Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"No Games" - 01/31/17 - Exodus 39-40

 "They stayed in camp, obedient to God’s command, as long as The Cloud was over The Dwelling, but the moment God issued orders they marched.
If The Cloud stayed only from sunset to daybreak and then lifted at daybreak, they marched.
Night or day, it made no difference—when The Cloud lifted, they marched. I
t made no difference whether The Cloud hovered over The Dwelling for two days or a month or a year, as long as The Cloud was there, t
hey were there.
And when The Cloud went up, they got up and marched.
They camped at God’s command and they marched at God’s command.
They lived obediently by God’s orders as delivered by Moses." (39:20-23)
Remember the game of "Simon Says"? Only if putting "Simon Says" at the end of the command were you to move. Otherwise, if you did move, you were out of the game. Sometimes though, "Simon" would cheat and claim he did or didn't say "Simon Says". Then it became a game of confusion and dissolved into arguing, hurt feelings - division. 

 During our time on this earth, there are so many things which come up that do not seem fair. Causing drama - hurt feelings - division. These are the times we need to focus on His face in trust and faith.  Remembering He is The One in control. satan is only trying to bully or sneak his way into the leadership role so we will follow his instructions.  he doesn't want any winners for God. To him it is a game and his whole goal is destruction.

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

Because our ABBA.  He loves us that much.

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

Because our ABBA.  He loves us that much.

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

How at the ready are we to march? Do we become so comfortable when He has us stay put for awhile, we lose focus and are not "at the ready". Is our heart so in tune in Him we are seeing every opportunity He places before us to be a disciple? While we are "staying", are we continually preparing to march? Or do we just sit back and enjoy our comfort zone taking our focus off of His face? 
We need to be fortifying ourselves at all times in His Word, for the spiritual war about us will not cease until our Savior comes again. The times when we go through the trials and tribulations of life, we need to remember that we are hopeless in ourselves. It is only through and in Him we make it out on the other side.   
For always and through all ways, we are able to lay hold of our Daddy. Our Daddy who is mighty and whose faithfulness surrounds Him.  We live knowing, without doubt, He is working out His purpose, a far greater purpose, than any one of us can conceive. If we will only keep our focus on Him and not "self", we will see His glory in all situations.

Regardless of if we are staying or marching, our lives are not a game to Him; our lives have an eternal purpose He is working out for our good and His glory.

Our ABBA.  Our Daddy.
One who doesn't play games.
Who doesn't lie, or cheat, or play favorites with His children.
A Daddy wanting each and every one of us to be His eternal winners.

Monday, January 30, 2017

"The Wonderment of His Colors" - 01/30/17 - Exodus 36-38

01/30/17 - Exodus 36-38

"The Wonderment of Him"

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

God told Moses exactly what materials and colors to use in the building of the tabernacle. Only the best and finest. His Word, His nature, His creations, His people, all tell me how much He loves color. It amazes me how He utilizes all the same "equipment" in the art of creating. Yet out of the vast numbers of His Creations, no two people, animals, things are exactly alike.

Our Abba is a God of color, joy, love, laughter - celebration.
Our Abba - how He gives us such treasures for the all of our senses.

"Face To Face" - 01/29/17 - Exodus 33-35

"God continued, "But you may not see My face. No one can see Me and live." God said, "Look, here is a place right beside Me. Put yourself on this rock. When My Glory passes by, I'll put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I've passed by.              

Then I'll take My hand away and you'll see My back. But you won't see My face." (33:20-23)

All today these verses have struck my heart. 
How much it pained Moses to watch the back of our ABBA as He passed by.  Yearning, desiring to see Him face to face. 
How much it had to of pained our ABBA even more.  For what an ABBA we have.  One who loves us so.  One who created us to be with Him.  One who more than we are able to comprehend, yearns and desires with the all of Himself to be with us. 

I think about how it was in the garden with Adam and Eve.  They spent time together with God.  Face to face.  Adam and Eve were without sin.  Until the apple...........

I think about how it had to have broken our ABBA's heart.  Not being able to be together face to face any longer.  Knowing if they were, they would die because He is Holy.  
When we are not able to be with our loved ones.  Even if the separation causes us an actual pain in our heart.  It is only an inkling of how very much our ABBA yearns to be with us/  Face to face. 

But because of sin.  Because of sin He gave us His Son.  Because of sin.  He gave us The Holy Spirit as our companion and Helper.  Because of sin. He gave us The Word as our own Personal Love Letter. Because of sin.  He gave us the blessing of being a part of His Family.

I think about this conversation between He and Moses and am pretty sure He wanted more than even Moses did to have face to face time. 

I think about how He shines through His family here on this earth and how He loves us through them.  I think about how I can see Him in the faces of those who live life with and for Him. 
And my heart smiles.

I think about how there aren't any words to adequately describe how
it will be one day in Heaven where we will be sharing eternity with Him. 
And I smile knowing.  Those we do share face to face time here.  They are all a Taste of Heaven.
A preview of our family.  Spending face to face time with Him.  Eternally.   


