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Part 2: Our Circumstances Do Not Change . . . We Do

21 Nov

I am not going to try and put together a witty introduction. I am simply going to praise God for Who He is and for His love toward the residents of Biddinger Boulevard. Our day yesterday and certainly our night held many more challenges than we planned . . .

Surgery Morning:  He is Amazing!  11/20/2015

Surgery Morning November 20,2015

Surgery Afternoon:  Welcome Home!   11/20/2015Welcome Home Surgery Day

Surgery Evening:  An Unexpected Turn!  11/20/2015

Surgery Night: ER

The opportunities for refinement and increased faith we faced are not the point of this post – the intentional praise of my Father in Heaven and thanksgiving for the lengths He will go to just to shower me with affection are. . .intentional praise

The night was long and we saw all but two hours of the entire 24 hours so we drove home from the ER exhausted but also marveling at the road in front in of us. I hate driving in the snow and had asked a friend to pray for my anxiety about navigating the way home because a snowstorm had been predicted to begin around midnight. And there we were headed home a little after 1:00 a.m. on dry ground – the prayers of a righteous woman several miles away from us had held the wind to the left and the snowflakes to the right. Brett held up his smart phone for me to see the weather image he had pulled up and it showed the snow pattern all around us, but there we were without a flake.

Praise you Lord that You care about all things big and small.

We still had much to do when we arrived home and these two older-than-they-used-to-be-folks were dragging. We walked into our empty house to find it full of love . . . the gift of soup in our fridge, the sweetness of wine and chocolate on our table and our answering machine blinking with concern. Our house was empty but we were not alone.

Praise you Lord that You make Yourself known in the emptiness.

Our sleep was short but the day started with the assurance of His affection in the form of a tweet . . .

Message #1 – My Father’s Words

A Message from the Father

 

And facebook posts of thoughts and prayers . . .

Message #2 – My Father’s Children

2015-10-21-1445455426-5159507-facebook_like_button_big huffington post public domain

And the notice of the blog that was trending here at Glimpsed Glory . . .

Message #3- My Father’s Heart

My Father's Heart

Praise you Lord that Your desire to speak my language knows no bounds.

The blog post noted on that stats page pictured above was a blog written on January 28, 2014 and I’m putting the full text of it at the end because you have to read it and let the faithfulness of God wash over you.  If you look close at the picture of Brett I featured you’ll see that he is wearing shorts with the tube of a wound vac making itself known in that post. If you saw him today, November 21, 2015, you would see that he is wearing shorts and the tube of a wound vac is making itself known.

Consider our situation today nearly two years since that blog was posted . . . see how faithful God is in teaching, in developing, in pruning the character and the faith of His daughters and His sons. Brett and I read it together through tears. He doesn’t give up and He doesn’t let us settle. He is amazing and true to His word . . . The Holy Spirit truly did remind me of everything He had said that day . . .and it strengthened my heart, it girded my resolve.

Praise You Lord that You do not mind repeating Yourself.

And the exclamation point on the intentional praise that I needed to live in my heart and wear on my sleeve today had the familiar sweet ring of my Baby Girl . . .

Rejoice

Amen Sweet Girl!  Amen!  I will rejoice in the goodness of my God. I will pursue praise with zeal for His glory. And I will silence the voice of my enemies with the song of thankfulness in my heart.  My God is faithful!

#intentionalPRAISE

Our Circumstances Do Not Change . . . We Do

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON JANUARY 28, 2014

STILL LIVING IT OUT ON NOVEMBER 21, 2015

Circumstances Do Not Change . . . We Do!

Our circumstances envelope us.  They engulf us.  They consume us.  Too often my circumstances pull my actions and my attention to places I never intended to visit.  I find myself in the middle of my own mind commotion solving issues, mulling conflicts, and traveling a general thought path that serves no one well.  I’ve written some posts over the last year describing some of the circumstances that have occurred in life and I pray that I have highlighted the activity of the Extraordinary in the life of the very ordinary residents of Biddinger Boulevard.

If God’s drawn you to Glimpsed Glory on other occasions you know that my Man has been a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the nipple line down, for the last 20 years. And you also know that even though he’s been in that chair for all these years, in my eyes, he stands taller than any man I know.

meandmylovefortyeight

For “his population” (a term we learned early in his rehabilitation which is never followed by what most would consider favorable statistics) his health has been good.  He’s in constant pain that the doctor’s can’t pinpoint the source of because his spinal cord doesn’t transmit the pain signals the way it should anymore.  He takes enough medicine to choke a horse on a daily basis to try and control a body that just won’t behave the way he wants it to.  And the joints in his shoulders ache constantly from using them to walk.  But for “his population” . . . .Brett

And again, if God has drawn you to Glimpsed Glory before you are aware that my Man is my biggest protector and the Warrior on my Wall.  He takes up the sword of God’s word and swings it with a surgeon’s precision in prayer every single day.  Over and over and over again –every day—he takes up his position on that wall and he fights.  I wrote these words about him during a hospital stay in March and they are every bit as true today.

