Friday, March 31, 2017

"Truly, Madly, Deeply LOVING" - 03/31/17 - 1 Samuel 18-20

"He loved David more than his own soul!" (20:17)

 Paul tells us he would give up his own soul, if it meant that the lost would be saved. 

That. is. LOVE.

When I think about giving up my own soul for another, there are names which come up immediately.  They are names of those whom I am in love with.  They are not strangers, but a part of my life and my heart.  Two of them are partly made up of my genes. 

Without a doubt, without hesitation - I would give up my own soul for all of them. 

Thankfully, I know their souls already belong to our Abba. 

Jonathan loved David as I do these ones I instantly think of.   He was at a Y in the road and had to make a decision of whom to follow - his father or his brother, David.  Although David wasn't his blood brother, he was his brother in God.  Jonathan, took the road to walk with David towards our Abba.  He chose the road causing him to leave his earthly father, King Saul. In doing so, it also meant he was giving up being the heir to the throne. 

He did this for someone he loved and who loved him back.

Paul was offering his own soul for the lost.  Those who didn't know him, nor he them.  Total strangers.  He was so in love with our Abba, he wanted others to experience this true, Holy, and life changing gift.  The same gift that Jonathan chose.

Jesus.  Our precious Savior. 

He gave up His life for me.  for you.  for us.  for those who nailed Him onto The Cross.  for those  who spit in His face.  for those who walked/walk away from Him.  for those who are vessels for satan. 

for those who are lost.

for all.

I am ashamed knowing I would hesitate.  I am thankful He is transforming my heart so I am seeing others through His eyes.  I am blessed  He is enabling me to love the unlovely.  To have sorrow and pray for them in love. 

But still, I would hesitate to give up my own soul for them. 

We are to strive to be Christlike - and I am striving.  I acknowledge my weaknesses and am turning them over to Him. 

But still. I am selfish. 

I am so in love with our ABBA.  Our DADDY.  I so love being with Him.  I so, so love being His.  After being one of the lost, living in the world of sin, I can not express how much I love being of His world.  I am so thankful to be walking in His light, instead of the darkness anymore.  I so love being in the palm of His hand, crawling up into His lap at anytime, sharing life with Him.  Living for Him. 

I continually pray He continues to grow our hearts so we may truly LOVE as He does. 

To LOVE all others, more than our own soul.

 I continually pray He takes from us the selfishness of our being His, so we may want others to be His even more.  For our eyes to be open and sense the urgency when seeing those who are not His.  Those who are lost.  For we are all made in His image.  And we are all Truly, Madly, Deeply  LOVED by our ABBA.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

"Our Heart" - 03/30/17 - 1 Samuel 15-17

"God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” (16:7)

"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

There are persons in this world who have to go to bed each night exhausted.   It is very hard for me to imagine living a life in total pretense of whom you are projecting to the world, from whom you really are.  They can become quite adapt at fooling others.  They will manipulate, cover up their lies, play the blame game, bullying their way through.  Life is all about them and what they are able to get out of it for themselves and they don't care who they have to chew up and discard in the process. 
The world's measuring stick is all about "self". 
We live in a society where "who" you are, not "whose", is the statuesque. 
Often times the questions usually asked upon meeting someone are  "What do you do?",  "Oh, are you related/know who.....?",  "Where do you live?",  "You are friends with......?" 
And if you have the right answers - you have a new "friend". 
Then think about the different reactions received when it is obvious we are Christian.  Some persons are okay with this, others run the opposite direction.  And some will ask the same questions as before - "which church do you belong to?",  etc. 
Either in using it or by it, we all fall victim to the world's measuring stick at some time or the other. 
I find there are many moments I am reminding myself "whose" I am, not "who". 

Particularly in times of sharing company with persons who are bullies.  The times when I am the only one in the room who isn't on board with the bully and their puppets.  The times when I am attacked and told I am in the wrong even though I know I am standing strong "in" Him. 
Scripture instructs us not to judge where a persons soul is going, but we are able to judge their fruits.  It is through their fruits their hearts become known. And always, in all ways, The Truth does and will prevail. 
Sometimes the evidence of a persons fruit comes out right away and with others it may take years, even generations.  This is why it is in God's hands to seek vengeance, revenge.  He is bigger and in total control. 
And for those of us who are His, we are safe. 
 From anything or any one. 
The eyes are the window to the soul.  If you stop and look closely, if you really listen and watch - a persons heart - it isn't hidden.  Some persons may think it is, but through our actions, choices while living this life - what fills our hearts is seen.  
Still.  We are not to judge their hearts - only their fruits. 
For we "in" Him, it is only because of His Grace and Mercy our own hearts have been transformed.  Be it from a distance or up close and personal, we are to continually pray for and love the hearts of those who are becoming stone cold in their walk away from our ABBA.
We are to constantly Love them to Christ. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"Kept Appointments" - 03/29/17 - 1 Samuel 13-14

"And all because you didn’t keep your appointment with God!” (13:14)

A few years ago during our weekly Bible study, we were discussing about how life can rob us of peace if we allow it.  This led to the way life can rob us of so much, if our focus isn't on Him.  One of the women then said,  "she didn't want to miss God."

