Thursday, March 31, 2016

"He Wore My Crown of Thorns" - 03/31/16 - Judges 3-5




"They were there to test Israel and see whether they would obey God's commands" (3:4)


 I was so na├»ve when signing up for The Lord's Army, I came in thinking that life would turn around and all would be a bed of roses. Knowing ABBA is in control of everything, He was my guarantee behind my way of thinking.


In growing "in" Him, I have found, the bed of roses has its thorns.  There are some places it becomes not a bed, but a tangle of thorns, scratching and at times even tearing into my flesh, as I journey through this "bed" of life. 


And sometimes, the thorns are there so we may help others climbing through their own thorns. 
So, when I become focused on "self" and cry out that life isn't fair, I am drawn back to my Christ. 
My Savior.
His Word runs through me as a living stream, showing me the "thorns" my Savior climbed through - for me. 
His Word shows me my Savior - who wore a "Crown of Thorns".








 For all of us. 









His Word quickly shuts up my self-pity.  His Word holds me accountable.  It is continually showing me the "thorns" I am going through are really nothing compared to what my Savior endured.  His Word also gives me hope.  It gives me Wisdom and security knowing I am not traveling through this life alone.  He surrounds me - completely.  He takes the brunt of the "thorns" and allows enough pain to test me.

The Lord not only preserves our temporal life, but maintains the spiritual life which He has given to believers. By afflictions we are proved, as silver in the fire. The troubles of the church will certainly end well. Through various conflicts and troubles, the slave of satan escapes from his yoke, and obtains joy and peace in believing: through much tribulation the believer must enter into The Kingdom of God.  All for His Glory.  All for Love.  Pure Love.



For thou, O God, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.(Psalm 66:10)
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Self-Injury" - 03/30/16 - Judges 1-2





"They cut off his thumbs and big toes." (Judges 1:6)



Throughout Joshua and coming into Judges, we read the accounts of the many wars.  Wars which were necessary for eliminating the Promised Land of pagans - who like a cancer would destroy the Israelites from within.  As I read today a summary of wars, it again reminds me - we are still fighting for souls.  The Scriptures continually point out I too, am a warrior. 

God has equipped me with all I need to fight in this battle for souls.  Being on the side that won, God of All, He is my Daddy and Leader.  He provides me with a full armor - His Word -  detailing for me all moves needed in the strategy of war.  The Holy Spirit within and around me.  There is no doubt that I am surrounded by His hedge of protection, the power of His family joining together and fighting as one.  I am not alone!

And still with all He has equipped me with - when I sin, I am cutting off my "thumbs and big toes".  

A warrior in order to shoot a straight arrow and hit the target, must grasp the string with both his fingers and thumb.  They would have trouble balancing and running without his big toes.  They would lived the remainder of their life disgraced because they could no longer fight.

Each time I choose to serve "me" over Him, I am hindering myself.  A self-destructive cycle.  Much like cutting off my nose to spite my face.  Something I find myself doing often in the roles of my life. 

How thankful I am He completely heals me, sets me straight and we begin again - each of those numerous times.  How thankful I am He is bigger than my mess ups.  That His grace and mercy have me covered. 

One of my greatest fears used to be Judges 2:10 - "Then another generation grew up that didn't know anything of God or the work He had done".  There aren't enough words to express how thankful I am all of our family unit knows Him intimately.  That they are about being a Light for Him - a Warrior. 

But, I see when I look around so many who do not know Him and He is giving me a sense of urgency to be the best possible Warrior for Him. 

To take care not to "cut off my thumbs and big toes" so I am not hindered......to not be a disgrace.  
The warfare going about isn't about serving "me" - it is all about serving Him. 
To be His Warrior for lost souls.



Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"Willingly" - 03/29/16 - Joshua 22-24




"Now, stay strong and steady....... Hold tight to God, your God, just as you've done up to now."  (Joshua 23:6-8)



In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
In 1620 the Mayflower set sail.

Just two of many, many historical events that required people to "stay strong and steady".  All on the way to a new life, new dreams.  All these people wanted better for themselves and their families - generations to come.  So much and many were sacrificed for the dreams to become a reality.



God cleared the way for the Israelite's dream to become a reality.  His only request - "stay strong and steady - hold tight to Him".  And still that is all He wants - desires.

He went on to clear the way for all of us with the greatest sacrifice of all.

Our Savior. 
Our Christ. 
The Messiah.

I'm not one who likes surprises, suspense, the unknown.  (I believe this most likely goes back to a control issue.)  Would I have left all to journey onward for the better?  Do I today?  Do I leave my comfort zone to journey into the world as a warrior for Him?

All through Joshua there were wars, destruction, killing and purifying.  I like to be on the other side - at peace.  My comfort zone. Yes, God wants me to enjoy the "fruits of the land", but not at the expense of souls.  It is so easy to settle in and be content at doing nothing except enjoy "the fruits of the land".   

And before you know it -  it is all about serving "self".

I pray the words of Joshua, the journeys many have made throughout the centuries, the sacrifices - I won't take them for granted. 

Most of all.  I pray I shall never take the sacrifice of our Savior for granted.

I pray, I too, will willingly sacrifice "self" and journey onward for those ahead of me. 
What an honor and blessing to be part of His lineage. 
Part of His army. 
Part of His plan.
Part of Him.



Monday, March 28, 2016

"All Our Days" - 03/28/16 - Joshua 19-21




"Not one word failed from all the good words God spoke to the house of Israel. Everything came out right." (Joshua 21:45)

 

We began this past weekend with Good Friday. 

It is always a very bittersweet day.

A day causing my heart to break, my eyes to tear - when I think about and picture what our Abba and Savior went through that day.
Knowing.

Knowing within hours, his friend, his travel companion of these past three years, one whom He had shared life with, not only life as they walked the dusty roads, but also the key to life of eternal. 

Judas. 

With a kiss. 

The Lamb would be led to slaughter.


That day - He stood there, knowing He was God, power to crush them all with only a look - He stood silent. 