That’s who my man is.  Behind the spine that won’t cooperate with his brain anymore, past the legs that will not listen to the signal to move, beyond the hands that refuse to obey his command . . HE IS A WARRIOR.  He is a protector.  He is about the business of listening to the Commander and standing guard at the wall so that his family and friends can safely go to their own work.  Every day, as surely as you rise from your bed and check off the tasks on your to-do-list, my man arises, grabs his sword and takes up his station. Oh how I praise God for the commitment He has given Brett to fight. (Warrior on My Wall, March 8)

God has truly raised Brett up to be a force for His Kingdom but that just wasn’t the way the whole thing began.  We weren’t believers when Brett was injured.  I have no doubt, Brett has no doubt, that the Hand and the Heart of God were definitely with us, but we were most certainly not with Him.

No, Sister, my Warrior and I did not begin this journey acknowledging Christ as our Comfort, our Sustainer, or our Friend.  In fact, we began this journey by running from it.  We ran as hard as we could to try and get away from the reality of it all.  It was so much to take in without Jesus.  Everything changed.  Nothing was normal.  We had no direction. . . . but we still ran.

It won’t serve you well or edify you in any way to share all the details of that time period, but this will encourage your heart.

No matter how hard we tried to escape our reality,

now matter how far we ran . . .

it was not further than the Heart of God was willing to go.

In all of our running, He was still pursuing us.  He met me, He met Brett, knee deep in our circumstances.  Some we had created ourselves and others we had not.  Regardless of the origin of our situation, God appeared.  He swooped down from heaven and He saved us. He intervened in ways that can only be described as miraculous because Girlfriend . . . that is what He does because that is Who He is.  He is the God who does not change and the Savior who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Consider Hagar who reacted badly to a bad situation and ran from the reality of her circumstance.

And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. Genesis 16:4-6

But she could not flee further than the Heart of God was willing to go.

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. Genesis 16:7

Consider Moses who killed an Egyptian and he ran from the reality of his sin.

One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. 12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong, “Why do you strike your companion?” 14 He answered, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well.  Exodus 2:11-15

But he could not outrun the Heart of God.

Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.  Exodus 3:1-2

And then there is Peter who denied the Messiah he professed to love and fled the courtyard filled with shame.

 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:69-75

But he could not flee the Love of Messiah.

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. John 21:1

From the Old Testament to the New, God’s children have been running from their realities, fleeing from their circumstances, only to find that His Heart willingly comes after them.  And Sister, He does not change.

He will appear, He will find, He will speak to His children in the midst of it all and He will open our hearts so we can discern His Presence, hear His voice and truly see Him.

Hagar’s eyes were opened and she saw the One who sees her.  Her heart was opened and she knew the One that fixed His Heart on her . . .

So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,”for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Genesis 16:13

Moses turned to see the fire of God and His ears were opened to His call.  His heart was opened to respond “Here I am” to the Great I AM. . .

When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Exodus 3:4

And Peter, who had gone out in disgrace, followed a heart that prompted him to run to Jesus. . . .

That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. John 21:7

And Beloved, when the Lord of Lord and King of Kings meets us where we are—no matter what has brought us there –and stirs our hearts toward Him, that’s when change takes place. When He reveals the Who of Him, when He allows us to glimpse His Glory, and when He peels back the veil so that we may see Him that, Dear One, is when change occurs . . .

not a change in our circumstance, a change in us.

Hagar saw the One who sees her and was directed back to her mistress.  Moses heard the Voice from the flames and was told to return to Egypt.  Peter ate with the Messiah and was told go “feed my sheep.”

Their circumstances were not changed but their hearts were.

Oh Beloved, this is my story.  This is my Warrior’s story.  As badly as he wanted to flee from his reality, as hard as he ran, He could not go further than the Heart of God was willing to go.

The Lord Himself jumped from the pages of His Word and opened the eyes of Brett’s heart to see Him.  He did not heal Brett’s spinal cord, but He healed His heart.  He did not restore his legs, but He restored His soul.  He did not return Brett’s finger function, but He wrapped those hands that would not cooperate in the earthly realm tightly around that Warrior Sword for the heavenly battle.  And he did not raise Brett up from that chair, but He did raise Him to life.

