Monday, April 30, 2012

"When I am old(er) and gray(er) - 04/30/12 - 2 Sam 19:32

"Barzillai was a very old man—eighty years old! He had supplied the king's needs all the while he was in Mahanaim since he was very wealthy."(2 Sam 19:32)

I have a very dear friend, Wilma, who is 82 and has been widowed for a number of years.  This past summer she and another lady went to Morocco to visit her granddaughter.  Wilma is always on the go for Him.  She is always finding ways to utilize her time, gifts, and talents for Him. 

This is what I pray for.....that I will choose to utilize me for Him - up to the last moment.  The biggest difference I see when looking at some of the elderly is their focus.  When you speak with Wilma it is about Him, opportunities she has been given and taken, she is almost always smiling or laughing.  She delights in life. 

I pray I  become like that.  I so pray that my face will always reveal the delight and laughter that is in my soul because I stay focused on Him.  I am not concerned anymore about what is my purpose here in life.  It has finally connected that my purpose isn't about "all my life", but "my minutes in life".  My purpose is to "go and make disciples" matter my age! 

So many places in scripture God gives us the ages of people.  In the old testament they are at times well into the 100's.  Can you imagine!  I am thinking if He can use Sarah and Abraham in their 80's/90's to parent the father of a nation - He'll be using me!! There isn't a valid excuse I can offer up to not be used. 

At times, I look at myself in the mirror and sometimes wince at the wrinkles and excess rolls of fat laying there.  Then He kicks me in the butt and has me really look.  Past the image in the mirror.  Into His eyes.  He is seeing His daughter - beautiful, fearfully, wonderfully made.  In His image. 

No matter my age.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Wise Counsel" - 04/28/12 - 2 Sam 15:1-17:14

(God had determined to discredit the counsel of Ahithophel so as to bring ruin on Absalom.) (2 Sam 17:14)

It amazes me how often we as humans think we can usurp God.  How we can "outsmart" Him, slide one by or the best one, "He'll never notice".

God will do as He sees fit - not using "our" way of thinking, but His.  I think about all the pain and suffering that went on because of Absalom.  I greatly admire David in what I have learned about him through scripture.  I admire foremost His love for God.  I admire how he came from being a shepherd to being a king and did so much good for God. 

But, I don't admire him as a parent.  Because he chose to bury his head in the sand - his family was able to ruin so much.  Absalom had to have had some good in him at one point as he killed because of his sister.  Maybe that's why God tells us more than once to let Him handle revenge?  I don't know, but there aren't too many "happy endings" when you read about "us" taking it into our hands.

Perhaps if David had of stepped up to the plate when they were younger, different choices would have been made.  I don't know.  I do know though that God doesn't bury His head in the sand.  He will use any method to save us. 

That's why it is essential to draw our counsel from Him - and from those that are In His Word. 

"Courage" - 04/27/12 - 2 Sam 12:26-31, 1 Chron 20:2-3, 2 Sam 13:1-14:33

Courage! You can do it!" "We all die sometime. Water spilled on the ground can't be gathered up again. But God does not take away life. He works out ways to get the exile back." (2 Sam 13:28, 14:13-14)

All day yesterday, while mowing, I prayed and God cleansed my heart.  How so very mighty is He. 

God did one amazing thing.  He cleansed me.  He has been "washing" from me all anger and bitterness these past few months and yesterday it was like He put me through the rinse cycle!  All that was left in my heart was total forgiveness.  Just as in His heart He has total forgiveness for me. 

I just kept coming back to this verse.  The past is exactly that - the past.  It is, "Water spilled on the ground can't be gathered up again".  God reminded me through this verse that, "But God does not take away life. He works out ways to get the exile back".  Just as I was once an exile. 

With God all things are possible.

"God works out ways to get the exile back". 

So clearly I see that His cleansing my heart is one of, "His ways". 

I  continue to pray every day for Him to use me. 

To have "courage" In Him.


"streching out" 2 Sam 17:15-29, Psalm 3, 63, 2 Sam 18:1-19:30

But you, God, shield me on all sides; You ground my feet, you lift my head high; With all my might I shout up to God, His answers thunder from the holy mountain. 5-6 I stretch myself out. I sleep. Then I'm up again—rested, tall and steady, Fearless before the enemy mobs Coming at me from all sides. 7 Up, God! My God, help me! Slap their faces, First this cheek, then the other, Your fist hard in their teeth! 8 Real help comes from God. Your blessing clothes your people!(Psalm 3:3-4)

I love how His Word reminds me over and over again that He is my shield, my grounding, my pride.  I love how I am able to stretch myself out. How I am able to sleep in peace.  I love how because of Him - I am rested, tall and steady. 

The truth always comes out.  Just as in light overpowering darkness - so is truth over lies. 

I think with this whole ordeal regarding some people - it is the lies that are wearing me out.  Constantly being on guard with what enters my heart - do I or don't I believe.  Some people are a house of cards that is falling apart.  I am praying that when they hit bottom they will rebuild In Him, not in the false sense of self they have before. 

I am so thankful that He is my shield on all sides.  Even though I am standing firm In Him - I still need - need - His protection.  I am praying for discernment with words that are spoken from everyone.  I am praying for the lost souls, which are so very lost, but think they have the world by the tail.  I am praying for others not to fall victim to anger/bitterness - that they will draw strength from God. 

I love that I am free to stretch myself out

When I picture this, I see me - my arms open wide, outstretched to heaven, standing on the tips of my toes.  Trusting completely that I am completely protected.  I am totally vulnerable.  Even in the midst of this battle - I stand grounded In Him - His Truth.

I love that I hear His voice of truth over the voices of lies.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

HOW HIGH - 04/21/12 - 2 Sam 3:6 - 4:12

"I'll help bring the whole country of Israel over to you.  "Great",  said David. "It's a deal. But only on one condition: You're not welcome here unless you bring Michal, Saul's daughter, with you when you come to meet me."   David then sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul: "Give me back Michal, whom I won as my wife at the cost of a hundred Philistine foreskins."   Ish-Bosheth ordered that she be taken from her husband Paltiel son of Laish. But Paltiel followed her, weeping all the way, to Bahurim. There Abner told him, "Go home." And he went home."(2 Sam 3:12-16)

This verse has always gotten "my dander up".  I know that women back then were a possession.  That Michal was David's wife first.  I know that she should have been with him.  But, she wasn't.  And for her husband to show his love/grief for her without thought of others seeing him, showed how deep a love they had for each other. 

Was her being with him that bad?  David already had other wives, did he really need to have Michal back?  Was it more of an honor thing or pride?  And how was she about leaving Paltiel?  Scripture tells us that at one time she did love David.  Did she ever stop?  Was she thankful to be back with him?  When she is full of scorn watching him dance in the streets later on, I am thinking there are some anger and bitterness issues going on. 

The thing is - I can not see the whole paradigm.  Yes, I have lots of questions - but I don't know everything that is going on.  Or all the traditions, etc. of that time.  What I do know is that there are many times when God doesn't make sense and I react the same way. 

I ask why, why, why.

I am learning also through Scripture that there is much in His Word I haven't a clue about.  The same goes for life.  It isn't my place to know "why".  My place is to follow and act. 

To actually say, "how high". when He says, "jump".   I also have learned that my heart needs to be free of scorn, anger and bitterness. 

It goes back to Focus, Faith, and Trust.

Even when it doesn't make sense. 

