Thursday, February 26, 2009

WANTED - One Pair of Blue Socks

Don't you hate to lose something? Sunday morning I was looking for a pair of blue socks. I looked in my dresser, nothing but black socks. I looked in the laundry, nothing. I looked in the dryer, nothing. I must have a dozen pair of blue socks somewhere, but this morning they were nowhere in sight. Under my breath I uttered a simple prayer, “God, just one simple pair of blue socks is all I ask for. Please!” I looked and I looked and I looked as time slipped from my grasp. If I didn’t find a pair of blue socks soon I would be late for Church.

Finally I sat down on the bed and looked down in despair at the floor and then back at my pants. To my surprise, I realized that the pair of pants that I had put on were actually black - not blue. All of that hunting and searching, anxiety and drama for a simple pair of blue socks; when what I really needed was a pair of black socks.
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

God stopped me in my tracks that morning and made me realize how often I take off on a wild tangent hunting and searching, determined that I know exactly what I need. Looking for the answer. Looking for direction. Looking for help to get me out of a mess I got myself in to. Looking for…; and in the midst of my struggle, God is watching and waiting and whispering:
Be still, and know that I am God; Psalm 46:10

It wasn’t until I had exhausted all of my options that I finally sat down on the bed. It was then that the answer came, “You are looking for the wrong thing in all of the wrong places. Be still and look, I have already met your need.”

If you remember, the first place I looked for a pair of socks was in my drawer. When I opened the drawer it was full of black socks. EXACTLY what I needed! God had already provided! I was just too blinded by my wants to see that God had already met my need, before I even asked.
29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. 31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath. Deuteronomy 4:29-31
I praise God for His mercy! That even in the midst of our foolishness, He is there patiently waiting for us to be still and know that He is God! I praise Him for meeting all of my needs, even before I ask. What love! What grace!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Not to us, O Lord, not to us...

For several weeks I have been working my way through, "A Heart Like His" which I believe is one of the first Beth Moore study books.

This morning I made my way to 2 Samuel chapter 8 where we find King David is in the midst of cleaning house (I wish someone would come clean mine). Unfortunately, his type of cleaning house was not literal, but more figurative. David was conquering the surrounding nations in the land of Canaan.

In the prior chapter God had promised him that he would have rest from his enemies, but first he had to subdue them. As David experienced victory after victory in battle, he never became confused about the source of his strength. His strength came from the Lord. He never became self-confident or over-confident in his success. His success was because of the Lord. He never considered the spoils of war as belonging to him, he instead dedicated them back to the Lord.

At this point in David's life, he had all of his priorities in the right place. He didn't want to go anywhere that God did not lead Him. He did not what to do anything that God did not tell Him to do. He was a man after God's own heart. Everything that God placed into his hands, he gave back to God. All of the glory belonged to the Lord!

That's the type of life that I want to live. One where I know who I am, I know whose I am, and I know to whom all of the glory belongs. I want the words of my heart to be,
Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. Psalm 115:1
Lord, all that I have, all that I am is because of You! Continue to chip away at the rough edges of my heart until all that is left brings you glory! I offer myself to you as a living sacrifice, as a spiritual act of worship. May it be pleasing in your sight.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Captivate Us

There is a song by Watermark entitled "Captivate Us" that I absolutely love. It seems to describe what my heart is feeling so much better that I can do with my own words. When I listen to this song, my heart is drawn right into the throne room of God, straight into worship. My hearts cry is "Captivate us Lord Jesus, with You".

Your face is beautiful
And Your eyes are like the stars
Your gentle hands have healing
There inside the scars
Your loving arms they draw me near
And Your smile it brings me peace
Draw me closer oh my Lord
Draw me closer Lord to Thee
Captivate us, Lord Jesus
Set our eyes on You
Devastate us with Your presence
Falling down
And rushing river, draw us nearer
Holy fountain consume us with You
Captivate us Lord Jesus, with You

Your voice is powerful
And Your words are radiant bright
In Your breath and shadow
I will come close and abide
You whisper love and life divine
And Your fellowship is free
Draw me closer O my Lord
Draw me closer Lord to Thee


Let everything be lost in the shadows
Of the light of Your face
Let every chain be broken from me
As I’m bound in Your grace
For Your yoke is easy, Your burden is light
You’re full of wisdom, power and might
And every eye will see You

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Nothing Wasted

I have been working my way through the study, "A Heart Like His" written by Beth Moore. The study focuses on the life of David from his time as a young shepherd boy to his life as King over Israel. I am often time captivated by the words that David uses to describe God. Look at Psalm 144:1-2:
Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.

