Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"Stepdad" 09/30/15 - Matthew 1, Luke 2:1-38

"Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God's angel commanded in the dream"(Matthew 1:24)

Joseph.  The man who was chosen to help raise our Savior.  The man who would be there from the moment of conception, to love and guide our Savior.  The man who would have our Savior as His stepson. 

I've often wondered about Joseph. 

What character traits did our Savior glean from him.  How did they interact. Their relationship. Did they ever wrestle.  What did they build together.  Discuss deep and serious things,  Did Mary confide in Joseph things in her heart, causing Joseph to protect his "stepson" even more.  Did he ever stand and look at our Savior, his heart in his throat, knowing.  Seeing our ABBA in the face of his stepson.  What it was like to love our Jesus throughout those growing years. 

There isn't much written about him for us to know.  He is from the family tree of Abraham.  He is a carpenter.  We don't know about his finances, social status, what kind of donkey he rode, what he did in his spare time. 

We do know He was a man of God. 
He was hand chosen by God, just as Mary was, to be in the role of parent to our Savior. 



He was so loved, trusted, approved by God.  ABBA wouldn't place the care of His only Beloved Son in just anyone's hands.

His heart was one that desired to please God. 
No matter what.

It was a time when a woman who became pregnant before being married was to be stoned.  Joseph could have easily went this route, instead "Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced. While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. (1:19,20)

No matter the consequences, "he did exactly" what he was commanded.

How often are we as Joseph?  How often do we allow other factors to surpass what our ABBA has instructed us to do? 

For we too are so loved, trusted, approved by God for His work. 
Hand chosen to love as He loves.

I learn so much from Joseph. 

He didn't consider what was in it for himself. 
He was all about how he could be used for the glory of ABBA. 

No matter the consequences.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"His Beautiful One" - 09/29/15 - Luke 1, John 1:1-14

Good morning! You're beautiful with God's beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.
(Luke 1:28)


He has been convicting me of the way I speak of myself. 

Not only to Him, others, but to myself when referring to "me".

The way I cut myself down when looking at photos, my reflection. He is listening to every word and thought I have and most of them in reference to "me" is unkind. Not only unkind, but without grace and mercy. I am my worst critic.  I would never dream of speaking to another as I do to "me".   He has opened my eyes to how often I take the blessings He gives me through the words of others and dash it to the ground because I don't see myself as He and others do. 

How often are all of us harder on ourselves than anyone else?  How often do we choose to view "me" through the distorted lens of self, basing our standards on the world view?
 
Every time I am tearing apart "me", is actually an attack on God and others. With Curt I am saying he doesn't have very good taste when it comes to whom he is sharing his heart with.  Every time I tear myself down in regard to my role as a mom, mom-in-law, family, friend, I am saying those who hold me dear haven't very good judgment.  I am saying their words of love, praise, compliments, are lies.   I am saying they aren't very good managers of time when thinking there are better ways to invest than in "me".  When I see the delight in ones eyes upon seeing "me", I immediately wonder why ever do they desire to be with "me" and in a sense reject their greeting.

What I am doing to those ABBA has placed into my life is on such a small scale to what I am doing to my ABBA. 
 He created me. I am made in His image.

He has surrounded me by so many who see me as He does, and I am being a hypocrite. Why is it so easy to see others as beautiful and not ourselves? Why is it so easy to encourage others in seeing themselves as He does, and not take our own advice? Why is it so easy to believe His Word applies to others and so hard when applying it to ourselves?  When He says many times throughout His Word, "You - are beautiful", we bend down to pick up doubt?    Why is it so hard to believe when others say we are beautiful?

These are just a few of the words spoken to Mary from God through Gabriel.  He didn't have to say these, but He knew what was coming.  He knew this young teen child/woman would be coming up on some moments of self doubt.  Of criticism from others and probably herself.  He knew there were moments ahead when the world would look at her as "ugly".  He knew there were moments when she would look at herself as "ugly".  He knew she needed to know, to hear, to focus on His Truth.

Just as our ABBA has placed each and every word in His Word.  He knows there are times we need to pull it from within our hearts and cover ourselves in it.  He knows the road we walk through this world will bring on many attacks. 

He knows each and every second we need to know, hear, and believe when He says,

"Good morning! You're beautiful with God's beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you."




Monday, September 28, 2015

"As I Count The Ways" - 09/28/15 - Malachi 1-4

God said, "I love you." You replied, "Really? How have you loved us?"(1:2)

It used to be I wondered if God loved me.  I always felt His Love, His blessings were for everyone else and I was on the sidelines watching the Love unfold.  How His Word has transformed not only my heart, but my way of thinking and seeing life. 

There is no longer any doubt nor do I reply, "really?" when I hear Him tell me how He loves me. 

I have found when I am focused on Him, all my senses are on overload from His Glory showing off for me.
 
For me.

His nature continually blows me away.  This morning as the sun came up, it cast its golden glow across the drive, illuminating the colors on the flower blooms, causing them to shine out in the predawn darkness.  The shadows adding depth and dimension to the garden area He has enabled us to create out of the dense underbrush.  The old hedge trees stand over the new plantings, their twisted, ancient, branches home to so many of His birds and other critters.  The leaves are beginning their slow, eye catching death as fall begins to make herself at home before the final act of winter to end this cycle of seasons. 