That day - He felt the pain from the thorns shoved into His head, that pure and beautiful head.  The whip of glass and stone, across His back, tearing the pure and beautiful skin to shreds.  His blood, that pure and beautiful blood, splattered and running, covering sin.  His ears, those pure and beautiful ears, hearing denial, curses, and taunts from those who had claimed to have loved Him.  His eyes, the pure and beautiful windows to His soul. 



His soul. 


His pure and beautiful soul, which He poured out for me.

For us.

For all.

His love.  His pure and beautiful Love.

He gave up all He was.  All He had. 

For Love. 



That day. 

That day - when the sun would turn to dark. 

That day - when it seemed that satan had won.  That all God had said, was lost. 

That day -  is the day -  is the beginning of the end. 

That day -  is the day He became our sacrifice, our hope, when it seemed all was lost.

That day -  is the day His blood was shed for me - for my sins.

That day - is the day He died for my sins.

That day - is the day He took my place.

"Not one word failed from all the good words God spoke to the house of Israel." 

That day - Everything came out right."

And again, I am reminded how I struggle with the time of Lent, our celebrating Good Friday and Easter for just one weekend.  It should be remembered, recognized, and celebrated.

Each Day.
Every Day. 
All Days.



Sunday, March 27, 2016

"Stop Sittin Around" - 03/27/16 - Joshua 16-18




“How long are you going to sit around on your hands" (18:3)
 
Get off my duff.

Quite easily, I could sit in His comfort zone for hours, days, months, even years.

This isn't what He expects me to do.  The "comforts" He has blessed me with are to be an encouragement for me to get out and lead others to His "comforts".  

"Go as I LIVE, making Disciples".(Matthew 28:19)

Can not very well LIVE if I am sitting in His "comfort room".

Yes, I can open up His "comfort room" for others to come and enjoy. 
Most often though, they are ones who have already found the "comforts" of being a part of His family.  Not saying spending time with His family is a bad thing, but Jesus gave us example after example in the spending of time with those who are outside of  His "comfort room".  He met them where they were.  
 
And most times, those outside don't feel "comfortable" coming into His "comfort room".  
It isn't until you are In Him that His "comforts" are no longer uncomfortable.

So - which do I choose. 
Getting off my duff, out of His "comfort room" and getting into an uncomfortable place - which would be their comfort room. 
Or if they reject my invite to His "comfort room",  do I continue to sit back enjoying His "comforts" while not showing any concern for them.   Focusing so intently on His "comforts" I totally forget about or ignore those on the outside.


How easy it is, after being in the world and recognizing it really wasn't a "comfort" place at all, so now all you want is to remain in His "comforts".  It is our natural bent to be selfish.  To become settled and lazy. 

To become, well, comfortable. 

Only through and In Him are we able to go against our natural bent and be transformed.  He will change our vision to seeing those outside of Him as lost and the time is flying by.  That all of us are dying and the last breaths could be - well - just a breath away.  He opens our eyes to see others as "Divine Appointments" in which we have to leave His "comfort rooms" to make.  He gives us the sense of  urgency in not breaking these Appointments.  He gives us an awareness it may be the last appointment the person He has lined up for you will have.  He tells us, "We may be the only vessel of Christ they will see".

 So go.  Get off your duff.  Bring those outside into His "comfort room".
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

"Abiding His Boundaries" - 03/26/16 - Joshua 12-15



"The Great Sea is the western border." (15:47)

Borders....Boundaries. 

God put them there for a reason. 

How often do I test the boundaries?  Walk the fence so to say.  Put my toe in the waters, testing the temps.  Thinking it is "just right" and wade on in.  At times even going underwater and checking out the bottom.  Scuba diving - looking for lost treasure.  Floating in that sea of sin.  Water lapping up against my blowup raft as I bask in the sun. 

Rose tinted glasses perched upon my nose. 

And then, 


                       





















                                                                      the shark comes in..............


God gives us boundaries for our safety.  They are nothing to play with, cross over, jumping back and forth over the line. 

Playing games with sin. 

I once heard in a sermon about a high fence that divided the land.  Buried too deep for animals to dig under and too high for any to jump it.  For generations the fence stood, as a boundary, until it was removed.  There were generations of deer born in these forest before and after the fence.  And today, even though the fence is no longer there, the deer still do not cross the boundary line.  They have been conditioned throughout the generations not to go beyond that point. 

Even without the fence.

How am I at my boundary line that God has placed around me?   Did I train our sons to stop or to play?  Did I teach them that sin is serious.  It is not a game to play with. 

A sin is a sin.  There are no different levels.  All of sin separates us from God.

Why? 

Because He is Holy. 

Christ makes us holy - never will He cast us out, unless we remove ourselves from Him and go beyond the boundary.  Beyond not only the boundary line, but outside of Him.

Each time we test the boundaries, is an opportunity for sin to make our hearts hard. 

God has given us His seas and everything else we need within our boundaries "in" Him.

Use "His" seas. 

Not the "seas of sin".





Friday, March 25, 2016

"Good Friday" - 03/25/16 - Joshua 9-11


"And Israel had rest from war." (11:23)


 Rest.  From war. 

I so look forward to that time.  Heaven.  Peace.  Joy.  No conflict.  No Struggles.  No Pain.  No Suffering.  No Lies.  No tears.  No more death.

No Doubt.
 


Living in this small valley, during the storms you can hear the strong winds whipping about our home, as it comes down through the pass.  The wind chimes responding to the forces, ringing out their melodies.  Lightning flashes across the sky, thunder booms, and the rains pour down from the heavens.  I love standing at the window watching the power of Him on display. Being inside, where I am safe, warm, protected. 
 
As I am "in" Him.
 
Thinking of the day ahead - this day - I am reminded of times when watching the rain and think about how it represents our ABBA's many tears.  Tears He sheds over each of us when our hearts are heavy.  Are breaking. 
 
Today - this day - called "Good Friday". 
 