Her comment hasn't left my thoughts.

Divine Appointments.

God has them lined up for us each and every day.

Whose appointment book are we living by - His or ours?

How often are we in such a rush to keep our agenda, that we miss out completely who or what He has set up for us that day?  
Christ went away, in the early morning, to be with our Abba. 
Throughout His Word He tells us to dig into it, consume it, make it part of our heart, our life, our being.  This isn't done unless we schedule in "ink" to be in His Word every day.  I think about how we are able to "pencil" in weddings, funerals, doctor appointments, lunches, etc., yet we are sometimes even unable to "pencil" in an appointment with Him every day. 

During the past years, I strive to meet with Him first thing every morning.  It isn't often I miss our time together, going over His Love Letter to me.  He gives me the needed verses I am to carry with me throughout the day.  This time with Him has grown from being a habit to an essential part of my life.  Those times when I push our meeting to later in the day, messes up my focus. 
Thankfully, His Word is powerful and alive, which keeps me going until I make it to my Divine Appointment with Him.

But, how different our day goes when we meet with Him first thing.  Our day begins totally focused on and in Him.  
And in being focused on Him, do we find ourselves eagerly awaiting the "Divine Appointments" He has set up for us with others throughout the day?


There is such excitement when I recognize I am in the middle of His appointment I am to have with another and think about how long He has had this planned.  How He has grown me to this time and place.  Prepared me to be a vessel for Him in this exact appointment. 
Nothing is by chance. 
Then there are the times we will come away blessed and filled, because we needed to be with the person or place He set up for us.  We needed to draw living water, encouragement, accountability, reinforcement, essential tools He knew were for all involved during "The Divine  Appointment".

"I don't want to miss God."

I don't. 

I do not want to be so busy with my way, my time, focused on me, the mundane things of life which really don't matter, that I miss His beauty walking right by me.  I do not want to break His heart because He is waiting for me to make our appointment or any other He has set up for me.

I do not want to be like five of the ten virgins who were not prepared to meet their groom.  I do not want to be as they were - gone - because they had to run and get more oil.  I want to live my life looking through Christ eyes and ready for my Divine Appointments.  Yes, I will miss some, but it is a goal I have set for my life to set "in ink" my daily appointment with and in Him. 

In His Word, in constant prayer - "In" Him.

 We do not want to miss God.

The biggest part which blows my mind regarding our first thing in the morning "Divine Appointment"  -  He desires, looks forward, wipes His appointment book clean, to be with each one of us.

You and me.
Not to be erased, cancelled, or changed.
How Awesome is it that?
 "We" are His Divine Appointments He writes down in ink! 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"He Fills " - 03/28/17 - I Samuel 9-12

"Saul said, “If we go, what do we have to give him?
There’s no more bread in our sacks.
We’ve nothing to bring as a gift to the holy man. Do we have anything else?” 
The servant spoke up,
“Look, I just happen to have this silver coin!

I’ll give it to the holy man and he’ll tell us how to proceed!”  (9:7-9)

What did I have to give Him.   My ABBA.

Looking into my heart, I could see, I too had nothing to bring as a gift for Him. 
Even after eating my fill of the bread of the world, my life was still an empty sack.

 Thinking because I "just happened to have a silver coin" in doing a good deed here and there, enabling me to squeeze by into Heaven.  Everything I was basing my life on had worldly value, but in God it was  nothing. 

No matter how much silver I may have had, I was unable to make my way into Him.  Not by works, bartering, boasting, nor is there any sneaking "into" Him. 

What gift can we give to Him?

How humbled I am to think The Creator of all - our ABBA, our Daddy -
He wants only one thing from us - it is "self". 

Even more humbling is the thought of our starved "self" coming before Him, wrapped in the ugly, filthy, stench scented rags of sin.

How our hearts are filled when seeing the joy and delight He takes in accepting the present of our "self". 
How He holds our "self", a dirty, ugly wrapped gift,  as His most precious treasure. 
He never turns away, trying to draw in a fresh breath of air, as the stench rises up to His nose. 
He gently, firmly, carefully, unwraps our "self" and then..........

He smiles.  

He dips us into our Savior's blood, His precious Son, to cleanse us.  Making each of us pure and holy.  He covers us in the perfume of His Grace and Mercy.   
He cloths us in the beautiful silks of The Holy Spirit.
He feeds us with the meat of His Word - His Truth.

 Our "self" is His most precious treasure.

When I think about how long it took me to realize and act upon this, my eyes tear of the wasted time spent away from Him.  All those years I walked in the world, focused on "self", trying to fill up in all ways possible,
and still I was empty. 

The world is all about the taking for "self". 

And then there is God's way. 

