|Posted on May 31, 2019 at 10:00 AM||comments (0)|
In all their suffering He also suffered, and He personally* (In Hebrew and the angel of His presence) rescued them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years. Isaiah 63:9
When my son suffers I suffer. So there is no doubt in my mind that when God sees His children suffering He does not suffer with them too. As it is said in Psalms 56:8 “You keep track of all my sorrows*(Or my wanderings) You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” For all the times I wandered from the path God had for me, sorrow found me. Like a sheep separated from its flock that feeling of being lost, alone and afraid I know He wept for me, wishing I would understand His ways, “the way to peace” Luke 19:42. Yet all of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We all at one point or another leave God’s path to follow our own Isaiah 53:6 believing that we know better than our Creator that we can find the best way of life yet often times find ourselves in sorrow.
“Turn to me for healing.” He cries in Isaiah 6:10 or if you prefer the Greek version “they cannot turn to me and let Him heal them.” The reason I spent thirty something years in darkness is because I looked to this world to heal me, the things of this world, the people of this world. I had eyes but I was blind to see God I had ears but refuse to hear God. Every day of those thirty something years I could see the clouds, sun, moon, stars, feel the season’s change and somehow surrounded by all the wonder, infinite wisdom of His glorious majesty I turned to this world instead of the Creator of it.
So the LORD must wait for you to come to Him so He can show you His love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for His help. O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries. Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, He will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. Isaiah 30:18-21
In 1 Samuel 30 when David and his men came back from a war they found their homes raided and burned to the ground. Their enemy had carried their wives and children away. When his men saw what had happened “they wept till they could not weep no more.” 1 Samuel 30:6…But David found strength in the LORD his God. He asked the LORD “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?” In other words “Father, should I fight? Will I win?” And the LORD told David “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!” So that is what he did. David got back everything the enemy had taken” 30:19 Nothing was missing: small or great, son or daughter, nor anything else that had been taken. David brought everything back.
Countless times I have wept till I could weep no more for all that I have lost only to turn around and have gained much more in my life. Nothing in my life was ever taken that God did not give back to me or replace. Sometimes He requires me to let things go so that I could be given more and like a child with her favorite toy I held onto things so tight as if they could never be replaced, but not anymore. I have come to learn that when I have God, I have all that I need. God is with me, who dare fight against me. What enemy would dare steal, kill or destroy something God has given to me. Proverbs 10:22 The blessings of the LORD makes a person rich, and He adds no sorrow with it. He says in verse 24 the hopes of the godly will be granted and in verse 28 the hopes of the godly result in happiness. I don’t doubt that David’s request was granted that day nor was anything less than happiness felt on that day. But He did have to fight for it, it did require the strength of God to pull him out of his sorrow and snap him back to life and remember that He served the Most High God he need not look to this world for help or healing all he needed to do was look to God, seek His answers to hear God say “You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!”
Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. Isaiah 61:7
|Posted on May 29, 2019 at 1:30 PM||comments (0)|
Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Psalm 69:1
I hate that feeling of fighting back tears, though they flow from my eyes my neck is tightened. What feels like a physical lump in my throat forms making it difficult for me to speak aloud let alone pray.
Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. 69:2
The darkness surrounds me till I feel like I am the only one in this hole of sadness. I can’t get a grip of my thinking. I can’t see any way out of my trouble. The deep water is my sorrow and my tears overwhelm me.
I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me. 69:3
I have wept an ocean of tears for the sorrows in my life, not a month goes by I don’t weep for myself or others. Even my voice has changed from all the trauma I have experienced the many lumps I have tried in my own strength to hold back. It has a permanent crack no tea can soothe, no water can calm. I have to take a deep breathe to force myself to speak clearly when I want to be heard. My eyes have permanent bags where youth use to reside. Not from sleeplessness but from the weeping and pleading to be saved.
O God, You know how foolish I am; my sins cannot be hidden from You. 69:5
Even if I boldly claim I have no sin, sin would be found in me. Pride is a sin. In humility I confess that I am weak, that I am the least deserving of these things. I know that my sins are plenty and I deserve much less life than the one I have been given. I am continually reminded of and grateful for the knowledge that Jesus paid the penalty for my sins that I need a Savior and God provided one.
Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, O Sovereign LORD of Heaven’s Armies. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel. 69:6
That’s why my life is an open book. I don’t want people to get the impression like I was given that once you make up your mind to return to God, to be saved by Him that life would be easier. In fact it has been harder for me. I have seen more heartache than I could bear, experienced more pain than I thought I could ever withstand. Yet He called me to be a witness to the truth that these things would come, no one, even a saved person is immune to the storms in life.
For I endure insults for your sake; humiliation is written all over my face. 69:7
His Word taught me that in those times of suffering I am reminded that His son suffered more that I will ever experience yet like His son I too could rely on His strength so that I could know He is indeed with me. He gave me a peace in times I should have lost my mind. He gave me a hope in things that were broken beyond visible repair to show me that He creates new life from things that are dead it’s called a resurrected life for a reason. He instilled in me a joy not from anything this world could give that came from a knowing He is with me. I wouldn’t trade a single day for living it without Him, for the things He has shown and made known to me and if I can only see those things by looking through the lens of the trial, the sorrow, the pain, the suffering they have helped me to see Him more clearly to know that I am never alone.
Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. 69:9
When people curse Your name I glorify it even more. When people spell Your name with a lowercase yet capitalize their own names I know who they consider to be their LORD. You blind my eyes to read their words, you make me deaf to their speech. You allow me only to observe and watch their actions to be a witness to what they do, not to judge but to seek. One only needs to lead with eyes that see the truth.
I keep praying to you, LORD, hoping this time You will show me favor. In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with Your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mud; don’t let me sink any deeper! Save me from those who hate me, and pull me from these deep waters. Don’t let the floods overwhelm me, or the deep waters swallow me, or the pit of death devour me. Answer my prayers, O LORD, for Your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for Your mercy is so plentiful. Don’t hide from Your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble! Come and redeem me; free me from my enemies. 69:13-18
I have prayed Psalm 69 in it’s entirety, a prayer my ancestor David once prayed. I can’t imagine the position his soul was in to pen these things but I know my own soul even separated by thousands of years can still relate to the things he wrote. When things look hopeless, when my world is shaken, when I can’t see past my tears, I turn to this Psalm to say the things my broken heart can’t find the words to speak. To remind me of a hope I fail to see with physical eyes but with my eyes of faith. It helps me to believe again, to hope again, to be reminded of the things my brother suffered and that in my own suffering I am not alone. In my own pain he endured as well. When I get to the end of the prayer my hope is grounded back in the God that does rescue me.
Like verses 69:30-34 say I will praise His name with singing and honor Him with thanksgiving. I please the LORD by offering sacrifices of thanksgiving because to be honest in those times the last thing I want to do is be thankful, be thankful for the pain, be thankful for the sorrow, be thankful for the trial, yet even James 1:2 said consider it “great joy” when we are faced with these things. For like my ancestors, those who came before us, these things were a precursor to seeing the glory of the LORD. I am reminded that I will see God at work in my life just as He has weaved this tapestry many times before and I will be glad once again. I am encouraged by my past victories to know that He will make it happen again even if I can’t see a way. He hears my cries, He does not despise His imprisoned people. If earth is my prison, and the time I have in this body my sentence, than I will use it to lead many to Christ with the testimony of own my life story that was saved by his own life.
There is a song called “So Will I” by Elevation and in it much like verse 34 it says “If the stars were made to worship so will I. If the mountains bow in reverence so will I. If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I. For if everything exists to lift You high so will I. if the winds goes where you send it so will I. If the rocks cry out in silence so will I. if the sum of all our praises still falls shy, then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times.”
For God will save Jerusalem* (In Hebrew Zion) and rebuild the towns of Judah. His people will live there and settle in their own land. The descendants of those who obey Him will inherit the land, and those who love Him will live there in safety. Psalm 69:35-36
When my mind is at peace with where I am because I know that God is with me I am saved. When He uses His Word to transform the way I think. Change my perception to see things as He sees them He is rebuilding me from the inside. He makes my mind a strong fortress from the enemies attacks for I also know it is from Judah that the LORD’s kings are born as Proverbs 21:1 says so a kings heart is like a stream of water that is directed by the LORD He guides it wherever He pleases. I can live and settle wherever He places me because I can trust that where I am is the life He has destined for me for as Isaiah 29:16 says He is certainly greater than me, the clay.
I trust in His infinite wisdom and power. He knows exactly why He made me this way and like Proverbs 20:24 explains the LORD directs my steps, so why waste my time trying to understand, trying to make sense of everything along the way? He knows the best place I will thrive and where I will have the opportunity and the amount of time to plant the seeds that will bring many to Christ.
My brother Jesus was called to save the lost, everyone from the tax collectors, prostitutes and drunkards, he lived his life with men people that probably wouldn’t be my first choice of friends like Thomas who doubted, James and John who had anger issues he didn’t call them “sons of thunder” for their calm demeanor, Simon Peter who denied him, Judas the greedy deceiver. Even Paul spent most of his life after being saved in prison so it’s safe to say he was called to save guards and prisoners. Then surely if the call on my own life is to bring the good news to the poor in spirit, comfort the brokenhearted, proclaim that those who are held captive by their sinful desires be released and cut open the bars on the minds of many so their Spirits can be free. No matter what I am dealing with, no matter where I am, no matter who I am with or what I am going through I can surely do these things for all that He has done for me.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud (of depression) and the mire (of self-pity). He set my feet on the solid ground (of His Word) and steadied me as I walked along. Psalm 40:2
|Posted on May 28, 2019 at 1:20 PM||comments (0)|
This morning when I read in Numbers 23:22 “God brought them out of Egypt.” It got me thinking of the “Pharaoh’s” God had freed me from in my life. The things He brought me out of like the addictions that enslaved me, the darkness that surrounded me, the ways of this world that I accepted as my own because I didn’t know His ways.
