Tag Archives: faith

Are You Brave Enough?

4 Jun

signsI stand at the crossroads and look . . . and I try to imagine what life might be like if I do things in a way I’ve never done them before.  I try to conjure up the best and worst case scenarios that might be catapulted into existence if I step out into unfamiliar territory.  What will I find if rather than pursuing the path of “what I know” and “where I’m comfortable” I take God at His Word, believing that He will always lead me in the good way, and I step out in HIS NAME?  What if instead of being limited by what my finite mind can see, I trust the Infinite and allow Him to unfold a God-sized vision concerning me?

Honest answer is, “I don’t know.”  Full confession is, “I might not be brave enough to find out.”  I often pray for a spirit of contentment to settle over me.  To be certain that my days, no matter how secluded or contained within the four walls of Biddinger Boulevard they might be, are spent pursuing His agenda and not mine.  There are days when other than one another, we don’t come into contact with anyone.  So at times, it’s hard to imagine that there is a vision that includes us, let alone to conceive that a God-sized vision might be in the works.  But I firmly believe that this time of “quarantine” has come straight from the hand of God and it has come for a holy purpose.  I don’t want to miss it.  I don’t want Brett to miss it.  I want us to heed the words of the Lord to be “strong and courageous” and to take every opportunity to seize the cities He sets before us–even if it appears that we are the only ones occupying those city streets.

Not everyone is given a time in life when they are required to limit their activities and I so pray that we are faithful with the gift we have been given.  I think the worst thing that could happen is that Brett would finally be healed and we would look back to find that physical restoration was all that had occurred.   To whom much is entrusted, more will be asked.  Perhaps the God-sized vision requires the more.  Maybe it’s in the unfamiliar territory that we will truly begin to see.

I recently shared with a friend that God has turned me upside down by diligently shining His light on all the places I would rather just keep hidden.  It hasn’t been exactly unpleasant (it’s actually been exciting) but it has had a feeling of “are you kidding me?  There’s more?”  I’ve said aloud on more than one occasion, “Marilyn, will you ever get to the bottom of yourself?”  (I grew up with Marilyn being my trouble name and I’ve carried the tradition forward 🙂 )   Just when I think all the self-serving goop has been dug out, I start to smell a not so pleasant aroma emanating from my heart and I realize . . . more goop has bubbled to the surface.  Another bastion of judgementalism is uncovered.  Another stronghold of haughtiness brought to light.  Another fortress of jealousy is revealed.  While somewhere in my mind I understand that all that goop dredging is a required part of the process, it doesn’t always make cooperating in the whole thing come any more naturally. I tell myself that that’s probably true for almost everyone.  It makes me feel better to think that feeling exposed and vulnerable with all your goop laid out on the Throne Room floor would be a little difficult no matter who you are.  Exposure.  Vulnerability.  Sounds risky to me.  Are you ready for that?  Are you that brave?

What if only a handful of us were to answer that question with a resounding “YES”?   We would, undoubtedly, turn the world upside down.  If only a few were committed to truly make Jesus the Lord of their lives, life as we know it would cease and life, true living, would really begin.  Henry Blackaby writes that you can’t say “No, Lord” because it presents an oxymoron.  If you say “No”, He’s not your Lord.  Plain, simple, true.

I’m praying to be one of the handful.  I’m asking God to make me one of the people you’d be pleased to join with in taking the world by storm.  I’m petitioning Him to make me into a warrior who does not flinch in her belief that the victory is already won.  Girlfriend, the battle that rages over you in the heavenlies is huge.  I want to be the one you want at your back.  And I want that life of tenacious commitment for you too.  When people meet us, they ought to see something different.  Something more.  Something Divine.  They ought to see Christ in the unique way that He displays Himself through each one of us.  I might even be so bold as to say, they ought to glimpse glory.

So what do you say if for the next week we live as if we are unafraid? We obey the small nudges from God rather than talk ourselves out of acting because we aren’t absolutely, 110% sure, convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that it was God’s voice.  We look undeterred at the dark places He reveals, repent, and take the path He leads us down.  If it doesn’t contradict Scripture and it’s consistent with God’s character, what say we throw caution to the wind and err on the side boldness?  Err on the side of obedience?  Why not do the good thing?  Corny as it may sound, we’ll never pass this way again.  So, let’s just see where the God-vision goes.  Even when it’s unfamiliar.  Even when it’s uncomfortable.  And especially when it doesn’t fit within the confines of our finite imaginations.  I have to believe that the Divine of God, the All of Elohim, who has entrusted us with much will never ask for more than He has given. Sister, the way of the Ancient One is good — let’s be brave enough to walk in it.

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.”

Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV, 1984)

(Here’s a secret wish:  I wish I could be peek in at the lives of the Sisters who choose to take this challenge.  What a thing of beauty I would behold!  — You go Girl!)

The Most Excellent Way

25 May

If you’ve had prior occasion to visit the blog, you know that God seems to be driving home the need for me to love people exactly where they are at in life.  Despite the circumstances they place themselves in.  Despite the poor decisions they may make.  And perhaps most importantly, despite my desire to just give up on them.  I think there is somewhat of this current to love others running through the Church right now.  I fully concede that I might have “pregnant woman” syndrome –when you’re pregnant you see other pregnant women everywhere—but it seems that many of the things I read or hear of late center around reaching out in love.  I think it’s great.  I think the world needs to be loved with an unchanging, unconditional, secure, steady love.  What a contrast to the fleeting, up-and-down love roller coaster so many who live apart from Christ are trapped on.  I so support every believer who is following Christ to live out loud in love …first in their Jerusalem, then Judea, Samaria, and then unto the ends of the earth.

 But you will receive power when

the Holy Spirit has come upon you,

and you will be my witnesses in

Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria,

and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1:8 (ESV)

I pray God’s blessing all over those Christ followers who, filled with the Spirit, display the love of the Savior in their communities, their state governments, their country and the nations around the world.  Indeed, wherever God has placed us as stewards of the Firstborn’s inheritance, let us be faithful.   Let us walk boldly in His Name and love beyond ourselves. We want those who are wandering lost, feeling isolated, and even the ones who don’t know they need His grace, to see a difference and feel welcomed by His love. But I have to wonder how that happens if we are engaged in subtly tearing one another apart.  How can we reach out to love those who have chosen another path if we can’t even love those who are walking the trail with us?  And, I fully confess, that I have kicked dust in the faces of the saints traveling by my side on far too many occasions.

