Saturday, April 30, 2016

"Each Day" - 04/30/16 - Psalm 102-104

"My days are like a shadow that lengthens.
And I wither away like grass."(102:11)

There are moments when passing by a mirror I am shocked at who I see.  It is hard to believe enough years have passed where I am the age of my parents and they are my grandparents age.  Even harder to grasp is our children are our age.

I so believe around the age of 35 your face shows exactly what you carry in your heart.  Many times while we are out, I am watching the faces of others we pass by or meet face to face.  So many never smile or have that twinkle in their eye.  Be it from stress, worries, busyness, or they have such a hardened heart.  My heart always leaps in joy though when looking into the face of an elderly Christ follower. 

They shine.

They shine from deep within themselves.  They are so beautiful you end up carrying the image of their face with you.  They give you a heartsmile.

Studies have shown married couples, even people and their pets, begin to look alike as they age.  They take on the same mannerisms, expressions, etc. These Christ followers have walked and lived "in" Him for so long, they look like Him. 

I really don't mind getting older in some ways.  The closer to Him I become - I feel younger, healthier, joyful, peaceful.  Free.

I don't deny minding time and life is passing too quickly.  On the flip side of that though, it is closer to the time of being together forever in Heaven with His family.  I do mind my body isn't able to do the things it used to, nor have the energy, strength, endurance.  It is hard to fathom one day I won't be able to do even the little things - like go to the store, up and down steps, etc.  That is just how it is with our earthly bodies.  They wear out.

And the end of each day brings an awareness there is now one less than those ahead. 
There are so many moments He gives me a taste of Heaven.  I drink it in. 
I pray I am living life to the fullest.  For Him. 
Not wanting to waste a moment.

Friday, April 29, 2016

"His Wisdom" - 04/29/15 - 1 Chronicles 7-10

So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against The LORD , because of the word of The LORD which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of The LORD .(10:13-14)

There are a couple of times from my past I can remember "playing" with the Ouija Board.  Looking back now, I see we were actually playing with fire.  How satan sugar coats the doorway to sin, much like the gingerbread house of the witch in Hansel and Gretel.  This game which seems so innocent, is actually a way of speaking with the spirit world.  When living in Texas, there were many homes tucked away in neighborhoods with large signs in the front yards.  Signs with a palm painted on them, beckoning you to come in and have your future told.  So many ways of destruction we follow for help in where to place our foot for the next step.
My devotional this morning pertained to Godly Wisdom.  We are promised through the reading and studying of His Word we will receive the gift of Wisdom.  His Wisdom. My mind thinks about the lengths Saul went in asking what direction to take in his life.  I think about the times he only went to himself and did what he wanted.  I think about how his actions led to his death. 

I think about how opposite my life used to be when not in His Word each and every day - drinking in the gift of His Wisdom.  His Wisdom which I strive to follow as I walk each step in this journey of life towards Home. 

"Godly wisdom can be defined as the capacity to see things the way The Lord sees them and to respond according to His principles.

One of the great benefits of this mindset is peace.

Generally, when life’s running smoothly and all is well with us and our loved ones, we have no trouble experiencing contentment. But often when situations become difficult, God’s perspective eludes us, and our peace is rapidly replaced with stress, anxiety, and fear.

To view a difficult circumstance from The Lord’s perspective, we need to see it encompassed by the boundaries of His character and attributes.

Even when the particulars of life are beyond our control, The One who rules the universe remains sovereign over all things—down to the smallest details.

 He loves us unconditionally and always works for our best interest.

Therefore, if He has allowed a situation, there is a divine plan and reason, and the outcome will be for our good and His glory.

That wise perspective will lead to a godly response—complete confidence and trust in The Lord despite any pain or hardship. Because of The indwelling Spirit, we have the assurance that He is more than adequate for whatever comes our way, which means we are sufficient in Him.

When difficulty hits, don’t let sound wisdom vanish from your sight.

Keep your eyes on The Lord.

By seeing every situation through His eyes, you can rest in His wisdom and good purposes.
Then stress will lift, anxiety will be replaced with peace, and confidence in the Lord will silence your fears." (In Touch Magazine)


Thursday, April 28, 2016

"Each Moment" - 04/28/16 - Psalm 81, 88, 92-93

"Thy Throne is established from of old;
Thou art from everlasting." (93:2)   
The Lord on high is Mightier 
than the noise of many waters."(93:4)   
Last night, tornado warnings were out, some were seen and touched down.  The lightening show He put on was phenomenal, with the music of thunder touching my soul.
I love snuggling down under the covers while listening to the sounds of His nature, grateful for our window covered by the tin roof of our back deck which allows it to be open.   I could hear the sounds of the rains, the hail, the winds plummeting down and around our home, at times drowning out the windchimes ringing out their song.   My mind raced about thinking of the damage the hail could be doing to the plants, vehicles, roofs.  How thankful I am we have never had water in our basement, no matter how much or how hard it has rained. 
As the hail continued, my mind went to the Scriptures of the account where God had hail rain down upon Egypt when Moses asked Pharaoh to let God's people go.  So many ways God tried to persuade Pharaoh to turn towards Him and not "self".  As I lay there thinking about how the constant noise from the storms had to weigh on their nerves, it occurred to me once again, He has been and is always in control. 
Throughout the all of my life.  
And I wondered if I am as Pharaoh, standing on "self"?  Or am I as Moses before the burning bush.  Taking off my shoes, bowing down, because I am on Holy Ground. 