‘With the power of His mighty hand, the LORD brought us out of Egypt, the place of our slavery.’ Exodus 13:14
In Genesis 15:7 the LORD says to Abraham I brought out of Ur to give you the land as your possession. I always thought that Ur sounded like “er” as in the sound I would make if I didn’t know or have the answer to a question like “Er, I don’t know?” Perhaps Ur was a place Abraham and his family were wandering like a place with no direction, no purpose. Just “Ur I don’t know” living out each day wherever the wind was blowing. I lived like that for more years than I can count. I lived for Monday. I lived for the weekends. I lived for pay day. I lived to pay the bills. I had no big vision, no big dreams for my life, nothing I was striving for or hoping to reach. Just living in the land of “Er I don’t know what I want to do with my life.” Content to just be, just breathe, just wait to see where each day would take me and if it didn’t take me anywhere than I was content to just be where I was. No reason to change. No reason to move. No reason to grow. No reason to learn. “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur to give you this land as your special possession.” God brought Abraham out of a place to give him something better just as God brought me out of that way of life to give me a better way of life.
When his wife Sarah had Isaac in Genesis 21 she declared in verse 6 that God had brought her laughter because anyone who heard that they had a child when she was 90 and Abraham was 100 years old (Genesis 17:17) would laugh with her. Have you ever heard news that sounded so incredibly unbelievable your only reaction to it was to laugh? God gave Sarah a laughable story that even she could hardly believe in herself if she didn’t have Isaac there with her daily reminding her that dreams are possible with God no matter how old we dare to dream them or how long we dream them for. They had waited 26 years to receive the promise that they would have a child of their own.
At 13 years old I watched as my mother worked tirelessly till the day she was admitted into the hospital where she died 3 months later at the age of 39. I refused to believe that this was what life was about just working till the day we died. I made a promise to myself or perhaps God placed this promise in me that this would not be how my life story ended. On Friday, September 12 2014, was the day God brought me out of this world to serve Him. I remember that day like it was yesterday because as I pulled into my driveway it snowed on a blue sky day. People laugh when I say I retired from the world at 39 a dream like my ancestors that was 26 years in the waiting.
Rise up from the dust, O Jerusalem. Sit in a place of honor. Remove the chains of slavery from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. Isaiah 52:2
Paul tells Peter in 2 Peter 3:19 “For you are a slave to whatever controls you.” I was a slave to many things before coming to know my LORD and Savior. A slave to the world, slave to people, slave to satisfying my own sinful nature. Like my ancestors God set me free from the things that enslaved me in in one day but He brought me out of my chains one link at a time. One addiction at a time. One struggle at a time. One trial at a time. One trouble at a time. Till one day I could walk with my head held high no longer bound by the things that kept me wrapped in chains.
I will live among you, and I will not despise you. I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high. Leviticus 26:11-13
|Posted on May 27, 2019 at 1:25 PM||comments (0)|
The people are strong and tall- descendants of the famous Anakite giants. You’ve heard the saying ‘Who can stand up to the Anakites?’ But recognize today that the LORD your God is the one who will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the LORD has promised. Deuteronomy 9:2-3
There is a group of verses that my ancestor David and one that the descendants of Korah wrote in Psalms that I say to myself as a combined prayer each day in Psalms 27:1, 49:5, 56:3-4; 9-11:
“The LORD is my light and my salvation- so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? Why should I fear when trouble comes, when enemies surround me? But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. I praise God for what He has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? My enemies will retreat when I call to You for help. This I know: God is on my side! I praise God for what He has promised; yes, I praise the LORD for what He has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?”
The world did an awesome job in teaching me how to fear. It taught me that I should be afraid to fail, afraid to die, afraid of rejection, afraid of being alone, afraid of not being accepted, afraid to speak, afraid to stand up, afraid, afraid, afraid. Turn on the news, look at the internet and all you hear is reasons to fear, reasons to be afraid. It’s like its conditioning me to be afraid. So I spent most of my life afraid. I accepted the way things were thinking they would never change. I hung my head low. I didn’t make eye contact. I didn’t speak, fearful of sounding like a fool. I didn’t try new things. I didn’t address people. I was enslaved to fear until I read what Jesus said in Luke 12:4-5 “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, He is the one to fear.”
God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world. *(In Greek don’t become slaves of people.) 1 Corinthians 7:23
In a sense this is what the fear did to me, it enslaved me to this world, enslaved me to people. I worried more about what people said of me, thought of me, than I feared the thought of missing out on the destiny God had for me. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land and scouted out the place 10 of the 12 leaders came back with a fearful report that spread throughout the people. But two came back Joshua and Caleb and said to the people in Numbers 14:7-9 “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the LORD is pleased with us, He will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the LORD, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the LORD is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” but it was too late the people were already afraid. A fear so deep it was imbedded in my own DNA thousands of years later.
But don’t be afraid of them! Just remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all the land of Egypt. Remember the great terrors the LORD your God sent against them. You saw it all with your own eyes! And remember the miraculous signs and wonders and the strong hand and powerful arm with which He brought you out of Egypt. The LORD your God will use this same power against all the people you fear…No, do not be afraid of those nations, for the LORD your God is among you, and He is a great and awesome God. Deuteronomy 7:18-19; 21
Verses like this helped me to overcome my fears, helped me to embrace my place in a world that taught me to fear. The Word gave me the confidence and courage I needed to stand up and take what God had promised me. Fear is the enemy’s number one scare tactic but with the power of God the knowledge that I am loved and the self-control to do what must be done is how I get through this place 2 Timothy 1:7. I have learned that if the enemy can make you afraid, then he can paralyze you from doing the great things God said He would do through you. Jesus lived a life that he knew would result in his death to teach us that even God has power over your worst case scenario. In death he showed us that we don’t have to be afraid to even a fear as great as dying. We don’t have to live our lives as slaves to our worst case scenario fear Hebrews 2:15.
