Friday, January 30, 2009

5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. 7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. 8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah Psalm 62:5-8

Many times throughout the scripture we find David declaring God as his "rock", his "salvation", his "fortress". The Hebrew name for God used here is elohiym which is translated as the "one true God". David knew God intimately, personally and he would put his hope no where else.

David knew that his safety, welfare, prosperity, dignity, reputation, glory and honor were all dependent on elohiym and no one else. How else could a young boy with a sling and 5 smooth stones go out and face a giant of a man that had the army of the Lord quaking in the sandals? David learned early on in his life to measure the size of his obstacle by the size of his God.

When David was lonely or sad, stressed out or just fed up with being hunted by Saul he would pour out his heart before God. He would let all of his feeling and emotions just come flowing out. God was his rock, his salvation, his fortress.., he could be trusted with everything.

It's as if in releasing the anguish of his heart the sweet Spirit of the Lord would begin to refresh his soul. Time after time we see David's outpouring of emotions followed by a tremendous statement of faith, a declaration of who God truly was to David. You know, sometimes you just have to let it out.

Do you trust God enough to be honest with Him? Do you trust Him enough to know that He won't walk away from your, He won't leave you? Do you grasp how much Jesus loves you? He is just crazy about you! Verse 8 says, "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." God just brought to my mind the words to an old hymn that I haven't heard in years.

Tell It To Jesus - by Edmund S. Lorenz
Are you weary, are you heavy hearted?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Are you grieving over joys departed?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Chorus - Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that’s well known.
You’ve no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Do the tears flow down your cheeks unbidden?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Have you sins that to men’s eyes are hidden?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Do you fear the gathering clouds of sorrow?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Are you anxious what shall be tomorrow?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Are you troubled at the thought of dying?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
For Christ’s coming kingdom are you sighing?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Whatever you may be going through today, tell it to Jesus. He know you. He loves you. He cares. Pour out your heart to Him. He can be trusted.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday #2

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

It's time for Thankful Thursday again. Thank You Sonya for hosting. It's amazing when I sit down and start thinking about what my 5 will be this week, my heart begins to overflow. Here goes:
  1. I am thankful for the snow this week (yes you heard this California girl right). Tuesday night we received about 8" of fresh snow. Though I often complain about the cold weather, I thoroughly enjoyed being outside as we dug out the driveway. When everything around you is white and fresh and clean, it's just so peaceful. It's as if there is a stillness in the air and you can just take in the beauty of the moment. It was definitely a God Stop for me this week
  2. I am thankful that after working all day and cooking dinner, I don't have to think about the mess in the kitchen and the dirty dishes. It really makes me feel appreciated and loved by my family when my guys say, "Go sit down, we'll take care of this." Thank you both!
  3. I am thankful for the new Christian sisters & siestas I meet each day online. You challenge and encourage me as I read what God is showing you, teaching you and just how much He loves you. Thank you for the comments you leave on this blog that make me smile.
  4. I am thankful for songs that at just the right moment draw my heart straight into worship.
  5. I am thankful for the safety of those I love. So many accidents on the slippery roads. Thank you God for your protection.

I know your hearts must be busting at the seams with Thanksgiving. Feel free to leave at least leave one thing you're thankful for in the comments.

Blessings - Lisa

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hiding Place

I grew up in a neighborhood with lots of kids. From the moment we got home from school until the street lights came on we were in the front yards playing. We would only stopped long enough to grab a quick bite of dinner when our mothers would holler at us from the porch. Whether it was a game of whiffle ball, freeze tag or jump rope, everyone joined in.

My favorite game that we would play was hide and seek. We would lay down the ground rules, everyone would yell, "not it" and the last one to be heard was the unlucky person who had to do the seeking. The person who was it would be told to cover their eyes and count to 50 while everyone else ran and hid.

In the Fernandez's yard there was a great big, thick bush that only I could fit behind. I was the youngest and smallest kid on our block. Even if someone should find me me there, they couldn't reach through the branches and tag me without getting poked and scratched. If they were brave (or desperate) enough to try, I would wiggle and squirm until their arms were all scratched up and bleeding. Most of the time they would just give up and chase someone else. It was the best hiding place ever!
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah Psalm 32:7

Have you ever(or maybe recently is a better choice of words) found yourself in a mess, wishing you could find a place to hide? In Psalm 32, King David is in a pickle. He had committed adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah's wife. In an attempt to cover up his sin, he had Uriah sent to the front lines of battle where he was killed in service to the King. When confronted by his sin, David poured out his heart in confession before God and was forgiven, his guilt removed.

David no longer felt the need to hide from God in shame, but instead declared God as his hiding place, his place of protection. When temptation and trouble would come his way, God would be his protector. Trouble could not reach in and grab David. God was his deliverer.

While hidden David would hear the sounds of a victorious battle cry, shouts of joy, songs of deliverance as God would surround his beloved child with His unfailing love. Oh the joy of a heart that's been forgiven. Oh the grace that flows freely down. Oh the peace of resting in His presence.

That big thick bush in my neighbors yard was a great place to hide when I was young. It protected me from the big kids as they tried to take me down. But as an adult, as a follow of Christ I need so much more. I need a deliverer. I need a protector. I need a Savior. He is my hiding place.
He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge... Psalm 144:2

Blessings - Lisa

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Always Planning

I am a planner by nature. I want to plan out all of the details. What time are we leaving? What time will we get there? Where are we going to stay? How long will we be there? You get the picture. Planning and schedules have always been a part of my life. I guess you could say that I've lived by the motto, "He who fails to plan, plans to fail".

I remember when I was young girl laying on my bed planning out my future. I was going to finish college(I was going to be a Psychologist), meet and marry the man of my dreams (he was going to be a professional baseball player) and have 2 children (twin boys preferably although a boy and a girl would be find). It makes me laugh to think about it now.

Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the LORD's purposethat prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

Where would those plans have taken me? Would I have been happy? Would I have served the Lord faithfully? I can say with all of my heart that I am so grateful that God has a plan and a purpose for my life and it's His purpose that prevails.

The word 'prevails' comes from the Hebrew word 'quwm' whose meaning includes, " to establish, stand, confirm, stablish, accomplish". There's something about those words. It just gives me quiet confidence to know that no matter how bad I may have messed up today, God's purpose will be accomplished in my life. His plans are bigger than mine. His will is stronger than mine. His purpose is greater than mine.

That's how I know that I can, " Trust in the LORD with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding; in all my ways acknowledge him, and he will make my paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6 )

Thank You God for loving me enough to say no when I asked for something that wasn't to be. Thank You for knowing what is best and for leading me to it. You are God Most High and more than worthy of my love, adoration and devotion. May your purpose prevail...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

And Yet God...

How can I say Thank You to a God who has heard my hearts cry? How can I say Thank You to a God who continues to show me just how much He loves me? How...?

The last six months I have been on a journey. We as a family have gone through some of the loneliest times we have ever experienced. Times of discouragement, loss, sadness, betrayal, rejection and pain. "And yet..., GOD "- that says it all! And yet God has been blessing in miraculous ways. And yet God has been my source of strength. And yet God has been my hope. And yet God has been pouring out His love over and over again. And yet God has been ministering to my soul like never before (or at least in a very long time).

Max Lucado says, "When all Hell breaks loose..., All of Heaven draws near". It is sooo true! What do you do when everything that you thought yourself to be has been all stripped away. The titles, the roles, all gone. What is left as you stand there in your nothingness? What's left is a woman and her God! What's left is a partially molded piece of clay, that in the Masters hand can become a masterpiece.

In June of 2007 Randy resigned as Pastor from our church in CA to take an Associates position at a church in IN. We arrived with the hopes of planting churches, seeing lives changed, and serving in a Great church. What we found in the following weeks was a church in turmoil. In October the church split in half as more than 250 people left. Over the following months, forgiveness and reconciliation could not be found. Two fractured bodies continued to bicker and fight and the hurt continued to spread. Wounded warriors, broken hearts, crushed spirits could not be overcome. Numbers continued to fall as Satan continued to wreak havoc in both places. In April the church could no longer pay the staff and the Pastor went on sabbatical never to return. In August we resigned as well, no longer able to fight the good fight to turn things around. Too much hurt. Too much pain. No more strength.

How can you look back at something like this and say that it was good? You can't. There was nothing good about it. But I can look back and say that because of what has happened, I love Jesus more now than I ever have. Going to church is not about being the Pastors wife. It's not about being the Sunday School Teacher. It's not about everyone knowing my name or even seeing my friends. It's once again all about Jesus, the way it is supposed to be.

As I look back over the last 18 months, where the journey has taken us, all I can say is, "And yet God....." My heart is so full of love for my Savior who has walked every step of this journey with me, leading, carrying, sometimes even dragging. It's been a hard road..., and yet God.....

I love the words to a song by Chris Tomlin that maybe more eloquently express what my heart is feeling.

"How Can I Keep From Singing" - Chris Tomlin
There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring
And though the storms may come
I am holding on
To the rock I cling

How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing
I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives
And I will walk with You
Knowing You'll see me through
And sing the songs You give
If you do not have this type of relationship with God, won't you turn to Him today. Life can be so hard, and yet God! From a fellow sojourner, it's a journey worth taking!
Blessings - Lisa

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What makes a friendship a good one?

I hope at this time in your life that you have surrounded yourself with good friends. Through the years I have have had many friends. Some have been in my life for a short time, others for many years. But the ones I treasure most are the ones who, it's almost as if our hearts have been stitched together with an unbreakable strand of golden thread.

This morning I was reading in 1 Samuel chapter 18 about the friendship between David and Jonathan. David was the shepherd boy from Bethlehem that had been anointed by Samuel the prophet as the next King of Israel while Saul was still the King. God told Samuel, "Rise and anoint him; he is the one." (1 Sam. 16:12) Jonathan on the other hand is the son of King Saul, heir apparent to the throne of his father. With those two descriptions alone you would expect these two young men to be enemies, but God definitely had another plan.
1 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father's house. 3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. (1 Samuel 18:1-4)
Talk about becoming 'fast friends'. In fact, their friendship is one of the deepest and closest friendships recorded throughout the pages of the Bible. The footnotes in my Bible talk about what made their friendship so special:
  1. They based their friendship on commitment to God, not just to each other.
  2. They let nothing come between them, not even career or family problems.
  3. They drew closer together when their friendship was tested.
  4. They remained friends to the end.

As I began to reflect on those statements, God brought to my mind that this is not only a picture of my friendships, but also of my marriage.

  • When Randy and I stood before our Pastor and friends in 1984, we made a commitment to God and to each other. We entered into a covenant relationship. A relationship that is meant to stand the test of time. That commitment meant something then and it means everything today.
  • Marriage is hard work. When you get two strong-willed people together there are bound to be disagreements. It took us quite a long time to smooth out all of the rough spots. Life will throw all kinds of distractions your way meant to conquer and divide your household. It takes determination to not allow those to divide you.
  • You must learn to pick your battles. "He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends" (Proverbs 17:9). Learn to forgive quickly and easily so that nothing can come between you.
  • Just like "testing of your faith produces endurance", testing of our marriage has brought us closer together. I love him much differently today than I did when I married him. Like gold that has been refined by fire, so has our love been refined.
  • I can honestly say that outside of Jesus, Randy is my best friend.