We attended a party in a barn built in the early 1900's this past Saturday.  Although the craftsmanship throughout kept drawing my eyes in admiration, it was later looking out the frameless window at our ABBA's landscape beyond, sitting at the table in the company of loved ones, I keep thinking about.  His beauty of the fields, tree line, the sky, making it hard to tear my eyes away.  Breathless He left me in showing me a "painting" which surpasses any of those painted by the hand of man. 

Last evening Curt and I drove and parked at the top of the ridge to watch the harvest moon rise up and prepare for its journey of the eclipse.  We waited in vain as the cloudbank only intensified.  Every once in awhile you were able to see the brightness behind the clouds, knowing it must have been something to see.  Later on at home, I awoke from falling asleep on the couch, to a room full of light.  I smiled as I looked out the window.  Up above the clouds His great moon shinning down, illuminating the landscape before me.  His timing.  His way. 

I am in awe of those He has placed within my heart in this life.  How often I find myself just drinking in the beauty of Him, seen through them.  People.  I love seeing a glimpse of someone in the lineage through the face, mannerism, build, of their relatives. How beautiful each of us are.  I could get lost in the beauty of the eyes alone, especially when seen through a magnifying glass. Their colors, shapes, even sizes. Skin.  How He has made each of us our own unique, beautiful color.  Hands, representing so much of life lived through wrinkles, callouses, scars - so much strength.  So much strength when folded in prayer.  Our feet to carry us.  How He has made us to walk upright.  How He has created our bodies to move from one place to another, each one in their own unique stride. 

This morning one of those parts of my heart, Julie, is awaiting surgery.  She and Jordan will be meeting their second little girl very soon and I look forward to meeting little Ms. Everleigh later this day. I know I will be blown away once more in His miracle of life when holding this little one who will be only a few hours into this world.  I will once again be reminded in how He has used the different genes from one another to create another.  How He has created a whole "someone" from the sperm and egg of a man and woman.  Designing the woman to be a part of the process and then to give birth to new little ones. So many, many ways He has shown His Love to "us".  How He adores and desires "us".

So many ways He say to us, "I love you".

And then we will reply, "really?".


As I was falling asleep last night, I prayed He would awaken me before His sun came above the horizon and this morning I smiled as He gently called me to begin my day while it was still dark outside.  I smiled for I knew, even with that simple prayer, He listens.  Always. He is there.  Always.

It used to be I was so focused on what I didn't receive, I missed out on what He did/does give me.  I was looking at the "unfairness" and not seeing the even greater of "Him".  Being so focused on me, I missed out on all of "Him" around me. 

Each moment I am striving to be focused into and onto Him.  It is then I am able to know with the all of me - Yes, how He so loves me.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

"Being His" - 09/27/15 - Nehemiah 11-13, Psalm 126

"It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when God returned Zion's exiles.  
We laughed, we sang, we couldn't believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations - 
 "God was wonderful to them!"  
God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people.  
And now, God, do it again - 
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives.  So those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest. So those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessings."(Psalm 126)


How I love knowing my relationship with ABBA is not a dream, but real life. 
How much I love being with His family, my family, as we are one in worship with Him. 
How much I look forward to being together 24/7, face to face with Him. 
How I love His rains, giving me nourishment, refreshment, when my journey is drought-stricken.  How I love knowing He sees the whole paradigm and sees a plentiful harvest when I am picking up doubt and wondering if what I am doing for the Kingdom is causing any growth for Him. 

How I love when He brings His Light to the heavy hearts
and life is lived with armloads,
not handfuls,
of blessings.

How much I love being His.

"His Promises Are For Eternity" - 09/26/15 - Nehemiah 8-10

Still, because of Your great compassion,
You didn't make a total end to them.
You didn't walk out and leave them for good;
yes,
You are a God of grace and compassion."(9:31)

Our ABBA will never, ever leave us. 

It is us who chooses to leave or reject Him.

In Christ - we are Redeemed. 

no matter what we have done.  will do. 
In Him we are covered by His blood.  His forgiveness.  His grace.  His mercy.

In Christ - we are His - for eternity.




Friday, September 25, 2015

"Just A Bag of Tricks" - 09/25/15 - Nehemiah 6-7

 "There's nothing to what you're saying. You've made it all up."  They were trying to intimidate us into quitting. They thought, "They'll give up; they'll never finish it." I prayed, "Give me strength." (6:8-9)


So many stumbling blocks does satan throw out onto our path, trying his best to get us to sit down, venture off in the wrong direction, to give up.  It doesn't matter what ABBA has for you to do, satan will pull out his bag of tricks.  he wants nothing more than for you to not be a warrior for ABBA. 

his bag of tricks, will and does, include doubt.  he wants us to believe in his condemnation that we can never be saved or good enough, over ABBA's word of Truth - in Christ - we are Redeemed.  he wants us to believe we aren't able, strong enough, equipped, smart/talented, to carry out the mission ABBA has given us.  To make disciples.  To live a life for and in our Christ. 

We at times will pick up the tricks he lays out before us and consider they do apply to us.  How often do we throw out lame excuses to delay our mission?  In the study, "Altar Ego", he brings up Moses and how after God has told him he would be the one to free the Israelites, Moses throws back at God, "I can't speak well".  I love how God shoots straight from the hip, "I am who made your mouth". 

Our ABBA is so Awesome, He is able to use the all of us, good and bad, for His Glory.  Our ABBA uses the strengths and weaknesses of us to help each other, to grow relationships.  Just think about all the conversations Moses would have had with his brother Aaron, his interpreter.  Think about how often He has used you, or placed others in your life, whose strengths/weaknesses grew you closer.  To each other and to Him.