A way which only makes sense if you are "in" Him. 

His way is about giving. 
Giving up "self" - to Him. 
Giving up "self" - to be a vessel for Him. 
Giving up "self" - to give blessings to those you encounter. 
Even when it brings pain, suffering. 
His way is all about giving.  The emptying out of "self".

When we give God the gift of our "self", He fills us to overflowing. 
He fills the void. 

No matter how much we give, we can not out give Him. 
He continually replenishes us - like a living spring that never goes dry as it runs towards the ocean.

In a way only He can do, as we give to Him, He fills us and no longer are we an "empty sack". 

Monday, March 27, 2017

"We - His Masterpiece" - 03/27/17 - 1 Samuel 4-8

"Then we'll be just like all the other nations. "(8:20)

It is such a temptation to compare ourselves to others.  When we do, we end up doing one of two things, or both.  Either we end up wallowing in self-pity - envy - jealousy - because the grass looks greener over there for "them" or we become self-righteous in comparing and convincing ourselves  we are "better than".

We end up serving and focusing on "self".
One of my hobbies is building birdhouses.  Taking cast off "junk" and incorporating it into an original design.  Each one is different and unique. ABBA created each one of us in His Image.  He took the "best elements" and even though we threw in some "junk", He still uses the all of us, every bit, for His Glory.

When I am focused on Him, I find it exciting and thankful, knowing I am "one-of-a-kind".  Knowing He designed us for His Glory and to do a "job" that only we can do.  We are part of His Body - The Church - and He has a plan for each one of us.

 But then, how often do I find myself taking my focus off of Him and looking at other women and wishing.  Wishing I was as pretty, as thin, as confident, as outgoing, and sometimes as financially and socially placed where they are.  Before He began the transformation of my heart, I was consumed with this way of thinking and it tore me down.  It caused me to be even more insecure and feel more inadequate.  I see now, looking back, self and satan were wallowing and focusing on "doubt". 

Throughout His Love Letter to us, we read His personal message.  "I am fearfully and wonderfully made", "I am His desire", "for He loved me so much He gave His only Son".  Over and over He reaffirms to us, "I am His, specially created, for a special use, for Him". 

Why ever do we submit then to the occasional thinking and wishing we were like other "nations".  Why ever do we think our "design" would be better than His?  In transforming my heart, He is showing me that the best comes from Him being within us.  The more of Him within, the more of Him shines through for others to see.  This True, Radiant Beauty, is what draws others to Him. 

"He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul" (Proverbs 19:8)
In learning to love ourselves as He loves us, we see nothing else matters. 

It isn't about "me" - it is all about Him. 

I know now, without a doubt, He made me "an original".  Sure, I still struggle with comparing and will until I die.  Thankfully, I find more often than not, I am living life in His security.  Each day I look forward to the "Divine Appointments" He has set up for me.  For "me".  Exciting in knowing the "me" He created is whom He needs to be part of the mixture for someone else to draw nearer to Him.  

But, it is always our free choice to follow His lead.  To be different "in" Him.
To live as "The Designer's original".