"THE SHUFFLE" - 04/22/12 - 2 Sam 5:1-3, 1 Chron 11:1-3, 12:23-40, 2 Sam 5:17-25, 1 Chron 14:8-17, 2 Sam 5:6-10, 1 Chron 11:4-9, 3:4, 2 Sam 5:13, 5:4-5, 5:11-12, 1 Chron 14:1-2, 13:1-5, 2 Sam 6:1-11, 1 Chron 13:6-14

"Go up," God replied. "Count on me. I'll help you beat them." (1 Chron 14:15)  "When you hear a sound like shuffling feet in the tops of the balsams, attack; God will be two steps ahead of you, slaughtering the Philistines."(2Sam 5:20-21)

I have always loved this verse from the first time I read it.  I love to imagine how it would have been to be in the midst of a battle and stop. 

Stop to listen for "a sound like shuffling feet in the tops of the balsams". 

I love that He is two steps ahead of us, "slaughtering the evil that is in our path".  That He has cleared the way through Christ.  That I can count on Him.  That He is my ultimate Helper.  My triumpant Leader.

I love God's imagination - His using the "out of the ordinary" to have faith and depend on Him.  It makes me wonder how many rushed forward to attack and how many held back saying, "are you sure we're hearing what we're to be hearing".


I love how differently He created us.  And all of us are in His image.  Each different, unique, interesting, part of us is in His image.

We are our own worst enemy. 

Tonight in group, one shared that they feel so inadequate, ill equipped to be a leader, to tell others about Christ.  That is exactly what satan wants us to believe.  The neat thing is - God gave him a blessing and reinforcement that he is a leader and a witness.  He had a man come up and tell him that because of him, he was able to pray with his wife and son - for the first time ever.  He then told him that he gains much strength from the Christ example that he is living.  

I love how God gets in our face to show us that through the eyes of satan or even self we do not see see ourselves accurately.  How He sees us.  How we really are In Him.  Through Him.  Because of Him. 

I am just as guilty in believing the lies.  In believing that my weaknesses are much greater than His Will.  How bold of me to think that I can get in the way of Him.  He is able to use all things/people for His glory.  The lies I believe at times.  I love how His Word sets me straight.  To listen to His truths and not hinder my job in reaching others for Christ. 

I love how His Word is training me to "hear a sound like shuffling feet in the tops of the balsams". 

IT'S SPIRITUAL - 2 Sam 8:15-18, 1 Chron 18:14-17, 6:16-30, 6:50-53, 6:31-48, 2 Sam 9:1-10:19, 1 Chron 19:1-19

Yesterday after turning my phone back on,  I saw I had missed a call. 

As soon as I saw who from, it was happening.  I could feel the fear, deep down within my inner core.  Wanting to actually throw up.  I thought I had gotten control over that fear.  I hate confrontation.  I hate to see people arguing, afraid that they are going to turn and direct their anger towards me.  Even if they are complete strangers and I am standing 20 ft away from them.  I hate the feeling that comes over me and I will automatically reach for something to stuff into my mouth.  While I was stuffing Trail Mix into my mouth, I suddenly recognized what I was doing.  Instead of praying about this fear, giving it to God - I was trying to bury it.  It hasn't been removed from me, just hidden away. 

 It makes me sad, brings tears to my eyes, and pulls at my heart over the relationship I share with this person.  I am thankful though that I do hurt,  If I didn't, it would mean my heart is totally hard toward them.  I do love them, just do not approve of some of the things they have and are doing.  I can't support those things.  I won't - they aren't scriptural. 

There is so much drama going on right now.  It can be overwhelming at times.  I know we are in the middle of a spiritual battle - it's so plain to see. 

"If the Arameans are too much for me, you help me; and if the Ammonites prove too much for you, I'll come and help you. Courage! We'll fight might and main for our people and for the cities of our God. And God will do whatever he sees needs doing!"(1 Chronicles 19:13)

I love how He reminds me I am not alone in this.  My Curt is such a steadfast, grounded in God, strength for me.  This verse reminds me that this is what being in God's family is all about.  We are all in the middle of a spiritual battle - sometimes the fighting is more intense for some!  "If it is too much for me, you help me:  and if it proves too much for you, I'll come and help you."  I am not alone!  He has provided so much support and prayers for me through my "family" In Him.  As I have been, will be for them. 


Courage In Him.  I walk In Him - He walks before me.  He has so many angels fighting before, around, and after me.  I can take courage in knowing I am following His lead.  Even when the evil feels overwhelming, I KNOW He is "I AM". 

That He is there in the midst of all the drama.  I have to remember this is about winning souls for Him.  It's about turning it over to Him and trusting.  To not take things personal.  Even when it looks like evil is winning - it isn't.  He is in control.  I am In His protection.  All the manipulation and hurts that are surfacing, He is bigger.

             "And God will do whatever He sees needs doing".


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In the Storms of Life - 2 Sam 7:1-17, 1 Chron 17:1-15, 2 Sam 7:18-29, 1 Chron 17:16-27, 2 Sam 8:1-14, 1 Chron 18:1-13, Psalm 60

 "Before long, the king made himself at home and God gave him peace from all his enemies."(2Sam 7:1)

This morning before reading, He had me on my knees with my head in His lap.  His arms wrapped around me as I wept.   Tears of sorrow, repentance, regrets.  I was making myself "at home" IN Him.  I didn't want any distractions this morning before He spoke to me.  I wanted/needed a focused mind and heart, to let Him have my full attention.

The tears I feel are more about how He is hurting.  The regrets of choices that have led to today by people.  I have such sorrow as I look at others in their pain.  Pain has been such a constant.  When looking at persons, who  have tried/trying to cover up the results of serving self.  Who are struggling right now because of a wrong turn.  Those that do not have an intimate relationship with Him.  Those that "think" they do because they go to church - sometimes -  read His Word - sometimes and missing out the greatest Bestest Friend you will ever have.  I am seeing the results of persons who have taken His Word and twisted it to meet their words - the results of that is a life of turmoil.  It doesn't work.  At all. 

As I prayed, I couldn't help but speak aloud.  Before I never wanted to do that in fear that satan would hear and know my weaknesses.  "Not putting much faith in God there, Deby".  Faith that He is bigger than satan and has His hedge of protection around me.  God is fortifying me right now and I am so relying on His Word.  Digging in.  There are already signs of scabs being knocked off and wounds being reopened.  Scabs there because they have never been allowed to heal properly - through Him not self.  There has to be this cleansing of me so I may be a vessel for Him.  I can so see that satan is in the middle of peoples lives causing great damage.  But, I also see His people (including myself), in the midst of storms,  He has given us peace - even joy.  Actually, all the fruits of the Spirit.  Tammy told me they just studied Gentleness in group.  It means "controlled strength".  I love that......Controlled STRENGTH - not weakness.  I can feel I have that too.   He is also showing me that satan is the enemy here.  He will use anything and anyone to attack us.  We have to remember, this isn't personal - it's spiritual. 

"please, just one more thing: Bless my family; keep your eye on them always. You've already as much as said that you would, Master God! Oh, may your blessing be on my family permanently!" (2Sam 7:29)

I find such encouragement through His Word today.  He knew I would need these exact Words on this day, this morning, this moment.  How awesome is that!!!!   I know I am not reading more into it - I know it is Him speaking to me.  To me.  Through my own personal Love Letter from Him.  That is why His Word is so alive.  It is able to meet the needs of all who are IN it.  When they need it.

"Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that you have brought me to this place in life? But that's nothing compared to what's coming, for you've also spoken of my family far into the future, given me a glimpse into tomorrow and looked on me, Master God, as a Somebody. What's left for David to say to this—to your honoring your servant, even though you know me, just as I am? O God, out of the goodness of your heart, you've taken your servant to do this great thing and put your great work on display. There's none like you, God, no God but you, nothing to compare with what we've heard with our own ears...... And you, God, became their God.
So now, great God, this word that you have spoken to me and my family, guarantee it forever! Do exactly what you've promised!.....That's how I was able to find the courage to pray this prayer to you. God, being the God you are, you have spoken all these wonderful words to me. As if that weren't enough, you've blessed my family so that it will continue in your presence always. Because you have blessed it, God, it's really blessed—blessed for good!"(I Chron 17:16-27) 

The family that I have with Curt, Adam (even his future bride), Nichalas, Amber and our future generations "it's really blessed—blessed for good".  I can say that with utmost confidence because He has promised me that.  Because He is not only my Daddy - He is our Daddy.  I can not express the joy, the relief, the blessings I have knowing we all walk In Him. That He is the Head of our Family. 

I see that only through Christ are we able to bring others to Him and become His family. It is our job to make disciples for Him.

In all things He brings about His glory. Even in the middle of storms - He shines. 

I am so thankful that my focus is on Him - so I am able to see Him shining through wreckage.

I am so thankful that my faith is In Him - so I am able to know He will carry us through to the other side.

I am so thankful that my trust is In Him - so I may live In His hope that He is my "I AM" and will do as He promises. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

ENDINGS - 2 Sam 6:12, 1 Chron 15:1-28, 2 Sam 6:12-16, 1 Chron 15:29, 2 Sam 6:17-19, 1 Chron 16:1-43, 2 Sam 6:19-23

  "When she saw King David leaping and dancing before God, her heart filled with scorn."(2Sam6:16)

During times in my life, when I would watch from the edges, the not being included or accepted,  brought about bitterness, anger and at times jealousy. For the past few years it has been my utmost prayer that He would remove those from my heart. There have been close prayer warriors in my life lifting me up. It is with great joy that in the past few months I am finally living without the "scorn". I have finally started to release the anger and bitterness within my heart to Him.   I am learning to stand firm and know I am accepted and loved by Him.  

I told Curt though, the hard part of not having a heart filled with scorn is that it is so open and tender. No longer hard. It would be so much easier if I were able to hate, to separate myself and when hurt is inflicted - to have apathy. I am thankful though that He has tenderized my heart. Instead of relying on me, my defenses - I am relying on Him.

"Michal, Saul's daughter, was barren the rest of her life."(2 Sam 6:23)

This verse is about not having children. While reading it though, God made me aware that it could have also been my heart. I know that He is always preparing my heart to be a warrior for Him to reach the many lost souls.  They are throwing sin into the face of God and if they were to die right now - because of their fruits - I know they are living outside of the covenant. Outside of Christ.  They would be going to hell.  And that is what tears my heart apart. I may be the only vessel for Him they encounter.  Does my "self" get in the way? 

Even though it hurts so badly, I am so thankful that He has changed my heart, that it is not barren, and I am able to love - even those who are "unlovable". It is right now that they need God's love and others love more than any other time in their lives.  Not when it is right for me. That is why when I pray, as I live - please may I not be seen - but, Him. That all will see Him - not me.

"And David went home to bless his family."(1 Chron 16:43)

I am so thankful that I am in the intimate relationship with Him for not only this time, but all of times. I pray that others with a barren heart will come to know Him and bear fruit for Him. There are so many in this world who are lost, lost souls. Living in a world of evil, darkness and they don't have to.

The verse that grabbed my heart today was one that gives me strength, comfort, assurance and hope:

"Give thanks to God, for his love never quits!"(1Chron 16:42)

How very thankful I am that at any moment, I am able to climb up in my Daddy's lap and feel His arms around me. Knowing that His heart is breaking more than mine, because He loves so much more than I can. Knowing that He is holding me tightly as WE go through this journey TOGETHER. Knowing that He is/will be using me for His glory.

Knowing that He loves all more than I can imagine.  Not just those who are in a covenant with Him - all.  May I see the urgency to love the lost to Him.

I just pray, pray, pray, all will know this too.

Before it is too late.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"NO" - I Sam 26:1-27:7, I Chronicles 12:1-7, I Sam 27:8-29:11, I Chron 12:19, Psalm 56 - 04/18/12

"I'm proud to praise God,
proud to praise God.
Fearless now, I trust in God;
what can mere mortals do to me?
God, you did everything you promised,
and I'm thanking you with all my heart.
You pulled me from the brink of death,
my feet from the cliff-edge of doom.

Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life." (Psalm 56:10-13)

"Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life"

In the past few years God has taught me a very powerful, life sustaining word.


It used to be that I was a lot like a chicken with it's head cut off.  I said "yes" too often.  Part of it was because my heart was in it and I felt directed to.  Most of it though, in all honesty, was about being accepted.  Fitting in.  Being a part of something.  Even if my heart wasn't in it.  And then whatever "it" was - became a burden.  This burden would then stress me out, affect my role as a wife, mom, friend, etc.  And then life would become totally unbalanced.

The turning point came (and still is) when His Word seeped in and changed my heart.  Filled it actually.  It amazes me how He took the voids and filled them.  Recently, I was asked to decorate for the upcoming women's garden party at church.  I was going to be working with a woman who owns a decorating shop and really thought that would be nice getting to know her.  There was also a part of me that thought it would elevate me to another social circle.

I am being very transparent here - it was the part of me that wanted to belong to the "in" crowd.  I am still a work in progress!  And I say progress with great God-fidence! 

The funny thing He did and I am thankful that I recognized it - that I submitted to His lead and didn't plow on through - I wasn't coming up with any decorating ideas.  Usually He bombards me with them.  Not now. 

I knew that my heart wasn't in the right place to do this.  Our work schedule is very busy to say the least.  Last night was another night when we yet again got home at 8:30 and ate at 9:00.  I have many, many projects that need attended to in our home and outside.  I have no business being involved in an outside project.  There isn't any way I could do my best at it.  And that isn't the way I want to serve Him.

A good friend of mine gave me some great advice when I was thinking out loud to her about this.  I said I just didn't love the idea of doing the decorating.  She said, "then you need to step back and let someone else do it that would love to".  I did and feel so much lighter!  I love the feeling of being able to actually enjoy life because, most often

 "Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life"

That is pretty much my guideline to saying "yes" anymore.  After I pray about it, I check to see if I would "love" to serve in that way.  Even jobs I don't particularly care for - do I love to do it.  You see, when I find myself "loving" to do it - I know not only is my heart in the right place - so is my focus. 

I know then I am loving it because I am serving Him - not self. 

Storms - 1 Sam 30:1-31, 1 Chronicles 12:20-22, 1 Sam 31:1-13, 1 Chron 10:1-14, 1 Chron 9:40-44, 2 Sam 4:4, 2 Sam 1:1-27

"David strengthened himself with trust in his God.  Then David prayed to God"(1Sam 30:7,8)

I love David.  His example of how often he relied on God.  How often when I become fearful do I react like he did or go running scared?  What a lesson I get from these verses.  Life isn't always fair.  Sometimes when you feel like you're "walking in sunshine", storms will suddenly sweep in. 

One of the many things I love about standing firm in Him is that He helps me be aware of the storm clouds that are coming.  He also surrounds me and protects me. 

I can remember being young and sneaking out onto the front porch during storms to watch the sky, the effects of the wind.  I love storms.  I think it would be so neat to be a storm chaser.  But, I love storms when I am watching from a safe place.  As an adult I have I have learned that porches are not a safe place, lightening can strike you even while watching from a window. 

David was in a storm of life and he knew that he would have to go into the middle of it.  He also knew that He would be safe because he used the most powerful weapon he had - "he prayed to God".  Most times God does allow us to watch the storms from a safe distance, but sometimes we are required to go in the middle of it.  Being thankful during these times isn't my strong suit.  Afterwards, when reflecting - I am.  Weathering the storms helps me grow in Him and also in becoming who He created me to be.