Have confidence in where and why He has placed you as a Warrior of this spiritual warfare.  For "it comes about when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surround us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God." (6:16)

I have found it is only through my submitting to do things His way, relying on His Strength, I am able to continue on.  There's no stopping us when we rely on Him.   He gives to us His strength through The Holy Spirit, His Word, His family.  Only then is the intimidation from satan seen for what it is. 
Just a trick. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

"Focusing On the Bright Lights of Life" - 09/24/15 - Nehemiah 1-5


 
"So I went up the valley in the dark continuing"(2:15)



Last night our Bible Study group finished up the last video from the Harris III Shattered study.  Take some time and watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBvvleY63Qk  His other four videos are free to watch as well. 

We listened as he spoke about faith versus fear. 

I have been chewing on his message and recognizing patterns in which I allow fear to seep in and paralyze me.  hinder me.  hold me back.  I am allowing fear to keep me from being whom He created me to be. 
 
There are times when I seem to be bombarded with memories from the dark valley. My ABBA has given  me strength and courage through so many avenues.  I have learned  I "need" to focus on Him so I may continue on.  

His Words come over the radio from numerous Christian artist, from praise songs in worship.  His Words I hear and tuck down deep from reading, from sermons and from His family in whom He has surrounded me with.  His colors in the turning crops against the beautiful sky remind me He designed and created beauty in all.  He gives me His Words in my heart to remind me, "I am His Beloved". 

It has become a need to continually be focused on His face.  For only then am I able to see the many "bright lights" He rains down upon me to brighten my path - not the fears.  Fears when focused on  I begin to  believe are bigger than my ABBA. 

There was a night when there wasn't much time left to watch Adam's football game after going to the grocery store.  I debated going on home.  It was out of my hands when coming to the stoplight, I found myself turning right and heading for the game.  Parking at the top of the hill, I could see the players in the field below as they fought for the ball.  

I could see sitting on the bleachers between them and me were parts of my heart.  

With the lights illuminating their outlines, I knew He was shinning down upon them too, pointing out to me, telling me, "these people are part of the many blessings I rain down upon you".  Two bright eyes shinning in delight, her smile hidden by her binky, her little body bound up in such excitement, squirming to get down, her little legs pumping as fast as they could around the bleachers to where I was at.  

There at the end of that day was my little friend.  Nora.   



No matter how much time has passed, Nora is always over the top excited to see me.  The last time was at the guys soccer game.  When she saw me she stopped, pointed at me, and exclaimed over and over, "Deby's here".   


Whenever I witness the excitement in her seeing me, I know I am tasting just a bit of Heaven.  Nora is just a taste of how much my ABBA delights in me.  in all of us.  The bright spot in our valleys.  The Light to guide us through.  We have only to keep our focus on Him, walking in our faith.  Not looking elsewhere, stumbling about on the pathway of fear. 



This is just like my ABBA.  Just like my Savior.  Just like The Holy Spirit.  Just like His Word. 


Always, always there - bringing delighted Light into darkness. 

My heart sings out, "God, God-of-Heaven, The Great and Awesome God, loyal to His covenant and faithful to those who love Him and obey His commands(1:5)     

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Ready. Set. Go." - 09/23/15 - Ezra 7-10

"My God was on my side and I was ready to go"(7:28)


Nichalas and I were discussing our will the other day.  He and Amber have decided if anything should happen to Curt or I, her parents, they would move home to help out.  Our conversation then turned to being ready to move and how stuff, obligations, can slow you down.  There is a show I enjoy, "Tiny House Nation".  If we didn't use our home for ABBA through hosting Bible studies, having persons stay with us when they need to, or the business, this way of living very much appeals to me (Curt though - not at all lol). 

The older I am becoming, the less stuff I desire to have around me.  It used to be where I had our walls, surfaces, displaying different items, now there is a lot of bare space.  During the winter down months, I like to go through, organizing the home, ridding it of even more stuff.  Stuff I don't use or no longer want to take care of.  ABBA has transformed our hearts to ridding our lives of debt, rather than accumulating it by buying more stuff.  We utilize the original 1977 kitchen with its beautiful avocado green stove and all.  It would be so easy to transform it into a 2015,  but we want to get the home paid off before that takes place.  And mostly any remodeling is to up the value of the home for the day when we have to move and sell.  I try to have the office work up-to-date, as well as other areas in our life.  Not there completely, but closer than I used to be. 

I am striving to live as though I will be taken "Home" at any time. 

It is my goal to have the home/business side of things taken care of, so if I do go first, Curt, Adam, Nichalas, Amber and future family, are able to focus on each other, not wading through mountains of stuff.  In His way of  changing my way of living, He  has given me such a freedom.  There isn't the heavy weight of "stuff" pulling me down, occupying my time, keeping me from being "at the ready".

I am coming to the place where my heart is much like the homes in "Tiny House Nation". 

It carries only what ABBA wants me to have. 

There are still times I pick up things of the world and try to insert it into a nook or cranny, thinking it won't matter.  But before I know it, it has expanded and overflowed into other areas of my heart.  He is having me see through His eyes, the things of this world can not take up residency within a heart of Him.  He is also opening my eyes to see the "bargains" of this world aren't the "great deal" after all.  

They end up costing more than you can imagine. 

