Tag Archives: faith

Let’s Change the World

9 Jan

four hands sisters 2cor1613

Beloved of God,

May I be so bold as to encourage your heart to encourage a heart today?  May I challenge you to come alongside a sister and whisper strength to her soul?  Is there any greater blessing than the Sisterhood of Faith when we live it well?

Blessed by the unity of the Spirit.  Connected by the love of Christ.  Daughters of our Father in heaven. How beautiful we are when comparison and competition are left behind and we choose to applaud one another at every turn.

Oh, Sweet Woman of God, how might it change our world if we encouraged one another to be alert not only to the tactics of the enemy and the temptations in our midst but even more so to the unlimited, holy possibilities all around us?  To step out in faith and obedience toward what could only be described as the impossible?

What might it be like if we didn’t wait to be invited to hold one another up but simply began to pray for the victories of our sisters?  Her conquering of unbelief?  Her standing strong on the foundation of Jesus?

How would life look if ours were the loudest voices in the crowd spurring our sisters on toward courage and strength?  Toward bravery in the battle?  Determination when life is difficult?

What if we committed to be one another’s loudest, most fervent cheerleaders?  How might it be if we choose to love one another well?

It is time to stand arm-in-arm and shoulder-to-shoulder as the family we are called to be Sister.  Time to be the voices of encouragement, edification, and strength for one another.  Time to stand firm together, celebrating every victory with unabashed joy.  Time to be strong in our love for one another and quick in our grace.  Time to live by the notion that no amount of authentic applause is enough, no genuine accolade can be shouted too loudly, and there can be no excess when it comes to celebrating our Sisterhood.  Rejoicing in one another simply cannot be overdone.  We are bravest, we are strongest, we are our best when we’re together.

Session 4: Laying Down Roots

2 Nov

Receiving is not a passive activity.  It’s pulling up close beside a thing and reaching out by volitional choice for all that is made available.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,  having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.  Colossians 2:6-7

What will we reach for of Jesus?

Out time is now and our place is here.  Our God, who is a consuming fire, is a blaze within us!  He has appointed us and anointed us to be convinced of Him on the inside and bear the fruit of that conviction on the outside.  We better lace up our hiking boots Girlfriend because we’ve been called to the top of the mountain!

Daughters of the Star Breather!

20 Oct

Made by the Creator of Heaven and Earth, Brought to life by the death and resurrection of the Son, called by name, placed here and now to serve in the army of saints!  Set in against the darkness to absolutely shine!

You are huge to the heart of God and He has given His all that we might be women

  • Steeped in faith
  • Living to love
  • Anchored in hope
  • Fueled with the Holy Spirit to burn Bright!

And here’s what I know Sister –A Holy Fire like that will not be contained!


A Body filled with those kind of women, no matter how small, will begin to believe beyond themselves, to love one another in the Name of Jesus, and to stand firm in the confident expectation of the Hope of Glory.

May it begin with us!

Lessons From Lent: Day Three

20 Feb

creation swap lessons from lent coffee cup Kelly Sikkema 22940

An Explanation of Lessons from Lent

In the next 40 days (38 now because you have already accomplished two), the weeks leading up to Easter, the posts on Glimpsed Glory will be different. I am reading through the New Testament during this time and I am hoping the Holy Spirit will lead me to a fresh revelation each and every day. I’m going into it with a prayerful heart and an expectant spirit but I will fully confess to you that my soul feels sluggish.

I have been in a place of exhaustion over these last months. My mind has been clouded, my body has ached and insomnia has been my companion since late December. The enemy has been and is still whispering in my ear that my Jesus has forgotten me . . . that He has finally tired of my imperfections and left me behind.

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

That’s the cry of my heart Sweet Sister and I’m thinking that if I am in this place that perhaps you are too. It might be that different life situations have brought us here but here we are. If that’s the case, I want you to know that you are not alone and that you have a faith sister to walk through it with. We can do this together – you and I. It’s why God gave us to one another. We can join our hearts and we can offer up the next 40 days to the Beautiful One and trust Him to do the beautiful thing in us.

So here’s what I’ll do. I’ll post the daily reading on the blog (except for Sundays) and if you read the Scriptures not only will you have read through the entire New Testament by Easter but God promises that He’ll show you deep and unsearchable things you do not know. He promises that His word is alive and active and will transform your heart. I could use some transformation. What about you?

At the end of the daily passage, I’m going to share my “Lesson from Lent” – nothing long or drawn out just something that God uses to speak straight to my heart from the Scripture that day. I’m putting it at the end because if your time runs short on a particular day – I want you to skip reading my words, not His.

I’m hoping that you’ll start your own running record of what God is showing you. Maybe you’ll even be moved to leave a comment so your Sisters can glean from what you’re learning. No matter how you choose to keep track of all He shares with you . . . treasure it up in your heart Sweet One, meditate on it, mull it over, consider the whisper of the Lover of your soul. The God of the Universe is the only Voice we need to revive our tired souls. So, let’s you and I lean in close, pray for ears to hear and hearts to respond. Let’s dig in to the riches He has given us and prepare to be amazed by what He will reveal to our expectant hearts. O Sister, let’s boldly ask Him for a lesson from Lent and then brace ourselves for a glimpse of Glory!

Day Three

February 20, 2015 ~~ Matthew 13-18

Amplified Bible

Footnotes: I’ve left the footnotes in place if you would like to track down sources in word study and language. Please follow the link to each chapter and scroll to the bottom of the passage.

Matthew 13

That same day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting beside the sea. But such great crowds gathered about Him that He got into a boat and remained sitting there, while all the throng stood on the shore.

And He told them many things in parables (stories by way of illustration and comparison), saying, A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil; and at once they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.But when the sun rose, they were scorched, and because they had no root, they dried up and withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them out. Other seeds fell on good soil, and yielded grain—some a hundred times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some thirty.

He who has ears [to hear], let him be listening and let him [a]consider and [b]perceive and comprehend by hearing.

10 Then the disciples came to Him and said, Why do You speak to them in parables? 11 And He replied to them, To you it has been given to know the secrets and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has [spiritual knowledge], to him will more be given and he will [c]be furnished richly so that he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is the reason that I speak to them in parables: because [d]having the power of seeing, they do not see; and [e]having the power of hearing, they do not hear, nor do they grasp and understand.

14 In them indeed is [f]the process of fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, which says: You shall indeed hear and hear but never grasp and understand; and you shall indeed look and look but never see and perceive.

15 For this nation’s heart has grown gross (fat and dull), and their ears heavy and difficult of hearing, and their eyes they have tightly closed, lest they see and perceive with their eyes, and hear and comprehend the sense with their ears, and grasp and understand with their heart, and turn and I should heal them.

16 But blessed (happy, fortunate, and [g]to be envied) are your eyes because they do see, and your ears because they do hear. 17 Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous men [men who were upright and in right standing with God] yearned to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

18 Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower:

19 [h]While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside. 20 As for what was sown on thin (rocky) soil, this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy; 21 Yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, [i]lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and [j]begins to distrust and desert Him Whom he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches choke and suffocate the Word, and it yields no fruit. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the Word and grasps and comprehends it; he indeed bears fruit and yields in one case a hundred times as much as was sown, in another sixty times as much, and in another thirty.

