deeper under our tent hoping no one will notice. In fact we may even have trouble calling it sin any longer. ….And…. we continue to struggle with hearing God’s voice…. And…. sometimes it affects innocent people like the rest of Achan’s family….. And…. others around us.

In Joshua 22:20The Israelites remind the tribes of this…Do you remember When Achan son of Zerah acted unfaithfully regarding the devoted things, did not wrath come upon the whole Community of Israel? He was not the only one who died for his sin.

When we sin it affects more then just ourselves.

Maybe Our lack of hearing is coming from something buried much deeper than we can see. Maybe we need to ask God to show us what he wants to uncover in us. And then we must be willling to rid our tents(bodies) of it.

Is there sin in this tent Father? Is there something you want to uncover? Clean it out. Rid me of my disobedience. I want to hear from you more than I want this stuff. Bring your cleansing fire to burn up sin and prepare this heart to hear from you.

Part 2 will talk of a second reason we may have trouble hearing God…

Rags to Riches

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I have been reading through Joshua. I had read the novella by Francine Rivers on Rahab which sparked my interest again to read the story from the Bible.

It is something! How God chose to redeem Rahab, a harlot.

He pulled her out of Jericho, grafted her into his chosen people,and then of all things, positioned her into the ancestral line for his own perfect son to come through. It’s astonishing!

Rahab is really no different then I am. Her sin no greater. Her suitcase of baggage just had a different label. My brand  may have covered it better but I had ugly sin in my heart just as she did. And without someone to save me from myself I would have died in my sins as the walls crumbled in around me.

Rags to Riches…. That’s what it is. A story of a slave to sin who became an heir to the birthright of promise.

Is that your story?

Did you ever think of this?

If you have been adopted into God’s family that’s what it is.

Just like the 2 men who came into the city saved Rahab from impending death… Jesus came for us. He came while we were still entrenched in our sin. While our eyes were blinded by our Jericho. He came in and rescued us.  Long before time  began he wrote his name on each of our hearts.

Ephesians 1 (ESV)

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.[b] 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

Adopted in.

No longer are we on the edge of the camp looking in. We are heirs to the throne.

Seriously! Does that make your heart skip? He didn’t have to do that! He didn’t have to save us! But in his Kindness and Mercy he did.

We all our people with a past. But God chose us to be people with a bright hope and a future.

Today I’m giddy about that!

He’s turned the story into a song. My heart sings back to him this praise today!

On a personal note..

Dear friend,

I have been indulging myself in study lately. It’s been good. Exciting. And Powerful.

 I have been preparing for next weekend. I will be spending the weekend with some sweet sisters close to Columbus Ohio.  I am singing and speaking at their womans retreat. While I am very accustomed to singing….speaking is something I have not done in a formal way.( It’s no secret that I can talk an ear off informally!!) But the preaching is my guys department and I love to hear him. He’s been giving me some pointers. And I’ve  been pleading with God to make me supernaturally endowed with wisdom.  Without him and the spirit he pours I have nothing to offer.

But something special happened this week. Because of circumstances in my life the past few years I have absolutely not been able to write a song. It wouldn’t come. I would try!  I’d start something but I would inevitably get up from my piano walk away, frustrated and sad. I really had started thinking my song writing days were done. And I decided if God wanted to take that, well it was his and he could do what he wanted. But as I was sitting at the piano this week. Boom! A song hit me. I was like.. “really? You’re gonna let me do this again? Okay! Okay!I will get a pen.”

 I poured out my heart and although you can’t hear the melody I thought I’d share the words with you.

~ Who you are~

I didn’t plan for this.

I didn’t ask for that.

I never thought you’d find me here.

I don’t understand, all your sovereign plans.

All I know is that I’ve  found you….

Faithful, you have been faithful to me

Kinder, than I deserve.

Healer, you’re the healer of my heart.

I have come to follow you….For who you are.

In the fiery furnace

In the raging storm

In the lonely shadows of the night

I will not be afraid.

I will not raise a sword.

I have found my God is with me there.

And He’s faithful! He has been faithful to me.

Kinder, than I deserve.

Healer, He’s the healer of this heart

And I have come to follow him…

I choose to follow in joy and pain.

I choose to trust, that you still reign

I choose to know you for who you are.

It’s here I’ve found you are…

Faithful, you have been faithful to me.

Kinder, than I deserve.

Healer, you’re the healer of my heart.

I have come to follow you, for who you are!

~RosyRose~

The context of this song is simply this… It is so easy to believe Jesus to be whoever we want him to be. But perhaps not the Jesus of the Bible. I want to know him for who he is not who I have dreamed him up to be.

We must recognize that the God of the Bible is not just a Santa who hands out our favorite things.

And so when we face troubles. When we are alone. Or in a storm. ….He is a God who goes into the storm with us and when we come out with him on the other side of that giant wave that threatens us… he is with us still. But sometimes we get lost in the wave because we are so mad at him for letting us face it. Or, we drown in our own sorrows and forget that he is still holding on to us… we have just lost our grip of him.

The People of Jesus day didn’t recognize him as the Messiah either because they thought the Messiah would be a different looking God. They thought when the Son of God comes he would take away the pain. The Yolk of slavery. The bondage of the government. They had read the scripture incorrectly.

And so they didn’t recognize him.

He came to heal the pain. But he didn’t promise to wipe out their oppressors. He instead, forgave all who would come to him. His mission was to be one of Uncommon Kindness and love.

And If I say I follow…I should go in that direction…Uncommonly Kind.

And if I say I want to know him…Then I must know all of him. Not just the fuzzy feel good parts. But the rough and firery furnace parts as well.

If you think of me and the room of women that will be present could you pray for us? I know God can use any cracked pot he desires. I so want to honor him  and speak what he wants spoken.

I know some of you have already been praying and I am so so grateful!

Thank you! Thank you for taking time to share in what’s personal to me!

Love you,

Rose