David knew his God - intimately. As a young boy tending his fathers sheep, he think of David playing his harp and singing praises to God. It was on those Judean hillsides that he learned how to pray and listen to God. Alone for long periods of time, he learned to rely on God and God alone. When a wild animal would attack, David would call upon the Lord for strength and deliverance.

God was using that time preparing him for what He had prepared for him. When David was 15, the Prophet Samuel would anoint him as the next King of Israel while Saul was still on the throne. And yet, it would be another 15 years before he actually ascended to the throne.

What happened during that time, more of the same. Conflict, betrayal, running, separation, loneliness, disappointment, battles, bloodshed, broken promises (not from God), heartache and deception were all a part of those 15 years of training. And yet, God used them all to mold David into a man after Gods own heart.

  • You'll never know God as Lord, until you've humbled your heart in submission to Him in prayer. He is the one true God.
  • You'll never know God is your Rock, until you've needed him to help you stand!
  • You'll never know Him as your Loving God, until you've understood the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross - just for you.
  • You'll never know God as your Fortress, your Stronghold, until you've had no where to turn, and He scooped you up and into His loving arms.
  • You'll never know Him as your Deliverer, until you have found yourself totally powerless and reached out to Him to do what only He can do.
  • You'll never know Him as your Shield, until you've been attacked by a brutal enemy.
  • You'll never know Him as your Refuge, until you've found yourself without hope.
All of the conflict, all of the turmoil, nothing was wasted in the life of David! No matter how difficult life became, His heart was always drawn back to the God that He knew - intimately. A God who was always faithful. He has never broken a promise. He has never gone back on His word. He can be trusted with our lives, our love and our loyalty - for all of eternity!

Like David, I pray that nothing in my life will be wasted; but instead used to draw me closer to the God I love.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sacrifice of Praise

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:15-16

We have a nifty little chorus that we sing on Sunday’s and it goes like this:

We bring the sacrifice of praise, into the house of the Lord.
We bring the sacrifice of praise, into the house of the Lord.
And we offer up to You, the sacrifices of thanks giving
And we offer up to you, the sacrifices of joy.

When does an offering of praise before our God become a sacrifice of praise? Jill Briscoe in her book “Prayer that Works” writes, “It means that, when you can’t praise God for what he has allowed, you praise Him for who He is despite what he has allowed.”

Job is a man who has given us a living example of this principle. In Job chapter 1 we see that Job is a man who had it all. He was healthy, wealthy and wise. He loved God and God loved him. God even called him “blameless and upright”.

One day Job’s world came crashing in. He lost all that he had except his wife and his health. His wealth, his children, his servants were all GONE, just like that. In chapter 2 Job’s wife suggested that he curse God and die, but Job would not. Instead Job tore his robe and fell to the ground in worship. Then he offered a sacrifice of praise:
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. Job 1:20-22
It took a real spiritual sacrifice for Job to lay his rising resentment, bitterness and anger on the altar and to chose instead to praise God. He didn't praise God for the circumstance, but he instead praised the God of the circumstance.

When life is not going well, our praise is a costly sacrifice because we have to give up our will, our expectations for His sovereign will. King David said,
“I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." 2 Samuel 24:24

What are you willing to lay down on the altar as a sacrifice of praise?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday #5

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

It's Thankful Thursday hosted by Sonya and I am so ready to get my praise on! Here are my 5 for this week:
  1. Thank You God for the blessings I cannot see. I just heard that line in a song. Think about that for just a second. I know that God is moving and working all around me; in my life, in my family, in my friends; in my co-workers lives. Though I may not see everything that He is doing, the blessings He in the midst of working, I know that He is and I praise Him.
  2. Thank You for giving me such a keen awareness of your faithfulness this week. You are faithful to you Word. You are faithful to keep your promises! You are FAITHFUL when my faith falters..., You are faithful!
  3. Thank You that yesterday when I was feeling down, overwhelmed, ad you reminded me that I needed to re-focus my attention. You led me to your Word and you showed me that there is NO one like YOU! You are God and alone are worthy of my praise!
  4. Thank You for my paycheck I received yesterday. You know our needs and you supply over and over again! True to your Word, "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
  5. Thank You for your unfailing love! "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,"says the LORD, who has compassion on you." Isaiah 54:10

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Who is like you?

