Friday, July 31, 2015

"He Transforms" - 07/31/15 - Isaiah 64-66

"So will your children
and your reputation stand firm." (Isaiah 66:23)

Do you ever wonder what people think about you?  Not in a way that consumes you - causes you to live your life as someone else "thinks" you should, but your reputation? 

When I was younger, I wasn't a Christian and I lived the way of the world.  Coming from a small town - everyone pretty much knew your business.  If they didn't, they made it up and said they of the reasons I enjoy Quincy.  It is big enough you don't know everyone - small enough to feel homey. 

My past has sometimes caused me to squirm in discomfort, embarrassment, etc. when running across someone from my yesterdays.  I imagine there may be a few eyebrows raised when persons find out I walk with Him.  My past used to cause me to avoid certain places, afraid I'd see someone who knew the "old" me. 

Because of Him - today - I really don't care.  I care more about Him shinning through me and touching those He puts into my path.  My "Divine Appointments". 

I found a number of years ago that He has a marvelous way of using my "stumbling blocks" as His "stepping stones".  Because of my past life, He has used me to work with others who have made the same bad  I am able to have empathy toward situations they find themselves in and not be judgmental.

I also am able to know first hand about "second chances", which have become too numerous to count.

I am so thankful for His grace and mercy.  I don't take it for granted.  As He has done for me, I am continually trying to extend it to others as well.

He has also taken my life and turned it around to produce "good fruits".  Our sons both walk In and with Him as well as our daughter-in-love.  There is nothing more important to me - to know - really know - their souls are in the palm of His hand.  To know - really know - if they were to die right now, they are with Him....eternally.  I love the promise of this scripture - that not only my reputation will stand firm - so shall they. 

The world is such an evil place.  Tolerance is making so many sins "normal" and we tend to accept the worlds standards instead of standing firm In His Word.  I am thankful  the measuring stick our sons more often than not use - is His Word.  I am thankful my ABBA has urged me from the first moments of being their mom, to feed them with His Word.  They may not read it everyday - but it is a part of their life, their hearts, their makeup - their foundation.  Just as it is mine.

We are built on a foundation to stand firm in. 

"Rescued - Forever" - 07/30/15 - Isaiah 59-63

"So He became your Savior.

In all your troubles, He was troubled, too.
He didn't send someone else to help you.
He did it Himself, in person.
Out of His own love and pity He redeemed you.
He rescued you and carries you along" (63:8-9)
Just a reminder. No matter what.  No matter where.  No matter when.
You are not alone.
 Just another validation of how much your ABBA loves you.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"One of His" - 07/29/15 - Isaiah 54-58

Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words. I'm making a lasting covenant commitment with you, the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love. (55:3)

Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don't go back until they've watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry. So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They'll do the work I sent them to do, they'll complete the assignment I gave them. "So you'll go out in joy, you'll be led into a whole and complete life. The mountains and hills will lead the parade, bursting with song. All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause. No more thistles, but giant sequoias, no more thorn bushes, but stately pines - Monuments to me, to God, living and lasting evidence of God." (55:10-13)

Curt dumped out of our rain gauge and reported we had received a little over half an inch.   With all the rains we have been receiving, I haven't had to do much watering in my gardens. 

During the past few years, I have started to plant more perennials than annuals. Once they are established, I don't have to water them as frequently, unlike the annuals, some of which need water every day depending on where they are planted and how hot it is.

I have discovered I am a mix of perennial and annual.

As an annual, I need His Water - aka His Word - each and every day.
I need His Word for strength to endure the heat of the battle which makes me weak. 
I need His Word to grow the perennial roots within me to stand strong "in" Him.
I need His Word as fertilizer, root stimulator, weed preventative in this garden of life.
I need His Word so I may come back stronger after the season of winter able to grow in the season of spring.
I need His Word to bloom where I am planted.
I need His Word to reproduce Him in my seeds.

I love how The Holy Spirit is the wind carrying the seeds of Him when I am in the season of harvest, so others may grow in Him.

I love being one of His in His Garden of many flowers.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"Basking, Completely Basking" - 07/28/15 - Isaiah 49-53

For anyone out there who doesn't know where you're going, anyone groping in the dark,
Here's what: Trust in God. Lean on your God! (50:10)

There were many times during my past I was "groping in the dark". Searching. Trying to numb the pain through the arms of a man, fog of alcohol or drugs. And every time,  I still came to in darkness. I was in the habit of leaning on the wrong things. Not trusting anyone or anything. Stumbling through life.

There was the moment in darkness when I was sitting on a window ledge nine stories up. Contemplating. The reality of falling wasn't on the agenda. Numerous times while driving. Contemplating. Not taking the curve ahead. The reality of a crash not there at all. I can recall many moments of darkness and even though I wasn't aware at the time -

He was there pulling me in. Into His Light.

Groping about in the dark I didn't know where I was going.
But still, I kept going.
From one patch of darkness to another.

Thankfully, even though I still struggle with the outstretched fingers of depression and sin, He has given me tools, which I use, and "we" overcome. I don't venture in the darkest of darkness as I used to. Most moments find me trusting and leaning on Him. My ABBA. My Daddy.

Throughout my days, I lift up to Him praise in getting me through another moment, escaping the anger, bitterness, jealousy, malice, sadness and depression. I give Him praise for helping me to focus upon His face.  To delight in the blessings He rains down upon me.  I praise Him for the peace within my heart.  How much I love leaning and trusting in Him -

My cup runneth over.
No longer in darkness is where I am living life. 
I am now completely basking in the Freedom of His Light.

Monday, July 27, 2015

"Break or Mend" - 07/27/15 - 2 Kings 18:9-19:37; Psalm 46, 80, 135

"Who do you think it is you've insulted? Who do you think you've been bad-mouthing? Before whom do you suppose you've been strutting? The Holy One of Israel, that's who!(2 Kings 19:22)

Many years ago, I figured out "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me", was a lie. Words can either build up or break down a person. Sometimes they cut so deep it causes a physical pain.

ABBA has held me accountable for things I have said of others in the past, and through Him I am striving to become more Christlike.  Not only in my words, but also in my actions. 
Have you ever considered the power you hold in the muscle of your tongue?
It is so easy to get caught up in the gossip, slander, malice. It is so easy to get caught up in the headiness of praise.
It is also so easy to forget, it isn't the person or persons you are attacking - it is ABBA. He created all of us. In His image.

All of us.

Even those you find offensive, distasteful, those you deem not quite as good as you, different, lost or found.

All of us.

So, the words we throw out regarding someone, are actually words thrown out towards ABBA. He is so protective of His children. Doesn't that scare you just a bit? To think when we attack another, behind them is their Father who will react like a wet mother hen. A bear whose cubs are threatened.
All of us.