Another thing I remember from my youth living in the country, were all of the underground storm shelters that people had in their yards.  They were usually quite close to the house and also used to keep their canned goods and vegetables in.  This wasn't a space used only for storms - it held their foods to live on during the winter months.  Also, by keeping their foods in them, they would have something to eat if their homes were destroyed.  It was also something that had to be maintained and cleaned.  The brush had to be kept back from the door for quick, easy access.  Yearly cleaning of the inside, removal of any spoiled foods, snakes, rodents, etc.  I can remember helping my great aunt dust off her shelves and cleaning off the jars. 

His Word is exactly that to me - my own personal storm shelter.  I have it in my heart and it is my spiritual food to live on, to keep my heart clean and organized.  I know though that for years I really didn't utilize it all the time.  It sat there in "my yard".  As I walked by it, mowed, lived around it, I became so used to it that I didn't see it.  How thankful I am that He made me aware of it without having to weather a major storm! 

David prayed - how is my prayer life?  How often do I really step down into my "storm shelter" and just pray?  Perhaps that is why He keeps waking me up in the middle of the night.  Our life is so busy now during the day - He knows that this time of morning is still.  Kinda like the calm before the storm - He is preparing me for the day ahead.

"Strengthened myself with trust in my God" for any storms that will come up. 

Not may - but will.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Not a loser - 1 Sam 22:1-2, Psalm 57 & 142, 1 Chronicles 12:8-18, 1 Sam 22:3-23, Psalm 52, 1 Sam 23:1-12

"So David got away and escaped to the Cave of Adullam. When his brothers and others associated with his family heard where he was, they came down and joined him. Not only that, but all who were down on their luck came around—losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts. David became their leader. There were about four hundred in all."(1Sam 22:1,2)

This summer will be my 35th High School reunion. Wow, that looks even older when actually written out than when I say it! The fifth and twentieth are the only two that I have attended.

I was never part of the "in" crowd. Awhile back I wrote about being a misfit - enduring the joys of being made fun of, not included and even bullied. For some reason I still allowed myself to be pressured into attending the fifth reunion. The 20th I mainly went to bury some ghosts. I am thankful I did as God really opened my eyes, not only to myself and how He sees me, but also to those who used to intimidate me. I stress "used to".

The invitation I received a few weeks ago brought up memories that I had buried deep. Not deep enough obviously. In trying to fill a void, to fit in, I did many things that I am so ashamed of. Thankfully, God reminds me that I haven't been that person for over 30 years. It isn't that I am embarrassed to attend this year, I just don't want to.

What I find humorous is that then all I wanted was to be included. Now - I don't care. It's because He has filled the void. He has blessed my life with grace and mercy. He has given me so many treasures - Curt, Adam, Nichalas, and Amber to name a few. My life is very rich and very full. I love so many and am loved back. I love truly belonging to this wonderful family of "misfits"! There just aren't enough words to express how very much I love the "family" He has blessed me with. And every day He introduces me to more siblings. How great is our Daddy!

The funny thing is that I am still a misfit in this world. I look at the people that Christ surrounded Himself with and they were mostly the same as the band that David had. Losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts. Many of those in High School that were in the "in" crowd never grew out of High School. I see that being a misfit was actually the best thing that could have happened to me.

I so love that God is able to take the "losers" and make them winners. I love that He is able to take my shame and remove it from me with His forgiveness, grace and mercy. I love how He has taken my sins and used them for His glory. Most of all though I love how He took the world's rejected and made them totally accepted. I love that He has exchanged the world's measuring stick for His own.

But most of all, I love that I am one of His "misfits".

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Transparent - I Sam 20:1-21:15, Psalm 34

Psalm 34

1 I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with His praise.
2 I live and breathe God; if things aren't going well, hear this and be happy:
3 Join me in spreading the news; together let's get the word out.
4 God met me more than halfway, He freed me from my anxious fears.5 Look at Him; give Him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from Him.
6 When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot.
7 God's angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray.
8 Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see— how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him.
9 Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all His goodness.
10 Young lions on the prowl get hungry, but God-seekers are full of God.
11 Come, children, listen closely; I'll give you a lesson in God worship.
12 Who out there has a lust for life? Can't wait each day to come upon beauty?
13 Guard your tongue from profanity, and no more lying through your teeth.
14 Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace—don't let it get away!
15 God keeps an eye on His friends, His ears pick up every moan and groan.
16 God won't put up with rebels; He'll cull them from the pack.
17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you.
18 If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there; if you're kicked in the gut, He'll help you catch your breath.
19 Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.
20 He's your bodyguard, shielding every bone; not even a finger gets broken.
21 The wicked commit slow suicide; they waste their lives hating the good.
22 God pays for each slave's freedom; no one who runs to Him loses out.

It is 4 in the morning and I can not sleep. Usually I will lay in bed and pray myself back into dreamland, but this morning I felt the draw to come out and read His Word. My own personal love letter from Him and He needed to speak to me. In the midst of reading about David and the war, conflict, etc. He then lead me to the Psalm above. That is just one of the things I love about His Words. They are so alive. I know in my life I have read this Psalm many times, but this am the whole thing just jumped out at me.

April 15 - tax day. I received a call from our accountant and learned the money we had set aside for Uncle Sam is only half of what we anticipated in paying. Okay..........Many things went through my mind. First was where do we come up with the other half, which isn't just a little, in two days. The second was He punishing us for purchasing a new vehicle? For living in this home? You see, I stuggle with not feeling worthy of the things we have been blessed with.   Therefore, something bad will happen if I have them. This is a mind thinking I have been trying to be rid of, and I am, slowly, for the past number of years.

When I think about how He blessed us with this home, our vehicle, everything else for that matter, I know my feelings of guilt are wrong. Before obtaining anything big, and we are even beginning to do this for the "small stuff", we pray about it. We pray for closed doors if it is not His will. So I know that He has blessed us with what He feels we need at that time.

I then hit myself up side the head - or rather He kicks me in the behind - and readjust my focus. This is His business. His home. His vehicle. His everything. He will provide.

No, it wasn't the taxes that was keeping me from sleep.

I then thought about my weight. Last Thursday when we had our weekly weigh in, I only lost 1/4 a pound. It is unreal how discouraged I have become because of this. I hate how out of shape I am, I hate the excess rolls and I hate how fat I feel. It doesn't matter that people say I look good, etc. it is how I feel. The extra weight really affects my physical abilities in my job and everyday living. I miss being able to put on clothes and they don't feel too tight or look bad. One day I told Adam how much I miss just tucking in my shirt. He informed me that people don't tuck their shirts in anymore.....I don't care! I miss being able to if I want too!!!!

No, it wasn't my lack of weight loss that was keeping me from sleep.

I then thought about the "schedule" I had for organizing and cleaning the house/shop. I did get my closet gone through. There are two large bags full of clothes for donation and I am thinking there will be more when I go through my drawers. It feels so good to get rid of stuff that I don't use. God's timing. Today in Sunday School we learned we are a pilot for a new program our church is getting into. I just realized if I had of gotten through the house on my schedule earlier, then these items would have already been donated. His time. I am wanting things done soon.

No, it wasn't my schedule being thrown off to His time.

It is change. Tomorrow morning Nichalas and Amber will be on a plane to Phoenix, AZ. Amber has two job interviews at a charter school there. As excited as I am for them and seeing their dreams beginning to become reality, it is bittersweet. I so, so miss our Adam. I hate not being able to jump in the car and go visit him. I hate that due to money and time we only get to see him at the most twice a year. I almost cry just writing that. I hate, hate, having our kids far away. Right now, Chicago is easy visiting. Phoenix,Az is not.

