Monday, February 29, 2016

"Following Passionately" - 02/29/16 - Numbers 14


“But My servant Caleb—this is a different story.
He has a different spirit; he follows Me passionately.
I’ll bring him into the land that he scouted and his children will inherit it."  (14:24)


It wasn't until I drew into an intimate relationship with my ABBA, that I found where I fit in.  I was always different from those around me, much like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.  I was thinking just yesterday how He helped me realize it has always been because of Him - working on me - even before I knew Him. 

And now, I am so head over heels in love with Him.  My ABBA.

I love how He has given me a different spirit and I am a woman running after His own heart.  I love following Him passionately.  Even when the noise of ridicule, rejection, rebuke, rumbles in the background from the voices of those who don't know Him intimately.

We are often blessed with the gift of being in worship with at least one of our children.  Just a week ago, we were standing along side Nichalas and Amber in the upper balcony, our heads almost touching the ceiling, hearing the singing voices rise up to Him on their way through the rafters, at the Dream City Church in Phoenix.  Yesterday, we were standing with Adam and Ashley.  The sound of her beautiful voice gave my heart such joy, as we sang in worship together to our Lord.  My heart burst knowing our grandchildren, Charlie and Ella, were in their classes.  Learning.  Singing.  Worshiping.  Rest in knowing they are being trained up "in" Him. 
 
No matter where, the words of praise songs overwhelm my heart.   
My heart is on fire for my Lord. 

His Hand is holding mine, as I can not help but raise it to Him during the songs.  The words wash over my heart as I sing them as prayer, tears spill out of my closed lids and streak down my made up face. 

It matters not. 

It matters not that my mascara has went from my lashes to dark lines running down my face.  It matters not that my voice is not one of harmony.  He has told me, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made", including my voice. 

And now I sing. 

I sing loudly. 

I want Him to know my heart sings for Him. I want Him to know my heart beseechingly sings prayer to Him.

It is there, standing with my Curt. It is there, standing beside our young sons and daughter-in-loves.  It is there, in the same building as our grandchildren.  My cup runneth over with joy and peace.  Knowing their hearts are sold out to Him.  Knowing one day we will not be separated by distance, one day this family of ours will be together with Him.  Eternally.  Together.  Face to face.  With our ABBA.

It matters not that I have made mistakes in my role of their mother.  There are many moments I am so thankful they don't remember.  Moments which did not form who they are today, because our Abba stepped in and covered them, protected them from those errors.  He grew all of us through those moments.

 But - what does matter is -  they see I have "a different spirit; that I  follow God passionately" and were drawn to becoming that way too.

What does matter more than anything - is one day their children, and their children's children, shall see them in the same way. 
 
 I pray with all that I am, His ripple will continue on until He comes again and they will always be -
 
Different from the world.
"One with a different spirit; that follows their Abba passionately."



 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

"The Doubting Grumbler" - 02/28/16 - Numbers 11-13



 
 
 
 
“Tell the people, Consecrate yourselves. Get ready for tomorrow when you’re going to eat meat. You’ve been whining to God, ‘We want meat; give us meat. We had a better life in Egypt.’ God has heard your whining and he’s going to give you meat. You’re going to eat meat. And it’s not just for a day that you’ll eat meat, and not two days, or five or ten or twenty, but for a whole month. You’re going to eat meat until it’s coming out your nostrils. You’re going to be so sick of meat that you’ll throw up at the mere mention of it. And here’s why: Because you have rejected God who is right here among you, whining to His face, ‘Oh, why did we ever have to leave Egypt?’” 
 (11:18-20)
 
 
 
Doubt was taking over the camp and faith was faltering.  The focus had fallen from The Lord.  The People fell to grumbling over their hard life.  Of not having meat to eat.  Moses "grumbled" to God because he had to take care of the dissatisfied people.  . Miriam/Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married.

And God heard.

He sent quail, fire, and leprosy for Miriam. (Why did Aaron get off again?) I wonder if when God called them out before Him, were they trembling? Were they even aware God knew what they had said?

I began to think about how often I am so focused on self, my way, me, me, me - and believe as I grumble, "He can't hear me". My grandma Dorothy used to say when we talk to ourselves we are really talking to the devil, as we say things we wouldn't say otherwise.

He does hear. And yet I would still falter in my faith and begin to grumble and complain. Paul tells us, "to be thankful in all things". I would try. I would find myself trying to look and see others lives whose are far worse than mine. I try not to compare - to covet - to be jealous. And often, when life wasn't fair, I grumbled.

Because I had lost focus. When Moses grumbled to God about all the responsibilities and he couldn't handle them all - God listened. God then provided Moses help. He opened my eyes to how often  I would try and do it all and could not. God would provide me with help and in my pride I would refuse it.  And then grumble about being stressed and overloaded.

I was having a hard time letting go. The "power", control, doing things my way.
 
My greatest teaching moment came five years ago when Nichalas and Amber's rehearsal dinner was held at our home. I was attempting to do it all by myself.  Thankfully, God provided.  Even when I refused to admit there wasn't any way I was going to get everything done.

Our home was descended upon by our friends. They invaded! Washed windows, scrubbed floors, cabinets. One even scrubbed our toilets by hand after not being able to find my brush. (That is love.)
 
Our home was invaded by Love.

Not everything on "my list" was completed and in the end, it didn't matter. The funny thing is, most everyone was outside and all the work inside went unnoticed. Our family of friends made sure we enjoyed ourselves. Not once did someone come up and ask Curt or myself a question about what to do. They all took care of us. They made sure we were able to celebrate our children without any concerns.
 
He takes care of us. Because we belong to His family. He has surrounded us in Love. Real Love.
 
I read these Scriptures this morning and smiled at how far He has brought me. What freedom has come from the time I was failing, because "I" wasn't relying on Him to stop grumbling, to where He has brought me today. He is always listening. He is continually removing doubt from my mind and bringing about my focus onto Him - not "me". He is in control - and He loves me.
I have also learned - be careful what I ask for and rely on Him to provide. To not try and dictate to Him what "I" feel is best.
 