24 Another parable He set forth before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while he was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed also darnel (weeds resembling wheat) among the wheat, and went on his way. 26 So when the plants sprouted and formed grain, the darnel (weeds) appeared also. 27 And the servants of the owner came to him and said, Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then how does it have darnel shoots in it? 28 He replied to them, An enemy has done this. The servants said to him, Then do you want us to go and weed them out? 29 But he said, No, lest in gathering the wild wheat (weeds resembling wheat), you root up the [true] wheat along with it. 30 Let them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will say to the reapers, Gather the darnel first and bind it in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my granary.

31 Another story by way of comparison He set forth before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. 32 Of all the seeds it is the smallest, but when it has grown it is the largest of the garden herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and find shelter in its branches.

33 He told them another parable: The kingdom of heaven is like leaven ([k]sour dough) which a woman took and covered over in three measures of meal or flour till all of it was leavened.

34 These things [l]all taken together Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, without a parable He said nothing to them. 35 This was in fulfillment of what was spoken by the prophet: I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things that have been hidden since the foundation of the world.

36 Then He left the throngs and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him saying, Explain to us the parable of the darnel in the field.

37 He answered, He Who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed means the children of the kingdom; the darnel is the children of the evil one, 39 And the enemy who sowed it is the devil. The harvest is the close and consummation of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the darnel (weeds resembling wheat) is gathered and burned with fire, so it will be at the close of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of offense [[m]persons by whom others are drawn into error or sin] and all who do iniquity and act wickedly, 42 And will cast them into the furnace of fire; there will be weeping and wailing and grinding of teeth. 43 Then will the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God) shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let him who has ears [to hear] be listening, and let him [n]consider and perceive and understand by hearing.

44 The kingdom of heaven is like [o]something precious buried in a field, which a man found and hid again; then in his joy he goes and sells all he has and buys that field.

45 Again the kingdom of heaven is like a man who is a dealer in search of fine and [p]precious pearls, 46 Who, on finding a single pearl of great price, went and sold all he had and bought it.

47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a [q]dragnet which was cast into the sea and gathered in fish of every sort. 48 When it was full, men dragged it up on the beach, and sat down and sorted out the good fish into baskets, but the worthless ones they threw away. 49 So it will be at the close and consummation of the age. The angels will go forth and separate the wicked from the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God) 50 And cast them [the wicked] into the furnace of fire; there will be weeping and wailing and grinding of teeth.

51 Have you understood [r]all these things [parables] taken together? They said to Him, Yes, Lord.

52 He said to them, Therefore every [s]teacher and interpreter of the Sacred Writings who has been instructed about and trained for the kingdom of heaven and has [t]become a disciple is like a householder who brings forth out of his storehouse treasure that is new and [treasure that is] old [the fresh as well as the familiar].

53 When Jesus had finished these parables (these comparisons), He left there.

54 And coming to His own country [Nazareth], He taught in their synagogue so that they were amazed with bewildered wonder, and said, Where did this [u]Man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s Son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And do not all His sisters live here among us? Where then did this Man get all this? 57 And they took offense at Him [they were repelled and hindered from acknowledging His authority, and caused to stumble]. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.

58 And He did not do many works of power there, because of their unbelief (their lack of faith [v]in the divine mission of Jesus).

Matthew 14

At that time Herod the governor heard the reports about Jesus, And he said to his attendants, This is John the Baptist; He has been raised from the dead, and that is why the powers [a]of performing miracles are at work in Him. For Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison [to [b]stow him out of the way] on account and for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, For John had said to him, It is not lawful or right for you to have her. Although he wished to have him put to death, he was afraid of the people, for they regarded John as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced in the midst [before the company] and pleased and fascinated Herod, And so he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. And she, being put forward and prompted by her mother, said, Give me the head of John the Baptist right here on a [c]platter. And the king was distressed and sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests, he ordered it to be given her; 10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 And his head was brought in on a [d]platter and given [e]to the little maid, and she brought it to her mother. 12 And John’s disciples came and took up the body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus. 13 When Jesus heard it, He withdrew from there privately in a boat to a solitary place. But when the crowds heard of it, they followed Him [by land] on foot from the towns. 14 When He went ashore and saw a great throng of people, He had compassion (pity and deep sympathy) for them and cured their sick.

15 When evening came, the disciples came to Him and said, This is a remote and barren place, and the day is now over; send the throngs away into the villages to buy food for themselves. 16 Jesus said, They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat. 17 They said to Him, We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish. 18 He said, Bring them here to Me. 19 Then He ordered the crowds to recline on the grass; and He took the five loaves and the two fish, and, looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and blessed and broke the loaves and handed the pieces to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve [[f]small hand] baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about 5,000 men, not including women and children.

22 Then He directed the disciples to get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent away the crowds. 23 And after He had dismissed the multitudes, He went up into the hills by Himself to pray. When it was evening, He was still there alone. 24 But the boat was by this time out on the sea, many furlongs [a furlong is one-eighth of a mile] distant from the land, beaten and tossed by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch [between 3:00—6:00 a.m.] of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea.

26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified and said, It is a ghost! And they screamed out with fright. 27 But instantly He spoke to them, saying, Take courage! I Am! Stop being afraid! 28 And Peter answered Him, Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. 29 He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus. 30 But when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened, and as he began to sink, he cried out, Lord, save me [from death]! 31 Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt? 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat knelt and worshiped Him, saying, Truly You are the Son of God!

34 And when they had crossed over to the other side, they went ashore at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent around into all the surrounding country and brought to Him all who were sick 36 And begged Him to let them merely touch the fringe of His garment; and as many as touched it were perfectly restored.

Matthew 15

Then from Jerusalem came scribes and Pharisees and said, Why do Your disciples transgress

and violate the rules handed down by the elders of the past? For they do not practice [ceremonially] washing their hands before they eat. He replied to them, And why also do you transgress and violate the commandment of God for the sake of the rules handed down to you by your forefathers (the elders)? For God commanded, Honor your father and your mother, and, He who curses or reviles or speaks evil of or abuses or treats improperly his father or mother, let him surely come to his end by death. But you say, If anyone tells his father or mother, What you would have gained from me [that is, the money and whatever I have that might be used for helping you] is already dedicated as a gift to God, then he is exempt and no longer under obligation to honor and help his father or his mother. So for the sake of your tradition (the rules handed down by your forefathers), you have set aside the Word of God [depriving it of force and authority and making it of no effect].

You pretenders (hypocrites)! Admirably and truly did Isaiah prophesy of you when he said: These people draw near Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far away from Me. Uselessly do they worship Me, for they teach as doctrines the commands of men.