His family, we will come together, remembering The Sacrifice of our Savior.  I am reminded of all the funerals I have attended in my lifetime, thus far, the words which were spoken, the songs being sung.  I have sat and watched as the burden of sadness could be seen upon those who loved the deceased person so deeply and shared day to day living with them.  I have sat and fought back the tears as memories came through.  I have smiled as I could see their smile or some other precious memory in my mind.  I have been comforted knowing how much those of His enjoyed life, because they lived for our ABBA.  I have prayed thanksgiving for having the honor and privilege of knowing my siblings who have gone Home before me.  Of calling so many not only friend, but "brother" or "sister".
 
Sitting in the room of sadness.  Holding back the tears.  Hugs with words we pray will bring some comfort, all the while knowing they will never fill the void those we love leave when they go on before us to Home.  This isn't what our ABBA planned when He created Adam and Eve.  This isn't the Eden He laid out before them.  Death was not part of His plan. 
 
Good Friday was not on the calendar "in the beginning". 
 
And because of sin - because of the free will of man to choose sin - death came into our world. 
The spiritual warfare began at that moment and will not be finished until our Savior comes again to take all of His Beloved - Home.  Home - where there is no death.  No rooms of sorrow.  No tears.  No pain.  Nothing that is not of Him.

And while on this earth, the winds of war will swirl about me, at times my spirit will become bruised from the debris flying about.  But "in" Him, my soul is protected.  Until Heaven, the only place of "rest" is "in" Him.  satan wants more than anything for me to focus on the lies and not on my ABBA.  he wants me to pick up doubt and go with the winds of destruction.
 
Forgetting after Good Friday came The Resurrection of our Savior. 
 
Forgetting our Savior conquered death. 
 
 Falling before Him on my knees,  I pray and His Word washes over me, shields me from the lies that are blowing over me, trying to penetrate into my self.  My fingers are in my ears, shutting out the sounds from outside and I am able to hear only His Voice from within me, whispering over and over from one of my favorites:
"You have searched me and known me.
               
You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.         
You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.   
           
For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.            
You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.  
         
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.     
      
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?            
If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.            
If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 
          
Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. 
          
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," Even the night shall be light about me;            
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. 
          
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb.   
        
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.  
         
My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  
         
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.            

 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 
          
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.   
             
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;            
And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139)
 
His Word.
Another Taste of Heaven He gives me as "rest from the war".

 
 
 
 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

"Taking Action" - 03/24/16 - Joshua 5-8




"The death toll that day came to twelve thousand men and women—everyone in Ai." (Josh 8:25)



It's important that in our walk with God we don't get more about hating the sin than with loving all people. 12,000 men and women were killed. All of these people were created by God. Made in His image.   Loved by God.  Desired by God to be with Him.

Sometimes when I read of the people who were killed, Pharaoh and his army, etc, I remember.

Our Lord's heart would have been breaking.

It isn't that He wants to pick and choose certain people to save. He wants us all.

Because He is Holy though, when a person decides to cling to sin and not to Him, they will suffer the consequences of their choice - eternal death. Thankfully, He gives us the opportunity to cling to Him up until our last breath.

I pray I will not become self-righteous knowing I am one who will be with Him eternally. I pray  I will look upon the lost with a sense of urgency to introduce them to Christ. 12,000 is just a drop in the bucket for all the lost souls. Every moment someone, somewhere has died without being in Him.

What exactly am I doing to be a part of the movement to prevent this?

Today there are so many causes people are passionate about. Our world today seems to be more about the rights of animals, environment than those of people. But as a Christian, how am I as a "soul rights" activist. Am I active or placid? Do I see the opportunities to sow seeds for Him in all my steps? To be in the movement to bring more souls to Him?

I pray each and every day that what breaks His heart is breaking mine.
And I am active about that.





                                                                                                                                                                     

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

"The Sacrifice of Easter" - 03/23/16 - Joshua 1-4



"When you see the Covenant-Chest of God, your God, carried by the Levitical priests, start moving. Follow it.
Make sure you keep a proper distance between you and it, about half a mile—be sure now to keep your distance!—
and you’ll see clearly the route to take. You’ve never been on this road before.” (3:3)



I love my Savior has made it so I do not have to keep my distance from my Abba - from my Daddy.  Because of The Sacrifice of Christ - I now am able to walk, knowing my Daddy encloses me from all directions.  On a road not yet journeyed.  His Word is my map.  My map for the gold mine.  The gold is the "Treasure Of Lost Souls".




Today, the practice of using a bird to test the air supply has become part of coal mining lore, but the ideology behind it has become a popular expression. The old phrase "living like a canary in a coal mine" often refers to serving as a warning to others. The actual canary had little control over its fate, but it continued to sing anyway, until it died.  A sacrifice needed to let the miners know the shaft was safe to enter. Unlike the canary, whose fate was in the hands of its handler, our Jesus had the free will to offer Himself as my Savior. 

He gave His life in order that I may be made pure and holy.  So I may have an intimate relationship with my ABBA.  He has taken away the poisonous gases that are in life and replaced it with the pure, sweet air I now breath.  He went before me as The Sacrifice, so I may go forward into the mine. 

Underneath the earth's surface lay the tunnels.  Tunnels that wind their way for miles, some coming to dead ends, all are without natural light, some of which are sometimes flooded or have experienced a cave in.  Unless you look at and carry the map of these tunnels, you are basically walking blind.  People have already went in and surveyed, with great risk, to create these maps, so workers are able to know where to go, where the mine is producing, and where not to go. 

I am instructed, "as I go to make Disciples for Him".(Matthew 28:19) 

I look at this much the same way as mining for gold. 

Without looking into His Word, carrying it within me - I am stumbling about.  Wasting precious time, missing out on Divine Appointments.  I am instructed to go into the tunnels of this world and grasp the lost souls who are wandering about in the dark.  I need to shine His Light into their darkness.

When Christ returned to God, He left with us our Helper, The Holy Spirit.  We also have with us His Word.  It is up to us to "go and make Disciples".