In all moments on this journey - what or who am I standing before? 

Is it before various idols I have chosen to worship?

Idols of worry, fear, status, money - idols of this world?
Idols which come between my ABBA and me.

Is it my ABBA - sitting on His Throne? 
The Almighty. 
The Eternal. 

What do I place my faith, my hope, my joy, my confidence, my all in? 
Do I go before Him each day and crawl up into His lap? 
Do I take for granted how He delights in me?
Do I take for granted He gave His only Begotten Son for me?
Do I take for granted because of Christ, I am able to come before Him continually? 
To share "me" with Him?
To be with Him?
To draw strength, God-fidence, Love from?

Our ABBA isn't sitting on a Throne away from us. 
He sits on a Throne which can include we who are in Christ. 
It's our choice to act upon His outstretched arms. 
Arms which want nothing more than to encircle us. 
Arms which want nothing more than to hold us next to His Heart.

Each moment.  Eternally.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"The Voice" - 04/27/16 - I Chronicles 6

"Now these are those whom David appointed over the service of song in the house of The Lord, after the ark rested there. 
They ministered with song
before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of The Lord in Jerusalem; and they served in their office according to their order." (31-32)   
I stood in the auditorium with my sister, Teresa, this past Sunday evening.  We were in the back rows, singing praises to our ABBA, along with many others, as we listened to Matt Maher. He spoke, as well as sang, words of wisdom during the concert.  He said when a person sings out loudly, without any care of what others hear, when they are loudly singing only for the ears of our ABBA, pouring their hearts out to Him.  That is true worship.  
I realized.  I am most times inhibited by what those standing around me will think upon hearing my singing.               

While reading today's Scriptures,  I noticed there in the middle of the listing of the High Priestly Line and their cities, was the section regarding the "Musicians' Guild". 

Throughout the years Teresa would try to share her love for Christian music and I would politely nod.  Eyes glazed over.  Not really comprehending. 

And then The Holy Spirit began to dance within my heart to the words of praise being sung.  As I tucked more of His Word into my heart, I began to recognize passages being put together with the musical notes.  I began to fall in love with the worship of praise music.  I began to stand before Him, words washing over my soul, just listening and silently praying the words of the songs. But still not singing many of them out loud.   

There are many Scriptures validating our ABBA's love of music.  of praise.  Of its importance. 
It delights Him.  It is commanded of us.

Often while growing up, my singing voice would be made fun of by others who were gifted with a pleasant voice.  When the boys were quite little and I would sing, they covered their ears and said, "No mommy,No".  I used to feel there will be a sound proof booth for me in the choir room of Heaven and kept my voice quiet.  Many times I would find myself not singing because the sound of my voice ruined the song for me. 
But then - then - there are moments when I am alone in the car, or the house, and His praises are being sung and........
I can. not. help myself.  

I sing.  I dance.  (Or try to anyway.) 
Because I desire to truly worship Him.

He tells me, He created my voice.  He knew before the world was formed the sound of my voice. 
And He delights in it. 
It isn't squawking to Him.  
My voice is being lifted up to Him through The Love in my heart. 
The Love which makes it a beautiful sound to His ears.  
The Love for Him in my heart has not only transformed my voice. 
It has transformed the all of me. 
This doesn't mean I am going to win any singing contest, but now I know my voice isn't being measured by any other standard than His.   

When ABBA hears us.  sees us.  thinks of us. 
He is seeing us through The Love of our Savior. 
Our Christ. 
We are His Beloved who He delights in. 
And when in Him - We are Holy.  We are Beautiful.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
We are the music in His ears.  The dance in His steps.  The delight in His eyes.
And He is The Song of our soul.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"Everlasting Hope" - 04/26/16 - Psalm 73, 77-78

"Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. 

My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made The Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works."(73:23-28)


Monday, April 25, 2016

"Our Free Will" - 04/25/16 - 1 Chronicles 3-5

"They were the potters....., resident potters who worked for the king." (4:23)

How often do I become so full of self - I forget - I am only a mere potter for God. 
He is The Master Potter and everything I have, I am - all comes from Him. 
I am only a vessel for Him to use, to bring glory to Him.

The day our Savior rose from the grave was the day which represents a new covenant between God and His people.  It isn't because of anything I have produced from the clay.  It is only because of Christ and His works that I am free. 
All are free who abide In Him. 

If they choose to.