"His Hannah" - 03/26/17 - 1 Samuel 1-3

I am greatly ashamed for the many times throughout the years when I have read about Hannah, the sacrifices she made, and did not recognize her as the strong and great woman of God she was sooner than I did.
One of the many great blessings of rereading His Word each year is how He has helped me in "getting to know" those I had often "skimmed" over and come to know them as part of my lineage. I so wish I could have spent time with her, to know more about her. There is so much I have been taught through The Scriptures, I can only imagine how much I would learn if able to have shared life with her face to face.
The blessings we receive from the little we do read are amazing.
She first captured my heart with whom she turned to in her pain - God.
She never turned inside and lashed out at the injustice she endured. To live as a barren woman in those days was one of the greatest types of shame. She was looked at as a complete failure. And yet, how her husband, Elkanah, loved her.
Her first great love though - is God.
"Hannah was praying in her heart, silently. Her lips moved, but no sound was heard. Eli jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk." (1:13) "The only thing I've been pouring out is my heart, pouring it out to God."(1:15)
How often do we pray to God in such a way? Do we take the privilege of prayer for granted? How often does it look to God as though we are drunk - because we are pouring our heart out to Him. How often do we hold back bits and pieces feeling He won't like, won't accept, won't find important or won't change? How often do we forget He desires to hear the all of our heart from our lips. How often do we forget, He already knows all there is to know about "us".
I look upon her with great admiration and respect.
She loved God so much that she vowed to give Him back her son if she were to be blessed with one. And she did. Jewish children were usually five years old when they were weaned. This is probably how old Samuel was when they left him with Eli the priest - to live.
I look upon her with great admiration and respect.
When I picture the separation, I don't see Samuel smiling and waving bye bye. I envision tears and fear as he stood beside a man, Eli, whom he did not know. I envision a little boy watching his mommy and daddy leaving him.
Could I have done this? We lost two babies which I think is one reason I have hung on and cherished Adam and Nichalas so much. But, at times I have been very guilty in placing a burden upon them by placing my worth in being their mom, in loving them more than God.
Hannah left with a song -
"Hannah prayed: I'm bursting with God-news! I'm walking on air.
I'm laughing at my rivals. I'm dancing my salvation. Nothing and no one is holy like God.....(2:1-10)
The boy Samuel stayed at the sanctuary and grew up with God.(2:11)
Hannah left with a song.
I look upon her with great admiration and respect.
A child's character and personality are "formed" by the time they are five. It says so much about Hannah as a mommy in the man whom Samuel grew up to be. We only know for sure she saw him once a year when they went to make sacrifice, no other time is written about. God blessed her with other children, but none can take the place of the other. We know that Samuel lived in Ramah when he was older, I like to assume that he was spending time with his family.
I gain much wisdom and strength from Hannah.
When Adam was living in Liverpool, NY and now with Nichalas and Amber in Phoenix, I draw comfort in Hannah's focus. It was totally on God. She didn't fall into a pity party for not being able to spend more years with Samuel - she was thankful for the time she had. She didn't keep count - she just drank in the days she was given. She turned to God in her great pain and drew strength and comfort from Him. By doing that - she had peace and joy.
Joy in a situation where I would be in tears. I pray I may be the mommy Hannah was. I pray our children Adam and Ashley, Nichalas and Amber, Charlie, Ella, and other future grandchildren and all generations to come will be known as Samuel was:
"Samuel grew up. God was with him...Everyone...recognized that Samuel was the real thing—a true "child" of God."(3:19-21)
I also pray I shall do my part as His child, following after Hannah in the lives I touch, for "in" Christ, we are all priest.
"I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house and he will walk before My anointed always."(2:35)
And from Hannah, she has taught me how to have a song in my heart.....for always.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

"The Cancer of Sin" - 03/25/17 - Judges 19-21

"They asked, “Shall we again march into battle against the Benjaminites, our brothers? Or should we call it quits?”
And God said, “Attack. Tomorrow I’ll give you victory.” (20:28)

There are times the cancer we are to be rid of is someone we thought of as a "brother".  There are times when a "brother" is one we shake the dust from our feet because their fruits/actions are destroying us.  Our "brothers" are to lift us up, make us feel loved, honored, cherished, wanted and hold us accountable.  But, if the measuring stick they are using to hold us accountable is their own and not God's - they are a hindrance in our  growing "in" God.  They are trying to mold you into their way of thinking, their standards, their rules. 

It is all about them.

Just like cancer.  It doesn't care about making your body healthy - it is set on destroying you.

The "you" our ABBA created you to be. 

There have always been those who are set on destroying from within The Church.  Throughout time many famous, and not famous, Christians have had their fruits revealed that their lives weren't about living as our ABBA has instructed.  Many have went the way of the world, submitting to the cancer of sin.

 I continually pray for our ABBA to open our eyes to His Truth.  And throughout the years He has been opening my eyes to so many Scriptures showing me where I am, or not, standing firm "In" Him.  His Word has become my measuring stick and He is ridding me of the "cancer of sin" that is trying its best to destroy me.   He is constantly replacing it with His healthy Truth and transforming my diseased heart into a healthy vessel.  He is also showing me in order to cleanse my heart, putting up healthy boundaries is needed. 

I have finally come to the place of knowing although He doesn't want separation, He has instructions for us to "shake the dust from our feet".  Christ told us He came into this world to divide.  To divide us from sin - sin that becomes a cancer within us.  "Shaking the dust" doesn't mean we have not forgiven, that we no longer love those persons, it just means  we can not walk in gray in order to belong.  It means when someone is telling us it is their way or the highway, we can choose the highway because what they are demanding of us, isn't the same of what God is demanding.  He doesn't rule with double standards and these type of persons are only about what benefits themselves.

These persons come from all over, even from within the church.  May He open our eyes to The Truth and see they are nothing more than wolves in sheep clothing.  May we see how much destruction they leave in their path and stand firm "in" our ABBA.  May we fight, armed with His Armor, to save as many souls for Him that we can.  Following His lead, may we flush out and eradicate this cancer of sin.
Time after time in Scripture we see examples of how God rid His people of the cancer.  The verses today are not about strangers in the land, but their "brothers", the Benjaminites.  Can you imagine the mixed emotions some of these people were going through?  Perhaps some of them knew each other.  Shared life with them.  Were even friends. 

God is adamant about our not walking in this journey and flirting with sin.  He is telling us we can not play with fire without getting burnt.  No matter how quick or smart we think we are.  Once sin gets a hold of us - we are taking the chance of our hearts becoming hard towards God and going to the place of eternal fire.  Totally separated from Him.

As long as we are able to see that our fruits are His, by using the all of Scripture as our measuring stick, we then know we are walking in His Truth.  He didn't promise this journey would be without pain, but did promise us we would have total victory "in" Him.  Christ suffered beyond what we ever will for standing firm "in" Him.   