The quail were over three feet deep and as far out as a day's walk in every direction. (Num 11:31) Can you imagine! I needed to let go and let Him. His way. His time. Not mine. He has grown my faith and trust in He knows and desires what is best for "me".
 
"God answered Moses, "So, do you think I can't take care of you? You'll see soon enough whether what I say happens for you or not." (Num 11:23)
 
 
 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

"What Is Your Most Important Decade?" - 02/27/16 - Numbers 8-10



"But Hobab said, "I'm not coming; I'm going back home to my own country, to my own family."  (10:30)



How often do I hear, read, know God's promises - and say "I'm not coming, I'm going back home to my own country"? How often does "back home" look better to me than what He has in store for me? How often do I become too attached to "back home"?

Sitting beside Nichalas this past Sunday, listening to their minister, Luke,  I heard him ask, "What has been the most important decade in your life".  Instantly, so many memories rushed through my mind.  Marrying my Curt, the birth of our sons, our different places in setting up a home, the additions of our daughter-in-loves, our grandchildren.  And through all of those life changing events, it was the past 10 plus years which struck my heart.  These have been the years in which I have chosen to be in His Word each and every day.  These have been the years I have sat and gleaned from Him, listened to His voice.  These have been the years I have grown to know what intimacy "in" Him really is. 

These have been the years in which He has taken and grown my heart to be more like Him.   Changing the all of me.  I can see myself focused on Him with more and more of my steps. How He is no longer "out there", but here within me. I love how His Word is continually growing me and drawing me closer to Him.

A few years ago we completed the Downline Disciple course. His Word is over and over again telling me - "Watch - Do". I pray each day for closed doors - they are easier to see - in the areas where He doesn't want me to go.  I pray each day to be at the ready for His Divine Appointments.   (Every encounter I am wondering, "Is this the one".) I eagerly look forward in my day for the adventures He is sending me on.  It has been by refocusing on Him, I have the true freedom to enjoy life in the fullest, no matter the circumstances.

Moses countered, "Don't leave us..... If you come with us, we'll make sure that you share in all the good things God will do for us." (10:32)

In Numbers 10:1-10,  bugles were blown to notify the people if they were to march, stay, fight. Whatever His call they were to do as He instructed. Just as He never instructed them to go back to Egypt, their earthly home, it is the same for us. It isn't about going "back home". It is about where He is taking me.

I have recognized I have been too wrapped up in the past. I have been clinging to the "good" memories, trying to fill the void from the hurts which my past has left. Only He can fill that void. Good memories are just that - memories. And even though I have felt they fill me, actually they are robbing me of my present.

 Particularly with our sons. It is hard, no impossible, to treat them as adults if I am constantly remembering/focusing on them as babies and being young. God has blessed me with two awesome adult sons and their families.  I need to march on with them. Creating new memories, which are okay to take out with the old ones and look at - occasionally. Not to live through them.

"Blow the bugles.....they will keep your attention on God. I am God, your God." (Numbers 10:10)

How His Word has become, as His bugles, in keeping my attention on Him.
Telling me.
I am God, your God.

Friday, February 26, 2016

"His Dwelling" - 02/26/16 - Numbers 7

"When Moses finished setting up The Dwelling, he anointed it and consecrated it along with all that went with it. At the same time he anointed and consecrated the Altar and its accessories."(7:1)
 
 
It was a little different waking up this morning from the previous couple of weeks. The sunshine wasn't coming in, along with the refreshing, gentle breeze, through the open window. I couldn't hear the murmur of voices in the next room as Nichalas and Amber prepared for their day of work. We weren't greeted by their smiling faces upon opening the door to our bedroom. 
 
I lay thinking about what they were doing at those moments. There is comfort in being in ones home and able to picture them as they live there, going about their daily routine. Tears leak out from the corner of my eyes remembering the last glimpse of Nichalas standing beside their car, waving, as we drove away. Headed out. Distancing ourselves from them with many miles and hours. Knowing it will probably be another four months before being with them again.  
 
The furnace kicked on as I glean from His Word. The sun is struggling to overpower the grayness of the day. Trees are naked and stark, the grass is dormant. There is beauty here as well, but what a difference a day can make. 
   
Knowing Adam, Ashley, Charlie, and Ella, are here, as well as all those we share life with, somewhat eases the pain from the distance between Nichalas/Amber. How the heart can be torn while loving so many.
 
I am thankful ABBA has taken from me the feelings of self-pity and turned it into prayers for them. He has turned the time apart to be one of praise - for I have seen first hand how He is using them for His Glory. 
 
Adam and Ashley - their home. A stand alone building. A yard. Neighbors close by. Nichalas and Amber. Four walls - a floor plan identical to those units surrounding them. Children's voices intermingled with the sounds of traffic, barking dogs in a distance. Both homes built with the same type of materials.      
    
 
 
 
In the times shared with our children, He has given us a taste of Heaven, for our ABBA is the center. He is the foundation, He and His Word lives totally with them. Within their hearts, their souls, their minds. 
 
He has shown me, it isn't the building. No matter where our children place their heads to sleep, they have Him living within them. 
 
 
 
 
 
Their whole beings are His Home - The Dwelling. 
 
Such comfort knowing wherever they place their feet to dwell, He is with them. They follow His lead and look forward to Divine Appointments. There is no greater blessing than knowing the pieces of our hearts are held in the palm of His Hand. Eternally. For they, and all of His, have been anointed and consecrated by our Christ. 
We are His Dwelling. 
 
 
 
 

"With Breath, There Is Hope" - 02/26/16 - Numbers 5-6



 "All the days of his separation to the Lord he shall not go near to a dead person. He shall not make himself unclean(6:6-7)


 As we made our way across the states from Phoenix, AZ to Quincy, IL, my eyes would come to rest on the graveyards we were passing by. My mind would wonder about the persons beneath the ground. Where they came from, what made them settle in a land, where in places was completely desolate. What went through their minds as they traveled over the plains in covered wagons, the huge responsibility to those they brought with them. How many of them never saw those they left behind. The tremendous sacrifices each one made for our enjoyment of the lands today. What death and burial would have been like without the funeral homes and morticians. How many of them lived "in" Him.