There is the story of the scientist who was going to prove God wasn't real by producing a diamond from a piece of coal.  He claimed he was able to produce the same beauty God did.  God agreed to the challenge.  As the man bent down to pick up the coal, God told him, "Wait  - you have to create your own piece of coal".   Being a resident potter, I am only able to produce from what He provides.  It is His clay, His wheel, His Hands which guide me. 
Again, I am only a tool.
If I choose to be.

I pray throughout my growth In Him, I will never forget it is only because of The Sacrifice Christ made for me that I may be with our Abba eternally.  It isn't because of my works, my gifts, or talents nor how "good" I am.  
Eternity with ABBA is only when in Christ - The King. 
It is only if I ask Him to be.  My King. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

"Spilling Over" - 04/24/16 - Psalm 43-45, 49, 84-85, 87

"My heart bursts its banks, spilling beauty and goodness."(45:1)

Everywhere my eyes fall upon, I am seeing it. 

Spring is bursting out in His landscape. 

My breath is taken away by His vibrant colors appearing in places where yesterday, there was only the stark, bare, darkness of winter.   The snow white blooms of the Bradford Pear mingled in by the purple of the red bud standing next to it - and I look in Awe. 

The heavy yellow, purple, orange, red, blooms of the tulips and daffodils bob in the wind.  Their thin, green stems, standing firm as they hold up weight that defies their size.  A kiss of warmth in the winds He is releasing from His storehouse. 

The snow white clouds dancing in the blue skies overhead.  The heat from His rays of sunshine becoming stronger each passing day.  Different tones of green rapidly disappear under the deck of my mower, the smell of fresh cut grass envelopes me.  

How He shows off to us through His gift of spring. 

Spring is bursting its banks. 
Spring is spilling beauty and goodness.

And I wonder - how is my heart? 
Is it as the spring? 
Is it still snuggled down in the comfort zone of warmth through the winter? 
Is it so full of Him, it is bursting at its banks? 
Or is it complacent? 
How am I living for and in Him? 
Is my life such, that when I am seen, it is Him that is bursting through? 
Is each part of me spilling beauty and goodness of Him? 

Am I Christlike in my love, my living?

"His Love is bursting its banks.
His Love is spilling beauty and goodness."

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"Called By Name" - 04/23/16 - I Chronicles 1-2

"Adam" (1:1)

Throughout the reading today my eyes scanned over the many names.  Beginning with Adam.  The first man.  The man we all began from.  Our roots.

Many of these names I am unable to pronounce and wonder however did they come up with this mix of letters!  Some I recognize from other accounts in the Scriptures.  My brain kept thinking about how we are all given a name and we are all intertwined somehow, someway on this earth. 

The ripples of "us". 

The ripples of those before us, those we create, those ahead of us will create - all will touch the ripples of others. 

I have been thinking most of the day about the names of persons in my life.  Names that come along with a ripple which had in some way of forming me.  I thought about the different persons I encounter day to day, learning their names and visiting, knowing our "ripples" were touching.  I stand amazed at how important "we" are to our ABBA. 

He not only knows us by name, He loves and cares enough to give us a name. 

When you bestow a name upon someone, it is usually a process which takes many times saying one over and over until the right one rings true in your ear and falls easily from your lips.  I think about the ones I love and how I delight in saying their names.  How I delight in remembering "ripples" associated with each name.  How I love to hear them call - my name.

The Scriptures today of all the names are not just a mixture of vowels and consonants.  They are the names of someone.  Someone's, who are part of your family tree.  Someone's, whose "ripples" have become a part of "you" handed down throughout the ages. 

I love knowing when I die, my ABBA has a new name chosen just for me.  One He will delight in saying.  Because this is just how much He loves me.  Just how much He loves all of "us". 

He gives us a name He has chosen just for each one of "us".  Wow!  Just hope I can pronounce it......

I loved an article I read, "Kids Talk About God" by Carey Kinsolving.  Below are a few of the quotes from the kids she interviewed.

"I think God will give me 'Bubba' as a new name," says Andrew, age 11. "'Bubba' means like a good friend. I think everybody will have a good name in heaven because there is no evil there."
If there's a southern section of heaven, Bubba should work just fine.

It's "Scooby Doo" for Drew, 7. "He's my favorite character, and he's always funny."

"My name will be 'Glitter' because my halo will glitter if I live the life that pleases God," says Jesse, 7.

Please notice the word "if" in Jesse's statement. Eternal life is a free gift received by all who trust the Lord Jesus as their savior, but kingdom rewards are earned by faithful service. Those who live in dependence on God experience the power of Christ's life in them. God has reserved new names on white stones for those who live overcoming lives.

Victorious athletes in the ancient Greek games received a white stone. In this case, God writes on a white stone a new name that only the recipient knows.

Michael Jordan is known as "Air" Jordan. Have you ever heard of Eldrick Woods?
What about "Tiger" Woods? Eldrick is Tiger's birth name.
I seriously doubt that anyone's new name in heaven will relate to their athletic prowess.
I wonder if the widow whom Jesus commended because she gave two mites (copper coins) to the temple treasury will be called "Mighty Mite." We can only imagine.

