Saturday, October 21, 2017

"We - In Him - Are Free" - 10/21/17 - Romans 4-7

"Fortunate those whose crimes are carted off, whose sins are wiped clean from the slate.         Fortunate the person against whom The Lord does not keep score."(4:7-8)
As a Christian, we strive to be Christlike to all.  We strive to Love as He loves.  We strive. 
It is only with our ABBA's help are we able to. 
There are times when we will inflict pain upon each other,  knowingly or unknowingly, and we must choose to forgive.  To Love.  To pray.  Or we can choose to not forgive and harbor anger, bitterness, thoughts of revenge against one another.  Elements that will eat into our heart and come in between our relationship with Christ.  And one another. 
Thankfully, ABBA has and is helping us in this area.  The moments of anger, defensiveness, taking things personal will become less than the moments of feeling sorrowful and lifting others up in prayer.  Not only for their hearts to change, but our own as well. 
I pray for The Holy Spirit to knead into our hearts - Him. 
While listening once to a sermon on the gifts of Grace and Mercy, I recognized there is one whom I don't extend the gift of forgiveness to.  One whom I beat up continually, look for flaws, berate for the sins of the past, see as continually falling short in their walk.  One whom I see through my eyes  more often than seeing them through His eyes.  One whom I look and see ugliness rather than being of His beauty. Believing lies instead of His Truths.
That person is me.  myself.  and I.
In hearing how others speak of themselves, I know I am not alone in the way of my thinking.  Why is that?  Why is it we are able to extend all the gifts of Love, Forgiveness, Grace, Mercy to others, yet not as readily to ourselves? 
"We" who are made in His Image.  "We" whom He loved so much He gave His only Begotten Son.  "We" whom He desires to be with as our Bestest Friend.  Our Lord.  
David said it so right: 
"Fortunate those whose crimes are carted off, whose sins are wiped clean from the slate.        
Fortunate the person against whom The Lord does not keep score".
When "in" ABBA - He doesn't keep score.  Our sins are wiped clean from the slate.
So.  Whyever are we not letting Him be God and accept His Forgiveness.  His Mercy.  His Grace.  Why do we continually say His Sacrifice wasn't enough to cover our sins? 
What. a. fool. 
Each moment given to us is the time to start living life as a "fortunate" one of His. 
Standing in Faith and living - knowing without doubt -  His Words are also meant for each one of us.
 Living "in" this state of freedom will draw others to Him. 
Others who will see and desire to live a life living "in" The Freedom of Him.

Friday, October 20, 2017

"Because of Love" - 10/20/17 - Romans 1-3

10/20/17 - Romans 1-3

"Because Of Love"

"Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us,
God did it for us.
Out of sheer generosity He put us in right standing with Himself.
A pure gift.
He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where He always wanted us to be.
And He did it by means of Jesus Christ.
God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin.
Having faith in Him sets us in the clear.
God decided on this course of action in full view of the public - to set the world in the clear with Himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins He had so patiently endured.
This is not only clear, but it's now - this is current history!
God sets things right.
He also makes it possible for us to live in His rightness."(3:23-26)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

"We - Stronger In Him" - 10/19/17 - 2 Corinthians 10-13

"I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.

Satan’s angel did his best to get me down;
what he in fact did was push me to my knees.

No danger then of walking around high and mighty!

At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it.

Three times I did that, and then He told me,

"My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness."
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen.
I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift.
It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness.
Now I take limitations in stride,
and with good cheer,
these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.
I just let Christ take over!
And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become."(12:7-10)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Our Tastes of Heaven" - 10/18/17 - 2 Corinthians 5-9

"The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of Heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less." (5:5)

I smile as I think about my life.  Even though amongst the great there is some bad. 
But all in all -   my cup runneth over. 

It frequently occurs to me how His Glory prevails over all of the bad.  Throughout all the memories of yesterdays, journeying through trials and tribulations, stumbling about, heartbreaks, illness, the unknown.  Always.  In all Ways.  His Glory has and will continue to prevail over all. 

He has shown me through the act of giving up in my heart the anger and bitterness, forgiving as He has, we are then able to focus and be whom He has created us to be.  Only then are we able to see all those He puts into our path through His eyes.  To see the endless opportunities to be His Vessel, where He has each one of us planted.   