I am so thankful that God has given us children that are independent and secure in Him to go out into this world and live their dreams. I am also very selfish. I love having our kids at home. There - I said it. I would love for things to go back 27 years and have that time all over again. But, I can't. We have been blessed with wonderful, close relationships with them. I enjoy and am thankful for that.

I just hate some changes. I hate that time is going so fast and that we only spend a bit here and there together. Nichalas said their plan is to be back in Quincy in 4-5 years. Adam said he'll probably never be back. When I am not in my selfish pity party, I am thankful that one day we won't be separated. That one day we will be spending every day for eternity together - with Him. Focus - Faith - Trust.

So, that is why I couldn't sleep. And that is why He gave me the comfort of Psalm 34.

My own personal love words from Him......

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Facing Giants - I Sam 17:32-19:17, Psalm 59, I Sam 19:18-24

 I can always count on you—
God, my dependable love.(Psalms 59:17)

How much David loved God.  I never really thought about how his world was turned upside down in such a short time.  He went from being the "runt" son, the shepherd boy to a warrior and son-in-law of the king.  From being out in the wilderness, alone for long amounts of time, to being in the company of armies, royalty, the king himself.  He went from fighting bears and lions to killing men. 

I doubt in his wildest dreams did he ever envision his life becoming as it did.  And that he himself would be a king.

Throughout it all though, he loved, loved God.

In telling Saul of killing the lion and bear, I don't feel he was bragging.  He was protecting his sheep, even laying his own life down.   Just as he was protecting the name of God.  David loved deeply.  Sometimes, I get so caught up in the story of David that I miss out on the emotional side of him until I get into the Psalms.  Reading of all the warfare causes me to forget that he was a man of great compassion and love.  Just wanting to bring honor to God and getting caught up in the drama of life. 

Saul was a crazy man and David still gave him honor because he knew that Saul was one of God's chosen.  It takes a great man to not take things personal and stay focused on God.  What an example for me to carry in my heart as I go forth and come up against giants.  It helps to put things in perspective in a big way.....I mean really how many nine foot men do I come up against, or a "friend" throwing spears at me?  Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that some of the things we have to deal with in our lives are just as serious - but we sometimes take every single thing and make it into a big deal.  Mountains out of molehills.  Through it all - David drew strength and stood firm in knowing that God was his dependable love.

The part of these verses that stood out to me the most was Jonathan.  This was probably one of the first times that David had felt this overwhelmed and God blessed him with a friendship.  It doesn't seem as though David received much support from his brothers, his father called him the "runt", he had a wife who loved him, a father-in-law that did/didn't.

I am so thankful that my "Jonathan" is my husband, Curt. He has been with me to face giants for 30 years now and I pray for a minimum of another 50.  It wasn't until the last couple of years that our walks have finally come together as one in Him.  We were talking about this the other morning and realized that was also the time Curt started reading his Bible almost every day.  He said that when he misses a day his mood, outlook and everything is out of sorts.  I pray that people will come to know how essential His Word is.  The "Blogging through The Word" isn't about getting numbers for me - it's about teaching and reaching one by one, as Paul did in his ministry.  It is so amazing what the ripple effect is for one person.  Can you imagine how the world would be changed if we were all in His Word?

I pray that people will come to know how essential His Word is.

To face and overcome the giants.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Whose face - 1 Sam 15:1-17:31

 And they did. The Kenites evacuated the place.(15:6)

Saul was marching in to completely destroy the Amalekite but, the Kenites were warned beforehand to get out.

At what point do you give up and evacuate?

My prayer for those that are in Christ is that they live in the world - yet are not part of the world.  There is a separation.  Needs to be or else we become as the world - the Amalekites.  One day when Christ returns all will be destroyed.  Those outside of Him will perish into hell.  That's it - that is all He wrote.  After that there are no more chances. 

This verse has given me thoughts though of how long do you "camp out" with some people of the world.  We are here to make disciples - that is our utmost job.  How long do you "work" before moving on?  I firmly believe that I am seed planter, not a harvester.  I know that in His vast family He brings up behind my seed planting, harvesters of souls.  We all have different roles and I am okay with mine.  The problem I have though is I don't really know when to move on.  I pray and listen for His lead and try to do my best.  If I see that it is a toxic relationship, I "evacuate".  I just want to be sure that I am not "jumping ship" before knowing if the 'ship" is even sinking.  Are some things that I am viewing as toxic - really just me taking things too personal?  Am I really focused on His face and not my own and miss out on an opportunity to plant a seed for Him?  Am I so concentrated on seed planting that I am only looking ahead and not where He has me and missing the people?   I pray that He will change my heart to be more like His.  That I am so in tune to His, there is no question about where I am sowing seed and for how long.

I used to think that a woman's face reveals what is in her heart by the age of 40.  Today with the world being more about self, people are becoming harder and I feel it is in the early 30's.  Really look into a woman's face and you'll see what I mean.  A woman in Christ becomes more beautiful with age. 

But God told Samuel, "Looks aren't everything. Don't be impressed with his looks and stature. I've already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart."(16:7)

You see, I don't want to be caught up with the outside of life.  I don't want my past, or the garbage I bring along,to interfere with my seed planting.  I don't want to miss a moment for Him because my selfish heart gets in the way.  I want to be at the point where I don't even see the outside of a person, their status, etc.  I want to see their heart and their needs.  To put myself in their shoes so to speak. 

I want God to look into my heart and see Himself.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

dancing with the devil - 1 Chronicles 9:35-39, 1 Sam 13:1-5, 1 Sam 13:19-23, 1 Sam 13:6-18, 1 Sam 14:1-52

"There wasn't a blacksmith to be found anywhere in Israel. The Philistines made sure of that—"Lest those Hebrews start making swords and spears." That meant that the Israelites had to go down among the Philistines to keep their farm tools—plowshares and mattocks, axes and sickles—sharp and in good repair. They charged a silver coin for the plowshares and mattocks, and half that for the rest. So when the battle of Micmash was joined, there wasn't a sword or spear to be found anywhere in Israel—except for Saul and his son Jonathan; they were both well-armed."(I Samuel 13:19-23)

How stupid to put themselves into this position - and even with their enemies.  People they were in war with.  Out of all the gifts and talents God gave the Israelites, did none of them not know how to sharpen their farm tools?  Or did they not want to?

Oh yes, here I am with the art of self-righteousness.  Is that a board in my eye - again.........

How often have I allowed myself to stray away from Him to satisfy my wants?  When there is something that I want to do and I know it is "dancing with the devil" and flirt with it anyway?  I wrote about stuff the other day.  How hard it is to resist a good bargain - bring it home knowing I don't "need" it and let it accumulate with all the other "stuff".  That good bargain quickly becomes  mundane.  No matter what it is, it needs attended to - either with dusting, cleaning, storing,  Bargains add up and can put a strain on your budget.  An unneeded bargain isn't a bargain - it's a burden.  Or food - sweets - too big helpings - unhealthy choices.  I consume it and it goes straight to my belly and hips.  It clogs my arteries, puts on the pounds which is hard on my joints and bones.  It robs me of a healthy life - a life of movement with ease - of time here on earth - robbing me of years with my kids and future grandchildren. 

satan and self are the king of rose colored glasses.  They can take the ugliest sin and make it look beautiful to entice us to flirt with it.  To relax our guard, to step a little farther from God, to refocus our hearts, souls and mind - to ensnare us until we are found without weapons in this spiritual war.  That is why it is essential to be in His Word each and every day.  To chew on it throughout the day - to have it become a part of you.  Only then are we able to see sin for what it really is.

 Ugly in the worst sense. 