Saturday, January 28, 2017

"We - His Beautiful" - 01/28/17 - Exodus 30-32

"When the people realized that Moses was taking forever in coming down off the mountain, they rallied around Aaron and said, “Do something. Make gods for us who will lead us. That Moses, the man who got us out of Egypt—who knows what’s happened to him?”So Aaron told them, “Take off the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters and bring them to me.” They all did it; they removed the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from their hands and cast it in the form of a calf, shaping it with an engraving tool.
The people responded with enthusiasm: “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from Egypt!”
Aaron, taking in the situation, built an altar before the calf.
Aaron then announced, “Tomorrow is a feast day to God!”"32:1-5)

Isn't this the same group of people who just a few days ago were shaking in their sandals at the bottom the mountain. 

"All the people, experiencing the thunder and lightning, the trumpet blast and the smoking mountain, were afraid—they pulled back and stood at a distance. They said to Moses, “You speak to us and we’ll listen, but don’t have God speak to us or we’ll die.”
Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. God has come to test you and instill a deep and reverent awe within you so that you won’t sin.”
The people kept their distance while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was."(20:18-21)

Blatantly sinning, right there in plain sight of Him.  Could they not see the cloud of God anymore?  Or were they choosing to ignore it?

Much like I do when I make the choice to sin. 

Right there, in plain sight of God. 

Rather bold, aren't I.  Or just plain stupid and selfish.

The thing is - when I am focused on His face, everywhere I look - I see Him. 
In His nature, His people, even the things He has enabled man to create. 

My mind is always running from one thought to another. 

While baking a cake, I am astounded at all the different recipes that are created from the same basic ingredients.  And who thought to put these different mixtures together.  Working outside I think about the people who walked before me.  How the landscape has changed.  Wondering what things they saw and experienced.  What caused them to come to this place or to leave.  I think about the people He has caused my paths to cross with and wonder who my ancestors paths crossed to help make me who I am today from ideas, prayers, thoughts handed down. 

I simply marvel about Him. 
I am amazed over and over that before He created the world - He knew. 

He. knew.

Everything there is to know about me.  About you. 

Where, who, when. 

Every. single. thing.

Inside and out.

And then.
Right there in front of Him, my focus is caught up by "self" or the world. 
I turn from simply marveling about Him to complaining. 
It becomes more about "my" time, "my" way - about "self".  

It is like those moments when we exit from the shower, wipe the mirror with our towel, and some of us see only ugly in the reflection. We don't simply marvel in the creation of "me". We only cut it down, believing the lies of the world of what we "should" look like - we begin the process of tearing "me" apart - one sinful lie at a time. 

How often are we, right there in front of Him,  guilty of worshiping "the golden calf" - the lies of "self" and satan. 

How often do we forget in our sinning, He is everywhere.  Always.  

We have moved our focus from Him and are now standing with the mud of sin on our face.
But if we listen, we will hear His voice,
"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well."(139:14)

We then begin to hear His other promises, His truths, and once again focus on His face."

As we look back into the mirror, with His Words (not ours) running through our mind, thoughts go forth in seeing how He created such a miracle in the human body.  The precise way in how everything fits and works in perfect harmony.  How all the parts are needed to complete the cycle of living.  He even designed us with a touch of His humor.  Look at the little toes, the belly button, and why did He make toenails???

Time and time again, He uses His Word to get us refocused on Him. 

His Word. 
Our vision of God in the thick cloud covering the mountain top Moses climbed and stayed for 40 days and nights. 
High above and all about in order for us to be able to see Him everywhere we go. 
Enabling us to learn how in Him we are covered in the beautiful gifts of His forgiveness, grace and mercy.  How He has wiped the mud of sin from our face.
Eyes opened wide simply marveling at the beauty of Him all about us.  Even when we are looking in the mirror. 


Friday, January 27, 2017

"He Threw His Blood" - 01/27/17 - Exodus 28-29

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because He loves you.
Because He loves me. 
Because He loves us all.

His one time sacrifice is enough.
No greater love.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Constant Provider" - 01/26/17 - Exodus 25-27

"over that a covering of dolphin skins" (26:14)

Throughout the years, this part of materials commanded has always caught my eye. 

Dolphin skins - in the desert? 

Here is what I have discovered:

The Israelites had just come out of slavery - not a position that attained much wealth - certainly not the amount God called for to build the Tabernacle.  Here is just a few - Gold - 2800 lbs (not ounces, but pounds) -  “Use a seventy-five-pound brick of pure gold to make the Lamp stand and its accessories."  Silver - 9600 lbs, Bronze - 6700 lbs. 

The Israelites would have carried a lot of the materials for the Tabernacle out with them from Egypt.  Not an easy task I would think.  We know that Moses commanded the people of Israel to ask the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelery and for clothing. These were given to the Israelites in large enough quantities for the Exodus record to state that they plundered the Egyptians. 

"The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing.  And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians." (Ex 12:35-36)

The covering was made from either badger or seal/dolphin skin (there is some uncertainty as to the correct translation from Hebrew). But there is no uncertainty as to its function: this covering formed a thick, protective, weatherproof layer over the Tabernacle. No amount of baking heat from the sun or wind-driven sand-storms or rain could disturb the treasure contained within the Tabernacle, thanks to this covering.

So whether all these goods were brought from Egypt or whether some things were gathered along the way, we cannot really tell.  If the covering was porpoises, I found that they were very common at that time in the Mediterranean sea and actually swam up the Nile river quite a ways. They were harvested by the Egyptians and their skins used quite extensively for shoes and other leather garments. They say that it is a very soft supple skin similar to eel skin. From what I read about it they were considered a rather luxurious item, but were still fairly common in Egypt.