O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD,and your faithfulness surrounds you.You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. (Psalm 89:8-9)

I praise You O God because there is no one like you. You are ruler of the nations. You are Savior of the world..., and you love me personally, individually, eternally. At your Word the winds and waves obey. To hear the words, "Peace be still" and to know that what once appeared to be totally out of control was fully under Your control.

Who is like you O God? No one! Not today, not tomorrow, not ever!

In Your Word you tell me, "Fear not, for you have redeemed me; You have summoned me by name; I am yours. When I pass through the waters You will be with me; and when I pass through the rivers they will not sweep over me. When I walk through the fire, I will not be burned; the flames will not set me ablaze." Why? Because you are the Lord, my God, the Holy One of Israel, my Savior. (Taken from Isaiah 43:1-3)

God I pledge to you today my undying love and heartfelt adoration! Thank you for being My God and for allowing me to be your child. There is no one like You!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Joy, Joy, Joy

Do you remember as a child singing the song, "I've got the Joy in my Heart? It goes like this:
I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart - Where?
Down in my heart! Where?
Down in my heart!
I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart- Where?
Down in my heart to stay

And I'm so happy
So very happy
I've got the love of Jesus in my heart
Down in my heart
And I'm so happy
So very happy
I've got the love of Jesus in my heart.

How can you sing a song like this and not get a smile on your face. For me it brings back some great memories of my childhood. I loved to sing my Sunday School songs wherever I went. In the bathtub, playing in my room, on the playground, it didn't matter. I loved to sing about Jesus.

The word joy is found in approximately 242 verses in the Bible. And yet look around. How many people do you really see who are living life joyfully? 1 Thessalonians 5:16 states it very plainly when it says, "Be joyful always". That's the whole verse - short, sweet and to the point. It's followed by another 2 word verse, "pray continually" which is undoubtedly the key to being able to live joyfully always.

I found an old devotion that my friend Daniella did some time ago. Here are a few of the things she shared. There are three types of people in our world, our community and yes, even in our churches. There are those who are:
  • Joy Impaired – These people don’t realize that true joy can be theirs. They go through life focused on just getting by, just getting through the day with the least amount of trauma and drama possible. The Joy Impaired have no clue what they are missing.
  • Joy Extinguishers – These people are just flat unhappy and set out to make sure everyone around them is just as unhappy as they are. They are on a seek-and-destroy mission and will set out to find you and crush your joy.
  • Joy Carriers – These people have the ability to breathe life into you just by their very presence. Seeing them coming your direction brings a smile to your face and it lifts your spirits.
    Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

How can you experience great joy in the midst of a trial (thank you for asking)? Here are three things that will help you experience true joy when the tough times come:

  1. You must make a conscience decision to focus on God’s goodness. When times get tough, count your blessings. Write down 10 things you are thankful for. If the joy has not returned, write down 10 more. Take your focus off of the trial and place it on Him. Before long, a spring of joy will start bubbling up in your soul. He has promised to never leave us, but to lead us through the tough times. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
  2. Reach out to bless others every chance you get. Be a Joy Carrier. Peter told a lame man, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." (Acts 3:6). The man left walking and leaping and praising God. Peter was ready to be a blessing to others. How about you?
  3. Understand that joy produces strength, which is why it’s Satan’s number 1 target. Nehemiah 8:10b says “for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” If Satan can keep you focused on your trials, focused on your issues, focused on your circumstances - he can beat you down. It's like attaching weights around your neck and carrying them with you throughout your day. But taking you eyes off of the circumstances and placing them on the God who is "over your circumstances" will bring you joy and strengthen your faith.

So which one are you? Are you Joy Impaired? Are you a Joy Extinguisher? Are you the Joy Carrier who breathes life into a room? We all need to make the conscience decision to carry the Joy of the Lord with us wherever we go today. In doing so we will find strength, endurance, maturity and lack absolutely nothing.

