July 30, 2008

Word O' the Day

This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, "What do you see, Amos?" "A plumb line," I replied. Then the Lord said, "Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people. … "The high places…will be destroyed.” ~Amos 7:7-9

plumb line n.
1. A line from which a weight is suspended to determine verticality or depth.
2. A line regarded as directed exactly toward the earth's center of gravity.

Do you have Word O’the Day days? You hear a random word again and again and your curiosity is peaked?

Plumb line. That was my Word O’ the Day. I got to wondering: Lord are you sharing something with me through this word? If so, please help me understand.

Doing a little legwork, I researched what a plumb line is and its history. Made from a line and weight it determines if something is perfectly vertical, or upright. Since ancient times it has been an integral tool in various trades. In fact, Jesus would’ve used one for carpentry and building.

God also uses plumb lines to build His people. In His Word they are employed to measure our righteousness in His sight. In other words, do we line up according to scripture?

As shown in our verse above, Amos 7, the Lord holds out a plumb line to establish His holy standard for all to see. God longed to build Israel according to His righteousness and purity. When they refused to be built uprightly, He tore down what contributed to them walking in unholiness.

God still has a plumb line among His people today: Jesus Christ. Our Messiah, the most skilled builder, radiating righteousness, asks if we will allow Him to build us according to His standards. This will mean knocking down walls we’ve built up. Excavating parts of our foundation. Ripping up old support beams.

But it also means the hands of God will rebuild us with beautiful things. Peace. Hope. Grace. Love. Surety.

My Word O’ the Day, plumb line, is a stone of remembrance of God’s grace. He loves us too much to leave our structures made of rotting wood, shaky foundations and leaky ceilings. So He gave us His one and only Son, with a simple request, Will you align yourself to Jesus? Will you measure you actions, deeds, thoughts, words, heart, life, to The Plumb Line? This will require some demolition, like the high places of the Israelites the Lord destroyed. However, Jesus was, and is, a better builder than we will ever be. As our Cornerstone, we can trust that as He tears down, He will rebuild. And what our Heavenly Father rebuilds will be upright and good in every way.

I will rebuild you with precious jewels and make your foundations from lapis lazuli. I will make your towers of sparkling rubies, your gates of shining gems, and your walls of precious stones. ~ Isaiah 54:11b-12

July 29, 2008

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

Instead, it is you - my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we once enjoyed… ~Psalm 55:13-14

Restoring old friendships is one theme God’s been tapping on my heart. Consumed with friends around me, other friendships have slipped into near oblivion. God opened His heart and showed me the grief I’ve caused Him and others through my negligence. Despite that picture and the repeating reminders from God, I dragged my feet in reestablishing friendships.

The importance of reconnecting was so vital, that God moved beyond my slackness. Instead of me getting in touch with my friends, they contacted me!

~ A sweet friend wrote me clear out of the blue this past spring. Shocked, but so glad to hear from her, I found out she moved to the same town where I live!

~ Around the same time, another formerly close friend sent me an email. In college a group of eight girls lived, worked, slept, ate, worked out, studied, and basically performed every life function together. Though different in many ways, friendship flowed naturally between us. After graduation, we continued to stay close. However, over the years, marriage, babies, a variety of states and thousands of miles separated us. Lazily, I let these reasons be a wedge and lost contact. Years later my surprise email invited me to a baby shower for one of the girls. In essence it was a grand reunion of the Great Eight!

~ The biggest Blast from the Past to contact me goes waaaaaay back (as in almost-to-the-womb)! God hand-picked five of us girls to knit together. Several times a week each summer our moms packed us kids in the hoopdy station wagon and headed to the beach. The second the ocean air hit our noses we screamed at the top of our lungs! God bless our brave, patient moms! We girls roller-skated in her basement; climbed trees in my sister’s and my back-yard; rode Huffy’s up and down her neighborhood; and sang our hearts out to Amy Grant. As adults, four out of the five girls remained in touch, always missing our fifth link. Individually the Lord kept her close to our hearts. She was one that He asked me to be in touch with. And wouldn’t you know, she got in touch with me first! God is good and faithful.

These friendships vary in their stories. The making of each one differs from the other. The Lord’s reason for renewing them isn’t the same. What is the same is His unchanging call for us to be in community with one another. More importantly, to be in community with Him. Though the making of each of our relationships with the Lord varies, He longs to be in friendship with us. Today I pray Jesus contacts you in a surprising way, much like my old friends did. And your friendship with God will be reestablished.