Also, even though the people of Israel were in the wilderness, if you check a map of possible routes, they were often not far away from the Red Sea, especially if Mt Sinai/Horeb was east of the gulf of Aquaba.  Here is an interesting comment from Easton's Bible Dictionary:

"The dugong, very plentiful in the shallow waters on the shores of the Red Sea, is a marine animal from 12 to 30 feet long, something between a whale and a seal, never leaving the water, but very easily caught."

The Israelites could conceivably have sent hunting parties out to get the porpoise/dugong/sea cow skins, although nothing is mentioned about it, these items for the Tabernacle were donated by those with a willing heart. 

"And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord's contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments.  So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord.  And every one who possessed blue or purple or scarlet yarns or fine linen or goats' hair or tanned ram's skins or goatskins brought them" (Ex 35:21-23)

How awesome is this.  He provided them with all these riches and those with willing hearts, brought it back to Him.  To use for His glory.  The way it's supposed to be - even today.

He supplied what was needed for the Tabernacle in the middle of the desert.
He also supplies what is needed, as we walk in the desert here on our way Home.

I keep going back to the dolphin skins.  I think about their purpose - "to protect treasure contained within the Tabernacle from the elements".  If it were to rain, the water would run right off.  During sand storms, it didn't get torn apart, it was a solid shield.  The heat would have been reflected off.  The skins would have saved what it covered.

Dolphin skins - Protecting treasure contained within the Tabernacle. 

Dolphin skins = Our Shield of Protection.  The Holy Spirit.  Christ Blood.  His Word.  Our ABBA.  Protecting treasure = His treasure which is us.   
Contained within The Tabernacle = He resides within each one of His.

Even the study of dolphin skins is a reflection of Him. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Sabbath Is Essential" - 01/25/17 - Exodus 22-24

"Work for six days and rest the seventh so your ox and donkey may rest and your servant and migrant workers may have time to get their needed rest."(Exodus 23:12)

 A few years ago, Nichalas taught me of the importance of taking time for Sabbath. He was so right. Our society has come so far away from taking a Sabbath.

The Sabbath isn't about a day - it is taking time to rest daily "in" Him - "in" His Word.

It is a time to worship.  It is a time for the adoration and praise of God.  A time to pray.

Too busy, too selfish, too "self". Everything worldly points to hurry up, just do it, fill every minute up with work, school, activities, etc. Just go, go, go. And satan loves that.

And the more "busy" we become, the less "Sabbathing" we do.

 Too fast, too soon is the speed of life. Before we know it we are looking back and realizing we are past middle age. Less time ahead of us than behind.
How much of that living was spent "Sabbathing"?

We are told to pray without ceasing. Do we? For the past 18 years I have tried to Sabbath each morning "in"  Him. The heart transformation experienced through being in His Word every day is mind blowing. It has helped me so much in not being as anxious, to let go of "my" schedule and follow Him. To see that all does work out.

Whenever I see someone who is on constant go, looking anxious, tired, frazzled, I just want to shout, "Stop - Sabbath In Him".

I know it doesn't make sense, so much about Him doesn't.

 That is where the faith, trust, and focus come in as our tools. Amazing how when we spend a block of time resting "in" Sabbath with Him each  day, it begins. The peace and joy. The Fruits of The Spirit take hold and rule our lives. Priorities change. Things are accomplished. We become blessed with a structured life.  Even in the middle of this chaotic world.
And I find the world looks on in wonder, because it really should not work that way. Taking time to Sabbath In Him should put us behind and it only puts us ahead.

 We have to Sabbath.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"Only Him" - 01/24/17 - Exodus 19-21

 "No other gods, only Me."(20:3)

His laws.
Many, many times I have broken them.

 Each and every moment is a constant fight not to break this one. Through my study of His Word, I have come to the conclusion there are only two gods we elect to follow in this life.

Him - the great "I AM" or me - self.

Our serving of "self" leads to the worship of all other things that we put before Him. All the things that will create a distance from Him each time we put "self" first. And our ABBA isn't the one who is moving away. 

We become consumed with pleasing "self" - not Him. "self" is the main focus. Life gradually becomes totally about "self".

 And in doing that - life really will fall apart.
We are not God - we can not hold it all together.
We will/do fail. "self" is not God.
Each time I fail,  I am so thankful He knows my heart better than even I do.
That He knows how much I yearn to please Him.
That He knows, regardless of the times I fail, I am a woman after His own heart.

 How thankful I am that The Holy Spirit interceeds for me - speaks for me - conveys for me when "self" gets in the way. 

It is only when He is our only God - life is right. Even when we have to endure the "fall out" of sin - life is right. It may not make sense at times, but He is in control. He is The One who holds it all together. All of it, not just our little world.

 He does not fail - He is I AM.

I shall always be thankful to be living on this side of Christ and know He is The ultimate sacrifice. No other is needed. I shall always be thankful to be living under His grace and mercy. No animal sacrifice provided that. I am so thankful for the forgiveness He has given me for past sins and those I will commit. For I will - I am human. Only He was perfect, without sin. Only He could be our ultimate sacrifice.