Husbands and wives sometimes develop endearing names for each other that they reserve for private moments. God has intimate, personal names for faithful believers.

 "If God gave me a name, it would have something to do with horses because I love them," says Jordan, 9. "They are so beautiful. So I would be called 'Wild Stallion.'"

I've seen wild stallions running free in the Nevada desert. God wants us to run free and unfettered in our love and devotion to him. He gave us the desire for intimacy, beauty and adventure. All attempts to fill these desires apart from God end in frustration and futility.

We may think we're running free when we run away from God, but we've been bridled by the evil one. "Eternity in our hearts" is how the Bible labels our longing for reality.

Author John Eldredge explores this longing like no one else I've ever read.

"We like to put God in a box confined to our Sunday-morning church experience. But what happens when God appears in a burning bush, as he did to Moses? If God issues new names commensurate with our character and overcoming experiences, why not aspire to something interesting? How about names like "Fireball," "Burning Heart" or "God-Chaser"? An aspirant to such a name won't be sitting entranced for hours a day in front of the TV."

The prophet Jeremiah wrote, "But His word was in my heart like a burning fire" (Jeremiah 20:9).

“I hope my new name is 'Love,'" says Rebecca, 9.

Think about this: God wants to give you a new name better than any name achieved by the fame and fortune of this world. 

 Memorize this Truth: 

"To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows except him who receives it" (Revelation 2:17).

 Ask yourself this question: When God gives you a new name in heaven, what could it be?


Friday, April 22, 2016

"Roadtrip!" - 04/22/16 - Psalm 6, 8-10, 14, 16, 19, 21

"The morning sun's a new husband leaping from his honeymoon bed,
The day breaking sun an athlete racing to the tape. 

That's how God's Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset,
Melting ice,
scorching deserts, w
arming hearts to faith.   

The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together.

The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road.  
The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes.  
God's reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee.

The decisions of God are accurate down to the nth degree.  

God's Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You'll like it better than strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries.   

There's more:
God's Word warns us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure.  
Otherwise how will we find our way? Or know when we play the fool?   

Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!

Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.  

These are the words in my mouth;
these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them on the morning altar,
O God, my Altar-Rock, God, Priest-of-My-Altar. (19:5-14)

So thankful for the "roadmap" of life He has provided for me.  For all of us. 

So blessed His Word is buried within my heart creating a heart transformation. 
So much "meat" to chew on throughout my moments. 
So delighted in "seeing" all of life through His Words. 
So secure in "living" life guided by His Words. 

So "in" love with His Word - our own personal love letter from our ABBA!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"The Defender" - 04/21/16 - 2 Samuel 1-4

"Joab and his men then marched all night, arriving in Hebron as the dawn broke".(2:32)

I think about how much God defends me.......and mostly I am unaware of the different ways, the extent.  When mowing or weed eating along a road, I think about angels guarding our backs against the cars coming up behind us.  With a blink of an eye...........

I think about how He and His army never stop.  This verse brings a picture to my minds eye of His vast army, marching as one, headed for battle - for me.  For you.  For His family. 

They say it is always darkest before the dawn.  It seems whenever we are in a trial, or valley, when we feel there is no hope - His army arrives - at the dawn. 

There are times we are so unaware of the spiritual battle raging about us and we are reminded,
He is always there with each and every step. 

For He is always aware. 
He is right there in the thick of it all - guiding, protecting, keeping the peace.
He is The Commander in Chief. 

What a comfort I receive knowing He is on the march........all night long.  

Knowing He always, always arrives as the dawn breaks.  
Knowing in the death of His Son - our Savior - at the dawn He arose and won the battle over the grave - over sin. 

I love knowing I am on the side which has won. 
In Him, we belong to an army that is always marching, taking up the call to win others to Him. 

Arriving at The dawn of awakening to Him. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"He Raised His Hand" - 04/20/16 - Psalm 121, 123-125, 128-130

My Help comes from The Lord,
Who made heaven and earth. (121:2)

At the auction, it was alone. 
Over in the shadows, leaned up against the wall of the old home.

Its legs had been removed and they were now resting by its wooden top, which was covered by layers and layers of ugly, old varnish. When it came time to bid on it, no one raised their hand.

Except me.
I bought it for $2.

I bought it at a time in our financial life when $2 was much like $2000. It wouldn't fit into the car, so I had to go home and get my Curt and our truck.

He wasn't impressed with my "bargain", knowing our finances and how often my "bargains" entailed work from him.

He kept his thoughts to himself as we loaded it into the truck and took it home.

I put the legs back on by myself. The table wobbled. I tightened them and the wobble lessened. There were many moments, while sitting at the table, I would pick at the old varnish, thinking I needed to take the time and do it proper.

It took the help of others to make the needed changes.

Upon closer inspection, Curt discovered I had put the legs on backwards. No more wobble. My mom, newly retired with time on her hands, took the table and upon its return it had transformed from ugly to beautiful. 

This happened 25 years ago, and each time I am reminded of my "self" when I look or sit at our $2 table.