We have courage and hope when remembering the pain of shaking the dust, isn't near what the pain of the cancer would be. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

"His Will" - 03/24/17 - Judges 16-18

"You took my god, the one I made" (18:21)

Sometimes, when you look beyond the sadness - you can't help but laugh at how downright stupid we are at times. The one good thing about this verse is it causes me to realize, again,  how much our ABBA puts up with and forgives because of how so much He loves us.

"I made a god that you could come along and take."

 Our ABBA.  The One who has been here before anything. The One who created all of this - including us (the ones who made another "god"). So often we are as the account in Isaiah (44:9-22) - using a tree for our warmth, cooking, shelter and then use the remaining wood to carve out an idol. 

Bowing down to a "block of wood".  
I am so thankful our ABBA is The One who no one can come along and "take" nor is He made by messed up humans.  

Reading this verse today reminds me once more, our Savior was not "taken" to The Cross against His will - He went on His own Freewill. He went because He is a Living God - one who can feel. Not something made out of wood or stone. He went because of His great Love for each and every one of us. Even those who "make" their own gods and choose not to follow Him. He died not only for "we" who follow Him - He died for those who don't.

He is The God who rose in three days defeating death.
He is our Living God in every sense.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

"Your Ripples" - 03/23/17 - Judges 13-15

"Some days later when he came back to get her,
he made a little detour to look at what was left of the lion.
And there a wonder: a swarm of bees in the lion’s carcass—and honey!
He scooped it up in his hands and kept going, eating as he went.
He rejoined his father and mother and gave some to them and they ate.
But he didn’t tell them that he had scooped out the honey from the lion’s carcass." (14:8-9)

Drama - What I think of as I read through these verses of Samson's life. 

How he goes from being a servant for God into a servant for "self".  Eating honey from a dead lion carcass?  Why would he even want to go back and check on the carcass?  Not only was he becoming unclean by touching the carcass - he ate honey from it!  Along with the bees -there would have been maggots, flies and stench.  

But then, why do we constantly go back and look at sin.  Before you know it, you're down on your knees, reaching into the decay, eating of it, sin now becoming a part of you. 

I too, have and do the same, as did Samson.  Going back to check out sin - sitting down to eat of what I think is too good to pass up, ignoring the filth it is surrounded by.  Ignoring the way the filth of sin will cling to me - become a part of me as it passes through my lips. 

This proves we alone can not even be around sin - it will consume us.  It is only through Christ we are protected.  Only In Him and The Holy Spirit are we in a shield that is impenetrable. 

There is a flip side of the lion's carcass.

It is us in sin.  Dead.  Only God can transform total ugliness of sin into the pure sweet honey. 

Don't miss out an important fact in these verses.  Samson gave his parents the honey without telling them where it came from.  In their eating of it, they unknowingly became unclean. 

When Jesus left, He left us to continue as His vessels in making disciples.  One drop of water creates a ripple.   Our  living life is a drop of water.  Every single thing you do has consequences - good or bad - touching  lives all around you.  Those who are living and those to come - even those who are gone that were once in your life.  When you look into the mirror, deep into your soul, ask yourself - what are you passing on? 

Are you a part of our Living God, passing on to all His pure sweet honey - the gift of Him, eternal life.

Or are you a part of the carcass of sin - the decayed, maggot infested, stench of eternal death.

What is your ripple? 

"Before Enough" - 03/22/17 - Judges 10-12

 "They just walked off and left God, quit worshiping Him." (10:7)

Upon reading these verses, my instant thoughts are, "How can anyone just walk off and leave God".

It dumbfounds me how anyone could live life without Him.  My mind becomes filled with such self-righteous and unholy thoughts.

And then I recall the years I lived life without Him.

Even today,  I know until the day I die I shall struggle with walking off and leaving Him, quit worshiping Him.  Although it is only for a short period, it happens each and every time I choose to put "me" before Him. 

A sin is a sin.  It is only because we are in Christ that we are saved.  Made Holy by His Blood.  Covered with His Grace and Mercy. 

Thankfully, He is continually transforming my heart to not be judgemental and self-righteous to those who choose not to worship our ABBA.  To those who attack, belittle, dismiss, reject Him.  He is instead causing me to be looking at them with compassion, sorrow, fear for them, and Christlike love.  (Confession.  Sadly there are still moments instead of praying for them, I slip back into my old habits of not being Christlike.)

And through it all, I rejoice in seeing how He doesn't walk away from me in those backsliding moments.  I am thankful in how He starts to work His accountability.  Opening my eyes to see it isn't about them and me.  It is about Him and them.  It is about Him and me. 

Am I glorifying Him in all  I think, say or do? 
So what if they reject me.  I need to stop taking rejection personal for it isn't "me" they are rejecting.
Bottom line - am I living for His glory or mine. 