Including the one we usually speak the ugliest to - ourselves.
How often we look into the mirror and view ugly or not "enough" and in some cases too much "enough". How often we knock down praise from someone in false humility or actually not thinking we are worthy of the blessing of encouragement. Or how we become so full of self and choose to live life our own way, "strutting our stuff" before our ABBA.
The solution is to keep totally focused on ABBA, but we don't. More often than not, we focus on self. We take words directed towards us as personal instead of looking at the speaker through Christ eyes. We compare our selves and come up either too good or too bad.
I pray that we instead see, speak, treat, love on, each and everyone of us as ABBA does.
All of us. 
His Beloved.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"He Has Wiped My Slate Clean Of All" - 07/26/15 - - Isaiah 44-48

"I've wiped the slate of all your wrongdoings. There's nothing left of your sins. Come back to me, come back. I've redeemed you." (45:22)

 He has opened my eyes to the spiritual warfare about me. I am so thankful for that. I am so blessed in knowing as I grow closer to ABBA, satan will be using all the tricks up his sleeve trying to cause me to doubt.
Doubt - you know, that one "sin" I committed all those years ago. Or that other "sin" I fell down in and wallowed for awhile - just the other day.
Doubt - that my sins are bigger than ABBA and I allow "shame" to be my focus. Not the grace and mercy ABBA poured over me from The Cross.
Doubt - that causes me to listen to the lies satan, self, or others whisper into my soul. Lies that I am not who ABBA says I am, which is "fearfully and wonderfully made".

I am so thankful for His Word - my own personal Love Letter from Him - to reassure, affirm, confirm, and validate - I am His.
Through Christ, I am made Holy. I am made Pure. I am cleansed so I may be with my ABBA. Through Christ, He only sees me as His image.

I am so thankful to know, without a doubt, I am redeemed.

What great words to hear from our ABBA, our Daddy.

"I Have Redeemed You".

"O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!

I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!
O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!
Get out of my life, you murderers.
They blaspheme you;
your enemies misuse your name.
O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?
Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?
Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
for your enemies are my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life."(Psalm 139)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

"You've Got Mail!" - 07/25/15 - Isaiah 40-43

Dear "My" Beloved -

 "This is how much you mean to Me!
This is how much I love you!
I'd sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you." (43:4)
I gave my one and only Son for you.
No greater Love than the Love I have for you.
Unconditional and for eternity -

 Love, your ABBA

Friday, July 24, 2015

"Forever Young" - 07/24/15 - Isaiah 37-39; Psalm 76

Whatever time I have left is spent in death's waiting room. No more glimpses of God in the land of the living, No more meetings with my neighbors, no more rubbing shoulders with friends. This body I inhabit is taken down and packed away like a camper's tent. Like a weaver, I've rolled up the carpet of my life as God cuts me free of the loom And at day's end sweeps up the scraps and pieces. (Isaiah 38:10-12)

Ironic when you think about what a big part of living it is. 

 From the moment we are conceived, we begin the process of dying. While in our youth, we don't look at death as one of the things we will experience. A close family friend died from leukemia when he was much younger than me, and even then I didn't think about death happening to me. I know from an early age I didn't understand everything about death, I still don't, but did recognize it meant separation. I know there were those I wanted to be with, yet couldn't because of death.
Throughout the years, death has been a visitor in the path I have walked. We have two children whom I never held in my arms, only in my womb and heart, but know ABBA has them in His care. I am able to look back and see many instances where death was near, for self and others, but ABBA held him back.
Death. Not a guest I particularly care to entertain in this journey of living.

At times throughout my years have come the moments of wishful thinking. My body is a constant reminder of making its way to death and I yearn for the youthfulness in movement, lack of aches and pains, the lack of wrinkles and sags. My mind isn't as sharp as it used to be - which is scary when knowing it never was much more than a dull knife anyway! The hearing is missing out and the mind is substituting in parts of conversations. And each day the eyes grow dimmer with each blink.

And during all this, He has given me "glimpse of Him in the land of the living".
 I love being "young" in Him and experiencing the excitement of life.
Of Divine Appointments He has lined up for me each moment.
Of the joy in sharing life with His family.
 Of just the delight in all He has surrounded me with.
I can choose to go on this limited time journey either focused on Him or on "self". I can wallow in the puddles of self pity or skip through them laughing in the rains of life. I can turn my face upward under His Sonshine or sit in the caves of shadows. I can drag in my heels and sit right down in the comfort zone or run free in the meadows with Him. Playing tag with my Bestest Friend and knowing He will let me catch Him.

It is my free choice to drink in each moment He blesses me with or live in unquenched thirst.
Most important of all though, He has removed any fear or regret in my coming death.
ABBA has opened my eyes to see, when in Him - death is actually a good thing.
Because I am in Christ.  Because He is my Savior.
Death is the last step in this journey before I am with Him face to face - for eternity.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Nearer Still" - 07/23/15 - Isaiah 35-36

"With gifts of joy and gladness
as all - ALL - sorrows and sighs scurry into the night".(35:10)

Yesterday the e-mail came.  Our ABBA had come that afternoon and taken Tommy home. 

Even today, I fight the urge to cry when thinking of Franny and the kids. 

I prayed for them yesterday.  I wondered "why".  Why is it you take such a man of yours Home, when he is so needed here.  ABBA told me, "you do not and can not know the whole paradigm".

He is right and I stopped wondering, instead continuing to pray and lift Tommy's family up. 

I received a text from my cousin's wife, Brenda yesterday.  She begins her chemo next Tues. 

I prayed and lifted her and hers up to him.  And I wondered "why". 

ABBA told me, "while living in the world, you will be affected by the things sin has brought into it.  This isn't the world I intended for My Beloved's.  But remember, I have a place waiting for all who are in Me."

He is right and I stopped wondering, instead continuing to pray and lift Brenda and hers up.

I lifted up my Curt.  The weather and storms have put us behind in his spraying and it is affecting his disposition.  Which affects our relationship. 

ABBA told me, "It is my business.  You are my workers.  I am in charge of the schedule. Do not worry". 

He is right.  He has taken this business from nothing and continues to grow it.  He has supplied all of our needs and beyond.  He strengthens my faith and trust. 

We have met her once, Ms Ashley.  This young woman who is seeming to capture the heart of our Adam.  I prayed for them.  Adam's heart was terribly hurt by the last woman he dated, whose true colors came out to reveal she wasn't the woman we thought she was.  I found myself fighting the worrying mom and instead give their relationship over to ABBA. 

ABBA told me, "You have prayed for the future bride of Adam since you knew of his conception.  I love your child more than you.  I am growing him ready for the one I have picked out".

He is right.  He knows and loves our son more than we ever will be able to.  He wants only the best for him.  And I have stopped worrying and am at peace.  Knowing our ABBA holds Adam in the palm of His Hand.