Jesus said it this way, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." John 15:12 If we follow this command, our lives will be rich with friends, good friends that will last the test of time.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Opinions..., Everybody has One

Opinions - everybody has one. Some when shared add value and insight to a given situation. Others can just add to the drama of an already discouraging moment. What is it that makes the difference?

David was a young shepherd boy out tending his fathers sheep in the hills surrounding Bethlehem. His father called for him to take some food to his three older brothers who were off to war with the Philistines. David left his flock with another shepherd and off he went with the grain, bread and cheese.

As he arrives at the battlefield, David hears the battle cry as the army is taking up its position for war. Goliath the Philistine champion is taunting the Israelites, defying them to take him on in a fight to the death. Winner takes all. David begins to ask around among Israels fighting warriors, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" David's older brother Eliab over hears his conversation and it is now "game on"!

28 "When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle." (1 Samuel 17)

I don't know if any of you are the older sibling in your family..., but being the baby I certainly have been on the receiving end of a beat down just like this a time or two. Eliab wasted no time in sharing his opinion of his brother with the other soldiers. To him, David was shirking his responsibilities at home, meddling in his brothers business, conceited, wicked and only there to be nosey and see what was going on. Eliab's opinion of his little brother David had been made perfectly clear.

Are you listening to an Eliab today? Are you allowing someone to make you feel like you are, stupid, ugly, unworthy, not loved or _________ (you fill in the blank). Let me encourage you today to take God's Word over the opinions of others. What does the Bible say?
  • "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:14
  • "...Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1
  • "But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children" Psalm 103:17
  • But the woman who loves God is known by God. 1 Corinthians 8:3

God knows us! He loves us! He created us just like we are and He calls us wonderful!

Like David, we must take God's Word over the opinions of others. David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him." He went out and killed that giant with one smooth stone and a sling.

Do not lose heart! Remember who you are and whose you are! You are a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday #1

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

I am joining Sonya for Thankful Thursday. Whether you are an active blogger or a casual reader, please take time today to think of just 5 things you are thankful for. Here is my list for today:

1. I am so thankful that each and every day I can see the hand of God at work in my life. He is providing for my every need. He is showing me His love at every turn. I love Him more today that I did yesterday and more yesterday than the day before.

2. I am so thankful that during a season of limited ministry opportunities, God has opened up a whole new world of possibilities via this blog. I am thankful for the opportunity to encourage and be encouraged by new friends I may never meet this side of Heaven. This has been truly amazing!

3. I am so thankful that when I prayed and asked God to once again give me a passion for His Word, He answered and held nothing back.

4. I am so thankful for a husband who sees things in me that I overlook when I see myself. He believes in me, encourages me, challenges me and most of all loves me unconditionally.

5. I am so thankful for the Beth Moore study, "Stepping Up". By taking the journey through the Psalms of Ascent, I believe I have truly stepped into the woman that God wants me to be. I can't wait to see where this journey will take me.

How about you? What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Calgon Take Me AWAY!

What do you do when you have "One of Those Days"? A day when it seems like you don't know whether to run, duck or look for cover. For me, today was that day.

Upon going to the Pharmacy I discovered that instead of putting $125 per pay into my health care flexible spending account to cover our out of pocket medical expenses, I filled out the form incorrectly in November and only put in $125 for the year. OUCH! That ones going to hurt!

I contacted Human Resources and was told that they had so many exceptions/corrections last week, they weren't making any more this week. The only way it could be done is with the HR managers approval. I earnestly prayed and drafted a very nice email, pleading my case and throwing myself at her mercy. The response - a firm no. She kindly told me that the mistake was mine and they were not making any more exceptions. I committed the matter to prayer again and responded, copying the Director of HR, asking if there was any way to get the decision reviewed. Again a firm no, this time from the Director.

Dinner time came and nothing but grumbles from the family. Why do you want to fix that? Can't we have something else? I modified the menu and ended up with pancakes with bacon and fried potatoes. It was something I could throw together on the fly and keep everyone happy. I asked Jonathan to mix the Bisquick for the pancakes while I got the other things going. When it was all said and done, the potatoes were mushy, the bacon was too crispy and the pancake batter was way too thick and once cooked tasted a bit strange.

Add to this some family drama, homework issues, general grumpiness, whining, complaining... you get the picture. You finally get to the point where you want to say, "Calgon take me away". I don't know about you, but that has never worked for me. Not once have ever blinked my eyes and found myself lying in a jacuzzi tub filled with very warm water and surrounded by bubbles without going in, rinsing out the tub and filling it myself.

How do we keep from living a life of "under the circumstances"? There is only one way that I know of. We must commit our hearts and keep our focus on the God who is "over all of my circumstances".
  • I do not have to live in defeat. Deuteronomy 20:4 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.
  • I do not have to live in bondage. Psalm 118:5 In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free.
  • I do not have to live in fear. Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
  • I do not have to lose my temper. Psalm 29:11 The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.

Did God know ahead of time that I was going to make a mistake on my form? Yes. Did I earnestly pray for Him to resolve the situation? Yes. Did everything turn out the way I had hoped? No. But one thing I do know, when I gave the situation to God in prayer I said these words, "Whether the answer is yes or the answer is no, I place this situation into your hands and I trust you with the results." I left it all on the altar of prayer. I know the Word of God. I know the heart of God.

I believe Romans 8:28 when it says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

In just a few minutes I will go to bed, close my eyes and fall fast asleep. Tomorrow morning I'll be faced with another day of both opportunities and challenges. Many of the things I will encounter will be outside of my control. But this one thing I do know - My God has it all under His control and I trust Him whole-heartedly with the results.