To be thankful and content in all things.
It is then His love is able to bubble out of us. 
We become unable to hold it back.
Striving to take each moment living this life Loving as He Loves.

Each day, prevailing over the things of this world, He gives us the gift of filling our lives with the making of  new cherished moments becoming treasured memories of talking, laughing, receiving hugs, kisses, being loved and encouraged. - being safe "in" Him.  I marvel at knowing, before time began, He knew whom it would be that we would be spending our moments with as His Divine Appointments.

Whom He needed us to be with - for Him.  For them.  For us.
Whom it would be to give us "a little of Heaven in our hearts".

 Reflecting on the days behind, seeing how He was there and His Glory prevailed.  I love how our ABBA encourages each of us, in each of our moments, with more than  a "little of Heaven". 
Looking forward to His "tastes" ahead.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"We - Rescued and Part of His Rescue Operation" - 10/17/17 - 2 Corinthians 1-4

"And He did it, rescued us from certain doom.
And He'll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing.       
You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation -
I don't want you in the dark about that either.
I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God's deliverance of us,
a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part."(1:10-11)

 Thinking back, the times I usually think my prayers aren't being heard is when ABBA answers them His way instead of my way.  The times I feel my life has no meaning, I have no meaning, thinking life is so unfair - those are the times I am focused on "self" and not focusing on Him. 
Those are the times I am not praying.


I am so in love with our ABBA. 
He could have made it so 'we' weren't needed. 
Done everything on His own. 

But - He created us with the need to be 'needed' and utilizes that 'need' all of the time. 

He is the only one who can fill the 'Need Void' within us. 
Nothing or no one else is able to do so. 

So, the next time you are feeling 'you' aren't someone special.  'You' aren't someone He needs. 
Think about what Paul wrote - "You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation".


How amazing is that. 
The Creator of all, utilizes 'us' - each and every one of 'us' - as part of His rescue operation for those who are lost.  Not for our glory, but His Glory.
"You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation".  
'You' - who are "fearfully and wonderfully made". 
Throughout Scripture we are able to read prayers given over 'us' by the saints of old. 
By our Christ. 
We too must keep on praying on.  For someone, somewhere has and is praying for 'you'.

Monday, October 16, 2017

"May We Be" - 10/16/17 - 1 Corinthians 15-16

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you've got, be resolute, and Love without stopping.(16:13,14)
May our eyes always be wide open and we live a life based on and in Christ.  May the standards we live by be from His Word. May we take heed from The Holy Spirit and follow His lead. 
As we go, may we not be merely skimming through this brief life.  May we live giving it all we have for our ABBA and His Glory.
As we take this short walk toward Home, may nothing nor anyone, cause us to lose focus on our Savior. 
And most of all, as we live this life where He has placed us, may we be loving Him and others without stopping.
May we always have faith that In Him - Heaven isn't a destination - it is our future address. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

"When We Pray Outloud" - 10/15/17 - I Corinthians 12-14

"Then each speaker gets a chance to say something special from God, and you all learn from each other." (14:31)

It is such a heartsmile for me whenever it comes to praying time with His family.  As is the situation in most gathered groups, the talking immediately stops when someone says, "would anyone want to pray". 

All of us are on a different level in our walk with ABBA.  Unfortunately, we fall into the trap of "comparing", and believe our outloud prayers will sound stupid, silly, lame.  I find this so sad. 

To be able to hear words spoken from a persons heart to our ABBA is nothing but a treasure. 

These are the moments when my ears pick up on messages He is sending.  Their words may bring about an awareness of blessings I take for granted.   It may be that someone is hurting and needs comfort.  One may be inspired to share in a way that promotes growth in my life.  Accountability.  Encouragement.  More often than not though, it is drawing me into an intimacy with ABBA.  Through the words of others I am being shown - an open heart is what our ABBA desires.

I so love hearing others pray out loud.  Their words let me know, I am not the only one who is thinking the way I am.  All the emotions.  All the thoughts.  All the words.  We are all created in His image. 

Each time He gives us growth through the words of others. Prayer is yet another way He gives us unity.  In Him and each other.   So much of His Power comes through His Words from within our hearts.

How beautiful to the ears is hearing another opening up to Him, baring all. 
Being whom He made us to be. 