We received a phone call Monday evening.  Nichalas had went into work and they had taken away his teaching responsibilities, leaving him to more or less do the jobs no one else wanted to do.  The first thing he did was turn to his ABBA in prayer and ask for guidance.  He then called our Amber, then us, to ask what we thought.  I am so thankful the advice given was based in Scripture and not from the top of our heads.  Knowing the turmoil and hurt Nichalas was enduring in regard to leaving  the boys he has mentored these past two years and grown very close to, my heart hurt as I lifted him up. 

ABBA told me, "I have great things planned for the missions I am sending Nichalas and Amber on", and I stopped hurting for our son, instead rejoicing and becoming excited for what new adventure ABBA has in store for them.

He is right.  He is always in control and all things are for His Glory.  All things are in His time.  His way. 

I came away from a full day of uninterrupted time with ABBA as I mowed in the bottoms.  He blessed me with the beauty of His nature.  His clouds.  His weather.  Even though my time praying had drawn me nearer to Him, I felt heavy hearted and drained from some of our conversations.

Coming into the drive, the cars were lined up.  Our family was here to study His Word.  There aren't enough words to express the heart lift received upon entering our living room and seeing Him shine through their bright eyes and smiles.  Just a taste of the homecoming we will receive when we arrive to our eternal Home. 

Nichalas called last night.  He sent his resume into Amber's school Monday evening after we talked and they offered him a job Tuesday.  After going to discuss with his bosses the situation, he walked to his car and heard ABBA tell him plain as day, "let go and go on Nichalas".  He did.  As we discussed everything last night, I told him he is blessed in being able to see the fruits of his labors in the growth and development which has occurred in these young men.  They will continue to have a relationship outside of school.  ABBA is still using Nichalas in their lives.  As I listened to him give glory to ABBA, I realized I too was seeing the fruits of my labors.  My ABBA prevailed over all my mistakes in parenting and has shown me our children are His.

Nichalas then told me how much he and Amber like Ashley and how good she is for Adam.  They were able to spend more time with her, while home, and are thankful she is a Christian and treasures family.

Before going to bed, Curt and I were discussing the work needed to be done and aren't so overwhelmed.  A peace and joy settled about us.

While reading this morning, ABBA told me:

 "Wilderness and desert will sing joyously, the badlands will celebrate and flower - bursting into blossom, a symphony of song and color.
Mountain glories of Lebanon - a gift.
Awesome Carmel, stunning Sharon - gifts.

God's resplendent glory, fully on display.
God awesome, God majestic.
Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees.
Tell fearful souls, "Courage! Take heart!
God is here, right here, on His way to put things right And redress all wrongs.
He's on His way! He'll save you!"
Blind eyes will be opened, deaf ears unstopped,
Lame men and women will leap like deer, the voiceless break into song.
Springs of water will burst out in the wilderness, streams flow in the desert.
Hot sands will become a cool oasis, thirsty ground a splashing fountain.
Even lowly jackals will have water to drink, and barren grasslands flourish richly.
There will be a highway called the Holy Road.

No one rude or rebellious is permitted on this road.
It's for God's people exclusively -

impossible to get lost on this road.
Not even fools can get lost on it.
No lions on this road, no dangerous wild animals -
nothing and no one dangerous or threatening.

 Only the redeemed will walk on it.
The people God has ransomed will come back on this road.
They'll sing as they make their way home to Zion,
 unfading halos of joy encircling their heads,
Welcomed home with gifts of joy and gladness
 as all - ALL - sorrows and sighs scurry into the night.(35:1-10)


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"I Come To His Garden" - 07/22/15 - Isaiah 31-34

My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood - in safe houses, in quiet gardens. (32:18)

While Nichalas/Amber were home, we ate supper and played games in Adam's home.  It was such an enjoyable night.  While there I could remember it was just a year ago I was there working.  Cleaning.  Tearing out walls.   I thought about how neat it is our ABBA knew, from the beginning of time, I would be there at that precise moment working in our Adam's home. Discovering bits of old wallpapers and wondering about the previous owners. Who they were, their taste (which seemed to have run into the flower theme), how old it was. Within each room I prayed over the areas that would one day house new memories. Nails, boards, walls, floors, all creating a place where he would be living. I prayed over his bedroom, for he and, God willing, his bride. It brought many a grin thinking about little feet belonging to neighboring pieces of our hearts, coming up on his front porch, stretching up on tiptoes to ring his bell. I prayed for moments when these little ones would one day play with Adam's future children. As I washed down walls, I also bathed them with prayers for those who would be sharing time together within them. For the hedge of ABBA to always be about this place, inside and out and around those within it.  And on that night, sitting and watching the parts of my heart creating new memories, I smiled in see ABBA answering my prayer. 
And even though a year ago there was plaster coming down, subfloors being ripped up, no furniture, no food, no clothes, no personal belongings, each day it was beginning to feel more and more like his temporary "home", while here in this life.

What joy there is knowing ABBA has set up residency wherever we live.
What peace there is feeling Him here. Amongst us and within us when we are "in" Christ.
No matter what walls we live within, we are in His safe home.  We are in His quiet garden. 

I am so very blessed.  "I come to the garden alone.  While the dew is still on the roses"

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"Bursting From Within" - 07/21/15 - Isaiah 28-30

"But you will sing, sing through an all-night holy feast! Your hearts will burst with song, make music like the sound of flutes on parade, En route to the mountain of God, on the way to the Rock of Israel." (30:29)

How much I love my ABBA.  Head over heels.

In. love. with. my. Lord.

The chorus of this song winds it way throughout my heart and mind all the day and night.
Because of my Savior. 
"Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head"
I remember, oh God, You're not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be

Because I don't have to be the old man inside of me
'Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I've got a new name, a new life, I'm not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, 'cause I'm not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, yeah, I'm not who I used to be
Oh, God, I'm not who I used to be
Jesus, I'm not who I used to be
'Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed" (Redeemed - Big Daddy Weave)

Monday, July 20, 2015

"Sow For Him" - 07/20/15 - Hosea 8-14

Sow righteousness, reap love. It's time to till the ready earth, it's time to dig in with God, Until he arrives with righteousness ripe for harvest. (10:12)

Yesterday during worship and praise time, the words to the songs were hitting my heart.

 How I desire to be Christ like.

Not for my glory, but for His.
Not for His approval, but because I am so crazy in love with Him.

 How I pray each step I take,
each breath I take in and release,
each movement and moment,
all of me 
will be for Him. 