If I were mining and decide not to go into an area I knew was safe after the canaries death, what is the use of sacrificing the canary? 

If I don't go into the tunnels for the treasure of lost souls, after He has prepared me, aren't I saying His Sacrifice wasn't worth it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"Affirmation" - 03/22/16 - Deuteronomy 32-34, Psalm 91






"Listen, Heavens, I have something to tell you. 
Attention, Earth, I’ve got a mouth full of words.

My teaching, let it fall like a gentle rain, my words arrive like morning dew.  Like a sprinkling rain on new grass, like spring showers on the garden.  For it’s God’s Name I’m preaching—respond to the greatness of our God!

The Rock: His works are perfect, and the way He works is fair and just; A God you can depend upon, no exceptions, a straight-arrow God.
His messed-up, mixed-up children, His non-children, throw mud at Him but none of it sticks." (Deuteronomy 32:1-5)

There are times when I am so full of Him, that I can not contain myself. 

There have been times in my exuberance of Him I have caused persons to run, run fast, away from the "crazy woman spouting off about God".  I had not yet learned the art of sharing Him and letting His Word "fall like a gentle rain".  It was more like a violent storm.  I cringe when I remember telling someone they would be in hell if they didn't accept Him as their Savior - without any grace or mercy on my part. 

So thankful He is bigger than my mistakes.  Even mistakes I made with good intentions.  I was, and still am, grasping those who are in satan's grasp. 

As a new Christian, I had not learned the art of fineness.  Nor had I dug deeply into His Word and become intimate In Him.  I was a new babe in Him.

How over the years He has opened my eyes and ears and shut my mouth!  I am so thankful that I know, hear, and most often heed His voice.  I still stumble through and mess up "Divine Appointments" - I call them growing pains.  He has also shown me that my job isn't as a Harvester - it is a Seed Planter.  He has given me the gift of encouragement.  Amazing how knowing my job and utilizing my gifts has allowed Him to shine!  In my enthusiasm and passion to bringing people to Him, to show them how He is The Rock that turns their lives around, He has given me grace and timing.  More often I feel I am dancing as a witness for Him, than stumbling about, stepping on feet. 

He as taught me to waltz. 


But at times while dancing, "His messed-up, mixed-up children, His non-children, throw mud at Him but none of it sticks."

It hit me once, while wiping the mud off of me, it isn't me they were aiming at. 

It is Him.  

The mud balls of rejection, sometimes had bits of gravel in them and I was feeling wounded.  I was taking it personal, making it about me, even at times feeling sorry for myself.  I had forgotten I had chosen to be a vessel for Him to use for His glory.  Scripture tells us there would/will be times that standing in His Truth will cause division and attacks.  His Armor shields us, if we have put it on and keep it on. 

There are persons living life outside of Him and they will attack, for darkness does not like The Light.  I have been praying for open eyes for myself and others to His truth.   A very wise friend once told me how satan has only one tool that he uses, and how we take it and run with it.  Run in the opposite direction of God. 

That tool is doubt.

How blessed I am He has literally laid Scripture in my path to validate and encourage I am standing firm in His Truth.  The Scriptures show me not to doubt as my heart and life is sold out in Him.  I am totally, head over heels in love with my Abba - my Savior - The Holy Spirit - His Word.

Why?  Because of how I have been transformed. He has opened my eyes to His Truth and I see, even when I stumble or mess up, my heart's desire is to please Him. 

Because I love Him so. 

His Word - it is my own personal love letter from Him.  Through it, through my family In Him, my fruits, I am reassured how I am speaking, living, working In Him is The Truth. 

It is of Him.

I am confirmed and affirmed - by Him.

"And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
    confirming the work that we do.
    Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!" (Psalm 90:17)



Monday, March 21, 2016

"The Dance" - 03/21/16 - Deuteronomy 30-31

 
 
 
"Look at what I've done for you today: I've placed in front of you

Life and Good
Death and Evil.

And I command you today: Love God, your God.
 
Walk in His ways. Keep His commandments, regulations, and rules
 
so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by God, your God,
 
in the land you are about to enter and possess. I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse.
 
Choose life so that you and your children will live.
And love God, your God, listening obediently to Him, firmly embracing Him.
 
Oh yes, He is life itself"(30:15,16,19,20)



                                                          
As the trees sway in the wind, the grass bows down to His breath, the leaves swirl in His whirlwind, the snow - glittering like diamonds - being gently lowered to the ground, He leads me in the dance of life.

Dancing With God.

I follow His lead, most times.
Occasionally even stepping on His toes as I try to lead.

We twirl and whirl in the grand room of life - together - as He firmly embraces me. I listen obediently as He whispers in my ear which steps we'll dance. At times so in tune with Him, words are not needed as I follow His lead. When we rest and gather our energy for the next set, I draw strength from Him.

I have chosen His way of Life and Good.
In doing so - I live, I really live.
Exuberantly and blessed by Him.

I have fallen madly and deeply in love with my Lord.
My Abba.
My Daddy.
My very bestest friend.
And as I look out and see the amazing beauty of His spring, I yearn to dance with Him.
To laugh with Him.
To celebrate with Him.

I am so thankful my husband and our children dance with Him too. Delight in Him, as He does them and me. That they follow His lead. I am so thankful they see themselves as a light wherever He has them dancing.

"I have looked and seen. Before me He placed
Life and Good
Death and Evil.

I have chosen Life and Good.
Live and God."




Sunday, March 20, 2016

"Welcomed" - 03/20/16 - Deuteronomy 28-29



"You will be blessed when you come in" (28:6)


Usually, the first thing I think of when I awake in the morning is my "Abba", my Daddy.  Most often, the last thing I remember before falling asleep is praising Him for my blessings. 

This morning, snuggled down in the covers, I thought about my life before Him.  How many years I went without Him crossing my mind at all.  Even during Christmas and Easter.  I may have given His name a fleeting thought, but I didn't pray or even recognize Him as real.  He was, more or less, just the name of some person, power that lived way up there.  I believed He loved others and was involved in their lives.   I just never believed or felt He looked at me in the same way. 