I read a blog this morning encouraging believers to consider practicing the spiritual disciplines.  The author didn’t profess to be an expert on the subject.  He just presented some things worth challenging our minds and hearts with.  I scrolled down to the comments fully expecting to see believers encouraging one another to examine their hearts on the subject.  What I found instead was sniping at the author over ONE quote that had been included in the piece.  Further down in the comments, the author explained that since posting he had removed the quote because of the uproar.  He was defensive about the thing and I probably would’ve reacted the same way.  I might’ve thought to myself “Really, all of that and this is what you’re choosing to focus on? ”  I wonder if the pastors and teachers in our midst often feel that way—“Really?”.  And I wonder more, how often that kind of critical spirit has flowed from MY heart and straight out of MY mouth.

At the beginning of every Bible study, I encourage the ladies who are participating to be Bereans and search the Scriptures for themselves to be certain the teaching is sound.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character

than those in Thessalonica,

for they received the message with great eagerness

and examined the Scriptures every day

to see if what Paul said was true.

Acts 17:11 (NIV)

But might it be that a worthwhile commitment to confirm the unifying Truth of Christ Jesus can become distorted and slide too quickly into divisive, self-exalting legalism?  Don’t misunderstand, we must be on guard against false teaching.  The Bible couldn’t be more clear about that subject.  We must be alert and we must man the watchtower.  However, from my perspective there is a huge difference between willful deception and a poor choice of words.  So might it be that as the Church is experiencing a renewed desire to reach out and love on God’s most prized creation, that we are forgetting to show gentleness and love to one another?  A house divided against itself simply will not stand and oh, don’t you know that it must make the enemies of the Cross absolutely giddy to watch the Bride devour herself.

We often hear 1 Corinthians 13 read at wedding ceremonies. Truth is, it wasn’t written in the context of temporal marriage, but it was written so the Bride, the Body of Christ, would know what love looked like to the Bridegroom. Under Divine inspiration, Paul calls it “the most excellent way” and goes on to provide the ultimate description of the love the Body is called to lavish on one another.

If I can speak in the tongues of men and even of angels but have not love, that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion—the kind that is inspired by God’s love for and in me—then I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose, and I understand all the secret truths and mysteries, and possess all knowledge and if I have sufficient faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, God’s love in me, I am nothing, a useless nobody.

Even if I dole out all that I have to the poor in providing food and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory but have not love, God’s love in me, I gain nothing.

Love endures long, is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy; it is not boastful or vainglorious and it does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited, arrogant, or inflated with pride; it is not rude, unmannerly, nor does it act unbecomingly.  Love, God’s love in me, does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking, it is not touchy, or fretful or resentful.  It takes no account of the evil done to it nor does it pay attention to a suffered wrong.

It does not rejoice in injustice and unrighteousness but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, it is ever ready to believe the best of every person; its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything without weakening.

Love never fails, never fades out, becomes obsolete or comes to an end.  As for prophecy, it will be fulfilled and pass away.  As for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease and as for knowledge, it will pass away, it will lose its value and be superseded by truth.

For our knowledge is fragmentary, incomplete and imperfect and our prophecy, our teaching, is incomplete and imperfect.

But when the complete and perfect total comes the incomplete and the imperfect will vanish away, become antiquated, void and superseded.

When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child and I reasoned like a child; now that I have grown I am done with childish ways and have set them aside.

For now, I am looking into a mirror that gives but a dimmed, blurred reflection of reality, as in a riddle or an enigma, but then  . . . . . . .  1 Corinthians 13 (AMP)

You are going to have to go to your Bible to read the rest because this is as far as I have memorized –for now.  See, if this thick headed woman has learned nothing else in her pursuit of Life outside the Tomb, she has learned that without a doubt, left to her own devices she is a critical, sharp-tongued woman with a desire to puff herself up by making others feel less than.  The only hope I have of living the lovelife, of imitating God, is to have a total heart transformation.  Only His truth will change me.  I must treasure what He treasures and see His children from His perspective.  I have to be filled heart, soul and mind with Him so that what flows from my mouth is love.  It cannot be simply what I know, it has to become who I am. . . LOVE . . . because it is who He Is.  And it must flow first to the warriors who fight the good fight and run the race beside me –those whose faces I know and cherish and those I will not meet this side of Glory.

The world doesn’t need to see another fractured family living out a dysfunctional existence.  They need to see a family acting like their Dad and following His example. They need to see us doing life together, honoring our commitment to one another, and loving each other despite our glaring imperfections.  I have to believe that when we love each other the way He loves us, when we live and love the “most excellent way,” it’s going to draw some attention.  Attention that will give us the opportunity to explain why we love the way we do.

Sisters, let’s be gracious today to the family we share eternal blood with.  Let’s be committed to believing the best of them.  Let’s give the same grace and understanding to the Body as we do to those who have not yet answered the call of Grace.  Let’s live the “most excellent way” so the world can see the most Excellent One.

You are When You are and . . .It is Good!

20 May

Not only are you where you are by His Divine Hand, you are also when you are by His appointment.  Think about that.  The One who always has been, is today, and will be forever has chosen this place and this time for you to shine like a star in the universe.  You didn’t end up here by chance and your appointed days were always intended to be specific to this dispensation of time.  I don’t know about you but I find that to be comforting, motivating, and scary all at once. There’s just something so absolutely huge in considering that the One who proclaimed His creation to be very good felt that this point in history would be better if I were here.  Ponder it for a moment.  The Creator of the universe heart-picked you for the right here and the right now– not because He needed you, but because He WANTED you.

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.  And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.  From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth, and HE DETERMINED THE TIMES SET FOR THEM AND THE EXACT PLACES WHERE THEY SHOULD LIVE.  