No frills.  no secret agenda.  Just words from the heart.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

"We - Whom He raises us to what He is" - 10/14/17 - 1 Corinthians 9-11

"Because there is one loaf, our many-ness becomes one-ness - Christ doesn't become fragmented in us.
Rather, we become unified in Him.
We don't reduce Christ to what we are; He raises us to what He is."(10:17)


There is such an honor in being one to serve communion to His family.  To stand at the end of the aisle and pass the bread and juice to outstretched hands.  To pray over those my eyes take in until my heart feels as though it will burst.  To see His family, my family sitting, with heads bowed.  To see little ones watching, wondering, requesting.  To see smiles.  To see tears.  To see peace. 

To see His radiance shining through the faces as they are in communion with Him.

There is such blessing in knowing, without doubt, when the trays are emptied and put back into their places, the unity of my family remains.

There is such treasure tucked away into my heart.  Mind pictures of those I see Him shining through their eyes.  Their smiles.  Their tears.  Their hugs. 

How He fills my heart with those I am unified with.  Those I share communion with.  Those whom He has raised up to where He is.  Transformed them into the beauty I see. 

There is peace knowing because of the brokenness of Christ, we may live life unbroken together. 
His blood covers and unifies us. 
Our family in Him. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

"We - Are Watched" - 10/13/17 - 1 Corinthians 5-8

"Isn't there great danger if someone still struggling over this issue, someone who looks up to you as knowledgeable and mature, sees you go into that banquet? The danger is that he will become terribly confused - maybe even to the point of getting mixed up himself in what his conscience tells him is wrong.
Christ gave up His life for that person.
Wouldn't you at least be willing to give up going to dinner for him - because, as you say, it doesn't really make any difference? But it does make a difference if you hurt your friend terribly, risking his eternal ruin!
When you hurt your friend, you hurt Christ.
A free meal here and there isn't worth it at the cost of even one of these "weak ones." (8:10-12)

 I read and wonder what it is I am selfish in giving up in order to help another in their walk.  Is it time?  money?  stuff?  food?  What is it I am loving more than loving His people.

As a believer, many are watching to see us in action.  When in Christ, there is something "different" about us, and it does/should draw attention.  It is being in Christ that makes us stand out from the world.

Do we ever hold on to the things of the world to satisfy our "self", even if it means hindering another ones walk?  I know of one who didn't feel the need to give up drinking in front of an alcoholic, believing it was up to the person to not submit to drink.  It wasn't part of their job to help them overcome. We are all on a different level in our walks, different strengths and weaknesses.  Different because we need each other. 

As we grow in Christ, we need to see it is our job to come along side of each other and help the growth.  When helping each other, we are really helping the whole family.  We are living a life that is pleasing to Him.

 What is it we are holding onto, satisfying "self", which is hindering the walk of a brother or sister?  Is it really worth it? 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

"We Are All Needed For The Kingdom Come" - 10/12/17 - 1 Corinthians 1-4

"I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow.

It's not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow.

Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages.
What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving.
You happen to be God's field in which we are working.

Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation!

Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ." (3:6-11)

When I was quite young, one of my chores was to make sure the watering trough for the pigs was full. It was old, made of cement, with wide edges containing the water. Edges wide enough I could stand on them and as the water poured in from the well I would spend my time waiting by "preaching" to the pigs. I can't remember the words I said to them. I can vaguely remember my arms and hands moving about with passion. Looking back now, I smile, thinking I probably was quite the spectacle. 

I can't remember how many years I had this desire to preach. I do know I didn't have any converts or baptisms in the watering trough from my "congregation".

The silly things we do as children. 

Sadly there were years His fire, deep inside of me, died down to an ember within my heart. At times it almost went out completely, but thankfully our ABBA breathed into my soul and His fire has been back for the past 32 years.
Raging within me. Consuming me. It has taken me years of letting go of "my" way and following His, before I am now confident what my role is in The Kingdom Come. Content in where and how He is using me through the season of this life as His seed planter.  As His encourager.

As Paul writes, there are many jobs in the building of His Kingdom, and our ABBA is The Contractor. The One who calls the shots. Our Savior is whom we build upon. Our solid foundation. 

