|Posted on December 27, 2019 at 1:40 PM||comments (0)|
…“And though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” Esther 4:16
If you have never read the book of Esther it is well known for the portion of verses found in chapter 4 when her Uncle Mordecai asks his niece, the queen to approach the king to beg for mercy and plead for her people. Her response to him was if she approaches the king without being invited she is doomed to die unless he shows her favor by holding out his gold scepter, allowing her to approach the throne. Her husband, the king, had not called for her for thirty days so she would be putting herself at risk in doing so. And her Uncle’s response was…
“Don’t think for a moment because you are in the palace you will escape when our people are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for our people will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14
Her response to her Uncle can be summed up in the verse above as surrender. I had no business coming to my King, my God when I did. I was covered in sin from head to toe, steeped in it for thirty plus years. Trying to find salvation in power, position, wealth, accumulation and people. There was nothing sacred or holy about me. No secret ritual I performed. No prayer I said over and over to again in hopes of gaining access. There were not enough good deeds to pay back for all the evil things I had said, thought or done over my lifetime to gain access to the throne.
I came in humility on bended knees with head bowed low unworthy of looking up, not even on my hands, I was weeping uncontrollably on my forearms, Father, forgive me of this wretched life I created with my own hands. I came with one belief in mind that Jesus had done what he did for me, just me, not the world at large John 14:22. In that moment I couldn’t worry about or carry the weight of the whole world’s sin only my own. I just needed forgiveness for me, one on one John 14:23, this battle in my mind was between me and God Galatians 5:17.
I came with the belief that somehow on a surface I could not see with my eyes that when the Creator of this world, God looked down on me He would see his child, an abandoned, orphaned child left here to fight alone Hebrews 5:7. The robe of not my own but his sons righteous deed draped over me Isaiah 53:11 Perhaps even someone like his daughter my Aunt Queen Esther who approached the throne by faith even though it was against the law. Like my brother Jesus, she risked her life begging for mercy, pleading for her people, like my brother, Jesus pleaded for me Romans 8:34.
But if wicked people turn away from all their sins and begin to obey my decrees and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die. All their past sins will be forgotten, and they will live because of the righteous things they have done. Ezekiel 18:21
It was hard enough being righteous for one day let alone the thirty something years before I needed someone to stand in the gap Ezekiel 22:30 of who I was and who I was to become. Wipe clean the debt I incurred by my sins Colossians 2:14 so that I could begin again from that day on.
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! Psalm 32:1-2
That is what began this walk of faith. Like my Aunt Esther, I had to come to the point of surrender that the ways I had been taught were completely wrong. I took what was good about that life and left the rest behind to find a better way of life. If this life of mine was going to end in death anyway like everyone in my family line it might as well be a death worth dying for. As my Uncle Paul once said in Romans 4:15 (that) “The only way to avoid breaking the law was to have no law to break!” This life of faith could not be built on laws, I had already broken all of them several times over. This life of faith was not built on “do not’s” like Adam in the garden, one thing God told him not to do he did. It is a life built on the things I could do, things no law can stand up against. Galatians 5:22-23
|Posted on December 24, 2019 at 2:00 PM||comments (0)|
There is a prayer in Nehemiah 9:5-36 that basically sums up the things God did for His people. When I read it, it makes me think about the things He did for me. That even though they repeatedly sinned against Him, like I did, He kept His promise for He is always true to His Word 9:8. I understand now that God is not obligated to keep my word, the things I want for me. But He is bound by His truth and that includes every promise He gave to me.
Words like You alone, You made, You preserve, You are the LORD God, who chose. Help me to know it is God that made a covenant with us before He appeared no one ever heard of a God that was good. A God that wanted good for His people. Back then people had been taught to do everything they could to please the gods but not this God, our God was different, set apart from the start. He chose us and said I will never stop doing good for you Jeremiah 32:40. And the catch was not because of anything I did but because of His love for me. He loved with a Fathers love from the very beginning.
He saw my misery, He displayed miraculous signs and wonders to release me from the things that kept me bound in chains, my own slavery. He made a glorious reputation for Himself when He freed me. He divided the sea and hurled my enemies into it so that they would never raise a hand to abuse me again.