Monday, February 16, 2009

To the most courageous people I know!

I think some of the most courageous people in the world today are single people. Let me explain where I'm coming from. I've been married for over half of my life, so I've not spent a lot of my adult years walking in their shoes.

In the last several months that has changed. I'm still married, but my husband has been pretty much bed-ridden for the last 5 months. This means that I go everywhere by myself or alone with my 12 year old son.

What I've found in recent days is that this world can be a very lonely place for a single mom. Do you know what the loneliest place of all is for me - the church. You have to remember, I've been in church my entire life. From the church nursery when I was just a few days old to the church parsonage just after getting married. I have always been in the center of church life.

But now, I'm walking down a different path. Do you know how much courage it takes to walk into the average church in America alone or as a single mom with a child? After being in the church for so long, I'm afraid we have forgotten how it feels to be the "visitor" or the "guest".

Since leaving our last pastorate, I have attended the same church for the past 5 months. Do you realize that there is only one person in that church who knows me by name? No one else has even bothered to ask? It's been a very humbling experience.

Three weeks ago my son spent the night with a friend and I decided I didn't want to sit in church alone. So I drove 30 minutes away to visit the church of my very dear friend. As I stood next to her in her new church I was hugged, greeted and welcomed profusely. I felt like I was finally at home again.

The next week I returned to the very same church with my son and sat one row behind my dear friend (she didn't know I was coming and her row was already full). Do you know that not one person (other than my friend) greeted me before the service started. During the greeting time in the midst of the service, only one other person shook my hand.

Do you know how awkward it was to stand there and have the friendliest church in the world being friendly all around me - with everyone but me?

I pray that my experience over the last several months will serve as a wake up call to us all. Anytime someone new comes through the doors of our church, we must treat them as an honored guest. Please introduce yourself to them by telling them your first name - make it personal.

If they are alone, invite them to sit with you. Whether they take you up on it or not they will appreciate the gesture. Let them know that you are glad that they came! When the service is over, catch them before the fly out the back door and thank them for coming. Invite them to come back again.

To all of the guests over the years that I was too busy to stop and greet - I am so sorry. May I never forget how it feels to be on the outside looking in again. May I never be too occupied to stop and tell you how glad I am that you came. May I never forget the courage it took for you even to walk through the door. May I never forget.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Show Me Your Ways

Don't you just wish some days that God would come down from Heaven, sit next to you on the couch and tell you face to face exactly what He wants you to do? That's where I am today. It seems that in my life right now there are more questions than answers.

Will Randy get better? Will he be able to Pastor again? Should we sell the house? Will the house even sell in today's market? Will we get out of it what we need? Should we move closer to my job? Where will we go to church? What's best for Jonathan right now? You get the picture. Lots of questions with no clear cut answers at this point.

So what do you do when you find yourself overwhelmed by questions? How do you know the will of God? Wouldn't you know that in my daily study of "A Heart Like His", today's lesson by Beth Moore was exactly that (Don't you love that I had questions, and God started answering through His Word right away). Here is the method that she uses:
  1. I acknowledge my specific need for direction. Lay it out for Him in prayer. God, what do you want me to do?
  2. I continue to pray daily and study His Word.
  3. I ask Him to help me recognize His answer. God answers his children through His Word and confirms His will by His Holy Spirit. As I'm reading His Word, I specifically ask God to confirm with by His Spirit what He desires me to apply to my life.
  4. If I have any doubt, I ask for confirmation.

After completing my study I opened up my Praying God's Word Day By Day and found these words,

Our part is to believe God. His part is to Be God and do what is Ultimately and Eternally best.

Here is an excerpt from the prayer, "From one man You made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth. And You determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. You did this so that men would seek You and perhaps reach out for You and find You, though You are not far from each of us."

I can honestly say that I am seeking Him. I am reaching out to Him. And wouldn't you know that I am finding Him. His is not far away, He is so very near.

The 4th verse I've chosen for the LPM memorization challenge gives a clear picture of where my heart is at this time. Psalm 25:4-5.

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Though God did not physically come down and sit with me on the couch today, He has shared with me just the same. Through His Word, by His Spirit, He's confirming in my heart that He will show me what is Eternally and Ultimately best .