How I pray He will use me as His vessel
in all
and every way.
How I pray I am not seen - only ABBA is.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"A Door of Hope" - 07/19/15 - Hosea 1-7

'I will give her ... the valley of Achor (trouble) for a door of hope.' - (2:15)

As I was typing in this date, I thought about how a date remains "a date" unless an event occurs to make it a memorable one.  In the last few months we have experienced the unexpected deaths of those we loved and miss dearly. A few were our age, causing me to look at my Curt and treasure him even more.  We went to the funeral of one who was the age of our children, causing me to selfishly breath prayers for their safety and a long life.  Even though I know where they will one day be.  There have been those we love and have received news of a cancer trying to take over their bodies.  Prayers are sent up often throughout the day for them. 

I have a dear sister, Franny. 

Her face has the ever present smile coming from the depths of her heart.  Always - always - her eyes twinkle and sparkle in the delight of seeing me.  And always - always - her arms envelope me within for a hug.  She and her Tom have been such an inspiration to many in their walk with our ABBA.

When most are thinking about retirement, grand parenting and travel while experiencing the joys and blessings of adult children and an empty nest, this couple sacrificed all that to take on the responsibility of raising three small boys.  Throughout the whole process of adjustment, adoption, and living life, I have never heard her utter one word of regret.  Only words of the blessings which have rained down upon them because of their choice. 

I think about the Godly home Tom and Franny have given these boys and know the cycle of ABBA will continue.  And as I write this, tears are threatening to spill out thinking about what a life change is about to happen. 

How quickly a visit to the doctor can bring about change.  The prayer warriors began to battle for the cancer to leave Tom just a few short weeks ago.  Today, we are praying mightily for it to be God's will for Tom to win what seems to be the end of his battle here on earth.  The family is gathering around this man that they love so.  So often, there are many things about life which don't make sense to us.  That is when we need to cling even more to our ABBA.  Only He makes sense of the senselessness. 

I know the following is a long read.  I pray you will take the time and realize how our valley of Achor is a door of hope. 

"The Prophet Hosea is remarkable for the frequent use which he makes of events in the former history of his people. Their past seems to him a mirror in which they may read their future. He believes that 'which is to be hath already been,' the great principles of the divine government living on through all the ages, and issuing in similar acts when the circumstances are similar. So he foretells that there will yet be once more a captivity and a bondage, that the old story of the wilderness will be repeated once more. In that wilderness God will speak to the heart of Israel. Its barrenness shall be changed into the fruitfulness of vineyards, where the purpling clusters hang ripe for the thirsty travelers. And not only will the sorrows that He sends thus become sources of refreshment, but the gloomy gorge through which they journey -- the valley of Achor -- will be a door of hope. One word is enough to explain the allusion. You remember that after the capture of Jericho by Joshua, the people were baffled in their first attempt to press up through the narrow defile that led from the plain of Jordan to the highlands of Canaan. Their defeat was caused by the covetousness of Achan, who for the sake of some miserable spoil which he found in a tent, broke God's laws, and drew down shame on Israel's ranks When the swift, terrible punishment on him had purged the camp, victory again followed their assault, and Achan lying stiff and stark below his cairn, they pressed on up the glen to their task of conquest.  The rugged valley, where that defeat and that sharp act of justice took place, was named in memory thereof, the valley of Achor, that is, trouble; and our Prophet's promise is that as then, so for all future ages, the complicity of God's people with an evil world will work weakness and defeat, but that, if they will be taught by their trouble and will purge themselves of the accursed thing, then the disasters will make a way for hope to come to them again.  The figure which conveys this is very expressive. The narrow gorge stretches before us, with its dark overhanging cliffs that almost shut out the sky; the path is rough and set with sharp pebbles; it is narrow, winding, steep; often it seems to be barred by some huge rock that juts across it, and there is barely room for the broken ledge yielding slippery footing between the beetling crag above and the steep slope beneath that dips so quickly to the black torrent below. All is gloomy, damp, hard; and if we look upwards the glen becomes more savage as it rises, and armed foes hold the very throat of the pass.  But, however long, however barren, however rugged, however black, however trackless, we may see if we will, a bright form descending the rocky way with radiant eyes and calm lips, God's messenger, Hope; and the rough rocks are like the doorway through which she comes near to us in our weary struggle.  For us all, dear friends, it is true. In all our difficulties and sorrows, be they great or small; in our business perplexities; in the losses that rob our homes of their light; in the petty annoyances that diffuse their irritation through so much of our days; it is within our power to turn them all into occasions for a firmer grasp of God, and so to make them openings by which a happier hope may flow into our souls. But the promise, like all God's promises, has its well-defined conditions. Achan has to be killed and put safe out of the way first, or no shining Hope will stand out against the black walls of the defile. The tastes which knit us to the perishable world, the yearnings for Babylonish garments and wedges of gold, must be coerced and subdued. Swift, sharp, unrelenting justice must be done on the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, if our trials are ever to become doors of hope. There is no natural tendency in the mere fact of sorrow and pain to make God's love more discernible, or to make our hope any firmer. All depends on how we use the trial, or as I say -- first stone Achan, and then hope! So, the trouble which detaches us from earth gives us new hope. Sometimes the effect of our sorrows and annoyances and difficulties is to rivet us more firmly to earth. The eye has a curious power, which they call persistence of vision, of retaining the impression made upon it, and therefore of seeming to see the object for a definite time after it has really been withdrawn.  If you whirl a bit of blazing stick round, you will see a circle of fire though there is only a point moving rapidly in the circle. The eye has its memory like the soul. And the soul has its power of persistence like the eye, and that power is sometimes kindled into activity by the fact of loss.  We often see our departed joys, and gaze upon them all the more eagerly for their departure. The loss of dear ones should stamp their image on our hearts, and set it as in a golden glory. But it sometimes does more than that; it sometimes makes us put the present with its duties impatiently away from us.  Vain regret, absorbed brooding over what is gone, a sorrow kept gaping long after it should have been healed, like a grave-mound off which desperate love has pulled turf and flowers, in the vain attempt to clasp the cold hand below -- in a word, the trouble that does not withdraw us from the present will never be a door of hope, but rather a grim gate for despair to come in at. The trouble which knits us to God gives us new hope.  That bright form which comes down the narrow valley is His messenger and herald -- sent before His face. All the light of hope is the reflection on our hearts of the light of God. Her silver beams, which shed quietness over the darkness of earth, come only from that great Sun.  If our hope is to grow out of our sorrow, it must be because our sorrow drives us to God. It is only when we by faith stand in His grace, and live in the conscious fellowship of peace with Him, that we rejoice in hope.  If we would see Hope drawing near to us, we must fix our eyes not on Jericho that lies behind among its palm-trees, though it has memories of conquests, and attractions of fertility and repose, nor on the corpse that lies below that pile of stones, nor on the narrow way and the strong enemy in front there; but higher up, on the blue sky that spreads peaceful above the highest summits of the pass, and from the heavens we shall see the angel coming to us.  Sorrow forsakes its own nature, and leads in its own opposite, when sorrow helps us to see God. It clears away the thick trees, and lets the sunlight into the forest shades, and then in time corn will grow.  Hope is but the brightness that goes before God's face, and if we would see it we must look at Him.  The trouble which we bear rightly with God's help, gives new hope. If we have made our sorrow an occasion for learning, by living experience, somewhat more of His exquisitely varied and ever ready power to aid and bless, then it will teach us firmer confidence in these inexhaustible resources which we have thus once more proved, 'Tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope.'  That is the order. You cannot put patience and experience into a parenthesis, and omitting them, bring hope out of tribulation. But if, in my sorrow, I have been able to keep quiet because I have had hold of God's hand, and if in that unstruggling submission I have found that from His hand I have been upheld, and had strength above mine own infused into me, then my memory will give the threads with which Hope weaves her bright web.  I build upon two things -- God's unchangeableness, and His help already received; and upon these strong foundations I may wisely and safely rear a palace of Hope, which shall never prove a castle in the air.  The past, when it is God's past, is the surest pledge for the future. Because He has been with us in six troubles, therefore we may be sure that in seven He will not forsake us. I said that the light of hope was the brightness from the face of God. I may say again, that the light of hope which fills our sky is like that which, on happy summer nights, lives till morning in the calm west, and with its colorless, tranquil beauty, tells of a yesterday of unclouded splendor, and prophesies a to-morrow yet more abundant. The glow from a sun that is set, the experience of past deliverances, is the truest light of hope to light our way through the night of life. One of the psalms gives us, in different form, a metaphor and a promise substantially the same as that of this text. 'Blessed are the men who, passing through the valley of weeping, make it a well.' They gather their tears, as it were, into the cisterns by the wayside, and draw refreshment and strength from their very sorrows, and then, when thus we in our wise husbandry have irrigated the soil with the gathered results of our sorrows, the heavens bend over us, and weep their gracious tears, and 'the rain also covereth it with blessings.' No chastisement for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness.' Then, dear friends, let us set ourselves with our loins girt to the road. Never mind how hard it may be to climb. The slope of the valley of trouble is ever upwards. Never mind how dark is the shadow of death which stretches athwart it. If there were no sun there would be no shadow; presently the sun will be right overhead, and there will be no shadow then. Never mind how black it may look ahead, or how frowning the rocks.