Brett’s circumstances did not, have not, changed . . . but he has.  The one who ran from the Lord now stakes out His position on the wall and stands firm.  The one who fled now fights.  All because the One to whom the battle belongs revealed Himself as the Giver of Brett’s strength, his defense, and His salvation.

Exodus 15:2-3

“The Lord is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior;
the Lord is his name.

Do you see the Love of it all?

In His Sovereignty, He may or He may not remove us from our circumstances, only He knows what will serve the Kingdom plan best, but Sweet One whatever your reality is, however far you may have run, you can count on the Heart of God to come looking.  And if He sends us back to our circumstance, we can be absolutely certain that we do not go alone nor do we return to simply “gut it out” in His Name.  He did not save us and then leave us to hang on by our fingernails and grit our teeth until Glory.  No Girlfriend.

If He sends us back, we return changed.  We return more than conquerors. . . equipped for the battle . . . with His promises in our hands and His Glory at our backs.   We return, from however far we ran, having been found by the Heart of the Living God,  ready not only to survive, but dare I say, to thrive!

WE WILL PRAISE. 

WE WILL REJOICE. 

WE WILL THRIVE.

IN JESUS NAME

#INTENTIONALPRAISE

40 Days Receiving Joy

17 Apr

At the beginning of the 40 days of Lent I shared openly that my spirit was feeling sluggish and the enemy was whispering in my ear all manner of lies about the Holy One leaving me behind. I shared just as openly that I wasn’t going to give in to the voice of deception or surrender my God-given joy without a fight and I gave my battle plan a name . . . Lessons from Lent.

Lessons from Lent was the challenge to read through the New Testament in those 40 days leading to Resurrection Sunday and blog each day about whatever lesson God pointed out. Now we’re on the other side of that season and I can tell you that God met me in ways I had never dreamed. Every single day as I read through the Scriptures He spoke to me through His Word and unveiled a treasure I’d not previously seen. I never found myself grasping for something to share or apply in my daily life—the struggle was usually narrowing it down to just one thing. Imagine that . . . I had a lot to say!

It was so wonderful to have the exclamation point of praise put on the first verse I remember totally capturing my heart: “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and unsearchable things you do not know” and for the shouts and accolades to reach the ears of what I would say is my life verse in Malachi . . . “I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” Is there anything quite as beautiful as Scripture colliding head on with Scripture?

The same God, the One who does not change, who filled my heart with His truth in those first days of faith and thrilled me to no end with Jeremiah 33:3 revelations of His goodness and personal applications to my life was still with me. He still peeled back the curtain to display the riches of His word and He still enthralled me with every syllable. And just like in the early days of running my fingers over the pages and asking Him to let me know Him . . . He showed Himself to be absolute Love to me. And just the same as way back then, I heard myself whisper . . .”Why?—Why do You let me see the Much of You?” It’s the closest I come to joining heart-to-heart with the Psalmist who asked “What is man that you are mindful of him?” and in my imagination, he whispers that phrase with a catch in his voice just like I do.

And I fully believe God has used this trek across the calendar pages to introduce me to the Biblical truth of John 16:24 in a way I could not ignore or pass over quickly. It’s a concept I think He’s had me practicing but hadn’t begun to define for me or given me the unction to begin comprehending until this particular Kairos moment in life. His timing is always perfect . . .

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24

God-given joy—complete, filled to individual capacity, secure . . . joy in the Name of Jesus—wasn’t that what I was fighting to keep a hold of? Wasn’t it the joy of my faith, the joy of being in His Presence, the joy of an attentive soul all to the glory of my Covenant Partner that I was considering when I posted the introductory paragraphs that preceded every Lenten blog entry . .

I’m not giving in to it! I am going to fight the good fight of faith and follow the example of my Nehemiah Man. I am going to stand firm in my faith because if I do not, I will not stand at all. I’m praising God for bringing me to a place of emptiness so that I can look to Him to fill my cup.

I’m coming before the Lord and I’m asking Him to do a new thing in me. To rouse my heart to His side and to draw me near in real and tangible ways. To plow through the fog that has settled over me in the form of health issues, physical stress, and emotional upheaval and lay a level path before me. I’m entering the throne room and I’m humbly reminding Him that He has invited me to come in my time of need. O Lord – be near to me. Love me where I am. Take me where I need to be.

creation swap love me one flower 206081_Flower_Background

I don’t know about you but when I read those lines that introduced the Scripture for the each post as we marched toward the Empty Tomb, they sound a lot like asking . . . Asking God to do the new thing, to rouse my heart, to draw me near . . . no matter what my circumstances might be. So unbeknownst to me, the entire journey was aimed at teaching me the word that lingers in the middle of the verse. The word that lives between the invitation to ask and the gift of joy to the full . . . receive.