Acts 17:24-26 (NIV 1984)

See!  Straight from the mouth of God.  He put you here and He put you now.  The Omniscient God who decided when and where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would set their feet on planet earth made that same decision concerning you.  And Sister, I’m declaring to you today based on the authority of His Word that you are every bit as precious to Him as those men were.  I know this to be true because your God does not play favorites.  He did specific works—huge works, good works— through those imperfect men and He desires to do the same through you.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in the advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV 1984)

Now you may be throwing arguments at me in your head at this moment that explain to me why, in all of creation, in the entirety of the world timeline, you are the one exception.  You are the one God cannot possibly want to do specific, huge, good things through.  After all, God raised them up to be men of renown, known as heirs of the promise and the blessed recipients of an unbelievable inheritance.  He even allowed them to participate in building a nation.  Without a doubt, these things are true.  God had big things set aside for those guys.

But an argument always has two sides.  So what I’m going to ask you to do is to read through those Acts 17 and Ephesians 2 verses set side by side from the Amplified Bible*.

26 And He made from one [common origin, one source, one blood] all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes).  10 For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship),  recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].

Acts 17:26 and Ephesians 2:10

With that fresh in your mind, let your heart travel to your work place.  Let it drink in the family that visits your home, strangers you welcome with a smile, and the faces of your dearest friends.  Now stare into the eyes of your children, linger there and soak them in—woman of God, this is your nation.   You are an heiress, fashioned for this very purpose and filled with the Spirit of God, to point those entrusted to you toward the Promised Land.  Yes, Beloved, the boundary lines have fallen for you in a pleasant place and a pleasant time.  Surely, you have a beautiful inheritance.

Sister, you have been anointed and appointed by God to do things –specific things, huge things, good things!  Don’t doubt for a moment that you are here and you are now for a reason.  . . And it is good.

Acts_17-26

*The Amplified Bible utilizes multiple English word equivalents to each key Hebrew and Greek word clarify and amplify meanings that may otherwise have been concealed by the traditional translation method.

A Day in the Caboose!

14 May

We’ve looked at some pretty heavy stuff the last couple posts and, to be truthful life itself has been quite heavy since the last writing, so what I really feel the desire to do today is just roll around in His goodness.  Some days you just have to pull a little closer to Glory and ride there for a bit.  What say we leave the temporal worries and anxieties, the hurts and the can’t-do-a-thing-abouts sitting on the curb for this day and ease out into the freedom lane with the Spirit?

I know Facts are the engine of my Faith and Feelings aren’t always accurate indicators of the spiritual reality, but for this particular moment I’m giving myself permission to get swept up in the Godness of Him and simply enjoy feeling like He is with me. These kinds of days are necessary for me.  I need times when I can indulge my emotions and let myself feel lavished in His love.  Times when I can look past the urgent of this planet and imagine life from a heavenly point of view.   Times when I can entertain what it will feel like to walk in Glory.  In other words, I need days when I can just be the caboose!

I have a wonderful friend who is married to a gentleman with a penchant for her, God’s truth, and a whiteboard. One of his favorite illustrations depicts a train engine marked Facts, followed by a car with Faith written on it, and finally, a caboose with the word Feelings.  The idea of the drawing is that we can’t let our feelings dictate our faith or diagnose our spiritual condition.   It’s right on the mark and I love them for their team teaching efforts to make this knowledge part of my freedom walk because it has given me the tenacity to stand firm in truth many times when I didn’t “feel” like it. But just for today I’m going to hang off the back of the caboose, wave my arms around, and drink in the Sonshine.

Lessons from Kim and Rod

Lessons from Kim and Rod

I’m going to let the wonder-if-I-did-that-right thoughts all slip away and replace it with being thrilled that my obedience brings Him joy.  I’m not going to fret about what will come from the maybe-I-should’ve-said-that-differently moments or let myself be weighed down by the hope-I-didn’t-overstep-my-boundaries-there conversations.   Instead, I’m going to let my heart dance at the idea that the One I have my eyes fixed on never takes His eyes off me.  I’m going to celebrate the notion that the One I find too beautiful for words is enthralled with my beauty.  I’m going to get all caught up in the absolute giddiness I feel when I picture Him as my Mighty Warrior and myself as the chick with a sword at His side.

I could gush on and on, and believe me I’m totally fighting the urge to do so.  It feels so good to have the smile spread across my face and my eyes crinkle for no other reason except I am thinking of Him.  It’s been too long since I have thrown off everything that hinders and just run with the Spirit.  Yesterday in my devotions, I was reading about Hagar who was facing some massive challenges in her life to say the least.  She had been sent away from her home with a young son, some food strapped to her back,  and a canteen of water.  As they wandered in the desert, the water ran out and she was certain her boy was going to die.  I can’t imagine the helplessness and despair she must of felt as she placed Ishmael under that shrub to die.  Imagine how gut-wrenching her sobs must have been as she sat down a distance away from him and just waited for the inevitable.  And then . . . God intervenes.  The One she had called El Roi (the One who Sees) at another well in the desert had never taken His eyes off her.

Abraham got up early the next morning, got some food together and a canteen of water for Hagar, put them on her back and sent her away with the child. She wandered off into the desert of Beersheba. When the water was gone, she left the child under a shrub and went off, fifty yards or so. She said, “I can’t watch my son die.” As she sat, she broke into sobs. . . .

Just then God opened her eyes.

She looked. She saw a well of water.

She went to it and filled her canteen

and gave the boy a long, cool drink.

Genesis 21:19 (The Message)

See the sweetness of Him?  He opened her eyes to see His provision.  He gave her exactly what she needed, right when she needed it, and He gave her eyes to see the blessing.  There is so much more in that passage to look at.  Such significance in the well.  Such parallels between Hagar the slave girl and the Samaritan Woman who felt the unconditional love of Christ in the Gospel of John.  But those are for another day.  Today, we’re just loving being with Him.

Yes Sisters, let’s enjoy our day in the caboose.  But here’s the truth of it.  A day of celebration in the caboose would go nowhere without that engine. No hair would be flying around in the wind of the Spirit.  No cool breeze of freedom would blow across our souls.   There would only be sitting at the depot feeling erratic gusts of air now and then. Only the engine, the absolute TRUTH of who He is and the LOVE He lavishes on us, will get that caboose moving.  And only feelings that match the truth of His character are worth celebrating.