One last thing - Happy Birthday Tawana!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Trust and Lean

A couple of months ago my son and I spent part of a Saturday cleaning out the garage. The goal was to get the garage clean enough so that both vehicles could be parked inside for the winter. This was accomplished by moving much of the stuff that was in the middle of the garage to the shed that is behind our house. This shed is pretty spacious with a nice loft on top. Since we plan on moving soon, I thought it would be a good idea to throw all of our empty boxes I had been saving up into the loft and out of the way. So I had my 12 year old son climb up the ladder and into the loft to receive all of the boxes that I tossed his direction for stacking.

Everything was going great! The garage was now cleaned out with both the car and the van inside. This was nothing short of a miracle! But where was Jonathan? I thought he was behind me when I headed out of the shed for the last time. Hmmmmm. Around the house, into the backyard I went. The shed door was still open. Hmmmmmm. I walked into the shed to find my son still up in the loft too terrified to trust in the ladder.

I tried holding the ladder. I tried coaxing him down. I tried going half way up and helping to direct his feet. I talked calmly talking to him (I even lost my temper with him). Nothing could get him down from that loft. This drama filled event lasted for what seemed like an eternity. There was absolutely NOTHING I could say, NOTHING I could do to convince him to trust me or the ladder. He was too gripped with fear.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:4-6)

In my quiet time this afternoon God led me to these verses that I had committed to memory when I was much younger. I began to think about all of the areas of my life that I trust Him. Do I trust Him with my family - check. Do I trust Him with my job - check. Do I trust Him with my finances - check. Do I trust Him..., and the list went on. I began to search my heart to see if there was any area of my life that I holding back just a little piece for me.

My mind then went to the question, "How can you trust all of those things into His care?" The answer - because I know His heart. The word of God is so full of promises and assurances that give us a perfect look into the heart of God.
  • Hebrews 13:5 "... Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
  • Philippians 4:6-8 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. "
  • John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
  • Isaiah 41:13 For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
  • Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
  • Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
God wants us to trust Him with all our heart, in all of our ways. Instead of leaning on our own understandings, He wants us to lean on Him. When there is a decision to be made He wants us to trust Him to lead us in the right direction, down the straight path.

I'd love to tell you that I was able to talk Jonathan down out of the loft, onto the ladder and safely to the ground that day. But I could never get him to believe that ladder that wiggled just a bit would do what I said it would do. In his mind, with his understanding, he was going to fall straight to the ground. It took his father coming out of the house and saying just the right words, in just the right way to get him off of the ledge. What I realize now is that Jonathan still didn't trust the ladder. But he trusted the voice of his father. He trusted the heart of his father and he knew that if he fell, he would catch him.

That's what faith is. Trusting in the heart of God, even when you cannot see His hand. Leaning on Him and believing that even if you fall He will catch you.

Lord teach me to trust you with all of my heart, not holding anything back...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Give Us A King to Lead Us

My husband Randy has always been a political junkie. A speech, debate or political convention demands that all life in our household come to a silent pause as he hangs on every word, listening to the nuances, savoring the text followed by the analysis from the political pundits. Uuuhhhhhggggg!

As someone who sits back and listens, watches, taking it in, there are some things that have really concerned me. Yesterday I pulled out an old Beth Moore study, "A Heart Like His" and began to re-do lesson one. It was no coincidence that it led me to read 1 Samuel chapters 8-11. As I began to read chapter 8 something just leaped right off of the page.

Samuel the Priest & Prophet of God, Judge over Israel was getting along in years. As an old man he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. But they were not like their father. Instead they were dishonest in their judgments. They accepted bribes and perverted justice for their own personal gain. So the elders of Israel gathered together with Samuel and said, "Hey, this just isn't working out!"
5 They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.

What a sad day for the nation of Israel. They were "God's chosen people". He was their King! He still is the King of King and Lord of Lords! And yet, they would rather be like all the other nations. Just like everyone else.
6 But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."

As I watch the news and all of the festivities going on around our nation, I have to wonder if we as Americans have done the same thing. Day after day we see further evidence of America snubbing its noses in the face of a Holy God. We look to Presidents and Senators to get us out of the pit that we have fallen into as a nation. We believe that our elected officials have all of the answers that will "fix" the economy, "fix" our nation, "fix" our schools, "fix" our jobs, "fix" our families and get us going in the right direction again. No man, woman or king can do all of these things.

Instead of standing in the streets crying out, "Give us a King", we as a nation need to fall on our faces before a Holy God and cry out, "Father forgive us for we have sinned." How long will we look to mortal men to rescue us when what we as Americans need is a Savior?

President-elect Obama will tomorrow place his hand on the Lincoln Bible and take his oath of office. He will be handed over the responsibility of leading this great nation for the next four years. But unless he leads us to be "One Nation Under God", I can say with all certainty that he will be leading us in the wrong direction.

The United States of America does need a King! Revelation 19:16 describes Him as "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." His name is JESUS! For only Jesus can save His people from their sins. Please joing me in praying for our new President and Congress.

"The only way up and out of this situation is FACE DOWN!" - Beth Moore -

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Time for a Re-Framing

I visited the Living Proof blog this morning and Beth Moore has invited us all to be part of a "Group Hug" which is so uplifting to read.

It made me stop for a moment and realize how run down I have become this week with work and home and the freezing cold weather. It can literally just suck the wind right out of your sail. As you begin to work your way down through the list on the LPM blog, it's as if the Holy Spirit is re-framing your focus away from the business of the week, to the sweetness of the Savior. My second verse that I am memorizing this month is Philippians 4:8.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

It goes on to say,
9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

What is true? Jesus is Truth! He said it Himself, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

What is noble? Jesus is Noble! "On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." Revelation 19:16

What is right? Jesus is Right! "For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does." Psalm 33:4

What is admirable? Jesus is Admirable! "Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom." Psalm 145:3

What is excellent? Jesus is Excellent! "I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word." Psalm 138:2

What is praiseworthy? Jesus is Praiseworthy! "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." Psalm 52:9

Jesus is ALL of these things and SO MUCH MORE! He is my Rock, my Sword, My Shield, my Fortress. He is my ever-present help in time of need! He is Wonderful, Counselor, Everlasting-Father, Prince of Peace! Because of WHO He is, I am Blessed, Chosen, Adopted, Accepted, Victorious and Free to be who He has called me to be!