 I thought of today's Scriptures, telling of how being in contact with a dead person makes you unclean and it suddenly hit me.

How much our ABBA abhors death.
It wasn't part of His plan.
He never created man with the intention of them dying.

When He created The Garden of Eden, a graveyard wasn't part of the landscaping design.

I have been chewing on this all day. How He has taken the sin of death and used it for His Glory. For those who are "in" Him, He has given us a gift through death of eternity with Him.

He gave us our Savior. His Son.

Reality is physical death is the end of any chance for those who do not accept Him - to do so.
It is the end for those outside of Him.
How much this has to tear His heart.
How much He must hate death more than we do.

He doesn't want anyone to die without Him.
Anyone.

"His Priests" - 02/24/16 - Numbers 3-4



 "anointed priests ordained to serve as priests."(3:3)


 I sit and try to read through blurry eyes. It isn't because of my vision, but the tears which keep welling up, threatening to fall. There are tracks of previous ones, making lines on my cheeks.

It is time.

Time to pack up our bags, do some laundry, little last minute chores and sweep ourselves out the door.

These past two weeks have been a time of making treasured memories to carry within our hearts. Until the next time. Counting already, knowing four months between the next time will have days when my memories will be taken out and looked upon. Memories worn on the edges, faded somewhat from the years.

Distance. Miles. Between us and them.

And ABBA reminds me once more, "He is with them." "Always". They are being used in such valuable ways in this place. They are touching lives for Him. They are part of the team "raising up a child". They are also two of the only "Jesus" some of these children see.

I have watched and draw comfort from the relationships between our Nichalas and Amber with these children and their parents. I have listened these past two weeks of happenings throughout their teaching days, when they were given the opportunity to teach their students "Jesus".

ABBA has shown me, it is my selfishness to want them living in Quincy, sharing our day to day living. To watch and participate the making of memories with them, Adam/Ashley/Charlie/Ella, with our families, with us. He has helped to pry away the fingers grasping them and trying to hold onto them too close. Too close, preventing them from being where and whom He needs them to be.

And I sit and think about how He has taken from Curt and me, two people, through all of ours mistakes and created such a strong Christ loving family. This family in which I am blessed beyond words. A family of "anointed priests ordained to serve as priests."

For that is exactly what we are in Christ. Our High Priest. He given us the position to lead others to Him.

From two people. I stand amazed at all He has done through us. Continuing to do.

"DID" - 02/23/16 - Numbers 1-2



 " The People of Israel did everything that God commanded Moses. They did it all." (1:54)...

As I was reading, sometimes skimming through, I was wondering if I had of been there, where I would have been placed. As part of a tribe to fight or to take care of The Dwelling of The Testimony.

I have always wondered how He decided when, where, whom I am. What went into the placement of the era, the family, the area, the state, country I grew up in.

So often I have also thought, before the beginning of time, He knew I'd be where I am, speaking, meeting the people I do.
How amazing is that.

Continuing through His verses, this one caught my heart:

" The People of Israel did everything that God commanded Moses. They did it all." )1:54)

"They did it all."

Could you imagine the blessing to live in such a place where more than 603,550 persons did all God commanded. Even if it wasn't continual, to live in that moment. It would be like an Eden. To have God walk among you - and do all He commanded.

There's a reason for His commands. Only He sees the whole paradigm - which is why all He says, does makes sense - to Him. My job isn't to try and figure out the whys. It is to do all He commanded.

How I struggle with His commands versus self. I know I will never get it right until I die. But because of His great love, I try. I pray my fruit encourages and draws others to Him.

He has grown me through the times of my life when I have lived in Burnside, Chicago, Quincy IL, Arlington, TX, Kearney, MO. Our children have lived in Chicago, Liverpool NY, Phoenix, AZ. Whenever and wherever we have visited them, we could easily see living here. We love their churches, the things you can do in the areas, the people, the food. But Quincy pulls me back. Not because of the material things, it is the persons in our lives who have become our family.

So, for now I have Quincy as my home base. He may or may not move me to another part of this world, but I have chosen to be used by Him wherever He plants me. Be it a years, months, or days, I have come to look at all He places in my path as His Divine Appointments. Opportunities.

To make disciples and teach them to train up disciples too.
That one by one we can all become followers of His.

How marvelous it will be to live in a world where "all did as He commands".

 
 
 
 

"Stoned" - 02/22/16 - Leviticus 26-27


02/22/16 - Leviticus 26-27

"Stoned"

“No human who has been devoted to destruction can be redeemed. He must be put to death." (27:29)...

Does this scare you? I mean scare you in such a way that you feel you will lose control of your bowels? It needs to.

Because of free will we decide who we are devoted to.

Him or self.
Him = eternal life. self = eternal damnation.
Living apart from Him now = eternity apart from Him when we die.

What are you devoted to?

It seems at times when we read God's laws, they seem harsh and unforgiving. God doesn't just "zap" you. He teaches you first.

Before the people were instructed to stone a person, the laws had been presented to everyone. It is the destructive ones who blatantly sin before God and His people. If God continually moves the line in the sand, then the cancer of sin would grow and take over everyone. They would take the ways of sin into their hearts. 




The key word in this verse is "devoted". It is those who are not serving God, they desire to bring destruction upon all.

I often wonder what our society would be like today if there wasn't the three strike rule. If a person who killed or raped another was executed instead of having their hand slapped. Would pedophiles be so bold if they were taken out and stoned instead of (maybe) going to jail and then released into society. Studies show there are many person who repeatedly commit crimes because the sentence really didn't affect them.

I am thinking stoning would.

Then I wonder if I would feel this way if it were one of our sons.