At the auction, my ABBA is the only one who raised His Hand.
He bought me at the price of His Son.
He placed me in His Church, my new Home.

It has taken the help of Him,
His Son,
The Holy Spirit,
His Word,
His Family,
in the work of transforming my "self".

He has taken the "ugly" and transformed it into "beautiful". His Beloved.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"The All of Me" - 04/19/16 - I Samuel 28-31, Psalm 18

Psalm 18

"I love You, God— You make me strong.
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing Knight

My dearest Daddy, it is only You, and You alone where I am able to obtain a strength that overpowers anything which comes in my path. You are "The solid" I can be sure of when all other steps of life have been in quicksand. You are The King of The Home in which I reside. A castle that is fortified to protect me, to keep me, to treasure me. You are my "rescuing Knight" as no other has ever been to me.

"My God—the high crag
where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout."(2)

You are The One whom I climb up to, where I escape to, where I am hidden and protected, safe and secure in The Palm of Your Hand - The Hand which created all - That is in control over all.

"I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty,
and find myself safe and saved."(3)

My voice is only able to proclaim of You and Your glory - Only You are Worthy of such a song. The music envelopes me and wraps around me - consuming me in You.

 "The hangman's noose was tight at my throat;
devil waters rushed over me.
Hell's ropes cinched me tight;
death traps barred every exit

I once walked in the world - not even aware of being within the clinches of satan.  his lies were deceiving, conniving, they were drawing me in. I was entrapped in a world of darkness, of no hope, of ashes and soot. There was no beauty - only death.

"A hostile world! I call to God,
I cry to God to help me.
From His palace He hears my call;
my cry brings me right into His presence—
a private audience!"(6)

And from the world of lies and death I called out to my God, my Daddy. Please - rescue me, take me into Your care. And You did. Without hesitation, without any anger, only with Love. You saved me - You saved me. You took "me", ugly in sin. You cleansed "me" and clothed "me" in Your Holy Wardrobe. You hold the all of "me" tightly in Your arms. I am Yours and You are mine.

 "Earth wobbles and lurches;
huge mountains shake like leaves,
Quake like aspen leaves
because of His rage.
His nostrils flare, bellowing smoke;
His mouth spits fire.
Tongues of fire dart in and out;
He lowers the sky.
He steps down;
under His feet an abyss opens up.
He's riding a winged creature,
swift on wind-wings.
Now He's wrapped himself
in a trench coat of black-cloud darkness.
But His cloud-brightness bursts through,
spraying hailstones and fireballs.
Then God thundered out of heaven;
the High God gave a great shout,
spraying hailstones and fireballs.
God shoots His arrows—pandemonium!
He hurls His lightnings—a rout!
The secret sources of ocean are exposed,
the hidden depths of earth lie uncovered
The moment You roar in protest,
let loose Your hurricane anger."(7-15)

And as our Daddy, You are our protector. You listen and hear of all the lies that held us in the world. You are angry. You are set on destroying those who have hurt the ones You love so much - "your children". In all of my thoughts, never have I imagined the unconditional Love, the loyalty, the protectiveness, as You defend my siblings and myself. Nothing can escape You - Enough is enough - no more will You tolerate any one to cause pain to Your children.

 "But me He caught—reached all the way
from sky to sea; He pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
the void in which I was drowning

You never had me out of Your sight - even when I was walking in the depths of sin. You always knew how to reach me - and You did. You rescued me.  Even then, Your hedge of protection was about me as I served self and followed the way of the world.

"They hit me when I was down,
but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
I stood there saved—surprised to be loved

Those who I thought loved me, loved only themselves. They felt power as they walked on me, not caring if I was hurt or not. But You never left my side. You took some of their blows so I would live. You took me to Your meadow and I was awestruck by the beauty of Your love. I was ashamed. You loved me at my ugliest - You hath made me beautiful.

 "God made my life complete
when I placed all the pieces before Him.
When I got my act together,
He gave me a fresh start."(20)

You took this wreck I called self and rebuilt it into Your image. I continue to give You my all and You continue to rebuild, repair, reconstruct In Your own way. You have taken my "stumbling blocks" and made them into Your "stepping stones". In Christ I have been given a new start - my slate has/is wiped clean. Your grace and mercy have covered me.

"Now I'm alert to God's ways;
I don't take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways He works;
I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
and I'm watching my step"(21-23)

Today, I read Your love letter to me every single day. I look at every Word and chew on it, put it into my heart. I never take for granted, what You have brought me from and into. I look at every step I take, every breath I breathe, for You. I look at every person I encounter, what is it You want me to do. I am whole only because I am In You. I never, ever want to return back to the world. I am finally complete. I am at Home In You.

"God rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes

You have always desired me to be with You. To celebrate my life In You - You saved me from a death in the world, an eternal life in hell - You changed my ending when You took me In. You have given me an eternal life in You. You have captured the all of my heart - forever and then some.