From between their narrowest gorge you may see, if you will, the guide whom God has sent you, and that Angel of Hope will light up all the darkness, and will only fade away when she is lost in the sevenfold brightness of that upper land, whereof our 'God Himself is Sun and Moon' -- the true Canaan, to whose everlasting mountains the steep way of life has climbed at last through valleys of trouble, and of weeping, and of the shadow of death."(Alexander Maclaren)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

"Again, Reminded" - 07/18/15 - 2 Kings 18:1-8; 2 Chronicles 29-31; Psalm 48

"For THE LORD your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him."(2 Chronicles 30:9)

Reading through the verses today, I am again reminded how often I turn away and serve self over my ABBA.  I am also reminded my repentative heart is covered with His grace and mercy.  

I am again reminded how so many in this world are also choosing to do the same as the chosen people did.   There are so many times of being wrapped up in the busyness of life, it is easy to forget there is a great big world out there.  A world full of people who are lost.  Who are searching - as I once was. 

I pray daily for those who do not know Him. 
I pray daily for all to have an intimacy with Him.  
I pray daily for all to cry out to Him:                           

"God—you’re my God!
    I can’t get enough of you!
I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God,
    traveling across dry and weary deserts.
So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
    drinking in your strength and glory.
In your generous love I am really living at last!
    My lips brim praises like fountains.
I bless you every time I take a breath;
    My arms wave like banners of praise to you. (Psalm 63:1-4)

Because you’ve always stood up for me,
    I’m free to run and play.
I hold on to you for dear life,
    and you hold me steady as a post." (Psalm 63:7,8)


Friday, July 17, 2015

"His Light Covers Me" - 07/17/15 - Isaiah 23-27

Through the night my soul longs for You. Deep from within me my spirit reaches out to You. (26:9)

 I remember one day while working in Adam's home, I was reminded again of what living in the city was like. Bits of conversations drifted in with His cool breeze through the open windows. Children laughing across the alley, as they played. The one side of a woman's conversation who stood talking on her cell phone from her front porch. A man talking and walking his dog. Life was going on about this little house I was helping make into a home for our son.
 It was dark when I went to my car to head home. The neighborhood was quiet, settled in for the night. I had smiled as I looked at the home on the corner, knowing inside were three pieces of my heart.  A few houses up were four more.  I stood and prayed silently, not only for them, but all the persons in homes up and down the block.
How His love covers me, His joy overflows within me, just as the darkness does every night covering the homes like a blanket. I had forgotten the peace of walking through a sleeping place filled with people lined up next to each other. People who ABBA has placed our Adam to live in the midst of. People who are part of our Divine Appointments. It's so exciting to think about  those He has lined up to be part of our journey here.
"Through the night my soul longs for You. Deep from within me my spirit reaches out to You."- there on that sidewalk - He covers me as the night light covered the people around me.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

"He Came To My Rescue" - 07/16/15 - Isaiah 18-22

When they cry out in prayer to God because of oppressors, He'll send them help, A Savior who will keep them safe and take care of them. (19:20)

A Savior.
Our Savior.

My Savior.

THE Savior.

There were years of my life in which I tried to fill the God void with the world. Through the use of drugs, alcohol, men, I was still left empty. Still searching.
It wasn't until the birth of our Adam that I realized I had the responsibility to raise up this gift "in" ABBA. Through years of studying His Word, I know now where that realization came from. It was through the many prayers lifted up for me from elderly women in the church I attended growing up. It was through the seeds planted while attending church camp when young. He has also blessed me in looking back and recognizing those in His family who stepped into my life, some for a short time, some for the long haul. It was through all of these tools He used to introduce me to my Savior. 

No longer am I searching, but now I am digging. Digging into the heart of my ABBA. Digging to the very center of Him to fill the whole of me.
Yesterday, under His Awesome, beautiful sky, I lifted up praises to Him.
There aren't enough words to express the feelings of falling deeper in love with Him with each breath that I take.
And how He has/is using me to introduce others to their Savior - our Christ.

"THE Savior" - who will keep them safe and take care of them.

Falling on my knees in worship,
 Giving all I am to seek Your face,
 Lord all I am is Yours.
 My whole life,
 I place in Your hands,
 God of mercy,
 Humbled I bow down,
 In your presence at Your throne.
 I called You answered,
 And You came to my rescue and I,
 I wanna be where You are.
 In my life be lifted high.
 In our world be lifted high.
 In our love be lifted high.