I am well aware of the minutes ticking by before I begin to pray for some persons.  Minutes ticking by before I take my pride, my defensive nature and squish them beneath my heel. Each and every day I am continually striving to pray for them with an "immediate", reaction not minutes or seconds later. With each encounter, He has me realize what little I know of a persons life. 

I look about and recognize how those outside of Christ are in such a self-destructive mode. I can hear God telling the world, ""When they oppressed you and you cried out to me for help, I saved you from them. And now you've gone off and betrayed Me, worshiping other gods. I'm not saving you anymore. Go ahead! Cry out for help to the gods you've chosen—let them get you out of the mess you're in!" (Judges 10:12-14)

And I wonder at what point in today's world is He going to say, "Enough is enough"? 

It scares me. 
Not for myself - I'm in Christ and covered. 

We need to have an urgency to bring those on the outside of His family into Him.  Those who are living a life totally focused on "self".  How thankful I am our ABBA protects His own under His umbrella, that our souls are shielded from just how dark sin really is.  My heart is breaking though, knowing there are persons living in such a dark, empty, sin filled world, motivating me to try and introduce them to Him.  To introduce them to a world that is full, safe and pure. 

A world that is Him.

So many societies have self-destructed because they have walked away from God.  America is a good place to be on this world.  We need to be praying for our future leaders, for the media, for people walking down the street.  We need to Love all as our ABBA Loves. 
I pray we, His own, will choose to reach the masses for Him. 
Before our Savior returns. 
before "enough".

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"Made In His Image" - 03/21/17 - Judges 8-9

"Abimelech went on to Thebez. He camped at Thebez and captured it. The Tower-of-Strength stood in the middle of the city; all the men and women of the city along with the city’s leaders had fled there and locked themselves in. They were up on the tower roof. Abimelech got as far as the tower and assaulted it. He came up to the tower door to set it on fire. Just then some woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and crushed his skull. He called urgently to his young armor bearer and said, “Draw your sword and kill me so they can’t say of me, ‘A woman killed him.’” His armor bearer drove in his sword, and Abimelech died." (9:50-54)

There are times when it seems as though the enemy has encircled us, trapping us in our tower and we have nowhere to go.  No escape - believing the enemy will win. 

And then......

God uses what we deem as worthless, insignificant, without any power, the smallest of small - and uses that as a means to overpower and escape from our tower.

When these verses were written, and today in some civilizations, women were considered less than dogs. 

I wonder what do we hold at such a low level of worthlessness in our gifts and talents.  All of what He gives us is to be used as part of our weaponry against the enemy.  Not some of - but all of - our gifts and talents, even those we feel "aren't good enough". 

He has created them, given them to us . They are part of Him, part of "us" whom He made in His image.  He designed each one of us for His purpose.  While reading these verses today,  it struck home how often we don't utilize what He has given us.  How often we do not use His measuring stick to evaluate how "good" our gifts are.   I’m reminded that there really is nothing new under the sun. All we can do as writers and readers and thinkers and lovers and pray-ers,  is to link arms and pull when someone’s stuck, or push when someone’s scared, and pray when we’re all lost. Not because we are hopeless, but because we actually know that there is Hope and we just all need reminded of it in different ways and at different times.

There is so much we think is useless or not good/talented enough and then we don't utilize them to help strengthen or encourage someone in "His" family who is fighting the enemy.  Someone who needs to be reminded that there is Hope. 

 Someone who feels trapped in their "tower".

"God"fidence" - 03/20/17 - Judges 6-7

"Get up and go down to the camp. I've given it to you. If you have any doubts about going down, go down with Purah your armor bearer; when you hear what they're saying, you'll be bold and confident." (Judges 7:9,10)

Doubt will lead to fear if you are not grounded in Him, in His Word.  Fear is one of satan's strongest tools and there are times we allow him to have a heyday with it in ourselves.  So often when we become doubtful,  God gives us the accounts of persons from His Word.  How encouraging the people He wrote about in The Scriptures are human just like we are.

In today's verses we learn even a mighty warrior of God doubts as Gideon did.  (upon reading the account of Gideon, we learn it wasn't just this one time.)

Through His Word God has also shows us how He gives courage to we humans and performs  miracles.

Gideon was told to go up against an "army that was spread out on the plain like a swarm of locust.  And their camels!  Past counting, like grains of sand on the seashore" (7:12).

With 300 men

And God.

That's the most important fact doubt - fear - causes us to lose focus on.  Just as Gideon had Purah his armor bearer, we have God and others He has placed in our lives to face the battle together - never alone.  When we refocus on this fact, when we walk in His Promise -

Fear runs from us.

I love God has proven time after time He already has beaten the enemy - and His own are on the winning side.

 If we look at our walk we would see how He has grown us immensely in facing down our fears.  We need to pray for His boldness.  We need to stop second guessing ourselves and know without a doubt - we are His.  He created us.  We need to stand behind His confidence. When we become busy second guessing, we are actually distracting ourselves from where/what He has told/ked us to do.  We, His children, are promised we will know His voice.  We have The Gift of The Holy Spirit living within us. 