The Holy Spirit guides us to know what tools He has given us to be used for Him. His Word equips us with The Wisdom to put these tools to work - planting, harvesting, building. 
How much I love looking about and seeing how He uses each of us within His Family.  For Himself and each other.
Each and every one of us has been given a purpose. gifts. talents.

Each and every one of us.
Does it ever take your breath away that The Creator of all is utilizing "us". 
What a blessing and honor.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"We Are Prayed For" - 10/11/17- 2 Thessalonians

"Our God gives you everything you need, makes you everything you’re to be.

 "You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure;
it’s a must.

We have to do it.

Your faith is growing phenomenally; your love for each other is developing wonderfully.

Why, it’s only right that we give thanks.

We’re so proud of you; you’re so steady and determined in your faith despite all the hard times that have come down on you. We tell everyone we meet in the churches all about you.

All this trouble is a clear sign that God has decided to make you fit for The Kingdom.

You’re suffering now, but justice is on the way.

When The Master Jesus appears out of heaven in a blaze of fire with His strong angels, He’ll even up the score by settling accounts with those who gave you such a bad time.

His coming will be the break we’ve been waiting for.

Those who refuse to know God and refuse to obey The Message will pay for what they’ve done.

Eternal exile from The Presence of The Master and His splendid power is their sentence.

But on that very same day when He comes, He will be exalted by His followers and celebrated by all who believe—and all because you believed what we told you.

Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time—

pray that our God will make you fit for what He’s called you to be,
pray that He’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with His own energy
so that it all amounts to something.

If your life honors The Name of Jesus,
He will honor you.

Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving Himself freely,
The Master, Jesus Christ, giving Himself freely."1:2-10)

Throughout the all of His Word, we read accounts of how many have prayed for us.  
May we also continue to do the same. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"In Him - We Are One Family" - 10/10/17 - 1 Thessalonians

"Grace and peace to you.

I always thank God for all of you
and continually mention you in our prayers.

I remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith,
your labor prompted by love,
and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

For I know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you,

because our Gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power,
with The Holy Spirit and deep conviction.

You became imitators of The Lord, for you welcomed The Message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by The Holy Spirit.

And so you became a model to all the believers.

The Lord’s message rang out from you - your faith in God has become known everywhere.
You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath."(1:1-10)

Monday, October 09, 2017

"YES!!!" - 10/09/17 - Galatians 4-6

"May what our Master Jesus Christ gives freely,

be deeply and personally yours, my friends.

Oh, yes!"(6:18)


Sunday, October 08, 2017

He Is - The High Priest - 10/08/17 - Galatians 1-3

"If I was "trying to be good," I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.      

What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work.

So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man.
Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with Him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ.
My ego is no longer central.
It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God.
Christ lives in me.
The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  
I am not going to go back on that.
Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace.
If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily."
I was watching a show one night and one man was explaining to another the role of the priest in the church.  He said when we go to confession we walk away leaving our sins on him.  He is our intercessor to God. 
Upon hearing this description I realized if this were true, then The Sacrifice of our Christ on The Cross wasn't enough. 
Jesus Christ.  He is our High Priest. 
His taking upon Himself all of our sins, past, present, future, made the way for us to be with our ABBA.  His death upon The Cross tore the curtain in two, both literally and figuratively. 
I love knowing we are free to come before our ABBA at any time.  any place.  any way.  I love knowing we are able to climb up into His lap and He holds us close.  No longer separated by sin.
Because of our High Priest.  Jesus Christ. 

Saturday, October 07, 2017

"Something Powerful" - 10/07/17 - James 1-5

"Make this your common practice:
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other
so that you can live together whole and healed.
The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.(5:16)

It takes a village. 

A village filled with His family. 

His family to share and live life with.  To grow.  To nourish.  To hold accountable.

To LOVE and pray for each other. 

I know first hand what it is like to struggle outside and what it is like to live within His Family.  I know first hand without them I would not be where or who I am today. 

I know I shall never again choose living without them.  They are parts of my heart living outside of my body.  How blessed am I with so many siblings. 

"Living together whole and healed."

 "The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with."
How blessed I am in knowing, because of our prayers, our living by His standards, we are continually being molded into what and whom He designed us to be.  Through each other He is helping us to remove the garments that aren't His; garments which we have put upon ourselves.