It amazes me when seeing a tiny home completed, how much they have incorporated into them.  Everything is in its place, multipurpose, and easily packed up and ready to go.  This is how I want my heart and my life to be. 

Full of Him. 

The gifts and talents He has blessed me with - to be used for Him.  To be at the ready, to get out of my comfort zone and go out to where He leads me.  Needs me to be.  Go.  Do. 

I desire my "tiny heart" will be "huge in Him". 
For Him. 
At the ready. 
"Ready to go." Always.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

"Without Doubt" - 09/22/15 - Esther 7-10

But when Queen Esther intervened with the king, he gave written orders that the evil scheme that Haman had worked out should boomerang back on his own head. He and his sons were hanged on the gallows.(9:25)  


What great comfort in knowing, without doubt,
our Savior has/is/does intervene with The King on our behalf. 

What great comfort in knowing, without doubt,
our Savior's blood has covered us with grace, mercy, forgiveness, cancelling out death for our sins. 

What great comfort knowing, without doubt, 
He shields us from the catastrophic destruction our sin would cause, blocking the "boomerang". 

What great comfort knowing, without doubt, 
He is there as we endure the consequences of our choices, taking the brunt of it all for us. 

What great comfort in knowing, without doubt, 
He has our backs.   

What great comfort in knowing, without doubt, 
In Him we are redeemed.  Our sins are forgiven and forgotten. 

What a great comfort in knowing, without doubt,
in Him we have The Gift of The Holy Spirit within and about us.

What a great comfort in knowing, without doubt,
He loves us with an unconditional, pure, Holy Love.

What great comfort in knowing, without doubt, 
He has made us a new person - His. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

"You Are" - 09/21/15 - Esther 1-5

"Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this."(4:14)


I'm not saying you're a queen, but as a child of ABBA, you are royalty.  


You are either a prince or a princess.  No frogs in His court either.


Each one of us is His Masterpiece.  Made in His image.  Created for His pleasure whom He desires to be with - always. 


Think about it - YOU are royalty.


No matter what your earthly position or status is, YOU are a member of His Royal Family. 


So, how do you utilize your title?


Is it for the service of self or for your ABBA?  Are you all about introducing everyone you meet to your ABBA for adoption, or have you set yourself apart from those who "don't belong"?  Do you see each meeting with someone as an opportunity to share the unique gift of His family?  Or do you pick and choose whom you deem is worthy of this position?


Fact is, none of us, not one, is worthy to be called His Child.  We only deserve Hell. 


It is only because of The Sacrifice of our Savior all - not just some - have free will to become His and have an intimate relationship with our ABBA.  "


With that relationship comes the responsibility of becoming more and more like our Christ with each step we take.  Christ didn't shun people, He welcomed them into His life, His heart, His way. 


Do you realize "you were made "royalty" for such a time as this"?    How exciting is that!   

Sunday, September 20, 2015

"Shimmering In His Light" - 09/20/15 - Zechariah 8-14

"Then God will come into view, His arrows flashing like lightning! Master God will blast His trumpet and set out in a whirlwind. God-of-the-Angel-Armies will protect them - all-out war, The war to end all wars, no holds barred.  Their God will save the day. He'll rescue them. They'll become like sheep, gentle and soft, Or like gemstones in a crown, catching all the colors of the sun.  Then how they'll shine! shimmer! glow! the young men robust, the young women lovely! (9:14-17)






Standing at the kitchen window this morning, the sunlight brought my attention to them.  Strands upon strands of spider webs, clinging to the railing of the deck.  There would be great feasting upon the many bugs caught up in them.  The gentle breeze moving them, reflecting His light like diamonds.   Sparkling. 


Without the sunlight, I wouldn't have noticed them. 


Without His Sonlight - my heart wouldn't be transformed, transforming, to where He has brought me today.  I wouldn't notice all of the beauty He has set before me.


These verses He has given me today are filled with the word pictures of His Light.  How exciting to see the display of His Glory face to face one day.  But until then, I am able to see it everywhere I look.  In His nature, His people, even in me. 


Slowly I am finally seeing that I am also one of His Masterpieces. 


Not because of anything I have done, only because of Him  Only because He reflects off of me.  Only because of Him do I sparkle and dance.  Only because of Him am I "like gemstones in a crown, catching all the colors of the sun."  A gemstone in His Crown.


Only because of Him do I now,  "shine! shimmer! glow! a woman lovely!"

Saturday, September 19, 2015

"In All Of History" - 09/19/15 Haggai 1-2

"I've looked over the field and chosen you for this work.'" The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies."(2:23)

How often we wonder, doubt, balk, at the "work" our ABBA has given us. There are times we are so into "self", we completely miss the "work" He has set before us and miss out on the blessings gleaned from the "work" when done.  When we are so absorbed into "what are my gifts?", we don't use any and miss out on the Divine Appointments He has set up for us. 

No matter where your journey takes you this day and every day, remember - nothing is by coincidence.  Look forward in excitement to where He is leading you, using you, growing you, completing and transforming you.  All steps are gaining ground closer to being Home with Him! 

MY CUP RUNNETH OVER

In all of history, God decided that in this one little slice - this seventy years or eighty-two years or ninety-one years, whatever time you have on this earth - this was the single point ideally suited for you to serve Him and bring Him glory.  Out of all of the nearly infinite possibilities, there was no better time for you to be born with your unique gifts, talents, skills, and personality.  God knew you before you were, and He put you right where He wanted you.