He led me by day and night with the light of His Word so that I could find my way, He made a way for me. He gave me commands that were good. Not to keep me from good. It was so that I would not harm others. You see hurting people, hurt people it’s an animal instinct. I lash out when I am attacked. I pay back evil for the evil that was done to me. When I don’t live life by the Spirit I live it by my flesh and my flesh speaks like Abel from the grave revenge to avenge.
During my times of struggle God fed me when I was hungry. He gave me water for my thirst. Even when I refused to obey Him when I grew complacent and forgot the mighty miracles He performed I came to understand the God of forgiveness, He forgave me but not without cost. He sent His son to pay the penalty before forgiveness was asked for, begged for, pleaded for, God said it was already taken care of.
But again like a teenage rebellious child I grew stubborn and proud, I paid no attention to my Fathers’ ways believing I knew a better one, a faster, an easier route. Once again I refused to obey Him I didn’t remember the miracles He performed to free me from sins in the past and instead I went right back to my slavery to sin.
He was so gracious and merciful to me in spite of myself. He was patient when He held back from punishment well deserved. Gracious and merciful was He, slow to punish and instead show me what rich unfailing love was. He did not abandon me to my foolish thinking that led to completely foolish ways.
Instead in His mercy when I was lost, even when I had purposely lost my way. He did not leave me to die in the wilderness though death would have been deserved for the things I had done. He continued to show me the way out of the darkness. Like a parent who repeatedly tells a child what to do over and over again till the behavior is corrected so does my Father, my God as any good Father would.
He sent His good Spirit to instruct me. He never stopped feeding me or withholding water from me when I messed up He simply poured out on me more and more grace and told me to get up and try again for almost forty years this was my Fathers way. He commanded me to go to places I had never been, do things I had never done so that I could take possession of the promises He had sworn to give to me. And I saw them fulfilled one by one.
He helped me to conquer my giants, my Jericho walls and take back control of the things that had controlled me. I captured each thought making it captive to Christ. If it wasn’t what He would do I had no business entertaining that it was good enough for me. I had my fill and enjoyed all that God had blessed me with but even despite the goodness I was disobedient and rebelled against Him.
Once again I turned back on His laws and even got rid of the Word all together so I wouldn’t have to feel the guilt for the things I had done. He handed me over to my enemies and when I had enough I cried out to my Father once more and He heard me as He always does and He sent me a liberator to save me.
As soon as I lived in peace again I did what was evil in His sight and ended up worshipping the very thing that saved me instead of my God so once more I was conquered by my enemies and when I turned to God for help He listened once more. In His wonderful mercy He has rescued me many, many times I wish I could say I got it right the first time but not unlike my ancestors I have failed and tried over and over again.
My Father had warned me, He told me that I would find life if only I listened to His Words of wisdom but like a stubborn animal I turned my back on Him and refused listen to anything He had to say. In His love He was patient with me for more years than I like to count. In His great mercy He never abandoned me or destroyed me. What a gracious and merciful God He is! He is an awesome and great and mighty God who keeps His covenant of unfailing love for me.
In Jeremiah 3:13 Long ago the LORD said to me “I have loved you with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Though throughout my own life I would take His love and reject it for something else. Like a toy that is played with under the tree what I once found joy in I would grow bored with. But His love for me never grew old or tired.
What was it about His peace I was so quick to lose when I lost my patience with people or with waiting for my own dreams to be fulfilled? Why couldn’t I speak gently when expressing myself or extend goodness and kindness when I hadn’t been treated with such? Perhaps because I didn’t make a covenant to do those things it was God who had made one with me.
He said He would send His Spirit from heaven down to this fallen world and on Christmas day I am reminded that He has kept that everlasting promise. I look around to see that love still finds a way even in the darkness, that joy still fills a room with laughter, peace still remains silent like a sentry soldier, if you have had to stand in line well then patience prevails, people can still be good and kind, those who are faithful to a God who gave these gifts are no longer led by animals instinct but children led by the Spirit of a Father who never stopped loving them.
|Posted on December 21, 2019 at 3:45 PM||comments (0)|
I prayed, O my God, I am utterly ashamed; I blush to lift up my face to you. For our sins are piled higher than our heads, and our guilt has reached to the heavens. From the days of our ancestors until now we have been steeped in sin… Ezra 9:6-7
When I had my “coming to Jesus moment” on the back porch of my house, I confessed the sins of not only myself but and the sins of my mother, my grandmother, even my great grandmother for not teaching me any better. The same hatred and bitterness felt toward men who strayed from their wives ran deep in my family line and it was about to consume me and my son as well. I didn’t know how I was going to get through because what my family taught me well was how to run away from the pain. End all ties. Divide. Divorce. Never speak his name. Erase his existence. Remove all photos. Burn the memories. And never allow him to see his children grow up. His grandchildren. It should be as though he never existed in my life. I was good at that. That I could do well. Staying was never an option. Trying was never considered.