As an obedient servant of God, I would have to.

There would have to be a point where I sacrifice my child for the sake of those he is destroying. How hard it would be to do this, particularly if I were ordered to throw stones too. How do you remove yourself from your own flesh and blood? When their desire is not of God, does that change how we look upon them? Every one who sins is some mothers child. At one time they were carried under a mothers heart.

We are called to love all. How do you love someone who rapes and beats an innocent child? How do you look past the sin and love that person.

How does our ABBA do this.

Only through Christ.

God so loved the world - that means sinners - so much He gave His only Son. So we may have everlasting life with Him.

When a person "devotes" their lives to destruction, they still have to face the consequences of their actions. And how this hurts the heart of our Lord. He wants all to be saved. He didn't give His Son for a few, but all. It may be while one who is serving their sentence, they repent and do find God. It is then He does release them from their sentence - through early release of prison or through death unto Him.

My question is - are we going to be held responsible because we have continually moved the line in the sand, allowing those devoted to destruction to continue? Do we live being responsible for protecting and keeping the cancer of sin out of our family? Do we live intently - with each breath we take - "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,"(Matthew 28:19)

It is through my walk, He has taken my heart and through Him I repent - daily. At times, moment by moment. Because of His Grace and Mercy, I have found it isn't concentrating on "stoning" sinners. Instead, the one sure way of preventing the cancer of sin to spread, is leading all hearts to Him.



 

"And Beyond" - 02/21/16 - Leviticus 24-25



“I’ll set up my residence in your neighborhood; I won’t avoid or shun you; I’ll stroll through your streets. I’ll be your God; you’ll be my people. I am God, your personal God who rescued you from Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians. I ripped off the harness of your slavery so that you can move about freely. (25:11-13)...

Phoenix, Arizona.
1479 miles from us.

I am so very thankful to live in an age of automobiles, airplanes, cell phones and Skype. It helps a little (stressing "a little") easing the not being able to physically be together more often with our Nichalas and Amber. It hits hardest part of our family is missing when we are together with Adam, Ashley, Charlie and Ella. When with our other families.

If I allow myself, I could fall into the pit of self-pity. Mourning the fact we are missing out on the making of more memories, unable to share the day to day moments because of the 1479 miles. Instead, after visiting them, seeing where our ABBA is using them, all the persons lives being touched by ABBA through them, I have a peace. Excitement knowing the legacy of Him is being passed on.

Hearing and seeing first hand the "ripples" of Him are the small Tastes of Heaven He shares with us.

1479 miles from us.

Mostly though, what I am thankful for is our Daddy lives everywhere - at once. There is not one single place He isn't. Not one.

Even 1479 miles from us.

So many emotions run through my heart, knowing no matter where our feet take us, this is where our Daddy lives. I have such happiness He is not only our neighbor, but lives in our home as well. There is such peace, no matter where we are planted, we are surrounded by siblings. We are never alone - even in a new place.

Even 1479 miles from us.

I so love our Daddy is everywhere to welcome us always. Never will He see us coming and run the other way or pretend He doesn't see us. He wants us to feel at home in this temporary place. He wants us to have security and safety knowing He is here. He has promised to meet our needs. This way we won't have to concentrate on where we belong, but on Him and what He has planted us here to do.

Knowing He is "strolling through our neighborhoods" tells me He isn't eager to leave. He wants to be there or here with us. He desires to be with us.

It is such a freedom knowing none of us have to worry about where He plants us. He is already there as our welcoming committee. This makes me look forward in excitement to the Divine Appointments He has in store for me every day. Where will I be and see signs of Him? Will one of the persons I meet and smile at turn out to be a sibling? Will we more than just pass by each other or has He decided we are to share some steps of life together. What neighbors does He have lined up for me to walk with this or all seasons.

I think about Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. He always had a welcome mat out for all who came by. Much like our Daddy does. He wants us to experience life with Him and our siblings. He has ripped off the yokes of slavery so we can move and grow in Him anywhere. Growing His neighborhood.

It is so exciting knowing He lives in our neighborhood.
No matter the address.

Even 1479 miles and beyond from us.


 
 
 
 
 

"Free Choice" - 02/20/16 - Leviticus 22-23




 I Am God who makes you holy and brought you out of Egypt to be your God. ...

I am God." (22:32-33)

It isn't our works. Our moneys. Our time. Our talents. Our gifts.
It isn't anything about us that makes us holy.

It is only through our Savior - Jesus Christ.
It is only through His Blood we are made Holy.

It is our own free choice to accept Him.
It is our own free choice to live a life honoring Him.
It is our own free choice to be head over heels in love with Him.
It is our own free choice to draw nearer to Him.
 
 
 
 

"Fungus Free" - 02/19/16 - Leviticus 19-21



 "Obey my laws and live by my decrees. I am your God. Keep my decrees and laws: The person who obeys them lives by them. I am God." (18:5)...

While reading His Word a couple of days ago, He spoke about an unclean home, "If the fungus breaks out again in the house after the stones have been torn out and the house has been scraped and plastered, the priest is to come and conduct an examination; if the fungus has spread, it is a malignant fungus. The house is unclean. The house has to be demolished—its stones, wood, and plaster are to be removed to the garbage dump outside the city." (14"43-47)
 


 My heart.

It is where He lives and how often has a fungus been introduced which I allow to take over. To cause an uncleanliness in my heart?

For what I put into my heart is what I become.

Until I die, there will always be a fight against the "fungus". Of serving Him or serving "self". He has promised me there isn't one temptation which I will encounter where He hasn't provided a route of escape.

And still - there are times - when I will stay right there and submit to the temptation.

And the fungus will be introduced, again.

Every winter during our down time, I have the goal of reorganizing and purging our home of items we no longer use. Items that have been sitting in drawers, shelves, etc., gathering dust and taking up space. Some of these items I discard because they are no longer any use to us, but some I find I have held onto because I was getting my worth from them. Some items were only here because of sentimental reasons or as a way of being a part of a relationship or person. I go into this purging knowing one day I will be gone and I do not want Curt and the kids to be consumed with sorting through all the stuff. I want them to be able to focus on Him, each other.