Unfortunately, many of us don't believe we are masterpieces.  We focus so much on our perceived deficiencies that we convince our selves that God wouldn't use us, or perhaps even that He couldn't.  Because we have not grasped who we are, we work hard to focus on all the things we are not.  Consequently, we're not living out our true purpose, no wonder we're frustrated.  If you don't know the purpose of something, all you can do is misuse it.

Whose are you?  Think about everything that characterizes your life and defines you.  Think about the experiences you've had, the decisions you've made, all the people you've loved, the trophies you've won, and all those times you've blown it.  Are you good enough?  By yourself, no.

But He is.

He's more than enough.  

His grace is more than enough for you. 

You are who you are - you are where you are - because He set you on this path, plotted this course for you. 

And right now, in this moment, as you're reading the words on this page, it's because God put them in front of you for you.  (And you know it's true, don't you?)  Without Christ, there's something wrong with you.  But with Christ, you are God's Masterpiece.  you are created for His purpose, and you have all you need to do all God wants you to do.  And nothing will be wasted; God will use everything in your life to fulfill His vision for you.

When you know Whose you are, you will know what to do.

In Him,
 YOU  - are His Masterpiece.

Friday, September 18, 2015

"His Sea of Joy" - 09/18/15 - Ezra 4-6, Psalm 137

"Then the Israelites who had returned from exile, along with everyone who had removed themselves from the defilements of the nations to join them and seek God, the God of Israel, ate the Passover.      With great joy they celebrated the Feast of Unraised Bread for seven days.
 
God had plunged them into a sea of joy."(6:21-22)


The reward of remaining steadfast in their work of rebuilding the temple.  No matter the circumstances, the people they came up against, the situations.  They remained true to ABBA.


They remained focused on Him.


They remained on course to following His lead.  His ways. 


Him.


In Him we are His Temple where He resides.  Within us.  We are part of His great commission,
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of The Father and of The Son and of The Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."(Matthew 28:19-20)


How often do we allow ourselves to take our focus off of His commission and stop "building"?  How often do we set aside our tools and go off into the world for a time of serving "self"?  I strive not to each moment of my days for I am so in love with ABBA, I desire to please Him continually.  (Unfortunately, there are many times I don't). 


When my life is said and done, I want to be one "who had returned from exile, along with everyone who had removed themselves from the defilements of the nations to join them and seek God ate the Passover."


 "With great joy they celebrated the Feast of Unraised Bread".


"God had plunged them into a sea of joy."


I love the word picture we are given here for His followers.  There is nothing like diving into the cool waters and feeling them remove the heat of the day from your body.  To feel the coolness refresh you.  To ride the waves, build sand castles, to delight in His nature. 


You see, I am so looking forward to going swimming with His family - for eternity.
In The Sea Of Joy.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

"Personalized" - 09/17/15 - Ezra 1-3

"They had thoroughly searched for their family records but couldn't find them. And so they were barred from priestly work as ritually unclean.  The governor ruled that they could not eat from the holy food until a priest could determine their status with the Urim and Thummim."(3:62-63)  



My love for genealogy comes from my G'ma Dorothy.  Before she passed, she had researched and written down names, dates, little notes in small brown books, giving each of her three children one.   I have the one she gave to my parents, kept in a fireproof box.   There is a site I have used and searched records, going back to even earlier generations.  It has also been fun looking into Curt's family tree as well.  My G'ma Dorothy was an excellent storyteller, sharing the memories of persons past, many of which I still remember and have told our sons.  I had given her a book to fill out and received it back when she was gone, it was still as I had given it to her - not an ink mark on any page.  Recording her never worked out either, but how thankful I am for still being able to recall the sound of her voice.  As I become older, I find each day missing her even more. 

G'ma Dorothy was a little woman with a huge heart.  I loved seeing her under 5ft frame enveloped in a hug with my over 6ft sons.  We always kidded that they stole their height from her.  She gave me many "gifts" throughout my life that I am still using.   Not material items, but items from her heart.  She gave me a gift of roots and through her recollections, the persons I am from, came alive.  Without her, I wouldn't know the incidents, there wouldn't be any "personalization" of the persons, just names and dates. 

This "personalization" is one of the reasons I am so in love with His Word.  He has given me recollections of my ancestors, persons I have come from and they are now part of my life, my heart.  No longer are they just names in a book, but my great, great, greats, grandparent, aunt, uncle.  They are part of my lineage.  My lineage to my ABBA. His Bible records it all.

How much satan wants us to believe we can not be a part of this lineage.  he wants us to believe the lies that we don't belong, therefore we can not be saved.  It is one of his biggest lies which he throws out so we begin to doubt.  And when we begin to doubt, we begin to take our focus off of our ABBA and onto ourselves.  We begin to doubt we are able to be who and what ABBA designed us to be.  We begin to believe we are "unclean" and must be "barred from priestly work".   We begin to doubt our lineage. 

From the moment we accept Christ as our Savior, we become locked into His Family.  Christ is our High Priest, The Bridge Builder, to our ABBA.  It is through Him we then become a priest to carry out the duty of bringing others to Him.  To His Family.   Our Family.

"The governor ruled that they could not eat from the holy food until a priest could determine their status with the Urim and Thummim." 

How thankful I am it isn't just "a" priest, but "The Priest" who has searched out and determined my status.  He "bought" me into His Family. 
How blessed I am to eat The Holy Food for eternity. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

"Forever Glowing" - 09/16/15 - Daniel 9-12

"'Men and women who have lived wisely and well will shine brilliantly, like the cloudless, star-strewn night skies. And those who put others on the right path to life will glow like stars forever.(12:3)


More encouragement for you this day. 