10 And Jesus called the people to Him and said to them, Listen and grasp and comprehend this: 11 It is not what goes into the mouth of a man that makes him unclean and defiled, but what comes out of the mouth; this makes a man unclean and defiles [him]. 12 Then the disciples came and said to Him, Do You know that the Pharisees were displeased and offended and indignant when they heard this saying?

13 He answered, Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be torn up by the roots. 14 Let them alone and disregard them; they are blind guides and teachers. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a ditch.

15 But Peter said to Him, Explain this [a]proverb (this [b]maxim) to us. 16 And He said, Are you also even yet dull and ignorant [without understanding and [c]unable to put things together]? 17 Do you not see and understand that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the [d]abdomen and so passes on into the place where discharges are deposited? 18 But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles [him]. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts (reasonings and disputings and designs) such as murder, adultery, sexual vice, theft, false witnessing, slander, and irreverent speech. 20 These are what make a man unclean and defile [him]; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him unclean or defile [him].

21 And going away from there, Jesus withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.

22 And behold, a woman who was a Canaanite from that district came out and, with a [loud, troublesomely urgent] cry, begged, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is miserably and distressingly and cruelly possessed by a demon! 23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, Send her away, for she is crying out after us. 24 He answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 But she came and, kneeling, worshiped Him and kept praying, Lord, help me! 26 And He answered, It is not right (proper, becoming, or fair) to take the children’s bread and throw it to the [e]little dogs. 27 She said, Yes, Lord, yet even the little pups ([f]little whelps) eat the crumbs that fall from their [young] masters’ table. 28 Then Jesus answered her, O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you wish. And her daughter was cured from that [g]moment.

29 And Jesus went on from there and passed along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Then He went up into the hills and kept sitting there. 30 And a great multitude came to Him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the dumb, and many others, and they put them down at His feet; and He cured them, 31 So that the crowd was amazed when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they [h]recognized and praised and thanked and glorified the God of Israel.

32 Then Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, I have pity and sympathy and am deeply moved for the crowd, because they have been with Me now three days and they have nothing [at all left] to eat; and I am not willing to send them away hungry, lest they faint or become exhausted on the way. 33 And the disciples said to Him, Where are we to get bread sufficient to feed so great a crowd in this isolated and desert place? 34 And Jesus asked them, How many loaves of bread do you have? They replied, Seven, and a few small fish. 35 And ordering the crowd to recline on the ground, 36 He took the seven loaves and the fish, and when He had given thanks, He broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 37 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they gathered up seven [[i]large provision] baskets full of the broken pieces that were left over. 38 Those who ate were 4,000 men, not including the women and the children.

39 Then He dismissed the crowds, got into the boat, and went to the district of Magadan.

Matthew 16

Now the Pharisees and Sadducees came up to Jesus, and they asked Him to show them a sign (spectacular miracle) from heaven [attesting His divine authority]. He replied to them, [a]When it is evening you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red, And in the morning, It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and has a gloomy and threatening look. You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and morally unfaithful generation craves a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. Then He left them and went away.

When the disciples reached the other side of the sea, they found that they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, Be careful and on your guard against the leaven (ferment) of the Pharisees and Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves about it, saying, It is because we did not bring any bread. But Jesus, aware of this, asked, Why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? O you [men, how little trust you have in Me, how] little faith! Do you not yet discern (perceive and understand)? Do you not remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many [[b]small hand] baskets you gathered? 10 Nor the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many [[c]large provision] baskets you took up? 11 How is it that you fail to understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But beware of the leaven (ferment) of the Pharisees and Sadducees. 12 Then they discerned that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

13 Now when Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, Who do people say that the Son of Man is? 14 And they answered, Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. 15 He said to them, But who do you [yourselves] say that I am? 16 Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17 Then Jesus answered him, Blessed (happy, fortunate, and [d]to be envied) are you, Simon Bar-Jonah. For flesh and blood [men] have not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are [e]Peter [Greek, Petros—a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra—a [f]huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the [g]infernal region) shall [h]not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it]. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth [i]must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth [j]must be what is already loosed in heaven. 20 Then He sternly and strictly charged and warned the disciples to tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

21 From that time forth Jesus began [clearly] to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders and the high priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised [k]from death. 22 Then Peter took Him aside [l]to speak to Him privately and began to reprove and [m]charge Him sharply, saying, God forbid, Lord! This must never happen to You! 23 But Jesus turned [n]away from Peter and said to him, Get behind Me, Satan! You are in My way [an offense and a hindrance and a snare to Me]; for you are [o]minding what partakes not of the nature and quality of God, but of men.

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [[p]cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. 25 For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed [q]life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] [r]life [in the kingdom of God]? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory (majesty, splendor) of His Father with His angels, and then He will render account and reward every man in accordance with what he has done. 28 Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in (into) His kingdom.

Matthew 17

And six days after this, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And His appearance underwent a change in their presence; and His face shone [a]clear and bright like the sun, and His clothing became as white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, who kept talking with Him. Then Peter began to speak and said to Jesus, Lord, it is good and delightful that we are here; if You approve, I will put up three booths here—one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah. While he was still speaking, behold, a shining cloud [[b]composed of light] overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, This is My Son, My Beloved, with Whom I am [and [c]have always been] delighted. Listen to Him! When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were [d]seized with alarm and struck with fear. But Jesus came and touched them and said, Get up, and do not be afraid. And when they raised their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

And as they were going down the mountain, Jesus cautioned and commanded them, Do not mention to anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead. 10 The disciples asked Him, Then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? 11 He replied, Elijah does come and will get everything restored and ready. 12 But I tell you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know or recognize him, but did to him as they liked. So also the Son of Man is going to be treated and suffer at their hands. 13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them about John the Baptist.

14 And when they approached the multitude, a man came up to Him, kneeling before Him and saying, 15 Lord, do pity and have mercy on my son, for he has epilepsy (is [e]moonstruck) and he suffers terribly; for frequently he falls into the fire and many times into the water. 16 And I brought him to Your disciples, and they were not able to cure him. 17 And Jesus answered, O you unbelieving ([f]warped, wayward, rebellious) and [g]thoroughly perverse generation! How long am I to remain with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to Me. 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked privately, Why could we not drive it out? 20 He said to them, Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of [h]firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [[i]that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

21 [j]But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.

22 When they were going about here and there in Galilee, Jesus said to them, The Son of Man is going to be turned over into the hands of men. 23 And they will kill Him, and He will be raised [to life] again on the third day. And they were deeply and exceedingly grieved and distressed.

24 When they arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the half shekel [the temple tax] went up to Peter and said, Does not your Teacher pay the half shekel? 25 He answered, Yes. And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him [about it] first, saying, What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly rulers collect duties or tribute—from their own sons or from others [k]not of their own family? 26 And when Peter said, From other people [l]not of their own family, Jesus said to him, Then the sons are exempt. 27 However, in order not to give offense and cause them to stumble [that is, to cause them [m]to judge unfavorably and unjustly] go down to the sea and throw in a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find there a shekel. Take it and give it to them to pay the temple tax for Me and for yourself.