Then Ezra goes on to explain the reason for this life of pain he says in 9:7 “That is why…We have been killed, captured, robbed and disgraced, just as we are today.” I had only been a year into my walk of faith maybe just one when I read the text that brought me to my knees. I thought a year ago if I stopped then this life of pain would cease what I didn’t know was it didn’t just have a hold on me. I thought if I gave my life to God then maybe my son could be saved from this generational bondage. I didn’t want him to have the same life I was handed down. I didn’t want to pass down hatred and bitterness from generation to generation just as Christ cried it was finished and it had to stop with me. There had to be a better way, an option I hadn’t seen before, another way of life. That is when grace stepped forward in my life.
But now we have been given a brief moment of grace, for the LORD our God has allowed a few of us to survive in this holy place. Our God has brightened our eyes and granted us some relief from our slavery. Ezra 9:8
Jesus said by grace I could let go but not to end, but begin again. He said I paid the price not just for your sins but his as well Ephesians 4:32. He said if you can so freely accept all that I have forgiven you, by the power that lives in me you must extend that same grace to others Colossians 3:13. I kept arguing with Jesus pleading weeping, I can’t, it’s too hard, I have never. And he said is anything too hard for God Genesis 18:14, Jeremiah 32:17,27 what he said wasn’t a lie. When it was too hard for me I gave it to God to carry. I had read the truth I knew well what he was saying it was written in black and white. Now was the time to apply. Luke 11:28
I tell you, her sins- and they are many- have been forgiven, so she has shown much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love. Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that goes around forgiving sins?” And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:47-50
The love I have for my brother, Jesus, is for what he did for me. My faith believes he paid the penalty for my sins Romans 3:24 a penalty that this world says and condemns me by saying I deserve to die and one day that battle will take place as it does for all of us but until then I die daily to what this world thinks of me. I had to believe these words of truth not just for me. I needed enough faith to believe them for him too even if he didn’t. I had enough faith for the both of us to extend forgiveness again and again it would take him 10 years before he would came to the same understanding. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance 1 Corinthians 13:7. For my brother taught me forgiveness was a power I possessed to. That’s how I broke the chains of bitterness and hatred that my family passed down to me. It was forgiveness that would keep us together and forgiveness is what held us together. Forgiveness is what we are built on, a cross I am not ashamed to carry because he carried it for me.
For we were slaves, but in His unfailing love our God did not abandon us in our slavery…He revived us so we could rebuild the Temple of our God and repair its ruins. He has given us a protective wall in Judah and Jerusalem. Ezra 9:9
We were both slaves to our flesh at one point or another in our relationship and now we are slaves for the living God because in His unfailing love for us He did not abandon us in our addictions to please ourselves. Unlike a fairy tale He didn’t save us so we could live happily ever after either. He revived us so that we could rebuild the ruins of what family means based on the principals and promises of God. He gave us a protective covering of strength because strength was what we needed to persevere through the hard days. He gave us the authority to forbid and permit what we wanted our life to look like based on His Word not what we had been taught. And mostly peace ever after, we are still working on that, raising a teenage boy, peace is daily battle we fight to enforce. But then again we ourselves are still under construction because unlike the Temple Ezra rebuilt He is still working on us, in us.
|Posted on December 20, 2019 at 9:35 PM||comments (0)|
…The LORD will stay with you as long as you stay with Him! Whenever you seek Him, you will find Him. But if you abandon Him, He will abandon you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach them, and with the Law to instruct them. But whenever they were in trouble and turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought Him out, they found Him. 2 Chronicles 15:2-4
For 30 plus years I was not with the LORD nor did I seek Him. I sought for myself. I did for myself. I was the god of my life and just like the words written in true form in the beginning it was a formless, dark and empty life Genesis 1:2. I thought and said and did things that make me nauseous to think of now that this was the kind of person that had been formed when raised by the world.