God will do this, for He is faithful to do what He says, and He has invited you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ I Corinthians 1:9

July 28, 2008

I Found Myself

"Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent and assign your nuggets to the dust, your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines, then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest silver for you. Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God. You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows. What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways.” ~ Job 22:21-28

In 2002 the Lord laid this verse on my mom’s heart for me. It’s an Ebenezer for several reasons. I am so grateful to have God-fearing, listening parents who share with me the words of the Lord. And, I am so grateful to have God, a listening parent who shares with me His Word.

My relationship with this part of His Word has changed several times. I found myself in different ways each time I read it. Challenging, encouraging, convicting, inviting—the words of this passage haven’t changed, but my reflections and interactions with them has. One day I looked up the original Hebrew. Below is a paraphrase of what God has spoken to me through these verses. Just as He’s met me through His eternal, unchanging Word, I pray the Lord meets you personally, whether with Job 22 or a unique verse He gives you!

Job 22:21-28
Acquaint yourself with God, be used by him and you will be made whole, sound, restored and complete in Him; in this way good things will turn out well.

Become one, like a husband and wife, with the prophetic teaching from God’s mouth and lay up his words in your heart.

If you give yourself back to the Almighty, you will be built up and restored permanently like the exiles.

Rid yourself and your home of unholiness. Trade your treasures for the Lord’s. Toss what you hold onto so tightly into the water, letting it float away. Then the Almighty will be more than you could have dreamed.

Surely then you will be pampered and take exquisite, dainty, and delicate delight in the Most Powerful. Lift all of yourself to God.

You will be complete and sound in a covenant of peace with God. He will hear you, and help you do what you've promised: fulfill your offerings to the Lord.

Promises, commands and words you decree will be fulfilled. Instruction will shine on your course of life. Jehovah, Israel’s light, will enlighten your journey. Dawn will break and cause your moral character to shine!

July 24, 2008

One Way Out: Part Final

“Return to me with all your heart. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God.” ~ Joel 2:12-13

Not the job for you. Not the job for you. Those words rattled in my head. Here’s a breakdown of the timeline:
Four weeks out from the Event: Interview; offered nanny job; God says “Turn it down and quit your job.”
Three weeks out from the Event: Interview; offered ministry job; God says “Turn it down and quit your job.”
Two weeks out from the Event: No interview; no offer; God says “Quit your job.”

God had required me to quit all along, with or without a job. Selfishly I resisted, serving fear and mistrust as my gods. Finally, without a day to spare, I stepped off the cliff and fell right into the hands of God. Turning in my two weeks notice, the oddest thing happened. My old director offered me my job back. You got it. She asked me to stay! She’d make an offer, I’d reject it. Round and round we went. I could take personal leave the day of the Event. Or call in sick. Pretend I never gave her notice. Convinced I didn’t mean to quit, she refused to accept my letter. Leaving her office, I was confused. Did I or didn’t I quit?

Satan opened every door of opportunity and tempted me to stay. Immediately Jesus being tempted in the desert by Satan came to mind. He had one ultimate response: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only" (Matt. 10:4).

The light turned on. God wasn’t as concerned with if I hosted the Event with Pro-Choice orgs. No, He is most concerned with my obedience. It was my quitting He focused on; it was the if I would quit that mattered. Would I walk in the ways He commanded? Would I worship and serve Him alone? As 1 Samuel 15:22 encourages, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice.”

My view of things shifted. This wasn’t a story of me against abortion and all the bad guys. It was a story of me against my flesh. With two main characters: the Lord and me. When that reality set it, things became clear. The Lord delights in obedience! Who am I to steal God’s delight?! After all, “He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing” (Joel 2:13-14).

He may turn and leave behind a blessing. Indeed He did. The ministry contacted me again. “Things have changed ... we are totally restructuring and have a new position.” God laid it on the director’s heart to step out in faith and create a brand new job. And, a friend of the ministry felt the need to give a substantial donation that paved the way for my salary! The day after I quit my job, I interviewed with the ministry. The next week they extended an offer!

Waiting for a new job and jumping off my cliff of faith drilled me to the core. Face to face with all the dross to be burned away was heart-breaking. I never realized the layers of doubt and mistrust. Has the Lord asked a difficult thing of you? Where is He gently pressing your heart and asking you to obey? Do you trust the Creator of the universe to create a secure future for you? I know it’s difficult to rend our hearts and return all our heart to the Lord. But our hearts, our lives, are rightfully His, and we can only ever serve one god: fear and our own agenda; or the Living God. Which will you serve today?

Reflecting on this time, God’s kindness and gracious goodness stand out the most to me. I pray you sense those dear attributes of our King as well today.

July 23, 2008

One Way Out: Part II

With honey from the rock I would satisfy you. ~Psalm 81:16

We left off yesterday with me slouched on the floor tangled in grumpiness, desperation, and mistrust. Time was running out and I needed an answer from the Lord. Traipsing all over in search of it I begged my parents to decide for me, pleaded with friends to pray and listen on my behalf, and questioned everyone else what they would do in my shoes. My emotions were whirling too loud for me to hear and trust God’s answer.