 I stand amazed at how praying works.  At how it touches everyone, not just one.
 How prayer is oxygen that binds us together.

Friday, October 06, 2017

"Ridding of Stuff" - 10/06/17 - 2 Chronicles 35-36

And then he plundered The Temple of everything valuable, cleaned it out completely; he emptied the treasuries of The Temple of God, the treasuries of the king and his officials, and hauled it all, people and possessions, off to Babylon.(2 Chronicles 36:18)

One of my greatest delights are empty shelves and empty drawers.  I love how our ABBA has opened my eyes to an awareness regarding "stuff".  It came about some years ago while watching the show "Storage Wars". I enjoyed seeing what value they get for their discoveries, yet it constantly amazes me how so many persons just walk away from, forget, or just don't care about "stuff". At first I thought they were foolish, but then ABBA helped me see things from another perspective.
"Storage Wars" is an eye opener to see how others will one day dig into - and I mean that literally - without any care about the sentimental value of our stuff. It has caused me to reevaluate what I am keeping and why.

Every once in awhile I will watch an episode of "Hoarders" and relate it to going to the doctor. It becomes my motivation to look about this place ABBA has blessed us with and rid it of more "stuff". There are still some things I am hanging onto, but only because of the sentimental meaning behind them. Things I am working on getting rid of because bottom line - they really aren't something I enjoy, use, would have purchased on my own, or anything our kids want. I am trying to live with less. Not only because of the freedom for myself, but the freedom our kids will enjoy not having to wade through and rid of "stuff" when we are gone.

In The Scriptures, the people placed such pride and their worth in the Temple and within a short amount of time it was destroyed. Burned or carried away - totally dismantled. Today, I look about to see if I am allowing anything or anyone be what I place my worth, my pride into.

We are His Temple.  Upon accepting Christ, The Holy Spirit resides within us.

The "shell" of us will one day return to the dust it came from, but our "soul" will be joining our ABBA. We are to be a good steward of this "shell" (in which I fail miserably at times), and keep it in order. Keep it filled with only things that honor ABBA. Keep it clean. Keep it at the ready.

My daily "temple keeping" begins with His Living Word. I fill it within me, taking it into my heart and receiving nourishment from it throughout the day as I chew on it.

Continually He is helping me to not get my worth out of stuff accumulated. Helping me to not get my worth out of my work.

Helping me to not get my worth out of who I am, but "whose" I am.
"Now God has us where He wants us,
with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.

Saving is all His idea, and all His work.

All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it.

It’s God’s gift from start to finish!

We don’t play the major role.

If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing!
No, we neither make nor save ourselves.

God does both the making and saving.
He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does,
the good work He has gotten ready for us to do,
work we had better be doing.

But don’t take any of this for granted.

It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this,
didn’t know the first thing about the way God works,
hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ.

You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel,
hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large.

Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.

The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this,
both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders.

He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance.
He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped.

Then He started over.

Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, He created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.

Christ brought us together through His death on The Cross.

The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility.
Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders.
He treated us as equals, and so made us equals.

Through Him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.

That’s plain enough, isn’t it?
You’re no longer wandering exiles.
This Kingdom of Faith is now your Home Country.

You’re no longer strangers or outsiders.

You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone.

God is building a Home.
He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what He is building.
He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation.

Now He’s using you,

fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone,
with Christ Jesus as The Cornerstone that holds all the parts together.

We see it taking shape day after day—a Holy Temple built by God, all of us built into it, A Temple in which God is quite at home." (Ephesians 2:10-22)

Thursday, October 05, 2017

"Enter Into His Covenant" - 10/05/17 - 2 Chronicles 33-34

"The king acted immediately,
assembling all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem,
and then proceeding to The Temple of God bringing everyone in his train—priests and prophets and people ranging from the least to the greatest.

Then he read out publicly everything written in the Book of the Covenant that was found in The Temple of God.

The king stood by his pillar and before God solemnly committed himself to the covenant:
to follow God believingly and obediently;
to follow His instructions, heart and soul, on what to believe and do;
to confirm with his life the entire covenant,
all that was written in the book.(34:29-31)

It is all our ABBA desires. 
For us to give ourselves in covenant with Him. 