I had no true God, no God that spoke words of truth to me. The world was my priest and whatever it marketed was my law. There was nothing in this world that showed me right from wrong. I decided that for myself and the lines I walked were gray. It is true that when I was at my lowest, the end of my rope, it was only then I turned to God. Begging for mercy. Pleading for some kind of understanding as to why I found myself in situations, as though I had not built this life with my own hands with no help from God. When I sought Him with a humble heart on bended knees so low to the ground I couldn’t even lift my head to look up, I found Him or should I say He found me.
So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? Galatians 4:9
I dreamt this verse three nights in a row about five years into my walk of faith. Five years of listening to sermons daily, attending church weekly, studying, reading, writing, categorizing His Word daily unknowing that seeking was what I was doing. A dream of frantically searching His Word as though my very life depended on it Deuteronomy 32:47. I awoke the first night thinking that was odd as any dream is. Then the second night the same dream as if trying to speak beyond something I had ever known. Having heard the voice of God before, I knew from the story of Samuel that maybe I should pay more attention if I was given the mercy of the same dream three nights in a row.
So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.’ So Samuel went back to bed. 1 Samuel 3:9
I remember telling my three amigos as I affectionately call them, friends who are a witness to the happenings of this life, who are honest enough to let me know if I am thinking crazy or this if this just might be a word from God. And as faith would have it a second night of the same frantic searching but this time I was conscious enough to know that whatever I was searching for I needed to remember when I awoke. I awoke repeating Galatians 4:9 like a phone number I was trying to memorize, just the Scripture address not the words.
When I read them it was as if reading them for the first time. Though I had been in His Word for five years this one wasn’t highlighted but it resonated greater than any words written before. “Now that I know God or should I say now that God knows me.” Whispering it over and over as if He were speaking them directly to me. I sensed in my heart that from that day on my life wasn’t going to be the same. That it would change. I even documented it in my journal. Like the day I found out I was pregnant. Or the day I conceived a baby. Something about that day will forever be with me. And I was right because it would be several months later that I would begin to share my journey of life with God and my walk with you with whoever was willing to listen.
Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed His powerful arm? Isaiah 53:1
To the spirit of Isaiah whenever I read this verse in communion my heart replies “I believe the message, for He has revealed His powerful arm to me.” For just as the verse above says when I sought Him, I found Him.
I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me if I could not be found. I, the LORD, speak only what is true and declare only what is right. Isaiah 45:19
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8
“They will have their own ruler again, and he will come from their own people. I will invite him to approach me,” says the LORD, “for who would dare to come unless invited? You will be my people and I will be your God.” Jeremiah 30:21
|Posted on December 19, 2019 at 12:40 AM||comments (0)|
And David became more and more powerful, because the LORD of Heaven’s Armies was with him. 1 Chronicles 11:9
Not by his strength, not by his many victories over the enemy, not by his wealth, not by his wives or his concubines, not by the size of his castle or the kind of sword or armor he wore or even the size of his army David became powerful because God was with him.
…It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, say the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. Zechariah 4:6
The world taught me A plus B equals C in other words the secret to living a successful life was get good grades in school, further your education by going to college, get a good paying job, get promoted and then you will be successful. So that’s what I did, I graduated with honors, I went to college, accumulated college debt, established credit, I got a job, I got promoted, I worked hard to make year over year sales growth and success always seemed just out of my reach. The world wanted more of me.
Load them down with more work. Make them sweat! That will teach them to listen to lies! Exodus 5:9
So to reward myself for all the hard work I started to accumulate things my logic was if I made more, I could have more and then I will be successful yes then success will find me. When I made more, I had more and wanted more and was never quite full so then it wasn’t about quantity it became about quality and it wasn’t enough to have one I needed two and then I needed more. Never content with enough. And that longing that yearning didn’t stop with things the greed overflowed to people. Why have one when I could have two. The world taught me more buys happiness and power but the Word taught me that what I had was enough.
Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 1 Timothy 6-8
Jerusalem means the “city of peace”. David didn’t inherit peace. It wasn’t given to him wrapped in a bow under the tree he had to capture it 1Chronicles 11:4-9. We pursue the things worth fighting for 1 Timothy 6:11 and 2 Timothy 2:22 Jerusalem used to be called Jebus a town originally given to the smallest tribe of Benjamin in Joshua 18:28. It was inhabited by people who were not peaceful at all. Jebusites are descendants of Ham. Not the lunch meat. Ham is the son of Noah who found him passed out naked from that whole Ark ordeal, I think if I had been through something like that I too would arrive on dry ground and patiently plant a vineyard and when the harvest was ripe make wine, get drunk and pass out and find a way to forget the storm of all storms I had been through but that is just me and my ancestor. Well when Ham found his father he did not hide his shame instead he ran and told his brothers so they could laugh with him and when Noah woke he cursed his name.
Jebusites are the ones the book of Judges ends with remember that time when they had no king and did what seemed right in their own eyes. Well in chapter 19 when the townspeople raped a man’s concubine literally to death in retaliation he chopped her up into 12 pieces and sent her to the twelve tribes of Israel asking how they planned to get justice. Yeah, definitely not a people of peace.
Well in 1 Chronicles 11:5 The Jebusites taunted David saying “You’ll never get in here!” and if you know anything about David he doesn’t put up with taunting for long remember that thing with the giant. So he captured the city and called it his home, he made it his fortress and that is why it is called the City of David, Jerusalem as we know it today. A place where peace was fought for and captured and taken by force and made into the goal for every living human.
I said all that to say this it wasn’t the things, it wasn’t my strength, it wasn’t more I was looking for. I was looking for something out of my reach but not so far I needed an army to take it by force. All my life I had been searching for peace. And I didn’t find it with wealth, I didn’t find it with two of each thing, I didn’t find it in debt, I didn’t find it in the name calling, the accusations, the divorce, I found it in Him. I found it in coming to know God as my Father, the way Jesus taught me to believe and knowing what my brother did and more importantly how he lived even if his life ended in hatred and hostility it lives on in peace. The contentment of knowing I don’t need anything more than what I have at any given time. In the gratefulness that I know I don’t deserve a single thing but I have been given everything because of what he did for me. Unlike David I didn’t have to fight for this place of peace. I didn’t have to be successful or powerful for God to love me, I already was not because of anything I did but what Christ did for me.
For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to Himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. Colossians 1:19-20
Back in 2 Samuel 2:26 a wise person once said “Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their brothers?” I stopped chasing after more and turned toward wanting to know more. I stopped working to give my son more things and instead started to spend more time with him knowing my days were counted and few.
I stopped searching for more out of the relationships God had given to me and instead sought ways how I could give more. Less often times than not there were relationships that ended in hatred and hostility but in the end there was always peace to be found. Not because things were resolved but simply because I made peace with the way things were. Peace with the way God does things not because I understood but because He gave me something more powerful and greater than any weapon this world could form, peace with Him, not peace in this world.
I am leaving you with a gift peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27
|Posted on December 17, 2019 at 3:05 PM||comments (0)|
And when they gave it to the people, there was plenty for all and some left over, just as the LORD had promised. 2 Kings 4:44
During a time of famine Elisha told his servant to feed a hundred people with a sack of grain and 20 loaves of bread. Like most, the servant looked at his little offering and thought it wasn’t enough but Elisha insisted because God had said it would be and sure enough it was.
Like the servant I often see what I have and decide it surely can’t be enough. Before coming to God I often asked myself but really talking myself out of giving with questions like “What good could a dollar do to help the homeless? What good would my spare change do for the hurting if I rounded it up?” When the truth is I should have been exclaiming “What good! Can I do!”
“There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” John 6:9
While picking up his dinner my son was asked if he would like to round up to feed hungry children and as we have taught him to give as freely as he has been given his automatic response was sure. They rang a bell to honor his donation and the people in the kitchen cheered like he gave much, it was only .20 but when added up with everyone else who donated it was enough.
Jesus asked Philip in John 6:5 “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” in verse 6 it said he was testing Philip for he already knew what he was going to do. I don’t think it matters what I have, in God’s hands the correct response is whether I am willing, can He use me, can He trust me with even a little to part with, believing God can make it much.
James, the brother of Jesus said in 2:14 “What good is it if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” My faith to give my spare change or a dollar may not be enough but that boy who gave his lunch didn’t looked at his glass and think half empty or half full he looked at his glass and knew it would be refilled. Skipping lunch today does not mean skipping food always it just means waiting to eat dinner later not never. Change here, a dollar there is not enough but it is plenty to someone who has nothing even to spare. Since the beginning left overs is the business of God.