Help Word Studies 2983 defines receive this way— lambánō (from the primitive root, lab-, meaning “actively lay hold of to take or receive,” see NAS dictionary) – properly, to lay hold by aggressively (actively) accepting what is available (offered). 2983 /lambánō (“accept with initiative“) emphasizes the volition (assertiveness) of the receiver.

So to receive as God intended it to be understood in this verse is to aggressively and actively lay hold to that which is offered. To make the volitional choice to accept what is available.

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24

The “receiving” we find here is far from a passive activity.  There’s some work to be done to really possess it—to live in it.  Much different I think than the gift of salvation we believe on Christ for and receive in His Name.

I’ve been as candid as will serve you well about the depth of my sin and I hope I have made it clear –in a no-holds-barred, full out, give Him all the Glory every time kind of way—that my salvation and my rescue was . . . my righteousness and my life are—all because of Him. He swooped down from heaven and pulled me from the depths. He brought me up out of the pit and planted my feet firmly in His freedom. He and He alone lifted me to the spacious place of Grace. The place where Light and Life are abundant.

And with a grateful heart I testify that He has increased my territory just as He has increased my faith and He has shown me the beauty of the land He has given me—the place where boundary and blessing meet. He lifted me up and brought me again to the spacious place, but praise to the Hope of Glory– the scenery on the way out of the cavern I found myself in was so much different. See my God is still God and my unchanging Messiah was ever present as the steadfast Spirit spurred me on but unlike the work of my salvation, this time . . . my participation was required.

I’m praying for God to give me the exact right words as I try to explain this and I remind you before your eyes land on a single syllable, I am not a theologian, a pastor or any kind of formal scholar. I’m a woman who sits at the foot of the Cross and asks to know her Savior better— who enters the Throne room of God and stands in awe that she is welcome there.

The pit I found myself in when I began the Lent journey wasn’t the same one God pulled me from when I began my faith walk. At the time of my salvation the Lion of Judah roared to my rescue and gave me the gift of eternal reconciliation with my Father in heaven. He scaled those smooth walls and carried me out of darkness into the Light. I could add nothing to His grace nor take a thing away from it. I could only repent and admit my need of the perfect salvation He had purchased for me.   He did it all. He never swerved to the left or to the right. He kept His eyes fixed firmly on the will of the Father . . . His Love poured out on the Cross, His Mercy buried in the Tomb, and His Victory secured in His Risen Life – Jesus did it all! He met me in the pit and He carried me to new life . . . life abundant.

The place I found myself in this time didn’t have walls smoothed by premeditated sin and unholy actions. No, this one had walls jagged with circumstance and life issues that pressed in from every side.   And unlike that first pit, this cavern had pieces of Rock jutting out all around me and He had prepared me to follow Him out—to keep in step with the Spirit, to do all things through Christ who strengthens me—and emerge victoriously into the Light.

creation swap shoes Jose Fares 5573 ribbet

He had given me toeholds and lifelines in His Word so that even though the enemy was actively hissing in my ear I could shout the praise of Jesus and silence my foe. I could put my combat boots on and go about the business of working out my salvation with fear and trembling. At His prompting I could put one foot firmly on the foundation of my Eternal Rock, grab hold of the Scripture with my right hand, and strain my eyes toward the Face of my Messiah. By His grace, I could wrap my fingers tightly around the Word, find the foothold of His truth, and move forward by faith, believing that He rewards those who seek Him.

Was God faithful in bringing me up out of the pit – He absolutely was but this was not the salvation swoop from heaven the work-is-done liberation – it was much more a build your faith muscles, stretch your heart, dig in and climb type of a rescue.

And right in the middle of it all, between the asking and the blessing was aggressive, active, volitional receiving.

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24

If I, if you, desire to hold tight to, to cling to, to live, move, and find our being in joy to the full, then you and I must be willing to go after the thing—to actively and aggressively grab hold of what our Father rescued us to possess.

A passive faith serves no one well.

We must be intentional in laying hold of the holy opportunities to fight the good fight, to train for the race, so that when the day of Christ Jesus comes we will get the prize for which we have been called heavenward. We have to be willing to put our feet in the toeholds of the temporal cavern walls we may find ourselves surrounded by and wrap our fingers around the lifelines of Truth He so graciously provides if we want the spacious place of freedom to be our daily reality.