One day in the midst of this, the Holy Spirit quieted me and said, “Look up that small, non-profit ministry.” Looking their website over, I was struck how neat it’d be if they had a branch for young women. Clear as a whistle God winked at me, “Write them a proposal offering to help form one.”

Hesitating at first, I thought, “I must be crazy.” Then I realized I had nothin’ to lose. So I typed and the Lord dictated. Praying a covering over my written words, I hit the Send button and eagerly hoped for a response. Here’s what I got:

We actually have a fairly small office “staff.” We have three full time employees and several part time employees. The rest of our associates are volunteers. I honestly wish I had something for you. Your resume reflects your administrative skills but it is your cover letter that spoke of your passion, and tugged on my heart.

It sounds like you are not aware that we recently launched a new branch for young women. Pray about possibly getting involved. At this time, everyone involved is serving the ministry as a volunteer. I can’t promise that this would change in the near future. Of course, I have no idea what God has planned. Let me know how you feel about this.

Volunteer!?! What?! Yikes y’all! All my eggs were in this basket. I was stunned they just opened up a new branch, but shocked they couldn’t hire me. Praying about this, I was driven further to pursue it. Doubt took a back seat and faith took its rightful place. In a nutshell, I assured them this was were God would have me work, as a paid employee, not a volunteer. However He worked it, I would walk it out. That took supernatural bravery for me, but my spirit resonated with confidence in God.

A few days later the executive director called me, “This never happens, but we have a job opening! The Lord really put you on my heart to call. Let’s interview.” Wowzers!!! Joy washed in waves over me as we spoke and everything seemed honky-dory. Until…

Until the clinchers: 30 hours/week, $12/hour. The Lord was clear: this was not the job for me. The place: yes; the position: no. Two days to consider were given. The Event was right around the corner. And I had to quit, with or without a job. Tick, tock, tick, tock….

I'll share with you tomorrow how the story ends!

Who am I, O Sovereign Lord…that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, O Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future…of your servant….For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant. How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. ~II Sam. 7:18-22

July 22, 2008

One Way Out: Part I

“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” ~2 Cor. 1:21

How’s your job going? Maybe you’re currently looking for a job? For three long years I was desperate to leave my old job. Misery: an understatement. Desire to leave quickly morphed into a dire need when told I was to sponsor two Pro-Choice organizations at an event I hosted. Appealing several times was of no use.

Only one option remained: quit. Wisdom would say to have a new job lined up first, so job-hunting quickly moved to the top of Priorities. A deep love for children naturally led me to nannying. Within a week of looking I interviewed with a sweet family. Amazing in every way, I was ecstatic when offered the position!! I provisionally accepted their offer when the bomb was dropped.

“This isn’t the right one. Back out and leave. I’ve got something else … something to equip you better.”

“Nooooo…please God, let me leave and accept this job!! The Event is only three weeks away!! I have to quit now. And I can’t do that without a new job lined up first!”

“Hear me. This is not my will.”

Ignoring God’s directives hasn’t proven effective in the past. As much as my flesh didn’t want to, I turned down the awesome nanny position.

Walking on soggy carpet in my home was common during this time. Every night I would crawl through the door, drop my belongings and lay on the floor in a sobbing heap.

I couldn’t find peace or rest, knowing the Event loomed over me; I had to quit my job or host abortion-related companies; and, my bank account wasn’t going to stretch far without a steady income. Wrestling over this took much out of me. Much flesh, much fear, much doubt. The depths of mistrust in God’s sustenance were abundantly clear. My heart broke seeing my lack of dependence on His sovereignty. Joel 2 urges us to return to the Lord with weeping and mourning, and that I did!

God was with me each night I crumpled on the floor. He spoke to me to leave my job and that somehow, someway, He would provide a way in the desert (Isaiah 43). Little did I know then how amazingly He would!

Stay tuned tomorrow to read the rest of the story!

“Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” ~Psalm 36:5

July 21, 2008

Warrior Is A Child

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.” ~I John 3:1

I wouldn’t go on record as the coolest kid on the block. Over-sized glasses with rainbow-colored rims, a die-hard love of books, and black high-tops definitely added to my geekiness. Adding to my dork status was the infamous Walkman. My svelte Walkman was accompanied by some totally radical headphones with foam ear pieces that inevitably fell off.

To polish off my double-sock scrunching, tight-pant rolling nerdy self, I listened to Twila Paris on my Walkman. Every night before bed I popped my cassette tape in, adjusted my headphones and let Twila sing me to sleep (Carmen and Amy Grant were reserved for day-light hours).