I try to rid my home of the "fungus" sitting unseen on a shelf. There have been too many families, I have been a part of or seen, torn apart because of the "stuff" a person left and how they left it. I try to remember our Christ lives here and to give Him access to every square inch of our home. The physical and the spiritual.

I have learned even though you cut off the green mold on cheese, you aren't cutting off the roots that have went deeper than the line of mold. Temptations we chose to fall victim to are so like that. The roots will grow deep, unseen, throughout your heart, penetrating into your mind, your life, your body language, consuming the all of you.

Unless your heart is covered in His blood. Covered in and through with His grace and mercy.

It is the "penicillin" so to speak, that saves you.

Sometimes there are "stones" in my heart that will have to be removed. They are "stones" I have allowed self, or others, to put there. They are "stones" of lies. But God doesn't leave my heart with unfinished walls. He fortifies them, rebuilds them up with His Stones of Truth.

It is in the rebuilding process, using His stones, I see my heart becoming more than just a house with Him, but a home. And there is a difference. My home In Him - with Him as the center, creates my life as Him as the center. It is transforming me to reflect Him more and more. To escape from the temptations - the fungus - the mold.

It has Christ as The Cornerstone.

"Always At The Ready" - 02/18/16 - Leviticus 16-18



 "standing by and ready." (16:21)
 


  A vast amount of people in a war. Some are in the midst of the parade that is going to battle, some are "standing by" in the sidelines watching for any signal their help is needed. Ready to run in and take from the Warriors what they found isn't needed to carry with them. Ready to run in and listen to last minute instructions they have for those they are leaving behind. Ready to run in and give them food or a drink of water or replenish supplies. Ready to run in to clean and dress a wound. Ready to run in and just walk beside a Warrior for a time. Ready to run and become a Warrior, so one may rest.

"Standing by and ready."

One of my favorite Bible Studies was on The Armor of God. It isn't called Armor by chance. It is described as an essential uniform to wear "when" we are attacked by the enemy. Not "if", but "when". This Armor is supplied by our Daddy, our Commander in Chief, and it is our free choice to wear it or not. We are responsible for the upkeep and to become so familiar with it that we feel naked without it.

For in reality - without it - we are naked.

Being president of the "Better Late than Never" club, often has me remembering His scriptures regarding the 10 virgins. Five of them came prepared with oil for their lamps while waiting for their Bridegroom. Five did not. It seems the harder I try not to be late, the later I am. I recognize He has set my Divine Appointments for the day and not being ready and on time has caused me to miss so many throughout my life.

I am striving not to do that anymore. I am so about hanging up my title and membership to this club.

The white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland was "late for an important date". I too have an important date with what He has set up for me. Too often, I am not utilizing the all of which He has blessed me with and find I am not "at the ready". His Word has promised me He is in total control, so there aren't any surprises awaiting me. There is nothing new under the sun. His Word has prepared me for the job that is ahead of me for making disciples.

So why am I sometimes standing by and just watching? At times, not even paying attention to Him and totally into me? Why do I, at times, stand back and let someone else handle "an appointment"? All He has sacrificed to "ready" my heart, eyes, ears. Why am I not totally focused on Him - my voice tuned in to His for instruction. Why do I move to a place where the signal is weak? He isn't moving - I am. Instead of standing firm in His promises, why do I allow the storms of life to affect my heart? Affect my reaction time to His appointments.

When I am not "at the ready", my place has to be covered. Someone has to step in and take my place, leaving theirs empty. The game of dominoes begins. There are times when my loving Savior steps in.

After all He has done for me and I choose to put myself before Him. I chose not to be "at the ready".

What kind of warrior for Him am I?

"Rich, Beyond My Wildest Dreams" - 02/17/16 - Leviticus 14-15



“If he is poor and cannot afford these offerings, he will bring one male lamb. (14:21)
 


There is no question, no doubt. There is no "if".
I am poor.

Before I was saved that is.

There wasn't anything I could do to "earn" my way into Heaven, into His courts. Nor could I "work" my way in.

It used to be I received great feelings of worth in my "acts of service". In my "fruits of labor" - including our sons. The more I sacrificed in my time, money, even my family for His church, the more I believed I was closer to Heaven.

To Him.

My time was all caught up in doing "things" and not doing "things that mattered". I was "doing" the Bible Studies, attending services, involved in a million groups, but I wasn't applying my heart.

Pretty much doing the "art of lip service".

And I was becoming poorer and poorer.

Spiritually.

"He will bring one male lamb."

He did you know.

He provided The Lamb of Christ. I recognized I was poor and couldn't afford the offering. There wasn't any offering that would equate to the Lamb He brought.

And I stopped. I listened. He taught me an important word. "No".

In my trying to "work" my way into Heaven, I had completely cast aside His Lamb.

I was also depriving others from giving a blessing by trying to do everything myself. I was trying to play god and do everything my way.

I was continuing to live as a poor person. I was rejecting the riches He has provided. I was missing out on The Fruits of The Spirit.

He transformed my heart and my life into resting In Him. Following His lead, instead of mine, of what He wanted me to do. Saying "no" so others could say "yes".

He helped me stop and enjoy the riches intimacy "in" Him brings.

"Fresh As Morning Dew" - 02/16/16 - Leviticus 11-13



 "must wear torn clothes, leave his hair loose and unbrushed, cover his upper lip, and cry out, 'Unclean! Unclean!' As long as anyone has the sores, that one continues to be ritually unclean. That person must live alone; he or she must live outside the camp. (13:45-46)...

Throughout these Scriptures, God is adamant about The Laws He is handing down regarding being clean versus unclean. From the kinds of animals they would digest as food, to the different types of skin diseases.