Paul said in Romans 14:7-8 that if I live it is to honor the Lord and if I die it is to honor the Lord so either way if I live or die it is to honor the Lord. So what does it matter if I die? Why should I be afraid of death? I am dead if I live my life afraid and I am dead if I live it courageously either way death is the natural order of life no escaping that price but Jesus said I paid the price I tasted death, it has no sting, it has no power over those who believe in me. So I live each day like I am dying because the truth is we will all die one day but we get to decide how we lived. Did I hold onto this life like it was are only life I had or did I give it away, lay it all out on the line so I had nothing left.
So when I read my prayer of why should I be afraid I think of my ancestors like Caleb and Joshua and David who choose to fight in spite of the obstacles they faced. Along with them I stand to take what is rightfully mine. I choose to rip open, tear up this gift of life God gave me with enthusiasm and joy. There is no wall bigger than the wall of protection He has around me. No enemy more numerous than the army that is surrounding me. No giant so big that God isn’t greater than. I know the enemy was created just like me, he has a Creator, he answers to, this world may be the prison he was thrown down to but he didn’t create it, it all belongs to God who rules over everything and everyone in it including him. God has the power to save me from death or to destroy the very life I built that wasn’t of Him. He has the power to heal me, making me a medical walking miracle display His glory in my life or take my life so that I can hear Him say well done good and faithful one, that was one heck of a ride. There is no river so wide I can’t get cross. No valley so deep I can’t make it to the top. One day I got tired of being afraid and I did things no one I knew had ever done and it has been a miraculous, wondrous, terrifying, powerful life and amazingly I have survived it, I am still here, still alive.
And they defeated (the enemy) by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much they were afraid to die. Revelation 12:11
|Posted on May 27, 2019 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
Follow my advice, my child; always treasure my commands. Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you would guard your own eyes. Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Proverbs 7:1-3
Every morning begins the same I rise from bed with the light of day pouring into my window so usually between 5 and 630am depending on my sleeping position. I feed my dogs “Faithful and True” *not their actual names, I got them B.C. but if I had this is what their names would be. They serve to remind me that like them I am a faithful servant of God. They remind me of my faithfulness to God and the truth of His Word. That the only reason I have life is because of my dependence on Him.
He gives me living water like I make sure my dogs have fresh water, He feeds me from His Word like I make sure my dogs are fed. He is with me like my dogs are with me. If I am on the bed they are resting beside me, if I get up and move to the couch they rise and lie under the couch to be near me, if I go to the kitchen they follow me and watch me clean or prepare a meal or eat from under the kitchen table, if I go outside, they go outside and patrol the yard for me. If I am out front they want to come out front with me, following me under foot as I carry bags into the house. Their interest are not divided, it is as if at times they were created to keep watch over me as I come and go. My personal silent sentries like Paul in Rome Acts 28:16.
As I prepare my morning beverages I am reading Scripture placed all over my room, in every picture frame, on magnets, pinned on the wall, leaning near the fridge. Their purpose is for me to drink in His Word before my lips touch the things of this world. Coffee is good but the Word is greater, it has the power to restore my weary soul.
I didn’t sleep very well last night, I spent half the night on the couch near the restroom so I wouldn’t have to wake my husband in case I needed to make a quick exit from the bed. So needless to say I was exhausted this particular morning. I needed to be fed before I could feed others so I turned on the TV and caught a teaching by Joel Osteen.
It was about how a seed will grow only if it has good soil. We can have a dream but if that dream is planted in a negative harsh environment like people who say it will never come true, voices telling you it’s impossible, it will never grow into what it was capable of being. We have to be careful on how we feed a dream. Are we giving it fertile soil to grow on? Are we believing in God for greater things? Are we doing what we can to ensure the dream stays alive? It’s not enough to wish and hope a seed into existence even a physical planted seed needs sunlight and water to grow. How are we making our seed our dream into a reality?
The last seed I planted was becoming personally debt free after God had set us medically debt free. We had a mountain of 60k in personal debt that needed to be overcome and on paper just paying the minimum looked like it would take years to be free of. We made a plan that consisted of not spending any more than what we needed and paying every extra cent we had toward the smallest debt than the next one till we could be free. Through God given self-control and discipline we achieved this victory in 15 months not years like we had thought. We have been able to keep ourselves debt free for just over a year now. A way of life neither of us has ever lived for half our lives.
I know we couldn’t have done it if we never shed light on it and made a plan in plain sight for us to see daily. If we never watered it with God given self-control and discipline. For every day we didn’t spend was one day we didn’t add to the debt. For every extra penny we put toward the debt was a day we were able to shave off time from the projected planned date doing in months what should have taken years. As a result I have been able to take trips this past year that we could never have afforded for me to take in years past. If God had not planted the seed in me that said to me if God clear us of medical debt, surely He can clear us of personal debt. He doesn’t want us to be a servant to our lenders Proverbs 22:7 He wants us to owe nothing but to love one another. Romans 13:8.