The only way to do so is to accept Christ.  Our Savior.  
Whom He gave because of Love.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

"He Is - I AM" - 10/04/17 - 2 Chronicles 30-32

"he only has a bunch of mere men; we have our God to help us and fight for us!" (32:8)
If you were to believe the media, it seems as though all of the world is going to hell in a hand basket. 
With the state of our politics.  economy.  the countries about us.  the sanctity of family crumbling.
physical and emotional conflicts.  spiritual warfare. 

We could easily become overwhelmed by all the negativity in the air about us.
But our ABBA promises us,  "That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9) 
He is our hope.  our strength.  our peace and comfort.  our joy. 
He is in complete control.  
 "he only has a bunch of mere men; we have our God to help us and fight for us!".  What a great reminder when it feels we are up against something or someone too big for us to endure. 

Not a thing.
No one.

Not. one.

is bigger than our ABBA.

 We are not alone.    EVER.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

"All Children - Such A Gift" - 10/03/17 - 2 Chronicles 28-29

"indulged in the outrageous practice of "passing his sons through the fire," a truly abominable thing he picked up from the pagans God had earlier thrown out of the country. (28:3)

When picturing the practice of "passing his sons through the fire," as recorded in the verses ABBA gave me today, my  heart is sickened when thinking about how so many parents toss their gift of children to the world. There are many recordings in Scripture of how far away from ABBA people became and the things they did to their children. Some practices would place the live babies into the walls they were building as sacrifices. There were times when children were eaten. beaten. sold. put into sex trafficking. aborted.

 Acts done then.  Acts done today.

And I wonder, how do you come to such a place.
When you take such a precious gift from our ABBA.  Made in His image. 
And toss that child over to the world.

 It happens when we walk away and are totally focused on "self" and not our ABBA.

So many children throughout time have not been treated as the beautiful blessing they are from our ABBA. They have not been trained up "in" ABBA, nurtured, protected, cherished, treasured, loved in the family He designed. In many streets, of any country, you will walk and see children on their own. Resorting to any means to survive. Being taken advantage by those who are stronger, many without any way to escape. Children who are "being passed through the fires of worldly desires".
Being a parent isn't about being a buddy or living life for "self". It is about sacrifice. It is about putting another's needs above your own - even when there aren't instant "rewards" or "gratitude". There are so many moments when you feel you aren't measuring up, want to throw in the towel, crying out for "Calgon to take me away", but you don't. The fruits of good parenting are so worth the tough love you put into raising your children.

It can leave your mind spinning with all the instructions on raising kids today.

His Word - it is tried and True.

Time after time He gives us accounts on how He parents us.
How He loves us unconditionally, even when we are unlovely. Even unlovable.

I know I have fallen short of His example many times over, but thankfully our children, when I have said I am sorry and asked for forgiveness, granted it to me. I know there are times when I have looked upon our children and felt anger, dislike at their actions, hurt, and rejected, but never have I stopped loving them unconditionally. 

From ABBA we know first hand unconditional Love, extended grace and mercy and need to grow in our desire to pass it onto the children, as well as the adults. 

I also know He is bigger than all our numerous mistakes - past, present, future, which helps as we pick up and begin again, after yet another "fail" moment.
His Word has taught me there is a difference between being a mother and a "mommy".

It is only because of Him am I able to experience the blessings, joys and fruits of this privileged and honored role of "mommy" I have been given.  Not only for our own biological children, but also of the many other "kids"  He has put into our lives.  I pray we are causing a ripple of His Love, which will continue to be passed down throughout all the generations of His children.

How empty our world would be without them.  To not look at and delight in seeing things through their eyes.  Hearing their voices.  Feeling their arms about you, their little hand grasping yours. Their big eyes taking in and loving you. Our gifts of treasure from Him are all of the children He has placed in our lives.  And hearts.