These are the LORD’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent. So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. But when they measured it out everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed. Exodus 16:16-18
I don’t want to live my life with much and having never given for fear it wouldn’t be enough. Neither do I want to come to the end of my life and learn I could have had more had I given more. I want to be a pitcher that never runs dry refilling till everyone one has had their fill. Being satisfied with what I have and plenty left over to share with others. 2 Corinthians 9:8
|Posted on December 16, 2019 at 1:15 PM||comments (0)|
…You made that promise with Your own mouth, and with Your own hands You have fulfilled it today. 1 Kings 8:24
This is part of a prayer Solomon prayed to God when he dedicated the Temple. I am in the middle of a move, this place that has been my sanctuary for the last 2 years will now become my sons. We always told him one day he would have this room. I thought one day in a few more years not one day this weekend but God’s timing is not always my own. I read this and thought of all that I had promised my son with my own mouth. Not even things he thought to want for himself content to be where he was. Throughout the years he did not doubt that I would give these things I promised to him. Without worry he didn’t pace the floor wondering if I would take my word back. Even the timing of when these things would come he simply accepted what I said I would give to him. This weekend a promise made years ago is going to be fulfilled.
I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill His purpose for me. Psalm 57:2
The things I want for my own life today no one in my family ever thought to want before. I began to want them when I read them in His Word. All the wonderful things, the promises He spoke was as if my own parent had promised them to me. At the time I was just happy to have a job, get paid every two weeks, pay my bills but as my brother, Jesus said in Luke 12:23 “life is more than” these things. He didn’t die so I could just get by in life He gave His life for me to be richly satisfied with it. It took some searching to figure out what it is I really wanted. What all this was for? And the answer came as it did in His Word it was for the love I had for my only child.
If I am blessed enough to see 80 years then I had already lived half my life. There are less years in front of me than what I leave behind. But my son had his whole life in front of him. Time that I had wasted he could take new ground. When I spent my life living for myself it was empty but when I spent it leaving an inheritance for my son it gave it meaning and purpose. Can you imagine how God felt when He created the world for His children. I have only experienced a hint of that when I was building a single room for my owns’ arrival.
I was the architect at His side. I was His constant delight, rejoicing always in His presence. And how happy I was with the world He created; how I rejoiced with the human family! Proverbs 8:30-31
My brother, Jesus taught me that this Temple is not a building made of brick and wood but a body made of flesh and bone in John 2:21. Sometimes the most important things we focus on are not on the outside but the inside of us. As I have been 10 years in the making of my own temple so has my son been watching and observing building his own. Since giving my life to God this world has tried everything in its power to shake this family apart through illness, accident, overwhelming debt, addiction and through it all my son has watched as we remained unshaken.
I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. Psalm 16:8
When things arose in his own life he would smile almost amused. He was not intimated by failure or trembled over loss he has this attitude like he knows something that no one else does. That even though the winds blow and the waves rise high, though the storm is fierce there is something greater that will see him through, even mightier than what this world will put him through. Not because I made a promise saying nothing will hurt you but because God said when things come against you they will not succeed.
I use to think success was measured by the accumulation of, by the conquering of, by the making something stop. But now I know it is measured by whatever it was this world says or does it does not change me or my faith in God. Everything the enemy has tried was to convince me that God will not keep His Word that His Word is a lie and sometimes that Word or promise didn’t look exactly like I thought it would. But time and time again my son has seen that God does exactly what He has promised. So when I make a promise to him the way God made a promise to me and my ancestors long ago he is assured he will be victorious because God commands it so. Psalm 44:4
|Posted on December 14, 2019 at 1:35 PM||comments (0)|
Is it not my family God has chosen? Yes, He has made an everlasting covenant with me. His agreement is arranged and guaranteed in every detail. He will ensure my safety and success. 2 Samuel 23:5
Spoiler alert not every day of my life is exactly perfect. Things happen that go unplanned according my plans at least once a day. Not every day of my life is good. Things happen in my day I wouldn’t exactly call good. Don’t get me wrong there are moments in my day that are good if I am aware of and give thanks for like when my consciousness realizes I have been given the gift of mercy to live to fight another day Lamentations 3:23 to begin afresh each day, that is good to know. When I sit in bed with coffee and my devotionals and I get to share what I learn with the man in my life. When I am in no rush to jump out of bed and be ready to take someone somewhere these little things are good.