How can I keep from singing His praises when I feel so loved? I certainly cannot! God I love you and thank You for your extravagant love! Your faithfulness to me just blows me away!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

Take some time today to find someone who may be alone - a widow, a soldier's wife, a single friend and surprise them with an expression of love. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just a quick phone call will do. But let them know that love has not forgotten them - He's a prayer away!

This is my husband's favorite poem:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
Have a Great Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday #4

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

It's that time of the week again where we come together for Thankful Thursday hosted by Sonya. I was reminded today of a quote that I love. It is so very appropriate for this post:

The more inclined I am to applaud in His presence - the more inclined He is to provide an encore! -Beth Moore

Here is my standing ovation for today:

  1. I thank you God that I am fearfully and wonderfully made! What You see in me may not match up to what the world sees or even I see when standing in front of the mirror..., but I am exactly who you created me to be. You are the creator who made me, formed me and I live to bring pleasure to you! Bravo God! Bravo!
  2. I thank you God for being my mighty rock and my refuge. You are my fortress, my deliverer, my protector, my strength. You are my peace, my joy, my passion. All that I am, all that I ever hope to be is in You! Bravo God! Bravo!
  3. I thank you God for every good and perfect gift that you have brought into my life. Words cannot adequately express how good you have been to me. You've never given me what I deserved, because of your love, because of your grace. But instead you have given me your best - your perfect Son Jesus, salvation, forgiveness, life everlasting, hope now and for eternity. Bravo God! Bravo!
  4. I thank you God for "working all things together for my good". Oh, when I've been walking the hard road I didn't always see it at that time. But upon reflection, Your hand prints have been all over my life - from birth until now. All things have been for my good. They have molded me into the woman I am today, Bravo God! Bravo!
  5. I thank you for how far I have come and how far you have brought me. I thank you that as I look forward into my future, regardless of my circumstances, my future is bright because you are there! Bravo God! Bravo!

How about you?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Now Serving Number 36

Have you ever been to a bakery or a store where you were required to “Take a number and stand in line”? You wait patiently until all of the preceding numbers have been called, and then it’s your turn. When we finally hear our number called, we are definitely ready to be served!

Jesus had a lesson for His disciples in John chapter 13 about serving and being served. After being served the evening meal Jesus got up and removed his outer garment, put a towel around his waist, poured some water in a basin and began to wash his disciples dirty feet. Next He dried them with tender loving care.

At the table are Andrew, James, his brother John, Philip, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alpheus, Thaddeus, Simon, Bartholomew, Judas (who had already been prompted to betray Jesus), and an agitated Peter.

Peter watched with intensity as Jesus made his way down the line to him. “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Peter had no intention of allowing his Lord and Master to wash his feet like a common slave. But Jesus had a two-fold lesson that day for Peter and for all of his disciples (that includes us too).

To be a good leader we must be willing to be a servant first, never thinking ourselves better than those whom we are privileged to lead. Jesus was also preparing His disciples to move into the world serving God, serving each other, as well as the people whom they would share the gospel with.

I wonder what Judas was thinking as Jesus was washing his feet. Did it further stir his anger to see Jesus humble himself and do the work of a servant? I wonder if he could feel the love from the hands of our Savior as he washed the dirt from his feet. Those were the same hands that would be nailed to a Roman cross just a few days later. Jesus said,
15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. He followed it up with a promise. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Did you catch that? You will be BLESSED! Not may, but will! Sounds like a promise you can take to the bank!

Lord, place deep within my soul a servant spirit that causes me to want to serve rather than to be served. Open my eyes to opportunities to serve you more faithfully. Open my heart to opportunities to serve my brothers and sisters in Christ. Open my ears to hear the cries of the broken hearted and hurting. May I respond in gentleness and love as I tell them about the one in whom I serve. May they feel your gentle touch and and be forever changed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What a Day!

What a day! What else can I say. It started yesterday morning early. At 4:14 a.m. I am awake and staring at the ceiling. My mind begins to wander. I begin to dwell on things I shouldn't be dwelling on. I begin to fret over things that may never come to be. Going back to sleep is just wishful thinking.