Monday, October 02, 2017

"All or Nothingness" - 10/02/17 - 2 Chronicles 25-27

"He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not wholeheartedly." (25:2)


Each fall it catches my eye when looking out into our woods.  Its blood red leaves standing out brightly against the fading greens and browns.  It is the only time I fleetingly enjoy this plant.  A plant I have come to hate. 
Yes, I know this is a strong emotion for just a plant, but it has been nine years now that I have been working in our gardens and fighting its invasive nature.  The Virginia creeper . Looking about in our woods, I can see it has reached the tops of many trees and in time it eventually will choke the life out of the plants it is wrapping itself around.  Clinging to any nook and cranny.  Getting a foothold.  I know this winter, when the vegetation is gone, we need to be out cutting and spraying.  No matter how many of the little plants I pull, vines I tear out, unless it is killed from the main trunk, it will continue to send out creepers, above and underground, taking over any territory. 
Much like sin.  satan, the father of lies, presents sin in a way that catches our eye in a flash of beauty and it isn't until our ABBA removes the rose-colored glasses are we able to see the deadly darkness sin really is. 
The times we tolerate, totally unaware -  sin is getting a foothold. 
Those times we do "what was right in the eyes of The LORD, but not wholeheartedly". 
The only way our ABBA wants us - is wholeheartedly.
He wants us to be head over heels in love with Him - as He is with us. 
To desire to be with Him each moment .  each second.  just as He does with us.   
He wants to be the center of our world.  our thoughts.  our everything.  Just as we are to Him.
He wants to be our one and only God.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me."(Psalm 51:10) is my daily prayer, but just like the Virginia creeper, sin will come in and choke the life out of us as soon as we let our focus fall away from Him.   
Before we know it, we are serving Him without the whole of our heart. 
Our ABBA. Our Savior.  The Holy Spirit.  His Word.  His Family.  
They are the only "weed killer" that works - permanently.

I strive with all that I am to spend my time with our "Master Gardner",  helping me to be rid of the "Virginia creepers".  It is my desire for the garden of my heart to be "wholeheartedly devoted to God" and I have found He is the best "weed" defense there is.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

"Training Up" - 10/01/17 - 2 Chronicles 22-24

"his mother training him in evil ways"(22:3)

After picking up Charles and Ella the other day, we stopped by Wendy's for a bite to eat.  Sitting at the table with our meal before us, holding hands, my heart smiled as I listened to Charles say a prayer for our food.  I asked them if they talk to our ABBA often throughout the day.  Both of them didn't hesitate and proceeded to tell me "conversations" they have with Him.  I love how they speak of our ABBA.  How they see Him as "real" and there with us, around us, everywhere.  How He is an essential part of their lives and beings.  At the young age of seven and four.  I love listening to these little Warriors and think about all they continue doing for The Kingdom Come with their lives.  I love how Adam, Ashley, family and His family are training them up in the goodness of our ABBA. 

I know there is nothing more the world and satan enjoy than for us to pick up doubt and run with it. 

There are times when looking back, I begin to focus more on the things I did incorrectly than what I did right in regard to being a mom. or a wife. or a Christian. or any other role I have been given.  But it is as the role of "mama" I tear myself down the most.

And then ABBA reminds me - I did do the most important thing as a mom. I introduced and trained up our sons to intimately know our ABBA.

Ashley and I were once discussing how we both feel we are "never good enough".

And it is true.  We will never be "good enough". 

This is why we need our Savior.  This is why we need His Grace and Mercy. That is why we need The Holy Spirit.  His Word.  His family.  That is why we need our ABBA and His unconditional LOVE.

satan wants us to recognize we will never be "good enough" and lose faith.  he wants us to feel hopeless in any situation.  to feel beat up.  trapped with no way out.  he wants to destroy us.

Our ABBA on the other hand.

He wants to fulfill us in areas we are not "good enough".  to build us up.  to give us hope.  courage. and joy.  He wants to complete us.  For it is only "in" Him, through Him, by Him that we become. 

Good enough.

I continually praise our ABBA for being so much bigger than all - yes all - of my "not being good enough".

How our ABBA so blesses. 
I am so thankful He is in complete control.

As we walk through this journey, He has put each of us into the lives of others, giving us the gift of training up someone or someones.  Be it for a season or a lifetime.  I am praying we are training them up for Him.  So all will become "good enough" in Him.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

" He Is - Bigger Than Any Fear" - 09/30/17 - 2 Chronicles 19-21

"Jehoshaphat was afraid
and turned his attention to seek THE LORD ,
and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
So Judah gathered together to seek help from THE LORD ;
they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek THE LORD ." (20:3-4)   

It isn't often our family of eight is all together at one time.  