I came to the train station years ago with more baggage than I can describe.  I stood on the platform with all my sin stacked around me.  God met me in my need and said, “I see you child, get on board.”  He’s not left me unattended once.  He has never taken His eyes off me.  And when I have days filled with challenges, and maybe even despair, He opens my eyes and shows me the well of His goodness.  He fills my canteen with the truth of His blessings, invites me to the caboose, and lets me enjoy a long, cool drink.

Girlfriend, He will not be bothered a bit should you choose to hang off the back of the caboose in celebration today. And if you’re just not “feeling” like it, ask Him to open your eyes and show you the well.  The Fact is that our Faith in the One who is the Living Water will never leave us Feeling thirsty!  Oh, how I love that His well will not run dry!

Some Interesting Information:

  • El Roi: wonderful expansion and exploration of the Title — http://www.preceptaustin.org/el_roi_-_god_who_sees.htm
  • The Message:  The goal of The Message is to engage people in the reading process and help them understand what they read. This is not a study Bible, but rather “”a reading Bible.”” The verse numbers, which are not in the original documents, have been left out of the print version to facilitate easy and enjoyable reading. The original books of the Bible were not written in formal language. The Message tries to recapture the Word in the words we use today. http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Message-MSG-Bible/

THE LOVE LIFE!!!

22 Mar

I am so excited to be posting today! I have been waiting for the green light from God to chat about this since the first blog entry—in fact, it is what prompted me to start glimpsedglory—so believe me when I tell you that my entire body is smiling this morning.  I am absolutely giddy at the prospect of writing it down, imagining your faces as you read it, then grabbing hands and dancing down the streets of Jerusalem with you!

I sometimes get frustrated when I am plinking away on this keyboard trying to convey a sense of urgency about the subject at hand.  If you’ve chatted with me face-to-face when I have one of these lightning bolt moments hit my brain, you are very aware that I cannot get the words out of my mouth fast enough. And you’re also aware, maybe painfully so, that God has given me the supernatural ability to get a whole lot of talking done in only one breath. Now in my mind two things are accomplished with this rapid fire chatter:

  1. I’m able to get it all out before my train of thought pulls out of the station without me
  2. You’re kind of trapped until I’m finished.  (If blogs had emoticons, I would’ve put a smiley face at the end of #2.)

But no matter how fast I type I can’t dictate the speed with which you read nor does the blogosphere allow me to keep you hemmed in until my breath is gone.  So I’m just going to tell myself that since you came of your own volition, you’re in it for the long haul and you’ll read to the end.

God confirmed this message in the most beautiful and unmistakable way on January 20, 2013 at 3:45 p.m.  I know the exact date.  I even know the time of day.  It was that powerful and it was that life-changing.  I’m praying that it will be for you as well.  I have shared it with a few Sisters but I haven’t really felt Him give me permission to put it out there for you all to chew on until now.  But even as I sense His blessing and my spirit shakes with anticipation of who He will touch with this, I am asking Him to move me out of the way so it’s just you and Him meeting over this page today.

What I want to chat about in the next few paragraphs is dying to self.  If you don’t travel in evangelical Christian circles that phrase might not even be familiar to you.  To be honest, it has always felt like allusive Christianese to me as well.  I knew it was connected to crucifying my sinful nature and to choosing God’s will above myself but it was just kind of a concept that hung out there without a clear definition.  I knew it was something I was supposed to want to do but since I only had a vague comprehension of it, I certainly had no idea how to do it.  I had no problem understanding that I have behaviors and thoughts that are not Christ-like and they need to go.  So maybe “dying to self” meant to work toward eradicating those things that kept me from looking like my Savior.  Believe me, I could come up with an endless list of things I needed to change about myself, but was that really what it meant? Like a self-help or self-improvement kind of a thing?  Was that what the whole thing was about?  Me making changes in me to show that I loved Jesus?

Even though I operated that way for a quite a while, that definitely was not it. All that lead to was years of defeat believing that I had to pull myself up by the bootstraps and change.  I convinced myself that if I really appreciated what Christ had done for me I would grit my teeth and get rid of all the offensive ways in me.  I would live a holy life. But God just wouldn’t let my spirit settle there.  My mind kept returning to the day I confessed my need for Christ.  I had fully realized that I could do absolutely nothing without Him and yet, here I was, depending on myself to change myself.  It sounds confusing but that was the exact place I lived for many years.  Now don’t misunderstand.  God has poured His grace out on me and grown my faith by leaps and bounds.  He has lavished me with love beyond what I can describe to you but I have always had a kind of off feeling concerning this.  That’s one of the things I love about Him.  He knew I was thick-headed before time began and He chose to love me anyway.

Those are the days, months, and years leading to January 20, 2013. On that winter day, I was reading my Bible and had read about the sinfulness of jealousy, fits of rage, creating discord, gossip, slander, and arrogance.  And as I often do when I’m reading, I said aloud to God, “How am I ever going to get these things rooted out of me? How do I die to this stuff?” and I turned ahead in my Bible from 2 Corinthians to Ephesians.  I didn’t go there with purpose.  I just flipped the pages.  My eyes fell on verses I have read more times than I can count.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself

up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV, 1984)

Read it again, considering the topic at hand.  Do you see the answer that He gave me?  Oh how He takes my breath away!  After years of wondering and asking the question, “Lord, what does it mean to die to self?,” that day –January 20, 2013—He made it clear.  I practically heard His voice, “My dear child, you do not die, you choose to live like me. You choose to love.”  And in that one instance, years of fog began to roll away and it all started to come together.  Being crucified with Christ is being brought to life in love.  GOD IS LOVE.  If I live in LOVE, if I surrender every decision to LOVE, if I give over all I am to LOVE everything else falls into place.  It’s not about what I don’t do, it’s about what I do, do.

Stick with me on this.  It isn’t about not being jealous of another.  It’s about loving someone so much that you only want them to receive good things.  It’s not about refraining from gossip; it’s about loving others too much to hurt them that way. It’s not about abstaining from arrogance; it’s about so loving another’s heart that you can’t be anything less than humble toward them. Oh, do you see it?