 "The good people taste Your goodness,
The whole people taste Your health,
The true people taste Your truth,
The bad ones can't figure You out.
You take the side of the down-and-out,
But the stuck-up You take down a peg."(25-27)

I walk In Your goodness, it consumes me and makes me Complete. You have filled each and every void that my heart has ever had. I know In You my soul is not ill, it is not broken down, it is not growing weary and old. I drink in Your truths - a refreshment like non other - in a world filled with lies. Those who don't know You, can not comprehend how it is You work. How it is that we who walk In You, are as we are In You. You take those the world sees as low, as kind, as weak, as nothing - and make them Your best. The ones who are full of self - You will one day show - it is You who they should be full of. They will never, ever be satisfied with "self".

 "Suddenly, God, You floodlight my life;
I'm blazing with glory, God's glory!
I smash the bands of marauders,
I vault the highest fences."(28-29)

And at those moments, when I think I can not go over one more hurdle in life, You pick me up and carry me through. It is not on myself I have to rely - it is not the way of the world to light up my path - It is You, Your Son, Your Holy Spirit, Your Word. In You there is nothing, nothing that can destroy my soul. It is safe In Your Hands.

 "What a God! His road
stretches straight and smooth.
Every God-direction is road-tested.
Everyone who runs toward Him
Makes it."(30)

I so love You.  My ABBA!   My Daddy! There aren't any traps or hidden tricks You haven't cleared from my path. You step before I step.   Ensuring I will be safe. My road to You is paved with The Blood of Christ.  There aren't any sink holes to entrap me.   I know You have made this road to You one I am able to run quickly on and not tire. Your arms are outstretched as a parent to a baby learning to walk. Your Word is encouragement and guidance. I am not alone on this road. I have You.  And You have me.

 "Is there any god like God?
Are we not at bedrock?
Is not this the God who armed me,
then aimed me in the right direction?
Now I run like a deer;
I'm king of the mountain.
He shows me how to fight;
I can bend a bronze bow!
You protect me with salvation-armor;
you hold me up with a firm hand,
caress me with your gentle ways.
You cleared the ground under me
so my footing was firm."(31-36)

There is no other like You. None can compare. I was so lost, so alone and then I found You. I was never prepared until You. I was stumbling about - unsure of where, when, to go or to stop. You direct me, You supply me with what I need. I have a purpose. I can recognize the enemy and those in his clutches. Those who I need to tell of You - so they may be "in" You too. I stand confident In Your armor, I follow Your lead - knowing You are all knowing, You build me up, you hold me accountable, You groom me and nurture me. You have made me strong and ready to fight. For You. For the lost.

"When I chased my enemies I caught them;
I didn't let go till they were dead men.
I nailed them; they were down for good;
then I walked all over them.
You armed me well for this fight,
You smashed the upstarts.
You made my enemies turn tail,
and I wiped out the haters.
They cried "uncle"
but Uncle didn't come;
They yelled for God
and got no for an answer.
I ground them to dust; they gusted in the wind.
I threw them out, like garbage in the gutter

You have opened my senses to the ways of the world. No longer am I trying to fit in, to be one with it. The things I once delighted in, I can not stomach. They disgust me, they make me angry. I see they are not of You and want to destroy them. It saddens me people, and sometimes even myself, throw sin in Your face, without any fear, any respect and without any love. I don't see many who are torn to the core when they realize their sin rips Your heart out - because it separates us from You. It saddens me of the many, many who worship and depend on self and their gods. Being one "in" You makes me so much more aware of the emptiness I once had outside of You. Of what the lost are experiencing.

 "You rescued me from a squabbling people;
You made me a leader of nations.
People I'd never heard of served me;
the moment they got wind of me they listened.
The foreign devils gave up; they came
on their bellies, crawling from their hideouts"(43-45)

You have allowed me to be a vessel for You, for Your glory. It amazes me the many times You provided words to be spoken to others. It amazes me You are able to use one such as I, one who was and is such a sinner. It shows me just how amazing You are to be able to take a chunk of coal and make it into a diamond - much as You have done with me.

 "Live, God! Blessings from my Rock,
my free and freeing God, towering!
This God set things right for me
and shut up the people who talked back.
He rescued me from enemy anger,
He pulled me from the grip of upstarts,
He saved me from the bullies."(46-48)

I love how You have completely transformed my life - how You have taken me from the pits of hell and given me a "Taste of Heaven" while here on earth. I love how You have changed my focus onto You and what really matters. I love how Your Truth always, always, comes out and conquers the lies. I love how You have taken me and given me worth. How You have enabled me to love "me" as You love me. To see myself through Your eyes. How You have shown me what is real. How You have taught me to use Your measuring stick and not the world's or my own.  How You have taught me to Love as You Love.

 "That's why I'm thanking You, God,
all over the world.
That's why I'm singing songs
that rhyme Your name.
God's king takes the trophy;
God's chosen is beloved.
I mean David and all his children—

How thankful I am The Holy Spirit moans and groans to You how much I love and thank You for al You have done in/with my life, because my words are so inadequate. I pray I shall never be able to keep quiet about You. I pray for every conversation I have that Your name is sprinkled throughout. I pray for all who look at me, see only You. I pray the way I live will draw others to You in wonderment of Who it is I have. YOU.   I pray they too will want YOU. I pray for all the generations to come from Curt and me will be Yours. I pray they will go out and make disciples, one by one, until the end of time. I pray for all of our generations to be Your Warriors.