And when we are, I struggle to be thankful for those moments and not yearn for anything more.  

I struggle to not keep count of the time together versus the time apart.  I struggle not to think about the "what if's" and focus on the "what is".  

I struggle to not become paralyzed with fear.  To not desire to herd my "chicks" under my wings and not let them go.  I struggle to not be lost in the memories of yesterdays.  

During those moments of being together,  I am lifting each one of them up, having conversation with our ABBA who is right there in the midst of us celebrating. He gives me yet another "jewel of a day" to tuck into my heart along with the joys and the laughter.   

My heart beats faster knowing there are many things which can happen. 

It begins with our conception.  Dying.  Only ABBA knows how long our days are.  The fear of one of them dying, if I allowed it, could paralyze me. 

 It is my greatest fear. 

Even though I know - without doubt- they would be with our ABBA and four other little ones. 
It is my selfishness which wants to keep them here. 

I think about our dear sisters and brothers, ones who have lost their spouse or child, and draw strength from their example.  It helps knowing I am not the only wife/mama feeling this way.  It helps knowing our ABBA knows exactly how we feel going through these moments. 

After all, He gave up His only Son. for each one of us. 

Just as "Judah gathered together to seek help from THE LORD", He has placed each of us within the lives of others to help us through our journey.  Help for us to remain focused on Him.  He has given us The Holy Spirit and His Word to comfort and keep our eyes lifted up from focusing on "me" and focus instead on the many ways ABBA is using the treasures of our heart for His work.  For His Glory. 

He is continually growing us during the times we become afraid, turning our attention back towards seeking Him.   ABBA - THE LORD.  Our I AM.  Bigger than any fear.

Friday, September 29, 2017

"Choosing Delight" - 09/29/17 - 2 Chronicles 15-18

 "And his heart took delight in the ways of The Lord." (17:6)

There are moments when His ways don't make sense.  When the results of our choices bring about consequences causing only pain.  There are moments when it seems the darkness about us will completely swallow us whole.

There are moments when we pick up doubt and feel He isn't "I AM".  Those are moments we need to remember, it isn't His intention to destroy us, it is His intention to save us.

Why else would He sacrifice His only Son for us.

From the mouths of some I have heard our God must not be a Loving God to allow the bad to happen in our journeys here on earth.  I feel we have no idea how "bad" things could be, if it wasn't for His intervention.  His protection.

Those are the times we need to stand firm "in" Him.  Those are the times we need to have Faith in His ways.  For only He knows the whole paradigm.

I have lived a life without Him and am amazed I stumbled through the valleys of quicksand and tar pits trying to suck me down into the belly of hell.  I know now looking back, I survived only because of His great Love. 

There are moments when it is quite easy to rejoice and delight in His ways.  To celebrate the answers of prayers when the blessings feel as though they will drown us. 

Those are the times we need to tuck away into our hearts to gain strength from.  Those are the times we need to utilize in getting through those not so great moments. 

How thankful I am knowing, without doubt, as the storms of life swirl about us each and every moment.  Not one is left to "chance".  Our ABBA is in complete control.
No matter the outcome.

Our lives here aren't what He intended when He created the world and "us".  Throughout the all of Scripture, we read how He gave "us", yet another opportunity.  The Garden of Eden was a place without sin, until both Adam and Eve made the choice to disobey.  How easily The Lord could have destroyed them then.  But He gave "us", yet another opportunity.  He gave "us", yet another opportunity, in having Noah build an ark and be in it.  Over and over, throughout His Word, we read accounts in which He has given "us" yet another opportunity.

He gave "us", yet another opportunity, through the death and resurrection of our Savior.

Through our Savior we are given the gift of Grace and Mercy.  This doesn't mean we have the freedom to blatantly sin, it means we are covered when we do.  And we will. 

We are all given the free choice to obey or not obey His Will.  To accept or not accept the gift of His Son.  Freedom to be His or not to be His. 

As long as there is breath within us, as long as it is before the final days, we have been given, yet another opportunity.  An opportunity to be redeemed from when we have provoked The LORD to anger.

 An opportunity I pray all will take before they can't.  Delighting to be His as He delights in being ours.  Bringing about "true delightment in The Ways of The Lord."