Yet, something within me kept searching for that something I couldn't give a name.  I knew there was a void within me, but didn't recognize it as such.  I was hungry.  No I was starving.  But couldn't put my finger for exactly what.  No matter how much alcohol, drugs or men I consumed - I still continued to search.  I see now I was searching in a pitch black room with my eyes wide open, and seeing a glimpse of light here and there.  It was towards The Light I would head and be pulled off track by some worldly fix. I would direct my focus off The Light.


 I look back and it is hard to say exactly when I discovered the door.  That Christ was the key.  Already unlocked, for it opened without resistance when I finally pushed against it.  His hand was pulling the knob on the other side at the same time.  He was there waiting. 

As He had been, from the beginning. 

I was  finally out of that black room. The door had been there the whole time.

Not even locked.

How many times had I stumbled right by it,
not recognizing the light as an outline of a door.

His door.   
 
 
Now I know that Curt was one of the numerous wake up calls He gave me.  Even though neither of us were Christians, God was using us to help each other in our search for Him. 
 
All things for His glory. 
 
Until having Adam did I recognize it was God I had been searching for.  Throughout my life I had been looking for love and acceptance.  He gave it to me through our children.  Never before had I experienced such an unconditional, accepting love, as that from them.  Thankfully, He has opened my eyes to see that same love from Curt.  I never felt worthy of this type of love from him and continually sabotaged it.  What a blessing Curt hung in there! 
 
And God!  I finally recognized this is a mere glimpse of how much He loves me. 
 
Me.
 

"So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him"(Deuteronomy 30:19,20) 

This I have been doing and will continue until my last breath.  I have chosen Life.  I have chosen Him to fill all my voids.  No longer do I walk in the shadow of death, progressing through the dark room on the way to hell.  Such relief I feel knowing my choice in teaching our sons of Him, which began at their birth, has led our children to an intimate relationship in Him.  I almost vomit when I think where my previous choices could have led them to stumble and also live in the dark room.  I send up praise to Him, knowing our present, and God willing future, grandchildren will be taught of Him as their fathers have been - from birth.  I pray the cycle of Him will continue throughout all of our generations until He comes again. 

It is only by "holding fast to Him", obeying His voice, I am enjoying this ride of living.  Of life.  That no longer am I in the dark room. 

I am so deeply, head over heels, in love with my Abba, my Daddy.  I yearn to hear His voice, spend time with Him, receive His love as it showers over me. 

I love He led me to the choice of Life. 

Welcomed me in through the door of Christ to Him.
God so blesses. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

"His Dearly Held Treasure - Us" - 03/19/16 - Deuteronomy 24-27

 
 
"You've renewed your vows today that God is your God, that you'll live the way He shows you; do what He tells you in the rules, regulations, and commandments; and listen obediently to Him."  (26:17-18) 
And today God has reaffirmed that "YOU" are dearly held treasure - just as He promised."



It is a cleanup mowing day!  Just a few days left before the last day of winter and the earth has been awakening with a vengeance from its very short winter nap! The beauty of the green, green grass against the early spring flowers, trees, blue skies, are breathtaking - refreshing.  The earth waking up seems to be happening almost before my eyes.

New life - new resolutions - renewed determination - renewed vows.

So many moments I am thankful His grace and mercy which give me "spring" each and every day.    How He "refreshes" me and we begin again. Reading His Word this morning awakened the fear in my heart.

 Not for myself - Christ has me covered.
 It is for those outside of Him.

I read what life outside of Him is - and He brings to mind those whose fruits show they have chosen to live outside of Him.

So many moments I am thankful He is cleansing my heart - to love like Him, that my heart breaks for what breaks His. That He is beside me, guiding me to continue in my covenant with Him.

So many moments I am so thankful and blessed to know I am His bride. What a totally fulfilling relationship I have with Him! How I love and adore Him.

 How I know, without a doubt, He unconditionally loves me.

Even when I break a vow, He still forgives and never "divorces" me. How this love we share, makes me desire to show - not prove - my love for Him. To share Him with others, so they too can know, feel what it is all about.

All of us.  We are not part of a treasure or "a" treasure, but the "all" of His treasure.
Prayers for "all" to live life as His "dearly held treasure".


Friday, March 18, 2016

"Our Seeds" - 03/18/16 - Deuteronomy 21-23

03/18/16 - Deuteronomy 21-23

"Our Seeds"


"Don't plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard. If you do, you will forfeit what you've sown, the total production of the vineyard."(22:9)



Harvest time always will come.
Eventually the truth will come out.

We will be known by our fruits in all things, in all ways.

I used to notice around age 40, a person's face began to reveal what is in their heart. Over the past few years though, as the world falls further from God, some you can begin to see when in their early 30's.  Think about persons who are beautiful on the inside and how their face radiates His beauty from within. And those whose heart is of the world, has a face that becomes hard and bitter.

You can not hide what seeds you have sown, for there is always a ripple effect from our choices - always.

There isn't any walking the fence with God.
You are either with Him or against Him.
No gray areas.

So often He amazes me in showing how far we, as such a self-centered people, actually touch lives beyond our wildest imagination. How small this world really is.

And I will wonder -  what this life would be if we were God-centered.

I see how quickly the seeds of the world can choke out the seeds sown for Him, if they haven't taken proper root. The key to a healthy lawn is a healthy root system. This crowds the weeds out, stands strong against the elements and disease. But - it must be properly maintained to flourish.

As we too, must maintain our seeds in Him, with His Word, a church family, fellowship with believers, serving Him. Focusing on Him and being in an intimate relationship with Him.

Only then can we enjoy The Fruits of The Spirit.

"But The Fruit of The Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."
(Galatians 5:22,23)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

"The Power In His Blood" - 03/17/16 - Deuteronomy 17-20

 

"Clean the polluting evil from your company."(19:20)






















Sin is so like a cancer.