Matthew 18

At that time the disciples came up and asked Jesus, Who then is [really] the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

And He called a little child to Himself and put him in the midst of them, And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all]. Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives and accepts and welcomes one little child like this for My sake and in My name receives and accepts and welcomes Me.

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in and [a]acknowledge and cleave to Me to stumble and sin [that is, who entices him or hinders him in right conduct or thought], it would be better ([b]more expedient and profitable or advantageous) for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be sunk in the depth of the sea.

Woe to the world for such temptations to sin and influences to do wrong! It is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the person on whose account or by whom the temptation comes!

And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off and throw it away from you; it is better (more profitable and wholesome) for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away from you; it is better (more profitable and wholesome) for you to enter life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the hell (Gehenna) of fire.

10 Beware that you do not despise or feel scornful toward or think little of one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always are in the presence of and look upon the face of My Father Who is in heaven.

11 [c]For the Son of man came to save [[d]from the penalty of eternal death] that which was lost.

12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray and gets lost, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountain and go in search of the one that is lost? 13 And if it should be that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not get lost. 14 Just so it is not the will of My Father Who is in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost and perish.

15 If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 17 If he pays no attention to them [refusing to listen and obey], tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a pagan and a tax collector.

18 Truly I tell you, whatever you forbid and declare to be improper and unlawful on earth must be [e]what is already forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit and declare proper and lawful on earth must be [f]what is already permitted in heaven.

19 Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and [g]everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For wherever two or three are gathered (drawn together as My followers) in (into) My name, there I Am in the midst of them.

21 Then Peter came up to Him and said, Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and [h]let it go? [As many as] up to seven times? 22 Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven! 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a human king who wished to settle accounts with his attendants. 24 When he began the accounting, one was brought to him who owed him 10,000 talents [probably about $10,000,000], 25 And because he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and his children and everything that he possessed, and payment to be made. 26 So the attendant fell on his knees, begging him, Have patience with me and I will pay you everything. 27 And his master’s heart was moved with compassion, and he released him and forgave him [cancelling] the debt. 28 But that same attendant, as he went out, found one of his fellow attendants who owed him a hundred denarii [about twenty dollars]; and he caught him by the throat and said, Pay what you owe! 29 So his fellow attendant fell down and begged him earnestly, Give me time, and I will pay you all! 30 But he was unwilling, and he went out and had him put in prison till he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow attendants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and told everything that had taken place to their master. 32 Then his master called him and said to him, You contemptible and wicked attendant! I forgave and cancelled all that [great] debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 And should you not have had pity and mercy on your fellow attendant, as I had pity and mercy on you? 34 And in wrath his master turned him over to the torturers (the jailers), till he should pay all that he owed.

35 So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses.

And the Women of God joined their hearts as one and raised their praise with a mighty “Amen”


What a Word we have read today! The order of things is so striking to me. Please don’t miss that sandwiched right in between the accounts of the feeding of the five thousand with baskets of bread leftover and the feeding of the four thousand with baskets of bread leftover is the woman who professes that the crumbs will be enough for her. She gives voice and expression and life to the belief of the beggars who simply wanted to touch the hem of His garment.

  • Imagine how her declaration of faith fell upon the ears of the Bread of Life – “Lord, Savior, Messiah whatever I have of you will be enough!”

And Jesus doesn’t stop with simply telling Peter to forgive an innumerable amount of times. . . He explains to him why with the parable of the human king and the unmerciful servant.   Peter, nor you and I, can misunderstand that Jesus was speaking directly to us. I must forgive the little I have been sinned against because I have been forgiven of the much I have sinned.

O How I am praising Him for a fresh word today from sweet, familiar, read-a-thousand-times passages. It’s exactly what I’ve asked Him for and I thank Him for His kindness toward me.

58 And He did not do many works of power there, because of their unbelief (their lack of faith [v]in the divine mission of Jesus). Matthew 13:58

30 But when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened, and as he began to sink, he cried out, Lord, save me [from death]! 31 Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt? Matthew 14:30

He said to them, Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of [h]firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [[i]that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. Matthew 17:20

 Lord, thank you for the blessing of an expectant heart and showing yourself again to be the God of More. Protect me from unbelief that will keep you from doing a powerful work in my heart. Keep me from being so frightened by the storms of this life that I doubt Your care and your goodness toward me. Shield me from a small faith that refuses to ask big things of you and help me to always believe you to be more than I understand. Jesus, you are always enough! In Your Mighty Name I pray.

creation swap storm hand Danielle Hartland 1374

No life-storm can take you where the hand of Jesus cannot reach you. #lessonsfromlent

A Balloon Ride for Two . . . Safe in the Palm of Glory!

16 Dec

Brett and I have travelled across the country this past week not for a simple vacation but to witness a milestone moment in the life of our Sweet Florida Girl. We’ve come to see our Little One walk across the stage, receive her college diploma and symbolically step into the next stage of her 21 year old life.seugraduationbackground

Sisters, where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday she stepped up to the podium at her first “graduation” – the time passes so fast and, as cliché’brittspreschool graduation cropped as it sounds, you barely blink and it’s gone. And I don’t think that sentiment, the idea that time with those who have captured our hearts slips away too soon, is limited to our children. I think it’s that way with all the important people in our lives. The time always seems to go to quickly . . . with your Grandma, with your Mom, with your aunts, your sisters, your nieces, your daughters . . . it never seems like we have the time to fully embrace them and in the blink of an eye . . . it’s a memory.

That’s how these last 21 years feel to me and as I let my mind drift back to the beginning of her college years I clearly remember the absolute physical pain of watching her pull the car out of the garage to begin her adventure on the opposite end of the United States. I felt so anxious about what the future held for her and to be honest, for the empty nest she was leaving behind as well.

What was waiting for her at Southeastern University? She believed God had paved the way straight through those campus gates for her. So much so that she called it her “Promised Land” – but would it be? Would the adjustment, the being away from home, be difficult for her or would she make the move easily – and, if I was honest with myself, which one was I really hoping for?

All these questions and a thousand others pounded at my heart as I watched her turn the key, smile at me with such expectation on her face and drive away. I flew to the spot Brett was having his morning coffee, crawled up beside him, and let the thousand questions roll down my cheeks.

And now here I am at another monumental moment . . . watching as she takes her place with a smile full of expectation – she isn’t sitting behind the wheel with all her belongings in the seats behind her, but she is poised for another adventure. It’s so strange to me to see her in this place, where the past and future are meeting in such a real and tangible way. So surreal to open the commencement program listing the graduates, trace down through the list and land on the name we had given our Sweet Child 21 years ago.

Such a mix of remembering, experiencing and anticipating all tangled into these few brief moments. Remembering her as a little girl. Thinking about the health diagnosis she has received this year and the challenges they will present throughout her life. Anticipating her upcoming marriage in 2015.   Mulling her plan to move several states away from us . . . again. And there is that physical pain again and the thousand questions that batter at my Momma’s heart.

Does she remember home as a safe harbor? A place of love? The spot where grace lives? What is she thinking about the pain in her joints and all the medicine she has to take? How is she going to cope with the new limitations she has? Is she nervous about being a wife? Will she make friends in that new place? Will she leave us behind?