O people of the world, recognize the LORD, recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong. 1 Chronicles 16:28
But like I said on most days this is just not the case. There are those moments when I am running late, when the garage won’t close, when the milk jug is empty after I poured myself a bowl of cereal, when I need to drop what I am doing and pick up. When my son says those words “Oh yeah Mom I forgot…” letting me know there is something I need to take care of immediately and I haven’t got the time for. When the aging dog won’t move. When my expectations turn to disappointment. When I get the message or the call that brings me to my knees. When my brain can’t speak the words to respond to what I have been told. Blink. Blink. Two words make their way to the forefront of my mind “arranged and guaranteed” life may not go as I had planned but guess what I didn’t create it. God who took delight in every detail of this Temple of mine has a plan for it all. What is a surprise to me is not surprise to God. Every detail arranged and guaranteed not for failure but for my safety and His success.
I will watch over and care for them, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them hearts that recognize me as the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly. Jeremiah 24:6-7
What isn’t my plan I know is God’s plan for me. I used to get so pissed, upset, irritated, so agitated like a toddler frustrated having to do things over and over again till they couldn’t get it wrong. Even if I am required to go the long way around this mountain I consider it training for the battle, all the detours, roundabouts, wrong turns, returns just a way of God saying “Slow your roll, try again, wait a minute, hold on, there are some things I need to deal with ahead of you or in you so just take a breath and consider this my way of preventing you from being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Like my ancestor Solomon says “Everything is decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.” Ecclesiastes 9:11 yes even God is in charge of my timing.
…This happened at just the time God had said it would. Genesis 21:2
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:8
You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the LORD will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind. Isaiah 52:12
I have learned there is no use rushing things. Nor fear of missing out on the plans God has for me. Because He is LORD no use arguing with that He wants for me and if it isn’t His want for me it won’t happen. I could do everything in my power to make things happen and they would still end up just not right but the moment God says okay now is the time, it’s like doors fly open, favor is flowing, lights turn green, I can’t not be where He wants me to be. “Now is the time!” He said inconvenient or not, this life is not based on my time when it’s His time I have no choice but to act.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Now be fruitful and mulitply. Now begin the work. Now is the time. Now be at peace. Now become what you were created to be. Now is the time promised. Now is the time to seek and find. Now the LORD said. Now the LORD will give, now the LORD sent, now the LORD made, now the LORD lives among us, now the temple is complete, now the Spirit of the LORD is upon us, now the LORD has given me peace on every side, now the LORD has fulfilled the promise He made, now there is enough, Now then, act wisely, now go and learn, now the Good News is being preached, now they know, now the people believed, now there is not condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus, now they are holy, now the resurrection from the dead has begun, now the word of the LORD is ringing out.
There is nothing in this world that can stop the LORD, no missing out on it, not knowing it, because in my life what seemed like something I couldn’t recover from, get up from, heal from, move on from I knew there is a God that said He would not leave until every single “good promise” He made to me was fulfilled so even if today is not good His promises are so I wait on Him. Joshua 21:45
But I will never stop loving him nor fail to keep my promise to him. No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back a single word I said. I have sworn and oath to David, and in My holiness I cannot lie: His dynasty will go on forever; His kingdom will endure as the sun. Psalm 89:33-36
|Posted on December 13, 2019 at 5:55 PM||comments (0)|
The LORD who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine! Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the LORD be with you!” 1 Samuel 1:37
Whatever giant I face, which is anything in my life that appears greater than I can handle, David’s battle with Goliath serves to remind me of all that God has rescued me from. It might be just me but it seems like as the years tick by the giants I faced got bigger. Is it because what I faced early on was nothing compared to what I would face? Did God orchestrate this life of mine so that all my previous battles were merely practice for the real giants I would come against? Things I will have to remember to ask when I reach those gates.