As I read the punishment for breaking His laws, I came away thinking there would be so much less crime if we had of stuck to His punishments.  And again, I am so thankful I live on this side of Christ. There had to be a great amount of fear as they lived each day, knowing they would break a law.  We are so blessed, because of Christ, we are welcome to crawl up into the lap of our Abba's and be close to Him. Even when we break rules.  There is such peace knowing we live in the security that in Christ we are covered.  This doesn't give me the feelings of wanting to break the rules because I am free, only motivating me to try and please Him because of His great Love.

The rules were set because of His great Love for us and how they would be needed.  He knew how much we as humans would/do fail. Without rules life would have no order. So even though we can not keep every rule, we do need to learn to live our lives accordingly. To have structure. To be more Christlike in all of our thoughts and actions.

Time after time He has proven.
He is to be our only God. 
His plans. His way. His rules. They are what works. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

"He Pours Out His LOVE" - 01/23/17 - Exodus 16-18

"And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill.  It turned out that whenever Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning.  But Moses' hands got tired. So they got a stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down."  (17:1012)

"This is way too much for you - you can't do this alone."(18:18)    

Work was finally done and I smiled as I pulled the truck and trailer into the drive, seeing my sister's car parked in the drive.  Coming into the house I discovered she was surprising me with the gift of clean windows.  It was her day off and she was washing my windows, because they desperately needed it and she knew I hadn't the time. 
Even though it has been a couple of months, I still marvel at the outside coming in through the clean glass.  I smile seeing the little handprints of our Charlie and Ella.  Handprints which wouldn't have shown up before she cleaned them. How blessed and grateful I am by her beautiful gifts of LOVE.

"This is way too much for you - you can't do this alone."
His Word today affirmed once more - we can not do life all alone.
How much I love having relationship with others who know they are always welcome into my life at any time.  any moment.  For spending time of just connecting.  laughing.  venting.  sharing.  and talking about our ABBA. 
I will carry in my treasures, seeing the inside out beauty of so many loved ones He surrounds me with. Those in my life who cover me with prayer.  with encouragement.  with accountability.  with bright eyes.  with hugs.  with love.  Those in my life whom I see Christ shining through and am honored, blessed they have chosen to share life with me, even if only for a season. 

I love the strangers He puts into my life, even for just a moment, revealing to us we are siblings through our Christ. I love the gift of meeting my Divine Appointments and recognizing the gift of LOVE our ABBA is sending through yet another.  

So many moments I am blown away when He opens my eyes to The LOVE pouring out from Him through those who let me know - I am not alone. 

We need each other - to share life and all that comes with it.  Our ABBA designed us to need, interact with each other, but most of all -  we were made with the need of Him.
How much I love belonging to our ABBA and His Family. 
Such a gift of LOVE to share with one another.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

"Each And Every One Of Us" - 01/22/17 - Exodus 13-15

"Moses stretched his hand out over the sea: As the day broke and the Egyptians were running, the sea returned to its place as before. God dumped the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. The waters returned, drowning the chariots and riders of Pharaoh’s army that had chased after Israel into the sea. Not one of them survived." (14:27-28)

There was a party going on with the Israelites after they made it through the Red Sea.  After they walked through on dry land, walls of water on both sides, 600,000 men on foot besides women and children (Exodus 12:37), they turned and saw the Egyptians - dead - washed up on the shore. 

All of them were dead.  No survivors.

And the party began.

The Israelites were in awe of God.  Raising their voices up in a song of praise.  Moving their feet and bodies in a dance of worship. 

And what about God. 
"Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness" (Genesis 1:26)

This didn't apply to just Adam and Eve. He made all of man "in Our image" - In His image.

 We worship a God of Love. 
A God who is pure and Holy.
A God who created each and every one of us.   

Including the Egyptians.

Each and every one of us are whom He desires to be called His own.  Each and every one of us have been  created because He desires all to be with Him.  Eternally. 

God didn't create any of us - not one - to perish. 

But, because of free choice - many have and will. 

How many times do I get caught up in being a survivor and not remembering the lost? How often do I not see those who are out to sea, drowning?  And if I do see them - "desire" to help them to Him? How often do I look at the lost as not being in His image and write them off - dehumanize them...... 

I think about how God used the Egyptians for His glory and how it had to have ripped His heart out.  Knowing when they drowned, their last breath was also their last chance to turn to Him. 

It is because of how He has shared Himself with us through His Word we are able to picture how torn He was.
Yes, He was rejoicing with the Israelites in their worship of Him.
And at the same time.
Our ABBA wept over those who lay dead on the seashore.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

"Where Is Your Heart" - 01/21/17 - Exodus 10-12


said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s not going to listen to a thing you say so that the signs of My presence and work are going to multiply in the land of Egypt."  
 Moses and Aaron had performed all these signs in Pharaoh’s presence, but God turned Pharaoh more stubborn than ever—yet again he refused to release the Israelites from his land." (11:9-10)

God gave us free choice from the very beginning.

Adam and Eve - free choice..........Can you say, "apples".

Have you ever wondered how horrible it would be to have a heart God would harden even more for His glory.  To be in a place where you have totally taken your free choice and decided God isn't for you.  To shut the door and throw away the key. Forever separated from Him.

 Just as He knows the heart of everyone, our ABBA knew Pharaoh's heart.  Better than even each of us do or Pharaoh did.  He knew Pharaoh was never going to come and submit to Him no matter how many plagues he went through. 