Our days here on planet earth are all about developing the muscles we’re going to need to hold our heads high when the Good Shepherd places that jewel-laden, faith encrusted crown of glory on our heads. The active process of transformation from one degree of glory to another requires our active participation in combat drills—trials, tough stuff, messy life. Muscles unused never develop. Faith unexercised atrophies. Receiving His All is not for the faint of spirit and aggressive cardio work will be required because Girlfriend, He loves us to much to let us arrive in Glory with a heart that’s out of shape!

creation swap joy 3498_climbing ribbet

Blessed is She . . . Really?

7 May

Do you notice that the times “Why God?” forms in our hearts and dances in our brains are most often the times when we are not thrilled with the path life might be taking at the moment?  If you and I were to glance back over our shoulders at the last blessing we noticed, would we find the “Why God?” poised in our souls or on the tip of our tongues?

I chose the word “noticed” in conjunction with blessing because I truly believe that His good works are our constant companions.  And I take Him at His Word when He says that He came to give us life, not a less-than, grit your teeth, hang on by your fingernail kind of life, no Sweet One our Savior blesses with life to the FULL . . .

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Whether we have eyes that desire to see the good gifts or hearts that ache to acknowledge the blessing, is a different question all together.

So, when might be the last time you, when might be the last time I, had eyes to see the blessings, the good gifts of God, and said

“Why God? . . . Why have you blessed me so?”

The Wonder of Blessing

When was the last occasion we just shook our heads in wonder that the God of the universe would stoop down from heaven specifically for us?  To show such kindness toward us?  To dote on us the way He does?  To flat out declare His heart for us in real and tangible ways?

The last post I wrote about the idea of being “forgiven much” and I asked you to consider that the concept of being forgiven much or being forgiven little—originates in the mind of man – not in the mind of God.  It’s a human perspective based on the human penchant to size things up according to our own standards.  We crawl up on the throne of our lives, look around us, measure life, and then we decide – we make ourselves the judges.

And it seems to me, that this inclination to view life from a temporal, human vantage point invades all of our thinking – including our perception of blessings.  There are songs written about the “blessings in disguise” and “the picture we can’t see” that really bring home the notion, and dare I say the truth, that blessings often don’t look the way our human minds think they should and they certainly do not feel to our hearts the way we expect them to.

Who would think that a blessing would be painful?  Who would think that good gifts would make our hearts ache?  Who would think that blessing is present when God says “No” to our prayers?  We want Him to bless a certain way, to choose only those good gifts for us that feel a certain way—

  • We want our blessings to behave!  And might it be, we want our God to behave as well?

This particular thing is a blessing because it turned out how I wanted it to turn out.  That particular thing has a beautiful red bow on it—it looks exactly like I think a blessing should look.  Everything unfolded just the way I wanted it to and it feels sweet to my soul –what a blessing!  I look.  I measure.  I judge.  Either forgetting or ignoring that my God has a view from outside space and time that I couldn’t comprehend even if I could see it.  Either forgetting or ignoring that my God, in His Sovereignty, thinks with a heart and mind that I can’t fathom.   I forget and I ignore that my God cannot be unfaithful to His nature and I fail to remember that His nature is LOVE.  And I look, I measure, I judge.

It’s been a week on Biddinger Boulevard.  Brett’s wound, the one he has been struggling with since November 2012 – yes, 2012 – has taken another step backward.  I was at the hospital this week for x-rays on the lung that collapsed because of pain and breathing issues.  Britt is still enduring the side effects of the six month course of treatment for the endometriosis and I think wondering if the cure is worse than the disease.  We watched good friends go through the agony of saying goodbye to a loved one.  We sat with folks who cried over the choices of their children.  Our souls were rocked when a family member rejected the truth of the Savior.

I bet your week was similar.  Life – messy life – was active all around you.  It pressed in on every side and maybe it just didn’t wear the face of blessing you or I expected it to wear.    Maybe the Apostle Paul was experiencing those same kind of feelings and trying to focus his eyes and his heart with some godly vision when he wrote 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 . . .

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

  • He knew what the situation looked like to his human eyes but more importantly . . . .HE KNEW HIS GOD.

He chose not to look, measure, and judge from his finite human mind.  He surrendered his heart and his vision to the Heart and the Vision of the One He knew to be LOVE.

And a few verses later that same pen, full of the Holy Spirit, –living life to the full — with the breath of God in every stroke wrote . . . 2 Corinthians 4:15-18

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 

Therefore we do not lose heart.

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

  • The blessing did not wear the face he expected it to, but he looked past the face and into the Heart of the Great I AM.

See the adjustment of his vision.  See the surrender of his own limited heart.  See him grab a hold of what he knows to be true, fall to his knees and declare that he trusts the One who holds eternity in His hand. And Girlfriend, the Heart of the Great I AM beats to bless you today. Lives to bless you today. Loves to bless you today.