To see that sin is not who you want for your dance partner during the steps of life.

in a corner - I Sam 9:1-12:25

 "Nahash said, "I'll make a treaty with you on one condition: that every right eye among you be gouged out! I'll humiliate every last man and woman in Israel before I'm done!"
 The town leaders of Jabesh said, "Give us time to send messengers around Israel—seven days should do it. If no one shows up to help us, we'll accept your terms." (11:2,3) 

How many times because of our choices, are we backed into a corner.  Feeling trapped, not knowing which way to turn and then we make a decision without consulting God.  It doesn't say that the town leaders would consult God then get back with them, but that they would send messengers around Israel.  Calling in the troops without consulting the Commander in Chief.  And how many times like the Israelites do I do this?  And then find because of my not consulting Him - I am in a jam?  How many times do I feel I have life by the tail and I can make a risky choice - only to have it turn on me.  Can you imagine making such a deal as they did?  Every - not just some, but every right eye.  And what kind of person comes up with this???  And they are making deals with them?

So easy to sit in judgement of their foolish dealings.  It is about then that I see the board in my own eye.  I look back upon my life and see many, many times I too made deals with "the devil".  Thinking I had the upper hand and I didn't.  For almost 25 years I lived like that.  Until I found myself in a corner - married with our first son - and realized that I needed to give my life over to Him.  To stop making deals with the devil.  I now had too much to lose and someone I loved more than anything watching me. 

"At that very moment God transformed him—made him a new person!"(10:9)

God did this to me.  The moment I made the choice to accept Him as my Savior.  I had been baptized years ago, because everyone was doing it.  Now I knew that I had within me the Holy Spirit and He was there to guide me.  I had His personal love letter to me, His Word, in which to learn of Him and obtain the gift of Wisdom. 

From my intimate relationship with Him I have received such hope.  Knowing without a doubt I am His and He is mine.  Forever.

 "Samuel said to them, "Don't be fearful. It's true that you have done something very wrong. All the same, don't turn your back on God. Worship and serve him heart and soul! Don't chase after ghost-gods. There's nothing to them. They can't help you. They're nothing but ghost-gods! God, simply because of who he is, is not going to walk off and leave his people. God took delight in making you into his very own people."(12:20-22)

I love the words of Samuel. As long as we are breathing there is another chance with God. He wants nothing more than for us to be His - of our own free choice. There were many "ghost-gods" I chased before finally realizing the only way the void within me could be filled was with Him. There aren't enough words to express the blessings that come from worshiping and serving Him with my heart and soul. To be amazed that a love you share with Him continues to grow and grow when you think you've met the max. 

He took my stumbling blocks and made them into His stepping stones.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stuff - 1Sam 4:12-8:22

"Then Samuel addressed the house of Israel: "If you are truly serious about coming back to God, clean house. Get rid of the foreign gods and fertility goddesses, ground yourselves firmly in God, worship Him and Him alone, and He'll save you from Philistine oppression."(7:3)

"Clean house."

There is a saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your schedule". I had one for this past winter. To go through our home and shop and totally clean and organize it. Even though it was only a two month season - I did get our taxes done, and the office up to date - the home and shop are still in disorder. The things I completed were a top priority.

So is cleaning and organizing.

I have found over the years if I do this every winter, it is much easier to stay on top of things during our busy time. Many, many days we begin not much after dawn and are driving home in the dark. Even though I am so very thankful for the work He is providing - it robs me of my energy and motivation when I do get home.

The truth is - I love an organized and clean home. I hate the amount of time and energy that is wasted in looking for something or having to buy something because it is "lost" in the mess.
I love opening up closets and cabinets and seeing order. Most of all, I love seeing empty space. I used to be so sentimentally attached to everything - it was too hard to throw it away. Not a hoarder like what you see on TV, but too much stuff.

And that is exactly what it is - stuff. Stuff that can become my god. I begin to find comfort, security, worth, etc. in stuff. It gets in the way of my relationship with God. It affects my ability to be a good steward of what He has given me. It can wreck havoc on my life. Our house isn't filled floor to ceiling with paths in each room, but there are areas that are in need of attention. My closet. I began over two months ago to go through it. Right now, it looks like it threw up into the room. For some reason food and clothes are a weakness for me. It is even hard to part with clothes I really don't like - in case I will need them. And you can imagine the pain I have in getting rid of something someone gave me - even though I don't like it and don't even wear it!

"God answered Samuel, "Go ahead and do what they're asking. They are not rejecting you. They've rejected me as their King. From the day I brought them out of Egypt until this very day they've been behaving like this, leaving me for other gods. And now they're doing it to you. So let them have their own way. But warn them of what they're in for."(8:7-9)

I know in these verses they are referring to wanting an earthly king. Someone to take the place of God amongst them. Someone that they can physically see and hear. But, I also know that with these verses He is telling me, "yes, you can keep all this stuff - but there are consequences." I know that in some of the stuff I hang onto I am getting that false sense of security from keeping it. I see that I need to be holding onto Him - not the "stuff".

I am learning that "having my way" is really a burden. That living life with all this "stuff" - it really isn't living. Not the way He planned. He wants me to enjoy this life, to be prepared, to be a warrior for Him. To be secure In Him.

Not "stuff"

Monday, April 09, 2012

Overlooked - 1 Sam 1:9-4:12

I am greatly ashamed for the many times that I have read about Hannah and did not recognize her as the strong and great woman of God that she was earlier. One of the many great blessings of rereading His Word each year is how He has helped me in "getting to know" those I had often "skimmed" over. I wish that I could have spent time with her, to know more about her.

The blessings I receive from the little I do know, are amazing. She first captured my heart with who she turned to in her pain - God. She never turned inside and lashed out at the injustice that she endured. To live as a barren woman in those days was one of the greatest types of shame. She was looked at as a complete failure. And yet, how her husband, Elkanah, loved her.

Her first great love though is God.

"Hannah was praying in her heart, silently. Her lips moved, but no sound was heard. Eli jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk." (1:13) "The only thing I've been pouring out is my heart, pouring it out to God."(1:15) How often do I pray to God in such a way? Do I take the privilege that prayer is and take it for granted? How often does it look to God as though I am drunk - because I am pouring my heart out to Him. How often do I hold back bits and pieces that I feel He won't like, won't accept, won't find important or won't change? How often do I forget He desires to hear all of my heart.

I look upon her with great admiration and respect. She loved God so much that she vowed to give Him back her son if she were to be blessed with one. And she did. Jewish children were usually five years old when they were weaned. That is probably how old Samuel was when they left him with Eli the priest - to live.

I look upon her with great admiration and respect. When I picture the separation, I don't see Samuel smiling and waving goodbye. I envision tears and fear as he stood beside a man, Eli, whom he did not know. I envision a little boy watching his mommy and daddy leaving him. Could I have done this? We lost two babies which I think is one reason I have hung on and cherished Adam and Nichalas so much. But, at times I have been very guilty in placing my worth in being their mom, in loving them more than God.

Hannah left with a song -

1 Samuel 2:1-10
1 Hannah prayed: I'm bursting with God-news! I'm walking on air.
I'm laughing at my rivals. I'm dancing my salvation. 2-5 Nothing and no one is holy like God.....

The boy Samuel stayed at the sanctuary and grew up with God.(2:11)

Hannah left with a song.

I look upon her with great admiration and respect. A child's character and personality are "formed" by the time they are five. It says so much about Hannah as a mommy in the man that Samuel grew up to be. We only know for sure that she saw him once a year when they went to make sacrifice, no other time is written about. God blessed her with other children, but none can take the place of the other. We know that Samuel lived in Ramah when he was older, I like to assume that he was spending time with his family.