At times while reading His Word, it is so easy for my mind to glaze over and my eyes begin to rapidly skim over His Words. How my attention span is short and easily distracted, either from the goings on around me or inside my mind. I pray each time before digging into His Word for all of my senses will be open to what He wants me to harvest in that day. Leviticus is challenging to say the least!

But this morning, He kept bringing into my heart "Unclean! Unclean!".

If He hadn't established laws, the infections would have run rampant throughout the people. They were living in close proximity, there wasn't a water treatment plant, indoor plumbing, a hospital to check into, etc. His laws were not only about obedience, but also about maintaining a healthy people.

Physically, mentally and spiritually.

These laws were also a way to keep their focus on ABBA.
"Be holy because I am holy." (11:45)

It is through the reading of all the laws, the sacrifices, I am again so blessed and thankful for my Savior. It is only through Him I am made Holy.

"I" can't do it.

Even if I were to follow each and every law written, I wouldn't be Holy. My lifestyle may be, but not my soul. Only through His Sacrifice and my being "in" Christ, does He see me as Holy.

I am head over heels in love with my ABBA. Knowing, without doubt -
I am His child.
One He draws close.
One who sits in His lap.
One whom He desires to be my ALL.

One who does not have to live outside of Him crying, "Unclean! Unclean!"

 
 
 
 

"I Pray" - 02/15/16 - Leviticus 8-10



 "God commanded what has been done this day in order to make atonement for you. (8:34)

 


Never have I loved as I love our sons.
















Yes, I do love my ABBA, my Savior, The Holy Spirit, His Word.

In a different way. Yet in some of the same ways.

Would I hesitate to give my life to save my Curt, our sons, our daughter-in-loves, our grandchildren? Others whom I love dearly?
I would be dead before the next beat.

Would I give myself or these parts of my heart's lives to save others whom are not loved as dearly?
My heart continues on within my body, as I lose count of the number of beats.

I am ashamed to admit - I do not think I could.

Or what if I had to sacrifice one of them to save the other?
Just thinking about being put into that situation causes my heart to pain.

And yet, how we love as a parent to our child, is only a small inkling of how much God loves us.

Each of us.

Even those who have rejected, spat upon, cursed, defied Him.

He has loved ALL - ALL - so very much that through the redemptive life and death of His only begotten Son, Jesus, He gave us reconciliation with Him.

He chose His precious Son to save His other precious children - us.

How often do I take for granted all He sacrificed for my atonement? How often am I so bold that I overlook the sacrifice of His beloved Son and honor "self" instead of Him? How often do I fall into the trap of loving our sons, or other parts of my heart, more than I love Him? How often do I choose them over Him?

No greater love than that of my Lord.

There is no other love able to fill all the voids within me. When I chose to love our sons or others over God, I am putting them in a place of an idol. I am gaining my worth from them. I am causing them to be in a position which they were not designed for. What pressure I put upon them.

They are not - and can not - be God.

How thankful I am ABBA has opened my eyes to my sin in loving others before HIm. How He has taken my destructive way of "loving" them - which is what it was - and turned it all around. So many times I thank Him for being bigger than my mistakes. Bigger in a way that He can totally wipe out all the damage I caused and turn things around for His Glory.

He opened my eyes years ago to see how Adam and Nichalas really aren't mine - they are His. I am just a vessel He has chosen to use to train them up. To guide them. To love them to Him.

Each season in the love of a mom to her children is such a wild ride - ups and downs, not knowing, thinking you know, unsure, doubting, time standing still, going too fast, too soon. Much like the wind across the earth.

I am so thankful that He has shown me how to give this love over to Him and love no one above Him. He has given me rest as I bask in the Fruits of the Spirit - in all my roles He is using me in.

It has been through His Word and the gift of motherhood I see - He is able to love me more than I can imagine. His love is so unselfish. So sacrificing. Always and in all ways, for what is best for me. Even when it has cost Him more than I could ever imagine.

He gave me the gift of atonement - because He loves me.

More even - than how much I love our sons.

"The Best Valentine" - 02/14/16 - Leviticus 4-7



“The priest makes atonement for him on account of his sin and he’s forgiven."(4:26)...

Time after time throughout these verses.

God tells us there is atonement.

Time after Time we are told.

The atonement we need is the reversal of the alienation caused when we sin, restoring us to oneness with God and His forgiveness. Over and over again in these verses we read of the different sacrifices, preformed by the priests, needed for the different types of sins. Sacrifices repeated continually throughout the years, until The Death and Resurrection of our Savior.

The Last Sacrifice.

Christ is our High Priest.
The meaning of High Priest is Bridge Builder.

Our High Priest is The Bridge to our Father. The Bridge needed because of our sins. Sins our God can not be a part of because He is Holy
The Sacrifice of our Savior brings us an atonement that is forever. He is The Sacrifice for our sins we have, do, and will commit. Regardless of the type, the intentions, the mindset - forgiven. If we confess and repent. If our hearts turn and run from the sin, striving to live our life for Him.

If - we enter into His Covenant.

I have been listening to sermons on being aliens in this world. As I sit and listen, I see so many examples in my life where I am "different". Realization how His measuring stick is different than the world's.

How His measuring stick has and can cause division.

In life there will be persons of the world, even when we confess and ask forgiveness, who will choose not to forgive us for sins we have committed. Their actions could lead us to wondering what we haven't done. Or not doing enough. His Word has given me the realization, forgiveness isn't about them and us. It is about Him and us. He is whom we need to focus on in the gift of forgiveness. He is who matters. Our going to persons and confessing is an act of worship to Him. Regardless of how they respond - we are still instructed to be to be Christlike.

The Lord's Prayer tells us to "forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us."

He is helping me to see after I confess, ask for forgiveness and repent, even then if I never receive forgiveness from others, it doesn't matter. It is about my relationship with Him. It is about being Christlike for Him. They aren't God. They aren't who determines my salvation. They aren't who deems if I am forgiven or not.