It begins in one little cell and can/will consume you if left to do damage. Sometimes satan is aggressive and takes over at such a rate, it leaves his victim wondering what happened. I think of Haiti so immersed in voodoo, demons are in broad daylight for satan doesn't just come out in the dark when he feels right at home.  I think of the USA where  he is more subtle, sneaky, while using tolerance, compliance,  to cloak his movements.  Looking about you can see he is more aggressive as we become more tolerant and compliant.  Slowly we are becoming accustomed and viewing many of  the sins as "normal" or "not that bad".

Either strategy he uses accomplishes destruction from within.
 he has only his interest in mind.
To go against God and we are his pawns whom he sacrifices, without grief, conscience or hesitation. 

I think about sins which have become "normal" to me.   Just for starters:  being self-righteous, judgmental, gossip, lie, lazy, not being a good steward, not "as I live, living my life totally for Him.  How often do I excuse my sin rather than "clean the polluting evil from my company"?  How often do I listen to the prompting (sometimes forceful) of The Holy Spirit and repent?

There is such Hope in Him, for I am covered with The Blood of Christ.   My sins have/are forgiven, but this doesn't give me free reign to allow sin in my life. To let it become "normal". God doesn't tolerate sin - He can not for He is Holy.

I am so thankful I belong to a God who wants only my best for me. I am so thankful for my Christ, my Savior, who has "cleaned the polluting evil from ,my company".  I am so thankful for The Holy Spirit, my Helper.   His Word. Our own personal love letter from Him.  Our manual so to speak.

As I strive to be more like Him, for all the times I do fail - He doesn't.  He has "washed me whiter than snow" - with His blood. He has removed the cancer from my within.



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"Stingy Give or Receive" - 03/16/16 - Deuteronomy 14-16



"Give freely and spontaneously. Don't have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God's, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures." (15:10-11)






What am I stingy with? Whom am I stingy towards?

Surprisingly, it used to be food. Rather certain kinds - the "good" stuff.

I can remember hiding some foods when the boys were young so I wouldn't have to share. How old was I? What a lesson I taught them. Fortunately, they didn't take after me in that way.  It was through the blessing of my sister in Christ, Teresa, I have learned the art (and joy) of sharing food.  I can remember when we first began to share life, she was also into sharing our plates of food.  It was a big learning lesson for me when she would reach over and take from my plate some of the "good food". It didn't matter she was willing to share hers, I didn't want to share. I had a stingy heart.

I love to cook, have people over. I love to eat at restaurants and try something new or have the old standby.  But, I didn't like sharing what was on "my" plate.

Through our ABBA, I came to realize,  "You know I love you, if I share my "good" food with you."

We enjoy having people in His home. For the past eight years, almost every Wednesday night, our Bible study "family" has met here. I love doing for others who are easy to love.  To give to.  Well, most others. Some persons I feel are more about abusing the system and I become judgmental. I really struggled with helping these persons out. I even thought I was sharing pretty well in my time, gifts, money, talents.

And then I noticed, just as He did with Teresa about sharing my "good food", He was bringing into my life those I really was being stingy with.  He opened my eyes to look at them through His.  Most of those I was being judgmental about (and I was) didn't want or need the "stuff", they had a God void within them. And He wants to use me as His Vessel in introducing them to Him so it may be filled. 

It isn't about the "good food" or the "stuff". It is all about "Him".

I also came to realize being "stingy" can be both in giving and receiving.  He opened my eyes to see I was being "stingy" in accepting blessings because of self pride/control. As long as I didn't accept the blessing, no one knew I was in need. I had everything under control.  In 1990 when I was diagnosed with my disease, all the medical expenses completely broke us.  Even though we were working at two, three jobs, we had to go on food stamps. One Christmas we were a Good News family. There wasn't any extra money and how God used this time to work me over. My eyes were opened wide to the fact -   I am not in control of anything.

Over the years since, He has blessed us so much in all ways. Our business, the home He is allowing us to live in. We don't drive the fancy cars, live in a mansion on a hilltop, hobnob at all the fancy places, but we are so rich. Looking back I see now, we always have been. He always provides our needs. Physical and Spiritual. 

Because of His great love, I realize so many are in the position of where they are at due to makings they have no control over.  I so desire to please Him, share blessings to bring glory to Him.

He has taught me to live each day as though it were my last. During these past years, He has helped me to become thankful for my disease. It has set my priorities.  We are all dying -  and need to take advantage of each moment - it may be the last one. He has shown me what a blessing and joy it is to not be "stingy" and has  taught me to accept blessings. Every time I begin to say, "no thank you", I can hear Him tell me, "Deby, by not accepting this blessing they have for you, you are preventing them from receiving a blessing from giving".

All our money, this home, our business, our equipment, furnishings, clothes, even the "good" food - belongs to Him. It's not even partially mine. I love the freedom He has given me in seeing this.  I am just His worker. I don't have to wear the yoke of ownership. He takes care of it all. My job is to be a good steward.

To give blessings out to all people. To accept blessings from all people. 
To live this life not being "stingy".



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

"The Ride Towards Home" - 03/15 /16 - Deuteronomy 11-13




 "God, your God, is testing you to find out if you totally love Him with everything you have in you. You are to follow only God, your God, hold Him in deep reverence, keep His commandments, listen obediently to what He says, serve Him—hold on to Him for dear life!" (13:3-4)











Riding towards Home!








Holding on to Him for dear life!



It is my outlook on this ride which will determine my attitude.

 If I have trust and faith in Him - we are in for an exciting adventure.
 If my trust and faith is in myself, others, or something - well - fear is my guide.

 I will not be eagerly looking ahead, trying to see around the next bend in excitement. I will be clinging to the rocks, trying to keep the raft from going forward. Wet, cold, shaking, a terrified wreck. Not only holding onto the rocks, but also trying to keep everything inside the raft. Completely oblivious that He is in the raft, due to being focused to what is going on around me.  Not focused on Him.

Exhausted and miserable comes to mind when picturing this.