So much change in her young life and in this old one too. And all those questions welled up in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks as I spilled my heart out to Brett over coffee in our hotel the morning after graduation.

I’d love to write that he handled it so wonderfully but I know he will not mind me telling you that he sometimes forgets that I don’t really want the questions answered or the problem fixed. I just want someone to hear what’s on my heart. So he didn’t handle it badly, he just really wanted to make it better. To make certain I knew that Britt would be okay on the journey. To remind me that we have been praying for her for years with this specific time in mind. And to point out all the times God has been so obviously faithful to her over the years.

I looked over to explain to him that I didn’t want to hear logic or be reminded of all the things I know to be true and over his shoulder, right off the patio of our hotel room, I saw the most beautiful hot air balloon with the sun splashing across it. I said, “Honey, look at that! It’s so beautiful!” He turned to look from the place he was sitting and said, “Where?” He rolled forward in his wheelchair and said, “I can see it now. But there isn’t just one – the sky is full of them!” And he pushed out onto the patio. I got out of my chair and followed him and there they all were with the sun lighting them up. They were so beautiful. And calm. So peaceful.

The splendor of the single balloon had been obscured from Brett’s vision by a concrete post and the beauty filling the sky had been hidden from me by a curtain. We had to move, to get up close, get out from behind the post and pull back the curtain to see the bigger picture. And still, as we took in the details of the balloons, suspended in the sky, awash in the sun, poised for adventure, we didn’t know where the balloons had launched from – where they were going—or who they were carrying. For all the beauty in front of us, we only saw one brief moment, hanging in time, of the much larger journey.


We were witnessing, Sweet Sisters, a glimpse of Glory . . . a small slice of the wonder of Him . . . in the sky above us and the life of our Sweet Girl.

And the message struck like a lightning bolt.  God is all about doing the beautiful thing – even when the post is obscuring our vision or we’re standing behind the curtain. What I can or can’t see has no bearing on what He is doing. I cannot contain Him and neither can you so we trust Him to always be about the business of filling our skies with love. And occasionally, when we heed the Spirit’s push to move closer and respond to His invitation to look up . . . we see the beauty of Him . . . and if we will raise our eyes toward heaven, even as the questions roll down our cheeks, Sister, what we behold will be absolutely glorious.

hotairballoon desktopfreehebrews

Beauty Speaks . . .A Sister’s Story

15 Oct

Beauty . . . you are alive and well. The image of the Beautiful One is surrounding us and we are engulfed in its heartbeat. His grace, His love, His steadfastness . . . every single attribute He possesses has been placed inside of His most prized creation. Sister, that most favored status belongs to you.

Your life, if you have accepted Jesus Christ, is being renewed and transformed to reveal more and more of the beauty the Elohim, the “All of God”, created you to possess. And we, with unveiled faces, move about this life going through the trials, the tests, the difficult stuff and we come away with a greater confidence and certainty that He is with us, that He is good and we are precious in His sight.

We confront the questions to be sure . . . Is our God a Giver or a taker? Does the Delightful One truly delight in me? Has He forgotten His promise to work all things together for the good of those who love Him? It’s part of the process. We question, we pray, we cry . . . but we do not withdraw when “good” doesn’t look like we think it will and “beauty” gets messy.

And when He clears our vision, reaching down into the depths, pulling us to the top so we can breathe, opening our eyes to see just a slice of what He is doing . . . Beloved, we scarce can take it in.

That’s the place my Sweet Friend found herself in just a short time ago . . .the place where God peeled back the worries of this world and showed His splendor just for her. She gave me permission to share her story, but no matter how I tried I couldn’t bring the words together in a way that captured her heart and the way His love absolutely flowed over her in those moments. See I think that no matter how up close you have watched someone, walked with someone, or done life with someone – you can’t really tell their story quite like they can.

I so wish you could sit face to face with her, see the tears in the corners of her eyes as she spoke—because the tears would be there believe me—and hear her voice take on the hush of holiness as she poured her heart out and marveled at His goodness, but that’s just not possible.  So instead, she’s allowing me to share her story in her words. She wrote this originally as an encouragement to the Sisters she studies the Word with – a tangible way to put skin on 1 Thessalonians 2:8 sharing of our very selves—not anticipating the invitation to encourage a much larger audience.

creation swap glimpses1 Paul Snyder 10439 ribbetSo, being affectionately desirous of you,

we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God

but also our own selves,

because you had become very dear to us.

 1 Thessalonians 2:8

True to the image she was created in she has answered the call to come alongside us and let us glimpse God’s glory with her. May He bless her one-hundred fold for giving voice to His goodness and testifying to His love. My Sweet Friend, thank you for living and loving out loud in Jesus Name. You are tangible proof to me that beauty thrives in a fallen world. Blessings to you.

creation swap coffee cup painting beauty lori macmath 9079 ribbet


You all know I was on a long journey with my Mom as she was dying. TammyandherMomma ribbetIt was one of the hardest journeys God has ever taken me on.  I lost her in December of last year.

Facebook Post from her Momma’s bedside–December 4, 2013

Sitting here with my Mom during the last hours of her journey here on earth. It’s strange how they usher us into this life and we get to usher them into eternity. Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. What a blessing to hold her hand through it all.

tammy'sjacob ribbetSoon after that my son Jacob’s caregiver, (Jacob has Down’s Syndrome) that worked for us around 4 years, was engaged and got married in April.  So she left us too.  She is like a daughter to me so I was so happy for her but it was a big loss.tammymikejosh graduation ribbet

Then Jacob’s twin brother Josh graduated in June and left for college on September 1.  Honestly I wasn’t sure I would make it through all of these losses.

I had a few months where I didn’t leave the house much.  The massive amounts of snow were a good excuse to stay home.  I did pray and read my devotional and even sometimes my Bible during this time.  I had awesome sisters that kept praying, bringing coffee and checking on me.

As spring came and the sun….I felt God so close.  Just as I had in my Mom’s last days.  I slowly started moving again and getting involved in life.  It was a very long process but as I shared with my counselor and my girls, God had told me to be still when my Mom had died.  I was still but the pain was so overwhelming sometimes.

We had to help Josh decide on a college.  This was so hard.  To guide but not insist or pressure.  God gave us such wisdom and patience.  I knew where I felt he should go as soon as we hit the campus but Josh wasn’t sure.  It also cost way more than we could afford.  I kept praying Lord is this the place?  Show us, tell us, we want to obey.  By May, Josh had decided it would be Spring Arbor, my choice too.  Then God provided the money we needed.  It was amazing.  All that he did to show us his answer.

Anyway, as summer ended we packed Josh up.  We arrived on campus and were overwhelmed with God’s goodness. From each person we met to how smoothly things unfolded.  We had never met Josh’s roommate but quickly knew they were a match.  His mother and I stood in the hall listening to the RA and Spiritual advisor for the boys tell us their hearts for these boys and how they wanted to encourage and guide them.  Amazing.