Even with lights out my fingers knew the Rewind button and roughly 27 squeaks back started Warrior is a Child for the fifteenth time in a row. Much as I loved this song I never knew what Twila’s words meant. At age 8, my life couldn’t conceive why a child was a warrior or how come she had a sword in the first place. Now as an adult I fully feel and grasp the words. I see how the Lord chose that song to ingrain on my heart. In this last season, it bubbles up to my mind often.

When my vim and vigor to fight has vanished, God hums this tune, and visions of resting in my pink ruffled bed tucked snuggly between Run Away Moose and Honey Bear (my two fav stuffed animals of course) come to me. That sure safety surrounding me as my little hands pressed Play once again before sleep caught me reassures me now that that is the heart of the Father. He beckons “This is the resting place--you’re weary…rest (Isaiah 28:12), relinquish the warfare, and share your hurt and heart with Me. I, the Lord your God who goes before you, will fight on your behalf (Deut. 1:30).” I pray you too find that quiet place with the Lord as you drop your weapons and climb up in His lap to rest.

Warrior is a Child

Lately I've been winning battles left and right
But even winners can get wounded in the fight
People say that I'm amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don't see inside of me
I'm hiding all the tears

They don't know that I go running home when I fall down
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
'Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child

Unafraid because His armor is the best
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest
People say that I'm amazing
Never face retreat
But they don't see the enemies
That lay me at His feet

“For the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." ~Rev. 7:17

July 18, 2008

Watch Out For That Hole!

Working for an all-women non-profit doesn’t lend to interacting with many men. However, once a year we spend about a week with one particular Fella. As far as we’re concerned he’s the Superman of the hotel industry and manages part of the hotel where we host our annual conference. Though we only see him once a year, he calls us frequently. Now this is a tad odd:

-A man staying connected with all women.
-A man who doesn’t believe in Jesus, staying connected with all women passionate about Christ.
-A man who doesn’t believe in Jesus, staying connected with all women passionate about Christ, asking for prayer regularly.

What draws him into relationship with us? Many personal moments of interactions with the Most High. Read on!

Fella went to the dentist the day before we invaded his hotel for our conference. Going in for a routine cleaning, he left with the discovery a hole in his tooth and an emergency root canal scheduled for the next day!

Heading to the dentist the next morning, Fella ran into some of us. “I’m off for my root canal.” “Not without us praying for you first!” our team said. We prayed asking the Lord to fill his tooth and heal him. Even though an x-ray had verified the hole and the dentist had wiggled an instrument in it.

Sitting in the dentist’s chair, ready for surgery, Fella got quite a shock. The hole was gone! Completely filled. Not a thing wrong with Fella’s teeth!! God heard and answered our prayers!

At our conference we have a prayer room, peaceful and quiet, welcoming our attendees to spend time with the Lord. Do you know Fella shared his healing with the hotel staff? Do you know our prayer room was filled with employees of the hotel? Do you know that’s one way our God draws us?

Who do you see God as in this real-life healing?
The Good Shepherd? Micah 5:4-5 “And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God … This One will be our peace.”
The Father running after His son? Luke 15:20, “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently].”
The Water that forever quenches thirst? John 4:13-14, “Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again”
The Surprising Rescuer? Isaiah 29:5-6, “Suddenly, in an instant, the Lord Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.”
Someone else?

July 17, 2008

Sing a Song

"You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs of victory and deliverance. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!" ~Psalm 32:7

Gray hair. Feeble, frail frame. Sitting in a lonesome chair. Staring at something. Responding to nothing. Working in a nursing home, I saw residents who were awake, but not alert. They would never divert their hard gaze or acknowledge your existence. Anything said was not registered or received. Rubber, meet glue.

There are many things we focus on, a good portion of those are not the Lord. Why is it so difficult to maintain a steady gaze on God and take in what He says? I can think of a few reasons: doubt, fear, mistrust, hurt.

Hmmm…not very attractive qualities. The truth is these things tempt eyes off the Provider and Sustainer. They wiggle into the recesses of minds and lie that God is not all we need. They twirl dizzying circles till we’re sick with wondering where the Lord’s hand is. They taunt resting in the arms of the Mighty One isn’t safe. And harden our hearts to become unresponsive to the sensitivity of the Holy Spirit.

Yesterday a harsh reality left me spinning. Uncertainty smattered doubt in the sovereignty of God. Ugly aches and pains sprawled everywhere. Energy was zapped by this reality’s sucker punches. So I just sat there and stared. Not at the Lord. No no, at my grief and doubt. I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the mistrust and hurt. And eventually I became like the elderly woman in the nursing home.