I yearn to be like Gideon who right in the midst of the enemy camp, "When he heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he went to his knees before God in prayer. Then he went back to the Israelite camp." (7:15)

He had absolutely no fear there in the middle of the enemies camp. 

He placed God first - he didn't run to be in a "safer" place. 
He knelt right there and prayed. 
He knew without a doubt - without fear - he was in safety. 

Because he was in God.

 May we desire to always focus on that fact. know it. live it.
We are in God, exactly  like an island in the middle of the ocean. 
Always surrounded by Him.

I pray your faith in Him is helping to have your focus always on Him - not doubt/fear. 

On Him. 
So we may live believing,  no matter how rough or big the "ocean" becomes - He has us completely surrounded while riding life in the palm of His hand.

And may we trust - He is always in control - our souls are always safe. 

May we, His soldiers, live boldly and "God"fident - no matter where our steps shall take us.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"Testing" - 03/19/17 - Judges 3-5

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

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

In growing "in" Him, I have found, the bed of roses has its thorns.  There are moments when it is consequences of our choices or just because we are walking through this world that it becomes not a bed, but a tangle of thorns, scratching and at times even tearing into our flesh, as we journey through this "bed" of life. 

And sometimes, the thorns are there so we may help others climbing through their own thorns.

So, when we become focused on "self" and cry out that life isn't fair, we are drawn back to our Christ.
 Our Savior.
Through our ABBA's Word running through us as a living stream, showing us the "thorns" our Savior climbed through. 
His Word shows us our Savior - who wore a "Crown of Thorns".

 For each one of us. 

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

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

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

Monday, March 20, 2017

"God's Road" - 03/18/17 - Judges 1-2

"I’ll use them to test Israel and see whether they stay on God’s road and walk down it"(2:22)

I saw a comment the other day referring to how some persons react to broken bones much differently than a broken mind.  It hit home for me. 

Every single day. 

I fight.

Every single day, I fight from slipping into the pit of depression.

 It is from the pit of hell. It not only affects you, but everyone around you and those that they are touching. It affects the day you are presently in and those days to come. It is a constant ripple. Even to the generations to come.

Throughout my years I have been on and off medications, in therapy, to help battle this horrible disease.  It is an unseen monster which wants nothing more than to destroy you from within.  There have been many, many times that I have contemplated suicide or just going through the motions of floating through life.  I bow my head in thanksgiving, when I think about how His grace, mercy, His being bigger than anything, His being in control, have been a shield to those I share life with.  How my heart weeps when I think about how depression has caused so much unnecessary heaviness in their lives. 

There were times when I felt I was "okay" and decided that I didn't need the meds or the therapy anymore.  The only "weapon" that I picked up 32 years ago, which remained in constant use, was being in His Word.  I am a living example of how His Word protects us from what could have happened.  Even when looking back on the times when it was obvious I should have never went off the meds. 

I wasn't "okay". 

No longer am I walking daily on the slippery slope into the deep waters of depression.  Some days, I stand so far away from the slope, it is just a tiny speck in my minds eye.  But, there are some days, when I am right up close.  When if I allowed myself, I could slide right in and be pulled down to the bottom.

Yes, there have been times when this battle seemed out of my control.  I now know it is a chemical  imbalance affected by circumstances around us.  But still, there are healthy steps, healthy exercises I must choose, in order to take myself away from that slippery slope. 

It is the fresh memories of being pulled down, doing everything that I can to stay afloat, which keeps me continually utilizing what keeps me healthy. 

Memories of when it seemed only the tip of my nose was above the surface. 

Memories of when even my nose went below water, my lungs were bursting for air, my eyes were wide open and I was reaching up.  It was in the struggle of desire, my hands burst through the thick surface of depression and He grabbed my hands. 

I am constantly reassured, encouraged, able to stay away from the slippery slopes, when I think about Peter.  In Matthew 14:30-31, he is walking on water, towards Christ, "But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

"Immediately" - Jesus is constantly there - Jesus is constantly watching. 

He knows when I have failed the "test" of staying away from the slippery slopes.  He knows when I have chosen to not utilize the "weapons" He has given me. 

He is there too.

"Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of me"  - He is my lifeguard and lifesaver.  There isn't any depression too deep for His reach.  He takes hold of me and pulls me out.  He takes hold of me and draws me away from the slippery slope.  He takes hold of me and leads me to green pastures.  He leads me through the valley of darkness.

He always has a hold of me. 

I am in the palm of His hand. 

"But seeing the wind, I became frightened, and beginning to sink I cried out, “Lord, save me!”  

I took my focus off of Him, I was tested and became focused on myself, on the world, on the wind about me.  You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

In the state of depression, I removed myself from the palm of His hand. 

I let go. 