The focus is not on the death.

The focus is on the life!

The LOVE LIFE.

So to me, it doesn’t get any plainer or any better than that and I must share the good news with someone.  I began to tell Brett about it as fast as I could – because he can’t get away from me (another place I would insert a smiley emoticon if I could) repeating the phrase LOVE LIFE to him over and over again.  I cried when I was telling him because I knew that even though I didn’t have my mind fully wrapped around it, God was going to show me!  And then, as so often happens, doubt began to appear at the corners of my mind. I started thinking, “Maybe I am making too much of this.  What if I am misreading this?” And at 3:30 p.m., partly to take my mind off the questions my brain was formulating and partly because I hoped she would call and chat it all out with me, I sent my daughter a text:

“I can’t wait until I talk to you next because I think God showed me the secret of the universe and I am trying to take in what my mind can get.”

Her reply at 3:38 p.m.

“I can’t wait to hear it! I love you Momma!”

There was not going to be a discussion right now.  So, I sat there holding my phone and wondering:

“Lord, does “dying to self” mean living to walk and to talk the Love Life?  Is living in the Spirit living in Love?  To be filled with the Spirit, is to be filled with you.  You are LOVE.  To walk in the Spirit, is to walk with you.  You are LOVE.  This is it!  Not death, but the LOVE LIFE.  Lord, am I making too much of this?”

Please remember, I had not shared a single syllable of this with my girl.  She was 1200 miles away from me and I thought we had finished texting. But at 3:45 p.m. my daughter sent one more text and she attached a picture.  Both are below:

“Momma, I just finished painting this and thought you’d like to see it.”

"LOVE SPEAKS"

“LOVE SPEAKS”

Oh Dear Ones, how the Creator of the Universe longs for us to get the message!  He does not call us to death – HE CALLS US TO LIFE.  Specifically, He calls us to live the LOVE LIFE.  When we LOVE, we imitate our GOD and we walk as JESUS did!  Living the LOVE LIFE is the essence of being holy because He is holy (Leviticus 11:45; 1 Peter 1:16). He has not given us the death sentence of never ending self-improvement.  He has called us to live like we have never lived before—unashamedly in the embrace of LOVE.  Oh Sister, will you live for that today?  Will you surrender to that today?  Will you give up your “pull-myself-up-by-the-bootstraps” living and fully embrace LOVE today?  I pray it is so. I pray it for you and I pray it for me. Oh Girlfriend, let’s glimpse Glory!

Resolved to Involve

15 Mar

Today’s blog post will not be for the faint of heart nor the person with limited reading time.  The more I thought the more that poured out on the page so if you are not in the mood for some real transparency along with blood and guts honesty you might want to wait until the next entry.  You see I am kicking around the idea that I am believing the lie that if I appear to be anything other than self-sufficiently serene then I am less than the Christian woman I “should” be.  And when I kick around an idea for me, I usually take the liberty of kicking it around for you too. I’m quite certain that I am going to have a difficult time articulating what I have been pondering so I am praying that God will take my muddled thinking and turn it into something that really speaks to your heart because I think, for all of our differences—jobs, spouses, children, hobbies—this may be something that we have in common.

There is a question that I’ve heard myself ask quite a few times over the last few weeks when I have been encouraging others who seemed to be hesitating to share and offering all kinds of disclaimers when their struggles finally fell out of their mouths.  The question I asked was this:

“When we make our trials seem small,

do we inadvertently make the One

who sustains us through them seem small?”

The sweet sisters I was chatting with were afraid to share what they were going through because they didn’t want their honesty to be misperceived as whining, complaining, or not trusting in the goodness of God. I’ll be the first one to say it’s always necessary to examine our hearts, but I’ll also be the one at the head of line shouting that God gave you those sisters at your side to do life with—Don’t steal their blessing!

Apparently, God allowed me to pose this question and explain it with such gusto to my friends so I could really feel the impact of the words when He brought them home to roost.  Funny how He does that; lets me think I’m conducting the class and then shows me that I’m the student in the corner with the cone shaped hat sitting on top of her head.

I know that I should be in party mode right now.  Life really is good.  Britt has returned to Florida and is absolutely gushing about the trustworthiness and sweetness of her God.  Brett has been released from the hospital and, though the whole thing is new to us, we are both working hard to make the new tube and accompanying equipment feel at home here on Lakeside Drive.  So, you would think that the celebration would be in full swing?  Well if you did .  . . you would be wrong.  Brett is processing all he has been through as men do (by that I mean in a way that no one without a Y chromosome can possibly understand) and I am processing things the way I do (and by that I mean in a way that is perfectly rational and to be expected).  I’m being humorous but suffice to say, the “process of processing”, has been anything but. This is where the blood and guts are going to start spilling so if you are thrown by human frailty now is when you will want to go check your e-mail or update your facebook status.

Ok,  if you’ve decided to keep reading here it is:  I know that I should be celebrating and walking on air right now, but instead I am cranky, fatigued, and emotionally overwhelmed.  Someone commented to me about Brett’s time in the hospital being a “mini-vacation” for me.  Another person thought it may have given me a chance to get some rest.  No, I was not on vacation nor did I get any rest.  I am still exhausted.  My nerves are frazzled and my body physically aches from sleeping on that hard couch-type deal at the end of Brett’s bed.   On top of those things, I am embarrassed because I am not responding to the situation with graciousness and a quiet spirit. In fact, I think it would be safe to say graciousness and a quiet spirit are not even residing in the same county I am.

I can hear my body language speaking volumes and my mouth isn’t being too quiet either.  I’d like to be kind, to be sweet, and to be upbeat but instead I am standing at the intersection of self-absorbed and cantankerous with my hands stuffed in my pockets refusing to move.  And, as if all of these things needed an exclamation point added to them, anytime I am by myself this great conglomeration of feelings decides to leak out my eyes and slide down my face.

But still, nearly every person that has made contact has received the same type of response . . . . “We’re getting settled in” . . .  “Brett has been through a lot” . . . “Our own bed was nice” . . .  all of those responses are true, but they aren’t exactly honest.  They don’t invite anybody in and they certainly don’t let anyone know the battle raging in my heart.  If you had been one of those people, how would you have prayed for me after we talked/texted/messaged?  Would you have prayed for me at all or just thought things were swell?