Sitting in my lonesome chair, feeling feeble and frail, nothing could divert my gaze from the emotions birthed from the reality. No encouragement from friends, no prayers, no thoughtful words were registered or received. Even the Lord speaking kind and gentle words bounced off me.

And then this morning, half awake my heart heard something. I awakened to the sweet gentle voice of our Maker. He sang these kind words over me and somehow, they registered. I pray you hear Him singing over you too.

My Beloved, Kari Jobe
You're My Beloved, you're My Bride
To sing over you is My delight, come away with Me My love
You're Beautiful to Me, so beautiful to Me

Under My mercy, come and wait
Till we are standing face to face, I see no stain on you My child

I sing over you My song of peace
Cast all your care down at My feet
Come and find your rest in Me

I'll breathe My life inside of you
I'll bear you up on eagle's wings
And hide you in the shadow of My strength
I'll take you to My quiet waters
I'll restore your soul
Come rest in Me and be made whole

"Do not fear, do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." ~Zeph. 3:16-17

July 11, 2008

Dump and Fill

Driving behind oversized dump trucks isn’t the wisest idea. Especially when they’re hauling a big yellow tractor! There was no way around the two large machines on my way to work though, so I kept my distance and passed the time singing.

Popping in a Shelley Moore Band CD one of my sweet roomies gave me, the lyrics rang differently than before:

Hearts are hurting, faith is shifting
But our souls don't rest on sand
Pillars of strength now piles of rubble
In tears we try to make sense of this puzzle
Seasons will change, colors will fade
These notes will be heard no more
One day the pain will cease to remain
But this was never a story about me
For now we cry wiping the tears from our eyes
We wait for You, we wait for You
You are making all things new

You are making all things new and This was never a story about me caught my soul. Spiritually are you waiting for the seasons to change? Is your heart anxious for something to be made new?

Continuing to drive behind the dump-truck and tractor duo I thought about an old-time dirt road I drove down last week. Taking it as a short-cut, I crawled at 10 mph for the sake of my car’s front end suspension. Jostling over the pot holes and bouncing through the frost heaves, clouds of dust engulfed the car. Those riding with me joked it took longer to inch safely down this dirt path than if we’d taken the paved roads.

That road needed the dump-truck and tractor I was currently behind! It sure would take a lot of work to fix the rickety dirt road! In order to build a new road (their goal) they have to destroy many things first. Tear through unplowed fields, lay waste to forests, or dig up the old road. Then they turn the destruction into something new. Pouring dirt to fill gaps, raking the gravel to level it out, and soaking up small streams that could cause sink holes, all for the sake of a new road that can be well-travelled. All the destruction and rebuilding isn't just for the construcion crew's sake. They aren't the only ones who will drive on that road. No, thousands will ride on it for years to come.

Isn’t this often what the Lord does in order to usher in the new? With his mighty arm and awesome ways He digs up the past and takes hurt and sin away; fills the gaps with hope and levels with truth. And soaks up streams we thought were life-giving, but were actually harmful to our support structure. And the new arrives; but not just for our sake.

Isaiah 40:3-5, "In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

The price of attaining the new can be high. Called to give up dreams, lay down relationships, start over, and die to our flesh may be asked. Tearing down and building up can be full of pain and loss. And that's when God reminds me of the lyrics from the song and the words of the verse in Isaiah ... this was never a story about me ... and that the glory of the Lord will be revealed for all to see.

Push on and press into Him dear ones. He will sustain you and promises the new.

July 10, 2008

You've Got Mail

Wondering which Ebenezer the Lord wanted me to write about, a thought started inching its way in. Sneaky, this thought hung on the outskirts of my conversation with God. Nonchalantly drawing circles with it’s toes in the sands of my mind, biding it’s time, it crept in closer. Casually taking a seat, this thought stated it had something very important to say. My ears were tuned in to this thought.

“What if I run out of Ebenezers to write about?”

HUH?!? What?! Get thee behind me satan and my flesh! God is the same yesterday, today and forever and His faithfulness is complete. He is able to give me more than I need. How and why did that thought come in?

Giving it a mighty shove, I turned and looked over at the Lord. “God, what is that about?” He answered, “Girl, you fear I’m incomplete. That I don’t have what it takes. That I'm not able. You don’t trust me.”

Ouch. The truth hurt! I don’t trust the Lord is enough. I don’t think He is able. And it extends to more than having enough Ebenezers to write about. It touches on many areas of life.

Jesus responded to my doubt in such a sweet way. How? You ask. By sending me an Ebenezer in the mail of course! Why? You ask. Because He is enough and He is able! Here is a letter I received right after my doubtful thoughts: (from a guest at a work conference)
* * * * *
"If you remember I came back down because I did not get a scripture verse. We ran into you and asked if there were still verses in the conference room. You said, ‘I don’t know but if not, there is ONE scripture on the registration desk.