 Alone, we are unable to make it through the illness of depression.  In the opening up about this "secret" through articles, communication, there are many in His family who now are able to help when they begin to see siblings caught in the struggle.  They now know this isn't something we can just "shake" off.  It is an internal battle.  Together in God we are fighting this.  Our ABBA has shown me it is an essential part of my life to continue in healthy choices, utilizing the healthy weapons, tools and His Armor. 

We are promised our Christ has been through every single temptation we will be up against.  The souls of the world were literally on His shoulders - how He had to battle the temptation of drowning in depression. He gives us such hope in all of the ways we are tested.  Our Savior is The only example to follow. 

 We have to allow ourselves to be removed from the slippery slope of temptation.

"that we may stay on God’s road and walk down it as our Christ did.”

Sunday, March 19, 2017

"He Is Truth" - 03/17/17 - Joshua 22-24

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

Have you found it is hard to determine whom is speaking truth? 

Even with self
truth is not spoken 100% of the time.
Most often the lies we tell ourselves are more damaging than all other sources of lies combined.
It is amazing the power of letters making up words.
 At times when lies prevail, they seem more powerful than truth.
But, eventually Truth does prevail

and in all ways.

What words do we stand firm on? Live our life by? Use for guidance? Obtain Wisdom from?

Each day words from various sources bombard our minds, infiltrating into our being.
Do we offset the lies with His Truth?

We must fill ourselves with His Words each and every day for they are a needed life/living support system.

 It is the only way we are able to know His Truth.

No matter the situation - everything does come out right when we walk in His Truth. At times it may seem the lies are winning, but He really is in control.
There is an absolute freedom in knowing -
His Truth has and always will
set us free.

"His Wealth" - 03/16/17 - Joshua 19-21

"The inheritance of Simeon came out of the share of Judah, because Judah's portion turned out to be more than they needed".(19:8)

Often times when I think of "inheritance", I think of wealth. It isn't in my foremost thoughts that in order to obtain an inheritance - a death has to occur. I readily recognize it usually includes property, titles or money and put on the back burner in my mind there are also rights, obligations, and oftentimes debt. Everything a person accumulated, it all becomes yours if you are the heir. It can be a blessing, a burden and sometimes both. If numerous heirs, it can divide them.

There are accounts of ones who have gained millions through the lottery and how the wealth sometimes changed lives for the worse and some it didn't change all that much.  I once read an article reporting how Bill Gates spent 1 million within 5 months on his 15 year old daughter to ready her for competing in the Winter Equestrian Festival.  At the time of the article his worth was 64 billion.

To be completely honest, I sometimes think about having a wealth like that. There are many things Curt and I have talked about in how nice it would be to do anonymously for people or organizations. Easter is coming up and I think about the joy to fly Nichalas and Amber back for the weekend so we could all be together.

If we had this type of wealth, I'd like to think we'd use it all for God's glory and not become worldly. I don't know how it would change us, but know it would. I think about our kids and what they would experience - not just the good things, also the bad. How could you ever know who your true friends are? Some persons would not feel any boundaries in regard to coming and asking/demanding money. There would be such a loss of privacy. And even safety.  There are some who would think nothing of kidnaping and holding one of us for a ransom.

There hasn't been a worldly inheritance received which has made our family wealthy in this sense, but I delight in the spiritual inheritance we have received. One which surpasses all wealth - all worldly possessions- giving unto us everything we need.

Those in Christ have received an inheritance that came at the cost of an innocent man's life.
A man who gave up His life so we may live eternally with our ABBA.
 Our Savior.
 Our Jesus Christ.

This world will pass - as will all the millions and billions of dollars in it. I know for some persons,  money is their god - their hope - their road to death. I do know I can not afford to fly our Nichalas and Amber in for the weekend. I do not have a million to spend on a sport our kids or grandchildren are involved in. I do not have the million or billion in our bank account.

But, what I do know - beyond any doubt - is because of our inheritance from our Savior -  we in Him have Wealth beyond our wildest dreams.

I rejoice in how His Wealth has and is changing me to be more of Him and less of me.  I so desire to use His Wealth for His Glory.  To spread it to those who are "poor" as I once was, so they may know the true blessings of His Wealth. His Wealth which is better than any wealth the world has to offer.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

"GO!!" - 03/15/17 - Joshua 16-18

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

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

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

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

Can not very well LIVE if we are sitting in His "comfort room".

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

So - which do we choose.
Getting off our duff, out of His "comfort room" and getting into an uncomfortable place - which would be their comfort room. 
Or if they reject our invite to His "comfort room",  do we continue to sit back enjoying His "comforts" while not showing any concern for them.   Focusing so intently on His "comforts" we totally forget about or ignore those on the outside.
How easy it is after being in the world, recognizing it really wasn't a "comfort" place at all and we stop fighting the temptation to remain in His "comforts".  It is our natural bent to be selfish.  To become settled and lazy. 

To become, well, comfortable. 

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

We are commanded. 
As we live,  bringing those outside into His "comfort room".