After lunch we went back to the dorm.  Drew, Joshua’s roommate, was talking to someone and I heard him comment

“That can’t be true because I am adopted.”  I looked up and said “Drew, your adopted?”  “Yes”  he said.  I said “Wow, Josh is too.  Did you know that?”  “No, I didn’t”.

When I looked up at his Mom and Dad they were both smiling.  His Dad asked me when we had adopted the boys.  I told him August of 1996 from Christian Cradle.  They smiled bigger….

”I approved your adoption” he said.

“I was on the board of Christian Cradle at that time.”

tammy'sboysbaby ribbet

I couldn’t even speak.  I actually held my hands up to God and started talking.

‘You have planned this since the beginning of time…you knew these two boys would meet today and that we would find out this information.  Unbelievable!!!!”

I said to them “Can I just say thank you…”

What a confirmation!  God told me in no uncertain terms that Josh was supposed to be there at that very moment.

He is more than I can even put into words.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Savior of the World, the Lover of the Soul.  Every intricate detail…from greatest to least.  He has filled me with more hope and joy this Fall than I ever thought possible.  PRAISE HIS NAME!!!!

I don’t know about you but I can’t read the words of that Sweet Sister without the tears rolling down my cheeks. Was it easy? Absolutely not. Was it beautiful? It absolutely was. It might not have been our idea of what beauty looks like but when He peeled that curtain back and she got to see His tenderness, love, and care toward her – Beauty was speechless.

In all those years, God was storing up that moment and treasuring it in His heart until the very time she needed it most. That’s Who He is. Regardless of what our eyes see or how messy our lives may be –

the Beautiful One never ceases to work for the good of those who love Him.

What goodness, what treasure, do you suppose, Beautiful Sister, He is storing up for you? Where might you be, what storms might you have endured, when He peels back the curtain and reveals to you His splendor? I don’t know when that moment might come. We have no way of pinpointing the time when He will show His tenderness so plainly . . . the time when we will glimpse His glory and we will be left speechless. But we have heard this testimony and we know He is faithful so we can be certain Girlfriend –the time will come and His Glory will be seen!


And we know that for those who love God

all things work together for good,

for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

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.


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

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

Ephesians 3:19

Step Off the Edge and Into Love

21 Nov

The birthday of a sweet little friend is quickly coming up.  She will be celebrating four years of full on, love-out-loud, beautiful life—four years of miracle living.


addy3Four years that were anything but a certainty on the day she arrived. This was the news given to the world the day Addy Josie made her debut.

  • November 30, 2009 (fb status)
    • Addyson Josie ///////  born at 7:42am, 8lbs 11oz. having some troubles breathing but stable. need lots of prayers for her.

Her introduction to planet earth was a little bumpy and the ride did not get any smoother over the coming days.  What seemed to be “some breathing trouble” initially, quickly escalated to a fight for every breath and a circulatory system that would not cooperate.  Miss Addy was transferred to a larger hospital and took up residence in the NICU.

  • November 30, 2009 (fb status)
    • Addyson is on her way to /////////// in ///////////, having troubles breathing. Hopefully I will be released tomorrow to go down and see her.

See the last sentence of that update – Momma had to stay behind.  Imagine the ache of that goodbye to her baby girl.  All the fear that could have flooded her heart.  All the worry that could have overtaken her.  All the sorrow that might have washed over her.  I honestly don’t know where her mind went that afternoon but I know it was hard on her.  The pain of it was all over her face when I visited her that afternoon.  She didn’t share what she was thinking but I know she did some business with her Father in Heaven and I know she came out with a quiet resolve and a determined peace.  She chose not to shrink back but rather to call out every prayer warrior willing to do battle and to trust Him for the outcome.  And regardless of the news of the day, that’s where she stayed.  Firmly planted in Him and counting on His people.

  • December 3, 2009 (fb status)
    • Back over to the NICU Addyson is stable, we are waiting for her little body to correct it’s circulatory system. This could take days to weeks depending on her body. She needs prayers for healing, I’ll keep trying to post updates on here. Thanks everyone for the support and prayers.

So Momma and Daddy gazed at their baby girl in her isolet, unable to hold her, but absolutely willing their sweet baby girl to breath with everything in them.  I can’t say what went through Daddy’s heart because men don’t tend to give voice to much in those situations.  But Addy’s Momma rolled 1 Peter 5:7 through her heart over and over again as she sat, watched, and prayed over her little girl.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV,1984)

Here at home we answered the call.  We prayed over that little girl.  We fasted for that child.  We linked arms in the heavenlies and humbled ourselves before God asking for a miracle.  We reminded ourselves that the child we were praying for was loved by Him far more than we could imagine and that she had an angel that was always gazing into the face of the Father.  His thoughts are most certainly higher than ours and His ways beyond our understanding, but we knew without a doubt that no matter the outcome His attention and His affection were on that baby girl.

addy 1day

 “For I tell you that their angels in heaven

always see the face of my Father in heaven.

Matthew 18:10 (NIV,1984)

Little Miss Addy surrounded by love and enveloped in prayer—quite a beginning. (And it strikes me as I type those words that I’ve never praised as hard for a single healthy life as I prayed for the one who was in danger.  That’s some food for thought on my part.) Prayers were said all around the country for Addy Jo–people from Michigan to Florida, lifting this little one before the Throne—with Momma leading the charge.  She desired healing for her baby and she had her eyes fixed on the Healer.

  • December  3, 2009 (fb status)
    • Addyson’s labs are looking excellent, praise the Lord for answered Prayers. we are still a long way. thanks everyone for the prayers and support. Keep them coming
  • December 5, 2009 (fb status)
    • so the Doctors made rounds this morning and believe that Addyson has rounded the corner and is ready to be taken off the vent. This is done slowly over the next 24 to 48 hours. Prayers that she tolerates it and will be off by Monday!!! I am so excited to get to hold that little girl!
  • December 6, 2009 (fb status)
    • So another great night and morning. Plans are to have Addy off the vent this afternoon and have the central line out tomorrow. So that means that I might get to hold that little girl tomorrow!!!!! God is a miracle worker, he heard our prayers and has answered!  

The praise and prayers of a Momma’s heart.  The want to hold her baby girl and give the love she had been whispering to that little heart tangible, physical presence.  She had arms of love –wide open– waiting to pull her little one close.

  • December 6, 2009 (fb status)

I finally got to hold Her ! Hooray ! PRaise GoD !


“I will praise the LORD all my life;

I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Psalm 146:2

  • December 6, 2009 (fb status)
    • As you can see by the pictures. The Vent is out, I got to give her a bath and hold her today! What an awesome day! “I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Psalms 146:2

The battle that raged over Addy Jo was fierce.  Momma, Daddy, and every warrior who answered the call fought with tenacity and perseverance.  But little Miss Addy, did not worry for a single moment.  She did not fret or stew.  She just kept inhaling and exhaling.  Fighting the good fight with the tools she had been given.  Moving from one moment to the next.  At rest, right where God had placed her.