Sweet One, the I AM IS!

The I AM IS  

2 Samuel 22:17-18 . . . . 

  • He is the One who reaches into the deep waters and rescues you.                    

Psalm 66:12 . . . .

  • He is One who brings you through fire and water to the place of abundance.

Psalm 116:7 . . . .

  • He is the One who has been good to your soul.

Hebrew 6:19 . . . .

  • He is the One who anchors you firm and secure in any storm.

1 Peter 5:7 . . . .

  • He is the One who wants your troubles because He cares for you.

Romans 8:28 . . . .

  • He is the One who works all things together for the good of those who love Him.

Oh Beloved, the I AM is just IT!

And blessed is she who believes that what the Lord has said to her – read that list again, verses from the Old and verses from the New—will be accomplished.

Romans 8:28

 

Sweet One, it is done. You believe and you cling to every true and accurate word of God.  The blessing has been given to you and He has come to make His home with you.  Resist the temptation to look, measure and judge with your own eyes.  Look past the face of your circumstance and trust the Heart that beats to bless you.  Fix your eyes on Glory, lift your heart toward heaven and KNOW the Heart of the One who knows you.

Circumstances Do Not Change . . . We Do!

28 Jan

Our circumstances envelope us.  They engulf us.  They consume us.  Too often my circumstances pull my actions and my attention to places I never intended to visit.  I find myself in the middle of my own mind commotion solving issues, mulling conflicts, and traveling a general thought path that serves no one well.  I’ve written some posts over the last year describing some of the circumstances that have occurred in life and I pray that I have highlighted the activity of the Extraordinary in the life of the very ordinary residents of Biddinger Boulevard.

If God’s drawn you to Glimpsed Glory on other occasions you know that my Man has been a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the nipple line down, for the last 20 years. And you also know that even though he’s been in that chair for all these years, in my eyes, he stands taller than any man I know.

meandmylovefortyeight

For “his population” (a term we learned early in his rehabilitation which is never followed by what most would consider favorable statistics) his health has been good.  He’s in constant pain that the doctor’s can’t pinpoint the source of because his spinal cord doesn’t transmit the pain signals the way it should anymore.  He takes enough medicine to choke a horse on a daily basis to try and control a body that just won’t behave the way he wants it to.  And the joints in his shoulders ache constantly from using them to walk.  But for “his population” . . . .Brett

And again, if God has drawn you to Glimpsed Glory before you are aware that my Man is my biggest protector and the Warrior on my WallHe takes up the sword of God’s word and swings it with a surgeon’s precision in prayer every single day.  Over and over and over again –every day—he takes up his position on that wall and he fights.  I wrote these words about him during a hospital stay in March and they are every bit as true today.

That’s who my man is.  Behind the spine that won’t cooperate with his brain anymore, past the legs that will not listen to the signal to move, beyond the hands that refuse to obey his command . . HE IS A WARRIOR.  He is a protector.  He is about the business of listening to the Commander and standing guard at the wall so that his family and friends can safely go to their own work.  Every day, as surely as you rise from your bed and check off the tasks on your to-do-list, my man arises, grabs his sword and takes up his station. Oh how I praise God for the commitment He has given Brett to fight. (Warrior on My Wall, March 8)

God has truly raised Brett up to be a force for His Kingdom but that just wasn’t the way the whole thing began.  We weren’t believers when Brett was injured.  I have no doubt, Brett has no doubt, that the Hand and the Heart of God were definitely with us, but we were most certainly not with Him.

No, Sister, my Warrior and I did not begin this journey acknowledging Christ as our Comfort, our Sustainer, or our FriendIn fact, we began this journey by running from it.  We ran as hard as we could to try and get away from the reality of it all.  It was so much to take in without Jesus.  Everything changed.  Nothing was normal.  We had no direction. . . . but we still ran.

It won’t serve you well or edify you in any way to share all the details of that time period, but this will encourage your heart.

No matter how hard we tried to escape our reality,

now matter how far we ran . . .

it was not further than the Heart of God was willing to go.

In all of our running, He was still pursuing us.  He met me, He met Brett, knee deep in our circumstances.  Some we had created ourselves and others we had not.  Regardless of the origin of our situation, God appeared.  He swooped down from heaven and He saved us. He intervened in ways that can only be described as miraculous because Girlfriend . . . that is what He does because that is Who He is.  He is the God who does not change and the Savior who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Consider Hagar who reacted badly to a bad situation and ran from the reality of her circumstance.

And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. Genesis 16:4-6

But she could not flee further than the Heart of God was willing to go.