It's time to re-frame our minds. To re-focus the frame until everything becomes clear once again. As the song "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" says, "And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace".

I pray that the God of Peace has re-framed your mind and refreshed your spirit so that you can get out there and make a difference in someones life today!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Feast or Famine

I titled this blog, "Feast or Famine". For periods of time throughout my life that title could be used to describe my walk with the Lord. Let me use a Psalm of King David's to give you a better picture of what I am talking about. Psalm 63 was probably written during the time when King David fled Jerusalem to evade his rebellious son Absalom who was plotting to take away his throne. David was hiding in the barren desert of Judah and was so lonely for home, longing to be with the ones he loved. He wrote,
1 O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water
Do you realize that you were created for Worship? You were created to have a meaningful, personal relationship with God? Deep within the heart of every man, woman and child, He placed the desire to love and be loved. It's that desire that draws us to Him. It's as if we all have a God-sized hole in our heart. Nothing else will satisfy. David describes this desire as a hunger and a thirst - his heart and soul yearned to spend time with his God, just to be in His presence.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. 4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. 5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
How many times have you gone to church and the Pastor opened up his Bible and the words of his message were exactly what you needed to hear. Maybe it was a song that was sung during the Worship time that just really touched your heart. You couldn't get it off of your mind. It could be that during your own quiet time you really felt like God was speaking directly to your heart. It's as if you had been to a "spiritual feast" and the longing of your soul has been satisfied.

A relationship with God - a passionate pursuit - is like feeding my soul with rich, luscious foods every day. Do you realize that we were never meant to go on a "spiritual diet"? We were never meant to be satisfied with just eating crumbs underneath the banquet table. Why would I want to when God has a feast prepared just for my soul. He wants to spend time with me. He wants to lead me into a deeper love relationship than I have ever know.

Like David, when we have been to the banquet table we just can't help ourselves - our hearts are drawn to praise. Have you been on a spiritual diet lately? Have you been happy with just a crumb here or a morsel there? God wants to meet with you today! What are you waiting for? There is feast waiting for you at the banquet table of the King!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Maxine Believed God

If you open my Bible today to page number 1045 you would find a cross bookmark, crocheted for me by a very dear friend of mine by the name of Maxine McCrae. I keep that bookmark folded in the pages of my Bible across from her favorite passage of scripture in honor of her.

I met Maxine about seven years ago at my church in California. I'm guessing she was around 80 years old at the time and was no more than 4' 10" tall. Time had taken its toll on her and she stooped over just a bit as she walked with her cane. I'll never forget the first time I met her. I was standing by my husband and visiting with friends as everyone was filing out of church and heading home for lunch. Out from the ladies room came Maxine. She looked at my husband and growled, "There's no toilet paper in the ladies bathroom" and she proceeded out the door and into the parking lot. From that day forward I was a little bit afraid of her. I remember thinking, "What a grouch"!

Some time later the teacher of the Sr. Ladies Sunday School class was no longer able to continue and I was asked if I would be willing give it a try. I was so excited to be teaching again (even if the ladies were old enough to be my Grand or Great-Grandmothers). The very first Sunday as I was greeting the ladies and telling them how excited I was to be with them, in came Maxine.

It wasn't long before I began to look beyond her sometimes gruff exterior to see a beautiful Saint of God. Maxine loved the Lord and had served him all of her life. Her life had not been an easy one. She had buried two husbands and suffered through many difficult days. One Sunday I remember as she recounted to me that every morning before she put her feet on the floor she would quote her favorite Psalm from memory - Psalm 121.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Maxine recognized that no matter what that day would bring, God was her source of help, her source of hope and He would never let her down. She made sure to point out to me that this Psalm was full of promises from God and that we could trust in Him each and every day.

When Maxine would go to the grocery store, she would never miss an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus. If she heard about a need, she would slip a little money into an envelope and make sure it got to where it needed to go. I remember after hurricane Katrina her coming into class with a wad of cash and handing it to me. She said, "I don't know how to get the money where it needs to go, but I know you will find out". When anyone was going on a mission trip, she would bring in as many cross bookmarks as her arthritic hands could make to be given away.

Last year Maxine went home to be with the Lord. Her faith has now become sight. A blessed Saint of God who served, witnessed, shared, taught, loved, trusted and gave faithfully. I am so glad that God gave me the chance to go beyond my first impression to take a much deeper look. Each time I open my Bible and see that pink and green bookmark, I'm reminded of the legacy of faith that she has left behind.

What will be your legacy?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Trials + Testing = Perseverance

What a day! I watched for it, prepared myself, knew it was coming(but hoped I had been wrong). Times of great spiritual growth are most often followed by difficult times of trial and testing. Times that require you to put what you have been learning into practice. James the half brother of Jesus had this to say,
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Pure joy? Sign me up. Mature, oh how I want that more than anything. As a woman in pursuit of a passionate relationship with God, words like mature, complete, not lacking anything describe the type of woman I want to be. But I have to be honest and say that if the local college was offering a free course next semester that promised all of the trials and temptations you could stand, I think I would probably pass (pass meaning not taking the course).

During a recent stretch of difficult days that seemed to have no end, my husband came home at the end of each day saying these words, "And the hits just keep on coming!" Have you ever felt like that in your own life? Like no matter which way you turned another shoe was about to drop? How can we have that "pure joy" that James was speaking about?