I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering. Isaiah 48:10
I will bring the group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’ Zechariah 13:9
Many will be purified, cleansed and refined by these trials…Daniel 12:10
I thought today how a sword is made stronger in the fire. What if all those battles were just strengthening me for tomorrow? My sword is the Word of God Ephesians 6:16 and daily I pull it from its sheath and sharpen it for when the battles come. Not if but when they come. My brother, Jesus warned I would have many trials and sorrows in John 16:33 but to take heart because he overcame the world, teaching me that I too could learn to overcome it. That victory was possible.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 1 Peter 1:6
When I compare all my trials to the breadth of my life yes it appears to be little in size, a single day the battle was fought but the memories of it linger on like the scar on my knee trying to hold down what had already been lost. The memory is what makes the trial and sorrow seem bigger to me, harder for me to overcome than for what it really was just a single day in my life. One day the battle was fought not the thirteen or fifteen years leading up to the fight not even the years later I mourned that the battle even took place. That it was now one of my many days on earth. It was just a single day of my life when I felt like my life was over but still here I am, still pressing on.
The memory of it, the pain that felt so raw, the struggle to understand something I will never make sense of, that day was lived and relived over and over again bringing the emotions of a painful past to the present moment as though I had to fight it again and again but the truth is I do not. What is done is done. There is no going back. No undoing it. My feelings about it are the only thing I am affected by and my feelings have no time. As my ancestor Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:15 “What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered.” My past cannot be changed. The present is all I have power over.
My Father said in the beginning I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. He said I will give you an everlasting possession, it will be yours and I will be yours. His everlasting arms would be under me. A God who lives from everlasting to everlasting beyond the boundaries of time. Everlasting joy is mine because His love for me is the only thing everlasting. So that when trials happen and I survive my life is the living proof, the everlasting sign of both His power and love. To be called a child of God is greater than to be called a son or daughter of any man on earth. There is an everlasting light in me that never grows dim. It comes from a flaming sword that was made the day I gave my life to Him. Refined in the fire of many trials and cooled with tears of many sorrows till the day it shines with the brilliance and resilience to overcome the ways of this world.
Don’t imagine I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34
|Posted on December 12, 2019 at 2:30 PM||comments (0)|
So Ruth went out to gather grain behind the harvesters. And as it happened, she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, the relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech. Ruth 2:3
Some might know the book of Ruth fondly by verse 1:16 when her mother in law asks her to leave and return home to her family Ruth replied “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” But this book is dear to me because of three simple words “as it happened”
I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time. Ecclesiastes 9:11
When I look back on my life there have been many “as it happened” or depending on your version “as it turned out”, “happened to come”, “it just so happened”, “ended up” moments where I can see how the hand of God had lead me to a place I was supposed to be.
Shortly after giving up my ways to pursue God, I found myself in need of fulltime employment. It just so happened I was placed on a team whose leader was a fulltime employee and worked for a different company. I inquired if they were hiring and he said not that he knew of but something told me to checkout the company anyway. Sure enough a positon was posted doing the same thing I was doing part time for full time work. I applied and in less than a week I got an interview. And in less than a week after that was hired but not for the position I had applied for. They just so happened to have filled that position prior to meeting me but they saw in me something they needed so they created a position for me. I found myself in Boaz’s field.
My manager was a faithful man of God whose wisdom in both work and family and the team he lead would eventually lead me to dig deeper into the Word even more so than I had in my entire life. I admired the man he had become and wondered if this way of life was possible, for everyone even someone like me. Though my time there was but a few years the experience I got from what I hope to be my last job in the world was what brought me to lay down my life to sharing His Word.
I lead Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him. Hosea 11:4
Before that, the way I met the man that would be my husband I just so happened to have hired the woman that he would date to be a clerk in my store. She learned she was pregnant when I offered her the job and she reunited with him at her high school reunion during her first trimester. Un-wanting to scare him off, she allowed him to pursue her before revealing she was pregnant. When he learned he was already smitten with her and it was the love he was willing to give a child that wasn’t even his own that intrigued me the most. I knew him before I met him from the stories she would tell. When I finally met him at her baby shower where he showered her with everything her child would need I thought this man has a heart of gold it would be years that I would learn it was actually gold plated.
I think back often to that day. A pivotal moment in my life when I sat with her at the mall in front of my store offering her the sales clerk position and in full disclosure she announces that she just find out she was pregnant, she had no idea when she applied for the job and was afraid that would deter me from hiring her. But it was for that very reason that I would meet the man that would eventually become my son’s father. God has a way of working all things out. Even when I didn’t think there was a God directing my steps it didn't keep Him from directing my steps. I thank God for that.
The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand. Psalm 37:23-24
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? Proverbs 20:24