I would have never thought of this fulfilled seed Proverbs 13:12 today if I hadn’t watched this teaching and saw how it applied to my own life. Something that gave me the strength to think about my current seed in the ground and what I am doing to shine light on it and water it. After the teaching I was ready to share with others so I started by reading my devotionals and sharing my thoughts with H. Each devotional bringing to my mind a Scripture and how it applied to my life, here is one example.
Jesus heard this and was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found so great a faith even in Israel.” Luke 7:1-10
My mind recalls that this is taken from the story of the faith of the Roman soldier in Luke who tells Jesus “Just say the word from where you are and he will be healed.” That the reason he knows this is because he has authority over his people and he only need say ‘go’ and they go, ‘come’ and they come, ‘do this’ and they do it. I think of my own life and how God has said many things through His Word of me and yet for the longest time I didn’t believe what He said. I believed more in what people said of me than what my Creator, my Maker, my Father said of me. When I started to put more value in what the Word said considering it my truth that is when I began to live a life of faith that I have never dreamed I could live.
If God said He would do it, it was no longer a matter of if He would do it but when it would happen. If He said I could, I believed I could even if I did it afraid I thought much like the lepers in 2 Kings 7:3-4 when I thought to myself I am going to die anyway. If I stay here I will die. If I go there I will be killed so might as well die trying. What is the worst that can happen, death? And last I checked Jesus overcame that so what do I have to lose, a life of emptiness sounds good to me! If God said I was, I believed I was even if at the time I wasn’t any of these things He said. Just believing that I was made the difference for His Word to line up with my thinking and my doing and my being who He created me to be.
The Word has over 31,000 verses but I just needed this one to remind me of who I was. This simple thought that I would have never been reminded of if I didn’t make up my mind to read these random devotionals each morning. I read and share my own thoughts of nine devotionals the first two-three hours of my day, it is how I begin most days. Putting on the armor of His Word in my mind and in my heart so that when the stories remind me of the stories in my own life I begin to see how His story is my story and I am strengthened by it.
“Don’t be afraid,” he said “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.” Daniel 10:19
|Posted on May 24, 2019 at 1:25 PM||comments (0)|
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10
By worldly standard I thought being rich was an abundance of wealth and being satisfied is when everything in my life was exactly the way I wanted it but I learned that is not the definition of rich in the Word ways. The word rich appears just over 190 times in the Word. The first mention of it is Genesis 13:2 Abram was very rich in livestock silver and gold. Even His son was Isaac was wealthy.
When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than planted, for the LORD blessed him. He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow. Genesis 26:12-13
But I don’t think that is the same richness Christ talks about in John 10:10 When Asher was blessed in Genesis 49:20 the food he would dine on was defined as rich. The land my ancestors were promised was described in Numbers 14:8 as “a rich land flowing with milk and honey.” In Deuteronomy 28:12 the rain that the LORD sent that is produced from His “rich treasury in the heavens” I don’t think he was talking about raining down coins.
When Moses blessed Joseph in Deuteronomy 33:14 he was blessed with “rich fruit that grew in the sun and a rich harvest produced each month.” In 33:18 his brother Issachar is blessed with “riches of the sea and hidden treasures in the sand.” In 33:23 his brother Naphtali was “rich in favor and full of the LORD’s blessings.” And that is just in the beginning of what helped me to understand that being rich is not measured by accumulation of wealth. The Word helped me to realize just how rich I was.
…”But You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love.”… Nehemiah 9:17
I used to think that having more wealth made me rich but all it stole was my time, memories of my son growing up that I will never get to relieve or get back. It destroyed my marriage a step price I paid because when you spend more time at work than at home you have a greater relationship with your job. Relying on money as a measurement of my wealth proved to be futile for me as Eliphaz said to Job in 15:31 “Let them no longer fool themselves by trusting in empty riches, for emptiness will be their only reward.” My love of money killed everything that was truly valuable to me. But the wisdom of God offers both long life in my right hand and riches and honor in my left hand Proverbs 3:16 and it looked like nothing this world taught me to imagine it.
Riches won’t help you on the day of judgement, but right living can save you from death. Proverbs 11:4
“They will throw their money in the streets, tossing it out like worthless trash. Their silver and gold won’t save them on that day of the LORD’s anger. It will neither satisfy nor feed them, for their greed can only trip them up.” Ezekiel 7:19
So I took inventory of my life one day. Protection from the elements defined as shelter, utilities paid, clothes and shoes in drawers and closets, food in my three fridges and numerous cabinets, transportation paid, insured, reliable and gassed, relationships with family and friends are filled with love no division, jealousy or strife, health slowly fading and failing but that comes with age. I am not in pain and that I know is a blessing in itself.
True humility and fear of the LORD lead to riches, honor and long life. Proverbs 22:4
Now the word “satisfy” shows up a little less times than the word rich does, it appears in the Word about 35 times and the first mention of it is to describe the life of Abraham in Genesis 25:7-8 “Abraham lived for 175 years, and he died at a ripe old age, having lived a long and satisfying life.” May those be the last words I live to say that my life was both “long and satisfying.”
Proverbs 3 teaches me in verses 1-2 that I am never to forget the things the LORD teaches me. I am to store these commands in my heart so that I may live many years, and my life will be satisfying. In verse 17 I am taught that wisdom “will guide me down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying.” Wisdom doesn’t cost a thing, if anything I am the one to gain from it.