"Our Own ABBA's Mountain" - 07/15/15 - Isaiah 13-17

What does one say to outsiders who ask questions? Tell them, "God has established Zion. Those in need and in trouble find refuge in her." (14:32)

The pictures from Nichalas/Amber's trip have left me breathless at our ABBA's beauty.  His Awesomeness.  How He created the all of nature for our enjoyment.  And what a creation He has given us.  But no matter how vast and beautiful the mountains here on earth are, He has prepared an even greater one for me. 
Zion - my mountain of ABBA - my place of refuge while living in this world. Nothing, no one, anything, is bigger or able to destroy my Zion. He is always there, my refuge. Never moving. Steadfast and True.

There are numerous accounts of how a person who walks in ABBA versus a person who walks in the world handles life. My mind is instantly filled with persons I know who have been granted with much and are a model of humbleness, versus those who are filled with pride. Those who have went through death, illness, sorrows, poverty and other horrors and allowed ABBA to shine through the darkness in their response. Mother Teresa. What an example of our Christ living in a dark world. Within the world of castoffs, she lived in her Zion mountain.

How blessed I have been also living in my Zion mountain. How protected and cared for, even when having to deal with the harshness of the world and its people. But, there have been times I left my Zion mountain, thinking "the grass is greener" over there. It isn't.
I desire so to lead others to live in the Zion mountain. The mountain of ABBA.
 I read through the scriptures today of the consequences for those who live outside of Him and realize the urgency in His Words to us - "Go and make Disciples".
As I go.
Am I using all the time, gifts, talents for Him or am I using them for me?
There are so many "in need and in trouble".
So many living outside or not even knowing of Him.
Are you helping them find refuge in Mountain of ABBA?

"The Best Go To Manual" - 07/14/15 - 2 Chronicles 28, 2 Kings 16-17

"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. (2 Chronicles 28:3)

My heart is sickened when picturing this practice. So many recordings in Scripture of how far away from ABBA people became and in this place 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.

Things done then, still done today.

And I wonder, how do you come to such a place.

It happens when we walk away and are totally focused on "self".

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 isn'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 I know first hand  His unconditional Love, extended grace and mercy to me and desire to pass it on to our children.  To others.  I also know He is bigger than all my numerous mistakes - past, present, future, which helps as I 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 His Word, I experience the blessings and joys of knowing the role of "mommy" along with the fruits of this privileged and honored role He has given me.  Not only for our own biological children, but also of others He has put into our lives. 
His blessings continually rain down upon me. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Living "in" HIS Promises" - 07/13/15 - Micah 1-7

"But we live honoring God, and we're loyal to our God forever and ever. "On that great day," God says, "I will round up all the hurt and homeless, everyone I have bruised or banished. I will transform the battered into a company of the elite. I will make a strong nation out of the long lost, A showcase exhibit of God's rule in action, as I rule from Mount Zion, from here to eternity. (4:5-7)

How often we take out our sins from yesterday's and rehash them, carry the guilt and shame in our daily living. Nothing satan loves better, for it tears us down. How it saddens our ABBA. In doing this, we are saying The Sacrifice of our Savior wasn't enough. We are instead choosing to live in condemnation, rather than in His Grace and Mercy.
He has transformed my heart into being thankful for all of my past "Job moments". If it wasn't for the hurt and homeless moments, I wouldn't be as aware of the blessings of His family He rains down and saturates me with today. If I weren't battered from the yesterday's, I wouldn't bask in the healing balm of Love from His family He surrounds me with. If I hadn't of been lost, I wouldn't know the joy of being found by Him. I wouldn't desire Him with my all. If it wasn't for the longing in my soul when it was empty, I wouldn't know the overwhelming feelings of my thirst being quenched by His Word. If I hadn't of been weak, I wouldn't know what it is like to live in His Strength.
My heart. My life. My all.
In worship yesterday, I was greeted with bright eyes, hugs from the heart, from numerous siblings I see week to week.  How I have loved sharing so many "kids" throughout the years with extended family. Seeing one of these "kids" yesterday, all grown up with one of her own.  Studying His Word throughout the week with siblings, sharing life and growing in Him together.  Affirmation from each one in how He loves us through each other.   
Living by ABBA's standards, unconditional love and acceptance from my "family".
Time spent in the company of the elite.
Standing on His Promises when living "in" our Savior. 
"Who is a God like You,
who pardons iniquity
And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?
HE does not retain HIS anger forever,
Because HE delights in unchanging love.
HE will again have compassion on us; 
HE will tread our iniquities under foot.
Yes, YOU will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea."
What an Awesome God we serve - "from here to eternity". 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

"With Thanksgiving" - 07/12/15 - 2 Chronicles 27; Isaiah 9-12

"Then you will say on that day,

"I will give thanks to YOU, O LORD ;
For although YOU were angry with me,

YOUR anger is turned away,
And YOU comfort me.

"Behold, GOD is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For THE LORD GOD is my strength and song,

And HE has become my salvation."

Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation.

And in that day you will say,
"Give thanks to THE  LORD ,
call on HIS name.
Make known HIS deeds among the peoples;
Make them remember that HIS name is exalted."

Praise THE LORD in song,
for HE has done excellent things;
Let this be known throughout the earth.

Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great in your midst is THE HOLY ONE of Israel." (Isaiah 12)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

"Live So Others May Hear Him" - 07/11/15 - Amos 6-9

People will drift from one end of the country to the other, roam to the north, wander to the east. They'll go anywhere, listen to anyone, hoping to hear God's Word - but they won't hear it. (8:12)

me - this lost years ago.
what a dissolute way I went through life.
So thankful His Word has/is transforming my heart.
How I love "living" life with/for Him!

No more drifting.  No more wandering.  No more living life without hope. 

Whom are you sharing His Word with - in actual speech, actions, heart?  
Whom are you sharing Him with as you go?
Curt is enjoying his day on the golf course in Macomb for a tournament benefiting Care Net of Carthage. The kids are in the Ozarks with their friends for the weekend.  I am heading out to work on the bushes and trees which are taking over our yard. In all that myself and my family are doing, just like the all of nature, I am praying it is for His glory. 
I was looking at His sky the other night. The different dimensions stood out as the clouds moved through in front of His beautiful bright moon.  Day or night, the wonderment of His skies always leaves me breathless.  With thanksgiving I praised Him for making this world in different dimensions. The beauty of shadows, the depths of colors, the display of shapes. How bland this world would be if not in 3D. Much like the gift of love. Could you imagine what it would be like not experiencing the depth, the width of His Love? To not experience the different persons and their way of loving?

His nature.  His people.  Just a taste of His Awesomeness.
Enjoy this day He has blessed you with!