If I come home from shopping tomorrow to find that someone has broken into my home and taken all of my things, I'm not going to be very happy. But when I take a deep breath and realize that no one was hurt, God had removed me from the situation and possibly from harms way, I can find reason to praise Him in the midst of trying times.

Tough times can teach us to persevere, teach us to stand on the precepts and promises of God's Word. It's times like this when our true character comes to the surface. I have a friend who always says, "Who you are is what comes out of you when you are squeezed". Think about that. Do trials, testing and tough times bring out the best in you..., or the worst? Do your thoughts go to "Woe is me..." or "Wow is God!" (as Jill Briscoe would say)?

Pastor Matthew said these words on Sunday, "A faith cannot be trusted that has not been tested".

Thank you God for giving me the opportunities today to grow into the woman you want me to be. Though my flesh may cry out, "Woe is me...", I stand amazed and declare "Wow is my God"! Thank You for turning an attack of Satan on my family into the blessing I have been praying for! What a "God thing"!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Contagious Attitude of Joy

This morning I was so looking forward to going to church. I had such a great week in the Lord and was looking forward to what God was going to do, what He was going to say to me. And once again.., when we seek Him, we find Him. He did not disappoint!

Pastor Matthew is continuing in his series, "You Got Game" (Game is an acrostic for Generosity, Attitude, Ministry & Eternity) encouraging us to all "Get into the Game". Today's message was on Attitude. Let's face it, we all have one. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but at this very moment we have one on display for everyone to see.

It's about A.D. 61 and we find the Apostle Paul in a prison in Rome, chained to a Roman guard. He is writing a letter to the saints at Philippi to thank them for their help and encouragement. Can you just imagine what the days and nights would be like in that prison? If I were in his sandals and writing a letter, I imagine it would start something like this,
"Dear friends at Philippi church. Thank you for all of the kindness you have shown me through the years. I'm still here in this dark, dingy prison. It's cold and damp here. The food is lousy when they remember to feed me and the guard they have me chained to is no cup of tea. Woe is me!"

But not Paul, Here is how his letter begins,
"2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
What is it that makes the difference between Paul's letter and mine? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that my attitude in my letter is being driven by my circumstances - where I am, what I'm doing, who I'm with. Where is my focus? When things around me are good, my attitude is good. When things around me are bad, my attitude is bad. What a roller coaster when we allow our circumstances to be our driving force.

Not so with Paul. Paul determined a long time ago that there was nothing more important in his life than his relationship with Jesus Christ. He said, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." How can he be in such difficult circumstances and still extend grace and peace to others? How can his prayer life be filled with thanksgiving when it appears that he has nothing to be thankful for? How can his faith be so strong?

I think we find the answer in a little 3 letter word - joy. Happiness is circumstantial but joy is relationala dn true joy can only be found in a love relationship with Jesus Christ. It's the type of relationship that causes us to have "inner delight". To know that God loves me and when I'm walking in fellowship with Him, my circumstances don't matter at all. The joy that I'm talking about brings tremendous peace, no matter what life may throw at you. It's a quiet confidence that knows no matter what you may see with your eyes, the battle is God's, the victory is His and everything is under His control!

That's the type of contagious attitude that I want to have! That's definitely the type of contagious joy Jehoshaphat had in 2 Chronicles 20 (see Friday's post). Even Job never lost his joy in the midst of great trials. It's the type of joy that just can't be contained, it anchored deep within the heart of a believer. It is a fruit of the very Spirit that lives within us.

I challenge you to be intentional this week. Examine your relationship with God. Find out what is hindering your joy, hindering your relationship. Let there be nothing between you and God except the blood of Jesus forgiving you of sin, covering you by His grace. Get your joy back! This week we all need to have an attitude that is contagious and points others to Jesus!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

In the Sanctuary

This morning I just can't help but PRAISE Him. Nothing exciting going on, good or bad, I just love my God and His praise is so heavy upon my heart.

If you've woken up a little groggy, things got off to a bad start, feeling a little down, click on this video and see if it doesn't get your Spirit singing along. Whenever we take the time to bless Him, we are the ones who get blessed in return!

Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD who minister by night in the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD. May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion. Psalm 134:1-3

Friday, January 9, 2009

J-phat Gets His Praise On!

I have loved, loved, loved studying 2 Chronicles chapter 20 this week. The text is so rich with nuggets of truth that I need to put into action every day. If you haven't read the last 2 posts, scroll down and catch up so you don't miss the blessing.

Yesterday we left off with Jehoshaphat face does in worship before the Lord his God. Today he starts his day, "Getting his Praise On" in vs. 20-21. What a way to start the day. He knows that the battle he is facing - it's not his, it belongs to the Lord. God has already assured him that victory is at hand. His response, J-phat gets together a group of men, forms a choir, and they start to praise the Lord. Can't you just hear them singing and shouting and praising God. Honestly..., what better way for the army of God to start the day. They were praising God for the "splendor of His holiness". As they walked to the front of the army you can just imagine the voices getting stronger and stronger as they recognized who they were fighting for. As they reached the front of the army they sang,
"Give thanks to the LORD,
for his love endures forever."
His love endures forever - did you get that? FOREVER! Verse 22 tells us that "As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against all of the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated". Did they lift a sword? No! Did they draw a bow? No. God caused such a raucous among the enemy that they slaughtered each other. By the time the men of Judah got there, the fighting was over and there was no one left standing to pursue.
25 So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.
Can you even imagine! Three days for this great army to haul off the goods that God had blessed them with. They had blessed God with their prayers, worship, praise and adoration. He blessed them with victory and the plunder of their enemies.