I get up, at 4:45 and begin to check emails, read a few blogs, glance at the news. It seems as if there is nothing but bad news. I'm tired and my head begins to hurt. Throughout the day God keeps tugging at my heart say, "Cast all of your cares on me. I love you! They are not yours to carry!" And yet, my I can't seem to get out of the rut that I've become stuck in. Conflict, hurt, death, sorrow sadness, and more bad news.

By the middle of the afternoon, my head was pounding. I signed off from work early and headed to be to just lay down for a little while. What a day!

As I lay there, trying to close my eyes and get some rest, it hit me like a ton of bricks! I know why today was so different. I know what I forgot.

I'm a visual learner. If I can visualize something, see it with my eyes, it just seems to click with me. Several weeks ago I began something new in my prayer time. As I pray in the morning I actually visualize myself putting on the full armor of God.

I start with the 5 defensive weapons.

  • The helmet of salvation placed firmly on my head. This is meant to protect my head, guard my mind which is the greatest battlefield for a believer.
  • The breastplate of righteousness which is meant to guard my heart from a fatal blow. Covered by the righteousness of Jesus, I can withstand the slanderous accusations of the deceiver
  • The belt of truth tied snugly around my waist. The belt is the foundational piece of ta warriors armor just as the truth of the word of God is the foundation I have built my life upon.
  • My feet fitted with the readiness that comes gospel of peace. The peace that only God can give protects me as I walk through the battlefield of life. It will keep the enemy under my feet and out of my face.
  • My shield of faith being fully exercised. God is who He says that He is. He can do what He says He can do. I am who God says that I am. I will walk in faith believing, all the days of my life.

There's one more piece to the armor of God and it is the one offensive weapon that we have:

  • The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God! When Jesus was tempted he struck back with the Word of God. When we speak God's word according to his will, there is no power in the universe who can withstand it!

How could I go out into the battlefield of life without being fully equipped? I did and my day proved why it's a mistake. I tried to do my Bible Study, but my mind was so full of other things I couldn't concentrate. Without the breastplate of righteousness every dart, every dagger of the enemy struck deep. When you're not guarding your head or your heart..., you're headed for trouble. You can't stand and fight when you're ducking and covering.

I praise God that His mercies are new every day! Though yesterday was a mess.., today was a brand new day! Yesterdays mistakes serve to be today's lessons. A lesson on the necessity of being fully equipped and ready for battle today and every day!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Feeling Empty?

Here's a Poem/Prayer that I love by Jill Briscoe. I hope you enjoy it too.
Fill all the empty spaces,
Heal all the hurts I’ve borne.
Give me the power to change my life;
I need to be reborn.
So take my life, Lord Jesus;
Know all my days I’ll spend
Investing in Your kingdom work,
Till life itself shall end.
Send all the power I ask for;
Give all the grace and peace,
All your present presence,
The Spirit’s sweet release.
Give all Your grand dynamic,
You want me to impart,
All this sweet enabling,
Please pour into my heart.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Revenge vs Restraint

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. Romans 12:19
When was the last time someone did something to you, said something about you, treated you unfairly or was unkind? How did you respond? Did you lash out? Did you return evil words or actions for their words or actions? Did you allow yourself to get drug down into the mud with them until you both were covered from head to toe?

In 1 Samuel 24 we find that King Saul is desperately pursuing David. He wants him dead! Saul is being driven by his own passions and evil desires. He is far from the man he used to be. Far from the Spirit of God. We find that Saul has taken 3000 chosen men and they are tracking David down. In pursuit, King Saul went into the cave where David and his men were hiding to relieve himself. David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul's robe.

Immediately, David was "conscience-stricken". The Holy Spirit got hold of David's heart, preventing him from doing anything further. Why? Because even though Saul was walking in rebellion, he was still the anointed King of Israel.

It's hard when someone we love, someone we trust, someone in authority over us treats us unfairly or betrays us. In my flesh, I'll tell you the truth, the first thing I want to do is get even. Make them pay for what they have done. Give them a taste of their own medicine. But that's not what David did. David's heart was pricked by the Holy Spirit and he was called to give grace where grace wasn't deserved. Isn't that what God has done for me?