I pray I will not waste not one moment You give me. 
I pray I will see all - are made in Your Image.

Monday, April 18, 2016

"I Worship" - 04/18/16 - Psalm 17, 35, 54, 63

"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)

I was alone, sitting on a bench at the fountains in the heart of Chicago and I couldn’t help but smile as I watched them. 


Of all ages. 
The water was full of those made in His image.

Parents swinging and dipping their babies toes down into it.  Little ones running, screaming, laughing as they ran through it, on one of the first warm days of spring.  Watching how different God has made each of us, not only in our looks, but our temperament. 
A beautiful little girl reminded me of a duck.  She was following another little girl, mimicking her every move.  Even in the holding up of her “skirt”, while not wearing a skirt.  Never did that little hand unclasp the hem of her short tee shirt.  Wherever her leader went, she went also.  Whatever action, she was a perfect copy. 

The little boy made his way about the waters on his own.  Splashing whomever happened to be in his way.   Running through the water falls and squealing with delight, as he came through the other side completely soaked.  His mom soon joined in.  Not caring at all what she looked like to others.  They were in their own little world – delighting in it.

Four little sisters ran from one end to the other, until the youngest was completely soaked.   When they came over to their mom, who was sitting right beside me, excitement in the soaked one quickly fizzled out.  Her mom was harshly reprimanding her for “not thinking long term” and getting soaked.  She would have to ride in the car like that.  I wanted so badly to say, “pick your battles.  Your child will most likely remember getting “shoulded”, instead of the giggles, screams, and laughter the four of them had – getting soaked”.  I kept my mouth shut and prayed.

And continued to pray for all whom I was watching.    
Wondering how many of them have an intimate relationship with God or even know His name. 
I so want my fellow man to know Him. 
All the thousands of persons I have passed by in my life, I wonder. 
I recall praying as I walked down the different streets.  I may not have met them face to face, but I believe my Divine Appointment that day was to pray over them.  I cannot contain my love for Him. 

My heart smiles as I remember the signs of hope He gave me. 
It was in the early evening, as I sat in Union Station waiting on my train, I looked across the room.  There was a woman with two books in her lap, she was writing and turning pages back and forth.  One of those books was her Bible.  Another woman sat a few rows down from her, a book lay open in her lap as her eyes scanned the pages. It was her Bible. And both of their Bible's were worn from many hours of use.
He gives me hope. Regardless.  Be it in the middle of the city. In the middle of the crowds.  In the privacy of my own home.  Alone. 
"So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory."
He was and He is and always will be.  Here.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

"Yes" - 04/17/16 - I Samuel 25-27

“Who will go down with me and enter Saul’s camp?”
Abishai whispered, “I’ll go with you.” (26:6)
"David took the spear and water jug that were right beside Saul’s head, and they slipped away. Not a soul saw. Not a soul knew. No one woke up! They all slept through the whole thing. A blanket of deep sleep from God had fallen on them." (I Samuel 26:12)

How often do you go into the enemy camp with the intent to be a Warrior for God? 

It is different when you walk in the enemy camp to take pleasures, sample the wares, even live there amongst the enemy.  And then the ways of the enemy become a part of you.  As the Israelites did, instead of destroying  the entire enemy. 

Sometimes, when I am reading David’s words, I am fearful of the power of his prayers to God in dealing with his enemies. 

Is there anyone in the world that I would want God to inflict all David requested?  There are some whom I can not have in my life, and I pray for them and reconciliation, but not to be destroyed.  The only things I pray for total destruction are satan and his demons to be - soon.   God is enabling me, through His Spirit, to love all.  I struggle with “liking” all, but am getting there in the love part! 
And it is only through Him I am able. 
How often do I temporally, intentionally put myself into the enemy camp for the sole purpose of grasping those there from the grip of evil?   How often am I more content to stay in my comfort zone and “pray” about it?  How often am I too busy for the Divine Appointments He has set up for me?  Or too selfish?  Or lazy? 

I am under His protection when I am living “in” His covenant.  He doesn’t send me into the enemy camp alone.  I am fortified, not only by Him, but also His family and His Armor.  Armor I have to put on each and every day. 

In Ephesians 6:10-18, the study of His Armor, His spear is His Word.  His Word is The defensive weapon He gives us to use.  Not muscle or might, but His Word. 

And when He asks,“Who will go down with me and enter the enemy camp to rescue lost souls”. May "yes" be my immediate reply.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

04/16/16 - "Flappy Mouth" - Psalms 56, 120, 140-142

"Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.

Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
To practice wicked works
With men who work iniquity;
And do not let me eat of their delicacies.