And in the equation is also "myself". Forgiving "me" for sinning against Him. When I sin, it affects Him. His whole Body and I have to let it go. Stop doubting if I did enough. If I am acting, talking, being the right way, measuring up to the standards of others in order to gain their forgiveness. I have to forgive "me" as God has and does. If not, I am putting "myself" in His place, deciding The Sacrifice of our Christ isn't enough.

Our Savior is enough. Our Savior is "The Priest".
My Priest.
“The priest makes atonement for me - on account of my sin - and I am forgiven."(4:26)


 

"Salt" - 02/13/16 - Leviticus 1-4



 "Present all your offerings with salt."(2:13) 

"The role of salt in the Bible is relevant to understanding Hebrew society during Old and New Testament periods. Salt is a necessity of life and was a mineral that was used since ancient times in many cultures as a seasoning, a preservative, a disinfectant, a component of ceremonial offerings, and as a unit of exchange. The Bible contains numerous references to salt. In various contexts, it is used metaphorically to signify permanence, loyalty, durability, fidelity, usefulness, value, and purification."

I love The Message translation of Jesus speaking about salt - it is right to the point.
 


“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage."

(Matthew 5:13)
 


 

I tie this in with the verse from today and think about how each day I place myself on the alter as an offering to Him and wonder "how is the salt"? Have I resisted the world and self coming to Him as a pleasing flavor? Or have I been contaminated and unsuccessful at being an effective disciple? And it isn't about offering some of myself, but the all of myself.

Lot's wife was unable to totally give up what she desired and was focusing back. Her eyes left His face and she became a pillar of salt. I desire to be the salt He needs me to be. I do not want my legacy to be a "pillar of salt", but a perfectly seasoned life with a pleasing aroma to Him.

"Present all your offerings with salt" - just sort of slipped in there and got me to wondering why.

What is it about salt that is so important as part of the sacrifice. In Mark 9:49-50 He speaks about salting of the condemned, which is a rhetorical device indicating the severity of the punishment. "Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another." The salt here refers to the goodwill that "seasons" positive friendships and compassion. Colossians 4:6 uses the metaphor of salt seasoning in speaking with intelligence and consideration.

During ancient Palestine salt was variably and widely used as a symbol and sacred sign. It was used as a covenant of friendship, sometimes the eating of it was required. Salt land is a metaphorical name for a desolate no man's land. Defeated cities were sometimes salted to consecrate them and curse their re-population.

Bishop K.C. Pillai, from India, testifies that the salt covenant is much more than a covenant of friendship. it is an irrevocable pledge and promise of fidelity. Those who have taken salt together would rather die before they would break their covenant. He further states that the penalty for violating such a covenant is death.

Sound familiar?

Through the death and resurrection of Christ, we are now offered The New Covenant. God is holding it out to us for the taking. All we have to do is offer up ourselves. He will not pull away or break this covenant when we accept it. Only we are able to break it, by turning away and rejecting Him.

How many of us are in the place where we would rather die than break it? How many of us are seasoned with just the right amount of salt? How many of us are a pleasing aroma to Him?

How many of us -when breaking the covenant or not accepting it - know the penalty is death?

"HE Says" - 02/12/16 - Exodus 39-40



 "They stayed in camp, obedient to God’s command, as long as the Cloud was over The Dwelling, but the moment God issued orders they marched. If the Cloud stayed only from sunset to daybreak and then lifted at daybreak, they marched. Night or day, it made no difference—when the Cloud lifted, they marched. It made no difference whether the Cloud hovered over The D...welling for two days or a month or a year, as long as the Cloud was there, they were there. And when the Cloud went up, they got up and marched. They camped at God’s command and they marched at God’s command. They lived obediently by God’s orders as delivered by Moses." (9:20-23)

Remember the game of "Simon Says"? Only if putting "Simon Says" at the end of the command were you to move. Otherwise, if you did move, you were out of the game. Sometimes, "Simon" would cheat and claim he did or didn't say "Simon Says". Then it became a game of confusion and dissolved into arguing, hurt feelings - division.

In "living" there are so many things which come up that do not seem fair. Causing drama - hurt feelings - division. These are the times I need to focus on His face in trust and faith that He is the one in control. satan is trying to bully his way into the leadership role so we will follow his instructions. he doesn't want any winners for God. To him it is a game and his whole goal is destruction.

To satan - we are just pawns. To him - this "game" is really between him and God. We are only tools he is using to hurt God in the way he knows hurts Him the most.

Because God loves us that much.

Think about all the times satan inflects his evil on us, it is usually where it hurts the most. When he hurts us - it hurts God even more so.

Because God loves us that much.

The people were to stay or march at God's command and they obeyed. Their eyes were focused on His cloud. They were always at the ready - "it made no difference—when the Cloud lifted, they marched."

How at the ready am I to march? Do I become so comfortable when He has me stay that I lose focus and am not "at the ready". Is my heart so in tune in Him I am seeing every opportunity He places before me to be a disciple? While I am "staying", am I preparing to march? Or am I just sitting back and enjoying my comfort zone. I need to be fortifying myself at all times in His Word. The times when I go through the trials and tribulations of life, I need to remember that I am hopeless in myself. For always and through all ways, I am able to lay hold of my Daddy. My Daddy who is mighty and whose faithfulness surrounds Him. Knowing, without doubt, He is working out His purpose, a far greater purpose than I can conceive. If I will only keep my focus on Him and not myself, I will see His glory in all situations.

Regardless of if I am staying or marching, I know my life is not a game to Him; it has an eternal purpose He is working out for my good and His glory.

I am so thankful I serve a Daddy who doesn't play games.
Who doesn't lie, or cheat, or play favorites with His children.
A Daddy wanting all of us to be winners.

"The Wonders of Color" - 02/11/16 - Exodus 36-38


"woven of fine linen, and of blue, purple, and scarlet thread; with artistic designs of cherubim they made them."(36:8)

Color - gold, silver, bronze, blue, purple, and scarlet. Even including mirrors to reflect.