It is the LORD that satisfies my hunger, my thirst and my needs. His ways and thoughts are above mine so the way He satisfies them may not always be in the way I thought these needs should be met but should that really be of concern to me? Does it really matter in the big picture of things for me to understand exactly of how, where or why God does things when my life is in His hands.
I am taught throughout the Word that those who live to “satisfy their own desires” will live only to find reason to grumble and complain about life. God promised to “satisfy my needs” my response is gratitude for everything He has done. I understand that He doesn’t have to do these things His purpose since the day He spoke out everything into existence was for me to know that I was loved that He would provide and protect and that isn’t a promise He just said to say.
They all depend on You to give them food as they need it. When you supply it, they gather it. You open your hand to feed them, and they are richly satisfied. Psalm 104:27-28
The LORD spread a cloud above them as a covering and gave them a great fire to light the darkness. They asked for meat and He sent them quail; He satisfied their hunger with manna- bread from heaven. He split open a rock, and water gushed out to form a river through the dry wasteland. Psalm 105:39-41
The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in My name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” Psalm 91:14
Because of theses promises and numerous more that God made to me it turns out I do have what Jesus died to give me. Being rich and satisfied is not a worldly thing that can be stolen, taken and destroyed, the enemy may work hard to try to convince me of these things but it is a truth I already possess and that knowledge is not something that I don’t know anymore.
Jesus said to the people who believed him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
|Posted on May 23, 2019 at 5:50 PM||comments (0)|
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
From “In the beginning, God…” all the way to “May the (same) grace that was with the Lord Jesus be with all God’s holy people.” and every word in between is “inspired by”, written with God in mind. “The Word is useful to teach us what is true...” Before the Word, I learned what was true in the world. Through a compilation of people I trusted like family members, teachers, counselors, managers and supervisors, books and magazines, media outlets like TV, radio and the internet. Seems like an awful lot of confusing sources to find out what is true, what is truth. And half those things aren’t even true. Half of them were just opinions people had that may have been true for them but they were not true for me or of me.
“To make us realize what is wrong in our lives.” No one wants to admit the way they live is wrong so I didn’t think anything was “wrong” with my life I just had this feeling that there had to be more to life than the way I was living it. Seems like every direction I went in life, everywhere I sought to build a better way of life for myself always ended up going wrong. Sometimes through the consequence of my own foolish decisions, sometimes through the fault of others; I remember my first year of college getting kicked out of a home after 3 months not because I was a bad tenant but the people living in the room across from me were bad so the owner just cleaned house and kicked us both out since we were friends. I was just minding my own business going to work and school and trying to make a better life for myself and still ending up in the wrong.
“It corrects us when we are wrong.” The only example of a father’s love I ever had was a physically and sexually abusive step father for 8 years of my life. He treated me like his servant not his step child. Correction was being beaten, abused and mistreated on a regular basis. I lived under an umbrella of constant fear of authority. The truth for me was the definition of correction was being beaten to submission. So to think of being corrected by God who had the power to destroy my life whether I believed in His existence or not was a scary thought to believe in. The worlds’ way of correction and the Words’ definition of correction are two very different things. The Word guides, directs, counsels and advises words this world never used to correct anything or anyone.
“It teaches us to do what is right.” I remember being beaten for eating food from the fridge without permission. My step father or mother for that matter never sat me down and taught me the reason he did not want me to eat is because we only had so much money set aside for food. He never explained we had a food budget with so much we can spend on food and when the money was gone then we cannot buy any more food. That’s something I had to teach myself much later in life. The Word says in Isaiah 55:1-2 “Come and drink” as in all the wisdom the Word has to offer is free for the taking, it is an endless feast with the finest foods, it is an abundant source of knowledge and available to anyone who wants it.
“God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.” When the world was more important to me than anything the Word had to teach me nothing I ever did in the world or for the world produced what I would call “good work” it produced work. The world prepared me to make money and it equipped me to do whatever I needed to do to get the job done but nothing about working for the world would I consider to be a “good work”, it was just work. Not good, not bad just work. I grew up with one purpose in mind I need to take care of myself and work was a way I did that.
So how does the Word prepare and equip me? Well it is a manual for life. It prepares me for the things of life that will happen and equips me to handle those things when they come. Nothing I go through is new to humanity. Being human hasn’t changed much since the first humans existed. Like Ecclesiastes 3 wrote people are still being born and get this they are still dying living longer doesn’t excuse you from death. There is still planting and harvesting. Last I checked farms of every kind still exist and now people plant their money in the stock market to make it grow. There is still killing and healing. Still tearing down and building up. Still crying and laughter. Still scattering and gathering. Still embracing and turning away. Still searching and quit searching till you find what you are searching for. Still choosing to keep or throwing away. Still tearing and mending. Still listening and speaking. Still loving and hating. Still war and still a time for peace not much has changed in over 2000 years.
On top of these things like Galatians 5:22-23 says it even prepares and equips me to deal with people teaching me I have a choice to be impatient or patient, to treat others kindly or unkind. To be good and gentle or rude and hostile. There are still people who take pleasure in cheating others and people who are faithful to a fault. There is still such a thing as being loyal, that your word has value, it means something and can be counted on. We still have the ability to have self-control or exercise no control.