We got to the conference room and there was not one verse. I knew then that the verse on the registration desk was for me. I picked it up and it said, Habakkuk 3:19, ‘The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.’ I thought to myself, That is a good verse, but honestly, it did not make me do cartwheels.

I got back to my room and pulled the verse out to read again. It was then that I saw the watermarked word underneath. My word was ABLE.

Before the conference God laid Ephesians 3:20 on my heart. ‘Now to Him who is ABLE to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine through His power which is at work in us.’ Not to mention the fact I prayed earlier to lay down three lies: 1. I am not good enough. 2. I am inadequate. 3. I have nothing to offer.

After reading my word ABLE, I could sense Jesus telling me: In you, you are not good enough. In you, you are inadequate. In you, you have nothing to offer. But in ME, you are ABLE.

Praise the Lord! He is ABLE.
* * * * *
Y’all, God is ABLE! He is ABLE to stand in the face of fear and doubt, and declare I AM. Let’s take a moment and praise Ephesians 3:20 outloud. Lord, thank you that you are ABLE. We praise you for doing immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine! Amen.

July 9, 2008

Tall Trees Bow

Fierce storms have been ravaging our town the past few weeks. Tall trees have come down, rivers have overflowed and thunder shakes foundations of homes. Through it all I'm reminded of Psalm 29, and the song Devotion by Hillsong United. I pray you are blessed as you read the Word and listen to the song. Our God is amazing! Peace to you today.

Devotion, by Hillsong United
Listen here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkBh5ObVyww

I've been running, trying to be one who sees
I've been working, salvation out on my knees
There is nothing better than knowing
That we are redeemed
Unbelieving; trusting in creative hands,
I am praying for our world to bow to your plan
And this one thought is unmistakable
I take up my cross and follow you Lord


When you stand the tall trees and mountains bow
When you speak the fiercest of oceans is still
And I see the sinner seek devotion
The lost become chosen, and I fall to my knees

Unforgiven, my savior who did not deserve death
He was blameless and I was lost in shamefulness
Undelivered, but it doesn't seem right
Unless I keep my eyes focused on the savior who gave his live
In the middle of a world that denies it believes
It is breaking apart at the very seams
There is one thing to be alive for
And it's to take up my cross and follow you Lord

I will take up my cross and follow Lord where you lead me
And I will take up my cross and follow wherever you go

Psalm 29
Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, "Glory!"
The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.

July 7, 2008

A Tisket, A Tasket, What a Mighty Basket!

"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." ~Isaiah 46:4

Sit back. What do you feel? Your chair? Some pillows? Ten fingers?

Yep, it’s true. The fingers of God carry us. Trusting we are safe and secure in the hands of the Most High may be difficult. It is for me at times. So I asked the Lord to talk to me about it. What does that mean?"

He spoke to me about Moses, which was a surprise. I thought about Abraham, David, Esther or Joseph. But God reminded me of Moses as a baby and the faith of his family putting him in that basket down the Nile. That basket is God’s hand. And it protects us. Check out what Moses was up against:

The Nile: 4184 miles long! Class 4, 5 and 6 rapids course over waterfalls and end in the Mediterranean Sea. Flows south to north which is highly unusual. Most rivers flow north to south!

Hippopotamus: among the most dangerous and hostile of all mammals. Known to be aggressive towards humans, it is often claimed they’re the deadliest animal in Africa.

Crocs: Able to kill large vertebrates, including buffalo and hippos. Not only are the great jaws feared, but also its tail. One blow can smash a victim’s backbone.

Green Mamba: One of the most dangerous snakes. Highly venomous and antagonistic, there is little chance to escape the neurotoxic venomous bite.

Putting my baby, any baby, down a 4000 mile long river seems crazy! Visions of the baby flying over waterfalls would fill my mind. I’d worry he’d be bait for hippos or crocs. Or the rapids would flip his basket and he'd drown! Eek! The faith, trust and obedience of Moses’ family, placing him in God’s hands, is stunning.

The hand of the Lord comes in so many different forms: a cave of concealment around David; natural beauty gracing Esther; a ram suddenly appearing for Abraham and Isaac; ravens catering to Elijah; a prostitute protecting Caleb and Joshua; a wheat field full of favor for Ruth and Naomi; a shipwreck and centurion sparing Paul; a tiny basket and mighty river carrying Moses. What does God's hand look like in your life? I'd be interested to know if you'd like to share.