Can you take a wild guess what J-phat did on the fourth day? He spent another day with the men of Judah and Jerusalem, "Getting his Praise On"!
3 I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! 4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. Deuteronomy 32:3-4

Do you have a word of praise for our God?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Face Down Jehoshaphat

If you haven't read yesterdays blog, you might want to take a quick jog over there and catch up on where we left off. Today is a continuation of an incredible story from 2 Chronicles chapter 20. It's a story that just leaps off of the page and thrills the soul of any battle weary warrior! When we left off, Jehoshaphat had turned over a very dire situation into the hands of His God and his eyes were "solely upon Him". Listen to what God said in response,

15 ...'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.'
Do you realize that the words spoken here were not just for the people of Judah back then, but they are for you and for me right now. We may not be facing an enemy army with swords drawn and ready to strike, but every day we battle just the same. Temptation, fear, anger, resentment, discouragement, different battles, but the enemy is just as real. Do you realize that if you are a follower of Christ, if you've trusted Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, you have the Spirit of the living God dwelling in you! If we will just humble ourselves, turn from our ways and seek His face, God will fight for us. Never forget, God always wins! Only heaven knows how many times I've made situations a hundred times worse by trying to go it alone, trying to do it my way. Look at what Jehoshaphat did next:

18 Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD.
Face DOWN on the GROUND in worship of his God! When Jehoshaphat looked up to heaven for the answer to his greatest need, God his deliverer came down with a promise and a plan! The enemies of God were going DOWN! Does anyone else need to hear that word from God today?

So what do we need to do to have victory today?
  1. Realize that the battle we are facing is not ours, but God's.
  2. Recognize our limitations in the situation and chose instead to allow God's strength to work through our weaknesses.
  3. Make sure that the interests we are pursuing are God's interests and not just our own selfish desires.
  4. Turn the battle over to Him, and leave it there in His hands.
  5. Begin praising Him now for the victory yet to come.

Always remember, God is not the I WAS, He's the I AM of my present situation and He has it all under His control!

- Lisa

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Don't you just love when you read a passage of scripture and it comes alive to you right before your very eyes? 2 Chronicles chapter 20 has done just that for me today. You've gotta pick up your Bible and read it! It's incredible, amazing, encouraging, thrilling, you just gotta do it right now!

The nation of Israel is faced with disaster. They are scared to death as a they are faced with a "vast army" coming against them. Maybe you feel that way about a situation in your own life today. Jehoshaphat's first response (love that) was "to inquire of the Lord". He led the people to fast and pray. Look at the ingredients of his prayer:
  1. He committed the situation to God knowing the situation was totally outside of his control. Only God could do what needed to be done.
  2. He sought God's favor because the people in need here were God's very own people.
  3. He acknowledged God's sovereignty over the current situation. The results were up to Him.
  4. He praised God's glory and took comfort in His promises. Our covenant God is faithful to His word.
  5. He expressed complete dependence on God and not on himself for the deliverance of God's people.

I love the way his prayer ends,

"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

I don't know what you may be facing today. Maybe the devil is hot on your heels. If not, we all know someone who he's beating down on. We must do what Jehoshaphat did and take the situation, take your friend to the only one who has the answers our heart cries out for - Jesus. He knows your hurt. He knows your need. And the best news of all is He will answer.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Best Friends

Happiness is a warm puppy.
~Charles M.
When the time came for us to move back to Indiana again after 5 years in California, my son's only comment was, "I'll go with you if you get me a puppy." Now it's not like he had a choice in the matter, but the excitement of getting a puppy after years of begging was just what he needed to make the transition more smoothly.
  • J and Toby are best friends. Today when J got out of school, he returned home and made his way straight into my office. He then kicked off his shoes, crawled into the floor and lay down with his head in the dog bed (adorned with the Sponge Bob blanket) and snuggled up next to Toby. There the two of them lay, napping the afternoon away.
  • What is it that makes someone your "Best Friend"? Are they faithful, kind, encouraging, truthful, trustworthy, always there when you need them, make you better for knowing them...? I'm sure each of us has our own laundry list of requirements. The Bible says things like, "A friend loves at all times", and "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.". No truer words could be spoken. Jesus himself was the perfect example of a friend.
  • In my life there is a small group of ladies who I consider to be my "Best Friends". These are ladies that I can be totally honest with, no matter what I'm going through, and they will love me, encourage me, pray with me, without ever casting judgment. When I talk with them I know that I am in a safe place, nothing ever leaves the room. What a rare and precious find these ladies have been, a gift from God himself. When God brought us together it's as if He "knit" our hearts into one. Oh what times we've shared - the good, the bad, and the glorious.
  • I hope you'll take a little time today and just think about who God has brought into your life that you count as a "Best Friend". Give them a call, send them a card, fire off an email and let them know how much you appreciate them and what they bring into your life. J and Toby are still snuggled up together, doing what "Best Friends" do. Enjoying each others company, in the floor, in the dog bed with the Sponge Bob blanket.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Intentional Encourager

Happy Monday to you! I'm not normally a "Happy Monday" kinda gal - especially after being off of work for two weeks on vacation. This morning I returned to the office to find hundreds of emails begging to be read, tons of catching up to do on "who did what", and a laundry list of things that demanded my attention(all with deadlines of last week of course). And yet it was a Happy Monday. What made the difference?

Last night in my quiet time I began to reflect upon how hard the last 18 months have been. So much discouragement, disappointment and sadness. Traveling down a road I never expected to travel. Blind-sided by hard, hard lessons. Life in this fallen world can be so over-whelming. I don't know how people who don't have a relationship with God make it through. By His grace He has led me to the other side of darkness, to a place of overwhelming joy and peace. The kind of joy that you just have to share. God impressed upon me that today my mission was to be an 'Intentional Encourager".