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. Genesis 16:7

Consider Moses who killed an Egyptian and he ran from the reality of his sin.

One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. 12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong, “Why do you strike your companion?” 14 He answered, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well.  Exodus 2:11-15

But he could not outrun the Heart of God.

Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.  Exodus 3:1-2

And then there is Peter who denied the Messiah he professed to love and fled the courtyard filled with shame.

 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:69-75

But he could not flee the Love of Messiah.

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. John 21:1

From the Old Testament to the New, God’s children have been running from their realities, fleeing from their circumstances, only to find that His Heart willingly comes after them.  And Sister, He does not change.

He will appear, He will find, He will speak to His children in the midst of it all and He will open our hearts so we can discern His Presence, hear His voice and truly see Him.

Hagar’s eyes were opened and she saw the One who sees her.  Her heart was opened and she knew the One that fixed His Heart on her . . .

So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,”for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Genesis 16:13

Moses turned to see the fire of God and His ears were opened to His call.  His heart was opened to respond “Here I am” to the Great I AM. . .

When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Exodus 3:4

And Peter, who had gone out in disgrace, followed a heart that prompted him to run to Jesus. . . .

That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. John 21:7

And Beloved, when the Lord of Lord and King of Kings meets us where we are—no matter what has brought us there –and stirs our hearts toward Him, that’s when change takes place. When He reveals the Who of Him, when He allows us to glimpse His Glory, and when He peels back the veil so that we may see Him that, Dear One, is when change occurs . . .

not a change in our circumstance, a change in us.

Hagar saw the One who sees her and was directed back to her mistress.  Moses heard the Voice from the flames and was told to return to EgyptPeter ate with the Messiah and was told go “feed my sheep.”

Their circumstances were not changed but their hearts were.

Oh Beloved, this is my story.  This is my Warrior’s story.  As badly as he wanted to flee from his reality, as hard as he ran, He could not go further than the Heart of God was willing to go.

The Lord Himself jumped from the pages of His Word and opened the eyes of Brett’s heart to see Him.  He did not heal Brett’s spinal cord, but He healed His heart.  He did not restore his legs, but He restored His soul.  He did not return Brett’s finger function, but He wrapped those hands that would not cooperate in the earthly realm tightly around that Warrior Sword for the heavenly battle.  And he did not raise Brett up from that chair, but He did raise Him to life.

Brett’s circumstances did not, have not, changed . . . but he has.  The one who ran from the Lord now stakes out His position on the wall and stands firm.  The one who fled now fights.  All because the One to whom the battle belongs revealed Himself as the Giver of Brett’s strength, his defense, and His salvation.

Sword-Of-The-Spirit-941650Exodus 15:2-3

“The Lord is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior;
the Lord is his name.

Do you see the Love of it all?

In His Sovereignty, He may or He may not remove us from our circumstances, only He knows what will serve the Kingdom plan best, but Sweet One whatever your reality is, however far you may have run, you can count on the Heart of God to come looking.  And if He sends us back to our circumstance, we can be absolutely certain that we do not go alone nor do we return to simply “gut it out” in His Name.  He did not save us and then leave us to hang on by our fingernails and grit our teeth until Glory.  No Girlfriend. 

If He sends us back, we return changed.  We return more than conquerors. . . equipped for the battle . . . with His promises in our hands and His Glory at our backs.   We return, from however far we ran, having been found by the Heart of the Living God,  ready not only to survive, but dare I say, to thrive!

He Never Leaves Us Empty

11 Jan

Day 11 of the New Year.

Most have probably stopped reflecting on 2013 by now and begun carving out life in 2014.  Me, I don’t even have our Christmas decorations down yet.  Truth is, I like our home with the glow of it all and, more truth, I haven’t stopped reflecting yet either. I’m basking in the glow of 2013 every bit as certainly as I am our still-lit Christmas tree.

Christmas on the Boulevard

Christmas on the Boulevard

It wasn’t an easy year.  In, fact it was a hard one.  And I’m not just talking about the things that occurred on the outside of my skinI’m talking about all the things He brought me face-to-face with on the inside of my skin. . . haughtiness, jealousy, pharasitical thinking.  But Oh, the refining work that God has begun in this Girl!

He confirmed for me again that I am of such importance to Him that He will not allow me to be stagnant in my faith or to settle for less-than.  He made it possible for me to glimpse His Glory and go places in my Promised Land that I never would have gone without the trials that left their footprints all over Biddinger Boulevard in 2013. Part of who I am has started to look a little bit more like Who He is because of the challenges my soul has faced and, Sister, that quiet joy . . . the peace of knowing that He is involved in it all, that He desires more for me. . . well, that’s worth everything.  I think it’s part of what God was saying through the Apostle Peter in His opening chapter.