Pharaoh had a heart that was evil. 
He was of no good. 
Pharaoh made his free choice.
And as He does with everything,  our ABBA used it for His Glory.

Looking about today we see so many persons running rampant in the world spreading evil.  At times we may wonder where God is, why is this happening. 

We may even begin to doubt.
Doubt that He is in total control. 
Particularly while on this earth living with the consequences of our, and others, free choice.  And there are times when it isn't pretty. 

I think about the persons in The Bible who were of an evil heart.  Pharaoh.  Judas.  Jezebel.  Quite a few actually.  But, the most important thing about those with an evil heart - as long as they were breathing - they could make the free choice and repent.  For as long as there is a breath, there is hope to turn to our Savior and ABBA will take them.  
Even someone such as Judas who betrayed our Christ.

Also in The Bible and all about us, there are many who repented and turned their hearts to Him.  We have such hope in knowing unconditional Love is what ABBA is all about.  He doesn't want puppets or robots.  He wants us as we are created  - in His image.  He wants us to make the choice to love Him.  He desires us.  Not just wants, but "desires" each one with everything He is.

It is our free choice to what kind of heart He will be using for His glory. 

A heart that is in Him or out of Him. 
It is black and white - not gray.  There isn't any "sitting on the fence".  Our ABBA is Holy and can not be in the presence of sin.  It is only when we are "in" Christ, then we are made pure and Holy and able to be with Him.

It is our free choice.

Friday, January 20, 2017

"Amidst The Spiritual Warfare" - 01/20/17 - Exodus 7-9

"Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house. 
With no concern even for this."(7:23)


How it will and does harden our heart.

How it will and does entice one to turn and walk away from ABBA.

How it will and does change our lives so we haven't any concern for that which involves our ABBA.  His people.  His will.

We are in the middle of spiritual warfare.  Spiritual warfare for your soul. 

Each and every moment we live making a choice. 
To follow our ABBA or to follow "self".

Each and every moment will entail our feet to turn and follow Him or to turn away with no concern.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"Out From Under" - 01/19/17 - Exodus 4-6

"Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am The LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians."(6:7)

When we are under the burdens, it is sometimes hard to focus on anything but that. 
When sometimes, our focus turns away from our ABBA.

I think about the lighthouse.  Standing firm.  Foundation running deep as it withstands the battering of the storm. 

I think about the great ship.  Plowing its way through the storm.  Held together with a wing and a prayer.

I think about the dark horizon.  The black clouds gathering and rushing towards where you stand.  And then to be carried away from you by His great winds. 

Sometimes, we need to stand firm.  plow through.  And sometimes, He allows the storms to pass around us. 

But always.  We need to remember He - The Lord our God - has brought us out from under the burdens. 
He has set us - His people -  free. 
To one day reside with Him in Heaven. 
Our Home where there are no storms.  There aren't any burdens. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Stop. Look. Listen" - 01/18/17 - Exodus 1-3

"God saw that he had stopped to look."(3:4)

As I studied this passage, He gave me a word picture.  I could see the burning bush on the side of the mountain, tucked a bit out of the way from where Moses was herding the sheep.  The flames had caught his eye, but the most important part of this  passage is, "he had stopped to look". 

And I was immediately hit in my heart, how often do I "stop to look"? 

Stop to look -  and see Him, in His Majesty, placed everywhere about me? 

Stop to look -  and then draw close to "stand on Holy Ground"? 

Stop to look - and quiet my mind, my mouth, so I may hear and take in His Words? 

How often do I miss His "Burning Bush", as I hurry through "my schedule".

ABBA had the burning bush planted in one spot.  He didn't have it leaping about the landscape, trying to stop Moses in his tracks.  And then I wonder if He would have resorted to this tactic, if Moses had continued on. 

I wonder how many "Burning Bushes" He has put before our steps, because we didn't stop? 

The "Burning Bushes" which are in reality, His "Divine Appointments".

I used to get upset because I couldn't cross off the items on "my" to do list because something (or someone) always came up and I had to switch off of the route "I" had planned out for the day.  Because of our line of work, winter is the best time to get caught up on the things I had put off during our busy seasons.  Each year, I look forward to going through our home, reorganizing and purging, getting rid of "stuff" that is taking up spaces, not only in our closets, but in my life.  ABBA has become so much of my "I Am", I am finding I no longer need "stuff" to fill the voids in my life. 

No longer am I placing my worth in accumulations.  No longer am I allowing the "stuff" in life to run my life.  It isn't that our home looks like a total mess, I am just becoming more and more convicted to simplify my life. 
He has shown me throughout the years, many times over, life is fleeting.  He is changing my heart to live as though my next breath could be my last and I am striving to get our home, the business, shop, in order, so when my last breath does happen (and it will), Curt, Adam and Ashley, Nichalas and Amber, Charlie, Ella and any others He puts into our family, are able to focus on each other - not the stuff. 

So, like Moses, instead of sheep, I am herding "stuff" out the door.  I am enjoying the cleaning out the dust, creating bare spaces on the shelves, empty drawers, and loving it.  It is so refreshing and comes with the blessing of freedom. He motivates me to utilize the free time He does give me, to be a better steward in the ridding of stuff.  