It has been said that we hold the power of life and death - not in our hands.., but in our tongues. Think about that for just a second. That's pretty daunting. Paul wrote about it in Ephesians 4 when he said:

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

Think about it. We are surrounded by people each and every day who are so discouraged. Beaten down by all that life has thrown their way. Life is hard, but we must never forget that our God is so good. We who are Christ-followers have a mission that we must take seriously, to encourage those who are around us, to be sensitive to those who are in need, to listen to those who have no one to share with, and just love them in Jesus name.

My Monday this week was a Happy Monday because I intentionally set out to make a difference in someones day. Lord lead me to someone EVERY day who needs to be encouraged. It costs me little more than time, but it pays off in a harvest as the seeds of faith are sown and watered in the people you allow me to share your joy with.

Will you be an Intentional Encourager too?

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Don't you just love to go to church only to return home after having God thrill your socks off! This morning the Pastor began a new series called, "You Got Game?" The very first point of his sermon talked about having an impact. He said, "Teams in professional sports are made up of great players. If they weren't talented, they wouldn't be there. But not every great player on the team is an impact player. An impact player is someone who by their very being, their very presence, challenges you, encourages you to be the very best that you can be".

That's it! That's the type of Christ-follower I want to be..., not just a good neighbor and friend, not just a good wife and mother, but someone who is making an impact on someones today and more importantly someones eternity. But how?

I believe it starts by me falling in love with Jesus all over again. Oh I've loved Jesus and I have never doubted that He loves me, never stopped serving Him. But to be in love with Jesus is something totally different. To once again treasure His word and have a desire to see what He has to say to me each and every day. To be able to look in the mirror and say with a smile, "I've got my joy back!"

That is my pursuit! That is my passion! I want to be that woman!
You could say..., "I'm a woman on a mission."

We closed with this song this morning by the Desperation Band entitled "Treasure". For a girl who loves the ocean, I can just visualize it in my mind:

Your breath is like rain
Your Word it sustains me
I've come to this place
With intentions of finding You
Your Truth is a lamp
Your Wisdom, my light
I'm seeking Your face
With intentions of finding You, finding You

I would run for a thousand years
If I knew every step would be getting me closer
I'd swim to the ocean floor
For my Lord is the Treasure
My Lord is the Treasure

The Bible says if we seek Him, we will find him. What's your treasure?


Saturday, January 3, 2009


This morning I was reading Psalm 133 which is subtitled, "Living in Harmony". It says:
1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

I woke up this morning, grumbling in my mind that my two weeks of vacation are almost over. Monday morning it's back to the grind. Back to working with an office full of people as different as night and day. Some are believers, others are not; some are pleasant to work with, others are not; some are helpful and encouraging, others are not. Let's face it..., not everyone is as wonderful as we are (or are we the others...?).

For me, the last two weeks of being at home with my family have been good. We've had a lot of time just to be together and enjoy one anothers company. We also shared the holidays with extended family which went off without a hitch, not a single fight. As vs. 1 says, " How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!"

Just like every coin has two sides, dealing with family and friends can also pose a very different scenario. You could re-write vs. 1 to say, "How horrible and un-pleasant it is when family lives together but separate". We've all experienced that. Separated by hurt feelings, perceived wrongs, judgements, anger...(you can fill in the blank).

Beth Moore states, "God often uses other people as the chisel to carve true integrity into our rough personalities. A chisel that never scrapes the stone is useless".

God took out the chisel this morning and showed me that the root of "dis-unity" in my own life has often been my "judgements" (ouch). I place my expectations of how other people should act, react, respond on them and then I judge them accordingly. Not a very pleasant way to live. Definitely not the way to pave the road to a lifetime of blessings.

The people at work. The people in my home. The people I will meet later today. I may need some band-aids as God "takes the chisel to my rough personality and carves into me true integrity". My prayer is that God will use each one of them to carve me into the woman that He intends for me to be. As He picks up the chisel and gets ready to strike, I know that I am in good hands. There's no better place to be.

Have a blessed day!


Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Heart

Today my journey has led me to a scripture that I am committing to memory this week. Ezekiel 36:26 says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Does that sound good to anyone else today? I don't want to settle for just a new coat of paint on my old-dilapidated heart. I want a new heart, fashioned in the hands of my loving Heavenly Father. I want Him to get out the hammer and chisel and to chip away all of the stone exterior that I've allowed to cover his handiwork until all that remains is a heart of flesh, beating in concert with His. I pray that this verse will strike a chord with your heart today too and that together our hearts will be a symphony before the King.
- Lisa

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Passionate Pursuit

With the dawning of a new year I have awakened to find a wonderful gift that I could have so easily overlooked. What happened in 2008 will forever be logged in the history books for 2008; but 2009 is a brand new year full of hope and possibilities.

I've been working my way through "Stepping UP, a journey through the Psalms of Ascent" by Beth Moore. It has really challenged me to to take a look at my journey - where I've been, what I've experience (the good, the bad and the ugly). What I've found is that somewhere along the way I picked up some extra baggage. I hung onto some frustration, anger, a little grief, some sadness, disappointment, discouragement..., you get the picture. The last part of 2007 and most of 2008 was just downright difficult. In the end I found myself holding baggage that didn't belong to me, and yet I was carrying it with a pasted on smile. And I wonder why there was no joy in the journey.

No more! As I wrote in my journal yesterday, my hearts desire is best expressed by the words from a song, "I want to yearn for you. I want to burn with passion over you and only you". I have declared 2009 as the year of "Passionate Pursuit". I no longer want to live outside of the presence of God. I don't want to miss one single blessing that He has for me by living a life laden with baggage.

I want Him to:
Forgive me,
Abide in me,
Reign in me,
Cover me,
Show me,
Fill me,
Lead me,
Remember me,
Bless me!
I want my relationship with God to be intimate and loving and sweet again. I will no longer be satisfied with the lukewarm life. I want to live in the light of His glory. I want to feel His favour once again.
Anyone interested in joining me on this passionate pursuit?