I love how He speaks so to us, through His Word - His gift of Wisdom for us to drink in.  How easily we become bogged down by the lies of this world and forget.

Forgetting this is our temporary place.  We are just traveling through to our final destination, bringing along as many as we can to our Savior - Jesus Christ. 

Forgetting we are to be fishers of men. 
Forgetting it isn't about us, it is about Him. 

It is my prayer your eyes will be wide open to see the persons He has set before you this day - all days you are given.  There isn't such a thing as a coincidence in whom you will share moments with.
All moments are your Divine Appointments set up by your ABBA.
How exciting knowing we have the choice to "glow like stars forever" - His stars! 
"Putting others on the right path to life" - to our Savior - our Jesus Christ. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"His Miracles" - 09/15/15 - Daniel 6-8

"King Darius published this proclamation to every race, color, and creed on earth: Peace to you! Abundant peace!   I decree that Daniel's God shall be worshiped and feared in all parts of my kingdom. He is The Living God, world without end. His kingdom never falls. His rule continues eternally.   He is a Savior and Rescuer. He performs astonishing miracles in heaven and on earth. He saved Daniel from the power of the lions"(6:25-27) 





A number of years ago I was sitting on the couch and looked up to see Curt holding Adam in his arms, there in the doorway.  Adam was laying limp and Curt's face was covered with tears, everything about him was showing the fear he had. 

Adam had been run over by his truck.

He gently laid him on the couch.  Adam was aware of all that was going on, talking to us, his body unhurt.  Looking back now, I think he was so frightened by Curt's reaction he remained calm. 

Curt was driving his ton truck back to the brush pile to burn brush and the boys had ridden in the back to help.  When they hit a bump, Adam flipped out and the dual back wheels ran over him.  Curt had swept him up, and ran carrying him to the house - his heart in his throat.  

I have never doubted if Curt loves his sons.  This is one moment which stands out just how much.  He had lost two brothers early on in his life, and the fear of losing one of his sons has never been far from his mind.   Death has a way of touching us and leaving its mark. 

We had removed Adam's coat to check him out and after determining he was okay, I noticed it laying on the floor.  As I spread it out, the muddy tire tracks marking their path were easy to see. 

Even today I am in awe of the miracle ABBA delivered that day.  With the sleeves spread out as though Adam were still in it, the outside wheel had run up and over his arm, right next to his head.  The mark of the inside wheel stopped in the middle of his back.  Somehow, someway, the inside wheel didn't follow the outside wheel to go over his head. 


I hope this description makes sense.  There wasn't a logical explanation when looking at the tracks on his coat.  This wasn't the first time ABBA stepped in and preformed a miracle with our Adam. 


When he was in the birth canal, his heart beat started to go down drastically and an emergency C-section was preformed.  After everything was done, Adam and I were resting when Dr. Matthews came in to see us.  He told me there was nothing short of a miracle in Adam being alive.  The cord, placenta, and Adam's head were all in the birth canal trying to get out at the same time. 


Death used to scare me to the point of overwhelming me.  I would sit up through the night, just watching our Adam and Nichalas as they slept.  Afraid they would stop breathing.  Afraid they would die.  After losing two babies, I allowed my sorrow and fear to get in the way of ABBA and rob me of the joy of being a mommy.  Even of a wife. 


How much He has transformed my heart through His Word.  I draw strength from Daniel in his courage, his loyalty, his love for our ABBA.  As I imagine what it was like for him to be lowered into a pit without physical escape, surrounded by lions, I am able to see through ABBA's words, Daniel never took his focus off of ABBA.  No matter the surroundings.  The situation.  The consequences. 


What a witness.  What a warrior of our ABBA. 


I pray I may be as Daniel. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

"Living Within Me" - 09/14/15 - Daniel 4-5

 “You are his son and have known all this, yet you’re as arrogant as he ever was. Look at you, setting yourself up in competition against the Master of heaven!" (5:22)




I can remember a couple of years ago watching the TV in disbelief, sadness in my heart, the flames shooting high into the night sky. Embers of various sizes were floating through the sky, remnants of a magnificent building. Because it was declared unfit, the firemen were unable to fight the fire from within. The Newcomb Hotel was declared a total loss around 11pm. All further efforts toward the fire were aimed towards neighboring buildings. With the winds picking up, there was a strong possibility, they also, could catch on fire. The next morning, it was still smoldering, no one was injured, the other buildings were safe, and the cause of the fire was under investigation, listed as "suspicious". They doubted if they would be able to determine the cause, due to the excessive damage.

The Newcomb Hotel was built in 1888 and when opened in 1889, it was considered one of the premier luxury hotels of the Midwest.  There are, and have been so many beautiful examples of architecture and design, in the city of Quincy, Il.  It is known for its beauty of not only buildings, but also for its trees.  And each time some of this beauty is removed, my heart is saddened. 

It isn't because I am in worship of the "things" I am saddened, it is the history, the stories they could speak of if they were able to talk.   I imagine the people and events which occurred within and about them.  How much we neglect to write down, so it is not forgotten, because all things will pass away.

The Newcomb Hotel had sat empty for 30 years and during that time, many attempts to develop it had fallen through, either due to funding, legislation, or plain ole politics.  Even though there were some windows boarded up, building materials could be seen sitting unused through the huge windows - you could still see a glimpse of its former glory.