Yes, we are to be a good steward of our stuff but we are not to let it become more important than the "Burning Bush" He has tucked away, or put into the middle of our path.   Interruptions come and I have learned they are His "Divine Appointments".  Each day I now am excited to see what He has lined up for "our" day. 

But, it isn't just about the physical aspect of our lives either.  He places  the "Burning Bush" in our soul, our mind, our heart, as well.  It is so easy to get into our comfort zone, our routine, and easily miss out or even ignore the "Burning Bush". 
The "Burning Bush" surrounded by Holy Ground. 
The place where He wants us to be barefoot and totally focused on Him. 
The place where He is our "I AM". 

The place where we need to live.. 

It is only by living in the presence of His Burning Bush and rooted into His Word that we are able to become all He has designed each one of us to be.  It is there in His Holy Ground we learn His Truth.  Where our hearts are transformed. 

He will fill each of us with the opportunity to be at His "Burning Bush".
But it is up to us to stop.  look.  listen. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"And I Pray" - 01/17/17 - Genesis 48-50

"Then he blessed them: The God before whom walked my fathers Abraham and Isaac, The God who has been my Shepherd all my lifelong to this very day,
The Angel who delivered me from every evil, Bless the boys."(48:15-16)
In my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined what a roller coaster ride of emotions being a mom would be and is. 
I never imagined what it would be like to have a piece of your heart walking on the outside of you.  I never imagined being able to love someone so much it didn't seem possible you would love them even more within the next breath - but you do.  I never imagined the blessings of being a mom would be as wonderful as they are. 
And so blessed am I.
The moment I knew each child of ours was in my womb, I began praying for them to grow up into an intimacy with ABBA.  I began praying for their future mates at the same time.  My desire for our children and future grandchildren to know, truly know, what intimacy with ABBA is, has turned into my passion, for  Him to be the center of their lives.  For them to be filled with Him from the tips of their toes to the top of their heads.  I wanted for them to have what I didn't.  I wanted them to miss out on what it was like to walk apart from ABBA.
I watch and listen as I hear others speak of our Adam.  From his leading a Bible study to leading his new family.  I praise our ABBA in hearing how Adam dug into His Word and spoke from his heart.  How his and Ashley's love for ABBA is evident.  How He is the center of them.  My heart delights knowing he and Ashley are training up our Charlie and Ella "in" Him.  I love to see the working of ABBA about and around those in his life.  How ABBA is using this quiet young man as a strong warrior.  ABBA reminds me when thinking about Adam - still waters run deep.
I have often listened to our Nichalas sharing about his day.  The students.  Events.  My heart swells with gladness as the passion comes through his words as he tells of how ABBA is using him to touch lives.  Who other than he and Amber, don't see Christ anywhere.  I prayed thanks in hearing and knowing our ABBA is using both of them where they are planted.  Knowing there are persons who ABBA needs to use them for His Glory so helps ease the selfishness and pain I feel in wanting them to be here sharing day to day living.
I praise our ABBA seeing our grandchildren are being raised up in knowing Him.  How much I delight watching their faces light up as they share what they have learned in Sunday School about our ABBA or talking about Him as we go about our days.  I praise Him, knowing He will be using us and future generations to bring others to Him.  I thank Him for surrounding them with His hedge of protection.  I thank Him for hearing and answering my prayers. 
How very blessed I am in the honor of seeing and enjoying these fruits of my prayers knowing we are a part of our ABBA.  Knowing He isn't a far off God, but one who shares intimately the living of life with each one of us.  Knowing it is only because of Him.
How Awesome is our Lord.

Monday, January 16, 2017

"Our Place" - 01/16/17 - Genesis 46-47

"Joseph settled his father and brothers in Egypt, made them proud owners of choice land."(47:11)

After all his brothers had done to him.
Joseph settled them on choice land, provided everything for them and then handed over the keys.  They became proud owners.  Not tenants.  Owners.

This is such a fantastic account of forgiveness. 
There isn't a record of what their conversations were leading up to this moment, but I assume there was a change in the brothers hearts towards Joseph. 
Regardless their hearts motives, Joseph was Christlike in his actions.
His Word, The Holy Spirit, transforms our hearts.  Each moment I desire to please and draw near to my ABBA.  Striving to be Christlike in all of my words, actions, and thoughts.  
And yet, still I fail.
We all have, and will, betray Christ over and over. 
And Christ - the moment we give ourselves to Him. 
He gives us forgiveness for all of our sins - yesterday, today, tomorrow. 
He covers us in His grace and mercy.
He didn't have to.  But He did.

And still, after all we have done, will do, in our journey - the sins - He has settled each one of His "in His Land". 

Not as a tenant, but as an owner. 
Amazing how He is unconditionally, head over heels in Love with us.  Isn't it. 


Sunday, January 15, 2017

"Letting Go For The Best" - 01/15/17 - Genesis 43-45

 "And now, can't you see that if I show up before your servant, my father, without the boy,
this son with whom his life is so bound up,
the moment he realizes the boy is gone, he'll die on the spot".(44:30)
"Don't worry about having to leave things behind; the best in all of Egypt will be yours.'"(45:20)

Whenever I have read this account of the reunion of Joseph and his brothers, I always wondered, "why all the tests".  It finally dawned on me one day, the testing was to bring about trust.  to bring about forgiveness.  to bring about faith.