David had the opportunity to end this drama once and for all and take his place as King over Israel. And yet, he showed great restraint. David respected God and desired to honor Him more than he desired revenge. What he did was out of respect for God and respect for the role of the King of Israel, not Saul. God's cause, God's timing, God's will, God's plan required David to be obedient and allow God to remove Saul from his place of leadership. It was God who would establish David as the next King of Israel, not David.

David did not excuse or absolve Saul for his sins against David, but instead said, "May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you." David chose to allow "God to be God" over his circumstances and not to take matters into his own hands. He was willing to submit to the Holy Spirit of God. He yielded his will to God's will and trusted that God was at work in both of their lives.

What will you do with the person who has hurt you? What will you say to them? How will you move forward from here?
  1. Listen to the Holy Spirit when he "pricks your heart". David found himself suddenly aware that his actions were displeasing to God.
  2. Change your behavior. When David's heart was pricked, he immediately stopped what he was doing. He did no harm to Saul.
  3. Exercise Restraint. David had the perfect opportunity to exact revenge, but he didn't do it. Instead he turned Saul over to the Lord. He allowed God to deal justly with Saul, in His timing not David's.
  4. Honor God with your actions. Beth Moore said, "If you are willing to honor a person our of respect for God, you can be assured that God will honor you."
God is always faithful!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday #3

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

It's that time of the week again where we come together for Thankful Thursday hosted by Sonya. It's been another week of tremendous blessings, but I'm only allowed 5. So here we go:

  1. After 4 months of being virtually bed-ridden, Randy has had 3 days of no back pain! Words cannot adequately express the joy and thanksgiving bubbling up in my heart. We don't call Him the Great Physician for nothing! God still heals!
  2. Tonight at dinner I opened up my fortune cookie and it said, "You hold the wisdom of the ages in your hands." I don't know what they were referring to..., but every time I take my Bible and open it up I am doing just that! Thank You God for the wisdom you share with me every day.
  3. This week I have reconnected with friends I haven't seen or heard from in 20 years. How fun to rekindle friendships and see the different paths that God has led us down. It's a blessing to see the legacy of faith that is being passed from generation to generation. Thank You God!
  4. I am so thankful for my sister (or my "much older sister" as I like to call her). Growing up we shared a room and on occasion I could be a bit of a brat. But once we were both married and out of the house, our friendship began to bloom. There is no one I respect and love more than Melani. She is the picture of a godly wife and mother and I am in awe of her.
  5. I am so grateful for my job. I have worked for the same company for 21 years, the last 7 1/2 from at home in my pajamas. I always wanted to be a stay at home mom, but good health insurance was a must. God gave me the best of both worlds. He is so good to us!
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15
Blessings - Lisa

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Having a rough day? Feel like Satan is nipping at your heels? Did you get some bad news? Were you disappointed by someone today? Did you just wake up in a grumpy mood?

If the answer to one of these questions is yes..., or the answer to all of these questions is no..., it's time to offer up a sacrifice of praise!

David was being hunted by King Saul. No matter where he went, no matter what he did, Saul wanted him D-E-A-D, dead! David is living his life on the run, one step in front of a madman and his army. Can you even imagine? Talk about your bad day!

How did David respond?
I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, O LORD, for it is good. For he has delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes. Psalm 54:6-7
Think about that..., a freewill offering. When I was growing up and the Pastor said he was going to be taking up a "freewill offering", he expected everyone to reach for their wallets. Deuteronomy 16 tells us that a freewill offering during the Feast of Weeks was to be an offering that you gave in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you.

Here David, in spite of his circumstances, was giving God a free will offering of PRAISE! Can you imagine offering up a praise offering in proportion to the blessings you've been given?

One thing I do know, whenever I take the focus off of my situation.., off of my most pressing circumstance and place it on my Lord, my perspective begins to change. It's like closing one eye and taking a half dollar and holding it in front of your open eye. That half dollar can capture your entire focus. But begin to pull that half dollar away, inch by inch, and it begins to diminish in size.

That's how it is when we shift our focus off of the ugliness of the day, off of the pain and hurt and begin praising the one who is worthy of our Praise! Like the old hymn says,

Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim. In the light of His glory and grace.

A Special Award

Beth over at An instrument 4 his glory gave me this sweet award! It is called the Promixity Award. My very first! Thank you, Beth.