In comparison to others I know, the challenges on Biddinger Boulevard are small.  I have not lost my child. I have not stared cancer in the face.  I have not wrestled with the decisions surrounding the care of an aging parent.  I have not . . . . . you fill in the blank with your personal heartache.  I have not walked through the fiery trials God has called you to endure.  And still I wonder, even though the specifics of our challenges are different, might our responses be the same?   What in the world has convinced us that we must cloak the depth of our need in order to be strong Christian women?

I’m certain that the answer to that question is as widely varied as we are.  Your answer will be different than mine and both of our answers will be different than the sister reading at her computer down the street.  But this is what I’m sure of, no matter what has convinced us of this, IT IS A LIE!  God has not only given us Himself, but He has given us others to wear the hands, the feet, and the heart of Christ in our midst.  He has resolved to involve!  He has sent you friends to fight the battle, see the fatigue, and to lift you up as you walk through it all.  It’s Who He is today and it’s who He was yesterday.

Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands. “So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.  Exodus 17:9-13

God didn’t expect Moses to pretend the battle was small or hide his need.  And He didn’t expect Moses to just grit his teeth and gut it out.  God knew the magnitude of the battle and how hard it would be so He sent Moses’ friends to the top of the hill with him.  When he got tired, they were there, exactly where God had called them to be doing the good work He had prepared in advance for them to do.  They didn’t think Moses was less of a man of God because he got tired and his arms grew weak.  They brought him a place to rest and took up their posts—one on one side and one on the other—and they entered the battle together.

Girlfriend, don’t turn away the ones God has resolved to involve in your life.  Let them know the fight is too much, that it has been going on too long, and the view from the top of the hill is overwhelming.  Don’t be afraid to tell them that your arms are tired and you just need to sit down for a while.  Beloved, our trial is not small nor is the One who sustains us through them. He has planned since before time began to send our us our “Aaron” and our “Hur” to give us a place to rest, to take up their posts– one on one side and one on the other—and march into battle with us. Let’s not choose to go alone.

The Warrior on My Wall

8 Mar

I arrived at the hospital thmeandmylovefortyeightis morning a little after 8 a.m. and was greeted with, “Good morning Gorgeous” before my man had even seen my face.  It was the same voice I heard say to me yesterday when I entered his room, “I love that I recognize that purposeful stride coming down the hall.”  Isn’t he amazing?  With all that he is going through (I typed “walking through” first but then thought better of it–LOL) he still notices me.

If anyone were to have a justification for being self-absorbed it might be Brett.  He has been through much since his accident in 1993 but few things have been as trying as the last few months.  In late August he developed a large growth under his skin and it has spiraled downward from that point.  It moved from a hard mass to a large open surface wound and steadily worked its way further into his skin.  It has required periods of 24/7 bed confinement and stolen much of his very active life.  On Monday, he will have extensive surgery to remove the dead tissue and hopefully, clear the path for his physical healing to begin.

Sisters, I so wish you could have watched this process unfold with me.  He did not shrink back from the challenge but became all the more determined to be a great warrior, a true Nehemiah man, in the heavenlies.

Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall

at the exposed places, posting them by families,

with their swords, spears and bows.

After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles,

the officials and the rest of the people,

Don’t be afraid of them.

Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome,

and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters,

your wives and your homes.” 

When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot

and that God had frustrated it,

we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.

Nehemiah 4:13-15

See, while I may speak “thick-headed” my man speaks the language of the WARRIOR.  Case in point:  I was studying Revelation and gushing all over him about being the Bride of Christ dressed in fine white linen and he listened politely.  Then, I got to the next description of those dressed in fine white linen and the polite listening stopped.  He sat taller in his chair and listened intently as I read aloud about the armies of the Lord following the rider who is “Faithful and True” into battle.  It was total participation. You could see the light in his eyes and the engagement of his heart.  He was absolutely thrilled at the prospect.

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.

And this morning my heart was filled afresh with love for him as I realized that this hospitalization is not a change in mission for Brett or even a delay in his Kingdom work, it is a promotion.  He has been so faithful with his section of the wall that God is entrusting him with a new and larger assignment.  He is sending him deeper into enemy territory to stand beside nobles, officials, and people he does not know. But God knows them and He is sending Brett to fight for them.

And what has so totally convinced me that this is the case, that God has expanded his territory?  It was his first request of me this morning. He wanted to know if I would help him with the computer.  He was loving the verse of the day on biblegateway.com and wanted to post it as his facebook status.  Consider the battle fatigue this warrior should be experiencing as he has been literally wounded in the fight, and yet, his focus is on reaching those suffering on the battlefield or trapped behind enemy lines “in any trouble.”

[Praise to the God of All Comfort ]

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

who comforts us in all our troubles,

so that we can comfort those in any trouble

with the comfort we ourselves receive from God

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

So, I tell my Warrior all that God has chatted with me about as he was sleeping and as I watch the smile spread across his face two things come to my mind.  First, I think, “Lord, give me that kind of humble tenacity. Let me be so consumed with you that I am willing to combat crawl with my legs dragging behind me to any place you call me on the battlefield.”  And second, I give Him praise with all that I am that He has stationed this mighty Warrior on my wall.meandmylovefortyeight1

He Will Not Let You Go Alone

6 Mar

How thankful I am for God today.  How desperately I seek His comfort.  How I praise Him that before time began He planned to meet my every need.  I thank Him that He never fails to show Himself involved in all the intimate details of life and I pray for eyes to see Him as well as a heart that seeks to embrace Him.  Although this morning has been filled with much prayer and girding up for the battle that lay ahead, it has also been filled with a sense of excitement. While I have no idea what challenges the battlefield holds today, I feel a surge of adrenaline as I hear my head tell my heart that no matter what, my God is bigger. And I visit a favorite website and see the following words staring back at me:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,

for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

And I praise Him for His love for me.