But!  In allowing Him to take the lead, I see excitement, joy, freedom.
 Even if we are in the middle of hidden boulders, I am at peace knowing He is in control of our raft.

And all I have to do is hold on!

That is the best part. 
You know.  
The knowing without a doubt.
He is holding onto me so tightly I can not be wrenched from His grasp.

Unless I pry off His fingers and jump.

 And then, He doesn't ride on by leaving me behind in His wake.  He is keeping the raft there, waiting for me to figure out I am drowning on my own. Waiting for me to come to my senses and see the raft and Him, reaching out to pull me back in the instant my hand reached out to Him and we then continue the ride.  Together.

Unfortunately, I have and will, jump out numerous times.
 Doesn't matter the water - rough or peaceful - for some reason,  I believe I can do better outside the raft.

Through Scripture He tells me over and over, "Deby - That’s where we are right now. So cut away the thick calluses from your heart and stop being so willfully hardheaded - get back into the raft." Come on! We have a ride to enjoy.

 It has taken too much time, but finally I have ridden with Him to the place where I am thankful for trials and tribulations of this ride. It is at the end of each hurdle I am walking closer "in" Him. He has transformed my heart to see His glory in all. He has taken my hand and led me away from the "self pity" party I was attending.

I see now all tests are much like the boulders we encounter on our ride. He is able to maneuver around them with such skill and then, they are behind us. He is in total control of our raft in this journey called life.

Through Christ I draw such strength knowing He was tested in ways I will never be and being so totally in love with God - He passed. He didn't take things personal - everything was about God and our relationship with God. He wasn't about seeking revenge, seeking His own way, He was about Love - no matter what.

How His heart broke, and breaks, for the sorrows our God experiences because of our brokenness.   Because of the times we have/are jumping out of the raft.

"God, my God, who rescued me from the rapids, who redeemed me from a world of slavery and put me in our raft on which God, my God, has commanded me to ride. Purge the evil from my company." (13:5)

My prayers are for Him to continue testing me, so I am totally loving Him with everything I have within me. I want only to hold on to Him for dear life.

Monday, March 14, 2016

"His Designer Original " - 03/14/16 - Deuteronomy 7-10


"So now, what do you think God expects from you?
 
Just this: Live in His presence in Holy reverence, follow the road He sets out for you,
love Him,
serve God,
your God,
with everything you have in you,
obey the commandments and regulations of God that I’m commanding you today—
live a good life.
 
Look around you: Everything you see is God’s—the heavens above and beyond, the Earth, and everything on it.
 
But it was your ancestors who God fell in love with; He picked their children—that’s you!—out of all the other peoples.
 
That’s where we are right now. So cut away the thick calluses from your heart and stop being so willfully hardheaded.
God, your God, is The God of all gods,
He’s The Master of all masters,
a God immense and powerful and awesome.
 
He doesn’t play favorites,
takes no bribes,
makes sure orphans and widows are treated fairly,
takes loving care of foreigners by seeing that they get food and clothing" (10:12-18)






 A few years ago, our Bible Study group did a study, "A Wardrobe from The King - putting on The Armor of God".  This has to be one of the best studies I have done.  At the time of the study, He knew I needed it and it has went into my heart and stuck.


Nothing is by chance. 

He has total control in all things. 

He knew my heart was at the place where I would be receptive and transform to equipping myself with His Armor each and every day.  Through the trials and tribulations I had been asking Him to remove the sin from my heart. 

Asking?  No begging. 

Falling head over heels in love with my ABBA has brought me to the place where I so want and desire to be more like Him.  By "cutting away the calluses from my heart", I am finally able to see and rejoice in Him in all things.  He is everywhere! 

My calluses were the result of picking up doubt and letting it escalate into sins.  Sin had become a part of my heart and was affecting my vision.  Being so willfully hardheaded in believing the lies of the world and not having Trust in His Truth was affecting every single aspect of my life - including my relationship with Him.

Instead of putting on His Armor, I was putting on my self-designed original. 

So much like the fashion knockoffs you can purchase through the black market.  They may look much like the original, but they aren't as well made, lesser quality products, and flaws galore when you really check it out.

I had fooled myself into thinking my design was better equipped for the spiritual battles raging about me. 

I had convinced myself I needed to be in control and handle the situations when they came up. 
 
That was "my" job. 
Not His.

Until I finally gave over my "self", I was so concentrated on keeping up my design, I was missing Him all around me.  Everything about me was focused on getting revenge or defense.  I wasn't living a good life.  My life was miserable.  The sick, ugh feeling, never left the pit of my stomach.  Fear, bitterness - were only a few of my constant companions. 

Finally, I heard Him loud and clear and now put on His Designer Original each and every day. 
 
"So now "Deby", what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in His presence in Holy reverence, follow the road He sets out for you, love Him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I’m commanding you today—live a good life."

Love Him, serve Him, with everything I have in me.  Follow the road He "sets" out for me. 

Finally - put on "His" armor.  Let Him take care of the fight. 

"Live a good life". 
 
And the life I have - it is good.  So blessed is it.
 
 
 
 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

"With My All" - 03/13/16 - Deuteronomy 5-6



"Love God, your God, with your whole heart:
love Him with all that's in you,
love Him with all you've got!" (6:5)

How very blessed I am. So thankful.

I just absolutely love God. He is my bestest friend.

It has been through being "in" His Word, that I have fallen completely,
head over heels,
in love
with Him.
 
I find I can not stop thinking about, talking about, looking for, listening to - Him. 

It wasn't always like that.
For too many years, I chose not to have anything to do with Him.
 
Sadly, even today - there are times I revert back to being childish and follow "my" way.
 
But, throughout all of my wayward times, I never stopped loving Him. Even when in my darkest time - I still loved Him. Just not in the right order. I was more about getting my cake and eating it too.
 
He helped me discover - I wasn't "in" love with Him. 
 
And there is a big difference this loving Him and being "in" love with Him.
 
Big difference. 
 
Being "in" love with Him has given me an intimacy I had never before shared with Him.
God has given us instruction to study and know His Word for a reason. Only He is God, only He can see the whole paradigm and only He knows why it is essential to follow His way.
 