I gain much wisdom and strength from Hannah. With Adam living in Liverpool, NY and Nichalas and Amber in Chicago - possibly Phoenix, Az, I draw comfort in Hannah's focus. It was totally on God. She didn't fall into a pity party for not being able to spend more years with Samuel - she was thankful for the time she had. She turned to God in her great pain and drew strength and comfort from Him. By doing that - she had peace and joy.

Joy in a situation that I would be in tears. I pray that I may be the mommy Hannah was. I pray that our children and generations to come will be known as Samuel -

"Samuel grew up. God was with him...Everyone...recognized that Samuel was the real thing—a true "child" of God."(3:19-21)

From Hannah I have learned how to have a song in my heart.....always.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The worker - Ruth 4:13-22, 1 Chronicles 2:9-55, 1 Chronicles 4:1-23, 1 Sam 1:1-8.

They were the potters....., resident potters who worked for the king. (1 Chronicles 4:23)

How often do I become so full of self that I forget I am only a mere potter for God.  That He is The Master Potter and that everything is coming through me from Him.  I am only a vessel for Him to use, to bring glory to Him.

This day is Easter - a day that represents a new covenant between God and His people.  It isn't because of anything I have produced from the clay.  It is because of Christ and His works that I am free.  All are free that abide In Him. 

There is the story of the scientist that was going to prove God wasn't real by producing a diamond from a piece of coal.  That He was able to produce the same beauty that God did.  God agreed to the challenge.  As the man bent down to pick up the coal, God told him, "Wait  - you have to create your own piece of coal".   Being a resident potter, I am only able to produce from what He provides.  It is His clay, His wheel, His Hands which guide me.  Again, I am only a tool. 

I pray that in my growth In Him, I will never forget that it is because of the sacrifice that Christ made for me that I may be with our Abba eternally.  It isn't because of my works, my gifts, or talents. 

Only in Him - The King. 

Hope after "Good Friday" - Ruth 1:1-4:12

It was an honor and blessing to be asked to read scripture for the wedding of one of our "sons" and his bride two years ago. After praying about it, God gave me:

"But Ruth said, "Don't force me to leave you; don't make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I'll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I'll die, and that's where I'll be buried, so help me God—not even death itself is going to come between us!"(1:16-17)

What a wonderful wedding vow to give each other - to be one In Him from the beginning of their journey together.  And what a wonderful vow to take to our Father from our heart.  To become His hook, line, and sinker.  To be totally sold out for Him - in the good and bad times.  When life is going along with no bumps  or when every step you take is met with an obstacle.  Naomi changed her name to Mara - which means Bitter. 

I pray that no matter what steps I am to take in this life, that I will not lose focus of His face.  That I will not become Mara - bitter.  That I will always know His hope and that He is in control.  Time after time in scripture, He gives us the promise of hope.  That He is in total control and we are in the palm of His hand. 

Thankfully, Naomi refocused and saw the hope God gave her before her life ended here on earth.  "Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, "Why, God bless that man! God hasn't quite walked out on us after all! He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!" (2:20)  I pray that when I lose focus on His face, which I will, that I may quickly refocus on His hope.  I so do not want to live out my life in Bitterness. 

Today was colder, overcast and with a few sprinkles.  I was thinking about on this day that my Savior was separated from our Daddy because He had taken upon Himself my sins.  The weather so matched the day.  The day of in between.  The day that was just about ready to bring about the end of the war.  It was the day before He overcame death and satan.  

Each moment we are given a new beginning - it's our decision to live in the hope or in the bitterness.

To live as though each moment is our Easter.   

Friday, April 06, 2012

Good Friday - Judges 19:1-21:25

At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.(Judges 21:25)

Throughout the readings of Judges, I have not enjoyed it.  There has been such ugliness.   I have such incredible sorrow in how people are outside of God.  So many of the verses seem to ring true of today.  I have been thinking all day on the verses and didn't really hear what He wanted me to know.  My focus was about the status of the people, their sins, the way the world was.  The mistreatment of the women, the way people would "bend" the laws to suit their desires, how they would make a vow and change things up so they wouldn't lose face.  And again, I am reminded of how we humans really haven't come that far over the years.

I was really depressed by the verses today.  I think about the world and how it is can be so discouraging.  That was my focus when I was absorbing His Word today. 

Curt and I mowed until dark tonight.  I pray that everyone stopped and looked up at His wonder.  The moon was absolutely beautiful.  Hanging up there larger than normal, and so bright it almost hurt your eyes to look at it.  And yet you couldn't take your eyes away from it. 

And then it hit me. 

One night in a garden, far away from Quincy, Il - kneeled a man.  A man who was wrestling with the greatest journey He would ever, ever have to take.  A man who was in communion with His Father.   A man who knew all the sin in this world, and still loved each and every soul that lived and will live.   

It hit me.

That man who looked up at the same moon as I was, how so very much He loves me.  How His Daddy was going to separate Himself from His Son - for me.  The heartbreak they were going through in that garden.  A man who made the choice to separate Himself from His Father so I may be with Him for always.  For all who chose to take Him as their Savior. 

The King of Kings.

It hit me.

He took all the ugliness in Judges and made it beautiful.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Really??? - Judges 16:1-18:31

"You took my god, the one I made" (Judges 18:21)

Sometimes, when you look beyond the sadness - you can't help but laugh at how stupid we are at times. The one good thing about this verse is it makes me realize how much God puts up with and forgives because of how much He loves me.

"I made a god that you could come along and take."

Doesn't say much about how powerful it is.

I think about my God - the one who has been here before anything - the one who created all of this - including me (the one who made a god). Just touching the ark when it was falling (2 Sam 6:1-11), caused the death of Uzzah. There was proper procedure for the priest to enter into the Holy of Holy - or they would die. Moses - who God spoke to as men do face to face - could not see His face - or he would die.

I am so thankful that my God is one who no one can come along and "take". That I - a messed up human - did not "make". Tomorrow represents the day which Christ died on the cross.

My God was not "taken" to the cross against His will - He went on His own Freewill. He went because He is a Living God - one who can feel. Not something made out of wood or stone. He went because He feels love for me - for all of us. Even those who "make" their own gods and choose not to follow Him. He died not only for me and others who follow Him - He died for those who don't.

Because He is a God that rose again in three days.

He is My Living God in every sense.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Break it or keep it - Judges 11:29-15:20

Jephthah made a vow before God: "If you give me a clear victory over the Ammonites, then I'll give to God whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in one piece from among the Ammonites—I'll offer it up in a sacrificial burnt offering."(Judges 11:30-31)

Jephthah came home to Mizpah. His daughter ran from the house to welcome him home—dancing to tambourines! She was his only child. He had no son or daughter except her. When he realized who it was, he ripped his clothes, saying, "Ah, dearest daughter—I'm dirt. I'm despicable. My heart is torn to shreds. I made a vow to God and I can't take it back!" (Judges 11:34-35)

Could I have upheld this vow? I don't know - trying to imagine giving Adam or Nichalas up as a brunt offering - actually preforming it. I can't see myself being able to. And then to allow them to go away for two month! I would want to spend every waking moment with them if I knew that was their last.

I know we are to be very careful with our words - to God and man. We will be held accountable for how we spend our time, gifts and talents. The scriptures say to let your yes be yes and your no be no. It also tells many times how God abhorred child/human sacrifices.
Is this vow one He would have forgiven? Did Jephthah even go to God and ask? Am I not taking making vows serious enough? I know in my life I haven't upheld many vows. Some were made in immaturity, some in the spur of the moment, some I was unable to keep because of extenuating circumstances.