The health issue that has been plaguing Brett since late August is wearing a new face and it is an ugly one.  My heart is breaking for him as he fights against his own body and appears, in this one area, to be losing. He has fought the despair of illness and experienced setback after setback and through it all, he has remained faithful in his desire to believe God more.  He has not faltered in his determination to be matured in this trial and he purposefully enters the Throne Room day after day in intercessory prayer.  Oh how I love that man.  Believe me when I tell you that even though he lives his life seated in a wheelchair, he stands head and shoulders above most I know.  He perseveres. He endures.  He suffers.  But he does NOT waver.

And as I pray for him, I am keenly aware that my continuing faith in God’s goodness, Brett’s continuing faith in God’s goodness, has little to do with us and everything to do with Him.  As I wrote in the previous post, He refuses to let me be satisfied with myself.  With my limited perception. With my oh so small faith. And so like the man in Mark 9:24, I have a decision to make as I watch the one I love suffer.  I have come face-to-face with a situation I cannot solve or change; it is beyond me.  It is not, however, beyond Him.  So I press my eyes closed and I ask God to help me overcome my unbelief.  I ask Him to reveal any lingering doubt I may have about His goodness and I firmly determine that this day I will not waver in my belief in the goodness of God.  I will stand tall in His armor and declare for all the heavenlies to hear that I will not shrink back nor change my mind concerning Him. And again I feel the rush of excitement and the thrill of belief because He has prompted me to stand firm in Him and I have obeyed.  I am at once emboldened and humbled as I realize the depth of my need for Him and the power with which He will undoubtedly meet it.

Sister, our God longs to bless His children and if the blessing is not immediate, then there is purpose in the wait.  May I just encourage you to hang on and trust Him?  May I exhort you to love Him through it all and to rely on His love for you?   I guarantee you, based on the authority of His Word, it will not be an exercise in futility.

And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing]

to be gracious to you;

and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you

and show loving-kindness to you.

For the Lord is a God of justice.

Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those

who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him

[for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace,

His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!

Isaiah 30:18 (Amplified Bible)

The blessing will come. The need will be met.  The tear will be wiped away and the hurt will be healed.  Dear One, you are loved by Him and He is aching for the day He is allowed to make your faith sight and to fully reveal His favor to you.  Jesus knows that it is hard to be us.  He knows how limiting it is to live inside our dying skin.  And He knows what it is like to wait for the healing, to trust for the blessing, and to fully rely on the love of the Father. Imagine the agony He felt as He hung on the cross. . . . . .  waiting, trusting, relying.  He knows Beloved, Oh how He knows.

Our Savior is not far removed from our needs or distant from our hurts.   We need not be afraid. We need not be discouraged.  He has walked in our shoes and laid down footsteps of determined faith. We need only to believe and follow Him.

Posted from Blodgett Hospital 1:17 a.m.

Posted from Blodgett Hospital 1:17 a.m.

He Will Not Let You Settle . . . For You

27 Feb

Once again this morning I find myself at that place of awe, humility and wonder at the love of God.  Believe me when I tell you that the day did not start out that way.  I assure you, and if you could chat with Brett he would be quick to confirm for you, that I began my morning quite consumed with myself. (Check the comments on the side because he may confirm without your asking!)  In fact, I would say I have spent the last several days wallowing around in “all that is Bunny”. Praise God that He wants more for me “than me” and refuses to abandon me to my own mind.  Read that last sentence carefully.  I am not saying that God wants more for me than I WANT for me, I am saying that God wants more for me “than me.”  He knows that if I am to live, move, and find my being in Him, I have to live beyond myself.

If you have any propensity to become too introspective or self-absorbed, you’ve experienced the tremendous sense of relief that follows a readjustment of your vision.  You’re familiar with the freedom that comes from being set loose from yourself and you know what it means to have the weight of “you” removed from your shoulders.  Unfortunately, if you’re well acquainted with those things you are also in a tighter relationship than you want to be with what I am going to call the “consumption cycle.”

Your “consumption cycle” will be triggered by different things than mine but I firmly believe that once it is set in motion, we will pack our bags and travel hand in hand down the same well-worn path.  Maybe your consumption cycle begins with pouring your love and energy into preparing a meal for your family only to have it go totally unnoticed by a single soul.  Not a thank you, not a “good job Mom”, nothing.  Funny thing is that most often that kind of thing doesn’t sting your heart at all.  But this time, it hurts and your mind begins to chat with your heart about how unappreciated you are.  You wonder if you are significant and worse, a part of you believes that you are not.

Perhaps your consumption cycle starts its journey in the workplace.  You never complain about the workload, always go above and beyond the necessary task, and still, it seems as if you’re invisible.  Just another number, plugging away and easily replaced.  Your brain begins to tell you that you are nothing special and pretty soon you are listening to every word.  You hear the refrain and your security is shaken.

Or it might be that your trigger lies much closer to home? Hidden somewhere at the back of your heart in a big steamer trunk marked “the past” are memories that periodically try to crawl out of the mothballs surrounding them. Something occurs and you find yourself engulfed by old emotions with a nearly uncontrollable desire to disappear.  Everything in your head screams that you are unfit and unacceptable to serve Him.

              • Significance
              • Security
              • Acceptance

Those three things are as important to our souls as food is to our bodies.

I certainly join you in praising God if you have come to the point in your faith journey where you consistently look to God for your worth, but if you vacillate now and then and just reading the words makes you wince a little, I want you to know, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.   If no one around you will admit that they do not have it all together, Sister, you come have coffee with me and I promise you, you will leave with absolute assurance that you have company in your struggles.  Even though the times are fewer and farther between than they used to be, there are still times when my mind turns on itself and I simply must choose to know what I know regardless of what my eyes perceive or my heart feels.

The sense of being less than you were created to be is nothing new.  Adam and Eve were created with their significance, their security, and their acceptance intact. They chose to sin and for the first time they experienced fear, isolation, and alienation.  This is the heritage that they passed on to their descendants.  Girlfriend, that’s us.  We’re the ones they deeded that property to.  I don’t know about you, but that is not a place I want to live and praise His Name, that isn’t the piece of land He has chosen for me. He died so that my boundary lines would fall in pleasant places and indeed, because of Christ, I have a beautiful inheritance. Those who have accepted Jesus are seated with Him in the heavenly realms and they are, without a doubt, significant, secure and accepted and Beloved, He says it often enough and plainly enough that even those who only speak “thick-headed” can understand.