And even while knowing all this - there are moments I still rebel and try to succeed living "my" way.

I emphasis "try", for my way never works out.  Never.

 In the years of studying, I have come to the conclusion there are only two gods in this world. It is either God or self. And He has given us the free choice whom to follow. The other things that are called 'gods" are actually only the things we place before God to serve self.
 
Which is what I struggle with every day.  And each and every day I thank Him for His Grace and Mercy.

And whyever do I struggle so. 
Not only in Scripture, but in my life, it is proven time after time - His way is the right choice. I can see in my life and see His blessings or I can see where I followed "self" and it went all wrong. How thankful I am that He is bigger than my choices. That He is bigger than my messes. That He is my superglue.

All I have to do is follow His way.
Just strive to love Him with my all -
before "me" and "my" all.
 
"And this is what will happen: When you, on your part, will obey these directives, keeping and following them, God, on His part, will keep the covenant of loyal love that He made with your ancestors;
He will love you,
He will bless you,
He will increase you."(Deuteronomy 7:12-13)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

"His Inheritance" - 03/12/16 - Deuteronomy 3-4



"But you—God took you right out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to become the people of His inheritance—and that's what you are this very day." (4:20)
 

It is often I think about and then thank Him for where He has rescued me from. 
It is often, I realize even while I lived apart from Him, He still shielded me from what could have happened. 
It is often, I thank Him that I haven't had to suffer the consequences I could have.
 
It is often I realize how He rescued me.
He rescued me from the fires of hell.

My "iron furnace" was a life of being in the world. Trying to fill a void, only He could fill, with secular things. He removed my soul, my spirit, from the world - "Egypt" - and brought me to Him - His place.
 
And although I was worn over, dirty, full of self - He wanted - NO......
 
He desired me to be His.
 
I am His Inheritance. 
The King of Kings, Lord of all is my ABBA - my Daddy. 
 
I am His princess.
I am His heir to an inheritance which all earthly things can not even compare to.
I have a mansion with many rooms being built.
I will live in a place where gold looks like glass.
 
But, the very best part of my inheritance, the very best part -  is I shall walk and be with my Daddy. 
 
He will live with me in my mansion.
He will walk on the street of gold with me.
My ABBA.  My Daddy.  He is The King of Kings. Forever.

On the very day I accepted Christ, I became His daughter.
There was not a waiting, trial, or testing period.
It was immediate.
Bound in a never ending covenant.
Unless I choose to walk away from Him.

I am His Inheritance.  Sealed in His blood.

Friday, March 11, 2016

"Favorite of His" - 03/11/16 - Deuteronomy 1-2




"Don’t play favorites; treat the little and the big alike; listen carefully to each." (1:17)

I tried to relieve your fears: “Don’t be terrified of them. God, your God, is leading the way; He’s fighting for you. You saw with your own eyes what He did for you in Egypt; you saw what He did in the wilderness, how God, your God, carried you as a father carries his child, carried you the whole way until you arrived here. But now that you’re here, you won’t trust God, your God" (1:29-33)


I always thought it was the disrespect from others  which angered me - it isn't.  It is double standards.  It is when one is favored, allowed to do and others are not.  The damage of favoritism is felt throughout the world, the church, and into our homes.   

Favoritism has been around since Adam and Eve were kicked out of The Garden.  It is a fertile breeding ground for entitlement, narcissism, dictatorship, selfishness, jealousy, manipulation, and other unChristlike behavior.  Throughout Scripture, historical documents, we read the examples of favoritism and its consequences.  Producing a ripple which is carried down through many generations causing so much division, bitterness, hurt, loss.  Wars are created because of it. 

One of the best things about my Abba - He doesn't rule with double standards and as a member of His family I:

 "Don’t play favorites; treat the little and the big alike; listen carefully to each."

It has taken a leap of faith to actually live and believe this in such a "me" obsessed world, because if I don't stand up for "me", favoritism will run me right over.  Our world seeps with favoritism.  Be it in a store, waiting in line and completely ignored, while the clerk waits on an obvious friend who just walked up.  Hearing of medical bills being written off for someone who knew someone, while one who is really struggling - continues to struggle.  Standing with a mom and listening to her heart break as she shares of her young son being bullied, and nothing is done to the bully.  Watching so many work their hardest, at school, their job, and being passed over for that award or promotion, for someone who is favored.  When watching the news,  hearing instances of injustice to the victim.  So often I would become angry and speak malice.  But never to the persons. 

I would do anything to avoid confrontation because of fear.
Now, I know God is my defender and He has removed from me the fear and vengeful anger.  He has taken my anger and helped me to look upon those with Love and to earnestly pray for them.  I have learned and feel - our ABBA grieves.  It breaks His heart how sin is running rampant in this world and destroying those He has made in His image.  Us.

He has also taken from my heart the "need" to defend "me".  

For He is my commander in Chief  - who is not in a tent behind the army.   

He is front and center before me. 

How can I not trust Him when He says He has my back?  Why ever would I continue trying to defend myself, when He does that for me?  He knows my heart, He knows the situations I will end up in.  It continually blows me away when I look back to what and where He has brought me.  Through all those minefields - He has brought me here. 

To today.

"you saw what He did in the wilderness, how God, your God, carried you as a Father carries His child, carried you the whole way until you arrived here. But now that you’re here, you won’t trust God, your God"

It isn't just for me He has done this.  He has done this for all of His Beloved.

However do we not rely on Him and His strength?  However do we not have faith and trust in He knows what is best.   He unconditionally loves us more than we will ever comprehend. 

Ever.

No matter the situation, I have to let Him be who they see.  Who they hear. He is who holds them accountable.  I have to concentrate on my relationship "in" Him and making Disciples.  I have to see the spiritual battle for what it is and not take things personal what someone may say.  What they do or say is now between them and God. 

Being His Beloved protects us from being the victim. 
He has our back.
We are all His "favorites".