And God, who does not change, performed a miracle that we could recognize.  No matter what the outcome would have been God would have brought beauty from it, but in this instance, even my limited human vision could see and comprehend His Goodness.

There are times in my life when I have to believe what I know to be true over what my eyes see and my heart perceives to be the circumstance.  Just like you, I’ve walked through times that didn’t seem beautiful to me. Times when I don’t recognize the miracle.  I know it’s there because I know the heart of my God is Unfailing Love.  But, I fully confess that there must be some uncovered, unbelieving places in my heart that won’t grab hold of that truth. If there wasn’t I would just keep inhaling and exhaling, moving from one moment to the next, fighting the good fight with the tools I have, and be at rest right where God has placed me – even when I don’t comprehend my circumstances.

The verse Addy’s Momma claimed as her own, 1 Peter 5:7, reads like this from the Message:

Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you.  1 Peter 5:7 (MSG)

Carefree living.  Inhaling and Exhaling.  Moment to moment.  At rest, right where He has placed you.  Oh Sweet One, The I AM is MOST CAREFUL WITH YOU.  And with me.  It is why we can be free of the cares of this world.  His care and His Love are our assurance of the miracle.  And while I would love for both of us to recognize it every time, to always comprehend the miracle in the midst of life, I just don’t think it’s possible this side of Glory.  You know all too well that life on planet earth is not for the faint of heart.  Storms gather above our heads and rain falls on each and every one of us.  We stand at the edge of our circumstances and we peer down, unable to see the outcome.  Uncertain of the beauty. Unable to comprehend the goodness.

But what if, as we leaned over the edge of the unknown,  we inhaled and we exhaled, and we called to mind the things we know?

  • November 29, 2010 (fb status)
    • Tomorrow is Addy’s 1st Birthday!! The miracle Baby is a year old, I cannot believe it!!! Praise the Lord for this little ray of sunshine !!!
  • December 1, 2010 (fb status) 
    • I am still celebrating little Miss Addy Today as well. Last year at this time, was the biggest hurdle our family has had to endure together. With the GRACE of God He healed Addy’s little body. I believe in Miracles.. I sure do.
  • November 30, 2011 (fb status)
    • Today is Addyson’s 2nd Birthday!! HaPpY BiRtHdAy to my Miracle Baby!! Not one day goes by where I don’t thank the Lord for that little girl! He preformed Miracles right in front of my eyes at /////// NICU.. I am so thankful we get the chance to see her grown and raise her! Sooo let’s Celebrate! Happy Birthday!!
  • November 30, 2012 (fb status)
    • Happy Birthday to Miss Addy Jo! Today she turns 3!! My little miracle baby is thriving and such a blessing to her family & friends! The way she came into this world helps me to remember daily God could of took her but knew I needed to watch my little one grow, I thank Him everyday for trusting me to raise her up to serve Him. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADDYSON JOSIE!

Sister, we have no idea of the battle raging over us.  We don’t possess the eyes to fully see our circumstance.  But if we will open our hearts just a little wider, if we will fix our eyes on the Healer, we will see Him.  His feet are firmly planted and His arms are opened wide.  His attention and His affection are resolutely fixed on you.

He will NOT waiver in His Love. 

He will NOT fail you. 

He will NOT let you fall. 

Girlfriend, step off the edge of your circumstances – He is Faithful. You may not know the outcome but you Know the One who does.  Take the leap of faith.  Believe Him to be who He says He is.  Trust Him to be who He always has been and know, without a doubt, that when you jump the Arms of Love are waiting . . . just for you.


♥ Happy Birthday Addy Josie ♥

Grab a Hard Hat Sister . . . The Walls are Tumbling Down!

9 Nov

Why do you think it might be that we can be zipping right along in life feeling as if we couldn’t get any closer to the Spirit without going Home and then . . . . wham!  A nasty brick wall rises up in front of us, seemingly out of nowhere.   We hit that thing so hard that we aren’t certain we’ll ever get up.   Our heads spin and we can feel blood seeping from an open wound or two.   We hear one side of our brain screaming, “Get up, we need some help!” and the other part is shouting just as loudly “Stay down. Nurse those wounds alone.”  And you find yourself in the middle of mind commotion that is all too familiar.

Why is it “all too familiar”?  Because that nasty brick wall did not come from nowhere.  If we’re honest—willing to look closely, willing to really gaze upon the thing–I’m betting we’ll find that that wall was carefully crafted by our own heart.  Constructed one brick at a time in all manner of circumstances, with all kinds of reactions and emotions.

No matter how early in life we accepted Christ we still had time to build that wall and it’s possible that the construction continued well into our faith walk.  I know for myself, I carried my wall building patterns right into my life as a Christian and it took years to tear down those barriers.  Even now, after 17 years of full out acceptance of the Truth, I still find my heart tempted to reach for a brick when I feel hurt and vulnerable.

Think about it for a moment.  Where does that brick wall spring from?  Fear of rejection?  Fear of exclusion?  Fear of loneliness? Fear of ____________?  Where might the building process have begun?

Maybe these ugly threats lived in your home.  Home should be where unconditional love thrives in every circumstance but maybe instead, you found that acceptance and tenderness were very conditional.  Withdrawn at the smallest infraction; restored when some measure of favor returned.   And you left that home of unpredictable affection with your bricks in place, only to find that the world was no different.

Perhaps you experienced these things in your school days.  Left out, left behind, disregarded . . . yet, you had some notion that when you left that environment those challenges would fall by the wayside.  Only to enter into adulthood and find that kids aren’t the only ones who are thoughtless and unkind.  And with certainty you reinforce each row in your growing barricade.

So we walled ourselves in and walled others out—sometimes purposefully and other times reactively.  brickmortarOne brick at a time – no one can hurt us because no one can get near us.  And we used the slights, hurts, and fears of this world as mortar to hold our wall together and convince ourselves that the pain of self-imposed isolation was far preferable to the pain on the other side.  Self-protection is a powerful motivator.

It might be, as much as it pains me to write it, that you have encountered these same unloving circumstances inside the Church.  The one place you were certain would be your safe haven was not.  The place was filled with imperfect people who acted from their imperfection.  They slighted you.  They excluded you.  They hurt you.  They gave you reason to keep those walls you so carefully fashioned standing tall.

And although the preceding words were painful, the ones that follow sear my heart more deeply than any other I will write in this post:  I might have been the one.  I might have been the one to make you feel excluded.  I might have been the one to slight you and leave you behind.  I might have been the one who made you feel less-than and unworthy.  The one who placed the brick in your hand and pushed you to build your fortress even higher.

I know without a doubt there were times when my actions told my child that she did not deserve my affection.  I am certain that I hurt others on many occasions by acting as if they didn’t belong.  And I know that the imperfect actions of this imperfect woman kept the Church from being the safe Haven Christ died to make it.  I wish those statements weren’t accurate, but they are. And Beloved, please don’t be offended, but might it be that you have been a brick provider on an occasion or two as well?