Is there a Moses in your life you are holding tightly to, fearful to put in the river? Do you trust the Lord’s hands? It may be that you are the Moses and God is calling you to get in your ‘basket’ and rest. He has created the river to flow in the exact direction it needs to take you. And you will be plucked out before an attack from wild beasts or going down a waterfall. The Lord’s hand is upon you, has created you for His purpose, and protects and fully covers you.

"Then the word of the LORD came to me: 'O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?' declares the LORD.’Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.'" ~Jeremiah 18:5, 6

July 5, 2008

A Bushel and a Peck

"Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, jealousy is as severe as Sheol. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised." ~ Song of Solomon 8:6

"Grampy, how much do you love me?"

"A bushel and a peck!"

What is a bushel and a peck y'all?! If anyone knows, please tell me! I don't know now, and I certainly didn't know then as a little girl. But in my child-mind it reached infinitely high, dizzyingly deep, and was boundless. Fully satisfying the knowledge that I was loved and never need doubt my Gramp's love for me.

Not long ago, sitting on my couch, I was cuddling with my friend's baby. Sleep was falling over him fast as he chugged the last few sips of his milk before going to bed. Fresh pj's on, he snuggled in the crook of my arm. At the other end of the couch, my roomie glanced over and inquisitively stated, "You really love him, don't you?" Without thinking, I replied, "Yeah, I really do."

My sister takes great photographs of, well... everything. In particular she loves photographing my niece and nephews. Viewing some online, this surge of love from the core of my being hit me and I thought, "I love my niece and nephews. I really love them!"

All this wraps up here…Sunday at my church I was reminded of love, primarily because God's love was so thick.

My mind went back to holding my friend's baby. The Lord gave me a picture of Jesus and the Holy Spirit hanging out on the couch, quietly chatting as I lay in Jesus' arms, dozing off to sleep. The Holy Spirit inquisitively states, "You really love her, don't you?" Jesus looks over at the Holy Spirit, nods his head just slightly and goes into a nostalgic revelry, "Yeah, I really do.

I really love her. It hits me to my core. She's the apple of my eye. Remember the day we chose her? Wow, that was amazing! I do…I love her. Her name is on my palm…see? Man, I love her so much it consumes me. It's stronger than death. There is just nothing that could ever tear my love from her, not even wild rushing rivers. All the riches and wealth in the world could never tempt my love away from her. Oh, and when she looks up at me like that…oh, man…she steals my heart all over again!

Yes, I love her…I love her so much…I died for her."

May we feel Jesus' love for us today. May we truly know and understand, to the depths of our beings, this boundless love of His for us. He loves you a bushel and a peck. He simply loves us. Yeah, He really does.

Psalm 17:8 "Keep me as the apple of your eye."
Haggai 2:23 "'On that day,' declares the Lord of hosts, 'I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you,' declares the Lord of hosts."
Isaiah 49:16 "Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; your walls are continually before Me."
Deuteronomy 4:24 "For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God."
Song of Solomon 4:9 "You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes."

July 3, 2008


"You gave me life and showed me kindness and in your providence watched over my spirit." ~Job 10:12

Coffee is one of my delights! So for my birthday this year, I decided to celebrate by treating myself to Starbucks. The instant I had that thought God counter-acted, "Go to Dilworth Coffee instead."

It's not that Dilworth isn't good coffee, I just really had my mind set on Starbucks. It made good sense for a lot of reasons, so I double-checked to be sure I heard right. The Holy Spirit confirmed again, "Definitely...I'd love you to go to Dilworth."

Y'all, it really made no sense whatsoever to me on the drive there. But do you know what God had purposed in His kindness for me that day? Do you know what His birthday present was? FREE COFFEE!!! That's right! A local business was buying everyone's orders that morning, so my coffee was paid for me, by yours truly, Jesus! How kind.
When I run errands on the weekends, sometimes I pick up a cup of coffee. There was a shop with an easy right-hand turn that I could run in and out of. Just about to swing into the parking lot God stopped me in my tracks. "Go over to Starbucks."

That was a busy left-hand turn, a parking garage and a little jaunt to the actual shop. "Trust me, go to Starbucks." I wasn't too sure of the 'why,' but I headed over there and ordered my coffee. Handing it to me, the hostess immediately grabbed it back.
"Don't drink that!"

She had mistakenly brewed a half pot of grounds with a full pot of water, equaling weak coffee. As I waited for her to brew a new pot, another worker apologized profusely and gave me a sa-weet gift certificate to say sorry. Wow! Free coffee again!
God didn't have to direct me to certain coffee shops on those days. He did so simply to express His kindness. Psalm 34:8 tells us to taste and see that the Lord is good. And if I may add through my experience, He is a kind King as well. What a delicious truth!