The citation which read: These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!

There's an instruction that comes with this award. Deliver this award to 8 bloggers who must choose 8 more and include this text into the body of their award.

My list includes:

Heather - A Woman's Worth

Patty - God is Able

Kristen - Over the Backyard Fence

Beth - Just Me...

Holly - Crown Laid Down

Micey - Thoughts and Confessions of a Girl Who Loves Jesus

Mariah - Pure Joy

Bethanne - Waiting For The Shout

These women share the attributes of a true friend. They have brought joy and encouragement to my life. Isn't it amazing how you can have an impact on the life of someone whom you have never met in person... God Bless You All!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I'm not sure if you've ever been to the Garden of Gethsemane. It's a beautiful and memorable place to visit. If you were to go there today you would find some very, very old olive trees. Some are believed to be from the very time period when Jesus prayed in this now famous garden, the night of His betrayal.

In my study today I read a passage of scripture from Psalm 52. David is being pursued by King Saul, a man who by now is totally out of control. Saul has ordered the death of the people of Nob, including the men, women, children, infants and animals. 85 priests of the Lord were slain that day. Saul's reason - because he believed the people were siding with David against him.

In Psalm 52, David began to turn God loose on this despicable man. He spoke of the ruin that would come his way. A man who trusted in his wealth which was obtained by destroying others. In vs. 8, David drew a stark contrast between King Saul with himself.
But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.
Where did David place his trust? - In God!
Where did David place his hope? - In God!
Who did David give all of his praise? - To God!

He described himself as an olive tree. Do you realize that the olive tree is one of the longest living trees? There are many olive trees in Israel today that are 1600-2000 years old. The most fascinating thing about these trees is the fact that they are still producing fruit! Was it any coincidence that David chose that tree to describe himself? Absolutely not!

He was being pursued by a madman, and yet his unwavering faith in God was on display for all to see. In the midst of horrendous heartbreak over the death of the priests of Nob, the innocent women and children, David continued to trust in God. The more David exercised his faith, like the olive tree his roots grew deeper. Instead curling up in the corner of his cave in the fetal position refusing to come out, David's faith became more resolute. In fact, it flourished.

Even today, some 3000 years later, that olive tree of faith planted by David is bearing fruit in the lives of those who read his many Psalms. Where are you putting your hope? Are you like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God?

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

Blessings - Lisa

Monday, February 2, 2009

Talk to - Not About

Tomorrow will be my one month blogging anniversary! Woooo-Hooooo!!!! Blogging has become such a blessing in my life. I enjoy sharing what God has been sharing with me, writing about my trials and triumphs, and just talking about my God!! I have enjoyed meeting so many women of faith who are out there - living the life - doing the thing - being Jesus with skin on. What an awesome privilege to be able leave an encouraging comment on the blog of someone who is struggling, someone I may never meet in person. Blogging has been a truly amazing experience!

With all of that said, how can something this wonderful not be a good thing? Well let me explain. Over the last several days God has been whispering in my ear the same thing over and over again. "You spend more time talking about me, than you do talking with me..." OUCH! In all of the excitement of something new, something wonderful, something fulfilling, I somehow took my eye off of the prize. I lost focus.

Somewhere along the way I got wrapped up in "How many hits did I get today?", "Where are they from?", "Did they leave a comment?" I feel so ashamed. I feel like Martha when Jesus said to her,
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42)

It's as if the Lord is saying to me, "Lisa, Lisa..., when did this become about you?" Man! I hate when that happens. Why do I do the things that I hate and not do do the things that I know I should do. Why am I so easily distracted? Like Martha, why do I still not choose chosen what is better.

I need to spend more time talking to the Father, not just about the Father. I need to crucify my competitive nature, my number counting, my insecurities, my flesh and follow the example of the Apostle Paul when he said, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

Thank You Father for loving me. Thank you for giving me a wonderful outlet of expression. A place where I can brag about you and share how amazing you truly are! Thank you for all of the new friends I have made. Forgive me for allowing it to somehow become about me. No more counting. I nail it to the cross and leave it there. Thank you for your forgiveness and grace! Thank You for missing our time together and reminding me of its importance. Thank You for drawing me closer. Oh how I love to sit at your feet and worship! I love you! -Lisa