It was thousands of years ago when ABBA created Adam, the first man.  Created him in His image, designed perfectly, for all His glory.  Just as He has designed each and every person since.  

If only, we wouldn't elect to allow sin to come into our being.  If only, we would learn from the past, those who were arrogant and we follow their lead becoming arrogant ourselves.  If only, we would stop putting "self" before ABBA. 


He created us with so many gifts, talents, and such beauty. 

Yet, how often are we "sitting there empty", with boarded up windows, His construction tools in complete view -  sitting there unused?  

How often do we try to cover up His glory with our own destruction?

How often do we become arrogant in the world's way of living our own lives, only to become a danger to ourselves and others? 

How often do we just sit and not use the beauty of Him  -  for Him - becoming "unfit"? 

"King Belshazzar held a great feast for his one thousand nobles. The wine flowed freely. Belshazzar, heady with the wine, ordered that the gold and silver chalices his father Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from God’s Temple of Jerusalem be brought in so that he and his nobles, his wives and concubines, could drink from them." (5:1-3)

King Nebuchadnezzar walked in arrogance of self and his son, Belshazzar, followed suit.  Daily, in my walk, I am in the process of forgiveness - either for someone or even myself.  This is so hard when a person knowingly attacks me, even when I focus on Christ Words as He hung on the Cross, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they are doing".  ABBA finally revealed to me, what  those persons do not know is the consequences they are creating and how the "ripple" will carry on.  It is enabling me to forgive everyone.  Yes, finally, everyone - for they really do not know what they are doing.   ABBA is giving me strength to do this as an example for our sons and daughter to see, to pass on. 

He has humbled me in my arrogance of not forgiving.  He has helped me to break the cycle.  I am so often in awe of the hearts of our children.  How they love like Him.
He has opened my eyes to my arrogance when not forgiving.   Believing  I am above Him, when actually I am nothing but an empty shell of a building.  I don't want to continue living in a building which has windows shattered with pride and arrogance, filled with the scattered debris of unforgiveness, anger and bitterness, not able to withstand the fires - which will come.  To live as a building falling victim to the "elements", because I have chosen not to use The Tools He has provided my upkeep.  There is no competition - He is the Master Architect and Designer.  I pray my "building" isn't ever listed as "unfit" - for when the fires do come, I desire Him to be fighting them from within.  I desire when persons look at me, they will see my "building" is filled with His glory.

Because He resides within my "building". 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

"For Always" - 09/13/15 - Daniel 1-3

 "I see four men, walking around freely in the fire, completely unharmed!
And the fourth man looks like a son of the gods!"(3:25)




 How I love that my Savior walks with me always - even in the "fires" of life. 


Never without Him am I. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

"He Really Means It" - 09/12/15 - Joel 1-3

God's Judgment Day - great and terrible. Who can possibly survive this?
Change Your Life  
But there's also this, it's not too late - God's personal Message!
"Come back to Me and really mean it! Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!"   
Change your life, not just your clothes.
Come back to God, your God.
And here's why:
God is kind and merciful.
He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot,
This most patient God, extravagant in Love,
always ready to cancel catastrophe.(2:11-13)


How great Thou Art.  How great Thou Art.


"This most patient God, extravagant in Love, always ready to cancel catastrophe". 


There is none other like Him, nor will there ever be.  His mercy and grace continually amaze me at their limitless depths.  His everlasting, unconditional love fills me and my heart overflows. 


He is my center.


I didn't always live life like this though.  It took a total change from me, for He has given me - all of us - free will.  My choice to come to Him had to come from within my heart.  It was the only way a heart transformation could take place, so now it is my whole of life, not just my "clothes" that has changed.   It isn't about being "good enough", doing enough "good things", being a "good person".  It has to be the whole of me running after Him, not just the lip service.  I must walk the talk and my fruits will show if I am or not. 


I had to "Come back to Me and really mean it!"  It wasn't just an act. 
It is now my way of living this life He has blessed me with.


As God, He could easily take my sins and lord them over me.  Treat me in a way I am deserving of, but instead He covers me with grace and mercy, unconditional love, total forgiveness.  In doing so, I find myself falling before Him in repentance, in sorrow for how I have hurt Him, others.  He could easily put His foot upon my head, keeping me down.  Having me continually in the walk of shame.  He doesn't.  He lifts me up into Him, giving me words of encouragement, instruction to Love and forgive as He does.  He gives to me examples in extending grace and mercy as He does. 


He could easily then let me go about stumbling my own way.  He doesn't.  For once His, always His - unless I walk away from Him.  Never does He go away from me.  Never does He reject me.  Never does He stop loving me. 


No matter how often I slip and fail.  No matter how often I serve "self" instead of Him. 


He wants nothing more than to cancel the final catastrophe - that of being separated from Him eternally. 


"And here's why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot, This most patient God, extravagant in love".


He really means it.

Friday, September 11, 2015

"Daily Reviewing/The Top Priority" - 09/11/15 - Ezekiel 46-48

"The Prince is to be there, mingling with them, going in and out with them." (46:10)



A few years ago our Wednesday night Bible study finished up "Not a Fan".  It was such a great study, we all agreed to go through it once more immediately.  As much as  this study impacted my life, I still remember while watching the first video again, I was surprised at all I had forgotten in only a few weeks.




Forgotten.

Taken for granted.











"REVIEWING"  IS A NECESSITY. 