The good work I do when I am working for Him is that even when I am not working for Him I am working to please Him. Whether I am working for Him or others it is for His good. To seek what is good. I want to do good. I want to be good to others. If it is good, sign me up. Because that’s one thing this world needs is more good and He already gave us an instruction book that took about 40 people and 1500 years to compile into one place. It explains why we should do good, what we can do that is good and how to do good and that’s a pretty good thing if you ask me, because the truth is I never learned these things from the world.
|Posted on May 23, 2019 at 12:20 AM||comments (0)|
You guide me with Your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Psalm 73:24
When I didn’t know what God’s counsel was, I lead myself into some not so glorious destines. When I didn’t let Him guide me with His wisdom I guided myself with my own foolish wisdom and counsel like I was god. I knew what was best for me. My best interest was always what was good. So when that interest landed in places that weren’t so good that is when I looked to God. Help me! Save me! I don’t understand why this is happening? The truth is I am not that wise. I am not as strong as I appear to be I am a weak person with weakness so when I try to map my own way my own path when it failed as it did time and time again it’s because Spoiler Alert I did not create this world. For a time He does allow me to believe I am the creator of my world but He never allows me to veer so far off His path. Mess up His plan for me that I can’t turn around and go back.
Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Psalm 25:4-5
Sometimes the road He showed me I also disobeyed, I would say in defiance I don’t want to go that way it looks hard, let’s take this other road it looks faster and easier and ignoring His counsel off I strayed on my own path I went. Always having to double back and go the way He told me to go the first time. I would seriously have saved a lot of wasted years if I could not only learn to listen to Him but also to obey.
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 14:12
That death obviously was never physical but death to my defiant ways. The kind of death that required me to be humbled from choosing the wrong way and always returning back to God. He was right to call me stubborn in Exodus 32:9 before I knew me, He knew me better than I knew myself. I was impatient now it took me years to learn to wait. Impatience is another thing that has to die. It will be as God wills my life in His perfect time. My taking a faster, easier route will not make it happen faster it may take me twice as long to reach my goal if I choose that way.
Send out Your light and Your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to Your holy mountain, to the place when You live. Psalm 43:3
There is no place in this world I would rather be if He isn’t there with me. Jesus prayed that I would be where he is in John 17:24 so that I could see the glory God had given him because God loved him even before the world began. I have to believe that before I came into this world when God formed me by His hands that He also had in mind where I should for this place and time that He placed me in. Psalm 8:5 says He crowned me with glory so I would like to believe that this crown of glory acts like a head lamp that that lights up the path He wants me to follow as Job 22:28 this is a hope I imagine is so. That every life experience I have had was all meant to lead me to here.
He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name. Psalm 23:2-3
The LORD is good and does what is right; He shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them His ways. The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep His covenant and obey His demands. For the honor of your name, O LORD, forgive my many , many sins. Who are those who fear the LORD? He will show them the path they should choose. They will live in prosperity, and their children will inherit the land. Psalm 25:8-13
It took me years to figure out the path God would have me to choose. I would have never guessed it would lead here but I am more peaceful than I have ever been. Not to say this path wasn’t hard, it still had its fair share of trials and sorrows but it never took my peace because in spite of the stumbles I trusted in a God that loved me and would faithfully lead me as long as I followed Him.
|Posted on May 21, 2019 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
Give them someone who will guide them wherever they go and will lead them into battle, so the community of the LORD will not be like a sheep without a shepherd. Numbers 27:17
The other day I saw a family sticker on the back of a car, it wasn’t the usual stick figure type this had a large Dad sheep, a medium size Mom sheep, a small sheep grazing to the left of the parents on the windshield and a black sheep grazing to the right. I couldn’t help but laugh knowing how it was to be a lone sheep without a shepherd in the wilderness of this world.
…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 without 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
I never knew the importance that His guidance and direction provided in my life. I guess I didn’t know I was lost since wandering with no direction was my life. I thought everyone was like this that no one had a clear direction or goal. That life was just a struggle to survive not thrive. The companies I worked for gave me purpose 40 hours a week. They told me what to do and I did it. I never once asked myself about my own interest when I was busy building the dreams of others. At the end of the day my personal life, the other 128 hours of my week had no direction no planning, nothing I was striving for. I slept most of my time away and when I was awake I might as well have been asleep doing nothing productive with the “free” time I had just getting from one day to the next.
In 1 Kings 22:17 and 2 Chronicles 18:16 the prophet Micaiah tells the king “In a vision I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘Their master has been killed.*(In Hebrew These people have no master.)…” When I read that believers of God are scattered I think of all the people of faith that are spread throughout the globe. Just because they believe in God does not mean they live their lives with Him as their master. I was my own god for the longest time. I did what I wanted to do which was nothing good for anyone but myself. There was no higher authority over me until I looked to Jesus to be my shepherd to lead me.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36
Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. Mark 6:34
My life B.C. was pretty boring I worked 40 hours a week and slept as much as I could. I ate like a glutton. I drank like a drunkard. If I felt like it I maybe did chores as long as it didn’t interfere with my interest in the world. I shopped all the time though I was never in need of anything I just liked the high of getting a good deal even if I had more than enough. Truth was I was never content just to be still. Just to be at home.