When I spoke to a minister friend of mine about a vow I had made and was unable to keep, he said it was between God and me. God knew my heart. He also knew I was going to mess up. He offers me love and grace. New starts. This doesn't mean I am to take making vows lightly - I don't. He has taught me it is a very serious matter. But sometimes as a parent to a child, they are to be forgiven.

What do you think?

"I made a vow to God and I can't take it back!"(11:35)

Isn't this putting myself in God's place? Isn't it His place to decide? How often do I do this instead of humbling myself - admitting I was rash, wrong, unable to keep the vow and lean on Him for strength? I feel this is a vow that broke God's heart. That He didn't want it made or kept. Jephthah has taught me to mind my words, yes, but also that I can go and talk to my Daddy. As long as I don't love something, someone more than Him, that I give all over to Him.

That is the vow He wants - to be number one in my heart.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Enough is enough - Judges 9:22 - 11:28

"They just walked off and left God, quit worshiping Him." (Judges10:7)

When I read these verses, my instant thoughts are how can anyone just walk off and leave God.  It dumbfounds me that anyone could live life without Him.  Such self-righteous and holy thoughts. 
I do walk off and leave Him, quit worshiping Him each and every time I choose to put "me" before Him.  A sin is a sin - it still separates us from Him.  Only because I am in Christ am I saved - again the grace and mercy covering.  He is transforming my heart to not be so judgemental and self-righteous to those outside of Christ.  Instead I am looking at them with compassion, sorrow, fear for them, and Christlike love.  It isn't always my first choice! 

Tonight while spraying on a commercial property, I had my hose laying across the road as I went from side to side.  A car slipped up on me and I had to hurry over and move my hose.  The driver was a woman who has the personality of a turd.  Over the past 10 years that I have had to deal with her, I have made it a conscience effort to smile, be nice and pleasant.  I have tried putting myself in her place, giving her the benefit of the doubt that her life is not a very happy  one, etc.  As she drove by me, I waved and smiled.  She just gave me the once over look and drove by.  No wave, no smile - just rudeness.  At first I was really angry.  How dare she reject me like that - again.  And then He started to work His magic.  It wasn't about her and me - it's about Him and me.  Am I glorifying Him in all that I say or do?  So what if she rejects me - bottom line - am I waving for His glory or mine. 

I was able to pray for her in only five minutes this time!  Every day I strive for immediate.  This led me to think what little I know of her life.  And others who live outside of Christ.  It caused me to think of how our world is in self-destructive mode. I can hear God telling us, ""When they oppressed you and you cried out to me for help, I saved you from them. And now you've gone off and betrayed Me, worshiping other gods. I'm not saving you anymore. Go ahead! Cry out for help to the gods you've chosen—let them get you out of the mess you're in!" (Judges 12-14) 

At what point in today's world is He going to say, "Enough is enough"? 

It scares me.  Not for myself - I'm in Christ and covered.  I have fear for those outside.  Those who are living a life totally focused on self.  How thankful I am that God protects me under His umbrella, that I am am safe from just how dark sin really is.  My heart is breaking though, knowing that there are persons living in such a dark, empty, sin filled world.  It motivates me to try and introduce them to Him.  To introduce them to a world that is full, safe and pure.  A world that is Him. 
So many societies have self-destructed because they have walked away from God.  America is a good place to be on this world.  I pray for our future leaders, for the media, for people walking down the street. 
I pray He will use me to reach the masses.............before it is too late.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Doubt - Judges 7:1-9:21

"Get up and go down to the camp. I've given it to you. If you have any doubts about going down, go down with Purah your armor bearer; when you hear what they're saying, you'll be bold and confident." (Judges 7:9,10)

Doubt can sometimes, most often, lead to fear if you are not grounded in Him, in His Word.  Fear is one of satan's strongest tools and we allow him to have a heyday with it in ourselves.  So often when I become doubtful, which is often as I continually second guess myself, God gives me persons from His Word.  I also find it so encouraging that the people He wrote about in the Scriptures are human just like me.  Obviously Gideon did doubt as he took Purah with him.  Even a mighty warrior of God doubts.  Then God will also show me how He gives courage to we humans and performs  miracles.   Like today - Gideon was told to go up against an "army that was spread out on the plain like a swarm of locust.  And their camels!  Past counting, like grains of sand on the seashore" (7:12).

With 300 men

And God.

That's the most important fact that doubt - fear - causes me to lose focus on.  Just as Gideon had Purah his armor bearer, I have God and others He has placed in my life to face the battle together - never alone.  When I refocus on this fact, when I walk in His Promise -

Fear runs from us.

I love that God is proven time after time and knowing He already has beat the enemy.  And I am on the winning side.

In my walk He has grown me immensely in facing down my fears.  I am praying for His boldness.  To stop second guessing myself and know without a doubt I am His.  He created me.  To stand behind His confidence. When I am busy second guessing, I am distracting myself from where/what He has told me to do.  I am promised that I will know His voice.  That I have the gift of the Holy Spirit within me. 

I yearn to be like "When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he went to his knees before God in prayer. Then he went back to the Israelite camp." (7:15)

He had absolutely no fear in the middle of the enemies camp.  He placed God first - he didn't run to be in a "safer" place.  He knelt right there and prayed.  He knew without a doubt - without fear - he was in safety. 

Because he was in God.

I desire to focus on that, know it, live it.

Because I am in God, it is like I am an island in the middle of the ocean.  Always surrounded by Him.  And then, then -  WE  - are surrounded by the enemy. 

Get it right that my focus is always to be on Him - not doubt/fear.  Him.  Have faith that no matter how rough or big the "ocean" becomes - He has me surrounded. 

And trust - that He is always in control - that I am always safe. 

To be bold and "God"fident - no matter where our steps take us.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

What's in a name? - Judges 3:31-6:40

Have you ever searched out the meaning of your name? of others name? It's ironic at times how a person can be identified with the meaning of their name. Most persons are named well before their character is formed. The name Deborah means Queen Bee. The origin is Hebrew.

(Judges 3:4-5) Deborah was unique among the women, and men, of Bible History in that she was prophetess, a judge and a military leader all in one - a powerful triple combination of authority and responsibility held by only two other Israelites, Moses and Samuel. Over the centuries, the name Deborah has been one of the more popular names for girls and has been appreciated for its association with the hard work, persistence, and importance to society for which bees are known. That is quite a name to live up to!

I don't see myself as a prophet in the Biblical sense. I do know my future is with Him. I do know that He is "I AM" and that covers everything. A judge - oh yes, at times I can be quite judgemental,self righteous, ready to sentence and condemn. And then there is a military leader. I have lead myself into my fair share of battles that my choices have gotten me into. No - I fall short when it comes to the name of Deborah.

"Don't be impatient with me, but let me say one more thing." (Judges 6:39)

How many times has this been me with God? I try to convince myself that I'm not bossy, I just have better ideas. Unfortunately, this is a name I do live up to often. How many, many times instead of being submissive to Him - "I say one more thing". I would be shocked if I could really see how God would handle my boldness without Christ intervening for me. The "Queen Bee" runs through me.

I know in scriptures we are told that one day God will be giving us a new name. Sometimes, I wonder what it will be- English or one that I can't spell let alone pronounce!

Until then - Deby it is.

When I think of my name being "Deby", it doesn't seem to fit - I don't "feel" like a Deby. Because it was so common, I shared it with 8 other girls in my class, I never really cared for it. Which is how spelling - Deby - came about.

Christian - Follower of Christ.

This is a name I pray I am known as. It is my hearts desire that persons don't see me, they only see Christ. I know I fall short at living up to this name too. It's only because of Him that I stand a chance to be able to. 

Praise Him for His mercy, grace and guidance.