July 2, 2008


Do you wear contacts? Or maybe glasses? Perhaps they're just for reading or driving, or you may wear them all the time.

Me? I have contacts. My natural eye-sight ain't that great. Without my contacts or glasses, everything is a blur and I can't see past my nose! Eagerly, earnestly, I pray God will heal and restore my eyes to 20/20 before I leave for the mission field.

My spiritual eyes are something else I pray for. That the Lord will restore any vision lost. He will open the eyes of my heart to see all He has waiting to develop in me. As much as I am seeking God for my own eyesight (both kinds!), there's someone else in my life I'm asking God to open their spiritual eyes and give them full vision.

I have prayed this prayer hundreds of times...perhaps a thousand. Much is predicated on this friend seeing and obeying the will of God. Often the urgency to pray comes out of a sense that it's an emergency.

Praying for my friend's 'eyesight' recently the Lord stopped me in my tracks and surprised me! "Check out John 9:11." Hmmmm...okay. I didn't know what that verse read, but I was excited to find out!

Get ready ... God blew me away with this!

"He told them, 'The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, "Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself." So I went and washed, and now I can see!'”

Wow! The Lord's grace met me in two big ways.

First: God's Word confirmed He has heard my hundreds, perhaps thousands, of prayers and He cares and does indeed give sight.

Second: Who do we call when there's an emergency? 9-1-1. Pretty amazing tie-in with John 9:11 and the sense of emergency I've had in praying for my friend to see!

I pray the Lord preps each of us to see, truly see, His will and direction in our lives. May God encourage us to pray for others diligently that they may walk in the ways of the Lord and see Him.

Is there a time the Lord stunned, amazed and met you with scripture? I'd love to hear your story and the verse! Feel free to leave a comment, or if you'd like to contribute to the blog, let me know. Thank you!

July 1, 2008

Oh Say Can You See?

“I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out in freedom,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’” ~ Isaiah 49:9

Blind date. Quick! What’s your first thought? Ugh. No way! -or- Sign me up!

I was set up on a blind date a few years ago that ended as a year long relationship. Remember the famous Jerry McGuire line, “You had me at hello?” That was us y’all. We were hooked from our very first phone call and 'perfect' for one another.

Everything lined up like peas in a pod! Progressing quickly, we planned our lives together, thinking of the future as “us” not “her/him.” What a view our rose-colored glasses gave us of each other and our life as a couple! Who would have thought Blind Date would turn out so 'perfect?!'

Months rolled by and the tint on our rose-colored glasses became foggy. The Holy Spirit began telling me things I didn’t want to hear. “It’s time to get out. You need to leave this relationship.”

The more the Lord encouraged me to break it off, the more obstinate I grew. “What'd you say? Oh, I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you with my fingers in my ears!” And I would pick up my increasingly smeared glasses and try to scrub them clean. Angrily I stewed over what God was urging me to do. “This can’t be…we’re good together. We make sense together! Why wouldn’t you want us together God?!”

I didn’t appreciate the Lord showing me why Blind Date wasn’t 'perfect' for me. God's wisdom rubbed me the wrong way. There was no desire in me to want to know and live His agenda for my life. Anyhow, I reasoned, I already knew what God’s call on my life was … and there couldn’t be anything He had for me to do that couldn’t involve Blind Date. So the Lord spoke louder. And I ignored and fought harder. Until I couldn’t see through my rose-colored glasses at all anymore. My glasses had blinded me of how imperfect Blind Date was for me.

Finally accepting the Lord's words, misery replaced joy. Surety and trust faded. The weight of disobedience became too heavy for me to bear.

Though I knew it had to happen, I didn’t have the strength to make myself break up with Blind Date. In His mercy, God had him break up with me, though he didn't know why he was doing it.

My world crashed at the point. Lugging thick sadness and the loss of the dream of our life together was too much. The chains of disobedience I had willingly wrapped around myself were so heavy the only energy I could muster was to lie in my bed and weep. I couldn’t seem to get over Blind Date in my own strength. Sorrow hardened my heart and I turned away from everyone’s comfort and kind words, even the Lord’s.

The desire for something new, something joyful, something healing, didn't arise in me until a year after our break up. Weary of looking through my broken and marred rose-colored glasses, I was ready to live again. The depths of my being wretched out, “God, if you’ll still have me, here I am. I can’t do this alone. Please help me break these chains.”

One morning after that cry I had a dream about Blind Date. This dream opened my eyes to the truth and why it was never in God's plans for us to be together. Upon waking my physical ears literally heard the sound of heavy, thick chains falling to the ground! Something new, something joyful, something healing changed my heart. And the blindness was gone ... I could see again.

“The Lord said to him, “Who gives him sight? … Is it not I, the Lord?” ~Exodus 4:11