 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while

you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 

These have come so that your faith

of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–

may be proved genuine

and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Though you have not seen him, you love him;

and even though you do not see him now, you believe in

him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…

1 Peter 1:7-8 (NIV, 1984)

Isn’t it beautiful?  I’m coming out on the other side of 2013 with a knowledge of what I believe to the marrow of my bones and what I still want to fully believe with every part of my heart but might be just lingering in my head.  Do you see that?  God already knows, nothing needs to be proven to the Omniscient One. The trials don’t reveal a thing to Him.  He already knows it all.  It’s me who walks away with more than I walked in with. 1pet172

You see, there’s a concept that God has rolled through my mind over and over the last couple of years and I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the next piece of understanding it.  The concept is plunder. Not a common word and not a common notion in our dispensation of time but I think I was blessed to live it this past year.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance links the verb plunder with to “strip away” and the noun counterpart connects to the word “booty.” And it seems to me, no matter what the form –verb or noun—it’s always connected to a battle or to captivity. The Israelites had been enslaved and oppressed by the Egyptians for 400 years when God appointed Moses to lead them out.  They had been subjected to harsh conditions and brutal treatment but God had not forgotten them nor did He plan to set them free from their captivity empty handed.  No.  God decimated the Egyptians and sent His children toward the Promised Land weighed down with plunder–silver, gold, clothing.

Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.  Exodus 12:35-36

As the Israelites walked the dry ground, a wall of water to the left and wall of water to the right, their hands were full of what God had provided.  Every foot that touched down on the other side of the Red Sea emerged not only free from their oppressors but possessing their wealth as well. That’s so God.  He wasn’t content to simply free His people, He blessed them with abundance as well.

But all too quickly the Israelites looked back toward Egypt, the place of their oppression and began to romanticize their enslavement.  They grumbled about their freedom, complained about their blessings, and longed to return to the land of their captivity.

The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat FREE in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.” Numbers 11:4-6

Wow Sister!  Talk about rose colored glasses and distorted vision.  How could they remember anything in the land of their slavery having been FREE?  Did they not recall the miraculous ways God intervened to deliver them?  Had they forgotten the plunder God had sent them out with?  Were they really so unwilling to remember the pain of their captivity that they would risk returning by choosing to believe the comfort of the lies?

They hadn’t even faced an enemy from without yet and they were already considering surrendering to the enemy within.

Galatians 5:1

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep

standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1

Beloved, is this beginning to touch a heart string  with you?  Is it possible that in 2013 you emerged from a land of captivity?  That you walked between the wall of water on the left and the wall of water on the right and set your feet on the other side declaring freedom in His Holy Name?  Did you hold in your hands, maybe for the first time ever . . . peace, trust, assurance, confidence?  Was your heart full of the God of More but now you find yourself looking backward and wondering?

Girlfriend, see it for what it was.  Don’t let the unknown of freedom pull you back to the misery of captivity.  Fix your eyes on the One leading the way and trust the God who set you free.

He did not bring you out empty handed.  He loaded you down with one blessing after another.

fruitofspiritBut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,

kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;

against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

But we cannot be afraid to remember the truth of where we have been and what He has delivered us from.  I have to remember the sting of realizing the haughtiness that lived in my heart.  I must be willing to recall the pain of the jealousy that was devouring me from the inside out.  I have to look at the ugliness of my pharasitical thinking.  And you can fill in whatever has held you captive . . .we must remember. 

Not in a put-ourselves-above-Jesus-can’t-forgive-myself kind of way, but in a way that puts the spotlight on our Redeemer and keeps us from believing that apart from Him there is any good thing living in any one of us. I heard a Bible teacher once warn against developing spiritual amnesia, I think she was spot on.  If we don’t remember the captivity we may fail to remember the rescue.   And the plunder that once thrilled our souls, the freedom to hold our heads high, well. . . it might begin to seem ordinary or worse, we might begin to believe we deserve it.

So you might not and I might not have the whole concept of plunder, spiritual plunder, figured out.  But Girlfriend, if we shrink back from staring our struggles, our challenges and our battles straight in the face . . . we’re in danger of returning to our captivity and that Sweet One is not what your God intended when He planted your beautiful feet on this planet. 

You were set free to live life to the Full . . . (John 10:10)

Your Soul Full of Freedom . . . . (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Your Hands Full of Plunder and . . . (Deuteronomy 28:8)

Your Heart Full of Him.

eph319

. . . to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge;

that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:19

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