I live my life a little differently now. Since I work for God my full time is more than just the straight 40 hours a week, it is every day and every chance I get to know Him more. After 11 years of studying the Word there are still things that surprise me. Food is not as important as it was, it’s true when Jesus said in John 4:34 the nourishment I receive comes from doing the will of God. I still enjoy a drink or two but not to get drunk as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 10:17 Happy is the land whose king is a noble leader and whose leaders feast at the proper time to gain strength for their work, not to get drunk.
I have a strict rule I like to call “Word before the world” it helps me not to get pulled into the trap of watching TV or surfing the internet all day. I was surprised how the world creates a trap of distraction to keep me from the things I need to be doing. I still give myself permission for these things but only after I have read my devotionals, given thanks, sang praise, watched/listened to a teaching, done my chores, ran my errands and written my blog. There was a season where I would also make sure I completed a bible study in my workbook and typed out the Word but for now those things have been put aside. I gave the world enough of my time and attention for thirty something years so now the scale has changed. I value my time in the Word over my time in the world because I know I have more to gain from it.
I am content to be still. I find myself humming a song of praise while I do the laundry or the chores in the house something I now make time to do once a day regardless of how I feel. I would rather spend an hour a day than waste an entire day on them once a week. I’m nothing like the Proverbs 31 wife but I am certainly not who I was B.C. and that’s what matters for Paul said in Galatians 6:15 that “what counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.”
I don’t always get it right and I don’t always do it perfectly but I don’t give up and stop trying to follow where He leads me. Psalm 37:23 says “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” If there is one thing I know is my Father is the God of details. Like Psalm 119:59 says I pondered the direction of my life…it had no direction and so I turned to follow God.
For the LORD is God, and He created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. “I am the LORD,” He says, “and there is no other. 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 45:18-19
And that didn’t sound like a bad direction to go so I followed.
|Posted on May 20, 2019 at 6:40 PM||comments (0)|
…”When you see the Levitical priest carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your God, move out from your positions and follow them. Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you. Stay about a half a mile behind them, keeping a clear distance between you and the Ark. Make sure you don’t come any closer.” Joshua 3:3-4
This morning I was honored to be a witness at a high school graduation ceremony. When the honors were given I couldn’t help but think about those who came before that crossed over things in their own lives that felt like similar to what my ancestors did when they were commanded to cross over the Jordan River and begin a new chapter in their lives. They had been wondering the wilderness for 40 years unknowing if or when they would reach a place they had only ever heard of.
Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great wonders among you.” Joshua 3:5
From preschool to high school is about a third of that time, 14 years and this is just the start of adulthood whether you continue on to college or trade school or take a year off and go straight to work, like I did. My sister went to trade school and got her data entry certification. She could type I still have to look at my keyboard to write this blog. My brother went straight into the work force from the time he was 15 and had not graduated high school. So watching their path from a safe distance did not prepare me for the stage I had crossed. It took me about a year to realize that I shouldn’t wait till fall to go back to school and instead made the poor choice of playing catch up by taking summer classes putting myself at risk of academic probation, proving that graduating high school with honors did not prepare me for entering adulthood.
God tells Joshua in verse 8 ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’
I watched as my siblings crossed over enter adulthood and my sister did pretty well for herself but my brothers path would be filled with God’s favor proving it didn’t take a degree to have knowledge when you had the wisdom and counsel of those who were willing to show you how to do what they went to school for. Their feet got wet in adulthood and I was still testing the waters to see if it was cold. I didn’t want to stop and see if it would warm up I just wanted to begin this life I had heard was called being an adult.
Joshua gathers the people and announces to them “Come and listen to what the LORD your God says.” But I listened to what the world said with no direction from God so it’s as if I began another season in the wilderness, unsure and scared and unknowing of what the future held. Joshua tells them in verse 10 “Today you will know that the living God is among you. He will surely drive out… and he lists their enemies or as I like to think of them as my personal struggles… Joshua says the LORD will drive them out ahead of you.” Instead I just learned to live with them. I thought they were just part of life. I never thought they were things I could overcome just things that were as Paul said thorns on my side.
In Joshua 3:13 he says to the priest “As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall.” They had seen the wall of water when they crossed the Red Sea but that’s not exactly how God would do it this time. To give you an idea, the keyword here was “upstream” like miles upstream. The town of Adam where the water stopped and the town of Jericho where my ancestor crossed is over 500 miles. It doesn’t say how long they had to get their feet wet and wait till it was safe to cross but I can tell you it took me a good two years out of high school and into adulthood when I actually felt like okay I got this adult thing down. School, work, shelter, food, utilities, social life. Man were those two years slow and moving, stumbling and wiping my knees and getting back up and trying again, finding out ways not to be a responsible adult, a course they did not offer in high school or college.
Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by. They waited there until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground. Joshua 3:17
The biggest difference I learned in those years was that me and my siblings grew apart; each of us going our own path, making our own way. They got me as far as they could, they even held the waters back till I made it safely across, the last of us to cross. There was no formal ceremony at the greyhound bus stop. I wasn’t handed a certificate of adulthood completion. No songs were sung in memory. No speeches were given as I pulled away from the first half of my life and entered into new territory. As the bus pulled into what would be my Jericho, I saw the wall of the mountains in front of me and with a deep breath to gain strength for the road ahead when my destination was called I rose up from my seat and crossed into my promised place unknowing there would be more battles to face. Crossing over was just the beginning.
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6