Often when it snows, and I am home, I love to sit at our kitchen table, looking out the window.
 
Watching His blanket of snow covering the earth, steadily falling straight down, peaceful and serene. The blanket of white filling in the nooks and crannies of the trees. The contrast against the dark wood making the graceful, beautiful lines stand out. It reminds me of looking into a snow globe. It will be within only a few weeks - a riot of color begin to pop out. Pinks, reds, white, yellow, and purple in all different tones.

Color - I love to look into peoples' eyes just to see the marvelous color He has created. Curt has eyes that are a Caribbean sea blue green - just beautiful. They say Elizabeth Taylor's were purple. Our skin tones, the beauty of brown, black, tan, red, white.

Color - I love how He created color. How He created the different senses.

I love how He created things for our senses to enjoy. The smell of perfume, a freshly washed baby, clothes from the line, the skin of your child. Taste of chocolate first thing in the morning exploding in your mouth, home cooking, desserts. To feel the touch of a loved one, a hug from someone you miss, the squeeze of a hand. To see and soak in the beauty of those you love, the colors, the bright eyes when you are seen. To hear, "I love you", the call of, "mommy", the sound of a child's laughter.

He could have made everything without colors, scents, feel or sound.
And He didn't.

God told Moses exactly what materials and colors to use in the building of the tabernacle. Only the best and finest. His Word, His nature, His creations, His people, all tell me how much He loves color. It amazes me how He utilizes all the same "equipment" in the art of creating. Yet out of the vast numbers of His Creations, nothing looks exactly alike.

Our Abba is a God of color, joy, love, laughter - celebration.
My Abba - He gives me such treasures for all of my senses.

"His Jewel" - 02/10/15 - Exodus 33-35


Exodus 35:29 "Every man and woman in Israel whose heart moved them freely to bring something for the work that God through Moses had commanded them to make, brought it, a voluntary offering for God."(35:29)


Voluntary offering. He doesn't want - our "jewelry" - if it isn't because our hearts want to give it. Otherwise, we would be like slaves, robots, without free choice.

This is yet another thing that wows me about God. He gave us His most precious "jewel" - our Christ. All the while knowing, not everyone would accept Him - because He has given us free choice.

No one loves like He does, to the depth - the unconditional - the constant - from the east to the west. No one.

And still, I hold back on giving up my "jewelry" to Him.

I cling to them and wear them with self pride - false sense of security - selfishness - self righteousness. All about self. And why do I do that? When His way is The right way to wear my "jewelry". To belong to Him - to His family - to be loved like that. In all purity - all that is good.

Reading how so many came together for building His Sanctuary- the many, many gifts and talents - their "jewelry".

This Spiritual Battle we are in for the lost souls can not be fought alone. We have to get on board - we have to give Him our "jewels" as a voluntary offering. For only then are we giving Him our heart.

Where our treasure is - there is our heart.
Where our heart is - there is our passion.    

"So Moses sent out orders through the camp: "Men! Women! No more offerings" (Exodus 36:6)

I pray that I too will give, give, give, so much until the day when He returns and I hear His victory call. Crying out for all to hear - "no more offerings".

How exciting to be using my "jewels" for building more of His Sanctuaries!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

"First Fruits" - 02/09/16 - Exodus 30-32

02/09/16 - Exodus 30-32

"First Fruits"



Exodus 32:24 "Who has gold?' And they took off their jewelry and gave it to me. I threw it in the fire and out came this calf."(32:24)

Aaron's excuse always sounded so lame to me. I'm sure Moses was thinking, "yea, right". 

Yet I overlook the fact, my excuses are just as lame.

Particularly when it comes to being a good steward with the "jewelry" He has given me.

 It comes in all forms.
 Time, money, gifts, talents.

And how often I "waste" what is given to me - use it for "self" and not Him.

 He has instructed me to tithe regularly.
 My first fruits, my very best.
And how often do I take the best and leave the leftovers for Him?

It is pathetic really for I have found, when giving Him the "first fruits" my priorities, the way I live, my life changes. He doesn't instruct this because He needs our "jewelry".  He did it so we will grow to desire to give Him more.  He did it so our "jewelry" won't become our god.   In a way only He can do, the more we give Him - the more of Him fills us.

When Aaron said, "I threw it into the fire", I wonder how often do I do the same. Intentionally utilizing my "jewelry" for "self" and then be surprised when " a calf (sin) comes out".



 God knows my heart. He knows how I desire to use my "jewelry", even the times I fail.

Moses was so angry.
 Do I get this angry about sin?
 When I see the "calf" being worshiped and not God?
 When it is me that puts "self" before Him?

Tolerance - another tool swinging from satan's tool belt.
The numbing it causes within us as His ways are being broken.
Tolerance.  Just another way of playing with fire and "out came a calf".

I pray I will be a better steward of His "jewelry".
To stand firm within Him as Joshua did beside Moses - even when so many do not.
I pray my face glows because I am speaking with God, living for Him.
("the skin of his face glowed because he had been speaking with God" Ex 34:29)

I pray I shall choose to be a good steward for Him.

With the all of my "jewelry"

Monday, February 08, 2016

"Enough" - 02/08/16 - Exodus 28-29



"Slaughter the ram and take its blood
and throw it against the Altar,
all around."(29:15)

All the blood - all the oil. The beauty of The Sanctuary - all the gold - their clothes - covered with blood and oil.

While reading, I keep thinking back to the Garden of Eden. The beauty, perfection before sin came into the picture.

It saddens me The Blood of Christ  had to be "thrown" against sin so I may be with Him.
It saddens me how our free choice causes His Beauty to be covered with sin.

For that is what we are - created in His image.
His Beauty.

Again, how very thankful I am for my Savior - who in His death and resurrection - "threw His blood against the alter" for me.  For all who accept Him as Savior.   How thankful I am because of our Savior's Sacrifice -  in our ABBA's eyes - we are then seen as His Beauty.

Because He loves me.

His one time sacrifice is enough.

No greater love.