 Let the righteous strike me;
It shall be a kindness.
And let him rebuke me;
It shall be as excellent oil;
Let my head not refuse it."

For a number of years, I have been praying for God to break my heart for what breaks His. 

And still, I have intentionally ignored The Holy Spirit, as He tapped my shoulder of conscience, while continuing to flap my lips.  I have been guilty of the sin of malice.  Even though I justified my sin with the fact I was telling ugly truth, it was in malice I was flinging the words about.  In my prideful way, I wanted to hurt as I have been hurt. 

There have been moments where those words came back around and bit me.   


Not usually an event persons enjoy.  But it is needed.  For there are times we believe our way is the right and only way.  Those are the moments our ABBA brings along side of us a sibling to redirect our steps onto His path.  Being held accountable in love is entirely different than being held accountable by a person who doesn’t have God on their agenda.  In those moments I am given the choice to react either in defensiveness or in a Christ like manner.  

Thankfully, He is giving me the realization it isn't about the person, it is all about Him and me. 
No matter what has been done to me, my reaction doesn't depend on the actions of a person. 
I need to confess, thank Him for forgiveness, and repent, setting my heart right "in" Him.  


Friday, April 15, 2016

"I Smile" - 04/15/15 - Psalm 7, 27, 31, 34, 52

"I trusted in the generous Mercy of God then and now. 
I thank You always that You went into action.
And I'll stay right here,
Your good name my hope,
in company with Your faithful friends." (52:8-9)

Last evening we stood on the back deck, dusk bringing in the shadows to the woods below and around us. My sisters were gathered to dig into His Word through our weekly Bible Study.  We have just started a new study, "The Missing Commandment - Love Yourself", How loving yourself the way God does can bring healing and freedom to your life.  With the study we have added a new element, worship in singing before the book.  

There was such a haunting beauty in the stillness of the woods as the sound of Kathy's flute wove through the air with our voices. I found my heart catching in the profoundness of His Grace and Mercy.  Knowing He was surrounding us in our worship of Him.  Knowing He was delighting in us more than we delight in Him, as I stood "in company with my faithful friends", my sisters in Him. 

I stood looking through the trees and thought about how He has transformed my life.  my heart.  Bringing me to this place where all I want to do is worship Him through all of my actions.  my words. my thoughts.  my all.

I smile, realizing the times are fewer when I do forget where He has brought me through His "generous Mercy". Those times when I will physically cringe. Those moments when my path comes across someone from my past and I pick up and again dress myself in the garment of "shame".

I smile for there are far fewer moments when I allow "shame" to cover up the transformation ABBA has taken and clothed me in.  Much like a ratty, dirty, old bathrobe. 

I smile for He has taken my mind from being focused on the mistakes I made, rather than on His face.  Those times when I focus more at the places of sin I wallowed in, the missed opportunities when I could have been a Vessel for Him and being instead a vessel for and of sin. 

I smile for He has taught me to have less of focusing on me, and more on my Savior. 

My Savior.
who was hung on the cross
and took upon Himself



He did this so I could be ABBA's.  So I could live my life intimately "in" His world. 
My Savior has taken that old bathrobe and cast it aside. 

I smile, knowing there are less moments of forgetting I have vowed to "stay right here, Your good name my hope, in company with Your faithful friends".   I love knowing there are less and less  situations where I go back digging through the decay of garbage, retrieving the bathrobe of sin, and putting it on. Picking up "doubt" and believing the words of lies.  Believing I do not belong with His faithful company.

I smile, hearing when my ABBA begins to speak and I believe.  Softly I hear His Voice, coming from within my heart where I have buried His Words. 

I am cleansed from "shame", from "sin".  I am covered in His Blood. 

I am His. 
I am His Beloved.

He has gently taken my face into His Hands, leading my eyes into His, where I drink in His Truth.  He surrounds me with those who are "in" Him, who see me in love.  Who see me as His.  Who have given me the gift of mercy, as they have been given mercy.  He has placed me "in company with His faithful friends".

And in those moments when needed, He again removes the bathrobe of shame, casting it aside, revealing me still clothed in His Truth.
He leads me back to my place, right there in the company of Him. 

"His good name is my hope".

"Now I won't deny
The worst you could say about me
But I'm not defined by mistakes that I've made...
Because God says of me

I am not who I was
I'm being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy and I'm dearly loved
I am new
Who I thought I was
And who I thought I had to be
I had to give them both up
Cause neither were willing
To ever believe
I am not who I was
I'm being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy and I'm dearly loved
I am new
I am new
Too long have I lived in the shadow of shame
Believing that there was no way I could change
But the one who is making everything new
Doesn't see me the way that I do
He doesn't see me the way that I do
"I am not who I was
I'm being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy and I'm dearly loved
I am new
I am new
I am not who I was
I'm being remade
I am new
Dead to the old man, I'm coming alive
I am new
I am new
Forgiven, beloved
Hidden in Christ
Made in the image of the Giver of Life
Righteous and holy, reborn and remade
Accepted and worthy
This is our new name
This is who we are now..."(Jason Gray)