The truth of it is, no matter whom you encounter or where, you can be certain that they have been busy with their own bricks.  They have diligently constructed their walls based on their own experiences and the imperfect actions of imperfect people have made their structures strong.    So when you do life together, no matter where it is, the place is crowded.  You, them, and everyone’s collective bricks all fighting for the same space.

The irony of it is that we want to be together.  We want to do life side-by-side.  The walls we have created are not supposed to be there.  I say that so confidently because it’s the way God designed us.  We were meant to be in fellowship with one another.

He intended that my desire to follow Him would lead to my refining and I would be the deliverer of fewer and fewer bricks–I will sin less and less if I am abiding in Him. He desires for you to leave your fear behind, step out and follow Him.  He wants us to stop relying on our walls to protect us and to begin depending on His heart.

I constructed the walls of separation—not God.

I have put every brick in place—not God.

But here’s the beautiful thing, I am not clever enough, smart enough or strong enough to build a wall that will stand in the face of LOVE.  Girlfriend, neither are you.  God Himself has declared our freedom from fear –His Perfect Love Drives It Out. God Himself has opened the Door –step out and follow Love. Sweet One, you ask your Savior to set you free, you believe that He will make the way, and then you lace up your demolition boots and pull your hard hat down tight – because the walls are about to fall!

God is Dynamite

Beautifully Wrapped and Lavishly Loved . . . You are a Gift!

2 Nov


The last blog post was about Remembering our Miracles.  Not losing sight of the Gifts that are doing life right in front of us.  Not allowing the stuff “between the numbers” to steal our vision.  I’m certain that as you read, your own precious heart album was laying wide open in your mind’s eye.  And I’m just as certain that as you looked into those eyes, saw their smiles, and considered the depth of your love toward them, you were overwhelmed with thankfulness to the One who gave them to you.  The One who intentionally carved out a place for each and every one of those beautiful faces in your heart.

Have you ever stopped to consider how purposeful God was when He gave you those Gifts?  Those Miracles imprinted on your heart and your mind?  He designed them, precious in His sight, fearfully and wonderfully made and then . . . . . He entrusted them to you.   It wasn’t an accident.  It wasn’t happenstance.  It was choice.  They were given to you–Gifts to watch over and to care for–beautifully wrapped and lavishly loved, heart-picked and hand delivered by Divine choice.

God knew that there would be life stuff come their way that would be more bearable, more joyful, and more doable with you by their side.  See, the blessing of Miracles and Gifts runs both ways.  Your Miracles, well . . . they possess the Gift of YOU.

  • God determined that you were the one to walk beside your husband and to support him even when it’s hard.  Nobody else could fill those shoes.  He made them just for you.
  • He knew that the baby He put in your arms needed to have unconditional love straight from your heart.  No other heart would do.  He chose you.
  • He resolved that specifically you would be entrusted to bless and love those heart children.  Only you were appointed to shower them with unending love and blessings.
  • And those Sisters at your side were given especially to you to comfort and to encourage.  Their lives are richer, fuller, sweeter– because they belong to you.

Now you look at that list and the general terms that I offered –husband, babies, children, sisters—and they all take on names.  Names of the ones you love and maybe, if you’re like me, you think of the immensity of what He has entrusted to you and quickly become convinced that God has short changed those Sweet Ones around you.  You’re not the one to love with no strings attached.  You aren’t the reliable one, the one who will be steadfast no matter the circumstance.  You can’t meet the needs of others that way or offer comfort that really makes a difference.  You surely aren’t the one who showers love on others, may be it trickles – on a good day.  Maybe everything within you right now is shouting—I am no Gift.

Well Girlfriend, if you and I were left to our own devices, abandoned to our own hearts, I would be the first one to stand up and agree with you.  But that’s just not the case for those who believe.  God never intended for us to walk into the precious lives He has surrounded us with on our own.  We were sent there as a Gift by the One to whom we have been entrusted.  He fully desires for us to rely on the Power, the Tenacity, the Endurance, and the Love of the One to whom we have been gifted.


And so for their sake and on their behalf I sanctify, dedicate, consecrate Myself that they also may be sanctified, dedicated, consecrated, made holy in the Truth.

Neither for these alone do I pray, it is not for their sake only that I make this request, but also for all those who will ever come to believe in, trust in, cling to, rely on Me through their word and teaching,

That they all may be one, just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.

I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are one:

I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and definitely recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them even as You have loved Me.

Father, I desire that they also whom You have entrusted to Me, as Your gift to Me, may be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory, which You have given Me Your love gift to Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

O just and righteous Father, although the world has not known You and has failed to recognize You and has never acknowledged You, I have known You continually; and these men understand and know that You have sent Me.

I have made Your Name known to them and revealed Your character and Your very Self, and I will continue to make You known, that the love which You have bestowed upon Me may be in them–felt in their hearts–and that I, Myself, may be in them.  John 17:19-26

Do you see it?  You are the Gift from THE GIFT.  The richness, the sweetness, the love that you pour into the lives of others is because Christ Jesus—GOD’S GIFT TO THE WORLD–has received you – has received me – as a gift straight from the heart of the Father.  You have been entrusted to, given to, gifted to the Christ of God and He has poured Himself into you so that you might pour Him into the lives of others.

It is the unconditional Love of the One who is Love that flows through us and fills the hearts of our babies.  It’s His reliability, His steadfastness that wells up within us giving us the tenacity to walk strong beside our husbands.  It is Him, the Great Comforter, who reaches out to that Sister with our arms and lets us wear His heart for them.   And it’s Him – the Living Water, which never runs dry – showering our heart children with blessing and unending love.

See, apart from Jesus, apart from the Spirit of Love coursing through us, there is no good thing in us, but with Jesus comes every good thing.  He giftwraps us with tenderheartedness, with mercy, and with patience giving us the power to endure whatever comes and hand delivers us to the those we love and those we are yet to love.

And the world sees it.  They watch us do life.  Enduring trials, encountering suffering, celebrating and grieving with those we have been given.  We are never pulled out of the hard stuff but we’re always gifted with the One who will see us through and because we are imitators of He who loves us we walk strong and steady with those to whom we have been given.

Oh yes, Sweet One, you are the Gift and might it be that to see yourself as less-than is to see the Savior, THE GIFT who lives within you, as less-than as well?  We do not boast in or about ourselves, but we will boast all day long in our Jesus and the work He has done to transform our messy, sin filled hearts into blessings for those around us.  All praise, honor and glory to our Savior –THE GIFT—who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.

Sister, I believe with all my heart that part of the joy the Savior received were the Gifts given to Him by the Father after His work had been completed and He sat down at the right of the Throne.   I picture in my mind the Father handing His Son one Gift after another and the nail-scarred hands joyfully receiving each one.

And don’t you know Beloved, one of those

beautifully wrapped (Colossians 3:12),

lavishly loved (1 John 3:1),

heart-picked (Ephesians 2:4-6),

and hand-delivered (2 Corinthians 1:10)

Gifts –part of the joy set before Him–

is YOU.


Now thanks be to God for His Gift,

precious beyond telling,

His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift!

2 Corinthians 9:15

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