Friday, July 10, 2015

"He Picked Me" - 07/10/15 - Amos 1-5

"Out of all the families on earth, I picked you"(3:2)

 It was exactly one year ago today my family was here in our living room at 5 in the morning, standing in a circle, holding hands and praying to our ABBA. Selfishly asking for safe travels, to keep two pieces of our hearts on this earth awhile longer, before they departed on their journey back to Phoenix. I remember from the moment I was standing at the end of the walk and seeing their red taillights turn out of sight, I kept busy. Reality didn't  set in until I was spending my morning time in His Word and He spoke to me in this verse. We would not see them again until Christmas.

 I remember in the nights leading up to their departure, sleep wasn't my companion. Again, I am finding myself in the same sleeplessness.  I find myself fighting to not count down the days until next Wednesday knowing our next time will again be Christmas, God willing.  I find myself thanking ABBA or and over for their time here and the wonderful memories we are making.  I find myself thinking of others who are enduring heart pains, fighting for their lives, who have lost a child or loved one.  I fight falling into the self pity party.

I have found myself kneeling before Him, feeling His Hand on my head as we conversed, His beautiful moon looking down through the window. I am reminded over and over through His Words - "He picked me". In the times of my weakest moment, when I want nothing more than to break into heart wrenching sobs, He gave me the image of Mary. A young woman, dropping to her knees, no longer able to stand, because of the heart wrenching pain in seeing her son, her baby, nailed onto The Cross.

He gave me the image of this woman who drew her strength to endure from her Lord.
He gave me perception that in Him there is never an eternal separation.


 Even now, I know I am only able to perceive an inkling of what she endured being the mommy of our Savior.

I love how our ABBA gives us comfort in no matter the age of our child, we will always be blessed by the brief glimpse of yesterdays.
There are moments when looking at our young men today, for a flicker of a second I will see the little boys from yesterdays in their eyes, a certain expression, the wrinkle of their nose. Their hands able to hold my whole hand in them, when just a few yesterdays it was mine that held all of theirs. Their smiles and antics as they make new memories cause me to remember all those times of watching them grow up as best friends. Conversations today are shared with whispered words from the past darting in and out from the keepsakes in my heart.
Our ABBA gave Mary the blessing of seeing her son again after His sacrifice on The Cross. I can only imagine what it must of been like to realize without doubt she was the mommy of The Son of God. I don't have to imagine though what it is like to be the mommy of children of God.
He has given us the blessing of bringing Adam back to live nearby, in seeing him grow and being used on the mission field of Quincy. I love seeing and being part of this team mission work with Adam. The families ABBA has brought into our lives through his friendships with their kids, brings such excitement as we are introducing them to ABBA.
He has given me strength to overcome the ache within my heart of having Nichalas/Amber so far away. They are on the mission field for and in Him. He has comforted me in blessing upon blessing, of seeing their fruits for Him, to overcome the selfishness of wanting them close by. He has also shown me it is all about His time and His way. He has given me joy in hearing their plans to move back here one day.

He has given me strength to be content and thankful in all situations.
To be thankful for the gifts of Skype, cell phone, and internet in today's way of being together.
He has given me recognition how blessed we are for any time spent together.
Just as He "picked" Mary to be the mommy of our Savior, He handpicked me to be the mommy of Adam, Nichalas, and our two in Heaven and our daughter-in-love, Amber.

He "hand picked" me to introduce our sons to their Bestest Friend - our Jesus.
Our Savior.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

"ABBA's Miraclegrow" - 07/09/15 - Isaiah 5-8

"But there's a holy seed in those stumps." (6:13)

 We have been clearing brush here and after cutting, spraying the stumps, some of the honeysuckle and locust continue to show signs of life, even after the fourth spraying. 

Awhile back during church service, our worship leader shared how someone had asked him if he would ever turn away from God. When he replied, "no", they told him, "he had not went through his Job moment".

Curt and I were discussing this and each of us acknowledged we have went through our "Job moment/moments". Those times which we were cut down, sprayed with the intent to destroy, and still we persevered.

But only because of our ABBA.
Being connected to Him, His Holy Spirit continually grows us - no matter the "Job moments".

I look back now and see the sprouts which grew up amongst the debris of warfare.
He has never, nor will ever, stop nurturing, pruning, shaping me into becoming the woman He designed me to be. What the world walked away from and left as just a "stump" - my ABBA saw beauty in The Holy Seed within. 

How thankful and blessed I am in how He "grew" me from my "Job moments".
My roots run deep in Him.

"Growing Me" - 07/08/15 - Isaiah 1-4

"Come, family of Jacob, let's live in the light of God." (2:5)

 A couple of years ago we each began taking a turn and picking out our annual family project.
Two years ago I asked we build birdhouses and last year Amber came up with the idea to build frames, wrap them in canvas and paint. Which we are still waiting on one family member (aka Curt) to finish his.  One day.

I shall treasure forever the family time of building, painting, and two persons just sitting there trying to come up with something to paint, providing us with many memory making moments and laughter. 

This year, Nichalas has chosen to convert our carport into a greenhouse.  The materials are here - waiting.  The rains have not let up enough for the earth to dry out in order to dig out and pour a cement floor.  With less than a week before they return to AZ, I am thinking his project will be done without them. 

Even so, their time with us this year has been filling my treasure chest of memories to get me through to the next time - Christmas. 

My family from ABBA - brings much delight to my soul. My heart. My mind.  

I am thankful ABBA has changed my heart to not keep count anymore on our time together versus apart. He is showing me each moment spent with them is to be cherished. Not calculated and weighed. He is also helping me to not be selfish. 

That is the hardest part.

And what a burden this selfishness has put upon our children. How He is growing me!!!

How thankful I am to have Adam back here living in Quincy. The icing on the cake would be to also have Nichalas/Amber here as well. I am struggling with the selfishness of mom versus the joy of being His Servant. 

Only because of ABBA am I able to be thankful that Nichalas/Amber are being used by Him in His mission field so far away.  Only because of looking at life through His eyes when we visit them,  am I able to see all the many children's lives - and their families - He is using them to touch through their job of teaching. That Nichalas has a job as a teacher is in itself a miracle. He is going to school to get his bachelor's. They are living in a place where charter schools are available to hire him without that degree.

Only because of ABBA am I able to see there is pain in being a family of Him.

It is because we follow Him, not ourselves. 

And at times, that means not doing what we want. Not living where or as we want. 

Only because of Him am I able to be content with the moments we have when together.
Only because of our Savior am I confident that one day we will all be together 24/7.
Only because of Him am I loving living life with my family "in the Light of our ABBA".

It also helps the mom side of me - God willing - they plan to be moving back in five years.............

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

"KING Over My All" - 07/07/15 - 2 Kings 15; 2 Chronicles 26

devastating both the town and its suburbs because they didn't welcome him with open arms. He savagely ripped open all the pregnant women. (2 Kings 15:16)

Throughout the readings as of late, my heart is torn by the destruction and evil reigning throughout the chosen people of God. And all because they wanted a king - to be like the other nations. They insisted, even when warned and told what their future would be like, serving under a human king, rather than under God.