 Joseph's brothers had never fessed up to their act in getting rid of him and believed what they had done was coming back to haunt them.  But Joseph had total faith in his ABBA, knowing all the trials he had went through were so he could be used by God.  He had totally forgiven his brothers.  Now they needed to forgive themselves. 

Jacob's blatant favoritism brought about the treatment and feelings Joseph's brothers held towards him. And when Joseph was gone, his favoritism went to his youngest son, Benjamin. 
He became Jacob's whole life.  

The giving up of Benjamin.
It saved the whole family from a sure death during the famine.

How often do we look at the trials and tribulations in life and wonder why. 
become angry. 
hold on even tighter to who or what we love most in life. 
love more than God. 

ABBA doesn't allow the trials because He hates.  His Love for us is so great, He wants only the best for us. 

And always the best for us is to love Him first and foremost.  There are times when the  best for us isn't always what we believe it to be, because we are unable to see the whole paradigm.  This is where trust comes in.  To let go and trust ABBA in all He has planned for us.  Forgiving ourselves and others for the times we sin or are sinned against.  To let go and let Him as we step out in faith, without any baggage pulling us down.

 Knowing one day we will have it all.  Not here on earth, but with Him.  Eternally. 
His best.  The very best.  is yet to come. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

"Trusting Our ABBA" - 01/14/17 - Genesis 41-42

"Joseph answered, “Not I, but God." (41:16)

Joseph is such an example of being Christlike - for every recorded action towards him, he reacted in a kind way. 

Even to God. 

He had such an air of trusting God about him, I wonder if there was ever a point in his life when he became angry and shook his fist at God?  
After sharing his first dream to his family, and they got angry, he then shared the second dream he had.  I think I would have kept my mouth shut after the first one.  He is in a high position under Potiphar and then after being chased by Potiphar's wife, she accuses him of trying to rape her.  Scripture doesn't record if he tried to defend himself, or if he was allowed to.  Regardless, he ended up in jail.  He is then made in charge of the prison by the head jailer. 

Even in low places, God put Joseph in a position of authority.

And finally after two years, he was brought before Pharaoh. 
There had to be something about Joseph that stood out and caused Pharaoh to entrust Joseph (a foreigner) with the power he gave him.  Joseph was second in command.  He came right after Pharaoh in the ranks.  I wonder if Potiphar was a little concerned?  After all, he was one of Pharaoh’s officials and the manager of his household.  Did Potiphar's wife have fear running through her veins?  They all had to have realized  there was something different about Joseph. 

Different in how he allowed God to shine through him and gave God all the glory. 

Because of how Joseph forgave his brothers, I am able to think Joseph probably forgave Potiphar and his wife.  Along with being a person of integrity and loving, he was humble.  He gave God The Glory for his abilities.  He wasn't concerned about a pat on the back.  I don't know what the proper procedure was for the speaking of different ranks, etc., but the head jailer had to have some connections.  Did Joseph ever try to get out for good behavior?  for knowing the dreams of the cup bearer/baker?  Was he waiting on God's time?

So much to glean from Joseph. 

How many moments do we grow angry and shake our fist, when things don't go our way or life is unfair?  How many times do we get wrapped up in patting ourselves on the back, or having others praise us?  Not giving The Glory to Him? 

Joseph never took his focus off of God.  No matter where he was or the situation he was in. 
Always - God came first. 

He had the opportunity to brag on himself, he could have held on to anger and bitterness, after two years of sitting in prison.  And in reply to Pharaoh trying to give him the glory - he replied,

“Not I, but God."

"Then Pharaoh gave Joseph an Egyptian name, Zaphenath-Paneah (God Speaks and He Lives)." (41:45) 

Because of who Joseph was and the way he lived,  Pharaoh's given name for Joseph represented what he saw - "God speaks and is alive". 
What do people see when looking at us?  Do we live for Him and never lose focus of His face?  Do we make the most of all situations in trust and faith?  Do we give God The Glory? 

 "Joseph had two sons born to him before the years of famine came. Asenath, daughter of Potiphera the priest of On, was their mother. Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh (Forget), saying, “God made me forget all my hardships and my parental home.” He named his second son Ephraim (Double Prosperity), saying, “God has prospered me in the land of my sorrow.” (41:50-52)

He gave God The Glory in the name of his first son.  He was able to forget and move on.  In the name of the second son,  he gives thanks.  There, even in the land of his sorrow - God prospered him. 

God never left him - as He never leaves us. 

Do we strive to follow the example of Joseph in all of our steps?


Friday, January 13, 2017

"Mess Ups" - 01/13/17 - Genesis 38-40

"So she named him Perez (Breakout)." (38:29)
Judah.  One of Jacob's sons.

I love how ABBA's Word encourages us.  How at times we have to read "the rest of the story", to see how Majestic He is.  To see how at all times, He is in control and uses all things for His Glory. 

The focus in the accounts of Jacob's sons is mainly on Joseph.  When we read of the great things God used Joseph to do, who represented Christ in being used to save the Israelites linage, it would be him whom we think would be one of "the ones" in the lineage of our Savior. 

Not Judah.