December 31, 2015 will be the 17th anniversary of reading through His Word for me.  I had made this pledge to Him, as long as I was able mentally, I would read through His Word yearly.  The first few years I read, but not every day.  Life got in the way.  Good intentions were set aside by something "better" that came along for that day, that moment.  One year, I read through the entire New Testament on December 31st, because I was bound and determined to finish in time.  It had become more about getting through His entire Word, rather than having His Word getting through to me. 

And then, I started to see the change in my heart, my days, I made time to start my day reading His Love Letter to me - with Him.  He was giving me the gift of Godly Wisdom through His Words to equip me in my journey of this life.

I learned - albeit slowly - I needed to "review" His Word every day. 
He has caused me to hunger for it.

 Even though I have read His Word throughout my years, each and every time, He gives me more "meat" to chew on.  I stand amazed at that.  I stand amazed of how Living His Word is.  I stand amazed how His Word, written so long ago, equips me for each of my days, here and now.  I stand amazed at how often I have fed from it, I still starve for it. 

There are often times when reading through the scriptures dealing with the numerous sacrifices, I mentally think, how thankful I am to be living on this side of the new Covenant - the Covenant I have with Christ - my Savior.  There are times when I will "breeze" through these verses, focusing on all the work and mess it entailed, how it had to have taken up a major part of their lives.  It hit me today, as I was "reviewing", God's instructions and their obedience were their daily "review".  In the reading today, the people had fallen so far away from the meaning of the many sacrifices, it had become routine or neglected.  And they themselves had fallen away from God.


 I am forever grateful for the forgiveness and the great example of Love,  ABBA gave us through Christ.  The ultimate sacrifice.  How we will often balk at loving and forgiving as Christ did/does.  A friend of mine once said, "Christ left Heaven to come down and walk with us, He didn't have to."  When our Savior left to return to ABBA, He left us the gift of The Holy Spirit walking amongst us, Who when we accept Christ, lives within us.

No greater love or sacrifice has been shown or given for me. 

Yet, how often in my days, do I take His unconditional Love for granted.  Forget.  Put my "self" first?  Christ, my Prince, left His Father, our God, our ABBA, to come down, become human - for the sole purpose of ending all sacrificing for sin.

 So, as long as I am mentally able, I continue to "review" In His Word every day.  His Godly Wisdom has shown, equipped, enabled, me to LIVE "in" Him.  "Reviewing" is my (very small in comparison) daily sacrifice, to help me not take for granted the time "The prince is to be there, mingling with them, going in and out with them."

When He became and is The ultimate sacrifice.

"Reviewing" keeps me focused on His gift of "No Greater Love". 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"He Is My Bestest" - 09/10/15 - Ezekiel 44-45


Serve from your best and your home will be blessed.(44:30)


I used to think Adam and Nichalas were my best from everything I have ever produced.

They aren't.


It isn't that they aren't my best, it is that they are not mine.

Just like everything else in my life.

I am blessed in being whom He appointed to be a steward for whatever and whomever is in my life. 
But.  I. am. not. the. owner.

He is.

Yet, how often do I hold back the "best" of things and offer up to ABBA my seconds? 
Holding on to satisfy my selfishness, to fulfill my self-worth, to feel security? 

In serving Him up the "seconds", I am not fooling Him at all. 
It isn't that He needs my "best", He instructs us to give to Him the "best" for a reason.

If we don't - if we don't give Him the "best" - the "best" becomes our gods.

I used to get my worth and satisfaction, my love fill if you want to call it that, from Adam and Nichalas.  By placing them first in my life, I was not only placing ABBA further down the list, but also Curt.  I was also placing a huge burden on Adam and Nichalas.  There isn't another human  (or thing) who is able to fill our God-void. 

Only He can.

Sure, I still wrestle with placing security, my worth,  in things of this world, but it isn't the battle it once was.  I find more and more I want less and less of things - of stuff - to fill my life.  I love being with Adam, Nichalas and Amber, but have now put Curt above them. 

And above Curt?  Is my ABBA.  He has become my "bestest friend". 
 
He has helped me put the order of life in line with Him.

He is better than the "best".  So blessed am I.
 
 

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

"Yes, He Did!" - 09/09/15 - Ezekiel 40-41

"God touched me and brought me here."(40:1)

Don't you love knowing nothing is by chance. 
Don't you love looking back and being able to see God touching your life,
bringing you to where you are today? 
Don't you love seeing how He is using you for His Glory? 
Don't you love His loving you so much, He touches you? 
Brings you closer to Him?

Touch.

It isn't love when there isn't touch or the right type of touch.  It all becomes cold and meaningless. Study after study shows an infant needs nurturing touch to survive. It is said that the touching of the top of your head is one of the most fulfilling touches we can receive.

Touch.

To think The Creator of everything takes time, makes the effort, comes close enough - to touch you.

And not only touch, but to bring you to where He needs you to be - for your best interest.

I love He made me a nurturing mommy with our sons.  I love it is normal to still hold the hand, touch the arm, hug, run my fingers through the hair, of my grown sons.  I love that touch between us is pure and Godly, just a taste of what being touched by our ABBA is to us. 

Doesn't it make you marvel in how He created us? 

That we need, desire touch.  Time after time in Scripture, we see where "touch" was an essential part of The Ministry of Christ.  Our ABBA's  Awesomeness continually takes my breath away.  He could have easily made us without any senses.  Without any emotions. 

How thankful I am to know His touch.