He doesn’t say only once that in Christ you are fully accepted. 

He repeats Himself.

You are His child.

You are His friend.

You belong to Him.

He doesn’t limit His announcement of your security through Jesus. 

He says it again and again.

You are anointed and sealed by Him.

You cannot be separated from His love.

You are protected.

And He doesn’t restrain Himself in proclaiming the significance the

Savior has purchased for you.

You are His dwelling place.

You are His workmanship.

You are filled with His power.

See, no matter how many times I succumb to the “consumption cycle” I cannot change the truth concerning the redeemed of God.  He will not abandon me to myself.  So until my faith becomes sight and I truly possess my Promised Land,  I pray for the desire to live beyond myself and I praise Him that He wants more for me “than me.”  Girlfriend, do not settle for yourself!

The Resolve to Reign

20 Feb

In the last post I said I had had two sad coffee dates.  I told you about the cup I shared with the positive thinking gal who quoted Beatrix Potter and we brewed together about the very small “idk god” most of us have bowed to at one time or another.  But I didn’t say much about the meeting with Samuel.  Truth is our dining room table was crowded that morning because Samuel didn’t come alone.  He brought the elders of the Hebrew nation with him and soon Saul had filled a cup and taken a seat as well (1 Samuel 7-9).  We can’t relive all the action or significant events leading up to this point in Israel’s history because that would push the length way past the comments column, but to me this specific moment is one of the saddest in all the Bible.

Even if you are not an Old Testament enthusiast, you know about the miracles God performed in the lives of His children.  You know that He showed Himself mightier than any god Egypt could conjure, filled the hands of the Israelites with treasure, and parted the Red Sea for their escape.  He fed them in the wilderness, never allowed their clothes to wear out or their feet to swell in their wanderings, and He set the most beautiful of all the land aside for them. Over and over again God showed them who He was and confirmed His character by what He did.   Every battle He won for them, every promise He fulfilled for them seemed to echo the Divine invitation to KNOW Him.   And with each wonder He performed and each miracle He accomplished the breath of God announced . . . “I AM Love.  I AM Mercy.  I  AM Faithful.  Know Me.  Know Me.”

That’s why we’ve got to hear His heart of love when He tells the Israelites, “Don’t chase after those other gods, don’t offer yourself to them, don’t give them your love.  You don’t even know them.”  Now  that’s a Marilyn summarization/ paraphrase of a whole bunch of verses throughout the Old Testament , but the message of LOVE is still His.

We always have to be mindful of these truths:

  • He does not need us to remain true to Him for Him.
  • He does not need us to choose to follow Him for Him.
  • He does not need us to serve Him for Him.

He does not need us to . . . . . to anything.  Here’s the truth Girlfriend.  It’s you who needs Him, not the other way around.

 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.  For in him we live and move and have our being.’  Acts 17:24-28

That’s the truth today and that was the truth for the Israelites.  So with all that Divine Love stirring your heart, imagine how it must have pierced the heart of God to have His people flat out reject Him as their King.  The same Nation that had declared that “The Lord will reign forever and ever” was now announcing that they no longer wanted Him to occupy the throne.

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king  1 Samuel 8:4-7

 Feel the grief that must have washed over His heart.  These were the ones He had chosen.  The ones He had saved.  The ones He had shown His glory.  They were the ones He loved.  He had chosen to be their King so they would stand out, stand above, and stand apart from all the other nations.  He had distinguished them with His Presence and guided them with His Glory.  And now they were willingly discarding their holy distinction for disgrace.  They were demanding to return to the very state of servitude God had delivered them from.  How could anyone taste the love and freedom of the Divine and choose to abandon it?

Since I have confessed to you that my love language is thick-headed, it should come as no surprise that I love what seems to be the denseness of the Israelite people.  I am so grateful that they made the same mistakes over and over so that God could keep repeating Himself because, if nothing else, it gave Him good practice for displaying the unlimited patience He would need when He welcomed me into the Kingdom.  It’s so easy to look at the Israelites with disdain and say, “How could they?” until we really take the time to look intently at their actions. If you’re at all like me, what you see is yourself staring back.

God has done miraculous things for me and worked wonders beyond measure in my life.  I’m certain the same is true for you.  I’m also certain that just as surely as He set the Israelites free from the ruler who had placed the yoke of slavery upon them that He has set you and I free as well. He delivered us from the dominion of darkness and took our yoke of sin. And in all of this, He has whispered to our hearts  in the same real and tangible ways that He did to the Israelites, “Know Me. Know Me.”  And praise His Name, His grace led us to declare that He and He alone would be our King.  He would sit on the throne of our lives and His Presence would distinguish us from those with other rulers.  And then, just like the Israelites, we decided to trade our King for a small “k” king like everyone else had.

Remember the sadness we felt as we pondered the grief of God.  Would He not experience the same heartbreak in this instance?  We are the ones He has chosen.  We are the ones He has saved.  We are those that He has shown His glory.  We are the ones that He loves.  And in spite of Everything He Is, all too often we mimic our Old Testament forerunners by choosing to discard our holy distinction and blend with the world.

This is the part that really hits me.  We seem to believe now, the Israelites seemed to believe then, that we have some control over who is actually sitting on the Throne.  Doesn’t that strike you odd?  God has always been on His Throne, He always will be, and He is today.  Rather we choose to acknowledge His position or not, does not change the fact.  It seems like everything we study brings us back to the same point.  God cannot be changed by us, but we can certainly be changed by Him.  Let me say that again.  God cannot be changed by us, but we can certainly be changed by Him.  When we accept Christ as our Savior, we bow to the One, True King and acknowledge His position on the Throne.   It is we who benefit from His reign in our lives because it is we who are changed when we live knowing that He is enthroned.  When the King reigns — we change.

Oh Girlfriend, your destiny is not to blend in!  Don’t settle for the ordinary when the Extraordinary died to give you more.  You were meant to walk stronger, serve harder, and love deeper.  Your King has given you life to the full.  Keep Him on the Throne and live it well Sister!  Live it well!

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