"So Judah stepped in and told his daughter-in-law Tamar, "Live as a widow at home with your father until my son Shelah grows up." (38:11)

"Judah saw her and assumed she was a prostitute since she had veiled her face. He left the road and went over to her. He said, "Let me sleep with you." He had no idea that she was his daughter-in-law." (38:15-16)

And yet it is Judah whom God used. 
He used one of the twins "Perez", fathered by Judah with Tamar. 

"Perez" - which means "breakout". 
Perez was "one of the ones".  

Throughout the lineage of our Savior are ones who messed things up.

Our Savior. 
Who has rescued us from the encasement of our sins.  Our own personal "Breakout". When we screw everything up, God comes along and breaks us out.  How God continually uses persons, who continually mess up, throughout time, for His glory.  To be a Vessel for Him. 
Only God could do that. 
Take something we have completely messed up and turn it around, rebuild it, fix it - so it is completely right.  
The one who is completely in control. 
The one who is our hope. 
Our "breakout" from the chains of sin. 
He really is beyond Awesome. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

"Through The Ugliness" - 01/12/17 - Genesis 35-37

"Judah said, “Brothers, what are we going to get out of killing our brother and concealing the evidence? Let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let’s not kill him—he is, after all, our brother, our own flesh and blood.”  (Gen 37:26-27)

His Word. 

There isn't one word that is there by accident. 

Each and every Word is God-inspired, God breathed. 

It isn't by chance that in the middle of the account of Joseph growing up to being in jail - there is a section of Judah's life. 

Joseph is the continuing history of the Israelites - the account of Judah brings us back to the Savior - our Savior - my Savior.  Both accounts of Joseph and Judah show us how humans bring mess into God's plan  - again.  How favoritism continues to breed jealousy, division, evil in the family.  It brings back to mind "God spoke to Cain: “Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.” (Gen 4:6-7)

Life 101 - It is unfair. 

There are times we do our best and still get the shaft, which is why it is essential to keep our eyes focused on His face, His ways.  To utilize His measuring stick, His Word.  To have faith that no matter what, He is in complete control and loves us more than anything. 

Remember - He gave His only Son - for you. 

We are "His" favorite.

If we don't live life having faith in His unconditional Love, we will live it in the opposite manner.  We will allow sin to pounce on us and get us.  It will "master us".  This is a struggle we will have as long as we live on this world.  A struggle we will fail to win at times. 

Thank The Lord for His grace and mercy!!!!

I find great hope in the life of Judah.  While researching Genesis 38, I read how Judah separated himself from his brothers to go and become a part of The Canaanites, descendants of Can the grandson of Noah. 

The religion of the Canaanite agriculturalists proved to be a strong attraction to the less sophisticated and nomadic-oriented Isreaelite tribes.  Many Isreaelists succumbed to the allurements of the fertility-laden rituals and practices of the Canaanite religion, partly because it was new and different from the yahwistic religion and, possible, because of a tendency of a rigorous faith and ethic to weaken under the influence of sexual attractions.  (Kind of sounds like the direction our world is going today.) 

As the Canaaanites and the Israelites began to live in closer contact with each other, the faith of Israel tended to absorb some of the concepts and practices of the Canaanite religion (another proof of how essential it is to walk In God and His Word).  Some Israelites began to name their children after the Baalim; even one of the judges, Gideon, as also known by the name Jerubbaal ("Let Baal Contend").

As the syncretistic tendencies became further entrenched in the Israelite faith, the people began to lose the concept of their exclusiveness and their mission to be a witness to the nations, thus becoming weakened in resolve internally and liable to the oppression of other peoples".  (This hits so close to home and "how is my walk", "am I an oppression"?)

Where is there a great hope in the life of Judah? 

Because, God took from this lineage and brought from it our perfect Christ.  

When you trace back Christ lineage, you find those who allowed sin to master them.  The persons listed in this family tree are not perfect - they lived and absorbed the ways of the "Canaanites of the world".  

Just as I have and do and will.  

Being a child of God, I now belong to His Family through our Christ.  My part of the family tree isn't perfect, beautiful - it's really a branch when looked upon which really should be cut off.  And that is where my awesome Daddy comes in.  He takes what is rotten - the bad and the ugly and creates good from it.  Just as He did with the life and choices of Judah - and all the others in Christ lineage. 

I sit here looking out the window at the barberry bush. 

It is very ugly right now without leaves, full of little thorns - much like the ugly cross and the thorns they put on His head.  But it is full of life.  

Within the branches there is constant movement from the little birds that are feeding off of it.  I see them all puffed up, moving from branch to branch.  Even when the bush looks completely dead in its dormant stage, they are given food from it to continue living so they may bring forth new life this spring. 

As He did when it was thought all was lost, when Christ died on the cross.  

Even the little birds know to come to the bush, their feathers protecting them from the thorns.  It amazes me how their little bodies keep from freezing in this weather.  Are we drawn to The Cross, to Him, in the same way? 

It brings to mind how He loves us so much more than the birds.  How He provides and takes care of each one of us.  How He has given us protection from the cold and thorns of life.  He has given us His Word to keep from becoming a part of the "Canaanite world" we live in.  He has given us the promise of eternal life with Him.

I stand amazed how He has taken my "Judah like steps" to become the "steps of being Christlike".  How He prevails.  How even through the bad, the ugly - comes God.  

I stand amazed in the miracle of His taking the ugliness of The Cross and gave us Beautiful.