Be careful what you wish for.

Praying, wishing to become wealthy.
 Sometimes it happens through the inheritance or life insurance policy from the death of a loved one.
For the big house on the hill - and sometimes you become "house poor", not able to enjoy life.
To be thin -  and sometimes your body is robbed of any fat from cancer spreading throughout.

I'm not saying it is wrong to share your heart with ABBA in regard to all aspects of life. He already knows your heart anyway! I am not saying He will allow "bad" to happen from desiring good things.  What is wrong is to take the "things" and make them your "king". He wants us to enjoy life and the blessings He rains down upon us. He doesn't want them to become more important than He is.
For 26 years we had tried to purchase a home. Many times we found "the perfect place" and something would happen to make it fall through. I was placing my worth in having a home, the American dream. At times it was embarrassing having to say we rented rather than owned.

ABBA allowed us to live in an old farm house for 16 years.  We set up an agreement with the landlord that we would one day be allowed to buy it. In the end, the landlord went back on their word and all the work, sweat, money we put into the place was for their benefit.  In the marvelous way He works, within a month we were blessed us with the home He has given us now. We were the only persons to look at it. He gave it to us under appraisal value.

Before this home, we were planning on building. A builder, plans, finances were all lined up, but we couldn't find land that fit into our budget. During this time of frustration, Curt reminded me of a sermon years ago Larry Smith preached regarding monkeys and coconuts. The monkeys will make a hole big enough for their hand to fit into, but too small to extract it when filled with the coconut meat. Because they refuse to let go of the meat, they will die of starvation.

Curt suggested perhaps I needed to let go of the dream of building, my coconut meat.
And when I did, He gave us the whole coconut - this home.
I had to have faith and peace in regard to His time, His way.

Whenever we drive by one of the "perfect places" we didn't get to buy, I lift up a prayer of thanksgiving. He has changed my heart to see it isn't about the house, or the place. It is how we see all He has given us as a blessing.  What we have or are, isn't our worth or to be our "king".

 It is only when I make Him my King over all, am I able to be content. I have come to know, without a doubt, even if all blessings I have been given were to be stripped away from me, I am His. 

I know My ABBA is THE KING.
My Home is with Him.
And me - I am His daughter - princess of The King.
Who happens to be living temporarily in this home we call "ABBA'S Coconut".

Monday, July 06, 2015

"I am Redeemed" - 07/06/25 - Jonah 1-4

"Everyone must turn around, turn back from an evil life and the violent ways that stain their hands." (3:8)

 My hands are calloused, worn, leather lined. My hands are "work hands". They are also stained this time of year. No matter how much I scrub. 

To have "lady like hands", would mean changing my way of life and unless ABBA tells me He has another job for me, I will continue digging in the dirt. Taking care of grasses. Clearing brush. Spraying chemicals for unwanted plant life. This way of making a living isn't "violent". It gives me great peace and joy.

 It is a blessing.

But there are times when my choices create storms. Either outside or within my soul. I love reading how during this storm, ABBA in His Mightiness, caused the sailors to believe and worship Him. I love how He always is in control, even during the darkest part of the storms, and His Glory and Ways prevail.
No longer do I try and "run away from God", but there are times when I am as Jonah. When my "violent ways" are Self-righteous. Putting my "self" above ABBA. When I believe my sins are "less" than others. (A sin is a sin. There aren't any levels.) And it is then the storms come raging in.

It isn't that I am calling my Savior a fish. But in a way, I guess I am.
You see, He was the great fish who swallowed me when I was drowning in the depths of my sins.

Unlike the fish who swallowed Jonah, my "fish" didn't and won't be vomiting me out. I am in Him and He is in me. 


And my hands.
My hands that were stained from my sins.
They have been scrubbed, bleached, renewed by The Blood of my Savior. 

In His own special way, He has put on me the gloves of "grace and mercy".
I am Redeemed by His Blood.
What a Savior.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

"#1 Weed Killer/Prevention" - 07/05/15 2 Kings 14; 2 Chronicles 25

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

I have been working in our gardens and fighting Virginia creeper . Looking about in our woods, I can see it has reached the tops of many trees.  I know this winter, when the vegetation is gone, we need to be out cutting and spraying.  Over the years, I have come to actually despise this invasive plant.  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. Eventually choking the life out of the plants it wraps itself around. 

In the same way I have also been working on my heart. my mind. 
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.
Unfortunately, just like the Virginia creeper , sin will come in and choke the life out of you and before you know it, you are serving Him without the whole of your heart. 
Our ABBA and His Word is the only "weed killer" that works - permanently. 

With all that I am, I will spend my time with my "Master Gardner" helping me to be rid of the "Virginia creepers",  so the garden of my heart will be "wholeheartedly devoted to God".
 It is the best "weed" defense you can get.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

"Not Just Today" - 07/04/15 - 2 Kings 12-13, 2 Chronicles 24

But God was gracious and showed mercy to them. He stuck with them out of respect for his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He never gave up on them, never even considered discarding them, even to this day. (2 Kings 13:23)

 When we are "in" Christ, don't you love knowing our ABBA feels the same way about us - no matter what we do!

Perfect verse celebrating our "independence" from sin, through Christ, on this beautiful 4th of July.

Friday, July 03, 2015

"True Freedom In Him" - 07/03/15 - 2 Kings 9-11

"You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all THE LORD's servants shed by Jezebel." (9;7)

How easy it would be to slip into a funk while reading these scriptures.  To focus on all the war, destruction, betrayal, death, falling away from our ABBA.

As easy as it would be to do the same, while reading of the events occurring in the world today.

I was thinking about how the walk with ABBA is so narrow at times and how easily we can slip and slide right down into the pit of sin.  There are moments when the temptations are so overbearing, I feel I am walking toe to heel, just to stay on the path. (No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Corinthians 10:13)

Thankfully, I know the end of the "story". 

It is there I place my attention so not to become overwhelmed by the "bad".  I know our ABBA has won this war and is only allowing the battles to continue in hopes for more souls.  More souls to make the choice to follow Him.  To go and make disciples for Him. 
There are moments I am so aware He could have placed me in any place, in any year, to live this life.  I am so thankful ABBA has placed me in the USA - today. All the wars recorded in the passages have caused me to be aware - again -  of the blessings we have in our freedoms.

Freedom which has come and continues to be at the cost of much blood, sweat, tears, from those who served our country. 

For those men and women, their families, I am so grateful. 

I am  praying they may be have a safe and blessed day tomorrow, celebrating our Freedom. 
Freedom in living in the USA. 
For all persons I am praying they will know the Eternal Freedom which comes from living in our ABBA

Eternal Freedom we receive at the cost of our Savior. No greater LOVE. No greater Freedom.